The Bright Side.

Peter Smith has just found out he has a month left to live due to a lethal brain tumour.
He has also just found out that in less than a month, the human race will become extinct and that he has been chosen to be one of six humans to survive the approaching apocalypse. And who has saved him? E.I.P.F, the Earth Inhabitant Protection Front, a group of intergalactic environmentalists who want to save just one species.
And so, whilst also keeping his deadly secret from the aliens, Peter embarks on a quest to rally the chosen survivors, whilst avoiding Government Agents, the secret services, Satanists, Velociraptors, and a manic depressive Tyrannosaurus .

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3. Chapter 3

 In a small village, not near, yet not far from London, Emilia sat dejectedly in a kitchen where she had been living with her mother for the past few days. Neither party liked the arrangement, Emilia had resigned herself to it, her mother however, was having none of it. “What about a futures trader?” her mother suggested, glancing enquiringly at the heap of newspaper adverts she had meticulously strewn across the table top. “No future in it” Emilia said sullenly.

“No future in it? In futures trading?” Mrs Crosswood said, “That's a con that is”

“There's no future in anything!”

“Not in anything?”

“None at all”

“What about tea with the vicar?”

“When is it?”

“Tomorrow?”

Emilia silently considered this, then nodded. “All right” she said, “You can have that.” her mother smiled victoriously. “Oh good” she said, “I bought lemon drizzle cake especially”

“Oh good”

“Now what do you think. Saffron? or maroon?”

“For what?”

“Dad's old study”

“But dad's not dead!” Emilia said, “He's only gone to Basingstoke for a week!”

“Yeah, but he went with another woman” said her mother venomously.

“No, he went fishing with Dave”

“Dave? That's a funny name for a woman”

“True. But it is a good name for a transsexual you went to work with at the library”

“Dave? A tranny? Who'd have guessed?”

“He wears a floral dress and stockings mum!”

“Must be a phase”
“He's sixty four!” Emilia wailed, “Sixty four year olds do not go through phases!”

Mrs Crosswood considered this point, then filed it under 'Juicy Gossip', saved for a rainy day.

Emilia didn't enjoy living with her parents, but after being fired from work, she needed somewhere cheap to stay. Especially close to London. That meant she could track down this Peter Smith, the chosen survivor. She'd find him, then force him to save her as well. Because she knew, as soon as she got a job and settled in enough to loathe it, she'd be dead. So would everyone else, but her death was more important to her and took up her attention. She turned back to the yellow pages, now, if only there weren't so many Peter damn Smiths!

 

Sir Hubert Chesterfield answered his phone. He was at the age that thought car phones were still pretty snazzy. “Chesterfield here” he said in a bright stereotypical British accent. He had been warned who was calling. “Ah, young Mr Hargraves. So jolly good to hear from you. Yes, head office said you'd be calling” he then patiently listened to the American relate what the situation was. Of course, Chesterfield already knew. British intelligence was a bit more intelligent than American intelligence, they just didn't like to boast. Besides, he had to let them feel they were doing something. It was only polite. “So, we've got a bunch of aliens going after someone called Smith eh? Don't you worry about it my lad. MI6 on the case”

He then hung up.

Sir Chesterfield didn't in fact work for MI6, their days were over. Ever since James Bond had been invented, all MI divisions had been revealed to the public, it was damn popular! Hubert didn't like that at all.

He tapped the drivers shoulder, All right mate” he said in his natural east end accent, “Pull up here”

the driver did so. It didn't matter that it was a double yellow line, the people Chesterfield worked for were above any multitude of coloured lines. And as he expected, a figure was waiting in the shadows. It didn't matter that she was selling rosemary beads, that was her business. Chesterfield joined her. “Tell the guv that Diablo has struck and the evangelist has gone”

The stall attendant stared up at the man addressing her; he had pure white hair, a flabby face, a horrible turquoise suit and a silly gold tooth. He also held an umbrella, but it was meant to rain in the afternoon. “Eh?” the woman said.

“I said, Diablo has -”

“Psst!”

