Larissa’s Stone

This was the Blog Battle Entry for April 2020 and the prompt was Brooch.


Larissa’s Stone

Larissa rested against the bulkhead of the access way, she was allowed this far but no further. She had no money and none of the captains would take her where she wanted. The bulkhead was cold against her skin, even through the thick coat she had, a cold wind blew in as yet another freighter departed. He hair was blown about in the distant wake, the gentle warmth of the engine exhaust felt good against her skin, the smell of the engine exhaust permeated her nostrils.

Weak, dirty and tired Larissa had traveled far from home. Alone and frightened the life she had grown up with these last twenty years was now gone, wiped out in a single act of aggression. She thought to herself that she was lucky to be alive. ‘Lucky’. lucky to have been able to live these last five days, no food, little water and getting here only by hiding in dirty maintenance hatches of supply transports to this one outpost to the stars that this planet had.

Her fingers found the one last gift from her father a Dritanium bracelet, a dull silver in colour, light and yet strong. It was to large for her wrist. He had given it to her a mere hour before she watched him disintegrated. Get to the Tal-Ver spaceport, he told her he would meet here there. She slid down the bulkhead to sit on the floor, a tear ran down her cheek – she couldn’t see what hope she had left. Her only oath in her short life now was to lay where she was and starve.

Another ship’s exhaust washed over her from far off. This one smelled different. More metallic.

“The engine lining’s on that ship are worn, it won’t last long out there.” She whimpered. He father had been a spacecraft engineer all his life. He had taken her all over the space port and into the inner working of some ships ever since she could remember. The smell and light faded and as it did her memory was disturbed as a shadow fell over her.

“You’re Jake Dannick’s girl aren’t you?” Came an old and gentle voice.

Larissa looked around to see a man that was old, too old she thought to still be working the freighters, but he seemed somehow familiar and it wasn’t the wild white hair that he boasted.

“Yes.” She replied feebly. “Yes I am”

“I would recognise that that wrist band anywhere!” The old man exclaimed. “You look like you’re in a bad way, can I help? How’s your father? I’ve not seen him for years now, what’s he doing with himself?”

Larissa could no longer hold back her tears, flooding down her cheeks she sobbed as the old man helped her up. He searched his pockets and finding an old rag offered it up to wipe her tears.

“There, there, what’s all the tears about?”

Larissa looked at the man, but no words came.

“I have lived a long time.” The old man said grimly. “It’s at times like this that realise it may be been too long. When?”

“five days ago.” Larissa replied, siffling as she spoke.

“And you made your own way here, you are brave!”

“Dad told me to come here. He was going to meet me here, before…”

The man nodded. “It’s going to be alright, come with me.”

The old man led Larissa away to what was on old cargo carrier, it served now as a surprisingly clean and well run cafeteria. They both say in the far corner away from anyone. A few moments later a rather dilapidated droid clanked over and took their orders. Larissa went over who she was as she ate and drank. It had been so long she would rather have done without the talking. The old man was called Cannick and had been a close friend of Larissa’s father for some years. Cannick remembered Larissa from the days when her father would bring her with him.

Then the talk got a bit more serious. “So what had your father done to attract the attention of the Federates?”

” I don’t know, ever since he stopped working for the space port he hid away for his work and wouldn’t tell me what he was doing, it’s been about five years.”

“Hmmm. I do know a little, but I didn’t think…” Something caught Cannick’s eye suddenly. “What’s that?”

“What?” Larissa asked.

“That, on your left.” A matt black intricately decorated brooch was on Larissa’s top, Cannick pointed at it. Looking around cautiously.

“What this thing?” Larissa passed it to Cannick. He hid it from view carefully and looked at it in his closed hand.

“My God!” Cannick gasped.

“What is it?” Larissa asked quietly, picking up the hint to be discreet.

“Your father.” Cannick spoke in a low voice. “Thought that by using the same technology that drives our ships to bend space time that a large area of space could be stored and transported in a very small space. Such technology was thought to be impossible, I thought it was impossible until I saw your brooch.”

“Why’s that?” Larissa asked.

Cannick carefully held the brooch up for Larissa to see. In the dark centre stone turning slowly about its axis was a spiral galaxy.

“Two weeks ago, rumour started circulating that a galaxy had vanished without a trace. Of course, it has been dismissed mostly as ridiculous. But I think I know where it is!” Cannick said.

Larissa looked into the stone with awe, how was this possible and how and why would her father do this? ON the brooch a symbol was stamped into it, small but unmistakable.

“See this?” Larissa pointed “I’ve seen it before!” Larissa pulled up her sleeve and showed Cannick the wrist band.

“The same symbol.” Cannick said. “The federate symbol.”

