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’s de-brief was short. Apart from a lengthy explanation of why she had acquired a pet she could only recite what she had learnt about the worsening political situation. She feigned ignorance about the details of the jewel theft that, it seems, had made an already bad situation, worse even though it had occurred near the neighbourhood that she had been staying in on Romford.
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.
Lisa and Carrie decided to split up and take a continent each. Since they didn’t know what to call the two other thirds of Guger they settled on continents Ilford and Romford.
Lisa took Romford, the slightly larger of the two. She managed to get passage on a livestock freighter as a deck hand assistant. Quite what a female deck hand assistant’s job was she wasn’t sure but she would pick it up as she went along. She judged this to be part of the whole ‘getting to know Guger’ experience.
“We’ve found another one, captain, we need to set course for the Lyral sector,”
“Are you sure it’s worth it?” Captain Ken asked, “I mean, how do we know that any of this is making any difference at all?”
“Ken, we’ve gone over this. When we were thinking about how to stop the disgusting trade in misery that is represented by the Time Command project, Den’s was the only non-violent solution that offered any chance of turning the tide of public opinion.”
“Will we be safe here?” Lisa asked.
“Sure we will,” said Carrie, “they can’t see us, remember?”
“I know but it just feels odd sitting here, amongst them without them seeing us. It’s as though they are looking right at us.”
“They can only see through us,” reassured Carrie, “Look, I’ve done this dozens of times; admittedly, it’s usually on a planet without much in the way of a surviving population but the principle is the same.”
On board the Tony Robinson, captain Danno was carrying out some routine checks. Though his mind was not on them but rather on the two women that he had let jaunt to the planet’s surface.
“Tony, how are the girls doing?”
“Over in trench four our diggers have uncovered some amazing finds, Captain,” replied the ship’s AI.
“Yes but are they still OK?”
“Of course, Captain, they have found the ground to be very forgiving and their trowels are hardly worn.”
“Why didn’t you show me this message analysis before?” commander Stakus bellowed.
“Because it wasn’t there before,” pleaded communications officer Uli.
“What do you mean not there before? How could it have appeared from nowhere?” Stakus asked, incredulously.
The next morning the crew that had managed to sleep woke up with more questions than ever. The captain was wondering if he could get some help from Earth base.
“Tony, tell me again why we cannot use Strings to communicate.”