A father meets his adult daughter for the first time, though she's from another planet.
John Stone, a man of big dreams and calculated small actions, needed the vacation he took on a planned three-day holiday during a cold May. A metal finisher by trade, he saw the end coming for him, bad politics shipped his small niche occupation off to Mexico, never to return. A vindictive ex-wife that raped his paycheck simply for validation of her own adulteress affair to his equally unloved ex-best friend, who would later die with a crack pipe in his hand-good for him, John Stone would later hope it hurt. In short, he saw the end coming, especially when his foreman informed him promotion passed by again, this time the excuse is that he didn't have a college education, so he would train the Affirmative Action Beggar to be his own supervisor. John Stone is an angry man who owned a firearm.
John Stone also happened to be a former Specialist Technician assigned to various and sundry SAD/SOG operations during the Cold War. Therefore, being one of the few combat veterans of the United States Army, Europe, he knew how to use a knife, pull a trigger, throw a fist and get away with it. He also knew that in a gunfight, either you lost or you ended up dead. With that crumb of hard-earned wisdom, and more than a few scars from nearly winding up below room temperature in East Berlin, or one of a dozen other places, he dealt with the Affirmative Action Handout by poorly training him, and then taking holiday. He steadfastly refused any participation in his own demise, and with each passing injury, the crankier he became.
Therefore, he packed up his S-15 pick-up truck, dropped his beagle off at his mothers, made sure the firearm was unloaded and locked behind the front bench seat, and made way on a cool Friday morning for his father's deer camp some one hundred twenty miles from the action. With every care in the world neatly secured in a dilapidated shack of a balloon frame two-story he took the long scenic route. After a three-hour tour of Pennsylvania, he arrived at an equally dilapidated fifty-year old formerly mobile home, one and a half bath two story now on a cinder block foundation, unpacked and loaded his firearm. He then with the weight of the world slowly evaporating from his shoulders stomped through the forest and arrived at the topological moniker of Pollock's Knob.
The knob, a geological protuberance of overgrown weed infested dirt, formerly owned by or at least named after 'Pollock' sat squarely beneath and on the down slop of the Tidioute Pipeline. Surrounded by tall spruce on one side, over looking an abandoned gravel pit on another and more knobs, it would've been scenic if not for the dirty cotton ball clouds overhead. John squatted down and began to fiddle with a small berry yielding low vine. He played with the off yellow green berries and for the life of him couldn't remember the proper scientific nomenclature. The berries came filled with sour orange seepage and a plethora of seeds, and known to be edible. He squatted there vexed over the fact he couldn't remember the taxonomy, but could remember where the tome containing such information happened to be.
For reasons he could never be clear about, he looked up from the squatting position toward the geological top of the knob and watched a nude hairless blue woman smile nervously as she waived and walked toward him. She carried a small rolled up article of purple cloth in her hand.
None of this seemed the least bit startling or out of the ordinary.
"May I come closer and talk to you?" she queried him with a nervous but friendly smile. Her facial expressions were most disarming. Disturbingly, she seemed familiar.
"Absolutely," John replied and stood up as she sauntered toward him. "My name is John Stone, who are you?"
In retrospect later in life, it would seem odd that he didn't draw his .45 caliber auto- loading Colt firearm and ask, 'What are you?' or more succinctly, demand 'What the hell are you?' However, at that moment in time conversing with a five-foot nothing woman of sturdy build, who obviously didn't hail from any known point in the solar system seemed pedestrian.
"I'm your daughter," she answered proudly and smiled amiably, however, with a touch of apprehension.
"Is that so?" John replied with a conspicuous measurement of disbelief. For the life of him he wondered whom her mother could be, then acknowledged she was bald, blue, yellowed eyed and needed to brush her teeth. While the last adjective, as it relates to dental hygiene narrowed the scope to a manageable field, the preceding features neatly cancelled out any possibilities. Expressing his condolences for not remembering her mother, despite a flash of a memory involving one underage French girl years ago during a week-end on the Seine, he enquired as to her name.
She then vocalized a series of chirps, screeches and clicks, akin to a cricket, that lasted thirty seconds. He attempted to reproduce it, however she pointed out, peevishly, that he wasn't saying it right. He then countered her observation that he didn't even, by nature recognize that was a language let alone a name and suggested something humans would relate to and find easier to say. At first, he suggested 'Cricket' because her language sounded like one and then changed the suggestion on the grounds, she had a third cousin by that name, furthermore one 'Cricket' in the world is more than enough for planet earth.
That decision, which rendered her a palpable Christian name, did require negotiation and mild explanation. They settled on the last syllable of her cosmic moniker, agreeing to that as her designation for earth and one AU from thereof. She, naturally, not hailing from this locally owned sphere, failed to grasp the humor and the detail of why more than one maiden named 'Cricket' exceeded the allotment for an entire planet however.
