Wednesday, April 29, 2015

13.The Wabbit & the Travellers' Return

The Tunnel hatch swung open at the given coordinates and still feeling nauseous the Wabbit lurched out. Skratch grabbed him as he keeled over. "You OK, Commander?" yelled Tipsy, keeping her colt trained on the prisoners. The Wabbit's stomach revolved like a tumble drier and he groaned lengthily. "That Time Tunnel needs stabilising." "Deep breaths, Commander," said Skratch who had more or less recovered. "Perhaps a salad sandwich will help." The pit of the Wabbit's stomach rose to his chin then dropped in free fall, but he was feeling better. "Where's this?" asked Skratch. "We're home," said the Wabbit. Skratch's eyes searched for familiar things. "I thought this was the Medieval Zone." "It's a copy," said the Wabbit. Skratch blinked because this seemed stranger than the weird places he'd just visited. "It's safe, secret and secure," volunteered the Wabbit. There was a sudden disturbance. The voice of the Tunnel boomed as it prepared to leave. "You owe 15,000 QUIDS for three trips." The Wabbit smirked. "You owe a fixed penalty for unauthorised cargo." "What?" said the Tunnel. "You can pay now," said the Wabbit, "or if you elect to contest it and are subsequently found guilty your fine will be higher." "How much?" asked the Tunnel, "A zillion gabillion," said the Wabbit. "Well," sighed the Tunnel. "Perhaps this whole thing never ever happened." With a whoosh the Tunnel faded and was gone. "I made all that up," smiled the Wabbit.
[QUID: Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination]

Monday, April 27, 2015

12. The Wabbit and Time for Business

The team escorted the Zoners into the Time Tunnel and it seemed like things were going OK. But events happened fast. The door slammed shut and the walls started to throb. A stentorian voice announced a 27 second warning and a second hand began its sweep. The Wabbit shivered violently in what he thought was a cold wind - but the wind wasn't blowing it was pulling. It drew the Zoners into a large conduit in the roof and the tunnel made a sound rather like a belch. "If you could express a preference," said the voice, "at which Time Zone would you care to destinate?" The Wabbit didn't know if destinate was a word, but this wasn't Scrabble and the word wasn't high scoring. Tipsy clutched her stomach. "I'm queasy." "Pleased to meet you, Queasy," said the Tunnel. "How can I help you destinate?" Skratch was also nauseous and his fur was on edge. But he was a quick thinking feline. "We'd like to be back at the movies watching The Brain that Wouldn't Die." The Tunnel paused at length then spoke. "Tell me of this Brain that Wouldn't Die." "There wasn't much in it," shrugged Skratch. The Wabbit interrupted. "Skratch was prevented from completing his assignment." "Did the Zoners disrupt time?" asked the Tunnel. The Wabbit nodded. "They're not bad fellows," said the Tunnel," and they do bring me business." "Ah, business?" growled the Wabbit. "Didn't you hear that times are thin?"

Friday, April 24, 2015

11. The Wabbit in the Infra Red Zone

A juddering announced their arrival. They hopped out the Time Gate having faded in to another strange landscape. The Wabbit hopped around the structure and seemed pleased with it. "What sort of place is this?" Tipsy sprawled and looked down the barrel of her Colt. "We're monochrome," said Skratch. The Wabbit looked surprised. "I thought it was night, since you were grey." "No this is an infra red place," said Skratch the Cat, "and we're infra red too." The Wabbit stuck his paws in his fur. "Is that possible?" Tipsy pulled back her trigger. The click echoed down the hillside and echoed back, bringing with it the three Zoners the Wabbit was chasing. "You shouldn't be here," said the first Zoner. "You're supposed to have been taken care of," said the second. "Permanently," said the third. Tipsy's revolver span until it was a blur. "Well, meet my friend," she hissed. His name's Sam. Sam Colt." The Wabbit appeared calm. "What exactly are you Zoners doing here?" "This is where we keep our collection," said the first Zoner. Now the Wabbit looked quizzical. "We collect elapsed time." said another Zoner. "Why here?" asked Skratch. "It's the only place it will keep," said the last Zoner. Tipsy stiffened and Skratch looked at her closely. "I feel something shaking." The structure trembled beneath their paws and the Zoners looked agitated. "You're in custody," said the Wabbit and he gestured to the Gate. "What for?" cried the Zoners. "Crimes against Time," said the Wabbit ...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

