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 – 494

“Come, come Captain, you did not expect the shuttle to stop,” Captain Traumatic remarks.

“I believed Plan A would work but instead, Plan B has been initiated.  There’s little room for error.”

“Really?  Don’t—”

“—The time capsules are ruled by the Law of Time and they can only be used if the shuttle’s time warping instruments are disabled.  Truth be told, should any capsule or copies of capsules be used when a shuttle’s time instruments are functioning, then such time instruments are overridden to a great extent as they become dysfunctional and transform into unintentional perpetrators of potential and distorted time loops, including curves and parabolic, problematic time generating particles that are totally uncontrollable.  Fortunately, the engines were able to recognise the error and diverted to the shuttle’s inbuilt safety mechanism contained therein and named ‘Plan B,’ generated by the Plan B generator, a marvel of engineering.”

“Oh what a marvel!” Labaguette snarls.

All catch their breath, some scratch their head.

“Captain Anectodick,” Captain Sunblast continues, “you must hand back the stolen copies of the time capsules for present and future.”

“I don’t have any capsules nor any copies of them… copies?”

“We’ve all the time in the universe.”

“Sure.  The cracks of time are going to re-appear any second, are they not?”

“We are now suspended in time and contained within the nano-second that constitutes the instant before anything happens, after everything else has happened, yet not quite here nor there, as indicated by Plan B instruments.  We are nowhere to be found, somewhere where one is not dead, nor alive, wedged between time zones, where the edge of yesterday does not quite meet the edge of today and where the edge of today does not quite meet the edge of tomorrow.”

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 – 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 – 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 – 484

“What’s got into you Birdseye?” Captain Traumatic asks.

But Birdeye’s large wings close tight on his shoulders and sink on his back as his neck retreats within his shoulders.  His previously colourful feathers take on a darker hue and soon his silhouette is barely distinguishable from that of an old vulture.

“We must leave,” Captain Starcrusher insists.  “Thank you for the ceremony.  I vouch on my two subordinates’ loyalty and fairness.  There is nothing to fear.

Meanwhile, Labaguette whispers words of comfort into Birdseye’s ear:

“Fear not, I will protect you,” he says as Birdseye looks into the parrot’s eyes with sorrow and grief etched deep inside the lines at the corner of his mouth, his goggles now at their darkest.

“—Pardon me Bird, I am from where the croissants rise early, where liberty and equality bear some meaning.  What is it that you know that I should know?”

“It isn’t about you Labaguette.”

“I didn’t—”

“—A time capsule popped while we searched for the Insatiable Princess.”

“What?” Captain Traumatic asks.

“A great way to predict future events.  This is part of Captain Starcrusher’s work, the speeding, the time, the going back and forth.  He was able to identify time articles that could be caught in capsules. ”

“What are you talking about?”

“Correct,” Captain Starcrusher says.

“It won’t be in your books, Captain, because time shifts.  It can’t be caught on a page.  No one controls the capsules.  Yet, we were able to capture time cells and time cluster cells which, when released from their capsules – chose to tell about a significant event, be it half-a-second in advance, 2 or 600 billion years from now.”

“So it did see something about moi?” Labaguette insists.

To be continued…