Rolling her eyes at the crews of the MLS D. Shovel and, more so the MLS P. Ninja, Captain Eldarwen turned towards her cadets. “Planning is for those with nothing better to do, and there are far better things to be done – like having a kick-off party!”
A cheer rose from the cadets and officers that were assigned to the MLS Viking. It didn’t take long before Eldarwen had everyone split into the two groups. “Alright, everyone who is with Lt. Commander Aka-Click and Ensign Kdskid007 will be getting the party room organized. Everyone with me will be gathering food and drinks for the party and we’ll think about putting together a few other surprises.”
Once that was sorted, cadets and officers went to work straight away. This was so much more interesting than the last-minute planning they should technically be doing on their novels. But hey, there was always tomorrow, right?
Aka-Click and Ensign Kdskid007 ran off with their half of the crew to take on their preparations while Eldarwen and the rest of the crew scrambled off in the other direction. The kitchen and pantry on the spaceport were well-stocked and everything that was needed to create the Viking punch was at hand. While the cadets amassed a crazy amount of food, the Captain went to work on the punch.
Back in the main hall Aka-Click, Kdskid007 and their half of the cadets were working at making the place look spectacular. Banners were hung, balloons were filled with helium and the occasional friendly disagreement could be heard as one aspect or another of the impromptu party was debated over.
Aka-Click glanced over her shoulder at the beautiful new prototype ship to see Timmy skulking about in an unusual way. Nudging Kdskid007 gently in the ribs to get her attention, she pointed to Timmy. “Does he look like he’s acting strange to you?”
Ensign Kdskid007 sighed and marched over towards Timmy. She’d never had much patience with the bot and Aka-Click immediately began fearing the worst. She turned away relieved when all Kdskid007 did was tell Timmy to get out of the room while they were working. It wasn’t until she heard the whooshing sound of Kdskid007’s favourite flame thrower that she whipped back around to see Timmy scurrying out the door.
“Oh my word, noo! Kds, what did you do?!” Aka-Click said, immediately running towards the fire as the flames began to lick their way along the tablecloth. Yelling for Eldarwen, she hurriedly swiped as many things off the table before the fire could get to them but that was easier said than done.
Already imagining havoc, the loud tap of Eldarwen’s heels announced her arrival a few seconds before she flew in the door, stopping dead in her tracks at the site of destruction before her. “Put it out, put it out!!” she screamed, going for a bottle of water, unsure if it was going to do the trick or not. “If IronAngel sees this, we have a long, looong lecture coming! I’ve already had to listen to one from Witchy about our total lack of planning – as if we hadn’t planned enough already – and I’m not willing to listen to yet another one! And believe me, you do not want one on fire safety from IronAngel…”
Quickly the crew of the MLS Viking got the fire under control before much damage could be done. It wasn’t long before the smell of smoke remained the only evidence that something had gone terribly wrong during the set up. Eldarwen marched over to Kdskid007 who looked defiant as always. “Next time this happens I am confiscating your flame thrower. Last warning.”
With a sharp turn Captain Eldarwen marched out of the hall, the click of her heels like an exclamation mark on her last statement. Aka-Click turned towards Kdskid007 and raised her eyebrows, shaking her head. “I get it, Timmy is annoying but one day you’ll have to resolve your differences.”
“If he stops hitting me in the head with pillows, I’ll stop trying to set him on fire.”
“Fair enough.” Aka-Click shrugged. It was time to finish getting the hall ready for the kick-off party and it was unlikely Timmy would be coming back into the hall again anytime soon.
As expected, the party was a hit with all the cadets and officers. Although there were corners of the room where one could find intense conversation about plans for the month to come, for the most part everyone was enjoying themselves.
Even Timmy dropped by to dance the electric slide – and did so quite successfully, but no one dared let him near the karaoke machine. Last time they had let him sing he had managed to shatter every piece of glass in the room. It wasn’t until Timmy began wandering around and spouting nonsense again that he was escorted out of the hall. He screeched loudly as he was given a final shove out of the room “Idea bouncing mostly! Hey, we’re at least an hour prior to the red shimmering portal. A thick woolly poncho for my essay but…. WAR!”
A short while later, Special Inspector Heather Dudley arrived and was immediately swept up by the crowd, the Viking cadets handing her a cup of the infamous Viking punch and a plate full of snacks. Captain Eldarwen, Lt. Commander Aka-click and Ensign kdskid007 were grinning at her, ignoring the severe look that crossed the Special Inspector’s face, and began slowly leading her towards the MLS C. Baty so she could do her duty.
And right in the midst of all the merriment, a screeching whine caused everyone to cover their ears before Timmy’s voice came over the intercom “Talking all the difference. And a deceitful stroke shall make them annoyed. Scared every time you say velociraptor…! Them after a while. Shield his innocent child and thanks for all the fish.”
Suddenly a new sound drowned out the last echoes of Timmy’s odd speech; a sound that should not have been heard. Not at that particular moment anyway. It was the sound of a ship taking to the air, rather fast.
“Well!” Eldarwen said, slightly taken aback. “That wasn’t supposed to happen.” Exchanging glances with the captains of the other ships, who were all just as confused as she was, she quickly put her cup down on the nearest table and hurried towards the hangar. The other captains were running along with her, and it merely took a few seconds for the rest of the party to follow on their heels.
Unfortunately, in the special hangar where the finished prototype had been sitting, awaiting inspection, there was a screaming emptiness. The MLS C. Baty was already barely more than a blinking dot on the night sky and even that was rapidly fading into space. The only thing that was left behind was a small banner that fluttered to the ground like a forgotten leaf. There was writing on it and it had the unmistakable touch of Timmy’s erratic way of putting words to paper. And as could be expected, it made absolutely no sense. Instead of it being an explanatory note or anything even slightly helpful, it only said: “Raptors.”
“Um, hello?” A voice interrupted the silence and everyone turned to see the founding father of their great institution. “I thought I was here to cut the ribbon on my namesake ship. Where’s the ship?”
Never in the history of the SSA had there been such a scramble or flourish of activity as there was when Timmy the bot took off with the new prototype Flagship! The relaxed atmosphere was gone; replaced by an urgency that few had felt in a long time. All of the SSA’s ships were readied for launch, a constant stream of communication between the Captains facilitated by Commander Rue.Tylar.
As they all prepared to launch in pursuit of their wayward bot, communication with their esteemed allies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry provided some valuable astronomical predictions. With prediction in hand, as well as a suggestion from the officers of the D. Shovel, the P. Bunny prepared for takeoff, intent upon following what seemed to be a tracking signal from the MLS C. Baty.