The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act III

Siluria and Our Mission

For this mission we had been sent to Siluria to start new tax framework negotiations with the Silurian Ambassador. Siluria was an Earth-like habitable planet discovered around the end of the 21st Century in the XXi Regus 7 star system. Silurians were the dominant species on the planet and were basically bi-pedal reptile-like beings, with huge eyes and even ‘huger’ teeth. They were however, despite the teeth, generally an extraordinarily friendly and placid civilisation. They are one of only two extra-terrestrial groups that have made proactive contact with Earth with a view to meeting and sharing knowledge and expertise. And they did, of course, give us Baffleberry juice!!

The Silurian way of living was quite uncomplicated compared to the daily life of humans. They did have rudimentary technologies for communication (so they could phone home when they needed to) but they didn’t have the lifestyle ‘tools’ that Earth had. So they didn’t need vehicles to move around on their planet and they only ate vegetables and fruit. They also didn’t wear clothes as they had no obvious dangly or otherwise private bits to hide. Procreation apparently only really involved their tongue. They had quite tough and wrinkly skins that varied from pale brown to almost black. So, all in all, they led a very simple life on a daily basis, enjoying a very temperate climate that hardly varied as they went through their equivalent of a year.

Trade was limited with Siluria primarily because they had few needs and therefore didn’t need to import much and had only a limited number of items to export. Their two main exports were Baffleberries and Silurian silk rugs. The latter were unique because living Silurian silkworms were incorporated into every rug. The rugs were very popular on Earth as you could buy a small one and then, if you ever moved to a larger place, you could trigger the growth cycle of the worms and watch the rug grow to fit the space. Downsizing was a bit of an issue as there was no equivalent means of shrinking a Silurian rug. In addition, Silurian silkworms have remarkably strong legs which meant that on occasion a rug could go walkabout unexpectedly!!

Baffleberries on Siluria were quickly determined by the early explorers to be essentially delicious and then, by the inevitable scientists, to yield a juice with remarkable antioxidant properties. The juice rapidly became popular on Earth as a natural way to address the aging process and have a sometimes yummy drink for breakfast. Baffleberries got their name for a number of reasons. First, it was never easy to work out when the bright green triangular shaped berries were ripe, so farming them was something of an art. Not only that but from the consumer side, their flavour could vary enormously from sweet raspberry, banana-like, to something like raw onion. Consumers never really knew whether the Baffleberry juice they bought at the cloud market was going to bring a smile or a grimace to their face. However, committed Baffleberriers (members of the very popular Baffleberry club which made someone very rich) didn’t mind too much if they got one of the fairly rare onion flavoured batches – wrinkles were kept at bay and that was the most important thing. Silurians, in contrast, didn’t really care because they were wrinkly by nature, so Baffleberry juice was exported to Earth quite cheaply. And finally, as if that were not enough to baffle, the juice, when refrigerated for longer than an hour, became totally invisible. This meant that you never quite knew how much you had left or worse, if you were in a rush in the morning, how much you had actually poured out into your glass!!

Cat had by now finished his investigations and announced,

“Well, that is worrying.”

“What is?” I enquired.

“Sabotage. It was sabotage.”

I felt my eyebrows head towards my hairline as I said,

“You mean someone tried to kill us? Or rather me, because as we all know you’re pretty indestructible.”

“Yep someone tried to kill us.” responded Cat, “and I may have a pretty tough coating but in a full-blown crash at the speeds we were going at, I too would wind up in quite a large number of pieces, albeit generally indestructible ones. Anyways, we don’t have time to dwell on it. We’ve surfaced and we are being met.”

To be continued………

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act II

Onwards and Upwards

As I felt the ship start to move slowly upward, I watched my Rubanon companion as he busied himself again, this time at multiple console screens. He was alternately tapping away at and then staring for a few moments at one screen or the other, presumably as the results of his tappings were displayed. Though a robot, to all intents and purposes, due to clever body sculpting, Cat looked like an ordinary domestic cat. However, unlike the genuinely ordinary moggie, Cat has really serious airs and graces and conducts himself as though he were the Crown Prince of the Universe. As a consequence he really was the most annoying of companions, frequently doing things without telling me and never fully explaining what was going on from one minute to the next. He was supposed to be my assistant and bodyguard but often it felt as though I was the servant and he was the master. You see, being an Intergalactic tax inspector was not the most popular of vocations and many an inspector like me had found this out the hard way through a variety of means, including painful death. So Cat was there primarily to support me with facts and figures but also to ensure that clients behaved themselves and that I returned to Earth in as few pieces as possible. As mentioned, he has a Rubanon outer skin which makes him pretty indestructible, though a T. Rex nearly bit him in half once. Now that’s a story – and of course, once again, I can tell you, I saved his bacon on that mission.

