Friday, April 28, 2017

6. The Wabbit and the Phantom Call

They searched the deserted city for supplies and found some curling sandwiches in the station bar. Fitzy located a jar of pesto. Lapinette spread it equally around with an edged weapon she pulled from her frock. "Maybe everyone in the city shot through," said the Wabbit. "Like Spartacus," said Lapinette. "Did Spartacus shoot through?" asked the Wabbit in astonishment. Lapinette smiled. "Apparently." She handed the Wabbit her knife. "What? He just upped and left," muttered the Wabbit. The telephone rang. "Maybe it's Spartacus!" said the Wabbit. The phone rang again wildly and jumped off the hook. The Wabbit caught it. "Is that Spartacus?" "No way," said a voice. The Wabbit thought for a second and played with the telephone cord. "Maybe you'd like to speak with Lapinette." Lapinette shook her head violently and took back her edged weapon. "No," said the phone. The Wabbit shrugged and offered the handset all around - without success. He placed his mouth close to the phone, covered it with a paw and whispered. "No-one wants to speak to you." "Good," said the phone. The line went dead and the Wabbit replaced the handset. "The telephones are working at least," sighed Lapinette. The Wabbit lifted the phone and listened. There was no line. It was completely dead. "Whoever that was, they shot through." The Wabbit took Lapinette's knife, grasped the phone cord and smiled. "Noooo!" shrieked the phone. "Just checking the line," said the Wabbit.
[term: "shoot through": An Australian expression for leave or get out, usually without warning.]

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

5. The Wabbit and a Backup Generator

The Wabbit's secret dump was locked and they had to force their way in. Downstairs a commotion raged. "There's definitely something in the store rooms," shouted Tipsy. "I heard a voice," yelled Fitzy. "Let's shoot the shibblet!" shouted Mitzy. The Wabbit listened carefully, then he started to laugh. "Did you disturb my box of old tape recorders? Unless Woody Guthrie came to call." Lapinette's personal guard had a reputation for ferocity and the three brandished their weapons. "He'll never get past us!" Lapinette made reassuring noises. The Wabbit shrugged. "I'd take you all to a caffè but they're closed." The lights flickered, dimmed, went out, then flickered dimly on again. The Wabbit scowled. "Tipsy, can you check the back up generator?" "Woody can check it for me," grinned Tipsy. She disappeared through a door. They heard three curses and a yell, then several bangs, followed by the chatter of a generator. "Let there be light!" shouted Tipsy. Everything brightened.The Wabbit sat on the munitions box. "What the binky is going on?" Fitzy shook her head. "The No people won the election." "I never heard of them," said Lapinette; "What do they advocate?" "Nothing, no thing, not anything" said Tipsy. "No way, no hay," said Fitzy. "Dirty rotten sons of saveloys!" cursed Mitzy. "How will we find them?" asked the Wabbit. "We stop at nothing," replied Lapinette.
[Saveloy: a seasoned sausage, often sold battered in fish and chip shops]

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 ..."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

4. The Wabbit and The Green Planet

It was a stiff climb and the Wabbit and Skratch were both puffed. The Green Planet was covered in shrublings that looked like a crop of some kind. "These look yummy," said Skratch; "Do you think they're safe to nibble?" But the Wabbit's ears stood straight upright, "I hear rumbling." "I thought that was your stomach," replied Skratch. Two exploration vehicles rumbled to the edge of the cliff. "Welcome," spoke a vehicle; "May we show you to the Interpretive Centre?" Skratch grinned, because the Wabbit's aversion to such centres was well known. "Anywhere around here you can get a bite to eat?" he purred. The Wabbit proffered a polite paw. The vehicle extended a sensor. "We don't get many visitors." The Wabbit nodded and asked, "When were the last?" "You're the first," said the vehicles and they chattered to each other in a noisy series of bleeps. "We were left here by a mission from SWEEPS-11. We've seen no-one since." Skratch and the Wabbit conferred. "What is your task?" said the Wabbit. "Flora and fauna protection," replied the vehicles. The Wabbit's smile was a question. "From what?" The two vehicles threw many shapes. "When the Black Planet orbits, we hide everything or the planet sucks them up." The Wabbit spoke urgently into his radio. "Lepus, can you detect the black planet?" The radio crackled with Jenny's voice. "The black planet broke orbit. It's moving our way."

Monday, March 13, 2017

3. The Wabbit and the Snooker Planets

Captain Jenny signalled the engine room and the Lepus stood still. The Wabbit felt the faint hum of auxiliary engines to be reassuring - although his heart was pounding. "There they are," he murmured; "Just where the map said." The Lepus swung in a distant orbit round an angry sun. Lapinette touched his shoulder. "They remind me of something." "Pool," said Jenny. The Wabbit shook his head. "Snooker." Jenny and Lapinette had a confab. "What colour has the most points?" "Black, seven" shrugged the Wabbit; "Black, pink, blue, brown, green, yellow, red." "How would you play this one?" asked Lapinette. "We need a break off," answered the Wabbit; "to get everything rolling." Jenny whirled the ship's wheel, which was only for effect. "Send out your Cailleach to stir them up, Commander." The Wabbit wasted no time and a giant Cailleach appeared close to the planets. A loud complaint issued immediately from the engine room. "Ye canna have holographics for long, Commander. It's braw but it's hard on fuel." "Look. Something happened," said Lapinette, She pointed to the Green Planet. "Magnify on screen!" shouted the Wabbit. The Green Planet repeatedly became bigger, then smaller. It seemed like it was breathing. "Looks like our kind of planet," said Lapinette; "but how much is it worth?" "Three," sighed the Wabbit.
[Background: NASA/JPL-Caltech  under Creative Commons Licence]

