Somewhere in the Gobi desert, Anna Wen was unable to stop being nervous. This was a very disturbing fact to her because she didn’t get nervous, it wasn’t how she was built. Not even with the threat of an all-out global nuclear war looming, like at the super secret summit between the two Koreas a few years back where she was able to negotiate a subtle peace between the two nations.
Anna was a diplomat of sorts and had been doing her job for far too long and well to get so nervous. Without even sweating, she had negotiated a far better trade deal for her beloved China back when it was run by a toddler. And then there was that time when she convinced those African nations to grant China mining rights to some much needed precious metal and gases. And now here she was, standing in front of a landing pad in the middle of the desert on a dry summer day, trying not to shake from being so overly nervous. Trying not to soak her blouse before her quests have even landed. With the circumstances, she could be forgiven, she surmised, for being so overcome by the jitters given the importance of whom she was meeting with.
Fearing that it would give the wrong impression, Anna had kindly refused the protection of the great People’s Liberation Army. But as she stood there and watched the bus-sized craft slowly descending from the sky far in the distance toward her, she wondered if she was to hasty to refuse the offer. “Ah well,” she thought to herself, “next time, maybe.”
The craft grew larger as it got closer. For a few seconds, it dipped and hovered above the landing-pad before gently setting itself down. It had a black hull, its nose still red from the reentry burn, and made less noise than the private jets that Anna was so used to traveling on.
Smoke escaped an opening on the side of the hull as it opened from which two hulking biped lifeforms came down the walkway leading to the landing-pad. They seemed more mechanical than biological. It seemed to Anna as though they were covered in some kind of exoskeleton, she wasn’t sure. One of the two alien beings handed Anna a device and pointed at its own ear.
“On my ear?” Anna asked looking at the pebble-sized device, trying to figure out its purpose. “Like this?” Anna cupped the device to her ear. She flinched, surprised by the device as it latched itself to Anna’s ear. There was no pain, but Anna could feel it glued to her skin. She could feel the weight, it felt like wearing those very big diamond earrings that nice African prince gifted her – those earrings were heavy and clashed with all her clothes, she only wore them when she had to meet the prince.
“Now we can speak.” One of the aliens said. “My name is Tala Alala Luk and that is Janu Nu Manana.”
“And my name is Anna Wen. Welcome to Earth Mr. Tala Ala–” Anna furrowed her brows trying to remember their names.
“Call me Tala. That is fine.”
“Please come with me, Tala.” Anna bowed and motioned with her hands to a dome shaped structure. Where she knew for sure the army and other highly trained military operators were waiting. “We have prepared refreshments for you. Delicacies from across our planet.”
The two aliens towered over Anna as she lead them to the meeting area. She had not seen or notice if or not the two behind her issued any kinds of commands to make their exoskeleton disappear, because when she turned around again, she could look them in the eyes without looking up. “What happened to your…um…” Anna wasn’t sure whether to call what they were wearing an exoskeleton or armor.
“We have no reason to deem you a danger. Our exoskeletons are not needed here.”
Anna was proud of how she was able to persuade these alien creatures to make a trip to Earth for peaceful negations. She wasn’t proud, however, of how she persuade these aliens to come down here so that her government can hold them for ransom. “We need their technology, their weapons.” Her superiors had convinced her.
A few meters away from the entrance to the dome, Anna stopped.