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Tuesday, 25 February 2020


                                                   BRAIN GAMES ON  QINSATORIX

                                                           by Tom Leonard

                                                          FIRST  EIGHT CHAPTERS

                                                Chapter 9: LIFE AT OXBRIDGE AND UCL


 It is now October 2713. Having passed their Highers with four distinctions each, Pippa and Slim are studying for their undergraduate degrees at Oxbridge University, and University College London at Los Alamos, respectively. Oxbridge University was founded on the Isle of Livermore in AD 1603, initially for sons of the Icarian nobility.  UCL at Los Alamos was founded, on the Isle of Los Alamos, in AD 2453, when the original UCL in London, England decided to become Interstellar and to expand itself throughout the two Universes. UCL had previously gone worldwide in AD 2018, much to the irritation of many similarly prestigious European universities.But there's the profit motive for you!

     Following his grievous injuries at the hands of the Scarlet Order during August 2712, Dreyfus Dreadnought was airlifted, in three pieces, from the Isle of Lismore to Tavistock Cottage Hospital on the Isle of Fantasia. There his two arms were successfully re-attached to his body, and a metallic 'sight-enhancement' device inserted into his left eye-socket. After several months of convalescence,



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

                                               BRAIN GAMES ON QINSATORIX   

                                                               by Tom Leonard

                                                        FIRST SEVEN CHAPTERS

                                                    Chapter 8: A CHILD IS BORN                                     


 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.

When Die Friedensstifterin landed at Edwards Space-Force Base, the apparently highly successful politicians Dirk Eradacus and Ket Martingale were greeted by a bevy of Icarian maidens bearing laurel leaves and garlands of flowers. Dirk, Ket, Pippa and Slim were promptly taken in the azure Holy Imperial Coach to the City of Trivoli, followed by a cavalcade of twenty shining golden limousines packed with well wishers.

      Vast crowds were waiting in the Capitol Octagon to greet the four heroes, and the First Minister toasted them with champagne and presented Dirk and Ket with Qinsatoran Medals of Freedom, and Pippa and Slim with Courageous Youth Medallions. The heroes proceeded in triumph to the Cathedral of St. Basil of Confucia, where the frog-like Archbishop of Madron gave thanks to Yahweh before the High Altar for the recently achieved 'Peace and Reconciliation' with the despotic rulers of Ceres and Gallium.

      Counts Balthazar, Melchior, and Caspar also participated in the Service of Thanksgiving by singing the two-millennia-old Kyrie Evangelis, that'd first been sung with the Baal-worshippers to celebrate the founding of Trivoli in AD 706. Then Caspar rushed off for a pee, and the two other old dodderers had to sit down because their legs were aching. So Balthazar never did have a chance to announce his latest earth-shattering prophecy.

       And then on to the rip-off dungeon bar in the Royal Jorvik Hotel, next to the Interplanetary Meglev Train Museum, where the skimpy drinks cost three silver crowns each, but where a wonderful time was had by one and all. Apart from Pippa and Slim, who sat huddled together in a corner bemoaning all of the horrific cruelty that had been so evident during the excursions to Ceres and Gallium.

Pippa and Slim were glad to return to their studies at Alpha-Omega Academy on the Isle of Caleb, and they slowly recovered their sensibilities as the weeks rolled by. In the meantime, their transgender buddy Dreyfus Dreadnought became perplexed, and ever more perplexed since he seemed to be growing larger and larger. At the beginning of June, he wondered whether there might be some sort of biological explanation for the feelings of discomfort. The amazing truth finally dawned on him towards a couple of weeks later when he felt the pounding of tiny feet in his stomach, whereupon the teenage Apollo  Unicorn nervously confided to Pippa and Slim that he was expecting a baby.

      Dreyfus said that the father was doubtlessly the Grand Reincarnate of the Shiners,  the golden-skinned Icarian Sir Alistair Sunkist, no less. Dreyfus had gatecrashed Sir Alistair's snobby reception on St.  Crispin's Eve in the Hotel of the Pink Hapsburgs on the Isle of Mainau, only for his host's daughter Lady Jemima Sunkist to entice him upstairs. Thereupon, he'd been tied to a four-poster by two grinning ape swans, whereupon he was wantonly seduced, spread-eagled like a beleaguered scorpion-toad, by his sweaty, dog-faced host. But Dreyfus had given his prior consent, simply to get it over and done with.

      Pippa was utterly appalled to hear about all of this. She'd cuddled a bit with Dreyfus the night before St. Crispus Eve, during the Shiner Ceilidh in the bubblecopter hangar on the Isle of Lismore, and then he'd taken her back to her room in the Hotel Las Fuentes for a quick snog. She was sad that such a nice Apollo Unicorn should have got into such a bad misadventure the following night. And with such alarming potential consequences!

      Meantime, Slim remembered his own affair of the heart at the Hotel of the Pink Hapsburgs on St. Crispin's Eve, and blushed deep green, orange and purple.

