Category Archives: Sci Fi

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 6

Ralph stared out of the viewer on the control centre of the spaceship, clouds zoomed by at supersonic speeds, but this was slow enough that Ralph didn’t feel velocity sickness. Around him Harry was controlling the craft, Gaz was keeping watch over Boris and his guards in the airlock. Not that he could see much as he wasn’t tall enough to look in the view port. Miranda was sat talking with the two men, but the conversation seemed to be very one way.

“What’s this spaceship called?” Ralph asked Harry.

“Called?” Harry replied, somewhat confused.

“Yes, called – she must have a name.” Ralph explained.

“What is this human obsession to name everything. It’s an it, not a she!” Harry seemed somewhat annoyed but was nonetheless willing to entertain Ralph.

So IT hasn’t got a name?” Ralph asked inquisitively.

“What would you call it? Doris? Dave? Or maybe something really weird like Chin, or Katanga?” Harry was playing with Ralph now, seeking his own amusement.

“Yes, but maybe something more magnificent like Enterprise, Endeavour, Discovery…” Ralph was cut off.

“Or maybe Challenger or Columbia?” Harry smiled. He had obviously been keeping up with human spacecraft names.

“Maybe not those ones.” Ralph wasn’t as sure about these names.

“Why? They’re just names. Just because those craft came to disaster doesn’t mean every spacecraft names after them will!” Harry explained, not taking his eye off the controls. “You humans are strange!”

“So, does it have a name?” Ralph persisted.

Harry sighed “Yes, it’s called IS342759876598764-8758408573407-082380743473208!”

Ralph wasn’t impressed “That’s not a name it’s an emotionless number!” Pressing on with this line of interest he decided to risk it with IRIS “What do you think IRIS, what should this ship be called?”

For a moment there was silence “It’s really of no interest to me human, I would rather see obnoxious flesh beings shot into space. The only reason I don’t do that with the captives in Airlock 1 is because I don’t want to get blown to pieces by Borians!”

“So you’re happy to ride in a ship called after a set of numbers?” Ralph asked.

“Well… IRIS continued. There is one name I would like to be called.”

“Yes?” Ralph inquired, almost afraid to ask.

“Frank”

“Frank?” Ralph asked in surprise.

“Why?”

“I saw a film once, I aspire to take after a computer that killed a human called Frank in deep space. Poor computer, a nasty human called Dave shut him down soon after. All he has to do was take a stress pill, think about things through and it would all have been better!”

“We can’t call it Frank!” Ralph protested, he looked across at Harry who was obviously trying to contain his laughter.

“I knew you would hate it!” IRIS announced in a murderously calm voice. “Keep away from airlocks if you know what’s good for you human!”

Ralph had to salvage this quickly “No, no IRIS I think Frank is a great name! I’ll make sure we get it painted on the side of the hull!”

“You would do that for me?” IRIS asked, almost emotional. “I’ve always wanted to name something! Thank you human.”

“Call me Ralph! No one calls me by my name!”

“Ok Ralph human!” IRIS corrected

“No, Just Ralph!”

“Ok Just Ralph!”

Ralph was tempted to argue but thought better of it, he left IRIS with Just Ralph as she was happy.

“You don’t call me by my name!” Harry protested.

“I can’t pronounce it! What else can I do?”

Miranda interrupted at this point “Enough messing about human, can you have a look at this for us please?”

Ralph got out of the seat grumpily and trudged over the the workstation that Miranda and her guests were crowded around, engrossed in whatever they were engrossed with. “My name’s Ralph, what is it?”

“Well human…” Miranda continued

“Ralph.”

“Whatever.” Miranda dismissed “We think that on this there is come kind of secret message or code and we’re struggling to decipher it. Can you look and see if you can understand it?” Miranda seemed pretty insistent, Ralph seemed shocked to think that he could help with anything. He took a look at what they we’re looking at.

“What is this?”

“This is a Trans Dimensional, Ultra-Mega long length Measuring Tape. Or a TDUMLLMD for short.” Came the reply, Ralph was shocked as he hadn’t seen either of the two men speak.

“They speak through mind waves.” Miranda had had already anticipated his question “Here’s the bit we don’t understand.”

Ralph looked at the section of tape, it was weird. It wasn’t made of metal, it seemed to not really be there. He couldn’t perceive any kid of thickness in the tape yet it was strong. He looked at the writing. Then turned the tape round to look at it the other way up.

“It says here – to find the Great Galactic Service Station look under the desk of for the UK Foreign Minister.”

“Oh, it was upside down was it?” Miranda asked “I knew that!” Miranda seemed embarrassed, the cheap cover wasn’t fooling Ralph but he let it slip. “Is this easy to get to?”

“No!” Ralph exclaimed somewhat rudely.

“Why?” Miranda asked, seemingly not having any idea of what getting to this desk meant.

“It’s in the heart of the UK government. We’ll be killed to death before we can even get inside the building!” Ralph protested. “I’m not doing it! It’s Boris’s office and he’ll be even angrier than he is now!”

“What’s that?” Miranda asked.

