...And now, the one you've all been waiting for, the exciting, the colossal, the stupendous...

Chapter 50: All Your Hopes and Dreams Culminated.

Arthur looked up blearily from his spot on the floor. "Is there anything yet?"

Ophelia looked back and replied, bitterly, "Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Why is space so darn empty?"

Arthur started to sit up, and stopped as his back creaked painfully. "I had no idea it was this big." He sat up again, this time much more slowly, and succeeded this time. "At least I don't ache as much as yesterday."

The four humans had been sleeping on the cold, hard floor so long their backs felt permanently cricked. It had been a full month since they had lost sight of the Earth, and hadn't seen any other planets since then. They were wandering hopelessly in a mindblowing expanse of emptiness.

They had found some emergency food in a rear compartment (recently occupied by the thing that was following the humans around, and more recently abandoned by the same when they threatened discovery. Unbeknownst to the humans, behind a secret panel in the rear of the compartment was the engine of the capsule. It lived there quite warm and comfortably, snatching food from the compartment when the humans weren't looking.) The food wasn't exactly good, but it was edible, and kept them alive, although they all lost quite a bit of weight.

"That awful food is almost gone," whispered Arthur, so as not to wake Eugene and Agatha, who were still sleeping in their spots on the floor. "What are we going to do once it's gone?"

"Hmmmm." said Ophelia, staring at Arthur. "Hmmm."

Arthur shot her a nasty look. "No, no, no, no!"

As you can see, at this point, their fragile human psyches were about at the cracking point. If nothing were to happen soon, they would soon break irreparably, leaving them all raving maniacs! Will they survive?

Meanwhile, back on Earth, we rejoin the story of Vladimir Kyorensky. Remember him from Chapter 44? His brand new Volkswagen had been obliterated by a stray blast from the battle over the surface. After he had convinced the police that his car had been the target of a confused terrorist named Wallace who thought Vladimir was a Communist, he went out and bought another new Volkswagen with the insurance money.

A little-known fact to his neighbors is that mild-mannered Vladimir Kyorensky, who mows his lawn with a rider every weekend, during the day, becomes the amazing Dr. Vladimir Kyorensky, PhD. Dr. Kyorensky works for NASA. Dr. Kyorensky is a rocket scientist.

So, when he vowed to make the aliens pay for their behavior, he was someone that could actually make good on his promise. After his work hours were over, he brought his new Volkswagen into the construction area and began work on it. He removed the engine and body, and did a complete makeover on the car, airproofing and tiling it with that heat-resistant stuff they put on the space shuttle, and, finally, installing a brand-new experimental top secret engine that he had been developing into it. He would perform the test-drive on the new engine himself. Then he would take to the stars!

After a few weeks, the space car was almost done. It had been somewhat difficult explaining the disappearance of the experimental engine, but he just told his supervisor that it had exploded suddenly, and needed to be developed more fully. Amazingly enough, the boss believed the story, and allocated Dr. Kyorensky more funds towards the construction of a new prototype.

After this had gone on for three and a half weeks, the space Volkswagen was completed. Actually, amazingly enough, the car was considerably more spaceworthy and faster than the little pod the other humans were in. The rear trunk and back seat were completely filled with the engine, and under the front hood were all the controls necessary for space flight. So now the Volkswagen was a metallic green, one-door, two-seat vehicle capable of great speeds in interstellar vacuum! That night, without further delay, the respected Dr. Kyorensky became the fearless interplanetary voyager Vladimir Kyorensky!

In yet another of the incredible string of coincidences that run through this narrative, when he finally got out of orbit around Earth and started off into the inky blackness, he chose a heading at random, that just happened to be the exact same direction that the escape pod had gone a month earlier!
Speaking of the escape pod, its situation had not changed a bit. Except for one thing: the food was gone. The situation was a little bleaker. It could hardly have gotten bleaker than it was, but it had! All four humans were slumped against the inner walls of the pod, their stomachs empty and their hopes crushed. Their time was almost up. Even Ophelia, who had earlier been fondling a knife, glancing furtively at Arthur, and giggling hysterically, had stopped and seemed to have lost her ambition.

Suddenly, just as hope seemed completely gone, there was a mighty WHUMP as something huge appeared above the pod! Arthur and the rest climbed painfully to their feet! This was the first time anything had happened outside the pod for over a month! It was a huge ship, even bigger than the one they had been on earlier! A small hatch opened in the bottom of the leviathan and swallowed up the tiny pod!

It was pitch black. A little puce light began to blink, providing feeble light in the pod. Ophelia, not knowing what else to do, touched the light, and a booming voice filled the cabin! It said, "Grbl grrrglb rrgl llrg gggrrr ggrrggggrgrrrrgglrrggbr rgggrlb g brbbggg grbl!"
- What does that mean? Are Arthur, Ophelia, Eugene, and Agatha safe, or is this little compartment an oven for giants? If so, will Vladimir come to their rescue? Will he make it in time before they're all baked to a crisp? Will he care? Do you think you paid too much for the mighty Chapter 50? These answers and more will be made clear in the next one!

@copyright 10/18/94 Bill Maciejewski. All rights reserved.