Since 1999, Jim hadn’t given a moment’s thought to his first UFO sighting, until Thursday, 18th September 2008. He was out the front of his property in Mareeba, taking Christopher for a quick squat-n-drop as Timothy calls it. Christopher is their eight-year-old Boxer dog; they adopted him from the local animal shelter as a pup. Anyway, while he cocked his leg against Stella’s prize fuchsias, Jim noticed a descending fog that night and gazed up to spot a plane’s running lights; one yellow at the front, blue on its left and green on the right.
Those aren’t normal running lights, he noticed. It was heading straight towards him. Jim was familiar with light aircraft overhead as the local airport is only 20 minutes away.
“Bloody hell,” he said aloud. “Where’s the noise?” No sound came from the plane at all. His engine must have failed. He checked the aircraft’s lessening altitude, so it didn’t bear down on any houses. When, without warning, it changed direction in a sharp 90-degree turn. No airplane could have matched its maneuverability. As fast as it came into sight it was lost in the fog. What kept springing to mind was how spooky the whole event felt.
There was no sound, Jim realized. It seemed strange how deadly quiet town was. No traffic and no one walking the streets. It appeared as if the whole event was perfectly timed because usually this time of night a steady flow of cars and people passed their home. Jim called Christopher to come back inside. He came running over wagging his stumpy tail, satisfied having taken care of business. Walking towards the back-door Jim contemplated telling Stella what he’d just witnessed, but by the time he reached the back door, decided this one he’d keep to himself.
Once again, the events of that evening became less important as the hustle and bustle of his busy life took over. Jim’s memory is affected by an illness, Fibromyalgia, and not able to concentrate on the simplest of tasks, made the event slip further from his mind.
Another year drifted by without a single sighting, and it was time to do his evening chore with the dog once again. That duty is taking their beautiful new dog, a year and a half old Harlequin Great Dane and Arab Mastiff cross, called Jess, out for a quick squat-n-drop. They’d lost poor Christopher to illness a month earlier. Jess started her usual route around the front yard, and while she was busy, Jim gazed at the stars.
“Hm, this has always been a good way to relax. Helps me put all my problems into perspective,” he said to Jess, while thinking, It’s another beautiful night. Jess tried to catch a cane toad.
“Leave those damn things alone. They’ll make you sick you crazy dog.” Gazing up again, Jim tried to find the planet Saturn but gave up in disgust. He didn’t know what planet was what or where the known constellations where. Yet, viewing them has and always will be therapeutic to his soul. Peering down at Jess, Jim realized she hadn’t finished, so gazed up and wondered. What if that thing’s still up there after all these years? Concentrating, Jim worked out its relevant position to where he stood years ago in Tasmania.
Reminiscing, he faced south, south-west, and recalled the night.
It was close to the end of July 1999. On a clear and chilly night, while star gazing on the balcony of his home, which faced the beautiful Tamar River. The home offered generous views of the Batman Bridge and surrounding river frontage. It was around 9 o’clock in the evening with a moonless sky, giving the stars a sharper contrast against the blackness of space. Another advantage of living in the countryside is the benefit of no street lights distorting your view above. Also, on the odd occasion when Jim was lucky enough, he’d catch a glimpse of an asteroid’s last moments, and watch it fall towards Earth in a white-hot death roll. Jim gave his glasses a clean on the corner of his flannelette shirt, making it easier to see.
There’s nothing worse than gazing through dirty spectacles, he thought. It never ceased to amaze Jim just how much junk floated around up there, including pieces of multistage rockets and old satellites no longer in use. Suddenly his eyes spotted a bright object, a satellite moving east to west.
Wow! Isn’t that amazing! Jim could even spot its anti-clockwise rotation. Once again thinking, How clear the air is. When what he saw defied everything you ever hear from governmental authorities regarding UFOs. ‘Officially they don’t exist’. Jim followed the path of the satellite when a strange object swerved out of its way. In doing so, the sun reflected on what he considered to be the underside of the object and exposed its textured details. It was enormous. Guessing by how small the satellite appeared, it was the size of a house. That’s the side he could see. Heaven knows how tall it was, he thought.
