morning Brick and Tim were up early cooking breakfast. Brick
knocked on Jimmy-Bob and Stan’s door and told them breakfast
would be ready in about thirty minutes. The men dressed and
into the small kitchen area of the condo. Brick motioned for them
to sit on stools at the small bar separating the kitchen from the
living area. He already had orange juice and hot coffee poured
for them. Tim was getting some last minute things together and
Brick was setting platters of food in front of them. They sat on
the other side of the bar. Brick had them join hands and said a
quick prayer. They began to fill their plates with food and
eat. Everything was very good.
appreciate you inviting us to stay over, but this is an unexpected
treat. We could have walked to the Plaza cafeteria for
breakfast.” Stan tried to thank the two men.
“Awh, we had to
make breakfast for us anyway and sometimes eating away from the
cafeteria is better. It gives you a break from their food.
We eat over there every now and then, but I know the food can get old
after a while.”
pretty good, so far.” Jimmy-Bob said.
“Uh, I clean out
the filter on the pool every morning, but this morning there was a
handful of black and white animal hairs in there. Do you guys
know anything about that?” Brick asked with a big grin.
Stan smiled but
Jimmy-Bob just kept eating his cottage potatoes.
I’m sorry. I should have remembered to clean out the filter
myself. We had a visitor last night. My pup, Moe, came to
me again and asked if he could take a dip with us. I was so glad
to see him I guess I didn’t use good judgement. I apologize.”
“I met Moe about
a week ago but not in person until last night. It was a
real treat to get to pet him and play with him in the water. I
share the blame, Officer Brick. I should a' know'd better.
I’m sorry, too.” added Jimmy-Bob.
“No harm done,
gentlemen. No apologies necessary. I just wanted to know
how it got there. You told me; I believe you; that’s the end of
it. You know, appearing and disappearing animals, what can talk,
could get people burned at the stake in early America. People
would see something they don’t understand and think there was
witchcraft involved. All I’m saying is, be more careful. We
could hear Moe talking with you men. We watched Moe disappear
last night. I wet my shorts.” Brick laughed.
Stan. Jimmy-Bob chuckled.
“I damn near did
the first time I met him." allowed Jimmy-Bob, "He takes some getting
used to, but Moe ain't like no regular dog. He’s highly
intelligent. After a while you just take his
speaking for granted.” said Jimmy-Bob.
“We discussed it
last night after Moe left," said Stan, "and we decided it’s safer for
him if’n he
don’t visit no more. You’re right, Officer Brick, folks who don’t
realize it’s just a technological thing might think there’s some voodoo
attached, but there ain’t.”
There was a
silence around the kitchen.
leave that up to you men, but since you were honest with me, I’ll keep
secret. I made a pact with you, Stan, and I’ll stand by my
Hell, I don’t know who I’d get to believe me anyway. They'd think
I's crazy. Timmy
would believe me, he saw it, too.”
“You men just be
careful. Even over here, it might be dangerous if someone saw
him. It’s just too risky.” urged Tim.
your concern.” said Stan. “I’ll tell Moe this evening.”
Brick and Tim
could see a change in both men. There was little doubt in their
minds Jimmy-Bob and Stan made the beast with two backs in their guest
bedroom that evening. Jimmy-Bob seemed much more relaxed and at
ease with himself and his friend. Stan couldn’t get the silly
smile off his face all morning.
* * * * * * * *
Jack had Charlie
send for the Grange lawyers who came to the ranch, listened to his
story and felt he had a slam dunk case; not only against his health
insurance company, but his oil company employer as well. It was
their responsibility to see to their employee’s health care
coverage. The hospital covered their own asses'. They had
proof they contacted both the insurance carrier and Jack Hall’s
employer. They had unquestionable evidence the main contact
contacted and the hospital was told by the oil company there was
nothing they could do if the
carrier refused to approve authorization for payment. Jack’s
attorneys had them by the balls. They filed suit
against the oil company and insurance carrier, who just happened to be
subsidiary of the oil company, a decided conflict of interest, for a
hundred million dollars. In the newer Amero dollars it would be
only worth about half that. Nevertheless,
fifty million was not to be taken lightly. The Grange attorney
wanted ten percent. Jack agreed and to forego a lot of publicity
and investigation into corporate corruption the oil company sought to
settle. They offered a flat fifty million Amero’s. Upon
Lazarus’ advice, Jack told the attorneys to counter at a seventy-five
million American dollars. The company panicked and quickly
offered Jack fifty million American. He accepted the offer.
Jack Hall became a very wealthy man almost overnight. He never
had to work another day in his life if he didn’t want to. He had
no idea what he wanted to do, but one thing that surprised everyone but
Lazarus and Charlie, Jack paid private attorneys to represent his old
buddy Elam Stamper. He also refused to testify against him;
however, the prosecution had ample witnesses who did testify; although,
several were obviously not comfortable doing so.
* * * * * * *
afternoon before they were to leave on their cruise Jack asked Charlie
if he and Lazarus would take him into town to visit Elam Stamper in
jail. They were a bit surprised but agreed to accompany
him. Charlie cleared it with the sheriff beforehand, and he had
no problem with it. Jack was much better and was getting around
on his own for several days. His shoulder was still tender but
the healing methods of Cable and his crew were amazing. Cable insisted
he wear his right arm up in a sling to relieve pressure from his newly
mending clavicle. If Jack ever had any doubts about the goodness
and genuineness of the men taking care of him and the Grange in
general, he didn’t now. Aside from a few tender places, he was
feeling ten years younger.
The men arrived
and the sheriff’s men took Jack to an interview room they usually used
for detectives and officers taking statements and interrogated accused
criminals. They had Elam waiting for him. He was sitting at
the interrogation desk and there was one chair across from him where
the guard motioned for Jack to sit. Elam rose when Jack came into
the room. He had a worried look on his face, but when he saw Jack
smile, he opened his arms to him and Jack responded. Jack winced
a little when Elam slapped him on the back.
right. It’s still a mite tender.”
instructed them to sit down and no more touching was allowed. The
two men sat down. The guard told Jack he’d be just outside the
Officer.” said Jack. “You’re looking good, brother.” Jack
said as he sat down in the chair.
Jack. I’m s’damn sorry for what I done. I was just crazy
drunk and don’t even remember doing it.”
It’s behind us. I don’t hold no grudge, Elam. I come mostly
to tell you not to worry about me. You’re still my buddy, and I
ain’t gonna’ press charges agin’ you; however, I don’t know if that’s
gonna’ do much good see’n as how they got all them witnesses.
Anyway, I’m gonna’ pay for a couple of good attorneys for you so’s you
won’t have some public defender what’s jus’ gonna’ go through the
motions of defending you. A couple of lawyers associated with the
Grange agreed to take your case.”
sobbing and lay his head on the desk. Jack waited for him to get
“Why would you
do that for me, Jack?”
ma’ brother, ain’t cha’?”
“I always felt
there was something between us that made us more’n just bar buddies.”
“Yeah, well, so
did I, and I guess it took you shoot’n me to wake me up to it.
You know how they say, it’s an ill wind what don’t blow no
If you ain’t done what you done, I wouldn’t have met the men of the
Grange and your boys.”
“You met ma’
boys, Jack?” Elam asked softly.
“Ever’ damn one
of ‘em. They been visiting me almost ever’ day since I was at the
Goodnight ranch recuperating. Damn fine boys, Elam, you should be
proud of ‘em. We’s going on a camp’n trip together with their
master, Lazarus Long and his boss, Mr. Charlie Goodnight. They’s
treat’n ‘nim boy to a weekend getaway because they done so good this
last year in school and working for their Masters Hoot Austin and
Cotton Daniels. Ramrod Long pays Hoot and Cotton to take care of
‘em for him.”
“Do they hate
“No, not at
all. They ain’t happy the way you been acting lately. They
know you’re probably gonna’ get a lifetime of slavery, but they ain’t
particularly happy about it.”
“You know I
still got money over to my farm, Jack. I can tell you where it
is, and you can get it for me to pay some of my attorney fees.”
I’m gonna’ pick up the tab. If I didn’t the Grange would.
Your boys went over there and found it all. Them boys is
smart. They know'd where your hiding places were. They
it over to their master and the Grange. They figured the farm was
gonna’ be sold to help rebuild the church and pay for the damages you
done and someone else would find it if they didn’t get to it
first. Bright young men you got, Elam. Ramrod Long wouldn’t
try to cheat you out of your money, but a large chunk of it’s already
gone to the church.”
“Damn, they done
that for me?”
“I don’t know’s
they done it for you so much as their master. They love him like
he was their dad, now. They almost worship Ramrod Long and they
got good reason to. He sees to their needs and takes care of
‘em. He sees to it they’re treated well, they eat good, and are
disciplined. The boys still in school are straight ‘A’ students
and your second oldest, Phil, graduated in the top five in his class in
May. Burt went back to school last year and finished high
school. He done real good.
