Trey looked around at the crowd assembled before him. There was no way this was going to be easy.
He didn’t know what reaction to expect when he delivered the news. If he was lucky he would get shock which would allow him time to
explain before things got too out of hand. If he wasn’t lucky, well, he’d cross that bridge when he got to it.
“There is no easy way to say this,” he began as all eyes focused on him, “So I am just going to lay it out and then we can discuss it.”
He paused for a moment, dread settling in the pit of his stomach. This could get ugly.
Offering up a silent prayer to any gods who may happen to be listening he pressed on.
“This planet is not safe. The atmosphere is not stable. There have been many attempts to make it stable, none have worked yet and no
one knows why,” he paused again giving time for this to sink in before continuing, “Now this doesn’t mean we are all going to die
tomorrow, so there is no cause for panic. It just means that if we want to survive long term we have a lot of work to do.”
“I realize this comes as a shock …”
“Whoa! Hang on a minute.” Kaylynn Spitzig interrupted, “You mean we were abducted and then dumped on a planet to slowly
suffocate? We were brought here to die?”
“Not exactly, no” Trey explained, “We were brought here to help.”
“Help?” Kaylynn sounded sceptical, “As in canary in the mines help? ‘Oh look the Sims died! We’d better not go down there!’ That
kind of help?”
“No, it isn’t that at all,” Trey explained quickly before the situation got away from him, “They have tried everything they can think of
already and need help to figure out what they have overlooked.”
“I don’t want to help Alien freaks boy!” Joe Graham interjected, “What have they ever done for us besides take us away and do
unnatural things to us? Why should we help them at all?”
“Alien?” Trey questioned, “Look around you Joe, do you see anyone who was born here? I don’t. Doesn’t that make us just as alien?”
“We aren’t a bunch of green skinned freaks,” Joe countered, “They are. In my book that makes us the normal ones.”
Trey chose his next words carefully.
“You’re right,” He began, “We don’t have green skin, we have peach and tan and brown instead. They aren’t all green either. Some of
them are purple and blue. But guess what we all have in common Joe? The one thing that makes us all the same? We do what we have to
do to survive.”
“I’m still not helping them,” Joe insisted, “I can’t. I won’t. They kidnapped us.”
“Then don’t help them,” Trey said gesturing to all those gathered around them, before taking a step forward toward the older man, “Help
“Help me help us, Joe. That is all I am asking, from anyone,” Trey let his sincerity carry through in his voice, “Help me help us find a
way to survive.”
“Alright boy,” Joe agreed finally, “I’ll help …”
“… but the rest of these young’uns better help too!” Joe added.
His statement was greeted with chuckles and agreement from those around them before they all moved off to talk amongst themselves.
“I’ll make sure they do, Joe,” Trey smiled, “You have my word on it.”
* * *
“I just wanted to apologize for giving you a hard time earlier,” Kaylynn told Trey later that afternoon after everyone else had left, “I
over reacted a bit. It was a shock.”
“That’s okay,” Trey responded, “I understand completely. I didn’t take it so well to begin with either. Not like any of us were given a
choice to be here.”
“I still wanted to let you know that I am sorry,” Kaylynn added, “I will help in any way I can.”
“You did good,” Kaylynn told him, pulling him into a hug, “Everyone is behind you in whatever we need to do.”
“Thanks,” Trey hugged back, “I wasn’t sure I could convince them. It was good though, exhausting but good.”
“Why don’t you go relax for a bit,” Kaylynn suggested seeing that he really was exhausted, “I’ll go dig through the fridge and see what I
can make out of the goo and slop that might be edible.”
Trey was only too happy to take her up on that offer.
“Well little man,” Trey said to his son after he had showered and taken a nap, “That is one obstacle down. Let’s hope I actually can
figure out how to save us, yeah?”
Zion gazed up at his father and gurgled happily.
“I haven’t figured out how to introduce you to them yet,” Trey continued cradling the infant against his shoulder, “And I really don’t
know how well they will react. But we will deal with that when we come to it won’t we?”
His son attended to, Trey placed the baby back in his bed and went out to join Kaylynn.
“Well,’ Kaylynn picked up an experimental spoonful of the orange mush in her bowl, “It doesn’t look too bad. Better than the grey
mush I had for breakfast.”
