Saturday, June 29, 2019

6. The Wabbit and the Magic Landing

Prill the magic tyre sailed over the rooftop race track at Lingotto and made an elegant descent down through the big ramp. The Wabbit and Wabsworth scrunched down as best they could and looked over the tyre rim. "There are schoolchildren down there," smiled Wabsworth. The children looked up and made a figure of eight. Some waved, but one of them shrugged. "It's only the Wabbit on a Flying Tyre." Then they all went back to their tasks. "Look. There's someone else!" chuckled the Wabbit. Lovely Lapinette sat on a balustrade with a flag in her paw. She dangled her legs over the heights and waved the flag. "Welcome back, Wabbit and Wabsworth! Did you meet Aladdin?" Prill span round and they dropped until they were level with Lapinette. She giggled. "Here you are my master, this is my mistress." The Wabbit laughed. "What's going on, Lap?" Lapinette lurched dangerously forward. "It's a new project. We call it the Flubber Development." Wabsworth chimed in. "Well, we'd like to be Landflubbers now." Lapinette jumped aboard and signalled. "Going down," said Prill. The children cleared away as if they'd never been there. Prill bumped down on the concrete. The Wabbit sniffed the air. "Could be a new perfume," he grinned. "Mmmm," said Lapinette, "Soft overtones of rubber, coal and oil." The Wabbit's 28 teeth flashed and his eyes gleamed. "And combustion!"

Thursday, June 27, 2019

5. The Wabbit and the Flying Tyre

The Wabbit sprayed copious amounts of WD-40 on the rubber road, but it only half worked. The tyre parted company from the road but it flew high in the air, taking the Wabbit and Wabsworth with it. The Wabbit and Wabsworth clung on and grimaced. The Wabbit cursed as he lost a hold of his can of lubricant. It detached from his paw and made its way down to the city, but at that moment the tyre stopped spinning. It sailed lazily in circles, making whirring sounds. Wabsworth pointed and laughed as another sound caught his attention. A dove swooped around them making cawing noises and laughing. "Are you King Solomon today, Commander, or Prince Husain?" "It's Parakalo!" yelled the Wabbit. "Parakalo!" cooed the dove. "Give us a hand, Parakalo, we want to go down," shouted the Wabbit. Parakalo hovered near the tyre and cooed softly. The tyre made a whirring noise in reply. This went on for some time until the Wabbit interrupted with a wave of his paw. Parakalo wheeled straight up and then swooped down and hovered. "You can talk to him yourself, it's your tyre." The tyre wiggled, then spoke in a high pitched female voice. "My name is Prill. To where dost thou wish to travel, my master?" "Down would be nice," said the Wabbit. "Down where?" said Prill, "to the bazarre perhaps?" They were already skimming rooftops. "Just downtown," smiled Wabsworth.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

4. The Wabbit and the Tyre's Balance

The Wabbit and Wabbit pursued the tyre and jumped aboard as it passed under a bridge on the Po. Rabbits were known for their speed and their legs blurred as the tyre carried them down river. Just in front, the rubber road came with them. The tyre picked up speed. So did they. Wabsworth fished out a pole and used it to balance. "Where did you learn to do that?" yelled the Wabbit. "I'm an android. I have a circus acrobat algorithm," shouted Wabsworth. The Wabbit clenched all of his 28 teeth. "Everyone should have a hobby." The tyre rolled faster. "It's all a matter of torque," shouted Wabsworth. "Torque is cheap," quipped the Wabbit. He pulled out a multi tool with sharp bits and he span forward with the tyre. "Sidewall?" shouted Wabsworth. "Just waiting on the right moment," murmured the Wabbit. He rolled over at an impossible angle, then struck the tyre with the axe. But it bounced off. Wabsworth hauled him back. "We can't keep this up indefinitely," he screeched. The Wabbit stabbed the tyre a few times but to no effect. The tyre tore down the river, then veered off and rolled towards a built up area. "This tyre's gotta run out of road sometime," cried Wabsworth. "Aha, "said the Wabbit, "that's it!" He gritted his teeth, plunged a paw into his fur - and produced a can of WD40 ...

