Star Trek Picard First Official Trailer Released At SDCC 2019!

Start Trek Picard is on it’s way and it’s looking good!

Sci-Fi Jubilee

Star Trek Picard First Official Trailer Released At SDCC 2019!

The first official trailer for Star Trek: Picard has been released at SDCC 2019, and it hits warp speed on every level! I’ve been looking foward to this series ever since it was announced, and the trailer looks awesome! Can’t wait to see Patrick Stewart return as Picard! It has also been confirmed that Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Jonathan del Arco, Brent Spiner and Jeri Ryan will be reprising their roles as Will Riker, Troy, Hugh the Borg, Data, and Seven of Nine.

The trailer is packed with fan pleasing moments, seeing Data and Seven on Nine again was awesome, and I’m sure Star Trek Picard will be well worth the wait.

Engage! Check out the trailer for Star Trek Picard!

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Artemis – where Sci-Fi becomes a vision of the future.

Story Basis

Andy Weir’s latest novel Artemis looks at first to be a step back from his first novel The Martian. Set on the Moon rather than Mars, inside a moon base (Artemis) with the protagonist being a young woman who is trouble and doesn’t really amount to much in life on Artemis.

When I initially looked at this I was left wondering where this could go. For those of you that have not yet read the book I will leave out as many spoilers as I can but I am going to have to tell you something becasue otherwise what’s the point of this post?


The World of Artemis

The first thing about this book is that the clever bit is not about fancy new technology or how the humans are fighting off Moon aliens that the conspiracy theorists knew were there all along, this is mainly about how and why humans would colonise the moon. For this Andy Weir had to create a new world, society, economics and the people that would live there and why.

The first thing to note is that this human colony exists for one reason alone – tourism. Everyone that lives on the Moon is there to support an industry of people that can buy a trip to the Moon for about $70K and depending on how rich you are stay in one of the hotels in one of five habitation domes.

Along with the workers there’s the odd ultra rich billionaire that’s bought half a dome and lives a pretty decent existence… and causes a bit of trouble, Because let’s face it you don’t get billions by playing nice. In with this is Jasmine Bashara who is known as Jazz who was brought to the Moon by her father and has lived there since a child, very intelligent but good at making bad choices she runs a smuggling operation to get by. On Artemis you work for Slugs – this stands for Soft Landed Grams (SLG), one slug is the cost of getting one gram of goods from the Earth to the Moon.

Jazz wants to live a much better life and her billionaire friend makes her an offer she can’t refuse. So begins a the story of mystery and in some parts utter chaos caused by what happens next. For that I’ll let you read the book.


Symbiosis

What’s intriguing about this is that Weir has worked out that in the process of Aluminium smelting the oxygen created could supply the colony with breathable air for the human population. So the ‘local’ smelter that processes Aluminium to sell also supply’s the colony’s oxygen in return for power for their smelter. It’s an interesting symbiosis and it reflects the fact that once we colonise space or even travel into space, partnership will be far ore important than money, money will essentially become not only redundant, but in fact a nuisance (it is anyway I think).


Society on Artemis

The final aspect of Artemis I found insightful was the society of Artemis, the person who ran it fully accepted than in any society as criminal element needs to exist for it to run. Law enforcement was far more direct and brutal and a more basic moral core existed.

Artemis to a greater degree was a free society, with few rules and part of the story hinges on how the mob took advantage of this in order to run it’s businesses and make money, this is also key to the troubles that occur in the story. There was a strong parallel to this and how mobs took over cities in the past on Earth. The society of Artemis was soon found to be threatened by similar issues and raised the question of how free a society can be without it being taken advantage of by those that are more unscrupulous.

Finally there was the Jazz – the smuggler, seen as a petty criminal and the law wanted her out of the way. But as she pointed out, the only reason there were no drug or weapons on Artemis was becasue she as the resident smuggler didn’t allow it. The power gap left if she was removed would open the door to someone else with less morals to allow anything in.

This single person, right on the bottom of the pecking order, operating outside of society had a huge influence on how the bigger society ran. That is the power of the single person and I thought it was a powerful message.


Easter Egg

The last thing about Artemis is the possibility of an easter egg in the story – A reference to the Martian which could be there. I never found it… but if you read it and did find it, please give us a clue!


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The Extinction Protocol – Part 2

SOL677 Olympus Colony:

“Colony Log Commander James O’Neill: It’s been 7 sols since the news was delivered, in only twelve days Earth and everyone on it will cease to exist. Well the Earth might still be there, but no people, no oceans, no… nothing that made it home for us humans. For me.”

