Zoot felt a twitch of excitement walking down the ramp of his spaceship, his three feet bouncing on the metal grills.
Despite his small size, his footsteps sounded thunderous in the silence of Arctic tundra. He felt the icy bite of the wind across his thirty fingers. According to Ziri, humans complained the cold turned theirs blue, but since his were already blue he wasn’t sure what to expect.
White. As far as he could see it was white. Ice, that was what Ziri had called it. For the past 800,000 years it covered this region at the top of the earth, cooling the rest of the planet; stabilising the climate, making it possible to grow food to eat. How wondrous it was.
Zoot took out a test tube and tapped in the code to release the vacuum seal. He heard the familiar swoosh and air blasted his face as it opened. He placed a sample of ice in the tube, and the lid snapped shut. He heard the computer beeping as it calculated the correct climatic temperature for the sample. Zoot then placed it in the vacuum shoot at the foot of the spacecraft, and it was sucked inside. He shook his head. “We have so much to learn from these humans,” he mumbled.
His antennas sensed movement. Turning he saw yellow eyes glaring from between white feathers. Zoot lifted his fourth arm and spoke to the micro computer on his wrist. “Ziri? Analyse please.”
The little machine paused, her wave line fluttering. “Identifying as Arctic Owl.”
Zoot pushed in his earpiece. “Ziri, set to translate mode please.”
The computer paused again. “Translation mode set,” she said.
Zoot smiled at the owl. “Hello, my name is Zoot. I come in peace.”
The owl fluttered his wings. “OMG!” he shrieked. “There’s only a space alien in my endz, for real. Wait til I tell the others. They’ll be, like, proper lols.”
Zoot fiddled with his earpiece. “Ziri, can you check the translation mode please. I seem to be having some problems understanding.”
There was a flurry of activity from the little computer.
“Why have you come here?” asked the owl.
“That’s better. Thank you Ziri.” Then he looked at the owl. “I’ve come to explore the wondrous Arctic; this fragile eco-system that stabilises earth. I want to talk to the indigenous people who’ve lived here for thousands of years; see the magical narwhal; and meet the polar bear.”
A roar split the silence.
The owl leapt on Zoot’s shoulder. “You can tick the last one off your list right now.”
“Marvellous,” said Zoot, watching the great white beast lumbering towards them.
“You might want to run,” replied the owl. “Unless you want to be his dinner?”
“Would he really eat me?”
“He’d probably eat anything right now.”
They watched the bear, his feet dragging along in the snow, ribs pressed against thin skin.
“What’s wrong with him?” asked Zoot.
“He’s starving to death. Polar bears eat seals, using the sea ice to hunt on. But because the ice is melting it’s harder for them to hunt. He could’ve walked 100 miles looking for food.”
The bear roared again.
The owl leapt into the air. “By the sound of him, I’d say he thinks he’s finally found some.”
So how does the chapter end? Does Zoot get eaten by the polar bear? Or will he survive? Write next part below.