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How to adapt animal characters in children's science fiction books or scripts

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Do you enjoy novels, stories, or scripts about cats acting super-human? Writing humorous children's science fiction books with animal characters is like being in a magician's toy shop. It's going to be fun. In this story/novel, which can be adapted into a script, the characters include a family team of mother and daughter astronauts includes immortal space twin Siamese-looking wannabee free cats who want, like their humans to take the latest space shuttle for a ride to rescue the space program. In the story excerpt, below from this author's novel, Astronauts and Their Cats: At night, the space station is cat-shadow dark by Anne Hart (Apr 8, 2002). In this type of humorous children's science fiction novel, the characters and plot easily can be adapted from a novel to a script or series of stories.

When some characters even think of selling defective parts to cut costs, the other-worldly cats, Snifferu and Whiskers are on their tail. In the astronaut’s cat community also is the Earth-born outer-space immortal cat, Patches, the Ragdoll-Siamese, formerly a library cat, who can teach these astronauts new ways to rescue the space program and themselves just by being what he is—a five-month old tomcat adopted by the space program as their mascot to keep the slightly older twin space cats busy.

Patches has more than nine lives. He has been around almost forever but poses as a five-month old kitten. He knows the secret of eternal youth. When the space cat’s human gets a dose of that youth serum and becomes thirteen again, who’s going to fly the shuttle but the twins? Leave it up to the space cats to start the Intergalactic Friendship Club, so they can find a dad for their space physician pilot humans, restore one of their human astronaut friends to a grownup state, and bring together some new friends that they have made—from very far away.

SPACE SHUTTLE - CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida

Astronauts and Their Cats

A Mother and Daughter Astronaut Team, the Immortal Space Cats, and Patches, the Kitten: The Intergalactic Cat Club

SPACE SHUTTLE - CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida

At night, the space station is cat-shadow dark, except for the human’s cats that mingle with the shape-shifting immortal space cats that prowl the corridors and live among the rows of computers. They are wannabee free cats who travel onboard the space shuttles. Some, unknown to the space program, aren’t even home-grown. Those include cats that the mother and daughter astronaut team named Snifferu and Whiskers, and those two keep the astronaut’s kitten, Patches quite busy nowadays.

"Which cat sprayed gang graffiti on the space shuttle?" A ground controller cat, an orange tabby, studied the photo. "But how did it get there?" He aimed a scowl over his computer at his boss. "Maybe it's a paste-on the astronauts put up to celebrate all those years here," the boss said in a dark-as-coffee voice.

The cat’s boss hurried to another computer. Patches, the Earth-born part orange tabby, part Siamese cat, formerly a library cat adopted by the ground controller's boss, sniffed with disdain and curled up on top of the main filing cabinet. A computer screen banner reflected bright red in each kitten's cornflower blue eyes.

Rows of blinking computers lit up the room everywhere. The controller called in an expert. Everyone expert in the room studied the graffiti this time through video monitors as they watched the space shuttle.

The controller pressed a button on his phone. "I'll call security."

"And I'll call Prunella Rhodes" said his boss. "Our latest female commander astronaut can fix anything."

"You Don’t have to mention that the commander is female each time you refer to her," said the ground controller's boss cat.

"You're right. Ever since we hired several commanders with toddlers, I'm always waiting for the first to give birth in orbit," the ground controller cat said amiably as he extended his thin ivory paw across his human’s computer keyboard.

Mother and daughter astronaut teams still made news. Prunella Rhodes, 28, jet pilot, astronaut, and space scientist also worked hard to be an athlete. Prunella sat next to her mother and long-time astronaut, Dr. Clothilde Rhodes, one of the first women in space. Clothilde went in as a doctor of space medicine.

Prunella Rhodes' expertise at repairing space satellites in orbit gave the team buzz words in the news. The mother-and-daughter astronaut team kept their space suits on. "Hey where are those takeoff orders?" Prunella barked into her phone.

