By midmorning the human defence team had divided into roughly three groups. Kevin was preparing a single handed assault on the alien mothership. Faf and Martina were getting stoned in an empty cargo hold. And Gerry, Pa, Pa’s van and the Mega Drive were parked on Corran hill next to two crusties.
Sandra pulled Gerry out of the van and him by the elbow. She threw a suspicious glance towards Tony and Paul, and leaned in close.
‘I need to chat to you in private, walk out of earshot of those two …but don’t make it look like you’re walking out of earshot’
Since returning from space Pa managed to spend ten minutes sitting in the van, staring blankly, and smoking. In those same minutes Gerry managed to explain what went wrong to Sandra. Tony and Paul, whose Opel Astra was parked next to the van, had been listening intently. Sandra had been watching them listening
‘Look Gerry, I know you know that I know that that pair are Archons, but they don’t know you know that I know’ she whispered..
Sandra then glanced towards Tony and Paul, and back to Gerry.
‘Listen, keep on acting like you don’t know …just let on you believe those lads work for NASA’
She winked and tapped her temple
‘we’re need to get hold of their car stereo’.
Gerry looked confused.
‘Sandra, you’re making even less sense than usual, l haven’t got time for this bullshit’
‘Well, you need to make time, that has to be a space radio plugged into the Astra, and they’ve tuned it to the invasion frequency …how else could they have known about the mothership?’
‘Huh, so what you’re saying is these lads you said were aliens are aliens, but we need to pretend they’re astronauts so we can get their stereo to listen for other aliens?’
‘But won’t all the transmissions from the mothership be in like, uh, Jupitarian or Venutian or something’
‘They will yeah; I mean no, Archons are too clever for that, the radio will be translating for them’
‘What? …into Archonian …how the fuck does that help?’
‘Keep your voice down Gerry; they don’t know we know they’re aliens’
The driver side door of the van suddenly swung open.
Pa was in a hurry.
‘It’s your fault the lads are still up there …you’re full of talk but when it counts ya run like fuck’
Pa came forward with a huge winging left hand. Gerry ducked it and the two men began grappling. Pa managed to hit Gerry with his elbow.
‘Calm down Pa, it’s the aliens we should be fighting’
Gerry landed his right knee into Pa’s stomach and the pair separated.
‘Well how about we get back up there then …instead of you talking shite to these three spacers’, gasped Pa, who was trying to pretend he wasn’t hurt.
The row got the attention of Tony and Paul.
‘Hey, leave it out lads’, yelled Paul.
‘That’s right’, shouted Tony in agreement, ’ye’re at war with the most powerful army in the universe, this is not the time for fighting’.
‘Don’t believe them’, shouted Sandra, ‘it’s a trick’
‘yout friends on the mothership need help’, continued Paul, ‘…bickering down here is no use to them … especially with what young Kevin has just gotten himself into’
This instantly distracted Gerry and Pa from what they had been doing.
‘what do ya mean by that?’, snapped Pa ‘…have ye a way of knowing what’s going on onboard?’.
‘in a way, yes’, replied Paul.
‘we’ve been listening to radio transmissions from the aliens all morning’, continued Tony.
‘Bollox ye heard the aliens on the radio, what station are they on?’
‘They have a space radio Pa’, explained Gerry, ‘the aliens aren’t on any of the stations’.
‘They have a what?’
‘They’ve got an Archon space radio …it translates Jupitarian from the mothership, so they can listen in on what the aliens are saying’.
‘An Archon radio? …never heard them, how much would one of them set ya back?’
‘I dunno, ask Sandra later …ya can price a new stereo once we save the world Pa’, replied Gerry, ‘and after we rescue the lads’.
Tony, Paul, Pa and Gerry were now standing together in front of the van. Sandra quietly walked away from them, and behind the vehicles. She made sure she was not seen.
‘what did ye hear in the radio transmissions?’, asked Gerry.
‘We heard a lot’, replied Tony
‘yes, a lot’, agreed Paul, ‘those aliens seem to broadcast everything …well, it sounds like everything’
‘I dunno about that, I’ve often listened to aliens broadcasting more’
‘…okay Tony, maybe it’s not the most transmissions that you ever heard’, continued Paul, ‘but it was still loads’
‘Ha, ya just think that because you’re younger than me, I wouldn’t really call it loads’.
‘What are you on about Tony …a second ago you said you heard a lot’
‘I meant we heard a lot about what Kevin is up to …I was listening to alien transmissions before you were born, and there used to be a hell of a lot more of them out there’.
‘Okay then …if it makes you happy call it a not small but not very big amount’, replied Paul.
He then turned his back to Tony and faced Gerry and Pa.
‘Like I was saying, the aliens have been sending out regular transmissions from the mothership …probably to let their mates back home know how they’re getting on with the invasion. The first one came on the radio just after breakfast saying the mothership had been attacked and the defence crew captured …that transmission sounded automated.’
