Excerpt for The Inter-Terrestrial by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



by Chad Descoteaux

Copyright 2016


SPECIAL THANKS to Angela Descoteaux

for helping me come up with a better title than ‘Alien Boy’


It wasn’t until he looked out from a small window on this two-hundred seat space shuttle that thirteen-year-old Bloxnor felt the full impact of leaving his home planet behind. He looked down at the blue orb, the planet Neptune, as he hovered away from its enormous, walled cities and its three trillion inhabitants. He couldn’t deny that he had butterflies in his stomach.

He was in a shuttle that was filled with a little over a hundred and fifty Neptunians, members of his own terrestrial race. They were green-skinned, purple bug-eyed beings. Men. Women. Children. Families who seemed very excited by the prospect that lay before them. But Bloxnor was angry. A lot had happened to him in the past year. He barely had time to adjust to his father’s death and a new school before his mother decided to whisk him away from everything he knew with promises of a better life and a personal growth experience.

Not that Bloxnor didn’t have his problems on his home planet. He was shy, not that into sports and usually wanted to be left alone to read or play a flight simulator game on whatever digital hologram device he was fascinated by at the moment. His grades were good. His favorite subject was science, which he spent more time on at the expense of his other homework. He had very few problems in his old elementary school. Kids would leave him alone and he managed to make a few friends. But recently having to switch schools after a death in the family (and starting secondary schooling), Bloxnor found himself getting bullied by the larger, tougher members of the school’s various athletic programs.

But Bloxnor was the type of kid who would mouth off when he was bullied…or push back if he was pushed. This resulted in him getting beat up, getting detention (depending on what the intervening teacher saw) and getting many notes home from the principal’s office. Bloxnor noticed all the books that his grandmother started to buy for her daughter, about raising and reaching out to a troubled youth. She thought that Bloxnor’s behavior was a reaction to anger over his father’s death. It wasn’t. Bloxnor was convinced that, if his father was still alive, he would be the one signing the disciplinary notices that he got from school. Bloxnor just hated bullies. Having a father wouldn’t stop jerks that needed a punch in the face from pushing him around…or him pushing back.

As the shuttle continued to move through space, Bloxnor’s mother, Tarooma, placed her hand on Bloxnor’s knee and spoke to him in a consoling tone that did little to ease the boy’s frustration.

“I know you are going to miss all your friends, Blox,” she said, affectionately using her son’s nickname as he stared blankly out the shuttle window. “But this is going to be a better life for both of us. We’re going to be a part of something special.”

Yeah, right, Bloxnor thought, coldly turning away from his mother and looking out the window again.

The “something special” that his mother spoke of was a mammoth space station, about twice the size of Neptune’s largest city, called ‘Phase Six’ on which members of every planet and inhabited moon in our solar system (save for Earth) would (potentially) prove that they could live together in peace, setting a good example for the rest of the galaxy. At least that was the goal, the reason Phase Six existed. Bloxnor rolled his eyes at his mother’s overly enthusiastic faith in what he secretly referred to as an “interplanetary hippie commune”.

Bloxnor was startled, grabbing the arms of his seat, when the shuttle rattled, picking up speed. It changed course slightly and started flying towards his planet’s largest moon, one of fourteen. Triton.

Triton was completely covered in desert and looked that way from space. It was inhabited by purple-skinned beings with one eye, most of which found any variation of the word “cyclops”, any reference to their monocular state, to be a racial slur. The space shuttle slowly descended onto a landing pad where many Tritons waited to board, holding luggage of their own. Some of them looked scared. Others were excitedly optimistic about the space adventures that lay ahead.

As the Tritons started to board the shuttle, Bloxnor noticed that his mother suddenly got uncomfortable. He knew why.

“I can’t believe they admitted membership on Phase Six to those one-eyed freaks,” mumbled Tarooma, loud enough to be embarrassing, but not loud enough for any actual Tritons to hear her racist sentiments.

Blox noticed that the other Neptunians on this shuttle were quite inviting of these one-eyed passengers. Tarooma was not. She was very anxious, nervously tapping her fingers against the arm of her chair and mumbling something else that would have been offensive if she was heard by any Tritons.

