The Time Tamperer (part 9)

In another region of the vast emporium known as the Museum of Future Technology – the Research and Development Department to be precise –  a group of biological android engineers made their way proudly to an observation position…

Their pride came from their work on the application of a propulsion system brought back to Earth by Dorkan and Dawlish Deathwish aboard the Chi-Z-Sox…

With the help of a glut of unemployed purple earplugs…

…whose talent for screwing things together…

…was hardly legendary, but whose wage expectations were low, the biological androids had shoehorned the alien motor into a locally built flying saucer. Now they stood to attention to applaud the mysterious volunteer pilot who had…ah…volunteered to take the amalgam of technologies upon a test flight into orbit…

Her name was Tanganika Chunks, and she had decided to make a grand entrance for her promotional display. So grand, indeed, was the light show, that the three spies – Wigo Rong, Brengun Rooney, and Caleb Rotter – stood in open-mouthed admiration…

“Flipping heck!” Caleb exclaimed. “I aint never seen nothing like it!”

“Me too.” A breathless Brengun added. “The Museum of Abrasive Materials has nothing like this. We have only a dull white shade of lighting – or black, when they turn the lights off: they have green and mauve. Who could have imagined that such a combination would work so fabulously?”

“Is it any surprise that earplugs come here?” Wigo said rhetorically. “Our museum is so dull, it’s a surprise that we haven’t all died of boredom. These pretty lights are enough to make one emotional.”

Meanwhile Tanganika Chunks had stepped into a more regular kind of light…

And as she accepted the applause of her peers and new-found fans…

…she said: “Hi, guys. Are we gonna light the blue touch-paper tomorrow? Are we gonna show the world just how great Androids and Purps can be? I say ‘right on, brother‘. Let’s get it on!”

With that she turned away…

…and walked across the short distance…

…that led to a huge picture window, through which she could see the setting sun as it dipped behind the hills that stood behind the Museum of Future Technology, and imagined, in her mind’s eye, the ship she would pilot the very next day…

“Ooh-er.” She said to herself. “I hope I can remember which button is the ‘Go’ button; and which one is ‘Self Destruct’.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

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The Time Tamperer (part 8)

Naturally the (otherwise bored-stupid) RoboSecGua was glad to aid four idiotic, egotistical earplugs towards their potential nemesis. “Come on, then.” It said in a dull, flat electronic voice. “Follow me. Keep up. No slacking in the ranks.”

It was a long route that the museum’s security force member led Pixie, Neville, Jeremy, and Chickweed upon. In fact it was very long and circumbendibus and they saw myriad ‘things‘ through the many windows that they passed by…

…But eventually the service elevator door that led to Swottan Hetty hove into view…

Here the RoboSecGua left them to their own devices. If it was a test, the foursome passed it; because ten minutes and several squabbles later…

…they arrived in the control room of Major Flaccid. The Major, himself, had been chatting quietly about intestinal worms and violent flatulence with his senior officers and the recently recruited monstrosity, Nature Beast, who wore a probationary officer’s football helmet. As one they turned to greet the new arrivals…

“My, what do we have here?” Major Flaccid bellowed in his best stentorian voice. “Come to join Twit, have we?”

The three boys took an involuntary backward step – leaving Pixie to face the Major.

“Er, yes Sir.” She answered. “We’ve not long left university, with the tutor’s left-wing (and overly liberal) views still ringing in our ears. But we don’t personally believe that everyone is equal. In life there are winners and losers. We don’t want to be losers. We want to be members of T.W.I.T.”

“Well said.”  Flaccid mumbled appreciatively. “From the heart too. Nature Beast: take their names, will you?”

Nature Beast looked, what could best be described as, ‘awkward‘. “Um, Nature Beast no read.” He said. “No write neither. Fight quite good though. Punch real hard. And go to toilet real good too. Use hardly any toilet tissue.”