Hell, I’m awful
fond of Ramrod Long and Mr. Goodnight ma’self. They’s two of the
finest men it’s ever been my pleasure to meet. All the members of
the Grange are good men, Elam. So, you see, I never would’ve met
them men if’n it had’na been for you. I quit drink’n and
smoke’n. I feel like I’s ten years younger. They got a
slave medical clinic out to Mr. Goodnight’s ranch where they fixed me
up. T'wene you'n me, h'it's a better damn hospital than that poor
excuse for a medical center in Reason. They got a great doctor
living out there all the time.
They took me in and patched me up when the hospital in Reason refused
to take me. They was gonna’ let me die. I did actually die
for a while, but I met some folks what told me I had to go back.
I saw B.B., Elam; just as plain as I’m sit’n here looking at you.
She said she forgimme’ for bury’n her in the desert.”
wondered what you done with her.” Elam said. “You don’t
have to do this for me, Jack, just because of B.B. I’d never say
“I know that,
you old fool. I’m doing it because you mean something to me,
but I want you to understand, I never had nothing to do with B.B.
steal’n ‘nat money from you. I didn’t even know she done it.”
“I know that.”
said Elam. “That jes’ ain’t chore’ way.”
“If you go up
for auction, which is a pretty sure bet, I plan to buy you, but not for
me. I plan to give you to ma’ older brother, Allen, who owns a
big ranch up Colorado way. He’s a good man. A better
than me. You’ll have to cowboy hard for him, but I can guarantee
you’ll have a good life. You won’t be mistreated.”
“You think I’ll
have to, . . .?” Elam didn’t want to finish his question.
course you will. Ma’ brother fucks all his slaves. It’s
what a master does, Elam. You gotta’ get used to the idea you
ain’t gonna’ have no say over yore’ life no more. Take it one day
at a time. Allen will break you in. He ain’t no
monster. He’ll give you time to git used to it. You’ll be
suck’n ma’ brother off and spreading your cheeks and back’n up for him
like a spring-bred filly.” Jack winked at Elam and chuckled.
“Oh, dear God.”
Elam uttered softly and all the blood drained from his face.
“Your boys had
to adjust. Looks to me like they done pert-damn good for
themselves. The three oldest got cowboy-slave buddies what look
after ‘em and take real good care of ‘em. Burt, Phil and Sam seem
to be very much in love with their partners. The two younger men
are just a bit young to be broken to the saddle yet. Ramrod Long
don’t want ‘em forced. He wants them to pick a mate for
Jack was allowed
a bit longer than most visitors because he was with Lazarus and
and they asked the sheriff to be lenient with the time. Finally,
Jack figured they said all they had to say to each other.
“I’ll come see
you again after we git back from our camp’n trip, brother. The
Grange attorney’s should be in touch with you before that. I wish
you the best of luck. They shook hands and Elam just had to have
another hug. He broke down again and sobbed in Jack’s arms.
“I’m so sorry,
brother. I should a’ never treated you that way.”
“I didn’t come
here to make you feel bad, Elam. I come to give you good news and
to tell you I forgive you. You’ll be all right. You’ll be
okay. You’ll have to live another life, but if you try hard
enough, maybe you’ll find your own redemption for yourself. We
both know what you’s so upset over. Ask her forgiveness, bro, I
promise, she’ll hear you. Trust me, she’ll forgive you, if’n
you just ask her. I gotta’ go now, but I’ll be in touch.”
coming, Jack.” Elam said.
* * * * * * * *
several days downloading flight plans and alternate flight plans to
Myra, the AI on the Buttercup,
where Lazarus and the boys wanted to go and the fastest way to get
there. The way the planets were aligned in the system at that
particular time, it made a lot of sense to visit the outermost planets
first to take in the Jovian gas giants, and then swing to the inner
ending up with Venus and Mars as their last two hops. The boys
wanted to know if it was possible to see any part of Saturn up close
and Lazarus assured them there was nothing worth seeing. What
there was of any solid surface was about the size of two Earth
masses; however, the temperatures were in the ten-thousand kelvin
range. While the Buttercup could easily withstand such
temperatures there would be little purpose. It just looked like a
large chunk of rock.
It was debated
whether to leave out Pluto because of its small size. You could
fit the entire planet of Pluto and it’s main moon within an area map of
the continental United States. It wasn’t very impressive as
celestial bodies go. Furthermore, the boys had some misgivings
about flying so close to the Sun to visit Mercury. While Lazarus
assured the boys the Buttercup could handle the heat at the distance of
Mercury and they would be perfectly comfortable on the ship, they still
had reservations. Lazarus told them they would be missing one of
nature’s greatest fireworks show. It would truly be impressive
hiding in the shadow of Mercury to watch the Sun’s corona
display. They didn’t have to stay long, perhaps for a breakfast
or lunch. Lazarus suggested they might sneak upon it from a
position that would keep the ship in the sun’s eclipse behind Mercury
most of the rays. They decided to leave it to their guests to
there by noon, and ready to go. They knew the departure time
wasn’t until late afternoon, but since they were already there enjoying
themselves and watching holo-videos of some of the more recent
activities of Captain Vinceeth and his men, Lazarus asked Waco and
Charlie if they wanted to get an early start.
“It’s up to you,
Admiral Long.” smiled Charlie.
“Fine with me
and my men;” began Waco, “however, you must make a decision, Sir, as to
whether we’re to pick up Stan and his new cowboy brother Jimmy-Bob
Dodge. If so, we should take Moe along, and if we take Moe
without Larry and Shep we’ll have a canine mutiny on our hands or at
the very least some very hard feelings. They just might refuse to
ever sing again.” Waco lamented as a joke.
“Dear God, we
wouldn’t want that!” Lazarus commented on Waco’s joke, “That’s why I
keep you around, Son, as my unofficial protocol officer.” Lazarus
laughed. “Can you make arrangements with Stan to have them stand by in
out of the way place to disappear?”
“Yes, Sir, all I
need to do is let him know we'ill be a little early. He’s
already left a note for his friends to cover for him and Jimmy-Bob
until they get back. He promised in his note they would return.”
I’d hate for either one of them boys to miss out on something they
might never have the chance for again in their lives. Once we
start gathering folks for the last, we have no way of knowing what kind
of resistance we’re going to have from the planet’s armed forces and
the interstellar bad guys. There won’t be time for
sightseeing. We’ll be lucky to get away with our skins.
They can easily explain several days away as homesickness and trying to
get back to where they came from.”
Waco went to
tell Moe he could go on the trip with them. Jack already agreed
to bunk it in with all the extra critters and see to them. With
Ping and Pong’s help, and Captain Jones’ help, Waco and Lucas managed
to grab another prime piece of ranch land from Sierra-Nevada range
complete with enormous trees. It was a beautiful piece of
property. With one step through a portal the critters could be in
the great outdoors to answer nature’s call. Jack was really
impressed with the property. It had a nice little cabin and a
running stream with big California brown-speckled trout swimming in the
water. Moe jumped up and down and almost did a dance he was so
happy to be going along. He knew he’d get to see Stan and
fair. Him and Patty git’n to go and we don’t.” moaned Larry.
“We don’t agree
on much, brother, but I have to agree with you on that one. H’it
jes’ ain’t fair.” insisted Shep.
“Ah, you two
hesh up your complaining. I told Master Lazarus and Captain Waco
I’d be responsible for you if they saw fit to let you guys come
along. They agreed if Moe goes, you can go, too.” said Jack Hall
“Oh, thank you,
Master Hall. That’s great news, ain’t it, brother?” Larry asked
news. Thanks, Master Hall.”
“You two promise
to be on your best behavior, try to get along, and be gentlemen to your
“We will, Master
Hall, we promise.” said Larry.
Sir.” agreed Shep. Everyone laughed.
shown their cabin assignments and bunk spaces. Lazarus gave the
cabin to Waco, and his faithful Lummox.
Lazarus took the
first mate’s cabin for himself, and Charlie. Waco assigned the
rest of the cabins by twos. Hoot and Cotton got a separate cabin
to themselves. Lucas and Blake Tindell had grown close over the
last couple of years and decided they wanted to bunk it in
together. It caused a few eyebrows to raise, but neither Blake
nor Lucas seemed fazed by it. Little Bear was assigned a cabin
with his granddad, Chief Tin Penny. JR and Hank Morgan were
The Stamper boys
got a cabin for every two men. Burt bunked it in with his cowboy
mate, Jimmy Joe Russell, whom Waco invited at the last
minute. Sam and Phil shared a cabin and Jeb and Zeke shared
and Vivian shared a cabin, but Warren decided he would bunk it in with
Jack Hall and the critters. He figured Jack might need a hand
taking care of them, and Jack was glad for the human company.
