The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act VII

Underground

I realised I could not free myself from the worm’s body, so drew the deepest breath I could just before I disappeared underground. Fortunately, only moments after entering the ground we broke through into an enormous cavern. The worm thudded to the ground and as it did I managed finally to extricate myself from its body and eye stalks. It shot off along the ground away from me thankfully.

As it wriggled and wormed its way along, with myriad legs at the base of its fat round body and its eye stalk thingies sticking up at the top, I gave a long involuntary shudder and stepped back as it raced away from me. Almost instantly I bumped into something quite hard. I then stepped forward very voluntarily and turned around. In front of me were an even more impressive collection of worm legs, waving at my face. They belonged to the bottom of an even fatter worm than the one I’d ridden on. I looked upwards following one pair of legs after another until my eyes were as vertical as they could possibly be without breaking my neck. Now I could see several pairs of eye stalky things,  surrounding a wide open and quite voluminous mouth, staring at me. There were no teeth, which was something of a comfort, though their absence did make me think that being sucked to death would probably be slower and ultimately more painful than being shredded by a sharp set of gnashers.

As the open mouth of the worm plummeted towards me I closed my eyes, thought how I’d always really wanted to be a librarian, and wet myself.

To be continued……

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act VI

Rescue Part I

As I groaned, I looked around me. I could hear lots of whooshing noises and a combination of distinctly Silurian grunts and squeals.

“Well done Joosthava” I heard Cat cry, “Well done!”

Despite my grogginess, I managed to raise my head sufficiently and twist my neck around to see Joosthava, blue hair flailing. I could see two motionless Silurian bodies on the ground and two more were firmly gripped in thick strands of her hair as she flung them up over and around her. Then the two Silurians disappeared from my limited view as she released them from her hair with a ‘velocitous’ flick that sent them flying. I heard a rather loud scrunching, cracking noise and slowly twisted my neck 180 degrees to see the unconscious bodies of the two who had moments before been being whirled around. I couldn’t see the Ambassador but then caught sight of another familiar figure and comrade, Krokus Joe, who was wielding a large extermatron under one arm. We had been rescued I concluded by the other two members of our team, Joosthava X Minot, and Krokus Joe. They must have followed us. Thank goodness they had I thought.

As my still throbbing head returned to the perpendicular, I became aware that the latrine that I was laying on was moving noticeably. Suddenly and right beneath my nose, a single eye-like organ, on the end of a stalk, popped up almost touching my face. My head jerked instinctively as far backward as it could go, as another stalk and then another popped up and collectively started to grip at my face. I tried, despite the aches in most of my body to stand up but then realised that movement was occurring underneath, all along my body. I felt myself rise up a little in the air and then a little more before I realised that the number of eye stalk things had multiplied manifold and I was now almost encased in them. The next thing I knew I’d taken off. Not in a vertical direction but a horizontal one. I shot off at an alarming speed in the direction of a tree before veering off sharply to avoid hitting the tree. As my body veered, more of what was moving me emerged from the ground. It became clear to me that I was astride a very very large worm. As the worm rose further out of the ground so I clung desperately to its round body with both my arms and legs. We traveled past the immediate trees and deeper into the forest. I held on tightly for what seemed like forever but was, in actuality, probably no more than a couple of minutes. Then without warning, the head of the worm, which was actually only about a metre in front of me, rose up and dove at the ground. Its head disappeared into what turned out to be very soft earth, followed by the rest of its body and me.

To be continued……..

Bees and Ants Collaborate to kick AIs Ass

For several years now wardens on Amora, the Mud Lizards’ prison planet, have struggled to contain escapes. The Mud Lizard capability to dig tunnels so quickly has made effective containment difficult. Despite the availability of sophisticated sniffer AI hounds, the average Mud Lizard manages somehow to shield their scent off from the hunting pack.

Now though, biology is finding a solution and fighting back against the less natural robotic solutions offered by computing. BioSolve, a company dedicated to natural options across a range of industries, have engineered the TrackerB. This hybrid bee/ant creature can sniff out Mud Lizard breath from over a mile away. Not only that, the genetically engineered bug has the superior tracking capability of an ant.

