"Solar systems void of meaning, freeze the spirit into stone, always our researches lead us to the ultimate Unknown...", heartily sang Greer Nagalot as they trailed across the heavens in their brand new Audi DX2/10,000 super duper power steering 54-engined space craft. They had just finished pillaging the stores of the Sheriff of Not-in-Ham and had barely escaped the evil clutches of his robomen.
"Do we scout back home through sectors 10-29-D or as the comet flies?" asked Greer's second-in-command Commander Narelle Grade A as she stood patiently by the steering console awaiting the tall and slender Captain's orders. Narelle gazed into the seemingly never ending dimension of space and only saw the flashing traffic lights and signs. Although her station was one of high rank, she had only just received her Provisional licence and was yet to aquire the experience needed.
"Let's go through and around sector 19-52-P just in case the robomen found our heat tracks." advised computer and navigator of the ship Lieutenant David Jerker. Lt. Jerker had his own personal trademark and that was of his thick, almost curly mop of dark hair that seemed to grow only up and out. He was the one with the knowledge of the intense technology needed to run the vessel he was currently in.
"Follow through!" said Greer then turned to her adviser in health and other stuff Kathy Legham. Kathy was a short girl with wire-rimmed glasses that looked every unit a square. She had the qualifications of a doctor, surgeon, psychologist and portable friend in all of her young 25 years.
"I think that maybe we should pass through the Haunted Asteroid Belt on the way." said Lieutenant Commander Dr. Kathy in a level voice,"because I need to pick up some medical supplies on the way."
Narelle turned from her post to look intently on her friend from their space school , In-manual Lutheran College, Mars. She remembered all of the times they had shared together and smiled at the irony that they had both come onto the same ship. All upon the ship had graduated from high intelligence schools and their job was to keep up justice in all of the planets and systems recorded under the Federation of Brainy Intellectuals(or FBI as they were better known).
The door nearby the Captain's console beeped once and the door slid silently open as Lieutenant Bradl E. Rohodey entered the room with long, measured strides. Bradl was the ship's warfare officer and strategy coordinator who mixed up strongly lethal cocktails in the kitchen. All environmentally friendly of course! "Well, I've used up all of the code 23R bombs so I'll need to stop off when Dr. Legham does to replenish supplies, Captain Nagalot." said Bradl in a serious tone.
"Don't forget to prepare for any sudden attacks from starboard." said Lt.Jerker in a cautious voice. Bradl remembered all of the times where David had helped him in the past and decided to take careful heed of his advice.
That was then Penny 'Will-I-Or-Won't-I?hmm...' made her dramatic entry through the main door.
"Greetings fellow morons. And how are we today? I've just finished making minor adjustments to our reports to be sent to headquarters and I was wondering if you, Captain Nagalot, would preview them as a good captain must!"
Greer smiled warmly at Penny. Life sure would be boring and dull without her. She always did the minor jobs that everyone accidentally overlooked and without her, honestly, the ship would not have run at optimum levels.
It all began in the times of trouble when the life of the entire world was balanced precariously on the tip of an iceberg and was threatening to drown itself at any millisecond. Then, a group of teenagers were inspired to do something about the problem and join the intelligence (after watching a program about the resistance in German class). After many years of hard work, the friends had reached their goal and were assigned to a ship and were to be judged on their work in a year's time. It was good that they were all put together because after so many years of companionship, they knew each other well enough to judge the wild mood swings and silences that sometimes occurred too frequently on other ships. They were also an experiment for the government and their code name was 'The X-Files'.
Their first assignment was to try in all ways possible to find out about other life forms and promote justice. Their evil counterpart was the Sheriff of Not-in-Ham (as he liked to be called) who denied the FBI and instead set up his own kind of government known in terrorism circles as the CIA (Crappy, Intelligence Association). As usual, the good guys didn't win every battle. It was only by major flukes that this time they had succeeded.
