The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.17

Cat to the Rescue?

Another familiar voice then cut through the air with the words,

“Yes, leave him alone. Abusing him is my job.”

It was Cat, hovering above me, whiskers glinting in the bright light of the room I now saw I was in. Strangely, the grunts of the Neanderthals became totally understandable English and I heard one say,

“Certainly Mr. Cat, Sir. Lads, leave him be. If Mr. Cat is prepared to vouch for him then I think we can assume he didn’t intentionally attack WPASO Candy.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you,” I exploded. “I didn’t touch her. Well, not much anyway. When the lights went out she screamed, obviously I know now she stabbed herself with her stylus, and then I fell on her. All very easily explained and could happen to anyone.”

At this Cat just muttered, “You moron.”

I continued angrily as I started to sit up and said to the collected ‘Neanderthals’, “ And anyway, is this how you treat all your suspects? Is this how you treat high profile visitors to your station?

One of the Neanderthals responded, “We knew you were Mr. Cat’s assistant but without him here to vouch for you we had to be assume you were just another suspect. I mean, after WPASO Candy screamed and we  found her unconscious and bleeding, what would you be think?”

I didn’t care now about the abuse. I was apoplectic at being referred to as Cat’s assistant!! What had the little ‘rat’ been saying about me in his little ‘presentations’ that he’d been giving? I now had a pretty good idea. I turned towards the little monster and shouted,

“Good grief, I thought your Father Cat was bad enough. But you are unbelievable. Does anyone on Earth understand that I am the superior and you are the minion. That I am the monkey and not the organ grinder?”

I drew breath to rant some more but before I could Carry interjected with,

“I think you need to revisit that last sentence. Not entirely sure that’s what you meant to say Chief.”

“It’s too late to ‘Chief’ me now you cat shaped bag of scrap Eesets. They were really taking the urine when they made you. But I’m gonna teach you to respect the organ grinder in this partnership. No molten lava beans for 3 months!!” I exclaimed.”NO,” I quickly added, “let’s make that 6 months!!”

“I think you are getting a little confused Chief. My Father, Cat, he was the molten lava bean junky. I’m much more into fizzy krepits if you recall?”

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 1.13

Cat steals my thunder as usual…..

That made me sit up very straight. Mr. Cat indeed. That blasted tin can robot. I couldn’t even get arrested without him piping up in the interrogation. I couldn’t believe it. So not only had he been giving speeches on his pet and pointless research topic, but he’d seen fit to wax lyrical whilst doing so about my missions. And, from the sound of it, he was taking an incredible amount of credit for my achievements. Wait till I got him home and in the sonic washer-dryer. He’d learn the meaning of the word clean after a few runs through the cycle reserved for stainless Rubanite utensils!!

I leaned forward in my chair some more, with my best cheesy smile playing out across my face, intending to probe Helen and find out more about Mr. Cat’s recent speaking engagement. Repeating slowly the full unexpurgated facts of his tales, whilst watching him tumbling around through the sonic washer’s door appealed to me. However, just as I reached that point of familiarity where I felt that touching Helen’s forearm, in a kind of ‘brotherly’ manner was a good next step, the second ‘thing’ happened. And this second ‘thing’ was a lot worse, ultimately, than the dismay I felt at having Mr. Cat’s contributions to my successes thrown at me.

At the very moment that my hand touched Helen’s body, the lights in the room went out. As they went out she screamed very loudly and I sensed her start to fall sideways from her seated position. I grabbed at the top of her shirt but could do nothing, as I felt her body slump away from her chair and the thin cloth of her shirt tear in my hand under the weight of her. As she fell away and hit the floor, with a bit of a thump, I stood up in a panic and tried to move around the table in the blackness to reach her. All I managed to do though was catch my foot on one of the table legs and stumble down to the floor as well. My landing was, however, softer than my brain initially expected, landing, as I did, sprawled over Helen’s soft and warm body.

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 1.10

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……

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.8

A Vision of Loveliness

After disembarking from the CustodyDroid I reported to a very old and surly looking policeman at an entrance reception desk and deposited the ion battery with him. I then waited for around 10 minutes in front of the now security screened reception desk, until I was roused from what had become a rather soporific state by the angelic voice of what turned out to be WPASO Candy calling out my name.

I stood and walked back over to the reception desk, where a small portal had opened to allow me through to meet WPASO Candy. I have to confess the vision of loveliness that stood in front of me rather took me by surprise. I was kind of expecting to be confronted by a more functional looking being in an armoured suit with granite-like features and muscles. If not real muscles then the BioDroid kind that gives artificial strength to anyone needing it these days for arduous manual tasks. Ms. Candy, as I decided I would now like to call her, was anything other than artificial. Slim in build but with prominent bumps where young females still sometimes had them, her long blonde hair shimmered under the cosmic lights of the station. She looked at me with eyes surely worth dying for and said,

“Inspector Prouff. Good of you to come in to meet me.”

