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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

A Sweet Ride

Why have UFO’s been saucer-shaped for hundreds of years? If you want to know that and how space travel can be a gas, read Sweet Ride.

All necessary translations have been made

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“We need a new look.” Green Glow, pilot of the Gaison spacecraft currently manifesting as a UFO reflected odiferously.

Navigator Blue Shimmer winced with smog, “Why, Green? We’ve had this saucer-shape for over a hundred years now, all through Earth’s 20th century. In fact, it’s been the gold standard, well, the luminous orange standard, since the 1600’s on Earth, maybe even before that. This is how we ALWAYS manifest on Earth. Right?”

“Yesss, but, Blue, do you know how many new three-dimensional manifestation options there are now? Almost everyone else in the galaxies has upgraded to something newer for their planetside manifestations. Do we really want to always manifest as the same old saucer skin?” Pilot Green Glow replied with an excess of aromatic enthusiasm. “How about something spiffy? For example, why don’t we upgrade to a spinning, twinkling, lattice-shelled geodesic? The one I kind of like is a geodesic sphere, with fireworks shooting out of the top and bottom, like electromagnetic radiation spewing out of a pulsar. That would be a real eye-catcher.”

“And we want an ‘eye-catcher’ becaussse...?” Navigator Blue Shimmer countered in a deepening smog, “In fact, as a proud Gaison, a gaseous entity without crude solid manifestations of my own person, I’ve sometimes wondered why we even need a physical manifestation of our spacecraft.”

“The two of you are getting too excited.” emitted Captain Purple Pulses pulsing a bluish purple auroral arc over both of them. “This UFO’s Antigravity Magnetic Gyroscopic is powered way up, which means you’re both susceptible to emotional auroral displays. Monitor your particle collisions, that is a direct order.” Captain Purple Pulses instructed with hot spice. “Green, your oxygen is too dense, diffuse it. And, Blue, check your nitrogen for condensation.”

Pilot Green Glow did a quick adjustment, then continued, “Okay, maybe we could go retro with something we’ve already used a long time ago, like stacked rocket modules and flaming boosters, but updated with nontoxic, eco-friendly propellant projections? You know, more in sync with the kind of gaseous entities who we really are today. Just no swamp gas imagery, that’s offensive.” Pilot Green Glow released an illustrative whiff.

“We’ll stick to our usual liquid metal fuel reactor, with gyroscope not manifested.” Captain Purple Pulses corrected with firm opaqueness.

“No? Okay.” Pilot Green Glow puffed in its best conciliatory scent, “I’d go for manifesting as fairies and pixies like we did in days of yore. Those were kind of cute. Anything for a change. Anything except a weather balloon, that expands beyond credulity.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Navigator Blue Shimmer, who was always slow to modulate, fizzed sourly. “Our saucer-shape manifestation MATCHES our dashboard. How could we possibly change?”

“Hhhuh?” hissed Pilot Green Glow.

“IT MATCHES OUR DASHBOARD!” Navigator Blue Shimmer steamed in a hot vapor.

“Aw, give me a break." Pilot Green Glow responded with a determined putter of don’t-like the-way-this-is-going vapor.

“Our UFO’s manifestation matches our comms display. They were both designed on Earth, in the same era. Look at the toggle switch on our dashboard, it’s gold! How 20th century is that? I like it, and I want to keep it,” Navigator Blue Shimmer boiled as it turned away from the conversation and scanned some maps. Then Navigator Blue Shimmer pressed the ID TARDIS rose on the dashboard for time and relative dimension in space, glanced at the UPP (Universal Precision Position) readout, then at a POI (Points Of Interest) popup. “Ummm, nice, everything is in order. We are where we are supposed to be, we’re here on time, and when we get to where we are going, we know what we are going to be doing. All is good.” Navigator Blue Shimmer emitted a don’t-talk-to-me blue funk with smug and excessive refusal notes in it.

“What kind of reasoning is that?” Pilot Green Glow complained with the unpleasant smell of intimidation, “I think a change would be very good for morale, especially my morale.”

Captain Purple Pulses moved into the fray with the penetrating scent of authority, “HOLD on. Let me make this very clear for both of you. Nobody is having any morale issues, not today, not on my craft, not ever. Let’s focus, Gaisons. Our mission orders are catch-and-release: one pair.”

“Aye, Aye Captain." Pilot Green Glow exuded sweetly. Navigator Blue Shimmer continued in its sulking funk.

Captain Purple Pulses smiled with a sharp scent, “Pilot Green Glow, you’re a great pilot, but a terrible instigator. You’re a crazy-maker if I ever saw one. Are you sure you can’t be hosed into the vacuum, just for the fun of it?”

