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.