Chesterfield turned, another figure was standing deeper in the shadows and urging him forward. Hubert stared from the shadowy figure, to the wizened old crone. “Ah” he said. He then slipped over to the man he was meant to meet. “Tell the guv that Diablo -”

“Yeah, I know, I heard you tell the old biddy” the shadowy figure said. “Now what are the Americans doing?”

“Badly” Chesterfield snorted, “You made a good choice with Mr Seamus”

“God makes the choices” the man said, “We merely make the changes”

“Course, course” said the spy, “What are my orders?”

“Make sure no more humans are kidnapped” the figure said, “The order will not be pleased”

“Of course” Chesterfield said nodding.

“And find the chosen one” the man continued, “He knows too much” he then slid away, evaporating into the shadows. Chesterfield nodded, “Typical” he said. “They had to pick someone called Peter damn Smith!”

 

Peter damn Smith awoke, but didn't open his eyes. He didn't want to. He feared that something he hoped was a dream, would turn out not to be. All he could remember was something no too dissimilar to a plate of gone off chicken chop suey. Instead, he let his other senses do the seeing for him. He felt what he was lying down on, it was springy and in some patches moist. Must be some sort of alien slab for dissecting people on. He then smelt the air. It stank of rotten pizza and stale Febreze, must be the alien's true smell, but strangely familiar. All he could hear was a dull buzzing floating around the room. God, he thought, it must be awful in here, some sort of room of torture. I can't stand it!

Without any choice, he opened his eyes, and was disappointed. He was in fact, in his flat. He had been lying on the sofa and there was a large fly In the room. Most importantly, a complete lack of aliens.

“Hello” said Lars.

Peter screamed and fell into a heap on the floor.

“You see Kurt!” Lars said indignantly, “I knew 'Hello' wasn't a good way to start a conversation!”

“Sorry Lars” Kurt said. Peter scrambled up onto the sofa, staring at the two aliens. Fortunately they had resumed their human appearance. Peter couldn't handle another shock like that. “You're aliens!” he exclaimed.

“Correct” Kurt said with his blank smile.

“But aliens don't exist!” Peter wailed, crawling into the corner of the sofa.

“Yes we do” Lars said.

“Oh god, this can't be happening!”

The two aliens joined Peter on the sofa, they stared at him as if he was an eight year old who had just wet himself. They then smiled again. “May we continue our previous conversation?” Lars asked.

“Sure” Peter said, desperately hoping the pair would go away.

“As we have already explained,” Kurt began, “In three weeks the human race will be extinct”

“A particularly violent solar storm is making its way for Earth” Lars said, “No one will survive” the pair smiled again. “Any questions?”

“Yes” Peter said, “Why are you telling me this?”

“Because, you Mr Smith, have been chosen to survive!” The two pale faced aliens beamed.

“What? Why?”

“Well Kurt and I are prominent members of the Earth Inhabitant Protection Front” Lars said proudly.

“Or E.I.P.F for short” Kurt added.

“And as an inhabitant of Earth, you must survive”

“Yes, but, how do you make a decision like that?”

“Ah” Kurt said smiling, “Let us show you” the pair got to their feet and held their hands out to Peter, he recoiled prominently. “You're not going to teleport me are you?”

“Oh no” Lars said laughing lightly, he pressed his watch twice. The décor of the flat quickly dissolved, vanishing in small pixels, the three were standing in a large white room. “We did that when you were unconscious”

 

As Peter was trying to get over the fact that he was on an alien spaceship; the ship in question, named: The Virasimosc, which roughly translated as: Pointless personification of an inanimate object through use of a name, listed lazily through Earth's orbit.

Now for some slight background information on the largest environmental protection agency; in the early third generation of the second Galactic argument a race of beings known as the Razoikes were shown a short promotional video on the plight of strange bipedal Reptilian creatures with the brains the size of peas, all living quite peacefully on a planet not even cool enough to have adapted answer machines. But, the Razoikes had been touched by the stupidity of the creatures and had invested several trillions worth of their money into setting up the Earth Inhabitants Protection Front. Over several centuries, long enough for the legal work to be completed, E.I.P.F had grown in followers, enough to be able to invest in an entire fleet of rescue ships. And just before the dim witted reptiles had been completely wiped out by a stray asteroid that may or may not have been caused by a game of intergalactic bowls played by a bunch of interstellar lawyers, the members of E.I.P.F had managed to save a selection of each dim species.