The pitted side facing Jim had a rough texture like an orange skin. In a strange way, it looked organic. Only when the vessel changed course it came into view, which made him suspect it had some type of stealth capability, because once it dodged the oncoming satellite it vanished from sight.
Jim found south in relation to where the Sun rises in Mareeba and turned his gaze upward to the south, south-west and searched in that area of space. It wasn’t long before he found it.
There, in stationary orbit, right where it’d been nine years ago. What the bloody hell could it be doing up there all this time? Was there someone in it? Or is it an automated probe? Strange how its color is darker than the night sky, if it’s got a cloaking device then it’s not working too well, he continued to think.
“I can see it,” Jim said to Jess, who stood next to him waiting for an invitation back inside. Jim speculated why more people haven’t spotted it. Or maybe someone else has, but they’re keeping it a secret too. I guess in fear of incarceration as a nutcase. Jim knew he hadn’t bragged or confessed to any alien conspiracies. He guessed people can sit on secrets for ages these days and laughed at himself because he was sitting on a secret too.
“Come on Jess, we’ve been out here long enough, Stella’s going to think we’ve been abducted,” Jim laughed as she twisted her head in response.
Like a bolt of lightning, Jim’s body doubled-up with the shock of transport, and his human-form left our earthly plane in an instant. Opening one eye, Jim took a moment to recall what happened. With both eyes open he surveyed the surroundings. Cold and shivering he stood up from what looked like a large dinner-plate meters wide. His eyes now adjusted to the low light, Jim stepped off the platform and fell unceremoniously on his face. Unbeknown to him, on the floor of this strange environment lay gelatinous ooze. Wiping it from his face, Jim caught a whiff and dried reached from its stench. After a great effort, he managed to stand and look around.
Have I shrunk somehow, and Jess licked me up, he considered? “No, don’t be stupid,” he whispered, gagging again on the foul smell in his nostrils. Remembering he still had a mobile-phone in his top pocket, Jim wiped his hands clean as best he could and took it out to dial his wife. Waking the phone from slumber he noticed there were three bars of reception and promptly tapped her contact details.
“Stella, it’s me, Jim.”
“What the devil are you calling me for? Has Jess finished her business?”
“I don’t know. In fact, I don’t know where I am.”
Brow furrowed, Stella made for the back door. What’s that fool gone and done now, she thought, standing on the bottom step. Jess came trotting over wagging her tail.
“Where’s Jim, Jess?” Hearing his name, she dropped her head and followed his scent. Heading out front to where the trail ended on damp lawn; fresh dew from a clear night covering unprotected areas. Looking about for her husband, Stella put the phone to her ear and said, “Where the devil are you?”
“I don’t know.” Jim walked on carefully, his shoes slipping on the floor. Close to one of the walls he noticed it resembled raw meat; a myriad of veins carrying multi-colored fluids heaven knows where.
“I’m scared, Stella.” Jim held the phone tightly against his ear; a life-line he daren’t let go.
“Look, I’ve just about had it with your crap. Now, where are you?” She said, not seeing the funny side of his prank she lost patience.
While walking further through what resembled ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’ Jim came across a transparent membrane stretched between thick exposed bones, in shock, he stared down at the blue marble.
“Holy shit!” he said, coming to a rapid conclusion, “I know exactly where I am.”
“Where are you then?” Stella asked in frustration.
“Remember when I told you about that ship, I saw in Tasmania all those years ago.”
“Yeah, sort of,” she said in answer.
“Well, that’s where I am.” Looking down he could make out the coast of East Africa passing by under light cloud cover.
“Oh, pull the other one. Now, where are you?” Stella asked abruptly.
“Really, I’m telling you the truth.”
“Look, when you’ve finished playing your little joke, come inside. I’ll be going to work soon.” Stella tapped the mobile and called Jess to follow, making her way inside.
