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Tuesday, 25 February 2020

LIFE AT COXBRIDGE AND LOS ALAMOS: ninth chapter of BRAIN GAMES ON QINSATORIX

                                                BRAIN GAMES ON  QINSATORIX

                                                           by Tom Leonard


                                                    FIRST  EIGHT CHAPTERS


                               Chapter 9: LIFE AT COXBRIDGE AND LOS ALAMOS



                                                                         

A CHILD IS BORN: eighth chapter of Brain Games on Qinsatorix

                                                               


                                                                                 






          to be continued

Saturday, 22 February 2020

SIR FRANCIS DRAKE AND THE WEST COUNTRY MEN, EVIL SLAVE TRADERS

I was born in Yealmpton in 1948, and brought up in Plymouth, where I attended Hyde Park Primary. I can remember Miss Hannaford, when I was about 9, extolling the virtues of the British Empire, and of Sir Francis Drake, one of the greatest explorers to sail out of Plymouth during the Elizabethan age. Three times Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Drake is honoured by a statue on Plymouth Hoe, close to a bowling green which is named after him. During my lifetime, I have heard lots of bad things about Drake, but I only just learnt from my flatmate what an utterly evil slave trader he was. (Along with Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir John Hawkins, Sir Richard Grenville, and Sir Walter Raleigh, and others known collectively as the West Country Men who conspired to found the beginnings of the British Empire). I'm not sure anymore as to whether I'm proud of the history of Plymouth.



                                                           




                                                       ARTICLE BY TIM VICARY


 Here is the evidence. In 1567 the young Francis Drake sailed to Sierra Leone in a fleet commanded by his cousin, John Hawkins. Here they bought, stole and captured some 500 African slaves which they transported to the Spanish Main and sold to Spanish colonists. But although the colonists were happy to buy the slaves, they were less happy about the vendor; their King, Philip of Spain, had made it very clear that English and French merchants should be kept out of his New World Empire, and treated as pirates.
                                                          DRAKE WIKI

                                                          BIOGRAPHY.COM

                                                          STUMU HISTORY MEDIA

                                                          HISTORIC UK

                                                          IMPERIAL PLYMOUTH

                                                          HISTORIC LANDMARKS

Although every location in Britain, however large or small, oozes history and heritage, there are not many places which can challenge Plymouth in the way that its history connects it to so much of the wider World. This is due to Plymouth's central role in Britain's maritime history and in particular the role of the Royal Navy and the Dockyards built to service it. For much of its history, Plymouth's fortunes have risen and to some extent fallen with the ebb and flow of Empire. Plymouth led the way in the initial and crucial phase of England's exploration and its search for new trading opportunities during the Tudor era. It served as a base to help defend the islands from becoming a colony of other powers, be it Spain, France or any other would-be invader. South West mariners were at the forefront of colonisation in the recently discovered New World lands of North America and the Caribbean. Geographically, the South West peninsular provided an ideal starting point for anyone wishing to travel across the Atlantic or further afield after marine technology opened up this new highway of trade, exploration and colonisation
                                                                         



England's first slave trader

The English chapter in the history of African slavery began in Plymouth and is remembered every year. Each year, African Remembrance Day pays homage to the millions of Africans who perished during 500 years of enslavement.
Held every year on 1 August, African Remembrance Day reflects on the lessons and challenges resulting from over 500 years of African enslavement.
It brings people together in mourning for those who perished during this painful period  in Africa's long and turbulent history.
Interestingly the English chapter in the history of slavery begins in Plymouth.
John Hawkins was England's first slave trader. In 1562 he sailed from The Barbican in Plymouth with three ships and violently kidnapped about 400 Africans in Guinea, later trading them in the West Indies.
A bound slave was Hawkins' crest
A bound slave was Hawkins' crest
Between 1562 and 1567 Hawkins and his cousin Francis Drake made three voyages to Guinea and Sierra Leone and enslaved between 1,200 and 1,400 Africans.
According to slavers' accounts of the time this would probably have involved the death of three times that number.
The pattern was consistent. Hawkins sailed for the west coast of Africa and, sometimes with the help of other African natives, kidnapped villagers.
He would then cross the Atlantic and sell his cargo, or those who survived the voyage, to the Spanish. The slave trade was better business than plantations.
Hawkins' personal profit from selling slaves was so huge that Queen Elizabeth I granted him a special coat of arms, which has a c.
He was appointed as Treasurer for the Navy in 1577 and knighted in 1588 by the Lord High Admiral, Charles Howard, following the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
For Hawkins, the trade ended in 1567 when his fleet, which included a ship commanded by Francis Drake, took shelter from a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. The Spanish were also there. In the chaos and fight that followed, many of his men were killed.
Remembering African ancestors
Remembering African ancestors
Hawkins escaped in one ship and Drake in another. He'd lost 325 men on that voyage but it still showed a financial profit.
However, slavery continued after Hawkins and, although banned in England in 1772, it continued in the colonies until the 19th century.
In Plymouth there are numerous public monuments to his achievements, including Sir John Hawkins Square.
While Plymouth has publicly remembered John Hawkins as 'England’s first slave trader', there are no public monuments to the thousands of Africans killed and enslaved by Hawkins and Drake - nor the millions who perished in the period that followed.
African Remembrance Day pays homage to those who perished and those who survived.
Portrait of Sir John Hawkins (1532–95)
16th century oil by unknown artist
Copyright National Maritime Museum

Friday, 7 February 2020

THE THREE WISE OLD COUNTS STICK THEIR OAR IN: Seventh Chapter of BRAIN GAMES ON QINSATORIX


                                                BRAIN GAMES ON QINSATORIX

                                                           by Tom Leonard



                                                      FIRST SIX  CHAPTERS

                                         
               CHAPTER 7: THE THREE WISE OLD COUNTS STICK THEIR OAR IN
                           

                                                             




 And there ahead of them went the star they had seen at its rising, until it stopped at the place where the child lay. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage.Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


On New Year's Eve 2712, Dirk and Tamzin Eradacus held a grand party in their baronesque mansion by Lake Akhenaten in Trivoli, the City of Lanterns, a party fit for purpose for a Foreign Secretary and his pregnant indentured wife. Even the smarmy First Minister was in attendance, with his largely silent Talking Koala spouse, though the elderly Emperor and Empress sent their apologies from their tortoise-shaped palace by Lake Nefertiti.

      Tamzin was very nervous at putting in an appearance, since she feared that she would be lacking in etiquette due to her upbringing. She thought that she would be out of sink with all the guests and very likely to say the wrong thing, She however felt that she was in some sense superior to the entire lot of them, since they'd got there by exploiting hard working people while selfishly enjoying the luxuries of life. She didn't know what the word 'socialist' meant, and simply assumed she was thinking common sense.

      Tamzin became ever increasingly bored listening to an impassioned lady from University Heights rambling on about her favourite brand of herring-bone corsets. And she was very irritated when a handsome, swaggering Icarian tried to tell her all about the biological idiosyncrasies of the multi-fanged kamikazi dragon.

      However, Tamzin was fascinated when one of the guests, an elderly, bearded astronomer from Ur-in-the-Chaldees, held forth about the intricacies of the forthcoming double eclipse of the two moons with the Aton Sunstar, which was to occur on 3rd. August 2713. But Tamzin was about to inquire about the potential psychological effects of the changes in the forces of gravity, when Dirk's overbearing gibbon-faced mother tactlessly remarked that 3rd. August was her daughter-in-law's (Tamzin's) due date, plus or minus twenty-four hours, and wouldn't it be auspicious if her seventh grandson was born during the double eclipse?

      Tamzin felt embarrassed by that part of the conversation, and retreated to her tiny box room in the rafters to pray. And she had every good reason for praying. She begged Yahweh that the stroppy, judgemental Apollo Lettuce maternity doctor at Sunrise University Hospital would keep to her promise and not let on to her husband that she was expecting twins, quite apart from the dreadful rest of it.

