Billy breathes. Abel assumes it’s his favorite past time since Billy breathes more than anything else he’s ever done in his life. More than sleeping and eating and working and flower arranging and flossing combined. You can’t blame Abel for his error. He could hardly be expected to know what humans enjoy doing because Billy is the very first human he’s met. When he first found Billy, he was watching television. Therefore that’s the assumption Abel makes when he whisks Billy away through the galaxy on a diplomatic mission.
On the ship Billy continues to breathe. At least he tries. Since Abel has no use for oxygen he keeps his ship devoid of air, for as we all know, ships move easier in a vacuum.
Abel watches a long time as Billy struggles to breathe. At least that’s what Billy thinks. If you’re struggling to breathe, a few seconds seems like a long time when in fact it’s not.
As it turns out, Abel is a poor scientist. Most diplomats are, in fact, poor scientists. It’s a principle widely regarded across the galaxy. If he was a good scientist, Abel would realize that Billy is not simply expressing himself in a most peculiar way and that breathing is something humans need for the continuation of life.
Fortunately for Billy, in a desperate flailing of his arms he happens to press the ‘atmosphere’ button right before he would’ve passed out. The small ship simultaneously floods with air and slows down to an annoyingly slow speed for space travel.
Billy gasps for breath.
“Good grief, man. Now we’ll never get there.” says Abel.
“Where am I?”
“I have no idea. We should’ve been somewhere over Epsilon Noon, but now you’ve messed it all up,” said Abel.
Billy stares blankly at Abel, for Billy had no idea what Abel just said. Abel is a whiz a languages, especially ones as simple as English.
Billy looks around the gleaming white interior of the space craft. It closely resembles an upscale coffee house. At this point Billy doesn’t know he’s hurdling through space. The only thing this is odd, despite the lack of oxygen, is the ridge that crests Abel’s head. Billy decides it’s best not to ask.
As Billy muses over his situation, Abel slips behind a counter and whips up what appears to be a cappuccino. He hands it to Billy, who nods and takes a sip.
“Ew, what is this? It tastes like earwax,” says Billy as he spits into the cup.
“Do you understand me?”
“Yes. You’re talking my language.”
Abel laughs. The ridge on his head quivers. “No, you understand mine. The grog stimulates certain, things, in the brain. You’re now capable of understanding more than you ever have. I have no idea how it all works, but it’s amazing stuff, really,” says Abel as he wipes down the counter.
Billy thinks intently for a moment. “Hey, you’re right. Where’d you get this?”
“I got it from a magical and culinary elf.”
“No you didn’t.”
“No, but now you understand that. See? It’s amazing.”
“What about side effects?”
“No idea. Sorry,” says Abel cheerfully.
“Next time don’t smile when you apologize.”
“Good advice. I’ll put it in my report.”
“Report? What report?”
“Report on The Essential Understandings on Human Behavior for the Archives of Primitive and Extinct Civilizations. Anything you can teach me will be very helpful,” says Abel as he prepares another grog.
“Hey, wait a minute…”
“Quick, drink this.” Abel hands him another cup. Billy takes a sip and passes out.
“Hm. Didn’t think that’d work. Smashing.” Abel grabs Billy by the arms and drags him into another room.