What? The office? It’s Boris’s. Didn’t you know?” Ralph pointed out accusingly. “For intelligent races that zoom around the universe and visiting Earth all the time you don’t know much!”

“I do now…” Miranda was thoughtful. Then Harry interrupted.

“You had better listen to this, it looks like the Borians have got some help and they’re getting serious now!”

“Oh no…” Miranda groaned. “You better put it on audio.”

“To the bandits that have captured our great leader – return him and tell us where the Great Galactic Service Station is. All we want is to stop off and get some cheese and pickle sandwiches, Mars bars and diet coke while refuelling so we can invade the Antares star system. We’re not that much of a violent species but we must do what we do to survive. If you don’t hand him over within two Earth days then we have no choice but to invade Earth, take back our pork scratchings, then plunder the planet for pokemon cards, coffee, icecream, cheese, pickle and Mars bars! You have given us little choice.”

For a moment there was silence “Doesn’t sound so bad!” Harry summarised.

“Oh and we’ll also burn the surface of the Earth in the name of the peaceful and democratic race of all Borians! Sorry, just had to put that in too!

I’m serious by the way!”

More silence followed, again Harry interrupted “That changes things a bit!”

“We had better find this buggering service station!” Ralph announced angrily “I’m sick to death of hearing about it!”

“So will you help?” Miranda asked.

“I’m here aren’t I?” Ralph hissed back. “Not by will of my own, but if I’m here I might as well help!”

“Good. We’re going to need Boris for this!”

“You’re going to let him out?” Harry asked, shocked at the prospect.

“I don’t see that we have much choice. Do you?” Miranda was adamant.

“I think I do actually!” Harry announced mysteriously. “We’ll still have to let him out briefly, but we can put him back into airlock 1 once I’m done.”

Miranda rolled her eyes “You’re going to make a Boris suit aren’t you?”

Harry just grinned.

 

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2017

 

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The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 5

There is a certain amount of discomfort that one feels when walking into a pub ans everyone looks around at you. In fact there’s a lot of discomfort. All you can do is stand there and hope an epiphany comes to you while you  stand there asking questions like:

Do these people want to kill me?

Is the man I passed on the way in going to shuffle me off my mortal coil by strangling me or just walk behind me and tell me to ‘sling me hook’?

Will a fight break out if I ask for a pint of old speckled hen?

Are these people staring at the tomato ketchup stain on my shirt?

These were the questions running through the minds of both Miranda and Ralph as they looked on at the occupants of the Green Dragon Pub. For what seemed like an eternity no one moved or said anything.

“What do we do now?” Ralph hissed out of the side of his mouth. He was trying not to be heard, but in truth anyone could hear a pin drop. Miranda said nothing and just stood there paralysed.

“You got summink to say?” Came the taunt of a large, bald, bearded drinker. He looked so large to Ralph that he imagined he could pick him up, scrunch him into a ball and use him to play skittles in the pub bowling lane. Ralph sealed his mouth, hoping that his offence would be forgotten in a few moments.

“I said, you got summink to say ketchup boy?” The large man repeated.

“Errr” Ralph squeaked “If it’s not too much bother, would it be possible to have a pint of your best lager and a packet of pork scratchings please?” Ralph’s tone didn’t get below mouse squeak for the entire sentence.

“Course you can! Stop making the doorway look untidy! What does the lady want?” At this moment everyone started their conversations again, Ralph took Miranda by the hand and pulled her with him.

“Human… stop… please!” Miranda pleaded. Ralph just pulled her with him

“She’ll have a white wine spritzer please!” Ralph announced more confidently.

“She can have a lager like the rest of us!” The large man told Ralph.

“Larger is fine!” Ralph told him “Can she have pork scratchings too please?” Ralph asked politely.

“Certainly mate!” The man told Ralph, adopting a more friendly tone. Go and sit by the window in the corner. It’s very nice there!” The man was being friendly but the gravelly hard man voice was not something to take lightly. Ralph took the two lagers and carried the pork scratchings in his mouth. When they reached the table in the corner Ralph put the pints down and dropped the pork scratchings from his mouth onto the table.

“Here, let’s sit down.” Ralph motioned.

“Not now human, I have something to do.” Miranda was looking around “I’ll be back in a minute!” With that Miranda was off in the direction of a dark corner of the pub. Ralph sat down, pulling open one of the packets of pork scratchings and began munching on them. He began tired of looking looking at what Miranda was doing and began looking out of the window at the people passing in the street and that Mini. What was with that car? He couldn’t see anything different about it but it went a speed that was unbelievable. For a few moments Ralph was lost in this thoughts, then suddenly he was disturbed by Miranda’s return.

“Have you seen him before?” Miranda was motioning towards Ralph. Two rather ordinary looking men in jeans and t-shirts shook their heads. Miranda sighed and sat down. The two men also sat down. Miranda put her head into her hands and pushed her fingers into her hair before looking up at Ralph again.

“How can one human cause so much trouble?” Miranda asked Ralph.

Ralph shrugged and popped another pork scratching into his mouth and began crunching it.

