Monday, April 24, 2017

4. The Wabbit and the Rural Route

Lapinette sped through the night - taking a variety of routes suggested by the Wabbit.  The Wabbit's knowledge of parks in Rome was idiosyncratic and his routes inventive. His teeth chattered as Lapinette bounced along a rough footpath and climbed a steep hill. The jeep shot into the air as she crested it. "Yow!" gasped the Wabbit. "You said to go to Aurelia this way," shouted Lapinette. Gears crashed and wheels span. The jeep slammed on the lower slope and shot through the woods. The Wabbit remembered that Lapinette trained in the Panzer Division and knew how to treat a gearbox. So he held on tight and flicked a switch on his radio. It crackled aimlessly. "Nothing doing," scowled the Wabbit and he struck it with a paw. It whined and gurgled, then Tipsy spoke. She was barely audible but the Wabbit could decipher some of her more colourful expressions. He hit the radio again. It crackled optimistically. Then it died. "Batteries," cursed the Wabbit. "There's parks all the way?" enquired Lapinette. "For the most part," said the Wabbit. Lapinette gritted her teeth and stamped on the throttle. "We have a small diversion through a convent," said the Wabbit. "After that there's a market garden, a seminary, a playing field..." The Wabbit's eyes narrowed. "Plus a bit of rough ground, nobody knows what it's for." "Then?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit shrugged. "Then we'll use the flower beds..."

Friday, April 21, 2017

3. The Wabbit in the Cancelled City

Every road in Rome was blocked by abandoned cars. The Wabbit and Lapinette drove the river bank until Ponte Garibaldi, where they ran out of gas. "Lucky we found that old NATO gas cannister," murmured the Wabbit. Lapinette grinned. "You mean took." The Wabbit's definition of "found" could be fairly flexible, but every pump in every filling station was chained up. Lapinette looked back at the bridge. "There's the No 8 tram." "I think tram lines have been cancelled," said the Wabbit. His radio crackled. "Commander, come in please." The Wabbit looked at Lapinette. "It's Tipsy." "What's my personal guard doing here?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit lifted his radio. "Tipsy. What do you hear? What do you say?" He held the radio away from his ear. Lapinette could only make out expletives. "Where are you?" asked the Wabbit. "At the Aurelio dump, with Fitzy and Mitzy," crackled Tipsy; "Rome's a soup sandwich. Better get over here." "Wilco," said the Wabbit. He was about to shut off the radio when it crackled again. "One teensy weensy urgent thing," said Tipsy. "Where's the booze? All the bars have been cancelled." The Wabbit sighed. "Under the C4 in a box marked 'Open in case of emergency'." "Out," said Tipsy. Lapinette stood on the brakes. "Let's get going before that booze is cancelled." She gunned the throttle and the jeep slewed round in a perfect arc. "Across the park and down the hill?" suggested the Wabbit. "You navigate," said Lapinette...
[soup sandwich: (military slang) Anything that's gone stupendously wrong.]

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Dragon's Tale

The sky changed quickly - as skies do on the coast. Terni the Food Dragon threw a mound of sand behind him. "This place is never the same." The air hung with a faint smell of cabbage and peppers and mashed potatoes. The Wabbit looked at Terni directly and grinned. "What drags a dragon away from his market?" Terni puffed a ball of smoke. "Trouble of course." The Wabbit breathed a sigh of relief. "Nothing trivial I hope?" Terni breathed fire. "Triple trouble." Wet sand dried in the heat. Paint peeled and fell from the beach hut wall. "It's the talk of the market and the market's cornered," roared Terni. Lapinette waited patiently for an explanation. "Tell us Terni," she breathed. Terni flapped his cabbage wings. "Markets have been cancelled." The Wabbit shoved his paws deep into his fur. Lapinette did the same. "No-one can get a license," roared Terni. Lapinette and the Wabbit looked blank. "Anyway," continued Terni; "The License Department has also been cancelled because no one is applying." "I suppose there are no licenses to issue," nodded the Wabbit. "I don't quite understand," sighed Lapinette; "Why don't they print more licenses? "Terni blasted flame into the air. "Because print contracts were cancelled due to irregularities." "What about the food?" asked the Wabbit. "Cancelled," said Terni. "And the money?" asked Lapinette. "Vanished," roared Terni.
 [The story of  Terni's first appearance - The Wabbit and Terni find a device in the market.] 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

