Canto Six – The Tadpole Nesting Quarters
Unlike the other tadpoles, Davalon put on clothing all over his body as they returned to their sleeping chambers and assigned areas. Alden and Gracie Morrell also dressed, of course, but they weren’t Tellerons whose skin needed to stay moist and open to the mists. Drying out was bad for Telleron health. Still, when they saw Davalon put on his cadet uniform, Tanith, Brekka, Menolly, and George Jetson all found their Mickey Mouse Club jackets and put them on. Naked otherwise, but covered on their upper torsos.
“So, Dav,” asked Menolly, “What was it really like to live on the Planet Earth?”
“I don’t think I can tell you what it was really like. I was only there for a couple of weeks. That isn’t long enough to really know. You should ask my new mom and dad.”
The little green faces all turned to Alden and Gracie.
“Well, I only lived there for forty years,” said Alden. “I don’t think that is long enough, either, to really know.”
“Oh, you old fuddy-duddy!” said Gracie. “You kids can ask me. Go ahead, ask me anything.”
“Tell us about sunshine,” said Tanith. She was the prettiest of the Telleron girls, as far as Davalon was concerned, even though, as a nest-mate and daughter of Xiar, she was technically his sister. For Tellerons incest had never really been a “thing”.
“Ah, sunshine,” said Gracie with a twinkle in her eye, “it was yellow and warm and… gorgeous. You could bathe in it. It made you feel loved by God.”
“Until the UV rays cooked your skin and gave you bright red sunburn,” added Alden.
“Yes, well… there was that,” admitted Gracie. “But I always loved sunny days, and the bright blue of the Iowa sky. Oh, and sunsets… sunsets were beautiful in ways that are hard to describe.”
“And rainy days,” said Alden, “dark and overcast with thunder and lightning rumbling on the horizon.”
“Ah, you’re just being an old poop,” said Gracie with a frown.
“No, I mean it. I’m a farmer, remember? A farmer needs the rain. And it cools things off… and rainbows. You remember rainbows, Gracie?”
“But,” said Brekka sadly, “you both gave those things up to live in space with us.”
“Yes,” said Menolly. “Will you miss those things?”
Alden looked at Gracie, and they both nodded to each other. Davalon could feel the sadness. And that in itself was something new. Before they had met Earth people, Tellerons had not really known strong emotions. Tadpoles were programmed while still suspended in their gelatinous egg sacs with years’ worth of technical knowledge, math, and science. But nowhere in their training had they ever learned how to love, or laugh, or have empathy, or feel remorse. Those things had come from Earther TV broadcasts and actual contact with human beings. It was hard to be around human beings and not get a bit infected with human emotions.
“We’ll experience those things if we colonize a planet,” said George Jetson. “There could be sunshine and rainbows on Galtorr Prime.”
That brought smiles to every little green face, even Davalon’s.
“But we hear that Galtorr Prime is a very dangerous place,” said Gracie. The little-girl twinkle was gone from her eye, replaced by a sad longing, a remembered pain.
“Yes,” said Menolly, “I’m scared of Galtorrians. They eat meat, and would eat us if they catch us.”
“That would not be so nice,” said Brekka.
Gracie, in the frilly dress she had put on, moved to put an arm around each of the two female tadpoles. She looked like Shirley Temple to Davalon, the girl in that old black and white movie with the orphans that needed comforting. Was it Animal Crackers? Or was that a Marx Brothers’ movie? Dav didn’t remember.
“Maybe we should be brave explorers and go down there to find things out,” said George Jetson. “We could be like Davalon, and help out our entire race.”
“That’s not wise,” warned Davalon. “We could get into trouble we could not get out of.”
“You could be our leader, Dav,” said Tanith. “We have faith in you.”
Davalon didn’t like the fact that they were all warming to the idea so quickly. It was a scarier world than Earth. They stood to lose everything they had gained from the Earth adventure.
“None of us know how to pilot a Golden Wing,” warned Alden. “And we can’t all stow away on the adults’ missions.”
“I was programmed with pilot skills,” said George Jetson. “And you and Gracie are really adults, just in child bodies.”
“I think they may have a good idea here,” said Gracie to Alden. “If we are going to be star-explorers, we need to start somewhere.”
To Davalon’s utter horror, it was decided at that moment. There would be a secret tadpole mission to the surface of Galtorr Prime.
There you have it, Canto Six of the extremely alien-based goofy sequel to Catch a Falling Star that I call Stardusters and Space Lizards. I would apologize for inflicting it upon you, but the truth is, I really like it. I did a good job of telling what really happened… um, errr… Well, I mean, telling it just as I once imagined it.