Keekepata were given a cabin which had a door that opened into the next
cabin where her designer Arnie Lewis and his mate, Dr. Randall Stevens
were staying. Arnie and Doctor Stevens were invite as a sort of
‘thank you’ for all their help and generosity toward Keeke and
Blue. While they didn’t see what they did as anything special, it
was nice to be recognized for their efforts.
Strom and Lyle
Chambers shared another cabin; one that originally was for
special lummox crew or guests. Leon Olsen and Johauk Kodaly
shared a cabin. Johauk was several years older than Leon, but he
knew him from the Grange meetings, and they seemed to get on well
and Shane shared a cabin. The Stamper boys had come to respect
and admire Shane Goodnight and his master Bill Birdsall.
Lazarus bought them a set of weights and they were teaching the boys to
use them. They were coming along fine; so fine, their boss
decided he better start working out to keep up with them.
passengers gathered on the flight deck. There was a raised
portion behind the crew, the Captain and first mate’s chair.
David and Jonathan and a couple other androids were seeing to the
passengers, getting them buckled into their seat belts. They
explained it was one of the few times they would have to do it.
Once they were in space they could move about freely. Everyone
had a full view of the holo-vid screens over the control panels.
Waco and his first mate Lucas were checking out final flight plans and
coordinating with Kyron and Myra. Once they were out, Myra the
auxiliary AI computer for the Buttercup would take over. She was
almost a duplicate of Kyron with some unique personality quirks of her
own. She liked to be called Myra. She had a decidedly,
southern belle, sultry female voice and could be wickedly funny
Little Bear sat right behind Waco and Lucas and beside them sat Jack
and Jill. They were almost as competent as their parents in astro
navigation and computational skills. Lazarus had full confidence
in his young fledgling crew. It was good for Jack and Jill to
have the experience away from their parents. Everyone got settled
into their seats and were buckled up. Even the pups were wearing
harnesses and restraints. Patty lay with her head in Jack Hall’s
lap. She didn’t want to watch the takeoff. Larry, Moe, and
Shep were sitting straight up; they wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“Are we clear
for takeoff, Chief Steward?” Waco asked David.
Captain. All passengers are aboard and accounted for. All
are secure in their launch chairs and strapped in tight.
Everything is put away and secured on all decks, Sir. We’re clear
Chief Steward.” Waco said in an official voice. “Systems
“All systems go,
disconnecting from mother ship on your command, Captain.”
“Make it so,
is free, Captain Goodnight.”
“Thank you, Mr.
Tin Penny. Take us out, number one.” ordered Waco.
Captain. Engaged.” Lucas hit the throttle and everyone was
pressed back into their seats.
just like in them Star Trek movies, ‘cept’n we got us cowboys for
pilots!” exclaimed Burt.
and settled in for the ride; and, what a ride it was. They all
were impressed by the speed and handling ability of the ship and the
expertise of the crew.
in your seats until our Captain gives you permission to undo your seat
belts. We have one pick up of two more passengers from the Holy
Prophet’s Temple Tabernacle Plaza in the Holy City before we can leave
for space.” Travis instructed over the speaker system. “In
case you’re wondering, you’ll get a demonstration of how we can get
good people out of bad situations. We’re going to lift Stan
Edmunds and his new cowboy buddy, Jimmy-Bob Dodge from their dwelling
to go with us on our trip. Unfortunately, we’ll have to return
them afterward. Stan and Jimmy-Bob have something they have to
accomplish before we can lift them for good.” Travis went on to
say. “Moe, you wanna’ come up here and sit by me?” Travis
said over the speaker system.
Moe was a bundle of nerves and almost couldn’t sit still long enough
for Warren Steele to undo his seat belt. Everyone laughed when he
was free and hurried to Travis’ side. Travis bent down and petted
him. “We’re almost there, Moe.” he said to the pup quietly.
Waco spoke to
Stan over the robo-cams.
overhead, brother, and we’re locked onto you.” Waco said.
Stan had a
Jimmy-Bob!” ordered Stan.
hesitate and did exactly what he was told. Stan grabbed his hands.
yore’ eyes and don’t open ‘em again until I tell you to, okay?”
Stan barked at him.
Jimmy-Bob dutifully closed his eyes.
“On the count of
three click your boot heels together three times and say with me three
times, ‘There’s no place like home!’ And say it like you mean it!
I don’t wanna’ end up in no damn cornfield in Kansas!” Jimmy-Bob
complained with his eyes still closed.
Stan wasn't expecting Jimmy-Bob's response, and he started laughing.
“Just do it!”
barked Stan as he started counting. “One, two, three!”
their boot heels together three times and spoke the lines, “There’s no
place like home’; there’s no place like home; there’s no place like
noticed a bright flash of light right after they clicked their boot
heels together, but he didn’t open his eyes to look. After they
said their magic words he heard laugher from a group of folks and felt
Stan throw his arms around him to give him a big hug and a kiss on his
cheek. There was applause from a crowd of people.
“You can open
your eyes now, brother.” Stan giggled.
his eyes and almost passed out. Stan and Jimmy-Bob were standing
on the bridge of the Buttercup with Moe bouncing all around. His
knees buckled under him as he looked at all the good country folks
sitting in seats and four cowboys in control of what looked like some
kind of ship. Everyone was laughing at the dirty joke Stan played
on poor Jimmy-Bob.
“Oh, my God!” he
said quietly. “Moe?” he asked the pup.
“Yes, yes, yes,
it’s me, Mr. Dodge. Welcome to the Buttercup.”
Where? How?” Jimmy-Bob looked at Stan who was smiling.
“Didn’t I tell
you I got connections?”
“Yes, but this,
. . . what did that Dorothy routine have to do with anything?”
“Nothing, I just
thought it was funny.” Stan broke into laughter. Everyone laughed
"I'll get chu,' my pretty, and yore' little dog, too!" Jimmy-Bob
shot back. The crowd laughed harder.
It was at that moment Stan Edmunds knew he'd met his match. He
was in love. His cowboy could think on his feet.
“Come, I’ll tell you all about it. Let’s take a
seat. You’re about to take the ride of your life, cowboy.”
Stan chuckled and led Jimmy-Bob to two seats reserved for them.
Stan strapped them in and slapped his legs for Moe to jump in his
lap. The pup jumped into Stan’s lap and gave him a couple of
quick kisses before settling down.
“All set, Stan?”
Lucas hollered back to his slave brother.
“Ready to leave
the atmosphere, Captain Waco.” said first mate Lucas Long.
“Make it so,
everyone was pressed back into their seats for several minutes.
Their ears began to pop as the cabin pressure adjusted.
“Where are we
going, Stan?” Jimmy-Bob asked.
“On a three day
cruise of our solar system, cowboy. You ain’t lived until you
seen Jupiter up close and personal in the summertime.”
“You shit’n me,
you, cowboy, do you think I’m shit’n you?”
“You mean to
tell me we’re on a real honest to God space ship?” Jimmy-Bob questioned.
Jeb turned to
him and smiled.
article, brother. Took us a while to get used to it. This
is me and ma’ brothers first trip into space. Our master’s been
promising us for over a year now, but just ain’t had the time.
Now we’re on our way and since Stan is a member of our family and one
of our brothers, we figured we’d take him and you along. Welcome
aboard the Buttercup. I’m Jeb Stamper and these men next to me
are ma’ brothers.”
watched in awe as the small craft came into orbit around the
earth. They reached a stationary Clark orbit of twenty-two
thousand five hundred miles above the Earth, named after Arthur C.
Clark who predicted stationary orbits thirty years before they were a
reality. Science fiction became science fact. They were in
free-fall. A few things were beginning to float around the
control room. Sonny’s cowboy hat wasn’t on tight enough and began
to drift upward. He reached up and grabbed it. Vivian
the look on her husband’s face.
artificial gravity.” Waco commanded.
gravity engaged, Captain.” answered Little Bear as he pressed a button
on a panel, and suddenly, everyone felt a little heavier and sank into
their seats. The Chief couldn’t have been prouder of his
grandson. He only wished his family could be with him to witness
it. Ah, the stories he would have to tell his grandchildren, and
great grandchildren, and hopefully his great-great grandchildren.
“The Captain has
given me permission to tell you we are now in safe orbit around our
planet and you may remove your seatbelts and walk around.” spoke Lucas
over the speaker system.
anxious to get up and try their space legs. Everyone was friendly
and well met. They all came over to Jimmy-Bob and welcomed
him. Some just shook his hand, others called him ‘brother’ and
gave him a hug. Jimmy-Bob was overwhelmed by their
hadn’t been around a group of good folks like these in over a
month. He broke into tears and Stan comforted him. Stan
later told him it was hard for him to be strong.
to Waco and his crew to complement and congratulate them on a wonderful
flight from the planet. Vivian was agog, a crew of fifteen year
old men had just flown her, her husband and father-in-law into
space. Everyone else was pretty impressed as well. David
rang a beautiful sounding gong.
afternoon snack and light drinks are being served in the small
reception room next to the general mess off the main galley. We
will serve supper while orbiting the moon around six or
seven this evening. The Captain has closed the Officer's mess for
our trip and everyone will dine in the general mess. There are
tables and holo-vid screens in the mess hall so you may observe Earth
as we orbit. We will only
orbit three times to pick up speed to sling shot us on our way and then
Captain Waco and his crew will take us to the moon for several
orbits. We will pick up speed and head for the outermost gas
giants and possibly Pluto depending on our guest's vote. If
chosen, it will be our first planetary body to orbit.” David
sounded the gong once again and folks began to follow him to the
reception room before the general mess hall.
was still gawking at the Lummox, Jack and Jill, and the four talking
dogs who were all wanting his attention, to say nothing of the
beautiful fairy who flew over to him, landed on his shoulder and gave
him a kiss.