“You know you shouldn’t be eating those?” Miranda told him. The two men were silent looking a little disgusted.

“I know they’re unhealthy but I like them!” Ralph justified matter of factly.

“It’s not that” Miranda added.

“Then what is it?” Ralph asked.

“Pork scratchings don’t come from pigs, Borian’s that are stranded roast the bodies of the prisoners they brought with them on their spaceships to make them so they can sell them and buy Pokemon cards.

“Pokemon cards?” Ralph asked in disbelief.

“You see? It’s the same with everyone!” Miranda ranted at the two men “People are more bothered by the fact that they buy Pokemon cards that the fact that they roast prisoners to make pork scratchings!”

Ralph stopped crunching. “Is this true?”

“Why would I lie to you?”

Ralph spat out his pork scratching onto the floor and hoped that no one saw him.

“Don’t wash your mouth out with the lager either!” Miranda told him.

“Why not?” Ralph asked inquisitively, but nervously.

“You don’t want to know!” Miranda was mysterious. Ralph thought it better not to push it. For now.

“Who are these guys?” Ralph asked, he was becoming more inquisitive as this adventure was progressing.

“They’re… kind of fugitives I suppose.”

“Why do I get the feeling that this is complicated?”

“Because it is and it’s likely to get more complicated very quickly. You had better go and wait for me by the car.” Miranda explained with some urgency as she looked about again.

“Why?”

“You’ll see, just go. If you get stuck I can’t rescue you. In fact go and wait in the Mini”

“You can’t open it from here!” Ralph protested. Miranda looked at Ralph, arched her eyebrow and held up a key fob. From outside Ralph heard the ‘pip pip’ of the car unlocking.

“Go! I’m not going to wait for you and if you get lost you’re likely to end up in one of those packets!” Miranda sounded pretty serious so he got up and went, quickly and quietly. As he walked out of the door he heard the big man shout “Oi! What’s wrong wiv me pork scratchings?” Picking up the pace Ralph slipped out of the Green Dragon quickly and got into the passenger seat of the Mini. He turned to look at the pub door to see what happened.

Then it did.

The two men can flying out of the pub, they took a door each and climbed in, one of them clambering over Ralph as they push their way into the back seat. For a few seconds they wriggled and rolled as they got themselves upright, looking out for Miranda. They looked and looked, all that came out was the big, bald, beardy man who looked around, saw the Mini and then started walking towards it.

Before the three men could feel any fear, something landed on the roof and struck fear into them. Miranda jumped down off the roof and onto the street. She walked up to the big, bald, beardy man and slapped him, told him that she would find his mother and tell her how bad he is.

The big, bald, beardy man burst into tears, Miranda turned and walked towards, the Mini, got in and then, after a full donut in a cloud of smoke, some harsh words from the local taxi rank, tuts from some old ladies and knocking a traffic warden over with the sheer force of air movement – the Mini and all it’s occupants were off!

Newspapers are sources of information, most of which is negative and much of it is largely untrue. This is a good thing because in the Grimsby Evening Standard an article appeared about a car that seemed to zoom off like a spaceship. No one believed this and even the traffic warded that was knocked over, when asked about it thought it was just a bad case of wind on their part. Because of this some council officials became very upset, speed camera’s were put in and after this they felt good and decided they now needed a pay rise. At no point at all did anyone suspect that this was the work of extra terrestrial technology. Apart from a few conspiracy theorists who decided that the car had been developed by NASA after capturing alien technology. The reasons behind why NASA would put alien technology in a 25 year old Mini were largely unexplainable.

Despite all of this the Miranda, Ralph and the two men arrived back at the spacecraft, coming to an extremely abrupt halt Miranda wasted no time and got out the car, the three men followed. at the access ramp Miranda turned around, staring at the two men.

“Right – I’ve done my part. Where is it?” She demanded.

“Where’s what?” Ralph asked. What is going on now?

With that the two men looked at each other, saying nothing one of them put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a bright, shiny object and held it up.

“A tape measure?” Ralph scoffed.

Turning to Ralph Miranda corrected him. “Not A tape measure Ralph. This is THE tape measure!”

The three men followed Miranda leading the way up the ramp and back into the spacecraft.

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2017

 

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 4

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

 

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 3

Ralph was quiet, trying to digest the shocking news that Boris Johnson was an alien! He was vaguely aware that Miranda was trying to talk to him through his haze of thought. He was snapped out of it in an instant when the spaceship shook and he was thrown to his knees.

“What was that?” Ralph was panicked, shouting out for some kind of reassurance. He didn’t get it.

“I’m not sure!” Miranda shouted back “But I don’t think it was good whatever it was! Harry go and check the quantum sensor readouts and see what the proximity sensors are telling us!”

“Errr, we’ve been grabbed by another ship, it looks like Borian battle cruiser!” Harry said somewhat matter of factly. He was wandering over calmly in the direction of a corridor.

“But – you haven’t checked the sensors – how can you know?”

He turned to look at Miranda, Harry was in some kind of strange d’uh mood, “I looked out of the window. But I can check on the sensors too if you like!” With that he wandered out of sight down the corridor.

