Sea Odyssey, Two Thousand And Now : My God Captain, It’s Full Of Stars!
The Captain was pacing around the bridge glouring at the control panels.
‘What’s going on Jay? We should already be cruising out of here!’
‘I don’t know Sir, I can’t explain it, but it seems that the controls aren’t responding.’
‘What do you mean not responding, this setup is 100% CIA and electronic warfare proof, and the less said about those other spy agencies the better!’
‘I know, Sir, I helped to install the anti-electronic warfare machinery myself.’
‘You’re right,’ said the Captain, ‘I don’t blame you, but what’s going on?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Jay, frantically trawling through the wires under the main control panels, ‘everything seems to be in order.’
David entered the bridge.
‘Everything Okay Captain, aren’t we meant to be on our way by now?’
‘Don’t you start!’ replied the Captain.
‘Controls, David, they’re not responding…’ said Jay, looking anxiously at the wiring in front of him.
‘You mean we’re stranded?’ asked David, tensing up.
‘No, we’ve still got the manual controls, get Brad down to the control room, tell him to fire the baby up and get us to full power, immediately!’
‘Yes Sir,’ said David, saluting, ‘right on it!’
David ran down the stairs of the bridge.
The engine finally fired up and the ship moved slowly away through the choppy deep sea waters, leaving Ball’s Pyramid behind.
Furious, the Captain stormed down to the bar below deck.
‘What the hell is going on?’ he shouted as he kicked in the door, ‘we’ve got no power and you lot are just sitting here drinking!’
‘It sounds alright to me,’ replied Scott, sipping a cocktail.
‘For the love of Davy Jones’ locker, don’t make me do it!’ said the Captain, knocking the drinks off the table.
‘Sir, Captain,’ said Nicole, soothing the situation, ‘what’s happened?’
‘Someone’s sabotaged the ship’s controls, we’re running on manual control because the tech has gone down,’ roared the Captain roared, ‘our defences are wide open with a hull full of the greatest treasure of all time!’
‘Okay, there must be an explanation,’ purred Nicole, ‘let’s just consider matters.’
‘And while you’re at it, can you refill my drink?’ asked Scott, winking at the Captain.
‘Okay, okay,’ said the Captain, calming down, ‘what were your orders?’
The Captain went to the bar, and taking the orders remade the drinks he had thrown to the floor.
‘You have to admire the histrionic theatrics though,’ commented Kyle.
‘Well, you might have a point,’ said the Captain, as he poured a Mojito for Scott, ‘but nonetheless you should watch it or you’ll be shark food.’
‘There are no sharks in these waters,’ said Nicole, ‘although there are blue fin tuna apparently!’
The Captain looked slowly over the bar, ‘Right you are, my dear, right you are, now does anyone have any idea why the controls aren’t responding?’
There was silence as the crew looked at their feet.
‘Well, I need an answer within the next few minutes, we can’t risk that loot because the anti-electronic warfare tech isn’t working; not after what we’ve been through,’ replied the Captain smoothly.
There was silence. The only sound was the clinking of the ice in the glasses as the Captain prepared the drinks. I’d taken a back seat for the last few weeks, more out of concern that I’d ruin the haul, but as I had a sudden flash of inspiration I piped up.
‘Captain,’ I said.
‘What is it, Rik?’ asked the Captain, as he stirred in the fresh lime.
‘Well…’ I ventured.
‘Where have you been anyway?’ asked the Captain.
‘He’s been sleeping and drinking in the supplies store beneath the deck,’ explained Nicole.
‘Is that right?’ said the Captain, looking at me, his stare demanding an explanation.
‘Uh, it’s mostly true, although I was mainly thinking about the well being of the crew,’ I replied cautiously.
‘Is that right?’ said Kyle, standing over me.
‘On the one hand yes, on the other hand, I was locked in there by Scott!’
‘Is this true, Scot?’ asked the Captain.
‘Sir, we couldn’t let this lily-livered land lover jeopardise the mission on Zealandia!’
‘Fair enough,’ said the Captain, looking me over like the tip of a harpoon, ‘good thinking Scott, you deserve a promotion; did you remember to feed him?’ asked the Captain, as something of an afterthought.
‘Don’t worry, Sir,’ chirped Nicole, ‘I did!’
