Set a course for Home!

Now that Rue and company were safely back to the camp built around the crash site, a small group gathered climbing and mining gear so they could head back down into the tunnels to get more of that interesting ore. The longer IronAngel looked at it, the more he was sure it was what they needed. Obviously, proper testing procedures still needed to be followed, but it had the right feel.

The group had barely left when a chattering, happy Viking crew emerged from the jungle from the other direction. One of the cadets had developed the power to shoot off fireworks when they were overly excited, which was quite often at the moment.

Considering the noise and light produced with such a display, everyone stopped what they were doing to see what was going on, which just made the Vikings’ grin even wider.

“You will never believe what we found!” Captain Eldarwen announced when most of the senior crew had gathered. Waving towards CrimsonThirteen, the proud Ensign showed them the phone they had found in the temple.

“What about the scientist?” Captain WitchyRobyn asked.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t find any sign of him anywhere,” Commander Aka-Click replied, “though we were hoping this device might help us gain some further insight.”

“Oh, yes, yes!” BlackberrySpark jumped in. “Let’s make a call and see what happens.”

“Wait! Before you do that, let’s hook it up to the comm system in one of the ships,” called out Commander Kistoway.

Once everything was set in place and various programs and machines were monitoring the cell phone, BlackberrySpark made the call. Only to get a very rude voicemail that hurled abuse at the caller to leave them alone and that they weren’t interested in whatever the heck the caller was selling. The Lieutenant looked a little dumbfounded when the line clicked dead and looked at the others.

“Well he certainly sounds like a grumpy bugger,” Kiko commented.

“We got a GPS location!” Commander Wolfy reported. “Think that might help us?” She showed it to her captain, who looked over the information and then nodded.

“It’s always worth a try,” Captain Elyndra replied. “Volunteers?”

There were a few shouts, until Captain Eldarwen silenced them. “It was our mission to begin with, so we’re going to end it.” At Elyndra’s responding grin, Eldarwen yelled: “Cadets!!”

 

And off they went. Just before they were out of sight however, Captain IronAngel called them back. “Eldarwen, I need to borrow your Lt. Jr. Grade.”

“Ah, of course! Kds, please provide fire for –” she blinked and Aka-Click gasped a “Wooow” beside her as they both took in the makeshift forge IronAngel had built. It was truly a sight to behold! “Please don’t set things on fire that you shouldn’t.”

Kdskid007 grinned and nodded at their captain’s orders, readying themselves beside the forge while the rest of the Viking crew and a handful of volunteers from the Ninja, who had been sent to join them and try to avoid utter chaos, trekked off. The GPS indicated the receiver of the call was at the other side of the campsite; not all too far away from the temple, but in a different spot than the dinosaurs had told them to look.

Meanwhile, Captain Witchy had organised a dozen or so cadets to keep Kds sneezing to keep the fire in the forge going while IronAngel finished fixing the Viking ship with the newly found ore, which had indeed turned out to be wonderfully useful.

Captain Elyndra was organising the Bunny cadets and gave orders for immediate lift-off, as the asteroid had suddenly increased speed and was hurtling toward them faster than they had expected. “No time to lose! Let’s go do this. Nobody leave their positions, you know what to do!”

***********

It was a difficult trek up a steep mountainside to where the GPS coordinates guided them. Although the senior crew kept point, they allowed the Ninjas to lead the way; after all, when it came to following a plan, they were the best. After skirting several precarious cliffs, they found themselves looking at the mouth of a cave leading into an active volcano.

“Friendly looking place,” one of the cadets mumbled.

“Guess we’re going in?” Ensign CrimsonThirteen asked.

Without a word, Captain Eldarwen marched into the cave and the others followed her. It didn’t take long before someone noticed that there was more light than just that coming from the shaken cadets.

“Caution!” Aka-click warned the cadets as they moved closer to the light. “We don’t know what we’re going to find ahead and considering the voicemail, I don’t think it’ll be particularly nice.”

As they rounded a corner, they saw a huge laboratory, complete with blinking lights and unidentifiable things. A large dinosaur looked up suddenly at their arrival. “I did not concede to the receival of guests today and I propound that you all vamoose with great importunity.”

“What the heck kind of dinosaur is he? A thesaurus rex?” a cadet whispered a little too loudly which garnered them a glare from Eldarwen, though the corners of her lips twitched.

