Space Beasts: A New Hope
        by Twiga   (twiga@Writing.Com)
[Introduction] It it all started when the Fellowship got a distress signal from Planet Pekopon.

The Wranglers had arrived.

The Wranglers were led by Prince Edward Green, Prince of the seedy underworld Planet Viola Streirra he had come to lead the other Wranglers on a Humanimal Hunt, their mission to capture as many Humanimals as they could and bring them to the black market.

Planet Pekopon was a planet founded by Neo Hippies, they were among two warring fractions in this universe to see who could be more retro, their opposition was the Neo Victorians, the Neo Hippies and Neo Victorians couldn't be more opposite in their view of the world, While the Hippies vouch for a world of as they put it 'Beads, Flowers, Freedom, Happiness' The Neo Victorians preached for a world of Cruelty and Restraint, where Pre-Marital sex was against the law and masturbation was punishable by death.

Granted neither of these two extremes were very popular with mainstream thinkers, but the Neo Victorians were considered the more 'Reasonable' of the two because they provided free disease control centers to keep radiation mutated STDs down and also they built nice Victorian homes for people to live in even for people who didn't believe in their views.

Neo Hippies on the other hand were more popular with Humanimals, because the Hippies were among of the few people the {Humanimals should be equals with humans! There was no way of this becoming possible on mainstream planet a few centuries back, back then the general idea was 'If you don't like the way we run things, go take your rocket ship and find another planet where you can do things your way but don't bother us!' So two groups of Neo Hippies took their rocket ships and set out to find a new planet where Humans and Humanimals could live in peace and harmony, they found two planets, One was Mizzer, and the other was Pekopon

Edward Green was doing what he was born and bred to do and loving every minute of it! His Minions were herding the Humanimals of Pekopon like feedlot cattle, using their great lassos to capture them, one Wrangler did have trouble with a Police Wolf, and with her net gun she captured him as well.

Edward, has having some fun picking off the younger ones, he lassoed an adolescent Cobra Girl and put her in a great sack on the back of his mechanical steed.

"Venomous snakes and zebras are small fry!" He chuckled "Where is the real challenge?"

Then he saw her, rising out of the smoke on leather wings, she was wearing a bright blue dress, a fire breathing dragon!

"There she is!" Edward whispered "There she is!" The Queen of Dangerous Game!"

Rose Merryveil however was not very dangerous at at all! She was pygmy dragon...A Dragon species that normally doesn't grow larger then a Human Being, she was a timid little creature too, much to shy to use her fiery breath

When she saw Edward looking at her she gasped, she broke in a cold sweat and flew away

"Oh you're not getting away from me!" Edward sneered "You're mine..."

Meanwhile on the Spaceship The Fellowship, Matoaka was told by her second in command Minsk that the distress signal had come from Pekopon.
"Sounds like trouble," Matoaka said. "What's the cause of the disturbance?"

"Either pirates or Wranglers," Minsk said.

"Both are always trouble," Matoaka muttered. "I wish we could raid their HQ."

"Should we precede to Pekopon?" Minsk asked.

"Yes, and let's hope we don't get there too late."
Matoaka pushed the button on the Intercom, she told Bill to prepare for Battle

Bill cheered "Those were the magic words Captain!"
"That young man needs to learn there's more to life than just fighting," Matoaka muttered.

"I think that's all men understand," Minsk said. "That and trying to one-up the other guys in sexual conquests."

"I hear that," Matoaka said with a chuckle. "Trick's finding the right one."

"Have you found the right one?" Minsk asked.

"Still looking," Matoaka said. "You?"

"Same."
Matoaka pushed the button on the intercom again, "Engineering Report!" She said

"Chief Engineer Bob reporting!" The Catfish Boy said enthusiastically

"Chief Medic Kong is currently in deep contemplation of the Heresy Stones..."

"Heresy Stones?!" Matoaka exclaimed "For Cri-Yi! What is he doing looking up million year old prophecies at this hour?!"

"You'd have to ask him yourself..." Bob said

Kong pushed the button on his intercom

"We should be on our guard Captain!" The Gorilla Man said "According to the Heresy Stones either a Great Miracle will happen today or a Great Disaster or possibly both!"

"Put that thought on hold Kong.." Matoaka said "We're going into battle"

Meanwhile on a Planet called Alderbaren a horrible world where the penalty for any crime was paying with a child that would be used for human sacrifice, one of these Children of Convicts, named Ichabod Crane is about to learn today is the day he must leave home and set off for the criminal underworld. little does he know the surprises fate has in store for him.
As Matoaka and her crew were getting ready to engage the Wranglers, Ichabod was clutching a piece of paper he was very proud of he was going downstairs about to see his father

"Father," Ichabod said "I finished that report you wanted me to complete..."

Just then a gruff sounding voice said something that made Ichabod jump

"We know you have the boy Professor Crane!" A voice said "Hand him over!"

"I don't have the faintest idea what you're talking about." Jonathan Crane said

"You were supposed to pay for your crimes with a child 13 years ago!" The Child Hunter said

"I can't pay with a child!" Jonathan said calmly "My wife is infertile there there is no way in heaven or in hell we can have child!"

Silently as he could Ichabod tiptoed to the kitchen and hid behind the refrigerator

"It was very nice talking to you Lawrence." Jonathan said sarcastically slamming the door in the child hunter's face

"Ichabod!" Jonathan said "You can come out now! He's gone!"
"Father, how long must I live like this?" Ichabod asked.

"Like what?" his father said.

"You know! Always fearful, always hiding. Never knowing when the knock on the door will lead to a knock on my head. It's making me nervous, Dad."

"Nervous is good. Keeps you alert. And by God you need to be alert. You could be captured and killed by a child hunter."

"I don't like being afraid of child hunters."

Jonathan rubbed his chin. "Don't worry. One day you will grow up to be a Great Avenger and take down the child hunters."

"No I won't, Dad. That's a story you read in a comic book."

"Is it? Well, use it as a model for your life. Live like a hero, son, then you will have lots of friends."
"But what if I end up like you?" Ichabod asked. "A criminal that is hunted down for whatever reason?"

"Sometimes you have to take risks," Johnathan said. "Sometimes things are good, sometimes they aren't. But know this; no matter what happens, I won't let them take you."
Matoaka and the crew of the Fellowship saw that the Wranglers had already taken a good third of Pekopon's Humanimal Population! A massive slave ship and six escort fighters were on their way to the black market planets.

Matoaka turned to Minsk, "Minsk.." The Unicorn Woman said "I want you Kong and Jim to form a boarding party and take over the slave ship, the rest of us will take care of the escort fighters."

Meanwhile Edward Green was walking up and down examining the slaves, all were bound and muzzled, some were terrified, others were crying some were seething with rage.

Just then one Wolf Man, the Same Police Wolf who gave a Wrangler Girl trouble tried to bite off Edward's hand

"Damn you!" Edward said to the Wolf he turned to his servants "I thought I told you to have them all muzzled!"

"We tried to Your Highness." A servant said "But he put up such a struggle!"

Edward put his riding crop under the Wolf's Chin and looked him in the eye "I've broken in Lions, Tigers and Crocodiles." The Prince said calmly "What makes you think you'll be any different?"

The Wolf Man whose name was Jake Marrows said "Those who look into the eyes of fear, find themselves looking into the eyes of love."

"What the hell does that mean?!" Edward exclaimed
"It means I'll tear out your throat and the next set of eyes you'll see will be that of your dead mother," Jake said with a growl.
"Foolish Beast!" Edward said through gnashed teeth "If my mother were dead I'd be King of Viola Strearria not Prince! I have no Father and...Oh why am I wasting time explaining myself to an animal?! Take him away!"

Edward's guards took the Wolf back to the Slave Cellar

"I look forward to breaking that one in myself." Edward muttered under his breath.

He spotted two servants, tiptoeing around, there were some suspicious smells coming from them that smelled like aphrodisiac potion

"You two!" Edward said "How many times have I told you not to fornicate with the slaves?!"

"We don't fornicate boss." The slimy servant said "We rape them!"

"Don't you know there is a law against Humans and Humanimals copulating?" Edward asked

"Boss you really need to catch up on the rules." The other servant said "It is illegal for Humans and Humanimals to LOVE each other, it's perfectly legal for Humans to rape animals especially if it breaks in their spirit faster!"

"Well I say it is a disgusting act, and degrades human dignity! If I catch you two fornicating with the slaves you will both be fired on the spot! Do you understand?"

"Yes, boss. No fornicating allowed."

Edward found himself in a sour mood, what with hand biting wolves and fornicating slaves. There was a time when his life had seemed glamorous to him, but lately he seemd to be little better off than a chipotle farmer, a comparison he used only because his cousin Jeffrey was a chipotle farmer and Edward had often thought his own life was so much better than Jeffrey's, but was it really? Was it?

"Boss! Loose weasel on level three!"

Edward slapped at the interruptor with his riding crop. "Yes! Thank you! The weasels are loose! Argh! I'm a zoo janitor."

He stomped off to deal with the crisis.
Jake meanwhile was banging on his cell's door.

"That doesn't quite work Officer," said a voice.

Jake turned around and saw a fox lounging lounging on a pallet.

"And just how do you know I'm an Officer?" Jake asked.

"A thief has to know what officer has been assigned to try and apprehend them," the fox said as he turned his head to look at the officer. "It's interesting to see you up close and in person."

"You're the thief who robbed that Jewelry store last week."

The fox grinned. "Yes, and don't forget the museum the week before that, the bank the month before that, the Governor's house last year, not to mention the Policeman's Ball last night."

"I was wondering how you got out of that," Jake said with a grin. "The place was locked down."

"You need to work on the roof a bit," the fox said. "Got in through the skylight, and escaped the same way."

"Well, what's you're advice in escaping from here?" Jake asked, as he pointed at the door.

"A simple lockpick would do the job," the fox said, standing up. "The problem is that there is a current of electricity running through the locks. It's not lethal, but it causes ones' muscles to contract enough that you can't do a thing."

"How do you know?"

"I tried already, and I almost lost my pick. Thankfully I managed to keep a hold of it."
As the Fox and the Wolf tried to think of what next to do they heard the sounds of wailing...Human wailing at that.

Two Servants were dragging another human, a skinny redheaded human with blue eyes.

"Let me go! Let me go!" The Redhead moaned "I don't want any part in your plot!"

"You should have thought of that before you became a white collar criminal!" One the servants said slapping the young man on the back of the head "Since you are our prisoner you get to do whatever we want you to do...And since our boss has forbidden us to rape the slaves ourselves you get to rape the slaves for us! Now come on! We've got this hot little Zebra Girl in cage #22 that has your name on it!"

As these unpleasant things were going on Jim the Squirrel Boy, Minsk the Mink Girl and Kong the Gorilla Boy exited the Fellowship on a kind of flying motorcycle, Minsk used her laser pen to cut into the Slave Ship's hull.

This did not go unnoticed a Squadron of Girl Soldiers were sent to Prevent the Humanimals from entering the Center of the Ship.

"Ha Ha!" Said a Girl Soldier "Imagine a bunch of dumb furballs taking us on!"

Another Girl pounded on the Iron Door "Surrender at once in the name of the Wrangler Empire!"

The door was knocked down by a furry first, an Enormous Gorilla Man came in pointing his machine gun

"Which one of you sweet little muffins wants to climb the Empire State Building with me?!" Kong laughed flashing a toothy grin

The Girl's screamed like they saw a small rodent.

"Eek! Gorilla!" The screeched
"Ha! HA! HA!" Kong laughed as he fired shots into the air chasing after the girls.

Minsk and Jim followed "Kong wait!" Minsk said but it was too late Minsk shook her head "Gorillas, you can't do anything with them when they're going ape."

Minsk and Jim climbed up a ladder.

"Jim." Minsk said "You go left to the captain's quarters...I'll go to the slave holding cellar."

"Aye Aye Commander!" Jim said

With that they parted ways.

Jim ran into a Guard Robot

"Halt!" The Robot said "You are under arrest! Resistance is futile!"

"Ha ha." Jim said "You're funny!" With that the Young Red Squirrel ran his sword seventeen time through the robot, it fell to pieces when he was done, Jim licked his blade "Hmmm! Tastes like kerosene!" He said
Minsk came back down the hallway. "Well, did you see Kong?"

"I was too busy with that," Jim said, pointing his sword at the pieces of Guard Robot scattered about.

"Let's keep looking!" Minsk said and they ran down the corridor opening doors and yelling, "Kong! Kong!"

"Wait!" Jim said. "Be quiet. I think I heard him." From the distance came the unmistakable sound of a chest-beating gorilla roar.

"He must have caught a girl. Come on!"

They ran in the direction of the sounds of mayhem.
"I just hope that Kong controls himself," Minsk said. "He could get caught in an ambush."

"I wouldn't want to be one of those girls if he's caught one of them," Jim said. "Last one sued the department big time, remember."

"He got a demotion from that one," Minsk said. "I hope he kills her; saves us the trouble."
They ran into Kong, bumping into him, the two smaller mammals fell on their butts and rubbed their sore noses.

Kong handed Minsk a ring of keys "I believe you need this if you want to release the slaves commander." Kong said

"Please tell me that all you did to that poor girl was take her keys." Minsk said

"Don't worry!" Kong laughed "Before I could do anything she just fainted!"
"That better be all," Minsk said. "Now come on; let's free the prisoners and get off this ship."
Minsk found told Jim to go East to the Captain's Quarters and takes over the Ship, while She released the slaves.

She bumped into two girl soldiers...Ugly Girl soldiers at that.

"It's OK!" One of them said "She's only a Mink!"

"We thought you were going to be a gorilla!" The other said "What a relief!"

"I do believe I'm being insulted." Minsk said and she proceeded the kick the crap out of them

"Stay right where you are!" A firm commanding voice forced Minsk to look up.

There Minsk saw Edward swinging his lasso

"You think you can just waltz in here and release our quarry? Do you think we would just let you go and make no attempt to capture you?"

Minsk laughed "Oh foolish prince! You have never seen a Humanimal who was not afraid of you! Look Edward into my eyes! Do you see any fear?"

Edward looked into her eyes and did not see any fear, on the contrary he became afraid! He slowly approached him and he was backed into a corner! She forced a kiss, on his lips and to his own shock and horror he did push or pull away but merely accepted the kiss!
When the kiss was done, Edward felt a sharp pain in his neck and collapsed onto the floor.

"Pitooie!" Minsk said, as she wiped her lips. "I hate having to kiss people like that." She then put the needle she'd kept hidden in her hand into her pocket and got out a pair of handcuffs. "Now to arrest you and take you back to the ship, so we can take you in for piracy, kidnapping, and slavery."
Minsk threw Edward over her shoulder (Despite appearing small and delicate, Minsk was very strong due to the fact she was a mink, and was built of pure solid muscle)

With Edward over her shoulder she put the master key in the machine that opened and closed all the cages at once, when she opened it a flood of Humanimals poured out

"We're saved!" Exclaimed a Giant Panda

All the prisoners clamored around Minsk for her attention

"One at a time! One at a time!" Minsk said "Now, who has the most urgent problem?"

"I do!" Said a punkish Zebra Girl with a pink mane and tale tassel, some men came into my cage...I don't know how many because was blindfolded, but they tied me up...and...and ...I think I may be pregnant with a Human's child!"

Minsk was instantly sympathetic, she had once been raped and impregnated by a human man when she was only 11 years old, the baby was born dead but the fortunate thing was she did not catch any Mutated STDs that were so common there days.

"Oh you poor thing!" Minsk said wrapping her arm around the zebra's neck! Come with me we'll get you somewhere safe!" Meanwhile the Man who got her pregnant, the 'white collar criminal' who had been forced at gunpoint to do saw what had happened and tried to explain himself before the situation got worse.

"Wait!" The Skinny Redhead said trying to call out to the Zebra Girl "I'm sorry Ma'am I didn't want to do it!"

But the door to the slave cellar was already closed trapping the young man inside

Meanwhile the good ship Fellowship was trying desperately to evade the escort fighters

"Captain!" Bill said "They've gotten wise! They're steering clear of my shooting zone!"

"I know!" Matoaka said "Our shields are taking a pounding!" But we've got to lead them as far away from the slave ship as possible!"

Kong and friends had stormed into the bridge of the slave shipo and were now controlling it.

"Can we land on Pekopon?"

"Only if you keep those fighters away," Kong said to Bill who was piloting the Fellowship.

The huge slaveship drifted back down to Pekopon's surface accompanied by her six fighters, but now they were viciously attacking her instead of defending her.

"Forward shield failing!" came a tinny voice over the intercom.

Kong pounded the arms of his chair. "Come on! Come on! Just hold for a few more seconds!"

The Fellowship circled around the slaveship trying to pick off the fighters, not an easy task because the small fighters were so much faster, but suddenly one of them burst into a white fireball.

"Got one!" Bill yelled.

Matoaka grinned. "Good shooting."
"Your gunner better not cocky,Fellowship," said a voice on the intercom. "I'm in the area and that last shot almost hit me."

"What are you doing here, Solo Lobo?" Matoaka asked. "And more importantly, where are you? I don't see you on my detection equipment."

"I've been shadowing this group, so that I can locate their base," Solo Lobo said. "Currently I have my cloaking shield on, and it is certainly much better than what I was using before."

"Yeah but where are you?"

"200 meters off your starboard bow."

"Well our forward shield is failing," Matoaka said. "Do you think you can cover us from that position?"

"I'll have to decloak to use weapons, but I can do it," came the reply. A small one person fighter materialized in front of the Fellowship. On it was a wolf insignia. "Just remember to tell that gunner of yours not to shoot my ass, or I'll come on board and kick his."
Matoaka rose from her seated position, but suddenly one of the escort fighters hit the Fellowship when no one was prepared for it, Matoaka went into shock and fainted.