“It’s okay,” Trey commented taking his second bite, “Kind of cheesy, with a bit of a bite.”
They lapsed into silence for a while as they ate their meal.
“Do you even know how to fix this?” Kaylynn asked after several minutes had passed.
Trey paused with his spoon halfway to his mouth and stared thoughtfully into his bowl.
“Not really, no,” he answered at last, “I mean I understand the principle, it is the practice I haven’t got a clue about.”
“The Aliens must have information somewhere,” Kaylynn stated, “It would make sense right? They have tried already. They have to
have a book or something don’t they?”
“I don’t know,” Trey admitted, “All I know is they brought me here because of the theories I had developed back home. They seem to
think I might be able to succeed where they haven’t.”
“Do you think you can?” Kaylynn asked, sounding hopeful.
“I don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to look at what they have already done since …” Trey let the sentence trail off. He didn’t want to
mention the birth of his son yet, not until he had a better idea of how that piece of news would be taken.
“Even if you can’t, I am glad you are here,” Kaylynn acknowledged, “We will need a leader. You seem born for the roll.”
Trey didn’t know how to respond to that. He hadn’t thought about it before then, yet he did seem to have taken on the roll of leader for
the other abductees. He wasn’t sure that was a position he was all that comfortable being in.
They spent the remainder of the meal making idle conversation about life back in Pleasantview. Before long it was late and time for
Kaylynn to go home.
“Call me if you need anything,” Kaylynn told him placing a hand on his shoulder as she prepared to leave, “Even if it is just some
“I will,” Trey replied.
“Thanks again for dinner,” Trey said leaning in to give her a friendly hug, “I enjoyed it. You are fun to be with”
“Anytime,” Kaylynn returned the hug, “I had fun too.”
Neither was quite sure how it happened, but they both knew they didn’t want the kiss to stop. It was comforting in its own way, a
lifeline, a moment of stability in an otherwise upside down and lost world.
“Wow,” Kaylynn gasped when they pulled apart at last, “that was …”
“Wonderful.” Trey supplied, “Amazing? Definitely worth doing again?”
Kaylynn laughed, “How about all of the above?”
“I like all of the above,” Trey grinned, “It was always my favourite answer on tests.”
Just then, the soft cries of an infant floated out from inside the shack.
“Is that a baby?” Kaylynn stepped back to look around.
Trey ducked his head clasping his hands, “Um … Yeah.”
“Trey …” Kaylynn regarded him suspiciously, almost hurt, “Why didn’t you say something?”
“I would have told you!” Trey insisted, “Really! I just wasn’t sure how. Didn’t know how you would …”
Kaylynn didn’t wait for him to finish. She spun around and headed inside.
“Damn it!” Trey swore before following her inside.
“Kaylynn, look,” Trey rubbed his forehead in frustration, “I would have told you; I just didn’t know how you would react.”
“Aren’t you the cutest thing,” Kaylynn cooed picking up the baby.
“Trey, he’s adorable. He looks just like you.”
Trey breathed a sigh of relief. He really liked Kaylynn if he was honest with himself. It was a relief to know that she, at least, accepted
“Who is a cute little purple baby?” Kaylynn continued, “You are! You are stinky though. Let’s go get you cleaned up.”
“You don’t have to do that.” Trey told her watching her place Zion in the sink for a bath, “Really, I can do it.”
“Hush,” Kaylynn admonished, “Family Sim. I want to bathe the baby. What is his name?”
“Zion,” Trey replied smiling.
He had the strangest feelings welling up inside him watching Kaylynn bathe his son. They looked so good together, so happy. He
wanted to see them happy more often he realized. He wanted Kaylynn to stay.
Once they had gotten Zion settled back to sleep and were outside again Kaylynn rounded on Trey.
“I can’t believe you!” she exclaimed, “You do not ever hide a baby away like that! How could you?”
“Kaylynn, I …”
“He is your son! He is not some dirty little secret to keep locked away and hidden!” she ranted at him ignoring his attempts to explain.
“Kaylynn,” Trey tried again.
“I can’t believe you would treat him this way. He deserves better than this. He deserves to be loved for the precious miracle he is, not
hidden away while you pretend he doesn’t exist!”
