Summer of Love
by Simon Guerrier
Summer of Love
Written by Simon Guerrier
Directed by Ed Salt
Post Production and Music by Matthew Cochrane

Lisa Bowerman (Professor Bernice Summerfield), Louise Faulkner (Bev Tarrant), Stephen Fewell (Jason Kane), Joseph Lidster (Minko), Harry Myers (Adrian Wall), Sam Stevens (Doggles), Steven Wickham (Joseph), Paul Wolfe (Hass).

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

It was the hottest summer on record and the last summer before the war.

It was the one time Bernice Summerfield had a use for her otherwise useless boyfriend. But Jason Kane is away on the far side of the galaxy.

The Braxiatel Collection has always been an odd place to live. A perfect replica of the Palace of Versailles, stuck on a smallish planetoid, hanging in a much disputed sort of space. The weather's all over the place, the neighbours gathering armaments…

And now everyone's shagging like rabbits.

Everyone except for Bernice.

  • This is the twenty-fifth audio in Big Finish’s new series of The Adventures of Bernice Summerfield.
  • Released: October 2006

  • ISBN: 1 84435 128 9
(drn: 56'21")

Bernice is finding it difficult to follow the instructions of Hass, the Braxiatel Collection’s new Martian gardener, as he encourages her to adjust to her new environment. She can’t see him or even sense his presence, so he tells her to take her time and look for orange goo. This doesn’t help, so he suggests she imagine she’s swimming in syrup. Suddenly Bernice flies into the air, an experience that she finds exhilarating. Now she understands why Hass likes to come and sulk in here. He has the gardens to look after and he has some new friends, but being inside one of Braxiatel’s pocket Universes is like being back home. While they’re in here there’s no way to communicate with the outside world and no one can hear them. In a sense, no one else even exists. Bernice has brought Hass here so she can discuss what’s happening to the Collection, but also so she can have a word with him about his friend Doggles. Hass guesses this means he’s been typically insensitive towards her…

She explains that by the time she finally got Peter home to Adrian last night, all she wanted to do was go to bed. It was so hot she decided to open the windows - which is when she found Doggles climbing onto the balcony with some roses clutched between his teeth. Although she was flattered to have her very own Romeo, she was also aware that he was drunk. He denied this and insisted he merely had a quick snifter for encouragement, thinking she might appreciate the effort. Doggles pointed out that Jason wasn’t due back for days and as Peter was now living with his father and Joseph was away helping Bev, he thought she might be lonely. She welcomed the company and invited him in to watch a film, perhaps the old 2-D classic “Harold and Maude”, and have some beers together, but he admitted this wasn’t quite what he had in mind. She saw from the look on his face exactly what he had in mind…

Hass realises Doggles was hoping to make sexual union with Bernice (if only Doggles had put it that elegantly himself) but Jason had only been away on assignment for one week and Bernice is horrified that people think she’d want to jump the bones of the first person she clapped her eyes on! Hass seems surprised as Jason had already told him that his relationship with Bernice was not an exclusive arrangement. In fact, Jason frequently tells everyone about his sexual encounters. Right now, he’s supposed to be helping to build a comms relay on the third moon of Mim, but everyone knows exactly how things are going to end up - In fact Jason is currently chatting up the members of an intergalactic netball team who are not only very tall and very flexible, they have five arms each - Bernice has heard it all before. No doubt when he comes home he’ll say he had no choice but to shag them all in order to stop the universe being annihilated. She tells Hass that she and Jason are pretty much monogamous when they can be, but they’ve learnt from experience to take a pragmatic approach. Her objection to Doggles’ suggestion was based more on the fact that he’s rude, he doesn’t wash, he’s infuriating, he can’t go for more than five seconds without spilling something down himself and he didn’t even offer her dinner first. Although he means well, she has no intention of lying on her back out of sympathy. Suddenly an alarm sounds which tells Bernice and Hass that their hour in the pocket Universe is over.

Bernice is restored to normal and says goodbye to Hass. Since she’s been absent, she’s received three messages - one from Bev and two from Adrian. She starts to take a shower when a further message arrives, this time from Jason warning her that the galaxy might explode if she doesn’t read it straight away. She continues with her shower, singing her new favourite song “A Happy Place” to herself.