Friday, June 21, 2019

3. The Wabbit and the Rubber Road

Wabsworth arrived at speed brandishing a tyre iron - and his timing was impeccable. The giant tyre rolled backwards and started to spin. The noise was unbearable. The ground shook under their feet and they felt it move, then sway. They began to lose balance and they slithered around. "It's a rubber road," yelled the Wabbit, "Run!" But they couldn't run. The dimpled surface of the rubber road made movement difficult - and every time they got to their feet, they fell and bounced back. But the tyre clung to the rubber road like glue, moving forward with menace, picking up speed. The Wabbit fished in his fur and pulled out Lapinette's edged weapon. He waved it menacingly and yelled, "I'll cut you a new tread!" The tyre swerved to the left but Wabsworth was in its path. "You're worn out! You need changing," he yelled. He lifted the tyre iron and stroked it. The tyre hesitated, then veered away, cutting a slick path through a highway of rubber. Wabsworth watched the tyre race out of sight, taking the rubber road with it. He wrinkled his nose. "He's unbalanced as they come." The Wabbit glanced down. The street was stabilising. It hardened and turned into asphalt under his feet. "No chance of it getting a flat, I suppose?" chortled Wabsworth. The Wabbit thought for a second and grinned. He groped for his radio. "I suppose it could be arranged."

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

2. The Wabbit and the Surprise Attack

The Wabbit hadn't hopped far when things went belly up. He was happily hopping down to the river when he heard a whistling, which turned quickly to a rumble. He felt a wind, then a blow to the back. He rolled and cursed and got back up. The tyre was massive, as high as the tram wires - and it smelled of whatever tyres were made of these days. His nose twitched. Not rubber exactly. Rubber and something else. The Wabbit brushed soot from his fur and watched the tyre. It had rolled to a stop and it stood quivering in the road. It seemed to look at him. He picked up his radio from the asphalt and yelled. "Rogue tyre with attitude, Piazza Vittorio Veneto." The radio crackled. It was Wabsworth, his android double. "What kind of a tyre?" The Wabbit shook his head, but anyway, he looked the tyre up and down. "Pirelli P7, Corsa Classic. "Excellent tyre," murmured Wabsworth. The Wabbit said something rude under his breath, then, "Get down here, Wabsworth!" The radio whined. "Do we need any tools, Commander?" "This is not Formula One, Wabsworth. The tyre's alive!" screamed the Wabbit. Now the tyre was rolling towards him. The Wabbit edged back and under a portico. That was when it spoke. "I. Rubber!" The Wabbit nodded. He groped in his fur for his automatic and snarled out the corner of his mouth. "Don't you tyres get dizzy?"

Monday, June 17, 2019

1. The Wabbit and the Aimless Hop

The Wabbit hopped aimlessly through the city with hardly a care in the world. He tried very hard not to think, because the minute he realised he was enjoying himself, he would feel anxious. He preferred to be at one with the city; to merge into it, to become indistinguishable from it. "Ultimately I will vanish," he smiled. He looked down at his fur. He hadn't vanished. "OK," said the Wabbit, trying hard not to think. "I will merely taste the flavour of the day." He ambled on, sniffing the air. Memories popped into his head - times gone by, missions accomplished, enemies defeated. "All in the past, transient and fleeting," grinned the Wabbit. The Wabbit growled. He'd remembered he was between missions and that was a place he didn't like one bit. He fished in his fur for his radio, but then drew back, empty pawed. "Lapinette insisted I relax." He continued along the street but stopped dead when he was struck by a sudden insight. "Trying not to think is thinking too." The Wabbit gave up and headed along the porticos to the river to watch the water go by. But something made him turn. It was Lapinette. "Wabbit, Wabbit, your new mission papers arrived, they want you at the Department." The Wabbit hopped with glee. "Don't they know I'm taking a relaxing break," he yelled.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team arrived at the Adventure Caffè. The afternoon was dull and heavy and hot, but there was no more swirling. They all said "Phew!" and relaxed. Lapinette hugged the Wabbit and the Wabbit hugged her back. "What was that for a kind of Adventure?" she asked. "Here comes Skratch to tell us," shrugged the Wabbit. The air got even hotter as Terni arrived. He blasted hot breath across the river and wiggled his wings. "That was a stellar adventure," he roared. "It certainly was," meaowed Skratch, "It was the ghostly epitome of post modernism." Lapinette grinned. "Skratch means that his analysis hasn't actually arrived." The Wabbit tutted and shook his head. "I think the whole question of troublesome alien invaders is a narrative paradigm consistent with paranoid delusion." Wabsworth chimed in. "Not if they are out to get us." Skratch meaowed for attention. "When I was on the saucer, the Ice Mice appeared incompetent. They indicated they didn't know what they were doing." Wabsworth nodded. "So the ripples we experienced were due to the ignorance of the Ice Mice."  Skratch wasn't happy. "It seems to me that their ignorance is a political act. It's a highly aggressive and deceitful manoeuvre, designed to trick opponents into compliance." The Wabbit laughed. "There's a lot of it about." Lapinette waved her paws. "Do you think we could trick anyone into bringing us drinks?"