It seemed that humanity was going to choke itself to death with the toxic fumes coming from (Mr.Lutze's shirt!)no, from the very means of our existence. Technology. Factories pumped out grey clouds that literally fell birds out of the sky. So the FBI made it their job to not only clean the world and universe of crooks and baddies, but also of the pollution and other such yucky things.
The X-Files accepted the job against the Sheriff mainly because they wanted a 'legit' reason to cavort around the universe in a state of the art ship, to perve on the best looking guys (and females in reference to the minority of males on board), and to stand up for their own strong beliefs. The X-Files usually resided in shared accommodation in a fairly luxurious moon base station nicknamed 'IF'. Since they all worked for the government, you could say they were affluent (to be politically correct) and had the means to do almost anything they liked. Until their time of duty came about and they were expected to risk life and limb for the good of the universe. That meant fighting against bad politicians like Paul Keating and the seemingly oldless monarch, the Queen who was still going through menopause. And, of course, corrupt businessmen like Sheriff of Not-in Ham (aka Mr. Barracat).
To be in a ship with a bunch of your closest friends and worst enemies wasn't exactly Dr. Kathy Legham's ideal way to spend her weekdays but life was tough out in the Universe and if you didn't like something, the constitution said you could go to Universe hell. Great! Well , it was a typical dreary Earth Monday kind of a morning. Sure, yesterday they had won a battle against the Sheriff but today seemed like the denouement after going on a rollercoaster (not that Kathy had ever been on one!). First of all, she had run out of supplies for the infirmary. Secondly, her fiancee (who happened to be also working for the FBI on NASA) had sent her via intergalactic satellite that he wouldn't be able to see her for another few Earth months because of some interference with the 'BEAMUS' (Beam Me Up Scotty') machine. Luckily one of her friends, Narelle Grade A was busy comforting her just as she seemed on the verge of a nervous breakdown, as usual.
Narelle was very happy for the sole reason that her driving had improved dramatically and now she could actually handle a ZXR9999 ship with no troubles at all. She was the type of person who could convince maybe even Hitler himself not to commit suicide, had she been there at the time. But this time, things were really bad. Kathy had fallen into a kind of self-pity trance and for the first time since the major fights they had in Year 9, Narelle couldn't help. So she decided to summon reinforcements in the form of Bradl E. Rohodey. Now he wasn't exactly the kind of hero from a romance book or anything but he had a quiet sensitive, side to his nature that always seemed to help any female feel much better (except Greer Nagalot due to past events and occurrences).
After he had been in the room for a while, he became so frustrated that not even he could help Kathy, that he exited the room and headed straight for the quarters of David Jerker. David and Bradl had been best mates ever since primary school. They spent the rest of the morning trying to figure out what exactly was so difficult about the female 'species'. Of course, they never figured it out...being guys! Only kidding!
Meanwhile, Penny 'Will-I-Or-Won't-I?hmm...' was making long distance video calls (and I mean long) to Venus, the planet of luuuurrve. She was already preparing for the few weeks of holidays assigned to all of them in a couple of Earth months time. Funnily enough, the resort she was going to stay at, had an uncanny resemblance to 'Sea World-Nara Resort' on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, Earth! Pretty strange! Or was it planned that way?!!
Greer Nagalot was sitting in her cosy Captain's quarters staring dreamily out into the passing stars and thinking about those excellent arguments she and Dr. Kathy used to have with the infamous Mr.Lutze. But those days were over. She quickly shifted her thoughts to her lifelong dream-guy Patrick Keating. He was the whole reason she had joined the FBI. Rather than follow his fathers footsteps into politics, he delved into science and space. So Greer abandoned her thoughts about being Australia's first female President and plunged after Pat. He was currently awaiting orders to return to his base for his holidays which would coincide with Greer's. She sighed deeply and wondered what he was currently thinking about (probably her but we wouldn't tell her that!). She was rudely interrupted by the beeping sound of the door-beep thing.
"Who is it?" she asked AVAIS (Artificial Voicing And Information System), the 'real' boss of the vessel.
