Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 9)


Like Magnuss before him, Rudi discovered a region of the exhibit that appeared to be coated with a mysterious green substance that felt slightly spongey…

He too wondered if it might be connected with Susan in some way. And the more he thought about it, the more convinced he became. Hadn’t Magnuss mentioned that she came with the exhibit from the future? That she was part of it? If she was a user’s manual and guide book, then maybe she was something more than that. She feared, and had been incapacitated by, the apparition: maybe it saw her as a threat that needed to be neutralized. It was all becoming clear to the laser-sharp mind of the eldest Earplug Brother. In fact he experienced something of an epiphany…

“Right on, bro.” He yelled. “Of course!”

Moments later, as he attempted to contact his siblings via telepathy, he felt his brain swell to unimaginable dimensions…

Somehow he felt compelled to pass on this revelation to them; but his excitement was getting in the way…

But after several seconds of unendurable mental torture and the momentary loss of his sunglasses, his powerful psyche forced the message through…

Magnuss felt its impact, but wary of the Wonky Supreme Being’s potential presence, he quelled any outward appearance of excitement…

Valentine, previously unaware of events surrounding Magnuss, was less circumspect: he raced to his brother’s side like a complete looney on steroids…

“Hey, Val, that was quick.” Rudi called out through the turmoil of the hellish environment, “Over here, Bro.”

And because Magnuss had been studying the green material upon which Rudi walked only recently, he wasn’t close behind…

So, as a trio, they climbed from the bowels of the exhibit…

…where they encountered more Susan-stuff.

“Gotta be a sign.” Rudi said as they huffed and puffed their way upwards towards the surface.

Magnuss agreed wholeheartedly: he was certain that – although immobilised – Susan was trying to make contact with the brothers. He figured that if she was the physical personification of a defeated anti-virus, she was still her free will to resist the Wonky SB’s infection, with what remained of her abilities.

“Good old Susan.” He said too quietly for Rudi and Valentine to hear. “I liked her from the start. After all,” he added in an attempt to disguise his inner hypocrisy, “she could have shoved me up her rear end but she didn’t.”

The twins had also received Rudi’s momentous message; and they too had discovered the remains of Susan beneath their feet. But any progress they might have made in joining the others was thwarted by a translucent barrier that sprang up around them…

Chester couldn’t believe their misfortune, and duly squeezed his eyes shut in despair. But Miles continued to think coherently: “If we carry this computer hacking analogy further,” he said as he eyed the barrier, “then this could be some kind of firewall – that’s been placed here to keep us out – or in, depending on your point of view.”

A different kind of barrier seemed to be holding the others back. A heavy mist had descended upon the scene…

Fortunately the polarizing effect in Valentine’s sunglasses allowed him to see through it. “This way, guys.” He called.

Shortly after that Magnuss, Rudi, and Valentine all received a mental call from Miles that told them of the twin’s predicament…

“Pick up the pace, Magnuss.” Rudi snapped. “I think Wonky’s on to us.”

So he did…

…and as the mist melted away they found themselves staring at Miles and Chester through the firewall…

“Hello,” the twins greeted them cheerfully, “any idea how to break through this firewall?”

Initially all five earplugs were bereft of ideas. Then Magnuss noticed that the green floor extended beneath the firewall like and unbroken carpet of green. Or even a green carpet. “Susan.” He said suddenly. “If she’s the Age of Stone’s anti-virus: we have to re-activate her.”

“How do you re-activate a huge green blob that looks like a carpet?” Rudi asked reasonably.

Magnuss’ mind was working feverishly. “Let’s think about this.” He said. “She’s down but she’d not out. She’s…she’s…” His brain paused for breath.

But Chester picked up his line of thought: “She’s in hibernation mode!”

Valentine, who might have been the Earplug Brother least likely to ‘think outside the box’, cried: “Hey we gotta wake the foxy mama up!”

“Yes, that’s it.” A relieved Magnuss gushed boyishly. “We have to wake her up. Right, on a count of three…”

Three seconds later, Magnuss, Rudi, and Valentine yelled at the top of their voices…

“Wake up Susan!”

And behind the translucent barrier, Miles and Chester added…

… “Susan – wake up!”

A split second later they wondered if it had been the correct course of action…

…as a brilliant light almost blinded them and spilled a cascade of white sparkly bits upon them. They had just sufficient time to go “Urk” when the floor convulsed…

…and had them staggering around like inebriated Monk Fish. But as the movement calmed, inside the barrier…

…an eye appeared in the floor, which disconcerted the occupants of the firewall trap somewhat. Then, in the time it took for Miles’ bile to rise in his throat, the firewall dissipated…

…and the brothers were reunited.

“Yeah – good old Susan.” They yelled as her eyes roved around the room, presumably trying to form some sense of her location in the world…

“Over here, Sue.” Miles invited.

A moment later…

“Ooh, flipping heck,” Susan spoke from the floor, “what’s happened to me? I’m all a bit of a dither. I’ve got half-memories, but none of them are making much sense right now. Elucidate please.”

So Magnuss told her what they knew or had conjectured.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

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