      Later on, Dirk saw the bearded astronomer plotting deviously in the corner of the drawing room with his two decrepit, even older travelling companions from the City of  Ur. Dirk was perhaps unduly perplexed as to what they might be conspiring about, and, being a touch paranoid, he told the Apollo Lion security guards to encourage the old dodderers to leave. Maybe my scatty boss has something to be edgy about, thought the craftier of the Apollo Lions, chewing his gum.


In the meantime, Dreyfus Dreadnought, feeling remarkably pear-shaped, was celebrating the New Year in Cymbeline Grotto Hall on the Isle of Caleb, where the students at Alpha-Omega Academy were enjoying a well-earned frolic. Dreyfus hadn't even seen a maternity doctor, and he was keeping his little secret to himself in the hope that it wasn't really true, The proud transgender Apollo Unicorn thought that while the other blokes might well tease him for being pregnant, they wouldn't suspect that he actually was pregnant. What he would do when the confounded little Sunkist plopped onto the bed-sheets was a problem which his mind couldn't even handle, and he therefore shoved further thoughts on the matter to the back of his uniquely structured head.

      Pippa saw Dreyfus moping in the corner and came up to console him.

      "Why don't you let me massage your big fat tummy, dearest one?" she suggested. "It'll be good for your digestion."

      "Do go ahead," replied Dreyfus. "It feels as if the Walrus Triads stuffed ten packets of Angel's Dust down my gullet."

      "Do fish them out," joked Slim. "Then we can all get high together."

       "Better not," said Pippa, with an eerie chuckle. "Heaven knows what I'd turn into. I might even feel the desire to tumble."

       At least Slim's not the daddy, thought Dreyfus, in relief.


As New Year's Day was a Saturday, the farmers from all around Dune County brought their produce and a colourful variety of household wares into Trivoli to sell from their stalls on the eight sidewalks surrounding the lawns in the Capitol Octagon. This was part of a major weekly social event, attended by a good many of the local bourgoisie. Bands would play, and acrobats would perform, and comedians fall about laughing amidst all the other activities on the luscious bluey-green grass that stretched between the sidewalks and the beautifully preserved Planet Capitol building at the centre of that celebrated public arena.




                                                                  





Tamzin Eradacus set off for the Farmer's Market in mid-morning, arm-in-arm with her big Apollo Gibbon husband and her uptight mother-in-law. I find it difficult to believe that I'm still human, she deliberated. Maybe I've turned into a chimp-chump, or even a morang-utang.

     While they were walking along the northern shore of Lake Akhenaten, platopyruses and quack ducks dived and splashed among the splat leaves, charorobins and squintfinches played in the palm trees that rose from the fizzy waters, and tiny otters leapt ashore and played games with the chumpmunks. But Dirk and his mother strode on regardless, eyes to the front, while Tamzin struggled to maintain the connections of her spirit with the feelings of nature, and her sense of the everlasting influence of the pantheistic demi-god Merlinius who'd been ever present in her thoughts since early childhood (Tamzin's impoverished parents had also worshipped Qianquiz, the Goddess of Fertility and Light during playful blood-letting ceremonies in the woods near her home in Bethlehem).

      "If  I'd lived in olden times, then maybe I'd have been a green witch," Tamzin said, out loud, but neither her husband or.mother-in-law took any notice.





                                                                               
         
                                                                                                                                                    
      They entered the Old City through the medieval Arch of Triumph from the east and proceeded along  High Fleancegate passed the Jorvik Arms and until they reached the lofty Cathedral of St Basil of Confucia. When they turned sharp right, the mighty dome of the Planet Capitol building loomed even higher above them, and they found themselves struggling among crowds of diverse humanoids and sub-humanoids as they entered the universally revered Capitol Octagon.

       Tamzin's mother-in-law bought a small packet of Rosemary at a herb stall operated by a bearded Prolak who sold his wares all around Dune County and beyond, from his family herb farm near Wyalusing and the confluence of the mighty Dnieper with the Treblefish. Pippa set her eyes on a dazzling emerald brooch at a jewellery stall, but her husband told her it was too expensive,

       Tamzin was still trying to hide her disappointment, and her irritation, when they bumped into a bumbling parliamentary whipper snapper who told Dirk that the First Minister would welcome a brief chat on the nearby steps of the Capitol building.

      "Not that boss-eyed twerp again!" muttered Dirk, under his breath, and the whipper snapper smiled gleefully and trotted off wagging its tail.

      Tamzin listened to everything that was said between the First Minister and Foreign Minster that morning, and was most perturbed by most of what she heard..

      The First Minister snorted, rubbed his noise with an off-white handkerchief and expressed some serious concerns. "Hummings and  I are most disturbed at the way our high class golden Icarian brethren on Ceres and Gallium are being enslaved and mistreated by the stupid Grottzappers and inane Psychlops. They seem to think that we're the inferior species, and I do believe that they're practising Eugenics in reverse! Social murderers! That's what I say.--- Social murder? Now that's a neat expression. I'll start using it in my public speeches."

      Tamzin thought that the anarchist 'Evil Eyes' Hengels had coined the term 'social murder' when she was a child, but appreciated that she might have be mistaken.

     "Yes indeed, First Minster," replied Dirk, with due courtesy, "and we should always follow Hummings' penetrating advice even if the scumbag is out of Basin Street. The A.I. boffins on Daedalus created both those ghastly species a few centuries back by rewiring their primeval antecedents. That may be why both species have developed ridiculously exaggerated senses of their own superiority."

      "That's only too true. But divide and rule! That's what I say. Isn't that a neat turn of phrase? Why don't we try to split their alliance and spark off a Q.I.A.-style 'conflagration'  that would kill off the whole bluddy lot of them? Please put this on the agenda for your next meeting with your junior ministers."

       Tamzin recalled a newscaster once saying that the term 'Divide and rule!' had been introduced by Baldric Ballflower in 2617 when he planted a colony of very worthy Diffids in the middle of Stashestan thus creating a North-South division between the two main rival tribes, but that's another story.

      "Great idea, First Minister," replied Dirk, with a condescending smirk, "but maybe we should consider a more diplomatic approach as a possibly feasible alternative.  We could offer these monsters a better trade deal, in return for fully restoring the civil rights of all Icarians on their planets. Indeed, I could take a delegation to Ceres and Gallium in a month or so and attempt to negotiate with the heathen scum."

       "What a wonderful conception!" backtracked the scatterbrained jackanape. "Yes! Indeed, my buddies Balthasar, Melchior, and Caspar are thinking along similar lines. You must have met them already. They were at your reception last night. They travelled in a camel train all the way from Ur in the Eastern Provinces to talk to me one more time."

       Dirk didn't want to say that he'd chucked the decrepit old men out of his house.
     
       "I--er--must have missed them," he lied."There were so many deeply insightful people at my party."

       "Ah well! You'll have an opportunity to meet the Counts of Belperville later! The Archbishop of Madron will be introducing them to the assembled masses. I understand that they have something highly illuminating, maybe even prophetic, to say."

       When the Eradacus's retreated onto the lawn, the children were playing Pookerbee and the jugglers performing their magical acts. Mrs. Eradacus Senior promptly pulled a flask out of her red bag, and they sat down on a memorial bench for a piping hot cup of tea.

        And then, at noon, the sounds of the blowing of trumpets rent the air, and the crowds directed their gaze towards the Palatine steps. When the Archbishop of Madron spoke into an old-fashioned shriek-speaker, Tamzin wondered how on earth the massive Apollo Frog could have made it with the lascivious Princess Royal during that sex scandal awhile back, and why on earth he still had the temerity to make public appearances.

