THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 495

“Time isn’t linear,” the Captain remarks.

“Time is my specialty,” Captain Starcrusher insists, a rictus of “I know more” etched alongside the left of his lips.

“The current rule states that what is must be and all that could be is debatable.  As it stands and to be precise, we are located a nano-fraction of time before what must be, where what will be could be and remains debatable.  Do you want me to repeat it?”

“I understand that being wedged between time zones means we are in a timeless zone, where time is of no consequences and where, if the edges of yesterday, today and tomorrow were allowed to mingle, the edge of tomorrow could meet the edge of yesterday.”

“Wait a minute,” Labaguette interrupts, “if we stayed here I would never grow old?  My plumage would remain shiny and velvety for ever and ever?”

“And therefore we could get back to the beginning, to before we fell off the ocean’s precipice…” Captain Traumatic concludes.

“I could remain the lonesome, awesome King my planet until the end of time…” the King-Fool ponders aloud.

“I would be born in future,” Birdseye muses, “My eyes would see in broad daylight, through the heart of shadows and dark places and would take me places without the need for wings.”

“Don’t you dream of anything of the sort,” Captain Sunblast adds, a joy slayer in the making.

“Time is circular.  It’s blinding obvious.  You could be creative with that,” the Captain continues, “want some Rum?”

Captain Sunblast opens a drawer, takes out a tissue this time and sponges his sweating forehead, before discarding it and throwing it into the distilled air, watching as it disintegrates.

“You must realise that there are rules.”

To be continued…

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 492

As fate has it, this universe gives them a plain tit for tat answer: a crack, not unlike that of lightning but with thunder resembling a zip unzipping, one that amplifies as they witness the apparition of a criss-cross pattern of bright zigzag lines, extending all around them.

“Thieves and liars!” Captain Sunblast insists, oblivious to the disintegrating surroundings, “I should have known better.  Why did you steal the time capsules?  Who gave you permission to even look at them?” he bellows.

More cracks appear in what was dark space matter.

“INSIDE NOW!” Captain Sunblast yells.

And, as the past, bleak coloured universe around them begins to collapse, shattering bit by bit, all seek cover inside the relative safety of the shuttle’s metallic walls.

“All the same,” Captain Traumatic says as he scampers inside the shuttle, “what’s done is done.”  And before he knows it, he and his crew are seated on, you guessed it, a grey sofa with automatic belts that sprout and strap around their shoulders and waists.

This is when Captain Traumatic notices the clinical, metallic, and instrumental nature of the shuttle’s insides.  All this grey, this white and more greys.

“Why have you no wood?  Where are your sheepskins?” he asks as perfectly designed helmets form out of large bubbles popping out of the helmet emergency distributor – a mere 3 x 7 centimetres copper and nickel-diamond combination pipe – and float a while before finding their owner and settling around their head and neck, securing a supply of oxygen and protecting them from the harmful glare of invisible universal rays.

“I won’t be framed” Labaguette says, “least of all by bubbles!” as he struggles to free himself from the helmet.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 491

“Don’t look at me this way!” Labaguette mutters, “you’re staring.  I’m a parrot, not game nor fish,” he adds, in a panic, “look for someone your size, tyrant!”

“What are you hiding?” Captain Sunblast asks with a sceptical grin, looking at the scattered debris behind Labaguette.

Then Birdseye steps between them:

“Thou shall not pass.  You are a Knight, behave like one.”

“Birdseye, I—”

But Captain Clusterflame interferes.  After all, he is the twelfth boy in a family of thirteen.  He may be a cosmonaut and a defender but mostly, he is a fighter, a leader in the making: after all these years, he has acquired and accumulated strength of body and mind, all pent up within his fists, because when it comes down to it, a good old fight is what brings him closer to home, to earth, to his country.  He is familiar with pre-empting his own defence mechanisms.  He shoves Birdseye aside unceremoniously before pinching Labaguette with two fingers, lifting him up to eye level, threatening the parrot’s life with his spare, ginormous fist.

“That’s enough!” Captain StarCrusher orders, wishing his competitive colleague wouldn’t resort to his usual impulsive tricks and that Captain Sunblast’s wimpy stance will one day allow him to lead this unstable trio.

“And what have we here?” Captain Sunblast asks, collecting the debris of a time capsule, as Captain Clusterflame drops Labaguette onto the floor, turning one hundred and eighty degree, and walking to Captain Starcrusher to stage a dark staring contest until death does them apart.

“You’re mistaken,” the King-Fool attempts, all puzzled eyes turning to him, “this universe is the same, there has been no time travelling, it is obvious, can’t you see?”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 490

“We’ve experienced a technical glitch,” Captain Sunblast says.

“Already?” Captain Traumatic asks, in a daze.

“Our instruments display time zone -2,417,498,557,393,619”

“There were no zeroes then, right?” the King-Fool snarls.

“The instruments are unlikely to be wrong but, to be sure, we’re simply going to reset the clock and refresh the Wi-Fi, that should do it.  But for this, you must all come inside and this includes you Captain Anectodick.  We’ve no choice.  Such time travelling will leave your bodies’ particles disintegrated and hanging in space.  Reconstitution will become impossible.”

