Lazarus and Trey
originally planned to visit Venus for no more than three twenty-four
hour periods or three Earth days. Previous visits to the planet
were brief as they were little more than a response to invitations for
limited exposure to the planet and its people. Lazarus remember
an old bromide about guests and fish and shared it with Captain
Vinceeth. Now, after a couple of years, being exposed to what was
happening on Mars and the trouble brewing on Earth, the Venusian
population demanded the officials get to know these people better and
allow them more personal exposure to interact with them. The
Venusian people had been cut off from other worlds for so long they
forgot the joy of discovering the new and different and the enrichment
other cultures could bring them. Darryl was their gateway.
They could see on his videos he had come to respect, love and admire
the people and critters he was reporting about.
This was their
fourth visit to Venus and the first visit where they didn’t have any
official reason other than to foster good relations and return their
representative/ambassador for a visit to his home world. Lazarus
and Trey made damn sure Darryl was free to go and do whatever he
pleased. There were no restrictions placed on him. They
didn’t want anyone getting false ideas he was being forced to
participate against his will. Darryl was the best public
relations man Lazarus and Trey could have hoped for. He was a one
man band for his life among the aliens from several worlds. His
reporting on the Visallian’s discovery and rescue of an almost extinct
alien race, the Langerians, won him many awards and accolades on his
world. Darryl deserved his new found popularity and
It was ironic in
a way. Being an albino, Darryl spent his younger life being
shunned and ignored by the majority of his fellow race. Anyone,
with any degree of difference because of a birth defect or another
reason, was usually kept out of public view. Some anomalies were
considered worse than others. Being an albino was tolerated more
readily, but for most of Darryl’s young adult life he couldn’t get a
job of any substance. He barely got by for years. Now, here
he was, wealthy, lionized by millions and quite possibly one of the
most powerful men on his planet. At first he was completely
overwhelmed, but after the smoke cleared, he began to see his true
calling was to help those like himself who were socially marginalized.
greatly influenced by the openness of Admiral Long and how easily and
readily he was accepted into his larger family. He began to make
a complete study of the unhealthy political and social structure on
Earth and how it had come to the place where it could possibly destroy
the planet. He found it enlightening but sad that a beautiful
world with such seeming promise could be on the brink of extinction
because the dominant primate evolved scientifically far enough to
create weapons of total destruction but had failed to cultivate their
political structures to care for all levels of their society. He
saw a lopsided society built on mendacity, superstition, myth and greed
not survive for much longer.
On the other
hand, he was accepted and lived with a group of folks who were working
together toward a new hope. He witnessed how humans, no matter
how messed up their politics or how strange, bizarre or varied their
beliefs might be, were still basically a good hearted, compassionate
race of people when it came to doing the best they could to enrich and
encourage those among them who were different because of birth defects
or casualties of violence or war. Darryl’s people had little
empathy for those in their society who couldn’t contribute a hundred
percent at all times, with one exception; they did take care of their
aging and elderly, but even those efforts needed improvement.
Darryl could see the flaws in both societies and chose to make his
stand with his new family and their vision of a new hope he saw
He had come to
greatly admire the Visallians and their close bonds with the
Humans. He saw Lazarus, Trey, Jesse, Charlie, Chief Ten Penny and
many others as his role models and mentors. He could go to any
one of them, and they always had time for him. He had many long
conversations with these men about their people’s pasts and their hopes
for the future. They helped him understand what he must do with
some of his newly acquired wealth. Did that mean he had to give
up his current lifestyle? On the contrary. He learned well
from Trey, Lazarus and Charlie, to get things done and still be able to
have time for one’s self to live a decent family life; one simply had
to delegate responsibilities.
There were only
few things his new family shared with Darryl he was encouraged to keep
to himself. He never felt threatened by these things, because he
was a direct beneficiary of certain scientific arts that were way ahead
of the scientist on his planet. Shortly after Darryl’s arrival on
Earth, Cable and Kyron, along with Ping and Pong, and David and
Jonathan synthesized a variation of the Long serum for Venerians.
They examined Darryl’s blood and found certain similarities in his
blood and DNA that suggested Humans and Venusians may have shared a
common ancestor in the past. They were able to manufacture a
small portion for him. With his consent, they gave him his
‘longshot’ within the first couple of months living among them.
Darryl could tell the shot worked. He knew he would live far
longer than most of the folks on his planet, but he wasn’t about to
share the information. If the Humans were kind enough to share it
with him, he felt it should be their decision whether or not to share
it with his world. With that decision he realized he had thrown
his lot in with them and would probably never return to his planet
permanently. Wherever his new family was headed, Darryl wanted to
be with them.
traveled from their home world. They had a limited number of
space ships, about six total. Of those, only three were
space-worthy. They were so old no one could remember just when
they were built. While the ships represented their planet’s
cutting edge technology when they were built, they were hopelessly
behind the new drives and marvels of the Admiral’s and now the
Visallian ships. That’s just the way the Grays and the
Reptillians wanted it. Their ships were far more advanced and
could easily destroy the Venusian ships if it came to armed hostilities.
lived under the strict dominance and fear of the Reptilian and Gray
races for several centuries, but a number of years before the rescue of
the Banshee they severed all ties with the grays and reptiles.
They simply refused all access to their space port and shunned any
contact with them. Because their world was mostly underground,
they had little fear of an attack from the reptiles or their slave
race. They made several trips to Earth, but never made contact
with anyone higher than common folks. One of their few space
ventures was to rescue the Visallian vessel and bring it to their space
port to offer what assistance and repairs they could provide.
Now, Darryl’s brave venture to live among the humans on Earth rekindled
their interest and excitement to once again leave their planet and
* * * * * * *
Trey woke up in
one huge arm of Waco’s lummox. As big a warrior as Trey Vinceeth
was, Ox was still considerably larger. Trey found himself warm
and comfortable in the giant beast’s arms. He made no quick move
to separate himself. He looked over at his young apprentice
sleeping soundly in Ox’s other arm. Ox woke and glanced down at
Trey and smiled.
morning, Captain. How do you feel this morning? >> Trey
heard in his head.
Ox? Am I hearing you? >> he asked in his mind.
Sir, my milk was enough to open your gates. >>
Amazing. Then it wasn’t all a dream. >> Trey stated.
Sir. We allowed you to rest while you drank. >>
you. I needed more rest. This change-over isn’t without its
consequences. >> Trey moaned.
About that time
Waco began to stir and looked at his companions.
fine you look this morning, my faithful friend. >> he projected
to his slave.
<< And am
I not as fine looking to you, cowboy? >> Trey sent to Waco.
Captain! >> Waco exclaimed, << You heard. Can you
hear Ox? >>
<< He can,
little one. >> confirmed the huge creature.
Outstanding! >> Waco enthused. << How do you feel,
I’m included. Like I’m no longer on the outside looking in.
Like I’m a part of everything; part of a greater whole. >>
exactly how you should be feeling, Captain. I’m so glad for you,
and you are certainly as fine looking to me as my slave. >>
you, cowboy. I think you’re both pretty fetching. Now, one
thing has bothered me all night. What were those dark, ominous
clouds gathering overhead when we were in that beautiful valley?
Are they an omen of things to come. >>
<< I hoped
you wouldn’t notice them. I tried to chase them away, but they
were persistent. They were the spirits of the ancients coming to
me and Garron, as they call my slave. There is an upheaval in the
voices. Something has happened within the depths of the reptilian
race and they have come down hard on their slave race, the grays.
They have sent Reptilian ambassadors to Earth to make demands on the
nations to provide them with what they want or else. The Earth
nations have managed to cancel out any threats the Grays pose and so
have the Venusians. The Reptiles are beginning to feel they are
losing power in our solar system and are planning a massive, aggressive
assault to scare the wits out of both worlds to get what they
want. They don’t know about Mars. They still think Mars is
an uninhabitable world and not worth their time to explore. >>
<< Do you
concur, our handsome beast? >> Trey send directly to Ox.
<< I do,
Sir. There’s more, but I’ll let my young master tell you.
>> Ox looked into Trey’s eyes, and he got the beast’s unspoken
message, they would commune later. Trey smiled back at him and
Grays have panicked and are trying to appease their masters. They
are planning an assault on Venus, but we don’t know how or when.
>> Waco continued.
good news. Do you think it will occur while we’re here? >>
<< I have
no idea, Sir. Sometimes information from the ancients can be
at best. It sort of becomes a fill-in-the-blank game sometimes.
