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Torfaen Tales

Friday Evening

Part 10 of the K-Nine Tales

“Bing ! Bing ! Bing !” The loud and irritating sound filled the workshop.

K-Nine awoke with a start and ordered the alarm to be quiet. “I really must change that alarm tone” he thought “That Mad Toad is really beginning to get on my diodes”.

K-Nine checked his peripheral sensors, wagged his tail up and down a few times, let out a loud yawn and then made his way to the console room. After checking that all the various surveillance and security devices were switched on and working correctly, K-Nine opened the main door and left the TARDIS. He gave a short ultrasonic whistle to set the acoustic lock on the door and then proceeded down the lane towards the Bush.

It was just after 8 o’clock in the evening but already there were several people in the upper bar of the pub. There were a group of young men and women sitting at the corner table and another young man nearby tapping away feverishly on a monitor screen, occasionally uttering words that K-Nine did not understand.

K-Nine was just passing by the rectangular green-topped table when he was hit on the nose by a wooden stick. “Oops - sorry butt” apologised the young man holding the stick “I didn’t see you down there, are you alright ?”

“Affirmative” replied K-Nine as he continued to make his way to the bar.

Before he had a chance to say anything, a young and rather attractive young lady leaned over the bar and said “Oh, it’s you again. I thought you might be back. This could be your lucky day”.

K-Nine was puzzled and slightly embarrassed. He hoped that this time none of his vital components would overheat like they had done on the previous occasion.

The barmaid looked at him, smiled and said “The boss went to Pullitzers cash and carry this afternoon and came back with a case of WD40”.

“Marvellous” said K-Nine “Do you have a cold one ?”

“Yes” she replied “I put a couple of cans in the fridge earlier”.

K-Nine was enjoying his chilled WD40 when he noticed the external door in the lower bar open and a tall, well-built man walk in followed by a small, rather tired looking black and white dog. The man walked up to the bar and said “A pint of Crow bitter for me and a bowl of water for Lichen. I expect he’s thirsty after his long walk”.

“No problem” said the barmaid.

K-Nine watched the young woman carefully as she poured a dark brown, foamy liquid into a large glass. When it was full, she placed it on a small square of cardboard on the bar.

“That must be the Crow” thought K-Nine, but he failed to see any resemblance to a large black bird that was common in the Cwmbran area.

The man picked up his drink from the bar and sat down at a nearby table. The barmaid went into the kitchen and came back a few seconds later with a small metal bowl approximately half full of water. She bent down and placed the bowl in front of the black and white dog. On her way back to the bar she turned to the man and said “By the way Marvin, the metal mutts back. He’s in the upper bar having a WD40”.

K-Nine assumed that she must be referring to him as he was the only one in the upper bar who was drinking WD40. He coughed loudly and said in a very matter of fact voice,

“Excuse me young lady, but I am not a mutt. I am a technically advanced roving dog in space and despite my metallic appearance, my exterior panels are composed mainly of polymeric compounds”. He paused briefly and then continued by reminding the barmaid who he was …

“The name’s Nine, K-Nine and I prefer my drinks to be stirred, not shaken”.

The barmaid laughed, and said “Sorry K-Nine, I didn’t mean to be rude”.

“Apology accepted, mistress” replied K-Nine. K-Nine was not entirely sure if “mistress” was the correct form of address for the young lady, but his previous companions Leela, Romana and Sarah Jane had not objected.

The barmaid then suddenly realised that she hadn’t introduced herself properly to K-Nine. “I’m Teeza” she said “But some of the customers call me Verse 18”.

K-Nine was puzzled. He was sure that he had heard the term “Verse 18” before but he could not remember where. He was just considering asking Teeza about her nickname when Dirk Powers and two other gentlemen entered the lower bar.

“Oh look, the eggheads have arrived” said Teeza.

Dirk and his companions were not upset by her comment. In fact they all seemed rather pleased to see that she was working behind the bar.

“Three pints of Crow please” said Dirk.

K-Nine observed that this drink called Crow was very popular with the locals and he wondered if it tasted as good as WD40, or indeed had similar effects.

Dirk glanced up towards the upper bar and spotted K-Nine. “Hiya K-Nine, why don’t you come down and join us. There’s plenty of room at the table”.

K-Nine made his way to the narrow corridor which connected the two bars and paused at the top of the small flight of steps.

“Oh boll… ! ” he said, somewhat louder than he had actually intended.

