Saving A Friend – The Speakeasy

Saving A Friend

“Witherspoon!” said Commander Manuba waving impatiently. “Have a seat.” Beside him sat Captain Reese, looking dour.

Lieutenant Witherspoon made a conscious effort to walk normally. He couldn’t help feeling nervous. A mere lieutenant being called before the Captain and XO was rarely a good thing.

“Relax Witherspoon,” said Reese, running a hand through silver hair. “You’re not in trouble. We need your expertise.”

Another briefing room door opened and in walked two Tooarlik.

To humans, they looked like living predatory dinosaurs. About 5′ at the hips and over 6′ to the top of their heads, the former enemies of humanity were lean and preternaturally graceful. They seemed birdlike, but the recurved teeth in their 22-inch heads belied the notion. It was easy to discern individuals in their mottled blue, brown, and white skin. Ereef was leader of the six Tooarliks aboard the human warship, John Paul Jones. Beside him stood Fanhool, his second in command.

“Gentlemen and…” Reese shot a questioning look at Witherspoon.

Haka, sir,” supplied Witherspoon. “A male Tooarlik.”

“…and Haka. Since the Human/Tooarlik alliance formed six months ago we’ve enjoyed good relations. The transfer program within this anti-piracy task group has been outstanding. Our Marines really like working with you. But now I must give you news that I believe threatens relations in this still young alliance. I’ve brought this command group together so that the events of yesterday afternoon can be discussed among us before anyone else. I hope that we can find a resolution that stays upon this ship.

Reese gave a look at the group that said no one could ever know what happened here. Reese looked at Ereef and said, “First of all, let me apologize for the behavior of 2nd Lieutenant Ogden.” Reese lifted a clicker and started a video on the briefing room screen. It showed the Tooarlik, Choolida, in a compartment leaping from mattress to mattress and ripping them apart, slashing at nothing with his foot-claws.”

Koopal! cursed Fanhool. “He is mad.”

“Perhaps that explains what happened next,” said Reese. He started the video again and it showed 2nd Lieutenant Ogden entering the compartment. Though there was no audio, he was clearly screaming at Choolida. Then Ogden grabbed at the sensitive sensory clusters, like antennae, on Choolida’s lower jaw. Choolida responded suddenly and explosively. Within a second, Choolida bit through Ogden’s arm and removed it. The two separated, Ogden going into shock as blood spurted, Choolida in shock at what he’d done. Choolida lay on the deck and began to keen.

“Ogden is dead,” said Reese. “Bled out. This is Choolida now.” The screen lit with a view of the brig. Choolida lay on his side, eyes looking dull and drool dripping from his jaws.

“He is insane,” said Ereef. “Captain, there are those that will claim working with humans drives us insane. This is a grave threat to our alliance.”

“And if word gets out that a Tooarlik killed a human ally,” said Commander Manuba. “Some humans will try to use it to dissolve the alliance. We like working with you, rather than fighting you.”

“Agreed,” said Ereef.

“Witherspoon,” said Reese. “Choolida worked for you in maintenance. You’re friends too, I understand. What can you add?”

“I remember him complaining he had constant dreams of hunting,” countered Witherspoon.

“Not unusual,” said Fanhool. “On Tooarlik ships we literally hunt our food in large rooms. It is our recreation.”

“But have you hunted here?”

“No. We still eat. Our ship’s have this only as stress relief.”

“Then it’s important?” probed Witherspoon.

“The Tooarlik combat team isn’t insane. Choolida is weak.”

“Captain,” interrupted Ereef. “The answer is simple. I will kill Choolida and report that we fought. This will prevent issues on our end.”

“No!” shouted Witherspoon.

“We’ve already reported Ogden as a maintenance accident, Captain,” said Manuba. “This could save the alliance.”

“Captain wait!”

“I know he’s your friend, Witherspoon,” said Reese.

“Ereef, when was the last time you hunted?” said Witherspoon.

“Before we left our ship. Same as Choolida.”

“But Choolida is the only Tooarlik that works in maintenance. We’ve had four engagements with pirates in the last two months. Tell me, isn’t fighting pirates a lot like hunting? Kind of like stress relief?”

“You could say that.”

“Captain,” said Witherspoon. “Any chance I could borrow the ship’s rec room for a few hours?”

***

Days later Manuba enthused, “You saved the alliance and cured a disease even Tooarlik didn’t know about. Outstanding! How do you feel?”

Witherspoon smiled. “Like I saved a friend.”
___________________________
Written for the Speakeasy at Yeah Write. This week, the prompt sentence is: “No one could ever know what happened here,” which can be located anywhere in the story. To join the fun, find the prompt page here: http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/148-open/

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About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
This entry was posted in Short Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Saving A Friend – The Speakeasy

  1. nabanita21 says:

    Ohh this was a very nice read….Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Like

  2. atrm61 says:

    EA,once again this was amazing story telling-loved the concept of an alliance with a previously hostile/warring dinosaur like species!Loved the name Tooarlik :-)The piece had me holding my breath and a little curious as to what Witherspoon(what a cute name) did to cure Choolida-am afraid my limited grey cells failed to grasp the clue(s) which am sure you must have given-would love to know:-)A wonderful last line!

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you, Atreyee! I’m glad you enjoyed the story. I’ve been thinking about the the Tooarlik in one form or another for some years now. Just tossing ideas around. I wanted to give them life with this story.

