Pa had many excuses for his bad driving.
- He was very tired
- He was panicked.
- There was so much background noise he found it difficult to concentrate.
- He was onboard a spaceship in the middle of an interstellar battle.
His had two companions and a self aware computer chip to advise him, but it was not enough to stop him consistently gouging lumps out of the ship.
The front wing of the van made contact with the spaceship’s superstructure, and neither object won out.
‘keep the windows rolled down lads’
Gerry, who was sitting between Sandra and Pa, and had been doing his best to ignore the collisions.
‘we can keep tabs on where we are from the sound of the fighting’.
Sandra had her head out of the passenger window.
‘So where are we now Gerry’
‘Hard to tell, …but anywhere near the noise of fighting should be near the landing bay lower decks, at least if those two crusties were right’.
‘Stop’, yelled Sandra suddenly.
The van screeched to a halt.
‘I smell weed …beep the horn Pa’.
‘I’m not sure that’s a good idea, we’re trying to avoid the aliens’.
‘Sniff for yourself …that’s white widow, the lads won’t be far’
‘She’s right, told ya they’d be fine, at least that shit ye smoke is good for something’.
Pa let the van roll forward and sounded the horn, but there was no response.
Sandra craned her head out the passenger window, ‘the smell’s not as strong now …we must’ve driven past them’
‘Right, hold on, I’ll turn around’
There was a loud crunch as he reversed the van into a wall. Several lengths of metal collapsed to the floor. The van then bounced over them and ploughed into the opposite wall, to an even louder crunch.
Gerry winced at the sound.
‘Fucking hell Pa, leave some of the ship intact will ya, we still haven’t found the others’
‘I’m trying to, all the walls are at funny angles’
‘Your eyes must be at funny angles …just sound the horn again, if the aliens haven’t heard us by now they’re not going to’
Sandra saw them first. Two figures stumbling out onto the corridor. Gerry gave a loud whistle.
‘Lads, is that ye?’ he yelled.
‘Quiet Gerry, how do we know they’re not shapeshifters’
‘Because they’re not Sandra …over here lads, is everyone okay?’
The three ran towards the van. Faf was grinning. Martina looked less happy.
‘Is everyone okay’, repeated Gerry as they came nearer.
Martina ran around the van and yanked open the driver side door. It groaned against its hinges with the force. She glared at Pa.
‘Where the fuck did ye get to?’.
She did not wait for a response. ‘Huh? …playing computer games I bet’.
‘You’re right Gerry, that’s not a shapeshifter’, whispered Sandra
Pa knew better than to answer, Gerry was not as wise.
‘Ah now come on …we had an army of aliens to deal with, and we’re here now’
Martina threw him a brief look and then focused back on Pa
‘I got a slap in the face from one of those things you know, and my ankle is twisted …and Kev has gone missing …and where were you? …shitehawking about with professor pac man.’
Faf quietly opened the rear door of the van and climbed inside.
‘There’s no need to be like that Martina, calm down’, interrupted Gerry.
‘Am I talking to you? …this whole thing is your fault, you and that other fuckin geek’
‘Come on Martina’, said Pa, ‘…to be fair the aliens had a lot to do with it’.
‘And Archons have been conspiring against us’
‘Oh, hello Sandra, I didn’t see you there …sorry, I wasn’t giving out to you’
‘That’s okay, for a second I thought you were a shapeshifting Archon …those creatures are sneaky, but we fooled them’
‘What d’ya mean?’
‘We stole their radio …only I forgot to take the instructions’
‘What Sandra means is that we got hold of a space radio, it’s been picking up signals from this ship all morning’
‘Yeah’, added Pa, ‘and Kev is still alive, or at least Tony and Paul reckon he is’
‘Don’t believe a word from those creatures’, warned Sandra, ‘each of their sentences is a step towards world domination’
Thrup. The ship shook with the force of the blast. It was followed by a volley of pulses. Another length of metal fell from the ceiling.
Bleep. This ship has been terminally damaged. Advised the Mega Drive.
Bleep. A hull breach has occurred in level one. Reported the Mega Drive.
Bleep. Everyone will die. Concluded the Mega Drive.
The alarms sputtered to a stop. This had the effect of making the distant noises sound more erratic. They were getting louder.
‘We should go’, said Pa.
