Tag Archives: free e-books

Free ‘Triple Threat’ E-Book Also Available in (bad) Spanish

Yes, like the last two preceding e-books, Triple Threat will also be available in Spanish – as translated from English on-line. It will be wonderful and awful in equal measure, I’m certain. And just to make it stand out from the original English version, it has a different cover! Don’t miss it when it appears shortly after the English version is released.

P.S I wish my Spanish was good enough to let me understand just how dreadful the on-line translation is. It must be hoots of fun. I can imagine all those puzzled faces. “Ugh…como?”

P.P.S The scale differential between the earplugs and the freighter is even greater on this cover. But who cares – it’s all very silly anyway.

Free Triple Threat E-Book Almost There.

Well the second draft is out of the way. The cover has been designed. Now it’s just a matter of time before all the episodes appear here; some polishing up of the manuscript is done; and the free e-book version (yes an EPUB e-book – not PDF) will be released for you to download to your heart’s content. Here is what it looks like (assuming I don’t change the design between now and then)…

P.S Okay, the images of Ginger, Daisy, and Bunty are completely out of scale with the submarine space freighter; but if they were, you wouldn’t be able to see them!

P.P.S Episodes 1 – 20 were all First Draft extracts. 20 onwards will be from the second draft. It’s not important, but I thought you should know.

P.P.P.S Ref; the cover photo. The Tankerville  Norris must be flying beside the freighter, because it’s about the right size; but the large robot freighter on the right is obviously far astern. And the space station? Well that’s just sitting there in space, miles behind them, doing nothing.

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 20)

It was the traversing of this extra-dimensional medium that cut days from the journey time of earlier vessels from Ice World to the freighter’s destination…

Returning to normal space, the craft skirted a well-charted asteroid; then proceeded in the direction of a watery blue planet. The planet, as anyone who had been aboard the K T Woo on its maiden voyage would recognise in an instant, was Wetworld. A planet almost entirely covered in water. Of course, it was to one of the few islands that dared poke their heads above the ocean swell that the freighter flew. Ginger, Daisy and Bunty were at a view screen to watch the vessel breach the surface there…

To their surprise, there was barely a bump in the ride as it passed from a gaseous medium, into a liquid medium.

“Good shocks, I guess.” Ginger said appreciatively.

She then noted a change in the ambient and ever-present noises aboard ship.

“Do I detect the sound of cavitation?” She asked no one in particular.

“Could be.” Daisy replied. “Especially if I knew what it meant.”

“It’s the noise propellers make under water, I think.” Bunty explained. “And, oh but listen: the sound is dying away.”

“The motors have settled into their new medium, I guess.” Ginger said as she dismissed the matter with a careless wave of her hand.

This proved to be the case. Consequently, a smooth passage was quickly made through the submarine canyons beneath the islands they supported…

Thereafter the freighter made good time across a region of ‘Great Lumpiness’…

…above which it sailed serenely – pausing only to wave at a local submarine going about its business in the opposite direction. Of course, the robotic crew were following a well-worn route to their ultimate destination on Wetworld. Therefore, only a short while passed before the freighter entered a submarine dock…

The act of unloading the ice cubes was a long and boring affair. Far too long and boring to relate here. Whilst it occurred, the three stowaways slept: they wanted to be fully awake for their return to space. And, indeed, this was their state of consciousness as the freighter climbed from the seabed amongst myriad bubbles created by submarine volcanic vents…

…and returned to the vacuum of space…

  “Whee,” they all cried out in sheer delight, “now we can go home.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 18)

Sin embargo, a medida que el sonido de los XL5 disminuía sobre el Museo de Tecnología Futura, sobre el Mundo de Hielo, la interminable capa de hielo se estremeció ante la llegada del carguero espacial submarino…

Muy por debajo de la superficie del hielo, en la gran ciudad de Ice-Worlder, su líder, Marnus Pongfinger, esperaba con impaciencia que el locutor de radio dejara de hablar tonterías o sobre sí mismo: dejar de reproducir jingles y avances de los próximos programas de radio más tarde en el día; y guíe al carguero para la recolección de un envío…

Ginger no podía decidir qué le preocupaba más: la autoobsesión del locutor de radio o las terriblemente bajas temperaturas afuera…

“Oh, no puedo soportarlo”. Ella se lamentó. “Esa voz: ese frío. ¡Es demasiado para una joven chica de museo!”

Bunty no podía creerlo. “Pero Ginger”, dijo, “esa es la Estación Polar Nobby. Es maravilloso. No entiendo cómo la emoción de ver un artefacto tan fabuloso y famoso de la ingeniería de tapones para los oídos no ha superado tu disgusto por los DJ y el clima frío. ¿No recuerdas por qué la Estación Polar Nobby es tan famosa?

Por supuesto que Ginger no lo hizo: sus padres no podían pagar el precio de suscripción mensual de Trans-Galactic TV Network. “No”, dijo mientras abría un ojo, “¿qué tiene de famoso Ice Station Nobby?”

Así que Bunty le dijo: “Un día, no sé cuándo exactamente, un gran platillo extraterrestre se estrelló en el hielo cerca de la estación polar Nobby. A pesar de las condiciones extremadamente inclementes, el comandante de la estación envió equipos para investigar…

Lo que encontraron los asombró: una gran criatura extraterrestre congelada en un bloque de hielo. Pero, cuando se descongeló, se volvió loco. Todos en Ice Station Nobby estaban en peligro mortal porque la criatura podía tomar la forma de cualquier ser vivo, por lo que encontrarlo resultó casi imposible. Luego, alguien tuvo la brillante idea de electrificar el piso, y lo eliminó de manera adecuada. En sus intentos de huir, se convirtió en miles de rollos de salchicha y trató de alejarse rodando en mil direcciones diferentes. Pero el comandante de la estación sacó a sus trineos, cuyas sensibles narices los encontraron a todos y se los tragaron en un santiamén.”

“Wow”, dijo Ginger con aprecio mientras se giraba para mirar la ventana exterior, “eso sonó realmente aterrador. ¿Alguno de los rollos de salchicha escapó de los plugmutts?”

“Por supuesto.” Bunty respondió. “Pero todo ese rodar por la nieve significó que acumularon una gran cantidad de nieve sobre ellos. Se convirtieron en enormes bolas de nieve que se hicieron cada vez más grandes hasta que ya no pudieron rodar”.

“Sí”, dijo Daisy mientras recordaba las noticias, “eran fáciles de encontrar. Escuché que todavía tienen algunos de ellos en su congelador. Espero que los usen como golosinas de entrenamiento para jóvenes nuevos plugmutts”.

Ginger se sintió tan intrigada por la historia del monstruo del rollo de salchicha que cambia de forma que no se dio cuenta de la desaparición de Bunty. Fue solo cuando ella y Daisy escucharon un golpe en la ventana, ambas se dieron cuenta de que Bunty había salido al clima vicioso…

“Mira”, observaron su boca a través del vidrio increíblemente aislado, “he encontrado uno. ¿Te apetece un rollo de salchicha para el té?”

Por supuesto, la vista de su amigo solo en el hielo les dio a los demás el ímpetu necesario para salir del barco por primera vez desde que se escondieron allí…

 

Sin embargo, a pesar de sus decididos esfuerzos, simplemente no pudieron permanecer en una cueva de hielo cercana por más de unos minutos.

“Propongo que volvamos adentro.” dijo Bunty. “¿Tengo un segundo?”

En realidad, su sincronización no podría haber sido mejor, porque las enormes avalanchas de cubitos de hielo que estaban siendo arrojados a la bodega del carguero estaban casi completas…

El barco ahora tenía una carga que requería entrega.

Por coincidencia, el espectáculo de vacaciones en el apartamento de Magnuss y Hair-Trigger había llegado a otro punto más bajo en su aventura de luna de miel cuando un sheriff demasiado celoso los había encarcelado en la cárcel de un pueblo atrasado…

…e instruido para romper el carbón en pequeños trozos que cabrían en su estufa privada. Afortunadamente, el turno de noche estaba formado por un palurdo que cayó presa fácil de los encantos de Hair Trigger y quedó inconsciente por uno de sus famosos besos descuidados. Robando las llaves de su cinturón, huyeron al desierto, donde Hair-Trigger tomó esta foto de Magnuss…

Un motociclista que pasaba se detuvo para ayudar. Había elegido sabiamente colocar un sidecar en su bicicleta solo esa mañana, por lo que en poco tiempo los recién casados ​​​​estaban de regreso en el puerto espacial y a salvo en el Tankerville Norris

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 14)

Inside the ship, the three girls were in danger of losing their knickers as the violent vibrations of lift-off shook them silly…

“Bunty,” Daisy yelled above the tumult of creaking metal and roaring boosters, “I’ve figured which one of us is me – and I don’t like it. Make the noise stop: my teeth hurt!”

Outside the vessel – that is above the Museum of Future Technology – all appeared serene…

…as the craft set out for distant places.

Of course, Gregor Arsentickler (as he made his way back to his apartment)…

…had no idea that his unwitting recruits were aboard the departing freighter that roared past his edificio’s window. If he had, he would not have looked so pleased with himself. Moreover, and by the most remarkable of coincidences, the same freighter had scared the heck out of Chester as, only moments previous, it also raced by the apartment of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger…

But the inconvenience was only momentary, because before long the huge black craft was travelling across the lavender fields that grew a short distance from the museum…

And, as dawn displayed an encouragingly red sky above the mountains that led to the pea farming community that supplied the museum with each and every pea consumed therein, the ship climbed steeply…

…and fired its way towards space. This left the unwilling stowaways in some difficulty…

“Ginger, be careful. Don’t look. Avert your gaze.” Daisy cried out in alarm, “I’m wearing really tasteless knickers that my mum bought directly from the importers down on the docks!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 13)

Meanwhile, in the apartment of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger…

…a fabulously photographed video of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger leaving their rented submarine in pressure bubbles played upon the wall screen.

“Ooh,” Hair-Trigger sighed at the recollection, “that alien sea was like bath water.”

“Only less soapy.” Magnuss added. “The only bubbles around were us. Note the big furry creature near the surface. That produced a few bubbles too. But the other submarine, you can see there, was on hand to suck them all up before they fouled the water too much. It was a fantastic service: you couldn’t have asked for more. I wouldn’t have wanted the job, I can tell you.”

Whilst the four guests absorbed this information, far, far away aboard the robot freighter, the adolescent trio had discovered another interior window…

Through its rectangular aperture, they could discern robotic activity that, quite frankly puzzled them…

“What the flipping heck are they doing with those long crystal things?” Daisy inquired almost silently.

“Well,” Ginger began – ever hopeful of inspiration, “I think they might be trying to do something.”

“I had much the same thought.” Bunty said as she nodded approvingly. “You never know, this might be robotically analogous to putting the washing through the mangle.”

For a brief moment, Ginger considered the possibility that Bunty might be mocking her; but before she could fully form a coherent thought a brilliant light blazed brightly…

A triple “Aaargh!” quickly followed.

And when the lighting altered to a distinctly greenish hue…

…all three girls felt certain that something was about to happen – which, of course, it was…

…in the shape of surplus ballast, in vast quantities, being ejected from the vessel, in the form of vapour. As it burst from several vents that ran the length of the huge vessel, the End Cap engineers stood to one side and watched with evident pride in their work.

“Ooh,” they said as one, “nice. Cool steam, man.”

However, inside it was another story…

“I don’t like the look of this,” Bunty yelled as she led a dash for the hatch, “let’s get the heck outta here!”

But they were stopped in their tracks when the lighting altered so abruptly that it bamboozled their eyesight and threw them into a state of confusion…

“Bunty,” Daisy yelled, “help: I can’t tell which one of us is you: we’re all blue!”

Bunty responded by looking around her. “Um,” she replied, “yeah. I…I think I’m me: which one of you isn’t?”

Whilst confusion reigned in the girl’s hidey-hole, the robots that had been studying the long crystals proceeded to make some minute adjustments to them…

In an instant, they began to flash and sparkle as power began to course through them.

In the high-altitude repair hangar, the End Caps backed towards the stylish windows as they avoided the backwash of the freighter’s launch…

“Yeah,” they cheered in unison, “another feather in our cap. Another step towards citizenship and freedom!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 8)

Well there was really only one thing they could do. They ran. Like arrows from a bow they ran straight across the Woven Expanse…

…and tried to hide themselves in a strange non-corporeal forest…

…in which Daisy had a remarkable thought: “Oi,” she said, “if these trees are non-corporeal, that means that on infrared we would stand out like sore thumbs.”

So they bid a hasty farewell and tried hiding in the Age of Stone exhibit…

But, had they a brain cell between them, they would have realised that the Security Suite had access to any number of sensors and CCTV cameras…

“Got ‘em.” EvilRoboSecGua reported to the angry RoboSecGua chief.

