"You silly sods!" Hound was quite cross. "Now look what you've done."
"What happened? How did we get here?" a bewildered Mago asked.
"Someone - or possibly sometwo - were thinking of Star Trek when they crashed through my hedge, weren't they?"
Ms Scarlet guiltily put a hand to her basket-weave bouffant while the grin dissolved from IDV's face.
"Yes, but really?" The disbelief in Maddie's tone was palpable.
"Yes, really" said Hound. "I'm a hedgewitch. For me the hedge is both the witch's setting and a gateway to other places. Mitzi's hedge was still charged up from when I transported us to the Cornish coast for the Poldark thing, so blundering through it while thinking of Trek brought us here."
"My hedge did this?" Mitzi didn't look happy. "Right. It's coming down once we get back."
"Oh, I'm no good with this Star Trek stuff" Dinah cut in. "Let's just go back through so we can all go home. I'm tired - I'm several time zones from where I normally am and it's all catching up with me."
their surroundings. "And the other 250 years!"
"Oh, Mr Devine!"
"Oof!" said Dinah as she found herself face down on the other side of the hedge.
"Well, that didn't work." Mago helped Dinah up after her unsuccessful return trip.
"All the magic was used up getting you all here" Hound said. "We're not going anywhere for a while."
"Will you lot stop trampling my plants!" a loud voice cut through the Blogorati's sniping. "And get off my lawn!"
As one, the Blogorati turned towards the source of their berator. There in the corner, shovelling a big pile of something ghastly-looking, was someone familiar wearing a red miniskirt uniform like Ms Scarlet's.
"Stop your gawping, IDV" she said. "This tribble shit isn't going to spread itself."
Oh. Er, no. I suppose it won't. Um. Actually, our shift's about to start - we'd better go" IDV shooed the milling Blogorati towards the turbolift. "C'mon, let's get out of here."
¹, but to the doors snapping shut.
A short turbolift ride to the recreation deck later...
"I don't see why we can't go back" Jon protested.
"Because we're in the next part of the story now, of course" IDV said rather patronisingly then glared at Hound. "Isn't that right?"
"Hey! Don't blame me. It might have been my hedge that got us here, but it's your bloody story!"
"I need a drink!" Mago interrupted, strategically cutting off the Argument of Witches.
"Me too" Dinah agreed. "Where's the bar?"
Maddie narrowed her eyes and slowly turned on her heels as she surveyed the cavernous recreation deck. Suddenly her arm shot out, finger pointing towards a softly lit alcove. "There!" she cried triumphantly and stalked towards it.
"Thank fuck" Mitzi said. "Follow that Queen!"
"Hang on a minute" Ms Scarlet called to the rest of the Blogorati as they headed off. "I'm just going to the loo" and she ducked into an unlabelled door. Rather surprisingly, the room did appear to be a futuristic lavatory. What a stroke of luck, she thought and headed to a cubicle. She opened the door and-
"Christ!" There before her - well, stuck to the ceiling - was herself!
The two Ms Scarlets stared at each other in shock for several seconds. Eventually, the Ms Scarlet not stuck to the ceiling with thick, sticky Alien resin found her wits. "Wha-?" Okay, so she didn't find many of her wits, but the rest were making a concerted effort to regroup and return to her head.
"Oog..." the cocooned Ms Scarlet groaned. "Who are you? Are you... Me??"
Suddenly, with her wits back where they belonged, everything fell into place.² "I remember this" she said. "Well, sort of. I thought this happened on the Priscilla, not the Enterprise, though?"
"Wot?" cocooned Ms Scarlet said, then corrected herself. "I mean: What? I mean: Pardon?"
"This is ten years ago!" full bladder Ms Scarlet exclaimed, realisation having kicked in. "I remember now. Ms Mistress had stolen my wig and uniform then stuck me up on the ceiling with her saliva while she impersonated me impersonating Uhura. Then a future me appeared and released me."