The war between Neptune and the desert moon of Triton had been over for five years, but that was not nearly enough time for Tarooma to get over the loss of her husband, Blichnor. This skilled Neptunian soldier was also a devoted husband and loving father. And he had been killed in the conflict, now called the Neptunian Lunar War.

Tarooma had been posthumously awarded her husband’s medal of honor, for he was the one who had assassinated Triton dictator Ghus Ral, freeing both the planet and the adjacent moon from his tyranny and ending the war. This was shortly before a powerful bomb detonated that took his life. Tarooma and her then-eight-year-old son had everything they could possibly need, for the Neptunian army paid the deceased soldier’s family a large sum of money each calendar month.

But that was not enough for Tarooma. Everything on the planet reminded her of her beloved. Every time she got a check from the Army. Every time one of her husband’s fellow soldiers offered their condolences and thanked her for her support. Every time she saw an advertisement where the Army was recruiting, it brought back the crippling pain of the day she found out that her husband was dead. And that pain got worse and became more frequent when Neptunian leaders signed a peace treaty with Triton. Tritons were coming to Neptune as refugees and living among them. She would see them at the marketplace, on the streets and at work. Tritons were integrated into her son’s school and other community functions.

Someone might reason that a woman with such obvious prejudice against another sentient race does not belong in a group like Phase Six, whose goal is to promote interplanetary harmony. But, maybe somewhere deep down, Tarooma knows that she needs Phase Six. She knows that it will be good for her son, despite what damage her own prejudice does to him in the meantime.

As the Tritons took their seats on the shuttle and the pilot was about to take off again, Tarooma leaned over and whispered into her son’s ear.

“Those Tritons are monsters. Never trust them, Bloxnor. They’re the ones who took your daddy away from us.”



Bloxnor had nodded off by the time the shuttle got to Phase Six, which was hovering in the midst of an asteroid field directly between the planets of Venus and Earth. This asteroid field, coupled with the cloaking device that the space station employed, would successfully keep any astronomers or satellites from the primitive planet of Earth from becoming aware of its existence.

There was commotion on the shuttle when the passengers finally saw their destination off in the distance. The commotion itself did not wake Blox up. He mumbled a bit, wiping drool off his chin before nodding back to sleep.

Suddenly, his mother started shaking him. This caused him to wake abruptly and look where his mother was pointing, his eyes glazed over. He could see a small portion of the enormous space station through the windows on the other side of the shuttle. Tarooma was smiling from ear-to-ear, something that Bloxnor had not seen her do in years.

“There it is!” she shrieked. “We made it!”

‘Phase Six’ was long, a horizontally-shaped space station that was twice the height of a skyscraper on Earth, but the length of two metropolitan cities on one of the larger, more developed planets in our solar system. It was kind of shaped like a bone, because there was a large, rounded part of the ship on either end that contained fuel tanks, storage areas and hangars for smaller ships.

The Neptunian/Triton space shuttle flew underneath the massive space station as a hatch opened on the bottom of Phase Six. The shuttle flew upwards and then landed in a docking bay that was full of space ships as the hatch closed. A piercing silence engulfed the shuttle after the buzz of the engines could no longer be heard. The passengers looked back and forth at each other, not sure how to verbalize what they were feeling.

Without warning, thunderous applause burst from the passengers when they realized that they had indeed made it to their long-anticipated destination. Neptunians hugged Tritons and vice versa. Tarooma gave a dirty look to a Triton who ran past her before catching herself in her prejudiced reaction. She stood up, opening an overhead compartment and grabbing her carry-on luggage. Bloxnor did the same as they got in line to leave the shuttle.

Looking out through the windows on his side of the shuttle, Blox saw a shelled, crab-like, sentient crustacean from the planet Mercury who was fixing a small robotic forklift. He was pulling tools out of a toolbox with his clawed hands and chatting with a more neatly-dressed, squid-like creature from Saturn. The Saturnian seemed as though it was barking orders at the Mercurian mechanic, waving its tentacles around and speaking loudly in his own language. This was the first time that Bloxnor had been off his own planet. He had never seen a member of either of these alien races in person before and was instantly intrigued.

Stepping out of the shuttle, Bloxnor saw more happy faces when he was greeted by the Phase Six welcoming crew. This welcoming crew represented a few more alien races that Bloxnor had never seen in person before. Red-skinned Martians with feline features and furry white creatures from one of the moons of Pluto all stood together, holding up signs that welcomed these passengers to Phase Six in the respective languages of Neptune and Triton. Others welcomed them with friendly, welcoming applause.

