Star Trek Into Darkness

Wie jeder Star Trek Fan der auf sich hält geht man mit einer gesunden Portion Skepsis und Hochmut in den neuen Star Trek Film. Da ja auch früher alles besser war, und das Popcornkino die Filmkunst kaputt macht …… blablabla…

Schon den ersten gerebooteten Star Trek Film, fand ich, bis auf ein paar nervige Elemente (800 Mann auf dem Schiff?? Rote Materie???) sehr gut gelungen, da neben den Effekten auch die Charaktere nicht zu kurz gekommen sind. Der neue Film knüpft hier an, und entwickelt viele der Charaktere weiter, lässt sie reifen ohne dabei die Story oder die Action zu kurz kommen zu lassen. Typische Star Trek Elemente sind auch zu Hauf vorhanden (mal ehrlich, welche Direktive wird in dem Film nicht verletzt?). Alles in Allem gute Unterhaltung, auch für Nicht-Star Trek Fans.


Ferdy’s First Family (Part 4)

Ferdy was quite proud of himself. It had been over two months since his last drink, and there were less and less moments in which he experienced a strong craving. There was always a little itch in his paws, driving him to find some alcohol, but usually he could ignore it well by now.
Every time the longing became too much for him to handle alone, he went to one of his friends and told them. They helped him through the bad times by distracting him, and he was grateful for their support.
He still wondered why he liked the alcohol so much more than all the other mice he knew. None of his friends had ever tried it. Most of them had at some point sniffed at the bottles, but they all said that even the smell repulsed them.

One night he called a meeting to discuss the question. They all gathered in the ceiling above the room the humans called “seminar room”. It somehow felt appropriate.
“Thank you all for coming”, Ferdy started and suddenly felt very important and intimidated at the same time. All eyes were on him.
“When you had the intervention for me, I said that I want to find out why I became addicted. I’ve been thinking about that for a while now, and I can’t figure out where to start.”
“Well, do you remember who your parents are?”, Lisbeth asked. “Maybe they know more about your strain.”
Ferdy shook his head. “I was separated from my mum when I was four weeks old, probably like all of you. But my brothers and I were always playing together and not really paying a lot of attention. As soon as we had our own cages, our mum was taken to another room, so when I started to think about her it was too late.”
“You could try to find your brothers and ask them, if they were more observant than you”, Wulfric said.
“I do remember the numbers of my brothers”, Ferdy said excitedly. “We were five, 280 to 285.” He hesitated. “But when I escaped we were all supposed to be operated on or killed, I don’t know. I tried not to think about it too much.” He looked at the floor, suddenly sad for his brothers.
Nina saved the day. “I know where 283 is living.”
Everybody looked at her, making her uncomfortable. But she continued, “You know I like to walk around and look into the rooms. I know where most numbers are located.”
Ferdy felt his heart beat faster. “Can you bring me there?”
Nina nodded.
“I can come, too, if you like”, Sandy added. She and Nina were quite close and they often explored the corridors and rooms together. Ferdy was happy about the company.

Together they made their way to the cage of mouse 283. It was a small room with only few cages. It was also one of these confusing rooms where the light was on during the night. So when they entered through the vent, the inhabitants were all asleep. Nina, Sandy and Ferdy blinked, irritated by the sudden brightness. After a minute they found the cage with number 283.
“Psssst”, Ferdy said and knocked on the wall of the cage. “Wake up!”
It wasn’t easy. 283 obviously had a deep sleep and he only reacted when Ferdy had woken all the other mice in the neighboring cages and they were shouting at 283, too. When he finally opened an eye, he yawned and took his time getting up.
“What is it?”, he asked, annoyed by the interruption.
“Do you remember me?”, Ferdy asked. “I’m 285, your brother.”
283 critically looked at Ferdy. “I thought I was the only one left”, he said. “Why are you out of your cage?”
Ferdy briefly explained what had happened since the day he had escaped. 283 listened, suspicious at first, then more and more fascinated. When Ferdy ended, he was standing on his hindpaws out of excitement.
“This is great!”, he squieked. “Can I join you?”
The question was so obvious that Ferdy had not even thought about it. He would have liked to ask Wulfric and Anica first, before bringing someone new into the family. On the other hand, they had always taken in everyone who had wanted to join. Nina and Sandy were already climbing onto the bars holding the cage, and trying to open the lid, when Ferdy finally said, “Sure, we just have to get you out of there.”
It was one of the lids that were extremely hard to open. They had to pull at the front, while pushing upward, but there was nowhere to stand for leverage, and after a few minutes the three were out of breath. 283 hopped around in the cage, unable to help.
“Listen, I have a question”, Ferdy said panting, when they took a short break. “Do you remember who our parents are?”
“Yeah, sure”, 283 said. “I saw mum again about two months ago, but then they took her away. I don’t know what happened to her.”
“Did she mention something about our strain? If there is any mutation, or something?”
283 wrinkled his nose. “Not that I recall”, he answered. “But I heard that the humans have some kind of a database, where this kind of information is written down.”