With a spurt of renewed confidence, Navigator Blue Shimmer emitted, “Green, you know that the time differential between Earth and us means that a hundred years or even several hundred years just doesn’t seem that long to us. We perceive hundreds of years more like Earthlings would perceive a week or so. To change the manifest skin on our spacecraft every week would be obsessive.”

Pilot Green Glow changed scent tactics, “Well, we don’t even have brane-to-brane communications on this old clunker of a dashboard. Come on, we NEED barne-to-brane comms, everyone else has it. How else can we while away our time between time? And so, if we get a new dashboard, how about getting a new manifestation to go with it?”

Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog came in over the comms crackling like static, an affectation which was only one of Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog’s many annoying properties, “Okay gassers, listen up.”

Captain Purple Pulses frowned in a colorless sort of way but gave the signal for attention with a commanding blast. Pilot Green Glow and Navigator Blue Shimmer compressed into attention.

A spluttering of derision and contempt came over the comms, then silence, Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog had released no message content other than to give offense. It was hard to believe Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog was a Gaison, but it takes all kinds to make a galaxy. And after all, Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog had had extensive work-related modifications, which appeared to have taken a severe psycho-social toll.

Captain Purple Pulses silently radiated bluish-purple irritation, but refrained from audible comment. At times like this patience was a virtue. Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog was technically in charge of all communication sessions, and Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog was given to rudeness and imprecision. Deal with it.

Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog emitted slowly, smoggily, “I have a little side task for you, a supplement to your current Catch-And-Release outing. “This will be a little break from where you grab and maul those unfortunate little Earthlings?” And with that Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog veered off into the deep end of stench space, so to speak.

“Now, listen to me, windbags.” Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog emitted, “Catch-And-Release of Earthlings is actually not recreation. Earthlings have nerves, just like all Earth creatures, so they feel excruciating pain during the Catch-And-Release procedure. Caught Earthlings endure not only physical pain but also fear and horror at what is happening to them. Earthlings are NOT dumb creatures, they are sentient beings with universal rights. It ought to be illegal to remove them from their natural habitat. When you beam them up, they burn and suffocate. Trapped in your tractor beam, Earthlings' lungs often collapse and their intestines can even rupture because of the sudden change in pressure,” Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog railed stinkily.

Captain Purple Pulse took a quick inhalation of protest but forbore to emit the bluish purple obscenities that rose to mind. Clearly Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog was confusing the plight of earth fish caught and released from a barbed hook with Earthlings who admittedly suffered serious psychological trauma if the sedatives and amnesia anesthetic were not correctly administered. No one liked to be reminded of that.

“When these poor little Earthlings are grabbed and handled by us, that would be you, not me, the protective coating of mucus on their bodies is rubbed off. This makes Earthlings more vulnerable to bacterial infections when they’re thrown back to Earth. Earthlings often swallow pieces of Catch-And-Release equipment, and when you pull out the equipment you also pull out the Earthlings’ lungs and guts. Earthlings who are caught and released suffer such severe physical and psychological distress that they frequently die of shock. All released Earthlings are more susceptible to predators. So, WHEN will you stop these gruesome Catch-And-Release actions?” Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog demanded with the stench of extreme indignation.

“You can keep your smears and demeanings to yourself." Captain Purple Pulse snapped with an uncharacteristic blast of counter-stench, “You’re thinking of fish not Earthlings. We don’t fish. Earthlings are the ones who fish. As for our mission, what you are calling recreation is actually highly valued work in the lucrative hobby industry.

“Yes, but...” Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog objected in a fog of confusion.

“Yes, but nothing.” fumed Captain Purple Pulse, “If you want to ‘save the fish’, don’t litter, communicate your complaints to the Galactic Federation of Fly Fishers (GFFF), and you can join Greenpeace Galactic, if you like. Don’t bother us about it.”

Pilot Green Glow and Navigator Blue Shimmer both thought this last bit was somewhat brusque, but they emitted nothing. Captain Purple Pulse was in full command mode.

Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog abruptly disconnected leaving behind a snitty gray smog, with no clue as to what its “little side task” had been, but best guess was that Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog had wanted something unauthorized and had hoped to bully and blackmail the Gaisons into doing it for free with the “fishing” ruse.

Suspended in the void of relief that was Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog’s absence, the three gaseous entities drifted into recovery mode.

“Okay, the truth of it is that I am old, and I just don’t want to change our spacecraft’s manifestation. I would rather relax.” emitted Navigator Blue Shimmer with a weakly defiant shimmer, “and, look at you, Green, you’re old too. Your glow is half what it was a millennia ago.” (Blue carefully avoided looking at Captain Purple Pulses who was even older of either of them and much too powerful to antagonize.) “Green, do you realize how long we have been going on these missions? I’ll tell you, it’s been a looog time. Now you want to change up everything? Is this sudden yearning for a new manifestation some personal mid-life crisis you’re going through? We don’t need a new manifestation. Gaison spacecraft technology is maxed out, it’s as good as it gets. And that’s very good indeed. Why change something superficial like our manifestation? A saucer-shaped UFO is good enough. There is no functional REASON to change our planetside manifestation. It’s just puffs and putters you’re talking about. I’m too old to argue about this.” Navigator Blue Shimmer emitted letting its volume sag.

