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HyperGolf Episode 2

Episode 2

Moving Targets

       Somewhere in the galactic halo, two spaceships and a few loose asteroids drifted. Baron Clyde sat in his flight chair at Purple Emperor's helm, eating pie and chips out of his lap while the ship's computer finished calculating a course program.
       "Claaahd," said Randy through the communication channel. His ship drifted some distance behind, and in it he was making himself an ice cream from its onboard freezer. "Have you bin graffiti'ing on these asteroids?"
       "Er," said Clyde. "Perhaps we should keep to the matter in hand?"
       "So what is this unidentified flying object?"
       "It's a Solan ship."
       Clyde wiped gravy off Purple Emperor's walnut dash. "Solans. You know. Out in the Orion arm, there's this star called Sol. The species of human that lives round it are always bragging about how their planet was where humans evolved originally, and that they're the progenitors of all the human races."
       "Never heard of them."
       "They're all politically correct and obsessed with being nice to aliens. They joined the Union of Allied Galaxies, and they're not allowed to do experiments or anything on their planet because it's a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a location of historical significance, and all that rubbish, and they don't want to make the air dirty or cause the indigenous animals to go extinct. Look, you really ought to pay more attention to galactic politics. Anyway, the point I was getting to was that they've never invented the SpinDrive, and they won't trade with the British Empire or the American Franchise because we're not in the Union of Allied Galaxies. So they just manage with those rubbishy old Alcubierre things."
       "Alcubierre? So they can't use wormholes at all? They have to travel through space to get to someplace else?" Randy paused. "Now just wait a minute, Claaahd. You're saying that thing's got an Alcubierre drive, so it's travelling faster than light, and we're sitting here, directly in its path?"
       "That's right, all part of my plan."
       "But that means, if we stay here, we're going to be hit by an Alcubierre wave!"
       "Not if we generate our own Alcubierre waves and phase them exactly with the Alcubierre wave of the other ship. That way, when it catches up with us, our waves will coalesce into the larger one and we'll be carried along in the slipstream."
       "Gee Claaahd." Randy examined some of the readouts from his scanners. "I'm not so sure that makes sense."
       "What do you mean, it doesn't make sense? Of course it doesn't make sense! It's Physics!"
       "I'm not sure this is a good idea," said Randy. "You know, I can always take a drop shot. I don't mind."
       "Drop shot?! And lose your par this early on? Never! I've had Purple Emperor's computer run a course calculation and I'm sending it now. All you need to do is accelerate up to light speed and engage your Alcubierre drive."
       "There's not time to discuss it now!" Clyde flicked up the switches on Purple Emperor's dashboard that engaged the temporal limiter and the inertia dampers, turned the dial that put the fusion engine online, put the ship in gear, took his foot off the clutch and stamped the accelerator pedal down to the floor. The ship leapt forward, the stars in the forward window taking on a sharp blue tinge, and the needle on the speedometer began to rise.
       After a few minutes, Randy said, "You do realize it'll take two hours for us to accelerate up to the light barrier?"
       Clyde stood up, stretched, and exhaled loudly. "I'm going to the toilet," he said, and went aft.


       Two hours later, the Solan ship caught up with them, and both ships fell into its Alcubierre wave.
       "I guess that worked out better than I expected," said Randy while he waited for the walls of his ship to stop vibrating.
       "What did I tell you?" said Clyde. "Looks like there's a landing bay down there. We'll rendezvous in that."
       The landing bay was deserted, and silent, save for the background hum of the engine and the whining of Randy's golf bag from inside his ship.
       Randy made reassuring noises at his ship's airlock door. "Poor girl. She gets separation anxiety."
       Clyde raised his eyes to the ceiling. "Have you got your weapons?"
       "I've just got this Colt 45. neutron gun." Randy held his gun in one hand and an ice cream in the other.
       "That'll do. Let's go." Clyde tucked his electric blunderbuss under his arm and picked up his voltage mace.
       "What exactly is it you're planning on doing?" Randy followed Clyde into a corridor.
       "It'll probably save time if we get them to turn the ship around first and then look for the ball on the way." He came to a door and slapped his hand on the panel to open it. It led to a large room with windows around the edge and a swimming pool in the centre. The room was a riot of strange-coloured skins, belonging to aliens who sat around on sun loungers and deck-chairs, or stood talking casually with drinks in their hands. As the two humans entered, the conversation died away and they all turned to stare.
Alien Nudists

