I've been writing a series to try to give Gonzo a backstory. Given how many contradictions we've seen, it's impossible to tie everything together into one continuity, and I'm certainly not trying to lay out a definitive history. I'd break my brain if I tried. This is simply my version of what might have been in a series of vignettes, starting with... ***** Eggs by Kim McFarland ***** It was a dark and cloudy night. In the middle of a scrubby prairie rested a spherical spaceship, like an Easter egg in a grayish nest. Its gaudy lights filtered through the nearby grasses and cast needles of color into the darkness. Small shapes moved within the pool of light surrounding the landing craft. The inhabitants of the ship were investigating this newly-discovered planet. Because it was already occupied, as evidenced by broadcast emissions and the city lights visible from low orbit, the aliens had elected to visit a sparsely-inhabited section of the world at a time when the natives were unlikely to be about. They gathered air and soil samples and took images of the surrounding land. Up above, crews from the mother ship were inserting a relay satellite into a stable orbit. This was an interesting world, one they would want to watch–but from a distance, to avoid upsetting its inhabitants. One alien was herding two dozen smaller ones. Children, who had never felt soil beneath their feet or breathed air that had not been purified by a spaceship's filters. She had a difficult task in keeping these nestlings from scattering. They were curious and fearless, as all children were; they would be taught caution when they were old enough to understand the need. At least they would stay close to the ship, in the light, where they could see. Two children jumped back, startled, when a creature burst into the air with a great noise from the ground at their feet. It flapped great flat limbs as it flew into the darkness. A girl with aqua-colored fur exclaimed, "It came from nowhere!" The other, a boy with purplish fur, was looking down where it had been. Grass stems and leaves were bent outward. On the ground below was a small platform made of plant material, with several small, pale ovoids resting within. He said, "It has eggs." "Oh!" she said. Both stepped away. Their minder said, "That was a bird. She was hiding with her eggs. You frightened her." "I wasn't going to hurt her. I didn't even see her," the girl protested. "She didn't know that. She is only an animal. Come away from there so she can return before her eggs get cold." The children followed her obediently. Eggs were important, they knew. Everyone hatched from eggs. It would be cruel to harm these eggs by preventing their mother from tending them. "Why was she afraid?" a dark blue-furred boy asked. The minder replied, "On worlds like this animals must find their own food. Some animals eat smaller animals. That's how it is on planets." Some of the children made faces of revulsion. The minder hid a smile. Though most of their race lived on spaceships, they had originally come from a planet similar to this, and they wanted to remember that heritage, even though they had left their home world so long ago they no longer knew where it was. So they brought their children down to the planets they visited, to let them see the sky and get dirt between their toes. Something struck her nose lightly. She glanced up, and blinked when a drop of water hit her eye. The others, both adults and children, looked up. The adults, who had known that a storm was likely, began setting up a device to collect rain samples. The children, after their initial surprise, began to play in the rain. They did not mind getting wet, especially not with the novelty of water falling from the sky. Fur and clothing would dry, after all, and mud would wash off. The children were all having the times of their lives. They had been told about worlds, but actually seeing one was more amazing than they could have imagined. There were things here like nothing they had ever seen on their ship. Alien animals and plants. Wind and rain! Where did it all come from? The land went on forever, without a bulkhead in sight! One, the dark blue boy, wandered to the edge of the pool of light. But there was no real edge, he found; the light was gradually filtered through the grass until it became scattered and blurred. The grass was waving hard now, and the wind was making noise like a large machine. It sounded angry, he thought. But wind couldn't be angry; it was just air moving. He squinted into the direction the wind was coming from, trying to see what was causing it. What he saw was a slender tendril of cloud, barely lighter than the surrounding darkness, descending toward the ground, waving as gently as grass in a light breeze. Intermittent flashes of light within the clouds above lit it up. He crouched down to avoid the wind and watched, his eyes adapting to the dark so he could see the storm better. * The ship suddenly began emitting a loud tone. Everyone looked up, startled, at the alarm. The technicians hastily finished their tasks and returned to the ship. They had planned to stay longer, but the storm had suddenly and unexpectedly turned violent. Now a column of spinning wind was roaming the land, and it was intense enough to endanger the landing craft. The minder, recognizing the threat, began shouting to the children, calling them back. They were reluctant to obey her summons. They did not understand the danger; they had never experienced any kind of uncontrolled weather until today, and had never heard of tornadoes. They dawdled, wanting to watch the spectacular, strobe-lit display as long as they could. One of the techs within the ship shouted, "It's coming too close! We have to lift now!" The minder and two other techs darted down the gangplank and into the harsh wind. They carried or dragged those who were having trouble fighting the wind. When they had filled the airlock with all the sodden, muddy-footed children they find, the minder looked out once more. No others were visible within the ship’s light. She closed the outer door, then tapped a communication panel and said, "Take off!" As the roar of the ship's drive started, the minder told her charges, "We don't have time to get to the chairs. Lie on the floor!" She did so, and the children followed suit. They knew that tone of voice; now was not a time to hesitate or ask questions. Something very bad was happening. Soon they felt a pressure as the ship lifted into the air. * The boy tore his eyes away from the twisting cloud when the light from the ship winked out. The howl of the wind outshouted the sound of the landing craft's engine as it rose up and disappeared into the swirling, turbulent clouds. They had left him behind! For the first time in his young life he tasted real fear. They had left him on this planet! Were they fleeing the cloud thing? Was it dangerous? He decided quickly to hide like a bird, to keep safe until they came back. He crouched down in the grass, his heart hammering, and kept very still. It worked for a while. The wind howled and flung debris at him, and rain and hail pelted him, but he stayed down. Then the wind picked him up and flung him into the rainy night. * It was a wet, bleak morning. The tornado had torn a worm-trail of destruction across the land. Fortunately it had not hit any of the few scattered farmhouses, but the crops were in poor shape. Cattle and horses were let out of their barns to graze on the wet grass. Chickens peered out of their coops, then came out for their food. Their usual allotment had not appeared on schedule, so they spread out to forage. One hen squawked in surprise and alarm. All heads turned to look at her. When she did not flee, the other clustered closer to see what she had found. They saw a strange storm-blown beast. At first they thought it was a bird, as it had what looked like a beak and blue feathers. But it had no wings, and it was wearing torn clothing. There were red stains on the ground around it and in its matted fur. Yet, surprisingly, they could see that it was breathing. One of the hens listened to its chest and heard a clear, steady heartbeat. She clucked quietly to herself. It was small, maybe half the size of a chicken. Its beak, though curved, was not sharp, and it had no claws or fangs. It was not a predator, thus no danger to chickens. After a long, thoughtful pause she clucked to the others, then seized part of its clothing in her beak. Several others grasped other parts of its clothing, and they half-dragged, half-carried it into their coop. Once inside, then set it on a pile of straw. It left smears of blood, but it was not bleeding now. It might live. Two of the hens settled down, one on each side of it, puffing out their feathers to warm it. ***** Gonzo (obviously) is copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC and is used without permission but with much respect and affection. This story is copyright © Kim McFarland (firstname.lastname@example.org). Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.