Salman: (whistles) Unload the crates. Quickly, hand these packages to the Drepians.
Leu: (nods head) Sir, yes, sir! (Salutes to Samlan)
Salman: No need for such formalities lad. Tell the rest of the crew that we will be here for a while.
Leu: (with a puzzled expression) Uhm, yeah- okay.
Salman: Just follow my orders.
While the crew led by Salman unload the crates that contain the most advanced technology known to the universe, a small herd of cow-like creatures graze near the giant space cruiser. The local folk of Drepu do not even pay any attention to the crates being unloaded in the market area. Their minds are more focused on much more important things.
In one section of the Drepian market there are a bunch of robotic spare parts being sold to the highest bidder. As that is going on, one other space of the market is filled with a holographic projector that beams and sends messages instantly from one planet/galaxy to the next. A large crowd gathers around this table to see the way that this holographic device works.
Salman: (places one hand over his eyes) Why are there two suns? No wonder it is so hot here.
Leu: I hear that is the reason why the plants here are gigantic.
Salman: (whispers) That is why we are here by the way. We need to collect a sample of the plant species of Drepu. That brother of yours says he needs it for research.
Leu: (smiles) Yep. I know. I do not know why he can’t just handle his own business.
Salman: That is what I told him too. (sighs) Anyway, let’s get our hands on some plant samples.
Leu: I will inform the crew.
Salman: No. (shakes his head) You do not have to do that.
Leu: (stops in his tracks) Oh. Okay.
Salman: Just get the sample collecting equipment.
The two mount their hoverbikes and head towards a quieter and less populated location. Salman and Leu drive for a few hours until they arrive at a valley. They stare at the magnificent vegetation that surrounds them.
As the two get off their hoverbikes, a wildcat watches from one of the nearby trees and waits for the right moment to pounce on the prey. The wildcat stretches before it begins its hunt.
Somewhere in one of the mountains of Drepu a young couple’s wildcat alarm goes off. They have been tracking this feline for months now. Every chance they had to trap it failed. But this time they are going to do their best to finally capture the wild cat.
Leu: (gasps) Huh.
Salman: What’s with your sudden deathly expression?
Leu: I thought I spotted a wild cat.
Leu: Over there. (points to one of the trees) It must be hunting us. (sobbing)
Salman: (slaps Leu) Calm down man. Maybe it’s the heat getting to your head.
Leu: I know what I saw.
Salman walks on his path to collect some plant samples. Leu looks around him and when he hears a branch snap he panics and screams.
Salman: Keep it down. You’ll alert the wildcats of our position with all your uncontrollable loud actions.
Leu: Wildcats? You mean there could be more than one?
Salman: Do you hear that?
Leu: I do not hear anything.
Salman: Exactly. No wildcats to worry about. Unless you keep acting crazy.
Leu calms down and his heartbeat goes back to normal.
A short distance away, the wildcat continues its hunt. And the young couple are not too behind either. They are in their spaceship and flying right over the wildcat.
Samlan: Could you stop acting so afraid.
Leu: I can’t help it. That wildcat could be right on our tail.
Samlan: Yeah. It’s going to get you. (imitates a growling sound)
Leu: (yells) That’s not funny!
Samlan: Stop whimpering and help me collect the plant samples.
The second Leu reaches for one of the sample collecting syringes, the wildcat growls and leaps towards Leu. Samlan looks in shock as Leu is about to be attacked by a wildcat. Out of nowhere a robot jumps on the wildcat and ties its paws all together.
Salman: Leu- open your eyes.
Leu opens his eyes, holds his face and moves his hands all over his body.
Leu: (laughs) I survived. I’m alive!
Salman: You were saved by the—
Leu: By the what?
The wildcat was nowhere to be seen. Now was the robot that saved Leu.
Salman: (scratches his head) Never mind. I think I have had enough of this place for one day. Let us get the plant sample and leave, immediately.
Leu: Phew. (Smiles) What a long day.
The two collect the plant samples and pull out the automatic keys to their hoverbikes. With one push of a button their hoverbikes appear at their current location.
Salman: Time to head home.
Leu: Aye, aye. Captain. (smiles)
* * *
Meanwhile back in a lab, the scientists check to see what state the creature they captured is in. They instruct the robot to move the wildcat to its cage. There the creature is given a shot. The wildcat can’t keep its eyes open for long and it soon falls to the ground.
Trel: (records his results and events of the day into a voice recorder) Wildcat has been captured. It’s now in its cage. And it has received one shot of the newly concocted knockout drug.
Kiya: (walks over to the robot) The robot did amazing out there. It has great reflexes too. I will continue training it and running different eventual simulations.
Trel: Sounds good. I…really think that it can do better, actually.
Kiya: What? I am doing the best I can Trel.
Trel: Yes, I am aware of that Kiya. But—
Trel: You should not worry about the robot. It is only a machine.
Kiya: Don’t you think that I can tell. (shakes her head and rolls her eyes)
Trel: (moves closer to Kiya) I am sorry.
Kiya: Do not worry Trel. I know what I am doing.
* * *
Back on Salman’s spaceship….
Leu: (yawns) Why do I suddenly feel so exhausted?
Salman: Now is not the time for laziness kid. Go on and stretch your legs. That might help with your sudden drowsiness.
Leu: All right Captain.
Leu unbuckles himself from his seatbelt and stretches his arms. And yawns once more. Salman sighs. He looks at Leu and gives him a stern look.
Leu: (gulps) I am going to stop yawning. I promise. (crosses his heart)
Salman: Okay. (presses the automatic flight button)
Leu: Salman, you do not have to get out of your seat too.
Salman: Hey, you’re not the only one who needs to take a quick break.
Leu: (smiles) You deserve a vacation for all your hard work.
Salman: (rubs his chin) You know what. You’re so right.
Leu moves farther from the doorway and leaves more room for Salman to pass.
Salman: Are you going to stand in the doorway all day?
Leu: No. (laughs nervously)
Salman: Come on slow poke. Let’s go grab something to eat from the lower deck.
Leu rubs his hands together and follows the captain.
They get to the lower deck and Leu looks around for any familiar faces. He doesn’t recognize most of the crew. His brother decided not to come on this mission. Now Leu wished that his brother had decided to tag along.
By Muzala N. Shimukowa