      "I am honoured to introduce you all, my dear friends, to the Three Wise Men of Ur," announced the caecilian archbishop. "They wish to prophecy a happy event that will, in all likelihood, come to pass during the Double Eclipse in August. According to their mathematical calculations, they believe that the Green Comet of Baalat will pass between our beloved planet and the Inner Moon during the eclipse, and their calculations and prophecies have never proved wrong yet, according to our statistical records that is and they haven't been hacked in living memory. Indeed Balthazar is sometimes referred to as the Saint Isaiah Iscariot of the post-modern era. Now, I fully appreciate that some of Isaiah Iscariot's predictions were copied and pasted into the Old Testament after the Penultimate Supper, but it's a totally different story nowadays. So here he is; your very own Count Balthazar of Belperville! Don't forget to sprinkle the Holy Water, Ned."

      Count Balthazar was the least elderly and decrepit of the Three Wise Men. But when he rose to his feet he was greeted by a clutch of  unnecessarily rude catcalls and boos from the atheistic yobs in the crowd. He fluttered his hands in forgiveness, and when he spoke it was with a Sluvian-Girish lilt.

      "Unto you a child will be born," enunciated the count, without further ceremony. "He, the soul-son of Yahweh and Asherah,will be called Joshua and, unlike King Joshua Le Terrible who slew the blessed Arcsimoses in the desert, he will be blessed with the All-Seeing Spirit of the Invisible Eye. He will be born on this planet during the next Double Eclipse of the Inner Moon, the Outer Moon, and the Aton Sunstar in the very building on which the Green Comet focuses its rays."

        He's trying to predict that my slave-wife Tamzin will give birth to a Messiah," surmised Dirk. God damn the devious son of a bitch! My verbal-diarrhoeal mother should have kept her mouth shut  at my house party. She shouldn't have let on about Tamzin's due date.

       "Religious hogwash!" shouted a hoodlum from Dingwall, and the crowds applauded wildly.

       "And he will be called wonderful and a ruler of hearts and minds," continued the gravelly-voiced Count Melchior, without even batting an eyelid, "and he will set all humanoids and intelligent sub-humanoids free, and stop the climates of the eleven planets from causing eternal destruction and damnation for all."

       "Climate change is a feckin myth," shrieked a stout Apollo Komodo. "It's a fake rumour put about by the feckin Slutskyists."

       "And he will lead the sub-humanoids of Qinsatorix and intelligent humanoids on Ceres and Damien out of slavery," screeched Count Caspar, "and he will take the animals of the eleven planets to fertile pastures, and the birds and reptiles to a living Nirvana, and he will be called the Tenth Messiah. When he is born we will bring enough gold and frankincense to set him up for life, not to forget the myrrh. "

       "Why does it have to be a bloke?" howled a Pythonesque lady in a tight purple dress. "The first nine Messiahs were blokes. This is sexual discrimination!"

       "Because thus is the word of the Grand Creator," replied Balthazar, with a dark frown, "and he gets mighty ancy when he's feels he's being frustrated. Beware ye the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, ye stupid woman!"

        A hooligan from Strumpshire reacted to that unholy piece of verbiage by hurling three pebbles in  Balthazar's direction. As if by divine providence, the second one hit the old fool smack on his nose, and the third flew straight into his gaping mouth.

       "Heretic!" howled the hooligan, as the blood poured from the Count's face. "Sexist ! Death to the Sexist! Death to the heretics!"

       "Death to the heretics!" roared the crowds, in unison, showering the unfortunate speakers with pebbles, coins, plastic bottles, and pony dung.

      And the three wise counts staggered up the stone steps and into the Capitol building, in fear of their lives.

       The Eradacus's didn't quite know what to make of the prophecies, and they discussed and argued about them for weeks on end. Tamzin certainly didn't need any Messiahs in her family.


Pippa and Slim were planning to spend their Spring Break with Dreyfus in a log-cabin on Loch Dram, fishing for mega-trout. But their plans were thwarted when Headmaster Alistair McCull summoned them to his office opposite the music room at the top of the stairs. Slim was wearing three pairs of underwear, since he thought that he was about to get an old-fashioned leathering for neglecting to wear his school-tie in Assembly, and he was therefore quite relieved when McCull invited him and Pippa to sit down on the leather couch under the giant cactus tree.

      "The Foreign Secretary has just q-mailed me, suggesting that we provide you with some valuable unpaid work experience during the Spring Break," explained McCull, giving Slim the glad right eye. "He and Dr. Ket Martingale are leading a peace mission to Ceres and Gallium, and they'd like the pair of you to work as their special assistants. Now I do hope you're not going to goof up. The honour of the school is at stake."

      "But we were planning to go fishing on Loch Dram," complained Pippa, bitterly.

      "And I wanna complete my Pigthagorian Geometry project for my Celestial Mathematics class," whined Slim. "I don't wanna go."

      "Enough of your confounded cheek! Two of our remote controlled security guards will escort you to Edwards Space-Force Base on Sunday week. I'll instruct them to throw you in the hold of the copter if you show any more insolence."

      "Screw that!" howled Slim.

      The creepy headmaster grinned like a lynx, opened his desk drawer and whipped out a centuries-old cat-zinger.

       "Oh!"he exclaimed, with an evil gleam in his left eye. "I almost forgot, Mr. Quick. You copycatted your last homework, about Odysseus and the magic prism, didn't you?"

        "Not the bloody zinger again!" wailed Slim, sinking into his seat.

        "And it's a three moodyfeenal a day for each of you," added McCull, with a hint of a smirk. "It cuts down sleep and invigorates the mind, and there's only a small chance of your skin dropping off. If we used it on the proles, it would be worth two or three dead babies a year."

        Pippa thought that she would prefer the cat-zinger. Slim was glad when McCull relented and gave him some amisulphiride for his slurpy mouth instead of the cat.


Dirk Eradacus and Ket Martingale met in the hipsteristic Cardinal Cafe off the Capitol Octagon for a chat about their forthcoming peace mission to Ceres and Gallium. While Eradacus was a long-established politician, Ket's career since graduating in Fine Arts from the University of the Sunrise in Trivoli had been a chequered one. He'd worked on a zero hour, minimum wage contract selling books in Watersmith's before getting into an affair of the heart with a stern and very butch Professor of Keynesian Economics. After he'd played the spoilt house-husband in his alpha-plus-male spouse's mansion on Shorewood Drive for eleven years, Ket had picked up enough bits of Kahnesian Prospect Theory to be able to regard himself as a budding expert in Psycho-Economics, though how any of the Kahnemann-Tversky claptrap related to reality he didn't have a clue.

      Ket's sugar spouse, who was by then a much less butch, beta-minus-male, wisely financed his two year BBB (Bachelor's Degree in Big Business) at Nefertiti Tech (on the tiny Isle of the Genomes  in the middle of Lake Nefertiti). Ket passed with flying colours, with a minor in sub aqua diving, and was then appointed to the Planet Parliament as a lowly paid junior assistant, and everything had gone, give or take an occasional nose-dive, from there. He'd been promoted to his current position (Chief Economic Advisor to the First Minister) in 2710, and was suddenly a force to be reckoned with. He'd since made valuable incursions into other areas, for example by recommending hallucinogenic herbal tea for the ground troops. This made them less susceptible to pain, and highly aggressive.

       As Foreign Secretary, Dirk Eradacus was also the member of parliament for Trivoli North-East and Crieff, and the less said about the scandals in Crieff the better (a leading Lib Dem had hit the dust there in 2694, and the 'totty' in the 'Hotel de Grief'' had tempted many a fine politician to sow their oats during the years since). Dirk had first been elected to his constituency in AD 2695, on the third attempt, after working as Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Population Supply and Control. His protocols on 'Slavery and Forced Sterilization of the Indigenous Peoples' were much respected, and the foundation of a highly successful career which some thought might lead to even greater, interplanetary, things in the future.

      The Apollo Snail owner of the Cardinal Cafe, who was also a City Alderman, came out and served his two eminent customers with large mugs of Drambuie-laced chocolat au lait, and he was promptly invited to join the conversation.