“Welcome to the
Buttercup, Mr. Dodge. You’ll get used to all the different
people. You may even meet a few new creatures you never knew
existed before. My name is Keekepata. I’m from a planet in
another galaxy and my race is called the ‘Shushonni.’”
“It’s. . . it’s
good to meet you, ma’am.” said Jimmy-Bob shyly.
explained all the people on the ship to Jimmy-Bob. He was even
more confused when he found out Ox and Strom were Bigfoot.
“You mean there
really are such things as Bigfoot?” Jimmy-Bob asked.
at ‘em, brother. They originated on another planet named Volgo
and are known as Volgorons. Despite their size they are a very
peaceful race and have been known to interbreed with humans.
They’re race was all but wiped out and only a few of them survive
today. The largest portion are those who escaped to Earth and
have lived separately from man for a number of centuries. It’s
only been lately they’ve began to let themselves be know to select
humans; mostly advanced humans who will not kill them or enslave
them. Ironically enough, the one called Ox is the slave of
Captain Waco. The larger Lummox, Strom, is forming a relationship
with one of our favorite school masters, Mr. Chambers I introduced you
to. If they bond they plan to have children together.”
minute! They’re both males!” exclaimed Jimmy-Bob.
“We’ll show you
a video later. It will explain everything. If I try to tell
you how it’s possible, you probably won’t believe me.” Stan assured
“How can they
just lift us from your dorm room, Stan?” Jimmy-Bob asked.
brother. The same technology that allowed my buddy Moe, here, to
visit us at Brick and Tim’s place.”
“Is that what
you meant by you could get us out of there?”
When the time comes, you’n me, we’re out of there.”
sister, too?” Jimmy-Bob wanted to know.
“Do we have to
go back after this?” he asked.
“Yeah, we got
some things to do, but don’t worry about it now. Let’s enjoy my
family, your new family, and we’ll be ready to go back to do what we
“You still don’t
know what it is, do you?” Jimmy-Bob pressed.
however, I got me a feel’n it’s got something to do with Officer Brick
“Yeah, I get the
same feeling.” Jimmy-Bob allowed.
“I managed to
get samples of their hair when we were visiting their place, and I
brought ‘em with me.”
“You mean for
DNA purposes like you took a sample of my blood?”
brother. It’s all we need in case of emergency.”
greeted by more folks on the Buttercup and Stan introduced them to
Jimmy-Bob. He was impressed by Admiral Long and Charlie
Goodnight. Both men welcomed him warmly. Jimmy-Bob had a
difficult time with Admiral Long dressed as a ramrod from a working
ranch, but he took it in stride. Cowboys in space? Why not?
The men enjoyed
treats and some sodas while watching the Earth pass by on the
holo-vids. It looked like you were looking out a window on the
side of the ship. It was several vid screens built into the wall
to give the startling impression they were windows. The
guest mingled with the Captain and his crew while they watched the
beauty and grandeur of the Earth slowly pass by.
“It’s a shame
our lovely world is going to end in a few years.” said Vivian Steele
quietly, but it was heard by all. There was a reverent silence at
the contemplation of the enormity and finality of such
“What is she
talking about?” Jimmy-Bob whispered to Stan.
“It’s only a
matter of a few more years and the Earth as we know it will come to an
end. That’s why you’re on board this ship, brother. Admiral
Long came here several years ago with a huge fleet of ships, much
larger than this one, to act as arks to save the good people of our
planet and relocate us to another Earth-like planet in another solar
system. You and your family have been chosen to be saved, or you
wouldn’t be here right now. I checked you out the night I met
you. It’s a long story, but I’ll have time to tell you everything
and show you the wonders of this advanced technology our family has
available to us.”
“Who’s up for a
walk in the woods?” Jack Hall announced.
me! I need to visit the woods.” cried Moe.
“Me, too, Master
Jack.” said Patty.
“We could go,
Sir.” added Shep.
“Can we go with
you, Master Jack?” Stan asked, “I’d like to show my new brother the
“Shore, the more
the merrier. We need to walk the critters a couple of times a
day. I’m under Doctor Cable’s orders to take several long walks a
day. Jack and Jill, you come with us.” Jack told
them. They nodded. Jill ran for Jack and jumped into his
arms, and Jack ran for Warren and jumped on his shoulder.”
They all went
through a portal. Several of the folks joined them. As soon
as they passed through they were in a dense redwood forest with huge
trees as tall as the eye could see.
Jimmy-Bob. “How could we go from space into a redwood forest?”
Warren explained to Jimmy-Bob, “It’s a piece of forest shrunk down to
about the size of a four by eight sheet of plywood. It’s on board
the ship we’re on, it’s just miniaturized. When we walked through
the portal it shrunk us down to its size. We’re now tiny to the
folks still on board the ship.”
impressive ain’t it?” agreed Stan, “You and your family will live on a
plot of land like this, maybe even your old homestead if they can lift
it, until everything comes to pass and we leave Earth.”
“You mean you
weren’t kidding about rescuing my parents?”
I wasn’t. I already done talked with Master Waco, and it’s all
been arranged. As soon as we take care of what needs to be done
in the Holy City, we’ll get your family out. Trust me.”
“I do trust you,
Stan, but no more Dorothy routines, okay?”
“I promise, I
won’t, but chu’ gotta’ admit, cowboy, it was funny.” Stan laughed at
“Yeah, I guess.”
Along on their
walk was Jessie Watkins and his dog Utah. Utah loved the redwoods
and ran from tree to tree marking his territory. Jessie joined
Jimmy-Bob and Stan. He introduced himself.
“You’re the man
what was there the afternoon the government men came to get me.
Master Waco told me about you.” Stan said.
Son. I thought they needed a diversion, and we distracted them
from finding Master Waco, his men and Moe. They were hiding in
the hay up in the loft.”
“If you had
anything to do with saving my pup, I really appreciate it, Sir.”
Stan. I have a feeling we’ll be working together some more in the
near future. You may need another diversion where you are right
now and when you need us, all you have to do is click your boot heels
together three times, and Utah and I will come and give you a hand.”
Jimmy-Bob fell out laughing at Stan. Everyone joined him.
“I guess I
deserved that.” laughed Stan.
Jimmy-Bob must realize, if and when we do come to your aid, what you
witness is done for the sake of those who hold you captive against your
“We will, Sir,
no matter what.” spoke up Jimmy-Bob to Stan’s surprise.
Later, when they
were alone, Jimmy-Bob asked Stan if he thought Jessie was human.
“To tell ya’ the
truth, I ain’t real sure, pod’na.’ I’ve heard me some stories of
some pert-damn miraculous things he’s done. I can’t rightly
say. All I know is, he’s on our side, and whatever he can
contribute, I’m all for it.”
The men returned
to the reception area with the critters refreshed and full of
energy. They noticed they were beginning to leave the Earth’s
orbit and head for the Moon.
worried about being seen by radar on Earth’s military defense systems?”
to them. This ship has a technology Earth ships and their allies
don’t have. It’s capable of phase shifting from one dimension to
another. It can phase shift just enough to still see the here and
now, but be invisible to radar or any sensors on Earth. We’re
even invisible to sight. Remember the ‘cloaking’ devices on the
old Klingon ships from Star Trek? It’s similar to that, except
it’s a part of Einstein’s theory of relativity. It has to do with
quantum dots. You know how newspapers print pictures and cartoons
in small dots? It’s similar to that kind of concept. We’re
all made up of smaller things that can be shifted in time and
space. Lummox and a few humans can physically phase shift to be
invisible. Master JR and my slave brother Little Bear can do
it. Ox and Strom can do it. They can simply phase
themselves out of sight and still be present to observe what’s going on
* * * * * * *
The moon began
to grow larger and larger as the Earth grew smaller and smaller.
