Wendy and Patrick’s Monster Adventure
Wendy and Patrick’s Monster Adventure.
(A modern age 10-16 Sci-Fi Adventure)
… It was dusk in Belfast. Ireland. As usual, there was some fighting going on.
In the Kilgahy road, an old woman hobbled along with the aid of a walking stick. As she struggled along, a small strange figure turned the corner, and approached her. He was wearing a red and yellow striped tunic, and bright blue and green striped trousers. A purple helmet covered his head.
Hearing footsteps behind her, the old woman turned and brandished her stick menacingly.
“Sure and just what do you think you are up to?” She peered hard at him through her wire-frame glasses. He answered in a high-pitched squeak.
“Please madam, I come from the planet Mach. I’m a Machin.”
“Not down this road you are not – I’ll have no marching here.” She set about whacking him with her stick. He ran back the way he had come. He ran quickly, in a skipping motion. He stopped to look left and right at the road junction, and spied a boy and girl hurrying off in the distance. He skipped on after them.
Wendy and Patrick were hurrying to get home before darkness fell. She was eight and her brother was ten years old. In spite of their hurry, the colourfully dressed stranger soon caught them. He skipped in front of them and stopped. Quite surprised, the children stopped too.
Wendy was scared and held tight to Patrick’s arm. He was scared too, and prepared to run off, just as the man spoke.
“Please can you help me? I am a Machin, and I had to land because I had a fuel leak.”
Patrick looked at the man’s strange clothing and asked hesitantly,
“Are you a Catholic? We are not allowed to talk to Catholics?” The man shook his head quickly,
“No, I am a Machin.” He pointed up to the sky,
“I come from up there. My craft had a fuel leak and I had to land.”
Wendy looked at the sky, then back at the man in wonder asking, “
Are - are you a Space-man with a flying saucer?” The man gave a high-pitched laugh,
“Not a saucer my dear, just a standard Space-Time Cruiser. I was taking a Water-Dragon to Andros, and my fuel line was damaged in a stray meteor shower.”
Just then there was an explosion in the distance, followed by some gunfire. Patrick started to run, dragging Wendy with him. He shouted back at the man,
“Better hurry and come with us. It’s not safe here.”
As the two children ran off, the funny little man skipped along behind them. They ran almost to the end of the street, then up a small alleyway into another street, and into the children’s back garden. Patrick indicated to the other two to be quiet and led them to the garden shed. Opening the door, he ushered the man in.
“Stay here and be quiet. You will be safe here. I will come and get you later.” Leaving the man standing inside, he closed the door, and spoke to his sister,
“Not a word about this, or they will kill him. After we go to bed, I will sneak out and see if I can help him.” Wendy put her hands on her hips and said angrily,
“Only if I can come too? Otherwise I tell EVERYBODY.” Patrick thought a moment. He knew she wouldn’t, really tell, but told her she could go along anyway. When they got indoors, they both surprised their mum by saying they were tired and would go to bed early.
After they had been upstairs about an hour, and their mum had checked and thought both were asleep, Wendy tiptoed into Patrick’s room. She was already fully clothed and wearing her thick coat. Patrick was just fastening his coat up. He motioned for her to be silent and opened his window.
It was only a step down from there to the porch roof, then a small drop to the ground. He had been naughty and sneaked out that way before. With a little help from her brother, the pair were soon safely down and creeping towards the shed.
Patrick tapped gently on the door and called in a whisper,
“It’s only us, don’t be afraid.” Opening the door he pushed Wendy in and followed her, closing the door. The man from Machin was sat on a box in the corner. There followed a long conversation, the only light was from the full moon shining in the window.
The Machin explained that his craft was stranded in the corner of a nearby park. When Wendy asked ‘What if somebody has found it?’ The Martian explained that it was fitted with a Time Unit. He had set it to be there next week.
That was all much too complicated for Wendy and Patrick, so the space-man produced a small handset with switches and dials.
“With this control I can send my space-ship through time. When I press this button, it returns to the present.”