      "So here's our little plan," began Dirk Eradacus, with a light-hearted grin. "Our flying saucer Die Friedensstifterin  will be accompanied to Carthage by the battle-cruisers Illustrious and Indefatigable, While we're orbiting Ceres, the battle-cruisers will spray the planet surface with tiny globules of undetectable phlostijohn. That will have the long term effect of separating out the humanoid bits of the ghastly Grottzappers from the mechanical bits. When we land, we'll offer the Grottzappers lower tariffs on their wheat and cotton exports in return for full citizenship for all the non-indigenous Icarians on their confounded planet. They can lose their indigenous Icarian slaves down the tin mines, for all I care. I'm an Apollo Gibbon, and proud of it."

       "What a magnificent plan!" exclaimed the Apollo Snail proprietor. "I simply hate Grottzappers! One of them came in here last week, and asked for some cooking oil to lubricate his limbs, would you believe? I told it that cooking oil only came with the rump steak. When the meal came, he poured the boiling oil into his armpits, complained that the steak was underdone, and refused to pay up for it!"

       "How utterly uncivilised!"exclaimed Ket Martingale. "And what will we be spraying the surface of Gallium with, Dirk?"

       "With invisible dulphoperidoxol, of course, Ket," replied Dirk, with an evil snigger. "That'll turn the Psychlops into rusty crustaceans and they'll be totally extinct within fifteen years."

      "I hate Psychlops--," began the Apollo Snail proprietor.

      "And we could offer them a fair price for their magnetic bullet trains, in return for the release of all hardcore non-indigenous Icarian criminals from their concentration camps, " interrupted Ket. "We need a few more talented fraudsters to help with the banking system on Qinsatorix."

      Dirk loosened his old school tie, and took a sip of his drambuie-chocolat concoction."You're catching on, Ket, old bean."

     "I simply love Apollo Gibbons," beamed the proprietor. "You're welcome to come back and try our escargots hylobatidae anytime. It's such a delicious concoction,"

      "I love the way you mix your Latin with your French," replied Dirk,"but I respectfully decline."
                                                                 


                                                                             




Come the Spring break, Pippa and Slim were bundled into a bubblecopter and flown from the Isle of Caleb to Edwards Space Force Base on the Trystonian mainland. And then, as the Sunstar was setting in the East, they set off into orbit in the flying saucer  Die Friedensstifterin. As the saucer exited its second orbit of Qinsatorix, two Imperial battle-cruisers, each fully a thousand feet long, appeared side by side and from out of nowhere to escort the golden space-capsule  into outer space. The Illustrious and Indefatigable had been involved in several brutal interplanetary wars , and now seemed to Pippa to be totally out of place for a peace mission. Indeed, she wondered when all the battle cannon would start firing.

       Pippa and Slim sat in touching distance of each other on a circular satin sofa in the tiny gumdrop-shaped Planetarium. Dirk Eradacus and Ket Martingale sat opposite them, flanked by two plump and prosperous Icarian aides.

      "My aunt and uncle live in a tiny village in the outback of Ceres," explained the spotty-faced aide, rubbing the red freckles between his spots, "They're forced to subsist on white rice even though they have Diabetes Type 2, their hair's beginning to fall out, and there's not a drop of Metformin on the entire planet."

      "My cousin works as an overseer in a munitions factory outside Carthage," added the aide with massive ears."He has to trash the living daylights of any of our kith and kin who fall short of their quota of a hundred bullets a day."

       "What a wonderful idea!" exclaimed Dirk, lighting up a cigar. "We should introduce similar policies in our arms factory in Zamara. The lazy Apollo Lizards get let off much too easily."

      "The golden-skinned Icarians are a cut above those creepy lizards, even on Ceres,"asserted Ket, sniffing his brandy de luxe, "We're all descended from the mighty Nefertiti, when all's said and done,"

      The spotty-faced aide flashed his green eyelashes, and glanced playfully at Pippa. "I do believe you're one of those human being creatures. Why don't we all play a game of  'Piggy in the Middle' together?"

       Pippa took an immediate dislike to the fellow. "Not with you," she retorted, irritably. "I'd prefer Spatial Monopoly. It's even more feckin monotonous."

       The aide seemed to take offence at Pippa's response, and scowled at her, intermittently, for the remainder of the voyage to Ceres. Pippa scowled back.

      Slim didn't like the plump aide with huge ears. He reminded Slim too much of his father.


When Die Friedensstifterin entered the stratosphere of the Planet Ceres, Pippa saw the two Imperial battle-cruisers breaking ranks and heading at speed towards the planet surface. She was wondering what that was about when she saw a myriad of flashing red lights criss-crossing the green landmass below. And while the space-craft were gliding at low altitude towards Carthage, it was overtaken by a coven of silver owl-eagles out on the roost.

     How magnificent! thought Pippa, only for the owl-eagles to start threshing their wings in anguish and to fall writhing in a twisted mish mash to the ground, as if struck by a divine force from above.

     "Stupid birds must have got their knickers in a twist,"chortled the plump, spotty-faced aide with the red freckles, munching his salmon and partridge sandwich and patting his very replete belly.

     Sommat's afoot, concluded Pippa, though she didn't quite understand what.

      The Imperial flying saucer landed at Carthage Space-Force Base shortly after the battle-cruisers. When the Imperial deputation disembarked, they were greeted effusively by a select group of applauding Grottzappers. These highly intelligent, humanoid-created creatures were renowned for their cherubic faces and flat, muscular chests which contrasted with their brass arms, four steel legs, and copper plating that covered the rear halves of their pegasus-like bodies.

     "We will refuel you in the Carthage Best Western, and then take you to meet our leaders," said the aide to the Home Secretary of Ceres, most graciously while they refuelled her with gasoline from a portable pump, "and now let us embrace you with these garlands of peace."


The Imperial deputation met with the political leaders of the Grottzappers in the Hannibal Chamber at the top of the Capitol Spire in Carthage, Pippa and Slim enjoyed the beautiful views of the Old City, while the politicians formulated a broad-ranging Peace and Reconciliation Treaty, whereby non-indigenous Icarians on Ceres would be granted full citizenship, with all the rights that entailed. In return, the Qinsatorans agreed to reduce the tariffs on a wide range of exports from Ceres, including farm produce, children's toys, Scotch whisky, and squeegie rubbers.

     After the details of a preliminary treaty had been appropriately initialled, the President of Ceres, a delightful redhead from Baalbek, proffered a toast to her new allies, and invited everybody present to a big celebration in the Pan and Pitys Hotel, where a troupe of bronze indigenous Icarian slaves would be providing the 'adult entertainment'. The two plump, golden-skinned Icarian aides were enthralled by this prospect, and rubbed their hands in anticipation.

      Pippa and Slim got bored extremely quickly, and when a burly Grottzapper offered them a copper-plated-back ride over to the Best Western, they gladly accepted. In the meantime, Dirk and Ket met up with a trio of bronze pansexual slaves and plied them with drinks. Their two plump aides were meaner with the alcohol, and became meaner and meaner to the bronze lasses as the night progressed.

     The following morning, Pippa, Slim, Dirk. and Ket were taken by limousine to the Space-Force Station soon after breakfast in the Best Western. Ket had received a message from the Pan and Pitys saying that the two plump Icarian aides had stayed there overnight and would meet them by their flying saucer just before take-off.

       But, as they alighted from limousine, a stroppy-looking Grottzapper galloped over from behind the flying saucer, and angrily declared, "The President wishes to advise you that our security sub-stations detected the phlostijohn which your battle-cruisers spread around the planet surface immediately prior to your arrival yesterday. I'm sure that you idiots will have noticed the flashing red lights. Fortunately, our scientists were able to neutralise the dreadful poison with a secret antidote before any appreciable harm was perpetrated on our populations. In the circumstances, the President would like to emphasise that she expects the Qinsatoran Parliament to abide by the terms of our recently negotiated Peace and Reconciliation Treaty. Failing this, further reprisals should be anticipated. Now, get the fuck off our planet!"

