A Retrieval in Purple

by Amilyn [Reviews - 1]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Drama, General, Standalone

When Sarah pulled into the her drive it was after 4am.

Her head was spinning with the information Lylaflorin had chattered unrelentingly. It had taken only the barest of occasional prompts to keep the alien, who turned out to be very young, sharing everything about herself.

At least she hadn’t been in danger of falling asleep on the drive.

She was going to have an earful from Mr. Smith, whose input had been equally relentless...but muted while her mobile’s display had remained on sat-nav.

“...and my littermates and I used to have been getting into the worst of the troubles--"

“Lylaflorin.”

“--so that our caretakers were having many times of the talking with us--”

“Lylaflorin.” Sarah cringed at her own brusqueness.

The scent in the car faded from a lavender to the cut grass, and Lylaflorin’s purple glow faded to a faint lilac. She hung her head, avoiding eye contact and folding her hands in her lap. “Yes, Zehra-jeyn?”

“Lylaflorin, I’m not angry, I just need your attention. Not everyone on my planet knows of the existence of offworlders.”

Lylaflorin’s head popped up. Her skin rippled deep aubergine, and her eyes glowed violet. “And yet you are having understanding of my life and my family. How are you having such knowledge?”

“I met offworlders when I was young. They gave me the special gift of travelling beyond Earth.”

“This is why you are being wise. I am being grateful for your help, Zehra-jeyn.” Lylaflorin took Sarah’s hand in both of hers and the car filled again with lavender scent.

“Lylaflorin, I need you to avoid glowing as we enter my home. People fear what they don’t know, and we want to avoid attention.”

Lylaflorin closed her eyes and the glow receded to her chest. It was almost invisible beneath her clothes.

Sarah exhaled, relieved that, as the local madwoman, she might be able to avoid attention tonight, at least. She turned off the car and released both their seatbelts. “We’re going to go into my house now. Just pull that handle, and--”

Lylaflorin opened the car door and stepped out. She looked up and began to twirl. “Your stars are being so twinkling through your planetary atmosphere!” Her voice shifted to tinkling music, rich and echoing like a collection of wind chimes, and she glowed again, the colour shifting with the pitch of the music. She looked and sounded how Sarah had always pictured fairies. Her garments, gossamer, lifted around her almost like wings.

“I am being greeting to your stars, your planetary satellite, and to the growing of the floral leaves on your poles.” Lylaflorin bent and reached to touch the ground, the tree trunks, and stones along the path.

The lights at the house over the road flicked on, and it shook Sarah from her enchantment. “Come on, we’ve got to go in.” She ushered Lylaflorin through the door and latched it behind them.

“We’ve got plenty left to do, so I’m going to put the kettle on.”

That turned out to be a good decision. Two pots of tea later, Sarah and Mr. Smithwere narrowing the likelihood of a successful direction to send a message to Lylaflorin’s envoy.

“This is why I never wanted children,” Sarah muttered, glancing at Lylaflorin, deeply asleep on the attic couch, her glow and scent cycling between lavender and lilac with her breath. Owlie was tucked under her chin with her long fingers wrapped around the stuffed toy. The young alien was, admittedly, adorable.

“Adolescents are so impulsive. She wanted to visit Earth and hopped in an escape pod when her parents forbade it.” Sarah shook her head. “That was unspeakably foolish.”

“I have observed the same tendencies in you, Sarah Jane,” Mr. Smith intoned.

Sarah narrowed her eyes at the supercomputer. “Mr Smith, don’t you have calculations to do?”

Several minutes later, Mr. Smith announced blandly, “I believe I have found the coordinates we need.”

“Can you patch us through to the ship?”

“Of course, Sarah Jane.” Lights flashed, and the display screen fluctuated twice then resolved to a single line.

“Hello, Floraline, come in, please.”

There was no answer.

“Sarah Jane, my sensors indicate your message has been received.”

Floraline, please respond. We have important information regarding a passenger.”

