Tag Archive: planet


A Space Command Moment

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“I’m not talking about that kind of spasm.  I’m talking about the kind of spasm where your throat constricts to the width of a juice straw, where your body is instantly covered in the slick and morbid sweat of a quaking dog, where your legs contort into painful, unnatural curving positions beyond your control and where a thick gauze of turbulent gray, cosmiscally atmospheric intensity clogs your hearing.”   http://bit.ly/xDXsTT

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“Frozen goats of Malvin! Those are the largest, land-based walking shrimp I’ve ever seen!” cried Lieutenant Henley Lipworth, peering between the crevices of the lattice-like, green rock formation on the Planet of the Obscenely Giant Shrimp. The last of the three towering white shrimp was swaying off into the sickly olive-hued distance, its nearly transparent legs sending up little plumes of avocado-colored dust with each step.
Commander Greta Bin-Lector looked through a slightly larger crevice using her authentic Space Command-issue binocularama. The shrimp’s magnified body bumped into her field of vision so dramatically that she gasped at the looming immense smoothness of its pearly covering. “Eye boggling! I haven’t seen so much smooth white curvature since the Biennial Porcelain Festival on Rugger-11.” Bin-Lector readjusted the focus on the viewing device and shifted her position. “There it is, Lipworth. The legendary Crystal Shrimp Palace. They’re lumbering right up to it.”
“Let me see.” Lipworth held out a hand, always eager to see one of the officially registered Shrimp Wonders of the universe.
Bin-Lector looked at him skeptically. “You haven’t even returned my copy of Annals of the Perverse Abbesses.”
“I’m still on the fourth Annal,” explained Lipworth. “I had to re-read annal two a few times. Remember that part with the overfed dog?”
Bin-Lector sighed and handed the device over. “Point it there. Just to the left of that last giant shrimp butt.”
Lipworth did as she directed, scraping his chin on one of the little protuberances of the gnarled rock formation. Bin-Lector held back a chuckle as a somewhat poisonous Mango Bubble Crab scurried across the rock face, nearly brushing Lipworth’s face.
Henley Lipworth let out an impressed whistle as he brought the Shrimp Palace into view. He’d seen shrimp bridges, underwater shrimp tunnels and even multi-leveled, orbiting, self-sustaining shrimp space stations, but this was his first experience with a shrimp palace. It was an inspiring sight, which would’ve been even more inspiring if Lipworth were an obscenely giant shrimp in search of a grandiose seat of government. Four stories of twisting hallways, imposing chambers and tastefully furnished crustacean pleasure dens were all constructed from glinting, transparent, variously-hued crystal, giving the viewer access to the sight of busy shrimp dignitaries, courtiers, servants and commoners scurrying about their business among the chambers.
“Amazing! It’s incredibly complex yet as finely detailed as one of the ancient Potato God cathedrals on the Planet of the Vegetable Acolytes. How do they make such intricate crystal palaces?”
“With their riches made on iron ore investments. Buying up whole planets full of iron deposits, then selling the drilling rights when iron prices went through the roof. Don’t let anyone tell you shrimp aren’t clever speculators.”
“No, I mean physically how do they make them? Shrimp don’t even have opposable thumbs.”
“They were built by slaves,” answered Letitia. “Their unhappy, short Gunnerdal slaves, imported on direct, no-frills flights from the Gunner system.”
Lipworth gritted his teeth. Enslavement was one of his least favorite things. Especially when it involved short people. “That’s repulsive. If these Obscenely Giant Shrimp are going to use their wealth to put up grandiose palaces as monuments to their own nearly limitless power, they should at least pay regular construction crews a decent wage to build them.”
“Save your outrage for the Shrimp King. Now that we’ve discovered their route to the palace, we can put our plan into action.”
“You mean the plan where we dress up as hungry, bedraggled space travelers stranded beside the shrimp trail and then they take pity on us and give us a shrimp-back ride to the palace, where we pretend to recuperate from our travails while actually uncovering the details of their strategy to colonize the Planet of the Recumbent Sages?”
“Yes. Except I’m making a slight change of plans. After seeing these shrimp tear apart those bedraggled rock antelopes for dinner, I no longer have as much faith in their ability to pity weary travelers. We’ll ask for admission to the palace head on. Posing as fine crystal salespeople with a great deal on transparent blue crystal bricks, perfect for shrimp palace add-ons.”
“But I’ve never sold anything,” protested Lipworth. “My cousin’s the salesguy. He could sell a pair of designer sunglasses to a Blind Throbbing Pumpkin Slugworm. In fact, he did sell a pair of designer sunglasses to a Blind Throbbing Pumpkin Slugworm.”
“You don’t have to actually sell anything, Lipworth,” explained Greta. But she couldn’t complete the thought. She was instead rudely interrupted by the piercing, twisted battle shriek of a rearing, nearly-translucent Obscenely Giant Shrimp charging from behind, rearing on a misshapen green boulder, its many surprisingly thick and aggressively kicking legs creating a maelstrom of deadly shrimp appendage action.
Lipworth backed against the rocks with nowhere to go, a shrimp-induced scream of jumbo proportions about to escape from his mouth when a blunt shrimp foot knocked him on the side of the head and his body’s coherency was lost in the bloody pummeling of numerous Obscenely Giant Shrimp limbs.
“I didn’t even know they could shriek. I didn’t even know they could shriek,” muttered Bin-Lector in a trance-like monotone as she saw the unpleasant black eyes of the Giant Shrimp bear down on her and the limbs kick into action to eliminate the last potentially meddlesome intruder attempting to interfere with the internal affairs of the Planet of the Obscenely Giant Shrimp.

