Distant Land (part 37)

For a moment the brothers simply stood stock still and watched the storm rage beyond the transparent opening in the hull – known, technically at least, as a ‘window’…

“Okay.” Richter said with a shrug of his shoulders. “It’s not an experience I’d care to share either.” And he duly made tracks…

…towards the bulkhead door…

…which opened at his approach…

…and allowed ingress of only a tiny proportion of the bitter cold from outside…

It was several hours later that the brothers finally laid their plans for approaching the museum in relative safety. They decided to ride a low-altitude two-seater sky-cycle, which Richter was to pilot…

But when he read this message upon the dashboard…

…he was struck with the realization that any flight taken during a blizzard aboard the fair weather craft was doomed to failure. So (after cursing the sky-cycle’s designers) instead they…

…thought it best to test the strength of the frozen river, upon which the Gravity Whelk had landed.

“It’s a bit – you know – slushy, isn’t it?” Beaufort half-stated/ half-inquired.

Indeed it was. In fact they both wondered how the ship had remained upright on such structurally unsound footings. But then Beaufort slipped into the icy liquid accidentally and discovered that the river was actually very shallow…

“Hey,” Richter exclaimed. “That’s given me an idea.”

Three minutes later…

…the brothers were riding the ships’ life raft through the semi-frozen waters…

“Are you sure this river will take us to the Museum of Future Technology?” Beaufort asked from the forward passenger seat.

“Indubitably.” Richter replied. “It’s the source of the power generator’s coolant supply. I thought everyone knew that.”

Naturally Richter was entirely correct; and in a short while the flowing slush had carried the life raft to the outer walls of their destination, where they quickly disembarked before it transported them all the way to the distant frozen sea…

“Look.” Richter said with a triumphant squeal. “The emergency back door to the Maintenance Shed!”

And he was right…

“Quick.” Beaufort yelled, as he pushed past and dashed through the deepening snow towards the inviting entrance. “Without thermal underpants on, this weather is playing merry hell with my bladder!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

 

Distant Land (part 29)

Within moments a fire storm swept across the planet’s surface…

Then, to the horror of those watching inside the Museum of Future Technology…

…the ground was torn asunder by planet-wide volcanic action…

Lava bombs were hurled in every direction. They seemed to target solitary buildings with volcanic glee…

…whilst the fire storm engulfed others…

Then a great wind circled the globe like an avenging…er…avenging thing that disliked earplugs with a passion…

…cooling the surface as it did so. This continued for yonks, until almost everything had been either destroyed, severely damaged, or wiped from existence. All except a few lucky conurbations or suchlike, like the Museum of Future Technology, which enjoyed the protection of a vast deflector shield that had kept it safe from harm…

“Cor,” people inside would say, as they crowded to watch catastrophe unfold upon huge TV screens…

…”nasty. Aren’t we lucky to be inside? I’d hate to think what happened to those scientists, who, probably, caused this disaster with their stupid technology. Hopefully they were fried.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

 

 

 

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

The Time Tamperer (part 45)

“Hmmm,” Mincey said as…

…they approached a tall glowing device that stood between two cylindrical control panels, “a Nevertron. I’ve never seen a Nevertron before: what does it do?”

“It’s not a Nevertron.” Piggies snapped – rather tetchilly, or so thought the watching Heathrow. “It’s The Nevertron!”

Mincey didn’t bother to turn around to face the  mustachioed mad-plug who stood behind her. “Why didn’t you say?” She complained. “Your emphasis of the word ‘the’ was completely absent the first time ’round. Does it do something other than glow pleasantly?”

Piggies was on the brink of gnashing his teeth with frustration, when…

…The Nevertron decided to alter the hue of its glow. “There,” he said, “ultraviolet. And what’s more, when it warms up…”

On cue the lighting changed again…

…”that happens. What do you think?” He added, expectantly.

“My dad has a three-bar electric heater in his sitting room. It looks much like this – only smaller.” Mincey answered.

Piggies’ smile fell away…

“Yeah?” He sneered. “But I bet your dad’s electric fire can’t interrupt the flow of time, or twist it backwards on itself so that the beginning of time and the end of all creation exist in the same moment!”

“Um, no.” Mincey replied. “But it means that he doesn’t have to wear his fleecy slippers in the winter.”

“There won’t be any winters – not if I activate the Nevertron!” Piggies roared. “With this device I can control all of time; or bring it to an end!”

Mincey wasn’t sure how she should respond. “Lummy.” She managed. “Imagine that. What else do you use it for?”

It was a good question. Good enough to calm Mister Du Pong. “Well,” he said in a more measured tone, “it has many uses; but one particularly advantageous use is inter-era communications. For example, when I learned of Tanganika Chunks’ flight in the experimental Dawlish siblings craft, I realised that the Quantum Divergence Drive units could interrupt the workings of the Nevertron, which, incidentally, I originally named the Forevertron, but I couldn’t remember how to spell it – and I was worried that my utter control of time travel might be adversely affected. So I contacted an End Cap pirate vessel in the future and paid its captain to destroy poor Miss Chunks and her brave little craft. It’s a shame, but there you go: she obviously didn’t know dangerous she was.”

Mincey wanted to call Piggies all sorts of names, but she made do with: “I think I’m going to chuck up all over the place: can you tell me the way to the nearest toilet?”

Well if there was one thing that Piggies didn’t want all over his precious Nevertron, it was earplug vomit; so, seconds later…

…Mincey was on her way. Free, for a while at least, from the attentions of the raving mad-plug, she spent the time that it took to reach the perfectly unnecessary lavatory pondering her next action. Whatever it was, it must be decisive: “Piggies DuPong must be stopped.” She told herself.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018