Therefore, as agreed, Click became her certified name.
"No, you don't make the sound, you say the word that describes the sound," he suggested.
"Why?" she asked and folded her arms across her chest imitating his stance.
"Because C-l-i-c-k is a sound, not a name. Therefore, you say the word that describes the sound. Consider that affectation a practice of the English language," he explained pedantically. "Click, how did you become my daughter? Furthermore, who's your mother?"
"I'm a genetically engineered life form, G-E-L-F is the accepted acronym," she explained equally pedantic. She then made another series of harsh chirps and associated 'cricket' noise, the name of the race that fabricated her and explained that her creators were insects taxonomically. She related unto him that she held an occupation described as a surveyor and cartographer. With 'official' permission of course, she tracked him down on her return to her point of departure, after surveying a planet several tens of thousands of light years away. The aforementioned sphere, according to the casual observation she provided, is '...mostly ice and granite with a mix of shale and silicone.... Not terribly exciting.'
"Really?" John quipped amazed. For him performing a geological survey of a planet seemed fascinating. Fascinating enough, that the knowledge that her mother is a Petri dish that he never personally met, it passed him by at light speed. Then the not so educated inquires came, casually, as if the unfolding drama is a daily occurrence. "What's the most disgusting thing about the bugs that made you?"
"They eat their young," she related flatly and turned her head away in disgust. "When they're born if they're defective they eat them."
"That's a spider for you," he absently mused and then yelped in disgust as a graphic depiction trespassed in his mind with violence.
"I couldn't do that to my children," she blabbered unconsciously. "I'd take care of them."
A moment of mutually heartbreaking silence passed between them.
"Just what do they want with people?" John queried as the pall lifted.
"They mine human DNA," she answered, the former look of ill feelings leaving her visage.
"Why not just seize six or seven samples and then clone?" John asked believing that for a moment the query met the definition of educated.
"Transcription disintegration," she explained and went into detail. Just the once they assembled to specification the original template, when it began to replicate variations arose that made the product unsuitable over a succession of generations. Therefore, they, her creators whose name sounded as harsh and as savage as their personal habits were by human decency, mined DNA from earth continually. Furthermore, when she needed to exist in other non-earth like environs, or at least environs not hospitable to human life, they changed out her parts. She viewed her body as a spacesuit. She then mentioned her DNA came from nine distinctly different males and three females.
"Heat and cooling units..." she smiled proudly as she displayed her arm. On her forearm, upon closer inspection, she possessed translucent petite fibrous hairs.
"Should've put more hair on you," John commented as he found her forearm delicate and sensuously appealing. "Especially in consideration that they tend to send you to artic frontiers."
"It's not hair," she giggled. "It's cilia."
"Cilia? I know what that is. They're the hairy flanges on cells, it allows them to move around in aqueous solutions," John replied dumbfounded. "Why are they on your arms? What makes that different than hair?"
"Well," she laughed and exaggerated the word while congenially grinning. "Hair's a solid carotene cylinder and oscillates in accordance with unconscious stimuli. My cilia are hollow tubules that I can consciously raise or lower allowing the alteration to affect my temperature gradient. Needless to say, under my posterior epidermis is an amplified grid of capillaries allowing for an efficient and effective thermal transfer."
She then consciously elevated her cilia by creating an explosion of goose bumps on her forearm. Almost immediately, the cooler air of her environs condensates and slowly at first, then rapidly, a steady stream of wet fell on the weeds by her unshod feet.
John stood there amazed at the volume of water expelled, and began tapping nervously on his flap holster. She asked what he had on his belt. He then spent a few minutes explaining the mechanics of his firearm. He also found her query 'It won't hurt me?' curious. Surely, he mused, she wouldn't travel unarmed in the universe, considering the universe seemed paradoxically hostile to life, while being a bubbling cauldron of it. He also found her query as to his motives to posses it curious.
"Wild animals," he replied.
She then rapidly turned around and began to quickly while fearfully, scan the surroundings.
"Do they eat people?" she gulped and dropped her bundle.
"Some," John replied and found her actions unique.
"My scan didn't show any life forms in the area other than you," she went on looking more fearful, and hence, on the verge of fright.
He formulated the notion that an inter-planetary surveyor that traveled, apparently alone, in a hostile universe unarmed would embrace courage. Then he reasoned, perhaps she's nearly escaped becoming a bugaboo's dinner once too often. Then, she is obviously a woman and with the accompanying realization of that, he deflected her attention by assuring her he could handle any four-legged knave and picked up her bundle that she dropped to her feet. He unfurled what is a purple cape and hood. He held it up and looked it over as his rouse provided the desired effect.
"My Cloak of Invisibility," she smiled.
"Really?" he replied incredulously.
"A defensive weapon system," she explained again, while allowing a warm congeniality to return to her countenance. "It contains fibrous micro-circuitry and is powered by micro-thermocouples my heating and ventilation system activates. It generates a theta wave that allows an autonomous signal to hypnotize other beings into not seeing me."
