L Squad Vignettes: Episode One: The Freeway Debacle

“I need you to keep the squad on task,” said Captain Grek.

“I don’t know, Captain,” said Abby. “That’s Hitch’s job. I do the science.”

Hitch is the captain of your squad,” said Captain Grek. “I have no doubt he’ll be good at it someday. Right now, your whole squad is just raw talent. You’re not a squad, yet. You’re the logical, rational one. I need you to teach that to your captain.”

“He’s tired of these mundane missions.”

“I understand. No one likes it. It’s how we stay sharp, how I evaluate the squads, and how we’ll eventually win over the humans.”

“I know, but no one else seems to understand that.”

Within the hour, Abby was aboard the R.A.S. MacGuffin with the rest of her squad. George was piloting, Abby was in the back with Hitch, Charlie, and Kip. When they reached their destination, George made an uncharacteristically smooth landing. The only problem was that he landed in the middle of the freeway. The freeway was no longer free. Cars quickly backed up for miles going both ways.

Oblivious to the chaos they caused, Hitch ordered everyone off the Mac.

As she was going down the ramp, Abby paused. She looked both ways and said, “I think we’re blocking the freeway.”

“What’s a freeway?” Hitch asked.

“They’re roads humans use to get around quickly with their cars,” said Abby.

“They don’t look to be moving very quickly,” said Charlie.

“What are cars?” asked Kip.

“What are roads?” asked George.

“These vehicles all around us,” said Abby. “They drive on the roads. Now, they’re stopped on the roads.”

“Why don’t they just fly?” asked Hitch.

“Humans don’t have that technology, yet,” said Abby.

“How fast do they go?” asked George.

“Most have a maximum speed of around 200 kilometers per hour,” said Abby.

“How does that compare to light years,” asked George.

“Not favorably,” said Abby.

“Ugg,” said George.

“I think they’re miffed at us,” said Charlie.

“Let’s go,” said Hitch. “Once we’ve finished this mission, everyone will love us.”

Hitch tried to lead the squad onward, but no one could hear him over the increasing number of horns honking and drivers screaming. I can’t tell you what they said, but anyone who has ever been on the freeway when there’s been an accident or when someone tried to cause an accident by moving over four lanes at once will have a pretty good idea.

Abby tried to help by making hand signals, but no one understood what she was attempting to convey. Hitch ran off and used his jetpack to fly to the city below. Kip assumed the Patented Yortian Ball and rolled left. George used his jetpack to fly over the ship and landed on the opposite side of the freeway from Hitch. Charlie sat, then lied, then rolled over, then shook hands with the air, then sat again and cocked her head from side to side.

An hour later, the L Squad was sitting, sullen in Grekquarters.

“What was your mission, again?” asked Captain Grek, with more than a hint of flagitation.

“To monitor traffic and assist with accidents,” said Hitch.

“Correct,” said Captain Grek. “How would you say that went?”

“Well?” Hitch said, tentatively.

“Do you know what it means to monitor traffic and assist with accidents?” asked Captain Grek.

“Watch traffic and help out when things go wrong,” said Hitch.

“All you accomplished was to block the freeway going both ways,” said Captain Grek. “How can you say you assisted?”

“We… um… We…” Hitch murmured. “What’s traffic?”

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