Monday, September 15, 2014

Mindgrapes


Witch Fingers
Not to be confused with Mindgrapes
 What are they?

 What do they do?

 Are they bunches of ideas waiting to ripen?

 Is there the possibility that they'll ferment into wine?


Saturday, September 13, 2014

A dangerous career change?


 Inexcuseable's got herself a new job.

 She'll be working at the vetinary surgery up the road. I'm not sure that this is a very good idea due to the unusual pets people seem to keep around here. I think it's something to do with the couple of Cusp portals in the area that have worn a bit thin. Although I can't think how this happened...
* cough cough *

Who's a pretty boy, then?
 Ahem. Anyway, for starters, and just around the corner on the Northrepps road, there's Mrs Patel's herd of cow. Yes, that's correct: cow singular. It's technically just the one cow but with 16 heads and eleven tails. Don't even ask how many udders. Milking that thing is a nightmare, or so I've been told.
 Then there's number 34's griffin. Usually it's pretty placid as long as it's got enough cuttlebone and a dangling mirror to peck at. Most people in the neighbourhood know not to leave their kids and/or pets in the garden unsupervised when its cage is being cleaned out (and we know when this is about to occur due to the delivery of a lorry-load of industrial strength sandpaper to line the bottom of the massive cage).

 I hear they also de-flea Black Shuck and try and get a de-worming tablet down his throat every six months or so. So far they've only lost two nurses, which is a pretty acceptable loss if you ask me. Ooh, I wonder if that's why Inexcuseable's got the job...?

 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Something from the garden...


Echinops

Cleome

Foxglove

Dahlia

Gaura

Zantedeschia

... while we're waiting for MJ to return and host her

 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Sure you want to let Mr Fabulous drive?*


 Continuing from where we left off, only without the details of how I came about these books, or why I decided to read them as they're all sequels or part of an ongoing series.
 
20. Lost in a Good Book, by Jasper Fforde
 This is the second of the Thursday Next novels. In this one, Literary Detective Thursday Next has to deal with her arch nemesis' sister, Aornis Hades; the elimination of her husband from time; Great Expectations' Miss Haversham's driving; surviving a book sale; and indeed getting lost in not one, but several books, good or otherwise.
 Much like the first and seventh books in the series, this one is clever, bittersweet, touching, well paced and, perhaps most importantly: easy to get lost in! I can barely wait to start on the third one: The Well of Lost Plots.

21. Second Nature (Star Trek: Seekers 1), by David Mack
 This is the first of a new series of Star Trek novels: Seekers. It follows on from the events in the Vanguard novel series and the final episode of The Original Series.
 Rather unusually, Seekers was inspired by the faux cover art of Rob Caswell, who was in turn inspired by the cover art of James Blish's Star Trek novelisations from the '60s and '70s. 
* Post title from page 31

22. Dragonquest, by Anne McCaffrey
 This book almost had me in floods: The despair and loss of the queen dragons Wirenth and Prideth as they went Between forever, and the resultant heartache and numbness of poor Weyrwoman Brekke, Wirenth's rider. Then there was the joy of young Lord Jaxom helping the runt white dragon Ruth hatch from his shell only to Impress him.
 When this book was good, it was very, very good, but when it was bad, it was horrid bland. While re-reading this book, I realised that character development seems to be something reserved only for some of the main stars, such as F'nor & Canth, Brekke and, to a lesser extent, F'lar & Mnementh, Lessa, Lytol and Robinton. Poor Kylara emerges from her single dimension only when alone with her dragon Prideth, and she's promptly ignored once Prideth dies. I think there has been a missed opportunity to deal with why Kylara was such a self-absorbed, manipulative cow! At least she got a second dimension, however briefly. The majority of Lord Holders (Meron et el) seem to be steeple-fingered, cackling, evil charactures. Mr Burns certainly wouldn't be out of place as a Lord Holder of Pern!
 I'm still going to re-read the rest of this series of books, though. 

23. Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) (Star Trek: Deep Space 9), by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann
 Meh. This tale revolving around Quark was OK. It didn't bring anything new to his character, though. Instead, it delved into the whys and wherefores of the Vulcan Love Slave holoprogram, something that I feel would have best been left to our imaginations - a bit like the Noodle Incident was never explained in the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip.

Next: The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde and The White Dragon, by Anne McCaffrey
  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Two of our flying saucers are missing



 In the cramped circular control room aboard the hi-jacked flying saucer, Eros hi-fived LX and Mago. "For a mission well executed" he crowed.

 "Yes, it was fun" LX said looking pleased. Although his demeanor darkened a touch as he turned to Mago. "Even if someone did let Beast escape."
 "But the poor Beast" Mago acknowledged with a look of pity upon his face. "MJ had tied him so tight his wrists and ankles were chafing. How was I to know he'd temporarily incapacitate me with the release of chick pea curry-related gas and make good his escape?"
 "Look, forget about Beast for now" Eros assuaged. "We know the secret formula is hidden somewhere in this flying saucer. And once we find it then we never have to worry about chick pea curry again. We just need to find somewhere safe to set down so we can all have a good look around."
 "Maybe now's not the time" LX interrupted, turning his head from the rear-view mirror. "We're being followed."

~ ~ ~


 "We can't let the the secret formula fall into their hands" Ms Scarlet wailed wringing her hands. "They... er... they will underestimate its true potential and everything will go horribly wrong and bad stuff like that."
 "Christ!" I yelled as we headed straight for a power line.
 "Keep your hands on the controls!" MJ added.
Your eyes aren't deceiving you. This is the
delectable Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams
of Don't you point that thing at me fame.
As it was then, so it is now just an excuse
to gaze at his exquisite loveliness.
Oh, and the flight control dashboard which
should give you some idea of the inside of
a flying saucer. Complicated, isn't it?
 Ms Scarlet flailed at the dashboard and somehow managed to bring the wayward contraption under control again and avoided the power line.
 "Told you you should have let me fly the saucer" I groused, avoiding Scarlet's glare as I'd nabbed her line.

 "Ha!" MJ scoffed. "Not after your previous performance, IVD. Perhaps you'd better stick to Broom?"
 "I would if it wasn't on the other 'saucer."
 "Oh, stop grumbling. You'll get it back. Now" MJ stated turning back to Ms Scarlet, "how are we doing in the pursuit of Mr Mago and the Texas Twins?"
 "Well, we were making some headway but I think they've spotted us as I ran out of trees and clouds to hide behind" Ms Scarlet said. "Luckily, when Mr Devine crashed their saucer he really must have broken their acceleratrix as their top speed seems somewhat hampered.
 "I didn't crash it! It just got away from me momentarily..." I protested.
 "Whatever" Ms Scarlet said derisively as she gathered some of my indignation and denial to bottle-up later as part of her 'bottled emotions' art.
 "Quiet!" MJ snapped, nearing the end of her rather short tether. "Has this thing got any weapons? We need to shoot that thing out of the sky before the natural size of this coven reasserts itself."
 I resignedly accepted MJ's reasoning even as Ms Scarlet frowned in confusion. "What?" she asked.
 "Your average witch is not, by nature, a social animal as far as other witches are concerned. There's a conflict of dominant personalities. There's a group of ringleaders without a ring. There's a basic unwritten rule of witchcraft which is 'Don't do what you will, do what I say'. The natural size of a coven is one. Witches only get together when they can't avoid it" I quoted from the fictional, but very observant, Witches Abroad by Sir Terry Pratchett. 
 "Oh" Ms Scarlet said screwing the cap on a bottle. "Makes sense, I suppose."
 "Well?" MJ directed at me.
 "What?"
 "Weapons!"
 "Oh, yes." I fumbled at one of the secondary consoles next to where Ms Scarlet was rather expertly now, I had to grudgingly admit, piloting our flying saucer. "We've got a couple of Mertilizer beam arrays and an emergency Demise-O-Bomb. Although" I added after reading the instructions, "I wouldn't recommend deploying the Demise-O-Bomb within a planetary atmosphere."
 MJ peered over my shoulder. "No Atomic Napalm Neutralizer?" she asked.
 "No" I replied after checking the manifest. "It doesn't look like that's due to be installed until Tuesday."
Poutine: Not quite as effective as a breath mint
 MJ gave a drawn out sigh. Ms Scarlet and I wrinkled our noses - she'd been eating poutine recently. "OK. Set the Mertilizer to Shake-n'-Bake and take out their salad spinner-thingy."
 "You mean the Freem drive?" (I'd been doing a little research on our appropriated transport)
 "Whatever. Yes."
 "What if Beast hid the secret formula there?" Ms Scarlet asked.
 "Did you?" MJ demanded of the re-trussed Beast. He glumly shook his head from his position at the communications station, a superfluous console seeing as the Chambers coil had given out decades ago.
 "Can you keep us steady while I aim please, Ms Scarlet?"
 "Right-O."
 "I have them in my sights!" I declared.