      In early July 2713, Dirk Eradacus decided to sent his indentured wife Tamzin away from Trivoli, to await the birth of their child (he was still unaware that she was expecting twins). He, very generously, handed her a brochure of all high class maternity homes on Qinsatorix, and she chose the Nestorian Convent of the Sacred Crown on the Isle of Caleb, so that she would be close to her friends Pippa and Slim. So Dirk sent Tamzin off down the Tiber  on the Mississippi , and after a short voyage across Oceania with Dirk's insipid Apollo Lemon personal secretary, Tamzin found herself on the Isle of Caleb and in the loving care of the Sisters of the Sacred Crown and their kindly Apollo Lizard mother superior.

     Around that time, Headmaster Alistair McCull told two of his stroppy prefects to bring his pupil Dreyfus Dreadnought to his antiquated office in Galton Tower, and when they frog-marched Dreyfus onto the crimson carpet he was shaking in his green-spotted trainers.

     "I've been hearing all sorts of rumours about you, Dreadnought," griped McCull. "Out with it! Why do you remind me of the Wild Mare of Diddicombe Fair in labour?"

       He's taking the rise about my second cousin from Drannoch Moor, realised Dreyfus. That's not very kind.

      "That's because I am in labour, Sir," he replied, as politely as he could. "You know that I'm a transgender Apollo Unicorn man, and this is all something quite natural for us. We do indeed give birth to children from time to time, and I believe that this should be socially acceptable,"

     McCull's eyes shrunk into their sockets. "The Shiners would certainly agree with that, as a moral principle at least, if not always in actual practice. But what breed is the father? Who the Hell is the frigging father?"

     "I'm afraid I can't tell you that, Sir. To reveal his identity would be far too scandalous."

     "Too scandalous!! I can only assume that you've co-habited with a degenerate species. Get out of here! Either back to your snotty parents in Angervast, or into a ditch, for all I care."

      "Please let me stay here with my schoolmates, Sir. I suppose that I could tell you who the father is, but you'd have to promise not to let on to anyone else."

      When Sunkist sighed, his chest rattled like an out-of-sink grass-snake. "I promise. But who, prithee, is the degenerate sleazebag?"

      "It's--er-- the Grand Reincarnate Sir Alistair Sunkist, Sir. He screwed me senseless during the Spring Break while we were visiting the Isle of Mainau, with my consent of course. So I'm expecting his baby around the beginning of August."

       McCull's golden face turned a deep silvery-green, and he looked as if he was about to have a hyperboloid fit. But he calmed himself down, and after fifteen seconds of terrifying silence, during which his face turned silvery-gold, he slowly said, "In that case, we must find a maternity home which is willing to look after you and take care of the baby. You may resume your studies here in September if all goes according to plan. Now go and have a shower. You smell like an aardvark."

       The very next day, Dreyfus was sent to the Convent of the Sacred Crown, where the kindly nuns lodged him in a comfortable outhouse across the field from the maternity home. Pippa and Slim said they would visit him as often as they could. The convent was only a three mile trek from the Alpha-Omega Academy. Dreyfus enjoyed peering through the window and counting the sheep.


On the very last day of July 2013, the three elderly counts, Balthazar, Melchior, and Caspar sailed
into the Old Harbour on the Isle of Livermore on the medieval barque Saint Leviticus. Also on board were six abundantly cute Cnupian slave girls bearing garlands of flowers, baskets of fruit, and placards inscribed in purple paint with the message 'The Messiah is Coming'.

      The Isles of Livermore and Los Alamos are connected by a granite causeway along which the Playful Giants of Moohaha were said to have once trod. The Saint Leviticus moored alongside the ornate jetty at the western end of the causeway during the students' lunch break. While most of the Coxbridge undergraduates were enjoying a square meal in Clinton Hall, a dozen or so snooty students were lounging on the harbour wall munching their smashed avocado Byron burgers (apart from an uncouth chav from Immingham-under-Lyme was sitting on the ground choking on his vomit).

      When the skimpily dressed slave girls attempted to tie the sheets to the bollards, the rude fellows cracked obscene jokes and broke out into raucous laughter. To add insult to insult, a chav from Cheam-on-the-Tiber, long since addicted to Neck Lick, staggered onto the jetty and pinched one of the slave-girls au milieu de ses fesses. She wriggled in delight, and gave the saucy chav a bunch of bananas.

     While the wise counts were disembarking, the slave girls ran eagerly forward with their baskets of fruit, and distributed apples, peaches, and pears to everybody on the quayside. Consequently, a huge throng of hungry students had gathered on that auspicious spot by the time the three counts mounted the Steps of the Empress Trimontia, waving their placards and in preparation to speak.

