It wasn't long before they were zooming their way half way across the galaxy and then left (honest!). Narelle Grade A almost made one small mistake as they entered one of the most dangerous freeways in the galaxy. That of black hole Heron. The pressure exerted by the hole was already past most human understanding so far... but aliens from the planet Uranus had experimented with the properties of sulphur dityryios and had come up with a 'pressure proof' alloy. Without that protection, the members of the X-Files would have had their faces mashed against their consoles along with their neck bases not far behind. Lt. Grade A almost made a fatal mistake when she pressed the wrong switch and turned off the electrical currents that gave the alloy it's miracle properties. Luckily, Penny had her mind on the mind-boggling concept when it occurred. That and Lt. Jerker's lightening quick martial art reflexes saved the Earth day.
Anyway, they were on their way to the system CV-987 via a black hole. After that, they made a quick stop by the biggest shopping mall this side of the Universe to pick up some supplies. Stuff like the energy crystals that Scottie always said he never had any more power in, a few more boxes of Cadbury Roses (the best kind of confectionary all over the Universe), a brand new force field equaliser and a whole heap of crude computer software and hardware that the genii (plural of genius) of the crew would convert for government use.
As they approached the outer confines of the sector, they saw throught their newly made extra long distance scanner that there were guard ships from the Dalkdruoi people. Lt.Com.Dr. Kathy Legham had learnt their language pretty well and was soon directing what Captain Greer Nagalot should say to these aliens. But they weren't quite sure what exactly to do about finding out more about these kidnappings. The Dalkdruoi race were almost humanoid. I mean, they were bipeds, had frontal lobes and everything in the right place but their only difference was inside. Their digestive system and other such biological systems inside seemed to have been slightly altered. They were more inclined to being carnivorous, maybe due to the fact that their original planet was a hot and dry one where the start of all food chains was in the extremely salty ocean. Were they manufacturing human products? That was too disgusting to think about. But then Com. Narelle Grade A interjected, " An ancestor of mine once said
'When you have cancelled all possible, whatever is left, no matter how probable, must be the truth.'"
The X Files didn't want to jump to any conclusions though. The whole idea of humanoid civil war seemed to be looming in that direction. So Greer made the pretence that they were a group of sight-see-ers (which was dangerous in itself cause they had a brand new, designer ship) which could give them a chance to either be kidnapped by the Dalkdruoi or to get a chance to look around with a logical reason.
"static....static.....Hello, we are registered as ship number GKNDACPB-1 with credentials from sections A, B, F & D , flight co-ordinator Greer Germaine speaking."
They got an answer in a fairly muffled voice that only vaguely hinted at any resemblance to a humanoid species. After some small exchanges, they were allowed to continue on their way at their own expense of danger. Hah! As if that had ever bothered them before! They passed some beautiful gaseous planets that reminded them of Jupiter in their own home system. Then, hidden among the gentle giants, was nestled a small fertile and atmospheric planet that was the origin of the Dalkdruoi race. Somehow, during their evolvement, they had taken a wrong gene into their systems and had become very belligerent and lost the know how to human compassion and love. Everything was aggressive and doubtlessly selfish. So obviously, there was a reason to why they had allowed the humans to enter their usually private haven they called home.
They didn't have that long ot wait either for as they entered the thick atmosphere of the fertile planet Mana, they were caught in some kind of shield that not even David could disassemble. They could see a huge metallic monstrosity looming out of the mist. It was a vehicle that was suspended in the middle of the thick air.Their worst fears were confirmed as the rough crackly voice of Sheriff of Not-In-Ham came through the speakers.
"Aha, so we meet at last, this time on my own turf X-Filers! I know all about you and your pathetic quest." (It started to sound like a second rate sci-fi movie.)
"So this is where you plan your coniving schemes Sheriff. After all, we should have seen it earlier. It is quite central to the majority of explored space," said Bradl, still in war and strategy mode as usual.
"And the nearby black hole number 39 gives him access to one hundred different portholes each placed at regular intervals along highway 1." said Narelle as she mentally revised her drivers manual.
"I see that the FBI has chosen well in aptitude for a crew to follow the CIA, as you humans mockingly call it. Actually, it is known as SIA -Superior Intelligence Association. Get it right! Are you sure you want to live relatively squeaky-clean lives working on your side? You know, I have many suitable job opportunities for people with your qualifications. I guarantee good pay and a yearly holiday to any planet in the galaxy to the value of 5 million credits."
The voice sounded carefully hopeful. As if they would ever change to the other side of the scale for those 'enticing' offers.