Pilot Green Glow knew when to push an advantage like ‘too old to argue’ and billowed up, “Okay, how about we manifest as an incredibly large discoid that is flat-bottomed, convex on top, and surrounded by a brilliantly glowing plasma? This would be a cold, multicolored plasma that surges up in spires off of an equatorial ring at the base of the disk. That isn’t really all that different from what we have been manifesting. Okay, it’s very different, but try it, you’ll like it. I’m thinking of adding rotating jewel-tone light studs around the perimeter.”

“Oooh, you had me at jewel-tone.” Navigator Blue Shimmer admitted, going so far as to release traces of noble gases: helium, neon, argon, krypto, and xenon (but no radioactive radon out of courtesy.) The rare gases elicited feelings of acceptance and satisfaction from all three entities. In fact, at that moment the on-board Magnetic Sector Mass Spectrometer dinged cheerily. It rarely outputted, its functions being largely ceremonial. This marked a special occasion.

“I’m thinking,” Green emitted exudations of joy, “of a manifestation that could cover a small city on Earth, really overwhelm the sky above it. But no vapor trails, and no exhaust. Again, that’s just not who we are.”

“That’s good so far, go on." Captain Purple Pulses affirmed with sweet spice.

Navigator Blue Shimmer dissolved into complete agreement, “Windows are unnecessary, landing gear is unnecessary, but how about a slightly blue Antigravity Tractor Beam directed below in a steady light laser? And, I’d like to flank our new manifestation with small, scintillating light orbs for navigation. Again, completely unnecessary, but I like the way they look. We’ll use the traditional amber for port, green for starboard, and shine from dead ahead. Yes? I really like traditional."

“YES! Believe me, this will actually HELP our mission.” Pilot Green Glow emitted with the smoldering confidence of a true visionary. It hissed amicably to Navigator Blue Shimmer, “Do you want running lights too? Yes? Okay, that’s it then, we’ve got our new manifestation.”

Pilot Green Glow pressed Reset on the dashboard and tapped out the new manifestation settings, its filaments fluttering down from Unidentified Flying Object saucer to Vimāna. And, poof, there they were, in a flying, flaming Vimāna chariot.

“Oooh, I do like our new look, it's gigantic and glorious. It’s really retrograde, going back thousands of Earth years to the 500’s B.C.!” shimmered Navigator Blue Shimmer. “And yet it’s a majestic symbol of the future because we bring it. Very confusing, I like it, I like it. The Earthlings will feel like worshipping us, but won’t know how. This Vimāna will make our missions almost too easy!”

Pilot Green Glow gave off the archaic gasoline scent of a revving internal combustion fuel engine, in a naughty but fun way.

“Okay, here’s what we’re going to do.” Captain Purple Pulses emitted with hot spice authority. We have our new manifestation. Now let’s go to Earth and complete our mission. Our mission order is a fulfillment for a pet show, no, make that an Earthling Show that requires two prime Earthlings. This is a quick job: catch, display (maybe win Best-of-Show-For-Earthlings-In-Stasis), then release. Let’s go pick them up.”

Navigator Blue Shimmer queried with a scent as sweet as an Earth rose, “Captain Purple Pulses, you’ve often told us that Gaisons encourage and promote responsible Earthling management, so I want to double-check something. When we pick up this pair of Earthlings for the show, does our mission order specify adequate knock-out medications to minimize capture trauma, assure minimal time in stasis, rapid release, and maybe even a post-capture health checkup?”

“Yes, to all of the above, to the very best of our ability.” emitted Captain Purple Pulses whose command was redolent of sugar and spice. “Nearing time for jump through alternative dimensions. Check coordinates, cue up actions, get ready to Long-Press quantum jump. This is a sweet ride.

Afternote: See my blog entry on 03-13-18, “Alien Riffraff”, for another part of this story.

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This work is copyright protected. It is a work of fiction. Incidents, places, and names (especially those of alien entities) are products of the author/artist’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Caption: Dashboard for A Sweet Ride

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2015

Caption: Gaseous Entity-Captain Purple Pulses

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2015

Caption: Gaseous Entity-Pilot Green Glow

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2015

Caption: Gaseous Entity-Navigator Blue Shimmer

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2015

Caption: Gaseous Entity-Ansible Dispatcher Gray Fog with Ansible

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2015

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