Title: Half Baked
Teaser: Peace is declared and to promote it, the Great Leader holds a cooking contest so the Visitors can learn more about humans. Who will win?
DISCLAIMER: The characters are not mine. They belong to whoever owns the Rights. This is just for fun.
Author's Note: Any characters that had died during various "V" episodes are now back alive. It's much funnier if they can interact with each other. This story would take place after the final episode, "The Return". Although the Great Leader is a space entity (that's what they showed in the last episode) he has temporarily taken on a physical form for this story.
Peace had been declared and the war was over. The Visitors would return all the people they had stolen and much of the water. They would give humanity the cures for their many diseases and in return the humans would help to teraform Sirius Four to a more livable state. There was water further out in the solar system, frozen in the form of ice and with their spaceships it would be easy to collect. They were also welcome to all the rodents they could eat. Besides, rodents bred quickly and in large numbers. If the Visitors used some common sense they would have plenty of food.
To celebrate the peace, the Great Leader himself came out to Earth to apologize for his people's rash behavior. No one had informed him that humans had been intelligent and already possessed their own technology. His people needed to learn more about humans if they were going to work together in one fleet. Humans were clever and would make excellent commanders. Both races could work together in a combined service.
And so the Great Leader had thought up this wonderful contest. He had gathered some of the most popular lizards from his fleet and now they were going to attempt to cook a human food, something called a 'cake'. The Great Leader had no idea what a cake was, but he had been told they were easy to make. Philip had told him, who had heard it from his twin brother Martin, who had heard it from Mike Donovan. Mike, of course, had never baked a cake in his life. That's what wives and girlfriends were for. And when that failed, there was the supermarket. But watching clueless lizards trying to bake would be priceless. It was great news and he was going to film it!
So now they were all gathered in the big sports arena, the center of the floor now holding several tables. The seats were packed to capacity with a mix of humans and visitors. Several of the most popular lizards would be the contestants and they stood next to the tables.
"This is the most stupidest thing I have ever heard of!" Lydia frowned as she stood behind one of the tables. Her blonde feathered hair was perfectly in place and her eyelids glittered with sparkly eye shadow. Looking her best was only practical as the event was being filmed. "As Agitant, I should be in command, not wasting time cooking some human food!"
"No more stupid than being stuck with you as a partner." Diana complained, frowning at the blonde. She loathed Lydia and would be all too glad to get rid of her. She wouldn't mind getting rid of the Leader, either, him and his ideas of peace. It was revolting. Diana was wearing her white outfit with the black sparkling vest. Her hair was full and curly.
"Well, it wasn't my idea." Lydia pouted. "Whose idea was it? Do you know?"
Diana pointed across the floor of the arena where a man was fiddling with his equipment. "Donovan. Him and that traitor Martin are doing this for news."
"Oh." Lydia replied as her eyes shifted over in that direction. Then a smile crept across her lips. "That human is far too much trouble, isn't he? If he likes this cake stuff, we should share it with him. Don't you agree?"
Diana smiled evilly. "That sounds like a wonderful idea. Lydia, how do you ever think of these things?"
"What can I say? I was born to command."
"Oh, I do not know about this…" Willie said nervously as he held tightly onto his blender. "There are so many people here and I have never made one of these fakes…"
"Cake, Willie, not fake." Harmony smiled at him and gave him a hug. "You'll do wonderful! In fact, you'll probably win. You have all that experience working for Elias at his restaurant."
"Yes, but I was just serving drinks. I never cooked…"
"But baking is easy!" Harmony reassured him. "You just mix the ingredients together and put it in a pan, put the pan in an oven. It practically cooks itself."
"Oh! That doesn't sound too hard…" Willie laughed uncertainly and walked out to the last table. Out of the Visitors competing, he was the only one that was friendly with the Resistance.
The Great Leader walked out into the center of the Arena, his reptile face clearly visible. He had decided it was best to be honest with the humans now about their reptilian nature, so he wasn't wearing a mask or an artificial human skin. Holding his hands up in the air, his long robe sleeves sliding up his arms, he waited for the crowd to hush. "Today marks a milestone between our two peoples. We have peace. From now on we will work together as one, like two snakes sharing the same skin. We must learn about each other, for there are many differences between us. But those differences can be our strengths. Where one is weak the other is strong and so both will benefit. Our worlds will be sisters and we will both prosper. We will explore the galaxy together…"
Diana rolled her eyes. "What a bunch of rubbish."
"But it is our Great Leader!" Lydia protested, her eyes locked on the speaking lizard. "Your own words are blasphemy! The words of the Leader are law!"
"And so we will learn each other's ways. That is the purpose of this cooking contest. Cooking is foreign to us as we eat everything raw, so this is meant to be a learning experience for my command staff. And today's contestants are… At Table One we have Commander Diana and Agitant Lydia."
Both women smiled and waved at the crowd.
"Table Two is Commander Charles."
Charles wore a long black robe with a triangle of chest showing. Smiling broadly, he waved at the assembled crowd. He was enjoying all the attention and didn't pay any thought to what was on the table before him. Being related to the Leader and one of the most sought after single lizard males, he was used to adoring fans and swooning females.
"Table Three is Steven."
Steven also smiled at the crowd, paying extra close attention to Mike Donovan's mother, Eleanor, who was in the first row cheering for him.
"And Table Four is Willie".
Willie smiled nervously and waved uncertainly at the huge crowd.
"You may begin." The Great Leader lowered his hands and walked off to stand next to the Inspector General, Philip.
Lydia glanced down at the table and the assorted things that rested upon it, frowning. "Well, what are we supposed to do?"
