The Inside Story (Part 3)
by Troels Pleimert

Historical note: This short story takes place between Space Quest V and Space Quest VI, before Roger Wilco was stripped of his captains rank. This takes place after the end of Space Quest V, where Roger destroys the SCS Eureka and swoops off in the Star Confederacy's flagship, the SCS Goliath, when he's on his way home to StarCon.

In our last chapter, our hero Roger Wilco had been sucked into the computer systems of the SCS Goliath. Now desperately trying to restore power to the shuttlebay, he is confronted with the risk of killing the entire crew. Having not quite mastered how to navigate the systems, he constantly causes damage to the machinery, and now the life support system is blocking his path.

"If he gets too close to the life support system," said Droole, "he's gonna kill us all!"

"So what else is new?" mumbled Cliffy under his breath.

"I heard that, Cliffy!" I said through the comm speakers. "The problem is: What are we gonna do? Are we gonna take the risk of killing all of you off, or what?"

"Do we have any choice?" replied Droole.

"Well yeah, we do have one alternative," said Cliffy. "But we'll probably die trying."

"We'll die anyway!" I retorted.

"He's right, y'know," said Droole. "It's gonna kill us anyway if he gets too close to the life support system. Might as well try it your way, Cliffy."

"Well ... alright," said Cliffy.

Moments later, I could "see" the life support system slowly moving away. Being puzzled by this occurance, I radioed Cliffy.

"Cliffy, what's cooking? I can see the life support system changing course!" I asked.

"Shh, captain!" Cliffy quickly replied, very concentrated. "Get off the comm! Don't interrupt anything! I'm trying to re-direct the life support system and use the backup system!"

"But I thought I smashed that," I said, blushing. It wasn't purposely, of course. Like I said before, I couldn't really control myself in there.

"You did!" Droole replied. "But Clif here thinks he can redirect the power of the main life support system to the emergency one by ..."

"Thought you said I should stay off the comm," I interrupted.

"Quite right captain," Cliffy said. "Cliffy out."

I think I got the basic idea anyway. By pulling the life support system away from me, I should be able to reach the shuttlebay systems without accidentally causing damage to something. Then, of course, the big question popped in my mind: What if I accidentally screwed it up? What if everybody was killed? I dismissed the thought — it was a do-or-die dilemma. Either do it or fail miserably and be the cause of your crewmembers death.

"Again," added commander Benzeen with a grin.

"Would you shut up already?!" Wilco retorted, getting really sick of this. "Anyway ..."

After eight minutes or so of watching the life support system slowly backing away from me, I radioed Cliffy again.

"This is taking too long," I said.

"I know," replied Cliffy, sounding really concentrated, yet frustrated. "Wait just two minutes more—"

Right at that moment, a humongous blast hit the ship and caused it to dance jitterbug around deep space.

"The hull is collapsing! The damages have increased by 10% and this baby's not gonna hold out much longer!" yelled Droole from across the room, fiddling with a diagnostic system in the other end of the transporter room.

"What the hell are you doing, Captain?" Cliffy yelled through the comm system.

"Uh, I still haven't quite figured out how to stop doing that. I don't think I'll be able to last much longer in here!" I yelled through the comm system. "It has to be enough! I'm gonna go for it! Wilco out!"

"No, Captain, wait!!!" Cliffy yelled, but it was too late. In stead, he sighed very quickly and turned to Droole. "C'mon, let's get down to the shuttlebay!"

As I raced towards the shuttlebay systems, I could almost feel the mainframe itself collapsing down on me, like the Empire State Building crashing down on the street. In the distance, I could see the main power circuit — and just in the condition I had expected to find it: totally busted.

"Cliffy!" I yelled, hoping to reach him somewhere. "Where are you?"

"In Shuttle F," he yelled back. I could hear a lot of noise in the background. Seemed as if the entire hull of the Goliath was crumbling down.

"Great! I can see the main power circuit, dead ahead of me. Ready to activate remote control transporting?" I inquired.

"Uh, yeah," replied Cliffy, sounding a bit unsure. This worried me. "There's just one small problem, cap'n."

"Oh no, I can't handle anymore problems! What's the story now, Cliff?" I asked.

"It's a Class D type shuttle, sir. It was designed for two persons. The nearest starbase is 12 parsecs away, and we don't have enough oxygen for that trip," replied Cliffy.

"WHAT!?" I yelled.

