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Chapter the Second -- Section 1

The assembled Home Front Brigade stood to attention.  “Well done, gentlemen,” complemented Big Schlepp, “You’ve accomplished a dangerous and important mission—rescuing our friend Lightfeather.” 

Little Schlepp, Louie, and Terrance beamed, even though they were still damp from their decontamination bathes.  Terrance would have proudly held out his chest, except he’s a turtle and his chest is underneath. 

“But,” Big Schlepp continued, “you’ve uncovered something far more serious.  Professor Bear, please tell us what you’ve learned.”

“Vell,” began Herr Professor Bear, “Das Unobtanium ist sehr schlecht zu finden, very difficult to find.  Astrophysicists denken, think, das es ist von outerspace gekommen.  The only weg fur etwas, something, von outerspace zu arrive on Earth ist by meteorite oder extraterrestrial spacecraft.” 

A collective gasp arose from the stuffed critters.  Clearly the green gooey Unobtainium would have burnt up if it has been on a meteor and that meant only one thing. 

“What are aliens doing here on Earth and why are some people helping them catch hummingbirds?” asked the beautiful Roberta. 

“That’s what we don’t know,” interjected Big Schlepp in his deep voice.  “For now we’ve sent the hummers to a sanctuary in the East Mountains … except for Lightfeather.  She’s agreed to help us with a special mission:  to trap the hummingbird hunters.” 

“With their entire collection of hummers turned loose, we know they’ll be desperate to replenish their stock.  Somehow they’re finding hummingbirds in the dark and capturing them while they are in their torpor.  So we’re going to use Lightfeather as bait.  Now I’d like to turn the strategic and tactical briefing over to Newport.  “ 

 “Ahem,” said Newport as he cleared his throat and stepped forward to begin.  “Tonight we’ll set up a defense in depth around the mulberry tree.  Map, please.”

 Louie clambered up to the top shelf and unfurled a map of the backyard.  Newport brought out his shiny black baton with a flourish. 

 “Ground zero of course is Lightfeather’s nest <tap>,” said the lion as he tapped the map iwith his baton indicating the mulberry tree.  We don’t want to scare our adversaries off, so there will only be a light force here, but they will be an elite force.  Miss Maddy has volunteered to head that team.”



Newport's Tap-tap Map

 “The next zone of defense will be the tree itself <tap>.  Roberta and I...”

 Two polite coughs came from the audience, politely interrupting Newport’s sentence. 

 “Excuse me… the beautiful Roberta and I,” continued Newport, “will be in the branches <tap>, while Louie, Terrance and TS guard the trunk <tap>.” 

 “Big Brown Bear will command the heavy reserve, located here <tap> on the porch concealed by the wisteria.  Perimeter units will be here, here, and here,” said Newport as he tapped the diagram.  “Their mission is primarily recon and early warning.  However, they will be responsible for defending the gates here <tap> and here <tap>.” 

 “Team leaders have their assignments.  We assemble one hour before sunset and deploy 30 minutes later.”

 Big Schlepp stepped up again, “Thank you, Newport.  I know the rest of you realize the importance of this mission and you will all do your duty.  Dismissed!”