     Balthazar held his hands aloft like the a prophet on the summit of Mount Sinus, and bellowed,"As many of you will be aware, the Eternal Messiah is currently cruising through the Quanta-Universe on the Space-Station Castellos with most of our other divine entities on board, including Jahweh, Asherah, and Hecate. Based on our soundings of the subliminal gravity waves and our studies of the ancient scriptures, we predict that His Magnificence is about to manifest himself as a humanoid child for the tenth time since Creation. We moreover predict that this, our beloved tenth Christ-child will be born on Qinsatorix during the forthcoming double eclipse. Jahweh has advised me in a dream that we should call the child Joshua."

    "Wet dream, more likely," shrieked a pretty raven-head with pig-tails.

    "You sound like my bloody-minded Stats professor," howled a shaggy-bearded student, who was leaning precariously against a lamp-post. "I've never heard such a collection of crass nonsense in my entire life."

    "May Jahweh strike you down with thunderbolts from the Crimson Cube of Heaven!" roared Count Melchior, ponderously rising to his feet. "We have now seen silver shards in the Northern Lights on three successive evenings. The Silver Cometron of Lilith is coming to get you."

      "I hope that Jonny heard that!" retorted the hairy student. "Beware the Apollo Crows, darling, or they'll slit your throat to the sinews, rip out your bulging thyroid, and grind your tonsils to mincemeat."

     "More to the point," interjected the hundred-and-ten-year old-Count Caspar, trying hard not to wet his pants. "The Silver Cometron will lead us to the immaculately conceived Christ-child and his thrice blessed mother."

     "Immaculately conceived?" chortled a maiden in a cotton dress. "I can tell you all about immaculately conceived. It takes a good shag to achieve an immaculate conception."

     "Mothers of the Christ-child are invariably virgins at conception, since they would not otherwise give birth to the Christ-child," Count Caspar primly replied. "We predict that the tenth Christ-child will be born somewhere in the Archipelago of the Shiners, and we'll refine our spatio-temporal prediction during the days ahead."

     "So what if the frigging brat is the Christ-child?" inquired a chav in a scruffy tracksuit, with a loud burp.

      "He'll sort you wasters out, for a start," snarled Count Balthazar, "and he'll bring sweetness and light to the whole of this planet."

       An uptight Professor of Moral Philosophy wearing a deerstalker threw his Sherlock pipe in the air in dismay."Presumably with the help of the licentious frog who's Archbishop of Madron?" he growled. "Your Messiah will take us back to the days of the creepy-crawly Roman Catholics with all their Sodoms, Gomorrahs, and evil Jerusalems. Begone with you! Get off this island or I'll bleep the Apollo Viper proctors and ask them to bring out the multi-fanged Vlad hounds!"

       Jonny Mack, the leader of the exceedingly far right Scarlet Order, smiled grimly as the three old counts fled in utter disarray to their sailing barque.

      "Go track 'em in the war canoe, Minion Alpha," commanded the homely Apollo Crow, "and take three further minions with you."

      "Indubitably, Master," replied the servile Apollo Crow to his right (who was also a student of Anthropology). "I'll put the battle-axes in the bilge."

      "And my knife!"

Pippa and Slim arrived at the Convent of the Sacred Crown on 1st. August 2713, planning to stay in the draughty guest dorm until the birth of Tamzin Eradacus's and Dreyfus Dreadnought's babies. Tamzin was staying in an expensive ground floor room with a lovely view of the River Foss. When Pippa and Slim visited Tamzin for the first time, the nuns brought Dreyfus , now great with child, in on a wheelchair. His quarters, in an annex close to the Foss that resembled a large stable, were much less palatial. The donkeys who poked their heads through the windows didn't help,

      Tamzin was even greater with child, and she confided to her three chums that she was expecting twins. However, she expressed concern as to how long her husband would allow her to keep them. When Pippa asked her whether her husband knew there would be twins, she said that he didn't, but she seemed embarrassed when Pippa asked her why she hadn't told him. Slim looked more than a touch embarrassed too. So Pippa decided not to delve deeper.

      Dreyfus said that he was planning to take his baby to live with his parents in Angervast, but that he would return to Alpha-Omega at the beginning of the forthcoming academic year. He'd heard that Sir Alistair Sunkist wanted absolutely nothing to do with his love-child.

     The four friends were relaxing over mugs of hot goats' milk and a platter of strawberry scones, when Pippa noticed Dreyfus looking lovingly in her direction. That reminded her of their enjoyable romp during the Spring Break in their hotel on the Isle of Mainau. And then a feeling of dread suddenly filled Pippa's psyche. What if ?---No that would be impossible!---We were only fooling around. I'm a girl! I'm a girl! I'm a girl when all's said and done! ---Those silly bits and pieces I was born with have absolutely nothing to do with it!

The teenagers were munching their toffee crunches, when the mother superior came in with a pretty Apollo Crow novice nun with a curved orange beak and a sadly deformed left claw.

      "I'd like to introduce you to Jezebel, guys," announced the kindly Apollo Lizard. "She's just arrived from the Isle of Los Alamos, and she'll be changing the nappies when the babies are born."

