by Sherrie Brown
"Any movement, Lieutenant?" the General asked.
"Yes, sir, lots of it."
"Well, dammit, what are they doing?" the General shouted.
"Building buildings sir," the Lieutenant answered as he had the hour before,the day before, the week before.
"Yes, but why? For what? How many of them are there? Why do they want an island? What is inside the buildings? Where are their ships? Why won't they talk to us? What weapons do they have? Why won't they let us see what's going on? What are they up to? WHAT DO THEY WANT FROM EARTH????"
The Lieutenant signaled and the General's aides stepped forward to escort the General away. That was the third top brass who'd flipped in the month the aliens had been there. The situation had started off bad with the aliens ignoring the great nations of the world and only contacting the inhabitants of a small and remote South Sea island, paying each islander over $100,000 in gold to move. The island citizens had been very happy to move out of their homes, which weren't much to start with, and just before the onset of hurricane season.
The islanders were the only ones happy. The United States, Russia, Australia, China -- any of the world powers were not, since the aliens had entered Earth's space and Earth itself without any of their ships registering on anyone's satellites or radar. Worse than that, the aliens weren't talking to them, would not respond to any attempted contact.
"Hey mon, dey said it clear," the head islander had repeated to the President of the United States, "dey come in peace but they..." he stopped and scratched his chin, "let me tink now, their head guy said to memorize it so I say it right. Ah yah - dey do not wish any contact with mankind under any circumstances and will take whatever actions are necessary to protect their privacy. So chill out mon, maybe dey just want to catch some sun - get a better color on dem."
That made people around the world worry even more, and made the military even itchier. Reports that the visitors were short and had green skin only raised the hysteria levels.
And that was before the gold market crashed. That much influx of gold, all at once as the ex-islanders started spreading the wealth around, put the international gold market into a spin. Especially since the alien's gold was purer than anything seen before on Earth. Everyone wanted some of it.
Helicopters that "just happened to be in the area" bounced off an invisible force field that completely encircled the island. A Chinese submarine had to radio for help from the U.S. Navy when it "had a slight accident" when it tried to approach the island under water.
Privately chartered boats, filled with people seeking admittance to the island, "because the aliens had finally come for them," were turned away without ever getting closer than a mile to the island.
Tabloid papers and afternoon talk shows had a field day, with ever increasingly bizarre suggestions or guesses as to what the aliens were really doing out there. On any day, typical comments from the Phil or Oprah show could be:
"It's their on-planet observation base -- they've been watching us from space all these years, now they want to have a closer look. They're collecting data and catching all the reruns of "Northern Exposure."
"They're demons from space, and they're drilling straight down searching for an entrance to Hell; and will make an opening for all the other demons to enter Earth. They must be stopped or we will all be damned for eternity."
"They're drilling down to the Earth's core and sucking all the energy out so they can mutate into their next phase of being. When they've sucked all the energy out of the core, then they will blow up the planet."
"They're alien criminals who are on the lam and hiding out here. They'll probably contact the Mafia soon."
"They are emissaries of Elvis, come to Earth to see if we have evolved enough to receive word of Elvis's transcendence. If we are worthy, they will lead us to Elvis. Elvis be praised."
The U.S.'s command base, a commandeered Princess Cruise line ship, was three miles offshore and waiting. Satellite pictures only showed the buildings under construction.
"They could at least buy some lumber from us," grumbled one of the Marines on board. "They don't ask for anything, and they don't send anything out. It's not right."
That seemed the prevalent feeling onboard and around the world. At first there was a lot of fear about the alien's intentions, but as the weeks went by and they made no threatening move, fears were replaced by overwhelming curiosity, then resentment because of the complete secrecy, and wild speculations abounded as to what they really looked like.
Several high-ups in the U.S. government urged the President to bomb the island with everything they had: their secrecy obviously hid ulterior motives, if they weren't planning something sneaky, why did they hide? And after the place was destroyed, the U.S. could sift through the wreckage and learn about the alien's technology and space craft, and maybe perhaps find their cache of gold.
The President turned down all such suggestions.
The onslaught of the hurricane season cut back on the observations of the alien's island, but as soon as the weather permitted, all the prying eyes, ears and machines were back. The first satellite photos brought a stunned silence on board the command ship.
"Good lord...it looks like...but it couldn't be, could it? But why...?"
"Why does it look like a massive resort hotel complex?"
Within the hour, the first communication from the island was issued. "We will allow one boatload of journalists from around the world access to our complex. They must be representative of as many nations as possible, and a mix of the sexes. The maximum number will be forty. We will welcome such a group at this time tomorrow. End of transmission."