Friday, March 10, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Ship Trials

Lapinette waited with baited breath. The Wabbit was nonchalant and lifted his walkie talkie to his ear. The radio crackled with Captain Jenny's voice. "Stage one complete. All systems optimal." The Lepus hung over the moonlit bay, throwing waves of energy to the surface. Jenny's voice sounded cheerful. "Compliments, Commander." The Wabbit grinned. Light from his 28 teeth flashed choppy reflections across the harbour. He spoke into the radio. "Up works. Now try down." The Lepus sank until her hull grazed the water. "Up again and try port and starboard thrusts." The Lepus pirouetted like a Mariinsky ballerina in Swan Lake. "Ooooh," murmured Lapinette; "your work is done!"  "Not quite," smiled the Wabbit. His mouth pressed aginst the radio. "Now loop the loop." The radio crackled with pirate expletives. "It's the red button at the base of the helm," said the Wabbit. "Aye Commander," said Jenny. The Lepus vanished. Lapinette counted the seconds and crossed her paws. Lightning flashed. The Lepus appeared upside down in the far sky and just as quickly vanished. Lapinette counted again. With hardly a splash, the Lepus settled in the harbour. Lapinette's sigh of relief lasted for ever. The Wabbit lifted his radio. "Jenny, report." Jenny's voice was a croak. "OK Commander, just a bit of upchuck." "We'll live," said the Wabbit.
[Upchuck: Vomit (US slang )]
[Photo credit: Background scene - Camilla Galli da Bino]

Thursday, March 09, 2017

1. The Wabbit and the 7 Planet Trip

It was quiet on the Big Bridge. At half a kilometre long and seventy metres high, the bridge was perfect. No-one could hear them talk about the next mission. Far below, a high speed train broke the silence as it squeaked across junctions and into Porta Nuova station. Lapinette danced a little jig to the rhythm. "Sail me to the stars," she sang. "Far past Jupiter and Mars," sang the Wabbit. "In other words, hold my paw," sang Wabsworth. "In other words, baby kiss me," warbled Lapinette. They all laughed, until a distant cry wailed along the footpath. "Me first," shouted Skratch the Cat. The Wabbit grinned ear to ear. "Now that we're here, it's time to plan the ... ." A goods train rumbled by and drowned him out. "The new planets are forty light years away," said Lapinette; "So I'll bring my fur drier and stuff." The Wabbit made a mental note regarding cargo space. "Let's give these seven planets names," said Skratch with a wag of his tail. "Maybe after we've been there?" suggested Wabsworth. "Oh that's no fun," said Lapinette. "Go on Wabsworth. You start!" Wabsworth smiled because had already thought of names. "Maia and Eleckra," he said; "Asterië, Merope, Taygeta, Halcyone and Celæno." "They're taken," said Lapinette. "Anyway, I thought one could be Lapinette." "You're more of a star than a planet," winked the Wabbit.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit unfolded a colourful chart. "I made a rough copy of the star map." Silence fell in the Adventure Caffè. "I coloured it in," explained the Wabbit; "It's all the rage." Lapinette pointed to the chart. "What's that red area?" "That is our target area," replied the Wabbit. "The new planets are there - all M Class but their sun is well dodgy." Skratch the Cat gestured impatiently. "Look, if we don't understand our last adventure, we'll have no clue about the next." Wabsworth rapped the table. "All right, I'll explain. Our journey took on the attributes of a road movie." Skratch purred quietly. "But the road movie is an arrested gaze and should not be taken literally." Lapinette chimed in. "Yes, our Wablantis journey was an accretion of elements that never implied continuity." Wabsworth smiled an infuriating smile that he'd learned from Skratch. "So meaning emerges as narrative construction fades into forgottenness." "That's Heidegger," observed Lapinette. The Wabbit suddenly tapped the chart and spoke strictly. "Phenomenology won't get us to these planets, but I know what will." He paused for effect. "The Lepus will scoop up fuel particles from space, just like a whale in the sea." Lapinette shook her head. "We won't have enough thrust." The Wabbit disagreed. "I invented a quantum turbo." "What does it feel like?" asked Lapinette. "Like being inside a barrel, rolling down a hill," grinned the Wabbit.

Friday, March 03, 2017

18. The Wabbit and the Arrival Home

The Lepus sailed into Trieste harbour on a calm evening. To the Wabbit it felt like they'd never left but Nessie broke suddenly through the mirror surface of calm water. "Debriefing at 19.00 hours," said the Wabbit. "Aye aye," said Nessie. "I'll just swim awa' doon to the Grand Canal." "Please be discrete," murmured the Wabbit.  Nessie vanished with a giant splash and a monster laugh. "Commander?" said Jenny. The Wabbit nodded. "What about the spy?" continued Jenny. The Wabbit smiled broadly. "He's still with us." Jenny looked unhappy and growled. "We'll make him dance the hempen jig!" The Wabbit shook his head. "Let's keep him where we can see him." They both paused and watched the water slip by.  "And the new map?" said Jenny. "It's a star chart," said the Wabbit. "Then you won't be needing me." said Jenny sadly. The Wabbit put his paws behind his back and swayed a little like Jenny. "The Lepus engines get a retro fit. You'll be the first pirate ferry to sail space." Jenny's face lit up. "I suppose the sailing principles are the same." Now the Wabbit's face beamed. "I had an idea for tachyon propulsion and it seems just the job." "Have you tried it?" asked Jenny. "Yes," said the Wabbit, "I used a rubber duck in the bath"  "And it works?" asked Jenny. "The bath disappeared," said the Wabbit.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