John stared at her.
"You don't believe me, do you?" she asked looking disappointed.
"Not saying anything," he held up her cloak as a gentleman would and expected her to turn around and allow him to drape it across her shoulders.
She stood there and looked baffled and self-conscious.
"It's because I'm nude, isn't it? You don't like me!" she spat as the hurt in her voice cut through the air as a knife through Angel food cake. She appeared on the verge of crying.
"No, it's because you're blue," John sharply with a rapier wit replied, and held the cloak up higher. "Sweetheart, nudity is the human body in its natural sate...Nothing wrong intrinsically with that. Trust me, from what I'm seeing you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, you're quite the gemstone."
"What's the problem with blue? It's the way I am..." she stuttered and he knew she was holding back tears.
"People turn blue when they're too cold and when they're dead," he countered graciously. "You look cold and that makes me cold."
The explanation provided the desired soothing result. After a timely pause of displaying the cloak, he elucidated his manners as how a gentleman treats a lady and draped the garment over her powerfully constructed frame. As he with a supple velvet hand guided her actions, he took note of the cilia on her shoulders and its narrowing terminus at her hips. He also realized she, resembled quite strongly, his mother in musculature and skeletal design. It took no enormous effort of mind to view his mother's physicality in her, and attribute the subsequent variations in outline to her assertion that she is his daughter.
He then, as he took her by her delicate however strong, hand and guided her toward the gravel pit, inquired as to her dental hygiene. She related that she maintained her oral health sanitation by a fibrous sponge. She would chew the dentifrice and the coarse nature would render her teeth uncontaminated. However, she earnestly advised him not to swallow it, as its egress made her cry.
"I'm teaching you to use a tooth brush," he informed her as he held her hand as they amble through the forest. As they approached the bluff, overlooking the abandoned gravel pit John abruptly halted. While looking to his left, he slipped open the flap on his black leather holster. He looked with the greatest of intensity through the forest. He heard scuffling of dried leafs and the haphazard rustling of twigs. The cacophony of random noise, imitated tiny playful red squirrels, normally in this neck of the woods called 'grinnies'. John wasn't sure, this time year bears were desperately hungry from their hibernation. Despite the size difference between a 'grinny' of a few ounces and a bear of several hundred pounds, without seeing, the two did sound alike.
"Come on, just squirrels," John for all intents and purposes spoke to the air and held his hand out to no one. "Let me see you. Nothing to worry about."
Click stood motionless at arms length away flabbergasted. Her father's actions clearly demonstrated an awareness of her, even though she discerned, according to the feedback from her cloak, that he intellectually possessed no conscious awareness of her. She well understood that he shouldn't even remember seeing her moments earlier, yet, there he is. Standing beneath her with his hand outstretched, palm up, toward her, speaking to her.
"Fine with me, have it your way," John diffidently shrugged as he turned away. He took two steps and then quickly whipped around in time to observe Click unfolding, from her imposed state of psychological invisibility.
"Just how did you know that!" she shrieked.
"Know what?" he replied confused.
"Know where I was standing behind you!" she hissed.
"I'm your father," he confidently answered. He knew he based his actions on an educated guess, and from judging her response, he determined she wasn't psychic.
"Don't joke me," she stabbed back. "The cloak is effective against everything except mature arachnids."
"Human fathers always know where their children are," he replied sternly. However, he did make note of her verbiage and attendant alarm.
She stared at him in disbelief, and after a moment of consideration asked what startled him. He explained he considered that the motion and sounds that may relate to that of a bear or 'grinnies'.
"Do bears eat people?" she queried inquisitively. Click appeared to be returning to her natural demeanor of adolescent innocence. "What about grinnies? They sound nasty."
"They may, and yes, people eat bears also. As for grinnies, they just run up your leg and bite," he replied. "Do your space spiders have more offensive weapons? Like what I carry?'
"Yes," she answered.
"And you aren't issued one? Seems limited," he probed.
"They only give those weapons to specially conditioned individuals," she explained. "They don't trust humans. If I was to use my cloak against one, they'd shoot me...They're paranoid. They'd assume we were trying to kill them..."
"Did you see anything like that?" he gently asked her.
"My friend did it as a joke and..." she stopped mid-sentence. Her jaw began to quiver slightly.
"You know its okay to cry over those things," he told her gently and drew her close to him.
"They don't let us cry," she sniffled and stuffed most her torment into a hidden inner recess. She buried her face in his shoulder as she struggled unsuccessfully to regain composure.
"Well your father said it was okay," John soothed her and kissed her on her forehead.
