Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Asha Chronicles- Part 2

I've had a couple of requests to continue posting my stories on my blog. No arguments, of course, from me on that! The first story I posted on my blog, A Culinary Adventure, was read by a gentleman named Tim Graham. Tim then asked me to write a story about his Blue Fronted Amazon, Asha, and I did. That was the Flight of Feathers Fantasy story I posted a couple of weeks ago. Tim was a journalist for 20 years, but always wanted to write fiction. My two stories gave him that 'push' and he took 'Flight of Feathers' and wrote a sequel to it, now known at Part 2 of the Asha Chronicals. The below story is his very first attempt at fiction writing. There are now 5 parts in the Asha Chronicals and I'll post a new one every now and then. Part 2 is all Tim's writing, but the next story, Part 3, is a 50-50 collaberations by the two of us. You'll just have to be patient to read the next chapter in the Asha Chronicles. For now, enjoy Part 2.
The Asha Chronicles- Part 2
by Tim Graham

AsaMina Sura was a patient cockatiel. She had learned patience over the years while watching her grandmother work at her sewing business. Asa had always enjoyed the hours spent looking over her grandmother’s shoulder as she worked but something had happened lately that took away her patience and filled her with a need for action and excitement.
Asa and three of her parrot friends had just returned from a most unbirdlike adventure in Georgia. Along with a budgie named Cecil and a pair of Amazons named Asha and BabyGirl, Asa had helped foil a plot to murder thousands of humans. They had discovered three humans attempting to poison peaches and had stopped them in their tracks. Asa had to admit that she had really enjoyed her adventure and was really hoping that something else might happen to bring together the intrepid four avian adventurers.
“But what is the chance of that?” she asked herself. “It isn’t every day that a cockatiel gets to help save the world,” she said as she chuckled to herself and prepared to tuck her head under a wing for an afternoon nap.
But, before she could escape into sleep she heard her grandmother call to her from her place in front of the computer. “Asa,” her grandmother said. “One of your birdie friends has a message for you that I just do not understand. Do you want to come here and try to make some sense of it?”
Asa communicated with her friends through the Bird Channel on the internet where they could blog back and forth to each other . That way birds who lived far apart could keep in touch. While Asha lived in Georgia-the site of their recent adventure-Asa lived in Arkansas. Asa spread her winds and flew over to where her grandmother was sitting in front of the computer.
“Look at this message,” her grandmother said. “It is from your friend Cecil.”
Asa looked at the message and her feathers suddenly puffed up in excitement. “We need to meet.” was all the message said. But Asa knew exactly what Cecil meant. He wanted her to meet him just like they had met together in the peach orchard behind Asha’s house in Georgia prior to their last adventure.
Asa pretended that she wasn’t interested in the message and her grandmother gave up and went back to sewing. Asa knew it was better to keep the humans out of the loop. They were way too emotional and tended to cause more trouble than was necessary.
Cecil lived in New York so it would be a long flight for him to get to Arkansas. Asa tucked her head under a wing and took a nap. Suddenly she heard a sound and she woke up and looked to the window nearest her cage. She could see a vague blue shape through the glass. Cecil the Budgerator for sure. She opened the window and let him in from the frigid Arkansas night.
“I thought it was cold up in New York, but it has nothing on this Ozark Mountain cold,” Cecil said as he shook his feathers. Cecil was small as parrots go, but he had a ton of personality and was very smart. He was also hopelessly in love with Asa but was too shy to admit it. Of course, he was about the only bird in the world who did not realize how he felt.
“We need to get the gang together,” Cecil said as soon as he got warm enough to speak coherently. “I think we might have another mission.”
“Ok, I’ll get in touch with them,” said Asa. “It won’t take long for BabyGirl to get here from Missouri. But it might be later tomorrow before Asha can get here from Georgia. I’ll hide you out until everyone gets here and then we can talk together out in the garage.
BabyGirl, an orange winged Amazon arrived about noon but it was nearly dark before Asha, a blue fronted Amazon, dipped down from out of the evening sky. While Asa and Cecil could be considered the ‘brains’ of the group, the two Amazons were clearly the more physical of the quartet. The two Amazons were nearly twice the size of both Asa and Cecil. They had stubby-shaped green bodies with large beaks and long claws.
