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

 

 

Planet Simon

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The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Been naughty have they?” Flartislap chuckled.

“They ran off with a tape measure.”

“Ooh, naughty boys!” Flartislap chuckled again.

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

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

“High princess actually.” Miranda corrected.

“Do forgive me!” Flartislap grinned.

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

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

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

“Mmm – mm wmhamt?” Harry mumbled.

“Stop eating the stock!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“They should go away now.”

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

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

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

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

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

Miranda looked at him, eyes wide.

“Yeah. I would say so!”

 

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

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The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 13

The assembled crew of motley beings from over the galaxy watched as the timer counted down, a computerised female voice counting down with it, at about seventy the voice was getting out of sync with the numbers, then the segments for the numbers started taking a like of their own. Finally the voice announced.

“Oh stuff it, chamber unlocking! There you go, wakey wakey, rise and shine!” The chamber lit up, then the power started flicking around it and the chamber went dark.

“That went well didn’t it?” The computerised voice returned.

Everyone watched. Waited. Looking at this oldish man in the chamber.

“What are we waiting for?” Whispered Ralph.

“For me to wake up!!!!!” The man’s eyes opened and he jumped up and out of the hibernation chamber and stood before them all. Well here I am, let get this service station going and get the sausage rolls defrosted and heated up. We don’t want to keep all these people waiting now do we?”

Everyone looked at Miranda. “Why me?” She whispered.

“You are the emperor’s daughter!” Harry smugly pointed out.

“Why her what? What’s going on?” The old man asked, somewhat puzzled but there wasn’t a dent in his enthusiasm.

“You’ve been in there a bit longer than you think!” Miranda stated matter of factly.

“A few years never hurt anyone!” The old man continued “How long out of curiosity.”

Harry cut in and pointed at Ralph. “See him?”

“Yes”

“He’s one of the local inhabitants.”

The old man stood closer to Ralph “My God, either you’ve had a damn good shave or I’m looking at a bit of evolution here. The last time I saw one of you you were swinging in the trees and picking the hair off each others back!” Looking down at his shirt he spied the ketchup stain “not much has changed I see, just lost the excess hair!” The man chuckled to himself.

“Oi!”

“Relax will you?” The old mad slapped him on the arm. “Right, where the others?” He turned around and looked into the other hibernation modules. He stopped and suddenly his enthusiasm was gone.

“Oh.” He sadly muttered.

“That’s what I mean, you’ve been in there, a long, long time!” Miranda comforted him.

“They – they were my friends. We were in this together and now…” The old man sat cross legged on the floor now quite despondent. In what was a move that surprised Ralph Gaz walked over to him, placing his small hand on his shoulder he calmly and softly (or as calmly and softly as a grating gargoyle can) told him.

“I know, something similar happened to me too!”

Harry joined him Gaz “Same for me.”

Now Ralph was suspicious, Harry was doing another one of his wind ups. Miranda went around to look the old man in the face. ” I know this is hard” She told him sympathetically. “But we have to get this station functional, there are hundreds of stranded spacecraft on Earth and hundreds more blockading the planet ready blow each other away. “Will you help us?”

The old man nodded.

“f you can give me the keys to the station I can start if you want to stay here a while?”

The old man slowly got up, wiped his face and walked over to a bulkhead door. “Access for 6121 Flartislap.”

“Access is slapping me in the face with a HUGE humpback whale!” The female computer voice returned. “What I mean is The whale is granted. I mean oh get on with it!”

The doors parted and there before them was the trading area of the Great Galactic Service Station, thick with dirt but it was vast and a clear view out to the spaceports beyond. Ralph actually felt excited.

“Right!” The old man shouted “Flartislap here get on with it!” With this he clapped and five or six pepper pot shaped droise sprang out from hatches around the room and started cleaning up. With vacuums coming out of their heads and brushes and air cleansers in a few moments Ralph could see this was a colourful place, blues and yellows and greens and purples, lights of all kinds of colours began activating.

“I thought that was a code – not his name!” Ralph whispered to Miranda.

“Different times!” Was all Miranda could come back with.

“That should get this place cleaned up soon.” Flartislap told Miranda purposefully.

Harry was at the freezers and was holding up a packet of sausage rolls and pasties. “These expired after six months!” He told Flartislap.

“It’s ok” He replied “Everyone knows if you freeze this it doesn’t matter what the off date is!”

“Maybe for a few years, but a few million?!?”

“They’ll be fine!” Insisted Flarislap. “Get your aprons on and get cooking! You – Ape man! Have you learned how to cook on your world yet?”

For a moment Ralph was wondering how to answer this, he was bit offended then he tucked his arms in like a monkey “Ooh, ooh, yeah! We cook meat over open fire – we advanced!”

Miranda choked and she stopped herself from laughing.

“Good!” Flartislap continued, pointing and gesticulating “Go and take sausage rolls to hot thing over there. Put in hot thing at one hundred and eighty celsius for 30 bangs and then slapper me five them into the bright and warm thing. Don’t light fine. This advanced cooking. You understand me ape man?”

“Don’t be silly of course I do!” Ralph replied, snatching the boxes from Harry and wandering off with them.

“There’s hope for them yet!” Flartislap nodded “You, pretty lady, what do I call you?”

“I’m Miranda, what can I do?”

“Help the ape man and make sure he doesn’t start a fire and get them all to line up in an orderly queue out there!”

“I think Gaz is onto the orderly bit!” Miranda smiled raising an eyebrow.

“Oi you lot get in here!” He grated “But don’t cause a pile up!”

