First thing I did when I got up was call the police. I told them the Zeffycam’s names, that they’re here as wilderness tourists, that to them we’re the wildlife, that I’m their guide or maybe their mascot, that they’ll be here three Titan days, which is 48 Earth days, that they sleep 6 days at a time, and are up 10 days at a time, and that I’ll go back to find out more.
Midway through the conversation someone else butted in on the line. He said he works for the federal government, but he didn’t say what his job is. He said he had a message from the city of San Francisco. The message was; shut up, they need to sleep! I promised to relay the message. He also said the President wants to talk to our “guests”. The way he said “guests” put quote-marks around the word. I promised to relay that message too.
I rode my kitty-saucer back to Kirby Cove. The Zeffycams let up the force-field just enough to let me in; the Blue Angels still couldn’t get through. But they sure were noisy.
First thing, Zweedrix said to me, “Mid-morning already? This globe is dizzy!”
I told the Zeffycam to please turn down the music every Earth night; it disturbs the wildlife. I also told them that they’re invited to Washington.
Fwee-bah said, “You mean the Prez might call off those pesky Blue Angels?” I nodded, so Fwee-bah said, “Let’s go!”
Zweedrix moaned, “Awww, not another flight?”
Jayadu said, “It’ll be fun.”
Gazzik said, “And besides, we do have to talk to them. They have nukes.”
So they drew up their legs and boosted into the sky. I couldn’t keep up, so Gazzik carried me in a force field. They flew far and fast.
Soon we were out of the atmosphere on a suborbital flight. But oops, we went North, not East! It turns out that Gazzik thought I meant Washington the State, not Washington the DC. Our orbit landed us in Washington State, and we right away bounced out again, on our way to Washington the DC.
Gazzik cloaked us, so we landed radar and light invisible. We landed right outside the White House; there I decloaked.
I tapped on the window of the Oval Office. A big Marine looked out at me and I told him that I was there to introduce our “guests”. I put quote marks around the word.
That got the Prez’s attention. He looked out the window, and the Titanians decloaked. Gazzik said, “You have nukes. Please don’t use them on us.”
The Prez said, “Why would we? After all, you’re camped next to one of our cities.”
Gazzik said, “And what’s more, we have force fields.”
The Prez said, “Can a force field hold off a nuke?”
Gazzik said, “Well, maybe. Let’s not argue about it, OK?”
The Prez said, “That depends. Why are you here?”
“We’re just visiting.”
Some nerdy-looking science guy whispered in the Prez’s ear, and the Prez said, “You mean you’re wilderness camping. How long?”
“Just three days.”
More whispering, and the Prez said, “You mean forty-eight days.”
Zweedrix interrupted, “Mostly we’ll explore the parts of Earth that you humans don’t know about. We’ll stay cloaked, we promise. You’ll hardly notice that we’re here.”
Fwee-bah said, “Quiet, kid.”
“Hey, why are we talking to this particular human? What’s so special about it?”
“He’s the local alpha, dear,” Jayadu said.
“But how do the humans choose their alphas? Compared to how we do it?”
The Prez said, “How do you choose your alphas?”
Fwee-bah answered that question, and she took a long time too, for she had done a school project on the subject. It turns out that Titanians choose their alphas by; 1, look-at-me yodeling, 2, a cage match, 3, a listening to young girls on the telephone ordeal, 4, a listening to Grandpa reminisce ordeal, and 5, a lying contest.
The Prez said, “Your system is very much like our own.”
Jayadu said, “And after your alphas are done alphaing, how do you decide just how much to punish them?”
“Usually we don’t punish them at all.”
Jayadu said, “Then you humans are much too lenient with your alphas. How can they ever learn right from wrong if no-one takes a firm hand?”
Fwee-bah said, “I saw a report on the human Web. It was about throwing shoes and singing ‘na-na naa naa’ at a previous alpha.”
“Hmph!” Jayadu said. “Well, it’s a start.”
“There once was a humanoid racethat wanted to travel through space.
But the aliens said
‘Do not help them! Why spreadsuch critters all over the place?’”
Fwee-bah nudged Zweedrix and said, “Shut up, kid!”
Jayadu scolded, “Honey, don’t tease the wildlife!”
But Zweedrix replied:
“The voice from the UFO cried,‘To the smartest we’ll give a free ride!’
Several men volunteered
but the ship disappeared
with a whale and two dolphins inside!”
Jayadu said, “All right, youngster, that does it!” She dragged him off by pinching him on the saucer, all the time Zweedrix saying “ow, ow, ow, quit it Mom.”
While Jayadu scolded Zweedrix, Gazzik said, “I apologize, the lad’s only seven years old.”
The Prez said, “You mean, seven Saturn years?” The science nerd whispered to him, and he said, “That’s 207 Earth years.” But the Prez didn’t seem to mind Zweedrix much. It’s as if he’s used to being heckled by brats from another world.
When Zweedrix got back from his scolding, Fwee-bah was talking about the human voice. She was amazed. She said, “You have wind-instrument voices. You have to interfere with your breathing just to talk!”
Zweedrix marveled, “Wow! You must really like to talk!” Fwee-bah and Zweedrix made noises like humpback whales. They squeaked, squonked and arooed.
The Prez said, “I see you have lots of questions. You might find some answers on the human Web. I notice that the young lady has already logged on.”
Gazzik said, “I noticed that too! Didn’t I tell you, no hyperspace phone?”
Fwee-bah said, “They have nothing hyperspatial, Dad! It’s all native! Subluminal! Electronic!”
Gazzik said, “And what were you looking for on the human Web?”
Fwee-bah said, “I’m researching human mating displays.”
“It’s for a school project, Dad! I’m documenting inaccuracy in human courtship rituals!”
“What does that mean, young lady?”
“Well, for instance, take this mating call.” Then Fwee-bah sang a song from FM radio:
“ ‘My love is warmer than the warmest sunshine, softer than a sigh, my love is deeper than the deepest ocean, wider than the sky, my love is brighter than the brightest star that shines every night above, and there is nothing in this world that can ever change my love.’ ”
Then Fwee-bah said, “Counting the word ‘and’, that’s seven lies in a row!”
There was a moment of silence.
Then the Prez said, “You are raising a realist.”
Gazzik said, “So it seems.”
“Congratulations. And she does her homework, too. Is this a field trip?”
“It’s a wilderness vacation, but Fwee-bah has homework over the recess.”
The Prez said, “You know the wilderness camping rules.”
Gazzik said, “Yes. No littering, no nukes, no FTL, no time-travel, and don’t interfere with the wildlife.”
The Prez said, “And don’t take away any... pets.”
Zweedrix whined, “Da-ad!”
Fwee-bah said, “Quiet, kid!”
“But Daddy promised!”
“No pets,” Jayadu said. “It’s not humane.”
Jayadu said, “They aren’t tame creatures, dear - ”
Fwee-bah interrupted, “And they haven’t had their shots!”
Jayadu said, “ - they’re wild animals, dear -”
Fwee-bah interrupted, “Wildlife with nukes!”
“- and they deserve to remain in their natural habitat.”
“No pet-taking,” said Gazzik. “Agreed.”
Then the Prez said (in Titanian! But with an American accent);
“Then be welcome. But remember, it’s our world.”
‘Our’ world. Intrinsic. We’re kind of attached to it.