The Epoch of Dung (part 6) An Earplug Adventure


Part six already: doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!

“Ooh, it was terrible – it really was. It all happened straight after that odd, green, shape-shifting Susan won the Woven Expanse Annual Wind-Breaking Contest…

Everything was going fine. The museum was facing no obvious threat. The local heroes all took themselves on various jaunts off world…

 In fact, I think it was quite possibly lining up to be the most relaxed era in which the museum has ever existed. Then something tripped the dormant Tunnel Temporale. No one knows what it was, but some have conjectured that it might be an attack from extra-terrestrials.”

Ninja then held aloft her cell phone for all to see. It displayed this image…

“As you can see,” Ninja continued, “it was pretty spectacular. A ‘temporal event’, some called it. Well anyway, this happened next. I snapped it from my toilet window…

All seven dancers stared in bewilderment at the cell phone screen.

“It’s a time storm.” Ninja explained. “Well at least we think that’s what it is. It tried to re-set the time-line back to the Year Blob.”

“The Year Blob?” Delia questioned.

“The very first year of earplug existence.” Poki informed her. “There is no time before the Year Blob.”

“But it wasn’t entirely successful.” Ninja continued. “The Time Techs managed to throw up some temporal defensive shields that slowed its effects. Instead of re-setting Earplug history, it destroyed everything it touched. Very quickly, it melted all the ice in the Ice World and Future Alps exhibits. That in turn flooded the Arboretum and Wide Blue Yonder… 

Then the artificial sun that lights and heats the museum fell off its stand and dropped into the resulting super-lake…

…causing tsunamis and all that sort of stuff…

Luckily, most people had either taken to high ground, buildings with solid foundations made from bedrock, or boats…

Then, as the raging waters stilled themselves against the unbreakable outer walls of the museum, everyone set about rescue missions. The Age of Stone exhibit became a refuge for many earplugs; but they all needed rescuing because Cushions Smethwyke had cut costs by building it on unstable scrubland…

Eventually the waters found their level, and an inland ocean had formed…

Of course all that sploshing about effected the Nul-Space Power Generator, which quickly got out of control and became a volcano. Also luckily, we had a Space Submarine Freighter in for repair work, so we used that for ferrying people and equipment around. As is the nature of ‘tech’ it eventually conked out and sank in several fathoms. So scouts were dispatched in small boats to find a way out…

…but every exit was blocked with millions of tons of debris. And, of course, we were left with huge quantities of mud and sand…

“How awful. That’s a real bummer.” Poki said carelessly. “In our time-line everything is much as before – except for the divergence in time, of course.”

“And the Ion Storm that’s stopping all the heroes from returning to help.” Ragi reminded her dancing chum.

This shocked the watching quartet of earplugs so badly that they stepped into the light…

Ninja’s face fell. “That explains everything,” she sobbed. “We wondered why all the museum’s heroes had failed us simultaneously. Worse still, with no surviving tech, we can’t even call out. No one outside these hallowed and impregnable walls knows that anything is wrong. They probably think we’re closed for renovations or something.”

“Or we’ve gone on holiday.” Billy Bromide added.

“Sí,” the unnamed member of Los Natillas said sadly, “No hay vacaciones para nosotros. We work real hard instead.”

“Indeed,” Ninja took it up, “with no weather control or roof, which fell in by the way – when the supporting towers were swept away by the tsunami – we’ve spent our time building houses from the resulting mud. Fortunately, the Seventh Cavalry’s plugmutts all survived…

…so we have plenty of dung to mix with the mud.”

“What about binding materials?” Margret inquired.

“Oh, we got lucky there.” Ninja answered. “There was an old exhibit that comprised thatched cottages and an old barn.”

“Yeah,” Billy Bromide interjected whilst examining his calloused hands, “it got destroyed real proper: but the thatch floated to the top. I’m a country boy, so it was my job to collect it all so other folks could mix it with the mud ‘n’ dung.”

Margret turned to her troupe. “Told ya.” She said.

“Of course,” Ninja continued, “we had precious few mud-building specialists in the museum at the time…

In fact, we had only one – and he’d only spent six months on day release at college learning the trade, before giving up and becoming a tax inspector. He was very good though: he only complained when night fell, and the winter chill froze the mud, his nose, and eventually his nether regions.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

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