Norman Normalson: A Biography: Part 4: Freaky Friends

Catch up Norman’s Bio here.

Norman was assigned a guide who the school labeled a buddy. Norman was more embarrassed about being assigned a friend than he was to have no friends. His buddy was odd looking, even for an Epatrusian. He? She? Norman wasn’t sure. His buddy had a pointy head and spoke robotically.

Through the magic of conversation, Norman learned that his buddy was a girl and her name was…

“Hey, Pinhead, who’s this? Your new pet,” taunted Langle Dodger, the school bully, and all-around not nice person.

“This is Norman,” said Pinhead. “Norman is a new student. I am Norman’s buddy and guide.”

“Pinhead has a buddy,” said Dangle Hartzakk. “That’s sweet.”

“What is it?” asked Langle Dodger. “It’s weird looking, even weirder than you, Pinhead.”

“It is a human from the planet Earth,” said Pinhead. “You may recall learning about humans in our alien species class earlier this year. They are technologically deficient but are an interesting species.”

“They’re gross,” said Dangle Hartzakk. “Look Langle, it’s beige and doesn’t even have a tail.”

“Or a mustache,” Langle Dodger added. “What’s wrong with you? Did someone cut off your tail and mustache and bleach you in butterscotch?”

“What?” asked Norman.

“Humans typically range in color from dark brown to off-white,” said Pinhead. “They lost their tails due to an evolutionary anomaly. Though, I am fairly certain they are supposed to have mustaches, except females. It may be a female.”

“I’m not a female,” said Norman. “We don’t all have mustaches, especially not at 8-years-old.”

“Why not, human?” asked Langle Dodger. “Can’t you grow one?”

“No,” said Norman. “I’m 8.”

“Hey, Langle, look at me, I can’t grow a mustache, ’cause I’m only 8,” said Shmelton Smelzlykbhut, another of Langle Dodger’s cronies.

“I’m 8, and my mustache is yelpsnig,” said Dangle Hartzakk.

Shmelton continued in his mocking tone, “I can’t grow a mustache, ’cause I’m only a girl.”

“What’s wrong with being a girl?” asked Kjhyu Rohtijhok. “I’m a girl, and I have the best mustache here.”

Another girl who was walking by was offended by Shmelton’s remark. “Seriously, Shmelton? You are so ignorant.”

“I mean human girls,” said Shmelton. “Human girls are gross. You’re wonky yelpsnig, KAI.”

Kjhyu smacked Shmelton with her tail. “What about me?”

“Why are you guys always picking on people?” KAI asked. “You’re so immature.”

“It’s the immature one,” said Dangle Hartzakk. “It can’t even grow a mustache.”

“Humans mature at an exponentially slower rate than Epatrusians,” said Pinhead.

“Yeah, humans are extraspelantially slow,” said Shmelton.

“Exponentially,” Pinhead corrected. “It means we mature much faster than them.”

“Humans abduct people, you know,” said Shmelton.

“No, we don’t,” said Norman.

KAI said, “You better get to class before the doors lock.” She shook her head as she walked away.

“Come on, you guys,” said Kjhyu. “I’m not spending another period with the Splajargón.”

“Yeah,” said Langle Dodger. “See you later, Pinhead, Human.”

“I am certain you will as we are in the same class,” said Pinhead.

“Who were those guys?” asked Norman, when Langle Dodger and his cronies were safely out of sight.

“Langle Dodger, Dangle Hartzakk, Shmelton Smelzlykbhut, and Kjhyu Rohtijhok,” said Pinhead. “They are bullies. They like to pick on my friends and me. They call us The Freaks.”

“You have friends?” Norman asked. He immediately blushed as he didn’t intend for it to come out sounding so mean.

“Of course,” said Pinhead. “Do not you have friends?”

“I did on Earth,” said Norman.

“I see,” said Pinhead. “I will be your friend. I will ask my friends if they would also like to have you as a friend.”

“Thanks, but I’d like to try to make my friends myself,” Norman said. He was wary of starting his new life on Epatrus as one of The Freaks.

“That is understandable,” said Pinhead. “My offer will remain open to you should you fail to make friends of your own.”

“Uh, thanks,” said Norman. “Is your name really Pinhead?”

“No,” said Pinhead. “My name is Survey Schlitziholtz. I am often referred to as Pinhead due to an unfortunate physical feature of which you may be aware.”

“Yeah, I noticed,” said Norman.

“My friends call me Schlitzie,” said Pinhead. “It is an affectionate truncation of my surname, Schlitziholtz.”

“I get it,” said Norman. “My name’s Norman.”

“I am aware,” said Schlitzie. “You said you are not a female, despite your complete lack of mustache. Is that correct?”

“Yeah, I’m a boy,” said Norman. “What about you? I hope that’s not a rude question. I’m new to Epatrus. I can’t always tell. On Earth, a mustache is a good indicator. On Epatrus, everybody has mustaches, even the babies.”

“I am a female,” said Schlitzie. “I also hope it is not a rude question. I cannot always tell. I often offend people with my blunt, direct questions and statements.”

“It wasn’t intended to be rude,” said Norman.

“That is what counts,” said Schlitzie.

“So, if we’re not on time, we can get locked out of class?” asked Norman. “I might be late a lot.”

“I would not recommend it,” said Schlitzie.

“It was a joke,” said Norman.

“Not only do the doors lock, but the floors open,” said Schlitzie.

“What now?” Norman asked, incredulously.

“It is a security measure that acts as a deterrent for truancy,” said Schlitzie. “It keeps students from being late or escaping classes.”

“Escaping?” asked Norman.

“Some people do not like to learn,” said Schlitzie. “I do not understand it. I desire to know everything.”

“Is that possible?” asked Norman.

“No, but I will do my best,” said Schlitzie.

“What’s a Splajargón?” asked Norman.

“The Splajargón is a creature that lives under the school,” said Schlitzie. “When the floors open, anyone who was standing on them will drop into its pit.”

“Does it eat them?” asked Norman.

“It used to, but parents complained,” said Schlitzie. “I do not know why. I guess parents even love bad children.”

“Wait, the creature doesn’t eat kids because parents complained?” asked Norman.

“That is correct,” said Schlitzie. “Here is our class. Ms. Chartel is a good teacher. She is tough but fair.”

“Who was that girl?” asked Norman, pausing at the door.

“Which?” asked Schlitzie.

“The one who was talking back to Langle and them,” said Norman.

“That was KAI,” said Schlitzie. “Are you attracted to her? Most of the boys in school are.”

“No. I… I don’t know,” said Norman, embarrassed. “She’s an alien with a mustache.”

“Here, you are the alien,” said Schlitzie.

“Oh yeah,” said Norman. “She’s nice.”

“I concur,” said Schlitzie, as she opened the door.

Norman and Schlitzie entered. The doors locked behind them.

“You’re cutting it close today, Survey,” said Ms. Chartel.

“That is correct,” said Schlitzie. “I have been placed in charge of the new student. I was showing it… him around.”

“You must be Norman,” said Ms. Chartel. “Norman Normalson.”

“I am,” said Norman.

Ms. Chartel extended her tail toward Norman. She paused awkwardly when she realized he didn’t have a tail to shake.

“Class, this is our new student, Norman Normalson,” said Ms. Chartel. “Norman is a human. Does anybody know from where humans come?”

“Uranus,” said Dangle Hartzakk.

“You’re very close, Dangle,” said Ms. Chartel. “Good try.”

In the back of the class, a small girl whispered to a boy beside her. The boy wagged his tail in the air.

“Yes, Algernon,” said Ms. Chartel.

“Earth,” said Algernon, last name withheld.

“Excellent, Algernon,” said Ms. Chartel. She added semi-sarcastically, “Good answer, Ylna. Good teamwork.”

Ylna, the girl who gave Algernon the answer, slunk down in her seat.

Schlitzie took a seat in the back next to Ylna and Algernon and their friends. One of whom didn’t have a mustache. The other looked like he or she, Norman still wasn’t always sure, had robotic arms and legs. Norman followed and sat by Schlitzie.

On the way to his seat, Norman saw Langle Dodger, Dangle Hartzakk, Shmelton Smelzlykbhut, and Kjhyu Rohtijhok. They were in a section, whispering to each other and smirking at Norman. He also saw KAI who smiled as he walked by. Norman blushed and looked away.

The first half of the day seemed to last forever. Even during recess, Norman had to stay in and talk to the teacher. Ms. Chartel wanted to talk to Norman and get a feel for how he was feeling about his new school and where he was with his education. Norman tried to explain as politely as he could that he felt significantly out of place and that school on Epatrus was nothing like school on Earth. Ms. Chartel assigned Schlitzie to be Norman’s tutor. Norman tried to resist, but Ms. Chartel insisted.

Norman could either accept Schlitzie as his tutor, take the bonus school courses during breaks, and study like knowledge was water and he was lost in the desert or go back to preschool and start from the beginning. Norman already had two strikes against him. He was human, and he wore the same clothes every day. It was hard to find clothes that would fit a human on Epatrus. All the pants had holes in the butts for people’s tails. Starting over in preschool as an 8-year-old would make his status as an outcast permanent. Norman accepted.

Schlitzie was happy with the assignment. She was brilliant and loved to put her wealth of knowledge on display. She also liked the idea of having someone to study with and the possibility of a new friend.

During lunch, Schlitzie dragged Norman along to meet her other friends.

“Norman, this is Ylna Aleny, Tasha Rhokzmisox, Doebee Kazkah, and Algernon, last name withheld,” said Schlitzie.

As Schlitzie said their names, they each reached out their tails to Norman. Realizing Norman didn’t have a tail, they all patted him on the back while muttering some form of greeting.

Norman thought they looked pretty normal, for Epatrusians. None was as odd looking as Schlitzie. Ylna was pretty small. Doebee was the one with mechanical arms and legs, but that was kind of cool. Algernon didn’t have a mustache, but he could have shaved it. Maybe it was a fashion statement. Tasha looked completely normal. She was also the only one he knew for sure was a girl.

“Ylna, Algernon, Tasha, and Doebee, this is Norman,” said Schlitzie. “He does not come with a tail.”

“Of course not,” said Doebee. “Humans have neither tails nor hearts.”

“Humans have hearts,” said Ylna, “but only one.”

“’Cause they eat the other one, right?” said Tasha. “They’re unusual.”

“No, they only have one,” said Ylna.

“They don’t have mustaches,” said Algernon. “It’s nice not to be the only one for once.”

“Some humans do,” said Norman. “I just can’t grow one, yet.”

“That’s what my mom says about me,” said Algernon. “It’s just something nice people say to people with disabilities.”

“I’m not sure not being able to grow a mustache counts as a disability,” said Norman.

The others looked at him like he just said, “My sister is a lobster, and she’s going to marry the Prince of Egypt in a special ceremony inside an active volcano on the moon.”

Epatrusians have never heard of lobsters, so that would make no sense to them.

“Hey look, the human’s right at home with The Freaks,” said Dangle Hartzakk.

“Yeah, it’s Norman Normalson And The Not So Normals,” said Langle Dodger.

“It looks like you’re still the only girl in the group, Tasha,” said Shmelton.

“I’m not a girl,” said Tasha.

“You’re not?” asked Norman.

“I’m a girl,” said Ylna.

“I am female,” said Schlitzie.

“It is funny, I would think the cyborg would be the one to talk like a robot,” said Kjhyu, mimicking a robotic accent.

“Get his arms,” said Langle Dodger.

Shmelton and Dangle each got on one side of Doebee, grabbed his arms, and pulled. His arms detached. They ran around chasing each other with Doebee’s arms. Doebee chased them. His robotic legs caught up quickly, but he couldn’t do anything without his arms.

“Come on, Norman,” said Tasha. “We have to help Cy.”

“Who’s Cy?” asked Norman.

“Doebee,” said Algernon. “It’s his nickname. It’s short for cyborg.”

“I wish I had a nickname,” said Tasha. “Anything would be better than having a girl’s name.”

“Ha ha! You’re a girl,” said Gonyul Squompfus.

Gonyul wasn’t officially a member of Langle Dodger’s group, but he liked to come around when they were picking on people. In typical bully style, he couldn’t bully anyone by himself.

“Very original, Gonyul,” said Tasha. “You’re such a goofus.”

“I’m gonna tell. That’s hurtful,” said Gonyul.

Bullies love to be mean to others, but can’t take any reproach. Gonyul ran off crying.

“Ooh, you made Gonyul cry,” said Kjhyu. “You guys are gonna get it.”

“Why would you get in trouble for Gonyul making fun of you?” Norman asked Tasha.

“Gonyul’s Principal Exsor’s pet,” said Tasha.

“Yes, Principal Exsor always takes his side,” said Schlitzie.

“That doesn’t seem like appropriate behavior for a principal,” said Norman.

“Let’s go, everybody,” said Langle Dodger. “Gonyul’s crying again.”

Langle Dodger’s posse reformed like an evil Voltron and ran off. On their way, Shmelton and Dangle threw Cy’s arms into a nearby recycling chute.

Everything on Epatrus is recycled. There is no waste. Even waste gets recycled. There’s more about that in Norman Normalson & The Normals. The recycling chutes automatically separated all recyclables. The foodstuff was composted to assist in growing more food. The containers were sterilized, broken down, and made into fresh, new containers. So on and so on.

Things that weren’t supposed to be recycled were separated and sent to the recycled and retrieved. Cy’s appendages ended up there often. The recycled and retrieved attendant knew Cy was coming every time a robotic appendage wound up in her stack. Cy missed a lot of classes due to recovering an arm or a leg or two. On those days, he stayed in there and helped Sindee, short for Sindularia, sort through the items. He got to know what belonged to whom pretty well.

“Don’t you guys know it’s not cool to bully people?” Norman asked.

“It’s way cooler than getting bullied,” said Shmelton.

“Bye, freaks,” said Dangle Hartzakk.

“Bye, normals,” said Langle Dodger, sarcastically.

“Normals,” said Kjhyu. “That’s a good one, Langle.”

“Dang right,” said Langle Dodger. “That’s why I said it. Norman Normalson and the Normals.”

With that, Norman was officially one of The Freaks.

Cancer! Death! Boom!

Norman Normalson: A Biography: Part 3: Bathroom Adventures

Catch up on Norman’s Bio here.

