The videos of
the fearless men of the Banshee working their butts off to repair the
huge bull leader of the sunrise group of bladder whales were
overwhelming to the Venusians. They only had three vessels they
considered space worthy, but they managed to get a fourth one
going. It was loaded with men in spacesuits. They had some
supplies of their own, but prevailed upon the generosity of the Captain
and Admiral to provide them with some things they didn’t have.
Captain Vinceeth was only too happy to oblige them. The Venusian
world government decided to place their four vessels under the command
of Captain Vinceeth and Admiral Long to coordinate the rescue
operations of the whales. After the Venusians got a crash course
in bladder whale repair and bandaging, Captain Vinceeth dispatched
three of their ships to rendezvous with the sunset group and start
helping them. He retained the older
of the four ships to remain with the Banshee and organized four more
work groups. With the added
help, the work was going along much faster. Working together the
men of the five ships managed to repair a majority of the wounded
so grateful to be able to rest his burden of carrying a large
cow. He was thrilled to hear his father was in flight again and
he was actually singing to keep up the spirits of the wounded and
dying. The large cow was afraid, but after she saw the men
carefully repair and bandage several of her sisters and their calves,
she decided she’d let them work on her. They patched her up in a
short period of time and then began work on Chacheellian.
Lazarus and Trey
decided they would work four crews. Any more than that at one
time would be chaos. Each crew would be allowed to work for six
hours at a time. Three would be working on separate victims and
the fourth crew would rotate back to their respective ships for rest,
relaxation and nourishment. It worked well. Depending on
the severity of their wounds, it took, on an average, about four hours
to repair, bandage and get one of the big creatures airborne. The
smaller calves took less time as they generally weren’t hurt as bad as
their mothers. Wankle said it was probably because when the
shooting started they hid under or behind their parents.
The men worked
around the clock at their appointed shifts. Captain Vinceeth and
Lazarus would have to threaten them with their lives to get them to
knock off work and come to the ship at the end of their allotted work
period. They put in four solid shifts each which amounted to
about two Earth days. They were beginning to tire, but they could
see the light at the end of the tunnel. Several thought they were
about three quarters of the way to having those they could repair
up and flying. Some were beyond repair. There wasn’t much
they could do for them except comfort them. The cowboys were
raised to believe it was the humane thing to put an animal out of its
misery if it was severely wounded and couldn’t be repaired, but they
softened their opinion when they saw the miracles Cable and his
staff accomplished with animals. It was discussed during
their break periods about what to do for those they couldn’t save.
“We have no
choice but to make them as comfortable as possible and let nature take
its course.” advised Jesse Watkins. Besides, what man among you
could pull the trigger?” He didn’t have to say more. There
wasn’t a man there who could raise his hand to his
On the third
twenty-four hour period, as the men stood and watched one of
Chuchulack’s heifers begin to lift from the ground they took a break to
stand together for a few moments to appreciate the success and enormity
of their work. Every man had his arm around a brother or friend
in comradery. They were tired, but proud of their achievement
under what seemed like impossible odds when they began. With
teamwork and cooperation they accomplished a miracle. It was a
strong bonding moment. They looked over and smiled to see the
hominids and the crabs mimicking their closeness. They had their
big claws and arms around each other like they were sharing in the
moment. You could feel the affection coming from them. The
coyotes were beginning to communicate with the hominids. They
kept getting the equivalent in their heads of,
Good! Good! You men do good for our great fathers and
mothers. We are grateful. Crabs grateful, too. We
hear them. We can’t speak their language, but we know when they
are pleased and when they are unhappy... enough to coexist in peace.
were very protective of their great host, but when they saw the men of
the Banshee were trying to help their friends, they offered them no
resistance. Every now and then the men would come upon a
spacecraft of the aliens which was shot down and crashed on the
surface. Some were blasted apart, but several were fully intact,
only incapacitated. Sometimes, there were bodies of the Grays
lying about and in several cases four of five crewmen were still alive
in their craft. The men of the Banshee were told not to
come in contact with them under any circumstances. They certainly
were not to offer them any assistance or medical care. If they
were exposed to the surface they would die quickly enough, but if they
were still in their ships they were to leave them as they found
them. They would perish in time.
It didn’t quite
work out that way. The crabs and the hominids would come upon
several lying around gasping for breath and would become an attack
force. The hominids would pick up huge stones and crush their
heads or the crabs would rush in and snip their heads off with their
sizable claws. They wouldn’t stop there. They would
continue until they were reduced to a mass of gray pulp. The
coyotes noticed that neither specie tried to eat one. The
professor theorized they might have some inner warning that told them
they were diseased and not to ingest any part of them. It was
later found out he was right. If the Grays were still in their
spaceships the hominids would pound the portholes with rocks until they
broke them. Their sustainable air would rush out and they would
die of asphyxiation; or the crabs would attack the metallic seams of
the ship with their vice like claws until they managed to get
inside. Once they breached the ship the Grays were dead within a
matter of minutes. It was not pretty to watch, but it was a fact
of life. It was a sobering and maturing experience for
everyone. No one blamed the symbiotes for their anger, rage and
the frustration they took out on the wounded and dying Grays.
* * * * * * *
In every rescue
effort there is usually one person who stands out as being the most
together, organized and accomplished of all the men. Shane was
that man on Venus. He seemed to have a sixth sense about what to
do and how to go about it. If anyone had any quesions they began
to refer one another to Shane. While he was stoic and quiet, he
gave good advice that always worked, and he worked tirelessly
himself. He seemed to be everywhere at once and was never
too busy to give his advice or lend a helping hand to someone
else. Darryl quickly picked up on Shane's importance to the men
and his unofficial status of crew manager and followed him during most
of his shifts. Shane's selfless actions and strong will began to
define the heart and soul of the
rescue operations. When later interviewed by Darryl he was humble
and quiet spoken giving all the credit to those who worked closely with
him. He became the darling of Venus. It was one of
the few times Shane was allowed to be out in the universe without his
master and ramrod by his side. Bill Birdsall didn't want him to
go on the trip, but Angus overruled his foreman and thought it would be
good for Shane to get away with his brother and nephew. Birdsall
never said anything to Shane when he return but Angus was blown away by
the number of people who came to him to thank him for letting Shane go
with them. They assured him he should be proud to have Shane as a
slave and brother.
* * * * * * *
As the men stood
together sharing a brief moment of rest and comradery, Brett Jones
stood close to Basil and took his heavily gloved hand in his. He
pressed his person-to-person button and spoke to his friend.
accepted my invitation to accompany me to Mars did you ever, in your
wildest imaginings, consider we might be playing doctors, nurses and
saviors to such magnificent creatures?” he felt Basil lightly squeeze
his heavily gloved hand with his and chuckle.
“Never, in a
million years. It seems like we’ve come light years from what we
were only a short time ago on Earth, but I’m convinced we were meant to
be here. We were meant to be here together. As bizarre as
it all seems, the very strangest part I’m having a hard time fathoming
is why it all seems so right? Why? I don’t have a clue, but
even though my ass is dragging, I can’t imagine being anywhere else in
the universe other than where I am right now, standing here by your
side knowing we’re a part of something greater than ourselves. We
are only two, but together and with our friends we have something of
value to bring to a greater purpose in the universe than the petty
lives we we're living. When I saw the devastation before us I was
skeptical. I really didn’t have hope we’d be able to do much...
which just goes to prove that old song was right.”
“What song was
that?” Brett bit.
“You know... the
one that goes, ‘Ooops, there goes another rubber tree plant!’”
Basil sung. They shared a laugh. “But because of what we’re
doing and what we’ve accomplished, I know where I have to be, Officer
Jones. I know what role I have to play. There’s no doubt in
my mind anymore, no matter what the future of the universe has in store
“I hope it’s to
walk down the same road with me, Son, hand in hand.”
“If you’ll have
“Of course I’ll
have you. I would take you in my arms and kiss you right now, if
we weren’t in these damn suits.” Brett said with sincere affection and
over both their intercoms, followed by much laugher, cowboy
hoots and admonitions to 'get a room.' Basil failed to set his
suit to person-to-person and
everyone shared their moment of intimacy. The cowboys remained
silent for their conversation until that moment.
The men were
waiting for one of the hovercraft to come by, pick them up and take
them to the next whale needing attention. The coyotes were
trained in driving hovercraft in case an emergency situation required
them to know such a skill. Bo was piloting the craft as he
expertly maneuvered it next to his older cowboy brothers and sat it
down. Jubal was sitting next to him in the front seat.
Cable and Ranger Jr. were sitting behind. The cowboys piled in
the other seats. Jubal looked over to the gathering crowd of
crabs and hominids. There was one smaller hominid who seemed
really intelligent and helped the boys paint the silicon glue
onto the whales. They nicknamed him “Radar” because he was always
one step ahead of the boys. He looked longingly at Jubal.
Jubal motioned for him to come join him on the seat of the
hovercraft. The creature hesitated for only a moment then ran and
jumped into the seat next to him.