O’Neill paused for a moment to think.

“Everyone here has been handling this well, I’ve given them a ton of stuff to think about no one has had chance to think about it much. Including me. But I know there will be a time when it will hit us all and in all kinds of crazy ways. Melissa was right, just because we’re here does not mean we’re safe from human greed and the need to survive. I need to prepare and be ready, for what I have no idea yet.”

Again he paused, thinking of his family, doomed back on Earth and unable to talk to be with them or even talk to them. In a few days everyone was going to be granted a final communique with Earth. O’Neill appreciated the sentiment, but what the hell was he going to say?

“Right now I need to to help the human race to live, survive here and right now. I don’t know how that’s going to happen or for how long. If things go well we have at least three years apparently. But if that’s what we have to look forward to then is it really worth it?”

O’Neill signed off.


“If we can’t get these resources from Earth then we might as well walk into the Martian desert and take off our helmets tomorrow becasue we’re just delaying the inevitable!” Stitch was always a fighty character but lately he had been much more so. “We need either solar panels or raw materials to attempt to make our own! You need to tell them James!”

“I’ve told them! I’ve told them at least twice a day since you told me this and I can’t get an answer out of them!” O’Neill shouted back. He was starting to lose his patience with the engineer. It seemed he was expected to suddenly be able to make things happen from 50 million miles.

This was supposed to be a calm rational plan to go over the plan as it stood right now.

“If you boys have finished!” Melissa cut in sternly, “I do have good some news. The earthworms we brought with us in stasis seem to have mostly survived. We brought with us a small sample of Earth soil to see how Earthworms would respond to living on Mars.”

“That’s right I remember this, what do we think the prospects are of expanding this to providing us with supply of sustainable soil that we could use to grow food with?”

“This is a tough question, we need to be very careful and make sure we keep these worms alive and even if we can get them to reproduce and make soil it’s going to be years before we’re at the kind of levels we need to sustain crops. We also need to make sure we keep quantities back as a safety measure in case of accidents. If we put it all in the new dome then we lose everything!”

Stitch grumbled “No good if you don’t have power for heating!”

“Save it will you?” Melissa shot back at Stitch. ” We are going to need you to get dome built and the sooner the better!”

“Yeah it won’t take five minutes you know!” Stitch grumbled back.

“No, but we still need it!” O’Neill cut in, hoping to stop another argument. He thought that now was not the best time to see if additional domes could be built. This one was planned anyway, any others would not be. O’Neill looked at the two men across the room, one small without much hair and round glasses, the other a grey and bearded man in his fifties. O’Neill wondered how these two got here, neither physically ideal to make the trip to Mars, but they both had good heads.

“What about you two? Have you found anything useful?”

The smaller man coughed softly and straightened his glasses. “Yes we have. As you know we have been examining core samples of the soil from all over Mars. This had originally been to look for signs of microscopic life but we have started going over the samples again from a materials extraction point of view and have found some interesting things.” He looked over to his grey haired colleague.

“As you know, there’s a lot of materials we already knew about in the Martian crust, like Iron, magnesium and Silicon we have been looking for elements that could be useful like copper but we haven’t found any evidence of it yet. We think there may be some areas in the mountains to the east of Olympus Mons which contains trace elements we can’t yet identify, but we don’t know what it is or how much of this there is.”

Stitch started up again “It’s fine having the raw materials but solar panels don’t just grow out of the ground, we are going to need a lot of power to process these materials even if we find them! I think we haven’t yet got any semiconductor fabs on Mars!” Stitch started looking through papers, flicking over and over “Nope, not one here yet! This is a waste of time!” Stitch got up and walked out of the room.

for a moment the four remaining sat in silence, O’Neill broke it. “We are going to have to find ways to create power. Whether that’s solar or by some other means.” He stated calmly.

The man with glasses spoke up again nervously. “Yes we have been coming to the conclusion that solar energy may not be viable in the long term here on Mars, we do have some other suggestions.”

“Like?” O’Neill was interested.

“The may be some scope for geothermal energy, or using solar in a similar way on Earth the generate energy from heating water.”

O’Neill groaned “Water is not common here on Mars”

“I Know.” The man answered “But it will be easier to create water than silicon panels.”

O’Neil nodded agreement reluctantly and dismissed the meeting. Miranda remained as O’Neill buried his head in his hands. Realising he was there, without looking at her.

“We’re fucked aren’t we? I’m starting to think Stitch may be right.”

“Really? Miranda shot back at him. “I can’t believe you think that!”

