Brit Trek – Gas Money

After a series of improbably stupid adventures, ridiculous shark-jumps and unresolved plotlines, our newly reshuffled crew of plucky, British space adventurers are once again adrift in the darkest recesses of space. A fresh crisis looms as the Spivship Enterprise finds itself in desperate need of some gas money.





[The whooshy space music that has remained remarkably fresh since the 1960s is replaced by ‘s classic Gas Money which has remained remarkably fresh since 1958]

Act 1 – If you really want to blow


SHIP’S COMPUTER: Warning, Captain. The fire in the ship’s kitchen has now spread to the food storage area. Would you like me to take any action?

CAPTAIN BERK: Action? No, I wouldn’t have thought so. Spreading is pretty much what fire does, is it not?

SHIP’S COMPUTER: Yes, but if it spreads any further it will reach the bar.

CAPTAIN BERK: The bar? Good God! Why didn’t you tell me that before, Captain Hindsight? We must take urgent action, forthwith! Don’t just sit there computating or whatever it is that you do, do something!

SHIP’S COMPUTER: The only option is to flood the food warehouse and jettison the supplies, Captain. Shall I proceed?

CAPTAIN BERK: Yes, yes, of course! Why didn’t we do something similar when the kitchen caught fire?

SHIP’S COMPUTER: I did suggest it, Captain, but you worried about the toaster getting wet.

It's not easy being green - Kermit

CAPTAIN BERK: You and your bloody hindsight. Again! Just get on with it. It’s a good job we have several spare food warehouses.

COMMANDER KWARTENG: Actually, we only have the one, sir.

CAPTAIN BERK: Spock my luck! Can nobody design a Spivship properly, these days? There’s only one thing for it. The whole crew will have to live on takeaways as I do, but it will cost us a bloody fortune! Computer! Do what you can to save the food supplies! Blimey! What’s that huge stringy mass floating away from the ship?

Unless I’m very much mistaken, that’s 35 imperial tons of freshly-hydrated space-noodles, sir.

CAPTAIN BERK: Oh! Space poo! I suppose it’s time we went shopping. Set the course for the Planet Waitrose, Schapps!

NAVIGATOR SHAPPS: [GRIN] [SMIRK] One small problem, sir. [GRIN] [SMIRK] We’re down to our last di-lithium crystal and it’s cracked. [GRIN] [SMIRK]

CAPTAIN BERK: Oh, for Spock’s sake! How did that happen?

COMMANDER KWARTENG: Do you not remember last night, sir? Yourself and Cultural Commander Dorries were playing golf with it.

You don’t have to be Nadine Dorries in order to start your day with a stylish cup of gin.

Grab one of these beauties while we’ve still got a container full of them stuck in Dover. Daily Distress mug

CAPTAIN BERK: Really? Why didn’t anyone try to stop us?

COMMANDER KWARTENG: We were too busy trying to get you both to put your clothes back on, sir. Especially Commander Dorries. You should see the state of it!

CAPTAIN BERK: Er, yes, quite. Er, never mind, eh? So how far can we go?

NAVIGATOR SHAPPS: [GRIN] [SMIRK] We have just enough power to achieve orbit around the next planet, sir. [GRIN] [SMIRK]

CAPTAIN BERK: Make it so, Shapps. And do stop grinning and smirking, it makes you look like a swamp-dwelling version of Captain Blair. What is the next planet, anyway?

NAVIGATOR SHAPPS: [GRIN] [SMIRK] No idea, sir. I’m sure that’s somebody else’s job. There’ll be a space-sign soon. Ah, yes, here we are, Serco, next junction. [GRIN] [SMIRK]

CAPTAIN BERK: Serco, eh? Sounds like the sort of planet we can do business with. Our luck is in!

Act 2 – You’d better come up with some dough


SERCON OFFICIAL: I wish to speak to the Captain of the rather scruffy vessel that’s spewing smoke and space-noodles into our space. You have two minutes to pay your congestion charge or we will be forced to remove your vehicle. With missiles.

CAPTAIN BERK: I say, steady on chaps, we’re a diplomatic expedition from the United Kindom in the western spiral arm of the Milky Way. We are here to do trade, not, as it might be, to pay charges.

SERCON OFFICIAL: This planet that you come from, do you own it outright, own it with a mortgage, or rent it?

CAPTAIN BERK: We own it, naturally. Well, technically, the Queen of England owns it, but I am, as it were, her right hand. I am, in a very real sense, the owner of Planet Earth.

Her Majesty the Queen of England and it's dominions
Her Ma’amship as painted by Rolf Harris

SERCON OFFICIAL: Very well, you and one other may beam down to our trade centre. I would ask, though, that you park your pikey Spivship somewhere that none of our customers can see it.

CAPTAIN BERK: Right ho! Come on Truss, there are negotiations to be had! Once more unto the transporter room!

[BERK and TRUSS head for the transporter. It takes the engineer quite a while to get a beam that’s wide enough for Berk’s ever-expanding girth but eventually, he manages. Our ace negotiators soon materialise in a room at Sercon HQ where they meet a pair of smarmy business executives.]

THING #1: Greetings, Earthlings. May we just clarify that you own the sole rights to your planet’s resources?

CAPTAIN BERK: Oh yes, very much so. My father gave them to me.

THING #2: That’s an awful lot of equity to be sitting on. We can see from your attire that you’re clearly asset rich and cash poor. We can help with that.

CAPTAIN BERK: Ooh! Cash! We like cash!