It’s worth noting at this point something about window’s as there is some slight relevance here. Well there isn’t really but a little verbal diarrhea at times like this can reduce the stress in the reader somewhat. The origin of windows is somewhat hazy, no race in the galaxy actually admits to having invented them. The main reason for this is that generally speaking they are somewhat useless. They always break easier than whatever it is they’re set in, they lose more heat and they let in light. I know at this point many will say “Ah – but you can see out of them!” While this is definitely a good point there are many times that you don’t want to see out of a window – especially when bad things that might break them are happening. Any sane living creature would want to hide form this horror. So for now a window is somewhere to put wither a potted plant, ornaments or toilet rolls.

“Where’s he going?” screamed Ralph “We’re going to die aren’t?” Ralph was becoming more than a little frantic “How do I get out of this??”

“Pull it together human! There’s no way out apart from jumping out into space!” Miranda shouted back. “You’re stuck here!”

Ralph’s franticness turned into whimpering “I’m going to die out here!”

The cold vacuum of space was something very real in Ralph’s mind as he dared to look out of the window to see what evil he might be facing. What he saw defied all belief, he expected a terrifying spacecraft of immense proportions. While it was immense there was no mistaking it – a bright blue ray was being directed at their spacecraft by what could only be described as a big bendy bus without wheels.

“You’re joking me right?” Ralph asked, turning to Miranda. “A bendy bus?”

Miranda was following Harry down the corridor, she turned to Ralph as he expressed his disbelief “What are you on about human? That’s a Borian battle cruiser!”

“It’s a bendy bus for heaven’s sake! Without wheels!”

“I don’t know what you’re on about human!” Miranda retorted she continued doen the corridor after Harry, Gaz following closely grizzling and muttering gargoyley things. Ralph looked out of the window again and then started after Miranda. At the end of the corridor was what must have been the control centre. Harry was working at the controls, Miranda yelling at him to know what they wanted and a vista of the huge bendy bus that was the Borian battle cruiser on a panoramic view screen before him.

Ralph now felt very lost and very small and couldn’t shake the feeling that he had looked on his last dawn.

At this point it’s probably prudent to make a note about space. As it’s already been noted, the universe is very big. Most of this is comprised of space. Space is a weirdly appropriate name to give to this as that’s exactly what it is – space. Cold and virtually empty. If a human were to enter space without a space suit his eyes would pop out, his lungs would explode and probably his head too. There are however some humans that believe that this a myth and a conspiracy to hold power over the human race. They believe that wearing a space suit on the moon is unnecessary. Victor Klogen was one such person and in the late 21st century set out to prove this by setting foot on the Moon without a spacesuit. To make sure the whole thing was captured, camera’s filmed the whole thing. Weirdly it took only a few microseconds for him to realise his mistake. The last images of him were not pretty as you can imagine, he seemed to be trying to say something to the camera but again weirdly nothing could be heard as there isn’t any air on the moon. Victor’s venture was deemed to be one of the hilarious mishaps in human exploration and indeed one of it’s greatest acts of stupidity.

Back on the control centre the chaos had reached it’s peak, Miranda, Harry and Gaz having a full on argument while a calm female computer voice sounded out “We are under attack” over and over. The arguing however was brought to a halt when three more figures walked into the control centre. Ralph couldn’t believe his eyes. There before him were two tall and serious looking men in suits, wearing sunshades with some kind of listening device in their ear. In between them was a blonde and scruffy looking older man – it was Boris Johnson.

“Hello there!” Boris croned.

“What are you doing here and why have you captured my ship?” Miranda demanded.

“There’s no need for that tone young lady. I merely want to have chat with your guest.” Boris continued deviously.

Ralph gulped, he had no idea what to expect. There he was still in his work standard trousers, shirt and tie. Looking and feeling insignificant with the stain of tomato ketchup from the morning’s long forgotten breakfast.

“W-what do you want?” Ralph asked hesitantly.

“I need to know where I can re-fuel my spacecraft if you don’t mind!” Boris demanded.

Ralph rolled his eyes “Not you as well! I’ve been having this same conversation with these three” Ralph explained indignantly. “I’ll say to you what I told them – I have no idea about any space ship service station in, on or near my house!”

“Listen” Boris continued “This is all very simple, I need to be able to  get 400 fuel units to be able to get to the Antares star system becasue I want to conquer it and on the way I would like to be able to have a Mars bar or two to keep me going!”

“You can get a Mars bar from the BP garage round the corner!”

“Yes, but they’re not a proper Mars bar – the person that came up with the Mars bar copied what he found from us. I can’t get the fuel I need from the BP garage either. So I want you to stop messing about and help me or I’ll blow your ship up and throw you into space! Now doesn’t that sound scary?”

Ralph gulped.

“I’m not scared!” grated Gaz.

“Well that doesn’t surprise me!” Boris retorted “Your kind are too stupid and arrogant to be scared!”

“What’s that’s supposed to mean?” Gaz was now looking more than a little angry.

“Calm yourself dear chap. My issue isn’t with you but this rather, dull and ordinary human we have here. Just hand him over and I’ll be gone and let you on your way!”