It took them half the night, but finally 283 was free. They met up with the family and introduced the newcomer. The first order of business was to find a new name for him. Nadine suggested Oscar, and 283’s new life began.
Next, Ferdy and Oscar told the others about the database.
“Any ideas how we can get the information?”, Ferdy asked.
“We should observe the humans, and see how they use the database. Then we can try to do it ourselves”, Anica proposed.
A taskforce was assembled, consisting of Ferdy, Oscar, Anica, Lisbeth and Claudi. They crawled into a small space above what the humans called “office” and made themselves as comfortable as possible.

The first day was a disappointment. None of the humans used anything that remotely looked like a database, and even though the mice were not entirely sure what to search for, they had observed the humans long enough to have an idea of how this program might look.
Finally, on the afternoon of the second day, Claudi suddenly pointed towards one of the computers.
“Look, this could be it. There are numbers that look like mouse names.”
They spent the next fifteen minutes observing and trying to memorize all steps the human in front of the computer used.
“We have a problem”, Claudi said. “They used a password to get into the program, but I couldn’t see what they typed.”
Suddenly, the human stood up and left the room. The computer was still on, and nobody else was there.
“Let’s do it right now”, Lisbeth said. The mice gave each other a frightened look. They never went down there during daylight, when so many humans were around. But Lisbeth was right. If they ever had a chance, it was now.
One after the other they jumped down on the table. Lisbeth and Claudi went to the keyboard. Oscar said, “Look for a line called “CBQ3-KO”*. That was always written on our cages.”
Oscar, Anica and Ferdy watched excitedly, while Lisbeth and Claudi typed and clicked. They were really good at it and Ferdy wondered if they had done it before or if they were just naturals at this.
“Here it is”, Claudi squeaked. “I think we don’t even need your mum’s number. There is a description of the line.”
The five mice all stared at the screen.
“CBG3, a protein expressed in the brain, especially the ventral tegmental area, is thought to play an important role in the prevention of drug addiction”, Ferdy read out loud. “The CBG3-KO line has a constitutive knockout of this protein and will be used to test the hypothesis, that CBG3 helps to regulate release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, and that without CBG3 the mice will drink significantly more than wildtype mice.”
“That explains it”, Anica said. “The humans wanted to make an experiment with you that involves drug addiction, and that’s why you like alcohol so much.”
“Someone is coming”, Lisbeth warned. “Let’s go, quickly!”
They ran to the window, where a curtain was hanging just low enough for them. They climbed up to the small opening in the ceiling.
“Faster”, Anica shouted, “the human is almost here!”
They heard the door open and raced up the curtain. When Ferdy hopped through the hole and looked back, he saw that Oscar was still only half way up.
“Come on, you can do it”, he squeaked. Oscar struggled visibly. He was not used to the life of a free mouse and his muscles were not strong enough. The human entered the room and sat down at the desk.
“You’re almost there”, Ferdy whispered. “The human won’t notice you, just keep going.”
Oscar was almost at the top, when he slipped. Squeaking loudly, he fell back onto the desk. The human heard the noise and looked up in surprise.
Up in the ceiling, the four mice sat there, watching helplessly while the human put his hand over Oscar and grabbed him tightly. Oscar tried to bite and wiggle out of the grip, but it was hopeless. The human got up and left the room with him.
The mice ran through the ceiling to the corridor, but when they reached the next opening the human was already gone.
“We have to find him”, Ferdy said miserably.
“Don’t worry”, Anica said. “We will go and get the others. Then we can form search parties. They will just put him back in a cage somewhere. You got him out once, we can certainly do it again.”
Ferdy nodded, but he was not really convinced that Oscar would be all right.

*Author’s note: This mouse line is purely fictional, as is the protein CBG3.

Eine zweite Chance

Er starrte sie noch einen Moment ungläubig an, dann umfing ihn für immer die Dunkelheit.

Vanessa speicherte das Dokument und lehnte sich in ihrem Bürostuhl zurück. Es war halb drei Uhr morgens und die Kanne Tee, die sie sich am Abend gekocht hatte, war schon lange leer. Doch jetzt war das Manuskript fertig. Sie hatte es mehrfach überarbeitet und geändert, aber das letzte Kapitel würde sie kein zweites Mal ansehen. Sie wusste, dass es genauso sein musste. Marc hatte sie zwölf Jahre ihres Lebens begleitet, seit sie mit siebzehn Jahren mit dem ersten Buch angefangen hatte. Seither hatte sie sich sehr verändert, und auch Marc hatte einige Veränderungen durchlebt. Dies würde nun sein letztes Abenteuer sein.
Vanessa öffnete ihr Mailprogramm und schrieb eine kurze Nachricht an ihren Editor. Sie wollte ihm das Manuskript sofort schicken und dann in Ruhe ausschlafen. Während sie die Begrüßung tippte fielen ihr fast die Augen zu. Sie atmete tief durch und schrieb weiter.

