At the time I was plotting a riot at the hospital, the crew of the Buzzard were about to go on a wild ride of their own; they just didn't know it yet. The night they all went stargazing on the observation deck of the repair hub, another crew decided to relax and throw back a few a carrotinis. Somewhere on the other side of a row of banana trees and prehistoric ferns, a bunch of very vocal buns set up for what sounded like a long night of raucous debauchery. Abby, Pancake, Molly, Joey, and Ava were about to call it a night. Abby knew that she and her friends had at least a few long days to enjoy themselves with no assignments, so they were in no rush to pack everything into one night. But, just then, something caught Pancake's ear, and she grabbed Abby's paw. As Abby looked at her quizzically, Pancake made a motion to keep quiet and pointed her paw in the direction of the loud party. Caught off guard, Abby stopped and listened. They were all listening now.
The strangers beyond the banana trees sounded really upset; they were not going off the rails because of too many raspberrinis. They were loudly venting about something. Abby listened carefully. The strangers were talking about the Behemoth! She couldn't get every word they were saying because they were talking a lot over bun another. It sounded to her like they were upset over getting ordered away from the area of the Behemoth. She heard something about all the news crews getting orders to drop the Behemoth coverage. Could it be those buns were reporters?
All of a sudden, Abby started to work her way through the thicket of the ferns toward the loud party. Pancake and the rest followed her. As they parted the nutriberry shrubs and braved their way through the greenery, their wrestling spooked the news buns. Abby stuck her nose out from behind a thick bunch of fig leaves and slowly worked her way out of the greens and toward the strangers. Molly, Pancake, Joey, and Ava followed her into the clearing. The news buns were surprised by the number of buns that materialized out of the shrubbery. Everybun got quiet.
The strangers looked at Abby, puzzled and a little frightened. Abby proceeded to break the ice and calm down everybun. "Hi! I'm sorry for scaring you; we overheard you talking about the Behemoth. You know, I lost my Mr. Toes to that thing." Everybun remained frozen in place as the strangers tried to process the surprise. The only sound came from Joey, who noticed that the fig tree was loaded with ripe fruit and proceeded to nom one, smacking his lips loudly. Molly ribbed him gently, and he became quiet, returning to the presence.
Abby introduced her crew to the news buns and asked if they didn't mind sharing what they knew about the Behemoth. Lately, all news about the mysterious object came to a trickle, and one had the feeling somebun was turning off the information spigot. After the news buns regained their composure and started nomming the fresh figs, Joey picked for everybun, and they began talking about how they just got pulled away from covering anything related to the Behemoth story. No explanation was given to them. They were convinced something nefarious was brewing and were furious at the situation.
Pancake shared about Mr. Toes and his young crew members. She talked about how Freddie was convinced the authorities were trying to cover up something and how confident Freddie was that they are hiding Toes and his guys. One of the news buns nodded in agreement and added, "There might be something to that. We heard a story that an SOS was transmitted from the location of the Behemoth shortly after it appeared. But all traces of the messages are gone. Well, access to them is prohibited, and there are rumors that they are off-line."
Ava shared about Freddie and Penny cracking their way to hitch a ride to the St. Cinnamon's station aboard a resupply ship. The news buns stirred.
The entire warren stayed up till the early morning hours, local time, talking about the state of journalism these days, and what the Behemoth "affair" is flushing to the surface of bunkind's consciousness.
After everybun had gotten properly worn out, they hugged and shook paws, and left to catch some sleep. The artificial day at the repair hub was obnoxious and rubbed everybun the wrong way, so it served as the perfect excuse to burrow under the blankets and wait out the "sunny" menace.
Around evening time, Abby and the rest of the Buzzard crew got approached by one of the news buns with an offer to fly and get a closer look at what is happening at St. Cinnamon's; orders be damned. It took Abby no time to accept the invitation. Ava, Pancake, Molly, and Joey were delighted. They were already getting tired of sitting around with nothing to do.
Everybun managed to pack into the now-crowded news ship. Some non-critical equipment had to be unloaded to make room for Abby and her friends in the cargo bay. The news buns filled a flight plan to return to Earth's surface and did not declare the extra passengers on board. They put Joey to work to help with an EBA. They had him work a mixer making some seriously not-silly, semi-liquid putty. Somebun else, I think her name was Jarg, was stirring a batch of carbon-molybdenum epoxy. The ship undocked from the repair hub and set its initial course for Earth. It moved slowly through the busy space surrounding the hub. The watchful eyes of radar and flight controllers kept it clear of other traffic. Upon leaving the sector, the ship resumed its own navigation. The vessel kept floating along, though, postponing the initial burn that would send it on its way home. Inside, three buns suited up to go outside with the "serious" putty along with the epoxy and two hydraulic dispensers. The bunstronauts, including Joey, got into the airlock and worked their way outside.
The commander of the vessel declared a minor emergency. He told the flight controllers that the ship had experienced a malfunction of its primary navigation system and the crew would have to switch to a backup system. He spun the yarn well, and the controllers ate it up. Even when they were told the ship would have to cycle its power system and the ship would disappear from radar temporarily, they didn't blink an eye.
Thus the three buns outside, using the "serious" putty, began to cover up all the communication sensors embedded into the hull of the ship. One worked the putty dispenser; another one applied the epoxy. Joey played the safety guy, keeping watch over his partners and assisting as needed, making sure no bun floated off into oblivion. The "serious" putty acted as an insulator. It temporarily covered the sensors and could be pried off later. The epoxy went on top of the putty and shielded the sensors from receiving any signals and prevented them from sending anything out. One sensor at a time, the ship disappeared from the view of all tracking equipment.
When the last sensor was covered, Joey helped the other two bunstronauts get inside the craft as quickly as possible. They stowed away all of their implements of deception and strapped themselves into their seats. The commander reoriented the craft and commenced the burn for rendezvous with the St. Cinnamon base.
Interesting story, excellent artwork. Buns in Space ! ken&kaci
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