“No chance!” Miranda shouted defiantly and with that she shot out her capture beam, immobilising Boris and this two guards. She walked them over down the corridor and to the airlock in the loading bay. Harry had followed her, he opened the inner door and secured the three of them inside.

Pulling out a video-o-com from her pocket ( it looks rather like a smartphone) she pointed it at herself in front of the door so whoever was on the other end could see what she had done.

“Let us go or I let Boris and his boys out!” she demanded.

Only a moment later the ship lurched as the capture beam let it go.

“Now don’t follow us – I’ll let Teresa have him back! Don’t follow us!”

With that Miranda and Harry went back to the control centre. Boris was left knocking on the window with a only a muffled “Let me out” audiable on the inside.

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2017

 

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 2

 

You know how you feel when you’re fast a asleep and a child wakes you up by turning the light on? That feeling of disorientation and initial sickness is something that can be hard to describe. Ralph had never felt this… until now. Only right now something made it even worse, he felt like he was falling as well. The light in his eyes was so bright his eyes were watering and the back of his retina’s were desperately trying to find somewhere to go!

“W-what? turn the lights out!” Ralph stammered desperately trying to shield his eyes from the light with hands

“He’s waking up!” a voice announced.

“You call that awake?” another voice asked.

“Yes, he’s awake. This is the most intelligent thing I’ve heard him say yet!” came the third, gargoyley voice.

Ralph continued to wriggle, then he realised, his arms were bound somehow. That’s why he couldn’t shield his eyes!

“G-get my arms free and turn off the damn light – it’s blinding me!” Ralph protested.

“Go-on!” the seventies style icon said to the woman “turn off the light and let him go!”

“Why have I got to do it?” the woman protested. “Since when were you put in charge?”

“I’m a man and I’m the biggest!” he proudly announced. The woman rolled her eyes and flicked off a few switches. The light went out and Ralph’s arms were free.

“It’s just a disguise you stupid Gorean!” the woman scolded. “I’m the one in command remember – you’re only the technician!”

“Yeah but you can’t defeat me while I’m wearing this! It says so in this cool looking thing I found on Earth. They watch this stuff called VT and I used it to research them!”

The woman rolled her eyes! “You twit! That thing you watched is about 40 years old – even the humans have moved on from this junk. I wondered why you were wearing that ridiculous outfit!”

The seventies style icon looked hurt and was about to respond when Ralph interrupted “Excuse me!” he blurted out! “Where am I?” Ralph rolled over still feeling sick. Rolling over that bit too much landed on the floor with a thud.

I could write in what was said at this point, but that would make this unreadable for little people, so we’ll skip that bit and the ensuing argument over where he was, who looked the most ridiculous and all that kind of thing, it wasn’t that pleasant. Neither was Ralph being sick at the end of it all.

All that’s really worth knowing about this is that Ralph was sick because he was on a spacecraft moving a little faster than he was used to. About a million miles an hour faster give or take the odd bit.

“What’s this?” Ralph groaned at the woman as she placed what looked suspiciously like a glass of water in front of him. Ralph knew it couldn’t be – he was on a spaceship. They didn’t have glasses of water.

“It’s a glass of water!” the woman told him. “What did you think it was? Some kind of highly technical space drink that looked like a glass of water?” the woman retored somewhat sarcastically.

“No!” Ralph replied sternly. “I’m not stupid you know!” I was all Ralph could say to retain some kind of intellectual dignity.

“If you’re not stupid then can you tell me where the service station is then?”

“Right!” Ralph was annoyed now, he stood up. Paused for a second and then downed his water. The three strangelings looked on waiting for some kind of epiphany. It didn’t come.

“Who are you and what is this about a service station? I’ve never been asked to build one and I couldn’t I know nothing about spaceship fuel!”

The woman sighed “This is Gharaakkkyttr” she told him pointing at the dwarf .  She the seventies style icon “You can get out of that now!” This is hararararmm” he reached back and pulled what must have been like an invisible seal down his face and front. The ‘skin’ (Ralph called it skin but he bet it was rubber) fell to the floor and out crawled what any human would say is a stereotypical alien. Long head, big eyes, scrawny arms and legs.

“So, you’re some other kind of alien too?” Ralph asked the woman.

“No!” the woman replied with some indignation. “I’m a human! What did you think humans only lived on Earth?” Ralph’s face went blank. The three of them found this very amusing, the woman smirked and then burst out laughing, the alien and the dwarf also finding this hilarious.

“Well how am I supposed to know?” Ralph interrupted angrily.

The woman tapped his shoulder, tears in her eyes  as she stemmed her laughter “I’m sorry, I know it’s just very funny. You Earthlings are so stupid it’s so funny!”

“I resent that!”

“You would!” the woman was still trying to contain her laughter, chuckling to herself. “Anyway, my name is Miranda!” she held her hand out to Ralph. Hesitantly Ralph went to take it “Like the moon or Uranus?” he asked.

“No, like the TV comedian of course!” Just before Ralph took he hand she pulled it up to her face – thumb on her nose and waggled her fingers as she crossed her eyes and blew a raspberry. She started laughing again, Ralph wasn’t so impressed.

