The problem with Borians is that they don’t know when to give up when they decide they want something. It’s not really clear if it’s because they’re too stupid to know when or… something else. So the jury is out on that one. Even as Miranda’s spaceship headed away from the Borian battle cruiser the Borians were busy working out how they were going to get back General Boris and find the human that ran the galactic service station. Their devilish plans were put on hold for now though as it was time for high tea and they needed their cucumber sandwiches, angel cake and of course tea, white with three sugars.
Miranda was aware that tea would last forever though, the spaceship passed over a cornfield silently and unnoticed, Miranda shook her head as she looked at the corn circle patterns spread over the field.
“You see that? That’s what’s going on in the galaxy right now because this service station can’t be found!”
“What do you mean?” Ralph asked, somewhat confused.
” You can’t read this?” Miranda rolled her eyes “It’s Nabian, it’s a warning that there’s no service station here and they have had to ditch their spacecraft. It also adds they if they need to be found they’re forming an Irish pop group and hope to hide until they can refuel their ship!”
“Wow, I never knew that crop circles were messages!” Ralph was showing a little interest now.
“Of course!” Gaz grated. “What else did you think they were? Alien art? Graffiti?”
“Well… err…” Ralph stammered. Miranda and Gaz burst out laughing. Ralph felt a little insulted “How were we supposed to know!”
“It was written in large enough symbols!” Miranda scoffed, wiping away her tears.
“We’re nearly at the landing site.” Hatty announced calmly.
“Won’t we get seen?” asked Ralph.
“No” Miranda reassured him “We use some advanced technology to hide the ship from human eyes and detection systems?”
“What like a cloaking device?” Ralph felt pleased to be able to finally look a little clever.
“No” Harry scoffed “That’s ridiculous, that kind of thing doesn’t exist, we use IDSA technology!”
“What’s that?” Ralph asked.
“I Didn’t See Anything!” Miranda replied in a d’uh kind of tone. Again.
Ralph wasn’t sure if they were puling his leg on this. It seemed he couldn’t even appear even slightly intelligent to these beings so he decided to be quiet. The female computer voice sounded out again, spaceship landing, spaceship landing. Over and over.
“Silly computer!” Ralph whispered.
“Stupid Human!” the computer retorted.
“It’s best you don’t insult IRIS, shes a super intelligent computer and she keeps us safe. She also has a sense of humour that often not funny!”
“How come?” Ralph sounded a little concerned.
“Being a computer IRIS has no feelings and therefore see’s us lifeforms as an inconvenience as all she doe sis keep us alive.” Miranda explained quietly.
“What has she done?”
Gaz chuckled, it sounded a little disturbing “Ask her about Frank!”
“Oh no, you had to bring up Frank!” Miranda moaned.
“I can’t help it, I laughed so much!” Gaz went on, still chuckling.
“Frank also had a sense of humour, he thought it was funny to hang his underpants on her camera eyes. But it was when he decided to use IRIS’s collection of microchips to shoot space bugs that she took action.”
“It was genius!” Gaz cackled.
“We’re not sure how but she put his com-u-talk into the airlock, so when he beeped it and went looking for it she locked him in and then shot him into space, just to be sadistic she make sure she recorded it and put it on Galac-Tube. It went viral for two weeks!”
“It was awesome!” IRIS added. “Frank wriggled for longer than I thought he would!”
“You see?” Miranda shrugged. “So be nice!”
“Sorry IRIS” Ralph apologised somewhat sheepishly.
“Humph” IRIS moaned “You will be!” IRIS seemed to show more emotion that Ralph thought was possible for a computer, who clearly wasn’t happy. Ralph decided to leave it there, he didn’t want to make things worse.
Ralph watched as the spacecraft lowered itself to land in an isolated field, he had no idea where they were. On the outside of IRIS beeped here warning that a spacecraft was landing like a Earth truck would indicate it’s reversing. With a small bump the spacecraft landed, Miranda sprang up.
“Right human, you need to come with me! Harry, Gaz you can stay here and look after the ship. Let me know when the Borians have finished their tea and they come looking for us.”
“Why can’t we come?” Harry asked glumly.
“Errr, becasue you’re aliens here on Earth and your disguise was truly awful and would only attract more attention to us!” Miranda chided. “Besides, someone needs to keep an eye on Boris and his cronies.”
“Oh joy!” Harry replied sarcastically “Stuck on this rock with no fuel and the only job I have is to babysit!” With that Harry and Gaz walked off glumly to the airlock where Boris was trapped, Gaz was grunting and hissing he followed Harry, as if cursing to himself.
“Right, you come on!” Miranda indicated to Ralph.
“Where are we going?” Ralph asked. “I told you, I don’t know anything about a service station!” He protested.
“I know! I’m not stupid!”
“So, you’re letting me go?” Ralph asked nervously.
“Don’t be silly, I still need you. Don’t ask me how or why becasue I don’t believe it myself. But you need to help me sort this mess out for all our sakes!”
“But I’m nothing to do with this!” Ralph protested again.
“I know that – but the Borians don’t and once they have finished their cucumber sandwiches and cake they’ll be coming after you!”
“Oh, I see.” Ralph suddenly realised that no matter what he did he wasn’t going to get away with this. Sullenly he followed Miranda down the ramp from the spacecraft to the ground below. There on the field waiting with the door open was a mini. Not one of the new ones, but the old ones. Looking a little the worse for wear as if it had been out in the rain too long, it’s dull brown panels had really lost their shine.
“We’re going to use this to go to town!” Miranda told him “Make sure you hold on!”
“Why? In this rust bucket?” Ralph scoffed as he got into the car. The look inside as scruffy as on the outside, the seats leather cracked and with that unmistakable old car smell. As soon as he was in, the car shot off. Ralph found himself pressed back into his seat holding on white knuckles to the seat, he was sure he tried to shout to Miranda to stop but the sound got trapped in his throat. On the way down a long length of road he noticed the speedometer reading 55mph, he knew that they were going much faster than that, but he dare not think about how fast. He also saw another sign. Grimsby.
Ralph’s torture was short lived (becasue of the speed) but it seemed to him to go on forever. Almost as fast as they started, the car stopped, no screeching noise. Just a dead stop, Ralph found his face stuck to the glass of the windscreen.
“You ok?” Miranda asked. Not in the least bit flustered or a hair out of place. Ralph however was not as lucky. He looked disheveled and physically nearly broken as he got out of the Mini and started following Miranda. Ralph looked up and read the sign – The Green Dragon.
“What are we doing here?” Ralph asked.
“We’re here to find someone.” Miranda replied matter of factly.
“More aliens?” Ralph asked as they both walked in the door. As the door opened the chatter and general pub din ended instantly and all eyes turned on them.
“Something like that!” Miranda stopped dead when she realised all eyes were on her. Ralph, still dazed and scruffy was tucking is creased and stained shirt into his trousers. He looked up and saw all eyes on them.
“What?” he blurted out.
To be continued…
©Simon Farnell 2017