29/10/2013

Moving on

Thanks to those who read and commented on the draft excerpts of the adventures of the lads from Report on Sample 717. The story has now been completed and published as a novella (see sidebar).


23/10/2013

Looking out

Not as expected

Another excerpt from the first draft further adventures of the lads from Report on Sample 717, a little further on from the previous one, which can be found here...

The front desk at the police station was manned, or rather womanned, by a lady in civilian clothes, not a police officer as Edrig had expected.

She looked at the four beings in front of her, two ageing men in brown fur gowns and two large fat women in silver suits, and she said, 'Yes?' with a distinctly wary tone.

Edrig hesitated, then he began.

'We are from another world, another planet, and we are stranded here with no proper clothes, no money, no food, nothing.'

The lady behind the counter looked back at Edrig, then slowly scanned his three companions, then looked back at Edrig, then frowned.

'Have you been here before? Quite recently?'

'Ah yes indeed, but I don't remember you.'

'No, but I remember hearing about you, if you are who I think you are.'

'Well I'm fairly sure that I am who you think I am.'

'The man from another planet?'

'Yes.'

'Who had the stack of money and the credit card?'

'Yes.'

'And then who, with an accomplice, mugged two of our officers and a security guard in the vehicle compound and left them so concussed and traumatized they went rather crazy for a while and thought they had been abducted?'

'Ah, no... Not exactly. That is... well the two officers really were abducted, sorry... The security guard, well... he was just stunned... Sorry...'

'Yes, of course... And then you dumped our two officers in the woodland car park using the van that we found and that was then driven away?'

'Ah... well no. It wasn't a van. It was a transportation pod. And it wasn't driven away. It was returned to our own place. The other world...'

'Of course it was,' said the lady. 'Of course it was.'

'We saw Jack and Lesley on the television while we were here. They will verify everything.'

'Oh... Jack and Lesley eh? You know their names? You saw them on the television? And I suppose you enjoyed that eh? The humiliation of two traumatized officers after a mugging?'

'Eh... No... not exactly. But... Anyway... We are back and we need help. Please.'

The lady had been pressing some buttons on a console while this conversation proceeded.

'You probably do need help,' she conceded. 'And who are your friends?'

'Ah. This is Adrig, and then we have Lady Ezma and Lady Arma. The Ladies can't speak your language so they will not understand what is going on.'

'Oh. And you do understand what is going on do you, eh... Mr...'

'Edrig, my name is Edrig.'

'Of course it is.'

And at that point two uniformed male officers arrived through a side door and quickly looked the visitors up and down. One of these men was talking into a radio, saying 'Yes Jack. Get back here please. Okay?'

A crackly voice on the radio said, 'Okay,' but it did not sound very enthusiastic.

The four superior beings were soon led into a bare room with just a table surrounded by a few plastic chairs, and were commanded to sit and wait. No offer of food, or tea, or coffee. Nothing.

'How's it going?' Lady Ezma inquired.

'Okay said Edrig. At least they remember me.'

And they sat there for quite some time. Really rather a long time, with Edrig all the while expecting to meet Jack and Lesley again, and at one point thinking he might have perceived some shadowy movement behind a square mirror on the wall. It occurred to him that it might be a one-way viewing panel. And he heard voices. Raised voices. It almost sounded like an argument, and it proceeded for a while.

Then eventually the two male officers that they had briefly met in the reception area returned and announced, 'You lot can go now. And you are very lucky,' at which point he nodded towards Edrig and Adrig. 'Go. Do not come back, and if you are not from here I rather strongly suggest that you just leave town.'

'But Jack and Lesley,' Edrig pleaded, 'They can verify everything.'

'All they can verify mate, is that they are prepared to adopt some frankly astonishing and rather inappropriate and legally very questionable leniency with you, for the sake of... Well, quite why I don't really know. But you should go.'

'Can I have my money and my credit card?'

'No. Do you want to make an issue of that? You idiot. Go. Do you really want to make an issue of this?'

'Go where? We have nowhere to go. Me and Adrig don't even have any shoes.'

'Try the Salvation Army mate. Out there, across the junction, the next street down from the High Street, as I expect you already know perfectly well.'

'The Salvation Army?'

'Yes. Now go.' And he held the door open and waved the superior beings from another world out and back towards the reception.

Adrig and the Ladies frowned, but said nothing.

Edrig remonstrated some more, but to no avail.

Soon they were standing outside the police station, looking out at the street scene of a world they had little experience of, still dressed like stranded party-goers in rather ludicrous fancy dress. And Adrig and Edrig still had no shoes on their feet.

With little alternative, they headed off in the direction of The Salvation Army, with the Ladies demanding to know why Edrig's plan had failed and Adrig saying, 'Salvation Army? What can that be? Doesn't sound very promising to me.'

'I am very tired,' announced Lady Ezma, 'and I do feel the need to sleep.'

'So am I,' said Arma, 'If we can just find somewhere sheltered to rest surely we will be rescued before too long.'

'I'm not so sure,' said Edrig. 'I'm really not so sure. Down here though... I think down this street here is where they meant.'

And they proceeded along the streets, drawing stares and a few ripples of laughter as they went.

But The Salvation Army office, when they found it, was closed.

Outside of the shabby maroon doorway beneath the flaking paintwork of an awning that bore the words 'The Salvation Army' in faded gold lettering, they stood wondering what to do next, having pushed at the door and knocked at it and rattled the letterbox all to no avail.

'We should just go back to the woods and wait,' Lady Ezma suggested.

'But we will be cold, and maybe wet, if it rains.'

'But we will be at the point from which the pod departed. That may be where they will come looking for us. We should just go back to the woods and wait. It seems rather obvious to me, but then I am a Lady and you are just an idiot.'

'Hah! What a coincidence,' Adrig exclaimed, 'That's exactly what the policeman called him in their language. Ha ha.'

So eventually, heading back to the arrival point is what they decided to do, with the Ladies more or less commanding that it was what they were to do, making a miserable foursome as they were at last climbing up the stony path again with Adrig and Edrig letting out, 'Ouch,' and 'Oh,' and 'Ah...' as their sore cold feet hit the irregular stones.

And when they reached the little clearing beside the stream they sat down, leaning against two wide tree trunks, while some pale sunshine took the edge off the now cold air just a little bit.

After some considerable time just sitting saying nothing to each other Edrig noticed that Lady Arma had begun to cry. A big tear rolled down her cheek as she sniffled quietly.

'Don't worry, my Lady,' Edrig told her, surprised at his feelings of both concern and some guilt, in amongst much worry. 'They'll come for us. We'll soon get this sorted out.' But his voice carried little confidence as the four of them sat there miserable and increasingly cold.

'We could just sit and die here, if we don't do something,' Adrig said quietly.

'Do what?' asked Lady Ezma, now with her arm around Arma's shoulder.

'I don't know my Lady. I'm sorry, but I just don't know.'

And they sat there, almost drifting into a cold sleep...

Until beneath a sudden blazing beam of light their transportation pod began to rematerialize, in just exactly the location from which it had departed.

And the hatch opened.

And a bumble bee buzzed lazily out.

And the gleeful superior beings rushed to get inside, noticing the sopping wet floor as they did so but not really paying much attention to it. Not really realizing that it was actually several inches deep in watery fluid now. Much deeper than the minor but unpleasantly soiled wetness when they had left it.

It was only when a long and multi-suckered tentacle reached purposefully and intelligently up from the floor and pressed at a button on the destination display screen that the four weary travelers noticed the two fairly small octopuses with big black eyes on bulging heads that were also inside the pod. And as the hatch door shut the two big Ladies began to scream.

20/10/2013

Almost tree time

In the Cathedral of Consumption


I am rather proud to say that I bought nothing, having planned for just a coffee and a read, but seeing the long queue I just filled a Cafe Nero paper cup with some of the Cafe Nero tap water from the jug by the Cafe Nero cutlery stand, sat down on a nice soft Cafe Nero sofa, read for about an hour, forgot all about the plan to buy a coffee, and then it was time for this sinner to leave, while asking my lady, 'Did you buy anything?', to which she replied, 'No.'