Prunella adjusted the controls as the first controller appeared on her video screen. "Okay, astronauts, get out of that space shuttle. Let's call it a day. We've got a security breach. Seems someone sprayed gang graffiti on the side of the shuttle."

Prunella winced at her mother. "She doesn't know what it's like being a single mother to teenage space freaks."

"Was there something you wanted to tell me?" asked the first controller on his intercom.

Prunella pressed a button and wiped the controller's face from the screen.

"Ooops! The wiring just short circuited," Prunella said. "We've lost communication."

Prunella pressed the red alert button and sirens blared.

"I bet you'll love pushing papers, mom. So how does it feel to be shoved

out at fifty?"

"Wild," Clothilde sighed.

"Old astronauts never die, mom. They just orbit their lecture circuit."

"I'll run for president," Clothilde laughed. "Don’t they all run for something?"

"It's back to Earth." Clothilde laughed as she removed her space helmet. She ran her hand across her cheek.

"Tell that to the Siamese cat twins," Prunella replied.

That night in the astronaut's cats' play yard jangling jewelry chains grew louder. Two feline figures walked slowly--Snifferu and Whiskers the teenage cats of Clothilde and Prunella Rhoades.

Each young cat watched the world between two basketball courts until two members of a rough alley cat gang walked onto the schoolyard grounds.

A wind rose. Beyond, a second space shuttle streaked across the dark sky, rockets screaming. Papers blew across the pavement. Snifferu rattled his chain as Whiskers kicked over a garbage can. The rocket noise grew louder leading a comet streak of light.

A clap of thunder blasted overhead. Snifferu and Whiskers watched their "mom's" space shuttle streak above. The two cats looked skywards for a moment and then on toward towards the two other cats dressed in the same baggy pants. Did they belong to some gang? Whiskers thought.

Whiskers's eyes widened, reflecting the lights above.

A garbage can rolled toward the slowly moving cats. A streak of lightning flashed from the sky, hitting the metal garbage can. The electric flash climbed the school drainpipe like a Jacob's ladder. Suddenly rain down-poured.

Slowly Whiskers and Snifferu, twin flame-pointed Siamese cats from the same litter, came face to face with tabby gray alley cats, Loco and Hugo, leaders of a Florida teenage stray cat community armed with unclipped nails and muddy paws.

Whiskers glanced at his ordinary clothes and the other cats' gang-like wear. He took an interest in his whiskers. With tales proudly to the sky, the two Siamese cats laughed nervously as they walked toward the two other teenagers. "I'm scared, how about you?" Whiskers whispered. "You can't judge a cat by his baggy pants," Will laughed. "I'm pretty scared myself." They all met, looked one another over quickly, and laughed loudly. The four cats begin to converse. "Yeah, we're members of Loco's cat community, so?"

The dark playground stood still and quiet. Beyond, the city lights twinkled like stars, stretching across the city. Lightning and rain came down hard.

Whiskers and Snifferu stood facing the other two, hands on hips, as the gang members began to circle them. Soon they realized the other two cats towered over them. They recognized the two from their school class. "Oh it's just you two," Snifferu said. "Loco and Tom Cat. Here comes more trouble."

Loco, taller than Whiskers or Snifferu, lit a rag in a bottle and smashed it to the ground.

The other cat balanced with arched backs and twitching tails, nose extended sniffing and rubbing their whiskers on the jungle gym of the empty playground.

"I told you torn T-shirts, fatigue pants, combat boots, and leather jackets means they belong to a gang," Snifferu said. "Dress doesn't mean all that," Whiskers added. "You'll see. You can't judge a cat by his clothes."

Tom Cat, the gang leader, watched Snifferu take a small box from his shirt pocket. He held the little black box and pressed a button. Out shot a laser beam.

"Hey, what's that?" Tom Cat shouted.

Snifferu walked under a street lamp, and Whiskers followed him laughing.

