Wednesday, November 30, 2016

6. The Wabbit and the Home Landing

It was ice cold in Turin and things looked at a standstill. "Heating to manual," shivered Lapinette. Quantum laughed."This is not Flight QTT2 from Glasgow." He coasted over the empty tracks. "Looking for a landing place?" joked the Wabbit. "Just looking around," said Quantum. He hovered over Lingotto and everyone looked down. "It's a little too quiet for my liking," said Wabsworth. Skratch felt his fur prickle and he resisted the urge to scratch. "Something's not right." The Wabbit glanced up as Susan the Biplane criss-crossed the sky. "It's the wrong day," he sighed, "we're due the day before yesterday." Wabsworth checked Quantum's instrumentation. "No, we're right on time." Quantum's voice boomed over the speakers. "I'm always on time, I have no concept of late." Lapinette muttered about the space time continuum. "It's the city that's late." Skratch focused on the tracks and saw movement that was barely perceptible. "Things are moving but very slowly." The Wabbit drew a breath. Then he yelled. "Engage Lattice Drive. Let's go!" "Where, when?" asked Quantum. "Anywhere not here. Any time but this one," shouted the Wabbit. Quantum shuddered into Lattice Drive but nothing seemed to happen. "Quantum, we didn't move," shouted the Wabbit. "Yes we did move," said Lapinette. Wabsworth pointed outside. "The whole thing's fake. And it travelled with us."

Monday, November 28, 2016

5. The Wabbit hitch-hikes the Galaxy

The Wabbit felt in his fur for his walkie talkie - but in his frantic tumble down the slope it had gone. "Nothing else for it," he murmured as he energised his bionic hand. The thumb began to swell up and the Wabbit waved it in the general direction of the universe. With a sudden crack, a multi-coloured portal swirled into view and through it proceeded a caravan train composed entirely of vessels of unknown origin. Lapinette nudged the Wabbit. "I'm not certain I want a lift from one of those things." "Hang on," said the Wabbit. He fiddled with the thumb, stared into the portal and waved. "Here he comes now, right on time." Quantum the Train shot through the portal from the opposite direction, shuddered to a halt and hung in space. Lapinette waved both paws. "Beam us up, Quantum!"  The Wabbit knew what Quantum was saying and mimicked his communications system. "I'm a train, not a Federation Starship. We don't have teleporting technology." But the Wabbit was quite wrong because they both shimmered, vanished and reappeared in Engine Room One. For an instant, small particles of light danced in the space where they'd been. The Wabbit's fur stuck up in all directions. He stroked it back with his bionic hand and shook his head. "That's the way to travel." Lapinette looked around for a mirror. "Does Quantum have a fur drier?"
[The original black hole graphic is from the NASA archives under the licence described here]

Friday, November 25, 2016

4. The Wabbit gets a Helping Hand

Wabakaguya grasped the Wabbit's paw. An electrical charge coursed through his body. "Good luck, Commander Wabbit," said Wabakaguya, "now everything depends on you." "Everything?" gasped the Wabbit, "That doesn't leave much to go round." His left paw felt strange. "Concentrate on the paw," said Wabakaguya. The Wabbit focused. Tendons tightened then relaxed. "You have a mechanical hand," observed Lapinette. The Wabbit tried to grip his other paw. "Ouch!" he yelled." Lapinette was practical. "What can it do?" "It's a helping hand," said Wabakaguya. The Wabbit moved all of the fingers. Then he waved the hand. A wind blasted round the hall. "Ooooh," said the Wabbit and he tried to take Lapinette's paw. Lapinette snatched her paw away. "Concentrate, Wabbit!" The Wabbit's eyes narrowed. The mechanical hand melded back into the Wabbit's fur and his paw appeared. Wabakaguya smiled. "The hand can engage with the Fifth Force and make adjustments." "Anything else?" asked the Wabbit. "The fingers can sense the properties of any object," replied Wabakaguya. "And the thumb?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit concentrated and the hand materialised. He waved the thumb and grinned. "We can always hitch a ride." His teeth flashed as he cocked up the thumb and aimed along a pointed forefinger. "Don't you fire that thing in here," said Wabakaguya.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