Shocking confessions.

Compromise reached between tree and fence


I offer the chap who has just constructed the fence my congratulations, and suggest he may offer his services as a consultant to politicians everywhere. There remains the minor negotiating issue of whether only the fence gets painted. I await developments. (Photo courtesy of my daughter)

19/10/2013

Little tree time

Self-propagated little suckers who have burrowed in from next door, and now losing their leaves for the very first time. Fear not little trees, another Spring should come, and I have decided that you can stay. It's a shame that the lady next door chopped down your Momma a few months ago, but you have reached safety now.




These are Rhus "Staghorn" suckers, and I do know that some brutal and regular control of the further suckers burrowing out from these suckers will be required, but no need to worry them about that just yet, although my saw has already cut circles in the ground around the little infants.

Reluctant reacquaintance

Another sample from the first draft of the further adventures of the lads from Report on Sample 717, with this episode following on from here...

'I thought you said that the men were more dominant here Edrig?'

'So they are, my Lady Ezma, at least they have been more dominant over many centuries, although the ladies are now fighting back quite effectively, but cunningly, not with fists or guns.'

'But those two horribly ugly thin ladies. They were so small yet they just commanded Adm to go home with them as if to issue commands was their natural way, and he followed without question, and I think we know what ordeal he may have to endure with them too.'

'Ah yes my Lady. An ordeal... With the eh... horrible skinny ugly small ladies. Well... It's hard to explain my Lady, some things are hard to explain.'

'An ordeal,' Adrig muttered. 'An ordeal... I should have done the brave and manly thing and volunteered to take his place, for I am old enough to endure the suffering better than him.'

'I think you may have been telling us falsehoods dear man,' Arma suggested to Edrig. 'These ladies did indeed seem perfectly capable of ordering Adm to do their bidding.'

'Ah well. Well...'

'Yes?'

'I don't know my lady, perhaps things are more complicated than they seemed to us when we were here. And anyway. Look. I do believe I see two police officers ahead.'

'And look! Exclaimed Adrig, 'I do believe they may know us!'

'Oh? Lesley and Jack?'

'I do think so my boy. Dear Lesley and Jack.'

'Lesley! Jack!' Edrig called out, but the response was not what he had hoped for. Lesley and Jack stopped, stared, both betrayed a flash of recognition across their faces at the same time, and then they both turned sharply to their right, Lesley tugging at Jack's elbow to lead him away as they marched quickly down another narrow alley off of the wide street.

'Oh...' said Edrig.

'Well whoever they are they did not seem pleased to see you,' Arma said, 'And did you see the way the lady pulled him aside? That lady was in charge there! This place is much more properly ordered than you have suggested.'

'I do think,' Adrig began slowly, 'that our previous encounter may have somewhat diminished Lesley and Jack's enthusiasm for a repeat.'

'Ah...' said Lady Ezma. 'I think I know about that encounter, with Jack anyway. With the Lady Lord? Our dear departed Lady Lord? We saw him enter her rooms, but... he is a footballer is he not? The fine and fit young footballer that you brought for her. She liked him too! Kept him all to herself, the bitch.'

'Ah, yes. Indeed,' Edrig began to explain. 'A footballer my lady, but eh... a policeman too... Eh... The police football team. They are very good.'

'Really?'

'Yes really.'

'Really?' Adrig added.

'Yes really Adrig,' Edrig declared firmly, before continuing with, 'Never mind, I think that the police station, eh... the police hotel is quite near here. We should go and present ourselves there, and with any luck they may arres... em... invite us to stay a while in their nice safe locked rooms with some hot food to enjoy.

'Locked?'

'For your safety my Lady.'

'Oh. And all free of charge?'

'Indeed my Lady. They do take care of visitors quite well here.'

'And so, Edrig digs himself deeper and deeper...' muttered Adrig in the words that the Ladies would not understand.

'Indeed I do my friend. After all it is what I do best. And I hope the police may have some spare shoes or even clothes to offer us from their lost property department perhaps. If you've got any better ideas let's hear them.'

'Sounds like a fine plan,' conceded Adrig, speaking in his own language again.

'Lead us on then,' Arma commanded. 'To the police hotel!'

18/10/2013

Another view of just what was there

because I rather like it,


and a man has to pass the time somehow when his coffee is done, his fruit and nut flapjack has been eaten (422 kilocalories), the newspaper has been read and his Lady has still not returned. 'Wait there. Don't get into trouble. I'll be back for you,' she said, and, eventually, she was. Although I did nearly get myself into trouble trying to turn the camera casually towards another couple of large Lady Lords. It's a dangerous business for a man out alone on these mean streets.

Poor Adm

Another sample from the first draft of the further adventures of the lads from Report on Sample 717, following on from here...

In the absence of any better plan, the four superior beings and the more primitive being from a different and devastated sample set off down the track that led to town. The Ladies had suggested just hiding in the woods until the 'inevitable' rescue came, but Edrig's talk of the hot food he had previously enjoyed in a police cell had been the persuasive factor, even if he had substituted the word 'hotel' for cell.

'A police hotel?' Ezma had said. 'What a strange concept, but okay, let's go and see if the police or anybody else can help us.'

'Oh, ah, ouch...' were the words that came from Adrig and Edrig as they walked barefoot upon the stony path. 'We need to get some shoes, fast.'

'Shoes?'

'Sneaks Adm. Sneaks... and they have much better sneaks here than your ones, may I say.'

'My feet fine,' boasted Adm, 'Come on! Why so slow?'

'Oh, oooh, ah, ouch...'

And so the few people on the top deck of an early morning bus were bemused by the odd little party that they saw reaching the parkland near to where the Lady Lord had so recently met her end. Three men in dark brown fur gowns, open at the arms and revealing bare legs from the knee down, and two bulky women dressed in silvery suits from neck to feet. One of the men, young and muscular, stepping out confidently in his 'sneaks', a second man somewhat chubby and bald and seemingly in his mid-fifties, alongside the taller, slimmer and older looking man with the thin but long silvery hair; and all of them still dripping some water from their cold baths.

'Your communifiers,' said Edrig, the smaller and more chubby of the older men... before adding, 'Oh... still in the pod and now far away, eh? But still, they were broken anyway.'

'No communifiers,' said Lady Ezma, 'No stunners,' added Lady Arma, 'No money,' said Adrig, 'No credit card and no food,' added Edrig. 'Oh, and no damn sneaks.'

'Or underpants,' offered Adrig.

'What you chirrupin' about?' asked Adm. 'Come on. Police hotel and hot food!'

'One has to admire the young fellow's bright enthusiasm,' Adrig commented in his own language, as they plodded alongside each other and into town.

And it was a waking Autumnal town on a Saturday morning, where people gazed at this odd grouping as they progressed through the central streets, drawing laughs and more than a few shouted comments.

'Ha ha! Looks like it has been a great party!'

'Love the outfits guys!'

'Ha ha. Look at that lot. Probably still out of it...'

There was even some applause for them.

'What are they saying?' Ezma demanded. 'Why are they whacking their hands together?'

'In welcome my Lady. In welcome. It is how they greet strangers. They are very friendly, mostly.'

And that was when two slim and gorgeous young ladies, perhaps in their mid-twenties, disembarked from a nearby taxi and staggered towards Adm, whistling and calling out their approval.

'Hey. Gorgeous! looks like your party was almost as much fun as our one.'

'Huh?' said Adm, while looking at the swaying and staggering approaching beauties in their flimsy brightly coloured party dresses and precariously high heels.

'You been buggy beering?' Adm asked, while instinctively reaching out to catch the arm of one of the ladies as she appeared about to fall just as she came alongside him.

'Oh thanks honey,' the first of these two long-haired beauties remarked. 'Such a gent!'