Jubal slowly and
carefully adjusted the seat belt around the hominid. Radar seemed
pleased and waved to his companions as Bo hit the accelerator for the
craft to lift and move slowly forward. After that, more of the
hominids came forward to help with the gluing. The coyotes became
crew bosses and showed them what to do. The work progressed even
faster. As the giant beasts became airborne many of the crabs and
hominids would scurry to get aboard their long, rope-like legs to begin
taking care of their host again. They would wave ‘goodbye’ to
their brothers, sisters and the men still working on other
whales. The groups standing around, observing and helping were
getting smaller. As the symbiotes climbed the huge rope-legs of
the repaired whales, Sam Stamper remarked they looked like they were
catching the last cable car for the rest of their lives. There
were still several crabs and hardcore hominids who stayed behind to
help. They would take the last whale the men could get
airborne. As the hovercraft
headed into the darkness of the planet’s night zone the coyotes could
see small flashing lights that looked like colored fireflies darting
about. They were puzzled, because they knew of no creature who
could produce such an effect.
have you men seen the rainbow lighting bugs?” young Cable asked him.
“Is that what
you men call them? Good name. They look like colored
fireflies on Earth. What do you think they are?” Waco asked.
“We ain’t got no
clue. We was hoping you’d know.” Jubal said.
“I have no
idea.” Waco responded.
“I might have an
idea.” came a voice over their intercoms. It was Professor
Wankle. “If you investigate you might find the lights are produced by
some of the silicon nodules lying about you mentioned before. You
said you thought they were eggs, but the whales are viviparous.
My first guess was they might be droppings, but that doesn’t seem
logical. They’re too perfectly formed for waste. I’m not
sure, but it might be a bioluminescence from the electrical energy
their brains give off when thinking or communicating. They claim
the thoughts and memories of their departed live on with them for many
years. They tell me they’re able to communicate and even sing
with them long after their body’s demise. I never understood why
or how this could be possible, but it’s beginning to make sense.
“You mean, you
think the flashes of light could be the still active brain casings or
nodules of the whales, Professor?” Waco asked.
“Once, a surface
scouting party brought me a couple of the silicon nodules. They
wanted me to tell them what they were. I had no idea, but I
subjected them to many test. They’re incredible. You should
find them crystal clear with a network of what looks like massive
clouds of super-thin webbing inside. I tried every known device
Venus to open them but couldn’t. The clear cases are several
thousand times harder than a carbon diamond. I even considered
they might be the undeveloped eggs of the crabs or the hominids, but
I’m sure the latter are proto-mammalians.”
wouldn’t lay eggs.” observed Lucas.
do!” exclaimed Ranger Jr., happy to contradict his more knowledgeable
older brother, “Yet, they suckle their young.” he added for good
“What is he
talking about?” asked the professor.
“On Earth we
have a small, strange creature that defies all the textbooks on specie
development. It’s a specie unto itself. Many scientist on
Earth think they could be a leftover from a time when reptiles began to
evolve into either mammals or birds, only it couldn’t quite make up its
mind what it wanted to be so it sort of mixed and matched. Its
technical name is Ornithorhynchus anatinus. The first part means
bird-like and the last part means duck beak. Together, with the
four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of
monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to
live young. It’s the sole living representative of its family,
Ornithorhynchidae, and genus, Ornithorhynchus, though a number of
related species have been found in fossil records. It has a
leathery bill and webbed feet like a water foul, but it is covered with
fur. It lays eggs but suckles its young like a mammal. It
has lungs and breathes oxygen, yet it spends most of its life in
water. Oh, yes, and they are the only mammal to have poisonous
spurs on their hind legs. The spurs are much like those found on
a rooster’s legs.” Lucas said. The professor was impressed by
Lucas’ knowledge. He obviously underestimated these men’s
I’d love to see one someday.”
“We can show you
videos when we return to the ship, Sir.” Lucas added.
professor seemed excited by the prospect. “How is it you can recall
such detailed information of such a select and precise scientific
nature, young man? Your knowledge of the subject is remarkable,
to say the least.” Professor Wankle asked like he was astounded
by Lucas’ response.
“I have a
condition scientist on Earth call hyperthymesia. I have total
recall of all information I’ve been exposed to, written or oral.
Very few have this ability, but lately I’ve been observing it slowly
developing in my younger brothers. They ain’t just the obnoxious,
precocious little know-it-alls everyone thinks. They are
developing hyperthymesia. I can see all the symptoms in
them. Several of my older brothers are as well. As humble
as he may seem, our brother Shane is developing the same symptoms.”
“Is this from a
natural bio-evolutionary response or is it artificially induced?” the
professor wanted to know.
professor, but I have my own humble theory.” Lucas said.
“Would you share
it with a fellow scientist, Son?” Wankle asked. Lucas
laughed at the professor calling him a ‘scientist.’
“I don’t claim
to be no scientist, Sir, but it’s been my observation nonverbal
communication has a lot to do with it. Of course, that might be
considered a part of our evolution. We don’t think of it quite
that way, because we think we’ve always had the ability, but we lost it
when we developed speech. It was only through certain stimulus we
re-learned how to use it. Most animals are capable of nonverbal
communication. They always could read our minds even when we
couldn’t theirs. My older brothers, who grew up and developed
along with me are now able to tap into what I like to think of as a
mass or universal mind. They’re getting better at it all the
time. What one of us learns is set apart from our everyday
working brains and becomes part of a composite universal
mind-set. If you know about computers it becomes analogous to an
archived or random access memory. If I’m correct, it ain’t too
far removed or different from our brother Waco’s ability to clearly
hear the voices of the ancients. Likewise, we just discovered our
brother Shane shares the same ability. Certainly we can hear and
listen to the voices of the winds of consciousness as can our brothers,
the whales. That’s what has stimulated our deep desire and
passion to help them in their time of need. They have been kind
and generous enough to help us over the years. It is because of
them and their counterparts on Earth we have begun this new
development. We have conjoined with them and share their fate.”
“Amen to that!”
whispered Charlie Goodnight to Lazarus, Trey and Jesse. They
shook their heads in agreement.
also happens to be correct, Professor.” added Jesse.
remarkable, young man, it’s amazing. I must know more about you
men and your achievements. You have developed your mental
abilities beyond ours. If my hypothesis about the colored lights
is correct, you should be able to hear and speak with them at close
range. If possible, it would be a great scientific boon to our
greater understanding of the species if you could bring back several
with you so we might study them. Perhaps we could learn more to
“Before we go
around gathering up whale brains– if that’s what they are– we should
seek permission from the Venusians and the whales themselves. The
nodules may be considered sacred to the whales. Our largest land
mammals on Earth revisit the bones of their dead regularly to grieve
for their departed friends and family. It would be our captain
and admiral’s job to seek permission from the Venusian council,
Chuchulack and Gongorealgun.” replied Waco. “Thanks for the info,
professor. We’ll see what more we can discover.”
boy!” Trey Vinceeth exclaimed after Waco’s comment as he turned to
Charlie and blushed bright red from embarrassment. “I’m sorry,
Sir, I didn’t mean...”
Captain.” Charlie laughed, “You gained a cowboy to love, and I
gained another son. How great is that? Just ‘cause you
ain’t human don’t mean I can’t think on you as my son. If I can
accept a big furry beast as one of ma’ boys, you're a piece of cake.”
Charlie broke everyone up.
“He is an
amazing young man.” came a voice over the ship’s speakers. It was
Chuchulack speaking. “I have heard his words and noted his
compassion. Creatures of his and Captain Vinceeth’s sensitivities
and sensibilities rarely appear in the cosmos, but to have them join
together is even more special. Separately they are unique and
admirable, but together they form a force, with which, to be
reckoned. (Chuchulack was a strict grammarian.) It was told
to me, as I lay dying, they would provide a miracle for me and my
herd. I couldn’t see how. In my pain, misery, and self-pity
I lost my faith. After the good ship Banshee destroyed our
enemies and you came back for us, my faith was renewed. I grew
more confident the cowboys would be able to save a few of us, but what
they have accomplished far exceeds any expectations I might have
imagined. And, your coyotes, as you call them, have proved
themselves more than worthy of your and your number one son’s
forgiveness, Admiral.” the men listened as the booming voice laughed.
considered it, great father.” Lazarus assured him. Chuchulack
“Captain Waco is
correct, we do consider the voices of our departed as sacred to us, but
not in a sense of worship. They are important to us because they
can still join us in song until we can hear them no more.
Eventually, their voices become more faint until they sing their final
song, and we know we will never hear from them again, but I have
considered your impressive work to help us, without which we may not
have survived as a specie, and knowing your work to save and preserve
other endangered species, Gongorealgun and I have discussed the
situation and agree you may take as many of our landlocked brothers and
sisters as you choose. We would ask you take only those who agree
to go with you.”