And me? Well, as I’ve indicated I am an Intergalactic Tax Inspector (an ITI). Wow, and what a job. I would never have dreamed of a job like this when I graduated from my local Learning World at the age of 27 with 137 digital badges covering topics from languages, alien lifeforms, history, lasers in society, through to communication skills, martial arts, and mathsomics. I was fully expecting to drift from homework to homework earning variable sums of credit. How lucky I was to be recommended by one of my old tutors (who obviously realised how talented I was) for a government-sponsored fast-track civil service programme. Fully expecting to become a government official, proofreading and air publishing new galaxy laws, I managed to get on the wrong hoverbus outside the new trainee transit station and the next thing I knew someone was taking my arithmetic capabilities to a new level and telling me that I was going to become an ITI.

So here I am, several years later earning a good salary, traveling the galaxy with my trusty (ha ha) companion Cat, checking out the tax affairs of individuals and major corporations across many globes. Despite all of our constant bickering, we had been on many missions together now and had become known for dealing with complex tax investigations. Over the years these investigations increasingly had less to do with tax and more to do with saving the Earth from one dastardly alien plot or another.  Of course, he (Cat) would have many believe that much of my success was down to him. But I knew better. I had lost count of the number of times I had pulled his furry tail out of the fire. We sometimes would undertake missions on good old Earth, in between our space travels, and here again, all of my skills and staggering capabilities came forth to ensure I succeeded, helping to make Cat look vaguely useful in the process. Cat acknowledged my skills, only recently telling me that my capabilities rivaled the most intelligent amoeba he’d ever studied. Cat was currently writing up the thesis for his 15th Doctorate degree!!. Boy, what a know-all!!

To be continued….

Download the Zygote Crystal from Amazon for Free

The new full-length Inspector and Cat Adventure novel ‘The Zygote Crystal‘ can be downloaded for free from now until Friday 6th July.

Download the Kindle version of The Zygote Crystal

Enjoy.

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act I

Landing on Siluria

This mission was supposed to be totally routine. That’s what they’d told me at mission control. No slavering Mud Lizards to worry about, no time vaults, no extermatrons, all very straightforward. Well, I can tell you, as our little ship plummeted through the lower clouds on Siluria at breakneck speed, everything felt very much ‘not routine’. I held tightly to the arms of my chair and involuntarily squeezed my upper thighs together, as the urge to set loose my bladder grew with the feeling that very soon, at this speed, we would smack into some very hard ground.

I looked across at my AI, Cat, the Rubanon encased robot who had been my companion on long-haul tax investigations now for several years. To say he was fighting the controls on the flight deck would be a bit of an overstatement as on lightships in 2225, there were only screens to tap away at when piloting. However, it would not be an understatement to say he was tapping away quite furiously with both front paws at the pilot’s control screen in front of him. I couldn’t really at that moment think of anything else to say other than,

“Are we going to crash?”

Cat glanced across at me and said “Yep. Think so.”

My lower jaw and lip scrunched up into my top lip as I squeaked out “Nothing you can do?”

“Nope. Don’t think so,” said Cat.

“Oh that’s just great,” I whined. “Nothing you can do. Well that’s ok for you being made of totally indestructible Rubanon isn’t it? I mean I’m a human right. I’m going to wind up like a jigsaw puzzle for the crash investigators. The worst thing that’s likely to happen to you is that you’ll bounce about for a while after we smack into the ground. Just typical!!”

“Don’t collapse into total cowardice just yet,” said Cat, “I may not be able to stop us crashing but I think I’m going to be able to make the landing effectively soft enough for your scrawny body to survive.”