Things seemed to be going normally for a moment, Harry was even helping and Boris had put on a maids apron and was trying to place cream cakes out in the chiller counter. then the station started shaking, vibrating and then this God awful tune if you could call it that started resonating from the surfaces of the station. Boris’s cakes exploded with cream thrown in every direction, sausage rolls flew from every end to every other end.

Then something even worse came through Teresa’s voice “I’m here to get my damn pasties, I’m not waiting in line! The Borian’s will get there first!”

 

What is not generally well known about Theresa May is she’s a Praxian from Praxia seventeen, they’re known throughout the galaxy as having the worst rock music ever. Back in her day Theresa was a head banger and this with the music has caused irreparable brain damage. Praxian music is well known for making the brains bleed from any other race. Some heads have even exploded. This is what the station had just been subjected to. In here old age Theresa has calmed a bit and this was soothing music. Even so the results are devastating. One of the cleaner robots found the nearest airlock and shot themselves out of it as the vacuum of space is less painful.

 

Her rating continued, even Gaz couldn’t make her get in line and dock her ship like any normal person.

“I see no reason why I should wait and pay after all this long. This isn’t the NHS you know… I’m taking over that station and I’m going to lock everyone else out! If you resist I will destroy you all!”

 

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

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The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 12

The ground shook under all of them, like an earthquake the shaking grew. Even the fighting cronies stopped their scrapping and stood, waiting for whatever was going to happen next. The ground shook so severely that all but a few were knocked to ground.

A huge crack opened into the ground, some of the few remaining cards fell into the crevice. Ralph pushed himself up, mouth wide open as he watched the ground parting and from the crevice a huge tube like structure, pushed up and supported like a metal tree trunk. The quake subsided and the structure rose higher and higher, Ralph tried to look as it rose but soon he was flat on his back watching as it disappeared from sight.

As he stared suddenly he saw a small black object falling toward him, smacking him straight on his forehead he grasped his head “OW!” Ralph protested, it was only a small stone but it must have fallen from some sign as he thought to himself that hurt (Or words to that effect).

When he opened his eyes again Miranda was stood over him “Come on Ralph! We’ve got to get back to the ship before these bozo’s do!” Pulling him up with what Ralph thought was surprising force, Miranda dragged him with Gaz and the two Tapians silently in tow.

“Get us up quick Harry!” Miranda shouted forward as the stringy alien rush forward. He pointed a device at the spaceship and pressed a button. The lights flashed and a ‘peep, peep’ like a human car unlocking. They all charged up the ramp, Miranda still pulling at Ralph. The one one up was a puffing Boris who collapsed on the floor when he got onto the craft.

“Harry get up up and our of here!” Miranda shouted. Harry was already stabbing at the controls and the craft lifted up, leaving behind a number of leaders of different races looking on with bleeding noses, teeth marks in their skin with a n=few nursing the odd black eye.

It would be fair to say at this point that they were… irritated.

 

It’s prudent to note at this point that irritated people are the number one source of problems throughout the galaxy. It happens when one or more being encounter one or more other beings from somewhere else. In complete innocence one or either does something quite by accident (or sometimes on purpose but let’s gloss over that) and in this interaction someone gets irritated.

What happens next depends on the irritation threshold of the person(s) who have been irritated. If it’s low then some kind of intense disagreement takes place and the two parties part company somewhat disgruntled and often causing more irritation.

For those who’s irritation level is high, the irritation festers, accumulates, grows and finally explodes in some kind of massive ball of intense anger. If anyone walks away from this they are considered lucky. This detail will help the reader gauge the kind of unstable uncertainty that now existed in the Watford Gap service station car park.

 


 

“What’s the hurry?” Ralph asked, almost fearing he knew the answer. Miranda didn’t answer just gave him a look that told him he should know better. Ralph just found a seat at the back of the control centre and was surprised to see Boris on the seat next to him stiff puffing away.

The spacecraft rose, following the huge metal support structure towards the service station.

“You see young man” Boris started talking to Ralph, he wasn’t sure if he should be glad or scared. “Now that the service station has been found, it needs to be activated so we can all use it”

“Don’t you just turn the light on and stuff?”

Boris chuckled “There’s a bit more to this!”

Ralph felt the ship come to a halt, the mechanical clamps that locked the ship’s docking port to the station locked fast.

“Right!” Miranda announced “We need you two now!” She demanded pointing at the two Tapians.

“What is it with them? They don’t speak!” Ralph asked Boris.

“They’re telepathic creatures, they don’t say a word and before you ask, their human appearance isn’t their real appearance!”
“Oh!” Was the only reply that Ralph could fathom.

“Lets go, you lot, even you Boris!” Miranda ushered everyone out of the airlock and into the station. “IRIS, keep an eye out for approaching ships and warn them off until we have the station activated. I think there’s going to be a rush for a while!”

IRIS harrumphed her response.


 

Ralph followed Boris out, looking down all those miles to the planet below, the metallic floor had panels of thick clear stuff. Ralph thought it could be glass but it was probably something space age and technical. The only light coming into the entry bay was from the planet, the station was dark and cold like he had stepped out into a frosty night on Earth.

“Is this made out of some kind of see through space material?” Ralph shouted to Miranda.

“Yup, you got it Ralph. We call it glass!”

Ralph shrugged and followed the rest of them towards a huge bulkhead door. The two tapians looked at each other and then pressed their hands to the door and closed their eyes.

“What’s going on?” Ralph whispered to Miranda.