During their brief exchange, he gained a glimpse into her world. Cold, sterile and clinical, if not given the fact that in her formative years arachnids nurtured her, he'd assume psychopaths raised her. As he embraced her, a brief vision intruded across the otherwise stillness of his mind. The thoughts of comforting her, not so much an intellectual supposition of intent, but an emotional state, were pushed aside unwillingly, by a complete sequence of events. Those notions, fully formed came from her not him. Furthermore, the events came complete with full sensory stimulus of sight, smell and emotion, as seen through her eyes.
Click stood by four others a child, perhaps eight or nine years in age, standing in a loose gaggle on a sandy beach, their backs to a charcoal grey precipice, while before them a table, and then an ocean. Behind the table a creature hovered, John understood him to be a member of the race that created his daughter. 'He' the tall-segmented being, skillfully avoided rational description beyond the word creepy-crawly. On the table were three equally vexing objects, multi-colored, polymorphic and without discernable use or purpose.
"Don't do it," Click fearfully whispered to the boy next to her. They were all wearing the Cloak of Invisibility.
"Why not?" the boy mischievously retorted and winked at her. He then activated his cloak and in doing so provoked the wrath of the insect at the table. The arachnid hissed venomously and proceeded to murder him outright using a directed energy weapon. John could experience the fright and panic of his daughter. He could sense the intense exertion she produced in quelling the maelstrom of alarm and sheer hysteria that numbed her to her soul. The wound to the boy exceeded gruesome, nearly cutting him in half.
"That'll cost you," another smaller arachnid being, different than the first chided the weapon-bearing spider.
"So what!" the lecturer spat dismissively. "They were told time and time again. So what can the Academic Council do? Fine me and make me retire? I told them that when they do that, it is a hostile act."
'He' the lecturer then attempted to retrieve a knob cylinder from the second set of 'arms' of his apparent assistant. These lower limbs, two sets, were smaller and some would describe, as borderline vestigial were located on his thorax. However, these beings walked upright, their 'legs' were in the same form as their 'arms'. A struggle ensued, that felt silly to Click. With forced effort, she pushed the horrors of the tragedy out of her conscious mind and focused on the farce. She felt safe around the lecturer's assistant.
"Give me that you buffoon," the lecturer bellowed as 'he' struggled with the cylinder. "Why do you do this?"
"Levity reduces the stress of the situation you put the pupils in," 'It' replied.
"Levity?" 'he' growled. "Define that you hermaphrodite abomination to nature. If I had anything to say about it, you wouldn't exist."
"Levity," 'it' replied. "Is a jocularity of character, a lightness of mannerism lacking in weight or gravity. Humor."
"There's a subject I fail to grasp...Humor," 'he' snarled. "I don't understand why we make them with that."
"Part and parcel of the human condition," 'it' replied. "I'm writing my matriculation thesis on the subject matter."
"Why did you use humor in this situation? Enlighten me you bastardized escapee from a test tube," the lecturer growled, though not as loudly as previous. "Your father was eye dropper and your mother a Petri dish. To wit, my linage goes back eighteen thousand generations. I am the culmination of my family's greatness. For ages of guided development, I came to exist while you...You are a prototype. A first of nothing and yet you lecture me?"
"Humor, in this case slap-stick, lightens their countenance and permits them to process and format data easier," 'it' smiled mockingly. "Furthermore, your insult is quite humorous." 'It' then thought quietly, "Not to mention the height of hubris."
The lecturer stood there in the lurch for a pregnant minute. "I almost grasp your reasoning though not fully. Come on children, to the next station...Onto phase three of this block of instruction."
Click fell in behind the other survivors hopeful that Mr. Cricket Screech Chirp-Chirp would protect her. As she reached up and cautiously, took 'it' by the 'hand', 'it' looked down and smiled softly, knowingly and kindheartedly, toward her. At his gaze, she moved closer to him feeling safer.
"Why do they do that?" she asked him quietly.
"They do not have the capacities to reach or grasp the totality of human nature," 'it' replied. "That leaves them insecure."
"Why do you understand us?" she asked innocently.
"They made me as a go between," 'it' answered. "Now shush up and pay attention. I can only protect you to a point."
The swirling melodrama faded from his psyche and slowly John returned to a more stable perspective. Click looked up guilt ridden and then pulled away wiping tears from her eyes while blowing her nose into her cloak.
"I'm sorry," she apologized. "I didn't mean to become so emotional."
"Don't express regret for being you, which insults me," John answered quickly, however, gently. "I truly understand your pain as I experienced similar as a solider. As your father, I wish it never happed and I wish I could take that away, but I can't. All I can do love you through that."
As they ambled past the rotting hulks of conveyor belts and sifters, arm in arm, in the long dead gravel pit, John pointing out the function of each, he became her rock. As for her, she continued to 'twinkle' her experiences into his mind. That spiritual contact allowed him to understand her in a quality that refined the tarnish of distance between them. It assisted in bridging the gap between total strangers and intimates. Later upon reflection, John didn't believe those 'twinkles' were wholly calculated. However, they seemed to be a function of nature, akin to a nervous twitch.
