* Chapter Four *
The oval door to my living unit zipped open as I neared it and closed behind me as I exited into the busy corridor. Other doors slid opened and closed and I saw Donald and his family leaving their living unit as well as Alex Scott from his. Then to my utter surprise, a hand shot out from the crowded corridor and grabbed me by my collar, hoisting me up and off of the decking beneath my feet. I had the breath knocked out of me as I found myself slammed hard against the wall behind me.
"Okay Bro, I want to know where the hell I am and how in tar-nations did the wife and children and I, myself, get here!" boomed the voice of my brother David, as he pinned me up against the wall with an iron grip. "Where ever here just so happens to be?"
"Hi David, and how are you today?" asked Donald April as he came to stand by my brother, which in this case happened to be the wrong thing to have done. My brother reached out with his other hand and Donald shared a place on the wall next to me.
"Apparently, he's not in a very good mood is he, Jay?" Donald asked as he turned his head so that he could see very clearly, that I was in the same predicament as he.
"No shit!" I replied nervously.
"I knew that April must have had a part in this some how, somewhere along the way!" David growled angrily. "You two connive things together!"
"Well big brother, if you would kindly lower the two of us connivers back down to the deck beneath us, we'll try our hardest to explain to you what we've been trying our hardest to find out for ourselves.!" I said as I blew up in his face.
"Yes, we . . . will try." Donald said a little more calmly as Alex Scott moved into our view and gave David a hateful look.
"He your friend too?" David asked, if one could call it asking, because it seemed to me as more of a demand to want to know than it was a question.
"Yes." April managed to squeak out.
"Wrong right answer!" my brother said as he dropped Donald and I to the deck flooring and made a grab for Alex.
"David Crockett Jackson, back off!" I thundered, almost gagging as my right hand shot upwards to my sore throat.
"David, no one knows to any great extent as to how or why we've wound up here." Alex Scott explained to my irate and younger brother as he prepared himself to tangle with David Jackson should he be forced to do so. I was now back up on the wall as both Donald and Alex stood there watching.
"Okay again, big brother, just you and me!" David spat out. "The two of us have gotta have a little talk, you and I!"
My brother held me as steady as steel on the wall and I had to think of something to get myself out of this mess.
"Are you hungry David?" I asked, now trying to appeal to his stomach if not to his brain.
"Hum, yeah, now that you mention it, yeah I am." he answered as I crashed to the floor, thanking God that at least David's stomach was co-operating with me.
"I can wait to pound on some body's head after I've eaten." he said.
If everyone will follow Donald and myself to that vid com tower over there, I'll get us some directions." I said as I managed to get myself up from the corridor deck and on to my feet.
"Why don't you ask one of these things!" David Jackson blared as he picked up a poor defenseless little creature that was trying to make its way down the corridor.
"Glart moy wadon sek nad!" the alien croaked as its hand shot out like a bolt of lightening to choke my brother.
"What did it say, hurry up somebody?" asked David as he began shaking the not so defenseless little creature. "Tell me?"
"It said, put me down or else." Donald answered as he translated for one of the crew members on the ship.
"Oh, well, in that case, if it will release my throat, I might be nice enough to put whatever it is, down." David said as his face began to lose a bit of color.
Naturally of course, David's wife, also known as, my sister in law, Janice, commenced to pounding on the poor thing's back and Alex stepped between them and forcefully removed the alien from David and sat it down on the deck. It then proceeded to kick my brother in his knee caps. David grabbed the being once more by the scruff of it's neck and shoved it up on the wall. I felt for it, having been on that very same wall myself.
"Kavan, wat inauctu toc sevor glart moy wadon sek nad, va murred!" it said heatedly to David and I myself.
"Now do what, twerp?" my brother thundered as he gazed over at Donald for an answer.
"You seem to understand this fur ball, April!" he stormed. "Tell me what it said!"
"David, I guess you don't have one of these." I said as I removed the hearing aid language translator from my left ear and placed it in my brothers left hand while he held the crew member with his right hand, rock solid against the wall.
"David, put him down very gently and make some kind of an apology or else he will have you thrown in the brig!" Alex ordered as he withdrew what appeared to be a weapon from some hidden place on his person.
"Okey-dokey, so I stick this here thingy in my ear and---
"And you'll be able to understand everyone aboard this ship." Donald broke in to explain as he gazed upon the weapon that Alex held on David.
