L Squad Vignettes: Episode Four: Camp L Squad

I said these were coming every couple months, not every week, right? I’ve been busy working on rewriting Norman Normalson & The Normals. I’m also getting some info ready to post here about Norman and his friends The Normals. That should be up very soon, much quicker than it takes me to write a vignette. I’ve also been spending a lot of time not writing, which is horrible and counterproductive. To make up for the delay in posting, this is a really long vignette, especially compared to the others.

 L Squad Vignettes: Episode Four: Camp L Squad

“It’ll be like camping,” Abby said.

“Camping?” asked Charlie.

“Yeah, camping’s the best,” said Hitch. “Back on Nasga, we went camping all the time.”

“Do they have camping on Earth?” asked George.

“Yes,” said Charlie. “It’s called being homeless.”

Abby tapped on her wripter. “Yes. It’s even quite popular.”

“It’s just sleeping outside,” said Kip.

“Exactly,” said Charlie. “I’m royalty. We do not sleep outside on the ground.”

“It’ll be fun,” said Kip.

“Yeah, we’ll make a game of it,” said Hitch.

“Brilliant!” said Charlie. “We’ll play homeless. We’ll be adults playing homeless.”

“It’s not a game,” said Captain Grek. “This is a serious training exercise.”

Charlie continued as if Captain Grek hadn’t said a word, “Nobody wants to be homeless, but people sure like to play homeless. Then, there are the more upscale gamers who bring their trailers. They’re playing trailer park.”

As Charlie spoke, a rumble of flagitation erupted from Captain Grek’s nether regions.

“What is that, your stand-up act?” Kip asked.

“Perhaps,” Charlie said. “One never knows when a moment of levity could come in handy.”

“It will come in handy in your search for a vocation upon your dismissal from R.A.D.,” Captain Grek growled.

“Why are we the only squad that has to do this?” Charlie asked.

“Every other squad has already completed their training,” said Captain Grek. “You’re the only squad that needs more training.”

Charlie moaned, “Aww, but why?”

“Because you’re the only squad that consistently flubs every mission,” said Captain Grek. “You’re currently on track to be the L Squad.”

“But the L Squad is the lowest ranked squad,” said Hitch.

“Exactly,” said Captain Grek. “Any more questions?”

“Nope,” said Abby. “We’re off to survive in the wilderness. We’ll see you in a week.”

“There are showers out there, right?” Hitch asked.

Abby rushed over to Hitch and hustled him out the door. The others followed.

“No shower for a week? I guess this won’t be all bad,” Charlie said, on her way out.

Half an hour later, the squad was dropped off deep in the Canadian wilderness. The only gear they were allowed was a communicator, which was for use only in the event of an emergency.

“The first thing we need to do is find a shower,” said Hitch.

“I think the first thing we should do is find a place to camp,” said Abby.

“Yeah,” said Hitch. “A place with a shower.”

Kip’s unique scouting abilities found the squad a cave in the side of a hill. It was bordered on one side by a little trickle of a waterfall.

“Good find, Kip,” said Hitch.

“Thanks, Cap,” said Kip.

“It’s not very private, but it should work,” said Hitch.

“We’re way out in the wilderness,” said Charlie. “How much more privacy could you want?”

Hitch stuck his hand in the steaming water. “Holey cheese balls! That water is absolutely freezing.”

“It’s not freezing, much less absolutely freezing,” said Abby. “If it were freezing, it would be ice, not water.”

A period of mocking Abby and her incessant need to be literal ensued. There was nothing unusual about that. By now, Abby had learned they were teasing her, not agreeing with her. It didn’t change her reaction much. Genius does not necessarily beget wit. It often subdues it.

It wasn’t long before stomachs started rumbling. Kip didn’t have an issue. Kip was solar powered and absorbed all necessary nutrients from the sun. Finding food for Abby wasn’t as easy as Kip, but she was an herbivore. There was plant life everywhere. All she had to do was figure out which Earth plants were edible. A simple scan would…

“Dang it!” Abby said. “How are we supposed to find food without our equipment? If we eat the wrong thing, we could get sick or die.”

“It’s too bad Monshtah’s not here,” said Kip. “She knows about all plants. She’s been studying since we’ve been here.”

“Ah-ha!” said Charlie. “See, Captain Campadelic? I told you camping wasn’t going to be fun.”

“Camping is usually fun,” said Hitch.