       Randy surveyed the aliens nervously. "Claaahd, do you get the feeling that something about these aliens isn't quite right?"
       Clyde looked at Randy in a funny way. "Well, what do you expect? They are aliens after all." He took out his pocketwatch. "Tarragon, translate what I say into Standard Galactic Pidgin."
       The pocketwatch said, "Why don't you bother to learn Standard Galactic Pidgin yourself? Your father himself was a cunning linguist, or at least so your mother used to say. Don't you think it would be a more edifying thing to do than lying in bed all morning and then spending all afternoon throwing empty wine bottles at peasants, which is what I seem to recall you did last Thursday?"
       "Oh shut up, Tarragon! I'll do it myself. Randy, you cover me!"
       Randy pointed his ice cream at the aliens and licked his gun.
       Clyde pulled a small book out of the back pocket of his plus-fours. He opened it, turned it round the other way, squinted at it, and then read, "Og fwop argle blerthwerk ooe nibzwig."
       A long silence followed, and the aliens all stared at Clyde blankly.
       "That means, 'Good morning, I have lost my toboggan,'" said Tarragon. "You should be ashamed of yourself."
       Clyde picked up Tarragon and shook it. "See here, you useless piece of scrap metal! You'll bloody well translate for me, or I'll put you in my other pocket. The one with the snotty handkerchieves and biscuit crumbs in it!"
       "All right," said Tarragon, its electronically rendered voice taking on a sullen tone.
       Clyde stamped forward, raised his electric blunderbuss, and shouted, "Right! Nobody move! This is a hijack!"
       When Tarragon translated, expressions of realisation spread across the passengers' faces.
       "Now," Clyde continued, "I want two volunteers to act as hostages, and then we're going up to the bridge to negotiate with the pilot." As he spoke, a Regulan -- an eight-foot high creature with wide elliptical horns and eight limbs ending in many-fingered hands like sea anemones -- got off its sun lounger and made its way over.
       "Excuse me," it began discreetly.
       "Have you come to volunteer?"
       "No, you don't understand. You're actually on the nudist sector of the ship."
       "What?" Clyde glanced around at the aliens.
       "That's what's funny about them," Randy said. "I was thinking, don't civilized species normally wear clothes?"
       "You shouldn't be in this part of the ship dressed… as you are. Now, you are drawing rather a lot of attention to yourselves, so if you'd just leave quietly, I'm sure…"
       Clyde waved his electric blunderbuss at the Regulan. "What do you mean, we're drawing attention to ourselves?! We're hijackers; that's what hijackers do. And I can hold up this ship wearing stilettos and my aunt's knickers on my head if I want to! I've got the weapons, so it doesn't matter how I'm dressed!"
       The Regulan waved its hands in a conciliatory way. "It's all very well if you want to hijack and take hostages, but you still need to respect our way of life."
       "Claaahd." Randy had gone red in the face, and he nudged at Clyde's shoulder with his elbow. "I think we ought to go."
       Clyde turned to face him. "What?"
       "Look, they're not doin' anyone any harm. Let's get hostages from somewhere else."
       "Like I was trying to say," the Regulan continued, "I'm sure it would be better for everyone if you just left quietly."
       "Oh, all right!" Clyde stamped off back to the door. "I don't know why I let you talk me out of this."
       "There's another door over there. Perhaps we'll have better luck with that one," Randy suggested when they were back in the corridor.
       Clyde headed towards the door, but before he got to it, it opened and a woman came out. She might have been a Solan human, if not for the pair of horns on her forehead and the long pointed tail that trailed behind her. She was dressed in a PVC costume that didn't actually cover very much.