"Okay Toto, I'm sorry for having messed up your morning, but somebody has a lot of splaining to do, Lucy!" David roared. "Because me, and the wife and kids found out that we're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy!"
"Getting beamed aboard the Enterprise without my consent is not something that I would normally do at . . . twelve fifty-six in the afternoon!" he said after having looked at the time on his watch as he put the alien back on it's feet
Alex Scott moved quickly between David and our fellow crew member.
"Robert, tell King Kong to put his toy pistol away and I may try to be on my best behavior!" my brother ordered as he lowered his hands to his side.
"I'd keep it on him, Alex." Donald said as Yeoman Zaranazi walked up to me from out of the crowd in the corridor and placed a vid com watch in my right hand. "David is not to be trusted until we know differently."
"Thank you, Yeoman." I said as I strapped the watch to my left wrist.
"Natu pron, Kavan, ren." she replied as she glanced at David Jackson, who along with his wife and children, stood there with their mouths wide open.
"I take it that you and the children have your translators?" I asked my sister in law as she still stood there statue like before finally shaking her head yes.
"Yeoman So . . . nosey, I'm unable to understand you at this time." I said as I turned my head so that she would see that I didn't have my translator.
"She ah, said, no problem, Captain, sir." David said as he lightly tapped my translator that was now in his left ear. "Captain, of who, what, when, where, why, and, how come!"
"I knew it, by Golly, I just knew that you, and Donald, and the gorilla here, was in on this little charade!" my brother said as he heated back up and began looking up and down the corridor like a wild man. "Okay Hercules, you can put the gun away and bring out Allen Funt. He did a great job of hiding those cameras. This was good, a really good show, but . . . how . . . did . . . we ... get . . . here?"
David Jackson, born late in fifty-eight, was stumped as he fell into step with Donald April, once we began moving down the corridor in the opposite direction of the alien that tangled with my brother.
"You and my brother do this very often?" he asked Donald, in a more subtle tone of voice.
"Ah hum, do what very often, Dave?" Donald asked as he glanced up at him.
"You know, drug your relatives and friends and drag them to your playhouse to pretend that every one's in a spaceship?" he asked, glancing down at Donald. "I mean, even the little midget in the dog suit done a whiz bang job."
"I wish that it was that plain and simple, but---
"Oh, so you really do take off and leave Earth and take joy trips to other planets and stuff . . . like . . . that?" he asked.
"No, David, this isn't my normal type of dream." Donald answered as we neared a vid com tower and not the one further back down the corridor.
"So, you think that you're asleep, and are just dreaming this crap up, huh?" David asked as his temper flared again.
"Maybe I am, and maybe I'm not so quiet for certain." Donald answered. "But, I do know of one thing for a certainty."
"And ah, what would that one thing be?" my brother asked, and I, almost for a certainty, knew what Donald was going to tell him.
"I'm never gonna eat another pizza from Domino's ever again, dead or alive." he answered. "That's how, and why, you're all here in my nightmare, together."
"No kidding, I'd of never guessed it, that is, if you hadn't of told me." David said as his eyebrows raised and he ran his index finger around his right ear a few times before pointing to my best friend who hadn't seen him, because he was busy at the vid com tower.
"I hope that it's a nightmare." April said while fidgeting with the touch screen on the vid com unit. "What could be any worse than a nightmare?"
"The real thing." his wife Marsha answered, and he turned to face her long enough to give her a smug look before turning back to what he was doing.
"Issac, this is, I would assume, Commander April, of the Orion." he said as he faced the screen.
"Yes, Commander April, how may I be of assistance to you?" said the ship's computer.
"What I want, is a print out of the nearest place, from this point, to stuff our faces." he answered as he waited, along with the rest of us.
"Donald, it might not know what you mean by the term, stuff our faces." Marsha April told her husband as she leaned on his left shoulder.
"Your face looks as if it is filled out---
"Yes, yes, yes, eat, consume food, Issac!" Donald stormed at the computer.
"I do not require food to---
"Us . . . dag . . . nab it!" he blasted. "I want to eat and consume---
"Directions being printed, Commander." the computer said.
"Good, great, and oh, make sure that it's somewhere without pizza." April added as my brother made goofy faces behind Donald's back.
"Pizza, Commander?" Issac asked. "Pizza does not compute."
"Brother Issac, have you ever got that right." Donald replied as Marsha reached over with her right hand and tore the print out, from the tower.