‘we can’t just leave Kev to fend for himself’
‘I’ll get Kevin’, interrupted Gerry, ‘the rest of ye take the van and go back to the landing bay’
‘No, no more splitting up Gerry, we stick together from now on’
‘Are ya gone mad Martina …the aliens might be a bit distracted, but they’re not gonna miss five humans in a Ford Transit rattling towards them’
Gerry climbed over Pa and jumped out from the van.
‘No’, he continued, ‘I’ll get Kevin, ye lot know nothing about space …well, most of ye, not you Sandra…’
Sandra wasn’t listening, she was fiddling with the radio.
‘…what are we gonna do about Billy, he’s got headphones on …how’s he meant to get back to Earth?’, asked Martina.
‘Stereo music has no effect on superluminal travel’
‘That’s all well and good Gerry …I meant he won’t hear us if we go looking for him’
‘we’re at war with an alien army, it was his choice to stick on headphones …if he’s not up on the landing deck inside a half hour leave without him’.
Gerry glanced down the corridor, and back to the van, ‘…that goes for me and Kevin too’
Then he was gone.
Martina climbed into the cab, ‘…so how did you end up back on the spaceship Sandra?’
‘Came back with the lads …you were a bit harsh there, they just about made it out of the control room …and the alien is dead’
‘hope it was worth it …well, was it Pa? did ye make the ship paranoid?’
Pa reversed the van free of the wall, and accelerated back along the corridor.
‘I’ve no fuckin idea’, he said.
The journey to the launch deck went quickly. Pa ground through the gears. Martina began rolling a joint.
‘Where are we?’, came a voice from the back.
‘Still on the spaceship’, replied Pa, ‘back at the landing bay, we’re gonna wait here for the others’
The van came to a stop beside a squadron of alien fighters. Pa, Martina, Sandra and Faf climbed out and gathered beside the cab. Earth was visible through the giant window. It looked peaceful.
‘Can anyone see the great wall of China?’, asked Faf.
Martina stared up at spaceships, ‘you’re able to see it from space, that’s just an urban legend’.
‘Why would someone start a rumour like that, it’s only gonna piss people off when they can’t see it?’
‘People are strange …tell ye what, it’d be good to put those fighters out of action’
‘How’d ya mean Martina?’, asked Pa.
‘I dunno, sugar in their petrol tanks or something’
‘I doubt they run on petrol, I can’t smell fuel, or anything come to think of it …the only thing I’ve smelt since we got here is white widow, I wonder how the aliens keep the place so clean, they have it spotless …though there was a smell of shit in the control room’
‘…I don’t know anything about that’, muttered Faf.
Martina put the finishing touches to the joint and stared at him.
‘why would you say that?’
‘…just, because I don’t, can we change the subject lads?, aliens are trying to kill us …it doesn’t matter who shit where …if somebody did …and they didn’t’
There was a low crackle of radio interference; ‘…be located in most near mopping up operation’.
Five sets of eyes swiveled towards the newly installed radio.
‘I thought you said you couldn’t get that thing to work Sandra?’
‘I couldn’t earlier …it must’ve just needed retuning after I lifted it from the Astra’.
Pa jumped into the van and grabbed hold of the dial.
The radio crackled again; ‘attack force, go to rejection of enemy promptly, possibility is high for the purpose of capture’
‘It’s not very good at translating the messages’
‘What d’ya expect?’, asked Sandra, ‘it came out of the minds of shapeshifting Archons …they may be sneaky and dim witted, but they’re stupid …that’s why they want to harvest our brains’
‘Can we talk to the aliens on it?’
‘Try it and see’
Pa pressed on the dial, ‘uh, hello aliens, can ye hear me?’
The radio emitted a short burst of static before crackling again; ‘Attention all Humans, we will directively cause you to be immovable’
‘We have to respond to that, the cheeky fuckers, whatever that was sounded like abuse’
‘Off ya go so Pa’, said Martina.
‘I, uh …can’t think anything to say’
‘Tell them fuck off’ suggested Faf
‘no, something better than that…’ interrupted Martina, ‘…how about what the American president said earlier’
‘Yeah, that was good …only I’ve forgotten what it was, can ya remember?’
Martina jumped into the cab of the van, ‘here, move over and give me a go’
‘Attention Aliens, ‘we are the Humans …and we will not go quietly into the night’.
She turned around and winked proudly at the others.
‘You will all die’, crackled the response.
Pa grabbed the radio again, ‘no we won’t’, he replied, before turning it off.
The group fell silent. Muffled explosions thumped in the distance, rattling the ship with each sound. Martina was the first to speak, ‘…probably better if we leave the radio off for a while, there’s enough noise about the place’.