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Sou Saito

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and... aliens. Who would have thought a kidnapped human baby could cause so much trouble to an alien civilization trying to conquer the universe?

A frequent contributor to S-F Magazines, Sou Saito is an award-winning Japanese writer who lives in Chiba, to the east of Tokyo, with his family. In addition to writing flash fiction, his hobbies include playing shogi, or Japanese chess, and blogging about it. Translations of his short stories have appeared in "AHF Magazine," "Aphelion" and "CommuterLit".

Toshiya Kamei translates short fiction and poetry. His translations have appeared or are forthcoming in "Abyss & Apex", "Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores", "F&SF", "Helios Quarterly Magazine", and "Samovar".

Incidentally, there is no relation between the two Saitos. It's a fairly common surname in Japan, like Smith or Jones.


by Sou Saito
Translated by Toshiya Kamei


The aliens were thoroughly obsessed with newborns.

Where egg-laying animals were concerned, they would steal eggs. Where live-bearing animals were concerned, they would abduct the mother just before delivery, pull the baby out, and return the mother alone.

The aliens' goal was to collect samples of intelligent life forms scattered around the galaxy. Raised from an early age and imprinted with the aliens' culture, abducted children would grow up to be loyal patriots. Then they would be sent back to their home planets to engage in various covert operations.

If they attained leadership positions in the government, the aliens could conquer their enemies peacefully. Even if things proved more difficult, diplomatic negotiations and the manipulation of public opinion were easy to do once they had infiltrators inside.

The aliens were very peaceful by the galaxy's standards. They had no intention of invading forcibly the planets where intelligent life existed. We all feel pity for those babies, but because they were taken away before their birth, they themselves had no idea that they had been kidnapped. And there were lots of alien babies around. They would grow up believing that the aliens who cared for them were their true parents. Of course, an earthling baby was among those abducted. Raising an earthling baby was a piece of cake for this planet with an advanced civilization. Besides, abductions were small sacrifices for the other planets if an intergalactic war could be prevented as a result.

When the baby opened his eyes for the first time, the first thing he saw was a monster with hair all over its body. However, as he was cared for by a hairy alien, the baby didn't feel uncomfortable about that.

The earthling baby kept growing steadily. But as he grew older, he became more concerned about the differences between himself and the alien who treated him as a parent would.

One day, the earthling boy finally blurted out, "Where are my real daddy and mommy?"

"What a shame!" The hairy alien stuck out its yellow beak. "I never imagined there was an intelligent life form that didn't regard the first moving object it saw as its parent!"

The End


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