Es klingelte an der Tür. Verwirrt blickte Vanessa auf. Kein Mensch mit einem Körnchen von Anstand würde um diese Uhrzeit bei ihr klingeln. War etwas passiert?
Sie blickte an sich herunter. In ihrem gemütlichen Schlafanzug wollte sie die Tür nicht öffnen. Schnell warf sie sich zumindest einen Bademantel über, den sie früher am Abend achtlos auf das Sofa geworfen hatte. Vorsichtig spähte sie durch den Spion an der Tür – und wäre beinahe rückwärts umgefallen. Draußen stand Marc, genauso wie sie sich ihn immer vorgestellt hatte. Groß, schlank, mit einem durchtrainierten Körper und kurzem braunen Haar. Sein Gesicht war kantig geschnitten, jedoch keineswegs unattraktiv. Über seine rechte Augenbraue zog sich eine feine Narbe, die er sich im dritten Buch bei einer Verfolgungsjagt zugezogen hatte.
Verwirrt und ein wenig zittrig öffnete Vanessa die Tür. Marc lächelte sie verschmitzt an.
„Hallo Vanessa, schön dich persönlich kennen zu lernen.“
Vanessa öffnete den Mund um etwas zu erwidern, doch ihr fiel nichts auch nur halbwegs Intelligentes ein.
Marc schlängelte sich an ihr vorbei ins Haus und sah sich um.
„Gemütlich hast du es“, stellte er fest. Vom Flur aus hatte er sowohl die Küche als auch das geräumige Wohnzimmer im Blick, beides geschmackvoll eingerichtet. Einen Teil des Wintergartens mit den vielen Blumen konnte er auch sehen. Er schien aufrichtig beeindruckt.
Vanessa fand schließlich ihre Sprache wieder. „Was machst du hier? Und wie bist du her gekommen?“
Es waren nicht die originellsten Fragen, aber immerhin ein Anfang. Marc wurde schlagartig ernst.
„Um ganz ehrlich zu sein“, begann er zögerlich, „ich weiß, was mir am Ende des nächsten Buches zustoßen wird.“
Vanessa nickte. „Tut mir Leid, aber es musste sein.“
„Nun, ich wollte dich bitten das Ende nochmal umzuschreiben. Ich bin noch nicht bereit zum Sterben.“ Er klang nun flehend, und Vanessa konnte ihn verstehen. Wie er da stand, komplett in ihrer Gewalt, tat er ihr sehr Leid. Sie hatten viel zusammen erlebt in all den Jahren, und natürlich war es ihr schwer gefallen ihn sterben zu lassen. Doch sie hatte es aus einem guten Grund getan.
„Ich kenne dich einfach zu gut“, erklärte sie ihm. „Ich weiß zu jedem Zeitpunkt genau, was du als nächstes tun wirst. Und wenn ich es weiß, dann wissen es viele meiner Leser auch. Wo soll denn dann die Spannung herkommen?“
Ein Grinsen breitete sich erneut über Marcs Gesicht aus. „Kein Problem“, sagte er, seine Stimme schon wieder voller Energie. „Ich kann mich ändern. Ich kann einfach etwas komplett Unerwartetes tun, mich ganz anders verhalten als ich es normalerweise machen würde.“
Doch Vanessa schüttelte nur den Kopf. „Das würde mir niemand abkaufen. Charaktere in Büchern sind wie Menschen, und die ändern sich nicht einfach von einem Tag auf den anderen.“
„Dann lass mich dir zeigen, wie die Zukunft ohne mich aussehen würde.“
Vanessa lächelte über seine Hartnäckigkeit und zog ihre linke Augenbraue hoch.
„Und wie stellst du dir das vor?“, fragte sie.

Anstatt zu antworten blickte sich Marc einfach um. Sie standen auf einem Spielplatz, der etwas erhöht auf einem Hügel lag. Der Anblick verschlug Vanessa die Sprache. Zuerst bemerkte sie die pilzförmige Rauchsäule, die in einiger Entfernung zum Himmel stieg. Dann fiel ihr die Trostlosigkeit ihrer gesamten Umgebung auf. Der Spielplatz war verlassen und heruntergekommen. Die Rutsche war auf halber Höhe abgebrochen, das Karussell hing schief und der Sandkasten war verdreckt. Nur die Schaukel schien noch intakt. Sie bewegte sich leise quietschend im Wind, ganz so als ob ein unsichtbares Kind darauf säße und die Beine baumeln ließe.
Panik stieg in Vanessa auf. Dann erinnerte sie sich daran, dass Marc ihr nur eine mögliche Zukunft hatte zeigen wollen. Schärfer als geplant fuhr sie ihn an.
„Was auch immer du da tust, hör auf damit! Die Zukunft würde nie so furchtbar sein, egal ob du am Leben bleibst oder nicht!“
„Wie kannst du das wissen?“, fragte er. „Ich bin der Held der Geschichte. Möglicherweise bin ich der Einzige, der in der Lage ist, eine Verschwörung aufzudecken, die den Frieden zwischen den USA und dem Rest der Welt bedroht.“
„Bring mich zurück nach Hause“, sagte Vanessa, und schon stand sie wieder in ihrem Flur.
„Ich gebe zu, das war vielleicht ein bisschen übertrieben“, sagte Marc leise. Er sah niedergeschlagen zu Boden. Dann schien ihm etwas Neues einzufallen.
„Aber vielleicht entdecken wir ja etwas in meiner Vergangenheit, was mich in einem vollkommen anderem Licht darstellt. Was mich vielleicht selbst überrascht und meinen Charakter daher ändert?“
Es schwang Hoffnung in seiner Stimme mit, die Vanessa wieder versöhnte.
„Also schön, zeig mir was du dir vorstellst.“

