Having completed my short novel set on another planet I have started writing its sequel . Here's a draft version of the first two chapters or so. I'm trying to get the writers in the Regent Bar Interested in it.
A SCOTTISH RE-AWAKENING
1. THE PURPLE CANAL
A snake-headed serpopard on the bank stopped to peer at the Vikini fleet that had just landed on the purple canal with an almighty splash. The strange creature was from Planet Amon-Giza in the Belt of Orion universe. A cobra twisted and turned at her feet.
“Their own vibrant planet was destroyed by their stupid humanoid follies,” hissed the cobra, “and now they come to Earth where there is nothing but burnt rock and scruffy vegetation.”
“They think that their children in Fólkvangr have divine powers,” growled the serpopard, “but Atum will win the day.”
Seconds later, Adam and Caleb Quick stirred in the hold of the Vikini flagship Draken.
“I can see daylight,” declared Adam, peering at an unfamiliar sunrise. “I’d been wondering whether the cosmos would be pitch black forever. Those bizarre squawking sounds and the smell of incense didn’t help my stupid noddle either.”
Caleb pressed his ear against the hull. “I can hear fish rustling under the boat. Let’s go scuba diving. I’m getting bored with apples and peanuts.”
“We’ll rev up after breakfast, and try to make Scotland by nightfall,” announced the twins’ doting golden-skinned husband Dr. Slim Quick, the self-appointed captain of the fleet.
“I hope we make it to the three volcanoes in the Lothians, and maybe as far as the mighty Cairngorm,” said Adam.
“The Christ-child said that we’ll be landing near the site of Berwick-upon-Tweed,” insisted Caleb. “That’s in England, near Flodden.”
“No it isn’t,” asserted Slim. “The Scots reconquered it from the English in AD 2296, a thousand years to the day after they first lost it.”
“You’re one big pompous know-all!” howled Caleb, leaping like a hyena onto Slim’s chest.
“Leave a bit for me!” yelled Adam, grabbing Slim’s six-toed feet.
The three Quicks had lived on Planet Qinsatorix in the Aton Solar System until only a couple of hours previously, at which time their fleet had teleported to Planet Earth. However, the youthful twins were original hominids, their ancestors having once teleported to the City of Trivoli from Eritrea 1 on Earth.
Slim was Icarian by race, and until recently an Associate Professor of Jurisprudence. He’d experienced a very troubled Icarian upbringing when compared with the cosseted existences of his handsome wives. That was after Slim was falsely charged at age eleven with murdering his entire family, upon which he was banished to a dystopic existence in a penitentiary school on the Isle of Nod.
When the Quicks arrived on the quarterdeck of Draken, they consulted with Pippa Pipette-Dawkins, who was Scottish by in vitro ancestry, and with her fast evolving cat-like husband Sir Darth. The accomplished couple, both in their late twenties, had taught at Cantabridge as full professors of Humanoid Genetics, with specialities in Epigenetics, prior to the cataclysm on their planet.`
The Draken was now floating gently westwards along the purple canal, surrounded by light blue vegetation as far as the eye can see. She was followed by the remaining five longships in the fleet. The six sturdy craft were packed with 160 survivors, adults and well-groomed children, from the Red Trojan universe. Fifty or so further lucky souls had made it through the disintegrating wormhole to the well-stocked refugee camp on Planet Freyja in the Quanta Universe.
The cloud cover above the Vikini fleet was pink, but with enough green sky to make a sailor’s shirt.
“Maybe this is where the North Sea once was,” said Slim, peering forlornly at an atlas.
Tears welled into Pippa’s eyes. “When Marie Madeleine last descended to Qinsatorix with my holy son Jed, she told us that, ‘Animals will come along the canal path from the East, all sorts of animals. In time, people will follow, but we won’t know who they are since they won’t be from the Red Trojan universe.’”
“But it’s amazing how well Earth has recovered from the fireball only 132 years after the humanoid population was fried to a cinder along with all the displaced cats,” added Sir Darth, twitching his feline tail, “and the Australian colony on Mars only survived for a year after that. The WASPs were eating each other before the end.”
Slim scratched his head,“Maybe help was sent by a Big Data outfit in the Branson universe, but Earth’s still in a right pickle.”