Diana shrugged, an innocent look appearing on her face. "You're in command, Lydia, or did you forget? I'm supposed to obey your orders."
"I'm in command of a saucer, a starship! Not this…" Lydia waved a hand in a sweeping gesture to indicate the table before her. "This…foolishness! Besides, I don't know how to make one of these human cakes. I don't even know what they are!"
Shaking her head, Diana frowned. "And here I thought you would have researched it."
"Well, no one had told me we were baking cakes. I had been informed we were supposed to make something called spaghetti so I had researched that. It actually looked very good in the photo, like blood-covered worms. I was very disappointed when I discovered the meal didn't have any thing to do with worms…"
Diana shrugged. "Humans are strange. What do you expect?"
"I didn't expect them to be digesting grain." Lydia sighed, glancing at the items sitting on their table. There were many strange ingredients, the only one she recognized were eggs. She enjoyed breaking eggs open above her open mouth and swallowing the contents down. Picking up a box, she glanced at it curiously. "Look! This box says 'cake mix'."
"Does it?" Diana asked as she glanced at the box in the blonde's hand. "Well, then making these cakes is more simpler than I thought. It must be simple, after all, if humans make them. We both know they can't do anything complicated."
Snatching the cake mix box out of Lydia's hands, Diana tossed it into the square-baking pan. "See? It fits perfectly! No go shove it in the hot thing humans use for cooking."
"Hey!" Lydia protested loudly, an angry expression appearing. "That's not how you do it! I was reading the instructions, something that you are too stupid to understand!"
"Why you…!" Diana growled, her dark eyes flashing in anger. Picking up a bottle of vegetable oil, she swung it at Lydia's head.
The blonde saw the move coming and ducked in time, the bottle whizzing harmlessly over her head. "Now stop that! You're embarrassing me in front of the Great Leader and you're going to get us disqualified! I, for one, want to win!"
Diana's eyes shifted around the arena. The Great Leader and Philip were frowning at her. Donovan, however, had a big grin on his face and was aiming the camera in her direction. The human wanted a show apparently. She had seen enough of human TV to know they liked big, showy stuff with lots of excitement. A dull cooking show wouldn't hold anyone's interest for long, even if the cooks were Visitors. A sneaky smile appeared on her face and she placed the bottle back on the table. "Very well, Lydia dear. You are correct and I don't want to embarrass our people on national TV."
Charles was still smiling and waving at the people in the stands. The crowd loved him and his good looks. He wasn't too sure what this cooking thing was or why he was here, but the crowd adored him. Still, he supposed he ought to get busy with this cake-making thing that Great Leader had told him about. Truthfully, it really didn't make all that much sense to him. They already knew humans cooked their food. Still, he supposed it was meant to be a cultural exchange or something…
Glancing down at his table for the first time, he studied the objects before him. There was a box that said banana cake mix, a bottle of oil, a pitcher of what appeared to be water, a carton of something, some odd-looking yellow things that were in a bunch plus assorted pans, measuring devices, bowls and so forth. Curious what was in the carton, Charles picked it up and peered within. "Eggs!"
The lizard commander licked his fake human lips, reaching for an egg. Tilting his head back and opening his mouth, he eagerly swallowed one and then a second. Large bulges were visible in his throat as he swallowed them whole, the eggs slowly sliding down to his stomach. Load gasps came from the humans in the crowded stadium at the bizarre sight while the Visitor spectators whined hungrily.
"Well, Charles is a real genius. He's eating the ingredients!" Lydia rolled her eyes as she watched the male lizard for a moment. "If he keeps that up, we have a good chance of winning this contest."
"I never did like him." Diana stated dryly as she idly watched Lydia pry the box open with a fingernail.
"The instructions are right on this box." Lydia stated as she tipped the box upside-down and a sealed plastic bag fell out. The bag was filled with cake mix, of course. "First we need to open this bag and put this white powdery stuff into a mixing bowl."
"How exciting." Diana droned, bored. She waited a few minutes, one black high-heeled boot tapping the floor impatiently. "Well, what are you waiting for? Open the bag already! I don't want to be here all day! I scheduled a meeting with James in my quarters…"
"Me? You're going to open it! You're supposed to follow my orders or did you forget?" Lydia reminded her, smirking. "Now open that bag and dump it in this big bowl. You're the science officer anyway and this seems like science to me."
Diana growled, a low rumble in her throat but she reached for the plastic bag of cake mix. Picking it up, she saw that it was sealed on both ends. Carefully gripping both sides near the top, she pulled lightly. The Visitors were much stronger than their human counterparts and she didn't want to use too much strength on the sure-to-be-flimsy human contraption.
But the bag was still sealed.
Gritting her teeth, she pulled harder.
Lydia tapped her boot on the floor now, impatient. "Well? Why aren't you opening it?"
"I'm trying!" Diana fumed as she pulled even harder, using most of her lizard strength. The plastic under her fingertips was beginning to get slippery. She could feel the material sliding out of her grasp… "This drat human thing refuses to open!"
"Stop fooling around and open that bag!" Lydia ordered, her eyes flashing. "I'm tired of all your foolishness, disobeying orders and sneaking around behind my back in terms of command!"
"Gggrrrrrrrr!" Diana growled angrily and then one hand slid entirely free of the plastic bag. Her arm shot outward and her fist struck Lydia in the face, knocking the blonde right off her feet.
"What are they doing?" Martin asked Donovan as he held the sound device for the camera.
"Trying to open the cake mix…" Mike replied, grinning. This was proving to be more entertaining than he had hoped.
