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…

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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 – 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…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 486

As the shuttle’s engines warm up and Captain Traumatic looks through its thick window, his suspicions are confirmed: Labaguette is flying erratically inside the shuttle, the King-Fool is skipping from one foot to the other, gesticulating, shaking his wand and Birdseye is looking at the door’s latch intently, perhaps in an attempt to open it with the power of his own thoughts, no doubt hoping someone will free the Insatiable Princess’ crew from that overwhelming claustrophobia, as if they were trapped in a small box in the middle of universes, for ever and ever and ever.

Within less than a second, the Captain is knocking that door with an iron bar with all his might, his Viking blood boiling up to the surface.  Outraged his ship could be damaged by a human in space who defies the laws of nature of all kinds, the shuttle’s commandant reluctantly opens the door and frees the strange, rebellious and indomitable crew until, eventually, the shuttles gains in speed, the Insatiable Princess secured to its flank, with a crew enjoying every minute of galactic space winds, drinking some, grateful they are on their way back to Earth, at last.

As they reach a speed that is all too comfortable, they find that seconds, minutes, hours, days and nights pass by unaltered, with the same routine and patterns: they sleep, wake up, drink, attend to the sails, to polishing and re-polishing the Insatiable Princess’ woods, then drink some more before getting back to their restless dreams, where battles, tirades and conflicts abound, where their blood run free and alive.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 485

“You will be a hero.”

“I know that, I’ve always known it.  Always said so.  See Captain?  For my country.”

“Labaguette, anyone looking at you can read you like a book.  And remember: my country is yours too, it adopted you” the Captain says.

“My heart cannot be divided and that is why I will be a hero.”

“Your heart contains a multitude.  This isn’t about you Labaguette.  Captain Starcrusher, can we use a time capsule to propel us out of here?”

“It doesn’t work that way.  We shall look at them.  I shall explain some more but it is time to go.

And so, preparations are swift.  The euphoria of the knighthood, dampened by Birdseye’s doomsday’s visions of their future, even if quashed in part by the time capsule potential predictive intervention, subsides and the Insatiable Princess is secured to the shuttle’s flank.

But Captain Traumatic is reluctant to step inside the shuttle.

“You must come inside,” Captain Starcrusher insists, “or else the forces at play when we time travel will leave you behind and reduce you to dust.”

“I must look after the Insatiable Princes.  If she can survive, so can I.”

“Well—”

“—You’re not intending to leave her behind are you?  You’d better get it into your head that she’s a survivor.  What proof do you need, you’re without helmet and you survive, do you not?”

“Very well Captain.  Labaguete, this kingly Fool and Birdseye are all inside.”

“They’re only curious.  They’ve never seen a ship like yours before.”

“Are you not the least interested?”

“A ship’s a ship.  My crew will get bored the minute you close the door on them.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 479

Labaguette perches on Captain Sunblast’s shoulder and examines the printed note.

“This bird sitting on my Captain’s hat looks like me, a very close resemblance but….  You painted that?”

“It is you Labaguette.”

In the air around them, an invisible, powerful gasp of surprise is expressed and felt.  Captain Traumatic and Labaguette look at each other, confused for the first second, knowingly for the last two.

“What do you want from us?  Why are we your prisoners?” the Captain asks.

“We’ve come in peace.  We’ve been searching for you for many centuries.  We come from planet Earth, your planet, our planet, to save you.  You hold a key, that of timelessness.  You’ve achieved the impossible.  I repeat, we come in peace.  We will show you the way back to Earth and to where you came from exactly.”

“I am not who you say I am.  Release us and pass your way.”

“You are who you are whom you say you are not.  You’re the one, the one who fell from Earth, the only one.  You created flexibility out of a fixed and rigid mathematical rule.”

“I fell…” the Captain says, frowning, “Indeed I fell.  I fell with Labaguette and the Insatiable Princess but you are mistaken.  How could you possibly know about it?  You come disguised.  In truth, you’re pirates after my rum.”

“We travel through time.  We can look into past and in future by calculating the exact parallel upon which one was or will be travelling and find every information to retrace one such road or pathway or parallel.  What is more, the Insatiable Princess’ real name is the Insatiable Mermaid, why—”

To be continued…