"You heard me, Captain! We're going to have to transport you into shuttle G!" said Cliffy.

"Well that's just great, innit?" I said, getting really upset. "That's just really great, isn't it?! Why is it that everytime we—"

"Sir!!!" Droole yelled in the background. I could hear him desperately tampering with the shuttle controls. "Hull integrity is down by 92%. You're gonna have to move fast, and I mean fast, captain!"


"NOW, SIR!" Droole yelled, obviously in an extremely excited state.

"Allright, allright!" I yelled back. "Wilco out!"

I turned to "face" the shuttlebay systems. Before making my final way to the systems and doing my thing, I paused for a moment to deliver the following cliché: "Let's get this fucking show on the road!"

"Oooh, going for the tough vocabulary, are we?" interrupted commander Benzeen.

"Well, normally I wouldn't use such a word, but I felt the situation called for it and—" Roger began. Then he realised, that the dope was actually interrupting him again. He raised his voice to continue. "— but will you pipe down? I'm almost finished!"

"Okay," replied Benzeen. "I've got nothing better to do anyway."

He finished with a sarcastic grin, that really seemed to tick Roger off. Unaffected by this, or caught up in the imagined excitement of his own storytelling, he proceeded ...

"He's got it!" yelled Cliffy excitedly. "He's fricking got it!"

The shuttles dashboard came to life. All gauges, readouts, buttons and switches lighted up and the shuttle engines fired up.

"Now let's get the hell outta here!" yelled Droole and hit acceleration.

"Activating remote control transport," said Cliffy and was almost about to press the button, when Droole interrupted him.

"Wait," he said. "Do you really think ..."

The two of them exchanged glances for a while. Then they seemed to come to an unanimous conclusion, when they each replied in unison: "Aahh, what the hell!"

Cliffy pressed the button, and suddenly there I was, in the pilot seat of Shuttle G. I took a glance around to see the shuttlebay almost coming down on me. My braincells kicked into high gear, as I made a quick decision to get the heck outta there.

Turning to face the shuttle controls, I was just in time to see them all shut down. The dashboard lost all life.

"Oh my god," I said calmly, then raising my voice when the awful truth dawned on me. "Oh no. Oh my god, oh no! This can't be happening!"

I started frantically pushing all the buttons on the dashboard, increasing in speed more and more as I witnessed the shuttlebays rapid decay. "No no no, you can't do this to me! You hear me, you old hunk o'junk! You can't frickin' do this to me!"

Another idea stormed to my brain when I remembered my handheld communicator thingy. Hopefully, either one of the guys in the other shuttle had remembered to bring theirs along, or I was lucky enough to be pointed in to their shuttles comm system.

I pulled out the handheld communicator and hit the transmit button. "Cliffy! Cliffy, can you hear me?


Meanwhile, in Shuttle F, Droole was piloting the shuttle, while Cliffy was checking the systems. Droole began to develop a nervous freak.

"I don't understand it, he should be out of the bay now!" he said.

"I don't get it either," Cliffy replied. "Maybe we were too late."

"No, you can't possibly mean that," Droole said. Cliffy glanced back at Droole. One look said it all. "But if he's dead — what are we gonna do now?"

Cliffy started pondering on that one when he noticed an unusual reading in the communications system.

"Hey, Droole, take a look at this," he said. "Somebody's trying to reach through on the frequency!"

"Who is it?" Droole asked. Cliffy hit the answer-button and was immediately struck in the face by my desperately yelling voice.

"Cliffy! What the hell is going on up there!? Why have you shut down the shuttlebay systems!?"

"Sir, we ... we haven't! What's happend to you?" he asked.

"I'm stuck here with a malfunctioning shuttle system, that's what's happend!" I yelled back in a frustrated tone of voice. "You've gotta get me the hell out of here! In a few seconds, this place is gonna get vaporized!!!"

"Hang on, sir, we're working on it!" Cliffy replied.

"Do I have much of a choice?" I asked rhetorically.

"Not really," Cliffy replied. "Cliffy out."

Droole turned to Cliffy. "What are we gonna do?"

"I know," replied Cliffy almost instantly and started working on a transfer console. "Start downloading the entire emergency backup system to his shuttle."

"But Cliffy, wouldn't that mean—" Droole started, but was interrupted.

"Yep, but it doesn't matter. Do it anyway," Cliffy replied and hit a final button. "Transfer commenced." He turned to the communications panel and hit the send-button. "Captain, we're downloading our emergency backup power system to you! That should give you enough energy to fire up the engines, but you've got to do it quick, otherwise the energy will burn up pretty soon."

