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Radu's Unicorn

By: Rossiter


“Now I believe in Unicorns”
-William Shakespeare


Commander Goddard called a meeting of the crew one night to discuss the food
and water supplies.  The Christa had more than enough to get them back home, but the
Commander had horrible cabin fever and wanted an excuse to boss the crew around
outside of the ship.  

“What is the nearest life supporting planet THELMA.”  He asked.  

“That would be Eqquda 9, It supports over 123,545,899 different species of animals,
678,536,787,000 species of plants, and...”  

“That’s quite enough THELMA”, the Commander said.  

“That planet isn’t inhabited!”  “Who knows what horrible monsters are lurking there!”
Mrs. Davenport cried.  

“Oh calm down T.J.” Said the Commander.  “We all need a break and think of the
educational value of exploring the planet.” 

“I still don’t like it, but no one ever listens to me, so we might as well.” 

 “O.K., that settles it, can you get us there safely Mr. Band?”  

“Of course I can.” Harlan said. “I’m Harlan Band, I can do anything.”  

“Tomorrow morning at 0600 troops! Bright and early, you’re all dismissed for bed,” the
Commander said.  

* * * * * *

The whole crew was excited to visit the planet.  Harlan wanted to try some new
ways of getting in trouble, Catalina wanted to try to impress Harlan into liking her (even
though everyone knows he already does), Rosie wanted to see all the cute little animals,
Bova wanted to eat, and Radu wanted to prove to the crew that they could trust him. 
They landed safely the next day on Eqquda 9 and prepared to go exploring.  

“O.K. everyone, we are going to split up into teams of two.  I don’t want anyone
going more than a couple of miles away from the ship.”  “Cat and Rosie will set up the
perimeter fence, Harlan and Radu will go looking for a water source, and Bova and I will
test the plant life.”  

“WHAT!  Your making me go with HIM!  Why can’t I go by myself.”  Harlan
said.  

“We are a team, if you ever want to be a leader you have to learn how to work
with others first.  Now get going before we lose all this daylight.” The Commander
replied.  

* * * * * *

Harlan and Radu were walking through the forest.  Harlan was grumbling to
himself about having to work with Radu, and Radu was trying hard to ignore him.  “Hey
fuzzy, make yourself useful and try to listen for a stream or something.”  Harlan said.  

“Well if you could be quite for just a second I could...” Radu started to say.  

“Wow! Look at that!”  “That tree must be at least 200 feet high!”  Harlan said. 
“I’m going to climb it, you go find water and test it and everything and I’ll meet you
here.”  

“But the Commander said we had to stay together.”  

“I do not need a stupid Andromedan to baby-sit me.  I am Harlan Band, I can do
anything better than you, now go find some water.”  

Radu sighed and decided to do what the Commander had said and find water.  

* * * * * *	

Radu walked for about an hour before he found a path worn by hundreds of thirsty
animals to a large pond.  The pond was beautiful.  It was surrounded by many flowered
and fruit bearing trees, and brightly colored birds sang in their branches.  The water was
clear and cool, small silver fish could clearly be seen darting beneath the surface.  Radu
felt strangely calm at this peaceful pond.  He tested the water and found that it was purer
than the water currently on the ship.  He even tried some himself and felt instantly
refreshed.  He heard the sound of approaching footsteps and looked up.  

He saw a creature that looked very much like an earth horse, but it was lustrous silver
from head to toe and had a long spiraling horn.  Next to it was an old grizzled deer like
creature that had a serious limp.  The silver earth horse gently led it to the water and
urged it to drink.  She then touched the deer with her horn and it went bounding away
with youthful energy and no trace of a limp.  The earth horse glanced shyly at Radu and
cantered swiftly into the trees.  Radu was stunned by what he had seen; the creature was
obviously a sentient being.  He may have just seen a member of a new race!  He ran back
to the Christa to tell the rest of the crew.

When he got back to the ship the first thing he saw was Harlan looking extremely ticked
off with a big cast around his foot.  

“What happened to you?” Radu asked.  

