Priya looked at me and whispered”What do you mean hide? Surely now we know they mean no harm we should tell the authorities - or at least your parents?”
“No my parents would never believe us. Look at what happened when we tried to tell them about Sugar. We can’t hand the aliens over to the government, they’ll just experiment on them or something. We’d never see them again.”
“But don’t we have a duty to…”
“To what? Tell the adults there’s a bunch of small aliens that want to share the planet? No. We have a duty to the aliens.”
“What do you mean?”
“They have come here as refugees. They are looking for a home and - based on what Sugar has told them - they think that might be here.”
“Right?” I was not sure Priya was following me.
“Well Sugar based his report on us two. He’s not met any other humans and so he thinks the human race will act like we have. He’s wrong. As soon as the adults get involved it will get all official and too important for us children. No, if the aliens are looking for a decent home on Earth, we need to keep the adults out of it.”
“Okay, so where do we put them?”
“I don’t know. We don’t know what they need.”
++EVERYTHING THEY NEED IS STORED IN THE SHIP++
I hadn’t realised Sugar had been listening in but it seemed he was.
“So they can live in the ship?” I asked.
++YES BUT THEY DO NOT NEED TO. THEY CAN DISASSEMBLE IT AND USE IT TO BUILD A NEW HOME++
“Recycle it you mean?” Priya said.
“Okay so how much space do they need and how big will this home be?” I asked Sugar
“And what will it look like?” Priya added
++THEY CAN CONSTRUCT THE HOME TO LOOK LIKE ANYTHING. THEY ARE USED TO MAKING THINGS WHICH BLEND IN WITH THE SURROUNDINGS++
“Really?” I asked
++YES. LOOK AT ME FOR EXAMPLE++
“Good point. So how much space do they need?”
++A MINIMUM OF 1 METRE WIDE SQUARE BY 1 METRE HIGH++
“Okay, that’s a start.” I said”Can you get them to stay here and stay hidden? We need to find somewhere for them to live.”
++I WILL CONVEY YOUR REQUEST. TIM AND PRIYA?+
“Yes?” We both answered
“For what?” I asked
++FOR ALLOWING MY MASTERS TO OCCUP...LIVE ON THIS PLANET++
We didn’t really know what to say to that. I wasn’t sure I’d done very much to be honest.
“That’s okay Sugar,” I said, “I just wish we’d figured it out sooner, then we might have been more help.”
“Can you ask them to lower the ship a bit? Perhaps into the long grass?” Priya asked,”It’s a bit conspicuous up there.”
++I WILL ASK++
And with that Priya and I ran back to my bedroom. There was no room in my garden. The space behind the shed wasn’t wide enough. We called up a satellite map on my laptop and had a look around. After an hour we had found nothing that was big enough without drawing attention to itself.
“We’d better get back to them.” I said”There’s no telling what they’re up to by now.”
We headed back, feeling a bit sad. I was sure there would be somewhere the aliens could live. As we turned into the alleyway behind the house Priya was still trying to think of a suitable place.
“What about the allotments at the other end of the alley. Couldn’t they use those?”
“Priya, I don’t think they can disguise the ship as an allotment.”
“They don’t need to. They just need to disguise it as a shed or something.”
“Okay but won’t the allotment users wonder where the new shed has come from?”
“Oh yes,” she said,”I hadn’t thought of that.”
“But,” I said, thinking aloud “maybe disguising it as an allotment is not such a bad idea?”
“What if it was underground?”
“I’m not following you.”
“All this time we’ve been looking for a space where a structure could be placed above ground. What if the home was underground? As long as it was out of the way nobody would notice.”
“Okay but about the entrance to it? Surely that would be visible?”
“Yes,” I said and then a thought struck me,”unless it was supposed to be! What if it was a manhole cover?”
“It might work,” Priya said,”we need to ask if they are okay living underground?”
AN UNDERGROUND HOME
“Come on then.” and we ran back to the fields. The ship was nowhere to be seen and neither were the aliens. If we hadn’t spotted Sugar we might have thought the aliens had run off. Sugar was standing right where we left him.
“Where are they?” I said, panting a little from the run.
++THEY HAVE RETURNED TO THE SHIP. IT IS HIDDEN IN THE GRASS OVER THERE++
He pointed towards some exceptionally long grass towards the edge of the field. I thought the spot looked pretty good. Out of the way and quiet enough to hide a space ship in anyway.
“Sugar can they live underground?” I asked
“Do they require any ventilation though?” Priya asked”Will there be smoke or fumes of any kind to give them away?”
++THEIR ENERGY RESOURCES ARE SILENT AND PRODUCE NO FUMES. THEY MAY REQUIRE A VENTILATION SHAFT OR TWO++
I walked over to the pylon fence looking on the ground. Then I saw a manhole I had spotted earlier in the day.
“Can they build their home underground and put something like this above it? Would that be suitable?”
Sugar inspected the manhole cover and then said
++I WILL ASK++
He then made a series of odd noises and suddenly a group of about ten aliens stepped out from the grass.
“Have they been there all the time?” I asked
++YES. THEY REMAINED TO GUARD ME++
“Guard you?” Priya said,”Who from?”
++THERE WAS A MAMMAL HERE EARLIER WHICH TRIED TO ATTACK ME++
“Really?” Priya gasped,”What was it.”
++I DO NOT KNOW BUT IT WAS AS BIG AS ME, HAD LONG EARS AND A WHITE REAR++
“A rabbit?” I laughed”You were attacked by a rabbit?”
++IF YOU SAY SO++
I shook my head, chuckling”Sugar you have a lot to learn.”
++I KNOW. BUT IF YOU TEACH ME I WILL LEARN WELL++
Priya sighed loudly as if this was the wrong moment for such a conversation.”Sugar, ask the aliens if they can build the manhole?” she said.
Sugar turned to the aliens and they made various sounds at each other. Eventually he turned to us and said
++THEY CAN DO IT. BUT THEY ALSO HAVE MUCH TO LEARN ABOUT THIS PLANET. THEY HAVE REQUESTED YOU LIAISE WITH THEM TO TEACH THEM++
I was very excited by the last part.”Of course we will but we need to find some way to do it out of sight. If they get spotted it is all over.”
“Can’t they learn what they need from Wikipedia?” Priya asked
“Shh!” I hissed. I was looking forward to meeting the aliens more. If they used the web they might not need us. As it turned out either Sugar didn’t hear her or he ignored it.
++THEY CAN BUILD THE HOME LARGE ENOUGH TO ACCOMMODATE YOU BOTH++
“Tell them to make it large enough to accommodate adult humans.” Priya said
“Why, who are you planning on inviting?” I asked with a grin.
“Nobody.” she smiled back,”but we’re going to grow and if they make it for children, eventually we’ll out-grow it.”
“Good point.” I said and then between us we set about finding a suitable place for the manhole-town to the be constructed. We settled on a place just under the trees to the side of the field. That way we could get in and out without anyone noticing. Well we hoped so anyway.