“The station is unlocked with a telepathic key, the reason I got these two was becasue they’re basically a binary telepathic key. The station won’t activate without them.”

“They’re on the only key to this station?” Ralph asked in disbelief.

“They weren’t, but in the search for the station the Borians found the others and when they couldn’t tell them where the station was they shot them into space!” Miranda glared at Boris while relaying this little story.

Boris shrugged “We were sure they told the truth!”

Miranda’s unimpressed look made even Boris flinch. The seconds passed and nothing happened then suddenly light flickered and the station was in brightness, outside the station a red neon light wording The Great Galactic Service Station in fancy writing flickered into life and the station illuminated into pretty colours.

Back inside there was a further wait, the cold was getting to Ralph, blowing into his hands as he waited. Waited. Waited.

The door split open and four tubes in a line, tilted back could be seen. Miranda walked over to one, sweeping away the ice with her hand to reveal a human looking being, a bit older he thought with a big long beard. Harry cleared another to reveal a skeleton. The other two tube’s occupants had died long ago too.

“Let’s get him out of there!” Miranda whispered under her breath. “Activate!”

At the top of the tube a red digital display began to count down from 100.

“Please tell me this isn’t a bomb!” Ralph pleaded.

To be continued…

 

 

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

Planet Simon

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The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 11

Miranda, Gaz and Ralph froze. They all recognised the voice behind them and yet they couldn’t quite believe it.

“Boris?” Ralph asked. The three of them turned to face the scruffy bafoon.

“Nice one!” Miranda scoffed in a particularly unimpressed tone. “Harry take that thing off!”

“What do you mean?” Boris retorted “I’m no skinny runt in a suit!”

“Yeah, whatever!” Miranda strode over and began pulling at his face, Boris bent over with pain but Miranda wasn’t letting go. Boris’s screams of pain were letting louder as the pair wrestled.

“Man that thing is stuckon well!” She panted. It was then that Miranda became aware of the twenty or so armed guards behind the scruffy haired man and the blood trickling down his face.

“How did you get away from the Bak’Rah? I thought that would keep you out of the way!”

“It would have normally but it just so happened that auntie Doris’s sisters, cousin three times removed, daughter so happened to be on board as a guest of the high commander and convinced the Bah’Rah commander to let me go back to my ship. Small universe eh?” Boris jeered.

“Yes. Too damn small!” Miranda replied between gritted teeth.

“Are you taking the mickey?” Gaz grated at Boris? The small creature strode (as much as a small creature could) towards him gesticulating his hands towards the messed up Borian. “I should beat you to a pulp!”

“Leave it Gaz!” Miranda insisted.

It was too late, Gaz had lept onto Boris and setting about beating him. Boris was on the floor in a flash and in a chaos or arms and legs and grunting and grating Gaz seemed to be doing pretty well. The guards who at first trained their weapons onto the small creature began jeering and laughing at Boris’s inability to overwhelm the small creature.

Miranda was standing, in disbelief. Looking to the side she saw Ralph who was looking at her. As if expecting something amazing to happen. Nothing amazing needed to happen really, with everyone distracted Miranda pulled out the zap-o-kill and with a broad beam and a few shots brought the guards down to their knees, whimpering.

Gaz jumped off of Boris “Took your time didn’t you? What did you want a holographic invite?”

Boris looked shell shocked, Miranda pointed the zap-o-kill at Boris and his look dropped even more. “What are going going to do to me?” He asked nervously, looking round to see if any of his guards would save him. They were al doubled over in agony.

“I thought that was a zap-o-kill?” Ralph asked.

“It is.” Miranda seemed confused by the question.

“So why are they still alive?”

“The zap-o-kill, kills the desire to kill I suppose. Are you suggesting I should have a weapon that actually ended someone’s life? Why would I want that? The galactic high emperor banned weapons that kill centuries ago. I forget you humans haven’t caught up with us yet, you humans are so barbaric!” With this Miranda strode towards Boris.

“But it’s ok, to blow up a load of enemies in a spaceship?” Ralph shouted after.

“Yeah, that different isn’t it? Sure you can do that if you really wanted to but it’s a complete waste of time and resources for everyone.”

Ralph didn’t reply, some things in this great galaxy seemed good, other plain bonkers. But then living on Earth and especially in England this kind of madness seemed pretty normal.

Miranda woan handled Boris up “Up you get you!” She hissed.

“W-What are you going to do to me?” Boris stammered.

“Nothing, I just want to get this damn service station up and running like you and everyone else!”

“Hold it there!”

Miranda turned, Theresa May stood there with a small entourage of guards.

“No, you hold it!”

“No you”

All of a sudden around ten planetary leaders appeared with their guards ready to snatch… something.

“Right you lot! Listen to me!” Miranda shouted. Ralph moved closer to Miranda, thinking that she much have some plan. Gaz gruinted and snorted looking around to find out which target he was going to go after first, almost breaking his neck trying to decide.

“I have been trying to get the Great Galactic Service Station up and running. I have been hindered by you and everyone I’ve come into contact with!”

“I helped!” Whispered Ralph.

“Shut up!” Miranda whispered back. “We all want the same thing!” Miranda shouted again. “So why are we fighting each other like stupid humans?”

“Oh I see!” Theresa shouted. “The daughter of the galactic emperor thinks we don’t know what she’s up to!”

“What am I up to?” Miranda shouted back.

“You’re after all the pasties!” Theresa barked back.