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

7. The Wabbit & the Wormhole Modulator

"Will it work?" asked Terni the Dragon. "Of course it will work," said the Wabbit. Terni laughed a dragon laugh and despite the Wabbit's various warnings, he slipped from the cargo bay and into deep space. Lapinette nudged the Wabbit. "They're coming." The Ice Mice saucer flew hard on their heels. "And they're none too pleased," smirked the Wabbit. He flicked a switch and a worm hole opened. Terni breathed a cone of flame and launched through. Quantum streaked after him. Lapinette watched the saucer. "Now," she breathed. The Wabbit flicked the switch the other way. The worm hole closed behind them. It was the Wabbit's turn to laugh. "That'll delay them more than Heathrow in the fog." Terni circled and returned on a fiery plume. "Excellent" he roared, "Now shall we all sing?" The speakers crackled. "You start," said Skratch the Cat from the engine room. Terni's voice boomed out. "Terni the Magic Dragon!" "Flies through Outer Space," trilled Lapinette. "He frolics through the galaxy, he's our dragon interface," ad libbed Wabsworth. Everyone laughed so loud that the sound carried through space. On the other side of the wormhole, the Ice Mice scowled and barged and complained about cats. Back on Quantum, the Wabbit set a course for Earth and cracked mice jokes. "I hope they have a mice day."

Monday, June 10, 2019

6. The Wabbit and the Laser Device

The Wabbit was tinkering in the engine room. He was responsible for Lattice Drive and although it looked antediluvian it usually worked - up until now. Lapinette appeared waving a sonic screwdriver, but still, they had no luck. The Wabbit produced an ancient micrometer from his fur and measured everything in sight. "It makes me feel better," he murmured to Lapinette. His stomach rumbled. "Perhaps you're hungry, Wabbit," suggested Lapinette, "Would you like a salad sandwich?" She delved into her frock and plucked out a sandwich. The Wabbit was extremely hungry but he persisted in measuring things. A delicious aroma of salad reached his nostrils and he was so busy savouring it, he failed to notice Skratch returning from the Ice Mice vessel. "Need a helping paw, Wabbit?" The Wabbit looked up. Skratch waved a device. "What's that Skratch, a toy?" Skratch meowed. "This is no toy." The device fired a beam that narrowly missed the Wabbit's ears. They heard a rumble and then a whine. Everything shimmered as Quantum carved a path through the space-time continuum. "Lattice Drive," they yelled. "Where did you get that thing?" asked the Wabbit. "I acquired it," purred Skratch. He grinned. "They'll never miss it." The Wabbit gave it some thought. "Does it do anything else?" Skratch purred long and hard. "Would you like me to heat up that sandwich?"