The command came in an instant: “Apprehend them by any means. And if it hurts like heck…well all the better. If there’s one thing I really detest – it’s teenage female earplugs. They make me so mad!”

Meanwhile, Bunty, Ginger and Daisy were somewhere within the bowels of the Museum of Future Technology and making exhausted progress along another interminable corridor. But, despite their labouring lungs and the agony of de-oxygenated muscles, they all found the energy to be startled when a security light caught them unawares…

And when it changed colour, they paused their headlong flight…

…just I time to recognise what the light inferred and be plunged into the semi-darkness of a Crimson Intruder Alert…

“Oh,” Bunty said into the resulting gloom.

“I can hear you, Bunty,” Ginger replied, “but I can’t see you. Have you been disembodied?”

“I wish I’d been disembowelled,” Daisy informed the others, “coz I’m scared witless – or a word very similar to that.”

As the moment of the girl’s arrest approached, Gregor departed his quarters, whilst feeling very pleased with himself. The damage that he had managed to wreak by proxy was almost beyond his wildest dreams…

But he hadn’t finished: there was more acts of sabotage to invoke. Already some ne’re-do-wells had found inspiration from the TV news reports of the ruined exhibit…

And the RoboSecGuas were suddenly run ragged…

…when a group of disenchanted catering staff devoured an entire pickled cabbage: went out on to the Obsidian Plain; and…

…ignited the resulting cageous emissions.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Las líneas de Tah-Di-Tah – ¡Completas y completamente gratis!

Como es mi práctica habitual, el libro electrónico completo está disponible para el público en general antes de la publicación del episodio final. Por qué lo hago de esa manera, simplemente no lo sé. Y, por supuesto, dado que ya no los publico en Lulu-com en formato EPUB, no son (estrictamente hablando) libros electrónicos adecuados. Pero PDF es un compromiso razonable y no he escuchado a nadie quejarse. Asi que aqui esta. Simplemente haga clic en la imagen de portada para liberar el archivo, que puede leer en línea o descargar para su posterior consumo.

Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 27)

So this is it. If you haven’t already downloaded the complete story (and consequently know what’s going to happen), this is the final extract. It’s been a long road to here, and you’ve all stayed the course impressively – except the ones who haven’t. You deserve an award. Well I suppose the fact that you can download this tale, in its entirety free-of-charge, is an award in itself. But enough of the waffle: let’s get to business!

“We both promised ourselves that if we ever met Bunk-Bunk Bunson we would kick ‘him’ right up the arse.” Magnuss informed her. “And, sorry, but we’re both earplugs of our word. Despite the fact that you are a ‘her’, not a ‘him’, you are still going to be punished. Hairy – you go first.”

Hair-Trigger had never kicked a female up the arse before – especially a clairvoyant heroine. So as Bunson grimaced and awaited the agony of well-aimed space sandals, all Hair-Trigger could bring herself to muster was a quick jab with the knee to a single buttock…

 

But Magnuss, who had grown up in a large family that had enjoyed a history of arse-kicking contests, made a far better attempt…

…and booted her along the corridor.

“Oh sorry,” he said as he went to Bunson’s aid…

…”the gravity of Tah-Di-Tah is only nine-tenths Earth normal. I just don’t know my own strength here.”

Bunson assumed that she would have a large black bruise in the morning; but she didn’t mind at all. She’d been kicked up the arse by earplugs who had risked everything to save Tah-Di-Tah. And she was a hero herself. Heroes should have bruises: they were a badge of honour. So it was a cheerful trio who walked together along the myriad corridors of the lost village…

As time passed they spoke of a million and one things. They were on the brink of suggesting their next course of action, which might have been a visit to the Tah-Di-Tah branch of Café Puke, when – for Magnuss and Hair-Trigger – the decision was taken out of their hands…

…and they found themselves back aboard the Tankerville Norris

Hair-Trigger, in particular, was very annoyed…

“Thank you very much indeed, Ship.” She bellowed. “We didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to Bunk-Bunk.”

“True,” the ship spoke for only the second time since they embarked upon their honeymoon, “but she is a clairvoyant: she knows what you wanted to say. And in doing so, it is done. Now fasten your safety belts…

…we, and the Chuck Winker, are about to launch. Nothing genteel, you understand: we’d like to impress the locals before we leave.”

Moments later…

…the two Scroton/Tah-Di-Tah hybrids blasted vertically into the sky. Not that Magnuss and Hair-Trigger noticed: it had been hours since their last visit to the toilet, and they were too busy running to the one behind Engineering…

“That’s another thing,” Hair-Trigger grumbled as she noticed the absence of the ‘new’ signage, “why did Bunk-Bunk have to put the toilet so far from the bridge? For a psychic genius, she sure was one dumb female.”

Epilogue

But Hair-Trigger’s mood couldn’t remain dark. She was smiling when they returned to the bridge…

“You know,” she said, “this is beginning to feel like home. We’ll have to bring your brothers along next time.”

They had just enough time to sit themselves down before the ships made a spectacular fly-past…

…before hurtling up into space. Of course the stripped-down Chuck Winker took the lead as they battled the planet’s gravity well…

During their long conversation, Bunk-Bunk had brought Magnuss and Hair-Trigger up to date concerning the Seventh Cavalry’s role in the battle, so they put in a ship-to-ship call…

“Gentlemen…and lady.” Magnuss said as his image appeared upon the Chuck Winker’s bridge holo-screen, “you have my eternal gratitude. If you hadn’t slowed down that fleet, we would never have found the lost village – and Tah-Di-Tah would have been obliterated. When we get back to the museum, I’m going to have words with Major Leftfoot Badger. I’m going to suggest he make you all officers. He should be proud of you.”

The cavalry-plugs were a little lost for words.

Wetpatch found one or two: “Well thank you kindly, young fella. I guess, before you mosey on back to the museum, you’ll be taking that honeymoon of yours?”  

“We certainly shall.” Hair-Trigger replied…

…”Now you get yourselves safely back to Fort Balderdash: there’ll always be a place in the Museum of Future Technology for people like you. You tell Cushions Smethwyke I said that.”

With that they made their farewells; and, as instructed, the Chuck Winker blasted for Earth…

Suddenly the newlyweds felt rather alone…

“Well?” Hair-Trigger asked as she leaned towards Magnuss. ”Where to, Captain?”

“Pick a direction.” He replied. “Any direction – just as long as it’s not Earth. “We’re on our honeymoon: we’re going to do honey moony things!”

With that the Tankerville Norris rotated upon its axis to a random position…

…and Magnuss hit the ‘Go’ button…

The End

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Don’t forget to return for the next thrilling Earplug Adventure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah – Complete and Completely Free!

As is my usual practice, the complete e-book becomes available to the general public prior to the posting of the final episode. Why I do it that way, I just don’t know. And, of course, since I no longer publish them on Lulu-com in EPUB form, they are not (strictly speaking) proper e-books. But PDF is a reasonable compromise, and I’ve not heard anyone complaining. So here it is. Just click on the cover image to unleash the file, which you can either read on-line or download for later consumption.

Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 24)

It has been a lot of fun creating The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah, and I’m just sorry that it has to end. But end it must, and this is one of the final episodes. We’re nearly done here. Booooo. Anyway, enjoy the remnants…

Chapter 8

Whilst revelation piled upon revelation inside the excavated fiord, far away from Tah-Di-Tah the crew of the Chuck Winker had quickly recognised the fact that they had bitten off way more than they could chew. Every weapon they had was being brought to bear upon a foe so numerous that they were beyond counting…

And the Tankerville Norris had sustained so much damage that it was forced to flee back to Tah-Di-Tah. It fairly fell through the atmosphere – spilling drive plasma as it did so…

Further, although the cavalry were accounting for many of the shots aimed at them…

…some missed completely, and now rained deadly fire down upon the surface of Tah-Di-Tah…

One stray shot, in particular, almost caught the Tankerville Norris a potentially crushing blow as it raced across the surface at almost zero altitude…

To their credit, some of the local population responded well to the Tankerville Norris’ original request for military assistance. A farmer’s co-operative had banded together to pack as much phosphate-based fertilizer as they could into an old, dilapidated space-tug. When it was full, they lit a fuse and launched it at the incoming space fleet…

It was a bold initiative by a bunch of tractor-drivers; but ultimately it was doomed to failure. No sooner had it passed through the clouds, when a stray shot caught it amidships…

“Bugger,” one of the members of the farmer’s co-operative was heard to utter, “If I want my fields to deliver a decent crop, come harvest time, I’m gonna have to use excrement on ‘em. And there’s only me and the wife!”

The situation in space was little better. In fact it was awful. An alien energy beam knocked out the Chuck Winker’s main armament…

For those on the bridge, this was nothing less than calamitous. Wetpatch looked to Jo. “It has been an honour serving with you, Jo.” He said gravely.

A terrified Jo looked back. “What you mean, during our time in the cavalry in general; or this little escapade?”

“Both,” Wetpatch answered. “And now we’re sitting ducks – just waiting for the coup de grace.”

“We could always turn off the lights and adopt stealth mode and creep away unnoticed.” Scroda Hootner suggested.

It was an excellent suggestion: so they did…

…and the aliens were left shooting at shadows.

“Fine cavalry-plugs we are,” Wetpatch grumbled in the subdued lighting, “sitting around in the dark. And I never even got to shout ‘Charge!’”

“And I forgot to pack my bugle.” Miguel admitted, somewhat shamefaced.

“What, so now we just hang around and hope all the bad guys go away?” Jo complained. “There must be some way to get to the planet. Can we hoist a solar sail or something?”

“Well we could try something called The Dark Energy Drive.” Jollie Huggup said as he peered at his darkened read-outs. “I’ve got the start button here – I think.”

Moments later…  

…the Dark Energy Drive kicked in, and they departed the region of space behind a ‘smoke’ screen of exotic particles.

An hour later…

“Tah-Di-Tah coming up, Wetpatch.” Miguel Angel-Grinder announced. “No obvious planetary defences. Want us to go in on the night side?”

With the alien fleet just an hour behind them, Wetpatch considered this suggestion the wisest course of action…

“Sure,” he said, “but we’ll have to turn the lights up a bit: I don’t wanna press the wrong buttons and do something really stupid like disconnect the Infinite Reality Drive or eject the lavatory.”

But, having done so, they became aware of an important fact…

“It’s the sodding fleet!” Jo yelled with despair. “They must have given up shooting at nothing and followed us here!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 23)

So, as the end nears, you must enjoy  every crumb and morsel of the tale. Pay close attention to the science-fiction cliches that I toss about with abandon: it might make some sense. Read on…

When that didn’t work he tried kicking the device with his space-sandal-shod feet. Moments later the pod popped open, which allowed the only animated earplugs in the room to drag the body from it…

“She doesn’t look very well.” Hair-Trigger opined.

Magnuss had to agree – especially when the female earplug’s tongue lolled…

“Oh, I was right the first time.” Hair-Trigger said matter-of-factly. “We are too late; but only just.”

But then, to confound her and make her appear a liar, the earplug rolled into an upright position and coughed several times…

“Jeepers,” she croaked, “What am I doing here? Where am I? Is there a lavatory nearby?”

Then, as her senses returned and memories flooded back into her consciousness, she dashed to the control panel and began operating it feverishly…

“You’re the rescue team,” she said over her shoulder, “I must awaken everyone else. We’ll need to build another facility in another fiord. Somewhere to the North perhaps. I like fiords. Some prefer deserts – but the air is just too dry for me: I can’t spit.”

Neither newlywed wanted to interrupt the earplug from another era: clearly she wasn’t totally compos mentis quite yet. It would take time for her to discover mental equilibrium, especially if it was really her detached consciousness that Magnuss had sensed earlier. He was about to say something like; “Poor female, she must be so confused: she probably doesn’t know her arse from her elbow”, when he noticed something unusual about her.

“Hairy,” he whispered, “doesn’t she look like Madame Nellie!”

Hair-Trigger shifted mental gears. “Yes.” She said. “But it makes no sense: she can’t be Madame Nellie. And even if they have some kind of vision projector that might have placed her image inside her tent and hovel, it doesn’t explain how the image could have given those two local earplugs one hundred Smackeroos. In any case – she was in suspended animation.”

“But her consciousness recognised us when we automatically activated the advanced tech when we entered the village.” Magnuss argued. “How else could our images have been transmitted on that huge wall screen?”

Whilst this perplexing conversation was taking place, the scientist from the past had successfully reanimated every occupant of the room’s hibernation pods. They now stood, looking slightly dazed, awaiting an instruction…

“Right then, team.” The pale green earplug bellowed, “I know you’re all feeling a bit worse for wear, but fear not; our rescuers have arrived. Look here they are.”

She then turned to Magnuss and Hair-Trigger. She said: “Perhaps you’d like to instruct them where to go? Oh, and maybe you could introduce yourselves to them. That would be a nice way to break the ice, so-to-speak. Excuse the pun – what with this being a suspended animation centre and everything.”