“It’s all your fault you idiot!  You had to go off on your own and try to steal all the credit
for finding the water while I lay in the dirt with a broken ankle!  He should be locked in
the brig until we get home Commander.”  

“Oh shut up Harlan, it was your own stupid fault that you fell out of that tree and your
lucky that your even alive.”  Said Catalina.  

“Did you find water Radu?”  Asked the Commander.  

Radu told the crew about the pond he found and gave Ms. Davenport the samples he had
collected.  Then he told them about the silver earth horse.  

“I told you all Andromedans where crazy, he actually expects us to believe he saw a
unicorn.”  Harlan said.  

“What’s a unicorn?”  Rosie asked.  “The Unicorn is a mythical creature that resembles a
horse or goat with a single horn on it’s head.  It is a symbol of purity and love.  According
to earth legends it’s horn can purify water and has healing properties.”  THELMA replied.  

“See what I mean?”  “He’s crazy! He thinks he saw a unicorn, I bet he didn’t even find a
pond and just got those water samples off the ship just to try and show me up.”  

“Harlan be quiet!”  

“I think that water may have made you see things Radu, Cat and I will go with you
tomorrow to test it again.”  The Commander said.  

Radu was very embarrassed at what he had said and decided to just agree that the water
had made him hallucinate.  Great, now everyone thinks I’m insane and Harlan hates me
more than ever.  Radu thought.  

* * * * * *

The next day Radu, Cat, and the Commander went to test the water again.  Meanwhile,
Harlan decided that somehow he was going to get back at Radu for ruining the trip to the
planet for him.  He had noticed an old hunting trap that someone had left from a past visit
to the planet before he climbed the tree.  A forcefeild would close around the animal and
get smaller as the animal struggled.  Harlan was going to lure Radu into the trap and leave
him there for the night.  He remembered hunting once with his father and his anger
towards Radu grew.  

“This water is fine, I can’t find a thing wrong with it.”  Cat said.  

“Well, if your sure than I guess we can start pumping it into the ship’s water tanks.”  The
Commander said.  

Radu was walking around the water’s edge.  He saw the hoof-prints of the deer, but he
couldn’t find any sign of the unicorn.  The three crew members began to string tubing into
the water and started the pump to fill the water tanks.  

“Good work Radu, this is probably the best water on the planet.”  The Commander said. 
Radu smiled at the praise and the three walked back to the ship.

When they got back to the ship Radu went into the team room to take a break.  He saw
Harlan playing a Vid-Game.  “Hey Radu why don’t you play with me, this game is boring
without someone to beat.”  Harlan said.  

Radu was stunned by Harlan’s sudden kindness.  “Well O.K., but I don’t know how to
play.”  Radu replied.  

“I’ll teach you, no one is better at this game than me!”  Harlan said.  

They played for about an hour and Radu actually won a few times.  Radu was overjoyed
that Harlan had been so nice to him.  Maybe we can be friends now Radu thought
excitedly.  Harlan was happy that his plan was working, but secretly he did have fun with
Radu.  He decided to hurry up and finish what he had started.    

“You know Radu, I had a lot of fun.  I’m really sorry about everything and I hope we can
be friends now.”  Harlan said.  

“That would be great Harlan!  What do you want to do now?”  Radu asked.  

“Yesterday I saw something really neat before I fell.  I wanted to try to find it again but, I
shouldn’t go alone with this broken ankle.”  Harlan replied.  

“The Commander said we had to stay on the ship, why don’t we go tomorrow?”  Radu
asked.  

“No!  We have to go tonight, we’ll be back before it gets dark.  Trust me.”  Harlan said.  

“Well, I uh guess it’s alright.  If your sure you will be O.K.”  Radu said.  

“I’m Harlan Band, a little broken ankle isn’t going to keep me from having fun with my
new best friend.”

* * * * * *
	
They snuck past the Commander and Ms. Davenport and set out to find Harlan’s tree. 
They talked and joked the whole way. Harlan almost forgot about his cruel joke until they
finally got to the tree.  “It’s right behind those branches and to the left.  My ankle hurts so
do you think you can get it for me pal?”  Harlan asked.  

“Sure” Radu said.  “What does it look like?”  

