Canto 9 – Sinbadh the Fuzzy
The wolfman was thoroughly restrained before Ham applied the wake-up spray. Ged held the laser rifle on him, aimed right between the eyes. It was easy to see the kill setting that Ged had it set on.
“Well, hello, puppy!” said Ham.
“Erm! Hah? How did ye cave-boys get out here?”
“Cave-boys?” asked Ged.
The wolf smiled slyly. “You came from the Imperium, didn’t ye?”
“We’ll ask the questions here,” said Ged, emphasizing the point with the barrel of his gun.
“Erm, yes. I sees. Ye’ve invaded me home.”
“Don’t give us that slop,” warned Ged. “You’re a carnivore and a predator. You don’t live in this vegetarian’s paradise.”
“Oh, I has for the last five of yer Earth years. I loves fruits and vegetatables. That’s why those scurvy Stardogs left me here to rot. Huh! I fooled ‘em, though. They stranded their head cook in the one place he most wishted to be!”
“What’s your name, puppy?” asked Ham.
“I yam Khforz Sinbadh. Ye can call me Sinbadh. I be the scurviest corsair what ever stewed up carrots with peas. Them Stardogs hated me for it.”
“Okay, we have a vegetarian Stardog on board our Grange station. What will we do with you?” asked Ged.
“Turn me loose. Let me cook for ye. In fact, whatever adventure ye are on, take me along! I longs to sails through them stars again. I have space between me ears.”
“Oh, good,” laughed Ham. “Now we have two of them like that.”
“Erm, I mean, I loves space. I didna mean I be stupid.”
“We’re not stupid either,” said Ged. “Why should we trust you?”
“I know,” said the dog-headed man, “ye’re thinkin’ a bloke like me will call his scurvy friends the moment he has a chance and scuttles ye like a total swab. But I gots no reason to love them scurvy Stardogs. Marooned I was, like old Ben Gunn. I’d sooner betray a Stardog than a man, I would.”
“Why do you talk like that?” asked Ham.
“I’ve seen the holo-story of Treasure Island seven times, I have. Ther one what stars Robert Newton as Long John Silvers. It be me favorite.”
Ham reached to release the bindings that secured Sinbadh to a rack of hydroponic string beans.
“Wait, Ham!” said Ged. “We don’t need another one of your loonies and lost causes along on this quest. For once, let’s not take on the crazy alien just because he reminds you of our collie dog when Mom was raising us back on the sun-side of Questor.”
“You heard him. He’s a vegetarian wolfman from outer space who loves an old Earth novel enough to learn to talk like it. That’s the kind of thinking that makes us who we are. We’ve gotta hire him for our team.”
Ham was like a big kid begging his favorite parent for a new puppy. The irony was not lost on Ged. That little-boy charm of Ham’s had always kept the two of them together. It was the real reason Ged so dearly loved his brother.
“Oh! Alright then! YOU have to feed and water him. YOU have to walk him every day.”
Ham grinned. He was very handsome whenever he grinned.