Quark!

The last time I checked, “Amazon” referred to either: a) one bloody great river somewhere in the Milky Way, or b) a tribe of very angry female warriors who lived beside said-river, and presumably got paid to beat up logging companies.

It didn’t use to refer to a ship full of telepathic space monkeys wearing pigeon costumes, who managed to hack into my ship’s comms and bombard me with offers concerning the latest menswear available at their online store. And to inform that HH wanted to meet me on Futurama. They’d been paid to say that, apparently.

Job done, after unsuccessfully trying to persuade me into signing up for one day’s free trial of their free one-day delivery service, they promptly left. No doubt they had several other spacefarers to creep the living daylights out of.

So…Futurama…right. Can’t say I’ve been there. Yet. I hope it still exists- HH, being a TimeLord, could’ve sent those freaks MILLENNIA ago. I wouldn’t put it past him. I’ve seen the insides of the blue box’s walk-in refrigerator; there’s things at the back with more green hair than the chump in Sesame street.

Guess I’ll find out. You alright with Futura- wait, I can talk now. This should be interesting.

“Quark quark quark-quark?” (You alright with Futurama?)

“QUARK!” (What the?)

“…”(…)

This is weird. I don’t actually understand penguin, I’m just making noises and thinking what I mean. So it’s beyond me how this makes any sense to the robot. Maybe it’s telepathic too? Although I personally doubt it. I think I’d know if it could read my thoughts- it’s not screaming. Yet.

“Oook ook ook!” (Yes I am happy with travelling to the Earth of which you speak. I have a meeting to attend to.)

Okay…whatever. Futurama it is.

– MANY HOURS LATER-*

Eugh. Where do we land? There’s ships landing everywhere, so I presume a hangar bay is off the cards. Not one that’s gonna be free, in any case. And what’s with that insanely catchy jingle I can hear right now? Dun-Dun, DUN-DUN, dun-dun, Dun-dun-dun…why so catchy?

Hmmm…right. Here will do. Anyone who wants to play baseball around here can jack off- this is the only stretch of land big enough for miles, and I am not paying for a ticket. HH did not mention parking.

Strange place, Futurama. The entire city is covered in tubing and traffic. There’s robots here, tonnes of them, and everything seems to float or talk in an American accent. It looks like the sort of metropolis devised by a hyperactive cartoonist, who threw the contents of his brain at a very large canvas and then persuaded someone to make it a reality. Every sci-fi trope seems to have stuck.

My hairy friend is long gone now. He sped away soon as we landed, hooting a farewell and leaving me alone with his warped little creation. I guess its mine now. What is it called…?

“Oooo…me no feel so good…someone help Jar Jar…”

I turn, because self-preservation demands it. Something clearly had a bad word to say about Episode One. Or Two. Or, I suppose, Three, although that wasn’t really his fault. Was he even in Three…? Regardless, he’s currently sprawled across a pavement not far from me, being stomped on by various passers-by.

Despite myself, I feel compelled to act. No one can help another man’s poor judgement. It’s not Jar-Jar’s fault he exists, after all.

“Quark.” (Hold on. I’m getting you to a hospital.)

“…thank you…you so kind, Jar Jar thought he a gonna…”

Right. Hold on just one sec, Mr Binks.

“Quark?” (Excuse me, is that a hospital?)

I say this to a passing robot, who glances at the building beside me and shakes what I believe is its head.

“Can you read? What do you think that says?”

“…”

“There’s one across the city. You’ll probably need to catch a bus somehow, or pay for a cab. I think there’s one close by…”

“Quark quark qUArk quark-quark?” (How much?)

“No idea. I walk. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date. Good day Mr Penguin.”

Hmm. Across the city, eh. Maybe I should call someone instead. Actually, better yet, let him do the talking. Whatever friends he has won’t understand standard phonetics. I’m only doing this because HH hasn’t shown up yet.

Right…this thing seems to be hands-free. No buttons to push or anything. 25 cents should just about do it, I guess. Hard to tell from this angle, but it’s all he’s got on him- I’m keeping the fifty, in case I need to go anywhere. Call it a samaritan fee. At least no one’s stepping on him now. All he needs to do is talk.

Something will happen.

W

*Sometimes we do this. You didn’t miss out on much. Womble flew his ship through a portable black hole that transported him across the universe to within the orbit of planet Earth, and the Librarian watched a horror movie about plastic cuttlefish that invaded the planet of the ant people. The robot did nothing. They all had one cup of tea and shared a packet of strawberry Hobnobs. Except the robot. The robot did nothing.

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