      "Further reprisals?" stammered Dirk Eradacus, all aghast. "What do you mean by that?"

      "A thousand socially inferior golden-skinned Icarians are already in custody awaiting summary nose-slitting and subsequent dissection. One of your aides, the one with big ears, has been put into suspended animation while we eat his vital organs for high tea. He had an IQ of about 83, and that's over a standard deviation below the mean."

       "What about our other aide?" shrieked Ket Martingale, in fright.

       "The spotty-faced one has already been hacked to pieces for his uncouth, degenerate behaviour. You can find his entrails hanging over that fence."

        Dirk went manic at that. "Imperial Guards, to the rescue!" he howled, wildly brandishing his fists. "Bring on the Boys in Blue! And the R.C.M.P. too!"

        "You'll find those cowardly creatures chained together in the holds of your battle-cruisers. Don't worry! Our crews have taken over the controls, and they'll take you on safely to your next destination, You tossers regard yourselves as superior, and yet you're the scum of the Universe. Now go!"

        And so off they went.


During their space voyage to the Planet Gallium, Dirk and Ket frantically discussed how they could put the dire situation on Ceres in the best light. They decided to report, on the 'space pigeon' waves,    to the First Minister of Qinsatorix that the peace negotiations had been highly successful, and that the two Icarian aides had remained in Carthage to discuss the fine details of the proposed tariff reductions Absolutely no mention would be made of the terrible atrocities perpetrated by the Grottzappers on the thousand highly unfortunate Icarians.

      Pippa and Slim were, quite naturally, appalled by this political stitch-up, and they expressed their feelings to the crooked government officials in extreme rude and indescribable ways. Dirk and Ket laughed, savoured the Laphroaig hundred year old malt whisky, and nodded off to sleep.

      Pippa awoke from a gentle slumber, only to see something quite bizarre happening beneath the battle-cruiser to the larboard. The supply chutes were being lowered before landing. And then, to her absolute horror, a writhing mass of soldiers in blue uniforms tumbled higgledy-piggledy through the chutes and dispersed at different tangents, still thrashing wildly while choking through the oblivion of space.

      The evil Grottzappers are disposing of our Boys in Blue! agonised Pippa, only to perceive, out of the corner of her eye, a morass of red-clad humanoids tumbling out of the supply chutes beneath the battle-cruisers to the starboard.

       Not our beloved R.C.M.P too! Pippa relapsed into a totally traumatised state. Since Dirk, Ket, and Slim were all fast asleep, they remained blissfully unaware of the terrible tragedy. Afterwards, Pippa wondered whether it had all been an hallucination, She therefore kept quiet about it.

When Die Friedensstifterin landed on the tarmac outside Antioch, the capital city of Gallium, Pippa was surprised when a group of well-dressed golden-skinned Icarians were waiting to meet them, accompanied by two very tall Psychlops military officers with faces like death-masks.

     A non binary Icarian with purple hair and a mink coat stepped forwards. "Why hi there,folk. They call me 'Handy Sandy', and I'm the high-living High Head Eunuch Slave of this merry planet. I'm sorry that none of the Twelve Sultans are here to greet you, but it is I and my fellow Icarian eunuchs, rather than the high falutin' Psychlops, who really rule this planet, and we keep the inferior species firmly under our thumb. If they try to wriggle then then they get squashed by our very complaint Psychlops military. The troops are on halolestrogen of course."

     Dirk smiled somewhat grimly, and peered down his nose at the sassy creature."We're here on behalf of the government of Qinsatorix to negotiate a fair trade treaty with the Sultans in return for full citizenship for all non-indigenous Icarians on this planet."

     "But the well-hung ones already have full citizenship, ducky, along with all the other proles on Gallium. We, the ten thousand Icarian Eunuch Slaves, do of course keep the uncastrated Icarian proles' feet on the treadmill  and their noses to the grindstone just like the rest of the silly buggars. We don't need any democratic rights, since we, the slaves, are effectively in complete power anyway, as long as we remain supportive of the thoroughly lazy Psychlops bourgoisie. "

     "Sounds almost as all-accepting as the Ottoman Empire," responded Ket, with a sigh of relief. "It looks as if we'll be able to go ahead with our fair trade negotiations without further ado."

      And so it came to pass,  A new trade treaty was agreed in a full meeting of the Council of State, with all twelve of the slightly rusty, narcissistic Psychlops sultans in attendance ( while the bronze indigenous Icarian sub-slaves scrubbed the green bits off their metallic limbs and cowered at their feet). The treaty included an excellent cut price deal for the Galliumian's magnetic bullet trains, and reduced tariffs on a variety of their exports, including the luxurious toilet tissue which was manufactured by the indigenous Icarian sub-slaves in the Land of Nev.

       Moreover, an 'enhanced citizenship' bill was approved whereby all the uncastrated golden-skinned Icarian proles were guaranteed regular food rations, cosmetics, tampons, and basic level medical treatment with rudimentary anaesthetics on condition they worked at least sixty hours a week. Non-indigenous Icarian 'breeders' received an extra loaf of bread a week for each of their first two children, though not for subsequent children (who were subject to summary decapitation under the terms of the Extra Child Execution Act of AD 2701).

      Both Dirk Eradacus and the High Head Eunuch Slave gave evocative speeches which were broadcast around the planet, and the crowds came out in all the major cities to celebrate in the streets.
There was much kissing and patting of backs, and Dirk and 'Handy Sandy' created a mutual admiration society with precisely two members.


The lives of the Qinsatoran crews of the Illustrious and the Indefatigable had been spared by the Grottzappers who accompanied them from the Planet Ceres. When Dirk and Ket discovered that their battalions of troops were no longer on the battle-cruisers, they were completed bewildered as to what might have happened to them. But they decided to advise their First Minister that the Boys in Blue and the R.C.M.P. were remaining on Gallium to help the Psychlops to put down a revolt of the Talking Herons in isolated Okyfranalia.

       











VISIT TO GALLIUM


On way home Pippa considers Hera's prophecies,


Celebration in Cathedral



DURING JULY :  Tamzin moves to Convent of the Assumption onCaleb for final few weeks of pregnancy

                 Dreyfus sent there too




EARLY AUGUST:   Births Three Wise Men Saga,  Dreyfus seriously injured by Blue Order, who come to kill all new born males (cut off two legs and blind in one eye,. Sent home comatose to Angervast. Pippa left holding baby Joshua.  Dreyfus later leads violent revolution on Inner Moon,                                 

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

INTRIGUE ON LAKE SPECTRUM : sixth chapter of BRAIN GAMES ON QINSATORIX


                                                       BRAIN GAMES ON QINSATORIX

                                                                     by  Tom Leonard


                                                              FIRST FIVE CHAPTERS



                                          CHAPTER 6: INTRIGUE ON LAKE SPECTRUM




                                                                          




After a convivial glass of sherry and a cheese nibble in the Chapel of St. Vincula deep inside the White Tower of Mainau, the three students from Alpha-Omega were given a bottle of fizzy soda, and sent, with Tamzin Soyabean and the pretty non binary Aztalan squaw, to relax in the Qinview Room. While they were fizzing their soda all over the portrait of the Emperor Bojo the Unforgettable, the senior Shiners were pursuing their political discussions with the High Priest of the Aztalan around the oval mahogany table in front of the richly decorated altar.

      To his misfortune, HRH Prince Alfredo Saxie-Monteith failed to notice his companion Lady Jemima spiking his drink with a teaspoonful of Eyedrops. His host Sir Aristotle Sunkist nodded, barely perceptibly, in approval, poured his daughter another half-filled glass of sherry, and tapped the table with his Inspector Maigret pipe.