“Oh, you’ll know it when you see it” Harlan said trying to hold back a laugh.  

Radu walked behind the tree but he did not see or hear anything.  When he turned to go
back, he banged his nose hard against something.  He put his hand forward and felt an
invisible wall.  He tried to go the other way, but the wall was all around him.  He was
trapped!  “Harlan help!  I’m stuck in a forcefeild trap.”  

Harlan started to laugh hysterically.  “You really are an idiot!  You totally fell for it!”  

“Come on Harlan, let me out we’re friends now.” Radu said. 

“You still think I’m your friend!  I was faking the whole thing!  I would never be friends
with an Andromedan.”  Radu was crushed, he never thought Harlan would be this mean.  

“Well have a nice night.  I might get around to telling the crew where you are, or we may
just leave without you!”  He limped off into the forest. 

As he heard Radu yelling for him to come back, he almost turned around.  He pushed
those thoughts out of his mind and kept going.

* * * * * *

Radu sat dejectedly in the trap.  He had really thought that Harlan wanted to be his friend. 
He began to notice something disturbing.  It was getting very warm and hard to breathe. 
Oh no! He thought.  The trap is airtight!  He banged on the invisible walls with all his
strength but they wouldn’t give.  The trap had shrunk so much from his struggling that he
was forced to his knees.  He began to feel very dizzy and weak.  The heat was unbearable
and his lungs ached for air.  

He was about to black out when he saw the unicorn galloping towards him.  She raised
her silver horn and plunged it into the walls.  Suddenly they were gone and Radu could
breathe.

He collapsed and gasped for air greedily.  When he was strong enough to stand, the
unicorn pushed her head under his arm and led him through the dark forest.  Radu realized
that they were going to the pond where he had first seen her.  She led him to the water’s
edge and motioned toward the water with her horn.  

“Do you want me to drink?” he asked.  The unicorn tossed her head and let out a soft, bell
like whinny.  Radu drank the water and felt all the pain and panic he had just felt melt
away.  He even began to notice how beautiful the pond looked illuminated by the
moonlight.  

He sat down and felt exhausted by the events of the day.  The unicorn carefully curled her
body around his and put her head over his shoulder.

He sensed that she wanted to know what was wrong.  He gently stroked her nose as he
told her about Harlan’s joke.  He found himself telling her other things too.  He told her
about the loneliness of having no friends at Star Academy and wrapped his arms around
her neck.  She made soft reassuring sounds and listened to his every word.  He pressed
closer to her and buried his face in her silky mane when he told her about how his own
people rejected him for being different.  The two spent three hours together.  Radu
suddenly felt a lot better.  The unicorn had listened and not tried to judge him or push him
away.  She brushed his cheek with her horn and stood up.

Radu’s psychic powers told him that the unicorn wanted to take him back to the Christa. 
He climbed onto her back.  He had seen pictures of human’s riding before but he never
thought he would be able to try it himself.  She trotted into the forest, and then she
quickened her pace to a canter.  

Suddenly, she leapt into the air and flew.  Radu had never felt so connected to another
creature before; it was as if he was one with the unicorn.  She flew straight up above the
clouds until she was running on them.  Radu laughed and yelled in pure joy.  He never
wanted the ride to end.  Soon he caught sight of the Christa and felt the unicorn descend. 

She landed just out side of where the Christa had landed.  Radu dismounted and hugged
the unicorn goodbye.  He thanked her for everything and told her how sad he was that she
had to go.  She nuzzled the top of Radu’s head gently and then put her horn between his
eyes.  

In his mind Radu heard her say, “You are never alone.”  She turned and without a second
glance, disappeared into the forest.  

Radu sighed and walked back to the Christa.

* * * * * *

When he got back, everyone made a big fuss over him.  He decided not to tell them about
how he had almost been killed and about the unicorn.  Harlan had been punished for about
a year, but Radu knew he would really get off in about a week.  

The Christa took off with fresh food and water supplies.  Harlan did not stop making fun
of Radu for quite a while. Nevertheless, whenever Radu felt particularly alone, he would
close his eyes and ride away on his unicorn.

The End


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