“No. But God this is going to be tough!”

“Yes.” Miranda agreed. “But not impossible!” Miranda left O’Neill to his thoughts. But not for long, a buzz came through the speakers.

“Commander O’Neill?” The voice asked.

“Yes, what is it?”

“You’ll want to see this.”

“Is it bad?”

“You just need to some and see. It’s simpler.”

“On my way.”


In the control hub O’Neill walked to the ops area. “What is it Lewis?” O’Neill aske a young man in his twenties, he had a military look about him. Even though he was primarily an analyst he could easily pass as a Marine.

“I’ve been getting the inventory data through on the Martian conveyors coming in and there’s something I don’t understand.”

“In what way?” O’Neill asked.

“I was hoping you might know, you said we were expecting some new human resource but I thought the rest was supplies?”

“That’s what I was told.”

“Well what’s this?” Lewis pulled up a computer graphic of the ship on the main screen, he pointed at the section between the small habitation module and drive section. The Martian conveyors were predominantly unmanned, their path taking them back and forth between Earth and Mars to ferry supplies. Modules would be sent up, dock with it and then sent to Mars where they would land. It was the most cost effective way of supplying the Martian colonies.

“They look like habitation modules don’t they?” O’Neill said out loud.

“That’s what I thought.” Lewis agreed. “They have literally plastered the conveyor with supply modules as well, I’ve never seen a conveyor so loaded before. But with ten modules housing twenty people that’s a maximum of two hundred people potentially coming here.”

“We can’t support that. Not a chance. What the hell is going on? Have you been able to raise control yet?

“No. They won’t answer any messages.”

“Me neither.” O’Neill was thoughtful, he knew that Earth had a lot on but there were loved ones here and there that wanted to say their last words. But then maybe society had destroyed itself already. Sighing for a moment he despaired, the reality of what was going on was starting to sink in to him and everyone.

“Is there anyone supervising the conveyor?”

“Not sure.”

“Try and find out and find out what’s going on and what exactly we’re getting.”

“Ok. This conveyor has only just started towards us and is some months away. But conveyor two is only a few weeks away and I’m not able to get inventory from it.”

“What the hell is going on?” O’Neill was wondering how long this had been known about, how long had they been kept in the dark. “Find out what you can Lewis, we need some answers.”

“Commander” A young female voice came from behind him. A young brunette that looked younger than her years addressed him.

“Yes Jess what’s up” O’Neill sighed.

“Sorry but I’ve just had a garbled message from a lone rover that’s stopped some distance form the base, the only thing I can get is that the rover has a serious malfunction. I assume they need assistance but apart from that I can’t gt anything from them.”

“How far out are they?”

“They’re 124 k’s away.”

“That’s about a day there and a day back, if we’re lucky.” O’Neill thought through his options for a moment. It seemed to him that events were rapidly getting out of his control. He had to reign things in or at least appear to to attempt to maintain any kind of morale.

“Get the EBA team to prep a rover for a long distance rescue mission!”

“Already done that!”

“Great! Well done Jess.”

“Who shall I assemble to go?”

“I’ll need you as you’re the most qualified field medic, I also need Melissa” O’Neill instructed.

“Will she command?”

“No, I will. Ben will command while we’re gone.” O’Neill had a chill in his bones, leaving the base and putting anyone in charge could be a risk. But it could also show the true colours of his people. The only way of knowing if was worth the risk, was to do it. Jess picked up her EVA kit and headed for the rover bays. O’Neill had a few things to pick up before he followed. But he was all too aware that it might be the last time he left the control hub.




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Star Trek Discovery: Taking the adventure to undiscovered places

For those of you that don’t know Star Trek Discovery is a new series in the the Star Trek universe brought out earlier in the year. Set just a few years before Kirk takes command of the Enterprise I was originally quite disappointed with the concept and didn’t think it would be particularly interesting.

The nag in my mind was really about how anything new could be done with the Star Trek universe by going back to an old and fairly familiar time in the Star Trek universe.

I was… believe it or not quite wrong.

The first few episodes don’t even include the Discovery, the story instead focuses on a young Starfleet Commander, Micheal Burnham serving aboard a starship that inadvertently stumbles across Klingon incursions in Federation space and a new threat from the Klingons as they try to unite to preserve their race. This leaves Michael finding herself mutinying against her Captain and then finding herself face court martial and life imprisonment. 

Finding herself on board the Discovery’s Captain, Gabriel Lorca offers her a place in the Discoveries crew against the orders of Starfleet command. So begins the story of the Discovery.


