My Friend is an Alien, стр. 2
"I don't think I'm even going to try." said Davy. "Explaining this is going to be hard enough without a sprained tongue."
The alien considered this. "We talk a lot faster than you do. And my name would be pretty long if I slowed it down, and even then you might have trouble pronouncing it. You may call me by the first syllable of my name, which is Jahv."
"That, I think I can handle." said Davy.
"Welcome to Earth, Jahv." added Niklas. "Why have you come here?"
Jahv looked like he'd been struck. "I — ran away."
Davy groaned. "Not another one. I don't think we're going to be able to get this one home as easily as Keith and Martin."
Niklas gave Davy a glare, but turned back to Jahv. "Why?"
"My parents." said Jahv. "I'm just a kid, like I read in your mind that you are. They're always so busy exploring space and stuff, even though they drag me along, they never pay any attention. So I decided to leave, find a new planet somewhere, and just stay put and maybe try to make some friends. I know that sounds kind of silly."
"Not really." said Niklas. "You've made two friends already. But won't your parents come looking for you?" Niklas had this sudden vision of an alien ship coming to track down Jahv. It was cause for concern.
Jahv shook his head. "The transmatrix device I use was set to a scrambled frequency. I just told it to find me an acceptable planet and beam me there.
They won't know where to look. They'll probably be glad I'm not even there anymore. They can concentrate completely on their work."
"If there's anything we can do to help…" said Niklas.
"I am kind of hungry." said Jahv.
"I've got food stashed in the treehouse, and my parents won't be home right now." said Davy. "I think we can get up there."
The three youngsters were able to get inside the treehouse unnoticed. But something occurred to Niklas as Davy was sorting through a box of food. "Hey, do we know if any of this stuff is safe for him to eat?"
"Not a problem," said Jahv. "I have an analyzer right here in my backpack. I came prepared."
"What backpack?" asked Davy.
Jahv looked over his shoulder for the first time. "I know I had it with me when the transmat began! It must've fallen off when I hit the water!"
"I hope it's watertight." said Niklas.
Jahv nodded. "But I have a lot of survival supplies in it. I have to get it back."
"Back to the pond?" said Davy.
"Bring some of the food, too." added Niklas. "We're all going to be hungry by the time we get through looking for that pack."
The three snuck out of the treehouse and made their way back to the pond unnoticed. "Where did I appear?" asked Jahv.
"About eight feet right above dead center of the lake." said Davy.
Jahv nodded, and proceeded to remove his uniform. Davy and Niklas seemed a little surprised. Jahv just grinned slightly. "It might interest you to know that kids on my planet generally don't wear clothes anyway. Just when we travel in space, as a safety precaution. And I read in your mind that you two were about to do the same thing to go swimming before I showed up."
"Somebody's going to have to teach him a thing or two about privacy."
Niklas was grinning. "Yeah, but right now, who cares? Let's help him find his pack."
Moments later, three children — all of them boys and one of them bright green — were diving in the lake, trying to take the search seriously, and having only moderate success. After some playful splashing and teasing, they finally started diving and looking for the pack. Jahv found it a few minutes later, and the threesome headed to shore to dry off and eat.
Jahv spent the next few minutes waving a small, round device over the food that Davy had brought with him. He said that the candy bars would be safe for him to eat — except for the one with peanuts in it. The potato chips were okay, but not the cheese-flavored ones. The jar of peanut butter actually made Jahv recoil in horror when he read the analysis of it, but the grape jelly and the bread was okay. The cola analysis caused Jahv to make a sarcastic remark along the lines of, "On my world, we'd use something like this to strip paint," but the lemonade was perfectly acceptable. So the food supplies were divided up based on who could tolerate what, especially Jahv.
Sometime later, the three started to discuss what to do about Jahv. They couldn't take him home. Davy didn't think it would be safe for Jahv to stay in the treehouse all the time. Food, it turned out, would not be a problem. Among the devices Jahv pulled from his backpack, which seemed to contain much more than its size would allow, was a small machine that could duplicate any of the foods that Jahv had eaten today. None of them liked the idea of turning Jahv over to any authorities.
"I guess you've never had an offworlder here before." said Jahv. "Just as I'd never seen people who looked quite like you until today."
"There's some theories," said Niklas. "People who think they've seen or even been abducted by aliens. But the descriptions they give don't look anything like you."
Jahv raised a hand. "Let me guess. About our height, but really thin, with grey skin, huge black eyes, large heads, and tiny slits for mouths?"
Niklas' eyes went wide. So did Davy's. "Yes," said Niklas. "You know about them?"
Jahv shrugged. "Even we don't know WHO they are. But they've been pulling the same sort of stunts on about a dozen or so worlds for decades — including mine. We call them — " and Jahv finished with another burst of his own static-like language.
"You have a translation for that?" asked Davy.
Jahv considered the question. He still wasn't as familiar with this new language as he wanted to be. But he finally came up with a response. "Space roaches."
After the laughter died down, Jahv finally made a suggestion. "Is there any reason why I can't stay right here?"
Niklas and Davy looked at each other. Finally Davy spoke. "I guess not. No one's ever bothered us when we've come out here to swim. If this area belongs to anybody in particular, they've never made a big deal about it."
"But how will you go undetected?" asked Niklas. "If somebody were to see you out here, there might be trouble."
Jahv grinned and pulled another item from his seemingly bottomless backpack.
It looked to be of the same fabric as his uniform, but was folded into a tiny square. There was a button on the top of the square. Jahv pressed it and set it down. "We'd better move back a bit." he said, gently shoving Niklas and Davy about ten feet back.
The square beeped, and then unfurled into a dome-shaped tent about twelve feet in diameter and six feet high. Niklas cringed. "Somebody's going to see that for sure!"
"No, they won't." replied Jahv, waking over to a control panel on the side of the tent. Several lines of alien script ran across it. Jahv ran his finger across one of them. The tent disappeared.
"Now, that's camouflage!" said Davy.
"Is that place bigger on the inside than on the outside, like your packpack seems to be?" asked Niklas.
Jahv seemed to pull a flap open in mid-air. "Have a look."
The two boys walked over and stuck their heads in. The ceiling wasn't much higher, maybe a couple of feet, but the overall floor space inside the tent was easily triple that of the outside.
Davy and Niklas pulled their heads out. "You are going to have to explain how that works sometime." said Niklas.
"Yeah, I could use something like that for MY room." added Davy.
Jahv smiled. "I'd be more than happy to. I'll be fine, staying out here. I will only ask two things of you. If you tell any others of my presence here, and I know you bring others here to swim, make sure they are willing to keep my existence a secret, as well."