Adam and Caleb brought their spear-guns to the middle-deck, and leapt overboard in their wet suits. A minute later Caleb surfaced with a massive tiger-pike, and gleefully threw it, in its death throes, onto the quarterdeck. Then Adam speared a large green, bull-headed salmon.
“Five more for the pot and we’ll feed the entire multitude,” declared Adam, waving his arms in delight.
During the morning the clouds turned deep grey, and poured buckets of rain. The crews of the long-ships spread the awnings, and collected enough fresh drinking water for the next couple of days.
“I do believe that we’re going to be self-sufficient,” announced Sir Darth, in relief.
“It’s better than Mars,” joked Slim.
Awhile later, Pippa saw another animal strolling, nonchalantly, along the canal path. She thought it was a lioness or maybe even a chimera, but it turned out to be a female sphinx.
“The first bit of Britain is two-hundred miles away,” declared the human-headed creature, studying her compass. “Can I jump aboard?”
Sir Darth fixed the sphinx with his feline stare. “Sure you can, if you wipe your feet first,” he slowly replied. “We’re from Qinsatorix,”
The sphinx, stared straight back into Sir Darth’s glistening green eyes.
“There’s no need to worry about that. I’m all-accepting.”
Attracted by the apparent bonhomie, an ever eager koala from the Comet galaxy bounded up.
“Hello, I’m…,” said the koala, with a polite curtsey, only for Caleb to pull his well-seasoned Earp-trigger with the callousness of a spaced-out fanatic. The spear tore through the baby bear’s gullet, and she fell gurgling to the ground.
“That’s survival of the fittest for you,” exclaimed the sphinx, in horror, as the koala bled to death on the canal path.
Pippa felt gutted by the incident and concluded that Caleb was a misogynistic S.O.B. But the accomplished professor was comforted in her grief by the soothing presence on the quarterdeck of Adiza Addington, her former teaching assistant at the University of Cantabridge on Qinsatorix, and a fellow hockey player. Adiza was a blue, sugary-skinned Trinkon, and the sole survivor of her hard-working species in the entire Red Trojan Universe. When Adiza gave Pippa a hug, it calmed her down completely.
Several hours later, the power-driven Vikini longships slowed down a few knots when Adam noticed a reddish-grey escarpment in the distance. It was all that remained of the northerly headland at the mouth of what was once the River Tweed. The Tweed valley was now river-less, but not completely dry, as the purple canal ran along its course until it reached what was once the confluence of the Teviot and the Tweed in the Royal Borough of Kelso.
Slim decided not to sail on, for the moment at least, and the Vikini fleet moored anchor in the former estuary, close to the spot where the rapacious English Plantagenets stormed Berwick from across the Tweed in AD 1296. There was no trace of this proud city, in AD 2725, on the burnt out escarpment. Even the massive city walls had turned to dust.
That evening, Caleb killed a tiny mammoth that wandered up for sustenance, and everybody enjoyed a tasty pot roast.
The survivors stayed at that forlorn spot for days, and the days turned into weeks. The children became as bored as they’d been during the pandoravirus pandemic.
“Let’s wait until I hear from the Christ-child,” said Pippa. “My son will advise us where to travel next.”
“Why travel,” moaned Adam, “if everywhere is as rotten as this? We’ve been sentenced to as life-time of dreary dystopia, We’re not just East of Eden. We’re way off in the remote boon-docks without a single hope of redemption.”
“Jed will use his divine powers to find somewhere a bit better for us to settle,” replied Slim, with a lost look in his eyes.
“I’m getting restless,” declared the sphinx. “I’ll see you in the burnt out remnants of Floors Castle, if you get that far. The ghost of the last Duke of Roxburgh is still said to haunt the place. He once charged visitors a thousand pounds a day for fishing rights, and he still regarded himself as a social benefactor.”
“We stand for justice, wealth for the impoverished, and impoverishment for the wealthy!” declared blue, sugar-skinned Adiza. “May Scotland be better for it.”
“There’s always hope,” said the soulful sphinx. “There’s always another day.”
But Adam was filled with depression and trembled in anguish all night.