Later, Bernice is crossing the gardens near the Small Trianon when she bumps quite literally into Hass and he promises to have a word with Doggles for her. She’s enjoying the beautiful sunshine so much she considers changing into a bikini but Hass points out that the students already have enough reasons to leave. Joking aside, Bernice feels the Collection is getting along quite nicely without Braxiatel, but Hass reminds her that the weather system is still out of control and the intake of new students is down. Bernice thinks they should be more worried about the impending war with the Draconians. As they talk, they’re interrupted by the sound of an argument. Bernice finds Bev Tarrant rebuking the young student Minko after she found him strangling his girlfriend Zing-Zang in the lake. There are two things about this situation that Bernice finds odd, one of which is Minko’s insistence that Zing-Zang keeps disappearing into thin area, which he says is why he was holding onto her so fiercely. Bev admits that they seem to be having problems with time jumps, but it only seems to affect certain people and they always turn up later somewhere else in the Collection, a bit like when the Mansionhouse reshuffles its rooms. Bernice sends Minko off to see if he can find his girlfriend, but tells him to hold her hand next time. She then turns her attention to the second thing that’s bothering her - why is Bev walking around the Collection with no clothes on? Bev points out that it’s very hot and she feels more comfortable in the nude. Before Bernice can say any more, Bev snaps at her and returns to her work.

Bernice and Adrian pour themselves a refreshing drink as they watch over Peter doing his homework. She confides in Adrian and tells him she thinks it’s a bit odd that Bev is walking around naked, but Adrian can’t really see anything wrong with it as she looks pretty good in his eyes. Both he and Bev have been having trouble sleeping because of the heat wave, but she’s also very busy at the moment so they’re not seeing very much of each other. Bernice has received a message from Jason telling her the deal’s been struck so he should be home very soon. Adrian discreetly asks her how the ‘other project’ is coming along, but she has nothing to report just yet. She finds it odd that although she’s seen the future, and she knows that she and Jason’s will have Keith and Rebecca, she can’t shake the feeling that after everything that’s happened in the last year, things haven’t turned out the way they should have. Even though there have been some compensations - Peter, in particular - she still wants to have more children and she wants her faith in the future restored. Adrian offers to “help out” if there’s a problem with Jason and Bernice assumes he means he’ll talk to him, but he’s actually offering to sleep with her. Bernice is outraged at the suggestion and points out that Bev wouldn’t approve, but Adrian doesn’t think she’ll care. He tries to seduce her and she accuses him of trying it on because he’s having trouble with his girlfriend. He admits that he’s worried Bev may be seeing someone else…

As Bernice wanders back to her rooms later that night, her attention is caught by someone hiding in the hedge. She lunges in and finds a rather embarrassed Minko, together with his girlfriend Zing-Zang. Both of them are naked. Minko explains that they were experimenting with the missionary position after reading about it in a book. Bernice leaves them to it, but asks them to keep the noise down to avoid disturbing anyone else. Nervously, Minko asks Bernice if she wants to join in…

Bernice returns home and complains to herself about her “bloody students” and is surprised to find Doggles waiting for her. He asks her if someone was late with an essay, but she’s more interested in knowing why he’s sitting there wearing just a pair of shorts (or possibly his underpants). He explains that he wasn’t expecting her home so soon and he isn’t quite ready for her. He leads her out to the balcony and finds he’s prepared a fabulous moonlit dinner for two. He was in the middle of getting changed after lugging everything up using the outdoors route. He puts on a bow tie and pours her some champagne and reluctantly she admits to being just a little bit impressed. He proposes a toast to a dreary old life without killings and explosions, then begins serving dinner. Bernice asks if he wouldn’t mind closing his legs as she can see right up his shorts, and he agrees, not wanting to get ahead of himself. He assures her he’s not expecting anything from her - after all, if he just wanted a shag he has tons of pretty young students knocking on his door - and Bernice agrees that people do seem to be a lot less inhibited these days. Doggles thinks people are just letting their hair down and getting used to Braxiatel not being here, but he claims to have resisted so far, apart from one young girl who caught him by surprise. He’s not proud of what happened, although he admits to being on pretty good form. However, he’s worn himself out trying to woo Bernice and he now realises she’s never going to give in so he’s trying to resist his cravings. Just for a moment, Bernice is a little bit hurt that he’s given up on trying to sleep with her and she’s not sure how to take the news.

