The Sun Colony: Part 4
As if the threat of a comet bound for the Solera Station didn’t seem looming enough, with the entire ship induced into a nervous, whispered panic, Subcommander Ocee could only keep from biting her claws and resisting the impulse to shrink away into a tight cranny—a box, a nook in the insulation, a raccoon trap—anything would do, really, to get away from this news: Lieutenant Lucky had just confirmed that the comet everybody was worried about was only seventeen minutes from impact. Subcommander Ocee had no doubt that entire ship would have been in an uproar, fans, sympathizers, colonists headed to the Solera Station, dubbed “Sun Colony,” to begin their new lives alike, if not their minds on a more immediate concern. It was almost too much Subcommander Ocee, the entire ship sectioned off into little quadrants and rooms, even closets in some cases, to escape the brutal currents of the malfunctioning ship-wide fan system. Outside of select areas, the wind howled through vestibules, halls, and lavatories, a flurry of fur being tossed this way and that. The lavatories are really the worst, Subcommander Ocee agreed to herself, just picturing the scene that had been reported to her many times over—a sand storm of cat litter beads pinging the skin. And if all that wasn’t enough, Subcommander Ocee was beginning to become suspicious of these individual rooms that she’d heard of, which the bridge of the ship and the medical bay were among. It all seemed so…organized. She’d get a steady report of rooms that just a few minutes ago had been as still as a mouse playing dead suddenly turning into a violent whirlwind of high-powered fan blade current. In fact, it occurred to Subcommander Ocee, the medical bay and the bridge are the ONLY rooms that haven't been rampaged by what the crew is calling, the "Catnip Tornado," Subcommander Ocee crinkled her nose. What was she doing, debating if the ventilators terrorizing the ship were being controlled by a crazy group of infiltrating trouble-makers? The fact was, Subcommander Ocee had more important things to think about. And that thought scared her.
It’s dark where I’m going, I, Captain Shtankadoodle decide to myself, although I don’t feel as much a captain as an airshaft rat. Really dark, actually. I mean, my eyesight is pretty blurry and sometimes fades in an out, but this isn’t an eye problem. I don’t think. Is it? And It’s not the kind of dark I see when close my eyelids, either, because that’s actually kind of bright. I think. Wait. Which one was bright again? Was it white—or was it black? And is black the color with blueish streaks going through it? Yeah, yeah, I know, I really need to get my eyes checked out. And my tail. And my stomach. And my mouth. And my face—ever since I got into my last street-cat fight in the ditches of Louisiana back on earth, my looks have been a little shy from scaring my fellow crewmates out of their fur. But I was too busy for that now! There was something important going on…and it was um, involving..something…
“Agh, forget it!” I spit out in disgust. What could I say, I wasn’t good at remembering things. Or keeping my body in good health. Or knowing when I’m full. The list could go on.
“What is it?” A voice responds from somewhere around me. Oh, now what? Am I so dillusional that I'm talking to myself? I shake my head to myself. I wasn’t certain whether to be impressed or scared. You know what, I’m never scared. Unless water is involved. I think I’ll roll with this.
“I’m having a hard time remembering things, which is pretty nice sometimes, like when I’m invited to a party that I don’t want to go to, and I can just say, ‘I forgot about it,’ without lying. But it isn’t nice when I’m on some crucial mission. I am on some crucial mission, right? Ugh. I just want to sleep.” I sigh aloud, my sigh catching in my clogged sinuses and making a whistling noise. Now, if I’m thirty-five, like I feel, my body is stickin’ together pretty good, I do say so myself. After all, I read on Google that the oldest cat lived to be thirty eight years old. But if I’m twelve…not so much. I just can’t remember how old I am. Now what was I talking about? Oh yeah. I want a nap.