“Kaylynn!” Trey said, louder this time, hoping to get a word in.
“What?” she demanded at last.
“He’s purple,” Trey said simply.
“Oh who cares if he is purple?” Kaylynn dismissed his statement, “I expected better of you after the speech you gave this afternoon.
Wasn’t it you who tried to say that skin colour shouldn’t matter? Yet when it comes to your own son it would seem it does. You are a
bigot, Trey Mullin, and you should be ashamed of yourself!”
“Would you stop ranting at me for just a minute and listen?” Trey demanded, “I don’t care if my son is purple. I wouldn’t care if he was
rainbow striped with polka-dots! He is my son and I love him no matter what colour he is. What I care about is how other people will
treat him. No, I didn’t bring him out and show him off this afternoon, but can you blame me?”
“You heard Joe,” he continued, “You heard what he said ‘Alien freaks’ and ‘unnatural things’. I don’t care how ‘unnatural’ Zion’s birth
was, but Joe will, and if you think for even a moment that Joe is alone in his beliefs you are wrong. Remember how the Alien children
were treated back home? Do you remember how people shunned them? Scorned them? Treated them like abominations? I don’t want
that for my son. So if not announcing his presence to the world was wrong, then fine, I was wrong. But I did it to protect him. I did it to
save him the ridicule of those who will be too hung up on what he is to see him for who he is.”
Kaylynn was silent for a long moment regarding him, her face a shocked mask of sudden understanding.
“I’m sorry!” she said at last rushing forward to pull him into a fierce hug, “I didn’t realize … I didn’t understand … It never occurred to
“It’s okay,” Trey said soothingly, hugging her back just as tightly, “I would have yelled at me too in the same position. It probably was a
stupid thing to do. I only want to protect him.”
It was then that Trey realized that this was exactly where he wanted her. She accepted Zion, had defended him against his own father,
and holding her just felt so good. Once he put all these things together, his mind was made up.
“I really should be going,” Kaylynn said once they pulled apart, “It is late and it has been a long day.”
Trey didn’t respond. He simply stood studying her features, a slight smile curving his lips.
“Trey?” Kaylynn prompted after several minutes had passed and he hadn’t moved, “Is everything alright?”
Trey grinned, “Sorry I was thinking.”
“About?” she prompted once more.
“You’re beautiful,” he said reaching up to caress her cheek, “And wonderful and I think I am about to do something I never thought I
would do. Ever.”
“Yeah?” she asked quietly, leaning into his touch, “What’s that?”
“I don’t have anything that could even begin to pass as a ring to give you and here on this planet I am not even sure it would be legally
binding or even if we are going to make it out of this,” Trey said sinking down on one knee, “But I know I want you with me. Marry me
“I’ll take that as a yes!” Trey laughed as he caught her when she leapt into his arms.
“Yes!” came her muffled reply as she buried her face in his neck.
“This will be so good for everyone’s morale,” Kaylynn whispered leaning in to kiss him.
Trey’s heart sank at her words. He didn’t want their marriage to be a public service, but when her lips brushed against his he let the
thought slip from his mind. They could work it out later.
A few minutes later, as he watched her go, he felt almost like the happiest man alive. Almost.
• * *
“I hope I have the right stuff to do this,” Trey mumbled to himself several weeks later as he poured ingredients into a bowl.
Today was a very special day.
“Pink,” he sighed hours later, staring down at the just completed cake, “Why would they give me food colour and only give me pink?”
He knew Zion wouldn’t mind, was too young to mind really, but still, what kind of colour was pink for a little boy’s first birthday cake?
A noise out front of the shack drew his attention away from the cake.
“Pao!” Trey happily shook the other man’s hand, “So good to see you.”
“Big day for you huh?” Pao drawled, “First wedding on the planet, lots of big items being delivered.”
Trey nodded grinning. Today was a huge day. His little boy was growing up, he was getting married and once all the festivities were
over he would set about turning his shack into a house with the newly delivered wall panels.
“I still think it is a bad idea for me to be here,” Kaylynn mused, “Bad luck to see the bride before the wedding and all.”
