The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.4

Trouble or what?

So there I was, with my head and shoulders stuck inside the engine compartment where the ion battery normally sits, trying to work out what connection goes where, when there was a sharp tap on my shoulder. Oh-oh, I thought, I had wondered if his initial reaction had been too good to be true. This was where the trouble was going to start I was sure.

I raised my head and shoulders sharply, banging my head on the raised cover of the engine compartment I was working on, as the man from the other Hovercar said,

“Hey, nice vehicle. What’s the problem?”

Whilst wondering whether this was simply a polite preamble to wanting recompense for the dent in his hovercar, I responded,

“Ion battery is totally flat. Won’t hold any charge. So can’t start the engine. It’s a real pain.”

“I might be able to assist,” said the man.

Before I could say another word he went back to his hovercar and reached in through one of the doors before returning to me and saying with a smile on his face,

“Here have this one. Might help.”

Just as I was about to say actually it wouldn’t help because the battery in a Cicatrice was so special that any old battery simply wouldn’t do, he was gone. Well, to be precise a very sporty looking drop top hovercar pulled up beside us and the passenger door opened. As it did I caught a glimpse of a very blonde female figure with legs I’d need a rope ladder to climb. Then in the blink of an eye, the sporty hovercar was gone with him in it. Whilst my mind marveled at both the sleek sporty car he’d gone in, as well as the sleek, sporty driver, I stared at the totally useless, new battery that he’d given me. It was twice the width of the Cicatrice’s battery so would never fit into the battery compartment, never mind connect up to the ion battery ports.

To be continued……

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.3

Oh, this could be embarrassing……

I turned around, with an expression that mixed embarrassment with fear I’d say. Somewhat reluctantly I strode across to the other hovercar to retrieve my flying ion- battery. By now the person who had been working on that vehicle had stood up and moved around to the side of the hovercar, presumably to inspect the damage. I looked and saw a dent in the bright red bodywork. This could be difficult I thought. Could he prove the dent had been caused by my battery I wondered? I’d better start off by being polite I thought. Especially as he was quite large in the vertical plane.

“Hi,” I said, “sorry about that. The ruddy thing slipped out of my hand. No harm done I hope?”

“No,” the man responded. “No harm at all. All good.”

I must confess to being slightly surprised by his response, but internally breathed a sigh of relief, as it looked like I was going to get away with accidentally reshaping the bodywork on his vehicle.

I quickly picked up my escaped ion battery and turned and marched back to my hovercar, inspecting the battery as I went. It certainly was an odd shaped battery and couldn’t possibly be replaced with a standard ‘off the shelf’ one. I decided to take a look at refitting the faulty battery into the Cicatrice, just to practice e in preparation for when I could get a replacement from Inegin’s. I figured this would reduce the risk of damaging any new one when I came to fit that.

To be continued……..

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.2

Working on the Cocatrice

I took the elevator to the 75th floor and exited into the very large open space that was the apartment block’s hovercar nest. Around the edges of the open space, which was about the size of at least 2 inter-planetary football pitches, were parked hovercars, in multiple layers. I accessed my bay’s mindlock via my Cortex thought processor and waited for the Cicatrice to arrive at my feet. As it did, from the floor beside me, a MechanIT console rose up out of the floor beside me and several shelves within it opened. These had on them a wide range of diagnostic kit and tools, that might be necessary to extract and examine the various components that made up a hovercar propulsion unit, or engine, as they are still sometimes called.

I knew that all I had to do was work out how to get the ion-battery out of the propulsion compartment. Once I had it in my hands I could take it to Inegin’s and they would be able to find me an authentic working replacement. The trouble was that nothing in a Cicatrice was standard, even between Cicatrice’s, so any replacement was a specialist job. I just had to get it out and take it to the hovercar specialist. However the ‘getting it out’ was not as easy as I had at first thought and this was going to be my third attempt.

I stuck my head and neck as far into the tiny space within the propulsion unit as far as I could and attempted once again to disconnect the ion terminals on the battery from the main drive unit. Everything was such a tight fit it was really difficult to get the Sono-Magnetic destabiliser into the position between the terminals and the main drive to disrupt the virtual connection. After much huffing and puffing, I finally managed to remove the ion battery, drawing on the research I had conducted in our apartment whilst drinking copious quantities of coffee. This basically entailed me shoving a sonic wrench down the side of the battery and levering as hard as I could whilst cursing profusely. Eventually, I felt something shift, accompanied by slightly worrying cracking sounds, and I was finally able to grab the battery with my right hand and pull it away from the propulsion unit.

Unfortunately, as I yanked so hard in frustration and as my arm had come backward away from the propulsion unit, I lost grip on the ion battery. It sailed over my shoulder and behind me. As I turned and watched it arc through the air I noticed someone else working on another hovercar. To my horror, I realised that my ion battery was heading straight for that craft. Before I could even shout ‘Look out’, it smashed into the side of the shiny looking and obviously new vehicle.

