Flash Fiction: Patient Zero

This was written for Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week’s challenge is to write to a prompt in exactly 99 words. This week’s prompt is to write about someone who is unremembered. How does one write a story about one who is unremembered? I can’t remember. “There was once this man… maybe. He was shortish tall with light black, curly, bald hair… I don’t remember what he looked like or what he did, but he may or may not have been.” This is the only way I could think to do this.

Patient Zero

“I’m ready. Who am I killing?”

“Your great-grandfather.”

“What?”

“He was patient zero.”

“My great-grandfather is responsible for Extraterrestrial Xenotropic Disease? How can you know that?”

“It was his breakthrough that made intergalactic space travel possible. He was on that first mission that brought back E.X.D., causing the Great Plague.”

“If I kill him before his breakthrough, I can stop the plague and the deformities that followed.”

“And the collapse of civilization. You can make humanity Earth’s dominant species again.”

“Will I cease to exist?”

“We may all cease to exist. The world of 1989 could look completely different.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In case you’re wondering, she failed. That’s why humans look like (see mirror), and anyone who has pets knows that humans are not the dominant species.

I’m not a fan of anti-science science fiction, but there are dangers out there. Maybe we’ll find them someday. I am a big fan of sanitizer and keeping your damn germs to yourself. Maybe wash your hands after playing in Uranus.

A To Z Challenge: Excellent!

Today’s A To Z Challenge is a little one because I need it to be. I have a lot going on, which is making it hard for me to keep up, and I don’t have any characters whose names start with E. I have the planet or Epatrus and it’s people Epatrusians, from Norman Normalson & The Normals, but I didn’t feel like writing, or think anybody felt like reading, a history of a planet or the people who inhabit that planet. On top of all the stuff I talked about in this post, my roommate, who’s a dog breeder, and I are dog sitting for another dog breeder, but that’s a different post.

Excellent!

The refugee’s distress call was never been received or returned by the people of Earth. They still got the message when the enormous mothership they refugees commandeered to escape the planet LambaBad crash-landed in the Canadian wilderness.

The message didn’t reach its intended recipient. Instead, it floated around space. It pinged off satellites and traveled through wormholes. It was picked up by other ships and forwarded. It spread through the Intergalactic Interweb.

It took a while, but the distress call sent out by the refugees escaping the once lush, beautiful, vacation planet Nasga reached the usurped, polluted planet now called LambaBad.

A former Nasgan, who was now defeated and forced into a life of servitude as a Lambad, brought his tyrannical overlord the message. He displayed a map of the universe.

“Sir, we’ve found the escapees. They sent a distress call from here. They’ve survived and appear to be on this planet. It’s an uncivilized planet with barely beyond barbaric forms of technology. We’ve received follow-up messages from the ship you sent after them that they are stranded.”

“Excellent.”

A To Z Challenge: Distress Call

Today’s A To Z Challenge is much better than yesterday’s. I’m more functional today, and there’s a lot of dialogue. My writing flows much better when I let the characters tell the story.

If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably noticed my stories so far have been interlinked. This one is kind of a departure. I don’t have a character with a D name anywhere in The L Squad. I thought about Dangle Hartzakk from Norman Normalson & The Normals, but he’s a minor character who is pretty underdeveloped. This doesn’t fit in linearly with the rest of my A To Z Challenge stories, but you can think of it as a flashback. This is story of how our alien heroes came to be stranded on Earth.

Distress Call

“Captain, the planet beyond this asteroid belt is reading as having a breathable atmosphere,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.

“Can we survive there?” asked Captain Grek.

“The gravity is lighter, and there’s a lot of pollution,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.

“Can we survive?” Captain Grek asked, again, with a hint of flagitation.

For the uninitiated, Wemeselsimians, like Captain Grek, have a condition known as flagitation. The word is a portmanteau of ‘flatulence’ and ‘agitation.’ Wemeselsimians fart when they’re angry, nervous, or otherwise agitated.

“Yes,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.

“Can you get us there, George?” asked Captain Grek.

George turned toward Captain Grek stroking Herman. “We have to take this asteroid belt a lot slower than the last, which will give them time to catch up.”