Blox soon found himself walking with a multi-racial crowd of new recruits to Phase Six, staying close to his own mother, per her strict request. The size and scope of this space station, or at least this section of it, fascinated Bloxnor as much as it worried his protective mother.

To his left, Bloxnor saw an area where more flying transport shuttles had been docked. Dock workers from different planets of origin were unloading these transports with hovering robotic forklifts, moving boxes and crates of all shapes and sizes to where they would be most needed. Each box had writing on it in a different alien tongue and contained items that would be important to a different aspect of this diverse community. From food to medicine to toilet paper (or the equivalent thereof), the needs of every member of Phase Six would be met, thanks to their well-organized shipping crew.

To his right, Bloxnor saw an area with many levels and many neon signs, also in diverse alien languages. This level contained both places for entertainment and gigantic cafeterias for food consumption. There was also a level that was strictly dedicated to medical care and one that contained educational facilities. But Bloxnor continued to be confused, for he could not read signs that were not in Neptunian.

Blox observed two aliens, a Saturnian and a Jupiterian who were conversing with each other in completely different languages. The language of the tentacle-faced Saturnian consisted of squeaking noises that were rapid-fire and varied in pitch. The frog-like Jupiterian’s language sounded like he was underwater, consisting of multi-pitch “glub” noises. Despite this, they seemed to understand each other completely.

“I don’t know why those shuttles make me nervous,” said the Saturnian. His name was Falton. “I work in maintenance. I have fixed the engines and the gravity controls on those things a dozen times.”

“I know what you mean,” the Jupiterian named Tribb replied. “And I used to race submarines for a living back home. Those are much more claustrophobic than that shuttle.”

These two aliens continued to converse like they were old friends (because they were), gesturing, patting each other on the back and even laughing together. Their laughter sounded even stranger to Bloxnor than their language.

Blox pointed them out to his mother. “They’re talking in two completely different languages,” he remarked as the two alien friends turned to walk down a different hallway.

“Did you notice that little microchip they had on their necks?” Tarooma asked.

“Uh huh,” Blox replied.

“That microchip sends signals to their brain so it can translate any of the alien languages spoken on this ship,” Tarooma explained. “All new recruits get fitted for one early on.”


“Oh, yes. The military gave your daddy one during the war so that he could understand Tritonese,” Tarooma stated as her voice got a little sadder. “You’ll need it to read all the different signs on this ship. But the chip can also make it easier to learn to speak an alien language yourself if you wanted to. Then, you wouldn’t need the chip…at least for that language.”

Bloxnor was intrigued by the notion. He retreated inside of his head once again, mulling over this idea and its infinite possibilities as he kept following the crowd of new recruits. Among the crowd, Bloxnor saw a boy that appeared to be around his own age. He was a Triton and his name was Arkna. Arkna waved at Bloxnor with a big, friendly smile on his face.

But before Bloxnor could lift his arm to wave back, Tarooma grabbed her son’s shirt and tugged on it, making him walk faster in the opposite direction.


Bloxnor later found himself in a doctor’s office, sitting on an examination table, fully clothed. The doctor was a friendly Mercurian mollusk with a gold earring hanging on his pierced antennae. He spoke Neptunian fluently. Bloxnor could see from the name tag on this doctor’s lab coat that his name was Ekrub.

“Just relax. This will only sting a little,” Ekrub assured him in a calm voice. He was holding what looked like a needle gun, something that might have been used to pierce his own antennae or someone’s ear lobe. Pressing this needle gun up to Bloxnor’s neck, there was a loud, popping sound when he pulled the trigger. Bloxnor winced. He felt a sharp pinch that made his eyes water.

When Bloxnor touched his own neck, he had a microchip attached to it that was transmitting information to his own brain stem via a wireless method that tapped into Bloxnor’s unique brain frequency. “There! That wasn’t so bad, was it?” the doctor asked.

“You speak Neptunian?” Blox asked Dr. Ekrub, still confused that he could understand this Mercurian doctor.

“I do. But when this microchip is done buffering, I can go back to speaking my own language…and you will understand me just fine,” Dr. Ekrub assured Blox.