Bob rose up from the engine room "Did you feel that Matoaka?" He looked at the fainted unicorn "Matoaka!" he shouted "Matoaka"

Some hours later, Matoaka found herself in a hospital bedroom, smiling down on her were two Doctors, an Orangutan and a Horse Woman.

"Oh good! You're awake!" The Ape Man said "I have some good news, you're pregnant!"

"I'm What?!?" With that Matoaka fainted.

The Ape Doctor sensing this would happen, took some smelling salts and held them under Matoaka's nose, she slowly woke up

"Do you have any idea who the father is?" The Ape Man asked

"I have no idea!" Matoaka said unless...

Her mind flashed back to two months earlier she remembered a one night stand with a Prince of Bird like aliens, she shed a single tear "Zander." She said "Zander is the father."
"Are you talking about the Prince of Ave?" the orangutan asked.

Matoaka nodded.

"In that case, keep your mouth shut," the doctor said. "I normally wouldn't say something like that, but those birds have a loose screw when it comes to cross-breeding; they don't like it."
Matoaka didn't want to believe that, in fact, she refused to believe that the Aves would be as narrow minded as humans when it came to interracial marriage."

The Ape Man helped her to her hooves, she saw her crew waiting in the room next to her. She saw weary apprehensive smiles on their faces.

"Did we rescue all the prisoners?" Matoaka asked wearily

"Oh yes!" Jim said "All the prisoners are safe and sound! But that's not the best part!"

"What's the best part?" Matoaka asked

"We captured an enemy prince!" Minsk said, at her feet Prince Edward was bound and gagged and on a leash

"I'm pregnant." Matoaka said sadly

Everyone fidgeted and looked embarrassed

"Captain." Kong said "We kind of...already knew..."

"What?!" Matoaka exclaimed "Why didn't anyone tell me?!"

"We tried to captain!" Minsk said "But you didn't listen!"

"That's what I get for being too dedicated to my job." Matoaka said shaking her head "Come on crew, we're going to Planet Ava, to tell Zander what happened..."

The Crew was frozen "Are you sure that's wise Captain?" Kong asked

"Zander made me promise to marry him after we had sex." Matoaka said "I promised I would come back in two months time a Unicorn always keeps her promise!"
"That might be a challenge," Bob said. "The Fellowship needs some repairs, especially the shields. Oh, and Captain James of the Solo Lobo sends this." The catfish handed Matoaka an envelope.

Matoaka opened the envelope, and saw that there was two sheets of paper. As she read them, she chuckled. She then looked at her crew and said, "Bill, you need to learn how to shoot better. It seems that we messed up his paint job, and he expects someone to pay for the cost of repairs."

"It's not my fault that he was close to the enemy," Bill said. "Don't forget, he had his cloak on. I couldn't see him."

"Yeah, but it seems the damage occurred after he disengaged the cloak."

"It could of come from someone else, like the Wranglers."

"He has a camera, and it shows the shot coming from our ship. It would be troubling if he took it to the higher-ups."
Meanwhile Ichabod Crane and his family that tonight would be the night that he had to leave home and seek refuge in the criminal underworld.

Ichabod's parents packed his backpack with food, water spare clothes, anything they could fit in there.

"Mum Please!" Ichabod said as Pamela packed another water bottle in his backpack, I'll get water intoxication before I drink all the water you've packed me!"

"I just want to make sure you're well stocked for your trip." Pamela said

Ichabod reached under his pillow and pulled out his stuffed Lobster Gooblies and tucked him in between the water bottles.

"I really don't see why you need that." Jonathan said "A 13 year old boy shouldn't be playing with stuffed animals."

"Shush," Pamela said. "I read in my child raising manuals that even a 13-year-old can use the assistance of comforting toys in stressful psychological situations."

"You and your manuals," Jonathan said. "We are raising a boy, not a computer."

"May I remind you that you have never owned a computer that you didn't crash in 12 months."

"I'm not good with machines," Jonathan said, "but I know about boys."

"Dad," Ichabod said. "What are you two going to argue about after I am gone?"
"Probably each other's hair," Johnathan said with a chuckle. "I still think she could dye it brown. Green stands out too much."

"And you know that I don't use anything that isn't natural," Pamela said, with a chuckle of her own. "But you'd best get something before yours turns completely gray."
Ichabod and his family heard what sounded like a small explosion outside, they knew the annual child hunt had begun.

"Quickly! Quickly!" Jonathan whispered "Ichabod, you must go through the alley ways to the safety of the underworld, DO NOT STOP FOR ANYTHING! You understand?"

"Yes Father." Ichabod whispered quickly

"Out the back door." Pamela said 'Hurry up."

Ichabod ran out the backdoor and out into the maze of alley ways, he had not gone too far when he heard a BOOM and he looked back to see his house was on fire!

He had no way of knowing his parents had escaped through a secret underground entrance that even he did know about.

"I guess there is no turning back now." He said weakly "Because there is no place to turn back too."

Ichabod did not know it but this experience would leave him with a severe fear of fire, one that would haunt him for the rest his life.

Meanwhile Matoaka and her crew were on their way to Planet Ava, there was one problem, a nebula storm was blocking the regular star path to Ava meaning they would have to go the long way around, through Planet Alderbaren's star system.
"This is annoying," Matoaka said as she looked at the map.

"I think we'd be safer going through the storm," Minsk said. "Too many Wranglers are in the Alderbaren system for my liking."
"I don't care!" Matoaka said "I'm the captain and I say what goes! And I say we go through the Alderbaren System."

They barely got through into the star system when Alderbaren Fighters started to attack!

"Holy Crap!" Bill said

"They're herding us!" Kong exclaimed "They don't want to kill us they want to enslave us!"

Bob had a burst of Psychic Inspiration "Kong!" Said Bob "Go down to the planet and fly over the forest!"

"What good will that do?" Kong asked

"The Military HATES the forest!" Bob said "They are superstitious about it! Just do what I say you'll see!"

With that Kong took the spaceship and flew over the planet's surface, he flew over town's and houses until he reached the forest!

As soon as they were safely over the forest the fighters stopped chasing them, you're probably wondering why, well ever since Duke Vortex took over Alderbaren some time ago, nature has rejected Alderbaren's military, whenever a soldier entered the forest they would be attacked by wild animals, not Humanimals, regular unmodified animals, even if they flew over it they would not be safe, birds would fly into their engines and cause them to come crashing to their fiery deaths so understandably the cowardly soldiers refused to enter the forest.
"Could someone explain to me why those fighters stopped chasing us," Bill asked.

"It's an old story," Matoaka said. "I'm not really sure of it, but strange things happen in that forest."
Meanwhile Ichabod, exhausted from his long run, Stopped to pant and recover, no far away he could hear the march of the child hunters.

"Oh no!" Ichabod said to himself "I can't run anymore! I'm all out of breath! And the child hunters will be here any minute! What am I going to do? What am I going to do?!"

It did not take Ichabod long before he saw the answer, there in the same alleyway was a pile of wooden boxes. Ichabod crawled into one of the empty wooden boxes, lay like a shadow and held his breath.

Meanwhile Bob noticed there was some smoke coming from the engines, he opened it up and coughed from all the smoke.

"How bad is it Bob?" Matoaka asked worriedly

"We lost two of our main engines and the hyperspace jump is out of order." Bob said "But that's not the worst part!"

"What't the worst part?" Jim asked

"I don't have enough parts to fix it!" Bob exclaimed "Evidently because some of us have been spending more on snacks then on spare parts!"

Everyone looked guilty and ashamed


"Alright," Jim said, "we've been in tougher situations than this. We'll disguise our ship as an Alderbaren schoolbus ship and go to a junkyard and get spare parts."

"Why a school bus?" Bob asked.

"Because people have a natural tendency to avoid them and make way for them. Nobody questions a school bus. Have you got a better idea?"

"No," Bob said. So they spent two hours painting the ship yellow (fortunately, they had plenty of paint left over from an old theater project they started but never finished) and then they headed out of the forest and into a city.

"This is the dangerous part," Jim said. "Either we will be spotted right away as frauds or somehow we will pull it off. Do you feel lucky?"

"We've got more than luck working for us," Matoaka said.
"Really? Is our budget big enough to have other people working with us?"

"Can it with the wisecracks."
Ichabod heard the voices of child hunters outside his box.

"Well. There are no children here." Said one

"Well you better find some children quick! Or the boss with have our asses on a platter!" Said another

"Couldn't we kill a stray dog and mutilate the corpse to look like a child?" Asked a third

"Didn't last that last time we kill a cow that last time?" Asked the second

"Whatever! It didn't freaking work!" The first one said "Especially not the clumsy way you mutilated the udders to look like breasts!"

"Child Hunters!" Called a voice from a Helicopter "Humanimals have been spotted the the south eastern section of the city! All soldiers needed!"

With that the Child Hunters left the alley, Ichabod crawled out of the box

"Humanimals?" Ichabod whispered to himself "In our city?"

Just as he was about to walk away he stepped on a rat! The rat let out a squeak and Ichabod did a backward jump into the pile of boxes the boxes on the top came tumbling down and one landed on his foot trapping him!
"Hey, did you hear something?" came the voice, of one of the Hunters. Then Ichabod heard footsteps coming towards him.

"Shit," Ichabod whispered. He couldn't move, as his foot was stuck, and any struggles would make noise. "What do I do?"

Suddenly, a hand grabbed his mouth. "Shut your yap," said a low deep voice. "Not unless you want them to catch you."

"Hey, is anyone in there?" asked one of the hunters from outside the alley. "We won't hurt you."

Some of the others chuckled.

"Just me," said the person behind Ichabod. "The brat I was chasing dumped a can of oil and I fell onto some trash."

"Well you'd better forget about him," said the hunter. "Some of those man-beast things have been spotted and every man is needed to deal with them."

"I'll be there in a moment."

With that, the hunters departed, and the stranger removed their hand from Ichabod's mouth. "You're safe now kid," the stranger said. "Keep quiet and I'll take you someplace safe from them."
Ichabod looked at the face of his rescuer he had the face of a wolf!

"Who...Who are you?" Ichabod whispered

"Just a friend." The Wolf whispered.

Meanwhile Matoaka and her crew were having trouble with wranglers!

A lasso wrapped itself Kong's waist! The Ape Man was lifted high into the air!

"Help me!" Kong shouted

"I'll help you Kong!" Bill said but a lasso wrapped itself around the bull's neck.

This was Bill's greatest fear! When he was an itty bitty calf he once almost got strangled to death in a snare, he never forgot that.

Minsk cut through the rope with her sharp little mink teeth unfortunately the Copter that had Kong was flying away!

"They're getting away!" Bill shouted

"Look!" Jim said "There's James! He's got...A kid! A human kid with him!"
"What the hell are you doing here?" Matoaka asked.

"My job, horsebrains," James said. "I have standing orders to come here during this backward piece of dirt's Child Hunts, and save what kids I can, and send them to safe places."

"Why wasn't I informed that something like that was going on?" Matoaka asked.

"Top Secret, Need-to-Know only," James said. "Given our situation with Alderbaren, Command doesn't dare to do more than criticize the Hunts. However, me and a few others have orders, from the very Top, to do what we can to disrupt them. Of course, more importantly, we're disavowable."

"What are you talking about?" Bill asked.

"Easy, if I get captured, no rescue party is coming to save my tail," James said. "Now I'm telling you, you best take this boy, get on your ship, and take off."
James counted heads and realized one of the members of the crew were missing.

"Say..." James said "Where's the Gorilla Man?"

Matoaka's ear drooped "Wranglers...took him."

James realized what she meant by that

"Perhaps he'll find his way back to us." He said "After the Humanimals say 'No one is lost forever unless proven otherwise.' have you found enough parts to take off?"

"Yes." Bob said

"Take this guy along with you." James said pushing Ichabod forward "He doesn't have anyone else to look after him."

Ichabod clutched his sore foot.

"Does your foot hurt?" Matoaka asked "Here let me fix that for you!"

She took off his shoe and wrapped her hand around his socked foot a blue glow enveloped the foot and it soon became right as rain.
"That healing ability will cost you one day," James said. "All it takes is a lucky shot, and no one would be able to save you."

"There's no one around here," Bill said.

"A friend of mine said that once," James said. "Half a second later, wind was whistling through his skull. A good sniper can get you from a mile away you should know. Of course, I can hit them from a mile and a half away."
Ichabod was amazed, he felt he had stepped into a Fairyland! He knew Humanimals existed but until now he had never seen one up close, before then all he had to go on was the illustrations in Children's Books and those illustrations didn't really do them justice.

Matoaka put her face up close to Ichabod so he could feel her warm breath "Hello Little One." She said "What's your name?"

Ichabod had to shake his head once or twice before he could respond "You're...You're a Unicorn!" He exclaimed

"Why so I am." Matoaka chuckled

"I thought Unicorns were mythological!" Ichabod said wonderingly

"We're not mythological we're just really good at hiding." Matoaka said

"Hey Captain!" Bill called in his big bellowing bovine voice "The wranglers are going to come back any second! Are we going to get moving or what?!"

"Oh right!" Matoaka said "Come Little One, onto the Spaceship we will take you somewhere safe!"

The Spaceship lifted up smoothly and Ichabod marveled at the view. "We are in space!"

"That's why they call it a spaceship," Bob said.

Bill conferred with Matoaka. "What are we going to do about Kong?"
"We've got to have faith." Matoaka said "That one day we will rescue Kong or Kong will rescue himself."

"He's a tough old ape." Bill said nodding his head

Meanwhile Ichabod was sitting on a plush sofa looking at a photograph of his parents "I can't believe they're gone." He said

"There, there." Minsk said as she laid a furry hand on his shoulder making him jump a little "You're in good paws now. Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat?"

"I have a little food in my pack..." Ichabod said reaching for his backpack

"Nonsense!" The Mink said "I am the cook on this spaceship and I insist on cooking you a proper meal! What would you like?"

"Hamburgers?" Ichabod said hopefully

Bill and Jim and Matoaka flinched, Minsk grimaced

"Oh dear..." Minsk said "Maybe I should explain a few things, when we eat at a restaurant everyone can order what they like...but meals on the spaceship have rules, we don't serve beef here, or pork or mutton or goat or chicken the only meat we serve here is fish provided it is not catfish and the only other animal products are eggs and dairy products...So if you better like fish because that's the only meat we serve here."

"I do like fish." Ichabod said he didn't like the ugly looks Bill was giving him
"By the way, where is the wolf?"

"He's probably causing some trouble with those wranglers," Matoaka said. "He'll lead them away, killing a few in the process. Then, he'll probably locate Kong and the children and bust them free."

"Well, why aren't you with him?"

"James works alone, claims he works better that way," Matoaka said. "As it is, we need to get to Ave."
"Excuse me." Ichabod said "What?"

"It's a planet that humans have not colonized." Matoaka said "Because an intelligent race already developed there so by law Humanity can not touch it!"

"What do the aliens look like?" Ichabod asked

"An Ava they look like anthropomorphic birds." Matoaka said "Specifically anthropomorphic herons, actually this is common an many planets with an intelligent race resembling some variety of terrestrial animal for example on Planet Rigel Four the Octos are Anthro Octopi on planet Jellicle they resemble house cats! "
"Okay, that's too much," Ichabod said. "There is no way that aliens just resemble Earth life forms."

"Well, most of the ones we've encountered do," Matoaka said. "There are even some that look like creatures from realms of fantasy. Of course, there are some that do resemble aliens from Star Wars and Star Trek, and a few other Sci-Fi series."

"Like what?"

"There's a couple of Predator-type creatures that would give the Thomas brothers a run for their money," Matoaka said. "Of course, unlike in the Predator series, they tend to be peaceful, and aren't given to head-hunting. But if you do do something to anger them, you'd wish that all they did was take your head off."
Ichabod thought about that "To think." He said with a half chuckle "That I would end up chatting it up with squirrels and catfish!"

"You've never seen a Humanimal before?" Jim asked curiously

"Only as illustrations in Children's books." Ichabod said "And those crude drawing really don't do your kind justice...You are much more...rugged and athletic then the chubby waddling characters in the pictures books I read."

Bill smirked, it was not a kind smirk

"I think anyone could be buff and athletic compared to you Knobby Knees!" Bill laughed "But it's nice to see some recognition with that he kissed his own bicep.

"Don't mind Bill." Bob said sitting down next to Ichabod "He can be a bit Bull Headed at times."

"Also Bill doesn't like Humans very much." Jim said

"That's not true," Bill said. "Humans are fine as long as they aren't trying to put a rope around my neck make shoes out of me."

"He'll never forgive the leather industry," Jim said.

"You wouldn't like humans either if there was anythjing useful abouut squirrels they could exploit."

Ichabod cleared his throat. "My Dad said they used to hang squirrel tails off the radio antenna of cars."

"Gross," Jim said. "Although I suppose a tailess squirrel could survive somehow."
"We still have to get to Ave," Matoaka said. "Just wish we didn't take that detour though."
"OK." Matoaka said "Why don't you wash up and get ready for supper."

"What are we having?" Jim asked.

"The usual," Matoaka said. "Fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, and a salad."

"I thought so."

"What's the matter? You aren't hungry?"

"I was just worried about our friend Ichabod here."

"Don't worry about me," Ichabod asaid. "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse. Oops! There is no half horse person here, is there?"

"No. Your remark is still offensive."

"Well, gee,"Ichabod said. "I'm sorry. Hey, I love nuts!"

"Whoopee," Jim said.
"Somebody's short a few slices of a loaf." Bill said.

"Yeah, but I sense he's got a good heart," Matoaka said.

"Not to mention a cute butt from what I can see," Bob said, with a grin. "I wonder what the rest of it is like."

"Keep that to yourself," Bill muttered. "I don't even want to think of it."

