Lights flicker into life. We remain strapped into high-backed chairs. The Professor has vanished. The spherical console in front of us rotates, lights flashing amber and green. A countdown commences: ten, nine, eight… A screen flips up showing the surface of the barren planet outside.
An engine powers up beneath us. The countdown continues: five, four… Behind us a siren wails and a flashing red light reflects on the console. The engine judders: two, one… We are thrown back in our seats. Lift off. The siren ceases. All lights turn green.
The screen shows the planet’s surface receding rapidly. I can just make out the shape of the Professor’s Space Machine on the ground below where we left it.
I turn to Harris on my right. “Who’s flying this thing?”
On my left, Stevens points at the screen where the picture has changed. It is not a life-form I recognise. Humanoid certainly but…
“I am the Zyborgatron,” it says. We look at each other. It continues. “This craft is powered by your minds and guided by your imaginations. Welcome to the Fantasy Tribute Space Opera.”
The signature tune to my favourite TV series from the mid-20th century starts to play…