Sie standen in einem dunklen Keller. Ein kleiner Junge flitze die Treppe hinunter. Das hatte er schon so oft getan, dass er sich nicht einmal die Mühe machte das Licht anzumachen. Er lief zu einem Kühlschrank, der in einer Nische zwischen Gerümpel stand.
„Mein Vater wollte diese Ecke schon lange mal aufräumen, ist aber nie dazu gekommen“, erklärte Marc. Vanessa blickte schnell zu seinem etwa 5-jährigen Ich, doch der Junge schien nichts gehört zu haben. Er öffnete die Tür zum Kühlschrank, dann wurde er von einem Geräusch abgelenkt, das aus dem angrenzenden Raum kam. Er lief zu der Tür und blickte vorsichtig durch einen kleinen Spalt. Der erwachsene Marc und Vanessa folgten ihm. Sie sahen einen Mann, Marcs Vater, wie er etwas in einen großen Müllbeutel legte und diesen sorgfältig verschnürte. Seine Hände waren mit etwas Dunklem verschmiert und auch der Tisch vor ihm sah schrecklich aus. Vanessa sah, dass in einer Ecke des Kellers Putzsachen bereit standen. Sie blickte wieder auf die Hände von Marcs Vater. Sie hielten gerade das letzte Objekt, das gerade noch auf dem Tisch gelegen hatte. Es sah aus wie ein Bein.
„Ist das… War das eine Leiche?“, flüsterte Vanessa. Marc antwortete ihr in normaler Lautstärke, so dass sie erschrocken zusammenzuckte.
„Ja, eine Frau um genau zu sein. Er hat sie zerstückelt und dann in Plastiksäcken im Wald vergraben. Ich habe es gesehen, doch der Anblick war zu schrecklich für mich und ich habe es all die Jahre verdrängt. Sollte ich mich jetzt daran erinnern, könnte das alle möglichen Auswirkungen auf meinen Charakter haben, oder?“

Ohne dass sie Marc hätte bitten müssen standen sie wieder in ihrem Haus. Sie dachte einige Minuten über die Idee nach. „Du machst keine halben Sachen“, sagte sie dann und grinste schief. „Erst ein Atomkrieg, dann eine zerstückelte Leiche. Aber ich verstehe, worauf du hinaus willst. Es gibt noch viele Dinge, die geschehen und sogar mich überraschen könnten.“
Marc nickte eifrig. „Also lässt du mich am Leben?“, fragte er.

Vanessa schreckte von ihrem Schreibtisch hoch. Draußen ging gerade die Sonne auf. Als sie mit ihrem Ellenbogen an die Maus stieß leuchtete der Bildschirm auf. Sie starrte auf die Mail an ihren Editor, die noch nicht ganz fertig geschrieben war.
Mit einem Doppelklick öffnete sie das angehängte Manuskript und las sich das letzte Kapitel erneut durch. Sie markierte die letzten Sätze, um sie zu löschen und ein neues Ende zu schreiben, das für Marc besser ausgehen würde.
Ihr Finger schwebte über der Entfernen-Taste. Doch dann schloss sie das Dokument wieder, ohne etwas geändert zu haben.
„Es tut mir Leid, Marc“, sagte sie leise. „Du warst sehr überzeugend, aber ich weiß, dass jedes andere Ende falsch wäre.“
Sie schrieb noch ein „Liebe Grüße, Vanessa“ unter die Nachricht und klickte auf Senden.

(c) 2013 Stefanie Uhrig

Ferdy’s Fondness for Fun (Part 3)

Ferdy still felt bad when he remembered how he had disappointed his family by going to Japan. They had all been worried sick for him, and when Anica, Laurina and he had arrived home, none of them had wanted to talk to him for a week.
He also felt bad when he remembered the taste of the weird fluid. In his memory, it had tasted wonderful, and even though he knew how he had felt afterwards, he wanted to taste it again.

He thought about talking to one of the others, but they were still pretty mad at him. He realised that it was because they loved him so much. It still hurt and he felt sad and alone.
Ferdy actually spent a lot of time thinking about this fluid. He thought that his problems might go away if he just got to drink that more often. Then he was ashamed.

Since he did not have much to do all night he roamed the lab. He had not gone back to the place where the other mice were kept since his escape, but now he got curious. He did not remember exactly where he had come from. One night he stumbled onto a big room filled with cages. He jumped out of the ventilation system onto a rack and sniffed. The hair on his back suddenly rose when he realised that the cages around him were not filled with mice but rats. He shrieked in fear, took all his strength and jumped back into the ventilation system. There he sat down and took a couple of deep breaths, until his heartbeat was back to normal. He was getting careless, he should have smelled the rats from much farther away. It took him a while, but slowly his adventurous spirit returned. He went a few paces to the other side and glanced down into another room. Here it smelled like mice, but he was still not sure if he dared to go down.