~ ~ ~

 "Schei├če!" Mago swore.
 "What is it?"
 "We've been targetted".
 "Crap."

KA-BOOM!

Haven't we been here before?
 Eros, LX and Mago picked themselves out of the wreckage of the barn they landed in, grumbling as they did so.
 "You know, I think IDV used the same explosion as in part one" LX muttered.
 "Knauser!" Mago spat.
 "Yeah, what a cheapskate" Eros agreed.
 "Uh, oh. We've got company." 
 The other two looked up to where LX had noticed the witches' descending flying saucer pierce the column of smoke from the burning remains of the barn. The three landing legs deployed and the 'saucer came to rest nearby with a surprising lack of incident.
 "I guess IDV isn't driving this time?" LX quipped. The three men chuckled until the egress ramp unfurled beneath the 'saucer and the witches appeared, bickering as usual.
 "Oh, no!" Mago gasped. "They've recaptured Beast!" And there, trailing the witches down the ramp at the end of a tether, was the hapless Beast.

 Just then, a large black car pulled up. Inexplicably, it was Norma in Ruth Buzzi's Lincoln Continental.
 "Can you hurry this along?" she asked with more than a touch of exasperation. "Some of us have got things to do and don't have all day to wait for this farce to come to an end. Oh, hang on..." A shrill buzzing sound emanated from somewhere inside the Lincoln. Norma ducked her head back inside before reappearing with a black rotary phone handset clamped to the side of her head. "Yah. Yah. OK, Liz darling. See you in ten." She replaced the handset and waved dismissively at us out of the window. "Got to dash. Just send me the spoken word CD." And with that, the Lincoln, with Norma firmly ensconced within, roared off down the farm track that led away from the scene of confused carnage we found ourselves in.