“What do we do?” Larissa asked.

“I don’t know, but what I do know is you need to come with me and we need to get off this planet and find someone who does know.”

“Does such a person exist?”

Cannick got up and smiled down at Larissa “Of course, if you know where to look!”


© Simon Farnell 2020


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Alien Covenant – A Sci-Fi film that could have been more

The Alien saga has been full of questions since it started way back in the 1970’s where an unknown Alien ship full of eggs leads to almost an entire crew being wiped out by a malevolent aggressive creature that sought to kill all that it found.

The original alien ship had remains of a large humanoid species that we knew very little about and wasn’t mentioned or seen again until the film Prometheus. This film left us with an intriguing lead into the next film – Elizabeth Shaw stating that she wanted to go the homeworld of this large species that had created these aggressive Aliens and find out why it was that the crew of Prometheus had to die.

This to me was a really poignant point to make and would essentially explain the whole reason of why such an aggressive species was engineered. The nightmarish creatures are not something that anyone would create ‘just for fun’

Alien ship from the Alien film series

So when I finally get to watch the sequel to the prequel I hope to see something of this in the storyline. Do I find it?

Nope.

Instead we have the scenario of a colonisation ship having to change plans, diverting to another world where they land and guess what happens. Blood guts and gore flying everywhere becasue they did the same damn thing they did in every other damn alien film and DID NOT WAIT.

Further on in the film we find out that Elizabeth Shaw was used as a vessel to breed an improved race of these creatures because a maniacal robot called David thinks… you know I didn’t know what he thought if I’m honest.

Alien covenant was always going to have blood and guts and gore in it, I get that it’s what the series is about, but that one plot point could have taken the whole story in another direction – what happened? They choked and went straight back to the tired old plot line with a slight twist and made something I didn’t think was as good as it could have been.

Maybe I’ll write what should have happened… one day.

Anyways, I know the horror lovers among you will probably disagree, but I think for scifi I was kind of expecting more.

Just saying.

Images taken from Google – ownership right reamin with owners.


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Poseidon

Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

“Oh here’s another leak.” The young woman pointed, stopping and looking back.

“Dammit.” The deep voice of a man replied. “Have we got any buckets left?”

“Just the one.” The young woman replied, she help it up to the man. Both of them looked disheveled and tired. Their white pressure suits looking far from white with dirt and grime. Cassi knew the routine now, she would climb under the the cables, pipes and other stuff to reach the leak and then put the bucket under it. She would then record the location and go back to retrieve the water. Garret was to big to get down there and was better at lifting things out of the way.

Cassi crawled under, wincing at the pain in her hands, knees and back now. On top of that the cold was crippling. “There, got it in place.”

“Good, come back out.” Garret instructed.

Cassi crawled back out and Garret her her back up.

Drip

Drip

Drip

“You think that’s the last one?” Cassi asked.

“I doubt it very much. We’ve probably missed a load but we’ve done what we can. We need to seal the busted pipes to save what water we can.” Garret replied grimly. “Then we have to start the re-processing units up to make more water again.”

“We have enough to drink right?” Cassi asked.

“Drinking isn’t the problem, this whole ship runs on water. We split the atoms apart and use the hydrogen for fuel and the oxygen to breathe. If we don’t repair the pipes and start re-processing we’ll either end up stranded, freeze from the cold, suffocate or all three!”

Cassi didn’t have any words, she started crying even though she didn’t want her father the see her crying. That then made it worse and she cried more.

Garret pull his daughter to him and held her “Stop Cassi, it’s going to be ok.” Feeling quite the fraud for saying it, with only four people left there was a lot of work to be done before things got serious and he wasn’t sure it could be done.

“Where’s Nicks and Paula?” Cassi sniveled, not looking at her father.

“They’ve started repairs, we still need to identify all the leaks and save what water we can.” Garret regretted having to bring his daughter with him on missions, but what was he to do? The choices were limited in the colonies, you worked or starved. There couldn’t be any dead weight. Looking over Garret stared at a bulkhead door. “That’s the door that’s meant to have failed.”

“What was that?” Cassi asked.

Garret let Cassi go and walked over to the door, he examined it for a moment before pressing some of the door controls. “It looks like someone deliberately compromised the safety controls.”

“Why would someone do that?” Cassi asked.

“I have no idea.” Garret looked around the door. “When this door opened the air was released pulling out everyone into space and the water in the fuel pipes froze, expanded and busted the pipes. But why?”

A moment later and the ship rocked, Garrett steadied himself and looked over at Cassie, she was ok but shaken. “What was that?” He radioed through to Nicks and Paula.

