The two space traveling cows haled us, and our first look at their video feed showed them standing at the controls of their craft with a dragon in the background. Once Alex started translating the the cows recognized him as having lived on the dragon-worshiping planet, they were insistent that we give them the coordinates so they could return the dragon.

When we explained that we wiped the location of that planet from our travel log and explained why, the cows said, “Sounds fake, but okay.” Before blasting off again.

One thing is for sure, this experience is one I will remember for a long time. The adventure’s clearly just getting started.

The roller coaster is halfway through its final loop when there is a temporal pause. Coaster, both track and upside down car, are outlined against a twilight sky on an evening somewhere in the middle of the change from summer to fall. Carnival-goers are frozen in various forms of festive fun.

They learned The magic’s favorite song, and they sang it. They sang it in groups. They sang it in twos. They sang individually. Sometimes it was in a known key, and sometimes it was in a key all their own.

They sang to The magic, and it eventually had enough energy to choose its own way. Sometimes it is a unicorn. Sometimes it is a best friend. Sometimes it is a roller coaster.

The Rider is in the third row from the front, third seat from the left. This person, even after the videos and photos go viral and everything that can be known about a person is made public, will be known as The Rider, as in “Do you know the story of …?”

Before the coaster’s final loop, The Rider can be seen, clearly enjoying the experience. The final loop, and the cameras go fuzzy. Out of the loop, and The Rider is gone. No remains are found. A legend is born.

The Magic brings them people in an infinite variety of shapes, sizes, dress and other characteristics. These people are taught The Way, and they teach it to children and new arrivals alike. In this way, Magic and legend go on forever.

They beat The Sandman at Poker when they were young, and they haven’t slept well since. There’s nothing to do most nights but think on what a stupid move it had been to bluff someone so powerful into folding such a good hand when all they had were low cards, but tonight is something different. There is the room that is a ballpit and what came out of it to consider.

Genie looks at the face on the ball. It is a child’s face. A girl’s face. A face they recognize. They even know the name that goes with it, but won’t—can’t look at that right now.

They will use the girl’s name. The ship has an extensive media library that contains, among other things, archives of every news story prior to the ship’s launch. A few keystrokes tells Genie everything they need to know, and they also realize this trip may not be the escape they thought it was.

Okay, they think. I can deal with this. The first thing to do is get the girl out of the ball.

They’re not sure how to do that. No matter. They have the night to figure it out.

There is a room on the ship that is a ballpit, and the balls have children’s faces on them. We had just closed the door and agreed never to speak of this room again when Genie noticed one of the balls had rolled out. They stared at the girl’s face on it before quietly taking the ball to their quarters, presumably for further study.

I wish they hadn’t. I was just starting to forget that the ball-girl was on board when Alex said he was sure he could hear children’s laughter while the door was open. I’m starting to have questions about just what kind of escape vehicle this turned out to be.

She jumped into the ballpit, feeling like a big girl because she’d done it all by herself. She swam all the way down to the screen bottom among the discarded candies and lost toys were. She picked up a small unicorn..

She climbed out of the ballpit, feeling like a big girl because she found her own way out and rescued a small unicorn. She saw a monster in the mirror and backed up. So did the monster. She got a lot more in that ballpit than a small unicorn.Her mother said it was okay. Nobody else could see it. When they got home, they bloke all the mirrors in the house just to make each other .She climbed out of the ballpit, feeling like a big girl because she found her own way out and rescued a small unicorn. She saw a monster in the mirror and backed up. So did the monster. She got a lot more in that ballpit all by herself than a small unicorn.Her mother said it was okay. Nobody else could see it. When they got home, they bloke all the mirrors in the house just to make each other happy.

Convincing an alien race that my starship was not their long lost dragon deity revealed them to be a peaceful people on a eutopian planet. We wiped the exact location of that planet and people from our travel log, and they gave us a cat named Alex as a We’re sorry for capturing/gesture of continued good will toward us. Alex is an intergallactic linguistic expert among other things.
Until we meet again, my dragon-worshipping, feline gifting friends!

My parent said, “Stay here. I’ll take care of this.” before going outside and never coming back.
The police officer said, “Stay here. I’ll take care of this.” before going outside and never coming back.
From my crib, I can here growling and it sounds hungry. I’m waiting here, and there’s only one thing left to be taken care of.
We were left to believe our minds were trapped in VR because of a minor software failiure. The IRL was discovering to its horror that the failiure was due to an expired patent. Furthermore, there wasn’t any money to be made from fixing the problem, so IRL-dwellers were now faced with taking care of friends and relatives unfortunate enough to be logged in. In other words, everyone will remember where they were and what they were doing when we heard those three little beeps.
I was thinking of saying Starship Changeling looks like something other than a dragon because reasons, but then I was like who’s actually gonna make an issue out of the fact that my nonexistent metaphysical starship infringes on some patents?