Crane – Intergalactic Hero – The Voyage of Ineptitude – Episode IV – The Planet Taupu

Intro……. i work full time (not that my workmates would say that πŸ™‚ ) so, it’s sometimes hard to find time to write stories. However, making people smile or even laugh is just a great thing to do. The world’s full of serious stuff so I’m doing my little bit to buffer you, the reader, from all that bad stuff. Even if it’s just for a moment………

……..the idea for ‘Crane – The Voyage Of Ineptitude’ just popped into my head one day. I’d been brought up on Isaac Asimov, HG Wells, The HitchHIker’s Guide, Red Dwarf, Dr Who, Star Trek, UFO, Star Wars etc. etc. I remember laughing my head off at a film called Dark Star, a comedy film about 3 astronauts, it was hilarious. I’ve also played sci-fi games for years, Halo, Gears Of War and even Ratchet and Clank πŸ™‚ Crane’s story is probably a mish mash off all of the above.

There’s also a bit of me in him. We all want to be hero’s and I like to try and be funny with it ( friends would say otherwise). So..Crane is captain of the 20th ship to leave Earth, Arkadia 2, as part of a vague exploratory group. He has, on paper, the most useless crew, who like nothing more than to play pranks all day long. Crane’s father was Captain of Arkadia 1, something happened to him and we’ll learn more about that later on when i’ve worked out what it is πŸ™‚

We also have some Vorisians, Bloorp, RedUrzuBird, Alien Xarth and Exar. They have been on Earth being evaluated for 5 years and are being returned to Planet Voris as they never spoke one word…..until now πŸ™‚

Crane’s journey will lead him to find out what happened to his father and what the purpose of the fleet is. On the way, we might have some fun as well πŸ™‚

if you haven’t read them, here are some links to the previous three episodes – email me at if you have any comments, suggestions or just want to chat or you can follow me on Twitter @qosfc1919

hope u enjoy reading πŸ™‚

Episode 1 Bloorp and the Camouflage Door

Episode 2 Getting Ready

Episode 3 Blast Off

exploring other planets
exploring other planets

The Arkadia 2 sat in the Perinski nebulae with a rather irate Captain Crane on the bridge.

‘Look, you lot! You may think to land on the wrong planet ‘just for a bit of fun’ hilariously funny, but to do it twice in a week is just being really rotten.

*sniggers from the crew*

‘I know we’re here to “boldly go where no man has gone before”, never mind some Vorisians, but, we have a mission. This is seriously serious stuff……..’

*more sniggers from the crew*

‘I’m not sure you’re taking this seriously. Whoever, swapped StarMap version 3.6 to the power 83 for version 2 running on Windows 3.1, is in need of serious help’


‘Laugh as you may. As of now, I’m appointing Bloorp as second in command and Medical Chief, Exar as head of weapons and strategy, and Alien Xarth as Navigator’


‘Yes………….indeedy…….we’re not laughing as much now, are we?’

‘Captain Crane, we are within 500 parsecks of Taupu’

‘Thank you Xarth. Put us into orbit, hope we’re in the right place this time, scan the surface as best we can, and land hopefully on a planet littered with tropical islands, white beaches and inhabitants worthy of being interviewed for a new crew’ πŸ™‚

*crew mutters*

‘Bloorp, Exar……my quarters in 5 minutes’

A few UniFolds* away

*UniFold – along with a note apologising for the Big Bang, space explorers had found instructions on dark matter and folding space. This enabled modern ships (or in Crane’s case modern’ish’ πŸ™‚ ) to travel quickly through space and, for me, the author of this nonsense, to get Crane to some planets quickly enough before he died of old age. πŸ™‚

‘Get this ship ready!! NOW!! or i’ll have you all court martialled. Crane could ruin everything. We have to find him………and……if needs must……..’

‘Yes Commodore Higgins. The only thing I’d like to mention is the Vexus has never been tested. The blueprint you gave us was way beyond anything we’d worked with before. It’s taken our scientists and engineers ten years to get to this stage. We expected to start trials in a years time, not this weekend’

‘Get the Vexus flightworthy. I’ll get some help to speed things up – you just make it happen……or I’ll find someone who CAN make it happen….understood?’

‘Yes Commodore.’