“I’m telling you, Shtankadoodle,” The voice from behind me pauses, but even after it stops, I can still hear it echoing throughout the seemingly endless airshafts. “You need to stop eating that King’s Buffet. I know it tastes good and all, but whatever they put into that bargain brand cat food really isn’t good for you. I mean, I know you’re not the healthiest feline in the world, but you certainly seemed more on top of things before you were binge eating that…that garbage!” The voice declares. You know you’re addiction is bad when you’re subconscious is trailing you around the airshafts and telling you stop. I hang my head irresolutely, to my stomach’s disappointment, agreeing with my talking subconscious. The King’s Buffet was really messing me up—but how could I stop? It just tasted so good!
It tell my paws to keep pressing on. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know how fast I’m going. Yeesh! I don’t even know WHY I’m going. But I know I have to get there. And I’m sure my subconscious can testify.
Doctor Spot was keeping a steady pace crawling through the airshafts behind Captain Shtankadoodle, and although he was glad that Captain Shtankadoodle and him had managed to find a few, select airshafts completely still from the tornado of whirlwind currents only a couple of walls away, he found himself half-heartedly longing for a breeze—even a small one, to blow away the terrible stink emanating from the giant unwashed fur ball that was the Captain. Well, if there are any perks about crawling nose to tail with the Captain—any at all, it would certainly be listening to him talk to himself, Doctor Spot shook his head in agreement with himself. Things got very interesting when Captain Shtankadoodle occasionally addressed him, a doctor, as his ‘subconscious,’ too. Where did he get such notions?! It's that Kings Buffet bargain cat food, Doctor Spot admitted to himself, his head hung low. As a doctor and a friend, Doctor Spot wanted the best for his captain—including a sudsy bath! It occurred to Doctor Spot, there, right in the middle of vast, darkened air shafts, keeping speed with the Captain, that he might have to take unwanted drastic measures—what else could he do? He had already suggested so many alternatives. Doctor Spot had the feeling he would have to do something he really, really didn’t want to do.
“HELLO!” The sound echoed off the metal airshafts: HELLO! HEllo! Hello! hello! hello… he…o… Doctor Spot’s ear perked up, relieved to be on a more comfortable topic.
“Yes?! Is anybody there?!” Doctor Spot said as loudly as he could.
“Help me! Please! Somebody! Quick!” The helping part that had convinced Doctor Spot to become a doctor when he was kitten deciding his occupation must have surged out. Suddenly, Doctor Spot found himself wedging up beside Captain Shtankadoodle and around. And just like that, he was off. Captain Shtankadoodle bit his lower lip. Since when was his subconscious physical? A surge of brilliance struck Captain Shtankadoodle: It hadn’t been his subconscious he had been discussing his innermost secrets with. THEN WHO? Captain Shtankadoodle began to shake, and no, it wasn’t because of King’s Buffet. Had he just been discussing his life with a stranger? THUD. Captain Shtankadoodle smacked right into a wall of fur. Using another one of his “legendary” strokes of genius, he was able to piece together that he had run into another cat. Just how many felines were in the airshaft?
“Who are you?” The voice of my subconscious turned stranger asks, worry creasing his voice.
“I’m—I’m,” My subconscious turned stranger gasps.
“Klein! I thought you were behind all this chaos!”
“Yeah…Well I was…kind of. Wait. What chaos are you talking about?”
“The fans malfunctioning all over the ship. What chaos were you talking about?”
“Um. More about that later. Look, my siblings are nuts and they’re money crazy and willing to endanger the lives of hundreds—including the life-work of our father—to get more of it! They roped me into their schemes—I didn’t think it would all happen so fast! I didn’t think it all be so serious—I didn’t think at all! They just came up with the idea,” I could hear whoever this Klein fellow was getting choked up as he was speaking,“they said that since we’re all direct heirs to our father, we would get equal portions of vast amounts of money from insurance. I don’t want to be a part of it anymore! I don’t want the Solera Station to go up in flames! Not for ANY amount of money!” Klein’s voice cracks as he finishes with an emotional end. I’m confused. I’m witnessing an emotional conversation between two strangers I can’t quite place. Should I just turn around and leave now? I don’t even know what I’m doing in the airshafts. And yet, something within me tugs me to stay. Perhaps it’s my inner fear, no, CONCERN of being lost in an endless maze of dark airshafts. You know, the concern that developed several seconds ago as I debated leaving.
