[an error occurred while processing this directive] ZEPHYR Magazine
                              T H E
                           Z E P H Y R
                  __     M A G A Z I N E
                 Issue #14                5-11-86
            A weekly electronic magazine for users of 
                  THE ZEPHYR II BBS (894-6526)
                owned and operated by T. H. Smith
                    Editor - Gene B. Williams 
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
 . You may share this magazine with your friends under the   .
 . condition that the magazine remain complete and intact,   .
 . with no editing, revisions or modifications of any kind,  . 
 . and including this opening section and statement.         .
 . If you like the magazine, our Sysop and I would appreciate.
 . it if you would let your friends know where they can log  .
 . in to find the magazine (and incidentally one of the      .
 . one of the finest BBSs in the country!).                  .
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
                            (c) 1986
   When I was about 15 a friend and I were star gazing. A bright 
light flew overhead. We assumed that it was a jet because of the
speed at which it moved. Then it came to an abrupt stop. It then
dropped straight down - stopped again - went straight up - and
stopped again.
   Off in the distance we saw three jets coming toward the single
light. The light took off across the sky and within 3 seconds was
completely beyond the horizon and out of sight.
   A few minutes later we went inside, just in time to hear a news
bulletin that 3 Air National Guard jets had scrambled and had given
chase to an object over the city.
   We never did find out anything more about the object. Obviously,
the scrambled jets never even got close to it, so no further 
information was available, even if we'd looked for it.
   Have you ever thought about what you would do if you met an alien 
from another world?
   Imagine this. You're a young boy, out playing in a field and 
gathering a jarfull of lightning bugs. Off in the distance you see 
a bright light. It's getting closer and closer. You can hear the
noise. Soon it lands, just a few hundred feet away.
   The hatch swings open, and out steps the alien, with what looks
very much like a weapon in his hands.
   And he's aiming it AT YOU!
                       TOY FROM THE STARS
   Lying on his back and looking straight up, 10-year-old Leo could 
see nothing but stars, like millions of white specks spilled on a 
black cloth. He strained his eyes, trying to see the othr side - 
trying to see where the stars ended. But he couldn't even tell if 
they were on a single flat plane, or were scattered about in all 
different directions and distances. 
   He wondered what it would be like to be out there among the stars.
"An astronaut," he proclaimed. "That's what I'll be."
   He practiced holding his breath, pretending that his air supply
was empty. In his imagination he saw the spaceship, just a few feet
away. Slowly, very slowly, he allowed himself to swim toward it. But
with a loud puff he had to let out his breath and begin the game
   To his amazement one of the specks in the sky moved. He saw and
watched it intently. First it dropped, and the thought that it might
be a falling star ("meteorite" he corrected himself). Suddenly it
shifted direction, shooting sideways at incredible speed and then
stopped directly overhead.
   It was coming down, and getting brighter and larger. Leo wanted
to jump up and run, but was frozen with excitement. Whatever the
thing was, it was beginning to show a definite shape, with distinct
edges - and it was heading straight for the valley in which Leo was
   It was at least 50 feet across, and 30 feet high in the center.
As the object came closer and closer, Leo could see that the center
was spinning, like a top inside a donut.
   A soft whistling came to him on the wind. As the pitch of the
sound dropped, the blueish hue of the strange machine changed to
orange, and then to shell pink as the object touched the earth.
   It certainly didn't *seem* threatening. The soft humming was
actually soothing. Then, with a startling click the humming stopped
and all color faded from the craft. Leo moved quickly and found a
hiding place beneath a bush.
   He heard a whirring sound, and watched as the side of the object
split open. A ramp slid out, extending like a metallic tongue, gently
tasting the ground.
   "What next?" Leo's senses demanded of him. Would some strange
multi-armed creature emerge? Or perhaps a shapeless fiend, bent 
on the destruction of Earth?
   When the alien walked out onto the ramp, Leo felt almost like
laughing, and more than a little disappointed. The being has just
two arms, and two legs. It wasn't too tall, nor too short. If he
hadn't seen it come from the craft, he might have thought the alien
to be the corner grocer.
   In one hand it held a small box. For a moment it swung the box
in all directions, but then stopped when it faced where Leo was
hiding. Try as he might, Leo just couldn't seem to get far enough
into the shadows to hide. So he rolled himself into a tight ball,
held his head in his hands, and waited for the terrible death ray
to burn the life from his body.