10.The Wabbit and the Jump Zone

The team headed down the tunnel for what seemed like an age. Tipsy danced backwards and waved her Colt at shadows while the Wabbit and Skratch forged onwards. Suddenly they were bathed in an orange glow. "Something familiar?" said Skratch. "Yes, what about that?" replied the Wabbit. They both looked at the Time Gate. With a creak, the hatch swung back and a cacophonous tune bounced along the passageway. "I can hear a melody," offered Skratch. But there was no time for musicology. "This is the Jump Zone," boomed a recorded voice. "You have 27 seconds to enter the Gate." Skratch looked at the Wabbit, then turned as Tipsy unleashed a volley of shots into the darkness. "18 seconds before Jump," said the Gate. "Try talking to it, Wabbit," yelled Skratch but the Wabbit's shout came out a shriek. "Belay the countdown and return to 30 seconds!" The tune continued and the hatch swung with it. Skratch grabbed Tipsy by an ear and yanked her closer as they started to run. Her revolver spat bullets along the walls. "They're coming," she shouted as she loaded more rounds, "and I'm not picking up a happy feeling." "8 seconds to Jump," boomed the Gate. Now they were at the Gate and falling across the threshold. "Destination?" yelled the Wabbit. "Destination arbitrary," said the voice flatly. "I was hoping for more choice," sighed Skratch. "3 seconds," said the Gate, "and Please Watch the Gap." Then everything faded to black ...

Monday, April 20, 2015

9. The Wabbit at the Tunnel's End

They emerged from the Time Tunnel and into a strange landscape. Three moons hung from a tangerine sky and there was absolute still. The Wabbit was the first to scramble onto the parapet and he turned to lend a paw to Skratch. "What's Tipsy doing and where did she get the Colt?" Skratch laughed. "She said she'd cover our rear." The Wabbit shrugged. "Skratch, where do you think this is?" "It looks like an old abandoned planet," said Skratch. The Wabbit heaved a sigh. "Nowhere's completely abandoned is it? Surely there's someone or something about." Skratch looked all around. "Desolation Row," he muttered. "It creeps me out." The Wabbit inspected the stonework. "Someone built this." "A team of Aztecs with time and attitude?" suggested Skratch. The sound of rapid revolver fire disturbed their musings. "What's Tipsy shooting at?" growled the Wabbit. They both looked up. The moons had moved position and now they were ticking in synchrony. "Well I know this isn't Pluto," said the Wabbit. "How do you know?" asked Skratch. The Wabbit smiled. "I was there once. It's on the Metro." Skratch knew better than to ask for an explanation of the Wabbit's wilder observations. Besides, the ticking grew louder and faster and the moons seemed to drop closer to the surface. "Let's take cover," said the Wabbit. "Tipsy! Check out the other tunnel!" Tipsy wheeled on one foot and fired three shots. But there was no echo. "We've got no choice," yelled the Wabbit. Tipsy peered into the tunnel but only darkness peered back. "That's tunnel vision," said the Wabbit.

Friday, April 17, 2015

8. The Wabbit and the Passage of Time

The vast concrete structure nestled incongruously on the edge of town and the Wabbit and his two deputies crept into the giant bunker. Tipsy buried her head in her arms because a high pitched hum made her eardrums vibrate. "Ah there you are," said the Zoners. "Did you run out of time?" The Wabbit looked at the Zoners critically. He placed his paws at five past three. That was when he liked coffee - and since that time was as good as any other, he waved them. "Stand away from the tunnel!" "No can do," said the Zoner on the right and he tipped his cap. "We have an urgent appointment and we're pressed for time." The humming changed frequency and the Zoners looked alarmed. "Move away from the tunnel," said the Wabbit, "and we'll give you the time of day." But something else was happening. Tipsy's bottom half started to reappear and Skratch's Winchester was vanishing rapidly. "We really cannot delay or else it will be yesterday," yelled the middle Zoner. The Wabbit hopped closer and the Zoners shrank back. The hum grew louder and the leader clock at the back of the tunnel began a count down. Loud ticking filled the structure and as its single hand swept onwards. the Zoners grew frantic. Suddenly they turned, raced into the tunnel and disappeared. The Wabbit didn't have to ask. He too loped into the tunnel and was gone. Skratch looked at Tipsy but she was already at the leader clock. Its hand reached Fade. "Three seconds!" yelled Skratch - but she'd gone too. "No time like the present," sighed Skratch as he jumped ... 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

