The moon was a perfect lemon wedge as the brave pilots of Metro Alpha gathered once again to worship the night sky. On the launchpad, Skunk reminded us that the hope of carrying bags is not to have to use them, and that, due to a wrinkle in space time that resulted in early launch, pilots would be home before the witching hour. “Meanwhile,” Ziqqurat intoned “the next day in Gloucester….” “SCUL was spotted on the Tobin bridge,” someone else was heard bragging. Enough with your nonsense, the fleet is away.
First stop, ignoring local directional orientation to quickly acquire stickers, and sending get-well-soon thoughts to pilot eXcEsS, fighting his own personal Battle at Wounded Knee. Thusly acquired, and briefly catching some familiar looking, catcalling civilians, the fleet wandered over to eat some kriket. Pet some krikets. Errrr. Play kriket? Trucks were had, fun was seen. Portraits drawn, rhythms pounded, tea was dispensed and drunk.
A handful of once and future starpilots did appear to greet us with high fives and cheers as we approached the chirping cricket. Among the friendly faces, a lurking Kpafun was inspired to abandon his post and fly the night away. There were exhibits to drumming, drawing, comedy, caffeine and a tea party. We wandered around and through enjoying the visible, audible, edible delights, until such time as the admiral noticed restlessness among the ranks and declared it time to ride.
Away we went and then... back we came? A victory lap for escaping without the krikets removing our heads, and a visual display to thank the fine performers, all. We were just out of earshot of the chirping when Cloudbuster caught their appetite and tried to eat Wombat! He dashed out of the way just in time, catching a glancing blow on the descent. Spacewalking across to Luna Target’s empty skylot to make sure Cloudbuster still had The Funk, we noticed our number had increased again. A wild Gritty appeared from the night, demonstrating she was part of a subset of pilots flying strange ships called “Feathers,” known for their temperamental qualities, quickly demonstrated.
Further on, there was a brief stop to adjust Cloudbuster, as The Funk was coming out all wrong. It turned into excellent viewing, watching various and sundry pilots attempt to help Gritty with the Feather, culminating in Fuzz declaring the propulsion system a loss and flipping the thruster to manual position. Nearby, a tardis taunted us. Making strange, haunted noises, it prompted us to move along before it could begin luring pilots into its gaping, smelly maw.
With truly Haptonic skill, Dr Claw led us, weaving through night and day, and in and out of weeks, and almost over a year, until he led us to the place where the derbies are. Inspired by tales of the derbies of yore, even baby maggot Cosmia joined in the fun, while more injury-prone pilots declared their preference for viewing the spectacle from afar. Ziqqurat voiced a new appreciation for Fart Noise's pilot skills as he choose USB Spooky Pirate as his derby steed. Alas! Calamity struck. The structural stickers which Stogie used to patch Chubz on Skunk day were rent asunder, revealing a truly horrendous hull breach. The ship listed at a strange angle, and Stogie attempted a valiant interpretive dance atop its frame, but to no avail. There was but one way home; Stogie-robics.
Completing the final derby, ships were returned to their rightful pilots and the fleet made ready to take to the sky a final time. Chubz prevaricated, delaying launch while Stogie and Kpafun rooted out the problem. Navtail was briefly turned inside out as Stogie attempted a space run, dragging recalcitrant Chubz along, gaining speed and pulling away from Dr Claw. Directly we went, following DYANNA’s siren song, to cast upon the rocks at somernova, where we arose to find, in fact, that almost no time had passed at all.
Postscript. Later, in the fort. Skunk showed off his fancy new four wheeled conveyance. Pilots took turns attempting to “surf” the strange device, until Gritty demonstrated what it meant to be struck by lightning. It’s all fun and games… In the distance somewhere, a kriket sounded…