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The Observer by Tucker Spolter 

Chapter 3

 The sun was low and one of Iuama's two moons was already in the sky when Krista awoke.  Wipping her finger tips across drozzy eyes. “That was a Amazing! Wonderful.'  Orgasms like that will take some time getting used to. . . Time well spent,' she sighed with pleasure. 

      Krista grathered her clothes and staggered to her feet.  With lazy stretch, she looked up and down the beach. 'Now, I really needed a shower.’ Her slow walked became a leisurely skip over the crimson sand as she headed toward the waterfall. 

     Back-lit by the decending sun, shadowly forms of  different sea creatures were visible between the crest and trough of the larger waves. ‘Tomorrow I'll do a little fishing. A little drawing. And record some pictures and  give these creatures some names until I –  

     Krista ducked as four gossamer winged creatures flew directly over her head. They made a high-pitched squeak-leak sound and disappeared over the crest of a breaking   wave. ‘Translucent wings like the dragonflies of Loth,’ Krista thought. ‘Calling you dragon-fliers. Though I’m certain the people of Iuama have a better name.’

     Krista crossed the stream and climbed a small incline. A series of clicks caught her attention. She turned. Where the stream entered the ocean a half dozen objects darted along the edge of the waves. Krista moved closer. The creatures ignored her presence. ‘Pentapods,’ Krista counted the legs. ‘With bright white domes.’ Krista christened them ‘white caps. Which would make them almost invisible from the air. Maybe the dragon fliers are their natural predators.”  From a distance and above the sound of the waves came a loud cat mew. ‘What is that cat up to?’

     The white caps moved in a wiggly line. One directly after the other until the leader stopped to munch on a greenish slime. The following pentapod leaped over the grazer followed by the next four. The group waited patiently until the grazer finished its meal and then they scurried along through the shallow surf until the new leading pentapod found a splatter of the green slime and the leapfrog process was repeated. Krista watched almost giggling. ‘Starting to really enjoy this place. Lots to observe. Lots to learn.  And I'm --’  

     Krista hopped over the carcass of a jagged toothed, one-eyed member of the fish family.  'A grotesque cyclops and . . . Yet beautiful.'  Krista bent over to inspect the magenta-gold scales and thought better of it. 'No insects are eating the remains and I don't have gloves. Its skin could carry . . . Who knows? Tomorrow. It can wait till tomorrow. ' 

     Moments later Krista stepped tentatively into the pool under the small waterfall. The cascade of water was a pleasant needle massage. Krista spun luxuriating in the feeling. Her motion turned to a dance. Softly, she began to sing a favorite childhood song.








‘I feel wonderful.’  She sang louder. 









     ‘I might even add a few of creatures from Iuama to that tune. She tapped her feet on the bottom of the pond and squeezed her toes in the soil. 

     “HOLY FARGUS!”  Krista shouted when an oily object smacked the side of her head and slithered down her naked torso. 

     In the pool of water at her feet lay a stunned anunu fish. “Ah, ha. Dinner and cat food.” Krista grabbed the fish with both hands and flipped it onto the sand. ‘Wonder what other foods are nearby?’ 

     She eyed the cliffs to her left and right. A myriad of green vegetation covered the rocks in most parts. Blue speckled blubs seemed to be the dominate form of fauna.  'If I was a nesting flyer that's where I would – as if on cue a gull-flyer appeared and flew off toward the ocean and a second gull-flyer approached the cliff to a plaintiff  bloop-bloop cry from somewhere in the vegetation.  'The children are hungry.' 

     The gull-flyer found purchase on one of the thousands of leafed vines cascading down the cliff then vanished. 

      It took a few beats until Krista's epiphany “Eggs! Natures multi-vitamins. ” She said aloud.  'So many planets where nature uses eggs to incubate their young.

     On a hunch, Krista twisted loose several of the powder-blue bulbs from a vine and inspected them in the palm of her hand.  ‘Look like little bells,’ she thought. ‘Calling them bell-berries.  Wonder if they're edible.  I’m hungry – Time for dinner.’

     In a nook between the cliffs near the shuttle, Krista latched a tarp to several outcroppings of rock creating a tilted roof.  She fastened the tarp’s corners with spikes and added large stones for good measure. Twice she’d seen dark clouds and flashes of lighting far out over the ocean.  ‘A good shield from the sun and any of those rain and salt storms I flew into on the way here.’ 