“What made you
and Gongorealgun come to this decision, great father?” asked Trey.
discussions we’ve had with your onboard intelligence. Notice I
didn’t use the word ‘artificial.’ There is nothing artificial or
manufactured about Klaatu or Ms. Myra. If there is any chance you
can provide our family members who have dropped out another chance,
then their boldness and gamble in choosing to go with you will have
paid off. They are listening to my words as we speak. They
all know of our decision. They understand no one has to go who
chooses not to, and they also understand not all will be chosen.”
“We don’t know
what will come of this decision, Chuchulack, but if I know our cowboys
they have already been tossing ideas around that will be inventive and
original. We’ll do what we can, but if we can’t come up with
anything your family members will be returned to spend their final days
with you and their loved ones.” said Lazarus.
“We ask for no
more. We know you will respect us and treat our departed as your
own, as you have been so gracious with us. We owe you a great
debt of gratitude.” Chuchulack said with humility.
“It’s the least
we could do, great father, to repay you and your family for your
generosity and graciousness of spirit.” said Captain Vinceeth for
* * * * * * *
The men of the
Banshee labored alongside the Venusians for another two Earth day
periods. One particularly large cow was reluctant to have the men
work on her. Her wounds were superficial and could easily be
repaired to have her airborne and on her way, but her young calf, who
was only one Venusian year took a direct hit. Very little of him
remained. There were not enough pieces to put back
together. He was one of five calves for which there was no
hope. His mother, who told the cowboys her name was
Glyndinnadram, which they immediately shortened to Glynda, didn’t want
to leave him behind. She was willing to give up her life to stay
with him no matter how long it took for him to expire, but she would
surely die herself. He kept crying out to her in fear and pain.
afraid. I don’t want to die.” he wailed to her.
“I will stay by
your side, my love, until you’ve breathed your last.” they heard her
sing to him in a lullaby.
“You must not
stay, Glyndinnadram.” Chuchulack admonished her sternly. You must
go on to preserved our family. You are sound of body and still
fecund. You must think of the future and the greater good of our
kind. Have faith our friends will care for little
the cowboys arrived and talked with the young calf, the big whale
allowed them to patch her small wounds. She knew once she was
repaired she would begin to inflated to her full capacity, and even
against her will, she would become airborne again. Chacheellian,
who was bringing up the rear of the herd, was in sight and soon those
who could be saved would go with him. He paused long enough to
allow her to regain her position within the herd. The coyotes
were particularly concerned for the baby whale. They placed their
hands upon it to consol him. Jubal spoke for them.
“Do you wish to
come with us, little brother?” he asked. “We promise we will take
good care of you, your brothers and sisters.”
“Should I go
with these creatures who have come to rescue us, mother?” he called to
“It would be an
adventure, and you would not be alone, my son. My mind and the
beat of my body which stirs the blood of my system will be at peace
rather than having to depart and leave you by yourself. My love
for you is endless. Even though our time together was tragically
short, the joy of your birth and your love will remain with me
forever. You are the son of our great leader Chuchulack.
Always remember, you were wanted, and no mother could have loved you
more. Carry my love with you, and return to me if you can.
I know you have great potential. You have the best of us within
you. Go and become more than you might have, even as a great
voice among our kind.”
“Then I will go
with them, mother. Goodbye, I know you must go to survive.
I won’t be selfish by begging you to stay. I will do my best to
make you proud of me.” the little one cried.
“I am so very
proud of you, my son. You have made the right choice. I
will love you always. My sweetest songs shall be for you.” and
slowly the big cow began to depart. She carried with her many
stragglers of the symbiotes.
“How do you men
propose to get his brain out of him?” Lazarus asked, “You can’t
just play surgeons and carve him up like a Christmas goose.
Knowing you, you wouldn’t have offered unless you had some plan.”
“We won’t have
to, Dad. Compared to his mother, even as small as he is, we
couldn’t get what’s left of him onboard the Banshee. Klaatu can
get a fix on his nodule and beam only his brain onboard. It will
be instantaneous, hopefully with little pain, and he will be clear of
his body. Best of all, he won’t be alone.”
“What do you men
have in mind for these five young whales you plan to rescue?” Lazarus
with Professor Wankle, Dad.” Bo replied.
at the older men assembled on the bridge, knowing he wouldn’t get
anymore out of the boys. It was Bo’s polite way of saying, ‘We’re
way ahead of you old man. We don’t have time to spell it
out. Step aside and let us do our job.’
then... if you men have his permission, make it so.” Lazarus
The five young
calves who were beyond repair agreed to go with the coyotes.
There were three from the sunrise group and two from the sunset
group. The coyotes were in the cargo bay designated for the
arrival of the brains from the five calves. They were
surprised. They were expecting huge nodules as some of the
remaining nodules were quite large. Some were the size of a large
beach ball. The calves’ brains were a little larger than a
softball; almost, but not quite as large as a human brain. They
gently picked them up and wiped them clean of extra silicon material
that remained. They were concerned because they couldn’t hear
anything from them. They placed them gently on a silicon foam
table some of the crew members prepared for them. Slowly they
came around, one by one. They said they felt no pain being
separated from their bodies, but the shock was so great they
automatically shut down for a few moments. In the darkened bay
the coyotes marveled at the beauty of speaking with them and watching
the lights in the angel hair like material twinkle and dance
about. The boys could actually see their synapse firing as they
thought. They were beautiful to behold. The coyotes
turned them over to Ox, Strom, Horse, the pups, Warren, Jack, Buck and
several others to keep them occupied and provide company for them while
they returned to the outside with their brothers. They wanted to
be part of the selection committee who chose the other brains to be
completed their jobs of rescue and repair. They were unable to
save several of the adults from both herds, but what they accomplished
was beyond remarkable. It was herculean. It was nothing
short of miraculous. There were a couple of adults who were so
ravaged and dying they requested to be beamed out of their bodies to go
along to keep the young ones company. The Venusian
ships finished their work and departed to return to Venus-port.
Only the Banshee was left behind. The cowboys loaded up what
symbiote helpers that were left and shuttled them to the last of the
whales in their area so they could get aboard. No one was left
behind. There was much waving and fond ‘goodbyes’ as they left
with their host. The men returned into the encroaching dark and
into the world of the rainbow fireflies.
As predicted by
Professor Wankle and confirmed by the coyotes the mysterious lights
were from the silicon nodules which turned out to be what was left of
the once great creatures. The cowboys communicated with
them. The nodules were already aware of Chuchulack and
Gongorealgun’s conversation with the Captain and Admiral. Many
wanted to be considered, but some didn’t. The boys only chose
those who sincerely wanted to be part of a new and grand
experiment. They were reassured if things didn’t work out, and
they were unable to help them, they would be safely returned.
Many sat in the Venusian landscape for several years as their strength
grew weaker each time the herds passed over them. They could
communicate with them, but they would be left to themselves for long
periods of time. Then they would sing among themselves to keep
their sanity and their spirits up as they slowly sank away into the
dark night of oblivion.
It was discussed
with Professor Wankle and it was decided to take a cross section of all
types, genders, size and ages. Those who were dying and still had
bits and pieces of their bodies were given first choice. There
was about fifteen total. Of those, five decided not to go with
the cowboys and of the rest they chose eight. Four males and four
females. Of the remaining brains spread out over the planet they
chose four who recently crashed and four weak voices who were fast
approaching the end of their days. They had little strength
left. The boys wanted to see if there was something they could do
to rejuvenate the older brains. The cowboys chose at random four
middle-aged brains who volunteered and were anxious to go. They
chose a total of twenty-five brains including the five calves.
They were all beamed aboard the Banshee into the same cargo bay as the
calves. The bay came alive with flashing rainbow lights.
Even the four senior brains seemed to be more active and encouraged by
their new surroundings and associates. They all knew each other
but had never been in such close proximity. They were thrilled
with the ease they were able to communicate.
broad the Banshee came to the storage bay to welcome them. The
whales were overwhelmed. Professor Wankle was moving from one to
the other checking out one thing then another. He was a newly
invigorated man. His days on board the Banshee had seen a rebirth
within him no one could have imagined, except those who knew he’d been
given the same long-shot Darryl received. His body was slowly
repairing itself, rejuvenating him and would continue until he was a
much younger man about the age of forty. He hadn’t stopped long
enough to consider he was feeling better than he had in years. He
just assumed it was from a reawakening within him for the passion of
his work. That was certainly a part of it.