“I was wondering when you would call,” said Asha. “I just hope ninjafying Arkansas humans is as fun as it was doing it to Georgians.” Asha had the reputation in the Bird Channel of being a bit of a spoiled Diva. But the truth was that she liked nothing better than to slap a bad guy with her green wings and then poop on him just to rub it in.
“Me too,” said BabyGirl. “That peach thing was fun. What you got for us this time?” BabyGirl was younger than Asha and the older Amazon had taken her under her wing when she first came to the BC blogs.
“Well, I’ll try to explain it as best as I can but it barely makes sense to me,” said Cecil. “Did you all see the latest video from that Osama human?” The other three birds all shook their heads in affirmation. Cecil could tell that he had their attention by mentioning Osama. Parrots might make fun of their human companions, but they loved them dearly and any threat to them was taken very seriously. The most recent tape from the human terrorist had spoken of a strike ‘at the heartland of America’ but there were no clues what his intentions were. The government had downplayed the message and said they had no evidence of any threat to the country.
“You may have noticed that in the background of the video there was a small bird,” Cecil said. “It was just in view for a second or two.”
“Yes, I remember that,” said Asha. “I also remember that the bird seemed to say something but I couldn’t make out what it was.”
“Right,’ said Cecil. “Well I could tell that it was a budgie like me and I could just make out what he was saying, but it didn’t make a lot of sense until I remembered where Asa lived and it all sort of fell into place.”
“What does Springdale, Arkansas have to do with someone like Osama?” asked Asa. “About all we are famous for is being the headquarters for Tyson Foods.”
“Exactly,” said Cecil. “And what that budgie on the tape said over and over was ‘tastes like chicken, tastes like chicken.’”
The four birds suddenly felt a shared chill. A few hundred poisoned peaches was one thing, but a potential terrorist attack on the world’s largest chicken processing plant was something else altogether. They just might have beaked off a little more than four parrots could possibly chew.
At that moment Asa’s flockmate Tyson Parker fluttered up to the garage and hollered for Asa. Tyson was know as ‘the parrot who fell to Earth’ as he mysteriously landed in the middle of a church picnic one day and eventually wound up in Asa’s flock.
“Asa,” Tyson said. “Come quick. There has been anew video from that Osama creature. You need to come look.”
“Wait,” said BabyGirl. “What will your grandmother say when she sees all of us?”
“Don’t worry, she’s working in the sewing room. We can watch the television in the kitchen.” said Asa.
The four parrots flew into the house and watched as one of the all news channels broadcast the new terrorist video on a loop. Cecil was especially attentive as he looked to see if the budgie on the previous tape was also on this one.
“There he is!” Cecil squawked. “There is the budgie! Turn up the sound so I can see if he is saying something!”
Tyson turned up the sound and- although it was very faint- the birds could hear the parrot saying something over and over. A human would never be able to tell if the bird was speaking at all, but the parrot’s superior hearing could tell. And Cecil-being of the same species as the bird in the video- could tell what he was saying.
“What is it Cecil? What is he saying?” asked Asha.
“Three if by air, three if by air. That is what he is saying over and over.” whispered Cecil.
“Well, whatever they are going to do, they will be doing it from the air.” said Asa
“Heck, they’re just trying to make it easy on us,” said Asha. “Ain’t no human yet been able3 to beat a bird in the air. That’s like trying to out swim a fish.”
The four heroes went back to the garage where they discussed their plans for stopping the terrorist threat. They decided to divide up and investigate all airports in the area to see if there was anything suspicious going on.
“We need to work quickly.” warned Asa. “We have no idea when they plan on attacking the plant or just what they intend to do. Keep your eyes open and report back here by sun-up.”
The four feathered friends took off in different directions and went about their tasks with gusto. These were intelligent creatures that had spent almost all of their lives sitting on perches and performing silly tricks for their human companions. Now they had a chance to do something exciting and important. It was if a great weight had been lifted from their souls. They had never flown as high or as fast. Their eyes had never been as clear or their hearing as sharp.
Hours later three of them gathered at Asa’s garage.