"I can, in no way, be your broth---
"Issac, that will be all." Marsha said as the two of them turned around to face us.
"Really Donald, this thing about pizza has gotten way out of hand!" she said as she looked the map over. "I ate some, and I haven't suffered any ill effects."
"Oh yeah, a nightmare wife would tell her husband that she---
"Ouch Marsha, you stomped on my foot!" he said in a bit of pain as we all waited for what would transpire next. "Call me a nightmare wife will you."
"Well look where you're at woman!" Donald roared as he leaned on the vid com tower with his left shoe off, massaging his foot. "We aren't in Disney Land!"
"Okay everyone, which way to the yellow brick road diner in this nut house?" David asked. "Let's find lunch or else my right fist is going to be finding a head to thump!"
"David, did anyone at all on this ship---
"The Love Boat, that's what show we're---
"Did any . . . one . . . on this ship inform you about how you got here and why?" I asked my brother as we followed the others.
"They, or it tried to tell us, but my husband, being Mister Macho, clobbered the poor thing and stuffed it in our closet." Janice Jackson informed me while glancing up at her husband as Donald came hobbling along on his sore foot.
"It was a good fight too." piped up my nephew, David Jonah.
"Hush D.J.!" his mother thundered.
"In your closet?" Donald asked as we walked down another crowded corridor.
"If they were able to escape, they've probably gone for help, along with the other crew member that you pounced." Alexander Scott said from behind us.
I now knew where we were as we began passing through the triple oval air lock doors that led into the round jungle forest.
"Good heavens!" Janice yelped at the sight before her eyes.
"Yep, the Emerald Castle restaurant must be up ahead on this path Dorothy." David said as he gazed up at the trees way above the light tube, that we would learn later on to be, the central core of the ship.
"Maybe we're in Wonder Land instead of Disney Land, Alice." David said to his wife.
"Shut up Ralph!" she blared.
"Wrong show, this ain't the Honey Mooners!" he stormed.
"I'll vouch for that." Marsha April said as she glared at her husband.
After traveling upon the stone inlaid foot paths and passing by different species of fellow Galaxians from the thirteen or more solar systems that shared the ship with us, we finally wound up at our destination..
"This place is built over the river stream." Janice Jackson said as we took our seats at a table by a long oval bay window that overlooked a small water fall below us.
"Yeah, nice view!" my brother David replied as he squeezed me up against the window as he sat down.
"David Crockett Jackson, I've taken just about all of the crap that I'm going to take off of you today, so---
"Are we going to start this bickering again, in front of our children and everybody else here!" Donald April belted out as he sat across the table from us, as I forced my brother to move over with my body.
"Alright then, Cro . . . magnon, I mean, Commander April, I'll leave him alone for now." David said as he punched me in the right arm. "That is if someone, body, or thing, tells me where in the sam hell we are!"
"I swear David, if you don't stop this---
"Hey, boy am I ever glad to see you guys." said a very familiar voice from behind me as I turned to make sure that it was who I thought it was, but before I could say a word, Donald yelled out.
"Kill him, Alex!"
"Do what!" my brother James Bowie Jackson stormed out as he took a seat at our table. "Where in the dickens are we anyway?"
"Just what in, or out of the garden, was in that pizza that you delivered yesterday evening, James?" Donald asked as he glared hatefully down the length of our table at my brother.
"You should know, Donald." James answered. "You ordered it the way you wanted it. And what's that have to do with where we are, anyhow?"
"You would ask---
"A lot!" Donald thundered as he stood up from his seat. "That's why you're here, in my nightmare now!"
"Huh, have you flipped your lid and lost a marble?" James asked as he gazed back at Donald. "Anyways, I didn't fix your pizza, I just delivered it to you, and on time too."
"Robert, it was your idea to have that pizza party at my house, wasn't it?" Donald said as he turned his gaze towards me while everyone at the table watched and listened, and snickered.
"Alex, kill Robert instead!"
"Here, let me help!" my brother David said as he commenced to choke me while the Uorexuan Admiral stood at the foot of the table, unannounced, and slid a hearing aid translator down the length of the table til it stopped directly in front of me. David then let go of me and I hurriedly placed the device into my left ear, because I didn't want to miss out on the words that the very observant Admiral had to say to us.
"I've been observing, as well as listening to, each, and every one of you, and not only at this table." Kondulon Mazzanura said as he held both of his hands folded in front of himself. "If this is the way, that the human race of Galaxians, from the planet Earth, treats one another, then I dare say, that the Zaleens will have nothing to worry about, when it comes to entertainment from their slaves, on your world, under their domination."