This was the opportunity Magnuss had been waiting for since he’d had a sudden and inspired idea. Or about fifteen seconds, give or take a second.

“Surely you should introduce us to your team.” He said. “Protocol and everything.”

Without questioning his ridiculous suggestion, the pale green earplug said: “Sure: Team – this is Magnuss and Hair-Trigger Earplug: they…” She stopped abruptly. “How did I know that? How could I possibly have known that?”

”You are the village psychic.” A yellow individual with bulging white eyes spoke from the opposite end of the room. “When we go into suspended animation, our brains don’t cease to function entirely. Some of us dream and live lives that are unreal but seem real – to us. It’s only a theory that I’ve just thought up, but it might be possible that instead of dreaming, you could have been leading a vicarious life. That is, you may have used the mind and body of someone else to experience a true reality. If anyone could, it would be you. It would explain the seemingly inexplicable situation you now find yourself in.”

“That’s what I was thinking too.” Magnuss spoke before anyone else did and thereby confuse him. “By the way, may I call you Nellie? That’s the name you’ve been going by during your vicarious life as a fortune teller in the local bazaar.”

A dumbfounded ‘Nellie’ nodded her permission. She then watched and listened as Magnuss and Hair-Trigger told them everything that they knew, which included the fact that centuries had passed; the planet was now named Tah-Di-Tah; and that an alien invasion fleet was mere hours away…

“So,” Hair-Trigger said in conclusion, “if you can get your ‘Lines’ kick-started, and make them do whatever it is they do to rid us of the threat of subjugation or extermination, we – and everyone on Tah-Di-Tah – would be very grateful.”

“You got it.” They replied in unison, and raced from the room.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Las líneas de Tah-Di-Tah (parte 22)

Mientras tanto, en los restos de la aldea enterrada, Magnuss y Hair-Trigger habían descubierto una extraña habitación que parecía desafiar las leyes de la física…

“No sólo las leyes de la física”, refunfuñó Hair-Trigger, “sino también las leyes de la estética”.

“Podría ser el resultado de una fuga de radiación”. Magnuss sugirió nerviosamente. Luego, para animarse, agregó: “Alternativamente, podría ser un equipo que se haya encendido automáticamente cuando detectó nuestra presencia, pero debido a que ha estado inactivo durante siglos, debe volver a calibrarse”.

Esta era una idea mucho más aceptable, pero a Hair-Trigger realmente no le importaba de una forma u otra: verlo solo le daba náuseas. Así que fue un gran alivio que lo cruzaron en buen orden y rápido, y salieron por una puerta práctica…

“Ah, esto es más parecido”. Magnuss dijo mientras Hair-Trigger dirigía a la habitación anterior una rápida mirada de desprecio hacia atrás. “Esto parece más tapón para los oídos”.

Pero, cuando el corredor azul se abrió a (lo que Magnuss supuso que era) una gran vía…

… se sintió un poco menos seguro de su última declaración. Y Hair-Trigger lo odiaba absolutamente. Pero cuando se encontraron cayendo en un movimiento de paseo, se les ocurrió la similitud con una calle concurrida de la ciudad…

“Esto es muy agradable”. Magnuss dijo mientras sonreía por primera vez en años. “En su apogeo, este debe haber sido un lugar muy popular. Puedes imaginar a todas las multitudes por la noche, en la ciudad, yendo a espectáculos, restaurantes y cosas así “.

Hair-Trigger no estaba convencido. “Esta era una comunidad científica, llena de cabezas de huevo y personas con cerebros más grandes que el promedio, pensando en cosas realmente avanzadas y luego haciéndolas funcionar”.

Magnuss no iba a discutir: tal vez ambos tuvieran razón. Pero luego pensó que ambos podrían estar equivocados también, porque…

… se encontraron de pie frente a una enorme pared de video que los mostraba, como se ve en la tienda de Madame Nellie. No hubo audio, pero ambos tapones para los oídos pudieron recordar sus palabras anteriores.

“Magnuss”, dijo Hair-Trigger con una voz que sonaba inusualmente pequeña e incierta, “¿cómo es esto posible?”

Magnuss tuvo que pensar en eso. Para pensar de la manera más eficiente, se imaginó a sí mismo de pie bajo el resplandor brillante de un foco de luz…

Pero cuando permitió que su mente vagara por los reinos de la fantasía, “sintió” el toque de una mente. Era impreciso e impreciso, pero estaba seguro de que era muy real. También sabía que esta mente vinculaba el presente Tah-Di-Tah con el mundo que era antes de Tah-Di-Tah. Que la mente existía en ambas épocas o, se corrigió, había existido en ambas épocas. Fue un poco confuso, y cuando regresó al momento, no pudo poner sus pensamientos en palabras. Así que decidió ‘ seguir su olfato ‘. Y su ‘ nariz ‘ lo llevó a un pasillo rojo oscuro…

… Que Hair-Trigger encontró infinitamente más agradable estéticamente; pero tenía a Magnuss sintiendo punzadas de inquietud. ¿A dónde los estaba conduciendo? ¿A qué los estaba conduciendo? Pero fuera lo que fuese, estaba seguro de que era la ruta correcta. Y cuando doblaron la esquina hacia otro pasillo…

… No pudo evitar notar que el enrojecimiento había disminuido. ¿Podría ser que se estaban acercando al final de su búsqueda? Y cuando llegaron al final de ese pasillo llegaron a una breve antesala…

“¿Seguro que quieres hacer esto?” Magnuss le preguntó a su nueva esposa.

Este no era el tipo de pregunta que Magnuss le hubiera hecho a Hair-Trigger anteriormente. Quizás fue el hecho de que ella ahora era su esposa lo que le hizo sentir la necesidad de ser más protector. Hair-Trigger, en su sabiduría, reconoció esto:

—Oh, tonto marido —dijo amablemente—, por supuesto que sí. Es lo que hago, ¿recuerdas?

Entonces, sin más preámbulos, entraron en una habitación que, en un principio, pensaron que era un laboratorio. Pero cuando miraron más de cerca…

—Oh, no —gimió Hair-Trigger con horror y derrota—, es un mausoleo. Llegamos demasiado tarde. ¡Mil años demasiado tarde!

Pero Magnuss pensó que no…

“Espera, Hairy”. Él dijo. “Este no es un lugar de muertos: es un centro de hibernación. Cuando se dieron cuenta de que la aldea iba a ser sumergida, todos optaron por entrar en animación suspendida, con la esperanza de que los recuperarían en poco tiempo “.

Hair-Trigger se sintió aliviada por esto: odiaba la caries en todas sus formas, especialmente en forma de tapones para los oídos. Pero cuando Magnuss fue a investigar un panel que pensó que parecía prometedor, Hair-Trigger pensó que la cápsula de hibernación junto a la que ella estaba olía “raro”…

“Creo que este está muerto”, dijo descuidadamente. “¡Suena algo terrible!”

Pero mientras Magnuss no respondió, Hair-Trigger se sorprendió cuando apareció una cara en el ocupante de la cápsula…

“Magnuss”, gritó con voz estridente, “golpea lo que acabo de decir: tenemos un respiro”.

Magnuss estaba doblemente sorprendido por esto. No solo no había podido anticipar que una de las cápsulas podría estar defectuosa y permitir que su ocupante se despertara de un sueño permanente: sino que, dentro de su mente, también podía sentir los zarcillos de la inteligencia etérea fortalecerse…

Sumando dos y dos, supuso que el tapón para los oídos y la conciencia mental eran lo mismo. Así que revitalizó sus intentos de comprender el panel de control que creía que operaba las cápsulas de hibernación.

“Tenemos que sacar ese tapón antes de que él o ella muera”. Gritó.

Luego agregó: “¡Estúpida máquina, funciona!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 20)

I thought that by the time that Part 20 arrived, the story would be almost complete. Well tough luck: there are several more episodes before the finale and an inevitable epilogue. So settle down and read the latest…

The ship then operated entirely autonomously, and lifted skyward once more. From there it raced to the city, where it transmitted everything it knew of the situation and requested any available military help with fending off the approaching alien invasion fleet…

As the Tankerville Norris gained the upper atmosphere…

…the captain of the SS Glob contacted it.

“I’m no armed merchantman,” He said, “But I keep a few demolition charges aboard – just in case I need to blow up docking clamps on backward planets that think they can hold the Glob to ransom. I’ll fire those: maybe they can plough you a metaphorical furrow through space.”

Of course the Tankerville Norris was only too pleased to accept any help. “Yeah, go for it.” It responded in a fair facsimile of Magnuss’ voice.

A split second later…

…the improvised missiles were on their way. And aboard the empty Tankerville Norris, the main screen displayed a direct hit upon an approaching scout vessel…

Unfortunately no one was there to see it, so no one cheered hysterically.

“Never mind,” the ship said to that same no one at all, “I’ve recorded it: I can play it back to Magnuss and Hair-Trigger later. That’s assuming that I’m not reduced to cosmic detritus first, of course.”

It then shifted into gear…

…and took off like a kitten with a laundry peg on its tail.

Meanwhile, in the recently uncovered village of ancient scientific genii…

…Magnuss and Hair-Trigger peered from the entrance of a cave, which might have been an interior corridor in a previous era, and tried to make sense of what they were looking at. Sadly they couldn’t, so they turned inward once more…

And that was a bit puzzling too. But further into the cave/corridor, artificial construction techniques became apparent. As did huge, scary cobwebs…

The appearance of obvious technology should have filled both young earplugs with intellectual joy: but they couldn’t help wondering after the size of the spider that made those webs!

With no other course, but forward, open to them, they moved on – which must have triggered a sensor or some such, because a light briefly flickered upon a wall panel…

Both earplugs reached the same conclusion simultaneously. As one they said: “Motion detector. We’ve been spotted. The place is coming to life!”

And indeed it was. Lights were coming on everywhere…

This left them both filled with wonder. But they felt slightly less ‘wonder-full’ when the lighting altered and took on an increasingly crimson hue…

“Intruder Alert, do you think, Hairy?”  Magnuss conjectured.

Hair-Trigger might have concurred…

…but a worsening in the level of illumination made her squeak with nervousness instead. And if she had known what was to follow, she might have broken wind with anticipation of being scared silly…

“Help me,” an ethereal voice accompanied the apparition, “I’m all alone. I don’t know where I am. I seem to be disembodied. I also think I might be going potty!”

How Magnuss and Hair-Trigger responded to this sudden and unexpected stimulus must always be their secret; because, at that very moment – up in space…

…the Tankerville Norris was preparing itself for a strafing run on the alien fleet. With no proton torpedoes aboard, the only offensive armament that the ship possessed was the Gravitonic Multiplicitor. But, perhaps this was all the royal blue craft required. If the device could uncover a sunken village in two seconds flat, and move an entire planet from its orbit (the ship ruminated very quickly) what could it do to an unsuspecting alien space ship? Of course, there was only one way to answer that question.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Las líneas de Tah-Di-Tah (parte 19)

Así que ahora volvemos al tema principal de la historia …

Capítulo 7

Mientras tanto, justo encima de la atmósfera de Tah-Di-Tah…

… El Tankerville Norris se estaba posicionando sobre el sitio del antiguo fiordo. Dentro, Magnuss y Hair-Trigger vieron cómo el hermoso planeta giraba debajo de ellos…

“Oh, es tan encantador”. Hair-Trigger gorjeó con abierta admiración. “Míralo, Maggie: ¿no vale la pena salvarlo?”

“De hecho, es.” Magnuss estuvo de acuerdo. “Así que vayamos a Ingeniería e intentemos averiguar cómo vamos a utilizar el multiplicitador gravitónico”.

Poco tiempo después…

“No entiendo.” Magnuss dijo con perplejidad por la falta de tornillos que sujetan el dispositivo a la cubierta. “¿Cómo se supone que vamos a deshacer los tornillos que no están allí?”

En respuesta, la nave habló directamente a través de Hair-Trigger…

“Este no es el Gravity Whelk , ya sabes. Esta es una versión actualizada del Gravitonic Multiplicitor. Permanece in situ. Así que simplemente seleccione sus coordenadas y salga de aquí hasta que el trabajo esté hecho “.

Así que fue una pareja casada muy aliviada la que se propuso la tarea de elegir exactamente hacia dónde apuntar el dispositivo milagroso. Pero cuando Hair-Trigger regresó de ir al baño, estaba menos que impresionada con Magnuss cuando lo encontró viendo un episodio de Destination: The Stars

“No te preocupes, cariño.” Magnuss dijo con indiferencia: “Todo está hecho. Retirámonos al puente “.