'Oh! help me too gorgeous,' the other one cried out as she grabbed hold of Adm's other arm. 'Help us home! We're still up for a party! You coming with us?'

'Yeah... Help us home gorgeous! Just round there...', and they nodded in the direction of a nearby alley.

Adrig and Edrig looked on, somewhat stunned by these sudden events and by the young girls' beauty.

The Ladies looked on with some disgust.

'So sticky thin!' Arma chirped. 'So unhealthy! So ugly!'

'Oh... yes...' Edrig agreed, unconvincingly. 'Thin... Ugly...'

'Beautiful though,' whispered Adrig in 717 English. 'Just... simply... beautiful...'

By this time the two drunk but beautiful ladies of Sample 717 had led Adm some way away, towards the alley, and Adm was not at all reluctant to be led.

'I help them. Help home...' He called out. 'Better than police hotel. You go. I will find. Back here later.'

'You talk a bit funny, darling,' one of Adm's new friends remarked. 'Come on. Help us home. It's still party time!'

And Adrig and Edrig just watched as Adm was led away until, a short distance down the alley, the three of them turned a corner and then were out of sight.

'Well that's a shame,' said Ezma, 'Should we follow?'

'Best not,' Adrig advised. 'Best not.'

'He'll be fine,' said Edrig. 'Better than with us, although... He should go back, I suppose. Our rules... but then... Ah... if we have led him into a pickle then it is a pickle that he may well enjoy.'

'Better than our new pickle, that's for sure,' said Adrig switching back into the language the Ladies could not understand, while looking regretfully towards the big Ladies in their silvery suits.

'So thin though,' insisted Ezma. 'So ugly... Poor man.'

'Oh yes. The poor, poor man,' Edrig offered in quiet agreement, with a slow shake of the head and a heavy sigh. 'But we must just hope that he can make the best of it, poor man.'

Just what was there

17/10/2013

A bumbling bee

In response to desperate pleading by a horde of readers (well, a few... more than one...) extracts from the first draft of the further adventures of the lads from Report on Sample 717, still continue, following on from here...

Adrig opened the pod door and the fresh sweet smell of an Autumn morning began to pervade the pod. Within seconds a fat and furry bumble bee had drifted in and, perhaps somewhat befuddled by the unseasonal early Autumn warmth outside, it began to explore, looking for nectar. It bumped lightly against the walls and then against the bright location screen before moving up to the small display that Adrig had recently used to select 717 as their destination. The occupants of the pod followed its bumbling progress with faint smiles. Even the Ladies seemed quite pleased to see this evidence of free life entering what they had previously feared might be a terminal prison.

As the bee bumped into the display that said 717 a few times, Edrig noticed up and down arrows that were lit up next to the Sample number. And then the bumbling bee buzzed sideways and explored the lit Auto-Return button. No nectar there either, but options for the watching Edrig to ponder.

While Edrig considered the issue that the bee had put into his mind, Adrig was considering the issue of what to do next.

'I suggest we get out,' he said to the Ladies, but the Ladies were not convinced.

'I suggest we stay here and try to get home,' the Lady with the long brown hair and the slightly less puffy face responded.

'May I ask your name, my Lady?' Adrig dared to request, on an impulse.

'My name? You want to know my name?'

'Yes please my Lady. We may be together for a while in this, eh... unfortunate predicament, and it would be better if we could respectfully address you each by name.'

The brown-haired Lady thought about this.

'My name, she eventually conceded, is Ezmaraldo, well... Ezma, and this is Armadalla, or Arma.'

'Ah... Very fine names my Ladies. Lady Ezmaraldo with the fine brown hair and Lady Armadalla with the beautiful black hair.'

'Do not attempt to become over familiar,' Armadalla cautioned him sternly, 'but you may call us Lady Arma and Lady Ezma, given the intimacy we have already shared, I suppose.'

'Well thank you my Ladies,' Edrig said with a slight bow of his head, 'and yes... intimacy... I do believe we have met before actually, unless you have very similar looking sisters.'

'Yes we have met,' said Ezma, 'on your night of interrogation.' And both Ladies managed a weak smile before Arma gave a big fat wink of a big dark eye and said, 'You were alright actually, both of you, when the testosterjuice had fully kicked in.'

Edrig shuddered a little, but managed to smile and say, 'Thank you again my Lady. Thank you.'

Adrig then began the procedure of trying to persuade the Ladies to leave the pod, while Adm had been following this exchange of unintelligible high-pitched screeching with some impatience, awaiting any information in the language that he could understand..

'We could decontaminate our exteriors out there,' Adrig suggested to the Ladies, 'and that would make it less hazardous for you to be in contact with us. I do believe there is a little stream not far from where we have arrived, if my memory of our previous visit is correct. And you could decontaminate the outside of your suits, perhaps, although I suspect it will all be relatively harmless, considering that Adm here has survived and thrived in it for many years.'

'You talking about me?' asked Adm, noticing a nod of the head towards him.

'Yes my friend. Please forgive but we have to talk in our own language to the Ladies. I am trying to persuade them to get out.'

'I'm off out now,' said Adm. 'Looks nice.'

And with that announcement, Adm pulled his muscular young frame in its furry brown covering out through the hatch and began to stretch and breathe heavily outside.

'Good. Sunshy. Good,' he called back towards the inside of the pod.

'Sunny, I think you mean,' Adrig called out in correction.

'Well sunny. Good. Nice.'

The Ladies looked out at Adm's lower torso and muscular legs, somewhat admiringly, Edrig thought.

'I do think it would be best to get out,' he told them, 'After all, this pod has malfunctioned once. It could be in an unstable state. It may decide to go anywhere. Somewhere worse. This place is good. Good until we get rescued.'

'But there will be people out there. Primitives. Ugh...' said Ezma.

'Actually they are much more civilized than you may suspect my Lady, and they might help us.'

'Help us?'

'Yes... Eh... Their police, perhaps...'

'Police?'

'Perhaps... Until we get rescued. Your suits will have tracking chips, I'm sure, and somehow or other even Adrig and I were monitored, though we only have these furs on.'

'Hah... Chips under your skin this time my lad, I believe,' Ezma revealed. 'Yes, we will get rescued.'

And so the Ladies were persuaded to leave the pod and investigate what Sample 717 had to offer.

And what it had to offer initially was a sunny morning and an opportunity to wash in a fast-flowing little stream that Adm had waded into, just twenty paces or so from the pod. And the two Ladies watched intently as Adm boldly pulled off his furry gown and sat down naked into the cold water, shouting out meaningless yelps as he did so.

'Hah! Cold eh?' remarked Adrig, having helped the Ladies out and then pulled himself from the pod, leaving only Edrig inside.

The Ladies could not understand what Adrig had said, but in her own language Ezma muttered, 'Probably cold but not cold enough to diminish that young primitive's magnificence eh?' And she gazed at the bathing Adm.

'Indeed not,' replied Arma. 'Indeed not.'

And then Adrig ventured to sit down in the water too, without removing his fur gown, while the Ladies pulled their suits down to their waists and reached down inside to pull out their absorbency pads which they quickly hurled into the woods nearby.

'Oh Big! Oh Biggy...' Adm said quietly to himself, for the Ladies he was now looking at were revealed to be naked beneath their suits. And then he said 'Biggy' to himself a few times more as the Ladies hauled their silvery suits off with some difficulty and sat down in the water downstream from Adm and Adrig.

The Ladies did not shout or shiver at the cold, for their plentiful fatty covering made it feel almost warm to them, after an initial brief jolt of coldness to the skin.

Edrig meantime, was outside of the pod but looking inside at the bumble bee still buzzing around and bouncing off the various lit-up screens and buttons. And not for the first time in his life he decided to act without too much thinking, as he reached in, pressed Auto-Return, and pulled his hand out quickly before turning and walking towards the others.