“Hello Ferdy, what are you doing here?”, asked a voice behind him and Ferdy jumped and almost fell down into the room. He turned around and saw Nina, who was grinning at him.
“Nina, I didn’t hear you”, he said and knew it sounded lame.
“I didn’t want to startle you. I come here often, you know?” She went past him and jumped down on a rack with cages. He followed her.
“What are you doing here, then?”, he asked.
“Oh, mostly I just watch the mice here. During the day there are often humans around, and they take the bottles out of the cages and weigh them. It is pretty stupid, but they are humans, after all.”
Ferdy climbed on one of the cages and sniffed. “These cages could use some cleaning”, he decided. Then another scent caught his attention. At first he couldn’t believe it, but when he got closer he was sure.
“Say, do these mice only get water to drink?”, he asked as casual as possible.
“We can speak, too, you know?”, a voice came from under him.
He stared down and saw that the mouse in the cage had woken up and was looking at him.
“Sorry, I thought you were sleeping”, Ferdy said. The other mouse ignored him.
“Hey Nina, nice of you to drop by”, he said instead. Nina smiled.
“Ferdy, this is 334. We’ve talked a lot during the last days, since he saw me watching the humans.”
“Oh.” Ferdy didn’t know what else to say. Then he thought of something. “If you know that it is possible to escape, why didn’t you? You could come live with us.”
334 laughed. “Sure, I could. But what about my brothers? We can’t all escape, the humans would notice and find us again. And besides, I would really miss the alcohol.”

So that’s what the weird fluid had been. Alcohol. 334 did not seem to be embarrassed about drinking it.
“I could do without, though”, another mouse, apparently 499, said from the neighbouring cage. “The stuff tastes horrible and I would not drink it even if I had only alcohol here.”
“That’s because you’re not a mutant”, said 334 drily.
Ferdy’s head was spinning with excitement, but he did not dare ask questions while Nina was in the room. He was not sure why but he felt that the others would not understand his attraction to alcohol.
So he left a little later together with Nina. The next night, though, he came back very early. He had made sure that Nina was still occupied gathering food, so when he jumped into the room he was alone.

“Ah, a visitor again”, said 334, and Ferdy could hear in his voice that he was already a little drunk.
“Hello 334”, he said carefully. He didn’t know how to say it gently, so he just came out with it. “Do you think I could have some of your alcohol?”
334 laughed. “Sure, no problem”, he said. “You’ll need to push this bottle back a little, then you should be able to reach it.”
He watched as Ferdy struggled to reposition the bottle. When he tasted the first drops of the alcohol, he sighed happily.
“So you’re hooked already, he?”, 334 asked.
“Nobody’s hooked”, Ferdy said defensively. “I just like the taste, that’s all.”
334 shook his head. “Tell that to yourself all you want, but honestly, nobody drinks it for the taste.”

Ferdy started coming back there every night. Sometimes Nina also appeared, and then he did not drink any alcohol. He still didn’t want anyone from his family to know. During these nights he was always cranky and during the day he didn’t feel well. Life was so much better when he was able to drink.
Then Nina joined him for almost a week. Ferdy was getting more and more impatient. He was daydreaming about the alcohol, and he could see the pity in 334’s eyes when he sat next to Nina and just talked about things that weren’t interesting at all. Actually, nothing was really interesting now, except to find out when he would be able to drink again.

Finally, there was a night when Nina didn’t come. Ferdy was so happy he jumped down on the cage too carelessly and hurt his foot. He did not care. He repositioned the bottle, as he had done before so many times now, and started drinking. After a while, 334 said, “Buddy, don’t you think you should slow down a little?”
Ferdy ignored him. It was so good to feel the alcohol take away all his tension. He started seeing everything double, the room was spinning in front of his eyes. He decided to lie down for a minute.
He woke from the frantic squeaking of 334. “Ferdy, get up! Ferdy!”, he shouted. “Feeerdy!”
Ferdy slowly opened one eye and closed it again quickly. It was much too bright.
“Whassup?”, he mumbled.
“It’s daytime! The humans will be coming soon. You can’t stay here!”
334 had always pretended to be indifferent about Ferdy, but now he was frantic with the idea that his new friend could get caught.
Ferdy tried to put the pieces in his head together, and failed. “Wherem I?”
334 sighed in exasperation. “You need to leave, now!”
It took a little time, but finally Ferdy was able to open his eyes. The ground was swaying beneath him. He looked up at the opening in the ceiling. “I ssshoul’ gettup there?”, he asked. He started climbing up the rack and fell down again immediately.
Then they heard something.

“Ferdy? Are you still down there?”
It was Nina. She jumped down to Ferdy and said, “The humans will be here any minute, I have already seen them on the corridor. Are you coming?”
334 said, “He can’t. He drank too much and now he can hardly move.”
At first Nina didn’t seem to understand what he meant, but then she spotted the bottle and nodded.
“Okay, Ferdy, I’ll climb up there now and pull you up after me.”
Ferdy stared at her but finally nodded.

