The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act I

Landing on Siluria

This mission was supposed to be totally routine. That’s what they’d told me at mission control. No slavering Mud Lizards to worry about, no time vaults, no extermatrons, all very straightforward. Well, I can tell you, as our little ship plummeted through the lower clouds on Siluria at breakneck speed, everything felt very much ‘not routine’. I held tightly to the arms of my chair and involuntarily squeezed my upper thighs together, as the urge to set loose my bladder grew with the feeling that very soon, at this speed, we would smack into some very hard ground.

I looked across at my AI, Cat, the Rubanon encased robot who had been my companion on long-haul tax investigations now for several years. To say he was fighting the controls on the flight deck would be a bit of an overstatement as on lightships in 2225, there were only screens to tap away at when piloting. However, it would not be an understatement to say he was tapping away quite furiously with both front paws at the pilot’s control screen in front of him. I couldn’t really at that moment think of anything else to say other than,

“Are we going to crash?”

Cat glanced across at me and said “Yep. Think so.”

My lower jaw and lip scrunched up into my top lip as I squeaked out “Nothing you can do?”

“Nope. Don’t think so,” said Cat.

“Oh that’s just great,” I whined. “Nothing you can do. Well that’s ok for you being made of totally indestructible Rubanon isn’t it? I mean I’m a human right. I’m going to wind up like a jigsaw puzzle for the crash investigators. The worst thing that’s likely to happen to you is that you’ll bounce about for a while after we smack into the ground. Just typical!!”

“Don’t collapse into total cowardice just yet,” said Cat, “I may not be able to stop us crashing but I think I’m going to be able to make the landing effectively soft enough for your scrawny body to survive.”

“Seriously?” I responded as I pulled myself up slightly in my chair before lurching uncontrollably forward with great force, as the ship impacted. I lurched back and then forward and then back again several times as the ship gradually juddered to a slowish downward motion until I was finally able to sit relatively still and upright in my seat. Unfortunately, my focus on the impact, allied to the valiant attempt my upper body had made to stop itself from being shaken about like a mountain in an earthquake, had led to me losing concentration on keeping my bladder under control, with inevitable consequences. I felt the warmth inside my pants spreading and, as the damp patch became obvious at the front of my khaki coloured tunic bottoms, I really wished I hadn’t had that large glass of Baffleberry juice just before our descent started. Especially because it tasted of onions.

As Cat spotted my expanding damp patch he exclaimed “Eeeyuck. Can you not control yourself?”.

“Well I have to some extent,” I said, “My bowels have so far stayed relatively still.”

At that Cat rolled his eyes and said: “Right, we’ll head up now.”

“Up where?” I responded.

“To the surface,” said Cat, “The only way I could see to slow us was by landing in the ocean” he continued. “Now we need to head up, but slowly. Whilst we are ascending I will try to work out what happened to the ship. Lightships don’t just fail like this. It’s very puzzling.”

To be continued………

The Mosquito Virus

In 2175 humans were devastated by the Mosquito virus, a contaminant from outer space. Serendipitously, scientists at Clone-a-Cat discovered that a transposon in the DNA of a genetically engineered cat called Azz-Lex, could neutralise the Amora virus. Implantation of the ‘Azz-Lex transposon’ became the miracle cure that saved humankind.

Treatment did, however, lead to people who periodically chewed grass and vomited or needed to squat on sand to pee. Absolutely everyone wanted to be waited on hand and foot, eat or sleep, so nothing ever got done.

It was much better than dying unless of course, you were a dog.

The Azz-Lex Transposon

After the first major space battle between Earth and the Mud Lizards around 2170, the so-called ‘Mosquito virus’ started to devastate the population of our planet. Essentially a biological weapon, despatched to Earth by the Mud Lizards from Plasmolidium, our foremost research laboratories could find no cure.

cat

It was only after the intervention of the leader of the GoGLES, Azz-Lex, that Earth was saved. This talking cat from Planet X turned up at the home of the owner of ClonaCat, Tjoorbaert Morabitz and injected him with both the Mosquito virus and the so-called Azz-Lex transposon to prove the cure to Tjoorbaert.

The Azz-Lex transposon, a small piece of DNA within Azz-Lex’s DNA, was able to hybridise with the Mosquito virus DNA within the human genome to render the Mosquito virus harmless.

You can read about the Azz-Lex transposon in the Inspector and Cat adventure ‘The Zygote Crystal‘.

Eliahu and Yawtu

Eliahu looked at his partner Yawtu and said,

“Seven years we’ve been stranded on this planet and you never learn. We’re supposed to maintain our human form and blend in. Not eat them.”

“But Darling,” said Yawtu, “you said he was a dangerous star striker. I thought that meant he must be a starfighter pilot and that you’d be pleased that I tracked him down and ate him.”

“Pleased!!” exclaimed Eliahu, “of course I’m not pleased. It’s the World Cup for goodness sake and he’s the star striker for the team I drew in the lottery at work.”

“Oh,” said Yawtu, “What World Cup would that be?”

Eliahu sighed heavily and said to Yawtu, “You really have to start integrating my dear, otherwise Earth’s security forces will eventually start to suspect.”

The Bees Knees

In recent decades, hornet-like insects that were first brought to Earth inadvertently from Siluria on imported rugs, have been progressively devastating the bee population on Earth. This has had inevitable consequences on key crop production as all attempts to control the problem with pesticides have failed.

A new growth company, BusiNeeds has come up with a solution. Artificial bees. The so-called ‘Buzzar’ is an AI or mini-robot that works just like a bee, landing on flowers and leaving with pollen sacs attached to its mini robotic legs.

The Buzzar not only works like a bee but looks enough like a bee to fool the Silurian hornets into attacking them. However, when a hornet takes on a Buzzar it gets more than it bargained for, as the Buzzar’s legs are flexible and strong enough to wrap around the hornet’s body and crush it.

In just completed field trials, not only was crop pollination unaffected by the presence of hornets, but the hornet population declined rapidly, whilst at the same time the natural bee population rose markedly.

Government Lowers Age of Consent

Earth’s Supreme Court has ruled that the age of consent for Cortex’s thought assistant can be lowered to 11. This means that children can start Secondary Learning World with permanent Cortex implants in their brains.

Whilst the Cortex Implants will undoubtedly make the social elements of learning easier and more accessible, parents’ groups have already expressed grave concerns related to the addictive nature of Thought Networking.

Cortex is working on the development of Cortex adult implants that will allow parents to limit the nature and extent of the thoughts that their children can share. As the Director of the international parent support group 4Bear said recently, “It is entirely inappropriate for minors to hold private thoughts about their parents that can then potentially be syndicated across the planet. It is essential that children are limited in terms of the degree of freedom they have to share their thoughts unless these have been appropriately screened.”

Airpods

It was in the late 21st Century when SkyPad first experimented with modular airborne housing. Done at the time as a response to overcrowding in parts of Asia, the early lightweight rectangular living modules were a great success. Despite some early issues associated with waste disposal, once SkyPad adapted processes for such things exploiting technology used by space travelers, this approach to dealing with overpopulated parts of the planet became mainstream.

For years however, all pods were identical rectangular units that could be fitted together to form a floating district. Each unit however could rapidly and selectively be disconnected from the whole for maintenance or refurbishment.

A recent collaboration between SkyPad and Duplo has finally broken the architectural mould for floating districts. People can now purchase living pods in a full range of colours and shapes. This means that not everyone now needs to live in an airpod with regularly shaped rooms. The Psychological Directorate for Healthy Living has applauded this change as a major step towards addressing a range of personality disorders linked to airpod sickness that can be associated with the bland regularity of traditional airpods.