The Silurian Silkworm Affair – The Final Act

Into the Light

As we emerged from underground we were surrounded by what was a mix of Silurians and security guards from Earth. The Silurians were chit-chatting away in their grunt and squeak like way but they seemed to be working with rather than fighting the Earth security personnel, which seemed positive. Cat spoke as we stood in the clearing again and a VanityDroid started to gently clean me up.

“Once I saw the idiot being dragged off I realised that it was likely that the worm he was riding would be heading off to the nest. As I always have a tracker on the buffoon, I knew we could follow, so I alerted Earth security. I also told them the rough coordinates of the nest and sent out a homing signal so they could be here when we emerged. With the evidence of the nest, the actions of the Ambassador and the files that show the genotype of the genetically engineered Silurian silkworms that were to be sent to Earth, we have all that the Silurian authorities need to act.”

At that I noticed the Silurian Ambassador being escorted away by four other Silurian officials.

I still had no idea what Cat was on about so I picked him up by the scruff and marched a few metres away from the rest and said to him “Before I re-boot you all around this forest will you tell me what is going on precisely.” He glared at me, clearly annoyed at the indignity of being scruffed and said “I told you just a short while ago if you bothered to read the Inspectorate’s airmemo’s properly you would know. The Silurian Ambassador is in league with the Mud Lizards on Amora. He hatched, together with the Mud Lizards, a plan to flood the Silurian rug market over time with silkworms that at the flick of a genetic switch would grow into monsters on Earth and terrorise the planet. In exchange, the Mud Lizards would ensure he would become King of Siluria. Earth intelligence picked up information about this plot early last year. Our job was, on the pretext of discussing a new tax framework, to find clear evidence to convince the friendly Silurian King of his most trusted aide’s treachery. The Ambassador trying to cook you plus you accidentally finding the worm’s nest is all the evidence we needed. The Silurian King will now make sure that the Silurian Ambassador is punished and that his work with Mud Lizard genetic engineers is destroyed.” I stared at him in disbelief and just said,

“But I came here to talk about taxes not to become intimate with giant worms!!.”

As I felt my temper rising I caught sight of the Silurian King, with his crown wobbling on the top of his head. I therefore quickly recovered my composure and marched back towards where the King, Joosthava and Krokus were standing and, with Cat hovering at my side, I said,

“Well done everyone for your help in making my plan to apprehend the Silurian Ambassador a success. I could not have saved our two planets without you. Earth and Siluria can now continue together in peace and prosperity.”

Joosthava applauded enthusiastically at my words and cried “Bravo” whilst Cat’s eyes rolled backward as he shook his head and said,

“You crass, moronic twerp.”

I ignored him and took the plaudits. The King looked very pleased, ambled right beside me, squatted and pee’d on my feet and up my legs. Cat roared with what can only be described as maniacal, hissy laughter and managed to say,

“Looks like the King is marking his new territory.”

Joosthava said, “Oh no, dear Inspector, you really are very unlucky at times.”

I looked at her with a kind of ‘smile grimace’ and watched her slowly start to grow taller in front of me, as I started to slowly sink into what was now the King’s toilet.

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act VIII

Rescue Part II

I had fully expected the warmth of the pee in my pants to be a mere passing sensation given that I was just about to travel down the gullet of a mega worm but strangely, the glow of my initial excretion had time to start to feel cold to my brain. In addition, I also now felt very wet all over, from head to toe, not just below the waist. I sank to my knees, opened my eyes and saw bits of worm all over the place. I realised that just at the moment I was to be engorged by the worm, Joosthava, and Krokus Joe had burst in through the short vertical tunnel caused by my passage on the back of the first worm. Krokus had blasted the mega worm about to ingest me with his extermatron.

Worm bits were everywhere and I was covered head to toe in warm worm goo. I managed to stand up, and thick gelatinous bits of worm dragged themselves from the top of my head and stretched down past my chest, some just breaking off and ‘glooping’ to the ground whilst others slid slowly off my face and down my chest, clinging on as though they needed me. Then, Joosthava was in front of me. I was unable to speak really. I had seen my life race before me several times in the last hour, as first, the Ambassador tried to cook me, then I fell into a Silurian toilet before being taken on a very fast ride by a very large worm and being entombed underground.

Although one could argue that it ended well because the mega worm did not manage to devour me, there I was standing in front of Joosthava X Minot, the famous time miner and mutant, dripping in goodness knows what worm fluids and viscera. To say I felt somewhat hard done by as an Intergalactic tax inspector at that moment would be an understatement. Before I could start to cry, however, I remembered that I was supposed to be in charge. After all, I was the Inspector, Cat was my robot, my assistant, as were both Joosthava and Krokus.

I stood tall, despite the remarkable weight of the remaining worm goo clinging to me, and opened my mouth to speak. Sadly, right at that very moment, a largish patch of goo slid down my head in the vicinity of my mouth so all I managed to do initially was suck that into my mouth as I opened it. I coughed, spluttered and spat out as much of it as I could get out, noting that actually, it didn’t taste that bad, before standing tall once again and managing to say

“Well done Joostava and Joe. Well done. Where’s the rubberised tin can?”