1. The Wabbit and the Limits of Signs

It was a dull day and the beach was deserted. The Wabbit and Lapinette hopped along the sand until they came to a sign. Lapinette looked it up and down and read it twice. "It says we shouldn't do something." murmured the Wabbit. "Not exactly," replied Lapinette; "It says we can do something within limits." The Wabbit scuffled the sand. "In four languages." He shivered in the damp air and thrust a paw into his fur. "It says we can swim between the two red buoys," stated Lapinette. The Wabbit grinned. "Let the two boys swim, it's far too cold for me." Lapinette giggled. They drew patterns in the sand and listened to the waves. "Did you hear a noise?" asked Lapinette suddenly. "Nope," shrugged the Wabbit. Lapinette's ears swivelled. "I hear wings beating." The Wabbit smiled because he knew Terni the Food Dragon was winging his way along the coast. "I hear the sound of our next adventure," he murmured. "He has a tail wind," observed Lapinette; "He'll be here in a minute." The Wabbit squinted at the sign. "What does it say about dragons?" "It doesn't mention dragons," said Lapinette. "Then dragons can do what they like," said the Wabbit. Terni's roar blasted sand along the beach. "All OK?" The Wabbit looked up and yelled. "Within limits." Terni's monster feet hit the beach and he roared, "I go beyond them."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

Fregene was a long, long way from the seven planets, but somehow not so far. The Lepus berthed at Civitavecchia and they made their way along the coast. The Wabbit was in search of a particular caffè and he was relieved to find it. "Sometimes, it's not here." Lapinette took a seat. "Isn't this the place where Pasolini met his chums?" "No-one's really sure," purred a voice. Skratch the Cat always lagged behind to make a dramatic entrance and this was no exception. "So tell us, Skratch," said the Wabbit; "What was that for a sort of adventure?" "No-one's really sure," smiled Skratch. Captain Jenny chuckled. "You're implying uncertainty was the structurating principle." Skratch looked at Jenny with awestruck eyes. "Oh Jenny it was. It was a unifying uncertainty that rendered the text open." The Wabbit tapped lightly on the table. "Then we encouraged distantiation and specularity at the same time. Where's our drinks?" An almost imperceptible movement of Lapinette's ears brought immediate service. "How do you do that?" asked the Wabbit. He wiggled his ears, but they looked ridiculous to no effect. Skratch turned his ears back to front and made a face. A waiter arrived. Jenny crossed her ears at the back. The waiter left. The Wabbit's tummy rumbled for a very long time. A waiter arrived. "Got it!" cheered the Wabbit.

Monday, April 10, 2017

14. The Wabbit is Homeward Bound

The Lepus headed home and they all knew they'd be glad to get there. "At this point, shouldn't we sing a shanty?" ventured Captain Jenny. Skratch arrived from the engine room. "Aye!" he meowed. The Wabbit called out. "Lapinette! Give me a note." Lapinette's note cracked the glass in the ship's chronometer. "Lower," smiled the Wabbit. "Let me," said Jenny. She boomed out the first line of a sea shanty. "There was a rabbit came fae Scotland. Bonnie rabbit! Hieland rabbit!" "Way hay an away we go!" wailed Skratch. "Ma bonnie hieland rabbit O!" sang Lapinette. They laughed and laughed and pointed at the Wabbit. The Wabbit grinned and bowed. "I have another song," purred Skratch. The bridge seemed to swell with his beautiful meowing. "Step we gaily on we go, heel for heel an' toe for toe." The Wabbit's voice took over. "Fur in fur an' paw in paw, all for Jenny's wedding." They danced around the bridge and made up words as they went along. "Through the worm holes, up and down. Planets red and green and brown. Past the sun and round and round. All for sake of Jenny!" Jenny laughed heartily and swayed considerably. "Is there something I haven't been told?" Skratch looked at her adoringly and stretched out a paw. "The Captain could marry us!" Jenny grinned. "But I am the Captain." "That makes things so simple," meowed Skratch.