      "I'm delighted to make your acquaintance, Jezebel," responded Tamzin, somewhat condescendingly. "We will be feeding our babies with rarefied dolphins' milk."

      "How sweet," replied Jezebel, with a giggle. "I'm sure they'll be as sturdy as Romulus and Premus."

      But Premus died of suffocation when he was suckled by an Apollo Wolf, realised Slim. Who is this bizzom?

       Nevertheless, Slim blinked and fluttered his eyelashes. "You're remarkably lovely for an Apollo Crow. Thank you for feathering our nest."

       Pippa didn't like the shape of that creature's beak.

The next morning, Tamzin received a disconcerting surprise during breakfast when two grumpy Icarian women in matching tweed trouser suits marched officiously into her luxurious en-suite bedroom.

      The woman with ivory tusks for breasts opened her cardboard folder. "We're Q.I.A. agents, Mrs. Eradacus. Your husband has sent us from Trivoli because there's a medium  level alert on Social Media regarding possible covert activities by the Scarlet Order. Most of the Order's Twitter activity is focused around this Archipelago. They're an extremely fascist organisation who hate trumped up Messiahs because they think they're likely to ferment grass-roots revolutions against the Divine Plutarchs. There's an infinitesimal chance that the Scarlet Order might suspect that the baby you're expecting is the tenth Christ-child, would you believe? So we're here as part of a safety net of highly experienced security personnel which will endeavour to protect you against all possible eventualities."

       Tamzin raised her eyebrows at that, "Infinitesimal chance? All possible eventualities? What on earth are you rambling on about.?"

      The hard-nosed, flat-chested harridan of an agent from Tiberius fingered her six-shooter. "There's no need to fly off the handle like a Basin Street bizzom, Mrs. Eradacus. Indeed, there's absolutely nothing to be concerned about. At the first sign of trouble, we'll whisk you and your baby into the Salvation Crypt, and then along a secret passage to the Castle of Saint Angelo on the north-east headland, where you will both be placed under the highly secure protection of the Nestorian High Pontiff''s Ostrich Guards and his Marlin Spike platoon, both very efficient outfits indeed."

       I wouldn't want to bump into this pair of on a hard and frosty night, thought Tamzin. Maybe it would be best to lap up to them.  

      "I am so grateful to my dear husband," she simpered, "and to the Q.I.A. for so courageously coming to my assistance, but will my love-chum Dreyfus Dreadnought and his wonderfully intersectional baby be placed under your protection too?"

      "Dreyfus? Sounds like a bloke. Who's the mother of his child?"

      "He's the mother. He's a trans man, or a transgender male Apollo Unicorn to be precise."

      "Really? Is that the bloke in the outhouse? The one with the wonky horn who spends his time reading  Beano comics?"

      "Yes, though he's more into Flash Jordan magazines."

      "I'm surprised he wasn't sterilized during the Pogrom of 2710. But I suppose we could give the daft fellow basic level protection, if we can spare a moment."

      "Thanks a million. Would you care for one of my hard-boiled eggs?"

       And the Archangel  Gabriel appeared to Dreyfus in a psychedelics-induced fantasy, holding the Holy Sword Caliburn aloft in his hoof-like fist.

       "You are the Archangel of my dreams!" cried an ecstatic Voice.

       "Thank you kindly, and a child will be born to you during the Double, or rather the Triple Eclipse, Blessed One," declared Gabriel, rubbing his crustaceous face. "He, the tenth and final humanoid manifestation of the Eternal Messiah,was conceived while you were a virgin. He will be born unto you in one of the multi-faceted images of the Creator God. His name will be Joshua. and he will be called wonderful. And you will go forth into the Universe as the Blessed Mother of the Christ-child, and you will seek to save all living beings from the wretched plutarchs, the confounded Shiners, and the insane ruling oligarchies that threaten humanoidkind, the birds, the animals, and nature itself."

      "But how will I do that?" asked the Voice. "Show me the way."

      "Go to the Inner Moon to escape the vipers and serpents that encircle you here. Recover from your ills in Angervast, and the single-breasted Battle Goddess Hippolyta will guide you further on behalf of Yahweh and Asherah, the two pansexual god-heads entwined in one."

       "I hope that I prove worthy of the Living God, the group consciousness of all sentient beings." said the Voice.

       "I'm sure you will. This Holy Sword, the thrice-blessed Caliburn, will be given unto you, to lead the fight. Now go in peace."

The Aton Sunstar rose in the mottled, bright maroon west at 6 a.m Trivoli mean-time on the 3rd. August 2713, as the green, brown, and red coloured, highly cultivated Inner Moon slowly traversed the sky from the north-west, and the smaller, whitish-yellow Outer Moon came limply from the south-west. By mid-morning the crowds were gathering in the streets, and partying in the town squares and on the hilltops, in anticipation of viewing the double eclipse of the moons and the Sunstar at precisely 12.34 p.m.

