The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 3.3

Ouch and Gibberish

Now it was definitely my turn to stare.

“Are you mad,” I said. “I don’t speak Mudlizard. How could I? I am not a Mudlizard nor am I a Mudlizard interpreter.”

Cat held one paw up and said,

“Watch this replay.”

He then aircast in front of my nose a recording of me saying ‘I don’t speak Mudlizard. How could I? I am not a Mudlizard nor am I a Mudlizard interpreter’, only in the recording what I heard was,

‘Scheukk gorbu blup falloopu grardge bhnnahhah’.

“That can’t be right,” I said, “your just applying some filter to make it sound like that. Really Cat, this is not the time to play mildly amusing jokes. I really think you should be focusing on finding a way to get me out of whatever it is I’m in.”

And lo and behold, right then, just as the word ‘in’ finished, I stopped floating. Abruptly. I kind of saw it coming in the sense that the extent to which I could see around me rapidly extended moments before the collision. Literally from between the ‘ih’ and ‘nuh’ of ‘in’ I went from being just about able to see Cat’s face in front of me to being able to see clearly all around. At that very moment I also just about had time before impact to realise I had not been floating around, but actually traveling quite fast.

It’s hard to describe in one word the sound that my body made as it slammed into what I presumed was a floor or the ground. Possibly ‘bang’ sums it up best. I lay very still, face down. My eyes were open and so was my mouth. I held my head up at an acute angle to the floor, my eyes widening as I felt warm wet stuff running from the corner of my mouth and down my chin. Blood. Oh my cosmos, it was blood. I was damaged. Internal bleeding. I was going to end here, crumpled, broken and bleeding to death on some floor down someone’s hole.

As I stretched my chin further away from the floor, Cat’s voice cut through the air with,

“Goodness me, that must have hurt. Lucky I broke your fall a little by going reverse thrust with my hovering as best I could.”

I tried to say thank him sarcastically but it came out as ‘Mkrggug’ and I thought this must be linked to the blood that was probably gushing from my mouth due, doubtless, to myriad internal injuries.

“If you’re going to thank me try not to use such a sarcastic tone,” said Cat.

How did he know I was being sarcastic I thought, I’d only managed to emit the sound ‘Mkrggug’ after all. I spoke again as more warm wetness flowed from my mouth and tried to say ‘I’m injured, bleeding, help me Cat’ but it came out as more gibberish and I heard ‘Cungryeka nutcdh bhachda’.

Cat instantly responded saying, “Well I can’t be sure until I’ve done some scans, but you don’t look that injured to me.”

I was really puzzled. He was clearly understanding my gibberish and I was obviously speaking gibberish because of the injuries I had sustained from my fall. I had to make him understand that so that he could help me. I tried to do this and heard from my own mouth,

“Rahkkhah pooeya nshjuds percumbhh fyuta,”

“Trust me,” said Cat, “you are not seriously injured. That isn’t blood flowing from your mouth, it’s just dribble. You are however possibly slightly changed by your recent journey……”

To be continued………..

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.16

Oh Help!!

I was beginning to feel most uncomfortable and tried to say so but was told to shut up and shoved even harder, which caused me to swing in an even wider arc. I could feel wetness on my face and realised I’d peed myself. A weak bladder, especially at moments of stress had always been a problem for me, ever since I’d been chased by the Wolfcat that had lived in the sky house next to my parents place.

As more pee trickled down one side of my face, I tried to reflect positively on my situation. What had I learned that I could take away from all this once the Neanderthals had finished with me, assuming of course I was still breathing. Well one thing was of course never to accept any hovercar parts from strangers. And a second thing was never to pee whilst hanging upside down. With those two very positive actions for the future in my mind I started to sob and plead as I managed to discern, in between the grunting coming from the Neanderthals around me, phrases that  connected words like terminals and attach, with genitals. Though I have to say their word for genitals had fewer letters than genitals.

Before my sobbing could really take hold of my body, WPASO Candy appeared out of nowhere and smacked hard into the side of my body. Of course I didn’t know it was her at the time. Only after her weight, combined with mine, had caused the cable attaching my ankles to the hook in the ceiling to snap, did I realise it was her. As she lay on top of my disheveled and aching body she cried loudly,

“No, no, he didn’t touch me. I stabbed myself with my stylus when the lights went out. Leave him alone, he’s an Inspector you know.”

A lot of grunting ensued, not from me I hasten to add, as WPASO Candy finished her brief statement on my behalf. Then, as she clambered off me she said,

“What is that smell?”