“Do it,” said Captain Grek. “Schmargf, Doogleynobbz, keep that ship off us.”

“On it, Captain,” said Schmargf.

“Will do, Captain,” said Doogleynobbz, who then turned to Schmargf, “On it?”

“Will do?” Schmargf returned.

“Kruwkedpinz, send a distress call to the planet,” said Captain Grek. “Keep me informed of any response.”

“It’s a conundrum! It’s a disaster! What should I do? Where should I be?” asked Uniqraw.

“Get yourself to a secure location, Uniqraw,” said Captain Grek, “and stay off the bridge.”

“Underpants!” said Uniqraw.

“Yes, that’s where you should be, with the underpants, doing our laundry,” said Captain Grek.

“Why did we rescue him, again?” asked Chugklet.

“Somebody has to do the laundry,” said MkFlooffeepence.

“We saved everyone we could,” said Captain Grek. “All the lives on that planet matter. I wish we could have saved everyone.”

“Except Theodore,” George mumbled to himself.

“I’m not getting a response,” said Kruwkedpinz. “I’m detecting archaic technology. They might not have the capability to respond.”

“Keep trying,” said Captain Grek.

George slowed the massive mothership and eased into the asteroid belt. He wasn’t so gentle with the Kuiper Belt, and the ship had the dings to prove it. They were about halfway through when the ship started to shake.

“George,” said Captain Grek.

“It’s not me, Captain,” said George.

“They’re catching up, Captain,” said Gronult.

“Evasive maneuvers!?!?” Captain Grek commanded, tentatively.

“I am,” said George. “We’re in an asteroid belt. I’m already being as evasive as I can”

“They’re firing in front of us,” said Gronult. “They’re not trying to destroy us. They’re trying to slow us down.”

“They’re trying to recapture us,” said Kruwkedpinz.

“I can’t be a slave again,” said MkFlooffeepence. “I can’t do it.”

“None of us can or will,” said Captain Grek. “George.”

“Seatbelt, everyone,” said George.

George pushed the speed to the limit he could control in an asteroid belt. He bounced off a few asteroids but maintained forward momentum. Schmargf and Doogleynobbz divided the blasters. Schmargf fired ahead in an attempt to give George the most accessible path possible. Doogleynobbz tried to keep the pursuing Lambad ship at as much of a distance as possible.

The ship emerged from the asteroid belt banged up but functional. George kept the course for the planet. He increased speed until…

“What was that?” asked Captain Grek. “Report.”

“We’re hit,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce. “We’re hit hard.”

“We’ve lost right thrusters,” said MkFlooffeepence.

“George?” asked Captain Grek. “What does that mean?”

“It means we’re at base speed until it’s fixed,” said George.

“What about the left thrusters?” asked Captain Grek.

“They’ll take us forward but also in a circle,” said George. “It would be faster, but we’d be spinning out of control.”

“Can we make it to the planet?” asked Captain Grek.

“Without a doubt, but the Lambads will catch us long before that happens,” said George.

“Options?” asked Captain Grek.

“We can fire back and hope to keep them at a distance,” said Kruwkedpinz.

“Can we slow them?” asked Captain Grek.

“Not without being behind them,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.

“We have to be able to hit their thrusters,” said MkFlooffeepence.

“Can we…” Captain Grek started.

“Done,” said George.

Without further discussion or warning, George swung the ship up and fired the left thruster to full. The ship veered up and hard to the right. They ended up almost exactly where they wanted to be. They were behind the Lambad mothership blasting at their thrusters.

It didn’t take long for the Lambads to retaliate. They sped up, knowing the refugees couldn’t catch them, and released the smaller attack ships. The smaller ships swarmed on the refugee ship while the Lambad mothership circled back and settled behind the refugee ship.

“George, what can we do?” asked Captain Grek.

“Cry,” George suggested. “Our ship’s too battered to outfly them. They have too many attack ships to fight.”

“What about ours?” asked Kruwkedpinz. “We have the same ships they have.”

