The Ship Part II
Deep in the cargo hold of the garbage scow, Effluvium, sits a crate. Long forgotten because of a low level bureaucrat’s three martini lunch, one of which spilled into the back of his computer and destroyed an entire year’s worth of files. And in this crate stands our hero (?) Bubba “Junebug” Thompson. High school dropout, demolition derby driver, dump truck mechanic, and part-time oil change specialist from Moosephart Alabama.
When last we saw our hero, he was running full tilt toward the abandoned warehouse behind the Moosephart Fairgrounds in an effort to keep Big Louie from shooting holes in his best shirt (and consequently his only body). At the most opportune moment Bubba slipped (literally) into the abandoned warehouse and hid in a crate. Said crate housed a cryogenic chamber, one of fifty ordered by either the National Cemetery Administration or the Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds before the records were obliterated and the departmental budget ran out.
Hence, the subsequent cemetery/weed order was relegated to Warehouse 13 in the Moosephart Industrial Park and Roller Rink.
In the year 2357 when the site was excavated by a kindergarten class, the cryogenic chambers were loaded aboard the Effluvium and their existence promptly erased from the memory of the Google/Microsoft computer plant when somebody forgot to water it.
So on February 21, 2374 in Quadrant 231, the Energizer battery which had powered the chamber for so many years, finally died. Because of a faulty fail-safe mechanism, instead of utilizing the emergency battery, the chamber began the revitalization process. Forty-five minutes later, the doors opened and Bubba, captured in mid-swing centuries earlier, brought his fist down on…
…plain old air.
The momentum carried him out of the chamber and headfirst into a duplicate unit seven feet away.
“Dadgummit,” Bubba said as he smacked the second chamber full force, “that hurts like a…” he stopped and stared, his mouth open like a carp sucking air on a riverbank. He was surrounded by the reject cryogenic chambers, uncrated and covered in dust.
After the uncrated chambers, the next thing Bubba noticed was the banks of lights set into the walls around him. Not quite as large as the warehouse he remembered, the room in which he found himself seemed to be made of stainless steel with ribs of exposed girders running along the ceiling and a white seamless floor. The lights, which gave off a soft white glow, were interspersed with additional amber lights.
There was what appeared to be a work table along part of the wall behind him, and beyond the cluster of cryogenic chambers around him were a number of smaller crates and odd looking machines. He heard a faint thrumming sound and the floor carried the smallest of vibrations.
“Good googley moogley. What happened to the warehouse,” he said to the surrounding equipment. Bubba walked over and examined one of the odd looking machines. He figured it had to be a machine of some kind because of the configuration of dials, levers, and switches along the front and one side. On the opposite side from the two levers was what appeared to be a small set of sliding doors. He tried to pull them apart, but they held fast.
He looked around for some sign of a door, window, or other familiar structure. Granted it had been dark inside the warehouse, but if it was this light now, surely Big Louie and Moe should have found him.
“Dadgummit, if they went to all the trouble to uncrate all these, um, these whatever they are,” he said as took off his John Deere hat to scratch his head, they must not have wanted to find me all that bad.” He ran a finger along the top edge of the machine and looked at the dust. “Then again, maybe he realized I didn’t owe nobody that money like he thought I did.”
Bubba put his hat back on and looked around the room again. It didn’t seem familiar. Even though it had been dark inside, this just didn’t feel right.
“Where the heck am I?”
At that moment a seam formed in the wall nearest him and the wall opened up. Bubba squatted behind the odd machine he had been examining and peeked around the corner.
Something hovered in midair and stared at him.
What was the thing coming toward Bubba through the wall?
Has Bubba figured out he is not in the warehouse anymore?
Will the companies linked in this episode be just absolutely thrilled to be mentioned here?
Next Week: TIN CAN