Canto Twenty-Six – On the Moon Gundahl
Farbick and Starbright sat together on the bench outside the fat Galtorrian’s office in the moon base where the Tellerons were now prisoners. Biznap was inside arguing vehemently about something. The two lizard-men, apparently the only lizard-men on the entire moon, were arguing from a position of strength and superiority, though Farbick could plainly see that the Telleron landing party out-numbered them, seemed smarter than them, and definitely had better and more capable technology.
“Do you think Commander Biznap will secure our freedom?” Starbright asked guilelessly. Her large green eyes were shimmering with tremulous female uncertainty. She was attractive in ways no other female had ever seemed to Farbick before.
“He’s the best officer and negotiator we have in Xiar’s entire fleet,” Farbick answered, “so, no… probably not. We are not very competent when it comes to things like this.”
“We are doomed? Will they eat us?”
“Well, Biznap couldn’t bargain his way out of a paper sack,” said Farbick. “Especially in view of the fact that we can’t really let these cannibal lizards get their claws on high tech devices like cloaking fields, invisibility cloaks, and skortch rays… certainly not star drives for space ships. But a paper sack is made of paper, after all. We could punch our way out.”
“What do you mean?”
“These lizard men are not very smart. They are not very well armed, as long as they don’t acquire and learn how to use our weapons. They seem tough on the outside, but I think we could beat them in a fight.”
Starbright looked at him skeptically. “You think so?”
“We need to take the initiative. I’m sure if the three of us, as Tellerons, worked together and eliminated the little warrior-guy, the fat one would surrender easily. He doesn’t appear to be the kind who fights his own battles.”
“You are very brave and haves been through lots of difficult situations, but I’m a poor, frail female with skills I learned in the egg, but no practical experience. I would end up causing you and brave Commander Biznap to die needlessly. It would be a terrible thing.”
“We are not going to give up and be beaten so easily,” said Farbick. “If I learned one thing in my time as a captive among Earther primates, it is that every individual has inner resources that they may not even know they have. Together we are more formidable than we have ever let ourselves believe.”
“You really think so?”
Farbick looked at her lovely round face and earnest expression. He thought about the kissing thing. He had seen Alden and Gracie Morrell do it. He had seen Harmony Castille and Commander Biznap do it. It was a strange Earther thing, but if he turned his face just a little to the right, he could…
“What are you… mmmph… doing?” She looked shocked.
“It is an Earther custom, expressing respect and admiration.”
“Oh… it is?”
Her eyes lit up at the Earther human concept that had seemingly been the only thing to thwart the invasion of Earth. He could see she was intrigued. Old reruns of I Love Lucy and Bewitched were part of every Telleron tadpole’s how-to-be-like-an-Earther training, programmed directly into their developing brains while in their amniotic egg-sacks. Tellerons were gestated in eggs and programmed with learning programs until they were the equivalent of an Earther eight-year-old, at which point they were all saturated with the kissing thing poured directly into embryonic brains, and ready to be born.
“Like Darren and Samantha? In Bewitched?” she asked.
She leaned in and repeated the gesture. She improved on it. It lasted a very long time and Farbick felt that she liked it nearly as much as he did. They could make tadpoles together… even if he did have inferior Fmoogish blood in his veins.
At that moment they were interrupted by Commander Biznap.
“Good news! I have secured our release, Farbick!”
“What did you promise them?” asked Farbick.
“That we would strip the entire available tech out of the wing and leave it here, along with Starbright to teach them how to use it all.”
“And how do we get Starbright back?”
“Oh, uh… we don’t. When they are finished learning how to use the technology, they will eat her.”