17. The Wabbit and the Big Broadside.

The Wabbit looked over the rail. Wablantis was shrouded in a mist that hung over the sea like wet washing. The Wabbit signalled to the bridge. "Bring her round Jenny and steady as she goes."  The Lepus swung. So did the cannon. "Lock," said the Wabbit. "On my mark. Fire!" He lifted a paw. The coast shook.  "Again," said the Wabbit. The frackers' installation crumbled. "One more," breathed the Wabbit. The Lepus spat fire. The Wabbit watched a dull flame bathe the buildings as they collapsed to rubble. Now the installation was a flat one. The sea heaved. A plesiosaur broke through the waves and grew larger until its head and neck towered above the deck. Nessie boomed in a mighty voice. "Ye'll be needin' a pilot." Then he turned and headed slowly out to sea. The Wabbit signalled the bridge. "Follow that monster." The radio crackled with telegraph signals. "Slow ahead." The bow of the Lepus ploughed quietly through the mist, taking Nessie's route though the reefs. Suddenly they were beyond the mist and in open sea. "This way" boomed Nessie. The Wabbit's ears made a hollow noise. He could vaguely hear the cannon although gunfire had long stopped - and he felt a little dizzy. His radio crackled. "The bar is open," said Jenny. "I thought it never closed," cheered the Wabbit.

Monday, February 27, 2017

16. The Wabbit and the Added Map

The sky seemed to reflect the island and it bathed the Wabbit in an aquamarine glow as he rummaged in the bag. He knew very well that Wabsworth had appeared behind him but he continued to rummage. "I'll give you a receipt for the cash," said Wabsworth, "and I will enter the sum in the seized assets ledger." The Wabbit dug deeper and reached into the lining of the bag. "I don't care about the money." He gently pulled out a scroll and squinted at it. "I came for this, it's a map." He passed it to Wabsworth who unrolled it as the Wabbit explained. "The Wablantis map was lost on our last trip and somehow the frackers found it and came here." Wabsworth stared at the map. Then he turned it round and looked on the back. "Someone has added a new map." The Wabbit ran has eyes across it in wonder. "It's a star map!" Wabsworth scanned the map and let his circuits consult his memory banks. "These are earth-like planets, circling a sun which is provisionally known as Wablet-1." "There's a note underneath," pointed the Wabbit. "It says the whole place is terribly dangerous and on no account should anyone even consider making a trip." Wabsworth's scowl had some humour. "Then the authors of the new map are hiding something." The Wabbit chortled. "So let's play hide and seek ..!"

Friday, February 24, 2017

15. The Wabbit and the Frackers' Loot

The red rabbits attacked and the frackers ran for cover. Lapinette flew Susan the Biplane shouting orders, while below, the rabbits made short work of cables and pipes.  "I can see the Wabbit," said Susan. Lapinette shook her head. "The Wabbit isn't scheduled for this sortie." "He appears to be watching where the frackers are running to," said Susan. "but I recall he said not to worry about prisoners." Lapinette shook her head again. "I never quite know what he means by that." On the ground, frackers abandoned everything. They even took things from their pockets and scattered them as they scurried for the docks. Rabbit teeth snapped with the power of leg traps. "Just shake them off," cried a foreman fracker, "They're only rabbits." He yelped as a bunny bit him on the hand and cursed as another bit through his boot. A distant roughneck yelled at the top of his voice. "I told you we shouldn't have taken this job." "It was good money," said his mate. "Where is the money?" said another. His voice floated across the fractured earth. The foreman looked back and pointed at a shaking building. "In the office safe. It's OK, I have the key." But there were more and more rabbits and the roughnecks ran faster. The Wabbit ducked inside the building, emerging with a note-stuffed carpet bag. "Gotta pay for this mission somehow."

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

14. Lapinette and the Red Rabbits

Red rabbits appeared everywhere - they all had walkie talkies and their chatter filled the airwaves. "Fracking station 5 clicks." "Land Unit Five, ready to hop." "Coast Unit Six, ready to hop." "This is Seven. I got six squirters with their hair on fire, running for the boats." Lapinette's voice cut across the chatter. "Break Break." Silence fell. "I have a message from the Wabbit," crackled Lapinette, "I say again. The Wabbit." The Wabbit spoke with a voice he used purely for radio communication. "Red Rabbits, this is dangerous mission. From now it is imperative that you talk only through the barnstormer. Out." Lapinette's radio crackled immediately until every channel was full. Lapinette muted the radio; she knew Susan the Biplane was peeved. "The barnstormer? Is that me?" Lapinette shook her head. "I'm afraid that's me. We're going to surprise them. Hammerhead." Susan's engine growled. "Right away Ma'am." She shot vertically up, then slowed. The engine seemed to die. Susan plunged nose first to the ground. Lapinette braced for impact but Susan spiralled left then cartwheeled across the island and back. Lapinette lifted her radio with an unsteady paw. "Red Rabbits. You are go. Hop, skip and jump."  She pointed to panicked frackers. "Scare them up, Susan." "With pleasure," said Susan, "Hesitation rolls?" Lapinette's stomach rolled like the sea. "I should have skipped breakfast."

