I often begin an episode with the words ‘No Preamble: just story’ or something similar. Well, if it wasn’t for this smidgen of preamble, that would be the case today. So, slightly less preamble: to the story!
Whilst the Buggeram Bay was fighting to the last, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger struggled to find their way from the cave in which they had hidden the Tankerville Norris. Their unplanned route took them through a labyrinth of tunnels…
“Is it me,” Magnuss said, “or is it getting lighter?”
It was indeed getting lighter. Hair-Trigger could now see the strange objects attached to the cave walls. The squelching sound they had been making ever since the daring duo had disembarked their ship had had her conjuring up all sorts of ghastly images.
“Must be an exit nearby.” She said hopefully.
Moments later, after rounding one more turn, revealed the domed conurbation…
Beyond it, an alien saucer lay at rest upon the bare soil.
“Ah-ha.” Magnuss said with a slight cheer in his tone. “That looks suspiciously like our nemesis. How would you like to make a house visit? We might surprise them.”
For once, Hair-Trigger was unable to follow her husband’s thought processes. “Well I’d rather call Scroton, if you don’t mind: It was Nigel’s last command.”
“We’d give our presence away to the enemy.” Magnuss replied as he pressed his communicator to his ear and listened intently. “It might even precipitate an action against the planet. So far this bunch of evil scum are under the misapprehension that the Buggeram Bay attacked alone. In all the bangs and flashes, no one seemed to notice our little honeymoon barge. And all the time it remains hidden and silent, they’ll go on thinking that way. That gives us a tactical advantage. I can just hear Nigel and Beatrix mumbling incoherently, by the way. I think they’ve been captured. So, as you see, no one suspects we’re here. No one is looking for us. If we keep to the shadows, we’ve got the run of the place.”
Hair-Trigger comprehended with exactitude what her husband had just told her, but she still couldn’t understand what he hoped to achieve. She said as much. In response, Magnuss gave a knowing wink and patted his back pocket. It didn’t help. So she gave him a pleasant smile and followed his lead…
Soon they had covered the distance between the cave mouth and the conurbation. Stealthily they snuck between the domes. As night slowly descended upon the scene, the two earplugs ascended the slope that led to the first of the alien vessels. Before long they found themselves at a laundry access point in the hull…
Quickly they disappeared from sight inside it. However, gaining access to other sections of the vessel proved problematic, and Hair-Trigger was breathing through her mouth when they clambered from the garbage chute…
Shortly though their persistence and tenacity proved its worth. Magnuss cheered silently…
“I still don’t understand.” Hair-Trigger complained in a whisper. “So we’ve found the deuterium replenishment centre: what of it?”
“This ship is of a Scrotonic design.” Magnuss explained. “They have two engines: the star-drive or whatever you want to call the propulsion that carries the vessel across interstellar space: and one to get them off the ground and into orbit. We can’t nobble their star-drive; but we can put a monkey in the works of their lifting engine.”
“We can?” Hair-Trigger said doubtfully.
“We can.” Magnuss replied with a smile. “Let’s get inside.”
Of course, there were no guards on the deuterium tanks. Why would there be? But nevertheless, Magnuss was feeling decidedly crestfallen when he saw the height of the deuterium tanks…
“Oh flip,” he swore viciously, “How are we gonna get up there?”
Hair-Trigger felt his pain. Her face fell. Also she didn’t have a clue regarding what Magnuss planned – even assuming they gained access to the tanks he so desired.
Magnuss became aware of his wife’s fear, doubts, and ignorance:
“Oh, sorry Hairy; I thought you’d figured it out. It’s the cane sugar that the Baristas fetched for Nigel’s coffee: it’s still in my back pocket – along with my Cossack hat. If we can introduce it to the tanks, the fuel will clog in the lines and the ship won’t fly.”
Enlightenment illuminated Hair-Trigger’s face with the glow of understanding. She said:
“Well obviously we’re looking in the wrong place. Cable Ends are the same size as us. Obviously the filler cap is going to be at cable end height. Let’s check that next compartment.”
So they did, and Hair-Trigger was proven correct…
“I guess we just flip up these lids.” She suggested.
Again she was proven correct…
…and just to make absolutely certain that this particular ship would fail horribly – not only did they sprinkle sugar in the filler hole, but Hair-Trigger hopped aboard and released the pressure in her bladder that had been building for hours.
“Neat.” Magnuss said proudly. “It’ll be my turn in the next ship: I’m dying for a wee.”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022
This is all well and good: but what’s happening to Nigel and Beatrix? Find out next time on Surprise Visit!