<< I must
speak with the Admiral first thing this morning. Maybe over
breakfast. Then we must warn the Venusians. I think Admiral
Long will insist we aid our new allies. After all, they saved our
butts. It’s the least we can do for them. >>
Vinceeth was a changed man. He could still hear the background
noise of the voices on the winds of consciousness, but they weren’t so
intrusive. Waco and Ox were working with him to show him how to
be selective with his listening and how to tune out that which he
didn’t wish to hear. His new found powers gave him a
psychological lift that made him even more sure of himself. It
was difficult to imagine a man of the captain’s rank and
accomplishments needed to feel more self confident, but it was more
than that, it was a rounding off of his hard charging personality that
gave him a mellow edge and made him all the more attractive. Waco
thought to himself the captain would have the Venusian’s eating from
allowed their visitors their breakfast in private that morning and the
Captain and Admiral were able to discuss what was going on. They
set with their closest members at their table. Present were Waco,
Indigo/Blue, Charlie, JR, Travis, Sergeant-Major Doggoral, Trap
Maddragon, Lucas, Commander Hawkins, Sam, Shane, Little
Bear and his granddad, the Chief, Jesse Watkins and several others
including Darryl. Lazarus asked Jack Hall and Warren Steele if
they would ride herd on the coyote kids at breakfast. The boys
knew something was up because their dad would never segregate them
unless they had something to talk about they didn’t want them to
know. They were tempted to tap into one of their brother’s minds,
but knew it would be impolitic of them. They would be skating on
thin ice if they were caught. They were in enough trouble as it
was. Everyone was listening with rapt attention to the
conversation between the Admiral and Captain Vinceeth as they partook
of the various foods the Venusians provided. It was not what they
were used to, but for alien food it was quite toothsome.
“Do you think we
should alert the Venusians, Admiral?” Trey asked after Waco told
of his contact with the ancients.
I think they feel pretty secure beneath the surface of their planet,
but who knows what mischief the Grays might cause? They have been
known to interfere in many ways to determine the outcome of
civilizations, but always to the Gray’s or their master’s
benefit. They, along with the Snakes, have always been nefarious
and perfidious in their dealing with various civilizations and cultures
on Earth. Being parasitic races they never heard of the concept
of a prime directive or noninterference. By trying to educate and
train the primates on Earth they inadvertently, but sometimes
created mythologies and religions to confuse and make the people more
prone to control with what we consider today as supernatural
influences. Consider the Venusians. The Snakes never
managed to accomplish that here, and yet, they have a strong, thriving
social culture not wrapped up in the superstitions of reveal.
Why do you think
evil spirits and the devil are usually portrayed as snakes or
serpents? Quetzalcoatl was one of the main gods of the
Mesoamerican culture. He is depicted as a feathered
serpent. He was nothing more than a light skinned, blonde
reptile. Some Snakes retained parts of their genetic information
from their ancestors on Earth and can grow feathers. Many
scholars have found it interesting Quetzalcoatl and his twin brother
Xolotl were the son’s of the virgin goddess Coatlicue. Immaculate
conception seems to permeate all religions. The Mayans and the
Aztecs were confused by the planet Venus. Because its position in
the sky varied so dramatically from morning to evening, they thought it
was two separate stars. Quetzalcoatl became the god of the
morning star and his brother Xolotl became the god of the evening
star. Quetzalcoatl taught man to write and create books; taught
him mathematics, to read the stars and create calendars; he gave
mankind maize and became the symbol of death and resurrection; not too
far from the basic tenants of Christianity.”
“How do you know
these things, Admiral?” Johauk asked. Lazarus looked at
Jesse and smiled.
“Some of us were
around when these things were happening, Son.” interjected Jesse
“There’s more to the story than what the Admiral hinted at, but
will be revealed eventually. Mankind has been manipulated and
controlled since they were first created from genetically modified
over a hundred thousand years ago. A weakness for religion and
the belief in the supernatural was genetically inbred into the new
primates for a purpose. It was to keep them a subservient race
easily controlled by fear and threats of the supernatural. Many
have asked how we will know those who are to be rescued in our
gathering? It’s simple. We will scan for those without the
gene, those who have resisted reveal and those who’s gene has never
“What’s on our
agenda for this morning, Darryl?” Lazarus asked.
“We have one
main meeting with the leader and his cabinet and a big parade
immediately thereafter. We are to be taken to a very posh and
lavish tower for lunch that looks out over Venus space port and
revolves three-hundred and sixty degrees for wonderful views.
Interestingly enough, I’ve been requested not to video any of your
meetings with the leader and his staff. I have a feeling they
wish to discuss some greater alliance with you and Captain
Vinceeth.” Darryl spoke with a voice of authority.
have no problems with a greater alliance with your world, Darryl.”
replied Lazarus. Darryl got a funny look on his face.
Admiral, Venus is the world of my birth. Your people have
become my people. You reached out to me and gave me a chance to
become more than I ever could be on this world. When the time
comes for you to leave Earth, if there’s room for me, I would consider
it a great honor to be included and travel to the stars with you and
those I’ve come to love, Sir.” There was a great silence that
came over the men.
“I humbly stand
corrected, Son. Of course there will be room for you, but we will
be the ones who will be honored to have you join us.” Lazarus assured
hear!” agreed the men at the table.
* * * * * * *
The men went
from breakfast to their first meeting with the Venusian council.
There they met with representatives from all over the planet.
There were more speeches of welcome and gratitude for allowing Darryl
to share their lives with the people of Venus. After the formal
welcome and introductions there was a reception where ideas and
concerns were tossed about between leaders. Lazarus and Trey were
involved with most of the conversations.
“We seek a wider
cooperation with your confederation of Earth people who seek to escape
the tyranny of your world. We’re fascinated and approve
your efforts to peacefully extract yoursleves and those most threatened
of losing their lives. We think your efforts are heroic. We
also highly approve of what you’re doing to rehabilitate the long lost
caverns of Mars. We have come to consider Mars as our sister
planet. We also approve and applaud your efforts to rescue and
conserve endangered species and to start new colonies there. Over
the centuries we have come to appreciate our few indigenous species and
consider our whales one of the treasures of our world.
and cooperation, and with your help, we are hoping to begin rebuilding
our space fleet. We would like to venture out into space once
more without fear and intimidation from the Grays or the
Reptilians. For that, we will need to be educated in construction
techniques as we don’t have time to back engineer our own
vessels. I’ll be blunt, Admiral.” paused the First Minister of
Venus, the Honorable Putt (short for Putnam) Chasson, “we are asking
you to share your technology with us.”
“We have no
problem with that, Sir.” agreed Lazarus. “After all, certain
technology the Krells left behind have been incorporated into the very
ship we arrived in. We have no particular need to keep that
technology secret. We would like to use any technology in such a
way to protect you and us without having to resort to force, but if
push comes to shove, as it certainly may with the parasitic races in
the universe, it’s better to come from a strong position while
negotiating carrying a much bigger stick behind your back than they
have.” everyone chuckled. “The Boy Scouts on Earth have a motto: Be
prepared. I think it’s a good motto to live by.” the
Admiral allowed and everyone seemed to agree with him.
Lazarus went on
to tell the Venusian what Waco heard from the Ancients and was being
carried on the Winds of Consciousness. They were not
surprised. The bladder whales kept them in close contact with the
Winds and would filter information down to them. They knew little
more than their guest, but they knew there were storm clouds
gathering. Before the informal meeting was over they agreed on a
schedule to begin work on three new space crafts for the Venusians as a
learning-as-you-build effort. Lazarus’ men, Trey’s men and the
Krell androids would assist the Venusian scientist in designing and
building the craft. It would be done at a huge, long unused ship
building area not far from the landing docks on Venus. A large
gate would be installed from Mars to Venus to easily transport
personnel and manufactured parts between worlds.
* * * * * * *
The parade that
followed the informal meeting was incredible. The First Minister
declared a worldwide holiday so everyone could attend or watch.
There were people everywhere in brightly colored costumes, waving and
shouting ‘welcome’ to the visitors. The cowboys were almost
overwhelmed. They hadn’t expected such a turnout or such an
display of joy and affection for them. The Venusians were yelling
their names to get a personal wave from them. They even yelled
the names of the critters. The dogs would do their best to holler
back and finally reverted to barking until they lost their
voices. The parade was a great success. After the parade
the men were taken back to their sybaritic hotel and allowed to relax
for a while. There was another formal dinner planned for that
evening. After that, the First Minister promised they would be on
their own to go and do as they pleased. The Venusians would be
happy to provide guided tours of any attraction the men would care to
visit, but they stressed, the world of Venus was open to them.