Monday, February 20, 2017

13. Ghost Bunny and Extra Ordnance

Ghost Bunny was in a hurry. "One hundred boxes to be transported to the surface." "Be careful with them," said the Wabbit. "The ordnance can be unpredictable." Another crate sped up the hoist. "Who are you expecting?" asked Ghost Bunny, "Is it Genghis Khan?" "Oh, nothing so romantic," said the Wabbit. Ghost Bunny laughed. Her laughs were wails but then her voice dropped. "We spotted a fracking spy amongst the crates." "Did you label the crates like I said?" asked the Wabbit. "Yes, as magic tricks," replied Ghost Bunny. "Nearly capture the spy then let him escape," said the Wabbit. Lapinette chimed in. "The Frackers will think bunnies came out of a hat for Easter." Ghost Bunny wailed long and hard. "A hat trick!" She shot the Wabbit a withering look. "What's in the crates?" The Wabbit snickered. "Mechanical bunnies." "They're completely terrifying," said Lapinette. "Everyone runs away," said the Wabbit. "That's the theory anyway," said Lapinette. Ghost Bunny fluttered around. "Why don't you let me haunt the frackers and make them run away?" "They already haunt themselves," shrugged Lapinette. The Wabbit explained the plan. "On shore, our mechanical bunnies will chew their cables and bite their ankles," Lapinette continued. "On the coast, Jenny will storm the frackers with the Wabbit's Cailleach," Ghost Bunny was disappointed. "Then why do you need me?" "I have a special job for you," smiled the Wabbit. "I'm hoping they'll see right through you."

Friday, February 17, 2017

12. The Wabbit and the Aqua Route.

The Wabbit and Lapinette went ahead. "I don't think the dump is compromised." Lapinette's whisper sounded like thunder. "The Wabbit drew an automatic and waved it. "Take no chances." The world of Wablantis was well defended but far from impregnable. Outside, the ocean lapped against whatever it was that held things together. A daemon accompanied them through azure depths. It made a threshing noise like a paddle steamer and every so often it let out a plaintive cry that set the Wabbit's 28 teeth on edge. Lapinette's eyes were everywhere. "How do we get past the sentinel?" The Wabbit lifted his automatic and breathed down the barrel. The gun shrieked and pulsed. A voice answered from the end of the passage. "Who goes there?" The voice was a haunt and the haunt was a voice. The Wabbit nudged Lapinette and Lapinette smiled. "I'm Trixie Beaujolais." "There is yet another," wailed the voice. "Tell me what other goes there?" "It's the Wabbit, for goodness sake," sighed the Wabbit. The passageway groaned. "Your code name?" screeched the voice. The Wabbit groaned and muttered inaudibly. "Salad." "Speak up," wailed the voice. "Salad McSandwich!" shouted the Wabbit. Lapinette shook with laughter. "The sentinel is Ghost Bunny?" The Wabbit scowled. "She said she wanted work."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

11. The Wabbit and the Hidden Cavern

"There's the cavern," said the Wabbit. "And there's the daemons," replied Captain Jenny. She span the wheel. Engines whined. The Lepus moved sideways. "I'm going in, signal or not." "Broadside manoeuvre," observed the Wabbit. "This is a ferry," said Jenny, "not an aircraft carrier." The two daemons advanced on the Lepus, jumping, submerging, then jumping again. Jenny turned to the Wabbit. "The signal?" The Wabbit tried desperately to remember. "It will come,"  "It better come soon," said Jenny. The water threshed as another monster surfaced from beneath the Lepus. "Nessie!" shouted the Wabbit. Nessie roared at the Wabbit. "The daemons have gone a bit deaf, whit wae a' that seismic blasting." Now the Wabbit's memory triggered. "Hoist the Jolly Roger." The flag went up the mast, but there was hardly a breath of wind and it hung as limp as a dish rag. Nessie roared again. The blast shook the pirate flag into life. It fluttered like a star and at once the two daemons dived, turned and surfaced. Spray turned to water sprites who danced around them. "Follow these daemons!" shouted the Wabbit - but he was wasting his breath. An undertow caught the Lepus in a grip of iron and steadily drew her and Nessie deep into the cavern ...  

Monday, February 13, 2017

10. The Wabbit and the Two Daemons

Wablantis was in sight. The Lepus held her position. Lapinette and Susan the Biplane buzzed from ship to shore. Lapinette's voice echoed round the bridge. "The sea frackers moved away as planned." Jenny swayed in her pirate fashion. "Commander, your Cailleach used a lot of power. Now we need supplies. Fuel bunkers are nearly empty." The Wabbit nodded. "Supplies are located in our cavern on the other side of the island."  "Ah," said Jenny, "My charts says there be daemons." The Wabbit shook his head. To convince unwelcome guests, holographic daemons of his invention stalked the coast, wailing intermittently like ships' foghorns. "The daemons are all mine." smiled the Wabbit. Jenny was sceptical. She strode past the Wabbit and took the wheel. "Emergency. Control to wheelhouse." The Lepus shimmied and moved forward like a ghost. Jenny spun the wheel, then spun it back. The Lepus heaved sharply, then slewed sideways to the coast. The Wabbit lurched to the controls. "Our cavern is guarded by two aquatic daemons who will move aside on our signal." "Holograms?" asked Jenny. "No, no," said the Wabbit, "They're quite real." "So what's the signal?" yelled Jenny. The Wabbit rummaged in his fur. "I knew I'd forgotten something ..."

