Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 23)

So, as the end nears, you must enjoy  every crumb and morsel of the tale. Pay close attention to the science-fiction cliches that I toss about with abandon: it might make some sense. Read on…

When that didn’t work he tried kicking the device with his space-sandal-shod feet. Moments later the pod popped open, which allowed the only animated earplugs in the room to drag the body from it…

“She doesn’t look very well.” Hair-Trigger opined.

Magnuss had to agree – especially when the female earplug’s tongue lolled…

“Oh, I was right the first time.” Hair-Trigger said matter-of-factly. “We are too late; but only just.”

But then, to confound her and make her appear a liar, the earplug rolled into an upright position and coughed several times…

“Jeepers,” she croaked, “What am I doing here? Where am I? Is there a lavatory nearby?”

Then, as her senses returned and memories flooded back into her consciousness, she dashed to the control panel and began operating it feverishly…

“You’re the rescue team,” she said over her shoulder, “I must awaken everyone else. We’ll need to build another facility in another fiord. Somewhere to the North perhaps. I like fiords. Some prefer deserts – but the air is just too dry for me: I can’t spit.”

Neither newlywed wanted to interrupt the earplug from another era: clearly she wasn’t totally compos mentis quite yet. It would take time for her to discover mental equilibrium, especially if it was really her detached consciousness that Magnuss had sensed earlier. He was about to say something like; “Poor female, she must be so confused: she probably doesn’t know her arse from her elbow”, when he noticed something unusual about her.

“Hairy,” he whispered, “doesn’t she look like Madame Nellie!”

Hair-Trigger shifted mental gears. “Yes.” She said. “But it makes no sense: she can’t be Madame Nellie. And even if they have some kind of vision projector that might have placed her image inside her tent and hovel, it doesn’t explain how the image could have given those two local earplugs one hundred Smackeroos. In any case – she was in suspended animation.”

“But her consciousness recognised us when we automatically activated the advanced tech when we entered the village.” Magnuss argued. “How else could our images have been transmitted on that huge wall screen?”

Whilst this perplexing conversation was taking place, the scientist from the past had successfully reanimated every occupant of the room’s hibernation pods. They now stood, looking slightly dazed, awaiting an instruction…

“Right then, team.” The pale green earplug bellowed, “I know you’re all feeling a bit worse for wear, but fear not; our rescuers have arrived. Look here they are.”

She then turned to Magnuss and Hair-Trigger. She said: “Perhaps you’d like to instruct them where to go? Oh, and maybe you could introduce yourselves to them. That would be a nice way to break the ice, so-to-speak. Excuse the pun – what with this being a suspended animation centre and everything.”

This was the opportunity Magnuss had been waiting for since he’d had a sudden and inspired idea. Or about fifteen seconds, give or take a second.

“Surely you should introduce us to your team.” He said. “Protocol and everything.”

Without questioning his ridiculous suggestion, the pale green earplug said: “Sure: Team – this is Magnuss and Hair-Trigger Earplug: they…” She stopped abruptly. “How did I know that? How could I possibly have known that?”

”You are the village psychic.” A yellow individual with bulging white eyes spoke from the opposite end of the room. “When we go into suspended animation, our brains don’t cease to function entirely. Some of us dream and live lives that are unreal but seem real – to us. It’s only a theory that I’ve just thought up, but it might be possible that instead of dreaming, you could have been leading a vicarious life. That is, you may have used the mind and body of someone else to experience a true reality. If anyone could, it would be you. It would explain the seemingly inexplicable situation you now find yourself in.”

“That’s what I was thinking too.” Magnuss spoke before anyone else did and thereby confuse him. “By the way, may I call you Nellie? That’s the name you’ve been going by during your vicarious life as a fortune teller in the local bazaar.”

A dumbfounded ‘Nellie’ nodded her permission. She then watched and listened as Magnuss and Hair-Trigger told them everything that they knew, which included the fact that centuries had passed; the planet was now named Tah-Di-Tah; and that an alien invasion fleet was mere hours away…

“So,” Hair-Trigger said in conclusion, “if you can get your ‘Lines’ kick-started, and make them do whatever it is they do to rid us of the threat of subjugation or extermination, we – and everyone on Tah-Di-Tah – would be very grateful.”

“You got it.” They replied in unison, and raced from the room.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021


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