The Mission

Flitwing piloted his craft, trying to blend into his surroundings. He’d managed to obtain the necessary cargo. It was enough food for everyone waiting back at camp. It wasn’t his first time making the supply run, but traffic was especially heavy today and it was making him nervous.

“Flitwing to base. There is hardly any space here to maneuver. Is the mission still possible?”

A crackle came through the speaker above his instrument panel. “Flitwing you worry too much. If you continue to be careful, everything will be fine.”

Perhaps there was some holiday The Others were celebrating. It was difficult to live alongside a culture that was complex and obviously intelligent, but completely incapable of communication.

Well, not incapable of communicating with each other it seemed, but researchers had never been able to decipher their signals or make any meaningful contact with The Others. Perhaps they were unwilling to communicate with anyone else. In any case, without real communication, there wasn’t much that could be done.

So far, the only real workable policy seemed to be to hide under the surface of their society and pretend to not be a threat. The sheer size and numbers of The Others was enough to convince even the most foolhardy that this was a battle they could not win.

So they hid in plain sight and scrounged for leftovers. In the dark, in secret, they built defense measures, honed by generations of their greatest minds. This vehicle was one of their finest achievements. If it fell into the wrong hands, everything was over.   They would no longer be able to hide, and the safety of their civilization would be in jeopardy.

Flitwing felt the pressure of not only the hungry waiting for him in camp, but also the urgency to remain hidden. He couldn’t stand out. He’d studied The Others for years and still didn’t really understand them.

He always felt their eyes on him when he was out among them. Even hidden inside the vehicle, he could feel the glances, the stares. He could hear their whispery signals and wondered if they meant anything threatening.   Were they suspicious? Had he been caught?

He was jostled and his vehicle lost hold of the precious cargo. Flitwing nearly collapsed in fear. He pushed it down and tried to regain equilibrium.   One of The Others reached out to steady his ship and reloaded the supplies with a tap, tap. Did it mean something, this tap on the side of the ship?   It seemed friendly. He responded with what he was told was a friendly signal and walked a little slower to make it easier to maneuver through the traffic.

He had finally entered the wilderness area where his group had made camp.   Once he’d distributed the supplies, he’d park and secure the vehicle and rest for a bit. He wasn’t in the scouting group today, and he was grateful.   His nerves were stretched thin.

“Flitwing to base. I’m nearly there.”

“Good job, Flitwing. I have confirmation that the area is secure and your group is waiting. Check in again when you are ready to return the vehicle to base.”

The unusually large crowds seemed to follow him almost to the deserted corner they’d claimed. While the area was still clear, he maneuvered the craft and distributed the food over a wide area. He docked the ship nearby, set the ship on “snooze” and opened the cockpit and flew out.

He closed up the ship again to keep it hidden, and fluttered down to join his flock, already pecking at the seed. He preened his feathers and looked back. The ship dozed, looking like an elderly Other resting on one of their perches by the out-of-the-way path.   The secret seemed safe for yet another day.