Commodore Higgins stress levels were reaching epic proportions. Crane was never supposed to lift off, never mind disappear into space. Although he’d given him the most useless spaceship ever, the most useless crew, the most useless mute aliens, he’d escaped. His father was dead, his ship was a heap of rust, but , he’d still managed to evade him. There was little chance he would discover his plan, but, he was a nagging thorn in his side. If he caught up with the rest of the fleet, he would die anyway. If he got that far, his new friends would deal with him. However, Higgins had nothing to lose by hunting him down and killing him anyway…….
Crane sat in his warm bed contemplating the present, the past, the future, the fact Fittipaldi was snoring no more than a poke in the eye’s distance away. Since landing randomly on Planet Taupu, he and his crew had been nearly tickled to death by some small furry animals, almost gored by a by a giant bull type rhino thing, hypnotised to death by Greks and squashed by giant fireballs. Apart from that everything had been hunky dory.
The crew had gorged themselves on food and beer to the point where the majority were sleeping soundly. The unit Bloorp had managed to transport from the Arkadia 2, had enough bunk beds to hold 20 people and a large open communal area and kitchen. Crane decided to join them and go to sleep. The morning and decisions about what on earth to do next could wait……
The Drekken wasn’t quite standing in front of the rock face….you see, it was sitting having a cup of whatever evil aliens drinks, a million miles away in space….the thing on guard was the hosts Kreta – whatever it could see, the host slurping whatever Drekken slurped, whilst no doubt watching the Evil Alien equivalent of Housewives of Atlanta on daytime TV, could see as well. The thing that made the Drekken’s Kreta particularly good and evil, depending on your point of view, was its ability to alter its energy field, it not only could change shape, create its own force field, and, make fierce noises at will, it could make itself almost invisible to both a human eye and standard electromagnetic tracking devices. It also had a weapons array which was scary, even, when just written in biro on an A4 sheet of paper. It scanned the area…….all it could see were Greks, presumably trying to find prey to hypnotise, and the 10 Armataks stationed beside it.
The next morning Bloorp was already ahead of everyone else’s game.
‘Mr Crane. I have a plan which might pave a way to reach your fathers signal’
‘That would be great Bloorp, because the only idea I have is to stay here and hide from the Greks, the fireballs, the cold and anything else that might be lurking on this ball of nonsense’
‘Well Sir, I have been monitoring the electromagnetic interference overnight, and, every 35 minutes, it fades to a point where not only can I contact the Arcadia 2, I can transfer equipment or people in oth directions. My scans have found a Skydiver module in Bay 324 of the Arcadia 2 right next to some boxes of plastic cup holders. If I transfer it to this position, we can fly through the ice peaks and fireballs to the signal position much more quickly than we are currently managing to do’
‘Fantastic work Bloorp, let’s go!!’
‘There is only one problem Mr Crane’
‘What is that Bloorp?’
‘The Skydiver can only take two of us. The rest would have to transfer to the ship or stay here’
‘That sounds ok. You and me fly to the signal area. Try and find out whether my father is still alive. Go back to the ship and go home. Great plan!’
‘There is a but Sir…..’
Crane rolled his eyes. Ever since they left Earth, every sentence seemed to end with a ‘but…’
‘Well, during the lulls in interference I have been able to detect what is out there’
‘I have detected several Armataks and another lifeform which I have never encountered before. It appears sentient but made up of some new form of energy. There are also approximately 526 Dreks…..’
‘and don’t tell me. This mysterious lifeforms is right where we are going?’
‘I’m afraid so Mr Crane….I’m afraid so’
‘What about the signal area? Have you gleaned any information on what’s there?’
‘It would appear to be an encrypted force field protecting something else. The Armataks appear to be stationed around it, as is the energy form’
‘Why would they not enter the force field? Are they protecting it?’
‘It could be a trap Sir, that I cannot tell. However, your father’s signal is coming from within the force field. If he set up photon encryption the Armataks would not have a clue how to open it and, perhaps it is something the other mysterious entity cannot decipher either’
‘So, what next Bloorp’
‘I suggest we transfer the crew back to the Arcadia 2, transfer the Skydiver module to this position, you and I fly to the position and land in an area where I’ve detected a high magnetic field. This may allow us to get close but unseen’
‘Ok Bloorp. Let’s go’
Commodore Higgins stared at the 3D image in the centre of the room. There stood Earths President Sultar Omegin, as usual draped in garish green robes and gold jewellery. Higgins could not stand the man. Soon he wouldn’t need to….
