Friday, October 23, 2020

1. The Wabbit's Economic Imperative

The Wabbit was hopping through the Gallery of Modern Art when he spotted someone he knew. "Pio!" he shouted. "Pio Pulcinella! I haven't seen you for quite a while!" Pio turned away from the piece he was studying. "Commander Wabbit," he smiled, "Pleased to meet you again." Pio was an ace economist and a follower of Michal Kalecki. If anyone knew anything about economics, it was Pio. "I'm glad I bumped into you," said the Wabbit. "My Dinosaur Fund hasn't been doing very well lately." The Wabbit's Dinosaur Fund paid for all the unofficial missions undertaken by the Wabbit. Pio frowned. "These are difficult times, Commander." He shook his head sadly. "Call me Wabbit," said the Wabbit. "OK, Wabbit, we'll meet and sort this out," said Pio, "But what exactly is the problem?" "Things are sluggish, nothing's moving," said the Wabbit. "I still suggest Intergalactic Government Bonds," said Pio. The Wabbit frowned. "Aren't they susceptible to Rebel Alliance Attacks?" said the Wabbit, "I heard that two space stations had been destroyed." Pio threw his head back and laughed, "You should be giving me advice, Wabbit." The Wabbit laughed too. "I was thinking of something that was a nice little earner, nothing too grand." "Nothing too grand and nothing too illegal?" responded Pio. "Heavens no," said the Wabbit. Pio thought for a while. "What brings you to the Gallery Wabbit." "Gives me inspiration," replied the Wabbit. Pio was direct enough. "Have you considered Art Investment?" The Wabbit's eyes flickered with interest. "It's not very liquid," said Pio, "until now that is." The Wabbit had the glimmer of an idea. He put a finger to his lips. "Let's meet in secure surroundings ..."

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Wabbit at the Grand Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit had arranged a special dinner for Lapinette but hadn't told her. He very much wanted it to be a surprise. So he alerted Wabsworth and Skratch. Together they persuaded Lapinette it was merely a boring talk on new protocols, but that her attendance was completely necessary. Then they laid out the table in the Big Dining Room at the Department. The menu was a fantastic one, containing everything Lapinette liked. The courses were too numerous to mention, but the menu started with devilled crab, then Carrots Royale followed by Jerusalem Artichokes a la Wabbit. There were more dishes than you could shake a stick at, separate drinks for every course and Lapinette's favourite tunes played on a sound system constructed to the Wabbit's own specifications. "Welcome Lapinette!" cried the Wabbit, "please be seated." Lapinette smiled and waved her paw. "You shouldn't have!" Skratch was waiting for his moment. "Please sit down and tell us what kind of adventure you thought we had." He drew out a chair and Lapinette sat down and spoke. "It was a system of signs predicated upon the perfect coffee," she said. "And I can safely say it was quite most hilarious compilation of sci-fi tropes I've ever seen." The Wabbit raised an eyebrow. Wabsworth launched in. "The coffee acted as a performative signifier, which itself pointed to a dislinkage between itself and the real world." Skratch laughed. "I can't say I disagree. We are all part of the theatre of images." The Wabbit wanted the last word. "Self-fashioned ones you might say." Lapinette chose that moment to rap on the table with a spoon. "Fashion me up a dinner!" "Certainly," said the Wabbit. "Let the Lapinette celebrations begin!"

