|Dr. Ivanov finished writing the final examination for English 101. He'd included a science fiction excerpt about the mechanics of a space ship. If the students passed that section, on average, then he would do nothing. But if they couldn't understand the simple description then he would sabotage one of the ships to bring it to Earth so engineers could study it, so someone would start to understand. Dr. Ivanov knew he wouldn't get caught and he didn't care what anyone thought of him.
Alien cried like a child when her spaceship crashed to Earth. She was an albino, one of the elite, and she was on a mission to terraform Mars since Earth was straining under its heavy load. Alien crashed into Betsy's backyard and destroyed the canvas Betsy was working on.
“This has to be the work of the greens,” Alien muttered to herself before she took her last breath for a long while, and opened the door to Earth's environment.
“I've never seen a white alien before,” said Betsy. “Why are you so pale? I thought aliens are supposed to be green.”
“You have no idea how lucky you are that I'm not green,” said Alien. “I need consent to merge, whereas the greens just take who they want. I am going to hurt whoever did this to my spaceship.”
“Merge?” asked Betsy.
“Yes, we need to merge with local wildlife to survive. I can't breathe your air, so I'm holding my breath. Will you merge with me?”
“No,” said Betsy. “You destroyed my painting when you crashed. How do I know you're not an irresponsible driver? And you threatened someone. Besides, I'm me, and you aren't allowed to be.”
“Why are you a painter? You should be more than this,” said Alien.
“How can you know?” asked Betsy. “I was at the university. But I flunked English because I couldn't understand Dr. Ivanov.”
“He's one of us,” said Alien.
“He doesn't look like you. What are you? What should I call you?”
“I mean his green component, he merged. The greens force mergers. Call me Alien. Will you help me?”
“Why? Who are you?” asked Betsy.
“Let's do something together.”
“Well, you broke my fence. Let's mend that.”
Betsy and Alien worked on the fence using wood Betsy had in the shed. Alien asked how the property was paid for. Betsy's father still paid the bills until Betsy could support herself. After they mended the fence, evening had fallen and it was cold.
Betsy asked, “Can you mind merge with me so I experience it without fully committing?”
“Sure,” said Alien. “Let's play the recorder together. You like that.”
Betsy got a blanket for warmth, and the recorder. They sat on the porch under the stars overlooking the spaceship and the mended fence. Betsy was still surprised that Alien knew so much about her yet didn't know everything. The two minds merged in perfect balance and played the recorder together, leaving Betsy assured that merger with such a strong entity wouldn't be a master-slave situation.
“Let's visit Dr. Ivanov together,” said Alien. “I'm running out of my kind of air, I'm going to die soon if I don't merge.“
Betsy worried that Dr. Ivanov may force her to merge with Alien. Then Betsy felt it was a risk she could accept since mending the fence and playing the recorder had gone so well.
“Just don't hurt him if he turns out to be the one who sabotaged your spaceship,” said Betsy. “We have laws here that say harm none.”
“We have laws, too,” said Alien.
The two reached Dr. Ivanov's office.
“Dr. Ivanov? Do you recognize Alien?”
“Merge immediately! Why do you albinos need consent?”
“Who sabotaged my ship?”
“I nor know nor care,” said Dr. Ivanov, “you're here now and here you'll stay, merging from each deathbed into a new, young passerby. Are you so weak you can't understand?”
“I'll help you,” said Betsy to Alien. Betsy had a feeling that Dr. Ivanov was trying to hide.
“It was you! I will never forgive you,” said alien-Betsy to alien-Dr. Ivanov.
Author's Note ▼