A voice came back through the intercom. “One of the storage tanks blew, I don’t think we can save the ship now, I would say within the hour the water will get into the workings of the reactor regulators and this will be a giant fireball!”

“Ok.” Garret replied. “Get what things you need and get to the hangar quick!”

“Got it!”

Garret turned to Cassie and looked into her blue eyes. “We need to get off the ship, go to our quarters and get the things we need, you know them we’ve discussed this. Can you do that?”

Cassie nodded.

“Good girl, go and then get to the hanger, the one we just came from as quickly as you can and only do those things.”

Cassie ran for their quarters Garret followed then the path the the hangar split, shouting to Cassie to remind her to be quick he slid down the access ladder.


Garret was priming the shuttle for launch, it had already been twenty minutes and there was no sign of anyone. The ship was making some unhealthy groaning noises and Garret was worried, thinking over and over, they be here. Don’t worry.

A few minutes later all three of them appeared. He had to restrain his instinct to shout at them all for taking so long. Instead he smiled as he saw Cassie with far more than she should have brought. Blankets and bags of this and that, he noticed that she had brought some extra’s for him too.

Nicks looked at Garret “We found this one on the way and thought we better help.”

“Nice one, but we don’t have much time.”

“The shuttle won’t get us back you know that right?” Nicks pointed out.

“I know, but I’ve prepared the other shuttle, we can dock and share resources.”

“Nice idea.” Nicks agreed. “Who’s flying it?”

Garret stared at Nicks.

“Oh, no… err. I’m not qualified!”

“No, you’re not.” Garret agreed. “But I need you to fly it out, that’s it. I’ll do the rest. Paula will be with you. Can you do it?”

Nicks nodded, without any further delay they manned the shuttles.


“Anytime now.” Paula told them.

They looked out at the bright speck that was the ship. Moments passed and anticipation grew. Garret looked on but was distracted. Wondering why someone would over ride safety controls and kill so many like that. He remembered stories from Earth history about ships like Mary Celeste and the Great Eastern that were shrouded in mystery, this ship would be the same. The Poseidon a great ship, run by water and then then destroyed by it.

The glare was so intense it couldn’t be looked at directly and then as soon as it came, it was gone.

This was the Blog Battle Entry for January 2020 and the prompt was Bucket.

© Simon Farnell 2020


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The Extinction Protocol – Part 2


Personal log Commander Scott Edwards
Olympus Colony Mars
Sol 687

It’s been two weeks since the news landed that there was a plan, a sliver of hope for our survival and the continuation of the human race. I might in fact be overoptimistic. A sliver implies some chance, to me there’s too much in the way. Or there’s something I don’t know about, there’s always that. I didn’t know about this whole damn operation two weeks ago.

The problem I think is how mentally prepared and able are the people to do this, some are just hanging on by a thread as it is. There’s been no further details of the plan yet. The mission craft is only days away from entering Mars orbit. Maybe we will know more then.

So I won’t…

“Edwards you’re needed in control” Collins voice came over the intercom.

“What is it?

“It’s Jett there’s a problem.” Collins replied grimly.

“What kind of – Oh I’m coming.”

“Finish this later.” Edwards clicked off the log recorder.


Edwards marched onto the control centre “What’s going on Collins?”

“It’s Jett, he’s sealed off the North section, he’s gone crazy and said he’s going to blow it up! There are twelve others trapped in there.”

“What the hell?!? Is he on the intercom?”

“Yes, Although he doesn’t seem to be in the talking mood.”

Picking up the intercom Edwards put it to his ear “Jett, what’s going on?” Edwards waited for a response. “Any idea why he’s doing this?”

“None.” Replied Collins. “He keep rambling on about we don’t know what’s coming and everything is bullshit.”

He’s been like that since the mission was announced, but I didn’t think he was going to do this.” Moments passed with nothing happening. The intercom crackled into life. “Scott? Is that you?”

“Hi Jett, yes it’s me, what’s going on?”

“You have no idea what’s coming Scott! No idea!”

“What do you mean? We have a chance, we have a hope and I need you to help me with it!”

“Oh no, no I’m not going to help. This whole thing is bullshit! We won’t succeed and even if we did what then? What will you all do? This whole thing is messed up and I’m going to stop it.”

“Why would you do that Jett?”

“Because of what’s coming Scott!” Jett shouted, his voice explosive over the intercom.

“What’s coming Jett? What do you know that I don’t?” For a moment Edwards waited. “Jett? Jett?” Edwards was now shouting “Je-“

A huge rumble and the whole base seemed to heave, pushed to the floor by the shock wave that tore through the base. Edwards eyes opened, his ears ringing. He called out but his voice was muffled. A moment later he realised he was still breathing, the base shell hadn’t breached. But there had been a massive explosion.

