Sci-fi comedy and a gastronomic romance of how butter overcomes specie differences.
|“Rotating to 70 degrees…. Forward velocity at 3400….” Charlene exhaled as she kept her eyes bouncing between her instruments at the site lines on the forward port. “Descending at 400 and slowing…Altitude 1500 and decreasing…”
“Mission control activating landing radar…” John her co-pilot announced. “Systems active….”
“Moon One we copy…” the familiar voice of mission control Col. Song responded sonorously. “Prepare to fire main engine and slow descent…In ten…”
The forward velocity of the landing module slowed to a near stand still and the descending velocity slowed substantially over the twenty-second burn.
“Mission Control please be advised that the landing field at altitude is tormented…” Charlene chirped as she began to sweat.
“Moon One you have ten seconds to land or you must abort…” Col. Song announced, not so much as even disturbed.
“Negative Mission Control,” John interjected lightly joyful. “Have a clearing by crater 23 at 45 degrees starboard by site glass…Radar is sweeping and zone is clear…”
“Moon One you are cleared for touch down…” Col. Song announced. This time, he had emotions in his voice. He was relieved.
“Forward velocity null…” Charlene read off her gauges and very carefully switched off the auto pilot. “Manual engaged…Altitude at five hundred and descending at 280…. Altitude by radar at 250, descend velocity at 100…Altitude by radar 100 velocity at 5, rotating to level…. We are level…Radar zero contact at 15…Velocity at 2…Landing probes report touch down…Pads report touch down…Engines off at my mark of 23:56….”
“Landing radar terminated at my mark…” John announced. “External cameras on…Positive function…I visually confirm that the landing pads are the surface…”
“Mission Control, Moon One has landed….” Charlene announced.
“Congratulations…” Col. Song then said. “Simulation exercise 34 has been completed to course standards. Astronauts please disembark the simulator and report for debriefing as scheduled…”
“And the turkey as landed!” John laughed as he punched Charlene in the shoulder. “Get some gravy for this bird!”
“That’s a joke, right?” Charlene stared at her stand in co-pilot.
“Yeah…What else would it be?”
“My people are vegetarians…” Charlene reminded him, as she took off her plastic fake space helmet.
“And?” John replied as he opened the hatch and motioned with his arm. “Hens first…”
A day later John Wayne Stone walked along a sandy beach of Peninsula Aerodrome with Charlene. He thought it somehow reminded him of Tuscany but not really. The two moons in the sky gave it away. They were, well the Avian were going to the farthest one, as it was much larger, and the technical challenge for either was the same.
Charlene came with him. She wore what he’d describe as white boogie shorts and nothing else. He kept glancing over at her. He expected somehow for her to have...well... he’d remind himself that birds didn’t have those. She of course noticed that and had no problem reminding him of it.
“So, how’s your regular co-pilot doing?” John asked changing the subject.
“He’s fine…Intestinal stoppage…Not enough roughage in his diet…” she shrugged. “He’ll be on the flight pad next week for the real deal…. Trish my stand in will run him through the last simulation…”
“Cool beans…” John answered. “Scared?’
“Yeah,” she whispered and unconsciously grasp his hand. “Lonely too…”
John didn’t know what to say so he kept quiet.
“It’s because I look like a bird huh?” she said tightening her grip.
“Nah,” John laughed. “I’ve been with plenty of chicks…Just not one that was Avian.”
“I’m sorry it’s just that its that time of the year…” she blushed, almost. “That…And you’re the first human that agreed to meet me for a walk on the beach…”
“Well,” John grinned. “Tell you what…When you splash down in the ocean and become a planetary heroine I’ll take you out…We’ll celebrate.”
“Assuming I don’t explode on the pad…I watched You Tube a few days ago. Frozen turkeys exploding in deep fryers…Then…Well don’t get me started on Norman Rockwell and Thanksgiving…” she blabbered.
“Turkeys and Avians just happen to look alike…” John shrugged. “You’re nervous about being in space? You’ve been there before…”
“Avians look alike to each other,” she giggled. “At family reunions we have to wear name tags so we know each other…”
“Not to me…I’ve been assisting your race in space flight technology for a few now and you people do look different…” he said.
“If you say so…” she shrugged. “So, what’s the weirdest thing about Avia you experienced so far?”
“Two things…The food and you.”
“Food? What’s wrong with the food? I mean with the exception of the intestinal excess the blawnox gave you…” she said and then stopped. “And me? What’s with me?”
“First time I had a conversation with 120 pounds of white meat…”
“Be careful there, John Wayne Stone!” she shouted and pushed him. “Or I’ll peck you to death!”
“Well you have the beak for it,” he laughed.
“You’re such a mammal!” she sneered. “And I love you anyhow…Will my mother be surprised.”
John stopped dead in his tracks. He then looked her over and muttered, “You have plans for me, don’t you?”
“Yup!” she giggled. “And it took you this long to figure it out too. Well talk more about this after splash down…Just do me a favor.”
“Which is?” John looked her over curiously.
“If I get killed and there’s something left to bury…Just don’t lay me out with those paper thingy-ma-bobs on my feet…”
“How come you keep comparing yourself to food?” John questioned her.
“A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…” she went on. “I read it in a Hen’s Guide to Human Males, Volume One. Page 1158, second paragraph.”
“Well there’s other ways like…”
“My plumbing’s not the same as a human female…” she sharply cut him off. “So, I figured it have to be food.”
“Charlene!” he gulped as she skipped off. “There’s more to you than tailfeathers and stuffing! You’re really not much different than a human female…”
“See it’s about food for you!” she turned and laughed. She then turned around and quickly ran off.
“Once a man get’s past the talons on the legs, the beak, the comb, the red eyes…The dry turkey skin….” he trailed off and caught himself. “The bird lips…John you have problems…Before long she’ll be having you build a nest and want to lay eggs…”
Three weeks later….
“Thanks for everything…” Charlene told John as they walked arm in arm along the same beach. “I couldn’t get through the emotional stress of everything…Especially the parade and the press conferences without you…”
“Tis but a thing,” John smirked. “Besides I always knew wild turkeys could fly.”
“Hardy-har-har…” she chuckled goggling her head side to side.
“So, before this goes any farther,” she announced and stopped walking. She reached into the bag she brought and produced a can of cranberry sauce. “See this? I don’t go good with it!”
She then threw it into the ocean.
She then bit him.
“What the? Why’d you do that!” John screamed and gripped his shoulder.
“Tastes like chicken!” she yelled. “So how would you like somebody to run you down with a pointy stick and bite you!”
“What! What? Huh?” John sputtered confused.
“A Hen’s Guide to Human Males, volume 6, page 1234, paragraph 6 thru 7…” she went on. “I read it during our rest period after we set up the solar observatory by crater 34B,” she explained. “We’re nesting and I have to civilize you…Oh sure you mammals show up with all this technology, microwaves, personal computers and blue jeans but you're lacking soul…”
“Huh?” John mumbled as his head spun around in circles. “What? We’re nesting? I’d thought we’d date a bit first…”
“Nonsense. I went to the soothsayer and she assures me you’re the one,” she shrugged as she smeared a shoulder with butter.
“What’s that for?” John gulped as he pointed to the sloppy mess on her shoulder and neck.
“I don’t taste like chicken…” she grinned.