“That makes perfect sense,” Says the stranger I was talking to while under the illusion that he was my subconscious. Does NOT, I pout to myself, feeling a little left out. Usually this stuff doesn’t bother me, but the Kings Buffet—you know what, never mind. And don’t get on me about it! I end up giving up on it at the end, just read the story already!
“Look,” Says the Clunky…no…Klein…no, Whine, no…eh, somebody-fellow, “My siblings are disguised as colonists, and they’re in cahoots, controlling this fans on this ship. They took advantage of my knowledge as an engineer, and I just feel guilty and-,”
“And you feel bad for you SISTER, which is in the medical bay, am I right?”
“Uh-huh,” Climb or…somebody says, his voice squeaky. I could sense tears coming soon. Okay, what exactly happened in my air-vents when I wasn’t around. I pull myself to my full height and decide to break up the gossip-party.
“I’m not exactly certain what’s going on, but I think we all have more important things to do than stand around and talk. Or…be quiet and get forgotten.” I announce.
“Yeah, yeah,” Climb utters speedily,“we need to be going, my brothers think that I’m away from them because I have to use the litter box. I’ve already been gone from them seven minutes—their probably getting suspicious—we need to GO!” Climb trots through the air vent, taking a turn to who knows where, his tail breezily swung behind him. Right in my face… Between my eyes. … Whatever. I mean, it’s a stranger’s tail in my face…but so? I try to do a task that usually comes easily for me: forget what’s happening right now.
“We’re headed to the bridge now, if I’ve memorized the plans on the ship correctly—but I need you to stay close by, okay? My siblings are crazy. Who knows what they’ll try next.”
“Okay, Ensign Bob,” A scruffy cat in his ensign’s livery collar says with an equally scruffy voice says. They’re standing, some cheap carabiners hooking them in place, against the violent winds the main fans of the ship are venting out everywhere. “Yer gonna throw the wrench at the fan, and maybe that’ll stop it from wreaking havoc all over the ship! It’s fool proof!”
“Gee, your so smart, Ensign Gary,” A cat that looks more like a pro wrestler than a Star Convoy ensign grins, complete with droopy eyes and toothy grin. (Trust me, these are the ensigns that sneak onto my ship that I don’t even know about. I mean, where do these characters even come from? Actually, I have a sneaking suspicion that they no they don’t belong on such a posh ship—the flagship of Star Convoy. Like, they hide in closets or something when I get to close to them. That’s my theory. I know, I know! It’s a bit of a conspiracy…)
“That’s what Mama always tolds meh.” Oh King’s Buffet no! Don’t tell me I have lolcats on my crew! “Alright, on four: One, two-,” Ensign Gary is interrupted.
“Why does it have to be four. What about five?” Ensign Bob thwaps his tail against the metal airshaft turned wind tunnel.
“Because I like four. Is there a problem with that?”
“Well I likes five. Is there a problem with that?”
“Fine. On the count of five,” Ensign Gary gives in, air whipping at his fur.
“No, I’m going to give in first because I’m a good fellow! We can settle on the count of four!” Ensign Bob says firmly.
“But didn’t ya want five?”
“Now I want four! Is there a problem with that?”
“The air is making your mouth all funny and blown up. Huh huh.”
“Is that an insult.”
“Now,’” Ensign Gary, says regaining his scruffy composure,“On four:-,”
“But I thought it was five!” Ensign Bob protests.
“Okay, on five: One. Two. Three. Four. Five!” The two cats exchange glances.
“Why didn’t you throw the wrench into the blades? Like we planned?” Ensign Gary asks bewilderedly.
“Because!” Ensign Gary looks down at the ground of the metal airshaft, wind whipping his ears around. He has to holler loudly to overpower the noise of the giant fans in front of him. “I forgot.”
