My Hovercraft Is Full Of Eels
rating: +23+x


“Now keep your eyes covered, no peeking,” Lolly said as she led a blind Icky through the Circus grounds towards the parking lot.

“I’m not peeking, you’re the one who always peeks,” Icky smirked.

“I don’t always peek; just when I really want to know what the surprise is,” Lolly said. “Okay, we’re here. Open your eyes in three, two, one… tada!”

Icky uncovered her eyes, and floating two feet off the ground in front of her was a shiny violet hovercraft. Its design was superficially similar to a Corvette, only somewhat more streamlined with an elliptical tinted dome over the passenger compartment. Ragamuffin (Lolly’s demonically possessed purple-haired rag doll) was jumping up and down excitedly on the roof, eager to go for a ride.

“Isn’t it amazing?” Lolly asked in a high pitched squeal. “I found it in a reserved parking spot almost right next to the elevator, so it must have belonged to someone pretty rich and important. It’s nicer than our Porsche, right? Tell me you think it’s better than the Porsche.”

“It’s gorgeous. Not worth you almost becoming fused into an Unclean for all eternity, but I’ve never seen anything like it,” Icky replied.

“Iris said it’s held up by quantum flux pin tubes or something. It just stays at whatever height you push it to without consuming any energy, so you don’t even need to worry about falling from the sky. Oh, and check this out.”

Lolly jumped on the roof and slid down the hood with remarkable fluidity, with Ragamuffin following right behind her.

“The exterior is made from some nearly frictionless metamaterial so it can go super fast! Plus it’s powered by a cold fusion reactor, it’s got a super smart autopilot with sonar and LIDAR and wifidar so it will never crash, and the air freshener still smells like pine! So what do you think? Did I pick a good share of the loot or what?”

“You did amazing darling. This is, I… we can drive this right now?”

“Yeah yeah yeah. Iris jailbroke the computer and said the OS was really intuitive. Get in the driver’s seat and I’ll show you.”

Scooping up Ragamuffin, Lolly popped into the passenger seat while Icky sat on the driver’s side. The interior of the hovercraft was not remarkably different from what one would expect for any other high-end car, the main differences being that the steering wheel was closer to that of an airplane’s and most of the dash was plastered with touchscreens.

“Another reason this is better than the Porsche is that this has a backseat. Can you imagine making whoopee in this thing when it’s a thousand feet in the air?”

“Only if we put a blanket down first; this upholstery’s frickin’ amazing,” Icky replied as she ran her hands along the armrests. “Okay, so how do we turn this thing on?”

“Iris said you just tap the central screen,” Lolly replied. Ragamuffin got up from her lap and began eagerly tapping the screen, which turned to frustrated pounding and soft hissing when nothing happened. “Ragamuffin, you know your cute little cotton hands don’t work on touchscreens. Here, use the stylus.”

The doll snatched the pink stylus from Lolly’s hand and tapped the screen. This time, it made a soft chiming sound and a “Faithful Auto-OS” logo with two hands clasped in prayer briefly appeared before being replaced by numerous widgets and readouts.

Ragamuffin danced around in a circle in triumph.

“See, look at all this cool stuff. It uses its whole sensor suite to map out the surrounding area, identify moving objects and anticipate their movements. The autopilot never completely gives up control so you can’t hit anything. Plus there’s video chat, internet, satellite radio -”

“Holy shit!” Icky said, staring at the speedometer. “The top speed on this sucker is 1500 miles per hour! That’s like twice the speed of sound!”

“I know, it’s amazing!” Lolly squeed. Ragamuffin gestured for Lolly to pick her up. “What is it, Ragamuffin?”

She held the doll to her ear, and all Icky could make out was soft but haunting whispers.

“What is she saying?”

Lolly lowered Ragamuffin to her lap and smiled mischievously.

“She wants us to take it out for a test drive.”

Icky looked down at the steering wheel yearningly.

“No. We can’t do that. This thing is too conspicuous. We’ll be nabbed by the Essie P or Geo Sea in no time.”

“Of course,” Lolly nodded in mock seriousness.

“We can use it for acts, and maybe take it out around free ports like Threeportlands.”

“Makes sense.”

“But going out for a joyride in Humdrum territory would be irresponsible.”

“Very.”

“It would be reckless.”

“Extremely.”

Icky looked at Lolly and saw her smiling in anticipation. Icky smiled too.

Throwing the gearshift into drive and slamming her foot down on the pedal, the hovercraft tore out of the Circus.

In barely a second it accelerated to a hundred kilometers an hour, the autopilot violently pushing the car out of the path of objects and pedestrians.

“Pull up, pull up!” Lolly screamed. Icky pulled back on the steering column and the car drifted upwards. They were at least twenty feet in the air when she let it level out.