“We don’t have enough pilots,” said Captain Grek. “These are good people, but they’re refugees, not warriors, not yet.”

“Even if we did, the majority of the people on this ship are in stasis,” said Chugklet.

“The ships are dispersing,” said MkFlooffeepence.

“Somehow, that doesn’t seem like good news,” said Gronult.

“They’re locking on to us with their tractor beam,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.

“How close are we to the planet? Is it reachable?” asked Captain Grek.

“If it weren’t for the tractor beam, even in this condition, I could get us there within minutes,” said George.

“What if we were suddenly thrust forward?” asked Captain Grek. “Maybe tumbling out of control?”

“That’s my favorite way to fly,” said George.

“What are you thinking, Captain?” asked Kruwkedpinz.

“Schmargf, Doogleynobbz, queue up a torpedo or two,” said Captain Grek.

“They’re pulling us in,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.

“Good,” said Captain Grek.

“Where are firing, Captain?” asked Schmargf.

“Into the tractor beam,” said Captain Grek.

“But that will…” Chugklet started.

“Send us tumbling out of control,” said George.

“If we can break the hold of the tractor beam,” said Gronult.

“If it doesn’t destroy both ships,” said Kruwkedpinz.

“Would you rather be destroyed or dragged back to a dying Nasga to be slaves?” asked MkFlooffeepence.

“On my mark, be ready,” said Captain Grek.

Everyone paused and waited for Captain Grek, except the Lambads. They kept pulling the refugee ship closer. Everyone on the bridge held their breath. It wasn’t out of concern for their lives but concern for their olfactory systems. By now, the product of Captain Grek’s flagitation had filled the bridge.

Yay for fart jokes!

“Fire,” yelled Captain Grek, who refused to allow me to revel in my delight over that fart joke.

The torpedo, Schmargf and Doogleynobbz decided on one out of concern for everyone’s lives, smashed into the Lambad ship. It hit it right in the tractor beam and caused an explosion that sent both ships tumbling out of control.

George jerked their ship and aimed it toward the planet that had become their destination. The Lambad ship tumbled the opposite direction but still had functional thrusters. They managed to aim their tumble toward the refugee ship. They motherships collided in the atmosphere. Both ships were caught in the planet’s gravitational pull. Both ships were still tumbling out of control.

The refugee ship landed in the northwestern hemisphere of the planet in the wilderness of a country the dominant species referred to as Canada. The Lambad ship landed somewhere in the southwestern hemisphere.

The explosion temporarily blinded many of the planet’s satellite systems the same way a solar flare could. The inhabitants of the planet saw the refugee ship crash. The Lambad ship went down in one of the satellite systems blind spots.

Before the refugees could orient themselves, they were surrounded by armies sent by the governments of two countries, Canada and the United States Of America. A wall was built around the ship, and the air above them was closed to flyovers. The refugees, now aliens, were officially quarantined.

Rondeau Challenge: L Squad Style: Another New World

I started this last week, last year, even, hahahahahahaahahahaha… dumb. The end of the week and through the weekend got chaotic, and this was lost in the debris. I’m back to pick it up and make it brilliant or at least complete.

I tried out Cubby’s Rondeau challenge. You can view my attempt here. I said in that post that I would try to “revisit these and try them in a style more befitting of this blog, meaning aliens and farts. Maybe robots and space pirates. Cheese? That would be fun.” The other being the Terza Rima, which I redid from the point of view of Norman Normalson. This time, I’m going to retry the Rondeau with an L Squad theme. Let’s see how it goes, shall we?

 

Another New World

On another new world, the third for most
Humanity’s a less than gracious host
We hoped that they would protect refugees
But the humans locked us up hastily
Their hospitality’s no cause to boast

We were quarantined, and the guards watched close
Captain Grek was the one who led the toast
When humanity finally set us free
On another new world

We’re set to defend every land and coast
On every continent, we set a post
We have to be ready for Gregory
He’ll come here to resume his tyranny
Since he turned Nasga to a world of ghosts
On another new world

It’s hard to work these into existing storylines. I didn’t include robots, space pirates, or cheese. What’s the deal?

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.”

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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