As I unwrapped the first raptor from the blanket, I realized that it was in fact a female. You can tell the difference from the females and males as the females are more of a lighter color and the males are of a darker color. I cut the female open near her abdomen and the blood came spurting out. I didn’t mind, it wasn’t the first time I had done this but it would most likely be the last. Putting the knife down, I reached into the cavity and pulled out an egg. I placed the egg in one of the containers that had been left for me to use. I continued to pull eggs out of the female and by the time I was done, there were fifteen eggs in all.
I moved on to cutting her open and pulling out the edible meat parts. Most of a raptor is pretty edible but there are certain areas like the stomach and intestines that don’t taste too well even after they are cooked. I pulled out the organs and put them in the edible meat container. The inedible container held the stomach and intestines for now, later it would hold the head. I moved around the raptor, skinning it as I went. I would have to cure the skin before I could use it for anything but it wouldn’t be as hard as it had been back on the planet.
Once the raptor was skinned and the skin was in a container, I moved to the claws and declawed the creature. Claws out and in the container with the skin, I moved to the teeth and started to extract them as well. It was about then that Varo spoke up.
“So, why are you taking parts of the creature that we can’t eat?” Varo asked.
“Just because you can’t eat the teeth, claws or skin doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. The skins will make a nice waterproof outfit, the claws make great knives and the teeth make great arrowheads. We’ll be able to use the bones as well.”
“And what exactly do you used the bones for?” TJ asked.
“I have carved them into forks, knives and even spoons. The kneecaps as well as the elbow bones make good cups and the skull makes a good bowl or whatever you want to use it for. As for the blood, it can be used to grow fruits and vegetables as well as the occasional fruit tree. I have seeds from Dinoplenta as well as from when I crashed that I hadn’t used up.”
“Well that explains a little, I think. So what are the eggs for? Are you going to raise your own carnivorous body guards?” Colonel Young asked.
“Nope, it’s another source of food. Please tell me you guys have eggs back wherever you come from.”
“Yes just not as big or as prehistoric. You plan on making omelets with those eggs?” Varo asked.
“Nope, but scrambled eggs will be fine. The eggs hadn’t been laid yet so they are just embryos. And since they grow only in warmth, I figure put them somewhere cold and they won’t be able to grow. One egg feeds about ten people; if you ration yourself otherwise the eggs will be eaten pretty fast.”
“We’ll try to ration ourselves on the egg eating. You almost done in here?”
“Yes, now that male and female have been stripped of everything, edible, inedible and useful.”
“So why are the skulls in with the edible meats?”
“Raptor brains are quite delicious when you cook it the right way. And once the brains are out, the skulls can be used as bowls. I’ll take the bones out later to make eating utensils. Just don’t get rid of the carcasses and everything should be fine.”
“Well as long as you have Storm watching the carcasses, it should be okay.”
“Storm will pick off what I didn’t and make sure the bones are licked clean by the time we get back. He’ll also keep an eye on the container holding the unusable scraps of raptors.”
Chloe was in the galley with Eli when Varo, TJ, Colonel Young & I walked in. I had the edible parts of the raptors and I needed to be able to cook up the meat before it went bad. As for the eggs, well I could always cook it inside the shells and then cut it up, doling the portions out that way. Chloe had a smile on her face when she saw me; that was until she saw the raptor skull in the box next to the eggs.
“You’re not expecting us to eat the skull of the raptors are you?” Chloe asked.
“Of course not, but the brains are pretty tasty once they are cooked up. As for the eggs, one will feed about ten people and there are twenty eggs in total so we should be good. Since these raptors are twice the size of a normal raptor, their eggs had to be bigger as well.”
“Yea I’ll say. From what our history books say, raptors were only about six feet tall or something like that. These ones were huge!” Eli said.
“There’s a lot about this galaxy that you will realize may be just like yours and something’s that aren’t anything like yours at all. It will get easier once I have a Dictionary on hand. Once I have one of those, I can start showing you all about the different planets, which ones to avoid all together and which ones are friendly. It’s easier once I find the Dictionary.”
“What kind of dictionary are you talking about?” James asked.
