bridge of the lentil seed appeared eerily quiet following the rumbling,
creaking and straining noises during the ship’s launch from deep beneath
the ice crust of Europa.
Commander A’Doner ended the silence. “Where are those intruders?”
Moonbeam, awakened by the commander’s loud voice, slipped off his
seat and fell to the floor with a thump. He pulled himself back up onto
his seat and quickly operated his console. It took all the concentration
his drug-saturated mind could muster to read the data on his screen. “Erm…
The intruders are in, like, section four of deck three. I think they’re,
like, making their way to the bridge, or something.”
Anxiety was obvious in the commander’s voice. “They’ll
be here in a couple of minutes at this rate! Gas them! Now!”
“Erm… Like, okay.” Moonbeam said. He hit a large green
Ross, Peter and Pan strode confidently down yet another dank passageway.
Ross screwed up his face. “Fuckin’ hell, Pan! Have you dropped
Pan took a defensive tone. “No way! You’re always the one
that farts without remorse. Never me!”
Ross shook his head. “Not this time.”
Peter’s face was also a little screwed up. “That’s quite
disgusting. Smells a bit like rancid vegetable soup.”
Everyone yawned. And then everyone yawned again.
Realisation hit Pan like a hammer in the groin. “Shit! It must be
some kind of sleeping gas! Close your visors!”
Everyone pulled down the visors on their helmets. Their suits’ quickly
removed all of the gas.
Peter was still yawning. “The medical status panel on my heads-up
display is flashing red. What does that mean?” He yawned once again.
Pan voice sounded distant and dreamy. “I think it's too late. We've
had too large a dose already.” He dropped to the floor. A second
later he was snoring like an asthmatic donkey.
“Fuck!” Ross said as he too fell to the floor.
Peter managed to stay on his feet for a few more seconds, but then he
succumbed, just like the others.
Commander A’Doner had watched the screen on his console as the three
humans fell to the ground. “Ha! Well done, Moonbeam, good work!”
Moonbeam grinned inanely. He lit up a cigar sized reefer and took a deep
and satisfying draw. His eyes glazed over.
Hooch McArse, the emaciated engineering cadet, was curious. “What's
that smell, man? It’s makin’ me, like, want to eat stuff.”
All of the command deck crew – those that happened to be conscious,
started sniffing the air.
Commander A’Doner’s eyes widened. “Moonbeam, you vacant
bum fondler! You've let the gas get in here!” He slumped back into
his well-padded chair, barely able to focus. “I’m sending
you to the…”
The commander and the rest of the command deck crew lost all remnants
An eerie silence took hold of the ship once more. All consciousness had
been lost. The Lentil Seed continued on its course through deep space.
No one was aware that the ship was on a direct collision course with an
unusual anomaly - a rip in the very fabric of space and time.
Far behind the Lentil Seed - three-million miles behind in fact - HMS
Death Reaper matched the hippy ship’s course and speed. With its
navigation lights off, and all non-essential systems shut down to prevent
emissions of any kind, the giant British submarine was almost totally
General Kath, now dressed in a tight-fitting electric-blue body suit,
sat in the command chair on the bridge of the Death Reaper. The ship was
in full stealth mode, and the only light around her was the blue and green
glow of the many control consoles, each one manned by an anonymous and
expendable crew member. They all seem decent enough, Kath thought, but
they’re still a poor substitute for my heroic friends trapped on
that hippy ship.
Kath turned and looked towards the back of the bridge. There, strapped
tightly into a chair with rope and gaffer tape, sat Lawrence. He snored
deeply, and thick green bile dribbled steadily out of one side of his
mouth. No one had told her why her friend was in such a state, but she
knew he was probably best left there. If the movie ‘The Exorcist’
had taught her anything, it was never to trust someone with green goop
coming out of their mouth.
The general turned her attention back to the task at hand. The main screen
at the front of the small but opulent bridge was showing the Lentil Seed’s
glowing rear end, far ahead.
“Status report?” She ordered.
