Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 4)

Chapter 2

Several hours later Gregor Arsentickler approached his apartment door…

The place he called home was located in the less ostentatious sector of the museum’s habitation zone. White walls abounded, and any public decoration lay somewhere south of minimalist. Gregor liked to call it ‘Spartan’. But this wasn’t the reason that he never invited colleagues home. This wasn’t the reason why he always took circumbendibus routes home in an effort to shake anyone who chose to follow him. No, the reason why he did both these, and more secretive stuff, was because he was a Zincist: an acolyte of the detested Mister Zinc. And it was with Mister Zinc that he now communicated via a special transmitter that could be rendered invisible, and a view screen that closely mimicked a portrait that hung upon an interior wall…

“Why are you communicating with me?” Zinc inquired as he stood beside his biological android girlfriend, Blue in a distant outpost at the head of a mountain pass that led to the monastery of Lemon Stone…

…a place to which he had been banished for his prior transgressions against the Museum of Future Technology.

“Can’t you see I’m busy?” The former megalomaniac complained. “I’ve got this pass to oversee. If anyone gets past my watchtower, the Father Superior will send some of his monks up here to kick my arse into next week.”

“Good news, Sire.” Gregor spoke as he completed a curtsy. “I have found some malcontents who are young, foolish and malleable. Already I have set a plan in motion that will result in localised catastrophe. Well that’s what I’m hoping for. Unfortunately these three girls really are dopey, so nothing’s certain. But if your tentative plan to make the curators appear ineffective and slovenly, which will result in their removal from power, and thereby open the way for your triumphant return, is to work, these silly youngsters could be the impetus it requires. They could, effectively kick-start your campaign.”

To which Zinc responded: “Oh, right.”

But Blue, being the more switched-on of the two since their joint banishment to the mind-numbing tedium and cold of the watchtower, required details, which Gregor duly supplied.

“Very good.” She said curtly. “Carry on.”

So it was a smug Gregor Arsentickler who turned away from the screen…

…that instantly resumed its false appearance as a fan poster of the Earplug Brothers, whilst the special communicator flashed briefly before cloaking and becoming completely invisible to either the naked eye, digital camera, or infra-red detector.

“Hah,” he said to himself, “I’m gonna be the best acolyte that my master, Mister Zinc, has ever had. He is certain to make me a high ranking official in his government after the fall of Cushions Smethwyke and her gang of incompetent silicon oafs.”

Speaking of Cushions Smethwyke and the museum’s curator elite…

…Cushions, Winston Gloryhole, Montagu, and a guest curator from the Museum of Rancid Oats – one Fluff Buttons – were taking a quick peek before dinner at their region of reality upon the Omnipresent Scanner. It was just warming up when a message came through for them – the gist of which was the news that a very important development had been made in the museum maintenance department’s endeavours to speed up exhibit change-overs – making them more efficient and thereby reducing expenditure.

“This I gotta see.” Cushions said as she flicked the OFF switch.

The same message was relayed to Cheerful Charlie Chopsticks and Barcode Betty as they strove to regulate the energy flow from the Nul-Space generator…

“Oh goodie,” an excitable Cheerful Charlie exclaimed. “A demonstration of more fabulous tech: I’m all for it. Set the regulator on Auto-pilot, or handle this solo, Betty: I don’t want to miss the start.”

Meanwhile, Daisy, Bunty and Ginger had managed to find their way on to the Woven Expanse…

…which, of course, was the only way for them to gain their destination – the Wide Blue Yonder. Although Ginger’s feet hurt, and she lagged behind slightly, she and the other two girls were determined to take full advantage of Gregor Arsentickler’s offer of a second chance with Major Flaccid.

It wasn’t too far now, they were certain, which was just as well, because at that moment, in the Research, Development and Cost-Cutting Department laboratory…

…the recently summoned curators were being welcomed by the biological android lab staff. Of course Gregor had finagled himself a role in the R, D & C-C several months earlier, and had made himself indispensable – taking on roles that the regular staff were loath to do and sometimes were downright dangerous…

Although Gregor hated Cushions and company with every fibre of his being, he smiled sweetly and stood around on the periphery like the good ‘gopher’ he was…

Montagu, as a biological android himself, was justifiably proud of his team. He introduced the three turquoise androids:

“From your left to right, Cushions, meet Agnes Lovehandles, Steve Jessop, and Wonky.”

He then failed utterly to mention the seemingly eager yellow earplug beside them, which only made Gregor’s inner fury burn that little more brightly…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

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