Beware the man who knocks four times
BANG BANG BANG BANG. “HELLO?” Yartek continued to smash the phone against the brickwork. Some rather expensive technology started to crack and splinter under the strain.
Yartek didn’t care. It wasn’t his phone.
“I KNOW you can hear me!” he bellowed, his squeaky, girly voice echoing down the phone line. “I can hear you giggling.”
“What do I want? You know what I want? I want back in!”
“Yeah, I want to be in Doctor Who again.”
“Of course you can do it, you’re the producer.”
“Sod off! You brought the MACRA back!”
“I don’t care if they’ve got a good union. Screw the Macra.”
“No, really. I’m like, the alien version of Che Guvera.”
“Yeah, I’ve sold millions of posters. Well, one.”
“Look, I’ve got this great idea. Basically I team up with the Borad and lead a crack team of dinosaur-riding Nimon through time and space to… hello?”
Yartek, former leader of the glorious Alien Voord, who once nearly ruled an entire planet sunk to his knees and started crying.
“Oh god pleeeeeease!”
The line went dead. Yartek snarled, throwing the phone angrily at the body of the man he had borrowed it from and slunk back to Voord Towers. He had called his home Voord Towers in the hope that it might convince poncy media-types that he was at the top of his game, but it was in fact just a few cardboard boxes stacked on top of each other covered in fairy lights and situated under a bridge.
“Top of the world mama” Yartek sobbed as he settled down in his cardboard cocoon, rocking back and forth as he clutched his trusty bottle of Irn-Bru. He thought it was alcoholic, no-one really wanted to break his little illusions. That much, at least, was his.
For a time, Yartek had been on top of the world. His world, at least. On the planet Marinus he was the leader of the feared Voord, a group of wet-suited warriors feared throughout the land. Of course given the ho-hum pedestrian lifestyle of the planet Marinus, the term ‘most feared’ loses a bit of its lustre. Marinus was a world where the sea was made of acid and the beaches of glass. Because of this the populace was not inclined to have adventurous beach holidays, instead staying at home to watch reruns of ‘What’s That Smell?’ and ‘The Davros Comedy Hour’.
It came as no surprise to most people then, that when Yartek’s downfall came it was at the hand of a doddering old man, his young granddaughter and two cardigan-wearing schoolteachers. He was outwitted, falling for the old ‘exploding-key’ trick which even the smallest child on Marinus would have instantly spotted.
There are those that admit defeat and those who steadfastly bang on the doors of greatness, hoping someone would take pity and let them in. Yartek was solidly in the latter category. ‘One day…’ he would think wistfully. ‘One day one of my plans to take over the world will succeed. If you throw enough sh*t at a wall, something is bound to stick!’. But the walls of fate were made of the smoothest gossamer it seems, and again and again the great Yartek, once-leader of the Alien Voord sunk lower and lower with only his oddly-smelling wetsuit to keep him sane.
Kurt Gantry ran. Perhaps running was too kind a word to describe the stumbling, clumsy motion with which he flung himself down the street, but it was good enough. Good enough to propel himself from his pursuers.
He paused in the middle of the road, clutching at a stitch in his side, the whirring, thunking noise of his enemies drawing ever closer, the concrete pavement crunching as they merrily trundled nearer.
Kurt gritted his teeth as he painfully straightened up, finding to his horror he had began to hiccup. Too many fizzy drinks had rotted his mind and rotted his soul. But he was no ordinary man, he was a proud member of the Space Police, that age-old bastion of law and order. And he was so close now, so close!
He continued to think how close to escape he was when he hurtled head-first down an alley, into a figure rooting through a bin.
“Go away!” shouted Yartek. “This is my bin. I found it first. Get your own!”
Kurt landed on the ground with a thump, startled eyes darting about. “Oh thank God, its you!” he cried, shaking Yartek by his non-existent lapels. “Yartek, here in my hour of need!
The trundling noise got louder and louder.
“Get off!” Yartek gave Kurt a girly punch as he skittered around his precious bin. “You’re interrupting my prime feeding time. Be gone!”
Kurt straightened up and fixed Yartek with a steely glare. “I am Kurt Gantry, I work for the Space Police. Terrible, ALIEN forces are at work to destroy the very society in which we live, with a weapon of dreadful potential. I need your help.”
Yartek thoughtfully chewed on an old banana peel. “Weapon of dreadful potential, you say…” he muttered, wiping a Muller Fruit Corner from his head in an attempt to suddenly become dignified and presentable. “So, Space Policeman, the government of this planet find they require the services of Yartek, Leader of the Alien Voord!” He raised his fist triumphantly, awkwardly clenching and unclenching it in an attempt to be bad-ass. Kurt coughed.
