Terribly Sorry Old Chap
I looked back at the Mudlizard and instinctively threw out an apology.
“Yes of course, terribly sorry old chap. I was actually trying to pay attention to your menace you know. This blasted AI of mine has distracted me somewhat.”
“We tend not to have have such things,” said the Mudlizard, “where we have slaves they are wholly biological and do menial tasks only?”
“Really,” I responded, “I can completely understand that. Makes total sense. I expect you know where you are much better than I do. I rarely know what’s going on from one minute to the next you know. I mean, the authorities say that AIs are effectively our slaves but, I can tell you, my experience is quite different. Most of the time ‘it’ never tells me what’s going on. I have no idea what to expect next and if anyone is calling the ‘shots’ it’s ‘it’ and not me.”
The Mudlizard looked at me with what I imagined was the Mudlizard equivalent of an aghast expression as it replied,
“That’s just just ridiculous. The Mudlizard leadership would not tolerate such behaviour from a slave. Have you considered dismembering it?”
To be continued……..
Well, I call it Farting
I stared at the monster, leaning my upper body as far back from it as my, I mean its, tail would permit me. My eyes darted over the front of the Mudlizard’s body. Where was my willy I wondered? There was nothing obvious externally, though Mudlizards tended to have quite a lot of folds of flesh where their bellies were, so it could be hiding under one of them I thought. I mean mine did the same, especially if the weather was on the cool side and, when of course, it was actually attached to my body.
In a show of bravado I grabbed Cat, who had been hovering around the side of my head, and held him out in front of me. I then said to the Mudlizard,
“I warn you this Cat is armed and dangerous.”
I turned Cat around in my hands and pointed his rear end at the Mudlizard. After lifting his tail I said, “Ok Cat, fire on my command.”
“Ummmm…, Look boss I think the part transformation of your body is making you even more confused that usual. My Father, Cat, used to gaseously expel, and Mudlizards were indeed at one point very susceptible to the hydrogen sulphide in his expellations. However I am a new generation of artificial intelligences. I vent, I do not need to gaseously expel. And anyway, Mudlizards have gotten wise to that particular ‘weapon’ and now routinely take an antidote to protect themselves against hydrogen sulphide, wherever it comes from.”
“You mean fart,” I responded.
“I beg your pardon,” replied Cat in a somewhat offended tone.
“Fart,” I repeated, “your Father Cat used to fart continuously. It was probably the most useful thing he ever did generally, and certainly when we first encountered the Mudlizards.”
“Excuse me,” said Cat rather haughtily, still with his tail up and bottom pointed directly at the Mudlizard,
“my Father, Cat, did not fart. He was quite categorically clear about that. And anyway whether he did or didn’t doesn’t matter. As I just told you hydrogen sulphide has no impact on Mudlizards anymore. It’s useless as a weapon. So going on about it to cover up the fact that your lonely brain cell cannot work out the difference between me, Cat, and my Father, Cat, is a bit pointless. Why not just say ‘I’m really compromised brain neuron-wise and can’t process the fact that there have been two Cat’s in my life, neither of which ever actually farted!!” ended Cat rather too triumphantly for my liking.
To be continued…….
Now a Mudlizard shows up!!
“Look Rubberstein, can I remind you, I’m the one with a tail. I’m the one who’s lost their willy and I’m the one no longer speaking sense. NOT YOU! So don’t pretend you can’t see why I might need to speak with these ethereal ‘will o’ the wisps’ you say you are communicating with.”
“Well,” said Cat once more, “excuse me for wanting accuracy but I do have a tail, I don’t have a willy and I don’t believe you’ve ever talked sense. So, what’s your point?.
Before the rage that had grown within me could truly explode, albeit doubtless in fluent Mudlizard, another voice cracked through the air with,
“You are just a collection of soon to be dead pieces Inspector.”