'Why did you do that?' Adrig demanded, in 717 English, as the pod began to hum and dematerialise.

'Do what?'

'You didn't do it?'

'I think it did it itself,' Edrig claimed, as the pod disappeared into the spear of bright light that shot up into the high blue sky and then was gone.

'It must have Auto-returned itself,' he shouted in his own language at the rather astonished ladies who had turned to witness the sudden departure. 'But... That could be good... They will know where it came from. They will find us.'

'Yes,' shouted Adrig in the words that the Ladies would not understand. 'Yes, and that could be bad eh? Why did you do it? Did you do it?'

'Eh...'

'You did, didn't you?'

'Eh...'

'Yes. You did.'

'Well anyway,' Edrig said, avoiding the question. 'Who knows what's for the best eh?'

'Not you my boy. Certainly not you.'

'Have you thought of the problems if the police found it?' Edrig asked quietly.

'Oh...' said Adrig. 'But... Have you thought of how it might have helped us if the police could find it?'

'No, I...'

'Still my boy. Still... Who knows eh?' And then they were forced to turn their attention to the Ladies' demands for explanations and plans, barked out towards the men as the Ladies rinsed their suits in the water and put them on again.

Adm, meantime, was standing covered up again in his own freshly rinsed furry gown, gazing up in the sky at the point into which the pod's beam of light had disappeared.

And inside the pod, somewhere out there in the land of interdimensional and interstellar limbo, a befuddled bumble bee was still buzzing around... until it bumped rather heavily into a touch-sensitive screen, which immediately began to scan through numbers.... until the bee bumped rather heavily again into the selector symbol beside the numbers while the display was showing '621'.

A Lady Lord on 717?


and talking to Adrig? Or do my eyes deceive me as much as my mind does?

yM middled mund

I don't know why I bother stating on this blog how regular or irregular posts of whatever nature may be, because there is a monkey in my mind that keeps messing about with my priorities, much like this monkey on the top of an information board in Dundee, whose messing around with "Information" always amuses me greatly, as well as making me seek possible deeper meanings within. And he seems to be conveying a debatable message in the Scots language too.


And there is that imp in my mind as well, who keeps whispering the latest adventures of Adrig and Edrig and others as yet unpublicised to me, and with the monkey and the imp playing havoc all the time it is a wonder that I ever manage to convey a pretence of sanity at all. And maintaining that pretence is not easy while keeping up the monthly howling at the moon too:


And whatever other priorities I have, and I do... the imp keeps insisting that there are things I should report sooner than intended. Sigh... I think I will be banning myself from ever attempting to predict what will happen next, on this blog, or in my mind, or anywhere else... But looking back,  I do know that it has been a strange week, so far.

16/10/2013

Seeking sleep

Counting sheep... One, Two... One, Two... One, Two...


Back next week, I hope

Back again

This is the last episode, at least for a while, in the first draft further adventures for the lads from Report on Sample 717, following on from here... The rest may eventually appear in a new book.

The Ladies came back to consciousness, and gasped.

Adm looked at their faces, now fully revealed, and muttered, 'Uh... Big.'

'Ah yes,' agreed Edrig, 'Big and round eh?'

And the Ladies were not exactly grateful for having been rescued, as they soon made clear with their chirping.

'Now we are contaminated, and the smell in here is awful. Perhaps we were just sleeping.'

'No, you would have been dead, my Ladies,' declared Adrig with as much fake confidence as he could muster. 'Your atmosphere was all gone.'

'All your fault, this disaster. It's all your fault.'

'But you Ladies sent us there.'

'Still... All your fault. There will be punishments.'

'Or the atmosphere in the pod will run out, perhaps, and then we will all be dead. No punishments then.'

'Fix it!' the Lady with the bushy dark hair screamed, soon followed by the equally aggressive lady with the long brown hair screaming, 'Yes! Fix it!'

'This is, indeed, a pickle,' announced Edrig in 717 English.

'Oh do shut up,' Adrig told him, wearily.

'I like pickle,' Adm said... 'Best is buggy ferment of apple and fruit pickle though... Almost as good as beer.'

'Cider actually. I told you,' snapped Edrig, irritated.

'You say cider I say beer.'

'Oh shut up the both of you,' said Adrig, also irritated.

'Shut up and fix it!' screeched the ladies in their own language.

And that was when Adrig got to his feet and kicked out at the wall, very firmly.

Nothing happened, so he kicked again.

'Stop it!' shouted the Ladies, but just as they shouted out, he was already kicking again at a different location.

And that was when the pod started to hum.

Edrig was impressed, shouting, 'My goodness Adrig! You may have fixed it!'

The Ladies said nothing. They just looked at each other, but they looked pleased.

Above the shoulder of the Lady nearest to him, Adrig noticed a little screen had started shifting through numbers with what he thought might be a 'select' button flickering alongside it. Hmm... 660, 661, 662... And he also noticed that the Auto-Return button was flashing again, above and behind the Ladies' heads.

He waited, looking slyly across at Edrig, who was also watching the screen. Adrig raised his eyebrows and looked into Edrig's eyes.

'717 was okay,' Edrig said quietly in 717 English, 'Better than home, but... Oh... Decision time...'

And just a few seconds later when the number on the screen reached 717, Adrig pressed the button.

The screen went black, while the pod continued to hum.

'What are you doing up there?' The dark-haired Lady demanded of Adrig.

'Just trying to see if I can work out what is going on,' he assured her. 'Oh... I feel dizzy.'

'So do I,' said Edrig, 'Sit down man.'

So Adrig sat down, and soon all occupants of the pod lost consciousness.

And Adm was the first to regain consciousness, seemingly almost immediately when the pod had come to a halt. The first thing he noticed was a rather familiar scene on the large location screen, a scene of grass and trees with green leaves just turning towards Autumnal hints of yellow.

'Back home?' he called out, hopefully.

His voice stirred Edrig into opening his eyes and focusing on the location screen.

'Ah no, my friend, not home, but probably quite like your home only before the, eh... before the biggy booms.'

'Oh! Like before biggy booms. Wow.'

'That looks damn familiar,' came Adrig's voice in his own language, having sensed that the Ladies were stirring. 'It looks just like the place near the hill where we arrived with the Lady Lord.'

'Yes,' agreed Edrig, speaking loud for the benefit of the waking Ladies and any recording system that he remembered there might be. 'In Perth on 717. Perhaps the system locks on to places that we have already visited. Eh.... Oh, I don't know anything about it.'

'Anyway my boy,' said Adrig cheerfully, 'Things are looking up. This is much better than stuck in a broken pod.'

'Well, except we have no money, no credit card and only these damn stupid furry gowns to walk around in. Not even any, eh... sneaks for our feet.'

'Oh yeah... And we are not smelling too good either are we, rather soiled as we are. I think we need to find a river or a pond to wash in immediately.'

'Ah... so we are home then,' the awakened lady with the long brown hair chirped out with the dominant confidence of her voice returning.

'Eh... We don't think so my Lady,' Edrig informed her as he pointed at the screen. 'There seems to have been a location malfunction.'

'What!' screeched the Ladies together.

'Very strange my Ladies. Perhaps the pod just took us to the nearest location...or eh... or something. I don't know. But we seem to be on Sample 717, where Adrig and I have been before.'

'717? Where the Lady Lord died?'

'Eh, yes my Ladies.'

At this news, both Ladies pulled out their communifiers and began chirping into them while Adrig and Edrig looked on, wondering.

'Dead,' the bushy dark-haired Lady announced.

'Still dead,' the long brown-haired one confirmed.

'Oh dear,' said Edrig, faking disappointment. 'They route through the pod, eh... or do they? The pod is... well... I don't know anything about it.'

'Oh dear,' Adrig added, 'but perhaps they will trace you two with your tracking chips, or the pod's own tracking devices, or whatever else they use to monitor what is going on?' He was thinking fast, and in a muddle about what he had done.

