||[Nov. 26th, 2006|11:56 pm]
It had been an uneventful trip so far, and I was grateful for that. I mean, the trip had started with an infuriating encounter with a cab company that caused me to miss my plane, and learn the joys of extended security measures. I'm glad I hadn't been to the shooting range; I'm guessing the stuff that looks for traces of explosives might pick up gunpowder residue. |
Anyway: it had been uneventful. I got there, met with family, petted the many dogs, and ended up being the most talented person available to put together a new TV stand. Now, when I'm not most talented person for putting together complicated furniture, you know there are troubles, but it did get put together, albeit slowly.
So, my next step was to visit the Gawnes in Maryland, and other than confusing signage and a few misunderstandings on my part, a two and a half hour trip took almost six (but it included a nap, since I'd been driving since five in the morning).
But I had a lovely visit with Bill and Paula, including a visit to a wonderful restaurant. It did have its strange moment when I didn't understand what kind of fish the bright yellow stuff had come from... it was egg. But I got to try non-rubbery versions of friendlier sea monsters (octopus, instead of squid - I do believe octopus doens't regenerate overnight, which is a good thing.)
But while driving home from Maryland, I saw a levitating ice cream truck, and once I realized it was a Good Humor truck, I knew something weird was going on.
I mean, the last time the aliens invaded, they thought to corner the world's market on Viagra, but made the mistake of grabbing Mr. Softee trucks (which peddle soft ice cream), instead of drug delivery trucks. I think it was an honest mistake, but wow, were the evil overlords angry.
But this wasn't a Mr. Softee truck, this was a Good Humor truck... no questions about it.
Now, the first unusual thing is that there weren't very many Good Humor trucks around my way when I was growing up. The second unusual thing... well, it was levitating. Mark my words, when you see levitating ice cream trucks, you know things aren't normal.
Now, as anyone who watched the Dukes of Hazzard knows, ordinary cars can jump great distances, and ramps abound everywhere to allow them to do that jumping. However, I've learned the hard way that, unless you have a competent scriptwriter writing your life, you shouldn't chance it. You'd be amazed at how much damage a car can take from a piddling little 30 foot drop... and the police aren't too happy with "maniacs" who drive recklessly. Trust me, I saw no point in explaining that I wasn't exactly *driving* while I was in the air... I thought that would just aggravate matters, and cops have a hard enough job without those kinds of aggravations.
So, instead I parked my car on the shoulder, and as the Good Humor truck swooped past the guard rail, I stepped up and onto the running boards. I was glad that the door was unlocked; it would have been awfully uncomfortable to keep hanging off of the mirror, especially if the alien vessel overhead decided to go into space. I think the Van Allen belt is awfully uptight about some things, or something, but I agree with those who say that you shouldn't go through the Van Allen belt if you're not dressed for it, and in a tee-shirt and jeans, I wasn't.
Thankfully, the aliens just wanted to parlay. Apparently, they'd seen through my bluff, you see, and they had actually launched at attack at western Washington while I was gone.
"Oh, you poor, sad fools," I said. And what could they say? They'd blown it, and they knew it... but I still didn't know how badly they'd blown it.
It was the chicken, of course. But what I hadn't realized was that she was the result of a cloning experiment... and they'd killed her 'twin'. What's worse, when they contacted her in their initial negotiations, they claimed it had been an accident... that they'd thought it was a normal chicken. When I heard that, I slapped the table and called them idiots.
"How many ordinary chickens do you know can use a wing mounted, fully automatic grenade launcher?" I asked and it took a moment, but awareness dawned. Ordinary chickens can't handle the recoil of a fully automatic grenade launcher, and must use it only in single shot mode. They should have realized that such a feeble lie wouldn't pass muster. Now they had a furious chicken on their hands, and I have to admit, I wasn't exactly happy about having my vacation broken into, either. But I agreed to try to help them, under one condition... they told me why they kept trying to take over the Earth.
I mean, I appreciate that they're not like Marvin the Martian, trying to blow it up, but taking over the earth is still on the top ten list of things aliens are discouraged from attempting while visiting our solar system. (In fact, the list doesn't restrict itself to those visiting the solar system; it's still considered impolite to try to conquer (or blow up) the earth from outside the solar system.)
They didn't answer... they tried to stare me down. Now, this isn't the best of ideas; it's even worse when it turns out this particular batch of aliens skimped on their research and thought that "eyes" and "areola" were... well, let's just say that they've been awfully rude to the ladies while trying to make eye contact.
So, I won this particular staredown without a lot of difficulty, and they finally mumbled something about my girlfriend leader. I was confused at first, until I realized that they meant "Girlfriend LDR"... they were upset because I had long distance relationships?
Then it struck me... good humor... envious of love... I looked around, and sure enough, there was a raised deck with small disks on it, right out of Star Trek. "You have transporter technology... and you can't understand why it's so valuable, can you?" It was a question, but I wasn't asking... I was certain.
"You have nothing, no one, you value so much that their separation causes you grief. You don't have love, you don't have laughter, you just have war, and an all abiding grief. You fight... but you have nothing worth fighting for."
"We have the destruction of those who pretnd to superiority!" they screamed (in perfect unison, which, let me tell you, was pretty freaky). "You do not love! You despise the chicken, and no one with hatred in their heart can love truly!"
My mind skipped over the irony of being lecutured on love by those who had no love, and it even stopped wondering how they mananged to speak in unison that long, because it wasn't true.
"I don't despise the chicken. I want her to live, to love, to grow... and I especially want her to grow past her unreasoning enmity, so we can live in peace! Sure, I don't love everyone, certainly not perfectly... but I bear the chicken no ill will. I just want peace; I don't even know what started the warfare between us!" I said. "But no one can grow, live, and love in the middle of a war!"
And then, as a sick look crossed all of their faces simultaneously, I realized how they all spoke in unison. Telepathy.
And they'd linked my mind to theirs, and linked their minds... to the chicken's.
They'd hoped to direct the chicken's wrath at me.
The military did a good job of hiding news reports of the huge set of explosions in the air; I imagine most of you didn't see any news reports about them. But as the mothership was destroyed, along with the 'brain' of the cargo craft I'd been lifted to, the cargo craft started drifting towards the ground. But when I saw the second mothership's hull breached, and heard a distress call from a third, I realized what was happening. I got on the com link.
"Chicken!" I cried, but there was no answer for a long time. When it finally clicked back on, she spoke my name. "John," she said, and her voice held a strange tenderness. "Chicken," I responded, and my voice wavered a bit, as well. "You don't have to do this. Not alone."
"No one can grow, live, and love in the middle of a war," she responded. "And you need to do all three."
"Chicken..." I began, wondering what to say... and did I have a right to say anything at all? Was it not her life to live as she chose?
"Call me by my name," she said. "Billina." Then there was the roar of an alien mothership entering hyperspace.
And today, due to the actions of a brave hen, a hen I had known for many years, without realizing it, there is one less threat facing the multiverse. A hen ripped from a world of wonder and magic, from her family and friends, and thrown into this world... no wonder she was confused and angry.
Will she destroy them militarily? She might, but I think she might teach them to have a reason to rejoice that they have transporter technology; I think she might teach them love and compassion and the need for friendship, lessons she no doubt took from her friend, Dorothy Gale.
Billina is the name of a hen in Frank Baum's OZ series, for those who don't recognize the reference to 'Dorothy Gale', the young heroine.