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Chapter the Second -- Section 6

Let's back up a bit now, to a branch far away, where Maddie, Jenny, and the beautiful Roberta were confronting their "guest" when Louie and Newport left with a loud whirr and a surprisingly gentle gust of wind. 

"Whaa?" exclaimed Roberta in her mild Oriental accent as the space pod disappeared through the canopy of leaves into the starry night. 

"Where's that thing going?  What have you done with our friends?" cried Maddie.

"Nice?" asked the alien in its plaintiff voice while one of its three eyes watched its vehicle zoom away, rapidly gaining speed until it was lost from sight. 

"I'll 'nice' you with this hat pin if you don't start giving some answers," threatened Jenny.

"Pod go home buy self," answered the alien. 

"Where's home, you multi-footed slimebag?" demanded Maddie, forgetting her lady-like demeanor for the moment. 

"Home at CENT," replied the creature. 

"CENT?" exclaimed Jenny, "That's were Schlepp, Louie, and Terrance were." 

"You know how that saucer works, you slimefoot.  Now get it back here—right away," insisted Maddie. 

"Space pod not work that way," explained Roberta, "Unress arien, I mean, unless alien, have telepathic control." 

"Well, slimefoot?  Can you telepathically control that space pod?" queried Maddie.  Jenny emphasized Maddie's point by waving her hat pin menacingly in the alien's direction. 

"Knot telepath," it said weakly.  Then it added gently, "Nice?"

Maddie turned to those below on the ground and called down loudly enough to be clearly heard, "Lightfeather is safe.  We've got the alien, too.  But the space pod took off with Louie and Newport inside.  Slimefoot here says it’s on autopilot, taking them to CENT." 

A concerned muttering arose from the base of the mulberry when the group below heard this news. 

"Hold it down, critters!" commanded Big Schlepp.  "Bring that alien down here.  Roberta, lower Lightfeather down, too.  Can't leave our bait out when there might be a second assault.  I want to see all patrol leaders under the Wisteria in ten minutes.  Everyone else, back to your stations.  This night's not over!" 

Up above a lonely alien voice meekly said, "Nice, nice?"