“Yes, yes.” Flaccid interrupted the geneticist’s nightmare. “Shut up, for flip’s sake.” Then addressing the officer nearest he said: “You do it. Use my pen. We’re trying to be a paperless society here at Twit, so write their names on the back of your hand. Don’t wash your hands after using the urinal until you’ve transferred the information to the powerful and highly advanced military computer in the back room.”

So Pixie soon heard herself say: “Pixie Taylor.” Neville say: “Neville Scroat.” Jeremy say: “Jeremy Farton.” And Chickweed Gubbins stutter so badly that the officer jotted down Sickbag Shudders, which he thought was a rather charming name.

So, with the formalities over, Flaccid welcomed the four earplugs to the Tactical Weapons Intelligence Team…

 

“Pick up your uniforms on the way out.” He added. “They’re in a drawer beside the Cafe Puke vending machine.”

So five minutes later…

…the youngsters departed the control room, dressed in military olive-green and full of their own importance.

“By-ee.” Nature Beast called from the up-and-over door…

…”You got nice bum, Pixie.” He added. “See you later, Nature Beast hope.”

“That’s a genuine case of good timing.” Major Flaccid said to his senior officers…

…”I sense we’re going to need them very soon. I can feel it in my water. In my bowels too. Now what were you saying about Tape Worms?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

 

The Time Tamperer (part 7)

Meanwhile visitors continued to arrive at the door of the Museum of Future Technology…

In this particular case the hover taxi-sled contained four dissatisfied youngsters. Young earplugs who wanted to become very important with a high opinion of themselves. Young earplugs who would like to see themselves resplendent in military uniform. But as they reached the door and spotted the artificially beaming smile of the Robot Ticket Collector…

…the sole female – Pixie Taylor – began to have second thoughts. But her boyfriend – the golden-eyed Jeremy Farton – dragged her back with the warning: “If you don’t become a member of T.W.I.T, I’ll stop going out with you.”

So, before long, they had passed all of the Robot Ticket Collector’s tests and were now traversing the first few metres of the museum beyond the foyer…

“Yuk.” Pixie spat. “I hate the décor. Pink is so feminine. I think it should be more butch. Maybe purple or black. Purple and black would do it for me.”

They then paused as a loud-speaker announcement…er…announced that any would-be recruits for the museum’s military task force should ask the way to the T.W.I.T HQ, Swottan Hetty, from a Robot Guide. But after ten minutes looking for one, the foursome had to make do with a RoboSecGua…

The green-haired Chickweed Gubbins stood back whilst Neville Scroat made the necessary inquiries.

“What?” The RoboSecGua verbally exploded. “You wanna join T.W.I.T? Are you crazy or something? Have you seen their track record? They lost most of their troop…

…when, due to cut-backs and the threat of dismissal, they mutinied…

…and ran away. They set up business as café owners in the mountain citadel of Lemon Stone…

“Great.” Jeremy responded. “They’ll be desperate to take us. Chum’s, we’re as good as in the army. You, RoboSecGua: show us the way. Muy rápido, por favor!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 6)

Meanwhile, far away, in the night-enshrouded El Ciudad De Droxford…

…two disgruntled kitchen staff, the short-legged Duncan Propshaft and the incredibly average Saxon Nibble, were taking a well-earned break during the restaurant’s quiet period before the late rush…

“I don’t know about you,” Duncan grumbled as he adjusted the heat of the pizza oven, “but I’ve had more than enough serving up Brussels pâté on toast and other fancies. I want to do something significant with my life. After all, you never know when your time is going to be up. I mean – the restaurant could get hit by an asteroid, or I could get struck down with the dreaded lurgi, without a moment’s notice.”

“I know what you mean.” Saxon replied. “Not sure what to do about it though, Dunc, baby. But I know someone who shares your opinion.”

Duncan was surprised. “I’m surprised.” He said. “Who is this wise and needy earplug?”

Five minutes later the duo were walking the city streets with the restaurant’s lowliest chef, Wilson Bucket…

“I’m more hacked-off with my profession than one of the legs of the wild plugmutt’s I carve up for dinner every night.” Wilson complained. “And I’ll tell you what: if anyone could hand me an idea worthy of my interest, I’d grab it like a drowning…er…earplug.”