“What’s up K-Nine ?” asked Teeza.

“Accessibility difficulties, mistress” replied K-Nine.

Teeza looked puzzled. “Oh, you mean the steps ?” she said.

“Affirmative, mistress” replied K-Nine.

Marvin had also noticed K-Nine’s predicament. He put down his drink, walked over to the steps and said “Don’t worry mate, I’ll give you a hand”. He bent down, picked up K-Nine, carried him down the small flight of steps and placed him gently on the stone floor. “Blimey, you’re a lot heavier than Lichen” said Marvin.

“Fifty seven point five kilos” said K-Nine.

“And the rest” joked Marvin.

K-Nine thanked Marvin for his help and then joined Dirk and the others at the table by the fire place. Dirk introduced K-Nine to the other two men sitting at the table. “This is my father Kevin and the gentleman over there is my good friend Harry Stevington”.

“Pleased to meet you both” said K-Nine.

The four of them sat around the table and chatted away for nearly half an hour. Harry got up and went to the bar to get some more drinks. He turned towards K-Nine and said “Would you like to try a pint of Crow ?” K-Nine carefully considered Harry’s kind offer and then nodded his head. “Well it would be rude not to” he thought.

With all the various distractions and attractions (eg Teeza) K-Nine had completely forgotten the reason that he had come to the Bush in the first place ! It was only when Dirk remarked “There’s something magical about this place” that K-Nine remembered the unusual sensor readings and his research on the computer earlier that day.

“Excuse me gentlemen, I just need to investigate something” A small hatch opened in K-Nine’s back and what looked like a golf ball stuck on top of a radio aerial extended slowly upwards and began rotating. As its speed increased it gave off a strange buzzing sound.

Teeza, who was busy collecting empty glasses from a nearby table heard the noise, turned round and stared at K-Nine. “What on Earth have you got there K-Nine ?”

“It’s my Sub Nuclear Ionic Probe” replied K-Nine seriously.

Teeza laughed. “Of course it is” she said “Just be careful where you put it. Remember what happened last time strangers started waving things around in this bar”.

K-Nine was confused by her last remark and he turned towards the others for help.

“I’ll explain later” said Dirk, grinning. “By the way, K-Nine, what exactly are you looking for” he added.

“Ions” replied K-Nine “Invisible, sub-atomic particles believed by the ancient Celtic druids to have therapeutic powers. My sensors indicate that there may be a source close by”.

“Fascinating” said Dirk.

K-Nine began a slow and systematic search of the room, stopping every few feet to take readings with the probe and analyse the results.

Ten minutes later Dirk asked him how he was getting on “Any luck finding the mystery ions ?” he said.

“Negative” replied K-Nine.

“Maybe Captain Scarlet could help him” suggested Harry, with a wry smile.

K-Nine thought it unlikely that this bright red military chap, whoever he was could offer him any assistance, especially as this particular branch of nuclear physics was probably outside his spectrum.

K-Nine continued with his search and made his way towards the fire place. Suddenly he became very excited - the buzzing noise from the ionic probe got louder and his tail started wagging furiously. “I’ve found it !” he exclaimed.

K-Nine double checked the results before switching off the analyser and retracting the ionic probe. He then explained to Dirk and the others what he had found.

“It would appear that we are sitting on top of a localised source of Relaxons. Many centuries ago the Celtic druids discovered the source of these ions at the convergence of several ley lines. They built a temple on this site with their meditation chamber directly above the point where the ley lines met. The Relaxons flowed along the ley lines and out into the chamber. This fire place is directly above where that chamber would have been”.

“That’s all very interesting, but what exactly do these Relaxons do ?” asked Dirk.

K-Nine continued. “Relaxons have a calming and soothing effect on people. They reduce stress and generate a feeling of goodwill and harmony in the surrounding area”.

“Marvellous” said Dirk.

“Oh, and one more thing” added K-Nine “My analyser has shown that the effect of the Relaxons is accentuated by the consumption of alcohol”.

“Even better” said Harry. He looked towards the bar and shouted “Teeza, four pints of Crow over here love, and have one yourself.” Teeza gave Harry one of her special stares, smiled and began pouring the beer.

K-Nine and the others sat by the fireplace chatting, drinking and experiencing the full effect of the Relaxons until late in the evening. As K-Nine sipped his beer he thought “Now what can I investigate tomorrow ?”

By Nigel Daft

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