So both Geeklet and I had the flu this past week. (Sympathetic noises. Thank you.) On Thursday, as he was beginning to feel better but before I knew what horrible evening awaited me, we were playing spaceship (like you do.) So, first, we were fighting the Martians.
Geeklet: We have to find ways to fight the Martians! They are going to blow up our ship and take over the Earth!
Okay, we did this for a while. But then I asked him, “Have you tried to talk to the Martians?” He said no, because the only one on the ship who could talk Martian was Dee (his purple velour rat). I said, “I think we’d better get Dee to teach us Martian. What if they aren’t trying to fight us at all?”
Geeklet blew up a Martian ship.
Me: Great. Lots of Martians soldiers on that ship. Maybe a poet, too. (See, I was already feeling sick. Please please note that I do try not to be quite so heavy-handed sometimes!)
G is near tears and I have to think of something fast–“Let’s figure out how to talk to them! Get Dee!” He runs off for Dee, and they’re deep in a translatorial huddle for several minutes. He comes running back.
G: Dee knows how they talk! They only eat with their mouths. They talk with their tails!
He then goes on to elaborate a system of communication involving straight, curved-to-the-left, curved-to-the-right and spiraling tail poses and movements, each with its own meaning.
G: But we don’t have tails, so we have to use sticks! [He holds up a stick.]
This provoked an avalanche of drawing. Suddenly, we can not only see the Martian ship from our view screen,
but we can also, evidently, see the Martian Leader’s Kitty:
The cat is showing us how he can eat Martian Cat Food, and he’s saying something with his tail.
Even though we can now speak to the Martian people, we need to get back to Earth, because we are running out of food and fuel.
G: We have to get back to Earth. We have to have 1000 of fuel, and we are only at 900. [Note that he doesn’t even mention that we’re down to 900 of fuel because he emptied out 100 of fuel to make us slow down so that we could hide on the other side of the sun so the Martians could not see us, back when we were fighting the Martians. He’s awesome at strategy, not so much at remembering why we’re low on fuel…] [Also note the interesting technique: Our ship doesn’t have brakes–dumping fuel makes us go slower. I’m glad I’m the one with a terrestrial driving license.]
Okay, so back to Earth we need to go. He sets our course on his command keyboard:
On the Geeklet’s ship, there are a couple of speeds.
10J [Note: J means half of the number, so 10J actually means 5]
300J (actually 150, remember)
Which speed would you choose? Me too.