The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 12

The ground shook under all of them, like an earthquake the shaking grew. Even the fighting cronies stopped their scrapping and stood, waiting for whatever was going to happen next. The ground shook so severely that all but a few were knocked to ground.

A huge crack opened into the ground, some of the few remaining cards fell into the crevice. Ralph pushed himself up, mouth wide open as he watched the ground parting and from the crevice a huge tube like structure, pushed up and supported like a metal tree trunk. The quake subsided and the structure rose higher and higher, Ralph tried to look as it rose but soon he was flat on his back watching as it disappeared from sight.

As he stared suddenly he saw a small black object falling toward him, smacking him straight on his forehead he grasped his head “OW!” Ralph protested, it was only a small stone but it must have fallen from some sign as he thought to himself that hurt (Or words to that effect).

When he opened his eyes again Miranda was stood over him “Come on Ralph! We’ve got to get back to the ship before these bozo’s do!” Pulling him up with what Ralph thought was surprising force, Miranda dragged him with Gaz and the two Tapians silently in tow.

“Get us up quick Harry!” Miranda shouted forward as the stringy alien rush forward. He pointed a device at the spaceship and pressed a button. The lights flashed and a ‘peep, peep’ like a human car unlocking. They all charged up the ramp, Miranda still pulling at Ralph. The one one up was a puffing Boris who collapsed on the floor when he got onto the craft.

“Harry get up up and our of here!” Miranda shouted. Harry was already stabbing at the controls and the craft lifted up, leaving behind a number of leaders of different races looking on with bleeding noses, teeth marks in their skin with a n=few nursing the odd black eye.

It would be fair to say at this point that they were… irritated.


It’s prudent to note at this point that irritated people are the number one source of problems throughout the galaxy. It happens when one or more being encounter one or more other beings from somewhere else. In complete innocence one or either does something quite by accident (or sometimes on purpose but let’s gloss over that) and in this interaction someone gets irritated.

What happens next depends on the irritation threshold of the person(s) who have been irritated. If it’s low then some kind of intense disagreement takes place and the two parties part company somewhat disgruntled and often causing more irritation.

For those who’s irritation level is high, the irritation festers, accumulates, grows and finally explodes in some kind of massive ball of intense anger. If anyone walks away from this they are considered lucky. This detail will help the reader gauge the kind of unstable uncertainty that now existed in the Watford Gap service station car park.



“What’s the hurry?” Ralph asked, almost fearing he knew the answer. Miranda didn’t answer just gave him a look that told him he should know better. Ralph just found a seat at the back of the control centre and was surprised to see Boris on the seat next to him stiff puffing away.

The spacecraft rose, following the huge metal support structure towards the service station.

“You see young man” Boris started talking to Ralph, he wasn’t sure if he should be glad or scared. “Now that the service station has been found, it needs to be activated so we can all use it”

“Don’t you just turn the light on and stuff?”

Boris chuckled “There’s a bit more to this!”

Ralph felt the ship come to a halt, the mechanical clamps that locked the ship’s docking port to the station locked fast.

“Right!” Miranda announced “We need you two now!” She demanded pointing at the two Tapians.

“What is it with them? They don’t speak!” Ralph asked Boris.

“They’re telepathic creatures, they don’t say a word and before you ask, their human appearance isn’t their real appearance!”
“Oh!” Was the only reply that Ralph could fathom.

“Lets go, you lot, even you Boris!” Miranda ushered everyone out of the airlock and into the station. “IRIS, keep an eye out for approaching ships and warn them off until we have the station activated. I think there’s going to be a rush for a while!”

IRIS harrumphed her response.


Ralph followed Boris out, looking down all those miles to the planet below, the metallic floor had panels of thick clear stuff. Ralph thought it could be glass but it was probably something space age and technical. The only light coming into the entry bay was from the planet, the station was dark and cold like he had stepped out into a frosty night on Earth.

“Is this made out of some kind of see through space material?” Ralph shouted to Miranda.

“Yup, you got it Ralph. We call it glass!”

Ralph shrugged and followed the rest of them towards a huge bulkhead door. The two tapians looked at each other and then pressed their hands to the door and closed their eyes.