It was then revealed that, although the reptiles had been completely wiped out, another race of mammals, equally as dim as the reptiles, had managed to cunningly avoid extinction and were already rapidly evolving. And so E.I.P.F had decreed that if Earth was ever to be endangered by a game related extinction or any other catastrophe, they would be there to help. And so, sixty five million years of watching had finally brought E.I.P.F back to Earth.

Peter closed his mouth as Kurt finished the explanation. There was a moment of bemused silence. Then another. After several dozen of these moments, Lars coughed politely. “Well?” he asked.

“So . . .” Peter said cautiously, “You're here, to protect humans from extinction?”

“No.” said Kurt.

“But you just said -”

“We are here to protect the inhabitants of Earth.” said Lars, “We have also managed to rescue several ambassadors from other intelligent species on Earth”

“Including the famous mathematician Po Win Doo” Kurt said excitedly, Lars nodded hurriedly, beaming. “Who's he?” Peter asked, blissfully ignorant to the world of maths.

“Err, we do not think you humans would recognise him” Kurt explained meekly, his smile quickly dissolving.

“Why not?”

“He's a panda.”

Peter reflected on this for a moment and his memories of pandas. They were fat, lazy, hairy and ate a lot. “All right. A panda as a universally famous mathematician. I can believe that.”

“Excellent!” said Kurt clapping his hands together.

“But I need to know,” Peter said holding his hand up.

“Ask away Mr Smith” Lars said.

“Why me?”

“Why you?”

“Why was I chosen, out of everyone in the world, you chose me. Why?”

“You want to know why you were chosen?” Lars asked slowly, as if tasting the words before saying them.

“Yes please.”

“But it is a complex and time honoured practice.” Kurt said humbly.

“I'd still like to know” Peter said insistently.

The two aliens swapped glances, then shrugged. “So be it” Lars said, he unfolded from the chair he was sitting on. Kurt joined him, “Let us go, to the small room!”

 

Meanwhile, on Earth, in an unmentionable room in a perfectly ordinary building. A meeting began. It was not a normal meeting. These meetings happened of course, but once they had. They hadn't. The members of the meeting were the sort of men who would smile and wave out of a car, knowing full well that the people they waved to had no idea that the only reason they could be waved at, was because of the meetings that didn't happen once they had. The men in this meeting had made emperors rise from the common herd, started wars and ended them and steered the future of mankind on a reliable path, all during Saturday evenings from the times between six o'clock and eleven. This, is how the meeting progressed. One shadowy figure, sitting quite comfortably in a high backed wooden chair, cleared his throat. The silence deepened. It was the silence of several men deep in thought, suddenly deep in listening, hoping that whatever was being said, wasn't about how they hadn't done the report they knew they were supposed to. When the first figure was comfortably sure he had the men's attention, he smiled and steepled his fingers. It was that kind of meeting. “Gentlemen.” he began, “It has just come to my attention that our agent has discovered some most tragic news”

The men leaned forward, eager to hear. “It has begun.” there was a suitably dramatic outburst of mumbling. Slowly, a much shorter figure in a smaller backed wooden chair, raised his hand. The first figure sighed. “yes brother?” he said wearily, he really didn't like the shorter figure, but protocol forced him to be here. The shorter figure nervously fidgeted in his seat, “Erm, sorry err brothers, but erm, what has begun?”

The other figures muttered their disbelief. Some even shook their heads. The first figure did none of these things. He merely stared at the nervous brother and smiled thinly. “Of course, I forgot.” he stated, “You're new aren't you?”

“Yes brother”

“Well brother, allow me to explain -”

One of the figures closest to the first groaned, “Not again!” he said, his voice lathered in an exotic accent.