Once FloBloLo deactivated the security system, which took him a lot less time than it took you to read his bio, the ship was easy pickings for the pirates. They went from room to room taking everything of value. There was a constant stream of goods being teleported back to the Space Ship Stuff Stealer. They hit the jackpot when they found the cargo hold.

When they couldn’t find anything else to steal, FloBloLo reactivated the security systems and two Radbots. They weren’t completely evil. They left the two to make sure the ship was piloted to its next stop, and everyone was awakened when they arrived at their destinations. They were pirates, not monsters. They didn’t want anyone to die. They just wanted to take all their stuff. They took the rest of the Radbots.

The monsters, I mean pirates ‘ported back to the Space Ship Stuff Stealer. They unclamped their clamps and set off for the next adventure in thievery. They left the Flying Vessel Christopher Columbus under the control of its autopilot, Jake, to fly on its way to its predetermined destination.

That was pretty much the only thing of note to happen during the voyage. Well, there was this one thing… Never mind. You don’t want to read about how the ship passed dangerously close to the planet Splajara Prime, which was being held by the dragon people of XeXat and was almost confiscated with all passengers being taken for slaves. It was only an almost anyway. A small band of rebel Splajargóns saved them. It’s not that interesting.

When they reached the Ventayen System, home to Epatrus, Norman and Ned were brought out of stasis.

“…on this stupid trip, anyway.” Norman opened his eyes and looked around. “Are you going to freeze me or do I have to stay awake for this whole trip?” He was a still little cranky about leaving his home and moving halfway across the known universe. It didn’t help that people usually woke up grumpy from stasis. They called it stasis sickness.

Ned took the decompression much better. He sat up and looked around. “Are we here already?”

“We’ve just entered the Ventayen system,” said Captain Cornopolous.

It was part of Captain Cornopolous’s duties to greet all passengers upon their awakening from stasis. On this trip, given the unexpected dearth of bots, he also had to clean up their vomit, if they vomited. They usually vomited.

Captain Cornopolous led Ned and Norman to their shuttle. Teleporting to a planet is possible and not uncommon. Though, most Earth ships don’t have sufficiently reliable teleportation devices to send people with their luggage. It’s been done, but there have been occasions where luggage has been lost. That’s not as bad as when people get lost, but they don’t like to talk about that.

Ned, being a naturally cautious person, except in the decision to move across the universe to marry a woman he met online, chose the safer option of the shuttle. In such cases, the protocol is as follows. The people to be delivered to the planet board the shuttle. The ship’s bots preload their luggage. The shuttle leaves the ship upon entering the solar system. It flies ahead to the destination planet, drops off the occupants, and rendezvous with the ship around the planet’s orbit. This particular case went a little bit differently.

Norman and Ned were the only passengers disembarking on Epatrus. Upon landing, Norman and Ned exited the shuttle. Everything was normal so far. They went around the shuttle to the cargo hold. This is where things got weird.

“Where’s our luggage?” Norman asked.

Ned immediately hailed the ship and demanded, or the accountant equivalent, to speak to Captain Cornopolous. “May I please speak to Captain Cornopolous, please?”

“This is your captain speaking,” Captain Cornopolous said, imitating of every airplane captain ever.

“Captain, we seem to have left our luggage aboard the ship,” Ned said. “I was under the impression that the ship’s bots were going to load it.”

Captain Cornopolous said two words. “Sorry, pirates.” He then cut communications.

“What does that mean?” asked Norman.

“I think we’ve been robbed,” said Ned. “Though, I’m not sure if the ship was boarded by pirates or if the company we hired to bring us here is comprised of pirates or if he thinks we’re pirates, and our luggage is stuff we’ve stolen.”

“All our stuff was on that ship,” said Norman. “I don’t even have clean clothes to wear.”

“This could prove to be a catastrophe of the worst magnitude,” said Ned.

As they stared at the empty cargo hold, a small disc came out of a slit in the control panel. Ned picked it up and inspected it. Printed on it were the words, “We’re sorry for your inconvenience. Please accept this flight voucher. Good for one free one way trip for one passenger on any Intergalactic Space Voyages passenger voyage. Thank you for choosing Intergalactic Space Voyages for your intergalactic space voyage.”

“A one way trip for one?” Ned pondered aloud. “There are two of us.”

“Dad, I think the important thing here is that they lost all our stuff,” said Norman.

Ned’s name echoed through the spaceport in a familiar timber. Ned’s heart started racing as he looked around. His eyes settled on a yellow, blue, and purple woman with a thick black mustache wagging her tail in his direction.

The lost luggage left Ned’s mind faster than it left the Flying Vessel Christopher Columbus. He ran over to Uhoria as briskly as he could, which wasn’t very swift. Ned was not a physical specimen. Nor was he accustomed to the slightly lower gravitational pull that was present on Epatrus. Third, and possibly worst of all, Ned hadn’t used his body for months. The stasis chamber has a muscle stimulator that keeps the body from atrophying, but he still hadn’t been in control of his body since he left Earth.

The scene was like something out of a YouTube video. It resembled a baby giraffe running on the moon toward a giant lizard monkey creature. YouTube has a plethora of baby giraffes on the moon and giant lizard monkey creature videos, right? When they met, Ned went in for a hug while Uhoria brought her tail around for tail wrap. The result was Uhoria slapping Ned in the face and knocking him to the ground.

Norman followed slowly behind. He approached his fallen father with the tenuous steps of someone who would rather be anywhere else in the universe. Norman was embarrassed by the spectacle his father was making, but, to be honest, even if they didn’t make a scene all eyes would still be on them. They were the only humans in the entire spaceport. They were only the sixth and seventh humans to ever pass through any spaceport on Epatrus.

When Norman could no longer avoid reaching the epicenter of the spaceport’s focus, Uhoria wrapped her tail around Norman and ruffled his hair with its tip. It was an awkward attempt to emulate the Earth custom of hugging. It went far better than the greeting she shared with Ned, but it was still an uncomfortable moment for the pair. She immediately wished she spent the time they were en route learning more about Earth and its customs instead of sleeping in a stasis chamber. At least, she didn’t call him Kiddo. That was the worst.

Uhoria brought her new family back to her home. She planned to take them on a tour of the new town in which they would be living, but they were still weary from stasis and the shuttle trip. Uhoria’s home, which was now Ned and Norman’s new home, was a lovely, two-story abode. It had four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The kitchen was huge. The dining room had a retractable sunroof. There was a room for entertaining and a separate room for all Uhoria’s awards and framed photos. That mustache modeling money was good to Uhoria. Even Norman was impressed. It still wasn’t Pacifica or even Earth, but the house was a fart of a lot nicer.

The first thing Norman wanted to do, following the grand house tour, was to go to the bathroom. He hadn’t made a doodie in a few months. It was time.

He went back to the first floor to the bathroom that was his. With three bathrooms for three people, they could each have their own. Anybody who has ever had to use the bathroom closely following someone who’s recently made a particularly stinky deposit, or has had to share a bathroom with a teenager, can appreciate the desire for a personal bathroom.

Norman entered the bathroom and looked around. There was no toilet. There was no shower. There was no bathtub. There were a mirror and a sink. During the grand tour, Uhoria called it a bathroom, “despite the fact that only the most retro homes still have bathtubs.” It had to be the right room. What was he to do? He could not go back out and ask Uhoria for help in the bathroom. He was 8-years-old. He hadn’t needed help in the bathroom since he was 3. Besides, once he figured out how to close the door, he wasn’t opening it again until he finished his business. First, he had to figure out how to start.

Norman assessed his options. There was a sink. Pooping in the sink was probably a no-no, even on Epatrus. There was another thing that looked like an escape pod. That might not be a bad idea. Norman wondered how far he could get in it. Could it possibly take him back to Earth? Probably not. It was most likely in case of emergency and would only carry him down the block or, at best, a few kilometers.

There was a long enclosure that looked like a hallway or a decompression chamber. Norman wasn’t sure what its purpose could be, but it was intimidating. He imagined the possibility that it could be a portal to somewhere. Anywhere it would take him had to be better than where he was. He decided to try it.

Before entering, Norman paused briefly. The thought occurred to him that it could lead to another bathroom. That could be embarrassing. On the other hand, if it led to another bathroom and someone was in that bathroom, he might be able to learn how to poop on Epatrus. Norman would love to poop on Epatrus.

Norman cautiously entered the chamber. It only took him 12 minutes and 32 seconds to figure out how to open the door. For the door to open, it required commands for the usage of the chamber to be programmed in. Norman pressed buttons at random.

The door opened. Norman entered. The door closed behind him. Norman turned and tried to open the door again to no avail. Mechanical arms extended from the walls and seized Norman and stripped off his clothes. Don’t look. He’s naked. Yes, he does have oddly small kneecaps. Norman wiggled and squirmed, which are basically the same thing, but couldn’t break free of the metallic grasp of the clamps at the ends of the arms. The clamps released Norman, and the arms retracted.

Slots opened on the walls, and little spigots protruded. Each valve emitted a mist of warm water. When Norman was wet, soapy brushes came out of the ceiling and scrubbed him. Another pair of arms came out of the ceiling, grabbed Norman by his ankles, and flipped him upside down. While Norman was suspended from the ceiling, the brushes took another pass at the under places they missed the first time.

Norman was set back on the floor. He stood there wet and soapy waiting for the next phase. The next phase began. The spigots sprayed Norman. This time it wasn’t that nice warm mist that got him ready for the soap phase. This was a powerful rinse-off spray. It was still a pleasant temperature.

The Shliplestein Automatic Body Scrubber And Clothes Washer 4,901 ⅜ gave Norman the most rigorous washing he had ever had. Then it dried him, clothed him, and spat him out the other side. It even washed and dried his clothes.

Norman felt cleaner. He hadn’t bathed in months, either. It felt good to be clean.

He still really had to doodie, though.

Norman checked to see if there was a way he could flush the sink. He didn’t see one. Maybe there was an invisible flushing mechanism like how the door opened. He wasn’t nearly a bad enough person to doodie in the sink, walk out, and say, “I left you a nice deuce in the sink. You’re welcome.” The thought of doing so made him chuckle, though. Of course, he’d never want to use that sink again.

Norman’s reverie was interrupted by a tap on the door. “Are you all right in there, Normy?” Uhoria asked, with a little too much sweetness in her voice.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” said Norman. “Doing well.”

The last option was the escape pod. After his experience in The Shliplestein Automatic Body Scrubber And Clothes Washer 4,901 ⅜, Norman was not eager to enter another enclosure in this room, but his bowels were.

This door opened easily. Norman was wary about entering. The ease of access made him nervous. There was a seat. It could still be an escape pod. Norman sat. The door closed and locked. Restraints enclosed around Norman. The whole pod flipped upside down. Norman suddenly wished he had an escape pod to escape from the escape pod.

Three minutes later, Norman emerged from the Shliplestein Fecalmatic 3,817 Automatic Fecal Extractor. He was clean, refreshed, and 12 pounds lighter. It had been months, remember?

Norman had successfully taken his first shower and first doodie on Epatrus. It was also Norman’s first bathcast.

Every mirror and video screen on Epatrus could be used for video chats or video streaming. Uhoria recently used that bathroom mirror for a live streaming commercial for mustache cream. She broadcast to the known universe and forgot to cut the transmission. It didn’t matter before because she hardly ever used that bathroom. Norman didn’t know about the mirror’s transmitting capabilities or how to use the controls. Norman had a lot to learn about using the controls for things on Epatrus.

Norman emerged triumphantly, 17 minutes later. He still had trouble getting the door to open.

“Did everything go O.K.?” asked Ned. “We were getting worried about you.”

“Yeah, everything was fine,” said Norman. “I feel much better.”

“I was going to give you a tutorial on what was in there and how it all worked,” said Uhoria. “You ran in there so quickly that I didn’t get a chance.”

Maybe, if you’re ever famous, someone will write a detailed biography for you and include lots of details about your bathroom foibles. That’s why you should keep a bathroom journal.

“You keep a journal of all your bathroom experiences? What’s wrong with you?” asked someone who saw your bathroom journal.

“It’s in case I’m ever famous,” you said. “My public will want to know everything about me.”

Norman had many other growing pains to go through in adapting to his new home. None were as embarrassing or ridiculous as his bathroom experience. There was the time he walked in on Uhoria while she was changing. It was confusing. We won’t get into that, though.

Norman wasn’t nearly used to his home life before he had to start school. He enrolled at Gargamel Von Shliplestein Elementary School. He was placed in the fourth grade with the other 8-year-olds. He was immediately the worst student in school. Norman wasn’t a bad student. He just didn’t know anything. It’s more accurate to say the things he knew, and the things he was studying on Earth, didn’t translate to school on Epatrus.

Math is math. That’s a universal constant. Science is science, but it’s much more advanced on Epatrus. History and social studies were completely different. Norman knew nothing about the history of Epatrus. He knew even less about the social conditions. Where were George Washington and Abraham Lincoln? Earth wasn’t even mentioned. Norman didn’t have an alien species class on Earth. Suddenly, humans were an alien species. Norman was an alien species.

Being lost in the curriculum is one thing. Being lost socially is something else. On Earth, he always had Paul and Julio at the core of his circle of friends. On Epatrus, he didn’t even have anybody to ask what a Squeechian was or in what year mashed potatoes erupted from Mount Spudnik. Norman wasn’t even sure what year it was on Epatrus or how they numbered their years.

The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom: The Making Of A Villain

The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom was just a spoiled rich kid on his planet, XaXet (Zak-Zit). He’s like Earth’s extinct tyrannosauruses, but only 8 feet in height weighing in at about a tonne, or 2,204.6 pounds. He can best be described as an anthropomorphic tyrannosaurus or a cross between a human and tyrannosaurus. People from XaXet have human-like abilities such as communication, technology, reason, working society, thirst for destruction, and the like.

Gregory LambaDambaBottom was born of a short line of conquerors and destroyers. When he was very young, his father, Aloysius LambaDambaBottom, and older brother, Aloysius LambaDambaBottom, Jr., voyaged off on a mission to forcefully add another planet to the growing number under the flag of XaXet.

