4. Qbit and Tau – Part 1

Qbit and Tau

Part 1

Qbit and Tau were waiting in a small clearing in a secluded part of Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State. Qbit was sitting cross legged on the forest floor, meditating, with his back against a Red Alder and his chin resting on his chest. Even though he was in the shade of the tree, it was hot out. Luckily for him, the temperature extremes of this planet did not bother him. The quiet, he did appreciate.

Not too far away, Tau was reclining on a pile of boulders. They were large enough to allow his feet to dangle without touching the ground. He was swinging them back and forth, enjoying the seclusion. A squirrel sat on a branch of a tree to his right.

“Ahhh, just me, Q, and that squirrel”, he said to no one in particular.

He picked up a small rock from a pile sitting in a row next to him. Placing it between his thumb and pointer finger, he flicked it towards a large tree. The rock, which left his fingers at such a high rate of speed that, instead of ricocheting off the tree, it became imbedded in its bark.

So far, he had been able to create three concentric circles of rocks in a single tree. He was getting ready to start a fourth when he noticed another squirrel sitting on the branch of a tree to his left.

“Okay, just me, Q, and those two squirrels.”

He readied himself for another flick when, from the corner of his eye, he noticed there was now a third squirrel sitting next to the first in the tree on the right.

“It must be my good looks”

On a hunch, he quickly turned back to the other tree and, sure enough, there was a fourth squirrel sitting right next to the other. And oddly enough, they all seemed to be focused on him.

“Are they looking at me or….” He turned to look behind him to see if it was him they were looking at and not something behind him.

“Nope, nothing.” He said to himself as he turned back to face his silent audience.

There were now six.

“Woah, this is just getting creepy.” He loaded up a larger rock in his fingers and let it fly towards the group on the right. It hit the branch they were standing on at a spot between them and the main trunk. There was a sharp explosion as shards of tree branch erupted into the air.

The squirrels reacted as though this was the sort of thing that happened regularly.  Still grasping what was left of the branch, like in a cartoon, they seemed to hang in the air for a second before plunging to the earth. At the last second, in unison, they jumped to the ground, did a neat tuck and roll, and came to a stop a couple of feet from him. All of them were on their hind legs in the standard defensive stance with their front paws locked and loaded, ready to release their fury.

He said to them, “Very impressive. I had no idea The Company had rodent agents.”

The squirrels silently remained where they were.

“Listen, I respect the fact that you have the guts to stand and face me, but I think the whole my size versus your size thing works entirely to my advantage.”

There was an awkward pause.

“Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Tau made a move towards the group. The squirrel at the far end raised its right arm.

Tau stopped and waited to see what it was going to do.

It stood there with its arm up, made a fist with its paw, rotated it so its palm was facing up, paused for additional effect, then slowly extended its middle finger.

“Now that’s just uncalled for.” He raised his leg as if he was going to step on them but in a flash, they did another tuck and roll and vanished into the forest.

He quickly glanced over to see what the others were doing. They too, had vanished.

“Hmmm, this can’t be good.”

He jumped off the boulder, hitting the ground with a thud and yelled, “Hey Q, our guests better get here soon because I have a strange feeling we’re going to have visitors. I hope this whole trip hasn’t been a big mistake”

Qbit’s head came up slowly. He raised his arm to signal that he had heard him. He undid his crossed legs and rolled to one side, so he could get his right leg underneath his large frame. Using his left arm to brace himself against the tree, he pushed himself up into a standing position. He brushed off his clothes with his well-worn Rough Riders hat and straightened his C-bridge pince-nez glasses on his nose. Looking himself over, he thought, considering the situation and the environment, it had been a wise choice to appear as his favorite U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt. Of course, John Muir would have been an equally fine choice, but he thought Roosevelt’s more forceful presence and calm demeanor was better suited for this afternoon’s meeting.

He looked over at Tau and said, quoting Roosevelt, “The only man who never makes a mistake is the one who never does anything.”

Tau replied, “Yes Mr. President, well said. However, in the immortal words of the railroad baron Charles Melville Hays, ‘Safety first is safety always.”

“Point well taken, Sir. We’ll give them five more minutes.”

Without warning, a loud crash came from the woods. They both turned towards it. About fifty yards away and heading straight for them was a big hairy beast about ten feet tall with long, thick legs and long powerful looking arms. Without breaking stride, it jumped fallen logs, twisting and turning through the trees. When it was about twenty yards out, they could see that it was carrying a man across it’s shoulders.

It covered the remaining distance surprisingly quickly considering the extra weight. It came to an abrupt stop in front of Qbit and lowered the man from its shoulders, standing him upright on the ground. It looked down into the man’s eyes, took hold of his head with both hands, then violently twisted it to the right and yanked it, straight up, from the man’s shoulders.


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