A Wrong Turn - By Rosy

   The mountains were huge. Capt. Riviter knew this as soon as he saw them. They were, in fact, much bigger than any mountains ever recorded on earth before, causing him to wonder. What if this is not earth? They'd just returned from a long trip on a colonizing mission to a planet way far off. They'd finally gotten the natives subdued, with many of them even helping a little, and now Captain and crew were returning as conquering heroes. Only this meadow and the impossibly huge mountains didn't seem right. Captain was sort of hoping for cheering and the awarding of medals. He looked around. No, this wasn't right. 

   “Jant dear, would you mind terribly rechecking our landing coordinates?” 

   “Sure Captain. Got 'em right here.” She whipped out a scroll and unrolled it. “See there?” She pointed to a penciled in figure. “That there's the coordinates for earth.” She beamed with satisfaction. 

   “Yes, but do they match our current location?” 

   “Well, let's just take a look, shall we?” she announced pulling her phone out. “Hello? Spaceship?” 

   “This is spaceship, we receive you just fine, roger wilco, over and out,” Tinny Voice responded. 

   “All you need to say is over, Tinny. All the rest, like that roger wilco stuff? It's just meaningless redundancy.” 

   “But it sounds cool, Ma'am,” Tinny Voice replied. 

   “Uh-huh. Well in any case I need you to check our location. Do our current coordinates match the coordinates for earth?” 

   “One moment please,” There was some shuffling, rustling and the clacking of computer keys, then, “Uh, no Ma'am, they do not.” 

   “Hmmm. I see,” she said, not really seeing at all. “And where do our current coordinates put us at?” 

   “Well, Ma'am, that's just it. We're someplace no one knows about.” 

   “Well, now that's just pissy, ain't it?” she snarled, raising her voice. 

   “What's that Lieutenant?” the Captain called from across the clearing where he and the crew stood waiting in the shadow of the huge mountains. 

   She walked over to him. “We appear to be on an undiscovered planet, Sir,” she whispered. The other crew members shuffled nervously. 

   “Really?” the Captain snarled. “And just how did that happen, navigator?” 

   “It's these huge mountains, Captain. Somehow, they must'a threw me off.” Fortunately for Jant, Captain was distracted by strange creatures that were crawling and slithering through the underbrush, heading right at them. 

   “Oh-oh,” Captain said. He quickly called the spaceship. “I guess you better beam us up Tinny Voice. Strange creatures are headed our way.”  

   “You bet, Captain! Just give me a minute to run down to the beam up room. Batty's out to lunch.” 

   “Haste would be useful,” the Captain murmured into the phone. They began pacing, all of them, waiting for the beam up which was beginning to look more like a rescue beam than a regular return beam, as more creatures joined those already heading their way. 

   Suddenly all the creatures arrived and the Captain and crew were surrounded, captured, and carried away. When the creatures had them safely tied up and stashed, they returned to the scene of their crime, so to speak. It was at that point that Tinny Voice found the beam up room. He wasn't real sure how to run the beamer but he saw a big button that was labeled, 'Bring 'em back' so he promptly punched it. Soon the beam up room was crowded with creatures. Monsters was how Tinny Voice thought of them as he ran screaming back to the bridge. He could not believe that the Captain and crew had been mysteriously turned into monsters by some nefarious forces on this undiscovered planet. 

   Batty joined Tinny Voice on the bridge and they locked all the doors. Then Tinny Voice called earth, only the earth wasn't there anymore. Earth just wasn't the kind of planet to hang around and wait and had, in fact, long since gone, speeding through the Milky Way at astonishing speeds, while this undiscovered planet with its huge mountains followed a star going in the opposite direction, also at astonishing speeds. Already it took an hour for a one-way call. So Batty and Tinny bailed out, using an emergency escape pod. When they landed, they quickly joined the Captain and crew in captivity. 

   Meanwhile the creatures in the spaceship went on to discover earth, which they claimed for their King. They reported that the natives, armed primarily with ancient lead projectile weapons, build massive monoliths to live in and that they are easily swayed. This conquest will be a breeze, they reported. Since our spaceships are way faster than theirs the already vast and increasing distance between us is, for us, negligible, for them, insurmountable. All we have to do is replace their oligarchs with our operatives and we will own the entire planet. 

   Years later the Captain and crew were able to return to earth on one of the colonizing expeditions as translators and guides. 

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