A STORY FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART
The following day all was back to normal again, if there is such a thing on the Starship Underpants. Number One had been healed of his temporal distortion and could no longer foresee events a few seconds before they happened. Or 12.3785 seconds to be precise.
The space ship was travelling on the edge of the Universe when we received a distress signal on our loudspeaker system.
"On screen," said Captain Ivor Spatial-Anomaly.
They switched on a small black and white TV and we all sat around it in a semi-circle. It was the cartoon channel, so Calculus, our robotic humanoid fiddled with the aerial and got a better reception.
"We need your help" said the voice on the TV.
"Can't you get a better picture, Mr Calculus?" said Number One, "the screen is all full of dots as if it is snowing. We can hardly see who is talking to us!"
Calculus opened the window and fiddled with the antenna again. The picture on the TV got a little clearer. We could all see a human like face with big pointy ears, no hair and an ear on his forehead.
"He must be from the Final Front Ear," said the Captain.
"You have already used that joke once before!" commented Number One.
"Yes, I know," chuckled the Captain, "it never ceases to amuse me. Now let's see what this fellow wants.
"Hello my friend!" greeted our Captain, "Ivor Spatial-Anomaly here!"
"You should get it seen by a doctor!" replied the man on the TV, "how big is it?"
"So big it can be seen from outer space," joked Number One, much to the distress of our Captain.
"How can we help you?" asked our Captain.
"One of our crew has sprained his ankle," said the man with the frontier ... sorry ... front ear, "can he and our doctor perhaps avail ourselves of your superior medical facilities?"
"Of course," said, Sir Ivor, "we'd welcome them on board. Let me make arrangements!"
Then Sir Ivor, touched his left nipple and said to the intercom system ...
(By the way, in case you were not paying attention earlier on in previous episodes, I have already explained that on this ship we have connected our left nipples to the intercom system. This saves us having to wear badges on our uniforms which can so easily fall off in a fight or when in the shower. Also, the nipples are water-proof so they don't get damaged in the shower. All you need to do is touch your left nipple and talk. We have also connected the right nipples to the computer systems to allow the computer to locate us anywhere on the ship or on a planet we may visit. We have also connected other parts of our anatomy to other systems but I have not yet discovered what they are used for. I'll let you know in due course).
As I was saying ... the Captain touched his left nipple and said, "Transporter Room ... please make arrangements to receive two on board. Do not use the transporter beams though. They often malfunction and when they put all the body molecules back together again they often put body parts in the wrong place. These people already seem to have an ear on their forehead. Who knows where they have their other bits. If they come here unscathed we might mistakenly move their bits where we think is the right place and end up disrupting their whole anatomy."
Then, turning to me, he added, "The other day we transported a Galaxian who was wearing a carnation on his lapel. When he arrived here the transporter beams had turned him into a tin of condensed milk!" (Intellectual joke.)
The Captain touched his nipple again and added, "Transporter Room, I suggest you use the shuttle boat to bring our guests on board!"
Moments later there was an almighty crashing sound as the Starship Underpants shook violently. We all fell to the ground. The Captain touched my left nipple and said, "Sorry, old boy ... wrong nipple!"
He then touched his own left nipple and said, "Engineering ... Transport Room ... what in Jehoshaphat's name was all that? I nearly Jehoshaphated myself just now. What's happened?"
The loudspeaker on the wall, which had by now fallen to the ground and hit one of the engineers on the head, replied, "Sorry Cap'ain ... there's been a slight big accident. As the shuttle boat approached our spaceship it hit the side of the doorway entrance and came tumbling into the shuttle bay like a drunk slipping on a banana skin!"
"Any damage?" asked the Captain stroking his nipple, "apart from Spanner's head which is as sore as a haemorrhoid?"
"The side of the shuttle boat has been scratched and the paintwork has come off. The passenger with a sprained ankle has now got a broken leg. The medic accompanying him has a broken arm and cracked ribs. Our shuttle pilot has a sprained wrist and a heavy cold. But we believe he had that before he went to pick up our guests! The sprained wrist that is, not the cold."
"OK ..." said the Captain getting up, "make sure the workshop takes care of the damaged paintwork! This is top priority. Then ask Doctor Penny C Lynn to see to the injured!"