Cat hovered into view looked at me and said,

“Oh dear. You are a bit of a mess. We’d better get a VanityDroid on you as soon as we can get out of here.”

I gave him my iciest stare but before I could quietly explain my desire to have him slowly disassembled, Joosthava weighed in with,

“Great work Inspector once again. You’ve found the evidence we need.”

I looked at her and said “Yes” not having the faintest idea what evidence had been found or what it was for.

Meanwhile, we backed our way out of the large cave we were in as Krokus Joe had found a tunnel leading to the surface and leaving seemed a good idea, as multiple shadowy worm figures had started to emerge from the darkness that was only about 5 metres away all around us.

To be continued in the final act next week…….

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act VII

Underground

I realised I could not free myself from the worm’s body, so drew the deepest breath I could just before I disappeared underground. Fortunately, only moments after entering the ground we broke through into an enormous cavern. The worm thudded to the ground and as it did I managed finally to extricate myself from its body and eye stalks. It shot off along the ground away from me thankfully.

As it wriggled and wormed its way along, with myriad legs at the base of its fat round body and its eye stalk thingies sticking up at the top, I gave a long involuntary shudder and stepped back as it raced away from me. Almost instantly I bumped into something quite hard. I then stepped forward very voluntarily and turned around. In front of me were an even more impressive collection of worm legs, waving at my face. They belonged to the bottom of an even fatter worm than the one I’d ridden on. I looked upwards following one pair of legs after another until my eyes were as vertical as they could possibly be without breaking my neck. Now I could see several pairs of eye stalky things,  surrounding a wide open and quite voluminous mouth, staring at me. There were no teeth, which was something of a comfort, though their absence did make me think that being sucked to death would probably be slower and ultimately more painful than being shredded by a sharp set of gnashers.

As the open mouth of the worm plummeted towards me I closed my eyes, thought how I’d always really wanted to be a librarian, and wet myself.

To be continued……

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act VI

Rescue Part I

As I groaned, I looked around me. I could hear lots of whooshing noises and a combination of distinctly Silurian grunts and squeals.

“Well done Joosthava” I heard Cat cry, “Well done!”

Despite my grogginess, I managed to raise my head sufficiently and twist my neck around to see Joosthava, blue hair flailing. I could see two motionless Silurian bodies on the ground and two more were firmly gripped in thick strands of her hair as she flung them up over and around her. Then the two Silurians disappeared from my limited view as she released them from her hair with a ‘velocitous’ flick that sent them flying. I heard a rather loud scrunching, cracking noise and slowly twisted my neck 180 degrees to see the unconscious bodies of the two who had moments before been being whirled around. I couldn’t see the Ambassador but then caught sight of another familiar figure and comrade, Krokus Joe, who was wielding a large extermatron under one arm. We had been rescued I concluded by the other two members of our team, Joosthava X Minot, and Krokus Joe. They must have followed us. Thank goodness they had I thought.

As my still throbbing head returned to the perpendicular, I became aware that the latrine that I was laying on was moving noticeably. Suddenly and right beneath my nose, a single eye-like organ, on the end of a stalk, popped up almost touching my face. My head jerked instinctively as far backward as it could go, as another stalk and then another popped up and collectively started to grip at my face. I tried, despite the aches in most of my body to stand up but then realised that movement was occurring underneath, all along my body. I felt myself rise up a little in the air and then a little more before I realised that the number of eye stalk things had multiplied manifold and I was now almost encased in them. The next thing I knew I’d taken off. Not in a vertical direction but a horizontal one. I shot off at an alarming speed in the direction of a tree before veering off sharply to avoid hitting the tree. As my body veered, more of what was moving me emerged from the ground. It became clear to me that I was astride a very very large worm. As the worm rose further out of the ground so I clung desperately to its round body with both my arms and legs. We traveled past the immediate trees and deeper into the forest. I held on tightly for what seemed like forever but was, in actuality, probably no more than a couple of minutes. Then without warning, the head of the worm, which was actually only about a metre in front of me, rose up and dove at the ground. Its head disappeared into what turned out to be very soft earth, followed by the rest of its body and me.

To be continued……..

Bees and Ants Collaborate to kick AIs Ass

For several years now wardens on Amora, the Mud Lizards’ prison planet, have struggled to contain escapes. The Mud Lizard capability to dig tunnels so quickly has made effective containment difficult. Despite the availability of sophisticated sniffer AI hounds, the average Mud Lizard manages somehow to shield their scent off from the hunting pack.

Now though, biology is finding a solution and fighting back against the less natural robotic solutions offered by computing. BioSolve, a company dedicated to natural options across a range of industries, have engineered the TrackerB. This hybrid bee/ant creature can sniff out Mud Lizard breath from over a mile away. Not only that, the genetically engineered bug has the superior tracking capability of an ant.