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“I’ve seen some small mummies in my day, but this Planet of the Miniature Mummies easily blows away all of my previous bandaged-corpse experiences,” intoned Anthropology Specialist Letitia Stone-Stone, looking over the sandy Ulgan Plain.

            Commander Hendricksen turned and narrowed his eyes, looking at Stone-Stone with the piercing, authoritative stare that had made him a favorite with the public speaking instructors at Space Academy.  “How small do you expect these mummies to be, Specialist?”

            Stone-Stone made a size indication with one hand, as though holding a small pebble between her thumb and forefinger.

            “That’s pretty small,” Hendricksen agreed.  He was trying to hide his immense bitterness, the nearly palpable rage boiling underneath his stolid, bronzed exterior, at being assigned to this childish mini-mummy mission, when his fellow commanders were taking on major, regular-sized assignments, like exploring the vast mammoth-inhabited ice-tundra of Velcron 6 or tracking down the insidiously obscure hideout of the marauding, bloodthirsty space pirate known only as Deathbeard.  “Tell me something, Specialist Stone-Stone.  Don’t you ever feel the urge to investigate a life-size mummy?”  Hendricksen couldn’t keep the sneer out of his voice as he gazed at the lithe and well-complected Stone-Stone and her thematically-appropriate mummy earrings.

            “These mummies are life-size, to themselves,” she responded with anthropological rectitude.  “Look!  A mummy has fallen into my trap!”

            Stone-Stone knelt down and extracted a test tube she had buried earlier that afternoon in the dry earth of the planet’s surface to form a miniature glass pit.  She held the tube up triumphantly to the eerie lime-green light of the Planet of the Miniature Mummies.  There could be no mistaking her success: at the bottom of the tube, bumping in repeated frustration against the glass walls in slow-brained bewilderment, was a mummy the size of a medium-length salted peanut.  It was covered in tiny, multi-layered mummy-like wrappings of faded beige gauze, with bandage bits hanging off of it in raggedy unravelings.  Peering through a miniscule space between two stripes of tiny head bandaging, Hendricksen could barely make out a pinprick pair of eerie, kumquat-orange mummy eyes. 

