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part three

Captain Blight and Lt. Smith stepped back onto the bridge. Blight seated himself in the Chair and asked,
“Anything to report, Ensign?”
“Not a sausage.”
“How did….. oh I see. You mean, ‘all quiet sir’.”
“If it floats your boat, then ‘all quiet sir, - okay?”
“Jolly good, Jacoby. Take a break for lunch. We’ll take care of things here.”
Tok Jacoby rose to his feet, went to the lift and stepped in. He frowned at the two bridge officers. They seemed in a funny mood and why wasn’t he relieved by another helmsman. The Ensign shrugged then winced as the lift muzak began playing ‘Girl from Ipanema’. By the time he left the lift and entered the galley, Jacoby was furiously trying to think of another tune to hum but every snatch of music seemed to mutate to ‘The Girl From Ipanema’.


Jones, Logg and Fiona Pendleton-Smythe all turned to look at him. He grinned sheepishly,


“Sorry, can’t get that tune out of my head now.” He glanced around the eating area tables. There was room for about thirty people. He remarked,
“It’s a bit quiet in here innit? Where’s the serving staff?”
“What staff?”
“Alright, where’s the cook?”
“What cook?”
He ventured faintly,
“Food?”
Fiona shrugged eloquent shoulders,
“You might need to lower your sights a tad, daahling man.” She pointed to the counter,
“Kettle, instant milk, coffee, tea and pot noodles. So far, that’s it. Frightful bore I know, but there are different flavoured noodles at any rate.”
Tok sat down at their table and stuttered,
“Wuh what’s happened?”
Sara Jones said,
“In a nutshell. All but six of us left the ship shortly after departure. The food supply is very, very basic. LMG had no intention of equipping this thing to survive any further than the QCP. We’ll probably all be dead by then anyway.”
“So how will that help Leviathan?”
“The Chair.” said Fiona simply, “LGM commissioned the building of this wreck. The only computer is located inside the Captain’s Chair. As long as the Chair survives the journey there and back out again, they don’t give a stuff about us. All the data they need will have been recorded by the Chair.”
“Bloody hell, what are we going to do?” cried Jacoby. Sara Jones grinned,
“Aha, now we’re cutting to the chase, as they say. Well, since we’re here, and they’re not, then it would be in their best interests to give us some help. After all, if the Chair meets with an accident. Wouldn’t that be tragic?”
“Too frightful for words, sweetie.”
Jacoby was nodding as a smile began, then it faded again,


“Erm, eh?”
Logg growled,


“Chair will probably resist attempts to break flight plan. Can you over-ride it?”
Jacoby nibbled at a thumb-nail, anything was better than a pot-noodle, he mused,


“S’pose so. Best to suit up, go outside, disconnect the motors that operate the sails and reroute them to a temporary manual control somewhere else on the ship. Trouble is, what do we use as a control panel?”


Sara asked,


“How about an old cash register? LGM seem to have dumped a ton of their out-dated gear in a storage area at the rear of the top-deck.”


“Yeah,” Jacoby said, “that sounds good. I’ll get a suit on, but I won’t chance the radio.”


Half an hour later, Jacoby was in the airlock at the ‘Comatose’s upper forward section. It would take him about another half hour to disconnect the three motors used to control the solar sails. While he was outside, Sara Jones busied herself stripping away the paneling that covered the motor control wires, directly under where Jacoby was working.
She had finished pulling away the last steel sheet when Smith emerged from the bridge and said quietly,


“Sara, you’d better come in here for a second. There’s something you should see.”
He sounded seriously worried and Jones held back from making any kind of sarcastic comment. She just nodded and followed him onto the bridge. The Chair asked,


“Can I play this now? If it’s not too much trouble.”


Blight growled,


“Yeah, yeah, go ahead.”
A man resembling a weasel appeared on the bridge’s previously non-functioning view screen. An expensively dressed weasel, but a member of the rodent family nonetheless.
He squeaked,


“You have activated the Chair’s video projection unit which is now displaying my image. This can only be activated by tampering with the Chair in some way. You have also triggered the timers on four separate explosive devices. They will detonate in five minutes time. This gives me long enough to gloat over your imminent demise and doesn’t give you long enough to find and defuse the bombs.”
Captain Blight summed up their feelings with an excremental expletive,


“Oh shit.”

end of part three




------
In five hundred years time, most of us will be forgotten dust. But Hitler will still be remembered, God loves irony.


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