They could go anywhere they wanted and visit what they found of
interest. They had invitations from groups and individual
families all over they planet, but they chose to centralize their
activities to the city of Venus Space Port. They were given list
of concerts, art festivals, and tours being given especially in honor
of their visit. Venus pulled out all the stops.
* * * * * * *
There were more
meetings among the nabobs in each group; planning sessions for
beginning the work on the Venusian space vessels. The Admiral,
his staff, Captain Vinceeth and his top officers toured the shipyard
facility at Venus space port. While it was quite large it
was not as technologically up to date as it might be, but Lazarus
didn’t see it as a major setback. They would be brought more
current as they progressed and as the work demanded.
their guests and some of the crew of the Banshee were having a great
time. The coyotes were perfect gentlemen everywhere they went,
Lucas didn’t have to get after them once. With Lazarus’
permission, they accepted an invitation from a regular Venusian family
to attend an informal party in their honor. Many families
participated but only one family’s name was drawn at a special
televised event. The family who won the draw lived in the suburbs
of Space Port City and had a beautiful home on a rather large piece of
property by Venusian standards. It was the cowboy’s third
afternoon of their visit to Venus. They were having a good time
socializing, eating fine Venerian food and playing with the children of
the chosen family and their guests. As Venusian families go, the
chosen family was
pretty large with five kids. Two boys about the same age as the
coyotes and two younger girls. They also had a brother
who was the youngest member of their family. He was very cute and
obviously the center of his family’s attention. The cowboys found
him irresistible and included him in everything.
It was late in
the afternoon and those attending the party settled down to talk
and enjoy each others company. The women served more desserts
and a sweet punch. The boys found the refreshments very much to
their liking. All was going well when suddenly there came a great
noise like an explosion in the distance. There was no smoke but
the ground shook and
some said they saw huge chunks of the underground ceiling drop.
Bo said it was like one of his and his brother’s storybooks about
Chicken Little because the sky seemed to be falling. It was the
cause of much excitement and consternation among the adults and older
cowboys. Lucas and Travis looked to Little Bear for an
opinion. Before he could reply, there was another huge explosion
nearby which rocked the buildings and shook the ground so hard it
caused several people to lose
their balance and fall. Tables were
overturned. Women and children were yelling, screaming and
running for shelter. This time it was clear for everyone to
see, there were huge chunks of the ceiling falling, crushing
homes and buildings.
explosions were coming more closely together, and everyone was running
for cover. The family, whom the cowboys were spending the
afternoon with, lived in an older home which had an emergency
underground shelter. The father, Mr. Sprool, yelled for everyone
to follow him to safety. All the guest followed to a set of
huge metal doors which opened easily when he placed his hand on a
scanner. Large rocks and boulders were dropping in the well
manicured yard like a hail storm on Earth. One rather large rock
hit the youngest boy and knocked him to the ground. He didn’t get
up. Everyone was running for their lives. His brothers and
sisters looked in horror, but ran past him leaving him for dead.
Shane saw the child in distress and ran to him. He quickly
scooped him up in his arms as he and Lucas herded the coyotes and the
their party into the underground shelter. They
entered a huge
hypogeum built for such a purpose. The child was limp
bleeding badly from the wound to his head. When everyone
was accounted for and they were safely underground, Mr. and Mrs. Sprool
were beside themselves with worry because their son was hurt.
Brett Jones and Basil were among the invited guest. Several folks
were hurt and they were seeing to their wounds. Lucas sent the
coyotes after them as he tried to stop the bleeding from the child in
Shane's arms. They were there in a second. Bret was
unsure what he could do or if his healing powers would work on
Venusians. Basil reassured him.
partner, we stopped the bleeding with those other folks and fixed
a broken wrist on that older Venusian woman. We can do this.”
Basil took the
young male child from Shane and cradled him in his arms. He
reached down and
pushed the boy’s dark hair from his face. He could see a large
cut across his forehead and deep into his scalp. Basil started
humming to the boy. Brett recognized the tune and joined
him. Basil ran his fingers gently across the boy’s open wound and
to everyone’s amazement the sides of the gash came together and began
to heal. The bleeding stopped, but you could tell there would be
a dark bruised area for a while.
“You need to
check him out internally, Brett.” Basil said, “There may be
damage to his body or brain we can’t see, and he can’t tell us about.”
“I’ve never done
it before.” Brett said quitely.
“No time like
the present to learn. You know what Adam did, you can do this,
Brett. I have faith in you.” Basil assured him.
family gasped as they watched Brett Jones disappear before them, and
clothes drop to the floor in a pile. They could see glittering
dust-like particles moving all about Basil and their
son. They observed some of the dust particles being breathed in
by the boy.
<< Can you
hear me, partner? >> Brett sent to Basil. Basil
looked around and could see the cowboys, dogs, lummox, and a couple of
warriors heard Brett’s voice in their heads.
and clear, Officer Jones. >>
head is all right, but his left arm is broken. I can reset it
before his wakes. If we can get him back to the Banshee the
medics can put a cast on it. I think he’ll be all right.
I’ve told him to remain asleep for a while; we’ll awaken him when we’re
The cowboys were
animated at the news, but his family continued to look worried as Brett
began to withdraw. Adam and Eve found their way to them and were
waiting for Brett Jones to help him reform. Jones reformed in all
his nude male glory before them, naked as the day he was born.
While the Venusians were amazed and bewildered, no one seemed overly
concerned with his nudity. They were more worried about the boy.
you actually went inside our boy?” the father asked.
It was my first time. I’ll have to admit, it was pretty
fascinating. Adam and Eve showed me how to do it. You have
them to thank. They were fine teachers. His brain is fine,
but his left arm is broken. We much reset the bone. I won’t
let him wake up until I’ve done it. It could be quite
painful. Jack and Jill can give him a shot of sedative to ease
his pain until a doctor can cast his arm.”
I don’t know what we would’ve done if you men weren’t here.” Mrs.
Sprool burst into tears and fell into her husband’s arms. About
that time, Lucas’ cell phone rang.
Long.” he answered and listened for a minute. “We’re okay,
Dad. We made it to an underground shelter on the Sprool’s
property. We had a couple of casualties but Officer Jones and Mr.
Troubadour have taken care of them. They’ll be all right.
None of our people were hurt.” Lucas listened for a while
longer. “Yes, Sir. Yes, Sir, I understand. We’ll get
there as soon as we can, Dad. Don’t worry about us, we’ll make
it. It seems to have let up a bit.” Lucas said goodby to
Lazarus and closed his cell phone. He turned to the crowd and
spoke to everyone.
“Venus is under
attack from the Grays. They are above the atmosphere of the
planet shooting huge concentrated hyper-sonic blasts down to the
surface to cause seismic events. We’ve been ordered back to the
Banshee. We’re taking off as soon as possible. Is there an
exit to the underground system from this shelter, Mr. Sprool?”
Lucas asked the gentleman.
course, att the far end of this hall and through those big metal
doors. It feeds right into a private shuttle system. I can
have you men back to the space port in a matter of minutes.”
They waited long
enough for Brett to reset the boy’s arm and wake him. Jill gave
the boy a brief pheromone shot which immediately relaxed him and took
away his pain. He was groggy, but he would be all right.
Lucas explained to the Sprools, if their son was taken aboard the
Banshee, and the Admiral wanted to leave immediately, he might have to
go with them.
“I can’t promise
when we could get him back to you, Sir. The way my brothers and I
have taken to him, there’s a good chance you might not get him back at
all.” Lucas smiled and winked at the concerned parents.
Everyone laughed with him. It was a great compliment to the
family and a bit of humor they all needed at the moment.
Mr. and Mrs. Sprool thanked the men profusely for their emergency help,
but decided to take him to their doctors on Venus.
There were hasty
‘goodbye’ said. Mr. Sprool saw the cowboys and their party to the
and sent them on their way. There was still occasional explosions
but the tram was so far underground there was little more disturbance
than causing the tram-car to bounce about some. The coyotes, who
were, for the most part, being pretty brave cowboys, and the pups began
to moan and wail. Waco, Lucas and Little Bear were
astounded. They looked at each other in puzzlement. Ox had
tears streaming down the fur of his cheeks. Waco had never seen
him react that way.
going on, Lummy? What are we missing? >>
not listening? Hear the winds. >> Ox sent to them.
their barriers and heard the most awful sounds of pain and suffering;
great moans and cries. It was coming from the surface of the
planet. The Grays were attacking and slaughtering the bladder
whales. That explained why the explosions were so erratic and not
centrally placed. The Gray’s first targets were the whales.