"Raise that to 10 million credits and spending money and you have a deal!" Everyone turned with astonishment to David Jerker in the corner. Some scowled at ever having trusted him while others simply smiled in mild amusement at having seen him acting the same as ever and following his nose which was scented to anything with immense value. But it was Penny who flew into a rage. How dare he of all people succumb to the temptations of the bad guys over loyalty to his friends. How rude!
"Done," said the voice after a slight pause. "Have your baggage sealed and ready to 'port in oh-one hundred hours along with anything you think we might be unable to provide."
"Yeah, friends." muttered Kathy who was quite shaken by the turn of events but nothing that couldn't be cured by a good mental workout.
And so, with that, Lt.David Jerker left the room with a jaunty walk and a cocky grin. When he had made his dramatic exit, the connection from the SIA sizzled off and AVAIS said something quietly.
"Well, the FBI certainly will be surprised when they ask me to send my report."
"I'm sure he had his reasons," said Anna, "Not everyone is as evil as the Sheriff. This will all turn out for the best, you'll see."
"Well, that's only if we get out of this mess in the first place!" said Kathy.
"Don't be such a pessimist. We'll do fine." said Bradl.
"Yeah, after all, there hasn't yet been anything we haven't been able to get through. With or without Lt.Jerker, we'll keep our engines on to blast through another earth day!" said Captain Nagalot. "Now just let us think to what we could do about this current crisis."
Meanwhile, David had already packed his ABBA tapes and anything else that had great value to him and was waiting impatiently by BEAMUS. He tried to 'dance' a few steps to cheer himself up but nothing seemed to help. And it was much too late to change his mind now. He had made his choice and was going to stick by it. But he had a sickening feeling in his stomach that he had made the wrong descision and that maybe he would regret it forever. He had lost his friends but had gained a great new job where he could expand his capabilities. Didn't matter. He'd live, just.
The whole crew was in an uproar. They had been unconditionally forced to surrender to their ultimate enemy. Even Greer had trouble to handle it and withdrew to her quarters where things were a little more settled. Carley finally managed to calm everyone down with threats of throwing them all onto the planet Kodak famous for it's entirety of mud, for the rest of their lives (if they ever got out that is!).
"The main thing is that we do what we can to get out of this mess and then sort out this case of runaway members."
"But what can we do?"
"They've totally immobilised our equipment and nothing works without electricity!"
"If only David was here. He'd be able to make a program to help us..."
"Well he's not. He deserted us for them. It's too late to think about that."
"Not everything is lost! I reckon that there's something we haven't yet been told about Narelle. Within the ship's internal mechanics, she's installed a device into the drive that would override any other outward command directed by an outside source. AVAIS, do you know what we're talking about?"
"Naturally. Quiet though. Incoming transmission from the Sheriff."
The harsh static of unrefined technological materials filled the room and seemed to invade the private sanctuary.
"Now is the time to decide...surrender now or prepare for a battle to the death where there will only be one survivor. Me of course! As you can see, I now have your precious Lieutenant here behind me." They could all see the crop of black hair rising behind the fairly short figure of the Sheriff.
Narelle turned to the crew and made sure that the vid on their side was not yet active. She quickly got everyone together.
"Now, we can either surrender and become mindless members of all evil, which is totally out of the question for us, or we can escape and get reinforcements before the SIA knows what's going on."
"What about the Lieutenant?"
"If he changes his mind, he'll be able to find a way out and we can pick him up on the return trip."
"Good idea. But what will we tell them?" said Anna asked,
"I've got it! Why don't we pretend to surrender and then zip out when they're at their most vulnerable point?"
"Anna, you've saved the day. Now, Penny, please inform the Captain of our plan. She need not be present. As I am second in command, I now replace the Captain temporarily. To your stations everyone and pretend that you're preparing to switch over control to them." she said.
The Sheriff was gazing quizzically and was trying to figure out if it was his equipment that was in bad need of repair or the X-Filers; whether or not he needed a shave and a shower and also how many little ships he would run over that day.
"I take it that there's a language problem? Hang on a second. No, the translator is working properly. Perhaps I haven't made it clear to you. You are at my mercy. Surrender now and your bodies will remain fairly intact."
"We don't really have much of a choice," said Commander Grade A in a resigned voice, "Lt.Com Legham, prepare to position us near the rear of the SIA's ship. Permission to land inside?"
"Permission granted." said the Sheriff in a silky voice. Talk about the cat who got the cream! But he forgot about counting his spaceships before they entered his domain.
The Audi was carefully manoeuvred by Kathy in the general direction of the ship but she was somehow off course.
"Lt.Com.Legham, I do believe that your driving skills aren't quite up to FBI standard. Perhaps I'd better take over." Kathy threw her a grateful look and walked over to the central platform.
