March 2018

Hello, my friend!  It is already the end of March.  I feel like I say this every post, but honestly, time is flying by at a rate I can barely keep up!  In the Mid-West, it is Spring Break week.  Usually, we take a family trip somewhere to decompress before the final quarter of the school year. This year, due to unexpected financial burdens and simple time constraints, we were unable to do so.  I’m really in need of a little sanctuary from all the work piling up on my To-Do list, but alas, it is not in the cards.  Perhaps we can eke out a little staycation at one of the big hotels around downtown before the week is out.  How about you?  Any Spring or Easter plans coming up?

Story Background

Sanctuary Under the Stars is one of those stories where I was given random pieces to formulate a narrative.  The Genre is Sci-Fi, which I’ve never written before, and the topic was Big Game Hunting, and the main character was a Fundraiser.  As I considered my options with the criteria given and did some research about Big Game Hunting, an idea formulated where I could thinly guise one of our real-world problems under the pretext of sci-fi fiction.  Let me know if you catch my none too subtle hints in there.

Sanctuary Under the Stars

It has been five years since the Kederind Province, formerly known as North Texas, was designated for The Cause. It’s been 30 years since they arrived on Earth.

They came in large saucer-like ships, the kind dramatized in countless Hollywood films, comic books, and conspiracy nuts’ websites. It was a mixed bag of emotions among Earthlings when they showed. Some claimed they knew all along that we were not alone, others were completely shocked that an alien race existed outside our little third rock from the sun.

The first few days were tenuous, not knowing what they wanted. Then old what’s his name? The one who invented downloadable music, and made electric cars fashionable. He discovered they came because of The Code. The Code was something he had been working on since he was a college freshman. Something so advanced, he dared not share the idea with a soul. It’s what drove him to invest in the privatization of space exploration, what pushed his demand for innovation.

I bet he’s turning over in his anti-gravity grave right now, knowing what has become of the creatures who call themselves Kreoblyn.

Just like us, these Kreoblyn come in many shapes, sizes, and shades of grey. And just like us, they have a variety of knowledge and expertise in things. But, the human collective couldn’t be bothered. Leaders of the Big 10 countries didn’t want to open their borders to any more human immigration, let alone extraterrestrials. Local citizens were too scared of their differences, of how they might take away what was rightfully theirs. We were here first after all. Later, we found that wasn’t necessarily true.

Dinosaurs? Distance cousins of our current ‘friends.’ When they first arrived, they shared with our world that eons ago, they’d sent an early envoy out into deep space.  Their technology was not as advanced as it is today and they lost contact.  Those early pioneers landed here on Earth and became what we call dinosaurs.  Yes, that’s how big some of them are. And that’s why they’ve been relocated to Kederind Province. It was the only place on Earth we could fit them while maintaining their quality of living and providing the climate and food sources they require for survival.

But corralling creatures in a defined space seems to make them sitting targets. And that’s when the idea of Big-Game Hunting came to be and why I scored my job.

My name is Alistair Greyjoy, and I’m a fundraiser for the Kreoblyn Hunting Federation. One of the smaller, smarter beings we call Mr. Slate, for his particular shade of grey, came up with the idea. He borrowed it from studying African ‘canned’ hunting preserves created for the controlled hunting of terrestrial Big Game such as lions and rhinoceros. On private hunting reserves within the confines of the Kederind Province, the largest ET species of the Kreoblyn, the Knoetterd, Krowrem, Kraeglute, Kmiddetea, and the Knadnill, are raised in captivity. For a fee, the sanctuary welcomes Big-Game hunters, where they can hunt any of the five species. Hunters come from all over the world, some even out of this world, to participate in the rush of killing for sport. They are not allowed to leave with any ‘trophies,’ other than the video footage of their experience and a hefty purchase at the largest gift shop in the known universe of Kreoblyn-based products. But, that hasn’t stopped them from coming or even returning. You’d be surprised how many regulars we get.

I know you must think it sounds horrid and violates all kinds of non-human rights. But, the fact is, the amount of money raised from each kill, is enough to pay for the entire Province’s operating expenses, and money left over to invest in the Space Colonization project, kicked off about 15 years ago.

