Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Scarlet Pilot and his Secret Space Plane (interior)

Far beyond the normal spacelanes, in a space-plane built for long-distance, one-man trips, a pilot dressed entirely in red is talking to himself. Or... is he?

The Yellow Princess and The Case of The Thing That Happened on The Way Home for Dinner

This is the first draft, of the first chapter (?) of a story I told my kids the other night as a bedtime story. The stuff with the collapsing stars (and resulting singularity), the Dinosaur-Sharks and the Pizza delivery guy all happen in part2.

All characters, concepts and situation are ©2011 Gene Whitlock (mofo).
Specifically this goddamn story. K?

It was March in deepest space, and the Yellow Princess was sailing through those self-same deepest reaches on her way home from a party. She was piloting a specially-modified version of her Aeroble. This one had a liquid cockpit, designed to support her modified mermaid DNA.

As the pod screamed through the inky void, she sang along happily to her much-loved Jason Botherstone:

"bab-eee baby, bab-eeeeeeeeeeee oh baby!" she sang with eerie auto-tune accuracy.

The Princess' robot companion, 'Fr1end' was NOT singing along. He/she/it didn't have much of an opinion about music. In fact, being an automaton, he/she/it didn't have much of a personality - (at least, that's what he told us at the time of writing!)

>ting ting ting ting<

The proximity alarm sounded with a soft melancholy. Beating rhythm in-time with the pre-adolescent formulaic lyrics of track 17, (track 17 is 'baby, my baby'. Just so you know when someone asks). Friend started to say, "that will be Gogomoth, home of the Ribula Sand Beetle! AND site of the last battle of the Ribula Sand Beetles during the-"

The Princess turned up the volume on her "songs".
'Hmpph' said the sullen, yet unemotional robot.

As the case will happen in situations like this, the princess had turned up the music up way too loud and as a result she was now wearing ear-plugs as well. In the incident report she submitted later, she would cite this as being the reason she didn't notice the HUMONGOUS GREEN SPACE SHIP that warped into existence just in front (and to the left, (or 'port-side')) of her tiny, yellow space ...thing.

*BOOM* went her proximity alarm (it did that sometimes) *BOOM BOOM*. 'Mistress - if there was a way for sound to travel in the vacuum of space, I'd say something like, 'holy crap that's loud!', but obviously there's not so-'

'I'm sorry, did you say something Friend?'

'uh... big space-'

'I can't chitchat right now, as much as I'd love to, but there's a giant enormous humongous spaceship sitting right where I'm planning to fly!'

'and you're still formatted as a mer-'

"BOOM! Tiny yellow Craft! We are the Pulsimartes, and you are our prisoneerrrrrrrrrrrr"

'oh' said The Yellow Princess AND Friend.

* * * (I think that means there's a break here * * *

On the other side of the Crab Nebula, the Yellow Princess' brother, the Scarlet Pilot, was having problems with his Secret Space-Plane. "damn! crap and jabaloooka!" he said

"the oberon cyclotrometer isn't reading outputs again! Now I'll never get home in time for dinner!"

Tonight was pizza night, and the Scarlet Pilot really loved his four-cheese pizza (and truth be told he could have warmed one up in the secret space-plane's micro-galley (that's a kitchen on a ship), but after the popcorn disaster, the ship's sentient computer wasn't letting him cook anything other than a glass of water!

"Sir, have you tried turning it off and then on again?" said the Secret Space-Plane's sentient computer.

"No, I... -what?"

"Have you tried turning it off and-"

'I could turn YOU off you know!"

'but I control the life-support systems, and then you would die"

'but I'd die happy'

'I think you hold me in contempt for no reason other than you've grazed your knuckles'

'I haven't grazed my knuckles! Now leave me alon-OW!'

'there, see? Grazed knuckles. Let me do it'

'you, sir, are a disembodied voice, and part of the ship's meta systems'

'I'm also smarter and older than you'



'what did you do?'

'fixed it'

'did you fix the -'


'and the-'

'that too, and the quark-synthesis overdrive modulation system'

'but we don't have a... a one of those'

'we do now. You best strap in if we're to- oh...'

'I don't like it when you say, 'oh'. You're a computer, computers only say oh and there's a bunch of ones to go with it'

'oh, binary humour, how droll'

'I try my best'

'I think you should know, your sister's robot friend- '

'you mean Friend?'

'yes. indeed, 'Friend', has posted an alert status on the royal message boards. I believe he's also tweeted an SOS. Let me check his Tumbler...'

'stupid computer'

'don't call me stupid just because I'm better connected than you!'

'status update:"I am a d0rk", but see, the 'o' is a zero'

'Heh, binary humour... Um.., yes, sir, you should know - your sister has been kidnapped by a Pulsimartes combat patrol'


'on a stick, sir. I would suggest this is now a rescue mission - Shall I engage the engines?'

'Go faster buttons to maximum, old-buddy!'

The ancient red space-plane shuddered and fair-kicked like a mule before condensing into a faint blue after-image.

Because of the ugly, ugly distances involved, the Scarlet Pilot and the sentient computer still had several days (even travelling through worm-holes, hyper-space and quantum-multiplied factors of the SoL (speed of Light) in which to experience being best friends, enemies, ambivalent travelling companions, and even surrogate parent-child simulacrums.

Nonetheless, the Secret space plane travelled faster and more directly than any other vessel in the void. (It was rumoured a souped-up car on Dehetross-prime was faster, but the police had since seized the vehicle and impounded it under 'anti-hoon' legislation).

They soon reached the point from which Friend had posted his various status updates.
Sure enough, the Pulsimartes ship was still in orbit, albeit with a skeleton crew.

When the Scarlet Pilot hailed the Pulsimartes ship, the maintenance chief told him, in a tone of voice that was far-too-chipper for someone in a military support role, "No guvnor, they all gone down't the planet for a picnic! I sure you go down you be able't find 'em easy-like! Just look for beach and fishing, they happy to have another guest they will!'.


Mindless Sheep!

The fearsome sheep warriors of the high-frontier stand ready to defend their rocky empire from the evils that beset this world! Iron-headed, steel-jawed and granite lipped, they fight for the right to chew their cud, and... do whatever it is sheep do when other, decent folks aren't watching!

(yeah, I know this looks like some of the art in the KFPanda art book - that's completely accidental, but I'll take it on the chin. This came about while doing drawings for my li'l girl's school; she needs to build a wind-chime with the theme, 'family'. So I figured we'd do ourselves as our zodiac animals. Son#1 is a goat (which is also represented as a sheep in the Chinese zodiac) - hence the above image) (sorry KFPanda folks, but I've been drawing ye olde Chinese animals for a good 18yrs now, very much predating your awesome film of awesomeness).

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Scarlet Pilot

Locked in the heart of his sentient space-plane, the Scarlet Pilot nudges the old lady into orbit around a brave, new gas giant...
'This looks like a nice place for lunch', says the pilot.
'you are NOT cooking in my galley again! You burnt the diodes on the fridge last time!' says the sentient space-plane.
'But... can I make a sandwich?'
'you can make that in the cockpit! Here's the bread...' >ker-thud<

The Scarlet Pilot and his Secret Space-plane are NOT friends sometimes!