“Pardon the intrusion,” the captain started, “but we were wondering if…”

“Whatever you want, the answer is no. I am not purchasing anything. And I am thoroughly fed up with everyone barging in here as though they owned the place. It is my laboratory! Hot as it may be.”

“We aren’t selling anything,” Aka-Click began, but was also interrupted.

“No! A hundred times, no!” The dinosaur turned back to his work and proceeded to ignore them. The adventure team stood there, staring and wondering what else they could possibly do if the scientist didn’t even let them speak to explain their case.

While they were whispering amongst themselves, the dinosaur was muttering, most of it incoherent. But then, they suddenly caught an interesting snippet about him ranting about heat and volcano and everything being too warm.

The captain perked up and looked at TwinkleToesTheBerserker. The latter nodded with a grin and within seconds was holding ice cream in her hands.

“Excuse me?” Eldarwen poked the beast again and as expected, the dinosaur was not at all happy. With a roar, he turned towards them.

“Are you still….” Then his eyes fell on the ice cream, glistening with small ice crystals that had formed around it – extra cold. “Is that…?” his eyes suddenly became round.

“All yours, if you agree to answer one small question,” the Viking captain offered.

The scientist looked at her and blinked a few times. The wheels were visibly turning inside that skull of his before he heaved a sigh and nodded. “Very well. I will grant your request.”

Happy that this had worked far better than expected, Twinkle handed over the ice cream and instantly held another tub in zher hands, which zhe gave to the dinosaur as well. He was a big creature after all. Two tubs wouldn’t hurt him.

Aka-Click proceeded to explain their current situation to the dinosaur, including embellished details about how they had arrived here, and were now stuck on this planet without a way home.

The dinosaur listened while he happily licked his ice cream – no spoon needed; a tongue was enough to get the yumminess out of the tub.

“Oh indeed?” he asked, utterly surprised when the Commander had finished her tale. “Portals are a sort of hobby of mine and I have been playing around with them for a few years now. They were however not supposed to go to your dimension. This is incredibly interesting, you realize? I didn’t even know my portals could reach such far away dimensions. Incredible!”

“Could you possibly tell us how we can get back?”

“Of course, of course!” The dinosaur turned back to his workstation, rummaged around for a bit before he turned back to the crew and handed them a mobile device, not unlike the Nokia phone they had found in the temple. “With the help of this, you should be able to create your own device to open the portal to take you back to your own dimension. It is really simple actually,” and he rattled off a number of variants and coordinates and whatnot. Eldarwen felt a little lost after a while, though she figured she had gotten the gist. Aka-Click however was nodding along with a serious look on her face, even taking a couple of notes.

“Thank you very much!” she beamed when he was done and the scientist bared his teeth in what they supposed was a grin, though it looked a little scary. Twinkle left another tub of ice cream just for the sake of it before they made their way back out of the cave.

The team rushed back to the campsite, cheering as the repaired ship came into view. The MLS H. Viking gleamed and looked as pretty as if she had been completely new.

“IronAngel, you are a true miracle worker!” Eldarwen cheered, impulsively hugging her fellow captain.

“Alright, so the scientist told us the following,” Aka-Click proceeded to narrate the whole story to all those listening, ending with: “And that’s about it!”

“Sounds easy enough,” Commander Rue.Tylar commented. “Let’s get to work and go home. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m fed up with this place.”

***********

As the MLS P. Bunny slowly closed in on the asteroid, the crew worked furiously to retune the ship’s sensors and to make a tractor beam work backwards.

“You want me to what?” One of the engineers said in response to the idea Lt Ros had suggested.

“Look it’s possible. Not easy. I get that. I believe that you can do this. It’s a strong plan.” Lt. Ros coaxed soothingly.

“I mean sure it’s possible, if a tractor beam can pull it should be able to push. But I have no idea how to make that happen.” The engineer seemed a bit more calmer now, but still worried.

Lt. Jr. Grade Lauren’s voice added to the mix in engineering, “Couldn’t we just switch the crystals? I mean the directions?”

The engineer thought a second. “Well I mean maybe, but I don’t want to try it on the asteroid.”

“Well we could just jettison out some garbage, I’ll feel bad for littering but maybe just a few heavy ish pieces as a tester?” Lt Ros countered. “It’d be a test at least.”