Charles stopped swallowing eggs and stared at the two women over at the next table. Lydia had now gotten to her feet and had jumped on top of Diana, knocking the dark haired woman to the floor. They were both snarling and pulling at each other's hair, the bag of cake mix forgotten for the moment. Without taking his eyes off the two, he reached blindly for another egg and was surprised to find the carton empty.
Then he saw their unattended carton of eggs sitting on the table. It hadn't even been opened yet and he smiled. Taking a few steps to their table, he reached out and snatched it quickly. The eggs tasted extremely good and it was a pleasant change from rodents.
Steven stared at the human items on his table, puzzled. His human friend, Eleanor, had shown him a cake but he didn't see one on the table. The cake had been round and covered in chocolate frosting. Picking up the box of cake mix, he saw a picture of a cake on the box's front. Did cakes come from boxes? "But this box is too small for a cake…"
Turning the box over, he found the instructions. Reading, he began to understand. If he would mix the contents of this box with other ingredients, he would have a cake like the one Eleanor had shown him. As he pried the box open, a loud commotion broke out nearby. Peering in the direction of the noise, he saw Lydia and Diana rolling around the ground scratching at each other.
It was their daily fight for command, nothing new so he ignored it. He tried very hard not to get involved in their disputes and that's why he spent most of his time at Visitor Headquarters, far away from Diana. He pulled the plastic bag of cake mix from the box and studied it for a moment. The plastic was transparent yet strong. Gripping it carefully, he attempted to open the top but it refused to open. Pausing, he peered at the others to see how they had solved the problem. To his disappointment, Charles hadn't even opened his box yet and Willie already had his bag open, pouring the powder within into some sort of tall device…
Sighing and knowing he was going to regret this later, he lifted the bag to his mouth and bit it with his pointed lizard teeth. Chewing vigorously, he soon had gnawed a hole through the plastic and his mouth filled with an awful taste of human grain. Frowning at the dreadful flavor in his mouth, he quickly stabbed a finger into the opening he had chewed and tore a larger hole. Once the opening was big enough, he dumped the contents into a large mixing bowl.
Picking up the pitcher of water, he poured himself a drink. He needed to rinse out his mouth.
Willie had dumped the cake mix into his empty blender. He mixed everything in his blender. It was great for making drinks and his daily meal of raw eggs mixed with various bottled vegetables. The blender chewed it all up wonderfully and he just drank his meal down. Nothing could be simpler. Cakes should be the same.
Glancing at Steven, Willie saw him chewing on the cake mix bag and snickered to himself. Opening human containers had been hard for him, too, until Elias had introduced him to a wonderful thing called a bottle opener. It had a pointed bit of corkscrew metal on it and he kept it in his pocket. It had been simple to stab the bag with the pointed end, tearing a hole. Humans had a strange notion to child proof everything so it was almost impossible to open without the use of deadly weapons. Even odder was the fact that human children could open the thing in less than a minute while adults struggled for an hour! Truly, he didn't understand humans at all…
It was probably why the Visitors had been forced to give up the War on humanity and declare peace. He loved his human friends dearly, but they were just a little bit insane at times. They were not rational or logical and did unexpected things, and that behavior made them extremely dangerous.
He also had the suspicion that mammals could outthink lizards.
If the Great Leader weren't careful, humans would end up commanding the saucers and the lizards would crew it. Once humanity got off this world, they would be unstoppable.
Willie glanced at the instructions on the back of the box, smiling at the little pictures. The picture showed three eggs, so he cracked open three eggs and put them on top of the mix. Then he added a cup of water and a third cup of oil. Putting the lid onto his blender, Willie smiled happily. As far as he could tell, he was in the lead!
Steven had watched what Willie had done and tried to copy him. He had never cracked open an egg, though. Gripping the first egg, he struck it on the edge of the table but he had used too much force, the thin shell shattering and yellow egg goop splattering all over his hand and his spotless red uniform.
"Uggh!" Steven muttered as he lifted his hand to stare at the mess covering it. The yellow and white egg matter trailed downward in long, stretchy lines and it truly looked disgusting. Holding his hand far from his body, he shook it vigorously, egg matter flying to splatter onto Charles' black robe. Steven's eyes widened at that and he quickly put an innocent expression on his face and began whistling very quietly. It was a habit he had picked up from somewhere on Earth, although he wasn't too sure where. A long minute passed and then another; each minute as long as an eternity. He expected Charles to yell at him but the man was too busy swallowing eggs like a pig. Earth eggs were packed with cholesterol and soon he'd grow fat so the women would loose interest.
Picking up another egg, he tapped it very gently against the rim of the mixing bowl, his sensitive lizard ears listening for the slightest crack. When he heard it, he carefully pried it open so the egg fell on top of the cake mix. He repeated this process twice more, a grin appearing on his face. This baking was becoming very easy!
Then he had the sudden idea of getting trapped in a too hot kitchen with Eleanor ordering him to bake this or bake that…it was frightening to say the least!
He added the water without difficulty and now the only ingredient left, according to what Willie had done, was the oil. He picked up the oil bottle and almost dropped it, his hand still slick with egg. Frowning, he carefully set the bottle down and gripped it firmly with his dirty hand while holding the cover with the clean one. Once he had a firm grip on the bottle cap, he twisted. But to his utter dismay and confusion, the cap just went around and around and around. Bending down to examine it more closely, he saw a few words engraved in the plastic lid. "Child Proof Cap… now what does that mean?"
Lydia picked herself up from the floor of the arena, pleased. "I won, Diana. Admit it, I'm the better at both command and hand-to-hand combat! Be thankful that I don't court martial you for striking a superior officer!"
"I didn't mean to strike you Lydia, not this time anyway. It's that drat human package! It's impossible to open."