     In Trivoli, the Capitol Octagon was absolutely teeming, and images of the Sunstar and moons from the Interstellar Space Station Miranda were projected onto an immense Qinview screen. The Qinview commentators were spewing their shit before the cock-a-doodle had a chance to crow thrice.

     Such were the combined gravitational forces of the moons, that both Tamzin Eradacus and Dreyfus Dreadnought went into labour, on the Isle of Caleb, at precisely 7.14 a.m. The three homo erectus Sisters of Charity in the run-down outhouse where Dreyfus was staying had gone fishing in their coracles on the Foss, and when they returned with enough salvo-smout and wrasse for breakfast they heard Dreyfus moaning and groaning and promptly hurried to his bedside with an All Bran poultice and a gallon-size flagon of Guinness.

      Meanwhile, Tamzin was well looked after in her plush room in the convent by two experienced Apollo Giraffe nuns. Jezebel, the shifty Apollo Crow novice nun who'd recently arrived from the Isle of Los Alamos, was also a member of her team. Pippa and Slim spent the morning criss-crossing the field between the convent and the outhouse to encourage their two pregnant friends, while dodging the sheep and the occasional goat. When a shepherd with long white whiskers told them to 'buzz off',Slim got angry and trod on his foot. Unfortunately, a passing goatherd got in the way and the elderly Neanderthal gave the silly Apollo Newt a thick, mushy green ear.

     At back of eleven, the Qinview commentators went utterly ballistic. The magical space station Castellos had flashed momentarily onto their screen, as if out of a Professor What movie.

     "I almost thought that the divinities were about to descend on us," spluttered Wimpy Wilbur.

     "Now that would have been fascinating," enjoined Silky Sue, recovering her senses. "The central core is the size of a small moon and contains hundreds of Life-Creation labs, and the divinities live in the surrounding eight asteroid-sized capsules, which are connected to the core by titanium space corridors that also contain the living quarters of the thousands of quanta-scientists."

     "Thank goodness the bloody thing is still in the Quanta-Universe," opined the Qinview resident eugenicist, the much celebrated Apollo Bear  David Mount Batten-Burger, unruffling the shaggy hair on his abdomen. "They're always trying to invent crass new species."



       And then, just as Batten-Burger was pigging into his proverbial pheasant sandwich, the Space Station Castellos flipped back into the Red Trojan Universe, several hundred miles immediately above the City of Lanterns. It  spiralled down below cloud cover, spitting purple sparks of fire, and remained stationary for fully three minutes, emptying its sludge tanks, before spinning off into orbit. The crowds in the Capitol Octagon went frantic, and Silky Sue squealed like a Silesian Siren. The gravitational effects caused several dozen of the children to leap in the air, but fortunately nobody, apart from a stupid gremlin from Spitting Sodbury, broke their ankle.

      The silver shards in the northern skies grew more intense, and the three wise counts sailed south, along the fairy-tale eastern coasts of Fantasia and Lismore. When they reached Tawi Sound, Melchior looked ahead through his telescope.

     "I do believe that is where the Silver Cometron of Lilith will focus is rays," he pronounced. "It's known in post-modern times as the Isle of Caleb."

      "Goody gumdrops", replied the ageless Caspar. "It's almost time for my tea."

     At that very time, the Apollo Crow Jonny Mack and six other members of the far right Scarlet Order were toiling away in their canoe about ten miles south-east of Caleb. They were tracked for a while by a frigate out of the naval base in Drumkok and Mack received secret instructions from a corrupt Planetary Security Agency official who was on board

       "We'll catch the dumb human broad in her bed," declared Mack, "and cut of her feckin Christ-child's silly head. I'll do it with my very own knife." His six chums sniggered at that. And nobody even made a joke about Smack the Knife.

      At 12.15 p.m., the Apollo Lizard mother superior came into Tamzin's room, and read from the Holy Scriptures: "So humanoids were created in the image of the intersex God; in the image of God were all sentient beings created; of all genders and orientations did God create them, and they will thus be created until the Omega and judged at the Armageddon." 

      "And all sentient beings view their entire lives, as they happen,  from the hereafter," continued the Apollo Crow novice nun Jezebel, with a flourish of her healthy right claw, "for the greater good of their future generations and of all humanoidkind."

       "That's only in the Queen Theodora the Sixth version, Jezebel," reacted the mother superior, with a not-so-kindly smile.

      At 12.20 p.m, Tamzin finally gave birth, to a tiny baby, who came head-first out of her mother's womb.

       "It's a girl!" announced a hawk-eyed nun in a matronly apron, in glee.

       "She's my daughter!" Slim proudly declared, rushing over.

       "But it's got a pubie-shunter," interjected the slinky-eyed Jezebel, with a sly grin. "That makes it half-Icarian, So it can't be your daughter."

       "I should hope not too," agreed the hawk-eyed nun, giving Slim a severe frown, and he felt suitably chastened. The two grumpy Q.I.A. agents also give Slim hard looks, and the flat-chested one split her eggnog down her tweed suit in sheer irritation.

