Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 5)


Going back to the well again. A well that’s in need of refilling, I might add. But until it dries up…here’s some more earplug action!

Moments later, having been shown the stairs that led down to the conveyor belt bay, and whilst their wedding guests line-danced to the music of Las Bragas…  

…Magnuss and Hair-Trigger began searching for a way into the vessel… 

 And it didn’t take long either. But once inside… 

 …confusion reigned.  

“Oh, this is all so alien.” Hair-Trigger observed. “They did say that Bunk-Bunk Bunson was an earplug, didn’t they? This doesn’t look like earplug technology to me: not even from the future.”

 But they needn’t have worried unduly: it was just a weird type of air-lock that they were unfamiliar with. Further into the interior of the ship, normality resumed…

 “Look,” a relieved Hair-Trigger said as they passed a portal that displayed an image of  what space would look like, once the ship had taken off of course,  “a fancy interface panel and an arrow – pointing towards the bridge.”

“Oh well,” Magnuss replied cheerfully, “in that case I think it’s best we follow it.”

Although, by space ship standards, the Tankerville Norris was no behemoth; it was kinda large for two earplugs. It took them almost five minutes to find their way to the bridge. But when they did, they were mightily impressed…  

The lighting was clearly in hibernation mode, but even by its feeble illumination, it was clear to the newlyweds that the ship was advanced beyond their comprehension – though they did notice that one of the chairs, which they assumed were pilot positions, sat slightly askew. Then a pair of mauve lights chose that moment to burst into gentle incandescent life…

Hair-Trigger was on the point of squealing with delight, when suddenly the main lights came on, and the askew pilot’s chair straightened itself automatically…  

“Wow,” Magnuss uttered breathlessly, “and I didn’t even have to clap my hands or anything!” 

Then, ignoring the fact that there was no obvious view screen in front of the pilot’s position, they rushed forward for a reverse view of the self-straightening chair…  

“I’d like one of these in our rented apartment.” Hair-Trigger stated her appreciation of the technology that now confronted her. “Every time I clip it with the vacuum cleaner or fall over it in a drunken stupor – and send it into a dizzying spin – I won’t need to put it straight again!” 

Magnuss was amused by this; but he was also concerned that the chairs looked very heavy and uncomfortable. “They’ve got lots of technological lumps on the back of them.” He said. “I wonder if we can feel them through the futuristic padding?” 

Well the only answer to that question was to test them…  

“You first, Missus Earplug.” Magnuss said. 

“No-no, no one should go first.” Hair-Trigger replied. “We are a team. We’re one – you and I: we’ll sit down at the same time – together.”

So they did…   

But as they settled themselves into the chair’s luxurious embrace, they became aware of an X, with little lights at every point, as it appeared in the air before them. Of course they had no idea what it meant. And it was at that juncture that they noticed the absence of a main view screen.

“I wish we had a user’s manual.” Hair-Trigger said. Then she had a sudden thought: “Belay that,” she added, “I think I know what that is. In fact I get the distinct feeling that I know a lot more about this ship’s workings than I should.”

Realisation struck Magnuss like a football boot up the rear end. “Of course,” he roared in understanding and comprehension, “when we couldn’t see the bridge properly, the lights came on. When you spotted the off-set chair, it righted itself. And now that the ship knows that we want a main view screen…”

But he got no further, because…  

…the X was replaced by a holographic view of what lay outside the Tankerville Norris. 

“Flipping heck,” Magnuss exploded, “we’re no longer inside the museum: we’re floating outside!” 

And they were too…  

This time Hair-Trigger did squeal with delight. “Whatever we think – consciously or sub-consciously – the ship responds. Oh Magnuss: we don’t need to learn how to fly this ship. We don’t even need an auto-pilot: it’s just reads our minds!” 

People in the museum had become aware that the Tankerville Norris had become airborne. Wherever they were, and whatever they were supposed to be doing, they all stopped to watch events unfold on the museum’s giant public screens…  

They watched – some of them in stunned silence; others with very squeaky bottoms – as the beautiful blue vessel eased away and levitated above the nearby estuary…  

…where a pair of tourists – Clive and Indigo Firebush – were engaged upon a kayaking holiday…    

…and who wondered what had caused a momentary shadow to cross their path and frighten them witless – especially after having looked upwards where they could see nothing but open sky.

Of course the reason why they could detect no sign of the Tankerville Norris was because it had already breached the Earth’s atmosphere and was in space…  

“Whoo,” Magnuss said as he and his wife peered out through the huge magnifying observation window, “that was smooth.” 

“And quick too.” Hair-Trigger added. “So what do we do now?” But, having received no reply from her new husband, she suddenly recognised the look upon his boyishly handsome face. He was in telepathic communication with his brothers…  

“Yo, Bro,” Rudi yelled, both mentally and verbally, “your ship is fully stocked: you’ve got a full complement of proton torpedoes: go have yourselves some fun.” 

“Yeah,” Chester added, “we can look after the museum in your absence. We’re not entirely useless!” 

High above the remaining four Earplug Brothers, systems aboard the Tankerville Norris activated in a pre-determined sequence…  

…and the tail lights came on. 

Having returned to the bridge…  

…the sole occupants shared a glance; then stared straight ahead. 

“Ready?” Magnuss inquired. 

“Ready.” Hair-Trigger replied. 

Upon her Omnipresent Scanner, Cushions Smethwyke watched in open-mouthed (and very toothy) fascination…  

A split second later the Tankerville Norris began its maiden voyage… 

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

What kind of honeymoon can Magnuss and Hair-Trigger expect? Not a regular type, that’s for certain. Tune in again to discover just how irregular!

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