   "You need not fear me," came a gentle voice.
   Cautiously Leo lifted his eyes and saw that the alien was smiling.
   "Come on out," the alien said. "I won't hurt you."
   Trying very hard to appear brave, Leo moved from beneath his bush
and walked into the open. He planted his hands firmly on his hips,
daring the alien to try any funny business.
   The alien answered the challenge with a long laugh. "Oh, how much 
you are like my own son. Next time I shall bring him along so he can
see how strong and brave Earth boys are."
   Leo's fear vanished. "You have a son?"
   "I have two sons, and a daughter. Is that so strange?"
   The idea had never occurred to Leo. A being from a strange planet
should be strange! But this one was just like real people.
   The alien seemed to sense what Leo was thinking. "I come from a 
distant planet," he said, "but you'll find that people are people,
wherever they're from."
   "Where *do* you come from?" asked Leo.
   "Do you see that bright star?" said the alien, pointing. "That
is a sun, just like yours. And around it are planets, just like 
those of your own solar system. I come from a planet in that solar
system. One very much like this planet."
   "It must be very strange on your planet. I mean, since you
travel through space and all, well . . . it just must be very
   "It might seem so to you. But Earth seems strange to me. To me,
*you* are the alien, and *this* is an alien world. My son would find
it even stranger. He's about your age, and isn't old enough to travel
in space yet. Seeing this world of yours would astound him."
   "How 'bout that," marveled Leo.
   "Would you be willing to make a trade with me? I'd like to bring
one of your typical Earth things back to my son. In return I'll give
you one of the favorite toys of boys back on my home planet."
   An alien toy! It was hard to believe that such a race would have 
toys, even for their children. But if they did, those toys would be
like nothing ever seen on Earth.
   Leo thought for a moment, trying to think of something worthy
of such a trade. "Would this be okay?" he asked, pulling a comic
book from his pocket.
   "Oh, that's perfect. Shan will love it." The alien turned and 
started back to his craft. "Wait here just a moment and I'll get
one of his things."
   A few seconds later he returned carrying a small black box, and
handed it to Leo. "This is very popular among all the boys where I
come from. It operates on what you call gravity. I hope you'll 
enjoy it as much as Shan will enjoy your gift."
   Leo clutched the small box to his chest. A toy from the stars -
from a boy on a far away world!
   "I must leave now. Perhaps one day you'll be able to visit my
planet and you can meet Shan face to face." He turned and walked
into the spaceship, then waved from the opening.
   The ramp disappeared, sealing the opening behind it. The soft hum
began, followed by the changing colored glow. Slowly the machine
lifted off and then picked up speed as it flew higher and higher. 
Soon it was out of sight.
   His heart pounding with excitement, Leo raced for home to show
off his prize. He leapt the porch stairs in a bound and flew through
the door, shouting.
   "MOM! DAD!" he cried, barely getting the words out for lack of
breath. "Spaceship! . . . landed . . . toy!" He held out the box,
unable to explain further.
   His parents looked at each other, then back at Leo. "What are you
talking about? What's this about a spaceship?"
   "Landed," Leo puffed. "Out in the field. Gave me this."
   His father took the box from Leo's hands and gently pried the lid
off. As he looked inside he burst into laughter. "Our son is playing
tricks on us again."
   "No!" Leo protested. "It's true. Can't you see? The alien gave
me this. It's a toy from his home planet."
   "A toy from another planet, huh?" chuckled his father, handing 
the box back to Leo.
   Leo yanked the box away and looked into it.
   There in the box, nestled in cotton, was a yo-yo.
   Well, what can I say? the story was written for a younger 
audience, actually. Besides, as I said, this has been a hectic 
past few weeks. There simply hasn't been sufficient time to put
together a more controversial issue.
   Even so, there could be some interesting discussion as a 
   Use your imagination.
   How would you react to meeting an alien? Especially if that
alien had an extraordinarily repulsive appearance?
   What would YOU give to an alien as a souvenir of Earth?
   For that matter, this could open up the subject of UFOs. How
many of you have seen what you thought was a UFO?
   Things are still time-tight. I may or may not have another issue
up before the 17th. A part of that will depend on the response - and
on the number of people who "pay their subscription." (The only one
I know of at the moment is Jim Tibbets.)
  So, until next time . . . don't take any wooden yo-yos.

Zephyr Magazine is © Gene Williams. All rights reserved.