A short while after departure Adm began to regain consciousness, which puzzled Edrig because every other time he had traveled in this way all passengers had lost consciousness, and as Adm began stirring, the pod ceased to make its operational hum.
'That's strange,' he said towards the silver-suited Ladies. 'I think something may have gone wrong.'
'Because we are not losing consciousness and the pod has stopped humming.'
Edrig detected concern in the voice. A little fear even.
'Where am?' said Adm, sitting up against a side wall and eyeing the ladies suspiciously, and somewhat drunkenly while rather bemused by the sound of the others talking in their own language.
Both Ladies pointed their stunners at him and one said, 'Quiet!', which arrived just as an unintelligible screech in Adm's ears.
Adm looked aggressively towards the stunners.
'Yes, I do believe we may be stopped,' offered Adrig. 'Was this planned?'
'Stopped where though?' said Edrig, looking at the location screen and seeing only black. No stars. Nothing.
'Stopped in the middle of nowhere. In limbo perhaps. I think we may have broken down.'
The Ladies were silent, although they did cast a quick glance at each other through their masks.
Adm was in no mood to be shouted at, whatever was being said, and was still somewhat enboldened by his early morning drinking.
He looked at the two stunners that had been pointing at him in the cramped and dim compartment, noticed that they were now rather loosely held in hands that had gone somewhat limp, and so with the primitive athleticism of a young brave man he pounced across and grabbed one stunner in each hand before the Ladies had a moment to even realize that he was coming at them.
Much screeching ensued from all four superior beings as Adm looked around for somewhere to place the stunners out of harm's way, judging that whatever they were he was unlikely to be able to operate them.
While the screeching continued, Adm noticed a small open compartment in the side wall that appeared to be hinged at the bottom. He threw the stunners inside and slammed it shut then sat with his back against it.
The superior beings fell silent and looked towards Adm while a soft whooshing sound could be heard behind him.
The Ladies screeched some more at this development.
Adrig managed a smile alongside his generally rather astonished appearance.
'Oh,' he said in 717 English, 'You appear to have evacuated the stunners out to the exterior, wherever that is.'
'Out to Eva?' Adm asked.
'Ah... No... Not out to Eva. Whatever is out there now I am fairly sure that it is not Eva.'
'I'll explain later.'
Then the Ladies began screeching at Adrig and Edrig, but with a clearly growing nervousness in their voices.
'What are you saying to him? Speak in words we understand? What has he done? He's in big trouble now.'
Adrig looked at them and began to speak in his own language rather calmly.
'Well we may all be in big trouble now, my Ladies, for we appear to be stuck. I suggest we give our attention to that issue first. And I also suggest you open your suits before their atmosphere supply runs out.'
'Our suits? But you are all contaminated!'
'Better to be a little contaminated than to run out of atmosphere to breathe, my Lady, may I suggest?'
'How long will it last if you keep it sealed? I am only concerned for your safety, of course.'
'I don't know.'
'Hmm... Presumably long enough for the planned journey home though, or had that not been thought about? Hmm... Well that's going to become a dilemma then, if we are stuck here much longer, or forever.'
'A pickle,' said Edrig.
'Ha yes, My boy. A pickle for them and a pickle for us, that's for sure. But their pickle may become a crisis for them before our pickle does. The pod carries enough atmosphere to endure significant malfunctions, but these sealed suits. I just don't know.'
'Damn you for getting us into this!' one of the Ladies screeched.
'But you lot sent us there my Lady, and anyway, why did you come to get us so soon? Half an orbit, we were told.'
'We thought there was nobody left there, but then you ended up round a warm fire watching dancing naked women.'
'Oh,' Edrig said to Adrig in 717 English, 'I do think they may be jealous!'
'Don't speak like that!' the Lady doing most of the talking commanded. 'Speak so that we can understand.'
'Why let them shout at you?' Adm interjected.