Tom Cat and Loco closed in on Snifferu and Whiskers swinging their arms like a monkey and making baboon hoots.

"What did you steal from the space shuttle this time?" Loco asked.

Snifferu stopped directly in front of Loco's face. The rain fell down hard, dripping from the cats' faces.

"I told you I was going to take you up for a ride in the shuttle," Snifferu said.

Loco laughed, and then Tom Cat as the two cats closed in on Snifferu and Whiskers.

Tom Cat grabbed the box from Snifferu's hands. He pushed the buttons, but nothing happened.

Snifferu stepped back and circled Tom Cat and Loco slowly. Tom Cat and Loco circled Whiskers and Snifferu as they kept pushing the buttons on the flashing box.

"What's this thing for?"

Whiskers took out of his pocket what looked like a walkie talkie radio. He pulled a small switch. "You wanted to go to the moon?"

Without warning, radio contact is made with the orbiting space shuttle. As the guys listened, Snifferu and Whiskers heard the voices of their own older sister and mom orbiting the Earth in space flight.

Meanwhile, way out in space, astronaut Prunella asked Clothilde, "Ever wonder what your cat

is doing at this hour?"

"He'd better be doing his math or designing something," said Clothilde.

"Oh, shucks. I forgot about the math quiz tomorrow."

On the satellite space station, Clothilde gazed out the window looking at Earth, the big blue marble, from a distance. "I'm not going without a fight." "What now?" said Prunella.

Clothilde ate an astronaut's meal from a toothpaste tube. "Somebody's selling defective

parts for the shuttle. I'm going to be forced into early retirement for blowing the whistle.

It's Russian Roulette up here."

"If you run for public office, mom, somebody will listen."

"They're kicking me out because I know everything.

"The pink slip always says burn out. Only it's not me, it's the shuttle that's in burn out. Why Don’t they dump the space ship and keep the astronaut? It's usually the other way around."

"Did you ever hear of an astronaut burning out from keeping one hand in the dishpan and the other on the cradle?"

"No, Clothilde laughed. "She'd have to steer a space ship with the toes"

"Who says it's a 'she'?" Prunella said. "With the twins cats almost a year old and equal to humans in their teens now, I still have plenty of cat cradles to rock at home with the younger kittens from the Siamese cat rescue home and no helper or partner in sight."

A light flashed, the communication signal. "The computer has ears," Clothilde said.

"What do they need us for? Robots cost less."

Clothilde clicked on the Earth control station switch. The ground controller's face appeared on the computer screen. He smiled.

"What's the matter? Is your armor cracking?"

"The robot's arm malfunctioned," Prunella told the controller.

Wires stuck out of the space robot. It lied like a dummy across the bow of the space ship.

"Dump him. He's a loser," Clothilde ordered.

"Do you see anything out there? Any space aliens?"

"Just you, Tom," Prunella laughed to the first controller. He clicked off his communication screen. Prunella grabbed a tube of food paste and squeezed the mashed vegetables into his mouth. He gazed into outer space at the full moon.

"We have tons of work, and we can't be stopping to take a nap."

"That attention to detail, mom, is what makes you a great commander," Prunella said, smiling.

Prunella floated down into the lower equipment bay and found his little plastic bag. The space cat, Patches, this orbit had been included with them. Patches had his own space suit and sniffed deftly at the canned air with disdain.

Clothilde sat at the controls and turned on his intercom. "In the next century,

This shuttle will be an amusement park ride. Don’t you wish the cats could watch you now?"

Back in the dark and empty school playground Loco looked at Whiskers and Snifferu's new toy.

"You didn't dare steal that thing from the shuttle."

Whiskers whipped out a snapshot from his wallet. It's a picture of the graffiti spray painted on the side of the shuttle."

Loco looked at the photo. Tom Cat tore it away from him and looked at it for a long time before ripping it up. "That's our tag. The police will know it's us."

