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‘Yelina!’ Kiko and Carly squeaked when the little blonde girl showed them her booty, ‘what are you doing? Put them back!’

‘No way!’ Yelina told them. ‘And don’t you dare tell! They’re mine, fair an’ square!’

‘They are not yours!’ Kiko scolded.

‘Are too! I helped catch that thing, remember?’

Unable to refute this “logic” for the moment, Kiko and Carly watched over the little blonde girl’s shoulders as she went to work on the pieces of the alien thing she’d stolen.

‘We are going to get in so much trouble!’ Kiko complained. ‘Look, they’re marked! So they’re gonna know they’re missing!’

‘Oh, yeah,’ Yelina muttered distractedly, seeing the numbers and letters scrawled on the devices in felt marker. She remedied this by licking her thumb and wiping off the evidence.

Yelina-!’ Kiko squeaked. Carly’s eyes went very wide at Yelina’s brazenness, stuck somewhere between misplaced awe and misplaced admiration.

‘Sh! I’m trying to concentrate.’

‘On what? You don’t even know what they are!’

Yelina pulled one of the pieces apart and began jerry-rigging plugs so that she could begin probing its workings.

Kiko and Carly suddenly began bouncing up and down with anxiety as the piece of alien hardware suddenly came to life.

Turn it off! Turn it off! You don’t know what that thing does!’

Unperturbed, the end of her tongue poking out between her lips, working methodically, Yelina said, ‘Well, we’re about to find out-’

The three girls stared at the result in open-mouthed astonishment as Yelina’s portable monitor flickered to life.


‘Is this cool, or what?’

Her temerity forgotten, Kiko said covetously, ‘I wanna try it!’

Kiko aimed the device at the cabin wall. ‘Look! We can see right through! And look at the air! It looks all funny . . . look! When Jack talks, it looks like smoke’s coming out his mouth!’

‘Hey, I think I know why the air looks funny,’ Yelina put in, fiddling with the controls. She made a few adjustments, and then-

‘ . . . safe here as anywhere,’ Jack’s voice was saying, his voice sounding peculiar and muffled through the wall.

What do you kids think you’re doing?’

The three almost jumped out of their skins. It was Satu, who looked absolutely furious.

‘Busted,’ Carly said plaintively, for all three of them.

You are the alien.

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