The Epoch of Dung (part 18) An Earplug Adventure


Mars, meanwhile, witnessed the arrival of the Tankerville Norris in its sky…

As the former honeymoon barge swept across the terraformed wilderness, the Future Museum of Mars curator, Frisby Mumph stood beside his huge cork assistant, William of Porridge, and watched whilst the Earplug Brothers were plucked from the surface via matter transmitter…

He sighed. “Now what are we going to do with that hover scout vehicle they drove over there in?” He complained. “I suppose I’m going to have to walk all that distance, on my aging feet, to fetch it back to the museum.”

William nodded, but failed to volunteer himself for the task. Then he had a thought: “Hey, Frisby, they’ve left their space submarine freighter behind. That’s salvage now. We could have it. Perhaps Lillie and I might have a nice weekend away in it.”

Aboard the Tankerville Norris, the light of four transporting earplugs illuminated the rear of the bridge…

Although they still glowed with residual radiation and Martian detritus, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger didn’t hesitate to leap from their seats and welcome Chester, Miles, Valentine, and Rudi aboard…

“Hey, what a groove.” Valentine spoke calmly, as if being snatched from the surface of a planet and deposited aboard a star ship was an everyday occurrence, “I was just examining a Martian tuba for infestation by terrestrial bugs and stuff, when, zap, I was here with my little bro. What’s going down, man?”

Magnuss explained the situation. As eldest brother, Rudi formally volunteered the family for action. “We’re in. So what are we gonna do, Magnuss?” He asked.

“Not sure.” Magnuss replied. “But look outside: we’ve reached the Moon, and it looks like the Gravity Whelk is waiting for us…

Hair-Trigger had only just made contact with Folie and Placebo aboard the Gravity Whelk, when, simultaneously, the huge star ships, Chi-Z-Sox and K T Woo arrived from hyperspace…

“Ooh, the big boys have arrived.” Hair-Trigger said admiringly. “I figure the space / time continuum is about to get its ass kicked.”

Professor Hydious Gout dispensed with preamble. “Gentlemen and lady of the Tankerville Norris and Gravity Whelk,” he announced over the com-system, “prepare your Gravitonic Multiplicitors. Point them at the coordinates that my charming and intelligent wife is transmitting to you whilst I speak; turn them up to max; and let rip.”

Folie was only too happy to oblige. Their very recent refit included an upgraded Gravitonic Multiplicitor that didn’t need disassembly and placement in space, remote from the ship.

“We’re on it, Hyd.” He responded.

Hair-Trigger was a little more circumspect. “Aligning our Gravitonic Multiplicitor with your coordinates now.” She replied.

A moment later…

…space/time took a battering it wouldn’t forget – even if it lasted for eternity. The resultant rip in the fabric of reality became visible from any point in the Solar System. Well the bits of it that pointed in the right direction could anyway. These included the view screen of the Gravity Whelk

Placebo noted that the Tankerville Norris had pulled slightly ahead of the Gravity Whelk. “You seem keen to take point, Magnuss” he said into his radio, “why don’t you show us the way.”

This was an invitation that Hair-Trigger, Magnuss, or his courageous brothers couldn’t resist. In a moment to savour, all four of the spacecraft launched themselves at the opening in space/time…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Ah, so the ‘A’ Team’s on the case, eh? Looking good for the doppelgangers, methinks. If anyone can thwart the efforts of entropy, it’ll be that bunch of silicon heroes.

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