When Tony and Bea left Agla 5, it was peaceful.
But not for long….

3300 words
(Incomplete: this is part of a bigger story which I didn’t have time to write.)




I called, “Open.” The spaceship door slid aside. The Bean and I went out on the planet Agla 5. Our ship had landed beside another one, on a patch of grass behind a big, two-storey house. The back door was facing us, with two big windows on each side of it.

I told the Bean, “This was Bo-Gwarric’s house. I sneaked in that door, hoping to rescue you.”

Before we reached the door, a woman opened it. Her skin was white, with a dark blue tinge. Her black hair also glinted blue. She was wearing the uniform of an Administrator of the Galactic Federation – like a grey tracksuit with purple bands round the chest and cuffs.

She lifted a hand. “Greetings. Welcome to Agla 5.”

I thought she looked disappointed, so I said, “Hi. I’m Tony. I’m thirteen. This is Bea. She’s eleven. Yes: we’re agents of the Federation. Troubleshooters.”

The woman laughed. “I’m Achia. I wasn’t going to complain about your ages. Obsidian said he’d send you because you know this planet. Come in.”

“Yeah,” I said. “We’ve been here before. I’m sorry. People keep complaining we’re too young.”

“Forget it, Tony. Meet my son. I call him Beetle because he’s always crawling around the floor. Come, Beetle. Meet Bea and Tony.”

Beetle was a round-faced boy with black hair like his mum’s, and a grey tracksuit. He was shy, but, when the Bean crouched beside him, he smiled. His mum held her wrist unit to his face, and he said a quiet word, which our wrist units translated, “Hello.”

Achia took us to an office in the front of the house. It had a big desk facing the door, and cupboards at the sides. She sat behind the desk, and gave us chairs in front of it.

She pushed a bowl towards us. “Would you like some local fruit?”

“Thanks,” I said. “We called them lollifruit.” They’re brown, and sausage-shaped, with the stalk on the end. They taste like toffee with a hint of raspberry.

As we started our lollifruit, Beetle showed the Bean a model – a weird-looking silver car, probably from his home planet.

The Bean smiled. “Is that your car?”

Achia said, “He’s taken a liking to you, Bea.”

The Bean asked, “How old is he?”

“Three.” Our wrist units translated her answer to Earth years.

The Bean stroked Beetle’s head. “He’s lovely. I have a little brother about the same age.”

Achia called, “Beetle, don’t bother Bea. She’s here to speak to me.”

Beetle gave the Bean a small smile, then crawled over the wooden floor, pushing his car.

Achia began, “May I explain what’s happened since you were here?”

I said, “We heard that To-Hutchic and Bo-Gwarric had escaped.” They were the leaders of the aglavor – the army, which had bullied the people.

“Yes,” said Achia. “Obsidian sent me to run Agla City, until the people elect a new president. Then, if everything goes well, Agla 5 will be invited to join the Federation.”

I said, “But everything hasn’t gone well.”

“No. The people….”

A howl from Beetle interrupted her. He pointed to a low gap under the cupboard at the left.

Achia exclaimed, “Oh, Beetle!” but the Bean said, “His car’s gone under the cupboard. Achia, may I get it for him?”

“Thanks, Bea.”

Beetle watched anxiously as the Bean looked under the cupboard. She said, “I see it.” She lay on her back, to stretch an arm under the cupboard.

The door of the room burst open. Two women stood there, in the grey uniform of the aglavor. I went for my stun-gun, on its clip at my waist, but their nerve-guns were in their hands. Agony flooded my body.

Maybe they fired quickly, because I didn’t black out immediately. I was still conscious – just – as somebody grabbed me, and tried to carry me away. I fought blindly through the pain, until everything went dark.