Darryl had been
absorbed into the life of his new friends and the crew of the
Banshee. He worked his shifts along side the coyotes and their
cowboy brothers in helping to mend the whales and get them on their
way. All of his actions and the heroic work of the men of the
Banshee was being broadcast all over Venus. There were several
public broadcasting channels and they all were carrying various aspects
of the whale rescue efforts. Commercial broadcasting continued
but was all but abandoned by the public. Venusians were glued to
their vid-screens. The efforts of their own military and space
program were being closely followed. Delfee McNair, Professor
Henri Wankle’s niece, found herself in the role of official announcer
and spokes person for the rescue operation. She was tireless in
her efforts and traded off shifts with Vivian Steele and Keekepata as
host to explain what was going on. They interviewed Dr. Wankle
several times to explain some point about what the men were trying to
do for one of the giant beasts.
already well known on Venus because of her dancing artistry with Blue
as her partner, but Vivian Steele soon became a household name as
well. Pictures of Vivian, Sonny, and their Evanescent children
were on food storage lockers in every Venusian home. In fact, the
whole Steele family and their families, including granddad Warren and
his mate Horse were included. Darryl’s
promotion company saw a good gimmick and with Keekepata’s approval
produced a beautiful doll for little girls with wings that actually
worked. They made millions over night. Every little girl
just had to have one, and many of the little boys, too.
worked closely with Darryl and came to see him as a charming,
self-effacing young man who showed her the greatest respect. She
found herself inexplicitly drawn to him. She began to understand
just how truly dangerous the work was the men were doing and became
concerned for Darryl’s safety. He assured her he knew the risks
but explained when he became a part of the greater universe and the
world of his newly adopted races of people and critters, he accepted
their enemies and their challenges as his own. He felt he was
making up for his own race’s reticence in helping others even in their
own solar system because of years of intimidation from the snakes and
grays. Perhaps if they had reached out to the people of Earth
many years ago they would not be in the position they found
themselves. Darryl patiently explained to her he didn’t consider
himself a hero, only a common man who decided if change was to come
about, it had to begin with him.
Delfee had tears
in her eyes. She knew at that moment she had fallen deeply in
love with Darryl. His albinism only added to his allure for
her. She was used to her uncle’s physical difference and saw how
hard he fought all his life to be accepted for his scientific theories
and for his research to be taken seriously. Darryl had just
returned from their last trip to the surface and brought her a lovely,
small rock that had a rather large, perfectly formed, flawless,
dark-green emerald embedded within it. A stone which would cost
millions on Earth. He told her he saw it and had to bring
it to her as a memento. It reminded him of her because the
magnificent stone was the color of her beautiful eyes, the color of
emeralds. She took it from him like it was a holy relic, threw
her arms around his neck and gently kissed him. Darryl was
pleasantly surprised, but not too shy to appreciate the gift she felt
she needed to give him. They shared a gentle but passionate
kiss. It was not missed by Darryl’s new brothers who had the good
sense and tact not to respond, but smiled and nodded knowingly among
themselves. Even the coyotes knew this was off limits for their
teasing. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind something special
“Thank you, Miss
McNair. While I didn’t deserved that, it was certainly most
call me Delfee. We’ve been through too much together these last
few days not to consider each other close friends. My heart
almost stopped a coupled of times when I lost sight of you out there or
when you were balanced precariously on the side of a whale and looked
like you could be thrown into a deep crevasse at any moment if it
should give some sudden unexpected movement.”
“I know. I
could almost feel your presence with me out there.” Darryl said as he
brought his hand to her chin and raised her face to look into his
eyes. “I don’t wish to appear greedy, but would it be too bold of
me to ask for one more kiss, Miss Delfee?”
answer but smiled the sweetest smile and proceeded to kiss Darryl
again. After their kiss, Darryl tuned and offered his arm to
Delfee. She slipped her arm in his.
“Shall we join
our family in the cargo bay?” he asked, “I think your uncle may need to
be pried away from his new charges.”
arrived almost everyone was here. Most of the warriors, cowboys
and coyotes hadn’t bothered to change from their space suits. The
bay was huge and could hold everyone. The captain raised his hand
“The Admiral has
a few words to say, and then I will tell you our immediate plans.”
Lazarus stood on
an extra surface shuttle and looked out at the tired and dirty
faces. He took a moment to marvel at the looks of hope and
strength on every face from the smallest critter to the biggest
lummox. They all radiated love, joy and great pride in
“What can I say
to you, you don’t already feel in your hearts. There ain’t a
creature here what didn’t do everything in their power to save what
life we could and to bring comfort and love to our brothers in their
hour of need.” Everyone was deeply moved as they saw one tear
roll down the old stoic cowboy’s cheek and his voice began to
crack. “In all my two thousand and almost thirty years, I have
never witnessed or experienced such a varied group of lovable misfits
come together to form such a powerful force so impressive they
literally moved mountains. To tell you, you did a good job, is an
understatement. What you accomplished was a miracle. I am
very proud of each and everyone of you. There is but one word to
describe what I feel and what we have become. We are
family!” Lazarus exclaimed with great dramatic force as he held
his arm straight up with a clenched fist. There went up a great
cheer from everyone. The dogs were barking and the lummox were
roaring. It was a moving moment. Captain Vinceeth stepped
up beside him. They hugged, patted each other on the back, and
shook hands. The crowd was still going crazy. Trey held up
his hand again for silence.
“We will get
underway in a few minutes. I’ve instructed Klaatu to take us on a
tour of both herds of whales so we can have one last check on
them. Go to your cabins, relax, clean up, refresh yourselves, and
when the bosun pipes for our evening meal in approximately one
terran-hour, report to the dining area. We will share one last
meal before returning to Venus port. We wanted to give the
Venusians first return to their world to enjoy the fruits of their
heroic labors. We don’t want to detract from or eclipse their
moment of triumph. As soon as we finish supper I’d like for
everyone to report to the observation area. I want only those on
duty to be with me on the bridge. Naturally, that will include
the Admiral, Captain Waco and his first mate Lucas Long.” Trey
grinned real big, but no one missed the meaning.
several folks who deserved special thanks. First of all I’d like
to thank our crew member, Klaatu. Without his exceptional
coordinating abilities we could not have accomplished even a small
portion of what we did. I would also like to thank Mr. Shane
Goodnight for his outstanding leadership and his particularly fine
coordinating abilities in the face of crisis. Some men, no matter
their station in life, are born to lead and Shane Goodnight is one of
Thanks to Darryl for his tireless work
and consideration. Thanks to our impromptu Banshee news coverage
team, of Miss Delfee McNair, Mrs. Vivian Steele, and certainly our own
Keekepata.” Another round of cheers and applause. “Beware, Miss
McNair.” Trey tried to sound ominous, “Once you’ve been accepted
within this group, they have a difficult time letting go.”
Everyone laughed. Delfee smiled and blushed. “Furthermore,
Darryl you have our permission to discuss with Professor Wankle what we
discussed. I know you will be completely honest with him.
You may share with him our secrets. He is a man of integrity and
science. He can appreciate sensitive knowledge, and we feel sure
he will respond accordingly.” with that, Trey dismissed everyone to go
about their business.
The cargo bay
began to empty except for several die-hard people who were fascinated
by the whales. The cowboys became so engrossed with talking with
the whales and getting to know them, they had to be dragged away to
rest and clean themselves. The pups couldn’t seem to get enough
of them. Every chance they got they were in the cargo bay
chatting up their new friends. Dr. Wankle got a strange look on
his face from Captain Vinceeth’s words. He looked at Darryl and
Delfee standing together and smiled, but went back to checking out the
twenty-five whale brains.
Wankle it has been discussed, and it was decided, with your
cooperation, we can’t let you stay on Venus, Sir.” Darryl started, “You
are much too valuable to us.” Darryl said to him as the professor
peered over one of the young calve’s brain to check it out and comfort
the young one.
understand, Darryl, I’m much too old to leave my home world.”
Professor.” Darryl went on to tell the professor and Delfee the shot he
had been given and his life expectancy now, outside of an unforeseen
catastrophic accident, was several thousand years. “We took the liberty
of giving you the shot, Sir, because we need you.” Professor Wankle
looked stunned. He had to sit down in his wheelchair he hadn’t
used in days. What Darryl was telling him made perfect
sense. He felt younger than he had in years. He was
overcome with emotions. The old man began to shed a few
tears. Darryl continued, “It was discussed among our family and
it was decided, whether you decided to join us or not, you would be
given a second chance at life because of your work experience, your
insights and compassion for the whales. There are no strings
attached, but we need you and your knowledge to create a new program
for these wonderful creatures that might become a benefit to all
concerned. We’ve seen how well you work with others and because
of how much you contributed to our success, we decided to ask you to
join our family. Certainly we will share your knowledge and what
we learn with our home world, but we must ask you not share the true
reason behind your miraculous recovery and new found stamina. You
may claim it’s all because of a rebirth of interest in your life’s
work. Our point is, we want you to come with us to Mars to work
with me, the cowboys and the Martian androids to provide a new and
healthy environment for our friends.”
“I don’t know if
I could leave my niece. She’s been good and kind to me.”
The professor looked at his niece with great love in his heart.
Delfee took his hand and smiled at him.
“You don’t have
to, Professor. She can come along as your assistant. I
understand they plan to install a large gate between Venus space port
and Mars to help facilitate the building of new space craft for
Venus. You and she may come and go as you please. With the
Admiral and Captain Vinceeth’s request she can be a coordinating
liaison between your work and the Venusians. They will create a
new position for her similar to the one they created for me. Have
no fear, you both will be well compensated for your work.”
