Canto Seven – The First Golden Wing
Farbick was aboard the golden wing to serve both as pilot and navigator, though he was fully aware that Commander Biznap could also do both. He watched the three cadets strap in to the secondary seats behind the cockpit. They were all wearing red shirts over their cadet uniforms, and Farbick wasn’t sure that it didn’t reveal a Star-Trek joke in very poor taste.
“Well, Farbick, old Fmoog, the Galtorrian Adventure is about to begin,” said Biznap, strapping himself into the cockpit seat next to Farbick.
“It may be more enlightening than you fear, Commander,” said Farbick.
“Fear? I’m not afraid. I’m just cautious.”
“Well, I’m afraid,” Farbick admitted. “I was lucky enough to survive the Earth invasion fiasco, but this time more is at stake. It isn’t just my life on the line. Our whole population could be seriously decimated or even destroyed.”
“I don’t see why you’d be concerned about anybody but yourself,” said Commander Biznap. “What does it benefit you to worry about anybody but you?”
“I could argue that I wouldn’t have survived on Earth if it hadn’t been for my friendship with young Davalon. I was saved from death on Earth partially because Davalon cared enough to come looking for me when I was shot by the Earther policeman.”
“It isn’t normal behavior for a Telleron to care about a tadpole. They are so easy to replace that it seems pointless.”
“They are not easy to replace if you consider them as individuals. What would you feel if you lost Harmony Castille?”
Biznap opened his mouth, but the retort never came out. He must’ve been thinking about what life would be like if he no longer had the one being in all the universe he actually seemed to care about besides himself.
The golden wing spiraled down through the cloud cover into the denser part of the atmosphere of Galtorr Prime. Warning buzzers went off.
“The warning is because of the presence of acid rain,” said Starbright from the seat behind.
“In the name of Charlie!” swore Commander Biznap, “this world appears to be horribly polluted!”
That almost appeared to be an understatement. The clouds around them boiled with storm winds and were a sickly yellow-green in hue. Lightning was accompanied by flaming puffs of ignited methane. The wing’s instruments indicated high concentrations of various poisons.
“Do we abort the mission?” asked Farbick.
“No. We take the risk of landing. We have environment suits. We need to find a place to live in all of this mess. Cadets? Does anyone find any evidence of the native population?”
“Negative, sir,” said one of the nameless cadets. “Is it possible they have polluted themselves to extinction?”
“I’d say it’s not only possible,” said Commander Biznap, “but it is highly likely.”
“We are definitely going to have to look out for one another on the surface,” warned Farbick.
“I will definitely watch your back, Mister Farbick, sir,” said Starbright. “Some of us have learned the lessons about loving your fellow Tellerons from the Earthers on our crew, especially Mrs. Castille.” Farbick looked at her, and her green face bloomed with a beautiful smile.
(Pictured Above; Commander Farbick (on left) and Starbright)