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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!"