One morning Davy invited Niklas to come over, visit, and go swimming at the private spot that he and some of the other boys had discovered one time. Niklas gladly accepted the invitation, and by early afternoon, both boys were at the small pond.
It was a hot afternoon, and Davy hadn't even bothered to remove his clothes before jumping in and splashing around. Niklas decided to take his time a bit more. Clothes would take a lot longer to dry off than he would, so he decided to remove them.
He'd scarcely removed his shirt and shoes, trying to avoid playful splashes and teasings from Davy in the process, when something very odd happened. A high-pitched wail started to come seemingly out of nowhere.
"What's that sound?" asked Davy, stopping his splashing to listen.
"I don't know," replied Niklas. "A siren?" But even as he said it, he knew it wasn't quite a siren. It was getting louder, too. A lot louder.
"What's going on?" asked Davy, practically yelling. He was covering his ears. Niklas was on his knees, also holding his hands to his ears. The wail was so loud now it was painful to both boys.
Then a second thing happened. A light started to appear, right in mid air, about eight feet above the pond. Davy saw it and scrambled for shore, trying to keep his ears covered. "What is THAT?!" he yelled, but he could barely hear himself. He knew Niklas couldn't have possibly heard him, but both boys were staring at the light, which was growing larger and brighter even as the wail grew louder still.
Then there was a crack of thunder, and the light seemed to explode. What felt like a gust of wind knocked the boys backwards. The light was gone, the wail had stopped -- and something that neither boy could quite see, having been nearly blinded by the flash of light -- splashed into the pond.
"You okay?" asked Davy. Niklas was picking himself up and shaking his head. "I think so." he answered. "What was all that -- oh my gosh! Davy! There's -- somebody out there!"
Davy was about to accuse his friend of being completely nuts, until he looked out into the pond, and saw a body, floating face down, dressed in what looked like some sort of silver suit, in the middle of the pond. Davy didn't hesitate for a second. He dove into the lake and started swimming out.
"Davy, be careful!" yelled Niklas, not quite as willing to head out. "If that's what came out of all that light and noise, it could be dangerous!"
"I think it's going to be dead if I don't do something!" called back Davy, not even turning around to answer Niklas. He reached the prone form and realized that it was no bigger than he was. Had somebody done something to a kid? Technically, Niklas had a point. This was very strange, and he had to be careful. But he couldn't let somebody drown, either. He grabbed the body and turned it over.
And got his second major surprise of the day when he saw the face of this -- whoever or whatever this was. It looked more or less human, in general shape. And its facial features were human, although the eyes looked just a little too big. But the skin was bright green, the hair was whiter than snow, and there were no ears. Instead, two thick antennae protruded from the top of the head, near the back, curving forwards slightly. Davy carefully took a closer look. He'd seen some science-fiction movies. But this didn't look like paint, and the antennae looked real. And then there was that rather extreme entrance to be taken into consideration.
This -- being was clearly unconscious, as well. Davy looked at it carefully. It seemed to be breathing. Davy hoped that was a normal thing for it to do. He called back to Niklas, "I think we just captured a for-real alien here!"
Niklas' response was to let his eyes bulge and his jaw drop. He'd seen even more sci-fi than Davy, and he loved looking at the stars through his telescope. But that was a far cry from having an actual extraterrestrial take a high-dive into a pond of water not too far from your own home! Niklas had no idea what to do next, so all he said was, "Is he all right?"
Davy just sort of glared at Niklas. "How should I know? But he -- it -- whatever -- is breathing. I can't just leave him out here! I'm bringing him in."
Niklas just nodded, wondering what to do next. Call the police? The military? His parents? NASA? No. Not yet. The police wouldn't know what to do. His parents probably wouldn't, either. The military would probably just shoot the alien. Niklas was scared of what was happening, but at the same time, it was kind of cool, too.
Davy hauled the alien back to shore, and Niklas helped Davy bring the alien out of the pond. "He looks like a kid!" said Niklas. "I wonder if that's what he is!" Niklas helped Davy bringing the alien out of the pond.
"We don't even know that it's a he." said Davy. "So, what do we do with it?"
"For now, take him to your treehouse." said Niklas.
"What!?" exclaimed Davy. "How are we going to get him up there?"
Niklas realized that Davy was right. The alien weighed about the same as either of them. He'd be too heavy to carry up there. "Okay, we wait for him to wake up."
That wasn't long in coming, as the alien moaned once and blinked his eyes. Then he opened them. Niklas and Davy flinched. His eyes were as weird as the rest of him. Instead of a colored iris and a black pupil, the circular area inside the cornea was a sort of shaded purple, as if it was all pupil, but slightly colored. He looked at Davy and Niklas with probably as much alarm as Davy and Niklas themselves were feeling.
