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APF-AC-01 Aim For The Stars

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  • APF-AC-01 Aim For The Stars

    Animation Project Frontier
    New Britannia

    Ariel Calebson

    APF-AC-01 Aim For The Stars
    By Darrel James Vanwinkle (Ratseye/Pouchlaw)
    September 13th, 2016

    Chapter One

    Have you ever heard that phrase, "me and my big mouth"? Well, that is sort of what got me into the place I am in now. I would give anything to be anywhere but here. Talk about your political wars of the zoological alien kind! But I am here now and there is no easy way out of this. And to think that this started out as scavenger hunt to get a military cap. That doesn't sound so hard, does it? Well, if I had known that I was going to end up on the planet of New Britannia, I would have chosen to admit that Butch was right and that I was a coward.

    I am Ariel Calebson from Kingsland, New Jersey, a small suburb like town located about six miles Northwest of the Statue of Liberty. How I wish I was back there now. But no! I had to open my big mouth. Barely sixteen but only five feet tall and a hundred pounds, short for my age, but I was slender and very handsome for a male human. My skin was fair and I had aquamarine eyes and short blond hair. I normally wore a white long-sleeved dress shirt, black slacks, and polished business loafers. But once I started this little adventure, my dress code would change drastically. But how did I get Animation Project Frontier's planet of New Britannia, you may ask? I guess I better let a good old flashback reveal the mess I caused myself. Like I said... Me and my big mouth.


    "Betcha can't get a military cap from that office over there, Ariel!"

    "Oh yes I can, Butch! I can do ANYTHING! You just watch! I can do anything!"

    And Ariel crept over to the office door, opened it slowly, and slipped inside, closing the door behind him. Fortunately, no one was in the office so now he just had to locate a military cap. While he was looking for a cap, he opened a crate's lid and saw a military cap pinned beneath something in the bottom of the crate. He leaned over into the crate to grab the cap and lost his balance, dropping head first into the crate... where as the lid fell back closed and accidentally self-latched itself shut.

    And worse, this was one of those new soundproof shipping containers. He was upside down in the crate, but he had the cap in hand. "Now to get out of this and-" but before he could complete the sentence, he felt a motorized Dolley pick up the crate and carry it off someplace. The ride was long and bumpy at times, but eventually the crate was set down and all movement stopped for about 15 seconds.

    "Where is he?" asked Butch in a mutter. "His parents will kill me if something bad happens to him!"

    But the crate suddenly felt like it was in a zero-gravity spin for a few minutes before it felt like it was being hauled into a chamber and set down in a row of other crates. Then all movement stopped again.

    After a few moments, Ariel whispered, "Now to get out of this box and get this hat back to Butch." He was glad when the lid popped open without any problems. But as he climbed out and looked around, it was obvious that he wasn't in the military office anymore. It looked like a large warehouse full of nearly identical crates. He closed the lid on the crate he climbed out of and started looking for the fastest way out. But as he was nearing the door, he heard two people coming. He only had seconds to find a place to hide. He ran back toward where he thought the crate he was in was and saw a very dusty dirt covered crate with the partial word 'NEW ' on it. The rest of the destination was caked in brittle dried mud. He unlatched the lid of that crate and quickly jumped inside of it, and let the lid almost close so he could watch and listen to the people who were arriving.

    One soldier said, "Aw man. Can you believe it? We still have one of the dirty shipping crates that was supposed to have been air-dropped to New Britannia." And then they walked over closer to the very crate that Ariel was inside. "We'll just have to take it there and drop it for the air and soil tests that are going on across the planets. I'm just glad we don't have to take it to the planet of eternal stench. One visit there was enough for one lifetime." And they pressed the lid down and secured the latch.

    Free fall.

    It was probably a good thing that the shipping crate was padded inside and shock resistant, but that still didn't make the drop any more fun. That is, until the parachute opened and slowed the crate's descent.

    Ariel didn't know what New Britannia was going to be like, but according to those two delivery men, it was only slightly better than the planet of eternal stench. And that wasn't saying a lot, to be honest.

    Then he got to experience his first of New Britannia's weather systems.

    A dust dervish grabbed the parachute and shipping crate attached, and slung the whole package over a short desert, across a river, and rolled it through a warm patch of slick mud. The crate finally slammed to a halt against the stone rocky wall of a sheer cliff wall that extended a good distance straight up.

    It was then that the crate's lid simply fell off of the shipping container. Ariel lay there somewhat dazed as he waited for the stars and swirls around his vision to stop spinning. "Uhn... at least I'm not hurt. Small miracle in that... oh man..."

    Back on Earth, Butch checked his wristwatch. "Come on, Ariel! I have to go home in fifteen minutes! Where are you?"

