Distant Land (part 35)

Meanwhile, Folie, Placebo, and the others continued to stare in utter fascination at the bridge main viewer…

And what it showed at that particular moment was a spectacular head-on shot of the Gravity Whelk against a backdrop of stars…

Placebo was about to say something along the lines of: “Wow, how did they get that shot? Do they have a huge, invisible selfie stick or something?” when the view reversed…

“Ooh,” Folie managed, “a big star. Do you think that object in the top right quadrant is a planet?” But he shut up when the view altered again…

“That sure is a pretty ship.” Placebo opined in a  breathless rush. “And look how close it passed to that star. Look – it’s turning to port. It’s surely heading for…

…that planet. Oh, by the Saint of All Earplugs: it’s a frozen world!”

Then it became clear to those watching that the pause in commentary had been inserted so that they could enjoy the aesthetics of space craft in their natural environment. So, once more, the tale was taken up…

“Flipping heck.” Beaufort cried out at the planetary apparition, as the Gravity Whelk made a fly-past. “What the flip has happened on our home world? It’s gone all icy!”  

“Dunno.” Richter replied grumpily. “But we didn’t come half way across eternity to turn away now: We’re going in.”

So they did…

And before very long they were plummeting through the atmosphere towards the frozen surface…

Above which they skimmed at intolerably low altitude…

“Beaufort.” Richter called above the noise of keening air as it tore at the blunt prow and bulbous flanks of the large vessel. “See if you can locate the Museum of Future Technology. If that’s gone, the world is done for!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019



Ridiculous Rodentia 2

More Hamster-Sapiens excerpts? Surely not? Surely so! This time the temptation comes in the form of this stunningly hamsterish e-book…

Once free from the close company of the others, Roman made haste for the cotton candy machine. Naturally, since he’d been invited to attend, Wetpatch went in scurried pursuit.

“Why do you need me along?” The school-hamster inquired of the young police constable as they made best marching speed along one of the SS Bargebutt’s many corridors. “I know I used to be really insolent and everything, but I don’t know anything about becoming introverted and disappearing up my own rectum. Surely I’m entirely superfluous?”

Roman didn’t break his stride despite the fact that he had his neck craned around to look at Wetpatch, who was having difficulty keeping up. “Oh no, Wetpatch.” He said with a mirthless chuckle, “If there’s one thing that you’ve proved during this voyage – it’s that you’re far from superfluous. In fact I don’t think we could consider the idea of success without you. You have a secret talent, young male hamster – for being in the right place at the right time, and saying the right words in the right order, or doing the right thing when the wrong thing is the far more obvious course of action.”

It had been a long sentence, and the young police hamster had almost run out of breath. Fortunately they had arrived at his chosen destination at the same moment that he’d uttered his last syllable. As a result he was able to sit himself down upon the cotton candy operator’s stool, and take a few moments to recover.

Wetpatch set the machine in motion, and within moments a miasma of sugary goo began to form inside the spinning drum. “Want some?” He inquired of Roman, as he began prodding at the confection with a smooth thin stick that he’d taken from a packet of many more such objects upon the counter.

Roman was still feeling quite groggy from lack of oxygen to his brain, but nevertheless nodded enthusiastically. So whilst indulging their taste buds in the delights of spun sugar, the two hamsters spoke of things esoteric. Roman’s opening gambit was, “Have you ever read The Horatio Horseblanket Chronicles, Wetpatch?”

Wetpatch was well aware that it was a rhetorical question: No one born this side of the Year Twingo, and lived in Hamster Heath, could possibly have avoided reading those twin tomes that charted the life of Horatio Horseblanket – from pre-pubescent dipstick to Hero of Hamsterdom. But he nodded affirmation anyway – just to be polite.

Roman continued with, “What about The Where House? Are you familiar with the name?”

Wetpatch was now a little less certain where Roman’s verbal trail was leading him, and duly frowned. Did the constable mean The Where House in the literal sense – that being an emporium just outside Gerbils Ruin – in which were housed the wonderful artefacts from the formerly-lost continent of North America’s legendary Area Ninety-nine? Or did he mean the serialized diaries of the same name that were often reprinted in the local paper – The Bucktooth Times?

These questions must have appeared as transparent as a fairy’s gossamer condom as they marched across his face, because Roman said, “You know – the diaries of Lionel Flugelhorn’s adventures in The Where House, and all the weird shit that happened to him after his mum threw him out of the family hovel, and he was forced to move in with Boney Legge.”