To be continued……..

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.15

Now I’m in It…….

As I awoke from my unconscious state, I realised quickly that ‘reflection’ as a process had clearly not been part of the PASO’s core training. I could not move my arms. I wasn’t sure but it felt like they were locked together behind my back. I tried to lift my head but could do little more than move my chin marginally towards my throat. I quickly realised that this was basically because I was hanging upside down. This was not the first time I’d woken up in a somewhat uncomfortable vertical position. On Jurassic Earth, when I almost single-handedly defeated the Mud Lizards’ dastardly plot to steal a Zygote Crystal, they had done something similar to me. So I kind of knew what it felt like.

I relaxed my neck and let my head slowly fall back to its full upside down vertical position. My relatively long hair dangled down and touched the floor, sweeping the hard concrete surface gently as I swung slowly like the smaller boughs of a tree in a gentle Autumn breeze. So, this was different then. The Mud Lizards had secured me firmly upside down to a post set in the ground. Here, at SKYSTATION 9572/Delta, which was where I presumed I still was, I dangled freely so to speak.

Without warning there was a significant weight against my back, followed by a hard push to the middle of my body that set me swinging back and forth. As a consequence my gentle movement across the floor became much more pronounced and I turned into a human broom, as my hair started to vigorously sweep the floor. As some giddiness started to consume me, worse followed as my body was shoved first in one direction and then another. With the successive shoves, which I quickly realised were the result of different Neanderthal boots connecting with my body in turn, I started to spin. My hair transformed from a sweeping broom to a kind of spinning brush. My, was this floor getting cleaned. Very ‘heady’giddiness really started to preoccupy my mind, replacing the thoughts of ‘why me’? that had been foremost in my head, before the swinging had started to intensify.

I really couldn’t believe how my day had deteriorated. One minute I was relaxing and drinking coffee. Then there was a gentle, easy engagement with my hovercar hobby and from that, a sometimes delightful meeting with a vision of uniformed loveliness in the fine shape of WPASO Candy. Finally though, and one might almost say inevitably, here I was, suffering physical abuse at the hands, or was it paws, of apparent ‘extras’ off the set of Planet of the Apes Reborn (again).

To be continued……

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.14

Candy’s Colleagues to the Rescue

This, of course, had all happened in the space of very few seconds. As my upper body settled on the twin mounds of Helen’s chest, the lights came back on and several large PASO’s crammed in through what had now become an open door.

I looked up and down to take in my situation. Laying beneath me was an apparently unconscious WPASO Candy. Her blouse was ripped from the neckline to just below the shoulder, exposing the soft pale brown skin of her upper chest. As if that wasn’t enough, there was blood.

At the time I had no idea where the blood was coming from and really had no time to work it out there and then. This was because WPASO Candy’s male colleagues reacted to the apparent plight of their fellow officer exactly how you might expect a group of Neanderthals to react. They ‘did’ first and grunted later.

Within moments of the door opening, I had been dragged to my feet by an ‘octopus’ of PASO’s, grabbed rather uncomfortably in my basement department and raised up vertically at a rapid speed until my head crashed into the ceiling. At this point, I lost consciousness.

Naturally, one would imagine that the police operatives involved here would, after the initial and perhaps understandable tsunami of adrenaline, and other unusual hormones they undoubtedly possessed, would step back and consider the likelihood that I would assault a WPASO in their own interview room.

To be continued…….

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.12

That Blasted Cat!!

WPASO Candy added, with a giggle, that the investigating officer who had written the report was quite new and junior. This really didn’t help to alter my sense of incredulity at the apparent manner in which law enforcement could be swayed by perceptions of social status and position. Not that I necessarily thought this was a  bad thing right at this moment. Accordingly, I persuaded myself to continue to be polite and smiley as, after all, I seemed to be benefiting from their prejudices.

Showing me part of the written report seemed to break the ice a bit with Ms. Candy who seemed to be increasingly in awe of what she’d heard about me.

“So,” she said, “it must be so exciting and dangerous to travel the Universe tracking down tax fraud and dealing with Mud Lizards.”

“Well you know, it has its moments,” I responded.

“But you must be quite scared at times. I mean everyone knows what the Mud Lizards’ can be like and you’ve defeated their dastardly plots more than once. All I ever get to do is issue tickets for hovering offences. I never get anything exciting. Or dangerous. I don’t even normally get to interview any suspects. That’s why I was so thrilled to get the opportunity to talk to you about this crime. Even though I knew you must be innocent. Please tell me, how do you manage to cope with the kind of dangers you’ve faced on your intergalactic missions?”

