THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 158

“’Think of She-Coat,’” he continued, “’how much tender loving care have you had to give her for her to reach the stage she’s at now?  The level of understanding, the bond between the two of you, that’s what a Hook seed can do for you.’”

“I have all that I need with She-Coat.”

“’You don’t.  You wish to have fun.  How many creatures and objects have you observed being swallowed by She-Coat until you got bored trying to understand the mechanism behind it all?’”

“I never get bored watching anything being swallowed.”

“’You’re eliminating more than you’re creating.  Hook seed mastering will allow you to travel anywhere without leaving the comfort of Coatingsdale and the soothing presence of She-Coat.’”

“I don’t need to—“

‘”—Here, look!’”

“And before I knew it, he put a seed inside my hand.  It tickled, convulsed, twitched and bit to hook itself to my skin.  Chloroph squeezed it out and placed it back in the middle of my palm where it started its performance again until it hooked and I knew then what to do with it.”

“Ok, I’ve seen what I needed to see,” I said, “now what?”

“Talk to it.  Be nice.”

“It can hear?”

“’Listens too.’”

“Nah.”

“Chloroph was looking at me with an engaging smile, fun twinkling in his eye.  Fun?  His smile was hard set on his face and I thought he might be pretending and that deep down, he was worried.  I looked at the seed and said: Hey cutie, cutie!  Hey little one, where do you come from?  What mysteries do you have on offer?”

“’We’d better get started,’” Chloroph said as he pulled a small ball of brown paper and unfolded it.

To be continued…©

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 157

“And if you fail?” Labaguette asks.

“Those who fail take years to recover from the experience, I mean, should they survive.  Chloroph described the seeds as being special, extremely special”, the King says.

“He said: ’A little too special but special all the same, you see, yourmajesty, hooks open doors you even, in all your knowledge and brilliant intelligence cannot begin to fathom.  They’re like windows of opportunity that you can look into without getting sucked up into them.  It opens your mind, you get entertained and you wonder how you could ever have done without them.  All this of course, only once you become a Hook Master.’”

“I just want to know what happens when you plant a hook seed.  I’ve no particular ambition.  I’m King already.”

“’Ah but to be able to plant a Hook seed, you must become a Master at it.  Being a King is irrelevant.’”

“I’m not interested in mastering anything, I just want to become knowledgeable about Hook seeds so that I may plant them, why is it so difficult to understand?”

“’All right, all right.  Here, Sir, for peace’s sake, here’s a Hook seed.’”

“Chloroph opened his palm and there it was: a Hook seed.  It was screaming as loud as you and me can scream.  It was tiny but boy it was loud.  It whined, it twitched and sprang with a life all of its own.  It kept gripping a piece of his skin and sticking to it, like it needed to suck something from it but Chloroph kept detaching it, saying it was dangerous and it needed a Master to control it and take care of it.”

“You’re not a Hook Master?  I asked Chloroph”

“’I am but it is not on my list of duties and this one’s yours.  This seed needs to feel recognised by its rightful owner and Master for it to settle.’”

To be continued…©

 

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 156

But Labaguette’s last words are lost in space because of the ships’ deafening commotion as Belchiore straightens her path and no longer displays signs of discontent and restlessness.   The Commander’s hair stops releasing flames.  Normality settles once more on the ship which is now travelling through a fine wind inside the darkness, boasting a smooth ride.  Captain Traumatic, King Krakskull and Labaguette all stare at the Commander wondering and doubting.  Why did Belchiore calm down so quickly when Labaguette suggested that the Commander had something to do with the demise of his own family?  But how could Belchiore know about the Commander’s mind?  Could it be that she can read his thoughts?  Their musing is interrupted by the Commander:

“King Krackskull, please take off where you left us, what was the next seed?”

“You owe us the truth, Commander!” the Captain exclaims.

“Well,” the King answers keenly, “next were the Hook seeds.”

“Yes, yes, yes.  The Hook seeds,” Labaguette says, “tell me more, tell us more.”

“No more of your foolish stories, ‘tis best to get back to the Commander’s evil—“

“—Shut up, Captain!” Labaguette says as he hurls a bowl of rum against his master’s face.

“These are seeds that create Universal Hooks,” the King says, “one has to badly want to grow these seeds and to be able to overcome any fear, beyond death and worse, to acquire the rights to a variety of these seeds.”

“Nah, impossible,” the Captain says, “you couldn’t possibly have—”

“—If you succeed, then you become a Hook Master and with that ability, you’re powerful because you can then open doors and dimensions to all creatures who wish to come into contact with a live Hook, a fully grown one.”

To be continued…©

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 155

The enemy landed and overpowered us in no time.  Most of the Librarians escaped – they had regularly been tending to a planet to ultimately live on once they were ready: the planet of Books where all the words of all the universes are looked after.  The only librarians that remained living on Cajoon were our teachers and their apprentices who were all killed by Spinostress, the master-controller of the invasion and I was made prisoner along with my peers.  Spinostress doesn’t discriminate, she’ll conquer anything that she can lay her hands on and cumulate.  With Cajoon’s assets on her mind, we could not possibly escape her ruling.  You’ve met her; you know what she’s like.  All about her is about dominating, conquering, crushing, annihilating.”