Commodore Higgins turned to look out at the Atlantic Spaceport. He’d underestimated Crane and those pesky Vorisians. The task had seemed simple. Crane would be given a crew so useless, they’d be lucky to fly a kite, never mind Arkadia 2. However, once the ‘mute’ aliens had started speaking and giving Crane help, they’d managed to do the impossible and get the rustbucket ready. The task then looked simple. Set up an innocent meeting, kill Crane using the ‘well……the Armataks did it……routine, retrieve Crane’s fathers glix** from onboard and carry on with the plan. If, by chance, Crane discovered the hidden material on the glix, he might discover the truth. Although the chance was minute, Higgins could not risk it. He would find Crane, and, just like he’d done to his father, kill him……

**Glix – a one molecule thick material, produced at vast pressures and temperatures, which , even at room temperature, could hold vast amounts of information. Normally held within a magnetic field, if the owner decided to ‘hide’ their glix, the only way to find them was using a glix scanner, which was really just an adapted Google Nexus 8500 with a pointy thing on the end.

Arkadia 2 hung in orbit around the planet Taupu. Crane, wasn’t sure what had drawn him to land here. There were other Earth like planets nearby but, for some strange reason, this particular one had drawn him in like an Astarian Sucker plant**.

**Astarian Sucker plant – an innocuous looking plant like a large daisy, which could suddenly open up, swallow a person whole, dissolve him or her and regurgitate them as a 5cm block of carbon.

‘There are some areas we can’t scan properly, however, it’s atmosphere is much like Earth. There, do appear to be structures, therefore, signs of life. No major cities or indications of technology though’

‘Thanks Bloorp. Ok Xarth, take us down to that large green area over there. Green, usually means nice’

……..and with that scientific based logic…..Xarth fired up the drives and aimed Arkadia 2 towards the ‘green area’.

An hour later Arkadia 2 lay in a flat open area in the middle of a lush colourful mismash of giant plants, flowers and forest.

‘Exar, Bloorp, Fittipaldi, Mansell and Button….meet at the airlock. We’ll have a look round, see if we can find anything interesting, some fresh supplies of anything edible and hopefully, some Neutronium**
It did strike Crane for the first time that his crew all seemed to be named after formula one drivers from the 20th Century racing drivers. He dismissed his daft notion.

Emmerson Fittipaldi
Emmerson Fittipaldi

**Neutronium – elementally sounding material needed for the Treon engines of Arkadia

The airlock door creaked its way open, and, as was normal with the bits of the Arkadia 2 that Bloorp and Co hadn’t had time to fix yet, it stuck half way. They squeezed out into bright sunshine. Crane sucked in the fresh air. Wow. There was nothing like a bit of nitrogen and oxygen on a sunny day, even if it was quite a few light years away from home.
None of it was visible, but there was certainly some wildlife nearby. Crane could hear chittering, chattering and clicking from all around them. He was glad Bloorp and Exar were with them. It had suddenly dawned on him he was no longer in the predictable safe world of Earth. This was new, the unknown, an adventure. Every time fear started crawling out of the metalwork, he thought of his father, in who’s footsteps he was following. He’d ventured into space with much poorer technology than his son found himself with, and, to his knowledge, he’d never been scared once.

‘Captain Crane, there is a life sign 2 clicks ahead’

‘Thank you Bloorp. Ok. Weapons at the ready just in case…..let’s have a look’

Although ‘armed to the teeth’ would be an over exaggeration, this mini squad from Arkadia 2 had enough firepower to deal with most known beasties in the galaxy. However, to Crane’s knowledge no human had set foot on this planet. His grip on the Harkness 4 Black Hole Transformer** tightened.

**Harkness 4 Black Hole Transformer – weapon invented by Davie Harkness in a small scottish laboratory. A scientist who’d been working on trying to record the sounds midges make when biting humans using lasers and a table top version of the Google Hadron collider when a tiny black hole formed and took the top of his left pinkie. Now refined, the Harkness 4 scanned its target, opened up a black hole large enough to suck the said target through, transferring them through time and space to a car park just outside Sainsbury’s in Leamington Spa.

Not surprisingly, the three aptly named crew members were up front in pole position, pushing their way through the multicoloured lush foliage.


Crane jolted and gave one of those startled bug eyed looks when something you didn’t expect to happen, happened. Fittipaldi was now no longer attached by gravity to the ground. He was now dangling some 20 feet up in the air with a green vine coiled around his left ankle and another green vine heading for his right arm.

‘Heeeellllp me!’

In less time than it takes a Mercean Marauder to maraud, Exar had sliced the plants tendrils, albeit forgetting to think about the gravitational consequences of Fittipaldi not been attached to an alien plants tendril.

Boomph…! Our little Italian joker wasn’t laughing now as he came to a crunching landing on the ground. However, at least he hadn’t been dragged off to tendril hell to discover what ever the scary tendrils had had in mind for him. One thing was for sure. This beautiful looking planet had some surprises.