It was so bad they didn’t care to listen for long. It wasn’t a
long trip and the men were soon disembarking at the space port
station. They found Lazarus, Arlen, Trey, Charlie, the Steeles,
Jack Hall and several
other men waiting like mother hens with concerned looks on their faces.
The coyotes were
trying to be brave, but it was evident they were pretty shaken.
They were reduced to tears to hear their friends crying out in
horror and pain. They ran as fast as they could to Lazarus and
Arlen. Even Ranger Jr. and Cable saw Lazarus and Arlen as their
surrogate father figures. The men did their best to comfort them,
but there was little time for consolation or conversation as they
hurried them to the Banshee.
“Won’t our hasty
departure be looked upon as pusillanimous, Dad?” Lucas asked
Lazarus along the way. Lazarus chuckled.
“I know you’re
intelligent, Son, but where the hell did you get that word?” he
queried. Lucas smiled.
attention to the man
behind the green curtain, Dad.” they shared a laugh.
“No, we ain’t
running. We’re going out to engage the enemy. I just wanted
all my family on board, especially you and the young’uns. I have
greater faith in the improvements to the Banshee than I do the
readiness of the Venusians. I oversaw and approved the final
upgrades to the ship. I know what its capabilities. If we
don’t do something, the Grays could devastate the planet. Haven’t
you men been listening to the winds?”
Sir." Waco spoke up, "We were so preoccupied with helping the
wounded and getting
here we weren’t tuned in. When the coyotes and pups began to wail
in unison, we knew something wasn’t right. Ox told us to
listen. It was awful. How bad is it?”
“We don’t know
the total damage. We can’t know until we get out there and see
for ourselves, but we’re getting information from the surface, the
whales have suffered greatly. Many lie dying on the
surface. It seems the Grays first targets were to attack and
silence as many of the whales as possible and to cause terror among the
Venusians so the populace would demand their leaders begin to
renegotiate with their masters. It’s all very psychological and
ultimately political. It’s terrorism for the sake of political
purposes. We plan to run interference. The Venusians can’t
send one of their ships for backup because they are so inferior to the
Gray’s technology. They offered, but we discouraged them.
It would be suicide. Since they risked the wrath of the Snakes to
save the Visallians from sure death and the Visallians and
Shushonni have become a part of our family, it’s only right we
come to the Venusian’s aid.” Lazarus looked back over his
shoulder like he was looking for someone. “Did Darryl arrive on
your tram with you?” he asked Lucas.
He wasn’t at the party. He had something planned with some old
“I want to
make sure he’s with us. I don’t know when we’ll be able to get
back. I want him to film and narrate what we find on the
surface. It’s important all the people of Venus see what horror
they will be giving into if they allow this attack by the Grays to put
them back into subjugation under the Reptiles.”
approached the Banshee another tram was arriving at the station.
Everyone saw several of the warriors and Darryl disembarking.
Lazarus got a big smile on his face as Darryl came to join them.
“We were just
talking about you. Glad to see you made it. This is where
we draw the line in the sand, Son. If you go with us, there’s a
good chance you may not come back. We are going out to fight, but
I can’t promise we will prevail. No one will fault you if you
decide to stay.” Lazarus spoke softly to him so the others
wouldn’t hear. Only Lucas and Shane was privy to their
“You are my
people, Admiral. If you perish, so be it, I will perish with
you. I was serious about my choice, Sir.” Darryl had tears
in his eyes. Lazarus grabbed him and hugged him.
“I knew you’d
say that, but I wanted to give you one final chance. Come, let’s
get aboard. We have need of your talents.” Lazarus assured
him. He could have said a lot of things to the young Venusian,
but calling Darryl ‘son’ and telling him he needed him was all he
needed to hear.
* * * * * * *
Everyone got on
board. The computer made a check and found everyone who should be
there was accounted for. There were no dignitaries there to see
them off or wish them well. Lazarus understood. They were
busy with their own problems. He and Trey promised to keep them
informed. The computers opened the bay for the Banshee just long
enough for them to get underway. Trey ordered the ship cloaked
and requested the Venusian computer turn control over to his ship’s
computer immediately after they cleared the docking bay. He
didn’t want to give any of the Gray ships the temptation of
surreptitiously trying to make a docking. Trey ordered the
computer to move them slowly out into the atmosphere and maintain a low
trajectory so they could see what was going on. There was still
some blasts coming from the Gray’s ships, but they were nowhere near
the Banshee. As they flew along they began to come upon the
bodies of the whales who had been shot down. The surface was
chaos. There were bodies upon bodies and here and there you could
see the small crab and mammalian symbiotes scurrying about in confusion
and horror. There was nothing but silence on the
ship. No one said a word. It was like they were looking
upon a surreal scene; a battlefield which was strewn with the bodies of
the beautiful, peaceful, loving creatures of Venus. It was
unimaginable to them anyone of any species could be so heartless to do
such a dastardly thing. It was an invidious display by the lowest
of poltroons. You could hear grown men, Warriors, Shushonni,
Lummox, Canines, Langerians, Evanescents, Cowboys, quietly weeping to
see their beautiful friends so decimated. Poor Darryl was
devastated. Everyone was almost relieved to hear Trey’s strong
voice break into their sorrow.
check to make sure your buddy next to you is strapped in tight.” he
commanded. “We got us some Gray butt to kick, and it might be
a bumpy ride. Admiral, we need to go higher and away from the
planet a bit to see what we’re up against.”
“I agree, Son.”
Trey barked some
orders to his on-board artificially evolved intelligence, and it
instantly without reply. The evolved intelligence was also new to
Banshee. At the center of its intelligence was the brain of
brilliant astrophysicist who was a personal friend of the Goodnights
for many years. He was Waco’s Godfather. With Lazarus’
permission, Charlie, Waco and Angus shared with him what was going on
shortly before his death. His body was in such bad shape there
was no hope for him from any source. His greatest wish was to
become something more than he was on Earth. He wanted to see the
stars which he had dedicated his life to studying. He had no
family other than being adopted by the Goodnights. He made
Charlie the executor of his estate and his brain was removed
immediately upon his body’s demise. It was done so quickly he
woke up in a nutrient solution with his brain connected to a
computer. He was fully capable of input and response. After
considerable training, and apprenticing under Kyron, he was installed
on board the Banshee and was thrilled with his new position. He
quickly learned to control everything on the ship and developed
almost a symbiotic relationship with Trey and the crew. His real
name was Brian, but he wanted a new name for his new position, a name
to set him apart from his past and body. The cowboys came up with
a cognomen he considered appropriate. In a solemn ceremony he was
Banshee rose above the cloud layer and moved away from the
planet. It was sheer chaos. There were Gray ships
everywhere. In the distance you could see a portion of space that
seemed to shimmer like a heat mirage on the desert on an exceptionally
hot day. There were ships winking in and out of the area.
“I’ve detected a
warp dead ahead, Captain.” Klaatu spoke to Trey.
Klaatu. We can see it, too. Any suggestions, Admiral?” Trey
requested of Lazarus.
antimatter missiles are you pack’n, Son?”
“We can set them
to any size you recommend in twenty-five mega-joule increments.”
“Set one at a
hundred and fifty mega-joules. Let’s ram one up them Gray's
bungholes. That should stop things up and make them very
for a while.” everyone laughed nervously. Lazarus
continued, “But once we plug their hole all hell will break
loose. We’ll have a fight on our hands, but first they have to
find us. They’ll be able to trace where the missile came from and
target our position.”
“Klaatu, can you
make a jump quick enough to evade any shots they might get off?” Trey
asked his intelligence.
“I can, Captain,
but once we engage in battle it will be more difficult for me to target
and fire our cannons without them getting a good fix on us. Our
shields will protect us, but not if I’m firing. I have to cancel
the shields long enough to get off a shot. The only way I can do
both is if you assign manual gunners.”
“I’m aware of
that, but I can’t assign gunners. I never considered we’d need
them. We left our best gunners on Mars. Do your best,
buddy. Is the missile armed and ready?”