Edwards picked himself up and looked across at Collins, blood ran from his ears, Collins was struggling to find his level as well. Looking round Callie and Neila we having the same problem. Probably everyone on the base was. The spike in air pressure had thrown them all back and messed with thier whole bodies.

Edwards looked straight at Collins “Can you hear me?” Even his own voice hurt his ears. He scanned the control panel. The North section flashed red, showing shell breach. Looking over at the screens he could see it wasn’t just breached, most of the North section had been destroyed.

The ground outside the base was littered with smashed equipment and debris. But what was that? Several bodies, not quite dead but not far off. Edwards ran calling out as he held his ears tightly, wincing at the pain.

“Rav, Neiks meet you at airlock 2!” The two men met Edwards at the airlock. Edwards started pulling on a suit and pointed.

“We need to help them, we need to get them in!”

“They’re dead Scott! Leave them!” Rav insisted.

“No I saw, I saw they were twitching!” Edwards protested aggressively, pushing the two men aside as he reached for the gloves.

“Forget it Scott!” Neiks shouted “Forget it! It would take us five minutes to reach them and then at least five minutes to get them back. There’s only three suits here and they would be dead before we got them on. They’re dead now!” Neiks pushed Edwards back and to the floor. For an instant Edwards anger flared up, but it passed as soon as it came and he sat, head in his hands.

Cassi ran in “There’s people out there!”

“They’re gone Cassi, they won’t make it. I’m sorry” Rav explained.

The tears were already flowing down Cassi’s face. One by one people came and went in silence she wouldn’t leave, she just looked out to the ruined section. Edwards too was frozen, his head killing him, his ears killing him. After what seemed and age Cassi crawled over to Edwards and held him.

“Dani was on there wasn’t she?” Cassi nodded “I’m sorry Cassi” neither moved as night fell. The whole base was silent, no one sure what they lost hurt more, friends or hope.


Two days had passed, Edwards still coming to terms with the senseless loss. If Jett wanted to go, that alone was tragic, but why take the twelve others with him?
Collins Walked in after being summoned. Handing him a tablet Edwards took it “Damage and loss report as requested. I’m afraid we lost fourteen in all Jensen and Riall both crashed during the night.”

“Jesus Collins. What was all this about? Jett was a good man and under pressure too.” Edwards shook his head and turned away. For a moment Collins thought about answering but quickly purged the thought, he turned to quietly leave.

“What do you think about this Collins? Honestly.”

“The mission?” Edwards nodded. “What choice do we have?”

“That’s what I think too.” Edwards turned but then came back to him. “Oh Collins, I sent the update to the mission craft, they’ll be here in days.”

“Any reply from them?”

“Not yet, I’m not sure what the detailed plan was an how this changes it. All we can do is see what they say.”

“Well it won’t be good whatever it is, the mission might not be possible now.”

“We need to find a way to make it possible, we have no other choice.”

Collins left and Edwards was alone again, looking back towards another setting sun, back to where Earth was and possible redemption was coming from.


©Simon Farnell 2019


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The Extinction Protocol – Part 1


Personal log Commander Scott Edwards
Olympus Colony Mars
Sol 673

I’ve sat here, totally silent for the last hour. Probably the first hour that I’ve had to think in months. I’ve heard about people having these times of their lives that they look back on and it seems like a bad dream and they wonder what the fuck happened and why it was it happened to them or that isn’t life really shit.

Well looking back now I’m having that feeling and then some.

I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I’m one of about forty five human beings that make up the human race, forty one of them are here and there four more apparently. Two on the Earth – Mars conveyor and two more on a ship that I’ve only just found out about and it’s apparently on it way. We could fit the whole human race into a medium sized room – just. There were four more bringing us to nearly fifty but they just snapped, went for a walk and never came back.

I’ll never forget that day for as long as live, how could I? I looked up and watched as around 8 billion people died on Earth, in a way that the universe beautifully understated as a bright light that shone for several hours on Mars and was the brightest star in the sky for a while. Among those 8 billion I count the three people I loved most in the world and one dog. It was strange, it was peaceful and just so tragic at the same time. It didn’t matter what we were or could do, the universe let us know it could snuff us out – just like that.

For these last months I’ve had to come to realise that no matter what we do here on Mars we are not able to make ourselves self sufficient and at some point within the next five years are all likely to either starve, suffocate or, well that’s about it really. I have been coming to terms with my own mortality, my own insignificance in the universe. Yet now there is more, it seems my great pay masters who are now dust had simultaneously pulled the wool over my eyes and everyone else’s. This is something I know I cannot share, how can I? The human race needs to move and adapt, like it or not. They can’t do that if they’re looking back, they need to look forward.