            “Ouch!” cried Hendricksen.

            Stone-Stone looked down at the Commander’s masculine, hairy and uncovered legs.  “I advised you not to wear shorts on The Planet of the Miniature Mummies,” she chided.  Hanging on to a lower portion of Hendricksen’s calf were two angry, remarkably tiny mummies, sinking their centuries-old teeth into his unprotected leg flesh. 

            “I thought you were just concerned about being attracted to my abundant leg hair!” snapped the resolutely masculine Henricksen, who always wore shorts on his missions, as long as the atmospheric make-up of the planet allowed it.

Hendricksen shook his leg vigorously, but the mummies, who were nothing if not resilient after centuries of patient survival in the arid, miniature deserts of the Planet of the Miniature Mummies, maintained their dental grip, sending waves of curse-inflicting pain up Hendricksen’s leg.

            “Where’s your mummy repellent?” barked Hendricksen.

            Stone-Stone rummaged through her Space Command-issued Space Purse.  “Repellent will do you no good now.  Mummies are impervious to chemically induced nausea when they’re avenging a captured fellow mummy.  I will have to vanquish them with a recitation of the Ancient Curse of Tumkin Rah.”

            “They’re impervious to repellent but they’ll listen to a creaky old curse?”

            “Hold still, damn it!  We don’t have much time.”  Stone-Stone was not exaggerating.  She looked behind Hendricksen, who was hopping in a painful, hairy-legged fit.  On the supermarket-sized desert plain, an entire brigade of miniature mummies was approaching them, with the characteristic extended-arm, somnolent-stepping march of mummies on the move.

            Stone-Stone took from her Space Purse a life-sized sandstone replica of the tablet of Tumkin Rah, which was actually extremely small since Rah was himself a long-dead ruler of tiny mummies, who was tall for his ethnic group but still extremely short from a human perspective, and began to intone the curse.  “Saw saw zembo.   Zembo kin saw saw.”

            “It’s not working!” screamed Hendricksen, who was increasingly surprised at the amount of pain that could be caused by mummies no larger than the fingernail on one of his pinkies.  He lifted his hands to the green sky in a spasm of desperation, his mouth open in a panoramic scream, and then fell to the ground.

            “Silly me,” said Stone-Stone.  “They can’t hear the nuances of the curse because I’m reading it in my normal, large voice.  I have to miniaturize my pronunciation.  It’s one of the first things we learned in my Small-Scaled Civilizations seminar.”  Stone-Stone began to carefully reshape her lips to create a tiny, miniature-curse-appropriate opening, but failed to notice, with her mind intent on bringing her mouth down to size, that four inconspicuous mummies had climbed up her jumpsuit and were clambering over her lips to assault her throat.

            “Saw saw zembo,” Stone-Stone said again, this time in a mouse-like, carefully shaped whisper.  But she was barely able to enunciate the first part of the curse when she went into a harsh choking fit.  The small squadron of mummies, small both in size and number, were choking the anthropologist from inside, blocking her esophagus.

            Hendricksen looked up in exquisite pain at the mottled face of the asphyxiated Stone-Stone.  He gaped in horror as she tottered, his final moments filled with a realization of her horrible fate.     

             The last thing she tasted was the musty, rust-tinged flavor of decaying mummy bandages as she gagged fruitlessly, her body tumbling to the dry and ruthless ground where lay next to the similarly lifeless body of her shorts-garbed colleague on the Planet of the Miniature Mummies.

The Putrid Moon

“I hate living on the Putrid Moon,” said Commander O’Flaherty. 

He stared out at the deeply pockmarked surface of the unsightly moon over his cup of breakfast powder.

“Think about future generations.”  Second Officer Haifa Al-Rashid stored the packaging of her futuristic space meal for recycling.  As the first one-armed female Arab-American astronaut on the Putrid Moon, she was full of inspiring, optimistic ideas on the future of space exploration.  “One day, our children’s descendants will look back on us as moon pioneers.”