“Jus’ throw it already!”
“Okay!” Ensign Bob hurls the wrench he had been clutching the entire time.
“Not that way, Silly, at the fans!” Ensign Gary reprimands. Ensign Bob looks over his shoulder at the wrench he had thrown the wrong the direction. He frowns.
“Alright, I’ll throw my special ratchet at the fans then!” Ensign Bob decides.
“Huh huh. Did you just hear yourself?”
“Yeah. I said ‘ratchet’. What’s so funny about that?”
“Uh. I don’t know. Where were we?”
“We were going to throw a ratchet.”
“What is it this time?”
“You said ‘ratchet’!” Ensign Gary bellows, clutching his stomach with laughter. Who knew cats could laugh?
“Alright. Here goes!” Ensign Bob tosses with all his might, opposing the air current at the Cantip’s industrial grade fans. The ratchet pings off the walls and then shoots backwards down the airshaft. Ensign Gary and Bob exchange glances.
“That dint work.”
“Let’s try agan!”
“Right on!” Ensign Gary agrees. Ensign Bob digs into his tool bag, also clipped down to the walls so that it won’t blow away. He digs out a plate and holds it up.
“Will this work?”
“Why do you have a plate in your tool bag?” Ensign Gary wonders aloud.
“Oh! Good idea! Now throw it already—the Cap’n countin’ on us!” Ensign Gary urges. Ensign Bob tosses the plate. THWAM-THUNK. The plate ricochets back to Ensign Bob and knocks him in the face. Ensign Bob flips over backwards. Ensign Gary shakes his head to himself.
“Now isn’t the time to be napping, Silly! Now, I’ll take matters into my own paws!” Ensign Gary removes one of his four shoes (Injection: Paw shoes look stupid—I mean we are CATS after all. Why do we need them?) and whips it into the giant, flagship fan system. HUNGA-CHUN-MOMF. A few shreds of sneakers fly back at Ensign Gary.
“Hey! That was my shoe!” Ensign Gary bellows. He frowns before shooting a sideways glance at Ensign Bob. “Ensign Bob, are you okay?” Ensign Gary smacks Ensign Bob with his paw. “Bob? BOB?!” Ensign Gary keeps smacking him. (Great doctoring skills) After several minutes, he leans back, scrunches up his face, and tries to devise a solution.
“I know! CRP!” Ensign Gary leans over to Ensign Bob, the straps holding him in place biting into his furry skin. “Yer a little too far away… You know what, just let me loosen those straps a bit,” Ensign Gary begins to tug at the adjustable strap bit a little lower than the carabiner hooking Ensign Bob to the wall. SHOOMF. Ensign Gary’s eyes get wide.
“Bob! Don’t leave me!” Ensign Gary frowns, putting his kitty lips into a pout,“If you didn’t like me you could have just SAID so. You didn’t have to take off down the air vents like that…,” Ensign Gary purses his lips and crosses his paws.
Moans and wails and ‘I’m going to die's flutter not so daintily into the airshaft above, until finally, Subcommander Ocee pulled herself to her full composure through her teary cat eyes, looked around her, and wondered why the entire bridge crew was convinced they were going to die. Subcommander Ocee cleared her throat from crying with a squeaky meow. Graciously—or, as graciously as she could, despite the circumstances, she began:
“We’re NOT gonna die, you fools! Anybody who’s been left on the Solera Station is going to die, and I sure do hope you didn’t cut any corners on your job when I ordered you to evacuate the colonists!” Subcommander Ocee barks. Yeah, ‘graciously’ probably wasn’t the best adverb to use, after all.