‘Good afternoon Commodore. I trust your unexpected lift off from Earth bodes no ill?’
‘No…no…no President Omegin. A new engine prototype needed testing, and, with most of the new fleet out on their lengthy mission beyond the Copernicus boundary, I thought I would be the first to test it’
‘Yes……that was something I wanted to ask you about. Why would we send nearly ALL of Earth’s modern defence force on a potentially risky mission leaving us relatively defenceless?’
Higgins coughed briefly….
‘We are building more and our agents across the systems have indicated no threats to either our Solar System nor our other bases beyond’
‘That’s not quite the story I’m hearing. The message I’ve heard is one of our fleet on this ‘special mission’ of yours was damaged after coming into contact with an unknown vessel. I also hear you have a rogue ship which was fired upon while trying to leave EarthDock. Perhaps you could enlighten me?’
‘I have not heard of any such attack. The damaged ship you mention had an engine failure which has been repaired. As for the ‘rogue ship’, there was indeed a ship stolen by a traitor who managed somehow to evade our security systems. We are currently hunting him down and he will be treated accordingly’
‘Good. I wouldn’t like to think you are letting things slip Commodore.’
….before the Commodore had a chance to reply the President disappeared from view. He thumped the table. Who had attacked the fleet and managed to inflict so much damage. He knew of only one race with weaponry superior to Earth’s fleet and he knew it couldn’t be them…..
Earth Credit Molybdenumgp03
With the crew safely back aboard the Arcadia 2, Bloorp and Crane kindled up the engine of the SkyDiver. Silent, due to it’s photon drive system, stealthier than an Aberdonian opening his wallet, it would be difficult for anything to detect them. They skimmed quietly between the ice towers toward the signal. Within twenty minutes, they’d reached their destination. Crane grabbed a Disruptor 7E whilst Bloorp took his most dangerous weapon, his mind.
‘Captain Crane……I can sense the other entity. It may be able to sense us. It’s energy is being transmitted from another source. It is not real in the human sense but it it is emitting brain waves. I’ve never come across such a thing. If it is dangerous, we certainly can’t kill it’
‘Oh great. This journey just gets better and better.
‘I suggest I disable the Armataks while you distract the entity’
‘Oh….so you get the easy job and I get to take on an energy field with a brain’
‘Captain Crane. Once I have dealt with the Armataks, I will change places with you and you have to find a way in’
‘Ah ok, fair play. I’ll probably be dead by then but at least it’ll be over with quickly’
Crane and Bloorp skirted the last ice tower. Five red and black armoured Armataks stood in front of a rock face with a large cave which shimmered in the cold blue light.
‘There’s a force field covering the entrance. If it was indeed your father who was here, he left this to protect something.’
Just then a laser energy blast cut through the ice just above Bloorp’s head.
‘Armatak directly behind you Captain!!’
Crane swivelled, ducked, rolled over twice, shot and missed. Luckily this distracted the Armatak which gave Bloorp the chance to send a concentrated Gamma radiation burst through it. With the plan already in tatters, Crane ran to the left of the entrance taking out two Armataks on his way. Bloorp managed to lift himself twenty feet off the ground allowing him to pick off the Armataks near the right hand side of the rock face.
As ice powder settled and energy beams died, Crane and Bloorp found themselves standing in front of the energy field.
Suddenly two things happened. Crane’s fathers voice spoke and the Kreta started moving.
‘Hello. My name is Peter Crane. If you receive this message, the only way to enter is by saying the nickname I called my dear wife’
‘Wow. It’s him. It’s his voice’
‘Captain Crane. If you know the answer I would hurry. I think our friend has awoken’
Crane turned to see something tall, shimmery black with yellow eyes walking towards them.
‘He called her different things……Mary…….’
‘I would hurry Sir……’
Even Bloorp sounded scared.