Space travel was still a relatively new advancement for the XaXets and they were greedily conquering every inhabited planet they could find. Neither Aloysius LambaDambaBottom ever returned. They were both assumed dead, though no evidence of their demise has ever been discovered. Gregory’s grief-stricken mother, Grushenka LambaDambaBottom, started to coddle her young “Greggy.” Most other children on XaXet were raised to be warriors. With the endless planetary war between tyrannosauruses and dragons finally ending, the new generation was being bred to be conquerors. They weren’t raised to be mama’s boys and they certainly did not get cutesy nicknames like “Greggy.” The other kids his age teased him about being one of the new domesticated dinosaurs.

Gregory started to rebel and lash out violently. A legendary warrior, who was also teased as a child, heard of Gregory’s troubles and took him under his wing, literally and figuratively. He spent the majority of his life fighting in the XaXet wars between the tyrannosauruses and dragons. He was on the opposite side but developed a great respect for Aloysius LambaDambaBottom. When Nakedfoot, The Naked-Footed Dragon learned of the woes of his former rival’s son he stepped in to help. Yeah, his name is Nakedfoot, The Naked-Footed Dragon. What are you going to do about it? O.K., it’s not his real name. You’ll have to read his bio for more details on that. He earned the moniker in battle. It’s a highly respected and revered name on XaXet and feared throughout the rest of the universe.

It’s a beautiful thing when dragons and tyrannosauruses put their differences aside and learn to work together, except when they come together to pillage and destroy. Nakedfoot, The Naked-Footed Dragon started meeting with Gregory a few times per week. Grushenka LambaDambaBottom was elated that the famous warrior was showing an interest in her son. She hoped this new friendship would pull her Greggy out of his bad ways. It had been awhile since Aloysius disappeared. Grushenka was enjoying the attention she was receiving from Nakedfoot. She was even starting to have visions of little dragosaurus babies, which would be awesome. If she had known what they were doing in these meeting she wouldn’t have been so happy.

Nakedfoot, The Naked-Footed Dragon started teaching Gregory right away. He taught him battle strategies. He taught him how to fight and be a warrior. Most importantly, he taught him how to channel his anger. Gregory learned how to save up all the anger from the other kids teasing him and unleash it on an enemy. Fighting every kid who teased him at school was a waste of energy and only got him in trouble. Nakedfoot, The Naked-Footed Dragon taught him to save it up for the biggest, meanest kids. After Gregory took down a couple of them, no one teased him again.

When he came of age, but was still a frustrated and virtually friendless youth, Greggy added “The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus” to his name and set out looking for a planet to conquer. Nakedfoot, The Naked-Footed Dragon wanted to go with him, but he respectfully declined his mentor’s assistance. He was determined to prove to everyone, especially himself, that he was a warrior and worthy of the LambaDambaBottom name. Like most bullies and conquerors, he settled on a planet whose inhabitants are much smaller and weaker called Nasga. He single-handedly, he literally did not use his left hand at all, conquered the planet and renamed it LambaBad.

The native dominant species of Nasga were a very kind and accommodating people. In fact, Nasga was a refugee planet. Species from doomed planets, conquered planets, lost space travelers and those who just wanted a new place to live were welcomed and eagerly accommodated. Nasga was the number one vacation planet in the universe. Nasga was a near utopia.

When The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom arrived he immediately thrust the planet into chaos. Many of the Nasgans were quick to welcome and serve him, while others saw his demands and treatment of the other guests of the planet as contrary to their way of life. Soon, the planet erupted into global war.

The war was short-lived. The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom dropped one exploding bomb and the planet was his. He had experimented with non-exploding bombs before, but he found that exploding bombs did more damage and struck more fear into his enemies. Nasga had never seen war before. The only weapons on the planet belonged to The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom.

No one even tried to oppose The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom. No one on the planet had ever seen the vicious war tactics or the destructive weaponry 3T.G.L.D.B. brought with him. The war was between the native Nasgans. There were those who wanted to acquiesce to the will of The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom and those who wanted to fight him. The war was predominately fought with insults and the occasional slap.

The native Nasgans knew they could fight each other, but not The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom. Soon after the war started, Nasgans were defecting to 3T.G.L.D.B.’s side solely for self-preservation. He had already renamed the planet LambaBad and its residents Lambads.

The sensors on The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom’s ship indicated large quantities of uranium and coal under the planet’s surface. The non-native inhabitants of Nasga were forced into slavery. The native Nasgans, who submitted to his will and were now called Lambads, were their overseers. The slaves were given the job of digging and working in mines to mine the planet’s new power sources. Nasga had been completely reliant on solar power before the arrival 3T.G.L.D.B. whose technology was all based on the usage of fossil fuels, like coal and oil.

3T.G.L.D.B. replaced all Nasga’s technology with that of XaXet’s. All Nasgan technology was confiscated and locked away in warehouses 3T.G.L.D.B. forced the Nasgans to build. He wasn’t stupid enough to simply destroy everything. He wanted to study their technology and learn how to use it for himself. Moreover, he wanted subservience and letting the people of his conquered planet have technology he didn’t understand would be a potential blunder.

To assure order was kept 3T.G.L.D.B. called in some friends. He sent for his friend and mentor, Nakedfoot, The Naked-Footed Dragon, who kept a vigilant watch from the sky and maintained order through the omnipresent threat of raining fire. For muscle he had Nakedfoot pick up Splorg, a Splorg from the planet Splorg. Splorg would assure all went smoothly in the mines. Yes, one Splorg named Splorg from the planet Splorg was plenty to keep an entire planet’s slave labor force subservient.

The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom slowly pulled out any slaves who showed an aptitude for science or engineering. He had them design and build him new warehouses for all the technology he confiscated and new things he wanted built. He told them what he wanted and had them design and build it. If things weren’t up to his specifications, the whole science and engineering department was in big trouble. Being in big trouble with The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom was a lot worse than typical trouble for typical people.

The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom requisitioned a large fleet of heavily armed motherships to take his new cronies and slaves with him to conquer and colonize the next planet. Every mothership held its own fleet of smaller ships. Once he used up all the resources he could, with new technology in hand and a dying planet at his heels, set off in search of new worlds to conquer.

3T.G.L.D.B. had the greatest minds on the newly named LambaBad working on new weapons of global domination. His fleet could easily lay waste to most planets, but that’s not what he wanted. The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom wanted to take a planet for all the resources he could. This included slaves, which meant a ground assault with non-lethal weapons. They mass-produced blasters with stun capabilities, net guns, and jetpacks. They came up with Lambots, robots used to do 3T.G.L.D.B.’s bidding, especially jobs too dangerous for actual living beings. Lambots had the ability to stun and net potential new slaves. They could also procure multiple candidates at once. They created F-Bombs, or flatulence bombs, that could be used to gas entire cities. Everyone on the planet chipped in some of the ammunition for the F-Bombs. Every living being on the planet was affixed with a belt that had a tank that collected all their farts. Yeah, it’s gross. War is gross.

Plunging the planet into industrial pusuits, such as mining and heavy new construction, combined with the deactivation of solar capabilities was a shock to Nasga. Burning fossil fuels and nuclear testing pumped pollution into the atmosphere faster than the planet could adapt. As the pollution started collecting in the atmosphere, plants, animals, and people started dying. The planet itself was dying.

The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom didn’t care about the planet. His only problem was a small rebellion brewing. A few escaped slaves freed more slaves. They repeated this process and came to consider themselves a full-fledged rebellion. 3T.G.L.D.B. paid them little attention. He was already planning an exodus from the dying planet. The rebels would simply be left behind. He didn’t want to bring a rebellious influence with him anyway. The next planet would provide him with a new batch of slaves.

The rebels heard rumors of the weapons being built. They knew a batch of weapons would help take their rebellion to the next level. They devised a plan in which they would raid one of the warehouses and finally arm their rebellion. This band of rebels expected to find a plethora of guards. Instead, they found one Yamfennian scientist. She told them about the dying planet and the Lambad plan to evacuate.

Seeing the destruction of Nasga, now LambaBad, was imminent, the rebels conspired with the scientists and engineers to conceive a plan for escape. The scientists and engineers loaded as much of the weaponry and technology as they could aboard one of the motherships. The rebels freed as many people as they could and sneaked them into the warehouse where the scientists and engineers sneaked them aboard the ship. At their first opportunity, when they could sneak past Nakedfoot, The Naked-Footed Dragon, they left LambaBad.

As soon as he found out about the exodus, 3T.G.L.D.B. sent another ship out after them. It didn’t take long for him to figure it out. It was hard to miss the enormous mothership launching from the warehouse and ascending through the atmosphere. He didn’t want to take too many of the resources he would need for alien domination, but he also didn’t want word to get out that his slaves could escape. Following a long pursuit, a brief battle, and a tractor-beam malfunction, both ships crash-landed on Earth. The refugees were slowly accepted by the people of Earth, while their pursuers secretly constructed a mega-base out of their defunct mothership. Still, in fear of the wrath of 3T.G.L.D.B., they were fully intent on returning his chattel to him. The Lambads sent out a beacon into space, so The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom could track them.

After many years and many worlds conquered, and left for dead, 3T.G.L.D.B. finally made his way to Earth. As he approached, he intercepted satellite feeds from Earth. He studied the history and learned all he could. He found that the refugees had created what they called the Refugee Alien Defenders. He also learned of this planet’s dinosaur population and how they died out giving way to humanity. Even though they were separated by millions of years, 3T.G.L.D.B. blamed the human race for the fall of the dinosaurs and set himself on vengeance for what he perceived to be his deceased relatives.

L Squad Profile: Abby

Abby looks like Easter and smells like cotton candy. She’s small, pink, and yellow. There’s a white blaze down the middle of her face with two short swirly antennae on the top of her head. She’s fluffy and even has a white puffy cotton ball tail. To dwell on her physical attributes is to do a disservice to who she is. Other than being kind, sweet, caring, and helpful; Abby is a genius. Since a very young age, she has been tinkering with, creating, and inventing things.

Unfortunately, with great intelligence often comes great impatience. Abby has a hard time understanding why other people don’t understand things. She’s constantly correcting people’s grammar. She doesn’t do well with authority as she doesn’t like to be told what to do or when to do it. Those things, in spite of all her positive qualities, make it hard for others to work with her, which is what got her assigned to the L Squad under Hitch.

Abby, short for Abberonia, is from the planet Yamfenn. When she was very young, Yamfenn was invaded by a party from XaXet lead by The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom’s father and brother; Aloysius LambaDambaBottom & Aloysius LambaDambaBottom, Jr. The ensuing war was basically a battle of tyrannosaurus versus rabbit. The Yamfennians were small and quick, which helped them evade their invaders, but hiding did nothing to fend off the aggressors and even less to drive them from their planet.

The only other advantages the Yamfennians had were far superior intellect and technology. They were not, however, a violent people, which may go a long way to explain why they were so technologically advanced. An inventory of all their technological inventions and innovations would show very little that could be used as a weapon and even less that would aid in an attempt to thwart such an enemy as the LambaDambaBottoms.

Being a resourceful people, with the ability to evade and hide from the XaXet invasion, gave them a fighting chance, or, at least, a hiding chance. While their civilizations crumbled and their cities burned down around them, the Yamfennians huddled together in small groups working diligently around the clock searching for some way to reclaim their world and save whatever was still salvageable.

It took a while for the peaceful Yamfennians to come up with a plan for war, but their intelligence and resourcefulness could not be suppressed. It was virtually impossible for the Yamfennians to design, build, test, and implement effective weapons in time to save their planet from enslavement. They did, however, find a way to hack into the XeXat’s equipment and use their own weapons against them. It worked like a charm, except, unlike a charm, which is really just a confidence booster for moral support, like Dumbo’s feather, this plan actually worked and was helpful. Unfortunately, for the Yamfennians, they made one teeny-tiny giant miscalculation.

Being a peaceful people, and having no knowledge of Earth, they hadn’t read The Art Of War and had never even heard of Sun Tzu. One particular rule would have been especially helpful. To paraphrase, “know your enemy and know yourself.” The Yamfennians knew themselves well. They knew all their strengths and weaknesses well enough to hide until they could formulate a legitimate plan. They came up with their plan and implemented it. It worked great. The Yamfennians had actually turned the tide and were on the verge of running the XaXets off Yamfenn. What they didn’t know was the depths of depravity to which the XaXets, specifically the LambaDambaBottoms, would sink in order to avert defeat.

The XaXet invaders would not be defeated by little pink furry creatures using their own weapons against them. Of course, not all of their weapons could be hacked and controlled. The Yamfennians could only control vehicles and weapons with computers and guidance systems. They could turn their ship around and fly them off the planet, but eventually, they would be out of range of the Yamfennians’ hack and could come right back. They could upload a virus into their fleet that would wipe out their controls, but that would be too Independence Day. Instead, the Yamfennians started firing on the ground troops and crashing the ships into the ground. The XaXets tried to manually override the Yamfennian hacks, but they were too complete in their control. Sensing defeat Aloysius LambaDambaBottom ordered the XaXets to start detonating their nuclear weapons by hand. Since the nuclear weapons had to be powered up, the Yamfennians had no knowledge of or control over them. On every remaining ship, soldiers turned on their nuclear weapons, manually tore open the hatches and started dropping the bombs. Within a matter of minutes, the entire planet was destroyed.

That was the first time Abby died. Not really. When the XaXet invaders first arrived she was one of a small group, mostly young children, who were sent off in a ship to the vacation/refugee planet of Nasga, which makes all the detail about the destruction of her home world pretty superfluous. Oh well. Now, we know what happened and, like G.I. Joe said, “Knowing is half the battle.” Except, in this case, we know most of the battle all the way to the tragic finale.

The pinnacle of the Yamfennians technology was their creation of artificial wormholes. They sent travelers through space and set up corresponding portals so they could basically warp around the universe. As their technology improved, they could find planets they believed could support life and send a portal out remotely as a rocket and it would expand automatically upon reaching its predetermined coordinates. Communication was easy as English is, obviously, the universal language of the universe. If they met with harsh conditions or hostile inhabitants, they could simply implode the portal rendering it useless.

By the time the XaXets reached Yamfenn, the Yamfennians had a virtual freeway of wormholes established. They could easily visit any one of a multitude of planets. Alliances and trade were established throughout the universe. Each portal, or warp, was set up within a few days travel of a friendly planet. It was one of these warps that Abby’s ship used to whisk her away to safety. The Yamfennians sent off a handful (Seriously? A handful? How many spaceships can one fit into one’s hand?) of these ships in different directions. More were planned, but the XaXets shut down that plan much sooner than the Yamfennians hoped.