"You've got a cute butt yourself Bill."

"Don't even think about that one, or I might try frying up some fish myself, starting with you."
"Dude." Jim said narrowing his eyes at Bob "Bill is your HALF BROTHER! Wanting to cop a feel on your own flesh and blood Bro isn't pseudo-incest that's just plain incest!"

"Don't worry!" Bob said as he pushed his glasses up his snout "I don't fantasize about making out with my half brother I keep it strictly to platonic observation."

"Good." Bill and Jim both said at the same time.

"Now that Ichabod is out of the room I'll tell you two something of utmost confidence..." Bob said

The two gathered around the catfish to listen

"I'm not entirely sure but I think our dear Herd Brother Kong has a crush on our Herd Sister Belladonna Starchild!"

Both gasped

"You sure?" Jim asked nervously "Has he done anything?"

"He hasn't committed any pseudo incest as fall as I can tell." Bob said "But I don't think it is entirely Kong's fault after all he is a Gorilla second only to Chimps in their relation to Man and we all know Primates can be...the most Randy of the Mammals."
Important Note: In Humanimal Society the Cubs you grow up with even if they are not your blood relatives are considered herd siblings and Humanimal culture frowns on Herd Siblings mating with each other, they call it Pseudo Incest and this notion has some grounding in reality (The Westermarck Theory) The Idea of Kong being different in this attitude on account of being a primate is based on the sexual lives of real life primates especially Bonobo Apes.
"As long as he keeps it in the realm of fantasy, he should be alright," Bill said. "Of course, with him being held captive by the Wranglers, that could be trouble."

"I'm more worried about what will happen to the Wranglers when he escapes, especially the women," Bob said with a chuckle. "I think there will be some paternity suits going on, much like last time."

"Oh good god," Bill said with a chuckle. "It's hard to imagine them to come up with the gall to say that he was the one that raped them, considering what they were doing to other Humanimals."

"The Child Support's a pain though," Jim said with a sigh. "I hope that doesn't happen to me."
What was happening to Kong right now you're probably wondering

Kong had been taken to the court of Vortex, where all Military Humanimals are taken before judgement.

The Jurors were all but unanimous

"Hang him!"

"Shoot him!"

"Hit him with a rock!"

Kong took a deep breath and sighed, being an Ape he was pretty smart, second only to Bob in tool smarts and quite possibly savvier then Bill in street smarts.

"You know you humans claim you are the pinnacle of evolution however y'all seem to be acting more like animals then the actual animals!"

A bullet whizzed through the air and neatly snipped off a lock of his Afro.

He knew they were about to kill him, avoiding death would take some real brains and headology

He took out a secret gun he held in his pant leg and held the gun to his own neck

"Hold it." He said in a gruff voice "One move the ape gets it!"

Everyone was silent "Hold it men." Said the judge "He's not bluffing!"

"Listen to him men!" Said a lawyer "He just might be crazy enough to do it!"

One man was still holding a gun.

"Drop it!" Kong said "Or I'll blow this Ape's head all over this town!"

Then Kong put on a frightened face and high pitched voice while still holding a gun to his neck "Oh Lordy Lord! He's desperate! Do what he say! Do what he say!"

The last man put down the gun,

Kong started walking backwards out of the courtroom alternating between his gruff face and his frightened face

"Isn't someone going to help that poor creature?" A woman asked

"Hush Harriet!" Said a man "That's a sure way to get him killed!"

"Help me! Help me! Somebody help me! Help me!...Shut up!"

With that he covered his own mouth and tucked into a Men's Room, he hugged himself and grinned

"Oh Baby.." He said "You are so talented and they are so DUMB!"
(Saw Blazing Saddles didn't you Twiga? Bigsmile)

"Hey wait a moment," a man said. "I saw this in a movie by that Brooks guy- Flaming Saddles or something."

"Hey I saw that movie too," another man said. "I liked the Candygram for Mongo scene- funny as hell."

"I liked the recruitment scene," said yet another. "I think that my great-granddaddy was one of those portraying a member of the KKK."

"I think that John Wayne should of gotten the role of Taggert though," said the second man.

"He was offered the role but turned it down," said the third man. "Claimed it was too dirty. However, he did say he'd be first in line when it was sent to theaters."

"Okay, now let's stop with this talk of some old movie, and get that monkey."

"Don't you mean gorilla?"

"Whatever!"
"Eh." Said one man "Let's just send him to Castle Vortex."

From the Men's room Kong heard

"Castle Vortex?!? Oh Crap!"

Vortex was a man who had been ruling planet Alderbaren for two hundred years and had not aged a day, people wondered how he managed to live so long some believed he was a lich other believed he was from another dimension where people were immortal

The truth was he was an absurdly human robot.

Five hundred years ago, some Nietzsche wannabee scientists despaired at Humanity's decline and seeked to create a King that would rule over Humanity with an iron fist, they created an extremely powerful android and they programmed it to hate all organic life with a passion

Unfortunately in their effort to create a man without morality, emotions or even...logic they did not program it to not kill its own creators

In those days it seemed Vortex would kill every living thing, but eventually he was trapped in a magnificent old stone fortress that stood on top of a cliff on an island in the ocean. Fortunately, Vortex could never go into salt water because his circuits would be damaged. So he lived by himself in Castle Vortex. Occasionally he had visitors, but they didn't live long.

The Underworld had discovered that Castle Vortex was a convenient dumping ground. Want to get rid of someone? Just have him pay a little visit to Castle Vortex.

Even Kong knew about Castle Vortex. Visitors check in... but they don't check out.
"Okay," he said. "There has to be another way out."
Actually that was the old Castle Vortex (Duke Vortex is the RULER of Planet Alderbaren remember Steve)

Vortex realized Robots had no rights just like Humanimals (But Humans liked Robots more because they don't complain or disobey they just do as their told)

Vortex had only a little logic but he was able to figure out if the humans ever found out he was a robot he would be overpowered and torn a part, he decided he would masquerade as a human and do what his creators made him for to rule over humans with an iron fist.

He was the master of Alderbaren's military in his castle there were dozens of Manly Soldiers (There were no females in the Alderbaren Military) and many Humanimal slaves both male and female who Vortex and the soldiers loved to torment.
"Let's see here," he said, as he looked over his computer. "Is there anyone for me to execute today? I could have some fun."

Just then, Kong's image showed up in a email titled "Execution Soon".

"Ah, a gorilla. Been a while since I've killed one of those."
Just then one of his shoulders, the cowardly Frenchman Jean Baptiste came in looking very alarmed

"Sir!" Jean said "We just lost our gardening slave!"

"What do I care?" Vortex asked

"Some threw a whiskey bottle at the creature's head and he died!" Jean said

"Like I said, What do I care?" Vortex said

"We need a new gardening slave and we need one soon!" Jean said

"Vortex had to think it was a very hard thing to do, it strained his circuits, then finally he said "They're going to send an Ape Man to us, we'll make him the new Gardener."
"Um, what type is this Ape man, sir?"

"A Gorilla."

"Um sir, a gorilla is a bad idea- they aren't easy to control."

"Hmm, good point. I guess I'll put him through the ring, and kill him."
Just then, a Young Black Man named Cornelius Oolou walked in.

Cornelius was different from the rest of the soldiers as he actually cared about the Humanimals! But he was subtle and let neither Vortex nor his fellow soldiers know he secretly sympathized with them the Humanimals however knew that he was on their side and gave little gifts to him secretly in the night when no one was looking

Oolou knew full well that the soldiers' treatment of the Humanimals was no different then the White Plantation Owners' treatment of his ancestors long, long ago, but there was nothing he could do about it, on Alderbaren sympathizing with a Humanimal could be punished by death.

"On the contrary!" Oolou said "Gorillas are very easy to control! They're not very bright." (He lied of course, he knew apes were smart but once a Humanimal knew Oolou was on his side he was willing to cooperate) "They are easily tamed, just give them a banana they willingly obey!"

"Are you sure Oolou?" Vortex asked

"General Vortex we NEED a new gardener! There is a tree sickness going around I think it is called blight, our entire orchard in in danger! We could lose our entire fruit supply if we do not get someone to tend the tree!"

The power of Oolou was like the power of Obama if you argue elegantly enough you can convince even a robot.

"All right Oolou." Vortex said "You win."

Meanwhile Matoaka's Fellowship about to reach Planet Ava

The Humanimals were eating much like pigs, there faces in their bowls lapping at their food!

Ichabod looked at them with his jaw dropped Matoaka looked at her crew and noticed Ichabod's shock

"Bill! Bob! Jim! Manners!" The Captain yelled

The crew resumed eating much more civilly
"They're not used to having guests," Matoaka said with a chuckle. "Of course, just be glad that James didn't come on board- a carnivore's manners are extremely low when they are eating, as they focus only on the food, and woe betide anyone foolish enough to try and take their plate before they are done."

"Why, what happens?"

"They tend to lose a few fingers, or even the hand itself."
Ichabod shivered..."Thank goodness for small favors."

Ichabod resumed eating his meal picking at his mashed potatoes one small bit at the time.

Matoaka ate a spoonful of pudding and thought deeply...She knew Ichabod was lonely, he probably lost his parents and now had no one.

A thought came to her. "Ichabod..." She said softly "How would you like to be our new medic?"

"What?" Ichabod said looking up from shedding tears in his soup.

"We lost our Kong back at planet Alderbaren, and we're going to find him, but for now how would you like to be our medic?"

Bill rose from the table "NO! Matoaka no!"

"Bill!" Matoaka said firmly

"He's a human!" Bill said "You can't trust a human!"

"Bill!" Matoaka said firmly "Go to your room! Now!"

Bill sullenly walked to his room muttering "He's going to be the death of us...I know it...I just know it!"

"Sorry about that." Matoaka said "So Ichabod, what do you say?"

"I don't know..." Ichabod said "That bull doesn't seem to like me very much."

"Well if you don't I'm afraid you're going to go to a foster home."

"A foster home?!" Ichabod screeched

"I'm afraid the only way we can keep you is if we adopt you...And the only way we can adopt you if if you join the crew."
"But isn't there some other job I can do than medic?" Ichabod asked.

"There is the trash compactor but we usually let a robot do that job. Machines for machines, as they say."

Ichabod wrung his hands. "There must be somethine else."

Minsk spoke up. "He could help me with the cooking."

Matoaka frowned. "You never needed help before."

"Yeah, well, that was when there was only a handful of us on board. Now it's like we're Captain Matoaka's traveling circus."

"Hmmm... OK, I see your point. Let me think about it."
"By the way, who were your parents?" Matoaka asked.

"Um, they were um, um..."

"Yeah I knew them, it's just that they were, um, not exactly model citizens."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, um, they were thieves, and they stole something from the government."

"What did they steal? Money, jewels?"

"They stole me, though I was theirs to begin with."

"Do you mean you were a fine that they were to pay, but they kept you anyways?"

"Yes."
Suddenly there was a banging on the door to Minsk's room.

"Oh Dear." Minsk said "That's probably Edward, I better go feed him."

She grabbed a bowl of food and headed towards her room.

"Who is Edward?" Ichabod asked "Is that her pet?"

"No!" Matoaka laughed "Edward is our prisoner! So Ichabod will you at least consider becoming our new medic?"

"I'll think about it..." Ichabod said but he added under his breath "But I secretly think I'll end up full of bullet holes."

Minsk opened her room, Edward was bound and on his side and had pounded on the door with his feet.

Minsk undid his binds from the waist up so he could hold the bowl of soup and drink from it.

"Hmmm." Edward said "Needs salt."

"Does not!" Minsk said indignantly

"And a bit strong on the oregano." Edward said, he lied the soup was perfect but he didn't want to admit that.

Minsk sat on the bed and looked at him, Edward did not like that look

"You better enjoy what you can get." Minsk said "Because you may very well be living on bread and water for the next couple of years."

"Not if my people rescue me first." Edward said glaring at Minsk

Minsk let out a merry laugh utterly baffling Edward

"Oh Silly Prince!" She said "I think you love me!"

"I do not!" Edward said his cheeks turning bright red

"I think you do...I really think you do."

"I... do... not!"

"Oh yes you do," Minsk said, with a chuckle. "A woman can tell these things."

"You're not a woman," Edward said. "You're just some jumped up rat."

Minsk slapped him. "Even a rat has feelings."
Meanwhile at Zander's palace Zander was nervously pacing back and forth in his throne room

"Something is wrong." He said "Very wrong! I feel it in my bones! Something bad is going to happen!"

His faithful servant and best friend Revel ran up to him.

"Um...Your majesty." Revel said "Matoaka's spaceship is parked outside..."

"I'll get it! Zander said quickly "Let no one get the door before me!"

Zander ran to the front door, his long legs tripping over telephone wires, finally he decided to fly to the door.

He opened the door "Mattie!" He said giving a great big hug "What a lovely surprise!"

Matoaka briefly kissed him and pushed him away "Zander I'm pregnant and you're the father!"

Zander's pointy ears drooped "You picked the worst possible time to say that." He said

"Aha!" It was Zander's elderly adviser Clucker "So you're the one who stole our beloved prince's virginity!"

Clucker took a knife and approached the unicorn

"I'm afraid I'm going to have to perform a little abortion on you..."

Acting quickly Zander threw himself on Matoaka

"Don't!" He yelled "If you kill her you'll have to kill me too!"

"Zander don't be foolish." Clucker said "You're life is not worth throwing away for this monster..."

"Shut up!" Zander said "You don't know the first thing about monsters! The law says that a prince who loses his virginity to another species must be stripped of his birthright and exiled! It doesn't say anything about killing the mother or the baby! You just hate the Humanimals because they're a genetically engineered race!"

Clucker froze he knew Zander had him on a technicality.
"More importantly, he'd end up forfeiting his life if he tried to kill me," Matoaka whispered.

"What are you talking about?" Zander asked.

"Let's just say one of the crew messed up the paint job of another captain's ship," Matoaka said with a chuckle. "The guy expects us to pay for the bill. Can't do that if I'm dead. Also, this captain has no respect for those who do things that bother his conscience."

"Like what?"

"Let's just say that he assaulted a general who had ordered his group to infiltrate this one kidnapping ring, and then when the job was done, had them arrested for acting without orders."

"And just where is this guy?"

"A few planets away, messing up a Child Hunt."
Clucker sighed "Fine Zander!" He said angrily "I can't beat logic...You'll be punished for this tomorrow but I might as well give you something to account for it now! Zander assume the position!"

"Yes Clucker." Zander said

Zander leaned against the wall and stuck out his rear end Clucker took his cane and struck his behind three times
"Hey, what's going on?" Matoaka asked.
"It's tradition." Zander said "When a young prince or princess breaks a law of sexual conduct they must be whipped, no ifs ands or buts about it."

"But Zander!" Matoaka said "That isn't fair!"

"Yes it is fair." Zander said sadly "I broke the law so I should be punished, the prince isn't above the law."

Matoaka looked confused

"I'm sorry." Zander said "I led you astray." He took Matoaka's hands into his own "You won't be Queen. Please don't be mad."

"I'm not mad about that." Matoaka said "But why do you have to be..."

"It's tradition." Zander said "One of the oldest traditions in the book."

He looked out on the patio and saw Matoaka's motley crew (As well as Ichabod and Edward) Shivering in the cold

"Come in! Come in!" Zander said "You must be tired and hungry"

"Actually we just ate." Ichabod said

"..but we are definitely cold."

Zander dialed the fireplace up another notch so that the fake logs roared with flames. "Come by the fire and warm yourselves."
"What's going on?" Bill whispered. "I don't think our Welcome is exactly the best one we've ever gotten."

"Something about Zander breaking the law," Matoaka said.

"What law would that be?"

"The one about premarital sex."
Zander turned to Clucker

"Zander." Clucker said "You'll probably want to say good bye to your sister and find someone to pass your birthright to. I suggest you do it quickly, because tonight is Midsummer Night, the shortest night of the year! Very soon morning will be upon us!"

Zander turned to Matoaka "Mattie." He said "I wish to say good bye to my sister and best friend I wish to do so in privacy, is that OK?"

Matoaka looked at him with an expressionless face.

"Nothing bad will happen to you." Zander said "I promise."

Matoaka nickered a little bit then she sat down on the sofa with the rest of her crew

Zander turned to his servants "She better be kept safe!" Zander said to the servants "Because for the servant who so much as harms a hair on her head..."

Zander revealed his talons to show he meant business.

With that Zander left.

As soon as the group was settled, A waitress bird with roller skates appeared

"Prince Zander has requested his guests be fed while they stay here." The waitress said

"But we just ate." Ichabod said

"Not everyone has the same metabolism." The Lady Bird said "Some like Squirrels and Minks need constant refeeding. "

"Oh." Ichabod said "Well I'm not all that hungry so about something small like fried eggs?"

The Aves gasped "You eat bird embryos?" One said

"Did I say something wrong?" Ichabod said

Jim whispered in his ear "On Ava they do not eat birds or bird eggs all their baking is done with fish eggs."

"Oh." Ichabod said

"I'll handle this." Minsk said "We'll have the fish special with a side order of various fruits." The Mink said

"Excellent choice." The Waitress said
"Shesh! Alien cultures sure are weird," Ichabod said.

"They'd say the same thing if they were on your planet," Bill said.
The waitress bird came out a few seconds later with the requested dishes.

"Whoa! That was fast!" Ichabod said

He delicious smell was coming from a covered dish "What a wonderful smell!" He said "I wonder what this is?"

"It's the fish special." Minsk said "A favorite among young Aves."

Ichabod lifted the lid, inside was a big bowl of hot soup with live fish swimming in it, one of the fish looked at Ichabod and winked, that creeped Ichabod out

"On second thought." Ichabod said "Maybe I'll just stick with the fruit."