‘Ok mental note number one team. Anything bright red, that looks a bit tendrilly, steer clear…….or……….make sure it’s Fittipaldi that’s nearest it’ πŸ™‚

Fittipaldi harrumphed, rubbing his now sore bottom.

The team pushed on, now more alert than a Thorean Nightbird at mating time.

‘There is an opening ahead Mr Crane. I believe our lifeform is to be found there’

‘Ok, everyone quiet’

They crept forward and peered through the undergrowth.

The sight that met them wasn’t on the top ten list of ‘things the crew of the Arkadia 2 thought they would find when they peered through the undergrowth’

Sitting on its own was a bright yellow furry cuddly looking ball of eeksy weeksy cute joy eating what appeared to be coal. Oblivious to the voyeurs nearby, it happily munched away on its black rock equivalent of a Big Mac.
‘well, he doesn’t look dangerous’ whispered Crane.

Then, out of the corner of his eye he spotted Button and Mansell heading towards it.


Crane’s cry was too late. The cute little furball stopped and turned towards them. It threw the coal to the side, stood up and said ‘ickle’. Then it screamed at the top of it’s voice and ran like a blur towards the two stupidest crew members Crane had, apart from the rest of the stupid crew he aldo had.

Within seconds the yellow ball of cuteness, albeit with a blackened coaldusty face, reached Button. It was so quick you couldn’t quite make out where it was. One thing for sure it had already managed to bring Button to the ground, and who now appeared to be……………laughing. In fact laughing hsyterically.

‘What’s going on Mansell?’

‘It’s………….tickling him Captain………it appears to be ticking him’

‘ok pull it off him and let’s get our little yellow chap under control’

Mansell stepped forward to help Button.

‘……..I can’t grab it, it’s moving so fast……. at this rate Button will be tickled to death!’

Crane, rolled his eyes. Their first encounter with an unknown species and it turns out to be a coal eating yellow furball of cuteness that tickles it’s prey to death. Just as he was about to implement Plan B of the ‘Rescue Jenson Button from a Tiny Furry Coal Eating Tickling Thing’, Crane heard a noise…..


He turned away from the laughing carnage to his left, and looked round. There, in multi-coloured reality, were 20+ more of the little blighters. Looking like a tellytubby flashmob, they ran towards Carne and Co. Within seconds Crane had 3 of the little buggers around him. As long as they didn’t tickle him under his armpi……….

‘Hee, heee, hooooo, nnooooo, NOOOOooooooooo, hee, ha STOP it, STOP it, hee……….’

tellytubby flashmob
tellytubby flashmob

Crane writhed on the ground in a ball of wriggling laughter. It wasn’t long before he’d reached that stage where it moves from being just funny ha ha tickling to not being able to breathe properly and getting just a teensy weensy bit bloody annoying. If he’d been able to look round, he’d have seen, Button, Fittipaldi and Mansell all in a similar position to himself. However, Bloorp, despite having several Ticklers around him, appeared immune and slight embarrassed by the whole escapade. Exar, likewise, floated above the scene unable to obtain a clear shot to rescue his human friends.
Bloorp, for once was stumped. Despite being able to recite Pi to 40,000 decimal places, he was struggling to work out how to stop tiny multicoloured furballs tickling four humans to death right in front of his viewer. He was just about to take a gamble and shoot at Button when he heard an almighty roar.


Suddenly the Ticklers stopped tickling. They froze like cute cuddly things playing statues. Everyone looked towards the noise. Then the ground shook followed by another blood curdling roar. As a 100 foot pink plant that sort of looked like a tree but wasn’t, crashed to the ground, the source of all the roaring, stomping and plant throwing became clear. Now standing on main stage as the main act of the eventful afternoon was something very very large, like a giant hairy bull……………with SNARLING TEETH!


Even Bloorp wished he’d worn his Nike trainers as, Ticklers, humans and Vorisians about heeled and fled. Crane blundered through the undergrowth like Usain Bolt wearing lead lined trainers. He kept himself going with the thought that he was certainly faster than the slightly rotund Button. He would certainly be the first to be caught and eaten in a Button-like smorgasbord frenzy.
The Arkadia 2 had just come into view. He could see Exar, Bloorp and the Ticklers up ahead. He had just clocked Fittipaldi and Mansell to his right when he heard Button scream. Crane stopped and turned. The ‘RazorBull’ as Crane had just nicknamed it, had caught up with Jenson Button and was now drooling above him. Crane, watched as Bloorp and the Tellytubby flashmob entered the airlock of Arkadia 2. He turned back. He was the Captain. Right enough, the captain of the worst crew in the galaxy, but he was still their captain. He was also his father’s son. If one of his crew was going to die, he wouldn’t die with nobody there to save him. Crane started running.