“Okay, that’s better. Nothing up here to it hit but trees and buildings, and I should be able to avoid those,” Icky said. She pressed on the pedal more gently this time, and they softly accelerated into the surrounding countryside. Gliding over mostly farmlands, backwoods and hamlets, few people had the opportunity to witness the extra-universal flying car.

“This is awesome! I’ve never been in a low flying vehicle like this! Everything is so pretty from this height!” Lolly exclaimed as she pressed her nose against the window. “Wow, we’re really picking up speed.”

“I know, and we’re not even at maximum acceleration. This thing is insane!” Icky said. Faster and faster they went until the car started shaking.

“What’s that?” Lolly asked.

“That’s the Mach cone building up in front of us, I think. It happens as you approach the speed of sound. Don’t worry, once we’re supersonic it will be smooth sailing.”

“We’re going supersonic?” Lolly screamed in a nearly ultrasonic high-pitched voice.

“We gotta test this baby’s full capabilities, right?” Icky smiled. “I’m not sure how big of a sonic boom this thing will make. We’re close to the ground, but we’re small, so hopefully we don’t break too many people’s windows. Hold on.”

Grasping the wheel tightly and pushing the pedal to the metamaterial, the craft broke through the sound barrier, all vibrations ceasing as it trailed a thunderous boom behind it.

“Woo!” they both screamed in triumph, laughing hysterically. The countryside beneath them now rushed by in a blur, quickly turning to wilderness as they flew out into the sparsely populated western half of the United States.

“We are now at 1500 miles per hour! Mach Two!” Icky announced. “Hey, I just noticed something; the speedometer is analogue but the altimeter is digital. Did Iris say how high this thing can go?”

“She didn’t. Do you think it can go all the way to space?” Lolly asked.

“Only one way to find out. Hold on baby girl.”

Keeping her foot pressed all the way down on the accelerator, Icky pulled back hard on the throttle, and they began ascending at a steep 45-degree angle. Every second of flight put nearly half a mile of space beneath them, and they soon punched through the clouds and beheld the curvature of the Earth.

It was at this point an alarm button began to beep.

“Warning; this vehicle does not possess shielding from Heavenly Rays, climate control suited for thin atmosphere, or air supply beyond what is contained in the passenger compartment. Ascending higher, or remaining at this altitude for a protracted portion of time, is ill-advised.”

“Ill-advised, you say? Duly noted,” Icky smirked. She maintained her ascent but noticed that the arrow on the speedometer was starting to go down.

“What’s happening? Why are we slowing down? Is it the autopilot?” Lolly asked.

“I don’t think so, I think it’s the jet engines,” Icky said, pointing at the display on the screen. “The air’s too thin for them to work, so they shut down. We’re just coasting now. I’m sorry sweetie, I don’t think we’re actually going to make it to space.”

Lolly groaned disappointedly, but Ragamuffin began tapping on the screen to draw their attention.

“What is it, Ragamuffin?” Lolly asked. “Fusion Afterburner? That sounds like some kind of Sci-fi rocket engine that can get us into space!”

“… I don’t know. Maybe we should turn back. I mean, the computer said that this thing isn’t meant for space travel and -”

Before Icky could finish, Ragamuffin practically stabbed the button with her stylus. At least three gees worth of inertia nailed them to their seats as the craft blasted forward at hypersonic speeds, a plume of ionized gas trailing from the rear afterburner. The two Clowns screamed in a mixture of terror and excitement, while the demon doll clapped her hands in celebration. Icky tried to turn it off, reaching for the touchscreen against the inertial forces holding her back, but nothing she touched seemed to do anything. After nearly a minute of violent acceleration, the afterburner finally cut out and the g-forces relented.

“Afterburner reserves have been exhausted. The Fusion Afterburner is now on cooldown, and is no longer available,” the autopilot announced.

“Thank god,” Icky heaved in relief. “Ragamuffin, that was not okay! Bad doll!”

“Oh, Icky look! Look where we are!” Lolly said in awe. Beneath them was the soft blue planet-shine of the Earth, and above them was the nearly empty void of the rest of the universe. “We’re in space! We’re in space!”

“We’re in space with a limited air supply, jet engines that don’t work in a vacuum, and a fusion thruster that may take longer to come back online then we have,” Icky said, her porcelain white face somehow losing colour.

“Since when are you a stick in the mud?” Lolly asked. “We have magic. We’ll be fine. Just relax and enjoy this. We’re in space!”

Ragamuffin began jumping up and down, trying to float, and then shook her fists in frustration at the persistence of gravity.

“She makes a good point. Why aren’t we floating?” Icky asked.

