The Ark According To Captain Blood CHAPTER 5 (The OORXX Layer) One night, Blood was violently aroused from post surgical coma (His cerebellum had just been removed): "Captain, I'm getting a weird message. The neutrino radar is saturated. Something's closing in on us!", exclaimed the bio-consciousness. "Glasp. Garks. Wha...", answered Blood. He was having trouble getting words out. His tongue felt swollen and his 100% teflon skull hurt horribly. He managed to add, "Standard procedure, whatever that is." "Aye aye, Captain", replied the bio-consciousness, somewhat dubiously. Blood suddenly sat up. "What? Why didn't you wake me up, dummy? Activate magnetic shield, stop everything, switch on the radar screen." The screen glittered, then filled with radar echo. Not far from Ark, a vaguely oval object was speeding. Fast. At that instant, an alarm sounded and a message came up on the screen, printed in Universal Protocol/Communication: UPCOM (1). "SOS AM IN DISTRESS SOS GL GL HOC..." "Wow! Who the blazing Darwins are you?", rasped Blood. "I FEMALE OORXX SOS FAST..." "Boy, what a zappy dream I'm having", chuckled Blood. "WELL WHERE'S THE HELP...", the OORXX's message said on the UPCOM. "Sure, sure. Let's not get hysterical", retorted Blood, just a little irritated, "She's in a hurry as well. What do we do now, Honk?" The bio-consciousness thought for a moment. "The regulations are pretty strict on this. Ever since the NOSTROMO affair, it's forbidden to teleport strangers on board, Captain, unless they're in temporary cryogenic death status. I suggest teleporting her to the FRIDGITORIUM. She must, however, be willing. Otherwise the teleport won't work, as you know, Captain." "Yeah, yeah, I know. I tumbled the old Ripley dame before she got command of the old folk's home on Proxima. She told me about it", explained Blood, typing in the following message on the UPCOM keyboard: "Okay, we'll teleport you." Days went by. Honk happily analyzed, studied and dissected the OORXX. One day... "Captain, hey, it's completely major, Cap, wow!" Honk seemed rather excited. "What? Calm down, kid, and don't call me cap. Now, what gives?" Blood wasn't in one of his better moods. The day before, Honk had fixed him up with bionylon skin (hi temperature no-shrink wash. Drip dry), and they'd been testing the hi temperature wash feature. "If we modify, just a teeny weeny bit, the OORXX's genes, we can control the eggs and put together some really zappy biomissiles, with all space fish characteristics and amazing firepower as well. We could easily train the OORXX babies to go on suicide missions for you! You'd radio control them. You'd see through their eyes. Think of it. You could visit every planet in the galaxy without leaving the conapt. It's completely major!" Honk shut up for a moment, waiting for his master's verdict. "You are DISGUSTING!", exploded Blood, "You are INHUMAN!" "But, master, they're only OORXX!", protested the bio-consciousness. "Yeah, well, that's true", admitted Blood, pinching his silicon earlobe, "They are only OORXX. And they are officially extinct. And I'd be right here in my padded armchair, wouldn't I? Okay, let's give it a try!" And so Honk reactivated the OORXX layer, and the first second generation OORXX babies were born. (1)UPCOM. Universal Protocol/Communication. A system conceived by Honk, in response to the difficulty of talking with people who use unfamiliar languages. Honk's system translates simultaneously, using icons to signify words or ideas. UPCOM is able to detect those signs that are understood by the being you're talking with. This allows a speedy evaluation of the being's personality. If its vocabulary contains only icons symbolizing food and drink, it's pretty easy to figure out the being's intellectual level.