"Impossible to open is it?" Lydia stepped away from their table and peered at the other lizard contestants. "Well, it seems that both Steven and Willie has opened theirs, so your statement rings false."
"Well, you open it then! Show me how superior you really are…" Diana goaded her as she dusted off her white jumpsuit and black vest. She fluffed up her hair and hoped it didn't look too bad.
"Fine! I will!" Lydia picked the cake mix bag up from where it had fallen onto the floor, a prominent boot print on it. "Look what you did to it!"
Diana glanced at her boot print on the bag and shrugged. "Who cares? It's not like we're going to eat this cake anyway. The humans are…"
"True…" Lydia agreed as she gripped the bag near the top seam and pulled. Nothing happened, so she dug her nails in more securely and pulled harder. Her face turned slightly greenish and her mouth firmed into a straight line, her muscles straining. "I admit…this thing…is very hard….to open!"
With a sudden loud pop, the plastic bag tore wide and cake mix went flying up into the air. It rained down upon Lydia's hair and bright red uniform. Shrieking loudly, Lydia covered her head with her arms but it was too late, the cake mix was already all over her.
"Oh, you're superior all right…" Diana smiled evilly. "Perhaps I should just stick you in the oven and we could have a lizard-carrot cake, but I doubt if it would taste any good to the humans. They do like their sweets and you're much too sour."
"Grrrrrrr…" Lydia growled as she tried to shake the cake mix out of her hair. "We need a new box of mix!"
"Fine." Diana strolled the few steps to Charles' table and snatched his box. "This one says banana cake. Maybe it'll be easier to open."
"Knowing humans, I wouldn't bet on it." Lydia complained as she accepted the box from Diana. Tearing open the box in a flash, she set the bag of cake mix flat on the table. Then picking up a spoon that had a pointed handle, she viciously stabbed the bag until she had punched a hole through the tough plastic. Forcing her fingers into the hole, she tore it wider and then dumped the contents into a mixing bowl.
"How original. You murdered it." Diana commented, one dark brow partly rose in interest.
"You had best start helping! We're far behind the others." Lydia ordered, her voice firm. Turning the box over onto its back, she read the instructions. "Open that oil bottle and I'll add the water."
Lydia carefully measured a cup of water and added it to the mix. Then her eyes darted around the table for the eggs. "Where are our eggs? There was a carton here and now it's gone!"
"Don't look at me. I don't have them." Diana said as she twisted the cap on the oil bottle, but it kept going around and around. "This bottle won't open. There's something wrong with it…"
Lydia had been peering under the table for the egg carton but at those words she straightened up. "Not again! What is wrong with these humans? Can't they make normal packages that are easy to open?"
"Apparently not." Diana showed Lydia how the cover goes around and around without opening. "I could do this all day without getting anywhere. These humans are extremely foolish! Why don't they just swallow things raw like we do? Our meals take just a few minutes and they go through all this nonsense of cooking. It's simply ridiculous!"
The blonde sighed but took the bottle from Diana. "Go and find us some eggs! We need three of them!"
Peering closely at the bottle's cover, Lydia noticed fine writing and some arrows. "Push down while turning…?"
What nonsense was that? But she placed the bottle firmly on the table, gripped it securely and placed her free hand on top of the cover. Pressing down until her hand hurt, she turned the cover and was rewarded with a loud pop. Letting out her held breath, she pulled the cover free and measured out the oil.
Steven was truly frustrated. His face was dark greenish as he repeatedly banged the bottle against the edge of the table, shaking everything. The spoons rattled, the bowl with the cake mix shook and the measuring cup clattered onto the floor. "Open you drat bottle!"
But to his dismay, nothing he did would make it open. He had already tried biting it, but the plastic just flexed under his teeth. He had left little dents in the material, no more then very fine scratches.
Breathing hard, he sat the stubborn oil bottle back onto the table, running a hand through his hair to calm himself. Unknowingly, he had just smeared raw egg into his hair. "There has to be some way to open the thing…"
Rubbing his chin in thought, Steven pondered the serious problem. Humans opened the bottles all the time. The question was how did they open it? "Certainly not with those covers…maybe they punched holes in them somehow…"
His eyes scanned the table for a moment, hoping he would find a nice, sharp object to do the job, but alas, such an object didn't exist. "I guess there's only one option left…"
Steven reached onto his belt and pulled his ray gun free. Stepping back, he carefully aimed at the oil bottle and pulled the trigger. If the laser beam didn't make a hole in it, then nothing would. The hot white beam of energy shot out and hit the bottle directly in the center, his aim perfect. There was a loud whoosh and then bright flames leaped upward and outward, the vegetable oil burning
"Eeeeiiiiiii!" Willie shrieked as the table next to his burst into sudden flame. Wasting no time, Willie grabbed his table by the edge and quickly dragged it to what he hoped was a safe distance. Big black clouds of smoke were rolling upward towards the ceiling of the arena, making an awful stink. The table itself had caught fire as well and that was making its own horrible odors. Vegetable oil or any type of oil for that matter was extremely flammable! Hadn't Steven known that? Elias had told him a few times that they had to keep the kitchen very clean not only for health reason but to avoid kitchen fires. When restaurants got sloppy and allowed grease to collect on or near the stove, it often resulted in a fire.
"My cake!" Steven shouted and ran about wildly, his hands up in the air.
Willie watched for a moment, sure that Steven was out of the contest now. His ingredients safe within the blender and the fire next-door already shrinking in size, Willie peered around for the electrical outlet. But to his dismay, there didn't appear to be one in sight. And even if there was, the arena was so huge that his tiny cord would never reach it. Sighing, Willie opened the top of his blender and picked up a long handled spoon. He would have to mix it by hand. Pushing up his sleeves, he stuck the spoon inside the blender and started mixing. At first it was a bit hard, the most of the dry cake mix on the bottom. But as he stirred it all together, it grew easier and easier.