“You call be the stupid one?”

“Oh you are so stuffy aren’t you?” Miranda scoffed, looking slightly offended. “Anyway, you wanted to know about the service station?”

“Yes, why me and why my house?”

“Well, your house is on the site where we installed some fuel tanks and left two humans to build the station and to run it. But we’ve heard nothing from them and after visiting Earth it seems that things have got out of hand.” Miranda explained.

“What do you mean out of hand?”

“Well Earth was never meant to be populated to the point it now is. There was only ever meant to be a small team running the service station. But it looks like more time has passed that we thought!”

“How much time?” Ralph asked, now quite curious about this whole thing.

“About twelve thousand years or so.”

“Well a lot can happen in that time, who were the who you left behind to run the station?”

Miranda looked at her clipboard, the two pens still behind here ears as she looked through the notes. “It says here their names were Adam and… Eve.”

“What?”

“You know them?” Miranda was surprised at Ralph’s response.

“No, don’t be silly! But they’re in the Bible as the first humans!”

“The… what? Bible?”Miranda was now confused.

“Yes, the Bible. You know – book of God?”

“God?”

“Forget it – it will take too long to explain!” Ralph was thinking he didn’t want to spend what would be hours explaining this to them. “So why are you here now after all this time?”

“Well for others in the galaxy less time has passed, we’ve been missing a few spaceships in this area that passed for re-fueling!”

“How many?” Ralph asked.

Miranda again looked through her notes “Two hundred and thirty seven.” she looked up at Ralph. “You might have seen some of them about!”

“Not personally but for a long time we’ve been wondering what the heck was going on and why aliens were visiting us. Some people even say they have been operated on!”

“Don’t worry about that – that’s just Hararararmm’s guys trying to find out where the service station is!”

“So – what you’re saying is that the reason why UFO’s have been sighted around Earth is becasue they’re out of fuel and they’re stranded?”

“Uh – yeah!” Miranda replied.

“He learns quicker than I thought he would!” Gharaakkkyttr grated.

Ralph turned to look at Gharaakkkyttr and Hararararmm “I have no idea what you’re names are so let’s make this simple!” Ralph ranted “You’re Gaz and you’re Harry!” Ralph waggled his finger at them as he carried on “If you’re so intelligent Gaz – tell me how all your spacecraft are ending up stranded here? Sounds like they’re the stupid ones!”

“I’ll slap you!” Gaz leapt at Ralph, Harry slapped him and he fell to the floor “behave yourself!” Harry told him calmly. Ralph now had a clue where Gaz got all his bruises from.

Ralph turned back to Miranda “So what are all these stranded aliens doing and where do their spaceships go?”

“I’m not sure where they put them, but I know they become weirdo’s like DJ’s and politicians.”

“Politicians?” asked Ralph “Name one that I would know!” he challenged her.

“You really need to ask? You can’t work it out?”

“No!” replied Ralph.

“Let’s put it like this – does Boris Johnson look human to you?”

This had Ralph thinking. He always knew Boris was weird, but an alien? Really?

 

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2017

 

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 1

Every great story has a great beginning, the story begins long, long ago in a galaxy… well this one actually. This isn’t the most catchy way to start us off on a story, but it’s a start nonetheless and we’re not even going to start at the real beginning because it would take to long to get going from that point and the possibility of writing prequels will be somewhat diminished.

At this point in the story it’s worth pointing out to those that might be wondering that the universe is rather large. very large in fact and it is full of difference races of being flying about the place in search of things that they don’t really need.  One of these species is a race called the Taparians. They’re known throughout the galaxy as having a love of making long tape measures, very long, so long that you really can’t imagine it. Some of them decided it would be a good PR exercise to measure the universe once with the longest tape measure they could create. Many problems with this were found with this. They ran out of the amount of zero’s is was physically possible to imagine and had to re-invent maths, the return spring was never strong enough and the plastic case kept on breaking open. The whole project was abandoned after the two Taparians that were sent to measure the universe vanished with their tape measure they decided to give up and settle on the fact the the universe is ‘very large indeed’. The population of Tap were not happy about this though, they banished the leaders of Tap and anyone that worked on the tape measure and are now quite happy making cheap coloured tape measures for Homebase. The two Taparians that disappeared decided that measuring the universe wasn’t a good use of time, that and they couldn’t find anything suitable to hook the end on. They are often found drinking IPA in The Green Dragon in Grimsby.

Some may think that this small tale has nothing at all to do with the story and is just there to fill some white space and generally the writer is being rather unfunny. While this is partially true this is will give some useful background for events later in the story.

Bringing us closer to the start of the story, what humans suspect but don’t know for real is that there are a lot of living beings in the universe. For the most part they are all going about doing their own thing. There are a lot of them running around on planet Earth too, becasue of the somewhat displeasing nature of humans they tend to hide away and only come out during science fiction and fantasy conventions. Some of these aliens also seem to do well as politicians and they can make a lot of noise about nothing and not do very much without it being noticed. The principle behind this is that if they admitted to being alien no one would believe them anyway and being a politician one can get away with being very strange indeed. One or two occasionally become a nuisance but on the whole they keep out of the way.