Divine inspiration didn’t strike Wetpatch very often. In fact he couldn’t recall it ever happening before. But he was in receipt of it now. “Rat Trek!” He blurted.

Roman was mightily impressed with this. “That’s right.” He said with a smile so broad that he resembled a wide-mouthed frog that had been smoking the magic mushrooms of Danglydong Dell. “Mister Horseblanket was well versed in the science fiction genre, and would often utilise the events that took place in episodes of Rat Trek during periods or crisis. And like his hero, Lionel Flugelhorn made the best use of the fertile minds of those far away script writers. He freely admitted in a recent interview on Heathen Radio that without a thorough grounding in sci-fi, he and his friends would surely have perished in one of those frightening scenarios thrown up by the alien artefacts from Area Ninety-nine.”

Wetpatch didn’t know what to say when an auditory vacuum formed during the period that Roman spent trying to re-gather his breath following an ill-advised second extended sentence. So he fell back on old ways. “Yeah? So?” He grunted.

Like some sort of truncheon-wielding biathlete Roman drew in sufficient air to calm his tortured lungs for just long enough to say, “You’re a fan of the show. You have a box set of DVDs. Have you seen an episode that might pertain to our current situation in any way?”

So whilst the young police officer rolled about the carpeted floor gasping for his life, Wetpatch considered the question. It was patently true that science fiction had often pulled Horatio Horseblanket out of the metaphorical shit and probably saved the lives of countless hordes. It was equally true that Lionel Flugelhorn had also utilised his knowledge of the genre for the betterment of his situation on more than one occasion.

Wetpatch had once met Lionel at the grand opening of a rather graceless unicycle ballet, and couldn’t help but be impressed by both his girlfriend, and the copy of Fantabulous Stories that protruded from his back pocket. And he had at least seventeen copies of Horatio’s autograph: So he could see no logical reason why he – Wetpatch Wilson – shouldn’t duplicate the efforts of his illustrious predecessors. So he set to work, and quickly began running titles of Rat Trek: Season One past his inner eye.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Ridiculous Rodentia

Once upon a time, I wrote a series of books that I titled Hamster-Sapiens. Initially they were quite successful. But, as time passed, I promoted them less and less, until they ceased to sell at all. Every so often I like to remind everyone that they still exist and that the e-book versions remain available at most e-book retailers. This is one of those occasions. So today I’d like to tempt you into sampling an excerpt from this wondrous tale…

And here it is…

Felicity, Roosevelt, and Brenda sat huddled about a small fire. Quentin and Darkwood graciously removed their impressive capes, and placed them about the rodent’s shoulders.

Brenda had no memory for names nor faces: Both tall handsome hamsters were both strangers to her despite the fact that she should have recognised them both from the time they fought upon opposing sides at The Battle of Weasels Pit. She knew instinctively that they were both desperately good-looking, and also that they were hamster-sexual; but their identities remained a mystery to her – even when they both hugged her close, and said, “Brenda, how simply divine to see you again.”

Roosevelt, on the other paw, recalled them instantly, and made sure that his novelty sporran remained firmly attached to the front of his kilt: He didn’t want either hamster getting any ideas.

“Yes,” Felicity was saying, “As soon as we could we came looking for Joan.”

“I imagine that you have a fabulous plan contrived already?” Quentin half inquired – half stated.

“Um, not exactly.” Felicity bit her lower lip gently. “I was just checking out the scene – when I discovered you two.”

“Four.” Margarita corrected the dormouse from behind a dense bush as she attempted to shake some of the mud from her finery without coating everyone else in the process.

“Four.” Felicity corrected herself. “I was so surprised that I let go of the window sill. This caught Roosevelt by surprise, who then tripped on our new bath mat, and poor mum couldn’t decide whether to let go of my tail, or hang on for dear life, and risk twisting her rather weak gerbilish wrists.

Both hamsters regarded Brenda’s rather short forepaws.

“Hmm, quite a quandary I can imagine.” Darkwood sniffed with obvious disapproval.

“So she let go.” Felicity surprised the listeners, “But in my panic I accidentally wrapped my prehensile tail around her neck, and dragged her here with me.”

“And I was squished up between them.” Roosevelt complained, “So now nobody knows what’s happened to us, and none of us can go fetch help.”

