Posted on 2010-06-01
With a Special Guest Appearance by Mr Knightley
The appearance of Miss Elinor Dashwood in many if not all of Mr Edward Ferrars' daydreams, always revolving around the topic of matrimony, had given said Mr Ferrars the distinct impression that he might feel slightly more for the lady in question than he should, given that he was already engaged to another woman. Despite knowing that it was wrong to do so, he continued blithely to engage in those thoughts. When the time came that he could actually propose in reality, his previous engagement broken off by the other woman, he had quite a trove of possible scenarios which ways the proposal might go.
None of his scenarios had featured a gentleman, looking slightly harassed, being pursued by animals of the aquatic persuasion in weird suits, both parties riding on strange, metallic contraptions that made the most annoying, roaring sounds.
It proved to be a great oversight on his part because it might have prepared him better for the actual moment. Though nothing could have prepared him for his beloved Elinor's reaction to said spectacle.
"Oh, crap," the lady muttered. "Not again!"
Edward tried to sum up his understandings as he followed the woman he loved through the Devonshire landscape, shiny and also very muddy due to the rains of the last few days. "So these …"
"Sharks," Elinor supplied. "Space sharks to be exact."
"Right, space sharks." Edward skirted around a puddle and ignored the fact that his trousers had long been ruined by the mud - irreparably probably. "They occasionally appear and you and a few others try to drive them back to where they came from."
"Exactly. The gentleman you saw driving by on the motorbike was a Mr Darcy from Derbyshire. One of our most active members. He introduced me to the works."
Edward didn't know how to and whether he should announce his sudden dislike for a man he had never met before. Instead he concentrated on something else. "Members? What are you? A secret society?"
She shrugged. "So to speak …"
"Barmy," Edward muttered to himself. "Absolutely barmy." But he followed Elinor nevertheless. After all, a lady should not be out alone and unprotected, even if she had armed herself with a weapon and knew what to do and he didn't.
Fitzwilliam Darcy, said gentleman from Derbyshire, had a really lousy day. In his personal top five of Lousiest Days in His Life it easily ranked number 2. (Number 1 was the day he proposed to Miss Bennet; not because Miss Bennet had refused him though that had made it a pretty lousy day already, but because on top of the rejection, when he had returned to Rosings, he had had to deal with some crazed space jellyfish that had stung him where it hurt. He hadn't been able to sit comfortably for weeks.)
"Space sharks!" he said spitefully into the roar of his bike. "I preferred the days when Wickham had been my biggest worry."
Which was why the arrival of a shoal of space jellyfish wasn't greeted with much enthusiasm on his part. The sharks were quite a different matter though. They immediately forgot all about the man's existence and attacked the newcomers.
Mr Darcy tactfully withdrew from the scene.
Elinor and Edward found the man sitting on his bike, glaring at the carnage taking place a few meters away.
Mr Darcy didn't even turn around as he said to them, "I've already called for back-up. Should be here anytime." He added a half-hearted, sullen "Go sharks!"
"What's with him?" Edward asked.
Elinor made a non-commital sound somewhere in her throat. It sounded as if she tried not to laugh. "He doesn't like jellyfish."
Back-up arrived a few minutes later in the form of Colonel Brandon ('Et tu, Brute?' Edward thought) and another gentleman who introduced himself as Mr Knightley. All the men seemed very familiar with Elinor, as was she with them. Edward didn't like the male-female ratio on the team.
"What happens now?" he asked.
Mr Knightley smiled. "We stun whichever of them are not yet unconscious and throw them back out into space."
"Ah." Easy-peasy. Why hadn't he thought of it?
"That's a door," Edward said and thought he sounded quite sane.
"Yes," Colonel Brandon said.
"I don't think you grasp my meaning," Edward said, still calm. "That is a door. I'd even go so far as to call it a portal. In the middle of the Devonshire landscape. A minute ago there was nothing here but grass and sheep and some trees."
"And space sharks and jellyfish," said Mr Darcy because he was a stickler for exactitude.
"Those, too," allowed Edward. "Anyway, now, that's all still here but there's also a portal and I think the sheep are also a bit surprised."
"They'll get over it," Elinor said and marched towards the portal.
"A space ship," Edward said under his breath as he dragged several jellyfish by their tentacles along a corridor. "A freaking space ship!"
One of the jellyfish, still unconscious, stung him lightly. Edward grimaced and rubbed his arm. "They can fly through space but don't have a wheelbarrow. That's progress for you."
Another jellyfish - or maybe the same, they all looked alike to Edward - stung him lightly again. "Ouch! Why do I have to drag the jellyfish while you all have sharks?" he called to his companions.
"It's tradition," Mr Knightley said and one almost couldn't hear the schadenfreude in his voice.
Mr Darcy viciously kicked the last shark out of an airlock. "And don't come back again," he yelled after it.
There was only so much surprise a human can take in a day before it gets stale. Edward's quota for being surprised had long been maxed out. He watched with something close to equanimity as the sharks and jellyfish swam off through space, and remarked drily to his lady-love, "I get the feeling he doesn't like space sharks much either."
"He's had a rough couple of months," Elinor said.
Mr Darcy, Mr Knightley, and Colonel Brandon had babbled something about not worrying with the paperwork, they'd be doing it, and had disappeared while giving the lady some meaningful looks. Elinor and Edward had turned their steps back to the portal.
A man noticed the couple and hurried up to them. His handsome face broke into a happy grin and his muscled arms were stretched out in greeting.
"Elinor," he cried and kissed both her cheeks. Edward hated the foppish, dandyish, good-for-nothing idiot. Who liked them with a well-formed body anyway?
Elinor seemed to like him well enough. "Captain," she greeted the man with pleasure in her voice. "We're just on our way back. You should get the report any minute now."
"And you don't have time to stay for a cup of tea with me?" The Captain seemed heart-broken, going by his facial expression.
Elinor laughed and patted his cheek. "Another time maybe."
Heartbreak already forgotten, the Captain grinned again, said, "I'll hold you to that," and hurried off.
Edward glared after him. "Who was that?"
"That's Captain Brandon, my nephew."
"Marianne and Colonel Brandon's son. He's the Captain of this space ship."
"And I repeat, I'm sorry?"
"Oh dear, I forgot to tell you about the time machine, didn't I?"
Elinor took a deep breath but she didn't get around to explaining. The ship suddenly rocked, gentleman and lady tumbled into each other and to the floor, and a siren came blaringly to life right above them.
"This is not a good time to ask you to marry me, is it?" asked Edward as he held Elinor in his arms.The End