Entonces, cuando el barco adoptó una posición mirando hacia abajo…

… hicieron exactamente eso…

… Mientras el barco apuntaba a un lugar que se encontraba entre la tierra y el mar. Luego, sin ninguna otra comunicación, el Multiplicitor Gravitónico disparó sus devastadoras energías a través del plato deflector principal…

Rápidamente, la atmósfera adyacente estalló con luz y partículas de polvo energizadas…

… y el rayo de energía atravesó los siglos de limo, mugre y otras cosas parecidas al suelo que desafiaban la descripción…

… Donde lo lanzó al aire, lo que provocó todo tipo de anomalías relacionadas con el clima que crearon (entre otros fenómenos) grandes tormentas eléctricas. Y fue en uno de estos que el Tankerville Norris se hundió mientras corría para ver los resultados de los trabajos del Multiplicitor Gravitónico…

Y, justo cuando Magnuss comenzaba a sentir el mareo por movimiento, algo maravilloso apareció en el holo-visor principal…

La aldea se reveló en toda su extraña gloria violeta…

“Fantástico.” Magnuss gritó de júbilo. Pero luego pensó que veía un problema insuperable: “Bueno, ahí está: pero ¿qué se supone que hagamos con él? ¿Cómo llegamos allí?

La nave respondió de la única manera que sabía…

“¡Urk!” Magnuss logró antes de la disolución atómica. Y se repitió cuando…

… Él y Hair-Trigger se reunieron en otro lugar.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Las líneas de Tah-Di-Tah (parte 18)

Bienvenido a otro episodio (no terriblemente) emocionante … 

Poco después, habiendo cruzado Fort Balderdash hasta el comedor del suboficial…

… Jo y Wetpatch entraron, donde primero tuvieron que apartar un vehículo de ataque todo terreno inservible para poder acceder al único panel de comunicaciones permitido por el presupuesto restringido de la caballería…

“Solo hay un tipo en el universo que puede sacarnos de este kaká”. Wetpatch había dicho al salir de la oficina del Mayor Leftfoot Badger. “Así que será mejor que recemos para que todavía esté en el museo”.

Un minuto después, el panel se iluminó para revelar a Nigel, el Dorado; su asistente personal anónimo; y Walker Crabtrouser – Jefe de las Fuerzas Armadas Scrotonic, a punto de abordar su nave espacial a casa…

“¡Esperar!” Wetpatch gritó casi en pánico. “¡Golden One, necesitamos mucho tu ayuda!”

Naturalmente, siendo un tipo razonable y un buen huevo en todos los aspectos, Nigel detuvo su entrada en la esclusa de aire del barco. “Tapones de caballería”. Dijo al reconocer los uniformes del sargento. “Siempre haré tiempo para los militares. ¿Le puedo ayudar en algo?”

Wetpatch explicó rápidamente la situación, a lo que Nigel levantó una mano en un intento de detener más la lengua del sargento. “El problema del escáner omnipresente se puede explicar así”. Él dijo. “ El Tankerville Norris está equipado con un Gravitic Multi-Thingamy-Whatsit de última generación, que lo hace impermeable a los escaneos multifásicos a grandes distancias. Pero en lo que respecta a encontrarlos realmente … bueno, no estoy seguro de cómo puedo ofrecer ayuda “.

“Nos preguntamos si podría prestarnos un barco”. Jo soltó. “Podríamos ir a buscarlos. El espacio es grande, pero no tanto como para que un esfuerzo concertado no sea completamente infructuoso, probablemente, tal vez, si buscáramos mucho “.

“Oh querido.” Nigel dijo mientras se volvía hacia Walker Crabtrouser en busca de ayuda. “Creo que desmontamos los barcos que Magnuss rechazó. Y, desafortunadamente, las instrucciones de ensamblaje fueron utilizadas por una calificación junior que no pudo encontrar el armario de papel del lavabo y las usó para … ah … bueno, lo dejo a su imaginación “.

Wetpatch y Jo estaban abatidos. Ahora todo lo que podían hacer era esperar que la información sobre el efecto del multiplicitador gravitónico en el escáner omnipresente fuera suficiente para aplacar a Cushions y Hunting. Pero Walker Crabtrouser tuvo una idea…

“Golden One”, dijo lentamente, mientras sus pensamientos se fusionaban y le permitían hablar, “creo que podría tener una respuesta parcial a sus oraciones”.

Luego, en escrotónico, explicó. Terminó con: “Bueno, ¿qué piensas?”

“Informe al Capitán que habrá un retraso en nuestra partida”. Nigel le dijo a su asistente personal. Luego, a Wetpatch y Jo…

… Dijo: “Señores, parece que fui un poco prematuro. Había una cuarta embarcación ensamblada a partir de un paquete plano; pero nadie pensó que Magnuss se sentiría atraído por una nave furtiva desmantelada, de operaciones encubiertas. Está en nuestra bodega, con solo unas pocas cuerdas elásticas sujetándolo. Tengo unas tijeras para cortarlas, si estás interesado, por supuesto “.

Dos horas más tarde, una nave casi invisible subió silenciosamente al cielo nocturno…

Olió el vacío del espacio para las esporas de su barco hermano, el Tankerville Norris . Y habiendo detectado su rastro de iones, partió en su persecución…

Y (nominalmente) en los controles…

… Se sentaron Wetpatch Wilton y Jo Frayzer.

“Ooh-er”, dijo Jo apreciativamente, “esta nave puede motorizarse, ¿no es así, Wetpatch?”

A lo que Wetpatch respondió…

… “Flipping diablos, sí”.

Luego, a los otros cuatro tapones de caballería que se habían ofrecido como voluntarios para actuar como tripulación, agregó: “¿Alguna idea de cómo llamamos a este bebé?”

Naturalmente, al ser veteranos en el ejército de Worstworld, no estaban acostumbrados a dar rienda suelta a su imaginación. Todos salieron vacíos. Así que quedó en manos de Jo hacer una sugerencia..

“Um”, comenzó, “¿qué tal si dejamos que el barco elija su nombre? Probablemente tenga una idea mejor que cualquiera de nosotros. ¿Qué hay de eso, Ship?

Y, al igual que los otros barcos que se habían creado a partir de los diseños tomados de Bunk-Bunk Benson, el barco pronunció su nombre en absoluto silencio. Pero la tripulación ahora sabía que estaban a bordo del Chuck Winker , lo que los sorprendió porque Chuck Winker era un actor terrestre que protagonizó el programa de ciencia ficción favorito de Magnuss Earplug, Destination: The Stars.

“Mientras estuve aquí en la Tierra”, explicó el barco, “he estado viendo repeticiones en la televisión por cable. Son realmente muy buenos. Me gusta Chuck Winker: creo que tiene una presencia real en la pantalla. Descargué todos los episodios. Cuando regrese a Scroton, tengo la intención de retransmitirlos a todo el mundo. Sé lo que estás pensando, pero no tenemos leyes de derechos de autor en Scroton, así que estará bien “.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Las líneas de Tah-Di-Tah (parte 15)

Hasta ahora ha sido bastante divertido para los recién casados: ahora comienza realmente su trabajo. Sigue leyendo …

Capítulo 5

Ni Magnuss ni Hair-Trigger durmieron bien esa noche. Sus mentes estaban alborotadas. Así que todavía estaban cansados ​​cuando el despertador los despertó a un día lleno de cielos grises y lluvia…

Pero una cosa era segura para ambos, mientras contemplaban la ciudad empapada por la lluvia que solo unas horas antes había parecido tan brillante y llena de promesas…

“No aprenderemos nada aquí”. Magnuss dijo. Luego, para agregar claridad, agregó: “En la ciudad me refiero. Nadie sabe nada sobre las Líneas de Tah-Di-Tah “.

“¿Cómo puedes estar tan seguro?” Hair-Trigger preguntó razonablemente. “Sé que preguntamos en recepción, pero no les hemos preguntado a todos”.

“Me conecté a Internet mientras estabas haciendo tostadas”. Magnuss explicó. “No hay una sola mención de eso”.

Para su crédito, Hair-Trigger intentó ser subjetivo y útil. ¿Ha considerado que Madame Nellie podría ser un auténtico pastel de frutas? ¿Que tal vez no existan las Líneas de Tah-Di-Tah? “

La expresión de Magnuss, reflejada en la ventana, le dijo a Hair-Trigger que interpretar a Devil’s Advocate no era su talento más notable. “Tienes razón, por supuesto.” Ella dijo. “Claramente la hembra no es un loco. Si se hubiera enojado, no te habría acariciado la sien: te habría apretado las nalgas. ¿Entonces, dónde vamos desde aquí?”

“El Tankerville Norris “. Magnuss respondió. “Si vamos a encontrar algo pertinente sobre las Líneas de Tah-Di-Tah, estará en los bancos de memoria de la nave”.

Entonces, media hora más tarde, y habiendo realizado el check out, el equipo de audaces marido y mujer se dirigió a la salida del Hotel Gilb…

Desde allí, el autobús de cortesía los devolvió al estacionamiento y de allí a su barco, a través del cual (debido a que el clima afuera había sido frío y húmedo) corrieron al baño (recientemente señalizado)…

… antes de establecerse para estudiar la inmensa Biblioteca de Información Galáctica, conocida en broma como La Enciclopedia Galáctica , en la computadora central de la nave…

Pero solo para estar seguro de que no serían interrumpidos, o escaneados intrusivamente por el SS Glob, Magnuss hizo despegar el Tankerville Norris

… luego zumba a través de la sección de gran altura de la ciudad azotada por la lluvia…

Esto coincidió con el hecho de que muchos miembros del personal de hospitalidad del Hotel Gilb tomaran su descanso para tomar un café temprano en la mañana junto a la ventana del comedor…

“Oh-no, no se irá otro.” El individuo morado con cabello rosado se quejó. “El lugar ya está casi vacío. Si esto continúa, puedo ver que toda nuestra industria se derrumba en nuestros oídos “.

Pero un tapón para los oídos verde estaba secretamente complacido con la partida de una nave espacial, ¡porque era un anarquista de catering!

A bordo de la nave espacial que sale…

… Magnuss y Hair-Trigger observaron cómo el agua de lluvia caía de la cúpula de la cámara de proa del barco.

“Jodido de un día”. Magnuss observó. “Seremos capaces de pensar con más claridad cuando estemos por encima de la atmósfera: no habrá este incesante ruido de tintineos en el casco”.

Pero media hora después, y habiendo pasado todo el tiempo tratando de encontrar información que pudiera estar vagamente relacionada con las Líneas de Tah-Di-Tah (pero sin éxito), Magnuss estaba teniendo dolor de cabeza…

Así que se sentó durante cinco minutos, lo que liberó a Hair-Trigger para probar algunas entradas propias.

“Oye”, gritó casi de inmediato, “he intentado una entrada de solicitud más amplia y expansiva. Dejé fuera la parte Tah-Di-Tah. Marqué una solicitud de cualquier uso histórico o mítico de la palabra “líneas”. Adivina qué, encontré una entrada. Necesitamos acceder a él en la mesa en Ingeniería…

Ingeniería, al estar relativamente cerca del puente, la pareja emocionada tardó solo unos momentos en llegar allí…

“¿Cómo lo encendemos?” -Preguntó Hair-Trigger a Magnuss.

En el momento justo, ambos lo supieron en un instante. Momentos después, apareció en el visor holográfico una imagen para acompañar la información que se alimentaba directamente en sus cerebros…

“Un pueblo extraño al final de un largo fiordo”. Magnuss dijo maravillado.

“Pequeñas casas abovedadas que cuelgan o se adhieren a la pared del acantilado”. Se agregó Hair-Trigger. “Algunos bajan hasta la orilla del agua”.

“No hay mucha tierra plana”. Magnuss notó. “No me gustaría estar en su equipo de fútbol: estarías jugando la mitad del juego cuesta arriba; y la otra mitad persiguiendo la pelota cuesta abajo “.

“Por favor, tienen su tono al revés”. Sugirió Hair-Trigger. Me refiero longitudinalmente. Inclinado en cualquier ángulo del acantilado, con los goles en cada extremo también inclinados, por supuesto “.

Magnuss estaba a punto de responder, cuando de repente se dio cuenta de que se habían salido del tema. Entonces dijo: “¿A quién le importa? Eh, tal vez ni siquiera juegan al fútbol “.

“No lo hice”. Hair-Trigger lo corrigió. “Quizás no jugaban al fútbol. Esta es una imagen histórica. Tiempo pasado, eso es. Quizás nunca jugaron al fútbol porque aún no se había inventado ”.

Magnuss rápidamente cambió de tema. “Esta es una foto de invierno: ¿podemos ver una versión de verano?”

“Mira, Magnuss,” para ser lanzadas sin aliento después de examinar la imagen de sustitución por un nanosegundo, “que lo hizo tener un área adecuada para un campo de fútbol. Junto al agua en la costa norte. Parece tener tres edificios. Pero podrían ser meras tiendas de campaña o puntos de venta de telas artesanales “.