What is coming seems to me to be a total shot in the dark. Not suicide, the odds of success seem too big to even think about.

So I won’t.


“What the hell?” Neila threw back at Edwards “Is this for real?”

“Yes” Stone replied calmly and bluntly “It’s real.”

“So. Just so I have this straight in my mind.” Jett interrupted “In three weeks this spacecraft is going to enter orbit of Mars.”

“Yes.” Scott agreed.

“You and a few others are going to jump on this, leave us behind some kind of interstellar gateway thing. Then you’re fucking off to a new star, setting up a cosy place to live and deploying the second part of this gateway and use the Earth – Mars conveyor to take us through this gateway.”

“That’s about it.” Edwards agreed. The room was silent, but only for a moment.

“Bullshit!” Jett spat. “Even if this works we’re trusting you not to leave us behind.”

“I know this is going to be hard, I know we’re all going to have to take trust to a whole other level and if we fail you may never know.” Edwards explained calmly. “But this is a second chance for the human race, it’s beyond a long shot. It’s a chance in a million. But here on Mars, we have no chance, sooner or later we’re dead. I’m taking that chance, I hope you guys will too!”

“How long will this take?” Cassi asked

“If we’re lucky, ten years. If not could be much longer!”

“Those left on Mars won’t survive that long, even our best estimates suggest we have three years tops!” Cassi argued. “Also where has this plan and this ship suddenly appeared from?”

Cassi was young but Edwards knew there was no fooling her. “I don’t know. This plan is as news to me as it is to you. I have no details yet but the plan is that everyone on Mars will survive the time it takes us to get to our final destination.”

“You didn’t know about it before?” Jett argued.

“No. I wouldn’t do that to you.”

“Where is the final destination?” Cassi asked

“I don’t know that either yet, but considering that we don’t have the capability to travel at the speed of light I can only imagine it’s one of the stars in our very local vicinity.” Edwards finished and awaited any further questions. Everyone was silent, the enormity of what was ahead could only overwhelm them all.

Finally Edwards again broke the silence. “In the three weeks before the ship arrives there is a list of training assignments and roles changes you need to familiarise yourselves with. I’m hoping more details and objectives will be made available before that happens, in the meantime we will have daily gatherings at the same time.”

“Also let’s make sure that we do everything to make sure that everyone in this room get to fulfill their roles. Please keep watch on your buddies.”

With that Edwards motioned for everyone to continue. For the rest of the day everyone was quiet, Edwards was sure he was getting the evil eye from a few people. He was fairly sure he could work out what they were thinking, he would think the same. Being in on it all along, or maybe it was just his own insecurity or paranoia?

Putting the thoughts out of his head he lay on his bed as he watched the sun setting on Mars, quietly, restlessly he watched and wondered what was coming and even if it was worth the effort. Phobos sot across the sky as he was watching, like a flash of hope as the sun hit a point on the small moon it winked at him.

While Scott Edwards took the wink as hope, there was no chance they would get to where they were going on hope alone and there was along way to go.

©Simon Farnell 2019


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The Extinction Protocol

This short piece has been written for the November 2018 Blog Battle.  To find out more click the link: https://rachaelritchey.com/2018/11/08/blogbattle-educate/

The word for the month is EDUCATE.


SOL670 Olympus Colony:

“Colony Log Commander James O’Neill: NASA are sending me a priority message on the secure comms channel in about five minutes. I’m not sure what to expect from this, one thing I learned in the air force was to be worried when something unusual and out of character happened, this it right up there with out of character. All I can do is see what they have to say.”

Sat back in his chair in his habitation module waiting, O’Neill’s mind churned. Then the notification lamp lit up on his computer. The lines of the text only message came through line by line.

Message from NASA: 04-10-2056                                                                                Authorization code:20350524185245
From Senior administrator RE: Extinction Protocol.

  • Asteroid KE567342 on direct collision with Earth, estimated impact 19 days from now somewhere in the vicinity of the African continent.
  • Projection of loss of life on Earth: Total.
  • Projection of Earth status after impact: uninhabitable by human or any known Earth lifeforms.
  • While able Earth will be sending all available resource to Mars to keep human habitation possible. We expect the Martian colonies to be able to be sustainable for three more years when this has been delivered. Some additional personnel will be sent to support Martian colony activities and ensure as much as possible the safe delivery of two population bombs.

Summary of actions to be carried out by NASA controlled Martian colonies:

  1. Ensure temporary sterilisation of all colonists.
  2. Educate all colonists on the situation and how Mars could still be sustainable after supplies have expired.
  3. Recommend restricted and controlled release of this information in order to maintain discipline and morale.
  4. Further information will be coming soon.