He picked up a bright yellow fruit and bit into it he immediately spit it out

"It tastes disgusting!" He said

"That's because you are an unripe one!" Jim said the Squirrel handed him a dark orange one "Here try this one."

"Well...It does look a little darker." Ichabod said he bit into it

"Sweet!" He said "Tastes a bit like a banana mixed with a papaya"



"That's what we call it," Minsk said. "A banapapanaya."

"That's ridiculous," Ichabod said.

"But tasty. Try one of these strawberry grapes."
Meanwhile, James was busy with his mission. It had taken him a while but he'd found out where Kong had been taken, as well as the children.

"Alright," he muttered, as he hide in the garbage dump outside of the building. "Now I just need some blueprints of the place. Those should be easy to steal, hopefully."
Meanwhile Zander was talking with his best friend Revel and his Sister Gear, Gear was crying her eyes out

"Oh Gods!" She said "I can't believe this day has finally come! We'll be parted forever!"

Zander patted his sister's hand "Gear! My dear little sister! We can still keep in touch through the intergalactic web besides, now you get what you want! I can surrender my birthright to Revel, he will become the new prince and you two can get married and live happily ever after! Isn't that what you want?"

Gear stopped crying Revel looked at Zander

"Zander." Revel said "You do know due the severity of your crime, not just making love to another spices but to an uplifted animal, you will be whipped with an actual whip! Not just those strips of leather we use for the usual offenses."
"I know," Zander said. "Doesn't that make you believe how much I love her? That I will endure so much agony for her?"

Revel hugged him. "I hope you will be alright. I hope you haven't made the biggest mistake of your life."
"He he, something tells me I'll make even worse ones," Zander said, with a nervous chuckle.
"Zander." Gear said "For a long time I've been wondering...Are you Xenosexual? Do you just prefer uplifted unicorns?"

Zander was a bit surprised he hadn't expected that question.

"I don't think I love Matoaka because she is a unicorn." Zander said "I love her because she respects me, she treats me like an equal, not unlike all my rabid groupies who just want me because I'm the richest, handsomest, most eligible bachelor on the planet!"

"Zander..." Gear's eyes started to well up with tears again

"I'll be honest," Zander said. "I didn't want those whom mother and father, and others, were trying to set me up with. None of them felt right for me."

"And Matoaka?"

"Well, like I said, she treats me like an equal. Also, she has her other pluses, such as being able to make me laugh, she likes adventure, yet is cautious at the same time. There's something more though, but it's hard to describe."
Zander clasped Revel's hands and looked into his deep blue eyes

"You'll be a good King." Zander said "You'll know what is right for our world."

"Zander..." Revel did not know what to say

"I just want you to promise something."

"What do you wish us to promise?" Gear asked

"I want you to strengthen our alliance with the federation." Zander said "let the Humanimals know the Aves are their friends!"

Zander ran his fingers through his feather crest, he showed traces of his old self

"For tonight," He said "I'm going to give Matoaka one last lovemaking in the royal bedroom as my last act as Prince."

Revel flinched "Oooh Zander..." He whispered "You don't want to anger the elder council so much or you could have an EXTRA hard punishment in store!"

"I don't care!" Zander said "I can't get in any more trouble then I am now! I'm going to make love to Matoaka in royal style as is my right on my last night as prince."

And so the royal bedchamber was prepared in the highest style. The matrress and pillows were double fluffed. Scented candles stood everywhere filling the room with the aroma of love. Zander led Matoaka into the warm room where the candles flickered and the covers were turned back on the bed.

"Would you like music?" Zander asked.

"If it would please you," Matoaka said.

A servant wheeled in a grand piano, followed by a pianist in a tux. The piano player was Ricardo Grandioso, one of the finest pianists on Ave. He flipped back the tails of his tux, sat on the bench, and began to tickle the keys of ivory into a soft enchanting song of love. A curtain hid him from any view of the bed.

"I thought you meant play music on an electronic device, not a real live musician," Matoaka said. "I don't think I like that he might see us."

"I can get us a blind piano player," Zander said.

"Just a joke!" Zander said "You can go now." He said the pianist.

The Pianist bowed and left along with the servant.

"Zander." Matoaka said slowly and very softly "Normally I don't mind your practical jokes but right now I'm feeling a bit shaken up."

Zander realized that things were changing, he couldn't be a flippant jocular bachelor anymore, he had to be a husband and father."

"I'm sorry Mattie." He said "If...If you don't want to make love tonight I'll completely understand."

"I do want to." Matoaka said "It's just...I'm worried about my crew."

"What can we do to make you less worried?" Zander asked.

"I don't know. Hold me, for starters. And tell me everything is going to be alright."

After a while the scent of the candles worked it's way into Matoaka's brain and she began to think less about worrying and more about lovemaking. On Ave, candlemaking has reached a state of perfection. It's a high art and Avean love candles are some of the most potent love candles in the galaxy.

Meanwhile, in their guestroom, Bill and the others were wondering what was going on.

"This is taking too long," Bill said. "What could the two of them be talking about?"

"Probably Zander's responsibilities to the child Matoaka is carrying," Minsk said.
Minsk sighed "We have to stay here overnight." She said "Zander's punishment is tomorrow so hopefully the servants won't murder us in our sleep."

"They won't do that!" Bob said "I'm psychic I can see if they try anything funny, the Human Federation government will drop an atomic bomb on their planet."

"Wouldn't that be a bit overkill?" Jim asked "I mean we're important but not THAT important."

"It's the principle." Bob said "We're citizens of the United States, the United States refuses to let any Alien Government impose it's laws on it's citizens that includes honor killings."

"I'm SO glad I was born in the good old USA!" Bill said


"So you could drop bombs on people?" Jim asked.

"No!" Bill said. "And why do you keep making un-American comments? Are you a terrorist?"

"Fine. I'll shut up. I don't want to get waterboarded."

Bob chuckled.

"What are you laughing about?" Bill said.

"Everytime I hear the word waterboard I think of surfing and I picture an agent and a suspect out in the surf waiting for a wave and the agent is saying, 'You better talk or I'll make you catch a ride on a really big wave'."

"The practice is less about surfing and more about making the suspect think he's drowning."

"That wouldn't bother me," Bod said. "I can't drown."

"Not if they used freshwater, but if they used saltwater, the process would be similar."

"Oh, right. I wouldn't be able to process the extra salt."
Once everyone had gone to bed Bill had a nightmare

He dreamed about the farm, Nuthanger Farm to be precise...The slave farm that was converted to a fur and leather factory.

Bill saw his Father and all the other friends and families who were killed in the massacre walking into the gas chamber

"Wait! Dad!" Bill cried "Don't go in there!" Bill tried to run to his Dad but his legs wouldn't move he felt something grab his arm

"Gotcha!" Said the Human "Trust me!"

Bill's dad went into the chamber the door locked, green gas filled the air

"Dad!" Bill cried he turned to the Human who was holding him back "You!"

The human started laughing evilly and started turning into a younger human until it resembled Ichabod.

"Ichabod?" Bill was baffled

With a final evil laugh Ichabod pushed Bill forward and the poor bull boy fell into a vortex of poisonous gas, that's when Bill woke up drenched in sweat.
"Ugh, that's it," Bill said. "No more soy beans before bed."
Bill tried to get back to sleep but he just wouldn't settle down, his dream still in his head

"There is no such thing as a trustworthy human." He said "What is Matoaka thinking asking that scrawny redheaded human to join our crew?!"

After two days of lovemaking, Matoaka and Zander finally reappeared. Zander looked all worn out but Matoaka was fresh as a daisy. "Did I miss anything?" she asked.

"Yeah," Jim said. "Trouble brewing between Bill and Ichabod. I'm not sure why. Bill seems to be causing it."

"I'll have a talk with him," Matoaka said.
"Well um, you might want to take a bath or something," Bob said. "You and Zander stink."

"What do you mean?" Matoaka asked.

"You haven't left your room for a few days."
Zander took a sniff under his armpit, he did indeed stink.

"I'm going to need a shower." He said "I'm going to get punished today and if I come out smelling like this people are going to be even more mad at me!"

Meanwhile at the breakfast table, Bill and Ichabod were glaring daggers at each other but still trying to feign civility.


"You don't happen to know what this fruit is called do you?" Ichabod asked

"That's a jewel fruit." Bill said as civilly as possible.

Ichabod took a bite of the jewel fruit.

"You boys seem to be getting along." Matoaka said as she entered the dining hall she turned to Jim "Are you sure they were fighting?"

"Well." Jim said "This morning in the bathroom, Bill gave Ichabod the old towel-to-backside treatment. Ichabod didn't seem to happy about it."

"I'm still not happy about it!" Ichabod said in harsh whisper as he pulled himself a glass of water "But I'm not going to throw a fit in front of royalty even if they are only alien royalty."

Matoaka put her hand on Bill's shoulder. "I want to talk to you. In private." When they were alone she asked, "What's the deal between you and Ichabod?"

Bill looked away. "You know darn well what the deal is. His people killed our friends and relatives and enslaved them."

"His people?"

"Humans!"

"Bill!" Matoaka said. "You can't judge an entire race based on the actions of a few of them!"

"More than a few," Bill said.

"Ichabod knew nothing about any of that bad stuff happening. I am sure he would never be part of anything like that."

"How do you know that?" Bill asked.
"My gut tells me," Matoaka said. "Along with my heart, and history. For instance, let's take a a quick look at Germany during WW2. Hitler had ordered the extermination of the Jews, and many others. True, many Germans supported this policy, at least in Public, but, in Private, many of those same Germans, including those in the military, were against it. Some of them formed Resistance groups, and some of Hitler's own generals attempted to assassinate him. Admittedly, the attempts failed, but as you can see, not every German was like Hitler, and thus, not every human is like those who killed and enslaved your family."
"That's easy for you to say!" Bill said "You didn't lose any of YOUR family! Your Mom was a human and and your Dad...who knows where your Dad is now?"

"He is maddeningly elusive yes." Matoaka said "But he shows up from time to time...What about your Mother?"

"I never knew my Mom!" Bill said "I was dropped off at My Dad's door when I was born and that's all I know!"

Bill stomped off, he didn't want to admit it not even to himself what the truth was, that his mother was a human.

But naturally Bob knew. He put both hands on Bill's two shoulders and looked him square in the eye. "Bill, this attitude of yours towards Ichabod has got to stop."

Bill squirmed. "Look, I know you're right. I just can't help feeling this way."

"Maybe if you would face the fact that your mother was a-"

"Don't talk about my mom!" Bill yelled and pushed Bob away. "Don't you EVER say anyhting about my mom!"
"You'll have to face it sometime Bill," Bob said with a sigh. "You can't just run away from it."
Zander showered quickly, got dressed and prepared for his whipping.

In the whipping Arena Zander appeared before his peers, Clucker read from a list.

"All rise." Clucker said

All the Aves stood up.

In a little room hidden behind a curtain the Fellowship Crew was waiting along with Edward and Ichabod

Just as Clucker was finishing his boring speech a Soldier Bird cried out "Wait!"

Two Soldier Birds were carrying Revel into the arena

"We have startling new evidence," Said the Soldier Bird who spoke "That this young servant cast a love spell on the prince!"

All the Aves in the Audience gasped

Zander looked at Revel, Revel could say nothing but tears streamed down his face.

"Well" Clucker said "This throws this case in whole new direction!"

Clucker turned to Zander "Zander." He said "If you confess to being enchanted, that your feeling were not your own then your birthright will be restored and this young upstart will be whipped."

Zander was frozen, he looked at Revel, he looked at Gear in the audience, and he looked at Matoaka peeking out from behind the curtain, that's when he knew this was no enchantment, he knew his feelings was his own.

"No." Zander said "My feeling are my own, I am under no magic spell."

He put his fingers on Revel's shoulders "And furthermore I plan to give this young Ave my birthright to this Ave."


This gave Clucker some pause.
Zander clutched Revel's hands "Revel." He whispered "All my powers, all my magic I give to you."

There was a blue whirlwind, swirling around the two young Aves when it had settled Revel was wearing the royal purple of a prince and and Zander was wearing the humble blue of a servant.

"Enough!" Clucker said "Time for punishment!"

Falco the hook beak appeared, he rubbed his hands together and grinned in a nasty

"I've waited a long time for a moment like this." Falco said "This is going to be a pleasure I'm going to want to take my shirt off for this one!"

He removed his blue bell shirt revealing rather large pecs for an Ave.

Zander's arms were tied above his head. The humble blue was stripped from his body.

Falco grinned maliciously. "How long will it take before you break, Mister he-who-once-was-a-prince?"

"Do not taunt him!" Clucker said. "Your role is only to inflict the punishment."

"Oh shut up," Falco muttered under his breath.
"If the idea of spanking the former prince gives you so much pleasure, I just might have to pick someone else to do the job," Clucker whispered. "Besides, I heard that there was one of those Dominatrix and Bondage places looking for a beater. Show too much enthusiasm and I'll give them your resume."
Falco shook his head raised his whip and gave Zander a taste of the lash

Zander let out a bird like squawk of pain.

Meanwhile in the small room behind the curtain, Matoaka pulled her gaze away and slowly turned away not wanting to watch Zander's agony

"Man THIS SUCKS!" Bill fumed stomping a hoof "I thought the Aves were our friends, but turns out most of them are as bad as humans!"

"Hey!" Ichabod protested "That's not a very nice thing to say! Humans aren't that bad!"

"Oh shut up Human!" Bill snorted "You don't know what I've been through!"

"I would if you would just tell me!" Ichabod said

"Forget it!" Bill shouted

"Fine!" Ichabod shouted back

He then stomped of to his corner

Jim looked at Matoaka "I'll talk to him."

Jim went over to Ichabod "Ichabod..."

"Oh shut up Squirrel!" Ichabod yelled "I've had it with you and your coddling!"

"I'm not coddling!" Jim protested

"Oh...Yes you are!" Ichabod said "Always simpering with stories about the good times! Please Jim just leave me alone!"
"Oh...Kay," Jim said. "Have it your way."
When the whipping was finally over, Zander's backside was covered in blood.

Falco lifted up Zander's tail feathers so the audience could get a better look at his bloody rear end.

"You see this?" Falco said "This is what you get when you fall in love with another species!"

Gear and Revel grumbled to themselves quietly

"It would be a delicious bit of irony if Falco fell in love with another species." Gear whispered to Revel

"Yeah, it would probably be Falco's only chance of getting laid." Revel whispered "But even that chance is slim to none, I mean even Humanimals have standards!"

Zander was untied, and he slowly limped over to a barrel of Iodine and sat down in it.

There was strange hissing sound when he sat in the iodine and steam rolled off him in sheets

"Oh the pain!" Bob moaned. He could never watch someone get hurt without feeling it a little bit himself.

"Don't worry about me," Zander said. "I won't be able to sit down for awhile, but that's OK. I never wanted to be a couch potato anyway."

"Get out of that barrel of iodine," Matoaka said. "I have prepared a soothing ointment for you."

"My butt thanks you," said Zander with a big grin for Mattie.

Jim felt himself choke up. "Awww, the guy is handling this so well."
"Would you like a spanking?" Bill muttered.
"What?!" Jim exclaimed "Eww! You nasty!"

"Just a joke!" Bill said

"That didn't sound like a joke." Jim said

"Look I'm having a bad day OK, I didn't sleep well!"

Edward was silent, he didn't get a good night sleep either, late last night he had the bad judgement to call Minsk a 'vermin' (The worst insult you could give a mustelied or rodent) so she threw a hex on him.

"May you feel all the pain and suffering of all the Humanimals you ever hunted!" She yelled at him there was even that stereotypical crash of lightning at the end of her sentence

And the night she said that, he dreamed of all the Humanimals he had ever hunted.
"I think that tequila had a bad worm in it or something," he muttered. "Crazy dreams. They have no meaning."
Late that night, As Zander was finishing packing all his stuff Matoaka was sitting on top of the spaceship looking at the stars.

Suddenly she heard a sweet musical voice, singing she looked down and saw Zander

"My Dearest Friend." Zander whispered "If you don't mind, I'd like to join you by your side...Where we can gaze in to the stars..."

"And sit together." They both sang "Now and forever..."

Zander flew up and took her hands into his own "...For it is plain as anyone can see, We're simply meant to be."

They kissed on top of the spaceship, Ichabod was down below on the ground watching them kiss.

"So strange." Ichabod said "These feelings, I've never felt before...Is it...Love?"

Bill whacked Ichabod on the back of his head with his tail

"Probably just hormones." Bill snickered

"Oh..." Ichabod growled "You... Irritating Bovine!"

"Nice work on the insults...NERD!" Bill laughed
"What's up with you?" Ichabod asked. "What is it you have against me anyways? I've never done anything to harm you."
"Do you know what humans have done to the animals for centuries?!" Bill sneered "Other then domesticating us and farming for food or clothing your kind has hunted our wild brethren and taken their fur, feathers, horns or tusks, your kind has forced us to perform demeaning tricks in circuses and rodeos and forced us to fight from Gladiator hunts to modern cock and dog fighting!"

"OK, sure," Ichabod said, "but other than all that, what?"

"That's not enough?!" Bill said. "Not only are humans cruel but they are too stupid to realize how cruel they are."

Ichabod crossed his arms. "Bill, I am not going to get mad at you. I like you and I realize you have mental problems."

"What?! You dumb human! You're the one with mental problems!"

"I'm not the one yelling like a maniac, Bill. I am talking calmly and with respect."

Bill sputtered. "Why you- you- oh I have to go somewhere else right now or I will do something I will regret."

Bill stomped off and Ichabod watched him go. "There goes one angry bull," Ichabod said. "With the right herb tea he would be calm as a cucumber."
"He'll always have something to gripe about," Bob said, as the catfish walked up beside Ichabod. "Trust me on that."

