tagSci-Fi & FantasyVoyages Ch. 02

Voyages Ch. 02

byHarryHill©

Harry's notes: I had a hard time getting this one to finish like I wanted. Thanks butters for your editorial help, sorry to make you work so hard. :o Thank you readers for your comments on previous writes. It makes all worthwhile.

*****

Voyages II:

Arrival:

The Hoochie Mama entered real space well off Portsmouth Prime; there was no fanfare, no grand approach best accompanied by majestic theme music heralding cinematic events of note, just a rapidly expanding opaque area that winked out to reveal the battered, 4th hand, D-class Ford SpaceExplorer(tm) unmoving in the star-filled view. Its sides rippled as if some wind or current moved over fabric in the nothing of space.

An outside observer might wonder at the reason for its arrival so far from sentinent interests; there were three: firstly, because their last planet fall had been so disastrous. They'd dropped out of wiper drive in the middle of a war between Asshola and Crapola and had been labeled enemy by both. It was the worst 15 minutes of real and wiper time any of the current complement would ever experience.

Secondly, this was where 68 sets of pilfered MKVII Banger(tm) combat armor, neatly racked, freshly sanitized and wiper sealed in the hanger bay, were aquired just prior to the ships hasty departure some one hundred real time days ago; they had proved worth every hour of grift, recon, meticulous planning, and sheer ball breaking labour needed to nick them. :) They were a liability here where they'd simply disappeared in transit.

And lastly, on the skin of the Hoochie Mama moved their battle flag; a stylized Jolly Roger, mimicking some obscene fishermans nightmare, still undulating on the sides of the ship. Piracy was no joke anywhere near English space. Hoochie flickered, vanishing to become a distant gleam in the star scattered view.

Field Day:

The Captain's cabin-office faded from the dim, foggy grey of wiper space to a cheerful command center where he sprawled unmoving beneath a neatly turned duvet. The sexy computer voice of the A.I. that operated the ship's systems spoke.

"Lit date, 1221, Wake up Captain, honey, (kiss sound) standing well off the Prime solar system, no contacts. The crew and Toi are awake, gally serving as ordered breakfast's for watch standers shortly."

Harry curled in a ball, pulling covers over his throbbing head. A tray slid in seamless silence out of the wainscotted wall accompanied by SALLY's peverse penchant for adding sounds found in the ship's extensive library of movies. A groan for the whirs and hums, then a hand extended from under the duvet and felt for the blue capsule beside the steaming cup.

"To the left, Captain sweetie. (kiss sound)." The voice belonged to a Self Autonomous Long Loving Yetzburg(tm) canibalized from the memory/software of a sexbot to effect emergency repairs. The bot, now remotely controlled by SALLY, sat on the foot of the bed watching the lump under country quilts painfully extend a hand.

Fingers scrabbled left, took the blue capsule and retreated under, returning a moment later to retrieve the mug. A sigh came from beneath the covers as the pill dissolved instantly, giving immediate relief for the debilitating effect of wiper acceleration.

He bleakly examined his sheet covered existance, contemplated his carefully cultivated Wa laying in shambles. He needed fresh Intern strippers and the Royal mail, real coffee instead of the synth Shipboard(tm) brand A new bottle of Colman's(tm) (hang the cost) and mass quantities of polyunsaturated fast food were all to put him shipshape again, but first there were chores waiting.

Harry rolled up on a pillow before turning the duvet back, letting the medicine counteract the worst of the wiper drive's effects except for a dull headache. Sallybot's eyes moved to priority one as Harry's nude form lounged in the post agony relief of medication.

Stretching, he noticed that the Sallybot was unclothed and wondered just what went on in wiper space that caused the removal of the maid's costume worn pre-jump. He began to rise under the rapt gaze.

"How did our test go?", he asked, wiggling a little while enjoying the flicker of the bot's eyes as it followed a roll of his enlarging penis.

"As expected, I was able to jump much faster this time." Sallybot's eyes moved to his and spoke in tandem with the ship's voice, "Furl the colors, Captain?" The last word was hot breath on his loins. It was a moment before he replied.

"Yes, quickly, let's take them down before every jump from now on. You can put up the 'Bon Voyage' identity that we used last in port here." He became quiet as a super heated mouth and fluids drew the last chill of wiper space along with a shuddering climax.

Bluegrass music began playing from the ship's com, Foggy Mountain Breakdown if he remembered correctly. Maestro was up and in full form.

