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Stardusters… Canto 22


Canto Twenty-Two – In Golden Wing One, Fighting for Life

It first appeared over the horizon and the orange-brown clouds of the atmosphere as a sort of bright star-thingy.  It was an enemy space ship.  Farbick couldn’t identify it any more than that.  It was shooting at him with very large slug-throwers, cannons as the Earthers called them.

“Why are they attacking?” asked Biznap of the fat Galtorrian.

“Since the last war started, every ship you meet is an enemy craft.  We won’t survive if we don’t shoot them first.”  Stabharh didn’t wait for the fat one to answer.  Farbick supposed it was because war was the little lizard’s area of expertise.

“Well, come on!” squealed the fat Galtorrian, “before they kill me!   Shoot them!  Shoot them now!”

“We’ll be all right,” said Farbick, rolling away from the cannon fire.

“We will not!  That’s a top of the line space ship from the Overlord’s private fleet.  They will kill us just because we’re here!”  The fat fool Bahbahr was so frightened he squeaked when he talked… like a frightened child who was about to soil his pants.

“Don’t worry,” soothed Starbright with her calming female voice, “Farbick knows how to do this better than any Telleron pilot I know.”

Suddenly the cannon shot that Farbick couldn’t dodge came directly at the view screen.

“Aagh!  We are dead!” screeched Bahbahr.

The shot, however, exploded a fair distance away against the ship’s energy field.

“How did you do that?” asked Stabharh in amazement, and possibly enviously.

“Higher tech level than our enemy,” said Biznap smugly.  “Your people don’t even know how to generate a force field, let alone breach one with projectiles.”

“All right!” cried the fat Galtorrian.  “Now shoot him down.”

“Can’t do that.  We don’t carry ship to ship weaponry,” said Farbick.  “Defense only… the explorer’s code.”

“What?” growled Stabharh, “he’ll go back to Senator Tedhkruhz and relay our location.”

“He most certainly will not!” cried Biznap.  The Commander reached over to the proper switch on his control panel and flipped the cloaking mechanism on.

They heard the electric buzz of the device and saw the tell-tale shimmer across the viewing screen.  Moments later the enemy space craft began to drift away in a confused spiral search pattern.

“Why did they leave like that?” asked the fat Galtorrian.

“They lost visual contact and had to give up,” said Farbick.  “They can’t track what they don’t see.”

“You can be invisible?” crooned Stabharh.

“Of course we can,” crowed Biznap proudly.

“You must teach us this!” said the little lizard warrior.

“Now, hold on, junior,” said Biznap, “We still have an agreement to work out.  Are we still prisoners?”

“Well,” said the fat one, stalling, “we must still decide that matter.”

“Open to negotiation?” asked Biznap.

“Yes,” said Bahbahr in an oily voice.  “Definitely looking forward to bargaining.”

“We need coordinates to land,” said Starbright.  “You still haven’t explained where we are going.”

“I wanted to go to my secret base on Gundahl, the second moon of Galtorr Prime,” said the fat one.  “The bad guys will not find us there.  And very few of our enemies still have any kind of flight or space travel capability.”

“Which is the second moon?” asked Farbick with the navigation program pulled up on his pilot’s main computer.

“Gundahl is the big irregular one.  Rekhpahree had a base there too before the war.  The chunk missing from the moon is the result of Senator Tedhkruhz blasting it from orbit.  Melted moon-bits rained down on Galtorr Prime for a ten-cycle after that.”

“Okay,” said Farbick, “I have the moon locked in to the computer, but where on the moon?”

“The entrance to my base,” said Bahbahr, “is under the Silica Falls near the Sea of Black Bones on that big hunk of stone.”

“I see it,” said Farbick.  “We will go there directly.  But tell me, why do the names on your home-world all sound like a horror movie set?”

“You might as well ask, why do Galtorrians hate each other with such passion?” said Stabharh.

“Or why do Galtorrians eat each other after they have slain Galtorrians in battle?” said Bahbahr.

“Yes,” said Farbick.  “I want to know that too.  Why do you people eat each other?”

“We wish to absorb the fighting spirit of the defeated warrior,” said Stabharh.

“Personally,” said Bahbahr, somewhat cattily, “I just like the taste.”

“Yes,” agreed Stabharh, “I do also.  Especially in savory blood sauce.”

“Savory blood sauce?” asked Starbright as if she were about to be ill.

“Yeah, you know,” said Bahbahr, “What the Earthers call ketchup in those Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello movies.”


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Roses at Christmas Time

When bad things happen, we can usually make something good out of them.  I have always believed this.  It is Midwestern pragmatism in action.  Hail destroyed the crops?  Martial your resources for the next growing season, or change from a farmer to something else more profitable.  There is always a way forward, even if you have to learn to be tougher and tighten the belt, or next year’s food supply depends on the farmer in the next county.  Global warming is threatening to cook us in our own juices?  Well, this year our confused roses in the yard are blooming like it was Springtime.  The part of the wheel at the bottom, crushed against the pavement, rises to the top again as we move forward on the bicycle of human life.


All of these roses have bloomed during the Christmas holiday this year when temperatures sank no lower than the 50’s and got as high as 77 degrees.  It recalls a recent year when dorky daffodils poked their yellow heads out of the ground in January only to be murdered by snowstorm a week later.  Will these roses be subjected to the same fate?  Robert Herrick says, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…”  We will pragmatically enjoy them while they are here, no matter what happens.  I have been writing a science fiction novel about environmental and political Armageddon.  It is set on another planet, but that planet stands in for Earth in my book.  But the point is that the universe goes on even if we are dumb enough to destroy ourselves by pillaging the natural world.  Yet, I don’t believe that will happen.  I see movement towards renewable energy, and political change for the better is in the wind.  In the end, I think humanity will dig down deep for that magical force we all possess.  We will be able to change for the better when we are forced to.  I don’t expect to live to see it.  I don’t figure I have another whole decade left to live, and the course we are on won’t be decided before 2050… probably.  But, all speculation aside, I am here now to enjoy roses blooming at Christmastime… and to share that rare feeling with you.

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