When Abby learned of the fate of her home world, she was predictably devastated. She withdrew from everyone and locked herself away with her inventions. Even the other Yamfennians couldn’t get through to her. Everyone she knew, everyone she loved was gone forever. She could never go home, because home, too, was gone.

Abby’s self-induced exile went on for years. She had as little contact with others as she could. Being a recluse gave Abby a lot of time to study and invent. Many of her inventions became staples in the heroic endeavors of the Refugee Alien Defenders, but that comes much later.

Abby’s anti-social behavior started to worry many of the inhabitants of Nasga. All of the other Yamfennian survivors recovered from their grief and went on to live happy productive lives. There were even new Yamfennians being born on Nasga. Abby was starting to be a major bummer on the little planet.

Sometimes the smallest things can change everything. Sometimes it takes an alien refugee whose pod malfunctioned rendering him lost in space after he inadvertently traveled through a wormhole and was thus destined to float aimlessly through space for all time or until a spaceship out for a cruise stumbles onto his drifting pod rescuing him and bringing him back safely to their planet to change everything.

When Hitch arrived Abby was assigned to get him oriented to his new surroundings. At first, she resented him for disrupting her tormented little world. After a while, she acquiesced to his charm and charisma. Don’t worry this isn’t some weird interspecies love story. That’s not what we’re doing here, besides Hitch likes green chicks. As Abby helped Hitch adjust to Nasga, they helped each other get over the loss of their respective worlds, even though it is still possible for Hitch to return to his world. The two slowly bonded and became virtually inseparable.

All her years in isolation made it very hard for Abby to be comfortable in public. Even as she tried to re-assimilate into society she had zero social grace. She leaned on her intelligence and Hitch as crutches. If ever Hitch wasn’t around, she withdrew and behaved in a very robotic manner. The people in her town were so happy that she was out and finally trying to shed her melancholy reclusive lifestyle that they embraced her, not literally, she wasn’t ready for that, and accepted her quirks. Unfortunately, for Abby, her tragedies weren’t over, yet.

It was a beautiful sunny day, with a mere four or five clouds in the sky, when the next tragedy struck the young life of Abberonia Smeltfeeld Starmonious. Abby was working on her latest invention, a device that would anthropomorphize animals, when Hitch dragged her away, literally, for a picnic with some friends. He tried to convince her that it was too nice of a day to be cooped up in her lab, working, but that didn’t work. They were at that picnic when the first bomb dropped.

The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom’s attack was on the other side of the planet, but the news spread quickly. 3T.G.L.D.B.’s power spread almost as quickly. He met with very little resistance and, as fear spread, gained support and momentum. The planet was his. His first official act was to change the name of the planet from Nasga to LambaBad. Next, he put all the residents of the planet to work. He split them into two groups, the native Nasgans became his personal subordinates now known as Lambads. He earned their loyalty through strength and fear. The rest of the residents, visitors, and immigrants, were forced into slavery.

For the first few months, the slaves were put to work digging mines and mining uranium. 3T.G.L.D.B. studied his new slaves very closely and started pulling out those with an aptitude for science and engineering. Within a few days, Abby was assigned to 3T.G.L.D.B.’s science department working on faster ships and better weapons. It was better than working in the mines, but she still detested it.

Among the projects in which Abby was involved was the invention of Lambots. Lambots are robot compliments to the Lambad army. They look a little like the Lambads, but more robotic. They hover and have built-in laser weapons, net launchers, sensors systems, and extendable arms. They were made to withstand heavy assaults. They were rigorously tested by the Lambads. If they failed the tests, the workers were punished and forced to fix the defects. The Lambots weren’t used for destruction as much as they were used for capturing and guarding the slaves.

The biggest of the projects was the construction of a super fleet. The scientists and engineers were ordered to create enormous motherships designed to conquer more planets. Each of these motherships held its own mini-fleet of smaller ships. The smaller ships weren’t designed for prolonged spaceflight. They were simply to be deployed in a planet’s orbit and descend like locusts. They were built for a small crew, but with heavy armor and weapons.

3T.G.L.D.B.’s aggressive mining and polluting soon turned the once lush planet into a desolate wasteland. As 3T.G.L.D.B. was preparing to evacuate and search for the next planet to conquer, the wormholes left by the Yamfennians made that too easy, a group of those formerly enslaved by 3T.G.L.D.B. started a clandestine revolt culminating in the commandeering one of the motherships the scientists were building for his fleet of world domination.

Abby was instrumental in the procuring of the ship. As one of the lead scientists on the project to present 3T.G.L.D.B. with a powerful fleet, she had access to all areas and computer systems. One day, not to be confused with two days or even Tuesdays, Abby was confronted by a large Wemeselsim leading a group of escapees turned rebels looking for weapons. They didn’t exchange any personal details, for security reasons, but it’s hard to hide one’s species.

Over the course of three plaros, which is a span of three days further explained in Kip’s bio, Abby recruited the other scientists and engineers, all of whom were ecstatic to help. They took it upon themselves to load the ship with all the technology they could squeeze aboard. The Wemeselsim in charge of freeing prisoners and the planned exodus sneaked people into the hangar and Abby had to hide them while waiting for the planned plaro of their escape. Abby placed a special request with the Wemeselsim to include her friend Hitch. He knew without Abby none of this would be possible and granted her request. The technology was much easier as it was all stored in close proximity to the ships. With each person they tried to sneak aboard, they ran a high risk of being exposed. If they were exposed, they would be immediately executed or, even worse, left behind on the dying planet to endure a slow, painful death.

The Wemeselsimian, named Grek, was unanimously named the captain of the ship. No scientist or engineer had any designs on command. They were happy to be included in the escape. Even the pilot had no desire to be captain. He just wanted to fly and fly fast.

Abby, along with the majority of the crew, went into stasis for the journey. They had all been through space voyages before and had no real need to be awake. If there were a need for any of them they could be safely awakened at any time. None of them had any idea they were pursued by a ship full of Lambads and Lambots, that they found an inhabitable planet, or that they crashed-landed on said planet. They learned a lot when the emergency system revived them from stasis and they found themselves in the tattered remains of the ship in which they traversed much of the known universe.

Slowly, over the years, the alien refugees grew to be tolerated by the inhabitants of Earth. For the first few years, they lived in quarantine to assure the refugees didn’t bring any new diseases to Earth that would lay waste to Earthlings. They didn’t seem too concerned about giving the aliens any diseases. Human governments and citizens had heated debates on whether or not the aliens should be kept in captivity or be allowed to be free. Eventually, they were allowed to roam free but were still far from being assimilated into human societies.

Captain Grek was one who wasn’t too upset about their segregation from the humans. He knew that if they survived the crash-landing there was a high probability the Lambads survived as well. He wanted to create an organization to protect their new planet from Lambads or any other invaders who might float down out of the sky. His first order of business was to start training all of the aliens for the possibility of external threats. He hoped that the Lambads being out from under the influence of The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom would revert to their peaceful origins, but he wasn’t going to count on it. He also didn’t trust the humans. Alien-human relations were tenuous and the human penchant for violence and destruction gave him reason to be wary.

During the testing for what became known as the Refugee Alien Defenders, or R.A.D., Abby tested extremely high in science and technology and very low in teamwork and social symmetry. Basically, she didn’t work well with others, so nobody else wanted her on their squad. Hitch, of course, was elated to add his best friend to his squad.

In the beginning, Abby spent a lot of time alone again. She was on a new planet surrounded by new people. This time she actually felt lonely. In the spirit of “when on Earth, do as the Earthlings do” she got a pet. She got an adorable little tri-colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy. She named her new little girl Charlie. She’s brilliant, but not very creative when it comes to names. She also neglected to realize that Charlie is a boy’s name. During her free time, she and Charlie went everywhere together, but she was still lonely. She wanted someone who could respond to her conversation, which reminded her of the invention she was working on right before the invasion. You know the one that anthropomorphizes animals. That means it gives the animals the ability to walk and talk like people, like the animals you might see in cartoons. She completed it and the rest is saved for Charlie’s bio.

L Squad Profile: Charlie, The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Tinker Bell was just a typical adorable tricolored Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, not to be confused with the much smaller snub-nosed King Charles Spaniel, or, as often happens, the Cocker Spaniel. She is also occasionally confused with Jim Henson’s Muppets. It’s not common but it happens. She was not nearly as dainty as the name her breeders gave her would suggest. She was a small dog, destined not to exceed 20 pounds, though she was very curious and adventurous even as a puppy. She was the first in her litter to exhibit any signs of intelligence but was also prone to fits of wild exuberance and a slave to her spaniel nature. She often exhibited a strong prey drive and an overwhelming desire to chase things.

When Abby first saw Tinker Bell she was immediately smitten. Abby, being ever logical and rational, still took over an hour and a half to decide which puppy she wanted. The loneliness she carried around with her cried out to be squelched, so Abby, in a further attempt to assimilate to Earth and its customs, decided to indulge herself in the strange Earth ritual of owning another life form. At first, the thought was repulsive, but her solitude wore her down and she began researching pets. Throughout her research, she was drawn to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s flowing fur and calm demeanor. She continued to explore other species but kept returning to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She finally acquiesced to her growing desire and contacted a reputable breeder who could provide exemplary health and lineage records.

At first, the breeders were hesitant to sell one of their fine specimens to an alien. Abby initially neglected to inform them of her extraterrestrial status when she first called them. When she offered to repair a low hum their stereo was chronically making, they asked her to fix a laptop. After making quick work of a long list of technical repairs, the breeders hardly minded all the pink fur Abby left on their couch. As dog breeders, they were used to black, brown, and white fur interwoven with everything, but this pink fur was disconcerting. By the time all the repairs were done, the breeders had come to know Abby a little and had actually grown to like her. They decided she was the kind of person to whom they would feel comfortable selling a dog.

Abby finally got to meet all six members of the litter. She sat on the floor with them and they mobbed her, sniffing and licking and rubbing and crawling all over her. Abby was taken aback by the greeting she received. She was not remotely prepared for it. After a few moments of hesitation, she decided she liked being playfully mauled by these tiny creatures. Getting a pet was the right decision.

The first thing Abby did when she got Tinker Bell home was change her name to Charlie, Charlie the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She thought she was being clever. Sometimes even those who are geniuses can be banal when to attempting creativity. She also failed to realize that Charlie isn’t a girl’s name. From there she moved along to getting all her shots and starting training.

As mentioned above, Charlie was very smart. She took to her training like a bee takes to bumbling. I don’t know what that means, either. She learned quickly. Abby was so proud of her little Charlie Belle, she brought back the Bell when she learned that Charlie isn’t a girl’s name and added the extra ‘e’ to make it feminine instead of a potential surname. Charlie was so well behaved that Abby started bringing her to her squad training. When Captain Grek found out, he forbade it. Abby was so distraught that she nearly quit the Refugee Allied Defenders (R.A.D.). She started spending less time training with the R.A.D. and more time training Charlie.

Concerned with her repeated absences, Hitch came to Abby to find out what was happening. Abby explained and Hitch flexed his growing leadership skills. He told Abby how much the squad needed her and how important she was to the R.A.D., even if the others couldn’t see it. He promised that if she recommitted herself to the squad they could make Charlie their official squad mascot. Abby reluctantly agreed. Hitch was still her best friend and the only friend with whom she could actually communicate.

The new arrangement actually made Abby feel lonelier. She was spending more time away from Charlie as she was always training. As captain of a squad, Hitch had his new responsibilities, which kept them from doing all the fun things that made them friends back on Nasga. It didn’t matter that he dragged her away from her important work to go play. Abby was torn between her responsibilities to her squad and her responsibilities to Charlie. Her loneliness was steadily increasing.

One sleepless night, while lying in bed with Charlie curled up on her chest, Abby had an idea. She remembered an invention she was working on on Nasga. It was a machine that would imbue animals with Yamfennianesque qualities. If it worked, she could instill in an animal the ability to speak English, walk upright on two legs and hold things in its newly formulated hands. Said animal would be able to think and communicate like a Yamfennian. She could anthropomorphize Charlie. She jumped out of bed, which was terrifying for Charlie who was still on her chest before being flung onto the bed and subsequently bounced to the floor. After apologizing to and calming Charlie, Abby headed straight to her workshop and got to work.

Following a few failed experiments, which lead to an enormous rat, a turtle that failed to grow or gain any noticeable intelligence, but loved pizza, an ant who would only communicate via Twitter, among various other mutations, Abby was ready to try it on Charlie. Abby closed her eyes, crossed her fingers, rubbed her foot, that’s considered good luck on Yamfenn, aimed the beam from her machine at Charlie and pressed the button. The smell of smoke and burning hair arose in the workshop. Terrified, Abby opened her eyes, but couldn’t see anything through the cloud of smoke. After a brief pause, she heard a cough. Abby frantically swatted at the cloud of smoke attempting to get it to dissipate. From somewhere in the cloud she heard, “I’m glad I didn’t end up like those other blokes.” Elated, Abby ran into the cloud of smoke, found Charlie and wrapped her arms around her.

It worked. Abby had actually created a device that could anthropomorphize an animal. Charlie was now officially a sentient being. Well, she was already a sentient being. She was a… a… a person. She could now walk upright on her hind legs. She had hands instead of paws. Well, they were hand shaped paws. She could talk. Most importantly her intelligence level was now Yamfennianesque. She wasn’t as smart as Abby, but she would make a serviceable assistant and a friend.

There was one side-effect that Abby would have to fix if she ever attempted to anthropomorphize anything again. Charlie developed a disturbing affinity for puns. Abby wasn’t sure if it was something in Charlie’s nature, something caused by the device, or something Charlie picked up watching television. She was sure she was going to have to train it out of her.

In the morning, after staying up all night talking to Charlie, Abby called Hitch. She had to share this amazing news with her best friend. Now, she had two best friends and she wanted them to be best friends. Hitch was amazed and speechless. It’s a good thing Charlie could talk now or the conversation would have run quite dull. After Abby explained everything to him, Hitch panicked. He told her that she had to keep this a secret. If anyone ever found out, she would be in big trouble and her invention would be confiscated.

