Ronnie and Carla put up with the alien’s when they drove them hard because most of the time they had it pretty easy. Mop a few floors each day and empty out the trash, then goof off in a giant UFO. But three days straight of loading and unloading was taking its toll.
“When can we see the space station?” asked Carla.
“I don’t know,” said Ronnie. “I’m not sure we’ll see it at all.”
“Have you ever seen one?” They each had a heavy oblong container taken from the loading dock, and walked toward the stowage.
“No. They’ve always stayed pretty close to earth. Abductions give them their highest revenue.”
“Seriously?” said Carla. “You’ve never been off this ship?”
“Huh-uh.” They set down their loads and headed back to the dock.
“We’ve gotta sneak out,” said Carla. “Think what might be out there! All different kinds of aliens…”
“Yeah, that want to abduct us and won’t honor our workers contract.”
“Right. The kind that nourish ammonium based life forms and will melt our stomach.”
“All the better to paralyze us with so they’re children will have new ‘dolls’ to play with.”
“You’re such a chicken.” said Carla. They reached the dock where about fifty more containers had to be moved into the ship.
“I’d sooner walk into a pool of nuclear waste,” said Ronnie. “You don’t know the dangers.”
“Well, this might be my one chance,” said Carla. “I’m going for it.” She headed for the access door at the other end of the loading bay.
“Wait,” said Ronnie. He followed after her. “Wait.”
Carla slipped through the door. When Ronnie reached it, he peeked through. The door opened into a much larger room where massive creatures with bony plates for noses used them to push around odd containers to different doors. Carla was partway through, dodging one of the beasts and skipping toward the opposite end where larger doors opened and closed as more containers were moved in and out.
She looked back and smiled at Ronnie. He trotted to catch up.
“We shouldn’t do this.”
“We’re doing it.”
The creatures seemed to ignore them, and Ronnie wasn’t sure if they were sentient or not. They reached the other side and slipped through some large doors.
The section in front of the doors was marked off, and the nose-plates moved back and forth along it, but the rest of it opened into a giant dome under which every bizarre kind of alien milled about, exchanging things and chattering with each other. A few humans mingled among them.
Carla approached one of them. A thin man dressed in a gray suit and a gray, wide-brimmed hat. “Hey, there, earthling. What brings you here?”
“I’m an interstellar lawyer, what about you?”
“Grunts,” said Ronnie. “Janitorial work on a UFO.”
The man scoffed. “The one thing blocking the rest of the galaxy from full contact with earth is those doggone UFO licenses. They give them exclusive rights to earth visitations. It’s a racket.”
“How do they get those licenses?” asked Carla.
“They’re pretty much passed down with the ships anymore. You want to get one, you have to acquire a ship that already has one.” He tipped his hat and weaved away through the crowd.
“Shall we look around some more?” asked Ronnie.
“I think I’ve found what I was looking for,” said Carla.
“What’s that?” asked Ronnie.
“A clear purpose.”