“Seriously?” I responded as I pulled myself up slightly in my chair before lurching uncontrollably forward with great force, as the ship impacted. I lurched back and then forward and then back again several times as the ship gradually juddered to a slowish downward motion until I was finally able to sit relatively still and upright in my seat. Unfortunately, my focus on the impact, allied to the valiant attempt my upper body had made to stop itself from being shaken about like a mountain in an earthquake, had led to me losing concentration on keeping my bladder under control, with inevitable consequences. I felt the warmth inside my pants spreading and, as the damp patch became obvious at the front of my khaki coloured tunic bottoms, I really wished I hadn’t had that large glass of Baffleberry juice just before our descent started. Especially because it tasted of onions.

As Cat spotted my expanding damp patch he exclaimed “Eeeyuck. Can you not control yourself?”.

“Well I have to some extent,” I said, “My bowels have so far stayed relatively still.”

At that Cat rolled his eyes and said: “Right, we’ll head up now.”

“Up where?” I responded.

“To the surface,” said Cat, “The only way I could see to slow us was by landing in the ocean” he continued. “Now we need to head up, but slowly. Whilst we are ascending I will try to work out what happened to the ship. Lightships don’t just fail like this. It’s very puzzling.”

To be continued………

The Azz-Lex Transposon

After the first major space battle between Earth and the Mud Lizards around 2170, the so-called ‘Mosquito virus’ started to devastate the population of our planet. Essentially a biological weapon, despatched to Earth by the Mud Lizards from Plasmolidium, our foremost research laboratories could find no cure.

cat

It was only after the intervention of the leader of the GoGLES, Azz-Lex, that Earth was saved. This talking cat from Planet X turned up at the home of the owner of ClonaCat, Tjoorbaert Morabitz and injected him with both the Mosquito virus and the so-called Azz-Lex transposon to prove the cure to Tjoorbaert.

The Azz-Lex transposon, a small piece of DNA within Azz-Lex’s DNA, was able to hybridise with the Mosquito virus DNA within the human genome to render the Mosquito virus harmless.

You can read about the Azz-Lex transposon in the Inspector and Cat adventure ‘The Zygote Crystal‘.

The MoATaRS

The Inspector and his colleagues’  Joosthava and Krokus Joe, and of course Cat, defeated the Mud Lizard threat to AccEvolve using the Endurance Zygote Crystal, in 2224. To do this though, Cat had to AccEvolve himself into a Giant Cat to dispense with the two Mud Lizards Yakh and Ulth and free the Inspector, Joosthava and Krokus.

On their return to Earth, the Inspector found out that Cat was now back on Planet X with the Endurance Zygote Crystal with the other GoGLEs. Cat, or Giant Cat as he now was, sent a message back to  Tax HQ to warn Earth that other aliens were coming from deep space to attack Earth in the near future.

He recommended that Tax HQ  should form a small group, that wound up being known as ‘The MoATaRS’ (Monitoring of Alien Threats and Response Squad) and comprised the Inspector, Krokus Joe and Joosthava. In addition, Cat sent back to Earth one of his children, a young black robot kitten, to grow up with the Inspector and become his new protective companion and the 4th member of the new group.

Going to the Loo in Space

When I went into space for the first time (that was to Planet Pzzxamix to investigate Trebor Snosrap) I was nervous about the whole toilet thing. Extra anxious and shy about such matters, I had envisaged I would spend most flights with all relevant sphincters tightly clenched until the journey ended and I could find a proper toilet.

How relieved I was (in more ways than one) to discover the Space SaniDroid. A sort of auto-loo that allowed you to go in total privacy even with someone else effectively standing right beside you. Shielding you from all potentially embarrassing noises and odours (whether the producer of such or recipient) the SaniDroid was every nervous ‘toileter’s’ relief station.

Of course, everything happens so much more naturally on a spaceship in the 23rd Century where artificial gravity has removed the weightlessness problems associated with excretion. So the SaniDroid has no need to worry about airflows, essential for early space travelers to ‘go’ safely.

The only possible problem with a SaniDroid is linked to unlikely power failure. That has happened to me once. All the lights went out and the body permeable door to the SaniDroid disappeared leaving me potentially visible to everyone whilst engaged in duties on my throne. All would have been ok though as with the lights out my modesty was preserved until Cat showed up with a massive torch……