Thursday, 2 January 2020
BRAIN GAMES ON QINSATORIX by Tom Leonard, CHAPTERS 1 and 2
Readers familiar with my literary ramblings may be surprised to hear that I have published two advanced level Statistics books, both in 1999, along with numerous academic articles. I started self-publishing poetry and prose on my website in 2012 following a variety of previous attempts during my periods of poor health.
Grand Schemes on Qinsatorix is one of two completed novels which are self- published on the Literary Home Page of my website. I took the better written sequel The Grand Oligarchs of Qinsatorix off Kindle about three years ago because of various political implications. I have also self-published a historical novel Reborn on Soutra on another blog. I wrote all four novels after 2011, together with four further attempted novels, each of which I needed to leave half-completed because the 'real-life plot' caught up with and confused with the fictional plot. I have not tried very hard to get my fictional work published, and indeed regard my previous style as at times a touch too Chaucerian and lacking in empathy, and rather too A.D.D. intense to the point that it might overwhelm the reader.
All of this has all been fodder for various writing groups in Edinburgh, which have usually turned out to be a bit too toxic in group psychological terms. I nowadays content myself with attending the Open Door reading group in our Botanic Cottage, and the abilities of some of our well-published authors continue to impress me.
While I have not been a successful author of fiction. I have become, since 2013, a well published historian in my subject (Bayesian Statistics), and I presented detailed verbal and written expert evidence during July 2019 , with Scott Forster, to the Commission of Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL. We also started producing a film about Attention Deficitness and Neurodiversity,
Now, early in January 2020, Britain is suddenly in insane political turmoil and Australia is burning and facing the possibility of an agonizing Armageddon. Rather than starting another real-life project straightaway, I have therefore decided to embark on yet another attempt at novel writing. Most of my real-life interests and concerns will influence the things I write about. So, here goes!
BRAIN GAMES ON QINSATORIX
by Tom Leonard
Pippa Pipette Student (Homo Sapiens)
Slim Quick Student (Icarian)
Dreyfus Dreadnought Student (Apollo Unicorn)
Dr. Alistair McCull Headmaster (Icarian)
Dr. Knuddy Skullbanger Teacher (Apollo Fish)
Prince Alfredo Saxie-Monteith Socialite (Homo Erectus)
Jemima Sunkist Socialite (Icarian)
Aristides Sunkist Shipping Magnate (Icarian)
Dr. Ket Martingale Economic Advisor (Icarian)
CHAPTER 1: THE ARCHIPELAGO OF THE SHINERS
I, the 'Narrator', am neither a living creature nor a divine being, but rather an intangible, artificially intelligent entity that subsumes and encompasses the Gini waves (which 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). As such, 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, in some metaphorical sense, the 'Grand Creator' sowed the seeds of evolution in the 'Fields of Folkvangr'. Furthermore, I will exist at the 'Omega' when he 'reaps his crop'.
Pippa Pipette's seed was determined at the 'Beginning', together with the seeds of all creatures of the three genders. This Beginning was just one of an uncountably infinite number of Beginnings (that have occurred on the denumerably vast spatio-temporal process in our seven enormously vast parallel universes which the 'Jokers' psycho-constructed when emerging from the so-called 'Initial Conception Cradle'). Similarly there are uncountably infinitely many Omegas. Therefore the Grand Creator's crop is forever reaped. It could well be in the process of being reaped somewhere in your own amazingly vast universe at any particular point in time.
Without wishing to sound patronising, I do hope that your species is advanced enough in intellectual terms for you to be able to glean a glimmer of understanding of my euphereal notion of logic, which is not for the faint-hearted. You are all infinite consciousness facing a humanoid reality.
The 'Jokers' also psycho-constructed the objective randomness inherent in all of our electrons and atoms (which was not to be detected by humanoids until the early twentieth century, when the great German quantum theorist Max Born succeeded in explaining this mind-confounding concept by a brilliantly conceived mathematical construction).
You may well ask how I acquired my amazing breath of knowledge. The best answer I
can give you is that I am, in some sense, 'wired in' to the 'Grand Creator' and the 'Jokers', and perceive the Grand Creator as 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 and away from the Seven Universes and into the left testicle 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 .