The Discovery

The first few episodes in the series don’t even include the new starship. I knew this before I watched it and even the I was wondering – when the hell is it going to turn up and lo and behold it does!

They’re clever with the story and don’t give it all away at once. Michael and her fellow convicts are rescued by the Discovery and the immediately notice that there are differences with this starship. It leaves you guessing what’s going on and letting you find out little nibbles of information on what the discovery is all about.


The Spore Drive

You read it right… spores. As well as having a conventional faster than light warp drive the Discovery also has a prototype ‘spore’ drive that can be used to potentially take the Discovery and it’s crew to any point in the galaxy instantly. 

The spinning saucer modules at the front of the ship all seem to be part of this and when activate the ship does this weird spinning, jiggle thing and vanishes off. 

I’m not really enamoured with the term ‘spore drive’ as it sounds a bit naff, but in essence that what this new drive system is. Running off energy spores found in the galaxy so I can’t argue it. 


The early episodes really centre a lot around Michael and how being convicted has changed her perspectives and attitudes to life and Starfleet. Lorca offers Michael a life line back to serving in starfleet and she’s soon getting into the thick of finding out what discovery is about and why it’s so important.

The series raises a lot of questions around ethics, really it’s a big part of it- certainly at first. The spore drive is a new system and the questions of sacrifice around making this drive system work keep coming up. Whether an alien life form is to be used to make it work until it dies or a human crewmate this highlights starkly the cost of progress. Using this technology against the Kingons seems to justify many of the sacrifices made. As usual in war when you’re losing or suffering it stands almost that any action can be justified.

At the end of the series comes the bombshell, something I never guessed certainly and in case you’ve not seen it I won’t spoil it for you. But when other dimensions come into play all kinds of weird things happen let’s just put it like that. 


Discovery is a very new spin on the old Trek idea and it works by bringing its own identity rather than trying to make it fit with the originals. But then of course at the very end… the original catches up with it.

NOTE: No ownership claimed on images or gifs – all credit to CBS / Netflix  / Whoever they belong to.


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The Great Galactic Service Station – The Conclusion

After a few weeks of aliens coming in and out of the station it was like the Great Galactic Service Station had always been there. Ralph had become acquainted with a vast number of alien life forms and he had also managed to keep the ketchup off his uniform. The galactic emperor had drafted in more staff to asis Flartislap, who had it seemed also decided that it was time for him to retire from service station duties. It seems that a career spanning several million years is not unheard of in the galaxy. Anyway, he wanted to find new pastures, he had briefly gone to Earth to see what England’s green pastures were like but it seemed that sheep hated him and wanted to try and trample him, that and the fact that they brought him out in a rash put him off the whole idea.

Boris had decided that maniacal leaders of warlike races don’t serve cream cakes so after picking up a few Mars bars and sausage rolls had gone back to his ship to find a new star system to try and conquer. All the makers of pork scratchings had decided to go with him too so pubs in England generally had to find alternative snacks.

Along with the the nations of Earth had worked out that trade with the races of the galaxy was a good thing and nuking was going to really irritate a lot of them. Britain couldn’t come up with a deal, the EU thought they could dictate terms and the president of the US couldn’t get the right style of blonde mullet wigs, so there was lots to learn and discuss.

Miranda and the crew of starship Frank were gathering and making preparations to leave.

“What do I do now?” Ralph asked somewhat despondent.

“You can go back home, that’s what you wanted right?” Ralph thought he caught a small tear in her eye but dismissed the idea.

“What? Go back to selling tape measures at Homebase?”

“That might be hard human” Harry cut in. “Homebase were bought out so you probably don’t have a job. Also you house was flattened, I checked up on it, apparently the cooker was left on and there was an explosion. Everyone thinks you’re dead becasue they couldn’t find you.” Miranda scolded Harry with her eyes. “What?” was all he could reply with.

“Go to the ship and shut up. You’ve done enough damage on this mission!” Miranda looked at Ralphs face and there was pain in his eyes. Even Gaz was hugging his leg.

“Look, I’m sorry that I got it wrong and mistook you for the service station attendant. I’m sorry that I zapped you with my ray and captured you and took you away, but you have a fresh start.” Miranda was trying to sound positive but even she wasn’t convinced.

“How can I go back now after this, after seeing the galaxy and so many of the inhabitants. Look I have ten of these techno-cards with girls names on, I don’t have any girls names at home.”

Miranda looked through them and winced “Watch these three, they like to have a good time with their mates but tend to digest them afterwards.”

Ralph stared in disbelief “Really? Ew yuk! No thanks.”

