Perspectives from the Himalaya

Cloud Story 5: Musk Shooting Star Express to the Rescue

Satellites floating in orbit around the planet have made internet connection in the remotest places of Earth impeccable including the gargantuan Himalaya. Just like a string of pearls dotted across the night sky.

When the carriage reached the top of the shaft, the doors opened from above, to reveal a charcoal canvas of twinkling stars. They felt like a dot in the Milky Way. Only the wind blowing from the East broke the piercing silence. Arya left her pink headphones in the lift, careful that she carried no traces of colour so that when she walked into the snow, she was indiscernible to the eye. They pulled down a folded ladder and clambered out into the placid whitewashed landscape.

Professor Goat had made reservations with the Musk Shooting Star Express for 3 earthlings. He was to stay and to explore the City of Yeti. Anxious to study the seismograph-like instrument in the thunderous chamber, he searched for information on the news for recent avalanches and tremors in the region. He had an intuition that the Yetis have a part to play in changing the tectonic evolution of the mountains.

In their excitement, Arlo, Spot and Spinosaurus had not notice the absence of the goat. They followed the face of the landscape towards the peak, nostalgic for home. Arya stood by the invisible shaft and watched. When they turned around to wave goodbye, she was camouflaged in whiteness. They could not tell if she was there, being a part, or apart of the snowflake. Only her large footprints that were imprinted on the perrenial snow were marked.

Rewinding the story a little, the reader may wish to know how Pluto came to be their home.

You see, after a decade of play and work in the dense rainforest that nurtured and nourished Spot, Arlo and Spinosaurus, the trio left the Amazon, heading toward Brownsville, in search for books, rare seedlings and hurricanes. When they got there, they had countless uninvited midnight adventures in people’s homes, libraries and schools. A little lacking in understanding the Texan social norms and conduct, Arlo exchanged his books from tidied and dusty shelves, Spinosaurus raided the fridges and larders, and Spot replaced the eaten food with hand drawn cardboard versions. Amidst these nightly out of the ordinary occurrences, the people living in Brownsville, nevertheless, were found rather high-spirited at that time. Many had tasted the berry notes that Arlo left and the effects were astonishingly long-lasting.

One day, they discovered the Boca Chica launch site, a private rocket production facility, test site, and spaceport owned by SpaceX. They had managed to breached security whilst the guards were having a coffee break and berry pie made from berry notes. They strolled quite innocently, one might argue, into a space rocket – Starship SN111- that was preparing for a launch to Mars. Spinosaurus stretched his tail to scratch an itch in his armpit but being in a tight cockpit, pulled the lever that would launch the rocket instead! The rocket took flight 17 minutes before it was due. In their untimely launch, they were flung around without being secured by safety belts. The rocket was well on its course towards the clouds when Spot head butted the dive button. Starship SN111 nosed down, closely shaving the trees of the Resaca De La Palma State Park, a rich birding habitat. The rocket, in a hiccup, uprooted a huge oak tree that had a newly built treehouse and a pet in it. Then, it zoomed back up on course heading towards the orbit with the roots of the great oak tree entangled in its wings. Somehow, the course of the space rocket was diverted towards Pluto instead of Mars. The landing of the rocket was an astonishing feat. It landed upright, with the tree, the treehouse, the pet owlet and the three intruders intact.

Mr. Musk saw the disappearance of his rocket through the monitor screens of SpaceX’s viewing tower. He was madly anxious, determined to find it, whatever it took. Through their security cameras, they had identified three intruders that had caused the mayhem. With weeks of searching for the unusual profiles via satellites, they were finally located on Annapurna South. Mr. Musk got into his private star, kept the news hushed and made haste towards the Himalaya.

It was at this very precise point in time when Annapurna South became a spectacle of an unsuspecting crowd.

There was Lady Buckshot prowling with renewed interest at the etching of two dinosaurs on the soft white distance. And there was Colonel Shen stalking her like an affectionate dog. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Ground Force marched behind the unlikely pair. Lady Buckshot grabbed the rifle from Colonel Shen and looked into the eyepiece. She was a sharp shooter. Colonel Shen was quick to stop her and commanded her to step away. His duty was to capture the apatosaurus and spinosaurus alive, back to Beijing. But, Lady Buckshot was not the kind to be told what to do, nor the kind to be deterred from her life’s work which had become an obsession. She had blazing eyes on the dinosaurs to add to her incredible collection of stuffed animals in the Natural History Museum of London. She had a reputation at stake.

