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The satellite was complete. It passed all of the preliminary tests which meant the time had come for me to put it into action.

I was so nervous.

What if it didn’t work? What if the signal didn’t reach as far as Sixam? What if some data gets lost during the transmission and it leads to another misunderstanding that ends up making things worse? All those questions ran through my mind as I stood outside with my finger on the button.

I had been working on this for so long and now the time was here. I couldn’t let my fears drive me. I had to stop hesitating so I pushed the button and went inside as the satellite transmitted the signal.

2133

Two hours later I sat at my desk drinking my third cup of coffee for the day trying to stay awake as I looked over some reports from the new apprentices. I considered leaving work early so I could go home and get some proper sleep when I heard a loud boom sound coming from outside. When I went to investigate I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I saw three Sixamians outside of the lab beaming down from a space ship that hovered over the building.

2135

That was fast!

I figured the message would have already arrived in Sixam but I didn’t expect such a quick response in the form of a visit. In the message I sent, I suggested they respond if they agreed to meet with me. I didn’t think they would respond by actually meeting me!

One of them walked towards me. My throat was dry and I felt slightly nauseous. I wasn’t prepared for this right now. I didn’t even have the chance to prepare what I was going to say to them. Sure, I knew what I wanted to say but I thought I had more time to come up with something eloquent. It’s not every day I get to talk to a being from another planet.

2135

She looked at me with a pleasant smile and it made me feel more at ease. Well, just a little.

“Greetings. I am Ptorzah, a member of the High Council of the planet Sixam. My colleagues and I have come to meet with Ivy Sloane, great-granddaughter of Bree Sloane.”

“Uh…I…um…I am Ivy. I am her.” Stop stuttering!

“We have received your message and have acknowledged its urgency. This is why we have come unannounced. We do not wish to have you attempt to enter our galaxy once more before this matter is resolved.”

2136

It wasn’t long before her other two colleagues joined us. Being in the presence of one alien was intimidating enough, now to have three of them standing in front of me expectantly gave me an instant headache. I felt like I was in way over my head. The other blue-skinned one was introduced as Lilaern and the one with the purple skin that reminded me of Gabriel’s natural form was called Zizark.

“Welcome to Earth all of you. Is there anything I can offer you before we…?”

Zizark waved her hand in dismissal and said curtly, “We do not seek hospitality. We have come as you requested simply to arrive at terms that can benefit both Sixam and Earth.”

“Based on your message Ivy Sloane,” Ptorzah began, “we have concluded that you are ignorant of the events that occurred many lunar cycles ago, the great depravity your mother, Gemma Sloane, attempted to commit against our people was unforgivable hence the reason why she was eliminated.”

It took a moment for me to comprehend what they were saying to me. “Wait a minute, what do you mean by you had my mother eliminated? Did you guys cause her accident? You killed her?!”

2137

“She gave us no other choice!” Zizark yelled. “The future of a race of Sixamians – my race – rested on the child. The child she threatened to eliminate once she returned to earth. Her treachery endangered not only our people but yours too when she lied to us to get us to abduct Zachary Chin.”

“Wait a minute….the child? You mean my brother, Gabriel?”

“Yes, we have learned that is what you call the child.” Ptorzah answered.

“A-and you’re saying you abducted my father because of my mother? How is that possible? What could she have done to make you abduct him? Which is illegal by the way! What you all did violated…”

2138

“We know the treaty was violated!” Zizark groaned. “But that was no fault of our own. We trusted the Sloane family which was why we listened to Gemma Sloane when she told us Zachary Chin wanted to volunteer as a surrogate and move permanently to Sixam. Gemma Sloane deceived us into abducting Zachary Chin illegally but once we realised the deception and had him returned it was too late.”

Zizark continued. “He had already been inseminated with an embryo, one of the last few that could save my kind from extinction. Unfortunately for us, that embryo turned into a foetus – a successful male pregnancy. This child, the one you call Gabriel, is very important to our kind. Gemma Sloane demanded we take him back but due to the treaty formed between Earth and Sixam, we were not allowed to extradite any child of Sixamian origin born of a surrogate on Earth’s soil until he has become of adult age.”

Lilaern joined in. “We had already unknowingly committed a crime by abducting Zachary Chin and using him as a surrogate against his will. Thankfully he was not so upset about it to report what had been done to him to your government but to extradite the child without his consent would have had severe repercussions. Your government would have a justifiable reason to start a war. We could not allow that to happen. We could not have allowed anything to happen to the child either so we made a choice. We had to protect our planet and the child from the actions of your mother.”

I stood there speechless letting all that information sink in. This really was my mother’s fault! I couldn’t believe it! She got Dad abducted and she wanted to get rid of Gabriel. It made sense now. She and Dad were getting divorced when he was abducted. She probably wanted to punish him that way. I guess she didn’t expect him to return and that too with an alien baby. And Gabriel, she never liked him from the get-go but we all thought she was warming up to him until her accident occurred.

It was all a lie!

She wanted us to think she started accepting Gabriel when all that time she was plotting to get rid of him. My little brother whom I loved so much my mother was just gonna discard him like yesterday’s leftovers!

2139

I wanted to cry. I wanted to yell and scream!