       "Er," said Clyde. "We're hijacking the ship, and we need someone to come with us in the capacity of a hostage."
       The lady smiled at them, revealing long fangs. She wrapped her tail around Clyde's thigh. "How would you like to be my hostage?" she said in a breathy, seductive voice, tickling his throat with a scarlet-painted talon.
       Randy went red in the face, dropped what was left of his ice cream on the floor, and pointed his gun at the woman.
       "Get your… appendages… off me!" Clyde struggled to unwind her tail from his leg.
       "Which direction is the bridge?" Randy asked in a panicked voice.
       "This is the BDSM part of the ship. If you want the bridge, you'll need to go that way."
       "Thanks," said Clyde, shaking his foot like a wet dog, "but no thanks."
       "Oh well. If you change your mind, you know where I am." The woman went back through the door, and it closed behind her.
       "Let's forget the hostage bit and go to the bridge," Clyde said to Randy as they hurried off. "Preferably before we end up in the watersports department or the part of the ship where only foot fetishists are allowed!"
       "This looks promising," said Randy. They had arrived at a door marked 'Bridge. Please Knock.'
       Clyde forced the door open. A Solan man inside yelled out in alarm. "Can't you read? It says Please Knock!"
       "Hijackers don't knock!" Clyde pointed his electric blunderbuss at the man.
       "Oh." The Solan paused to consider. "And from that, I suppose, I'm meant to infer, that you two are in fact hijackers?"
       "Quite," said Clyde. "And from your current position occupying this room and the existence of the notice outside, we're to infer that you're the pilot?"
       "Not quite. I'm just a sort of avatar for the pilot. The real pilot has no physical presence, but is omnipresent. He focuses his thoughts and essence here;" the pilot pointed to a small potted cactus with uncomfortable-looking glochids sitting on the top of the console by the long-range tachyon scanners, "And he tells me what to do."
       "Either that, or this is the Raving Loony sector of the ship," Randy muttered.
       "Well tell your silly imaginary pilot friend that this vessel is now under our command."
       The pilot turned with a glum look to the cactus. "There're two horrid men here, who say they want to hijack the ship."
       "Well?" said Randy. "Aren't you going to inform the passengers? Tell them not to panic, and that everything'll be all right if they remain calm, and there's not going to be a hull breach, like they do on the movies?"
       "They're not movies, they're films," Clyde interrupted dogmatically.
       "He can't do that. That's the job of the Second in Command."
       "I see. And where is the Second in Command?" Clyde's eyebrows shuffled about like porcupines negotiating whether to try and mate or not.
       The pilot pointed most reverently to a small pebble with a glassy flint appearance sitting beside the cactus.
       "So what does he do?" Randy asked.
       "Well, if you hit him against the stewardess, you can sometimes make sparks."
       "I'm sure you can," said Clyde. "Anyway, that's beside the point. This ship is hijacked, I don't really give a stuff about whether the crew are informed or not. For all I care, they can throw themselves out the airlock. I want you to turn this ship around and go back along the same route."
       "I can't, the ship is set to autopilot."
       Clyde let out a warring bellow and walloped the autopilot console with his voltage mace. It fizzled and smoked slightly.
       "Is this really necessary?" said a small computerine voice.
Clyde vandalises the autopilot

       Clyde fished his pocketwatch out of his waistcoat pocket. "Shut up, Tarragon!"
       "What in the galaxy's that?" the pilot asked.
       "Stupid family heirloom," said Clyde, dropping Tarragon on the floor and stamping on it. "I've tried to get rid of it, on numerous occasions. I fed it to an meglephant, once. Came straight back out the other end."
       "Indestructible?" asked Randy.
       Clyde kicked Tarragon into the middle of the floor and shot it with his electric blunderbuss.
       "I hate to think what your father would have said if he found out you were hijacking spaceships," said Tarragon from a smouldering dent in the floor.
       "Could we please stop this," ventured the pilot timidly. "Preferably before you make a hole in the ship and all the air gets out."
       "How would you like to be a watch? A watch with a pulsar clock speed of only six thousand teraHertz because some fop can't be bothered to upgrade you? I suppose I should be grateful. At least I'm not a wristwatch, the places you put your hands."
       "You shut up." Clyde put Tarragon back in his pocket. "Now you, turn the ship around!"
       A sudden demeanour of defiance spread over the pilot. "I will not! Do your worst!"
       Clyde grinned, then picked up the stone and put it in the waste disposal.
       The pilot was speechless for a moment, then he stammered incomprehensibly. "You-" he said, "You barbaric, evil, draconian..."
       "Now turn the ship around, or the xerophyte gets it!"
       Slowly, resignedly, and in an effort to preserve the cactus, the pilot turned the ship around.