A few minutes later, Blox walked through the waiting room of Dr. Ekrub’s office, past a crowd of aliens who were waiting to get their translation chip installed. What was once a mind-numbing garble of alien languages soon gelled in Bloxnor’s open mind and became numerous voices that he could understand. Like any conversation that one might hear in any language, he could focus on it and understand it, or listen to it passively as he kept walking.

Touching the microchip on his neck once again, Bloxnor could not help but smile. This is so cool! he thought, feeling a bit closer to his deceased father.

Crowded into an enormous amphitheater with thousands of new Phase Six members, Bloxnor looked up to the stage, connected to a beautiful domed ceiling that contained thousands of lights. Blox was surprised to see someone that he recognized standing on the stage. It was a forty-something Neptunian man who served with Bloxnor’s father during the war against the Tritons. He and Blox’s dad grew up in the same neighborhood. They joined the army at the same time and were in the same platoon. They fought together for years and were like brothers. The rest of Phase Six would know him as Commander Drachma, but as long as Bloxnor could remember, this was his “Uncle Drachma”.

Commander Drachma stood on the stage, standing at full attention, wearing a uniform with a logo that told all that he was an official on this station. This logo was sort of like the Olympic logo on Earth, but it was more circular and had different color circles to represent the eight planets on Phase Six, with smaller circles to represent their moons. He warmly welcomed all the new recruits, who could now understand him perfectly, as they had all received their translation chips.

A view screen illuminated behind Drachma as he started to tell the story of how Phase Six began. A photograph showed the image of a messy-haired, wild-eyed Martian scientist that most in this audience recognized from their various school studies.

“Our story begins with the work of famed Martian scientist, the father of modern planetary communication, Elo-Kay!”


Elo-Kay was an inventor who lived two hundred years ago, on Mars. He invented new technology for a popular Martian tech company in the basement of a mansion where he lived. He also served as a butler for the nobleman who owned the mansion. One week after his thirty-third birthday, Elo-Kay launched a satellite into the Martian atmosphere that he hoped would encourage communication between the planets. He hoped that this small gesture of friendship and science would be ‘phase one’ towards a solar system where the phaser and other weapons of war would be obsolete.

His idea caught on. Scientists, leaders, common folk and even church groups on other planets in our solar system followed Elo-Kay’s shining example. They joined the diplomatic conversations that Elo-Kay’s satellite sparked. Within twenty years, other planets launched four other satellites. ‘Phase 1’ through ‘Phase 5’ soon united the solar system in peaceful conversation between many leaders on seven planets and eight moons. Basically, they were all trying to learn about each other’s culture, to find out what else was out there, to understand it and embrace it.

But Elo-Kay lived during a time where the Martian Senate was contemplating military action against one of their moons. He was falsely arrested as a traitor by the very nobleman that he had loyally worked for. He was tried and beheaded in front of a television audience of billions of Martians for his attempts to unite the solar system, giving like-minded beings an outlet to reach out to one another.


“Elo-Kay died promoting the idea that beings from different planets could live together in peace,” Drachma told the silent, captivated crowd in front of him. A picture of Elo-Kay with his head in a guillotine captured rapt attention as it was shown behind Drachma on a view screen. “Long before the Martian Senate blasted Phase One out of orbit, the wheels were in motion and the conversations continued long after Elo-Kay died, resulting in the very space station that you stand in now.”

The image on the screen behind Drachma changed to a photograph of the Phase Six space station as it was being built. It was resting in a large field on the planet Uranus, where it was housed before being launched.

“This space station,” Drachma continued, “contains members of every planet and inhabited moon in our solar system, save for one, more primitive rock.” A few people laughed. All knew that he was talking about Earth. “This space station will prove that it is possible for beings of different species to live together in peace.” Drachma’s passionate enthusiasm for the mission of Phase Six took over and projected with his voice through the microphone that he was speaking into. “Ladies and gentleman, humanoids and cephalopods! Welcome to Phase Six!” Drachma shouted. He extended his arms, as if embracing the audience, and he was greeted with thunderous applause.

Bloxnor looked at his mother, who was fervently applauding Drachma’s words, thinking her to be quite the hypocrite to be applauding a speech about interplanetary peace, despite being quite verbal about her disdain for Tritons.