"Got it," I replied almost instantly. "Gosh, if you'd thought of that 10 seconds later, I'd be a lump of really well done toast by now."

"How's the transfer going?" asked Droole.

"90%," I replied. "Engaging engines! Initiating navigations system! Come on, you stupid old hunk of junk! Don't fret on me now!"

"Are you gonna make it?" Droole said to me, then closed comms and turned to Cliffy. "Is he gonna make it?"

"Clearing shuttlebay," I said. "Can you see me?"

"No visual contact as of yet, sir," Cliffy replied.

"Where the heck is the shuttlebay doors?! It's so smokey in here, I can't see a damn thing!"

Droole tried to steer me through the opening. "I can see you faintly. A little more to the right ... yep ... a little more to the left ... up a bit ... no, no, down a bit ... yeah, that's got it ... now just go straight forward and you'll be clear. Uh ... wait. No, captain, wait! Wait!" In stead of further attempts to make me alter my course, Droole in stead turned to cover his eyes.


A small explosion from my left engine was visible through the foggy scenery when I crashed sideways into the shuttlebay wall. I desperately opened comms.

"What the hell are you doing, Droole? I thought you said it was straight ahead!"

"Yeah, but I must've confused your rear side with your front side," Droole replied.

"An easy mistake," added commander Benzeen under his breath.

"I choose to ignore that," replied Wilco. "Now let me continue, please!"

"So now what am I supposed to do?!" I yelled through the comm system.

"Well ... uhm ..." Droole replied, desperately trying to think of something. He couldn't see, which way I was going until it would be too late, and the shuttlebay was too filled up with smoke from an exploded cooling pipe to let me navigate by myself.

"I've got it!" Droole suddenly yelled. "Eureka!!"

"Oh god, Droole, please don't say that name," I said calmly.

"Oh sorry," Droole said, blushing. Then he turned to Cliffy. "Cliffy, turn on the main headlights and aim for the shuttlebay doors!" Droole turned on communications again. "Can you see the light?"

"Yeah, there's the light at the end of the tunnel. Am I dead or something? Am I having a near-death experience?"

"Nope, although we certainly wouldn't mind it if you were," said Droole. "But seriously, follow the light! That's our headlights pointing at the shuttlebay doors!"

"Alright! I'm on my way!" I said and hit full throttle.

"Oh my hell," said Cliffy. "The Goliath's structural integrity has failed 99,9%. It's going to explode any second now!"


The brilliant light flash of the Goliath's destruction blow filled an enormous part of the space, we were occupying. Fragments of the Goliath flew off in every direction, almost creating an artifical asteroid belt. Luckily, Cliffy and Droole's shuttle didn't get hit.

"What happend?" said Droole. "Did he make it?"

After a while, the intercomm started to crackle.

"So, uhm," my voice replied. "Which way are we heading, guys?"

"And that's my story," finished Wilco. "After that, we flew ahead to StarCon Orbital Station 2, and the rest is history."

"That's a very interesting story," said commander Benzeen. "But there's just one little part, that I don't get. If you were heading up to StarCon Orbital Station 2, then why did you crashland in mrs Johnson's house?"

"Well, you see, the controls in a shuttle of that type were way beyond my comprehension and— uhm, well, uh, I mean ... I ... I ran out of fuel," Wilco replied. His cheeks were starting to turn red.

"Oh, I see," said Benzeen, with a sarcastic grin. "So what's gonna happen now?"

"Well, first of all, I'd better go find Cliffy and Droole," said Roger. "They don't know where I am. They're probably worried sick."

"Mmmhh, these scones are really good, Cliff. You oughta try some of these," said Droole.

"Hmm, I think I will," replied Cliffy and sliced a scone in half. Just as he was coating the one side with a knifefull of butter, a woman appeared in the doorway, carrying a tray with a teapot and three cups on it.

"Tea's ready," she said.

"Thanks, Mrs. Johnson!" said Cliffy and sent a grin to Droole. Mrs Johnson went over to the coffee table, where Droole and Cliffy were sitting, and put the tray down on the table. She herself took a seat next to Droole and Cliffy.

"Let's just hope nobody comes to our rescue yet," Droole laughed. Cliffy started laughing too, and poured himself a cup of tea.

The End

This story is ©; 1996 Troels Pleimert.

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