“Me too.” Saxon commiserated. “but, hey Wilsie, where are we going to find such an enlightened character in El Ciudad de Droxford? It’s a big city, man: no one talks to service industry workers like us: we’re scum-suckers.”

Duncan was about to comment, when…

…they heard footsteps approaching. Instantly stunned into terrified silence, they awaited some dreadful verbal abuse from a drunken reveller or some such who had mistaken them for his Uncle Rajat, whom he hated with a passion. And they remained mute when the perpetrators of the footsteps appeared from a side street…

“Well howdy, fellas.” A voice, well-known to many in the Museum of Future Technology, bellowed mightily. “Shift over for the night, huh?”

Duncan was the first to recognise the owner of the huge voice…

“By the Saint of All Earplugs!” He exclaimed to his colleagues. He then explained his verbal outburst: “It’s Sheriff Sinclair Brooch and his charming wife, Nancy!”

“Um…Sheriff…?” Saxon mumbled apologetically. “Sorry?”

Duncan was aghast at his co-worker’s ignorance:” Duh: they are the Captain and First Officer of, none other than, the K T Woo!”

He immediately slipped them both a worn photograph that he carried in the pocket of his pinny. It looked like this – only tattier…

“Oh,” Wilson cried, as recognition struck, “that Sinclair Brooch. Hi Captain; nice to meet you. Blasted any alien invasion fleets lately?”

Nancy giggled at this. “It’s no good, Sinclair.” She said. “You’ll always be associated with an itchy trigger finger.”

“Not recently.” Sinclair answered Wilson’s question with a friendly chuckle. “But you never know when we might get the call again: the Museum of Future Technology is great draw for invading aliens and egomaniacal desperadoes.”

This last line tripped a thought alarm in Duncan’s brain. “Hey.” He said: “You were once a law-plug on the planet they named Worstworld: then you became a star ship captain: if anyone could give us advice on spicing up our worthless lives, it would be you. Any ideas?”

Naturally Sinclair acquiesced to the small black earplug’s request. He led them to a high rooftop…

“Take a look around you.” He said as the light of a new day began to filter through the low cloud. “The whole of El Ciudad de Droxford is your oyster. You don’t have to spend your working hours sweating your underpants into soggy ruin in a kitchen. No, you could get all sorts of other jobs. For example, you could rinse out urinals and stuff like that. They’re always looking for urinal rinsers”

“Alternatively you might like to visit the Museum of Future Technology.” Nancy interjected a suggestion of her own. “You never know what talent you might find you have there. You might surprise yourself.”

She didn’t know it, of course, but Nancy’s words were to be prophetic.

“Good idea.” Duncan replied. “I think I’ll take you up on that; I’m not big on toilets.”

“You’re not big; period.” Wilson said with a grin. He then added: “Me and Saxon’ll come along for the ride. Does anyone know the way to the Transfer Conduit Station?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

The Time Tamperer (Part 5)

The Robot Ticket Collector had a good memory for faces: the beige beauty’s seemed familiar. “Who are you?” It inquired. “Where have I seen you before?”

The new arrival was surprised by this. “Um,” She faltered as she begun her reply. “I’m, um, Mincey Muir.”

“Uh-huh.” The Robot Ticket Collector responded. “Faces I’m great with: names give me a little trouble.”

“Mincey Muir.” Mincey said, as though those three syllables explained everything. Then realising that, if she didn’t add some more information, the Robot Ticket Collector’s fixed grin would remain immobile until the end of time. “I’m an actress. I appeared in the TV movies, ‘What Becomes of the Broken Winded?‘ and ‘The Streets of Kilimanjaro’.” 

“I’m a servomechanism.” The Robot Ticket Collector replied. “I don’t watch television. So why do I think I know you?”

Mincey took a deep breath. “Because,” she whispered, “my father is Sir Dodger Muir, and I take after him for looks.”