Later, Bernice takes a cold shower and curses the evil libido. She emerges, still struggling to think just pure thoughts, and is shocked to find Joseph watching her closely. He claims to have come to investigate her screams, but she assures him it was only because the water is freezing. She asks him to stop gawping at her, but he points out that he’s just a machine and he takes no pleasure in seeing her full on in the nip. After she reminds him not to let Jason tinker with his vocabulary again, he offers her a massage, which she gratefully accepts. Joseph extends his sense-fields and she enjoys his relaxing caresses. They make polite conversation and he explains that Bev seems to have the negotiations with the Draconians well in hand, although they don’t like having to discuss such matters with a female. It suddenly dawns on her that what Joseph is doing doesn’t exactly qualify as a massage - in fact, rubbing her neck for a few seconds before plunging straight down to her lower regions is more like the sort of thing Jason does! Joseph apologies and she goes to bed, suggesting he give one to Bev instead…but he’s already tried that, without success apparently.

The next morning, Bernice is giving a lecture to her students about the political state of Earth in the 1990s when she’s rudely interrupted by several of the audience giggling. She singles out Minko and orders him to stand up. He starts to mumble his way through an explanation when she tells him to share whatever it is with the rest of the class - so he unzips his flies and shows his rude bits off to an enthusiastic crowd. Even Bernice is impressed, but when she orders him to put it away he suddenly vanishes into thin air. It’s obviously another time jump, and Bernice assumes it’s something he caught off of Zing-Zang. The students giggle again, so she reminds them that she was young once so she knows what they’re all getting up to. As long as they don’t do it in her class, she doesn’t care what they do. She tries to return to the lecture, but the students have taken her comments as permission to leave.

The University bell chimes to signal the end of the lesson and Bernice visits Adrian at his house to see if Peter wants to visit the fire-penguins, only to find out that he’s already gone out to play with friends. Adrian seems distracted and his ears are flat and when she questions him about it, he apologises for what happened yesterday. Just as she tells him everyone seems to be going sex mad, Doggles bursts into the room with his penis in his hand. Bernice is a little embarrassed to have caught them engaged in whatever it is they were doing, but Adrian says Doggles only came round to discuss the Mansionhouse’s architecture and they just seemed to… Adrian can’t explain what’s got into him (although Doggles has a good idea) and he tells Bernice he just couldn’t help himself. She understands and says something has been affecting everyone. She thinks it might be connected to the time jumps and Doggles tells her they seem very localised. The people who disappear just turn up somewhere else in the Collection, so although it’s inconvenient, it’s not particularly dangerous. However, more people are being affected all the time and more people are shagging by the second, so perhaps the time jumps are somehow sexually transmitted. Bernice calls it a form of ’time travel clap’ and concludes that because it wants to be spread around everyone it’s been stimulating their sex drives. Doggles offers himself to Bernice again, but she declines and asks him to put some clothes on, and Adrian is shocked by the realisation that he’s been taken over by a disease. Bernice decides to discuss the matter with Bev, and Adrian pleads with her not to tell her what he’s been up to with Doggles.

Bernice tells Bev what Adrian’s been up to with Doggles and she bursts out laughing, which embarrasses Bernice as she promised she wouldn’t say anything. Bev wonders what Doggles looks like in the nude, and isn’t surprised to hear that it’s horrifying - although he was more toned than Bernice expected and the Axis left him with some nasty scars. Bev remarks that the Axis hurt everybody, some more visibly than others. She’s used to her own highlights now and in fact they’ve proven useful at the negotiating table because no one can question what she did in the war. Bernice wonders whether she’s been wearing any clothes during the negotiations, or perhaps she’s deliberately been doing it to be tactical. Bev promises to ask Dr Wt'hlm to look into it, but she thinks this virus may actually be beneficial as it’s giving everyone an excuse to stop worrying about things for a whole. In the last three days, not a single student has asked to leave the Collection and she doesn’t think it can cause any harm.

