Little Girl Blue

After keeping other employees hostage, Rebecca discovers a unique creature that she has never laid eyes on. Locked up, in a cage. Will Rebecca discover what is really going on?

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1. Chapter 1

You have a choice,” Rebecca growled, shoving the laser pistol firmly into Mr. Bennett’s crotch. “You get in the freezer with the others, or I burn off your...thing.

“B-but why?” he whimpered. “You’ve always been such a loyal employee… Why are you doing this?”

“Because you’ve got something I need!” she said. “Now move!”

“I guess I never really knew you at all.” Frightened, Mr. Bennett stepped into the large, walk-in freezer. His other employees were already inside, huddled tightly together for warmth. Rebecca slammed the door, melting the door handle with a blast from her laser pistol. She ran down the hall to the warehouse, her long hair trailing behind her like red streamers on a child’s bicycle.

Bennett’s Imports specialized in anything and everything unusual. The freezer was filled with immense, lab-grown steaks, cloned from preserved dinosaur DNA. But it was the warehouse that held the really rare finds. Metal from the Roswell UFO crash. Eggs from the Loch Ness Monster. Enough pieces of the True Cross to build an ark. And there, at the far end of the warehouse, the real prize: the blue girl.

 

Three days earlier, Rebecca had come in early to receive a delivery. The deliveryman unloaded several boxes of hydrogen fuel cells, the kind designed for interplanetary spacecraft. The next few boxes were engine parts and medical supplies.

The deliveryman had saved the most interesting for last. Inside a steel cage, like a rat on its way to a medical lab, was a little girl in a shapeless, gray dress. Her skin was blue, blue jay blue, and her hair a lighter color, blue like artic ice. If it wasn’t for her skin, she almost could have been mistaken for human. Her limbs were a little too short, and her mouth far too small, but her face was very human. She looked about three years old.

“Who is that?” Rebecca asked, stunned. “Why is she in a cage?”

The deliveryman had the smile of someone who rarely knew the answer to questions and, when he did, was delighted to demonstrate his knowledge. “One of our ships found their planet a while back, right? They look like li’l blue people, but they don’t meet any of the criteria for intelligent life. No language, no art, no agriculture, nothing. They live like cavemen, no better than animals. So, our ships take him back to earth, and we train ‘em to be like radios.”

“What do you mean?” Rebecca asked.

“Spacecraft with the new hyperdrives can travel faster than light, right? But radio waves, magnetic fields, lasers, everything we use for communication can’t. So we can’t talk to the ships while they’re in hyperspace. But these little buggers can!” He slapped the top of the cage, drawing a startled yelp from the girl. “That’s why the spacers are gathering them up and taking them to earth. They’re telepathic. It takes us eleven minutes to send a signal to Mars, but they can talk to Gliese 876 with no time delay!”

“This is all legal?” Rebecca gasped. “The spacers are keeping this a secret?”

“Everyone knows,” the deliveryman said. “Everyone who’s been on a ship, at least. I don’t know why this bothers you. Since they’re not intelligent life, it’s all perfectly legal. Nobody cares.” With that, the deliveryman collected his handtruck and walked out the door.

That night, Rebecca was unable to sleep, her mind filled with thoughts of the blue girl. Somewhere, probably sleeping soundly in his bed was the starship captain who filed the report on her planet. “Human-like, but not an intelligent life form. Feel free to use them for your own ends. It’s not slavery because they aren’t really people!” But how could you ever really know?

“If your entire species is telepathic,” thought Rebecca, “why would you ever develop a spoken language? And art, art is just an attempt at giving your emotions an external, physical form. If you were intimately connected to everyone you knew, maybe you would just never feel the need. How can humans understand what it’s like to be her? We spend our lives trapped inside our own heads, sealed away from each other. Separated from those we love the most.”

By the morning light, she knew what she had to do. She had to rescue the blue girl, save her from a lifetime of slavery to the spacers. Rebecca bought a small laser pistol and went to work early. She was the first one to arrive, which allowed her to force her coworkers into the freezer one at a time as they arrived.

Rebecca ran to the back of the warehouse and found the blue girl’s cage. It had been shoved behind several large crates of frozen fruit imported from the Alpha Centauri system. The cage had a dirty, gray blanket crumpled in the corner, and a few scraps of food on the floor. It looked like something from a puppy mill. Rebecca turned the power on her laser down to the lowest setting and blasted the lock on the cage.

I’m glad you’re not scared. Rebecca gasped. Her thoughts echoed in her head, as if they spoken into a microphone and blasted back at her through a loudspeaker. The blue girl stared up at her wordlessly, smiling like the rising sun.

“Did you do that?” she asked, returning her smile. “That’s a pretty good trick! Well, if you’re reading my mind, I’m sure you know what we’re going to do next!”