A smile appeared on his face, as his hopes of winning grew stronger.
The cracking fire had gotten Charles attention, the lizard commander pausing in his egg eating. Putting the uneaten egg back into the carton, he turned to face Steven. "What do you think you're doing? The whole place will go up in flames!"
"It was an accident!" Steven cried, alarmed he was in trouble now. The hot flames forced him to stand back.
"Accident? How in Sirius do you set a cake mix on fire? It's all dry ingredients!" Charles demanded to know, angry.
"Actually," Steven admitted. "It was the oil…."
Charles groaned. The dark acrid smoke was blowing his way, the nasty smells going right up his nostrils. Putting a hand to his now bulging stomach, he suddenly didn't feel too good. Perhaps he had gotten carried away with egg-eating? "I don't feel too good…"
"Oh? Well, let me help you…" Steven said as he hurried up to Charles' side. Gripping the man's shoulders, he led him closer to the burning table. "These flames will keep you warm. Just think of them like a nice sun-warmed rock…"
Ooooghhhhhhhh…" moaned Charles, his eyes focusing on the sizzling fire that was now dieing, only a few red flickers remaining. The last red sparks went out and he found himself standing before a black, charred table. The thing looked so incredible weak that the slightest touch would cause it to disintegrate into a pile of ashes. Swaying on his feet, he reached out and poked it with the tip of a finger and watched it collapse. Now all that remained was a black smear on the ground. The stink, to his disappointment, remained. It was making his stomach roil and bubble.
"I hope I'm not going to be sick…"
Steven smiled. He now had possession of Charles' unburned table and his ingredients. If he was fast enough, he could catch up to Willie. The unexpected fire surely had slowed him down…
Quickly his eyes darted across the table. Where was the box of mix? The mixing bowl was empty so it wasn't in there…
A hand suddenly appeared and grabbed his egg carton.
It was Diana!
Steven's hands shot out and grabbed the other end of the carton, pulling. "These are my eggs! You can't have them!"
"They're our eggs!" Diana insisted as she pulled back sharply. "Charles snatched them off our table!"
"But I need them!" Steven insisted, yanking the carton back towards him.
"You don't need them as you don't have a cake mix!" Diana growled as she pulled the egg carton closer to her side of the table. She smiled evilly. "If you want to win, Steven, you had better run to the human's sorry excuse for a store and buy one!"
Diana's forked tongue shot out of her mouth, vibrating angrily as she hissed at him. Not wanting to get sprayed with the sticky neurotoxin, he let go of the carton. Diana yelped as she lost her balance and fell over backward, crashing to the hard floor and landing on her butt. The carton, however, was still clutched in her hands.
"Yoo-hoo! Steven!" A voice called from the audience.
Steven look in the direction the voice had come from and saw his dear friend Eleanor waving a hanky at him. She had a stylish black purse with her and out of its deep depths she pulled a box of cake mix. It was chocolate, of course, as that was her favorite. His eyes lit up at the sight of the cake mix and he dashed over, almost running Diana over in the process. She just barely rolled out of his way and she glared hotly at his retreating back, shaking an angry fist.
"How can I ever thank you, Eleanor?" He said to her, his voice sincere with gratitude.
"No reward is required, of course. It's what friends do help each other. Come join me for dinner, won't you?" She smiled sweetly at him.
"Of course." He replied, accepting the box of Deluxe Chocolate Cake Mix with Pudding. Eleanor, of course, bought only the best of everything. She was very wealthy and lived in a small mansion.
"It's very simple. Just mix the contents of the box with three eggs, a cup of water and one-third cup of oil. And don't forget to oil the baking pan and dust it with flour. If you don't the cake will stick to the inside of the pan."
Steven nodded, trying to remember everything she was saying.
"Here." She said, pulling a round plastic tub out of her purse. "Pre-made frosting. Once the cake is cool, cover it with this frosting."
The grateful lizard balanced the round plastic tub of chocolate frosting on top of the box of cake mix, dent bent to give the older human woman a kiss on the cheek. Then he hurried back to his new table. He quickly opened the box and sighed with relief when he saw the bag within had an easy-to-open strip marked TEAR HERE. Gripping it, he tore the bag open and poured the chocolate mix into the big mixing bowl. He quickly added water, and then stared at the oil bottle with dread.
What was he going to do? He had tried everything to open the other bottle and it had refused to open! Glancing around, he saw that the oil bottle on Lydia's table had the cover already off!
Diana was just picking herself up off the floor, rubbing at her sore posterior with her free hand, the carton of eggs clutched in the other. He couldn't believe she was so slow. He had dashed all the way to where Eleanor was seated and had come back and she was first now getting up?
I need those eggs….
Four-chambered heart thumping, Steven darted out rapidly and gave Diana a shove from behind as he ran towards the women's table. Startled, Diana fell forward and just missed banging her head on the edge of the table. The Styrofoam carton slid out of her hand and tumbled onto the floor, just underneath the table. Without pause, Steven dived under the table after it, his outstretched hand closing over the carton's surface. A triumphant war cry came from his lips, the sound more akin to a crocodile roaring. He moved rapidly in an upward motion and banged his head on the table's underside.
"Hey!" Lydia protested loudly as her entire table shook, the mixing bowl rattling and shifting a few inches across the table's surface. The open oil bottle shook and then it toppled over. A rich pale yellow stream of oil ran across the table and dripped off the edge right onto Steven's back. As he backed up, it poured onto his head as well.