“I’d love to
work with the Humans and Visallians and see the wonders of Mars I’ve
been hearing about.” The professor muttered almost to himself.
“It’s only a
step away, Sir. Say the word and it will all be taken care of for
you. All you have to do is take care of our charges. Find
out what makes them tick, and if we can maintain or restore their life
functions adequately enough to keep them going. There was some
talk about bringing back a couple of dead ones with us to see if we
could regenerate them.”
I still have the two they brought me to work with. I left them
with Delfee.” He looked at her and she nodded she still had
them. He continued, “I never tried to regenerate
them. I didn’t know what they were. It wasn’t until I was
in the rest home it came to me what their real purpose might be.
By then it was too late, and no one would listen to me. I wrote a
book on the subject, but I was never able to get it published.
There just was no interest in the subject.” The professor paused
for a minute and looked at his niece for an answer. His unspoken
question passed between them. She gently nodded her head in
approval. “I’ll do it! Of course I’ll do it! How
could I even hesitate? If you can arrange it, Son, I’d be proud
to become a member of your family.”
“That’s all I
needed to hear, Sir. It’s in the works even as we speak.”
broke away and went to clean up and get ready for supper. The
galley crew went all out for the evening meal. It was a sumptuous
repast. Everyone was in great spirits as they shared their final
meal. There were several more speeches made by Commander
Maddragon and Sergeant-Major Doggoral. Even Commander Hawkins
gave a brief speech pledging himself to his new family and
friends. He said he had never been a part of anything so
meaningful to him. He was proud to have been given the
opportunity. They all received great applause. When the
meal was over they broke up and headed for the observation deck to
strap themselves in. Everyone was excited to take a brief tour to
see their work then return to Venus port.
sailed the Banshee past the two herds who were now fully functional
again and on the move. The men had managed to repair the wounded
of both herds before the extremes in temperatures became so great it
might be life threatening to the young and oldest members. Both
herds were making valiant efforts to sing and keep their spirits
up. Chuchulack was growing stronger by the hour and insisted his
herd keep singing. Even though he was patched and scarred, he was
still a magnificent creature. He became a symbol of strength, a
great hero for the men of the Banshee. As the Banshee pulled
along side him he hailed everyone.
again, you son’s of Tentagel, you son’s of Earth, you son’s of Mars,
and you son’s of Venus. We will sing of the miracle that you have
brought us. The voices of the ancients are pleased with our song
and were concerned for our brief period of silence. Many of the
great singers on Earth suffered such great despair they beached
themselves from their seas and almost died. Fortunately there
were many concerned who helped them back into their habitat. We
know you plan to return immediately to Mars. You have spent more
time than you originally planned on this trip. We are grateful
you were here during our hour of need. As you leave we will sing
for you our new hymn of praise. You should recognize the tune,
goodbyes were said the Banshee began to pull away to head back to Venus
port and the men stood close together as they listened to the strong
chorus of whales serenade them:
bright appears the Morning Star,
With mercy beaming from afar;
A host of ancient songs rejoice;
O righteous branch of Jesse's Rod!
Thou son's of men and son's of gods!
We, will lift our voices high;
Save us, save us,
Hear our plea
Draw thou near us;
Oh great healers come and save us.
Though circled by the Grays on high,
Thou deigned to cast a pitying eye
Upon us creatures here below;
The Banshee's crew, our brother's bond,
By highest Seraphim adored,
Assumed our very nature;
Ancients, grant us,
Through thy merit,
Our savior's heard our supplication.
ye heav'ns; thou songs reply;
Great praise our saviors, fill the sky,
They are but love's great incantation.
Incarnate ones, stretched forth their power,
Ride on, ride on, great warriors,
All shall know of our salvation.
Praise be given
Evermore, by songs of love and joy.
The last of
their song came through loud and clear. There were many tears of
joy, happiness and several from pure exhaustion as the Banshee picked
up speed and announced a landing at Venus port. They planned for
an early morning arrival when the Venus port was just coming alive and
figured they would get in and out as quickly as possible without too
much fanfare. The docks were full of adoring Venusian who
couldn’t wait to get another look at their favorite crew members of the
Banshee. By that time
Delfee McNair and her uncle, Professor Wankle had been elevated to
cult-personality status. So had Vivian Steele, her cowboy husband
and their two children. The coyotes were popular with the
Venusians before, but now they had been elevated to the position of
minor deities. Through Darryl’s managerial staff, their artist
and business men created a line of action figure toys based on the
exploits of the Coyote Cowboys. Each coyote had his own action
figure which was anatomically perfect in every detail. (Venus is
not a planet of self-righteous religious prudes) There were changeable
costumes: cowboy, spacesuits, young warrior, cadet uniforms and each
Coyote Cowboy’s favorite pony. They also created a separate set
of flying horses for the cowboys. They created floating bladder
whales with flashing lights that would float around a child’s bedroom
at night as a nightlight. The fringe market brought in billions
of credits, enough to fund any research and development they wanted to
achieve for their new wards. Last but not least they created an
anatomically perfect Captain Shane Goodnight action figure that outsold
all the others combined.
They remained in
Venus port only long enough to debrief the Venusian high council,
advise them of their plans, and seek their approval. They agreed
to everything. The council had copies of all the videos made and
knew as much about their exploits as anyone. They had no problem
gathering the Professor’s personal belongings and Delfee McNair’s
apartment was carefully packed and brought aboard the Banshee in a
of hours. A new position of Director of Venusian Whale Studies
was created for Professor Wankle and Delfee was appointed his assistant
and chief of staff. Lazarus and Captain Vinceeth promised they
would have a gate created and delivered to Venus port within the month
which would make travel between worlds almost instantaneous. They
would have Delfee produce a monthly documentary of their progress on
whale research. In the meantime they stocked the Venusian fleet
with enough emergency repair materials they should be able to care for
any whales who might need further attention. They gave accurate
accountings of the murdered whales and the number they were able to
save. The men tried to give as much credit to the Venusians as
they could and insisted they never could have accomplished as much as
they did without the heroism of the valiant Venusian crews.
before noon, terran-time, the Banshee lifted off to return to
Mars. Once again the dock at Venus port was jammed with grateful
people straining to get one last look at their heroes.
Klaatu set a
course for Mars and everyone aboard the Banshee disappeared into their
private cabins to gain some much needed rest. It was hard for
Delfee to talk her uncle into tearing himself away from the whales, but
she was pleased to see his new found strength was only adding to his
enthusiasm. The two nodules in his niece’s possession were added
to the tables where every brain sat in an individual silicon foam
base. Each was strapped down tightly in case of unexpected
turbulence. The tables were secured to the floor and against one
wall of the huge cargo bay. All twenty-five of the whale-nodules
were doing well, but the professor was concerned about the four older
nodules. Their strength was rapidly waning. Professor
Wankle wasn’t sure they would complete the voyage to Mars alive.
* * * * * * *
That evening as
Lucas was getting the coyotes ready for bed Lazarus walked in and sat
on a large sofa in the room. Lucas had just gotten them out of
the shower and was making sure they were dry. They dropped their
towels and ran naked as four baby jay-birds to join him on the
sofa. He laughed, hugged, patted each one on his little butt, and
kissed them. They sat on either side of him to listen to what he
might have to say.
brother and I have been talking, and I’ve decided since you made such a
good accounting of yourselves working with the whales and their
symbiotes, I’m going to overlook your foolish prank of spying on your
brother and me while we were sharing a very private, intimate moment.”
exhaled Ranger Jr. like he was relieved. He knew whatever he and
Cable faced with the Admiral, they would get it again from their dads
when they got back to Earth. There were more hugs and kisses and
promises never to do anything stupid again. Lazarus just raised
an eyebrow and laughed.
he said with sarcasm, “The main lesson I hope you men learned is, you
should respect your older brother more. He’s busted his butt to
earn your trust and love, and to treat him that way was not only
disrespectful, it was downright unconscionable. The worst part
is, if you were really so curious, if you asked right nicely we
probably would’ve let you watch anyway.”
Dad.” Lucas warned with a smile.
Son. Before you yahoos go git’n any ideas, that ship has already
sailed.” he grinned at them. “Just be grateful you didn’t get a worse
punishment.” The coyotes were solemn faced as Lazarus
spoke. They knew it was not the time to be cute. Lazarus
continued, “Now, I’m sending your brother to take care of his
mate. He’s worked his ass off with the whales and riding herd on
you men. He deserves some time with his warrior-master. I’m
to be top waddie for you men this evening and for tomorrow. I
don’t want no foolishness from you, understand?”
“Yes, Sir, we
understand. We’ll be good. We’ll miss Lucas, but can we
bunk it in with you?”
“No, I’ll be
right next door. Besides, when the four of you get to snoring
it’s like listening to a bad performance of a Wagner opera.” The
boys had no idea what a Wagner opera was, but they thought it sounded
funny and laughed.
“Are you sure,
Dad? I can stay with them tonight. I already told Commander
Trap I probably would.”