After they arrived at the camp, he inquired of the time allotted for their reunion. She mentioned the measurement in vague terms. Still, she would be spending the night. He suggested a fireside chat after dinner. He explained to her the social significance of a fireside chat, as he supervised her first use of a toothbrush. She watched him assemble diner, and questioned why he apologized for 'Only having dried cardboard from a box'.
At the fire, that evening, while sitting on a fold out shays lounge Click wrapped herself in her cloak while drawing her knees to her chest. John sat next to her and speculated that from her posture, she's distrustful of fire. They spoke at length for hours of every subject imaginable, from the speculative to the intimate.
"Shouldn't you extinguish that?" Click asked him as she stood by the fire and he stood by the front door to the formerly mobile home.
"Don't worry about that," he replied, wearily.
"What if is spreads and ignites the forest?" she chattered nervously.
"It won't, it will burn down to ash long before it escapes the fire pit."
"Are you sure?"
She took a small timid step closer to the fire pit, and then smiled a diminutive triumphant grin. She then looked over and stated, "I just happen to live under a strict fire control policy."
John stretched out in the master suite, after tucking Click into the penthouse suite. The second upstairs bedroom earned that name due to the fact the bed is also the ceiling for the downstairs full bathroom, with the half bath in an attached niche. He stared into the dark shadows of the ceiling mulling over the nature of his caller, the day's events and an unlikely future. He desired to introduce Click to her earthly relations, and that arrived with problems. The slightest of those issues revolving around her being blue, bald and possessing an aversion to clothing. In consideration of the last concern, John decided with certainty, red is her color. Click disrupted his personal musing when she barged into the master suite trembling. He looked over at her and inquired.
"I'm sacred," she trembled. "Can I sleep with you?"
She sounded terrified, and he heard unmistakably, her little girl's heart beat. He became conscious of the totality of her being at that point. Click in physicality is a fully matured woman, however, her emotionally vacant rearing, left the little girl in her wanting. His first instinct is to pull open the covers and agree. His intellectual consideration required the issuance of a gentle refusal. Click while behaving as a little child, remained unrelenting and weeping. He conceded, and surrendered judgment at that point.
Click employing cat like agility and vapidity slid beneath the blankets and latched onto him with immense strength. John held her close as she quivered fearfully and freed himself of emotional deliberation and intellectual forethought. He embraced her and as a father showering affections on his daughter, categorically and without question.
The next morning John's eyes flicked open driven by the erroneous thought he experienced the weirdest dream in recent memory. Slowly regaining his bearings, as he lay flat on his back, the realization that a heavy weight pressed down on his foot drew his attention to Click. She lay on her stomach next to him in the stillness of sleep, face buried in her pillow. He silently with a mild surprise acknowledges his previous notions were incorrect, that it wasn't a dream, as she is real.
The irony of it, he observed as he slowly with the greatest of care dislodged her interlocking foot from his ankle is, after many years he wakes up next to a cosmic beauty of femininity, and she turns out to be his daughter. He considered that par for the course as he carefully watched her. The cilia on her back fascinated him, and as he followed the gossamer to the nape of her neck, he noted two protuberances behind her smallish ears.
"They're modems," she smiled as she regained a state of clarity herself.
"They let me interface with the control systems of my equipment," she blissfully smiled.
"Do they make you telepathic?" he asked her.
"I don't understand that word," she answered and rolled over on her back. She stretched out and yawned, akin to a housecat.
"Can you read my mind?"
She considered the subject for a brief second. "They allow me to be empathic. I can't really tell with any semblance of accuracy what you're thinking, however, I can experience your emotions."
"What am I feeling right now?" he asked her as he realized he awoke from the best night's sleep he ever had.
"Wonderful," she dreamily whispers while affectionately smiling.
"And here I am feeling perverted," he thought as he gingerly slid out of bed. He walked to the closet and slid the door open. He rummaged through it and discovered one of his mother's old nightgowns hanging among old blankets and a collection of raincoats. He tossed it to Click and explained that people traditionally wore clothing to breakfast and she had to brush her teeth.
"Again?" Click responded surprised. She then yelped childishly, "I brushed them last night! I don't want to!"
"Brush them again little girl," John scowled. "Or I'm turning you over my knee and spanking you."
"You wouldn't hit me would you...?" Click gasped as she let the nightgown drop from her chest to her ankles.
"No, you're too big," he laughed. He noted that the nightgown fit Click perfectly.
She huffed as she walked down stairs to the full bath and began brushing her teeth. John dressed and looked in on her as she produced for him a sideways glance and tried to smile and brush simultaneously. She then learned through trial and error, that two things, smiling and brushing, don't mix as the brush missed her upper lip and slapped her nose. John suppressed a hearty laugh as he strolled into the kitchen and began to cook up breakfast.
"What are those?" Click inquired as she centered her face over the skillet.