      About the solution, I must apologize for being a bit vague. With all that was in my head, this is properly a 7,500 word story rather than a 750 word story. I simply ran out of word space and couldn’t explain thoroughly. In short, the Tooarlik are hunting creatures and need to hunt to maintain good health. Even if it’s chasing a creature around a room for a few minutes, they need to do it or go insane. This is what happened to Choolida. The Tooarlik combat troops fought pirates and that is like hunting for them so they were unaffected. Witherspoon’s solution was to put Choolida in the ship’s botanical garden with an animal and let him hunt it. And that’s what cured Choolida.

      There’s plenty of human equivalents for this. Place a human in a very small space, or cut them off from human contact long enough, they’ll go insane. Plenty of food, air, water to support life is not all a sentient creature needs. There’s always something else.

      Thanks for writing in and I’m sorry the ending was bit obscure.

      Like

      • atrm61 says:

        Oh thank you for taking time out to explain EA and yes I understand about the word limit-had a vague idea about the chase but wondered whom Choolida would chase :-)I agree his story has a lot of potential and you should think of a novel or something-if I could write like you,I would have definitely gone for a book 🙂

        Yes,man is not an island in himself-we all need company -good parallel:-) And hey,no need for apologies-not your fault-I asked cos I felt I needed to know-thank you for the response:-)

        Like

      • EagleAye says:

        Thank you, Atreyee. Another thing I couldn’t include is that the aliens wouldn’t find nutrition enough in human food, so food would be sent with them. In the end, Choolida ends up chasing and eating a native prey animal from Kooarlik. Thanks much for your kind words. I think I will pursue a longer version of this, at least. It’s supportive thoughts and comments like yours that give me the drive to pursue such things. 🙂

        Like

      • atrm61 says:

        Oh,that’s a cool addition-will look forward to the longer version EA:-)

        Like

  3. ranu802 says:

    I loved reading your story.

    Like

  4. aishasoasis says:

    Fantastic story and imagination!

    Like

  5. znjavid says:

    Reese Witherspoon? Was this inspired by Hollywood?

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Omigosh! I didn’t realize I had done that. That’s purely accidental. I wasn’t even thinking of her. Names just popped into my head and i wrote them down. Gosh, I think I want to change the names now.

      Like

  6. jannatwrites says:

    I’m glad they were able to save the alliance (but I have to admit, sometimes working with humans drives ME insane 🙂 ) Like Atreyee, I’m curious about what Witherspoon did, exactly.

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Humans definitely drive me insane, so I married the one makes me crazy the least. 😉

      I’m sorry the solution was a bit vague. This story needs to be longer and I tried to squeeze it into too small of a space. Here’s what I wrote to Atreyee: In short, the Tooarlik are hunting creatures and need to hunt to maintain good health. Even if it’s chasing a creature around a room for a few minutes, they need to do it or go insane. This is what happened to Choolida. The Tooarlik combat troops fought pirates and that is like hunting for them so they were unaffected. Witherspoon’s solution was to put Choolida in the ship’s botanical garden with an animal and let him hunt it. And that’s what cured Choolida.

      There’s plenty of human equivalents for this. Place a human in a very small space, or cut them off from human contact long enough, they’ll go insane. Plenty of food, air, water to support life is not all a sentient creature needs. There’s always something else.

      In the story as it is, it seems like Witherspoon had a sudden inspiration. In the story as I imagined it, he has to figure it out. He interviews the Human transfer crew on the Tooarlik ship and learns that they’ve gone “hunting” with them for their food. At first appalled, they came to love it, finding it “freeing.” This is the clue that gives Witherspoon an idea.

      I think I may write this again and let it grow to be as big as it wants to be. Thanks much for your comments, and I apologize that the ending was vague. I hope my explanation fills in the blanks.

      Like

      • jannatwrites says:

        Thanks for the additional details. I wouldn’t say my curiosity about the solution is a criticism of your story or any deficiency on your part, but rather the limitations of my brain 🙂

        I didn’t catch the Reese/Witherspoon connection, but it is kind of funny that it slipped in there without you even noticing it. The way our brains work is fascinating sometimes (scary at other times!)

        Like

      • EagleAye says:

        I’m still chuckling over that. I saw the name Witherspoon a couple days ago and was reminded that it’s a cool name. I decided I wanted a character named that. Before I had a story plot, I knew I’d have a Witherspoon. The brain truly is a funny thing with all sorts of stuff happening just beneath the consciousness. I guess that’s where our stories come from. 😉

        Like

  7. Bastet says:

    Cool love s.f.! Very inventive. Would be nice to read more about the alliance.

    Like

  8. Valerie says:

    Witherspoon and Reese actually jumped out at me too. I thought it was an intentional hidden twist of humor targeted at popular culture. Very well written as usual!

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      What’s funny is I do like to inject subtle things like that in stories. I guess I’ve done it so much, my brain does it automatically now. Woopsie. Still, I’m glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks much for visiting, Valerie!

      Like

  9. mandyblake95 says:

    I thought this was going to have a pretty sad ending, but Witherspoon pulled it off in the end. Great job.

    Like

  10. Suzanne says:

    Another great story set in another great world! Despite the word limit, I thought you did a good job telling the story and I assumed that Witherspoon intended the rec room to be used to allow Choolida to hunt. Nicely done!

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you Suzanne. It’s so good to hear that. This time my world got a bit big for the story, but I’m happy to hear it made some sense. As always, thanks for reading and for your terrific comments.

      Cheers!
      Eric

      Like

  11. Peggy Smith says:

    Friends come in all shapes and sizes…great story.

    Like

  12. Silverleaf says:

    John Paul Jones: brilliant!
    Like Suzanne, I got the purpose of the rec room – great solution to the problem!

    Like

  13. Indira says:

    You write great stories in limited words. Nice one, names of your characters you imagine or are from research. I would like to hear the other side story from the one one who makes you less crazy please.

    Like

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