“I am not much of a birthday party by myself though,” Trey told her gazing proudly down at his son, “and Zion needs a party! You are
the only one I trust enough to invite.”
“It just feels wrong,” Kaylynn murmured.
Trey didn’t hear her.
“Blow out the candles!” he sang holding Zion down near the cake and pursing his lips to blow out the candles himself.
Trey laughed as he tossed the baby into the air to grow up.
Kaylynn, still worried about the bad omen her presence was, looked unimpressed.
“See nothing to worry about,” Trey beamed cuddling Zion, “I didn’t even drop him.”
Zion yawned and leaned his head against his father’s shoulder.
Trey managed to steal a few minutes to play peek-a-boo with Zion before the toddler was too tired to play anymore. Scooping up his son
Trey took the sleepy little boy inside and tucked him in before rejoining Kaylynn
“Relax Kaylynn,” Trey sighed sitting down with a piece of birthday cake, “Nothing is going to go wrong.”
“I know,” Kaylynn admitted with a sigh of her own, “I know it’s only a silly superstition, but it still bothers me. There is so much
already stacked against all of us, I guess I just don’t like tempting fate.”
They lapsed into silence while they finished their cake. As they stood from the table Trey smiled.
“It will be fine,” he told her, “You’ll see.”
“You sure?” Kaylynn couldn’t help asking.
“I’m sure,” Trey assured her, “Now, are you ready to do this?”
Kaylynn smiled, “Yeah. Let’s do it.”
* * *
“You look great,” Trey commented as they waited for their guests to assemble on the beach.
“Thanks,” Kaylynn smiled, “Michelle helped me with the dress.”
“It’s beautiful, but where did you get the sequins?”
“I should have guessed.”
“You don’t look too bad yourself,” Kaylynn told him, “Unusual but surprisingly effective.”
“Thank you,” Trey responded.
“Where’d you get the …”
“Goopy,” Trey replied before she could finish.
“Oh!” Kaylynn grinned, “Naturally.”
“So shall we start while we both still look amazing?” Kaylynn teased.
“Please,” Trey replied, “Before I strangle Goopy for wearing a real suit.”
Their vows were short, sweet and to the point.
Goopy was the first to clap as the happy couple leaned in to seal their union with a kiss.
Kaylynn was proven correct. Their wedding did serve to boost morale among the abductees. A small glimmer of a normal life amidst the
• * *
“As you can see the last static seeding ray had no noticeable effect on atmospheric density. Though there was a slight increase in both
the carbon spectrum and oxygen levels, these values are already decreasing again in the upper atmosphere.” Elotot explained the
With Kaylynn around to watch Zion, Trey had finally been able to get to work on the problem of creating a stable environment.
“Do you suppose this decrease is due to some sort of imbalance in the mesosphere?” Trey asked studying the graphs and data readouts
on the computer over the Alien’s shoulder, “Do you have any data on the radiative emissions at that level?”
“Interestingly enough, there don’t appear to be any,” Elotot replied, pulling up a new set of data.
“None at all?” Trey was surprised.
“None,” Elotot confirmed, “Which is most puzzling since radiative emissions would be the most likely explanation to the rise in carbon
particles as our seeding ray does not emit those.”
“See look here,” Elotot pointed to a mark on the graph, “This was our last seeding attempt. You can see the rise in oxygen here, then the
ray is extinguished here and moments later an increase in both carbonic acid and carbon dioxide.”
“The formation of carbon dioxide is a possible explanation for the decreasing oxygen levels, yet the rate of increase of CO2 verses the
decrease in Oxygen seems disproportionate,” Trey was fascinated by the unusual chemical reactions he could see on the graph, “The
hydrogen levels are decreasing in proportion to the formation of the carbonic acid, though with as slow as that rate is one would expect
more hydrogen oxide formation out of sheer random chance.”
Elotot raised a brow, “Having read your theories Dr. Mullin, I am well aware that you do not prescribe to the hypothesis of anything
“Hm,” Trey grunted acknowledging the truth to the Aliens statement.
As much as he was enjoying being back in a lab, Trey had to admit he was also enjoying the company. He was discovering he rather
liked the green skinned Alien. They had settled into a comfortable working relationship within moments of his arrival that morning.