 "You heard the lady" MJ shouted, her hands on her hips. "Let's get this show on the road. Or in the air, or wherever. Beast" she continued, "just tell us where the damned formula is. We don't have time to fanny around any more." 
 "Oh, all right" Beast huffed. "It's tucked in the sun-visor of your flying saucer."
 "Ours?" Ms Scarlet and I both exclaimed, looking at each other then at the dumbfounded Eros, LX and Mago.
 Beast just smirked.
 "It's been in our 'saucer this whole time?" Ms Scarlet radiated disbelief. "But you indicated that it was in theirs!"
 "Well, I didn't want to make things easier for you" Beast said smugly. "Although, had I known I'd be blown into a barrel and tied up so much, I wouldn't've gone along with this charade at all. I'd rather be working at Cafe C!"
 "Here it is!" Mago declared triumphantly. 
 We all turned to see Mago trotting down the ramp of our flying saucer, a scrap of yellowed paper waving in one hand. He stopped before he reached us, clearly reading from the paper, his face a picture of confusion.
 "What does this mean?" he asked.
 "Give it here!" MJ said striding over and snatching it from Mago's grasp and giving it a quick once-over. "Hey! This isn't a formula for a Weapon of Mass Destruction?! What gives?"
 "Let me have a look" Ms Scarlet took the paper and scowled intently at it for several moments. Then her face fell. "Oh, no..."
 "What? What is it?" Eros and LX clamoured.
 "Yes, come on" MJ said noticing the peculiar shade of green Ms Scarlet had turned.
 In between dry heaves, Ms Scarlet extricated an empty bottle from somewhere on her person and started rolling up the paper. "It is a WMD" she said. "I'd only heard about such a thing in legend, but it's real!"
 "Yes, but what exactly is it?"
 "It..." Ms Scarlet began before clapping her hand over her mouth. She tried again after taking a couple of deep breaths. "It is the reason we have been inflicted with Ma Beasty's infamous chickpea curry."
 Gasps of disgust and horror abounded from us all. Even Beast looked to be in sympathetic gastric pain. Ms Scarlet pushed the rolled up paper into the neck of the bottle and quickly screwed on the cap.
 "This can never be allowed out" she declared ominously. "The world would drown in its own vomit if this became public knowledge. I'm going to seal the formula forever inside this enchanted bottle so no-one else will be afflicted by the repulsive horror." With a grim look on her face, Ms Scarlet held the bottle over her head for all to see. "Chickpea curry came into being as a retaliatory strike against this: Beast's vile steamed mushroom pudding!"

The End

Although, if you're looking for closure and don't mind being stuck in a narrative loop, just read on.

 "Right" I said, returning from the men's flying saucer and brandishing Broom before the group of silent bloggers. "Shall we get these 'saucers back to their secret base, then I'll get Knight and Blacksmith to give you all a lift home in Concorde?"


Continued, of a sort, in... Flying Saucery


Thursday, August 21, 2014

One of our flying saucers is missing


...Kind of a prequel to Flying Saucery

 Oh, no, thought Beast. Not again. 
 The hapless clod buffoon skivvy looked around himself in momentary confusion, then everything began to fall into its irritating and inconvenient place. He was over The Cusp again.



 Or, was he? This plane of existence looked remarkably tame. Normal, even. Grass, trees, a few bemused-looking cows, and an anonymous barn or hangar-like building slap bang in the middle of the field of cowpats he found himself kneeling in. Could it be that he hadn't got caught up in one of IDV's inane jaunts over The Cusp after all? That other world that seemed to come into existence only via the mad witch's various personalities? Oh, he had no doubt that the place over The Cusp was real, it's just that he wished it wasn't. Nothing ever went smoothly over there.  
Just one of many...
 To be fair, he thought, nothing seemed to go smoothly in the real world, either. At least I don't have to deal with the increasingly demanding Mr C over The Cusp. Well, there was that one time, but it appeared to have been a one-off...
 Shaking his head in resignation, Beast picked up his recipe book, lumbered to his feet and set off for the hangar, almost avoiding many a cowpat on the way.

~ ~ ~

"Beast? Open this door!" Ms Scarlet shouted. "We know you're in there."
"Oh, for heavens sakes. We could wait an eternity for Beast to bumble around and get the blasted thing open" MJ snapped. "You've got your wand, haven't you IVD? Just magic it open."
"Well, I would" I said, searching my man-bag. "I can't seem to find it at the mo- Oh, wait. Here it is" I said holding the wand aloft and almost dropping it. "Blast!"

KA-BOOM!
 
