The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 2.9

Just so Embarrassing

As the Prorex and I completed our turn and reached the perpendicular, our faces briefly bumped together before thankfully her voluminous skirts gave in to gravity and tumbled down over her face. What a relief I thought as her wails became rather pleasantly muffled. However only a few moments later her muffled wails became subsumed by my screams as, having reached the zenith of our turn to the upside down, we rapidly accelerated towards the ceiling of the hoverator.

“CAAAAAAAT,” I yelled, “What’s happening? Get me down. For goodness sake get this lunatic woman off me. CAAAAAAAT, I’M GONNA THROW UP,” I yelled!!!

Cat floated up towards me, totally under control, using his own but in-built hovering capability. As he arrived level with my upside down head he said,

“You screamed Master. How can I assist?”

“Don’t mess around you obnoxious rubberised furball. I know you know what’s going on here. So do something about it NOW!!” I yelled again.

“How do you know I know what’s going on?” enquired Cat.

“Because you always know you irritant,” I hissed.

“Well if you’re going to be rude about it you can jolly well stay stuck to the Prorex for all I care,” responded Cat in a very haughty manner. “It’ll make for a very pretty picture for the office at HQ,” jeered Cat.

At that, he kindly aircast a picture of my circumstances about half a metre beneath the top of my head. I mean I knew I was dangling upside down but seeing the whole picture was something else. There I was hanging, feet to the ceiling, with my long hair tumbling from the top of my head floor-ward. As he panned around I could see the body of the Prorex, appearing almost magically attached to me, in the kind of perfect symmetrical harmony normally associated with stratonasts performing an aerial routine.

The top half of the Prorex, from the waist down to her head, was totally obscured by her voluminous skirts and petticoats. From the waist up to her feet I could see bright orange undergarments, made of some frighteningly shiny material, running all the way to her knees. From where the bloomers ended, spindly legs stuck out ending in ankles covered by blue stripy socks and encased, where ankles ended and feet started, by bright red shoes. The shoes had oversized yellow bows at the toe end. A nice touch I thought as rage started to grow inside me with the realisation that Cat the rat was doubtless aircasting these images back to HQ for a laugh at my expense!

To be continued…….

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 2.8

Up, up and Away

All the time she’d been babbling at me and jabbing I’d been backing away. We’d traveled so far in the ‘jabbing’ direction that we were now on the very edge of the hoverator to the CombatDrome.

All of a sudden I felt a significant pull on the lower back of my legs, essentially from heel to back of knee. I realised then that my my heels had moved onto the hoverator surface but instead of feeling the gentle, encouraging vertical thrust normally associated with a hoverator, I felt my legs disappearing from under me. Something was wrong.

I tried to push my body forward away from the pull but it was strong. On top of that, the now attached Prorex was applying forward pressure on my upper body as she desperately tried to disengage her finger from my compass. Despite my efforts, my heels suddenly lifted up above my ankles as the upper half of my body began to tilt forward towards the Prorex.

Slowly but surely my heels continued to rise into the air, followed by the rest of my body as I effectively rotated the full 180 degrees, despite the anchoring effect of the Prorex attached to my compass chain. The surprisingly graceful movement of my body was followed by the Prorex, as she also slowly turned through 180 degrees . We became, it seemed, two perfectly aligned airdancers of the sort I’d seen at Commster fairs when a child.

To be continued……

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 2.7

The Prorex Makes her Point

Cat slowly shook his head as the Prorex failed to laugh at my joke and proceeded to prod me several times in the chest saying very loudly,

“Are you here to fix the latrines? They keep blocking you know. So very annoying for our visitors. It’s urgent you know,” she ended, with a staccato series of none too painless pointy finger jabs to my upper body.

As I started to say that I was not a sanitary engineer, the Commander stepped forward and gently eased the old dear back a bit saying,

“Ma’am, this is the Inspector. He’s here to be help us with the hole.”

“Well, that’s what I thought,” responded the Prorex, “the latrines are a disgrace. High time someone looked into them. Ruddy awful smell.”

