Headache. Huge damn headache. There’s an entire industrial revolution hammering away between my ears. But that’s the price you pay for the long sleep.
‘Drink this’, said the nurse. ‘What year is it?’ croaks I.
‘The year 2754 my Lord’.
I’ve been out for five hundred years. No wonder I’ve got a head that thinks it’s a steam engine about to pop its main pressure valve.
I carefully squint through the pain of my cryogenic fugue at the nearby nurse and breathe a deep sigh of gratitude. Time may have leached away many things but at least girls still look like girls.
Time to go to work. Emperor Fred is officially in the building.
‘Assemble my advisors!’
‘Oh but they are already here, my Lord,’ croons my nubile carer, nodding at a box in the corner.
Small looking box. Shiny. Very shiny. Lots of flashing lights. IGOR Decision Maker Mark V.
Girl’s clearly on drugs. Half an Epoch later and you still can’t get decent help.
I flop a hand out from under the blanket and grope around for a weapon. Something loud and ballistic.
‘Let me help, my Lord’, says the crazed one, reaching over to the box and switching on a button.
‘Welcome Emperor Fred!’ squeaks the box.
Holy Batman! It sounds just like my Mother! I lurch over and whack the thing hard on its shiny chrome-dome head.
I’m physically restrained by my captor.
“No, no, my Lord, you talk to it. This is an advanced Expert Decision Making system specifically built to help you run your empire”.
“Real men,” I grunt, “don’t commune with a box. Real men run their own bloody empires”.
With a heaving chest I vomit all over the flashing box of brains.
Take that Mum.
Charles introduces himself.
I stare at my ‘Chancellor’. Can’t say that I’m impressed but at least he looks human.
Not sure about his name though. Charles? Had a dog once called Charles. Present from my ex-wife. Appropriate.
Insensitive woman gifts incontinent dog. Man shoots dog.
“My Lord, here is the map of the known Galaxy as you requested”
That big, huh?
Frowning I notice something. “Where’s Earth? When I went to sleep I was on Earth. Definitely Earth.
This”, I state in my most ominous voice, “isn’t Earth.”
“Ahh, My Lord. Let me explain…” Charles paused, collecting his thoughts.
I wait. Impatiently. Man, this should be one heck of story. What have they done, repainted and renamed the planet in my absence?
“Historically –“ began Charles before I cut him off.
“Listen fella, I don’t need a school lesson. I want to know why I’m not on Planet bl**dy Earth!”
“In order to explain this, my Lord, I need to –“
Jeez. “And what exactly is with all the ‘Lord this’ and ‘Lord that’? Speak up man, before I lose my sense of humour!”
Charles looks at me askance. “But you are the chosen one, my Lord according to the legend of the Seeker.”
Ahhhhh. Yes. Of course. The good ‘ole Legend of the Seeker.
I made that one up way back when.
The problem with doing the long sleep is that somebody at some point has to voluntarily choose to wake you up.
While I’m cute and cuddly on rare occasions I didn’t think it likely that anyone would want to reinstate Emperor Fred and willing hand over the keys to the world.
“Right, O.K. Charles, I’m here. I’ve returned to save humanity. Everyone can relax. Thank the stars for that one.”
“And this, my Lord, is a map of our local sector. As you have already seen we are situated on the extreme outer rim of the galaxy in the Aquareos quadrant”
Yep, figured that one out. Whole lot of empty real estate out there.
“Charles, point out where the bugs are”
“Bugs, my Lord?”
“Yeah, the bugs. The Slimy Green Aliens. The scum. Where exactly are they?”
“I’m not sure I follow, my Lord?”
Bad attitude there. I make a note. “Hey, does anyone else live in the galaxy apart from we humans?”
“Undoubtedly, my Lord. Our Xeonologists estimate that the Galaxy is teeming with a multitude of different lifeforms.”
Boatloads of bugs. Good oh. For a moment there I was thinking life was going to be boring.
“But the Xeonol…, whatevers, haven’t found them yet, is that what you’re telling me?”
“Yes, my Lord”
Right. I’ll need weapons. Big ones.
“Who’s in charge of the Royal Space Fleet?”
“Rear Admiral Wanda, my Lord”
“A woman?” I ask incredulously. “They’ve put a woman in charge of the navy?”
“R.A Wanda is an extremely capable individual, my Lord,” huffed Charles. “She has been promoted strictly on merit.”
Bollocks to that. Admirals should have deep voices, jutting chins and low hanging tackle. Nothing to do with being sexist. That’s just the way it is.
“Mmmm. Then I’d like a word with Wanda the Wonder Woman. Sharpish.”
“Yes, my Lord”
How did the kings of old put up with all this bowing and genuflecting?
Painful. That’s what it is. Painful.
To be continued...