Magnuss echó un vistazo rápido para confirmar la observación de su esposa; luego devolvió la conversación a su curso original. “Recopilemos la información que tenemos sobre The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah y veamos a dónde nos lleva este nuevo material”.

Naturalmente, el barco cumplió…

Magnuss no estaba impresionado, así que Hair-Trigger puso una cara valiente y sonrió dulcemente. “Sí”, dijo positivamente, “aunque no tenemos idea de qué son estas ‘líneas’, sabemos que tienen algo que ver con el planeta, Tah-Di-Tah”.

Magnuss se recompuso. “Confirmado.” El acepto. “También noto que se destaca la clarividencia: eso también debe ser importante. Madame Nellie, supongo, pero afirmó no saber nada de The Lines.

“Predestinación.” Hair-Trigger gritó cuando vio la palabra. “Eso sugiere que alguien, posiblemente tú y yo, siempre tuvimos la intención de estar aquí para encontrar The Lines. ¿Pero viajes en el tiempo?

“Bunk-Bunk Bunsen”. Magnuss soltó. “El que trajo los planos de este mismo barco desde el futuro. Lo mencioné antes en la ciudad. Ahora empieza a tener cada vez más sentido. Pero no puedo calcular la entrada del historial “.

“El pueblo al final del fiordo”. Sugirió Hair-Trigger. Cuando ingresé la palabra ‘líneas’, la computadora me dio la aldea “.

“Aceptado.” Magnuss dijo mientras estudiaba el holograma. “¿Pero qué diablos es un Infinite Reality Drive?”

En un instante, el enlace telepático con Tankerville Norris le dio la respuesta. Hair-Trigger también.

“Es lo que impulsa la nave”. Ella gritó con alegría. “Me preguntaba por qué no zumbaba con una cola de fuego como la de otros barcos en los que hemos estado. Usando un sistema, no muy diferente al que destruyó la civilización que descubrieron Folie Krimp y Placebo Bison, los creadores del IRD accedieron a realidades cuánticas alternativas y sintonizaron el poder bruto del creativo ‘Big Bang’ de esa realidad, y lo convirtieron en un sistema lineal suave. empuje.”

Magnuss quedó impresionado. “Muy bien, Hairy”. Él dijo. “Yo mismo no podría haberlo dicho mejor. De hecho, habría hablado un montón de zapateros. Pero, ¿cómo es pertinente al misterio? ¿Qué tiene que ver Infinite Reality Drive con la clarividencia, los viajes en el tiempo, la predestinación y el planeta de abajo?

“El punto de partida llegó cuando visitamos a Madame Nellie”. Respondió Hair-Trigger. “Es sólo una corazonada, pero creo que ella sabe más de lo que dice. Qué vergüenza: ¡y tú también eres un santo!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Succinct Cover Art

Unusually, for an Earplug Adventure, the story (and cover art) for The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah were all complete, spell-checked, listened to (using Natural Reader), and ready for conversion to PDF format long before the final few episodes appear on-line. But, since the tale is an on-line serial, I shall refrain from publishing the finished e-book/file until the penultimate episode appears – which is the usual way of things in Tootyland. But just as a taster for anyone who is planning to download the great masterpiece of silicon life – to share with friends, family, total strangers, and anyone who looks like they might be into strange stuff – here is the cover art. It isn’t flashy. It doesn’t display an exciting moment from the story. Instead I thought it should show the two stars – looking slightly puzzled. After all  they are earplugs, and this is an earplug mystery.

So now you know what to look for when it appears on the All Earplug Adventures in PDF Format Unexpurgated & FREE! page.

P.S You don’t need to wait to visit the page: there are 41 other Earplug Adventures there, gagging to be read.

Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 13)

Unlucky number thirteen? No way: no Earplug Adventure episode could be considered unlucky: they are all wonderful. Check this one out!

Meanwhile, back at the Museum of Future Technology, the situation was anything but quiet…

There had been a double reactor breach, and the tops of two towers had been blown off. But, for the museum’s Avatar, this was not the main subject of conversation. Whilst Valentine and Wah-Hey were taking the post-supper air, the Avatar accosted them on the up-ramp that led to the Café Puke…

“Hello, Valentine. Greetings Wah-Hey.” she said as she walked backwards before them, “any news from Magnuss?”

“Ah, that’d be a negative, Avatar.” Valentine replied. “We aint heard a squeak outta the little guy. Guess he’s having a good time and don’t wanna share it with his bros – know what I mean?”

Although, as an automaton, the Avatar didn’t require oxygen, she nevertheless took a deep breath before saying: “Well it’s like this, Valentine: Cushions is getting very worried. She even got her best Omnipresent Scanner operatives out of bed to help her locate the Tankerville Norris

Even the museum’s A.I’s cheerful suggestions didn’t help. They simply couldn’t find it. In the end they took themselves off to the Café Puke…

…for a stiff double Café Cortado and a bag of Churros.  

Their evening stroll forgotten, Valentine grabbed Rudi, Chester, and Miles. They found Cushions remembering happy recent events in the Grand Hall…

“Hey, Cushions,” Rudi opened without preamble, “what gives with the Omnipresent Scanner? It can’t find Magnuss? That can’t be right: it can see everywhere!”

Cushions confirmed this commonly held believe. She also confirmed its utter failure to detect their middle brother. “Officially we’re posting him as ‘Missing in Action’. Of course we’ll try again in the morning.”

It was a disconsolate bunch of earplugs who wandered back to their quarters…

They had attempted a telepathic link with him. But even returning to the place of their last triumph – the Age of Stone exhibit – could not succeed in making contact. And Chester, bless him, couldn’t help but conjure up terrible images of monsters that might have consumed the newlyweds…

And if they’d known what was really happening to Magnuss, they would have realised why they couldn’t contact him…

He and Hair-Trigger had visited a fairground, where he tried on a helmet named The Excruciator. It was supposed to be excruciating; and it was! So much so that he simply couldn’t think straight. So Hair-Trigger took it off him and suggested he try the Wobbly Buggy Ride. It was not her best idea…

…because his motion sickness kicked in almost instantly; and he was sick all over the dashboard. So she took him to the canal walkway to recover…

“This is better.” He said as his bile receded…

…”and that canal is so effervescent. I wonder if anyone would complain if we partook of a dip in it.”

But, even if that were so, the proximity of a trio of young females (who would never approve of the sight of soggy underpants) was the deciding factor against the idea. So they revisited the bazaar area…

…where they encountered a pair of local earplugs…

At first the newlyweds were suspicious of the strangers; but when the pale earplug said: “You look like a pair of impressionable youngsters.” and the darker individual added, “You should visit Madame Nellie: she’s a fortune teller.” They knew all was well.

“Thank you, kind sirs.” Hair-Trigger replied. “Could you point us in her direction?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

There – I told you!

Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 10)

Ten episodes in and it still feels like the story is only really beginning. Magnuss and Hair-Trigger need to get their collective arse into gear!

Moments later the couple went their separate ways, and Magnuss found himself in the most futuristic male lavatory that he’d ever seen…

“Oh,” he sighed with relief, “I’ll never want to use a regular loo again. So why did they put it so far away from the bridge? I wonder what the girl’s toilet is like?”

But when they re-entered Engineering, Hair-Trigger appeared a whole lot less impressed than Magnuss…

And to Magnuss’ probing question she replied: “Bunk-Bunk Bunsen was a male – right? Obviously he had little idea of female anatomy. He really should have asked for advice first. If we ever meet him, I’m going to get the boot in first, okay?”

Magnuss smirked at this. “I can always empty the bucket for you.” He offered.

But Hair-Trigger wouldn’t rise to the bait. Instead she decided to find out what the central ‘table’ in Engineering actually did…

“Information and schematics,” Magnuss said as he nodded appreciatively. “And all displayed in the air before us. Very nice.”

Neither of them was particularly interested in schematics, and numbers just confused the heck out of them. So they decided to head back in the direction of the bridge…

But before long the conversation drifted to the subject of Tah-Di-Tah. Both were aware that it was a paradise world upon which many citizens of advanced worlds vacationed: but little else.

“How do we pay?” Magnuss asked.

“Where do we park our ship?” Hair-Trigger countered.

It seemed that, between them, they had a thousand and one questions – none of which they could answer. But, as they entered the bridge…

…they realised that the Tankerville Norris would have all the information they required. All they needed to do was ask. So they sat themselves down and did just that…

For the first time since coming aboard, the ship chose not to communicate telepathically. Instead it spoke its answers: “Nigel – the Golden One – has a line of credit on Tah-Di-Tah.” It said. “You are his guests: you need not concern yourselves with such trivia. Just enjoy yourselves. By the way – we’ll be arriving in less than an hour, so keep yourselves entertained until then.”

So, as the Tankerville Norris advanced towards its destination…

…the occupants did as they were bid. First of all Hair-Trigger checked out the multi-media library…

Then they chased each other around the bridge…

Then returned for a second visit to the lavatory…

…before settling themselves in the bridge…

…to watch their approach to Tah-Di-Tah…

And what a beautiful world it was too…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Is that right? Have they actually reached Tah-Di-Tah? Well thank the Saint of All Earplugs for that!

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Las líneas de Tah-Di-Tah (parte 2)

De acuerdo, todavía hay cientos de imágenes que necesitan dispararse para completar Las líneas de Tah-Di-Tah ; pero pensé, si tenía suficientes escenas para el siguiente segmento, ¿por qué no escribirlo y ponerlo en Internet? Así que lo hice, y aquí está…

Capítulo 1

Exactamente a las trece en punto, las puertas del Gran Salón del Museo de Tecnología del Futuro se abrieron para aquellos afortunados tapones para los oídos que, la noche anterior, habían ganado boletos para asistir a la boda de Magnuss Earplug y Hair-Trigger Provost…

Fue una asamblea emocionada que tomó sus posiciones y parloteó en voz baja entre ellos mientras esperaban el momento de la verdad que tantos habían estado esperando durante meses, si no años…

Por supuesto, no se podía permitir entrar a muchos más…

Las reglas de salud y seguridad prohibían la posibilidad de multitudes rebeldes. Cushions había previsto esto y, por lo tanto, todo el contingente de RoboSecGuas del museo se desplegó para controlar a las masas frustradas que no querían nada más que contemplar el matrimonio de dos de los más grandes héroes del museo. Pero no fue del todo malo para los perjudicados por la exclusión: Rupert Piles estaba allí con su enorme cámara de televisión 3D…

… con el que transmitía las imágenes y los sonidos de los procedimientos en pantallas gigantes a lo largo de todo el vasto edificio…

Incluso los puntos de venta de Café Puke estaban sintonizados en la frecuencia correcta…

Así que sus clientes fueron los primeros en ver al hermoso Avatar del museo mientras se preparaba para ayudar al Ángel de la Nariz Enorme, que conduciría la ceremonia de matrimonio…

Y todos aplaudieron cuando se dieron cuenta de que el entretenimiento posterior a la ceremonia incluiría al mariachi, Las Bragas de Alegría…

Naturalmente, se había invitado a luminarias de muchas de las secciones del museo…

Estos incluyeron los Time Techs y miembros de TWIT….

… Que estaba al lado de la tía Doris de Magnuss y su novio, K’Plank the Space Wanderer, que había prescindido de su familiar casco espacial y se había teñido la barba de un negro más profundo de lo que era habitual para él. Por supuesto, los curadores se destacaron por su gran número…

… Detrás de quien el agente de policía Salisbury Wilts intentó ir de incógnito bajo la sombra de Sir Dodger Muir. Solo su casco de policía reveló su ubicación secreta. A un lado se encontraba un contingente del 7º de Caballería de los Armiños Unidos…

… Algunos de los cuales serían la guardia de honor de la feliz pareja. Incluso asistieron varios mutantes que Magnuss y Hair-Trigger habían rescatado de Mutant Island, y se pararon junto al rey de la discoteca, Hambledon Bohannon, mientras disfrutaban de una taza de café con leche de caramelo de Café Puke…

A lo lejos, a bordo del Chi-Z-Sox , marido y mujer genios (o genios , como preferían ser conocidos), el profesor Hydious y el doctor Putridity Gout observaban en el visor principal…

“Oh, mira, Hydious”, gritó Putridity con deleite, “¡son algunos de esos seres espantosos que liberamos de la condenada isla del Doctor Adolf Weil-Barrau!”

“Sí, querida”, respondió Hydious, “la que hicimos estallar con una bomba atómica: lo recuerdo. Pero estoy prestando más atención a esas encantadoras bailarinas de piernas largas frente a Hambledon Bohannon “.

Por supuesto, las encantadoras bailarinas de piernas largas a las que se refirió el capitán de las Chi-Z-Sox no eran menos que Margret Greenhorn y sus Greenhorn Girls…

… Que habían llegado al Museo de Tecnología del Futuro, un par de años antes, tras su escape de una realidad alternativa en la que su museo había sido superado por una edad de hielo. Y también había otros rostros famosos allí. Rostros realmente famosos. Rostros famosos realmente importantes. Líderes mundiales de hecho. Nigel – el Dorado del planeta Scroton para ser exactos…

… cuya pluma azul brillante llamó la atención de Hambledon Bohannon.

