Diagnostic Dinosaur Dinner
Mr. Robotto tasted like aluminum and was spit out into the marshland below.
“Oye! Senor Torque! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhnhh!” screamed Mio from Rio as a tyrannosaurus rex grabbed her in its teeth and lifted her into the air. With a large gulp, it swallowed her whole, muffling her cries for help. A herd of about three hundred of the hideous reptiles had followed the scent from their lair to the burned-out shell of the Blutomo. In the early dawn, while the inhabitants of the craft were asleep, the lizard giants had torn away the outer shell of the damaged starship and had begun their feast.
Bill Torque and Captain Retson stared in horror at the monitor on the bridge as the dinosaurs reached their massive claws into the shredded skin of the cargo bay and pulled out ten diagnostic programmers – one on each of the five razor-sharp talons of each hand. As some of the larger members of the herd fought for whole programmers , the smaller tyrannosauri settled for severed heads and limbs left from the feasting of their bigger brothers. Then came the banging of metal on the outside of the bridge hatch.
“Open up! Please!” cried a remnant of diagnostic programmers who had escaped the carnage and had made their way through the now twisted passage leading to the bridge.
“There’s not enough room!” shouted Rosy. We’ll all suffocate. How many of you are left?*”
“There are eighty-three of us!” the voice of Stedur the monk replied. In the background came another scream as a tyrannosaurus fingernail captured another piece of meat. “Make that eighty-two!” added Stedur.
“Open the hatch, Torque!” As Bill frantically turned the hatch lock wheels, Rosy darted to the hyper-existential communicator console. The hatch swung open and Stedur and several of the diagnostic programmers rolled onto the bridge deck. Peering through the hatch and above the heads of the crowd, Bill saw the large lizard hand straining to reach those in the back. Two more diagnostic programmers were impaled by the claws and withdrawn from the twisted corridor as the crowd rushed toward the hatch. As the last programmer cleared the opening, Bill slammed the hatch shut and quickly spun the lock wheel just as a large talon reached for the bridge. The claw could be heard scratching away on the outside of the hatch.
Rosy had reached Interstellar Merchant Marine headquarters. “This is Captain Retson of the Cargo Starship Blutomo! I must speak to Admiral Bozoni! This is an emergency!”
“Just one second. I’ll connect you to the bridge of the rescue cutter Cosmic Partner.”
There was a short delay then the Admiral’s voice boomed out over the bridge main speakers, “Admiral Bozoni here, Rosy! What seems to be the problem?”
“We are under attack by the large reptile inhabitants of this planet. We have suffered many losses among the passengers and crew. These monsters are tearing the skin right off the ship. There is no place to hide, it is just a matter of time before…”
“Come in Captain Retson. This is Admiral Bozoni. Come in Captain Retson. Rosy, answer me!” Admiral Bozoni placed the microphone back in the holder of the hyper-existential communicator console and turned to his aide Ensign Marshmellow. “Put us into hyper-space. Here are the coordinates.”
“But we are too close to Neptune! Its mass could throw us off by several parsecs!”
“I figured that in. It’s going to be rough, but we have no choice. We’ve got to rescue these folks. Lay in the course, Ensign!”
“All hail his corp-majesty C.E.O Grodin A. Pudge! All hail his corp-majesty and salute!” shouted the Vice President of Gigacorp Public Relations. The crowd in the large auditorium rose to its feet and stretched out their right hands. In unison they chanted, “Wizard Wozzy was a whiz! Wizard Wozzy knew not Bizz! Wizard Wozzy wasn’t wizard, Wozzy?” The C.E.O.’s tie tack was removed from the pillow an executive secretary was carrying and placed in Grodin Pudge’s tie while Elliott Quik, George Frankenstein, and Heckler Bemoanus looked on, each chained to his chair on the speakers’ rostrum.
“The reptillian creature is attempting to digest Senorita Mio,” Mr. Robotto emulated thought. “I must protect human life. This is an emergency.”