2. THE GARDEN OF EDEN
The Goddess Asherah was, at that very moment, touring the Milky Way in the massive rotating space station Castellos, with her husband Yahweh in tow. She took a look at Planet Earth, and instructed the Director of Inter-Stellar Restoration on Planet Born Again in the Regeneration universe to send his six enormous Waker comets back to the Sol Solar system to further re-vitalise the burnt out planet,
The Waker comets created a brilliant silver light show. They circumnavigated Earth at velocities that exponentiated the speed of light, created several hundred luscious gardens around the planet, and terraformed the geological systems beneath the earth’s crust. thus vastly improving the prospects for fine weather. That accomplished they sped off to investigate the 75 surviving moons of Jupiter.
When she saw Adam suffering, in dire mental anguish, the wily goddess focussed her attentions on Planet Macedon in the Quanta Universe. After eyeing up a number of possible fresh partners for Adam, she pressed button eleven, and teleported the entire galley-ship Agamemnon from the River Axios to the purple canal on Planet Earth, as it approached the Tweed estuary. A handsome man and two beautiful women were dancing on the deck.
“That should put the cat among the pigeons,” said Asherah. “It’s sometimes a good idea to mix and match.”
Mercury poured Asherah a beaker of delicious nectar. “I’d enjoy some hanky-panky with the groovy aristocrats on that galley-ship. They’re all psycho-artistic masterpieces.”
“My hi tech husband conjured up that highly imaginative design during his creative youth,” explained Asherah, with a nostalgic sigh, “but the other deities on Castellos have needed to take up the cudgel during poor Yahweh’s decline.”
The 160 survivors on Planet Earth awoke the next morning feeling quite confused by the celestial technotronics of the night before.
After their wrasse and lentil breakfast, three bronze children ran up the escarpment as part of their exercise program. They quickly returned, feeling very excited indeed. An exotic garden had appeared on the summit of the hill, and it extended as far as the lofty cliff tops. Exotic fruit and vegetable allotments abounded, game birds played in the trees, and tasty-looking honey-rabbits and sugar-foxes played in the meadows.
“It would make a fab golf course,” announced an Icarian girl. “Let’s call it the Garden of Eden”
“Why don’t we go and pitch our pop-up tents there?” said her sister.
“I wanna kill one of those silly damned foxes,” said their playmate, drooling at the mouth.
That evening the survivors were pitching their tents in their Garden of Eden, when the warning siren on the Draken bleeped three times. A luxurious hundred-foot-long galley ship was approaching the Vikini fleet’s moorings. It was propelled by two hundred oars. but with no oarsmen. On the raised middle-deck there stood three mauve-skinned aristocrats, in all their groovy glory, all with dark blue hair and wearing golden coronets.
Pippa and Slim hurried down the hill and arrived on the shoreline soon after the narcissistic ‘gang of three’ had disembarked. Six sullen Theban slaves were carrying the baggage, and swearing under their breath.
“Where the fuck are we?” exclaimed the prince with the diamond necklace. “We were sailing peacefully down the Axios when everything went pitch black, and now we’re in this God-forsaken place! If my father Zeus is pulling a prank then I’ll get my own back, that I will! I’ll kill all the swans on this planet.”
Slim grimaced. “There are no swans where there are no rainbows. You’re in Scotland on the rundown Planet Earth in the Sol Solar System.
“But you’re not even human. You’re hung like a pegasus, and just look at your grotesque eyebrows!”
“We’re of mixed ethnicity and we’re here from the Archipelago of the Lost Multitudes on the dying planet Qinsatorix.”
“I’ve never even heard of that stupid archipelago. We’re from Planet Macedon in the Quanta Universe. I’m Prince Pausanius of Orestis, and these are my sisters, the Princesses Tyche and Eve of Lychnidos. Tyche is a High Priestess of chance and fortune, and Eve runs her luck.”
Pippa gave the eye-catching trio a cool look. “You would be welcome to pitch a tent in our gardens, should you so wish. I’m sure that Zeus will be sending a rescue party for you tout suite.”
Princess Tyche rubbed some orangy-yellow massage lotion into her chest. “Thank you, dear sister. I’m sure we’ll find a way of reciprocating.”
“Your charming company is enough,” replied Slim, with due courtesy.