In initial trials, Mud Lizard escapees have been recaptured in less than half the time taken by robot AIs. Hailed as a resounding success by BioSolve some observers have suggested that genetic engineering is hardly more natural than the use of robots. BioSolve disagrees, pointing out that over half of Earth’s Grand Council are products of genetic engineering and no one would disagree that politicians are so natural……would they?

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act V

Meeting the Ambassador

A short while later we arrived at the Ambassador’s den. Silurians, and that included their senior officials, didn’t live in houses. Their habitat was the forest and they had ‘dens’. A den was typically a cluster of trees marked with the scent of the Master of the Den (in other words the head honcho had pee’d and smeared excrement all over the trees). The more important you were the more trees you had and the larger was the central clearing within the trees, which was where the Master and his family spent most of the time, lounging in leaf and branch covered hutches.

Though Silurians did not typically cook or suffer from the cold, they would sometimes have an open fire crackling away in the centre of the clearing. The Ambassador’s den had a very large open fire roaring away. Ordinarily that would have been quite cozy. To sit around an open fire, perhaps with a glass of Baffleberry juice in one’s hand, chewing the cud over tax reform. However, as both Cat and I were suspended upside down from a tree branch swinging none too gently back and forth above the roaring flames, the coziness element was somewhat lost in the moment.

I felt the intense heat on the top of my head and could smell decidedly singed hair, as I passed once again the zenith of the arc that Cat and I had traversed many times by now. Underneath us, the Ambassador sat eating from a larger bowl of wiggling insects and periodically looked up at us. The more educated Silurian could speak some English though the Ambassador was using an interpreter to communicate with us.

“So you swine refuse to reveal what you know about our special silkworm exports do you?. We know you are not really here to discuss any new tax frameworks between our two planets. Admit it and tell us how much Earth knows” the interpreter said.

As I swung past and felt searing heat flash up my nose I gasped out words as and when I could given the swinging,

“We don’t……. know anything Ambassador, do…… we Cat? This must ………all be some sort of mistake. We know…….. the Silurian people are…….. so nice and kind – what have we done……. to upset you? For goodness…… sake……. say something Cat. I appreciate…….. you may not be……. feeling the warmth but……. I am.”

More searing heat hit the top of my head and body every 5 or 6 words as we continued to swing, left-right, left-right, left-right over the fire.

“Tell him Cat,” I urged desperately.

“Ahhrrmm, tricky,” said Cat,…… “That no-lie chip you…. insisted be added …….to my motherboard …….at my last service means……… I can’t really say…… we know nothing. Especially……. as we do.”

“HUH!!” I exclaimed, “What……. do you mean….. we don’t know nothing?………. I know nothing. If you know …….something…… then……. for goodness sake….. tell this creature, – Oh, sorry…… Mr Ambassador I mean……..not creature but……. tell the Ambassador…… what we know so I can…… stop being cooked, pleassssee!!!”

Cat replied, as we passed each other on each swing of the ropes holding us, “It won’t matter……. if I tell him what…….. we know. He…… already knows……. what we know. He’ll still…….. cook us. Well, you. I’ll just……. get a bit overheated.”

Somehow I managed to get my next response out in a very ‘jointed’ manner, “You keep saying ‘we know’ you rubberised tin can. I DON’T KNOW!!!!”

Cat’s reply was again disjointed, more so as the arc of the swing had become longer, “I’m sure……you do…..know. There……was an…air-memo…….you…..really should pay……attention…..to them…….you know.”

“ARGGHHHH,” I screamed in return but before I could start to say how I was going to slowly dismantle him when I got out of this mess, I found myself plummeting to the ground.

Fortunately, I didn’t land on the fire but well to the side in a rather damp thick mound of leaves. This was also fortunate in another way as it cushioned the impact of my head, which hit the ground first. On the unfortunate side, as I groaned and lifted my head, the smell told me that I’d landed headfirst in a Silurian latrine.

To be continued…….

What did we do before Droids?

In the 23rd Century, every public place has a full range of artificial intelligences (AIs) or ‘Droids’ that collectively perform a wide range of essential service functions. In some cases (e.g. a public MediDroid) the AI acts as a first line, dealing with minor ailments and sending on or transporting anyone with a serious injury or illness, to the nearest major major medical facility.

The busiest type of Droid in a public space is the SaniDroid. This ‘Jack of All ‘Dirty’ Trades’ effectively deals with anything that might make the average human struggle to hold on to their lunch, (assuming they’ve just eaten lunch). So if anyone throws up in a public space or the lavatories malfunction, a SaniDroid will be there in an instant. Able to clean both the facility, and indeed any individuals who for whatever reason may be less pristine than when they left home, the SaniDroid is pretty indispensable in modern life.

Manufactured, as most Droids are, by the AI-rU consortium, it is estimated that SaniDroid sales and service contracts account for over 75% of this major utility company’s income. AI-rU claim that over 90% of whatever a SaniDroid absorbs is recycled and used in the manufacture of a wide range of consumer products, though their spokesperson was reluctant to reveal which products……..