Tag Archives: spaceships

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part forty)

So, as the Gravity Whelk exited the blue star’s realm…

…Folie decided that he would explore all the parts of the ship that he was yet to see. The obvious course of action was to enlist the help of the resident expert of the ships’ re-fit. But Kyboshed had a bent twingle-flange to adjust in the engine room’s klatterbox…

…that required attention instantaneously. He suggested that Folie meet him later – when the task had been completed and tested thoroughly. So Folie continued alone, whilst wondering what klatterboxes were used for…

Many times during his exploration he discovered interior airlocks that led into corridors, the existence of which he hadn’t even suspected…

And on every wall there was more of that damned Anton Twerp’s ghastly artwork. There were even rooms that just looked downright dangerous…

…which made him wonder why they were put there in the first place. A room with no oxygen: what possible use could that be put to? But it wasn’t really very long before he heard Kyboshed calling his name through yet another interior airlock…

“Hey,” he said as Folie entered, “how’d you like to visit the top deck?”

Folie was surprised by the offer: he’d assumed that the forward observation window was located on the top deck. He said as much to Kyboshed.

“No.” The robot replied, “Not any more. There was a stagnancy ballast-drift buffer tank above that deck; but the klatterbox has removed the need for such a large device. So the cable ends have created a nice new deck there. It’s really groovy, with lots of curves and soft textures.”

So, a couple of minutes later Kyboshed introduced Folie to the top deck – or Deck One, as he liked to call it…

“Ooh,” the ship’s co-owner said admiringly, “all soft pastel lighting and no obvious joins between floor, wall, and ceiling. Nice.”

But then he noted an apparent extension to the hull that wasn’t obvious from the outside. Intrigued he started down it…

But when he opened the door at the end; then walked through it, he was greeted with the undiluted sight of naked space – in this case a wondrous nebula…

Of course his rational mind told him that he was in no danger: if he really were in open space, his eyes would have burst instantly; his blood would have boiled; and his brain undoubtedly exploded. But despite the fact that none of these things occurred, he still felt queasy and ill-at-ease. “Is it okay of I come back inside now?” He called along the short tunnel…

Away from the view, Folie quickly settled down again; but not sufficiently to happily pass beneath a transparent roof without comment…

“Who’s the wise guy who thought a sunroof would be a good idea on a space ship?” He grumbled. “I’ll write him a letter: tell him he’s a total twonk.”

“Oh, that’s no window,” Kyboshed assured Folie: “That’s a sliding roof panel. Only the replacement force field is keeping the air, and us, inside the ship.

“What?” The astonished earplug yelled in disbelief…

…”Who has ever heard of a cabriolet space ship? It’s the most stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of!”

He was still complaining as they passed into a more secure-looking section of Deck One…

“You know,” he said, as they rounded yet another curve, “I’m almost scared to see what’s coming next. Are there any secret holes hidden behind holograms for me to fall through?

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part eleven)

Such was the fun, and so intense were the thrills of discovery, that the cable end team continued until sunset, where the light of Scroton’s primary star shone serenely through the semi-opaque shell of the dry dock…

But they now knew what they needed to know – if you get my meaning. Plans and blueprints were already forming inside their fertile engineering minds…

“From now on,” a tan coloured cable end, named Rooru Betts, stated, “this coffee machine will dispense Blurgh brand coffee. And if the owners don’t like, they can bloody well lump it!”

And the sage Sven Kahzi opined that the bell on the welcome mat should be replaced by a buzzer that gave off an electric shock and made girls skirts fly up around their neck.

And still the upgrade continued. The information matrix globe was downloaded; then uploaded with everything that the scientists of Scroton knew…

“It only seems fair.” Humper Humpington said. “We take, therefore we give. It is the way of Scroton. A mugger takes my sausage sandwich: I give him a punch in the mouth.”

“It is the way of Scroton.” Deuce Wayne uttered well-ingrained dogma. “By the way: isn’t this a charming shade of yellow? I’m thinking about doing my bathroom in this colour.”

But more important tasks were being performed across the entire vessel. Cutters and welders sparked incessantly – for hour upon hour…

And the transfer conduits saw an unending army of engineers and vast tonnage of material pass through them…

…though you wouldn’t know it from the outside. But, as is the way of every day, the end finally came…

…and dusk settled upon the scene of such frenetic activity green and torpid. But the following morning all of that toil and labour was given the ultimate scrutiny. It was test-flight time…

One of the first up-grades checked was the lavatory with a revolving door…

“The pink light.” Tojo Winterborn noticed. “Does it indicate that the loo is empty – or that someone is inside?”

Donny Woolbadger was too taken with the majesty of the floor covering to bother turning around. “The latter.” He answered. Then: “This floor covering reminds me of the royal palace.”

“Well spotted, Vice Chancellor, “Tojo replied, “Nigel has just had the royal out-house sofa re-upholstered: we didn’t like to waste the old material; there’s years of use left in it yet.”

Other parts of the ship were also being examined…

“Nice blue inter-compartmental air-lock.” Deuce congratulated its designer, Woolston Skipyard. “Very safety conscious. And the deck colour?”

“That’d be mine.” Humper Humpington volunteered. “I based it upon my own skin – then darkened it by several shades, using a freebie program that I downloaded from the Scroternet.”

By now the ship had travelled sufficiently far to take its occupants beyond their familiar Weird Space…

“That looks weird.” Deuce said as he gazed out through a charmingly oval (and very new) view port.