“Tengo que conseguir esa pluma, hombre”. Se dijo a sí mismo. “Es un verdadero ritmo, cariño. Tal vez lo pida después del espectáculo, asumiendo que estos otros chicos de Ethernet Cable End me dejen en cualquier lugar cerca del tipo dorado “.

Hambledon no lo sospechaba, pero los controladores secretos de Scroton estaban monitoreando los procedimientos en su base subterránea de operaciones…

Nigel había llegado a la Tierra a través de una nave espacial; pero los trabajadores de los creadores de la civilización Ethernet Cable End pudieron recurrir a la tecnología súper avanzada de sus maestros y, en un abrir y cerrar de ojos, llevar a su líder a la seguridad de Scroton.

Frisby Mumph había llegado de Marte a través del transbordador de Marte temprano en la mañana…

Había traído a un representante del pueblo marciano, o Muffins, como preferían que se les conociera, con él. Y su asistente robótico, Tangerine, estaba disfrutando de su primer viaje a la Tierra desde que se construyó allí hace mucho tiempo. Se pararon junto a dos miembros del personal robótico del museo; un RoboSecGua aleatorio y un Robot Guide aún más aleatorio.

Por supuesto, ningún evento estaría completo sin el grupo del ‘alma’ residente del museo: The Trumptations…

Y la novia de Chester, la enorme mancha verde amorfa de la Era de Piedra estaba en su configuración de tapones para los oídos de seis partes junto a la solista en falsete de los Trumptations, Cory Turpentine…

… Donde sonrió amablemente a todos y todo, independientemente de su ubicación. Continuó sonriendo mientras las luces se atenuaban y Las Bragas de Alegría se adelantaba para ofrecer una versión mariachi de la Marcha Nupcial…

Luego, cuando las luces asumieron su iluminación más brillante, los Hermanos Earplug entraron en el Gran Salón…

Por supuesto, los cinco llevaban sus famosos sombreros cosacos, aunque ligeramente maltrechos. Cuando Rupert Piles se apresuró a tomar un primer plano, fueron recibidos por el Ángel con una nariz enorme.

Cuando Rudi, Valentine, Chester y Miles asumieron sus posiciones predeterminadas…

  … Magnuss hizo lo mismo con el suyo. Luego, con una fanfarria de Las Bragas, Hair-Trigger tomó el centro del escenario…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Esto es, Earpluggers: el momento que todos los fanáticos de Magnuss y Hair-Trigger han estado esperando: ¡se casarán! ¿O son? ¿Es posible que algo salga mal antes de que se casen con el matrimonio? Después de todo, es el Museo de Tecnología del Futuro …

 

The Set: The Scene 4

If you are one of those brave folk who have persisted with the consumption of Earplug Adventures over a long period of time, it’s quite probable that you will recall pertinent scenes by your recognition of a set – or vice versa. But just to test that hypothesis, check out the following. Here’s a simple one to start with. Two yellow earplugs standing upon a tarpaulin that has sagged and filled with rain water…

What great potentiality did I notice in this? Yes, it’s…

…two of the dancing Greenhorn Girls (can’t remember which ones) by the beach in The Missing.

So what about this fabulously vague piece of cardboard that has been dirtied by the incessant rubbing against it by lengths of aluminium extrusion, and a sheet of translucent plastic stuff that wrapped the aforementioned?

Well, combined artistically they become…

…a snow scene and a distant wintery forest. Honestly they do. Look here’s those unemployed (and unemployable) couch potatoes, D’Neferious Berk, Freda Conk, Numpty Dingbat and Clem Borstal in a scene from Time Shard Museum

Getting the hang of it? Try this one…

If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, it’s two pieces of split 4 x 2 timber, set against a sheet of styrofoam. Now clearly this is supposed to be a rock formation and a blue/grey sky. No? Well it is. And the end result of my transformation of the original shot is…

…Patti Roularde and Nobby Hollister engaged on a Precipitous Ledge Walk in a snow storm in Haunted Mars. Ah, now you remember. So what about this one..?

There’s some giveaway signage on this piece of legendary prop. What does it say? Transfer Conduit Station Seven? Lordy, has this set been used a multitude of times – though not always as Transfer Conduit Station Seven…

Here it is as Lottery Central in Winning Numbers, and in the following shot as a desert fortress in Cometh the Earplug Vol 2…

Of course I couldn’t let this set pass without displaying it as it should be seen: as the previously mentioned Transfer Conduit Station –  this time witnessing the arrival of the Jaundice Family in Unity Vol 2…

So, try your hand at this set…

Ugh, it’s a nasty rust stain at the bottom of a brick wall that appears to be on the inside of a factory or warehouse. No it’s not. Not in my make-believe world it aint. It’s actually…

…a wonderful distant city, discovered (in The Grand Tour Vol 2) by sibling adventurers Dorkan and Dawlish Deathwish. And what an adventure they had. Of course you can view all of the Earplug Adventures by clicking HERE and reading (or downloading) the complete stories in PDF. Do it now – before the servers are overwhelmed by demand.

 

Flipping Heck, It Must Be Some Kind of Earplugfest!

To whomever decided to download every Earplug Adventure ever written today (20/09/21)…all I can say is: “Wow!” Hope you enjoy them.

Of course anyone else who might fancy a giggle or two can emulate the mystery reader and either read them on-line, or download them for later by visiting the appropriate Page on this site. Anyone interested can take the shortcut to it right HERE.

Then you too can experience the…ah…Earplug Experience for yourself. Here’s a random representative e-book cover. Nice, isn’t it!

 

 

Tooty’s Pissed Off Again

I didn’t think it unreasonable of me to expect to add The Age of Stone to my list of free e-books on this blog’s sidebar. I mean, every other book is there: why not the latest? Well WordPress had other ideas. The ‘Classic’ posting system just wouldn’t  work. I mean, it wasn’t even there to try. And the new ‘Block’  system (which I loathe with an intensity usually reserved for recalcitrant ink jet printers and DVD players that can’t recognise that there is a DVD in the tray) just sat there and did nothing – for ten minutes – before I gave up; called it several names, none of which are printable here; cursed the designer of the ‘block’ system to perminent impotence, considered creating a voodoo doll; and decided on an alternative course of action. And this is the alternative course of action. All Earplug Adventures in PDF Format Unexpurgated & FREE! Yup, there’s a page beneath the header that now contains every Earplug Adventure file, which can be accessed by anyone and everyone absolutely free. And very nice they are too. Well worth a visit. Now, if WordPress would kindly allow me, I’d like to remove those free e-books from their fucking sidebar. But I’m not hopeful. Bunch of shits.

 

La Era de la Piedra (The Age of Stone), en su totalidad, ¡GRATIS!

Es posible que se haya perdido algún episodio de La Era de la Piedra (The Age of Stone) en el camino; pero eso ya no importa porque ha llegado la versión gratuita en PDF para que la descargues y leas en tu tiempo libre (y quizás la compartas con tus amigos), o para leer in situ aquí mismo. Trate de comprender la magnitud de esta maravillosa oferta: es inigualable en la historia de la literatura y la fotografía. Todas esas fotos: todas esas palabras: todo ese genio creativo, ¡absolutamente GRATIS! Simplemente haz clic en la imagen de la portada del libro y es todo tuyo, tuyo, tuyo.

The Age of Stone – in it’s entirety – FREE!

You may have missed the odd episode of The Age of Stone along the way; but that doesn’t matter anymore because the free PDF version has arrived for you to either download and read at your leisure (and perhaps share with your friends), or to read in situ right here. Try to comprehend the magnitude of this wondrous offer: it is unequalled in the history of literature and photography. All those photos: all those words: all that creative genius – absolutely FREE! Just click on the book cover image, and it’s all yours, yours, yours!

Earlier Earplug Adventure books are also available too. Just click on the side bar images to access  them. Or, better still, visit the All Earplug Adventures in PDF Format Unexpurgated & FREE! page beneath the header.

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 24)

Pero aún así, la situación empeoró para Wonky SB. No contentos con despojarlo de su mono atómico, Miles y Chester dejaron rasgar sus calzoncillos divinos…

… y el aspirante a vengador se vio obligado a ocultar sus regiones inferiores poniéndose en cuclillas de la manera más indigna…

“No”, se lamentó, “me rindo. No más. Déjame en paz.”

“Ve”, gritó Magnuss en respuesta, “antes de que te destruyamos por completo”.

“Voy. Voy.” Wonky SB dijo apresuradamente cuando un extraño portal rojo se abrió detrás de él…

Luego, con la derrota grabada en cada paso que daba, Wonky SB recogió los restos de sus calzoncillos y vagó, vacilante, de regreso a su reino incognoscible…

Pero cuando se volvió para mirar a su némesis…

… una fuerza lo agarró y lo arrastró hacia un caldero turbulento de energía…

… Que podría haber sido un agujero negro.

Por un momento, los chicos simplemente se quedaron allí en estado de shock. Luego, una cascada de bonitas partículas de energía descendió sobre ellos…

Por supuesto, era el Ser Supremo en modo de celebración…

“Bien hecho muchachos. Qué trabajo tan brillante. Ahora regresen aquí “.

Un latido después, ellos y la subunidad principal de Susan estaban en una ventana de observación en el Ruibarbo Crumble

“No podríamos haberlo hecho sin tus poderes”. Magnuss informó al Ser Supremo. Pero estaba siendo cortés: obviamente, el Ser Supremo ya lo sabía. Y Susan también. Añadió.

“De hecho”, dijo el Ser Supremo mientras miraba la subunidad principal de Susan, “si ella no hubiera intervenido en el momento apropiado, todo podría haberse perdido. Enhorabuena a ti también, pequeña mancha verde. Ahora espero que a todos les guste volver al Museo de Tecnología del Futuro para una discoteca de celebración. Bueno, sigue tu camino: creo que encontrarás el viaje de regreso algo más corto que el de aquí “.

Pero, por supuesto, antes de que el Ruibarbo Crumble pudiera ir a alguna parte, estaba la cuestión de devolver el Gorgojo Trunnion a su lugar en el almacén…

Luego, completada la tarea, la primera nave que salió de la nueva línea de producción marciana atravesó el extraño y cambiante paisaje…

… y salió disparado hacia el cielo…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 25)

“I think that went very well.” Miles said as the five heroic earplugs watched the ship attain orbit…

 …“I think things could have worked out rather worse. A pat on the back all ‘round?”

Rudi smiled at this. “At the very least, man.” He replied.

Susan, in her many parts, was feeling much the same way. Every sub-unit had something to say, even if all the others knew exactly the words it would use…

“You know,” the primary sub-unit said to the others, “I’m feeling like I’m in some sort of girlie gang. It’s fun, isn’t it? Girl power!”

But as fun as it was, Susan reintegrated for her role of Captain. And she wasn’t surprised to find the engineering staff had returned to their DVD box set…

Also she was less than surprised when Chester sought her out, and they stood at an observation window and watched asteroids pass by on their way to a collision with the planet below…

“Poor little asteroids,” she said with a smile that – if she didn’t straighten her face soon – she feared might become perpetual, “of all the planets to pick on, they chose the Supreme Being’s. I can see him getting quite annoyed.”

She continued to smile all the way back to the bridge, which left Chester free to join his brothers…

“Flipping heck,” Magnuss exploded, “look at the distance we’ve covered in just fifteen minutes. That’s Sirius that we’re sweeping majestically by. Worstworld is just around the corner. It’s half way to Earth. Another fifteen minutes and we’ll be landing at the good old Museum of Future Technology…

Of course it was a fifty-fifty chance that the museum’s location on the planet’s surface would have it smothered in the cloak of night, which meant that the Age of Stone was too…

Already the castle’s grand hall had been made ready for the celebratory discotheque. As the ship landed and its crew disembarked, Hambledon Bohannon was warming up his futuristic, but wonderfully 1970s retro, turntables…

And earplugs from the museum proper were making their way to the Age of Stone exhibit…

But many were already standing in line in corridors bedecked with fabulous drapes…

Even the Graveyard Avatar had managed to drag itself and a number of acolytes along…

“Oh, isn’t this lovely?”  She cried with glee. “This stone is so cold and foreboding: it’s like being at home.”

Further inside the castle, huge light screens had been erected…

…which looked really neat and bathed the stony interior in a chill blue light.