The blonde Agitant quickly grabbed the bottle and up righted it, but now it was half empty. Luckily, she had already poured the required amount into her mix. Angrily, she moved to the front of their table where the entire ruckus was going on. Her frown increased when she saw the egg carton in Steven's hands. "Those are our eggs!"
Steven gulped noisily, his eyes on Lydia's angry storm cloud face. Like lightning, he snatched the open oil bottle and ran for it.
"What…? Come back here with that!" Lydia screamed as she started to give chase but tripped over Diana's prone form on the floor. The blonde lizard put her hands out in front of her just in time, so she saved her artificial human nose from getting smashed on the hard floor of the stadium. As lizards, they didn't have a nose that stuck outward as human ones did. Still, it would look bad if she fell flat on her face. Growling and rumbling deep in her throat, she climbed to her feet and took off after him.
Reaching his new table, Steven rapidly set the oil bottle down and fumbled with the egg carton. If only he could open it and get three eggs out! Digging his fingernails into the place where it opened, he practically tore the entire lid off the lightweight container. Inside were three eggs and he rapidly scooped them up, shoving them into the pocket-like vest on the front of his red uniform. The vests the Visitors wore were very handy for holding and hiding small objects, everything from printed messages to tasty mice to computer components. The eggs hidden, he slammed the lid closed just as Lydia came running up.
Lydia's face was flushed and her chest heaved, her eyes shining with anger. Cake mix still dusted her hair and the shoulders of her red uniform. "Give … me … those …eggs … NOW!"
Pale faced and frightened, Steven shoved the empty carton towards her. Lydia could kill people just as easily as Diana when she wanted to. Oil ran down his face in streams and he wiped at the mess with his egg-covered hand, smearing his face up even worst. It was getting hard to see truthfully and his back felt wet, the wetness seeping through his cotton-like uniform and dripping down his legs.
Snatching it up and holding the Styrofoam container against her side with both hands, Lydia marched back towards her own table, her boot heels clicking loudly on the floor. She didn't seem to notice how incredibly light the carton was.
The moment her back was turned, Steven quickly removed the eggs from his vest and cracked them open, pouring them into his Deluxe Chocolate Cake Mix with Pudding. With his oil-slick hands, it had been incredibly hard to handle them. The eggs wanted to slip out of his hands but he held them with both hands, opening one at a time. A loud sigh of relief escaped his lips as he realized he had finally done it: he had added all of the ingredients!
Picking up a spoon, he started to vigorously mix the batter.
Willie paused in his cake making activity to peer at the other Visitors. They were making a ton of noise, apparently fighting over eggs. That he could understand as eggs tasted very delicious, but one shouldn't eat too many at once. It may make you ill.
His cake mix ready, he poured it carefully into two round baking pans. That part had been very easy and he smiled. Putting each pan onto a cookie sheet, he carried it to the oven. "Oh! I forgot to turn the oven on. Silly me!"
Pushing buttons, Willie figured out how the human oven worked and he set it to the proper temperature. He had been a technician onboard the mothership so working mechanical things came easily. When it had reached the proper temperature, it beeped so he carefully placed the cakes within. Setting the timer, Willie wiped his hands on his white apron and smiled. He most definitely was in the lead!
"Noooooooooooo!" Lydia cried as she opened the egg carton and discovered it was empty. "Grrrrrr! That Steven! And that Charles! They stole all of our eggs!"
Diana picked herself up off the floor once again. It seemed she was spending more time on the floor than on her feet during this sorry excuse for a contest. Dusting off her white and black Visitor uniform, Diana walked further out into the arena and saw Willie's unguarded table at the far end. "He has eggs…"
"Where?" Lydia rushed over to Diana's side, looking in the direction she was pointing. "So far he has managed to avoid all this trouble! It's unfair!"
It was true. The insane madness had avoided Willie so far, perhaps because his table was now separate from theirs by a smoking black char mark on the floor. Charles still stood in front of it like a fool, holding his now too-large stomach. Determined to get eggs if it was the last thing she did, Lydia set off across the large expanse towards Willie's table. As she passed Charles, she looked upon him with disgust. "You pig! You look like a pregnant female ready to have lizard! And to think I used to find you attractive!"
"Ooohhhhhh…" Moaned Charles.
Lydia reached Willie's table without further incident and opened the egg carton. To her relief, there were nine eggs inside. Picking out three of them, she held them in her cupped hands and walked back to her own table. "Finally we have eggs! I hope this insanity ends soon. This cooking is far worst than I had feared."
"Agreed." Diana stated as her dark eyes shifted to stare at the most-hated human on the planet: Mike Donovan. The human was busy with his camera, the heavy device on his shoulder. He had a pleased look on his face, a fact that didn't surprise Diana at all. The stupid antics of egg-stealing, fighting and the fire had no doubt pleased him very well as he thought of the ratings going through the roof. The humans at home would be sitting glued to the TV sets like morons, drinking soda and eating chips. And her once loyal lieutenant turned Fifth Columnist was glued to the human's side with some strange-looking sound device. "This is all Donovan's fault."
Lydia paused in her egg cracking to glance at the human. "He does look quite pleased. But you had best not be thinking of doing anything. The Great Leader wants peace with the humans."
The dark haired Commander sighed. She had been hoping to cover him in cake dough, him and his precious camera. But perhaps she should do something better, something the Great Leader couldn't find fault with, something Donovan would truly hate and loath…
A wicked grin appeared on Diana's face as she thought of the perfect revenge.