KA-BOOM!
"Uh, oh" I muttered amidst a light sprinkling of splinters and shredded metal remains of door furniture.
 "I didn't mean for you to blow the bloody doors off" MJ said with more than a hint of exasperation in her voice. Ms Scarlet just sniggered behind her hands which were still clapped to her mouth, post shock.
 We stepped into the slightly ruined hangar and surveyed the now brilliantly lit interior. It was amazing what the removal of an almost wall-sized door could do for interior lighting. A scuffling sound from one corner caught our attention and we diverted our gaze to see Beast ineptly trying to squeeze himself into - or out of - an old oil drum. Only his (thankfully) clothed legs and arse were visible above the rim. MJ sighed and led the way beneath the two flying saucers that were parked in the hangar. We weaved through the landing legs and came to a stop at the still struggling Beast.
 "Are you trying to get in or out, Mr Beasty?" Ms Scarlet asked with a smirk.
 "Mmmph.  Rrrrrgh" Beast replied. "What do you think?"
 "Let's help him. It's pathetic seeing him like this" I said.
 "I suppose we should put him out of his misery, eh" MJ reluctantly agreed. "But first: Where is it, Beast?"
 "I don't know what you mean?" the upside down Beast mumbled unconvincingly from the bottom of the oil drum, waggling his legs.
 "Sigh... Oh, give it up, Beast" I said. "We know you have it."
 "Have what?"
 "Search his pockets" Ms Scarlet prompted. "It's not like he can stop us in his current predicament."
 "Urgh" I was horrified. "I'm not putting my hands in his pockets. Gods only know what he's squirrelled away in them. Plus, he's covered in cowpat!"
 "Oh, I'll do it" MJ offered with a grimace, and plunged her hands into the drum, working them into the various pockets of his exceedingly worn anorak. From the depths of the drum, Beast alternately giggled and moaned disturbingly.
 Eventually, MJ pulled her hands from the Beast-stuffed barrel and Beast popped out with them. She ignored him as he crumpled to the mucky concrete floor and held a battered looking book up triumphantly. "Success!" she crowed.
 "Check inside. Make sure it's in there."
 "I was getting to that, Scarlet" MJ said through gritted teeth. She flicked through the book, held it by the spine and shook it a few times, then flicked through it again. "It's not here."
 "Where is it, Beast?" I demanded. "Where's the secret formula?" Our three pairs of eyes glared down at the cowering oaf, his own eyes flicked almost imperceptibly towards one of the flying saucers...

~ ~ ~

The Sharknado Gear Hat.
Never leave home without it!
 In the next field over, creeping alongside the bordering hedge, were three camouflaged figures, one of whom was wearing a tinfoil Sharknado Gear Hat. They ducked through a gap in the hawthorn and brambles and approached the hangar from behind.
 "I've never been in one of these stories before" whispered Mago.
 "This is your first one?" LX whispered back.
 "Ja. It is exciting" Mago grinned.
 "The first one normally is" Eroswings drawled as he sidled up to the back wall of the hangar.
 "That'll soon wear off, though" LX added, joining the foil hatted Texan. "They get quite irritating after a while."
 "Shhh!" Eros hissed as he peered through a knot hole in the wooden panelled wall. "They've captured Beast, but" he paused as he strained to hear what the witches were saying, "they haven't got the secret formula. They think he's hidden it in the flying saucer somewhere."
 The other two joined him, finding knot holes of their own. They watched as MJ, Ms Scarlet and IDV led Beast to one of the flying saucers then pushed him up the ramp towards the 'saucer's undercarriage, bickering as they went.
 A minute or two after the witches and Beast had disappeared into the bowels of the ship, the ramp withdrew, various running lights started blinking and the bit underneath that looked like a salad spinner started to rotate.
 "Mein Gott!" Mago exclaimed. "They are abducting him!"
 "I wouldn't have thought any of them could fly something like that?"
 "Oh, I don't know, LX. IDV's a sci-fi buff, he may have an inkling?" Eros conjectured.
 "I hope they don't have any probulators aboard" Mago said. "Poor Beast."
Landing legs. Who knew they were so useful?
 Suddenly, a loud grinding noise silenced the three men. They stared in muted shock as the three landing legs folded up and retracted into the 'saucer causing the whole thing to fall to the ground with an almighty crash.
 "I guess that answers that, then" LX said with a smug smile.