The folks could sit or stand in the control room. They could turn
or swivel in their launch chairs three-hundred and sixty degrees to see
a panoramic view of space all around them. Ahead was the moon,
but if they turned a hundred and eighty degrees they could watch the
Earth growing smaller. It was a stunning experience to say the
After a while,
Waco turned over the operations to his first mate and came to talk with
Jimmy-Bob and Stan. He offered to take them to their cabin
assignment. Jimmy-Bob was impressed he looked like a twin of the
cowboy who the beautiful winged-lady seemed to be with all the
time. Stan told him a little about Blue, but he added he’d have
to show him some videos. He would teach him more when they
Waco showed them
their cabin and the men were thrilled with it. It had all the
amenities one could wish for including a change of clothes.
Jimmy-Bob couldn’t believe they were just his size. He was
impressed a lot of thought and care went into this trip. He just
couldn’t grasp the enormity of his good fortune. He couldn’t be
mad at Stan for anything. He was too excited to find out more and
as much as he could. It gave him a new perspective and hope for
the future he didn’t have several hours ago. He was also
impressed by the maturity and professionalism of Waco Goodnight, who
was himself two years younger than Jimmy-Bob; however, it now became
clear where Stan got his maturity and strength of purpose. He was
raised around these men and naturally took on their maturity.
Jimmy-Bob felt like he had some catching up to do. He expressed
as much to Stan.
fine the way you are, big brother. Whether you know it or not,
you’ve become my strong right arm. Maybe now is as good a time as
any to tell you how much you mean to me. When I went into this
thing in the Holy City I didn’t know if I could do it on my own.
To be honest with you, I was scared shitless; however, the Voices of
the Ancients and the Wisdom of the Ages saw fit to provide me with
you. We didn’t jes’ meet by chance. It was carefully
planned. What you don’t know about this world you’ve been
introduced to, you more than make up for in our other world back
there. I love you, Jimmy-Bob, and believe it or not, love is the
great equalizer. The rest is fill in the blanks. I plan to
fill in those blanks on this trip. By the time we return to our
world, you’ll be a different man and an even stronger partner for me.”
took Stan in his arms and kissed him gently.
“You better stop
that, cowboy, or we won’t get to see the Moon.” Stan
chuckled. Jimmy-Bob laughed.
“I guess there’s
time enough for everything under heaven.” he allowed.
“I don’t think
Ecclesiastes mentioned suck’n dick or butt fuck’n yore’ cowboy buddy.”
little brother.” drawled Jimmy-Bob. “They ain’t never had the advantage
of taking you to bed; otherwise, it ‘ud be at the top of the list.”
* * * * * * *
As the Buttercup
approached the Moon a vote was taken and everyone wanted to see Pluto
and its moon Charon so the on board AI, Myra, set new coordinates to
Moon’s gravity at a particular point which would send them on their way
to the small planet. The guests got a laugh out of Captain Waco’s
exchange with Myra. She seemed to have a droll sense of humor.
sweetheart, why in heaven’s name would ya’ll wanna’ visit such an
insignificant little rock as Pluto?” she teased.
“Uh, we took a
vote and my passengers would like to see it, Myra. I’d kind a
like to see it myself. We’re aware it’s no longer considered a
major body in our solar system and has been downgraded by scientist to
a planetoid; however, it does have a planetary orbit and influences the
orbits of all the other planets; so it could be argued it has its place
in the balance of our system; and therefore, important enough to have a
look-see. Besides, old teachings of our system are still of
comfort to some, myself included.”
“I do declare,
darlin’, you’re as smart as you are handsome, Captain Waco.
You’re just such a sweet heart. Why, if I had a corporeal body,
I’d be all over you in a cowtown nanosecond. I’d throw my lasso
around your firm little cowboy ass and never let you go.” Myra
cooed. Everyone laughed. Waco squirmed in his seat and
began to blush.
“Uh, gee thanks,
Ms. Mrya. I find you attractive, too. You’re jes’ the best
damn AI the Buttercup ever had. I’ve certainly enjoyed the times
we’ve worked together.” Waco was learning to become the ultimate
“I’m so glad to
hear that, honey buns; but, I’m the only AI the Buttercup’s ever had,
my sexy cowboy.” Myra protested.
no doubting you’re the best, Myra. Now, I’d greatly appreciate it
if you’d be a dear and set the coordinates for Pluto.”
“Done, my big
handsome, buckaroo. Gurrrfff!” she barked at him. The pups
responded with bark’s of their own. “You can be my Captain
anytime, baby cakes.” she added. Myra had the last word.
Lazarus and Charlie were holding each other from laugher.
“Did you program
Myra that way, Admiral?” Charlie spoke softly to Lazarus.
Boss. The AI’s in our ships, they’re all grown from the brain
stem cells of cadavers who donated their bodies to the service of the
fleet. It would seem this one was either a madame or a lady of
the night.” Lazarus chuckled. “While she may seem a bit
over the top at times, she’s damn good at what she does and would go to
the wall for those she loves and feels a need to protect. Make no
mistake, her infatuation with Waco is a good thing. There’s a
bonding that occurs which will eventually become second nature between
him and her. She once threatened a fleet of ships to
self-destruct in their midst if I wasn’t released to her within fifteen
units of time. Her total destructive power would’ve wiped out
their entire fleet, and they knew it. She allowed them to scan
her. I was released and we got out of a life or death situation
because of her stubbornness. I have no doubt she would’ve carried
out her threat; however, she was never programed for it. That’s
the beauty of the AI’s, they develop strong personalities of their own.”
of one going bad like HAL in that old Kubrick movie of Arthur C.
Clark’s science fiction novel 2001?” Charlie asked Lazarus.
“No, I never
have. There are fail safe measures, based on another Earth
science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov's ‘Three Laws of Robotics’: 1. A
robot, or Artificial Intelligence, may not injure a human being or,
through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; 2. A robot must
obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would
conflict with the First Law; 3. A robot must protect its own existence
as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second
Law. There are various subroutines that allow for stretching of
those laws if the human in charge overrides them. It’s like Myra
probably wouldn’t have self-destructed because it would’ve cause harm
to me as well at those who held me captive; however, they didn’t know
that, and I taught her how to bluff at poker. She could always
beat the pants off’n me. I would literally have to play in the
raw so she could ogle me and git her jollies making rude sexual
comments.” Lazarus and Charlie broke up laughing. “You gotta’
love a girl with spirit, boss.” Lazarus insisted.
Stan were overhearing all of this and marveled at Admiral Long’s
experiences. Jimmy-Bob was soaking it all in like it was his
first day at school. He wasn’t the only one. Few of the
passengers ever experienced Lazarus Long in his element as the Admiral
of a large fleet of ships. They reached the Moon and began to
orbit; however, Waco and several of the guest wanted a closer look at
the surface and asked Lazarus’ permission.
“We could fly
lower and a bit slower for a closer look, but before we do I need to
warn everyone of a few things. What you were taught and learned about
the Moon over the years is completely false. What you remember
about the manned Moon flights is mostly hogwash. The truth is man
was never allowed to set foot on the Moon. It has been owned and
controlled by several other races of creatures who refused to allow the
first spacemen from Earth to land. The government anticipated the
probability and the added possibility that if something disastrous
happened they would need a fall back plan. The United States
simply couldn’t afford to fail in the space race. The Russians
were nowhere near the U.S. technologically, but America’s intelligence
information was faulty.
In the films
issued by NASA show men running and bouncing around on the
Moon. The Moon is hollow and there is no central core to cause a
planet-like gravity; furthermore, the Moon doesn’t even rotate on its
axis to create an artificial gravity. A man would weigh only
one-tenth what he weighs on Earth, so even in a spacesuit, he would be
able to leap ten times what he could on Earth. Any man could
easily leap a two story building on the Moon; however, the videos and
films only show astronauts leaping two or three feet. Also, it
becomes apparent in the videos, they are slowed to make the action look
like they are more weightless than they really are.
So, a Moon
landing was simulated and created on a secret Hollywood-like sound
stage at a famous base the government has never admitted exists, Area
51. The only problem was, it was an extremely flawed effort and
many in the general public and Hollywood began to see it was a
fake. The truth was, once they got to the Moon they were warned
not to land by a fleet of spaceships who instructed them to turn around
and go home or else. For behaving like they were instructed by
the aliens, the astronauts were accompanied to and from the Moon on
every trip they made. If Apollo 13 had really gone bad the crew
would’ve been rescued and miraculous excuses made to get them home
All the shots of
vehicles landing, the first steps on the Moon by Armstrong, and the
Moon rover were all done as special effects in a studio. For one
thing, the camera supposedly mounted externally on the first Moon
lander would have been so large there wouldn’t have been room
for it as well as added weight. Everything that wasn’t necessary
was stripped from the lander to make it as light as possible.
They didn’t have lightweight digital cameras like we have today.
Furthermore, they never could have gotten something as big and
heavy to the Moon as the rover. It just wasn't technically
possible at the time.
You won’t see
any human footprints, American flags or Moon rovers on the
surface. What you will see is towers and some ruins of bases of
several civilizations who, at one time or another, have come to Earth
to rape it of its natural resources and enslave its people. You
will see large glass transportation tubes used by aliens to take them
from base to base. Some bases you will see are still very much
active and alive with critters; others, are dead and have been
abandoned for centuries. Races have fought other races for
centuries for the control of the Moon. He who controls the Moon,
controls the planet below.
