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.