Unlike his Red-headed nemesis whom he seemed to always be at odds with.
As if thinking of her had caused her to appear …
“Good morning Dr. Mullin,” Actroz called stepping off the transporter, “I was hoping I may have a word with you.”
“Oh no!” Trey swore at the ceiling under his breath, “I was hoping to survive this day without going completely insane.”
“I swear she is like a bad penny,” Trey grumbled
“I am afraid I don’t follow the reference Dr. Mullin” Elotot stated.
“Something that is more trouble than it is worth, yet it just keeps popping up to bother you,” Trey explained, his voice conveying his
feelings of annoyance at Actroz’s arrival, “Just like her! Don’t want her around, can’t get rid of her.”
Elotot’s lips curled in a slight smile, “Indeed.”
“What do you want?” Trey asked Actroz placing his hands on his hips.
“I wished to inquire about the child,” Actroz began, “I am most interested to hear details.”
“Ha! Very amusing,” Trey laughed, “I almost believed that.”
“I beg your pardon?” Actroz blinked.
“You almost sounded sincere,” Trey went on, still laughing, “You should try your hand at acting; I bet you would do really well.”
“I am not sure I understand the humour in this situation,” Actroz was starting to become concerned for his mental health.
“You can’t seriously tell me that now, after all this time, you are suddenly interested in his welfare,” Trey countered.
“I have always been interested in his welfare,” Actroz told him, “I was under the impression that my appearance on your doorstep would
cause a disturbance and interfere with your progress where the other colonists were concerned.”
“We are colonists now are we?” Trey asked, incredulous, “Funny, I thought colonists had a choice in leaving home.”
“Be that as it may Dr. Mullin,” Actroz said, “I would like to know about my child.”
“The child you decided to use as a tool?” Trey shouted, “The child you foisted off on me as some sort of bargaining chip causing
extraordinary pain and haven’t inquired about since he was born? That child?”
“I have a right to know my child Dr. Mullin,” Actroz shot back.
“No lady, you don’t. You gave up that right when you used him as blackmail to save your own pathetic hide. The only right you have is
the right to go to hell!”
With that Trey stormed from the room. He didn’t know where he was going, so long as it was away from her.
He found himself in the dining module and decided some lunch would help him calm down and clear his mind.
“Are you finding your way around alright Dr. Mullin?” Tusom inquired stepping up behind Trey.
“Hmm?” Trey was still distracted by his argument with Actroz, “Oh, yeah, I am thanks.”
“Good. Very good,” Tusom nodded as Trey took his bowl from the replicater and made his way to the table, “You understand of course
we expect nothing less than successful results from you. Disappointing us would not be in your best interest.”
Unsure he could respond without his temper getting away from him again, Trey continued to the table where he sat down and attempted
to eat his meal.
Tusom watched him eat for a moment and then headed toward the door.
“You may have the answers we need, Lab Rat,” Tusom hissed as he made his way from the room, “But don’t think for one moment that
will mean you have our trust. One wrong move and your entire species will regret the day they were born.”
Trey sighed; this was not at all how he had hoped his first day would go.
“I don’t know what cosmic deity I have pissed off this time,” he mused out loud, “but if working here is my punishment I sure wish I’d
had a lot more fun earning it!”
“Pardon me,” Actroz began, hoping Trey had not already warned this woman against her, “I was hoping to speak to Dr. Mullin.”
“Trey is at work right now,” Kaylynn told her, “Is there something I can help you with?”
“Actually this is a private matter,” Actroz feigned disappointment, “concerning his son.”
“Is something wrong?” Kaylynn was immediately alarmed, “Is Zion in trouble?”
“Oh no!” Actroz added quickly, “The child is in no danger, I just …”
“I …” Actroz did her best to sound despairing, “I have only just found out it was my genetic material used to impregnate Dr. Mullin and
I was hoping I could meet the child. It is so difficult to know one has children but not to have ever laid eyes on them.”
“Oh!” Kaylynn, ever the Family Sim, sympathised immediately with the Alien woman. She couldn’t imagine never seeing her own
children. It would be so painful.