Sir. Strange, I never imagined cyber-circuits could itch.” Klaatu
tossed off as a funny aside, “By your command, Captain.” Klaatu
commanded quietly as if it were the deadliest way he could express
From the belly
of the Banshee burst forth a missile which traveled so fast, if you
weren’t paying close attention you would have missed it completely, but
no one missed the flash and the explosion. Neither did anyone
miss the area around the warp implode and suck a huge number of Gray
ships into the gravitational field the resulting gravatic well produced
by the collapse. Their deaths were instantaneous as their
spaceships were crushed to a size smaller than a water molecule in the
implosion. In essence, they winked out for their last time, never
to wink on again in another dimension. Klaatu immediately jumped
position before the missile impacted. He was so fast their
computers couldn’t get a fix on the Banshee’s position.
there’s more where they came from.” lamented Lazarus quietly.
right, all hell broke loose. The Gray ships began to act like a
hive of killer bees searching for the culprit who just destroyed their
dimensional gateway and a third of their ships in a single blow.
Their instruments couldn’t detect the Banshee. The more they
searched the more frustrated they seemed to become. There
was a certain comfort in that for Captain Vinceeth. He found
their frustration perversely gratifying. Ships that were shooting
at the whales rose up from the atmosphere to join the others in their
search. It gave the poor creatures a respite from their
slaughter. It soon became clear, the Grays intended to wipe out
all of the whales.
Klaatu!” Trey ordered his evolved intelligence and laser fire began to
from the Banshee from numerous ports. Klaatu took out another
third of the ships. Everyone cheered as another would burst into
flames or be blown to bits. Klaatu would jump after each volley
from the Banshee’s laser cannons, but after the third round one of the
Gray ships got a fix and fired off a lucky shot. Klaatu didn’t
his shields back up quickly enough and the resulting blast knocked out
his targeting computers. The Banshee was robbed of its stingers.
Captain, it was a lucky shot.” Klaatu apologized.
right, Kay! Can you bypass them someway?”
“No, Sir, but
they will still operate manually.” he allowed.
gunners do you need, Captain?” the Admiral asked.
“As many as I
Goodnight, how many gunners we got?” Lazarus barked.
around, grinned real big and made a rough count.
Maybe twenty, Sir.”
“What do you
mean, Son?” Trey challenged his mate.
invader program is nothing more than a simulated firing program from
our ship’s computer. She predicted one day it would come in
handy. All us men have been trained on it since we could operate
a joy stick. The coyotes and their brothers are the highest
scoring shots on Earth. They’re lethal. Ping and Pong can
hook the coyote’s lap tops into Klaatu’s targeting computers and you
fifteen, maybe more, expert gunners.”
“Make it so!”
ordered Captain Vinceeth.
The cowboys got
their little brothers out of their seats and took them to the mess
hall. They gathered their lap tops and set them before
them. Ping and Pong already tapped into Klaatu’s targeting
computer, and they were ready. Waco and his brothers including
Ping, Pong, Jack, Jill and several others including Darryl went to the
ships gunnery row, strapped themselves in and on the Captain’s order
began to shoot down the enemy ships. Waco was right. The
coyotes were running on pure adrenalin, and they were deadly.
There was much cheering and jactitation about how many they were
killing, but their computers didn’t lie. It was keeping their
tallies just like the game and when all the enemy ships were destroyed,
each coyotes killed more than any other gunner on the ship. They
were the heroes of the moment, but their joy was short lived as Trey
ordered Klaatu to return to the surface to reevaluate the
damage. From their angle
of trajectory upon approaching the planet they came upon the sundower
group of whales. The slaughter was almost as bad as the
sunrise herd but not quite. Both the large bulls Gongorealgun and
his son, Gonzoxanthullii, were still managing to stay afloat in the
atmosphere. They suffered minor wounds but they would
Many cows and young lay on the surface and the din of sorrow and pain
was almost more than the passengers of the Banshee could bear.
Captain Vinceeth addressed the handsome bull. “What can we say
but we are terribly sorry for what has happened.”
are appreciated, Captain Vinceeth, but you and your crew’s heroic
efforts to remove the threat to us will forever be remembered by our
specie. Your kindness and bravery will never be forgotten.”
“I don’t know if
there’s anything we can do to help you other than what we’ve done to
eradicate the problem. We can promise there will be no more of
the Gray’s ships coming to kill you for sometime. In the meantime
we will work with your world's government to help them with better
protection for themselves and your species.”
suffered great losses, we are extremely grateful to you for saving us,
Captain. How have our brothers
faired? We get only bits and pieces of information from them.”
“We don’t know
yet. You are the first we’ve visited. We saw them on our
way out, and it looked bad. We haven’t been able to make contact
with Chuchulack or Chacheellian. We will notify you immediately
when we know anything.”
“It would be
greatly appreciated, Captain. They are our grand sires and dames,
cousins, brothers and sisters. Though we are separated for better
grazing purposes, we are still family.”
Gongorealgun. Peace be with you.” Trey said with a crack in
his voice like the carnage he was witnessing was about to break the big
warrior in half.
“May the love
and protection of the ancients be with you and your family, Captain.”
Gongorealgun blessed him.
Klaatu to leave the area and head for the sunrise group. They
upon a scene of destruction and despair straight out of Dante’s inferno
or one of Hieronymus Bosch’s panels, the terrors of hell, from the
Garden of Earthly Delights. Ranger and Bo spied Chacheellian
barely floating. He seemed to be all right, but he was fighting a
losing battle trying desperately to hold up a cow who was shot through
her bladder and not able to sustain her buoyancy. It was obvious
to all she was done for, but Chacheellian was bravely trying to support
her while he, himself, had major wounds in his side. He must have
been in terrible pain and was suffering greatly. He sensed the
coming near and shuddered at first. He thought it might be
another Gray ship returning, but he soon felt the wave of sympathy and
concern coming from the passengers inside and knew the ship was
“I managed to
get parts of your conversation with our brother, Captain. I wish
to thank you for your bravery in coming to our defense.”
brothers do for each other, Chacheellian.” said Trey. There
wasn’t a dry eye on board the Banshee. Everyone shared the
captain's sentiment for the big bull whale.
broadcasting to the surface, Son?” Lazarus whispered to Darryl.
Admiral. It’s a direct feed. I am censoring nothing.
They must see this. Venus needs to know they must learn to
protect the treasure of the limited species who share their world.”
They said their
goodbyes to Chacheelian and flew on a bit further. Waco was the
first to see the horror they all didn’t want to see. On the
surface, lying on the bodies of several other whales was the most
handsome of all the bulls, Chuchulack. He was lying on his side,
but only one side was visible to them. He had a large hole in his
side and fluids were pouring from him. He was dying, but he was
still conscious enough he recognized the love and sympathy of his
friends in the Banshee. He tried in vain to raise his head to
look but could not.
“I’m so sorry
you have to see me this way. I’m afraid I have sung my last,
friends.” his weak voice tried to sound uplifting.
Chuchulack. We have faith in miracles. Is there anything we
can do for you, great friend?” the Captain asked.
“Ah, it would,
indeed, take a miracle to save me, my friends. I don’t know what
you folks are capable of, but if love be the fount of miracles, if any
specie could bring me one, I have faith it would be you. I heard
my brother, Gongorealgun and my son thank you for removing the threat
from us. I must add my appreciation. At least I will die
knowing my herd and family will survive. We have not been wiped
out as a specie.”
nothing but silence on the ship. From the largest to the smallest
there was nothing but abject sorrow and heartfelt pain. There was
no shame in weeping. It was gut-wrenching to hear the big bull
talk about his end.
“How long do you
have, Chuchulack?” Trey asked softly.
“I don’t know,
Captain, I’ve never died before.” There was a slight hint of
mirth in his statement, and it caused several folks to smile.
Still it struck a bitter-sweet pang in everyone, and there was only
“I meant no
disrespect nor insensitivity, great friend.” Trey said quietly.
Captain. You are trying to understand if there is time for you to
construct a battle plan against death. It’s an admirable
trait. Our brains or consciousness continues on long after our
bodies are dissolved by the harsh atmosphere and swept away by the
winds. We are still able to hear and communicate with our ancient
relatives for centuries after their physical bodies have
deteriorated. We don’t know why or how it
“Perhaps we can
find someone on Venus who can tell us. We will return to Venus
port and consult with the Venusians. We’ll see what we can do for
“There was one
Venusian, many years ago, who had exceptional hearing and musical
capabilities. He was one of the few who ventured out into our
world to learn more about us. We still hear from him from time to
time, but his voice has grown weaker over the last several
His name is Professor Henri Wankle. Look to your young,
Captain. They are empowered. Let them lead you. Look
to your mate. He hears the voices of all the Ancients. His
powers are in their infancy. Admiral, look to your sons.
