Joan trotted along the banks of the Illuithan, nose to the ground as she picked up the news of the day. Sunlight glinted off her ebony fur – she was finally starting to lose her puppy fuzz. It had taken long enough.

It was hot, even the river seemed to be sluggish – bad weather for hunting, but she had too much energy to sleep. Maybe later she’d go for a swim. Right now though…

Joan lifted her head as a strange buzzing hum filled the air. It sounded kind of like a hornet’s nest, except one really big hornet, and higher pitched. And it hurt. She shifted human to save her ears as the hum grew closer. Beside her, the Illuithan’s calm waters grew white with foam as the river lifted its head to observe the possible threat. Joan inched closer to it, prepared to jump in just in case it was a really big hornet.

A shiny disk appeared over the ridge, coming rapidly closer. Lights flashed on its silver surface, and the whole thing seemed to lurch through the sky like a bird drunk on fermented berries. The Illuithan seemed to humph and sink back into its banks – watchful but unconcerned. Joan watched the disk, saw that it was about to plow into the ground, shifted wolf, and leapt to catch it in her jaws.

The disk whirred angrily when Joan set it down. It was smallish, about the size of a newborn pup, and the lights were flashing rapidly now. Joan crouched over it, tail wagging slowly to see what it would do next.

What the disk did next was open up. A tiny ramp slid out, and an even tinier green man with very big eyes came out and shook its fist at her.

“What were you thinking puppy? We could have all been killed!”

Joan looked around to see who he might be talking to, and finally realized it was her.

“You were going to crash. I was very gentle, I promise.” She sniffed at the little man – he smelled like lightning and something else she couldn’t place. The little man was joined by two more, and they talked to each other for a minute in a language she couldn’t understand. Finally the first little man turned back to her.

“Alright puppy, we forgive you for nearly crushing us. But our transistor is broken and we need a new one. Get us a transistor and we’ll call it even,” the little man said.

Joan cocked her head. “What’s a transistor?”

The little green man turned purple. “What’s a… you know what? Fine! Just take us to the nearest spaceship repair store, we’ll handle it from there.”

Joan shifted human and sprawled on the ground, staring at them. “What’s a spaceship repair store? I mean I can take you to the elders, they might know what to do.”

The little man got even more purple. “What backwards backwater did we end up on? You don’t even have space travel yet? What is this?”

He was kind of cute, in an angry sort of way. All three of them started chittering back and forth, hands waving as their big baby heads bobbled. Joan reached a finger out, just barely brushing the surface of the disk. It sparked, a crackle of electricty jolting her finger. Joan jerked back, and all the little men turned to look at her. One of them smacked the leader.

“Fool! We landed on the magic world! No wonder everything went haywire!”

“Hey, it’s not my fault Derek spilled coffee on the control panel and shorted out the navigation!”

“You’re the one who bumped me and made me spill Garnuk!”

“Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine. Let me think. You! Puppy! we need magic to get the transistors running again. With luck we can make it to the next fill station on that.” The little man pointed at Joan. Joan leaned down to try and come eye level with him.

“Ok. uh, where do you want it?” She stared at the disk quizically. It didn’t look like anything she’d ever seen, and people usually didn’t come that small.

“Just, uh, put some on top, and we’ll hope that works. Derek, get the engines started!” the little man turned away, all three of them marched inside and the door closed behind them. Joan shrugged, pulled her knife out, and let a few drops of blood onto the top of the disk. She could hear a humming from inside, which then got louder as the disk lifted off the ground. Joan fell back, watching as the disk buzzed in a circle before shooting off into the sky and disappearing.

Joan watched the sky for a minute, seeing if they would come back or not. They didn’t. She shrugged and leapt into the Illuithan. Her friends would never believe her, but it would be funny to see the look on Roin’s face as he tried to comprehend the story.




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