‘Are you sure, I wouldn’t have said it was’ interrupted Tony.
‘Pretty sure Tony, it ended with zb’
‘It’s fzb for automatic’
‘Oh right, I always get the two mixed up …actually no, wait …Tony, you’re wrong, it is zb for automatic, because the other messages after that didn’t sound automatic …and all of them ended with the fzb code’.
Gerry and Pa looked at each other, and then back at Paul.
‘Will ya just fucking tell me what you heard about Kevin?’, snapped Gerry
‘If ya take it easy I’ll tell ye’, continued Paul, ‘…after the message about the mothership being attacked we heard a pile of transmissions reporting intruders, and then there was some Def Leppard …not sure why …anyway, after that came a signal calling back the fighters to defend the mothership …I’m guessing ye know what that was about…’
Tony looked impatient, ‘tell the lads what we heard Kevin was up to, they don’t have all day’
‘I was getting to that’, replied Paul, ‘…they asked me, not you, so how about you let me tell them’.
Paul shrugged, and mimed the word, wanker, to Gerry and Pa; ‘anyway, not one minute after you arrived came an urgent transmission for all fighters to go to the lower levels of the ship’
‘…and that’s your friend Kevin’, interrupted Tony.
‘The transmission used an alien word I’ve never heard before’, continued Paul, ‘but as far as I can work out it means mechanized assault’
‘Yeah’, agreed Tony, ‘it’s the word for mechanized assault, if you were around as long as me you’d know that straight off’
‘If I was as around as long as you I’d have learned to shut my gob now and then …and to not spout bollox at every turnabout’, replied Paul, ‘…sorry lads, where was I, oh yeah, the aliens must’ve been talking about your friend Kevin; he was determined to cause mayhem up on that mothership earlier’.
Tony didn’t seem to hear, ‘…ya know, listening to that transmission reminded me of the first space mission I was ever on, except back then we didn’t have the benefit of a hyperdrive’, he mused.
Paul ignored him, ‘anyway, listen, ye now have a chance to get back onto the alien mothership safely …the way I see it, if all the fighters are off to the lower levels then ye have a clean run at the launch bay and upper sections’.
‘Ha, when I think about it now it was amazing we got out alive that time’, continued Tony, ‘…you know, young Kevin reminds me of me when I was younger; of course things were a lot more difficult back then’.
‘From what I heard ya didn’t cover yourself in glory that first mission of yours Tony’, replied Paul, ‘…ya must have got a wobble in your brain that time the way you’ve talked at people about it since …actually …you know what? I don’t give a fuck …nobody does …park up the reminiscing …it’s bullshit anyway’
Gerry began making his way back to the van.
Tony took a barely noticeable step towards Paul ‘…there’s something I’ve always meant to say to you’, he said.
Gerry opened the driver side door of the van.
Tony continued talking, ‘and that’s that you’re a bollox’.
Paul didn’t reply with words. Instead, he lashed out a kick towards Tony’s legs. Tony leaped forward. Paul turned to run, but stumbled. Tony caught up quickly, and dumped him to the ground.
Gerry was now halfway into the van, ‘Pa, come on for fuck sake …you heard what’s happening on the ship, we need to go now’.
‘One minute’, replied Pa, who had grabbed hold of one of Tony’s elbows and was trying to drag him away from Paul; ‘leave it out lads’, he yelled, ‘the human race is under attack, this is no time to be fighting’.
‘Pa, are you gone daft?’ shouted Gerry, ‘just leave them at it’
Pa joined Gerry in the cab of the van. Sandra was already inside. She looked pleased.
‘Great work distracting those Archons’, she beamed, ‘I got hold of their radio while ye were chatting’
‘Ya did what?’ asked Gerry.
‘Don’t worry, I swapped it for the one in this van’, she explained, ‘those creatures won’t even notice until it’s too late’
‘But what about my radio, I’ve had it years’, said Pa.
‘You told me it didn’t work’, reminded Gerry.
‘It doesn’t, but that’s not the point’
‘Haven’t ya just got yourself an Archon space radio outta the swap, ya should be happy about it …take off in X minus three’
Gerry plugged in the hyperdrive.
‘Oh yeah, I couldn’t get their radio to work’, noted Sandra, ‘…so it’s probably the same difference anyway’
‘X minus two’, called Gerry.
He turned the ignition.
The van was once more transported to the middle of a giant room.
This time the room was filled with alien fighter craft, and little else.
The ship’s lighting was flickering on and off, and alarm sounds were ringing out from every direction. Somewhere below the room came a dull rhythmic thumping. The entire ship shook with each sound.
Bleep. A photon cannon is being fired onboard. Remarked the Mega Drive.
Bleep. It is going to destroy the ship’s structural integrity. Warned the Mega Drive.
Bleep. You will all die. Concluded the Mega Drive.