Friday, February 10, 2017

9. Moloch and the Weird Explanation

Even with his seven league boots Moloch couldn't get to Wablantis in time. The ground rippled and erupted into a rash of mounds. Noxious fumes from the offshore fracker filled the air. There was no time to lose. Moloch stepped forward and shouted, 'Denizens!'" Small creatures gathered around him. "Have you brought sago?" they yelled. Moloch did his best to smile benevolently. "It's coming," he said quietly, "The Wabbit is bringing it," A cheer went up. "He will save us!" Moloch checked the time and looked out to sea. "It should be about now," he muttered. All was calm except for a small reddish cloud. Suddenly, lightning painted the horizon and a shape loomed. Electricity arced around the bows of a lowering Lepus and there, looking over the side, was the Wabbit. The Denizens cheered and cheered. The Wabbit waved once. The Denizens grew delirious and hoarse from cheering. Moloch called for calm and the Denizens turned courteously. But when they turned back, the Lepus and the lightning - and indeed, the Wabbit - had all disappeared. Moloch chose not to speak of anti-matter to the Denizens. Instead he became inventive. "That was the Wabbit's Cailleach." He thought fast. "A spirit which he sends in advance to cheer his allies." Moloch paused and shrugged. "Mainly, it's to scare the bejasus out of his enemies." From the corner of his eye, he saw the fracking vessel move away.  "It scares me too."
[Cailleach : Mythological Scottish hag spirit, malevolent or benevolent, a protector of animals.]

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

8. Wabsworth and the First Sighting

At one time, Wabsworth was an android copy of the Wabbit. Now he had his own stuff and his stuff counted. His calculations were second to none, and commissioning the Alien Pilot for this mission was a calculated risk. His radio crackled. "Thish is Alien Pilot," said a stern voice," "Are you resheiving?" "Clear as crystal," answered Wabsworth, "Can you see anything?" "I shee the fracker's ship," said the Pilot. Wabsworth ducked as the plane cut close across his head and he shouted in his radio. "What's the fracker fracking?" The Alien Pilot's hatred for frackers made him vexed and his voice was a snarl. "He's fracking the earth's crust. Do you want me to shend him a preshent?" The engine's roar drowned Wabsworth's voice. He signalled wildly. "Belay that, Pilot." His circuits whirred momentarily, "Just hail him." The plane circled. Wabsworth listened. "Come in, you fracker or you will be sho shorry." There was no response and Wabsworth could see little movement on the vessel. He lifted his radio and hissed. "Pilot, there's no one on the bridge." Aircraft machine gun fire embroidered the shape of a rabbit across the vessel's superstructure. The plane wheeled and stood on a wingtip. The Pilot looked down at the ship. Now its deck had more movements than a clock shop. Wabsworth signalled to the plane. His radio crackled. Alien Pilot's voice was smug. "Think they got the message?" "They're writing back now," snorted Wabsworth.

Monday, February 06, 2017

7. The Wabbit and the Big Ice Cubes

The Wabbit was stuck. Giant blocks of ice gripped the Lepus like a vice. "The weather forecast said not to worry," grumbled the Wabbit. Jenny's radio crackled. "Engines," said Skratch. "She'll no take much more, Skipper." "Copy that," muttered Jenny.  She watched the Wabbit as he rummaged in his fur. The ice groaned like a three day hangover but its grip increased. The Wabbit pulled something from his fur and then pulled again. "That looks like a stick," said Jenny. "It's more of a pole," muttered the Wabbit and he flicked it with the tip of his paw. The pole suddenly extended and jabbed and stuck in an ice floe. Jenny rocked back and forth. "You're going to push the ice away?" The Wabbit shook his head. "It's going to push us." The pole began to get hot and at the sharp end, an oxy acetylene flame cast an uneasy glow across the surface. Ice began to melt on the sides of the floes. They slipped and slithered like an ice cube in a glass of whisky. "Where did you get such a stick?" asked Jenny. "In a chandlers' market," said the Wabbit. The pole grew unbearably hot and the Wabbit moved it from paw to paw, occasionally emitting apologetic yelps. Shards of ice broke away from the floe and slushed against the hull. The floe slipped astern and the Wabbit nodded. "Full ahead," said Jenny into her radio. The Lepus burst forward. "Someone doesn't want us to get to Wablantis," smiled Jenny, "We just got the cold shoulder."

Friday, February 03, 2017

6. Lapinette in the Forgotten Zone

Leaving the Lepus far behind, Lapinette and Susan the Biplane scouted the Forgotten Zone. They flew low. The narrow channel was indeed lined with dinosaurs as anticipated, but it was the only way across the Zone and nothing could be done. From the ground, Lapinette heard a roaring chorus of disapproval. "What's all that noise?" "It's supposed to be quiet." "I seldom heard such a din." "I'm never coming here again." A dinosaur grabbed Susan's under carriage and tried to chew. Susan shook hard. "There's another one," said Lapinette. She hung out the cockpit and levelled her automatic. "Don't shoot," cried a creature. "I'm a vegetarian." Susan wrestled her undercarriage from the dinosaur's teeth and followed the channel as it wound through dense foliage. All that could be seen were cantankerous creatures, who complained bitterly about anything and everything. With a sudden rustling, the sharp toothed head of a plesiosaur emerged from the trees and snapped close to Lapinette's head. "You've no forgotten puir wee Nessie have ye?" Lapinette was taken aback and so was Susan. "Nessie, what are you doing here?" "I'm having a wee bit holiday," said Nessie, "but the weather's been as dull as a dishwasher." Lapinette had no time for corrections. "Nessie, the Wabbit needs to get the Lepus across the Zone." "What's keepin' him?" asked Nessie. "Heavy weather," shrugged Lapinette.
[One of Nessie's previous appearances.]

