Part 1 - Oh, What A Day
Someone was crying out for help but no one could hear them as they were fifty-four thousand light years from earth. At least that's what Dmitri Rivitir was thinking as he veered his All-Vehicle toward the signal. When he arrived at the source, he was alarmed to find the signal emanating from inside a giant hostile alien spaceship.
There it was again. He studied his screen's new message. The word 'Help!' was emblazoned across it, just like before. Simple enough message, he thought, except there were quite a few details left out. He looked at the enormous alien spaceship in the distance with dismay. It was definitely the source of the distress signals and he knew they were watching him.
Just then the radio crackled to life. “What do you want?” a stern voice demanded.
“Oh, hello there,” Dmitri began. “I was just cruising by and, well, I got a call for help from inside your ship.”
“That's impossible!” the radio voice shrieked.
Another message. Dmitri looked over at his screen. The message, 'No, it's possible. Listen: Help!' appeared.
“Well,” Dmitri said over the radio, “it seems that it is possible because I just got another distress signal from inside your enormous spaceship.” He put his All-Vehicle on high alert.
“That's impossible!” the radio voice shrieked. Then, seemingly becoming more agitated, it continued, louder, “This gotta stop! Bomb 'em! Bomb 'em!”
Immediately some torpedo-like bombs came zooming out of the huge spaceship. Dmitri turned his All-Vehicle around and engaged the Bradco Hypergosh Engines and the Ogolly Overdrive and instantly disappeared. It was like magic. He cruised a couple of planets away hanging around for a while until he could figure this out.
Meanwhile, the hostile aliens said, “Zounds! Foiled again!” when they realized he was instantly beyond their reach. What they did not realize or expect and, in fact, had made no plans for, was the torpedo bombs getting confused and coming back. Everyone bailed out of that hostile alien spaceship quick and fast, just in the nick of time for some, before the torpedoes blew it to smithereens.
One of the alien escape pods signaled to Dmitri. “Thanks a bunch, you saved me.” All the others said rude things.
Dmitri resumed his journey home, a mere fifty-four thousand light years away. Probably take a week or so he figured, engaging the Ogolly Overdrive, so he settled back, relaxing into the journey. What a day, he thought, wondering if things were going to be okay.
Meanwhile, fifty-four thousand light years away, aboard another alien spaceship, the blown up spaceship's best friend, in fact, the captain pondered the enormous explosion where his friend's ship had been as his crew gathered up the escape pods. All were accounted for except the prisoner, who inexplicably escaped.
When the alien scientists determined that the perpetrator was now an unbelievable fifty-four thousand light years away, a journey of several lifetimes given their current technology, they, amid great gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, gave up the hunt. The scoundrel was forever beyond their grasp. Forever that is, until one fine day, a salesperson from Bradco Inc., the manufacturers of the Hypergosh Engine with the Ogolly Overdrive, came knocking at their door.
Part 2 - Happily Ever After
The Great Yudonke River is the only river on earth. The earth known as Yudonke, that is, and it flows north to south on Yudonke three and a half, some say four, times spiraling southward to the south pole. This mighty river seems at times to be an ocean, at times a lake and at times a normal large river. There are even shallow stretches where boats can go aground, and areas of rapids, even white water can appear, but there are no waterfalls. When the Great Yudonke gets to the south pole it disappears into the ground somehow then somehow reappears at the north pole to flow south again
This south pole to north pole waterway connection is difficult to understand and I, for one, have given up the effort. It's a mystery. And there are many people who agree with me. So many, in fact, that it has a name, the South to North Mystery. It even has a church, the Divine Flonorth, which attributes the passage of the mighty river's waters from south to north, apparently through the center of the earth, to divine beings called the Flotsim. The main Flot, the singular of Flotsim, is a goddess called Flo. Flo does the trick, at least for believers. For me, not so much, although I cannot offer a better explanation.
In any case we, the crew of the All-Vehicle Rivitir, are again floating the Great Yudonke, heading inexorably south. I am Captain Rosy and Rover is my number two and navigator. Brak is our ace-pilot and Jant is our ace-machine operator. All kinds of machines here too, like radar, radio, TV, and other secret devices, so it's good to have an expert like Jant on board.
The Rivitir is configured as a paddle-wheeled river boat with two decks this time, a shape we have found to be best for river adventures like this. We are currently splashing our way across a portion of the Great Yudonke that resembles a large lake. We've been here about an hour so far, floating on the river since arriving via Rover's interdimensional manipulations, another thing I don't understand.
We're keeping to the north shore as the south shore disappears from view every so often in the distance. That shore's ice laden flow is constrained by a long reef that runs down the center of the lake called the Dam Stopgap. Our paddlewheels keep us moving at a fair pace using our hypergosh engine and the weather has been nice, given our still quite northern location. This lake-like stretch of the river is called Meltwater for it is here that the chunks of ice that come down the Great Yudonke from the frozen far north slow down and melt before continuing on as water in the Great Yudonke River.
Even though we are about an eighth of its length from the north pole we are in what are, for all practical purposes, the headwaters of the Yudonke. There are a lot of craft entering the water from docks, piers, and low places along the lake shore as well as from the Dam Stopgap. Several are keeping apace of us. There's certainly lots of room even though this icy northern passage is not nearly as wide as the southern lake with its icebergs and chunks of ice.