“It’s electronic and the entire knowledge of the next four galaxies is in it. And it never needs to be charged because the batteries are solar powered, like most of the things on my home planet.”
“Yea and what shall be the name of your home planet?” Rush asked walking into the galley to see where everyone had gotten to.
“It’s named Aphelion, after the Ancients that settled there. The last Ancient died about twenty years before I was born.”
“It’s surprising to know that after leaving Earth and the Pegasus Galaxy, the Ancients were still able to survive for so much longer.”
“You’d be surprised to hear the legends that run rampant on many of the planets. Aphelion has its own legends and rumors but nobody really thinks they are true. Varek, on the other hand, could tell you everything about the Ancients as he is the direct descendant of the last Ancient. If it hadn’t been for him, I…never mind. How about I start cooking, get some of this food cooked up so the meat doesn’t spoil?”
“What were you about to say?” Colonel Young asked.
“It’s not important. But I do hope that we run into Varek one day. I would love to see him again.”
With that, I headed over to Becker and he and I got to cooking the raptor meat as well as the brains, eggs and tongues. It took nearly an hour to cook all the food but by the time we were done, everyone could smell the food and they had gathered in the galley to eat some of it.
I doled out the egg portions as well as the rest of the meat, which had been mixed into a sort of stew with the brains and tongue mixed in as well so no one would really know what they were eating. It was funny to see so many people I hadn’t known the day before acting as if I was part of their crew. I noticed Varo watching me the whole time and made a note to myself to ask Chloe what his story was. Once all the food was passed around, I grabbed a plate and went to sit next to Chloe, Eli and the rest of their friends. Talk ensued throughout the galley as everyone got down to eating.
“So, Myst, how many planets in this galaxy are friendly?” Colonel Young asked.
“Well, there are thirty-five inhabited planets, three of which aren’t friendly at all since they are the military planets. They control the military for this galaxy and link up with the other galaxies. If one galaxy is in trouble, the others head to them to help out in any way. As for the others, I don’t really remember. I do know that a few of them aren’t accustomed to having strangers around and can be hostile. There are a few where slavery is the norm. And then there are the central planets, they have just about everything you can think of. From medicine to knowledge to cooking schools to colleges for different trades and even a few libraries where the knowledge of the galaxy lies.”
“Sounds like we should probably look into visiting the central planets then. Which planet is Aphelion? I mean is it with the central planets?” Camille asked.
“No, Aphelion is with some of the outer planets. In fact we should be there in a week or two. There are a few planets between here and now that we can stop by and gather more supplies before we head to Aphelion. The raptor meat and eggs are only going to last so long and the more fresh food you have the better. Most of the outer planets depend highly on trade, so whatever you can offer to trade the better we are at getting what we need.”
“So you think it’s a good idea that you stay with us then?” Grear asked.
“Of course, no offense but I don’t need to go back to civilization. Besides, who will accept me with Storm tagging along?”
“She’s got a point Grear. Storm would either be locked up or he would have to stay with us and Myst can control him better than any of us since they basically grew up together.” TJ said.
“Well, we’ll have to put it to a vote to see if everyone wants you to stay but it shouldn’t be a problem. For now, this food was good so I might keep you in the kitchen with Becker, just for the time being, if that’s alright with you. And Storm can sleep in your room, move about as much as he wants, though you will have to let us know how to react around him so no one gets hurt. And you have free range of the ship like the rest of us. If you think you can help in any way, just let us know.” Colonel Young said.
“Will do Colonel.”
“Hey, do you mind telling us what meat of the raptor we ate tonight, cause that was really good?” Scott asked.
“Trust me Lt. you don’t want to know.”
“Why not?” James asked.
“Fine, I’ll tell you. You ate most of the flank, some of the intestines, the tongue and the brains. Happy now? I think I better go get Storm settled for the night.”
I left the galley as everyone looked out at me. Becker exploded in laughter as people pushed their food away, too disgusted to eat any more of it.
“Becker, was she telling the truth?”
“Everything except the intestines were in the stew. Don’t look so surprised, you all liked it and it’s what’s on the menu for tomorrow as well since we have plenty left over.”