Rigged | By: Benjamin Pass | | Category: Short Story - Sci-Fi Bookmark and Share


It was an ordinary day in the suburban town of Rosewall. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Jonathan Oakes was watching Star Trek. Jonathan, to the casual observer, may seem to be simple-minded. He watches six hours of Star Trek a day. However, watching sci-fi all his life has taught him to be wary. He believes that if something doesn’t seem quite right, then it must be rigged.

He is a conspiracy theorist. His conspiracy of choice? Area 51. Why would the government go to such great lengths to protect weather balloons? There must be something that they are hiding. But what? Jonathan is about to find out.

A crate is supposed to be delivered to area 51 today, where it is to be received by a Dr. Jonathan
Oak. The crate does not make it there. A trainee in the postal office accidentally stamped “Rosewall” on the box instead of “Roswell” . It is because of this mistake that the crate is taken to the only residence in Rosewall where a Jonathan Oak may be. Apartment number 701. The home of the Oakes.

Jonathan is brought out of his sci-fi induced haze by a knock on the door, and being the only one home, Jonathan answers the door. “Are you Jonathan Oak?” the postman asks. Jonathan replies, “Yes, I’m Jonathan, but my last name is Oakes.” “Close enough.” Says the postman. “Sign here.” Jonathan signs the hastily thrust clipboard. “She’s all yours.” Calls out the mailman as he returns to his truck to continue his run.

Jonathan, wondering who could have sent him a crate this heavy, drops it on his kitchen counter. Next, he hauls a hammer out of the junk drawer and tries to open the box. He struggles for many minutes until a small panel comes off to reveal a touch-sensitive screen, only big enough to press a thumb against. “That’s weird.” He says. He then places his thumb on the screen.

When he does this a small needle shoots out, into his thumb. A computerized voice then says, “Human DNA recognized.” And the top of the crate opens. Jonathan is now curious as to what the voice meant, but is distracted by the contents of the box.

Inside the crate is what appears to be a scale model of a flying saucer, and a remote control, with only two buttons on it. The buttons read “Go” and “Return”. Seeing no visible warnings or instructions, Jonathan presses “Go”. Instantly the room fills with a blinding light. A pulsating sound bombards his ears, and with such sensory overload, he doesn’t notice that he is shrinking!

Once the light has vanished and the sound has died down, Jonathan looks around him. He is of such size that he would easily be able to fit into the saucer. Fortunately, the remote has shrunk with him. He now has a choice. Does he press “Return” and hope for the best, or does he investigate the now normal sized ship? Being a true sci-fi fan, he decides on the latter.

After walking all around the saucer, he notices what appears to be a door, and beside it a button. As soon as he presses the button, the door opens up, and he steps in. He sniffs the air, “ ‘M’ class atmosphere.” He says chuckling. He then notices that there is one chair, situated in the center of the room surrounded by eight panels. All dark.

Jonathan sits down in the chair, and as he does so the door closes, and every light comes on. Every panel lights up. He hears a strange humming sound emanating from the panel furthest to the left. After looking it over carefully and drawing on his years of experience with Star Trek, he determines that this must control engine function.

“Now, how do I turn on the auto-pilot?” he asks of the air. Jonathan is startled to hear a computerized voice say, “There, slave.”, and light up a button on the panel. “Why did you call me slave?” he demands of the computer. The answer he gets is, “You are less than dirt. You are Taiquelen. You ARE a slave.” Confused Jonathan states to the computer, “I’m human. What is a Taiquelen?” “Human?” muses the computer. “I had not calculated that possibility. My apologies.” Wary, Jonathan says, “That’s fine, but what’s a Taiquelen?” The computer answers, “Unimportant. Auto-pilot is now engaged. Time to arrival to launch platform…… 3 Earth minutes.”

The saucer then lifts off, and at incredible speed, Jonathan is rushed over the earth until, 3 minutes later, he is hovering over Mount Vesuvius. He is surprised when he notices that a small crevice is opening in the mantle. He is even more shocked, when the ship hurtles straight at it!

Once inside, the ship, with Jonathan in it, begins to grow. In a few moments Jonathan is back in his regular 6’6 frame. The computer then states, “Please arm yourself.” As it says this, several hidden compartments open up to reveal a cache of alien weapons. After hearing a short description of all the weapons, he picks up a palm sized gemstone. As he picks it up, it grows fast to his hand, binding itself to his skin.