“I’m not having any children with you,” protested O’Flaherty.

“I was using the royal ‘our’,” explained Al-Rashid.

Just then, Ensign Bradley burst into the dining pod.

“Commander O’Flaherty, we’ve detected suspicious movement in the Crimble Zone!”

“You see what I mean!”  O’Flaherty seethed.  “Not a day goes by without some annoyance cropping up on the Putrid Moon.”

Second Officer Al-Rashid faced O’Flaherty with determination.  “You need to show grit, Commander!  The Crimbles could completely destroy our insulated, technologically advanced yet structurally fragile moon base with one well-organized attack!”

“Give me one reason I should care!” cried O’Flaherty.  “This moon is Putrid!  Why are we even here?  Have you taken a look around?  The Great Rundible Cleft is filled with half-solid gray slime that gives off the stench of burnt rubber.  The Wallinger Geyser shoots out burning plumes of orange-brown muck every hour that reeks of rotten potato. Last week, I fell into a gaping pit filled with decaying Crimble carcasses and I still haven’t been able to remove the stains from my uniform!”  O’Flaherty pointed to the seat of his silver moon-colonist radiation-deflecting pants.  “We can’t even invite any galactic dignitaries to visit our colony because the whole place is too goddamn smelly.  Face it people, this moon is putrid!”

Al-Rashid threw a saltshaker to the floor in fury.  “I can’t listen to this!  As the first one-armed female Arab-American astronaut on the Putrid Moon, I must set an example for all the space daughters who’ll follow my example.  This mission is not about nasal aesthetics!  This mission is about claiming a world for human habitation that on the surface is completely hostile and inappropriate for settlement and putting up with endless sacrifices, hardships and unpleasant odors to make that possible!”

Ensign Bradley pointed out the impressive picture window to a spot beyond the bubbling pits of devil-lava that lay around the compound.  “A Crimble scout!”

Bradley was undeniably correct.  In the distance, visible against an olive-ochre horizon spotted with tattered clouds, came the shambling, unappetizing shape of a three legged, large-eyed Crimble.  The Crimbles were yet another hazard of life on the Putrid Moon.  Using their sharp and pointed tusks and glinting titanium claws, a rampaging Crimble could do untold damage to the moon colony habitation with its fragile pink light funnels and architecturally renowned billowing canvas sails, reminiscent of the masts of a 19th century whaling ship.

“We’re doomed!” cried O’Flaherty.   “Doomed!  This ill-begotten mission is on a headlong collision course with a violent, smelly destruction.  All of us are going down to our putrescent unmarked graves on this godforsaken moon!”

“Perhaps the Crimble will stumble into one of the devil-lava pits,” said the inexperienced and recklessly hopeful Bradley.  He was a recent graduate of Space University and his grade point average had not been high enough to secure him a post on one of the less disgusting moon bases.

“Nonsense,” claimed Al-Rashid.  “We need simply to reach out to these misunderstood creatures.  I will go out and play the Crimble a tune of peace on my Earth-oud.  We must bridge the differences between our species if we ever hope to live in peace with the creatures of the Putrid Moon.”

O’Flaherty watched in seething frustration as Al-Rashid and Bradley set forth with the fragile oud to make peace with the Crimble.  As he could have predicted, Al-Rashid was quickly speared through the stomach by the Crimble’s tusk and Bradley fell headlong into a devil-lava pit.  O’Flaherty beat on the intercom in frustration as the Crimble lumbered ever closer to the compound.

Commander Danvers stared off stoically at the tangled forests of the Planet of the Green Monkeys, rubbing his beard stubble in satisfaction. 

            The Multi-Ethnic Galactic Intergenerational Mammalian Investigation Exploratory Squadron had spent two decades in their quest for the green monkey, usually making their space navigation decisions based on the hunches of Second Officer Luber, a bespectacled whiz kid whose instinctive understanding of galactic geography constantly amazed the crew.