In a moment of rather macabre brilliance that Harry would be proud of Miranda answered “Actually, the Corelians are the pasty monsters, the Borians, Bak’Rah, Aldeberans want the Mars bars!” Then Miranda ran out of ideas so on a roll she started waving and pointing “You want what they want, They want what you and and you buggers want everything! So why don’t you all sort out who has what and leave me out of it so I can give it to you!”

Miranda turned and ran, Ralph in shock didn’t see she had gone for a moment. Realising he turned and ran after her. Just as the boiling point of the assembled leaders kind of wel… boiled over. All kind of fighting started, Theresa was trying to knaw the arm off a Bak’Rah even though they didn’t want the same thing. It was total carnage.

Back at the control panel Miranda hauled Boris up “Can I trust you to stand there?”

“Yes” Boris replied shamefully.

Turning to the box Miranda saw a familiar face. “Harry! What are doing here?”

“Well, someone had to help you. I’ve set up the controls to activate the station.”

“Where is it?” Ralph asked.

“It’s above and around us Human. You’ll see, this will be a treat for you!”

“Hang on.” Miranda stopped him. “Do we really want to activate the station? Look at these idiots. Every single one of them fighting over Mars bard, Pasties and Pork scratchings. They’re been stranded here so long they’ve become so … human.

“But… You’re all kind of human!” Ralph protested.

“What?” The group protested.

“I agree you’ve moved on in so many ways and your technology is amazing but you’re also all totally barking mad!”

“That’s life in the galaxy Ralph.” Miranda scoffed.

“So… you’re human like. We’re not perfect at all, we’re as mad as a box of frogs. Just like you guys. Given them their service station. It might shut them up for five minutes. If you blew it up then all these aliens, including you would still be stranded here.”

“You’re right human!” Gaz grated. “I don’t want to be on this dirt ball any longer than I have to!”

“There, see!” Ralph protested.

“I wouldn’t mind going home either.” Boris insisted charmingly. “This bloody politics act is a nightmare and I can’t stand working for that Theresa. God knows I’ve tried to get rid of her!”

“Ok” Miranda calmly flicked the switch. Then a noise started whirring from right under them, louder and louder shaking the ground they stood on.

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

 

 

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 10

It is a universally accepted idea that ideas change the world er – Galaxy. The nature of the idea depends on how things change. At the time the intention is irrelevant, history decided if it was good or bad. It also depends on which side you were on and if you won or lost. This is why history texts vary wildly depending on who wrote them and what side of the particular fence they were on.

Right now Harry was at this point, telling Borian – mortal enemy of the Bak’Rah that they had given over their leader to them was a good idea for the six passengers and crew of the starship Frank (IRIS wouldn’t budge on the name). But from the point of view of those serving in fleets on both sides – well, it was too soon to write any history books… yet.

***

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t blow your ship to atomic particles right now?” The Borian shouted to Harry.

Totally unfazed by this raw aggression Harry calmly replied “Why don’t you do that to the Bak’Rah?” after all they have you leader and you can blow him to pieces while you do it.”

For some reason that defies all logic and this seemed like a good idea to the Borians. Shutting off communications they turned their attention to the Bak’rah this seemed to  resonate with the Bak’Rah as they turned their attention to the Borians and the two fleets moved towards each other in a situation that wasn’t likely to end well.

“Harry!” Miranda shrieked.

“What? We won’t have to worry about them now.” Harry chuckled.

“You really know how to put the alien among the humans don’t you?”

“He has a good teacher!” IRIS calmy cut in.

It was easy to forget that IRIS was always listening and watching. It was impossible to know what a psychopathic super computer was thinking or plotting but is was always best to  err on the side of safety. “Just get us back to Earth and this time follow Ralph’s instructions!” Miranda snapped.

Miranda kept quiet while they sped back to Earth, whether she found the Great Galactic Service Station or not this mission had created a huge mess. A mess she was going to have to answer for.

Ralph interrupted he thoughts. “Those two men we rescued from the pub.” Ralph asked cautiously.

“What about them?”

“They never talk and they’re stuffed into a room by themselves. What’s going on with them and what was this tape measure all about?”

Miranda smirked slightly “They’re the most wanted people in the whole Galaxy.”

“Why?”

“Well, they’re Tapians and that tape measure was meant to measure the size of the universe.”

Ralph’s face turned into one of total disbelief.

“It gets better. They were sent to the centre of the galaxy to use the black hole at it’s centre to hold the end while they carried out the measuring.”

“You expect me to believe this? It’s ridiculous!” Ralph protested.

“That is the nature of the Galaxy and the Universe Ralph. All round and everywhere are things that in the cold light of logic are insane, illogical and unbelievable. You can’t tell me you really think that what goes on in the human race is sane? Or that you’re the only ones like it?”

“Hmm… no I guess.” Ralph pondered.

“Remind me before this is over to tell you about Zargonites. It’s a tale of total insanity that you won’t believe!”

“I’m already there, but you say there’s more?”

“Oh there’s lots more” Miranda smirked, arching her eyebrow.

“Where are we going?” Harry asked impatiently.

Ralph pulled out his phone and searched for their location. “Right, this is where we need to be!” Ralph put the screen in front of Harry and scrolled through the map and pointed. “There!”

“Right, we should be there in only a few minutes.”

***

Brian rolled his eyes as he opened the door to the black people carrier “Come on we only stopped here for a coffee and some cake! Now we have three neck rest, two blankets, one teddy bear, and I’m ten quid lighter becasue of the claw machine!”

“Don’t forget my book!” Brian’s wife Claire teased while looking through the pages as she walked.

