It's been a while hasn't it?

Space travel is an interesting thing. Considering the vastness of the universe, many species deemed it impossible. But it's not- though it's not conventional either. It's kind of more like time travel, because you have to transport between two spots that are millions of miles away at light-speed. And we all know that time travel is impossible. Most people don't bother leaving their galaxies, but it became a problem after the IGRC (Intergalactic Representatives Council) was formed. You couldn't have a meeting when half the members showed up dead. For a while no one could figure out a solution and there were riots everywhere. The IGRC looked as if it was going to fizzle out.

Instead the council reps did the most obvious thing: they decreed time obsolete.

This originally caused a ton of confusion- who in their right mind would outlaw time?- but in the end, it worked out OK. Basically our life cycles aren't dictated by time, they're dictated by habit. People still lived their lives, lived and died at about the same time- it was trillions and trillions of years of instinct that did this. But if someone wanted to visit someone else, then that entire planet would basically stand still until the traveler got there- they just had to be notified first. Then the visitor would come and time would continue at its normal pace .It really isn't quite that simple, but that's all I stayed awake for in advanced space-time continuum properties class. Basically time isn't needed, but I was rather partial to it still. It sure makes a game of timed Burbondle against the computer that much more enjoyable.

As the monitor began humming loudly, I made my move and slowly swiveled in my chair to get a glimpse of the oncoming planet. My breath caught in my throat as I gazed down at a blue and green orb poised in space. It was Earth. It looked so pristine and gorgeous- was there really a full scale invasion going on down there?

"Hello Earth, this is Svklei of the Yuttai. Requesting permission to land and assist. Do you copy?"

There was no reply.

Well, no reply in my book meant an invitation. Setting the game on hold, I grabbed the controllers and maneuvered the ship into orbit with the earth. Now to figure out where this message had been sent from. Assuming that the rocket hadn't hit anything along the way, it's direction wouldn't have varied very much. Of course the concept of time travel didn't work on materials the same way, so this rocket could have been a million years old. But Earth wasn't too far from the Wicklean Galaxy, so I was confident its writer may still be alive. Punching in the coordinates and trajectory, I waited for the computer to spit out my next move.

"Subject was most likely launched from section 453 of the planet, due east." It said, "and I've won."

Stupid computer had cheated at Burbondle. Making a mental note to save up for a newer version, I headed east. Earth wasn't a huge planet, but it was a decent size, so it took me a little while to find the section. Soon though, it loomed ahead of me, a green circle, right in the middle of a large land mass. "Might as well head down there." The computer chirped, "you're not doing much good staring at it." I sighed and switched the technology to silent mode. Then I began my descent through the atmosphere.

Things were a little rocky through a band of odd chemicals about 5000 meters from the surface, but I received no missiles or weaponry fired at me. Soon the craft landed with a soft crunch on Earth's surface, setting off no alarms and triggering no attacks.. As the front window steamed up, I grabbed my suit and gun, just in case. The windows hadn't cleared yet, but the scanners indicated that nothing was moving outside. I grabbed an extra stun cleaver and set my ship on lock down. Then, taking a deep breath to calm my nerves, I opened the hatch and stepped out.

The moment the air hit my mask, my vision was clouded up. Frustrated, I checked the atmosphere gauges: 45 nitrogen, 5 miscellaneous gases, and 50 oxygen. I tapped the readers a few times to be certain- oxygen was rarely found in such a plentiful amount- but the readings were the same. Luckily there was more than enough nitrogen for me to breath comfortably. I unsnapped my helmet and took it of slowly, taking my first look at the planet Earth.

I caught my breath at the scene that displayed itself before me. The pictures of Earth, a few decades old, could not even begin to compare to it in real life. There were no cities or even hints of civilization anywhere. The sky overhead was a dizzying blue with white puffs lazily floating past. The drone of some unseen animal was incessant, rising in a crescendo, only to be silenced abruptly, and start over again a minute later. And it was so hot out. The temperature was close to 56 kretps! Not only that, but the humidity was amazing; I could feel my spinze sticking together.

But the plants- Oh Yutoek they were amazing! I had seen pictures of things called jungles, but this was so much more. Everything was a vivid green, dripping with moisture. There were trees taller than my ship. Their leafy foliage created a tent-like affect, and their massive brown trunks were growing a moldy green from so much water. Vines snaked up vines, each a slightly different hue, creating a dizzying, kaleidoscopic affect. Even the grass that I was standing on was extraordinary. Some was as tall as my belt, while little blades, sharp as knives struggled to grow underfoot. Here and there a dash of color from a choking flower would show through, but apart from the blue sky that reigned above, the only other color was green.

I started walking, practically drunk from the amount of life around me. It took me a few minutes to remember why I was here. Scanning around, I saw nothing move, not even a sign of the beasts that were buzzing to each other. Something snaked around my left tjelk and I jumped in surprise, gun ready. But it was only a stray branch, willowy and young. Still, I decided to keep my gun out, growing uneasy from such silence.

I walked for about five minutes or so, reluctant to leave the sight of my craft behind. Nothing moved yet, and I was beginning to wonder if the human that had sent the message was indeed dead, victim to this invading army. I saw how easy it was for an ambush to sneak up on someone out here, and how the plants could swallow whole armies, keeping them hidden and out of sight. I shuddered slightly and my hand slipped to the gun's trigger. Suddenly, on an impulse, I shot a warning into the air, watching as it fizzled a few miles up. Nothing happened. I stood, waiting for something, anything, almost regretting what I had just did.

A faint distant sound was heard a second later, muffled by the constant drone. I strained to hear as it got closer and closer. Something was rustling through the underbrush, moving at a rapid speed. Now even the buzzing had stopped. I started to head back to my ship, and then broke into a panicked run as the noise got closer and faster. Yutoek I was stupid. Clutching at my gun, I ran into a net of vines and fell over, bruising my third spinz. What ever was causing the noise was almost on top of me now.

Suddenly I was roughly grabbed by the tjelk and hauled into a hole to my left. Someone told me to shush in Human and obliging, I sank to the ground, holding my breath as the thundering came and went. Then I breathed a sigh of relief and turned to my savior. "Thank you for your help." I started in shaky Human. Then I got a good look at it and blurted out in Universal.

"What the ghrul are you?!"