Ben is getting deeper into the mire with every passing day. When he finally does get to E Base he faces the problem of immediate execution as a fake Prince. But there is no problem! Instead, he is greeted as the Prince! He appears to have it made and tucks into a massive, well earned breakfast! Then he is abruptly obliged to return to Earth . And he finds himself back in jail! As usual he is held by computer warder CLEO (world internet chess champion) assisted by superstar robot FIDO (military expert.) A number of adventures rapidly follow while Ben continues want to know his real identity and pine for the namers he has not acquired. His ambition to cop the lot is unquenched! But can that impossible task ever be fulfilled? And how can he get home? And where is home anyway?
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After an early lunch, taken with a cold can of Twisty Water, Ben had a short nap on his bunk, He woke to find Little Sam holding a stick of XTX next to his head! He jumped up in alarm as Alaric hissed: "Sire! Please be still! This is a delicate operation. XTX must be prepared for use underwater. We have decided that we cannot wait for FIDO to return! The Police are searching for us. Little Sam has volunteered to carry out the dangerous task of preparing the XTX for underwater use."
"He has been chosen because he is the luckiest person here," growled Grumpy. "If his luck runs out we will all be blown to bits! I was all for waiting until Jet Pilot Super Robot FIDO returned from his Scottish holiday but I have beenoutvoted."
"Sire, we did not wish to disturb your sleep," said Alaric.
"So you preferred to risk blowing me up!" said Ben. "Is this necessary? There are no signs of pursuit. We are safe!You can stay here fishing while CLEO and I go train spotting. "
"The haste, sire, is to get myself and the dwarves to E Base," said Alaric. "As your advance guard we can assembleLoyal Followers. We can enlist the help of Princess Cleopatra unless she is already held in prison by the Regent.So, when you arrive, you will have forces to defeat the Regent in open battle!"
"He will not be around to defeat anyone if you don't shut up!" shouted Little Sam, "We will all be blown up! You've made me forget whether to twist this wire right or the left!"
"Twist to the left," said CLEO. "Stay calm."
They all watched with bated breath as Little Sam twisted a wire on the exposed stick of explosive. There was a collective sigh of relief when CLEO announced: "The XYX is now safe and primed for underwater use. It will only be necessary to insert the XTX into a suitable cavity beneath the rock and then use an underwater match to light the blue fuse. The person who carries out the task will then have fifteen minutes to clear the area. To be totally accurate, the person who lights the fuse will have fifteen minutes unless the fuse is a faulty short."
"What happens if it is a faulty short?" asked Ben.
"The ignition carrier will have 5 seconds to evacuate and avoid being blown to bits! However, faulty shorts are fairly rare. In the previous demolition activities there were only fifteen faulty shorts in the total batch. There is thus only a 15% chance of the carrier being blown to bits." said CLEO.
"Little Sam should be the ignition carrier," said Grumpy, smirking. "He is the luckiest person in this boat! If his luck holds he will blow up the rock. Otherwise, he will get five seconds to say goodbye to all his Stuff It winnings!"
They sat in silence considering the situation.
"It's not even my Quest!" said Little Sam, having thought about the matter. "I have primed the charge at considerable personal risk. Someone else can now have a go! It's his Quest!
He can light the fuse!"
He pointed at Ben.
Ben was busily scooping out the contents of a bully beef tin. He paused in mid scoop, thinking. On the one hand hemight get caught by the Regent and be executed. On the other hand he might be caught by the police or the UFO soldiers and then be executed. Or, if he lit a faulty fuse he would be blown up!
In all cases, as usual, he faced immediate disaster.
He thought rapidly before settling on another solution.
"I suggest we wait for FIDO," he said. "He can go down and blow up the rock. The explosion won't bother him! Then he can fly CLEO and myself to England for our train spotting trip."
"Brilliant!" said Grumpy. "As usual, Ben does not intend to risk his precious person! He wants to risk poor old FIDO. A robot who has done nothing wrong but has always acted with incredible bravery! But when will Ben take a risk?"
Grumpy made a face indicating that he thought the answer to his own question was never.
Ben was now up against it. In order to demonstrate bravery he must undertake this obviously hazardous task. Images of his own body parts scattered over the lake bed flashed through his mind.