“You mean you can really travel through time with it?” asked Patrick, giving a whistle, “Wow. Can it go into the future too?” The Machin smiled, saying,
“It can be sent into the future, but must remain exactly as it is once it gets there. That means nothing can change in it. Nothing can enter or leave it. Now going into the past is different. It can be used to transport things into the past, or transport things from the past to the present.” The children were really excited. All sorts of ideas were racing through their minds. The Machin interrupted their thoughts,
“I know your names, and you had better know mine. Please call me Grat. I live on a small planet, called Eshka. It is far outside your Solar System. We had to leave Mach thousands of years ago, when chemicals we used destroyed the planet’s atmosphere.”
They chatted excitedly some more, until Grat told them he really must get back to repair his cruiser. He needed something to repair the crack in the fuel pipe. It had to be strong and fuel-proof. Patrick thought he knew just the thing. Telling them to wait, he sneaked outside to his father’s garage, and returned with a small tin.
“What about this?” he asked Grat. The Martian read the details on the tin and gave a little skip of joy,
“This seems perfect. If it repairs your car exhaust pipes it will do the job fine.”
Wendy had been watching him with some puzzlement and asked,
“How do you know how to speak our language and read?” Grat looked up,
“It was necessary to spy on your Earth. We are more advanced than you Earthlings in some things. However, we do not have your weapons of destruction.
Thousands of years ago we realised fighting each other was not the answer to anything. But we monitored your wars, and when you started your first Space flight, we were concerned you may one day use your violence upon us.” He gave a huge sigh.
“Such a waste of money, and life for nothing. Anyway, we learned your main languages and followed your Television and Radio programs. We set up our own defence system in case you attacked. The planets we trade with also tracked your progress.
At one of our interplanetary meetings, it was agreed that as a last resort, we might have to eliminate the present human race.” He sighed again,
“That is why we have abducted various adults and children over the years. Those are kept in hibernation, so – if we have to – we can re-populate the Earth with less violent humans.” He suddenly changed his tone,
“Cheer up you two, it may never come to that. Meanwhile, I have to get my cruiser repaired. Are you coming with me? I could give you a quick ride to the Moon and back if you like, in return for helping me?”
How thrilled Wendy and Patrick were at the prospect of a free trip to the Moon. They could hardly stop from crying out aloud with joy and expectation. The sooner they got the craft fixed the better. Patrick grabbed his dad’s old gardening coat off a hook,
“Better put this on Grat. It will cover those bright clothes of yours. It won’t matter which side sees you in those, they will shoot us all.”
Pulling the coat over him, Grat bent low and followed the children, as they led him cautiously along a number of side streets and alleyways. Once they had to hide, as two men with black hoods, and holding guns, ran past. However, they soon arrived safely at the park.
It was dark, as the moon was hidden behind a cloud. Carefully Patrick looked all round, listening intently. Satisfied all was clear, he guided them through a hole in the fence, and into the park.
“Which way is it?” he asked. Grat pointed to some trees,
“Over there.” They hurried as quietly as they could to the spot. Grat moved the children back a bit and produced his control unit. Pressing a button, he waited. The watching children could hardly believe their eyes, as the craft appeared.
They had been expecting something fairly small and round. It was HUGE. It was twice as high as a house, and half the length of the park. It was flat on the bottom, and had rounded sides and top. It looked like a monster grey slug. As they gazed in wonder, Grat pressed another button and a small section in front of – and just above them - slid open. A moment later a set of steps unfolded to the ground. Grat ushered Wendy and Patrick up the steps and inside.
They had no time to look round. He hurried them through a door, telling them they would be safe for a while, then closed and locked the space-ship door. The two children felt frightened again. As their eyes got used to the dim violet light Wendy screamed. Patrick simply froze:
They were in a large cargo hold. Just a few feet in front of them was the largest most terrifying creature they could ever imagine. It was looking right at them, and opened its fearsome mouth wide.
Just then Grat’s voice came through a speaker set in the wall.
“Have no fear of the Sea Dragon; it is held secure inside a magna-cage. If you reach out you can feel the cage. It is like a one-way mirror. You can see inside, but the Dragon cannot see out.” He carried on speaking and sounded as if he was working,
“I have nearly completed my repairs. You would not be able to breath in here, but I will seal this compartment off in a moment, then you can join me in the control room.”