“Sir Dodger Muir?” The erstwhile quiescent RoboSecGua exclaimed as it raced to join the conversation…

“”He’s a wonderful actor. Well he used to be – before he retired from the silver screen. Such mobile eyebrows. Well one of them anyway. I loved him in ‘Dark Bile in Chunderford’ and ‘The Bewildering Duvet’. Why, only the other night, they ran a re-run of ‘Hunt for the Skidmark’ on late-night TV! And you’re his offspring? Why, that’s wonderful!”

“Great.” Mincey replied. “And now he’s a curator here. I’ve come to visit him. But…ah…I don’t have an entry ticket. I don’t have the money to buy one either: my latest show got cancelled after the pilot failed. As the Executive Producer I lost my shirt on it.”

“No probs.” The RoboSecGua instantly overruled the inevitable negative response of the Robot Ticket Collector. “I will personally vouch for you.”

Moments later Mincey found herself hurrying behind the RoboSecGua as it raced from the foyer…

 

“Hurry.” It said. “We have to catch up with the first party to arrive. They have several minutes lead over you.”

Meanwhile, slightly further ahead of Mincey Muir…

…the three mysterious and secretive users of the Cone of Invisibility had dispensed with the sneaky device.

“That’s better.” The yellow-eyed earplug, who was known to the others by the name of Wigo Rong, said. “I find those things such an encumbrance.”

“Yeah,” the orange-eyed Brengun Rooney replied, “we have to stand so close together inside it. It gives me hypothermia.”

“You mean claustrophobia.” The third mystery earplug, Caleb Rotter, grumbled. “Now let’s get on with our mission to discover why the Museum of Future Technology get’s thousands more paying customers than our own.”

“Yeah,” Brengun nodded. “What makes this place so much more attractive to earplugs than the Museum of Abrasive Materials?”

Meanwhile the first to arrive had discovered the thrill of using the Up ramps…

…and screamed with delight as they raced down the Down ramps…

And it was as they raced up and down like a bunch of loonies that an exhausted Mincey Muir finally caught up with them…

“Jeepers,” She gasped as they rushed by, “don’t you guys ever slow down?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 4)

Although all personal details of the museum’s visitors were supposed to remain secret, the Robot Ticket Collector quickly decreed that it could share information with another servo-mechanism, without breaching company rules and etiquette.

“Well,” it replied, “some of them are rather keen to visit the ancient Mars exhibit. You know, the one that’s based on the subterranean village that was discovered by Magnuss Earplug and Yabu Suchs before the planet was transformed into an Earth-like idyll…”

“Boring.” The Robot Guide responded. “Give me another example.”

“Well, ” the Robot Ticket Collector started again, “one of them wanted to see the exhibit that represents a future Earth when the Sun goes all dark and purple…”

“Also boring.” The RoboSecGua, which had stood quiescent previously, stated. “Why don’t you relate a more personal hope? Something more…’earpluggy’?”

“Fine.” The Robot Ticket Collector snapped, despite its permanent smile. “A couple wanted to feel the radioactive rays of some Amber Shards…

You know; the stuff that powers the museum’s defence fighters…

And…” it continued unexpectedly, “there was a guy who really wanted to see the dancing girls that travelled from the Museum of Future Technology in an alternate dimension…”

“Who wouldn’t?” The Robot Guide sniggered. “Gorgeous, every one of ’em. Even the choreographer. Anything else?”

“One idiot wanted to witness a Time Storm.” The Robot Ticket Collector confided.

“Sap.” The RoboSecGua grunted electronically. “Obviously suicidal. I hope you barred it.”

“And there was the bunch of twisted wallies who came here to see the latest art work of the museum’s most reviled artist, Anton Twerp – displayed by a pair of hired beach-belles.” The Robot Ticket Collector added unbidden…

“By Twerp’s standards, it’s pretty good actually. “

It would have said more, but at that precise moment another visitor arrived…

…upon her levitating street cycle.

“Hi.” The beige beauty called from the saddle. “Are you open yet?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018