Corbin rolled over restlessly; staring into the fire’s dying embers. Irritably, he sighed, frustrated at himself. For some reason he couldn’t fall asleep and it bothered him to no end.
“Dania?” He whispered at his sister’s sleeping form.
“What is it Corbin?” Dania mumbled sleepily.
“Are you asleep?”
Dania grunted something under her breath that Corbin couldn’t quite catch and rolled over, squinting at him. “Not anymore,” She answered.
“Sorry,” Corbin replied sheepishly. “I can’t sleep and I was wondering if you were having the same problem.”
“Nope,” Dania answered, rolling back over with a sigh. “Try to go to sleep, Corbin.”
“I was,” Corbin replied rather grumpily. A soft snore from the other side of the fire told him that his sister was yet again sleeping peacefully. That didn’t take her long… He thought.
To pass the time, Corbin let his mind wander back to how he and his sister had ended up in the wood, sleeping by a dying camp fire.
It had begun when they volunteered to test a time traveler, but a time traveler which only went into the future, not back in time. It had been created by the USRSA (United States Research of Science Academy), which was the place where both Corbin and Dania worked as agents. Of course, the siblings had been excited to be chosen as the team, and obeyed their summons right away. The chief engineer told them how to go to the appointed time, survive living in the future, and come back to their regular time frame properly and safely. Once this had been finished, brother and sister began the incredible journey.
They landed in a few hours in a clearing of a forest. There didn’t appear to be any humans around, so they just climbed out of the machine. The time warp made their bodies slow and sluggish for the first few hours in the future, so once they had the machine turned off, they made a fire and fell asleep. At least, Dania fell asleep. Corbin was still awake.
With another sigh, Corbin rolled onto his back, staring up into the star-filled sky and the inky darkness that surrounded each star. I wonder what’s out there… he thought to himself, maybe someday I’ll be the one that find’s out… He yawned, suddenly sleepy. Finally! He smiled; it’s about time I was getting tired. I should have fallen asleep much sooner! I was so exhausted from our trip! He yawned again. I wonder what the future holds…
And then he was asleep, curled up next to a dead fire, beneath the winking stars.
A shrill voice startled Corbin from his sound sleep.
“Mommy, look at these funny people!”
Blinking in the bright sunlight, Corbin sat up and glanced over at his sister. She too was awake and had the same confused look on her face that he was sure his own held.
“Hush, dear, and don’t call names,” A softer voice spoke now, and when Corbin looked behind him, he saw the person whom he had first heard, startling him from his slumber.
It was a little girl of perhaps four years with wild curls standing out of her head in practically all the directions possible. Holding her hand was an older woman with long brown hair and a worried face. The mother seemed to be giving his eyes a critical examination, and Corbin found himself hoping that nothing was wrong with them. The little girl didn’t bother about his eyes though, and seemed more curious. She was simply staring at him with her own wide, sky blue eyes.
“What are you?” She asked suddenly.
“My name is Corbin…” He answered, not quite sure how to answer a question like that.
“Are you a human?”
“Yes,” Corbin answered, even more puzzled, “What else would I be?”
The mother hastened to hush her daughter again as she opened her mouth to answer his question. “I’m sure you are both hungry,” She said, changing the subject.
Corbin noticed the change and was immediately on his guard. He glanced over at his sister again, and they exchanged a significant look.
“Follow me and I will see if I can get you something to eat,” the mother continued, with a worried scan around the clearing and into the woods beyond.
Obediently, Corbin and Dania followed the woman, not letting the concerned looks she gave go without notice.
A small hut appeared out of nowhere just as they came around a small hill. Immediately, the woman seemed to unwind from the tenseness that she had been in since she found the siblings. Her shoulders relaxed and she even smiled.
“Ah,” She began, letting out a relieved sigh. “It looks like Aaron is already home, that’s good!”
The door leading into the hut opened, and a tall man came out with a warm smile. His hair was dark and slightly wavy, reaching a few inches past his ears in length, though it was tucked behind his ears at the moment.
“Hello, darling!” He exclaimed, opening his arms for a hug from the little girl. She ran into them with a delighted squeal. He picked her up and held her while giving his wife a kiss.
Then he noticed Corbin and Dania. His smile faded and he looked at his wife, his forehead wrinkling in concern. “Who are these?” He asked.
