“Bring Back My Body”
Rod Allbright has found his father—but lost his own body! It’s been stolen by BKR, the most fiendish villain in the galaxy. Which leaves Rod sharing the body of a one-eyed blue alien named Seymour.
Alas, when it comes time to go after BKR, Rod is forced to stay behind so that the little villain won’t be able to get at the word-destroying secret locked in Rod’s brain.
Stranded on an alien planet with only Madame Pong, Seymour, Snout, and his annoying cousin Elspeth for company, Rod fumes at being left behind. Little does he know he’s about to be drawn into a web of alien plots that will test his courage to the utmost—and ultimately bring him face-to-face with BKR!
My Dangerous Brain
It was hard to decide what was the worst part about not having a mouth-not being able to eat, or not being able to talk.
It wasn’t like I was going to starve; Edgar, the other half of the two-part alien creature my brain patterns had merged with, was beaming energy into “our” body. But I missed the pleasure of tasting things, of chewing and swallowing. After all, I had been doing it for twelve years (doing a lot of it, actually, which was why I had been slightly pudgier than I would have liked). So eating had gotten to be a real habit with me.
Talking, which you also need a mouth to do, wasn’t quite so much of a habit. (After all, I had started eating at least a year earlier than I had started talking.) But I had some important things I wanted to say, and not having a mouth made it a lot harder.
Though I found this personally inconvenient, it was just as well for the universe at large, since my brain happened to contain the secret of the most fearsome weapon ever created-a bomb that would slowly destroy Time itself, freezing everyone in the universe in a state of total despair.
This information being in my brain probably wouldn’t have mattered much, since I hadn’t even known it was there myself until a couple of days earlier, except for one problem: BKR, the cruelest being in the universe, was after it. Which was why he had stolen my body-to get at the information in my brain.
So transferring the contents of my brain out of my body had saved the universe. Which was all fine and good, but it still left me sharing the body of a six-legged, one-eyed, no-mouthed creature named Seymour, who was also happened to be a major wise guy.
It was no picnic, let me tell you-and not just because I couldn’t eat fried chicken.
To make things worse, we were always fighting. Not because we didn’t like each other. The problem was that we couldn’t get away from each other, no matter what we did. We both had a growing fear that we would be stuck this way forever. Whenever I grumbled about it, Seymour would reply, Look, Uncle Rod, this is no bed of roses for me, either. Love it or leave it!
Unfortunately, leaving was easier thought than done.
So we were already in a bad mood when Captain Grakker called the crew of the Ferkel together for a meeting. Unfortunately, the meeting ended up making us even crankier.
With Edgar the furball riding on our shoulder, we joined the other members of the crew in the ship’s main meeting room. I noticed that the aliens had shrunk my father to half his normal height, which made him about the same size as them. This was just as well, since it made it easier for him to fit into the room. Elspeth (my annoying little stowaway cousin) was a few inches shorter than Dad. As for Seymour and I, we came up to everyone’s knees.
Sometimes I felt like the family dog.
Grakker called the meeting to order. He had a head like a hairless gorilla-well, a hairless gorilla that had green skin and a pair of nubs, like baby horns, sprouting from its forehead. His brick red uniform fit tight to his bulky, muscular body. He was incredibly cranky. Even so, I had become very fond of him during our adventures together.
As soon as everyone had settled in, Grakker said, “It is time to decide on our next course of action.”
“Well, we go get Rod’s body, of course,” said Elspeth. “That should be obvious.” I appreciated the sentiment. Even so, as a stowaway Elspeth didn’t really belong at the meeting, so she shouldn’t have been speaking out-especially not before anyone else had a chance to talk. But the mere fact that she shouldn’t do something had never stopped my cousin before, so there was no reason to expect it to slow her down now.
“It’s not that simple,” said Grakker, glaring at Elspeth from under his heavy green brow. “We are still in renegade status. Now that the immediate threat to the universe is over, the most appropriate thing for us to do is return to Galactic Headquarters and surrender ourselves for proper discipline.”
“You’re out of your mind!” cried Elspeth. “What did you do, Madame Pong? Slip the `Demented Ding-Dong Module’ into his skull?”
This was the first time I was actually glad I didn’t have a mouth, since laughing would have been a big mistake. Elspeth, for a wonder, immediately realized that she had gone too far. Of course, given the look on Grakker’s face, a blind man sitting behind a closed door on the other side of the planet probably could have figured that out.
