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Chapter 6

Reunion with the Aliens

When they finally reached the Magic Forest bus stop, the children excitedly left the bus and ran into the forest. After walking to a fro aimlessly for a while they paused to discuss the matter.

Is it the correct time?” Susie asked and Bernie answered: “The flight from Zeta to Earth takes 10 hours, that is with the space ship of Mona and Moyo. Around midnight we got their answer via light signals. Now it’s noon, so they should have landed.”

But where?” Rosie asked. “Nowhere around here is a landing place.”

I know”, Elfrida cried, “they have landed here before and that was close to the witch house. You know there is a large clearing and that it the best spot for landing.”

That’s right”, Daisy said. “But then they are in great danger!”

I don’t believe that”, Elfrida grinned. “Not after the witch became acquainted with my brother.”

I wonder whether she built up her house again”, Daisy laughed.

In former days the children had always moved very cautiously in this part of the Magic Forest, but today they ran toward the witch house almost merrily. Only Elfrida was angry because she always had to drag Bruno out of some bush or other where he was looking for some interesting beetles. She was the last one to walk into the clearing. The witch house still lay about like debris, only the floor and some furniture were where they should be. Elfrida saw with relief that the space ship with their two friends had already landed. But what she then watched was so very surprising that her mouth stood open and she did not know what to think about it. Over there Mona and Moyo sat at the kitchen table with the witch, playing rummy !

He he”, Elfrida heard the witch’s laughter, “this time I won! Another game?

We have to pause”, Mona answered. “Our friends arrived. Moreover we are even and that’s a pretty result.”

The witch nodded, collected the cards and kindly smiled at Elfrida and her friends.

How about some nice herb tea?” she asked.

Eh, thanks a lot, but we just had tea”, Daisy lied and turned to Mona and Moyo. “Have you gone nuts? Don’t you remember the stress you had with her? And now you sit here playing rummy? That could have gone quite sour, you know.”

Negative”, Mona said, “nothing could go sour. We checked the region by PSI-scan.”

Rosie cleared her throat: “What is a ski can?”

That’s all like you”, Bertha jeered. “She said PSI-van!”

Scan”, Mona corrected, “PSI-scanner – we can check the neighbourhood for bad impulses by it.”

And what does PSI mean?” Rosie asked.

Pig-Stable-Indicator”, Bertha smirked. “By that duffers like you can be made out in time so that one can run away.”

Dear Bertha! If Miss Cleverpig has no idea, she ridicules everything. And what does PSI mean now?”

Eh, well, I’ve forgotten for the moment”, Bertha stammered. “But I think it’s something with rays.”

No rays”, Mona laughed. “It is short for Para Sensual Intelligence, meaning things beyond your normal five senses. Witch craft for instance.”

The friends looked at the witch who was sitting on her kitchen chair grinning and slobbering.

I doubt any scanner will find anything about her”, Bernie grinned.

Fine”, Elfrida said. “As that is clarified we now may come to the point. Thanks a lot for coming so quickly, Mona and Moyo. Fact is…”

How fast is your space ship?” Bruno interrupted who stood beside the vessel of Mona and Moyo.

On hypermode we almost reach light speed”, Moyo proudly said.

Wow!” cried Rosie. “Is that faster than a jet?”

If I may go on”, Elfrida said. “We have to…”

Nothing is faster than light”, Bruno replied. “It makes 300,000 kilometres per second, that’s more than 1 billion kilometres per hour.”

You’re really great, Bruno”, Elfrida tried to stop him.

Ain’t I? And the most interesting thing: this value always remains stable, no matter how fast the onlooker or the light source are moving.”

What does that now mean? Who is to understand that?” Bertha said and wrinkled her nose.

Perhaps we should…” Elfrida got no further because Bruno was just at the beginning:

What that means? Now listen to this example:

From standing position, you throw an apple with 30 kilometres per hour. The apple then flies with the same speed. Now you get into a car and drive with 50 kilometres per hour. Again you throw an apple. Now the apple has a speed of 50+30=80 kilometres per hour.

