Repository of Un-knowledge #256

By Ed Errington

sfgenreIt is generally agreed that the longest days experienced by any single species in the whole multiverse (according to immutable records, tricks of the light, and much else) are those experienced by the Lukor on planet Trawkon in the Pi-143 Galaxy. According to the Grand Keeper of the Multiversal Repository of Un-knowledge, the Lukor are a class-nine, super-strain who spend much of their time hiding in the shadows to avoid light from dual suns — Herg and Jerg. In gigantic dark caves, they build the most magnificent space liners designed to transport rich passengers from many outer worlds across the multiverse.

Being sociable and business-minded, the Lukor aim to leave no planet unturned in their insatiable search for intelligent life, mineral resources, and a good cup of coffee — while acting as crew for off-world passengers.

Three light-years away, or just around the corner for a Warp Speed 400ER Lukor Liner, is a planet called Earth. One microcosmic part of this Earth is occupied by a Mr James Rascillion — known to his mates as Rasco. He resides at 45 Flinders Bluff, Tillibilli, North Queensland, Australia. Now in his seventy-fifth year, Rasco believes he has seen everything.

With nothing more on Rasco’s mind than the next tea break, thus wondering if there is any chocolate cake left, he spots a ginormous Lukor Space Liner hovering ten metres above him. It gives a big sigh before squatting a few metres away from his back patio. The liner's height (around thirty metres) immediately puts Rasco’s house in the shade.

When Rasco realises this, he is less than happy. Five years ago he had solar panels installed — which depend wholly on sunlight to create power and save him a lot of money. In Rasco’s corner of the universe, money is all-pervasive. As any Earthling will attest, money wields a greater influence over the affairs of humanity than any religion and, in the scheme of things, rates second only to a good cup of coffee. Rasco is still paying for his 5 kW solar panels.

Understandably, he takes it personally when someone parks a vast metallic something in between his roof and the sun. The fact that the thing, whatever it is, might not be of terrestrial origin has little bearing on Rasco's insistence that someone had better move it, or else!

Meanwhile, inside what is in reality a luxurious space liner, the Lukor crew stow away their sleeping aids, turn off the inflight food synthesiser, and check that no passenger's atomic structure has been seriously rearranged during flight, as they drift along the cabin. All is ready for passenger disembarkation. Being somewhat reticent about sunlight, the crew remain on board.

As for the passengers, they seem disoriented by the triple warp-speed, red-eye flight from Trewkon. For Zepool passengers it seems like it's the middle of the night while the Epalanians of Hioptif experience a kind of early morning feeling. Space-lag is a downer for everyone no matter which part of the multiverse they hail from.

Let it be said the Lukor are opportunistic travellers. Once their passengers are safely disembarked from the ship and ready to experience, "Tillibilli at their leisure," the crew will recline on all five metallic feet, and relax in the way only the Lukor know how — by blowing bubbles of oily steam out of their many armpits.

Outside, Rasco prepares to confront the owner of the flying-thing. He stands resolute on the patio holding his father's loaded shotgun steady under his arm. He vows silently that whoever steps out or away from the thing will receive all three barrels of his gun. However, as tea is only half an hour away, he hopes things will soon be resolved.

With overriding thoughts of imminent refreshment, Rasco clears his throat and with some urgency addresses the ship: "Okay, whoever you are — come on out."

Ten minutes pass and Rasco's stomach starts to rumble.

From within the metallic ship — a click, um, whirr, um, click... but no sign of life.

Eventually, the ship exudes a blue mist that enshrouds the whole structure. Amongst the mist appears a large, two-dimensional face.

Rasco watches it float towards him. A slight movement tells him that this, whatever it is, has no body, only a face. "What the..." Rasco begins...but a further surprise stops him.

From behind the face comes another face and yet another — each identical in shape and size to the first, but different in colour. Some floating faces are blue, some green, but most are red. Rasco realises this metallic ship thing is certainly not local.

However, as potentially terrifying as these things might appear to the average Earthling, Rasco is unphased by alien faces. He raises his gun, and discharges three hot cartridges into the air.

It so happens one of the Lukor pilots, endowed with terribly good hearing, overhears Rasco fire his gun. Unseen by the said pilot, the faces of the hydrogen-based passengers in the immediate vicinity crackle into clouds of blue smoke and expire in a puff of bright orange light.

Rasco is genuinely horrified — firing the gun into the air was meant to scare these things away, not ignite them.

Three light-years away, on planet Trawkon, the Grand Keeper of the Multiversal Repository of Un-knowledge, using one of many borrowed futures, presides over the inquest of the deceased hydrogen-based passengers. She declares that they were not predestined to die, nor were Rasco's actions deliberate. The Grand Keeper concludes that: "If you mix hydrogen with hot anything, what the heck, things get terribly messy."

It is recorded in the Multiversal Repository of Un-knowledge that the Lukor learned much from their encounter with Rasco — particularly about travel safety. The Lukor Multiversal Flight Company now routinely warns passengers of the hydrogen persuasion that carbon-based life forms have an unfortunate habit of igniting everything and anybody.

The Grand Keeper gently reminds the Lukor they are part of a greater multiverse that holds many travel opportunities for the Lukor and their clients. Indeed, the Lukor now offer some twenty-two-point-six million (and still counting), parallel Earth permutations. So, for instance, hydrogen-based life forms can visit an Earth where Rasco is simply a nice guy intent only on giving passengers a good time. Other passengers might opt for a more adventurous trip involving near, or actual death at the hands of a rabid, gun-toting Rasco sniper.

A more popular and daring option, however, is where passengers book trips blindly — not knowing whether it will be the Earth where Rasco discharges his shotgun, or an iteration where the man himself invites everyone to a pretty good game of head-ball (a Zepool favourite).

Although he does not know it, and who knows, maybe never will, Rasco is the most revered Earthling in the whole multiverse. Without a Rasco in every Tillibilli, in every Australia, on every Earth, life would be lot less fun for everyone — or so they say.

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About The Author

Ed Errington

ed-erringtonDr Ed Errington is a consummate writer, narrator, and coffee drinker. He resides in sunny Queensland — where incidentally, or otherwise, much of the wildlife is out to eat you, or at the very least, help victims experience pain in all its manifestations.

He won’t mind me telling you he is intelligent, modest of course, house-trained, and because of his penchant for Sudoku, can count from one to nine with deadly accuracy.

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