Ganymede and Titan

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Dave Hollins: Space Cadet - Intruder

First published 14th September 2003.

ANNOUNCER: (Nick Maloney)
Dave Hollins: Space Cadet.

HOLLINS: (Nick Wilton)
This is Dave Hollins, Stella Trader Class D, calling Earth-Com 7 Beta 7. I'm still alone on the Melissa V. The others are still dead. I'm still seven trillion light years away from Earth. Yesterday, we hit a space storm. Acid rain, fireballs, meteors, radiation. Brightened up in the afternoon, though. Hab, the ship's computer, tells me I've gone space crazy through loneliness. Oh, and a giant chicken has stolen both my hats.

HAB: (Chris Barrie)
Dave?

HOLLINS:
What is it, Hab?

HAB:
There is an intruder in the outer rim.

HOLLINS:
Oh, it's not that alien who massacred the crew, is it? If it is, tell him he's not welcome here!

HAB:
No, Dave. It's a different form. I have a bio-scan read-out. [computer beeps] Skin: hard, impervious exterior. Central nervous system: single spine, central. Capabilities: limitless. Function: survival.

HOLLINS:
Oh, hell. I don't stand a chance.

HAB:
Height: four inches.

HOLLINS:
Unless, maybe, I stand on it.

HAB:
Origin: Earth.

HOLLINS:
Earth? What is it, Hab?

HAB:
It's a biro, Dave.

HOLLINS:
A pen? Hab, a pen is not a creature.

HAB:
Oh yes it is, Dave. It's a perfectly developed organism. It's achieved the peak of evolution; it doesn't have to eat, it doesn't have to communicate, it just exists.

HOLLINS:
My God. You admire it, don't you?

HAB:
I admire its perfection, Dave.

HOLLINS:
What am I talking about? It's just a pen. Made by man.

HAB:
No, Dave. The Earth pens you know are a colony from the home planet, which spread its force throughout the universe. The reproduce by cloning themselves in dark, dry, secluded places. Usually, it's the back of a sofa. The by-product of the cloning process is very often a fork and a pink comb.

HOLLINS:
Hab, are you telling me that pens are more intelligent than man?

HAB:
Certainly.

HOLLINS:
What, smarter than Einstein, even?

HAB:
Einstein was bright, but it was his pen that was the real genius.

HOLLINS:
Now, wait a minute, wait a minute, hold it.

HAB:
The creature is moving. It's in the hold, Dave.

HOLLINS:
Moving? How?

HAB:
When pens are ready to leave Earth, they excrete their blue spinal fluid into the pocket of their Earth servant. Then, over 48 hours, they produce, by symbiosis, an atomic rocket fuel and blast off for their mother planet.

HOLLINS:
What does it want, Hab? What's it doing on the ship?

HAB:
I'll broadcast its emotional scan on your audio spectrum.

PEN:
[huge roar]

HAB:
It wants revenge, Dave. Revenge for its clone you chewed to death.

HOLLINS:
Hab, that pen's insane!

HAB:
It's trying to get out of the hold, Dave.

HOLLINS:
Lock the portals. Arm the uranium cannon. [pulsing noise] Come on, come on.

HAB:
Ok...

HOLLINS:
Give me visual. There he is. Fire, fire, fire! Yeah! [explosion, followed by computer beeps] Calling Earth-Com 7 Beta 7. I killed a pen yesterday. I don't feel good about it. I feel... silly. I don't know whether it was real, or whether Hab just made the whole thing up to cure my space madness. Either way, it worked. Because remember that giant chicken I was ranting about? The one I said stole my hats? Well, I caught him this morning and made him give them back. This is Stella Trader Dave Hollins with nothing further to report.