Captain Waldec glanced down at the report. His crew had been busy, but then he expected nothing less.
"The blue planet has no defense against us. Even their spacecraft are unarmed. I believe there will be little or no resistance."
"No weapons at all?" Commander Pasturel sounded surprised.
"They have nuclear capabilities but we can neutralise them."
"There is little time, Captain, before our fleet arrives. Ensure you have completed the research study of Earth." The comms screen went blank.
The Captain turned to his First Officer. "Juro, concentrate on the satellites. Prepare to remove their communication array before the attack."
"Sir?" Observation Officer Kinwe's voice was raised in alarm. "I'm tracking a small craft ... this just isn't possible!"
"What is it?"
"I've never seen anything like it, sir. It's travelling over the speed of light." Kinwe checked the readings again.
"They don't have that technology!" The Captain leant over the screen. "Can we move closer?"
"No, sir. We are undetected here."
They watched as the blip on the screen accelerated and then stopped, and then repeated the process.
"What is it doing?" The Captain pondered aloud.
"I can see that with my own eyes, Officer Kinwe."
"Sorry, Sir." Kinwe swallowed and kept his eyes focused on the screen.
"To accelerate and decelerate in that short a time, the engine must be extremely powerful. Scan for more information." The Captain paused and then murmured under his breath, "If they have concealed this, what else don't we know?"
"The craft is three rimms by one rimm, and has ten life forms on board, sir."
"Is that all?" The Captain began to pace. "To move that fast we would need an engine three times the size of that craft." He stopped and gripped Kinwe's shoulder. "Three rimms, you say?"
Kinwe nodded quickly. His hands flew over the console. "It's impossible ... impossible!" Kinwe muttered over and over as he scrambled to find out more. "I cannot get any readings on engines, weapons or what radio frequencies they use."
"How can they mask those? Even we don't have the technology to do that." Alarm flashed across the Captain's face before he hid it behind his usual stern expression.
"Captain, shall I contact Command?" Juro asked.
The Captain squared his shoulders. "Yes, tell them to abort. Kinwe, pull yourself together and gather every detail you can about that craft." Who knows what they have aimed at us! he thought. "Pilot, get us out of here."
Flying across the Pacific, Santa Claus turned towards Australia. He liked the southern hemisphere - much warmer this time of year.
"Ho! Ho! Ho!"
The sleigh began to descend into Sydney, a little red beacon lighting its way
Copyright © 2005 Elaine Shipp
This story was one of the three equal first place winners of the 2005 Magic Casements Flash Fiction competition sponsored by Infinitas Bookshop. Congratulations to Elaine, a member of the Infinitas Writers Group.
This page last updated 16th September 2008.