Saturday, October 2, 2021
You’ve reached The Armadillo Files… sort of. Sometimes I can’t do everything. To be blunt, September was extremely rough for me. Plus I have a “real world” gig that came up with a quick deadline. There is not a new chapter today, but it’s not like I’m giving myself a break. I’m just trying to make a dent in getting my work caught up. No rest for the wicked.
I’m determined that I’m going to get myself together. However, while I try to find a mental path toward the illusive state of “focus,” I thought I’d give a character profile.
Character Profile — Fang
Tatu Pinkerton, nicknamed Fang. Was a critter of a very illusive species of armadillo called pink fairy. I kid you not, that is really the name of a type of armadillo from Argentina.
From the heroine’s perspective, her godfather, Arturo, brought the little armadillo to her as a pet. Since he was so small, she gave him the ironic name, Fang. She had no idea that he was anything more until she was accidentally launched into outer space on the Jupiter AM18 rocket in 1959. At that point we saw his “human” form, as a man with pink hair. His real name is Tatu Pinkerton. He’s highly excitable and has a strange fashion sense. He’s a caring person, even if the way he goes about it is counterproductive. Pinkerton is an “operative” for an organization called Prime, and it sounds like they are some sort of time-space spy-fixer group.
What we don’t know about Fang is more interesting than what we do know.
Is Fang gay? No… although he may or may not be pansexual.
Is Fang human? Only the “Time Manatees” know for sure.
Is Fang really a man? Do you mean, armadillo, shapeshifter or something else? He might be some alien species. Then again he might be an earthling with “some kind of help.”
If by “man” you mean gender, that’s even more complicated. He might be male, female, or both. Or maybe even neither.
Does his Pinkerton name have anything to do with the Old West (USA)? Most likely.
The truth is, most of what Fang Tatu Pinkerton is will be inspired by your “random reader things.” So we still have some character building to do.
I went ahead and included last weekend’s chapter below. If you’ve missed any episodes, look to the righthand side of this page. Find the list of “Categories” and click on “Armadillo Files.” You can get all the episodes there. Happy weekend.
Here’s the rerun.
Previously in The Armadillo Files
The trolley-looking spaceship carrying Delilah Faraday and Tatu Pinkerton, aka Fang, landed. The ship started to bulge and contract and gave a warning about “Exit ship immediately. Grounding procedures commencing.” Then they heard something outside in the bushes.
8 — What’s goin’ down?
Vibrations spread across the nearby area. A thud came from the ground. It sounded like something immensely heavy being dropped. The bulging yellow vehicle contracted, expanded, stretched taller, and then shifted to its usual appearance.
The operative, and the human woman who had yet to attain official status, were outside. They had followed directions satisfactorily. They staggered as the ground beneath their feet shifted.
TROLLEY tested internal functions, and variously probed the area. Yellow caution lights flashed, revolving slowly.
“Ship configuration now meets minimum transformation and safety standards. Underlying structure deemed safe for the lifeforms who were brought here,” TROLLEY paused in anticipation of questions, but then continued.
“Visual systems still offline, but Detecting subterranean construction, unrelated to ship transformation. Time Rate Oscillation Lithium Link Enabler Yttrion, TROLLEY awaiting further instructions.”
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I heard that mechanical voice coming from Fang, although it wasn’t coming from his mouth. I stepped close to him. The sound was coming from either his ear or a spot close to it. Putting my head against his shoulder, I listened.
“Dilly, what are you doing? Do you want me to scratch behind your ears? That would be a switch, but you can scratch mine any time,” Fang said leaning his head down closer to me.
“That’s the same voice I heard inside your trolley car-looking spaceship. What does she mean by minimum safety standards? That’s not exactly reassuring,” I began.
“Look at you remembering that without even a fountain pen to write it down,” he muttered sarcastically. “Wasn’t it self-explanatory? But with the level of technology in your time, I guess it sounded crazy. I shouldn’t get impatient. I’m sorry.”
“That’s okay, Fang. And was that an earthquake? I’ve read that they have some in Tennessee. And I’m pretty sure that’s where we are,” I added giving him a sidelong look. “At any rate it isn’t Manhattan. The Manhattan Project was in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Regardless, we aren’t in a safe place right here either, not with earthquakes!” I hissed with a look at the owl who eyed us suspiciously from its perch right above us.
Since I was a botanist, I couldn’t help noticing the plants around me. Even during that tense situation, I had an urge to examine them. The owl sat on a branch of a silver maple tree. All manner of wild shrubs and grasses were around us. The flora confirmed my belief that we were in eastern Tennessee.
