"Tell me a story!" the little child begged.

The nurse hesitated. She knew that the humans didn't like to hear the fairytales from her world—the stories tended to minimize the human race—but she didn't see how it could do any harm. The child's parents wouldn't return from the spaceship's christening party till later. And, anyways, she knew one story they wouldn't mind.

"All right, sweetling," she said. "Settle into bed, and I'll tell you a new one." She tucked the wiggling girl under the covers, leaned back in the chair, and began the story . . .

"Once upon the time, there was a lonely planet floating in space. Beautiful, exotic, and wonderful, it only needed one thing: people to live in it. So one day, the king of another world decided to send explorers to colonize it. (Colonize means to build homes and live in a new place. Now, shush, child. Haven't you learned these words through school?) These explorers traveled for a long time until they finally reached the planet. Tired from the long journey, they rested in the empty space nearby the planet until they felt strong enough to explore.

"However, when they reached the planet, they discovered an odd species. Pale, white, and awkward, these creatures built primitive cities and machines and seemed to talk with each other. The explorers, all good scientists, decided to study them for a while before deciding what to do. They worked on learning more about their language and way of life and soon realized that these creatures were more sophisticated than they had thought. They didn't have just one language—they had hundreds. And they interacted with each other in an intricate, complex fashion. The explorers had just given up their hopes of colonizing the world—after realizing that these creatures were intelligent, rational life forms, they knew they couldn't steal it from them—when invaders from a different planet came.

"These invaders came from a dark, cold, mean planet. So short and so fat that they almost seemed to sink into the ground, they had one ear and many tentacles. They had studied the planet too but didn't care that other creatures lived on it. With machines and guns, they terrorized the world, killing and capturing the creatures.

"This shocked the good explorers, who came from a peace-loving world. How could these other explorers hurt this innocent, ignorant, unprotected race? Because they loved peace so much, the good explorers hesitated to join the fight but soon realized the young world's residents would all die without help. They hadn't brought any land-weapons, only space ones, but the explorers nonetheless began to devise ways to protect the young planet from its evil invaders.

"They decided to use their research to design a poisonous gas that would kill the invaders without hurting the creatures. Many, long, hard hours later, they finally had a formula that worked. It took more agonizing hours to make the gas, but eventually they had enough. They filled canisters with it and then swept over the planet in their swift, sleek shuttles, spraying the gas everywhere.

"The gas worked, and the explorers defeated the invaders and saved the planet's inhabitants. And even though the explorers decided not to let the creatures know about themselves until later, the explorers and their planet protected the young race until they grew up and contacted the outside world. Grateful for that unlooked-for aid, the creatures repaid the explorers and their people later on. When the explorers' planet died, the creatures, now members of the Star Association, took in the explorers' descendents. Now, the two races live in peace on the still-young world and teach each other many important lessons.

"So, darling, what's the moral of my fairytale?" the nurse asked softly.

The little girl thought sleepily for a moment. "Help people?" she asked, then yawned

"Close enough, sweetling. Sleep tight."

"Good-night, Nurse," the child murmured and closed her eyes.

With a delicate finger, the nurse brushed a strand of hair off of the human child's peaceful face. A soft smile illuminated her purple, lightly fur-covered face, and accentuated her slanted, golden eyes. She would always feel a special bond with these humans.

After all, not all races had saved each other from destruction.