I won’t go into
more right now, but if anyone is interested, Myra has all the pertinent
material and videos available for review and multiple lectures about
the fraud perpetrated on the people of Earth. They may be viewed
in your cabins later. It’s also interesting to note the Moon is
completely hollow. Laser seismic test aimed at the Moon denotes
it rings like a bell when there is any heavy or seismic movement on its
It has not
always been a satellite of the Earth. There was a time in the
history of Earth when there was no Moon in the sky. It was moved
into place by a very advanced race of beings. It was put in a
stationary orbit that would not decay over many centuries and is
exactly located with enough distance from the Earth to the Sun to cause
a complete eclipse of both. The Moon is unusually large compared
to its foster parent planet, Earth. It was not with the Earth all
the way from the beginning. It appeared later in the sky and
since, has accompanied Earth on its yearly voyage around the Sun.
The Moon, an
almost perfect sphere of unnatural origin, maintains a strange
but profoundly deep relationship to the planet it orbits. It’s
aligned on the same plane as the Earth; however, it circles our planet
in a perfectly circular orbit and always keeps the same face toward
us. It does not rotate like the Earth; in fact it is the only
body in our solar system which does not rotate on an axis.
Strangely enough, it is also accurately distanced and aligned with our
star, the Sun. The Moon is 1/400th the size of the Sun keeping
also 1/400th the distance from it! This is an amazing fact which
defies all laws of probability it should be so perfectly placed;
however, it makes great sense if you wish to protect a fragile
planetary ecosystem from solar winds and convince an impressionable
native population of the existence of Gods who can make the Sun hide
behind the Moon, and they come to believe it augurs ominous futures.
When was the
Moon placed in the sky? Some folks speculate it probably occurred
right about the beginning of the Cambrian explosion of new plants and
critters on the Earth took place. It is generally accepted it
shields the Earth from harsh solar winds and radiation and its effects
upon the tides caused many new species to develop and blossom in a
shorter evolutionary time period than would’ve been possible without
it. Students learn in any high school chemistry class, to get a
quicker, more complete reaction requires constant stirring. That,
and a large layer of iridium deposited by a passing
world which travels through the solar system every thirty-five thousand
years jump started cellular mutations which helped create the
explosion. The rogue planet is known to the Ancients as Chernobyl
or Wormwood.” Lazarus concluded. “Captain Goodnight, you
may give the order to your first mate to fly us at a lower altitude and
slow our orbit.”
“Make it so,
number one.” Waco said officially to his first mate, Lucas.
Captain. Myra, darlin’, would you gimme' a hand with
this?” Lucas requested of the AI.
“Why, I’d be
happy to, Lucas, dear. Anything for you, honey bunch.” Myra
"Careful, girlfriend, you're gonna' break the Captain's heart."
"Nonsense! There's enough of Myra to go around for all you
handsome cowboys." she assured Lucas. Everyone laughed.
dropped within a couple of miles of the surface of the Moon and
everyone could see perfect details of the surface. They began to
see the features, for which, Admiral Long told them to look.
There were many ‘ooohs’ and incredulous ‘aaahs’ as they slowly flew
over and took in some of the structures’ grandeur. Vivian and
Sonny were holding hands. They were in awe of what they were
seeing. So was everyone else. After they circled the Moon a
couple of times, Waco gave the order to resume the standard orbit so
they could have dinner.
“Are there more
surprises in our solar system, Admiral Long?” young Jeb Stamper
“A few, young
man. Venus is a hot spot of alien activity. Fortunately,
for us, it’s inhabited by a friendly, if somewhat standoffish, race of
beings who have become known on Earth by UFO enthusiast as the tall
blonde Nordic race. They have lived on Venus for centuries and
are quite peaceful and serene. They have visited Earth on fact
finding missions for other races in the galaxy who are concerned or
have some interest in Earth. They are one of the few good or
benevolent races who have visited Earth. The rest have been
controlling and usurping races who plan to enslave the planet in the
not too distant future. Also, I’m told, Mars has some rather
remarkable ruins few have ever seen or heard of let alone
explored. Perhaps we can get more information from the Venusians
for our visit to the red planet. I know our friends, the Venusian
Bladder Whales, will tell us what they know.”
Bladder Whales, Master Long?” Sam Stamper asked incredulously.
“Yes, Sam, we
met them on our last trip to Venus several years ago when Admiral Long
first came to our ranch.” volunteered Little Bear.
remarkable creatures.” added Shane.
“They will know
all our names and how we’re related to one another by the time we get
there. They see and hear everything in the universe. They
have song competitions with the whales in our oceans on our world.”
“Then we’re not
the only life in our solar system.” said Burt.
“Not by a long
shot.” chuckled JR who was blatantly holding big Hank’s hand.
Hank didn’t seem the least self-conscious holding JR’s hand. In
fact, it just seemed like the thing to do.
steward rang the first supper gong. David explained there would
be three gongs before supper would be severed. The first was to
give their guests thirty minutes to take care of private needs and
wash-up before supper. The second gong would be for drinks and
appetizers for the adults which the younger passengers needn’t respond
to if they didn’t care to, and the last gong would announce seating for
“Don’t be afraid
you’ll miss anything. We have holo-vids in the dining room.
It’s just like any other room in the ship.” David ended his small
The adults met
for appetizers and drinks in the small room leading into the main
dinning hall. Only one person had alcohol. Vivian announced
she hadn’t had a drink in years. She thought a vodka Gibson on
the rocks sounded good. All of the men had coffee and Chief Tin
Penny had Earl Grey tea. They stood around and chatted as they
watched the dark side of the Moon come across the holo-vid
screens. They could clearly see flashes of light on the surface
where activities were going on. It became apparent the
convenience of having only one side of the Moon facing the Earth.
The old Chief and Warren Steele struck up a friendship.
“You must be
very proud of your grandson, Chief.” Warren said to him
“More than you
can know, Mr. Steele. While all my grandchildren are precious to
me, Little Bear is the light of my days. He is one of the
chosen. He is one of the children of Methuselah. He and his
kind will live much longer than any of us in this room, and they will
deserve their increased longevity. He will lead our people up out
of the terrible tyranny that has overtaken our country. As a
people without much of a voice we have had to live through whatever
governments the white man has seen fit to govern the people. It
is only now, we have a greater cause which joins us together to escape
our bonds. If our race can contribute to our mutual salvation, so
be it. Then we will have a new beginning to become more equal
partners for the future.”
“I pray to
whatever Gods who might listen to me you are right, Chief. Well
said.” allowed Warren as he stuck out his hand and firmly sealed
his approval of the Chief’s wise words with a hardy shake.
seating gong sounded throughout the ship and everyone gathered for
supper. They went into the dinning room together and their names
were on small cards on the plates where they were to be seated.
David instructed everyone to remember their seating assignments because
that would be their seating place for the voyage.
The Admiral sat
at the head of the table with his Captain on his right hand and his
first mate on Admiral Long’s left. Little Bear was seated next to
his Captain and Travis next to Lucas. Master Charlie was
seated at the opposite end of the table. On his right was seated
the Chief and on his left Warren Steele. Jack Hall was seated
next to the Chief and Sonny and Vivian were across from him.
They found their
places and all were instructed to remain standing behind their
respective chairs. Lazarus asked everyone to join hands.
Penny, would you be so gracious as to offer a blessing for our
gathering and the food we are about to partake?” asked Lazarus.
The old Chief
bowed his head and every head around the table automatically bowed as
an approval of his recognized authority.
hear us. We pray for good fortune on our journey. Keep us
from harm’s way and let us bring goodness wherever we sojourn.
Bless the food we are about to eat to the nourishment of our bodies and
the strength of our souls. Let them ever be open to knowledge and
wisdom. Thank you Great Father for bringing us together in your
glorious universe. We are humbled and grateful for your
bounty. Bless us all. Amen.”
seconded all around the table.
“Sit, ladies and
gentlemen.” instructed Lazarus.
Chief, for your prayer.” said Jesse Watkins across the table to Chief
Tin Penny. The Chief nodded and smiled at him. Jesse rose
and went to a small table where the androids had laid out his and his
companion’s food. Jesse took his staff and everyone watched as he
blessed their food. Once again there was a blinding white light
shown from his hand onto their food for only a few seconds, and then,
it was gone. He sat Utah’s food on the deck and petted him urging
him to eat his supper. He returned with his several pieces of
whole grain bread and a small cup of olive oil.
Some of the boys
had never seen it before, but they had enough manners not to say
anything or ask any questions unless an adult or master brought up the
subject. Waco saw the questioning look on their faces.
“Mr. Watkins is
of another race of beings, gentlemen. So is his companion.