Princess Eve gave Slim an admiring glance. “You have such lovely golden skin, my fine fellow. Perhaps we should go running together.”
“I’ll bring my identical man-wives along. I’m sure you’ll like them too.”
Eve’s eyes gleamed. “Perfect twins ? I’m sure I will.”
That evening, the aristocrats from Planet Macedon encouraged several of their new friends to party with them around their camp-fire. Prince Pausanius poured everybody a glass of gooey liquid extracted from Peace Lily plants, sprinkled with a sweet-smelling herb from Clusium.
Adam took a single sip of his potion, and promptly fawned up to the prince. “What were you really about before you came here?” Adam inquired, with a crafty grin.
“I have a tragic story to tell,” replied the prince, tousling Adam’s hair. “I was King Antigones’s much favoured lover. We were the pride of Macedon and all the people loved me, apart from poor Queen Lilac of course, but then that sneaky prole Agrevius barged in.”
“Wow! What cheek!”
“I understand exactly how you feel. When I complained about Antigones’s high-handed lèse majesté towards moi, a high-ranking Prince of Orestis, his guards took me to their tower and horse-whipped and abused noble me for the entire night. Then, in the morning, the ugly centurion laughed in my face and called me a whining, begging, trollop!”
“What happened next?” asked Slim, in horror, recalling his bad experiences of the past at the hands of the fat-cat politicians.
“I killed the bully of course!” howled the prince. “Then I skewered my monarch’s neck to his very own throne, and circumcised silly Agrevius with my blunt silver scissors.”
“Way to go!” exclaimed Adam, trying to sound facetious.
“Thank you! Anyroads, I thought I was a goner when a palace guard walloped my head with a wild swing of his mace, but I survived by some divine fluke or other and fled with my angelic sisters down the Axios. I thought I was escaping to a love-feast in Heaven, but now I’m in eternal Hell for my ill fortune.”
“Join the club, darling,” said Caleb, with a smirk.
The travellers from distant planets suddenly became aware of an omniscient presence by the bonfire. An august individual had translated forwards in time from the Scottish Reformation Era of the sixteenth century. Translators in time usual only survive in the future for 30 seconds, but this one was durable.
“I’m the Right Reverend John Knox, the very first Calvinist Minister of Scotland,” declared a gentleman with a long wispy beard and wearing a round cloth cap.
“Who?” asked Caleb, spitting out his gum.
“You’ll pay for your insolence! How dare you? I’m the man who destroyed the harlot Mary, the Catholic Queen of the Scots.”
Caleb scratched himself. “Who gives a toss?”
“Almighty God certainly does, and we should beware all ignorant miscreants who enter this land, unless they’ve been predestined to go to Heaven of course. If you commit sins of the flesh or deny Calvin’s true faith, then you will be hung and drawn at the Glasgow Cross like that turncoat Catholic, John Ogilvie, before you.”
Prince Pausanius grinned, gave Adam a seductive kiss, and glared at the intrusive clergyman. “A minister of Christ?” chuckled the Macedonian. “I know your nasty sort! Get into that galley-ship, pitiful slave, and row your lice-ridden oar until you die.”
“This wanker will be criticising good old-fashioned adultery next,”
giggled Princess Tyche. “All civilised people commit sins of the flesh. It’s what life’s about. What else would we do with our beautiful mauve bodies?”
“You’re all doomed!” raved Knox. “You’re doomed to burn on the clifftops at St. Andrews like the depraved students of AD 2053, the inhuman monsters who were thrown over the edge for their follies and eaten red-hot by the sharks for their pains. And the blokes among you who sleep with other blokes should be castrated and disembowelled before they burn.”
“Why?” asked Slim, gritting his teeth.
Knox looked down his nose. “God made that clear when he created Eve out of Adam’s rib. The accounts in Genesis speak for themselves, you fool.”
“That’s totally unconvincing tosh!” fumed Slim.
“But many of us are Qestorians,” reacted Pippa. “We adhere to the main tenets of the Nestorian faith and focus on what Jesus had to say on these matters, which, apart from his love for John and Lazarus, is very little indeed.”
“Those Nestorian heretics fled to heathen Assyria during the fourth century, and thence to plague-stricken China,” howled Knox. “They’re worse than the divisive Arians, and then some.”