"Is Chyna moving yet?"

"Yes Captain, you should be moving too. (kiss sound)"

Harry sat up, rotated feet to the Vacfiber(tm) floor, setting the empty mug back on the tray; it moved within the deep confines of the tray then returned, filled and steaming.

"Chyna is on his way to the hanger bay now. His second has begun shifting the shuttles and lifting deck plates in preparation for hiding contraband."

"Good man," Harry said. "Hank right? Give me something to wear and mute the music please." A pink frock zipped out of the wall. "No." It retreated within and something hummed angrily. He sipped, waiting to see what else would be offered while glancing at the ship's chronometer filling the screen of his desktop; 05:09:43, time for breakfast.

"Henry, Captain darling, (kiss sound)." Clicks, whines and whirrs brought a selection of clothing from more hidden recesses in the wall. Harry took grey fatigue pants, t-shirt and a Cotton(tm) hoodie from the proffered appendages setting them near to hand.

"Henry, right, add his name to the awards ceremony this evening. Breakfast in-cabin, scrambled eggs, bangers, toast and some of that good peach jam. I'll take the ship's manifest at my desk after. Pass the word, field day before entering port. Now I'm going to take a shower." Sallybot followed him in and began soaping his back.

"(Boson's whistle) Now reveille, reveille, reveille, all hands heave out and trice up, sweepers man your brooms. All section leaders, field day."

Harry let the flood of hot water wash away the thought of wiper space and the bot's fingers massage away knots of apprehension preceeding this planetfall.

A breakfast tray was waiting on his desk when returning from the shower. Sallybot dressed him, combed and dried his hair and beard, making small talk in the form of ship's gossip that was something of white noise while he ate and began going through every item stored within the ships inventory.

It was not going to be a very profitable planet fall. The seafood that was guaranteed to sell at top prices at the ecologically wrecked planet of Assholes was not going to fetch half that here. He detested assholes in all their forms. On the plus side there were plenty of consumables and even a case of his favorite liquor taken in the punitive raids on the two warring factions.

Accoutrements and Strays:

"Chyna calling, Captain."

"Very well, on screen please." Lines of information winked out, replaced by the concerned face of the armorer.

"Toi, do you have a minute to spare?" He put down a jam-dripping slice of toast, wiped his mouth and replied.

"I'm trying to find something to sell or barter for fuel. We've been out a long time without replenishment; the Thorium bunkers are near empty. SALLY, Thorium available? I may have to sell some beer or frozen pizza to make ends meet."

"There are 537.7252 wiper hours of Thorium currently on board, Captain."

"Won't make any difference with the Hoochie impounded and us in jail," Chyna replied morosely. "Come take a look; tell me what I'm missing."

Harry made good time to the hanger bay. Sallybot walked beside him reciting the manifest log item by item during the short journey there. He closed his eyes before entering, then stepped through, opening them to form a first impression.

The dusty deck in the warm comfortable compartment, covered in foot and glove prints, sparked a thought. Harry explaned his idea to Chyna, adding that an extra ration of beer would accompany early completion of the task. The grin on his face was ample reward for the interuption.

He returned to his desk, burying himself in the search for something to barter or trade for fuel. Hours later he was still at it, amazed at the variety of goods and material filling the seemingly empty ship. Late in the ship's afternoon SALLY reported.

"Time to dress for the ceremony, Captain sweety. (kiss sound)" His blue #3 uniform zipped out from the wall.

"Dont know what I'm going to do, not without selling beer or frozen pizza." He spoke more to himself but SALLY answered.

"I'm sure you'll find something, perhaps that beast that Nonny went back to get."

Harry had forgotten Nonny's 'rescue' of some horrid foul-smelling creature, yowling and slinging fetid mud from Emptied Bowel swamp all over the hanger bay, leaving scratches on the armored arms of the suit in it's struggle to escape her grip.

[indent]"No, Nonny, Nu huh, take it back." He'd retreated as far as the central corridor lift when it slipped free of her grasp and fell to the floor, squalling pitiously. She'd bent to stroke the animal.

"But Toi, I'll take care of it, give it a bath, clean up its poop; besides, it's hurt." It was busy licking a scorch mark on its buttocks where there once might have been a tail.