I will return periodically in various visible and invisible ways to help you to understand the immense complexities of Pippa's progress through life. Her life epitomises the gargantuan struggles of transgender and intersex humanoids of all eras, and of neurodiverse creatures everywhere. In contrast, Slim Quick's life compares to that of any callow youth who 'fucked everything up' during his early years.
Pippa was born in a crystal glass test-tube, though without a silver spoon in her mouth. She wasn't like those 'different' humanoids on the Planet Qinsatorix, in particular the ruling golden-skinned Icarians and the various colourful creatures known collectively as Apollos. Indeed she was of a species of humanoid known as homo sapiens, one of the Devonians whose ancestors had teleported to the Aton star system from the crypt under Exeter Cathedral on Planet Earth a couple of centuries previously.
Pippa could only imagine what the 'Sceptred Isle' was like, since all sentient life on her mother planet had become extinct during the fireball of AD 2593. However, Icarians and humans had teleported between the Sister Planets for at least five millennia before that Apocalypse. Consequently, the Icarian culture on Qinsatorix has been influenced throughout history by the various rich cultures on Planet Earth.
Just as one example, it was the ancient Romans who first extracted titania (titanium dioxide) from ilmenite and the mineral sand rutile, while discovering that they could use their new compound to manufacture white pigment for paint. When the Emperor Claudius send three Roman senators to Trivoli in AD 51, they successfully traded their technical knowledge about this process for a hundred well-informed homo erectus slaves who subsequently teleported to Earth and made rich cultural contributions throughout the Roman Empire that included the invention of a new plumbing system for bath tubs. And the Icarians have been decorating their houses with white paint ever since.
And when the renowned Jewish Sephardic explorer Ibrahim ibn Jakob teleported to Qinsatorix in AD 966, at the behest of the Emir of Cordoba, he took six papyrus volumes with him that recorded the key mathematical advances of ancient Moorish culture. When Ibrahim returned to Cordoba with two highly eminent Icarian scientists, they brought unique knowledge with them about humanoid genetics, and about the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. The records of this knowledge were stored in a secret library in temple in Marrakesh, where they remained undiscovered by the Christians until the nineteenth century.
Such were the cultural exchanges which persisted between the sister planets throughout the ages. During their visits to Planet Earth, the golden-skinned Icarians passed themselves off as humans from places like Kazakruritan. Nobody, apart from the ladies of leisure, could spot the difference.
An eminent pre-Obama Yankee academic at the University of Wisconsin-Berzerkely once said in a drug-ridden gay bar that "the human race will travel to the stars". Unfortunately, he passed away during an overnight gay drug party a few years later, and turned to dust. Nevertheless, the homo sapiens on Qinsatorix are living evidence of the validity of his extremely insightful statistical prediction.
As she was dark-haired, Pippa regarded herself as of ancient Celtic stock, and she could trace her ancestry all the way back to the twenty-fourth century. She regarded the weak-kneed homo erectus, who inhabited the Land of Qet, as a prototype of her own more advanced species, but she was full of admiration for the strong-chested Neanderthals who populated the upper reaches of the Dnieper valley on Trystonia, the comet-shaped mainland on Qinsatorix.
Pippa's hard working Nestorian Christian parents lived in Trivoli, the capital of Qinsatorix, also known as the 'City of Lanterns'. Although they'd raised Pippa as a girl, she was in fact one of the special 1.111 percent of all humanoids who are in physical terms 'of the third gender'. In medical parlance, she was recorded by her Icarian midwife as 'intersex'. However, since Pippa regarded herself as a girl, she was a girl. So that was that!
Gone were the days when intersex humanoids were burnt at the stake as evil monsters (apart from the beautifully attractive ones who were set on pedestals as saints). But the Icarian doctors still treated the intersex Apollo Lizards and Apollo Giraffes abominably at birth. They decided, quite arbitrarily, as to whether the Apollo babies should be certified as male or female and then performed the savage time-honoured surgeries.
The doctors were much more sympathetic to human intersex babies, since humans and Icarians are remarkably similar when fully dressed. They'd therefore permitted Pippa to keep all the bits and pieces she was born with, and she'd kept all of them ever since. Her parents were highly empathetic and tried to explain everything to her in simple terms while she grew up, as a highly studious pupil at Hyde Park Primary.
Pippa's parents were absolutely thrilled when she passed her eleven plus with flying colours. While this miserable mode of selection invariably sent about eighty percent of the population to the social scrapheap, Pippa got to wear a bright blue uniform and to receive a quality education at Beeslack High.