“How could I forget?” Brian jeered.

“I don’t know darling, but you are sweet!”

“Tell that to the bank manager when the credit card bill comes in! The car is full of more junk we picked up from service stations on the way home than we actually left with!”

“Oh stop grumbling.” Clair pouted her juicy red lips and planted a kiss on his lips.

Then is started, soft at first but in less than ten second a wind came out of nowhere, blowing the couple into their car and the door shut.

“What is going on?” shouted Brian.

“Look daddy!” Came a little voice from the back of the car! “Space man!”

“What?” Brian looked up. “Oh – My – God!!”

Brian untangled himself from Claire and jumped into the driver’s seat, Hurriedly turning on the car, the engine eventually starting, Brian looked up and saw the spacecraft landing, the ramp was down and four alien looking figures were making their way down it!

“I’ve not got my seatbelt on daddy!” Came one voice, another cried “I want to see the space men!”

“Nope! We’re off!” Over-revving the engine Brian sped off, turning sharply the entire contents of the car, children, wife, dog all thrown to the side of the car as he turned sharply out of the car park. Not bothering with the exit he drove up the kerb, over the grass and through the trees, a splattering of grass and mud left in the car’s wake.

***

“They were in a hurry!” Harry chuckled to himself.

“You’ve blown our cover totally this time Harry!” Miranda scolded.

“What cover? We blew it ages ago!”

“No. You did!” Miranda looked at him through slitty eyes. “You look after the ship Harry and no funny business!” Harry wandered off forlornly, Gaz and Ralph stood either side of Miranda, turning she pursed he lips and let out a loud whistle. “Come on you two! You ok Gaz?”

“Hangover still!” Gaz complained nursing his head.

“Well get over it, I’m going to need you to help me find the access point and activate the station!”

Gaz merely groaned, following Miranda down the Ramp, Ralph also followed  the two Tapians also followed, looking around nervously, looking at each other as if communicating but not a word was said.

“Are they telepathic? Ralph whispered to Miranda.

“Oops, did I forget to tell you?” Miranda smirked.

“What are we looking for?”

“I’m not sure” Miranda puzzled, looking around. “There should be an access panel somewhere.”

“Do you know what it looks like?”

“Nope!”

The three of them spread out looking around the now empty car park, There was nothing to see, Ralph was looking around, although he didn’t know why. Then something caught his eye. Gaz being small had to climb onto something to see, a green CATV box. Ralph ran over to Gaz and picked him up.

“I’m going to smash you if you don’t put me down!” Gaz grated.

“Oh shut up!” Ralph pulled off the plastic green cover and threw it aside. Looking down he didn’t know what it was. But it wasn’t human.

“It’s here!” Ralph shouted out. Miranda was already behind him, making him startle.

“Why don’t you tell the whole world?” She teased. Smiling like a child who had gone to the freezer to find frozen broccoli and found ice cream instead she turned to Gaz “Right Gaz, let’s get this thing going!”

“Not so fast!” Came a voice from behind them.

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

 

 

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 9

“Why have you brought us out here?” Ralph cried, pushing his finger through his hair and gripping it in frustration? “We have to go about two hundred miles and you’ve brought us probably two hundred light years!”

“How did you know that?” Harry asked surprised. “Maybe you’re better at space travel than we thought!”

“Oh please!” Ralph shouted to the roof of the control centre.

“Well you will name your places after galaxies, anyone could get confused. I’m beginning to realise why it is that the Great Galactic Service Station has been so hard to find!” Harry was sounding obviously flippant.

“Alright human – calm down!” Miranda cut in, sensing that the two were likely to start fighting at any moment. “Harry can you take us back please. You can show him where to go on one of your silly route map things. The A to Z isn’t it?”

“Oh for heaven’s sake!” Ralph cursed. “For intelligent people you aren’t exactly… intelligent.”

Miranda and Harry said nothing, Harry changed course taking them back towards Earth, Ralph felt bad as he watched the stars shooting by. He had been rude, but then he comforted himself  with the fact that he had been pretty much abused since he had been taken from Earth. Only Ralph, Miranda and Harry were in the control centre. Ralph was looking glum, it seemed that his one home in the universe, the home of the human race could be blown to pieces. He felt and hand on his shoulder but he continues to be glum and didn’t look up.

Miranda sat beside him, for once she seemed to be empathetic to Ralph. “It can’t be easy can it human?”

“My name is Ralph” Ralph replied, still not looking at her. “What can’t be easy?”

“Knowing that your world could be obliterated to dust and not being there.”

Ralph turned and looked at her. “I don’t want it obliterated to dust and being there won’t help!” Ralph was fairly indignant in his reply and added “I’ve not fed my cat since I’ve been here. She;s likely to have run away or been run down by a yobbo in a car with loud exhaust and those stupid wheels that stick out the side.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about Ralph, but it sounds bad.” There was kindness in Miranda’s voice.

Ralph felt finally as if he was slightly understood. “Then she will be obliterated to dust with the rest of the planet before I can bury her in her favorite spot where she would sit in the sun.”

“I think the cat will be fine.” Miranda reassured him “So will your planet if you’re right and you can help us find the Great Galactic Service Station.” Miranda actually smiled at this point, not a big smile but a kindly smile.

Ralph smiled back, then suddenly was thrown forward into the far wall as the spaceship came to sharp halt. Both Ralph and Miranda ended up in a twisted help.

“Is that my foot in my mouth or yours?” Ralph mumbled.