“Subterranean construction would include tunnels… Although I think TROLLEY meant something larger,” Fang murmured. “But why are you whispering?”
“I don’t know. I guess it’s the way he’s looking at us,” I replied, pointing up at the owl.
My reaction and the reminder of the bird of prey a few feet above our heads exacerbated Fang’s fear of large birds. He put on a brave pretense, adjusting his white tuxedo and putting his fists on his hips. He slapped the ground with his strange tail, eliciting a soft hoot from the owl.
“Oh, hooty-who back to you. Whooo do you think you are to try and boss me around? I don’t see any general’s uniform on you buddy. Besides, I’m bigger than you now,” Fang sneered defiantly, looking up at the owl.
He leapt backward about three feet when the bird puffed out its feathers and rustled its wings. The owl turned its head backward.
My gaze followed the direction of the bird’s head. I heard movement in the undergrowth again. Eyes bulging, Fang took my hand for reassurance.
The sound wasn’t exactly close, but there was no urban noise to obscure it. I spotted a bush moving about twenty yards away.
“Shh! I hear somebody talking,” Fang whispered as he squinted into the distance. “Can you see anything? Remember, my lenses aren’t working, and I’m still nearsighted from being a pink fairy armadillo for so long.”
On impulse, I ducked down behind the tangle of sweetshrub and deerberry. I grabbed Fang’s elbow and pulled him down beside me. He grunted a protest.
“Your white clothes stand out even in the dark,” I explained in a hush.
“Dilly, I hear them, but just barely because they’re being quiet. They’re talking about the earthquake, or rather what they thought was an earthquake. It was really TROLLEY transitioning. That big thud was from the part of the ship that pushed underground to make extra rooms,” he paused when I knitted my eyebrows in question. “We need covert space to work from. The locals can’t know what we’re up to. And they sure can’t know that we aren’t from their time!” Fang hissed. “Have you gotten a look at them yet?”
“I see one big odd shape,” I started, trying to see in the moonlight. “Oh wait, it’s two people. I think they were hugging. It’s a man and a woman… or maybe a boy and a girl. Stay down, Fang. The clouds are clearing and the stars are getting brighter. The people are moving around, but I can’t see what they’re doing.”
“Let me listen, Dilly. They seem to have a disagreement about something they want to do. They’re worried about getting caught. Maybe they have to sneak around to see each other. Aww… Like Romeo and Juliet. How sweet. Wait. I hear something being dragged. And I think that was some kind of hatch closing, like to a tunnel,” he remarked, listening hard.
“Fang, I think they’re leaving. Now I only see the guy. The girl must have gone into the tunnel then. The man’s leaning over. It looks like he’s unfolding a card table or something,” I murmured, feeling puzzled.
The man straddled whatever he was working with. He seemed to tiptoe and then sit down hard. I heard an engine sputter to life. Then he rode away.
“A motorcycle?” I asked in astonishment.
“Cool. A foldable motorcycle. I knew they had them back then— or rather back now, but I didn’t expect to run across one,” Fang commented. “I wonder what’s goin’ down here…”
“You mean teenage romance, or something more sinister?” I pondered aloud.
“And who are they?” Fang added.
Above us, the owl shifted and stretched its neck. Fang’s scaly pink tail twitched nervously. My stomach growled loudly, and they both turned to look at me.
“What? It’s been a long time since I ate. Not since lunchtime yesterday. And that was just a quick bite while I worked. There was too much to do, getting the plant specimens ready for the rocket launch,” I said unrepentantly. “Have you got anything for breakfast inside that thing?” I asked, pointing at the yellow trolley spaceship.
“Don’t mention breakfast with him up there!” Fang whispered and pointed at the owl.
“Who-hoo…” said the owl, with a gurgle
“Uh, I think he’s already eaten,” I remarked while taking a big step backward.
“Huh?” Fang asked.
Just then the owl upchucked the undigestible part of its latest rodent meal. The pellet landed with a squish on the shoulder of Fang’s white tuxedo.
Fang shrieked. In panic he danced an odd little dance in a circle, flapping his arms. Then he ran back to the yellow trolley.
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Wishing everyone a wonderful October. Throughout the month, keep an eye on Teri Polen’s blog for her amazing Bad Moon Rising, which she hosts every October. I’ll be there on October, 29th with Dead of Winter. Hugs on the wing!
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Dead of Winter, Journey 9, Doors of Attunement!
Dead of Winter, All the Journeys
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This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2021 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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