'She wants to see you both immediately,' said Macrig, as the travellers emerged from their pod, 'and she does not sound pleased. I sent the two guys to her a while ago but it doesn't sound like things have gone well. Good luck.'
So, still feeling rather queasy, Adrig and Edrig marched off immediately to face her.
And she was indeed, not happy.
'Those pathetic specimens that you sent me cannot perform. They are incapable.'
'What do you mean my Lady Lord?' asked Adrig, nervously. 'They have all the necessary parts.'
'They may have the parts, I can see they have the parts, but they are stubbornly dangling and uninterested parts. The men look fine, overall, actually, but their important parts are not functioning. Both specimens just stood before my naked glory, and nothing. Nothing at all. They are incapable. It's not their fault, the poor dears, but there must be something wrong with them, don't you think?'
'Well, I certainly can't think of any other explanation for their parts not, eh, rising to the wonderful opportunity my Lady Lord. This is troubling. Perhaps just bad luck. They are diseased, perhaps? We should get you some other ones. Younger ones maybe?'
The Lady Lord looked at them and thought for a while.
'I am disappointed, and I am suspicious.'
'Suspicious, Lady Lord?'
'Yes, suspicious...And what do you have to say, young Edrig? Young sexy Edrig little lad. Oh... so nearly ready for me too, yum yum and nibble nibble! What's your view on this comprehensively failed mission?'
'Younger ones my Lady Lord,' Edrig said, trembling with fear and looking at her teeth as she grinned at him, but threateningly, he thought. 'We need to bring you younger ones. These ones are quite old.'
'But they must be young if they are footballers, surely?'
'Ah... but..., eh...nearly at the end of their careers actually... We, eh... we went for experience rather than youth, as we thought you would appreciate experience. We thought that best. But that may have been an error. Our error. So... younger ones. Yes, we need to get you slim, powerful, handsome younger ones.'
'My goodness Edrig,' said the Lady Lord. 'I have never heard you say so much to me in one go. Right then. Back down there immediately Edrig, but just you.'
'What?' asked Adrig, exceedingly alarmed at this development.
'Yes, just him and two stunners. He is a big boy now and I don't see why he can't do such a simple task on his own, with two stunners. And anyway, I have other plans for you Adrig my lovely. Go and sup your testosterjuice and get back to me later today.'
'But he couldn't possibly manage to get them in through the hatch. Not all alone. No chance. Could you Edrig?'
Edrig seemed deep in thought.
'Well Edrig?' demanded the Lady Lord. Do you really need assistance? If you do I can grant it, but it won't be sexy Adrig. Do you want someone else to help you?'
'Well... actually Lady Lord, in the circumstances... I think I will manage on my own. I don't want to cause any extra trouble to you and... Yes, I'm sure I can manage on my own. Perhaps with a bit more cash though, in case... eh... bribes. They can ask for a lot of bribes down there you know.'
Adrig looked astonished. The Lady Lord looked pleased.
'Very well then! Good boy! Their money is just paper rubbish to me. Take as much as you wish, and go. Oh, and take the two useless specimens back with you. But you, Adrig, shall not leave my offices. You shall be a good lad also, and shall drink your fill of testosterjuice, and then we shall have a wonderful evening together, won't we?'
'Yes my Lady Lord,' said Adrig, glumly.
On his way out, with the Lady Lord turned away and looking out of the window, Edrig made a little swivel of his hips as he passed Adrig, rather like a pole dancer might, and told him to 'have a lovely time,' which he said loudly so that the Lady Lord would hear.
Adrig did not seem to appreciate the humour.
Then on the way back up to his room, Edrig entered Adrig's place and looked for the language pack. He found it rather quickly, resting on a table by Adrig's Kneetop Computationaliser.
Shouldn't take me long, Edrig thought. Then he went down to see Macrig, who had the pod side opened up for some maintenance.
'I'm going back,' Edrig announced, 'And as soon as possible, and I need much more money in a bag, a rucksack type bag please. The Lady Lord says it will take a lot. Check with her if you want, but if she says a lot she must mean a lot. Better make it one mill... No, two million, if that is feasible.'
'No dear boy, that is not feasible, but I could manage a hundred thousand.'
'Oh... Oh well, alright then, a hundred thousand, and a new credit card with... what's the max?'
'Oh... could make it maybe fifty thousand, but it would only go undetected for about a week.'
'Fine. I won't be gone long,'
'Yet you need so much? What for?'
'Eh... Do you need to know?'
'Oh here we go again,' sighed Macrig. 'Alright lad, I'll have everything ready soon, just go and have a bite to eat and it'll be all sorted.'
'Thanks Macrig. You know Adrig said you were a good man really.'
'Adrig said that? About me?'
'Ah well, us men have to stick together, I suppose.'
'Oh, and the two guys from 717. I need to take them back as well. Stun them and stick them in please. A good heavy stun. I don't want any trouble from them.'
'Whatever you wish young man. You are getting a bit of attitude about you, aren't you?'
'Time for me to take more control of things Macrig. My time to shine has come.'
Macrig shook his head a little at that, but then he smiled.
So, just a short while later, Edrig entered the prepared pod, with Alan and Edmund already seated inside, but slumped unconscious, fully stunned.
And soon Edrig was on his way, for a while the only conscious being out of the three beings aboard, and then unconscious along with the others.
And when he regained consciousness, he found Alan and Edmund still slumped, but breathing quietly.
Edrig scanned outside with the camera and was please to see that he had arrived at the location on the grass just beside the pond, exactly according to the pre-program that he had requested. It was the middle of the night and there was nobody about. He immediately opened the hatch and began the somewhat laborious process of heaving his two unknowing companions outside. It took a while, but he managed it without either of them showing any signs of awareness other than a few minor groans. They are coming to, he thought, but it'll be at least an hour yet, probably.
He eased himself from the pod, then reached inside to retrieve his bulging rucksack and the thick dark coat that he had found in the clothes box back home. He slipped the coat on and pulled the rucksack onto his back. After just a brief pause for thought, he threw his communicator and both stunners into the pod, then reached in and pressed the Auto Return button.
The two seconds before the hatch shut and the return program kicked in gave him time to withdraw his arm and step back.
As the pod began to de-materialise he turned and walked across the park towards the town, with an overpowering sense of freedom in his mind.
They may seek, he pondered, but they will not find, and they will not bother about the trivial loss of little me.
And he walked on, across the park, across the first street, and then turned to head in the direction of the railway station.