RED PLANET STOWAWAY CH.9 - THE PROOF
By J.A. Souders
You decide that since the janitor/king was the one to order the assassination you’d better follow. Maybe you can talk some sense into the guy.
He leads you into his “office,” which you realize is nothing more than a tiny little broom closet. You stifle a laugh. Of course it’s a broom closet. After all, he’s just a lowly janitor now.
The door shuts behind you and the Martian turns. You can tell by the tiny smile on his strange face that he finds you amusing. However, before you can ask what’s so funny, he pulls on a broom handle on the opposite wall. Another door opens revealing a bright white light, like the kind they’re always talking about in old science fiction movies.
He continues walking, leaving you no choice but to follow. He leads you into another, much larger room resembling what you always assumed the office of a CEO would look like.
He goes to sit behind the glass desk and gestures for you to take the seat in front of him. You do so and patiently wait for his so-called “proof.”
He only continues to stare at you until you say, “Well, spill it already. Where’s this proof?”
He spreads his hands out in front of him. “All around you.”
You look all around you, but see nothing that proves anything. You arch a brow at the Martian. “What the hell are you talking about?”
The Martian chuckles. “Such a silly Earthling. Do you really see nothing?” You only continue to stare at him. He sighs. “Very well. Here.” He tosses you what looks like a crystal cube. It’s about the size of a Rubik’s cube you had as a child.
“It’s a data crystal. All of our technologies are on this cube. If you help me, I’ll give you every secret of our people. What you see in this room is only the beginning of the secrets we’ve hidden from you.”
“It looks normal to me.”
“This room is not part of the space port. It is actually in what was once my palace. The light we passed through was our transportation device.”
He gestures toward one wall, which shimmers and then turns clear as glass to reveal the lush landscape that could only be the southern hemisphere of the Martian territory -- and on the complete opposite side of the planet than where you thought you were.
“H-how do I know that’s not a trick?” you ask.
“Step outside.” He gestures again, and a door appears in the glass wall. A breathing device appears in your lap. “I’d give you a pill that will help you breathe in our atmosphere, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t take it.”
You shake your head, then slip on the equipment and step outside. You’ve never been to this part of the planet, but you know instantly that this is the real thing. You return to the room and the door shuts behind you. The wall becomes the silk wallpaper, as before.
“Okay. I believe you. You mentioned you’d give it to me if I’d help you. Help you with what? The murder of the president?”
“In essence, yes.”
“No. No way.” You stand up. “There are no secrets you have that could make me help you.”
“What about peace between your world and ours --would you help me then?”
“I don’t understand,” you say. “By killing the president you won’t have peace. It will only start a war.”
“It will if they think I had anything to do with it, but if they find out that the assassination was carried out by their own general, and that you, with my help, tried to prevent it? Now that, that is cause for peace. Don’t you think?”
“Okay, so now I’m really confused. You’re trying to kill the president, yet you want to help me prevent it?”
“Well, yes. Because once the president is dead, the truth comes out, and you’ll be a hero. My people will push for you to be the next president. Your people will join in the nomination, and you will hesitantly and humbly accept. Then you’ll push for our world to return to the way it was before your people came and turned it to -- this. Your payment will be all our secrets. All you have to do is agree to follow my orders and lead my people and yours the way I would.”
“So you’re saying that you want to make me president, and that will bring peace to our worlds?”
“Yes. Your people would never accept a Martian ruler, but they will accept you. And they will love you because you will be a hero. My people will accept you because you will treat them as I did -- with respect, for them and their heritage. What do you say?”
“What happens if I don’t choose to help you?” you ask.
“I’ll return you to the space port and you can continue whatever it was that you were going to do.”
A. Accept his offer to bring peace to both your worlds?
B. Make him return you to the spaceport to look for the ball players again?
C. Kill him by hitting him with a data cube and run? (You have all his secrets anyway.)