The entire evacuation half an hour ago, before the threat of a comet wiping the Sun Colony off the maps had nearly climaxed—everybody was still holding their breaths for the big collision—had been clumsy at best. Because the ship was still separated into four major sections, the bridge, medical bay, cafeteria and launching bay, the latter two of which had recently beheld the wrath of the ‘Catnip Tornado’ had tried to operate together to evacuate the colonists, like a Jenga tower balancing on one Jenga block: The ensigns nobody knew where they had come from had tried to make comfortable lodging for any poor straggler that had braved the air currents to try to find. The cafeteria had done likewise. The bridge had taken upon itself the monumental task of organizing it all through the radio systems in each. “We’re not going to die! We’re going to make it through this! So nobody cry unless you have a solution that’s a stroke of genius! Okay? Okay?!” A rackety rustling noise that sounds like the worst cry-baby in all the world fills the air. A hideous screeching sound. Pairs of ears turn this way and that, trying to pinpoint the noise. KBANK! The grate on a ventilator shaft is hurled to the floor, twirling around a little while like a penny in a cone-shaped wishing well, before giving up and falling down. It reminded Subcommander Ocee of how she felt right now.
I thud to the ground. What genius put air vents on a ceiling, anyway? Was this the new craze or something? Humph. Whatever the case, I don’t like it! A couple of thuds behind me alerts my ears that my fellow strangers have met the same fate as I.
“Doctor Spot!” I hear a cry from somewhere around me. Where? Was Doctor Spot on the bridge somewhere? Last I knew, he was in the medical bay… How did he get to the bridge? YEAH, I recall, thinking to myself, He was in the medical bay, and the doctor and I went and investigated a peculiar air shaft, and then... Well, something happened, but I can't quite remember. I think it's time to take a nap. I trot over to my padded captain’s chair, lay the fuzzy part of my face on it’s soft, fabric, unleashing a poof of an unwashed stinky smell that reminds me of home. Maybe a nap will job my memory, I shut my eyes and wrap my fluffy, bur-filled tail around myself. This was the life.
“Captain!” Somebody shrieks. I shoot up to a sitting position. I guess it’s a nervous reaction. Usually I don’t get that excited about anything. Except food. My blurry, tear-stained eyes (some kind of sickness, I think) scan the deck for a captain. You know, in afterthought, I’m really glad that the Star Convoy entrance exam isn’t so hard. Because if it was, I’d be lounging around in humid southeast Louisiana without anything to do. Of course, I tilt my head in thought, if the entrance exam were a little tougher, and the security a little better, the Catnip wouldn't have so many freaks on it... I nod my head in concurrence with my self. I’m serious. My last mission I wrote about in ‘Missions and Suspicions’ had a crazy, illegitimate “doctor” that had plans to cripple an entire world by poisoning the tuna industry. And in ‘The Stowaway,’ an Ocicat named Spot—different from our beloved Doctor Spot—tries to sneak onto our ship. And what about those random ensigns that aren’t main characters in the storyline, and nobody knows where they have come from. Ensign Bob or Gary or something? And that’s not all! In fact, through this entire history of bad safety regulations, there’s been talk of a terrible captain that dozes off when people are talking to him, never takes a bath and forgets to go parties and celebrations! Oh boy, is he the laughing stock of the fleet! Wait. That sounds like me.