Patrick held his hand out and moved forward a half step. His hand came into contact with the cage. It felt warm and soft, like his mother’s blue velvet blouse. Yet it was quite solid. Feeling more secure, he took a good look at the monster.
He now saw how big it was. It had a head that looked like a mixture of a horse and a crocodile, and was about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle car. The head was perched on top of a neck that must have been twenty feet long, and joined a body that was like a giant snake. The body must have been as fat as the largest whale ever – and three times as long.
The Water Dragon had two small feet at the front, and two great big ones at the back, that looked like giant frog legs. Its tail was much thinner and was tipped by what appeared to be a spike of bone. Patrick shivered. Wendy had stopped screaming and just stood still with mouth wide open.
The door opened and Grat beckoned them out saying,
“Sorry about that. I forgot you had not seen a Sea Dragon before. I had to seal you in the hold until I got the pipe fixed.” Wendy and Patrick looked around. They were in a large room that reminded them of the control centre on the ‘Star-ship Enterprise’. Grat motioned them to take a seat each.
“Better make yourselves comfortable. We will be taking off shortly. Fix those safety straps around you, and then I can release the gravi-gas.” The two children strapped themselves in, and Wendy asked what gravi-gas was? Grat was busy adjusting controls and switches. He glanced up at her;
“Your astronauts use space-suits to breath and help protect them from the forces of gravity whilst accelerating. We travel much faster. Space suits would be useless in protecting us, so we use gravi-gas. It’s like being in the middle of a clear jelly. It feels quite comfortable, and it is no problem to breath as it feels like the ordinary air you are breathing.” He paused.
“It is difficult to explain. Put simply, gravi-gas reacts to the pressure around it. From being liquid gas it can turn instantly to a solid. As our craft accelerate or slow down, the gravi-gas adjusts to protect our bodies, always keeping them at the same pressure.” As the children looked puzzled Grat said,
“Let me give you a demonstration. Watch that screen.” A large screen lit up before them, showing the view from the ship outside.
“Now. I am just going to take off at a gentle one hundred miles per hour.” He moved a hand control. Instantly the children were pressed back in their seats and felt as if they were being squashed to death. It only lasted a couple of seconds, and then eased to normal.
“Well that gives you some idea of what a pilot feels when he accelerates in a fighter plane. Now we are going to use the magne-drive and accelerate at five hundred thousand miles an hour, then slip into hyper-drive. First – the gravi-gas.”
As the children watched the screen, the view changed, showing the ground beneath them. They saw they had risen high enough so a large portion of the city could be seen below. They were really excited. Grat pushed a lever forward and they heard a slight hiss. Grat looked round at them,
“Right. We are now protected by gravi-gas. Move your arm slowly forward Wendy. Okay, now try moving it fast.” Wendy and Patrick both gave it a try. Moving slowly it felt just normal. Moving it fast felt like they were pushing rubber.
“See what I mean? Right, watch the screen. Moon next stop.” As Wendy and Patrick watched, they suddenly saw everything disappearing beneath them. One moment they were hovering over Belfast, the next, the Earth was a rapidly shrinking globe far below. The amazing thing was that they felt no motion. It was exactly as if they were sat in an armchair at home watching Television.
“Well that is where you were; keep watching the screen – this is where we are going.” The screen view changed and the moon started to fill the screen. It came near so rapidly the children were sure they were going to crash. At the last moment Grat made an adjustment and they were travelling at just a few hundred miles an hour, above the Moon’s mountain ranges.
He slowed the craft right down, and then descended to just a few feet off the surface. On the screen in front of them the children could see footprints and a USA flag lay in the dust.
“That’s where the first Earthmen landed.” Said Grat.
“The flag is laying on the ground because when they took off again, their primitive rocket blew it over.” Wendy sighed,
“Wish I could walk on the Moon.” Grat smiled,
“One day you might, Wendy. This time I have only emergency suits. I must save them in case of accident.” Patrick suddenly thought about the time.