'Oh yes,' muttered Edrig, in the 717 English that the Ladies couldn't understand. 'Oh dear and oh damn and oh yes. But still... who knows what's for the best.'

'Yes indeed. Who knows?' Adrig agreed.

15/10/2013

A well-timed walk




The atmosphere deteriorates

Further adventures after Report on Sample 717, following on from here...

Time passed slowly.

Edrig and Adrig spent much of it tutoring Adm in some of the key differences between their two languages.

'You are intelligent,' Edrig informed Adm at one point. 'You learn well.'

'I learn well,' said Adm, proudly.

They did what they could to inform Adm of the existence of many worlds, and of what had clearly happened to Adm's world in the older days, as he called them. And Adm told them that he had never witnessed the 'biggy booms', but had been told of them by his mother and father, who had been told of them by their mothers and fathers, and so on for a long way back. It was unclear how long. And he told of his own little group setting out from a larger group in the high hilly lands to explore what lay far down and across the plains.

'They not liked me and Eva much. Kinduv kicked out with some buds who come too.'

As they talked they drank a little from the water reserves in the pod and they nibbled at a few dry rations that were available. The Ladies remained resolutely sealed in their suits, sucking on their own internal supplies until they were almost done, but eating nothing since that would require opening up their suits.

'Plenty fat on them to sustain them for a few years,' Edrig commented at one stage, and the three men laughed.

Then came the moment when Adm said, 'I need shit.'

'Ah yes,' responded Edrig, 'I have been thinking of that issue myself. There are no facilities because we are supposed to be unconscious for most of the journey with our bodily functions in a shut down state, and we are certainly not meant to be in here for as long as it seems we may be.'

'I do need shit. Or, eh... wait... No... I do need to do shit. Yes. Is that better?'

'A somewhat better sentence construction my friend, but no improvement in the situation. Well anyway, you will just have to do a shit then, and so will we if we need to, and possibly pees too.'

'Pees?'

'Piss?'

'Ah... Pishings... Yes. Pishings too.'

So as the Ladies looked on, Adm squatted in the corner with his ragged fur gown across his knees, and released his dual cargo onto the pod floor just as Adrig was casting his eyes around for some container that might help.

'Oh my goodness,' declared Adrig, as the aroma reached him.

'Dear me,' added Edrig, grimacing.

The Ladies, in their sealed suits, just quietly shook their heads.

'Oh. He could have used the evacuation compartment to send it the same way as the stunners,' Adrig suggested, not having found any container. 'Oh well. Too late now. And even more messy to try to deal with it that way now. We should have thought of that.'

'It is too late now for many things we maybe should have thought about a bit more, my man,' said Edrig with a sad voice.

'Indeed, my boy. Indeed. That is the way life goes, is it not?'

'It's certainly the way our lives seem to go.'

'Much gooder now for me but,' said Adm with a smile.

And time passed...

After what seemed like at least one his own world's whole days the floor of the pod was rather moist and one corner had accumulated the biological waste of three males. The suited Ladies at least had the advantage of internal absorbent pads, but they had seemed to be sitting rather uncomfortably for a while.

In the middle of one of the continuing conversations among the men, it was Adm who eventually noticed that the Ladies had slumped and apparently lost consciousness.

'Eyes closed. Not moved for long time,' he declared, pointing at them. 'Gone? Just eh.. sleepings maybes?'

'Oh damn,' said Edrig, 'We better open the suits up.'

'Us have to?' Adm asked.

'I don't know... Two dead Ladies to explain away though... If not dead already... Or just sleeping? Does this pod record things, by the way?'

'I doubt it. Not a prison pod. Maybe though... But I think we have to open them up,' said Adrig.

'So do I,' agreed Edrig. Then he shouted out, 'Of course! Definitely! We must save our Ladies!' And this sudden burst of apparent enthusiasm and devotion caused Adrig to roll his eyes.

'Don't,' said Adm firmly, but by then Adrig and Edrig were already ripping at the seals around the necks of the suits and pulling off the head masks.

14/10/2013

Another pickle

Further adventures after Report on Sample 717, following on from here...

A short while after departure Adm began to regain consciousness, which puzzled Edrig because every other time he had traveled in this way all passengers had lost consciousness, and as Adm began stirring, the pod ceased to make its operational hum.

'That's strange,' he said towards the silver-suited Ladies. 'I think something may have gone wrong.'

'Why?'

'Because we are not losing consciousness and the pod has stopped humming.'

'Oh.'

Edrig detected concern in the voice. A little fear even.

'Where am?' said Adm, sitting up against a side wall and eyeing the ladies suspiciously, and somewhat drunkenly while rather bemused by the sound of the others talking in their own language.

Both Ladies pointed their stunners at him and one said, 'Quiet!', which arrived just as an unintelligible screech in Adm's ears.

Adm looked aggressively towards the stunners.

'Yes, I do believe we may be stopped,' offered Adrig. 'Was this planned?'

'Stopped where though?' said Edrig, looking at the location screen and seeing only black. No stars. Nothing.

'Stopped in the middle of nowhere. In limbo perhaps. I think we may have broken down.'

The Ladies were silent, although they did cast a quick glance at each other through their masks.

Adm was in no mood to be shouted at, whatever was being said, and was still somewhat enboldened by his early morning drinking.

He looked at the two stunners that had been pointing at him in the cramped and dim compartment, noticed that they were now rather loosely held in hands that had gone somewhat limp, and so with the primitive athleticism of a young brave man he pounced across and grabbed one stunner in each hand before the Ladies had a moment to even realize that he was coming at them.

Much screeching ensued from all four superior beings as Adm looked around for somewhere to place the stunners out of harm's way, judging that whatever they were he was unlikely to be able to operate them.

While the screeching continued, Adm noticed a small open compartment in the side wall that appeared to be hinged at the bottom. He threw the stunners inside and slammed it shut then sat with his back against it.

The superior beings fell silent and looked towards Adm while a soft whooshing sound could be heard behind him.

The Ladies screeched some more at this development.

Adrig managed a smile alongside his generally rather astonished appearance.

'Oh,' he said in 717 English, 'You appear to have evacuated the stunners out to the exterior, wherever that is.'

'Out to Eva?' Adm asked.

'Ah... No... Not out to Eva. Whatever is out there now I am fairly sure that it is not Eva.'

'Huh?'

'I'll explain later.'

Then the Ladies began screeching at Adrig and Edrig, but with a clearly growing nervousness in their voices.

'What are you saying to him? Speak in words we understand? What has he done? He's in big trouble now.'

Adrig looked at them and began to speak in his own language rather calmly.

'Well we may all be in big trouble now, my Ladies, for we appear to be stuck. I suggest we give our attention to that issue first. And I also suggest you open your suits before their atmosphere supply runs out.'

'Our suits? But you are all contaminated!'

'Better to be a little contaminated than to run out of atmosphere to breathe, my Lady, may I suggest?'

'But...'

'How long will it last if you keep it sealed? I am only concerned for your safety, of course.'

'I don't know.'

'Hmm... Presumably long enough for the planned journey home though, or had that not been thought about? Hmm... Well that's going to become a dilemma then, if we are stuck here much longer, or forever.'

'A pickle,' said Edrig.

'Ha yes, My boy. A pickle for them and a pickle for us, that's for sure. But their pickle may become a crisis for them before our pickle does. The pod carries enough atmosphere to endure significant malfunctions, but these sealed suits. I just don't know.'

'Damn you for getting us into this!' one of the Ladies screeched.

'But you lot sent us there my Lady, and anyway, why did you come to get us so soon? Half an orbit, we were told.'

'We thought there was nobody left there, but then you ended up round a warm fire watching dancing naked women.'

'Oh,' Edrig said to Adrig in 717 English, 'I do think they may be jealous!'

'Don't speak like that!' the Lady doing most of the talking commanded. 'Speak so that we can understand.'

'Why let them shout at you?' Adm interjected.

