From: Gary Drennan <>
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: Chimera With Fleas
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 1997 12:10:11 -0500
Organization: L M A S C
Lines: 160
Message-ID: <>
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.0 (Win95; U)

Chimera With Fleas				

	The research ship Chimera was returning from its first major
deployment.  The crew of two had taken samples and made colonization
studies of two planetary systems in the Pyxis system.  Their final
study was a large temperate planet of a yellow giant.  Although they
were able to determine this planet was probably not suitable for
colonization or even terraforming, its only living species was quite
	With a gravity of roughly twice that of earth’s, the life forms had of
course evolved to exploit its world.  Virtually the entire land mass was
covered with low-slung arthropods skittering around in slime five inches
deep.  In the week of exploration the team was able to gather samples in
seven wide spread areas.  The samples of the slime and crabs looked
identical the world over.
	With limited time and testing equipment they couldn’t tell the relation
of the crabs to the slime.  Their working theory was that the crabs ate
the slime and it provided a medium for mobility.  The crabs ignored the
explorers and were easily caught.  
	At weeks end, the Chimera started its homeward voyage.  The crew filled
out logs and loaded messaging for autolaunch after hyperdrive
initiation.  Deepsleep chambers were prepped then manned after
astrogation was confirmed.  Eight weeks later the shipsystems initiated
crew wake up call.
	Capt. Bill Merryweather stirred first.  He hit the hydrator button and
flushed out accumulated waste.  With a head full of fuzz, he stumbled
over to the sustenance allocator and keyed  a post deepsleep repast.
	He was still sipping coffee when he noticed Millie dragging herself in
for breakfast.
	She looked up and managed an almost snappy salute; “Ensign Bowens
reporting from deepsleep, sir”.  She looked like warmed over doggie doo.
	“Any easier this time?”
	“Well, rehydration was a real eye opener.  The dreams were pretty
intense.  Hey, isn’t a chimera one of those mythical multi-headed
	“No Millie, the Chimera is a fire breathing she monster of Greek
persuasion with a lion’s head, goat body and serpent tail.  They named
this ship that for the mixture of odd parts that make up a research
vessel.  Dream was that good, eh?”
	“Just the typical eight week nightmare I guess.  Hey, did you check if
the logs went out?”
	“I’m pulling up the report right now.  Hmm, logs and reports went out
and we seem to have generated a lot of interest; there’s seven messages
including official orders here.”
	Capt. Bill went to the orders first and grimaced.  “We’ve got new
landing orders.  They’ve ordered us to Q-24, a quarantine facility on
	“Why would they do that?  Our report didn’t even hint that we were at
risk of contamination.”
	Q-24 is mostly a docking platform in a rather mediocre crater on the
moon’s dark side.  With ample room for a crew of twenty, the Chimera
would be it’s first visitor since construction.  
	“Call up the navbeam and lay in the course.  I’ll be in my cabin trying
to get to the bottom of this.  Hold course correction until my command,
	“Aye-aye, Sir!”, Millie returned with just a bit of sarcasm.
	Capt. Bill contacted his superiors at LunaCom who promptly restated the
quarantine orders.  They would not elaborate on why it was necessary and
he was quoted Standing Order 183 exactly twice.  He signed off and then
checked the status of the storage bay.  Things were amiss.
	“Ensign Bowens, report to storage bay!” he barked over the icom.
	She was there when he arrived.  “Look at this.”
	Millie took the commtablet and saw what was wrong.  “This has to be a
sensor error.  We only half loaded the forward and rear compartments. 
Center is empty, I don’t care what it says here.”
	“But look, two are full to the brim and center is nearly.  You're the
mission specialist, what could explain the increase in the sampled
	“If it’s not an error then the slime and little crab guys have been
breeding”, she said with voice trailing off.
	“That’s why we were ordered to Q-24.”   Nods all around.