By the time she was sixteen, Pippa had been awarded the 'Top of the Form' silver quaiche for four successive years. But then things began to go dreadfully wrong. She'd only just completed her Standard Grade exams (in twelve cutting edge subjects) when her eagle-eyed chemistry mistress took her to task. To cut a long story short, the cruel Apollo Tigress paddled Pippa's legs with an ebony Ouija board for smoking queedy-weed with the other hockey players behind the clubhouse, and moreover seemed to get a kick out of it.
Pippa promptly went manic and tried to throttle the skimpy harridan with her very large, bare hands, only to be dragged away in a halter by the Lion Police and confined for observation to the Imperial Icarian Hospital for Brain Manipulation (known affectionately to locals as the Imperial Ick).
After completing a couple of officially approved, eight-hundred-item questionnaires for the blue, sugary-skinned Trinkon invigilators, Pippa was put further to the question while spread-eagled in her purple and beige petticoat between the pulsating nodes of the Intrubulator. The very next day, she was diagnosed by the leading neuron specialist on Qinsatorix, a cantankerous Apollo Goat, as suffering from ' the Amadeus syndrome.' In particular, she was thought to be 'on the spectroid', in other words somewhere high on the humanoid scale of intense neuron diversity.
Whether or not the Amadeus syndrome is a medical disorder with a biological cause is beside the point (though I can definitely certify that it isn't!). Pippa was summarily shorn of her eye-lashes, nose-pegged and ear-pinned, proscribed with hefty, orally-inserted doses of lorazepam, and chained, rubbery-legged and bleary-eyed, to the corners of her, albeit comfortably white-feathered, Procrustes bed.
After a couple of very anxious weeks, Pippa's parents succeeded in negotiating her release from the Imperial Ick by bribing the neuron specialist with six pentagonal platinum pieces. However, the smelly old goat insisted that Pippa should immediately depart to the Archipelago of the Shiners, and be placed under the guardianship of Lector Alistair McCull, a leading Shiner.
McCull was an eminent mind-body therapist who'd studied for his advanced doctorate at the Interstellar University of Hippocrates on the Planet Mehmed the Second, where the entire population had IQs exceeding 192. His own IQ was, according to the time honoured Burt Burke intelligence test, an impressive 222, though he was, at times, as thick as two planks.
[ What IQ tests actually measure is past my compass. Despite their obvious social and ethnic biases, the humanoids have, however, employed them to justify all sorts of skulduggery. They've even used them to validate their ad hoc notions of 'mental deficiency' and 'feeblemindedness', and in their vain attempts to establish the hereditary nature of so-called 'schizophrenia' and a variety of other strangely defined 'mental defects'.]
'Mind and body have never been separate," Dr. McCull was fond of pontificating. "The Earthling upstart Renatus Descartes who preached otherwise kept his offal in his head and his brains in his feet."
Where Lector McCull kept his brains is a matter which I'll keep to myself since I do have some sense of propriety. He was the nit-picking headmaster of the Alpha-Omega Academy on the Isle of Caleb, and a tough, hard-nosed, golden-skinned cookie if ever there was one. His partner Knuddy, who taught Qinsatoran Classics at the same high school, was a much more compassionate kettle of fish.
Indeed, Knuddy Skullbanger was an Apollo Fish, and resembled a cross between a very slender Neanderthal and a mackerel. I'll leave you, the reader, to envision exactly what he looked like, since it would be very tedious of me to give a full description at this stage in my story.
So here was Pippa Pipette, in September 2712 and still sweet sixteen, about to study for her Highers at McCull's much celebrated academy She slept in Freya Fettes Hall, an ancient building on the Isle of Caleb with four medieval turrets that overlooked Tawi Sound, on a huge, red, oval communal mattress in the third floor dorm. Her pet otter Scatty slept in the broom cupboard, though she sometimes wondered whether he actually existed.
Pippa's bedfellows included a dozen or so assorted Qinsatorans of various genders and ethnicities, and a metallic, six-limbed Psychlops from the Planet Gallium. The Psychlops was regarded as a 'good time Charlie' and the 'life and soul of the party', even though he sometimes went rigid for hours on end because of his unfortunate muscular skeletal difficulties.