“Yeah, but we usually bring supplies,” said Abby.

“And if we forget something, we can just fly back to get it,” said George.

“And there are usually showers that aren’t ice,” said Hitch, working in a little tease for Abby into his gripe.

“The sun’s setting,” said Kip. “We have about half an hour until it’s completely dark out here.”

“All right, let’s get into the cave,” said Hitch. “Who brought the camp heater?”

“No supplies, remember, Cap?” said George.

“Ohklay Buré!” Hitch swore. “Now what?”

“We have to make a fire,” said Abby.

“Who knows how to make a fire?” asked Hitch.

“We can rub sticks together,” said Abby. Her suggestion reflected off silent stares. “The friction leads to heat and sparks, which combine with oxygen and fodder to make fire.”

After a beat or two, George said, “Blaster?”

“Blaster, yeah,” said Hitch. “We can use a blaster to make heat to light something on fire.”

“Uh… We don’t have any blasters,” said George.

“Then, why’d you suggest blasters?” asked Hitch.

“It was a hypothetical,” said George.

“We don’t need hypothetical,” said Hitch. “We’re going to get hypothermia.”

“Probably not,” said Kip. “You’re all furry, and I have my shell.”

“I’m not furry,” said George.

“I was counting Herman,” said Kip. “We should be all right for tonight.”

They were. Kip’s the medical officer. Kip knows Kip’s stuff. The squad slept curled up together using their body heat to keep them all warm. George slept in the middle. Herman, his mustache, was thick and lush but not quite enough to keep him warm.

The next morning, Kip was the first one up. Kip sat on the cusp of their cave watching the animals. Kip took note of everything they ate. By the time the others started dispersing from the hairball they had made, Kip had a collection of nuts and berries ready for breakfast.

“Yay for Kip. Kip, Kip, hooray!” Kip heard in Kip’s head.

Kip was actually greeted by a series of grunts, moans, and an occasional, “Ugh… Thanks.”

“Where’s the beef?” Charlie asked as if she were in a commercial from the 1980s. She was literally inquiring about meat. Charlie was oblivious to the advertisement. She was not alive in the ’80s, nor was she one to waste her time watching old commercials on YouTube. She definitely didn’t waste her time watching other people play video games on YouTube. What is that? Why is that a thing? Humans are the strangest sentient beings in the universe if one can classify a species that watches videos of other people playing video games as sentient.

As soon as he had some food, Hitch took charge. “All right, good job on the food, Kip. George, you go with Kip to find more food. Abby and Charlie, you figure out how to start a fire.”

“What are you going to do?” asked Abby.

“I’m going to take a shower,” said Hitch.

“In the ice water?” asked Charlie.

“I can take it,” said Hitch, in his best macho voice. “Go!”

Following a brisk hike through the woods, Kip and George approached a beehive.

“I spent some time this morning watching these little creatures,” said Kip. “They’re making some kind of food in here.”

“How do you know what they’re doing in there?” asked George.

“I’ve been watching,” said Kip.

“But they’re inside,” said George. “How do you know what’s going on inside?”

“I looked into the hole through which they’re entering and exiting,” said Kip.

“What hole?” asked George.

“Look up there,” Kip pointed. “See where they’re going in and out?”

“Oh, I see it,” said George. “I can hardly see the hole from here, and you can see into it from over on the mountain?”

“Yeah,” said Kip. “I’m a Yortian, remember?”

“Yeah, but… Glaurf!” said George. After his astonishment subsided, he continued. “How do we get it out of there?”

“Inside, there are walls composed of hexagons that hold the food,” said Kip. “Just reach into the hole with your tail and grab one and pull it out.”

“You want me to steal their food?” asked George, shocked at Kip’s callousness.

“There’s a bunch in there,” said Kip. “They can spare a little.”

“Won’t they be angry?” asked George.

“They’re tiny,” said Kip. “What can they do?”

“All right,” said George.

George reached up to the hive with his tail. He slowly sneaked it into the hole. The bees started buzzing around his tail. He grabbed a honeycomb.

“Ew, it’s sticky,” said George. “Ow! It stings.”

Elsewhere, Abby and Charlie were looking for sticks.

“So, you think rubbing sticks together will make a fire?” asked Charlie.

“It works,” said Abby.

“How do you know?” asked Charlie. “Have you ever done it?”

“No, but it’s been done,” said Abby. “Do you have a better idea?”