“What’s going on?” Ralph whispered to Miranda.

“The station is unlocked with a telepathic key, the reason I got these two was becasue they’re basically a binary telepathic key. The station won’t activate without them.”

“They’re on the only key to this station?” Ralph asked in disbelief.

“They weren’t, but in the search for the station the Borians found the others and when they couldn’t tell them where the station was they shot them into space!” Miranda glared at Boris while relaying this little story.

Boris shrugged “We were sure they told the truth!”

Miranda’s unimpressed look made even Boris flinch. The seconds passed and nothing happened then suddenly light flickered and the station was in brightness, outside the station a red neon light wording The Great Galactic Service Station in fancy writing flickered into life and the station illuminated into pretty colours.

Back inside there was a further wait, the cold was getting to Ralph, blowing into his hands as he waited. Waited. Waited.

The door split open and four tubes in a line, tilted back could be seen. Miranda walked over to one, sweeping away the ice with her hand to reveal a human looking being, a bit older he thought with a big long beard. Harry cleared another to reveal a skeleton. The other two tube’s occupants had died long ago too.

“Let’s get him out of there!” Miranda whispered under her breath. “Activate!”

At the top of the tube a red digital display began to count down from 100.

“Please tell me this isn’t a bomb!” Ralph pleaded.

To be continued…



©Simon Farnell 2018


Planet Simon



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Magical Views of Titan and it’s Atmosphere

Titan – the largest of Saturn’s moons and a place of mystery, suggested it could be a mini deep frozen early Earth, with lakes of liquid Methane and a thick atmosphere these shots show the magic of this mysterious world.

Credit: Astronomy Blog on Tumblr and NASA


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The Geeky Guide to WordPress – Adding Content

As I’ve been doing this blogging thing a little while now and it seemed a good idea to pass on a few of the things that I’ve learned over the five years that I’ve been doing this. In easy and often geeky steps you’ll be taken through the steps and point out the pitfalls of taking your blog seed and growing it into something really amazing.

 The First Blog Post

Your first blog post is a milestone for you and your blogging adventure and if you do it right needs a little thought.

WordPress gives you a first post, I guess to show you what it is you can do. There are a few pictures in your media library so you have what you need to create your first post.

Here are some ideas for your first post:

Hello World : Based in every programmers first program say hello from your blogging world, let people know who you are, what you’re about.

“Your Story” Part One : Some people use blogs to write their story, start at the beginning.

Just Dive In : It might be that your blog is a planned out ‘go to’ site for information or you might just start as you mean to go on. This is diving straight in.



Writing and Setting up your post

On the top right of WordPress there is the ‘Write’ button, clicking on this brings up a blank canvas, the start of an exciting new post!


At the top there is a panel of tool options, much of it my be recognisable from MS Word and other word processors. But there are a few extras that will be covered later.




There will also be the post settings panel on the right. This can be toggled on and off with the black setting cog button.

For now let’s keep this simple: Categories and tags were covered in the first Geeky Guide to WordPress post. As it stated more Categories and Tags can be added here.

The Featured Image option allows an image to be featured at the top of a post. If a post had a book cover this would be it and it can be effective in attracting a reader’s attention.

The featured image can now come from Google and the media library on your site. Adding media to this is easy and will be covered next.

Allowing comments and pingbacks allows other bloggers to talk to you and to link to your post. Generally this is a good thing so keep them ticked.

If there is already a published post that is similar in format to the post being written Copy Post allows this post to be copied and edited to make it a new post.





With the words sorted now the pictures and media need some attention. Uploading pictures from your phone or camera, or stock pictures from the like of shutterstock or Canva is fairly easy. On the top left of your Screen there’s an Add icon, use this and select media to bring up your site’s media.


On the top left use Add New to navigate to the media to be used and depending on the upload speed the images will be available for use pretty quickly. If using a free site then video’s cannot be uploaded, but it is easy to add them with a link.

A note on pictures that I tried once, copying them and pasting from the internet kind of works, but becasue they don’t get added to your media library they have a habit of randomly vanishing. The best way to add pictures is without doubt from the library.

