If you missed the start of Brit Trek, you haven’t lived. But fortunately, you can catch up here.
Space. The final frontier.
These are the voyages of the Spiv-ship Enterprise.
Its four year mission.
To create new billionaires.
To siphon-off wealth.
And destroy the nation.
To boldly go where no bugger has been daft enough to go before.
[WHOOOSHY MUSIC AND SUITABLY SPACEY IMAGES]
AS USUAL, WE JOIN THE CREW ON THE BRIDGE OF THE SPIV-SHIP ENTERPRISE. OUR BUDGETS ARE LIMITED.
CAPTAIN BERK: I say, listen up chaps! And, indeed, er, chapesses, as it were. We seem to have been given a jolly critical new mission. It would seem that we are, so to speak, instructed to go to the ah, the er, the … Neutral Zone! Yes! That’s it! Go to the Neutral Zone with a view to recruiting, as one might possibly put it, an army of loyal British space-fish. Or um, maybe, I should say, a navy! A navy of loyal and, I must add, patriotic space-fish. It is, er, so I’m told, frightfully important to our mission of creating a truly inter-galactic Great Britain. Sunak! Take us to the Neutral Zone!
LIEUTENANT SUNAK: Sadly, Sir, we’re down to our last di-lithium crystal, we’re going to have to go via a service station.
CAPTAIN BERK: Little, round, as it were, spherical objects! How much do we have in the fuel fund?
LIEUTENANT SUNAK: Nothing, Sir. You gave it all to Ensign Harding for a left-handed screwdriver.
CAPTAIN BERK: Rats’ nadgers! Alas, so I did. We’ll have to put it on the old Federation credit card, then.
LIEUTENANT SUNAK: I’m sorry, Sir. We left the Federation.
CAPTAIN BERK: Alas! So we did, yes. Are there any nearby peasant colonies that we can raid?
COMMANDER GOVE: Only the Planet Kent, Sir. Sadly we terraformed it into a spaceship park due to a slight cock-up on the logistical front.
CAPTAIN BERK: Fudge one’s luck! Where’s Rees-Mogg? He could get money out of a bankrupt corpse.
COMMANDER GOVE: He’s on holiday on Earth, Sir. A safari in Africa. He’s shooting under-privileged children in Nairobi, as I understand it.
CAPTAIN BERK: And which ah, cretin signed that off?
COMMANDER GOVE: You did, Sir. Remember that game of poker where you held all of the cards?
CAPTAIN BERK: Dammit! Yes, alas, I do recall it, now. Colonel Cummings sounded so convincing and indeed, ah, persuasive, when he told me that a seven and a two can never lose. We need Colonel Cummings back! As vile as he is, he’s always got a few ideas up his sleeve. How far to Barnard’s Star?
LIEUTENANT SUNAK: We might just make it of we stick to impulse one and jettison a few hundred crew members, Sir.
CAPTAIN BERK: Very well. Make it so! Woman and children, first!
THE AWAY TEAM CONSISTING OF BERK, SUNAK, GOVE, TRUSS AND SOME BLOKE IN A RED SHIRT LAND NEAR A RIVER ON A DESOLATE PLANET WHERE IT IS ALWAYS WINTER, BUT NEVER CHRISTMAS. THERE IS A STRONG SMELL OF NAPALM AND WHATNOT, THE OCCASIONAL BURST OF GUNFIRE AND EXPLODING SHELLS. THERE IS AN ALL-PERVADING AIR OF MALIGNANCY. A COW TETHERED TO A GRAND PIANO LANDS NEAR BY.
COMMANDER GOVE: How incredibly chaotic. It looks like he can’t be terribly far way.
WITHOUT ANY WARNING, A MASSIVE PIRANHA FISH LEAPS OUT OF THE RIVER AND SWALLOWS THE GUY IN THE RED SHIRT.
CAPTAIN BERK: Yes, and that, as it were, would seem to ah, rather confirm it. I say! Didn’t somebody say that the fish were always on our side?
LIEUTENANT SUNAK Yes, Sir. It was Science Officer Redwood, Sir. He’s quite the expert on fish, I’m told.
CAPTAIN BERK: Alas! There’s no way I’m going to consider press-ganging that thing! Are you sure that Redwood’s an expert on er, well, anything?
LIEUTENANT SUNAK: Well, Commander Gove did say we didn’t need experts, Sir, and you had all of the real ones jettisoned into deep space.
CAPTAIN BERK: I see. Ah, yes, so I did. That’s the last time I drink vodka with you, Gove! If only there were someone to ask about Cummings.
LIEUTENANT TRUSS: There’s a homeless gentleman over there, Captain.
CAPTAIN BERK: Yes, yes, but if only there were someone to ask about Cummings.
COMMANDER GOVE: I say, you! Homeless chappie! Why haven’t you got a job?
HOMELESS CHAPPIE: I do have a job, I’m a highly-respected optometrist, it’s simply that I can’t afford anywhere to live.
COMMANDER GOVE: Piffle!
HOMELESS CHAPPIE: It’s true. Every day Colonel Cummings comes in for fifteen pairs of new glasses. If I even think about asking him to pay for them, he whips out his phaser and starts shooting the place up. I can barely afford to eat. You wouldn’t have the price of a space-biscuit would you?
COMMANDER GOVE: Of course not! Hold on! Did you just say Colonel Cummings?
