Chapter 12

Heat trails scarred the sky as the van rolled along the main road that led toward Corran hill and the take off strip.

Bleep. Enemy patrol, dead ahead’

The Mega Drive was now speaking in a language they could all understand, and ignore.

Gerry, Sandra, and a drunken alien were in the back of the van. Gerry sat in silence. Sandra talked all the way. The alien, at least in all outward appearance, had fallen asleep.

Kevin, Pa, the Mega Drive, and Martina were in the front of the van.

‘Bleep. We are in range of the photon rays.’

The van turned onto a narrow bohreen.

‘Bleep. One direct hit and we will be destroyed.’

Pa was driving, and was focused on the road. Kevin and Martina were quietly thinking of the mission ahead. Had it been earlier in the night/ morning, they might have been paying more attention to the sky.

Bleep. Enemy fighter in close approach’

Either side of the road was peaceful. The creatures that inhabited the hedges lining the route were enjoying a day like any other. The van approached an area of forestry.

Rattatatta. Rattatatta. Rattatatta, zing.

Shots tore through the hedges and dug smokey holes into the road. Whatever delivered them came quickly from above. It’s black outline swooped and arced in the distance, preparing to swoop again.

Pa gripped the wheel as the van bounced over the newly broken tar. The trees in the forestry were tall, wide, and let very little through, including light. Pa accelerated towards them as hard as the van could go.

‘Bleep. The enemy fighter is targeting us.’ Noted the Mega Drive.

‘Bleep. We cannot withstand it’s weapons.’ Reminded the Mega Drive.

‘Bleep. You will all die’. Suggested the Mega Drive.

Thrup.

A section of the earth beside the van evaporated into a white flash. Had the missile been on target it would have been the end of the mission. But it wasn’t, and Pa turned the van into the cover of forestry.

He stopped the van, and scanned the sky Whatever had just attacked them was no longer visible. Pa, Martina and Kevin listened carefully, and heard nothing.

‘What just happened?’

‘we were shot at by one of the alien fighters Gerry, but we’re in tree cover now and there’s no sign of them coming back -are ye okay?’

‘Yeah fine, at least if the alien fighters are busy down here we’ll get a clean run on the mothership, keep moving Pa’

‘that’s the plan, it’ll probably be another five minutes to the launch strip’

‘Bleep. The enemy will have strengthened their defenses.’ Warned the Mega Drive.

‘Bleep. The mission cannot succeed.’ Reasoned the Mega Drive to nobody and everybody in particular.

Pa paused before starting the van again.

‘Whose turn is it to skin up?’

‘I did it the last time’, replied Martina.

‘Well I’m driving …Kev, would you get one together?, we mightn’t get a chance on the mothership.’

‘Yeah, fine …actually I think I’ve one in my shoe.’

‘Ah Kev, would ya just roll a fresh one?’

‘Why …are you saying my feet smell Pa?’

‘Erm, sometimes …a little’

‘Well that’s news to me, how come nobody else has a problem with them’

Pa started the van, and pretended his full concentration was elsewhere.

‘Sorry Kev, I’m trying to watch the road, and uh, we didn’t say we had a problem with them smelling’

‘Hold on Pa, it’s you that said Kev’s feet smell, leave me out of this’

‘I don’t hear you saying you were keen to smoke his toe juice spliff Martina’

‘That’s not the same as saying Kev has smelly feet’

Kevin looked down at his feet, shrugged, and began rolling a joint.

‘Lads, if ye are smelling anything, it’s not my feet -I’ve been wearing the same pair of socks for weeks, and there’s not even a hint of mold on them’

He had just finished sealing the papers when an abrupt stop. It was now at the end of the forestry trail, and meters from the runway. Kevin, Martina and Pa sat in silence, peering out onto the clearing.

Gerry climbed out of the back and walked around to the open driver side window

‘Why’ve we stopped?’

‘There’s something out on the clearing, just want to be sure it’s not an alien fighter’.

‘Right, ye stay here, I’ll take a look’.

Everyone except the alien piled out onto the trail to watch Gerry make his way onto the runway. He was back in less than a minute.

‘We’re okay, it’s not the aliens, it’s just two crusties in an Opel Astra’.

‘What do they look like?’, asked Martina.

‘Uh, I dunno, one has dreads, ya know, they just look like a pair of hippies to me’

Martina shook her head.

‘Now, do ye see what I meant about Paul and Tony, I’d lay money that’s them again, this is all just too much of a coincidence’

‘What are ya saying Martina?’, asked Pa.

‘I’m saying there’s a good chance they’re here to make sure we don’t get to stop the invasion’.

Sandra pushed past Gerry and stepped out into the clearing.

‘What do you mean by that?, do ya think they’re a pair of Archons Martina?’

‘I dunno who they are …but it’s just not right that they keep turning up’

Sandra motioned for everyone to stay put and began walking towards the runway.

‘Okay, these creatures can be tricky’, she shouted, ‘the rest of ye get back in the van, I’ll take care of these two while ye take off’

Nobody argued with her. There was never any point.

‘Good luck Sandra’, shouted Pa.

‘There is no such thing as luck, it’s just something plastic manufacturers made up to sell coloured lighters’.

Sandra stopped in the middle of the clearing. This placed her between the van and the Astra. Gerry climbed into the back of the van and shut the door. Kevin took the driving seat while Pa and Martina got in beside him. He drove out of the trail, and up towards the end of the runway.

One of the men in the Astra was waving furiously at them. It was Tony.

‘Wait!’, he shouted.

‘Don’t do what he says’ advise-yelled Sandra, before explaining that that was exactly what an Archon would say.

Kevin didn’t, he turned the van to face the runway and switched off the engine.

‘Is everyone ready, take off in X minus three…’

He switched on the superluminal hyperdrive.

‘X minus two’

Kevin turned the ignition.

Klump.

The van and it’s crew were instantly transported onto to the launch deck of the most formidable fighting spaceship the universe has ever known.

‘Beep. It’s a good job I’m not paranoid …because every sensor on this spaceship is monitoring me.’ noted the Mega Drive.

Gerry was the first out of the van.

‘Right lads, now we split up; Martina, you and Kevin go find Faf and Billy.’

He glanced over at Pa.

‘We’ll take the van, find the control room, and save the human race -everyone meet up back here in twenty minutes’