      "And so gentlemen, not of course to forget my darling Jemima who enlivens my heart with joy and wisdom, we have two items on the agenda today," burbled Sir Aristotle, looking every bit the Divine Plutarch. "We will firstly discuss possible ways of assisting the government and our Aztalan brethren in  their renewed efforts towards peace and reconciliation. Secondly, we will consider possible reactions by the Shiners towards the ongoing unrest in the eastern provinces, which could, if not properly addressed, lead to violent revolution by the Homo Erectus, and whoever or whatever they can persuade to gang up with them--"

      Pippa wondered whether that included the mammashunters, and maybe the dreaded Sigmoids from the northern seaboard.

      "I am most concerned by your form of words," objected Prince Alfredo, slightly glazy-eyed. "The Homo Erectus are simply seeking confirmation of their ancestral rights to control the eastern trade routes. You feckin Icarians grabbed them off us in 2121, and you've been milking our resources ever since."

      "Tough!" reacted Sir Aristotle, straightening his Coxbridge Alumni tie.

      " Our Pelimode allies are not to be lightly dismissed, you nefarious rogue," raged the snotty-nosed prince. "They'll sort all you feckin autocratic colonialists out. "

      "That's priceless, Alfredo! You're hardly a grovelling peasant yourself. I now call upon the government's Chief Economic Advisor to set the ball rolling by addressing the important issue of the day."

      "Thank you, Aris, old bean, " enjoined Ket Martingale, himself a high bred Icarian. "Those stuck up Erecti should seek solace with the talking chimps! Now then! The key issue as far as our Aztalan kith and kin are concerned, is whether we can reach an accommodation regarding their highly profitable Monte Carlo casinos. Their profits are much too excessive, and in breach of our fair trade laws. Moreover, the Aztalan casinos are subject to lower taxes under the terms of the Indigenous People's Reservations Act.   The roulette wheels with two zeros and azure-jack games in our more respectable casinos are all perfectly fair in the sense that they glean a long-run profit of only a nineteenth of all money bet. It is essential to equalise these profits since we need to avoid discrimination against our totally honest fair-traders. The Aztalan should clean up their act!"

      Sleeping Sparrow flexed his shiny bronze chest. "Thank you for those valuable insights, Dr. Martingale. Unfortunately, the Aztalan nation is facing far deeper problems on a variety of  fronts. We're getting starved cheek by jowl with the convicts in the Southern Swamps, we're freezing to death in North Artica owing to the high price of fuel, our children are receiving scant remedial education, and no free milk or school lunch, and our mothers are being sterilized en masse following the births of their first children. Two of your officials even came into my wigwam last month wanting to neuter me! This isn't equitable either!The Aztalan demand equality, self-autonomy, and free food for one and all."

      Dr. Alistair McCull gritted his teeth. "Without wanting to sound vindictive, I do believe that this raises the question as to whether we should put the Aztalan, the entire caboodle of them, into one of our glacier camps in South Artica. I'm sure that the Pelimodes would be happy to feed them with  lentils and rice, while they dig  deep for the hubric and expend themselves according to an actuarially efficient death rate."

      Sleeping Sparrow blew a gasket at that, and flopped forwards onto the table with his head buried between his hands.

      The Foreign and Alien Secretary Dirk Eradacus, rose to his paw-like feet. "Now now, McCull! You're sounding off like a high-ranking Snazi."

      "Thanks for the compliment! They should have let the Snazis grind them all to mincemeat,"

      "Compromise is sometimes more valuable than genocide! If the Aztalan stopped biasing their roulette wheels with immediate effect, then we could consider sending a regular basic food supply to their reservations for a trial period of a month, before taking things from there."

      "Spoken like a true pox-ridden gibbon!" howled Prince Alfredo, waving his fists. "The Homo Erectus will never kowtow to indigenous low-life, particularly to those who cannibalise each other. Strafe them with scyon gas, that 's what I say!"

      "Are you all right, dear?" asked Lady Jemima, with her usual shrill emphasis on 'all right'. "Maybe you're feeling a bit drowsy . Why don't you go and relax on the futon in the Henry Plantagenet room?"

      "Derr---wot Henry was that?"

      "The Sixth, as I remember, and a right sure loser. He was put away when some other Plantagenet jerk usurped the English throne."

      "Shan't! Don't want to!"

      The meeting was about to fall apart in disarray, when the ape swan Lysistrata hurried in from the turret suite upstairs. "You should come quickly, Sire. There's trouble in Constanta."

      "I'll be in my office in a sniff of a cat's whiskers," responded Dr. Sunkist, and so he was.


In the meantime, the assorted teenagers had been watching the thousand and thirty-first episode of Big Boom Theory on the giant screen in the Qinview Room.

      "I am neither a living creature nor a divine being," declared the Tibtech physicist Shellfish Skink, "but rather an intangible, artificially intelligent, multi-perspective entity that subsumes and encompasses the Gini waves." 

      "I don't believe you!" protested the spaceship engineer Wolfie Foxowitz. "The Gini waves pervade the parallel universes at velocities that exponentiate the speed of light, though not as quickly as the Forces of Gravity, which activate instantly from vast distances and enable teleportation between our star systems."


      "Put my cookie back!---Thank you! As an intangible entity, I am able to enter the consciousness of any sentient being and to observe the sinusoidal random waves that interlink all such consciousnesses. I existed at the Beginning when the Grand Creator sowed the seeds of evolution in the Fields of Folvangr. Furthermore, I will exist at the Omega when he reaps his crop."


      "You're much too naive, even for a talking shellfish," asserted the Bayesian astrophysicist Leonardo Da Capricorn. "There can't have only been one Beginning."


      "Of course not, ancy pants! Our Beginning was just one of an uncountably infinite number of Beginnings that have occurred on the vast spatio-temporal process in our seven enormously vast parallel universes which the Jokers psycho-constructed when emerging from the initial Conception Cradle. Similarly there are uncountably infinitely many Ends or Omegas. Therefore the Grand Creator's crop is forever reaped. It could well be in the process of being reaped somewhere in our amazingly vast Red Trojan Universe at any particular point in time."


      "Whoever made up that shit should be sectioned to the Royal Ick," asserted geeky Fanny.

      
       Shellfish's eyes gleamed a deep shade of green. "That's why I'm so abundantly creative. Would you care for a piece of lemonised water melon?"

       "Yummy!"


       The aerospace boffin Nehru Catmeat chuckled in the unique way that he usually chuckled. "To put it in a nutshell, Shellfish, we are all infinite consciousness facing a humanoid reality."


       Shellfish sniggered. "You're nothing but an ignorant copycat, Nehru! The philosopher Augustine de Hippomat dreamt up that infantile quote while he was living in exile on the Planet Reptilius."


      "But how did you acquire your amazingly broad breadth of knowledge, Shellfish?" inquired Wink, with an adoring gaze.

      "That's because I'm wired into both the Grand Creator and the Jokers, Wink. The Grand Creator is forever trying to expand its own consciousness by continuously reaping its crop from the group consciousness of various multi-generational multitudes of humanoid guinea pigs. It does this in the hope of being able to expand its influence out of any away from the Seven Universes, and into the spleen of the Multi-Coloured Rat. The Grand Alter Ego has already made great inroads into the Rat's very large elongated thyroid gland, but it won't be meeting up with the Grand Creator any time soon."


      "
This is getting abundantly boring," complained Dreyfus.

      "And much too repetitive," agreed Pippa, switching to Channel Six.

      "Come and give me a hug, Slim," suggested Tamzin, with a delightful pucker.


Sir Aristotle Sunkist returned to the chapel from his office in the lofty turret, ensconced his hefty backside on his beautifully embroidered armchair, and smiled.

      "Wot was all that about?" bumbled Prince Alfredo, looking drowsier and drowsier,

      "A mere detail," replied Sir Aristotle, with an almost imperceptible wink. "A small technicality that needed to be sorted out in Constanta."

      "I'm surprised you're involved," mumbled the none-too-quick prince, "My dear brother King Philippe is in control there, and as far to the west as the eye can see."

