Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 5)


Cheerful Charlie Chopsticks wanted to know how they expected to move artefacts and exhibits around more quickly than they currently could. “I mean,” he all but scoffed, “to move things around any quicker than you already do, you’d have to use matter transmission.”

As Montagu growled with annoyance at the curator’s ignorance, Cushions said: “You thick, bozo, Charlie: why do you think we’re here?”

“What?” an even more excitable Cheerful Charlie squealed. “We’re going to see things move around – before our very eyes? Oh wow!”

Meanwhile, the artificial sun was on the brink of slipping below the non-existent horizon: but the girls had made it to the co-ordinates supplied to them by Gregor…

Daisy was as happy as a plugmutt in a litter tray; but Bunty and Ginger felt less confident.

“We’re bound to be in the wrong place.” Bunty moaned in preparation for failure. “I mean, we’ve only got one cell phone between us – and the battery’s almost flat on that.”

To which Ginger added: “And it’s a cheap one from down the market: it probably doesn’t know a co-ordinate from an accordion.”

Meanwhile Wonky had explained the dangers inherent in the demonstration they were about to perform. He then made the mistake of calling it an experiment.

Cushions became alarmed at this. “Experiment?” She bellowed. “I don’t do ‘experiments’. You do the experiments: then call me when you’re ready to ‘demonstrate’ the process. If I’m not entirely safe – the show is cancelled.”

This disappointed the three androids. Their artificial hearts sank. But the sneaky Gregor snatched at the opportunity to both ingratiate himself, and save his plan from ruin at the same time.

“If I might intrude…” He said as Cushions made to leave, “but I have an idea that will keep the development of the matter-transmission technique on track and on budget, whilst giving you a damned good light show that you’ll remember for decades to come.”

He then offered to operate the device alone, whilst everyone took themselves into the complete safety of an energy dome, which would protect them all should the matter transmitter malfunction and blow him to bits.

“Well if you’re happy to risk life and limb,” Cushions responded, “I’m all for it. Let’s get it on!”

So whilst the androids and their guests made their way to the dome…

…and locked themselves out of harm’s way…

…Gregor began setting dials and fiddling with knobs upon the transmitter control panel…

And in the Nul-Space generator power control room…

…the engineers on duty – those being former female weightlifters, Catford Greene and Nennigross Numbwinkle – noticed a surge in demand for energy.

“Ooh,” Nennigross said as she flexed her biceps experimentally, “I wonder what they are cooking at the Research, Development and Cost-Cutting Department tonight?”

With the engineers and curators tucked safely away behind their shield, Gregor increased the energy flow into the matter transmitter.

“Don’t concern yourself about me,” he said sotto voce whilst casting ethereal daggers in the direction of the dome, “I’m just the unheralded and totally disposable Gregor Arsentickler: earplugs like me are a dime a dozen.”

Then he ran around to the ‘business end’ of the device and angrily awaited developments…

“Biological androids,” he scoffed, “think they’re the brains of the outfit. Have they forgotten that earplugs created them? I should be running this show; not them. By the Saint of All Earplugs, I find them detestable – just like the morons in charge who place their trust in artificial life-forms such as them, whilst holding back young geniuses, like what I am, and reducing us to sandwich-making roles and fixing coffee machines. If I had my way…”

But his almost silent tirade was cut short when…

…seemingly out of nowhere, a burst of light almost blinded him. His eyes still hadn’t recovered when everyone became aware that the room was now far from empty…

A Mark Four mud hut, intended for the exhibit Era Gamma Hooter, had arrived from the supply depot far beneath where the observers now stood, via matter-transmission.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

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