Tag Archives: literary serials

Climatic Calamity (part 10)

Anyone expecting a well thought out tale that reflects the likely problems that the world will need to deal with in the face of increasingly rapid global climate change must be very disappointed in this very silly tale. Well all I can say to that is…shit, this is an Earplug Adventure: when have I ever taken anything seriously. It’s all a giggle. On with episode ten…

Moments later, after a brief farewell, the would-be saviours of the museum were on their way…

“What are we doing, Erronious?” Hellfire whispered. “Have you taken leave of your senses? Have your pants slipped up the crack between your buttocks?”

“No.” Erronious hissed back through the side of his mouth. “Celestino has a greater gift than he imagines: that snotty-yellow earplug has allowed me to see what I really am. We’re gonna do this, Hell. No more pea farming for us: we’re gonna become bone afide heroes.”

A short while later, having successfully negotiated the red and green tunnels, Erronious and Hellfire found themselves, once more inside the tunnel directly behind the shepherd’s hut…

“There,” Erronious grumbled, “I told you those sky lanterns were rubbish. The top has obviously snapped off under the weight of snow, and now the weather is inside with us. We can’t get to the hut; we’ll have to go out via the broken lantern.”

As a result of this departure, the two chums, now slightly disorientated, stood somewhere above the hut…

“So which direction do we go?” Hellfire asked.

“We need transportation.” Erronious answered. “All the pea farmers would have moved to lower altitude: we’ll find their vehicles down there.”

Fifteen minutes later, and beneath a huge overhang of compacted snow, they discovered a tracked vehicle…

“The keys are in the ignition, Erronious.” Hellfire said from the driving seat. “And the power pack is half full.”

“No good.” Erronious replied. “We’re exposed to the weather on this. Let’s try further down.”

So they did; and they found a small tractor unit outside the pea processing plant: but it presented the same problem…

And it only had one seat. So they tried again…

“Ah, this is better,” Hellfire said with a frozen smile, “An armoured personnel carrier. I’ll drive: you take the command position.”

Once aboard, Erronious wasn’t entirely certain he liked the command position: protection from the wind was minimal. But since he couldn’t drive, he could hardly argue against Hellfire’s logic…

Very quickly they were upon their way…

In his youth, Hellfire had once been conscripted into a rag-tag mercenary army. Driving the armoured personnel carrier came as second nature to him. Through chattering teeth Erronious heard him call from the driver’s seat:

“Do you want me to fire the stubby forward cannon, Erronious? The heat from the barrel might warm you up a bit.”

“No!” Erronious shouted urgently. He then explained his reason: “We can’t see what we’re shooting at in this blizzard. In any case, we’ve started going downhill again.”

The decline to the plain that would take them to the Museum of Future Technology was long and arduous…

Further, once they had attained level ground, they discovered earplugs who had decided to attempt a walk to the assumed safety of either La Ciudad de Droxford, or the museum…

“By the Saint of All Earplugs,” Erronious boomed in the near silence of perpetual snowfall, “are you complete twonks?”

Twonks, or not, the three earplugs were hugely relieved when Hellfire said:

“Get on board. It’s a bit cramped; but it beats standing around out here.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

So, they’re on their way. What a huge task before them. They’re hardly the Earplug Brothers: do you think they have it in them to save the museum? Return for episode 11 to find out.

Surprise Visit (part 15)

It’s hard to believe, I know, but we’re only three and a half chapters from the end of the tale. The good news is – the PDF version is complete and only awaits the completion of the on-line telling of this Earplug Adventure before becoming available for all to read or download, in its entirety, free of charge and utterly gratis. It will look exactly like this…

 

But enough of the future: on with the present…

Meanwhile, the proper leader of Scroton scurried along one of many thoroughfares that radiated, like a spider’s web, through the Museum of Future Technology. As he made good speed for a meeting with the chief curator, Cushions Smethwyke, his retinue followed in his wake…

“You need to be fit.” Walker observed as his eyes took in any number of side passageways and corridors. “It seems that to get anywhere, an inordinate amount of shoe leather must be worn down.”

“Walking is good for you.” Beatrix admonished the military leader of Scroton.

“One could get awfully lost.” The red-faced Julian Prim said between gasps.

“Not really.” Beatrix replied. “One need only ask the museum’s Artificial Intelligence for guidance. If it’s not too busy doing other stuff, it will tell you where you are; where you want to be; and how to get there. How else do you think Nigel knows where he’s going?”

Shortly, having rounded just a couple more junctions, Nigel presented himself and Beatrix to Cushions, who had Cheerful Charlie Chopsticks for company upon her ‘throne’…

“Oh, Golden One,” Cushions gushed obsequiously, “I’m so honoured that it takes every erg of my energy to maintain mental and physical equilibrium and not fall off this huge contraption!

“Hi,” Cheerful Charlie added with a wave over Cushions’ shoulder, “you’ve just missed jelly and cream, sorry. Would you like me to send out for you?”

