Authors: Stan Morris
Tags: #young adult, #science fiction
Copyright 2010 by Stan Morris
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Tales of the Ragoon
Kate's Movie Star
A Chance Encounter
Kate was having a great time, on what she
considered her night off, right up until she literally ran into the
lizard and its pet human. She had taken a long bath (not a
shower), had used the Oil of Olay that she kept secreted in her
bottom drawer beneath her underwear (the one place she HOPED her
brothers would never look), caught the bus to Modesto, ate a
scrumptious and expensive meal at a elegant French restaurant that
she had found on the internet, and topped it off with a romantic
movie (one that her brothers would call a 'chick flick').
She had just come out of the theater (one of
those old fashioned ones with the ticket booth right next to the
sidewalk) when she smacked into the alien. It didn't move
back, of course, although it gave out what might have been a
grunt. It stopped dead and looked at her. She was lying
on her back where she had fallen. Her cute butt (at least she told
herself that it was cute) was aching from the sudden conflict with
the concrete. The pet human, an older woman hurried forward
to help Kate rise.
All right, Kate, she sternly told herself,
don't be catty. The lady is not old; she is just older, by
several years, than you. And prettier.
"Are you all right?" asked the lady.
"Yeah, I'm good," responded Kate
brusquely. She shook off the helping hand.
Maybe that was a mistake, for abruptly the
alien said, "Papers."
The lady looked like she might protest that
command, but the alien gave her what may have been a quelling
Kate looked around nervously. "I don't
remember where I left them," she replied lamely.
"Perhaps they are in your purse," suggested
The mechanical voice did not sound
friendly. Her spirits sinking, Kate reached into her purse
and handed over her driver's license. The lizard took it and
studied the license for a moment. It handed the driver's
license back to Kate.
"You do not have your Comprehensive Personal
License with you?" asked the lizard.
"Of course not," answered Kate
defiantly. "I'm an American."
"Do you have a note from your owner?" asked
"No," muttered Kate.
"You are sixteen, and you live in
Livingston, and here you are in Modesto with no CPL and
without a note from your owner," said the lizard.
Kate crossed her arms and stared at the
lizard’s scaly gray chest. "That pretty well sums it up," she
replied. "Except that I'll be seventeen in two weeks."
With reptilian speed, the alien’s arm snaked
out, and her wrist was taken in its hand.
"Come with us," it ordered and started
forward, casually pulling Kate with it. Up to now, Kate had
not been overly worried about the situation, but now she felt the
adrenalin of anxiety flood her body.
"Where are you taking me?" she
The lady hurried after them. Kate
looked back at her, hoping for help, but the lady, although looking
sympathetic, said nothing. After several paces, they came to a
large van, like those used by rental car companies at
The alien opened the rear door and said, "Get
Kate was very frightened now. She
whimpered as she placed a foot up on the low step at the rear of
the van. She hesitated, looking around for someone to come to her
Then she yelped when the alien gave her a
stinging slap on her behind. Hastily, she climbed into the
van, and she sat down on one of the bench seats that
faced sideways. The door slammed shut. Kate was
feeling numb except for the sting in her rump, and her heart was
She was in trouble, and she knew it.
The rumors about the treatment of people in Ragoon custody were not
good. Although the kids in Oakdale had not been treated too
badly, she thought. Except that one of them had been sent to
the Moon, she remembered.
She shivered. Was it cold on the Moon,
she wondered. Perhaps they would let her dad bring her
Yosemite coat to her before her shuttle lifted off. Who
knows, she thought? Perhaps she would meet a handsome miner
who would fall in love with her. They would steal a shuttle
by the skin of their teeth, and then they would sail it to the
asteroid belt where they would set up a pirate base, or
maybe, like the girls from MacKenzie's Rock, they would
discover a giant rock chocked full of titanium.
The van started moving. Maybe they are
taking me home, she thought, and her spirits brightened when the
van took Highway Ninety Nine south. Her hopes were dashed a few
minutes later when the van sped through Livingston and continued
south. It was dark in the back of the van. She thought
about lying down on the seat.
She was just moving to one end of the seat so
that she could stretch out, when she heard the brakes squeal, and
the van lurched sideways. The sudden motion flung her off of
the bench. Instinctively, she threw up her arms to protect
her head, but the other side of the van struck her a glancing blow
on her temple anyway, and banged her elbow to boot. The van
came to a halt amid cries of alarm from the lady and snarls and
hisses from the alien.
Dazed, Kate looked up and there was the alien. To her
surprise, it lifted her carefully and laid her on the bench
"Are you injured?" the mechanical voice
asked. Kate could almost detect a note of anxiety in the voice.
"No, except that I bumped my head," Kate
replied. "Owww...," she added as the alien examined her
limbs. It had lightly squeezed her elbow.
"You are injured," said the alien. The
next thing that came out of his mouth was gibberish as the
translator was unable to translate.
Garbage in, garbage out, thought Kate feeling
light headed from the pain.
"Take care of her, Jane," commanded the
lizard. It thrust open the rear door and got out.