“Yea, see we’ll use some empty crates from the cargo bays, they’ll work. I’ll go work on filling like two crates with rocks and other heavy stuff, so it almost sort of resembles an asteroid.” Lauren beamed and then bounced off.

The engineer and Lt. Ros started working on rearranging all the crystals in the tractor beam array. It took almost an hour to completely rearrange the crystals and do a systems function test. However, all the tests passed, even when they had Timmy check the systems from his location on the planet helping analyze the ore.

The whole crew got to a window, or tried to get to the observation deck to see if the test worked. Lt. Lauren opened the cargo bay doors, and let the two rather heavy crates float out into space, while Lt. Ros and the engineer waited for it to be in range. They hit it with the now reversed tractor beam. Everyone on the ships held their breath as Capt. Elyndra gave the order to “Lock on tractor beam and push when you can.”

The engineer took a deep breath, said a silent prayer, then locked the tractor beam onto the first crate. Once target lock was achieved, he gently slid the lever on the control panel forward, pushing the crate away from the ship. Once that crate was away, he did the same with the other before being told, wanting to test it again himself.

As the second crate pushed off into space away from the ship, the whole crew erupted into cheers and excited bouncing.

The navigator moved them in front of the asteroid, and the hush fell over the crew again. This was the real test.

“Lock on tractor beam and let’s move an asteroid!” Captain Elyndra’s voice echoed over the ship’s comm system.

The engineer looked at Lt. Ros for reassurance, to which she put a hand on his shoulder and patted gently. Her smile said it all: she trusted him, and knew that he could do this. He nodded, locking onto the asteroid, and once the giant object was locked, he slowly pushed the lever forward, moving the asteroid, slowly at first, then a little faster.

Command Wolfy came over the comms “Alright just a bit more, I’m tracking the asteroid’s projected path, and it’s almost completely free of the planet. Little more, just a bit, keep going, almost there. And GOT IT!”

The asteroid was now pushed wide past the planet. It would continue its path, and just move through space. It would rain a bit of debris on the dino planet and then be free to move along. The crew of the Bunny burst into cheers and screams as they completed their mission.

Shortly after the repairs were made to the Viking, it took off without a hitch, with cheers and whoops from the boisterous Viking crew and some celebration from the other ships as well.

As soon as all the ships were in the air, the portal homewards was activated.

“All right, who’s going into the swirling vortex of de….I mean the portal first?” Rue asked over the comms connecting all ships for this crucial space jump.

It was too late. The Vikings were already piloting straight through the swirling portal in front of the four ships without a single hesitation.

Captain IronAngel chuckled and nodded to the navigator, giving the go ahead to put the Shovel through second. The Bunny came in third, and Ninja stayed behind to make sure everyone was clear and to check the plans one more time before finally slipping into the portal. It looked like stars were spinning around the ships in a whirling vortex of light, which made anyone who looked too long get sick. Navigators kept heads down checking their trajectory to that of the Academy’s coordinates, making sure they were on course without getting sea sick, or space sick as it were.

As the ships came out of the portal and saw their beloved and much missed Academy on the oh so familiar planet below, cheers rang out from cadets and officers alike. There was hugging, and bouncing, and a lot of noise.

“Let’s head home,” Captain IronAngel said, and the captains of Bunny and Ninja agreed. There were a few beats of silence before the captain of the Viking cleared her throat.

“There’s a party at Milliway’s tonight…”

“It’s really just a tiny detour,” a grinning Aka-Click added. “And they have fantastic food. Wouldn’t that make for a nice ending to this little adventure?”

“I mean they have Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters and everything!” a mildly excited Rue piped in.

They both laughed at the various sighs and exclamations from the other ships and punched in the coordinates to head to Milliway’s, sure that the others would follow them despite the grumbling.

They could always install a lockbox around the big, red, newly dubbed Narrativium button later on when they were back at the academy. All in the name of preventing certain people from pushing certain buttons and creating absolute havoc.

***********

All along the corridors of the ships and academy, the lights dimmed and flickered out. The excited chatter and laughter of the crew and cadets echoed faintly down the corridors as they disembarked for the party to Milliway’s.

Kdskid007 paused abruptly on their way past the abandoned transporter room, and quickly darted in. The Narrativium button glowed faintly in the dim light of the screens above the bank of buttons.

Kdskid007 whispered “Until next time,” to the button, with a grin, before heading off to join the others.

 

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