The behaviour of the two trained, long-term professional curators nonplussed Nigel slightly. “Ah, not for the moment, thank you.” He replied to Cheerful Charlie. To Cushions he said: “Miss Smethwyke, we must discuss the most dreadful situation that currently threatens, not only the Museum of Future Technology and, by extension, my home world; but, ultimately many civilisations across the cosmos.”

It was Cushions’ turn to be taken aback. “Yeah?” She managed. “I thought it was just us who were up Kaka Creek without a paddle.”

“Then Magnuss hasn’t told you?” A mystified Beatrix interjected.

It was time for Cushions to come clean: “He might have.” She answered, “But after the first couple of sentences, I kinda went into panic-denial. What was it, specifically?”

“That the attacking ships are of Scrotonic design.” Nigel answered for his wife. “That they utilise the latest technology to which even I am not privy.”

Cushions’ mouth opened and shut several times before her brain caught up. “You mean,” she was finally able to annunciate, “that we’re being bullied by ethernet cable ends? I can’t believe it. It’s too much for my silicon mind to accept. Surely no cable end would destroy an entire city, just to prove how powerful they were – would they?” 

Nigel dismissed the notion with a careless gesture. “No.” He replied adamantly. “No cable end would ever do that. It runs contrary to all our beliefs. But we must consider the possibility that another race – as adept at manufacturing hi-tech equipment at speed and in volume as we of Scroton – has purloined our designs and now uses them for their own advantage.”

“Oh, good.” Cushions responded. “So what do you want us to do? All our ships are half-way across the Galaxy, doing all that exploration and diplomatic stuff. We can’t call upon them. In any case, if those ships are half as good as you say, our old bangers might get blown to pieces!”

“We ask only one thing of you.” Nigel replied. “By whatever means, you must not allow them to defeat you. You must not surrender. I have ordered a fleet of similar ships built. Ships that fly the right way up, I might add. The first elements will arrive here by the end of the week. The remainder are due at approximately the same time that the aliens return for your answer to their ultimatum.”

“Excellent.” Cheerful Charlie piped up. “We’ll make sure we have plenty of jelly and cream in.”

Nigel ignored the resident buffoon. To Cushions he said: “Is there anything you require in between times?”   

“Power.” Cushions replied. “Energy. Our batteries are depleting too quickly. We have a manually operated charger, but no one has sufficient leg strength or endurance to operate it.”

“Leave it to us.” Beatrix replied.

Five hours later…

“Can you see the power level read-out, Faati?” Fermin asked the Queen of the Pygmies.

“Yes.” Faati snapped back.

“How much longer do we have to keep doing this before the batteries are fully charged?” Fermin inquired.

“Long enough,” Faati answered, “to prove your boast to Walker that you can run and run and run without the need to sit down for an hour afterwards.”

Five hours later…

…the museum’s maintenance crew informed the exhausted cable ends that they could prise themselves off the charging machine and allow themselves to be carried to a hot soapy bath to recover.

However, a minute later, but half way across the Galaxy, Phruten Vedge was on the brink of entering a public lavatory, when Anders Dumbell unceremoniously accosted him…

“Phruten! Phruten!” He yelled and tugged at the biker gang leader’s shoulder epaulettes. “Something unthinkable has happened. Something that, under normal circumstances I would say was impossible on Scroton. But, look at the wall screen over there: the one showing the state-run rolling news channel.”

Phruten did as he was bid…

“Argh,” he yelled, “What am I looking at?”

“A fire-storm.” Anders wailed his reply. “It has destroyed the space ship factory. No one knows how it happened: but the Bingbonger, the Clutterbuck, the Plankton Regis, and another one that doesn’t have a name yet, have all been destroyed!”

“This is terrible.” Phruten yelled at a higher pitch than was normally acceptable for such a tough guy. “I’m so glad I’m standing directly outside a toilet right now!”

But just when both cable ends thought that the situation could not worsen farther, the screen switched to another view…

The voice of a reporter followed immediately. It said:

“Holy carp: did you see that? Two missiles have taken out the lemon curd factory! Oh-no, this is disastrous; they were using the surplus manufacturing capacity of the lemon curd factory to produce the extra vessels for The Golden One’s space fleet! Everything has gone up in smoke. This is the worst day in cable end history. Someone hand me a café Cortado – heavy on the brandy!”

However even this was not the final act of infamy. Another screen displayed the image of the space ship design studio in flames…

“Cripes, Anders,” Phruten spoke in a hushed tone, lest his voice break with sorrow and fear, “arson, obviously. Who is going to tell The Golden One?”

The answer flew daintily to Anders’ lips: “Ena.” He replied.

By the strangest of coincidences, Nigel received the news of his proto-fleet’s destruction at the same moment that he planned to enter the Buggeram Bay’s toilet…

“I’m not sure I can accept that.” He said quietly to Walker. “I don’t have an appropriate response.”