~ ~ ~

 MJ, Ms Scarlet and I stood around the downed flying saucer, having scrambled out of one of the dorsal emergency escape hatches. 
 "I can't believe we crashed before take-off" said Ms Scarlet as she winced at the plethora of scratches on the rim of the 'saucer.
 "I told you I hadn't flown one of these before!" I snapped.
 "Don't get your knickers in a twist, IVD" MJ faux-soothed. "It doesn't look too badly damaged. Most of it is just cosmetic stuff. Let's give it another go, shall we?"
 "I just want to check the port acceleratrix" I grumbled. "I'm sure I heard something snap back there."
 As we all circumnavigated the rim to the port side, we were oblivious to three camouflaged men sneaking up and into the dorsal starboard hatch we'd just vacated. We continued to be oblivious until the ship lit up again.
 "Did you leave the lights on, IVD? We don't want a flat battery on top of everything else."
 I pulled my head out of the acceleratrix compartment to answer MJ. "No. Well, I don't think so?"
 "Well, they're on now."
 "You don't think Beast has escaped from his bonds, do you?" Ms Scarlet worried.
 "Absolutely not!" MJ proclaimed with an evil smile. "I tied those knots extra tight."
 "Something probably got knocked loose in the crash" I conjectured. "We'd better have a look."
 As we rounded the ship, Beast came tumbling out of the starboard hatch, sans tightly knotted bonds, and fell in a heap on the ground. Then the flying saucer rose into the air with an electronic warbling noise, it's various lights blinking and flashing, and the salad spinner bit oscillating wildly.
No. Not this sort of duck.
 "What have you done?!" MJ screeched at the crumpled Beast.
 "It wasn't me" he huffed. 
 "Duck!" Ms Scarlet yelled.
 "Where?" Beast asked looking around the hangar for a mallard or mandarin.
Or this sort.
 "Not the 'a l'orange' sort, the 'get down' variety!" I shouted as Ms Scarlet rugby-tackled him to the ground next to MJ and I. 
 Barely three feet over our heads, the flying saucer slowly made its way out of the barn, gaining a little height as it hovered over the field of cowpats. We watched in consternation as the 'saucer seemed to dither a bit, first feinting to the left, then the right, before shooting straight up in the air by about a hundred feet. Then, slowly, but picking up speed, it headed off over the countryside.


To be continued in... Two of our flying saucers are missing


 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let's get our ymbrynes back*


 OK, so you may have noticed that this book post is a bit more lengthy than the previous few. However, don't go expecting plot synopses and reviews, though. No, instead of those, I've included some details about how I came by some of the books featured and/or decided to read them.
 So. On with the show, then.
 

16. Rising Son (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), by S. D. Perry
 I feel a little bad for this book, as this was the only one of the Deep Space Nine relaunch novels that I didn't buy when it was first released in 2003. Instead, I borrowed it from a friend at work and just didn't get around to buying a copy for my collection. I rectified that earlier this year by ordering a secondhand copy online. I'm glad I got it secondhand as it's already pre-worn and matches the condition of the other DS9 books on my shelves!

17. A Natural History of Dragons (A Memoir by Lady Trent), by Marie Brennan
 I found out about this book on io9. It was featured in an article that captured my attention with the cover image (I'm a sucker for a well proportioned dragon!) - I stayed for the synopsis.

18. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
 Now, this book, along with the other Dragons of Pern series, has been on various of my bookcases over the years. This one in particular has been around since 1990, or thereabouts. I first happened upon Ms McCaffrey's Pern series when I was undertaking some work experience in Jarrolds, Cromer, while at Cromer High School (now Cromer Academy). I remember unpacking boxes of books and placing them on the shelves when one in particular caught my eye. It was Dragonsdawn. Totally judging a book by its cover, the barely teenaged me decided that this must be the most amazing book in the world; for how could the promise of two people riding an airborne golden dragon in front of a volcano not be?
 Anyway, I noticed the author's name on the spines of other books, almost everyone of which had the word 'dragon' in the title. Suddenly I was complete. Most of my time that was not spent at school or at piano & flute lessons, or being forced to do my homework or music practice by unreasonable Parents, was spent reading these wondrous books. Dragonflight is the first in the series, but Dragonsdawn is the prequel and provides the scientific background for the dragons and life of the Pernese.
 It was only when I'd read A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan that I thought to dust off the Dragons of Pern series and give them another go, as it had probably been at least 15 years since I'd last read them. Plus, I'd be saving money by re-reading books rather than buying new ones! So, I'm going to read a few of these, plus some of Ms McCaffrey's other books that I've collected over the years, such as The Rowan, The Ship Who Sang, and To Ride Pegasus. Look out for these in future blog posts.

19. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
 I heard about this book on io9, too. There was an article about how it's to be turned into a film starring Eva Green (who is marvellous in Penny Dreadful, by the way) as Miss Peregrine.
* Post title from 81% through the Kindle edition


Next: Lost in a Good Book, by Jasper Fforde

 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

To Kill A Houseboy



Did anyone remember to feed and water MJ's houseboys while she's away?

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Red Hot!


 I've been sitting around staring at that picture of Dr. Chris van Tulleken in the previous post for that past few days. I just couldn't help myselves - He's so handsome! I've been so distracted by it that every time I sit down to write up our latest adventure (you know, the one where we "retrieved" those flying saucers before nearly popping Cloud Lab), I end up with flummoxed fingers and find myself missing three hours with his image burned into my retinas.
 Anyway, I've found a diversion:

Ohh, that handsome face, lovely smile,
awesome eyebrows and perfect chest!
Even the douche-y backwards cap can't sully the
red hotness of this hot red-head.

 Stunning, isn't he? I'm thinking of having him installed as a Houseboy for Castlette DeVice. Although, this may cause yet more problems...

 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Flying Saucery


 Remember those flying saucers? Well, I found them.

~ wobble ~

 What was that?
 Uh, oh...
 "Uh, oh..." what?!
 You nincompoop! You've only gone and triggered a soap opera-style flashback.
 Great. I hope we're not all caught up in this.
 Well, who left an open thaumfield just lying around for anyone to blunder into?
 - silence -
 Oh, no. Here it comes again.
 Duck!
 Too late...

~ cue wobbly soap opera-style flashback effect ~

 Felicity Aston looked back over her shoulder into the main cabin as the pilots expertly directed the airship towards the looming cumulus cloud she'd picked for their experiments. Jim McQuaid was intently fiddling with his LiDAR array on the starboard side of the gondola. "Hey, Jimmy. Are you ready?" she almost shouted to get his attention.
 "OK" Jim replied after making a couple of minor adjustments. He flicked the last switch as they glided gently into the cloud. 


 A little while later, the gleaming white airship emerged from the other side of the cloud, banking to starboard as it circumnavigated the intangible white mass. 
 "So, Jim, have you got an idea of how wide the cloud was?" Felicity asked.
 "200 metres across."
 "So, we're going to assume that its as tall as it was wide? Because it looked like a fairly solid elliptical shape. So, we'll just use a simple formula to work out the volume of the cloud."
 Across the cabin, Dr Chris van Tulleken looked up from his laptop, distracted by the other scientists' continuing conversation. He gazed out of the opposite viewport at the deceptively fluffy-looking cloud as it slowly passed by, but was further distracted by an urgently flashing light on the LiDAR's display console. And then the proximity alarm went off.
 