“Oh, I know that! It’s because we’re not in orbit, we’re just being held up by the quantum pin things!” Lolly replied. “Astronauts in low earth orbit are only weightless because they’re in perpetual freefall, but the gravity at this height isn’t actually much weaker than it is on the surface.”

“Where did you learn that?”

“A Youtube video explaining why the opening scene of The Last Jedi wasn’t inaccurate.”

“Huh.”

Despite her concerns, Icky took a moment to admire the view.

“It is beautiful up here. Hardly anyone has ever seen the Earth from space, you know? The number of mundane astronauts that have been to space is under six hundred. I have no idea how many anomalous spacefarers there’s been, but it’s still got to be only a tiny fraction of the anomalous community. This is at least a once in a million lifetime chance. It’s incredible.”

“Oh, maybe that guy might know how many anomalous astronauts there are!”

“What guy – HOLY SHIT!”

It was at that moment that SCP-1959, The Lost Cosmonaut, collided with their little hovercraft. Now, normally the Cosmonaut would just plough right through any debris he crashed into, but Icky had reflexively thrown up an essokinetic force field to protect them, allowing both them and their hovercraft to survive the hundreds of gees of force from being almost instantly accelerated to 28 000 kilometers an hour.

SCP-1959 was now pressed against their windshield like a suction cup stuffed animal, pushing them along with him on his orbital sojourn. He pounded his right palm against the screen and shook his head vehemently, as if trying to warn them of something.

“Holy hell, is there someone inside that thing?” Icky cried in disbelief.

“One second,” Lolly said as she reached into her pockets and pulled out a pair of star-shaped glasses. “Yep, there’s a guy in the suit, and there’s some kind of incorporeal eldritch meanie possessing him. Oh, the eldritch meanie sees us. Hi eldritch meanie!”

The Presence possessing the brave cosmonaut sensed that it had finally crashed into something it couldn’t destroy. It sensed it had an opportunity to end the half-century-long stalemate and finally descend upon the Earth. Surely the strange occupants of the craft intended to return to the world below. All the Presence had to do was hold on, not let the Cosmonaut gain enough control to push them off, overcome his eternal nemesis for just a little bit longer until –

It was at this point that Ragamuffin threw herself against the window, opening her mouth wide. While the Clowns inside the craft heard only the inhuman screeches of the Tartarean Plane, the Cosmonaut and the Presence both saw in their minds the Ragdoll’s true nature.

That horror was enough for the Presence to loosen its control over the Cosmonaut just enough for him to push them off of the hovercraft, and resume their unceasing struggle.

“Bye eldritch meanie!” Lolly waved as SCP-1959 drifted out of sight. She giggled as Ragamuffin gleefully floated past her, doing backflips in the air. “See, now that we’re orbiting there’s no gravity. I wish there was room in here for us to float around.”

“Lolly, sweetie, we got a problem,” Icky said as she pointed to the flashing display screen. “We’re losing altitude, we don’t have enough momentum to maintain orbit.”

“What are you talking about? This thing is supposed to stay suspended at whatever height you put it at.”

“It’s saying that the ‘fluxon lattice’ has been knocked out of alignment, whatever that is. We need to come to a full stop to allow for realignment.”

“Yikes. That’s a problem. Well, ah, once we’re back in the atmosphere we can use the jet engines to slow our descent!”

“Hey Siri, or whatever your name is, how quickly can this car decelerate at?” Icky asked.

“Maximum deceleration is 60 miles per hour per second,” the autopilot replied.

“Okay, that’s a hundred kilometers per hour per second, and though I can’t be sure I would guess we’re moving around 28 000 kilometers an hour, so it would take a little under five minutes to come to a full stop. If we were heading straight down, at our current speed we’d crash into the Earth in under twenty seconds. That’s not good. I’ll maintain as shallow as an angle of descent as I can, but I don’t see how I can stretch that out to five minutes. Plus all the air building up in front of us will heat up to like three thousand degrees. Siri, what’s the melting temperature of this car’s body?”

“The melting point of this vehicle’s outermost plating is 4500 degrees Celsius.”

“Really? That’s surprising, but good. Just means we’ll die on impact instead of burning up on re-entry,” Icky chuckled nervously.

Lolly placed her hand comfortingly on Icky’s forearm and smiled at her.

“Hey, it’s okay. I trust you. I know you’ll figure something out. You’d never let anything happen to me.”

Icky smirked at her lover’s seemingly baseless vote of confidence. She picked up Lolly’s hand and kissed it.

“You’re right. We’ll be fine. Eugene and Pius get out of worse scrapes than this on a weekly basis. The low-friction material of this car is going to work against slowing us down, but if I angle us so that we’re falling underside first that should generate the most drag, plus generate a shockwave that will keep the hottest of the air away from us. Hey Siri, what sort of crash and emergency landing features do you have for me?”