"Well, what is his issue?" Ichabod asked.

"Let's just say he has issues in regards to his mother."

"Oh," Ichabod said, putting his chin in his hand. "What happened?"

"He's the one that should tell that," Bob said with a sigh.

"I guess that's understandable," Ichabod said with a sigh.

Just then, Ichabod felt something rubbing the seat of his pants.

"Did anyone ever tell you that you have a cute butt?" Bob whispered.
"Get the hell away from me!" Ichabod yelled flustered "What are you? A homosexual?!"

"Well, Yes, Yes I am." Bob said "You've got a problem with that?"

Ichabod froze, his home planet, Planet Alderbaren was founded by Neo Victorians and while they didn't sentence Homosexuals to death as they did in the nineteenth century they didn't approve of it either.

Bob looked at Ichabod in a funny way "You wouldn't happen to be a Neo Victorian? Those kinds that hate homosexuals and other people who are different?"

Ichabod was silent

"Because you know we animals don't follow that crap." Bob said "We animals do what we like, we are as free as the wind."

Ichabod was frightened and embarrassed and didn't know what to say

"I...I gotta go!" He said leaving Bob worried that Ichabod was in fact homophobic

Ichabod rushed into Kong's empty room, and threw himself on the bed and quietly sobbed "Oh Mother, Father!" He said "I don't know what to do! I'm surrounded by crazy animals!"
Meanwhile, Matoaka was in her room, with a smile of content on her face, with Minsk sitting next to her.

"Could you tell me what you and Zander were up to?" Minsk asked. "What was he like?"

"Just fantastic," Matoaka said with a sigh. "He can really go the distance."
(Brief transformation to script format, we will return to narrative format after this post)


(We cut to somewhat later, Falco is hanging up his whip feeling mighty pleased with himself, he walks out of the weapons room and bumps into Revel)

FALCO

Gah! You!

REVEL

Don't you mean Your Highness?

FALCO

Oh don't get smart with me! You only became prince because Zander had soft spot towards you! I know full well you cast a wicked spell to make him fall in love with an Earth Mammal! You are a dabbler in the dark arts!

REVEL

The pot shouldn't call the kettle black, it'll get arrested for hate crimes.

FALCO

What?!

REVEL

Never mind, Old Earth Saying

FALCO

So maybe I do dabble in the dark arts at least I don't make people fall in love with genetically engineered beasts!

(Revel folds his arms and smirks)

REVEL

So what if I did cast a spell? According to Zander he is not enchanted, he's just always been Xenosexual.

FALCO

You really believe he meant that?

REVEL

Maybe he did, maybe he didn't you never can tell...However, I still have some of my dark magic as well as the magic I received from Zander and I still have the power to make Aves fall in love with Humanimals if I so wish...

(Falco immediately understands what Revel is implying he gets very nervous)

FALCO

Now Revel...You're not going to cast a spell on me are you?! You wouldn't put me under an enchantment!

(Revel puts two fingers together and starts chanting. Falco gets very nervous)

FALCO

Keep away from me! You...You evil wizard! Keep away!

(Falco runs from the room, Revel chuckles.

Gear enters looking concerned)

GEAR

You weren't really about to put a spell on Falco were you?

REVEL

No I was just chanting in gibberish. But I've learned that Humanimals have their own version of what we call headolgy, What I've learned from them is if you make someone think they're cursed to do something like say...fall in love with a specific person, that person who thinks he's bewitched may very well seek out that person because he can't stop thinking about it and he won't be able to rest until they go ahead and do it.

GEAR

Do you really think Falco would do that? Fall in love with with a Humanimal just because he thinks he's cursed to do so?

REVEL

I don't know...But I do know Falco and all of us will be seeing Humanimals a lot more often.

GEAR

You mean...

REVEL

Yes! We're going to make good on our promise! We're going to team up with the Octos and Magis and begin our own Extra Terrestrial help service for Earthlings! Whenever a Humanimals is finds one of our special calling cards which we will smuggle into Human colonized worlds, they can use it to someone our Space Rescue Transport! Kind of like an Intergalactic version of Greyhound.

GEAR

What?

REVEL

It's a kind of Earth bus, named after a variety of Earth dog.

GEAR

Ah.

REVEL

Anyway, the rescue transport will take the Humanimals to either Ava, Rigel 4 or Jellicle where our three races will work on trying to rehabilitate the poor and down trodden former slaves so they can get back on their feet and start a new life!

GEAR

It sounds wonderful. But what if the Empire really doesn't want us to rescue the slaves? What if they try to wage war on us for daring to rehabilitate them or worse try to make us into slaves themselves?

REVEL

If they want to wage war with us let them. We ave the Andromeda Alliance can easily mop the floor them! We Aves and our Feline Friends the Magis have strong magic that can easily tear tender humans apart, and the Octos, the masters of science have powerful weapons that humans can not even hope to dream of!

GEAR

I do hope your right Revel, after the trouble with the Bettas the last thing I want is another war with an enslaving race.

REVEL

Hey don't worry about it! It's going to be all right! Even if they do come...I'll protect you...

(Revel touches Gear's cheek)

REVEL

...Just I always have.

GEAR

Oh Revel...

(Gear and Revel kiss)
"Could you get a room," chuckles a passing servant. "You're not married yet."

"Um, what did you overhear?" Revel asked.

"The part about helping out the Humanimals," the servant said. "Might prove useful to have allies on our side, and to help out our allies as well."
Meanwhile Zander and Matoaka were talking to each other n the kitchen

"Remember the first time we met?" Zander asked

"I'll never forget it!" Matoaka whispered "It was when we were being chased by enemy wranglers and we accidentally wandered into your star system and you arrived in your big Phoenix Ship to break up the fight."

"I demanded the ships to explain what they were doing in Ava's star system, you guys were the only ones who responded."

"The wranglers were too afraid to give an answer!" Matoaka laughed "They were terrified that you were evil invading aliens, they didn't stop to think from your point of view they were the invading aliens!"
"Some things are just crazy," Zander said with a chuckle. "Much like that night in my room."
Zander sighed "I admit when you guys told me you were Humanimals I didn't know what to expect when I boarded your ship, I mean I knew about humans and I knew how ugly they were but nothing could prepare me for the unmatched beauty of you and your crew."

Zander ran his fingers through his long feather crest "Jim had his beautiful red and gold fur and large bushy tail, Bill had his magnificent horns, Minsk had silky luxurious pelt and elegant serpentine shape and even Kong was not as ugly as a human with his thick black fur and fang filled grin."

Edward muttered under his breath "A gorilla being more beautiful then a man Please!"

"But you..." Zander said as he turned to Matoaka

"Yes?" The Unicorn's eyes were sparkling

"You were the most beautiful of all...Like the pinnacle of Nature's Creation!"


"Oh Zander," Matoaka said and they embraced.

"Gee whiz!" Edward said. "I hate love stories."

"So go somewhere else," Zander said, "bethis is the Love Boat."

Edward buried his face in his hand. "Phooey!"
Suddenly, James's voice came over the Com. "Solo Lobo calling the Fellowship. Come in Fellowship."

"This is the Fellowship," Matoaka said, pressing the Send button. "What have you got Solo Lobo?"

"I found your missing crewmate but I'm going to need some help to rescue him," James said. "I recommend that you get here as soon as possible."
"Ooh." Matoaka shivered "Is he in bad shape?"

"They made a slave out of him." James said "They made him the gardening slave for some reason, he was doing pretty well but then he mouthed off to one of the soldiers and Vortex broke his arm with a metal rod."

"That's bad." Matoaka said "We have to get back there pronto!"

Ichabod looked at Matoaka "Wait, if your getting your old Medic back, then what becomes of me?"

"Oh Don't worry." The Unicorn said "You can be his assistant! It's good to have more then one doctor on a ship in case many people get sick or injured!"

As the Fellowship made it's way back to Alderbaren, Minsk was teaching Edward the basics of Humanimal etiquette, Rule #1 If you don't show respect you don't eat.

Edward had been denied supper the night before for calling Minsk a vermin, now Minsk was using Edward's hunger to make him swallow his pride.

Edward was tied to a chair with his arms tied behind his back, Minsk held a bowl of soup under his nose and pulled it away as he tried to eat from it.

"Ah, ah, ah!" Minsk said "Say the magic word!"

Edward turned red with embarrassment and anger he couldn't believe a semi-aquatic weasel was getting the better of him, then his stomach gave an enormous growl that could be heard on the intercom (They were keeping contact with James for guidance) James chuckled

Edward couldn't take anymore by that point, he realized if he wanted to live (Or at least to eat) He would have to swallow his pride and submit to the captor.

"I'm...Sorry..." Edward said a tear of shame trickled down his face

"That's a good human." Minsk said "Have some soup."

She untied his hands (But kept him tied to the chair) So Edward could grasp the bowl and drink from it.
However, Edward's mouth puckered, and his face turned red. "Too Hot!" he shouted. "Water! Get me some water!"

"Now you're being a baby again," Minsk said, as she took the bowl away, so it wouldn't spill. "I only added a little bit of powdered chili peppers."

"What's going on?" James asked over the intercom.

"It seems that the prisoner can't take much heat," Minsk said.
Minsk gave Edward some water he gulped it down quickly

"I don't know if you did that deliberately or not..." he panted "But my mouth feels like its on fire!"

"I just wanted your meal to have a little kick." Minsk said "Since the meals you're going to have when we reach Earth aren't going to be much more appetizing then gruel."

"Why are you doing this to me?" Edward asked genuinely baffled as he wiped his runny nose with a napkin "If I'm your enemy why are you catering my lunch and feeding me like a guest of honor?"

Minsk whispered in his ear "Because when you eat something delicious you look most alive and beautiful."
Edward looked at her and said, "Get the hell away from me, freak!"
"Oh Edward..." Minsk said shaking her head sadly "For a moment I thought you had made some real progress."

"I'll never make THAT kind of progress," Edward said. "I have my standards, you know."

"Ha!" Minsk said. "All you've got is a bunch of outdated prejudices, old wives tales, and ideas that don't hold water."

"Nevertheless," Edward said. "I ain't gonna smootchy with no animal!"
"Something tells me you don't kiss your mother with that mouth," Minsk said.

"Who's the prisoner's mother?" James asked.

"My mother is the Queen of Viola Strearria," Edward said with a shout.

"Oh that woman," James chuckled. "Mmm hmm! She was a fine looker when I saw her about twenty-five years back. Or was it twenty-seven years back? In any case, she was certainly lively in bed. Mind you, I was undercover at the time, and I was acting as one of her servants. Man oh man did she have a thing for those of the canine kind. Ha ha! I was with her every other night, and mind you, I was the last one she'd do them nights. I wouldn't be surprised if the kid turned out have been mine instead of her then husband's."
"I assure you I am no canine born..." Edward said "My Mother got pregnant with me when she was still a Princess! With a HUMAN!"

"Well I suppose that could be right." James said "In this universe Humans who interbreed with Humanimals generally have children who resemble the humanimal parent regardless of who was the Mother or Father...Who was the dude she slept with?"

"A young man from Planet Alderbaren." Edward said with dignity "She named me after him...He was Edward...Nashton I think..."

"Nashton?!" James spluttered "And he was from Alderbaren?! Holy SHIT! Young Man I think your Dad is the Riddler!"
"Who?" Edward asked.

"A big-time thief, with a large taste for showing off," James said. "Highly egotistical, leaving plenty of riddles. In fact, I almost had him once when I was younger, but he's quite good at planning things out, except for his compulsion to leave riddles, which are clues to his targets, as well as his plans."

"Is he still alive?" Edward asked.

"He was when I last checked," James said. "And he's still committing thefts, and leaving riddles."
Ichabod was shocked "I know him!" He exclaimed "He's one of my Father's friends...used to play Poker with him on Tuesday nights before he had to move."

"Oh really?" James asked "How's he doing?"

"He got married to some woman...then got divorced, he has sole custody of their daughter Pandora...Pandora was one of the few people I could call a friend... or at least an acquaintance we used to play chess together before her family had to move to the other side of town."
"Well I wouldn't want to settle on that patch of dirt anyways," James said. "Too many Wranglers and Child Hunts for my liking."
(Oooh! Goof Up! Confused this story for the other one I'm working on)

Ichabod sat down on his bed (Actually Kong's bed) and glumly looked at a photo of his parents

"Oh Mother, Father." Ichabod said sadly "I don't know what to do anymore!"

The door creaked open, a twitchy nose a whiskers appeared

"Can I come in?" Jim asked

"Sure why not?" Ichabod said dryly "I could use a good laugh."

"We're going to have a pre-battle snack." Jim said "And by snack I mean Humanimal Snack which is like a feast to a human."

"Why do you Humanimals eat so much?" Ichabod asked

"Well for one thing some of us like Bill are a lot larger then the average human and some small speedy types like me have a faster metabolism so we need more food to keep us going."

"But why eat so much?' Ichabod asked "What if you throw up in battle?"

"Rodents like me can't vomit." Jim said
[I've been confused all along. Smile]

"Can't vomit?" Ichabod said. "That's a strange ability to have."

"I don't really think of it as an ability," Jim said. "After all, it's something I cannot do, not something I CAN do."

"Good point," Ichabod said. "If I called everything I can't do an ability then I would be a superhero."

"Are we drunk or is it just too late at night to still be up talking?"

"I don't know," Ichabod said. "I just know it seems like it's always snack time around here."

"Thank goodness!" Jim said.
"I wonder what that wolf guy will be eating," Ichabod said.

"I don't want to think about it."
Ichabod came out with Jim and saw the table was loaded with sweets, desserts and pastries of all kinds!

"Oh Ichabod!" Matoaka said "Glad you came out! Care for some dessert?"

"Is everything on this table a dessert?" Ichabod asked

"Everything from the Pudding ALA Mode to the Strawberry Tart!" Minsk said

Ichabod started feeling sick just looking at it

"I gotta decline." Ichabod said "I can't eat sweets they hurt my stomach."

"More for us!" Bill said as he crammed a fistful of sweets into his mouth
Ichabod watched the humanimals devour vast quantities of sweets and tasties. "How long have you guys been doing this dessert at midnight thing?"

"Oh we don't do it every night," Minsk said. "Just when the mood hits. Didn't you ever have a sweet tooth, Ichabod?"

(Steve, Ichabod cannot eat anything sweeter then plain fruit!)
"If you call this little snack insane, you should see the amount pigs can put away," Jim said. "Why, I once saw one eat a hundred pounds of Tapioca pudding in a single sitting."

"And the fact that you ate a slice of five week old rhubarb pie didn't affect you vision right," Bill chuckled. "I think it was only thirty pounds that the pig had."

"Well there was the other stuff to," Jim said. "That added up to the hundred pounds."
Ichabod felt sick to his stomach looking at all the sweets, he could not tolerate anything sweeter then plain fresh fruit.

When he was five years old he saw some neighborhood kids eating their Halloween candy, Ichabod had never had candy and thought it looked delicious.

He went up to the kids and politely as he could asked the kids if he could have some candy, the kids looked at each other, winked and smiled

Then all at once they jumped on Ichabod and stuffed candy in his mouth and forced him to chew and swallow

They stuffed him so much Ichabod thought he was going to explode! Finally when they were done stuffing him with candy Ichabod vomited.

From that they foreward if Ichabod wanted a dessert he was just content to have an apple and nothing else
"I'm just going back to my room," he said.
Kong meanwhile had made friends with some of the slaves who had lasted a long time in Vortex's castle without losing heart, One of them was the cooking slave Marzipan Cheshire.

"I think your bus is going to arrive soon." She said "I can see it in my mind's eye."

"Are you psychic?" Kong asked

Marzipan scoffed "All cats are psychic." She said as she took two loaves of bread out of the oven "It's just some are more psychic then others."

"Come." Kong said "Come with me."

Marzipan pulled away "I can't." She said "I can't leave without my herd! I can't leave without Rook, Lea, Taren, Quaxo, Iris...Even Momo! I won't leave without them!"

"Well..." Kong said "OK then." He kissed Marzipan on the cheek

"You kissed me!" She exclaimed "Why..."

"Come now!" Kong said "I'm a gorilla! All gorillas love kittens!"
(Note to BBWolf, James is not to bust out Marzipan and the rest, they are to wait half a year story wise, when Ichabod infiltrates and busts them out)

Ichabod sat in his room and read his favorite book: Tales of A Lonesome Space Hero. He didn't consider himself a hero but the Lonesome Space Hero had a sidekick that Ichabod liked. "It would be fun to be a sidekick," he thought. "Much better than being the hero. Less responsibility. And you are allowed to crack more jokes and screw up more. The hero jas to get it right evry time, but the sidekick can fall down a well and then the hero has to get him out."

There was a knock on his door. "What are you mumbling about in there, Ichabod?"

"Go away," Ichabod said. "I'm reading."
(Got the message. Cannon thing right?)

"I hope it's not homophobia stuff," the voice said. "That stuff has a way of back-lashing on you."

"Bob, can't you just let me read?"
The Spaceship slowly made it's way to Planet Alderbaren


Bob stood outside Ichabod's door, thinking. After a few moments he knocked gently again.

"Who is it?" Ichabod said.

"It's me, Bob, again. Can I talk to you?"

Ichabod opened the door and let Bob in. "Talk to me about what? I thought we didn't have any of the same interests?"

"Well, there is one thing we are both interested in."

"Oh yeah? What?"

"You."

Ichabod rolled his eyes. "Bob, I told you I don't fly on that airline."

"No. I didn't mean THAT. I mean, your life and what's going to happen. I think about you." Bob smiled.

Ichabod frowned. "I really wish you wouldn't. It makes me nervous when people think about my life."

Bob flopped down on Ichabod's bed. "Aw, you don't want to become some kind of old hermit, do you?"