“Well…” he began. “I’m not actually a Space Policeman, but I work for them. I’m a Junior Administration Assistant. That’s how I found out about their evil plan, someone left it on the photocopier. But you Yartek, I know you have the power and brains to defeat this menace. You’re like…” he struggled to find the words. “…the Che Guevara of space! I own all your posters! You’ve got to help, they’ll be here any moment!”
From down the street, a whirring, humming, clattering noise rose in pitch.
“Who? Who’s after you!” Yartek’s brain started to whirr. If he helped this poor kid and saved the country, the nation would gratefully shower him with gifts. He could live in Buckingham Palace and kill whoever he wanted without those pesky policemen chasing him off with sticks. And there weren’t that many great villains about. It might just be a bunch of Nimon and…
The gravelly, metallic voice echoed down the street as Yartek swiftly hid behind his bin. “Oh Jesus, it’s not the Daleks is it?”
Kurt backed down the alleyway as a shadow fell over them. “No!” he gibbered. “It’s,,, the MECHANOIDS!”
A huge spherical object slowly trundled into the alleyway. Like a Christmas decoration made by an overenthusiastic glassblower it almost blotted out the sun, making bleeping, blooping noises as it wobbled slightly, its mechanically obese sides making horribly awkward scraping noises as it forced its way into the small passageway.
“Quick!” Yartek shouted as he grabbed Kurt’s arm. “Let’s find some loose gravel and a small doorway!”
Ten minutes later, Yartek peeped his head out of the door of the British Science Museum. “I think…” he muttered. “I think it’s still stuck there.” Indeed, tramps had gathered around the trapped Mechanoid and were attempting to steal all the copper from its body.
Yartek took out a cigar and proceeded to light it up. “Well Kurt old chap, that was a close shave. I expect my cheque will be in the post shortly.”
His exuberance was short-lived as Kurt swatted the cigar out of his hands. “NO SMOKING!” the now rather annoying human shrieked in an agitated state.
Yartek frowned under his mask. “Look, I can either kill you in 30 years by passive smoking, or I can kill you right now by a stick in the face. Your choice.” His alpha male dominance once more asserted, he started to wander around the exhibits. “I bet there’s a ray gun or a time machine in here somewhere…” he whispered as he ran his hand over an exhibit demonstrating why Velcro is exciting.
Kurt slumped into a chair and sobbed slightly. “You don’t understand!” he wailed. “The danger isn’t over, it has barely begun. Look!” He passed a document from below his tattered jacket to Yartek.
When Yartek read what the plan was, he too, sat down heavily.
When Yartek read the names of the man who had betrayed the planet, he gave an audible squeak.
And when Yartek read the name of the mastermind of this horrific scheme, he turned white. Or would have, if he wasn’t wearing his super-sweet black rubber suit.
“This… this is inconceivable!” he finally uttered. “Not even I could have thought up a scheme so diabolical. We’ve got to…”
Yartek’s words were lost like a cheap BBC Science Fiction drama set alight by archivists, as an explosion from the museum lobby drowned out all noise.
“The Mechanoids!” Kurt screamed. “They’re here.”
“Don’t worry!” Yartek struck a pose again. “The narrow doorways will hold them up. And I put a chair in the lift. That’ll flummox them, they won’t know what to do.”
Kurt shook his head. “Its not just Mechanoids who are working for this evil man! There’s Nimon, Krotons and… the oldest Doctor Who villain ever!”
Yartek was taken aback by this cliffhanger-inducing revelation. “What, not…”
“Yes! It is I!” The door exploded and a figure wearing only bearskin stormed into the room, flanked by half a dozen Mechanoids. One had a chair balanced on its head. The figure smiled. “Za the Caveman! And once I complete this mission, our master will teach me THE SECRET OF FIRE!”
During this exposition-filled rant, Yartek and Kurt took the opportunity to race into the next section of the museum, slamming the door with a heavy thud. Za stalked forwards to examine the handle.
“Damn. It’s on the latch.”
“Oh god oh god, I’m too young to die! Save me Yartek!” Kurt started flailing as from behind the door, the heavy sound of a Mechanoid slowly thudding against it filling the air.
Yartek looked around the room at all the marvellous scientific gadgets, stroking his chin. He walked over to a curator and snapped his fingers. “Of course, I’m a genius! I have the perfect plan!”
After much coaxing, the door finally shattered, and the Mechanoids led by Za stormed into the room. It was devoid of life, save for the aforementioned elderly curator.
“Where?” Za shouted at the man. “Where is Kurt Gantry and his mysterious friend!”
The curator gave a wistful sigh, staring up as if through the ceiling and into space. “They’re many light years from Earth by now.” He whispered. “Moving towards a strange planet in a strange galaxy, the nature of which we can only guess at.” A single tear fell down his cheek.
Za hurled the old man to one side and roughly threw open a cupboard. Yartek and Kurt were huddled in the bottom, sobbing and crying. “Oh Jesus” wept Yartek valiantly. “Not the face! Not the face!”
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