Five years later Connor Ryan, the first Irishman to go beyond the orbit of the moon and Murphy's Irish Stout fan reappears on the Earth talking about a Galactic Federation and aliens would the people of Earth like to join up?
Then in a moment of stress he lets slip the word Empire.
That's the background to the novel I'm working on, the first Chapter is below.
Any Hollywood execs out there, the story's not been snapped up yet, so get your bids in quick. Starting at £1M.
Derek jumped down the stairs two at a time in his dressing gown. “I’ll get it Mary,” he shouted. Who would be ringing his doorbell at this time on a Sunday morning?
He undid the chain and the lock, opened the door, saw who it was and just stared. It was a dead man. Well everyone thought he was dead. He was obviously still very much alive.
“Connor? Is that you?” Derek asked.
“But you’re dead.”
“No I’m not. I’ve just been away for about five years.”
“Who is it?” Mary shouted as she walked down the stairs drying her hair.
“It’s an old friend from years ago,” Derek replied not taking his eyes off Connor.
“Well you’d better invite him in then.”
“I suppose you’d better come in then,” Derek said.
Mary just stared at the figure at the door. “Jesus is that Connor from the Gagarin? But he’s dead.”
“Obviously I’m not dead,” Connor replied, “because then I’d be a zombie.”
There was a few moments of silence, broken by Derek almost shouting, “Connor where the fuck have you been?”
“You don’t fancy buying me a pint,” Connor said. “There is so much to catch up on. Phone the other guys. I don’t have any cash on me and if I tried to get money out my account then, well you know, I’ve been away for a few years.”
“Connor, the pubs are shut, and most of the old gang, they’ll not be able to come out. Most are married and a few have kids.”
“Ah Jesus, did I miss their weddings?”
“Right Connor, you’d better come in.” Derek stepped aside and Connor followed Derek into the living room.
“You’ve decorated and got new curtains,” Connor said looking about. “It’s only to be expected that things have changed.”
“I’ll get you a beer,” Derek said walking into the kitchen.
Mary followed Derek into the kitchen. “That is Connor?” she asked. “You know who disappeared in space?”
“Yes it is. Sush, we don’t know what his state of mind is. I mean where has he been? Ah good there’s a bottle of lager left from Friday night.”
“Do you think it’s safe to give him a beer?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well he is your friend.”
“It’ll relax him,” Derek replied, taking the lid off.
Derek returned into the living room and handed Connor the bottle of lager. “Right Connor what is going on? Where have you been?”
Connor took a couple of gulps. “Are you not having one yourself?”
“Not really, Sunday morning and all that.”
“Is it Sunday? To be honest I’d lost track of the days of the week. But to business, I’m on a sort of feeler mission, and I was wondering how people might react if I returned to Earth.”
“What do you mean if you returned to Earth? You have already.”
“Yes, but officially, I only got back just now.”
“They’ll want to know where the hell you’ve been for the last few years. I mean you just disappeared and then the fecking object disappeared. There were a lot of questions asked and a lot of accusations thrown about. Fuck I remember the day you volunteered. I wish I’d never encouraged you.”
“Ah don’t say that, it has all turned out for the best, believe me.”
Derek sat on the couch beside Connor.
“You don’t have any Murphy’s?” Connor asked, looking at his beer. “Can you get Murphy’s again? I’ve become quite fond of it while I’ve been away.”
“It’s still all Guinness I’m afraid, even here in Cork. They haven’t brewed Murphy’s for several years now. Anyway the pubs are shut, it’s Sunday morning. And what do you mean, returned to Earth? Where have you been?”
“In space obviously. But say I was to return and say introduce a few aliens.”
Connor was out of his mind. Derek couldn’t work out how he had returned from beyond the orbit of Neptune and why it had taken him five years. But aliens? His friend was obviously barking.
“Aliens you say, I’m not sure about that.” How could he put this diplomatically? “If you go around talking about aliens then people would lock you up. Do they have Murphy’s in space?”
“Oh, yes, the aliens came here a few years ago and decided to save those aspects of Earth that were worth saving, and Murphy’s Irish Stout was one of them. Well it was the only one really. When do they open?”
“When do what open?”
“I don’t think a pub trip would be a good idea.”
Connor drank a bit more of his lager. “I’ve missed going to the pubs. Aliens don’t drink beer.”
“I have to say, you are looking well,” Derek said. “I mean for someone who has been lost in space.”
“I’ve kept fit, worked out a bit.” Connor looked about the room for a few moments and then asked, “But if I were to introduce the concept of aliens and introduce a few then what?”
“I seriously don’t know, but I do know, if you go about, talking about aliens … Seriously, Connor how did you get here?”
“I came in a spacecraft. I’m parked just outside town. I thought it might be a bit obvious if I parked an alien spaceship in Tesco’s car-park, so I’ve hidden it.”
“Connor you’ve been lost out beyond the orbit of fucking Neptune and then you turn up at my door talking about aliens and spaceships. Come on, get real.”
“Well how else would I get back?”