His wife hurried to explain. His face cleared as she talked to him in undertones that the siblings couldn’t hear, and his warm smile returned.
“As long as they’re humans…” He said, “…we’ll be alright then.”
He turned to them and gestured toward the open door. “Please come into our home! We don’t have much, but what we do have you are welcome to share.”
“Thank you,” Dania answered quickly, “My brother and I are new here, as you probably figured out already, and your kindness is much appreciated.”
“Oh, you’re very welcome,” the father, Aaron, replied. “We enjoy doing what we can to help any of our kind in need.”
Questions later… Dania mouthed to Corbin. With a quick smile, he gave his sister an “ok” sign behind his back.
Once inside, Dania wasted no time introducing herself and her brother to the family. “I’m Dania, and I’m nineteen years old, this is Corbin, my brother, and he’s almost seventeen.”
“It’s nice to meet both of you,” The woman answered warmly, “I’m Miriam, and this is my husband Aaron. Our daughter, Rachel, is almost five. We welcome you.”
“Thank you,” Dania said again. She glanced sideways and saw her brother’s pleading eyes. Obviously he was dying of curiosity about their situation. Swallowing a smile, Dania turned her eyes back to the young couple and took a deep breath.
“May I ask you some questions, please?”
Aaron shot a worried look at his wife, but Miriam gave him a nod, so he shrugged. “I’ll answer the best I can,” He said.
Dania instantly became the no-nonsense, businesslike woman that had earned her a reputation in the USRSA as an efficient and responsible agent. Taking out a notebook from her back pocket, as well as a couple freshly sharpened pencils, she handed these to Corbin. He took them and looked up expectantly, ready to take notes. This was the siblings at their best, Dania gaining information through interrogation, and Corbin writing the important facts and figures down in his notebook. This was them as a team, the reason the USRSA leaders chose them for the test run of the time traveler. Their gifts worked well together.
Dania cleared her throat and began, “What year is this?”
“Why were you and your wife so worried about us before you knew we were humans?”
“Well, you’ll need some history to understand my answer: Fifty years ago, during the summer of 3001, our planet earth was attacked by a band of renegade aliens. In looks, this race is very similar to us humans, but their character is much different. They made alien hovels in the woods and forests of the United States and use them to create their weapons of death. They hate any and all humans, no matter what size, and will kill on sight. They want us dead so that they can have our planet for their own use.”
“How have humans been able to survive these aliens?”
“There are more of us.”
“Then why can’t you wipe them all out and not have to worry about them anymore?”
“They are too hard to find in great enough numbers for our army of human officers to simply kill them all. They’re main weapon is disguise. They can pull off looking almost exactly like us humans.”
“Almost? What do you mean by that?”
“They’re eyes are yellow, and get brighter the more angry they are. Usually when they see humans they start getting more and more mad, so you can usually see them coming a long ways off. Some aliens can veil their eyes to keep them from shining so brightly, and those are the especially dangerous ones that we have to watch out for.”
“How often do you see aliens?”
“Sometimes daily and usually about three times a week at the least.”
“What sort of weapon do they use?”
“Fire guns? What are they?”
“Guns that shoot jets of condensed flames of fire at whatever they’re pointed at while paralyzing the person so they can’t move.”
“Do humans have any way to protect themselves from these guns?”
“Not yet…of course they’ve been working on different things since the first fire gun was ignited, but no one has come up with anything yet. All the material found so far that has been tested can be melted by the flames.”
Aaron paused and chewed his lip in thoughtful silence for a moment. Eagerly, the siblings waited, Dania licking her dry lips, and Corbin holding his pencil poised in the air.
At last he seemed to come to a decision and looked up at the siblings with an air of secrecy and trust. “I have been working on something under cover, and I think it will help stop the fire guns.”
Dania leaned forward in her chair. “Could my brother and I help you with this project?”
Corbin nodded his excited agreement, his eyes shining.
Dania continued before Aaron could have time to think up any excuse. “We’ll be staying here for at least a month, and we’ve nothing better to do with our time except be caught by aliens.”
“That would be wonderful!” Aaron admitted. “Are you sure you have the time?”
“Absolutely!” Corbin and Dania both said at the same time.
And so it was that the siblings found themselves working on a project that might just save the world and stop the race of aliens from taking over the planet earth.