Doctor Who_ Shakedown Part 39

'Well, that was fun!' said Chris brightly.

Bernice ripped off her goggles and gauntlets and slammed them down on the console. 'Is she always like that?'

'Oh no,' said Kurt mildly. 'Sometimes she gets quite ratty.'

'I'll kill her,' said Bernice. 'Before this shakedown cruise is over, I swear I'll kill her. I need a drink.' She stormed out of the room.

Roz Forrester took off her goggles and gloves and laid them neatly on the console. She thought back to her days in recruit training long ago. The sergeant hadn't been born that could break her. Or the yacht captain either. She ran her fingers through her close-cropped hair and grinned defiantly at Kurt.

'Thinks she's hard, does she? Huh!' she said, and marched out.

Kurt saw that Chris was looking at him curiously. 'What?'

'Am I right in thinking you're rather keen on our Captain?'

Kurt glared up at him. 'What if I am?'

Chris, who was roughly twice his size, held up his hands defensively. 'No offence, Kurt. I just wanted to say how much I admire stark courage in a man. I used to think Roz was tough.'

'I can handle Lisa,' said Kurt confidently. 'She's a p.u.s.s.ycat really when she's not racing of course.'

'She spends most of her time racing, doesn't she?' asked Chris innocently.

'Oh, belt up,' said Kurt. 'Let's have a brandy before Benny finishes it all.'

Looking rather thoughtful, he followed Chris from the sail deck.

In the control room the Doctor had been listening to Lisa over the intercom. He grinned at the recollection. It was, he imagined, her standard speech with new crews. He looked at the blue box tucked into a corner of the control room and reflected that there were easier ways to travel.

Lisa Deranne marched into the room and slammed a sheaf of diagrams onto the console.

'I want to go over this new rig you're suggesting, Doctor.

There are one or two points I don't understand.'

'We've been over it twice already,' protested the Doctor.

'And we'll go over it again,' said Lisa Deranne. 'We'll go over it until I understand it and until I like it. And if I don't like it we won't use it. Is that clear, Doctor?'

'Aye, aye, Captain,' said the Doctor.

He wondered what had happened to mild, gentle, womanly women. Like Ace and Leela.

Just for a moment he looked longingly at the blue box.

Then he picked up the first diagram.

The headline in the Tri-planetary Times read LISA DERANNE TAKES TRI-SYSTEMS WITH MYSTERY RIG.

AND UNKNOWN CREW.

The picture beneath the headline showed Lisa Deranne, her face radiant, holding the enormous Inter-Systems Cup.

Grouped around her were one very large fair-haired young man, a thick-set, rather older one, a youngish dark-haired woman, a smaller woman with dark skin and short dark hair, and a small man in a rumpled suit, trying to hide behind the others.

The story beneath it began: 'Our picture shows Captain Lisa Deranne, winner of the Tri-Systems cup a truly sensational victory. With her are her crew, all newcomers to interplanetary cla.s.s solar racing.

'The gentleman on the right of the picture is Doctor Smith, designer of the sensational new solar sails rig which swept the Tiger Moth Tiger Moth to a clear victory. to a clear victory.

'He also sailed with the winning crew, doubling as ship's engineer. Asked if he intended to remain actively involved in solar yacht racing, Doctor Smith said it was unlikely. He was a simple scholar who preferred a quiet life, and the excitements and stresses of solar yacht racing were just too much for him.

'The rest of the crew were unavailable for comment.'

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