       Sir Aristotle performed the Sign of the Skewed Cross."God bless him, and long may he reign over us."

       At that, the prince keeled over sideways, fell to the floor, twitched several times, and fell into a deep, loudly snoring slumber.

       "The prince suffers from periodic hypergenetic fits," explained Lady Jemima. "I'll ask two of the pectishes to take him to the Henry Plantagenet Chamber to recover."

      While that drama was unfolding, the five teenagers were watching 'The Magic Roundabout' on the big screen in the Qinview Room. Dreyfus laughed his head off when Zebedee said that it was time for bed. However Dougal and Ermintrude were still objecting when the picture on the screen disintegrated into a kaleidoscope of colourful lights. The image of an agitated Apollo Walrus wearing a large pirate's earring and a rainbow coalition vest then flashed into view.

       "Breathtaking news, Breathtaking News!"screeched the eccentric Channel Six Current Affairs announcer. "Rebel forces have stormed the Regional Parliament building in Constanta. And here are King Philippe and the amazingly rotund Dowager Queen Wilhelmina of the dastardly Homo Erectus waving to the vast crowds from the balcony of Wellingboot Palace. Troops from the Royal Pelimodes are protecting the forecourt and putting scores of brave and courageously loyal citizens to the sword. Meanwhile, Crown Prince Nikolai of the Homo Erectus is leading an attack on the Qinview Broadcasting Station by the harbour. His elite bodyguard is meeting scant resistance from the Imperial Green Jackets, most of whom have fled along the beach in disarray. And now over to our political analyst. Guthrie Gungepipe."

      "Thank you for that prize-winning titbit, Silas," blethered Gungepipe. "This is a very dire situation indeed. If the Homo Erectus take the military base at Cluj, then the entire eastern battlefleet will be at their disposal, together with eighty uranium-powered battle-tanks. To be frank, the omens do not look good, and the regional government appears to have completely lost control. Furthermore, the fourth battalion of the Imperial Pectish have just deserted to the enemy. The Homo Erectus are also in a strong position in political terms. They regard the Land of Qet as encompassing the entire eastern peninsula, and they may well decide to secede from our beloved empire. But in a worst case scenario, they may try to advance upon Trivoli and seize the entire Empire for themselves. God forbid it, and we should all fall to our knees and pray for divine deliverance."

      Pippa and Slim rushed into the Chapel of St. Vincula to tell the adults the bad news.

      "The Homo Erectus are taking power---," burbled Pippa.

      "Enough!"Sir Aristotle Sunkist cut Pippa off in mid-sentence and chuckled like a narcissistic psychopath. "Don't worry, kiddies. We've got everything under control. Now why don't I take you all on a tour of the utterly exquisite art gallery and our internationally celebrated Archaeology and Anthropology Museum?"

Dreyfus Dreadnought opted out of the proposed cultural activities because he was feeling much too lazy, and he lay slouched, staring into space, on a futon in the Qinview room, his silver horn drooping to the right.

      What ridiculous trauma during the last couple of days, he mused, clenching his hoof-like hands, all that stuff with the Reincarnate prick and his whore of an apology for a daughter, and now all this shit in Constanta. But at least I've established an even closer friendship with Pippa. We've got similar sorts of transgender issues to handle, and she gives me really cuddly hugs. And I'm so glad that Slim is making it with this weird human Tamzin. Shame she's betrothed to the Apollo Gibbon  vermin, but I do hope they're able to work it out.

      
Dreyfus was distracted out of his mood at some later, indeterminate, point in time by the sound of the blaring of trumpets from the direction of the Qinview screen.

      "Breathtaking News, Breathtaking News!" screeched the Channel 6 announcer. "We're receiving these pictures from the Homo Erectus rebels who've recently successfully stormed our broadcasting station in Constanta, God damn them. Here is their feckin King Philippe in the Rose Garden behind Wellingboot Palace, talking to some of his new subjects. But why's that callow youth preening himself?  I think the silly coot must be Crown Prince Nikolai, returning to take the credit for his troops' shameful victory on the beach. He's holding hands with his ridiculously massive grandma, the Dowager Queen Wilhelmina, the stupid pussycat. The fake royals seem to be receiving a torrid reception from their guests. What an earth is that reprobate doing with his squeegie-squeegie? Goodness gracious me! But why are those two eagle-faced soldiers acting up? They must be traitors from the Imperial Pectish. And what on Qinsatorix are they doing with those flamethrowers? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarg!!"

      To Dreyfus's consternation, the Pectish infantrymen scorched King Philippe to a frazzle, together with a couple of dozen onlookers, including the king's own mother and geeky son and several Pelimode courtiers, and such horribly ghastly scenes ensued as the crowds ran towards the harbour to escape the devastating flames. Several Pelimodes leapt, burning, over the harbour wall, only to drown, gurgling, in the stinking mud. Six Homo Erectus  lay sizzling on the lawn while an eye-jabbing, horned albatross circled expectantly overhead. The much revered Catholic High Pontiff of Constanta died in agony with a burning hole in his gut. One unfortunate human couple close to retirement age perished in a burning rhododendron bush with their two pedigree furry dogs. Horror, upon horror, upon harrowing horror!

       Jesus wept!  agonised Dreyfus. Maybe I ought to tell the grown-ups about this.


Pippa and Slim found the art gallery to be exceptionally boring, and they showed only a fleeting interest in the archaeological and anthropological artifacts, the most grisly of which were on loan from the Kaiser Wilhelm Anthropological Institute in Nouveau Berlin. But, after two or three hours of leg-aching arduousity, Sir Aristotle and Lady Jemima took their thoroughly brassed off guests way up to the ornate roof garden, to relax over a pint of Fledermaus and a tray of sausage rolls.

     The ape swan Lysistrata also came up to the roof garden, to play 'March of the Fire Ants' on the grand piano.

      "How're things in Constanta?" Sir Aristotle nonchalantly inquired.

      "Everything's hunky dory, particularly with the ants, Sire," replied Lysistrata, tapping the side of her nose and then her chin.

      "Jolly good show. Would you care for a Proscuitto and Riccota hors d'oevres before you get started?"

       Pippa wondered whether there were some subliminal messages in what was being said, but she couldn't fathom what their meanings were, or whether or not any had been intended at all. Lysistrata's irritatingly amateur performance on the grand piano was greeted with only moderately polite applause, and Pippa was delighted that there were no calls for interminable encores.

      Pippa and Slim were laying into the remaining spicy hors d'oevres, when the Foreign Secretary and the Chief Economic Advisor to the sassy First Minister came over looking unusually officious.

      Dirk Eradacus smiled stiffly. "We'd like to talk to you about your futures, guys, and to map out a sensible career plan for each of you."

      "Do we get a choice?" Slim tersely inquired.

      "Durchaus nicht, meine liebling," replied Ket Martingale, with a saucy wink, "not while we're pulling the purse strings."

      "Do your plans involve sending us to University?" asked Pippa, cautiously.

      "Yes indeed, my precious cherub," purred Dirk, with a cat-like smirk. "You'll be going up to Coxbridge, on the lovely Isle of Livermore, to study Psychology, Psychometrics, and Economics. Slim's already been told that he'll be studying Business, Jurisprudence, and Global Security at the redbrick University of Corinth at Los Alamos. This is all contingent on you not fucking up on your Highers of course, in which case you'll be selling whole life insurance in the Outer Seychelles for the remainder of your miserable life."

       Pippa winced at the prospect. "Well at least the Isles of Livermore and Los Alamos are connected by a causeway. What career plans do you actually have in mind?"

      "Good question, sexy pants," replied Ket, with an inappropriate stare. "But before we put you wise on that, we'll be taking you down to the Franz Linden Centre on floor minus eleven to show you what we're actually about. We still receive most of our funding either from the Linden Joyous Life Fund or the Rockerwell foundation. "

      "Franz Linden was a leading eugenicist during the Snazi era," added Dirk, "and  Nap Rockerwell doles out his loot from the family skyscraper in Buffalo City."

