This is the last episode, at least for a while, in the first draft further adventures for the lads from Report on Sample 717, following on from here... The rest may eventually appear in a new book.
The Ladies came back to consciousness, and gasped.
Adm looked at their faces, now fully revealed, and muttered, 'Uh... Big.'
'Ah yes,' agreed Edrig, 'Big and round eh?'
And the Ladies were not exactly grateful for having been rescued, as they soon made clear with their chirping.
'Now we are contaminated, and the smell in here is awful. Perhaps we were just sleeping.'
'No, you would have been dead, my Ladies,' declared Adrig with as much fake confidence as he could muster. 'Your atmosphere was all gone.'
'All your fault, this disaster. It's all your fault.'
'But you Ladies sent us there.'
'Still... All your fault. There will be punishments.'
'Or the atmosphere in the pod will run out, perhaps, and then we will all be dead. No punishments then.'
'Fix it!' the Lady with the bushy dark hair screamed, soon followed by the equally aggressive lady with the long brown hair screaming, 'Yes! Fix it!'
'This is, indeed, a pickle,' announced Edrig in 717 English.
'Oh do shut up,' Adrig told him, wearily.
'I like pickle,' Adm said... 'Best is buggy ferment of apple and fruit pickle though... Almost as good as beer.'
'Cider actually. I told you,' snapped Edrig, irritated.
'You say cider I say beer.'
'Oh shut up the both of you,' said Adrig, also irritated.
'Shut up and fix it!' screeched the ladies in their own language.
And that was when Adrig got to his feet and kicked out at the wall, very firmly.
Nothing happened, so he kicked again.
'Stop it!' shouted the Ladies, but just as they shouted out, he was already kicking again at a different location.
And that was when the pod started to hum.
Edrig was impressed, shouting, 'My goodness Adrig! You may have fixed it!'
The Ladies said nothing. They just looked at each other, but they looked pleased.
Above the shoulder of the Lady nearest to him, Adrig noticed a little screen had started shifting through numbers with what he thought might be a 'select' button flickering alongside it. Hmm... 660, 661, 662... And he also noticed that the Auto-Return button was flashing again, above and behind the Ladies' heads.
He waited, looking slyly across at Edrig, who was also watching the screen. Adrig raised his eyebrows and looked into Edrig's eyes.
'717 was okay,' Edrig said quietly in 717 English, 'Better than home, but... Oh... Decision time...'
And just a few seconds later when the number on the screen reached 717, Adrig pressed the button.
The screen went black, while the pod continued to hum.
'What are you doing up there?' The dark-haired Lady demanded of Adrig.
'Just trying to see if I can work out what is going on,' he assured her. 'Oh... I feel dizzy.'
'So do I,' said Edrig, 'Sit down man.'
So Adrig sat down, and soon all occupants of the pod lost consciousness.
And Adm was the first to regain consciousness, seemingly almost immediately when the pod had come to a halt. The first thing he noticed was a rather familiar scene on the large location screen, a scene of grass and trees with green leaves just turning towards Autumnal hints of yellow.
'Back home?' he called out, hopefully.
His voice stirred Edrig into opening his eyes and focusing on the location screen.
'Ah no, my friend, not home, but probably quite like your home only before the, eh... before the biggy booms.'
'Oh! Like before biggy booms. Wow.'
'That looks damn familiar,' came Adrig's voice in his own language, having sensed that the Ladies were stirring. 'It looks just like the place near the hill where we arrived with the Lady Lord.'
'Yes,' agreed Edrig, speaking loud for the benefit of the waking Ladies and any recording system that he remembered there might be. 'In Perth on 717. Perhaps the system locks on to places that we have already visited. Eh.... Oh, I don't know anything about it.'
'Anyway my boy,' said Adrig cheerfully, 'Things are looking up. This is much better than stuck in a broken pod.'
'Well, except we have no money, no credit card and only these damn stupid furry gowns to walk around in. Not even any, eh... sneaks for our feet.'
'Oh yeah... And we are not smelling too good either are we, rather soiled as we are. I think we need to find a river or a pond to wash in immediately.'
'Ah... so we are home then,' the awakened lady with the long brown hair chirped out with the dominant confidence of her voice returning.
'Eh... We don't think so my Lady,' Edrig informed her as he pointed at the screen. 'There seems to have been a location malfunction.'
'What!' screeched the Ladies together.
'Very strange my Ladies. Perhaps the pod just took us to the nearest location...or eh... or something. I don't know. But we seem to be on Sample 717, where Adrig and I have been before.'
'717? Where the Lady Lord died?'
'Eh, yes my Ladies.'
At this news, both Ladies pulled out their communifiers and began chirping into them while Adrig and Edrig looked on, wondering.
'Dead,' the bushy dark-haired Lady announced.
'Still dead,' the long brown-haired one confirmed.
'Oh dear,' said Edrig, faking disappointment. 'They route through the pod, eh... or do they? The pod is... well... I don't know anything about it.'
'Oh dear,' Adrig added, 'but perhaps they will trace you two with your tracking chips, or the pod's own tracking devices, or whatever else they use to monitor what is going on?' He was thinking fast, and in a muddle about what he had done.
'Oh yes,' muttered Edrig, in the 717 English that the Ladies couldn't understand. 'Oh dear and oh damn and oh yes. But still... who knows what's for the best.'
'Yes indeed. Who knows?' Adrig agreed.