The Time Tamperer (part 52)

To take their troubled minds off any thoughts of temporal destruction, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger tried looking elsewhere for help. But the sight of the brainwashed inhabitants…

…and their blank, dingbat expressions…

…made them quickly realise that they were wasting their time. So they sought out the exiled inhabitants. But all they were doing was…

…panicking and running around like headless chickens.

“By the Saint of All Earplugs…”

…Magnuss wailed. “It’s up to us alone to save eternity!”

Meanwhile, her megalomania now in full control of her higher functions, having received zero positive responses to her transmission; and feeling somewhat aggrieved at being ignored by (what she expected to be) her adoring subjects, Mincey made her way to the Nevertron…

Quickly scanning the user’s manual she approached the control panel…

…and flicked the main switch to ‘Active’…

“Come on, Guys.” She yelled at Rupert Piles’ camera, moments later. “Suck up to me. Tell me how great I am. Treat me in the way I should be treated. I control all of time. With the Nevertron I can make it like you never existed. Any of you. Or all of you!”

Suddenly the watching Magnuss felt awfully sick…

“This is gonna need some drastic action, Hairy.” He said over his shoulder. “We’re going to need a space pilot. Luckily I know exactly where to find one.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

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The Time Tamperer (part 51)

Mincey then sent for her personal TV reporter – the brainwashed Rupert Piles…

Stepping on to the huge balcony…

…Mincey began a speech, which she intended everyone – those brainwashed in the museum; and those sent into exile across the Obsidian Plain – should see and hear. Although it’s quite possible that she wouldn’t have wanted Magnuss and Hair-Trigger in the loop, so-to-speak…

…but she didn’t have much choice.

“My dear, dear subjects.” She began.

Immediately alarm bells began ringing inside the heads of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger…

…as they were both familiar with megalomania. “Oh heck, Hairy.” Magnuss complained. “Why does the Museum of Future Technology always seem to bring out the worst in people? Walk these hallowed corridors for long enough; and before the day is out it’s time to plan for world domination.”

Of course, they weren’t the only viewers who remained compos mentis. The four T.W.I.T operatives, the zombie duo, and the catering triplets, had all gathered around a monitor…

…and were listening to Mincey as her voice grew shriller and shriller whilst she expounded the virtues of her absolute rule: “And nasty dry toilet tissue is outlawed from this moment onwards.” She continued. “Of course anyone who fancied a spot of dissent will be taken out on to the Wide Blue Yonder and have their underpants shoved down their throat. Just thought you ought to know. So, in summation, Piggies DuPong is toast. Remember that. From now on its Hail to Mincey. Okay? Good.”

By chance, the Omnipresent Scanner locked on to their receiver, which pleased Magnuss and Hair-Trigger, because other than Tanganika, they had – so far at least – appeared to be the only earplugs in a position to resist the former actor…

They smiled because now there were potential allies…

They watched as those potential allies turned away from the darkened monitor. Quickly Hair-Trigger spoke into a microphone. In the corridor, those hearing her voice…

…were surprised and sceptical. Especially when Hair-Trigger made the rash promise to whomever was listening that she and Magnuss would bring down ‘that trash-talking rat-bag, Mincey Muir’.

Pixie and Saxon went into an impromptu conference…

“What do you reckon?”  Saxon asked. “It could be a trick.”

“You’re asking me?” Pixie replied. “You who helped murder Piggies Du Pong!”

“I didn’t know it was poison.” Saxon complained. “I just thought he’d poop in his pants or something. But that’s by-the-by: do we respond, or not?”

“By the Saint of All Earplugs.” Magnuss’ disembodied voice boomed. “Switch on your monitor: let’s have a face-to-face.”

Moments later…

“There, that’s better.” Magnuss said as he and Hair-Trigger appeared on-screen. “We’re recent arrivals from the future; we’re not entirely au fait with current events; what information can any of you give us?

Further moments later, having heard every one of the earplug’s responses, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger began to wish they’d never asked the question…

The situation was worse than they’d thought: the Nevertron could destroy everything that had ever, or would ever, exist.

“Urk” Hair-Trigger gurgled.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 47)

But despite her outburst, Mincey couldn’t resist telling her sorry tale of abduction to the two strangers.

“What?”Grimnax exclaimed. “You’re from the future too?” He then enlightened Mincey of the situation concerning the missing tourists and the arrival of the T.W.I.T agents.