"Bob, do you mind sitting in a chair instead of on my bed."
Bob chuckled. "You'd think I'd do something foolish?"

"You grabbed my butt just the other day."
As they went over to Planet Alderbaren Matoaka whispered to Bill 'Put the ship on stealth mode."

"Matoaka, there's no need to whisper," Bill said, as he pressed a button. "I mean, we're in space, no one would be able to hear us."
James was ready with the counter measures

"Those guys better be here quick I've been standing like this for three whole episodes!"

Marzipan herself had a plan, she knew all the soldiers' favorite foods inside and out (She even knew the favorite foods of the one soldier who had lost his sense of taste some years back and was now immune to the effects of her cooking)

Patrolling the scene was Solder MacArthur McBean she could get rid of him easily

"Psst!" She whispered "McBean!"

McBean was generally the slowest of the Soldiers, years of being slapped around by his superior officers had damaged his brain.

"Yeah..." He said "What is it Kitty Cat?"

"I've got me some nice Sugar Pie." She said "I'll give it to you...But you got to do me a favor..."

"What's that?" McBean said

"Just...take this pie and eat it really far away from here...like in the orchard or something."

"Duh...OK."
"Well, that should take care of him for about thirty minutes," she said."Now for the others."
Marzipan took her special basket of secret comfort foods and headed out to meet the soldiers.

The Fellowship parked in the Forest like last time.

"Ichabod." Matoaka said "You wait here...And guard Edward! We don't want our prisoner escaping!"

"Hello, boys!" Marzipan said.

The soldiers stared at her. The redheaded one said, "What th-?"

Marzipan quickly shoved her basket under their noses. "Sniff and taste, guys! You will be pleasantly surprised."
"Well, she is a good cook," one of them said as they grabbed a caramel apple.
That was Kong's chance he quickly made a break for it.

"This cat really is a good cook." One Soldier said as he munched away

"That's none of us rape her." Said another soldier "She's two valuable..."

Kong ran past them without the soldiers even noticing
Looks like you're almost free, Marzipan thought. I hope you come back and get the rest of us.
Suddenly the solders were like "Look! That Ape is getting away!"

Quickly Kong dropped on all fours (Well three his left arm was in a sling) and fled

He had just made it two the meadow when suddenly two creatures dropped out of the sky

They were like giant Octopi wearing spacesuits! They aimed funny looking guns at two of the soldiers

A ray beam hit them they started dancing in place then disintegrated to dust

Matoaka was shocked "Who...Who are you creatures?" She said

The two creatures took off their helmets revealing they were Octos 'We are your allies." They said

It took some explaining but finally the Octos made it clear that the war had turned and that the Octos were new allies.

When Marzipan heard about the visitors she asked, "What are Octos?"

"They come from the planet Rigel Four. They have tentacles instead of hands."

"Oh. Sounds pretty creepy."
"I'm sure we seem creepy to them too," Kong said, as he stood up.
Kong clasped Marzipan's paw in his own one last time

"Will I ever see you again?." Marzipan asked

"Hopefully." Kong said

"I have to go back..." Marzipan "This is far away from the castle's borders and the soldiers will wonder where I am."

"Right, right." Kong said "And you won't leave without your friends I understand."

Kong made his way back to the Fellowship, Matoaka was waiting for him

"Who...Who was the Cat Kong?" Matoaka asked

"Just a friend." Kong said "I promised I would come back and get her friends real soon."

"Well first we have to get that broken arm tended to." Matoaka said

The spaceship was still parked in the forest so there was no danger of soldiers attacking it. Kong looked back one last time then finally boarded the spaceship.
"We ought to free them now," Kong said.

"I know," Matoaka said. "However, we cannot risk open warfare with those in charge of this planet. Command would have our hides, and then some."
Kong sighed and sat quietly he heard the sound of tiptoeing.

He turned his head and sigh a small redheaded human

"Who are you sprout?" Kong asked

"Ichabod. Are you a gorilla?"

"Yes," Kong said. "How did you know that?"

"I read books," Ichabod said. "I read about gorillas. Can you do that chest thumping thing for me?"

"Kid, don't you see my arm in a sling?"

"Oh. Sorry. How did you get hurt?"
"I got into a dispute with some guards," Kong said with a grin. "I think I won though."

"What do you mean?"

"The Octos took care of them."
Ichabod was silent he didn't know what to say.

Kong looked at Ichabod "Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Matoaka told me YOU are the Medic on this ship...I was going to be your replacement but then the Wolf Man gave us this call..."

"If you want the job you can have it!" Kong said "I think I'm going to step down from the front lines."

"What do you mean?" Ichabod asked

"I think now's the time to do what I always wanted." Kong said "To set up a little clinic in Earthport so Humanimals of all stripes can get a doctor who is a Humanimal himself! A doctor who won't ask them to lift up their tails to let in the thermometer."
"Um, what?"

"It's how doctors typically take our temperature," Kong said, rolling his eyes. "I think they get some sort of perverse pleasure out of it."
After a few hours the spaceship landed at Earthport.

Minsk and Matoaka took Edward to the Grand Council of Earth Leaders for judgement.

The three most important leaders in the council were Madame Britannia the Prime Minister of Britain, T.J. Combo the great-great-very great grandson of Barrack Obama who was president of the United States and Madame Gallic Prime Minister of France.

Edward was kept of a leash as always Madame Britannia read from a list

"Edward Green, you stand accused of multiple accounts of piracy, kidnapping and slavery! How do you plead?"

Edward's cheeks turned red "These are animals we're talking about!" He shouted "They have no rights! No..."

"I've heard enough!" The Old Woman said "Edward Green I hereby sentence you to death!"

"Death?!" Edward suddenly turned very pale

"...By hanging!" The Prime Minister was just about to bang her gravel when Minsk suffered an acute account of Lima Syndrome

"Wait!" Minsk cried holding up her paw

Minsk wasn't sure what came over her, maybe it was the look of helpless terror on Edward's face, maybe it was during the kiss his body responded as gently and sweetly as no man she had ever kissed had done, but Minsk was horrified that he was getting the death sentence, she assumed he would get a couple years in prison, but she realized that Edward's life was too precious to lose.

"Wait.." She said again "Don't do it! It's not his fault!"

"Minsk?" Matoaka was baffled by her comrade's behavior

"Minsk realized she had put herself on the spot, she quickly had to justify her outburst

"Come on people!" She said "We all know Wranglers are conditioned from before birth to hate Humanimals! Even when they in the womb they are brainwashed into feeling perverse hatred for Humanimals! But their feeling are not their own! Therefore I purpose an experiment!"

"An experiment?" T.J. Combo "Minsk I'm intrigued, go on."

"Well, I seek to prove the artificial nature of the condition by attempting to transform this young man from a Humanimal Hater to Humanimal Lover!"

Madame Britannia stroked her chin thoughtfully

"I'm giving you ten weeks time." She said "If your experiment is a failure he will be hanged as planned, I leave this man's fate in your capable paws..."

"You won't be disappointed Madame!" Minsk said

Edward realized he was no between a rock and a hard place "I'm doomed." He muttered

"It's just as well your execution has been delayed," said a man who wore a black hood, with some eye slits. "I'm booked solid for the next nine and a half weeks- some crazy terrorists blew up a church, a synagogue, a mosque, and few other places- but I think I could squeeze you on the Sunday afterwards."

"I don't think your rope will be needed Borris," Minsk said. "I think that Mr. Edward will be a changed man when the ten weeks are up."

"Well, if he doesn't change, I use only the finest of hemp, meaning that his neck will break, causing him to fall unconscious, and he'll be dead within thirty seconds, instead of the three minute strangulation you normally see with poorer quality ropes," Borris said, in a factually manner. "Though in his case, I'll see about getting my Golden Noose, as it has a nice golden sheen, perfect for those of royal blood."
Edward was terrified, he most certainly did NOT want to die, but the idea of becoming a Humanimal lover filled him with disgust.

Meanwhile Jim was showing Ichabod the Earthport Mall, but Ichabod was in one of his Melancholy moods and wasn't really interested.

"So here is the fountain in the middle of the mall." Jim said "This is where all the pretty girls hang out."

Ichabod's head snapped up "Pretty girls?" He asked

There were girls all right but only of the Humanimal variety, one was a red squirrel like Jim, she was Jordan Celt, Jordan looked at Jim slyly and winked

"Hey Jim," She said "I'm in heat."

Jim's tongue lolled out he looked like a cartoon character in love, he quickly got out his wallet and handed Ichabod some money

"Here's 20 Space Bucks." Jim said 'Why don't you go to the food court and get something to eat...Put some meat on those bone Ichy!"

Jim and Jordan ran off for some 'quality time'


Ichabod wandered around. He wasn't really hungry. Finally, he plopped down on a bench and tried to fall asleep.

Minsk had tied Edward to a chair. "I don't get it," Edward said. "Why do I have to be tied up?"

"This is called conversion therapy," Minsk said. "I'm going to show you pictures of naked women. When they are human I'm gong to bonk you on your head with a frying pan. When they are humanimal I'm going to say 'Good boy! You like that, don't you?' and give you a doggie treat."

"What?!" Edward said. "That's the craziest thing I ever heard. Where did you get your medical degree?"

"I don't need no stinkin' degree," Minsk said. "I have a natural ability."

"Untie me right now!"

"Can't do it. Court orders. Now look at these pictures."

Minsk flipped to the first of a stack of nudie photos. "Oooo, human!"

BONK! The frying pan landed on Edward's skull. "OW!" he complained. "I didn't even have time to get a good luck. And she was hot!"

BONK!

"OW!"
Edward was getting rare angry, he had dealt with a violent woman before and he would not go through it again, he burst through the ropes, genuinely terrified, she had been roughed up by human men before and she wasn't expecting Edward to break the ropes, at first she was thought he was going to hit her, but instead he yelled her

"YOU IRRITATING MUSTELIED!" He shouted "I will NOT have another woman beating me with a blunt object! You're just as bad as the other one!"

"Excuse me?" Minsk said "Other one?"

Edward blushed he realized he had said too much

"Never mind." He said "It's not impotent."

"What's not important?" Minsk asked

Edward sat down in despair he realized he had to confess "I...had a girlfriend once..." He said "Her name was Rose Thorne...She was a beautiful woman but very cold, we hit it off because of out mutual passion for wrangling, but then she started making...rules."

"Rules?" Minsk said

Edward sighed "I had to submit to regular spanking and other humiliations. Eventually it became too much and I kicked her out of my house."

Minsk realized why Edward was the way he was, Why he responded to her kiss the way he did, he was lonely! He was craving some tenderness and love but unable to find it in the decadent royal court he lived in.

"Tell you what." Minsk said "I won't hit you anymore, we'll try other things, I know this shampoo that can loosen the bonds of brainwashing if you rub it into your hair and there is acupuncture..."

Edward looked at her his eyes were sad, sorrowful yet also curious "Why did you save me?" He asked "Everyone it that room wanted me to die but you spoke up for me...Why?"

"Edward..." Minsk said "My reasons for saving you were not entirely selfless, when we kissed I felt a deep passion in you and it awakened deep passion in me, I saved you because I want to make you my mate."

Edward gave a startled jump

"Oh please no!" Edward said "Please! PLEASE! Tell me you jest!"

"Edward," Minsk said softly and very slowly "I can't force you to love me, but if you want to live I have to free your mind free up your mind from the conditioning, please Edward let me help you."

Edward sighed he felt trapped again, but he knew life was better then death, and a part of him was curious about what Minsk had planned
"So, what is your plan?" he asked.

"Since the pictures and head-bonking produced unfavorable results, how about dinner," Minsk suggested. "I know a recipe for poached salmon- the bones separate from the meat quite nicely, and I do have some nice red wine."
Meanwhile Ichabod had roused himself from his slumber, it was time for supper and now he was hungry.

The smells of the food court wafted through his nose...He smelled pepperoni, vinegar and sweet butterscotch.

"I suppose now I could get something to eat." He said and wandered off the the food court

He stopped and wondered about what he should get, when he spotted Bill, Ichabod ducked behind a trash can not wanting to be seen

But Bill walked over. "Ichabod, why are you hiding behind that trash can?"

Ichabod turned red. "Hiding? I'm not hiding. I dropped a quarter. Oh. Found it. So how are you doing, Bill?"

"I'm doing hungry. How about you? Want to sit down with me at one of these delightful food court places and pay too much for some not-all-that-good food?"
"Um, I don't know," Ichabod said. "I thought that you didn't like me because of the fact that I'm human."

"I don't like humans," Bill said. "However, Matoaka wants the crew to stick together in port, meaning that I'd get in trouble if one of the local gangs roughed you up."
"OK..." Ichabod said "What should we do first?"

"You like Italian?" Bill asked

"Not a whole lot." Ichabod said mildly

"OK..." Bill said "How about Mexican?"

"Hey isn't that a burger place over there?" Ichabod said
"Eh Hem!"

"Oh, right."
Bill just stared at Ichabod for a long while.

"OK!" Ichabod said "I'll settle for Italian food!"

So they went to a Sabbaro, Bill ordered two slices of veggie lovers pizza, Ichabod was taking a long time to decide what he wanted

"Oh for the love of..." Bill said "Forget you, I'm just going to get a table and eat!"

Bill was looking for a good place to sit down when he heard a whistle

Bill looked to the left, there were three Bulls in Cowboy outfits, Bill now those Bulls they went to the same gym he did.

Bill walked over to them "Hey." He said

"Hey." The Brown Bull said "We heard that a human is going to join you're crew, you going to let that happen?"

Bill looked over his shoulder, Ichabod was still on the other side of the food court out of earshot, Bill shook his head

"No...It ain't gonna happen!" Bill said "Not while I'm around!"

"So why don't you beat the snot out of that human?" Brown Bull said


"It's not that simple," Bill said. "My leader, Matoaka, wants me to be nice to him. I can't let her down."

"Well, then here's an idea," Brown Bull said. "We'll beat the snot out of him and leave you out of it. How does that sound?"

"I don't know," Bill said. "Matoaka's pretty sharp. She might figure out that I know something about it."

"Aw, come on! We haven't beat the snot out of anybody in over three days!"
"Sorry, but, as much as I want to pulverize him myself, I can't let you do it," Bill said.

"In that case, we'll beat you up," Brown Bull said, cracking his knuckles.

"Do you punks have a death wish?" asked a deep voice.

The three bulls turned around, and found themselves facing James and other members of Fleet.

"If you tangle with one Fleetman," James said. "You tangle with all Fleetmen."

Brown Bull looked at Bill and said, "We'll deal with you and the human another day." With that, the three left.

"I could have taken them," Bill said. "You didn't need to interfere."

"Right," James said, as the wolf sat down next to him. "Just like you didn't need to shoot me in the tail and mess up my ship's paint job. The repairs are coming out of your pay."

"Are you seriously holding that against me?"

"You were the one manning the weapons," James said.

Bill sighed. Then he saw the others with James. "Who are they?" he asked.

"Friends from the Academy," James said with a grin. "We like to get to get together for a good time when we're in the same port."
While Bill was conversing with the three bulls, Ichabod watched from the sidelines, he heard a good part of the conversation but when he heard 'Why don't you beat the snot out of him?' Ichabod turned and fled without hearing the rest of the conversation

Ichabod was very well liked among the local street urchins and other children who did not belong to criminals. Convict Children were hated by regular children, because regular children were often killed in child hunts in the convict children's stead.

The Convict Boys are always treated harsher then convict girls (Maybe because boys are out and about more on Alderbaren, girls are often locked up inside their own houses to prevent them from being assaulted by randy soldiers)

Street urchins and other children would often throw rocks at Ichabod as he walked by, in addition to the aforementioned candy incident that made Ichabod hate sweets with avenges

Ichabod ran right back to the Fellowship, ran right to his room and started crying

Matoaka tired after a long day of work came in and herd the noise

"Ichabod," She said "What's wrong?"

"Bill wants to beat the snot out of me!" Ichabod cried

"I'll talk to him." Matoaka said "That isn't right."

Bill was relaxing in his room when Matoaka walked in.

"About you and Ichabod..." she began.

"Oh no!" Bill said. "Not THAT again? I told you I woud try to be nice to him."

"Is beating the sanot out of him nice?"

"Huh?! What?! Oh... I get it. He must have overheard my friend talking. Brown Bull wanted to get nasty but I told him no way. I guess Ichabod didn't stick around long enough to hear that."

Matoaka watched Bill for a moment. "Bill, are you really trying to be friends with Ichabod?"

"We almost had lunch together. Ask him! If he wasn't so slow deciding what to eat..."

"Ichabod has some food issues."

"Yeah, well when I am hungry that's my issue - time to eat!"



"Perhaps you need to slow down a bit," Matoaka said. "Ichabod could have been ambushed on the way back to the ship. I don't want to lose a crewman to some street gang."
Bill snorted through his nostrils. He still didn't like the idea of a human joining the crew, it felt wrong to him, he was still wary of humans. But there was no point arguing about it

"I'll try to babysit him more closely," Bill said.

Matoaka shook her head. "Bill! What am I going to do with you? Just treat Ichabod like you would anybody else and I think everything will be fine."
Meanwhile, Minsk and Edward were having dinner, which was a little difficult for Edward, because while his arms and hands were free, though there was shackles that held his legs to those of the chair, and some steel cable keeping him sitting upright in it, he was forced to ask the mink for everything, as she head everything far enough away he couldn't just reach for it. More importantly, he had to be polite

"Can I have the pepper?" he asked.

Minsk looked at him, and went back to eating her salmon.

"Ugh, can I have the pepper, please?"

"That's much better," Minsk said, as she placed the pepper shaker in front of the captive prince. "Just remember though, if you want some dessert, you'd best be more polite than what you just were."

"And what is for dessert?" Edward asked as he put some pepper on his salmon.