Abby explained that she went a different route. She hacked into R.A.D.’s computer system and enrolled Charlie into R.A.D. Hitch could only slap his forehead. Abby went on to explain that she retroactively added Charlie to the manifest of their escape ship as a passenger, so it would appear as if she had been with them since Nasga. Anyone who doubted her legitimacy need only check the records. Charlie was now a refugee Niibellian from the planet Niibell. Abby had to hope nobody did further research because it wouldn’t take much to learn that Niibell doesn’t actually exist. She couldn’t find a planet that was home to anthropomorphic dogs, so she made one up.

When Hitch assured her that someone would notice a new member of their squad Abby reminded him that no one outside the squad pays any attention to them. They’ve been deemed the dregs of R.A.D. and no one on any other squad even acknowledged them, except to taunt them. Abby’s recent inner turmoil and withdrawal made the L Squad’s performance drop even further, leading them to be labeled ‘hopeless.’ They could easily sneak in a new member without anybody outside the squad noticing. They only had to tell the squad. If anybody did notice they would all vouch for her and direct them to the records, which would support their assertion that she’s always been there. Hitch grudgingly agreed, but only because they were best friends who had traversed the universe together. Abby did save his life by sneaking him aboard their escape ship. The least he could do was let her have a dog.

Charlie’s training revealed that her transition to a fully anthropomorphic Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was not so full after all. While most of her intended transformations were amazingly realized, she did retain some of her natural instincts. Her spaniel instincts remained intact. All her training was still liable to be overridden by irrational spurts of excitement. She still loved chasing things and would often streak away after something, usually a rabbit, which Abby found disturbing.

Even when the L Squad was eventually sent out into the world for their, often mundane, missions, Charlie would have to be kept on a leash, which Charlie resented. She frequently tried to talk Abby out of making her wear her leash, but every time Abby relented Charlie would run off and end up in trouble. That only made more trouble for the squad, which got into enough trouble before the addition of Charlie. Now, Charlie’s leash is omnipresent on every mission unless she is given a specific task and it’s better for the mission that she is released.

If Charlie weren’t anthropomorphic and lived in your time this is what she might look like (Photos Courtesy Of Lavender Cavaliers):

This is what Charlie might look like if she had a different life and was on a bed with her Aunt Holly Rose and Uncle Paxton:
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If she were on a log with her Aunt Holly Rose & Uncle Gizmo:
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On the beach:
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If her tongue were hanging to the side:
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If she were Wilson from Home Improvement:
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If she were forced to play dress-up as an elf and not happy about it:
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If she were forced to dress-up like Santa Chuck:
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If she had a stick (or a stick blaster as in The L Squad: Phase Two):
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(She looks kind of savage in this one.)

If she were babysitting:
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L Squad Profile: George

Xjaojgoajofierjtiohauyhis;jafkadjiotuehtrio;jakojfksjuitheiht;sjkajnjniutn;afjksadnfjni;efniouenonioeojojavkjadningtiojek ljnadjfier naoitjesljntionotja mnt oatjajkljiojfajklfmkadsmfknk hails from Sagsreed. Most known beings in the universe don’t have the proper vocal chords or tongue and jaw dexterity to pronounce his name, so we’ll use his nickname here, which is George.

George is a Sagrian, or Sag for short. He is a multitude of iridescent colors. He has four arms but only two eyes and two legs. Sagrian’s have two extendable and retractable antennae atop their heads. Each of the antennae holds an eye. The antennae can spin all the way around. Of course, George can only do this for a short period before he gets dizzy and vomits. George’s antennae also act as ears. No, he doesn’t see sounds, that might be kind of cool, though. He hears through the antennae, quite well, in fact. He has a prehensile tail and small brownish lumps all the way down his back and tail. The lumps look like they may have once been spikes for his less civilized ancestors, but evolution decided they were no longer necessary. The physical feature of which George is most proud is his thick luxurious mustache. It’s black and full. It has the power to hypnotize the weak-willed. It is the most interesting mustache in the universe. Its name is Herman. Herman is sentient but only talks to George in private. Maybe George is just crazy.

George could fly his first hoverwagon, which is the equivalent of a bicycle on Earth, before he could walk. No being in the known universe, without wings, ever seemed more destined to fly. From the time he was born, any time he was on the ground he would look up, preferably at the sky and/or the stars. Even if he were inside, he would stare at the ceiling. His parents worried that there was something wrong with him. As a child, while other children his age were playing sports or computer games, the closest thing to a game that interested George was a flight simulator.

George got his fliers’ license as soon as he was of age. He was ticketed often. It wasn’t just the flying he liked, it was also the speed. As a young Sag, he got a job as a cruise ship pilot. He loved that he got to fly and be in space for weeks at a time. He didn’t love that he could only fly at 25 zurxocs per snarp. He wanted to go fast and, as anyone who is limited to 25 zurxocs per snarp can tell you, that’s not very fast. Seriously, flying a spaceship in space at 25 zurxocs per snarp is like driving a Porsche in the fast lane on an empty freeway and driving the speed limit, which doesn’t even involve zurxocs or snarps. He didn’t have his job very long before the complaints about him flying too fast started to pile up.

After he lost his third job as a cruise ship pilot, no cruise company on Sagsreed would hire him. He was born millennia too late to be a terrestrial pilot. The advent of teleportation made terrestrial aircraft, and therefore people to pilot them, obsolete. Sagsreed is a civilized planet with no need for a military so becoming a fighter pilot was not an option. He coveted the prestigious job of cargo ship pilot, which would allow him to zip around the universe making deliveries and pickups, but that job was way too important to hand to a Sag who couldn’t even handle a simple cruise ship pilot job. Things were looking grim for George.

Jobless and dejected, Herman convinced George that they had to leave Sagsreed. A friend, named… never mind, told George about the planet Nasga. She told him it was a vacation world and they were always looking for cruise ship pilots. Demand was so high it was almost impossible to get fired. George was hesitant to leave his home world and cruise ship pilot was far from his dream job, but at least he could fly. He moved to Nasga where he became a cruise ship pilot, again.

The more mature George tried to take his job seriously this time. He did his best to keep his speed at or slightly below 35 zurxocs per snarp. He was more mature, not completely mature. While piloting various cruises, he took advantage of his opportunity to get to know some of Nasga’s distinguished citizens as well as important off-worlders who were vacationing on Nasga. He made some good impressions and promising connections, but it was a stroke of luck that made all the difference in George’s life, including ultimately saving it.

George was piloting a two-week luxury cruise around the Iisneent Solar System, home to Nasga and fourteen other planets, only two of which could support carbon-based life forms. It was a typical mundane cruise. Following his last cruise, The Intergalactic Planetary Cruise Company received complaints of speeds exceeding 50 zurxocs per snarp, though George really only barely touched 40, so George had to be extra careful to keep it under 30. George was lost in the banality of his life. He was combing Herman and drifting in and out of fantasies. He was growing bored again with being a cruise ship pilot. He thirsted for the excitement of the cargo ship pilot’s life, bouncing from planet to planet at high speeds, dodging space pirates and delivering much needed life-saving supplies to space stations at the far reaches of the universe just in time, receiving the appreciation of beautiful lady astronauts. He was lost in one of these reveries, one in which he was saving a space station full of female scientists from space pirates, when the ship’s computer sounded an alarm warning George of a U.F.O., an unidentified floating object.

George wasn’t as excited as one might think. This type of thing happened all the time. It was usually just an asteroid that had broken free from an asteroid belt and was now floating aimlessly, and harmlessly, through space. George was actually a little miffed that his fantasy was disturbed by something so dull. George ran a full scan of it. Protocol requires that he not just assume it to be another asteroid. George’s pulse jumped a little when he read the results of the scan. It was a pod of unknown origin and there were faint signs of life.

George veered off course, perhaps a little too roughly for the passengers’ tastes. The ship roared and shook like a lion with Parkinson’s disease. When he was within range of the pod, George slammed on the brakes, which sent any passenger still standing crashing to the floor. If passengers complained about 40 zurxocs per snarp, The Intergalactic Planetary Cruise Company would be receiving a record number of grievances about this maneuver, but George couldn’t worry about that. There was a life at stake and he was the only one who could save it. He steadied the pod with the ship’s tractor beam, locked onto the life force and teleported it to the ship. Once aboard the ship, the alien being was taken to sickbay immediately. George made an announcement apologizing to the passengers and crew and explained his actions. The lost, weary, barely alive space traveler survived and George was a hero.

Upon his arrival back on Nasga, at the end of the two-week cruise, George was somewhat of a semi-pseudo celebrity. To his elation, job offers came pouring in. The Intergalactic Planetary Cruise Company even looked past the few dislocated joints and broken hips incurred by some of the, especially elderly, passengers and offered George a promotion and a big raise.

He received a job offer from the Luxury Shuttling Company. There he would be shuttling rich clients, dignitaries, officials, famous beings, and that type from planet to planet. It would be a great opportunity to meet people and jet around from the galaxy, but he would still be restrained by rules, speed limits, and the whims of clients. It was an improvement, but still too close to being a cruise ship pilot.

George even got some illicit offers from smugglers and pirates. Those were the most tempting because there would be no speed limits and flying at high speed would usually be an asset. As a matter of fact, there would be no rules. His job would literally be to break the rules. He was tempted by these offers the most, but, as wild as he can be, George is not a criminal.

He got an offer from the Planetary Intergalactic Shipping & Cargo Trade Company. That was his dream job. He would be speeding from galaxy to galaxy, planet to planet, evading smugglers and pirates, bringing necessities to far off worlds, but another offer made him pause and consider other possibilities.

George received an offer from the Garnak Revolt And Spawn Luxury Hotel Conglomerate. No, it wasn’t a chauffeur job. They didn’t want him to pilot a supply ship. No, they did not want him to be a maid or even, the politically correct, room service technician. You’re not being serious. They wanted him to pilot the pod that they sponsored in the FastPod races. That would be yelpsnig! George could fly and go extremely fast. He could push 25 zurxocs per dlorfk. You can’t even image 25 zurxocs per dlorfk. It would be swift and serious. It would be exciting and dangerous. Given the inherent dangers, the pay would be colossal compared to his cruise pilot days and he would no longer be a semi-pseudo-celebrity. He would be a sincere semi-celebrity.

George took his time to deliberate between the job of his dreams and the job of which he hadn’t even dreamt. Something in him, probably the lingering immaturity, saw the opportunity to be a professional pod racer as the yelpsnigest thing ever. His biggest reservation was that he didn’t want to be a sell-out. He didn’t want the Garnak Revolt And Spawn Luxury Hotel Conglomerate’s logo, or that of co-sponsors Crispy Sugar Leaf Cakes, Flowerish Aromatic Butt Soap, and McFat ‘N’ Nasty Burgers, on his pod.

Ultimately, Herman, being the logical one and least likely to be insane, convinced George to work out a deal where he could do both. He would make his cargo runs and, when he came back, he would get a couple weeks layoff to pursue his FastPod career. Everyone was happy, except the people at Crispy Sugar Leaf Cakes. It turned out no amount of advertising could convince people to eat leaves, even leaves disguised as cakes. The Yamfennians, who are vegan, even refused to eat them. The only edible leaves on Nasga came from the nigk tree and kind of resemble dirty sweat socks filled with expired cream cheese, but, for some inexplicable reason, they’re also crunchy. That’s merely a fun fact and has nothing to do with the tale of George, whose tail is not something I would recommend eating, either. Sagsree flesh is poisonous to Earthlings.

Aside from a small case of homesickness, George was happier than he’d ever been. His hero semi-pseudo-celebrity status faded fairly quickly. His FastPod semi-celebrity status never really caught on. He wasn’t a real athlete like Gobsnort players, Skuuttleebot players, SquiSqwi runners, or accountants. He did, however, manage to win a few races. The biggest thing holding him back from real live solid semi-celebrity status was the fact that he crashed more often than he actually finished races. His record got so bad that the Flowerish Aromatic Butt Soap Company pulled their endorsement and removed their logo from his pod, which actually made George even happier. George didn’t care. He was having a great time. He got to fly quickly and recklessly and, if he actually finished, he usually won.

George was even enjoying his real job, which is something that can only happen on a fantasy alien world. He was visiting planets he had never heard of before. He got to fly as fast as he wanted. One good thing about space is that there’s a lot of space in which to fly freely. This provided George with scarce opportunities to crash, which is good because crashing in space is semi-certain death. If George died in space on a cargo run, he wouldn’t be in this story and have half a chance to achieve some sort of fictional semi-pseudo-celebrity status.

One time, he was even pursued by space pirates. He was a little disappointed that he evaded them so easily, but at least he was pursued by space pirates. That was something cool he could tell Theodore, if he ever meets someone named Theodore. You know how Theodores are always bragging about the things they have and the things they’ve done and stealing your girlfriend. I bet Theodore was never pursued by space pirates and outmaneuvered them like a puppy with a bone dodging his litter-mates. Take that Theodore! The best part was that he was getting paid well to do something he loved. The bad part was that this lifestyle George was enjoying so much was destined to be short-lived.

George was out on a cargo run when it happened. He was on his way back from Mubatuhackfadah, carrying some of that cheap synthetic narktopuloid, which just smelled off. The real stuff is much better. As he rapidly approached Nasga, George had no idea of the chaos he would encounter. Oh, space pirate. Is that a space pirate? No. It’s an asteroid. A space pirate disguised as an asteroid? No. An evil space asteroid from space? No. Just a regular space asteroid from space? Oh. Oh well, pretty soon George wouldn’t have to imagine danger there was real danger awaiting him at home.

When George reached the spaceport, there was no one there to dock him. That was weird. In fact, it had never happened before. George didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t very well get out and do it himself. There was supposed to be someone in the control room to guide him in. Then, they take a hold of him with a tractor beam while the clamps lock onto the ship and pull him in to dock. This time he was just hovering there, confused. He tried to radio for help but got no response. He thought maybe the docking technician had gone to the little Nasgan’s room, but there would still be someone to cover. They had to know he was there. No one could miss a huge cargo ship entering the atmosphere and gliding down into the docking bay. Not even…

In the middle of his pondering, the clamps forcefully wrapped around his ship and jerked him into the dock. This was clearly not proper protocol and George was determined to complain to a supervisor. When he emerged from his ship, he was surrounded and whisked off to the uranium mines. He didn’t even get to talk to the supervisor. Now, he was really mad.