Number One and I went to the Medical Centre to meet our guests. As we approached the door we could hear the cries of pain from the injured, "Help ... I am dying ... I am in pain ... Booo Hoooo ... Never been hurt so much ... I'm too young to die ... I'll be too young tomorrow too. Booo Hoooo!"
"They like being the centre of attention! Don't they?" commented the Commander, "you would have thought no one has ever been injured before. They have no shred of sympathy for the damaged paintwork to our shuttle."
When we entered the Medical Centre, the two guests from the other space ship and our shuttle boat pilot were sitting there quietly drinking Darjeeling tea.
"I thought we heard crying and wailing," enquired Number One.
"Oh ... that was a tape-recorder we play when we have injured people to show we sympathise with them," explained Doctor Penny C Lynn, "it's amazing what a few sticking plasters and an aspirin will do. They are perfectly OK now!"
And indeed they were. Their ears in the right place and also all their other bits and pieces. Obviously, it was our TV set that had misshapen the picture we received through transmission and our faulty TV antenna. These people seemed as normal as us.
"I'm glad you are all well," greeted our Commander to the two outer-terrestials, "where are you from?"
"The other ship," replied one of them, "we've just arrived to heal this dog's sprained ankle!"
"The other ship?" repeated Number One, and then, "did you just call your colleague a dog?"
"Yes, we just came from the other ship stationed out there. You answered our call for help!" explained the outer-terrestial.
"But why did you call him a dog?" insisted Number One.
"Because he is a dog. His name is Lassie. I am Rover," replied the outer-terrestial, "our ancestors were launched into space from earth years ago. They landed on Pluto and colonised it. On our planet we are all dogs. We just look like humanoids ... like you ... but we are dogs!"
"But ... but ..." the Commander looked puzzled, "but ... are you all dogs on your planet? What's it like there?"
"Rough ... very rough ..." replied Rover, "especially when we have a bone to pick with each other".
"What else can you tell us about your planet?" asked the Captain who had been listening in on the conversation on the intercom system in his nipple.
"It's a pleasant enough environment," replied Rover scratching his ear with his leg, "we are fed daily, go for walks, sleep and so on. Oh ... in the desert we tend to run faster because the trees are further apart!"
"But ... if you are dogs, and look like humanoids," said Number One, "do you have pet dogs on your planet like we do? How do they look?"
"They look with their eyes," explained Lassie the other alien licking his private parts, "like everyone else here on this ship. We are dogs that look like humans, our pets are dogs that look like dogs; with four legs and tails. We behave just like all humans behave!"
"I've never seen a human licking his ..." said Number One as he was interrupted by Doctor Penny C Lynn.
"Perhaps we should let them rest, Commander," she said diplomatically, "they have travelled a long distance already".
Number One was totally confused, as you should be by now if you've been following this.
To explain ... on their planet, (Pluto by name), the highest species on the planet are dogs. They rule the planet. What they look like is immaterial, but as it happens they look like humans on earth, just like us. When their ancestors landed on Pluto they were dogs from earth. But over time, they have evolved into humans just as Charles Darwin suggested we humans have evolved from monkeys. These Plutonians eat bones and have a particular affection for a postman's leg. It is a rare delicacy because on Pluto, they have no postal deliveries. All the postmen are on strike! Just like they are on earth. Yet again ... a result of evolution as predicted by Darwin. Strikes and industrial strife and unemployment are all part of evolution. In time we will all evolve into doing nothing and staring at our navels, nipples, or other body parts.
At this point, Rover got up on his feet and started air punching.
"What are you doing?" asked Number One.
"Practising," Rover replied, "I am a boxer!"
"Are you all boxers?" asked Number One thinking this was their favourite sport.
"No ... some of us are Poodles, Terriers, Beagles, Bulldogs ... all different breeds really. We call it evolution".
Rover sat down and started breathing heavily. "I’m feeling ill," he said panting like a human.
"Describe the symptoms," said Doctor Penny C Lynn.
"They are yellow cartoon characters on TV. One’s called Homer, and Marge and … What's this got to do with me feeling unwell?" asked Rover.
TO BE CONTINUED ... IN A TAIL'S SHAKE OR TWO
(No growling allowed!)