By 12.30 p.m, the Outer Moon had rolled in front of the Aton Sunstar, leaving, for a brief moment, a circle of blazing golden light that illuminated the circumference of the intrusive moon like a crown of eternal glory. But the Inner Moon moved, in virtual synchronicity, across the entire face of the Outer Moon, and the whole of Trystonia and most of the Western Archipelagos immediately fell into darkness. Only the iconic red 'carrot-devils' atop of the Sunstar remained visible from behind the moons; some oddballs even wondered whether they were spiritual beings sending subliminal messages to Qinsatorix.

      After an instant of spooky darkness, a truly monumental event occurred. The Space Station Castellos appeared from out of nowhere, flashing its amber silver lights, and positioned itself in front of the Inner Moon, where it remained stationary for several minutes. blocking even the view of the carrot-devils on the Sunstar. A Triple Eclipse had occurred, for only the second time in the history of Qinsatorix (the first time it happened, the noble, long-lamented Prince Crispus performed a quadruple orbit of the two moons, Castellos and Qinsatorix before meeting a tragic and grisly death while marching into Trivoli to confront the ruthless British colonialists. But that's another story!)

     And then, the Silver Cometron of Lilith appeared in the northern skies, zooming downwards from the ionosphere in a hyperbolic arc. The crowds gasped in astonishment, and the priests and true believers wondered where the cometron was heading, and whether it would reveal where the Christ-child lay.

      At that historical moment in time, the Apollo Unicorn Dreyfus gave birth to a perfectly delivered baby boy.

     "I don't want to even look at him." declared Dreyfus. "He's Alistair Sunkist's bastard son, and he'll behave as badly as that evil Devil Incarnate."

     "But he doesn't even have an orchadeus!" exclaimed a cherubic homo erectus nun in a chequered dress.

     "Neither do I, darling!"

      "But just look at that funny little thing! He must be half-human."

      "In that case, I am the proud, transgender intersex father," declared Pippa, utterly besides herself in delight. "It must have been all that rolling around we did together, Dreyfus, on the Isle of Mainau."

      "We Sisters call it tumbling," said the cherubic nun, with a seductive smile. "A mother superior in the Northern Territories once became great with child after tumbling in the loft with a novice nun who'd been snogging with a lad in a haystack. She was, of course, ceremoniously defrocked."

      The baby finally opened his eyes. They were bright blue, just like Pippa's. Dreyfus hugged his new born son to his chest, and beamed the broad smiles of his childhood in his unadulterated ecstasy.

And Dreyfus's room was filled with holy white light as the Silver Cometron of Lilith focused its rays on the Convent of the Sacred Crown and the gardens and fields around it.

      Guided by the cometron, the three wise counts had turned up the Foss at Fulford. On seeing that the rays of holy light were focusing on the convent they disembarked at a jetty close to the outhouse where Dreyfus and his love-child lay, but proceeded across the field, between the cowering sheep, to the main building, where seven Vestal Virgins greeted them and  invited them inside,

     In the meantime, Tamzin gave birth to a second baby daughter, which came, feet first and with an almighty struggle, out of her mother's womb.

     "It's a girl!" announced the mother superior. "But, lo and behold! She's totally human. A female homo sapiens, just like her mother."

      "That's because I'm the father!" declared Slim Quick puffing his chest.

      "That makes you an adulterer!" shrieked the Q.I.A. agent with ivory tusks for breasts. "As the mother is well-married, that's a criminal offence, and it's punishable by death!"

       "We'll throw you into the Tollbooth!" screeched the flat-chested agent. "Then they'll take you in a coffin to Trivoli and burn you in the Grassmarket like a horned witch."

        The agents seized hold Slim, and were about to cuff him, when the three wise counts walked in, carrying bags of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

        "We come to greet the Holy Christ-child," announced Balthazar, "and to anoint the mother and father of the child with the Holy Oil of St. Clotilde of Constanta."

          A conveniently-timed distraction that enabled Slim to escape into the woods---

         "I'm the father!" shrieked Slim, breaking free from his captors.

         "But there are two babies," observed Melchior, looking mighty confused, as Slim vanished through the quarter-pane window. "Which of them is the Christ-child?"

          "Heaven knows!" replied Balthazar, looking perplexed. "What do you think, Caspar?"

          "I don't have a clue," replied the inane old dodderer.

          "Neither of them, you idiots," declared the mother superior. "They're both girls. The Christ-child, if humanoid, is always a boy. Christ-otters and Christ-penguins can of course be any gender under the Sun."

          "Whoops!" said Balthazar. "I'm really sorry, folk. We seem to have come to the wrong place."

          Jezebel laughed out loud. "Why don't you try the cabin down by the Foss? A clumsy Apollo Unicorn bloke is trying to give birth to a bairn there. It'll probably look like a horned donkey."

