The Terror of an Empty PrisonMature

In later years Xlasticon Exzu’Bra would say that the worst thing about entering the Meeragon VIiI anomaly was the eerie stillness of Space beyond the barrier. Both he and Quiz expected to be set upon by the dastardly golden-furred Spaniels of Boney-O 5, but as each moment passed and stretched into a minute, then two, then five minutes and still an agonising death hadn’t been meted out they finally opened their eyes to view a dreadful scene.

The debris of half a million destroyed starships were scattered the length and breadth of the interior of the Meeragon VIiI anomaly. Half melted, twisted out of shape and in some cases simply shredded into their component parts, and they all seemed to be Boney-On vessels.

“By all that’s Holy.” Quiz stared in horror. “They must have continued to fight even after the anomaly was put in place. Turning on the only enemies available they tore the last of their civilisation to pieces. Self inflicted genocide….”

The Emperor Guppy spun and looked at his ashen faced friend. “You think they’re all dead? That we may survive?”

“Bloody Hell!” NELIP-HANT interjected. “What’s a computer generated personality gotta do to kill you guys?”

“I don’t know.” Quiz said, staring moodily through the ship’s view screen, answering Xlasticon Exzu’Bra. “They had a very high birth rate, I suppose it’s possible that they’ve mutated farther than we’d ever dreamed was possible. But I detect no signs of any sort of civilisation within the anomaly…. Hmm, let me just… ahh, there we go!”

And as the intrepid explorer signed his satisfaction, NELIP-HANT realised the cunning warrior priest of the secret order of Craznabar had caught him unawares. He’d been unplugged.

“Damn you Quis….” The computer generated personality finally fell silent for good.

“Ha!” Xlasticon Exzu’Bra snorted triumphantly. “Eat my water-filled, hyper-alloyed shorts! Right then Quiz, what’s next?”

“Well, it’s quite simple really my dear friend. We find a way to escape the most secure prison ever built, designed by the finest minds the Known Galaxies have ever been able to muster. Or we get old and die here, and I really want to speak to GEMMA-Tech about their Arralandous Protocol to voice my unhappiness..”

“Fine with me.” The Emperor Guppy fish replied. “What should I do?”

At that moment the Hyperdymentially Challenged 7’s GEMMA-Tech comms unit chattered into life. “Ahoy? Hallo the ship? Is anyone in there?” Quiz and Xlasticon Exzu’Bra stared at each other in mute astonishment. “Hallo? Oh I do wish you’d respond, I’m rather short of time!” This statement was followed by a minute of static and then amazingly, terrifyingly, there came a knock at one of the ship’s hatches. “Any chance you fellas could let me in? I’m down to my last few minutes of oxygen and I’m dashed tired…”

Xlasticon Exzu’Bra goggled in amazement. You really haven’t seen proper goggling until you’ve seen it done by a giant fish. Quiz quirked an eyebrow enigmatically.

“Ship, unlock hatch door 34G please.” With NELIP-HANT off-line, the ship had reverted to a much simpler, less intelligent controlling computer. “And give us a visual of 34G’s decon space.”

As they watched on the view screen they saw an humanoid figure clamber into the Hyperdymentially Challenged 7.

“I wonder,” Xlasticon Exzu’Bra mused thoughtfully, “will it be ginger?”

The mismatched couple watched, only slightly comforted by the lack of screaming hordes of golden spaniels, as the figure on their screens closed and relocked hatch 34G. It stood patiently and endured decontamination procedures and only then began to strip off it’s battered spacesuit. Eventually, once free of the bulky suit they saw that their newly acquired passenger appeared to be a tall, fairly slim young human male.

“Ship, run genetic analysis of humanoid in compartment 34G.” Quiz ordered, staring in a slightly bug-eyed fashion at the monitor.

“BEEP! Humanoid in compartment 34G appears to be a human Captain Quisling. From the first Earth, cradle of humanity, destroyed 2871AD in the robot uprising of the Great Plastic Rationing. Humanoid has some unique genetic features and would appear to be 1678 years old. BEEP!”

Quiz and the Emperor Guppy wasted another couple of minutes goggling at each other in total astonishment, before their new passenger arrived at the cockpit.

“Hallo there, can I just firstly say thanks so much for letting me aboard. I was in some serious trouble out there I don’t mind telling you. Please allow me to introduce myself, “ the old Earth human carried on over their feeble protests of “no bother” and “least we could do”, “my name is Ohujamaflop Woppsipp and I’m going to scare the living shit out of you!”

“What?!” Quiz snapped, his bruised ego responding in the face of one too many surprises.

“The spaniels have escaped.”

“Crikey.” Xlasticon Exzu’Bra squeaked, before switching on the water purifying systems in his Land-Space Bowl.

The End

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