My eyes target the feline crying my title. To my utter disbelief, I find it to be my usually calm, strict, and overly-professional subcommander. I almost let my personal feelings get in the way and ignore her. It comes back to me in a flood of emotion: It Christmas, 1813. No, 1913? Or was it 2012? Eh, whatever. It happened: A cold winter—and yes, those sometimes happen despite the humid subtropical Louisiana climate. Our pets had opened up a fixer upper van to us, and we could crawl into that luxurious, king’s palace of maroon carpet at very free will through the floor. I’m telling you, it was a NICE van. And our pets—yes, OUR pets—had put a heater in the van to keep us warm. (Tell me, why am I remembering this and not perhaps some more imperative things? Like what happened thirty minutes ago?) Of course, gentle, agile, Ocee beats me into the van, climbing up on those matching, padded maroon benches all regally and stuff. And then, when I try to come in, she swipes at me! I can feel anger boiling up in me. Gently, I chide myself. Come on, Shtankadoodle, you're not one to keep grudges. Besides, this might be important. It might involve food. My reasoning talks some since into me, and this time, I know it’s actually my reasoning that I’m having a conversation with, and not some stranger in the air vents. I just have that feeling. And my mouth isn’t meowing, so that helps. I know I’m not ACTUALLY talking. Am I? Oh gees, this is getting serious. I think this calls for a can of King’s Buffet and a nap…
“CAPTAIN!” My stressed subcommander shrieks a again. “Collision is in three minutes!” My subcommander tail is fluttering back and forth in anxious apprehension. Suddenly it flashes back to me: The year 2110. Maybe. Has that even happened yet? It’s spring, going into summer. I don’t have an unhealthy addiction to King’s Buffet yet. I see some children that would later become my specially selected pets blowing bubbles. They look interesting, the little, nearly-clear, spherical objects that float and flit in the air. In fact, I’m coaxed out of my hiding place underneath a vehicle by them. A try to swipe my paw at them…
“Collision! In one minute, twenty-eight seconds,” I again glance around the deck. Who was keeping time, and what was this ‘collision’ stuff all about. I spot an unfamiliar fur ball keeping time. I scoff.
“Do we really have some feline hired just to keep time?” I scoff again. Subcommander Ocee looks at me seriously.
“One minute and ten seconds…,”
“He should have been long back by now,” Burly announces to his brother in an irate tone of voice that threatens to go violent at any moment. Burly’s tail flicks angrily.
“Yeah! He deserted us, didn’t he? Because he isn’t tough like us!” Burly’s brother, Tiny, shares the same Scottish Fold heritage as him. Burly shoots a doubtful glance at Tiny, the tiniest of all his siblings.
“Zip it! You puny fur ball!” Burly shouts, the echo resounding throughout the air vents they were taking refuge in. “As long as he doesn’t mess up our plan, it doesn’t matter if Klein is gone, anyway. You didn’t seriously expect me to share the money with him, didja?” Burly laughs a throaty laugh. There it is again—laughing cats. I’m telling you, I’ve never heard a cat laugh down on earth once. What’s the deal?
“Your so clever and smart—your going to share some with me, aren’t you?” Tiny pries.
“What do you think?” Burly asks, pacing around the ventilation system with all the controls in it. From there, Burly could turn anything into a wind tunnel that he wanted to. Klein had taught him all about it. Burly smiled.
“You are going to share the dough with me, aren’t you?” Tiny repeated, concern flashing in his eyes. Burly pauses to look directly at Tiny.
“What do you think?”
“Oh goody! We’re going to be rich and rule our own worlds!” Tiny’s eyes got dreamy with fantasy. “Ow!” An atrocious, clanking metal sound echoes off all of the ventilator walls. “I just got hit by a wrench!” Tiny screeches in his high pitch, whiny voice. Burly scoffs. His brother was such the attention hog. “OW! I got hit again! By a ratchet!” Tiny screeches again. Burly raises his eyebrows. What was his brother talking about? A black blob makes his way for Burly face. Before Burly can identify the object—or even get out of the way—he’s in a topple mess.
“OWW! I got hit by an entire cat!”
“CAPTAIN!” Everybody was chanting my title, and to be honest, I’m a little scared. I don’t even know what’s happening.
“Captain, do something!” Subcommander Ocee pleads me, the most earnest of sincerity in her eyes.
“We don’t want the Sun Colony to go up in flames!” Someone else agrees. Huh? What was the ‘Sun Colony’? I see Doctor Spot in the corner of my eye and shoot him a look of complete confusion. Doctor Spot leans down next to me so I can whisper.
“What’s happening and where did you even come from?” I ask, a little daunted by the mob of felines I don’t recognize chanting my name, and ‘Save the Sun Colony,’.
“I was crawling through the ventilator shaft with you, don’t you remember?”