“That is such a cliché question that always leads to shenanigans,” Charlie said, smugly.

“I’m going to take that as a ‘no,’” said Abby.

“Hey, look,” said Charlie, pointing to a small black and white quadruped with a big fluffy tail.

“Speaking of cliché,” said Abby, “that’s a clichéd distraction technique for which I am not falling.”

“That creature kind of looks like me. Hi. I’m Charlie. What’s your name? You smell interesting. What is that perfume you’re wearing?” The creature waddled away from Charlie. “Rude.” Charlie pursued. “I was merely inquiring about the aroma…” Charlie was interrupted mid-sentence when the creature lifted its tail and sprayed a large quantity of its “perfume” in Charlie’s face. “Gee whillikers on a Wednesday!” Charlie swore… maybe. “I think it farted on me.”

Meanwhile, at the camp, Hitch was preparing to shower. He made the mistake of checking the temperature of the waterfall before going in. It was colder than it was the previous day.

Hitch put his hand in and pulled his hand out. He put his foot in and pulled his foot out. He tried the opposite hand and foot with the same result. He finally decided to just go for it. He stood roughly three meters away, took a series of deep breaths, and ran into the waterfall. He didn’t stop there. He ran all the way through and out the other side.

“Holey socks! That is cold.”

While Hitch was setting a personal record for the coldest, shortest, and all around worst shower of his life, George and Kip were under attack. Kip’s decision to judge the bees by their size turned out to be a faux pas, an oopsie if you will. The angry bees’ retaliation for the stolen honeycomb didn’t stop at George’s tail. They were mad at all of George. Their anger spread to Kip for merely being another living being in the proximity of their hive.

Kip’s first instinct was to ball. George’s was to run. Half the bees swarmed Kip’s ball. The other half pursued George. They continued to pursue George when he came back to where he left Kip. In the brief time he was gone, George had acquired an additional pursuer.

The ruckus caused by George’s return was enough to make Kip open Kip’s shell. It was only a slight crack, so Kip could see what was making all the noise. Kip wasted no time in resealing the carapace.

“Run! It’s a monster,” George yelled, as he ran past Kip.

Behind George, following closely and getting closer, was the largest grizzly bear either of them had ever seen. She was also the only grizzly bear they had ever seen, which is why George referred to her as a monster instead of a bear.

As the bear ran past Kip, the bees dispersed. Even they didn’t want anything to do with the bear bearing down on George. See what I did there? Words are fun. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!

Kip unballed (Is that a word? No? It will be someday. I will make sure of it.) and ran the opposite direction of George and his new acquaintance. George was trying to run the opposite direction of his new acquaintance, but the bear wasn’t cooperating.

As the bear grew closer, George kept both eyes turned back toward her and forgot to watch what was coming in front of him. George tripped on a root forcing its way out of the ground. On his way down, he crashed into a low-hanging branch. He flipped over it and landed on a pile of sticks. They would have been precisely what Abby and Charlie were looking for at that moment. Of course, they wouldn’t be worth dueling with a bear. The sticks broke. The whole thing was very slapstick, literally.

The bear stopped, towering over George. She bared her teeth and flashed her claws. George tried to get up but slipped on the sticks. The more he attempted to move the more he got tangled. The bear raised her paw and swung it down on George. Her claws made a whistling sound as they tore through the air.

George dropped the honeycomb and wrapped his tail around the same branch over which he tumbled. He pulled himself out of the way. The bear’s paw and claws crashed into the pile of broken sticks. As it passed George, the tip of one claw tore a slit in George’s uniform.

The bear turned angrily toward George.

“This might be it, Herman,” George said, to his mustache.

“It’s been a good run, George,” Herman said.

Before the bear could take another swing at George, and before George could think of another slick escape, a rock hit the bear in the back of the head. Renewed anger swelled up inside the bear as she turned and started after Kip, the source of the projectile. Kip emitted a little yelp. We’ll call it the Patented Yortian Yelp since there is no yelp like it in the universe. No, it is not an app used for rating intergalactic space restaurants. You are ridiculous.

Kip widened as wide as Kip could widen before turning to run as fast as Kip could run. The bear followed. George also followed but not at the same speed or with the same vigor as the bear. George was not about to abandon the friend who just saved his life, but he didn’t want to get the bear’s attention unless it was necessary to save Kip’s life. The bees were no help at all. They returned to their hive and resumed working.

