The Night The Earth Moved – Chapter Two

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.

CHAPTER TWO

          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

found them.”

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…….”

The Night The Earth Moved – an (almost) original Science Fiction story!

I’d forgotten that years ago I had a go at a bit of writing. As a teenager it was angst ridden poetry that I think I shall consign to the back of the wardrobe (unless you’re really lucky!)

However, I also had a bash at a bit of an homage to the sci-fi genre and self published a book called ‘The Night The Earth Moved’. It’s a very tongue in cheek offering that leans more towards ‘Carry On’ than Frank Herbert but it was fun writing it and that’s what counts.

And of course, what sci-fi homage would be complete without a fair spattering of Doctor Who references – which of course ties in nicely with the programme’s 50th anniversary….but that’s for another day.

But, you’re not going to get it all in one go. Oh no, you lucky readers. You’re going to be drip-fed, chapter by chapter the exciting adventures of Captain Don Dorke and the valiant crew of the Excelsior IV.

So here we go, sit back and enjoy the first chapter of ‘The Night The Earth Moved’…….

CHAPTER ONE

           The space station revolved gently as it hung in the timeless void of space. Attached to Docking Bay Two was the Excelsior IV, a cargo ship that had been accompanying the station on it’s slow revolution for several hours. On top of the ship, a large scanner jerked spasmodically – as though the cargo ship itself was impatient to get away.

Inside the vessel, the doors to the Command Deck glided apart and a man wearing a silver space suit strode through. Crossing to the chair facing the main viewing screen, he stood breathing deeply before slumping heavily into it. Glaring through his tinted glasses at the screens before him, the silver suited figure stroked the short beard covering the lower half of his face before bringing his clenched fist down fiercely onto the arm of his chair.

“Idiots,” he shouted through clenched teeth, “don’t they realise that some of us have deadlines to meet.”

From the back of the Command Deck a strange voice answered him.

“What’s happened?”

The Captain turned to face the source of the question. Sitting in his usual position at the communications console was the Captain’s faithful assistant and fellow adventurer, L.D. the duck. Critically injured in a space battle, L.D. had been rebuilt through the wonders of bionic surgery and, supplied with an implanted voice box and bionic wings had quickly become an essential part of the Excelsior IV’s crew.

“Well,” L.D. repeated, “what’s happened?”

The Captain took his glasses off and squeezed the bridge of his nose.

“Earth’s on red alert,” he replied in disbelief, “getting security clearance has put us four hours behind schedule.”

L.D.  jabbed at the console before him and brought a list of data up on the screens facing him.

“Well,” he said, studying the information, “if we go at full whack, we should just about do it.”

“That is not the point,” the Captain hissed.

L.D. was exasperated.

“Well what is then?” he asked.

“This,” the Captain snarled, throwing his security pass across the room. “They’ve spelt my name wrong – they missed the E off. It’s spelt D-O-R-K-E. My name’s Dorke – Don Dorke.

Deep in the bowels of the Space Station, two men sat watching the Excelsior IV as it’s rear thrusters burst into life. As the ship detached itself from the Docking Bay, the first of the two men turned to his associate.

“Are they in place?” he asked.

“Everything is prepared,” the second replied.

They turned back to look at the screen and watched expressionless as the Excelsior IV glided away and became nothing more than a speck in the starfield.

Captain Dorke sat staring intently at the data which filled the screens before him. Jabbing at a button on the intercom, he leant forward.

“Crew,” he instructed, “prepare to go hyper.”

Flicking a switch to the right of the computer terminal, the starfield on the viewing screen became a blur of white as the ship entered hyper space and it’s long journey back to Earth.

Rising from his chair, Dorke flicked back his short brown hair and walked towards the doorway.

“Right, L.D. ” he said, “I’m going for a rest period. Everything’s locked on course so we should be home in three days – just in time for the hoverbike rally.”

“Aye, aye Captain,” L.D. replied.

Dorke turned from the doorway.

“If you need me,” he said, “I’ll be in my quarters watching some training vids.”

He winked knowingly at L.D. and, with a grin on his face, strolled from the deck.

In the lower cargo hold, two uniformed technicians were doing their rounds. Thousands of metal crates formed rows of interlocking corridors, which created a maze of passageways that you could lose yourself in for days.

The first of the technicians, Dane, turned to his associate.

“Quiet, isn’t it,” he whispered.

“Yeah, eerie,” his partner, McCarthy, answered. “Dane,” he continued.

“What?” Dane whispered back.

“Why are we whispering?” McCarthy shouted, startling his unsuspecting colleague.

Continuing to stroll along the walkways, the two men inspected the crates at intermittent intervals, ensuring that everything was in order. As Dane inspected another of the crates a questioning look crossed his face.

“What’s in these things?” he said to McCarthy.

“Dunno,” McCarthy answered helpfully, “some sort of metal ore I think.”

As Dane opened his mouth to ask another question, the hold reverberated with the sound of tearing metal.

The two men looked at each other in amazement.

“That was section four,” McCarthy shouted, “come on.”

Grabbing their stasers, both men ran along the passageways, expertly negotiating the maze of corridors. Turning the corner which lead to section four, both men stopped in amazement – the crate standing before them now had a three foot round hole ripped into it’s side.

“What on Earth could have done that?” Dane said, open mouthed. “Those crates are six inch thick steel.”

Tentatively, they approached the crate. As Dane studied it, he placed his hand and arm inside.

“Be careful,” McCarthy warned, “from the way that metal’s been bent, the hole was forced from inside the crate.”

“Don’t worry,” Dane said dismissively, “there’s nothing in…….” His voice stopped suddenly as his arm was grabbed by something from within the crate.

“Help me,” he screamed, “for God’s sake help me.”

McCarthy lifted his gun but stood helpless as his friend was dragged inside the container. A blood curdling scream filled the hold but was abruptly silenced. As McCarthy turned to run, he stopped in his tracks, the sight of what stood before him filling him with terror. His screams filled the hold until, like Dane’s before him, were cut abruptly short and the hold once again returned to an eerie silence….