"Sheriff, do you think you could give us a moments peace so we can say our goodbyes to each other in relative privacy?"
"OK," he said after a while. After all, their engines were blocked by him and no transmission could exit without first alerting them again. Why not. He had the rest of their lives (which wouldn't be that long he supposed) to find out about them. So he ordered his men to shut down the sensors and sat back in his protected seal-skin chair in the centre of his room.
Meanwhile, AVAIS was making a few minor adjustments from within and soon they were ready to blast on their hi-tech speed of light boosters. No one could follow them then! They then pretended to hug each other and go through the motions of grief and defeat just in case the Sheriff was lying (as he probably would). So through pretend tears, the Sheriff started to drag their ship towards the Death Star lookalike. Then before their Audi got too close to their supposed resting place, AVAIS shot them out and away from the dreaded enemy. They then changed into light speed and warped away. Everyone was cheering at the fading sight of the astonished Sheriff's face and his last words they heard that were obviously said in vain. "I'll get you next time 'Filers, next time..." ooooo, they sure were scared! Wooo-hooooo! They had succeeded and their only loss was their technological consultant. But that didn't matter much cause most of them knew, by now, the rudiments of electronical devices.
Well, nothing could be better than this, concluded Commander Narelle Grade A. They had successfully escaped from the evil clutches of the Sheriff of Not-In-Ham and now she had put the ship on automatic pilot, with Captain Nagalot's permission of course, and was currently speaking to her sweetheart whose identity she only knew (on this ship anyway). He was asking her if she'd make it back in time to compete in the Inner Planets Cup in roller-basketball. She was one of the star players after all! But unfortunately the crew still had to clear up this mess with the Sheriff. They had to stop his corrupt business with the kidnappers and then, they might have to rescue Lt. Jerker. It had been his own personal choice to join the 'other side' but technically he was government property and if he didn't explain himself soon, he would be reported AWOL (Absent With Out Leave) and would be dealt accordingly. Luckily, for him, they no longer used capital punishment for deserters.
Poor, ......... (whatever his name is!-Naz's friend that is). She even offered to have him come aboard the ship but he was slightly embarrassed by the fact that he knew the others from around the place and then, things could get quite awkward. No, he would wait patiently (quite extraordinary for a guy!) until he could see her again. As the vid-screen blanked, Narelle gave a small sigh of relief. For while she had enjoyed all that had happened, she couldn't wait until all of this was over and she could just be by herself for even a little while. She settled down to her desk in her room and glanced with familiar recognition at the class photos and group photos that adorned the edges of her having great times with her friends. Germany, America and even the holiday she'd taken with members of the FBI to the famous 'round the world' trip. It was worth remembering forever because that was where her guy had proposed to her.
She dragged out her old Roxette tapes and listened to them for a while but then she got romantic and listened to Vanessa William's "Save the best for last".
Next door in the private quarters of Dr. Anna Staystill, the inhabitant was settling down with a good book after a vigorous workout on her exercise bike. She wondered if she'd ever regret becoming the resident psychologist. After all, she would be kept very busy by these people who were still going through adolescent crisis'. Especially Bradl who was a very finicky person. But now was the time for her to relax. She dialled on her vid-phone and accessed a very eligible bachelor on Mars. She smiled in return to his very happy hello....
It seemed that everyone was too busy to hear Carley's shout of joy when an incoming call was announced for her from Germany, Earth. She remembered the time when she was in year 12 and she'd gone with her family to Germany for a few weeks. She met the most gorgeous guy ever and it was no wonder they became friends immediately. He had a sense of humour and actually had a brain he used (something quite uncommon where women now dominated the 'smart' jobs). He had offered to visit but she couldn't allow it at the moment with all of the mix-ups. He had shown great regret at this. He had to be the 'one'. Perhaps she would quit and get married. Nah, life would be too boring. Even to be with him!
Penny laughed uproariously at Kathy's reminder of Michael blowing bubbles in the bath, but not nearly as much as Greer as she mentioned her story of Robin Hood 'If' and Friar Dick!!! They were weird alright! They had one other thing in common. They had all gone out with Bradl sometime in their teenage years. Some would rather forget and others kept good memories (I'm sure!). They were sitting on Penny's spacious lounge, nibbling on imported chocolate delicacies. It wasn't that often that they could sit around and bludge while the ship was flying across the universe. They were sure to make the most of it.
Not to mention that they were all eagerly anticipating the arrival back to "If" where they would all be given time to thoroughly relax before the FBI would inform them that they could proceed with their plan against the Sheriff.