Cat hovered up the instant the voice started. At first I thought that our apparently friendly Sequestran postmaster had decided to speak to me but then as I lumberingly turned my body I realised this was not the case. As I looked behind me, to my horror, I saw a tail-less non-slobbery Mudlizard. It was speaking my language and said,
“When the Mudlizard leadership announced that they wanted you in itemised pieces Inspector, little did they realise that one of those pieces would be a Mudlizard’s tail.”
To be continued……..
Can you get me out of this mess?
“Look Cat, this is all very well but please, just take a look at me. I’m speaking gibberish, as far as I’m concerned anyway, and, I’ve got a tail. A tail. ANDDDD….I’m missing essential equipment in the form of my ‘willy’. Can you please get this story to some sort of conclusion that might actually tell me how the mess I’m in is going to get ‘unmessed’?”
“I was coming to that,” said Cat, “but I have to say again it’s hard for me to empathise as my experience of you is one of a human who specialises in speaking gibberish all the time and I also really don’t understand all the fuss about your missing equipment. Alright, I can kind of see how inconvenient having such a large tail might be. I mean tails are very important tools but I personally prefer the rather more mobile, small tail that I have. I’d hate to have one as big as yours.”
“It’s not MINE,” I yelled at Cat, “that’s the cursed point.”
“Alright, alright,” said Cat, “I understand. When it comes to tails I do understand. Also, I can assure you that the Ethereals have worked for years now to develop methods to correct any mistakes that do arise from the accidental movement and scrambling of biological organisms. This is why they have sorting stations like this one, to correct the occasional error that arises when biological matter gets accidentally moved or, as in your case, moved and scrambled.”
“All very interesting,” I said, “but tell me, how do you actually talk to the Ethereals?”
“lt’s like this ,” said Cat, “like most things, including you, it’s really quite simple. I just tuned my radio wave receiver until I hit the frequency that they transmit their thoughts at. Then I got my universal translator array to crunch the numbers and came up quite quickly with a way to communicate with them.”
“Right, so how do I communicate with them?” I asked.
“Hmmm,” said Cat, “I’m not entirely sure I understand why you should need to communicate with them but should this be required, you are welcome to communicate via me.”
Rage stirred instantly inside me and, in ‘borderline’ apoplectic mode, I promptly exploded.
To be continued…….
“As with many a civilization, the Sequestrans, in developing a way of life over a long period that was dependent on natural resources, began to realise that their planet was approaching a time when it could no longer sustain them. Towards the end of their planet’s life, having failed in their efforts to find a suitable alternative planet to colonise, genetic experiments carried out by their Science Elite led to the rapid evolution of a fundamentally different Sequestran lifeform. In effect some Sequestrans became ‘body-less’ ethereal beings, with a high intellect and simple resource needs.”
“However, whilst the ethereal beings no longer needed an atmosphere to breathe or nutrients to live, they depended on what we now call Quark Energy to maintain themselves. An renewable, limitless form of energy that they were able to harness through the continuous movement of matter from one location in the Universe to another.”
I interjected at this point asking,
“So are you saying that these beings, that I can’t see, drive their energy for life by moving people up down and around Quark holes?”
“Yes, basically that’s it,” responded Cat, “but mostly they do it by moving inanimate objects and indeed prefer that. However on occasions things go wrong and they get the occasional lifeform sucked into their Quark hole network. When more than one lifeform gets caught up in the same Quark hole then accidents like yours can happen. Then it’s the Postmaster’s job to try to sort it out.”
“Hmmm, Ok I kind of get it but it’s a bit word. I mean what a way to live. No wonder the Postmaster doesn’t seem to have much appreciation of the significance of my willy. I mean how could he in his current ethereal form?”
Cat clapped his paws to the side of his head and through gritted whiskers said very sarcastically,
“Can I please finish the background to all this before you lament any further on the loss of your subsidiary brain?”
I made a further indignant grunting sound before gruffly responding,
“Go on then you unsympathetic inanimate.”
To be continued…….
The Sequestran Story Unfolds
”Well,” started Cat, “during this period the number of semi-permanent settlers on the Moon rose to well over 5000. Until 2056 everything seemed fine. In addition to the settlers, over 10,000 inhabitants of Earth spent a minimum of one week a year traveling to and then exploring sites of interest on the moon.”