"Lydia, I think you're right." Diana stated as she smiled sweetly, picking up one of the two remaining eggs and cracking open its shell. "You're turning into quite the diplomat. But think of this. The humans have had their fun at our expense. And we have learned their odd cooking custom. Don't you think they should learn our customs?"
"Well," Lydia paused as she thought it over for a minute. "It does seem fair, but humans can't swallow raw mice or rats. Their throats are not made that way and it would make them sick…"
"Hmmm…." Diana purred. "True, but what if they had to catch a rat? That should be entertaining…"
"I suppose that would be harmless enough…" Lydia replied, still unsure. "We had better finish this cake before we loose!"
Then an even better idea occurred to Diana and the evil grin returned. Yes, she would get her revenge on Donovan at the end of this stupid contest. She patted her black vest and the item that was hidden inside. The look on the human's face should be very entertaining.
Steven poured oil into his two round pans and then added some flour, following Eleanor's instructions to the T. Shaking the pans, he made sure they were evenly coated. It was a bit difficult as the pans kept sliding out of his greasy hands, but he kept after it. Every so often new trails of cooking oil ran down his face and he wiped at it with his sleeve. His once neat Visitor uniform was a total ruin, both sleeves stained dark with oil. The stains would most likely never come out and he would have to have it replaced. Still, it was a great honor that the Leader had chosen him to participate instead of some other lizard.
The pans ready, he carefully poured the cake batter into them, the mixing bowl slipping from his hands three times. Each time it slipped, batter sprayed outward and went onto the front of his uniform. Luckily, he didn't loose very much. The amount of batter in each pan looked even to him, so he set off to heat the oven. The correct cooking temperature was on the box, so he knew how high to set it. Covered in oil the way he was, he was leery of going near the oven. He didn't want to end up like the burning bottle of oil! But he had no choice. He saw Willie loitering near his own oven and eyed the white apron wishfully.
"You wouldn't happen to have an extra apron or towel, do you?" Steven asked the other lizard. "I seem to be a mess…"
"Oh, yes, I have a towel…" Willie went to his table and fetched the neatly folded towel. It was actually a big fluffy bath towel he had borrowed from the humans. "When cooking, it is always good to have a towel. And you should wash your hands after handling eggs, as they can have germs on the shells that are bad for humans."
Steven accepted the towel gratefully and wiped his hands on it, then his face.
"You have egg in your hair. Did you know that?" Willie asked the other Visitor. Then his eyes shifted to Charles. "We should do something for him. He is just standing there. Maybe he needs a medic."
"You're right." Steven agreed as he rubbed the big towel on his head, hoping the wig wouldn't come off. Shame bit at him now and he felt awful about stealing Charles' table and giving him the burned one. But the man's illness was most likely due to his own gluttony. "I will go tell Philip."
"I think that would be best." Willie nodded his head nervously. It wasn't often he spoke personally to a lizard with such high rank as Steven. He was, after all, just a lowly technician while Steven was in charge of the entire Visitor Complex in Las Angeles as well as Security.
Making certain his wig was still on properly and his face shiny but relatively dry, Steven set off across the arena towards Philip. After a short conversation, Visitor medics were sent out to fetch Charles away and Steven went back to his cakes. It seemed no one had messed with them in his absence or so he hoped. His new table was right next to the two women so he couldn't be certain. Then the buzzer rang on the oven and he set the cakes within, the incredibly hot air blasting him in the face. The high heat required to cook human food astonished him and he was thankful for the fake human skin that protected him from it. High heat like that was deadly for lizards.
"Well, it looks like our cakes are finally done!" Lydia stated proudly as she stared down at the two pans of cake batter. "It was a truly appalling experience but we got through it unscathed, our scales intact."
"And we also lost one competitor." Diana smiled slyly as the medics took Charles away. "Though no fault of ours, of course."
"Of course." Lydia agreed. "He did that to himself. "Perhaps he will require one of those triple bypass surgeries humans do on themselves. They sound so dreadful."
Lydia strolled away and set the oven. When it was ready, she placed the cake pans within and closed the oven door. Dusting her hands off, she slowly walked back towards Diana. "Now we just have to wait for it to cook…"
"How boring." The dark haired lizard replied, her eyes shifting towards the human and his camera. The contest would end with a bang and she was looking forward to it. Command of the motherships was boring at times, too, especially during the long hauls through space. This boredom was only temporarily and she'd just wait patiently.
Time passed and Willie pulled his cake out of the oven first, the intense heat startling him. Soon the other cakes were removed as well and the lizards waited for them to cool. When they were cool, they needed to remove them from the pans and add the frosting.
Willie carefully turned his first pan full of cake upside-down and waited for the desert to fall out. He waited and waited, but nothing happened. Confused, he shook it a bit. But it still didn't come out.
"Oh no!" Willie cried as he smacked himself in the forehead with his open palm. "I forgot to oil and flour the pans! Now it will be very hard to get them out…"
Setting the upside-down pan on the cake plate, he started tapping the bottom and finally it came free. "Whew! It came out! I am very lucky!"
Using a cup of milk, a pudding mix and some whipped topping, Willie started making the simple frosting that Harmony had given him the recipe for. Once it was made, it was a simple matter to smear it on the cake.
Since he had oiled and floured the pans, Steven's cakes came out very easy. The frosting, however, was more difficult. Opening the tub had been thankfully simple, but the chocolate contents within were thick and gooey. When he attempted to spread it onto the cake, it stuck to not only the knife but started tearing bits of cake off as well. Biting his lip and frowning, Steven tried to smear it on the best he could but he was making a mess.
