by Kenneth Haynes
This trip to the planet Zoltar had potential to be a bit better than ones from the past. To begin with, I knew my wife and children wouldn’t miss me as much because all of the aunts, uncles and cousins were going on vacation to the new Disney Space Park. BORING! But that’s just my opinion; I knew they’d love it! Please excuse my bad attitude. It’s just that as an Interplanetary Communications Technician, space travel is something that I do for a living. So I figured I’d catch up on some work while they enjoyed a few days at the space park.
The menu for this particular trip to Zoltar was contributing to my optimism. The scheduled in-flight meal was freeze-dried surf & turf. Yum-meeeeee!!! After ingesting the toothpaste tube-like dispensed meal of lobster and filet mignon, that was a bit dry for my liking but made up for by the delicious peach cobbler for dessert, I took my usual snooze and let the robotic space chauffer take care of transporting us safely to the planet’s worksite.
Upon arrival I could not help but notice how good it felt to be back on Zoltar, and I relished the squishy feel of its fluorescent green sand surface under the carbon fiber boots of my spacesuit. Zoltar’s two suns provided plenty of warmth (unlike those miserably cold years spent working on Neptune), and I looked forward to my encounters with some Zoltarians who were the pleasant, peaceful and hard-working inhabitants of the planet. I had even purchased Rosetta Stone’s Zoltarian version to try to learn some of their language in my spare time.
The pleasure and tranquility of the moment, however, quickly dissipated because something just wasn’t right. There was a disconcerting lack of activity on this “up and coming” planet, and no humans or Zoltarians for that matter could be seen anywhere. Then I saw it! Scribbled into the green sand in Zoltarian were the words I always feared to encounter, “Beware! Space Zombies are here!!!”