Catch up on earlier episodes at this link
Meanwhile, in a settlement a few hundred metres from the MoonShip Waist of Space…
Commanders Tarquin Stuart-Lane and Meredith Winstanley of the Royal Space Regiment needed to work out how to escape from their captivity as pets of Flatulon, Methanie and Artivon Grumpblast, the family of Borborygmi who had first found them. Some very strange visitors had recently appeared to our heroes, seemingly out of thin air (or not; this being the moon, there was no air, thin or otherwise, out of which to appear; if one wishes to be pedantic), and one of their number had told them that he had repaired the radio in their vessel, the MoonShip Waist of Space, making possible communication with their control centre on Earth. These visitors had also broken the lock on the cage in which the Borborygmi had incarcerated them hoping that they would breed.
“Must see if the radio works,” Tarquin said to Merry, after the visitors had left, “How can we get back to the Waist of Space?”
“Same way as we got here, only backwards,” Merry replied.
“Yah. With you there. Three problems, though.”
“One: we don’t know if we can get out of the building unnoticed by any of these overgrown stick insect chappies.”
“Fair point, but if we don’t try, we won’t know. Next?”
“Two: we don’t know if we have enough air in the tanks on our space suits – provided we can find our space suis, that is.”
“Again; if we don’t try, we won’t know. Third?”
“Three: we don’t know if there’s any oxygen for us in the Waist of Space.”
“That’s something else we won’t know unless we try. You are being so negative, Tarq. Where’s your pioneering spirit, your can-do attitude?”
“Yah. Quite. Okay. There’s one other thing.”
“You said there were three.”
“I just thought of another one.”
“Haven’t you realised? This is the thirteenth episode. Something is bound to go wrong!”
“Tarquin Stuart-Lane; I never knew you were superstitious.”
“Yah. Only a bit. Didn’t want to let on though.”
“No. Thought it might bring bad luck.”
“Let’s try anyway, eh?”
“Yah. Right. Okay. Blimey.”
“You’re brave, for a…”
“For a what, Tarquin?”
“No. Nothing. Forget I said it.”
They rooted around the room in which they and their cage were located, and eventually found their space-suits.
“The gauge on my tank says two and a half hours air left, Tarq. What’s yours say?”
“About the same,” he lied. In fact, his indicated that a little less than two hours breathing time remained. They donned their space suits.
“That door handle’s too high for us, Tarq. Let me stand on your shoulders.” After some inelegant manoeuvres, Tarquin was leaning against the door jamb, with Merry on his shoulders. She pulled down on the handle and eased the door gently towards herself. The door opened more readily than either of them had expected, the result of which was two astronauts on the floor, in positions totally devoid of all dignity.
“You okay, Merry?” Tarquin asked.
“I was just going to ask you the same thing,” she replied.
“You go first.”
“Okay. I’m fine. I may have a few bruises, but nothing broken. You?”
“Yah. Queer. I think I’m okay, but the fuzzy noise I’ve been used to hearing in my head seems to have gone.”
“How long have you had that noise?”
“Golly. And it’s gone now?”
The pair regained their feet, went through the door opening, and started to make their way toward the outer door.
“I’m not sure if I remember the way,” Merry said.
“Don’t worry, old gal. I have a clear picture in my mind. Follow me.” He strode off purposefully, hesitating only to look around every so often to be sure Merry was still with him. As luck would have it, the outer door was ajar enough for them to pass through.
“That’s a stroke of luck, Tarq,” Merry said, “maybe thirteen is a lucky number for you. Shall we jog to the Waist of Space to be sure we get there before our air runs out?”
“Bad idea, Merry,” Tarquin replied, “jogging will increase out heart and respiration rates, which will exhaust our limited air supply much sooner. Best to walk at a normal, steady pace.”
“Tarquin, tell me about that noise.”
“The one that’s gone?”
“Bad stuff. Didn’t stop me hearing; not too much anyway, but stopped me thinking. Clearer now.”
“I should have bashed you on the head ages ago.”
“Yah. Quite right. Let’s go.”
They started the hour-long trudge across the lunar surface toward their spacecraft.
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.