A Riddle From SpaceMature

Far, far away, in fact a mind-bogglingly vast distance away, Xlasticon Exzu’Bra had donned his space/land-faring suit (a sort of giant goldfish bowl on wheeled legs, obviously not made of glass but of a space-proof super strong hyper-alloy.) As the Emperor Guppy re-familiarised himself with the controls (push control stick left to go left, right to go right, push the big green button for the soothing sounds of whale song or the red button to fire devastatingly powerful insta-death bomblets, etc), Quiz steered the Hyperdymentially Challenged 7 out of orbit around Zawg and set a vague course for his home world of Appradorn, whilst wrestling mentally with the challenge of finding a stupendous adventure to share with the Emperor Guppy.

The Querolous Quisling of Appradorn was becoming quite flustered. Xlasticon Exzu’Bra was of course (as one would expect from an Emperor Guppy fish), a polite being, however he was clearly waiting for Quiz to give him some sort of idea as to his plan. The warrior priest of the secret order of Craznabar was close to admitting he hadn’t a clue what he was going to do when he was saved from making such an embarrassing admission by his GEMMA-Tech comms unit bleeping to inform him of an incoming message.

“Who is it?” Xlasticon Exzu’Bra asked, his good manners giving way instantly to nosiness.

“It’s an anonymous message.” Quiz quickly read through it, then re-read it in puzzlement. “Here, listen to this -

I was a man but now a machine,

The sum of all the men I’ve been,

I’m in some trouble - a terrible fix,

Consult the Oracle of Brakaskagon 6.”

“What the Dickens is that supposed to mean?” Xlasticon Exzu’Bra asked, his fine Guppy features marred by a frown.

“Well I’d hazard a guess that someone’s trying to tell me something and has hidden their message in this doggerel in the hope it’ll be overlooked by their enemies and be decipherable by me. Right, let’s see shall we, once a man but now a machine… The sum of all the men I’ve been…. Ahhh…hmm, in a fix, Brakaskagon 6, dear me, dear, dear me.” Quiz stared blankly at the Emperor Guppy for a full minute. “The Yellow Banded Swizzler is in serious trouble, so much so that he dared not speak plainly and sending even this babble has probably placed his life in even greater danger. But the Oracle of Brakaskagon 6? I fear this is one mission that I cannot in good conscience involve you, the risks are terrible, peril stalks every shadow of Brakaskagon 6 if the rumours are true. No one I know of has ever been … and returned alive, except Jorge Bonjellah and he was turned into a raving lunatic, his sanity but a distant memory.” Quiz paused expectantly.

“Nonsense Quiz! You can hardly be expected to face such dire peril alone, I shall accompany you and if it should be my time to die, then so be it. Zawg shall not miss me, there are a million heirs to my throne, ready and eager to step into my place, I have no fear.” The Emperor Guppy puffed himself up too look as big and as brave as possible, hiding the terror within his fishy heart and Quiz acquiesced with a gentle smile.

“My dear Xlasticon Exzu’Bra! You are a star amongst fish and bring honour to the name of Exzu’Bra! We must waste no time then. NELIPHANT?! Plot us a course to the Jellyfish Nebula, we got to consult the Undiscovered Ullulating Ulcer of Brakaskagon 6!”

“Swiftest course Captain?” The machine whined nasally, and at the Querolous Quisling of Appradorn’s exuberant shout in the affirmative, NELIPHANT plotted the quickest and straightest course to their destination as possible. The Hyperdymentially Challenged 7 powered it’s engines up to full strength and our friends rocketed their way across space.

Unlike the Galactic Empire ships, the Hyperdymentially Challenged 7 was a very fast starship. Designed by Quiz (he’d an Astro-Degree in starship design) it also housed a unique inter-Galactic engine, which Quiz had pinched from a terrible (but now long dead) foe from another dimension. As Quiz didn’t fully understand the star drive he was quite sure that he wasn’t getting the best out of the engine. Nevertheless, he could outrun most inter-Galactic space craft, and even GEMMA-Tech’s most advanced ships were unable to keep pace with the Hyperdymentially Challenged 7. The charted and known Galaxies swooped and swirled by as Quiz regaled Xlasticon Exzu’Bra with stories of his more recent adventures.

The End

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