“Naw, ain’t no
use. I can keep an eye on them. You go. Take care of
your warrior. His balls must be turning blue by now.”
Lazarus smiled and Lucas laughed. “Besides, Captain Arlen Jones
will be sharing my bed this evening.”
Lucas high-fived his dad.
* * * * * * *
The next morning
Lazarus and his partner Arlen were up early getting the coyotes up and
going. They were pretty much self-sufficient but they still
needed riding herd on. One would always forget something.
They were busy getting ready for breakfast because they would be
landing at Mars port later in the morning when the view screen in
their room came on and the men could see Captain Vinceeth and his
skeleton crew on the bridge. Waco, Lucas, Commander Maddragon
were with him.
disturb you so early, Admiral. Klaatu just informed us we
stowaways on board.”
say a word but shot a look at the coyotes. They froze where they
were. He looked at each of them questioningly.
“We don’t know
nothing ‘bout no stowaways, Dad. We swear to you.” Jubal spoke up
for the four of them.
“Does he have a
fix on them, Captain?” Lazarus asked Trey.
they’re hiding in one of the surface shuttles in the rear compartment
under some of the leftover sailcloth the men used to bandage the whales
in the cargo bay where we housed the nodules.”
“Do we know what
they are?” Lazarus asked.
Klaatu said there’s three. Two adult hominids and one baby.
His sensors didn’t pick them up until they left the cover of the
surface craft. He thinks they must be hungry and thirsty and
looking for sustenance.”
“I’ll bet it's
Radar, his mate and his kid!” exclaimed Ranger Jr. trying to hide his
excitement. He wasn’t doing a very good job of it.
“And you men
know nothing about this?” Lazarus grilled them with a tone and a
look that said, ‘you better not be lying to me.’
Admiral. We swear to you. Until last night we’s in hot
enough water as it was. We wouldn’t do nothing like that.”
“The boys are
telling the truth, Admiral.” came the voice of Klaau. “I’ve
managed to get bits and pieces of their thoughts, and they did this on
their own. Actually, it’s pretty remarkable for them to have been
bold enough to take the initiative to do something so daring. It
means a great leap of faith for their species. It means they are
capable of evolving into more than they are.”
right. Thanks, Klaatu. We’ll see you men at breakfast,
Captain. We can take care of this afterwards.”
The coyotes were
talking a mile a minute. They were passing ideas and information
back and forth like machine guns as they were herded to the main mess
hall. They joined their cowboy brothers and the crew of the
Banshee for breakfast. They couldn’t shut up they were so
engrossed over the possibilities.
men. Eat your breakfast. The sooner you finish your meals
the quicker we find out who the critters are.”
shut up long enough to eat and gave the men a chance to talk among
themselves, but they were still busy communicating with their
minds. Lazarus and Arlen took the boys to the cargo bay
accompanied by Trey, Waco, Trap and Lucas. Shane, Sam Stamper and
Commander Hawkins joined them. They found the professor already
up and fussing over his charges. They explained to him why they
were there, and he became interested as well.
“You know, I’ve
been in here for several hours, and I thought I heard something a while
ago, but I couldn’t see anything. I just thought it was my
imagination.” the professor told them.
Trey led the way
and he and Waco threw back the sailcloth to find the creatures nested
in the back of the surface shuttle. They didn’t try to bolt or
run. They just looked at the men with stunned looks on their
Radar! I’d recognize him anywhere.” exclaimed Bo. “What are
you doing here, little buddy?”
<< We want
come with you. Start new life. >> he sent to the coyotes.
“Did you all get
that?” Young Cable asked everyone.
“Yes, we got it,
Son.” Trey smiled, pleased with himself he could hear the small
creature’s thoughts. “We don’t even know what they eat.”
“I have a
feeling if you offer them what you feed your critters, Captain, and
some pure water they will thrive.” said the professor.
We’ll find a place for them to stay until we get to Mars port.
They can stay in the critter-walk area in the forest.”
motioned for Radar and his mate to come down from the surface shuttle
and they responded. Ranger Jr. reached up and offered Radar
his hand. It was the first time the two species physically
touched. It was an electric feeling. Bo offer Radar’s mate
his hand and she reluctantly took it as she clung to her young
offspring with her other. Along with the professor, the men took
the three hominids through a gate to a beautiful wooded area where the
men of the Banshee walked the four legged critters and the lummox to do
their business. Radar and his mate were afraid of the gate, but
the boys showed them it would do them no harm and went through with
them. When they emerged on the other side their eyes almost
popped out of their heads at the beauty of the countryside. It
like a paradise to them. They’d never seen anything like
it. The professor was pretty impressed with it as well.
He’d never seen a landscape like it before. The boys got a couple
of metal bowls and offered them some slave chow the ship’s critters
thrived on. They took one taste and decided it was the best thing
they’d ever eaten. They drank the pure water like it was the
finest wine. They had big smiles on their faces. Radar had
a big smile on his face and his mate seemed pleased and satisfied with
the food. The professor was thrilled to see the hominids up close
and get to know them. He noticed Radar had a pronounced belly and
wondered about it. Obviously, Radar heard his thoughts and spoke
have young one soon. >>
“He just told me
he’s gonna’ have a baby soon, professor.”
obviously a male. How is that possible?”
looked down at his mid-section, took his hand and opened a pouch to
show the men. Inside his pouch was a single egg.
lay egg. Radar keep in pouch until it hatches. Both care
for baby. >>
exclaimed Lucas, “What are the chances, Professor? Monotremes
evolving on two different worlds? Only these are sentient
monotremes.” Lucas added.
“This has to be
a common point in evolution.” The professor answered.
The scientific ramifications are staggering.” claimed Lucas.
“I can’t imagine
the wealth of zoological material and biodiversity I’m being presented
for study. It’s overwhelming. It’s almost too much for me
to consider.” Professor Wankle said.
Doctor.” Lazarus reassured him. “Take it a bit at a time.
Your work is your life. Live your new life to the fullest.
You’ve been given a second chance. Enjoy it.” Lazarus urged
Admiral. I couldn’t be more grateful.” he conceded.
wasted no time studying the hominids as well as the whale
nodules. He discovered the hominids not only suckled their young
they sometimes regurgitated their predigested food into the young one’s
mouth like a bird might. The professor postulated it was because
the mites they ate from the whales were too difficult for the young to
digest raw. He predicted, on a steady diet of the critter chow
they would no longer have the need to predigest their young’s food and
would evolve accordingly. He was correct. Other than the
stowaways, the flight back to Mars was mostly uneventful. It was
almost a textbook flight. Everyone was coming down from the
excitement of the days spent on Venus. Captain Vinceeth called
for an exercise session after an eight hour rest period. He
reasoned it would get their heads back to thinking like warriors rather
than heroes. Once again the cowboys and warriors went to the gym
area to perform the sacred Tao 'Mak. It was not as elaborate
a production this time. They only did the mass exercises and
do the individual ones. Delfee was invited but when she found out
she would have be nude as well as the men she graciously
declined. Vivian Steele declined this time to keep her
company. So did Keekepata and one of her female courtiers.
They retired to a country villa on a hillside for tea in one of the
many new miniature landed-colonies Captain Vinceeth and his men added
to the Banshee. Captain Vinceeth was so taken with the redwood
forest and massive lands on the Buttercup and all the small towns on
the Bandersnatch he wanted the same technology for the Banshee.
Lazarus had no problem sharing with him.
successful and rewarding exercise period, there was a brief ceremony in
which the coyotes were officially accepted as full members of the house
of Maddragon. Lucus told Trap about his and the Admiral’s
decision to let the boy’s indiscretion slide because of their heroism
and work ethic with the whales. Trap couldn’t have agreed more
and gladly welcomed them into his family. The coyotes couldn’t
have been prouder. Even though that didn’t have anything to do
with the stowaways, the boys were secretly proud of the friends they
made, that they could make such a positive impression on someone of
another specie they would want to follow them and become a part of
their world. It opened new doors of possibilities for them.
* * * * * * *
Banshee smoothly at Mar’s port and the great wall closed behind the
spacecraft. The landing area was quickly flooded with breathable
atmosphere. There were many people who came though the gate from
Earth to welcome the heroes home. Captain Vinceeth and Lazarus
sent encrypted videos home of the attack on Venus. They sent
regular updates and everyone was equally glued to their video
screens. Ranger Gibbons and his ramrod, Bobby Jessup, hardly got
anything done on the ranch during the time the coyotes were working
like beavers to save the great whales. They were more than a
little worried about Lazarus and the captain’s decision to allow the
boys to participate in such a dangerous project, but surprisingly it
was Mary Gibbons and Elsie who encouraged them to have faith in the
Admiral and Captain Vinceeth. As time progressed and they could
see the boys were being protected and supervised at all times by their
cowboy brothers they began to relax and be very proud of them.
Bobby and Ranger would have to go out to make sure work was getting
done, then they would hurry home to see the latest broadcast from Venus
Mary and Elsie recorded for them.
