The year is 7248, a tall well built woman in a suit made from strange materials waits outside a 1940s style building.
A short woman in fancy spectacles and practical shoes leaves the building and hands over a tablet pc. “Do try not to get yourself killed again. We’re still trying to recover political power from the last time you sacrificed yourself.”
The tall woman nods, sliding the tablet pc into a jacket pocket. “Is the Slypper repaired?”
The short woman nods “Improved even”
The Tall woman grins.
In the year 2013 a man in pyjamas stands atop the Toys’R’Us Car Park, shouting at the night sky. “Well here I am Lord, here I stand, alone in your good grace. My life in your hands! University was fun, university was great. The debt is not! And Woking! Woking! Fucking Woking! You condemn me to this place! To these people! Frell you! Frell you to The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe and The Big Bang Burger Bar. I have free will! I have control over my destiny! I have the right to end my life when it no longer becomes tenable! May vultures pick out my eyeballs for all eternity!”
He runs, he jumps and he falls. The tarmac rushes up to welcome him through the rusted gates of hell when a stammering “Sh!” fills his ears. The sound rises to an unbearable crescendo and he blacks out.
A moment later he’s falling backwards up into the air. His sneakers screech on vinyl and he lands on a mattress, gravity shifts and he falls forward, into the arms of a tall well built woman.
He swallows back some vomit and asks “Are you the devil.”
The woman smiles. “You may call me Galla.”
The man nods “Right, names. I’m Dave, David Hemmings. What was that? Why aren’t I dead? Am I dead and how did you do that?”
Galla says casually “I was passing through, saw you were falling to your death, materialised my ship around you and used centrifugal force to counteract the momentum of your fall and save your life. Now you have three options. Option 1, I can drop you off safely on the ground and go on my memory way-”
Dave clasps his hands together imploringly “Oh not that! Anything but that.”
“Option 2, I can give you a special drug from my home system that provides the recipient with immortality, beauty, strength, stamina and a greater capacity for knowledge with the small downside that you will be biologically subservient to me and legally my pet.”
Dave frowns “And option 3?”
Galla opens the door of the Slypper and steps out into the middle of wet and windy British field.
A minute later Dave exits, dressed in a leather jacket and denim jeans, while carrying a bulky looking cross between an AK47, a harpoon launcher and an ipod. He turns around and watches as the pop tent he’d apparently stepped out of transforms into a body builder in hotpants.
“Hey” says the Slypper “Never point guns at that which you do not intend to kill”
“He’s alive” says Dave nervously “Your ship is alive and German.”
Galla laughs, already halfway across the field. “The multiverse is vast and complicated, only navigable by a biological brain and soul. Sylphs are vital components in any multiverse traversing ship. The other guys use women in their Seghats and we use men in our Slyppers.”
Dave rushes to catch up with Galla and hisses “But why is he a body builder?”
The Slypper calmly strides after them, his voice booming cheerily “The same reason women in fiction are always devilishly beautiful. If you have a character that is useful and subservient to another, they will always reflect the desires of who they are subservient to.”
Dave says “But it’s cold.”
The Slypper laughs “I traverse all of time, space and logic and you think this registers as cold to me”
Galla chuckles “Children” then she hears a sound.
“Down!” demands Galla.
The Slypper and Dave drop onto the wet grass.
A great beast charges out of the trees towards Galla. Head, fin and tail of a shark, paws and fur of a dog, hands and torso of a man. It bellows a guttural roar.
Galla backs away palms upwards “Easy boy, I don’t want to hurt you”
The beast speeds up its charge and pounces.
Galla gives a yodelling screech and jumps up into the air, she spins and lands looking at the beast’s behind. “I can help you. I can use you. Don’t make me do this.”
The beast turns and stares down Galla.
“I mean it. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
The beast roars and pounces.
Galla reaches inside her jacket pockets and pulls out two pistols in one slick movement firing off six shots before it hit the ground. “Play dead”
Dave gets to his feet and staggers forward. “You - just - killed it. No struggle. No danger. You just gunned it down.”
The Slypper places a comforting hand on his shoulder.
Galla shrugs “I gave it a chance, it refused the offer. Besides it’s not dead, just paralysed, the guys back at research and development will love this.”
Dave stares at her “You saved my life because a bunch of animal testing pricks wanted a new test subject?”
Galla laughs “You think they gave me a sentient ship just to catch a wereshark? Oh no, this is just a bonus the real bounty’s going to be much harder.”
“Oh yeah, what is it? An owlbear” says Dave.
“Worse” says Galla “A Farsh-nuke”