“I should have guessed,” Kaylynn stated, “Zion looks a lot like you. He looks like Trey too of course, but there is definitely a
“Really?” Actroz couldn’t help but smile, her plan was working perfectly, “I am so glad to hear that. I feel terrible having missed out on
so much of his life already. It is good to know part of me has been with him all along.”
“You could go see him if you like,” Kaylynn offered.
“Are you certain?” Actroz was fully in her role now and didn’t want to come on too strong, “It would be alright?”
“Sure,” Kaylynn replied, “I don’t see any harm in it. He’s inside.”
“Hello Zion,” Actroz sat on the floor with her son, “I am glad to finally meet you.”
Zion regarded the strange purple woman for a moment before a grin spread across his impish features, “Play!”
* * *
Trey wandered into the entertainment module later that afternoon. He’d spent the rest of the day pouring over data and doing his best to
avoid Tusom. Where Actroz was he didn’t know, he hadn’t seen her since their argument that morning and he didn’t much care where
she was, so long as she wasn’t near him. Now though, he needed a break before his brain turned to mush.
“Care to join me Dr. Mullin?” Sepal asked leaning on her pool cue.
Seeing as he was on a break, Trey eagerly joined her.
“This is one of my favourite games,” Sepal commented, “I understand we picked it up years ago on a pollination mission to your
“Why do you guys do that anyway?” Trey asked lining up his shot.
“Breeding ban onboard the ships. Not enough room. But people still want to spread their genes you know. Instinct and all that. We do it
all chemically of course, no messy sexual reproduction. But when you live on a fleet of spaceships and they are out of room, you do
what you have to, to keep the species alive.”
“Your entire species lives on spaceships?” Trey asked moving away from the table to let her take her shot.
“All four species actually. We are the only survivors of the ancient races.”
“You don’t have a home world?”
“Nope, just the ships.”
“Interesting,” Trey said rubbing his chin, “How’d that happen?”
“War, how else?” Sepal paused to steady her cue, “Four races fighting for dominance over one solar system. It was a mass slaughter
from all accounts. The battle left the entire system decimated and then one side blew up one of the planets.”
“That can’t have gone well,” Trey mused.
“It didn’t,” she agreed, “Knocked the whole system out of orbit. It was when the last three planets were found to now be on a solar
collision course that the truce was called. All the survivors were packed onboard the ships and set off to find a new home. So far, this is
the best candidate we have found.”
Trey mulled this over as he prepared to take his next shot. He couldn’t imagine living his entire life on board a cramped spaceship. It
was no wonder these Aliens were so desperate to make this planet liveable for the long term.
“You know,” Sepal’s voiced had lowered to almost a purr, “If more of your kind looked as good in a lab coat as you do, I could easily
be persuaded to break a few regulations and fraternize with a lesser species.”
Trey immediately snapped up straight.
“You could do what?” he demanded.
“Don’t sound so surprised, Dr. Mullin,” she admonished, “Surely you have heard how attractive you are before.”
“A Sim like you could convince a girl to break a few laws and lower her standards.”
Trey tightened his grip on his pool cue. This day just could not get any worse.
He was wrong of course.
* * *
As soon as he arrived home he scooped Zion up for a hug.
“Puwple lady play wif me!” Zion announced excitedly, eager to share his fun day with is father.
“Purple lady?” Trey asked, “What purple lady?”
As soon as he uttered the words he knew the answer.
* * *
“If you ever pull a stunt like that again,” Trey snarled bursting through the door of the exercise module back at the Alien base, “It will
be the last thing you do.”
Actroz didn’t even have to look; she’d been expecting this visit. She slowed the treadmill to a halt and made her way across the room.
“What did you expect me to do?” she asked stopping before him, “You wouldn’t even tell me his name.”
“I expected you to act like the heartless bitch you are and continue to not give a damn.”
For reasons Actroz couldn’t fully understand, his words cut deep.
Doing her best to hide her pain, Actroz held up her hand.
“Enough,” she demanded, “This arguing is not getting us anywhere. I have a right to know my son.”
“Not even in your wildest dreams will you ever get to know him,” Trey snapped back, “You gave up those rights remember?”
Before she could say another word, Trey had turned to leave.
“Dr. Mullin,” she called after him, “Can we please discuss this like rational adults?”
“There is nothing to discuss,” He growled “Stay the hell away from my son!”