"Eggs," John answered. "Do you know how to cook eggs?"
"Eggs of what?" she asked and pointed to other items. "What are those and what is that?"
"Chicken eggs. That's sausage, otherwise known as animal protein of swine and those tasty morsels are potato patties," he told her and then acquired an idea. "Would you like to learn to fry eggs?"
He showed her one how to flip the egg, stood behind her as she giggled while repeating the motion. Half a dozen eggs later, she had her technique down pat. She learned fast, fast enough that she finished making breakfast. Afterward, John and Click did dishes together and laughed over trifling tales of his early days and the way his today unfolded. Then they retired to the living room and she sat across from him telling him about her life and some of the things she did.
Upon his request, she conveyed unto him a story about the Cloak of Invisibility and a beast simply named Species 457A. As she began to chatter away the tale, the memory of it transposed itself onto John's consciousness. This time, he realized that consequence resulted from an unguarded moment. This telepathic mode is a customary means of communication for her that she intentionally turned that facet of herself off when around him. On the other hand, perhaps, as inklings of smaller unrelated notions filtered in, she turned 'off' because of his family ties to her.
The world Click ran screaming through came with an abundance of rocks, dry snow and artic temperatures. Behind her, chasing her while possessed of a blind fury is a white furred snarling beast, not unlike a bear in form, although with a blue thickly wrinkled ape-like face. John could feel the cloak click and snap in his head, he could visualize lines and angles cascading across his vision and knew that is a written language, but could not read it, though he understood what it conveyed. He 'knew' the cloak is having problems penetrating the intuitive neural circuitry of the beast. He also recognizes Click is terrified, as she believed the cloak should've been functioning differently and feared for her life.
He could feel his daughter's heart beat heavily and the icy sting of the rare air as she huffed under the strain of exertion. As the lines and wiggles changed, she slowed down and then as she, stopped, bowed over resting hands on her knees tried to catch her breath. The cold air rushing into her overheating body hurt, her nose and throat filling with phlegm as she tried to stay on her feet and not loose consciousness. As she cleared up she turned around and the beast, arms reach behind her, stood there confused. The Cloak of Invisibility showed her x-ray style visions of the beast's central nervous system with arrows and lines across the convoluted interior structures. This beast is a mentally impeded member of his species. That's why the cloak encountered difficulty, not a great deal of psyche to influence.
"He's dumb as a bung wrench," Click heartily chuckled as she literal stood arms reach from him. The brute perceived nothing but stupor as he searched the artic whiteness for something, but didn't know what.
"I'm doing your species a favor," Click laughed as the cloak downloaded a metafile concerning Species 457A. She then manipulated the neurons of the animal's central nervous system, and uploaded an image of her standing approximately twenty-five meters or so away mocking him.
"Hey bung wrench!" the illustration in the brute's head screamed while waiving at him. Click's psychological reflection began to dance up and down while mooning him and yelling, "Eat this and the juice will kill you!"
Click's mental projection laughed maniacally as it ran off into the artic wilderness. Infuriated by the utter totality of the abuse, the animal took to pursuit, never grasping what happened. The four-legged critter required four days to run itself to death.
"That's one hell of a weapon," John commented highly impressed. "For a moment, I thought you were under prepared."
"Why?" Click queried mildly confused.
"Because you're my daughter and I figured you should have a device that could kill everything...Just that," he then stuttered realizing she did have a device that could kill everything, and understanding that John felt safer as it regarded his daughter.
"Well just what did you expect?" she asked him still baffled. "I'm a young woman."
"Well something involving mushroom clouds and plutonium toxicity, that sort of stuff. I want my daughter to be a real bad ass nobody wants to screw with."
"You're macho," she giggled.
"I'll give you macho, kid," John replied imitating Lee Marvin. He walked out into the kitchen, explaining its lunchtime as he made sandwiches. He wondered why he cut the crusts from hers. "So," he asked her handing a plate containing cheese sandwiches. "Why didn't you just give that four legged retard a stroke?"
"Well, I'm glad you brought that up," she replied and grimaced. Without her saying anything, her modems dialed into John's skull and 'pinged' him, informing him that she found the sandwiches a tad dry. "See I don't like to be treated like this...What is this?" She held up a sandwich.
"And I'm eating it..." she commented with a touch of surprise. "Well considering the other things I've eaten...and kept down...As far as the beast goes, I may look like tasty little morsel of a side dish, ala potato patties, but I'm not fast food for anyone. Especially for a retarded Species 457A."
"Let me get you something to drink with that," John offered with a smile. Click's modems kept pinging his cranium with pictures of desert sands and cactus, something John didn't fully appreciate.
"I'll get it," she offered and inhaled the sandwich. She walked into the kitchen and rummaged through the refrigerator. She decided to settle on 'cheese precursor solution' and as she poured milk into her glass a burst from her father's mind startled her. The erotic nature she found perverted, not the notion that the combination of the nightgown and what he found attractive in women brought that out of him onto her, but the fact she enjoyed the attention.