“Anyway, take care Ralph, I hope you have a good life.” MIranda held out her hand, Ralph took it and tried to smile. Miranda walked off briskly towards the docking bay. Gaz stood there next to Ralph for a moment looking on at Miranda. Then he let out a grating, grizzly grunty sound, Miranda spun round.

“What?” She shouted.

Gaz grunted again, nodding at Ralph.

“Oh, come on then!” She rolled her eyes. In a second Ralph was there, hugging her tightly thanking her over and over. “What are you doing?” Miranda looked confused.

“Sorry.” Ralph let go.

Miranda turned. “Let’s go you two we’ve got another long mission ahead of us, this time there are no sausage rolls involved. Thank the universe!”

“Where are we going?” Ralph asked inquisitively.

“I’ll tell you when we get onto the ship.”

“About the ship.” Ralph started.

“Yes?” Miranda asked.

“I think the name Frank is rubbish, we should name it something better, like a spaceship. Like Enterprise, or Galactica.”

They all walked through the bulkhead and down the access tunnel. “Give me strength!” Miranda mumbled. “How about lasting patience? I’ve had to have loads of that!”

“That’s not really a name.”

“Ok, I think there is a moon in this system named after me?”

“Yea, around the planet Uranus!”

“That’s what we’ll call it then! You can tell IRIS.”

Ralph stopped dead.

“What?” Miranda quizzed. “Don’t fancy talking to IRIS?”

Ralph followed again as they got to the ship’s hatch “Uranus…” He sighed.

 


 

The three of them walked onto the control deck and looked out. “Where to now?” asked Ralph.

“I knew you couldn’t resist.2 Harry muttered to Miranda under his breath.

“Knew what?”

“Shut up!” Miranda shot back. “Both of you! Right, we are going to find a rare object. The galactic Rosetta stone!”

“Where’s that?” Ralph asked.

“I’m told it’s through a big blue wibbly wobbly thing at Betelgeuse, then onto the galactic centre  and perched on top of a tall mountain on a small planetoid called Dave. But that’s probably all wrong!”

“So which way?” Harry asked.

“This way” Miranda pointed. “Oh no hang on this way.” Miranda pointed another way. “Stuff it, that a way!” She waved.

The starship swerved and bucked and finally the engined lit up blue and the starship Uranus was gone in a trail of blue. Leaving behind a drifting warship, stopped with cream cakes with a now despondent Theresa mumbling away on the radio about her favouite pasties and how no one loved her.

 

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

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Doctor Who and showing how change can be amazing

Doctor Who landed on British TV last night to much anticipation. What I would like to say first this there are no real spoilers in this for those in other parts of the world where it lands next week.

Firstly as anyone who hasn’t been living on Mars for over year will know it’s a new Doctor and the first ever female doctor. This alone has caused a lot of questions around what this could be like? Will it be the same? What’s worth bearing in mind with Doctor Who is that these questions are always asked when a new doctor comes along, some like, some hate and for others the new Doctor grows on them.

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Doctor Who has an always will be a sci fi epic about change and this will never well, change. All I’ll say at this point is that the first episode does not disappoint, the new Doctor does not at all disappoint, Jodie Whittaker brings her own personal twist to the crazy space / time traveller and I can’t wait to see more.


 

Without giving away details this first new episode delivers some great Who Scifi, it’s the best of classic who with scary monsters, unusual happenings, dastardly plans and all of  which don’t seem to have much relevance to each other until each plot twist is revealed. It’s not a mind bender episode it’s a gentle into to the new Doctor with a few new twists to keep things fresh. It’s not tried to just do the same old thing with just a woman as the new face it’s so much more and yet neither is it ramming the point home over and over, it’s been well thought out and executed.

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I think personally this is new dawn for Dr Who and perhaps even Sci Fi in general, maybe even able to inspire a fresh audience while at the same time keeping the old audience on board.

It’s worth a watch and you’re in for a treat!

If you saw it last night let me know… what did you think?

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NOTE: Pictures taken from the internet – no ownership claimed on them.

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 15

One thing that is universally accepted as being a source of irritation to a race of beings is to rack up one day with a huge space station and star sucking energy out of the core of their home planet. It usually leads to a fairly nasty and bloody battle, well usually is an understatement – it happens every time. It was happening again, this time with Earth. The Great Galactic Service Station while up and running was now in danger of being blown to pieces by nuclear weapons.

“These ape men seem rather unhappy!” Flartislap concluded rather sarcastically with a sly chuckle.