Monday, October 19, 2020

10. The Wabbit and the Great Return

The Wabbit thought he had better return the coffee machine to the Lavazza Museum. So Quantum landed briefly outside and the Wabbit hopped out with the goods. "You worry too much, Wabbit," called Skratch from the Quantum's cabin. "I wouldn't feel happy if I didn't," replied the Wabbit. He lurched under the weight. The machine glowed slightly from all the radiation it had picked up in space, but the Wabbit pain it no attention. Quantum bore the scars of the brief battle with the alien vessel and had already complained bitterly. The Wabbit knocked at the door. "I brought your coffee machine back," he said. "It just took off into outer space - and me with it." The Duty Officer was puzzled and sceptical in equal measure. "We're not missing one. But I'll go and look." He went off, returning in an instant. "No, it's still there. And there's no parking here on the concourse you know." The Wabbit was dumbfounded. "What will I do with this then?" But he knew he would keep it. He turned and shouted to Skratch. "Have we got room for a second hand coffee machine?" Quantum wouldn't keep quiet. "Who cares? What about my paneling?" Skratch spoke in a soothing voice. "I might know a good yard where we can get it done cheap." "I want the best job," responded Quantum. The Wabbit hopped back to the cargo hold. "A bit of light grinding, sanding, filling and polishing?" Quantum sounded annoyed. "I want it back to as good as new. I insist on a new panel!" The Wabbit laughed. "Where's that engineering yard, Skratch." "It's so hard to keep track of them," joked Skratch. Back on board, the Wabbit reclined in the cab. "What was that for a sort of adventure?" Skratch held his sides in helpless mirth. "I think we're about to find out .."

Sunday, October 18, 2020

9. The Wabbit and the Battle for Space

The Wabbit shielded his face from the glare. The alien vessel came from underneath, firing blades of surgical steel. "Shields up!" he yelled to Quantum. Quantum's reply was terse. "This is not Star Trek Commander. I'm a locomotive not a Vulcan Cruiser." He dodged the flying blades, nonetheless. The Wabbit and Skratch were nauseous and reeled around Quantum's cab. "I never thought coffee would cause all this trouble," said the Wabbit, "Go to Lattice Drive, Quantum!" Quantum snorted. "For that Commander, I need some room and I'm not getting any." He swerved away, but the alien vessel followed. His blades caught Quantum's paneling and took some paint off. "You owe me a re-spray Commander," said Quantum. The Wabbit sighed. "Any ideas, Skratch." Skratch pondered. "They liked the coffee smell, Commander." "Well its worth a try," said the Wabbit. "Have you got any of these awful capsules we used to use." Skratch nodded. "I've got gunpowder, strawberries, seared steak and rum flavour." "Eject them all from the cargo hold," said the Wabbit. The cargo hold door creaked open and out spiraled all their old coffee pods. They watched anxiously. The alien vessel shuddered to a halt. Then it started following the old coffee capsules. "It's looking for the space equivalent of Starbuck's," sighed the Wabbit, "OK Quantum, let's go to Lattice Drive." Quantum chortled "I think we should rename it Lettuce Drive Commander? Green and leafy lettuce?" Skratch laughed and laughed. It's not just lettuce, it's wonderfully crisp and fresh lettuce." The Wabbit shook his head. "Just do it Quantum." There was a flash and Quantum disappeared into a dot ...

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

8. The Wabbit and the Coffee Standoff

Just as the aliens had said, the scene was recognisable to him. It was recognisable but hardly realistic. There were two giant rabbits sitting in a street. There were fake cars, fake trees and fake buildings - but were the rabbits fake or not? It look like a Christmas tableaux and the Wabbit wondered whether the rabbits would light up too. He gently put the marocchino down. "One marocchino for you," he said chirpily. "How do we appear?" said a rabbit. "A teeny-weeny bit out of scale," replied the Wabbit. There was something he didn't like about the rabbits, something malevolent. They were too sweet - maybe a bit sickly. Their fur was too shiny. Their ears were too pink. What lay underneath the plastic exterior? They stood rigidly to attention and looked directly at the Wabbit. "Very nice Commander Wabbit," they said in unison. "Now we want your coffee machine." A silence ensued. "And we want your vessel." The Wabbit was already backing away. "All out of date," he said. "Totally antediluvian. Hasn't been updated for years and years." He reached the door to the corridor. "I'll just be going now," he said and tipped his forelock. The rabbits sprang and that was the moment when the Wabbit took action. He turned tail and did what rabbits did best. He ran for his life. The aliens looked like rabbits, but they couldn't run like true lagomorphs could. The Wabbit was through the hatch and on his way to Quantum the Train before they could say Bugs Bunny. He radioed ahead. "Prepare lattice drive, Quantum." The radio crackled as Quantum responded. "Did you say Lettuce Drive, Wabbit?" "This is no time for bad jokes!" shouted the Wabbit.

