The lights dimmed and the rainbow tunnel of the hyperdrive
became the main source of light for the room. No one onboard the Orville could
truly feel the speed at which they slid through space, the inertial dampeners
prevented that. But the sight of the stars zipping by was enough indication to
Topa that they were going fast. It was the best part of bedtime. Until last
night, that is. He had spent the last night over at his friend's quarters. It
was a birthday celebration called "sleepover." It was the longest and strangest Human/Moclan interaction-at least to Topa.
stood proudly at the door, looking at their son in bed. "Sleep well,
Topa," said Klyden.
at his fathers, then back at the window. "Father, would you tell me a
bedtime story? Like Kevin's Father?"
Klyden looked at each other with puzzled expressions. "What is a bedtime
story?" asked Bortus.
you he was too young for overnight human interaction, Bortus," nagged
Klyden. "He is experiencing too many Human Cultural behaviors and not enough Moclan. He is becoming confused."
not confused, Klyden. He is requesting a bedtime story." Bortus turned
back to Topa. "When I was young and I had trouble falling asleep, my
father would quote words of wisdom from-"
words are forbidden now! You will not repeat them," said Klyden.
Bortus took a
deep breath. "Topa, what is a bedtime story?"
Topa sat up
in bed. "Kevin said, when it is time for bed, his father would tell him
tales of livestock that cross bridges and build houses. I wish to hear these
tales as well. To help me fall asleep."
Bortus exchanged glances again. "How can livestock build houses?"
not know. I only know that when pigs build houses, wolves come to blow them
down,' said Topa. "Kevin's father says it is true."
uncomfortable and upset. "I will speak to Kevin's father tomorrow."
said Bortus. "Calm yourself." He walked to Topa's bed and sat on the
edge. "Topa, tell me a bedtime story. Perhaps I can find out more."
were three brother goats. Big Gruff, Middle Gruff, and Little Gruff. They lived
on a hill and ate grass. But the grass on the other hill was better. To get
there, the goats had to cross a bridge. Under the bridge lived a troll,"
a troll?" asked Klyden, his interest suddenly peaked.
is a creature that eats goats. Kevin said the one under the bridge is
hungry," said Topa.
his approval. "I see." Klyden, now interested in the bedtime story,
walked over to the bed to listen.
little goat went across the bridge. The troll heard his footsteps and called
out, ‘Who is walking across my bridge? The Little goat spoke. The troll jumped
out to eat the little brother. But the little goat pleaded with the troll for
his life," said Topa.
silly," interrupted Klyden. "The troll should wait for the bigger
goat to cross."
the troll does not yet know of the big goat. Let Topa finish his story,"
his impatience at Bortus. "I'm sorry Topa, please continue."
goat told him he had another brother who was coming. That goat was bigger than
he. And, if the troll waited, he would cross and get fat on all the grass on
the other hill. Then, the troll could eat him later, when he was bigger."
at Klyden. "You see? If you were just patient-"
said Klyden. "This poor troll is starving. He should go find the big goat
and stop living under a bridge."
not how the story goes," said Topa. The two fathers stopped arguing and
Topa continued. "The troll let the little goat across. But then came the
Middle Gruff. The troll wanted to eat him as well."
see," said Bortus. "The goat pleads for his life. He tells the troll
that a bigger goat will come."
starving troll who is merely asking for a fair toll for use of his bridge. And
two brothers who would sell out their eldest brother in exchange for their own
lives. This is clearly not a Moclan story,' said Klyden.
eldest gruff comes across the bridge. The troll jumps out to eat him. But the
eldest brother is very strong and has pointed horns. He kills the troll as it
tries to eat him. The elder brother goes across the bridge and joins his family
to get green grass," said Topa.
changed dramatically. "They killed the troll? How mean of them! He was
only hungry." The Moclan started to tear up. "Where is the
watched Klyden begin to cry. "But Klyden, the eldest goat did his duty in
protecting his family. Is that not a better message?" he nodded towards
Topa, who was wide-eyed and confused by his father's reaction.
away some tears and cleared his throat. "Yes," he lied. "The
eldest did his duty." He tried to compose himself but it didn't work. He
turned and left the room.
at Bortus very concerned. "Papa, will Father be all right?"
nodded. "Yes, Topa. Klyden can only handle so much Human culture a day.
And I believe this was a little too much for him." He stood up. "I enjoyed
your bedtime story. I will inquire tomorrow about more. Now, go to sleep."