End of message.

Not quite able to take it all in, O’Neill stared in stunned silence at the message. Emotions ran through him for a moment like a fire, he had family, friends places he had seen and wanted to see all of which would be no more. In anger he threw to the computer and everything on the desk across the room. It felt like a million regrets passed though his mind. Finally after what seemed to him like an age reason came back to him.  Everyone on Mars was going to outlive the rest of the Human race back home. Did that mean they were in a better place? He wasn’t so sure.

Thinking for a moment he had to deliver this in a way that was going to distract everyone. Pressing a console button cleared his throat. “Initiate emergency colony survival protocol, I repeat initiate the emergency survival protocol.” A voice at the end acknowledged the order, the lights dimmed and a claxon sounded. He knew in moments all personnel would be up and attending stations.

He pressed another button “Dr Cheung, all station inhabitants are to be administered a NRS capsule effective immediately.”

“Understood” a voice replied.

O’Neill listened to the commotion and waited for all to be present in the hub, finally he stood up. Now he had to tell them.


It went well O’Neill thought. About as well as can be expected, while they all waited the good doctor administered the twenty seven colonists at the station their NRS capsules. Embedded in the body these slowly released chemicals that ensured reproduction was impossible and helped to control chemical imbalances leading to hunger and anxieties. They were a bit like the pill, a weight loss tablet and a sedative all rolled into one. They lasted up to twelve weeks. In that time the situation would be better known.

“Do we know exactly what they’re sending?” Emily asked.

“Not yet” 
O’Neill shook his head. “I hope to learn more in the next few days.” But what I do know is that we are now almost solely responsible for our own survival. We have an estimated three years before all supplies are exhausted, in that time we need have educated ourselves to create food, water and prolong the life of resources and materials. If we do this in time the the solar panels will need to be replaced or equipment maintained.”

O’Neill’s look was grim “We have to be able to create Earth technologies here, somehow. In three days I need to have a list to give to control of any and all information we might need. I don’t know but if we get in early enough we might even be able to ask for materials to be sent. This is possible but considering the time frame doubtful”

“Break into your teams and get thinking. Three days people, we need a short and a long term plan.” With that he turned and walked out of the control hub, a door slid open and inside was humming and droning of machinery.

“James!” a voice shouted from behind him.

O’Neill spun round “Melissa! Dammit don’t do that – you scared the sh-“

“What’s happening with the other stations?” She shouted.

“What do you mean?”

“Have they been told?!?”

“I haven’t but I imagine each base’s commander will have been told. Why?”

Melissa pulled him into a quieter area and shut the door. “Each of the other stations have a lot of resource that everyone is going to need. Utopia station even has a launcher that can get back to Endeavour when is passes by in three months.”

“Getting to Endeavour is no good, the only place it can go to is Earth. What’s your point?”

“My point is that what if the other colonies decide that the others are expendable in light of the fact that Earth will be gone? If they start raiding other bases they could prolong their survival time.”

O’Neill thought for a moment “I see where you’re at. But these are all educated and rational people, we should be able to trust everyone here to work together… Right?”

Melissa looked at him “So why do you suddenly look doubtful?”

O’Neill didn’t answer, thoughts of the colonies turning against each other had been the last thing on his mind, yet now the seed was planted was a real possibility. That’s what worried him most, if this was brought to common attention, could it sow the seed or if others were already thinking about it. 

Finally he spoke up “Because now I have them and how we deal with this will decide on whether we all survive or  just as much as everything else we have to deal with.”

“What do we do?”

“Tread very, very carefully. Find Ben and bring him to my hab module. But without being weird or suspicious.” Just then his wrist com beeped through a notification. 

“What’s that?”

“More from Earth. Hopefully something more solid about what’s coming this way. Go and get Ben.”

Melissa nodded, just before she opened the door O’Neill stopped her.

“I mean it when I say don’t arouse suspicion, if we start something with this we won’t need any asteroid to kill us. We’ll do it all by ourselves.”

Melissa nodded and disappeared, O’Neill suddenly felt cold, following after Melissa he wasn’t sure if was the fuel cells or where this all might end chilled his bones.

To be continued?

©Simon Farnell 2018


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The Celestial Temple

This short piece has been written for the October 2018 Blog Battle. If you need to find out more please click: Blog Battle – October 2018

The word for this month is CAVE. 

 


 

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Like a dream I could see the cave, carved into the side of a mountain, looking into it I saw the incredible. The universe within it,  layed out for me to see. That was the dream anyway, now somehow as I looked up I could see that this was the mountain and this was not a dream.

Except… where was the cave?

