Saturday, October 16, 2021
You’ve reached The Armadillo Files, even though it might at first look like author Teri Polen’s yearly October festival of horror and suspense, Bad Moon Rising.
Three Bad Moon Things
In support of the aforementioned event, my things for this episode are Bad, Moon, and Rising. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the wherewithal to also make this a horror episode. Hmmm maybe next time though.
Tidbits of Truth
I always try to bring a bit of reality into this zany atom-punk fantasy. This time it’s with dancing and food. We left Dilly pretty darned hungry last time. So you’ll find that I’ve mentioned three dishes that really were popular back in the World War II Era. For more click this link.
This episode mentions the owl from last time. I’m including one more owlish thing today. I had wondered if there might be an owl dance. Oh yes, I found one. It’s a Native American dance. Learn about the Owl Dance here.
Previously in The Armadillo Files
The trolley-looking spaceship carrying Delilah Faraday and Tatu Pinkerton, aka Fang, landed. The pair went outside when TROLLEY started some sort of transformation. Then they heard something outside in the bushes, and Fang had an unfortunate encounter with an owl. You can find all the past chapters by going to the categories on the right side of the screen. Click on Armadillo Files.
This chapter is told solely from TROLLEY’s point of view.
9 — What’s rising?
Auditory sensors detected a vocal alarm call. TROLLEY scanned the surrounding area. A moment later operative Tatu Pinkerton began banging at the newly configured entrance.
The entry was unlocked, but TROLLY obligingly opened it for him. The artificial intelligence noted that the white tuxedo what he ordered was soiled with avian waste. The operative looked down at the avian vomit on his jacket and shrieked.
“This is bad. It’s awful!” he cried.
TROLLEY recorded his elevated heartrate. The operative moved in a chaotic way, not unlike some dances of the era in which they had just landed. The alarm call, the scream, must have been issued by him.
TROLLEY found the two elements contradictory. Was there a threat? Or, was the operative practicing local customs, learning to dance?
Quickly, TROLLEY checked the bio readings of the female human. Her pulse was slightly elevated, and she showed signs of stress, but not actual alarm. Responses were required.
“Delilah Faraday, bio readings within acceptable range. Sensing alarm from Operative Tatu Pinkerton. What actions are recommended?” TROLLEY requested.
The operative didn’t reply clearly, although “no” seemed to be the answer regarding a physical threat.
Even so, he leapt and swayed, shuffling his steps in a circle. To TROLLEY his speech was gibberish. However, one word was clear — owl.
“Detecting the Owl Dance of the Blackfoot, Native American people. Used for courtship and social occasions. However, that group is not in this area. Suggest the jitterbug as a more appropriate alternative,” TROLLEY recommended.
“Fang, calm down. You’re confusing the trolley. I mean TROLLEY,” the human woman stated, seeming to look for the source of voice communications.
Detecting no reply from the occupants, TROLLEY switched on the large screen, and accessed film of a couple dancing the jitterbug. This caused a startled gasp from the woman. TROLLEY assumed such technology was unknown to her.
“That’s almost as big as a theatre screen,” Delilah Faraday. “But I don’t see a projector anywhere.”
“No, TROLLEY. We don’t need dance lessons. At least not right now,” Tatu Pinkerton stated.
In response, TROLLEY switched off the screen. It became an ordinary seeming wall.
The woman gaped. She looked around the newly reconfigured ship in amazement. She placed her hand on a door with a sign that instructed “Staff Only.” The small round window in the door showed stairs that led to the underground floors TROLLEY had just made.
“It’s quadrupled in size!” the woman murmured.
“Ship configuration now meets minimum transformation and safety standards. Upgrades will continue for nourishment preparation capabilities and for the covert operations workspace below,” TROLLEY stated.
“Nourishment preparation?” Pinkerton began. “Oh, that’s right. Prime arranged for us to have a liquor license and TROLLEY is supposed to look an entertainment establishment… TROLLEY will be able to make booze! Hey TROLLEY honey, if you don’t have any gin or tequila ready, can you serve up some moonshine?”
A green light revolved around a round console. Then a bell dinged.
“Recommending nourishment before booze, Operative Pinkerton. No custom orders are possible at present. However, test dishes from this era are currently available. Note the deviled lobster, prepared and then the crustation shell is cleaned and used as a receptacle. Also, hotdog potato salad, which has chopped frankfurters added for additional protein. Reminder, protein sources like meat are rationed during this date.”
The domed top of the round console opened, displaying the food. The woman’s pupils dilated, which TROLLEY interpreted as positive.
“I was hoping for jellied chicken but…” Pinkerton started, but Delilah Faraday poked her elbow into his ribs.
“Mind your manners, Fang,” she began. “It’s been about 24 hours since I ate, and this looks delicious to me.”
“Operative Pinkerton, please remove your soiled jacket before partaking of the food,” TROLLEY stated.
Tatu Pinkerton looked at the remains of the rodent the owl had regurgitated onto his tuxedo. He bounded to his feet in a panic. He ran a circle around the control room and then fainted.
Delilah Faraday hurried to his side, showing worry. TROLLEY attempted to allay her concern.
“Operative Pinkerton’s vasovagal reflex was triggered. No need for alarm. His bio readings are rising to normal. He is already returning to consciousness,” TROLLEY assured the human.
“I’ve never seen anyone who was so excitable,” Faraday remarked. “Was he really the same pink fairy armadillo that my Uncle Arturo brought me from Argentina?”
“Delilah Faraday, it is time you and I got better acquainted,” TROLLEY told the woman.
“Only if you call me Dilly,” the botanist replied.
Outside, the moon lowered on the horizon. A wolf howled at the descending orb. Pinkerton raised his head. His eyes bulged at the sound of the howl. He fainted again.
Recording potential for this assignment to be a greater than expected challenge, TROLLEY silently added to the mission log.
♦ ♦ ♦
It might be cool for Dilly and TROLLEY to get to know one another. Although that might not be the best thing for Fang. Hugs on the wing!
♦ ♦ ♦
In other news, the October issue of Dead of Winter is now available.
Dead of Winter — All the Journeys
Universal Purchase Links
Journey 10, Pergesca
Journey 9, Doors of Attunement
Journey 8, The Lost Library
Journey 7, Revenant Pass
Journey 6, The Fluting Fell
Journey 5, Llyn Pistyll Falls
Journey 4, The Old Road
Journey 3, the Fever Field
Journey 2, Penllyn
Journey 1, Forlorn Peak
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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