Adding online Video’s

This is as basic as it gets, copy and paste the link into the post. WordPress sorts it all out so that the video can be played within the blog post.


Adding Music

I’ve not tried adding music to the media library, I don’t think it works. What is worth knowing though is that adding a soundtrack or audio file from YouTube or other online sharing site like Soundhound is easy. As with video’s copy the link and paste it into the post.

BUT this isn’t so easy with Spotify, if the person at the other end of the blog post doesn’t have a Spotify account or it’s not installed on their device they cannot listen to it. I didn’t know this and I had been posting music for weeks, it was a bit of an epic fail!

I hope this post has been useful. Let me know about any experiences you’ve had which I could add to this.

Planet Simon



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Manic Monday Number 12 – Is Spring Finally Here?


Dare I say that Spring is finally here in the UK? The clocks Sprung forward yesterday (see what I did there) so if you got to work this morning and found that everyone had already been there ages you now know why.

With Spring comes more outdoors stuff and less time for sitting around writing blog posts, I’m not sure how my blogging and writing will be affected. What about you guys? How does it change for you and what (f anything) do you change in your writing schedule?


Last week saw a bit more activity on Planet Simon, I didn’t around to the next part of The Great Galactic Service Station but I did post my review of Ellie Maloney’s 329 Years Awake. Read the post and then read the book… that’s all I will say!


Planet Simon is still undergoing reorganisation, I’m getting pages and Menu’s sorted so that all the great content on here that you want to find CAN be found. The Titan Mystery and The Great Galactic Service Station have got nicely laid out menu’s making it really easy for you readers to find posts…

Blogging on WordPress

There’s going to be the next part of the Geeky Guide to WordPress, if you missed it Part 1 is here: The Geeky Guide to WordPress – Part 1

I’ve know I’ve promised to get some posts going about using InkScape and Gimp for the budding artists out there, patience, it’s taking a bit longer than I hoped to get this started but I’m hoping it’s going to be really good once I’m there.

Solar System Exploration

Also watch out for the solar system exploration series returning, with some snappy graphics and updated information I hope this will turn into the project I originally envisioned.

escribble has a new post up this morning a found poem on Mad Mike the Rocket man and hopefully a bit more as well this week. If you’ve not visited the site go and have a look, it’s kind of like the more personal and geeky bits from Planet Simon, a bit of the old and some new stuff too! Look out for a new post on Universe of Possibilities this week, how does Sci-Fi make you feel when you read / watch it and how have the big names carried this on over the years?



If you’re on Twitter make sure you follow @BlogBashChat and join us all for a blogging chat on the first Sunday of every month 7pm British time. It’s a great little thing that’s growing and you get to find out more about blogging and Bloggers!

What have you guys been up to?

Keep smiling and blogging!

Simon 🙂


Planet Simon



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What would it look like if the other planets were where the moon is?

I’ve seen a few of these about but I thought it would be cool to share this with you bloggies becasue I found these on Tumblr and had to share them with you…










Pretty cool eh? Which one would you rather see in the sky?

Planet Simon



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329 Years Awake – A Mix of X-Files and Hard Sci-Fi

The name Ellie Maloney might not mean much to people here, some of you may remember a re-blogged post on her and her new book 329 Years awake a few weeks ago. Ellie is a very creative Sci-Fi blogger who a while ago went very quiet. It was easy to see why becasue she was working on her first (I hope of many) book 329 Years Awake. What I didn’t realise until I had finished the book was how talented and imaginative Ellie is as a science fiction writer.




The Book

I had already bought the ebook version and was partway through it when Ellie insisted that she send me a copy in return for some reviews. How could I say no. The first thing I would say at this point is that I’m a bad person. Why? Because when I looked at the price of the paperback I thought “Hmmm… expensive” but I have to say that was a bad assumption.


When this arrived just on the quality of the paperback it would have been worth the money. It’s a quality product and inside there are the small things that I don’t find in other books that make this something special – the bits of art, the author profiles etc.



The Story

Think of a UFO or a conspiracy theory from the last few hundred years. There’s a good chance that it’s in this book. The brilliance of this story is that it brings together these stories and combines it with a science fiction concept. Adds a dash of the future and the presto.