The young officer to her side looked down at his screens. “We’re
twenty-three billion miles from Earth following the Layzee Sponjer vessel
at maximum speed, and at minimum stealth distance. Heading is 213-by-012-by-331
– a direct course for the Hayzee Nebula. All systems nominal.”
General Kath looked at her subordinate. “Are you certain we can’t
The officer smiled. “Oh yes, ma’am. We’re at stealth
level ten – the highest level possible. And the fact that we’re
so far away from the sun means there’s very little light out here.
They wouldn’t see us even if they looked directly at us. We’re
as black as the inside of my arse, ma’am!”
Kath cringed. “Thank you for that vivid report. Maintain heading.”
The officer nodded and turned his attention back to his screens.
The communications panel on the command chair bleeped. Kath answered the
call. “What is it?”
“It’s… Erm… Me, Private Schwimmer. Captain Codd’s
frozen head is in sickbay, as ordered.”
“Excellent. Well done. Finally you did something right for a change.”
“Erm… Well… Yeah, almost.”
The general frowned with suspicion. “What does that mean?”
“I dropped the jar just as I got here. The damage to Captain Codd
isn’t too bad, his lower jaw and left ear snapped off. The rest
of his head seems fine.”
“You clumsy idiot! What the hell is wrong with you?!”
“Erm… The doctor still says he can save him. He’s operating
“I’ve had enough of your mistakes!” General Kath shouted.
“You present a danger to this mission. You’re confined to
the brig for the duration.” She silenced the communicator. “Who’s
in charge of security here?” she asked the bridge crew.
“That would be me, ma’am.” A particularly large-breasted
“Send a squad down to sickbay and have Private Schwimmer arrested
and charged with incompetence. Throw him in the brig.”
“Aye aye, ma’am.”
“But don’t beat him.”
“No beating. Aye, ma’am.”
The Death Reaper continued its sly pursuit of the Lentil Seed.
…The bright sun glared fiercely off the powder snow. Pan, Peter,
and Ross raced like jet-powered penguins down the eastern slope towards
the town of Breckenridge far below.
Lentils were still falling like hail from the sky, and Pan, like the true
gastronomic hero that he was, gulped down as many mouthfuls as he could. “Got to eat them all!”
Pan yelled. “Every single one!”
Ross pulled alongside his hungry friend. “There’s no way you
can eat them all! You’re fuckin’ mad!”
“It’s my destiny!” Pan shouted. He swallowed yet another
mouthful. “I must absorb the awesome power of lentils!”
Ross grabbed Pan and pulled him to the ground. The pair tumbled through
the deep layers of snow and lentils and came to a halt at the edge of
a deep crevasse.
Ross began to repeatedly slap Pan hard across the face. “What the
fuck is wrong with you, Pan?”
Slap. Slap. Slap…
Pan opened his eyes. A loud banging echoed through his head. He looked
up and saw Ross punching his visor.
“Wake the fuck up, Pan!”
Pan held his hand up. “Okay! Okay! I’m awake!”
Ross helped his friend sit up.
“What happened?” Pan asked.
“We were gassed, remember? I thought we’d be captured, but
for some reason we weren’t.”
Further down the passageway, Pan could see Peter recovering. Pan looked
up at Ross. “I had a dream whilst I was unconscious. I was snowboarding
through a lentil rain storm. I felt compelled to eat them all, and you
were trying to stop me.”
Ross looked shocked. “That’s so freaky! I had the same fuckin’
“Fuckin’ way!” Ross confirmed, leaning back against
the passageway wall. “What the fuck is going on?”
Peter crawled over. He looked at them both. “I just had a really
On the command deck of the Lentil Seed the crew members’ were regaining
Commander A’Doner gazed dreamily at the giant screen in front of
him. It was showing the view directly ahead. Something did not look right.
The centre of the screen showed no stars. It was completely black. “Somebody
tell me what that is!”
After a few seconds the ship’s sinewy pilot responded. “Well,
I haven’t got a clue.”