Friday, April 07, 2017

13. The Wabbit and Lapinette's Kiss

Behind a mottled sun, the black planet flared bright and died.  “Let’s get out of here.” sighed Lapinette. She suddenly hugged the Wabbit and gave him a kiss. The Wabbit grinned. “Our taxi’s here.” The Lepus loomed impossibly large on the horizon, red lightning crashing from the bow. “My Cailleach still works,” murmured the Wabbit. “I hope so,” smiled Lapinette.  A small shock wave made them tremble. “That was the black planet,” said the Wabbit. “Is that what it was?” said Lapinette. They watched far-off planets dance into new positions.  “How do we get on board the Lepus?” asked Lapinette. “Oh, let’s just stay here for a while,” said the Wabbit; “One of the bio pods does catering.” The Lepus dropped gently and settled on the planet surface. Lapinette and the Wabbit sat down. A bio pod handed out sandwiches.  “What about the dinosaurs?” asked Lapinette suddenly. “My goodness,” gasped the Wabbit;  “I quite forgot.” “You promised them a new planet with volcanoes.” said Lapinette. The Wabbit munched a sandwich. “And decent toilets,” added Lapinette. The Wabbit appeared nonplussed. “Any ideas?”  “Why not leave them here on the blue planet?” said Lapinette firmly. “What about the toilets?” asked the Wabbit. “Dinosaurs need to take an initiative,” said Lapinette. The Wabbit looked worried. “Then what about the volcanoes?” Lapinette shrugged. “There are volcanoes everywhere.”

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

12. The Wabbit and the Daemon Reset

The remainder of the bio pods lay at the foot of a rough obelisk. Decorated with unknown symbols, it featured an oversized red button that lay just out of reach. "Give us a punt up," said the Wabbit and he shimmied up the structure. His paws traced the letters. "What do these symbols mean?" Lapinette pushed with all her might and, at the same time, racked her brains. "They spell Daemon System Reset." The Wabbit scrabbled at any edges he could find. "Here be daemons," he grinned. Lapinette pushed harder. "Can you reach the button?" "Nearly," said the Wabbit. He glanced up. "I see the Lepus flag." Lapinette puffed and panted. "Jenny is getting the ship out the way." Lapinette gave the Wabbit a shove. His paw tapped the button, but nothing happened. "Just a tad higher," yelled the Wabbit and he lunged. His paw struck the button squarely. The obelisk shook and the Wabbit started to lose his grip. A series of vibrations followed. The Wabbit looked down. "Run!" He shouted as he dropped and kept shouting when he hit the ground. "Fire in the Hole! Clear the Area!" The Bio pods swept them to safety as the obelisk blew a crater in the ground before blasting into space. They watched it go and breathed deeply. "The map was right," breathed Lapinette. The Wabbit stared as the obelisk vanished behind the red planet. "Now we need to draw a new one."

Monday, April 03, 2017

11. The Wabbit and the Bio pod Touch

Everything glinted on the blue planet but it was safe enough for the Lepus to land. The Wabbit and Lapinette hopped quickly across the beach - and when they spotted two bio pods they climbed a small ridge to examine them. The Wabbit lifted a pod and shook it. Lapinette did the same. Then the Wabbit patted his with a paw and spoke. "Bio pod Three, report." The pod spun a little, whining like a humming top. "You don't say!" murmured the Wabbit; "Tell me more." The pod spun again, humming intermittently. The Wabbit lifted his radio. "Lepus, we have the coordinates. Please copy." The Wabbit listed a long and complicated series of numbers, followed by a similar series of letters in the Greek alphabet. The radio crackled. "Copy that. Out." Lapinette looked at her pod, shook it and tapped it. Then she lifted it to her ear and listened. There was nothing. "Bio pod! Report!" she yelled, shaking it hard and bouncing it from the ground. It remained silent. The Wabbit hopped across and kicked the pod viciously. It began to glow. "Aha," said the Wabbit," "That must be Bio pod Two. It doesn't say much." Lapinette hung on to the glowing pod as it started to tug her inland at a furious rate. The Wabbit grabbed her frock and lolloped behind her. "Where are we going?" yelled Lapinette. "Two places at once," shouted the Wabbit ...