The next morning as the X-Files got up, there was a great uproar as Bradl exited his room with toothpaste plastered rather messily down his face. His cries of outrage dragged everyone out of their rooms to investigate. Obviously, Narelle had succumbed to temptation and had gone through with her plan. He was not amused. But long after he finally saw the humourous side of it yet vowed to return the favour to Narelle sometime.
Not long after the incident, they were called to the bridge for further instructions from the FBI. So they smoothed their collars and suits and proceeded to their stations. There was the usual incoming message beep and they all stood salute at the sight of the President of Australia.
"Lieutenant Rohodey, why on earth do you have white stains on your uniform? Change it immediatley!" she demanded. Greer sighed. She had so much wanted to be the first Australian female president.
"Now,' she continued, "I have read and heard your individual reports and I have come to the conclusion that no matter what, you must continue your operation against the CIA regardless of your ex-co-mate Lieutenant Jerker. Duty before anything else. If you don't, you run the risk of being expelled form the force.
"Now, go in peace and remember that the justice of the universe is ultimately in your hands."
There was a distinct sigh of relief as the President signed off.
The new rockets were in place and all other weaponry was in order, ready for the siege onto the planet Mana. Carley Marcher was in charge of some of the chemical warfare used and made sure that they had the correct antidotes onboard. People were rushing everywhere, hurrying to make last minute alterations. The AUDI needed to be ready and fully functional. The FBI had even funded all of their new equipment. Greer was on the bridge commanding orders while Penny stood nearby, ready and waiting with the cool towels to wipe people down with (secretly hoping that the hot guy working in engineering would need her services!). Bradl was in the kitchen preparing himself for the upcoming battle with a few hamburgers especially imported from "Johnny Rocket's Cafe" direct from Earth. He was throwing it down with a strawberry thickshake when Narelle Grade A came barging in demanding that he leave some of the stores full at least until they had left the port. After all, one of her many jobs was the Supply Officer onboard. Anna Staystill was deciding whether or not she should organise a get together with her other friends from Earth and the Moon when she was almost bowled over by Kathy as she was rushing towards the resident TV to watch the final episode of Sea Quest DSV.
"Anna," gasped Kathy breathlessly, "Don't forget to load in the antidotes into the centrifugal centre in the infirmary." She was then off on her way to the bridge to join her Captain at her side.
"Commander Grade A, prepare for departure from "If" and put on thrusters in the direction of the Planet Mana."
“Aye, aye Captain.” "Lieutenant Rohodey, ready your arsenal for anything unexpected in the way of danger." "Aye, aye Captain." "Dr. Staystill, make any last minute adjustments in the infirmary and then join us on the bridge." "Aye, aye captain," came through the intercom. "Miss Marcher, check that the containers used to take some of the planet's flora and fauna are suitably airtight for the moment." "Aye, aye mon Capitan." "Penny, make sure that you have the drinks around and that you are well equipt in case you should be faced with danger." "Aye, aye Captain." "And Lieutenant Commander Legham, tell me the best strategy for us to go by.." So while they were reviewing their tactics, none of them realised that they had a stowaway on board. ********************************************************************* It had been a case of a runaway boy that was seeking a bit of adventure. What better place than a government space operations ship. Him, being a bit of a genius in electronics, was able to enter "If" without too many hassles and then inhabited a small corner in the Audi itself. He never meant any harm but he knew that he could be in great danger if he was caught. After hearing the deep rumble of the engines, he started to worry a bit about his location. It wouldn't be very comfortable to stay in the outer airlock while they were travelling in deep space. So he slowly edged out and towards a elegantly furnished room towards the infirmary. Once sure that he was safe, he settled down for the ship-induced sleep that overcame his wariness. ********************************************************************* "Oh well, time for a decaffeinated, decolourated, defizzinated cup of pure Cola," thought Greer Nagalot as she reviewed the ship's current co-ordinates. They were edging in around the banned sector Arranis where it was rumoured that humans and other not-so-intelligent species (all male of course!) were used to entertain high officials who had many connections in the Black market. She had just had a long discussion with war advisor Bradl and Kathy, her advisor of anything else. Between the three of them, they had come to the conclusion that the best method of action was to attack the sensitive ion rockets situated somewhere underneath the SIA main ship. Of course there was always the smaller scout ships to worry about but they weren't so heavily packed with ammunition and weapons. AVAIS would leave herself on autopilot on a nearby planet just out of range of Mana. From there on, a select few of the personnel would board the small Stingers (which were their personally adjusted space vehicles) and attack the enemy ship. After a variety of fancy and confusing acts with their ships, they'd each take a shot of the ion drive and then dart out quickly. If the shield of the other ship was on, it was only a matter of precision because, as every seasoned fighter would know, any suit of armour has a loose chink. Greer checked her mike and spoke some words of inspiration,
"And remember crew, beating the bad guys is just like a card game. Cheat when you know that they can't see you!"