            “Here it is,” piped up Luber, in his perpetually adolescent voice.  “Just like I said.  The Planet of the Green Monkeys.”

            Danvers raised his eyes to the sky, where two ugly purple moons hovered above them.  “You’re quite a kid, Luber.  I’ve been traveling with you for two decades and you still look like you’re twelve years old.”

            Luber blushed.  He hadn’t told anyone on the crew that he suffered from Janger’s Multiphasic Middle School Disease.  Every night he returned to his pod, thinking of stratagems to convince everyone on the ship he was not permanently stunted in his emotional and physical growth at the level of a pre-teen.

            Danvers lit a masculine cigar and made a surly curl with his lips.  “Now we just gotta find us some green monkeys, compadre.”

            Just then, Fourth Officer Layla Oliveros scurried up to them from a gully on their right.  Her space uniform was erotically tattered from her struggles with the promiscuous, luxuriating vines of the Planet of the Green Monkeys.  Her long flowing black hair cascaded toward her legs, making a statement of sensual Latina beauty even here on the far-flung world of the Planet of the Green Monkeys.

            “Commander Danvers,” cried Oliveros, “I’ve found a green monkey!”

            Danvers turned to her with the decisive pivot that had made him a favorite with the instructors at the Space Academy. 

            “Green monkey!  For crying out loud, woman, where?”

            Oliveros took a moment to collect herself and reapply her Passionate Pomegranate lipstick.  “Down there.  In the gully!  He was hanging from a tree branch, just like a monkey!”

            “Goddamn it, Oliveros!  If you’re right, I’m giving you a Space Star to stick on that sensually tattered uniform!  If we can capture and dissect a green monkey, we could gain clues to galactic mammal biology that will make us completely reevaluate our position in the universe.”

            Oliveros pointed again.  “Hurry.  He might escape.  He’s a monkey.”

            Danvers pulled his monkey gun from his holster and ran into the gully, followed by Luber and Oliveros.

            In moments, he was face to face with a primitive, smelly green monkey.  A large-nosed, wild-eyed green monkey who probably hadn’t evolved past his current form for millions of uneventful years. 

            Just as Danvers touched the monkey, Luber pulled out his own monkey gun.

            “Hands off, Danvers!  It’s time I proved my masculinity!  I’m taking possession of this monkey!”  Without further ceremony, Luber shot Danvers at point blank range.  In a slow motion cartwheel of death, Danvers turned end over end until he lay sprawled on the floor of the gully, his mouth open wide and his eyes staring mindlessly into the off-white sky above the Planet of the Green Monkeys.

            Oliveros planted a sensual Latin kiss on Luber’s mouth. 

            “You’re my hero, Luber!  No one but you can bring to life my dual fetishes for men with crippling diseases and unique navigational abilities.”

            “I know,” said Luber.  “That’s why it’s so distressing that I saw you last night fondling Captain Matthews in the storage pod.”

            Without another word, Luber turned his monkey gun on Oliveros and shot her, also at point blank range.

            Oliveros whimpered, then fell to the dirty ground.

            Luber looked at the green monkey, a monkey he had waited years to see.  “This is just the beginning, monkey.  The beginning of a new era on the Planet of the Green Monkeys.”  
            The monkey howled, but Luber just smiled an enigmatic smile.

They reached the planet of the orange oceans after three tedious Earth Years in the Silver Tubular.

Captain Malcolm stepped out onto the planet in his periwinkle blue space jumpsuit and surveyed the landscape.

“I see several orange oceans,” he transmitted back to the ship through his helmet transponder.

He had visited planets with orange oceans before, but none quite like this one.  Here, the orange oceans were incredibly large, bigger than the biggest Earth lakes, and they could be seen in profusion from the top of the bluff where Captain Malcolm stood.