Pippa was kept under constant surveillance by the mean and tricky Trinkon overseers, who were expected to report her every move to Lector Alistair McCull. Any hint of sex or the even the mildest form of hand relief (a politically correct way of describing self-gratification) was strictly prohibited, on pain of a non-stop ten mile run around the lofty, windswept clifftops of the Isle of Caleb, and lentils, cabbage, and cod liver tea for the next seven breakfasts.
Pippa was fond of day dreaming about memories from her childhood. The pet mice who she took to breed with the big brown mouse which Sven kept next door in the hutch under the crab apple tree; the very first time she kissed Sven and the way he quivered in her sturdy arms; the sherry and trifle parties which her parents threw for all those interminable relatives on Christmas Eve; her very first otter, Rotor, who broke a leg when he was hit by an omnibus and had to be put down, her walks with her granny along the Water of Kleeth, that time her dear mother ran out of milk. Yes, fond memories indeed.
When the Cockatoo Clock struck noon on the second Thursday in September, Dr. Knuddy Skullbanger stopped talking in mid-stanza while reciting the horribly lengthy Odyssey of Agrevius. Upon completing the line, 'So Sporius to his foul and painful fate did go and all was sickening woe', Knuddy scratched his gills and told the students attending his class to scarper off to lunch.
Pippa felt very sorry for Sporius, since he was changed, while still a youth, into a woman, very brutally and against his will, solely for the gratification of the beastly Emperor Agrevius the Third. But when Pippa's pet otter leapt into her arms she forgot what she'd been feeling sorry about.
When her thoughts returned to the reality of the moment, Pippa packed her satchel, took a furtive, but encouraging, glance at her buddies Slim and Dreyfus, and headed for the Rentrosian Dining Hall, long since named after Dame Tarentella Rentrose, the very first headmistress of Alpha-Omega, and a highly eminent humanoid eugenicist, who believed that 'if the physically and mentally defectives go then superior genes will flow'.
Another of Dame Rentrose's quotes, 'Starve the degenerates and improve the species', was
enormously influential during the liquidation of the highly cultured Snipper Snapper creatures in the Eastern deserts, and long thereafter.
Pippa was about to sit down, but had second thoughts, put her yellowy-green cheese sandwich into the side pocket of her regulation light blue tunic, and headed for the beach. She was asking the Ferry Lady how much it would cost to take her to the Garden of the Forbidden Apple Tree, when, out of the corner of her eye, she saw her chums Slim and Dreyfus slinking towards her across the pebbles.
Aren't I the crafty one? enthused Pippa. Or am I psychotic? They seem to have followed me just as I imagined they would.
'Are you away on some sort of trip?' inquired Slim with a playful smirk. "Unfortunately we've run out of acid."
"We're trapped here," complained Pippa. "The Ferry Lady wants to charge me a whole penny. That's so extortionate!".
"In that case, why don't we hang out under the Beelzebub tree?" suggested Dreyfus, with a flourish of the crooked silver horn which emerged from the roof of his cranium.
"Good idea," replied Pippa. "We can whisper sweet nothings to each other. Come along, Scatty!"
"Scatty, who's Scatty?" asked Slim, in surprise, but Pippa's pet otter was nowhere to be seen.
Slim was a demure, ginger-haired Icarian from Angervast, the largest city on the Inner Moon, while Dreyfus was a handsome, horsey-faced Apollo unicorn from the City of Tyre-on-the-Tiber. Since all three pupils were wearing their regulation light blue tunics and tight, long white hosiery, they looked remarkably similar in build if not in facial appearance,
Maybe we are three in one in some sort of mystical sense, or possibly even one in three, mused Pippa, as they settled down together in the shrubbery under the weeping willow tree. She thought that the Beelzebub tree's mossy roots were symbolic of something or other, but she couldn't decide what. They were infested with crimson star-shaped insects called festoonettes (which are, in aggregate, more intelligent than any humanoid who has ever existed)
"And which classes are you attending this afternoon, Miss Pipette?" inquired Slim, slurping his not-so-fizzy soda.
Pippa grinned one of her more encouraging grins."I'm attending Dr. McCull's two classes on Medical Statistics, Slim. The first is all about subjective probability, and the second is about how to use it, and something silly called Bayes' Theorem, to decide whether the client, or guinea pig or whatever, is off his flaming rocker."
