A Night on the Earth

A comedy by Ulquiorra9000

An earthling, or a human citizen of planet Earth, might consider Mr. Glorck Veladian an "alien", an "invader from outer space" or a "little green man." Well, he was green and only five feet tall, but honestly, he was just a guy doing his job.

Badly.

"It's been almost five hours, Yax," yawned Glorck as he leaned back in his padded seat aboard his company-issue flying saucer (as some humans called it). His back ached and his large, dark eyes felt tired from staring at the display screens all evening.

"Just keep looking, kiddo," growled Yax, the senior human abductor expert at the two men's research company back home, far from this little solar system. Almost three hundred years Glorck's senior, he was known for his expertise on human culture and Earth wildlife, but also known for his impatience and burning desire to retire as soon as possible. He had started his career with Earth in the human year known as 1648, and this year was known as 1956 on the human Gregorian calendar. Apparently some human performer called "Elvis Presley" was popular down there. What a weird name.

Glorck sighed and ran his long, thin fingers over the buttons and dials on the control panel. "The sun is almost coming up and no one's been along this road all night. I'm still behind on my human quota and the boss is still riding my back about it, and you are too, now that I think about it. My rent isn't going to pay itself!"

Yax snorted from his flat nose and slapped a hand on the cockpit's wall. "Will you stop whining? I agreed to be your work partner and mentor, not your babysitter. Stop acting like you're thirty."

"Hey -" Glorck opened his mouth to retort, but maybe Yax was right. He was nearly 250 years old, a proper young adult, and had to act like it. But still...

"Hey what?" Yax challenged him, folding his arms. "Got something to say, kid?"

Glorck hung his head. "Forget it. Let's just keep looking."

For five hours the company-issued saucer had hovered two hundred meters of a rural road, carefully scanning for solitary human cars. The humans around here called this region "Missouri", but the odd name didn't mean much to Glorck's ear slits. All he knew was that his abductee chambers in the saucer's back were woefully empty and he needed a little fresh meat back there. Here Glorck was, a fit upstart who found himself watching over this dump of a planet to capture primitive people, and he wasn't even good at it. Just where was he going with his life?

Finally, a pair of tiny lights caught Glorck's attention. Eagerly, he leaned over the controls and watched as a human car came driving down the road. With the twist of a dial, Glorck zoomed in and cleaned up the image: a red car with just one human inside. Jackpot!

"Hey! Take 'er easy," Yax yelped as Glorck slammed his foot on the acceleration pedal. The whole saucer lurched like a wild animal, knocking over Yax's cup of Blorgix coffee to the floor. Sizzling blue drink spread everywhere.

Glorck winced. "Sorry." Determined not to screw this one up, he worked the controls and sent his saucer flying after the car like a panther chasing a zebra, or whatever those Earth animals were. Or something like that... which one hunted which again?

"Focus," Yax warned as the human car took a left into a hilly forest road. "It's getting away."

"I know, I know," Glorck muttered, shoving a lever all the way forward. With a roar of the engines, the saucer cut through the cold night air and over the pine forest. Glorck's hearts sank... where was the car? He couldn't even see its headlights.

To be safe, Glorck carved a new path and circled around the forest high above and waited for the car to emerge. If the car got too close to the town up ahead, the hunt was over. He couldn't risk exposing his ship to human eyes. The boss would have his head for that!

"There! Go after it!" Yax yelled, pointing at the screen. With a jolt, Glorck gunned the engines and dipped down to cut off the human car. Problem was, he was still learning the fine controls of big saucers like this one and he found himself on a collision course.

"Pull up!" Yax hollered over the sirens. At the same time, the human car had nearly reached the town's outskirts.

"I'm trying!" Glorck's hands flew over the control panel and finally, the saucer veered off in a new direction and narrowly avoided clipping a tall pine. The sirens died down as the ship steadied itself high in the sky, but Glorck's relief didn't last long: the red human car had reached the town and drove through brightly-lit streets, as though daring Glorck to catch it.