I was positively starting to enjoy my interview with the ‘vision of be loveliness’ that was WPASO Candy. I relaxed in quite a rush, leaned back in my chair and said,

“Well my dear, after the first few times, you know, you just get used to it. You think  of your planet first and your personal safety a very distant second.”

I found myself leaning forward as I continued to verbally preen and strut my intergalactic tax inspector stuff. Things were going really well and then two things happened to rather spoil the moment.

First off, Ms. Candy or rather Helen, as I had just started to call her after she had told me more about herself, including her name, said,

“But it must be so much easier and helpful to you on these missions to have Mr. Cat leading the way. I mean, everyone at the station knows his immense contribution to what you do as a team since his speech here on ‘Nothingness’ earlier this year.”

To be continued……

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.11

My Interview Continues

Typically, just at that very moment, my Cortex thought assistant decided to pop up a notification that the ion battery had now received several bids on Cadabra Universe. WPASO Candy, who was monitoring my Cortex implant scribbled even more furiously on her wrist. I explained,

“Look I didn’t know it was a stolen battery when I put it up for sale. I really just didn’t know what else to do with it. What would you have done?” I enquired with a rather sticky sweet smile.

My attempt to be friendly seemed to suddenly work as Ms. Candy responded with a slight smile around the corners of her mouth,

“It’s ok Inspector, we were always fairly sure that you were not intentionally involved in the crime,” said Candy.

I sighed,  and said half-jokingly, “Well I’m jolly glad to hear that. Wouldn’t want to be clapped in Kliks would I?”

She smiled a bit more widely this time and said, “We just had to bring you in for process reasons really, just to be absolutely sure you were who you said you were. Even if you did try to b sell the battery on, we were always pretty sure you were not involved.”

I could feel myself blushing at the thought that she knew I’d put the battery up for sale the minute I realised it was no use to me. How embarrassing.

She went on, “Look, I can show you what the investigating officer recorded earlier this morning.”

In front of my face, a small square display appeared as she touched her forearm with the stylus she had been using. Handwritten words appeared on the screen underneath the heading,

‘REPORT OF INCEDENT AT STARLING HITES MORNING OF FIFF AUGUST – REPORTING OFFICA TPASO RYAN’

WPASO Candy pointed at the words she was referring to.

‘……. the iron battry is from stolen veerkle 9/42966/AH. The recever of the battery is Inspecta Proof. He is a guvenment officeal so is probably innocent’.

As I read them I blinked rapidly wondering how best to keep anything I might say from sounding sarcastic. I marveled in my mind at the spelling prowess of our law enforcement officers and wondered at the rather dubious approaches they might have to decide whether someone was innocent or not.

To be continued……

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.10

My Interview with WPASO Candy Begins

Before my mind had the chance to fully interpret my last statement, Ms. Candy responded with,

“Inspector Prouff, I must warn you that anything you say or think may be recorded and later and used to support any case brought against you.”

“What?!!” I said incredulously.

At that WPASO Candy scribbled on her forearm with the sharp stylus she had. I looked at straight into her eyes and said,

“You’re joking, right?”

She scribbled again and after I said ‘Oh come on’ and then ‘Can we start again?’, both of which were instantly followed by more scribbling, I decided to shut up.

WPASO Candy fixed me now with what was probably the ‘stare’ described in detail in the ‘how to intimidate a suspect’ manual she had doubtless been issued with at PASO training school. She then proceeded to ask the same questions she had asked me earlier that day on the aircast, religiously scribbling be down my answers with her stylus on her forearm. After she got to the bit about whether or not I received an ion battery from a man in the hovercar park and I’d responded ‘yes’ as I had done earlier she added,

“Did you not think it strange that a man should just walk up to you and give you an ion battery?”

I thought for a moment and then answered,

“Not really, at the time. But, I must admit now on reflection, no one has ever given me an ion battery before, so I guess it is a bit strange.”

“So,” said Ms. Candy, now in full WPASO mode,

“You thought it was odd but you still took it. And not only that, but you took it from a man who is a criminal,” she ended incredulously.

“Yes, true. But how was I supposed to know he was a criminal? He wasn’t wearing a sign!” I responded indignantly. “I can assure you there was no criminal intent on my part.”

To be continued……