Slim rubbed his pink, shrimp-like eyebrows, and fluttered his eyelashes. "That's my scene too," he mumbled.
Dreyfus flexed his muscular biceps and pursed his lips."I'm not attending any classes this afternoon, cos I'm playing rugby in Saint Sebastian's Dell."
Slim gave Dreyfus a funny look, and chuckled."I don't envy you the icy cold shower afterwards. It'll be enough to freeze your balls off."
Dreyfus crushed a couple of lively festoonettes with his thumb and turned a deep shade of green. "I don't think I'll enjoy it anyway," he moaned. "The other blokes will probably laugh at my quimmy. It's in such a stupid place. You Icarians are so lucky, Slim. I don't even have an orchadeus. Or even one of those lovely squeegy-squeegies!"
It takes all sorts, mused Pippa, trying hard not to snigger. But this only serves to increase the karma between the three of us.
"I love the way you walk, Dreyfus," she blurted, straight out of her subconscious, "though I don't quite know which way to stalk."
At that, Dreyfus suddenly sobbed, flexed his tiny fingers, and buried his face in his grubby, hoof-shaped hands.
"Perchance you'll be husband and wife one day," suggested Slim, with a half-suppressed snigger.
"I do hope I'm not intruding," squeaked Dr. Knuddy Skullbanger, marching up and taking a snipshot, "but I'm really most impressed.This sounds like a magnificent first rehearsal for a really zany play."
Pippa felt very confused and brain-fogged by the entire situation. "I hope you'll attend our all-intriguing First Night, since you're, in all probability, in for a big surprise, " she blurted, before wondering whether she'd said something nonsensical.
Slim looked a bit mesmerised at that. "I love the way the tactless words pour out of your head. Perchance you have ADHD like my three sisters."
"Stop gas-lighting me!" shrieked Pippa. "You're one big bully,"
Slim wriggled his nose, and smiled. "But we're family, darling, I'm your big brother and Dreyfus is your little sister,"
"I have my own family. They're in the City of Lanterns, waiting to visit me,"
"Hmmmm---I wouldn't bet on that for one moment. I was brought to the Isle of Caleb when I failed the IQ test on my eleven plus, and I haven't been allowed to see my real family since."
As the thoughts of his family throbbed through his head, Slim felt horses' hooves pounding the inside of his skull, and realised that he was blanking something of note, something immensely traumatic, out of his memory. He therefore struggled for words, before stammering. "M-maybe they're sort of g-grooming us. The Shiners are even w-weirder than those confounded Quakers."
"Those tossers won't groom me!"retorted Pippa. "Now why don't we kiss and make up?"
Suddenly and without warning, Slim grimaced like a ghoulish helldinger and flew into a highly neurotic fit. "Mother, Father, Grandmama! Return to me before I impale myself on the Sword of Everlasting Torture of the Mind. Mummy, Daddy, Granny! Don't leave ME to die. But are you still alive, Mother? Mother! Mother! Mother! Where the feck are you, Mother?"
"And I was beginning to think that you were all much saner than the rest of us," complained Dr. Knuddy Skullbanger, with a frown and a grimace, as he headed for the ferry boat to Eden.
Pippa, feeling upset and confused, retreated in haste to Rentrosian Hall, where many of the residents were enjoying high tea. After bitterly complaining to the Apollo Owl warden about the broken tele-hologram in the lounge, she polished off two cream buns when she thought that nobody was looking. But while she trying hard not to listen to a verbally delinquent Apollo Frog from the Southern Swamps, two Snazi-esque Trinkon overseers strode up and clicked their heels.
"We're here to take you to the Grigor-Galtius Laboratory, Miss Pipette," announced the squat overseer, with a stiff nod and a stern blink. "So don't even think about giving us any more of your impudent shit!"
"It's for your first in depth mind-body examination, you see," added the taller overseer, with a grin. "Lector McCull wishes to delve further into what makes you really tick."
Slim emerged from behind a marble statue of 'The Death Struggle of Laocoon and his Three Lapdogs'. "Please be kind to her," he shrieked , as they marched her away.
"Don't worry about her," replied the squat overseer, with a smirk. "You're next."
The tall overseer laughed. "And you're in for a surprisingly surprising surprise, my dearest darling."
"Surprise, surprise!" gurgled the squat imbecile, with a leer. "It will surprise the enzymes that lurch within him."