Jonathan then sees that three targets have risen up from out of the ground. He raises his hand, and concentrates. Beams of highly focused energy shoot out of every facet, and join in the center of the gem. Then….it fires. In three consecutive shots the targets are obliterated. “You have chosen the Kra’nou.” States the computer. “It will remain with you until a builder is available to remove it.” “When will a builder become available?” Jonathan asks. “Unknown.” Is the reply. “However, video footage is available of the last builder visit.” “Show me.” Demands Jonathan.

A video streams across a film in front of his face. The video shows an eight foot tall, eight armed, seven fingered, blue skinned alien working on various projects. Jonathan is absolutely crushed, though wen he sees the tome index. It was for over 300 years ago! “I can’t wait 300 years!” Jonathan cries. “Is there anyway for me to get into contact with any of that race?”

After many moments, the computer says, “The builder was Swon’ku. I could plot a course for the Swon’ku homeworld.” “Do it.” Is Jonathan’s reply. “As you wish. Launch sequence beginning.” States the computer.

Jonathan steps back into the ship, and the computer begins a countdown to launch. Panic starts to grip our hero’s heart when he notices that molten lava is rising all around the saucer! Unaffected, the computer continues its countdown, while the magma continues to rise.

Before Jonathan can question the computer as to what is happening, the volcano erupts, launching the saucer into the air with such velocity that it breaks orbit before the engines are even engaged. “Launch complete.” The computer states. “Swon’ku vessel detected. Intercept course laid in. Estimated time to arrival…… 30 Earth seconds.” When the 30 seconds are complete the saucer docks with the much larger Swon’ku mother ship.

Once the saucer has stopped, Jonathan moves to the door way, where he anxiously awaits first contact with the mysterious Swon’ku. The door opens into utter darkness. He sticks his head out, to investigate, and when he does a huge seven fingered hand slams down on the back of his head. In a state of semi-consciousness Jonathan is dragged down several dark hallways until he is thrown into a room bursting with light.

There is only one “Person” in the room aside from Jonathan. He is seven feet tall, has two arms, and two tendril-like appendages protruding from his shoulders. He is also a very pale blue, instead of the vibrant blue of the Swon’ku in the video, and the one that had dragged him there. In other words, he was different from the “Builder” and the “Captor”.

“You are not Taiquelen.” The Swon’ku says as he turns to face Jonathan. “My name is Luxim.” He states. “What race are you?” is his question. Jonathan replies, “I am human.” “Good” says Luxim, “I am half human, so I know from personal experience that your race is weak. It will make it that much easier to destroy your planet.”

Shocked, Jonathan turns to the viewscreen and realizes that the mother ship was now orbiting earth! “Take him away.” Luxim commands. A jailer comes in and grabs a hold of Jonathan’s shoulders. “You will be executed human.” The jailer says. “For what!?” Jonathan screams. Luxim turns and says, “For being human. That’s enough for me.” Jonathan is then dragged to the prison deck to await execution.

Once on the prison deck the jailer throws Jonathan into his cell, however in mid-air he remembers the Kra’nou gem, and turning fires at the jailer. When Jonathan looks up the jailer is nowhere in sight. Instead a steaming pile of blue sludge is where the jailer had been standing. Jonathan, seeing a perfect chance for escape, runs out of his cell and starts to look for a way to stop Luxim from destroying the world.

As he runs down the many halls, he sees a door with a guard on each side. Knowing that this must lead somewhere important, he kills both guards and enters the room. All is dark in the room, but he goes in anyway. All of a sudden a weight lands on his back.

He is then flipped over onto his back. The lights come on, and sitting on his stomach is the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He probably would have told her so, but she was holding a 17 inch long, serrated edge knife to his throat.

She looks surprised to see him. Once her surprise has worn off, she gets off of him and goes to leave the room. “What was that all about?” Jonathan asks. She replies, “You are not Swon’ku, so I have no desire to kill you.” He says, “Well, thank you, but why do you want to kill the Swon’ku?”

After many moments of hesitating she answers, “They have tortured, experimented on, and imprisoned my people for hundreds of years. They have also used us for slave labor. I hate them. I am the last of my people, and I will kill the one who is responsible. Luxim.”