The alien sat up and tried to back away, letting forth a string of gibberish that sounded like a mixture of Morse Code and radio static.
"I think we have a communication problem." said Davy.
"Just act calm around him." said Niklas. "Maybe he'll calm down."
Niklas knelt down on the ground. The alien hadn't stood up yet. "We're not going to hurt you," said Niklas quietly and slowly. "We want to be friends."
The alien looked at Niklas, as if trying to understand his words. He stopped backing away, but still looked afraid.
Then Davy knelt down and decided to try. "Uh, welcome to our planet?"
The alien looked at Davy. Then, half-crawling, he took a couple of steps forward. He let out another string of gibberish, but it didn't sound as static-filled as the last one.
Niklas moved a little closer. Then the alien shot out a hand and touched Niklas on the forehead. For a second, Niklas felt frozen in place, as though he couldn't move, and it felt like someone had just burned his forehead. Davy moved and pulled Niklas away. "Are you okay?" he asked as the two boys fell in a heap a couple of yards from the alien.
"Yeah, I think so." said Niklas."What'd he do?"
"That's better." came a new voice. It had a slight echoing sound to it, but sounded definitely childlike. It was the alien. "I'm sorry if I scared you. But I had to touch you to pick up your language."
"This is seriously creeping me out." said Davy quietly.
The antennae on the alien's head rotated towards Davy. "I'm sorry I'm -- creeping you out. I don't want to scare anybody. Your name is Day-vee, am I correct?"
Davy's eyes went wide. "Close enough."
"And you're Nik'k-luss." said the alien, looking at Niklas. He seemed to stutter slightly on the "k" pronunciation.
"So -- who are you?" asked Niklas.
The alien gave forth another burst of static.
"I don't think we can pronounce that." said Niklas.
"I don't think I'm even going to try." said Davy. "Explaining this is going to be hard enough without a sprained tongue."
The alien considered this. "We talk a lot faster than you do. And my name would be pretty long if I slowed it down, and even then you might have trouble pronouncing it. You may call me by the first syllable of my name, which is Jahv."
"That, I think I can handle." said Davy.
"Welcome to Earth, Jahv." added Niklas. "Why have you come here?"
Jahv looked like he'd been struck. "I -- ran away."
Davy groaned. "Not another one. I don't think we're going to be able to get this one home as easily as Keith and Martin."
Niklas gave Davy a glare, but turned back to Jahv. "Why?"
"My parents." said Jahv. "I'm just a kid, like I read in your mind that you are. They're always so busy exploring space and stuff, even though they drag me along, they never pay any attention. So I decided to leave, find a new planet somewhere, and just stay put and maybe try to make some friends. I know that sounds kind of silly."
"Not really." said Niklas. "You've made two friends already. But won't your parents come looking for you?" Niklas had this sudden vision of an alien ship coming to track down Jahv. It was cause for concern.
Jahv shook his head. "The transmatrix device I use was set to a scrambled frequency. I just told it to find me an acceptable planet and beam me there. They won't know where to look. They'll probably be glad I'm not even there anymore. They can concentrate completely on their work."
"If there's anything we can do to help..." said Niklas.
"I am kind of hungry." said Jahv.
"I've got food stashed in the treehouse, and my parents won't be home right now." said Davy. "I think we can get up there."
The three youngsters were able to get inside the treehouse unnoticed. But something occurred to Niklas as Davy was sorting through a box of food. "Hey, do we know if any of this stuff is safe for him to eat?"
"Not a problem," said Jahv. "I have an analyzer right here in my backpack. I came prepared."
"What backpack?" asked Davy.
Jahv looked over his shoulder for the first time. "I know I had it with me when the transmat began! It must've fallen off when I hit the water!"
"I hope it's watertight." said Niklas.
Jahv nodded. "But I have a lot of survival supplies in it. I have to get it back."
"Back to the pond?" said Davy.
"Bring some of the food, too." added Niklas. "We're all going to be hungry by the time we get through looking for that pack."
The three snuck out of the treehouse and made their way back to the pond unnoticed. "Where did I appear?" asked Jahv.
"About eight feet right above dead center of the lake." said Davy.
Jahv nodded, and proceeded to remove his uniform. Davy and Niklas seemed a little surprised. Jahv just grinned slightly. "It might interest you to know that kids on my planet generally don't wear clothes anyway. Just when we travel in space, as a safety precaution. And I read in your mind that you two were about to do the same thing to go swimming before I showed up."
"Somebody's going to have to teach him a thing or two about privacy." suggested Davy.
Niklas was grinning. "Yeah, but right now, who cares? Let's help him find his pack."