Second Officer Bailey stood at his side.  Bailey looked prepared and stolid, ready to be unfazed by whatever oceans might face him.

“I’ve heard orange oceans harbor rich populations of black fish,” said Bailey.  “Black fish!  I’ve never tasted one.”  Bailey was a simple farm boy at heart, with lots of wheat experience.

Malcolm laughed heartily.  “You’ll taste many a black fish before we leave this planet, Officer Bailey.  We will feast in the Silver Tubular, on black fish pan-seared and drizzled with a delicate almond-lemon sauce.  Black fish filleted and accompanied with a spring salad of fresh greens and new potatoes.  Black fish baked in a rich cheese casserole dotted with green olives and peas.”

Bailey took a moment to ponder this fish dinner vision, but his reverie was interrupted by a shout from Third Officer Liston.  “Captain!  I’ve sighted air octopi!  Hovering over the orange ocean gulf!” 

Malcolm peered down toward where Liston stood, on a boulder shaped like the skull of a demented crone, the mega-magnifying super-scopes glued to his eyes.

“Air octopi!  How far off?”

Liston cried out, using his most alarming voice.  “They’re within seconds of us, flying like they’re mad as freakin’ wombats out of hell!”

Bailey was shaken completely out of his fish reverie.  “Jeez, Captain!  Air octopi!  They can strangle a man to death with their tentacles in seconds!  And these jumpsuits we’re wearing are no protection at all.”

Malcolm pursed his lips.  “You’re right, Bailey.  I can send a distress signal to the Silver Tubular, but by the time the ship can send reinforcements armed with enough laser targeting bombasts to destroy the air octopi, it will be far too late.”

“We should have come armed!” cried Bailey.

Malcolm turned to him, in a petulant fury.  “Who knew there would be air octopi on a planet of orange oceans?”

“Did you even ask the ship oceanographer?”

Malcolm scoffed.  “Patterson?  The one who predicted we’d find coral reefs on Laxxo 729?”

“You’ve put as all at risk with your egotistical foohardiness!  Your crazed determination to be the first galactic Captain to step foot on the Planet of Orange Oceans!”   Bailey turned to Malcolm in a fit of space rage and throttled the Captain’s neck with his gloved hands.   They rolled over the gray stones, locked in a battle of grim proportions.

Even as they rolled in conflict on the rocks, the slapping of air octopi tentacles could be heard from below, as the relentless white alien octopi attacked Liston, slapping at him mercilessly with their unfeeling octopi limbs.

Liston cried out, emitting an unsettling, shrill scream that ended only when his pain-drenched face was pulled below the orange waves by his unstoppable octopus assailant.

Malcolm gasped, even as Bailey’s hands closed around his throat.  “Don’t.  Don’t, Bailey.  You’re . . . becoming like . . . them.”  But Malcolm’s eyes closed in agony even as the white air octopi descended on Bailey, their furious tentacles waving in murderous patterns. 
             The flailing octopi limbs whirled in a frenzy of rubbery destruction until only bruised and mangled human body parts littered the forlorn rocks on the planet of the orange oceans.

“Behold the palpitating near-orbs of those magnificent jellies!”

Commander Mayfield stared out at the Sea of Impatience with the ecstatic gaze of a young boy in possession of his first yo-yo.  Swimming toward the shore in disciplined ranks, he could clearly make out the pulsating domes of the famed telepathic jellyfish that gave their name to the small, gray and reasonably mysterious Planet of the Telepathic Jellyfish.

“What’s our reading on the Telepathometer, Dr. Finbone?” Mayfield brusquely asked the bewhiskered scientist.  Finbone was diligently bent over his multi-leveled, large knobbed orange instrument with the intensity borne of years of study under the great Telepathometer specialist, Cravore the Brain.  Cravore’s research into detecting telepathic activity among aquatic species had brought him nothing but ridicule, catcalls and detention during his life, but posthumously he was now the favorite scientist of several paranormal fan boys and was featured on at least one neon, mid-galactic floating billboard.

