Hey Everyone! :-)
I've got another little snippet to share with you today from Petri's latest adventures, and its a doozy! ;-) Take a look:
Excerpt From Book Two of the Petri Dish Chronicles:
Before Petri could answer, a brilliant golden light filled the cockpit. After a minute, the light resolved into the slight figure of a member of the most hated and feared species in the galaxy. The small alien looked around, seeming to study the three other occupants of the cockpit.
Shaking off his momentary paralysis, Daji leapt to his feet and swung one long arm towards the intruder. He never connected. Instead, he found himself flying backwards through the air to land in a heap against the wall next to the door. When he tried to rise, he found that he was pinned by an invisible grip.
"Daji!" cried Chessie.
She tried to run to him, but found herself picked up and hurled against the wall next to the control panel.
Petri stood and gasped. "Chess!"
"Remain where you are, child. I would converse with you like civilized beings. Your pets are not harmed."
Blinking, Petri stared at the creature who was even smaller than her. "Pets?"
A graceful arm indicated where Daji and Chessie lay immobilized. "These."
"Why are you holding them?"
"As I said, I wish to converse with you and you have failed to train them in proper behavior."
Her mind whirling, Petri said, "I don't understand."
"That is to be expected. But all will be made clear in time. Now it is time for you to come home."
Thoughts and questions spiraled through Petri's head faster than she could register them. She felt as if she could just catch hold of one, the spinning ball would unravel and everything would make sense again. But try as she did, she couldn't seem to follow any one train of thought to its conclusion. Indecision paralyzed her.
She knew what she wanted; to get herself and her friends away from the terrifying alien as quickly as possible without anyone getting hurt. But things had changed too fast for her to process the new situation properly and she didn't know where to start. All she could do was stand and wonder at the weight of menace such a small, unprepossessing, apparently innocuous creature could convey.
Petri had never seen an Arcanum before. Few had and lived to tell of it. But, in spite of their reclusive nature, every now and again a member of another species would escape with their life from an encounter with the Arcanum. So, there were plenty of tales about what they looked like. And, Petri noted, some of those stories even approached the truth.
On its surface, the Arcanum didn't appear dangerous. It was short, much shorter than even her own four-foot-two-inch height, and exceedingly slender. The creature's arms and legs looked like delicate twigs that could easily be snapped in two by an average-sized human. But its head was enormous, bulbous with large, lidless eyes, a lipless mouth, and no nose. Perched atop its reedy neck, the head had an almost farcical appearance. Like a child's balloon with a face drawn on it.
But, in spite of its almost comical appearance, the Arcanum was shrouded in a miasma of danger. It wasn't hostility so much as supreme indifference. There would be no threat from the Arcanum. It would simply exterminate them. With no more thought than she would give to stepping on a bug.
The alien's was cadaverously slender and, since it wore no clothing, Petri could see that it bore no obvious signs of the being's gender. Its skin was pale and sickly looking, like one of the corpses that were pulled from the underworld gutters every morning, and it added to the eerie quality of the creature. A baleful, golden glow smoldered in the Arcanum's eyes. Petri felt as if the light held her transfixed.
"I don't understand," she repeated.
The alien gestured at the viewport. The field of stars had disappeared to be replaced with an impenetrable darkness. "You will come home. It is time for you to be evaluated."
"Evaluated?" That penetrated the fog that seemed to be filling Petri's mind. "You mean like a test?"
"We must determine if you are one of us or if you are less. That can only be determined by the Collective. You will be evaluated and a consensus reached. Then we will decide what is to be done."
"Done? With me, you mean? What about my friends? Will you let them go?"
"The lesser beings will be kept at this time to encourage your cooperation. You have been too long outside the Collective; there is some concern that you will resist melding."
"Are you going to hurt us?"
"You will not be harmed at this time. Any further decisions will be contingent upon your evaluation. The fate of the lesser beings will be determined based on the level of your cooperation. If you wish to preserve their well-being, you must submit yourself to your evaluation and strive to convince the Collective that you are sentient."
"I'm a person, of course I'm sentient!"
"Your claim to both of those statuses remains to be determined. The evaluation will take place soon. Until then, you will remain here in the company of the lesser beings."
The Arcanum flashed with the same golden light as before.
"Wait!" cried Petri. "I have more questions!"
But it was too late. When the light faded the alien had disappeared.
Uh oh! Looks like Petri is up to her neck in trouble. But then again, how is that any different from normal? ;-) I don't know about you, but I can't wait to find out what happens next! Until next time, my friends! Peace!