To be fair, that was a good question. Derek looked over at Mary, she was miming phoning someone. Derek just nodded. He turned to face Connor. “Connor, if they really think that you have been speaking with aliens, the Americans and the Russians, I’m not sure which are worse, would be fighting over you, locking you up, while they asked you about alien technology. And if they decided that you were just mad, then you’d be locked up and asked questions anyway. I can’t see this ending up any other way.”
“Hmm, perhaps,” Connor replied nonchalantly.
Connor, annoyingly, did not seem to be bothered by the possibility.
Derek glanced into the kitchen, Mary had nipped out the backdoor; she was obviously going to phone from the garden or perhaps even next-door.
“Oh, I meant to say, I got you a present,” Connor said pulling out a metallic box about five centimetres cubed. “Here let me have your index finger.” He placed Derek’s index finger against part of the box, there was a pale blue light, and then a brief, slight pain.
“Ouch, that was sore. What is it?” Derek asked.
“You put your finger on it to activate it.”
Derek placed his finger on top of the box.
“Always the right index finger, because it is now attuned to you and that finger. And don’t worry about people cutting your finger off to activate it, because that won’t work. It needs to be a living finger.”
“Okay,” Derek said. He thought he’d better humour Connor.
Suddenly light filled the room and Derek jumped back. “What the …”
“It’s a star map of the explored area of the galaxy, I’ve centred it on the Solar System, but you can control the viewpoint with the controls.”
Derek looked down; the box now had four paddles or joysticks sitting out the side.
He pressed one down and the viewpoint moved, then he pressed another and then another.
“Connor, where did you get this?”
“From some aliens.”
“Oh shit and what is that funny writing?”
“It’s Über-slug script, I didn’t get things translated, mainly because I didn’t have time and well most things don’t have a name in English because you haven’t discovered them yet.”
“And how do you pronounce whatever?”
“You don’t. If you met an Über-slug you’d understand why.”
“Connor you’re scaring me.”
“Why? Nothing to be scared of.”
“But this is …” Derek said zooming into another System, “this is … It’s not dangerous is it?”
“Of course not. Why would I ever give you something that was dangerous?”
Derek was almost tempted to say, because you’ve been away in space for five years and I have no idea what has been going on.
“Well, I popped by to ask your advice. How would Earth react to the presence of aliens?”
“They’d freak out, think invasions were going to happen, you know like in those films. The ones from years ago where different groups of aliens invaded America. Where the hell have you been, the last anyone saw of you was beyond the orbit of Neptune. How the hell …”
“Ah it’s not like that, there won’t be any invasions, it would be trade treaties and sort of joining a galactic club.”
“Connor, since you disappeared, there were all sorts of weird stories. The governments have become particularly paranoid, they blamed each other.”
“So is there not one sort of planetary agency?”
“Not really, there’s the Moon and Mars colonies, they cooperate on them.”
“Ah yes, we’d noticed that.”
“Me and the aliens.”
“Fuck, there really are aliens on Earth?”
“No, not on Earth, I came to visit you alone. They’d sort of be obvious if they started walking along Patrick Street.”
“Connor I have to tell people, but you’ll …” Derek looked over. Mary was staring at the star map projected into her living room.
“What is that?” she asked.
“I think it is one of the Centaur systems.”
“This is better than Alien Death Match,” Derek said fiddling with the controls and zooming in on a planet. “Connor, is this real?”
“Of course it is. But if you tell anyone they’ll probably take it off you. But they won’t be able to use it, it’s attuned to you. Like I said it is a present.”
I think you’d better go because …”
“The Whitehouse lawn is the traditional place for aliens to land isn’t it?” Derek asked.
“I’m not going to go for that. They may start shooting if we landed there. I was wondering about avoiding Earth altogether to begin with.”
“If you stay here, there are going to men in suits, dark glasses and earpieces surrounding my house.”
“That’s fine, doesn’t bother me.”
“Connor they will question you. With the bright lights and stuff.”
“I’ll close my eyes. I can handle it.”
“Connor, think about it. Perhaps they’ll use sodium penta-thingy.”
“Do you not think that I’ve not spent the last five years wondering how I’d get back to Earth and how to reintroduce myself?”
“You know, better safe than sorry.” Derek was regretting having got Mary to phone someone. Who had she phoned anyway?
“Ah, bugger, I’d better go now. Tell you what, when everything is sorted, I’ll invite you and Mary for a trip on my spaceship. But you’ve no idea on how you think I should introduce aliens to Earth?”
“I don’t know Connor, how the hell would I know? But I’d probably keep it low key to begin with.”
“I was just looking for some advice.” Connor stopped and stared into space for a few moments. “Oh well then, how do you fancy running me to the police station? The Garda might be a way of getting to speak to people.”
“Speak to people about what?”
“Aliens of course.”
“Connor, are you sure?
“Of course I’m sure.”
“I’ll get my coat then. Mary, I’m just going to take Connor to the police station.”
Mary looked back with a what-the-hell-is-going-on-look on her face.
“I don’t know either,” Derek mouthed back “Come on I’ll drive you there. Unless you want to take your spaceship of course.”
“Don’t be silly Derek, you know that would just be a bit OTT.”