One of Christopher Crane’s fondest childhood memories were the family trips to their beach hut. As Earth’s cities and towns had become ever more crowded, his father had bought a small piece of land overlooking the ocean. He built a two storey wooden house right on the beach. Crane and his brother’s bedroom was on the second floor up a vertical ladder. They’d spend the day hunting for crabs and small fish, or swimming in the blue waters. Late afternoon they would build a fire and have a barbecue on the beach. Every evening they would race each other to bed and watch the sun go down over the ocean.
Crane’s father had modified a section of the roof which the boys could open via a rope and a pulley. They could then watched the stars pass overhead against the deep black hue of space. Sometimes their father would squeeze in between them and point out the planets and galaxies. One dark night as the three of them lay staring at the stars a meteor burst into flames as it entered Earth’s atmosphere. Crane and his brother shrieked at the sight, thinking the world was about to end, until their father explained what had just happened. Eventually tiredness took hold and they’d fall asleep, sometimes waking to find they’d left the roof open, and a seagull would be staring down at them inquisitively.
It was a magical time, one which Crane wished he could still touch. However, Christopher Crane now found himself trapped with a Vorisian alien called Bloorp, in a dark, extremely cold freezing cave, with a raging Kreta, hopefully permanently locked in a force field behind him, and an unknown number of growling growly things with glowing eyes in front.
‘Any ideas Bloorp? I’ve racked my brain to work out how solve the solution to the ‘I’ve a deadly aliens doppelgänger locked in a force field behind me, and, if I utter my fathers pet name for my mother it will open the force field and we will die. While in front of me, I have giant deranged pooches with serious fang, who will attempt to hypnotise us just before eating us alive’ but I’m just a tad struggling’
‘Mr Crane. I could attempt to create a force field around us, but, if my force field touches the other force field we’ll die. I could attempt to create white energy and concentrate it forwards towards the Greks. However, I can only do this for 10 seconds, at which point I predict, you would have enough power in your laser to last for 3 minutes. After that I predict we will be eaten alive.’
‘Oh great. I wish I’d never asked’
At that point, Crane slipped crashing down ignominiously on his buttocks.
‘Ouch!!! That floor is as slippy as hell’
‘I’m not sure what hell is Mr Crane but I have determined that the floor in this part of the cave is actually made of ice. There appears to be running water somewhere below’
‘That could come in handy as I’m pretty thirsty at this precise moment in time’
The Greks were moving closer. Crane covered his eyes while Bloorps halolens showed his worried face.
‘I have an idea Mr Crane’
‘Now would definitely be a good time to have a good idea Bloorp. Fire away’
‘If we melt the ice below us, we may be able to use the water channel below to escape’
‘Do you know where the water goes, how deep it is, and whether there is an air gap between it und the ice above it’
‘No Mr Crane I do not, but I estimate we have less than 2 minutes before we are consumed by a Grek’
‘Ok. let’s do it’
‘If you point your laser gun at the same point I direct my energy beam, that should be enough to melt the ice. Once we have a hole large enough we descend’
‘ok Bloorp. In 3-2-1……’
Crane pulled the trigger and Bloorp’s head lit up. Suddenly the dark cave was lit with a blinding white light and some steam. The Grek went into reverse gear obviously confused by what was happening.
A large hole opened up and Crane could hear the rushing water below them. As his laser petered out he prayed Bloorp could find the energy to keep going. Drowning, was definitely preferable to being eaten alive. He pictured his family sitting in front of a warm fire on the beach laughing. He wished he could close his eyes and find himself there, right now.
‘JUMP Mr Crane…..JUMP!’