“Like it.” Doctor Snippentuck, the resident incompetent plastic surgeon was heard to utter. “When I can afford it, I’m going to get my surgery decorated like this. It’ll be the talk of the town.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

DDW: Downloads Doing Well

Have to say, it’s nice to see downloads of the free PDF copies of my Earplug Adventures moving along nicely. I like to imagine people are actually enjoying what they find there. For the seven days covering 25th August 2021 to the 31st, an average of 4.6 downloads were made every day. Not setting the world alight, I know; but someone’s taking the time and trouble. So well done. Anyone interested in repeating this act can do so by accessing the files via the Free Earplug Adventure Ebook page beneath the header at the top of this post. And you don’t have to download them: if you like you can read them in situ. Do so and enjoy those exciting tales featuring this bunch of wassocks…

 

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 22)

In response the Supreme Being lowered the party of earplugs into the soup of reality…

And with a look of complete self-satisfaction…

…he dismissed them – to the Age of Stone exhibit inside the Museum of Future Technology…

“Spectacular.” Susan spoke appreciatively. “So what are we doing back here? Is the SB going to help, or not?”

Of course the Earplug Brothers knew exactly why they had been returned to the Age of Stone. They also knew what was required of them. Chester took Susan aside…

Neither of them noticed that the rock formation looked exactly like a duck’s arse.

“Susan,” he said, “the showdown with Wonky is coming soon. This is a battle you can’t fight. And if you get hurt, I’m not sure that I’ll be much help to my brothers. So it’s very important that you go hide yourself away.”

For a moment Susan was overcome with emotion…

Chester hadn’t anticipated this reaction. “Oh, Sue, don’t go to pieces on me now.”

“But I’m part of the Age of Stone exhibit.” She mumbled from somewhere on the floor. “I can’t abandon it in its hour of need. And I can’t abandon you either. Oh Chester, you’re such a lovely little pinky-orange guy: I want to be by your side through thick and thin. I’d even watch TV poker, late at night with you – if you really insisted. And I’d get you an omelette too – if you were feeling peckish. And olives.”

Chester committed himself to an, “Um…” before Susan lunged at him and planted a huge kisser all over his face…

“Please let me join this fight.” She added from some other source that Chester couldn’t readily identify. “I beg of you.”

Lack of oxygen gave wings to Chester’s thought processes. “Your firewalls.” He managed. “Someone has to manage those that link this place with the museum proper. They’ll stop Wonky from carrying this fight into the defenceless museum. If you separate into your earplug forms, I believe there are just enough of you to carry out the task.”

Five minutes later, and following a plethora of kisses, Chester went to join his brothers…

“Come back safe and sound.” They called as one. “There’s more where that came from.”

Shortly the Earplug Brothers stood shoulder to shoulder…

“Okay,” Magnuss said, “if I’ve got this right, we already have the tools to defeat the Wonky SB. It’s just a matter of utilising them to their best effect.”

“Hmm,” an unconvinced Miles responded, “I would have felt better with some heavyweight backup though. That God of Leathery Balls looked like a mean hombre.”

Magnuss considered this for a nanosecond or two. He could understand Miles’ disappointment. But Miles hadn’t been inside the booth. He hadn’t had his head expanded. Magnuss felt certain that something other than information transference had occurred inside that booth. But right now he didn’t know what it was, so he kept quiet upon the subject. Instead he said: “Right, we need to get the Wonky SBs attention. Any suggestions?”

Well, for the next hour the heroic quintet marched around the exhibit shouting this such as: “Wonky is a wally.” And “Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.” They even broke wind and made disparaging comments concerning his parentage. But to no avail. Night soon fell inside the Age of Stone, and their marching had reduced to a meandering wander…

…and their yells were interspersed with yawns. They were considering going for a coffee, when, suddenly an unnatural occurrence…um…occurred

A portal appeared to form in the solid castle wall. This, in itself, was not incontrovertible proof that the Wonky Supreme Being was about to appear: but the alteration in the exhibit’s ambient colouration certainly was…

“Oh, bum.” Magnuss whimpered. Then gathering his courage he snapped: “Shoulders straight, boys.” He then confused the twins (but impressed his elders) by using an ancient military term: “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

He said no more because a form appeared inside the portal…

Then something of the extra strength that Magnuss so hoped he’d gained whilst inside the booth permeated through his siblings…

They didn’t know what to expect; but the Earplug Brothers were free of doubts: they were ready for battle.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplugs Without Pictures 13

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this tremendous tale…

As usual there are two brief extracts presented. Both chosen by Mr Sheer Randomness.

“Ladies, Gentlemen, and P.C Wilts,” Runt spoke clearly above the building excitement that ran like a raspberry ripple through the assembled V.I.Ps, “may I present to you the Tubo Di Tempo. It’s a new, mini version of the Tunnel Temporal – designed by the brilliant Italian scientist, Piggies Du Pong.”

“If you don’t mind me saying,” the charming (if ancient) former movie star, Sir Dodger Muir interrupted, “Piggies Du Pong doesn’t sound overtly Italian. Rather, I’d wager the fellow hails from either Belgium or France.”

“In your era, perhaps.” Runt replied. “But in Piggies’ era he’s Italian; so shut it, okay?”

Sir Dodger was about to author a dazzlingly witty riposte, when his train of thought was interrupted by the activation of the Tubo Di Tempo and the arrival of two bug-eyed weirdos from another time zone. Instantly the newcomers addressed Cushions Smethwyke. With a curt bow the smaller-nosed of the couple introduced itself as Glumb Kimball and its huge-hootered associate as Hombolt Whale. “Greetings from the future.” It added. “What do you think of the Tubo Di Tempo?”

Cushions wasn’t sure how to respond: and P.C Wilts’ expression betrayed his instant dislike of the pretentious twerps from a clearly technologically superior era. “Er…very nice.” She managed. Then growing in confidence she added: “A lovely shade of blue. My favourite. Well my second favourite actually. I’m rather partial to a warm orange glow.”

“How wonderful.” Hombolt Whale squeaked through it’s huge, but obviously restricted, snozzle. “Because when it’s turned on at this end it glows orange. Regarde s’il vous plaît.”

Moments later the Tubo Di Tempo did just as Hombolt had promised.

“There.” Sir Dodger grumbled. “Told you it was French.”

But even as the ageing thespian was speaking, so too was Glumb Kimball: “Well we’ve left a copy of the owners’ manual with your Time Techs, so, if it’s alright with you, we’ll be on our way to our own era. It’s much nicer there, by the way. By-ee.”

With that the time-travelling duo stepped into the tiny maw of the machine and disappeared in an instant. Naturally Cushions rushed forward to deliver a blistering farewell insult, but she was too late and needed to be consoled by the former bounty hunter and part-time curator, Hunting Provost: “Don’t concern yourself, my delightful love interest.” He whispered into Cushions’ ear. “They were ugly sods with big bulgy eyes: the future’s welcome to them. And they’ve left us with something really valuable.”

“They have?” Cushions inquired as everyone crowded around to take a look at the wonder from the future..

“Of course.” Hunting spoke in a conspiratorial hush. “Now we can start charging visitors for trips into the Museum of Future Technology twice. Once in this era; and again when they go into the past. I bet, if we take a look at our bank accounts, we’ll find that we’ve already begun amassing a vast wealth before we’ve actually begun sending anyone through. All we need to do is actually set the metaphorical ball rolling. We need to find new-arrivals with no prior knowledge of our earlier time travelling problems.”

“Yeah.” Cushions replied as she let her gaze wander past Hunting. “People who aren’t scared of visiting the past and run the risk of getting stuck there. And I think I know the very people.”

AND

Naturally Mincey had one thought on her mind: a means of generating income. And she waited until the RoboSecGua had fallen far astern of them before bringing up the subject. It was a wise decision to distance herself from the security robot, because at that moment the star-struck RoboSecGua was in the act of encountering a stray plugmutt. “Hello, little fellow.” It said in its best friendly tone, which wasn’t very friendly at all because its voice box was a low-grade type and could only produce a nasty, tinny monotone. “What is your name and what are you doing out here on your own?”

Plugmutts, in general, possess a limited vocabulary and this one was no exception: “Heathrow.” It replied. “Heathrow out here – look for you.”

This reply surprised the RoboSecGua; plugmutts seldom sought out officers of the law. “I am surprised by your reply.” It said. “Plugmutts seldom seek out devices such as I. Why?”

“Beige female earplug.” Heathrow answered. “She bad news. She Sir Dodger’s estranged daughter. She no like famous movie stars. She jealous as heck. She want something. No trust her.”

This worried the RoboSecGua more than it cared to admit. “Flipping heck!” It exclaimed. “I hate to think what she might be doing to the wondrous Sir Dodger – as we speak!”

Well what Mincey was doing was not enjoying a guided tour, which included the amazing spectacles that were so powerful that they could see all the way around the world and up the viewers trouser leg.

“By the Saint of All Earplugs.” Mincey squealed. “I had no idea my buttocks were so dimpled!”

But she felt more secure in her emotional state when they took a stroll towards the Future Alps Exhibit. So it was then that she chose to drop her verbal bombshell: “Dad.” She began, “You know that you’re a museum curator and all that? Well, I was wondering…what with you being really old and stuff…might it be possible that you retire, or die or something, and give the job to me? I’ve got plans for this place; and I think that I’d do a much better job than that toothy git, Cushions Smethwyke. What do you think, Dad? Good idea or what?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the The Time Tamperer vol 1 cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file. By the way, in addition, and also – you can access all the Earplug Adventure files (including Vol 2 of this exciting tome) on the sidebar by clicking the cover images.

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 7)

Like Rudi, Chester wasn’t having much fun either. He kept walking through doors…

…only to find himself somewhere else completely…

And he was getting fed up with the mauve ambiance too.

As he made his way through some more modern-looking sections in the maintenance section of the exhibit, Rudi felt much the same way…

Whereas Valentine had decided to stop ‘fighting the power, man’, and began to enjoy the adventure as best he could…

Even Miles had to agree that the architecture was quite imposing and not a little attractive and pleasing to the eye. But Chester just wanted to go home.

Rudi, of course, continued to explore…

He had convinced himself that if he looked long and hard enough he would find his way out. And on the occasions that he discovered modern signage…

…his spirits soared at the sight of near-normality. But when he discovered a high cliff that looked down upon a deep lake…

…doubt made its presence felt.

“Ooh-ur,” he said quietly, “I don’t like the look of that. That is not cool, man.”

And big holes with detritus at the bottom didn’t do his psyche much good either…

“There’s something screwy going on.” He said to no one but himself. “Someone is taking Rudi Earplug for a fool. Well sod you: I’m not playing your game.”

With that thought in mind he marched resolutely to the entrance of a worryingly dark cave…

Without a moment’s hesitation, he plunged inside…

“I’m not gonna let this shake me up.” He told himself. Then he thought back to what Yu-Wah and Wah-Hey had said last. “Though a toilet might be nice.” He said. “Yeah, definitely a toilet: with tissue and a hand basin. That’d be very nice.”

But when he emerged into a vast cavern, filled with lava, he thought he’d lost his mind…

He couldn’t help smiling at the situation: it was far beyond anything he’d experienced before. He just hoped that one day he might have grandchildren to tell about this weirdo day.

By either chance or design, Magnuss now discovered that he had travelled to a similar area. Certainly the light thrown by the magma easily illuminated the cavern through which he walked nervously…

Then, as he deliberately moved in another direction entirely, he chanced upon a mottled green-coloured floor, and he wondered if it might be the shape-shifting Susan – dissolute and spread all over the place. He would have conjectured further, but a strange light caught his attention…

But as he turned to regard it, it changed – into a ghastly apparition…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplugs Without Pictures 12

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this tremendous tale…

So to it. Here it is…

It was later in the day, with a plunging ambient temperature, that Dawlish decided to place his new hat upon his head and start a fire in a handy brazier. He’d fully expected the fire to keep him warm. What he didn’t expect was for the flickering flame to speak.

“I am the Flame of Knowledge.” The Brazier spoke with a surprisingly pleasant contralto. “Whoever wears the wizard hat is welcome to access my data.”

“Oh, good.” Dawlish said. “Um, give me a pocket history of this planet.”

“Once there were small furry things that scurried along predetermined paths.” The Brazier began. “They continued to scurry along predetermined paths for millions of years. In fact these predetermined paths became worn so deep that very often the braver small furry things became adept at running along the steep sides without slowing down or falling off. Then, one day, hundreds of thousands of years ago, earplugs that had evolved in the sea waded ashore and began to live upon the land. They evolved rapidly – quickly shedding their nasty gills and horrible webbed feet, and began eating the small furry things, until they became extinct. Eventually the earplugs created a wonderful city. Then, not long ago, something with vast power removed them. Took them all away. Relocated them somewhere else, I guess. Don’t know what it was; but the earplugs were powerless against it. But the city’s still there: wanna see it?”

The Brazier then indicated the direction that Dawlish should follow. “It’s over thattaway. Or maybe slightly thattaway. Off you go. Good luck.”

“Um, thank you.” A surprised Dawlish managed. “I’ll fetch my sister. Maybe there’ll be a working shower there. This is a strange planet: if you don’t mind, I’ll probably be calling upon your services again.”