***

That was the last thing I remembered. before I found myself looking into the long darkness of the cave. Somehow I was inside, I wasn’t sure how. I had no idea why but this place was familiar, not like a dream within a dream. I stood looking into a vast darkness, dimly lit by a light I couldn’t see the origin of. Coming from nowhere the illumination showed the end of the cave, at the end was a sheer drop, a vast shaft. I wasn’t close enough yet to see down the shaft. In the middle was a platform, impossibly it seemed to be suspended, weightless and floating in the void. Connected only by a small walkway.

Slowly, carefully I stepped onto the walkway. In the dull silence there was a dull metallic thud as my foot met the metal surface. Slowly, carefully I took another step, then another. With each step this place seemed more and more familiar, as if it this was a place I should know. I was over, now standing on the platform, the strange console in front of me. It wasn’t lifeless, readouts displayed and indicators flashed on and off.

“I thought you would never come Galiea.”

Spinning around in total shock to face the voice from behind me, heart racing, body shaking in total fear I faced a man, in the shadow and his black outfit I couldn’t see him well. But he somehow was there. “W-what did you call me?” I stammered.

“Galiea. I was starting to wonder if you would ever come. Welcome back.”

“What do you mean? Where is this? Why are you calling me this… Galiea? My name is Steve Curran!”

“Relax, I’m not going to harm you. You are Galiea, the star master for this!” The man spread his arms out at the darkness as if proud of this place. “You don’t remember do you? Over five hundred years ago this great vessel was hidden here, hidden in space and time from the Anderran race. Five of us were dispersed into humankind, to live out human lives until the time came.”

“The time for what?” I asked, afraid of the answer even as the question escaped my lips.

“The time that the Anderran’s caught up with us. They must never have this vessel and they will tear this planet apart to get it. They know we’re here!”

“What?!?” I couldn’t get me head round this “What are you talking about?”

“This will help!”

He put his hand to my head, a flash of light, an electric pain and I fell to my knees. The pain gave way to clarity, realisation… remembrance.

“How are you now Galiea?”

At that moment as I looked down at the floor I realised why I knew this place. Like waking from a bad dream it all came flooding back to me. This – the celestial temple, created by the alliance of the seven races of Pleiades. Fleeing to hide it from the Anderran’s. I heard his words, slowly I answered. “Foggy, it’s been a long time but… Oh God, they’ve found us?” I got back to my feet, looking the man clearly in the eyes, recognising him immediately. He nodded grimly. “Where are they? Are they close?”

“Close enough, but I’m not sure. That’s why I need my star master.”

I stepped forward, waved my hand across a panel, the solar system lit up in front of me, the sun, the planets in their perfect unending orbits. Between Jupiter and Mars a red cross hair zoomed, highlighting the danger. I spread my arms and instantly zoomed in closer to the searching marauders.

“There’s all twelve of them!”

“Yes, we didn’t lose a single one did we?”

I just turned and looked at my commander, despite the passing of time he hadn’t aged… But then, neither had I.

“What can we do? Even if the other arrive, there’s only five of us and – well all of them! They will be here in days and I don’t know how we can stop them. If they capture the celestial temple they will hold the key to reaching any star system almost instantly. They will seek to conquer the entire galaxy and they will start with Earth.”

“That my friend is where we will have to find our help, right here.”

“Earth? They’re not ready for this?”

“Perhaps not, but they will need to be!”

Nodding in grim agreement, I thought about the impending doom facing us all, human or not. “How will we explain this to their leaders? We can’t just walk up to them and tell them this. We don’t have time or time to convince them.

“They will come here Galiea, they will come becasue it’s in their nature.”

Moving my hands over one of the panels, a graphic shone inf front of me. Familiar and yet hidden for so long this ship, was going to reveal itself to the world. This insignificant cave was about to be flooded with the light hidden from it so long ago.

I swiped the display, turning green a noise so subtle and yet so powerful wound down like a stalling jet, slowly this expanse filled with light from the sun. The mask that had enveloped this might vessel for so long vanished. Even out here in these mountains the sight would be so vast that we knew others would see this and would right now be alerting the authorities.

“Now what?” I asked.

“Now we wait.”

At this time we had to have faith and hope that the right people would come, before the marauders did. But whatever happened next, one thing we knew for sure. They were coming.

*Image found on Pinterest. Ownership remains with the creator.

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

Planet Simon

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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

 

Planet Simon

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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

 

 

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Moon Warp

This short piece has been written for the August 2018 Blog Battle. If you need to find out more please click: Blog Battle – August 2018

The word for this month is MOON. 

 


 

Moon Warp

 

Moon Warp

 

“This is a standard mission they said. Three weeks out and then back, no excitement and no danger. They said.”