'Well,' said Edrig, turning to Adm, 'It's eh... compaycated. But... with no stunners, you do have a point.'

'Three of us, and me strong,' said Adm.

'Speak in our language!' a Lady screeched.

The thing was, however, as Edrig contemplated, that if they got home they would have to account for their actions to all the big muscly Ladies, with all their stunners and stinger sticks and everything else at their disposal. But would they get back? Yes. Rescue would come, surely?

Just then the pod juddered.

'Ah...' said a Lady, hopefully, but then everything fell silent again.

'Is it trying to fix itself?' Adrig suggested, 'Or are they trying to get to us? May I suggest your communifiers my Ladies?'

'Ah... Yes... Of course. And he is in big trouble,' said a Lady, while pulling a communifier from the wall and starting to speak into it.

But it was dead. Broken. Just like the pod seemed to be. The Auto Return button was not lit up, and did not respond when one of the Ladies gave it a push.

'Who are they?' asked Adm, nodding at the Ladies. 'And who are you?'

'Ah my friend. My new friend,' Edrig began, 'What can I say...'

'Speak in our language!' a Lady screeched again. It was difficult to work out which one was speaking with their distorted voices coming out through a mechanism embedded in their suits.

'I am trying to explain to him why it is not a good idea for him to fight you, my Ladies,' Edrig told them, in his own language. 'After all Ladies, look at him, he is very powerful.'

'But he wouldn't dare!' a Lady's voice said.

'Oh yes he would my Lady. Look at what he did to the stunners. He comes from a very different land from our one. He could kill you if he wanted to.'

'What! Is that a threat?'

'No, no, no, not at all my Lady,' said Edrig deferentially. 'I need to speak to him to try to dissuade him from hurting you. To try to explain to him what life is like in our world, where the Ladies are in charge. And quite right too, of course.'

The Ladies fell silent.

'Good job my boy,' said Adrig, in 717 English.

'Well tell him to behave or he is dead on arrival... or at least shortly after arrival,' a Lady announced, but with some uncertainty in her voice.'

'If we ever arrive,' muttered Edrig.

'Okay,' said Edrig to Adm, back to speaking in 717 English. 'What can I say? Briefly, my friend, there are many worlds other than your one and we are from one of them, and these Ladies are in charge there.'

'What! Why?'

'A good question. But it is the way it is and always has been. Look at their size compared to me. They are big, strong, and they have all the eh... weapons under their strict control.'

Adm was silent, clearly pondering.

'We should fight,' he announced.

'That would not be wise, given that we are likely to have to explain our actions when we get back to our place. If we do,'

'Fight and go another place?'

'I don't know how.'

'Hmm... Very odd. You peeps... Did you make biggy booms of older days?'

'Ah no my friend, that was your own peopl... eh, your own peeps. Your older peeps.'

'Oh...'

Silence fell upon the pod. No words, no humming of machinery, although some lights were still flickering on the console.

'What do we do?' a Lady finally asked. 'You men make things and you fix things. So what do we do?'

Adm just looked at the screeching silver suits with some obvious contempt.

'We cannot fix anything my Lady... My Ladies,' Adrig informed them. 'We are not engineers. We just need to wait and hope that the engineers are aware of our predicament and can fix it remotely, or can come and rescue us, or... if all else fails I could try banging bits of the walls and the console.'

'You don't know how long our suits have atmosphere?'

'No... not at all, but look at us, we seem okay.'

'You are contaminated.'

'We have robust chromosomes.'

'You are contaminated.'

'Oh well then my Ladies, you'll just have to wait and hope. Oh... and do give us instructions for what to do if you lose consciousness due to your suit atmospheres running out.'

'You must save us. That is an order.'

'Well of course my Ladies, but then we would have to open your suits.'

'But you are contaminated.'

'But we are alive my Lady. Which would you prefer? Dead in your suits or contaminated in the pod, for at least a few days longer?'

'Are you enjoying this?'

'Not at all my Lady, not at all.'

Tree time

07/10/2013

A change in frequency

Due to some events that are entirely welcome, activity on this blog is likely to become significantly less frequent for a while and my blog-visiting and commenting may be similarly affected.

A morning surprise

Further adventures after Report on Sample 717, following on from here...

Weariness eventually overcame them and they fell into a disturbed sleep, wakening suddenly in daylight to the sound of a wild commotion outside.

'Peeps! More peeps. From the sky!'

Adrig and Edrig sat up together and then hesitated about going out to investigate.

'Peeps from the sky, my lad, sounds rather like our kind of peeps, eh?'

'You think so? Already?'

'I think so lad. And I hope so. Oh... Or do I?'

'Should we be looking? Or hiding? Or...'

Just as the commotion from outside gave way to a troubling silence, two figures appeared in the bright rectangle of the ruined doorway. Two bulky figures in metallic protective suits holding what could immediately be recognized as stunners from home, and they were pointing the stunners directly at Adrig and Edrig.

'Up and out, now!' came the command from the voice of two Ladies from behind the protective masks.

'But?'

'Now!'

And so the rather bemused duo, both feeling fear mixed with some small degree of hope and relief, stood up and followed the lead of the Ladies, out of the doorway and into the clearing in the woodland amongst the high ruins.

The survivors were gathered around the remains of the previous evening's fire, all looking very puzzled and with Adm standing out a little at the front of the group. They had all been shocked into silence.

About twenty paces from the doorway there stood a large black transporter pod, still humming gently, with its hatch open and green lights flickering on the console inside.

'In!' commanded the Ladies.

'What the? Where going?' Adm shouted out, still holding a drinking vessel that was spilling some of the fermented apple brew.

'Shush,' a female voice called out to him, 'Yuh've been supping. Eva shud not allow supping in early day. Eva! You shud not let drink in early day!'

'Where going?' Adm repeated, walking forwards towards the group of superior beings as they headed towards the pod. 'Stop!'

'He does appear to be somewhat drunk this morning,' Edrig muttered to Adrig, 'Early morning drinking. And they appear to be blaming that on Eva. Interesting.'

'And we appear to be heading homewards my boy, which is also very interesting.'

'Shut up!' commanded one of the Ladies, and then she turned towards the still advancing Adm.

'Oh my, don't you look such a sexy young thing eh?' she told him, but since all of the words from the Ladies were in their own high-pitched language, Adm had no idea whatever about what was being said.

'We could make good use of that one, since he seems so keen to join us,' the second Lady suggested.

'Oh... Could we? I like your way of thinking. My goodness he looks a fit strong boy.'

By now Adm was very close, and his demeanor was aggressive, and so both Ladies turned directly towards him, raised their stunners and screamed 'Stop!', a command that sounded only like an owl screeching to Adm. So he did not stop. So he received the blast of two stunners in his midriff. So he immediately collapsed to the ground.

Two other men of the group approached as if to rescue their colleague, but stopped as soon as the stunners were raised towards them.

'Get this sexy primitive inside the pod,' one Lady said to Edrig and Adrig, and they immediately did so, dragging his limp body to the hatch and heaving it inside.

'Nooooohhhhhhhhh,' cried the survivors.

'Don't worry! Don't worry!' Adrig called back, for he could think of nothing else appropriate to say.

'Get in fools!' the Ladies demanded, and soon all four of them were inside the pod beside the helpless Adm unconscious on the floor.

The hatch was closed. The pod began to hum, and then to the amazement of the watching group in the clearing it dematerialized into a bright beam of light that shot upwards towards the clouds and then was gone.

'This,' said Adrig to his companions, 'will become the stuff of legend down there, if these people manage to survive and thrive and breed onwards and multiply. Ha ha!'

'Hmm...,' offered Edrig, 'A man called Adm under the influence of a heady apple brew, and apparently as a result of the encouragement or at least with the collusion of a woman called Eva... That sounds strangely familiar to me, although I am not sure why.'

'Ha! Yes! Very similar to a 717 legend my boy. Yes. Strangely familiar indeed.'

