Chapter 2


Papa Smurf and Empath went with Hefty and Handy to where Tracker and Polaris Psyche were located, in a deserted field a good distance away from the Smurf Village.  Strangely, Empath recognized the field as the former location of Gargamel's castle, before he and the Smurfs drove Gargamel out of the forest forever and the Great Book Of Spells made his castle disappear into nothingness.  He could only wonder briefly whether Gargamel would have minded having his field being the landing site for this mysterious thing that flew in from out of nowhere.  He quickly pushed away that thought, knowing that the human wizard was too far away for him to even care about what he thought.

The four of them saw for themselves the vessel that Tracker and Polaris found…it was a sleek metallic-looking ship that looked similar to Dreamy's own spaceship, but more futuristic by Smurf standards.  Smoke drifted from the outer shell of the vessel, suggesting that it was still too hot to touch.

"Where in smurf did it come from?" Hefty asked.

"I don't know, but from the smell of this vessel, I'd smurf that it came from outer space," Tracker answered.

"Tracker is correct, Hefty," Polaris added. "This vessel seems to be made of metals that are not extracted from anywhere on this world.  Somehow the shell of this vessel is resistant to heat since this one has touched it without burning this one's hands."

A hatchway suddenly opened from the side of the ship.  "What's smurfing on?" Handy asked.  "Are there aliens on board that ship?  Are they coming out to greet us?"

"I just hope they are friendly, because they sure aren't smurfing their way to the village if they're not!" Hefty commented, getting himself riled up and ready to fight.

"Actually, nobody's emerging from the vessel, Hefty and Handy," Polaris noted. "It appears to be deserted and had crash-landed on its own."

"How's a vessel able to smurf itself to the ground like that without even a single pilot?" Handy asked.

"That's what this smurf and Polaris would wish to find out by entering the vessel…if you would allow us to do so, Papa Smurf," Empath requested.

Papa Smurf couldn't think of anything else to suggest for the time being.  "Only as long as the two of you are careful, Empath," he cautioned. "There's no smurfing what may be on board that could be dangerous for any Smurf or Psyche to smurf into!  We'll stay outside the vessel to make smurftain nobody else smurfs near it or out of it."

"This smurf acknowledges," Empath replied, noting the urgency.  He and Polaris headed into the open hatchway while Papa Smurf, Hefty, Handy, and Tracker kept a close watch outside for anything approaching the crash site.


The ship was dark as Empath and Polaris entered.  Though they could see pretty much without any lights needing to be on with the help of their minds-eyes, both of them could feel a sense of anxiety about entering a strange vessel like this.  The passageways were as metallic as the spaceship's outer shell, lined with pipes running all along the walls and connecting to various junctions.  The doors themselves had no knobs for opening them — they automatically slid open as Empath and Polaris approached them, apparently aware of their movements in the ship.

"Somehow this smurf has the sense that an intelligence beyond our own is present within this ship, watching our every move," Empath quietly mentioned.

"This one could only interpret that feeling as paranoia, Empath," Polaris countered, "but it does appear this vessel is autonomous in its nature.  The Psyche Master himself would indeed envy its creator, for its technology is far advanced beyond anything he could create."

They passed through yet another door, and found themselves in what appeared to be the control room of the vessel.  Instruments of various kinds lined the walls, and four seats were arranged facing toward a series of windows that looked out into the fields, two of which had steering controls in front of them.

Empath touched a panel of instruments and used his touch-telepathy to examine them as well as the rest of the ship.  There he sensed the very thing he was feeling — the intelligence that was observing them.

"Polaris," he called out, "this vessel is operated by a mechanical device called a computer.  It seems to not only know where we are, but also about its own existence."

Suddenly, all the lights in the vessel turned on, as did all the instruments within the control room section.  Empath and Polaris found themselves temporarily stunned, for they did not expect this to happen.  Nor did they expect to hear a voice coming from within the vessel itself.  "Welcome, strangers, to the star vessel that landed on your planet!"

"Apparently this intelligence is also able to speak to us," Polaris stated.

"But how did it know how to respond to us?" Empath asked.

"I have taken the liberty of recording your speech patterns as you entered the vessel," the voice replied.  "From there, I was able to create a translation program that would allow myself to communicate to you and whoever else enters the vessel.  The only thing I was not able to figure out is what the word 'smurf' meant.  Perhaps you would wish to elaborate."

Empath, this one would suggest that we do not divulge any information about ourselves until we know more about the intelligence that is responding to us, Polaris recommended, using telepathy to communicate.

This smurf would normally agree with you on that, Polaris, Empath responded. But this smurf could sense no hostility from this intelligence.  We need to show that it could trust us first so that it knows we are not a threat to its existence.

To the voice, Empath answered, "A 'smurf' is what we are.  We happen to be one of many diverse life forms on our world, which others like ourselves called humans would call Earth.  This smurf is called Empath Smurf and this smurf's companion is called Polaris Psyche."

"Your companion isn't a Smurf?" the voice asked, puzzled.

"Empath is correct in that statement," Polaris replied, sounding very factual.

"You both are very interesting creatures for an alien world such as this," the computer voice commented.  "I have been created on a world by beings such as yourselves who have long since developed the technology for artificial intelligence and machinery.  I not only reside within the memory storage units of this vessel's computer, I can also transfer myself into a portable robot unit that can explore any world this vessel lands on."