Jonathan says, “You were experimented on? You don’t look too bad.” He then adds under his breath, “Not bad at all.” She says, “I was lucky. The experiment that they did on me took, so they didn’t experiment any more.” Jonathan says, “I’m sorry, but we’ll have to continue this later. Look!” .

They both turn to see a squad of ten guards, with knives in their lower four hands, and phase modulated blaster pistols in their upper four. She, seeing a chance to wreak vengeance on those who had hurt her so terribly, rushes, with dagger upraised at the group. The leader sees her coming and levels his blaster at her, places one of his many fingers on the trigger, and……. Disappears, with nothing but steam and ash remaining where he had stood.

Everyone, the nine guards that are left, and the slave girl look at the pile of ash, at Jonathan, then back at the ash. The guards then join their leader as piles of ash on the floor as the Kra’nou fires repeatedly. “Who or what are you?” the slave girl asks as she turns to face him. He answers, “My name is Jonathan Oakes and I’m human. Who are you?” “My name is Sem’tii and I am the last of the Taiquelen.”

Jonathan says, “I need to stop Luxim from destroying my planet, but if you come with me I will help you escape.” “I thank you for your offer, and it is a very generous offer, because I would obviously be safer with you, but I will kill Luxim and you would just slow me down. Maybe we can still escape together. Good-bye.”

“What do you mean slow you down? You just said you’d be safer with me! And how do you think you’re going to be able to even get to Luxim?” Smiling she says, “What they have done to me will be their undoing. I can blend in with my surroundings, so they won’t know I am there until it is too late.” She then leaves.

Jonathan wants to run after her but he knows that he needs to find another way to stop the Swon’ku incase they can’t kill Luxim. So, he finds the route to the engine room, and heads out. Once he gets there he sees a weak spot in the engine’s design.

There is a spot to place a crystal so that it could build up a charge. Below the slot is a warning sign written in every language in the galaxy. It reads, “Under no circumstances is anyone to place a Kra’nou into this slot. A feedback loop will initiate and this will cause complete destruction of this vessel.”

Jonathan sees this as the perfect opportunity. He knows that if he places the Kra’nou in the slot his best chance for escape is gone but he knows that Earth is more important than him so, he takes hold of the crystal and pulls. Nothing happens. He pulls harder this time, and excruciating pain shoots through his arm. He grits his teeth and pulls and pulls, screaming until every tendril comes out of his hand. He then puts the crystal into the slot, disables the warning systems, picks up a knife from the ground, and heads off to find Luxim.

He enters the bridge, and walks to the other side of the room. Neither Luxim, nor Sem’tii is anywhere to be seen. While Jonathan looks around he hears and evil laugh. He spins around to see Sem’tii hanging from the ceiling by chains with irons clasped around her wrists and ankles. The chains are attached to the ceiling and the floor.

Luxim says, “Now you will see what happens to those who oppose me.” “I will stop you!” Jonathan says. “Ha! I’ve been unstoppable for 400 years. How is a worm like you ever going to stop me? You have a choice either shut down the weapons pointed at your puny planet, or release that filth from the device. Oh, just so you know. If you think you can wait to save her, you can’t. There is a high powered plasma cannon pointed at her. She will be obliterated. Now…. CHOOSE!”

Jonathan says quietly, “I have chosen.” He then yells, “I choose both!” He throws the dagger into Luxim so that he couldn’t activate the weapons, and rushes over to Sem’tii. He removes her wrists from the irons, and she falls on the ground, but before he can move, the cannon fires. Blazing plasma hits him square in the stomach, and he falls to the floor.

“Why did you come back for me?” she asks him. He answers, “Because, sometimes in rare circumstances, you can fall in love in only a few moments, and that’s exactly what happened.” She tells him crying, “I won’t leave you.” But he says, just before passing into unconsciousness, one word. “Go.”

She drags him to the docking bay, and launches the saucer. Once away from the mother ship Jonathan regains consciousness. “Don’t worry.” She says. “We’ll get another chance to stop the Swon’ku. Let’s just get you better.” “Watch.” He says. The Swon’ku mother ship explodes, hurling fragmented pieces of alien metals into space. Sem’tii asks, “What happened?” With his dying breath, Jonathan answers, “It was rigged.”

The End

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