       Some time later, Randy came back through the bridge door a little out of breath.
       "You find your ball?" Clyde asked.
       "Yeah. It's stuck to the aft starboard side, over the part of the ship that's for extreme vegans."
       The pilot sat in a moody sort of way with his shoulders hunched and his head bent over. "Well, we're at the coordinates we were at the time you told us, and we're stationary."
       Clyde frowned. "And how stationary is stationary? Relative to what?"
       The pilot shrugged. "Relative to a relatively stationary object." He glanced at the cactus for moral support.
       "Sounds good enough to me," said Randy. "Let's go."
       Five minutes later, the two of them clomped across the ship's outer hull in spacesuits and electromagnetic boots. Randy's golf bag had to remain inside, for no space suit would fit it. Clyde's could manoeuvre in null gravity, but the clubs kept drifting out.
       Randy picked up his niblick and examined the dent in which the ball was wedged.
       "Ah, here we are then." The referee hovered in his chair, upside-down relative to Randy, the SpinDisc on his chair whirling fast enough to trap an atmosphere inside for him to breathe.
       Clyde stamped around, grabbing stray golf clubs. "You know, there's no room for divots here," he said through the radiocommunications device in his helmet. "If you miss, you're going to break both your arms."
       "Gee, thanks, Claaahd," Randy replied. He took a few practice swings, trying to accustom his reflexes to the lack of air resistance.
       He swung his club silently and the ball flew off with a flash of light. It was a good shot, and carried the ball all the way to the planet Randy was aiming for.
       "Vendark System!" The referee grinned inanely. "Looks like you've recovered for the time being! Call me when you arrive." His SpinDisc spun faster, and he vanished again.
Side of ship shot