“I’m not sure!” Miranda screeched “I’m too busy wondering if I have your finger up my nose! What’s going on Harry?”

“Well it looks like we’ve stopped.” Harry replied matter of factly.

“Thank you for that!” Miranda shrieked “I know this, what would be more useful is if you could tell me why and what else is going on!” Miranda and Ralph were just crawling up as Ralph stood he wiped a finger on his trousers.

“Well it seems that Bak’rah have decided to turn up too and they have decided to do their trick of throwing up an energy cordon around the Earth.”

“Great! Just great!” Miranda huffed. “What else can go wrong?”

“Don’t ask that!” Ralph cringed.

Harry turned to Miranda “You’re forgetting we have the one thing that the Bak’Rah will be likely to let us in for!”

Miranda’s eyes widened at the thought that entered her mind. This thought permeated through her head, into her body and back into her head again. Not only was this idea the stuff of evil genius, it was the kind of thought that was more evilly cunning than… well a cunning thing.

“Boris!!” Both Harry and Miranda said in unison. The instantly marched off to the airlock where Gaz was guarding. Well, the term guarding was a rather loose term, he was happily playing some kind of three dimensional card game with Boris inside the airlock. It was also apparent they both liked Aldeberran Whiskey. Miranda pressed a button and opened the door pointing her zap-o-death at Boris.

“Oh please dear lady you don’t have to point that thing somewhere else I won’t harm you! In fact your little guard here has been very accommodating!”

“I like you Boris!” Gaz’s voice grated “I think you’re like me – misunderstood!”

“Great, it seems out little guard now has a soft spot for the leader of an evil conquering war race!” Miranda moaned, rolling her eyes. “Harry go and get Gaz sobered up before he ends up opening the other end of the airlock and blowing us into space!”

“I’m very grateful you haven’t shot me into space you know. Here would you like a pork scratching?” Boris was clearly in a drunkenly cheerful mood.

“It’s not us you should be concerned about – IRIS has a thing for shooting unwanted lifeforms into space. I want you and your guards out here, I need you off this ship. Don’t try anything either, or dying in the vacuum of space will seem a pleasurable way to go!” Miranda motioned them out, Boris was helped by his guards as she couldn’t really stand well by himself. Miranda chuckled to herself as she walked behind the staggering Boris. The two Tapian’s opened the door to their room to see what the commotion was. Miranda caught eye of them and wide eyed with shock she motioned for them to get back in which they promptly did.

Ralph stood in the control centre and watched as a drunken Boris staggered in followed by Miranda . Harry walked in from the other side, whispering ‘Boo’ as he walked past then chuckling to himself.

“Harry can you see if you can raise the Bak’rah lead ship?”

“I think I can get a response from them!” He smirked.

“Ha!” snorted Boris, you won’t be able to get anything out of them! They don’t talk to anyone! They don’t like anyone and only do what they want to do, when they want to do it!” Boris chuckled to himself.

“This is so true!” Miranda sighed with fake resignation. “But there are some they really, really hate! Like… Borians! So the leader of the Borians I think will be a nice little bargaining chip to get us back and get this mess sorted!” Miranda pointed her zap-o-death at the guards, making sure they knew resistance was futile.

“They have agreed to let us pass the cordon in exchange for Boris here! I’ve given them the coordinates and I have an access gate position.”

“Great! Take us there Harry!”

“On my way! Just one thing though the Borian fleet is heading this way – all of them!”

“Great!” Miranda hissed.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got an idea!” Harry exclaimed mysteriously.

“Now I’m worried….” Miranda locked her stare onto Harry with a ‘Don’t do something stupid’ look.

Harry on the other hand had other ideas. Doing something stupid…

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 8

It has been generally accepted in the galaxy that fighting in space is a fairly pointless activity and very little is gained from it. The great Nargan battle that took place a centuries ago between the two races from the Algol binary star demonstrates this very nicely. The race from the smaller star were rather unhappy because it was always cold and wanted to live on the Narg home planet because it was warmer there.

hundreds of battleships from both sides were sent to settle the matter once and for all. What should be known at this point is that Earth science fiction films don’t give a very realistic idea of what starships are like, they can mount all kinds of fun weapons on them but the concept of invisible energy shields is pure fantasy. Because of these tiny drawbacks the result was that they all blew themselves to pieces in about twenty minutes. Fifteen if you don’t count the tea break in the middle.

War in space is pointless.

So, this becomes a real problem when four sets of battle fleets arrive just outside the Moon’s orbit and wait. The other thing to know about battle fleets is that when you have a large number of them in a relatively small space that someone soon get a little upset over something. So four battle fleet around Earth is nothing but a ticking time bomb. Especially when only one of them has brought Mars bars and pasties!

***

“This is NOT good!” Miranda was pacing up and down the control centre. Her hair was all over place and no one could suggest anything to her without being severely shouted at. All the rest of them could do is watch.

“How can I possibly sort out this mess?!?” She yelled again.

“I have an idea…” Harry dared to say.

“Forget it! The last ‘bright’ idea you had caused this mess in the first place! So – SHUT UP!”

“Miranda” The calm and sadistic voice of IRIS announced among the chaos.

“WHAT?!? Oh, IRIS it’s you. Yes, what is it?” Miranda forced herself to be calm, inside she was seething.

“Two things, firstly I have translated the Tryllian hieroglyphs for you. Secondly I have prepared for you a medication that will help to calm you down.”