"Dr. Kathy Legham is currently outside and she requests to speak with you." announced AVAIS in a smooth feminine voice.
"Let her in please, AVAIS." said Greer and started wondering again but this time about the reason of Kathy's visit.
Greer and Kathy had somehow just 'clicked' for all of their physical and personality differences. They shared one passion however (apart from both having had the same boyfriend-at different times of course) and that was to argue. There was hardly a time when they lost an argument and they took great pride in that.
As Kathy entered the room, Greer noticed that the usual 'fighting' spirit seemed to have disappeared out of the posture of her body. Greer knew that she had better just let Kathy tell her straight away what was on her mind but then the whole morning would have passed very quickly. So she said,
"Kathy, I have a free ticket to see the latest Keanu Reeves movie. Now I know that he gotten on a little in years, but you know what they say about older men?"
The change in Kathy seemed almost impossible. Her back straightened, her head lifted and a smile lit up her face. Greer had certainly hit the right spot.
"Thanks a lot Greer. I would have done almost anything to get that ticket had I known about them earlier! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!"
Greer chuckled to herself as Kathy breezed out of the room. That was about the only thing that could ever snap Kathy out of a reverie. A good looking guy who appeared to have a good personality (which happened to cross out most of the males in the universe!). If only everyone's problems were as easy to solve.
Warning lights flashed and annoying buzzers rang as everyone hurried around the ship towards their posts. Captain Greer Nagalot was in the process of fully awakening, as one of her post must get used to doing, when AVAIS decided that the time was for action. Really, artificial intelligence these days had no respect for tact or a good night's sleep.
"Captain, wake up. There is an enemy ship approaching from port-side."
Greer had silly images of giant bottles of port swimming lazily towards her brand new ship and they were attacking at it with globules of congealed fortified fructose...Attacking?!!!! That snapped Greer up quick smart. Her brand new ship was going to be attacked, probably by some brainless male! She walked out of the door and headed straight for the control room. Luckily, someone's brains were working overtime, as usual, for there was Narelle sitting at her post and awaiting orders. David was by his vid-computer ready for some fast typing, Bradl was in the weapons area preparing for war, Kathy was waiting for the casualties(NOT! Actually, she was sharpening her brain for the task of advising the Captain for strategies by reciting Shakespearian monologues) and Penny was standing at her lookout watching for any change in the development of the attack. She was also there with a jug of imported red cordial in case anyone feared they were losing their courage in times of need.
Captain Greer Nagalot sank gratefully into the plush of her chair and focused her mind on the attack. It was an enemy ship approaching. On that belonged to another agent of the CIA under the codename of Aireans. They had originally been part of Hitler's master race but fate had twisted and these poor and unfortunate humans had been condemned to join the CIA because they had a reputation for being Airheads (which is where the phrase had come from). Their blonde hair and intense blue eyes belied their slow thinking and meglomaniatic approach to life.
'They flew a second-rate machine', was all Lt. David Jerker could think about.
"They could have at least upgraded it to a Pentium!" he thought with disgust. But then, as a smile crept upon his face, he remembered that he had just finished putting the final touches on his immobiliser. All he had to do was point it at the ship's motor, and kapow! nothing would work. He grinned wryly how he had practised it on government ships back on Earth and they never could find the culprit.
So he went up to the Captain and told her about his invention. Learning about computer programming had paid off after all. Greer was willing to try out this new idea, and it wasn't long before Narelle manoeuvred the ship to a better vantage point, Bradl had aimed the launcher, Kathy made preparations for the takeover and Penny had told them that the enemy ship of Aireans were about to attack that Bradl launched the immobiliser and everyone held their breath as a stream of laser energy erupted right on target. For a minute, nothing happened. Then, Kathy let out a whoop as she switched on the computer communicating screen and asked the other ship to acknowledge defeat. The static gave way to a very gorgeous looking blonde guy with blue eyes that showed his surprise at what had just happened. Behind him, officers of all rank were scurrying around like ants trying to demobilise their ship. but to no avail. Lt.David had done his work properly.
