I lean forward and tap on the blank viewing screen. ‘Can you get her back, Harris?’
Harris fiddles with the comms controls. ‘Nope. She’s gone.’
Stevens looks up from his side of the console. ‘There’s no trace of Greta’s Ark.’ He holds up his hands in frustration. ‘Doctor,’ he says swivelling around in his seat to face the time lord, ‘can’t you take us back in time to before she disappeared? Like when you saved us from the black hole?’
The Doctor shakes his head. ‘Sorry Stevens, it’s a good idea in theory, but the black hole was fixed in space and time. We’ve no idea where young Greta is on the space-time continuum. That monkey chap disabled her ship’s stabilizer and the Ark is spinning out of control.’ He taps his sonic screwdriver against the side of his head. ‘We need to find her.’
The Doctor starts to head towards the Tardis, but suddenly he stops and spins around to face us. He waves his sonic screwdriver at me. ‘Jemma, how did you lot manage to summon me just now? You had no idea where I was did you?’
The Doctor’s right. We just have to use our imaginations.
‘Genius, Doctor!’ cries Harris.
I look from Harris to Stevens. ‘We need to imagine Greta on her ship, just as we saw her. That should take us to the Ark, don’t you think?’
‘In theory,’ adds Stevens.
‘What about us?’ asks our new friend, David Attenborough. ‘What can we do?’
I glance at the Doctor. ‘The same: picture Greta on the Ark.’
‘Well, I guess that won’t do any harm,’ replies the Doctor. ‘I just want to check on something,’ he bounds over to the Tardis. ‘You carry on.’
‘Okay, guys,’ I say. ‘Now concentrate.’
David walks over to the console and leans on the desk opposite me. He looks up to the ceiling for a moment, then bows his head and closes his eyes.
I close my eyes and focus.
Once again, the power of our minds works almost immediately and Greta appears back on the screen. The monkeys have vanished, and the only sign of the earlier disturbance is the broken down door in the background and the sight of her lieutenant patiently re-attaching the stabilizer lever on the control desk.
Greta smiles at us and leans on her folded hands. ‘What happened to my monkeys? They seem to have vanished.’
Suddenly there is a cacophony of screeching behind us.
‘Wait! No, come back with that!’ The Doctor is shouting from inside the Tardis. I turn to see the baboon and the spider monkey bowling out of the Tardis with the Doctor in hot pursuit. He grabs the spider monkey’s arm and prises a large silver key from its paw. ‘He’s only tried to run off with the Tardis’ ignition key!’
‘Doctor, what happened?’ I dodge the baboon, as it leaps onto the desk. Before the Doctor can reply, more monkeys spill out from the Tardis, screeching delightedly. ‘Did you bring them onto the Tardis?’ I say, edging away from the desk nervously as the baboon bares his teeth at me.
‘I don’t think so,’ replies the Doctor, dodging around a tiny marmoset which scrabbling about on the floor by his feet.
David Attenborough raises his head. ‘I’m afraid that may have been me,’ he says rather sheepishly. ‘I was thinking about the way they were behaving.’ He eyes the two monkey ring-leaders who are both now perched on top of the console. Harris and Stevens are fighting to prevent them fiddling with the ship’s controls. ‘Sorry,’ he holds his hands up.
‘Okay, one thing at a time.’ The Doctor approaches the screen. ‘Are you all right, Greta?’
‘And your ship is working correctly now?’
Greta nods again. ‘We’re back on course,’ she glances at her lieutenant who gives her a thumbs up.
Suddenly the capuchin leaps onto the Doctor’s shoulder and launches itself at the viewing screen. It peers at Greta. She leans past him. ‘You have the monkeys now?’
‘I’m afraid so,’ says David, reaching over to remove the capuchin. ‘You’re a nice little chap, aren’t you’ he murmurs to it, stroking its head. ‘Doctor, if I can lead the monkeys into the Tardis, will you be able to take us to Greta’s Ark?’
‘Just so long as they behave themselves,’ the Doctor frowns at the baboon who is now engrossed in watching Harris playing ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ on the pop-up screen in front of him.
David looks at Greta. ‘And you can be ready to receive them?’
Greta looks at her lieutenant. ‘I’ll get right on it,’ he says.
Apart from the baboon, who’s still mesmerized by the video game, the monkeys are screeching excitedly and chasing each other around the flight desk. The mess they’re making is unbelievable. What can they have been eating?
‘Righto,’ says the Doctor, raising his forefinger in the air. ‘I’ll get a fix on Greta’s Ark and, David, you round up this lot.’ He points at the excited animals. ‘I think we’ll better lock them in the basement.’ He dashes into the Tardis.
David feels in his jacket pocket and pulls out a small banana. He crouches down and holds it up to the nearest monkey. ‘What have I got here then?’ he whispers to it gently. The monkey puts his head on one side. David starts to peel it and the monkey lets out a squeal of delight. He breaks off a piece and hands it to the monkey. He breaks off another piece and gives it to the tiny marmoset which has climbed up onto his knee. Soon all the monkeys are crowded around him; even the baboon tears himself away from Harris’s game.
David produces more bananas.
‘Did you bring those with you?’
‘I didn’t, no, Jemma. They just seem to have appeared. It just occurred to me that they might be useful. It seems your ship obliged.
‘Way to go, David,’ says Stevens admiringly.
I’m reminded of the ancient Pied Piper story as David begins to lead the monkeys into the Tardis. We follow too, watching as they troop down to the basement. Soon they are all secured for the transfer.
‘Ready to roll then, David?’ says the Doctor springing up the stairs.
Regretting that we are unable to leave the ship, we watch over the monitor as the monkeys are safely delivered back to Greta’s Ark and safely locked in their cages.
Greta, flanked by David and the Doctor, waves her thanks. The Doctor turns to David. ‘Can I give you a lift back to the BBC? I was in the middle of a spot of filming with Professor Cox; quite a bright chap, by human standards.’ The Doctor winks at us.
The screen goes off and we’re alone again. I wonder what our Professor’s doing right now.
The Space Cadets will return with a new series later in the year.
Meanwhile, the Head Scriptwriter has a novel to finish.