Slim stamped his foot as if to squash a roach. “Why don’t you go and freeze your bollocks off in a block of ice?” he demanded. “They did that to Pope Benedictus Borgia in 2402 for sanctioning the massacre of hundreds of innocent trans people in Naples.”
Knox scowled, and slowly evaporated into thin air. “I will return...” came a long, withering cry. And then there was coughing, spluttering, and an eerie silence.
Princess Eve took her brother Pausanius’s latest objet de désir for a walk through the vineyard. She polished off a selection of plum-sized Kyoho grapes with Adam, before retreating to her triangular tent. When she dived in, Adam leapt in after her. She enjoyed squeezing his rib-cage. Then he sowed the seed in her and created a new chance for fresh life.
Not to be outdone by Adam’s marital infidelity, Slim tracked the mauve-skinned Pausanius through the orchard, and followed him to his marquee. The prince invited Slim in for a glass of apple wine and they spent quality time together into the wee small hours. When Slim awoke, wearing only his ear mufflers, he wondered how Caleb and Tyche were faring in the next tent.
Prince Pausanius woke up with a snort. “Where’s my oatmeal cereal and maple syrup, you stupid slave?” he yelped, glazy-eyed.
“I love the way you simper into the night, darling,” retorted Slim, with a yawn, “and then you turn into a Thracian princess.”.
“You make me feel as delicate as the Goddess Hathor, Your Autonomous Majesty,” giggled Pausinius.
When Pippa left Adiza’s tent, they had lots to chuckle about too.
3. THE SCHRŌDINGER RING
The travellers from Planets Qinsatorix and Macedon much appreciated their improved quality of life in the Garden of Eden. Slim and his man-wives developed sensitive relationships with Pausanius and his sisters, and the Theban slaves from the Agamemnon mellowed out and took turns to recite Homeric poetry around the evening bonfires.
Pippa cuddled into the studious, and very boring, Sir Darth, and focussed on finishing The Advanced Theory of Humanoid Evolutionary Genetics by Ronald Aylmer Fisher and Lord Dominic McHummingbird. Life is getting more tolerable, she thought.
The various galaxy-shattering inter-celestial events resumed during June 2726, when a shining golden ring mysteriously appeared in the sky about ten miles east of the Tweed estuary. The ring remained steadfastly in the same position, well below the cloud cover, and it was a full half-mile in diameter. They named it the Schrödinger Ring, and half-expected a giant cat to jump through it.
A few days later, the Waker comets returned in force. The Qinsatorans and Macedonians heard a series of enormous explosions during the night, coming from outside the former eastern coastline of Scotland, north-west of the Tweed estuary. Adam thought they sounded like the thunderbolts that struck Gonville and Caius College on Qinsatorix during the final days of that planet, and he was scared that Planet Earth would collapse around him.
A very deep trench about a hundred yards wide was hewn in the earth’s crust. It extended along the former coastline, about a mile out and to the north-east, but entered into the former Tweed estuary, before looping out again towards an immense circular crater that appeared several miles further to the south, which would become known as the ‘Lindisfarne reservoit’
Thousands of A.I. Robots parachuted from the comets, and set about constructing an intriguingly designed harbour that would connect the canal to the two sections of the trench.
The following Sunday, a flying saucer emerged through the Schrödinger Ring and headed straight for the Garden of Eden. If this was the holy saucer Guanshiyan from Planet Freyja, then Pippa’s son Jed, the tenth humanoid Christ-child, might even be at the controls. But Pippa was to be disappointed. It was Slim’s holy daughter Marie Madeleine who stood on the control podium of the Guanshiyan, in the company of the highly popular black Archangel, Antinous of Bolu, known to his friends as Ant, and his partner, the purple-haired former Cnupian slave Achilles.
Pippa and Slim relaxed with the three visitors under a peach-leaf willow tree in the Garden of Eden. After entertaining Slim with news from Freyja about her dear mother Sister Zoe’s good works, Marie said that there were plans afoot on Freyja and Planet Born Again to rebuild and repopulate parts of Edinburgh, the former capital city of Scotland, on land close to the former castle rock. In the meantime, the 160 survivors from Qinsatorix would be encouraged to travel to Cramond, a place outside Edinburgh that was first settled in the Romans in the second century AD and that had recently been re-cultivated by a Waker comet.
