Catch up on previous episodes:
Meanwhile, aboard the MoonShip Waist of Space…
“Ouch!” Tarquin objected, “I say, Merry; that was a bit unnecessary, don’t you think?”
“Tarquin, if I hadn’t pulled you away, you would jolly well have been squished under that alien’s enormous boot.”
“Yah. Totally. Look around.”
Tarquin turned and looked behind him. Exactly where he had been standing, until Merry had summarily pulled him away, was what he could only describe as a size eleven THOUSAND boot, on the end of a very long leg attached to an extremely tall, space-suited alien. An alien who, from the angle of its head, appeared to be looking at our hapless pair and who, Tarquin and Merry would have noted, had they been able to see through the its tinted visor, was wearing an expression that would best be defined as confused.
“Gosh, Merry,” Tarquin said, “it looks like you saved my life. I say, that’s jolly decent of you.”
“I just hope I don’t live to regret it,” she replied.
“I should say not. We Stuart-Lanes know how to be grateful at times like these.”
“And how would that be?” Meredith asked.
“Well, normally, we’d give you a load of dosh, but I can’t do that; I don’t seem to have any on me.”
“Then you can repay your life-debt by becoming my slave.”
“Cripes. Read about some of those things; dog collars, leads, paddles and handcuffs, eh? Sounds frightfully exciting.”
“Down boy!” Merry said, “I didn’t say sex slave. You have to do all the dirty, difficult and dangerous jobs, while I, as your owner, shall sit back and instruct you.”
“Oh, boo. I rather hoped we were going to do something different,” he complained, “we’ve been doing that since…”
“Since when, Tarquin?” she asked menacingly.
“Since forever, I should say.”
At that moment, the loud, deep voice that was in contravention of the Global Nuclear Treaties boomed out, “Who or what are you, and what do you want.”
“Go on, then,” Meredith said, “tell him, slave.”
Tarquin, employing his most manly, powerful voice, replied, “We are Commanders Tarquin Stuart-Lane and Meredith Winstanley, of the Moonship Waist of Space. We represent the people of Earth and we wish to speak with our friend Arty.”
He then turned to his companion and said, at his normal pitch and level, “Impressed?”
“I’ll tell you when we see what the alien answers.”
The booming voice responded. “Didn’t get any of that, let’s try again.” He bent down and picked Tarquin up in his hand. Meredith was put in mind of the moment in the King Kong movie when the beast did the same with the heroine.
Hoisting him up to his face, the alien bellowed (or so it seemed to Tarquin), “Tell me again, but do try not to whisper and squeak!”
“I say. I do wish you could speak more quietly,” Tarquin replied, then shouted again what he had said before; this time with all the gravity and authority of his father’s money.
“Okay,” the alien whispered, although it sounded to Tarquin as though it was still struggling to avoid a four-figure decibel reading, “is that better?”
“Much,” Tarquin yelled, “thank you.”
The alien put Tarquin back to the ground, next to Merry, and went back into the building.
“Gosh, that was brave,” Meredith said, “weren’t you even a teensy-weensy bit scared?”
“No,” Tarquin replied, “I was a massive-wassive bit terrified, but I have to protect you. You’re my woman.”
“I’m not your woman,” she protested.
“Are so,” he said.
“Same to you with brass knobs on,” she replied. “What’s happening now?”
“No idea, old thing. Have to wait here, see what happens next, I suppose.”
“We can’t stay here long; our air will run out, and we’ve none in the capsule.”
“No food either.”
“Except sardines,” Merry said cheekily.
“Yah. Exactly,” Tarquin replied.
They didn’t have to wait long. Shortly after stepping into the building, the giant alien returned with a cage of the type children keep mice in. Its floor was in the order of four metres by three metres, and it was about three metres high. He picked up the two astronauts and unceremoniously plopped them inside, closing and securing the cage door as he did so.
“These are your pets, Artivon,” he said to his son, “and if you want to keep them, we expect you to look after them; feed them and clean them, and make sure they have what they need. Now go to the thing they came in and bring back anything you think they’ll need. We don’t know what to feed them, but you should find something there. Off you go.”
Arty scooted off to the Waist of Space while his father carried the cage into the family’s living quarters and placed it on a flat surface. He then removed his space-suit.
“There must be air in here,” Meredith said excitedly, “do you suppose it’s safe for us to breathe?”
“No idea, Merry,” Tarquin replied. “Perhaps one of us should try it.”
“Okay, but who?” Merry asked.
“Yah. Tell you what; I’ll spoof you for who goes first, or we could play rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock.”
“Rock, paper, scissors, what, WHAT?”
“Yah. Let me see if I can remember.” Pause while Tarquin thinks. “Okay, yah, got it. ‘Rock crushes scissors and lizard. Paper covers rock and disproves Spock. Scissors cut paper and decapitate lizard. Spock smashes scissors and vaporizes rock. Lizard poisons Spock and eats paper.’”
“Hmm,” Merry responded, “there’s a conundrum. Do we spoof for it, play your stupid made-up game, or… Tell you what, Tarq; you’re my slave. I order you to remove your helmet.”
“You want me to…”
“Yes, Tarquin, I want you to remove your helmet to see if the air is safe for us.”
“But if it’s not safe, I might die!”
“If that happens, Tarq, I promise I’ll keep my helmet on.”
I wrote part one of this tale in response to Kreative Kue 39, issued on this site earlier. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.