I decided to be cool and responded casually,

“Did I have much choice Ms. Candy?”

I’d decided I would call her Ms. as my mind instantly liked the idea of being more personal with this lady. In addition, ‘Did I have much choice Woman Peace and Security Officer Candy’was a bit of a mouthful. And, in some respects, my choice of a shorter title for her did inadvertently help her out. You see, a combination of 10 minutes of soporific mindless thinking whilst I was waiting to see her, followed by my lower jaw almost hitting my knees when I clapped eyes on the woman, had led to a considerable quantity of drool accumulating in my lower jaw. Consequently ‘Did I have much choice Ms. Candy’ came out with quite a lot of spit, but probably not as much as ‘Woman Peace and Security Officer’ would have generated.

To her immense credit, WPASO Candy showed considerable ‘steel’ in being sprinkled with my spittle, wiping quickly from forehead to chin with the sleeve of her shirt, before saying,

“Please follow me Inspector.”

To be continued…….

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.7

Off to see WPASO Candy

Before I could say anything even vaguely grumpy, the Droid arrived to escort me to the station. It had opened the bay door which was located on the window side of my living room and docked to face me. For a brief moment as the bay had opened, and before the appreciably sized Droid had properly docked, I had struggled not to be blown backward by the blast of external air. As my apartment was on the 723rd floor there was understandably a significant breeze when any of the sealed windows opened.

Reluctantly, I shuffled over to the docked Droid and stepped into its passenger pod. Just as I was bending to seat myself in the passenger seat, a gravelly mechanical voice said,

“Please remain standing until scan complete.”

I stood, my arms crossed, as multiple yellow and blue lines of light passed rapidly up and down my body.

“Identity confirmed,” said the gravelly voice before adding, “stolen ion battery not present. Please step out and retrieve. Please step out and retrieve.”

“Oh for goodness sake,” I exclaimed before stomping off, grabbing the battery and going back into the CustodyDroid. The Droid disengaged from my apartment and headed off at somewhat breakneck speed, flashing blue lights working overtime, to the Skystation where presumably, WPASO Candy was stationed and waiting for me.

To be continued……..

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.6

Tiresome Police Procedure

Whilst I was thinking, and before I could actually respond to the question of whether ‘I was me’, she spoke again,

“My name is WPASO Candy and I am aircasting from Skystation 9572/Delta.”

Oh good grief, she was a policewoman. Woman Peace and Security Officer (WPASO) to be precise. Now I knew for sure she would at best be rather odd, if not a complete automatonic buffoon. They were trained for years to be so and were very good at it. I decided at this point it was best to play ball so said,

“Yes, I can confirm that I am Tom Prouff.”

“Would that be Thomas Nigel G’Laxy Prouff?” WPASO Candy responded.

“Yes…..” I said in a long drawn out manner.

“Good,” said Candy before continuing, “Mr. Prouff, were you working on a Cicatrice hovercar  in the hovercar bay on the 75th floor at Starling Heights earlier this morning?”

“Look, what is all this about,” I said in a rather exasperated tone.

“Please answer the question Mr. Prouff,” said Candy quite sharply. “Were you working on a Cicatrice in the hovercar bay on the 75th floor at Starling Heights earlier this morning, yes or no?”

I sighed heavily as I said “Yes,” wondering if the man in the car park had made a complaint about my battery denting his hovercar.

“Thank you,” said Candy before going on, “Whilst working on your hovercar were you approached by a tall dark man offering you an ion battery?”

“I was approached by a man but I’ve no idea really whether he was tall or dark,” I responded.

“You must have some idea what he looked like,” said Candy in a slightly surprised tone.

“No,” I said testily, “I have no idea what he was like. I hardly looked at him.”

“But this man did give you an ion battery?”, continued Candy.

“Ummm, yes, he did,” I answered.

“Well,” said Candy, somewhat triumphantly, “that ion battery was stolen. It came out of a stolen hovercar, the hovercar this man was working on.”

“Oh,” I said, “well how was I supposed to know that? And anyway, so what? It’s an ion battery not a sack of Bryllium or a dead body!! ”

“So what!! So what Mr. Prouff!! This means you are in receipt of stolen property. I am afraid you will need to bring the battery at once to Skystation 9572/Delta where I can interview you and properly establish your role in this whole affair.”

“Role in this affair!!?” I exclaimed queryingly, “I have no role in this affair. Someone gave me a battery that’s all.”

“Mr. Prouff,” said Candy, “in view of your attitude I am sending a CustodyDroid to your apartment now to escort you and the battery to the station.”

At this point, I was getting a little desperate and decided to try the ‘do you know who I am tack?’. To no avail, however, as Candy responded,

“I know perfectly well who you are Mr. Prouff and, as Earth’s leading intergalactic tax inspector, realise you are probably innocent. Nonetheless, this matter needs to be investigated. And this requires you and the battery to be at the station.”

To be continued……

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……..

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