To be continued…….

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.1

My hobbies were quite different from Cat’s…..

In contrast to Cat, my hobbies were somewhat less intense and, I would argue, much more normal. For the first three days of leave, I had been practicing coffee drinking, repetitive snacking and an awful lot of sitting and watching of aircast soaps. However, by the time I’d watched the last episode of the 17th series of ‘My Like Trapped in an Alien Body on Cosmos Avenue’ even I needed to exercise my brain. Or ‘synapse’ as Cat would say. I think his use of the singular ‘synapse’ was meant to be insulting. 

So, having almost burnt out the CoffeeDroid and frankly, feeling very awake from the caffeine shock, I decided to move and tend to one of my more active hobbies.

For many years now I had collected vintage hovercars. I had 5 in my collection. Two Jacaranda Sprints, one RoadOn Fireboat, one Kings Float, and a Cocatrice Firebird. The first 4 had all been lovingly restored and were in airpark storage. However, the Cocatrice, the latest and most prized hovercar in the collection, was in the 75th-floor hovercar nest, where I periodically worked on it in between missions.

Though my progress on restoration had been slow, I had now almost completed all work needed and just had to replace the main start-up ion battery. I really was quite excited and had told Cat this so many times.

His stock response tended to be ‘Go away’……..

To be continued…….

The Sequestran Dilemma

I hope any readers who kept up with the Silurian Silkworm Affair enjoyed that  Inspector and Cat short story. If you want to look at it again or recommend it to anyone, the posts are all tagged ‘Silurian Silkworm Affair’ but it is also available free from the ‘Our Stories‘ page.

‘The Sequestran Dilemma’ is the new Inspector and Cat full-length adventure that will start to be serialised on this blog from next week. The Sequestrans are a mysterious alien race that invaded the moon in the mid-21st Century. They were defeated there by Earth’s forces, but the Inspector and Cat will now meet this race themselves for the first time as the Sequestrans begin to attack Earth directly.

If any of you who downloaded the novel ‘The Zygote Crystal’ for free a few weeks back from Amazon have read at least some of it, have time, and could write a short review on Amazon of what you thought of it, that would be most welcome.

Thank you.

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act VIII

Rescue Part II

I had fully expected the warmth of the pee in my pants to be a mere passing sensation given that I was just about to travel down the gullet of a mega worm but strangely, the glow of my initial excretion had time to start to feel cold to my brain. In addition, I also now felt very wet all over, from head to toe, not just below the waist. I sank to my knees, opened my eyes and saw bits of worm all over the place. I realised that just at the moment I was to be engorged by the worm, Joosthava, and Krokus Joe had burst in through the short vertical tunnel caused by my passage on the back of the first worm. Krokus had blasted the mega worm about to ingest me with his extermatron.

Worm bits were everywhere and I was covered head to toe in warm worm goo. I managed to stand up, and thick gelatinous bits of worm dragged themselves from the top of my head and stretched down past my chest, some just breaking off and ‘glooping’ to the ground whilst others slid slowly off my face and down my chest, clinging on as though they needed me. Then, Joosthava was in front of me. I was unable to speak really. I had seen my life race before me several times in the last hour, as first, the Ambassador tried to cook me, then I fell into a Silurian toilet before being taken on a very fast ride by a very large worm and being entombed underground.

Although one could argue that it ended well because the mega worm did not manage to devour me, there I was standing in front of Joosthava X Minot, the famous time miner and mutant, dripping in goodness knows what worm fluids and viscera. To say I felt somewhat hard done by as an Intergalactic tax inspector at that moment would be an understatement. Before I could start to cry, however, I remembered that I was supposed to be in charge. After all, I was the Inspector, Cat was my robot, my assistant, as were both Joosthava and Krokus.

I stood tall, despite the remarkable weight of the remaining worm goo clinging to me, and opened my mouth to speak. Sadly, right at that very moment, a largish patch of goo slid down my head in the vicinity of my mouth so all I managed to do initially was suck that into my mouth as I opened it. I coughed, spluttered and spat out as much of it as I could get out, noting that actually, it didn’t taste that bad, before standing tall once again and managing to say

“Well done Joostava and Joe. Well done. Where’s the rubberised tin can?”

Cat hovered into view looked at me and said,

“Oh dear. You are a bit of a mess. We’d better get a VanityDroid on you as soon as we can get out of here.”

I gave him my iciest stare but before I could quietly explain my desire to have him slowly disassembled, Joosthava weighed in with,

“Great work Inspector once again. You’ve found the evidence we need.”

I looked at her and said “Yes” not having the faintest idea what evidence had been found or what it was for.

Meanwhile, we backed our way out of the large cave we were in as Krokus Joe had found a tunnel leading to the surface and leaving seemed a good idea, as multiple shadowy worm figures had started to emerge from the darkness that was only about 5 metres away all around us.

To be continued in the final act next week…….

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……