Distant Land (Part 14)

The Brian Talbot, the brain child of Wet World’s most revered scientists – Hideous and Perfidity Gout – hung motionless in space, with the Great Horse Dung Nebula as its back-drop…

Inside, Captain Cedric Mantequilla addressed the entire crew via ship-wide intercom…

“Space Sailors.” He began powerfully. “What you are about to see is a recording that was made by an alien species. As such I would like to warn you that you can’t always believe what your eyes and ears are telling you. Aliens are a sneaky bunch of bleeders – and you might find yourself being hypnotized. So take care. Take nothing for granted. And if you feel that you’d like to look away, or perhaps visit the toilet; do so without an iota of shame.” He then retook his chair and said: “Okay; roll it.”

At first only a pleasant vista of interstellar space greeted the expectant gaze of the Brian Talbot’s crew. Naturally Folie and Placebo rushed forward for a better view.

“Forgive me if I’m wrong,” Placebo whispered to his chum, “but that doesn’t look like this region of space.”

Folie would have replied, but his thought processes were interrupted by the sudden appearance of two earplugs, both of which looked decidedly chilly…

“Welcome Space Travelers.” The foremost earplug said in a language everyone could understand. “My name is Beaufort Skale. This is my brother, Richter.”

By the time that Beaufort Skale had drawn breath for his next sentence, Folie and Placebo had sought refuge behind the captain’s chair…

“Freeze-frame!” Cedric yelled. And when the video paused, he added: “How the heck did that happen? How is it possible for an alien earplug, from half-way across the Galaxy, to speak Earplug English?” He then answered himself: “I’ll answer that myself: obviously we’ve all been hypnotized.”

Everyone looked at the stilled scene upon the main viewer…

“I don’t feel particularly hypnotized.” Grenville offered.

“Me neither.” His brother, Speltham, added.

“I’m definitely not feeling hypnotized.” Hubert Boils informed everyone. “It’s not in my DNA. I’m naturally immune.”

“Weren’t we all immunized before we left Wet World?” Hooper Hellstrom reminded the captain. “Just in case we encountered alien life-forms with huge mental powers?”

Cedric made a snap decision: “Run VT.” He said.

Moments later Beaufort Skale’s commentary continued: “We are scientists who live and work in a wonderful institution called the Museum of Future Technology”….

“Freeze-frame!” Cedric yelled again – only more shrilly…

“What the flipping heck is happening here?” He continued at extreme volume. “Is this some sort of convoluted joke – designed to make me look completely gaga? If so, it aint gonna work!”

Whilst the bridge crew looked over their collective shoulder, Folie took the time to peer into his captain’s eyes. “Yup.” He whispered to Placebo. “Definitely Space Paranoia.”

“Maybe.” Placebo replied. “But that doesn’t explain what we’re seeing on this video. That can’t be our museum: it’s thousands of light-years away. Or maybe we’re all completely gaga!”

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

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Distant Land (part 11)

Left to their own devices, Folie and Placebo struggled to find the ‘On’ switch. In fact they failed miserably to find the ‘On’ switch for fully fifteen minutes. Folie quickly realised that he had to ‘bite the bullet’ and go ask Grenville for help. But just as he roused the red-eyed crewplug…

…Placebo’s knee caught on an unnoticed protrusion, bringing the Radio Anomalyser to life. More significantly it took a mere nanosecond for the remarkable machine to detect a radio anomaly.

“Deep-Space Distress Call, I think.” He announced. “Coming from somewhere off the port bow.”

Still groggy from his period of somnolence, Grenville staggered to his feet. “Ugh, right; let’s get down to Astro-Navigation.” He grunted, as the exit door rolled open…

But when they arrived at their destination, the threesome discovered it empty of life…

“Darn it.” Grenville cursed softly. “It’s tea-break. We’ll have to wait.”

Fortunately for all concerned, the wait was brief. Soon a bunch of orange Astro-navigators appeared from their tiny canteen with en suite lavatory…

“We need you to trace a mysterious radio distress beacon.” Grenville answered their friendly inquiry.

“How soon?” The Chief Astro-navigator, Bruce Burpsby asked. “It’s just that Cedric has us running options on several destinations right now – and we’re a little short in the personnel department.”

“Straight away.” Placebo answered. “I think Captain Mantequilla would really like to see this.”

“Yeah.” Folie said,  rather belligerently – or so thought Placebo. “He told us to look out for stuff like this.”