Mary and Ranger
were there waiting on the dock for Ranger Jr. and the Jessups were
there waiting for Cable to disembark. All four ran to them for
hugs and kisses. The Gibbons and Jessups were equally glad to see
Jubal and Bo. They had just come to accept them at a quartet and
looked forward to having them home and to spend some time with
them. The coyotes were glad to be home. Everyone was glad
to be back on Earth except Commander Hawkins, Sam Stamper, Officer
Jones and Basil Troubadour. The Commander and Officer Jones had
to get back to the Holy City. They had no way of sending messages
back to Scudder and his men as to their condition or whereabouts.
Immediately upon getting back Hawkins sent a brief message to Austin
Taycious letting him know the medical personal had cleared Officer
Jones and they would be returning later in the day. Taycious
seemed cryptic and noncommital. He said he knew the Holy Father
would be pleased with the news but things happened he couldn’t talk
learned to control and use his new body to a degree Jessie Watkins and
Cable seemed sure he would be able to handle. He could now do
most anything he wanted by will alone. He and Basil managed to
heal any number of sick and injured people on Venus. They visited
several hospitals while there. A man on one of the Venusian ships
developed a tear in his spacesuit and suffered severe chemical burns
from the atmosphere on his left side. They went about soothing
his pain and began the healing process so he would make a full
recovery. It seemed like everything was tumbling downhill for
Brett and Basil as the time for their separation became eminent.
“I’ll take you
for your word what you said to me on Venus, Basil.”
meant ever word. I’m even willing to change to your specie.”
“I know. I
think you’ve already begun the process.” said Jones.
noticed, but I’m not afraid. Just come back to me. No
matter what you have to do, be safe and well. Promise me no
heroics.” Basil’s voice cracked.
heroics, I promise.” Jones assured him.
“I love you,
threw his arms around his smaller companion and kissed him hard and
“I love you,
too, Basil. I always will. I promise I’ll keep in touch.”
better...” Basil choked.
not to go with him on the Buttercup for the trip back to the Holy
City. He and Sam decided they would tell their men goodby while
seeing them to the ship. It was much the same scene between
Commander Hawkins and Sam.
“You gonna’ be
all right with your brother?” Hawkins asked Sam.
That’s all behind us now. That’s light years in the past.
After what we went through together, him watching my back and me
watching his, I know it’s gonna’ be okay. As you know, we
had a long watch together on the bridge on the way back, and we talked
some more. It was good. I’m getting to know my brother like
I never did before. We’re developing a comfortable relationship,
and I’m happy with it. So I got me another brother my other
brothers don’t have. It’s kinda special.”
“Good for you,
kiddo. I’m happy for you. You gonna’ miss me?”
“Don’t joke with
me, Commander. This is hard enough for me as it is.” Sam
said lowering his head. Hawkins threw his big arm around him and
pulled him into a hug.
“I assure you,
it’s just as hard for this old warrior. You grow on me, Sam, but
that ain’t a bad thing. The more we get to know one another the
more I see in you, and it’s all good. Promise you’ll keep in
promise. I don’t want to interrupt you at a bad time so send me a
signal when you can receive a holo-vid from me.”
I wish you could come visit, but from the cryptic message we got from
the Holy Father’s right hand honcho things must be uneasy back there
right now. I wouldn’t feel comfortable for your sake.
Besides, we don’t need to raise anymore suspicion than we already have.”
“What are you
going to tell the Holy Prophet you been doing these last few days?” Sam
Hawkins stated flatly, “He won’t believe me no ways.” they shared a
Sam and Basil
stood together and waved like two Honolulu hookers waving goodby to
their sailors as they walked up the boarding steps and into the
Buttercup. Captain Waco and his first mate would be flying them
back. A couple of other men went along for the ride.
Lazarus and Jessie Watkins wanted to see them safely returned to the
Holy City. Of course, Utah was by Jessie’s side. It took no more than
thirty minutes and the Buttercup was over the Holy City airspace, but
it was invisible to radar or any other flying vehicles. They made
arrangements to beam the Commander and Officer Jones down to the
Commander’s quarters. They could take it from there. Jessie
told them to give him about thirty minutes before they notified the
Holy Father of their return. Jessie located Scudder in his
private quarters, and he and Utah beamed down. Only Austin
Taycious was with Scudder in his private office when the light flashed
in the room. This time Scudder didn’t seem shaken. Austin
was clearly unnerved, but he pulled himself together. Jesse
appeared in his working cowboy clothes and Utah as his faithful
“Ah, my two
favorite angels. Jessie and Utah, I believe?” he said as a
It’s us.” Utah took the initiative to reply. Jesse smiled
down at him.
“The dog spoke,
Jerry! The damn dog spoke!” Taycious exclaimed.
ain’t he? Welcome friends. Good to see you again. You
bring my men back to me?”
“We did, indeed,
I told you never to call me Norman. My name ain’t Norman.”
“Yes, it is!”
confirmed Austin, “That’s the name yore’ daddy give you. You changed it
Austin!” Scudder commanded. Utah chuckled.
dog. Now I done seen about ever’ thing.” said Taycious.
seen no Elephant fly, asshole!” Scudder barked.
“No but I got me
a feeling these men just might be able to show me one.” he
gushed. “Now about that new feature you give Norman...”
Taycious took over the conversation.
“What do we look
like? Cunts R us?” Jesse sneered.
Austin. They’re here to visit me, not you, you slut!”
“Me a slut?”
Taycious laughed, “Well, I never...” he huffed and then giggled.
“How are my men?”
fine. They’ll be in touch as soon as we depart. I just
wanted to check in with you and find out how you’re doing with your new
plumbing.” Jesse smiled.
Right tolerable. I’ll be a lot better now I got my main man
back. You don’t know how much I missed him. I tried another
couple of them overdeveloped assholes, and I was like a wildcat trying
to fuck a plate of hamburger helper surprise. ‘Cept’n there
weren’t no surprise to ‘em. I cut out all drugs to them
son’s a bitches. You ain’t here to change me back, are you?”
“Not for a
while. I just thought I’d see if you wanted to go all the way?”
I’m just get’n comfortable like I am. Don’t wanna’ have to worry
about more female problems. I period a month is quite enought,
thank you. I’m still hoping you’ll change me back.”
see. What’s been happening since last we spoke?”
“Don’t you know?”
“Yeah, I just
thought maybe you might like to tell me.”
“We had visitors
from a damnable alien race of reptiles. Green scaley things they
was with slanted eyes and forked tongues. They offered us an
ultimatum. Either we cooperate with them and become subjects to
their empire, or they’ll wipe us out. They assured us they had
weapons far in advance of ours. Can you do anything to help us?”
“You’re on you
own, Norman. We might’ve tried to help if you had been more
interested in your people and not so involved with your military
industrial complex and the overwhelming greed of your bureaucratic
corporate structure. You and your predecessor had the power to
make massive changes in your infrastructure to make things easier on
the middle class and the poor, but you didn’t. You just butt
fucked 'em 'til they had nothing left to fuck. Your predecessor
was too damn stupid and no more than a puppet for the evil Cheney who
manipulated him. You ain’t much brighter, but at least you have
some cunning to you. You know the difference between right and
wrong. In some ways, you’re worse than he was. He was too
stupid to know better. You ain’t. All you and Cheney ever
did was squeeze the life blood out of your people, always to make a few
more bucks for the rich. You created a huge division between the
super rich and the poor. Aside from agriculture you have no
middle class left to speak of. Trickle down theory my ass.
made slaves of most of them and wiped out your intelligent class.
Most intelligent people who know how to think for themselves but ain’t
a slave to rigid religious beliefs are usually pretty liberal
folks. Anyone of a liberal bias, you have either exterminated or
have working as slaves for the corporations.”
responsible for taking away the sick from our camps?”
“Yes, some are
“Where do you
take them? What to you do with them?”
“Why would you
care? You don’t want them anymore. You leave them alone to
die. You know I ain’t gonna’ give you information like that,
Norman. You don’t need to know. How does it feel to have
someone tell you ‘no’?”
“I could have my
guards in here in a second.” Scudder threatened.
Jerry!” yelled Taycious, “They’ll only go away, and I wanna’ know
more about... you know....”
“I ain’t giving
you no cunt, Austin. Your mouth is big enough.” Jesse
snapped at him. Scudder laughed.
“Am I gonna’ get
raptured, Jesse?” Scudder put to him boldly.
“What do you
think, Norman?” he smiled.
"But I'm God's holy prophet."
"Like hell you are!" Jesses chuckled, "Listen to
yourself. Do you really know how stupid that
sounds? Of course you do. You don't believe it for a minute
“No chance in
“You might stand
a better chance in hell if'n there was one.” Jesse laughed. “As
sick as he is,
Taycious stands a better chance of being raptured than you. But
that’s a discussion for another time. We gotta’ go now.
When we get down to threats, it’s time for us to leave. Be good
to your men. Don’t question them too much. I’ve told them
to tell you the truth. They won’t lie to you.”