“Then, in late 2056, a group of tourists disappeared without trace whilst out on a half day picnic scientific excursion to the Sea of Tranquility. Investigations by the local police and then the Space Patrol found no trace of the tourists or their lunar carrier. Tours were suspended for several months but eventually re-opened. In July of 2057 a distress call to Earth from the main base on the moon, The Armstrong Centre, led to a battalion of space cadets heading to the moon at breakneck speed. The distress call described large sections of the Armstrong Centre disappearing into the surface of the moon.”
An advance guard of the space cadets got there in under 4 hours and found no trace of the moon base. Just over a week later, Earth’s military forces discovered an underground alien stronghold that had been built on the Moon, sometime between the late 20th Century and the time when humankind had returned to the Moon, by the ultimately named ‘Sequestrans’.
After a fairly short battle, the Sequestrans on the moon were all apparently destroyed. There were not many of them. As a species, they appeared to have the capability to adsorb matter into their bodies. Individually they could do this on a small scale but when they worked collectively they could adsorb large structures. This was discovered during the early skirmishes between them and the space cadets when all sorts of large destructive devices just vanished.”
To this day Earth is not sure where the Sequestrans actually came from. There were no signs of any spaceship that they may have used to land on the Moon and no records, that could be identified, of their history.” Cat then paused and I chipped in with,
“Wow,” followed by the inevitable question of “What happened next?”
To be continued………..
Cat Proposes to Speak on my Behalf
“This is a Sequestran sorting station,” said Cat, “you see the Sequestrans are a benign ethereal like civilisation. They mean no one any real harm. However to survive, effectively to breathe, they need molecules and atoms to flow continuously through their quark holes. You see once upon time their home planet ‘Sta’ provided enough of the kind of energy they needed to take in for their ‘bodies’ to function properly. When their planet started to fail their scientists discovered that by harvesting the functionality of quark holes, and through moving inanimate matter molecules through such holes, they could artificially generate the energy type they needed to live.”
“Ok so basically what you’re saying is ‘what’ exactly in relation to how I get my Willy back?” I enquired.
Cat stared back at me with an incredulous slant to his whiskers saying,
“Have you not been listening at all you tailed moron? This is a quark hole sorting station. It’s where the Sequestrans do their best to sort out any animate objects or twits like you that happen to get sucked into one of their quark holes by mistake and jumbled up.”
“Ok,” I said, “I sort of understand the mixing up of bits because I remember about Fastmove on Earth. But I didn’t fall into that hole with a Mudlizard did I?”
“No you didn’t,” said Cat. “My guess is that their quark holes all connect up in one massive complex network and that a Mudlizard got sucked in somewhere else at around the same time as you did. Then unfortunately, your respective molecules got mixed up a bit at some junction point in the network. The Sequestran monitors picked this up and have brought you both here to try and sort you out. Personally though I would say you’re way past sorting out. And actually, you look alright with a tail,” added Cat.
Cat hovered rapidly upward as I swished my new appendage around my body in his direction, before saying,
“Look, just tell me what we do next. I want my bits back.”
“Surely it’s obvious isn’t it?” said Cat, “we need to ask the Sequestran sorting attendant at this station for help. Simple.”
“Right. So where is he, she or it?”
“All around us boss, all around us,” whined Cat.
I screwed my face up and said, “What do you mean, all around us?”
“I told you. The Sequestrans are an ethereal civilisation. They exist dispersed in what we perceive as the space around us,” said Cat in an exasperated tone.
“Right. So basically I can’t see them.”
“Nope,” said Cat.
“Well how the sprokus am I going to speak to them then if I can’t see them you mangey machine?” I grumbled.
“I cannot and do not therefore get ‘mange’ you twerp. And you cannot speak to them which in my view is very lucky for the Sequestrans. I shall speak to them on your behalf.”
Oh good grief I thought. Now I’m really in trouble……
End of Chapter 3