Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

Johnny pointed his broomstick “phaser rifle” at Tommy and squeezed the imaginary trigger. In his mind’s eye, the evil alien from the planet Zircon vaporized in a flash of light. But Tommy kept on running. “I got you Tommy,” he yelled. “You need to lie down and count to thirty. That’s the rule.”

“I had my force field on,” Tommy replied as he ducked behind a tree. “Besides, you missed.”

As the argument digressed into the perfunctory “Did not, did to, did not” phase, the relative quiet of the West Virginia forest was interrupted by the roar of the descent thrusters of a small spacecraft. A temporary truce was quickly agreed upon, and the six children ran to the small clearing where the spacecraft had landed. As they peeked around the trunks of the tall pine trees, they saw another child, or perhaps a small alien, walk down the exit ramp of the spaceship. Since this new “invader” was actually smaller than any of the boys, they felt reasonably safe in challenging him. (Presumably, it would be a “him,” since all warriors were male.)

“Hey, you” Johnny yelled, “stop right there!”

The small alien stopped, and looked up at the six Earthlings approaching him. He noticed that they were all carrying weapons. Apparently, he realized, the intelligence reports about the dominant species of this planet were correct. But something wasn’t right. These surroundings didn’t look like the Administrative Center of the most powerful nation on the planet. After brief consideration, he decided that it would be best if he allowed this “welcoming committee” to escort him to the head of state. “Greetings, I come in peace,” he said. “Take me to your leader.”

Johnny took a few steps forward, and leveled his phaser-stick at the alien. He proudly proclaimed “I am the President of The United Earth Alliance.” This was a true statement because Joey and Eric had both picked him to be President during their current war against the Zircon Empire.

“Really,” replied the little alien skeptically, “I was beginning to think that I had landed at the wrong location. Do you know if your magnetic North Pole shifts over time?”

“Of course it don’t shift,” Johnny snapped indignantly. “It’s always north. What do you want, alien?”

“I’m Uremeni,” replied the alien. “I am here to negotiate. We would like to acquire some of your planet’s…”

The alien didn’t get to finish his opening statement, probably because it sounded like he said “I’m your enemy,” and because Johnny knew the word ‘acquire’ meant ‘take.’ “Hold on mister,” he interrupted. “You ain’t takin’ none of our stuff. Now get back into your spaceship, and get out of here before I vaporize you.”

“I think you misunderstand our intentions, Mister President. We want this to be a friendly transaction. However, I assure you, we have the ability to take whatever we want, with or without you consent.”

“You just try it,” Johnny snapped. “We’ll blast you back to Pluto, or wherever you came from. Com’on men, let’s get ‘em.” The six boys began to charge the ship.

The alien scrambled up the ramp and secured the hatch. Bewildered, he returned to the mother ship with the disheartening news. They were hoping to trade advanced medical technology for the nuclear material stored in the Yucca Mountains. Their offer would have been quite generous, since the nuclear material was very valuable on their homeworld. But now, he concluded, they would just take it by force. How unfortunate, he lamented. He pressed the intercom button “Prepare to launch the fighters,” he ordered.

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