But I had to remain professional and keep my emotions in check.

At the end of the day, I had to find a way to right my mother’s wrongs and fix this.

“I believe everything you are saying but why didn’t you allow me access to your planet?”

“The actions of your mother betrayed our people,” Zizark responded. “The pact between your family and our planet was null and void the moment she threatened to eliminate the child.”

“I am not my mother. I am NOT my mother! I would never do anything like that. Gabriel…Gabriel is my brother. Biologically or not, he is my brother and I love him! I went through all of this effort for him! I would never harm him or any of you. Please, believe me. That’s the truth. All I want is to reinstate this alliance for Gabriel’s sake so he can know his people and because it’s what is best for my people as well. The minerals and elements we can retrieve from your planet can help our scientific community progress exponentially. Believe me, I do not want to cause any kind of harm to anyone.”

After a few seconds of silence, Lilaern spoke up, “I believe her. I do not believe that Ivy Sloane will be a threat to us.”

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“We cannot be sure.” Zizark groaned. “She is the child of Gemma Sloane. What if she cannot be trusted as well? What if she betrays us?”

I was so tired of this!

Of people judging me because of what my mother did. My mother was a bad person, I can admit that now. It’s the truth. But the other truth is that I am completely different from her. I could never even think of doing half of the things she had done. I was tired of people thinking I was anything like her. I had to let them see that I was my own person – a better person than her.

“I give you my word. I will do anything to prove to you that I can be trusted. That I will never be a threat to your people and that henceforth members of my family will always be your allies.”

2141

“There is one way to prove your loyalty…but you will not like it.” Lilaern said.

“What is it? I’ll do it. Just tell me what I can do.”

They exchanged knowing glances before Zizark nodded to the other two and then stared at me.

Next thing I knew my vision was blurred and I was practically paralyzed as I had no sense of feeling and no control over my body!

2142

2143

Finally, it stopped, whatever it was, and I was able to talk and move again. “Wha…what ju..st hap..pened?”

It took about ten seconds for the blurred vision and ringing in my ears to stop.

“I have read your mind, Ivy Sloane. I have confirmed that your intentions are good.” Zizark said to me as I was recollecting myself.

I saw them whisper to each other before Ptorzah finally said, “We have been given permission by our High Council to lift your family’s travel ban to our planet should we find your argument convincing and your intentions to be good. Therefore the ban is lifted, you may travel to our planet as you see fit.”

2144

I was so excited that I had to fight the urge to jump up and down right then and there. I succeeded! I managed to mend relations with the Sixamians! I knew my co-workers and the members of the board would be happy to know that I could travel to Sixam now.

Gabriel would certainly be proud of me. I couldn’t wait to give him the good news.

“There is one stipulation,” Ptorzah said, bringing me out of my thoughts.

“What’s that?”

“The child you call Gabriel Chin, he is one of us and his race is on the verge of extinction on our planet. Zizark and her family are one of few surviving families left. This is the reason why he is so important to us and why we could not let Gemma Sloane eliminate him. Therefore, once he becomes a young adult, he is to return to our planet.”

“You want him to go to Sixam? For how long?”

“For the rest of his life. He will become betrothed to Zizark’s daughter so that together they could procreate and help preserve their race. He will live on Sixam permanently.”

“What? No, I can’t do that…I can’t just hand my brother over to you. Earth is his home. It’s where his family lives. It’s where he belongs.”

Zizark narrowed her eyes at me. “He is one of the last sons of my race of people! He belongs on our planet! Had it not been for Gemma Sloane’s deception he would have been. Now he must return. Otherwise, the ban will not be lifted and we will still extradite him upon his young adult birthday!”

2145

“You mean you will take him? Just like that?”

“I am afraid we must take him,” Ptorzah said. “He does not belong on your planet. The longer he remains on this planet, the higher the chance he will be discovered by your government which could mean war for us. In keeping with the treaty, we will be allowed to extradite him once he has become an adult. If you allow him to come with us willingly, the reward will be to lift the ban to our planet. If you do not consent, if you fight us, the ban will remain intact and we will find some way to abduct him. All of your efforts will be for nothing.”

“So basically, either I give him to you or you take him anyway? That’s not much of a choice!”

2146

“We will give you until his young adult birthday to make your final decision.”

“Wait…listen…”

They did not listen. They walked away and teleported back to their spaceship and then they were gone.

I couldn’t believe this. It seemed as though in my attempt to fix the situation I just made things worse for my family. They wanted Gabriel and they were gonna take him regardless of whether I consented or not. The only way Gabriel could stay was if I turned to the government for protection but then that would only result in war between Earth and the Sixamians. I promised them I would never do anything to harm their people so if I go through with that option I’ll be breaking that promise.

But I love my brother and he means more to me than some promise to a group of extraterrestrials who don’t care for him and only want him because they think he’ll be some kind of saviour to their race. If I turned him over, I’ll probably never see him again. He’ll go back to his planet and be forced to marry some stranger and live away from his family. From me.

There was so much to consider but I couldn’t do it alone. I couldn’t possibly make this decision on my own when it affected him more than anyone else. I had to tell him what happened. I had to tell him everything.

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