Five billion light years from home. Stuck on a spaceport that engulfs half of a small planet. With a seven year layover and a two million cred chartering fee, Ao, a lone Grey alien, takes his gun in hand and makes his money the only way he knows how: killing stuff. This is our hero. This is the world of ALIEN FOR HIRE.
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Ao is the only Grey alien on a planet full of lonely stuck travelers.
Imagine the Atlanta airport, only blown up to the size of a small planet; a central, universal, space-travel hub so massive that a civilization has sprung up to support it.
Ao, because of a dramatically inconvenient layover, misses his flight and is offered two options: take the courtosey cryogenic tube and sleep for seven years or make three million creds and charter his own darn spacecraft.
Guess which one he picks. He seems to be pretty good at killing, so he takes up mercinary work hunting down aliens that have violated their life contracts.
Meanwhile a robot named Rob is built. Robots work a bit differently on this world and have to earn their living by paying off their "life mortgage." Rob is educated, given a pep talk, and shoved out the factory door to find a job.
The two find their lives intertwined whether they like it or not.
Ao wants to get home. Rob wants to find meaning. But what they don't realize is that they need each other to survive a world where capitalism has gone horribly wrong.
In the early days of the flying saucer industry safety was not a concern. The inverse-plasma-magnetic-anti-gravitational propulsion drives were so unpredictable that they could just as well take off as they could leap sideways through the hull of the ship. At this point in the evolution of the particular planet where this technology was being developed there also coincidently came about a very brutal and heated debate over cloning, which was at the time, a very real possibility. There were many arguments from all sides of the debate, none of which will be addressed here. Needless to say the religions of the world got involved, not wanting a situation where a believer could disagree with themselves. To the delight of scientists though, a compromise was reached: they would be allowed to clone people so long as they were used to test flying saucers.
Many lives were lost, many worthless and completely replaceable lives, all in the name of safe flying. By the second generation of consumer-grade flying saucers, safety, along with the rights of cloned test pilots, became of the utmost importance. In those years there were less than three accidents every day, and of those only one in six were fatal. That all changed however, when a saucer company by the name of Endscor released an over-hyped economy saucer that promised to have all the luxury of a high class saucer with the price of a flying teacup. As the release date approached it became more and more apparent to the manufacturer that their product was flawed to the point of being a flying death trap. Not only could the engine leap out of the hull at any given moment, it would also leap back in and beat the pilot and possibly the passengers half to death, rob them, and then disappear into what some speculated was a seventh dimension that resembled Las Vegas.
Instead of pulling the product though they decided to push the saucers with a bigger advertising campaign. They diverted the attention of the critics and denied any requests at test drives or previews. The launch was a huge success, millions of the saucers rolled off the lots the first day. Within hours though, absolute pandemonium was unleashed as hundreds of thousands of anti-gravity drives beat the living shit out of their owners and disappeared to gamble for the rest of eternity. All the businessmen of Endscor and the rival companies saw though were huge opening day numbers. They chose to ignore the rising death toll, and huge return rate, and changed their own business models to that of Endscor’s. Since then, the release of new saucers has been met with hushed anticipation, mixed with a slight tinge of primal terror.
Ao approached the car rental counter and handed the man-alien a credit card. The man-alien, which looked like a giant slimy fish that continually gasped for water, took the card, looked at it and handed it back. “I’m sorry sir we don’t take Discover.” Few earthlings realize that Discover is actually an intergalactic credit organization with accounts on over a billion worlds and, just like earth, absolutely no place in its right mind accepts them. Ao had gotten the card while vacationing on Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8, the name of which is one of those strange intergalactic coincidences. It is also of an interesting note that Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8 only rose to prominence as the vacation planet of choice after it's sister world, Dale Earnhardt 4, heroically crashed into a small sun.
“Then how am I supposed to get a saucer?”
“You could try one of the other rental agencies.”
“Do any of them take Discover?”
“No . . . But you could still try.” The fish sat there staring at Ao, gulping for precious humidity. After a moment of the dead fish eye look, the man-alien excused itself and went to the back to inject himself with a special enzyme that would allow him to live on land for another thirty minutes. As to what would happen if he didn’t inject himself, well, let’s just say it involves a water cooler and a brief but embarrassing streak run.