Collection Day
By: James Rumpel

"So, Governor Jacobs, how is everything going with the colony?"

"All is good, Sir," replied Jacobs, his round face filling most of the communicator screen. Like most humans, his face continually flashed from one expression to another. Maot had never gotten used to the small but constant blinking, twisting, opening, closing, and turning that was part of human demeanor. Maot's race carried itself much differently, only slightly moving their mouths when forced to speak or eat.

"Our population has grown exactly as predicted," continued the leader of New Earth III Colony. "We now have over fifty-thousand people. Food supplies have been more than sufficient. To be honest, we haven't faced any real hardships. The materials you supplied us with have worked out fantastic."

"That is good to hear," said Maot. "I am very glad that you have gained a solid foothold on a new world."

"It's all thanks to you. If you hadn't let us use your ships and technology, humankind would still be fighting for survival on what's left of Earth." The human wiped his forehead, removing some of the many beads of water that were forming there.

"We were just keeping our side of the agreement. We expect you to keep your side as well."

The human's mouth twisted downward and then upward. His eyes blinked rapidly. Maot was not good at reading human faces, but he knew this human was overtly expressing some feeling or emotion.

"We will," said Jacobs. "I just don't know how the population will react when you get here and begin collecting."

"That is not my concern," responded Maot, completely stoic. "We will receive payment one way or another. After all, without our help, your race may not have survived."

"I know and, believe me, I think it's a fair price, but my people may not think so."

"We will be arriving at your colony shortly. I expect the collection to go smoothly We will collect as much as we can. You will then have time to rebuild the supply. That is acceptable, is it not?"

"Oh, yes. We'll have the people ready. I promise." The human moved his head up and down, a motion that Maot had come to understand signaled the affirmative.

"Good. Your colony is providing us with a very valuable commodity. I'd hate to see us have to put an end to our arrangement."

***

Governor Jacobs turned off the communication screen and turned to face his assistant, Marie Homes.

"Those things still freak me out. It's like talking to a statue. I never have any idea what any of them are thinking."

"Did you mean what you told them?" asked Marie. "Do you think people will balk at paying what was promised?"

"I'm not certain," said Jacobs. "You have to remember that most of the people on this colony had no idea that there was any sort of deal made. They just know that they were brought here and given the chance to create a new homeworld. The leadership, myself included, thought it would be better for everyone involved if we didn't tell them about the price."

"I don't think the price is that high. I would think everyone would be more than willing to make a small sacrifice to guarantee the continued existence of the human race."

"I hope you're right, Marie. It's hard to predict how people will react. What seems like a perfectly reasonable exchange to us may cause a huge uproar." Jacobs pulled out his handkerchief and dabbed it along his forehead. "I guess we're going to find out. Let's head down to the studio. The press conference is scheduled to start in fifteen minutes."

***

Maot examined his surroundings as he walked down the ramp from his ship. The Earthlings had managed to create a very impressive city. The humans seemed to be an industrious species. It was amazing that they would be extinct if it wasn't for one simple aspect of their physiology.

Governor Jacobs awaited him on the surface.

"Welcome," he said, his face constantly contorting. "I am pleased to inform you that everything has gone smoothly. The people have happily agreed to make the requested sacrifices." He gestured toward a series of large canvas tents that had been erected near the landing area. Thousands of humans, of all shapes and sized, stood in line waiting to enter the tents.

"Very good, very good, indeed," said Maot. "I will have my technicians set up inside the enclosures and we should be able to begin collection shortly."

***

Governor Jacobs emptied the bottle into his glass and smiled. "I can't believe how well that went. Just think, we would probably all be dead or dying on Earth right now if Maot's people hadn't happened upon Earth ten years ago."

Marie looked at her empty glass and began searching the shelves for more juice. "But that's not what saved us. We are so lucky that they became so quickly and heavily addicted."

"Well, that and the fact they were savvy enough to know that they couldn't just take everything at once. If they hadn't decided to set up colonies to maintain production, they could have wiped us out easily. We are lucky they are so business-minded."

"Yeah, it was quite the break when Earth was invaded by that particular race of vampires from outer space." Marie examined the cotton ball and tiny bandage on her right arm. "I think a pint of blood every year is a small price to pay for saving mankind."

Jacobs nodded his head in agreement. He poured himself another glass of orange juice. "Here's to many more successful blood drives."

The End

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