“Perhaps if we constructed some form of ladder…” Quentin began to suggest.

“It’ll take for ever, Quentin.” Darkwood verbally slapped his friend around the metaphorical cheek pouches, “None of us possess either the skills, temperament, or tools to perform such a rudimentary carpentry act. By the time Felicity re-accesses her reality, it could all be over for Joan. No – we must march on resolutely, and save that charming, if slightly tubby, female.”

Of course Darkwood was entirely correct. It was merely a matter of time before Lucas Cleats would act – even if it meant burning down the abbey to reach his quarry.

“What do you suggest we do?” Roosevelt spoke in his most complaining tone – a tone that had lost him several girlfriends in the past, and sometimes got him beaten up on the football field, “I mean, there’s only the five – seven – of us: What are we supposed to do against a whole gang of Stix cutthroats?’

“That boy’s sure got one darned good argument there.” Brenda voiced vociferous agreement. “What was you two dandies figurin’ on doin when ya’s got there? Kiss ‘em all to death?”

Quentin looked down his considerable nose at Brenda, and could clearly be seen considering taking back his satin cape. But he managed to retain his decorum.

“It’s Crimblesday.” He stated bluntly.

Darkwood recognised the three stranger’s expressions for what they were: Confusion.

“Posses don’t ride on Crimblesday.” He explained, “It’s against the law. And Quentin’s deputies are all away on a male-bonding seminar in Knackered Dobbin. So we came along, and hoped for divine intervention. Instead it rained, and then you lot turned up.”

Brenda and Roosevelt didn’t react immediately. In fact they didn’t react at all. Roosevelt – because he found the whole idea of absent deputies so abhorrent that he was left speechless; and Brenda – because she had no idea what male-bonding entailed, and was cooking up some pretty vivid impressions inside her head.

“Is they all poofters too?” She finally managed.

But in the time that her adopted mother took to conjure up that pearl of wisdom, Felicity had been thinking hard: Possibly harder than at any time in her life: And the conclusion that she drew proved the fact…

“Divine intervention.” She said through a smile so warm and inviting that it caused Darkwood to sigh, and clasp his paws together in sheer delight. “Darkwood – you’re a genius.”

“I am?” The heir to the throne of Sponx was surprised. “I wasn’t aware of the fact – except perhaps upon a subliminal level. What did I say?”

In answer Felicity whipped Darkwood’s cape from around her shoulder, and passed it back to its rightful owner. “I’ll tell you on the way.” She said. “Douse the fire: Mount up: We ride for Far Kinell!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Distant Land (part 34)

Shortly Princess Cake returned to the royal chambers…

…where she returned to her fretting…

…about all of her surviving subjects who were out in the cold of the resulting nuclear winter. She even felt a smidgen of pity for the four scientists that had caused the disaster, and who now helped the search teams in their quest to bring those survivors into the bosom of the museum…

“You gits.” One particular survivor shouted at them from the deck of passing hover truck. “You’re lucky this truck is moving: if it wasn’t, I’d leap from this deck and give you all a good kick up the arse!”

Knowledge of this made Princess Cake almost wistful…

“Why, I do wish I’d thought of that: I’d have loved to kick Whoops Brannigan up the arse.”

Meanwhile, the loud-mouthed (but essentially harmless) survivor’s twin brother arrived from the opposite direction aboard another hover truck…

But he was too traumatized to say anything. Instead he avoided eye contact completely.

“Whoo, lucky.” Frutilda whispered to Dido. “I was certain that one was going to kick us up the arse really hard.”

Despite her eagerness to conjure up a brilliant plan to save the population, Princess Cake seemed singularly incapable. This concerned her…

“Honestly.” She complained to herself. “What kind of nominal ruler are you? Surely it can’t be that difficult to save the world!”

Meanwhile, out in the cold, word got around…

“Really, I think its lamentable.” Whoops said to Dennis. “That female is getting ideas above her station. If anyone is going to think up a brilliant alternative to a slow dissolution into extinction, it should be us.”

And Dido said to Frutilda: “I don’t know so much: maybe a good kick up the arse would give us just the impetus we need to activate our genius genes. Tell you what: I’ll kick you first: then you kick me.”

Naturally Princess Cake had secret microphones everywhere; and when she heard this, she felt confident that, perhaps, the day might yet be saved…

“They’ll think of something.” She said with a relieved sigh. “I’m sure they will.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019