It took me a few tries to get the right combination of buttons for traveling to Kelpsin. But, after a few bumpy, time-consuming side-warps, I managed to get it right. Of course, Daisy’s still rather immobile body was thrown all about. But, strangely, she forgave me for most of them, only lectured me twice about how maybe we should just go home, and didn’t stick her tongue out at me at all. Miracles never cease, right?
Having mastered the communications system on my last visit, I sent a verbal “heads up” before we got to the Kelps’ planet. A reply came rather quickly from Vander-Kelp himself.
“Kyle, what are you doing here? I told you to get your sister and go home. It’s not safe for you to come in a Deceiver ship again like this. Seriously, what’s going on?”
Daze and I looked at each other. It didn’t take rocket science—pun intended—to know Vander-Kelp was not happy. I didn’t know what had the old guy so upset. From what I knew of him, it was out of character.
“I’m sorry, Sir. But I have bad news. While trying to save Daisy, I had some problems. The Glugenal Water 3.0 brought her back to life—sort of—but she still can’t move the bottom half of her body. As well, in a rather terrible turn of events, I set off a grenade and Daisy and I barely escaped with our lives.”
“The water will eventually heal her, Kyle. It takes time. I mentioned that to you. But why are you back here? We want to be left alone by all you aliens. We are peaceful, but we really do not like to be bothered.”
I opened my mouth to speak, but Daisy beat me to it. “We’re really sorry, Vander-Kelp, Sir. But you see, we left the water bottles you gave Kyle back on alter-Earth after the explosion and we thought you’d want to know. It was an accident. Kyle was amazing, though, and I don’t know how he saved us. He paid the Deceivers a pretty good blow too with that grenade and stuff. Plus, he has more to tell you.”
“I’m listening.” Vander-Kelp replied. This time his voice sounded neither angry nor happy. It was an improvement. I took courage.
“Sir, I learned a few things before our escape. The Deceivers sent me to Kelpsin on purpose. It wasn’t an accident that brought me there the first time like I thought. They have some plan but I don’t know what it is. Maybe I was a distraction or a decoy or a message to you of some kind? They were particularly intrigued I might have talked with you and you let me go. I gave them the fake suit. But, they knew it wasn’t the real thing almost immediately. And, they didn’t seem so disappointed about it. I don’t know. It’s all such a mystery with them.”
“Sir, they’ve also sent a Deceiver to earth for the real Glugenal suit. Our mom, and earth, is in danger.” Daze threw in at the tail end of my speech.
There was a long silence. Then, over the communications system I heard Vander-Kelp mumble an order to let our ship land. “Very well, Kyle and Daisy. Let’s talk some more. The Deceivers having the bottled water changes things. I see now they’ve been working behind our back somehow. There’s obviously more to this than we’d thought…not good, kids, not good.”
Ginger woke from unconsciousness and found herself seated in a metal chair, head-down in her arms, on a metal table. She lifted her head and looked around. She was in a gray room. It had police glass and was covered with the remains of a blue powder of some sort. She stood and walked about. The blue powder was only at the edges of the room. She bent down and touched it with her finger.
“Chalk?” she said. Then the tip of her finger began to feel numb. “No, not just chalk.”
Ginger paced the room and tried to remain calm. She had willingly allowed herself to be kidnapped by an alien. Of course, the other alternative had been death. She only hoped his threat was only partially empty. She was desperate to see her kids. It hadn’t even occurred to her the odd man and her kids were connected in anyway until he had said it. That’s why she had come. Otherwise, she would have at least tried to make a run for it.
“Ah, you’re awake.” A voice sounded from the speakers in the room.
Ginger looked toward the police glass. She was afraid; but not for her own life—for her kids. “Yes. When do I get to see Kyle and Daisy?”
The voice laughed. “Very soon. Only, they aren’t on this planet right now. But they will be. They will come back when they learn you are here.”
Ginger was surprised to learn realize the voice was female. “Who are you guys, anyway?” she asked. There was no answer. “Then, at least tell me what you want from me.”
“You, ma’am…are the bait.”
“The bait for whom?”
Another snigger sounded over the speakers. It came from a male voice. “Your children, ma’am. They’ve stolen our spaceship and have taken it where they ought not. We’re tracking them. Soon, our message will reach them. Then, they’ll come back—for you.”
Ginger wobbled back over to the metal chair. “Oh no.” she whispered under her breath. She couldn’t help the string of thoughts that flew through her mind within the next few milliseconds.
If she hadn’t come would her children have remained safe? If these crazy aliens were tracking them, could she somehow find out where they were? Could she somehow send them a message of her own and tell them not to come for her? Could she do anything?
But, none of the thoughts resolved in a happy ending. None of the thoughts brought her to a resolution within her power. Ginger could tell from the little she knew of these aliens—especially Greg—they were only interested in one thing—the disgusting green suit.
After I told Vander-Kelp all that had transpired he relaxed a bit. He put a hand to his forehead and sighed.
“I’m sorry, Sir. I never meant to lose the bottles, but it was the bottles or mine and Daisy’s lives.”
Vander-Kelp nodded. “No, no. I understand, Kyle. It was beyond your control. I only wish I knew what the Deceivers are up to. I’ve been in a quandary since your last visit.”
“Maybe they don’t care about the water, Sir.” Daisy suggested. “I didn’t see one sick or handicapped alter-Earthling. I was allowed to play with them and walk around for a while until I started asking questions. Then they shut me up real quick. Don’t you think—especially since we’ve talked about how mad these beings are—that they probably don’t allow any sick or wounded to live? I mean, they are probably the kind of beings who genetically engineer children. Why would they want the water for healing of any kind?”
