The assembled crew of motley beings from over the galaxy watched as the timer counted down, a computerised female voice counting down with it, at about seventy the voice was getting out of sync with the numbers, then the segments for the numbers started taking a like of their own. Finally the voice announced.
“Oh stuff it, chamber unlocking! There you go, wakey wakey, rise and shine!” The chamber lit up, then the power started flicking around it and the chamber went dark.
“That went well didn’t it?” The computerised voice returned.
Everyone watched. Waited. Looking at this oldish man in the chamber.
“What are we waiting for?” Whispered Ralph.
“For me to wake up!!!!!” The man’s eyes opened and he jumped up and out of the hibernation chamber and stood before them all. Well here I am, let get this service station going and get the sausage rolls defrosted and heated up. We don’t want to keep all these people waiting now do we?”
Everyone looked at Miranda. “Why me?” She whispered.
“You are the emperor’s daughter!” Harry smugly pointed out.
“Why her what? What’s going on?” The old man asked, somewhat puzzled but there wasn’t a dent in his enthusiasm.
“You’ve been in there a bit longer than you think!” Miranda stated matter of factly.
“A few years never hurt anyone!” The old man continued “How long out of curiosity.”
Harry cut in and pointed at Ralph. “See him?”
“He’s one of the local inhabitants.”
The old man stood closer to Ralph “My God, either you’ve had a damn good shave or I’m looking at a bit of evolution here. The last time I saw one of you you were swinging in the trees and picking the hair off each others back!” Looking down at his shirt he spied the ketchup stain “not much has changed I see, just lost the excess hair!” The man chuckled to himself.
“Relax will you?” The old mad slapped him on the arm. “Right, where the others?” He turned around and looked into the other hibernation modules. He stopped and suddenly his enthusiasm was gone.
“Oh.” He sadly muttered.
“That’s what I mean, you’ve been in there, a long, long time!” Miranda comforted him.
“They – they were my friends. We were in this together and now…” The old man sat cross legged on the floor now quite despondent. In what was a move that surprised Ralph Gaz walked over to him, placing his small hand on his shoulder he calmly and softly (or as calmly and softly as a grating gargoyle can) told him.
“I know, something similar happened to me too!”
Harry joined him Gaz “Same for me.”
Now Ralph was suspicious, Harry was doing another one of his wind ups. Miranda went around to look the old man in the face. ” I know this is hard” She told him sympathetically. “But we have to get this station functional, there are hundreds of stranded spacecraft on Earth and hundreds more blockading the planet ready blow each other away. “Will you help us?”
The old man nodded.
“f you can give me the keys to the station I can start if you want to stay here a while?”
The old man slowly got up, wiped his face and walked over to a bulkhead door. “Access for 6121 Flartislap.”
“Access is slapping me in the face with a HUGE humpback whale!” The female computer voice returned. “What I mean is The whale is granted. I mean oh get on with it!”
The doors parted and there before them was the trading area of the Great Galactic Service Station, thick with dirt but it was vast and a clear view out to the spaceports beyond. Ralph actually felt excited.
“Right!” The old man shouted “Flartislap here get on with it!” With this he clapped and five or six pepper pot shaped droise sprang out from hatches around the room and started cleaning up. With vacuums coming out of their heads and brushes and air cleansers in a few moments Ralph could see this was a colourful place, blues and yellows and greens and purples, lights of all kinds of colours began activating.
“I thought that was a code – not his name!” Ralph whispered to Miranda.
“Different times!” Was all Miranda could come back with.
“That should get this place cleaned up soon.” Flartislap told Miranda purposefully.
Harry was at the freezers and was holding up a packet of sausage rolls and pasties. “These expired after six months!” He told Flartislap.
“It’s ok” He replied “Everyone knows if you freeze this it doesn’t matter what the off date is!”
“Maybe for a few years, but a few million?!?”
“They’ll be fine!” Insisted Flarislap. “Get your aprons on and get cooking! You – Ape man! Have you learned how to cook on your world yet?”
For a moment Ralph was wondering how to answer this, he was bit offended then he tucked his arms in like a monkey “Ooh, ooh, yeah! We cook meat over open fire – we advanced!”
Miranda choked and she stopped herself from laughing.
“Good!” Flartislap continued, pointing and gesticulating “Go and take sausage rolls to hot thing over there. Put in hot thing at one hundred and eighty celsius for 30 bangs and then slapper me five them into the bright and warm thing. Don’t light fine. This advanced cooking. You understand me ape man?”
“Don’t be silly of course I do!” Ralph replied, snatching the boxes from Harry and wandering off with them.
“There’s hope for them yet!” Flartislap nodded “You, pretty lady, what do I call you?”
“I’m Miranda, what can I do?”
“Help the ape man and make sure he doesn’t start a fire and get them all to line up in an orderly queue out there!”
“I think Gaz is onto the orderly bit!” Miranda smiled raising an eyebrow.
“Oi you lot get in here!” He grated “But don’t cause a pile up!”
Things seemed to be going normally for a moment, Harry was even helping and Boris had put on a maids apron and was trying to place cream cakes out in the chiller counter. then the station started shaking, vibrating and then this God awful tune if you could call it that started resonating from the surfaces of the station. Boris’s cakes exploded with cream thrown in every direction, sausage rolls flew from every end to every other end.
Then something even worse came through Teresa’s voice “I’m here to get my damn pasties, I’m not waiting in line! The Borian’s will get there first!”
What is not generally well known about Theresa May is she’s a Praxian from Praxia seventeen, they’re known throughout the galaxy as having the worst rock music ever. Back in her day Theresa was a head banger and this with the music has caused irreparable brain damage. Praxian music is well known for making the brains bleed from any other race. Some heads have even exploded. This is what the station had just been subjected to. In here old age Theresa has calmed a bit and this was soothing music. Even so the results are devastating. One of the cleaner robots found the nearest airlock and shot themselves out of it as the vacuum of space is less painful.
Her rating continued, even Gaz couldn’t make her get in line and dock her ship like any normal person.
“I see no reason why I should wait and pay after all this long. This isn’t the NHS you know… I’m taking over that station and I’m going to lock everyone else out! If you resist I will destroy you all!”
To be continued…
©Simon Farnell 2018
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