All four of your coyotes are empowered. They are full of
themselves, but they have the best of hearts. Cowboys, look
within yourselves. Compared to us you are physically small; yet,
you are bigger than you think. Our symbiotes are smaller than
you, but we could not live without them.” Chuchulack’s voice
trailed off like it was too great an effort for him to continue.
The Captain bid a fond farewell to the gigantic beast and ordered
to move the Banshee away from the scene of destruction.
“Set us in a low
orbit, Klaatu.” Captain Vinceeth ordered his evolved intelligence.
Sir.” replied Klaatu. There was a noticable crack in his voice.
“A meeting for
all crew, officers, passengers and guests on the mess deck in
ten!” ordered Trey.
Captain.” several were heard to respond.
Darryl not to include this meeting in his videos to the planet as it
was to be
among him, the crew and passengers, but he did want it recorded for a
historical record. Darryl understood and
agreed. When everyone was gathered Trey stood before them.
He looked out upon a gathering of sad, sober faces.
“As you know, I
am the captain of a vessel of war. When it comes to battle, I
will step up and take charge. We won today without a casualty,
and I can’t tell you how gratifying our victory was to me after
suffering almost total defeat from the Gray’s before. For all our
new and improved technology, of which we are grateful, I still couldn’t
have done it without your help. I’m damn proud of all of you,
especially my gunnery crew. I’m still trying to get a grip on how
quickly you men dispatched a large fleet of Gray ships. Well
done, men, and a very special thanks and well done to Klaatu.
There will be time for celebration later. Right now, we have a
greater emergency. Part of being a
leader is knowing when to admit defeat or knowing when you have few if
any answers. That’s when you call on your crew for input.
This is an open forum. I’m open for suggestions from the least to
the greatest among you. No one will be ridiculed for any question
or thought, from any specie. If you have an idea or
comment, no matter how dumb you might think it is, I want to hear
Desperate times call for desperate measures. I
certainly don’t have all the answers when it comes to what we just
saw. Lately, my vision has become clouded with emotions, and I
can’t always see clearly. Maybe it has something to do with being
in love. I don’t know for sure, but what I do know is part of our
extended family, the giant beasts we have all come to love, have
suffered greatly. What are we going to do about it other than
eliminating the enemy? What are we going to do to help
them? What can we do to alleviate some of their pain or
suffering? Work with me! Give me something, family!
Before we dock again at Venus space port I need a workable plan to put
before the Venusians to help save our friends. It can’t all be
our effort. It’s their world, and we must include them. If
we don’t get them involved, they will never become self-sufficient in
the husbandry of their planet. If they want to be responsible for
and protect the treasure they have in the whales then they must put
forth an effort. If we have to use trading our technology for
their cooperation, so be it.”
hear!” agreed the Admiral, “Well spoken, Captain. We’re
behind you all the way.” Everyone agreed with the Admiral.
Hands and paws
went up all over the room.
know anything about the biology of the whales?” asked Maxine.
little one! I know what your getting at. Surely the
Venusian know all about them.” Trey answered.
“Don’t bet on
it, Captain.” spoke up Darryl. “I seriously doubt there is
any written information on them. I don’t remember ever seeing
anything other than pictures of them when I was in school, and the
pictures were not photographs, they were hand drawings.”
right! While that may not be helpful, it’s information we need to
know. Anything else you can tell us about them, Son?”
Only they are composed of silicone and have a totally different life
structure from carbon based life forms.” Darryl replied,
embarrassed he didn’t know more about the fauna of his birth world.
The meeting went
on for almost an hour. Jubal suggested they get into suits and
get out there among them. If little was known, it was the only
way they were going to find out about them. Lazarus put the
kibosh on that idea right away, but soon saw he was fighting a losing
“When will they
be old enough to face what we’re up against?” Charlie smiled as he
asked Lazarus quietly. Lazarus knew he was cornered. Waco,
Lucas and their brothers were only a little older than the coyotes when
they the were forced to step up and begin to accept responsibilities
greater than their years. “If not now, when?” continued Charlie.
fly.” laughed Arlen. “I hate to see it as much as you, but them
boys is special. They can handle it. Look what they done to
them Grays. They’ve earned their chance. Their brothers and
everyone of them warriors will be watching them. The first sign
of danger, they’ll have their backs covered.”
“Have I become
that much of a broody mother hen?” Lazarus lamented rhetorically.
Bryce, “I’ve watched it since you took on Lucas. You’d
still be wiping his butt if he asked you.” everyone laughed.
“I guess I
deserved that. You’re right, Son, I would and have on
occasion. I’d do anything for him. Ain’t nothing comes out
of that boy what ain’t sweet, no ways.” Lazarus finished with an
irreverent cowboy bullshit garnish.
“Let ‘em go,
Admiral. Give them boys their chance. Look what it done for
my grandson.” allowed the Chief.
right! I know when I’m licked.” Lazarus spoke directly to
the coyotes, “If you men can figure out a way to get suits made for
you, I’ll agree to let you go along with your brothers. You done
proved your mettle this afternoon, and I’m proud of you.”
Dad.” said Jubal. “We already done asked Klaatu if he could
downsize and replicate one a them big warrior suits. He scanned
us and is ready to go on what he calls his micro-mini-munchkin
“Okay, I should
a’ know’d better, but I was hoping you men wouldn’t figure it
out.” Lazarus grimaced. His companions laughed at his
serious from that point on. They set out a plan to learn
everything they could about the whales and gather all the information
they could as quickly as possible. They decided not to confront
the Venusians with what they might plan to do. They would just
let the world watch and see what efforts they were making to save the
whales. They would issue an open invitation for them to get in
their ships and come out to join them in their rescue operation.
If they were leading the way, it was Lazarus’ and Trey’s guess the
people of Venus would pressure their government to make an effort to
assist their friends. Darryl approved of their plan and thought
it just might work, but he added one interesting, final bit of
Admiral.... the man Chuchulack spoke of is an old man who tried to tell
people about the whales for years. He claimed to be able to hear
them and talk with them. Everyone thought he was crazy. He
was finally committed to a mental institution. Funny thing is,
he’s an albino like me. The name ‘Wankle’ became synonymous with
crazy folks. If you want to say someone is crazy, you say he’s a
bit of a ‘wankle.’ Today, we know we can communicate with them,
but poor Professor Wankle probably still resides in an institution.”
* * * * * * *
landing instructions from Venus space-port and once again allowed their
computer to take over the landing of the Banshee. This time they
were met by every dignitary and had to have armed guards to keep the
throngs of people back who were cheering and wanting to get a glimpse
of the heroes who saved their world and their whales. Captain
Vinceeth and the Admiral went to a podium. Trey wanted to
dispense with political speeches and get down to business. He
wanted to be able to leave the port again within the hour. Trey
offered the Admiral the senior position of speaking for them.
Lazarus smiled and told him he was doing fine.
citizens of Venus.” the Captain spoke loud and strong, “We greatly
appreciate your welcome, but our job is not finished. We have
much work to do to save as many of our friends on the surface as
possible. Please understand, there will be time for celebration
and rejoicing after we have done everything we can for
them. We need to know about the biology of the whales. Is
there an authority on your world who can give us any information about
them? We need this information as soon as possible.” Trey pleaded.
One of the
dignitary’s personal aids stepped froward. It was a young, pretty
“My name is
Delfee McNair. My great uncle claims to know about the
whales. I am his guardian. I have all his papers.
He’s long been thought to be mentally ill because of his beliefs.
I’ve read through his work and lately I’ve begun to question whether
he’s crazy or not. I will be happy to take you to him and with
his permission provide you with copies of his work.”
“Is his name
Henri Wankle?” asked Trey.
“Yes, Sir, it
is.” she replied with some surprised.
We’d like to speak with Professor Wankle as soon as possible.
We’ll send our mutual ambassador, Darryl, to him.”
Darryl. My uncle speaks of him often. I guess he’s seen him
on the vid-tube.”
interrupted Captain Vinceeth.
“We don’t have
time to interview him, Captain. Have them bring him to the
ship. Can you meet us at the space port dock with his papers,
Admiral. I’ll leave for home immediately. My uncle is
ambulatory, but I don’t know how sound his mind is right now. He
has his good days and bad.”
we have him and his information as soon a possible. Any delay and
lives will be lost.” added Captain Vinceeth.
Nothing the men
of the Banshee could have asked for would have been denied them.
