Virtually all the fun of the fair!

Virtually all the fun of the fair Chris Hall lunasonline
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In response to The Haunted Wordsmith’s Three Things Challenge:
Holodeck, Klingon, Doctor Who

With apologies to the creators of Star Trek and Doctor Who

The doors to the holodeck swooshed closed. Ensign Marcus Bain felt a warm breeze ruffle his crew cut and the midday sun on his skin. Dressed in appropriate time-period leisurewear he plunged into the fairground crowd.

Garish colours, distorted sounds and the smell of fried food assaulted his senses. He checked the handful of notes and coins which had been issued to him with his slippery pale blue nylon outfit. There had been some orientation information on the pre-entry briefing screen, but he’d barely skimmed it in his impatience to visit late-twentieth century Earth.

He stared about at the crudely-made mechanical rides from which music blared and people screamed. The young ensign selected a ride at random and proffered a handful of coins. The operator raised his eyebrows and laughed, saying something Marcus didn’t catch, before showing him to one of the little rubber-rimmed cars which people were driving around the smooth oval-shaped rink.

Marcus had only just wedged himself into the seat of his little green car when someone bumped him hard from behind. He swivelled around, but the car had already reversed away. Then another slammed into him from the side. “You drive like a Klingon on Rackta,” he yelled at the driver who gave him a thumbs-up sign before driving off to bash a little blue car. Marcus clutched the steering wheel and depressed the single pedal on the floor. The car moved forward, describing a graceful arc.

He cruised around the rink, skilfully avoiding attempts by other cars to bump him. It was a bit like steering a star-ship through a meteor shower; not that he’d actually done that other than on a simulator. Marcus was oblivious to the hostile looks from the other drivers as he evaded their challenges and failed to make any contact himself. Then three cars came at him at once, one behind and two on either side, driving him edge of the rink. There was nowhere for his little green car to go. Marcus swung his car around to face them and stopped. He could feel the pressure from their cars push against his, which was tight up against the rim of the rink. The electric charges from the poles mounted on the back of the cars crackled brightly on the conductive mesh above their heads. The three guys scowled at Marcus. All were dressed in tight cut off t-shirts which revealed hostile-looking tattoos on their arms. He saw the man on his right crack his knuckles.

Marcus was up and out of the little green car before they had a chance to move. He hesitated for a few seconds, then seeing them hoist themselves out onto the busy rink and advance towards him, he set off at a run. The nylon fabric of his clothing slid unpleasantly over his skin as he looked around for somewhere to lose his pursuers.

Marcus noticed a door flapping open at the rear of one of the flimsy buildings. He dived through the door slamming it behind him. It was very dark. Marcus felt his way along a narrow corridor. His stomach knotted as he heard his pursuers enter behind him. Marcus groped his way along the passage until he found another door; he opened it cautiously and slipped through.

It was suddenly very bright; the walls around him were lined with mirrors which distorted and multiplied his reflection. He rounded a corner, hurrying past the grotesque versions of his reflected self into a mirror-lined corridor which twisted and zigzagged before opening into a large, triangular-shaped room. He heard a shout: ‘split up, get him.’ Heavy footsteps pounded on the wooden floor; the mirrors shook. Before Marcus could decide which way to run, three figures appeared each from a different doorway. Marcus was trapped.

‘Exit!’ shouted Marcus, remembering the escape command.

‘We’re not going anywhere,’ one of them grunted. The three men closed in on the now desperate Marcus, who knew he was not immune to blows from holographic foe.

‘Exit!’ Marcus yelled again. Why didn’t the program end?

Vworp! Vworp! The three men stopped and turned to see a large shape materializing in the middle of the room. Marcus sighed with relief. But what appeared wasn’t what he’d expected. Rather than an archway, it was a big blue box, taller than a man and a little wider than the double doors in the side which faced him. Perhaps this was a new version of the Arch? He wished he’d read the briefing more thoroughly. One of the doors opened and a figure in a long brown coat and an even longer stripy scarf appeared. He raised his broad-brimmed hat revealing a shock of unruly, curly hair.

‘Good afternoon, gentlemen,’ he said. He looked at Marcus, ‘You’d better come with me ensign.’

Marcus hesitated; his three would-be assailants stood open-mouthed.

‘Come along Ensign Bain, hurry up now,’ the man said, beckoning to him. ‘This way.’

Marcus hurried toward the blue box. ‘Who are you?’ he asked his rescuer as he drew level with him at the doorway.

‘I’m the Doctor,’ he replied, offering Marcus a toothy grin as he ushered him inside.

Doctor who?’ asked Marcus.

‘Have a jelly baby,’ said the Doctor, offering him a crumpled paper bag.

Marcus stared around him.

‘Welcome to the Tardis! Bigger on the inside, yes, I know,’ said the Doctor, beaming wide-eyed at Marcus. ‘Now let’s get you back where you belong,’ he said as he pushed buttons and pulled on levers at the central console.

Before Marcus could take stock of his surroundings, the Tardis materialized in the engine room of the USS Enterprise. ‘Home,’ said the Doctor, helping a dazed Marcus out.

‘Aye, another one, is it Doctor?’ said Scotty, the Chief Engineer.

The Doctor nodded. ‘Your virtual reality toy keeps causing a tiny rift in the space-time continuum. You need to fix it. I’ve better things to do than scoop up young ensigns on their day off.’

‘Aye, Doctor,’ said Scotty, ‘we’ll get onto it right away.’

©2018 Chris Hall

 

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