"A new sentient species, once planted and growing amongst the stars, is graciously watered with intelligence by the natural cosmic forces, endowing each intelligent life form the ability to comprehend universal truths--such as the right to freedom, the right to pleasure, and the right to safety in life. Such an evolving species is also born into existence with an equal amount of responsibility required to preserve and advance those truths. The species that ultimately grows roots and survives the natural cosmic culling are the ones who vigilantly, and equitably, maintain such truths in daily life and follow the galactic golden rule."
-- Ha'o Federation Council Warning to Evolving Species
Galaxy Abell 1835 IR1916 ...Planet EOS
Two happy, shaven headed, cherubic men, Kip and Loki, glided on a recreational G2 antigrav out toward a grassland reservation on planet Eos. The G2 looked like a rubber water raft except it floated on cushion of air instead of water. It had two doors with lots of electronic gadgets for sightseeing in the only wild woods left on Eos. Both men were on their mandated annual vacation. The Ministry of Health required such relaxation for all planetarians. Loki and Kip were old friends and were excited about the one week reprieve.
Loki was looking for inner spiritual peace. Kip was looking for the truth of life. Neither man knew that the Galaxy had many evolving societies, and that the pursuit of truth and inner peace was a maze that only a few ever mastered. Both pursuits were usually answered by societies as a quagmire of confabulations, concoctions and dissertations aimed at hiding real truth and peace. For in the Galaxy, truth and inner peace are powerful forces, forces hoarded on some worlds by the nefarious few, who believe that such forces can be contained for one's selfish motives. These two men are about to embark on a vacation, one much longer and quite different then either expected.
"Loki--what in the name of Mother Madea is that?" asked Kip, scratching his cleanly shaved, olive-green head. Looking out the passenger side of the G2, Kip inspected the ocean side horizon of Zadonia. An eerie orange glow illuminated the dark blue evening sky. The glow was getting brighter with pulsing ripples of flamboyant colors passing through the sky like pebbles dropped in a lake of fire.
Driving the two passenger G2, the pot bellied Loki mediated in the happiness zone, otherwise known as the 'Zadonian Zee'. The normally serene Greenland Preserve was perfect for mediation, especially with the G2 on autopilot, but Kip's use of Mother Madea's name broke Loki's concentration. Besides, the psychedelic sky was unnerving.
"Relax Kip, and watch your language--Mother Madea is ever-present, my brother, and her name should never be taken in vain." Loki looked at Kip as a Mother Madea preacher would a child who'd gotten caught sun burning chili-ants with a magnifying glass.
Kip frowned but kept his lips shut. He knew he'd never convince Loki that the real Mother Madea was dead and no more present that the bungle berry pancake brunch they'd eaten an hour earlier. Kip had read a banned Zadonian book called 'Mother Madea Exposed in the Nude' and didn't really believe that Mother Madea was ever-present, but he usually followed her laws, for the alternative was rehabilitation at Mother Madea's enlightenment camp. Or, in more colloquial terms, prison.
"Sorry Loki--but just that sky line over there is really wookin weird."
The chubby Loki smiled, thinking of tasty wookin sausages. "It sure is my brother, but I don't think it's from a wookin. Hasn't been one of those fat juicy birds living in the grasslands for years. They live deeper in the preserve, probably near Lake Liberty."
Kip hit the G2 data screen and said: "Historical data on wookin ducks, hundred word summary."
The console put up the text:
Wookins in Zadonia are pack hunting omnivorous ducks that eat toxic mushrooms and pass hallucinogenic gas to daze and confuse their rodent prey. Zadonian Erites make sausages using the intestines of cooked wookins for religious ceremonies. Wookins can also be cooked whole but care must be taken to remove the toxic liver and other internal parts. Every year many locals die from improper preparation of wookins. There are no known antidotes to wookin poisoning.
When hunting wookins one must never be downwind of a hunting pack--or the hunter can become befuddled, and the hunter can even become the hunted.
Kip smiled. He loved learning about everything; he knew that somehow it was all connected and that even a strange duck had some kind of meaning in the Universe.
Loki glided the rented G2 cruiser across the green grassy Zadonian woodland preserve, smoothly stopping the small craft on a small hill right before the chipchee tree line. While hovering, he casually stared down the valley toward the ocean at the blazing orange light. He grimaced like a child observing an unwanted vegetable on a dinner plate. In a calm and pensive voice Loki spoke. "It's probably nothing but a meteor--."
BANG! BOOM! Eruptions bellowed from the sky above.
The supersonic blast interrupted Loki's blissful introspection of the situation. His eardrums rang and the ground beneath them shook. Kip's ears were ringing too.
The unusual orange light flickered as the booming sounds erupted, stunning Loki and Kip. Loki instinctively shut off the G2 antigrav engine and softly landed in a patch of grass to check out the situation. He and Kip both anxiously watched the ball of light approach up above the ocean, near the horizon. The source of the sound appeared to be the ball of light. As it approached they could see a comet-type tail behind, spewing out orange flames with charcoal black smoke. Loki originally thought that the ball was a meteorite but the object changed direction in mid flight, and meteorites didn't have ailerons for such control. Or maybe the explosion changed the meteorite's direction?
With the small directional change the ball of light was now headed for the woods, which Loki knew was not good thing since it was the hot season and the woods were very dry. Because of the recent weather changes on Eos, Zadonia weather was mostly classified as the 'hot season', even in the winter. A forest fire could cause havoc. The Zadonian Greenland Preserve was one of the last places on planet Eos that actually had a forest. Forests were pretty but they weren't that useful in feeding the forty-five billion inhabitants of Eos. The possibility of a fire concerned Loki so he started the antigrav engine and headed even higher up the hill into the chipchee woods. After about a one kiloclick ride Loki spotted a clearing near a rock ledge. He parked at the top to get a better view of the object. He considered calling the Erite Patrols on the talkie but assumed that they had to already be on their way.
Wonder why the Peoples' Broadcast News didn't send out a radio message to the G2? thought Loki. In the distance the fireball rushed across the sky and turned again toward a lower valley. Another percussion wave rattled as the object turned. Thank Mother Madea that no one lives in the preserve. Loki knew that Mother Madea did things in strange ways. Loki trusted Mother Madea like a three year old child trusted a parent.