“We doubt that you’d make it across all that arid land in the Borders and Lothians,” said Ant, sipping his squeezed pear juice, “but you should be able to travel to Cramond in the Vikini fleet once the ‘Sturgeon passage’ is complete. We’re naming it after the Scottish First Minister who succeeded the outrageous Alex Smout Salmon during the 21 st. century, God bless her indomitable soul!”
“Once the water starts flowing into the new trenches,” explained Marie, “you’ll be able to enter the passage from the canal via the sluice-gate in the specially designed harbour.”
“But where will the water come from?” asked Pippa. “Heaven?”
“Sort of,” replied Achilles, with a grin and a chuckle. “Let’s see what big surprise tomorrow brings.”
“The neutro-spider scientists have needed to be highly ingenious,” added Marie, with a smile.
“Marie’s planning to travel with you to Cramond in Draken,” advised Ant. “Achilles and I need to return to Freyja to instal a multi-level playground in the Fields of Fólkvangr, but we’ll be back soon, hopefully with Jed.”
Ant and Achilles left Earth in the holy space capsule the next day. They flew through the Schrödinger Ring and transcended through the orangy-brown background to the Quanta universe way beyond. Only seconds later, a torrent of water poured out of the ring, and gushed from the sky into the Lindisfarne reservoir. The water flowed out of the reservoir and into the first section of the trench as far as the harbour at Berwick, then out into the section section of trench towards Cramond. The Sturgeon passage was now fully operational. The flow of water from the sky was to remain steady until the reservoir was full, and it would subsequently be intermittent.
The water was from the Ocean of Óōr on Planet Freyja, and was being Himmelswanderer-flipped between the Quanta and Milky Way universes, a highly complex procedure developed in AD 2651 by the eminent neutro-spider Niels Himmelswanderer, using infinitesimally many teleportations of the water particles. These combined into a gigantic, completely cohesive transcension process.
That Saturday, the 160 survivors from Qinsatorix set off with Marie Madeleine in the Vikini longships, heading for Cramond about 65 miles around the former coast-line to the north-west. Everybody was in excellent bonhomie, and the holds of the long-ships were well-provisioned with produce from the Garden of Eden.
When they past the rock promontory that was once St. Abbs Head, Adam thought he saw a gigantic sphinx on the headland. However, Princess Eve argued that it was a burnt stone statue of a sphinx, and they bitterly debated whether it landed there from Egypt during the destruction of Earth in 2593. Or perhaps it had come from another universe, or was being translated forwards from another time zone?
And then Adam saw the sphinx walking along the clifftop, but Eve was no longer paying attention. Caleb was giving her a present. It was a necklace of orchids. Princess Tyche was most dischuffed.
In the meantime, Pippa and Aziza were pouring over the atlas, when a very high cliff top appeared to the west. “Tantallon Castle fell off from there during the earthquake of 2451,” said Aziza. “So that must be the Bass Rock to the larboard. It was a seabird sanctuary in its heyday.”
What remained of the Bass Rock was a curiously shaped geological structure, indented by a bulge that was once a sea cavern.
“No seagulls, unfortunately,” said Pippa, only for a large, white sea-eagle to emerge from behind the rock, fly towards the Vikini fleet, and land ahead of the Draken.
“Hi there!” called the talking eagle. “I’m Tranter, and I’m from Planet Muchisimas in the Milky Way. I hope that we can become better acquainted”.
“I’m Pausanius,” replied the noble prince of Orestis, rising pretentiously to his feet. “Maybe we could take tea together on that apology for a beach?”
“You’re much too presumptuous,” reacted Tranter, looking down his beak, “but I suppose that I could follow you to your destination. The giant sphinx on the beach seems to be tracking you too.”
Soon afterwards, the Sturgeon Passage turned due west, and headed down the erstwhile Firth of Forth, past the no longer extinct Arthur’s Seat volcano, and into the recently constructed harbour at Cramond.
Where there was once beauty their was no longer beauty, just stark reality, apart from the exotic Alaterva gardens which stretched between where the Cramond Inn and the fourteen century kirk once stood, with the remains of the Roman fort buried way below.