What ingrates, thought Bob irritatedly. In only a couple of Earth-years the Carps had evolved from twaddling pet galactorocks to card-carrying members of the Cygnian Settlement League, and here they were yammering for still more favors. Even though the generous Androids had granted them Leisure Learn-o-Library privileges, it had been discovered that the Carpís retention span, even under hypnocution, lasted no longer than a brief Earth-hour.
Cute though the Carps were, they were certainly dumb, too. But Bob digressed.
His orders were krystoclear: descramble the extra-long distance dispatches immediately, no matter how innocuous they might appear. He sent his willowy assistant, Pflud, into the chamber to decontaminate the message. Willowy was indeed an appropriate description, for this beige- skinned belle of the Likable Triple Cities was half tree...and what a stump she had!
Bob caught himself daydreaming about unthinkable -- and also physically difficult -- sexual fantasies when Pflud brought the glittering message to him. As always, she leaned a little too close, brushing his face with her leaves.
Reluctantly, he turned his attention away from Pflud to the transmission at hand. It was an astrogram (an astrogram!) from Lunch County, Saturn, dispatched at... "Zoons!" Bob exclaimed... "dispatched at pneu-stellar speed with special handling!"
The message read:
HAVING A WONDERFUL TIME STOP WISH YOU WERE HERE
STOP SIGNED YOUR FRIENDS ON SATURN
He sent the message through the astroscrambler and checked the words in his code books ... nothing. Nevertheless, Bob sensed trouble. He turned over the astrogram and, sure enough, there was the word "TRUBBEL" written in an identifiable Saturnian scrawl. True, the word had been misspelled, but the connotation was clear -- Help was needed!
Bob punched a button on his communication box and ordered that a fleet of warbarges be made ready for Quick Launch. Then, to be on the safe side, he contacted the Department of Outdoor Activities, requesting a Picnic Representative to accompany the fleet to Sol System; that way, if the Saturnians really were having a good time, he could cover up what otherwise might look like an overt act of aggression. Also, he could relocate those damned screaming vegatoids which were visiting from Gwed-Quatuk. Perhaps the Saturnians would eat them...he didnít know a lot about their gastronomic habits.
And while the entire Likable Triple Cities community throbbed with anticipation over the imminent
adventure, Bob locked the door to the astrolatrine with Pflud...as she turned the Ecstatocaster to