So, my fast thinking brain as ever worked out the situation. This scatty old dear was some ceremonial head of the Old Thames Bridge and obviously they wheeled her out in any moments of crisis. Ceremonial figures always had their place at times like this. She was obviously  a couple of asteroids short of a belt, so I thought I’d better try to explain my role clearly.

“Ma’am,” I began, “I am a tax inspector and I’m here because a hole has apparently appeared in one of your Dromes. I have nothing whatsoever to do with toilets.”

As I spoke, I realised how ridiculous that sounded. If I was tax inspector, why would I be investigating a hole, toilet or otherwise? Oh I guess she might, if she could find her asteroids for a moment, think that I meant a hole in someone’s finances? I guess. However none of that really mattered as, whilst I was musing on why as a tax inspector I kept investigating things other than taxes, the dear old Prorex went for me again. This time with even more ferocious finger jabbing.

“Young man,” she intoned in a quite shaky, aged way, “I don’t like tax inspectors. I don’t like tax and I don’t like paying tax. The Old Thames Bridge already pays too much tax to The Council and we won’t pay a credit more.”

She finger jabbed really rather expertly as she literally spat out each word. And trust me there was quite a bit of spit. By the time she’d finished I was drenched. And my stomach hurt from the jabbing. And then something a little unfortunate happened. On one of her last jabs her finger went right through the small metal ring that attached my Victorian compass to my tunic. Effectively her bony jabbing finger became attached to me, along with the rest of her.

To be continued……..

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 2.6

Meeting the Prorex

We continued walking after we had passed the houses until we reached The Cumulus Circle. This was basically a pedestrian roundabout with hoverators heading off from the centre in 8 different directions. Each hoverator took you to one of the 8 Dromes that served to entertain vistors to the Old Thames Bridge who were not there for the history. A massive sign over the entrance to each hoverater indicated which Drome was the final destination. I started to head straight for the XDrome sign whereupon Cat made a very loud throat clearing noise, before hovering up to be in front of my face and saying,

“Errghh, wrong Drome boss. We want the CombatDrome.”

“Ahghh, well, yes. Of course we do. Ultimately. But I was just thinking that maybe seeing be one of the other Dromes working normally first might be considered sensible. You know, so we will know what we can should be looking for in the CombatDrome.”

“This way moron,” said Cat, pointing with one front paw at the hoverator almost at right angles to the one for the XDrome. “That’s the way to the CombatDrome, which is where we need to go.”

“Alright, alright,” I said indignantly. “Is it absolutely essential to refer to me as ‘moron’ in front of strangers?”

“Yes,” said Cat, “I like to be clear and accurate in such matters.”

Once again I decided that ignoring him was my best option and so with a squinty-eyed glare in his direction I turned my attention back to the Commander. He had been joined by a quite elderly woman who extended a rather shaky arm out towards me. As one of her fingers touched me lightly on my chest she introduced herself as the Prorex of the Old Thames Bridge. I had absolutely no idea what this meant and so simply blinked before smiling and saying,

“Excellent.”

“She’s like a Mayor,” said Cat, apparently trying to be helpful for once.

“I assume you don’t mean ‘horse’,” I guffawed.

To be continued…….

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 2.5

Towards the Hole…..

“Well then there was just a big hole in the Drome. And everyone was gone. I mean, it’s a really deep hole. I’m assuming everyone went down it.”

“Best not to assume Commander. For to assume brings the risk of making an ass of you and me.”

I was just starting to think how pleased I was at this piece of wisdom when Cat chipped in with,

“Not sure making an ass of an ass counts.”

I glared at him through a cleverly disguised ‘sneery’ smile before continuing to lead proceedings by requesting that the Commander take us to the Drome.

“Follow me,” said the Commander.

We marched after the Commander, who went at quite a brisk pace. Well at least I marched. Cat chose to hover. We went to the end of the old bridge, passing myriad market shops and stalls. Each seemed to specialise in one type of product ranging from off-world souvenirs through to bottles of clean energised air. There was even a stall selling used genes, offering support for a range of maladies and cosmetic issues.