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

5. The Wabbit and the Gates of Sheila

The first obstacle appeared from the blue. One second they were ploughing a steady course, the next they faced a gateway of vast proportions. The gates had more angles than a geometry set, all of them razor sharp and moving like pincers. Jenny shouted for full astern but nothing happened. The Lepus tossed in the foam as the gates moved relentlessly inwards. "Wabbit?" said Captain Jenny. "The Gates of Sheila," breathed the Wabbit. "I only read about them in books." Jenny looked over the side. "How deep are they?" The Wabbit thought for a second. "Deep as the sea," he said nonchalantly. "We'll be crushed," said Jenny. The Wabbit shook his head and signalled the engine room. "Full ahead." The Lepus shot straight at the gates. Bow scraped metal with a jagged rasp. Just as the Lepus threatened to dash itself to bits, the Wabbit took a control module from his fur and moved a lever. The Lepus vanished. Jenny looked down. She seemed to be hovering over threshing water. "I thought you said that didn't change the Lepus." she yelled, "we're still here." The Wabbit moved the lever vertically. Now the gates vanished too. Jenny tasted bronzed metal as they floated on. The Wabbit moved the lever again. The Lepus reappeared. "Don't look back," said the Wabbit. Engines strained as serpent coils of seaweed pulled at the keel. Suddenly the gates crashed shut and the Lepus leapt forward. "We're gatecrashers!" smiled the Wabbit.

Monday, January 30, 2017

4. The Wabbit and the Forgotten Zone

Jenny's voice was soft. "Who are you saluting, Commander?" She could see the Wabbit's reflection and thought he looked a little troubled. "I'm saluting the sea," said the Wabbit. He was thinking of the difficulties of the voyage. He knew there was going to be trouble and had some sense he had forgotten something. But the more he racked his brain, the foggier things became. The Lepus ploughed a steady course north. Her engine throbbed steadily. "Is there any way round the Forgotten Zone?" said the Wabbit. "Not that I can remember," replied Jenny. The Wabbit searched in his fur for the set of lucky charms he'd picked up in a market. Captain Jenny waved her hook. "There's nothing in the Zone that we can't handle." In his mind's eye the Wabbit saw a narrow and unpleasant channel that twisted through a dense jungle of bad tempered dinosaurs. Somewhere between a river and a canal, its torpid water stank of millions of years of rotting vegetables. Slimy banks crawled with the deadly Pirahnaprawn, whose taste in prey was as bad as their breath. The Wabbit sniffed. Jenny thought she's better speak. "I don't like the three headed bats." The Wabbit shuddered. "I never heard of the three headed bats." "Sorry," said Jenny, "I meant to say three headed hats." The Wabbit laughed for quite a long time. "What kind of hats?" "Top hats," said Jenny.

Friday, January 27, 2017

3. The Wabbit and the Stealthicator

"Take your pick," said the Wabbit. "There's only one box," replied Captain Jenny. The Wabbit leaned out of the jeep. "Makes life easier," he chortled. He gunned the throttle and spun his wheels. The box quivered like jello and jumped up and down. Lapinette pointed at the box. "The Wabbit says it's completely safe." The box suddenly rattled like a crate of beer. The sentries stiffened. "Inside," said the Wabbit, are all the bits we need to build a Stealthicator." Lapinette interrupted cheerfully. "The Wabbit says he found all the components in a dumpster outside the Space Agency." Jenny eyed the box cautiously. "What exactly does the Stealthicator do?"  The Wabbit grinned ear to ear. "It paints the background of any object onto its front! Psst, the object vanishes." "The Wabbit says it's foolproof," said Lapinette. Jenny pursed her lips and swayed in a pirate fashion. "What if the onlooker runs round the object?" The background changes the sides to satisfy the viewer," laughed the Wabbit. Lapinette was delighted. "The Wabbit says the Stealthicator can also paint the under onto the top." Jenny nodded. "That's all very well," she said, "but what if the viewer bumps into the object?" "The object is still there, I can't do everything," said the Wabbit.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Ghost Flag

Captain Jenny paused outside her quarters and took the Wabbit aside. "You got my message?" The Wabbit nodded. They stood silently for a long time. The Wabbit broke the silence. "How was the refit?" Jenny nodded too. "We have the extra space you asked for." The Wabbit took his paw out of his fur and pointed. "Have the cargo deck ready for the consignment arriving 0.00 Zulu Time." "I tripled the sentries." said Jenny. The Wabbit's feet thumped lightly. "I wasn't expecting to return to Wablantis. Things aren't readily ready." Jenny smiled grimly. "No-one readier than you." The Wabbit shook his head. "I'm reluctantly ready." Jenny touched the Wabbit's paw. "Wablantis needs help." The Wabbit's squinted smile was a question. "Sea Frackers?" Jenny sighed. "They landed using cloaking technology." "Tricky Frackers," groaned the Wabbit. "Then they started fracking around the coast," continued Jenny. The Wabbit's smile failed miserably. "Maybe there's a chance they'll frack themselves up." At that thought, the Wabbit suddenly brightened. "I developed my wearable technology. It will make the Lepus disappear." Jenny laughed a long pirate laugh. "Except for the Jolly Roger," continued the Wabbit. "I couldn't do the flag." "Ahaar, a ghost flag," drawled Jenny. "I like the way they flutters."