Snifferu laughed loudly. "You Don’t think I'd write my own name on mom's spaceship."

"It's not your mom's," said Tom Cat.

Whiskers grabbed the device back. "Now let me show you something. You're wondering how did a cat like me sneak inside the space shuttle. Hey, I'm going to sneak all of you inside."

Whiskers whipped out the laser tool he took from the space shuttle.

"Now watch me, you cats of genius."

"The cat's a genius," Snifferu yowled in a sing-song voice. Even more of a genius than Snifferu Gates." Thunder pealed.

"Watch me," Whiskers meowed. "Security breaker!"

The laser tool shot a beam. "It melts metal," said Snifferu. "Better than a video game. For real."

Whiskers aimed the laser tool at the jungle gym. It cut the metal in two. Loco perched on top of the jungle gym slid to the ground. The metal legs of the jungle gym crashed down after him.

"Nice welding tool, eh?" Snifferu shook his device. "Perfect for melting space garbage. That's what it's for, my friends. Melting space garbage."

Smoke and fire pour from the melted playground equipment. The light rain turned it into a steaming column that rose around the cats.

"That's what my brother uses to repair space satellites," Whiskers said. "Look, I'm Rosie the Riveter," he laughed as he moved his hand like a welder. "Just like Rosie the Riveter.

After a doctorate in physics, he still melts space garbage."

"Well, he repairs satellites, too, Whiskers."

"There's no getting away from doing the same thing year after year," said Snifferu. "When I grow up I won't be melting space garbage."

"So maybe we didn't miss much by dropping out of school," Loco sighed.

"You missed learning how to design my Web sites," Snifferu added. "I wouldn't drop out now that the fun's starting. Talk about repetition, dropping out is the pits of doing the same thing every day, guys."

"Yeah, somethin' new every day, Tom Cat added."Like this."

Tom Cat high-kicks Snifferu in his face. A high karate kick with piledriver force. Snifferu drops his laser tool. As it clutters down, Snifferu's sneakers are on tiptoe. Tom Cat hammer-scratched Snifferu with blinding speed. He leapt out of the way to the ground in a tail-twitching heap and ran half-way up a tree.

“You missed. What’s the matter. Did the cat-groomer clip your nails?”

Loco grabs the laser tool. "Rich cats steal expensive toys."

Tom Cat blasts Whiskers in the face. Whiskers screams. The laser comes close, but misses. He turns his head, rolling away, and falls. Whiskers claps his hands over his face and pretends he is burned. Tom Cat peers over him, laughing. "So long, monster face. You want to be an astronaut like your brother and mom? Now you look like a Martian."

Tom Cat walked away laughing hideously, followed by Loco who bent down and swiped the radio communication device from the pavement.

The rain streamed down over Snifferu’s face, running into his eyes. Whiskers helped him up.

"Are you still alive?"

"How come they didn't touch you, Whiskers?"

"I made believe I passed out."

Loco left the playground and walked down the street. He stood under a pool of street light to put the laser tool in his belt. Tom Cat joined him.

Loco switched on the box. He heard voices from the space shuttle control center nearby and then static. He put the radio device into his belt.

Back in the playground, Snifferu sat up in a rain puddle. "What hit me?"

"Dinosaurs of distinction."

"I hope I still have the tape."

Snifferu ripped open his jacket. He pulled out his tape recorder. "Pretty neat, huh?" Whiskers saw a microphone taped to Snifferu's shirt.

"What's the difference, Snifferu? They didn't say much."

"I think you're crazy to get involved with killer punks just to write that stupid comic book of yours." Whiskers turned away.

"I told you I'm turning my diary into a comic book with a real cat detective story, Whiskers."

"Cats don’t keep diaries."

"Immortal cats from inner space keep diaries. Only they call it logs. Like in the Captain's log. Funny how girls keep diaries and cats keep logs, and they could be the same thing."