In initial trials, Mud Lizard escapees have been recaptured in less than half the time taken by robot AIs. Hailed as a resounding success by BioSolve some observers have suggested that genetic engineering is hardly more natural than the use of robots. BioSolve disagrees, pointing out that over half of Earth’s Grand Council are products of genetic engineering and no one would disagree that politicians are so natural……would they?

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act V

Meeting the Ambassador

A short while later we arrived at the Ambassador’s den. Silurians, and that included their senior officials, didn’t live in houses. Their habitat was the forest and they had ‘dens’. A den was typically a cluster of trees marked with the scent of the Master of the Den (in other words the head honcho had pee’d and smeared excrement all over the trees). The more important you were the more trees you had and the larger was the central clearing within the trees, which was where the Master and his family spent most of the time, lounging in leaf and branch covered hutches.

Though Silurians did not typically cook or suffer from the cold, they would sometimes have an open fire crackling away in the centre of the clearing. The Ambassador’s den had a very large open fire roaring away. Ordinarily that would have been quite cozy. To sit around an open fire, perhaps with a glass of Baffleberry juice in one’s hand, chewing the cud over tax reform. However, as both Cat and I were suspended upside down from a tree branch swinging none too gently back and forth above the roaring flames, the coziness element was somewhat lost in the moment.

I felt the intense heat on the top of my head and could smell decidedly singed hair, as I passed once again the zenith of the arc that Cat and I had traversed many times by now. Underneath us, the Ambassador sat eating from a larger bowl of wiggling insects and periodically looked up at us. The more educated Silurian could speak some English though the Ambassador was using an interpreter to communicate with us.

“So you swine refuse to reveal what you know about our special silkworm exports do you?. We know you are not really here to discuss any new tax frameworks between our two planets. Admit it and tell us how much Earth knows” the interpreter said.

As I swung past and felt searing heat flash up my nose I gasped out words as and when I could given the swinging,

“We don’t……. know anything Ambassador, do…… we Cat? This must ………all be some sort of mistake. We know…….. the Silurian people are…….. so nice and kind – what have we done……. to upset you? For goodness…… sake……. say something Cat. I appreciate…….. you may not be……. feeling the warmth but……. I am.”

More searing heat hit the top of my head and body every 5 or 6 words as we continued to swing, left-right, left-right, left-right over the fire.

“Tell him Cat,” I urged desperately.

“Ahhrrmm, tricky,” said Cat,…… “That no-lie chip you…. insisted be added …….to my motherboard …….at my last service means……… I can’t really say…… we know nothing. Especially……. as we do.”

“HUH!!” I exclaimed, “What……. do you mean….. we don’t know nothing?………. I know nothing. If you know …….something…… then……. for goodness sake….. tell this creature, – Oh, sorry…… Mr Ambassador I mean……..not creature but……. tell the Ambassador…… what we know so I can…… stop being cooked, pleassssee!!!”

Cat replied, as we passed each other on each swing of the ropes holding us, “It won’t matter……. if I tell him what…….. we know. He…… already knows……. what we know. He’ll still…….. cook us. Well, you. I’ll just……. get a bit overheated.”

Somehow I managed to get my next response out in a very ‘jointed’ manner, “You keep saying ‘we know’ you rubberised tin can. I DON’T KNOW!!!!”

Cat’s reply was again disjointed, more so as the arc of the swing had become longer, “I’m sure……you do…..know. There……was an…air-memo…….you…..really should pay……attention…..to them…….you know.”

“ARGGHHHH,” I screamed in return but before I could start to say how I was going to slowly dismantle him when I got out of this mess, I found myself plummeting to the ground.

Fortunately, I didn’t land on the fire but well to the side in a rather damp thick mound of leaves. This was also fortunate in another way as it cushioned the impact of my head, which hit the ground first. On the unfortunate side, as I groaned and lifted my head, the smell told me that I’d landed headfirst in a Silurian latrine.

To be continued…….

What did we do before Droids?

In the 23rd Century, every public place has a full range of artificial intelligences (AIs) or ‘Droids’ that collectively perform a wide range of essential service functions. In some cases (e.g. a public MediDroid) the AI acts as a first line, dealing with minor ailments and sending on or transporting anyone with a serious injury or illness, to the nearest major major medical facility.