“Well, we’ve kept the magical properties of the water secret.” Vander-Kelp said. “So of course they wouldn’t be after it—at least not yet. But, now they have evidence of it…”
Daisy shook her head. “If you’ll excuse me, Sir. They are clearly after the suit. I don’t think they care one bit about the water. They bugged me for hours and hours about the suit. That’s all I heard about.”
I looked at my sister. I was stunned. Certainly, I knew she was annoying and had an uncanny ability to identify the very behaviors that drove me crazy; but, it never occurred to me she was actually smart. Daisy was onto something. I couldn’t believe it. I looked back to Vander-Kelp who was looking at Daze with equal surprise.
“Do you think she is right, Sir?” I asked.
Vander-Kelp stood and paced. It looked uncomfortable since his body was so unsymmetrical and his head so large. But, he didn’t appear to be in any pain. Then, he stopped and turned to face us.
“The Deceivers have managed to send one of their boys to kill a Glugen and steal its skin. They’ve managed to slip through our defenses unnoticed—which should be impossible. I didn’t tell you this, last time Kyle, because I hadn’t puzzled out myself how they’d done it. Plus, I couldn’t trust you completely—with such information. Now, it’s clear. The Deceivers have managed to sneak here, and lure, catch, and kill a Glugen—a very hard thing to do. Then, they blatantly sent you, Kyle, hoping we would kill you.” Vander-Kelp paused. He paced back and forth a bit more. Then, he nodded. “Yes, yes. I know, now, what else they wanted to do.”
“What, Sir?” Daisy and I asked in unison.
Vander-Kelp shrugged. “They sent Kyle to continue to perpetuate our belief in their lack of subtlety. So we would keep overlooking the signs of what they have been doing. They only started bothering us about ten years ago. And we have destroyed many Deceiver spaceships over the past…I don’t know, five to eight years? We suspected they were after something, but we had believed they were coming at us head-on. Unwise, of course, as a spy or battle tactic, but that’s what the Deceivers have always done. Naturally, since we eliminated the ships as soon as they entered orbit, we never worried about anything else. We ignored all else that might have set us on to what was happening. We’ve had several unidentified meteors in the last few years. Many we thought vaporized on contact, because by the time we managed to get to the landing sight, we found only the craters they’d formed in the ground. I can only think now those meteors were cleverly disguised ships… Oh, my we’ve been fools, children. We fell for their tricks.”
“So by sending me here in one of their ships, they were trying to kill me as well as throw you off their scent.” I said. Then, my mind triggered a memory. “I did notice when I trained with George, Sir, that there were several different kinds of spaceships. Most looked like the one Daze and I came in, but there were others. A few looked like cars and some other things, like big rocks…but George led me to believe the alter-Earthlings were all unskilled in ship navigation and were too afraid to go into outer-space. He told me they were all too afraid of the Kelps. George told me Hugh was one of the few brave ones… It was all a lie and I fell for it.”
“Don’t be too hard on yourself, Kyle. We don’t call them the Deceivers for no good reason. They are aptly named. Besides, we have all been duped.”
“I still feel stupid, though. But, how could I have known?” I asked.
“If it will make you feel better,” Vander-Kelp said while patting my hand. “I admit, after you left, Kyle, I spent many hours wondering how the Deceivers killed a Glugen and got a suit at all. It didn’t make sense since we’d never detected them landing on Kelpsin. I began to doubt your story. I began to worry I sent you off with the special water and that you were helping the Deceivers after all. I couldn’t make sense of how they had slipped past our defenses. That’s why I was so gruff with you when you arrived. I thought you’d been sent back to trick us again. I thought you were back to get more water.”
“But we’re not even from their planet?” Daisy said.
Vander-Kelp waved a hand. “I know, I know, but it’s not beyond the Deceivers to come up with other people to do their dirty work.”
“All those other ships you destroyed. Do you think they actually had Deceivers in them?” I asked. “I can’t help thinking I wasn’t the first decoy they sent.”
“Oh, such a tragedy.” Vander-Kelp said. He sat back down. “Who knows how many innocents we may have possibly sent to their deaths? And it was all a smokescreen. The Deceivers have probably been to Kelpsin several times. It makes me sick to even think about their feet touching down on our precious soil. But, they’ve obviously been here. It’s hard to catch a Glugen if they don’t want to be caught, you know. This was likely the Deceiver’s first success at getting a suit.”
I could see how upset Vander-Kelp was. I was afraid to make my next point. But, I knew I had to. “Sir, if they’ve been to Kelpsin and they know about the water but they want the Glugenal suit…what is it they are really after? Do you think they know about the poison? Could that be their motive?”
Vander-Kelp looked up at me, his eyes wide. He opened his mouth to respond, but nothing came out. Then, after a few seconds of staring me in the eyes without blinking, he spun his chair around and hit a button on the wall, “Zhoran, make ready the mother-ship and an entourage. Full crew and weapons compliment, please. I’m taking a little trip.”
“Am I to command the mother-ship, Sir?”
“No, Zhoran, this one is mine. However, if you would also call a council session with the monarch and the representatives of all of Kelpsin’s orders of life, I would appreciate it. Once I brief everyone, you’ll be running the defense from here.”
“Defense, Sir?” Zhoran asked.
“Yes, Zhoran. Trouble is on its way.”
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Hi! My name is Angela Tempest. I write fiction that entertains, takes you to another world, and fills your life with truth. I hope you’re enjoying Copy Cat Earth. If you love it, there’s more. Check out my author page to read my other stories!