3. The Wabbit and the Lost Message

It was a long way down. They bounced on every rock then slid into a cavern hall of polished ebony in front of Wabakaguya. "Greetings, Goddess," said the Wabbit, "pleased to meet you." He stuck out a paw. Lapinette went for a curtsy and slipped - but managed to bow her head. "Peace is in every hop." Wabakaguya ground her teeth softly. "Thank you small rabbits. You have a message for me." The Wabbit was as nonplussed as a rabbit could be. He could think of no message but rummaged in his fur just in case. Lapinette thought quickly. "The message is hidden." Wabakaguya growled. Her eyes flashed and became an impossible blue. "For security reasons," added Lapinette quickly. "Ah yes," nodded Wabakaguya, "My minion Hush Hush organised it." The Wabbit had a moment of clarity. "Then it's me," he shouted. "I must be the message." The ebony hall was silent for some time. Wabakaguya bent towards the Wabbit. "If you are the message, then it is you who must save Earth." "I didn't know it needed saving," said the Wabbit but with little certainty. "The Earth is in great danger," said Wabakaguya. "The Earth is always in danger," shrugged the Wabbit, "we get used to it." Wabakaguya growled long and deeply. "There is a quantum force which would destroy everything. It is called the Fifth Force." Lapinette knew of only four and said so with a sigh. "But the forces are all part of a single unified force." "Not anymore," said Wabakaguya ...
[Wabakaguya: Princess Kaguya is the moon rabbit of many cultures, but specified by the Tale of the Woodcutter (Japan)] 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2. The Wabbit and the Fourth Kind

It had the outer appearance of Earth's moon, but that was the end of any resemblance. The planetoid was ruggedly shelved and it took a while to land. Terrain was difficult. Gravity was grim. Lapinette and the Wabbit scouted the territory but it needed agility and a lot of effort. "It's a good thing we can hop," said Lapinette. "We hop, therefore we are," panted the Wabbit. Lapinette's ears shook as the ground trembled. The radio crackled angrily and Wabsworth's tone was urgent. "Reading seismic activity." The Wabbit focused his special glasses. "I can see whiskers," he murmured, "giant whiskers." "And I heard scrabbling," said Lapinette. The Wabbit guessed things were serious. "What kind of scrabbling?" Lapinette hissed softly. "Scrabbling of the Fourth Kind." "Oooh, supernatural," breathed the Wabbit.  A chattering dislodged a few rocks. Wabsworth hopped away from the precipice. A series of scratching noises reverberated in the cavern - edgier than Morse Code. Wabsworth's radio burst into life. "I was expecting you," cooed a voice. In the distance, he saw the Wabbit's paw make a circular motion that suggested time wasting. "Caller, please identify yourself. State your name, business and favourite soccer team." More rocks tumbled. "I am Wabakaguya, Goddess." "And the team, if you please," said Wabsworth slowly. "Urawa Red Diamonds," yelled the voice. "Slogan?" continued Wabsworth. "No-one likes us we don't care," shouted the Goddess.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

1. The Wabbit & the Bad Acid Jerker

The Wabbit watched the craft leave. "Good riddance," shrugged Lapinette. But it didn't go quickly enough. "We haven't seen the last of them," said the Wabbit, "we may need our photon torpedoes." Quantum the Train gave a hollow laugh. "I'm a train. Trains don't come with artillery." Lapinette couldn't help laughing, but stopped immediately when Quantum said, "We only have that experimental weapon you were developing, Commander." Lapinette put her paws over her ears. "I don't want to hear it." The Wabbit smirked. "It's already proved rather effective." "What on?" sighed Lapinette. "Soft toys," said the Wabbit. Quantum's voice boomed. "I liked that name you gave it, Wabbit." "The Bad Acid Jerker?" laughed the Wabbit. "It's a working title." Lapinette was far from amused. So the Wabbit reached into his fur and pressed a hidden button. The other craft suddenly stopped, shuttled backwards, then forwards again. It had gained only one meter. "Oh let me try!" shouted Lapinette. She reached deep into the Wabbit's fur and pressed several times. The craft jerked like a crazy pin ball but made little distance. "That's hold 'em," said the Wabbit. "Until what?" asked Lapinette. "Until we get there," said the Wabbit, pointing. A moon identical to earth's glimmered dimly in the light of the Sombrero Galaxy. "Lattice drive, Quantum," said the Wabbit. "Reach for that moon."