'Shut up!' said one of the Ladies, sternly.

And the pod spun on...

Nearly home again



06/10/2013

Hard rain

Further adventures after Report on Sample 717, following on from here...

The situation deteriorated significantly when the rain began to fall, sending the survivors, as Adrig had named them, hurrying to erect a few small shelters constructed from tied animal skins propped up on joined branches.

There was barely enough room for all twenty-three survivors in the shelters, and so amid a little awkwardness Adrig had pointed towards the nearby shell of a building and indicated that he and Edrig would retreat to there, even though there was only a small area of dusty concrete that was not accumulating puddles.

Adm followed shortly afterwards and seemed keen to ask some questions, beginning with, 'So wherr frum? No more peeps with? No eats? And odd words. Odd speaky.'

Ah... What to say in answer to that? Where had they come from and how had they happened to be slumped against a wall on the top floor of the tallest building in a ruined city. An awkward issue.

'Far,' said Adrig, while Edrig wondered about details.

'In noh sneaks?' inquired Adm, with what Edrig felt was a certain suspicion developing in his voice as he examined their feet, having perhaps already noticed how soft and uncalloused they were.

'Compaycated,' Adrig offered, trying to learn and mimic the words he had heard Adm use earlier.

'Sometimes it may be best just to tell the truth,' Edrig whispered to Adrig, 'because they won't believe it and will just dismiss us as harmless nutters.' As agreed, they continued to speak to one another in Sample 717 English, because communicating their own high squeaky tongue would surely be too risky.

'Nutters?' Adm asked immediately, having picked up more than Edrig had hoped.

'Yes. Nutters,' confirmed Edrig, 'but from another place.'

'Escapey peeps?'

'Eh... No... not exactly escaped but... well... we were left here.'

'Left? You bad peeps?'

'No. No. No... Not bad peeps, but eh, left... abandoned... lost.'

'Ah... lost,' said Adm, frowning and appearing to be thinking. Then he said something very interesting.

'We need man seeds for babes. Girlies want babes. Only some manage babes with us. Is odd. We need noo man seeds... but not bad peeps or nutters seeds.'

'Oh...' said Edrig and Adrig, almost simultaneously.

'We think, eh?' Adm appeared to suggest.

'Eh yes... We can think about it eh? If that is what you mean.'

'We think... We see... Sleepy peeps now.'

'Eh yes, we will try to sleep.'

And that remark from Edrig prompted Adm to depart towards one of the shelters.

But although they were quite drunk from the brew, the two stranded superior beings found it difficult to sleep, huddled as they were on a dry patch of floor in a cold dusty shelter with much on their mind.

'Well that's an offer to ponder my lad eh?' said Adrig, quietly.

'Yes it is old man. Yes it is. But...'

'But?'

'Just...'

'Just?'

'Well... Would you want to bring any child of yours into this?'

'Ah... I see what you mean my young friend, and I admire your concern for the consequences of the actions that I am sure you would be most willing to undertake.'

'The actions yes. The consequences no. This is a bad place Adrig. A bad situation.'

'True, but is our place at home any better really? Or is any place? Would you want to bring any child of yours into any of the worlds that you have been to or have studied, really? Remember I have many children. You have none, unless that recent testoterjuiced orgy has started some. Hah! But I had no choice. The big brutes of our ladies... Well anyway. With choice? Would you? Would you really want to bring a child into this madness? Or into any madness?'

'It's a good question my friend. Perhaps on 717.'

'Yes, 717 was okay, at least in the rich lands.'

'Yes. Perhaps on 717.'

'But here?'

'Perhaps not. It's not a life for anyone now really is it? Scraping around in radioactive ruins or wild woods with radioactive rain falling?'

'But then they seem content enough.'

'They do. So far,' Edrig conceded. 'But still...'

'We may have no choice here either though.'

'Perhaps... And some nice ladies eh?'

'Yes. Nice ladies.'

'I'm cold.'

'So am I.'

'Here... come closer. A man hug even, eh? For warmth.'

'Perhaps my friend. For warmth.'

'Adrig...'

'Yes Edrig?'

'I am worried.'

'And so am I my boy. So am I.'

Night in the ruins

Further adventures after Report on Sample 717, following on from here...

Much later, deep into the dark night, Edrig and Adrig sat together on a convenient crumbling stone ledge protruding from the rough grass of a thickly wooded area in the middle of the ruined city, with crumbling and precarious high shells of ancient buildings rising into the darkness around them.

Their new companions had started a fire by skillfully scraping stones against the abundant dead wood that lay conveniently all over the place, and amid the loud crackling and spitting of combustion the high orange flames were erratically lighting the trees and bits of wrecked civil stone that jutted up beside them.

There were twenty three of these people, Edrig had counted, so twenty five beings around the fire in all, and so far as he could make out they were the only intelligent life in the entire place, accompanied only by the primitive sounds of little woodland creatures and the sparkling of stars in the gaps between dark clouds.

A large stone trough not far from the fire was filled with what seemed to be a thick sludge of fermented apples and a few berries.

'Beer', Adm had said while pointing at it and offering Edrig and Adrig small leather vessels with which to scoop up some of the foul-looking bubbly liquid and drink. All of their new companions were drinking, including the two small children and one heavily pregnant woman, so despite some reluctance both Edrig and Adrig had scooped up a little and prepared to take a sip.

'Technically cider,' I suspect, Adrig had pointed out to Edrig, to which Adm had just said, 'Huh' as he watched with an encouraging smile. Adm seemed a kindly man, Edrig was thinking, as he resisted the urge to gag at the stench of the brew. Indeed they all seemed very friendly and kindly, and he had quickly noted that there were more women than men. Just six men, two of whom looked very old, although Adrig had whispered that they looked rather like the prematurely aged victims of radiation poisoning.

'There may be an opportunity for us here you know,' whispered Edrig, as he nodded towards a few of the women who did not seem to be associated with any of the men, but Adrig was too preoccupied with the attempt to swallow some of the liquid, since a refusal to do so would surely offend.

'Consider this my boy,' Adrig said quietly to Edrig as they both held the vessels near their lips. 'Our chromosomes will be so much more resilient than theirs. Our enzymatic repair systems more robust. And our exposure to radiation will be much less than they have had to endure.'

'Yuh speek funny,' Adm observed, twisting his brow into a puzzled frown.

'Oh well then,' said Edrig, 'Here we go.'

And when they drank they found the liquid to be surprisingly sweet, and surprisingly tolerable, but also rather shockingly strong.

'Oh my goodness,' said Edrig, spluttering a little.

'Well, well!' Adrig managed.

'Gud! Well!' Adm declared, then pointed to the trough and offered, 'More then. More then.'

And after sitting down and finishing their first small portion, they did indeed quite soon return for more, and they also picked up some strips of something that looked like cooked meat that had been shown to them, and they drank a little from another trough that was filled with water.

After initially being very interested in them and coming up to look them over, the others all withdrew a little and left Edrig and Adrig to their own space on their own little stony bench.

'Let be till when,' they heard Adm announce, with a tone that suggested he might be in some sort of command, or at least in a position of respect. 'Let set,' he then added. 'Let set in.'

And so Edrig sat beside Adrig once again, as Adrig sat beside Edrig, on a sort of a bench and drinking a sort of beer, not long after they had been sitting doing much the same in very different circumstances on Sample 717.

'This is alright you know, my lad,' Adrig began. 'That fire is lovely and warm and this drink is starting to really kick in.'

'Yes, my head is feeling it a bit now. Quite nice,' Edrig responded, 'but it is still another pickle, another big pickle, is it not?'

'Ach... a mere minor pickle compared to the pickle we might have been in with the Ladies and the Lady Lords back home. Drink up. And this is quite interesting really, all this ruined mess, you know, sociologically speaking... And you know, I am not at all sure that these fine people know what this place ever was. I was listening to some of them speak and managing to follow little bits of it. They seem to be in wonder at it all and they keep talking of the far high lands. I am not at all sure if these people have any idea of what a city is, or ever was. These, eh... survivors, perhaps... from the far high lands. Perhaps with more sturdy chromosomes too. There will always be survivors, at least usually, of those best fit to survive whatever befalls a large population.'

