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The Observer by Tucker Spolter 

Chapter 5

 Krista woke from a dream where she was surrounded by roan-colored, blunt horned, singing beasts who hummed and waved to her.  She reached for Simba. He was gone ‘What’s the old adage? Early cat gets the furry creature meal?”

     Krista took a small slice from a bell-berry, ‘No adverse effects so far and they’re even better for breakfast,’ she thought as she chewed a chocolate power bar and climb the ramp into the shuttle. ‘First on the agenda some more appropriate clothes. Tropical. Feminine.’  

     Outside Simba mewed and bounded into the shuttle. “Ah, you're just in time. It’s always nice to have a second opinion.” Krista held out her dark blue, regulation trousers up to her eyes. “These are comfortable, durable, and utilitarian.  And since I am no longer a ship’s officer. . . And these pants are better designed for men than women,” Krista pointed to the crotch and looked at Simba. “If you know what I mean.” Simba mewed.

     Krista stared. “Was that a response?” 

     Simba blinked. 

     “I might be losing it. I'm discussing habove the knee and eyed her work.  'Not bad.'   On the new hems, she cut a triangular pattern finishing with a sexy slit up the left leg. 

     Now, curled at Krista's feet, Simba looked up. 

     “What’d you think cat? Iuama fashions by Krista.” 

     Simba  mewed.

     “You have a good . . . Well a cats-eye for fashion.” Krista laughed and brought the scissors to her powder blue Erebus pull-over.  She cut the sleeves below the elbow and   and snipped again from the waist to a modest length below her breasts. ‘Never know when a tall darker stranger that looks like. . . Well, Hanar . . . sorry Dominic Ziggant, but you’re a couple of millions of miles away by now —.  And Hanar is handsome and so humble and polite. 

     Krista mind flashed back to her meeting at the Council of Equals. Sagra had  chastised Hanar for using drugs and sedating her.  

     Hanar had stood sheepishly and said, “I didn't know if you were alone or armed.  I didn't know if you were about to attack us.” 

     'He was especially polite when he bowed his head to me and promised to improve his behavior in the future.'   Krista's  thoughts quickly turned erotic. Mostly of images of Hanar, but former lovers soon entered her mind.  She was fifteen the first time she let anyone else explore her breasts or between —‘ She fought the feelings for a bit and then succumbed to pleasure. Darius was so cute. So clumsy. But when you're young and in love, it doesn't matter.' 

     Simba bounded out of the shuttle door and down the ramp onto the beach. 






     After a time Krista joined him. ‘This is embarrassing. Never going to get anything done,’ she thought, ‘if I keep letting myself go like that.’ She looked to the ocean where a particularly large wave slammed the shore and a plume of foam shot into the air. The smell of salt reached her nose as she stepped further out of the shuttle's grotto and into the morning sunlight. 

     A long line of pentapods clicked their way along the ocean’s edge. The gull-flyers dove into and flew out of the cresting waves.  ‘This whole planet is wonderfully erotic. Her mind jumped to Dominic and Santa’s Sleigh. He was naked. He smiled. Krista started to succumb. ‘Not again.' Time for a run,’ she laughed, donned her newly fashinoned shorts and shirt and headed for the shore.  Simba bounded along by her side.

     “Hey cat,  how do you like the name Bounder?”

     Simba paused.  Brought both paws to his chin and turned his head left and right. 

     Okay, something else then.” Krista spun around on the sand in front of Simba. “Well, what do you think cat?. . .  Like the new me?”

     Simba mewed.

     “I'll take that as a mew of approval,” Krista smiled, and pulled off her star ship shoes. . “Time to toughen up the feet,’ she explained to Simba. 

     Simba nodded. 

     “Cats do not nod.”

     Simba blinked one eye. 

     “Okay, this cat nods.  Care to go for a jog along the beach?”

      Again Simba gave a nod.

     “Right and you jog too.”

     Simba rose on his haunches and glanced down the beach. 

     “Okay, cat, let’s do it.”

     Krista tip-toed over the harder stones until she reached the finer sand. To the south, past the waterfall were scattered beaches separated by steep cliffs and intricate coves.

     'Need shoes to run that way.’ She turned north. The beach extended at least several miles before bending out of sight. A wave crashed on her right. ‘Gotta’ watch for sleeper waves. And with the size of this planets normal waves, they should be called ‘Wipe-You-Clean-Off-Your-Feet’ waves.’ 

      Krista started to run then turned back to Simba, still on his haunches. Still watching. 

     “See you later cat,” Krista shouted and took off down the beach. 

     In a flash, Simba was easily bounding alongside. ‘Cats do not jog,’ she thought. Between breaths, she looked at Simba.  'But it’s nice to have company.' 

     At one end of their run, Krista went into a series of vigours aerobic exercises including matrial arts kicks and thrust. Simba watched in fasinaion. Now covered in a fine sheen of sweat, Krista stripped and dove into the fold of a large wave. Simba  didn’t hesitate. He followed her into the surf and hurriedly cat-padded over a swell into the calmer water beyond. 

     Later, Krista used her new shorts to pat herself dry. Simba purred, arched his back, shook the salt water from his fur and disappeared into the high grass and reeds along the shore. 

     For a while, Krista waited for Simba to return. ‘He’ll find his way back,’ she reasoned.  But what if he doesn’t? . . . I'd sure miss the company. The cat. . . Hell super cats,  been a nice addition – ’

     Without thinking, Krista sang the first verse of ‘Gentle Skies,’ a sad childhood favorite that gave her comfort when she was alone or afraid of the dark.


Gentle skies. sunlit, quiet and free.

Winds make the leaves move and ripple like the sea

Rain makes the flowers grow. 