“No, I don’t really remember that. But I do remember that it was really dark…or bright or something in there. They should totally install some lights in there.” I whisper into Doctor Spot’s ear. Doctor Spot pulls away, standing up, then hesitantly:
“I’m relieving the Captain of his command.” The room quiets. Ah. (Doctor Spot might not have been my subconscious, but he sure was mighty handy—er, pawy—to have around.) Finally, I can get some shut eye. Doctor Spot nudges me into a heap on the ground and takes over the captain’s chair. I don’t really mind. I’m just so tired…
“We’re going to try to destroy the comet!” Doctor Spot announces boldly. His improv thinking was really paying off, because everybody eagerly settled into their positions to as he commanded. It was risky at best, such a daunting comet—and the chance of not even a few chunks hitting the Solera Station and batting it into the sun were slim—but it was the best Doctor Spot had. “Klein!” Doctor Spot dresses informally. “Klein, get out of the way!” Klein was hovering right in the middle of the walkway, hanging over one of the primary controls. “Klein! Listen to the Captain! Get out of the way!” Subcommander Ocee began to move in on Klein.
“No! I know what I’m doing!” Klein spits back.
“Fifty three seconds,”
“GET OUT OF THE WAY!” Doctor Spot hollers, standing up.
“I will not!” Klein busies himself in front of the controls.
“Captain, we’re moving out of position,” Ensign Grace announces.
“What are you doing?!”
“He’s swinging the ship around!” Tiny announces to Burly. Tiny lifted his head out of the vent that Klein, my subconscious, uh, I mean Doctor Spot, and I had knocked down, earlier. Burly eyes widen.
“What?!” Burly hollers, jumping out of the doze he was settling into. “He can’t do that!”
“But he is!”
“Well, stop him!”
“Turn on the fans to full force! On the bridge!”
“Yes, Sir, brother!” Tiny acknowledged, awkwardly saluting his brother. He reached to punch in the controls of his brother’s command.
“I have to put the code in!”
“Stop yelling at me!”
“Just give it to me!” Burly butted in front of his brother, viciously punching in his controls, mumbling something bitter about how Klein couldn’t undermine all of his work.
“Are you almost done! Klein’s almost done!” Tiny reported in a panic.
“Stop rushing me!”
“Yarr!” Ensign Bob lunged at Burly.
“Tiny, what are you doing?!”
“I’m not Tiny. I’m Bob,” Ensign Bob tackled Burly to the ground, grinning a toothy grin,“And I used to be a pro wrestler.”
Klein couldn’t let the distractions of everybody around him bother him. The fans were starting to kick up, and he knew his brothers were on to him. But it didn’t matter. Klein wasn’t going to budge even if Burly and Tiny cranked the fans up to full force. The ‘wind’ grows steadily stronger.
“Stop it if you want a career at all!” Klein heard Doctor Spot threaten.
“My career is already gone!” Ensign Klein retorted. Suddenly, the fans stop silent. The deck crew is captivated by that for a moment, but Klein can’t stop. At least the distraction bought some time.
“Done!” Klein lifts his paws from the controls. “I’ve set the course! You can’t do a thing it’s too late! And, and, your plan stinks Captain, or Doctor, or whatever! The asteroid would’ve broken apart and still the majority of it would have smashed into the Sun Colony! I’m an engineer! I understand these things!” Klein hollers sounding like a deranged maniac. The sound of twisting metal, holes being punctures and rocks smashing into dust fills the air in a terrible noise. Although I’m the Captain, or, was, and the Catnip is supposed to be my pride and joy and all, I’m more focused on being disturbed from my sleep. Yeah, I’m really tired. This King’s Buffet bargain brand cat food is really messing me up. Seriously.
Everybody shakes to the grounds, and I roll like a rock to the front of the ship. Ah, now that was comfortable. I heave again to the back of the ship, being tossed and turned into a pile of furry ligaments from other crew members that preceded me. Nah, not so comfortable. We toss again, and a sound scarcely explainable, like a gravel driveway being used for burnout by thirty monster trucks at once—you know, throw in a few semis, too—fills the air. Klein stumbles to his feet and brings the sputtering, limping Catnip around and out of the way. He collapses to the ground. Was it finally nap time or what?!