7. The Wabbit and the Wild West Zone

The Wabbit couldn't remember how he got there. One second he was watching the movie and the next he seemed to be in one. "Howdy stranger," said a familiar voice. It was Skratch, but the Wabbit had never seen him toting a Winchester. "You must be from the Badlands," said Skratch. "You'll be in need of a drink." "I'll have a carrot aperitivo," said the Wabbit - but when he saw Skratch's eyes rise a full one inch, he adopted a threatening snarl. "Put it in a dirty glass and leave the bottle!" A tinkle of glasses heralded a bodyless Tipsy who appeared from the back. The Wabbit turned and cast a deliberate gaze around the chaos. "I'm a lookin' for three flannel mouths," he drawled. Tipsy sipped her drink. "They wuz here and they wuz on the shoot," she nodded. "Broke the place up real bad." Skratch looked at his Winchester, dropped the lever and loaded new cartridges. "They spoke real fancy too," he grunted, "Said it was feeding time at the zoo." The Wabbit narrowed his eyes until they were slits. "Did they ask what time zone this was?" "They sure did," said Skratch, "and I told 'em 'Tango' like what it's always bin." Tipsy drained her glass and crashed it on the bar. "Round here, we don' go changing." "They sure gave you a bad time," agreed the Wabbit, "did they say where they wuz headin'?" Skratch pointed to the wall. "They said something about the mists of time. Then they vanished clean away." The Wabbit got up. "I'll head after them." "Hey Marshal," said Tipsy, "could you use a couple of deputies?"

Monday, April 13, 2015

6. The Wabbit and the Late Late Movie

The Wabbit hopped straight into the auditorium, followed by the Time Zoners. The theatre was screening Tarkovsky's Solaris and it was just about to start. The Wabbit smiled broadly, but behind him bickering and confusion broke out concerning who would sit where. The Wabbit immediately moved to the front, but the Zoners followed and sat all around him. "Shhh" said the Wabbit. "Are we in time for the beginning?" said the Zoner to his right. "It's just begun," snapped the Wabbit. "Films should be dull at the start," said the Zoner, "so people have time to leave." The Zoner behind leaned forward. "Your ears are in the way." The Wabbit looked all around the empty cinema and shook his head sadly. Now the Zoner to his right chipped in. "A visit to the cinema is always about time travel." The Wabbit snorted. "Tarkovsky," he said, "does not represent time as a sequential flow of events." "Of course not," said the Zoner at the back. "Otherwise we wouldn't be here." The Wabbit kept his eyes firmly on the screen. "Where would you be?" he asked slyly. "Somewhere else," said the Zoner carefully. "Having a rare old time," added another and they all giggled. The Wabbit frowned and gestured silence with a paw across his mouth. "How long does this film last?" asked a Zoner. "A hundred and sixty nine minutes." replied the Wabbit from memory. "Oh that's splendid," said the Zoner at the back. "We have all the time in the world." The Wabbit smiled to himself. "Now where would you find all that time?"

Friday, April 10, 2015

5. The Wabbit and the Twilight Zone

The Wabbit pursued the voices a long way from the forest and into the city. They were heading somewhere specific. "Come in Juliet. This is Zone Zulu, copy?" The radio whined. "Juliet. Go ahead." "The Wabbit had difficulty in describing the scene. "I'm at the cinema." The radio hissed. "Leave that for later Commander." The Wabbit gritted his teeth and tried not to yell. "The Zoners are in the cinema!" A long silence ensued. "What are they doing?" "Chatting," said the Wabbit. "What about?" asked Juliet. The Wabbit made static noises, slipped his radio into his fur and listened. "Are we late?" said the first Zoner. The second Zoner chortled. "No, t'is the cinema that's early." "We have time on our hands," said the third. Then they all laughed just like in the forest. The Wabbit caught sight of a red flash. So he looked towards the bar and saw Skratch with Tipsy's head under one arm. He made a slight gesture, but none was returned. And although Tipsy seemed to have a drink, the Wabbit wasn't sure of her Zone. Both Skratch and Tipsy looked transparent and shimmered in the dim glow. Suddenly, the Zoner on the right swirled his hands three times. "What time zone did we ask for?" "Whisky," said the middle Zoner. They all turned to look at the bar. The third Zoner ticked a little. "This isn't Whisky, it looks like X-Ray." "We can still have fun though," said the middle Zoner and they giggled. The Wabbit watched Tipsy sip her drink. "Let's watch a late movie," suggested the first Zoner. The Wabbit hopped forward and spoke. "How about the Twilight Zone?"

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

4. The Wabbit in Time Zone Zulu

The Wabbit waited a long time but finally his radio crackled. "This is Juliet. Confirm Time Zone?" "Zulu," snapped the Wabbit. The Wabbit sounded impatient because he'd been on the same spot staring at empty space for several hours. The spot lay along the course of the new atomic timepiece known as OptoClock and trouble was afoot. But forced to accept a mission for another agency, the Wabbit was unhappy and so grumbled to himself at length. "Report sightings," said Juliet. The Wabbit had nothing to report, but from the corner of his eye he noticed a reflection in the jeep's side panel. He stayed still and watched until the radio interrupted. "Commander?" "I have a partial sighting of Tipsy," replied the Wabbit. "Tipsy? How partial?" The Wabbit shrugged. "Well, she has no head." Angry voices at base suggested this was not anticipated. "What about the Zoners, Commander?" The Wabbit was about to say there were no Zoners, when he heard voices in the forest. He watched Tipsy's bottom half stroll off down the forest path and he narrowed his eyes and shook his head. But he ignored it because the voices were getting closer. They were talking about time in a most peculiar manner - and every so often they stopped and laughed. "I'm completely zoned," said one voice. "Did you make any daylight saving?" asked another. "No, there's hardly any interest. I took out a loan." The Wabbit sighed deeply and whispered into his radio. "They're here, but they're on borrowed time."
[Zulu: military time zone, Coordinated Universal Time UTC/GMT. Juliet: Military time zone (observer's local time)]

