Canto Twenty-Nine – In the Bio-Dome
Being naked was almost more than an Iowa Boy who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s could take. It was immoral, wasn’t it? And those feelings that boys get when they are around even the idea of naked girls? They were back with such force that it practically knocked him on his behind with the sheer power of desire. Alden Morrell was lost and afraid. As he stood in the arboretum amongst dying alien trees and dying alien field crops, he tried to hug himself calm. It really wasn’t an inappropriate desire, was it? He did not feel urges towards the lizard girl or the naked Telleron girls. He knew, they weren’t human, after all. Sure they were pretty, but… and the only girl he really desired so strongly was, after all, his wife… by law.
“Alden? I was looking for you in the living area? Why are you here in the greenhouse? What’s wrong?”
Gracie walked toward him, comfortable with her own nudity in ways that Alden simply wasn’t ready to comprehend. He loved her… but she was a child. The size and shape of a child. Wanting her was wrong… wasn’t it? He was, after all, a child himself. At least, in this new body he had been given he was.
“I don’t know. I can’t stand being naked so much.”
“You look good, and I love you for it.”
“Alden, we are farming folk. We know about soil and plants. Can’t we help Sizzahl save her planet? And those lovely zhar-does?”
Alden looked about him at the withering undergrowth and the soil beneath it. He was a farmer, wasn’t he. He picked up a handful of moist black dirt and held it to his nose.
“The soil smells rich with nitrogen, like it had a soybean crop planted in it last season to fix nitrogen in the soil.”
“Do lizard men know about crop rotation?”
“They must to have soil this rich and fertile. If only we had some good corn and beans.”
“Could we get some on the Telleron space ship?”
“Most of the plants they grow on board the mother ship are ferns and fungus. They prefer swamp plants mostly.”
“Rice, you suppose?”
“Maybe. We can ask Xiar if we live long enough to ever see him again.”
“Alden, we are here by a miracle of God. I was old and dying, and now I’m young and alive again. You’re younger and more energetic than I’ve ever seen you. I wish we had grown up together so I could’ve known you when you were like this before. I would have loved you from the very first time we met and known you for so much longer.”
Alden stopped thinking so much about himself. It made things easier. He focused on the problems of Sizzahl and the tadpoles. Yes, he was a farmer, and this was a farming problem.
“Maybe we can help Sizzahl and all the rest,” he said. “Maybe we could find leaves and stems among the plant samples that don’t have the disease and try growing some small cuttings into whole plants. I don’t see any place here where they’ve tried that. And we can ask the tadpoles about what seeds they have from Telleri.”
“And maybe even Earth,” added Gracie.
“Yeah. Maybe even Earth.”