Monday, October 12, 2020

7. The Wabbit and the Perfect Marocchino

The Wabbit made the short hop to the alien vessel carrying a perfectly made Marocchino coffee. Keeping it perfect was the key and the Wabbit was careful. They did have chocolate powder and cocoa on board but the proportions were exact and the Wabbit hoped he had got it right. The NASA machine didn't have a steam wand and the Wabbit had to knock one up from things he had in his fur. The coffee smelled good. He dusted it with a fine layer of cocoa powder and foamed the milk with his improvised wand. Then he put it all together by pouring the foaming milk onto the chocolate coffee mixture. "Ecco!" he announced. The trip to the alien vessel was uneventful and a door opened in the side. The vessel was pristine in the inside and he made his way along an aluminium alleyway that seemed to run the length of the ship. There was no sign of his hosts. But he heard high pitched voices whispering. "Coffee is coming, coffee is coming." He decided to sing them a song at no extra charge. "Ma cosa hai messo nel caffè," he warbled, "Che ho bevuto su da te? C'è qualche cosa di divers. Adesso in me. Se c'è un veleno morirò. Ma sarà dolce accanto a te. Perché l'amore che non c'era. Adesso c'è!" He ended the song with an enormous bellow. "Welcome to our vessel, Commander Wabbit," said a high pitched voice. "We see you brought the Marocchino." The Wabbit looked all around. "I can't see you, I'm afraid." The voice replied. "We are here. We will make ourselves visible in a way that you recognise." The air shimmered and they began to appear ...

Saturday, October 10, 2020

6. The Wabbit and the Coffee Invaders

The Wabbit relocated the Coffee Machine in Quantum's Dining Car and made some last adjustments. Delicious aromas ensued. Skratch the Cat arrived from the cab. "Well I must say, Wabbit, you seem to have outdone yourself." The machine was active although some creativity had been needed to adapt it. But there it was. An espresso. "It does seem to be OK," said the Wabbit. They both sipped the espresso from the first cup. "Delicious," said Skratch, "and we seem to have suffered no consequences whatsoever." There was a lull while they enjoyed the coffee. Then the loudspeakers crackled with an urgent message from Quantum. "Commander, please look out of the window. We have visitors." They both looked. It was a strange craft that looked for all the world like grinder of some kind. The Wabbit shrugged and downed the last of the first espresso. "Hail the vessel." Quantum's voice sounded rather stern. "Strange vessel, please identify yourself and state your particular business." There was no response, but the vessel nudged closer. "Try again," said Skratch. "Please identify yourself," said Quantum, "or we will be forced to blast you into a million pieces and spread you across the universe." The Wabbit gulped. "Can we do that?" Skratch was highly amused. "No, but he likes to talk tough sometimes." Silence. Then the craft spoke. "You look like a locomotive." Quantum replied. "We are a very funky train indeed. But your opinion is of little value. Please state your interest." The vessel hailed back. "We smelled the coffee and came to find out how we could obtain it. Would you perhaps have a marocchino?" The Wabbit looked at Skratch and winked. "Tell them .. maybe."