“Are they gonna’
be raptured?” Scudder demanded.
They’re fine men. They’ll do their jobs and be loyal to you until
the end, but they won’t have to go through the final tribulation.
I’ll come for them before that. In the meantime, just remember
they're under my protection, and I won't allow you to abuse
them. Another point you already know, we are no threat to you or
“I didn’t figure
you was, no matter what you done to me. To be honest, I done me
some thinking on it, and I guess I sort of deserved it.” Scudder tried
to look as contrite as possible for a megalomaniac.
good. Work on that, Norman. When I feel you ain’t saying it
just to manipulate me, I just might return you to your original
state.” Jessie grinned.
You’re like dealing with the Devil himself.” Scudder spat out
like a curse.
called that before, but not by someone who should know what the Devil
looks like. You don’t know it, but you met him recently if you
met the snakes. There ain’t no escape from them bastards.
They’ll take everything you have and hold dear, then they'll fatten you
up, shove an apple in your mouth, one up your butt and bake you in an
oven until you’re medium rare, nice and tender, and serve you up piping
hot. I been told they especially like the flesh of bureaucratic
hypocrites. Welcome to the end times, Norman. Hope you and
Austin enjoy the ride.” Jesse smiled, waved, nodded to Utah, a
bright blinding light flashed and they were gone.
“I just know
that damn dog is the wizard! He’s the brains behind them two...
not that ignorant hick of a cowboy.” Scudder spat out.
Hick? I dare say he gave you a run for your money, Norman.”
it! Don’t you go calling me that. I left that name behind
me damn near fifty years ago, and I don’t wanna’ hear it no more.
Understand?” he ranted at Austin who was laughing his ass off at
his miserable friend.
“Why didn’t you
tell Jesse that snake asked about him?” Austin asked.
“I didn’t tell
that snake nothing about Jesse.”
“I know, but you
could’ve made some points by sharing it with him... maybe even gotten
me a new cunt.” Austin groaned slightly.
“Look, you sick
bastard, if you want a cunt so bad, say the word and daddy will buy you
one. I’ll buy you the biggest damn cunt you can imagine.
One I can slip my whole head into, swing from side to side and listen
to the ocean roar. I'll make you as happy as a redneck with a
and a bug light.” Scudder challenged him.
“It won’t be the
same. Besides, it only took him a minute to make you over.
I want a quickie cunt.” Austin moaned.
cunt?” Scudder almost fell on the floor laughing at his friend. “You
sick son of a bitch. You can say the damnedest things sometimes.”
That’s why you love me.” Taycious batted his eyes in jest.
Scudder barked at him.
spat back. They shared a laugh. Scudder’s phone rang.
Austin reached for it. Scudder let him. He didn’t bother to
“It’s time you
two got back.” he barked, “Yes, he’s here. Yes, they just
left. Here, you can talk with him.” Austin handed Scudder
boss. We’re back.” said Hawkins trying to be upbeat.
“Good to hear
your voice, Son. How are you?” Scudder asked.
“I’m fine, Sir,
but you don’t wanna’ talk with me. Here, I’ll let you speak with
Officer Jones.” Hawkins handed the phone to Brett.
Jones. How’s my boy?”
Sir. Thanks to you and some fine medical care.”
“Are you back up
about. They said take it kinda slow at first, but I feel all
“Yeah, we just
talked with them two angels, I guess you’d call 'em.”
I’d call them that.”
“Why don’t you
men come over. We ain’t doing nothing this afternoon and
evening. We can fill you in on what’s going on. We’d enjoy
your company.” Scudder encouraged.
“We’ll be right
over, Sir.” said Jones. They said ‘goodbye’ and hung up.
“He wants to see
us.” Jones said to Hawkins.
“We figured he
would. You up to it, Son?”
“I guess I have
to be. It’s now or never. Showtime.” smiled Jones.
“You can handle
it, Son. I’ve watched you grow up in many ways in the last few
weeks. I’m proud of you. You ain’t gonna’ fall apart on me,
I can hold myself together. I’m more in control of myself than
before we left.”
“I have faith in
have, Commander, when no one else did, and I appreciate it. It
ain’t gonna’ be easy for either of us, but we’ll get through it as long
as we remember there’s a better day a’ coming.”
“Amen to that,
brother... amen to that!” agreed Hawkins.
* * * * * * *
The androids at
Mars port were expecting the arrival of the Banshee and set aside
two apartments close to each other for Professor Wankle and his niece,
Delfee McNair. He reluctantly released the whale nodules to
them. Lazarus and Trey assured him they were fully competent and
highly trained. He would be amazed at the assistance they could
give him. They also released Radar, his mate and young son to
them. They would find them a new home and start taking care of
them. The hominids were wide eyed at the wonders of Mars space
port. They were intelligent and curious creatures who had never
seen anything beyond Venus and the whales. They couldn’t take it
in fast enough. Radar wanted to see everything and his mate only
wanted to be with him.
McNair walked into her apartment and saw how sumptuous it was and the
view of the savanna below she had to catch her breath her heart was
beating so fast. The view of the animals roaming the veldt was
magnificent. Her uncle joined her on the balcony.
“Are you sure I
haven’t died an gone to heaven, niece?” he asked in a joking manner.
“If you did,
uncle, so did I. This is too wonderful to be believed. I
never expected anything this grand. They said "apartment."
This place is a palace. I think I could live here forever, and I
know you must be in awe.”
“Look at the
life down there. Creatures I’ve never seen before up close.
I’ve seen the holo-vids while in the rest home, but to see them in
person is the only way to truly appreciate them. I can’t wait to
go down there among them.”
them, and they couldn’t thank him enough for bringing them to
Mars. He laughed.
me. Thank the Admiral and Captain Vinceeth. They are your
hosts. I didn’t say anything about the accommodations, because I
didn’t think you’d believe me.”
“Will you be
around for a while, Darryl?” Delfee asked coyly.
“I will have
lunch with you and then give you a brief tour of the savanna and your
new research facility, Professor, then I must go through the gate back
to Earth. I have some business I must take care of, but then I
can return tomorrow morning to check on you and help you get
settled. The androids are unloading your personal belongings, and
they will arrive shortly. Come let us go to the ‘Jungle Room’
restaurant for lunch. It’s one of my favorites, and we can sit on
the balcony and look down at the animals. If we’re very lucky
some of the young flying ponies may pay us a visit.”
They left the
apartment with Delfee on Darryl’s right arm and the professor on the
other. Darryl didn’t tell them he prearranged for the flying
Equus young to pay them a welcome visit during lunch. They were
joined for lunch by Commander Maddragon and his mate Lucas. The
professor and Delfee had grown quite fond of the men and enjoyed their
company. Just as they were finishing lunch six of the most
beautiful flying ponies could be seen leaving a mountain peak in the
distance just to the right of the huge magnificent waterfall.
Delfee sighed deeply when Darryl called her attention to them.
They watched in rapt attention as the young horses flew, played and
glided all the way across the vast savanna to gracefully land on the
patio of the balcony. Darryl stood and approached them. He
sons and daughters of Pegasus and Istar. Thank you for being so
gracious to visit us and the new members of our extended family.
pleasure is ours, Sir Darryl. What a fine lady your chosen one
is. She is quite beautiful for a human. >> said the
head male, Mercury.
you, I’m quite fond of her. How did you know she was my chosen
<< We can
read your aura, Sir. Your colors change as one. >>
Peggy Sue, a young filly who giggled. << You are in love, Sir,
and she’s in love with you. >> she finished and threw back her
pretty head and whinnied.
“Will they allow
us to approach them, Darryl?” Delfee asked.
certainly. I just spoke with them and welcomed them. You
both may pet them. Just remember to be kind and gentle, and they
will be with you.”
“I wish I could
speak with them and tell them how beautiful I think they are.”
“You’ll learn in
time, Miss Delfee. So will you professor. In the meantime,
they can hear your thoughts. Tell them in your mind.
They’ll hear you.” Darryl encouraged them.
It was a
wonderful afternoon and the ponies were great ambassadors for their new
world. They were quite courteous and patient with the new
people. They had come to see it as a duty rather than a joy, but
their parents threatened them with their lives if they didn’t
behave. They didn’t mind doing it for Darryl. He had always
gone out of his way to be kind and genteel with them and they liked the
formality of his approach to them. It made them feel special and
appreciated. Darryl learned that from his canine friends. Darryl requested the
androids bring treats for the ponies and they did. After the
young ponies had their treats they bid farewell to everyone and flew
away, back to their land high in the mountains. The people stood
and waved goodbye as they sailed off into the mist of the
distance. Delfee shamelessly found herself leaning against
Darryl’s big chest as a tear rolled down her cheek at the beauty of the
moment. She looked up at him and found his lips. She gave
“Thank you for
that, Darryl. It was special. It was truly
remarkable. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and my
kissed her behind her ear.
“It’s what you
do for those you love and respect, Miss Delfee.”
End of Chapter
52 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2008 ~