Testing The Site

Entry by: percypop

30th August 2018

I turned on the monitor and saw the bulbous face of a Neb appear on the screen. He was reading something with his front feet propped up on the desk.

"Come in Commander. Report your position."

He swivelled two of his eyes towards the screen but I saw his third eye was still scanning the script out of sight below the desk. Nebs are inquisitive creatures and we have to watch them carefully to stop their minds wandering.

"All good here Chief." His voice came through the translator box with a cheery tone. "Just passed Orion and looking smooth."

I hate this nebular slang but the machinery cannot convert it to proper Martian speech so I have to put up with it.

"Give me co-ordinates please."

I tried to keep the irritation out of my voice but who knows what it sounds like at his end of the system? The trouble is, we can't fit in the flight deck of the space craft, so we have to employ these Nebs to fly the thing.

"Well, I reckon we're about half way to Earth at this point of time," --- Where does he get these expressions from--"and may land in a few hours’ time."

"You do realize that this is a vital mission, don’t you? The fate of the Martian race depends on a good landing and restocking with nutrients.."

I hoped that might stiffen it up, but its blobby shape wobbled a bit and I took that for a nod but maybe it was just wobbling. It's so hard to read their minds.

"Pass me to the Supplies Director."

It rolled its upper eyes and leant forward in the control seat, reaching for the transfer button. Another round moon shaped face appeared on the screen, this time it wore a blue earing and I recognized Neb Three.

"Step back from the monitor," I said, "I can't see around you, and stop shouting into the microphone."

His voice was blaring out from the translator and his words seemed slurred. As he moved clumsily away from the screen, I caught a glimpse of a canister he was pushing out of sight.

"Have you been drinking Officer?" There were red patches on its cheeks and the top of its head was pulsating.
"Not a drop, Sir. I was just checking the shtock and slipped - thatsh all."--the voice seemed slightly indistinct but I put that down to the translator box.

He gave a salute with one of his flaps and then sat down suddenly on a barrel of neutrant stacked against the spacecraft wall.

"I am watching you. You realize I will be reporting every detail when the mission is concluded?"

I thought it said “Whatever...” but the transmission cut at that point and the screen went blank.

By my calculations, the ship should have been within two hours of Earth's surface and I sent out the exact co-ordinates needed to bring the craft down on the ground. Then the task would be simple enough even for the least efficient of Neb workers. All they had to do was scoop up as many earthlings as they could find and head back to Mars quick as a flash.

When the screen revived, I saw the shape of the planet looming in front of me. It was bright and mainly blue which meant that there was plenty of water and oxygen on the surface. Just what we wanted, well-nourished earthlings to fill our containers and restore our fading organisms.

I watched as the screen filled slowly with the image of this wonderful planet. I could hear the babbling voices of the crew in the background shouting with excitement in their primitive Nebbish way.

"Now!” I shouted into the intercom, “Activate the landing sequence!"

There was a flurry of action in the space capsule and much shouting and squealing among the crew, but the image of the planet seemed fainter with every minute that passed. Soon the blue orb shrank in size and faded from the screen.

"What the hell has happened?" I shouted into the intercom.

A Nebbish fat face loomed up on the screen. Its blob wore a stupid expression.

"Well," It said, "The Earth moved."