They have different nutritional needs than us. They only take the
form you see to relate to our species. They can assume any shape
or form they chose; however, if I’m not mistaken, it’s been hundreds of
years since they assumed other forms.”
correct, Captain Waco.” Jesse assured him. “You’ve been listening to
the Voices again.” Jesse smiled at Waco. “We are beings of mostly
pure energy or to put it another way, of intelligent light and smart
electrons. My companion was assigned to me thousands of years ago
as my prisoner or slave. It’s the way our race has of
settling debts and allowing another life form to work their way back to
their original form. Sometimes they chose to ascend and take on
our life form, but it is never granted them until they are fully
ready. I’m happy to say, my companion passed his necessary
station some five hundred years ago and has since been my faithful
companion simply because he loves me, and I love him. I can give
him any form he might wish. He has informed me he doesn’t wish to
hurry his decision; however, the moment he does decide I will grant him
his desire. He was originally assigned the form of a terrible
looking, mange covered mutt; however, over the years I’ve seen fit to
change his form to what you see now. Just recently I gave him the
gift of speech after seeing the joy and happiness Scraps and Happy’s
pups brought to the world. He never asked me for it.”
* * * * * * *
androids served supper, and it was enjoyed by all. Everyone
commented on the excellence and quality of the food. The boys
gave a round of applause for David, Jonathan and their android
crew. They were greatly pleased their efforts were
appreciated. Talk was lively around the table and the boys were
polite with their questions and intelligent with their comments.
As they were finishing dessert and coffee was being served, Waco stood
to make an announcement.
there will be a period of relaxation where you may roam about the ship,
go to your cabins for a while or join the crew on the observation deck
of the control room. There will be a pipe blown for those
who wish to see our final flight around the Moon and departure.
We have been picking up speed with each revolution. On the final
lap we will break free of the Moon’s gravitational pull and be shot out
into deep space to begin our journey to Pluto. We should come
into close sight of the planet early tomorrow morning at which time you
will be awakened and coffee will be served on the observation deck with
breakfast soon to follow.
There will be a
second pipe this evening announcing entertainment in the ship’s
auditorium. Tonight we have a special treat. My slave
Keekepata has agreed to treat us with a new dance. She has
something special worked up she wants to premier for us this
evening. Afterward, there will be an old classic Academy Award
winning science fiction film from 1950 shown “Destination Moon.”
Adapted from the science fiction novel by the same name by Robert A.
Heinlein, it’s one of the great classic films from that era.
While it’s old and antiquated by today’s standards it has many of the
elements that NASA used to launch their spacecraft. Aside from
that, it’s so old, it is now considered ‘retro-hip’ whatever the hell
that means. I’m just reading what it says here about the
movie.” Waco laughed. “For what it’s worth, I hear it goes
great with hot, buttered popcorn.”
A couple of
folks laughed and then a cheer went up for Captain Waco’s
announcement. Waco continued.
“For those of
you who don’t wish to stay for the movie there are hundreds of
thousands of holo-vids and movies you may watch in your
cabins. To choose, all you have to do it select ‘menu’ and the
subject you wish to peruse. If you need assistance ask for Myra
our helpful onboard AI. She’ll be happy to help you select
something and put it up for you to enjoy. We will blow a final
pipe at twenty-three hundred hours for lights out. We don’t have
a strict policy for lights out; after all, this is a pleasure
cruise. It’s just a reminder. You may remain up watching
holo-vids all night if you wish; however, morning comes early on the
Buttercup. You wouldn’t want to miss anything.”
No one wanted to
miss the final slingshot exit from the Moon. Everyone gathered on
the bridge to watch. It was rather anti-climatic to orbiting the
Moon because once they were free from its gravitational pull it quickly
began to grow smaller and so did their beloved home planet,
Earth. It quickly grew smaller until it was about the size of a
basketball; a softball, a hardball, a tennis ball, a golf ball, a
ping-pong ball and finally it became the size of a small button;
however, the heavens all about them were glorious. Their field of
vision was one of massive numbers of lights and pin points of
stars. Even the Sun was growing smaller and weaker in
strength. Finally, everyone headed for the ship’s theater.
The heavy, red
velvet curtains were closed on the stage. Everyone was seated and
got comfortable. Waco looked around for his brother Blue but
couldn’t find him. He just assumed he was probably behind the
stage to help his little sister with her act. He knew Arnie would
be back there fussing with last minute adjustments to her
He had no idea what they planned or what this dance might be
about. Keekepata was trying ever more bold and daring things and
integrating all sorts of new ideas into them. Everyone got quiet.
gentlemen, our dance artist in residence would like to perform for you
her latest work,” came Arnie’s voice over the speaker system, “it is a
collaborative work between Dame Keekepata, myself Arnie Lewis, and Dame
Pata’s big brother, Blue. It’s titled, “The Dream of Will
Bonney.” Arnie asked Myra to dim the house lights, and she
complied. It was almost completely dark inside the auditorium
except for the isle lights on the ends of each row of seats.
Arnie opened the curtain, but the stage was completely dark. The
music started. It was Aaron Copeland’s score of Billy The Kid;
however, this was not Eugene Loring’s ballet to Copeland’s music.
It was Keeke’s dance from start to finish.
opened and the stage was black. Slowly, on the left side of the
stage a spot came up and illuminated a huge replica of the Moon with a
big saguaro cactus outlined in front of it. The music was cold
and plaintive as it slowly made its presence known. Out of
nowhere came an animal. It looked like a coyote and sat directly
in front of the glowing Moon in silhouette. It sat there for a
moment looking at the Moon for a few seconds, threw back its head a
gave out the most painfully mournful wail you ever heard. It
wasn’t loud. It was very soft as if it were far in the
distance. It sent chills up the audience’s spine. Waco
looked about and noticed Patty was missing. He wondered.
Out of the
darkness on the right side of the stage someone struck a match and lit
a cigarette. You could see the outline of a man’s face and cowboy
hat, but that was about all. Then you could see him taking a drag
from the cigarette and you could see more of his face. The stage
lights came up a bit and a small pin spot shown down creating a
silhouette of the cowboy and you could see just a little more.
Then the cowboy slowly turned and moved into the spot. It was
gasp. He was in full cowboy outfit except he wore no shirt but an
old sweat stained brown leather work vest he worked in many
times. Blue was wearing his batwing working chaps, his big
wide-brimmed buckaroo hat, his boots and spurs. He had a rope
looped over his shoulder and hanging down his right side. Waco
couldn’t believe how hot his brother looked in his Western
clothes. He wondered if he should send him that message and
decided not to. He didn’t have to. Obviously, everyone else
thought Blue was pretty damn hot because they all started
applauding. Waco joined them.
Every time Blue
moved his spurs made a musical jingle sound which seemed to be
coordinated perfectly with the music. He finished his cigarette,
flicked it to the center of the stage, moved with the music and put it
out with one very masculine turn with his right foot. To the
music he undid his lasso and made various dance moves as he twirled and
tossed his rope. He was practicing his skills. He danced
perfectly and skillfully threw his rope. He never missed what he
seemed to be roping. He did several trick roping moves and danced
in and out of the twirling loop of his rope. He would throw the
loop up above his head and allow it to descend around him almost to the
he kept it moving the entire time. He was damn good.
With his back to
the audience he stretched, slowly turned with the music to show a wide
yawn like he was tired, coiled his rope like he was through with his
practice and slowly moved with the music to the base of a tree which
suddenly appeared in the light. He lay down beneath the tree,
stretched and yawned again. He lay back against the tree and
pulled his big hat down over his eyes.
He lay that way
as the music played on. It was obvious to everyone he was suppose
to be asleep. As the music continued, out onto the stage danced
Keekepata in a pure white, sheer gossamer short dress and she danced
around all over the stage like she didn’t see a thing. She was
just doing her thing until she danced close to the tree, where she saw
the sleeping cowboy for the first time. She started to run away
to continue her dance, but her curiosity got the better of her.
She started flying over him and dancing all around Blue like she was
sizing him up, wondering about him. She was so expressive you
could almost read her mind from her movements and gestures. You
could feel her curiosity about this strange creature she came across.
dancing woke the cowboy, and he came to with a start. He caught
site of the fairy-like creature he thought he was only dreaming about
and tried to grab for her. It was all perfectly matched to the
music, and it was incredible dance-mime. Blue got up and the two
of them danced a stylized chase around the stage like the cowboy was in
pursuit of his dream. Try as he might he couldn’t catch her, and
the chase got more and more frantic with Keeke dancing away from him
ever more quickly, acrobatically and gracefully. Blue was equally
graceful, but it was staged for him to be more clumsy and more
masculine in his efforts. He was doing a masterful job of
creating the tension between them.
he took the rope from his shoulder, made a loop and began
to swing it with the greatest expertise of any fine cowboy roper and
threw it into the air at the fleeting fairy-women of his dreams.