It took them ten more minutes to get Ferdy into the ventilation system, and another hour until Nina had brought him back to his sleeping place. She left him there and he fell asleep immediately.
When Ferdy woke up it was dark again. Around him sat all the other mice of his little family. They looked at him with concerned expressions.
“Ferdy”, Nadine said, “Nina told us what happened.”
Ferdy’s ears turned red with shame.
“How long has this been going on?”, Sophie asked.
He explained everything, from his adventure in Japan to his frequent visits with 334, and his craving for alcohol.
“That is strange”, Wulfric stated. “I never knew any mice who liked to drink alcohol.”
“334 said that he was a mutant”, Nina said helpfully. “He said only mutants like to drink alcohol, whatever that might mean.”
“Anyway, you need to stop drinking”, Gulliver pitched in. “We can help you forget about the alcohol, but you really have to want to stop.”
Ferdy nodded miserably.
“Ok”, he said. “Let’s try.” Then he added, “But I want to find out why I like it so much, too.”

(c) 2013 Stefanie Uhrig

Ferdy’s First Flight (Part 2)

It was dark, but terribly loud. Ferdy cuddled up deeper in the nest he had built himself from the clothes around him. He was more than a little frightened, but not ready to admit that to himself. He wished he was at least in the same suitcase as Anica and Laurina.

It had all started a few days ago. Wulfric had come back with the news that two of the humans were planning a trip to a far-away country called Japan. Wulfric and Anica were always curious to see how the mice in other countries lived, and so they decided that someone should sneak into the luggage and travel with the humans. It was decided that Anica would go, as well as Laurina, who was counted as a little bit of an expert on travel, because she also came from another country. Ferdy had been excited, and he had begged to be allowed to come with them. But the others all thought that he was too inexperienced.
“You have escaped into freedom just four weeks ago”, Wulfric had told him. “There are still a lot of tricks you have to learn before you go out into the world, or the humans will catch you again in no time.”
Just before they left, Laurina had told Ferdy, “Don’t worry, you’ll still get to see the world. Just be a little more patient.”

Well, thought Ferdy, being patient does not seem to be one of my qualities. After Laurina and Anica had left, he had pretended to go to sleep until nobody was looking at him anymore. Then he had run after them. He hadn’t known where exactly to go, but after a few minutes he had found the luggage and climbed into one of the suitcases. Anica and Laurina were nowhere in sight, so they must have chosen a different bag.

Now he was on a plane, unsure if it had been the right decision.
He must have fallen asleep at some point, because the next thing he felt was that the suitcase was being moved around. He started feeling a little queasy from the irregular up-and-down. Then the orientation of the bag changed and he fell flat on his nose. The lid opened and Ferdy quickly hid beneath the warm cuddly sweater. The human took something out and closed the lid again, but not completely. Ferdy heard the human leave the room. That was his chance. He glanced through the gap and saw nobody, so he hopped out of the bag. Scanning the area around him he saw a big bed, two chairs and a table close to the windows, and two doors. There were also other bags, and he ran around them shouting for Anica and Laurina. No answer. If the two had been in one of the bags, they probably would have come out by now. But those were not all the bags he had seen back at the lab. With a jolt of fear Ferdy realised that the two humans probably did not stay in the same room. He had to find out where the other human was. He had planned to come here on his own, and then show himself to Anica and Laurina. Being all alone in this unknown place frightened him.
Ferdy decided to look for them in the neighbouring rooms. Maybe the humans did not stay so far apart. He slipped out under one of the doors and found himself in a long corridor with doors everywhere. This seemed vaguely familiar, he thought. In the lab there were also long corridors with a lot of doors. He tried the first one he came across, and the next, and the next. He ran in and out of rooms for hours without any luck. Maybe the humans did not even stay in the same building? Ferdy realised how little he knew about the habits of humans. How was he supposed to find Anica and Laurina now?

For a few minutes, Ferdy hid in a corner fighting back panic. Then he composed himself. He had come here for an adventure, so he would not waste all his time looking for the two mice who had not even wanted him to come. He would go out there, see this place for himself, and then go back into the suitcase and wait until the humans travelled home again.
He found the exit, waited until a human opened the big glass door and slipped out. It was very loud, with people and cars everywhere, and Ferdy almost turned around immediately. There was a little street on a corner that did not look as frightening, and Ferdy decided to take his chances.

Ferdy was finally calmer. Looking around he saw that the houses looked quite different from what he had seen around the lab. He found a large park, with a weird-looking house in the middle. The humans performed a strange kind of procedure before entering and Ferdy wondered if there was something special in there. He glanced inside but could not see anything interesting, and he was afraid of being seen, so he vanished into the grass again.
His stomach started to rumble. He had not eaten anything since he left Germany, except for a few crumbles from a sandwich of a human in the hotel.
He started looking for something eatable. There were some humans who seemed to be eating, although Ferdy was not completely sure. They were sitting on a table outside of a big house, holding bowls in their hands close to their mouths, and seemed to be shovelling food in with two sticks. It looked very different from the way the humans in the lab ate. When he got closer he smelt the food – but was not happy about it at all. It had smelled a little like that in the cafeteria a few times and Marcel had told him never to eat the cause of this smell.
“It’s fish”, he had said. “Not only is it another type of animal but it is also extremely bad for your stomach. Gulliver once tried it and was sick for almost a week!”
Ferdy wrinkled his nose and moved on.

