Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 5)

Meanwhile, whilst the brothers closed upon his position, Magnuss had engaged Susan in further conversation. So, when they arrived in the vaguely green room at the end of the dark tunnel, he was sufficiently educated to introduce his new friend to the others…

…and inform them that (although the exhibit was very advanced technologically) Susan was concerned that it’s altered and abbreviated programming for use in an earlier era had inherent flaws and weaknesses. He told them that the scientists in the future had scoffed at her fears, saying: “But they’re a bunch of comparative savages back then: how are they gonna hack into our fabulous programming? Don’t be stupid! Now get on with your bloody job and stop complaining.”

This amused the boys, and they stopped looking at Susan as if she was a huge weirdo. In fact Chester thought she was ‘Kinda cute – in a gargantuan way’.

But then, suddenly, without prior warning, or minus any hint of anticipatory concern, a shudder ran through Susan’s vast frame…

Being telepathic themselves, and therefore blessed with a certain amount of empathic talent, the Earplug Brothers picked up Susan’s condition.

“What is it, Susan?” Magnuss inquired.

Susan didn’t respond immediately. Instead she began perambulating. Naturally the boys followed her. As they did so, they heard her whisper: “I feel something. Tendrils of some terrible intelligence. It’s attempting to hack into the Age of Stone’s programming.”

“Are you sure?” Magnuss interrupted. “I mean, we’re so backward here in this era. That’s why they sent the Museum of Future Technology back to this time – because we don’t have anything that comes close to affecting it.”

Susan ‘harrumphed’ in reply; then extended her ‘head’ so that Magnuss was thrust higher – towards the distant ceiling…

In an instant he became aware of a distant light. “Ah, is there supposed to be a light up there?” He asked.

But before Susan could reply…

…Magnuss instinctively knew the answer. The light was either coming closer, or it was growing in size. Magnuss didn’t like the look of it. He said as much. But when it enlarged again, he tried to make light of the phenomenon…

“Ah, Susan,” he said in his chirpy way that fooled no one, “I think you have visitors.”

In response Susan moved more quickly that any of the Earplug Brothers thought was green-blobbishly possible. Almost instantaneously Magnuss had been returned to the ground, and she had stretched herself to her fullest height…

“Ooh, yeah.” She said in a tone that gave away no clue to her state of mind. “There’s definitely something there.”  

But then an image formed…

…and the boys were left in no doubt…

“Argh!” She screamed in a voice that had ascended to a pitch that was on the very upper range of earplug hearing. “We’ve been hacked. I was right all along. Something has taken control of The Age of Stone!”

Magnuss and the others, if nothing else, were quick on the up-take. They quickly reasoned that if something was capable of hacking into such advanced programming, it (or they) were very advanced themselves, and that through the exhibit they could spread out and take control of the Museum of Future Technology too.

“Argh!” They cried as one. “Bum too. What a sod…

…And we’ve only been here half an hour too. This is galling in the extreme. Run! Run!”

“Hah-hah-hah,” a familiar, yet unfamiliar, voice boomed, “that’ll teach you. What it’ll teach you I’m not quite sure of; but you can count yourselves taught, that’s for certain. Oh yes, Earplug Brothers: it’s payback time!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

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