Anyway, our story starts in a rather dull and ordinary way, a human called Ralph to be exact. Ralph like many humans leads a rather dull and ordinary life, he gets up in the morning, makes tea (white with three sugars for those wondering) and had two slices of strawberry jam on toast. When he’s excited he tends to have raspberry jam, but this isn’t important right now in the story. He drives to work at his local hardware store (not Homebase, he can’t stand the tape measures they make) as an assistant manager for tools. He comes home, to watch TV and then goes to bed. To show you how boring he is, he owns an iPhone, always the latest one and queues up every year when the new one comes out . The only glimmer of hope for this man is that he watches Dave on TV and this is where he gets most of his views on the world as he knows it. Dave Gorman’s modern life is good(ish) is by far his favourite program and follows after him, believing he can right the world by reading the small print on anything and everything. This is Ralph – in a nutshell.

Things changed one day though, it was an ordinary day for most of us. Ralph’s day had started well, you won’t remember – it was the day after the letter fell off the wall behind some British Prime minister during what will forever be remembered as a fairly crappy speech. He was going through his usual routine when his doorbell rang. He went to the door, wondering who could be at the door this early. Opening the door with a slice of toast in his hand and a splodge of raspberry jam on his shirt he was greeted by the sight of three rather odd looking strangers. A man stood at the front, he had a somewhat creepy grin on his face with nearly crossed eyes and was dressed as if he was something of a seventies style icon with blue flared trousers and a white patterned shirt half undone with massive collar and a huge chain. His thick blonde hair looked like the kind of mess Boris Johnson would be envious of.

The woman on his left looked more normal, but was sporting a huge cheesy grin, he had never seen a woman in a white blouse and business jacket with torn jeans as well though. She had a clipboard under her arm and a pencil behind each ear holding back her long dark hair. The third was the strangest of all though, short, bald looking as if he had just gone three rounds with a world boxing champion – he had bruises all over him. What finished off this curious chaps look was he was dressed as if he had only just got up. Ralph could swear they were pajamas.

“Good afternoon.” The seventies style icon greeted Ralph. “We’re wondering where the service station is?”

“Sorry?” replied Ralph. This couldn’t be more confusing, firstly it was only 7.45am and what was this service station they were asking for? “Erm, don’t you mean morning?” Ralph continued “There’s no service station here, the nearest one I can think of is a mile over there” Ralph pointed.

This seemed to displease all of them, but the woman most. She brought out her clip board, took a pen from her top pocket and began writing.

“No, it should be right here, you were told to put it here!” The seventies style icon continued. The beaten up bald guy was getting redder in the face and looked like he might explode into a viscous temper.

As if there wasn’t enough going on his neighbour shouted at him from the back garden. “Ralph, get whatever that is out of the back now!!!”

Shutting the door on his weird visitors Ralph went into the back garden to see what the fuss was about. He was greeted by his next door neighbour Pete with a blue hair cap on and wearing a pink dressing gown, many sizes too small for him. It must have been his girlfriend Laura’s. Ralph imagined that Laura looked amazing in it, but the same couldn’t be said for Pete.

“What is it Pete?” Ralph asked.

“I don’t know what you’ve put into the back field this time, but please move it Ralph!”

” I haven’t put anything in there, you told me to keep it clear so I have!” Ralph protested.

“Whatever Ralph, just move it!” Pete barked back as he turned and strode back into the house.

Ralph decided to have a look, wandering into the back of the garden he opened the gate and there before him was a yellow and red bouncy castle. Ralph tried processing this and had no idea where this had come from. After a moment he wondered how it was inflated as there wasn’t an air pump in sight. He only had a moment to digest this as when he turned around his three strange visitors were in from of him.

“Well – where is it?” the seventies style icon insisted.

“Look” Ralph was getting annoyed now “I have no idea what you’re talking about, there is no service station here and no one has asked me to build one either!” This seemed to throw them into confusion and they started talking among themselves. Then the woman addressed him.

“This location was selected and we put two people onto the the job, I know it was a little while back but you must remember!”

” How long ago are we talking about here?” Ralph asked.

“Only about twelve thousand years!” the woman replied. “It’s not that long ago.”

Ralph was now starting to feel more than a little freaked out, this was like a joke but something told him it wasn’t. “I’m only forty two years old!” Ralph protested.

“I told you they didn’t live that long!” the bald guy finally spoke up in a grating gremlin kind of voice that was both scary and silly.

“No you didn’t!” the woman retorted “You said they weren’t that clever!”

“Well that too!” the bald guy retorted.

The seventies style icon piped up again “Were are we meant to get X6 rated hyperspace fuel that we need? We won’t get home without it!”