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Wabbit's Adventure Dining Car

The Wabbit gritted his 28 teeth and called again. "Unidentified craft, respond." Lapinette knew he'd keep trying and gave her attention to the monitor. The craft looked just like them - but there was something not quite right. "Quantum, any ideas?" Quantum's voice boomed from the speakers. "It looks like Unit One." Everyone turned. "It's the motor unit from the other end of this train," said Quantum. Even Wabsworth was astonished. "I didn't think there was one." "Unit One was due for dismantling long ago," said Quantum. Now the Wabbit's voice was urgent. "Calling Unit One. Respond." The craft responded. "This is Commander Wabbit. Stand down immediately. Disengage your weapons." "But I am the Wabbit," said the Wabbit. The pause was interminable. "This is the Wabbit," said the radio. "Disengage or we will fire." Skratch crouched and signalled to the Wabbit. "We're caught in a sci-fi trope. The craft and personnel are our opposites." "An anti-Quantum?" suggested Lapinette. Now the Wabbit's voice lilted suggestively into his radio. "Unit One, you have an urgent appointment at the far side of the Universe." "Appointment?" said the craft. "An urgently urgent appointment," replied the Wabbit hypnotically. "They're waiting for you. You must go. Leave now and you'll just have time to be fashionably late." Unit One started to pull away and the radio crackled. "Stay where you are. We'll be back." "No rush," grinned the Wabbit, "we'll break open the liquor cabinets ..."

Friday, November 11, 2016

11. The Wabbit and the Train Home

There were several detonations. The polar caps heaved into a spiral and as the moon tilted back, so did Earth. Quantum shot into deep space like a cork from a bottle. "This is the DWA monitoring station," said a radio voice, "If you wish to leave a message, press 1." The Wabbit chortled and pressed all the buttons he could find. "I'm a time travelling train, not a secretary," boomed Quantum. They all shook as he disengaged lattice drive with a thump and, far from anywhere, they hung in space. "What time is it?" asked Lapinette. "The day before yesterday," said Quantum. The Wabbit gazed from the windscreen and murmured. "We have to get back at exactly the time we left." "Like we were never away," breathed Lapinette. Skratch's voice sounded over the speakers. "Do we have to hang around much longer?" "I'm afraid we're behind the times," said the Wabbit, "we have to catch up." Wabsworth chimed in. "This looks like the Sombrero Galaxy." "Oh," said Lapinette. "I do hope we don't meet anyone we know." The Wabbit nodded his head in considered agreement. "Let's move out of here, Quantum." "Look over there!" said Lapinette. "Steady as she goes," warned the Wabbit as Quantum swung round. Lapinette brought the object on screen and gasped. "It looks like another Quantum!" The Wabbit looked closely.  His fur prickled. "It's not another Quantum, it's us!"

Thursday, November 10, 2016

10. Wabsworth and Connectivity

Somewhere behind them a soundless battle raged. Skratch the Cat watched Wabsworth make connections, which he tested with a damp paw. "That goes there," purred Skratch. Wabsworth shook his head. "The Wabbit designed this. Nothing goes where you think." The phone rang and a flash seared a path across Skratch's nose. The phone coughed a message. "The Wabbit is enchanted you rang. Redirecting you now." Skratch felt a wind ruffle his fur and shivered. "We haven't much time, Wabsworth. Is that it?" Wabsworth pulled a set of components from his fur and made another connection. "Connect 'em wires, dem dry wires." he hummed. Device Two burst into life. "This is Radio Luxembourg presenting the Beaver Club with Uncle Eric." Wabsworth nodded approvingly. "Nearly there." Skratch grimaced as Wabsworth began to sing. "Dem wires, dem wires, gonna walk around." His paws blurred as connections snicked into place. A radio whine from Device One set Skratch's teeth on edge. A series of pops and crackles did the same to his fur. "Fifteen seconds to detonations," said Device One, "please clear the neighbourhood." Skratch glanced over his shoulder to glimpse Susan the Biplane diving from an impossible angle. "Get ready to jump," said Wabsworth. But Skratch was already on board, so with one enormous hop, Wabsworth joined him. "Hit it!" he yelled ...

