Junior Earplug Adventures: We Stand Accused (Part 18)

Keeping a discrete distance, Magnuss and the others followed the security squad across the desert, until they came across a road that led into a tunnel…

Concerned that they might be spotted in the strangely familiar open landscape, the terrestrial earplugs decided to wait until nightfall before continuing.

“But surely,” Lucian chirped, “night will never come. Clearly this planet has a dark side and a light side. We were on the dark side: now we are on the light side.”

As Magnuss went to respond, night arrived with a suddenness that boggled the imagination, and jangled the earplug’s intellect…

On the roadside below the hillside spot where they huddled together, street lights began to twinkle invitingly. So invitingly, in fact, that the group set off immediately – renewing their pursuit of the security squad and their innocent captive. It was only then that Magnuss finally replied to Lucian’s statement:

“I’ve seen this countryside before.” He said. “I believe that before long we will encounter a strange monoculture that stretches to the horizon in every direction – except the one we’ve come from, obviously.”

Nennigross was a smart female: she saw, in an instant, where Magnuss’s tale was leading:

“By the Saint of All Earplugs.” She squealed in a appealing…um…squeal. “This is the planet Scroton. The last place you were seen before magically reappearing in the Museum of Future Technology in a hidden, sealed ‘Ladies’ toilet on one of the lower levels!”

Magnuss’s appreciation of Nennigross soared. “Correcto.” He cried. “Excellente. Muy bien. This is, indeed, the planet I named Scroton. And that security squad is headed for the major city called Scroton Prime.”

“Excuse me.” Lucian interrupted. “But I don’t recall anything about Scroton having a dark side and a light side.”

Magnuss looked up at the night sky…

It was so different to the one he was used to seeing in his youth, when he would lay upon his back on the roof of the house in which his Auntie Doris lived, and stare with wonder at the arch of infinity above him.

“You see,” he said, “intelligent life on Scroton didn’t evolve naturally. It was created by an advanced race, who, even now, protects this fledgling civilisation against interference. When they discovered the cable ends, they knew that they had found a species on the brink of sentience. But, being super intelligent, they knew that merely endowing the pre-Scrotonites with self-awareness and braininess wasn’t enough: they had to create the correct environment for their planned civilisation to succeed. They had to change this whole dark side / light side thing. Enter stage left a vast space craft…

A really vast space craft…”

may19 008 

“How do you know this?” Catford asked.

“Their golden leader told me.” Magnuss replied. “It was as we returned to my saucer. And if we hadn’t been so busy in our crippled flying saucer…

…breaking wind furiously, I would have recognised the constellations, and so identified this planet much sooner. Anyway; on with the story…”

To be continued…

© Paul Trevor Nolan

 

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Junior Earplug Adventures: We Stand Accused (Part 17)

Before long the three fugitives discovered that the ledge, upon which they ambulated nervously, kind of fizzled out…

The way onwards was obvious, but far from clear. A swirling mist obscured their view of what lay below the ledge. Bravely Saskia closed her eyes and took several deep breaths. Then she did something that stunned her new-found chums…

She jumped!

Meanwhile, upon the desert sand, Zip and Magnuss stood open-mouthed…

…as they watched the hyper-efficient security squad capture the last of the innocent yellow desert folk…

“Ah-ha!” They heard the squad leader yell triumphantly…

…”we’re gonna drag you back to the city, and parade you through the streets like some kind of trophy.”

“Show off!” The captive blurted in furious response. “Not that it’ll do you much good: I had oatmeal for breakfast: now my guts need to make room for it. Parade me about the streets at your own risk!”

But the cable end’s threats were ignored, and soon he was dragged away screaming. Whilst Zip went in search of the Trans-Galactic Prospectors, Magnuss ran back to tell the others…

Nennigross, Catford, Lucian, and Julian couldn’t have been more surprised.

“Gor blimey!” Catford exclaimed roughly like the female weightlifter she was.

“Flip me sideways!” Julian and Lucian said as one.

“We have to do something.” Nennigross exploded. “I hate injustice: it makes me wanna puke!”

Magnuss smiled inwardly; Nennigross reminded him of his brave and loyal girlfriend, Hair-Trigger Provost, whom he missed terribly since being whisked out of his flying saucer by unknown and unseen forces long ago whilst engaged upon a mission to save the K T Woo with her.

“Yeah, good idea.” He said. “Any ideas?”

Naturally the four young earplugs were full of ideas…

…but only Fang’s was worth a fig:

“We follow.” The green plugmutt said quietly. “Use Fang’s nose; track cable ends.”

Nennigross wasn’t enamoured with the plan, and Julian felt compelled to look away at the difficult moment betwixt the plugmutt and his registered keeper.

“Right then.” Magnuss said as he assumed command. “Let’s go.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

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Junior Earplug Adventures: We Stand Accused (Part 16)

And the deeper they plunged into the mysterious interior, the darker it became…

Although the three escapees knew each other loosely – that is they said “Good morning, what a nice day it is today. They say it might rain later in the afternoon.” whenever they chanced to meet in the street; the tobacconist; or the offal shop – none knew the other’s name. So, as they continued to flee apace, they…

…introduced themselves:

“I’m Edni Gilbatross.” The first in line said between deep, nervous breaths. “I peel artichokes and other unpopular vegetables – when I’m not being pursued by government heavies.”