The trio didn’t run far, which was a good thing for Kip as the bear was gaining on Kip much faster than she had been gaining on George. In mid-run, Kip dropped to the ground, balled, and rolled under a pair of trees that were tied together. The bear tripped over the trees and slammed into the ground.

Kip circled back around to George. The duo put as much distance between themselves and the bear as they could. The bear was not interested in further pursuit.

“What is that thing?” asked Kip.

“A human?” George said, tentatively.

“I don’t think humans are that hairy,” said Kip.

“I’ve seen some that hairy,” said George.

“All right, but they’re not that mean,” said Kip.

“They kept us locked up in quarantine for a year,” said George. “Some think we should still be there.”

“That’s true,” said Kip. “What about the teeth and claws?”

“Those are good points,” said George.

“Aaah, where’s Charlie for that one?” asked Kip.

“She does love puns, doesn’t she?” said George.

“So, what did you do to make that hairy set of teeth and claws so angry?” asked Kip.

“I ran into it,” said George. “I was running from the little flying creatures and ran into the big hairy one.”

“Oh,” said Kip. “You’re lucky it didn’t just grab you.”

“I hit it from behind,” said George. “I think I crashed into its butt.”

“Even when you’re not flying, you still find a way to crash,” said Kip.

“I am the best pilot you know,” said George.

“You are,” Kip conceded. “You’re also the worst.”

“I’ll accept that,” said George. “Anyway, we’re lucky that was the only one after us. There were two other miniature monsters with it.”

“Those were probably its offspring,” said Kip. “I’d guess it was protecting its babies from the crazy creature who attacked its butt.”

“You stink,” said Abby, moments earlier in a different part of the forest.

“I kind of like it,” said Charlie. “It’s musky.”

“You’re weird,” said Abby.

“Um, this is my planet,” said Charlie. “Here, you’re the weird one.”

“You didn’t like it a few minutes ago when you were rolling around screaming, ‘Get it off me! Get it off me!’” said Abby.

“I’ve grown accustomed to it,” said Charlie.

“I haven’t,” said Abby, pinching her nose. “It’s almost as bad as the captain’s flagitation.”

A yelp rang out through the forest.

“What was that?” asked Charlie. “A bad review for a restaurant?”

“It’s Kip,” said Abby. “That’s a Yortian yelp. What’s a bad review for a restaurant?”

“A joke,” said Charlie.

“It’s always jokes with you,” said Abby.

“Not always,” said Charlie. “Sometimes it’s a joke, other times it could be a jape or even a jest.”

“Come on,” said Abby. “We have to find Kip.”

“It came from over here,” said Charlie, as she took off in the direction of Kip’s yelp. Abby followed. Both of them dropped everything, except the skunk smell that was now Charlie’s constant companion.

Abby and Charlie burst through the bushes and arrived on the scene just in time to be no help.

Kip balled. George put two hands over Herman, squeezed the remaining two into fists, swung his tail around, and prepared to fight.

Kip, George, what happened?” asked Abby.

George relaxed when he realized who their assailants were.

“It’s all right. It’s Abby and Charlie,” George said to Kip.

Kip peeked out of the ball. Once George’s assurance was confirmed, Kip completely retracted the carapace.

“What was that yelp?” asked Abby.

“Did you get some bad oysters?” Charlie asked.

“Huh?” asked George.

“What now?” asked Kip.

“Did you leave a bad review due to receiving oysters of low quality?” Charlie retried.

“No one gets that joke,” said Abby, “or jape or jest.”

“Or it’s not funny,” said Kip.

“Dang it!” said Charlie. “Sometimes, the audience is completely at fault when a joke falls flat.”

“Or it’s just not funny,” said George.

“What happened?” Abby asked, again.

George found a huge, hairy monster with sharp teeth and claws,” said Kip.

“Was it Captain Grek?” asked Charlie.

“No, it was way scarier,” said Kip.

“It’s fine, though,” said George, caressing Herman in a gesture that was meant to convey confidence. “We took care of it.”

“How? What happened?” Abby asked.

“How would you rate your experience with the monster?” Charlie asked, still trying to get a laugh out of her yelp/Yelp pun.

“We’ll tell you about it around the campfire,” said Kip.

“Campfire?” said Charlie.

“Oh no!” said Abby. “We dropped all the sticks we collected when we heard Kip yelp.”

“I hope you guys found food that doesn’t need to be cooked,” said Charlie.

“Food?” said George.