At the end of the bridge we turned right and started walking down Atmosphere Avenue which was lined with rather quaint looking dwellings. The Commander paused his somewhat military march momentarily to tell us that these very ‘select’ family homes mimicked so called houses built at the time the Old Bridge had originally straddled the fast flowing Thames River.

To be continued……..

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 2.4

The Story Starts to Unfold

At that, Cat’s guffawing became really really loud. By this time he had then settled in a casual laying pose on the surface of the bridge, near enough for me to place my right foot on his head. As I shifted all my weight to that foot his guffaws turned gradually into a ‘breathy’ kind squeaking. As his rubberised head slowly got flatter and wider, I continued my conversation, this time pleasantly unaccompanied by Cat’s chortling.

“Perhaps also Commander you could explain why some one as important as me is called out to look into a hole. I mean do you not have a municipal RepairDroid in this little Kingdom of yours?”

Finally, as Cat scrabbled with the claws of his back paws on the ground, whilst desperately trying to pull his head from beneath my foot, the Commander started to engage with me saying,

“Well it all started in the CombatDrome Inspector. Everything was just like a standard Saturday night. The Velociraptor duels had just started in the main ring, wild Tigersaurus’s were being broken in Main Ring 1 whilst Main Ring 2 was into a full blown re-enaction of the Battle for the Sea of Tranquility. Then, suddenly, nothing.”

“What do you mean nothing?” I enquired as I lifted my foot from Cat’s head, bored as I was with the whistling noises he was now making.

“Here we go again,” said Cat, the instant his head started to expand to its usual shape, “trying to explain what ‘nothing’ means to a moron.”

I shaped to step on him some more but he’d backed off too far and then the Commander told us,

“Suddenly, there was no noise. All of our security monitors went off line and there was silence. I mean normally we can hear the noise from the CombatDrome through the video air, never mind through our monitors. But one minute everything was roaring, then the next there was nothing.”

“Huh,” I responded, “you see Cat, I am not the only one in the Universe who appreciates the simple concept of nothing!’”

“Simple is the key word here amoebiod,” intoned Cat.

I studiously ignored him and turned my eyes back to the Commander with the question,

“So then what Commander?” I inquired.

To be continued……

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 2.3

Who’s in Charge Here?

Not too long after those words, I’d fallen down a very very very deep hole in the bed of the now almost dried up Old Father Thames. I remember hearing Cat shouting ‘you brainless twerp’ before his voice, even at the volume he was yelling at, faded to nothing as I continued to plummet downward.

When we had climbed out of the hovercar, which Cat had landed on the bascule of the original bridge, we had been met by the Commander of the Bridge District’s security force. He saluted, though I had the distinct impression he was saluting Cat rather than me. I was getting used to and frankly, more and more irritated by this kind of behaviour from people. So I decided to assert myself and take authoritative charge. That was a big mistake.

“So Commander,” I said in the deepest, sternest voice I could muster, “I am the Inspector and in charge of this operation.”

I heard Cat yawn and also thought I heard him say, in between the numerous ‘yawny’ noises, ‘Operation?. Silly ass. Needs an operation to get a partner for his brain cell’.

I ignored what I thought I’d heard, determined to continue in the assertion of my authority.

“If you could please point me in the direction of the hole Commander, I’ll look into it.”

Cat literally guffawed at this and as I realised what I’d said I could feel my face flush as I clarified,

“Well I don’t mean look into the hole as such. Though I might. What I actually mean is look into the situation obviously,” I babbled.

I then collected myself, cleared my throat, stood tall and returned to my deep stern voice which was actually an impersonation, I realised, of RickRock, the star of ‘The Universe Awaits’. This was one of the most popular aircast soaps ever and I was a huge fan of Rick’s. Or at least I had been a big fan. Unfortunately, since his public persona had disgraced itself with a virtual shopping attendant it had been quite hard to openly like Rick. Anyways, in my best ‘Rick’ voice and stature I returned to being in charge saying to the Commander,

“The hole, Commander. The hole. Where is it? I am busy you know. I have other Earth critical missions to attend to.”

To be continued…….