There comes a time when battle-hardened chopper centurions simply run out of new territory to bumble through in their ever-expanding quest for glory, adventure, and sore butts. When that happens, you get on the commuter bail.
Fortunately, mission leader Ziqqurat has a commanding grasp of long-range mission logistics, and succeeded in guaranteeing us safe passage through a strategic alliance with an entity known only as the Trainmaster. Some pilots suspect that Ziqqurat may in fact be a sleeper agent for the intergalactic rail confederation, aiding this shadowy agency in their grasp for power amidst a cloud of befuddling tactical choices and unexplained service disruptions. Their ultimate strategy remains a mystery. Nevertheless, on this bright autumn morning the battalion of centurions had been handed our tickets in the form of a code phrase that we were instructed to whisper into the ether:
“Not sure if Leslie in the Bubble gave you a heads up that we were coming. Any particular door we should go to?”
One by one, pilots appeared at the depot - Wombat and Cosima making it just moments before the posted boarding call, which turned out not to matter due to schedule delays. We cast glances left and right while waiting for our platform to be called out. Would we catch a glimpse of the famed Leslie? Was the bubble a tangible entity or a mere abstraction? Soon we were whisked away, seamlessly guided onto our car by uniformed operators. The entire process was a substantial improvement over Operation Galactic Frontier
Once seated, pilots consumed caffeine molecules and reminisced about the debacles and triumphs of past centuries. Morale was high as we disembarked at the farthest reaches of the system, where we met maggot Peach who intended to join us for part of the journey. After a brief opening ceremony, we were off! Navigator Dead Bride interpreted the route from the bombardier position on Strangelove, with Threespeed in the pilot seat taking orders. Wombat served as Tailgunner on a borrowed Hippogriff, and Dr. Claw provided life support transmission from his mighty radiobukkit.
We joined the Southern New England Trunkline Wormhole and ran into difficulty almost immediately when our path withered in front of us and gave way to loose moon rocks and pockets of alien swamp. Gritty was sent ahead to scout, and based on her intel we quickly determined that pressing onwards was the only way. Dead Bride was reminded of a past century escapade
where the fleet was routed down a wormhole that hadn’t yet been built. Pilots bumped and skidded, with many being forced to spacewalk to survive. We came to a halt on a large patch of sand and attempted to regroup. Sand! Was this Galaxy Rhode Island? Wombat noticed a rattling on Hippogriff’s radiobox and realized that a wingnut had been forcefully ejected into deep space. Luckily Threespeed came equipped with small fasters and quickly got to work. Can somebody pick up that rusty washer that fell in the dirt? Not there, not there, almost, follow my finger… Finally we came to a final obstacle that involved hucking ships over a pile of boulders. Have we hucked ships over things before
? This level of calamity is all sounding a bit familiar. Mad Rabbit was almost sucked into the boulders’ gravitational pull, but Cosima managed to haul the ship free before disaster struck.
The situation righted itself over the next stretch of starpaths as we zigged and zagged to avoid the g-wells of the Woonsocket system before joining the Blackstone River wormhole. At this juncture, the groove changed over to swooping classical tunes as the fleet savored the picturesque flora. We made a brief shore leave under a scenic hyperspace byway, and were intercepted by a friendly civilian who joined us from the Providence sector. Continuing on, we passed through the Pawtucket system where we glimpsed a mysterious blocky structure with a strange form factor, comprised of a series of successively receding terraces… I’m sure there’s a technical term for such an edifice but it’s escaping me here.
We soon crossed an impressive hyperspace byway and succeeded in observing the ocean as we descended into Providence. This path looked familiar from past century escapades - undoubtedly close to the coordinates where, many years prior, pilots scuttled around looking for wooden stakes to prop up Civitron's rear admiral.
Ziqqurat temporarily relieved Dead Bride of navigational duties and guided us towards the center of the starsystem where we picked up another friendly interceptor, and landed on the lunch-pad for refueling. Gritty opportunistically acquired several bottles of Sriracha to carry back to the Massachusetts system, which had been experiencing a sriracha deficiency.
After food molecules had been sufficiently metabolized, we cruised onwards along the East Bay wormhole, possibly the most scenic moment of the journey. In the golden setting light of the daystar, we stopped briefly to adjust the retros on Traffic Control Device, and encountered some errant Starchasers on a side-quest of their own. We shed our two friends from Providence, but maggot Peach bravely or foolishly decided to keep going for the whole mission. Pretty soon, we ran out of wormhole and began our journey into Deep Space, just as the daystar faded and laser arrays were activated for safety. The next 30 light years were filled with a lot of darkness and mild g-well activity. Abruptly, Ziqqurat called for a company halt - one of the many redundant helms on Traffic Control Device had exerted its MUTCD authority over poor Ziqqurat’s nose as he was mid-dismount, leaving our mission leader slightly bloodied and moderately rattled. Medal of injury! Though he later attempted to reject it, rules are rules: you bleed, you get a medal.
It was at this point that a harbinger of space madness began to creep into the atmosphere. Was it Ziqqurat who was hangry, or Dr. Claw? Previously, the plan had been to stop for dinner molecules in the beacon of sophisticated civilization known as the Brockton system. However, our basest needs took over and we re-routed to find the nearest possible refueling station. Mozzarella sticks were eaten, morale was boosted, and stickers were passed out to our chosen outpost’s bemused proprietors, who informed us that they opened later every weekend if we wanted to come back for more fun.
The last leg of any century is an ordeal and this outing was no exception. As we approached the Boston system, the g-wells grew more numerous and more vicious, shattering our nav-tail protocol and almost causing pilots to descend into space madness. We halted at the summit of a particularly nasty g-well and regrouped under a stricter set of parameters, knowing that discipline was the only thing that could save us from spiraling off course into the evil clutches of the outer suburbs. Slowly, haltingly, we inched forward towards our home base. Cosima took on the role of comms officer and made contact with LordMcFuzz, who was leading a local mission in the hopes of intercepting. Sure enough, as the centurions straggled towards the laser arrays of civilization, a brightly beaming golden ship descended as if from the heavens, just as the navigational lasers on Strangelove started to burn out. After a brief tactical conference, LordMcfuzz took the lead and guided the battle-weary centurions towards the safety of Ft. Antwerp.
Closing ceremonies were brief and triumphant. All the pain and crankiness of the accumulated light years seemed to dissipate as Ziqqurat declared mission success. Just as pilots were about to disperse, we received a mysterious communication translated from the arcane glyphs of intergalactic rail.
Leslie saw our ships, and she thought they were cool.
Launch: 221015 10:22 AM
Splashdown: 221016 3:02 AM
Total flight time: 16:40