Monday, January 23, 2017

1. The Wabbit and Jenny's Return

"Here she comes now!" Lapinette sounded excited. The sun dropped fast below the horizon - but had time to give a lick of pink paint to the bridge of the Lepus. Jenny's nautical voice crackled over Lapinette's radio. "Yo MacHo, rabbits, this is the Lepus, copy?" From further down the seafront, the Wabbit heard a faint cheer and he chortled. "Jenny has her admirers." Lapinette's tone was crystal. "Copy m/v Lepus, permission to berth." The Lepus slowed engines and swung to starboard. Lapinette noticed the Wabbit's critical eye as he stared at the manoeuvre. "Jenny can park the Lepus in a fish tank," she murmured. "A ship does not park, it docks," scowled the Wabbit. Lapinette grinned and lifted her radio. "Commander Wabbit salutes the ensign. He says you can park over there." The radio hissed and popped with Jenny's pirate laughter. "We be internationally awash with parking tickets." A foghorn blast sent seagulls spiralling as the Lepus berthed with barely a splash. The Wabbit turned to Lapinette. "Have you any idea what all this is about?" Lapinette's ears swayed. "There's nothing hush hush." "How would you know?" asked the Wabbit "I have hush hush clearance," said Lapinette. The radio crackled. "Grog in my quarters in half an hour, copy?" The Wabbit took the radio. "Loud and clear! Out."

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit and his team waited for service at the Fiat Caffè. But it was slow. "Where are our opposites?" asked Lapinette. "They'll be along in a minute," said the Wabbit. "What are they doing?" said Wabsworth. "Shopping at Lingotto," said Skratch. "Great," said Lapinette. "We can move to another caffè." Wabsworth wrinkled his nose. "Do we have time?" Lapinette laughed and got up. "Where aperitivi are concerned there's always time." Both the Wabbit and Wabsworth rose with her. "Is no-one going to ask the question?" pleaded Skratch in a disappointed tone. "I will," said the Wabbit. "What kind of adventure did we just have?" Skratch began to head in the direction of Eataly, his favourite place for lunch. "It was time travel. Reshuffled time provided new spatialities, achieved by moving the present." Lapinette nodded wisely. "It was Quantum's lattice drive that moved our present." The Wabbit sniffed. He could only think of a salad sandwich and in his mind he watched one making itself. His tummy rumbled. "Temporal relocation makes me hungry." "I think we were in hypertime," continued Lapinette. "We were a four dimensional hypersurface in five dimensional space." Now the Wabbit's rumbling was deafening. So when Wabsworth muttered about space-time, velocity and action, the Wabbit slapped him on the back. "I need an objective sandwich. This instant."

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

11. Lapinette and the Five Kabooms

The Lapinettes and Puma took off when they heard the explosion. Puma was first as the blast took the bar door from its hinges. The sound died away. Then there was a pause. Debris settled on the paving. "That's not the Wabbit's usual," muttered Lapinette. She grabbed her opposite by the shoulder and hauled her from the dock. But there was more than one explosion. A series of detonations made their way along the quays and painted the waterfront red. As if delayed, the Fives came swiftly hurtling from the crimson glow. They crumpled as they landed and lay inert. Lapinette stepped over the blue one and prodded it roughly with her snazer. "We know you're hired the Agents of Rabit," she hissed. She prodded it again but there was no response. The other Lapinette prodded him too. "Talk!" There wasn't even a groan. Lapinette shrugged. "His number's up." "Well, I don't trust them," said the other Lapinette, "they could be doing a number on us." Their ears quivered as five more explosions rent the night air. "Fireworks?" speculated Lapinette's opposite. Lapinette shook her head. "The Wabbits are cleaning up." "How tidy of them," said her opposite. Puma appeared to sniff round the debris. "Let's get out of here before the Mayor arrives." "Puma, what's the Mayor going to do?" laughed  Lapinette, "marry us?"

Monday, January 16, 2017

10. The Wabbit and the Red Button

Inside the bar, the Wabbit and Wabsy his opposite carefully prepared for the coup de grâce, "We have to stay on the retro side of things," said the Wabbit. His helping hand snicked forward as he licked cable ends and made connections. "Things don't change much," smiled Wabsy. They heard a snickering from the roof. Wabsy gestured. "Our friends are here." The Wabbit gave a wry smile. "The Fifth Force takes many forms." He snapped his fingers and the metallic hand made short work of the cable connections. "Ooh," he said, "I'm getting attached to this." "Let me get this straight," said Wabsy suddenly. "The Agents of Rabit are the Fifth Force." The Wabbit shook his head. "The Fifth Force is using the Agents and paying highly for the privilege." Wabsy looked nonplussed. The Wabbit continued. "As numbers, the Fifth Force would rule the universe. We would all have to be fives." Wabsy frowned. "I'm not having that. I'm one and I'm proud." The Wabbit made a last adjustment to the detonator and murmured. "Nothing would be valid unless it was five."  "Even time?" asked Wabsy. "Especially time," answered the Wabbit, "It will be 5 o'clock for ever." Ten feet beat a tattoo on the bar roof. Wabsy shuddered. "Do we have enough explosive?" The Wabbit connected the final cable with a metallic snickety click. "You can never really have enough ..."