 A small patch of cloud off the starboard bow darkened quickly as if something solid within was heading towards the outer edge. Suddenly, the cloud burst open revealing a very damp, oddly dressed and pointy hatted man astride a broomstick heading right for them.
 "Yaaaaaarrrrghh!" yelled the man hauling the broom around in an attempt to avoid the imminent collision.
 "Aaaaaaaahhhh!" the scientists yelled in response as the pilots swung their airship hard to port.
 Miraculously, the combination of evasive manoeuvers worked, and the collision was averted by the narrowest of margins. In fact, one could barely slide a credit card between the airship's gondola and the man's shoulder.
 "Ah" the broom-riding man said through a nervous grin as the three scientists stared at him, each with a look of stunned amazement slapped across their faces. "Sorry about that. Didn't realise anyone else was up here. Heh heh."
 "What the...?" Felicity started.
 "Oh. How rude of me: I am Inexplicable DeVice, witch" he introduced himself, as if it should explain everything. 
 "Um, Felicity Aston. And this" she gestured at the airship above them, "is Cloud Lab."
 "Charmed" the witch said, shaking her hand through the open window.
 "These are my colleagues, Doctor Jim McQuaid and Doctor Chris van Tulleken."
Dr. Chris van Tulleken.
Proof that scientists can be sexy, too.
 "Pleased to meet you, Doctor McQuaid"  said the witch pumping the doctor's hand, before turning to the final member of the trio. "Oh!" he exclaimed and nearly fell off his broom, only saved by the lightning-fast reflexes of Doctor van Tulleken reaching out and grabbing his arm. "So handsome!"
 Chris blushed and smiled surprisingly coyly before guiding the witch's hand to the viewport ledge so he could steady himself.
 "How embarassing. I seem to have momentarily got away from myself." The improbably named Inexplicable DeVice, seemed to pull himself together before completing the introduction with an unnervingly intent look. "You saved my life, Doctor van Tulleken, thank you. I shall never forgive forget you."
 "Well, uh... You're welcome" the strapping scientist acknowledged, his fading blush returning.
 "The 'saucers!"
 "What?" said the witch with a perplexed expression on his face.
 "What?" the scientists asked in unison.
 "What?" replied the witch.
"The 'saucers!"
 "Oh, yes! The flying saucers!"
 "What? Flying saucers?" Felicity asked of the seemingly babbling witch.
 "Crikey, yes!" the witch answered, this time addressing Felicity rather than whatever was going on in his head. "I advise you to brace yourselves, as any moment now a couple of flying saucers are going to come hurtling past. Possibly followed by Concorde..."
 "Flying saucers?" Felicity asked again, not bothering to hide the incredulity in her tone. Although, she thought to herself, we've nearly been punctured by a witch on a broomstick, so a couple of flying saucers aren't that much of a stretch.
 "Yes. Flying saucers" the witch said somewhat testily. "It's a long story, but suffice it to say, their navigation arrays - well, most of the sensitive bits, really - are inoperative due to years of exposure to the British weather, so I've been guiding them back to their secret airbase in Norfolk." 
 Felicity's initial look of astonishment had given way to one of pragmatic resignation. "Right" she said.
 "Anyway, I had a bit of a head start but then we ran into this cloudbank and I fear my delay here means that they're almost on top of us. I think you should move away from the clouds as they're not going to be able to stop quite as quickly as I was if they exit too close to you."
 Felicity looked back towards the control cabin at the two experienced pilots, both of whom just nodded and began turning the airship away from the cloud and descending to a safer altitude. They've probably seen this kind of thing hundreds of times, Felicity thought, desperately clutching at straws.
 The witch used this opportunity to gayze blatantly at Doctor van Tulleken. Just as Chris's blush had reached its fever pitch, the witch's head cocked to one side slightly as an unusual electronic warbling started filling the air, getting louder and louder.
 "Blast! No time for flirting. They're here. Got to go!"
 And with that, the witch let go of the viewport ledge and dropped out of sight below the gondola, before ascending on the other side until he was out of sight again.
Just your average common-or-garden flying saucers
 Suddenly, the clouds parted again, but this time more impressively. Two very shiny 1950s style flying saucers burst out, clearly the source of the now quite strident warbling sound. Both swerved preventing the retreating airship from being sliced open, one passed below it, the other above. The scientists rushed to the portside viewports in time to see the saucers head off after the witch.
 "Well. That was weird" Felicity said.
 "I'll say" Chris seconded.
 "I think someone likes you!"
 "Oh, shut up, Jim!"

~ wobbly flashback wobbles out of existance ~

 Well. That was weird!
 I'll say.
 Yeah, why were we referred to in the third person? Whose flashback was that?
 Oh, gods. I hope we're not catching illeism.


To be prequelled in... One of our flying saucers is missing