Distant Land (Part 14)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone looked at the stilled scene upon the main viewer…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

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Distant Land (part 10)

A while later the newest recruits were allowed to visit their quarters, where they decided to rest and recover from their frosty exertions. Turning away from the window…

…they retired to bed; and so missed the Brian Talbot’s meeting with a comet…

Unaware that comets possess only a micro-gravity field, the inexperienced crew attempted to land upon it…

But, of course, the thrust of the ship’s landing engines only pushed the comet aside. Naturally tempers were lost and some well-aimed proton torpedoes were fired at the comet…

Equally naturally, the insubstantial nature of the spacial anomaly allowed the incandescent balls of energy to pass straight through it unharmed, which really cheesed-off the Captain. So before long…

…everyone got fed up and duly departed.

The ship was well on its way when Folie and Placebo were roused from their slumbers and assigned a task in the Science Lab. Crewplug, Grenville Hill, introduced them to their equipment…

“This is a Radio Anomalyser.” He informed them. “It finds stray radio waves that are anomalous; then it highlights them. Your task – to use a metaphor – is to filter the grain from the chaff. Find something interesting – and Captain Mantequilla promises we’ll investigate it.”

“Sounds good.” Folie replied. “What are you going to do?”

“Me?” Grenville replied. “I’m gonna sit my butt down on that comfy chair over there and catch some shut-eye.”

No one felt compelled to argue, so, whilst Placebo and Folie got to grips with the unfamiliar equipment, he did just that…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

 

 

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Distant Land (part 5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the Observation Dome, Folie and Placebo became concerned…

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

Junior Earplug Adventures: The Grand Tour (part 38)

Horror-stricken, Magnuss and Cilica fled like a pair of loonies…

But, despite the fear that threatened to overwhelm their thought processes, both kept enough wits about them to recognise a door when they saw one…

“Turn the knob! Turn the knob!” Magnuss yelled as he looked around him…

“Or press the button.” He added, slightly more thoughtfully. “Whichever one works better…

…or quickly!”

Then, just as they were about to fall into the zombie/robotic-like cable end’s grasp, the door burst open, and they were suddenly on the other side of it…

“That’s better.” Cilica said above the noise of a hundred fists hammering upon the door. “They’ll never figure out the combination. Not even a simple one like one, two, three, four.”

“Oh-no.” Magnuss wailed…

…”Cable ends have really good ears: and you’ve just told them the combination!”

“Yeah, really.” Cilica scoffed. “They’re automatons: they wouldn’t know a combination lock, from a space dock.”

“You silly anthropologist.” Magnuss roared angrily. “You’re comparing them with earplugs again. Get this into your thick head: they’re not earplugs. They don’t think like earplugs. Now run!”

This final instruction couldn’t have been better timed, because…

…a split second later the cable end horde came bursting through, and both earplugs were pursued into a courtyard… 

…that appeared to be some sort of historic landmark or tourist trap…

“I wonder if they charge an entrance fee?” Cilica gasped as they ran towards the only exit, which (they didn’t know it) led to a…

…maze. “Oh cripes.” Magnuss grumbled. “I don’t do mazes very well. I get all confused and…

…tend to turn the wrong way.”

Which, of course, is exactly what he had done this time too…

And now they were surrounded.

“Surrender.” The cable end horde spoke as one. “Or be destroyed.”

Magnuss sighed; he knew when he was beaten. “Better to surrender now.” He whispered to his colleague. “That way we live to fight another day.”

“Is that another thing that’s different between earplugs and cable ends?” Cilica inquired in her professional capacity…

But Magnuss didn’t answer: he was too busy being led away…into inevitable captivity.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: The Grand Tour (part 36)

As Magnuss and Cilica made their way into a small anteroom…

…they were quite unaware that something had occurred earlier in the day that would prove most significant. As they had travelled from Scroton Prime they had stopped off to smell a canal in dire need of dredging…

It had been full of dangerous red algae and was (what Cilica termed) ‘a bit pongy‘. Little had either of them known (whilst they stood and aromatically assaulted their olfactory senses) that they were being watched…

…by the blue polystyrene blob. And they could never have imagined that the aforementioned blue polystyrene blob would follow them into the desert. Fortunately, for the blue polystyrene blob, it had witnessed Magnuss’ horrific fall into the gully…

…and so avoided the monofibre bridge; taking, instead, to its steep, precipitous sides…

But once this hazard had been successfully negotiated…

…it followed in their every footstep…

But, unlike those it followed, the blue polystyrene blob felt that it, in turn, was being tracked. And the sensation of anticipation made it gag with fear…

…which was a reasonable reaction because it was being tracked – by a fearsome beast, which was a polystyrene-eating monster that roared menacingly as it broke into a charge…

Fortunately for the blue polystyrene blob, it always carried a number of stun grenades in a small bum-bag. Releasing all of them in one fluid movement…

…the blue polystyrene blob blew a huge crater in the desert sand – stranding the stunned creature upon the other side.

So, as the blue polystyrene blob continued upon it’s quest, those it followed had decided to move out of the anteroom…

…and proceed deeper into the facility…

“I’ve never seen anywhere like this on Scroton.” Magnuss informed Cilica. “If it wasn’t so obviously old and well-worn, I’d swear it must have been built recently. What can it be?”

Answers didn’t come quickly…

…as they discovered ramps that led downwards into the sub-strata…

“I don’t think Nigel the Golden One knows anything about this.” Magnuss opined.

“Huh.” Cilica snorted contemptuously. “He’s such a wonderful guy: he’s the world leader; of course he knows about this place. It’s probably a secret nuclear weapon testing facility. It would typical of a primitive, greed-led, secretive, paranoid, culture.”