'Oh... Yes... It really is kicking in now. Quite lovely!'

'Are you even listening to me Edrig?'

'Yes. Yes. Very interesting. But this drink. This warm fire. Those few young ladies over there. Quite lovely.'

And just as Edrig spoke, one of the quite lovely ladies approached the edge of the fire, stuck a long sharpened wooden pole into the ground, and began to dance around it as everyone started to clap and chant.

'Oh... My... Good... God... Edrig... Look. She is pulling her gown off over her head.'

'Quite lovely,' sighed Edrig, as the dance and the evening moved on, and the naked dancing lady cast wierd and entrancing shadows against the trees and ruins around them.

05/10/2013

Still Tay

Contact

Further adventures after Report on Sample 717, following on from here...

Adm and Eva turned in the direction of Edrig's sneeze, gazed across the dusty chamber, and as Eva took a step backwards Adm shouted out, 'Peeps!', in obvious amazement.

Edrig looked at them, while Adrig was still looking in alarm at Edrig as a result of the sneeze.

'Peeps?' muttered Edrig. 'What the heck does peeps mean?'

In the meantime Eva had rushed over to the top of the stairwell and was screaming downwards. 'Peeps. Ther peeps up topped! Peeps!'

'Ah... I think they may mean people,' Adrig suggested quietly. 'A related language to 717 English perhaps, but not the same.'

'Are we locked onto some sort of rescue system?' Edrig asked, concerned.

'I doubt it my lad. Although I don't know. I suppose they must monitor us somehow as we're only meant be here for half of an orbit, but... Uh oh...'

Adm, who seemed a young and powerful man, was advancing carefully towards them, then he stopped about five paces away and looked down at the two slumped superior beings from afar.

'Ho peeps,' Adm said, and he gave a friendly little wave.

'Hello,' said Edrig.

'Hello? Whay Hello?'

'Oh... Perhaps I mean Ho, eh? Yes Ho.'

'Hah. Ho...' said Adm, while Eva had by then advanced to beside Adm, and then she said, 'Ho peeps.'

'Well this is going okay,' Adrig told Edrig, 'So far.'

'Sofa?' said Adm, with a puzzled tone.

'This,' said Edrig to Adrig, 'May not be easy. Indeed it may be rather complicated.'

Adm smiled at this. 'Compaycate,' he said with a grin. 'Hay yah. Compaycate. But Ho. Hip up?' and he offered his hand to Edrig to help him up, and Edrig accepted the offer and was soon standing and still feeling the firm grip of this stranger's hand on his.

Adrig had hauled himself to his feet also, and so the four beings stood there looking each other up and down. Adm and Eva were smiling, but Edrig and Adrig bore expressions of concern. All four were in similar deep brown roughly shaped fur gowns, but Adm's and Eva's were much more worn and battered than Edrig's and Adrig's rather shiny new ones.

'Gud,' said Adm, reaching out to feel Edrig's clothing while nodding his head approvingly, but then he looked down, pointed at Edrig's bare feet and declared, 'Uh... Noh sneaks.'

'No sneaks?' said Edrig, then looking at the rough leather bindings that covered Adm's feet he realized that shoes might be the issue.

'We have no sneaks,' he said to Adrig. 'I think we are going to need some sneaks.'

Adrig just looked bemused. 'I want to go home,' he told Edrig in a despairing tone. 'Or back to 717 with my credit card for a hotel and some blueberry muffins and coffee, and beer, and pole dancers.'

'Hah!' said Adm, his face lighting up. 'Poley dance?' And he gestured towards Eva who laughed and began to wiggle her hips and twist her torso from side to side. And she had rather slim hips and a rather well-endowed upper torso, as Adrig and Edrig had both noticed. She was like a rather lovely 717 lady, not a big horrible Lady from home.

'Good God!' exclaimed Edrig.

Adm frowned at this and waved his hand about as if to indicate the ruins all around them.

'Bad God,' he announced sadly. 'Or noh God... Biggy Booms of older days bust all.'

'Biggy Booms?' muttered Adrig quietly. 'Biggy Booms? Oh dear my boy, oh dear. I fear we may have arrived in a land after the nuclear phase went wrong. Went, eh... boom, as he says. And we may indeed be standing in rather radioactive dust.'

'Oh,' said Edrig. 'That doesn't sound too good.'

'No,' agreed Adrig. 'However... trying to be positive... we may also have found a pole dancer.'

At this Eva smiled another alluring little smile, flicked her long if rather lank and dusty brown hair, and gave them another wiggle of all that she had to wiggle at them, which was quite a lot.

'I don't suppose they have any beer though.'

Adm grinned and nodded vigorously.

'Beer,' he said, while pointing directly downwards. 'Beer in buggy basins down.'

'Oh... Though radioactive beer, I fear.' said Edrig. 'How long is half an orbit, I wonder?'

'It would be six months on 717,' Adrig offered while looking out of the window gap again towards the sky.

'It would be nice if the planetary dynamics of this one involved a faster spin.'

Prompted by the word 'spin', Eva began to spin on the spot, while smiling and laughing and wiggling and wobbling some more as Adm began encouraging her with steadily quickening clapping of his hands.

'She's lovely,' said Adrig.

'Yes lovely,' agreed Edrig.

'She's mine,' said Adm firmly, pointing at his chest.

Tree time

Topped tower

Further adventures after Report on Sample 717, following on from here...

Edrig was leaning against what seemed to be a dusty concrete wall, staring out through a ragged hole in the wall opposite with rusted and crumbling iron reinforcements protruding from its edges, and he was observing white clouds drifting slowly across a blue sky. A blue sky, he pondered. The same as on 717 then. Hmm...

He was cold and uncomfortable, which was unsurprising since his naked body was covered only by a roughly cut and scratchy animal fur which formed a sort of a gown that reached down to just beyond his knees.

Adrig, leaning against the wall beside Edrig, was similarly dressed, but he was looking sideways through a rectangular hole in the bare masonry that he took to be the remains of a window.

'I think we may be very high up,' Adrig murmured.

'Shhh,' Edrig commanded, 'I think someone is climbing up towards us.

And it was true, for the man who called himself Adm appeared at the top of what looked like a ruined stairwell about twenty paces from Edrig's worried face, walked over to the hole that Edrig had been looking through and looked downwards. He too was dressed in a roughly cut fur covering.

Adm and his few companions were the first to enter the city since its ruination, although they couldn't know that, and they had explored very carefully while happy to find a plentiful population of little creatures that they could capture often enough to keep them sustained. There was much more life here than in the high mountains they had grown up in. The old streets were now largely woodland, full of scurrying small things, beneath the population of soaring and fluttering birds. Nothing big though, strangely. No big cats, although they had spotted a few small ones that had been quick to run away.

It had been a long journey for Adm and his companions, from the high and hot lands into these more mellow places, enjoying increasing rainfall as they travelled, followed by many long days of creeping into the ruins, listening and looking for other people, but finding no sign. And then reaching the high but wrecked centre, and exploring a few lower levels of the buildings before beginning to climb cautiously up to where Adm then stood, at the highest point in the whole incredible conurbation. He could see three of his less adventurous companions far below, looking like tiny insects to him, and he waved at them and cried out 'Ho!', but could discern no response. Did they even know he had reached the top? He shouted out again with, 'Ho! Am topped!', but they showed no sign of hearing him, although a female voice that he recognised as Eva's called out, 'Neer up,' from a little way below.

The arrival of Adm and Eva had stirred up the seemingly ancient concrete dust that covered the floor.

The dust dissipated outwards and drifted towards Edrig and Adrig.

Then Edrig sneezed.