       In the tranquil skies of a moon of the seventh planet of the Vendark system, Purple Emperor drifted as light as a mirage over the steaming rainforest.
       A fifty-foot gout of flame exploded form its prow, and charred the steaming rainforest into a smouldering wasteland in an act of mindless destruction that gave the natives' children nightmares about dragons.
       Clyde jumped down onto the scorched ground, and reached up to light a cigar on Purple Emperor's pilot burner. He took off his monocle and adjusted it to infra-red wavelengths. In the centre of the carnage, he happily noted, was a tiny white sphere, untouched and indestructible in the charred undergrowth. He set to digging out a carbonised turtle and a few roast parrots for his tea.
       Randy stared at the carnage. "Gee, thanks," he said.
       "Don't mention it ewld chap." Clyde was in an ebullient mood. His ball had been lodged on a fifty-degree slope up a mountain on an airless moon in orbit about the same planet, and he'd just managed to hit it perfectly to Ingol Four, an accomplishment with which he was rather pleased.
       "Okay, how we doing?" the referee jetted about. "That's not an eagle you've got there, by any chance, is it?"
       Clyde held up the sorry parrots by their feet and squinted at them. "No, I think they're just birdies." He helped himself to a drumstick and offered Randy a wing, before flinging them into his ship to eat later.
       "Ready when you are." The referee hovered over the charred ground.
       Randy selected a nine-iron from his golf bag and waded towards his golf ball. He hit the ball out into space with a swish-clunk-crack-warble and a cloud of disturbed ash.
       Clyde brushed the ash off his plus-fours while the referee tracked the ball.
       "Looks direct," he said, "And it is. Ingol Four also." He looked at his watch. "Right, I think it's time to call it a day. I'm off to the pub. Shall we meet up on Ingol Four tomorrow, about 11AM Greenwich Spacetime?" His SpinDisc was accelerating as he finished his sentence, and before either of them could answer he had disappeared again.
       "It's only just gone four o'clock." Clyde checked his pocketwatch.
       "Eleven minutes and twenty-one seconds past four, to be precise," it corrected him.
       "What are we going to do for the time being?" said Randy.
       "Well, short of spinning off home, there's not much we can do. I suppose we could hang about in orbit for a bit. We could see if there's an inn near here."
       "I guess so." Randy encouraged his golf bag to jump up into his ship's airlock, and climbed in after it.
       As the two ships climbed into the planet's magnetosphere, Clyde spotted a ship not unlike his own, with red friction-retardant alloy and a slowly turning SpinDisc, drifting in orbit. "If it isn't Red Admiral."
       "You've got a tachyon call," said Tarragon unenthusiastically.
       Clyde snapped the pocketwatch open and held it up to his ear. He leaned back in his flight chair and put his feet on the console. "Baron Clyde the Thirty-Seventh."
       "Clydie, help, please!" Duchess Connie's voice beseeched him. "There's a really enormous spider in here!"
       "Whatever happened to the gallant Buxom?" Clyde baited.
       "He shot his ball into a neutron star," said Connie, in such a tone of voice as to imply that the Earl of Buxton had done it deliberately to annoy her. "Then he got in a rotten mardy strop and said some very rude words, and he snapped his golf club in half over his knee!"
       "Why don't you catch the spider in a jam jar and throw it out the airlock?"
       "Can you come over here and catch it? I've got a jam jar already and it won't take long."
       "Look, it really is most inconvenient of you to make demands of me like this. I was just about to have my tiffin. And I really can't be bothered."
       "Clydie! You can always have your tiffin later. Besides, I don't know why you can't stuff it all into your mouth in one go while you're waiting for the airlock to cycle, like you usually do."
       Clyde drummed the fingers of his other hand on the armrest. "Last time I helped you, you were jolly unreasonable about it. You behaved most uncivilly towards me back at the tee."
       "I know, and it was very thoughtless of me, and I'm sorry." Connie's voice was rising in pitch and getting faster as she spoke. "Look, why don't we all have tiffin together on my ship, once you get rid of the spider?"
       "What's your par?"
       "What does it matter what my par is?"
       "Well, I'm not going to help you if it's lower than mine!"
       "I can't remember. I think it's four, but with all that furore Buxton started I'm not sure, and my scorecard's in the cabin and I can't go in there because the spider's in the way. And I really do think it is most unchivalrous and rude of you to ask!" Duchess Connie's voice had gone up two octaves over the course of her answer.
       Clyde rolled his eyes and took his feet off the console. "Oh, all right. Put the kettle on." He snapped the pocketwatch shut and put it back in his waistcoat pocket. "Randy?" he said into the ship's communicator. "Want have free tiffin on Red Admiral?"
       "I dunno, Claaahd. I don't want it if it's going to be blood and guts and that sort of thing."
       "What's wrong with offal? How is it any worse than those fifthpounder things that you eat, or whatever it is they are?"
       "Well," said Randy after a moment's consideration. "At least they're minced up and pressed together so they don't look like guts."
       "Anyway, one doesn't have offal for tiffin. That would be silly!"
       "How are we gonna dock three ships together?"
       "It's got two airlocks, hasn't it? You dock on one side, and I'll dock on the other. Haven't you ever had a ménage a trois?"
       Clyde and Randy stepped through the airlocks of their ships to find Duchess Connie crouched on one knee behind a table that had been kicked onto its side like a barricade, pointing a neutron pistol over it at a corner of the room. "You took your time!" she said, standing up. She made a distasteful face at Randy's golf bag. "Is that thing house trained?"
       "Course she's house trained!" Randy objected, stroking his golf bag's head as though to reassure it. "And don't call her a thing!"
       Connie turned to look at the Baron. "Clydie, there's rhubarb spilt all down your cravat."
       Clyde angled his neck awkwardly and squinted at it. "No there's not! It's supposed to be that colour!" He took a cigar out of the inside pocket of his flying jacket, but Connie snatched it out of his hand before it reached his mouth.
       "And don't smoke in my ship!"
       "You know, you could at least be civil to us, since we've agreed to help you," Clyde said. "Where is this spider, then?"
       "It's over there." said Connie pointing with the gun to the corner. "It went behind that chair."
       Randy went over and nudged the chair with his foot. A large hairy green thing with eight limbs scuttled up the wall.
       "Ugh!" said Clyde.
       "Eww!" said Randy.
       Duchess Connie screamed.
       "But it's huge!" Clyde exclaimed. "It must be nearly as big as a cat. I don't think there's a jam jar it'll fit into!"
       "I'm not touching that," said Randy. "It might be venomous or anything."
       "He's right, Clydie, how do we know it's not venomous? I mean, it is an alien spider. It might shoot lasers out of its bottom to kill its prey!"
       Clyde shot her a derisive glance. "Actually I've a field identification book on xenoarachnids. I think it's in that hyperspace picnic hamper back on Purple Emperor. Go and get it."
       Duchess Connie glared at him. "Don't tell me to go and get things for you, like I'm your servant or something!"
       Randy sighed. "I'll get it, if it'll stop you from arguing over it. Where is it again?"
       "It's in a hyperspace picnic hamper at the back of the control room."
       Randy disappeared in the airlock. A few seconds later he shouted, "Claaahd! It's filthy in here! It's really gross!"
       "I asked you to go in there to get a book!" Clyde shouted back. "Not carry out an inspection on behalf of Health and Safety!"
       "All right, I've found the book. What's the spider look like again?"
       "It's sort of lime green and eight inches across, including its legs, and it's really hairy. Oh, and it's got red knees."
       Duchess Connie screamed.
       Clyde clapped his hands over his ears. "What the hell'd you do that for? It didn't even move!"
       "Sorry Clydie, it's just the way you described it made it even more horrible!"
       A loud crash came from the airlock, and then Randy emerged, his hat askew and grubby marks showing on his T-shirt. "I fell over something," he explained, breathing rapidly. "I didn't know what it was at first, because there were dirty socks and Styrofoam boxes with moldy half-eaten variety meats in them covering it. It turned out it was a cleaning robot, switched off."
       Connie set her arms akimbo. "Oh really, Clydie! All you have to remember to do is switch it on every few days."
       "Will you stop whinging at me? Is it poisonous or not?"
       "I didn't read all of it. There was a description of it, but I fell over as I was reading it and I dropped it and it fell underneath… something, and I didn't fancy trying to get it back. But it says it's not poisonous."
       "Actually," said Connie, "we wanted to know whether it was venomous, not poisonous. Things are only poisonous if it makes you ill to eat them."
       "I don't want to eat it!" Clyde objected. "It looks revolting!"
       Randy shook his head. "It's not either."
       "Right!" said Clyde, and he jumped on the settee and reached up and grabbed the spider. When he turned round, its legs were sticking out between his fingers, and Connie screamed again.
       "Clydie, you aren't going to hurt the spider are you?"
       "Hurt it? I'm going to throw it out the airlock! It's going to asphyxiate and die! You can't be much more hurt than that!"
       "Right, this has gone quite far enough!" said the spider.
Spider speaks up