Anyway, that was why Elspeth got thrown out of the meeting.
Once Elspeth was gone-and she didn’t go quietly-Tar Gibbons requested permission to speak.
Tar Gibbons is my special teacher. It (you don’t call the Tar “he” or “she”-that’s offensive) has a lemon shaped body, four legs, and enormous eyes. The Tar had invited me to be its krevlik, which is kind of like an apprentice, while we were in Dimension X. Since then, it had taught me amazing things. I loved the Tar very much. There is nothing better than having a true teacher.
“The thing is,” said the Tar, craning its long neck forward, “even though the danger is over for the moment, that situation will not necessarily persist. After all, it will not take long for BKR to realize that while he has Rod’s body, the information stored in Rod’s brain is not there, since that brain is now completely empty. Once BKR realizes that, it is likely that he will come looking for young Deputy Allbright. Warrior science tells us that it is better to meet the enemy than to let him seek us out. Therefore, I suggest we try to determine which direction BKR will go, and beat him to it.”
“Your plan is a good one, noble warrior,” said my father, speaking for the first time.
Seymour and I turned our one big eye in Dad’s direction. He was tall and lean, with a thick head of dark brown hair, and a bushy mustache. Except for his eyes, he didn’t look anywhere near 35,000 years old.
I was still amazed that we had actually found him. I mean, he had disappeared nearly three years before-just run off on our family, I had always thought. That was before I discovered that he was actually an ancient Atlantean, and a semi-alien.
I mean, talk about having a secret life!
You would think that after crossing thousands of light years and traveling right into the belly of an ancient stone beast to find my father, I could have had a little while to enjoy the fact that we were together again. But no-I hadn’t even had an hour with him before Snout, the Master of the Mental Arts, had poured the contents of my brain into Seymour’s head. Okay, so he did it to save the universe. Even so, it was annoying that instead of being father and son, Dad and I were now more like father and pet.
I couldn’t even talk to him, since I no longer had a mouth. Fortunately, Seymour and I were able to communicate mentally with Snout, who would speak our words aloud so that we could be included in the conversations. The frustrating thing was, while Snout could “open a line” into our head, we weren’t able to do the reverse. It was like being locked in a house with a telephone that only took incoming calls-and then only from one person.
So the only way I could communicate with Dad was through Snout.
This was not a situation that led to long, private chats.
Fortunately, Snout had established a connection with us as soon as the meeting started. I could always tell when he had made the connection. It wasn’t like he said anything into our head, no Line open, ready to receive! kind of message. It was simply that I could sense his mind touching ours. It’s hard to explain the change, other than to say it was a little like noticing the change in the way the light feels on your skin when the sun comes out from behind a cloud.
I was about to ask him to say that I agreed with Dad and Tar Gibbons about going after BKR when Madame Pong spoke up. Her yellow face was serious as she said, “Grakker’s intention to return to Galactic Headquarters is wise and appropriate. The Tar’s suggestion that we seek out BKR also has great merit. But there is a third point that must be considered: We must, at all costs, keep Rod’s brain and the information it contains away from BKR. Therefore, Rod should not be on the ship if it goes in search of BKR.” She paused, then added, “I think Rod wants to say something.”
She probably figured this out from the way Seymour and I were standing on our hind legs and waving four little blue paws in the air.
Tell them I have to go after BKR, I thought to Snout.
I will tell them, he replied, but I do not think they will agree.
He was right, of course. My father shook his head and said, “Listen, Rod. I understand that you see this as personal between you and BKR. But if he gets his hands on the information I stored in your brain, it could mean the end of life as we know it for everyone in the universe. We simply cannot afford to let you anywhere near the little beast.”
Maybe you should just kill me, I thought bitterly.
Though I had not intended him to, Snout spoke the words out loud.
“Probably that would be the wisest thing to do,” said Tar Gibbons.
Dad shot the Tar a ferocious look.
“I didn’t say I was recommending that,” said the Tar, stretching its neck forward. “I was simply pointing out that there was a degree of wisdom in the idea. Rod’s brain is, after all, a menace to the universe. However Rod is my krevlik, and I will fight to the death anyone who tries to harm him.”
Phil the plant, the ship’s technical officer, waved his tendrils to indicate he had something to say. Well, something to burp, actually, since he talked by burping air out of the pods that hung from his stems.
Grakker pointed to him.
Spreading his leaves, Phil made the most horrifying suggestion I could imagine.