Crane was back in the room. Well, cave to be precise. He looked down at the large hole in the ice. There was nothing for it. He jumped………
Within seconds Crane was being carried along at great speed by what appeared to be very wet hot water. He could feel the heat penetrating his spacesuit. It was hard to breath especially since there was only a small gap to the rock and ice above him. As he was slept along he occasionally found himself under the water. He was a good swimmer. All the time spent with his family on the North shore was paying off as he held his breath on and on. An air gap appeared and Crane used the opportunity to grab some air into his aching lungs. As he was carried along in the dark he could feel the temperature rising and rising. It was now uncomfortably hot. He was struggling to breath. Once again the air gap disappeared and Crane found himself having to hold his breath for much longer than he’d had to so far. He was reaching the point of no return, realising he couldn’t hold his breath for much longer. His lungs felt as if they were about to burst. Maybe getting eaten by a Drek would have been a simpler way to go. Just as he was about to give in, he suddenly felt himself being lifted at great speed. He was being shot upwards at great speed. Suddenly he found himself launched out into the open air like a cannonball. He soared through the sky like a large heavy bird without wings finally thumping heavily into soft snow……………..
Time passed……how long we will never know unless we have direct access to the computers on Arcadia 2. Crane groaned. He hurt in all the places he didn’t want to which was basically everywhere. His eyes tried to focus on his surroundings. He could see snow, clouds, snow, sky, and a…..cliff edge. He could definitely see height, depth and distance from the corner of his eye. He turned to the right. This was a much more favourable view as it contained snow, sunshine and Bloorp. Albeit, a Bloorp who was lying flat on his back and appeared to be dead.
He tried to move towards goodness rather than dropness. His left leg was no longer dangling over a 100 feet drop. He dragged himself towards Bloorp. He was lifeless. He sidled up beside his alien friend. It was at this point he noticed blood dripping from somewhere within him onto the snow. Pain soon followed. He touched his head. Crane had already braved many things on this short journey but he hated the sight of blood. He swayed and swayed and melted to the ground……….
Crane awoke to a very loud noise. The Arcadia’s Skydiver hovered above him blasting snow up his nostrils. He saw ropes, bodies, angels and white pearly gates. Then darkness.
24hrs later, Crane awoke. He was in the medical lab on Arcadia 2. He groaned, mainly for effect. He opened his eyes. There stood the entire crew including Bloorp, who appeared to be none the worse for his adventures, despite appearing to be dead at one point.
‘Good afternoon Mr Crane. How do you feel?’
‘What happened? I remember cliffs, snow and Dreks, not necessarily in that order’
‘A geyser blew you and Bloorp a hundred feet in the air on to the top of an ice column. Twenty feet either way you would have been toast. We picked you up on the sensors and here you are. Safe and sound’
‘Am I ok?’
‘Apart from a cut to your head you are amazingly fine’
‘Ok. we have the co-ordinates my father gave me. Let’s waste no more time…..’
Within thirty minutes Arcadia 2’s fusion drives were ready to go.
‘Ok Fittipaldi. Fire them up…..’
It would take them two weeks to reach Sarius, a planet right on the edge of the the explored universe. The planet was known to be inhabited which made Crane nervous. So far every thing they’d met wanted to kill them. It would be great if during this next adventure they met beings that just wanted to drink tea and run Crane a hot bath.
Many light years away, a Drekken called by some unpronounceable name, was absolutely fuming. He’d watched the spindly white humanoid and a Vorisian trick his Kreta into a force field, and watched some more, as they evaded other alien creatures down a hole in the ground. It slammed its fist on the Tarsuniam clad wall. If only he hadn’t been distracted by the Drekken equivalent of daytime tv, this would never have happened. Now he’d have to get a ship and travel all the way to get it back. A Drekken without his Kreta, was the human equivalent of a young person in 2019 without a mobile phone (yes that bad!! ☺️). The Drekken would rescue his Kreta, find the spindly humanoid, his squat Vorisian friend, and despatch them, using very slow methods that only a Drekken knew.
Crane stared out at the stars, blissfully unaware that both Commodore Higgins, and now a Drekken, were chasing through space to find him to kill him. Instead, he was picturing himself back on the beach on Earth with his family, splashing through waves, chasing his brother, laughing all the way back to their beach hut to spend another night watching the stars. Little did he know, as he latched onto old memories, he held the fate of Earth in his hands, and, the next part of the adventure would start on the rock below…………
‘Crane – The Voyage of Ineptitude – Episode VII – The Beach Hut’ was brought to you by David Linden @qosfc1919 via Twitter and DodoProductions ©️2019