Trade negotiations were long and tough. Neither ‘Golden Boy’ was willing to compromise. But eventually good sense shined its light of wisdom through the kitchen window; and after a nice café cortado and a slice of carrot cake, Magnuss left with almost everything he wanted; and, as Nigel followed him to a place from which he could launch his flying saucer without incinerating anyone, he too felt satisfied.
“There is much to learn,” he whispered to himself, “from a people capable of surviving in such a dangerous place as this Museum of Future Technology.”
“Well,” Magnuss said as they prepared their farewells, “I’m really glad I came now. And that carrot cake is just the best. Maybe you can give Hair-Trigger the recipe when the K T Woo lands. Or is it your Mum’s secret recipe?”
“My mother was a brainless oik.” Nigel said good naturedly. “All of we founding fathers had mothers – and fathers too, for that matter – with the intelligence quotient of a dead tuber. We only received enlightenment twenty-three years ago, remember? No, it’s my lovely wife, Gloria’s, recipe. I’ll ask her to jot it down for your girlfriend. Oh, by the way: you never did name our planet: could you do that for me?”
Magnuss tried to prevaricate. “Ugh, name your planet? What, you mean now?”
“If you would be so kind.” Nigel replied. “I’d like to announce it tonight on my late-late TV show.”
Magnuss racked his brains for an excuse to avoid angering the planet’s protectors. But he couldn’t find one. So he then racked his brains again – in search of inspiration. But all he could come up with was an episode from his favourite television show – Next Stop: the Stars. He recalled one of his favourite episodes in which Captain Perp was forced into a cloning machine that malfunctioned and so produced a copy of himself that was identical in every way except the clone had huge jug ears and a large bulbous nose. He recalled too the name of the fictitious world upon which the cloning machine existed.
“Scroton.” He said confidently. And the city can be called Scroton Prime. Yeah? Sounds good?”
“Perfect.” Nigel whispered. “I’ll tell no one that it was your idea – that way you need not fear terrible retribution.”
“Excellent.” Magnuss replied as he clambered aboard his ex-K’plank the Space Wanderer’s space ship. “Well I’ll see you later. Byee.”
Moments later he was climbing into the alien sky – leaving Nigel and the other cable ends waving enthusiastically below…
Then, as he placed distance between himself and the cable end city that by morning would be henceforth known as Scroton Prime, Magnuss called the K T Woo…
“Good news, Captain.” He said as he leaned forward towards the microphone conspiratorially. “Start your engines: we’re good to go. I’m on my way back to you as I speak. Prepare to rendezvous in orbit.”
Aboard the K T Woo, Sinclair Brooch was enormously relieved…
“Oh Nancy,” he said to his wife who sat beside him in the First Officer’s chair, “I’m enormously relieved. Can you take the con please; I’m off to Shuttle Bay Two to welcome the little pink guy home. Ada, you come too: you’re really good at un-latching cupolas.”
Two minutes later the shuttle bay had been re-pressurised, and two crewplugs – Ada Muffin and Byron Whipsnaid – leapt aboard the cooling saucer – to find…
“Argh!” Byron bellowed in consternation. And Ada screamed shrilly in horror.
“Captain,” she added, as she and Byron rushed to the edge of the saucer’s hull…
…”Sorry to report that Magnuss is gone. Abducted from his ship by unknown and unseen powers!”
© Paul Trevor Nolan