By Faye Murphy |
In a club on a space base far away from Norman’s governmental space station, two people were dancing like no one was watching. It just so happened that no one was watching because they had all left after this pair’s enthusiastic shimmy became too embarrassing to bear. The duo bobbed, dived and weaved in completely inharmonious expressions of feeling. Even if the music had been blessed with a beat, they would not have matched it. Towards them through the strobe lights a man walked very purposefully. He had to walk everywhere like this because his short legs insisted that he make every step count.
“Yannick and Zoe, I need to talk to you,” he shouted over the music.
“Not now,” Zoe shouted back, not opening her eyes as she swayed. “We’re grooving,” Yannick completed as he did the worm.
“This is important. Let me buy you a drink.” This was perhaps the only invitation that could have broken them out of their determined trance. Simultaneously they stopped grooving and nodded instead, sending a lot of sweat in a lot of different directions. They walked across the deserted dance floor towards the bar. As they approached the woman behind it began to get the glasses ready. The presence of Yannick and Zoe and their unfailing ability to scare off all other customers would have been frustrating had the pair not made up for it by drinking more than the club could ever sell on a normal night. Bartholomew waited until they had both downed a pint and then launched into his important news.
“I’ve just had word that the President is thinking of reopening Earth.”
“Why would he want to do that?” Yannick tried to lean on the bar but missed and ended up on the floor. “It’s just a pile of rubbish,” he said to a peanut he found there.
“I don’t know why, but we can’t let him.”
“Why not?” Zoe asked, instantly suspicious. This was not a particularly special occurrence; she was suspicious of a lot of things. At that moment she was suspicious of the way a bit of spilt drink was eating its way through the bar.
“Do you know how many articles we run on conspiracy theories as to why we left Earth?” Bartholomew asked. “If we actually know what happened we’ll have to stop running articles about killer dolphins and come up with something original.” It was indeed a terrifying prospect. The journalists might be encouraged to get out and into Yannick and Zoe’s way. These two were the best investigative journalists in the galaxy and their use of extreme force in the face of the slightest of resistance was legendary. No one was safe from them; they had even done an exposé on themselves.
“We’ll start straight away,” Yannick said, finding his way back to his feet and downing another pint in the process. Bartholomew eyed the pair critically. “Don’t you think it would be best to start tomorrow?” Zoe waved him away. “We do some of our best work when we’re drunk. Remember the space pirates?”
“The ones that illegally downloaded movies or the ones that boarded other people’s spaceships and stole their CD players?”
“Of course I remember, that was front page news.” Zoe made a careless gesture, so careless in fact it sent her glass spinning out of her grasp and across the room. “Blind drunk,” she said nonchalantly.
Bartholomew’s eyes widened in respect. “That explains the grammar,” he murmured to himself.
After he had grown tired of hovering, Bartholomew left. He was a busy person, with many places to walk to very fast. Yannick and Zoe waved him off; well, Yannick waved to a wall and Zoe waved at the unreasonably patient bartender. Yannick turned to Zoe.
“We’re going to Earth, right?” he asked.
“Obviously,” she replied.
“We have to go find out why Barth really doesn’t want anyone to go there. There’s something fishy going on.”
“I think it’s the vodka,” Yannick said, sniffing his glass. Despite its aroma they stayed for a few more drinks before setting out for the carpark, where a policeman pointedly looked the other way as Zoe tried to unlock their spaceship with her shoe. Finally, the key was located, and the heavily modified jets started. With a burst of flame that set three other spaceships alight, the ship shot through the hanger doors sideways. After a few rolls it pointed itself roughly in the direction Earth probably was. Their journey would be of epic proportion. Between them and Earth lay sparkling nebulas, speeding comets, and an awful lot of traffic. By the time they reached their destination they might even be sober.