“Yes again!” said the first, “What has begun brothers, is the end of the world.”

“The end?” the short figure asked.

“Yes. The end.”

“Oh. And how do we know this?”

“Our wonderful friends in America have discovered an alien space craft in Earth's atmosphere. Apparently there was an energy spike that indicates they have taken a human.”

The shorter figure nodded, unperturbed by the knowledge of aliens. This irritated the first figure. “It would seem,” the figure stated pointedly, “That we are dealing with aliens”

“Oh yes,” said the short figure knowledgeably, “Got to be. What with the ship and everything,”

“It doesn't worry you that aliens exist?”

“Oh no. I knew that anyway.”

The first figure stared at the short man, then leaned to the accent wielding figure. “Who is this weirdo?”

“Who knows?” came the whispered response.

The first figure leaned back and cleared his throat. “Well brothers,” he continued loudly, “Let us not fret. Already Chesterfield is making sure no more of our flock are being abducted by these devilish creatures. God shall protect us!”

“Eh?” said a fourth figure, leaning forward quickly, the first figure groaned. Already the fourth figure held a pot in his hand as if like a sword, he wiggled it furiously, there was a loud clattering. “Come on, come on. You know rule thirty six of the order, no mentioning our own personal deities!”

“Really brother, how could you forget?” smirked the accent, and it was a smirk. No one could smirk like the third figure, even his vocabulary had an ego. Reluctantly The first figure delved into his pocket and extracted a round, pound coin he dropped it into the pot. “There” he said bitterly, “Happy now?”

The order treasurer shook the pot greedily, “Oh yes,” he said, “We should be able to afford a new roof soon.”

The figures nodded, new roofs were the bane of all involved.

The first figure sighed, it had all seemed such a good idea eight hundred years ago when the Order of Icarus was first constructed. A member of each religion would put aside their personal differences and create an order whose sole duty was to make sure the world ran, because there's only one thing religion hates more than other religions, and that's having no religion at all. And so, as the centuries had passed and religion had expanded, what had once been a small gathering inside a smoky room, was now an international committee with conferences at five star hotels al around the world. The first figure, personal representative of Christianity, laid his palms on the tables. “Brothers!” he barked, “This is most serious, the fate of the world is in question!”

“Doesn't mean we have to neglect the rules” said the third figure, a strong believer in the Muslim faith.

“All right,” said the Christian, “I concede that no deity shall protect us -”

“Ha, speak for your own cowardly creator!” spat the Muslim.

“Ah!” the money pot rattled under his nose.

The Muslim sighed and placed a pound coin into the pot. “As I was saying,” continued the first speaker, “No deity shall protect us, we are alone. What, I ask, is our next move?” The assembled ambassadors of every religion on Earth glanced at one another. Meekly, the shorter figure raised his hand again. “Yes?” The Christian snapped.

“Well,” said the short man, “Why don't we try contacting the aliens?”

The very winds in the northern point of the Arctic would have been a warm breeze compared to the glares the speaker received. “Contact the aliens?” the Muslim spat bitterly.

“Well, it's what my religion believes.”

“What religion exactly?” the treasurer asked, money pot at hand.

“Erm, the Star Trek religion”

The temperature plummeted. “Star Trek.” stated the first voice.

“Yes?”

The rest of the figures immediately wiped the man from their memories. “So gentlemen” the first speaker said drowning out the squeals from the Star Trek man as he was dragged away. “Any suggestions?”

“Perhaps,” one figure ventured, “The matter is out of our hands?”

“You mean,” the treasurer asked, “Tell someone?”

“It's worth a try”

“I disagree!” the Muslim spat. “This Order is top secret, if we reveal what we know then we will have pandemonium!”

The Christian rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “No,” he said slowly, “I agree with our brother. We should inform the governments.”

“But why?” the accent asked.

“Because what do governments like doing more than taxing someone?” The first speaker asked, “They like blowing things up.”

“Ah.” said the Muslim.

“Yes.” The first figure said sitting back, “Inform Chesterfield of our decision. By the will of the order.”

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