      "Nap's a right joker," added Dirk, with a evil gleam. "When he funds it, the proles catch it, right in the neck."

      "Where the fuck's floor minus eleven?" asked Slim, losing his cool.

      "Nine floors above the ancient subterranean canal to Fantasia," purred Dirk. "Come along now, cuties! The elevator will be reaching the roof garden in approximately minus forty-five femto-seconds."


The high tech elevator descended to floor minus eleven in precisely twenty-one femto-seconds. When they emerged from its skilfully embossed silver interior, Pippa and Slim were enveloped in a shard of light blue light. When they stepped forward into the elegant green-tinted vestibule, a prim ape swan secretary was busily working on her desktop. A statuette of the ghastly Franz Linden was embedded into the wall. It somewhat resembled a death mask.

                                                                 


      To the right stood the skilfully arched entrance to the much renowned 'Centre for Socio-Sexual Investigation', as attested to by a flashing red neon sign. Pippa wondered whether it was a high class brothel.

      The secretary smiled sweetly, and handed Ket a bulging brown folder. "Your grant for a preliminary investigation of the head sizes of newt lizards in Dalmatia has been approved by the Rockerwell Foundation, Dr. Martingale. We'll be able to appoint two new limited term research associates, and purchase a pressure cooker for the kitchen."

      "Wot's that got to do with Socio-Sexual Investigation?" asked Slim, feeling mildly flummoxed.

      "Absolutely nothing at all, teeny bopper," replied Dirk Eradacus. "We countenance anything if we get funded for it."

      "Let's go and meet up with the affable A.P.A.torture psychologists in Laboratory Alpha One," suggested Ket. "They're about to start questioning a Sigmoid terrorist, using the highly sophisticated Lieber-Fieber-Glieber technique.."

       "Wot does A.P.A. stand for?" asked Pippa.

       "The Association of Psychological Arseholes," replied Dirk, purely in jest.

       Ket was annoyed by that. "Please be serious, Dirk. It stands for the Asturasian Psychological Association, and they have fine Yankee traditions which date all the way back to the C.I.A."

      When they reached the laboratory, three doctors of psychology were interrogating a huge swan-like sub-humanoid, who was strapped to an old-fashioned, convulsive electric shock machine.

      "I'm not a terrorist,"shrieked the Sigmoid. "I'm only a protestor. We were demanding a higher working wage outside the Lake Tittykaka Job Centre when the dumb pectishes came and collared us."

      "In that case, would you kindly explain why the Pig Rozzers discovered this Molotov Cocktail in your possession?" asked the first psychologist, with an almost imperceptible grin.

      "That's not a Molotov Cocktail!" wailed the Sigmoid, flapping its cruelly clipped wings in agitation. "It's a night lamp. We were planning to continue our completely peaceful protest into the wee small hours."

      The second psychologist, the recently elected President of the Peace and Justice, promptly pressed the purple buzzer on his desk, and a pectish with a blow torch hurried in.

      "Scorch him, St. Crispius-style, Sid!" demanded the evil doctor.

      "Not my G-spot!" shrieked the Sigmoid. "I confess! I confess!"

      "Not so fast on the forgiveness bit," growled the third highly qualified A.P.A. psychologist.."Scorch him to smithereens anyway, Sid!"

      "No!!!!!!  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarg!!!!!"

      "Well, that was an interesting academic investigation wasn't it, kiddies?" said Dirk Eradacus, while they were sweeping up the ashes. "We learnt what makes Sigmoids squeak."

      "It'll look good in your final report," replied Slim, tactfully.


In Laboratory Alpha Two, several Psycho-Economists were debating how to use L.J.Savage's Expected Utility Hypothesis to rip off the customers of the Imperial Bank of Trystonia, using a device recommended by Tom Leonard and Chungy Chung in Chapter 4 of their Coxbridge University Press textbook Bayesian Methods for the Deceitful. In Laboratory Alpha Three, several space scientists were working on the nuts and bolts of their triple loop Trident missile tracking system, and compiling an interim report for Global Security.

      But Pippa was most interested in the activities in Laboratory Alpha Four, where the forwards and backwards dancing movements of common or garden cranes from the Hokefunoky Swamp were being subjected to a statistical analysis by four young Apollo Cranes on work release from their studies at Coxbridge. Pippa found it difficult to tell the difference between the totally pea-brained, ordinary cranes and the Apollo Cranes. But then she noticed that the Apollo Cranes also stepped sideways.

     "Where do we fit in on all of this?" asked Slim, afterwards.

     "You and Pippa will be continuing your careers here after you graduate from University," explained Ket. "If you're awarded Firsts or Upper Seconds, that is. If you fuck up with a Lower Second, then you'll be on floor minus nineteen scrubbing the latrines. If you space out with a Third then you're on Universal Credit."

     "Sounds like a life-sentence," moaned Pippa, in dismay.

     "A career in Purgatory is better than a life in Hell," replied Ket, sounding unexpectedly philosophical


Prince Alfredo was still lying, deserted by the other Shiners, in a deep Eyedrops-induced coma, snoring his head off in the windowless Henry Plantagenet Chamber, when his Cnupian slave master appeared before him, in a flash of yellowy-brown light, looking like the Archangel Gabriel's stunted kid brother.

     "Good tidings and felicitations, Sire, and here are your two recently purchased slaves," burbled the crafty slave master. "This is Dink. She's Chinese, petite, and abundantly cute from your sort of perspective. And this is Dunk, a fine sturdy Scots lad, as well-hung as they come. They cost you a mere three hundred  dollars each, and they should suit your fancy for at least a week."

     "How sweet," replied  a Voice in Prince Alfredo's head, "Let them kneel at my table while I eat. I will spoon feed them from my silver bowls."

     "But what shall they eat?" inquired the slave master. "Surely not the scrumptious caviar?"

     "Porridge of course," answered the Voice, "but laced with lorazepam for their continuing good health."

      The prince flexed his hands and made Dunk and Dink squat like ducks while he filled their mouths with Quaker Oats, until the gooey stuff spilt through their.teeth.

      "You will now attend to my feet while I relax on the green futon," commanded the Voice, "and be sure to lick away the fungo-jell between my little piggies before you suck the smelly big ones."

      "Yes Master," whined the not so obsequious slaves, in careful unison. "We'd do anything to please you, Master."

      "Thank you kindly," said the Voice, when the prince felt replete. "And now it's time to entertain me with your carnality and your lust."

      "How could you be so horrible!" howled Hera Herrera. the leader of the mammashunters, rushing into the prince's dreadful dream.

      "It's my birthright," protested the Voice. "Some are born to rule. Others to grovel."

      "Take this!" howled Hera, throwing the Spear of Destiny at the prince's greasy navel.

      "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarg!" howled the Voice. "You send me to eternity from my dream."


The prince awoke abruptly, only to discover that Hera Herrara, Dunk,and Dink were nowhere to be seen. But before he could breath a sigh of relief, a stroppy pectish with a flame thrower in his lower hands loomed out of the gloom, armed to the teeth and flexing the claws in its feet.

      "Are you an apparition too?" choked the prince, while remembering to reach for the six-shooter in his tartan pouch.

      "I'm real," asserted the huge pectish, as the scorching maroon flame flew past the prince's left ear,

      "Any more of that, and I'll blast you to Kingdom come with my faithful revolver, High Noon."

      "Make my day."

      "Right then. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarg!"

       And the noble Prince of the Homo Erectus was, in full reality, frazzled to a cinder. Sir Aristotle Sunkist was amused when he heard about how it happened, and he gave the huge pectish a big hug and a twenty dollar bonus.

      That's all four of those feckin Erectus royals summarily disposed of, enthused the Grand Reincarnate of the all-forgiving Shiners. The Revolution will fail.





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                                   CHAPTER 7: THE THREE WISE MEN VISIT CALEB