          "Thank you," replied Balthazar, regaining some of his dignity. "We'll drop by there on our way back to our sailing barque."

           "Hold your horses, guys!" interjected senile old Caspar. "The holy light from the cometron also accords divine status to these baby girls. According to ancient statute, they should be called Holy Magdalenes. It is incumbent upon us to anoint them as such."

          Melchior scratched the mole on the top of his bald head. "Too true, Caspar. You're not completely useless. Now the last Holy Magdalene was called Naomi. So the first born of these babies will be called Martha and the second born will be called Mary."

         And Mary and Martha Magdalene were consequently anointed with Frankincense and bathed in Bubbly Bubbly oil.

When the three wise men arrived at the outhouse by the river, the cherubic nun let them in. And there they discovered Dreyfus's new-born horned son lying in a Moses basket, under the admiring gaze of two squirrels and a chipmunk, not to forget his Apollo Unicorn mother, and his human father Pippa. Caspar pressed a button on his waist-mobile, and a golden halo suddenly miraculously appeared, hovering over the child's head.

     "All hail to Joshua, Messiah of Qinsatorix!" cried Balthazar, falling to his knees.

     "All hail to the Christ-child. Son of the living God, conceived by a virgin!" cried Melchior, collapsing to the floor.

     "Here's the loot!" cried Caspar, handing Dreyfus the bags of gold, frankincense and myrrh,

      And the shepherds and goat-herds came in from the fields, and the fishermen came from the river. And the homo erectus nuns served free eggnog for one and all.

       The three wise counts were long gone, and having some fun with a big woolly sheep in a meadow. But the less said about that misadventure the better.

When the Apollo Crow Jonny Mack and his six Scarlet Order colleagues moored at the Sacred Crown jetty, they headed straight for the Convent, seized two Vestal Virgins, and, with knives at their throats, demanded to know where the Christ-child lay. Pippa was returning from the outhouse to the convent at that very moment. She rushed straight in through the French windows and warned Tamzin to depart with her babies in haste. This Tamzin immediately did, with the help of the two tough-minded Q.1.A. agents, and within a few minutes they were all safe and secure in the Castle of  Saint Angelo, under the protection of the Nestorian High Pontiff himself, and closely guarded by his Apollo Ostriches..

      But the spiteful Apollo Crow novice nun Jezebel rushed out of Tamzin's room through the French windows to snitch to Jonny Mack in the entrance-way of the convent,

      "The Christ-child is in that outhouse," shrieked Jezebel, pointing the way with her deformed left claw. "He's the little horned devil with the dumb unicorn for a mother."

      Pippa heard what the turncoat nun said, and sprinted towards the outhouse to warn Dreyfus. But Jonny Mack caught up with Pippa and knocked her unconscious with a single blow to the head from the flat blade of his battle axe.

      Moments later, Dreyfus heard a terrifying banging on the door of his log-cabin.

      "Bring out the Christ-child and his scumbag of a mother!" roared Jonny Mack.

       "Death to the Christ-child," howled Mack's six comrades-in-arms, in ghoulish unison."Death to all first-born males! Death to the Holy Virgin Mother! Death! Death! Death!"

       The cherubic nun Fortuna seized Joshua and hurried through the back door, with the tiny baby in her arms, while five other Sisters of the Sacred Crown ran to Dreyfus's defence. But when Jonny Mack burst in, he chased after Fortuna and Joshua, while his companions hacked the courageous nuns to pieces with their recently sharpened axes.

       When Fortuna reached the shore of the Foss she threw Joshua into her fishing coracle, and was about to jump in too, when she saw Mack coming. She therefore jumped into the water and pushed the coracle as hard as she could into the fast flowing current. But Mack leapt in to the Foss after her. When Fortuna punched him in the face, he decapitated her with a single swing of his mighty battle axe, and her head flew up into the air and down into the sludge.

       Mack lost his balance during the struggle, and by the time he'd saved himself from going under, Joshua had escaped way downstream in the coracle. By divine providence, Joshua was saved just west of Fulford, by a perceptive blacksmith out fishing for trout. The blacksmith took the Christ-child home with his catch, and took care of the baby for a while with the help of his shrewish wife.

        Jonny Mack was in a sour mood indeed when he returned, semi-conscious, to the cabin, and he and his evil colleagues turned on poor Dreyfus Dreadnought in spite. Mack blinded Dreyfus's right eye with a thrust of his knife, and cut off his left ear with an Apollo Potato buddy's curved sword, whereupon two Apollo Griffins from Petraeus severed Dreyfus's arms with blows from their axes, and pierced his chest with a steel lance.

        "Fuck you, bitch!" howled Mack, while he and the six other terrorists were departing with the gold and frankincense, leaving the myrrh for Dreyfus. The Holy Virgin Mother was left writhing in bewildered agony on the concrete floor, heading for Purgatory.

         The other Vestal Virgins came out of the convent, and strangled the turncoat crow Jezebel to death. She spewed venom while she choked.