     The shuttle’s triage containers provided blankets, pillows, and several cots.  Two cots  she tied together. ‘No point sleeping on the sand. There have to be other critters besides pentapods scurrying about. And I tend to toss about when I sleep.’

     As the sun dropped toward the horizon, Krista built a small campfire using the legs of  a medical stool as kindling. ‘Tomorrow I’ll find something local to burn. Can’t burn up all the supplies.’ She fileted the anunu and laid it on a flat stone in the middle of the fire. Almost immediately Krista was greeted with a long, sharp mew. 

      ‘Ah, a dinner guest,’ Krista smiled. Simba mewed a second time from across the small stream. In his mouth was a lifeless furry creature. Krista rose to her feet. ‘Cats don’t like water I’ll help him—“

     Simba bounded along the edge of the stream, then into the water.  He ducked his head into the stream and shook the lifeless creature in the water.  Krista watched stunned. ‘Cats do not like water.  Cats do not wash off their—‘ 

     Simba swam the rest of the way across the stream and shook itself and its prey several more times. 

     ‘A swimming cat?’ She thought. ‘A swimming cat, bringing hors de oeuvres to dinner. What else?’

     Simba mewed and made an offering of the fury hedgehog-like creature Krista politely declined.  Simba sat on its loins with its prey in his mouth and gave Krista a  have-it-your-way shrug. 

     ‘Cats do not shrug,’ Krista thought, but offered bits of anunu which the Simba accepted with a purr.

     “Do you like the name Simba.”

     Simba immediately stopped eating, brought both paws to his whiskered cheeks and turned his head left and right. 

     “Me neither.”  Simba mewed.  “I'll think of something.”

     Simba purred went back to anunu. 

     “I'm discussing name changes with a cat.” 

     Simba purred again. 


      While they ate the sun disappeared in reds and oranges over the horizon. Billowing clouds soared skyward where the star had vanished. A short time later Simba mewed and lifted a paw toward a small yellow moon just joining it's larger, whiter companion. .

     “Yes, they’re beautiful.”

     Simba mewed. 

     “I’m talking to a cat.”

     ‘Dessert?’ Krista questioned as she peeled the rind off of one of the bell-berries. The fruit inside was deep purple and bumpy. For a second she thought of offering the first bite to Simba to see if there were any adverse effects. Then reconsidered and took a small, absolutely delicious bite. ‘Vanilla and cinnamon – unbelievable. Make this into ice cream or a candy bar and Krista Tay would be a hero throughout the galaxy. She juggled the   bell-berry from one hand to the other And peeled off a second sliver.  ‘Oh, the second morsel is even better. But, that’s it for now. Two small bits. Have to make sure there are no side effects.'  

     Krista rinsed the shuttle's eating implements in the stream and washed the cooking stone. As the moons rose higher she locked the shuttle setting the door to her voice command.

     When she stretched and gazed at the moons and stars Simba stretched and gazed right along with her. ‘This cat is crazy,’ Krista thought as she crawled under a blanket on her double cot combination. ‘Busy day,’ she thought. ‘But I did okay. I wonder how far away the Erebus is by now?’ She sighed. 

     Just as she started to lose herself to a bout of sadness Simba leapt onto the cot, spun around twice, pawed the blanket with his claws, and snuggled next to Krista’s shoulder with a long, drawn-out purr. 

     ‘Now I’m sleeping with a cat.’

     Krista petted. Simba purred. Together they fell to sleep to the breaking surf as the moons crossed the sky. 

     Exhausted, neither noticed parts of Iuama come alive with the night. Around their cot and along the shore tiny crimson petals peeked between the grains of sand and sent spiraling tendrils toward ocean. 

    The rock wall behind the waterfall began to glow and then burst into an aqua-green bio-luminescence.  Tiny insects swarmed about the vegetation in a cacophony of twills and clicks. 

    Above and further away – in the field of reeds and high grass came the sounds of hunter and the squeal of the hunted. Krista turned in her sleep murmuring, “So much to learn.”

     A moon-lit ocean wave rushed toward the shore, crested, broke and covered the crimson sand in a smother of white foam.  

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