“These Twit agents.” Mincey inquired. “Might they have the necessary skills to help me defeat Piggies DuPong?”

Naturally Clux replied: “What the flip do you know of that monster, Piggies Du Pong?”  To which Mincey responded with a complete and unabridged account of her adventure so far. She concluded the display of verbal dexterity and informative body language with the suggestion that they all go in search of allies – namely the Twit operatives – to which the zombies readily agreed…

“After all,” Mincey said, as they set forth, “they say there’s strength in numbers.  And gussets too.”

Fortunately for all concerned, Neville’s search pattern took the four new recruits to one of the many ‘Up’ ramps. By coincidence – or divine intervention – they chose the same ‘Up’ ramp that Mincey and company were currently descending…

Although Chickweed had his doubts, Mincey’s rapidly related tale – ably supported by the Zombies – convinced the agents of Twit that if they were ever to find the missing customers, they would need to deal with the threat of the red earplug with the stupid moustache first…

“Right-oh.” Pixie squeaked nervously, whilst wishing that she’d never allowed herself to be persuaded to join the quasi-military in the first place. “Do you have a plan?”

Mincey didn’t, but she didn’t allow that fact to get in the way of her challenge. “No.” She replied. “But I’ll think of something.”

But she didn’t have to. “In the olden days,” Chickweed Gubbins spoke up, “when kings and queens ruled the land; they were usually brought down by most insidious means.”

“LIke what?” Grimnax demanded.

“Poison, mostly.” Chickweed answered.

At that point in the proceedings Mincey stopped listening; already her mind was leaping backwards to an earlier time in the day. She remembered Piggies’ invitation to a evening meal. She also recalled that he had some chefs to prepare it. “I’ve thought of something.” She said.

Meanwhile, upon a ‘Down’ ramp in another part of the Museum of Future Technology, Hair-Trigger led Magnuss…

…towards their (inspired) final destination. And when they arrived…

…they were very pleased with themselves for having thought of using the Omnipresent Scanner to search through the myriad sections of the huge building…

But, of course, most of it proved to be empty.

“Oh,” Hair-Trigger complained, “what a bummer.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

The Time Tamperer (part 46)

Meanwhile, following their failure to discover the whereabouts of the missing customers, the four members of T.W.I.T had parted company from the two volunteer Zombies and begun their own search pattern that was based upon logic and mathematical calculations.

Pixie wasn’t entirely certain that Neville’s talent with numbers and sums and stuff was all that he claimed it was. She was in the process of saying so to Chickweed, when Jeremy thought he heard something approaching. Without hesitation the foursome…

…stopped and looked back along the way they had just come.

“I don’t like it.” A worried Neville said – his brain still addled by over-use in his mathematical calculations. “Make it go away.”

Her mind sharp as an obsidian razor, Pixie said: “Quick, everybody; let’s hide.”

It was an excellent suggestion; and moments later…

…they huddled together between huge buttresses and attempted to blend in with their environment. And they were successful too, because a few seconds later…

…Piggies Du Pong raced by on his hover scooter.

“Did you see that moustache?” An incredulous Chickweed whispered.

“Ghastly.” Jeremy spat his reply. “If I ever decide to grow one like that, someone take me out the back and administer a lethal injection.”

As Piggies departed the scene at speed, elsewhere, the Zombie duo, Clux and Grimnax…

…searched, using an entirely different system. They merely wandered about, calling out the names of those they had travelled back in time with. They too heard something approaching, but, unable to find a handy hiding place, they stood their ground bravely and quickly tried to think of an excuse for being there. So they were pleasantly surprised to discover that the sound was caused by…

…an earplug riding on the shell of a plugmutt.

“Zombies.” Mincey said acidly, as she drew to a halt. “Terrific: the great un-dead; just what I need to help me save the world – I don’t think!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 44)

But then the night security system detected their presence and sounded a crimson alert…

…which pleased Magnuss because he knew the spoken security code to cancel it. So, a moment later…

…the regular night lighting glowed white and the dashing duo could begin their investigation…

“Come on, Hairy.” Magnuss said through a broad smile. “Let’s go look for some trouble.”

Trouble might have been right around the nearest corner; but the Museum of Future Technology was a truly vast edifice, so, actually, it was miles away…

…introducing Mincey to her guest quarters. “Look,” Piggies said, “you have an asymmetrical window that looks straight out on to a featureless courtyard.”