Glorck slumped in his seat, watching the screen in defeat. "There goes another one."

"Damn, kid, how'd you ever get your license?" Yax snapped. "I think the flier's bureau is getting lax with its examinations..."

"Don't take this out on me," Glorck argued, but he knew that Yax had a point. He'd botched another one and was lucky that he hadn't crashed the ship. The nearest tow ship was nearly two light years away.

"It was your fault," Yax snapped. "Our shift is up. Time to go back."

"Fine." Glorck didn't look at his supervisor as he carefully guided the saucer back up through Earth's atmosphere. He didn't like saying another word.

*o*o*o*o*

"Hey hon, I'm back," Glorck called as he swung open the door to his small apartment back on his home world. It was a world of purple grass and fiery nights.

"Hi. Glad to see you." Jorra got up from the couch and wrapped her arms around her boyfriend. "You look tired. Long night?"

"Don't even get me started." Glorck shut the door and sank into his armchair, picking up a bottle of strong drink and pouring himself a glass. "I spent half the Earth's night watching over that Missouri region and couldn't find any cars or wanderers. By the time I find one, it gets away and I nearly crash the ship in the process. Yax tore me a new one for that."

Jorra made a sympathetic noise as Glorck took a sip. "Well, you're going to get one sometime, right? I mean, those humans are everywhere. I bet you'll get one tomorrow."

"I hope. This place ain't gonna pay for itself." Glorck lowered his glass. "Speaking of which, how's the job hunt going?"

"I'll find something," Jorra said bracingly. "I've got an interview tomorrow, at least."

"Okay."

They were silent for a few moments as the red-orange auroras danced in the sky outside the window. Then Jorra spoke up: "I think you need a vacation."

Glorck nearly choked on his drink. "I what?"

"You've been so down lately, Glorck, and I think you deserve a little something."

"But... baby..." Glorck motioned. "I'm barely making ends meet! I keep trying to get that promotion, but without more captured humans, I'm stuck."

Jorra pointed at her boyfriend. "Now, you listen to me: a good attitude is what you need and I'm telling you go spend a night for yourself. Go find something you like."

Glorck shrugged. "I don't have many hobbies."

"Well, have someone teach you something new. Expand your horizons."

Just as Glorck opened his mouth, an idea occurred to him and he grinned. "Well, there is one thing I could try..."

*o*o*o*o*

Once again Glorck found himself parking the company saucer over Missouri's rural roads and watching for human cars, but this time he had a plan. He hummed a little tune to himself as he watched the monitors. Any moment now, he'd offer his plan to Yax.

"What's up, kid?" Yax asked as he took a sip of hot Blorgix coffee. He watched his younger co-worker over the brim of his cup. "You seem much happier."

"Well, I will be, if you hear my plan," Glorck said, tearing his eyes from the screens. The rural roads were as maddeningly empty as ever.

Yax cocked his head and gave Glorck a calculating look. "Oh, this should be good."

"My girlfriend thinks I need to expand my horizons a little. Have a little fun." Glorck pointed at the screens. "I've never been down there and been among the humans before. It could be fun!"

"Okay, stop there." Yax leaned forward in his seat and set down his steaming cup. "One, you'd scare off all the humans. Two, if you don't capture a human soon you'll be next on the boss's chopping block. And three, your girlfriend isn't your supervisor. I am."

Glorck flushed, but he was determined. "Come on, just for an hour? We've got four hours until our shift's over, and I could use a change of scenery. You're the human expert, aren't you? Show the new guy around!"

Yax shook his head, but Glorck could tell that the man was already half-convinced. "No chance, Glorck. Get back to scanning."

"You just know you want to show me all that neat Earth stuff you keep telling me about. No one needs to know."

Finally, Yax stood and dusted his hands off. "Just an hour, you get me?"

"Absolutely!"

"Then get your suit on. Park somewhere safe."