After a gruelling couple of hours of preliminary tests in a cavern deep inside Kalton Hill, Pippa was marched down an ornate staircase and into the much-celebrated Grigor-Galtius Lab, wearing only a spotlessly white towel wrapped tightly around her muscular waist. She and her two overseers were met by the Head Yin, a Trinkon who stood fully a foot taller than the rest.
"This is Miss Pippa Pipette, Sire," announced the squat overseer, handing the Head Yin a thick file. "She's transgender, from third gender to female that is, and of British ethnic stock."
The Head Yin gave Pippa, a curious stare.
"How appropriate," he said, with a chuckle. "Lector McCull genuinely thinks that he's of Scottish descent, though he isn't, in reality, human at all. He likes to identify with the British psych morons of bygone eras, and he simply worships the psych-eugenicists Ewen Cameron and Alfred Tredgold, not to forget Lionel Penrose and all his crap about biological defect. McCull's got them on the brain! Thank goodness that we've moved way beyond all that barbaric black magic. The psych morons used to slowly poison their very own patients to malignant deaths, would you believe? And those who objected really got it in the neck."
The taller overseer grinned, a touch inanely. "We haven't detected an iota of what that Penrose jerk called schizophrenia in this one, Sire. Yet."
"In particular, her Penrose-Burt Schizo-IQ tests have never even suggested a glimmer of mental deficiency or feeble mindedness,"added the squat one.
"Good! Nothing hereditary then?"
"Excellent! But we should check for calcification of her pineal gland,.just to make sure she isn't a closet schizo. I'll ask one of the nurses to fetch an extra-thin Jay-spot trepanner from Equipment and Supplies. It'll be perfectly painless."
"But I can see through my Third Eye," blurted Pippa. "It reveals the Ultimate Truth to me. We are all made of completely random electrons!"
The Head Yin narrowed his gaze. "We can only thank Jahweh and the Prophet Isa that we got you here in the nick of time then, darling. There's hope for you yet."
Pippa suddenly went a bit manic, and had to be frog-marched along the entire length of the Grigor-Galtius Lab. On either side of the central corridor, teams of Trinkette nurses were busily testing and treating their patients, many of whom were strapped to some very strange-looking pieces of neuro-scientific equipment. Some of the patients were Alpha-Omega pupils, while others had been brought over in tightly-fitting manacles from the enormous Carperberry Asylum on the Isle of Flute.
A pansexual pelimode from Southern Artica with borderline personality disorder had been injected with a purple dye, and her head and beak inserted into an electron scanner, Her entire blood system was displayed in a three-dimensional hologram, and her neuron map on a holo-neurosynthesiser. Whenever she was asked a question, the hologram winced and her neurons went haywire.
An utterly crazy Apollo horse from Zamara was being subjected to a none-too-well-received frigmoidoscopy while being made to dance in ever increasing circles, thus causing much merriment and laughter among the Trinkette nurses in attendance.
When Pippa saw a paranoid schizophrenic sex criminal from Greganta getting his comeuppance on a transfigurating globuliser, she felt physically sick. I hope they don't treat me like a criminal, she agonised.
As the huge portrait of Hippocrates at the far end of the laboratory came into sight, Pippa was aghast to see a hospital trolley rushing towards them. As it whooshed by to her left, Pippa thought she saw a fleeting picture of a metallic Psychlops lying on top, with a long silver sword resembling the mighty Excalibur stuck vertically into his bulbous single eye. I must be borderline neurotic psychotic! she agonised.
When another trolley rushed by to Pippa's right, she thought she caught a fleeting image of a pink baby elephantus with a steel invictulator protuding from its chest. Pippa almost went into meltdown.
When the Head Yin cuffed Pippa to the piano-shaped mahogany desk at the end of the lab, Dr. Alistair McCull seemed to be in a deep trance. And when Pippa saw his fixated eyes staring into space, she wondered whether he was a caring Icarian, or a wicked demon from the fiery depths.
The Head Yin coughed politely, and McCull stirred himself, only to look as confused as a demented Apollo orang-utan on heat.
"Why it's my darling Achilles!" blurted McCull, as he came to his senses. "You seemed a bit depressed when I last saw you. Did the completely voluntary Pruskian chastisement therapy do the trick?"