George left the beautiful paradise planet of Nasga. He returned to the conquered slave world of LambaBad. All the Nasgans were now Lambads. All the other people were now slaves. LambaBad was ruled by a XaXet conqueror named The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom. George literally returned to a different world.

It seemed like forever that George was working in the mines. His days as a cargo pilot and a near semi-celebrity FastPod racer seemed like they were eons ago. His days were now all spent in the dark, dank, smelly uranium mines. At night, he was marched to a cell where he was fed outdated stale Crispy Sugar Leaf Cakes. He would occasionally see someone who showed an aptitude for science pulled out never to return. He didn’t know if they were being used for their brains or just removed because The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom saw their intelligence as a threat. He saw some beings get sick and dragged away. He knew they wouldn’t be coming back. He knew they wouldn’t have any use for pilots. Pilots always posed the threat of escape. Things looked hopeless.

Just when things were looking hopeless, rumors started to spread. George didn’t always believe the rumors, but down in the mines, they had to cling to anything that could bring them the slightest spark of hope. It was being passed around that 3T.G.L.D.B. was building a fleet of spaceships. Maybe he was leaving. Maybe he would need a pilot. George would do almost anything to get out of these mines and fly again, even be a pilot for an evil conqueror and dictator. This rumor was followed by a rumor that pollution was compounding faster than Nasga could handle and the planet was dying. The only way off this planet was as a conqueror, a slave, or a pilot.

Another rumor George heard was about the Yortians, those sickly eyeball people he saw dragged up to the surface. Workers in the mines were saying that once they got to the surface they overpowered the guards and escaped. They were now in hiding and freeing slaves all over Nasga. They all wanted to believe it and dreamed of giant eyeballs rescuing them in the night. Yeah, it sounds absurd when you look at it that way, but if you were trapped working in uranium mines all day, you would dream of being saved by anything, even a giant eyeball.

Rumors swirled about a group of refugees who escaped and formed a resistance. They were said to be traveling through the wilderness freeing slaves and fighting back. They were growing in numbers and strength by the day. Any day now, rumor had it, they would drive 3T.G.L.D.B., and all his Nasgans turned Lambads, right off the planet.

George and Herman spent the nights they were sequestered in their tiny cell talking over the rumors. George wanted to believe there was a way out of this mess. Herman thought the rumors were too good to be true. Most things that seem too good to be true usually are.

George gave up on the rumors when he heard that the rebellion was started by the Yortians, the eyeball people. The rumors insisted this rebel force, lead by the eyeballs, was planning on stealing one of the ships that were built to be part of 3T.G.L.D.B.’s invasion fleet. They were sneaking all the people, weapons, and technology they could aboard this ship and they were going to escape. As much as he wanted to believe it, George knew holding onto all these fantasies would drive him crazy. Herman told him he was crazy. George told Herman mustaches weren’t supposed to talk. Herman said maybe George shouldn’t talk to him then. Herman conceded that he was just cranky because he was tired and dirty and hadn’t been combed in a long time. George wished he had a comb.

When little Susan found the house Santa got for her, she believed. I mean, when Hitch, the alien George saved from the floating pod, showed up at George’s cell with a device to override the security code in his hand, George believed. Herman did too, but he didn’t say anything because Hitch was there. Hitch told him about the plan to escape and said he wasn’t leaving without the Sag who saved his life. It would also help if George could pilot the ship as he piloted those race pods, well, the times he didn’t crash.

George was a happy Sag again. The next thing he knew, he was up in space in a brand new state-of-the-art, full-fledged mothership. The engines were like nothing he’d ever seen, much less flown. He was flying at speeds that made his 25 zurxocs per dlorfk look like 25 zurxocs per yarf. There was even a ship full of Lambads chasing them, trying to recapture them. George was zooming and dashing in and out of wormholes. He was evading shots from the pursuing ship’s blasters and dodging their torpedoes. He yelled out, as if the Lambads could hear him, “Zoom, zoom, snilg!” It was awesome! Then he crashed.

George was flying, maybe a little too fast, through the Kuiper Belt, a ring, composed of asteroids and icy bodies, that is encased in the Milky Way Galaxy, when he collided with something or a variety of things. The ship was strong enough to take the hits, but it slowed them down enough for the Lambads to catch up. George had been evading them for months and now a few celestial ice chunks allowed them to draw near.

George continued to evade blasts and torpedoes as he sped through the solar system, named the Solar System. When he was slowed by another asteroid belt, the Lambads fired on them taking out their booster engines. The Lambads had no desire to destroy the escaped slaves or the more valuable mothership. They belonged to 3T.G.L.D.B. They were his chattel and ship and he wanted them back. He would need slaves on the next planet he conquered. They grabbed the escapees with their tractor beam and started to tow them.

Captain Grek, the leader of the rebellion on LambaBad and captain of the ship, ordered the ship’s lasers and a torpedo fired directly into the Lambads’ tractor beam. As soon as it hit, George jerked their ship in an attempt to break free. In the ensuing chaos, both ships tumbled through space until they crash-landed on Earth. George is a good enough pilot that, even though he was crashing, he was able to aim his crash to the one planet in the Solar System that could support carbon-based life forms. It helped that that was the nearest planet and its gravitational pull sucked them down.

Everyone survived the crashes, except the ships. The crashes, preceded by the brief battle, assured the motherships would never fly again. Still, they were resilient ships that kept every passenger secure. Other than the damage to the ships, everyone and everything came out of the crashes in pretty good condition.

Following the crash, the refugees were secured by the native dominant species of the planet. They were savage beings called humans. They weren’t nearly as friendly as the first beings they encountered, and assumed to be the dominant species, deer. These humans kept them in quarantine for a long time before they were finally set free.

The Lambads, obscured by the attention the refugees received, escaped from human interference and disappeared into the mountains of Peru.

Upon their release, Captain Grek immediately started the Refugee Alien Defenders. He knew there were already Lambads on the planet and more could follow at any time. He was determined to be ready. Without a ship capable of intergalactic space travel, this planet was destined to be their new home. They were going to defend it.

While testing for placement in R.A.D., George was the best pilot. He was also the worst pilot. Just like in his pod racing days, sometimes he would outperform all the other pilots and sometimes he would crash. That inconsistency landed him, no pun intended, on the L Squad. George didn’t mind. The L Squad not only had the most personality, but it was led by his friend Hitch.

L Squad Profile: Kip

Kip is an eyeball. Kip hails from a planet of giant Cyclopes who, as they die, shed their eyes. I guess it’s more accurate to say, the eyeballs shed the carcass of the deceased Cyclopes. The eyes, in turn, are sentient beings known as Ops or the plural Opes. “Die” isn’t the right word. It’s more like a snake shedding its skin or a caterpillar emerging from a cocoon as a butterfly. It’s beautiful.

Yortians mature from a mostly physical existence, as a Cyclops to a predominately cerebral one, as an Ops. They crawl out of the eye socket like a bird would emerge from an egg, except they retain the full consciousness of the Cyclops from which it descends. The Cyclopes reproduce by producing a clutch of eggs. As the Cyclops dies, the remaining “cocoon” acts as a nest for the eggs that remain inside. When the new baby Cyclopes hatch, they eat the cocoon, which lasts until they are big and strong enough to fend for themselves. The Opes are asexual and cannot reproduce once in that state. This is getting weird. Is this too disturbing for a children’s story? It’s backstory, who cares?

Kip, as an Ops, has arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, and a mouth. Kip doesn’t eat but is instead solar-powered. The eyelid remains attached and the eyelashes act as Kip’s hair when open. The eyelid is very tough, which allows Kip to close… Kip and roll like a ball or be swung like an old-fashioned ball-and-chain flail. This is called the Patented Yortian Ball, patent pending. When balled, Kip’s arms and legs retract into the protective shell.

Kip, short for Kipp, is from the planet Yort, short for Yortt. Kip was constantly teased for being a purple eye. On Yort, the lighter shade an eye is the weaker it is considered to be. Even though science has proven that assertion to be false, there are still those who cling to the old superstitions.

On Yort, the Cyclopes do the hard labor and construction, while the emancipated Opes handle the science, engineering, doctoring, teaching, sewing, and such. The Cyclopes are also the lawyers. When the Yamfennians initiated contact and opened the universe to the Yortians via their wormhole warps, the Yortians wanted to send out the Cyclopes to explore for safety reasons, but logistically it made much more sense to send out the Opes, who are, obviously, far smaller and carry a significantly lower weight.

As the Yortians exploration of the universe expanded, Kip was part of a research mission to Nasga. Kip was the first Ops with a purple iris to be included in any such mission. The superstition of the inferiority of the purple Ops couldn’t hold up against Kip’s test scores. Kip was already excluded from multiple such missions, but Kip’s tenacity and abilities were not to be ignored.

Kip was a hero for lighter-colored Opes throughout Yort. Kip’s status as a hero didn’t reach the other members of the expedition. Kip was immediately the outcast of the small crew. Kip was called pejorative names and made to do the most menial tasks. Kip endured. Being a member of the space program and an astronaut, courageously venturing where no Yortian has previously ventured, was so important to Kip that Kip took the teasing and happily did the tedious tasks assigned to Kip.

Kip wasn’t the only Yortian on whom the journey was rough. The Yortian envoy had the misfortune to be on the planet Nasga when The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom attacked. Upon learning of the invasion, the Yortians tried to flee but were too late. They were caught off guard by the swiftness with which 3T.G.L.D.B. seized the planet. Yortians were still relatively new to intergalactic space travel and were naïve to the ways of the universe. They had never even heard of a planet being usurped. Being visitors, they weren’t kept informed of what was happening and, since everyone who lived on Nasga was so involved, no one thought to warn the Yortians. Their ship was confiscated and they were trapped.

Likewise, 3T.G.L.D.B. knew nothing of Yortians, but he disliked and distrusted them immediately. He felt like they were always watching him. Not knowing they needed the sun to not only function but survive, 3T.G.L.D.B. banished all Yortians to his newly constructed uranium mines. Within days, they became sickly and started dying.

3T.G.L.D.B. decided Yortians were worthless and ordered them all executed. Once they were brought back to the surface for execution, the suns splashed over them. The dual suns, known as a binary star, present in the Iisneent System offered the Yortians a much larger dose of solar rays than the single sun of Yort. The effect of which made the Yortians stronger than they had ever been, almost like superheroes or ants.

Given their pitiful weakened state in the mines, security was minimal for the six remaining Yortians. They easily overpowered their captors and fled into the wilderness. 3T.G.L.D.B. was infuriated that his orders were not carried out and that his cronies were ineffective and so easily subdued, but he didn’t care enough about the Yortians to send anyone after them. He simply executed the executioners instead.

As easy as it was for them to escape, the six Yortians, even energized by Nasga’s binary star, couldn’t liberate an entire planet. They stayed in hiding and tried to come up with a plan. It goes without saying that a plan in which six eyeballs fight off an oppressive dictator and his army to liberate a planet didn’t come quickly.

Kip came up with a few plans. Kip was largely ignored. There were a few sneering remarks made about plans coming from a purple Ops. They weren’t bad plans. In the view of the other Yortians, they just came from the wrong Yortian.

Their first attempt was a haphazard assault on a group of Lambads escorting slaves to the uranium mines. Assuming the shape of the Patented Yortian Ball, the six Yortians rolled down a hill targeting the Lambad guards. They appeared to be a rock slide. The Lambads even later reported the event as a slave rebellion initiated by a rock slide.

The Yortians didn’t really have a plan beyond rolling down the hill. Kip suggested knocking over the guards and taking their guns. Since it was Kip’s suggestion, the others refused to appropriate any guns. It was just a stroke of good fortune that a Wemeselsimian named Grek was among the captives being transported. Wemeselsimians are large agile beings well suited to aid in a slave revolt. Grek had the additional attribute of being a master of strategy. Following the Yortians’ initial disruption, Grek took it the rest of the way.

In no time, Grek was the leader of the rebellion the Yortians started. They were ecstatic to have someone to guide their efforts. The number of freed slaves grew rapidly from there. These six eyeballs officially started a revolution.

The growing group of rebels stayed in hiding for years. They would free those they could and their small rebel forced grew into a large rebel force, but it was still far too small of a force to reclaim the planet. They only had a few weapons they could procure from the Lambad guards they accosted. As time passed, the pollution from The Tyrannical’s mining accumulated in the atmosphere. As the pollution built up, less sun power could penetrate the atmosphere and the Yortians got weaker.

The Yortians started getting sickly and dying again. They had to get off this planet if any of them were to survive. They were already down to three: Kip, Falc, and Nium. The need for actual change was obvious. They needed real weapons to affect real change. Along with their band of rebels, they made their way to 3T.G.L.D.B.’s warehouses. There were rumors that 3T.G.L.D.B. ordered new weapons and a fleet to be designed and built, all of which was to be stored there. The rebels planned to raid a warehouse and take as many weapons as they could.

They made it to the warehouses and were elated to find the rumors were true. The rebels were greedily grabbing all the weapons they could when they were approached by a young Yamfennian scientist named Abby. Grek and Abby formulated a new plan.

The new plan was to commandeer one of the ships and load it with as many people and as much technology as they could. The Tyrannical was already planning to abandon the planet he renamed LambaBad. The resources were diminishing and the aforementioned pollution from his mining boom and usage of archaic power sources was making the planet dreary and unhealthy for everyone, not just the Yortians.

The fleet was being created to evacuate LambaBad and search for more worlds to dominate, which meant they were already being fully stocked with supplies, weapons, and technology. 3T.G.L.D.B. invaded the planet literally by himself. Now, the Nasgans who had submitted to his domination had become his Lambad army. He also wanted to bring those who tried to resist as slaves. He theorized that one can never have too many slaves. He needed a full fleet to carry his new attack force. Most worlds wouldn’t be as easy to conquer as Nasga.

Abby was heavily involved in the fleet project and had a full range of access to the warehouses. She helped the group hide and enlisted the other scientists in the plan. They were all enslaved by 3T.G.L.D.B. and forced into their positions, so they were all eager to participate. Now, they just had to figure out how to get a ship, sneak people aboard, and take one of the massive motherships without anyone noticing.