In a different street the smell was a little better. He looked around and entered a building which looked as if food was served in there. He was disappointed again. There was only soup, a dish that seemed completely incomprehensible for him. He wanted some fresh vegetables, or a bit of nice, crusty bread!

Outside again, he was suddenly surrounded by other mice. They said something to him, but he could not understand a squeak. He tried to explain to them that he only spoke German, but they kept on talking in this weird language. Finally Ferdy tried signing with his paws. He indicated that he was very hungry, and that at least they seemed to understand. They motioned him to follow and led him to a hole beneath another building. Inside it was nice and dark, and they had scraps of fresh bread and bits of carrot. After Ferdy was full, they led him to a big bowl with funny smelling water inside. They lined up around the bowl and drank, signing Ferdy to copy them. He was reluctant to try, because of the smell, but he after they had been so friendly he did not want to seem rude, so he drank.
It tasted awful. His first instinct was to spit it out again. It burned his mouth and his throat. But the others seemed to enjoy it so much and they were looking expectantly at him, so he gulped it down and had another sip. The second try was not even that bad. Ferdy felt something warm spread in his belly, and he suddenly felt much more relaxed. He drank some more and the other mice cheered. They were all so happy. Ferdy grinned.

He woke up, but he was not sure whether he was alive or not. There seemed to be something very wrong with his head and it hurt like hell. Carefully he looked around. There were other mice lying around, snoring, but he could not remember who they were. Also, he had no idea where he was. Japan, he thought, and jumped up. He regretted the fast motion immediately. He waited until the worst pain was over, then he shuffled outside on the street. He looked left and right, and realised it was hopeless. He did not know where the hotel was. He also did not know what time it was, how long he had been with the Japanese mice, and if the humans were even still there. It was a good thing that his head hurt too much for him to feel panic.

For the next hours he wandered around aimlessly. He had already given up hope of ever getting back to the lab, when he suddenly heard a familiar voice with an Italian accent.
“Ferdy, what are you doing here?”
He looked up and saw Laurina and Anica sitting in front of a huge building.
“You look awful, what happened to you?”, Anica asked, and Ferdy was relieved to hear concern rather than anger in her voice.
He told them the entire story. At the end, Anica and Laurina took him back to the bag they had travelled in. “The humans will go back home tomorrow morning”, Laurina explained. “I’ll just go and grab us something to eat from the congress centre, and then we can wait together.”
Ferdy had never felt more save than cuddled into the luggage together with the two of them, eating and sleeping. He knew he had been stupid, but he also started to be a little proud of himself. He had experienced some strange things and he would actually make it home to tell the tale.
After they had eaten all the food Laurina had brought, he thought about the strange tasting water. Part of him was certain that he would never ever drink anything like it again, but there was also a small part that remembered the relaxed feeling this liquor had given him.

(c) 2013 Stefanie Uhrig

Ferdy’s Fight for Freedom (Part 1)

His name was actually 285, but he liked Ferdy much better. Today he was too excited to sleep. His brother, 280, had overheard that today would be their special day, the day they left. Ferdy could not understand how his brothers could just curl up in the corner of their cages and go to sleep as soon as the light turned on.

They had all heard much about “leaving”, although nothing was actually known since no-one ever returned. There were a lot of rumours, though. All Ferdy knew was, staying here meant dying at some point or the other. “Leaving” on the other hand was something different. Maybe whoever left went to a special place, where fresh food and water was around all the time, and where they could move freely for more than the few centimeters. In any case, that was one of the rumours. Of course there were the more pessimistic mice that said “leaving” just meant dying in another room, probably much more violently than the mice that died of a sickness in their cages.
Ferdy had long decided to believe in the hopeful version of a great life beyond the cage. So he stood at wall of his cage facing the door and jumped a little when it finally opened. A human came in and went straight toward Ferdy. But just before it reached him, it turned a little to the left and took the cage of 280. His brother woke from the movement of his home, and just had time to squeak a short “bye” to Ferdy before the human left the room again. Ferdy was disappointed, but he knew his turn would come. And he was right. The next time the human appeared, it took Ferdy’s cage, and Ferdy ran a few laps out of pure happiness. He had left the room before, for brief periods of time, but he had never gone further than the corridor. This time he did. The human carried him all the way up a staircase to the next floor, where it opened another door to a corridor. Ferdy could smell that here more humans walked around, and less mice, although the smell of mice was still strong. And there was another smell. Ferdy sniffed and wrinkled his nose – it was the smell of rats. He started to get a bad feeling about this place and regretted a little how much he had been waiting for this moment. Then the human entered another room, and Ferdy froze. The air was thick with the smell of blood, and in a white plastic bag he saw a shape that suspiciously looked like 280, lying there motionless. Another look around offered little consolidation. On a table stood a strange apparatus. Ferdy did not understand what it was supposed to do, but it had a very long needle, and this frightened him.
The human was walking around in the room and Ferdy realized that he had to escape, quickly. The problem was, he knew his cage from bottom to top, and there was no exit. Maybe he could jump out when the human opened the lid to take him out. He just decided this was the best plan when the human turned to him again.