“Where is BabyGirl?” asked Asha. “Did either of you hear anything from her?”
“She might have gotten lost,” suggested Cecil. “She isn’t familiar with the terrain here.”
The three waited for a couple of more hours and were just about to fly off looking for their companion when they heard a fluttering of wings at the front door of the garage.
“I have never been so scared!” BabyGirl said.
The other three parrots gathered around intent on her every word.
“I was on my way back here,” BabyGirl said after finally calming down. “I had not been able to find anything suspicious and was ready to give up when I saw a small airfield just outside of town. It looked like it had just recently been cut out of a field. I decided to go down and take a look and I saw just what we have been afraid of.” BabyGirl took a break to sip on some pineapple juice Tyson Parker had brought from the house.
“What did you see?” begged Asha. “And, what is more important, do we get to go ninja on some more bad humans?”
“I saw three men working on a small airplane,” said BabyGirl. “They were painting over the old name on it and painting Tyson Foods on it. I think that is what they are going to try to get into the plant without raising suspicions.”
“Good work BabyGirl.” said Asa. “We better get airborne and head for that field. There is not telling when they plan on making their move.”
The four feathered friends immediately took to the air and headed west out of town with BabyGirl in the lead.
“Oh, no!” BabyGirl shouted as they neared their target. “We’re too late! They’ve already taken off.”
“No, we’re not too late, we’re right on time!” shouted Asha as she pointed a long flight feather off to the north. “There they are. Put on the speed and we’ll be able to catch tem before they get to the plant.”
The four parrots flew faster than they had ever flown before and slowly caught up to the small plane. They landed on the rudder and made plans.
“Ok,” said Asa. “Since I’m known as the Convicts Chick, I will open up the door on the plane and Asha and BabyGirl will go after the pilots while Cecil and I check out the back of the plane and try to figure out what these humans are trying to do. Are you ready?”
The four feathered avengers each raised a claw and touched talons.
“When this is over I think I need to have a long talk with your Dad about the kind of stuff he lets watch on television.” Asa said with a grin.
Asa flew up and, using her beak and talons, jimmied open the door to the small plane and opened it just enough for Asha and BabyGirl to sneak in. Asha headed for the pilot, blinding him immediately. It didn’t stop him from pulling a gun from his pocket which he started firing wildly. His second shot caught his co-pilot in the chest. Asha and BabyGirl ganged up on the helpless pilot who soon hit his head on the instrument panel rendering him unconscious.
Meanwhile the third terrorist, alerted by the gunshot, stormed into the cockpit with a knife. Asha and BabyGirl were waiting as they both bit down hard on his ankles. The man fell forward and knocked himself out on the co-pilot’s chair frame.
Asha landed on a switch labeled ‘auto pilot’ and pushed down as hard as her small body could. “Baby Girl!,” Asha hollered. “Come here quick. We need to turn this on or all of our efforts will be wasted!” The two birds pushed on the switch with all of their feathery might and were finally rewarded as it turned on.
The two birds flew to the back of the plane where they found Asa and Cecil looking at several large drums labeled Anthrax.
“I’m guessing they were going to try to land near the plant and smuggle this stuff in and poison the machinery with it.” said Asa. “That way any chicken processed by the machinery would be deadly.”
“We were able to turn on the auto-pilot so the plane will keep flying until it runs out of fuel.” said Asha. “We need to contact the authorities to blow this sucker up.”
“Cecil can do that.” said Asa “He’s good at impersonating humans and he knows how to use a phone. Hey, how did you know about the auto-pilot?”
Asha smiled and winked at her friend. “Just one of those awful television shows my Dad lets me watch.” she said.
The four friends were soon back at Asa’s garage resting over some pineapple juice and birdie snacks.
“I heard on the news that the Air Force was able to shoot down that plane and destroy all of the Anthrax.” said Cecil. “Somebody named ‘Bush’ is taking credit for stopping the attack.”
“That’s ok.” said Asa. “We know who the real hero was. Let’s raise our glasses for a salute to that courageous budgie in Afghanistan who alerted us to the awful plot.”
“Salute!” they all said in unison.
“I just hope I’ll get the chance to shake his talons some day.” said Asha.

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