"Well?" cocooned Ms Scarlet huffed as full bladder Ms Scarlet just stood there with a triumphant look on her face. "Release me, then!"
"Oh. Yes. Um. Just a mo" abashed, Ms Scarlet climbed onto the toilet seat and started tearing away the disgusting dried spit.
"Careful!" the almost de-cocooned Ms Scarlet warned, but too late. Full-bladder Ms Scarlet tore away a big chunk of resin that turned out to be a structural piece, and her younger counterpart dropped to the floor. "Ouch."
"Oops! Sorry. I remember that happening now."
"Perhaps you could have remembered before I fell?"
"Next time, maybe. Although, I'm sure when this happened to me we were on the DragKingon's ship as the Enterprise had blown up? It all seems to be happening differently."
The no-longer-cocooned Ms Scarlet just stared at her.
(because, for some bizarre reason, the high-cut shorts were sewn into the mini-skirt tunic - almost as if it was to look good on TV, rather than be practical for everyday use), and ducked into the cubicle. Seizing an opportunity, the younger Ms Scarlet shimmied into the discarded 'dress', stuck her head in the replicator and dialed up basket hair, then inspected her reflection in one of the mirrors above the wash basins. Aside from looking
MUCH a bit younger - she'd have to remember
to tell the cameraman not to slather as much Vaseline on the lens - she
was good to go. So she did.
"Hey! What's going on out there?" the now half-empty-bladder Ms Scarlet shouted.
With Jon, Dinah, Mago, Maddie and Mitzi at the bar, IDV, Hound and Carmen arranged themselves at a couple of tables, hoping to crowd out the only other occupant.
"Someone's sitting there" the occupant told Carmen in no uncertain terms as she lowered herself into a chair.
"Look! It's Uhura!" IDV whispered excitedly, elbowing Hound in the ribs to get his attention.
"Oh, I give up - you're as bad as Mago."
"It's Melanie, actually" 'Uhura' said with a grin. "Hi everyone!"
"That's a fabulous 'do, Melanie" Ms Scarlet said smoothing her uniform down as she returned from the loo. "No, not next to me, Carmen! Over there. Over there!"
"Thank you!" Melanie said ignoring Ms Scarlet shooing Carmen away. "Wow! You look amazing! A lot younger than I expected."
"You'll never guess who I've just seen at the bar?" another Uhura breathlessly gushed as she approached the table with a couple of drinks. "Hang on, who're all these..."
"Ms Scarlet?!" Savvy was agog. "You must let me know your beauty routine - you look so young!"
"Who'ssssss sssssitting in my chair?" yet another Uhura hissed as she lowered herself from the ceiling, a distressingly viscous clear liquid dripped from her terrifying maw all over Carmen who was just settling herself opposite a clearly agitated IDV.
"Oh, just throw her aside" Mitzi replied not looking up as she plopped a tray of drinks down on the table. "She's only my maid-of-all-work and shouldn't be sitting with us anyway."
"Shit!" she said, then quickly recovered.
"Oopsssss! Ssssssorry. Got carried away in the part."
Mitzi actually looked up at this point and took in the carnage. "A bit of UHU and a couple of sticky plasters will have Carmen up and running in no time" she said reaching for a pint of creme de menthe.
"Ms Mistress!" Ms Scarlet greeted Alien Queen Uhura.
"Oh, no..." IDV groaned. He had groaned earlier, but no one noticed because of all the Carmen Commotion, so he had to repeat his 'line'.
"I heard that, Mr Device" the Very Mistress snapped as she simultaneously tried to adjust her off-kilter wig and fold most of her limbs in to fit in the chair.
"Oh, I didn't mean... I mean, it's lovely to see you and I did wonder if you were going to insinuate yourself into the story somehow, but as Uhura? Really?"
"Yessssss, really. After all, I wassss Uhura before thosssse two" and the Very Mistress gestured at Savvy and Melanie with one of her feeding legs which, unfortunately, flung a streamer of drool at them.