"He is a man," she thought to herself. "And you do want his undivided attention. Well, at least you can't be the other woman..." Feeling exceptionally self-conscious, she turned her modems off for scheduled self-maintenance. She sat on her legs in the chair away from him, not across from him wondering why she felt 'odd' or 'weird' by the experience. "He saw too much of me," she thought. "I have to have my secrets. He knows I'm a sexual being and so is he...We don't need to say that to each other. However, it feels so creepy! He might think I'm like Species 089T!"
John noticed her blush, her face notably her checks and forehead became a deeper blue than normal. He didn't require modems to discern what ran amuck in her cranium. He waited a strategic minute and broached the subject.
"So," he asked gently. "My daughter has a boyfriend?"
"Boyfriend?" she looked over and blushed even more and failed to make eye contact.
"Romantic interest..." he nudged. "Sexual partner?"
"I'm not really sure," she quietly answered. "Earth humans are so different from GELF humans..."
"Hmmm," John thought. "One sexual partner that stands out among all the others, that would be your boyfriend. You know, I would want my daughter to have that in her life..."
"Actually, that I do," she thought as her modems booted up. For a second she thanked heavens for the transitory silence the modem shutdown gave her. She then unconsciously flashed an idealized representation of her personal romantic interest to her father.
"Pencil dicked geek," John acerbically observed silently. "Well, she probably feels safe around him. She's much bigger than he is...Her biceps are bigger than his thighs...She obviously wears the pants, metaphorically speaking. That's my girl!"
"Yes, I do," she finally admitted. "I just don't know what to say about him."
"Well, does he have a job?" John asked, in the form of a suggestion.
"Of course," she laughed. "He polishes
"That's nothing to be ashamed of," John went on. "You're supposed to have that in your life. Uh, in my cultural context, your mother or mother via proxy did talk to you about those things?"
"I matured without the aide of a maternal social unit," she answered flatly. She lightened up to a navy blue or an aquamarine in flesh tone. "I thought I had a mother once..."
She then flashed an image of herself, much younger though, standing before a human woman. That particular female, is one of the three DNA donors that helped manufacture Click. Out of the three, she is the only one that agreed to 'see' her 'daughter'. The two stood in a darkened circular room, the walls came studded with scopes and instruments, and the impression John received is that they were on a large spaceship.
"Oh my god," the woman frightfully yelped and then restrained her torment. The tiny, stick frame of Click seemed wobbly and forced a thin friendly smile. "You're so..."
"Ugly?" Click timidly finished the sentence for her. He could feel his daughter's heart drop into her stomach as her hopes evaporated.
"No! No sweetie..." the woman sobbed. "Oh, my god...I just thought.... You don't have hair!" she then rapidly went to Click and gave her a brief but loving hug and then she left the area rapidly, torn between revulsion and a motherliness desire. The last thing she cried before disappearing is, "I hoped I could comb your hair!"
"Wow," John exhaled in distress as he processed the downloaded file. The totality of that emptiness in her stunned him. A cold pall filled the physical distance between them and then drew them together. It ended with Click sitting on John's lap, face buried in his shoulder, weeping.
Later that evening John pulled his truck into the Tipsy-Canoe's parking lot with Click wrapped in her Cloak of Invisibility. They walked into the restaurant part of the lounge area, through the official side door, and waited a minute for the waitress to seat them. John marveled at how the cloak faked out the waitress and the surrounding patrons. He smirked at the thought of the ensuing hullabaloo if they realized a nude, bald and blue woman sat amidst them.
"I'll have what he's having," Click answered the waitress query.
"Sure thing," the waitress answered and took their menus. The girl was carelessly unaware she spoke with a GELF. The more John saw of the Cloak of Invisibility in action, the greater respect he developed for it.
Click watched her father ogle the lass.
"You know," Click offered. "I can make her fall in love with you..."
"What?" John chuckled disbelievingly.
"I saw how you looked at her...You want that? I'll make her fall in love with you and forget you the next morning if you don't want to keep her..." Clicked shrugged casually. "She's simple...Dumb blonde really."
"I think I'm a bit old for her..." John chuckled with a touch of disbelief in his voice.
"If truth be told? She's twenty-two and you're forty-three...Your point is what?" Click replied flabbergasted at his refusal. "I imply she became a woman when she started bleeding and for her she was a late bloomer...Oh, it may be important, she's also ovulating."
"You can tell all that?" John shockingly choked. He wondered how much data she filed on him.
"Well she might be my step mother so I really checked her out for you," Click shrugged as the waitress returned with two Pepsis. She also noted the difference in the amplitude of carnal desire for the 'dumb blonde' and the flash directed at her earlier. What John aimed at her seemed to be a value judgment that related to a display of affection. Click, as the waitress brought their cheeseburgers grasped her father emotionally in a deeper manner. The minute flash of erotica earlier was the door to his inner life opening blindly. Click would never look at a piece of cheese the same way again.