“Stella, are you still there?” Jim held the phone out and could see she’d hung-up. “That’s just marvelous,” he groaned. Shaking his head in disbelief at the sight below, Jim turned and whispered to himself, “Fortune favors the brave.” Deciding to continue he walked on, sensing the gentle incline he strode on and marveled at the size of this sickening assault on the senses. Knowing he’d suffer many a sleepless night if ever he made it home, he put one foot in front of the other and ventured on. Rounding a corner, he entered what was clearly a control room. Several gadgets mounted on walls popped and whistled when he came close. Filled with overwhelming desire, he reached up and touched a lever begging to be tweaked.
Do not touch that. Jim nearly jumped out of his skin at the demand.
“Who… who… who’s there?” He asked looking around.
It is I, the Master of this vessel. Again, Jim cringed at the strength of its reply. Looking about, he considered the inhabitant might be invisible, but dismissed this conclusion immediately when the wall not far from him shivered like Jell-O on a platter. An opening appeared and what stepped forth caused him to scream like a little girl.
I’ve got to show more courage than this, he decided, backing against a wall, hands out behind him. Jim stopped when he felt something similar to fresh meat in his palms.
Yes, gather yourself, Jim. Time is against us and we must act now. The strange looking beast moved over toward a control panel, and with ease made an outline of a man appear on the floor. Thinking his days were numbered, Jim panicked and tried to escape; slipping and skidding as a cat would on a linoleum floor. After exhausting himself he gave up and surrendered to fate.
“Okay, I give up.”
You cannot, we are just getting started. Now lay on the highlighted area. The beast demanded. It was then Jim noticed its mouth didn’t move when communicating.
“What are you?” He asked in a high-pitched voice.
Forgive my crass entry. My name is Rogand, and I am from the planet Stommarli. We use telepathy to relay our thoughts. Jim couldn’t help but look over the dark blue creature. The more he scrutinized the beast, the more he believed it resembled a dragon. Yet, its head had a more dog-like quality to it.
I never thought of myself as having K9 qualities, Jim. Rogand flipped another lever and the wall above the control panel stretched to reveal a reflection. Moving his stumpy legs, Rogand gazed at himself and huffed indignantly.
Dog-like indeed. Now, lay down. Jim started bending when Rogand shot forcefully into his mind.
Oh, for goodness sake, take your coverings off. Jim stood still for a moment, embarrassed about removing his clothes in front of a total stranger.
Never have I seen such an odd species. I have no covering and you do not see me blushing, do you? Looking at Rogand and seeing he wore nothing, Jim decided to throw caution to the wind and undressed. He was cold the moment he arrived, but now froze as the last piece of clothing fell onto the bile covered floor. Obeying Rogand’s command he lay in the chilly ooze and gagged again at the foul smell.
Curious as to the beast’s objective he said, “Just what are you going to do?”
I want to blend you with a species I saved. They lay these past thousand years in stasis.
Do not worry, you and they are compatible. The poor humanoid I removed them from was near death when I found him.
“Oh thanks, that makes me feel so much better,” he said mockingly. “So, what are these things supposed to do?
Do you remember when I dodged that satellite and revealed myself?
“Yes, how could I forget? Stella said I was losing my marbles when I told her about your ship.”
Well, I scanned your body extensively and my conclusion was you suffer from a common abnormality on your world.
“Yeah, so what, you got a cure or something?”
As a matter of fact, I have. The symbiotic life-forms will restore every cell in your body, once my process is complete of course. At the prospect of a pain-free-life, Jim lifted his head off the floor and said, “What the devil are you waiting for, let’s get started.”
Without further ado, Rogand pulled on the largest lever and immediately Jim could feel pain the like he’d never felt before. It was so intense; he broke a back tooth during blending as Symbiotes flooded his body through the ships organic hull. He didn’t remember much during the process as he passed out.
When Jim woke, he lay flat on his back in the middle of his driveway fully dressed and Jess standing over him wagging her tail.
“Must have been a bad dream,” he said to the dog, ruffling her ears.
It was no dream, the voice said inside his head. The sun is rising on your position, rest while the blending continues. Rogand’s advice rattled around inside Jim’s head. One thing he did know, it’ll take him a long time to get used to telepathy.
“How will I know when the little critters are finished?”
Symbiotes, Rogand corrected. They will communicate when the time is right, came his last directive.