“Hey, look, the fan stopped!” Ensign Gary proclaims as a giant asteroid wedges itself through the hull into the blades. “Finally!” He high-fives himself in the reflection on the ventilator shaft. “All in a days work!”
Captain’s Log: I’m going to start with the most important news: I broke my addiction with King’s Buffet. It was hard, I do admit. Very hard. But I accepted Doctor Spot’s offer of eating Emporer’s Smorgasbord instead, and even though it tastes like cardboard, I’m being well rewarded. Actually, the taste of cardboard is growing on me… Which might develop into a problem of its own, later.
Meanwhile, we offloaded all of the colonists—old and new. They were delighted and thankful and ‘forever indebted’ and several said they’d name their kittens after me. All of them. Talk about confusing! But who am I to argue?
Currently, Ensign Klein is in the holding cell on the ship, along with all his brothers. His sister, Felina, will go in there too, as soon as she recovers from her severe radiation burns she obtained, earlier. She’s making steady progress. As for Kakapo—that is his name, right? He had Star Convoy stumped as for a penalty for him. They weren’t certain as to reward him for his valiant bravery, or punish him for attempting such a rotten plan. He’s getting off the hook, but he can never return to Star Convoy as an engineer again. Kakapo was really shodden up about it, too. He had set his heart on becoming an engineer. I calmed him, letting him know that I can get into Star Convoy, then he probably can again, too, in a few cat years.
What else? Well, the fans are perhaps permanently broken, so we’re still wandering around, belly height in fur, because of shedding season. Good news is, once we get back to Earth, as we’re headed now, a crew will be able to clean all that out. YES! Meanwhile, excitement of us coming home to Earth for what feels like the first time in forever isn’t limited to our sputtering, limping ship. Fan clubs and committees and websites and tv shoes and documentaries are being made of the heroism of the crew of the Catnip. I can hardly believe. I don’t really want to believe it. You know, because I’m more of a quiet, you-leave-me-alone-I-leave-you-alone kind of cat. Nonetheless, nothing can deter a group of exited paparazzi. Who knew even felines had paparazzi?
Thirty days until we reach earth. (Right?) What will greet me there?
The conclusion to: The Sun Colony, Parts 1, 2, and 3
A hospital bed. Wha…? Why? Again? Nugget’s bleary yellow eyes struggled to adjust to the brightness of the cold, concrete room he was being kept in. A long row of hospital beds lined the endless, grimy wall, but his eyes were too unfocused to see them. Instead, it was the smell of weak alcohol cleaner that told him exactly where he was. Nugget tried to push himself up onto his legs, but a sharp, stabbing feeling rent his stomach.
Button’s paws pressed against the iron door, supporting her as she stood up on her two hind legs and tried to peer down the long, narrow row of identical white cells. The only thing different about each individual cell were the foul creatures that inhabited them, and really, Button thought, even they didn’t seem to vary much in size or demeanor.
Yet another addition to, "The Sun Always Shines On Lactolia."
Another addition to, "The Sun Always Shines In Lactolia."
Like usual, its so long that its painful! (But you know you can't resist reading it, anyway.)
Another addition to, "The Sun Always Shines In Lactolia."
An addition to, "The Sun Always Shines In Lactolia."
A spin off the of the much-loved "Star Cats" series.
The behind-wiggling sequel to 'The Big Dent' Part 1.
As if the threat of a comet bound for the Solera Station didn’t seem looming enough, with the entire ship induced into a nervous, whispered panic, Subcommander Ocee could only keep from biting her claws and resisting the impulse to shrink away into a tight cranny—a box, a nook in the insulation, a raccoon trap—anything would do, really, to get away from this news: Lieutenant Lucky had just confirmed that the comet everybody was worried about was only seventeen minutes from impact.