The busiest type of Droid in a public space is the SaniDroid. This ‘Jack of All ‘Dirty’ Trades’ effectively deals with anything that might make the average human struggle to hold on to their lunch, (assuming they’ve just eaten lunch). So if anyone throws up in a public space or the lavatories malfunction, a SaniDroid will be there in an instant. Able to clean both the facility, and indeed any individuals who for whatever reason may be less pristine than when they left home, the SaniDroid is pretty indispensable in modern life.

Manufactured, as most Droids are, by the AI-rU consortium, it is estimated that SaniDroid sales and service contracts account for over 75% of this major utility company’s income. AI-rU claim that over 90% of whatever a SaniDroid absorbs is recycled and used in the manufacture of a wide range of consumer products, though their spokesperson was reluctant to reveal which products……..

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act IV

The Welcome Party and Disembarking

We had indeed surfaced and noises were coming from the main hatch. As that opened, bright sunlight rushed into the flight deck of our lightship. I blinked and walked over carefully to the open hatch. I had something of a track record of falling out of open hatches so was taking no chances, especially as our ship was bobbing about a bit. A hoverboat hummed away just outside the hatch and drew closer just as my head poked out of the hatch. The hoverboat was not Silurian, they had no need for such things, it was manned by staff from Earth’s consulate on Siluria. A very young looking uniformed man smiled at me and said,

“Quite a landing. We were expecting you at the spaceport over there” and he pointed somewhere to the right in the distance.

“Yes” I said, “we had a bit of a problem. Shall we step aboard?”

Cat, who had his own built-in short distance hovering capability, fluttered through the hatch. I stepped up on the lintel of the hatch with my right foot and then reached up, over and out with my left foot, planting it firmly onto the edge of the hovership. Right at that moment, our lightship lurched in the water and the distance between my two feet grew dramatically, as open water appeared between our ship and the hoverboat. Things were starting to get quite painful in the basement department of my body when suddenly I felt myself lifted into the air. I wriggled a little as my legs thankfully came together and, as I looked sideways and up, I realised Cat had grabbed me by the collar of my tunic and was holding me. It felt most undignified and I growled at him,

“Will you please let me down, you wretch. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were doing this on purpose just to show off.”

“Ok,” said Cat and with that, I plummeted into the water between the two craft. I was, as you might imagine not in the best of moods as, having been fished out of the water by the crew of the hoverboat, we headed for shore with me dripping pools of Silurian seawater onto the hoverboat deck. Fortunately for him, Cat floated just out of reach above my disheveled form.

By the time we reached shore, I’d been below deck, dried by a vanity droid and re-equipped with new clothing. At the dock, as we disembarked, a hovercar was waiting to take us to meet the Silurian Ambassador at his den. I grabbed hold of Cat by his tail, much to his annoyance, and slung him over my shoulder. We’d never quite worked it out but there was something in a hovercar’s electronics that created havoc with Cat’s own sensors and basic navigation. Ordinarily, this resulted in him hanging from the internal roof of a hovercar, once it had started its engines, in a temporary catatonic state. Any hovercar journey then normally ended with me having to prise his claws from the roof before slinging him over my shoulder by his tail to disembark. This time, to pre-empt the inevitable, oh and ok to annoy him, I decided to carry him on tail-first for a change. As he wriggled and squiggled against my back, the hovercar rose up and in that instant, I felt Cat’s body stiffen and go still. I let go of his tail and he tumbled to the floor, bouncing a couple of times before settling in a frozen heap. Well, I thought, at least I had saved the hovercar upholstery from claw marks. I eased my back into my chair and as we moved off, rested my aching feet on the rather handily placed prostate body of Cat.

To be continued……..

RickRock’s Brother now Immersed in Scandal

Speak4U recently launched its advanced Persona service. Providing people with a way to use their time more efficiently, public figures can have their programmable personas represent them at events or interviews. Personas are linked to cerebrum bio-chips implanted into the human they represent.

One of the first exponents of Speak4U personas was Earth’s biggest airstar, Rock Quarrey, the younger brother of Rick Rock. Recently one of Mr. Quarrey’s Personas was accused of improper comments towards an event avatar. Similar accusations were made against RickRock earlier in the year.  Representatives of the Rocks have denied that the Personas thinking is linked to theirs. Whilst investigations continue, Rock’s management team have pulled all Personas from public places. 

This is the second such scandal to hit Speak4U and the Rock entertainment dynasty now teeters on a knife-edge.