"Apple pie, with vanilla ice cream and chocolate cake," Minsk said with a smile.
Edward felt strange this was probably the pleasantest meal he had in a while but still it felt awkward sharing his meal with an animal

Suddenly Edward clutched his heart, he felt as if there was some pain around it.

"Edward, is something wrong?" Minsk asked "Do you need some water?"

"Yes please." Edward coughed desperate to end the pain.

Minsk gave him a glass of water he gulped it down

"I think I must have had some heartburn for a second there." Edward sighed

"I don't think you would get that kind of heartburn from poached salmon." Minsk said "I think the ice around your heart is melting."

"Oh please." Edward grunted "I don't have ice around my heart."

"Not literal ice of course." Minsk "But the mental blocks that are keeping your emotions locked up are slowly being destroyed one by one." Minsk said "I've seen it before, when the conditioning in a Wrangler is slowly being worn away they feel psychical pain."


The next day was a wonderful sunny Saturday morning, It was the perfect day to get out and enjoy nature.

"Alright Edward, let's go for a walk," Minsk said.

"I guess I wouldn't mind one," Edward said. "That room was getting a little small."

Good, but first we need to make sure that we are ready," Minsk said as she went over to a dresser, where she pulled out a couple of bracelets.

"What are those for?" Edward asked.

"You're heard of electronic leashes that lets pets just run around, without tangling their owner in a lead, but keeps them from running away?"

"Yeah."

"Same principal with these. As the Owner, I control how far the Pet, that's you, can go. Go past that distance, and you'll feel a jolt- not lethal, but it will get your attention. Of course, if you keep trying to run away, the voltage will increase, potentially becoming lethal."

"Oh that's great," Edward muttered, as the one snapped onto his wrist.

"Now, for our first walk, that distance shall be ten feet, though I will extend it to fifty if you need to use the restroom," Minsk said, as she put the other bracelet on her own wrist. "If you behave though, I'll eventually extend that range to a mile, so that you can walk by yourself."

"Well, what it I tried to remove it?" Edward asked as he started to rotate it. Suddenly, he felt a shock, that caused him to jump.

"Depends on how you try to remove it," Minsk said with a chuckle. "Do it the wrong way, you'll see a progression in voltage increase. Do it the right way, it will come off."

"So, how do I take it off?" Edward asked.

"Easy, I have to kiss you," Minsk said, with a grin, as she knew that if the Owner bracelet touched the Pet bracelet, the Pet one could be taken off with no worries. "On the lips."

Edward blushed at the thought of having the mink kiss him to make himself free.
Meanwhile at the park, Bill was relaxing and enjoying nature. Suddenly Brown Bull approached him

"Look Bill." Brown Bull said "Sorry about threatening to beat you up, it's just that it's mating season and the three of us were in a rut."

'What?!" Bill exclaimed "Mating season already?!"

"I wouldn't have expected you to be aware." Brown Bull said flatly "You don't have a girlfriend to protect so you're body wouldn't have let you know it's mating season, beside you'll only 15 years old, barely out of calfhood."

Bill grumbled, he hated being reminded he was still single and still wet behind the ears.

Brown Bull cleared his throat

"You know." Brown Bull said "In the forest, in the glen that little runty human is sitting by the serenity pool."

"He is?" Bill said sitting up

"Oh yes." Brown Bull said

"Thanks." Bill said with a wicked grin "I know exactly what to do."

In the glen next to the serenity pool, Ichabod sat forlornly at a bench looking at his reflection feeling very sorry for himself

"I'm hideous." He whispered "My nose is too big, my chin is too small, my ears are freakish and I'm so skinny! Surely no girl could find it in her heart to love me!"

A nasty laugh broke the silence, Bill entered the glen

"Yeah you're right!" Bill laughed "You are ugly as sin!"

"Bill! Shut up!" Ichabod said "I'm not in the mood."

"For what?" Bill smirked

"You reminding me what a loser I am!" Ichabod snapped

"Now, now hold on." Bill said with mock sincerity "I wasn't going to talk about that I was just going to talk about your stench."

"My stench?!" Ichabod was indignant

"Ichabod." Bill said "You stink, and not in the metaphorical 'you suck' kind of way but as in putrid reek the could peel the pain off a tank kind of way!"

"I don't smell that bad." Ichabod protested "Do I?" Ichabod took a whiff of his own armpit to see if it was true

"You got to remember Ichabod." Bill said "Humanimals have much more powerful sense of smell then humans do! We can smell things humans can't we can tell what planet you're from just by your smell!"

"You can?" Ichabod asked

"Yes," Bill said "Humanimals can smell the difference between federation planets, and empire planets and let me tell you they don't like the smell of the wrangler worlds."

Ichabod was silent so Bill continued

"Ichabod." Bill said "If you go into the wrong place still smelling of Alderbaren, a bunch Humanimals will attack you! Just think! Snarling fangs and bloodied claws!"

Bill stamped the ground with his hoof and tossed his horns

"Pounding hooves and tossing horns!" He continued

Ichabod looked like he was on the verge of having a heart attack

"What do I do?" Ichabod asked trembling

Bill smirked, now he had Ichabod right where he wanted him

"See this pool?" Bill asked "This is the Serenity Pool! It has very special powers! It can cleanse your scent! Just swim in it for a couple hours and you'll smell halfway decent."

"Really?" Ichabod didn't know what to expect

"Of course." Bill said "Before you take a dip in the pool, you must take off all your clothes, yes, even your underwear you must not bring any filthy man made object to the pool lest they contaminate it!"

"All right." Ichabod said "But don't watch me!" Ichabod went behind a shrub for good measure

"Believe me." Bill said as he turned around "I wouldn't want your naked human nethers burned into my retinas for all eternity!"

Bill heard a splash, he turned around to see Ichabod swimming in the pool.

"That's good, That's good." Bill said "Just swim around like that for a few more hours and you'll be as fresh as a daisy!"

Ichabod wasn't sure how swimming would change his scent but he didn't think about any further, he took a deep breath and dove underwater.

Once Ichabod was under water, Bill took the time to gather Ichabod's clothes and make off with them

"Let that be a lesson to you." Bill cackled when no one could hear "Always swim with your clothes on, or someone, meaning will steal them!"

Ichabod resurfaced, not knowing that Bill had made off with his clothes.

A few hours later Madame Gallic, and Madame Britannia were walking in the park together discussing discussing various laws regarding Humanimals.

"I don't know..." madame Gallic said "I think we should make it legal for humans and Humanimals to get married, I mean you can't stop humans and Humanimals from having sex and living together so why not make it legal?"

"Please!" The older British woman sniffed "As a Neo-Victorian I must do my part to uphold the rules of race!"

The walked by the forest, Ichabod had finished his swim and now realized his clothes were gone, he had no idea what to do, he peered over a shrub nervously

"Bill?" Ichabod whispered "Jim? Anybody?" He realized what was going to happen "Oh boy..." He said nervously

Ichabod walked out into the open, his hand covering his genitals in a vain attempt to preserve his modesty, the two Prime Ministers were in his vicinity when he walked out

"SACRE BLEU!" Madame Gallic screeched

Madame Britannia just screamed and ran away

Blushing with shame and embarrassment Ichabod ran through the park, women screamed and covered their children's eyes. Men yelled at him and told him to 'put some pants on.'
Just then, Ichabod heard a familiar voice.

"Ichabod, what are you doing without any clothes on?"

Ichabod turned around and saw Minsk and Edward looking at him, prompting to try and cover his privates.

"He's kind of small," Edward muttered.

Minsk slapped the captive prince. "Perhaps I should remove your garments so that we have a real comparison."

"That won't be necessary," Edward said, rubbing his cheek.

"Good," Minsk said. She then turned back to Ichabod. "Well, what happened?"

"Bill said that I stank, and that I had to swim in this one pond, without any clothes on, to fully remove the stench," Ichabod said with a sigh. "While I was doing that, someone took my clothes."

"I think I know who it was," Minsk said with a groan. "Remind me to force-feed that bull a steak, a hamburger, and some prime rib, or whatever's on sale at the meat market."

"You mean Bill took my clothes!"

"Most likely," Minsk said, as she took a day bag off her back. "Thankfully, I've been through that sort of situation- meaning I have a spare set of clothes, just in case to ones I wear get pinched by some pranksters."
Bill was laughing all the way as he walked back to the Fellowship.

"Ah! What a day!" Bill said laughing "I didn't beat up Ichabod, but I did turn him into a wanted criminal with a public nudity charge! Yes it's a wonderful..."

"YOU!" An all too familiar voice screeched at him!

"Oh." Bill said smugly "Ichabod, you're back."

There they were, the two of them in the Fellowship with no one else around

"You!" Ichabod said "You...You..."

"I, I, I what?" Bill said still with that smug green

Ichabod took a wooden cutting board, he was livid with rage

"You are a bully!" He yelled "You are a monster!"

He jumped up and broke the cutting board and Bill's head

"YOU ARE A SHIT-FOR-BRAINS BEAST!" He screamed
Meanwhile, Minsk and Edward were sitting on a bench, watching a creek.

"It sure is a nice day after being in that room," Edward said.

"Something tells me you'd say that, even if it was raining," Minsk said, with a chuckle.

"Probably would," Edward said, with a smile.

"Sure beats getting your neck stretched," Minsk said, as she put a hand on the prince's thigh.

"I guess it does," Edward said, as he rubbed his neck. "Just the thought of me swinging in the breeze like that scares me."

"Well, I don't want that to happen to you," Minsk said. "You've got too much potential to just let you end it by the hands of a rope."
Meanwhile Bill rubbed his head and then glared at Ichabod, steam shot out of his nostrils he was rare angry now!

Bill back Ichabod into a corner, and just when Ichabod thought he was going to be murdered, Bill realized what he was doing

"Oh my god..." Bill said "I've become everything I've ever hated!"

Bill ran back to his own room crying, Ichabod was left terrified and disillusioned

Ichabod as quickly as he could locked himself in his room, he refused to come out for lunch or supper.

Ichabod couldn't get a grip on himself, he just gripped his knees shook and cried

"Father was right!" Ichabod said "You can't trust anyone! Especially not talking animals!"

Ichabod gathered up his things and shoved them in his backpack "I'll wait until everyone's asleep." He said "Then I can run away!"




(Note to BBWolf, James at this point in the story cannot rescue Ichabod and bring him back to the Fellowship, the following chapters are about Ichabod learning the hard way about the wrangler's cruelty when he joins them, even killing an innocent Humanimal himself, kind of like Edmund's betrayal in the The Lion The Witch and Wardrobe without the whole religion aspect)

That night, when everyone was asleep, Ichabod slipped out of window and away. He had decided he would find a spaceport and go to another planet and start a new life for himself.

Matoaka was very upset when she discovered he was missing. "He's only a baby! He can't survive out there!"

"He's no baby," Bill said. "But you're probably right about his lack of survival skills."
(Alright.)

"We need to find him," Matoaka said.

"I don't know if we'll be able to," Bill said. "More than likely he's stowed away on some ship and off planet."
Actually Ichabod had made it to London (Earthport is in England)

After running for what felt like forever, Ichabod sat down on the sidewalk and cried

"What am I doing?" He sobbed quietly to himself "What am I going to do for food? Where am I going to live? I don't know anyone on this planet, I don't know anyone who will give me a job...What am I going to do?!"

A Girlish giggle interrupted his thought a girl who appeared to at least 16 years of age came out of the shadows.

"Something tells me you've been burned by a Humanimal." She said

"What's it to you?!" Ichabod yelled angrily

"Name's Bimbolurlina." The girl said

"That's a stupid name," Ichabod said. Then he immediately saw he had hurt her feelings. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to say that! I'm really stressed."

"No problem," Bimbolurlina said. "I've run into a lot weirder types than you around here."

"Oh, you think I'm weird then."

"No! Now it's my turn to apologize. Can we start over?"

"Sure. My name is Ichabod."

rsmiled. "You already know my stupid name."

"I said I'm sorry!"

"I know!" She laughed. "My mother was in the circus and my father was a reformed pimp. Does that explain anything?"

"Not to me," Ichabod said. "But I don't know much about anything."

"So why are you roaming around the streets of our fair city London then?"
Just then Ichabod's stomach let loose an enormous growl! Ichabod blushed with embarrassment and Bimbo giggled

"Looks like somebody's hungry!" She giggled

"I know." Ichabod said "I...didn't have lunch nor supper."

"Why don't you have a late meal at my place?" Bimbo asked "I've got a nice hot meal waiting..."

"No, no." Ichabod said "I don't want to intrude...I shouldn't accept things from strangers..."

"Are you sure?" Bimbo asked "Because it's the finest food Britain has to offer nice roast beef, succulent, dripping with bloody juices, then the Yorkshire pudding with its crisp crunchy batter, a perfect sop for the juices of the meat..."

"Stop!" Ichabod said his mouth watering at the thought of it "You have me sold, I'll eat with you."

Soon Ichabod and Bimbo were seated at the table in Bimbo's 'office' Ichabod was so hungry he tore into the food

'God.' He said 'I've been so long without beef I forgot how good it tasted!'

Bimbo meanwhile looked outside her window, there were Humanimal families, Sheep families, Goat families, Monkey families, Frog families, All kinds of Humanimals walking around having a good time Bimbo sneered

"Aren't they just disgusting?" She muttered

"What?" Ichabod asked as he licked his dish

"Humanimals!" Bimbo said "Aren't they the most vile, repulsive creatures you ever did see! I mean regular animals are bad enough but these things...Ugh!"

Ichabod looked out the window and thought about what was just said, Despite being on the receiving end of a humiliating prank by Bill, Ichabod looked at these Humanimal families with no malice in his heart, he didn't understand what Bimbo was saying

"They don't seem that bad." Ichabod "They just seem like people."

Bimbo narrowed her eyes at him "Are you...A Humanimal lover?"

"What?!" Ichabod said "No! I mean..."

"Good!" Bimbo said "Because Humanimal lovers are traitors to the Human race!"
"They seem alright to me," Ichabod said. "With the exception of one, most of those I've run into have helped me out."

"Are you sure you're not a humanimal lover?"

"I'm sure I'm sure not a humanimal lover."
Bimbolurlina pulled something out of her bosom, she handed it to Ichabod

"My business card." She said "I am Duchess Bimbolurlina of Planet Desmonseia!

"You're a Duchess?" Ichabod asked

"This office is just a front for the Wrangling business!" She said "We seek those who want to help the human race! Who want to end the scourge of Humanimal rights activists!"

Ichabod looked at the card "I don't know..." He said doubtfully

"You'll make lots of money!" Bimbo said "You can win a lot of women with the money you earn!"

At the mention of the word 'women' Ichabod jumped up "I'll do it!" He said

Meanwhile Matoaka was sending out, Bill, Jim and Bob to search for Ichabod

"I'm trusting you boys!" Matoaka said "Search everywhere! Search the forests, search the meadows, search the town do whatever it takes!"

"Yes Captain!" Jim said

"Yes Captain!" Bob said

"Yes...Captain..." Bill said reluctantly
Back at the park, Minsk and Edward were eating a meal.
(Prepare for return to script format, and shameless homage to The Lion King)


(The first two leave willingly, Bill trudges out reluctantly.

Bill stops in the meadow, when Jim and Bob follow Ichabod's scent into town, Bill stomps of angrily into the forest).

BILL

Why the hell am I doing this?! Why should I find that little runt of a human?! I should be glad he's gone! There's no such thing as a good human!

(The shadow of a Velociraptor approaches Bill, the Dinosaur is Fossil)

Fossil

How can you be so sure about that?

BILL

Fossil?

FOSSIL

Why do you hate Humans so much Bill?

BILL

Why?! You know why! Because Humans killed my Dad, they killed all our families!

FOSSIL

You think so...But is is not true! Your father is alive! And I'll show him to you! You just follow me!

(Fossil goes into the forest, Bill tries to follow his long horns keep getting tangled on branches.

Finally they reach the end of the forest).

FOSSIL

Stop!

(Bill comes to a screeching halt. Fossil pulls back some reeds)

FOSSIL

Look there...

(Bill creeps toward a pool of water and looks, only to find his own reflection, he scoffs)

BILL

That's not Dad! That's just my reflection!

FOSSIL

No! Look harder...

(Bill looks again and the reflection shifts to that of an older Bull)

FOSSIL

You see? He lives in you!

(The wind begins to whisper, Fossil disappears into the bush

Charles Brandy, Bill's Dad, appears as a ghost)

CHARLES

Bill...

BILL

Dad?

(Charles' ghost appears Ala Mufassa from The Lion King)

CHARLES

Bill, You have forgotten me.

BILL

No! How could I?

CHARLES

You have forgotten who you are and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself Bill, you have let your anger cloud your heart! You must find Ichabod and bring him back to The Fellowship.

BILL

How can I even speak to him?! He...He probably won't even forgive me!

CHARLES

Remember who you are! You are a Humanimal. And a Humanimal's purpose is to love the world and the creatures who dwell within it! Remember...who you are...

(The clouds begin to disappear Bill chases after them)

BILL

Wait! Dad! Don't leave me!

CHARLES

Remember...

BILL

Dad!

CHARLES

Remember...

BILL

...Don't leave me...

CHARLES

Remember...

(Bill is left standing in the meadow, he now fully realizes what he did to Ichabod)

BILL

Oh...Ichabod...What have I done? What have I done?
(Okay, it's official. Michel Bolton, or should I say Twiga, is a major cinaphile (movie lover)- Jack Sparrow- (featuring Michael Bolton) reference. Funny song.)

Fossil chuckled as he watched the young bull run. "I think he's learned that lesson," he said.

"And you need to stop smoking the peyote, lizard," James said as the wolf walked up next to the velociraptor. "You best tell me why I can't go and track the boy down before I decide to make some leather boots out of your hide. Your reason is a little too cryptic for my liking."