"I guess baking is not my thing. That's good, because that high heat is dreadful for my poor scales…"
"Why isn't it coming out of the pan?" Lydia asked Diana as she held the pan upside-down over the cake plate. "It's defying gravity! I want this over with and it's not cooperating!"
"Don't ask me. His cake just slid out of the pan…" Diana commented as she watched Steven smearing chocolate frosting around. "Maybe we skipped a step…"
Flipping the pan over, Lydia pulled the thin aluminum sides away from the edge of the cake. One pan had held too much batter and a big uneven glob was hanging over the edge. Gripping it with her fingernails, Lydia pried it free and set it on the table. "It must have been that extra bit of cake holding it in…"
"Yes, I'm sure it was." Diana stated as she picked the extra glob up, studying it for a moment. It was soft, spongy and a little bit oily. She supposed it looked all right and she felt tempted to throw it at Donovan. His nosey camera eye was aimed at her but she controlled herself. She wanted to surprise him later, not get him suspicious. Putting the cake blob back onto the table, she held Lydia free the cake from the pan. "We need frosting. Humans prefer their cakes coated with a layer of thick sugar."
Picking up a small round tub, Lydia was pleased to see it was frosting. She was frowning soon enough as she found it incredibly hard to spread. "This stuff is like the worst glue I have ever seen! It's tearing bits of cake free and those bits are getting tangled in the frosting!"
"Be glad we eat rats and mice." Diana commented dryly as she freed the second cake from the baking pan after much thumping on the pan's bottom. It helped to pretend she was beating on the human cameraman.
"Trust me, I am!" Lydia shuddered. "To think humans have to do this every day. How do they ever stand it?"
"Well, it's over, isn't it?" Diana stepped back and studied their finished two-layer cake with chocolate frosting. It looked slightly lopsided and the frosting was uneven with many lumps and bumps everywhere. The top of the cake was caved in somewhat and Lydia had tried to hide it with frosting, but only had managed to make long pointed bits of frosting that stuck way up in the air like bits of grass. The grass bits then curled inward on themselves to do loop-de-loops.
"I guess it doesn't look too bad." Lydia stated as she studied it as well. "I presume they all look like that? But how am I to get this awful chocolate stuff off my fingers?"
Diana shrugged, not really caring.
Cautiously, Lydia raised a chocolate-coated finger to her lips and licked a bit with her forked tongue. "Hmmmm, this stuff tastes quite good actually."
And with that statement, Lydia started sucking the chocolate off her fingers.
"You do remember the Great Leader is watching you, don't you?" Diana asked, one dark brow rose.
"So? Let him get his own chocolate!" Lydia grabbed the frosting container and held it against her red Visitor uniform, dipping her finger within to get more frosting. Her lips made loud smacking sounds, partly because she knew Diana hated loud smacking. "This is even better than those hot spicy little insects I ate last night. I must get more of this human confection."
Elizabeth had been chosen to be the judge. As half human and half lizard, she had been the only one that both sides had thought could judge fairly. In the end, anyone who had a finished cake on his or her table had been declared a winner. So Willy, Steven, Lydia and Diana had each been given a big cage full of tasty mice.
The crowd cheered.
Willie was soon joined by his human friends and was patted on the back in congratulations. He smiled shyly and was very happy. Harmony even kissed him on the cheek. Proud of his big accomplishment, Willie told his human friends that they could eat his cake tonight. As a lizard, he couldn't digest it anyway and it was senseless to let it go to waste.
Steven gave his slightly lopsided cake to Eleanor, who accepted it graciously. She would eat her human meal and have chocolate cake for desert while he munched on mice. They both would have a bit of alcoholic beverage, although she favored it more than he did.
"Who are we going to give our cake to?" Lydia asked Diana, as they weren't really all that friendly with any of the humans.
"You're in command. You decide." Diana replied as she slunk off towards Steven's now abandoned table. He had left his container of chocolate frosting behind and to her delight there was still a good amount in the bottom. Reaching into her vest, she pulled out a tiny white mouse. She had been planning on smearing it with frosting and giving it to Donovan, tricking him into putting it in his mouth.
Should she? Would the Great Leader get angry? And if he did, did she really care?
Diana looked down at the mouse. It looked awfully good and why waste such a tasty morsel on a stupid human? "Oil is good enough for him."
Picking up the disgustedly slimy oil bottle, Diana strolled towards the cameraman and his lizard cohort. The battle, of course, was hidden behind her back. She pasted a fake smile on her face as she neared Donovan and Martin. The two men were fiddling with their primitive human equipment. Diana's dark eyes locked onto her former lieutenant and trusted aid. "Martin, it's a shame you missed out on all this cooking. It was so much fun. Humans are so very strange with what they do with food…"
Her dark eyes then shifted to Donovan. "And you had fun filming all the antics, did you?"
"Well, it's news…" Mike explained.
"Is it really?" She asked as she innocently tossed the dirty, egg-covered oil bottle up into the air. "Oops! Did I drop that?"
The oil bottle sailed through the air, end over end, spewing the remaining oil out. But she had thrown the bottle too far…
Mike and Martin turned to watch the bottle's path through the air, Mike zooming in on it with his camera. He sensed something was going to happen and he wanted to get it on film.
With a great clatter and an outraged shriek, the filthy egg-covered bottle and a great deal of vegetable oil landed on both Philip and the Great Leader. The two were drenched more or less. It leaked down their faces, stained their clothes and had sprayed anyone that had been near them as well.
"Who threw that?" Philip bellowed as he wiped oil off his startled face.
Diana slunk off rather rapidly, her red uniform blending into the departing crowd. Within moments she would be on her shuttle heading back to the ship. Hopefully they wouldn't know it had been her, but she was pleased with the results.