Magnuss would have continued, but an increase in the ambient light told him that morning had arrived…
…and already the immigrant street cleaners were hard at work. This was a shame, because there was nothing the brothers would have liked more than to see subsequent holiday snaps. And there was nothing more that Bunty, Daisy, and Ginger would have liked more than to lift off from the Ice World, which is, of course, what happened…
“Byee.” They yelled as they waved from the window at some green earplugs; a big boulder; and three arctic plugmutts.
They continued to wave until the freighter had placed the planet well astern of itself…
Assuming (in a way that only the young can) that they would now be returning to the Museum of Future Technology with a hold jam-packed with ice cubes, the three girls sat themselves down in the vessel’s only cafeteria…
“It’s lucky that these freighters sometimes carry passengers.” Ginger said as they sat around waiting for a menu to arrive. “We’d be right up kaka creek without an outboard motor if we had to survive on robot rations.”
“I wonder if this is a Café Puke franchise.” Bunty said hopefully, as her eyes searched the room for signage. “I don’t much like their coffee; but they bake some nice blueberry muffins.”
But Daisy wore her practical head: “If we’re the only life-forms aboard…well I think we’re going to wait an awfully long time for a waiter to appear. Perhaps we should consider self-service.”
However, as though to make her appear foolish, a waiter did appear…
Of course, it was a robot waiter. “Yes?” He said.
Whilst Daisy was recomposing herself, Rudi, Valentine, Chester, and Miles were preparing to leave the apartment of their brother and his wife…
“Been a real groove.” Valentine said in a complimentary manner.
“Yeah, sho’nuf has.” Rudi agreed. “We got some hero-stuff to do in a promotional video for the museum; but when it’s done, we’ll come back for Part Two.”
“That’s right.” The twins said as one. “But we want the same chairs: they fit our bums exactly right.”
“You betcha.” Magnuss replied.
Then, as they made for the door, Hair-Trigger said, “I’ll write your names on them in felt-tip pen. Maybe I’ll run up some gingham covers for them too. We can all have different colours.”
So, as the family broke up in the museum; aboard the distant freighter…
…the girls had decided upon a Crappachino each.
“Wow, get a whiff of that.” Daisy gushed. “It smells almost drinkable!”
“Thank you.” Bunty said to the robot waiter. “Um…I don’t like to address you as ‘waiter’: do you have a name I might use?”
The robot waiter wasn’t used to being treated so nicely. Actually, it wasn’t used to being treated in any manner: Daisy, Bunty, and Ginger were its first customers since coming aboard several months earlier. It quickly searched its memory banks. It appeared to have a choice of several. But it didn’t want to confuse the young earplugs, so it selected the name at the top of the list.
“Hans Dudishes.” It replied.
Bunty gave it a sidelong look. “Hans Dudishes?” She asked disbelievingly. “As in Hands Do Dishes? I think you’re having a joke with us. No, what is it really?”
This jolted the robot waiter: it had never considered the possibility that one of its creators might make a joke of its verbal identification. It selected the second name on the list: “Ada Hole?” It offered.
Ginger screwed up her nose.
“Sir Charles Forthright-Twang?” It said with a lilt of forlorn hope.
“Nah,” Daisy said doubtfully. “Try something else.”
The robot waiter decided to start at the bottom of the list. “My name,” it said, “is Tildatong Tong-Tong.”
At this, all three girl’s eyes lit up.
“That’s it.” Bunty cried out with joy. “Tong-Tong. I love it. Tong-Tong, do you have any blueberry muffins to go with this coffee?”
By sheer chance, Tong-Tong had several under glass. Whilst it went to fetch them, the ship entered hyperspace once more…