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Slightly Too Close Encounters

by on July 17, 2016

Last time, in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had just released her future arch-nemesis Susan from a cell on board an alien lizard starship. This may not have been the best idea. Regardless, Princess Catrina now races down the starship corridors in a desperate attempt to escape…

“I’m always running places,” Catrina remarked. “Just once, I’d like to conduct a walking escape. Maybe a leisurely stroll escape. But no, I have to run. Always run. It must be my lot in life.”

She couldn’t even have her run in quiet, either. Shipboard alarms kept up a constant wirp-ing and WEEEE-OOOH, WEEE-OOH overheard. Catrina picked out a particularly annoying klaxon that sounded like a foghorn with a bad sinus infection. It was about high time, she decided, for her to get off the starship.

The trouble was, she had no idea how. She had no map, no convenient guide to the ship’s layout. She would have asked the ship’s computer, had she known it existed, but it only accepted commands in alien lizard speech anyway, and would have required a security passcode which she didn’t possess. This left her without many good options. It wasn’t as if she could grab one of the lizards and ask for directions.  “Well, why not?” Catrina said.

Pausing in her run, she turned towards the nearest door. It looked reasonably like the door to someone’s room. She looked to see if there was a doorknob or some sort of bell. The door, alas, seemed to be made of solid material, without a bell or a knob anywhere. Catrina knew there was only one thing to do. She raised Mlrning, the Shovel of Thor. In an instant a solid sheet of ice had frozen the door over. Then Catrina took a short run and launched herself at it, in a dramatic flying snap-kick. The door shattered into pieces.  Catrina went right through, into the room beyond.

She realized at once that she had made a slight error. The room was occupied, as she had hoped. Unfortunately, there wasn’t just one alien lizard in the room. There were two.

“Oh,” said Catrina, her eyes going very wide indeed. “I, um, apologize. I’m sorry to have interrupted your…. um…. you. Could you tell me how to exit the ship, please?”

One of the lizards squeaked at her. The ship’s internal translation matrix kicked in. She only needed to continue down the corridor outside, make two rights and a left, and she would find herself at the teleporter bay. Catrina ordinarily hated teleporters, but she didn’t want to continue this incredibly awkward conversation any longer than necessary. “Right,” she said. “Thanks very much. I’ll let you get back to it then.”

She darted swiftly out of the room and down the corridor, reflecting that one could really never account for biology. At any rate, the lizard’s directions were accurate. A few turns later, and Catrina found herself at the teleporters. She noticed one of them had what appeared to be a scanned image of the Earth. “That’ll do,” Catrina said, and ran towards it.

The lizard attending the teleporter was a minor ensign, who was only covering for his superior while the officer was away (searching for Catrina, ironically). He was also unarmed, and he didn’t like the look of Catrina’s shovel. When she yelled at him that she wanted him to send her off the ship, he immediately complied. The ensign might, had he thought about it, simply beamed Catrina out into the void of space, or just disintegrated her entirely into a random row of dots. But he was a reasonably kindly alien lizard, and he decided to send her someplace with a lot of other people like her. She would, at any rate, no longer be his problem.

What both he and Catrina hadn’t realized was that the Swirling Vortex of Imaginary Time had inexplicably opened up right in the teleporter’s circuits. The alien ensign didn’t know about the vortex, and Catrina had been so busy escaping from the ship that she had forgotten about it. As a result, Catrina materialized on the Earth below, approximately sixty years after the birth of Christ.

Catrina also materialized two seconds after it occurred to her that trusting an alien lizard to teleport her somewhere was not a good idea. She quickly checked to make sure she wasn’t missing any important bits, or that she hadn’t been turned violet. She appeared to be in order. “Well then,” Catrina said, “Where have I landed now?”

Someone screamed in Latin. Catrina looked quickly around. She appeared to be in a wide open area surrounded by stone bleachers. She had once, in her studies a a young princess, seen an engraving of the place, and she had recently been on a tour of Italy and Greece with Susan, before the latter had turned evil. “It’s the Colosseum!” Catrina rejoiced.

Then she realized several other things. There was quite a large crowd in the stands, and they were all yelling at her. She also saw that she was not alone. A smaller group of frightened men, women, and a few children in dirty robes were huddling nearby. Their terrified gaze was fixed on a metal gate that was slowly creaking upwards. Behind it, Catrina heard a distinctive roar.

“Oh, lovely,” Catrina said. “Lions. It just would be lions.”

This has been another exciting episode of The Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, go here. Be sure to come back next week when Catrina’s adventure in imperial Rome continues. And, as always, thanks for reading!



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