Our bridge is located on the second floor in the front of the Rivitir, and there are just a few meters of deck extending before it. The first floor is our living room with big picture windows in the front and sides. Up here though, the windows are all bridge. We're assembled here as it's way cool, plus there's comfortable couches and an excellent view. Brak is sitting in a highchair behind the big steering wheel with his hand resting on the wheel, his stalwart gaze focused ahead, making corrections whenever he thought necessary. Jant and I are both in recliners watching the view while Rover is roving somewhere, doing this and that.
Earlier I mentioned a long narrow reef that crosses the lake called the Dam Stopgap which keeps the ice in the southern, warmer part of the lake to melt. It has lots of little islands on it. Whenever an island has a dry spot that is big enough there are houses, hotels, resorts, and even small villages. But as eclectic as these islands are we were nonetheless taken aback by the sight of a large flying saucer sitting on a long island that had been flattened and paved for aerial traffic. This is the first time we'd seen aliens here on Yudonke and Brak slowed the Rivitir down. There were a bunch of docks where people could park when flying and we pulled into one.
“I guess we're going to go investigate something?” I asked Rover, who had put on his detective hat.
“Yes, ma'am,” he answered. “We got reason to believe that these newly arrived aliens are 'people of interest' in the case of your missing uncle.”
“Oh,” I said. My uncle Dmitri has disappeared after a three week cruise back from fifty-four thousand light years away. He disappeared suspiciously close to the time these aliens arrived, which was just before Dmitri did, after their having just recently acquired hypergosh engines themselves. We had been beyond their ken before they got the engines as they are fifty-four thousand light-years away. Now, if they engage the Ogolly Overdrive, it's about three hours. Uncle Dmitri liked to cruise and had stretched his trip into a few weeks so the aliens he'd encountered were already here. What we'd heard was that Uncle Dmitri was somehow involved in the explosion of one of their so-called Peacemaker Patrols. The patrol had just captured one of the protesters who subsequently escaped when the torpedoes they'd shot at 'an unknown person of interest' had inexplicably turned around and destroyed the patrol instead. Now they're here and Uncle Dmitri is missing. Coincidence? Rover, who is an actual detective, working with such luminaries as Inspector Gee and Sgt Goat, doesn't think so.
We followed Rover to the flying saucer where he rapped on the door. The alien who answered was clearly shocked to see us and backed up.
“Hello,” I said, speaking up since I was the Captain after all. “I'm Captain Rosy Rivitir and these . . .” The alien shrieked and went running down a long passage. We all entered before the door could automatically close.
Another alien appeared in the hallway and came walking toward us. “Hello,” it said as it approached.
“Hello,” I answered. “I'm Rosy Rivitir . . .” I began. The alien stopped and stared at me. Then it backed up a step.
“Rivitir,” it whispered. “We don't know anything about Dmitri!” it shouted. “In fact, we've never even heard of him!”
“Dmitri?” I asked.
“Yeah, you know. That fellow that disappeared two days ago, twelve noon local time.” It scowled and spit on the ground. “He's a Rivitir too, that's all. You made me think of him.”
“Oh,” I said.
“So, where'd you stash him at?” Rover barked, using his toughest tough guy voice.
“Oh, yeah?” the alien jeered. I could see he was wearing a six shooter when he casually pulled his jacket back. “Wale, he ent here. He ent in the back room by the kitchen, the one with the locking door and he ent even on this here ship, at all,” he blustered, spreading his legs into a wide shooter's stance.
“Oh, okay,” Rover said, nodding agreement. “Just thought he might be here.” He nodded imperceptibly at Brak.
“Mind if I use your restroom?” Brak asked as he stepped beside the alien, who was gaping at Rover.
“We don't have . . . wait! What?” the alien sputtered at Brak's retreating form.
“Is that room locked now?” Brak asked loudly.
“Yes, of course it is, that Rivitir fellow . . .” He stopped, looking at me with alarm.
“Where's the key?” I growled.
“I don't have it, and if I did, I sure wouldn't put it on my key ring attached to my belt,” he snapped, with a steely gaze. I saw the key ring on the opposite side from the six shooter just as Brak, sneaking up from behind, grabbed them both.
The alien spun around, “Put them back you darn varmint!” it screamed. I wonder where it learned to talk.
“Sure will, soon as I get Dmitri from out of your foul dungeon,” Brak cried out, midst the lofty tones of heroic music. Then he dashed down the hallway.
“You darn aliens can't just come and grab somebody,” Rover barked.
“But he made us blow up our own spaceship,” the alien yelped.
“How'd he do that?” Rover asked.
“By being so nosy, then being so dang fast,” the alien growled.
“He was pokin' around?”
“Sure was. Claimed to be getting a help signal from our prisoner.”
“And . . .?”
“And we blasted him out of existence, 'cept he weren't there, the wily rascal, because of his durn blasted hypergosh engine. Then our own torpedoes turned against us and came back!”
“That musta been horrifying!” Jant squealed.
“It were ma'am. And on top of it all, our dang prisoner escaped.”
“So you came and got a new prisoner,” Rover stated.
“Well, it's no good. You can't do it so go home. It was your own foolishness that caused you to shoot at a complete stranger so just write off the patrol ship to defense learning and move on.”
“But . . .”
“No buts, you heard me,” Rover barked.
Just then Brak returned with a dazed and confused Uncle Dmitri.
We returned to the Rivitir where Dmitri spent a week with us recuperating, rolling on the Great Yudonke River before returning to his own Rivitir. The aliens decided not to be hostile anymore since they just couldn't win, and returned, using the three hour overdrive, to their planet, fifty-four thousand light years away, to live in peace happily ever after.