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

5. The Wabbit, Skratch and Space Coffee.

Skratch decided the Wabbit needed help with such a precious cargo. He spoke with Quantum. "I'm going outside to help." Quantum rumbled with mirth. "Don't forget your safety equipment." Skratch merely raised his eyes - and plunged from Quantum to make his way along the tether. "Hello Wabbit," he said. "Hello Skratch," said the Wabbit, "Give me a paw to guide this thing, it's awkward." Skratch fastened the tether to the espresso machine. "Running out of steam, Wabbit?" The Wabbit groaned. "Skratch, I don't really know how I got here." Skratch hefted the machine towards Quantum. "It's a nice bit of kit." The Wabbit made a face. "The sign at the Lavazza Museum said not to touch it." "Not as much as a red button?" meaowed Skratch. They sailed towards Quantum at a leisurely pace. Skratch was philosophical. "I suppose the important thing is, does it make good coffee?" "Ottimo," said the Wabbit. "Good as that!" answered Skratch. It was then he noticed the espresso cup. "What's that cup, Wabbit?" The Wabbit's head swivelled round. "It seems to go with it." The cup and saucer was following them. "Flying cup and saucer?" said Skratch. The cargo bay door swung out and they were sucked inside. "Let's get it up and running," said Skratch. They heard a rumbling from Quantum's engines as he swung round and headed for home. Skratch meaowed long and hard. "If I leave you alone for a minute, you won't get into more trouble will you?" The Wabbit looked offended. "I can operate a simple espresso machine." Skratch looked in horror as the Wabbit started to fiddle with the controls. "Now what does this knob do?" murmured the Wabbit.

Monday, October 05, 2020

4. Skratch and the Cream in the Coffee

Skratch piloted Quantum the Time Travelling Train through space. The Wabbit had said he might be in the Milky Way and it gave him an idea. It was something to do with the coffee. He was looking for a barred spiral galaxy identified first by Herschel then by Shapley - and he couldn't help singing some rhymes that were to do with clouds. "I had some dreams," hummed Skratch, "and they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee." He spoke with Quantum. "Can you get a fix on these layers?" Quantum laughed. "I'm a Time Travelling Train with Lattice Drive." There was a flash and a bump, and they went through something. Other crafts went by as if in slow motion. "If he's anywhere he's near here," said Quantum. "Look for an espresso saucer shape", suggested Skratch. Quantum looped round. His voice boomed from loudspeakers. "Initiating contour search pattern." He searched for a while. "I can smell coffee," he said. "Can you smell in space?" asked Skratch. "I can," replied Quantum, but I don't recognise the brand." Skratch recalled something the Wabbit had told him about a new brand of coffee Lavazza were introducing. "Lay in a course, Quantum." By this time, Skratch felt like a coffee himself. They hurtled through space in Lattice Drive and everything shook. "We could do with a decent coffee maker, Quantum. Have we got any milk?" Quantum laughed. "I think there's some cream in the fridge." It was Skratch's turn to laugh. "In space, no one can hear you cream." It was such a bad joke that Quantum shuddered. Then he saw the Wabbit. "There he is!" Skratch threw a lever. "Opening Cargo Bay Two."

Friday, October 02, 2020

3. The Wabbit and the Spaceworthy Coffee

The Wabbit lost grip on the coffee and everything started to spin. He seemed to be enclosed in a giant espresso cup and they all whirled through space. The coffee had tasted good. Better than good. But now he'd separated from the cup and was forced to think about what had happened. "OK," said the Wabbit to himself, "Now I'm here and I'd better get out of it." He thought and he thought. "If only I could get a message to the team, they'd send help." The Wabbit searched in his fur for quite a while. Then he came across something he'd forgotten about. He's bought it in market and forgotten it and it looked like an ordinary blue phone - but it had special capabilities following the modifications he'd made with Big Blue Snail. It might just work. It might. He dug it out, but it floated off. For a while he tried to reach it. It was very elusive and finally he gave up and called out. "Blue Phone! Come here!" It floated towards him and mysteriously attached to the back of the coffee machine. Then he tried it. "Hello, this is the Wabbit here, come in please." The line was clear enough and he heard Skratch's voice. "Hello Wabbit, where are you? We're all having a bit of a coffee break here." The Wabbit sighed with relief. "I'm in outer space with a runaway NASA coffee machine. Please get me out of here." This met with uproarious laughter. He heard Skratch speak to Lapinette. "The Wabbit is having a joke!" The Wabbit lost his temper. "This is no joke. Please come and get me out of here and be quick about it." Skratch calmed down. "Which part of space are you in?" The Wabbit looked around. "I'd say it was the Milky Way." Skratch tried to suppress a giggle. "That's handy for your coffee." The Wabbit hissed. A pregnant pause ensued. "No pressure then? We'll be right there!" said Skratch.