Chapter 8, "A Kidnapping and A Rescue and A Disturbing Conversation"
Christopher's personal spaceship, it must be noted, was decorated much like a swingin' pad from the 70's. Shag carpets, lava lamps, and everything in sight looking like it was painted by a three-year-old on acid. A disco ball hung from the ceiling, flashing beams of light in every direction through the dim, smoke filled room. I could only gape.
"Oh, sorry about that," Christopher apologized, hitting a switch. The disco ball receded into the ceiling as the lights came up and the fog diminished. "I hope you won't take the lighthearted nature of my ship as any indication that this is not a serious rescue mission."
I was still a little bit stunned, I have to tell you. "Christopher," I sputtered goofily, "I didn't even know you had a spaceship."
Christopher shrugged. "Technically it's Hector's. But he hasn't really used it much since...well, you know." Her voice warbled momentarily but she kept it together, oh yes, that Christopher knows how to keep it together.
"How did you even know where I was?" I demandingly prodded.
She threw a small, blinking device at my feet. "You and Xlormp got those pet trackers installed on each other," she reminded me. "I...uh...took the liberty of hacking into the remote locator."
I nodded. The lengths Christopher would go to stalk me from afar never ceased to impress and astound me.
"I just thought you might enjoy, you know, not being trapped on a completely different planet," she murmured carefully.
"True!" I acknowledged truthfully.
"And anyway, we have a great many things to discuss. About, you know, not getting you killed in the coming alien death match."
I sighed. "You know, Christopher, I kind of don't want to talk about potential death at the hands of aliens."
She shrugged. "I know, but seriously...do you really want your brain re-located into a completely seperate dimension?"
"I - what? No, I guess?" The question took me aback, at least as far back as the wall of the ship. Another dimension? Didn't Tallybonkers just feast on your brainwaves and leave it at that? Was Christopher speaking crazytalk? "What do you mean, anyway?"
"That's the weapon you wouldn't let me tell you about. You know. When you ran away so suddenly." Her voice remained strong, but I knew in her heart there were painful stabbings going on. I tried not to feel to lame about that. She took a deep breath and continued her explanation: "It's been in the works for decades now. Normally, the little buggers are content to eat your tasty thoughts and spit you back out, a mangled, warbling doof of a soul."
I nodded. I knew about that part pretty well, I thought, living myself with a victim of such doofdom.
"But that really wasn't good enough for some of them. Some of them were like, 'Hey, it would be a lot more convenient if we had a whole bunch of brains just ready to eat, like TV dinners, all tucked away in one place.' Did you know Tallybonkers are trans-dimensional aliens?"
Christopher stared at me, waiting for my response. I rubbed my temples, not sure what to do with all of these big words. "I do not contain that knowledge in my head," I informed her.
She groaned. "See, if Hector had just let me teach you..." She shook her head. "Anyway, the point is, they want to suck out whole, entire brains and hide them in another dimension, so that there is this big supply of nummy Tallybonker snacks readily available all the time. They've finally completed the weapon to do that. And that's what I was trying to tell you. That one of dad's partners was working on a way to combat that weapon before he died."
Things started to make a little bit more sense, but I still thought all of this alien brain eating business was ridiculous. Because seriously, if every freaking alien in the entire spaciness of space wanted to eat my brain, I didn't understand why said brain hadn't already been eaten by the alien I loved, damn the trial. It would just solve so many problems. I said as much to Christopher.
"Christopher," I said, "I just don't understand why my brain hasn't already been eaten by the alien I love. It would just solve so many problems."
I noticed my friend's shoulders slump the teensiest bit. She remained silent for many a second. Then, when she was done being silent, she spoke. "Frig, I would miss you so bad."
I wibbled a little bit. "Yeah, but it's not like you wouldn't be able to hang out, right? Aliens hang out with alien hunters all the time!"
Christopher shot me a look along the lines of, "You realize how retarded that sounded, right?" And I nodded. Because I did.
"You don't have to give up your brain, Frig," Christopher said. "I bet there is still information on that weapon, we just have to find it. We can save you! 'We' being, you know, me and maybe Hector."
I nodded. "And Xlormp and Klaxie."
Christopher rolled her eyes. "They are just more aliens that want to eat your brain!"
"Nuh-uh!" I insisted snottily. "Klaxie just did a whole sock puppet show on how he didn't want to eat my brain!"
"But their Leader wants to eat your brain, and how long do you really think they're going to ignore that?"
I pouted gloweringly. "Why are you being a meany pants?"
"I'm not -" She struggled to make her mouth form the words she wanted, gave up, and dropped her arms by her sides.
But if she was going to say anything else, I sure didn't hear it, because a voice boomed over the intercom of the ship.
"Excuse me, Ms. Haberdash, but I'm taking my female human back now." It was Xlormp. My heart hastily formed a marching band which began to play celebratory tunes in my ribcage. I grinned mightily at Christopher, surely she was as pleased as I that my space lover had so quickly returned to me? But as I got sucked out of the ship in Xlormp's teleportation beam, I caught a glance of her face. A mask of miserableness.
But Xlormp was not miserable at all! In fact, he seemed quite happy! He wrapped his tentacles around me in a squeezing way, and I felt thoroughly squeezed.
"You're back!" I observed obviously. "I thought you'd be gone for three days?"
"It turns out the meeting went much quicker than that, and anyway, I can't have you being snatched up by alien hunters all the time. Seriously, Frig, this is getting ridiculous."
For once, Xlormp said something I found not only heartrendingly wonderful to listen to, but also true. "Yes," I affirmed, "it is."
The slime factory picked up on the tone in my voice, because he cocked his head to the side. "I think perhaps we mean different things are ridiculous," he asserted correctly.
There was kind of an uncomfortable pause, which Xlormp decided to fill with lots of seductive fondling. I was all for seductive fondling, and I let him fondle away, and I felt all nice and fondled, but then the fondling stopped and Xlormp said, "What do you mean?"
Only a little irritated about the sudden lack of fondling, I said, "I mean that it's ridiculous that I can't hang out with Christopher, and that you stuck me on a different planet just to play Old Maid with Klaxie, and oh man, Xlormp, do you know what I just thought of?"
"No," he stated.
I have no idea why the thought crossed my brain, maybe it was that weird sock puppet show, maybe it was my brain battling to make my life miserable, but a question forced its way into my thoughts and refused to let go until I asked it. "Xlormp, do Zmeephish-Quians ever fall in love with...you know...other Zmeephish-Quians?"
I felt Xlormp's tentacles release their grippy grip on me slightly. "Why do you ask?"
"The answer intrigues me," I replied.
"Hmm. The answer, then, is no."
"How do you procreate?"
Xlormp wiggled a little. "That response may disturb your small human mind. Just know that it is slimy. And not at all romantic. Not like..." he leaned me backwards, dipping me deeply like a tango dancer, "...us. And anyway also there aren't any female Zmeephish-Quians. We're all sort of...both."
I stared at him. "So...uh...you're part girl?"
Xlormp seemed embarrassed by my pointing it out to him that way. "I...a little. But I'm one hundred percent yours."
I tried not to think about the girl parts I may have inadvertently stuck my limbs in during our wriggling sessions. This whole conversation was kind of freaking me out.
"If you're all part girl, then why do all the aliens seem to only take girl humans as slaves?"
"Why are you asking so many questions, Frig?" Xlormp wondered, pulling me back to my feet. "It's really not good for you, you know."
He didn't let me think of anymore questions to ask. As his slime covered me, I grasped at a limb to yank off, not worrying whether it was a boy limb or not.
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