It all happened too fast. Ferdy did not even get the chance to jump. The human took him in its hand and with the other held a small box. It would try to get him trapped in there, Ferdy was sure of it. In his desperation he did something his mother had told him never to do: he bit the human in the finger. The human made a sound that was more surprised than hurt, but it let Ferdy go. He managed to land on his paws and quickly ran toward the door. It was closed, though, so he had to look around for an alternative. He decided that hiding under a cabinet would be safest for now. The human cursed and seconds later Ferdy saw the big face appear at the narrow slit between the cabinet and the floor. He knew that this was not a long-term solution, and luck was on his side. The door opened and another human came inside without closing it again. The first human shouted something, but Ferdy didn’t stop to listen. He raced toward the door, zigzagged between the legs of the second human, and was on the corridor. The humans were not far behind him now and Ferdy was already breathing hard. During his days living in his little cage he had not done any exercises, he had never thought he would actually need it. He slipped under a cart that pushed in the other direction by another human, and his persecutors were distracted for a second, long enough for him to hide behind a bin. He was now close to the door leading to the staircase, and from there it was just a short way toward freedom.
He did not have to wait for long until the next door opened, and then it was so easy. Half an hour later, Ferdy stood outside, feeling the fresh air on his whiskers for the first time.
He looked around, feeling excited. Where to next? His enthusiasm was dampened a little when he realized that he was hungry and had nowhere to go. He started walking, hoping for a sign of some sorts. He did not find anything. There were some big containers that smelled like old food. It might have been all right with Ferdy, but in one of the containers he spotted a big rat looting through the garbage pile, and he decided against joining him. In the end he just found a little hidden place on the wall of the building and settled down to sleep a little. Maybe everything would look better in the night.

Ferdy woke when he felt someone sniffing at him. He squeaked anxiously, too afraid to move.
“Hello there”, he heard a voice behind him. It sounded friendly, so he slowly turned his head. A female mouse stood there, grinning at him.
“Where did you come from?”, she asked. He indicated the building with a nod of his head, still too timid to answer. The mouse laughed. “So you are one that escaped. Great! You want to join us? We’re a bunch of mice who live in the building.” For the first time, Ferdy noticed her accent.
“You are not from around here, are you?”, he asked, feeling stupid because he should have been asking completely different questions. The mouse laughed again. She was really very friendly. “No, I’m from an Italian lab, but I came here two months ago. I also escaped and found the others.”
Ferdy started to warm up a bit.
“So you’re saying I could join you?”, he asked hopefully. “I just got out today, and I really don’t know where to go or what to do.”
“Sure, no problem. Come, I’ll introduce you to everyone. I’m Laurina, by the way.”
He followed her along the wall of the building and through a small opening inside. It was a strange thought, going back in there after he had just escaped. He told himself that at the first sign of humans he would just turn around and run again.
They got to a wide space. There were some mice sitting around, reading something, others were playing a game. Ferdy grinned.

The next hours were spent talking to everyone, getting to know his new family. When he curled up in a cosy corner to finally get some nice rest, he tried to remember all the names.
There were Anica and Wulfric, who founded this little colony. They had escaped almost a year ago and then, one by one, helped other mice. Then there were Gulliver and Marcel, together with Wulfric the only males in the group.
Ferdy was still a bit confused by the girls. He could of course distinguish Laurina, after all she had saved him, but there were two mice he could not keep apart from one another. Their names were Nadine and Sophie, and they did not even look that similar, but somehow they blended into each other in his mind.
Nina was easier to remember, although she seemed quite shy. Still, Ferdy had liked her from the first moment on.
There were two other mice, Marina and Susan. They would not be around in the next time, though. They had decided to go out and explore the world a bit, but they would come back and Ferdy was looking forward to that as well.
The last member of the family, Sally, was not there at the moment, but would be back soon.
Ferdy breathed deeply and smiled. He felt at home already, and he was curious how his new life would turn out.

(c) 2013 Stefanie Uhrig

The Adventures of Ferdy (English)

These are the adventures of the mouse Ferdy, born in a laboratory and struggling for freedom.

Ferdy’s Fight for Freedom (Part 1)

 Ferdy’s First Flight (Part 2)

Ferdy’s Fondness for Fun (Part 3)

Ferdy’s First Family (Part 4)

Ferdy in Captivity (Part 5)

The Combat Training (Part 6)

The Discovery (Part 7)

The Inside (Part 8)

Taking Prisoners (Part 9)

Under Siege (Part 10)

A Common Enemy (Part 11)

We Need To Talk (Part 12)

Sometimes Everything Changes (Part 13)