"Hey, look everybody, an albino Martian." my brother David said as he stood up from the table. "Why aren't you green?"
"Ah yes, Lieutenant Commander, David Crockett Jackson, of the security division aboard the Dori . . . Orion." Mazanurra said as he glanced over at David who fell back in his seat.
"What did the antenna head say, Robert?" he asked me, now looking at a loss for anything sarcastic to reply back to the admiral.
"Here, let me check your translator." I said as I made an attempt to see if it needed adjustment, not that I would know how, and David slapped my left hand away from his ear.
"No, there's nothing wrong with the damn thing!" David growled. "I just want to know if I heard the Martian right!"
"First of all Lieutenant Jackson, I am not a Martian, I am a Uorexuan." the admiral explained. "And secondly, I want everyone from Earth that's here in this galley now, to take heed, and pay close attention to what I am about to tell you. Once you are through with your meals you will go to your quarters, and remain there, as all other areas of the ship will be off limits to you, until you have reviewed the red vid com disk, that at this time, is on the desk below each vid com monitor in your living units. Failure to comply will result in your spending the rest of your time on this ship in the brig, do I make myself clear on the matter, David Jackson?"
"Tell me this, Admiral from Uranus, where in the hell are we, and when do we get to go home!" David roared as he picked up a dinner roll and made his move towards the admiral while a group of beings, like the one that he had wrestled earlier, had gathered together on the other side of the galley. "Fun's over, and the show has ended, Blondie!"
The crew member, that my brother had fought with, raised its hand and pointed in our direction. They then decided, as a group, to walk across the room, in our direction and we all tensed up for our first bar room brawl aboard a Starship.
"You, the big ugly one!" belched our fellow shipmate as David stuffed the roll into his mouth and reached out for the admiral's neck only to have his right hand smacked away from the admiral by the being from another world.
"U agin!" my brother said while chewing his mouth full of bread. "Wha u wan is ime?"
"Slorpan Sliver, our fight isn't over, Thrug Shalurtling!" the not so poor, nor defenseless little creature snapped back.
"Uh, wad he say?" David asked as he reached for the fur ball as he had called it. "I got the fight ain't over part though."
"Commander Adeez!" Mazanurra blared loudly. "Lieutenant Jackson, cease your hostilities towards one another now, or else you can both spend the rest of your time, on this vessel, in the brig, starting immediately. Do the two of you understand me, Perinnan, Terran?"
"For now Admiral, yes!" said Commander Adeez as he stared hatefully up at my brother David. "We will allow the Slorpan Sliver to live, for as long as he never crosses my path again, for if he does, he will be one less Thrug Shalurtling that the Zaleens, and I myself, have to worry about!"
"I am afraid Jalep, that this will not be possible, while the two of you both remain, aboard this ship, together." the admiral replied.
"No problem, Admiral." David said as he stared at Jalep Adeez with the same loving kindness as was shown to himself. "I'm ready for my dessert, and this Purnan looks mighty appetizing. I could finish it off in one or two bites at the most . . . grr!"
"Jalep Adeez backed off a few paces and I thought that he was preparing to make a flying leap to my brother's throat, but he stood his ground and continued to glare hatefully at David Jackson.
"That's right, I eat Purnan Peanut Brains for dessert!" David spat back at the Perinnan.
"Slorpan Sliver, Thrug Shalurtling!" thundered the Perinnan as it spun on its heels and shoved itself through the mass of fellow Perinnans and Galaxians gathered at the Round River Galley. "We shall surely meet again, and alone perhaps."
"Who was that pip squeak, Admiral?" my brother asked as he walked over to retake his seat at our table.
"That pip squeak that you are referring to, is Commander Jalep Adeez, the chief commander of the security division aboard the Orion." Mazanurra explained. "And, is also your commanding officer."
David could handle his liquor to the last man standing, but upon hearing this, he hit the floor and had passed out stone cold. Mazanurra very calmly walked over to our table and grabbed up a glass of cold liquid and poured it in my brother's face, bringing him back around to reality.
"You alright brother?" our brother James asked as he reached down to help David up from the floor. "You don't look so good."
"I'll take care of Commander Adeez, and hopefully the rest of you can enjoy your meals without any more outburst of violence." the admiral said to us. "Afterwards, return directly to your quarters until further notification from me."