*o*o*o*o*

I'm on Earth! I'm on Earth! Glorck couldn't contain his excitement as he stepped down the saucer's ramp in his shiny silver suit. Yax joined him on Earth's grassy soil, pressing a button to make the saucer's ramp go back up. "I don't know how you talked me into this, kiddo."

"Don't worry about it. Let's go," Glorck said eagerly as he set off through the forest. Within minutes he found himself on the same road that he had watched over yesterday, and if he went north, he'd find the same town where that red car had gone. How funny it would be if he found the car and its owner on foot, a situation where he couldn't possibly capture them.

Luckily, no human cars came along the road and Glorck took this chance to take in his surroundings. The Earth's air contained enough nitrogen to breathe, so both men powered down their shield helmets and breathed free.

At first the forest seemed silent because his planet's native creatures weren't here with their usual shrieks and roars. A while later, though, Glorck could hear the pleasant buzzing of unseen critters, almost hypnotic in their beauty.

"You hear that?"

"What, the crickets?" Yax asked tensely. He didn't seem as happy to wander the Earth on foot.

"So that's what they're called? Crickets? How big are they?"

"They're just little insects, Glorck. What's the big deal?"

"Now I kind of want to see one..."

"You've only got an hour."

"Oh yeah."

Glorck was quiet until he reached the town's outskirts, and he hid behind a tree while he checked out the buildings. Some were small homes while others seemed very popular; humans kept going in and out of them and parked their primitive, four-wheeled cars around them on wide areas of asphalt. He pointed at the nearest hub. "What's that? I can't read the human letters on the sign."

Yax squinted at the neon lights. "Bob's Diner, open 24 hours a day."

"What about the rest of the hours? What do they do then?"

"Earth only has 24 hours in a day, genius."

"Right, I forgot. Okay, let's check it out."

Yax tensed. "Too risky. Humans everywhere. Is this really so fun for you?"

"Yeah. I feel... adventurous," Glorck grinned. He tip-toed toward Bob's Diner and kept a watch for stray humans. "Come on, don't make me go by myself! I've got to see this." He heard Yax sigh, then come along behind him.

Now Glorck and Yax crouched under a window of Bob's Diner and peeked inside whenever they got the chance. Not many people were in there; just a few large humans eating up at the bar and drinking coffee while a plump human woman poured them refills and chatted. From out here, Glorck could faintly hear the odd human music that played within. "Hey, is that the 'Elvis Presley' music in there?" Glorck asked eagerly, pointing.

"How should I know?"

"Fine. So let's just try the food instead."

Yax seized Glorck's upper arm. "Are you nuts? It's one thing to have a night on the town and check out the sights..."

"I think of this as a night on the Earth."

"Fine. Earth. But human food is... well..."

Too late; Glorck raced around the diner and found the dumpster, which, according to Yax's veteran tales, was where humans dumped excess food. Tonight, Glorck didn't feel overly picky. He opened the lid and rummaged around until he found a meat patty with bread buns. "What's this one?"

"It's called a hamburger. Don't eat – oh for goodness' sake."

Yax sighed as Glorck stuffed the hamburger into his small mouth and chewed. Glorck barely registered the taste before spitting it out and wiping his mouth. "Horrible!"

"Well, it came out of the dumpster. It's bad, even for humans."

"Let me try something else." Glorck discovered "pizza", "apple pie", and "French fries" before his taste buds screamed for mercy. Fighting the urge to throw up, Glorck decided against a half-eaten item that Yax called a "banana" and decided to move on.

"Let's just get back to the ship," Yax urged his partner, but Glorck wouldn't have it. The younger man stole through the human town and made his way to a wide, open area where a bunch of cars were parked and facing the same direction. A large display screen showed a video up ahead, and according to Yax, it was a "movie."

Now this Glorck couldn't resist. With Yax tagging along, he snuck around the parking lot's edge and hid behind a fence to watch the movie, but the thing was, he couldn't understand the rapid babble that was human speech. And for some reason, the movie was in shades of gray instead of color, like in real life. He inquired about this.