Friday, March 31, 2017

10.The Wabbit and the Critical Mass

The Lepus engines fired up with a judder. She sliced into the blue planet's orbit then out again. But instead of gaining velocity, she slowed dramatically. Space between blue and black planets was dense and silvery. It was like sailing through starry mud. Skratch's voice barked over the speakers. "Every vent is clogged, Commander. The engines are suffocating." The Wabbit switched on the Stealthicator and the Lepus half disappeared. The pirate flag did not and it seemed to wave a warning. The Wabbit shrugged and reversed the Stealthicator. The Lepus reappeared. All its lights came on. The foghorn blasted again and again. "Vents are clear," Commander," said Skratch. The starry mud seemed to drain away. Captain Jenny scrutinised the blue planet. The Wabbit took bearings and checked instruments. He shook his head. "Shouldn't the planet rotate?" Lapinette shook her head too. "It must be tidally locked." "I see no tide," said Jenny. "It's just an expression," replied Lapinette; "Think of it as gravity." The Wabbit smiled. "If it's locked, it might be a Twilight Planet with a habitable zone." They had a swift conference. "We'll send down the bio pods," said the Wabbit. "You know what happened last time," sighed Lapinette. "This time I took precautions," said the Wabbit. Lapinette raised an eyebrow. "I gave them a good talking to," said the Wabbit.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

9. The Wabbit and the Planet Mashup

"Shields up!" said the Wabbit. His radio crackled with Skratch's voice. "The shields are far from ready, Commander." Jenny rocked back and rolled slightly. "Raise them anyway." The Lepus vibrated. "Please let them work," breathed Lapinette. The white planet smashed into the black planet. A flash lit the sky. Every rivet in the Lepus shook. Then nothing. The white planet lay nudged against the black. "Wait," said Jenny. The black planet separated and swam into a low orbit. Then it headed straight for the Lepus. "Full astern," yelled Jenny. Skratch's voice rang out from the speakers. "She'll no move!" "Down shields!" shouted the Wabbit. The shields dropped and a triple blast hit the Lepus. Lapinette covered her ears with her paws and hung on. The Lepus curved behind the blue planet and stopped. All was still until the radio burst into life. "We only have auxiliary." said Skratch. The Lepus lurched and started to move. "It's no me," crackled Skratch. Lapinette gazed into space and made rough mental measurements. "It's the blue planet," she said; "It's moving." "We're being pulled, hang on," said Skratch. Mechanical clanking issued from the engine room. The Lepus shuddered to a halt. "How d'ya do it?" smiled the Wabbit. "I have a quantum anchor," purred Skratch. "Don't tell anyone," said Jenny.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

8. The Wabbit & the Dinosaur Dispute

Uproar brought the Wabbit to the cargo bay, swiftly followed by Lapinette and Skratch the Cat. Together they tried to smooth ruffled scales. The Wabbit was a bit hazy about dinosaurs so he gave his reluctant passengers names. "What's it all about Rexy?" "We want to go home," said Rexy. "Ships give us nausea," said Rap. Lapinette became sympathetic because she had no sea legs either. "It's OK in space, there's no up and down." Liz bellowed. "We don't like side to side." "Or forward and back," added Rap. The Wabbit had not the slightest notion how to deal with this. "What would you prefer?" he asked. "We like to roam!" roared the dinosaurs. Skratch shouted from the bulkhead door. "We've no got much roaming room." The Wabbit wore a thoughtful look that bode a variety of things, few of them practical. "When it's all over, we'll find you a new planet!" Lapinette winced. The dinosaurs mumbled among themselves. "Will it have a volcano?" asked Rex. "Yes," said the Wabbit quickly; "Gently warming the land around." "And lush pastures for grazing," said Rap. "Of course!" smiled the Wabbit. "And proper toilets," said Liz. "I'm fed up pooing in spiky grass." The Wabbit's smile lurched to the side and his paws flailed.  "I'll see what I can do. But I'm needed on the bridge. Any more questions will be answered by Lapinette." The Wabbit darted past Skratch and down to the bowels of the ship.