“I’ve never seen results like this.”  Finbone couldn’t take his eyes off the pulsating dots on the Mentoscreen as he replied in his clipped voice, pickled in the brine of thousands of dry and vinegary facts.  “We’re picking up over fifty telepath transmissions.  According to my best calculations, the transmissions are all coming from that direction.”  Finbone pointed with a quavering finger out to the Sea of Impatience where the rows of fifty glowing jellyfish made their eerie, inexorable way ever closer to shore.

“Then the legends are true!” Mayfield cried.  “These creatures are among the only saltwater life forms in the universe who can truly communicate with one another via mental signal.”

“Don’t be too sure,” Finbone abruptly cautioned.  He tore himself away from the busy Mentoscreen, and faced Mayfield, all of his science seriousness focused on the goggle-eyed officer from Space Command.  “The creatures could be cleverly producing a screen of telepath-transmission-like signals, deceiving our primitive human equipment and deluding us into following a false lead, while they fiendishly conduct their real operations unbeknownst to us in front of, or behind, our very eyes!”

“A shrewd insight, Finbone.  But then, wouldn’t this planet be known as The Planet of the Jellyfish Who Produce Deceptively Telepathic-Like Signals?”

“Ha, ha, ha.”  Finbone laughed a hearty space laugh and shook his head, bemused by the eternal innocence of Space Commanders in their Space Commander suits.  “That is where you’re wrong, Mayfield.  Clearly, those who came before us were too literal-minded to penetrate the ruses perpetrated by these canny sea-jellies.”

Mayfield clenched his jaw.  Salty sweat poured profusely from his forehead.  Finbone’s rigorous analysis of jellyfish strategy had turned all of his preconceptions upside down.  If the jellyfish were not truly telepathic, the entire purpose of the mission was put into question.  What would be the point of capturing a jellyfish so that it could communicate with the unique telepathic giant squid bagged on the Planet of the Gargantuan Ocean Species if the shrewd invertebrates were not truly clairvoyant?  Yet how could he question the expert opinion of Finbone, the man who had written the definitive textbook on water-dwelling creatures who possessed thin, stinging tentacles: “Jellorama”?

“Those jellies are coming every closer,” cried Mayfield, the glowing translucent bubble-domes just yards away from the anxious commander.  Mayfield’s self-restraint was evaporating, like a spilled puddle of vodka being sucked up by a relentless desert sun.  He shouted out to his sea-borne antagonists.  “If you’re so telepathic why don’t you transmit to me, jellies?  Don’t you hear me, with your invisible ears?  Or do you ignore me to frustrate me in my land-based limitations!”  Mayfield fell to his knees on the pebbly beach, raising his fists skyward in supplication.  “Why do you torment me, ambiguous creatures of the Planet of the Telepathic Jellyfish?  Why do you mock my limited, non-telepathic human mind with your unfathomable contradictions?”

It was then that Finbone attempted to cry out, but instead could only stick his fingers anxiously in his mouth in a dry heave of fright.  Behind Mayfield a mammoth black Borfa Bear had unexpectedly appeared on the beach with all the stealth of a silent vampire creeping up to a night-blooming camellia.  With four relentless swings of his huge and effectively-clawing left paw, the Borfa pummeled Mayfield until the confused commander lay on the cold pebbles, his suit and dead flesh a messy set of intermingled, stringy ribbons.  Finbone, still silently shrieking, ran heedlessly into the ocean, fleeing the ravenous Borfa.  The scientist did not even consider that as he swam out into the chilly Sea of Impatience, he was heading straight for the deadly, stinging, pale-gray tentacles of the silent jellies, jellies that still ruled, in nearly unquestioned aquatic dominance over the waters of the Planet of the Telepathic Jellfyish.