The blue girl reached up, stretching out her arms. Rebecca bent down and lifted her up, the blue girl wrapping her arms around her neck. Rebecca jammed the laser into her pocket and ran for the door, barreling outside into the parking lot. She didn’t have time to wait for a bus, so she headed for the skywalk and darted to the stairs.

Bennett’s Imports was thirty-two levels above the ground. Skywalks were pedestrian walkways, open to the air but with low railings on either side. Skywalks connected each level on a city block, with a skywalk leading across the street every fifth level. Between the skywalks, an endless parade of cars zipped by, flying on high-pressure jets of air.

Rebecca rushed down two levels, nearly knocking over a woman pushing a baby in a hoverstroller. At Level Thirty, she took a skywalk across the street, running for several blocks. Finally, she had to stop to catch her breath. Several delivery robots rolled past, heavy packages on their backs. A street preacher handing out religious tracts paused and gave her a dirty look. Suddenly, it was as if a dam had burst. His thoughts rushed out of his head and spilled into the open air. What kind of creature is that? Must be offworld. I hope she had it cleared with Disease Control before taking it outside.

The man’s face turned white, obviously frightened at hearing his thoughts coming from the empty air. He dropped his stack of tracts and ran. A moment later, the skywalk’s anti-litter system switched on. A hole opened in the floor of the skywalk, and a long vacuum tube jumped out, pouncing on the stack of papers like a snake. It sucked up the papers noisily, and retreated back to its lair.

“I can see why telepathy is frightening,” Rebecca thought. “People think of their minds as private gardens, protected by walls a mile high. You assume your thoughts are safe, hidden… Until your wall crumbles around you.”

Rebecca noticed a light out of the corner of her eye. A police car was hovering slowly down the street, shining a blue spotlight on the skywalks below it. The light was a Spy Spot, a special light that could turn solid objects temporarily transparent. It allowed the police to see through buildings, cars or, in this case, skywalks.

“I must not have damaged the freezer door as badly as I thought,” Rebecca thought. “Somehow Bennett got out and called the cops. Well, it’s only a matter of time before they scan this level… I’d better find a place to hide. I look pretty damn conspicuous out here.”

Three levels down, there was flashing neon sign: For Pet’s Sake. Rebecca stepped inside the pet store just as the police car flew by. “Looks like they missed me. But I’d better stay in here for a while, just to be sure.” She stepped down the aisle with the dog food and pretended to examine a squeaking, rubber pig. The blue girl gazed at the toy longingly.

A disembodied voice spoke into Rebecca’s ear. I can’t believe this! I’m supposed to be catching murderers and rapists, not a fucking parrot thief.

Rebecca suddenly felt sick. “Oh, god,” she thought. “They’ve found me!” She walked carefully to the end of the aisle and peaked around the corner. A police officer, a heavyset man in blue, was walking through the pet shop’s front door. Rebecca turned and headed for the back of the store. She found herself in an aisle filled with lizards in aquariums. A voice from behind her.

“Get down on the ground, now!” She turned to see the police officer aiming a stunner at her head. “This thing might not kill you, but it hurts like hell!” Oh, god, are there snakes in here? I think I’m going to be sick. Oh, god!

Rebecca grabbed a large aquarium and heaved it at the cop. It hit the floor, shattering into pieces, covering the tile with broken glass and snakes. The cop blanched, and slowly backed away from the snakes. Rebecca picked up another aquarium and dumped several large coral snakes onto the floor. She turned and rushed to the back of the store, the blue girl laughing with delight. A bald man in an apron looked up from sweeping the floor and stared at her dumbly. Rebecca drew her laser pistol from her pocket and aimed at his head. “Do you have a car?” she demanded, doing her best to appear intimidating.

“I, ah… no!” She can’t take my car! It’s brand new!

Rebecca laughed darkly. “Where is your car, you liar?”

“Out back,” the man said, confused. “Out the back door!”

“What’s the passcode?”

“I don’t remember,” the man said, not looking her in the eyes. 6655321!

“Thanks, princess,” Rebecca said. She ran to the back door, yelling behind her, “And I’m taking this pig!”

There were several cars in the employee lot, but only one of them looked new. She punched the passcode into the keypad on the door, and the door unlocked and the engine switched on. She strapped the blue girl into the back seat, handing her the toy pig. Motors in the seat whined, adjusting the straps to the girl’s height. Rebecca dived in the car and lifted off into the sky.

A few blocks later, she landed in the parking lot of a large church. The sign in the lot said “First Church of Magic Dan the Magnificent – He who chooses the eight of clubs shall be saved!” Rebecca parked next to a small, missile-shaped sports car and exchanged license plates. She decided to take a few extra license plates from other cars, in case she needed to switch plates again later. Getting back in the car, she headed on her way. The police didn’t seem to be following her. After driving for an hour or so, her mind began to wander.

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