Gurren Goes to the County Fair

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A blue light appeared above the field. It was almost invisible against the blue sky at first, but it quickly grew in size and in intensity. Within seconds it was too bright to look at.

The ball of light exploded in an odd staccato, the shock-waves bending circular patterns into the stalks of wheat. A figure fell from the middle of the explosion, falling to the ground with a loud thud.

Gurren stumbled to his feet. Emergency transport was always set a distance above ground level, on the idea that a short fall was better than getting fused into rock. But thirty feet was pushing it.


As his vision cleared up, he became aware that he was surrounded by people. Humans, by the look of it. He had never seen this many at once.

Suddenly, all at once, they each began striking one hand against the other. Some of them shouted. Gurren fell into a crouch, ready to attack. He was hopelessly outnumbered, but he was a member of the Rrkow Space Fleet; he wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

A human female stepped forward, turning to face her own. She shouted something in that strange language of theirs, and the aggressive display died down.

She stepped slowly toward him, all but her head disappearing in the golden vegetation. She spoke to him now, and even though the words were nonsense to him, her soft tone made her meaning clear.

“Identify yourself,” he said, more out of reflex than any hope that she might understand him.

The female paused and closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them again, she spoke.

“I do not have a translator. Do you have a translator?” He pronunciation was stiff, her inflection all but non-existent. Presumably these were just some stock phrases she had memorized.

“No,” he said, deliberately over-enunciating the growl. “No translator.”

She took a small device from a fold in her clothing and fiddled with it for a moment. She spoke in the human language again, and a moment later, the device growled and clicked.

“Testing. Can you understand me?” it said.

“Yes… I thought you said you didn’t have a translator.” Half a second after he started speaking, her machine started speaking human.

“I’ve got-” and there was a short, sudden pause before the translator continued again, “on my phone, but it’s not very good. My name is Samantha. What’s yours?”

“Gurren,” he said, “of the Rrkow Space Fleet. In accordance with the treaties, please tell your soldiers to stand down.” Her ‘phone’ repeated his words in human, with a couple of those sudden pauses.

She glanced at the humans gathered behind her, then made an odd, although not unpleasant sound.

“Those aren’t soldiers,” she said. “They’re fairgoers. They thought you were an act for the fair. So did I, at first, but I’m guessing you’re not.”

“Then that noise they were making?”

“You mean clapping?” she asked, and she slapped her free hand against her wrist in imitation of the motion they had made earlier. “That’s a sign of appreciation. You’re not very prepared for a trip to Earth, are you Gurren?”

“I had to use an emergency transportation. I hadn’t realized I was so close to Earth space.”

“What happened?”

“I’m not allowed to discuss that. I need to report to a member of the nearest local government, then wait until the fleet contacts me.”

She bobbed her head up and down. “How long will that take?”

He flicked his tail. “Hard to say. My computer will have given them my transport co-ordinates, but I don’t think we have an embassy on your planet. I’ll have to wait until a ship enters communication range, or for my people at the galactic center to send the message through your ambassadors.”

“Is your government as bloated with bureaucracy as ours is?” she asked.

He laughed, although the low clicking sounds seemed to make Samantha uneasy.

“Every alien race I’ve met jokes that their bureaucracy is the worst in the galaxy.”

The corners of her mouth moved up. “I see. Well, fortunately for you, I’m the mayor’s treasurer, so let me cut some corners for you.” She pulled the phone away, pressed a few buttons, and held it to the side of her head and spoke into it for a few moments.

“I’ve told the mayor. So that’s taken care of. She’ll want to meet you in person when time allows, but for now, she wants me to play ambassador. Is there anything else you need to do?’

His stomach rumbled. If he was interpreting Samantha’s expression right, something similar happened with humans.

“Food, right. You’re in luck. You’re at a county fair, so you get to try some of the most delicious, unhealthy food Earth has to offer.


“This is edible?” he said, looking cautiously at the stick she offered him. Several small objects were skewered on it and wrapped in strips of something red and pink.

“It’s … wrapped…” What he was eating was apparently too complicated for her phone to try to translate. “I looked it up online, and there’s nothing in there that you shouldn’t be able to digest.” She paused, then added. “Just so you know, you don’t eat the stick itself, just the things on it.”

“Of course,” he said. He had been wondering about that.

He took a tentative bite. Samantha wasn’t lying about the food. It was savory, and in a way that couldn’t possibly be healthy for any species in the galaxy. He purred as he began to eat in earnest.

“So do you want to try a ride next?” Samantha asked. “Or see one of the displays?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re probably the first lerr ever to visit a county fair. I’d be doing my race a disservice if I let you leave without getting the full experience.”

Gurren chuckled. “Well, I am supposed to cooperate with the local government as much as I can. What do you suggest?”


Prompt: Out of this World

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I went to the San Diego County Fair yesterday. The theme this year is “Out of this World.” So this week’s prompt is aliens at a county fair.

Good luck and good writing!