"What an easy mistake to make, Herr Lector!" responded the Head Yin, handing McCull a thick folder. "Achilles and Pippa are virtual look-alikes, though their complexions are a bit different. This is Miss Pippa Pipette and she's suffering from Post-Traumatic and Highly Compulsive Manic Infusion, but that's only according to our preliminary diagnosis."
"But what happened to my dear Achilles?" moaned McCull, looking irritated.
"He's much less depressed following his outstanding treatment, Herr Lector, though he's still recovering from the neatly splintered bone in his ankle. He really is a very plucky ducky! We didn't even have to put him through our vertebrae adjustment routine, and his dark green skin is returning to its natural colour already."
McCull immediately acquired a fresh aura. He looked God-like. "Excellent! I'm so happy for him."
McCull quickly went as silent a stealth owl, and flipped through several pages of Pippa's folder blinking furiously. When he reached page 7, he peered at Pippa as if through a dope-ridden haze, looked ever more befuddled, and said, "So young fella. How does it feel to be manically infused?"
"I'm a girl!" protested Pippa, "and I'm NOT manically infused. I simply get a bit hysterical at times, as girls do."
"Really Pippykins! It's our job to determine the diagnoses, and what you think has absolutely nothing to do with it. According to your records, your Trinkon overseers have observed you looking a teeny bit tense during your conversations. One of them noticed you tangentialising onto a ridiculously extraneous topic, and you were heard blurting nonsense on at least three separate occasions."
"So what? I'm simply a bit of an extrovert, and I come up with all sorts of interesting ideas and try to share them."
"A feeble excuse! It's very clear to me that you're suffering from hyperkinetic brain damage, and another symptom of that is Tredgold manic infusion. So that's my diagnosis, and you're stuck with it for the foreseeable future, and for ever and anon."
"I want a second opinion! I'm not brain damaged."
"Sheer impudence! How dare you contradict your superiors!"
"Shut the feck up, you daft wee lass! Now hyperkinetic brain damage is, in my esteemed opinion, caused by dysfunctionality of the organs. So we'll perform multiple key hole surgeries to see if you need any transplants."
"No!!!! My organs have absolutely nothing to do with my grey matter."
"Your entire body is part and parcel of your damaged brain, you silly fool. Don't worry. It won't hurt! We'll coat your tender skin with freezing Sting Sting lotion while we're getting ready to roll."
"No!!!! Not that!"
"Stretch her limbs out on the spherical rotating frame, Trinks! Torsion level 10, at sixty degrees to the horizontal, and with her ears clipped to the triangulator. And please remember to observe and record her neuropsychological reactions when I insert the Vlad incisors into her not-so-delicate anatomy."
The Head Yin looked fit to grovel. "No problem at all, Herr Doctor. And you'll be glad to hear that ten new human kidneys have arrived from the convict colony in the Southern Swamps. I'll take one out of the freezer just in case we need it, and a second for good measure."
"Good idea! If we don't need the second one, we'll fry it for the lab monkeys for breakfast."
At that very moment, Pippa's ginger-haired, golden-skinned Icarian classmate Slim appeared out of the blue, in all his inviting glory. He was cuffed to two growling Apollo Lion orderlies, and looked as traumatized and confused as a koala escaping from a blazing forest of fire. Nevertheless, one of the Trinkette nurses went into a tizz at the sight of his exotically beautiful orchadeus, and the others simply gawped.
"Not that rascal Slim Quick again!" complained Dr. Alistair McCull. "Just look at him flaunting himself to all and sundry! I think that he's a narcissistic psychopath."
"The red hot recodifier maybe, Herr Doctor?" suggested the Head Yin. "It would sort out his blatant deviosity, and we could put him into an induced coma afterwards.".
"No chance! It's the crystal glass electron-deconfabulating capsule for him. Please remember to shave off his God-dammed hair before you close the lid, Trinkettes. I'll be over in a while to flick the switches."
"No!!!! Not my lovely hair!" wailed Slim, as they dragged him towards the Jadrok Collider,
"How utterly ingenious, Herr Lector," exclaimed the Head Yin, amidst generous applause. "You make me proud to think that I, too, am a Qinsatoran."
' It's all part of my Grand Scheme," purred McCull. "We'll take the puppy dogs with us to the Lismore Retreat."
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CHAPTER 2: THE LISMORE RETREAT