“Where are the others?” the Captain asks, “were you the only one to survive?”

“I was young and she knew she could train me to be one of hers and that’s what she did.  Some of the old folks managed to escape and hid for as long as they could, whereas the others were either killed in battle or used as slaves to subjugate Cajoon to Spinostress’ rules.”

“What happened to your family?” the King asks.

“They survived for a while.”

“I’d bet my wings that you had something to do with your own family’s disappearance,” Labaguette mutters.

More sparkles and small flames lick the edge of the bucket in which the Commander’s head rests.

“LEAVE ME ALONE!” he bellows.

“Zat’s it!” Labaguette says, “you—“

To be continued…©

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 154

Then the inevitable happened: a few ships appeared hovering in the sky as far as we could see.  Invaders of all sorts had gathered their forces to takes us over and to destroy us as our land and geological make-up were of great value to them and rarely found in any universe.”

“How valuable?” the King asks.

“The sands, stones and spirited-dust, mostly,” the Commander answers, “we had sands that could maintain us and most creatures in good health until the time would come to let go.  The spirited-dust just kept you happy and well-intentioned but its location was a secret and there wasn’t much of it.  Besides, as many invaders found out, it didn’t work on creatures who’d been of ill intent for most of their lives; it even worsened their condition.  As to the stones, they were of a great practical use: if you were cold, you just had to lean against a stone to get warm and if you were warm, the stone cooled you down.  That way, we could face the harsh weather patterns on Cajoon.  The list of gifts Cajoon offered goes on.  So it goes that wars became part of our lives as if nothing else had existed before and we began a life of hiding.”

“Didn’t the Librarians warn you of the enemy’s arrival?” the Captain asks.

“They did and we’d always known they’d come one day.  The trouble is that the Librarians couldn’t time their predictions well and we were inclined to think of Librarians’ prediction as eccentric on the part of creatures with too much on their mind and in their brain.  It was hard to understand them.  Also, we’d never been a planet of fighters.

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 153

“It’s so long ago,” the Commander continues, “I can barely remember.  I was a child on Cajoon, there were many wars taking place simultaneously.”

“Cajoon…” the Captain says, “it really existed?”

The Commander looks at the Captain, bewildered.

“Isn’t it where the librarians originated from?” the Captain continues as Labaguette stands again, wobbling yet giggling at the Captain’s obvious mistake and bringing a smile onto the King’s face too.

“How could you possibly know?” the Commander retorts.

Upon that revelation, an incredulous Labaguette flies onto the King’s shoulder and listens with a rare keeness.

“The library in my head, it—”

“—Is everything explained in it?” the Commander asks, “there are so many holes in my past, that I—“

“—It’s just a few dictionary lines,” the Captain says and then reads:

“‘Cajoon: planet where it is believed that the very first librarians originated from and began their roaming.  Doomed to extinction in the year 74529.13 of the Time under ‘The Guests Convention of the Land Foretold.’’’”

“The dictionary doubts its own statement,” the Kings points out.

“In the beginning, we were a peaceful planet.  No one was really interested in confrontations, fighting and wars.  In fact, we didn’t exactly know what it meant or involved.  We were lost in blissful innocence and unprepared.  We did have a small army of guards trained to protect our planet against an enemy no one could fathom which meant that our guards were used mostly for entertainment and to delight us all with music, games and even plays.

To be continued…©

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 152

“Leave me alone, I don’t have long to live,” the Commander says.

“Give me your word you won’t try anything,” the King replies.

“A fool!  A fool!  A fool!” Labaguette yells, fidgeting and flapping his wings about when an empty bowl hits the side of his head and he falls and to the ground, unconscious.

“That’s harsh,” the King exclaims.

“Labaguette and I have an understanding, just mind your own business!” the Captain answers, “Commander,” he continues, “the King will remove the bucket if you remain on the floor with swords hanging above your neck.  Captain Kracksull, get your sword ready and if this scoundrel attempts anything, cut as many of his tentacles as you must.”

“Now, tell us a bit about you, Commander,” the King insists, “how can it be that death may be lurking, looming and seeking your worthless soul?”

“Belchiore is the promise of eternal life, eternal life in perdition.”

“In hell or not, you don’t deserve to live on in any form.  Belchiore knows you and bears a grudge against you, why?” the Captain asks.

“Belchiore is the keeper of all gates, protector against all that is ill-will, unnecessary and uncalled for intentions.  She and I met before.  I was lucky to escape.  I won’t make it this time… although you might if you cared to listen to me.”

The King’s stance softens and he moves his sword aside.

“You’re desperate; you’ve no proper advice to give us,” the Captain says, “King Krackskull, bring your sword closer and do not remove it under any circumstance!”

To be continued…©