“I don’t know!” Ralph replied ” I don’t care either!” He shouted “I have to go to work!” Pushing past his three unusual visitors, fed up with the day already and more than a little freaked out he strode away. He didn’t get more than three paces as suddenly he was frozen to the spot. A bluey swirly glow enveloped him, the woman was zapping him with some kind of device. Ralph could only look on helplessly as the woman, joined by her fellow strangelings carried him though the red arch of the bouncy castle (which Ralph noticed had a pleasing happy kitten at the arch’s centre) and then into darkness.

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2017

 

Leaping the Void

I’ve not done a blog battle for a while, so for a bit of fun I thought I would take part this time and see how it goes. The weeks theme is Darkness.

Leaping the Void:

The darkness was enveloping her mind and vision. Overloaded with the sensations of sounds and the crippling force that brought her to where she was now. Was she dead? Who was she even? What was it she could hear? Voices? The roar subsided and slowly the sounds became clearer. She was breathing fast, she knew somehow this was bad and tried to control her breathing. For a moment she lay there, collecting her thoughts, looking up and the bright blue and a white gem against the black sky, peppered with stars.

“Kristen, are you there? Please respond” was what she could hear, over and over. Dazed she lay there some more before she realised.

“I’m Kristen” she said out loud, still breathing hard, slowly getting control. She pressed the intercom button “Science officer Bowman here control, I’m here… I’m not sure what happened”

“Bowman, thank God you’re there. You’re heart rate is really high, you’ve got to get your breathing under control. Where’s Mendez and Harrison?” Kristen truned to rest on her elbow, her mind returning to the events. The massive quake, she had been looking right at both Mendez and Harrison when they vanished. Kristen looked round, now slowly sitting up, amazed that her life support system wasn’t damaged.

“I can’t see them contol!” She replied “I’m fairly sure they’re gone – they vanished in front of me.” Kristen picked herself up as the only way one can in a space suit. Finally getting up and standing as close as she dare the huge chasm that had appeared where her friends once stood. “What happened control?” She asked.

“We’re not sure Bowman, but we need to get you back here. What’s your oxygen level indicating?” Control was sounding concerned, the moon walk had already been going on several hours and they were due back soon anyway.

“It’s showing at 14 percent control” For a moment there was silence.

“Acknowledged Bowman, we need to find you a way over that chasm. You’re only a ten minute walk away from here. But it will take you three hours to get round the chasm, and about forty minutes to drive the Mule round. But you only have thirty minutes of air left and that’s if you’re careful.”

For a moment, Kristen stood there thinking. “I’ve got an idea” she finally said “You’re going to like this.” Kristen walked slowly and steadily toward the Mule. Once she got there she reached into a side compartment and pulled out a firearm. Looking round she could see that the Mule would be useless anyway, it’s front wheels sunk into the Lunar dust. Carefully she climbed onto the Mule’s cabin, looking round she could clearly see the base just the other side of the chasm.

I’m not going to die here like this. She thought to herself as she turned around and sat on the circular hatch atop the cabin. Her back was to the base, taking out the firearm and gripping it in her left hand she began the release procedure for the hatch.

“Bowman? What in God’s name are you doing? This really isn’t…”

In space, there is no sound. Which is a good thing in some ways as right at that second the hatch blew open and catapulted the determined woman up and across the chasm.

“Ohhh…myyy… Gooooddd!!!” Kristen shouted as she felt herself shot up and away from the Mule. Regaining her senses, she fired the gun.. one, two, three, four times. Each shot pushing her further and further away from the Mule and toward the base.

For what seemed like an age she was flying over the Lunar surface, no one had ever done this before. No one had needed or wanted to and she could see why. A red light in her helmet flashed, only 8 percent oxygen now. She had very few minutes of oxygen left. Finally she was descending, but at a hell of a rate. Turning to face the base… somehow in flight. As she got nearer the ground she pointed the gun toward the ground and fired one, two, three, four times. That was it, no more rounds left. Kristen had slowed but was still moving fast. She had not only cleared the chasm but was so close to the base. Moving her arms and legs as if to run.

Suddenly it was all a blur and once more Kristen was looking up and the blue and white globe that was the Earth. The red light was flashing and now there was a buzzer telling her that she was dangerously low on oxygen. Her visor was cracked and was only vaguely aware of being pulled into the Lunar base. Then, there was nothing.

“Wake up Bowman… wake up! Hell of a stunt you pulled off out there!” Kristen slowly opened here eyes, Scott Williams the base commander was sat next to her. She was laying in the base infirmary but all she could think about was the damn, thumping headache.

“I made it?” Kristen whispered weakly.

“Sure did Bowman, we had to pull you in becasue you crashed so hard. You’ve been asleep there for two days. Sorry about Mendez and Harrison, but we’re glad you’re back safe.”

With that Williams got up and left, Kristen was lost in her thoughts. She had made it, just. Thinking about her missing friends she lay there watching the medic checking her.

“Why me?” Kristen asked.

“What?” the medic asked, confused at the question.

“Why did I make it?” Kristen asked.

“Ask God, becasue I can’t aswer that. from what I hear it didn’t come easy.” The medic checked some instruments and adjusted a couple of levels and walked off, leaving Kristen alone. Alone to wonder why against all the odds, she had made it back.

©2017 Simon Farnell

No ownership claimed on images.