No one would notice if the scientists loaded some extra stuff onto one of the ships. The hard part was to sneak people aboard. They had to be extremely careful with this part. If anyone noticed them sneaking refugees aboard a ship, they would all end up back in the uranium mines.

The plan was time sensitive. The planet was dying and the Lambads were planning their exodus in three plaros. When they liberated everyone they could without raising suspicion, the escapees launched into space. Grek was named the captain of the ship and, though they were followed by another mothership, they managed to escape through the Yamfennians’ wormhole system superhighway long enough to make it to Earth.

A plaro is a three-day span. The binary star provides a lot more light than a single sun and the rotation of Nasga is slower than that of a typical M Class planet, so days are measured differently. Three plaros is roughly two and a half Earth weeks.

Earth wasn’t their destination. They were fleeing an oppressive dictator, a dying planet, and ship a full of Lambad minions. The refugees were simply trying to escape. Their ship took damage and was nearly apprehended around Earth, so that’s where they crash-landed. I mean, seriously, who would intentionally go to Earth?

The sun of Earth was more potent than that of Yort but not as potent as the binary star of Nasga, which allowed for the Yortians to be more physically powerful than they were naturally but not as super as they were on Nasga. When the Refugee Allied Defenders (R.A.D.) was formed, it was decided the Yortians would be split up between squads.

Kip’s role and roll in the rebellion on Nasga weren’t enough to earn Kip the respect of Kip’s fellow Yortians. Based on assertions from Falc and Nium, who were brown eyes, that Kip’s lighter purple tone made Kip weaker, Kip crash-landed on the L Squad. The captains of the various factions of the R.A.D. didn’t understand the Yortians’ superstitions, but they did view Kip as being antisocial. They thought Kip was the one who had a hard time working with others.

The L Squad was the weakest of the squads in the North American division. The testing seemed to support Falc and Nium’s claim, but Kip was just intimidated by the other two, which adversely affected Kip’s performance. It didn’t matter. Kip liked the rest of the squad of outcasts and fit right in.

Kip’s main attribute, as far being a member of the R.A.D., was Kip’s hard shell. Kip was also an excellent shot with a blaster. Being giant eyeballs gives Yortians amazing eyesight. Kip was also trained as a medic. Kip was the least self-centered of the squad and the kindest and most compassionate. This gave Kip the best demeanor to be the doctor. Kip also really liked the sound of “Dr. Kip,” though they only ever called the Yortian, “Kip.”

L Squad Profile: Hitch

Before Hitch was the impulsive, impetuous, quixotic, captain of the L Squad, he was Crisphitchenstaub Aurthorius Krakenswav III. He was the first Zechistenian with that name. His mother thought it would make him look prestigious to add ‘the third’ to his name. It would seem it only made him three times as wild and crazy and hairy. That last one’s not true. All Zechistenians are hairy.

Hitch is about four-feet tall, weighing in at about 95 pounds. He’s covered in brown hair, over which he wears a faux pleather jacket. Not real pleather, that’s cruel. He has pointy triangular ears that sit on the top of his head. He has a little knobby tail that sits on the top of his butt. Humans might say he looks like a cross between an Ewok, a Mogwai, and a koala, but more athletic. He can run, jump, and roll. He doesn’t waddle. Of course, you’d want him as a pet but he wouldn’t go for that.

On his home planet of Zechisten, Hitch was always getting into trouble with his impulsive ways. He’s smart and always had the potential to do great things, if he put his mind to it. Unfortunately, his mind was always secondary to his impulse. It was that impulse that tore him away from everything he knew and loved.

One day, some of Hitch’s friends were going up to the orbit of Zechisten to race their pods. Hitch heard about the race and assumed control of the rules. He stretched the limits of the race to well beyond Plactiousun, the fourth-most distant moon from the planet. All the other racers gave up and returned home before they made it to the finish line. Their pods weren’t made for actual space flight. They could make it up to one of the inner moons and back, but that was their limit. Some of the distant moons were beyond reach.

Hitch was so set on his objective that he was oblivious to the other racers falling out. He reached the finish line and zoomed right past it. Zoom, zoom, Hitch. He had pushed his pod well beyond its limits and it was stuck at full speed. He was headed straight for an asteroid belt, but fortunately, or not depending on one’s point of view, he plunged into a wormhole.

There was a series of wormholes, constructed by the Yamfennians, that every species capable of interstellar travel used to traverse the universe. This was not one of those wormholes. The wormhole Hitch found was naturally occurring.

He was spat out somewhere in the Iisneent Solar System. Hitch tried to gain control of his pod and turn around back to the wormhole, but pods weren’t made for that kind of travel at that kind of speed. He zoomed on for awhile. Then, his engines gave out completely. He was fortunate that life-support subsisted or he would have died within a few hours. The pod was solar-powered, which kept everything functioning indefinitely even after the engine burned-out.

He floated aimlessly for days. For someone as restless and impulsive as Hitch, being locked in the tight confines of the dysfunctional pod was torture. He tried to keep himself busy playing games comparable to Earth’s Solitaire. He played Froiinkle, Splonx, and Prubbbl. He even tried counting the stars. None of that helped. As anyone who’s ever played Earth’s Solitaire knows, it is no cure for boredom. In fact, it can be a major cause of boredom.

The food producer kept him supplied with food and beverages. He couldn’t have elaborate meals. The food producer needed raw materials like grains, water, and so on. As I’ve stated, the pods were not made for long-distance travel. For that reason, the pods weren’t loaded with many raw materials to make food. The majority of their usage is for snacks for pods trips. As impulsive and impetuous as he is, Hitch knew he had to use his food supply sparingly. Even rationing, his food ran out on the fourth day. For the first time, Hitch started genuinely worrying that he might not survive this ordeal.

You know fudge dang well he survives. The opening line of this bio states that he’s the captain of the L Squad. That couldn’t have happened if he died before the L Squad was even formed.

Hitch was found (Surprise!) and saved by a cruise ship from Nasga. He had gone a few days without food and was barely alive. The pilot of the ship spotted the lifeless pod floating aimlessly. It piqued his interest and he deviated from his course to investigate the mystery. The pilot, we’ll call him George, because that was his name, had Hitch brought aboard. He didn’t even have to buy a ticket for the cruise. The ship’s doctor, we’ll call him the ship’s doctor, because I don’t know his name, took care of him until their cruise was over and they could take him back to the vacation/refugee world of Nasga.

By the time Hitch was nursed back to health, his pod had floated away and the wormhole was nowhere to be found. It was assumed to have closed. George flew Hitch around where he found him. They found no trace of the pod or the wormhole. They did find one of the doodie packs Hitch ejected from the pod, but that was no help. Over time, Hitch resigned himself to the fact that he would never see his home again. He reluctantly accepted that Nasga was his new home. He started to make friends.

His first friend was assigned to him. She was a misanthropic Yamfennian scientist named Abby. She was actually assigned to him more for her benefit than his. Like all people who are assigned to be friends, it worked out perfectly. Abby’s job was to help Hitch adapt to his new planet and get over the loss of his home world. She had some experience with this and was having her own problems adapting. It worked like an immigrant, which made sense since they were both immigrants. Abby was reluctant at first but acquiesced. Hitch was outgoing and charismatic. He eventually won her over and they both had someone to talk to who understood their situation.

Hitch and George would become friends as well. George did save Hitch’s life. They also shared an affinity for pod racing. The renown George acquired for saving Hitch even led to a career as a professional FastPod racer. Their relationship didn’t develop as quickly, though. George’s job as a cruise ship pilot meant he spent way too much time off world to make friends on Nasga.

Life was good on Nasga. Hitch was away from his home, his friends, and his family, but he was adapting. He was making new friends. Nasga was a beautiful planet. If he had to be stranded somewhere, Nasga wasn’t a bad choice to have forced on him. Still, Hitch longed for action and adventure. Of course, when action came, he longed for the quiet serenity it destroyed.

When The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom arrived, Hitch wanted to charge in and fight off the fiend. He was on a picnic with Abby and some other friends who weren’t assigned to him. His friends restrained him, which probably saved his life. He never forgave them for it as he thought he could have single-handedly fought him off despite the fact that The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom was much larger, stronger, and better equipped for a battle.

The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom easily conquered the planet. At first, everyone was assigned to work digging mines. The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom was searching for uranium to power a new fleet he planned to have built. 3T.G.L.D.B. studied his new slaves and started picking out the scientifically minded and engineers to start on his new fleet and make new weapons. Abby was among the first to be pulled from the mines. It was good for her but bad for Hitch. When Abby, and her calming influence, was taken out of the mines, Hitch started to rebel. He was confined to working in isolation, so he couldn’t be a disruptive influence on the others. Hitch quickly grew lonely in isolation, with no one to talk to except the guards who whipped him for talking. The lone bright spot was he didn’t have to smell the Splorg farts.

By the time Nasga was due to be abandoned, Hitch was marked for death personally by The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom for his rebellious ways. Hitch was to be among those left on the dying planet. 3T.G.L.D.B. had polluted Nasga, which was renamed LambaBad, to the point that it was quickly becoming uninhabitable. Shortly before the evacuation was to begin, Hitch’s friend, Abby, arraigned to have him sneaked aboard a ship she and others had commandeered to escape. Hitch put in another request for them to free his friend George. Abby was very important to the escape plan and was granted any reasonable request by Grek, the leader of the rebellion. Not only did they free George, he got to be the pilot.

Hitch hated fleeing the world that had become his home, but he also had strong hopes that a venture back into space would somehow find him back home on Zechisten. Grek, who was elected captain of the ship, had no real destination in mind. It was imperative that they got away the from The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom and the slavery and destruction that he brought with him. Grek was happy to help Hitch look for the wormhole through which he ventured. They needed to find any planet that could support life and Zechisten would do. Those plans were dashed when they realized they were being pursued. They couldn’t intentionally lead the Lambads, formerly Nasgans who became minions of The Tyrannical, to an inhabited planet.

The refugees had an advantage over their pursuers. Many of the beings on board were actually the ones who made the ships. They knew all the strengths and weaknesses of the ships and that knowledge would help them stay ahead of the Lambads. George was a former cruise ship pilot and cargo ship pilot, so he was familiar with the Iisneent System and the Yamfennian universal superhighway of manufactured wormholes.

Hitch did all he could to not go out of his mind. He couldn’t believe they were running instead of fighting. Captain Grek learned of this and summoned Hitch to his side. Captain Grek explained to Hitch that the number one rule of being a leader was to know when to stand-up and fight and when to regroup and fight another day. The people on the ship, and the ship itself, were far too valuable to risk a fight now. Any delay they made would give The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom a chance to reorganize and send more ships out after them. They had this chance to escape and they needed to seize it and squeeze the juice out of it. Having no choice but to acquiesce, he did so and Captain Grek took him under his wing, even though Wemeselsimians don’t have wings. Maybe he took him under his tail. Oh… Yeah, gross. Anyway, he promised to teach him everything he could.

They flew along at max speeds and traversed many wormholes. They were never so happy about the series of wormholes laid out by the Yamfennians. The Lambads stayed right with them the whole way. As they vigorously attempted to out-fly their pursuers, scanners picked up a Class M planet, a planet capable of sustaining carbon-based life such as those on the ship. It was near the center of a solar system tucked inside an enormous asteroid belt. They came to find out later that it was the planet Earth in the Milky Way galaxy. Surprise! You didn’t see that one coming a parsec away. Oh, you did? Dang it!

The refugees emerged from a wormhole just outside of the asteroid belt, called the Kuiper Belt, that bordered the solar system. Captain Grek and George tried to hide the ship among the asteroids, dwarf planets, and bodies of ice or K.B.O.s (Kuiper Belt Objects) in the Kuiper Belt. Since they were being pursued, they entered at too high of a speed and collided with a few such bodies. They were slowed to the point that the Lambads caught up with them. George was able to continue evading them until they encountered another asteroid belt. The Lambads took out the refugee ship’s booster engines with a well-placed blast and grabbed onto them with their tractor beam.

They were close to the Class M planet. Captain Grek knew there was life on the planet, they picked up transmissions emanating from Earth, and he didn’t want the Lambads to be able to enslave another planet. Captain Grek came up with a plan. He decided to fire the ship’s lasers and a torpedo directly into the tractor beam. The subsequent explosion separated the ships. George couldn’t regain control in time to avoid plummeting into Earth’s atmosphere. The Lambads’ ship was crippled by the explosion and sent tumbling into the planet below. Both ships crash-landed into unpopulated sections of Earth.

The refugees, who landed in the Canadian wilderness, were surrounded by the American military and the Canadian Mounties, eh. The Lambads crash-landed into the base of Sara Sara, an active volcano in Peru. They went mostly unnoticed. The Lambads took the opportunity to stay hidden and disappear into myth. The refugees were held in quarantine for years. They were slowly accepted by human societies and allowed to be free. Separate, but free.

The refugees formed the Refugee Alien Defenders with the sole purpose of defending Earth from the Lambads. There were those on Earth who believed that the Lambads either didn’t exist or didn’t pose any real threat and decried the tax dollars that went to the organization. There were also those who thought the refugees, themselves, were the real threat and should be locked up.

During the training and aptitude testing of the refugees, Hitch’s leadership abilities scored off the charts. Unfortunately, his recklessness was also off the charts. He lost at least most of his team in every simulated mission. When his adrenaline (or the Zechistenian equivalent) kicked in, Hitch always, without fail, forgot all his training and went on impulse power (that’s a bad pun). Given his potential, Captain Grek still gave him his own squad. It was the squad composed of the lowest scoring members, but it was his. There were some perks. His friend, Abby’s, misanthropic tendencies landed her on the squad. George’s penchant for crashing landed him on the squad. With the weakest squad comes the most mundane missions. They were assigned a lot of community service. Until dot dot dot. What? Oh … Like that? All right. Until…

R.A.D. Profile: Captain Grek

Worminton Grekorey Thaddeus Von Splorkleson VIII is technically a native of Nasga. His grandparents were among the first to settle on Nasga following the spread of wormhole warp technology by the Yamfennians. The Nasgans have always been a warm welcoming people who happily accepted small numbers of immigrants from a multitude of worlds. Immigration had to be kept to a reasonable number in order to keep from rapidly overpopulating the planet. The Yamfennian warps opened up many worlds to trades, which made it possible for the more popular planets to accommodate an influx of population without overtaxing a planet’s natural resources. There was also an exchange program initiated wherein any being on a world that accepted immigrants would be offered a place on the world from which said immigrants were emigrating. This system opened up the possibility for great diversity throughout the universe. Though the offer was made to everyone on Nasga it was an extreme scarcity for anyone to actually accept. Nasga was a paradise planet and by far the most diverse in the universe. While many moved there permanently, there were even more who vacationed there regularly. Nasga was the superlative vacation place in the universe.