“Give it a few minutes to sink in, Sir.” Bertram Hisscod suggested. “Allow yourself the chance to absorb the information slowly.”

“Yes, thank you, Bertram.” Nigel said gratefully, as he turned to enter the toilet…

…”If I have a really long wee, it’ll give me time to compose myself. I just hope that in my moment of despair I don’t lose control and miss the urinal entirely.”

“Best make it a sit down job then, Sir.” Walker said as he made to follow his leader. “I’m sure Bertram will hustle you up a cup of tea.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

You have to feel sympathy for poor old Nigel: he has to contend with so much. Perhaps he should do as he suggested at the beginning of the adventure. That is quit and go live in a cave. 

Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 6)

We’re on a roll now. There was simply no way to hold back the next episode a moment longer. Welcome to part six.

Chapter 2

Neither occupant of the gloriously blue vessel knew exactly how much time had passed whilst they traversed hyperspace…

They were far too busy being newlyweds. But, eventually they departed the galley, where they had been munching ravenously on chocolate chip cookies, and entered the bridge…

The holographic view screen informed them that they were still racing across the Galaxy at a good pace and that all was tickety boo with the ship’s systems.

As biscuit crumbs tumbled to the deck from Magnuss’ chin, he said: “I know:  let’s stop and take in the view.”

“Yeah,” Hair-Trigger replied enthusiastically, “Let’s be random: let’s just hit the brakes and see what happens.”

So they did…

But when they raced to the observation window they discovered a flaw in Bunk-Bunk Bunsen’s ship design…

The view of a nearby asteroid was clouded by graining on the exterior of the window.

“Guess Bunk-Bunk must have specified the wrong type of material.” Hair-Trigger wagered. “Cosmic dust has eroded the outer surface of the window.”

“Or maybe he forgot to include a deflector shield.” Magnuss suggested.

Hair-Trigger had another explanation. “Perhaps the Scrotonites had to cut corners somewhere and chose a cheaper, less resilient glass.”

Magnuss doubted the idea’s veracity. “No, Scrotonites would never do that. Earplugs might: but not Scrotonites. Well it’s certainly spoiled the view. If I ever meet Bunk-Bunk Bunsen, I’m gonna kick him right up the arse.”

But their spirits lifted somewhat when they discovered a secondary window…

“Oh, I can’t look,” Hair-Trigger squealed as she averted her gaze. “It’s like there’s nothing to separate us from the whole of space, time, and infinity – except those bars, of course. But we could easily slip between them and be lost in the gravity-free vacuum of interstellar space for eternity.”

Magnuss thought that his wife was becoming slightly fanciful, but he said nothing: Hair-Trigger had the key to the biscuit barrel down the back of her knickers, and he didn’t want to annoy her.

Two minutes later they had dropped a level – to the bridge…

A planet loomed large upon the view screen.

“That looks…ur…very turquois,” Magnuss observed.

“Do you think the ship is trying to show us something interesting?” Hair-Trigger both inquired and suggested in one sentence.

Magnuss was certain of it, and moments later the Tankerville Norris assumed a course towards the planet…

…which took it alarmingly close to the local sun…

Had they not discovered the damaged observation window, neither Magnuss nor Hair-Trigger could have cared less about the proximity of a vast stellar furnace on their port bow; but they had, and they grew a little nervous. What else could fail on a ship so new, and that had been assembled from a very large flat-pack in the Museum of Future Technology?

Talking of which…

…Cushions was on her way back to the Curator’s Suite from the executive toilet, when she met with her principal love-interest (if that’s what you could call it) Hunting Provost…

“Oh, Hunting,” she whispered conspiratorially, “I have a confession to make.”

“Do I look like a priest?” He snapped in response.

This surprised Cushions: it was not like Hunting to be waspish. “Oh,” she said, “so you’re worried about them too.”

“Just because I was a lousy husband and allowed Hair-Trigger to divorce me without argument, doesn’t mean that I don’t care for her. Yes, I’m worried that she has gone gallivanting across the galaxy in an untested space ship that was thrown together by a bunch of the museum’s technical staff. What of it?”

Cushions nodded. “Yes, well it’s got me in a bit of a dither too. This morning I completely forgot to reconfigure the security protocols of the Omnipresent Scanner to allow Cheeky McMartin access to it.  I’m ashamed to say, three of the anti-burglar lasers zapped him good and proper…”

“In which case,” Hunting replied sharply, “perhaps you’d better hand the tiller to Winston Gloryhole or Cheerful Charlie Chopsticks: clearly, whilst Magnuss and Hair-Trigger are away, neither of us is fit for command.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

The galley, a biscuit barrel, and some chocolate chip cookies were all mentioned in this episode. They are, as I imagine you’ve guessed, metaphorical. This story may have under-aged readers: so we can’t make any mention of the story’s central characters engaging in matrimonial sexual intercourse – can we!