“Faster Mnlik, they are gaining on us!”
“Keep your party hat on dear, they have forgotten to raise the landing gear on their “Beatle”.”
Mnlik allowed himself a self-satisfied smile, while closing the right wing pod slightly to deflect them away from the cliffs. The Hihangers would not be happy if their city rest time was disturbed in any way. He need to maximise the downdraft and use the sweeping air currents through the gorge, to increase his advantage before Bloddk, realised his mistake and raised the legs. Bloddk would not win this year, Mnlik decided, his jovial headgear from the festivities belying his determination.
Ever since the early transmissions from Earth all those millennia ago and the “Fab Four” had been popularised into local culture, the planet had changed. A change for the better he thought. In the old days, it was all work and no play. Public and even private displays of emotion were frowned upon. Not anymore, he grinned. The images, filtered through the space-time warp, were grainy, but enough data had arrived to let them know that they were not alone. The priests were wrong, there was life elsewhere after all. From what they could gather, they were humanoid like themselves and maybe “The one who had arrived” to tell them about immortality was also wrong… laughing and finding things funny was probably ok, and just maybe, winning a Beatle race would not consign your soul to hlekka for eternity. Their minds were opening, it felt good.
“What are you smiling at, Mnlik?” questioned Frontalia, twisting her head to keep their pursuers in sight. “You know if you lose concentration in this gorge, we won’t make it ahead of them and there are rumours that the river snappers are back to their old tricks, so don’t get too close to the acid.
“Relax darling, I was just thinking about how we carved their faces over the vector shields on our craft. They honour life forms, light years away, whom we will never meet. What matters though, is that the carvings remind us not to go back to the old ways.”
They flew on in silence, both deep in thought, the race almost forgotten. In the background a song from Earth soothed their minds- “…on and on, across the universe…”