” It’s A1 priority.” Grenville lied.

“Somewhere off the port bow.” Placebo added helpfully.

“A1 you say.” Bruce said as he ruminated. “Let’s take a look out of the window.”

So they did…

“Hmmm.” Bruce…er…hummed. “Can’t say I’ve ever seen one of those before.”

But Bruce and Company weren’t the only spectators of the radio anomaly…

“Weird stuff off the port bow, Captain.” Bridge Officer Cams Layne reported.

At that same instant, but several decks below…

“It’s winking at us.” Bruce yelled with unnecessary loudness. “Something like this will have Cedric pooping in his pants – at least metaphorically!”

Also at the exact same moment…

“It’s an alien Death Machine!” Captain Mantequilla bellowed in sudden alarm. “It must be! Red alert. Raise defensive screens. Arm all weapons. Now!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

Junior Earplug Adventures: Distant Land (part 8)

Naturally, both being wonderfully advanced pieces of technological magic, the two Wet World vessels separated with such ease that it seemed as though they’d been liberally coated with a futuristic form of Teflon, which, of course, they had. Immediately the Chi-Z-Sox ignited its orbital drive unit…

Of course several crew members of the Brian Talbot raced to the Observation Dome…

…to watch the older ships’ departure to realms unknown. They were joined by an enthusiastic Folie and Placebo, who grabbed a spot by the forward window…

Other, more experienced, space-watchers settled into comfy seats. But when the Chi-Z-Sox increased power…

…and headed away at ever-increasing speed…

…Placebo’s excitement at the spectacle caused him to break wind forthrightly, which, in turn, caused a crew member to faint and fall from his seat. Not that either youngster noticed: they were too enthralled by…

…the sight of an unimaginably vast region of space that appeared to be almost empty of either light, matter, or (apparently) energy. So they missed the Chi-Z-Sox let rip with its star drive…

…as did the others in the dome, because of Placebo’s involuntary assault upon their olfactory senses…

…the pong of which even had a negative effect upon the new-found friends themselves…

…and gave them second thoughts about traversing the Galaxy, cooped up in a huge tin can…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Distant Land (part 7)

A split second later…

…Folie and Placebo had their atoms re-combined upon the bridge of the Brian Talbot.

“Hi.” The Captain – Cedric Mantequilla – said cheerfully as their sentience returned. “Welcome aboard. Pease don’t be alarmed…

…by all the clunking and clanking; but we’re currently docking with the Chi-Z-Sox, so that we can take on much-needed supplies…

Meanwhile, aboard the aforementioned star ship, Hideous and Perfidity had settled themselves into their comfy Ready Room seats…

“Nice lads, weren’t they, Hideous?” Perfidity said, once she’d ordered a powerful mug of coffee from the dispenser.

“Large one was apt to break wind in the Observation Dome.” Hideous replied. “Indiscriminately, apparently. Or so I’ve been told.”

Aboard the Brian Talbot, the latest guests asked if they could visit the Observation Dome.

“I can feel a really good fart coming on.” Placebo whispered over Folie’s shoulder.

“Excellent.” Folie whispered back. “I’m feeling distinctly methane-depleted.”

Fortunately Captain Mantequilla was too busy issuing important commands. So he heard nothing that passed between the youngsters. This was just as well, because the ships were about to disengage…

Naturally Cedric called a ship-wide Red Alert…

“Ah, this is more like it.” He said, as a hooter…er…hooted: and the bridge turned a deep crimson. “You can’t beat a good Red Alert. That’s what I say anyway.”

Equally naturally, the more experienced Captain Gout enjoyed a more relaxed atmosphere…

“Ah, I feel the ships un-docking.” He said, as the deck trembled. “I hope there’s time for a quick trip to the bog before its back into action, so-to-speak.”

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

Junior Earplug Adventures: Distant Land (part 6)

Several hours later the main drive of the Chi-Z-Sox grew silent…

…and the huge vessel drifted – as though waiting for something to happen…

Hideous Gout then invited Folie and Placebo to the bridge…

“I expect you’re wondering why this fine craft is adrift in the deepest recesses of outer space.” He said.

Doctor Perfidity Gout was surprised by Folie’s response. “We’re lost?” He suggested.

This made the Captain chuckle into his greying beard…

“No, you silly sod.” He replied. “Come, join me and look at the view screen. You’re in for a big surprise.”

Naturally the youngsters obliged; and moments later Lieutenant Kevin Mistlethrush announced…

…”Large vessel approaching, Captain. Putting it on the main screen now.”

