Friday, 30 September 2011

Trevor and the Time Thieves - Part 1


Halruga is a planet so distant that even the most powerful telescope could not even see the galaxy it is in, never mind find the little purple, gold and blue planet itself. But, if you know how to get there, it is a place that is literally just around the corner.
Halruga is best known for its Surf Decagon, ten years of glorious sunshine on its five thousand miles of golden beaches, and is quite rightly called the friendliest place in the 101 Realms. However, if you could leave your home right now and somehow travel in an instant to that distant world you would find a very different place. The planet is in the middle of the Jicker, a period of six year where its lands and seas freeze, and the native Halrugans, amphibians who spend the summer selling, beer, fruit and watches on the thousands of miles of beaches, disappear into their cities beneath the frozen seas and spend their winters farming the seabed and harvesting kelp vodka. Every city on the land is covered in metres of thick snow, and those cities are carefully maintained by robots, known as Gritties, who protect and repair holiday homes and bars during this period of deep freeze, in preparation for another ten years of summer.
There are three things you can be absolutely certain of during the Jicker – that no one could possibly live in this frozen land, that no one could cause any damage to the heavily protected frozen cities, and that no one could possibly get into any sort of trouble.
But then again, you have not met Trevor Smethurst.
Trevor looks like a small tyrannosaurus rex dressed in furry trousers, coat and boots – he is in fact a type of alien called a Killian dressed in furry trousers, coat and boots. He is also a Good Man, a sort of teenage superhero, though if you had ever met him you would find it very difficult to think of him as a hero, super or otherwise.
Trevor a genius; he is perhaps the greatest genius to have ever lived in the history of the entire universe. He is also an idiot; almost certainly the biggest idiot in all creation. Trevor invented a device called a Chunk, an astonishing wooden machine that could travel to any point in space and time, and then transported himself to Halruga, just as the Decagon ended and the Jicker began, and flattened the Chunk’s battery.
Trevor has been trapped on Halruga ever since, and the three thing most people would not think it possible to do in this frozen world, Trevor had done easily. He had found it quite easy to live in the frozen world, as he immediately found a deserted, (relatively) unprotected city chocked full of frozen and packet food. He had caused a considerable amount of damage during this time, reprogramming the small Grittie robots to knock together buildings, burn furniture and cook him food as the snow slowly covered every inch of the world. You can work out from this that Trevor will be in a considerable amount of trouble when the owners of these hotels and bars return – but Trevor couldn’t even wait for that unhappy day, and the policemen currently trying to batter down the door he is barricaded behind are certainly not about to wait for the big summer thaw to arrest him.


‘Open this door in the name of the One God.’
‘Open this gods’ damned door immediately or I’ll break it down!’
Those words gave Trevor pause. Clerics didn’t swear, did they? Never mind. ‘Go ahead and try,’ Trevor smirked, ‘You dumb chimps!’
Trevor sat on a large ornate chair, from which miles of wire, chips, servos, engines, and bits of robots grew. As he sat, disinterestedly watching the door shudder under the onslaught from the Clerics, there was a loud “ping!” and a compartment opened in the arm of his chair. With a crow of delight Trevor pulled out a steaming plate of fish and chips, licked his slavering reptilian lips, and then paused.
‘Oi, Sparky – where’s the tomato sauce?’ Trevor snapped.
A small robot, which looked like a cross between an upturned bucket and the innards of clock let out an apologetic “bloop” noise and said – in a voice that Trevor had reprogrammed to sound almost exactly like his own stubborn nasal snarl: ‘Ain’t none left, leather chops.’
Trevor swore loudly and profusely, using several words which were both deeply offensive and illegal in most civilised parts of the universe, and then slumped back in his chair. He could put with a lot of hardship, he thought to himself entirely without irony, but another two years trapped on Halruga with no tomato sauce was one hardship too far.
Trevor sprang out of his chair and stamped across to the shuddering door. Clerics, he knew, were a kind of private army-come police force, which could be hired for a substantial donation to their brotherhood. Clerics guaranteed to catch any wrongdoer, and, as their motivation was spiritual rather than political, financial or legal, they never gave up. It was said that if you wanted to escape the Clerics you needed to make sure you were very good at hiding, and that you were certain you would live for at least a thousand years, because they simply never gave up.
That was the bad news. The good news was that Clerics rarely killed anyone, and never handed over their prisoners over to the authorities on the prison planets of Carcer, Platon or Mamertine, preferring instead to take them back to their home planet, Tio, for a lifetime of penitence and prayer. Trevor had neither the time nor the inclination to spend the rest of his life praying – not while there was chocolate to eat, sunshine to enjoy and surfboards to be ridden – but if he allowed the Clerics to take him to Tio (and, looking at the way the door was shuddering and buckling under the Clerics’ onslaught Trevor guessed that he didn’t have much choice in the matter) then the Chunk would start to work again. Tio was a lush green planet where the Clerics had vineyards that covered entire continents. Trevor could never quite work out why priests brewed quite so much wine, but it was immaterial, once he could get the Chunk planted in the fertile soil of Tio he was certain it would begin working again almost immediately, and he could teleport himself to anywhere and any when in the whole of creation.
The only slight problem he might face was convincing the Clerics to allow him to keep the Chunk. He paused in front of the buckling door and pulled the Chunk out of his coat where it hung, almost entirely forgotten, on a piece of twine around his neck. It was no good telling the Clerics it was of religious significance, or that it was a family heirloom – the first they consider blasphemy, and the second they would carefully burn before fitting Trevor out in an ill fitting monk’s habit. He wondered dimly if he could swallow it, and decided he probably could.
Trevor pulled the Chunk over his neck, held it delicately between thumb and forefinger, opened his massive tyrannosaurus jaws wide, and just wished he had even a tiny squirt of tomato sauce.
Just a second before the steel door smashed open and the heavily armed Clerics thundered in, and just a moment before Trevor stuffed his remarkable time travel device into his large mouth, the Chunk gave a loud beep, and said, in its inflectionless, robotic, and yet somehow still sarcastic, voice:
And, without a bang, a flash or even an impressive special effect, Trevor vanished.

Part Two - in which we meet some old friends, and some large enemies, available on Friday, October 7

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