“Don’t be silly.” Magnuss replied as they arrived at the basement level…

…”they don’t need weapons: they have no enemies – internal or external.”

And just to prove his point he said: “I’ll go over there, on that needlessly narrow ledge, and activate any potential failsafe alarm system.”

And he did, too…

…by breaking wind with such power that it hurt. In response silence reigned supreme…

…as they continued their exploration.

“See?” Magnuss said above the echoes of their footfalls. “No alarms. Have you ever seen a nuclear weapons testing facility that didn’t have alarms against gas attack? No, I thought not.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: The Grand Tour (part 35)

Also meanwhile, and equally distant from Scroton, the real Museum of Future Technology…

…still harboured the four professional wind breakers – former female weightlifters, Mandy and Candy, and their boyfriends, the former zombies, Vic and Bob. Together they strolled across the Woven Expanse…

“Boys.” Mandy announced suddenly and unexpectantly. “Candy and I have grown bored with producing three-dimensional farts, so realistic that…

…they appear to be real and have actual substance. Now we want to do really loud ones.”

“One’s so loud that they create shock waves.” Mandy added. “Real earth-movers.”

“That’s a great idea.” Vic responded. “A new direction could really re-ignite our careers. Let’s get to the arboretum immediately.”

So, a while later, after crossing the Wide Blue Yonder…

…the happy foursome entered the arboretum’s Trouser Cough Zone, (which had been constructed in their names by a grateful management following an attempted invasion from hyperspace that had been thwarted by the quartet’s famous gaseous emissions) and broke wind in the most violent manner possible…

Below them, in the maintenance tunnels, two maintenance workers looked up…

“Uh-oh.” One of them said. “I think it’s time we bought some shares in Vic, Bob, Mandy, and Candy. It sounds like they’re back in business.”

Whilst these happy events unfolded, far away, upon Scroton, Magnuss and Cilica…

…had reached a decision.

“Okay.” Cilica said hesitantly. “You know this planet better than me. We’ll go to the desert village.”

So they did; but to get there they had to cross a rickety rope bridge…

Actually it wasn’t a proper rope bridge, but a futuristic monofibre copy that was incredibly strong. Strong enough to carry an army upon it. But, sadly, it’s builders had set the foundations in sand; and so this happened…

As Cilica screamed incoherently, Magnuss yelled: “Arse; it’s gone all wobbly and it’s falling down!”

But, in the event, the hero of earplugdom was only half-right. Magnuss was the only thing that plunged in a downward direction…

“Ow.” He said. “Now I’m going to have to climb out of this steep-sided gully.”

A while later Magnuss limped along behind Cilica…

“Can’t you walk any faster?” She complained.

“I hurt my knee when I fell from the monofibre bridge.” Magnuss complained in turn.

“And whose fault was that?” She complained further. “You will dilly-dally with primitive cultures with only a rudimentary grasp of sound building practices. You’ve only got yourself to blame.”

Magnuss felt rightly aggrieved at this. He stopped Cilica short…

“I’ll have you know that the cable end society is the every equal of earplug society. In some respects they are our superiors. The whole world is only twenty-something years old, for flip’s sake. And they weren’t created by the Supreme Being either!”

As they climbed to the top of a huge sand dune, this gave Cilica pause for thought…

And, as Scroton’s moon shone brightly upon them, she continued to think well into the night…

Fortunately, by the time they found somewhere interesting, she’d managed to stop thinking…

“This is nice.” She said. “Shall we go inside?”

So they did – by the very first door they found…

And, amazingly, the lights were on.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

A Fanfare, Please, for ‘Fanfare for the Common Hamster’

Way back in the mists of time – that being 2007 – a certain Tooty Nolan wrote a divine magnum opus about a fat female hamster with the talent to pass through walls into alternative realities. Here is a brief extract…

Naturally Rootley, being small and nimble, soon found himself chosen to edge into the obsidian stench of the sewer outlet. As he did so he called out Joan’s name. He tried calling in various tones – from a surprisingly resonant bass, to a shrill soprano that hurt the awaiting Margarita’s ears and made Brother Alfonso’s nose bleed. But in response – save for the constant dripping of foetid water from the curved brick ceiling – all that Rootley’s sensitive ears could detect was silence. So, reaching out with both paws before him, Rootley plunged forward with the abandon normally associated with gay gerbils – and was immediately lost in echoes.

It was so cold inside Freezer Three that Joan’s brain had almost ceased to function. Fortunately she had found the wisdom to clamber inside a large empty cardboard box, thrust her paws between her thighs, and then insert her tail into her rectum before becoming semi-comatose. But even in this state her will to live supplied her ears with sufficient energy to listen for clues to salvation. First one pricked up, quickly followed by the other as Rootley’s muffled voice could be heard calling her name.

‘Hmmm’, she thought, ‘that resonant bass is quite pleasant: But I’m not sure about the soprano: It could shatter ice.’

Then her brain reactivated properly. This was no time for hibernation: Help was on its way.

Rootley was overjoyed to hear Joan calling his name. “This way, Joan,” he called, “Follow my voice.”

He then continued to utter similar inanities until suddenly Joan’s paw materialised from the wall before him. He didn’t see it of course; but in the heat of the moment he’d quite neglected to theorise the potentiality of irregularities within the topography of the different worlds. So naturally it was Rootley’s testicles that Joan’s flaying paw encountered first, and which solicited a yelp of such intensity that it startled her so badly that she lost her grip upon the icy floor inside Freezer Three, and tumbled back into the medieval land of Prannick – and the relative warmth of stale piss.

© Paul Trevor Nolan

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