Monday, April 16, 2012

Titanic Vacation: entries 1 and 2

          Today I start blogging "Titanic Vacation", a travel-guide memoir starring Sogwa the supercat.


            Titanic Vacation 

            Dear Diary:
            Today the aliens came, but they didn’t come to conquer, not really. Nor to destroy, not on purpose. Really all they wanted was some time off. Lucky for them, and luckier still for us, I was here to say hello.
            When I heard the giant flying saucer swoop overhead, I turned on the TV, but it was useless as usual. It was yelling that the situation was under control, so I figured there was big trouble. I needed real news, so I went on the Web.
            The Web’s tricky; if you don’t watch out, then you might be fooled. (With TV you don’t have to watch out, because you’re bound to be fooled.) was a gaming site. was a reality show, and was a blog about politics. Finally I found for realtime video.
            The webcam showed the saucer parked over Kirby Cove. It had a sign on it, written in Titanian; “Gamma-Ray Taxi Saucers”. (I can read and speak Titanian because I took a summer course in it last year. It and Nessie and Vorlon. I thought they might came in handy someday.)
            Blue Angel jets had already tried buzzing the saucer, but they couldn’t get through the saucer’s forcefield. Their missiles didn’t fire, their navigation was messed up, and their radar couldn’t even see the saucer, so the jets had returned to base.
            Bloggers were ranting, officials were issuing statements, pundits and comics were chiming in, and worst of all the TV was saying not to panic.
            The whole situation was scary, so I decided to do something about it.
            So I got into my kitty-saucer and I....
            ... wait a minute, Zweedrix is whining about the ‘tiny, tiny tent’. Back to you later,
                        Yours, Sogwa

            Dear Diary:
            Whew! That was tons of work.
            As I was saying, dear Dairy, I rode up to Kirby Cove in my kitty-saucer. I wanted to hang out with aliens, but I had to introduce myself first. So I hovered over the water, in the Golden Gate, right outside Kirby Cove, and looked our guests over.
            Their ship was a big saucer, hovering overhead, casting all of Kirby Cove into shadow. It had a force-field halo; that was what kept the Blue Angels off. Four of them walked off a ramp from the saucer.
            They had three long legs, 100 feet or so tall, holding up a saucer body. Each of the three legs had two knees; and their feet had three toes in front, one in back, like crow’s feet. The saucer head had six eyes, and six arms with six fingers per arm. (Later I learned that they have a mouth-beak on top of saucer body, and the butt is underneath.)
            And they talk by radio. I heard them on my kitty-saucer’s radio. The big one said to the Gamma-Ray Taxi Saucer, “Come back in three days.” Then the saucer flew off.
            That’s when I spoke up. I broadcast in radio, and I said in Titanian, “Welcome to Earth! I am Sogwa the supercat, and I’ll be your guide on your visit to our alien planet.”
            Notice that I said, our alien planet. It’s home to us, but it’s alien to an alien. I also used the intrinsic ‘our’, just to show that we’re kind of attached to it.
            The big one lifted an arm to its suit. It fiddled with some controls there, and the force field extended itself around me. Inside the force field the Blue Angels were less noisy but not much. The big Titanian clicked a dial on its suit past “Vorlon” and “Nessie” to “English”; then it spoke to me. It said, “You speak very good Titanian.”
            “And you speak very good English.” Not really, his suit’s voice was kind of robotic, but that’s what you say to a guest.
            “We’ve been listening to your TV broadcasts,” said the second smallest Titanian.
            The smallest one said, “ ‘ That’s one small step for man...”
            The second smallest one said, “... one giant leap for mankind!’ ”
            And they both started making humpback-whale noises. They squeaked, they squonked, they arooed. That’s how Titanians laugh.
            The second-tallest Titanian said, “Children, children, be polite! Don’t make fun of other species’ gaffes! It was a first step, so of course it was a misstep! Hi there, Sogwa-the-supercat -”
            “- Sogwa will do - ”
            “- we’re the Zeffycams. I’m Zeffycam Jayadu, this is my husband Zeffycam Gazzik.”
            The smallest Titanian said, “I’m Zweedrix, and that is my annoying big sister Fwee-bah.”
            The second-smallest said, “Who are you calling annoying, you brat? Sorry, Sogwa. That’s my kid brother for you.”
            Jayadu said, “Children, children! Why are you misbehaving so?”
            “My suit. It’s itchy,” Zweedrix whined.                                
            “My suit?” I asked, using the intrinsic possessive. That is, my suit, intrinsic, as in my hair, rather than my suit, extrinsic, as in my hat.
            “My suit!” said Zweedrix. Intrinsic.
            Fwee-bah said, “And I’m worried about Deebzo.”
            Gazzik said, “Don’t be worried, little princess.” Little? She was 50 feet tall! “They’ll take good care of your pet at the jurachi hotel.”
            Fwee-bah said, “Can I call to check in on it?”
            Gazzik said, “No. No hyperspace phone, no entanglement, nothing superluminal.”
            “We’re camping, dear,” Gazzik said. “We’ll do without.”
            Gazzik said, “Self-denial builds character!
            The children said, “Awww...”
            Jaydu said, “It’s only for three days.”
            I asked, “Is that Earth days or Titan days?”
            “Oh!” said Jayadu. “I see. Well, Titan days.”
            And each Titan day is sixteen Earth days! So they were planning to stay for forty-eight Earth days. I noted this, to tell others later.
            I helped the Zeffycams set up camp in Kirkby Cove. Like I said, it was tons of work. First thing, they raised a tent. It covers the entire battery on Kirby Cove. Jayadu called the tent “cozy”, Zweedrix called it “tiny, tiny.”
            Next they fired up a force field to keep off the Blue Angels, who had returned and were buzzing the place. Gazzik called them “pesky annoyances”, but said ‘their’ suits could handle them, even without the force field. ‘Their’ suits, intrinsic possessive. I guess they’re kind of attached to those suits.
            They sat at the cliff’s edge, dangling their feet in the ocean below. Fwee-bah said, “Oh, a pinch!” She lifted a foot, and dangling at the end was Great White Shark. She said “Cute little fishie! Can we keep it, Mom?”
            “No, throw it back. Gently, dear, this is a high-gee world! Remember, we’re here to see the wildlife, not interfere with it!” Jayadu waved a tentacle at the forest, the ocean - and the city.
            By then it was dusk, so I excused myself for a ‘brief nap’ - that is, a night’s sleep. They’ll stay up for another few Earth days, then sleep for six.    
                        Yours, Sogwa

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