Onwards and Upwards
As I felt the ship start to move slowly upward, I watched my Rubanon companion as he busied himself again, this time at multiple console screens. He was alternately tapping away at and then staring for a few moments at one screen or the other, presumably as the results of his tappings were displayed. Though a robot, to all intents and purposes, due to clever body sculpting, Cat looked like an ordinary domestic cat. However, unlike the genuinely ordinary moggie, Cat has really serious airs and graces and conducts himself as though he were the Crown Prince of the Universe. As a consequence he really was the most annoying of companions, frequently doing things without telling me and never fully explaining what was going on from one minute to the next. He was supposed to be my assistant and bodyguard but often it felt as though I was the servant and he was the master. You see, being an Intergalactic tax inspector was not the most popular of vocations and many an inspector like me had found this out the hard way through a variety of means, including painful death. So Cat was there primarily to support me with facts and figures but also to ensure that clients behaved themselves and that I returned to Earth in as few pieces as possible. As mentioned, he has a Rubanon outer skin which makes him pretty indestructible, though a T. Rex nearly bit him in half once. Now that’s a story – and of course, once again, I can tell you, I saved his bacon on that mission.
And me? Well, as I’ve indicated I am an Intergalactic Tax Inspector (an ITI). Wow, and what a job. I would never have dreamed of a job like this when I graduated from my local Learning World at the age of 27 with 137 digital badges covering topics from languages, alien lifeforms, history, lasers in society, through to communication skills, martial arts, and mathsomics. I was fully expecting to drift from homework to homework earning variable sums of credit. How lucky I was to be recommended by one of my old tutors (who obviously realised how talented I was) for a government-sponsored fast-track civil service programme. Fully expecting to become a government official, proofreading and air publishing new galaxy laws, I managed to get on the wrong hoverbus outside the new trainee transit station and the next thing I knew someone was taking my arithmetic capabilities to a new level and telling me that I was going to become an ITI.
So here I am, several years later earning a good salary, traveling the galaxy with my trusty (ha ha) companion Cat, checking out the tax affairs of individuals and major corporations across many globes. Despite all of our constant bickering, we had been on many missions together now and had become known for dealing with complex tax investigations. Over the years these investigations increasingly had less to do with tax and more to do with saving the Earth from one dastardly alien plot or another. Of course, he (Cat) would have many believe that much of my success was down to him. But I knew better. I had lost count of the number of times I had pulled his furry tail out of the fire. We sometimes would undertake missions on good old Earth, in between our space travels, and here again, all of my skills and staggering capabilities came forth to ensure I succeeded, helping to make Cat look vaguely useful in the process. Cat acknowledged my skills, only recently telling me that my capabilities rivaled the most intelligent amoeba he’d ever studied. Cat was currently writing up the thesis for his 15th Doctorate degree!!. Boy, what a know-all!!
To be continued….