“It’s a good thing their rooms and the nursery are set up,” Chloe said, placing a large rose in the center of the buffet table.
“What about Dr. Toko?”
“He’s on the way too,” Georgie Boy said. “We saw him on the outskirts. It looks like he has another robot coming with him carrying a large basket.”
“That must be our surprise soufflé,” Quarkybirdy said. “I left a clear space on the buffet table for it.”
“The weather drone is fixed, and the malfunctioning robot has been taken care of,” Jinx said.
“What did you do to it?” Chloe asked.
“Check this out,” Zack pointed to a streaming news feed on a tablet set up for games and watching shows and movies nearby. Everybody gathered around.
“Excited bystanders gathered at the space port this morning to witness the launch of the Space Society’s probe to explore the planet Mercury,” the newscaster said against a backdrop of the probe lifting off. “The probe will map the hot, rocky surface of the planet.” The camera zoomed in on the probe. Chloe squinted as she stared at the ship.
“What’s that?” she asked, zooming in on a piece of metal protruding from the tip of the probe’s launch ship. Everybody laughed as the Toko Maid Droid came into focus, screaming “whoaaa!” as it rose in the sky.
“Zack!” Chloe said, “What did you do?”
“That’s what it gets for messing with our yukka chews!” Zack giggled.
“Mercury will keep that droid busy for a long time,” Jinx said, “and it won’t have to engage in any ‘unnecessary talk’ while it maps the planet.”
“I hope this droid will serve you better,” Dr. Toko said behind them. “Meet Toko 2.0. I only set the basic functions to assist you with cleaning, chores, and food preparation. You can program in the specifics.”
“Awesome!” Quarkybirdy said. “Greetings, Toko 2.0!”
“Awesome!” the droid said, rocking back and forth.
Everybody giggled as Dr. Toko took the basket from the droid’s hands. “I have more for you, too. Zack and Jinx, this is for you. A good will peace offering.”
“Yukka chews!” Zack and Jinx exclaimed as they pulled off the cover.
“And for everybody, a treat,” he said, pulling the cover off the ‘surprise soufflé, which was actually the largest loaf of bread they had ever seen, with a side of apples, grapes, melons, and even a jar of cashew butter.
“Dr. Toko, you shouldn’t have!” Conure Chick said.
“I wanted to, as a token of gratitude for agreeing to test my inventions.”
“We appreciate the robot maid, too,” Chloe said. “The trick will be to keep mommy from stealing it.”
“My hope is to have enough of these for every home someday soon,” Dr. Toko said.
A horn honked, turning everybody’s attention to Jeff Musk pulling in the French Fry Express. They noticed two heads sticking up in the front.
“They’re here!” Quarkybirdy said. Everybody rushed to the express to welcome Jeff Musk and the new arrivals.
“Happy Friday anipals!” Jeff Musk said. “Today, it’s my honor to welcome the newest members of Anipal Land. This is Mordecai the African Grey, and Bubbles the Quaker.”
Everybody cheered as the birds got out of the express. Sassy hugged Mordecai. “Welcome baby brother! We’ve been waiting for you.”
“Hi Sassy! It’s good to be home!”
Bubbles shyly walked up to Chloe. “Hi Chloe!”
“Hi Bubbles!” Chloe held out her foot. When Bubbles took it for a shake, Chloe flipped her over on her back.
“Ouch! What did I do?”
Chloe giggled. “You just had your first Kung-fu lesson. Welcome to Anipal Land!”
“What have I gotten myself into?”
Zack helped Bubbles up. “My sister has quite a sense of humor. You’ll get used to her.”
Chloe hugged Bubbles. “Lesson One: the unusual is usual here, so always be aware and alert. Welcome to Anipal Land. We’ll train you up and teach you how to have fun, too!”
“Awesome!” Toko 2.0 said, still rocking.
“Let the French Fry Friday Feast begin!” Jeff Musk said.
Everybody cheered and rushed to the buffet, diving into bread, fruit, fries, and yukka chews as they fellowshipped and enjoyed the beautiful, sunny day with new friends and neighbors.
Toko 2.0 rolled behind them sweeping up the crumbs.