Obviously, the three girls had never attempted breathing vacuum, and couldn’t imagine a time when they would choose to; but they could imagine that it might be slightly less pleasant than chewing on a hand grenade. Therefore, within seconds of the captain’s final syllable impacting their tympanic membrane, they had raced back to their original hiding place…
Slamming the hatch shut behind them, they crept to the interior window…
…and watched in abject horror as…
…the ship’s crew allowed themselves to be led away into an existence of unwanted freedom.
“Hurry along. Hurry along.” The smaller of the two blue robotic lieutenants snapped, “this is a busy interstellar shipping lane: anyone might happen by without notice. We do not want your tardiness to force us into destroying them with our atomic cannons. We will, you know. We are like that. We really do not care about silicon life forms. In fact I think we might even enjoy blasting them across the void in a million tiny pieces.”
“Steady on, Lieutenant.” The large white robot adopted verbal stealth mode and addressed its subordinate. “If you possessed a mouth, you would be frothing at it.”
Then to the freighter’s crew it bellowed, “So get a bloody move on!”
Naturally, under such duress, the crew complied with utmost alacrity; and within a few minutes, the Robotic Justice League vessel moved off and blasted away…
…which left the bulbous black freighter hanging, inert, and all alone, in the depths of space…
Inside it – in one of the many corridors that criss-cross etcetera, etcetera…
…Ginger Slack, Daisy Woodnut, and Bunty Bridgewater – the new and unwilling crew of the submarine space freighter – held an impromptu pow-wow.
Looking up at one of the high windows, Ginger said, “Our mums and dads must be worried sick. I thought if we were on our way back to Earth, that we wouldn’t be gone much longer. But now…well we might never get home!
“Don’t talk like that.” An annoyed Bunty spoke from farther along the corridor. “I know we’re just a bunch of dozy dingbats, but that’s not our fault. We never asked to be cossetted and all wrapped up in cotton wool whilst living in the Museum of Future Technology. But we were – and now we’ve got to pull ourselves together and start acting like we have a brain each.”
“But we have got a brain each.” Daisy said in a confused tone. “Mine’s in my head.”
“Daisy, shut up.” Bunty snapped. “You’ve been allowed to play at being thick for too long. Now, like us, you have to engage that brain inside your head. Coz if we don’t fix this situation, we’re gonna die out here – and our parents will never know. They’ll spend the rest of their lives wondering – and hoping. Do you understand?”
Neither Daisy nor Ginger had ever seen their chum so serious. They both nodded. Nevertheless, thereon Ginger took the lead:
“As things stand we can’t work this ship. I don’t even know the front from the back. We need help.”
The pink and the blue earplugs absorbed this. Bunty was the first to speak:
“We need to call out. Can we figure how the coms work?”
Ginger shrugged her shoulders. “We can try.”
Daisy held aloft a single digit. Having gained the attention of the others, she said:
“Tong-Tong might know how to work it.”
Ginger gave Daisy a smile that someone could have described as ‘motherly’. “The crew were all taken away, Daisy.” She said.
“Not Tong-Tong.” Daisy replied. “I watched really closely. Tong-Tong wasn’t taken anywhere. I didn’t see Tong-Tong at all.”
Ginger looked to Bunty. “Search pattern Alpha.” She said. “I don’t know what that means; but it sounds good. Follow me.”
Five minutes later…
…the trio of silicon adventurers exited the main corridor system and moved into the auxiliary system.
“It’s where I’d hide – if I was a robot.” Ginger explained.
Daisy thought it might be a good idea to call out Tong-Tong’s name. So they did, and before long…
…the ship’s waiter detected its new moniker amongst the echoes. It would have called back, but the rudimentary voice box that the cheapskate manufacturers had fitted was capable only of a gentle, unstressed, ‘Hello; is anyone there?”
Nevertheless, it was enough for Ginger’s sensitive hearing, and within seconds…
…the trio had become a quartet.
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022