Chapter 11

 

Escape and Ullapool again

 

“Without voting? Just for the fun of it? Without threats, violence, and blackmailing?”

 

“Ay, Goldi”, Trample snorted and took the transmitter the chief handed to him. “I’m the volunteer. Just for the fun of it!”

 

“We are proud of you, Trample”, Goldi said and once more patted his shoulder. “But remember: Lift your arms before you start, Trample.”

 

“What for? Is the flight easier that way?”

 

“Maybe but in the hospital it is easier for them to get you out of your shirt…”

 

It took some minutes until they had caught shrieking Trample and positioned him for the optimal start as Goldi phrased it. Dodo held Trample’s left fore and hind paw, the chief was responsible for the right side. Then Hamstilidamst counted down from 3, and Trample our friend was hurled up, tightly passing the edge of the box. Steep up into the air he went and as Dodo’s starting aid had been quite powerful, shrieking Trample was rather a right-turning hamster.

 

“Not that bad”, Botchy grumped. “He looks right like a furious humming-top but gets more drive by that.”

 

“Perhaps he shouldn’t wave his arms to much, he just wobbles…”

 

“Indeed”, Taty agreed with his brother Tealeafy, “and instead of all that useless shrieking he should better be on the lookout for a suitable landing place…”

 

Somewhere on the opposite side of the box there was a smack and all of a sudden the shrieking stopped.

 

“I believe he found a landing place”, Tuffy cheered.

 

Followed anxious minutes of silent waiting. Only the mayor touched the subject of an ‘honourable funeral’ but got only several reproachful glances. Then on the other side of the box there was whimpering and lamenting so that they concluded that their friend Trample was quite at ease.

 

“You okay?” Flecki shouted in a worried voice.

 

“Bruises all over, my fur is grazed…”

 

“That’s good news, Trample. Now see how you get us out of here!”

 

There was a furious hiss and nothing more for some time. Now they once more had to wait while Trample squeezed through the gap in the door and made for the space ship.

 

“I hope he won’t dally and has fun with some watch dogs…”, Botchy impatiently grunted.

 

“Or he gets a new dress-up as mossbeaver”, Tealeafy grinned.

 

Trample indeed had problems to drag his aching body along the long corridor. When reaching the exit he carefully looked out for any guards and against his own expectations was lucky. In the distance he could see four people who walked towards each other a most curious fashion and handed guns to each other. Trample could not make head or tail of what he watched. Cautiously he crept on and reached the space ship. Damned! Which of the buttons beside the door should he press?

 

With a trembling paw Trample pressed the upper button. A red inscription showed up: ‘Please enter password!’

 

Trample’s paws trembled all the more. What now? Desperately he once more pressed the button. This time the inscription was blue: ‘Forgot password? Please press 2nd button!’

 

The little hamster swallowed and drew hope. And pressed the 2nd button. ‘Password forgotten à Please enter password!’ was the inscription. Trample felt his knees getting weak and a pain in his stomach. Once more he pressed the button: ‘No chance without password. Please press 3rd button!’

 

With a curse Trample pressed the 3rd button. ‘Remembered your password?’ a new sign smiled at him and a multiple choice of: ‘Yes – No – Maybe’. Trample pressed ‘No’ and another inscription informed him to press the 4th button.

 

After pressing the 4th button, Trample was close to a nervous breakdown: ‘Obviously you have forgotten your password. To open the door continue with the 5th button.’

 

After activating button no. 5, Trample started to sob, his stomach gave him more pain still, and he was shaking all over. ‘No entering without password. Please continue with Item 1 or press Cancel.’ Wailing and with nerves lying raw, Trample pressed ‘Cancel’ as there was no sense in continuing with the 1st button.

 

Hazily the desperate hamster made out a new inscription: ‘Without password you can only enter by turning the door handle!’

 

It took Trample solid 5 minutes to fully comprehend the meaning of this information. He glared at the small handle and by and by it dawned to him that this was one of the events in his life he would keep to himself. Then he opened the entrance to the space ship.

 

“What is the chap doing all the time?” the chief grumped and kicked the box.

 

“Perhaps they are grounding him”, Taty cackled, “or mixing his special colour!”

 

“Whatsoever – let’s take cover”, Flecki proposed. “Trample knows nothing about flying and who knows what way and where he will come down here!”

 

“An excrement – er – excellent idea!” the mayor shouted. “We should go to that dingus-corner as our friend Trample certainly comes from the direction of the dingus-door!”

 

Though coming from the mayor, the proposal was accepted as good and logical and so all hamsters squeezed at the side of the box which pointed towards the entrance door.

 

“Here we are sheltered”, the mayor boasted. “We are hamsters, we are dingus – er – different. We do things with hamster-intelligence, don’t we, dear Bobo – er – Dodo?”

 

“For sure, Mayor”, the big hamster cried. “We made it to Snortlington and will make it further!”

 

“Just so, my dear Frodo”, the mayor proudly smiled. “Hamstian intelligence has dingussed us and will dingus us on! How, my dear navi-dingus, shall we proceed? Do tell me!”

 

“Ahem…” Dodo looked a little uncertain. “Right now, Mr. Mayor?”

 

“Just so, my dear Voodoo – er – Dingus, say it with the words of hamstian intelligence…”

 

“Doodledeedledoo?”

 

While his friends almost collapsed with laughter, little Trample had very different trouble. With the reverse gear he had engaged by fault he had shot into a geranium pot and was stuck. This meant getting out, digging, getting dirty, boarding and trying once more. At least his next start ended not in a geranium pot but in a rhododendron. ‘Rhododendron’ was originated in the Greek language – those words of Mrs. Peeping shot through his head. This did not help him very much at the moment and instead he had to get out again, dig, get dirty and try it once more.