"Humans don't have the technology for color film," Yax muttered, very careful to not be seen. "I can translate the speech if you want, but it might be imperfect work."

"Do it." Glorck watched with amusement as the human movie showed, funnily enough, extraterrestrials like himself visiting the Earth in saucers. At first Yax thought the movie ("Earth vs. the Flying Saucers") was stupid, but soon, he was laughing with Glorck over the movie's details.

"Those guys keep blowing up the human cities," Glorck wheezed after laughing himself silly behind his hand to muffle the sound. "We don't do anything like that! This movie gives us a bad rep!"

Yax nodded, but had a different perspective. "I find it odd how the humans seem to fear us so much, but worship us at the same time. All this media glorifying our existence and Halloween costumes that imitate us."

"Halloween?"

Yax shrugged. "Some ritual that involved kids dressing up as fictional creatures. Sometimes they pose as us, but with the details all wrong."

"Like this movie?"

"Just like this movie."

Glorck watched another ten minutes until he threw his hands up in the air. "This is dumb. Why do those guys want to conquer the Earth? I mean, what's so special about it? It's not even worth the effort to occupy!" Abduction saucers were barely worth the cost to send to Earth as it was. But full-scale war?

"Humans want so hard to think that they're special, just like everyone else does," Yax figured. "But then again, they believe that they're alone in the universe, so can we blame them?"

"Wow, that's deep." Losing interest in the silly movie, Glorck scanned the ground with his eyes and spotted more food; a tube of meat nestled in bread with red sauce. "Hey, a new one." He promptly ate, then spat out, the foul thing.

Yax lounged on the fence. "You've discovered the wonder of hot dogs."

"Yuck."

"Now are you ready to go?"

"Not yet. Let's see what a human house is like."

*o*o*o*o*

With great reluctance, it seemed, Yax followed Glorck into a neighborhood and toward a one-story home. The lights were out and the occupants fast asleep, so Glorck peeked into a window at a human child asleep in his bed. A few model spaceships sat on his dresser, one of which was a saucer.

"Yax. Look."

"At what?"

"The kid's got a model saucer! It looks like our ship!"

"Fantastic." Yax's sarcasm didn't even slow Glorck down.

"So I want a souvenir..."

Again, Yax clamped his hand on Glorck's arm. "You're not breaking into some human's bedroom! Do you want to get captured and sent to Roswell?"

"Huh? What's Roswell?"

Yax shook his head impatiently. "Trust me, you don't wanna go there, kid. Hour's up. Time to head out." Still gripping Glorck's arm, Yax marched his younger co-worker through the neighborhood, but he froze when he caught sight of a human car parked in its driveway.

"What's wrong?" Glorck asked as his elder let go of his arm. He frantically checked everywhere; did a human see them?

"Nothing," Yax breathed as he approached the car with adoration. He ran his gloved hands over the vehicle's long, flat body with longing. "Do you know what this is?"

"You're the expert."

"My friend," said Yax, positively giddily, "you're looking at a Ford Thunderbird, the most popular human car in this region of Earth. It's a beauty."

Glorck stared blankly. "What, you like this car? It's a piece of junk! Even our crappiest hovercars are better than this."

"I guess you don't get it," Yax sighed. "Sometimes you find beauty where you least expect to find it. Isn't that the point of this trip?"

"You've got me there."

"Right." Yax took a sonic tool from his utility belt, applied it to the car's lock, and opened the driver door. "I'm taking her for a spin. Get in."

"Her?"

Yax motioned impatiently. "Human slang. Now get in! I'll show you what this beauty's all about."

Unsure what to make of this, Glorck settled into the passenger seat and shut the door. It felt a little awkward, sitting in a chair built for beings bigger than him. And with different lumbar structure.