Empath and Polaris heard a series of beeps, followed by the sound of a hatch opening up somewhere.  Soon, they saw what appeared to be a metallic insectlike creation floating slightly above head-level in the room they are in.  Both of them slightly recoiled.

"Do not be frightened of my robot unit's appearance, Empath and Polaris," the computer voice continued. "Though it is equipped with some defense weapons to handle any hostile threats to the ship or this robot unit, I have currently deactivated them since it is apparent that neither of you beings present any form of threat."

Both of them relaxed.


Meanwhile, Papa Smurf, Hefty, Handy, and Tracker waited outside the vessel, feeling somewhat anxious.  Empath and Polaris seem to be taking a long time exploring the inside of the vessel and have not yet emerged from in it.

"I wonder what kind of beings could smurf up a vessel that doesn't smurf up like a meteor or even be able fly by itsmurf," Handy wondered.

"Me, I can only wonder if Empath can handle such beings by himsmurf," Hefty commented.  "Anything or anyone that can smurf Empath like he's a fly isn't going to smurf a chance to swat me or any other Smurf around."

"Tracker, do you hear anything from the vessel itself?" Papa Smurf asked.

Tracker concentrated his finely-tuned hearing for a bit, and then just shook his head.  "All I can hear are just Empath and Polaris' smurfsteps and some kind of machine noises, but there aren't any other living beings smurfing around inside, Papa Smurf," he reported.

"Machine noises?" Handy exclaimed. "You mean to smurf that the vessel is actually a living machine?"

"Your guess is only as smurf as mine," Tracker answered.

"Whatever is smurfing on inside, I just hope Empath and Polaris will be able to handle it and smurf back out soon," Papa Smurf said, feeling concerned.

Soon the four Smurfs could see Empath and Polaris emerging from the vessel with what appeared to be a mechanical insect flying right beside them.

"It's okay, Papa Smurf," Empath called out.  "There is no reason for fear.  This vessel is completely without any life forms, though there is a machine inside capable of flying it without a single pilot at its controls."

"Then what's with that metal fly smurfing beside you?" Hefty asked suspiciously. "It smurfs like it's taking control of the both of you!"

"The 'metal fly' is actually a portable robot unit controlled by the machine inside the vessel, Hefty," Polaris explained. "It has not taken control of either this one's mind or Empath's, if that is what concerns you.  Rather, it has chosen to explore what exists on our world and has taken this form to better do so."

"Greetings, fellow Smurfs," the computer voice announced. "I come only in peace to learn more about your people and the world that you live in."

"Amazing," Papa Smurf commented.  "Smurfly amazing."

Handy just stared at the flying robot like it was some new toy he discovered.  He could only wonder who was able to build a machine that was so aware and could also change form whenever it was necessary.

"You are the Smurf being called Handy," the flying robot said as it flew toward him, "the one who possesses great mechanical skill.  My vessel may have need for that skill to repair the damaged systems within so that it can be operable again."

"Gee, that may be more than what I can handle when it comes to smurfing up things," Handy replied, still spellbound over the robot's abilities.

"Then perhaps I can teach you some things while you and the other Smurf beings teach me more about how your people live," the robot considered.

"Well, first off, we need to smurf you a name," Handy suggested, scratching the side of his head.  "I hope you don't mind us smurfing you…Flyro!"

"Flyro…an acronym for flying robot," the computer responded, sounding as if it was considering the suggestion rather than just computing it.  "Yes, that would be a sufficient designation, since I was programmed without any particular designation.  You seem to treat mechanical devices as if they were living things as well, Handy."

"I had smurfed up a living machine of my own that every Smurf in the village thinks of as another living Smurf, Flyro," Handy mentioned. "His name is Clockwork.  He doesn't smurf with us anymore, but he does smurf home from time to time to smurf a hand with things."

"He also has a female companion called Clockwork Smurfette," Empath added.

"Male and female machines?" Flyro asked, also caught up in the wonder of it all.  "Fascinating!"

"Excuse me, Flyro, but if we're going to repair your spaceship, we need to start smurfing it back to the village and soon," Papa Smurf reminded. "We don't want to be smurfing out here beyond our village for too long."

"So you think you and Polaris can smurf your heads together and smurf this bucket of bolts back to the village, Empath?" Hefty asked.

"This smurf can try, Hefty," Empath answered.  He and Polaris then focused their mental energies to give them the force of will powerful enough to lift up the spaceship.  They positioned themselves at both sides of the vessel and simultaenously lifted it with both hands.

Hefty quickly grabbed the bottom rear section of the vessel just as it was beginning to tilt.  It was a good thing Empath was able to lessen its weight with his minds-eye, or else it would have crushed him as it tipped over.  "We could use a few more hands to smurf this home," he called out.

Papa Smurf, Tracker, and Handy came over and helped Hefty, Empath, and Polaris carry the computer-controlled spaceship to the Smurf Village.  Though Empath and Polaris could feel the strain of keeping the vessel light and airborne, the six of them took it nice and easy.

The other Smurfs looked on in wonder as they saw the spaceship being carried into the village.  The six of them that found it brought it to the open field on the north end of the village, where Empath and Polaris set it down carefully after Papa Smurf and the other three Smurfs got clear.

“Let’s make sure we can secure the vessel, my little Smurfs,” Papa Smurf instructed.

“As long as it’s here for repairs, Papa Smurf, I don’t think it’s smurfing anywhere yet,” Handy responded.