“What time is it Grat? We must get home before Mum finds us missing.”
“You have been away fifty-seven Earth minutes.”
“Then have you time to show us how you travel in time please?” Grat thought a moment. He checked his dials and did some quick calculations.
“Well, I do have the Sea Dragon to deliver, but I guess we could return to Earth, and then change our arrival time. What time do you want to go back to?”
Quite a little argument started up. Both Patrick and Wendy wanted to visit so many different dates. In the end both agreed they would like to visit Scotland at the time of a film they had just seen called ‘Braveheart’.
Neither were sure of just when it was, so Grat suggested they just hover above the area and set the Time Unit to slowly cycle through the Earth years from one thousand AD until they had seen what they wanted.
Being in a bit of a hurry, he didn’t wait for an answer, he just made adjustments and in seconds they were hurling Earthwards. Coming to a hover at a few thousand feet, the screen showed hills and valleys, large forests and a loch, off in the distance. Grat pushed a button and the scene below started changing.
It was like someone was using a projector to show a series of photographs taken year after year. They saw forests grow and shrink. The loch got shallower and deeper. Sometimes there were primitive dwellings and cattle. At others there were none. Often deep snow covered the ground. Occasionally the trees and vegetation shrank under a period of drought. Twice they saw herds of deer.
Suddenly Patrick cried out to stop. Grat was a bit slow and had to go back a couple of years.
“That’s it cried Patrick. See, that is a band of fighting men climbing the hill – just like in the film.” Grat adjusted his controls and zoomed in his viewer. Sure enough, below was a band of men - obviously Highland Warriors. They looked as if they were on their way to do battle with enemies. The children were overjoyed. Grat just mumbled to himself,
“Will Earth people never learn? Even these nice children enjoy bloodshed.” It was at that moment that an orange light flashed repeatedly on the panel in front of him. At the same time a warning bell sounded repeatedly. The children were quite alarmed, wondering what was happening. Grat calmed them.
“It’s alright children. We are in no danger. It is a problem in the cargo hold. I will check it out. Stay as you are and don’t touch anything.” He left and entered the cargo hold. A couple of minutes later he returned.
“We have a slight problem… The Sea Dragon is ready to give birth.” He then went on to explain to the children the reason he was transporting the creature from the planet Eshka. He told them that Sea Dragons normally lived in the single ocean on his home planet. They were mainly vegetarian.
Usually they breathed fire. That kept the ocean warm and controlled the planet’s temperature to a great extent. Unfortunately, this particular dragon was unable to breath fire. As such, it was no use to the Machins.
As they never killed any creatures un-necessarily, he was transporting it to the uninhabited planet Andros, so it could live in peace. As it was expecting young, it was urgent to transport it quickly. The delay caused by the fuel leak, and possibly the trauma of being transported, meant he had no time to deliver it now. He was left with no choice but to eject it into space.
Wendy was very unhappy about that, and suggested he could let it go in the loch below. If it didn’t breath fire, it could live there and have its babies in peace. They could see from the pictures that there were hardly ever any people there, so it would be safe.
Grat considered. He hated the thought of abandoning the Water Dragon in space to die. The trouble was that Sea Dragons lived for many hundreds of Earth years. Only when Patrick also begged him to let it go, did he agree.
“All right, providing the water is deep enough, I will do. First we had better move back in time to avoid these warriors.” He moved the craft back a few years in time, then hovered over the lake. Using what was some form of Sonar Radar equipment, he checked the lake depth. Fortunately the water proved deep enough.
It took a very short time to hover immediately above the water and open the cargo hatch. Using the anti-gravity lift, Grat manoeuvred the Sea Dragon gently into the lake and released it.
Rising and hovering a few feet above the lake, they could see the beast swim along just below the surface – only the long neck and a couple of loops of its body were visible. Then with barely a ripple, it dived and was lost to sight. They watched for some while, but it never reappeared.