Instant bedlam broke out and there was much falling over each other to gather such a group in time. Reporters and journalists fought to gain a seat on the boat trip that would penetrate the biggest secret of the world since the big bang.
At the appointed time, 40 men and women gathered with a huge assortment of cameras, recorders and video equipment.
When the boat hit the perimeter of the force field, all out going video transmissions ceased, although the boat continued smoothly to the island's shore. With no media input, the crew onboard, and the people around the world, had to wait for the reporters return.
It took almost five hours, and as the boat cleared the force field and neared the cruise command ship, it was obviously less full than when it had gone in. Closer still, a head count showed that only 24 of the 40 were still on board. What had happened? Had there been casualties? Had the aliens taken hostages?
As the boat pulled alongside it was seen that all those aboard were male. Every female reporter was missing. As they boarded the command boat, every male reporter was swearing.
"What happened?" the commander yelled. "Were the women taken? Have you been harmed? Are they threatening war?"
The co-anchor of ABC news was elected to tell most of the story, to keep from having 24 different views.
"When we hit the beach, the aliens directed us into the first building, which was basically an auditorium with a stage, podium and viewing screen. They told us what planet they're from...what?...oh yes, we have the coordinates, they gave us all of that, you'll see later. There are many planets out there inhabited with intelligent species, and the group here -- the Therpims, they call themselves -- were sent as representatives and as negotiators...hold on, I'm getting to that. Where was I?
Twenty three voices reminded him.
"Oh, yes. Anyway, the aliens were in the room, but wouldn't let us get near them. They are approximately four and a half feet tall, and their skin color ranges from very pale green to almost a kelly green." At this opint, the reporters pulled out pictures which had been provided for them and passed them around. "They showed us holographic pictures of their home planet, and other planets. Showed us the various alien life forms, all in the Consortium, as they call the group the Therpims represent. After all the pictures, they showed us around the island. They have built the world's most luxurious resort. It is amazing. If you can think of it, they've got it, and hundreds of things you can't even imagine. All built for pleasure and fun. Not for them. Yes yes -- if you stop interrupting me I'll get to it faster."
"They showed us their space ships and told us how fast and comfortable their method of space travel is. No -- they didn't give us any specifics about their methods for space travel. I did ask if they had faster than light travel and they said yes, they'd developed it in what would be our last twenty years. It seems some of their kind were here decades ago. Found us by accident and got back to their homeworld safely. Word went out about Earth and humans, and this is the first organized trip back to us. Are they interested in trade? Well...not really. They want something from us and are offering to pay, but trade? I doubt we'd want to trade...they showed us pictures of that, too.
No -- they're here for a specific reason.
Our women. They want female Earthlings. Young female Earthlings. Seems the ships that were here during the fifties were particularly taken with some of our blondes and spread the word about human females. I guess on most other planets, all females look alike and...well, here are some of the pictures they gave us. Yes, you said it. They think the same way. No...no, calm down, they haven't kidnapped the female reporters. They aren't violent at all, but seem quite gentle. The women all stayed behind voluntarily. The aliens have set up the entire island as a deluxe resort for any female who wants to visit -- all free of charge. The catch is they will actively try to recruit them for emigration. They want all the females they can get, and they'll pay gold to any family left behind that she was supporting."
"But that's ridiculous!" A four star general burst out with. "Why would any sane female want to leave her home planet to prostitute herself to aliens!"
"I'm having a hard time with it myself, sir, but as you can see, the aliens talk a good case since all of our female counterparts elected to stay behind. The aliens stressed that they appreciate female Earthlings more than human males ever can, and will treat with them much more equably. Actually -- they made it sound more like the females will have the upper hand. The gold is a minor point for the females: there's a vastly prolonged lifespan from alien technology, equal power, respect, honor, and the chance to travel the stars. One little green guy actually whispered the word "Worship" to the gal from NBC. And from the way all the aliens acted around the women...they seem to have it bad. Whenever they got within three feet of a female they got very excited, started sweating."
The debriefing was interrupted by the sound of the motor boat's engine starting up. A dash to the side of the command ship showed the rest of the ship's female crew had grabbed the motor boat and were heading towards the island. The men called for them to come back to no avail. The men went back inside.
"They let us males onto the island so we could bring the news back and broadcast it world wide, otherwise they have no use for male Earthlings. They didn't even threaten us. Remember their original statement that said they did not wish any contact with mankind? Well they meant it. They'll ignore us. It's the women the bug-eyed little guys want. And I think they're going to get them."