Those in the know – namely the bridge crew – smiled…er…knowingly when…

…a remarkably familiar craft swam into view.

“But…but that’s the Chi-Z-Sox!” Folie blurted.

“How can that be?” Placebo wailed. “We’re aboard the Chi-Z-Sox. Is this some kind of sadistic trick? Are you torturing us on an intellectual level?”

But when the mystery vessel came alongside, Placebo recognised the sheer stupidity of his outburst…

“It’s another star ship.” He said needlessly. “Just like this one!”

“Wet World has made a second ship.” Folie observed and stated the obvious. “What’s its name?”

“Ah, that is a superb question, young earplug.” Hideous replied. “There was a great debate upon my home world. We felt that naming the Chi-Z-Sox after a dead rapper was extremely daring. Consequently we didn’t want to repeat something we’d done before. The ship you see beside us is brand new; so we decided to go for something equally new for inspiration.”

“We chose to name the ship after our world’s Submarine Motocross Champion.” Perfidity interrupted. “Brian Talbot.”

“Wow!” Folie exclaimed, as…

…the two ships matched velocity. “It must be really difficult railing those berms and avoiding vicious kickers with an aqualung strapped to your back. I’ve never heard of Brian Talbot: but anyone who rides Submarine Motocross surely deserves to have a star ship named after him. I’d sure like to board it!”

“Funny you should say that.” Hideous said as his chuckle returned. “Because it’s aboard the Brian Talbot that you two are going to complete your adventure. Byee.”

A split second later both the young earplug and the polystyrene packing piece dematerialised…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Distant Land (part 5)

So, whilst Perfidity did her thing in the privacy of the bridge lavatory, the Chi-Z-Sox continued to race across the cosmos.

In the Science Lab, the Science Staff studied galactic anomalies…

But, being trainees, they found it all rather nauseating…

Then, unknown to either of their guests, the crew slowed the ship’s rapid forward progress…

…so that Perfidity could enjoy the sight of two stars coalescing…

…and for Hideous to make radio contact with a deep space beacon…

In the Observation Dome, Folie and Placebo became concerned…

“I have nasty feeling about this.” Placebo said, as he stared up through the transparent roof.

Folie’s feelings dwelt slightly lower than Placebo’s. Mostly in his bowels, actually.

“Yes,” Placebo continued, as though his friend’s stomach had remained mute, “that looks suspiciously like a deep space beacon. It can mean only one thing: either we’re being recalled; the lavatories need unblocking; or interstellar war has been declared.”

Little did Placebo know, as the Chi-Z-Sox hung like a Christmas bauble beside the deep space beacon…

…but all the while Hideous had been in communication with the unmanned device. And what it had informed him were no less than the co-ordinates of his next destination. So, without further ado, the Chi-Z-Sox got under weigh once more…

“Yee-hah.” Hideous yelled. “Feel that kick in the pants!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

Junior Earplug Adventures: Distant Land (part 4)

With their passengers stowed safely in their cabin, the crew of the Chi-Z-Sox soon had their mighty vessel blasting free of Earth’s gravity well…

“Whee!” Many of them squealed with delight as the stars of deep space began to glare un-winking and balefully. Their number included the Captain’s wife – the First Officer, Doctor Putridity Gout…

“Have a care, Dearest.” Hideous whispered from the Captain’s chair. “The crew are apt to think you’re an excitable wally. I don’t want a mutiny on my hands, you know.”

Naturally Folie and Placebo released themselves and joined several off-duty crew-folk in the observation dome…

“Golly, Placebo,” Folie said nervously, “isn’t space really big!”

Placebo couldn’t argue with the facts that supported his friend’s assertion. “Yeah.” He replied. “But wait until we blast out of orbit: then space will look so big that you’ll feel like a tiny, tiny, bacterium in comparison.”

Moments later the ship did as Placebo had intimated…

“See?” The large white being said…

“I do.” Folie replied. “It’s great – feeling like a bacteria, I mean. All the worries of life just trickle away.”

Because the Chi-Z-Sox was a nippy ship, it took mere minutes to reach, and fly-by, the planet Neptune…

Then Hideous Gout instructed the Helmsplug to hit the Really Fast button. A split second later…

“Oh, Hideous,” Perfidity gushed, “I do so adore going faster than light. If only I could train my bladder to enjoy it too. Excuse me whilst I nip off to the loo, would you?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019