“In the event of a fluxon lattice failure, six impact-resistant airbags will be deployed along the perimeter of the vehicle, capable of withstanding over 1 million newtons of force,” the autopilot informed her. “Drag chutes may also be deployed for emergency deceleration.”

“So, balloons basically?” Icky asked. “We’re good with balloons.”

“So we go in bottom first to maximize drag, firing the jet engines on full reverse once we’re deep enough for them to work, and during the last mile we deploy the drag chutes and let the airbags inflate, with both of us giving them each a little bit of Circus magic so they can withstand the high-speed impact,” Lolly suggested.

“That sounds like a plan,” Icky grinned. Cracking her neck in preparation, she brought up all the commands she would need on the screen to have them at the ready. “Hang on Little Lollipop, this is going to be a rough landing.”

Their long arcing suborbital path took them ever downwards, and once they hit the Karman line, the superheated compressed air on the underside of the craft began to glow an incandescent red. At first, it was only an ember, but the deeper into the atmosphere they fell the stronger it became. Soon it was a raging, roaring inferno which seemed certain to devour them, but the autopilot's words held true and their vehicle neither melted nor combusted. Icky did her best to keep their angle of re-entry as shallow as possible, but since the thrusters had been designed to work in tandem with the quantum levitation, there was only so much they could do on their own. Once more they felt the g-forces of deceleration slowing them down, but their speed was so immense it hardly seemed like they were slowing down at all.

Closer and closer they drew to Earth, until before them was a vast expanse of Gobi desert with nothing to crash into, other than the ground.

“Our speed is still off the scale! Lolly, put everything you’ve got into keeping this thing together! Siri, deploy external airbags and drag chutes!”

“Deploying external airbags and drag chutes,” the autopilot chirped in reply.

Three enormous airbags inflated on each side of the hovercraft, with three even more enormous drag chutes firing from the rear. Their combined drag managed to slow them down just a little bit more before they crashed.

Striking the sandy ground at such high speeds, by all rights the craft should have exploded into a million pieces. Instead, thanks to a combination of its advanced materials and the essokinetic reinforcement provided by the Clowns, the hovercraft bounced off the ground, its airbags reacting to the impact with anomalous elasticity. It tumbled wildly through the air in a hyperbolic arc, until bouncing off the ground again hundreds of meters away. It bounced several more times until it finally lost enough momentum and instead just rolled along the ground before finally skidding to a stop.

“Woo! That was awesome!” Lolly cheered, holding her arms up in celebration. Ragamuffin climbed up onto the cup holder and started jumping up and down exuberantly, gesturing to the gear shift. “Ragamuffin wants to go again!”

“I’m never taking the doll anywhere again without strapping her down with duct tape first,” Icky said, burying her face in her palm. “That was quite possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.”

“It was fun though,” Lolly countered. Icky looked at her, at first seeming like she was going to reprimand her, but then smiled.

“Yeah, it was. But no more space trips though. Once was enough.”

“But we only got in trouble because that Cosmonaut ran into us. What are the odds of that happening twice?”

“There’s a lot of space junk and satellites up there Lolly. We’re not risking it.”

“Okay, how about this then; we take it through a Way to a world without any of that stuff and fly it there?”

Icky actually appeared to consider this for a moment.

“Maybe,” she said, much to Lolly’s and Ragamuffin’s delight. “Siri, how’s the fluxon lattice thing doing?”

“The fluxon lattice has been realigned, and flux pinning levitation is fully restored,” the autopilot replied.

“Good. Let’s find a door big enough to squeeze this thing through and a make a Way back to the Circus. It’s too risky to drive straight there. I’m sure we must have been detected. There’s probably Mobile Task Forces and Geo Sea Strike Teams heading for us right now.”

Log of Extranormal Events

Event Description: A Unidentified Flying Object was detected by the PANOPTICON network, in addition to being spotted by numerous eyewitnesses. The craft ascended from the ground to above the Karman line, making an intercontinental, sub-orbital flight. The objected briefly collided with SCP-1959 during its time in space.

Date of Occurrence: ██/██/████

Location: Midwestern USA, Low Earth Orbit, Gobi Desert.

Follow-up Actions Taken: Standard UFO sighting procedures were enacted for the affected areas. A Mobile Task Force was sent to investigate the craft’s estimated landing point. While multiple impact craters were discovered, indicating a crash landing, no debris was found. It should be noted that the MTF was not dispatched until several hours after the UFO was first detected by the network, as the relatively low priority threat went ignored by most senior staff, who were preoccupied with the six-week long SCP-4000 initiative.

“You never know. Maybe everyone will be too distracted by something super important to notice something as silly and insignificant as a couple of Circus Clowns flying into space.”

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