"Aye aye capitan," chorused the crew simultaneously. They spewed out of the main gate and headed towards Mana's main base from their blind side behind a cosmic dust cloud. There was Carley in the lead and the rest were spread out in a duck-style formation with the Captain in the middle.
As they approached the enemy target, a series of laser beams whizzed past them slightly scorching the wing tips of Lt. Rohodey. His instruments went haywire, and before he knew what was going on, his ship went carrering out of control. The Captain was desperate. Her war chief was about to die! So she left the formation and the rest of the attack to the rest of her team, and proceeded to save her one true love. His ship kept on whirling down, down, down (NB/ which way is down in space?!) and Greer was bordering on warp speed to catch up with him. Finally she did and she ordered him to use his ejector seat. Up, up and away from the recalcitrant ship, and not a second too soon because just then, the ship blew up and the aftermath of it, blasted Bradl straight onto the windscreen of Greer’s vehicle. He quickly clambered to the hatch and that was the last that anyone ever saw of them. Rumour had it that they both signed their resignation and had decided to lead a quiet life together on solitary Pluto.....
Meanwhile, the attack was on!!!! And the crew was without a captain!
They were on their way through an asteroid belt when they picked up a distress call.
"Oh no, who could that be now?" complained David when it mucked up the frequency on his computer. Just ask Kenneth and REM!
"Just shut up David," said Kathy, "You obviously don't know when to stop. We went through all of that trouble just to save your worthless butt and now you are stopping us to save others? Typical!" she snorted and walked off. In that time, Narelle had shifted off towards the signal and went to land on a ricketty looking asteroid.
They got out of the ship into the nil atmosphere and started following the signal. Kathy shuffled along in her gravity boots and saw a kind of cave towards her left. She signalled to the others but they were too busy discussing whether or not they should miss an episode of the X-Files. Cautiously, she trodded on and came upon an airtight seal. She knocked on it, heard a great sob, the door opened and suddenly she was thrown upon the ground. There in front of her was a human that had seen her better days.
"Are you OK? Can I help you?"
"Yes, please get me off this damned planet!"
"OK," and as they spoke, she walked the stranger to their ship, "Who are you? Where do you come from?"
"I'm Heidi Legham..."
“I said that I was Heidi Legham, what the ......”
“What is she on?” said Heidi to the others.
“Heidi, don’t you recognise me? It’s your sister Kathy!”
The two embraced feverently and chattered to catch up on time.
It was yet another space day onboard the x-files with all inhabitants trying to relax on their break from crime fighting. Greer was in the holodeck trying in copious variations of clothing from the biggest mall-planet in the universe, Lacroix. Penny was being very friendly with one of the male recruits in her large room filled with all sorts of contraptions. Narelle was sampling a variety of good Deutsch beers with the help of a german pilot she had met while holidaying with bro Flo near the planet Autobahn.
Anna was conducting an experiment on the inhabitants of the 3rd floor by placing them inside a maze-like room and timing their escape. (secretly she was laughing because some rats had exited much more quickly!). Carley was in her little zoo trying to understand how the digestive system of the scaly quadruped from the planet Ganymedius worked.
'Sheise' (nb/she did use a worse word than this but it was not a part of the authors vocabulary!)
And she was correct too in this case for the jumpy organism had decided to leave a nice little memorial right on her piece of black forest cake she had smuggled in from the Deutschwelt.
'I think we should try this delicacy tonight,' she said to the computer (referring to the animal)
'Affirmative,' responded the computer.
On the other side of the station, Brad was busy in the kitchen doing the Clive thing with cooking and wine. One for the meal, one for him! Only joking! :) He was actually surfing the universal internet thing trying to contact the Jerker (who we meanwhile knew was much more otherwise occupied attmepting to seduce poor misfortunates for cybersex (but little did he know that those 'females' he was chatting with were actually desperate young adolescent males!)). And nearby (to Brad, not the Jerker) was Kathy and Heidi locked head to head in an intellectual debate in something to do with their childhoods and how they had become affected with it later on in life (I think if had something to do with 'radiation freaks').
Yes, everything was as usual...the weather outside was vacuumous as usual, with the occasional debris-storm (composed of Mars bars wrappers and dead Venus fly traps). Suns were shining from nearby solar systems and the nearby planet of Chirnov was sparkling as the light rays reflected off the many satellites and space stations encircling in the orbit (mostly for tv channels etc).
So what was wrong with this picture?