by Bill Kowaleski
Creative Destruction is a sequel to the novel Brighter Than the Stars, in which Earthlings meet technologically advanced space aliens. The Cygnians come only to do business, but their schemes to sell fusion-powered generators become contentious and competitive.
Many human and alien characters return from the previous novel, including Jim McDermott and his team, who try to reduce the risk of societal upheaval that the new technologies threaten. Meanwhile, many different groups are either plotting to steal the technical advances for their own purposes or trying to destroy it and drive the Cygnians off of Earth.
|Cast of Characters and Species||Table of Contents|
Chapter 27: Botched Operation
Clan-Sergeant tried again to explain the mission. “No, Clan-Corporal, we will not abduct anyone. We wish only to frighten them, to make them think that we are a lawless and dangerous species.”
The third member of the group, Clan-Private, asked, “What is the point of that? And why steal items from them? We have no use for their personal items.”
“We want to make them think we are thieves and outlaws, that’s why.”
“But what if they fight back?” asked Clan-Corporal.
“Just push them to the ground. Use your training and act quickly. Strip them of whatever they carry in their pockets and leave. It’s very simple.”
Clan-Corporal transmitted doubt but nodded his eyestalks, indicating that he was pretty sure he understood. But Clan-Private asked, “How do we know where they are? Are we going into that desolate new Earth sector and hunt around for them?”
“Of course not. We made sure they stepped on some nano-tracers when we were jostling them in front of the Enclosures History Panorama. We know exactly where they are. We’ll hide nearby and wait for them to come out into the street.”
Finally, Clan-Private indicated he understood the mission. They crowded into a tiny hovercraft, sized for two Cygnians, but more than powerful enough to move all three of them quickly. It rose on its anti-gravity beam high above the Cygnian sector as the Tertian sun disappeared over the horizon.
The deep blue light, the grassy shades of the Cygnian herd spaces and a strong breeze all combined to create an eerie, green-glowing ocean beneath them. Clan-Private marveled at how much their grassy grazing grounds looked like water, but his companions hardly noticed as Clan-Private wrestled with the controls, trying to set the coordinates to guide the craft to the new Earth sector.
After hovering for almost two minutes, they suddenly shot forward, quickly leaving the landscape of ocean mirages and long white fences. They rushed past the fairy-castle, crystalline Sirian Pleasure Palace, past the huge tunnelport, looking like a gigantic prone wheel with tremendously long spokes emanating from a tall center hub, past other sectors of smaller buildings, ever closer to the imposing three-kilometer-high wall of the Circassian Mountains, until they finally began descending into a small cluster of very new-looking structures located on land sloping upwards toward the towering mountain range just beyond.
“Not too close!” Clan-Sergeant transmitted. “Move over to the far end of the complex there.” He pointed to an open space just beyond the tallest of the buildings. Clan-Private skillfully steered the craft to an open spot and lowered it to a soft landing.
They spilled out of the hovercraft and crowded closely together to better see the small hand-held that Clan-Sergeant manipulated. “We walk straight past this tall structure, the hotel, and down that street.” He pointed slightly to the right. “One left turn, and they are right there.”
They walked cautiously, looking to see if anyone noticed them. But the sector was deserted except for the small human party, and they easily reached an intersection one block short of where the hand-held indicated the location of the humans.
“Deploy!” ordered Clan-Sergeant. Clan-Private crossed the street and walked half a block ahead. Clan-Corporal took a position opposite Clan-Private. Clan-Sergeant walked forward, planning to be the first to encounter the humans.
Just around the corner from where Clan-Sergeant stood, Bourbonnais, Nigel, Oli, and Sergei, talked and laughed, paying little attention to their surroundings, walking rapidly, becoming further and further separated from the rest of their group.
At the door of the Arcturan Extreme Fighting Club, Gnasher-Leader stared at Gnasher-Banker. “Cygnians! Why are they in this sector? Why now?”
“They tried to stop the humans from entering that holy site earlier today. There was a confrontation. Could they be here to attack the humans?”