 

After a quite unasked for, shaky round around the court of venerable Buckingham Palace the gerbil-ship was stopped by the door frame of a side entrance. Trample at least was closer to his destination even if it did not really look smart how he steered the ship through the entrance at walking pace. He patted some telltale crumbs of earth from his fur before he boarded once more and he took a deep breath. Then he started and after two ugly collisions with doorframes in the direction of the room where his imprisoned friends were waiting, he began to descend over the box.

 

Unfortunately he came down much too steeply so that he had to make another go. But than he had the knack and with a pretty turn came in from the other side. A few seconds later he crashed right into the box, forgot to take out impulse, banged against the wall of the box and made the whole box come down from the table.

 

“We’re safe, we’re safe!” Taty and Tealeafy whimpered under the overturned box which now was on the floor. Taty and Tealeafy were not the only ones who wailed and lamented their bruised bodies. Now came the trembling voice of the chief:

 

“Well done, Trample, thank you. Any objections of my taking over again now?”

 

Indeed, no one objected and a few minutes later the hamsters were ready for take-off

 

“You got the idea with the door handle, Trample, didn’t you?” Botchy asked after taking the helm. “You wouldn’t get very far with the buttons for automatic opening…”

 

“Sure”, Trample bawled, “I’m not dim after all!”

 

“Talking about dim”, Dodo cried, “what about light? What I mean is that we are under the box and can’t see anything. How shall I navigate if I can see nothing?”

 

“Well, a good navigator can also navigate at night…”

 

“But I’m sleeping then, Goldi!”

 

With a loud gnarl chief Botchy stopped the discussion. He started the engines.

 

“We shall”, he yelled to drown the noise, “stay snug in the box, that is under the box even if it is loud. That’s our best cover. We just push it along till we reach the exit, then I step on it and off we go!”

 

“Er, covered we are”, Flecki jeered, talking to Goldi. “But against what? Being discovered? Yea, who in the world will discover a roaring box moving along in the palace…”

 

“Well, we’re sheltered from rain”, Goldi grinned.

 

“Hold fast!” the chief bawled. “We reached the exit, we’ll be off in a trice!”

 

The engines roared, the hamster were hurled back in their seats or if not belted – like certain jinxes – through the ship.

 

“Bugger!” Botchy yelled. “That daft box won’t come off!”

 

Followed an outcry, sounding more like a surprised shout. That had been one of the guards. The chief had made the space ship-box collide with his head. Followed a shot, the one that came off the gun. And another sound followed, that of splintering glass. Finally behind the shot window pane a high-pitched voice could be heard: “My goodness! I’m not amused!” This had been the Queen who indeed was not amused over the end of her valuable Victorian teapot which just now had been shattered by a bullet.

 

In the general ado no one noticed that beneath the box a tiny space ship got free and made off with high speed.

 

“Let’s get away”, Dodo wailed, “in the end we’ll get the blame again…”

 

“Dodo, we are to be blamed!” Flecki gnarled. “A right clever idea with cover and all that…”

 

“The upwind in the court was too weak”, Botchy growled, “the box was too heavy and the space ship too fast!”

 

“Unforeseeable events”, Taty joked.

 

“Yes, then even the best navigator is helpless…”

 

“That’s my line, dummy!” botchy growled. “Did you ever think about our further course?”

 

Dodo fell silent and rummaged the maps. If the chief steered the ship northwards and nicely kept over land, the course could not be wrong. The space ship had put on the turbo, raced down the British island and soon the landscape became mountainous; here and there a lake came into sight. Now Botchy laid in a westward course and soon the coast line could be made out. Then there was a murmuring on board: northwest a huge chain of islands came into view.

 

“The Hebrides”, Tuffy gasped. “We just learned about them at school… The inner and the outer Hebrides.”

 

“Yea”, Hamstilidamst cheered, “there’s a ferry from Ullapool… that is…”

 

“Yes”, chief Botchy triumphed, “what a perfect flight. Well, navi-dingus, where are we?”

 

Dodo, wildly rummaging his maps, turned them round and round, gasping: “Just a minute, just a minute!”

 

“Let me give you a hint”, Flecki calmly said. “Over there is a port. It’s in Loch Broom. From there ferries leave for an island… Well?”

 

“I can’t work in all this hectic”, Dodo howled, “you’ve got to give me a chance!”

 

“Sure, Dodo, take your time…”, Tealeafy grinned.

 

The space ship slowed down and the chief made a big turn over Ullapool. Of course he wanted to try to land at the harbour, at the exact spot were in those days the BANTACH outpost had been. The ship sailed over Loch Assynt now and Dasy excitedly patted Sasy’s shoulder, pointing at something in that loch: Ardvreck Castle. Now the tiny space ship followed a road southwards. The gerbil-ship still slowed down and there was a murmur on the bridge when a town emerged in a valley.

 

“There! There it is!” the mayor shouted. “I seem to remember to have a meeting on highest level here in the brothel – er – with my brother. Now, dear navi-Dodo, what do you say? Are we there?”

 

“Just give me a minute”, the big hamster howled, “just a tiny minute, please!”

 

“You feel much safer if you are in the company of qualified specialist”, Tealeafy said in a dry voice.

 

“Yes”, Taty retorted, “such a pity that we’ll never live that day!”

 

“I’ve got it, I’ve got it, got it!” Dodo shouted, waving one of the maps.

 

“Well?” Botchy grunted, descending the space ship.

 

“Copenhagen!”