Alien Bride

By Bob Bolin
Art by Peter Zenger

Prell had problems.

 

 

 

     There was this incredible loneliness that Prell felt, a loneliness that there was no way to escape. If it had not been for his ability to slip into robot drive, he could never have stood the pressure.

     The scientists of Earth had put a stint in his brain that enabled him to shut down his emotions and go about his duties without feelings. In essence, he simply became a robot unless he shifted back to being entirely human. It was easy enough to go from one mental state to the other by simply concentrating, but even that seemed monotonous.

     His job consisted of tracing meteors and comets that escaped the Oort Cloud to warn Earth if any were headed in a direct path for it.

     Only once had he saved Earth from a terrible tragedy, but even one time had been enough. He felt that he must stay or forever feel remorse because he had neglected to do his job.

     He stared out a porthole that gave him a front view of the heavens from his ship. He could see Pluto and its moon. Beyond that were the almost limitless number of comets and meteors that made up the Oort Cloud.

     It was then that the radio voice crackled, then cleared.

     “Hello, Prell! You receiving me? This is Earth calling. Please answer, Prell.”

     Prell acknowledged, asking what was up. After a long interval, the voice said, “Plenty! Your old friend, Valdoon, insists on giving you a gift. You know, from that tenth planet you discovered. He says you’ve earned it.”

     “Those people need help,” he protested. “Any Earthman would have done it.”

     “I doubt it,” the radio voice said after the usual long interval. “Most men would not have had the knowledge to save an entire race from the terrible land-shifts of that world.”

     “But what gift could he possibly give me? I have all that I need.”

     “Not quite!  You are lonely at times, aren’t you?”

     “Yes!” Prell finally admitted.  “That goes with the job.”

     “It doesn’t have to. Your friend, Valdoon, is going to give you a lady companion. Earth officials got word of it from an explorer who returned from the tenth planet. They heartily approve of the idea.”

     Prell groaned and said, “The Earth councilmen are unaware of what they’ve done. The women of Valdoon’s race are usually about seven feet tall, have enormous saucer-shaped eyes, olive-colored skin, and are extremely unattractive by Earth standards.”

     The radio voice sighed.  “Then you are turning the gift down?”

     “No, I will accept it. Valdoon would be highly offended if I refused his gift.”

     “Great! This will make great relations between Shiftland and the Earth.”

     Prell felt surprise. He was honored to realize that the name, Shiftland, had been adopted for the tenth planet.  “I’ll set a course for Shiftland immediately,” Prell said. “Over and out!”

     He turned to the controls. He had no feelings of anxiety about getting there to see his old friend Valdoon. It was only a short distance in the way of space travel.

     He set the coordinates to land in less than three hours.

*

     Great volumes of smoke, dust, and clouds greeted him from the tremendous land movements, but he landed safely in the middle of the great land mass that had proven safe.

     Valdoon strode from his tent, a giant over seven feet tall, and obviously the ruler of his people. Many others followed behind him. Prell opened the door of his ship and walked down a ramp to greet him. He ran into the arms of Valdoon and received an enormous hug.

     Thoughts pounded into Prell’s mind—thoughts that came from Valdoon’s large saucer-shaped eyes.

     “Welcome, Prell!  Welcome from space! You apparently received word of my gift.”

     Valdoon could not only send messages that could be understood, he could translate the meaning of words spoken back to him. Prell never ceased to marvel at his use of mental telepathy. It was a natural gift to the people of his race.

     “Look!” Valdoon beamed proudly.  He pointed to the great buildings of a large city.  Beyond were farms dotting the countryside.

     “You have started to build an important civilization,” Prell remarked.

     “Yes!” Valdoon beamed.  “And all because of you when you led my people to safe soil where the land didn’t shift. For this you shall be rewarded. I’ll give you my daughter as your mate.”

     Prell had to go into robot mode in order to hide his feelings. Valdoon did not notice, but motioned Prell to follow him. They went to his tent as Valdoon had refused to move into one of the store buildings. They sat down to discuss old times.

     It was the next day before Prell saw the lady. The princess was led into the tent by other females. Prell felt startled. She stood nearly seven feet tall. Her large saucer-shaped eyes revealed a kind of despair over the prospect of being Prell’s bride, but she obediently followed Valdoon’s orders.

     “Follow me!” Valdoon now requested. He led them outside. Over a thousand people had gathered to watch. After they stopped, Valdoon made a loud speech. He eventually cut to the case.

     “To my daughter, Lolaginna, and to Prell, hero to our people, I bequeath one another as soul mates. May they prosper and live happily together for all time. They now may perform the eye search.”