On her journey back home, Bernice has to fight her way through couples of all sexes and all races making love in public. She’s slightly amused to think that Jason will do his nut when he discovers he’s missed all this, but otherwise it’s starting to become a major nuisance. She’s approached by the gardener Hass and she wonders if he’s planning to strip off too, but he points out that it might ruin things for everyone else given that’s he’s highly radioactive. Just then, Bernice spots Curator Fernley from the Baragoot Half up a tree next to the bandstand. Her race swaps gender every two minutes and Bernice feels it’s odd, if a little impolite, to actually watch it happening! Suddenly Fernley’s partner disappears mid-way through intercourse, so he calls out for anyone willing to finish him off. Bernice realises that as the time jumps seem to be getting more frequent, they’re also starting to get in the way of the shagging, which doesn’t really make sense if they‘re connected. In any case, she’s guessing that a spread as voracious as this would have burnt itself out by now. She’s frustrated at being the only responsible person left in the Collection and she admits that she could do with a seeing to herself. Hass is unable to help her in that respect, but he suggests she go flying with him again as there are things they can discuss. Instead, she decides to go home for another cold shower. She promises to catch up with him again when things are back to normal.

During the negotiations, Bev quotes Section 492 of the Treaty of Heaven which clearly states that all parties agreed to the territorial distinction and she reminds the aliens before her that their government was a co-signatory. The alien ambassador points out that their government at the time was an unelected unofficial body of military personnel who merely happened to be in the vicinity when the Treaty was agreed and therefore they do not formally represent their planet‘s interests. Bev points out that the government was fully authorised by their President and she has a copy of the empowerment order in front of her. The ambassador queries how the Braxiatel Collection obtained the confidential order and she tells them Braxiatel himself was one of the signatories and she has access to his personal copy. The aliens are not entirely satisfied and tell Bev that they’re fully aware of the rumours that she was once an accomplished thief. They pay no heed to such rumours, of course.

Back home, Bernice realises she can’t hold back for much longer and starts rehearsing the excuses she’ll need to tell Jason when he returns. She was sick with the disease and he wasn’t here to provide for his wife’s very reasonable needs… To her shock, she finds Jason asleep in their bed. He wakes up and tells her he had a gap in his schedule and thought he’d pop by and say hello. Without warning, the delighted Bernice leaps on him and covers him with kisses. She tells him she’s been going spare without him and everything here has been even weirder than usual. She rips her clothes off and even though he hasn’t washed or shaved, she thinks he’s just manful. She starts to undress him too, taking special care not to damage his private parts as they’ve got a job to do - but unfortunately, it seems he may need some ’encouragement’ in that department. She tells him everyone’s infected with something that got them all shagging in the street, but not her. She’s been saintly, even though she’s had her fair share of offers. She fought them all off to save herself for him. Despite everything, her ‘encouragement’ doesn’t seem to be paying off and Jason can only apologise, explaining that he hasn’t slept in three days. Bernice tries to hide her obvious disappointment - and frustration - and suggests they try again in the morning, but Jason tells her he has to leave again soon, so perhaps they can just curl up together and enjoy each other’s company.

Minko visits Dr Wt'hlm and shows him his private areas, which not surprisingly are looking quite sore by now. Fortunately the doctor has some ointment that will soothe it quite nicely. Minko admits that he’s used his bits eight times already today, which he thinks might actually be a personal best…and Dr Wt'hlm asks him whether he’d care to make it nine…?

In the campus bar, Adrian tells his latest lover that Bev is beautiful and brilliant, but she works all the time and now she’s wandering around with no clothes on and the one person she won’t let anywhere near her is him! His lover responds in an alien language and Adrian is just about to take things a step further when there’s another time jump and the alien vanishes. Frustrated, he orders another drink from the barman, but Dennis tells him he’s had enough already. Adrian becomes angry and is clearly not in the mood to listen…

Across the Collection, arguments start to break out amongst the population as partners start to discover that their loved ones have been sleeping with other people. Various excuses are made, but the damage has clearly been done…

Bernice wakes up with a start and after clearing her head with semi-conscious nonsense, she turns her attention back to Jason. It’s been a couple of hours since they last tried, so she’s keen to have another go. Unfortunately there’s no sign of him - except for a handwritten note left on the pillow in which he repeatedly tells her he loved her, but he has to go. Later, Bernice joins Hass for another session in the pocket Universe. By keeping her shoulders low, her arms splayed out and with a bit of a ladylike wiggle, she’s getting quite good at flying. She can even loop-the-loop now. Bernice knows Hass looks like orange goo inside this Universe, but she wonders whether the fact that he’s going glowy white is an indication that he’s got the horn? She begins to suspect that she’s actually flying about inside him and he acknowledges that it might seem that way if you only perceive five dimensions, but she needs to take the other eight into account. But it’s too late - she realises he’s been getting off on the fact that she’s wriggling about inside his ticklish bits, especially when she does the double-loop. He tells her Jason didn’t object when he did it earlier, allegedly for research he was conducting for a book.