At the same time, up in the sky, Spot had spotted a Musk Shooting Star Express levitating above the landing plateau. Spot, Arlo and Spinosaurus trudged through the heavy snow between the elevated plain, the trajectory of Lady Buckshot and the ground troops from China. They quickened their pace and within minutes, the trio were ready to ride on the star when the latch opened up. Lady Buckshot could not bear the thought of losing such a golden opportunity. The ferocious lady fiercely elbowed the colonel in his ribs and grabbed his rifle again. The colonel, cringed in pain, fell on his knees. She was ready to shoot. The Chinese troops trailed after her and were quick to restrain her to the ground.

Colonel Shen had never been so confused in his life. Nobody has ever touched his heart the way Lady Buckshot does with her abominable ambition and despicable manners. But he simply adores all that in her. Pronounced as the most loyal and decorated officer in his battalion who had never disobeyed orders, he was now torn by inner conflict – his steadfast faithfulness to his duty and this queer flutter in his heart that made life so achingly tormenting.

Arya stood her ground watching silently from the distance. Not a word she uttered. Not a hair she fluttered.

The Yeti, having witnessed events of all sorts for a century in these mountains, had not quite seen something as odd as this. When the star took off, she returned to the city and recorded the events in the Chamber of Nincompoops and Homo sapiens.

Meanwhile, in the shooting star, Spot, Arlo and Spinosaurus were greeted by a surprised figure. It was Mr. Musk himself. It was not certain who was more goggle-eyed – Mr. Musk greeting two dinosaurs and a kid with a shock of hair, or the triad in the presence of the most aspiring man on the planet.

Mr. Musk, being a very busy man went straight to the point. There were urgent questions that he had been waiting to get answers from.

“You are all alive and looking quite well. It must mean that my space rocket that you took flight, landed soundly? Did it land with the flip sequence in time? Was it a soft touch down? And where are my seed supplies that were meant for the Mars’ greenhouses? The colonies are tired of cabbages and carrots, and they want new seeds!”

“Mr. Musk, the landing was impeccable. And we are truly sorry about the seeds but I think you will be interested to know that they are thriving in Pluto. The asparagus and black peppercorns love it there!” Arlo explained.

“Sorry Mr. Musk. We didn’t mean to hijack your rocket. It was an accident!” pleaded Spot. “We landed on the dunes, with a tree and a treehouse entangled on the rocket. And there are the icy plains that are not too far. We ice-skate for fish there,” grinned Spot excitedly.

“Pluto has the best lungfish ever. They can grow up to 2 metres, enough to fill up my belly!” Spinosaurus said, dribbling over the seat.

With his attention jilted like a thunderbolt, Mr. Musk gaped at three of them.

“You mean Starship SN777 is parked at Pluto?” Mr. Musk trembled. “I have to see this! Let me take you home. Take me to Pluto!” he voiced out demandingly to his Shooting Star on auto-pilot mode. “Wait a minute. Can the shooting star travel that far? It hasn’t got the intelligence to traverse that distance. We haven’t quite figure out the code for that, I don’t think,” said the confused man in suit.

“Oh, Mr. Musk, you just need to tease her with the right words. Give her a little tickle and she will take you far out!” Spot beamed. “Shall we, boys?” Spot encouraged the others. And off they went, singing boisterously to the star, to the tune of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’.

“It’s that toot toot from your boot,

That hum and rum, from your bum,

It’s that loot, in your crack,

That poot-t-t-poot, from your butt,

Come on come on Little Star,

Let’s set it free,

‘Cause home, we must be.”

The star chuckled. The star heaved. The star puffed. And in delight, she farted away with the other billions of stars. They journeyed through the fringe of the Milky Way towards the famously frigid dwarf planet.

*Cloud illustration by Igor Zubkov*

Leave a Reply