Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 9)

If I worked on important things as enthusiastically as I shoot and write Earplug Adventures I wouldn’t need to fret about things I’ve forgotten to do: places I’ve supposed to have gone: and Government forms I should have filled in. But never mind – here’s the latest result of my labours…

“Too close for comfort.” Hair-Trigger said in a small voice.

Magnuss agreed wholeheartedly. “We’re on honeymoon.” He said

“We should do honey-moony types of things.” Hair-Trigger added.

“Do we know anywhere honey-moony?” Magnuss inquired.

Of course, merely asking the question meant that he knew the answer.

“Tah-Di-Tah.” Hair-Trigger replied. “I hear it’s a paradise planet.”

“Oh yes.” Magnuss said. “It’s over in that direction.”

So the ship made a slight alteration in its flight path…

…and set forth upon a voyage at a more sedate pace.

Chapter 3

With time to kill, Hair-Trigger and Magnuss departed the bridge to begin an exploration of their ship…

They had been pleased to discover that (although the ship would automatically up-date them on all concerns beyond the hull) the telepathic link with the vessel remained silent about its interior. It seemed, to Magnuss at least, that the ship understood that they enjoyed discovering new ‘things’ about their honeymoon barge. But shortly they grew concerned…

“What we really need is a toilet.” Magnuss said to Hair-Trigger as they traversed a long, winding corridor.

“Yes,” a slightly ashamed Hair-Trigger replied, “we can’t keep using that bucket that we found beneath the sink in the galley.”

But their need was not desperate or immediate, so they were able to enjoy discovering…

…a large compartment that might have been analogous with the Gravity Whelk’s, or the Chi-Z-Sox’ ‘Engineering’…

What struck them both most was its sheer spaciousness. It was so indulgent in a small vessel like the Tankerville Norris where usable space would normally be at a premium. They didn’t recognise any of the equipment either. Of course they hadn’t expected to, so they weren’t disappointed. But when a hitherto unnoticed curtain moved aside and disappeared into the seamless wall, Magnuss couldn’t believe his eyes. He was so amazed that Hair-Trigger couldn’t stop her own mouth falling open too…

“By the Saint of All Earplugs!” He exploded. “You realise what this is?”

“Of course,” Hair-Trigger – caught up in the moment, replied, “it’s a…it’s a…a…I don’t know what it is; but it must be terrific if you like it so much. You do like it, don’t you, Magnuss?”

“Like it?” Between breaths Magnuss’ pitch had risen several octaves. “I love it. It’s a Gravitonic Multiplicitor. The Scrotonites much have added this to the specifications. They don’t build ships without them. It’s a must-have piece of equipment.”

Hair-Trigger’s brow furrowed as she tried to recall where she had heard the name Gravitonic Multiplicitor before. Then it came to her…

She recalled that Folie Krimp and Placebo Bison had used one to move Mars into a new orbit around the Sun.  “Whoo,” she said, “with great power comes great responsibility. I hope we never need to activate it.”

This had a sobering effect on her new husband. “Yeah, you’re right. But it’s nice to know we have one – just in case we need one – which I know is unlikely: we’re on honeymoon after all.”

So, putting aside all thoughts of the wondrous machine that sat quiescent in the corner of Engineering, they set out once more upon their quest for a toilet…

“Some signage would be useful.” Hair-Trigger complained as they approached another unmarked door. “I’d like a few clues to show me that I’m going in the right direction.”

“Keep your nose tuned in for the smell of bleach.” Magnuss suggested helpfully, “Auntie Doris’s bathroom in her Spanish house always smells of bleach.”

But the aroma of ammonia was entirely absent as the couple passed into a long ill-lit corridor…

“More wasted space.” Magnuss grumbled.

But Hair-Trigger thought that she might have an explanation: “To work a Gravitonic Multiplicitor, isn’t it necessary to move it outside the ship?”

Magnuss slapped his forehead. “Of course.” He chuckled. “How could I have doubted the builders on Scroton?”

“Or Bunk-Bunk Bunsen.” Hair-Trigger added. “Other than the grainy windshield, the ship has behaved impeccably.” But she did wonder why he had placed Engineering so far from the ship’s hull.

Then their keen hearing caught something in the air-conditioning’s breeze…

“Do you hear that?” Magnuss said as they both slowed to a halt.

“It sounds….” Hair-Trigger began hesitantly, “it sounds like a dripping urinal.”

Magnuss wondered how his wife could recognise a dripping urinal, but he put the thought aside. Who knows what she had to do whilst married to a bounty hunter? “Look,” He cried. “Through here.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

If there’s one thing you’ve learned from reading Earplug Adventures, it’s this: never stray too far from a lavatory. I don’t.

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