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
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