Author : J. S. Kachelries
As the spaceship exited the wormhole, its forward thrusters brought it to a relative stop. The ship sat motionless for an hour as its two occupants tried to determine their location. The pilot, Teeh Ar, balled his two-fingered â€˜handsâ€™ into fists, and slowly pivoted to confront his navigator snout-to-beak. â€œLost! What do you mean lost?â€ The vertical slits that were Teehâ€™s pupils looked like steel daggers in his large, dark cobalt-blue eyes. Then, in a voice two octaves lower than normal, he growled â€œPterry, if you donâ€™t find out where we are in one minute, Iâ€™m going to bite your head off.â€ For effect, Teeh bared his upper row of eight inch long, serrated, razor sharp teeth, and snarled.
The 60 pound navigator raised his slender wings over his head and made the thin membranes quiver mockingly with feigned fear. â€œOh my God, the mighty King Lizard is going to bite my head off. Iâ€™m soooo scared. Ha, ha, ha. Who are you trying to kid? Youâ€™re a stinkinâ€™ scavenger, not a predator. You couldnâ€™t bite my head off unless I was already dead. You really crack me up.â€ Pterry folded his long graceful wings and continued to adjust the dials on his control panel while he searched for a navigation beacon. He considered radioing for directions, but he was male, so that was out of the question until things got really desperate, and probably not even then. â€œLook, your majesty, if youâ€™re done blustering, make yourself useful. See if you can pick up a station on the holovision. Maybe I can follow the signal back to a subspace transmitter.â€ Pterry paused momentarily, and then said, â€œHey, you know, maybe that wormhole sent us to a parallel universe, or something. I was watching a show about String Theory last month. They said there are 11 dimensions, containing infinite universes. Maybe we jumped into a universe where the Earth is ruled by insects or mammals, rather than dinosaurs.â€
â€œMammals? You mean like mice? Donâ€™t be ridiculous. Their young canâ€™t live two days without their mommies. How could they ever rule the world?â€ Just then, the image of a cute, female Allosaurus came into focus on the holovision. Relieved, Teeh said, â€œWell, there goes your parallel universe crap. I just got â€˜Raptor and Friendsâ€™ on the projector.â€ Teeh leaned back and watched the perky, substitute co-host for a few seconds. â€œYou have to admit, she looks pretty good for someone that just hatched twin eggs a few years back.â€
Pterry ignored Teehâ€™s commentary as he attempted to get a fix on the signal. â€œOK,â€ he said, â€œI think this will work. Once I establish a second link, I can triangulate our position, and determine our spatial coordinates. But pleeeease, do me a favor. Switch it to DNN? I canâ€™t stand that network. â€˜Fair and balancedâ€™ my tailbone.â€
However, Teeh was still smarting from Pterryâ€™s earlier defamatory comments, so he wasnâ€™t in a conciliatory mood. Besides, he liked Raptor News. His eye ridges came together to form a â€œVâ€ in the center of his forehead, and he grinned. â€œListen beak-head, consider it motivation. If you donâ€™t get us home by 8:00 tonight, youâ€™re going to have to watch the Stegosaurus Factor.â€