The only reason they were not dead was the Kreta was waiting on instructions from his Drekken. Fortunately for Crane and Bloorp the particular Drekken in question was watching a film about The Drekken killing everyone in the universe. Suddenly the Drekken clicked something was going down. He could now see what his Kreta could see. One thought of ‘kill’ was enough to bring an extra glow to the Kreta’s already glowing eyes.
Just as a flash of something left the left arm of the Kreta Crane uttered the word…..
Sometime later Crane awoke. He was sore. Everything ached. The good news he acknowledged, the fact he could feel pain possibly suggested he was still alive. He looked up…..
‘Thank you Mr Crane for saving our lives’
Bloorp’s head, which normally took the shape of a large magnifying glass, was in it’s almost human form.
‘You guessed correctly Sir, the force field opened, you pushed me through and jumped. in a nanosecond the force field closed again which stopped us being vaporised’
‘Where’s the thing?’
Crane turned. He could see the glowing eyes parading up and own outside. It looked angry.
‘I guess we might die getting back out but let’s see what’s inside here’
Bloorp and Crane walked into the pitch black cave. Bloorp reverted to his viewer and lit the path. The first thing Crane noticed was a cool breeze. That meant either an air-conditioning system or another source of air. They walked for about five minutes when suddenly the area around them lit up. A large almost transparent screen appeared above a metal desk in front of which was a chair.
The screen flickered into life. Crane’s father appeared.
W’At last Christopher, you’ve found me. I knew you would. I have much to tell you but hopefully there will be time to share our stories at some future date. I may be dead by the time you read this, but hopefully not. We have no time to lose. To cut a long story short, Commodore Higgins tried to kill me. He thought he’d succeeded, but I managed to escape. I have been one step ahead of them on the run ever since. He is plotting something so bizarre, so evil, he will kill all of us and everyone on Earth. We HAVE to stop him’
Crane turned to Bloorp. Bloorp turned to Crane. They looked back at the screen…….
‘I set off on Luna 5th of 2340 with the aim of finding a base on a small moon called Scillus surrounding the planet Metra. The planet has an advanced civilisation with advanced weaponry and sensory systems so be careful. I’m hoping Higgins will want to avoid moving EarthForce ships near that system. That might buy me time and my life. Hopefully, I will see you there. Good luck’
With that the screen disappeared leaving Crane and Bloorp in the darkness with only the yellow light of the very agitated Kreta, lurking outside the Force field at the cave entrance.
‘I’m presuming that wasn’t around when Dad left. It doesn’t look like it’s leaving anytime soon. Any ideas on how to get back to the ship without being frazzled, mollicated or zapped to death’
‘Mr Crane. The force field stops 30metres into the cave. We might be lucky and find another way out or we may be trapped for ever. If we attempt to leave by the front entrance I give us a 10% probability of surviving. If you open the forcefield again we can try to escape another way’
‘……and what probability of success do you give that option?’
‘Less than 5% since I do not know what is behind the energy field’
Crane groaned. A less than 1 in 10 chance of success either way. He stood up and started walking toward the back of the cave.
‘Ok. On my mark I’ll say the password, we’ll jump through. The forcefield will close and we’ll see where that takes us’
Bloorp followed Crane to the edge of the forcefield.
Crane turned. His face only lit by the dim glow from Bloorp’s head.
‘Wait a minute. What if we open the forcefield twice or even thrice in the hope that thing enters the cave. It then closes trapping the beast inside. I know it still leaves us in the lap of the gods, but, at least it won’t be it that kills us’
‘That might work Mr Crane. I’m impressed’
‘Thank you Bloorp.’
Crane shouted ‘Cuddlebumps’ fourteen times before the Kreta finally stumbled into the cave. Unfortunately it was fassssst. It rocketed towards Crane at the speed of light. It was almost upon them when the forcefield closed. Crane opened his eyes.
Forcefield closed – check
Kreta other side of forcefield- check
Bloorp on correct side of forcefield – check
‘Well, that went well’
It was about then they heard the growling noise from behind them…………
‘Crane – The Voyage of Ineptitude Chapter VI – The Drekken’ was brought to you by @qosfc1919 and DodoProductions©️2019