The Epoch of Dung (part 17) An Earplug Adventure


The following episode could be titled ‘Earplugs Assemble’.

Yes, Earpluggers, some ‘big names’ are about to appear. See how many you can remember from earlier tales. All of them. I expect.

Chapter 6

At that moment, but in the regular space / time continuum, the Wetworld star ship – Chi-Z-Sox hung motionless in the depths of interstellar space…

Its captain – noted scientist of Wetworld, and designer of the Chi-Z-Sox, Professor Hydious Gout sat in the captain’s chair, with his wife (and co-designer) Doctor Putridity Gout beside him…

Despite cosmic interference, Cushions Smethwyke and several Museum of Future Technology curators appeared aboard the Omnipresent Scanner upon the ship’s main viewer. Cushions wasted no time getting straight to the point. It was a pre-recorded message that summed up the situation of Earth in as few words as possible. It also instructed all vessels to return to Earth with utmost haste.

At the same time, but on the Ice Planet, the Tankerville Norris was conducting a low-level sweep with the ship’s sensors…

Thereafter the occupants – Magnuss and Hair-Trigger Earplug, dismissed all thoughts and concerns for the underbelly of the planet’s crust…

…as they too received the message.

“Flipping heck,” Hair-Trigger yelled as the ship altered course for open space automatically, “I didn’t expect that.”

“Me neither.” Magnuss agreed. “Let’s get to Mars: I want to pick up the boys.”

Hair-Trigger was out of her space seat like a scalding tea bag…

“If we’re having guests,” she called over her shoulder as she strode towards the door, “I’m going to clean the toilet before they come aboard.”

Much farther away in space, The Gravity Whelk hung motionless in a Scrotonite space station – transportation umbilical conduits attached at several access points…

Placebo Bison and Folie Krimp had just received confirmation that their systems upgrade was complete…

…when Cushions’ message arrived…

“Right then.” Folie said. “We’d better ask for permission to detach the umbilicals. Time waits for no earplug.”

“Or polystyrene blob.” Placebo added.

The K T Woo, Worstworld’s first star ship…

…was taking the scenic route home when Cushion’s message arrived…

The captain – former Sheriff of Busted Gut, Sinclair Brooch, was nonplussed…

“Oh dear, that sure is unexpected.” He sighed. “Guess that’s our sight-seeing done with.” Then, to his helms-plug, Busti Missenthrope, he said, “Put a call through to the engine room: tell ‘em to pile on the coals. Set course for Earth.”

In the K T Woo’s engine room, the End Cap engineers went straight to work…

“I wasn’t enjoying the sight-seeing anyway.” One of them complained. “My cabin’s got the smallest porthole in the whole ship – and it’s set really high upon the wall. I have to use a stepladder and cardboard periscope to see out.”

“That’s nothing.” Another replied. “My toilet hasn’t worked for weeks.”

Listening absentmindedly, the earplug getting a coffee from the Café Puke machine said, “You’re an engineer: why don’t you fix it?”

To which the aggrieved End Cap replied, “Below my paid grade, pal. I don’t fix toilets. I got my pride, ya know.”

Moments later, the ship was underway – at supra light speed…

Whilst the Gravity Whelk debarked from the space station…

…the Tankerville Norris was hammering through a hyperspace conduit…

 …on its way to a rendezvous with Magnuss’ four heroic brothers.

Professor Hydious Gout, meanwhile, had received a second communication from the Museum of Future Technology…

It came from none other than the Time Techs themselves…

Gregor was, perhaps, a tad overly familiar:

“Hydious, baby, how’s it hangin’, man?”

Professor Gout would have preferred the Time Techs behave with a little more reverence. “Fine,” he snapped, “What do want? I’ve already got the throttles wide open: I can’t go any faster.”

“No – no, it’s nothing like that.” Twinkles assured the captain of the Chi-Z-Sox.

“We’ve thought of something really important.” Runt added. “You being a brilliant scientist and all that, we figured we might run it past you.”

“That’s right.” Gregor continued. “You’re the earplug, right? It’s about accessing the alternate time-line that Cushions mentioned in her communique earlier.”

Gout smiled at this. “I think I might be ahead of you, young earplug.” He said to the image of Gregor Koch. “My charming and intelligent wife and I were just in the lavatory. We discussed this very subject.”

“Gravity waves, right?” Twinkles ventured.

“Gravity waves, indeed.” Gout confirmed the middle Time Tech’s hypothesis.

“Really intense ones.” Doctor Putridity Gout interjected.

“Very precisely aimed.” Runt joined in.

It appeared that all five scientists were in accord, so whilst the Chi-Z-Sox barrelled through the vacuum of space…

…they lay their fledgling plan upon the metaphorical table.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

P.S Whatta ya think of the ‘landscape’ in the picture of the Tankerville Norris over the Ice World surface? Convincing, right? Okay, I agree, it does look like what it is: my bedsheet.

P.P.S I use the text-to-speech app, ReadAloud for finding typos that I missed. Unfortunately it pronounces the Chi-Z-Sox as Chy Zed Sox, when, of course, it should say Chee Zee Sox. Just thought you should know.

P.P.P.S Ah, I finally get to use that Earplug Wallpaper of the Gravity Whelk disembarking from the space station. Nice shot.

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