When you’re reading the first half of this book you think at first that you’re reading a series of short stories from past present and future. You have no clue as to how the story links together, keep reading. Seriously don’t put this book down.

A few chapters in and your brain starts working, not only are you reading the mystery you’re working it out for yourself, you’re part of the story almost. By the time the first half of the book is read you now realise what the start was all about, you can see what’s going on. Then comes the second half.

Two human soldiers imprisoned by an alien race, they have no idea of the significance that their role will play in human history by trying to escape. They have no idea of the capabilities of the human race within one of them. When the truth is revealed and their destinies are about to be fulfilled the ending twists and it shocks you.

For anyone into science fiction or conspiracy theories this is a must read. Seriously.


Well done on a great first book Ellie!



Book Blurb

Humans have a powerful gift: a genetic ability to alter reality, but they know nothing about it. As humans grow capable to oscillate, the Unkari plot on harvesting this ability. Meanwhile, humans are gearing up for war with an enemy they know nothing about. Otis Solarin, a Liberian professor of Space History, was one of the few who discovered his ability to oscillate. Three hundred years later, the destiny of humanity is in the hands of the two soldiers, captured by the Unkari during a failed military operation. Lt. Desiree Mazula and En. Ebony River are the last hope for the Earth Nations to survive the war.


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The Geeky Guide to WordPress – The Beginning

As I’ve been doing this blogging thing a little while now and it seemed a good idea to pass on a few of the things that I’ve learned over the five years that I’ve been doing this. In easy and often geeky steps you’ll be taken through the steps and point out the pitfalls of taking your blog seed and growing it into something really amazing.


The Start

Let’s say for argument’s sake you’re starting on a free site domain. YOu’ve taken the bold step of registering your site name after much searching through names and you’re here. You have these options.


Naturally the first thing you want to do is make the blog / site look and feel how you want it to. So where it says themes, hit Customise.


You’re then presented with this, loads of different and wonderful templates to make your blog look the way you want. Naturally the best ones cost so if you want pick one of those and pay or in the top right there’s options to filter and you can view only the ones that come for free.

The next bit is down to you, select the one that you think releases your creative blogger in the way you want. Follow the instructions, and if needs be keep changing until you’re happy.

If you’re not back onto your ‘my Sites’ page hit that button in the top left and then scroll down to settings.




Setting up

This is the basic set up for the blog that you want. You don’t have to do it like I have if you don’t understand anything use Dr Google to help. There’s loads of Web help for WordPress and if you get really stuck Automattic’s Happiness Engineers really do try to make you happy by getting you going, it just might take a day or so for them to answer your question in the forums.


Here is easy. Get a goofy picture and upload it for your profile, set a site tagline which will describe your blog to all that find it in the blogosphere and set the title. With the title it’s important NOT  to use the web address of the site, many have done this and it seems to screw with things so that people can’t get to your site. This is a name only and can be anything.





In the writing tab are all the settings for writing your blog posts. Most of what’s set in here is fairly self explanatory and it’s each to their own preference. What is worth noting is that Categories and Tags can be entered here.

I got really confused on what these were for when I first started blogging but Categories help the blogger organise their posts, a default category can be set and as many can be set up as desired. The best way to think of categories is to treat them as drop down menu’s on your blog site. So keep the number to a minimum and make them relate to your site becasue later when we get to site customisation these can be used to help with menu’s and organisation.

So that leaves Tags, these are used for readers and bloggers to help them find your content. So if you’re posting on how to set up a WordPress blog then tags like WordPress and Blog and Setup or Starting out might be a good place to start. Both Categories and tags can be added while writing blog posts but if there’s an organised plan to your blog site then this is the time to start.




The discussion tab is a load of settings on how interaction is meant to work between yourself and other bloggers. It should be straightforward and I think this is pretty much the default setup. Basically go nuts and do it how you want it!




Lastly there’s the Traffic tab, I’m not going to say much here as it’s all fairly well set up anyway. The Google site indexing and all that I haven’t shown becasue this is more complex stuff to cover later.

What the blog needs now is content.

So get writing!

Planet Simon



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