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…….

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…….