Canto Thirty-Five – In the Control Center on the Moon Gundahl
Farbick and Starbright still had the two lizard-men in their force field trap, but they were definitely also surrounded and in big trouble. Thirty-four half-sized lizard men, or, rather, lizard-boys and lizard-girls were standing around them in a huge circle, looking at them with snaky eyes and holding things that looked distinctly like guns.
“You’re surrounded now,” warned Bahbahr from his prison, “and the kids have krahzhen-lachhers with them.”
“Krahzhen-lachhers?” asked Farbick.
“What they call tommy-guns in the language of the Untouchables starring Robert Stack and Walter Winchell… you know, automatically repeating slug-throwers.”
“Wait a second!” said Stabharh, “kids? Where is your handler?”
“We had a fight over who was going to die next to provide food for the others,” said one of the lizard-girls, “so we killed and ate him.”
“That showed good initiative,” said Stabharh. “Now kill these two Tellerons and we can eat them too.”
“Wait!” said Bahbahr. “We still need them to show us how the alien tech works!”
“Why? They will just try to trick us again. They might succeed in killing us the next time.”
“You can’t have them killed yet,” argued the fat lizard-man. “We’re still stuck in the invisible box. We have to get out of here before you have them killed.”
“Um, I hadn’t thought of that,” said Stabharh.
“Are you really, really hungry, kids?” asked Farbick of the lizard-kids.
“Oh, yes!” answered four or five of the lizard-kids at once.
“You see all this technology we have here,” said Farbick slyly. “We have a machine here that can make food out of thin air.”
The little lizard people all drew closer to the pile of Telleron tech with wide, questioning eyes.
“Don’t listen to them!” barked Stabharh. “They will trick you!”
“Aren’t you going to eventually kill us and eat us too?” asked a lizard-girl. “You did that with all the adults in the station after the Senator’s attack started the food shortage.”
“We kept you alive so we would have a next generation of our people,” said Bahbahr in a pleading voice that made Farbick shudder.
“But you would eat us before you let yourself starve to death, right?”
“She has you there,” sneered Stabharh at Bahbahr.
“We can leave them where they are,” said Starbright. “The material synthesizer can make food out of random atoms. It can feed you for long periods of time.”
“Food out of nothing?” asked a lizard-boy skeptically.
“Not out of nothing,” admitted Farbick. “We will have to find carbon and proteins and other molecular materials to put into the synthesizer when the current fuel runs out.”
“But we can make food out of garbage… or recycled dead bodies,” said Starbright.
Farbick hated the fact that for too many generations in space the Tellerons had used extra tadpoles and personnel for fuel for the synthesizers aboard the mother ship. Eating children was not a good thing, and their cultures both needed to stop doing such things.
“Well, can you make us some food?” asked a lizard-girl. “We are in no hurry to free Lord Bahbahr. He is a terrible ruler and we all hate him.”
“We might like him better with what the Earthers call ketchup all over him,” added a lizard boy.
“You cannot rebel against me!” shouted Bahbahr. “I own all of you! You must obey me!”
“He’s in a cage, right?” a lizard-girl asked Starbright.
“Yes. But let Farbick and I make you some nice meat sandwiches to eat. You can give us those heavy, nasty old krahzhen-lachhers and we can decide what to do about Stabharh and Bahbahr later.”
“Okay,” said several of the lizard-kids. The gun-things were handed over and Farbick made a food he had seen on Earth with the material synthesizers.
As one lizard-boy received a synthesized hot dog with a big, toothy smile, he turned and grinned at Bahbahr. “You do have an awful lot of meat on your bones,” the lizard-child said.