"Captain I.M. Sauerkraut here. I demand you to withdraw whatever energy you have caught us with." he said in a rough grating voice that did not seem to suit his features very much. "My dear Captain I.M. Sauerkraut," mimicked Greer in a perfect imitation of his strong accent, "Wie geht's? I see that you are in no position to be demanding anything." Greer's voice hardened as she recalled facts.
"Last Earth year, one of your fleet cold-bloodedly shot down a ship that was on a peace mission to the outer regions of Sector DF. Now is the time to stop the killing before it's too late. What cargo does your ship carry this time? Innocent women and children on their way to prison camps just because they watched 'Paradise Beach' many years ago?"
At this, the Captain was outraged and was about to order his men to go over to this arrogant woman's ship and kill her, when a blast behind him made him turn around. He was face to face with death incarnate. There, by the doorway, stood Lt. Rohodey with his semi-automatic laser beamer in one hand, and some weird looking bomb thing in the other. Some concoction of his own. The Captain gave a look of ultimate horror and sank blubbering to the floor. Lt. Rohodey was aghast but he struggled not to show it. For while Captain Nagalot had insulted the Captain of the other ship, a crew of her own had managed to make use of the time and assault the enemy ship from their blind side. It had obviously worked.
So while Lt. Rohodey went about locking up the enemy's to take back to a prison where justice would look after them, Commander Grade A, Lt.Commander(Dr.) Legham. Lt.Jerker and Penny decided to discover what cargo the ship held. David went to a keyboard and printed out a map of the place. One place in particular was highlighted but nothing said what was there. So the group cautiously went to the area and saw a row of doors. This was when Kathy was useful. She focused her minds energies carefully to try and see what was behind the doors. She then told the others. "Careful," she said in a low voice, "They could be in quarantine or something. I'm going to find out." And before anyone could say a word, she was moving along the corridor and in front of the first door.
Greer knew that when they were back on the ship, she and Kathy were going to have a nice chat about the captains rules regardless of friendship. She was apprehensive about what lay behind those doors. What if it was some unknown alien being that could kill them all at once? But when Kathy opened the computer encoded lock, with the help from the computer whiz, rather that a scream of horror, she uttered a shout of surprise and ran into the room with her arms outstretched. Thinking that Kathy had at last totally lost her mind, Greer whipped out her laser gun and approached the doorway ready for anything and wishing that Bradl had been finished with the prisoners and was there at the moment with the semi-automatic at hand.
She too was running into the room with joy. Meanwhile, the rest of the officers slowly walked as one and saw Kathy and Greer hugging these rather grimy looking females. Soon too, they were hugging and greeting each other for the two girls were none other than Carley Marcher and Anna Staystill from high school. They had been important political hostages of the Aireans because of their work. Anna, or should I say Dr. Anna, was involved in the research of biotic and abiotic factors in any natural community. She was working to enhance world health but the Earth people thought that that would bring down the want of many of their Earth wrecking products. While Carley Marcher had fulfilled her dream to become a vet in all places of the known Universe and had been doing some adventuring about the mysterious disappearance of the desert figjam on the planet Myrioca. She hypothesised that they were being used for cruel animal testing on the planet of Gertlim. They had been kidnapped in the dead of night and were whisked away.
As they were cleaning up and changed into clothes that hadn't yet seen their better days, Greer held a conference with the main officers in the control room. They agreed to ask the two girls to 'join' the crew in the search for universal peace and prosperity by stopping such programs as they ones they had been kidnapped for. Except this time, they had a strong government system behind them. They agreed of course and the old friends caught up on old times like Mt. Binga when Carley had been their bush tucker chick along with Narelle, and they spoke about when Anna Staystill had always calmed the fights between Naz and Kat with her calming words and words of truth. Kathy was especially happy because now she had a fellow workmate in the infirmary with who she could compare remedies, cures and those sorts of things. Carley was placed as the person who would be in charge of researching planets, temperature, air, lifeforms etc. Her knowledge was going to be an asset to the crew. Anna's too.
