Tibor woke with a start. “Oh no!” he exclaimed aloud to no one in particular as he was alone in bed at the time. It was six in the morning. Hurriedly he got dressed and headed out from his New London hotel room. Tibor was from Canada and there was no time on this stop-over to get back there so he had been put up in the Brannigan for the duration. It was a good hotel though not one he would have chosen himself due to the high cost. A Slider crewman’s wage did not reflect the importance of the work they were doing for mankind nor the dangers.
The Eric Laithwaite emerged from its short slide away from the Tony Robinson in the vicinity of the Crab Nebula. That is one of the joys of having a String Slider at your disposal; so long as you didn’t worry too much about when you were arriving, you could take a slide to anywhere in the universe. To be certain of the time of your arrival took more energy and a more precise choice of string to slide. That sort of accuracy and energy could only be programmed by the boffins back at Time Control on Earth.
The next day Tony reported to captain Danno in his quarters. “We have had some amazing finds down in trench one. An almost complete set of Guger Royalty paraphernalia has been discovered and it is being put on display in the finds room.”
“You mean Lisa has ’fessed up and is, as we speak, putting the jewels out in the mess for us all to see?”
“Yes captain,” said Tony disappointedly.
The time keepers obeyed captain Danno’s request and, via some more purple gymnastics, returned the Tony Robinson to Guger.
“An immediate scan shows that we are still in time. Tony lock your attention on the continents and their missile silos,” commanded Danno.
All they could do now was wait. Waiting until a planet commits planecide when you are the only people there to stop it is a bit like playing the role of some cosmic super Samaritan. Only with more powers to intervene before the duffing-up.
Stakus and Uli didn’t have to wait long for TIO Rio to make his move. They were already watching him very closely since he tried so abysmally to put them off his scent regarding the possible explanations of the signal echoes and Captain Danno’s cryptic message.
Lyral six was about to commit planecide for reasons that made perfect sense to its inhabitants. The reasons always made perfect sense except to an outsider. To an alien, observing their planet having just arrived in their star system, a planecide never ever made any sense at all.
The next morning, after getting very little sleep, the crew of the Tony Robinson had convened in the mess for breakfast. Lisa as the first to ask something that had been bothering both her and Carrie since shortly after they had jaunted back on board.
“Captain, why is the main viewer deactivated?”
“You mean why the blinds are down on the window? What is it with you people and all these Star Trek references?” Danno asked.
“The blinds are down because we didn’t want to worry you. You see, we’ve got company.”
As is his wont, Commander Stakus stared out over New London trying to figure out why the time rebels would need a String Slider ship, why there were so many echoes of the Canus Seven planecide signal and why Captain Danno had sent the “We are Early” message. That last one was the most puzzling of all. It is impossible for Time Control to send a String Slider to a planet early. Either the String Slider malfunctioned or slipped through too far due to a rupture in the space time continuum or Earth got the signal sooner than it should have.
Lisa filled the time leading up to the robbery by wandering the streets of Romford’s capital city hopping from one interesting location to another using their free train system.
The role of a deck hand on a freighter carrying like the yak-like creatures (which for the sake of simplicity we shall call Yaks) from Stratford to Romford was not pleasant at the best of times. The weather on Guger was not helping and the chief herdsman, called Gatrinar, wasn’t helping either. In fact he seemed to have it in for Lisa as soon as he learnt that a girl had been hired by the shipping company to be his assistant. Though his dog took a shine to her.