Friday, June 07, 2019

5. Skratch and the Ailing Power Unit

Skratch the Cat boarded the Ice Mice vessel easily. The door slid back with a pssst sound and he stepped on board. He could see what might be a power unit, but one thing was for sure. It wasn't working. Occasionally it bleeped and flashed but the bleep was tired and the illumination faint. "What can I do for you in your time of need?" meaowed Skratch. "It doesn't work," moaned an ice mouse. "What's wrong with it?" asked Skratch. "We don't know. No-one knows how to repair it," said another ice mouse. "Where's your engineer?" said Skratch. The ice mice wailed together. "We don't have one." Skratch sighed and complained about modern times. "Can you fix it?" asked an ice mouse. Skratch strode forward and kicked it viciously. The unit croaked loudly and a red light came on. "All is not lost," murmured Skratch. He took a can of WD40 and sprayed it in every crevice he could find. Then he kicked the unit again. It started to hum and the light began to pulse. "Aha," said Skratch. He located what looked like a switch, switched it off, then back on. A cooling fan chattered. Lights flickered in an ordered sequence. A robotic voice spoke. "System restored. Please enter your password." Skratch looked at the ice mice and they both shrugged. Skratch screeched long and hard. But he found the keyboard and typed "p a s s w o r d". The unit spoke again. "Booting full power. Have a nice day." The ice mice were delighted and they ran to hug Skratch, but he brought them up short. "That will be 180 QUID," he meaowed.
[QUID is a proposed space currency. The QuasiUniversal Intergalactic Denomination.]

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

4. The Wabbit and the Strange Request

Quantum pulled away from the unknown forces and reached space - but only on push power. "Lattice Drive just won't engage," said Skratch the Cat from the engine room. They were stuck. Now Quantum's voice crackled across the speakers. "Behind you!" A green shadow fell across Quantum's bodywork. "It's the enemy. It's the Ice Mice!" yelled Lapinette. The Wabbit expected fire and he flinched. "Shields up!" he yelled. "I'm a train," said Quantum, "not a Klingon Bird of Prey." But it didn't matter, nothing happened. The ship just stayed there. "They're making me nervous," said the Wabbit. "OK, I'll open a channel," said Quantum. His voice boomed over the public address system. "Ridiculous green saucer, please identify yourself and state the nature of your business." Dead silence. "Try short wave," suggested Wabsworth. The Wabbit plunged a paw in his fur and pulled out a walkie talkie. He struck it three times for good luck and hissed, "We can see you, Saucer. Whadda ya hear, whadda ya say?" At first there was nothing except static. Then the radio whined. "This is the Ice Mice. We're stuck. Have you got a mechanic?" Lapinette burst out laughing. The radio whined again. "It's not funny." The Wabbit called the engine room. "Skratch, would you like a job?" They heard a long feline screech from Skratch. "I don't do rodent control."
[Short waves and other frequencies transmit through space. You can even talk to the space station.]

Monday, June 03, 2019

3. The Wabbit and the Dragon's Flames

The jump was shorter than expected and they all looked out to see the Alps swirling in a spiral. Terni the Food Dragon emerged from the south and flew directly in front. They could hear his cabbage wings flapping, even at this altitude. "What gives?" muttered the Wabbit. "What happened to Lattice Drive?" asked Lapinette. Skratch's voice crackled from the intercom. "Best we can do, Commander." Then Terni chimed in. "Everything is swirling," he roared, "I just got ahead of it." Quantum's engines shuddered, entangled in forces that no-one understood. "I'm going to the engine room," said the Wabbit. He vanished. Lapinette spoke to Terni. "Any ideas?" They were going round in circles and dropping in altitude. Terni flew under Quantum and spread his wings as far as they would go. It seemed to help. Quantum lifted and the grip of the swirling spiral loosened. Lapinette clapped her paws in glee. The Wabbit reappeared. "Something worked," he grimaced. Lapinette nodded at the window. The Wabbit watched in astonishment as Terni's wings drove them higher. "What is this? Game of Thrones?" "All we need are flames," said Lapinette. In an instant Terni created a sea of flame that pushed Quantum higher. "We have full power!" yelled Skratch. The Wabbit signalled to Terni. "Better come aboard. Things are a little too quiet around here."