Friday, March 24, 2017

7. The Wabbit and the Short Jenny

The Wabbit and Skratch evacuated the dinosaurs and crammed them into the cargo bay. All except for one, whose name was Terry. He seemed more than happy to wing through space and pronounced it entertaining. Engines were at full capacity and for a while the Lepus made headway. But the force of the singularity tore at the flag and threatened to rip it from the mast. Jenny spoke to the engine room. "Can you give me more power, Skratch?" "Aye Captain," said Skratch, "but she'll no take it much longer." With a shudder the Lepus darted forward. "Shiver me rivets," said Jenny. She clung onto the wheel. "What next, Commander?" The Wabbit glanced from the bridge. "Hide behind the yellow planet, Try to snooker it." Terry seemed to know. He swung and with a deft movement winged to the far side of the yellow planet. The Lepus followed. The singularity carried straight on, bounced from an invisible force field and reappeared on the far side of the system. "Lost him," sighed the Wabbit. "Not for long," said Jenny. The Wabbit struck the bulkhead with a clenched paw. "Release the space plankton." A hazy cloud pumped from the funnels. The singularity seemed to inhale the vapour. Then it stopped dead and lay motionless. "Stop shot," quipped the Wabbit. Jenny swayed back and forward. "Now the white planet is closing on the black ..."
 [Short Jenny. In billiards, this constitutes an in-off shot into a middle pocket.]

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

6. The Wabbit and the Big Pull

"Yikes!" yelled the Wabbit. Skratch the Cat hissed long and hard. There was no more shelter, but the red dinosaur gripped them in a vice of iron as he bellowed at the sky. The Wabbit hung on to whatever he could. A rear foot pinned him to the ground, trampling his fur. He could barely breathe. Rocks warped and left the ground as the pull became irresistible. "It's a singularity," gasped the Wabbit. "Someone made this. Trust me," screeched Skratch. The singularity moved between the sun and the Green Planet. Suddenly it appeared to be aflame. "It's going away" roared the dinosaur. "It always does this." The Wabbit felt the pull diminish. He pulled his ear back into shape. Skratch tugged down his fur and adjusted his mask. "How long before the next time?" asked the Wabbit. He picked himself up and patted the red dinosaur with both paws. Skratch crept from below the giant claws and arched his back. Then he yawned. "The air seems peculiar." The dinosaur bellowed sadly. "We lose some atmosphere each time." The Wabbit froze. From deep in his unconscious came a moment of clarity.  "It's a harvester." His radio dropped from his fur and it crackled with Jenny's voice. "Commander?"  The Wabbit smiled into the radio. "Tip top." "I had to move the Lepus away." said Jenny. "Good idea. Otherwise you'd be compost," said the Wabbit.

Monday, March 20, 2017

5. The Wabbit and the Black Planet

The vehicles vanished and the sky grew dark. The Wabbit and Skratch found themselves pulled into a jagged cave. "I brought you to shelter," said a dinosaur. "Most kind," replied the Wabbit. He fished in his fur and brought out a meal voucher. "Here's a small token of my esteem." Skratch nudged the dinosaur. "I will triple the Wabbit's generous offer, out the goodness of my own heart." He waved three vouchers. The dinosaur threw back his head and roared suspiciously. "Who takes these?" Skratch meowed seductively. "Any participating restaurant in the Sombrero Galaxy." The dinosaur took the Wabbit's voucher and tucked it under his scales. Then he took Skratch's vouchers and did the same. A strong breeze tried to pull them off their paws. The dinosaur grabbed them both and sank his mighty claws into the rocks. "Hang on." The breeze turned into a wind that quickly became a gale. Things grew darker. Rocks flew past their heads. The Wabbit held tight, but he risked a glance back. The Black Planet hung on the horizon, sucking up everything that wasn't nailed down. "It'll go in a minute," roared the dinosaur. "Where to?" yelled the Wabbit. The dinosaur dug his claws deeper into the rock. "No one cares, as long as it's not here." Skratch reached across to grasp the Wabbit's fur. The wind pulled at his eyeballs. He scrunched his face into his mask and let out a muffled yell. "That's no planet ..."