So, by following the course indicated by the Flame of Knowledge, Dawlish and Dorkan soon stood together upon a barren plain. In the distance the towers of a magnificent city stood proud against an afternoon sky. For the Deathwishes the question of whether to visit it, or not, was clearly a no-brainer.

“Have you got your hiking boots on?” Dawlish asked.

“Ah, that would be an affirmative.” Dorkan replied. “What about your jogging pants?”

“Yep.” Dawlish answered. “With my vest nicely tucked into it. Right then; let’s go.”

AND

Everyone looked at the view screen, which showed open space – and safety.

“You know we can’t flee.” Magnuss said. “We’re here for a reason. Below us is the planet that houses the Galactic Court of Justice, which, currently, is in the clutches of a deranged god. Only this ship and its crew stand between freedom and galactic chaos.”

“Well said, Magnuss. Most rousing and all that.” Captain Hydious Gout spoke into the following silence. “Okay, you’ve convinced me. Helmsplug: light her up.”

A moment later the Chi-Z-Sox began blasting towards the planet. Very soon the forward screen displayed strange rock formations on the planet’s surface.

Magnuss thought back to the last earplug encounter with the Court of Galactic Justice, when one Throgennis Frote had been abducted and held accountable for the behaviour of all Earplugdom. With help he had convinced the court that earplugs should continue to exist; and in doing so had made the Supreme Being understand that earplugs were really quite nice – even if they weren’t all the time.

“So,” Magnuss asked himself, “what has made S B change his ways? Why has he gone all wonky?”

Of course he received no reply. But, as he was about to shrug his shoulders, this happened…

“I don’t know who you are.” The Wonky Supreme Being growled through the view screen. “But if you’ve got half a silicone brain between the lot of you, you’ll sod off now, while you still can.”

This threat might, or might not, have influenced the Chi-Z-Sox’s captain, but it was way too late to reverse direction, because the ship had already begun entry into the planet’s atmosphere. And it was getting so hot inside the ship that no one noticed that the Wonky Supreme Being hadn’t stopped making terrifying threats, which concluded with: “And your tender rubberized botties will feel sore until the end of time!”

Then it was time for the boys to act. In a perfect moment of impetuous timing, Magnuss had them relocated to the planet’s surface via matter transmission. And as they made their way towards the Galactic Court, Magnuss couldn’t help looking back at the alien panorama and wondered if he would ever see Earth and the Museum of Future Technology again.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the The Grand Tour vol 2 cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file. By the way, in addition, and also – you can access all the Earplug Adventure files (including Vol 1 of this exciting tome) on the sidebar by clicking the cover images.

Earplugs Without Pictures 10

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this rumbustious tale…

Throgennis could not have imagined that he would ever have travelled to the Over-Realm. In fact he’d never heard of it. So he had no idea that he now stood upon a planet so distant from Earth; the Museum of Future Technology; and Lemon Stone, that it might easily have been infinitely far away. But he did know one thing with utter certainty: that he wasn’t happy. And he wasn’t frightened of letting people know. It was on his third outrageous bellow of anger and frustration that a huge apparition became apparent to him.

“Cripes.” He said when he spotted it. “That looks a bit scary: I’d better watch my tongue.”

“You,” the apparition boomed so loudly that Throgennis felt certain plaster would flake from the invisibly distant ceiling and tumble down to settle upon his shoulders, “are of the species Earplug.”

It was a statement. Throgennis realised this when the image of an incredibly average earplug glowed warmly beneath a spotlight.

“As such,” the vast being continued, “you are a proverbial pain in the ass. All earplugs are. In fact earplugs are such a galactic nuisance that we higher life-forms have decided that you might have to be made extinct.”

This last line gained Throgennis’s attention like no line before – even ones such as: “Look out, it’s a naked biker gang!”, “My mum’s farts are louder than your mum’s.” and “Your lavatory is unsavoury and has been condemned!”

“Yeah?” He responded insolently.

“Yeah.” The vast being replied. “Like they’ll cease to be – everywhere – forever!”

Throgennis hadn’t got where he was in life by missing inferences. He said: “I sense a ‘but’ looming.”

“I’m sure  you do.” The vast being’s voice almost smiled. “But you, and your kind can survive this. You need only be found ‘not guilty‘.”

Throgennis looked up.

“Which can mean only one thing.” He said grimly. “We stand accused of being galactic butt-wipes. And I have to answer for our crimes. Okay, bring it on. Do your worse. I’m wearing my lucky underpants today.”

“Very well,” the vast being replied, “let proceedings…er…proceed.”

AND

At the controls of the K T Woo, Hakking Chestikov sat indecisively and stared at the main viewer. But little did he know that Bottoms Barkingwell, whose tasks demanded that she work within the bowels of the huge vessel, and required rubber gloves and a large lavatory brush to complete to a satisfactory standard, spotted something that made her smile. And that something was none other than Captain Sinclair Brooch and his wife, Nancy as they scurried along on their way towards the cabin, in which resided the Cyber Oracle. So, after bringing the electronic fountain of knowledge up to date, Nancy said: “Oh Oracle, what the sodding hell are we supposed to do?”

In reply, the shocked Cyber Oracle said, “Flipping heck; that’s the most difficult question that I’ve ever been asked. It’s going to tax me to the very limits of my design parameters – perhaps beyond them. In fact so far beyond my design parameters is this question taxing me that it’s quite possible I might either make the final evolutionary step and thereby gain true artificial sentience; or I might explode.”

“We don’t have time for this nonsense.” Sinclair snapped. “Pull yourself together: you’re the most advanced computer that ever existed on our doomed world, so aptly named, by an Earplug Brother, as Worstworld. Give me the blinking answer!”

Under such pressure, the logic circuits inside the Cyber Oracle shifted into overdrive. Three seconds later the response came:

“Yeah, I think I got it. The answer is…”

Well the next anyone saw of the Captain and his wife was scant moments later, and they would never have guessed that anything was wrong aboard ship. In fact those who witnessed their passing took great comfort from their leader’s contented smile. And, if they’d seen him stop off at an internal communication panel they might have wondered who he was calling up in such a genial manner in the midst of such a terrible crisis in orbit above the Galactic Court planet.

It was Adam Binsmell (at Coms) that took the call. Adam listened intently for several seconds, before turning to the latest occupant of the Captain’s chair – Daisy Pong.

Daisy looked across at Adam. She had only just arrived at her duty station, and the replacement Helmsplug and Executive Officer were yet to arrive.

“Yeah?” She spoke bluntly and used only mono-syllables. “What you want?”

Being a talented Communication Officer, Adam relayed the Captain’s message word for word and nuance for nuance.

“Oh.” Daisy responded,”That good – innit!”

Daisy Pong’s speech pattern was abrupt; missing those joiny-uppy words that most people use; and often abrasive: but on this occasion she was utterly correct. It was good. It was very good. It was so good that Sinclair and Nancy didn’t bother to do or say anything more on the subject. Instead they simply held hands and stared at the cosmos through their favourite window on Deck Three.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the We Stand Accused cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Earplugs without Pictures 8

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this stupendous tale…

Click the cover pic for a FREE PDF file of the book

But before he completed the journey, the same force that had abducted Colin and Plankton, turned him into a side conduit, which was very long indeed, and only when he reached the extreme limit of the conduit, did he finally emerge into daylight…only to discover Gwen, Neezup, and Bob waiting for him in an area of mountainous wasteland.

“Hi, darling.” Gwen said. “What a relief: you’ve been possessed too!”

 At first the foursome were happy to wade through the peat and lichens of the wasteland, even if the squeeze, through the long conduit, did cause Cuthbert to become a little windy. But before long tiredness and boredom set in, and despite being under some form of mental control, they began to get a bit fed up. In fact Cuthbert and Neezup became so bored that they began singing extracts from an operetta, which didn’t please Gwen too much because she was more into classic soul/funk fusion. But Bob didn’t care: in his haste to comply with the demands put upon him by the unseen power that pulled him along, he’d forgotten to replace the batteries in his hearing aids, and so couldn’t hear a bloody thing. But he was almost thrilled when, eventually, they too discovered the secret wharf, and a nice sailing raft.

“Everybody blow really hard.” Neezup instructed the others. “We have to fill the sail with air.”

So they did, but by the time they had gained the open sea, night had fallen, and a squall had blown in from the north.

For Colin and Plankton ahead of them, the squall was quickly escalating into a storm.

“Flipping heck.” Plankton yelled above the roar of turbulent waters and lashing rain. “My underpants are soaked!”

“That’s nothing.” Colin replied. “My farts have dried up: we’re dead in the water!”

And it was in this moribund condition that the others caught up with the two friends.

“Isn’t it horrible!” Gwen shouted across the gap between the two vessels.

“It certainly is, Madam.” Colin replied hoarsely. “More horrible than you can imagine. My friend Plankton and I have been vomiting hugely for the past three hours. We have nothing left inside us, yet still we feel absolutely ghastly.”

“You think that’s bad.”  Neezup retorted. “This heavy swell forced my darling Bob to stumble and catch his knee against the mast. It’s all swollen up now.”

“Yes.” Cuthbert perked up from feeling rather unwell himself. “And the lovely Gwen slipped upon a length of storm-tossed seaweed and fell upon her arse. She’ll be pulling splinters from her shapely buttocks for hours to come!”

And so the conversation continued, whilst the rafts were buffeted hither and thither – their destination lost in the whorl of dark skies and unquenchable seas.

AND

Slomo should have been hurt by Daffney’s vicious usage of the earplug language. Mortified, even. But, because of her nervousness at meeting the unrequited love of her life, she didn’t hear her cruel words.

“Daffney De Mauritania, it’s me; your biggest fan: Slomo Chewings.” She said through her idiosyncratic lopsided smile. “I’ve disconnected the alarm system, so you can take your friends wherever you want.”

“Why would you do that?” Magnuss inquired.

“Because…” Slomo answered hesitantly. “Because, during my time here I feel I’ve come to know Daffney – if only from a distance. And, I’m not sorry to say, I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with her.”

Daffney coloured instantly.

“You’re in there, Daffney.” Magnuss joked.

“All I ask,” Slomo continued, whilst looking directly at the flushing Daffney, “is that when – whatever this is – is over, you allow me to buy you a coffee from the machine in the canteen and maybe chat awhile. Any subject: motorcycles, turnips, bras. Anything.”

“You’re on.” Hair-Trigger replied upon Daffney’s behalf. “Now keep an eye out for us whilst we visit the Sterile Area mutants. You’re now officially our look-out.”

From that moment on Daffney had been practically useless. So taken with her adoring admirer was she that she simply couldn’t think coherently. ‘She’s so cute.’ She would muse to herself. “And that lopsided smile is so endearing. And to think; she thinks I’m wonderful. Pretty, even. Oh, I’m all of a dither; I don’t know what to do!’ She didn’t either. It was pure instinct, muscle memory, and a few kicks up the arse that allowed her to lead Magnuss and Hair-Trigger back to the Sterile Area.

Naturally the two heroes left her at the door and proceeded to the habitat area alone.

It became quickly apparent that they had arrived during a sleep sequence. Speed was of the essence, so Hair-Trigger didn’t waste a moment. She began singing her favourite extract from an opera by Anton Twerp, very loudly indeed. The effect of this was a mob of mutated beings came barrelling out of their slumber pods – wondering what all the bloody racket was about.

“Line up.” Magnuss commanded them. “Come along, hurry, hurry. Line up. Line up. That’s a good band of…er… mutated anomalies. We have something very important to tell you. So perhaps we should consider telling each other our names. That’s always been a relatively good ice-breaker. I’m Magnuss Earplug. My beautiful partner, here, is Hair-Trigger Provost. She’s a bounty hunter, you know. Have you ever heard of a bounty hunter? They’re very good you know.”

Magnuss realised pretty quickly that he was running off at the mouth. So he slowed both his thought processes and his oral muscles. “Hello.” He said to a red-faced female with strange yellow eyes. “What’s your name?”

“Starry Knight.” The reply came in a pleasant contralto that reminded Magnuss of his grandmother – Granny Windbag.

“Most apt.” Magnuss said, almost condescendingly. ‘Cripes, at this rate,’ he thought, ‘this is going to take hours.’ “What about everybody else?” He asked no one in particular.

And so began an exchange of names.

The first to speak was a severely undersized rubber bung, who introduced himself as Cowpat Carlson. “Yeah,” he next said, “I used to be big and strong, but incredibly thick in the head. Now I’m tiny, but an intellectual giant. Ask me anything: I’ll give you an honest and immediate answer.”

“Can you tie your shoe laces?” Hair-Trigger inquired.

“Sorry.” Cowpat replied with a sigh. “We haven’t reached that level of development yet. But when I do…wow, my fingers will become a blur.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Mutant Island cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.