Chapter Five – The Game
”Clear a path,” T’ron said, and she walked to the top of the ramp and then turned to face us. ”Everyone stay here,” she ordered, ”until I signal all clear.”
She turned to go and Rob spoke, ”Hold it,” he said to her. T’ron stopped and Robin spoke again. ”You should let one of us go first Commander. In case of danger your the only one who nows how to raise the ramp back up…I’ll go down first and check things out.”
T’ron considered the logic of the proposal for a moment and then nodded. ”Alright,” she said reluctantly.
Sandy grabbed her husbands arm. ”I’ll go with you Rob,” she said.
”Not this time, hon,” he said, and moved to go before she could argue. Then Neil hurried forward.
”Hold it buddy,” he said. ”I’m coming with you. If there’s a fracas you’ll need someone to hold your coat.’
Jane was distressed and rushed forward. ”Neil,” she said, ”you don’t have to go,…nobody should be going down there when those monsters might be waiting for us!”
Neil shook his head. ”Sorry Jane,” he said, ”but I can’t just wait for something to happen…I have to do what I have to…”
Just then, he was distracted by Gwen, who walked around the guys and strode down the ramp before anyone could stop her. ”I’m sick of all this macho bull-crap,” she said. ”I want to se where the hell we are!”
Leslie hurried after her, and had almost caught up, when she and Gwen stopped ‘dead in their tracks’. I looked down at the lighted area and someone moved out of the dark. At first all that was illuminated was his boots. The footwear looked like something the rock group KISS would wear. Then he moved forward and we were looking at the imposing figure of a 7 foot tall Klingon warrior!
Leslie squeaked out one frightened word, ”Gwen,” and inched closer to her life partner.
”What can we do for you, big fellow,” Gwen said to the Klingon?
The alien took a step forward and stared at the two ladies for a moment, then he raised his gaze up to the rest of us.
”I am here to challenge your best champion to a battle against me,” he bellowed!
We let the words sink in, then exchanged glances…Sandy approached her spouse, ”Don’t even think about it Robin,” she said! Then she turned to Neil. ”The same goes for you,” she said. ”None of us would stand a chance against that Hulk.”
The Klingon was getting impatient. ”If none of you will face me,” he roared, ”then you must pay me a ransom for bringing me here…20 paizons of gold.”
Bev approached T’ron. ”How much is 20 painzons Commander,” she asked?
T’ron shook her head. ”About sixty kilograms,” she said.
We all looked at each other nervously, then the big warrior raised his fist. ”Are you all cowards,” he shouted, ”will no one come down the ramp?”
Just then I felt a tap on my shoulder, and looked back at St. Nick. ”You should go down there Douglas,” he said.
I felt the blood drain from my face. ”I’m no good in a rumble,” I said to him in a panic. ”I would be the worst person to go down there.”
Santa pursed his lips and spoke again. ”Do you trust me, son,” he asked me?
My throat was tight,… but I looked into his eyes and nodded yes.
”Then go down the ramp,” he said. ”You’ll be fine…I know you’ll think of something.”
I was very scared! My heart was pounding,….but,…I knew I couldn’t disappoint Santa Claus. I went down the ramp and stood before the Klingon Warrior. I looked up at his face and said, ”Who are you,” with as much courage as I could muster.
”I am your nightmare, puny one,” he said with a sneer.
I looked past him to my surroundings. I could see in the pre dawn light where I was. In the distance I could see pickleball courts…We had landed at Yujoil’s estate! Just then I remembered the look on Santa’s kind face, and an idea came to me…a way I might win. I looked up at the alien. I felt more confident.
”Since you will not identify yourself Klingon,” I said, ”I will choose my own name for you…I will call you Fish Face!”
He turned purple, and I thought he would burst a blood vessel. Instead he looked down at me and grunted. ”You will pay for that insult, earthworm,” he said in an ominous whisper.
”Enough of your threats,” I said, ”You have too small a brain inside your large head to defeat me with words. Let us have a contest of actions.”
”Yes,” he said with an evil smile, ”let us face each other as warriors.”
Some of you might have guessed what happened next…..I challenged the Klingon to a PB match. I told him that pickleball was a game known throughout the galaxy as the truest measure of a warrior. The big dope looked dubious, but was too embarrassed to admit he hadn’t played such a famous sport! I gave him a paddle and told him the basic rules. He tried his best to hit the ball, but, the bottom line was I beat him 11-2, 11-4, and 11-0. The guy had no finesse,….he kept trying to slam the ball at my head. I didn’t try to block shots,…I just ducked and the ball would sail out of bounds.
Later he told me his name was Gorkiil, I called him big Gork for short. He was a good sport,…after I won he saluted me and said he would honour the agreement we had made. The deal was,….if I won he would go back to his home planet and never bother the Vulcans, or Saint Nick, or any of my Zweeghian friends again.