"Logs are kept by the captain of a ship or the owner of a business. Diaries are personal journals. When I grow up I want to be a reporter."

"Well, I want to be an astronaut," Whiskers said.

"Maybe I can be both."

"Yeah, well you're going to get killed trying."

Whiskers gave Snifferu his handkerchief, and Snifferu wiped his face.

The two teenager cats walked down the rainy street. Thunder shook them silly. A bolt of lightning flashed, hitting a parked car next to them. The twins jumped. They moved past the neon signs.

The two past a bum who made a face at them and screamed. The bum put out his hand right into Whiskers's face as he asked for money. Whiskers barked at the moon as the two walked faster.

The bum threw an empty wine bottle half sticking out from a paper bag at them. They ducked as the bottle missed and crashed to the sidewalk The two moved on towards home.

"The bet's still on... that I get as much of an education reading at home or while I travel around the world….sail around….or better yet, take mom's space shuttle all over the place during the next four years as you'll get sitting on your butt at school," Snifferu teased.

"Whiskers, don’t worry. I'll forget ninety percent of everything I read two weeks after finals," Whiskers said.

"If you think school's a waste getting an education," Snifferu added, "I'll buy condos and rent them to students, then sell them at a profit after four years. All I have to do is assume the human attitude.”

“Meanwhile, there must be a million stories I can write if only I can find a way to use a human-made computer."

“Let’s use our cat computers from our own planet. If the astronaut ladies didn’t bring us here with them so quickly, we could have taken our own technology.”

“You may have to take on the shape of a fourteen-year old boy to do that, brother. Luckily we can speak most of the languages of the galaxy.”

"Sure, you're not even old enough for a social security card, and you're talking about buying real estate." What are you going to write about, Snifferu, gang warfare, your mom's job search, or your junior high dating problems?

"Look, Whiskers. Mom promised me twelve thousand a year for four years to go to college or to invest, right? I'll have a four-year start over you at your university majoring in classical civilization while I run up a portfolio of internet stocks. I know, I watch my mom day trading all day, and she's gotten out with a hundred percent return on her dollar."

"Sure, Snifferu cat. And eight years from now I'll be a highly paid engineer astronaut, and you'll be an unemployed finance writer with no degree."

"But with lots of practical experience."

"I give up. Here we're not even finished with our first year in high school, and you're talking about what the world will be like in seven or eight years when I'm through with college." Rain turned to fog.

A brilliant white glare pierced the fog as a police cruiser glided by slowly keeping pace with the two staggering cats. An officer shined his flashlight on them. The doors flew open and two cops leaped in their faces. "Hold it, fellows," said the first officer. "It's three in the morning. Do you happen to know where your parents are?"

Snifferu and Whiskers stopped in their tracks. As the two cops approached the twins, Snifferu and Whiskers tugged the release switches in their belts. Without warning jet streams rocketed from their heavy belts and backpacks that looked like small parachute packs.

Suddenly the two cats bolted upwards above the cops' heads. The cops drew their guns and raced after them. In a rush of wind, Whiskers and Snifferu swerved over the cops' heads, high enough to get beyond firing range. The two cats vaulted a pile of cars. They whipped around the street, and leaped the hood of parked cars.

The two cops jumped into their car. They followed the cats raised now about ten feet off the ground. Whiskers and Snifferu leaped over the tops of telephone poles and trees.

The cats and then the cops snaked through the maze of streets. The officers followed each cat whose jet belts projected them forward. The twins flew like jets. Now they traveled faster than the cop's car.

"Will they shoot at us?" asked Whiskers.

"We'll go faster than their bullets," Snifferu said, grabbing Whiskers's hand and pushing another button on Whiskers's belt and on his own. "Let's jet forward."

The two joined hands as they flew above the rooftops. Snifferu shouted with joy. "I told you mom's antigravity belts would work as good here as in outer space."

"Prunella's going to miss them when anyone walks out into space trying shovel space garbage."

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