Now if you stand and switch on a torch the light has a speed of 300,000 kilometres per second. Do the same in a car with a speed of 50 kilometres per hour. Now the light does not have light speed plus 50 kilometres per hour but still 300,000 kilometres per second. The value is always the same.”

What we now want to know…”, Elfrida tried again.

Exactly”, Bruno interrupted once more. “How far is the distance from your planet to Earth?”

Moyo thought, then he said: “Almost 60 AU.”

Perhaps we later can…”, Elfrida tried again, but this time Daisy butt in.

What’s AU?”

Bruno answered: “It’s short for astronomical unit. One AU is the medial distance between Earth and sun and sums up to 150,000,000 Kilometres.”

It’s okay, Bruno”, Elfrida tried to take over, “we can calculate that later. First of all now we…”

That would be about 9 billion Kilometres!” Bruno cried excitedly. “Have you got a proton drive?”

To be exact, we use an ionic drive”, Mona replied.

We need the repli…” Elfrida got no farther because now Rosie asked, aghast:

Idiotic drive? How would that work?”

Elfrida almost lost her nerves. Infuriated, she rolled her eyes but before she could say anything, Bruno set out to answer.

The basic principle of an ionic drive is the ionising of the material. Ionising means that a material is deprived of electrons. By that the rest of the atomic core has positive charge. Now a positive charge particle can easily be sped up by a magnetic field. Even over short distances a particle gains high speed, much higher than that of chemical fuels. As source of energy ionic drives don’t use chemical fuels but electricity which has to be supplied by solar cells or a nuclear reactor. These normally have more weight than the drive. Is that the reason why you do not really reach light speed?”

Exactly so”, Moyo replied. “We’ve got too much inertia.”

Perhaps you may…”

But this time Bruno got no further. Elfrida by now was really fed up. “And you get your bum moving with light speed to collect some snails…”

I can’t reach light speed because due to his mass the human body…”

Shall I try to lightspeed you – shall I?!”

Bruno saw that his sister was fuming. He preferred to say nothing but to take a good look at the forest soil.

It’s about our little friends, the hamsters”, Elfrida at last could explain. “They have been kidnapped to a country the language of which is quite unknown to us. We only have one translator wristband and need more of them. If we should be separated, each of us should be able to talk to the people.”

I see”, Mona said. “Your need our replicator.”

Elfrida fetched the translator wristband from her trouser pocket. Mona took it and looked at it closely.

That should be no problem”, she said and took the wristband to her space ship. After a while she came back, hands full of wristbands, and handed them to Elfrida.

Ten”, she beamed. “That’s your number now, isn’t it?”

In a way it is”, Elfrida answered, also beaming with joy. “Norbert is grounded at the moment and not allowed to leave his room.”

What kind of measure is that?” Mona wondered. “What is it good for?”

Well, he again didn’t do his homework and the teachers complained at his parents. Now he is not allowed to leave his room and has to do work up homework. Even no TV.”

See”, Rosie said to Bertha. “That’s what I always tell you. Do your homework or the teachers will be at your parents!”

And what about eating?” Rosie uncertainly asked.

Why, of course you may eat”, Susie said.

Oh, then it won’t be that bad”, Rosie said in a relieved voice.

For a few hours the friends sat together, chatting. Mona and Moyo reported how the friendship between them and the monsters became closer all the time.

Just imagine”, Moya groaned. “Now they begin to sing – even hold contests – horrible!”

When the sun began to set it was time to say good-bye. For a long time the friends watched the rocket rising to the sky higher and higher.

Well, well”, the witch laughed who also had watched the start of the space ship, “you young folks think of nothing but feasting.”

Grinning, the children left the clearance with the witch house and ran back to town. Before they parted, Elfrida handed a translator wristband to each of them and said: “Don’t forget to take along the wristband tomorrow. We’ll meet at the bus stop at ten o’clock. As soon as Professor Hasty had adjusted the magic bottle, we’ll go to Scotland.”

The last two wristbands she stuffed into her pocket and went home like the others.

There she put the 10th wristband on the table and went to bed early after supper. Tomorrow she wanted to be well rested.