‘Hey, HEY…..HEY…….’

Crane had started the attempted rescue by using a plan he’d seen in many a film, where the hero distracts the monster by shouting ‘HEY’ and waving his arms about. Shaking, he took his Harkness 4 Black Hole Transformer from his belt and aimed it at the RazorBull. He was about to pull the trigger when it dawned on him Button was so close to the drooling razor sharp teeth baring snarling maniac, he might end up sending him to the Tescos car park in Leamington Spa as well. A fate he could not gift to anyone lightly. Instead, he took his Berit laser gun from his hip pocket, shot the RazorBull in the bottom and ran. Unfortunately, his plan worked. The RazorBull lost interest in the Button appetiser, and was now after the main course. Crane a l’orange.

He knew he wasn’t going to lose it, but, running in a straight line seemed to be the only obvious plan open a this particular moment in time. If he could get it a reasonable distance away he might get another chance to use the Harkness 4 and Leamington Spa, here it would come. That reasonably lovely thought was still with him when the ground gave way beneath his feet. He rolled, tumbled and rolled some more. It was as he was rolling and tumbling he heard the sound. Drowning out the sound of the ponderous RazorBull clinking it’s knife and fork, was the sound of……water……roaring water. Crane grabbed the blue stem of a large yellow flower. He had no time to dwell on its beauty, nor the symmetry of it’s bright red stamens. It broke in his hand. Now he and the large yellow flower with blue stem and beautiful stamens were sliding in symmetry towards their doom. (Well not the poor flower as Crane had already ruined its afternoon) πŸ™‚

If Crane had been able to scan the situation from above, he would have known the Razorbull had stopped as it wasn’t stupid enough to tumble down a steep slope , fall off a 1000 feet cliff and drown in the tempest below. But he couldn’t and he didn’t. The RazorBull growled and smiled at the same time as Crane fell off the edge to his doom………as he fell, he remembered his fathers words……

‘Saving yourself is easy, sacrificing yourself to save the life of another is the most difficult choice someone can make…….he closed his eyes…..’

‘One degree off and we’ll hit the waterfall Bloorp!’

‘We have no choice……..programming is complete, wave your hand on the holokey NOW!’

The Arkadia 2 sped across the water at lightning speed. Crane was an orange flashing dot on the the 3D holo viewer. Even Bloorp knew this would be close. As Crane continued to plummet he was blissfully unaware of the spaceship which was turning beneath him, that Exar and Xarth had opened a ducting chamber on the roof of the ship which Mr Tumpkins had filled with plant leaves to cushion his fall.


Arkadia 2 creaked and groaned as it was forced to do a manoeuvre which wasn’t on it’s top ten list of manouveres it would have chosen to do that sunny afternoon.

Crane plunged through the hole at speed, got buffeted a few times, but eventually came to a halt surrounded by fluffy green leaves.

‘We have him! Brakes off, accelerate 45 degree lift NOW!’

The Arkadia 2 graoned some more, narrowly missing the top of the waterfall to safety simultaneously unclenching some buttocks in the control room.


Jenson Button looked at John Crane in a new light. No longer was his main aim in life to play practical jokes on him day in day out. He had just saved his life.

‘Thank you Captain Crane……… what you did for me there………I’ll…….I’ll never forget it’

‘Don’t be silly, I would have never left you……after all. We have other worlds to see and get this lot back to Voris.’

The crew cringed ever so slightly as Button stepped forward and hugged the Captain.

‘Anyway, I need to thank all of you for risking your own lives to save me. What a brilliant manoeuvre! Bravo to you all!………..between that RazorBull thing and those flipping Ticklers, what a start to our adventure!. I take it you managed to ditch our furball friends?’

‘Not quite Mr Crane. I’m afraid RedUrzuBird gave them coal flavoured ice cream to calm them down and now they’re all in sick bay unwell – On top of that, we’ve located an electronic signal to the north of the planet which i think you should see…..’

‘A signal……..what type of signal?’

‘Exar’s been working on decoding it………..I think he’s ready to put it up on the holoviewer’

The green hue of the hologram lit the room. A shape formed then disappeared. When it re-appeared, Crane’s jaw dropped. There, three feet away in front of him in 3D was his father………….’


Episode 4 ‘Crane – The Voyage of Ineptitude – The Planet Taupu’ was brought to you by David Linden and Dodo Productions Β© 2015 follow me on Twitter @qosfc1919

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