“Finally! Some hope among the imbeciles that I’m surrounded by!” There was much venom when imbeciles slipped her lips, her mood was dark. She stood there for a few moments, breathing hard trying to collect here thoughts. Looking down she saw on the console two small blue pills had materialised with a glass of water next to them.

“These for me?” Miranda angrily directed at IRIS. Picking up the pills and water she put the pills into her mouth. “I have to say” Miranda mumbled. “This is very helpful of you IRIS, normally you would…” with force Miranda spat the pills from her mouth.

“You’re trying to kill me you psychopathic computer!” Miranda yelled at IRIS, incandescent with rage.

“I was trying to calm you down Miranda.” IRIS interrupted with a frightening calm.

“Permanently I’ll bet!” IRIS only replied with a cold silence. “If you want to help you can tell me about those Tryllian hieroglyphs!”

“Oh yes, those.” IRIS seemed to sounding innocent in that ‘who me’ kind of way “Well, the translation is a little sketchy so don’t get your hopes up!”

“Anything would be good at this point!” Miranda spat back, still angry but but as angry as she was.

“Well is seems the previous information that led us the the human’s house was a deliberate decoy to deter the likes of the Borian’s. There’s some garbled stuff about a ford and a gap and this code: SP599680.”

“Great – more stupid clues that will probably lead us to another stupid decoy location. This mission has been a disaster so far and the only thing we have to look forward to is a catastrophe!”

“Not necessarily, the translation mentions the location has plenty of accessible parking, rest rooms, baby changing facilities. You can also get a hot sausage roll and there’s a McDonald’s!” IRIS continued, Miranda looked at the computer with suspicion.

“Why do I think you’re poking fun at me?”

“Me? I think you do me an injustice…”

“Hang on, I might be able to help!” Ralph cut in, desperate to finally be of assistance.

Miranda raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

“Don’t be like that, we need to get  ourselves lower and open the door so I can get signal to my phone!”

“Why not just connect to the wifi?” Harry suggested sarcastically.

“You have wifi?” Ralph’s mouth fell open “Really?”.

“Of course, how do you think I connect with home?” Harry was using this to full effect to make Ralph look stupid.

Ralph was face down on his phone “You don’t even have a wifi password, don’t you know about security?”

“Who’s out here to use it?” Harry turning the sarcasm up yet another notch.

Miranda looked at Ralph intensely “Well?”

Ralph chuckled “Well I’m not that stupid, I could work this out where you couldn’t!” Ralph handed his phone to Miranda.

“Watford Gap Service Station?!?” She shouted, half in anger, half with excitement.

“According to that code, it was a grid reference.” Ralph added smugly. Harry turned away and grunted.

“That’s the name of a place?” Miranda laughed “You humans are stupid! How do we get there?”

“I thought I was stupid?” Ralph was starting to enjoy this new found power.

“Well… err… ok, maybe you’re not so stupid.” Miranda admitted reluctantly.

“Follow the M25 round to the north of London, we can’t miss it. It’s near Watford.”

“Did you get that Harry?” Miranda asked commandingly.

“Sure, I’ll get us there. You see if I don’t. There is just one thing the Vargon battle fleet has also just turned up!”

“Great!” Miranda rolled her eyes and put her hands through her hair again. “Another race that just turns up for no reason to a battle. They probably think that there’s an 80’s pop band reunion going on!”

“What?” asked Ralph in disbelief “What are you on about?”

“As well as being one of the mega powers of the galaxy, they are also know for being the race that brought the universe cheap 80’s pop music!”

“You’re having a laugh! Come on!” Ralph didn’t believe a word of it “Everyone hates that stuff, I’m not saying we’re proud of it but it didn’t come from an alien race!” Ralph insisted.

“Seriously. They used it to psychologically destroy the sanity of entire planets before invading them. We shipped it off to you lot because you actually seemed to like it. We used Earth as like a toxic weapons repository. It’s a banned weapon throughout the galaxy!”

Ralph stood there for a moment, stunned. All those horrible, but strangely likable 80’s tunes. He couldn’t quite take it in, as he stared out of the window, stars flying past a thought dawned on him.

“Harry, where are we going?”

“The M25 galaxy, like you said!” Harry replied sharply “Where’s this Watford system you mentioned?”

“No! You idiot – I meant the M25 motorway!” Ralph shouted, clearly irritated.

Miranda looked at Harry, Harry looked at Miranda. “Oh.” Harry grumbled.

 

©Simon Farnell 2017

 

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 7

It had to be said that Harry’s Boris suit looked like it would fool his mother. This was a terrifying thought so they agreed to leave it there. Boris had been no trouble at all, once Miranda had zapped him, Gaz had jumped on his back and was hitting him across the head. Then both Harry and Ralph had knocked him unconscious with things that looked suspiciously like baseball bats. It had only taken three good firm whacks – each.

Ralph had rather enjoyed the experience, hitting the man that seemed like such an annoyance for so long  until he was unconscious was therapeutic. Ralph decided more people should try it.

“So how’s this going to work?” Miranda asked Harry. “If you get caught I can’t help you!”

“I know!” Harry sighed. “But we have to find the service station before the Borians!”

“Right, it’s early in the morning and I’m going to drop you off not far away near this big white building.”

“That’s Buck Palace!” Ralph intervened.

“Whatever.” Miranda dismissed. “Get ready, you know where we’ll be waiting for you.. Just try and blend in and don’t make a scene ok?” Miranda took the controls of the spacecraft and guided it downwards towards the long straight road that stretched out in front of her on the viewer.

