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.”
“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
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