She filed that away as another joy exploded in her soul.
She fell in love with cheeseburgers. So much, she ordered one to go.
"I can make her think you paid for it," Click suggested as John counted out the bill.
"That's unethical," John replied. "Who raised you by the way?"
"Vacuum sucking arachnids," she replied seriously. "We do this all the time.... Especially to the Orion..."
"Let's go," John laughed as they walked to the truck. The stars shone overhead and he looked up wondering which one she came from.
"Over there," Click pointed toward Pegasus. "There...I'm from a planet there."
John rolled the driver's side window down, started the truck and looked over at Click who rapaciously consumed the extra-cheeseburger wrapper an all.
"You're supposed to unwrap that," John suggested, the look on his face is one of mortification.
"Why? The processed wood fiber cleans my teeth and the bauxite ore based outer cover my stomach will cleanly digest..." she spurted as she tried to swallow and chew at the same time. "These are addictive! I can't believe you just sell them to anyone! Cheeseburgers! Fare of deity! I swear! If anything, the cuisine was worth the trip..."
"Don't eat the bag!" John shouted as they turned onto the asphalt highway.
"Why not? The roughage will clean out my intestines.... Especially since I ate the bovine lactation extract solids earlier..." she answered, balled the paper bag up and bit into it akin to an apple.
"People don't do that," John replied. "Just so you know."
"Well what do people do?"
"Throw the bag out the window..."
She considered his suggestion and then complained that Species 298P routinely starved due to overpopulation as she threw it out the window. Five minutes later, John pulled into the camp and again, wasn't surprised at something that should've been surprising. Where he would normally park is, a black glossy egg sitting on three legs, with a small disc at the beginning of the ojive, but above the wide base. He pulled the truck under a tree and both got out of the cab. A she folded her cloak into a roll he told her to hold on and darted into the camp. Less than a minute later, he returned with her toothbrush.
"A memento..." he suggested and handed to her.
"Memento?" she looked back questioningly.
"Every time you use it, think of me," he told her.
"It will wear out..." she replied and he sensed she didn't fully understand.
"Keep it someplace where you keep special things..." he suggested. "Every so often look at...Show it off and think of me."
"I understand that!" she chirped. "I really understand that!"
"Talk you into staying?" he whimsically suggested. "Hang out...Meet the family?"
"I can't," she dismally replied. "They'd come looking and they would find me and I'd be in deep Click-Crickets-Clack..."
They stood there and took a long deep look at each other. Finally, John broke the silence, reached out, and kissed her. She smiled broadly, as she entered the ship and sat in a form-fitting chair. John could see that through the diamond shaped entrance in the hull, there didn't appear to be any visible controls on the interior. She smiled, clutched her yellow toothbrush as she leaned into the chair and froze. An opaque shield materialized over the entrance, and the ship shot straight up, so fast it almost disappeared instantly. There wasn't any sound associated with it.
John walked over to where it landed, and examined the impressions the landing 'feet' produced. He then looked up and smiled broadly, with extreme satisfaction as he imagined his daughter zipping across the universal divide. He then sensed her downloading a joke into his psyche.
Two stereotypical hillbillies, unfortunate dental work and shabby beards, of the West Virginia variety sat at a bar drinking. One turned to the other and said, "Vern is it true what I hear?"
"What 'a hear there Maynard?" came the tawny replied.
"Word has it.... You clicked your daughter!" he spat accusingly.
"So?" Vern shrugged. "It was Friday night..."
The scene then changed to a diminutive woman, older, wearing granny glasses and dressing like Mother Goose storming up on him and grabbing him by the lapels. "You! You!" she bellowed with wrath. "You clicked your daughter you reprobate! You filthy pervert!"
The scene changed again to a pastor standing behind a podium reading from scriptures, his nasal droning voice sonorously pontificating, ".... And Joel said unto Ebenezer, 'God has commanded thee...Do not click your daughter!' sayeth He..."
"Oh wow!" John exploded and bowled over. He fell to the ground laughing as visions of a brunette, crying while on the telephone filled his mind.
"Mom I'm coming home!" she tearfully squealed. "I came home from the liquor store and John and his daughter just clicked! Yes, I know what I saw...Right there in the kitchen! They clicked! They're best of friends and I feel so left out of it!" She then sternly froze as she apparently listened to the reply. "What' a you mean I should come over there and click with my father instead of being a bitch?"
"Oh yeah, that's daddy's little girl!" John hysterically stumbled toward the mobile home, tears streaming from his eyes as his ribs ached. He then proudly proclaimed, "That's my girl! Click my slapstick comedian astronaut daughter! All mine...She's blue, she's bald, and she's daddy's little girl!"