***

Strange and unusual things happen to us all in life. The universe has a certain way of playing tricks on the mind, leaving us to question our perception, our eyes or our mental state. Sometimes all three. In this instance a tramp called Derek was just waking from his night out on his park bench, he usually slept here. His bag with the few possessions he had were his pillow and a sheet of cardboard protected him from, well, not much really. It was at this instant as he stared out onto the road and folded up his cardboard sheet that from out of nowhere a brown mini appeared and at massive speed disappeared.

Jim sat there stunned for a moment, pieces of paper and dust swept over him and an empty drinks can rattled down the road in the wake of the draft that was caused. Derek sat there, unmoved. Eventually he exclaimed that he knew now! What it was that he knew is likely to keep poets and philosophers guessing for centuries, but for now this is not important. What is important is this – Derek’s life was now changed.

***

“What am I looking for?” Harry cursed as he rooted through the office. Books and documents flying everywhere. For the first half an hour Harry and tried to keep the office tidy, then he lost his patience and just scoured the office for the clue that was somewhere in it. Suddenly there was a knock on the door, Harry tried pathetically to hide the mess, standing in front of his desk, grinning.

“Come in!” Harry breathlessly called, trying to remain calm. A young well dressed blonde woman opened the door.

“I need to go through your schedule for today sir, is now a good time?” She politely asked.

“Err, well not right now really? Can it wait?” Harry bumbled in his best Boris impression, trying but failing to to look inconspicuous.

“That’s ok.” The assistant replied. “I hope you don’t mind me asking, are you ok sir?”

“Yes, yes I’m fine Harry grinned.” The assistant made her way out, Harry turned to carry on then she came back in.

“Sorry, nearly forgot, the PM is coming to see you in ten minutes!” Finally the assistant left, closing the large panelled Oak door behind her.

“Dammit! Ten minutes?” Harry cursed (again). It was then that Harry stopped and thought. His foot moved squeaking and old floor board.

“The clue is in the office!” He mumbled to himself “This furniture and all the stuff can be moved, so it’s either not in here or…” Harry pulled up the carpet, dragging it back as far as he could. Nothing, he moved the furniture to the centre as much as he could, the bookcase falling and blocking the door. There was a knock.

“Are you sure you’re alright sir?” The little voice on the other side of the door sounding concerned.

“Yes, I’m fine. Don’t worry!” Harry called back.

“I’m going to get some help sir!” The assistant sounded insistent.

Harry ignored her, it would take someone a while to get through the door anyway. Pulling at the carpet as hard as he could Harry lost his balance and feel back. Getting up he rubbed his head.

“There you are my lovely!” He mumbled in quiet delight. There in front of him carved into a floor board in old writing were some symbols he didn’t recognise. But the did recognise the GGSS in old lettering. Out of the inside pocked of his suit he picked out a long silver object. It was a laser-o-cut device. Pointing at the board he lasered it out of the rest of the board and tucked it under his suit. He got up and looked around, he still had to get out and the only way right now was a narrow window.

“Boris, what are you doing in there?” Harry knew it must be the PM. “I’m here to talk about your favourite subject Boris, you know Bre…”

“Shut up you old crone!” Harry yelled. He pushed the window open and jumped out. His suit was fitted with a float-o-matic-flight-enabler. So he glided out of the window and down onto the street below, where stunned onlookers stood and gawped.

“What are you all looking at?” Harry growled, he made his way to the Mini, got in and was off like a shot. The sound of annoyed drivers sounding their horns could be heard for some way.

***

“What do we do now?” the advisor asked the PM.

The PM sat back in her seat, thoughtful for a moment. In the thick quiet the followed the sound of a letter falling from the board behind her was more than obvious.

“Call the fleet in, she instructed. When they ask why, tell them that the Borians might be close to finding the Great Galactic Service Station.”

“Tell them to bring Mars bars and fuel too. Me may have to either fight or negotiate. Also make sure they pack in some of my favourite pasties, I haven’t had one for ages!”

The advisor left the room, closing the door behind him.

“How can you be so sure?” A dark serious man asked the PM. She wandered over to the window and looked out over London.

“They’ve been looking for it for so long, what else could it be?” The PM replied.

“Is war the answer?” The man asked coldly.

“What other way is there?” The PM scolded back.

 

“I’ll signal to my fleet as well!” The man pulled out his phone and he too left.

***

“I recognise these, they’re Tryllian hyroglyphs!” Miranda announced, se was peering through a magni-glass as the old symbols carved in the wood that Harry handed her. “IRIS should be able to decipher them!”

“I’ll go and take it to IRIS” Harry picked up the wood and started for the control centre.

“Err, you might want to look at this!” Ralph announced.

“What is it human?” Miranda sighed.

“Look” Ralph told her, showing her the BBC news channel.

Miranda’s mouth dropped, images of a Mini zooming out of central London, similar to one seen in Grimsby a few days before. Then there was the smartphone video of Boris Johnson floating out of a window, alighting on the ground. Then on the bottom scroll, reports of a Boris imposter.

“Well?” Questioned Ralph. Harry was quiet.

“Have you seen that? The price of chocolate has gone up!”

“Not that!” Said Ralph.

“I know human! What were you thinking of Harry? I said keep a low profile!” Miranda scolded.

“I couldn’t help it!” Harry complained. “It was either that or I was going to get found out!”

Miranda put her head in her hands. “What can’t anything go the way it should?”

“There’s more too!” Grated Gaz, I have word that there are four other battle fleets on their way towards Earth. It seems they think the Borians know where the Great Galactic Service Station is!”

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2017

 

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

 

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