“Seriously, Mom?”

Tarooma didn’t know what Blox was alluding to.




Two years passed with Bloxnor living on Phase Six. He was now fifteen. He attended school on the ship and continued to be a loner who kept to himself and lived inside of his own head, burying his face in books and hologram games, emerging occasionally to excel in his science classes. His mother found herself a job in one of the space station’s many cafeterias, which was adjacent to the secondary school that young Bloxnor attended. And their apartment was not far from the cafeteria. Yet, for some reason, Blox could never get to class on time.

Running down the empty school hallway at full speed with his planetary biology book in his hand, Bloxnor’s sneakers skidded to a stop in front of the biology class that he was late for. He peered in through the window and saw the students, teenagers from diverse planets and moons. He saw the teacher, a somewhat-humanoid plant person from the planet Venus writing on the blackboard. Messy purple petals pointed in every direction on his head as he spoke. His name was Dr. Rute Seedman.

Why do I gotta be late all the time? Blox thought to himself. Dr. Seedman’s class is my favorite and I keep missing stuff.

Bloxnor hid next to the lockers for a few seconds until he noticed that the classroom door was cracked open. This allowed him to open the door some more with his foot without making any noise by turning the knob. The door did not creak at all either.

Bloxnor crawled into the classroom and quickly scurried under the nearest table, underneath geological diagram of planet Jupiter’s many layers. A few of his classmates saw Bloxnor and started to snicker as Dr. Seedman continued his speech, drawing a crude diagram of Neptunian DNA on the blackboard as he spoke.

“Every species in our solar system has a survival trait that is unique to their own particular biology,” Dr. Seedman stated, adjusting his horn-rimmed glasses with the vines that Venusian plant people have as appendages. “Today, we are going to discuss a rather impulsive survival trait possessed by inhabitants of the planet Neptune.”

Bloxnor slowly climbed out from under the table and started tiptoeing around the back of the class towards his desk as Dr. Seedman continued to speak.

“When a Neptunian is in a position where he knows that his life is threatened, a quite fascinating chemical imbalance occurs in the 'treina' cortex of the brain that triggers a latent form of telekinesis that, for lack of a more delicate term, ‘impregnates’ the nearest biological organism with the Neptunian's genetic code,” Dr. Seedman explained before seeing something out of the corner of his eye.

Unexpectedly, Dr. Seedman turned around, whipping out one of his vines. The vine wrapped around Bloxnor’s ankle, jerking his leg upwards, forcing a mid-air flip until he was hanging upside down. Blox didn’t hit his head on the desk, but his books fell to the floor as his fellow students erupted in mad laughter. The tardy student was then carried towards Dr. Seedman, hanging upside down by his vine, until the Venusian scientist could look Bloxnor directly in the eye.

“And it would appear that some Neptunians have survival instincts that are less developed than others,” Dr. Seedman quipped with a playful smirk on his face.

The laughter continued as Bloxnor hung upside down, embarrassed by his failed attempt to sneak into class.


There was a game room on Phase Six, the goal of which was to train young people how to fly different types of spacecraft, a valuable skill on any truly developed planet in our solar system. This game room was large, cylindrical and had tons of hologram video game machines where the player could operate a virtual reality spaceship through various on-screen obstacles. These games came from different planets and represented various styles of real-life vehicles.

Bloxnor came into this game room most days after school when he was waiting for his mother to get off work. He loved the wide variety of loud, pounding rock music from different planets that was played here, as this was a popular hangout for alien youth Bloxnor’s age. Bloxnor nodded at a few of the guys that he knew from school and arrogantly, flirtatiously winked at a few of the girls that he had met before.

One Martian girl named Alegna rolled her eyes at Bloxnor when she saw him strutting into the game room like he owned the place. She knew how proud he was of his skill and prowess at the games that he played. He frequently bragged about how he got his skills from his father, the war hero. Bloxnor’s father was a sniper and never drove spaceships in the military, but none of his peers would have any way of knowing that.

Bloxnor wrapped his green fingers around the controls of a holo-game called ‘Planetary Defense’. It was one of the more realistic games in this room. Pressing the start button, Bloxnor started flying a spaceship through a trench on a space station that was being attacked by faster enemy ships with rounded, armored wings. He skillfully avoided explosions as he gunned down those enemy ships with his lasers.