"All men are bastards," is what Kathy thought as she approached the supplies section in the hospital situated on Kanton, the hidden moon of Pluto. The weather was darn cold, she had been sent from one section to another and on top of it all, a guy, a man, had taken total disregard for her station and had said some obscenities. 'Just wait until I hold the captain's badge of discipline. Then they'll think twice before they say anything.'
As Kathy approached the desk, she saw that Bradl was also there. That, thankfully improved her mood and the guys didn't suffer as much as they would have. Bradl was easily recognisable in his blue uniform amongst the rushing throng of civvies. He waved to her and soon they were discussing the properties of some chemical mixtures. Where Kathy used it to heal, Bradl used it to destruct. Ah, the contradictories of hypocritical hypocrites.
They waited for a short time, got their goods and headed back to the port where the Audi was patiently waiting. But Dr. Anna Staystill wasn't so patient. Once Kathy had settled down, Anna quietly approached her and began discussing the idea that some sort of epidemic had swept through Kanton and that Bradl and her might be affected. That was the last thing the X-Files needed. To have both their adviser, doctor, psychologist and their warfare chief both contaminated and under quarantine. So before full precautions took place, Captain Greer held a meeting over the vid-comp and got permission from the government to have an early break form the usual crime fighting and discovering until Lt. Com.Dr.Legham and Lt.Rohodey were back in operation.
So it wasn't before long when the X-Files nearly all headed their separate ways for a well earned holiday. Penny headed straight for Venus, Narelle took the next flight towards Earth where a certain guy, of who she would not yet reveal to even her closest companions, was patiently waiting for the true love of his life. All they knew was that he was tall, blonde, and played roller-basketball. Carley decided to go out on her parents property out in the rugged hills of Mars and hunt for the pesky martians that thrived on the plants humankind were planting to make Mars habitable in the near future. Anna went along with Carley. She was thinking of the days of Mt.Binga and couldn't wait to get back to land adventure. She had been stuck in a ship too long and even the slightly airless atmosphere was more appealing than some overcrowded resort.
David deserted his best friend to the mercy of Kathy and headed to Earth for the party of '45 where other modem buddies were hilariously trying to attempt to display their muscular strength, or lack of it, by throwing disks and other such paraphernalia. OK if that's their definition of fun. Last but not at all the least of the lucky holiday makers was Greer Nagalot. She had departed with thoughts of the love of her life who would indulge her in intellectual companionship in the arts of debating about how a country should be ruled. After all, he was Australia's ex-prime ministers eldest son!
Meanwhile, poor Kathy and Brad were to be isolated in the confines of 'If'. Sure, it contained every luxury, barr one now. Friends. No outward signs had yet appeared on the victims but to be on the safe side, they had been instructed to even keep away from each other. It was awful. But it may have been that very shared experience that strengthened their friendship. Kathy spent that time constructively. She had decided to get another degree in the language Dalkdruoi which was pretty prominent in the sectors CV-987 of the system Castellan. She was also slowly learning iridology.
Bradl was not so studious. He spent the time mixing and constructing new, more powerful concoctions to test out on enemies.
It was a quiet Saturday night. Kathy had been lounging on the plush couch blissfully watching reruns of 'Lois and Clarke' and was about to watch 'Point Break' when she was interrupted by a harsh siren. Thinking that the security system of the residence had malfunctioned, and that an enemy ship was attacking, she grabbed the nearest weapon to her, which happened to be an old antique .22 rifle, she turned to the door and ran out into the corridor. She was just in time to see Bradl stagger down towards where she stood. Ever present AVAIS finally realised the emergency and turned off the siren. All she knew was that a person wasn't where he should be.
