Who is Your Leader?

A drawing of a flying saucer over a beach, with a light beam shining down.  Accompanying text says, "I picked them up with the tractor beam."

Who is Your Leader?

Short story by Iris Carden

I did my preparation for this assignment. I observed that backward planet for ages. I monitored all their transmissions, both audio and visual. I learned their language, and how they dressed. I even tried their recreational hallucinogenics to try to understand them better.

When I was ready to make contact, I was sure I was as well prepared as it was possible to be. I dressed so as not to frighten them: in flared jeans, high heeled boots, cheesecloth shirt with embroidered flowers, a floral headband and multiple strings of beads. I thought this was enough to appear to be like them, even though I was two point five metres tall, with silver skin and white eyes. There were some things that I was simply not able to modify.

I observed a group of five humans on edge of land, next to a big water. I picked them up with the tractor beam.

When they were inside my ship, I addressed them in the way I had learned from their transmissions.

“Hey cool cats, I’m here from another galaxy, far out and freaky, right?”

One of the males stepped in front of the two females of the group. From the transmissions I knew that females took a subservient position, and males believed themselves superior, although from my observations this was far from evident. This male was clearly showing that he believed I was a superior being and should be addressed by a member of the dominant sex.

“What do you want from us, you hideous monster?” The male asked.

I understood this challenge, not as an insult, but as a display of aggression, aimed at establishing dominance. I had no time for such things, and responded in a manner calculated to calm them. “Hey, I’m not here to bug you Daddy-O. I’m just here to find the Man. You know the big guy. Who is your leader? The squares back home just want to gas with him. You dig?”

“Our leader?” One of the females asked from behind the male. “You mean Harold?”

“Is this Harold the Man? Is he the cat in charge?” I asked.

A white-haired male stepped forward, “I’m Harold,” he said. “I’m the Prime Minister. I lead the government, and the government leads the country, so yes, I’m in charge.”

That was it. In that first contact, I had found the leader of the planet. I had only expected directions on how to find this human.

“Do whatever you want with me,” the leader said, “but please let my friends go.”

I found the request entirely reasonable, and reversed the beam to allow the other humans to fall slowly back to the ground.

“So let me lay it on you,” I said to the human Harold. “We’re going on a trip, not a ‘trip’ trip, but a journey trip. It will blow your mind, and take many of your Earth years, so I’m going to put you to sleep so you won’t notice how long it is. Now don’t flip your wig, or come unglued, here OK. You’re going to be safe. It’s all cool. It’s groovy. I’m going to take you to my planet to meet the man there. They want to talk to you. They want to discuss a groovy kind of alliance.”

That’s the explanation I gave. I realise now I should have asked questions before putting him in the suspended animation pod.

It’s only now, when I’ve got home, I’ve discovered this human did not lead the planet, but only a small part of it. Not only that, but in his absence, the humans in that small part of the planet will have already appointed another leader to take his place. My superiors are angry, and I have been ordered to return this one and find whoever really does run the planet.

This is most definitely a gnarly situation, a total bummer.


On the afternoon of Sunday the 17th of December 1967, Prime Minister Harold Holt went swimming at Cheviot Beach in Victoria, and disappeared. Based on the evidence of his companions on that day, it is believed a strong undertow dragged him out to sea, however there have also been theories that he may have been taken by a shark or abducted by a foreign submarine His body was never found. Ironically, The Australian newspaper published on the morning of his disappearance reported that his doctor had urged him to reduce his swimming.


This story is in response to Lady Jabberwocky’s writing prompt for the week “The Extra Extraterrestrial”.

By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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