Monday, April 06, 2015

3. Skratch and the Time Zone Problem

Skratch escorted Tipsy carefully from the auditorium when he heard the sound of a kiss. He momentarily thought of the Wabbit's instructions and fumbled quickly in his fur for Tipsy's gift. That's when it happened. Two disembodied paws took the chocolate liqueurs. "Oh thank you Skratch," said Tipsy's head, "that was very thoughtful." Skratch was lost in Tipsy's swirling eyes as her lips detached and floated towards him. "What time zone is it?" asked Tipsy's lips. Skratch nearly jumped, but he remained calm and tried to think clearly. "It's CEST." "My goodness that's late," said the lips, "but not too late for you to take me for a little dwink." Tipsy's lips returned to their proper place while Skratch wondered which establishment would permit entry to a disembodied head. "Aren't you working soon?" Tipsy's lips smiled. "I don't have to get up until November." Skratch knew that was a military time zone and now his eyes narrowed. But he saw no option but to go along with things until he could get to the bottom of the problem. "Let's head out then," he chirped. Tipsy proffered a paw and he hooked his paw around it and proceeded downstairs to the exit. Tipsy's lips floated around a bit. "It's nice to have someone to take me to the movies. Now you can tell me about how to read a film."  Skratch realised he was becoming accustomed to talking to a disembodied head. "What movie would you like to see next?" Tipsy's lips fluttered close. "The Time Machine."

[CEST is Central European Time.   November is a Military Time Zone in the NATO phonetic alphabet.]

Friday, April 03, 2015

2. Skratch, Tipsy and the B Movie

At a repertory cinema near the centre of town, Skratch and Tipsy met to see an old B movie horror. Skratch knew it had become a cult classic but said nothing, owing to the Wabbit's instructions. He was not allowed to broach the subject of movies at all and was therefore at a loss for conversation. Skratch felt a paw creep into his. He'd been expecting the brush of a foot or leg, but a paw he felt he could deal with, Skratch squeezed it. "I'm scared," whispered Tipsy. "Don't worry," said Skratch. "I'm here and nothing can harm you." Tipsy leant forward and eagerly watched the story unfold. Skratch had seen the movie several times and was responsible for submitting a long and technical article to Jump Cut Review, now at the revision stage. "Yikes!" shrieked Tipsy as a decapitated head made conversation from a laboratory worktop. She looked away, only to notice a door at the side of the screen. "What's behind that door?" she murmured. An actor's voice from the screen seemed to reply. "Horrors no normal mind can imagine." Tipsy jumped. "I think it's a broom cupboard," said Skratch soothingly. Tipsy's eyes were riveted on the movie monster as it ripped its tormentor limb from limb. "Will you see me home afterwards," she breathed. "There might be monsters." Skratch smiled and nodded and grasped for the chocolates. Tipsy looked thoughtful. "Anyway, how long can you live without a brain?" "It depends how old you are," said Skratch,

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

1. The Wabbit & the Command Movie

Skratch the Cat arrived at the sleazy viewing theatre where the Wabbit had an arrangement. The matter seemed to be urgent, so he was unsurprised when the Wabbit addressed him in serious note. "Departmental Business." The Wabbit's voice indicated he didn't exactly approve. "This is a direct order, Skratch." Skratch waited for what seemed like an age. Finally the Wabbit spoke. "You have to take Tipsy to the movies." Skratch's fur stood on end. "But Commander .." "I'm certain something can be worked out." said the Wabbit, "now what seat do you usually occupy?" "Front row, middle," said Skratch. The Wabbit shook his head sadly. "You will occupy a rear seat, offset from centre." Skratch gritted his teeth. "During the film, Tipsy will nudge your leg." Skratch groaned inwardly. "What then Commander?" "You will whisper sweet nothings in her ear." Skratch brightened. "About the movie?" "On no account," said the Wabbit. "You will not talk of cinema or film theory and there is to be no mention of semiotics." Skratch heaved a very long sigh. "What next Commander?" "You will escort Tipsy home." said the Wabbit, "where you will kiss her affectionately on the cheek and give her a small box of expensive chocolate liqueurs." And then?" asked Skratch. "Lope away nonchalantly," said the Wabbit, handing Skratch money. "Look, this should cover everything." Skratch spoke cautiously "May I take a taxi?" "Only if there's a blizzard," said the Wabbit.