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 2.4

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…….

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 2.2

A Big Hole?

Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted by Cat saying,

“Just forget about the XDrome you twit. We’re not going there.”

My eyebrows furrowed somewhat as I responded,

“Assuming, no, IF I were thinking about the XDrome, which I wasn’t, much, it has nothing to do with you. You are my assistant can I remind you? I decide where you go, not the other way around.

With a gentle hiss and a murmured phrase which sounded to me like ‘moronic amoebal shit’ but could have been ‘mindless ass and twit’, Cat started our descent to the Old Bridge. I decided to ignore him but then realised I couldn’t because as usual no one had told me what this mission was all about.

“Look you irritating pile of chips,” I said, “what the heck are we doing here in the first place? If it’s some tedious tax evasion thing why can’t you deal with it? Then I could look around the Dromes. Not the XDrome obviously, I mean the other Dromes. If it’s not a mindless tax evasion thing and something involving really nasty people or worse, aliens, then I want to go home now, regardless of the XDrome. Which I’m not interested in. At all,” I ended.

“There is a phenomenon. A happening, which requires our attention,” replied Cat rather unhelpfully I thought.

‘Phenomenon’ didn’t sound good to me. I don’t know about you but phenomenon always meant ‘something not quite understood’ to me. And something ‘not quite understood’ was too close to ‘an unknown’ thing in my view. As I had said to Cat on numerous occasions,

“Unknown spells ‘danger’.”

Naturally his totally machine led logical way of dealing with me, when it suited him, led him to pass a range of disparaging comments about my spelling capabilities. My efforts to explain that I was speaking metaphorically invariably fell on deaf chips.

In this particular case his response was,

“There is a hole. A big hole, and someone needs to look into it.”

To be continued……..

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 2.1

Ye Old Thames Bridge

Anyway, the Old Thames Bridge had so much history associated with it. It left me awestruck just thinking about it. Thousands of years old now, once part of AngleLand I think it was called if memory serves, the bridge was an astonishing spectacle. No longer really a bridge as there was very little need for bridges of course with hovercars and buses as the mode of travel, the bridge was a thriving mini community district in what was now the Persona consortium.

Indeed, the original need for the bridge, to cross the Old Father Thames River had long since gone. Very little water had flowed in the Thames basin for many a long year, ever since the great droughts of the 2150s and 60s. The bridge now in fact had no connection to Terra Firma, supported as it was by industrial sized hover engines. And of course the surface area of the bridge was at least 200 times greater than the surface area of the original twin towered bascule bridge. The original bridge construction was still there, and formed the glorious centerpiece of the entire construct as it now was.

That centerpiece led to the more modern but equally famous Atmosphere Avenue where very rich people had homes. Beyond the Avenue was Cumulous Circle, from which multiple footways radiated out. There were in fact 8 of these forming the so called ‘OctoMuse’. Each footway, essentially open to the elements like the original bridge centerpiece, led to a different covered RecreDome each of which had its own theme. There was the GamesDrome, the MusicDrome, the VideoDrome, the CombatDrome, the DreamDrome, the FoodDrome, the PartnerDrome and the XDrome. Most of the names were self explanatory apart from the XDrome. I had some obvious preformed ideas on what the XDrome was like, in fact had had these thoughts for some years on and off, and now was my chance to actually find out how correct my thoughts were….!

To be continued…….

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.18

Finally, I’m out of here and on to our next mission.

By now I was standing up and glaring at Cat. He was right, my treatment at the hands of the Neanderthals must have left me a bit confused.

You see Cat was Cat, in that that is what his name was. However he wasn’t the original Cat. His Father was and his Father had indeed eaten copious quantities of molten lava beans with unfortunate gaseous build up consequences. Cat, well Cat Junior to be more precise, did not fortunately share his parent’s liking for beans. However, he did, despite my best efforts,  exhibit most of his Father’s other extremely irritating characteristics. You see Cat Junior, unlike his Father had not come to me as a fully grown robot. He’d come as a kitten, with his Father’s DNA, but not fully programmed behaviourally. I had therefore the opportunity to influence him as he grew. I had tried very hard to make him understand that he was with me to serve me. To fetch me things like food and drink and to run errands for me. However, despite promising early results, ultimately he had become just as big a supercilious know-all ashis Father had been, with an ego hard to fit into the vast expanse of the Galaxy.

So basically, ever since he’d reached a year old, I’m not quite sure why it was when he reached that age, he’d started to order me around just like Cat Senior. All of a sudden, once more, I was constantly heading off to do alleged tax investigations only to encounter totally unexpected and usually seriously dangerous circumstances. And Cat Junior always knew more about these missions than I did!!

Once more, as usual, his superior vision of himself led him to start ordering me about and he said,

“Right. Let’s stop messing about here. We’re needed. HQ have a mission for us. We must be off.”

I thought about arguing and asserting my position over the little rubberised monster but, given my recent circumstances and where I was, I thought better of it, simply saying,

“Right. Yes. Duty calls me chaps. Love to chat but my assistant has made me aware I’m needed. Farewell WPASO Candy. Really sorry you stabbed yourself.”

“Oh for goodness sake stop blathering and come on,” said Cat.

So go we did, heading for the hovercar Cat had arrived in. As I strapped myself into the seat next to Cat I started to daydream of all the vile and unsociable things I would do to him once we were home. We’d start with a very long extra-high frequency sonic wash in the kitchen cleaner. Cat Senior used to really hate that. As a smile played across my lips at the thought, my daydream were interrupted by Cat, who said,

“Just in case you’re making plans of what to do to me once we get home, you should know we’re not going home. Our latest mission is on Earth and our orders are to go straight there.”

“Oh,” I said as I started to wonder once again if he could read my mind. Cat Senior had always talked about developing that capability. I then added in a somewhat exasperated tone,

“So where is ‘there’ then?”

“London Central,” responded Cat before adding, “near the Old Thames Bridge to be precise, .”

“Marvellous,” I said, “no space travel involved. Excellent. Ok I guess we’d better get going then if HQ says it’s urgent. But don’t think I’m forgetting what happened back at that station. When this job is over you and I are gonna have a long talk about roles and who’s the boss in this partnership.”

“Of course boss. Anything you say,” said Cat purringly, as he pressed a virtual button and we accelerated off into the night sky.

To be continued……..