HOMELESS CHAPPIE: Yes, Colonel Cummings, about so high, face like a constipated weasel. Do you know him?
COMMANDER GOVE: Yes, we’re here to find him.
HOMELESS CHAPPIE: If you promise to take him with you when you leave, I’ll take you there for nothing.
CAPTAIN BERK: Ah, yes, er naturally! Captain’s honour and all that, eh?
THE GROUP PROCEED UP THE RIVER BANK, DEEPER AND DEEPER INTO THE JUNGLE. BODIES HANG FROM THE TREES. BERK AND GOVE KEEP NUDGING EACH OTHER AND WHISPERING “CAPTAIN’S HONOUR!” AND GIGGLING LIKE A PAIR OF SCHOOLGIRLS AS THE HOMELESS OPTOMETRIST LEADS THE WAY. SUDDENLY THERE IS A HEAVY SET MAN WITH A SUB-MACHINE PHASER STANDING IN THEIR PATH. HIS NAME IS MARVIN AND HE HAS A VERY DEPRESSIVE VOICE.
MARVIN: Please don’t come any further. I suppose I’m obliged to ask you to state your business. Which one of you is in charge?
COMMANDER CUMMINGS: Er, that would be you, Sir.
CAPTAIN BERK: Is it? Er, that is to say. Golly. Yes, that would, I feel, be me. Well er, as you can probably see, we’re ah, here to find Colonel Cummings.
MARVIN: Colonel Cummings? Don’t talk to me about Colonel Cummings. He’s had me walking up and down this riverbank for three weeks solid and I’ve got a terrible pain in my left ankle.
CAPTAIN BERK: Yes, yes, but we really would like to see him, you see.
MARVIN: Well, I suppose I could take you to him.
CAPTAIN BERK: Jolly good!
MARVIN: But you wouldn’t like it. He’s a despicable excuse for a human being.
CAPTAIN BERK: Yes, indeed, he does look somewhat like a constipated weasel and he smells of bins. But, it’s well, it’s ah well, important, as it were, that we see him.
MARVIN: You should have told me that you knew him. It would have saved a lot of time. I don’t suppose that you happen to be Piggy Berk, do you? He keeps saying that a Piggy Berk will come to see him once he’s run out of ideas.
CAPTAIN BERK: Well ah ah, no! Not Piggy Berk, Captain Berk as it were, so to speak.
MARVIN: I think we’re talking about the same person. Follow me.
MARVIN LEADS THE CREW TO A WOODEN SHACK. IT IS POORLY LIT. THERE IS A STRANGE FIGURE HUNCHED IN THE CORNER.
CAPTAIN BERK: Is that you, Cummings? Good to see you and all that, Old Chum!
COLONEL CUMMINGS: Did you ever say why, Berk? Why you wanted to terminate my command?
CAPTAIN BERK: Admiral Patel said it was a classified matter, Sir.
COLONEL CUMMINGS: It’s no longer classified, is it? Did they tell you?
CAPTAIN BERK: She told me that you had, as it were, so to speak, gone somewhat bat-shit, and there was some old guff about your methods being, somewhat unsound or something.
COLONEL CUMMINGS: Are my methods unsound or something, Captain?
CAPTAIN BERK: I don’t really, actually, so to say, see any methods at all.
COLONEL CUMMINGS: I expected you to come, Berk. What do you expect from me?
CAPTAIN BERK: Well, there’s a slight issue, one might say, on the old cash-flow front. We’re having a bit of an ah momentary situation of not being able to afford any er di-lithium crystals what with having left the old Federation and everything. And, well, you’ve ah, always got a scam or two up your sleeve, so maybe, you know, for old time’s sake, as it were …
COLONEL CUMMINGS: Oh! Cut the flannel, Captain! Flattery will get you nowhere. The situation is a simple one. I have billions of space shekels and you have none. And you have something that I want. Return it to me and I’ll make it worth your while.
CAPTAIN BERK: Ah, ah, surely, you don’t mean …
COLONEL CUMMINGS: Yes, Captain, I do mean Princess Nutella of the Crabs Nebula.
CAPTAIN BERK: But! Well! I say! You er, you can’t be serious! How much did you mean when you said “worth your while” by the way?
COLONEL CUMMINGS: Well, here’s the deal. I’ll give you three di-lithium crystals up front, more than enough to get you to the Crabs Nebula and back with the Princess. On her safe return, I shall give you a considerable portion of my wealth. You have my word. Colonel’s honour.
CAPTAIN BERK: Colonel’s honour, eh? Come along chaps and er, chapess, we’re off to the Crabs Nebula and we’ll be rich, rich, rich! Four to beam up Mr Raaaab!
[THE SPIV-SHIP ENTERPRISE IS SEEN HEADING OFF TO SPACE AND WE CUT TO THE TITLES AS THE OPTOMETRIST SCREAMS SOMETHING ABOUT THE CAPTAIN’S HONOUR]
The producers would particularly like to extend their gratitude to Lieutenant Truss. In spite of having a whole line to deliver, she didn’t cock a single thing up. This may well go down as one of Lieutenant Truss’s finest appearances before she gets reshuffled. A true pro. We would also like to apologise to the late Gene Roddenberry and everyone who has read this far. More thrilling adventures, same Brit time, same Brit channel …