         Please click here for

                                 CHAPTER 9: LIFE AT COXBRIDGE AND LOS ALAMOS




Saturday, 22 February 2020


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


                                                          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


                                                BRAIN GAMES ON QINSATORIX

                                                           by Tom Leonard

                                                      FIRST SIX  CHAPTERS



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 lowly 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 seeing the New Year in Cymbeline Grotto Hall on the Isle of Caleb, where his friends at Alpha-Omega Academy were enjoying a well-earned frolic. Dreyfus hadn't even been examined by 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 morang-utang, or even a stalking eagle.

     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 past 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 Minister," 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 cogitating along similar lines. You must have met them already. They were at your reception last night. They travelled in a bullet 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, some almost as insightful as your very self."

       "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 and with probability approaching 99.99994%, come to pass during the Double Eclipse in August. According to their mathematical calculations, they believe that the Silver Cometron of Lilith will emerge from the Quanta-Universe during the eclipse and shine briefly upon Qinsatorix. The wise men's 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 a building on which the Silver Cometron of Lilith focuses its rays. He will be the tenth humanoid manifestation of the eternal Messiah who lives on Castellos."

        He's trying to predict that my slave-wife Tamzin will give birth to a manifestation of the 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 frigging myrrh. "

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

       "Such 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 rainbow-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 in Galton Tower. Slim was wearing three pairs of dirty 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 a curious 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 dose of 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'd prefer the cat-zinger. Slim was glad when McCull relented and gave him some invigorating 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 partner's 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 2706, 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 him 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. "But what more would you expect from those abhorent relics? 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,"

      Dirk coughed up a bit of phlegm. "I love the way you mix your Latin with your French, but I'd prefer one of your delightful goo sandwiches."


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 the four dozen 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 with broad beams on their faces.

      "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 thrash the living daylights out 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 took 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. Then 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 bodily fluids 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 Penthouse 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 by the antics at the hotel, 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 their skimpy 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?"

      "I'm so glad you asked. 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!"

        (The Royal Crustacean Mounted Patrolmen or R.C.M.P. were no longer mounted on camels or zebra during those years, and they wore jackboots and spiked helmets to distinguish themselves from the Praetorian Guard.)

        "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, in sheer fright, 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 that 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 the political situation here has  changed during their twilight years. Nowadays, 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, 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, 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.

     Several golden-skinned Icarian fraudsters in the Barwinnie prison swamp were offered free pardons, together with top brass anti-corruption positions in the Qinsatorix Stock Exchange and knighthoods for their services to humanoid civilisation. They promptly exchanged their convicts' sack-clothes for pin-striped suits.

       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 sassy 'Handy Sandy' embraced each other in  mutual admiration.

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, and they were advised that they would be permitted to navigate the battleships while escorting the flying saucer Die Friedensstifterin back to Qinsatorix

      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.

     The three space-craft performed three full orbits of the yellow-and-green striped planet before setting course for Qinsatorix. Pippa cuddled into Slim on the velvet V.I.P. futon and tried to block the recent atrocities from her mind. Then she remembered Hera Herrera, the leader of the mammashunters and her prophecy to the effect that she, Pippa no less, would visit the eleven non-extinct planets to learn more about the behaviour of humanoids, for the benefit of the Grand Creator when he was wondering how to concoct future populations. The behaviour of humanoids in power, for example the Icarian eunuchs on Ceres, together with Dirk, Ket, and Sir Alistair Sunkist and the rest of the duplicitous Shiners on Qinsatorix, particularly appalled Pippa, as did the suffering of repressed humanoids and sub-humanoids everywhere.

      But how can the inequalities be reversed while also ensuring the survival and vibrancy of our societies? Pippa wondered. The over-idealistic anarchists have clearly got the wrong idea, because their sort of Utopian society can never be sticky-taped by a people's democracy. Maybe Hera has some better ideas. Or perhaps the three wise old counts from Ur will find the answer somewhere in the scriptures. -----Wowee! Maybe the sort of 'sympathetic' Capitalism proposed by Amos Carrot in 'The Wealth of Planets' could still be cobbled together. Carrot said that 'all value is created by human labour', though he also tried to justify the land grabs. The centuries-old moral philosophies of the Erectus-Icarian Enlightenment may be relevant into the future, though they would need to be sensibly adapted.

       Slim woke up, and gave Pippa a poke. The northern polar icecap of Qinsatorix was visible above the asteroid belt, with the Outer Moon hovering above it.

         A vision of a Christ Child with golden horns and a rosy-red face appeared above Qinsatorix, and a voice from the Heavens said,

                            "He is my son and your son. He and his blood will lead the way."

        "What a strange hallucination," deliberated Pippa. "I can't fathom it at all. And I'm not sure whether Joan of Arc would have understood it either."

        "You must be going stark raving bonkers," yelped Slim. "The meaning is perfectly clear to me."


       Please click here for

                                                     Chapter 8 : A CHILD IS BORN