A long pause followed her comment. “This is the cruiser Floraline.”

Floraline, this is Sarah Jane Smith. I have a young woman named Lylaflorin who I believe was travelling aboard your vessel.”

“That is impossible. The princess has been in her cabin since our departure.”

Sarah glanced at the sleeping violet-and-aubergine form on her couch. “I would like to recommend you check again. Lylaflorin boarded an escape pod to explore our planet. We can send you her coordinates.”

Another long pause, then the voice resumed, stiffly curt, “We will resume communication when we are near to confirm coordinates.”

“They have cut communications, Sarah Jane.”

“Then I suppose we wait.” Sarah poured another cup of tea and sat in an armchair, draping a throw over her lap and sipping her tea. When it was gone, she tucked her feet under her and leaned against her cheek on one hand, resting her eyes.

“Sarah Jane!”

Mr. Smith’s voice woke her with a start. As she leapt to her feet, she saw Lylaflorin stirring and sunlight coming through the windows.

“Sarah Jane, they are contacting us.”

“Put them on, Mr. Smith.”

“This is the Floraline. We appreciate that you have our princess, and we are ready to bring her up via transmat once you send updated coordinates.”

“No!”

Sarah turned to where Lylaflorin was hugging Owlie desperately, pulsing a heathery, greyish-purple. “Mama and papa will be being so angry,” she whimpered. “I am not wanting to go back.”

“Lylaflorin, you can’t stay here, it’s not safe,” Sarah reasoned.

“Can’t you talk to them? Please?”

Sarah sighed. “Mr. Smith?”

“Opening communications now.”

“Hello, Floraline? This is Sarah Jane Smith of Earth. Could I please speak to Lylaflorin’s parents?”

“They are here, standing by for her return.”

“Yes, I would just like to confirm that you understand that Lylaflorin was merely curious, excited to try to learn something new.”

The young woman pulsed in shades of amethyst.

A flute-like voice replied, “Of course. I have been doing the exact same thing when I was being her age.”

“Oh, Mama, really?”

“Yes, my darling, and I’ll be telling you the tale when you have been being with us safely.”

Sarah looked pointedly at Lylaflorin, “You really must be careful in future, however. This planet was not a wise choice for a thrill-seeking joy ride. If that other group had found you, they might not have let you go home. There are plenty of planets you can visit.”

“Yes, my dear.” This time the voice was like a cello, deep and flowing. “Now that we are knowing your exploration is being excited by your age, we will begin to be visiting many worlds.”

“Please let us being to plan our visits so that you are being safely travelling with us.”

“Oh, mama and papa, thank you! And you should be being thanking Zehra-jehn. She is being my safety-point here.” She set Owlie on the couch. “I am being ready to come home.”

“Mr. Smith, please transmit Lylaflorin’s exact coordinates.”

“Yes, Sarah Jane.”

The room was suffused with sweet lilac. “Thank you, Zehra-jehn,” rang through the attic with the whine of the transmat.

Lylaflorin appeared on Mr. Smith’s viewscreen, flanked by a taller, port-wine male and a magenta female.

“Thank you for being one to be keeping our child safe,” the man’s cello-voice responded in tune.

The woman sang, “We will never be forgetting.”

Lylaflorin’s long fingers waved in farewell as the ship left orbit.

“Sarah Jane, I will scrub the monitoring satellite footage and audio records.”

“Thank you, Mr. Smith.” Sarah picked up the tea tray and headed down the three flights of stairs.

She put the kettle back on.

Shouting came from outside. “I’m telling you, I saw it!”

“Glowing purple aliens? I think you need to lay off the drink, friend.”

“I’m not going to go on living here. This happens all the time. I don’t care if none of you believe me!”

New neighbours over the road soon enough. Again.

But she’d seen an alien safely home without Torchwood getting involved. Even with two articles to finish and submit to her editor, it had been a good night.

The kettle boiled, and she poured the water, ready to get back to work.

***end***