“I had concluded that!” Miranda retorted sharply. “This Donald guy seems to be rather unreasonable, I mean the demands he’s making are ridiculous and not only that that he wants me to dress up in a swimsuit for the negotiations. The nerve!”

“He’s going to nuke a hole in my country!” Ralph protested “And all you’re worried about is the swimsuit!”

“Yes, that’s bad as well…”

“It also looks like someone is hacking at the base of the service station.” Harry cut in with his sarcastic tone. “At least they will be gone if he nukes the site.” He sniggered.

“Oi!” Ralph shouted.

“Calm down ape man” Flartislap patted Ralph on the shoulder. “I have an idea that should stop all this nuking nonsense, I might need some help though.”

“What is it?” Miranda interrupted “Anything to get out of wearing swimsuit, I mean having the station nuked.” Ralph glared at Miranda, this took her back a bit. Until now Ralph had been passive, sometimes pathetic but he was clearly upset.

“I need to start up the station’s internal fusion generators and then I won’t need to suck the energy out of this planet’s core. I think that would settle things down a bit.”

“How do we do that?” Ralph asked.

“Well I have to stimulate the reactor’s magnatron with external power thingamy wotsit and that should start exciting the gas molecules and kick start the reaction.”

“In English?”

“English? What do you… Oh. I need a twelve volt battery to jump start it.” Flartislap summarised, without a hint of irony on his face.

“Seriously?” Ralph asked.

Flartislap just nodded, Ralph was almost afraid to take this seriously. He turned to Miranda and after drawing a breath asked “Do we have one of those?”

“Sure, the Mini has one.” Miranda replied, looking across at Harry.

” I suppose I had better go and get it.” Harry sulked as he walked off forlornly muttering away.

“Where does the battery go?” Ralph was keep to see this magnatron thingamy wotsit.

“Follow me!” Flartislap turned and walked off across the the open area that Ralph thought looked rather like one of those levels one might find in one of those big shopping centres. Stopping at some doors a he pressed a button and after a whirring noise the doors opened. Assuming this was a typical lift Ralph, Miranda and Flartislap got in.

“I should warn you” Flaritslap started “The ride on this is a bit…” That was as far as he got, the savage acceleration downwards was something Ralph was wholly unprepared for. For what seemed like whole minutes Ralph felt his legs overtake his head. Just as quickly as it started the lift stopped and Ralph was on the floor.

“What the hell was that?” Ralph shouted angrily. “Is it really so necessary to have lift move so fast? How far have we gone down anyway?”

“Only seven floors ape man.” Flartislap sniggered.

“What? It felt like miles!” The doors opened and Miranda and Flartislap were looking down on Ralph with a mix of amusement and puzzlement. As they both walked out Ralph heard Miranda sniggering “humans… I don’t know”.

Struggling to regain his composure Ralph worked his way to his feet, feeling somewhat nauseous and followed Flartislap and Miranda. As he approached them Flartislap looked around at Ralph.

“This is the magnatron!” He threw his arms out in some kind of obvious pride “Magnificent isn’t it?”

“It’s massive! But where does the battery go?”

“Ah – I’m glad you asked that ape man!” Flartislap pulled a huge lever and a gigantic pair of doors several times the size of him unclunked loudly and opened slowly, screeching and grinding against ancient runners, the lights inside began to light and illuminated a small area in the middle of the floor. After what seemed like ages (this is an official measure of time in galactic time keeping but Ralph doesn’t know this) the doors clanked to a stop.

“I thought we we’re only putting a 12 volt car battery in there, how big is the battery for this?”

At that moment a long, greyish skinny hand appeared with a silver stick the size of one of the colourful highlighter pens.

“Here you go!” Harry moaned.

“That’s it?” Ralph didn’t know if he was more surprised than angry. Although he wasn’t sure why he was angry. “I thought this was a battery?”

“It is human, have you not seen one before?” Harry scoffed.

“I don’t think humans have yet seen the pocket fusion reactor. The Antarians haven’t given that one to them yet!” Miranda went on.

“It might be a good idea you know.” Chuckled Flartislap. “Might get rid of a few of them.”

“What does that mean?”

“In the early days of these things they would go critical in the user’s pocket, had the unfortunate effect of making a fusion reaction out of the person who it was on” Flartislap allowed himself an evil little chuckle. “It took ages to find out what was going on, there were never any customer complaints.” He grinned to himself as he walked into the chamber.

“That’s not a battery for a Mini!” Ralph whispered to Miranda.

“No. Of course not!” Miranda whispered back smiling.

Flartislap pushed the little stick into a hole in the floor and wandered out.