“No it doesn’t.” Humper argued in error. “It doesn’t look anything like Weird Space. It’s all black and white for starters!”

“No,” Deuce explained. “I mean it looks weird because it doesn’t look like Weird Space. It’s not multi-coloured.”

Woolston Skipyard was passing by. “Perhaps we should rename Weird Space. Who gave it that weird name anyway? It doesn’t make sense.”

Donny was having problems with the view as well…

“Tojo,” he said in a voice that fairly dripped with panic, “tell me when that light goes out: I think I’m going to throw up.”

And so it continued from one corridor to the next…

“Just smell the quality of this carpet.” Bertie Bumbledope said to his twin, Snarlston. “The Golden One has really pushed the boat out with this re-fit. He must really like earplugs.”

“Oh well,” Deuce said to Humper as they took one final look through one of the many oval portholes, “it was fun while it lasted.”

“Come along, you two.” Tojo Winterborn snapped as he passed the malingerers. “Time is money, and Nigel’s not made of the stuff – even if he is golden coloured.”

And before long the new and improved Gravity Whelk re-entered Scroton’s atmosphere…

…its Flying Certificate signed, sealed, and despatched electronically to the authorities in Scroton Prime.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

 

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part six)

Meanwhile, so far across the gulfs of space that numbers become incomprehensible, the Gravity Whelk was well into its long journey to Scroton…

Although the ancient vessel was travelling at full speed, Folie and Placebo found that they had lots of time on their hands. And since the Automatic Pilot…um…piloted the ship, they chose to watch the view through the front window of the nominal ‘bridge’. And it was whilst they were positioned thus, that a distant star exploded…

“Cripes,” Folie yelped, “I hope that was farther away than it looked!”

Placebo would have responded, but his thoughts were interrupted by the Automatic Pilot: “Immediate course change required. Initiating.”

“Obviously it wasn’t farther away than it looked.” Placebo said finally. “I guess exploding stars are pretty dangerous to old tubs like this one.”

“They’re also extremely rare.” Folie said confidently. “Cams Layne, aboard the Brian Talbot, told me that his crew had flown for loads of light years and had never seen a single one. Same goes for the crews of the Chi-Z-Sox and the K T Woo.”

“That’s comforting to know.” A relieved Placebo replied. “I hope we got it on the dash cam: I’d like to play it back for Mister Layne, when we see him next.”

Folie then suggested that they might witness the star’s final throws from one of the side windows; so they quickly made their way to an observation point…

“Nice.” Folie opined after five minutes of scouring all visible space with his sharp eye sight. “But hardly spectacular.”

“Yeah.” Placebo sighed. “I guess the show’s over. Fancy some spaghetti on toast?”

Naturally Folie would have said: “Sho’nuf, big fella: lead me to the galley.” But his reply was quenched when, without warning, another star exploded…

“I’ll take a rain check on that right now.” He said as he buckled on his seat belt. “That is definitely much closer than the first one.”

The Automatic Pilot had just enough time to plot an evasive manoeuvre, when the ship was struck by an energy wave cast out by the nova…

“Aargh!” It managed as electrical conduits sparked and fizzled. “Flipping heck – we’ve lost the main star drive. You two: get aft. We have to know how badly hurt we are before I can try a re-start.”

Under normal circumstances, the young owners of the Gravity Whelk would have welcomed something useful to do: but these weren’t normal circumstances.

“Ooh, blimey,” Placebo said as he studied a set of really important read-outs, “this panel is completely dead.”

Folie wasn’t doing any better in his section of the ship…

“Ditto.” He reported. “I’m on emergency lighting down here too.”

But as they checked other compartments, the situation seemed slightly improved…

“Ah, there’s a  bit of luck,” Placebo noted. “The outer hatch on the toilet tissue store hasn’t opened to space.”

Folie too had good news…

“And the pumpkin farm is fine as well.” He said. Then, after a moment’s consideration: “Hey; how about we microwave a pie?”

But then the ship began to yaw and the artificial gravity became unreliable – alternating between Earth standard and Luna standard. This fluctuation made Placebo feel quite nauseous…

“Flipping heck, Autopilot,” he mumbled between bouts of gagging, “can’t you get us underway somehow? Isn’t thrust a good alternative to fluctuating artificial gravity?”

“Very good, Placebo,” the Automatic Pilot’s stentorian voice echoed down the (now silent) corridors, “you appear to have studied basic space faring stuff. Unfortunately the only way your wish can come true is if I release a proton torpedo into the rear expansion chamber of the main drive, and ignite it.”

“It’s either that,” Placebo groaned testily, “or I throw up all over your shiny bulkheads.”

“Initiating proton torpedo release.” The Automatic Pilot said with a trace of panic in its cyber voice. “And igniting it.”

A split second later…

…the ship began to move.

“Another one.” Folie shouted above the noise of a ship trying to shove its blunt-end through its pointy-end.

Given an explicit command, the Autopilot did as it was bid – and continued in that way for several days until the Gravity Whelk blew itself all the way to Weird Space…

“Are we nearly there yet?” Placebo inquired from the galley.

“Kind’a.” Folie replied. “But space is awfully big.”

But, just of a handful of days later, the Gravity Whelk nosed into semi-familiar territory…

“Well whadda ya know?” The Automatic Pilot spoke over the general address system.” We’ve only gone and done it. And with only a couple of proton torpedoes remaining on the inventory. It’s all downhill from here. Guys; welcome to Scroton.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021