Pausing to gather her thoughts, she looked out at the barren Moonscape through the round window, wondering if his words would ever reach Earth. But he had to work out what to say.

“They also said there was no life on the Moon, sent to assess a lifeless lavatube for a possible human settlement the job seemed plain and simple, but there’s more here than anyone on Earth could have imagined and I don’t know what it means.”

Her thoughts wandered again and his gaze drifted to the landscape out of the window again. To where it began, where it all happened…

***

“Have you got the ground resonator Jules?” Harry asked her. “There’s something weird going on in the tunnel wall just over here.”

“What makes you think that?” Jules asked inquisitively. “This is a lava tube on the Moon remember, we don’t really understand everything about them.”

“Yes, but I think the tunnel wall should be thicker here.” Harry was being quite specific, pointing at a seemingly indifferent section of the tunnel wall. “Just get it over here will you?”

“Seb, help me with it could you please?” Jules and Seb wrestled the long heavy instrument to where Harry was standing. Moving in the suits was awkward, even in the low gravity, the ground resonator was unmanageable on Earth but two people could just about handle it on the Moon.

“There!” Jules puffed, her breath condensing on her helmet’s visor.

“Nice of you to help Harry. Just because you’re in command…” Seb showed his irritation but was cut off.

“Shut up will you.” Harry handled the resonator. A red laser swept across the walls of the tunnel. Harry stared at the tablet, analysing the results. “See!” he pointed. “But how is that even possible?”

Jules looked over his shoulder at the result, Harry pulled the tablet to himself to hide it “Stop peeking will you?”

“What is wrong with you today Harry?” Jules retorted. Offended at Harry’s obnoxious attitude.

“The wall has no depth here!” Harry carried on. He turned and focused the resonator at the area of interest. When he did the wall shimmered and seemed to dissolve into a translucent haze. Beyond the wall seemed to be images, things that couldn’t quite be made out.

“What is that?” Seb finally asked as the three of them stared.

“I don’t know…” Jules continued.

It took a few moments, then Harry moved forward. Ignoring the protests from the two colleagues Harry’s hand vanished through the wall. With a step he moved forward as was gone.

“Harry what the hell are you doing?” Jules called after him.

“We should call into command Jules.” Seb suggested.

“And leave him here?” Jules retorted sharply. “Lets just get on with it shall we?” The two of them stood together and walked through a wall of what seemed like shimmering water. On the other side Harry was there, but also a sight that stunned them both.

“Wow, oh my God Seb are they…”

“Pyramids.” Harry interrupted

What lay before them was a field of sand, blown in wispy sand devils around them, with what looked like ancient pyramids around them. Except there was something different, these weren’t ancient. These looked new. Jules looked around her and saw not only the giant structures towering over her but a stone arch around her, with hieroglyphs etched into the walls with the translucent shimmering behind her.

Then she froze, Harry was walking forward towards three figures walking slowly towards them, he removed his helmet – it seemed there was breathable air here too as well as bright daylight, but how was this possible?

“What do we do?” Seb asked.

“I have no idea, but I don’t like this at all.” Jules answered back. She started taking pictures with her helmet cam, of the figures, the hieroglyphs, the archway. She had a feeling she was going to need proof of what was going on. Then she jumped in startled surprise.

“What are you doing?” Harry barked from right behind her.

“Gathering data Harry, you know that’s our job here!” Jules barked back, trying not to show her fear.

“No you don’t!” Harry raised some metallic object and swung to towards her, stumbling forward Seb stopped it, his visor smashed.

“Stop this now Harry!” Seb yelled. “What the hell is going on?”

Jules pulled at Seb, another blow from Harry knocked them back through the archway and out the other side, knocking the resonator over.

“Seb are you ok? Seb?” Jules hadn’t seen Seb’s visor smash, as she looked down she saw him suffocating, his eyes bulging in front of her. Pulling him up she realised the only way he was going to survive was to send him back. Pushing him to the wall he hit the rockface and fell. Pulling up the resonator she directed the beam to the rockface, but it was no good, the resonator was broken. By the time she got back to Seb all trace of life had gone.

In dumb silence she sat there for what seemed an age.

***

Jules attached the pictures and data into the log message and then continued.

“Harry locked out the launch vehicles controls so I can’t work the damn thing and get home. If you guys got your finger out you could rescue me in six months, more likely eight. I have supplies to last me three weeks if I ration. The math is simple there, I’m not even sure you could re-supply me before I starve. But let me know.”

Jules stared out the window again, the Earth was just appearing over the horizon.

“Maybe the only possible way I have to survive is try and go back. Maybe.”

Jules clicked the save and sent the log message. All she could do now was wait. Wait for what? Rescue? Harry? Death?

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

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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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