Gork’s cremates had been watching the match from the sidelines. The Klingons wanted to hang around a bit after our game, so Wayne, Jan, Sue, Eddie, and the rest of us pickleheads handed out some paddles and practiced drills with them. Then the big guys got into their ship and returned to their home planet of Q’onos. Before they left I even signed up Gork and some of the other Klingers as subscribers to my blog. (Man,…those interstellar internet charges are brutal!! It’s a good thing that Gorkiil left me a few paizons of gold.)
By this time, Santa had his sleigh ready, so he gave us all a hearty ho, ho, ho, and went off on his rounds. He said he really enjoyed hanging out with us, and promised to come back and see us in the golf season (he wants to play a round at Highland Pacific).
T’ron left about the same time. She said she had enjoyed our adventure, and, she was happy when I told her I would put her in another PB story,… but that would be for another time, …for now I had some loose ends in this story to tie up before the 25th of December.
Chapter Six – Christmas Presence
After St. Nick and T’ron had left, we went in Yujoil’s house, and the pickleball crew got their gear together. It had been quite a trip, but people wanted to get home to be with their families for Christmas Eve. It did’t take long before my pals were packed and on their ways. I waved goodbye to everyone, including Pamela,….she was taking Elvis, McDeep, and Jean down to Royal Roads. She wanted to show them the castle, and have a walk in the gardens. I stayed behind to keep Yuj company.
After we were alone, I made us a drink (non-alcoholic for him), and we sat in the living room in companionable silence. A moment later I looked over at his peaceful visage and reflected on how calm he had been during our trying times with the Klingons. I was curious how he kept his cool.
”Yuj,” I said to him, and raised my glass, ”here’s a toast to you.”
He looked over with a crooked smile. ”What’s that about Deejay,” he asked me?
I gave a little laugh, ”You are one cool dude,” I said. ”Even when we were in dangerous times.”
Yujoil looked at me for a moment before he made his mind up. Then he reached inside his T shirt to show me a gold cross that was hanging from the chain around his neck.
”I don’t need to worry,” he said simply, ”someone ‘up there’ looks out for me.” I was surprised and leaned closer to get a good look at his cross.
”Buddy,” I said, ”are you a Christian?” He gave me an odd look. My alien friend was many things, but mysterious was not a quality that I connected with him. However, the look he gave me was curiously enigmatic. He studied me for a long moment before he made up his mind to answer. Finally he rose and gave me a gesture.
”I’ll show you something Deejay,” he said with a slight smile.
I got up and followed my pal. We headed downstairs and ended up at Yujoil’s private office. He looked at me before he opened the door.
”This is where I come,” he said, ”when I need to get things,…uh,..you know,..when I forget what’s important.”
He opened the door and I went in first. I was dying of curiosity. It was a pretty ordinary office with a desk, file cabinets, stacks of paper, and storage containers. In all the clutter, there was one corner of the room that was different. I approached what, at first, I thought was a familiar nativity scene. However, as I got close, I noticed the figures of Joseph, Mary, the three wisemen, and new born child had distinct and alien features and dress…I was puzzled. My friend let me study the scene for awhile, then he came up beside me and placed his hand on my shoulder.
”Do you believe in miracles, Deejay,” he asked?
”Uh,..I uh,..well,no,..I guess not Yuj, I mean,…maybe, I don’t know,” I looked at the alien baby in a manger, where Jesus would normally lie, and felt flustered and confused. Yujoil pointed to the nativity’s central figure and spoke to me in his squeaky, but now resonant voice.
”We call Him Gyneus. he was born on our planet eighteen hundred and seventy eight Zweeghian years ago. Our years are a bit longer than yours,…but it works out to exactly two thousand and fifteen Earth years ago. When Gyneus grew up he taught us how to live with our fellow citizens. Our planet was pretty messed up then. We call him the Healer, the Peacemaker, or just our Sun.”
Yujoil looked to me to see if I understood. ”He brought light to our world,” he said. ”We celebrate his birth every year at this time.”
The room was very quiet when Yuj finished speaking. After awhile we filed back upstairs to the living room…I didn’t know what to say. Not long afterwards Pam came back with the sightseers. Then she and I bid farewell to everyone and headed back to our condo.
When I lay in bed that night, I contemplated life…I didn’t try to come to any conclusions. Then I drifted off, surrounded by a feeling of goodwill…It was a heavenly feeling.
The next day I wondered about what Yujoil Kowq had told me, and whether I had discovered something….The holiday that I had taken for granted,…..perhaps it had a deeper meaning. Not just in the spiritual sense, but in the way that it can bring us all together. Everyone can enjoy this time of year. Christmas is not about exclusion,…it is about the universal joy we find in seeing the rebirth of life. It seemed ironic to me that it had taken my alien friend to teach me the meaning of a earthly holiday…He had taught me the true meaning of Christmas.
Naturally, this story is fictional,…but perhaps it is ‘real’ in some alternate universe. At least, I picture it that way…I like to think that our meeting with another species of intelligent life would go well. Who knows, they might even value the same things we do,…especially,..love and care for our fellow creatures.
I hope everyone has a fine holiday this year, and, in the New Year, that we will all use our creative gifts to make the world a better place to be a child…