“How interesting.” The cable end directly behind Edni said when he realised that Edni had nothing more to say. “My name is Sponson Croupe. I’m the town’s chief feather boa design engineer. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all.” The third in line wheezed as she struggled to keep up with the others. “I like feather boas immensely. If I wasn’t the Mayor’s bottom-wiper, I’d wear a different one every day of the year. As the Mayor’s bottom-wiper my name should always remain a secret; but since the mayor himself has been captured and taken into servitude, I guess the whole subject is moot. So I can safely tell you that I’m known as Saskia Mudhatch, which, considering my job, seems vaguely fitting.”

So, introductions complete, Edni, Sponson, and Saskia continued their flight to freedom…

But what they didn’t expect was the discovery that at the end of the catacombs sat a huge…

…cave, which led into a labyrinth of caverns…

“Has anyone noticed that the lighting is brighter down here?” Saskia inquired.

“Strange.” Edni replied. “In theory it should be darker than the interior of my colon at this depth: but it’s bright enough to read a paperback novel by.”

“In large print.” Sponson said as an addendum.

Saskia then asked the obvious question: “What might be the cause of it?”

“Well,” Edni attempted to answer her, “it’s probably bioluminescence, or more likely a hitherto unsuspected cache of buried advanced technology that’s been hidden from us for yonks.”

“Oh, good.” Sponson spoke into the resulting shocked silence. “Let’s go find it: it could make us rich beyond the dreams of avarice.”

So they did…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

 

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Wallpaper 343: Interrogated by Aliens

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Wallpaper 342: Window on the Past

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Junior Earplug Adventures: We Stand Accused (Part 15)

And Cushions success was her ability to use the Omnipresent Scanner so efficiently that she discovered Magnuss upon a distant planet in ten seconds flat. So she, everyone in the Museum of Future Technology, and even those in the Galactic Court, watched as Zip Fladgerston dashed back to fetch the golden Magnuss and demand that he follow him into the desert…

“What are you so flipping excited about, Zip?” Magnuss asked reasonably enough. Then he added: “Gosh, it’s hot here: no wonder you took your silver suit off. It’s a pity that you didn’t have any underpants on underneath it though.”

But when he saw what Zip had seen earlier, he completely forgot all about the sight of the cable end’s bum, because he could barely believe his sodding eyes.

“It, it, ” he stammered, “looks like a small oasis town. A rather more significant observation though is that it appears to be populated by beings much like yourself!”

And Magnuss’s observation was entirely accurate…

But then surprise turned to something analogous to horror when…

…a team that Magnuss recognised as a Security Squad arrived. It was only a tiny oasis town, so it was relatively easy to enter the town from both ends at the same time…

Magnuss and Zip stood aghast as some of the townsfolk tried hiding in the woods…

And others dashed off into the desert…

But the Security Squad were efficient and remorseless in their pursuit…

…and very quickly they began rounding up their quarry…

“Gotcha!” The Squad Leader with a blue cranium roared with boastful delight.

“But why?” His captives voiced their fears. “What possible reason would you have for rounding up all us yellow desert folks?”

“Security Squad members don’t grow on trees, ya know.” The Squad Leader answered. “Only yellow cable ends are any good at it. So, every once in a while we go on a recruiting drive. You’ll be taken back to the city and conscripted into the security forces. You won’t like it initially, but before long the indoctrination process will have you loving every minute of it. Who knows, maybe next year you’ll be rounding up your brothers and sisters just like we’re rounding up you right now.”

But some were smarter than others; right under the Squad Leader’s olfactory array, they took off across the pitched roofs…

Naturally the Security Squad went in pursuit…

But they didn’t know the back streets like the locals did, and before long three desert folk managed to place some distance between themselves and their pursuers…

Or, to put it another way, they got away. But they needed somewhere to hole up until night fall. And they found it…

…in a hole in an ancient building’s wall; though they did experience difficulty squeezing through it…

But when they did…

…they were amazed to discover catacombs even more ancient that must have dated back to the Year One.

To be continued…

© Paul Trevor Nolan

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Junior Earplug Adventures: We Stand Accused (Part 14)

The Red Alert came as a response to something that had happened earlier. Cushions Smethwyke had been discussing some incredibly important curator’s stuff with some fellow curators in the Great Hall…

…when they were suddenly interrupted by a mob of angry earplugs…

“You have to do something about those poor lost museum customers on Mars.” The mob’s spokesplug and fellow curator, Widerspoon Flange demanded. “You are morally and legally obliged to mount a rescue mission.”

Cushions was horrified: she had no means of keeping up her part of the bargain entered into when a customer buys a ticket that allows them entry into the museum.

“But Space Ship Number Fifteen is no more; the K T Woo is far away in deep space; and the Mars Shuttle hasn’t returned yet.” She complained. “I don’t know how. Do you, Pretty-Boy Plankton?”

“Er, no.” The multi-hued former hood replied. “But I guess you could try the Omnipresent Scanner to find them, and then maybe contact Magnuss Earplug, wherever he is, and maybe ask him to help out. He is a saint, after all.”

“Great idea.” A relieved Cushions replied as she quickly adjusted Pretty-Boy’s plan into something more practical. “Let’s make that official. Go to Crimson Alert. I’ll warm up the Scanner: you call the Earplug Brothers.”

So, whilst Cushions did this…

…Widderspoon met with no success whatsoever contacting the heroic siblings, because Rudi and Valentine were riding the travelator as they passed the timber yard en route to Auntie Doris’s house for a cup of tea and a slice of  lemon drizzle cake…

And Chester and Miles were somewhere…

…arguing the merit – or demerit – of another Anton Twerp work, this time entitled The Mint Sauce Rocket. So it proved impossible for them to make telepathic contact with their talented brother. But although Widderspoon scored zip with his task, Cushions was more successful…

To be continued.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

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