"Goddamit, Nonny, don't quiver your lip at me." An expression of distress on her face, she ran hands lovingly over the hairless filthy form. It made small sounds of distress and headbumped her boot. "Fine, keep the damn thing, just clean this shit up and cage it so we can leave this crap hole." Making a hasty exit to deal with a hundred and one details since then, the beast's presence aboard had been forgotten.[/indent]

"Where is it now by the way?" The desk screen displayed a view of the brig with the now clean, pink creature gnawing on the bars of its cell. "Screen Nonny please, SALLY."

Nonny looked up screen from the floor of her cabin where she had weapons of all sorts. Knives, bows, spears for christ sake and energy guns in various stages of assembly covering every available space. Some were so esoteric he could only guess at their use.

"Toi! I'ma preparing for our next mission. Remember you said I could drop first this time. I'll be cocked n locked, ready to go green at a moments notice." She picked up a brass knuckle-knife combo and screamed a war cry. "Ahhhhhhh!"

"Nonny, Nonny, hold up!" Before he could explain why he called, she began to accuse him of duplicity.

"What! You said I could be first; now you're taking it back?"

"You will be first if I have to get Sallybot to carry you to a shuttle and push both out the hanger door. SALLY screen the brig for us; replay our last conversation." It was still chewing on the bars. "Have you fed the thing yet or does it need a fooking chew toy?" Non didn't answer the question because she latched on to the one thing that brought another heated outburst.

"Noooooo! You can't sell Stubbs. She's smart and no trouble, already potty trained, goes in the Loo like a big girl." She had a big sappy smile on her tear stained face. "Besides, I think Stubby is going to be a mommy." Her eyes turned wounded and accusatory. "You said I could keep her." Harry tried to be as gentle as possible in his reply.

"I never promised, Nonny. Everything and everyone on this ship is a tool or has a job. Do you see anyone else with a pet? I have to care for all aboard and in return they must work at some task that will support our search for Litopia. If I have to sell it to keep us going..." Nonny shook her head solemnly.

"You can't sell Stubbs; you can't, Toi. I'll find something for her to do. I think she might be sentient too and as a result have certain moral rights as well as being of value to the ship." Harry briefly pondered the ramifications of her disclosure and spoke quietly and wonderingly.

"Crewman Stubbs, fuck me." SALLY broke in.

"You are running very late, Captain darling, (kiss sound) let me help you." Sallybot began dressing him as he continued.

"We'll talk with the other Toi about this later, Nonny, carry on." The desk screen returned to inventory descriptions and quantities. Sallybot led him out the door then promptly faded into the Interns loitering in the corridors.

"(Bosun's whistle) All hands, awards and rewards on the Lido deck. The bar is open, the vape light is on."

Party Hardies:

Harry joined the Interns getting fresh drinks the AutoTender(tm) dispensed from a station beside the central corrider lift that served all decks. Morale was good. He joked, took a whiskey and walked through a haze of CinBom(tm) toward the sound of music.

He watched from the wings as the ship's band performed on the stage, singing an old Johnny Fay song called 'So you think you want to kick my ass.' The crowd was really getting into it now, belting out the refrain.

"So, get up off the floor,

get your shit together,

remember you wanted this,

now bear the scars forever..."

Harry motioned the lead guitar player to extend the set, smiling and meeting each eye and smile of the band members as he fluffed out his hair in wild falling waves as he prepared to address the crew. He bounded out on the stage with the songs end tag.

"Whooooo, alright people, The Five Dicks, your ship band." Applause and cheers came from the animated crowd. "Yes, you know why we're here." Catcalls and comments came from the floor. Harry spun and pointed at a heckler. "No, not that, but on a lesser note," he motioned with a thumb behind him, "the big Dick said the band was looking for a Cunt that knows how to play an organ. (laughter) All applications will be taken in compartment B, bunk 4, after the final set tonight."

Maestro entered with Sallybot pushing a Rolling(tm) table behind him filled with various items. Harry turned joining the applause.

"Here he is, Mr. Playlist; say hello, Maestro."

"Thanks for joining us Litopians; first let me say I'm proud of our combat teams for holding their mud, as it were," (an exagerated wink and laughter) "at the Planet of Assholes, and we are especially proud of Nonny and Blynd for taking prompt showers on their return." (cheers)

"Some more than others!" Harry shouted out at his side with a completely straight face. Laughter rang about the tables. he waited for it to subside and began the ceremony.

"Toi Blynd, come forward." A well-endowed Intern rolled him through the crowd in a wheel chair, arm in a sling, leg up, foot wrapped, an eye patch covering one eye, although only his shoulder had been damaged during the fire fight. Harry whispered aside to Maestro as they moved through the crowd.