He caught Keekepata by her feet, and as she frantically tried to get
away, he slowly but surely pulled her to him in exaggerated arm over
arm movements like he was hauling in the biggest steer to brand.
Keeke was in the air trying to use her wings to escape. Blue
looked like he was pulling in a kite on a windy day.
Everyone in the audience was sitting on the edge of their seats.
It was a moment of great climax of a taut drama. What would the
cowboy do? What would her reaction be to being caught?
finally had Keekepata in his hands he slowly undid the rope and held
her gently to look at her beauty. Finally, after she made several
attempts to escape his grasp and failed, she resigned herself to what
fate might befall her. It was at that moment the cowboy realized
he had complete control and power over this strange, beautiful creature
of the night, but what did he really have? He had something of
great beauty he was holding onto with all his might, but her beauty was
not meant for him alone to enjoy. With the swelling of the music,
he slowly began to raise his hand into the light of a spot that was
supplying the light to the Moon. He held her up until she was
above his head and he simply opened his hand for Keeke to sit
unfettered upon. She was silhouetted against the huge Moon
backdrop on the left of the stage and the effect was very dramatic.
Keeke sprang up
and twirled three times in the palm of Blue’s hand and flew up and away
from him. Blue held up his other hand to her and she flew to it
and twirled three more times in perfect sync with the music then flew
away. Blue danced to the side of the stage and she followed, he
held up his hands again and she danced in his palms again and
again. Finally, their dance became a beautiful pas de deux of
great strength and graceful beauty.
slowly lift her like he would throw a ball from one hand to
another. She would float from one of his open hands to the
other. Then she would run up his arm across his back and down his
other arm to spin again in his other hand. It was a stunning
performance, but the human, mortal cowboy began to tire. He
became ever more sluggish. He wanted to keep up his love affair
dance with his fairy princess, but it became too much for him. He
lay down to complete his nap, perchance to finish his dream. The
beautiful fairy gently kissed him goodnight, then reluctantly flew
away. She circled the stage and returned to kiss her cowboy
goodnight once more. She repeated it once again until she had
kissed him goodnight three times. Then she danced to the side of
the stage and did her own dance of farewell and finally death.
She died with the death of her cowboy’s dream. With the last,
lonely strains of the music, the coyote came back to sit in front of
the lonely Moon to give one last mournful howl. The stage faded
to black and the curtain slowly closed.
Everyone sat for
a few minutes like they’d been gobsmacked by a two-ton Mac
truck. Almost in unison, everyone broke into applause, cheers,
with much stomping of boots and whistling. The appreciative
audience didn’t hold anything back. Many had tears in their
eyes. Vivian was deeply moved and weeping silently in her
husband’s big cowboy arms. Even old stoic Sonny who never shed a
tear in a rodeo arena no matter how hard he landed, was a bit
misty-eyed. Waco wiped away a few tears from his
eyes. Everyone began laughing at each other for having been moved
so deeply. The curtain opened. Blue and Arnie each held one
of keeke’s small hands in theirs as the three took a bow.
Everyone applauded like crazy. Blue whistled and Patty came
bounding out on the stage and jumped up into Blue’s waiting arms and
everyone clapped for her. It was the finest thing Keeke had ever
done, and she knew it. It went over far greater than even she
expected. It was mostly Arnie’s idea, but Keeke and he turned a
good idea into great art. Everyone was stunned at Blue’s
performance. He wasn’t just good, he was damn good! Keeke
later shared with everyone, her big brother Blue was the perfect
student and dance partner. She only had to show him once what and
how she wanted him to dance, and he did it perfectly each time.
Modest Blue gave his little sister all the credit. He figured it
was her time in the spotlight. Let her shine. The Admiral
went to the stage and bowed deeply to Keekepata, Blue, Arnie, and of
course, Ms. Patty.
many things in my long life, but nothing more fine than your
performance this evening. Arnie, your ideas, designs, costumes
and sets were excellent. Blue you have made yourself a credit to
two races this evening and both you men have contributed to help a true
artist of another race find her own distinctive voice and unique
expression of her talent. Ms. Patty you were the very soul of a
lonely coyote in the desert. You made chills run up and down my
spine with your performance; it was so real and believable.
Excellent! Well done, sweet lady.” Lazarus reached down to
pet a smiling Patty. He turned to Keeke. “Last, but
certainly not least, my dear, you have come into your own as an artist
of the highest quality and calling. I have never seen such fine
dancing or deeper emotions expressed by any Shushonni dancer as I did
here this evening. You have my most humble expression of
gratitude and thanks for sharing your passion with us this
evening. It was truly a remarkable performance and will not be
soon forgotten by anyone here.”
into applause in agreement of Admiral Long’s word's of praise.
Admiral Long. Coming from you those are wonderful words to
hear. My people would be proud of me simply because I was able,
in some small way, to please the greatest hero our world has ever
known. I am humbled and grateful for you kind word's of praise;
however, whatever I have become today is the result of what everyone
considered a mistake of my youth. While my actions were foolish,
I no longer believe they were wrong. I have come to live among
these wonderful people and opened my heart to them as they have to
me. I have been given one of the greatest opportunities any
Shushonni could hope for. I have absorbed the passion and love
from my master and his brothers; especially, Blue, Arnie Lewis and Dr.
Steven, and all the folks of the Grange. I will forever be in
their and your debt, Sire.”
Once again the
audience went crazy applauding for Keekepata and she took a solo
bow. David walked in from the side entrance with a huge bouquet
of fresh flowers and handed them to Keekepata. She gave David a
hug and a quick kiss and stood with tears streaming down her cheeks to
take a final bow. It was a memorable evening and Myra captured it
all on holo-video. It would go down in history as the most
creative and unusual new dance ever performed between a Shushonni and a
human male dance partner. It was copied by other live performers
who learned and adapted their dances to those of the great and
legendary Dame Keekepata.
Waco came to the
stage and hugged Keekepata first. She bowed deeply to Waco to
recognize his position as Captain and her master. Everyone was
touched by her show of humility.
“I have only one
thing to add, my sweet Shushonni dancer. You were
beautiful. You are a credit to your race and the pride of your
master. You’re master loves you very much.”
Keeke shed a few
more tears as further hugs and kisses were exchanged. Waco moved
to his brother, hugged and kissed him.
brother. Damn, it’s almost like kissing a carbon copy of
myself.” A few groaned at Waco’s pun. “Ah, but I have
more to add. You are no longer a carbon based copy of me, my
brother. What you accomplished here this evening is of your own
making and personality. You are very much becoming your own
man. I’m very proud of you, Blue.”
brother.” said Blue as they hugged again.
“And you, Mr.
Lewis! Whoever thought such a mild mannered physical therapist
had within him the buds of such genius. Everything was perfect,
Arnie. Congratulations. Your partner is a fortunate man.”
“Why, thank you,
Captain Waco. You’re kind words are greatly appreciated.”
“Patty, I never
knew you would become the grand Diva of the family, but here you are
and Admiral Long was right, you were magnificent.”
Waco? I jes’ loved doing it. Mr. Lewis, Blue and Ms. Keeke
taught me what to do. I tried to do my best. Thank you,
Sir.” Waco petted her and she ate it up. She ran over to
Jack Hall and Warren Steele to get more attention and compliments.
* * * * * * *
Keeke asked Blue
to accompany her to their cabin. She wanted to clean up.
Blue agreed because he wanted to get out of his costume. Waco
promised he would have Myra hold starting the movie until they
After she showered Blue was waiting for her with a fluffy warm
towel. He gently toweled her dry and plugged in the hair dryer
one of the ladies of the Grange gave her for drying her hair and
wings. Blue knew just how best to use it so no part of her got
too warm and damaged her delicate wings or skin. When he was
finished she felt invigorated.
“You were truly
wonderful this evening, Blue.”
“Awh, you say
that to all the boys." he smiled and blushed.
“No, now stop
that. You know I never could have pulled it off without
you. You were truly amazing. I realized you were good when
we rehearsed, but when you were on stage you bloomed like you have the
soul of a great dancer.”
“I’m just happy
being a cowboy, little sister. I don’t mind dancing with you to
make you happy, but it ain’t my real calling. I don’t know what I
want to do with the possibilities before me, but they seem
endless. I’ve got years to figure out what I want. You
don’t know how freeing being mobile can be; never to have to be
condemned to stay in one spot all your life.”
“All right, I’ll
accept that, but I just want you to know how much you mean to me, and
I’m always here for you if you need me.”
“I know that,
I hope I’ve proved to you my love and loyalty.”
“You have, big
brother, and from now on, I’m going to be a lot nicer to you.”
enough like you are, Keeke.”
changed with you, Blue. What is it? You’re still my big
brother, but you seem to be withdrawing more and more within
yourself. I felt you struggling this evening while we were
dancing. You were perfection with your dance, but your mind kept
consciousness within my body is waking up, little sister. I am
End Of Chapter
34 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2007 ~