The commander was recovering fast. He sat up straight, pulled his small
pistol out from his robes, and aimed it at the pilot. “Try again.”
The pilot was still deeply stoned from the gas. “Erm… Try
A bullet, small and blunt, passed through the pilot’s wire-like
neck, mincing his throat and blowing spine fragments far across the deck.
The pilot slumped to the floor, blood pumping like a fountain from his
gaping neck wound.
Commander A’Doner looked at the screen. The strange oddity displayed
seemed larger. “Somebody else tell me what that is. Now!”
On a lower deck Peter was looking out of a small porthole window he had
found at one end of a passageway. “Guys? I may be seeing things,
but half of space has gone black - no stars. Nothing!”
Pan and Ross wandered over and took a look.
“Fuckin’ bizarre!” Ross exclaimed.
Pan was shocked. “Holy Shit! Is that a black hole? Those damn stupid
hippies are taking us straight into it!”
Ross nodded. “Fuckin’ looks like it. We’re right on
the event horizon. I think we’ve reached the point of no return!”
Pan reacted in the only way he could think of. He reached into one of
his suit’s side pockets, and pulled out and unwrapped a king size
Snickers bar. He stuffed the entire snack into his mouth. He began chomping
like a hippopotamus.
Curiosity and a healthy touch of fear could be heard in Peter’s
voice. “What’s going to happen to us?”
Ross, a genius of a physicist, answered. “At first we won’t
feel any gravitational forces at all. Since we’ll be in free fall,
every part of us and this ship is being pulled in the same way so we’ll
feel weightless. As we get closer and closer to the center of the hole
we'll start to feel tidal gravitational forces.”
“What does that mean?” Pan asked, opening another Snickers
“You'll imagine that your feet are closer to the centre than your
head. The gravitational pull will get stronger as you get closer to the
centre of the black hole, so your feet feel a stronger pull than your
head does. As a result you’ll feel stretched. The tidal forces get
more and more intense as you get closer to the centre. Eventually they’ll
rip you apart.”
Peter asked an important question. “Any chance we could get out
“It depends on what type of black hole that is. What I just said
is true for your regular run of the mill black hole. The equations of
general relativity have an interesting mathematical property: they are
symmetric in time. That means that you can take any solution to the equations
and imagine that time flows backwards rather than forwards, and you'll
get another valid solution to the equations. If you apply this rule to
the solution that describes black holes, you get an object known as a
white hole. Since a black hole is a region of space from which nothing
can escape, the time-reversed version of a black hole is a region of space
into which nothing can fall. In fact, just as a black hole can only suck
things in, a white hole can only spit things out.”
Peter pointed at the porthole window. “That looks pretty black to
“Pete’s right.” Pan said, dribbling chocolate.
Ross continued. “If the black hole we’re entering is rotating
and has an electrostatic charge it’s possible to fall into it and
not hit the singularity. In effect, the interior of a charged or rotating
black hole can ‘join up’ with a corresponding white hole in
such a way that you can fall into the black hole and pop out of the white
hole. This is more commonly known as a wormhole.”
Peter seemed happier now. “Sounds good!”
Ross had not finished. “There is one draw back to this.”
Pan took a swig of Fanta from his suit’s dispenser. “What’s
“Well the white hole may be somewhere very far away from the black
hole; indeed, it may even be in a region of space and time that, aside
from the wormhole itself, is completely disconnected from our own region
of time and space – essentially a different universe!”
“Well,” Pan said. “As long as there’s food there,
I don’t care where we come out of that thing.”
Peter was a bit concerned for Ross. “Are you feeling all right?
You haven’t uttered a profanity for several minutes.”
Ross nodded. “Yeah, I feel fine. Thanks for asking.”
Pan stepped in front of Ross and punched his chest hard.
Ross stumbled backwards, almost falling to the floor. “What the
fuck did you do that for, you fuckin’ horse-rapin’ piss drinker?”
“Yep.” Pan said, grinning. “He’s fine.”
And then everyone shuddered violently as reality folded away…