Friday, January 13, 2017

9. Lapinette and the Hot Tin Roof

As night fell, a warm breeze shifted uneasily through cold air. The Lapinettes' eyes shifted with it and they murmured together. "Something shifty this way comes." Their pursuit of the Fives had proved unsuccessful but Puma advised waiting. He growled softly. "I always wait. I give things space to come to me." Lapinette's opposite glanced in her make up mirror, "Agents of Rabit," she whispered. "Five of them," added Puma. His purr was barely audible but it hung like the sound of a distant motorboat. Lapinette slowly tilted her snazer gun up and down. From behind the bar came a rhythmic snickering like a school class chanting multiplication. "Five time one is five. Five times five is five." Pointed ears swayed in unison above the bar but they couldn't hear what Lapinette could hear. It was Morse code tapped out on a hot tin roof. Lapinette whisper was urgent. "Wabsworth says, keep 'em busy." Puma wheeled like lighting and sprang forward, snarling a question. "What's five to the power of zero?" The Agents flinched. "Answer!" snarled Puma. Red beams shone from his eyes and they played across the Agents like laser dots. An Agent blinked. "Nothing," he shrugged. Puma screeched. "That's what you are - nothing!" The Lapinettes laughed and jeered. "Nothing between the ears!" They merrily thumped their legs and the racket covered another sound. A sound from inside the bar ....
[Puma is a trickster. As he well knows, anything to the power of zero is in fact, one.]

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

8. The Wabbit and the Second Unit

The Wabbit's second unit didn't hesitate and the Six never saw it coming until it was too late. Tipsy vaulted the fence and kicked a series of explosives into the air. "Go Panico!" she yelled. Panico trembled in his boots but he was much more scared of Tipsy than any number. He fisted the projectiles and one by one they arced across the beach huts. A series of detonations shook the ground. The Six began to topple. "Take that for your trouble," shouted Panico. For a moment the Six hauled himself up. "I'll get you for this!" he screamed, "You can't do without Six." Wabsworth and Wabsword touched paws in a high five. The flash could be seen for kilometres. Sheltering behind the huts, the two Wabbits heard the beat of dragon's wings and they looked up as Terni swooped along the beach. An explosive dropped like a depth charge. Another flash lit the beach. The Six keeled over and his moans floated across the sand. "Is this the end of Six?" Wabsworth shook his head just like the Wabbit and then he smiled. "You could have been a contender, Sixter." Wabsword grinned and called out to Tipsy. "Take him in, book him and lock him up." "On what charge?" whimpered the Six. "Unnatural acts," shouted Tipsy.

Monday, January 09, 2017

7. The Wabbit and the Higher Force

The Wabbit called his opposite Wabsy on the radio; he had a funny feeling things weren't right. "Wabsy, have you got a Six?" Radio feedback moaned and whined. "Check your six," agreed Wabsy. The Wabbits grimaced and did what rabbits did best. They froze. They did not look round. They said not a word. The Six towered over them as the Wabbit tapped an emergency Morse message for Wabsworth's team further down the beach. .-- .  .... .- ...- .  .-  --. .. .- -. -  ... .. -..- Dots and dashes confirmed they were on their way. The Six spoke suddenly with a haunting tone. "I am the next number and I have come. I am the Sixth Force." Without turning, the Wabbit snapped. "What about the Fives?" The Six's ghastly laugh curled like smoke around the beach huts. "The Fives are as fake as talk show hosts." "No fives?" said Wabsy. "Just one two three four six," moaned the Six. "Then what about seven?" demanded the Wabbit. "Never heard of it," said Six. "And if there was a seven it would be deficient. I'm six. I'm perfect. I'm a cosmological constant." The Wabbit scowled and snarled. "You're past your prime." "How dare you!" said the Six. The Wabbit's super hearing indicated that Wabsworth's team was close - so he decided to annoy the Six some more. "You're just six of one and half a dozen of the other." The Six reared in fury and shouted. "Your days are numbered!"
[.-- .  .... .- ...- .  .-  --. .. .- -. -  ... .. -..- : Morse.  "We have a giant Six"]

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

6. The Wabbits and the Fifth Force

The Wabbit and his opposite watched the sea because Wabsworth advised the Fifth Force would arrive that way. Waves crashed relentlessly as the tide washed the beach. "The Mediterranean doesn't have tides," said the Wabbit. "The tides are too small to mention," said the other. "Just a few feet," complained the Wabbit as water soaked his fur. "Maybe there's a wind," said the other. But there wasn't a breath of wind. Suddenly a breaker rose in the air and hung for a moment. "It's a clean up set," grinned the Wabbit but his humour didn't last long. A massive Five reared from the breaker. Then another. Then another until there were five Fives. The Wabbit's radio crackled and he looked up. The chattering of a helichopper joined the crashing of the breakers. Water and sand lashed across the Fives and made a curious rasping sound as one by one they vanished and reappeared like flashing Christmas lights. The radio crackled with the voices of two Lapinettes. Together were crystal. "We have visual, stand by." Water rose around the Wabbits' feet. The Wabbit spoke urgently into the radio. "We'll be floating by if we stand here much longer." "Copy that." said the Lapinettes. "But maintain your positions. The Fives have no interest in you." The Fives rose and dropped as the tide became stronger. Sea washed around the Wabbits' waists as they held on - until in an instant, the Fives became dark and merged with the waves. The helichopper drew closer and the noise was deafening. Four eyes stared down from the cabin. "Helichoppers," murmured the Wabbit. "They make so much din, the earth pushes them away." "That's how they stay up," said the other.
[Clean up set: Surfer slang. Larger than average waves break the surfer line up
Background photograph credit: Camilla Galli da Bino.