‘Oh, good, we’d hate our on board scribe to go hungry now, wouldn’t we?’ smiled the Captain.
‘What have you got to say for yourself?’ asked Kyle, ‘be honest now.’
‘As for spending a few weeks below deck, I took it in my stride since I had some articles to catch up on! But as for being kept holed up in the hull like a pet, I couldn’t imagine a better zoo keeper than Nicole, she always kept me well fed with rum, scraps of bread and olives.’
The bar burst into laughter.
‘Give him a drink,’ said the Captain, ‘he’s earned it.’
‘Maybe he does have a career on the high seas,’ joked Kyle, ‘what do you think Captain?’
I tried my best with a casual smile.
‘So what is it?’ asked the Captain, ‘what has our international critic got to say for himself?’
‘Well, Sir, it could be that the recent haul of loot has impacted the systems, you know, messed with the control frequencies.’ I replied, taking a bottle of rum from the bar.
‘How would that work?’ asked Kyle.
‘Well, we don’t fully know what’s in those capsules, I mean sure, there appears to be an ancient alien in one of them, but what about the others? It could be that those capsules are emitting a frequency that’s scrambling the technology on the ship!’ I explained.
‘Where’s the Doctor, what does he think about all this?’ asked the Captain.
I shook my head, ‘I’m not sure Sir.’
‘Anyone know where the Doctor is then?’ asked the Captain, looking around the bar.
‘I think he’s down in the lower storeroom analysing the capsules,’ said Scott, ‘I told him we were up here but he said he didn’t have any time to waste!’
‘Right, let’s get down there and find out what he thinks about this notion,’ ordered the Captain.
The crew crowded down the narrow passageway in the lower deck of the ship. Following the Captain, we approached the storeroom – the most secure room in the ship which was used as a vault for treasure and other loot that needed to be kept well out of sight.
Through the half open door a penetrating blue light was visible, the lights in the room apparently off. As we came towards the door the Doctor’s silhouetted figure could be seen hunching over one of the capsules, casting strange shadows on the walls as he bathed in the sinister blue light.
‘Doctor,’ said the Captain, ‘what’s going on? What have you got there?’
The Doctor didn’t move, and seemed not to have heard us enter the storeroom.
‘Doctor!’ repeated the Captain, shaking him by the shoulders.
The Doctor spun around and slowly looked up at us, standing around in the dim blue light of the storeroom.
‘Doctor!’ said the Captain again, ‘Doctor, are you okay?!’
‘My God,’ exclaimed the Doctor, ‘it’s full of stars!’
‘What?’ asked the Captain, ‘what did you say, Doc?’
‘My God, it’s full of stars!’ replied the Doctor, his eyes looking away into the distance, hardly seeing us standing right in front of him.
Pushing past the Captain and the Doctor Scott and I looked down into the capsule.
‘That’s not an alien!’ said Scott, pointing down into the open capsule.
‘No, that’s not,’ I confirmed.
‘What is it then?’ asked Scott, ‘Hey guys, come look at it!’
‘That looks like a monolith,’ I said matter of factly.
‘A what?’ asked The Captain.
‘A monolith, you know, like the one in Space Odyssey 2001.’
‘What’s it doing here, on Earth, I thought they were meant to orbiting Jupiter!’ said Jay.
‘Apparently not all of them…’ I said, ‘this could be a scout, or some kind of signalling beacon!’
Inside the capsule was a jet black rectangular shaped rock of about 4 foot high, and 1 foot wide. As I looked down at it I began to hear a strange ringing in my inner ear, started to feel dizzy and nauseous. I staggered backwards away from the capsule.
‘Are you alright, Rik?’ asked the Captain, ‘come on guys, get the Doctor,’ he went on, and somebody, close that lid!’
Scott and Kyle picked up the Doctor and rushed him out of the storeroom, as he repeated ‘It’s full of stars…. It’s full of stars…’
Reeling on my feet, I stepped forward and slammed the lid of the capsule shut. The blue light went out and the ringing in my ears immediately ceased.
The crew hurried out of the room, closing the door, and carried the Doctor up to the bar.
As we jostled up the narrow metal stairs to the upper deck the Captain turned, and said quickly, ‘You might be right, Rik, that capsule could be dangerous!’