I joined the Kreoblyn Hunting Federation six months ago because I believe in the cause of controlled hunting. Kreoblyn meat and by-products have contributed much to our society in ways such as reducing the problem of world hunger and saving terrestrial animals from extinction due to the demand for their bone and skins. I am living proof of the good that’s come from the creation of the hunting federation. Four years ago, I was living off the streets, starving and addicted to drugs; all brought on by the stress of living with aliens. When human scientists in conjunction with the Kreoblyn discovered their meat had extreme healing properties and high nutritional value in just a one-inch chunk of flesh, a new market emerged, opening up promise in nutrition, wellness, and even by-product manufacturing. That discovery saved my life and countless others. After I overcame my addiction and I was back to a healthy weight, I went to college and earned my degree in Kreoblyn studies. It was a natural segue to join the hunting federation. In a way, I was giving back to those who’d saved my life.

My job is as any other fundraiser. I organize events, design promotional materials, and increase awareness of the benefits of Canned Gaming and the Kreoblyn Hunting Federation. In fact, I’m getting ready to head out on stage right now, to kick off our first annual, Sanctuary Under the Stars Gala.

I can hear the sounds of cutlery scraping against fine china as our guests consume Kreobyln meats. The tinkling of cocktail glasses colliding in toasts and celebration echo while the group drinks specialty liquours brought in from conquered galaxies. There’s a constant low murmur of voices, and a slightly louder hum of Kuurb jazz music filling the air. I took a chance organizing this gala at the South Gardens of the Alamo. I thought the open-air venue would provide adequate space for visiting ETs, as well as pack in 200 of our highest donating supporters. Plus, it’s the Alamo!

“Good evening everyone and thank you for coming out on this gorgeous September evening and in support of our first event benefitting the Kreoblyn Hunting Federation. I hope you are enjoying our unique delicacies as well as having had a chance to peruse our tables of silent auction items, all of which are by-products of our Big-Game heroes, who so graciously donate their lives to the cause of Settlement and Space Colonization.”

Well, that’s my cue to head out. I hope my bow-tie is straight and my hair isn’t sticking up in the back like it has since I was a 10-year-old boy. My mom always said my cowlick would go away. One more thing she was wrong about.

I walk out under the starlit sky of San Antonio, Texas. It is so big and full of pinpointed twinkling light that it’s hard to believe that everything indeed is bigger in Texas, including the Kederind Province. There’s a soft round of applause, as I make my way up the steps of the wooden stage. Just as I approach the podium to shake my colleague’s hand, a loud groaning pierces the night. Dishes clatter to the ground, a woman shrieks and the sizzling sound of an electrical short take my attention away for the briefest of moments. I trip over the sound cords, landing flat on my face.

A ripple of laughter trickles through the crowd, as everyone realizes it was just one of our more significantly sized guests mistaking an electrical cord for a high-desert snake.  I bet the bite of the electric current was even more shocking as a real snakebite.

The laughter continues at my expense as I’m forced to bounce back up from my accident.  I pretend it was my plan all along to lighten the mood. I smile and wave awkwardly and make short work of the distance between myself and the podium. I take a deep breath and purse my lips to begin my speech, but before I can utter a sound, raised voices coming from the entrance of the event, catch everyone’s attention, including my own.

“Hundreds of beings get shot in the back every month. Shot dead, running for their lives! Now you are hosting a party to celebrate that?! You should have to deal with the consequences!”

A group of humans and non-humans alike dressed all in black, come marching into the crowd carrying buckets of some sloshing substance. They station themselves, one at each table of 6, and begin a chant. I don’t understand what they are saying. It’s some dialect of one of the many languages the Kreoblyn speak. It starts out in a low rhythm, but soon it gets louder and more animated. Our prestigious donors are obviously agitated. Some of them try to get up from their seats, only to be reassured by myself and my staff that this was something that we anticipated. Or something like it.

The group is a known activist organization with roots in the Life Rights Movement. It encompasses not only human rights, but animal and alien rights as well. We had an inkling that they might make an appearance. It’s why we hired security. However, that security seems to be not present at the moment, and I have the sudden feeling that my bow-tie is strangling me. As I pat my brow with my handkerchief and try to loosen my tie by placing a finger between my collar and my neck, I notice my staff giving me pointed looks. What do they want me to do? The activists have a right to say their peace and then leave. It’s still a free country after all.