THING #1: Well, the thing is, you see, your planet has a lovely, big molten iron core. We have no need for a big pile of molten iron right now, but one day we might do. It’s just nice to know that it’s there, should we ever need it.

THING #2: Now, we could help you enjoy that equity right now without having to worry about whether your planet ever becomes marketable. Quite simply, we pay you for the iron now but we don’t take it until either your planet is dead or we feel like having the iron. Those are the only circumstances in which you would ever owe us anything. And we do pay rather handsomely.

CAPTAIN BERK: Well … Tempting as it sounds, I do somewhat feel that I might run it past Her Majesty first.

THING #1: How does two-hundred and fifty zillion astrobucks sound?

CAPTAIN BERK: Sod the Queen. I, er I mean we, will be richer than Croesus! Rich beyond the dreams of my avaricious wife! We shall be bathing in Krug and having Gove-powder for breakfast! Oh, happy day! Oh, glorious day! Oh, frabjous day, Callooh, Callay! We’re rich, rich, rich! Commander Truss, finalise the deal while I run around the room pretending to be an aeroplane! I’m going to spaff, spaff, spaff!

[BERK duly runs around the room with his arms at full strength, alternatively shouting NYAAAR-DAGGA-DAGGA-DAGGA! and laughing hysterically while TRUSS earnestly negotiates with the Sercons. His dignity is somewhat compromised by his trousers falling down but he is too happy to care about that. A minute or two later …]

THING #1: Well, it looks like we have a deal, Captain. Commander Truss did a grand job getting a discount out of us, but we’re happy to say that your planet is now ours for a hundred and thirty zillion astrobucks. Congratulations!

COMMANDER TRUSS: I did well, didn’t I, Captain? Can I get a gold star? I’m great at negotiating, it’s just one of those things that I’m naturally good at. Can I do my own presser? Oh, please!

CAPTAIN BERK: You’re an absolute wonder, Commander Truss, Fedexit would have been a total flop without your incredible skills. I’m going back to the Enterprise for a quick kip. Can you sort out a di-lithium crystal and some space-noodles? Good girl. Beam me up, Rishi!

[BERK dematerialises. We can but dream.]

THING #2: Di-lithium crystals, eh? You’re in luck, we have one left in stock and we can do you a very good deal …

COMMANDER TRUSS: Ooh! Ooh! I love a good deal. How much do you want for it?

THING #1: Well, ordinarily, we’d be looking for 400 zillion but we can see that we’re dealing with a professional, so we’ll not insult you by haggling. We’ll give you the crystal for a paltry hundred and thirty zillion. As a gesture of good faith, we’ll agree to ignore your parking fees, congestion charges and the 57 fines that your ship has incurred since you arrived here. And, as a special gift, and this is only because you’re such a good negotiator, we’ll throw in a whole heap of Bombay Bad Boy space-noodles that are only slightly out of date. How does that sound?

Ain't nobody here but us chickens
There’s nobody here but us chickens. Hang on, we asked for paltry, not poultry …

COMMANDER TRUSS: I say! That’s a jolly good deal I’ve done, isn’t it? I might even get a certificate of merit! Wait ’til the Captain hears about this!

Act 3 – We Need Some Gas Money!

[Back on board the Spivship Enterprise]

CAPTAIN BERK: It’s a pity we lost all those zillions of astrobucks but at least we can carry on boldly going forward and spreading our noble British values across the Universe. And we did, I guess, effectively get it all for nothing.

ENGINEER SUNAK: Better still, I have some great news, Captain. I managed to fix the old di-lithium crystal with some Airfix glue and a matchstick. It’s as good as new!

CAPTAIN BERK: I rather wish you hadn’t told me that. Ah, well, never mind, onwards and upwards, eh?

COMMANDER GOVE: The president of Serco is sending a message, Sir.

CAPTAIN BERK: On screen!

PRESIDENT: Greetings, Berk. Congratulations on your equity release deal. That really was a great bit of negotiation. We’ve been looking into your planet and were very impressed with the way that you plucky Brits left the Federation and went it alone. So impressed, in fact, that we’ve decided to build a theme-planet based around Fedexit!

CAPTAIN BERK: Oh, yes! We’re jolly proud of Fedexit. It was a cracking wheeze. We’re flattered that you appreciate it.

PRESIDENT: It will be wonderful! There’ll be a statue of you, of course, and a giant truck park and all sorts of fun things. The centre-piece will be a huge replica of the Blackpool Tower to celebrate the people who voted for your wonderful scheme.

The Blackpool Tower as seen in Brit Trek - Gas Money
Sod you, Monsieur so-called Eiffel. This is what a proper tower looks like!

COMMANDER GOVE: The will love us more than ever, Sir!

PRESIDENT: The only thing is, we will need a whole load of iron for that. We will have to repossess your planetary core sooner than we’d expected. But rest assured, it’s all for the glory of Fedexit!

CAPTAIN BERK: Ah well, if it’s for the glory of Fedexit, it’s fine by me. I’m sure your boffins have a way of extracting the iron without anybody noticing. I suspect it’s a bit like fracking, what?

PRESIDENT: Our methods are a little less subtle than that, Captain but a contract is a contract …

CAPTAIN BERK: Well, let’s not trouble ourselves with details. Why let perfection be the enemy of progress? We look forward to seeing your Blackpool Tower! Goodnight, Mr President. Right, I’m starving, who’s for a nosh-up?

SHIP’S COMPUTER: Red alert! Red alert! The new space-noodles are so old that they have spontaneously combusted. The food storage area is on fire again.

CAPTAIN BERK: Spocking hell! Where’s Commander Dorries? I need a very large drink. And some gas money.