Patrick gave a shrug of his shoulders saying,
“Oh well Grat, I suppose we had better get back. We had a great time and saved the Sea Dragon. Can you land us back in the park please? We should be able to dodge any fighting from there and sneak back indoors.” He thought for a moment and asked,
“How did you stop wars on your planet Grat?” Grat answered,
“Well it is a long story Patrick. First we had to decide what caused wars. There were many arguments about that. Eventually we agreed on the three main causes and decided to eliminate them.”
“What were they?” asked Wendy.
“We decided that poverty, greed, and different religious beliefs were the main causes. Getting rid of poverty and greed was no problem. All we had to do was quit spending most of our money on large armies and war equipment. The money saved could then be used to provide every citizen with sufficient money to live in comfort. Greed was treated as an illness, and those suffering from it were counselled until they were over it.
Religion was more of a problem. The citizens held many different beliefs. It was the fact that some religious fanatics tried to force their own beliefs on others – at any cost – which caused most fighting.
“So what did you do then?” asked Wendy.
“What my forefathers did was to banish the open practice of religion in any form. Citizens were given the option of complying, or being transported to another Planet similar to Eshka, where they could make their own laws. All religious leaders wishing to stay were required to take up new occupations.
It took many years to accomplish. Most were happy to comply, but there were the inevitable few fanatics that fought against the reform.
In place of churches and religion, they introduced our time of ‘Wishes, Thought, and Reflection’. This is a short period twice a day when work ceases. The ‘Special Music’ is broadcast everywhere. During this time, people can silently worship whichever God or Deities they chose.
It is similar to when you make a wish to your Tooth Fairy – or when you blow out your birthday candles. Nobody knows what you are thinking or wishing. It is your special secret. So long as your thoughts are secret, you can’t offend nobody – and still believe what you want.”
“What is the special music?” Patrick wanted to know. Grat tried to explain.
“Well, you probably know different types of music can affect the way you feel. Some makes you feel happy, some sad. One tune can calm you; another may send you to sleep. We had scientists analyse various tunes and pieces of music. The results were used to produce a piece of music that totally relaxes and calms, whilst not in any way affecting our awareness or mental processes.
A special Magic Flute was designed to play it. Our powerful transmitters play the music very softly to all corners of the Planet. Just a few minutes of listening leaves us feeling refreshed.”
Wendy had been listening intently to Grat; however, at the back of her mind something was troubling her.
“Grat. If you are so good and peaceful, why do you steal children from their mums and dads?” That caused Grat to think really hard.
“Hmmm. Well, it is our intention to keep them in hibernation, in case we need to re-populate your Earth.”
“But that means you are punishing little children, robbing them of their families, when they have done no wrong!” Grat had to think hard.
“I suppose it is sad, but they are suffering for the sins of their fathers.”
“Well that doesn’t make it right?” Patrick was quite indignant. Poor Grat had no answer to that. Patrick carried on,
“If those children you took are all good ones, perhaps if you had left them to grow up on Earth, they would have taught others not to fight?”
There was a long period of silence before Grat spoke again. He told them that the biggest batch had been lured into a spacecraft from a place in Saxony. The children asked him where that was. Grat explained that it was a long time ago in what is now called Germany.
“One of our pipers used a magic flute to entice all the children from a whole town to follow him.”
“I Bet that was called Hambelin” Patrick sounded amazed,
“I always thought the Pied Piper story was a fairy tale. Come to think of it, he was dressed just like you?”
“Well not exactly like me – fashions change – but most fairy-tales have some truth in them. The stories change over the years as different generations tell them.” Grat checked the time.
“ I need to get you children back. I give you my word I will speak to our Council and put it to them that taking children is perhaps the wrong thing to do. With any luck we will return all of them to the exact moment before they were taken.”
Ten minutes later Wendy and Patrick were back in the park. Five more minutes and they were sneaking back into Patrick’s bedroom, with nobody the wiser as to where they had been.
At the same time – back on Eshka - Grat was filling in his journey log, and preparing his speech for the Council. He needed to fill in the name of the loch he had placed the Sea Dragon in. A check showed it to be called loch Ness…
Both children agreed they would never tell anybody about their adventure – after all, who would believe them anyway…?
As Patrick dozed of to sleep he smiled, thinking,
“However clever grownups are, they can still learn something from listening to children…!”
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