"Check out the new Intern." She helped Blund to his feet before the stage. He managed to bury his face in her cleavage on the way. Harry stepped down for the ceremony. "For surviving on a planet of assholes you are awarded the Order of the Hovering Bonnet." He pinned on the medal that Maestro had fashioned in the machine shop of a hovering shuttle in a spin. "May it always lift you over the m'Ass's."

"As compensation for your dedicated service you are rewarded, $2.15, a new legal pad, a green rag to wipe the shit from your shoes if you ever land there again, and.. our eternal gratitude for showering until the stink was gone. Do you have anything to say before I continue?"

"Doy, um, sure Toi, thans. Do we party now?" Blynd sipped, owl eyed, from his umbrella drink to the applause and cat calls from the crew and slipped back clumsily on the wheelchair.

"Chyna, step forward. For placing your life in danger in the rescue of a shipmate you are awarded the Order of the Silver Sword. May it help you cut through all the bullshit that Assholes release."

"You are rewarded with two cold sixers, half a bottle of CinBom(tm), a dog-eared copy of 'Sun Zu', and three dried toads. Well done. Do you have anything to say before Non's awards?" Chyna was trying to hold back tears. Harry suspected another case of wiper fatigue; he told SALLY to schedule an AutoDoc(tm) appointment for him.

"I am honored to serve with such a brave and talented crew. I look forward to our next mission and will give my heart and soul for this ship." He turned away, sobbing. Nonny was close and handed Chyna a tissue, then helped him arrange his rewards for transport.

"Step forward, Toi Nonny. For unwavering support of your shipmates across the parallel threads of our universe, you are awarded the Order of the Rose Mirror. Use it to disable the Assholes you encounter with bright reflections of their own intolerance."

"Also, take these rewards: An antique AK47, a forest digicam suit, 1000 rounds of 6.72mm full metal jacket, this Case(tm) Cayenne Bone, and...

Turning to Maestro he whispered. "Is there any beer left?" There was a hurried search through the party favors on the cart, all removed by Vacfiber(tm) from the last party, washed, sanitized, sprayed with NaturalScent(tm) before being loaded on the cart for the next function. Maestro pointed with a 12" double headed dildo.

"There" He removed a container from the sixer and handed the remainder to Harry. Nonny capered in excitement as she waited to see what additional gift was offered.

"... Five cold beers! Do you have anything to say before we start the Party?"

"I think I'm gonna cry too," she said stepping forward and saluting sloppily around arms full of loot clutched to industrial camo fatigues, crisp and spotless save for a mud colored spot just above her left boot.

Harry sniffed suspiciously. She snapped the hand down in a movement that became a break dance, screaming.

"Whoo Hoo, partyyyyy. Thanks Toi and and all who serve and protect Hoochie." Harry smiled and held his hands up above the noise.

"One more thing, people. Toi Maestro will be leading ground-side liberty as soon as we clear customs and in port watch standers are set. Have fun guys; you've earned it." The band kicked off again and the whole room began dancing.

Royal Flush:

Twenty four hours later saw 'Bon Voyage' emblazoned in the spot where 'Hoochie Mama' was normally displayed under a wide expanse of an Impervious(tm) view port. A small Union Jack belo graced the side of the station of registry which simply said 'EARTH'. The ship neared the orbital quays of Portsmouth Prime.

SALLY reported, interrupting him where he reclined on the command chair, vacant eyes contemplating things not seen and the wild jackstraw of bodies last night that were still undulating when the sexbot led his drunken self to bed, blew him to sleep, and returned to service any of the crew still up. :rolleyes:

"HMS Valorous hailing, Captain, Commander Jones' compliments, heave to for customs inspection prior to docking." Harry cursed the mixed blessing of British registry in general and Commander Jones in particular. The viewport changed magnification to show a warship moving up from the planet.

His Majesty King George XII believed in a strong space navy. There was always a cutting edge vessel near completion at some planet's shipyard across the Empire. The HMS Valorus was just such an example, not long out of the slips; it was an HX class cruiser, looking like some artist had taken a coffee tin and sculpted it into a more pleasing shape that bulged and dipped the skin. Covered in red ablative armor, it looked more like a diseased pomegranate than a space craft. There was nothing humorous about the fire power hidden within. Her bow chasers had more range than Hoochies four light second cannon.

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