     Lolaginna boldly lifted Prell to her eye level and bored into his mind with telepathic precision and searched out his entire lifetime in seconds. All past girl friends passed through his mind. He felt angered and went into robot mode, but he was too late. She had already gathered what she wanted from his mind. She had studied his past girl friends for reasons of her own. She felt upset that he could not do the same thing to her.

     If this was marriage, Shiftland style, he certainly wasn’t crazy about it.

     She eventually put him down. “Don’t worry,” she beamed at him, “if you will somehow prove your love for me, I will pass through a state of metamorphosis that will allow me to please you.”

     Prell groaned. What did this mean? What would she turn into?

     When he no longer faced her, but turned to mutter some sort of thanks to Valdoon, she disappeared.  He saw her being led away by a dwarf and two others. He recognized the little one as his old enemy, Dwarf Man.

     Dwarf Man had been a hero to his people. He could tell when a land shift was coming and had led them to safety more than once. But he’d been wrong as often as right, leading them on wild goose chases. When Prell had crash-landed on this world, he’d led the people with his ship instruments and become the hero. Dwarf Man had become angry and still sought revenge. Now Prell was angered. Dwarf Man beamed a leering triumph back to Prell, who turned to Valdoon, now completely in human mode, and said, “The Dwarf Man will not get away with this. I’m going after them!”

     Valdoon, who had also witnessed the kidnapping, beamed, “Go after them! Take my sword! No one is allowed to carry guns in this world. You will have to fight him in the old way.”

     Prell hurried aboard his ship. He guided it high into the heavens where it couldn’t be seen. But by using his high-resolution scanning equipment, he could pick up small objects on the ground. He saw them riding two-legged creatures that looked like huge serpents with broad hips, long tails and lengthy, powerful legs. Lolaginna seemed to be leading the group. The Dwarf Man clung to her on the same steed in their wild escape. The other two rode on lizards behind them. They left trails of dust in their wake.

     Prell felt more hot anger.  It appeared that Lolaginna was leading the group instead of being a captive. He kept pace with them. After a great many miles and over three days, the group stopped.

     In the distance were volcanoes that gave both warmth and light. Close to the camp the land fell away to a great depth from a big land shift that had previously happened. There were two tents in the immediate area. He landed his ship quickly, grabbed his sword, and raced outside.

     “It’s the Earthman!” Dwarf Man beamed anxiously. “I hoped he would follow! Kill him!”

     The dwarf and his two companions rushed at Prell, violently swinging their swords. He felt too excited to shift into robot mode. He needed to be fully alert to defend himself.

     He fought valiantly with his sword, but was slowly backed toward the cliff edge. It seemed he would perish in seconds. It would be a terrible end because of a bride he hadn’t wanted.

     Thoughts suddenly pounded into his head from Lolaginna.

     “I went willingly with them to see if you would chase us, thereby proving your love for me. You have done so, my Prell. I have a sword hidden in my skirt. I will help you.”

     Prell felt greatly surprised. They stood together, fighting. Slowly, surely, they backed them away from the cliff edge. Prell managed to corner the dwarf, wrestled away his sword, and held him by the scruff of the neck. The other two, facing impending defeat, broke into a wild run toward their steeds and fled the scene in a cloud of dust.

     Prell took Dwarf Man aboard his ship and locked him in a tool room. Lolaginna followed them.  He welcomed her now. She had not betrayed him as he had thought, but had fought savagely on his side.

     “Please turn your head and don’t look!” she beamed at him.

     Rightly puzzled, he covered his eyes.  He sensed that she began to shake violently.

     “You can look now!” she beamed again, penetrating his covered eyes. “I told you I’d go through a stage of metamorphosis once you proved that you loved me.”

     He opened his eyes and gasped, “Can it really be you?”  He could hardly believe it. Her eyes had softened and become rounder. Her face was now oval-shaped. Her skin was still olive but glowed beautifully. Although seven feet tall, she was still the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. He remembered how she’d searched into his eyes to get a picture of all his past girl friends. There seemed to be a little of each one in Lolaginna’s face and body.

     “Is it a hypnotic trance or do I really see you like this?” he asked, astonished.

     “It really is me!” she beamed. “I changed, trying to please you.”

     “You have!” he answered.

     They would have children through the genetic engineering of Earth scientists. He kissed her.

     “I like that custom,” she beamed gratefully.  “On my world it’s never been done.”

     “It has now!” he said. “If you can turn into a beautiful woman, like a metamorphosis into a butterfly, I can teach you to love, Earth style.”

     He got her an extra chair and manned the controls.

     She sat down beside him.  She would deliver his prisoner, Dwarf Man, to Valdoon, and he would bid his old friend farewell and return to his work in the great void of space.

     But he would no longer feel lonely.  Not with Lolaginna at his side.

 

 

Contents