Moments later, three children -- all of them boys and one of them bright green -- were diving in the lake, trying to take the search seriously, and having only moderate success. After some playful splashing and teasing, they finally started diving and looking for the pack. Jahv found it a few minutes later, and the threesome headed to shore to dry off and eat.
Jahv spent the next few minutes waving a small, round device over the food that Davy had brought with him. He said that the candy bars would be safe for him to eat -- except for the one with peanuts in it. The potato chips were okay, but not the cheese-flavored ones. The jar of peanut butter actually made Jahv recoil in horror when he read the analysis of it, but the grape jelly and the bread was okay. The cola analysis caused Jahv to make a sarcastic remark along the lines of, "On my world, we'd use something like this to strip paint," but the lemonade was perfectly acceptable. So the food supplies were divided up based on who could tolerate what, especially Jahv.
Sometime later, the three started to discuss what to do about Jahv. They couldn't take him home. Davy didn't think it would be safe for Jahv to stay in the treehouse all the time. Food, it turned out, would not be a problem. Among the devices Jahv pulled from his backpack, which seemed to contain much more than its size would allow, was a small machine that could duplicate any of the foods that Jahv had eaten today. None of them liked the idea of turning Jahv over to any authorities.
"I guess you've never had an offworlder here before." said Jahv. "Just as I'd never seen people who looked quite like you until today."
"There's some theories," said Niklas. "People who think they've seen or even been abducted by aliens. But the descriptions they give don't look anything like you."
Jahv raised a hand. "Let me guess. About our height, but really thin, with grey skin, huge black eyes, large heads, and tiny slits for mouths?"
Niklas' eyes went wide. So did Davy's. "Yes," said Niklas. "You know about them?"
Jahv shrugged. "Even we don't know WHO they are. But they've been pulling the same sort of stunts on about a dozen or so worlds for decades -- including mine. We call them -- " and Jahv finished with another burst of his own static-like language.
"You have a translation for that?" asked Davy.
Jahv considered the question. He still wasn't as familiar with this new language as he wanted to be. But he finally came up with a response. "Space roaches."
After the laughter died down, Jahv finally made a suggestion. "Is there any reason why I can't stay right here?"
Niklas and Davy looked at each other. Finally Davy spoke. "I guess not. No one's ever bothered us when we've come out here to swim. If this area belongs to anybody in particular, they've never made a big deal about it."
"But how will you go undetected?" asked Niklas. "If somebody were to see you out here, there might be trouble."
Jahv grinned and pulled another item from his seemingly bottomless backpack. It looked to be of the same fabric as his uniform, but was folded into a tiny square. There was a button on the top of the square. Jahv pressed it and set it down. "We'd better move back a bit." he said, gently shoving Niklas and Davy about ten feet back.
The square beeped, and then unfurled into a dome-shaped tent about twelve feet in diameter and six feet high. Niklas cringed. "Somebody's going to see that for sure!"
"No, they won't." replied Jahv, waking over to a control panel on the side of the tent. Several lines of alien script ran across it. Jahv ran his finger across one of them. The tent disappeared.
"Now, that's camouflage!" said Davy.
"Is that place bigger on the inside than on the outside, like your packpack seems to be?" asked Niklas.
Jahv seemed to pull a flap open in mid-air. "Have a look."
The two boys walked over and stuck their heads in. The ceiling wasn't much higher, maybe a couple of feet, but the overall floor space inside the tent was easily triple that of the outside.
Davy and Niklas pulled their heads out. "You are going to have to explain how that works sometime." said Niklas.
"Yeah, I could use something like that for MY room." added Davy.
Jahv smiled. "I'd be more than happy to. I'll be fine, staying out here. I will only ask two things of you. If you tell any others of my presence here, and I know you bring others here to swim, make sure they are willing to keep my existence a secret, as well."
"Of course." both Davy and Niklas agreed.
"Secondly -- please come and visit as often as you can." said Jahv. "I'm alone here. I can live with that. But I don't want to be lonely."
Davy and Niklas grinned. "Certainly. We'll visit, and we'll bring friends. Ones we can trust."
"Thank you." said Jahv. "And now I will say farewell, for now. Thank you again, for being my new friends."
Jahv entered the tent and closed the flap. And any sign of the tent, or Jahv, disappeared.
"Probably has to clean out the closet in there or something." remarked Davy.
"You know, if this hadn't happened to us, I wouldn't believe it." said Niklas, as the two headed back to where they'd left their clothes near the pond. "Even now, with him in there, it's like it never happened. But it did, didn't it! We actually have a friend from another planet!"
They found the pile of clothes. There was a silver spacesuit in the pile. "It happened." said Davy, grinning. "And you're right. This is very cool. You think our friends will believe it?"
"They will." said Niklas.