       Clyde let out a yell as though it had bitten him, and dropped it on the floor. Duchess Connie screamed and stepped backwards into Randy, treading on his foot. She was wearing space boots with heels of the sort that, had she carelessly thrown them into space at a trajectory that resulted in them falling into the atmosphere of a habitable planet, would have made impact craters a hundred miles in diameter and caused mass extinction. Randy shouted and his hat fell off. He bent over to pick it up and the spider ran up his trouser leg.
       "There's a spider in ma pants!" Randy twisted about like a contortionist.
       "Those aren't pants, they're trousers," stated Clyde. "Pants are what one wears underneath."
       "There's a spider in ma pants, in both senses of the word!"
       "The cad!" Clyde shouted, and he rugby-tackled Randy by the legs and they both fell on the floor. The spider ran out of Randy's other leg and ran into a corner, where it stood facing them.
       "Claaahd, get yur fat ass outa ma face!" said Randy in a muffled voice.
       "How about you take your fat face out of my arse?" Clyde struggled to get up.
       "Honestly, the things I have to endure," said the spider.
       "That's what it said in the book," Randy recalled as he disentangled himself from Clyde. "It said, they're one of only two known sentient species of arachnids in the Local Cluster."
       "I hate spiders!" Connie shrieked.
       The spider flexed its knees and backed against Red Admiral's bulwark. "Ya, well, I don't like you much either. And do you know how it feels when you can't go anywhere without people pointing at you, and going 'ugh' and 'eww' and calling you disgusting? I suffered with depression for over a year. I had a medical note from my doctor saying I wasn't fit for work and everything. I never quite got back to being my old self. Some days, I just wake up in the morning, and, well, people behaving like that towards you just doesn't help. It's not nice when someone grabs you with their sweaty hands." The spiders multiple eyes glittered in Clyde's direction. "Or jars. That's the final humiliation. Not even clean jars. Do you know what its like to be trapped in a jar some fool couldn't be bothered to wash out first? Some of the jam receptacles round here are disgusting. Do you know what its like to have to go around stinking of pickled onions for weeks on end?"
       "We're sorry," said Randy. He stuck his knee in Clyde's ribs.
       "Ow!" said Clyde. "Er, I mean, sorry."
       "Well, I'm not sorry." Duchess Connie folded her arms. "This is my ship, and you're trespassing on it!"
       "Yes, I suppose that would be too much to expect. For your information, the only reason I'm in here is because I was at a stag party and I woke up tied to a golf flag the morning after. I was supposed to be the best man, but no doubt I've missed it now and they're off on their honeymoon and the bride's eaten him already." The spider edged around Randy's golf bag, which was sniffing at it in a suspicious way. "If you'll just let me stay in an airlock somewhere and drop me off at the nearest spaceport, I'll have to see if I can get a lift on a freighter."
       The spider wandered off into Randy's ship.
       Randy shrugged. "I guess all you needed to do was ask politely."

© Sam Andebonn 2009

HyperGolf Episode 3