"And I was Uhura before you" Ms Scarlet pointed out. "Have you still got my shoes, by the way?"
"Oh. Yesssss, they didn't fit me, anyway. Hang on..." The Very Mistress rummaged around under her enormous crest for a while before brandishing a slime-covered pair of knee-high boots. She peered closely at Ms Scarlet before handing them over. "Have you been using the Stick of Butter Treatment?"
"No, of course not! This is just my natural youthfulness. I... Eww!" Fortunately, Ms Scarlet's expression of disgust at the gunk-smothered boots was masked by IDV's worrygutting.
"You know the budget's always stretched to breaking point on these things, Very Mistress. We can't afford three Uhuras!"
"Of coursssssse we can. We haven't got that other lot taking up mossssst of the budget with their excessssssive appearance feesssss, for a ssssstart."
"Well, I suppose" IDV acquiesced, as he thought of Princess, Beast, Eros and Roses. "But what if 'Petra or Tim suddenly turn up? You know how the expenses mount up with their riders and high-maintenance needs."
"They won't. After all, I ate that little Danish Puff in the firssssst installment of thisssss calamity, and Tim'ssssss probably ssssstill too traumatisssssed to show hissss face - never mind hisssss other bitssssss - after your previoussssss 'attentionsssss'.
"Hmmmmph! He doesn't know what he's missing..."
"What are you doing, Ms Scarlet?""I'm writing a novel, actually" she replied to Savvy, and looked up, staring past the rabble of Blogorati as she imagined her world. "It's about a beautiful young milliner who specialises in tin-foil who is hired to work on an epic sci-fi adventure film starring Aidan Turner. Aidan falls for the milliner who- Hey! Watch it!" Ms Scarlet leapt up as a dark green Aurelian waiter - who looked disconcertingly like a human-sized cormorant - knocked a glass of tranya all over her.
³ we shoved out an airlock back at Uranus."
"Beep boop" agreed a dustbin on wheels topped with a large tray of drinks, and then electrocuted the 'cormorant' with its probulator.
"Helping us with the drinks" Jon said as he turned up behind them, glass in hand.
"We found them milling about at the bar" Dinah added, her wine almost sloshed out of its glass as she gestured behind them with it.
"Careful, Dinah" Mago warned her. "They only have twelve more bottles left!"
"So, what happens now, then?" Melanie asked.
"Yeah" Savvy seconded. "We're all here. Are we going to have an adventure?"
"It dependssss if Misssssster Device hasssss thought this far ahead" the Very Mistress answered with a sneer. Although, it could have been a smile - the animatronics made it difficult to tell. "Have you?" she demanded, turning to IDV.
"Um. No. Not as such, no" IDV squirmed. "I didn't expect us to be here. The story was supposed to be finished in the previous post, but then Hound's enchantment of Mitzi's bush-
"Don't blame me for this, Bab!" Hound cut in.
"I'm not. I'm just saying that things got away from me, somewhat."
"As they usually do..."
"Well, I think we should make the most of this lull in the drama⁴ and have a party!⁵" Jon declared.
"Ooh, yes!" Ms Scarlet agreed.
"Beep boop" said Norma-D2.
(in order of appearance)
Ms Scarlet ~ Penelope Pitstop, Patsy Stone, and Janice Rand
IDV ~ The Haggard Claw
Hound ~ Houndwort and "Aidan Turner"
The Very Mistress ~ Hideous Alien Queen/Uhura #2
Carmen ~ Bishop
Ms Nations as Head Hoe
On a wind-swept cliff top millions of miles away and hundreds of years ago...
Madam Arcati smiled to herself as she spied her quarry amongst the long grass and wildflowers. She bent over and picked up the small, suspiciously crispy flannel...
:: :: ::
2. Sophie Ellis Bextor "Everything Falls Into Place"
3. Penguin waiters from Mary Poppins
4. Erasure "Drama"
5. Freemasons - "Rain Down Love" (feat. Siedah Garrett)