“Beam him up Scotty!”
The Captain is expectant. First contacts never cease to excite him.
A glitch in the ship’s audio and video system has made “shuttle” diplomacy necessary to set up today’s meeting. So he hasn’t seen or talked to the “alien” being transported.
An away-team reports the planet below is a lot like Earth; lush and green like South Carolina. Incredibly, English is spoken there too. The people are anxious to meet the captain and his crew.
"Captain, I think we got him. Please come to the reception room."
The captain leaves the bridge and heads for the turbo-lift.
The lift stops just outside the main reception room. Another “swish” and the Captain is inside looking for his contact, who’s not hard to find. He’s a head taller than the other aliens and ship’s officers around him and his short sandy gray hair shines like a beacon. The “alien” is dressed impeccably in what looks to be a dark-blue double breasted suit, white shirt, and red silk tie.
“Ah, Captain," exclaims the alien man, "Ah cain't tell you how glad ah am to meet yoo!"
He vigoriously shakes the captain's hand and then offers him a black leather bound book.
Oh?" says the captain. "Ho-ly Bi-ble."
"King James, sohn. The Authorized Version, red letter, genuine imitation cow hide cover too."
"Well, thank you, ah...."
“Just call me Billy, captain. Everybody does."
"Well, yes, Billy. Would you like to join me in the Captain's mess and ...."
Billy puts his hands on the captain's shoulders, leans over a little, and looks him in the eyes.
"Sohn, just tell me, when can I speak to your people?"
The captain takes a step back.
"Speak to my people?"
Billy smiles, slips an arm around the captain’s shoulders.
"Yes, sohn. This is what we came for, doncha you know? This is our purpose. What else would missionaries visit for but share the good Gospel with the troops?"
The captain takes another step backwards and hits a silent alarm button in his pocket.
"With MY troops?"
Billy steps forward and looks around the room.
"I hardly think this room is going to be large enough, do you? Have you got a room with a balcony?"
“Yup, and we are going to need a platform and a sound system. Can I recruit some of the be-livers among yuh to be ushers and counselors?"
The captain motions to his chief of security.
"I'm not sure I understand what you want to do?" he says.
Billy keeps smiling, puts his hands in his pants pockets, and rocks forward to whisper.
"Sohn, perhaps we DO need to talk first....Oh wait who is this comin' in the doar? Why its my orchestra ! Do I only see three accordionists? Somethin's not right, but Praise Gawd all things work for the good, you know!"
At the word "accordion" three security guards pull ray guns from their holsters.
"Suh?" exclaims Billy. "A assure you that my accordion players are all first chair!"
Suddenly the room fills with security people hustling aliens to the teleporter. In a moment the aliens are back on their planet and the captain is sighing in his chair on the bridge.
"Geesh, that was almost a disaster," he mumbles to himself. "Next time we negotiate on the planet!”
But there’s still that book in his hand.
“Well, Star Command is not going to allow me to just cut and run from this planet. I guess I better read this thing to find out what they are about.”
A voice hails the Captain again.
“Captain, we are being hailed by the planet below.”
Billy’s picture, shoulder’s up, appears on the 50 foot screen on the bridge, and on smaller screens all over the ship. His voice is booms out a message on every deck.
“Now friends, if you came with a loved one, they’ll wait. Let’s get every eye bowed and every head closed….”
“Cut it off!” shouts the Captain. “Battle stations. Battle stations. This is not a drill. We are under attack! Weapons Control! How quickly can I get a torpedo down to that planet?”
“Weapons Control! Answer me!”
“Sir? Can this wait a moment. We are, uh, praying down here.”
As the captain weeps in his chair, the sweet mixed sounds of an accordion trio and a single soloist waft through portals all over the vessel.
“Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling…”
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