Bernice storms out of the pocket Universe in protest. She rips up Jason’s tawdry pornographic scribblings with the intention of making him eat every word. When Jason tries to contact her, she refuses to accept his message and her bra can sense her anger and engages the pre-set emergency protocol - giving her a double gin and tonic with lime. Suddenly she disappears and reappears in another location, much to the surprise of a group of second-year students taking a lecture with Doggles about the potential risks in using hyperspace bolt-holes to anchor comms relays. In view of the fact that she’s wearing a pressure suit, Doggles presumes her arrival is evidence that the time jumps are not just sexually transmitted.

Bernice goes back to Hass’s changing room only to find that a drone has removed her clothes, so when she joins Doggles for a drink she‘s still wearing her pressure suit. Doggles jokes that Hass never invited him to go swimming about inside him, but Bernice says he may yet do that as she certainly isn’t planning to go again herself. Doggles thinks it must be terrible for Hass if that’s the only physical contact he can get, but Bernice is still angry at being exploited. At least when Doggles asked her to wrestle with his goolies, he had the decency to buy her a drink first and he even agreed to save his spectacular display of prowess at burping until their wedding night. Bernice points out that not even in a twisted alternative Universe where they both sport beards and eye-patches will that ever happen! As a minor bar brawl erupts around them, Doggles tells Bernice that Dr Wt'hlm has reported there are queues around the block with people complaining about sore rude bits. However, Bernice is more worried about the trouble they’re having with the neighbours. She’s knows that Braxiatel could probably stop a war with just six words, but Bev is not up to his negotiating standards. Doggles argues that Bev is easily as stubborn as Braxiatel, and maybe just as crafty. Bernice points out that Bev has an annoying habit of making out that everything that happens is all part of her plan. It suddenly occurs to her that Adrian was right all along - Bev has been seeing someone else!

At the negotiating table, one of the alien ambassadors points out exactly where he thinks the contradictions in the clauses are. In particular, he’s unhappy with the clause that states an appeal about the Collection’s position is subject to Bev’s scrutiny. She clarifies that the caveat was put in place to prevent the aliens making decisions about the Collection without them being informed, but the ambassador claims they have yet to make any decisions anyway. Bernice enters unannounced and the ambassador objects to her presence in a secure discussion. He concludes that she must be Bev’s concubine and both Bev and Bernice are happy to go along with the misunderstanding. When a break in the discussions is suggested, the two women start to kiss as if it’s perfectly normal behaviour for them. Joseph is reduced to offering expletives as the kiss becomes more and more intense, so Bev gives him the hour off too.

Alone, Bev confirms to Bernice that the aliens really do have a problem with women. Braxiatel had deliberately allowed them to believe the people on the Collection were all degenerates, in the belief that the more debauched they were seen to be, the less the aliens would want them in their Empire. Bev can taste garlic and vodka, and Bernice admits that she’d used it to deter Doggles. She accuses Bev of being too busy to know what’s really going on outside, but Bev believes the reason she hasn’t been ’pounced on’ yet is simply because she is too much hard work. Bernice has finally realised what’s happened - Bev must have been inside Hass too and afterwards, as she was changing clothes, she got time jumped onto the lawn by the Small Trianon, which is where she was seen naked by Bernice and the students. Bev was simply copying Braxiatel’s technique, which is to brazen things out by claiming she intended to be naked all the time, turning the situation to her advantage. Bev admits that the Collection is pining without Braxiatel and it’s falling apart at the seams. This is why they’ve been experiencing time jumps. Hass can see in thirteen dimensions and he discovered that every single dimension was under strain, so he visited Bev to warn her that the ground was breaking apart beneath them. His advice was to plant Simpson’s Thin Weave all over the place, which works like tree roots holding up a river bank, tangling through the soil and keeping everything together. Unfortunately it had a side-effect because Hass had to accelerate the growth cycle as they didn’t know how long they had left. As a result, there’s a lot of pollen in the air. Bernice warns that at this rate the students will have worn out their naughty bits by the end of the week, but Bev isn’t concerned and things it’s probably been good for them. Bernice also points out that Adrian is being driven mad because it’s Bev he really wants and it’s tearing him up inside to have to resist all the offers he’s receiving. It’s not just about sex - there’s been fighting, there are queues at the hospital and with everyone’s libido taking control of them, no one’s actually consenting! Bev finally accepts that there’s a problem and she asks Bernice to talk to Hass and get something sorted.