One look on Bradl's face was enough to confirm Kathy's fears. They had seen no sign of infection.. until now. The symptoms of the gynka flu were prominent. The profuse perspiration, the extreme stomach cramps, and the malting of skin. That was the key symptom. The body was fighting off the disease and the only way to do that is to discard the old infected tissue. It was a disgusting sight. And yet, regardless of the strict rules of total isolation, Kathy had to help him even if it meant she herself was placing herself in a position that could mean death if left unchecked. Modern technology had its drawbacks. So straight away she rushed to her own personal cache of secret medicines and gave him a liberal dose of the musk of an Earth sea horse which seemed to be the only counteracter against the disease. It would only clear it out of his system quicker. Until then, he would have to stay in the infirmary, thought Kathy as she envisioned the mess he would soon produce.
Time seemed to prolong it's prescence very painfully as Lt.Com.Dr. Kathy Legham stood watch over her friend Lt. Bradl E. Rohodey. He seemed to just whither away. His skin suddenly seemed too tight for his body and it was all Kathy could do to not start crying every time she saw him looking pitifully under her gaze. As she sank into the sleep of the exhausted, she recalled some ancient words from an old man who'd once shared his philosophy in a fit of slight drunkedness.
"You, my friend, have a big future ahead of you. Go ahead and do it!" The words of encouragement reverberated forever and ever in the world of semi-consciousness and eternal thought. She awoke when she sensed a figure leaning over her unprotected body. She opened her eyes to a tall, blonde Roman God lookalike. She felt like saying something really stupid like 'Take me, I'm yours you fool!' but decided against it when she looked into his eyes. Rather than the cerulean blue of the gods, he held the understanding brown eyes of...Bradl! She took a good look at him, when she had recovered and was in doctor mode again, and saw the remains of a wrinkled skin of sorts crumpled on the ground nearby. Luckily Bradl had the thought to wear something before startling Kathy.
"Thank God you've recovered," said Kathy as she gave him a big hug. All Bradl could do was stand there and thank God himself for not only surviving but also 'moulting' out of his boyish looks and replaced it with a more rakish, mature look of an adult. Once she'd checked her blood for any sign of the disease, she saw she had somehow received an immunity. She quickly rang everyone. The time for recovery was over and soon the X-Files would be well under way to do their bit to change the world. Kathy, of all of them, had had much time to contemplate and decided that life really was too short to let it all fly by like a meteorite on heat.
Soon, the whole crew of the X-Files had rejoined and were telling each other about the exciting times they'd had during their break. Poor Penny hadn't had that much fun at Nara.. I mean Venus! Greer had had fun with her guy away in Canberra, meanwhile, Narelle had been to Earth playing roller-basketball for the Sunshine Coast team (especially since she had been getting exclusive private training from a certain sport's hero!). And David had actually changed his mind about the Party '45 and instead went to some remote tropical island he had previously bought through his 'affluent' parents and had resided there while throwing his own fantastic rager to which only about 5 people turned up due to the costs of travelling! So he returned not quite as cheerful as the rest. Kathy's wacky sense of humour soon changed everyone's low spirits with her jokes of childhood. Like the last test match to South Africa, uplifting experiences, sleazebags, morons, chickens that lay rice and the like. I told you she was wacky!
One quiet afternoon, as the sun from the distant system Andromeda seemded to shed a soft glow on the horizon, there came a call from the higher authorities that there was a need for the X-Files to proceed to sector CV-987 to check out some mysterious happenings that involved some human kidnappings from their very own planet.
So Captain Greer Nagalot called for everyone to congregate in the control room where they could all catch up on the latest gossip and then start towards CV-987. After all, they must be kept in good spirits so that when they approached the danger, they would be prepared both physically and emotionally. As their aquired(from Kathy) motto was 'Life's tough, laugh hard!' It certainly helped to have a ship of jokers around. As Penny once commented, 'the reason to why we all get along so well together is that we all accept each other for who we are, our likes and dislikes etc. We are a group of 'individuals' and the only thing we shared is a weird sense of humour!