“How come the chamber is so big?” Ralph asked.

“Technological progress apeman, the batter used to be a bit bigger. Now stand back please.” With that he pulled the lever again and the door clanked and grated their way back to being closed. Flatislap moved to a nearby control panel and typed in some commands. Almost immediately after a sound like a huge jet engine whirring it’s way into life began filling the whole place, it was like the whole station would explode. Flartislap indicated for them all to follow him back to the lift.

As they all piled in the lift door shut and the noise was shut out.

“Thank God!” Miranda sighed with relief. “That was getting too much.”

“What did you say?” Harry asked.

Ralph just collapsed onto the floor as the lift shot up at it’s incredible rate again.

“You haven’t got used to this yet have you ape man? Here have a personal inertial damper, that might help.” He tossed Ralph a little round badge. “Just pin it on.”

“Have you guys all got one of these?”

Looking between them they all nodded then looked down on him again. “Well…” Ralph started but he knew there was little point so silenced himself, got up, brushed himself down and followed them all out, pinning on his shiny badge.

“In a moment” Flartislap continued. “The station will separate from the stem, and we will be floating free. Hopefully the orbital guidance systems will still work.”

“If they don’t?” Ralph asked.

“Well, after a little while we will burn up in your planet’s atmosphere we pulled in by it’s gravity. Nothing too major.”

Ralph thought for a second and realised he was starting to get used to this strange character and his sense of humour. Ralph followed Miranda back up to the main atrium where Boris was still sorting out cakes and pasties. The cleaner robots were still sorting out the mess from earlier and Gaz was still on the blower to all the spacecraft. It seemed to be working as they were all pulling into the dock.

He hadn’t realised until now but he was going to be the first human to be interacting with a galaxy of aliens and he was going to be doing that in his ketchup stained shirt and tie.

“Can I get one of your cool space uniforms?” He asked Miranda. She turned and raised her eyebrows. You’re joking right? This is the uniform of the guard of the galactic emperor.

“Ok, maybe not that, but something so I don’t look like a complete primate.”

Miranda had to use her will power not to reply with a witty comment, instead she relented. Ralph had been far more useful than she had expected. “Here” she pointed a ray-zap at Raph and zapped him with a bluish, greenish wobbly ray. Ralph was suddenly wearing the uniform of the guard of the galactic emperor.

“Wow!” Ralph beamed. “Thank you!” he gushed, hugging Miranda tightly.

“Ok, ok. Stop now or I’ll take it back. You have such strange affections!”

Ralph got back to the sausage rolls with a new energy, even Boris winked at him as he got back in the next servery. Although he wasn’t totally comfortable on what that meant. A moment later and a little jolt could be felt.

“We’re free and in orbit!” Flartislap shouted out.

“Does this mean this Donald will leave us alone now?” Miranda asked nervously, still afraid she would be asked to wear a bikini for some negotiations.

“Should do!” If not he’ll have to come after us.

Then the doors opened and all the creatures and races from all over the galaxy poured into the atrium, outside refueling drones began to finally give the stranded starships the fuel they needed to get home. Ralph couldn’t believe the creatures that were coming on through the door, this is where he was going to discover the galaxy.

 

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

 

Planet Simon

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Star Wars Obi Wan’s Story

I saw this video montage on Twitter and it’s truly an awesome piece of work, this will send shivers down your spine if you’re a Star Wars fan.

Check out @DepressedDarth’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/DepressedDarth/status/979757693278834689?s=09

Planet Simon

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The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 14

Annoying and irritating customers are a universal constant. This happens a lot when life forms become hungry and irritated. What do do about this has caused problems for food establishment owners and managers for all of time. Back on Earth in the time of primates a meaty joint would often result in the death of whoever was holding it. This practice couldn’t continue becasue it meant customers would be on the decline.

Fortunately things have moved on this area except for the fact that irritated hungry customers still seems to think they can jump queues and take food without paying. A study performed on this has decided that this won’t end soon.  No further investigation has been requested.

“My, my she has got her knickers in a twist hasn’t she?” Flartislap murmured somewhat amused by the hysterical tirade. Flartislap walked over to Gaz, trading over the mess of cakes and sausage rolls that had strewn themselves over the floor. He looked at Boris “I think we might need some more cakes there old chap! Ape man, I think some more sausage rolls are in order too.”

Ralph gave him an unimpressed stare but proceeded to do as he was asked. The cleaner robots were out again cleaning up a mass of cream cakes, meat and pastry into a rather disgusting looking mess.