Several dignitaries got their heads together and arranged for an
ambulance to transport Professor Henri Wankle to the Banshee in the
space port. They sent armed guards with a police escort to
accompany Miss McNair to her apartment in the city and return her to
the Banshee. Captain Vinceeth and Lazarus said hasty ‘goodbyes’
to the dignitaries and told them they would be leaving immediately
after getting Professor Wankle on board. They would send video
feed directly to them of what rescue efforts they were trying to
do. Trey also added they were certainly free to join them with
their ships and what men and equipment they could spare. It would
be a huge job to try to save some of the whales so the more help they
got the more they could save. The crowds were disappointed but
admired the off-worlders for their dedication and commitment to a
specie so foreign to them.
A dazed and
befuddled Henri Wankle was wheeled out of an ambulance at the
space-port. He looked like he was heavily drugged. Through
his fog he recognized Darryl and smiled at him. Shortly after his
arrival his niece arrived with his life’s work. She had about ten
large file boxes containing his work. She looked somewhat
instructed to invite you to join us, Miss McNair.” Darryl requested of
her surrounded by his cowboy brothers.
“I’ve never been
on a spaceship before.” she seemed uncertain.
“It’s like a
floating hotel, Miss McNair. I promise, you’ll enjoy it.
We’ll bring you back. There is no longer any threat from the
Grays. There won’t be for sometime. We destroyed their
entryway to our solar system, and it will take them a good while to
create another. We are only going to be setting down on the
surface, and you will have a first hand look at what we plan to
accomplish. Besides, we think your uncle might be a little more
calm if you were to join us.” urged Captain Waco Goodnight.
cleared it with the First Minister. You will be paid full
salary by your government the whole time.” encouraged Darryl.
well. Is it all right with you if I come along, Uncle Henri?”
“Of course it
is, child.” answered Professor Wankle quietly.
wasn’t an old man by Venusian standards. Venusians generally
lived double the life span of a human, but this man looked to be in his
early sixties. They boarded the Banshee and took off.
Vivian Steele took Delfee under her wing and escorted her to the
observation deck for liftoff. She helped strap her in her seat,
then strapped herself in. There were any number of other folks
join them on the observation deck to stay out of the way of the
bridge. The bridge would be the focal point of all activities and
would be chaos after they landed. Those on the observation deck
were situated above the bridge and operations decks. They had a
three hundred-sixty degree viewing panorama and would miss
nothing. Delfee thought it was so strange being among other
species who were traveling together like they were family. It was
unusual, but in a way she found it refreshing, because they all seemed
to get along and be genuinely concerned for each other. Several
came to her to introduced themselves and inquired if they could be of
help. She particularly liked the dogs. She had seen them on
videos for several years and wondered if they were real. They all
came to her to welcome her and wish her well. She was amused when
she asked Larry and Shep why they were wearing headbands, and they told
her they were members of the Banshee's crew. They had been sent
Captain Vinceeth to welcome her, to see to her comfort and well being
and to guard her at all times.
The medics on
board the Banshee whisked Henri Wankle away to their sickbay.
Waiting for him was a team of medics including Cable and his men.
They took blood samples to find out what drugs he had in his
system. It took only minutes for a readout from the
machine. They immediately shot him up with mild counteractive
drugs and some that would flush them all from his system. Ping
gave him a whiff of one of her special pheromones that made him alert
and feeling better than he had in years. Darryl and the cowboys
slowly walked him to the bridge. After meeting the Captain
and Admiral he sat with the cowboys as the Banshee began to move about
the destruction. They could see the still smoldering remains of
many Gray vessels that had spun out of control and crashed onto the
surface. There were bodies of the Grays and bits and pieces of
their torsos and limbs strewn about the landscape. It was a
behold. Everyone gasp as they came upon the first bodies of the
whales. Some were still alive trying to move about to orient
themselves, but they couldn’t as most of their bladders were punctured
and they couldn’t take in the gases they needed to maintain
buoyancy. Professor Wankle became more and more animated.
He became fascinated with Trey’s interaction with the onboard evolved
intelligence. There was more to their exchanges than
man relating to a machine. The Captain almost seemed to have a
respect and admiration for the intelligence. Dare he even
almost an affection? Captain Vinceeth treated the ship’s
intelligence more like a crew member than a
machine. Henri asked Captain Waco about it.
“There’s a good
reason for it, Professor Wankle. At the core of Klaatu’s
intelligence is the brain of a human, Sir. It’s kept alive by
artificial means. If all his needs are met, he can live for
several thousand years. He was my Godfather when he was in his
physical body on Earth. His body deteriorated so badly from age
and disease it expired, but he wished for his brain to be used as the
core intelligence for this vessel. From what he tells me, he
happier. He is very much a member of the crew. He controls
everything on the ship.”
much devastation they came upon Chuchulack again.
“Ah, you have
returned, Captain Vinceeth. I knew you would, and you have
brought an old friend whom we have not been able to communicate with
for several years. Welcome, Professor Wankle. It’s so good
to feel your presence again even if I am unable to be at my best.”
The old man was
overcome with joy and grief. He obviously had great sentimental
feelings for Chuchulack and his herd.
“Old friend, I
hate to see what they have done to you. Likewise, it is a great
joy to see and hear you once again. We have been separated for
too many years. These kind folks have brought me to you with
hopes my knowledge will help them help you. I will do my best.”
“We can ask for
no more, Henri. Have you come to bring us a miracle the
Visallians and Humans speak of?”
“It is a miracle
I am standing here speaking with you, great one. We will do our
landed the Banshee near the group of wounded whales. Since the
area was so rocky Klaatu had to deploy the quartet of landing
skid-boots. He sat the Banshee down gently. Impact with the
planet’s surface was absorbed by the big springs attached to the
legs. The huge mega-ton ship was like a feather settling to the
landing, friend.” Trey said softly to Klaatu.
Captain. Glad to be of service.” he responded.
The old man
almost cried when the Captain ordered his first mate to open the right
conference area off the bridge. Commander Maddragon hit a
computer key and an entire wall simply vanished like a liquid running
down into a gutter and away to a holding tank. To one side, out
of the way, in a well lighted area, was a work station set up just for
him with his boxes of research and stored data. Assisted by
Darryl and several of the cowboys Henri made his way to the area.
He gently ran his hands over his collected life’s work with the
reverence of prelate inspecting holy relics.
“No one believed
me all these years.” he moaned softly, “No one would even look at my
research.” He muttered as he moved from box to box. Travis
handed him a hot cup of andromachious cider. (a mild, sweet
stimulant much like sassafras on Earth.) He took it and smiled at
the good looking young human who handed it to him.
“We will believe
you, Sir.” Travis encouraged him, “We need to know about the whales
biology. What can you tell us about them? Can we help them?”
The old man
began to speak, tossing out bits and pieces of information which
prompted other questions. As he answered question after question,
he would move from one box to another to refer to notes and
drawings. He was a fount of knowledge about the huge
creatures. He was the miracle of information they were hoping
for. Darryl was filming everything, not only for posterity but
also for information for their computer banks.
* * * * * * *
landed.” spoke Larry, “Everyone may remove their seat belts and may
move about the area. Please, we ask that no one leave the
observation deck. You would only get in the way, and the men
don’t have time for that right now.” he said in an official
manner. Delfee was impressed the two dogs with the headbands were
very much official members of the crew. Shep continued.
“Refreshments for all will be served in a few minutes. I know it
will be difficult to enjoy yourselves at a time like this but remember,
must replenish our body’s nutrients and liquids to keep us active and
alert in a time of crisis. We don’t know when we’ll be able to
Vivian Steele spoke to Delfee, “we have several hot beverages available
which will offer you a mild stimulation.” Delfee was impressed.
* * * * * * *
“Is there some
way we can repair our great friend, Professor Wankle?” asked
layers are nothing more than a silicate gel made solid by silicon and
various lightweight metals. They take in silicon from the surface
blowing into their baleens. Internally, they take the lighter
metals they ingest and combine them with rare-Venusian (rare-earth)
salts to make a buoyant melange which completes their outside skin.”
Ranger Jr. was heard to say under his breath.
picked up Jubal.
“We can put them
together again!” exclaimed young Cable.
their older brother, Lucas.
“We got silicon
glue onboard by the bucketful. We got sailcloth for
bandages. What we ain’t got, Klaatu can manufacture for us.”
coyote Bo insisted.
inflation? They can’t get enough input of gases on the surface.”
Threw out Henri Wankle.
problem. We got huge squirrel-cage gas expulsion blowers on the
ship to regulate air flow in emergencies. They can blow in as
well as out.” said Commander Maddragon.
