Following on from Part 16:
'Stop running!' shouted Adrig. 'It looks suspicious. Walk!'
'Suspicious? Really?' replied Edrig sceptically, although he did slow to a walk. 'What do you think they will suspect? That we are running toward our transportation pod that has just materialised from the sky?'
'You know what Edrig... You really are getting a rather cheeky tongue in you these days, sometimes.'
'Perhaps it's growing up, and realising what rubbish adults can speak sometimes.'
'Do you think we could just deal with the matter in hand Edrig? The rather serious matter in hand. That is our sole means of transport back home, sitting over there in that damn duck pond with policemen approaching it.'
'We've got the emergency rescue option too actually,' Edrig insisted, 'and anyway, I'm not sure I'd mind just staying here.'
Adrig looked across at Edrig, pondering his last remark, and then they were beside the pod, just as the policemen also arrived beside it.
'Where the heck's that come from?' Adrig asked them.
'Don't know. Still got the funny voice eh? Oh sorry. Your larynx, and your dumb friend's worse larynx too. I forgot.'
'Did someone report it to you?' Adrig asked, while being relieved to see there was nobody else around.
'Nope. We just noticed it while driving past now. Now be a good lad and just keep quiet while we check this out.'
So Adrig and Edrig stood and watched and listened as one of the policemen relayed back the van's number by radio, and they heard the radio declare that the registration number belonged to a Landrover Discovery, not a Ford van.
'Fake or stolen plate,' one policeman told another, as he checked the doors but found they would not open.
'OK, call out the truck and let's get it towed away.'
At this news Adrig drew Edrig aside and said, 'This could be a problem. If they take it away and into a
building we won't be able to break out.'
'Really? That's a pretty serious limitation of the transportation system.'
'Yes really Edrig,' said Adrig, in a rather exasperated tone. 'What did you expect? It can move through gas and space and also the odd dimension or two easy enough but not through solid building materials. It doesn't work by magic you know.'
'Alright. Alright. So what do we do?'
'Look. They're going back to their car to wait. I think we better get in so that we can get going if we need to.'
'Going home. Where do you think?'
'But the ladies. The lovely pole dancing ladies?'
'I know. I know. But this is an emergency. Dammit! The idiot! Three in the damn morning I said!'
Edrig was trying to think ahead to review the possibilities.
'If they see us get in, Adrig, then that's the game up really. They are not going to think we're a couple of homeless tramps if the see us opening a little hatch in the pod and crawling in.'
'But the hatch is on the other side. They can't see it. And look. Their backs are to us, but probably not for long. Come on! Into the water and get in!'
And so they splashed their way into the water, which was only a couple of feet deep at the edge, then Adrig swiped the hatch and soon they were hauling themselves inside. But the coats were a problem, so they discarded them in the pond to allow themselves to get in. Then with the hatch shut, they discussed the situation some more.
'Once they tow this away they will investigate,' reasoned Adrig. 'They will soon see it is not really a van. They are likely to cut their way in, and that would be the machinery ruined. One slice through the side pretty much anywhere would wreck it. I think we are going to have to go home.'
'No dancing ladies for us then, eh? Again.'
'Ach we can come back man. Just as long as I don't have to call for a rescue we can come back. I can easily think up a good reason for the Lady Lord. Don't worry. It's a setback. A mere setback. Look at the positives. We have identified the place with the best erotic dancers in town, remember. An excellent scouting mission, but time to go now, and... look at that screen. They are just chatting and not looking, so if we go now they won't even notice us going.'
'Eh... no... but they will soon notice that this damn big van is missing!'
'Yes, but there will be no need for them to associate that with us, for when we return. We can just say we wandered off when they did. Oh... But the coats... Ach anyway, they'll probably be sectioned in a mental hospital after claiming a van in a duck pond just disappeared. Ha ha. Here we go lad. I'm hitting the button, Hang on my boy! Hang on!'
'I don't need to hang on,' sighed Edrig, and then the pod began to hum.
And they sat looking at one another, but thinking of dancing ladies.
'How long would it take me to learn how to speak their language as well as you do?' Edrig asked.
'Not long at all if you set your young mind to it. There is a little teaching pack in my office if you want it.'
'You're quite taken with the odd place, aren't you lad?'
'I am. Sort of. Mainly the ladies. I don't just mean the dancing ones but from what we have seen they don't shout, they don't bully, and... they don't threaten to chop off then cook and eat your genitals after sex.'
'Hmm... You may change your view on that once you study my report in more detail. Not the last bit though. I have seen no evidence of that monstrosity.'
'Yes. I like the place,' Edrig affirmed. 'Nice coffee too, and blueberry muffins, and egg sandwiches, and fruit flapjacks...'
And then he noticed that Adrig had lost consciousness, and fairly soon he also slipped away, and they spun unconsciously onwards to their home.