“Some science, huh?” Labaguette remarks, “It can only be your instruments’ mistake.  How would you explain us four to be alive otherwise?”

“For safety’s sake, you’ve no choice but to come inside.”

“Suppose we did get back all that time and we made it as you see us?” the King-Fool suggests.

“We’re heroes,” Birdseye says, “our particles are malleable, flexible, transformable and transformed.  We can sustain—”

“—Gobbledygook.  You’re artists, the whole lot of you.”

“We’re in the past as per your instruments point out,” Captain Traumatic insists, “I know and that is all there is to it.”

A single but heavy pearl of sweat finds its way down a line on the side of the Captain’s Sunblast nose as he walks, exasperated, towards Labaguette, determined to lead by example.  If the crew isn’t coming, the crew shall come to me,” Captain Sunblast thinks, adamant he should get hold of that stupid parrot and strangle it if circumstances allow it.

As it is, Labaguette stands awkwardly, as if in a balancing act, switching his weight from one leg to the other.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 489

“Don’t drop them” Birdseye commands, concerned, “they’ll open up and we can’t risk them all opening at the same time.”

“Huh?” Labaguette asks as he looks with horror at the King-Fool juggling the three objects higher and higher.

“Or else it would create a distorted time warp of unpredictable and dire consequences,” Birdseye insists.

As life in the universe has it, the timing of irresponsible acts coincides with fate’s surreal coincidences sometimes called serendipity, while at other times these are called a perfect storm in which the timing of poor timing demonstrates the existence of the right conditions being present simultaneously to create a moment in time when everything and nothing conspires to enhance and maximise the perfection of chaos.  Thus, poor timing, in essence, is equal to good timing, regardless of consequences.  Or in other words…, as Zadie Smith once said: “The principles of Christianity and Sod’s Law (also known as Murphy’s law) are the same…” (White Teeth, page 44).

In this case, the timing of time falling onto the Insatiable Princess’ deck and bursting open creates an instant and gigantic wave of nano-seconds, seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, millennium, all jumbled up in the flash of an instant or the passing of an era which saw diplodocuses rise and die, depending on how you look at it, which the ship and shuttle traverse before landing somewhere back in time while the King-Fool catches the remaining capsules in… good time before they reach the floor.

“Who beat the drums?” the Captain asks, rising from his slumber as the shuttle’s latch opens and the three cosmonauts appear, puzzled looks on their faces.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 488

“He’ll see it as mutiny.”

“The Captain is bored beyond belief.  He needs shaken up and surprised, can’t you see?”

“It is unwise,” Birdseye hesitates.

“Not so unwise,” the Captain says, rising, “not so unwise,” before falling back onto the Insatiable Princess’s deck, snoring.

“There is only one way forward,” the King-Fool says, “all we need to do is to untie the ship from the shuttle.  The Captain will be grateful but for now, he can’t be seen to be taking part in it.  Shove more Rum into his gob Labaguette.”

“Ay, Ay, oui, oui, oui.”

Then Birdseye decides to open his humongous wings and flaps them as if to dry them before closing them again.  At the same time, small oval objects, three to be exact, fall onto the ship’s deck.

“I’ll be damned!” Labaguette exclaims as he lands beside them, “you stole them?”

“I steal not,” Birdseye says, “these are not my doing.”

“But you brought them?”

“I did not.  I saw them.  That is all I did.”

“King-Fool, you are full of surprises.  That is a marvellous idea!”

“I would like to take credit for it but, feathery friend, but I’ve no pockets to hold them and not my hat nor my mouth are large enough to contain them.”

Labaguette stares at the Captain who has plunged into the deepest slumber.  The King-Fool may be a bit of a magician and a trickster, but he is incapable of such miracle.  Still, there are no miracles Labaguette then thinks, only mysterious circumstances and large creature birds who work in mysterious ways.  Birdseye has his reasons, his ways and that is all he reasons.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 487

But as the universe has it – and all universes by the same token, as is well known but worth repeating – some rule is broken and what is expected becomes unexpected, all of a sudden and very… unexpectedly.

So it goes that Captain Traumatic finds solace for his boredom in his beloved Rum, waiting for the ultimate goal of their trip to appear on the horizon line, should the universe become flat for a little while.  What a waste he muses, all those worlds going by remaining unexplored and unconquered.  Wouldn’t it be nice to own a couple of them at the very least?  So many with such potential, so many needing a leader.  He recalls the Planet of Books which he was unable to save.  If he had a planet of his own, he would—

“—Captain!” Labaguette yells, “we can’t possibly be heading back home without something to show for.”

“We’ll conquer some more ships when we’re back.”

“There’s an interesting cluster a few degrees North,” Birdseye adds, tentatively.

Then the King-Fool begins to sing, dance and gesticulate in excitement.  “One must never give up, give up, give up.”  And again: “One must never give up, give up, give up,” he chants.

“Give up what?” Labaguette asks, perching on his wand, entertained, wanting some more.

“Exploring.  Home is death, desolation, an end to your purpose.”

“I will be a hero, tell me more.”

“You’ll be hero especially if you bring something back which gives you power.  Else, you’ll be a hero for one day and then sink into oblivion the very next day.”

“Captain!”

“He’s drunk.  We must act now.”

To be continued…