Jane Laurence had no idea what to do, so she
sat down on the bench seat and lifted the girl's head onto her
lap. Through the windshield, she watched as the District
Superintendent wrenched open the driver's side door on the vehicle
that had recklessly passed them, and then had clipped the side of
the van as it tried to merge back into traffic; bringing both
vehicles to a crashing halt on the side of the road.
Jane was puzzled at the sheds of material
that her boss was flinging out of the sports car until she realized
that they were parts of the air bag. Then she winced as she
watched her boss drag someone out of the small expensive car.
She could tell that it was a man.
The alien dangled the man from its massive
hand, and pulled him to within an inch of it's face. Then it
turned and strode to the back of the van while dragging the man
after it. It opened the door and shoved the man toward
"Is he drunk?" the Ragoon demanded.
Reluctantly, Jane leaned forward and sniffed
at the man. Wrinkling her nose, she moved away.
"Yes," she admitted.
She felt sorry for the man. Did the
Ragoon eat drunk drivers who ran them off of the road, she
wondered? The District Supervisor threw the man onto the
floor of the van between the two bench seats. The dazed man
"Should I call an ambulance for the girl?"
the Ragoon asked. In the distance, Jane could hear the wail
of an approaching police car.
"I'm all right," interjected Kate. "I
just have a bump on my head."
The lizard nodded. "I will have her
seen by the nurse at the Rehabilitation Center. You may call
your owner from there," the lizard said to Kate. Kate
The police car pulled up to the scene of the
accident. The lizard went to talk to the officers. Jane
stepped out of the van, went to the driver’s door, and reentered
the van. In a few minutes, the lizard came back to the van
and got in. Jane started the motor. It seemed to run,
so Jane eased out into traffic. Soon they passed through
Merced, and then shortly after that they came to a set of iron
gates which opened to allow them entrance.
It was not long before Kate was in the
infirmary. The nurse suggested to Jane that Kate stay the
night there, so that the nurse could watch her for signs of a
concussion. Jane agreed and, after telling Kate that she
would try to see her in the morning, Jane left.
Kate spent a restless night in the
infirmary. From time to time, the nurse would wake her, take
her temperature, and give her another tablet for the pain. As
morning approached, she was allowed to sleep a little longer.
Kate woke at mid-morning. There was a different nurse on
Kate dreaded calling her father, but she
needn't have worried. One of the lizards came in and escorted
her to a green barracks building. She was given a bunk and
assigned to a group of girls. And there she stayed for the
next five days.
Jane was reviewing a list of prisoners one
morning. "Have you decided what to do about the man that was
in the collision with us?" she asked.
The District Supervisor put it's elbow on the
table, and then it used that hand to stoke the lower end of it's
snout. A very human like gesture, thought Jane.
"I've been thinking about giving him to the
girl," it said.
Jane looked at it blankly. "What girl?"
"The girl that we picked up that night.
The girl that we were transporting before that idiot ran into
Jane nodded. "Oh, yes, the girl from
Livingston. So are you planning to just show up on her
doorstep, and tell her that you are giving her the man who caused
her to bump her head?"
"You can tell her, yourself. Just send
for her. She can come in here during your lunch period,"
suggested the alien.
"Do you mean that she's still here?" asked
Jane, astonished and appalled at this news.
"Yes. I supposed her owner did not want
her back," responded the Ragoon.
Jane gulped. "Would you mind very much
if I sent for her now? I really would like to speak with
The alien gave the equivalent of a
shrug. "Do as you wish. It's a light day."
Wearing the customary white t-shirt and white
shorts, Kate was escorted into the presence of the lady who had
been with the alien when Kate had been abducted.
"Hello, again," the lady said. "I'm
Jane Laurence. What's your name?"
"I'm Kate," the teenager said.
"What's your last name, Kate?" asked Jane
"Garcia," replied Kate.
"Well, Kate Garcia, why are you still
here? Didn't you call your parents?"
"No," replied Kate. "The next day, one
of the lizards came to the infirmary, and it said that I had to go
with it. It took me to a big building with a lot of other
girls. I just thought that you guys had changed your
"Good grief, your parents must be frantic,"
"It's just my Dad and my brothers. My
Mom divorced him when I was a baby. But they're real busy, so
I don't know if they have noticed yet that I'm not there."
Jane's jaw did not drop because she caught
herself. She made some polite excuses, and Kate was sent back
to her work group. Jane went to talk to the District
Superintendent. She relayed her conversation with Kate to the
The alien was obviously puzzled. "How
could her owner not know that she was missing?" it asked.
Jane started to speak and then stopped.
She sighed and began again. "Well,..."
The alien cut her off. "Never
mind. It's a human thing, isn't it?"
Jane grimaced, and then she nodded.
The following afternoon, Carlos Garcia was
surprised to come home and find three of the lizards filling up his
living room. There was a young woman with them. His
three sons, Juan, Peter, and Matt, were standing around looking
anxious and intimidated. Warily he entered his home and sat
"Has one of my kids done something?" he
"You are Carlos Garcia?" asked the young
"Si. Yes, ma'am," he answered
"Are these your children?" she asked.
"Yes, these are my boys," he replied
"These three are all of your children?" she