'Well,' said Edrig, turning to Adm, 'It's eh... compaycated. But... with no stunners, you do have a point.'
'Three of us, and me strong,' said Adm.
'Speak in our language!' a Lady screeched.
The thing was, however, as Edrig contemplated, that if they got home they would have to account for their actions to all the big muscly Ladies, with all their stunners and stinger sticks and everything else at their disposal. But would they get back? Yes. Rescue would come, surely?
Just then the pod juddered.
'Ah...' said a Lady, hopefully, but then everything fell silent again.
'Is it trying to fix itself?' Adrig suggested, 'Or are they trying to get to us? May I suggest your communifiers my Ladies?'
'Ah... Yes... Of course. And he is in big trouble,' said a Lady, while pulling a communifier from the wall and starting to speak into it.
But it was dead. Broken. Just like the pod seemed to be. The Auto Return button was not lit up, and did not respond when one of the Ladies gave it a push.
'Who are they?' asked Adm, nodding at the Ladies. 'And who are you?'
'Ah my friend. My new friend,' Edrig began, 'What can I say...'
'Speak in our language!' a Lady screeched again. It was difficult to work out which one was speaking with their distorted voices coming out through a mechanism embedded in their suits.
'I am trying to explain to him why it is not a good idea for him to fight you, my Ladies,' Edrig told them, in his own language. 'After all Ladies, look at him, he is very powerful.'
'But he wouldn't dare!' a Lady's voice said.
'Oh yes he would my Lady. Look at what he did to the stunners. He comes from a very different land from our one. He could kill you if he wanted to.'
'What! Is that a threat?'
'No, no, no, not at all my Lady,' said Edrig deferentially. 'I need to speak to him to try to dissuade him from hurting you. To try to explain to him what life is like in our world, where the Ladies are in charge. And quite right too, of course.'
The Ladies fell silent.
'Good job my boy,' said Adrig, in 717 English.
'Well tell him to behave or he is dead on arrival... or at least shortly after arrival,' a Lady announced, but with some uncertainty in her voice.'
'If we ever arrive,' muttered Edrig.
'Okay,' said Edrig to Adm, back to speaking in 717 English. 'What can I say? Briefly, my friend, there are many worlds other than your one and we are from one of them, and these Ladies are in charge there.'
'A good question. But it is the way it is and always has been. Look at their size compared to me. They are big, strong, and they have all the eh... weapons under their strict control.'
Adm was silent, clearly pondering.
'We should fight,' he announced.
'That would not be wise, given that we are likely to have to explain our actions when we get back to our place. If we do,'
'Fight and go another place?'
'I don't know how.'
'Hmm... Very odd. You peeps... Did you make biggy booms of older days?'
'Ah no my friend, that was your own peopl... eh, your own peeps. Your older peeps.'
Silence fell upon the pod. No words, no humming of machinery, although some lights were still flickering on the console.
'What do we do?' a Lady finally asked. 'You men make things and you fix things. So what do we do?'
Adm just looked at the screeching silver suits with some obvious contempt.
'We cannot fix anything my Lady... My Ladies,' Adrig informed them. 'We are not engineers. We just need to wait and hope that the engineers are aware of our predicament and can fix it remotely, or can come and rescue us, or... if all else fails I could try banging bits of the walls and the console.'
'You don't know how long our suits have atmosphere?'
'No... not at all, but look at us, we seem okay.'
'You are contaminated.'
'We have robust chromosomes.'
'You are contaminated.'
'Oh well then my Ladies, you'll just have to wait and hope. Oh... and do give us instructions for what to do if you lose consciousness due to your suit atmospheres running out.'
'You must save us. That is an order.'
'Well of course my Ladies, but then we would have to open your suits.'
'But you are contaminated.'
'But we are alive my Lady. Which would you prefer? Dead in your suits or contaminated in the pod, for at least a few days longer?'
'Are you enjoying this?'
'Not at all my Lady, not at all.'