Hass tells Bernice that his solution to the problem on KS-159 has knitted together the soil perfectly, but it’s still only mid-pollenation and the life-cycle is about three weeks. Bernice realises they can‘t survive for that long, but Hass can’t kill the thin weave without compromising the soil which would tear apart the Collection. She suggests slowing it down instead, but Hass points out that although temperature might have an effect, the weather control system here hasn’t worked for months. Bernice calls at Adrian’s house and is surprised to find she’s interrupting a session with the alien Zing-Zang. Adrian asks her to wait outside for a moment, then Zing-Zang leaves rather hurriedly. Adrian makes a half-hearted attempt to explain that he was helping the student repair some damage to her room earlier in the morning caused by sixteen people on one fragile bed, but Bernice hasn’t got the time. She tells him she knows what’s causing the problems here and she knows how to fix it, so she asks him to get dressed and be ready to help. Fortunately Peter is currently staying with Umska, an Emillian who is immune because she’s self-replicating and asexual. Bernice says they need to collect Doggles first, but before they’re ready to leave they hear Zing-Zang crying out…

They race outside to find Zing-Zang being strangled again by her boyfriend Minko, who’s obviously discovered she’s been unfaithful to him. When he realises Adrian was responsible, his anger turns towards the Killoran, but Bernice intervenes and points out that Minko himself has had sex with several people over the last few days! Bev turns up too, this time wearing clothes, and tries to settle the dispute by expelling Minko. Bernice argues that they have to do more than just give a show of strength, but Bev orders Adrian to collect together a group of Killorans equipped with stun-guns. Until Bernice can sort things out, they need to impose decorum on the Collection by force. Both Bernice and Adrian refuse to co-operate and tell Bev that they got rid of Braxiatel and they don’t need anyone else running their lives for them. If this is the only way the Collection can survive, then maybe it’s just as well to let it break apart. Bev warns Adrian not to take Bernice’s side and insists that the Collection is worth fighting for, but Bernice disagrees if it means they have to fight each other. Bev won’t listen and returns to the negotiations, leaving Adrian and Bernice to decide what to do with Minko. Once they’re alone, Bernice assures Adrian that Bev is behaving aggressively because of whatever is in the air, but he says she’s always like that. He plans to place Minko into custody as a night in the cell might do him good. Minko apologies to Bernice, but she says it’s not her he should be apologising to. She asks for Zing-Zang to be taken to Dr Wt'hlm while she tries to track down Doggles.

Joseph tells Bernice that Bev has called off the negotiations until the next morning so she can get some sleep. Bernice points out that the new schedule will be the middle of the night for the alien ambassador, and Joseph believes this might have been deliberate to give Bev a tactical advantage. Bernice eventually found Doggles in an embarrassing position after he got stuck having sex with Curator Fernley when she changed from female to male half-way through. She asks Joseph to make sure he tells everyone he knows! She’s left Doggles and Adrian to get on with the job in hand, but they won’t have the device built until tomorrow morning so she plans to turn in for the night. First, she adjusts Joseph’s internal mechanisms and orders him to self-scan for any contaminants and conduct a full system purge. She switches him back on and checks that he no longer has a desire to take photographs of her. He checks his own sent-mail box and discovers that he passed Doggles a film sequence of Bernice and Bev in an embrace. Joseph is shocked to learn that he recorded this and feels filthy. She orders him to delete the sequence and get his drone mates to do the same! Just then, Bernice receives a new message from Jason, which she suspects will be his attempt to explain why he sneaked off this morning without a word. However it’s just an over-excited Jason expressing his delight at the film clip he’s been sent by Joseph.