	“The other messages we got are in the form of suggestions, everything
from isolation survival to dealing with alien life forms.  They haven’t
written us off or they’d have launched on us already.  Engage the course
correction to Q-24, Millie.”
	Twelve hours later they were landing at the bottom of a lunar crater. 
The pad had no connecting airlock; they had to don emergency suits to
enter the bunker at Q-24.  
	“So it’s a safety precaution keeping the ship at arm’s length,
	“Yes, let’s get inside.  I don't like this mylar monkeysuit and I sure
don't trust it with my life.”
	He looked at the portal, no ingress security.  It was simple
push-button operation, so they did.
	Q-24 looked like a terrestrial ammunition bunker.  Austere, cold and
colorless, it was like a prison in that comforts just were not
required.  They doffed the e-suits and checked out the large single
room.  Dehydrated food rations and bunk beds were just about the whole
of it, except for the commcabinet in one corner and personal hygiene in
	“Make contact with LunaCom, give’m our status and ask for an egress
time table.  I’m going out to inspect the Chimera.  And Millie, don’t
take any shit from those guys.  I'd like to clear Q24 asap.”
	Outside the bunker Capt. Bill could see his ship in the landing
lights.  “Millie, what’s the ship’s status?”
	“Sir, I’ve got alarms going off.  I’m showing plates buckling forward
of the storage bay.  What ever filled it up is coming out.”
	“Hull integrity?"
	“No problem yet, sir.  Wait, stress alarm on aft escape hatch!”
	“I’m coming back in, Millie.”
	Capt. Bill headed straight for the CommCorner.  He popped off the
access panels and started his search. Half an hour later he was
	“So what’ja find, Cap’n?”
	“A thermite charge and microwave repeater that don’t belong in there. 
I think I know the reason for them, though.  The thermite would cause
rapid decompression for those in the bunker.  I’m betting that the
repeater is hooked to a fail-safe device.”
	“Fail-safe for whom?”
	“You can bet it ain’t us.  Millie, pack up emergency rations and suit
up, we’re going for a quick walk.”
	It took two hours for them to reach the rim of the crater.  From there
they could see material spritzing out of the Chimera and floating out
cloud-like forming a fogsack around the bunker.  
	Then the bunker lit up and imploded.
	“That was the thermite.  Quick, take cover, the fail-safe should be
	Supine and clear of the rim, they looked up at  the earth hanging in
black ether above them. There was a big flash from the crater and the
moon surface rippled under their bodies.   A cloud of debris rose from
the crater and wafted into space.
	“Somehow I don’t think they meant to do that”, stated Capt. Bill matter
of factly.
	“You mean they didn’t mean to blow the hell out the Chimera?”
	“They didn’t blow the hell out, they blew our slimy crab creatures
out.  Look what’s going to get sucked up by Earth’s gravitation pull.”
	They stood and watched hundreds of thousands of the crabs in a cloud of
vaporized slime rise and drift earthward.
	"It makes me wonder if the critters can survive space and re-entry or
if that slime is all it will take."
	“Do you think those things can adapt to earth’s conditions, Cap’n?”
	“I think they will adapt our home to be there’s.  The little crabs that
only skittered around on their planet should be able to leap around
quite well on ours.  We’ll probably go down in history as the one’s who
brought back space fleas.”
	“Yeah, history.  Might not be much more of that to write.  Hey, how far
is Q-25?”
	“Five clicks as the crow flies.  Let’s go and report this mess to
LunaCom, they need to know what they did.  Maybe they have a contingency
plan or something for a scenario like this.”
	“Do you think so, really?”
	“No, but I do think they're going to be a bit surprised to here from

Pure SF
Stereotypical characters
and everything.
(unnewsworthy comment follows)
Ya know, I hate what Hollywood did to a story of my youth.
"Starship Troopers" was a comic book version of the Heinlien story.
It looked like an UltraBright toothpaste comercial with a Nazi 
bug swat ending.
Twinkle smiles and decapitations, ya gotta love it.

-sure I read your comments, I also save the really good ones
to use against you at a later date.