I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath for the next instalment of my blockbuster story – if you’re enjoying it make sure you tell everyone to have a look!
So here we go, sit back and enjoy.
Captain Dorke was in a deep sleep, dreaming of inter-planetary positions when the loud bleeping of his com-link woke him with a start. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he grabbed the small mobile unit and jabbed a finger at the green receive button.
“What is it?” he grunted into the receiver.
“It’s L.D.” the voice at the other end said, “we may have a problem.”
“Oh, for pete’s sake,” the Captain snarled, swinging his white legs over the side of his bunk, “what now?”
“I think you’d better come up to the Command Deck,” L.D. replied.
“And why is that?” the Captain enquired.
There was a short pause before L.D. answered.
“Two of the crew have disappeared.”
The double doors of the Command Deck glided apart and Captain Dorke strode over to his chair. Dressed now in a silver shirt laced at the chest and tight fitting leather trousers with matching boots he made an imposing sight.
L.D., sitting in his usual position at the communications console now had a stocky uniformed man with short, brown hair standing to his right.
“Well, Sergeant Gatwin,” the Captain snapped, “what’s happened?”
Gatwin shuffled uncomfortably.
“It’s Dane and McCarthy, Sir,” he started, “they were supposed to have reported in over two hours ago but there’s no answer from either of their com-links.”
Dorke stared unnervingly at Gatwin through his blue tinted glasses.
“And where exactly were they supposed to be?” he asked.
“In the cargo hold,” the Sergeant answered nervously.
L.D. turned to look at Gatwin.
“Have you thought of looking for them?” he asked.
“Yes sir,” Gatwin replied, “we have a team down there now.”
Captain Dorke turned his chair back to face the data screens.
“Well, Sergeant,” he said dismissively, “kindly report back when you’ve
Six heavy booted crewmen thundered down the metal steps leading to the cargo hold. Each was carrying a Specific Heat Atomic Fluctuation Tracer – Shaft for short – and heavy duty stasers. As they reached the bottom of the stairs, they formed a double line and stood waiting for instructions.
A small woman with shoulder length brown hair appeared at the top of the stairway clutching a clipboard.
“Right men,” she shouted, “your task is very simple.” She looked down at the men staring expectantly up at her. “Dane and McCarthy have lost themselves somewhere in the cargo hold,” she explained, “your task is to find them. Stevenson and Lewis,” she continued, looking down at her clipboard, “you take sections one and two, Andrews and Rippon, sections three and four and finally Robertson and Hartley five and six – any questions?”
Corporal Andrews stepped forward.
“Yes Lieutenant Jennings,” he shouted, “how often do we report in?”
Jennings looked down at her clipboard again.
“You will each report in every half hour until Dane and McCarthy are found,” she instructed. “Failure to do so will result in a loss of bonus payment.” A wry grin crossed her face. “Is that understood?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” the men chorused.
“Good,” Jennings replied, “now, if you would all care to make your way to the assigned areas you can begin your search.”
As she turned to leave, a final instruction crossed her mind.
“Gentlemen,” she shouted, turning back to them, “remember to keep your Shafts in your hands at all times.”
With that, she turned and strutted from the hold as the men disappeared into the dimness around them.
Back on the Command Deck, the Captain and L.D. were deep in discussion.
“Well, L.D.,” Dorke said.
“Yes thanks,” the little duck replied.
A puzzled look crossed the Captain’s face.
“What?” he asked.
“You asked me if I was well,” L.D. said.
“No I didn’t,” snapped the leather clad Captain.
Thankfully, before the conversation could deteriorate into a full scale argument the Captain’s com-link started to bleep. Pulling it from it’s sheath, he held it to his ear and spoke into the transmitter.
“Dorke,” he snapped.
Pushing his glasses to the bridge of his nose, the Captain listened intently. “O.K. Jennings,” he replied into his com-link, “keep me informed.”
Dorke re-sheathed the communicator and turned to his companion.
“Well, L.D.” he started.
The duck buried his head under his wing.
“Don’t start that again,” he squawked, “just tell me what’s happening.”
“That was Jennings,” the Captain said, “they’ve mounted a full search of the hold so they should have found those two pillocks shortly. Right,” he concluded.
“What Captain?” L.D. asked.
Dorke turned and threw him a grin.
“Fancy a game of 3-D chess?”
In a white, sterile looking room, the two men from the space station sat staring at an information monitor.
“One has activated early,” the first said.
“No matter,” replied the second, tapping at the keyboard before him.
“What should I do?” the first asked.
“Simple,” the second replied, “activate the rest…….”