"Here we go." With another tap of his sonic tool, Yax fired up the Thunderbird's engine and, expertly, operated the vehicle's controls and sped down the neighborhood. Glorck yelped in shock and hung onto his seat; he didn't know that human cars could go so fast!

"Now who's the one enjoying himself?" Glorck yelled over the engine.

Yax steered the car around a corner and down another road, even faster this time. The headlights blazed brilliantly in the midnight darkness. "You had your moments, Glorck, now here's mine! I've always wanted to do this."

"Well, me too!" Glorck reached over and tugged on the steering wheel. "Go that way!"

"Stop it!" Yax yelled as he sped up even more, tearing down a vacant street. "What are you, thirty? Let go!"

The insult had no effect this time. Glorck tried to wrench the steering wheel to the side, eager to try his hand at human technology. Once he got over the shock, this Thunderbird vessel was actually pretty neat. However, when Yax fought back, he lost control and the car careened off the road and toward a medium-sized building. Several black-and-white cars sat in its parking lot.

"Oh no!" Glorck braced himself as the Thunderbird crashed through the facility's wall, and it wasn't until the car came to a halt that he dared look up. At least four humans in peculiar uniforms surrounded the car.

"They want us to get out with our hands up," Yax murmured tensely as the humans babbled and pointed.

"Why? What's so interesting about our hands?"

"To prove that we're not going to try anything."

"Oh. Just as well. I left my laser gun back on the ship anyway."

Yax groaned as he obediently climbed out of the Thunderbird, and Glorck followed him and the humans down the hall toward an office. The lead human, a man with a big belly and graying hair, had drawn a funny-looking pistol and said something.

"Is he going to shoot us?" Glorck squeaked. He had never felt so terrified.

"Probably not," Yax growled. "We wouldn't even be here if it weren't for your meddling! I know how to operate human cars myself! You're such a child!"

"Will you stop riding my ass for five seconds? I'm sorry already!"

"Sorry ain't gonna cut it this time, kid."

The lead human stared and said something to his fellows. Yax translated, "He's afraid that we're going to kill them and bring an invasion fleet. We're going to be detained for the time being in a cell."

Glorck hung his head. "Like he has anything to fear from me."

At that moment, a wonderfully familiar rumbling sounded from above and everyone looked up. A thin red laser carved a hole in the ceiling, then the concrete and wood collapsed to reveal the underbelly of a company-issue saucer. A single man about Yax's age dropped down and, in a series of blinding-fast kicks and punches, sent the humans sprawling. For good measure, he took out a silver rod-shaped device and pressed a button. A flash of green light washed over the humans and they blinked.

In perfect human speech, the newcomer said, "You will forget this incident. This was all a dream. Your lives will resume as normal."

To Glorck's amazement, the humans nodded, got up, and shuffled off.

"Thank you so much," Glorck babbled. "That was a memory-wiper, wasn't it?"

"Yeah. Comes in handy," the man said, pocketing the device.

"The human movies show us doing a lot of things, but memory wipers weren't included," Glorck noticed. "I guess they didn't think of that."

The newcomer shrugged. "Who knows, maybe a future human movie will involve such a thing. Anyway, Yax, good to see ya. Let's get you back to your ride. Your real one."

"Oh right, you guys don't know each other." Yax pointed at his friend. "Glorck, this is Mezzik, an old buddy of mine. He owed me a favor, so I sent a distress signal from my belt just after we crashed into this place."

"Nice to meet you," Glorck smiled, then his grin faded. "Yax, I'm sorry. This turned out to be a huge mess. I was stupid."

Yax shrugged. "No, I think you learned a few valuable lessons... and honestly, I guess we all deserve a break."

"I guess your human hunting should go better tomorrow, huh, kid?" Mezzik winked. "Yax's told me all about you. You've got a good head on your shoulders."

"Yeah, definitely," Glorck smiled again as he, Yax, and Mezzik boarded the saucer. He hadn't earned any money today, but he felt like a rich man all the same. That was something, wasn't it?