    And back on New Britannia in the wilderness of where ever his crate had landed, Ariel was slowly doing inventory to see what all he had with him in that shipping crate. "A damaged soil gathering robot, a water testing kit, three liquid food packets, ah ha!" He pulled out an important find. "A compass! This will help me a LOT!" He opened the compass and frowned as he saw the needle spinning around and around non-stop. "Some help that is. Let's see what else we have here..." One hour later, he had scavenged what little goods that were still usable from the crate and he tried to set off to find anyone who could help him get off planet. When he heard the thunder in the distance, he thought a storm was about to move in. So he strapped the hat down over his head, zipped up the rain coat he had found in the crate, and then, he started looking for shelter.

    End of Chapter One

  • #2
    Chapter Two

    When the thunder sounded louder and closer, Ariel decided to try to find an opening in the cliff to shelter himself from the coming possible rain. He finally located a good opening just behind some high bushes and entered the space beyond and came to a sudden stop because he knew right away that he wasn't alone in the cave.

    Standing before him putting on a prospectors backpack of alien tools was a tall slender alien rabbit with antennae like the Biker Mice from Mars. To one side holding a laser rifle and wearing electronic sighting goggles was what appeared to be an alien kangaroo wearing a dusty brown camouflage vest though was extremely muddy from the mid-chest down. Like he had waded the stuff.

    "Wot the 'eck?" The space roo aimed the laser rifle at the boy. "Don't move, stranger!"

    Ariel froze instantly.

    The rabbit walked over and frisked the boy then said, "No trackers, no weapons, no ID tags. He doesn't even have any transport papers, Kyru. He must have been dropped here either by accident or dumped out on our lovely planet by pirates."

    Kyru hopped over and sniffed the boy, then took a test lick of the boy's neck. "Salty. Yas know what, Robber? Ah think we 'ave a 'uman boy from Earth 'ere." And then he looked pointedly at Ariel's face very closely. "But the question is... wot do we do with this boy now that 'e is with us?"

    Ariel gazed back at the two aliens. "Maybe I could help you two with whatever you're looking for out here?"

    Robber smiled then stated, "Magnetic. Ore."

    Ariel smiled back. "Oh, I know where that is. I can lead you right to it, if you want."

    Kyru remarked, "We'll give yas a chance to lead us. And yas better be right about this. We've been searching for a few days now. Start leading. And if this pans out, we'll let yas 'ang out with us at Rebel Camp."

    A few minutes later back at the crash site, Ariel showed the two how the rocks in the area affected the compass. And once Robber used his core sampler to verify the claimed location, he moved aside to let Kyru begin using his laser rifle to mine out the magnetic ore. Robber and Ariel loaded the ore into the now empty crate that the boy had arrived in. It took them about an hour or two, but once it was done, Kyru closed the lid and he did something unusual: he carefully stuck the crate into his alien pouch.

    "Okay mates, let's see about getting back to the rebel camp intact," said the alien kangaroo. "What with the war going on topside we don't want to show our pusses up there. And we sure as 'eck don't want our boy getting caught in one of our planet's rain events or 'im getting wet or muddy."

    Ariel asked, "I've been wet and muddy before back home... what's so different about that here?"

    Robber grinned as he petted the boy on the head. "There is an enzyme in the moisture of this planet that dissolves foreign worldly material until said material simply disintegrates. Getting doused in our rain, or falling into a bog or river or pool of water on our world... would result in the loss of all of your clothes. They will get destroyed eventually since you are here anyway. But I am sure you wouldn't want to be naked too soon. Right?"

    Kyru giggled. "But if it does 'appen, mate, we can 'ave our camp tailor make yas some new clothes from the material native to our world, which will not disintegrate when wet."

    "Naked on an alien planet..." said Ariel as he thought about it. "...my friend Butch would never let me live it down if he found out."

    Speaking of Butch, he did have to go home or else be grounded for being late. Once he was home, he told his dad what had happened during the scavenger hunt and the two then went over to Ariel's house to speak to the boy's father about it.

    Back to Ariel, while Kyru chose to make his path across the local bogs, which explained why he looked muddy, Robber escorted Ariel along the safer route skirting the wetland near the river and putting some distance between themselves and the thunder of war on the battlefield. Robber was a pretty nice alien rabbit with antennae, giving a whole new meaning to the term "rabbit ears."

    "How long has this war been going on, Rob?"

    "Please, either call me Robber or nothing at all," replied the rabbit. "The fighting has been intense sense the kangaroo kingdom destroyed the local space port. And before you ask, Kyru was not part of the faction who did it. He and I are friends and have been for a long time. A select few of us banded together and formed the Rebellion. It's our self-appointed task to stop the war however we can. And now that you, a human boy, are among us, perhaps we can finally make it happen."

    Ariel looked at the back of Robber's head. "How can I help make it happen, Robber?"

    "There is an old legend telling of a human who once came and stopped a war as he brought settlement and peace back to our world. He ended the war and an age of enlightenment began for those who survived. Then he vanished the same way he had appeared. As fanciful as this story is, I thought it was just a drunken tale until we met you. You're the only human on planet."

    End of Chapter Two

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