“What about the
whale’s symbiotes? Will they be a problem?” asked Bo.
“I don’t think
so, Son. It’s been my experience the small hominids are
intelligent and the crabs will only attack if they think their free
ride and meal ticket is being threatened. You might even get some
cooperation from them.” explained Henri. He was becoming
more and more animated. He asked for another cup of the tea
Travis gave him earlier. He rolled up the sleeves of his hospital
nightgown like he was just beginning to go to work.
spoke Captain Waco, “It’s time for us to suit up.”
out there?” asked Professor Wankle.
All of us. Even our little brothers have earned the right to go
with us. We need every hand we can get.” said Little Bear.
“I only wish I
could go with you.”
Sir. Trust us, professor, you are a far greater value to us here
where we can ask you questions and get your advice if we need it.
You have a screen here to see our every action. If you see us
doing something questionable, you can let us know.” assured Captain
had been in the background observing, being quiet as usual. Henri
looked at the cowboy who was a double for Captain Waco. He
“There are two
beings inside you. I hear a being like a whale and another like
Captain Waco. How is that possible?” he asked with a bemused look
on his face.
“We are a clone
of our brother Captain Waco. We are an exact physical duplicate
as you can see, but we were created to allow another silicon life-form
more mobility. Unlike the whales, the silicon intelligence inside
us never evolved locomotion. When the silicon entity, Blue, was
implanted into this body they never counted on another, separate entity
developing within the clone. Thus we are two living in the same
body. I am Indigo and my symbiotic brother is Blue.”
Organic brains piloting spaceships and two separate, distinct species
inhabiting one body? I have to know more. I think you
people have only scratched the surface of what it possible here.
I can’t say more right now, but if I’m right, because of your altruism
and generosity, you may have stumbled upon a door to the future you
never could have imagined.”
The whales were
ambushed just at the twilight of sunrise. It was their preferred
area to travel in. If temperatures were still moderate enough
they encountered neither the discomfort from the cold of the Venusian
night nor the heat of the day. They traveled from the darkness
into the light as their brothers on the other side of the world
traveled into the darkness. It would still be another four or
five Earth days before the sun was high enough to cause them or the
humans much discomfort. Everyone volunteered to suit up to go
onto the surface to help. Lazarus decided it would be too many
and it would be too much confusion to allow everyone to go at
once. He allowed only a group of
about twenty men to go ashore first, including the coyotes. They
were under strict orders to obey Commander Maddragon, their older
brothers Lucas and Waco and their Uncle Shane. There was just
enough light to see from the coming dawn, but Trey requested Klaatu
on the outside floods on the front perimeter of the ship. The
area was flooded in light. Everyone on the observation deck could
get a better look at the carnage. It looked like an
abattoir. They were very quite in reverence for the plight of the
massive creatures. Walking was slow in the suits but a bit easier
than walking on Earth because of the slightly reduced gravity.
They approached the huge bull whale, Chuchulack.
“We are here
next to you, great one.” said Waco to him.
“I feel your
presence. What do you plan to do?”
“We need to
crawl around on you to pull your parts together. We have
chemical compounds which may be able to bond you back together again.”
“I am wounded on
both sides. I don’t see how that would be possible.”
“Will you trust
us, father Chuchulack?”
course. You have already done more for us than anyone
before. I would be honored to have you crawl around on me.”
The men of the
Banshee got busy and made plans to step by step force the torn parts of
the great whale’s body back together. They flew hovercrafts from
the ship and attached large hooks to portions of Chuchulack’s flesh
which were attached to synthetic ropes of high strength. They
attached them to the rear of the hovercrafts and would slowly bring
them into place. The coyotes had Klaatu replicate old time
paint rollers and attached them to long poles. They got buckets
of the silicon glue and would paint each edge. It dried quickly,
but caused a strong bond when the parts were brought together.
flesh of the whales proved to be a surprise to everyone. It was
much more soft, tinsel, and nacreous than they might have
imagined. When they walked on the surface it gave like one was
walking on foam rubber. The coyotes watched for the crabs and the
small hominids. They saw many of them, but none seemed interested
in trying to confront the workers. It’s almost like they sensed
these folks were trying to help their symbiotes. They stood on the side
away from the work and looked on like they were stunned.
It took about an
hour to pull the side of Chuchulack back together. They explained
to the great beast they were going to apply a bandage that would wear
away after he healed properly. They brought out the sail cloth
and unwound bolt after bolt. The coyotes were coating the entire
surface of the wounded area and the other men would lay the sail cloth
on in overlapping strips. Somewhat hampered by their suits, the
boys were having a devil of a time cutting the cloth into the proper
lengths. It was heavyweight canvas used in old-time sailing
ships. One of the crabs saw the trouble they were having and
stepped forward. The boys didn’t know what to think. It
simply went to the cloth, took his huge claw and cut though it like it
was hot butter. The boys gave a cheer. The creature seemed
pleased with itself and scurried away. From then on the crabs
lined up to help, and the coyotes gladly showed them what they
wanted. Another hour and they had one side of Chuchulack
bandaged. Out of the ship came another contingent of men in
spacesuits with several more surface crafts with a couple of large
“You have become
our test subject, great father. How are you feeling now that
we’ve closed you wounded side, Sir?” Waco checked with Chuchulack.
to me have been wonderful, my son. There is something in the
ointment the young coyotes are spreading on me that seems to be
analgesic. It has taken away my pain on that side. I feel
much better, thank you.” he sounded less depressed than he was
“The time for
truth is here, Sir. We must ask you to open your mouth so we
might move atmosphere into you. We have large machines that will
fill you with the surrounding gases much like you might experience
while airborne. Once you begin to lift, you must help us by
flopping over on the side we just bandaged so we may fix the other
side. Do you think you can do that?" Shane spoke to him.
imagined one day my size and clumsiness might be a blessing. I’m
an expert at flopping. Please make sure everyone
helping is well clear of my body.” Chuchulack made humor in
the midst of a terrible situation. Everyone saw his comment as a
sign of hope. The men set up the huge blowers and the minute
Chuchulack felt the air moving against his face he opened wide his
enormous mouth. He began to fill with atmosphere.
I can feel it, my friends. It is giving me some relief. It
will take some time. Can you help others while I’m
filling?” he asked thinking of his herd.
“We already have
teams doing the same for several others, Sir. We’ll try to get to
as many as we can.” Waco assured him.
indeed, miracle workers, Captain Waco. The Ancients chose well
for you to represent them.”
“I don’t know
about that, great father, but I know they instructed me to take good
care of you and your family. I am only fulfilling a promise I
made to them. You are important to us.” Waco assured him.
The men could
see Chuchulack’s side beginning to swell. It went from concave to
convex. All of a sudden the great beast shuddered and there came
an explosive sound that shook the ground and caused a great wind to
exhaust from the whale’s rear area. Great clouds of dust could be
seen rising. Several crabs and small hominids who didn’t get out
of the way quickly enough were blown off their feet. They didn’t
seem hurt as they picked themselves up and scurried away.
“What, the hell,
was that?!” exclaimed Lucas. There came great laughter over the
intercoms of their suits.
“I forgot to
tell you,” came the voice of Professor Wankle, “bladder whales
fart.” Everyone fell out laughing. “When they take in
atmosphere, they retain the sweet, lighter gases which make them
they expel the rest. It will take a bit longer than you
originally thought to fill him to the point of buoyancy. In the
meantime, stay away from his anal area.”
It took several
hours before the huge creature began to lift off the ground. He
to hold himself to a side position, but once he lifted off the ground
the men could see him losing his volume quickly from his other
side. He make one great leap and flopped onto his bandaged
side. A great cheer went up from the men.
great father!” Waco sent to him.
“Ah, but once
again I am deflated.” he moaned like he was feeling defeated.
Sir. You are not down for long. You have given us new
hope.” Waco tried to encourage him.
The men went to
work. In another couple of hours they hooked up the blowers and
began to fill him again. This time there were no leaks and the
huge whale began to lift from the surface. Darryl was making sure
all of their actions were being broadcast to the people of Venus.
Every man, woman and child were glued to their video-screens.
they weren’t they were calling their politicians wanting to know where
they could go to get onboard their remaining space ships to get out
there and help their friends. As Chuchulack rose higher and
higher into the atmosphere, he could see the lights from the four
remaining Venusian ships heading their way.
“Ah, my friends,
more help is on the way. My faith in our world has been
restored.” he sang to his saviors.
End of Chapter
51 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2008 ~