"Hostes aliengeni me abduxerent. Qui annus est?"

Scott stared at the man. "What?" he said.

"Hostes aliengeni me abduxerent. Qui annus est?"

"Um…" Without breaking eye contact with the short man in front of him, Scott raised his watch to his lips. "John?" he asked softly, "You there?"

"I'm reading you loud and clear Scott. What do you need?"

"A translation."

"A translation? You're in California, what do you need a translation for?"

"There's this guy," he began, before realizing it was probably better not to explain.

"A guy." John sounded dubious. "Like someone we rescue?"

"Yeah. I just pulled him out of one of the collapsed buildings."

"Is he hurt?"

Scott looked closer at the strange man. He was short, dark-haired, maybe middle aged, and he looked healthy. "Not a scratch on him."

"Wait, nothing? Not even a bruise?"


"That was a pretty big quake."

"Yeah, well, maybe he was just lucky."

"Hostes aliengeni me abduxerent. Qui annus est?" The man looked puzzled, but patient, as he repeated his question.

"That him?"

"Yeah." Scott said slowly, eyes still on the stranger. "And he's been saying this one phrase at me for about ten minutes. Any idea what it means?"

"Get him to repeat it, I missed it the first time."

"Right." Taking a deep breath, Scott lowered his arm. "Sir? Sir? Could you please repeat yourself?"

The man looked politely blank.

"Sir, do you understand me?"

"Hostes aliengeni me abduxerent. Qui annus est?" he said.

Scott looked back to his watch. "Did you get that?"

"Uh, yeah…"

"Do you know what it means?"


"What? What does it mean? Is he hitting on me or something?"

Snorting, John shook his head. "Nothing like that bro. But it's strange all the same."

"Okay. So what? I promise not to freak."

"Um, no, I wasn't thinking you would freak. It's just – strange, is all."

"John," Scott was trying not to let his impatience show, "just tell me what he's saying."

"I'll do better than that. Tell him what year it is."

"Is that what he's saying?"

"Sort of."

"Right." Scott sighed heavily and turned to the short man and told him the date.

The man looked politely blank. Scott shook his head.

"Nothing. I don't think he understands English. That's why I called you, you know." He sounded rather caustic. "Now what?"

"Now… well… What's he wearing?"

"Some torn clothes. Really dirty."

"Thanks Scott, that's really helpful."


Shaking his head, John pinched the bridge of his nose. "Right, so what is he wearing?"

"Take all my fun," complained Scott half-heartedly. "Um, looks like a loose sort of shirt thing with a… skirt?"

"Uh huh. Right. I want you to tell him this…" He said a strange phrase that Scott didn't understand.

"You sure?"

"Yes. Now tell him."

"This isn't some sort of practical joke, is it?"

"No, it's not."

"Okay then." Taking a deep breath, Scott carefully repeated the phrase to the man.



"He's gone rather pale. What did I just tell him?"

"What's he doing?"

"I think he's gone into shock. What did I tell-"

Scott paused as he watched the man collapse unconscious to the stony ground. He glared at John and spoke, voice deadly calm. "What did I tell him, John."

John winced. "The year."

"Right. So what is it about that that made him faint, exactly?"

"Well," John sounded uncomfortable, "he was speaking Latin."

"I'm following."

"He was asking what year it was."


"Uh… you won't believe me."


"Okay, okay."

"What was it, exactly, that he was saying?"

"He was saying 'Aliens abducted me. What year is it?'"