The chanting stops. The activists raise their buckets in unison, and one voice cries out. It’s a rallying call to action. But before anything further takes place, the sound of a gunshot penetrates the activist’s message. Then another, and another.

Chaos ensues, shrieks of fear reverberate throughout the gardens, and bodies run for cover. The activists drop their buckets and join the fray, everyone trying to secure some semblance of safety. I’ve ducked behind the podium, pressing the intercom that is sewn into the spot just below my ear, calling for help.

The pounding of footsteps heading up the stage stairs startles me. I scramble to face who is coming and pray that it’s security. But before I can react, a piercing pain enters my chest, and my ears ring from the sound of point-blank gunfire. I’ve been shot! As I try and wrap my brain around the fact that I could be dying, I try to stem the flow of blood pouring from my wound.



Blackness again.

Voices. Whispers.

“It’s a tragedy.”

“I could’ve told you something like this would happen.”

Blackness turns to blurry spots of bright white. My head is thrumming with a beat all its own, and I can’t hear or think of much else. More beeping and excited voices break over the staccato in my brain.

“He’s awake! Thank God, he’s awake!”

Moments after I come to, I am filled in with the events that unfolded that night. I count my blessings. Twenty beings, most of whom were the activists, were killed that night. The gunman? No one knows. There are theories that it was some hitman hired by Mr. Slate. Why was I chosen? There are theories on that as well.

But, I know. Or at least I think I do. The night before the Gala, I received an anonymous package to my hotel room. A small device that video gets distributed on these days. I insert it into my player and am astonished at what I see: Innocent alien beings, not part of the Reserve breeding project, being rounded up off the streets of their Province, and brought, like cattle, to the Reserve. The videographer claims that the demand for hunting experiences can’t keep up with the supply of Game, so the owner is ‘improvising.’

Of course, I’m horrified by the claims. I’ve heard of stuff like that happening. Not quite as graphic and specific. And I’d always been reassured that it was propaganda from ‘quacks’ who don’t believe in our inalienable rights as the more intelligent species, to display our dominance and power over another species, while of course, having a little fun.

At the end of the video, I the narrator gave me a set of instructions. If I didn’t do what they said, there would be consequences. Specific threats to me and my co-workers promised. Being the arrogant bastard I am, I ignored the danger and proceeded with the event. I would not be made to comply with some anonymous do-gooder.

As I lay here in a hospital tube, healing energy waves of light beaming at me from all angles, I can safely say there are consequences to my inaction.

Thanks to the slaughter of protesters, there is a universal movement to ban ‘Canned Big-Game Hunting’. Not just on this planet, but any planet we colonize from this point forward. Whoever sent that video had wanted me to make a stand, to renounce my belief in the Big-Game Hunting cause.  I wasn’t about to commit career suicide, so I came up with a plan.

I left a response to the video at the front desk before heading off to the Alamo.  I was convinced one of the employees knew who to contact since they found me in the first place.  It was a risk, but one I was willing to take.  I had hired security for the event, as previously mentioned, but I instructed them to hang back and allow the protesters to make their point.  I’d leave it up to our donors to decide whether to support them or us.  I even mentioned in my note that I’d be willing to take a hit in the name of their cause.  My version of being hit was more like being splashed in whatever was sloshing in their buckets, not a literal shot.  In the end, it all worked out, and I thank my anonymous do-gooder for not only driving change but in making me out to be a hero.  Once I’m released from the hospital, I’ll have plenty of job offers. I do think whoever shot me, aimed a little too close to my aorta. But, we can’t all be expert marksmen.


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Short Story Series: Story 7 – Sanctuary Under the Stars

4 thoughts on “Short Story Series: Story 7 – Sanctuary Under the Stars

  • April 4, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Wow. As always a great read. Your descriptions of the imagery never cease to amaze me. While reading I always feel like I am right there with the narrator. I cannot wait until next month’s short story!

  • April 5, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    I love the idea of aliens being descendants of dinosaurs. The Truth is Out There!

  • April 5, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    For someone who has never written Sci-Fi, this story checked all the boxes for me. Great job.


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