Robots being robots – that is enjoying a state that is beyond the weakness known as prevarication – the robotic freighters that had been despatched with all the captive robots aboard, received an immediate recall…
Once more aboard the Tankerville Norris, Magnuss, Hair-Trigger, Tong-Tong, and the girls prepared for the flight back to Earth…
“Well, did you enjoy yourselves?” Magnuss called over his shoulder.
The girls weren’t quite sure how they should respond to such a question.
“Sort of.” Daisy said. “It certainly wasn’t what we were expecting when Gregor Arsentickler invited us to the Wide Blue Yonder that night.”
If there had been a rear view mirror on Magnuss’ console, he would have peered into it. “Gregor Arsentickler?” He inquired.
“Oh, I find him so charming and irresistible.” Ginger confessed.
“Yes,” Magnuss said coolly, “he certainly didn’t set off any of my alarms either. Tell me about how you ended up in the repair hangar in the Red Tower and inside the Drunkard’s Vomit.”
Fifteen minutes later, and their tale complete, the girls looked at Magnuss expectantly. However, instead of making any reference to the golden-eyed earplug, Magnuss pointed to the main view screen.
“Look what I found drifting in space. A fully functional submarine space freighter…”
“Hmmm,” Hair-Trigger added. “With no Incense Cones aboard, it looks like it’s waiting for a crew to take it back to Earth.”
Well, neither Ginger, Bunty, or Daisy would ever lay claim to being geniuses – or even genii – but they recognised an ill-disguised offer when they heard one…
Rushing forward they all cried out, “We’ll take it!”
“As long as I come along for the ride too.” Tong-Tong added.
Magnuss needed to utter no command. Hair-Trigger’s index finger went nowhere near a control surface or button. The ship knew what they wanted…
“Right,” Magnuss said, once the ‘new’ crew had rematerialized and gathered their wits. “We’ll be taking the short-cut home – and a certain Gregor Arsentickler: you’ll have to traverse hyperspace. But I’m confident you’ve got that angle covered.”
For a few moments, the Tankerville Norris took up station beside the freighter…
“What are you going to name this ship?” Magnuss joked. “The Boozer’s Chuck-up?”
“The Inebriated Puke?” Hair-Trigger suggested with a smirk.
By their facial expressions, it was clear to the daring duo that the girls were undecided…
“We’ll think about it – on the way home.” Ginger said.
“Good idea.” Magnuss replied. “It should take you a good day and half travel time. Plenty of time to come up with a fantastic name. Signing off.”
The image of the entire Tankerville Norris replaced the view of its bridge and crew.
“Yeah,” Ginger replied – uncertain if Magnuss and Hair-Trigger could still hear her. “See ya.”
“How about we name this ship ‘Big Black Bulbous Thing’?” Tong-Tong suggested. “It is accurate and descriptive and has artistic – nay poetic – merit.”
“No it doesn’t, Tong-Tong.” Daisy said as her eyes scanned the bridge – as though really seeing for the first time. “You leave that clever, creative stuff to young earplugs like us.”
Aboard the Tankerville Norris…
…Hair-Trigger looked straight ahead; but her attention centred upon her husband.
“You don’t really think they’re going to take that ship straight to Earth, do you Mags?”
“I’d be somewhat disappointed if they did, Hairy.” Magnuss replied through a half smile. “The Museum of Future Technology needs a new generation of heroes to protect it. We…my brothers, and us…aren’t going to be able to keep this up forever. Heroes are hard to find. I think we should consider Ginger, Bunty, and Daisy as heroes-in-training, don’t you? They’re some kind of Triple Threat. Once towards the museum: now for the museum. Let ‘em have their fun. When they’re ready, they’ll come back. We shouldn’t have to wait long. Light it up, Ship.”
A split second later…
…a space rift began to form.
“Adios.” Magnuss said – and the ship was gone…
Ginger turned away from the view screen to face her friends. “Now I was thinking,” she said, a hint conspiratorially, “that the fastest way home isn’t always the best way home.”
“I was thinking exactly the same thing.” Bunty said in response.
Daisy’s gaze was upon a faraway place. “Hmmm,” she hummed. “What I really fancy is a sausage roll. I wonder if we can find some of those snowballs near Ice Station Nobby.”
Ginger felt her stomach grumble. When had they last eaten? “Excellent idea, Daisy.” She said with glee. “Set a course for the Ice World.”
Tong-Tong’s eyes looked toward the ceiling. “I will fetch you some blueberry muffins from the galley while you do it.” It said. “Coffee with that?”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022