“Snortle vomit!” said Kip.

The group got back to the camp as the sun was dipping below the trees. Actually, the rotation of Earth was bringing the trees up in front of the sun, but that’s just science and reality instead of poetic piffle, like sunrise and sunset.

“It’s about time. I’m starving,” Hitch said. “How did everybody do? What’s that smell?”

The rest of the squad hung their heads and pointed at Charlie. Charlie raised a paw.

“I came up with a joke about Kip and restaurant reviews,” said Charlie. “Would you like to hear it? Here it goes…” Abby wrapped her hand around Charlie’s mouth.

“We found some sweet sticky stuff,” said George. He lifted his tail to under Hitch’s nose. “Here, smell.”

“Mmm. That smells good,” said Hitch. “Where is it?”

“Um…” said Kip. “We dropped it.”

“How do you drop sticky stuff?” asked Hitch.

“There was this monster…” George started.

“Fire fodder?” Hitch asked, cutting off George’s explanation.

“We found a lot of sticks to rub together,” said Charlie.

“Sticks to rub together?” asked Hitch, skeptically.

“It works,” said Abby.

“I’ll take your word for it, Abbs,” said Hitch. “Well, I guess you can show us.”

“We dropped them,” said Abby.

“You dropped them?” Hitch asked.

“Yes, when Kip left a bad review for the monster,” said Charlie, determined to find some way to make that joke work with aliens who had no idea what Yelp was in a time when World President Amazon.com’s app NumB had long since killed Yelp. The app gave users the option of rating a restaurant or experience as “Num Num” for good or “Numb” for bad. The simplicity of the choices and negation of the need to put any time, energy, or thought into an actual review made the app a big hit.

Yes, Amazon.com, a website, was elected president of the United States and eventually the world. That’s just humans being humans. The sad part is, it was a lot better than many rulers throughout the planet’s history. It actually delivered on its promises, usually in just two days.

Hitch looked around confused. “You guys are getting a ‘Numb’ for this mission. I accomplished my mission.”

“What was your mission?” asked Abby.

“I took a shower,” said Hitch.

“That was your mission for the day?” asked Abby.

“Yep, and I was very efficient about it,” said Hitch.

L Squad Vignettes: Episode One: The Freeway Debacle

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

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

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

“He’s tired of these mundane missions.”

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s a freeway?” Hitch asked.

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

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

“What are cars?” asked Kip.

“What are roads?” asked George.

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

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

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

“How fast do they go?” asked George.

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

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

“Not favorably,” said Abby.

“Ugg,” said George.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Well?” Hitch said, tentatively.

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

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

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

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

L Squad Vignettes: Episode 0: Introduction

I’ve been slacking on my blogging. I ran out of completed bios and pre-prepared material. Instead of writing new material I’ve been writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting The L Squad: Phase 2. Yes, I’ve rewritten it thrice. It’s at least three times better than the first draft, mathematically speaking.

I recently pulled the random idea out of my beard to write vignettes. The R.A.D. did a lot between landing on Earth and the events described in The L Squad. I’ve decided to share some of those early disastrous missions with you. Don’t tell them. They wouldn’t want these stories out there. We all have growing pains and embarrassing moments any time we try something new. Check back often, or just follow the blog, for new installments of L Squad Vignettes. I’m going to try to share a new one every week. I will fail.

Update:

I think I’ll extend vignettes to the world of Norman Normalson & The Normals and perhaps beyond. I’ve already been working on a Christmas special for Norman Normalson.

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.

Stephen Hawking

Last night, my friend told me Stephen Hawking died tomorrow. Of course, living on the West Coast of the United States we were the last ones to make it to today.

Her comment wasn’t intended as a joke. She was genuinely distraught over Dr. Hawking’s death. Her comment does, in a way, some up the bittersweet situation and the life of Stephen Hawking. After being diagnosed with A.L.S. in 1963, at age 21, he was given a mere three years to live. The fact that he made it to 76 is amazing in itself. What he was able to accomplish with his time is mind-blowing. Overcoming his diminished physical capacity to accomplish the things he did is just icing.

I don’t need to get into all his accomplishments. Right now, I’m lost in the paradox that he lived 54 years longer than he was supposed to and his death is still sad. He was one of those people who made science accessible to those of us who aren’t scientists. Along with people like Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sean Carroll…, he made science fun. As important as science is to our lives and our future, that is a great accomplishment.

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