Gnasher-Banker ran into the street. “Stop, stop!” he shouted at the four already a block away, but the range of his translator was not adequate. As he continued to run, he could now see the Cygnians approaching, but he was too far away, he would never get to the humans before the lead attacker did. He watched helplessly as Senator Bourbonnais turned to the approaching Cygnian, extending his hand, as though he were about to get a friendly greeting.
Senator Bourbonnais noticed the short furry creature when he was only a few steps away. Thinking it was Ethnologist-Mark, he smiled and extended his hand. He only noticed the green belt when the Cygnian was a step away and already pointing an L-shaped piece of metal at him.
“This is a stun weapon. It creates a very unpleasant experience,” the Cygnian warned. “Hand me all your valuables now.”
“What do ya’ll mean, valuables? I don’t have nothin’ except my watch, and that’s pretty useless here,” Bourbonnais retorted. He was more amused than frightened by the blue-gray furred creature trying to mug him. Even on its hind legs it only reached his shoulder, and its eyestalks were more comical than threatening.
“Hand it to me, Earthling, now!”
The Senator was annoyed. Instead of complying he kicked the Cygnian in its hind foot. An instant later, he felt a horrible shock, and then he was falling.
Oli and Sergei turned and rushed to the Senator’s side, crouching onto the stony pavement, and just as they did, a blur of black fur flew over them. They looked up in time to see Gnasher-Banker’s jaws close on the head of Clan-Sergeant. There was a horrible cracking noise and brownish-red liquid abruptly spurted from the Arcturan’s mouth. The jaws opened, and the broken Cygnian’s body fell to the pavement, motionless. Now the enraged Arcturan turned to the other two Cygnians, just then approaching. They dropped their weapons, turned and ran. He pursued only a few steps and then stopped, returning to where Bourbonnais lay on the ground.
“Is the human injured?” he asked.
Most of the tourists had reached the spot where Bourbonnais lay. Clayburn bent down and placed his ear to the Senator’s nose, then to his chest.
“He’s alive, but unconscious. He needs medical attention. His head is bleeding, his skull may be cracked.”
Hrulkrul stood nearby. “I am requesting assistance on my comm device now.” He turned to his right and looked at the bloody mass of fur lying on the stony street. I’m afraid that things don’t look too good for this Cygnian.”
“Oh, there is no doubt that it is dead,” Gnasher-Banker said casually. “I crushed its skull completely.”
Even Mr. Zhang gasped in shock at Gnasher-Banker’s words. Everyone turned away, unable to look at the crumpled furry remains, eerily highlighted by the bright snow-white streetlights.
After a moment of stunned silence, Clayburn asked, “Hrulkrul, how can we get a human medical doctor here to attend to Senator Bourbonnais?”
“We did not plan for this contingency, only for possible illness, not serious injury. I would suppose we’d need a specialist in traumatic injury, not the internal medicine doctor we put on standby.”
“He or she will know the type of specialist we’ll need though,” counseled Clayburn. “Get a hold of that person now!”
Hrulkrul manipulated his comm. In fewer than five minutes, a small vehicle approached. It resembled the carts used in sporting events to remove injured players: an area for a driver and a flatbed behind. It appeared that a human was driving.
The driver, an exceptionally handsome young man, rushed up to Bourbonnais, produced a device from his pocket, pointed it at the prone figure, and squeezed. The Senator’s bulky body rose from the ground and moved smoothly to the flat bed.
While everyone watched in amazement, Clayburn thought to ask a question he’d had earlier. “Just who are you?”
The young man replied, “Hotel staff, sir.”
“Hotel staff? Where are you from? I never heard about any recruitment of hotel staff from Earth.”
The young man smiled. “Need to get going here, sir, get this man to our infirmary, but to answer your question, we’re all Sirians. There was quite a bit of competition for this work. You know how we feel about you Earthlings!”
As he sped away, Hrulkrul said, “I’ve just been informed that by the time he arrives, the human doctor we had on call will have been transported there. She’ll decide what to do next.”
Copyright © 2019 by Bill Kowaleski