Quiz Faces His Greatest Challenge Yet - Finding a ChallengeMature

“Patch me through to Xlasticon Exzu’Bra please NEL.” Quiz leaned back in his Captain’s chair, enjoying the super-comfy play dough texture recommended for all inter-Galactic star ships, and stretched, easing tired limbs. NEL, or more properly NELIP-HANT (Neuro Electronic Lifelike Interactive Persontype - Hamish Arnold Nigel Thompson) was the ship’s automated service provider, the brains of the ship with a personality psychologically tested and scientifically proven by GEMMA-Tech not to irritate anyone. H. A. N. Thompson’s wife had a left him after a week of marriage. She was praised by future generations as having demonstrated the patience of a saint.

Constructed from interviews and psychological records of the original Hamish Arnold Nigel Thompson, a star ship pilot of the late 31st century, the ship was fully capable of flying itself if given permission. Quiz never gave it permission, as he frequently commented to friends, Hamish Arnold Nigel Thompson was a nut job and it was probably just as well he was dead. On long journeys Quiz had been known to switch the NELIP-HANT Unit off and fly manually just for a break from the whining of the computer.

Stories abounded of ships found floating abandoned through Known Galactic space with no sign of what had happened to their crew. The uncharitable (and lets face it, the majority) joked that NELIP-HANT had driven them to jump ship and face certain, instantaneous death rather than put up with it’s “friendly and helpful” personality. But they did so quietly as the Galactical Engineering Marvels for the Modern-day Anthropoids Technological (GEMMA-Tech), the company that held the patent for the NELIP-HANT brand (amongst many others) were known to take a very dim view of bad publicity and anyone found spreading “unsubstantiated lies” about their merchandise faced a barrage of lawsuits.

In less time than it takes a teenager to text “C U L8r”, Xlasticon Exzu’Bra’s voice crackled into life over the communicator. Quiz and he exchanged greetings, the Emperor Guppy being overjoyed at having his old friend visit. They laughed and joked for some time about their previous exploits and old adventure companions. Having already spoken to the dolphin advisor from Brickivax Sea, Quiz knew of the Emperor Guppy’s bleak mood. He was, for the very first time in his life uncertain, depression had never darkened his mood or dogged his steps. A mild disappointment with the capability and originality of the evil villains of his time was all that occasionally taxed him, and so he struggled to understand the Emperor Guppy’s problem. An adventure was all that he could think of, a fantastic adventure of supra-normal proportions.

The dolphin advisor of Brickivax Sea thought that this was a dreadful idea, likely only to lead Xlasticon Exzu’Bra to become even more addicted to the dangerous lifestyle of the outworldly Quiz, but somehow the Querolous Quisling of Appradorn prevailed and the dolphin ceased his squeaky objections. Xlasticon Exzu’Bra would be offered the chance to join Quiz, warrior priest of the secret order of Craznabar on a fantastic adventure, something so dangerous, exciting and adventurous that people would re-tell the story over and again throughout the rest of history.

An adventure of the sort Quiz was contemplating for Xlasticon Exzu’Bra would require a particularly devious, scheming and demented foe that was almost (but most importantly) not quite a match for the brilliant warrior priest of the secret order of Craznabar. Unfortunately he couldn’t think of any being that fit the requirements. Never had Quiz faced an enemy worthy of him. His fighting skills and intelligence were always more than equal to the task of unravelling the schemes of even his greatest and most insanely villainous foes.

Astz-Begorian Frebbal-Kikka of Krakatoa 3 (six time holder of the Galactic Top of the Pops title) and his devilish plot to enslave every species in the Known Galaxies by means of auto-hypnotic suggestions embedded deep in the cheesy choruses of his 7th attempt at a number 1 title, was outwitted, overcome and even out-sung in a dramatic on stage anti-duet with Quiz in a single day.

Then there was Baliolii of Ru-Eska and her insidious attempt to seize control of the Known Galaxies (a popular pastime with the insanely evil) by devising a system of economics that would have impoverished everyone but herself. Quiz dismissed the very thought out of hand, she’d barely kept him occupied for a week…. Three days of which had been cleaning the mess she left behind in her house AND he’d been ill at the time with a particularly nasty alien flu he’d picked up whilst rescuing a School Space-Shuttle-Bus from Gredderanian Oooposznits!

There was always Fa-Far-Fara of the FarararaFar Star (now known as New Earth Mark II)? Probably not, Quiz could only vaguely recall the hairy alien’s attempt to win absolute dominion of the Galaxy, something to do with poisonous mutant cucumbers if memory served. In fact, Fa-Far-Fara was still serving out it’s sentence on Penal Colony MCCVIX, it wouldn’t even be due a parole hearing for approximately another eighty years time.

No. The trouble was not keeping Xlasticon Exzu’Bra alive whilst making him feel like he was living on the edge. The real challenge was to find the warrior priest of Craznabar a real challenge. Quiz huffed mentally. The quality of villains was just abysmal these days, he’d never manage to find himself something truly challenging.

The End

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