Author : Kate Runnels

Saree had been sentenced to five hours on the alien planet where her crime had been committed. Where on any human controlled planet or sector, what she had done would not even be considered a crime.

And five hours. Five hours didn’t seem like that bad of a verdict, as she didn’t consider her actions a crime. It was a punishment that fit the crime – to her mind.

Being an xeno-anthropologist of a culture predating any currently existing culture by several millennia, Saree followed the evidence and the facts –

-but facts and evidence to an alien mindset, could be interpreted as superstition or magic or evil or a thousand other things.

Unwittingly, Saree had tread where she shouldn’t have and was now paying the price for, in her mind, a silly superstitious misunderstanding. Five alien hours to work off her crime under the watchful gaze of those same aliens she had wronged.

Five alien hours.

To be honest – the Rochocheh aliens who judged, sentenced and now watched her, understood human physiology better than she had expected. They knew humans could not stay awake for those entire five hours on their home world. Saree had been provided a place to stay and sleep, given plenty of food and water, but oh, how they worked her with menial labor.

Five hours hadn’t seemed a lot in her mind. For five hours anyone could endure almost anything. Saree wiped the sweat that was dripping down into her eyes and flicked the drops away from her. Squinting, she glared at the thick red sun that never seemed to move against the planets rotation. The planetary rotation was 175 earth days to a single rotation on the home world of the Rachocheh.

Saree stared across at the alien overseer. Once she’d served her five hours, she would leave here and would never be back, no matter what evidence she followed for her job. She’d stay in humancentric sectors, even to the point it limited her research and her career.

Saree didn’t care. She’d learned her lesson and learned it well.


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