A Jupiterian teenager named Trakk strolled over and watched Bloxnor play this game. In the game, a larger spaceship came overhead and was quickly destroyed by heat-seeking torpedoes. This necessitated that Bloxnor use evasive maneuvers to avoid the falling debris as the ship broke apart and fell. Trakk marveled at Blox’s ability.

“Homeboy’s got skills,” the frog-like teen remarked to Alegna. Alegna rolled her eyes at Blox yet again.

“Problem is, he knows it,” Alegna replied. “He’s such a butt!” Trakk laughed as Bloxnor slapped the side of the game machine with a celebratory roar when the words ‘mission one: complete’ appeared on the screen.

“Yeah! Suck it!” he shouted. The kids who heard him could not help but laugh…

…because, in Bloxnor’s mind, he was really inside of this ship. His overactive imagination took over and he could feel the heat of each explosion and the adrenaline associated with this battle. When Bloxnor was surrounded by five enemy ships, he could see inside the cockpits. In his mind, each one of these pilots that he would soon skillfully blow away was a one-eyed Triton warrior.

“Game over!” Bloxnor said with a scowl. Jerking the joysticks backward with both buttons held down, Bloxnor’s ship fired rapid-fire lasers as it flew diagonally. Two enemy ships blew up, which allowed Bloxnor to fly away with the other three enemy ships in hot pursuit.

Flipping a few switches, Bloxnor activated a magnetic area on the bottom of his ship that allowed him to cling sideways to the wall of this space station’s trench. The enemy ships whipped past him and then Bloxnor detached his ship, pursuing the Triton ships with his lasers blazing.

At this point, Bloxnor had a whole slew of alien teenagers surrounding him, watching him play and reacting favorably to each on-screen kill. Bloxnor, however, was so into the game (and his own head) that he didn’t notice that anyone was watching him. He had a glazed-over look in his eyes and a frightening scowl on his face.

Bloxnor’s audience noticed the look on his face. A couple of the girls were freaked out by this. “He looked possessed,” remarked one Venusian girl as Bloxnor continued to stare at the screen with his teeth clenched and with a crazed look in his eye, blowing away more video game spaceships.

“Tritons!” he growled, making the other kids, including one Triton girl feel very uncomfortable. This crowd of teens started to slowly back away from Bloxnor and his racist sentiment, unbeknownst to him as he played Planetary Defense with an unbreakable focus.


After a rousing hour and a half of his favorite simulator games, Bloxnor walked into the mile-long cafeteria that his mother worked in. He was very hungry and the place was quite packed with aliens who had just gotten off their respective jobs. Bloxnor quickly got in line and waited, looking around at the diverse group of cafeteria crew members, who waved at Blox, recognizing him as “Tarooma’s boy”.

When Bloxnor got to the front of the line, he grabbed a tray and looked at the many kinds of food that they had to offer. Food that was a delicacy to one species was a deadly poison to another, so each dish was covered with a really thick sneeze guard and labelled with the name of the food and what planet it came from. But Bloxnor had an acute sense of smell and could tell which food items were from Neptune. Being that such a large portion of his planet was covered with water, all Neptunian meat was either from a sea creature or from an amphibious creature. This gave the meat a certain ocean smell that most Neptunians could pick up on, even if it was scattered amongst food from other worlds.

Off in the distance, Blox saw his mom walking into the back part of the kitchen, carrying a box of supplies and wearing protective gear. She didn’t see him, so he didn’t wave. Bloxnor understood that Tarooma was a hard worker and often had tunnel-vision when she was occupied with a task. Bloxnor was the same way.

A few of Bloxnor’s classmates were also in this line, a few feet behind him, chatting and rough-housing with one another. A Triton boy named Arkna, the one Bloxnor had met on his first day on Phase Six, was among them. Bloxnor, being something of a loner, was initially put off by Arkna’s outward friendliness. He turned away from the Triton teenager and his friends, finally getting a whiff of his favorite Neptunian dish. He could picture the blue, web-footed, finned creature that the meat came from, as his father had caught many of them on camping trips when Blox was a child. He saw the meat in the tray and immediately scooped some “finkeral” into his plate, along with some chopped up greens from his home world that could be well-described as Neptunian Cole slaw.

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