Monday, November 07, 2016

9. The Wabbit and the Shape of Three

The Wabbit plucked a phone from his fur and attached it to his radio. "This is no time for a selfie," said Lapinette. "There's always time for a selfie," replied the Wabbit and he yelled at the radio until feedback simulated an echo. "Selfie, selfie, selfie," whined the phone. The Wabbit took a roll of duct tape and bound radio and phone together. "This," said the Wabbit, "is the Third device." "I don't understand," sighed Lapinette. The Wabbit wrinkled his nose. "We can't find the Third Device. In Department of Danger terms, that means I already have it." Lapinette suddenly smiled. "Now I get it." The Wabbit threw the makeshift device to Wabsworth. "You stand the most chance of success." Wabsworth also smiled. "Because I'm an android?" Skratch grunted with amusement. "Android must speak unto android?" The Wabbit's voice sharpened. "You're going too." Skratch's purr was low and menacing. "Because I'm a cat?" "Because you're the cat's whiskers," said the Wabbit. "You locate the other two devices. Wabsworth will attach all three together." "What happens next?" asked Wabsworth. "The radio will call the phone," said the Wabbit, "then the phone will answer and take a message. You'll have just enough time to rendezvous with us and Susan." "Just enough time?" echoed Lapinette. The Wabbit's 28 teeth flashed. "Enough time to get the hell out of the way ..."

Friday, November 04, 2016

8. The Wabbit and the Force of Venom

The NiGHT riders passed over them with devastating effect. Both moon and earth began to tilt and they all gripped one another because they were tilting too. "Orders?" asked Lapinette. "Watch," said the Wabbit. Several things happened at once. Quantum's quantum lattice beam sliced across the surface and picked out the team. Designed to be impenetrable, no-one had ever tried it before - so the Wabbit poked it with his knife and the beam formed a shield around the blade. "It works," murmured the Wabbit. "Now what should we do?" asked Skratch. "Nothing," said the Wabbit. Lapinette glanced over her shoulder. Hundreds, maybe thousands of red spiders made spiky silhouettes against the Earth's blue glow. The Wabbit's radio crackled with enigmatic space transmissions. "Device Three status activated." "Payloads primed." Lapinette's ears quivered. "Payloads?" "Arachnid venom," shrugged the Wabbit, "it's been trialled." Wabsworth shuddered and so did Skratch. "What's the delivery system?" asked Lapinette. "Bites on the front," explained the  Wabbit. "Then Duetta's spiders will also bite the sides." "But what does Device Three do?" asked Wabsworth. "It's hush hush," said the Wabbit. "What the binky does that mean, Wabbit?" groaned Skratch. The Wabbit grinned. "It means I have no clue ..."

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

7. The Wabbit and the NiGHT Riders

"Here they come," said the Wabbit. "I feel like we've done this before," said Skratch the Cat. Wabsworth waved a pocket knife. "What we did once, we can very well do again."  Lapinette paused. She took an edged weapon from her frock and ran a paw along the blade. "What did we do again?" she murmured. "Trick our enemies," said the Wabbit. "It would be silly not to," said Skratch. The Nocturnal High Garrison seemed to fly from behind the earth and trailed a swirling dark mist. "Tribulation coming," said Wabsworth. "Tribulation is worse at night," sighed the Wabbit. Lapinette nodded. "How long is night on the moon?" "Two weeks," answered Wabsworth. "Starting when?" said Skratch. "Starting now," said Wabsworth. The Garrison appeared closer. Scythes slashed through whatever atmosphere there was. Galloping clattered on the surface is if at a racetrack. Then the voices came. First they were whispers, then shouts, then finally laughter as they called to each other. "Conquest!" shouted the first. "Power," yelled the second. "Hunger," shouted the third. But the last hung back and raised a mighty sword. "Death to the Wabbit and his kind!" he moaned. The Wabbit's 28 teeth glinted earthlight across the craters. "That sounds like hard work to me," snarled the Wabbit ...