"The red-haired one must meet up with the cat chef and make love to her," Fossil said with a chuckle. "Only then can he make the choice."

"Still sounds like stoner talk to me," James said. "I suggest you either quit smoking your stash, or share it."

Fossil chuckled. "Just because I'm of Native American blood doesn't mean I smoke that stuff."

"Sounds like you do though."

"And I think that you need a drink," Fossil said, as he shoved James into the pool of water.

James came up sputtering. "That was uncalled for!"
(Just remember, Ichabod has to be with the Humanimal crew for half a year before he goes back to Alderbaren and meets up with Marzipan...Ichabod's testicles haven't dropped yet so he couldn't infiltrate Castle Vortex just yet)

Ichabod and Bimbolurlina had already left Earth and headed for Planet Desmonseia, on the way they stopped at a Wrangler Space Station that was also a slave shop, As Ichabod and Bimbo walked down the hall of cages Ichabod noticed a putrid reek in the air and saw that many Humanimals were siting in their own filth, rocking back and forth wearing little or no clothing

(You ever see one of those old video tapes with footage from institutions that housed people with developmental disabilities? Imagine that with furries in place of the humans)

Ichabod covered his nose "It reeks in here!" He said "Don't you have someone to clean the cages?!"

"Oh yes." Bimbo said calmly "We have someone clean the cages every week or so."

Suddenly Ichabod felt something grab his leg, it was a small lizard man.

"Please help me!" He begged "I am a free Humanimal! I am of the federation!"

"Be silent! Odious Reptile!" Bimbo zapped the lizard with a stun gun and turned to Ichabod "They're always like this in the beginning, begging to anyone who listen to release them it's so annoying!"

Meanwhile Bob, Bill, and Jim came back to the Fellowship without Ichabod.

"Nice work Bill." Jim said dryly

"Yeah." Bob said "If the next time we see that boy and he's a wrangler it will be all your fault!"
"Could you stop blaming me?" Bill said.

"You're the one who teased him the most," Bob said. "I'll admit that I had my fun with him, but you won't admit what you did to him."
Bob stroked his whiskers in thought

"Perhaps, all this harassment could be linked to some childhood trauma." He said "I do declare I do sense some self-hatred in the way you treat Ichabod."

"Don't say it..." Bill seethed

"No Bill!" Bob said "The truth must be told! You hate humans and you hate yourself because your mother was a Human!"

Bill out a low moan of despair.

"I think that's enough Bob." Matoaka said calmly "We will have to resume our search tomorrow."

Jim and Bob left, Bill stayed looking forlornly at the ground he turned to Matoaka

"Captain, I'm sorry." He said "What Bob says is true, I was secretly afraid that because I was part human I was somehow less of a Humanimal."

Matoaka folded her arms 'Do you even know me?" She said dryly.

"Oh." Bill said "I forgot your mother was a human too!"

Bimbolurlina took Ichabod to visit a Snuff Pit.

"What's a Snuff Pit?" Ichabod asked as they walked past the ticket seller.

Bimbo grinned. "It's where they kill humanimals for fun. Well, not for fun only because they charge admission. But sometimes it's a good show."

Ichabod felt the blood run out of his face. "They kill living beings just for amusement?"

"Not beings, humanimals. Humanimals have no souls, or if they do they are evil souls and need to be killed or at least put to work as slaves. Don't you agree?"

Ichabod was too sick at heart to say anything.

The Snuff Pit was dimly lit and somewhat like a small boxing arena. There was a bright light over a dirt ring in the middle of the large room. Ichabod figured that was where the killing took place. His stomach felt queasy. "I think I better go outside," he said. "I feel sick. I might throw up."
"Come on. It's fun, unless you're a humanimal lover."
Ichabod realized he had to keep himself under control

He entered the arena, a young man wearing a black cloak greeted him "What have we here?" He said charmingly

"New Recruit." Bimbo said

"If he is a new recruit he must participate in the initiation ceremony!" The man in the black cloak led him into the arena

"Loyal fans!" The Man said "This is official! We have a new recruit! Does he have what it takes to be a wrangler?"

The crowd cheered

Two Wranglers were bringing in a small Humanimal into the room, it was a lizard! The same lizard man that grabbed Ichabod's ankle!

They strapped the lizard to the table in Bimbo handed him a knife

"If you can't kill this lizard." She said "You're going back where you came from."

She meant Planet Earth but what Ichabod thought she meant was Alderbaren, he took the knife and approached the lizard

The Lizard's big blue eyes filled tears, pleading for mercy

Ichabod did not flinch he took the knife and buried it in the lizard's heart

As the blood welled out the lizard let out a reptilian screech of pain, the crowd cheered

Sometime later, Ichabod was in the bathroom of his room, bent over the toilet.
"I killed another person..." He said to himself hunched over the toilet "I killed another person!"

Luckily there were no cameras or listening devices in his bathroom or else they would have known
"Alright," Ichabod muttered. "I need to do one of two things; escape, or, failing that, find a way to get information back to the others- hopefully they'll be lenient with me. It wasn't like I had a choice."
Ichabod didn't know what to do, he didn't know how to pilot a spaceship and it wasn't he could ask a wrangler to take him to Earth

He fell asleep in his bed, it was a sick fitful sleep full of nightmares.

When Ichabod awoke he saw Bimbolurlina's face staring down at him

"Good. Your up." She said "I have some good news for you. We found some enemies of the empire in the slave cellar."

"Enemies?" Ichabod muttered sleepily

"Yes." Bimbo said "A Bull, a Squirrel and a Catfish!"

Ichabod felt the blood run from his face.

"Come along." Bimbo said "I am going to let you kill them."

Ichabod felt cold

Bimbo let him to the grand hall, there was a guard wearing a black cloak, next to him was something covered in a white sheet, actually three things covered by a white sheet.

Ichabod knew what was under that sheet.

The man in the black cloak lifted up the white sheet and there they were

Bob, Jim and Bill all tied up, helpless (Bill's muzzle was also tied shut with ropes)

Bimbo put a knife in Ichabod's hand "You know what to do with this." She said smugly

Ichabod gulped and looked around, surely if he didn't do as he was told he would be killed for disobedience

He looked over at the three Humanimals, they were pleading for their lives

"Come on Ichy." Bob said "Don't do this! We're your friends!"

"Yeah Ichy!" Jim said "We saved your life! Is this anyway to show gratitude?!"

Ichabod looked in Bill's eyes so sad and doleful, big and blue like the lizard's eyes and filled with tears like the lizard's eyes, Ichabod saw his own reflection in Bill's eyes with the knife raised he realized why Bill had been so hostile to him, Bill was a traumatized animal who had never known human kindness.

Ichabod looked at the knife in his hand and threw it down in disgust

"I can't I can't I can't do it!" He said

"Ichabod!" Bimbo scolded "What is wrong with you?!"

"What these Humanimals say is true." Ichabod said "They did save my life."

Bimbolurlina stared at Ichabod and he could almost see the hate building in her eyes. "Why would they have the opportunity to save your life? Were you living with them?" She spat out the words.

Ichabod gulped. "I... I... I was their prisoner!"

Bimbolurlina's smile returned. "Oh... I see. But surely now you want to get your revenge and kill them?"
"Um, I can't," Ichabod said.

"Can't or won't?"

"I can't," Ichabod said. "When they caught me they put an explosive device in me; if I try to harm a member of Fleet, it will go off, destroying anything within five feet of me."

"Then we'll cut it out."

"Actually, that would be even worse, as that would set off an explosion that would destroy anything within twenty feet of me."
Bimbo stared even harder at him as if she was going to burn him up with a stair. Ichabod felt as if his own lies were going to tangle him up, he looked at his own reflection in a window and much to his horror, his long nose seemed to be growing longer with each lie! That's when he knew he couldn't keep doing this.

"Oh... What's the use?!" He moaned "The truth is...This Humanimals saved me from my own species because I am a convict's child! I am a child of Alderbaren!"

And the moment he confessed the truth a great miracle happened as the Humanimals say, When he told the truth his voice dropped three octaves that day!

In actuality Ichabod's testicles did drop that moment
(Um, Twiga. The Grinch called. Something about stealing lines from stories. *Bigsmile*)

Bimbo fell backwards, hitting her head.
Ichabod for some reason felt empowered when he finally confessed he felt he had the courage to stand up to Bimbo

"And furthermore!" He said (He wasn't aware his voice had deepened) "I never should have trusted you! I should known form the moment I laid eyes on
you, you were not to be trusted!"

"Ichabod!" Bimbo stammered in fear "What is wrong with you? Your voice is changing far too rapidly for a normal human!"

"Forget about my voice!" Ichabod bellowed "I was a fool for accepting your friendship! I should have known who my true friends were! My fellow outcasts! The Humanimals!"

Bill inspired by these words was able to use his enormous strength to burst out of the ropes freeing all three of them!

Bill walked over to Ichabod who was still chewing out Bimbo, and gently put a hand on his shoulder

"Come on Ichy." Bill said "We're going home."

"Home?" Ichabod was confused for a second

"You know!" Jim said "Home! The Fellowship!"
Ichabod fainted.

"Okay, he's been through enough stress for a while," Bob said. "Let's just take him home."
Ichabod had a dream it was a strange dream, a strange and prophetic dream

When Matoaka put him in bed and tucked him in his bed she implanted a dream into his mind. (Humanimals have a unique talent called dream sharing where is two or more Humanimals fall asleep togethor with their heads touching they can interact with each other's dreams)

Matoaka had implanted a vision into Ichabod's mind, to see what happened to the Humanimals of Nuthanger Slave Farm who were killed and made into fur coats and leather jackets.

Ichabod saw it all in his dream, the Humanimals being told to strip and walk into a small room, he saw the humans locking the door behind them so they couldn't get out.

He saw the poison gas killling the Humanimals, and when they were all dead the humans came in with long sharp knives and took their skins!

Ichabod woke up panting for breath "Oh god!" He said "Oh god! Now I realize why Bill hated me so much!" Ichabod put his head in his hands and wept like he had never wept before in his life.
The next morning when Matoaka saw Ichabod's dark shardowed eyes and grim expression she felt sorry she had made his dreams so intense. But he needed to see it, she thought. Nevertheless, she made sure Ichabod had something good for breakfast and tried to cheer him up.

"Fried eggs!!" Ichabod said. "Why are you making me eggs? Isn't there a rule against it?

"Why don't we ever have oatmeal," Bill said. "That's my favorite."

"Nuts for me," Jim chimed in.

Bob raised his hand. "Uh... crayfish?"

Everybody looked at him. "Crayfish? For breakfast? Weird, man."

(STEVE! Ichabod can't eat sweet things!)
"I think I have some shrimp in the freezer," Minsk said. "Will that do?"
Ichabod was feeling extremely guilty this morning, everyone was being so gosh darn nice to him! And he had just murdered an innocent Humanimal!

"Here's your eggs." Minsk said "Sorry we don't have any bacon, but you know..."

"I...did kill a Humanimal back there." Ichabod said

"Yes. Ichabod we know." Matoaka said

"So...You're just going to accept it?" Ichabod asked "No questions asked?!"

"Ichabod we know everything about it." Matoaka said "That Lizard's brother told us all about it."

Ichabod felt too sick to even eat, when he had first done the terrible deed he hoped they would forgive him, now that he had seen in his dream the atrocities humans had done to Humanimals and the fact that lizard had a brother he wished they didn't forgive him!"

"Eat your eggs quickly." Matoaka said "Zander may wake up any minute now and he hates the smell of fried eggs."

Ichabod decided he would talk about this later and decided to eat his breakfast like a good little boy, but he felt shamed and guilty

Bill watched Ichabod eat with hot tears streaming down his face and he felt guilty for causing Ichabod to run away in the first place
"We've all be in your shoes, if it makes you feel any better," Bill said.
Ichabod finished his breakfast, and thought he was about to cry all over again

Then Matoaka turned to him and said "Ichabod come to my room."

Ichabod for some weird reason hoped that this would mean he would get the punishment he so richly deserved.

Matoaka sat on her bed, and asked Ichabod to sit in the old rocking chair

Ichabod did so very gingerly

"Ichabod." Matoaka said "I think you know very well by know, you know what you did was wrong."

"Yes Ma'am." Ichabod said quietly

"I still think you should join the crew though." The Unicorn said

"Why?" Ichabod asked "I mean...I killed another person! And..."

"Ichabod." Matoaka said "I think the Humanimal community will understand you were lost and confused and only did it because you feared the threat of harm."
"I don't know," Ichabod said. "I don't think I will be able to forgive myself."
Matoaka felt a deep sorrow in her heart, she knew this all could have been prevented if certain steps had been taken, but it was too late now.

Matoaka saw Ichabod looking down at his feet, she put her hand under his chin

"Ichabod, look at me." She said "I know what you did was terrible, you took an innocent life and can never give it back, you may think the only thing to do is get punished, but there is a better way, instead of punishing yourself, you take it upon yourself to SAVE Humanimal lives so no Humanimal has to die like that ever again."

Ichabod still looked unsure

"Come with me." Matoaka said "I have a surprise for you."

"Surprise?" Ichabod was confused

He followed Matoaka into his own room, there on his bed was a green space cadet shirt and black pants perfectly designed for his lanky body frame!

"A...a...uniform?" Ichabod asked "Just for me?"

"Well yes." Matoaka said "I thought you'd like a green shirt best because you wear green so often however if you'd rather have a red or blue shirt adjustments can be made."

"Oh no!" Ichabod said rather bashfully "That won't be necessary! I like green just fine!"

"Try it on," Matoaka said and quietly closed the door.

A couple of minutes later Ichabod was marching proudly around the main room in his new clothes.

Bill saluted him and said, "What are your orders, General Ichabod, sir!" and Ichy laughed at the joke.

Matoaka smiled. Finally the team was coming together.
"Alright," Matoaka said. "Let's see if we have any new orders."
Meanwhile Edward had been watching from his position in the chair, his cheeks heated up, he couldn't believe it! A bunch of talking animals were happier then he had ever been in his whole life! There was only one thing to do!

"Ms. Redfeather." Edward spoke up all the Humanimal turned around

"Yes Edward?" Matoaka said

"I...I...I want..." Edward stammered "I WANT TO JOIN THE HERD!"

There was a silence in the air, then Bill said "Ding! Conversion to Humanimal lover complete!"

Minsk ran over and undid his binds and hugged him "Don't Cry Edward." She said "We'll willingly except you into the herd! That's why we saved you!"

"You knew." Edward said as he kissed her "You knew how lonely and miserable I was, you could sense that I needed compainionship, to think the only woman in the universe who understood me was a mink!"

"Isn't that wonderful?" Minsk said.

"Yes!" he said. "It IS wonderful! It's the best thing that ever happened to me!"

"This calls for a celebration!" Bob said. "I haven't had an excuse to dance the Macaroni for months now."

"The Macaroni!" Bill said. "You dummy! It's the Macarena."

"Whatever!" Bob said. "The important thing is let's dance!"
"I don't know," Ichabod said. "I have two left feet."

"We could break the one and flip it upside-down," Bill suggested.

"Um, that won't be necessary."
Ichabod felt an enormous hand on his shoulder, he looked up, he saw Bill

"How you feeling?" Bill asked

"I feel...Wonderful." Ichabod said

"You know something Ichy." Bill said "I feel wonderful too."

Later that night, Minsk asked Edward if he would want to have sex with her, Edward blushed, however it wasn't a blush of anger and embarrassment, it was a blush of pleasure and perhaps of self awareness

"I'll willingly have sex with you." Edward said "If you want me too."

Minsk suddenly realized that Edward, despite his charisma and flamboyance was actually really shy around women.

"why don't we just share a bed for the night?" She said "It's a little early to just throw caution to the wind and sleep with each other."

Edward thought this sounded fine...Edward stripped down to his underwear, Minsk stripped down to the fur

Edward was amazed by the size of her breasts! He knew they were large, but now they seemed like JJs

"You're looking at them aren't you?" Minsk asked coyly

"Well...Yes." Edward said "But can you really blame me? Do think, a pure innocent virgin all for me."

Minsk stammered "P-pure...V...Virgin?"

"Well yes." Edward said "I mean Humanimals aren't tramps falling into every available set of arms, so..."

"Edward! Stop!" Minsk said "I've got something to confess. I'm not a virgin."

"You're not?" Edward was baffled

"Well no!" Minsk said "I mean, if a mammal Humanimal has a large breast and clearly visible nipples it means she's not a virgin! It also means she's had children because the breast only swell and nipples only develop after impregnation!"

Edward was shocked, completely shocked he sat on the bed

"Please don't be angry with me..." Minsk started to say

"I'm not angry at you!" Edward said "I'm angry at myself! I've been living with Humanimals all my life and I don't know the first thing about them!"
"Then someone ought to teach you," Minsk said, with a chuckle.
Minsk kissed Edward full on the lips, he responded and wrapped his arms around her

"Teach me." He whispered "Teach me everything I need to know."

Class ran a little long that night but neither student nor teacher minded that.

The next day Minsk was glowing like a lantern so Bob nudged Bill as if to say... do you think they...? And Bill nodded... yes, I think they did.

"Now that you're a member of the herd," Bill said, "you'll probably want to learn how to stampeded."

"Huh?" Edward said. "Stampede? What's that?"

"He's pulling your leg," Bob said. "A stampede is a bovine panic attack. They run like crazy because something spooked them."

Edward shrugged. "I've had those before."

"You have?"

"Sure. It's a dark creepy night and you hear a weird noise and before you know it you're running as fast as you can."
"What made you run?"

"A pissed off father armed with a shotgun."
This is the end of the first story and the beginning of the Space Beasts Saga

The End!

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