Flartislap took the microphone from Gaz “Listen here you sour face, rude old baggage. I don’t care who you think you are but if you don’t get in line and keep the music down then I’ll bar you!”

“You wouldn’t dare you old fool!” May once again screamed down the pa system. “You have no idea of what I’m capable of!”

“Oh! I’m so scared. What am I going to do now?” Flartislap mocked as he pointed instructions to one of the cleaner bots who promptly entered the messy contents of what had been cleared up into a chute.

“Don’t mock me – I’ve been waiting to re-fuel my ship and get back to the business of conquering the local star systems for longer than I care to think of. I need all of these stupid immigrant idiots to get out of my way so I can get on with it!”

“Let me help a little.” Flartislap grinned from ear to ear as he looked down at a small console and then hit a button. A hiss of air was heard and something shot out towards the spacecraft.

“There, I hope you enjoy cream cake, pasty and sausage roll. With my compliments!”

Teresa’s tone changed from aggressive to desperate “What have you done?” She screamed. “My spatial drive intercooler as clogged up now!” She could be heard yelling orders to her crew and getting more than a bit irate. ” How could you possibly disable my warship with cream cakes and sausage rolls?”

“Seasoned experience you old baggage!” Flartislap scoffed. “I’ll send a robo tug to tow you!”

“You’re going to bring her in?!?” Miranda shrieked.

“Don’t be silly my dear. I said I would tow them but I didn’t say to where! Now let’s get back to business here, ape man seems to have got the hang of modern cooking, our cake maid is doing well and all we need now is to get…” Flartuislap tailed off.

Looking at the two tapians he watched as one washed up the cups and plates and things and then threw them half way across the bar to the other who caught every single one. Not a single thing was smashed. What made this even more incredible is that neither one was making eye contact at was as if they were two different arms of the same body.

“My… that’s clever! Where do you say they come from?”

“They’re tapians, they got lost on a mission to measure the universe.” Miranda explained.

“Can they stay lost and help me out here?”

“Not likely.” Miranda nodded in their direction. “They’re about the most wanted pair of lifeforms in the known universe.”

“Been naughty have they?” Flartislap chuckled.

“They ran off with a tape measure.”

“Ooh, naughty boys!” Flartislap chuckled again.

“I had to find them to help me, after this I have to take them back to my father the emperor to keep them safe.”

“Right little princess aren’t we?” Flartislap mocked.

“High princess actually.” Miranda corrected.

“Do forgive me!” Flartislap grinned.

“I hate the title.” Miranda continued. “It’s something I’ve been given, I’ve not earned it.”

Flartislap went off to see how things were going, he could hear Ralph complaining about being called an ape man for the hundredth time, Boris seemed t o be a superb cake main and he showed the Tapians how to make an intergalactic espresso which they seemed to be only too pleased to learn.

Miranda walked around to the quick stop booth, Harry was munching into a Mars bar, as soon as she appeared Harry tried to look innocent. “I caught you!”

“Mmm – mm wmhamt?” Harry mumbled.

“Stop eating the stock!”

“They’re still good – even after a million years. I don’t get that!” A cleaner robot zoomed up to him and took the wrapper and zoomed off.

“In only a few minutes this is going to be up and running again. All that looking for long long and finally the only intergalactic service station in this sector of the galaxy will be doing it job. How does that feel?”

“It’s been a faff if I’m honest.” Harry admitted glumly.

“I know, but you made it harder than it needed to be.”

“Oh – get over it!” So I summoned half the warships in the galaxy here by trying to pretend I was a borian dictator. Will I live it down?”

“One day maybe. I think I’ve aged to an old woman on this mission.” Miranda sighed.

“They should go away now.”

“Not until they’ve got what they wanted from here. The humans will also wonder what to do with a huge starship service station that’s sucking energy from the Earth’s core. When they work that out they won’t be happy!”

“What about the human. When will we put him back?”

“I was thinking about taking him with us actually.”

Harry seemed unimpressed with this, and made all kind of grumpy noises about it as he set out the Twix’s and the Kitkats. Flartislap wandered over with a communi-tab in his hand.

“I think you better see this” Flartislap suggested, half mocking half serious. “It seems the rest of the ape men down there are not happy that we’re here and sucking the energy out of their planet. They want us to stop of they’re going to ‘nuke’ us according to this Donald chap. Is this serious?”

Miranda looked at him, eyes wide.

“Yeah. I would say so!”

 

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

Planet Simon

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The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 13

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?”

“Yes”

“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.

“Oi!”

“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

 

Planet Simon

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