See part 1 for disclaimers etc.They Saved Milton Keynes
2V - Salisbury Plain: T-14
“So let me get this straight,” said Jeremy. “The Bond Bug is too small? Wallace has already fitted the bloody engine!” He pointed at the tiny red car; now fitted with wings and perched atop a fuel tank and engines, thirty feet above the launch pad.
“We lost a decimal place when we worked out the weight needed for fuel,” said James. “It’ll do for the return journey, but we need something a lot bigger to get the Stig out there and match speed.”
“There isn’t enough time or money to build a bigger rocket,” said Richard. “What the hell do we do?”
“We just need to add a few tons of extra fuel capacity.” said Sir Patrick, “plus more liquid oxygen. Surely that can be done. It could even be a big external container, with a few hoses to the re-entry vehicle. Tow it on a long enough cable and the rockets won’t damage it.”
“You want us to tow a caravan?”
“I suppose you could call it that.”
“Oh bloody hell…”VI - Milton Keynes: T-10
“People of Milton Keynes,” Jeremy shouted into his loudhailer. “Prepare to evacuate your homes. A giant asteroid is going to hit the town in ten days.”
His voice echoed across the city centre, mostly ignored by lunch-time shoppers. An old lady stared at him, and some children giggled.
“I don’t think they’re buying it, mate,” said Richard.
“We don’t even have to do this,” said James. “The army will be moving them out next week.”
Jeremy ignored them, and harangued the assembled lack of multitude for several minutes. Then the police arrested him for disturbing the peace. It took ten hours to sort out his bail.VII - Salisbury Plain: T-8
“We need to launch in the next twelve hours,” said Sir Patrick. “Otherwise you’ll reach the asteroid too late to do any good.”
“Right then,” said Jeremy. He picked up a checklist and began to cross off sections. “We can forget about the pressure checks, life support checks, return booster checks…”
“Those are all things that could kill your pilot.”
“Driver. Look, it’s the Stig, he’ll be all right.”
“And if he isn’t?”
“It’ll be great television.”
“I really must protest in the strongest possible terms.”
“Have you got a better idea?” asked Richard.
“Keep shtum then,” said James, “and with any luck the Stig won’t notice.”
“Okay,” said Jeremy. “We launch in five hours.”VIII - Salisbury Plain: Four hours later
“Last check, guys,” said Jeremy, looking around the converted caravan that was going to serve as the supply vehicle. “Ten tons of fuel?”
“Check!” said Richard, gingerly patting the huge silicon-rubber bladder that held the lethally explosive mixture.
“Ten tons of liquid oxygen?”
“Check!” said James, taking care not to touch the icy cryogenic tanks.
“Umbilical cables connected?”
“Check,” said Richard, looking out of the forward porthole.
“Towing cable hooked on?”
“Check!” James joined him at the porthole, and added “Is the Stig supposed to be boarding the Bug yet?”
“Not for another half hour,” said Jeremy, checking his clipboard.
“That’s odd. Oh, Wallace and Gromit are boarding too; it must be some sort of last minute thing.” James picked up his walky-talky. “Guys, is there a problem?”
“Just showing Stig here the landing controls,” said Wallace. “Now whatever you do, don’t touch that lever until you’re ready to launch. No, not that one… that one… oh dear…”
Outside there was a soft pop, followed by an enormous roar, as flames began to pour from the Bug’s rockets.
“Hold on tight, lads,” said Wallace.
The caravan began to shake, and its door slammed shut as a blast of superheated rocket exhaust streamed past. Fifty yards away the Bug rose into the air on a pillar of fire. Over the radio they could hear Wallace shouting something, mostly drowned by the noise of the engines and someone singing in Italian. The Stig’s music selection, of course.
“Brace yourselves,” shouted Jeremy.
There was a loud “Twang!” and the caravan jerked into the air, spinning on the end of the cable and buffeted by the blast of the engines. All three were hurled back onto the rubber fuel tank, which fortuitously cushioned them against the massive G-forces.
“Oh bugger!” said Jeremy, as he began to black out. “None of the sodding cameramen are aboard…”IX - Space: T-7
“Captain’s Blog,” said Jeremy, “Stardate...”
“Oh, give it a rest,” said Richard. “Nobody cares. If we had a camera there might be some interest, as it is you won’t even make YouTube.”
“Someone needs to document the expedition,” said Jeremy. “We’re making history here, the first caravan in space.”
“Okay,” said James, floating in mid-air near the caravan’s tiny instrument console. “Have a historic engineering report. The historic caravan’s historic cabin pressure is still holding, I think we got the last leak plugged at last, thanks to the Hamster’s historic pack of Juicy Fruit. Just remember we’re breathing pure oxygen now, nobody light a fag!”
“That’s good,” Wallace said over the walky-talky. “All we have to do now is work out how to get you aboard the Bug for the return flight.”
“Without anything useful like… oh, space suits,” said Richard.
“We’ve got this far,” said Jeremy.
“Yes, and a fat lot of help you’ve been.”
There was a “beep” and they heard Sir Patrick’s voice, relayed from the radio in the Bug. “I’ve checked your course, and it looks like the corrections you’ve made were a success. You should be able to see the asteroid any time now. Just look out for a bright moving object, it ought to be crossing your course from left to right. When the Stig sees it, he should follow it and match speeds. Is that clear?”
“The Stig is nodding,” said Wallace. There was a pause that lasted several minutes then he shouted “There it is. Now then, Stig, left hand down a aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!”
Outside was suddenly very bright again, and the caravan lurched and whipped round onto a new heading, slamming everyone into the ceiling.
“Whose idea was it to let the Stig drive?” asked Jeremy.
They were still arguing when the caravan smashed into the asteroid.TBC