Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
It was a bright and cool day and the sun was starting to set.
There was no regular date reserved for the astronomy gathering. The timing for the gathering was flexible. It was only fixed to take place during a particular month. Then, after going through a stringent analysis of the weather to identify the two consequent days with the best weather conditions, the enthusiasts would decide on a date to hold the party. It was all based on last-minute notice.
For example, if one wanted to observe the Messier object in the fall, one would have to find a good day in September; to observe the moon, one would have to find a day that was bright and had a full moon. In short, this gathering had many requirements for the weather. There were many ever-changing variables.
However, astronomy enthusiasts would always be looking out for related notices. Even if they knew of the rally at the very last minute, they would not forgo the opportunity.
Besides, their circle was small and most of them had very close relationships with one another. If one person knew of the gathering, the rest would also get the news.
There were many mobile food stalls at the rally. All the delicacies of Texas were available.
Texan food was just perfect for Godzilla. For the entire day, he had been sniffing the tantalizing scents of various dishes from all the food trucks.
In the evening, the team broke up into smaller groups in pursuit of food.
Godzilla’s stomach growled and Li Du noticed that someone was selling roast lamb in the area. He walked over and said, “I’d like some of that, pleased.”
The boss grinned and asked, “Sure, how many portions do you want?”
“I’ll take the whole.”
The owner’s smile froze, “Hey, are you kidding me? You want a whole roast sheep? It’s too much for you. As you can see, it’s pretty big, not a tender little lamb.”
Li Du pointed behind him and said, “Have you seen the physique of my companion? If you only had little lambs, I would need more than one.”
Assured that business would be good for him, the owner grew excited. He increased the heat of the oven and brought out a roast lamb. He mixed it with the spice powder prepared and then stuffed it into the oven.
The lamb had already been half-cooked. Hence, it would only require another half-hour for the spices and the lamb meat to blend into a mouthwatering delicacy.
Li Du left the man to his business and brought the rest to look for other food.
There was a sort of fried fruitcake, a popular local dish. The fruitcake would be baked before being fried in boiling oil. The cake was sweet and smelled great. It was a perfect dish for dessert.
Sophie bought one assorted salad and added a few slices of green-chili chicken. That was to be her dinner that night.
The little animals were considered omnivores and they had no problem consuming vegetables. Hence, they snatched Sophie’s assorted salad and finished it without leaving anything.
Sophie could only roll her eyes in anger and went off to buy a few more salads. She thought that if the little animals were going to share her dinner, she had better be equipped.
In the end, when she came back, the roast meat was ready. The owner put the dish up on two tables and the little animals pounced on it after taking in the aroma.
They did not even glance at the salad Sophie bought for them!
That angered Sophie, and she picked them up and slapped their butts. The animals had thick skin and could brave the beating. They did not care and showed no remorse for wanting to eat the meat.
With the roast lamb as the main dish, their meal also included barbequed meat, salmon tacos, butternut squash, sweet-hot peppers, applewood smoked bacon, spicy elk meat, and honey prawns, among other things. They had a table full of dishes.
As the prawns had a thick layer of honey over them, Ah Meng perked up after sniffing at the dish. It tried to climb up the chairs to get on the table and would not give up. Its eyes were open wide as he targeted the honey prawns.
Sophie pushed the plate of prawns further towards the middle of the table. Ah Meng could no longer see it. It stopped in its tracks before jumping down the chair again as if it had lost all motivation.
It then sat up to grab the hem of Sophie’s pants. It clawed at the corner, calling out and sounding like it was about to cry.
Sophie had no choice but to give it a big piece of the honey prawn. Ah Meng wolfed it down before lying down to lick its paws. Its paws were all wet from the licking.
Brother Wolf brother brought some drinks with him. There was fresh beer from the brewery in the town and some cocktails.
Such gatherings would not fail to include alcohol. Li Du saw many alcohol stalls, and everyone was holding their cups and drinking in big gulps.
The sunlight was fading rapidly and everyone hurried to finish their meal. When the sun had set completely, they would get ready to admire the sky. After all, that was the key activity of the gathering.
Li Du and his group wolfed down the food, taking big bites of meat and big gulps of beer. Godzilla could not help but say, “This is a truly beautiful day.”
After he had joined Li Du’s team, he could have meat three times a day, and would usually choose top-grade lamb or beef. His body fat continued to diminish, and although his physique had not changed much, his muscle lines were looking more ferocious.
The night had fallen and the stars shone.
Godzilla stuffed the last piece of lamb into his mouth and they were all ready to admire the stars.
Now that everyone had full stomachs, they took out their equipment with vigor. Li Du took in the sight and was impressed.
The most common astronomy tools that the people brought with them were various caliber telescopes. However, many of those who attended were DIY enthusiasts. While most of the telescopes were store-bought, the owners would often do some modifications.
For example, someone had added a bracket to the binoculars. The bracket could be worn like some sort of exoskeleton armor.
Just like that, with the bracket, the owner could wear the telescope and have his hands free. He could hold a pen in one hand and a beer in another. He looked extremely carefree, sitting on the ground.
There were also many big shots at the party. These people held astronomy lectures during the day to teach people how to make telescopes and to observe the stars at night.
Most of those people were friendlier, and Li Du found an astronomy enthusiast named Stockton. Li Du asked him how he could use his two telescopes to make out the location of the stars.
After seeing his telescopes, Stockton let out a whistle. He said, “Cool, who made these? They are fantastic. If you know the makers, they can teach you a great deal about astronomy.”
Li Du said with regret, “Unfortunately, I do not know them.”
Stockton smiled and said, “Actually, you have an automated telescope. You don’t need anyone’s help to look for the stars. All you need is a tablet with an installed file on astronomy. Then, when it’s connected with the telescope, it will automatically look up the constellation you want to see.”
He was referring to the steel-tube telescope which had many lines connected to it. Li Du did not know how to use the telescope, but after Stockton’s explanation, he realized that it was a fully automated one.
Stockton was very friendly, helped him to borrow a tablet, and started to connect it to the telescope.
After going through some trouble, they finally managed to download a huge map of the stars. Stockton taught Li Du how he could use it and then the telescope was finally fully functional.
Li Du tapped to choose Taurus and a dialog box popped up. As he followed Stockton’s guidance, the telescope started to turn by itself after being connected.
Sophie could not stop herself from clapping. She smiled and said, “Wow, this is fabulous.”
Li Du gave Stockton a hug. Stockton patted his shoulder and said, “Go enjoy your intergalactic travel journey!”