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?"
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!"
"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.
Please click here for
CHAPTER 7: THE THREE WISE MEN OLD COUNTS STICK THEIR OAR IN