“Lovely.” Mincey lied. “I’m really into minimalism and unevenness. I like the lack of furniture too.”

And even farther away, a confused Lobbie Lowe had followed Tanganika Chunks’ footprints all the way to the Transfer Conduit Station…

Unfortunately he couldn’t get inside because it was closed for refurbishment.

“Oh well,” he said with the acceptance of inevitability and, perhaps, an element of self-loathing…

…”I didn’t really like her very much anyway: she didn’t like peas and was always wearing that stupid space helmet in the outside toilet.”

It was about right then, deep inside the Museum of Future Technology…

…that Piggies said: “Hey, how’d you like to see my most secret weapon? A weapon so powerful that it almost scares me. A weapon that I invented myself!” And Mincey replied: “Yeah. Okay. Why not?”

So, a while later, deep within the bowels of the museum…

…Piggies led Mincey and Heathrow into an especially hardened, subterranean castle, with a powerful energy field protecting it.

“Mincey,” He said, with pride evident in every syllable, “welcome to the Nevertron!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

The Time Tamperer (part 42)

But Mister Pong found himself hesitant to begin, especially when he noticed the RoboSecGuas lined up – menacingly, he thought – against the Grand Hall’s walls…

“Er,” he prefaced his oratory, “here goes. I, Piggies Du Pong, hereby state that, with a few brainwashed exceptions, whom I require to service my needs, you are all to vacate the Museum of Technology…

…immediately. You will be led across the Obsidian Plain, to a subterranean place of incarceration, which, incidentally, is a re-creation of an equally subterranean Martian village…

…where you will remain until I think of something useful for you to do. Okay – yeah?”

The populace looked at each other…

“Ye Gods.” A particularly ugly sod with bulging yellow eyes and huge sharp incisors exclaimed.” This is outrageous. I’m outraged. In fact I couldn’t be more outraged if I’d attended lessons in outragism at the University of Outrageousness!”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.” His vaguely fish-faced friend replied. “I’m a bit cheesed off too. I once visited the Martian exhibit: I wasn’t impressed: there was no Cafe Puke and the toilets were blocked with cigarette butts.”

Others were no less unimpressed…

Some stared wildly: whilst others gave sidelong looks at their neighbour’s startled out-gassings. But all agreed – including Piggies’ spokesplug…

…Mr Pong – that the situation was really poopy, and that they were powerless to resist…

So, before the hour was out, they were on their way across the bleak, featureless, Great Chalk Plain…

… en route to the Obsidian Plain, in a meandering, serpentine, sore-footed, caravan of misery…

“Move along, you bunch of useless half-wits.” The rear-most RoboSecGua squawked through it’s forward speech grill. “We haven’t got all night, you know!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

The Time Tamperer (part 41)

Meanwhile Piggies had led Mincey on a whistle-stop tour of his temporal edifice; but eventually he paused in a bright shiny place that reminded Mincey of a urine-infused splash pool…

There, he decided to tell Mincey the tale of how he had successfully depopulated the museum. “It was great fun.” He said. “There I was – standing in my newly acquired curator’s penthouse – looking out of the frosted glass lavatory window…

…when I decided to step out on to the balcony…

…and send for my right-hand RoboSecGua – best-known as EvilRoboSecGua…

It, in turn, summoned more operatives of the security force to my, admittedly vast balcony…

Who – yes you guessed it – summoned the rest…

So once every servomechanism was in place, I explained to them what I had done – being the brilliant severance of this era from all other periods in time. Naturally they made the only logical decision open to them: they pledged fealty to me.”

“Flipping heck!” Mincey exclaimed…

“Did you hear that, Heathrow? All the RoboSecGuas sided with Piggies DuPong!”

Heathrow wasn’t particularly worldly-wise; but even a plugmutt could see that the situation wasn’t the best it could possibly be. “Golly.” He responded.

But he said no more because Piggies continued his tale: “I contacted my namesake – an exotic restaurateur named Mister Pong…

…and threatened to have his noodle bar closed down if he didn’t act as my spokesplug to all of the most important people in the museum.”

“Hey,” Mister Pong began reading from a small note that I had handed to him, “Piggies DuPong’s got a message for all you guys and guy-esses. And I’m gonna read it to ya.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018