Grek’s people were originally from the planet Wemeselsim. Wemeselsimians are comparatively large. They’re not on the scale of The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom but are typically larger than most other species they encounter. They come in a variety of colors, most commonly green, red and orange with abstract designs on their backs. Grek is a dark green with orange circles and squiggly lines on his back. Wemeselsimians have a prehensile tail to go along with the soft fur that covers their hard, armor-like scales. They are very agile for their size and can naturally run, climb, jump and swim very well.

Grek also had the singularly Wemeselsimian trait of flagitation. When he found himself in a state of flagitation, or he became flagitated, he would be so angry he farted. Oh yeah, there are fart jokes. Don’t go anywhere. The etymology of flagitated is the combination of flatulence or flatus and agitated. They fart when they’re angry.

In spite of all his physical attributes, and that one disturbing detriment, Grek has always relied on his mental abilities more than physical prowess. Though he had only known advanced civilized civilizations that had done away with wars and violence generations ago, Grek had an affinity for old-fashioned military-based strategy games. He loved to outthink an opponent. He got to the point that he was so good that he had to play against the computers because no one would play with him.

The only real outlet Grek could find for his leadership skills was as the regional manager for a string of luxury hotels called the Garnak Revolt And Spawn Luxury Hotel Conglomerate. People from all over the universe not only came to Nasga to vacation, but it was the perfect climate for having children, which, with all species, is gross, thus the ‘Spawn’ and ‘Revolt’ respectively in the title. Since Nasga was the vacation capital of the universe, hotels and resorts were big business and the competition was fierce. Grek’s natural affinity for strategy and leadership made him, and the Garnak Revolt And Spawn Luxury Hotel Conglomerate, very successful. He made the Garnak Revolt And Spawn Luxury Hotel Conglomerate a lot of money, which, in turn, made Grek a lot of money. Grek should have been happy, he was rich, successful, and greenishly handsome, for a Wemeselsimian, but something was missing.

Grek wanted to do something that would challenge him. Running a successful resort conglomerate on the universe’s premier vacation planet was easy. Even the worst, cheapest, sleaziest motels on the planet were wildly successful. Beating out the second best hotel conglomerate on the planet was easy. Rontuian Lavishly Opulent Hotels & Resort Accommodation Company was a distant second. Come on, ‘lavish’ and ‘opulent’ mean the same thing. Who are they fooling? The word ‘company’ doesn’t sound nearly as imposing or impressive as ‘conglomerate.’ Their narktopuloid baths didn’t even use real narktopuloid. They use that cheap synthetic stuff made on Mubatuhackfadah. Most importantly they didn’t have the universally, literally, known and trusted name of Garnak.

Grek yearned for action and adventure. When it finally came he would have given anything to go back to being the regional manager for the Garnak Revolt And Spawn Luxury Hotel Conglomerate.

It was a beautiful sunny day, with a mere four or five clouds in the sky, when The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom dropped his first exploding bomb. He had experimented with non-exploding bombs, but he found they didn’t do as much damage as quickly, nor did they evoke the same fear. That first exploding bomb exploded on one of the Garnak Revolt And Spawn Luxury Hotel Conglomerate’s busiest luxury hotels. The hotel exploded right along with the bomb. The damage was catastrophic. Worse, the whole planet went into a state of terrified pandemonium. Very few people on Nasga had seen such an act of destruction. Most had never seen an explosion at all or even heard of a bomb.

Nasga was swiftly conquered. The Nasgans succumbed to the will of their new ruler, The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom. Anyone who wasn’t quick to conform to the new rules set down by 3T.G.L.D.B. was imprisoned and forced into slavery. Those who did submit were either initiated as 3T.G.L.D.B. cronies or forced to work for ridiculously low wages.

All inhabitants of the planet, now known as LambaBad, were split into two categories. There were the scientist and engineers and the physical labour. It used to be spelled ‘labor,’ but 3T.G.L.D.B. preferred the English spelling and, as one of his first acts, had it changed. The scientists and engineers were sequestered at the new warehouses 3T.G.L.D.B. had built. There they worked on new weapons, robots, which are called Lambots, and a fleet of starships 3T.G.L.D.B. could use for further domination of the universe. The physical labour was forced down into the uranium mines to grow bananas. Wait… No, they were sent into the uranium mines to mine uranium. That sounds better, not for the people doing it, but for the story. The uranium was to be used to create more powerful weapons and to power the fleet.

Grek’s size alone was enough to decide his fate as physical labour. He spent his days slaving away in the uranium mines. He spent his nights crammed into a cell that was much too small for him. He wasn’t one of those who submitted, so he was forced into slavery, which meant he wasn’t paid and he didn’t get to go to one of the slave camps.

One day, coincidentally, it was a day much like today, Grek was being led to the mines with the other slaves working in his sector. It was the normal grueling routine. They were all chained together and forced to march under the supervision of Lambad, formerly Nasgan, guards. Without any warning, six rocks rolled down a mountain and knocked the guards to the ground. At first, the workers were so stunned they didn’t do anything. As one of the guards started to rise, Grek realized what was happening and smacked the guard with his tail and knocked him into another guard who was trying to get up.

Grek had heard the rumors about a group of eyeballs who had broken free and escaped into the wilderness, but he didn’t believe it. Now that an eyeball, which he had mistaken for a rock, had taken the controls from an unconscious guard and was unlocking the chains, he began to think there might be some validity to the story.

Grek looked around and counted six Yortians urging the now freed slaves to follow them into the wilderness. Three of the guards had gotten back up and were trying to subdue the slaves, but Grek did some fancy fighting moves and took them out. Actually, he just grabbed one with his tail and shook him back and forth knocking him repeatedly into the other two. It was more slapstick than fancy. After that, all the guards who were still conscious just ran away. They had never encountered a slave who wasn’t submissive and didn’t know how to handle it.

The group fled into the wilderness until they felt there was no further danger of being pursued. In the days that followed, the idea of rebellion began to be bandied around. The Yortians had no real plan. They had only recently escaped and saw an opportunity to free more helpless victims from the tyranny of The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom. This first attempt was a resounding success, but further attempts, especially when the Lambads may be aware of them, may not be as successful. It was true that they now had more participants, but that could also make them more detectable.

The first order of business was to nurse the starved and exhausted former slaves back to health. None of them could play any part in a rebellion, or even a single rescue operation, in their current state. They then commenced discussing strategies. It was obvious they couldn’t follow the same plan every time. Security was sure to be heightened and the first thing they would be watching for is the rolling rock play.

Grek dominated the majority of the strategy meetings. He was relishing his role as strategist and the opportunity to discuss all his strategies with others. The whole time he was in captivity he was formulating strategies to rebel but had neither the means nor the people to execute them. Now, he had both. His mind raced and new strategies were conceived too rapidly for him to relay them. He spoke so rapidly, as he sketched his plans on nigk tree leaves, that his companions couldn’t keep up. There’s no dirt on Nasga on which to draw. It’s a very clean paradise planet. Can you imagine dirt in paradise? Yeah, it wouldn’t be paradise. It would be dirty.

It didn’t take many strategy meetings before Grek was elected leader of this band of weary rebels. He reluctantly accepted. He loved coming up with the strategies, but he was wary of sending his people out to actually confront the Lambads. His plans were strategically sound, but they weren’t tested. A lot can happen between strategy and execution. He could overestimate his people’s abilities. He could underestimate the Lambads’ abilities. Someone could trip at the wrong time and the whole plan could be blown. He could, in theory, be sending his people out with the perfect plan, but, in reality, be sending them back into slavery or even to their deaths. That thought sickened and terrified him. In the end, they convinced him that he was the best Wemeselsimian for the job and they had a much better chance with him than they did without him leading them.

As the successful rescue missions accumulated, Grek’s confidence grew. His strategies started to get even more elaborate. Of course, on the other side, the defensive strategies became more elaborate and guard details expanded from a few to a score or more. Soon, the Lambads’ countermeasures grew to the point where some of Grek’s strategies failed. It helped a little for Grek to know that the good he was doing greatly outweighed the losses. Everyone who went on a rescue mission was a volunteer who knew the risks they faced. He still hated to lose people even more than he detested the failure of one of his missions.

When he had compiled enough successful missions, Grek wanted to get bold. There had been rumors of 3T.G.L.D.B. having warehouses built where he was forcing scientists and engineers to build weapons, robots, and a fleet of battleships. Following some of the rescue missions, rebels reported encountering some new Lambots, which gave some verisimilitude to the rumors. Grek decided that his troops were trained and experienced enough to hit a warehouse and get some actual weapons.

There was no shortage of volunteers or enthusiasm for the mission. Given the highly delicate and dangerous nature of the mission, Grek decided to lead it himself. He couldn’t send his people into such a perilous scenario while he was safely hidden in the wilderness. If anything were to go wrong, having him there to quickly reassess the situation and come up with a new strategy could be paramount to the potential success of the mission.

This is a profile, not an adventure story, so I’ll just say that the mission was more successful than anyone could have hoped. Grek met one of the scientists who was forced to work in the warehouses. The Yamfennian scientist confirmed the rumor that they were building a fleet. Grek floated the idea of commandeering a ship. The scientist was all for the idea. She told Grek they could do it in three plaros. They couldn’t wait too long. 3T.G.L.D.B. was already planning an exit of his own. On top of that, the more they spread the word the more likely it was that 3T.G.L.D.B. would learn of their plan. The scientist said she would spread the word and load the selected ship with all the supplies and technology they could. Meanwhile, Grek would ramp up rescue missions and free all the people possible.

In three plaros time, the rebels sneaked back into the warehouse where they rendezvoused with the scientists. The scientists got the ship as loaded as they could without arousing suspicion. They even found a pilot. Grek had heard of him as the Garnak Revolt And Spawn Luxury Hotel Conglomerate sponsored his racing pod, before the invasion. He didn’t have the greatest confidence in the pilot since he was known to crash more often than he finished races. Grek didn’t assume authority over the scientist and he was indebted to them for all they had done to facilitate this escape, so he acquiesced to the little Yortian scientist’s nominee. He even personally led the mission to free him.

The chosen pilot was much more than just a pod racer. Grek had to admit that his résumé was impressive. In addition to his pod racing, this pilot had been a cruise ship pilot and a cargo ship pilot. He had no casualties on his record. In fact, he had actually briefly been a semi-pseudo-celebrity for rescuing a stranded traveler floating in space.

Grek’s fears were both circumvented and realized. The pilot, George, got them to a habitable planet, safely might be the wrong word, alive. The ship would never fly again, nor was it in a condition that could be identifiable as a ship, but everyone survived. The rough landing wasn’t all George’s fault. They were pursued by another ship, full of Lambads and Lambots, the whole way. George did a tremendous job of getting them to a planet which could sustain carbon-based life forms without being apprehended or destroyed in space. All things considered, he did a great job. The Lambads also crash-landed on the planet and also survived.

Grek had to assume some of the responsibility for the happenings of the voyage as well. Before they even launched, Grek was chosen to be the captain. His contribution to the success of the escape and his leadership skills were recognized and he was the obvious choice.

The first thing Captain Grek did, once they were assimilated into the societies of Earth, was to set up the Refugee Alien Defenders. He felt responsible for bringing the Lambads to Earth. He would not allow them to regroup and leave the defense of this beautiful planet to the strange creatures of Earth. The Earth creatures had an affinity for violence but were technologically inferior. They barely even used solar power. They used something called ‘fossil fuels,’ which were apparently made from the decaying of deceased plant life and organisms from millions of years prior. They probably died out because they didn’t use solar power either.

Captain Grek was determined that this planet would not succumb to the same fate as Nasga. He split R.A.D. into at least one faction per continent. Each faction’s top priority was to guard against a Lambad invasion. Their second priority was to round up the rogue Lambads who were now loose on Earth. They knew that the Lambad ship was also damaged to the point that it would never fly again, but they didn’t know the state of their communications. It was imperative that they collect all the loose Lambads before they could establish communications with 3T.G.L.D.B. and initiate an invasion of Earth.

Before the split, all the scientists, engineers, and anyone physically able was put to work salvaging everything they could from the wreckage of their commandeered mothership. The scientists and engineers set to work designing and creating headquarters for each division of R.A.D. The refugees who were mechanically skilled put together the machinery. Those less scientifically minded did the heavy lifting and building of the headquarters.

Captain Grek assigned leaders to each division on each continent. The captain of every division was to be of equal rank with Captain Grek. All of R.A.D. would cooperate when appropriate, but would predominantly act as its own entity. There was no one individual who oversaw the entirety of R.A.D. The captains would meet frequently to make all organizational decisions, with each captain having equal input. Captain Grek was to be in charge of the North American chapter. He handpicked a few of the refugees who played important roles in their exodus from LambaBad and worked directly with him to remain under his command.

Every single refugee went through rigorous testing and training before it was determined to which division they would be assigned. They were all known to be capable and resourceful. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have survived this long. Every one of the refugees now on Earth was part of the rebellion on Nasga and they all played a significant role in their escape. There were still some who showed more aptitude in certain areas than others. The goal of the creation of R.A.D. was to make each division as strong as possible. Every individual’s strengths and weaknesses had to compliment or counterbalance the rest of their division.

From there, each division of R.A.D. was divided into squads that would perform various missions. There was an attempt to find a balance between the squads, as within the divisions. Despite all attempts to create near-perfect units, there were always those who didn’t work well with others for various reasons. Perhaps they were too cavalier or anti-social or they smelled bad. The squads were to be ranked A-L. The degree of mission difficulty determined which squad would be assigned to the mission, with the most challenging going to the A Squad and the easiest missions being assigned to the L Squad.

It took a long time to get everything set up and running smoothly, but it happened. These refugees crash-landed on a new planet and were able to be accepted, sort of, and create a system of defense for the whole planet. Now, they just had to hope they did it in time.

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