The Quasar Report
Well, we're off. Seven hours and sixteen minutes ago, Duck and I have begun our journey.
This isn't like all the other times. Even when off world, it still felt like home in the same solar system. But, now, we're sitting in a state of the art rocket, blasting out beyond any THING known to man. The idea of what we may come home to is a frightening one.
This rocket, the XR-72, is going to be home for a while, I think. And if this is our new home, then Bolts is our groundskeeper. He introduced himself in the most peculiar fashion. Duck was preparing a couple cups of coffee when out pops this small, three foot tall, metal man from the shelves underneath the kitchenette.
"Hello!" it shouted, excitedly. "My name is Nutson Bolts. Call me Bolts! What can I do for you?"
I've never seen Duck look so mad as when that coffee started bouncing around the room. We had to find the towels and catch the liquid as it drifted by. The little bot wanted to help, but if first impressions are everything, he's got nothing when it comes to Duck.
Maybe, if we're lucky, our scientist fellow will be less exciting and more helpful in preventing accidents. I can only hope that he's not a pain and knows when to follow orders. We don't need casualties on this mission.
What we do need are small victories. The overall mission is to explore and, hopefully, meet new life. If we do find someone out here, we want them as allies. People we can share knowledge with. Other life forms who want to preserve life and shape a better future.
The fact that that may not happen is not beyond my grasp. After the evil I've seen in humans, it would not surprise me to find an extraterrestrial with an evil agenda. One that looks to conquer or destroy.
That's why I brought Ducky with me, I guess. I needed someone with a straight moral compass that I knew would always stand with me. I've known him since grade school and not once did I ever question his loyalty. His anger is easily boiled and he has some pretty strong views, but I know that even the hard decisions will be handled with care by him.
Duck's had a rough life. His mom raised him alone. His father just vanished. Kids used to give him hell saying his dad left him and his mom. But his mom always swore that he didn't leave out of choice. This, however, caused Duck to become a fighter. Even when I met him, it was from the side lines of one of his many fights on the playground.
I was playing some lunar stick ball with some other kids when we heard some singing. "His daddy said 'good luck, Chuck.' His daddy said 'good luck, Chuck." Normally, I wouldn't pay too much attention to the dealings of the other children, but in this case, when I looked over, I seen a boy my size, with red hair, and red face, and tears, and the tightest fists. This kid was ready to kill.
The bully in this situation had ignored all the tell tale signs of a clobbering and continued to chant his poorly written song. The crowd around them grew larger. Even my friends had left our game to walk over. I would have stayed back, but I couldn't see past the large group circling the confrontation and curiosity had gotten the better of me.
As I cleared a path of bodies and took witness to the event, I could tell that the red head boy was really dealing with something of his own and the bully was really playing in to it. While a few other kids were still chanting the song, the bully, who was a full head above little Duck, was poking him in the chest, asking, "What are you going to do? Huh?"
After the second poke, Duck had swung and knocked the kid to the ground. From his back looking up, I imagine it was frightening to see that little red haired boy's fist come down. Again. And again. And again.
After about the sixth punch, there was a whistle as one of the teachers had caught wind of the disturbance and was running over. As all the other kids started scrambling to get back and appear innocent, I grabbed Duck and hauled him around the corner of the building and we made into the nearby fields.
We walked quietly for a while. We were at least five miles away from school. I saw a nice shady tree and walked over to it and sat on a low branch. Duck followed me and, surprisingly joined me on the branch.
"I didn't need saved, you know?"
"Then why did you bring me here? We're both going to get in trouble, now."
"Well, I didn't think you were wrong. That kid started it."
"I know he did, but it's nothing new. Kids always make fun of me."
"Because my dad disappeared. They like to say he left, but he loved me and my mom. He would have never left on his own!"
"Ok. I believe you. You know what happened to him?"
"I think it was aliens. Mom says that's silly, but one of the better ideas."
"I'm really sorry. My name's Jak. Jak Quasar." I reached my hand out to meet his.
He stood up and turned to me, grabbed my hand, and said, "Charles Mallard. Like the duck."
I found this amusing. Not his name. But how he introduced himself. I laughed, "Charles?Chuck? Mallard? Duck?"
He did not find it that amusing. I watched his face start to glow red again and you could hear his fist clench tight. "Do. Not. Make fun of me," he said in a low growl.
I put my hands up in surrender. "I didn't mean it! I was just humored. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." He calmed back down and looked to the ground. "Hey, since we're in trouble anyway, you want to go to my house and check out my collection of space films?"
My new friend looked at me with a shy smile. "You like those?"
"Oh, boy! Yes! I love them. I hope to join the Rangers one day. Just like my dad."
"You're dad's a Space Ranger?"
"Oh, yeah! He's the best. He's the bravest and most feared."
"Wow! Yeah, I'd love to check it out."
After that we pretty much never left each other's side. That's no more apparent then as it is now as we hurdle into the unknown with no one but each other. That is, until we reach Saturn Station.