The sun warms together / you and me



     She stopped at the second verse where you're supposed to clap and whistle  ‘Let’s see how smart this feline is.’ Krista thought. She dressed and started back down the beach. After a hundred yards, she stopped and looked back for Simba. “Here goes.” She curled her lip and pressed her tongue forward.  Krista's whistle was shrill and high. 

     Almost instantly there was a rustle of leaves and a snap behind her. Krista turned. On a boulder above the red sand sat Simba.  He gave Krista a quizzical look, and mewed twice.

     ‘Weirder and weider.' she thought. ‘My cat responds to a whistle?'  “I guess you are my cat now.’ Krista laughed. “You’re sneaky, but clever.”

     Simba mewed twice. 

     Krista held out her hands. “Come here cat.” 

     Simba lept off the boulder, bounded across the beach and into her arms.






      After a day of taking notes and pictures of her immeditate surroundings Krista sat at the control panel of the shuttle and reopened her observers account. As soon as the pencil-thin mic extended from the top she began.   


    “To:  Current members of the World Oversight Council 

    “From: Krista Aanya Tay  - Ob5-MD 


“I will dispense with star dates in this and further reports.

I believe the reader (s) will find it easier to understand events as they occurred.

     Ergo:  This is Iuama Day 2 – 17:00 hours.”


     ‘Two turns. Seems like two weeks,’ she thought as she recorded her early experiences with the pentapods, anunu, and bell-berries.  Today Simba and I – 


     [Observers side note 3]


     “Today Simba and I –    

     If the crew of the Erebus is wondering what happened to their mascot Simba. He  

abandoned ship and is with me. 


     “Contiued:  Although I've only observed a minute part of this world, it promises a bounty of anmial and plant life. I will wait until I next contact members of the populace before I enter the their given names. But I thought it might help the reader visualize some of creatures by the monikers I've given them today on a exploratory outing with my cat. 

      Kirsta continued for an hour describling water, air and land creatures she seen.  Including the parrot beatle, bush whiner, helmeted-flyer, purple beaked ground bird, star-nosed fish,  stinger-crab and the Cat-Snack mouse creature Simba'd brought to dinner.”  She ended her report with:

     “Respectfully submitted,   Krista Aanya Tay Ob5-MD.”


     Krista rolled her shoulders, strectched and rose.  ‘I think I’ll give it a few more days before I return to Lakal and find out what all the fuss and drama was about. I'll definitely test the waters on vis-com before landing.’ She exited the grotto to a setting sun and a rising moon and spent some time improving her campsite. ‘Hell, I’m not moving in,’ Krista looked at the ocean. ‘Time for another swim.” 


     During an extended waterfall shower, Krista was rained on again.  This time by an anunu and a smaller blue fish with a silver stripe extending to the fin. It fought when Krista tried to trap it in her hands. But it flipped out of her grasp, into the pond, and down the stream into the ocean. ‘Fought like the devil,’ she thought. Christening the creature a ‘Devil-Tail.’ Note to self. Make a net. Plenty of fish available here from the river and the   the ocean. 

     From the leafy walls above came aye aye cries as two gull-flyers returned from the ocean both with silver fish like creatures in their bills.  'Scrambled eggs for breakfast,' she decided while grabbing a handfull of bell-berries.


     That night she and Simba enjoyed a feast. Even raiding the shuttle's food rations for a fruit drink and a bowl of  powdered milk for her cat. Earlier Simba Cat had disappeared and reappeared several times with different contributions to dinner. A two-legged feathery creature, when plucked and kebobed over the fire, Krista found delicious. Cat’s webbed, hard-shell contribution, Krista found malodorous and repugnant.  Simba finished in two bites. Wipping the tip of his pink tongue over his lip in satisfaction. 

     “Okay, you like it.  But what’s dinner without dessert? How about a treat? Krista peeled off the shell of a bell-berry, squished a bit of pulp onto a finger tip and offered Simba a taste. "Tomorrow you and I are going to do some serious exploring.” 

     Simba leaned in, gave the bell-berry a lick, and turned his head away. 

     “Fine. You’re missing out. They’re delicious.”  Krista swallowed the bell-berry and peeled the shell from a second. “What do you think? Shouldn’t three days be enough time for everyone in Lakal to calm down?” 

     Simba mewed. Krista shelled a third bell-berry. This time chewing slowly savoring each delicious bite. She pulled Simba onto her lap and ran her hand up and down his flank. "Still can’t figure out what was going on that day.” 

     Krista looked up at the two moons and a sky splashed with stars. ‘But I can’t spend the rest of my days alone. . . or talking to a cat,’she thought.

     Simba turned his head. The slits in his eyes flashed yellow-green as they opened and closed. He mewed. 

      “What? Are you reading my thoughts now?” ‘Speaking of thoughts,’ Krista looked at her mem-cam I should be recording my observations . . . though . . . feeling awfully sleepy. . .’ Krista lay back looking at the companion moons. ‘So beautiful. Like a couplee dancing. Simba curled in next to her.  Automatically Krista began to stroke him.  Simba purred contentedly.


     The first pang of pain struck Krista just after midnight. The second pang minutes later. Krista turned with a gasp, clutching her abdomen as a series of razor-sharp pangs traveled from one side of her body to the other. She gagged and turned on her side. She convulsed violently, heaved, and vomited over the side of the cot. A sheet of sweat covered her body. “Water. Got to get to the stream.’  Krista fought to rise. She heaved again. Then again.  One leg dropped out of the cot. She pushed upward. Her foot slipped in her own vomit. Failing her arms,Krista she fell backward into unconsciousness. She never heard Simba's  mews of concern.  She never saw Simba disappear.   

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