Bev is surprised by the arrival of Adrian, who wants to talk. She says she’s too busy as she has to get them out of a war with six species, but he points out that she always has a reason not to talk. She believes he’s just reacting to the pollen in the air, but he tells he he’s felt like this for months. He doesn’t like her new public persona - the tough, mean image, it’s as if she thinks she’s the new Braxiatel, which is the last thing people want. Joseph accidentally interrupts their discussion and Adrian leaves, frustrated. Bev returns to Joseph’s latest version of the sub-paragraph on information tax, but again they’re interrupted - this time by Ambassador Drensel who desires a private audience with her…

Bernice urges Doggles to hurry up as a crowd is starting to gather. Eventually he’s ready to start, although he still can’t understand why anyone would want to do what they’re planning. Bernice tells him of an archaeological dig she worked on once at Milton Keynes on Earth where she found evidence of a huge area of public entertainment. Years before anyone started to terraform planets, they created their very own ski slopes using amazing technology for the time. She starts getting a bit frustrated at how long their equipment is taking to warm up and realises she’s going to have to distract the crowd after all. Doggles is sceptical - what can she have to offer that’s going to be more interesting to the crowd than a gang bang? Bernice moves to a loudspeaker and tells everyone to settle down as she has something to tell them. She explains that some of them have probably already noticed a certain ’jubilant’ mood on the campus this last week. This is the side-effect of a gardening project undertaken by Mr Hass, who takes over and starts telling them about Simpson’s Thin Weave. While this is going on, Joseph has collected together all the other AI drones and purged them of their recordings of Bernice and Bev kissing, Bernice in the shower, Bernice failing to arose Jason, etc. Minko is also taking this opportunity to apologise to Zing-Zang. He knows he’s been an idiot and he assures her he didn’t sleep with everyone on their course. Dennis said no, for example. He hopes that they might be able to start again, but Zing-Zang rejects his offer. Bev approaches Adrian and tells him she’s successfully signed a provisional Treaty which means the planet is safe, at least for the moment. However, the various ambassadors’ wives have got themselves into a bit of a twist and are convinced that their husbands have been up to no good, watching xeno-pornography while they claimed to be at the negotiating table. Unfortunately Jason has been building a comms relay on the third moon of Mim and he accidentally broadcast some footage of her and Bernice kissing in front of the ambassadors. Adrian tells Bev he knows why she did it and she apologises for staying away from him for so long. They start to kiss, happily ignoring everyone who may be watching.

Bernice struggles to keep everyone’s attention as she continues with her explanation. At last Doggles reports that he’s ready, but after a few seconds they realise they’re still not feeling any colder yet. Just then the accelerator kicks in and it begins to snow. The impact is immediate and amazing, turning the Collection into an image straight out of a Christmas special. It should be the perfect cold shower, but it doesn’t seem to be putting anyone off their sex. In fact, it’s not even putting Bernice off, and Doggles reveals that it will take another eight hours for the cold to suppress the pollenation. There’s only one thing for it - Bernice orders Doggles to take his trousers off. She’s throwing in the towel as it’s going to be too much for her to resist joining in the fun. They start to embrace and Bernice is confident that Jason won’t mind. In fact, it’s exactly the sort of thing he’d dream up. The air is filled with the sound of moans and groans as the Braxiatel Collection becomes the ultimate orgy.

Much later, Jason returns home and finds Bernice tucked up in bed with a stinking cold. She warns him not to come too close as she’s just a torrent of yellowy snot, but he doesn’t mind and kisses her anyway. He’s noticed that the whole place seems a bit different from when he was last here and she explains that everyone is too full of the sniffles to molest each other anymore. A bit of wanton abandon seems to have cleared the air and the ‘evil space root’ has settled down now that the weather has equalised. Jason guesses they’ll have a record number of students applying next year once word gets round about what happened. Bernice congratulates him on averting the war (although he feels it’s only been postponed) but nobody’s told her how he did it, so she assumes it’s something she’d be better off not knowing. Perhaps he was required to “do the deed” with some poor buxom innocent and at first he tries to assure her the cosmos would have blown up if he hadn’t, but eventually he admits that it wasn’t like that. She’s about to tell him what she got up to while he was away, but he says he doesn’t mind and he understands that he wasn’t here to help personally. It was only sex after all, and although she though it was sensational, she’s prepared to convince herself that it was reassuringly tawdry. Jason says that he and Bernice are more than just the sex - they have arguments and a future together. He knows she’s probably too ill to want to talk about having children, but he’s keen to fulfil their destiny and prove once and for all that his balls actually work.

Just then, there’s a knock at the door. Bev walks in and catches Bernice and Jason in mid-clinch, but is glad she’s not interrupting anything important. She too has been thinking about the future and about having contingency plans to protect their planet. Jason refuses to allow them to build an army, but Bev thinks they should at least be seeking some advice. She has a new assignment for them both - something perfectly placed within their fields of expertise…

Source: Lee Rogers
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