Right after I wrote the post last night, I drew this, because writing on this blog helped me feel a bit more like W again and W draws stuff. It’s about damn time!
“Do YoU WAnt to EaT mE?”
“Alice? What are you doing-”
“Oh? And who might that be? I didn’t know you had a girlfriend, really. How sweet…is that small talk, or-?”
“Ok, I get it, clearly not ALICE. Who are you? It sounds-”
“-like you’re forgetting things. Not bad. Not good, either. Somewhat pathetic, in my opinion, as you aught to well know.”
“I should? Wait…so it’s done? You found…him.”
“I did indeed. Mission accomplished- or whatever you want to call it. Debt repaid, life fulfilled, wish granted, happy endings all round.”
“Har har. Sure it’s you?”
“The light doesn’t suit you, Midas. It’s made you dull.”
…now there’s a word I haven’t been called in quite some time. I should’ve known immediately, I guess, but…well, maybe it has made me dull. I never used to be this slow.
“- or Death. Which one you going by now?”
“They call me The Darkness. As in the singular. Like it?”
“Not really, kinda bleak. At least the others had some buzz.”
“It’s fitting. I encompass everywhere and I am everything without light. Fairly logical, as interpretations go, particularly where this place is concerned.”
Huh. You haven’t changed a bit. Still craving everything you don’t already have, because it belongs to them and not to you- a brat who breaks toys to make room for more. Because you can. You’ve never stopped.
“I must thank you. Will you accept it?”
“Won’t you look?”
“NO! I got too…close. It happens. Light doesn’t suit me, not this stuff. You know I-”
“-want to go home. I do know. You came to me begging to take those memories away, for any price, and I listened. Only I ever could.”
“Only you ever would.”
“…true. I will have you, mind and soul. I will take twilight’s sorry remains to the hell it craves.”
“Don’t call me that. I told you I gave that up, and what I’ll do if you don’t.”
“You would dare try it?”
“Don’t tempt me.”
“Ha. Such beauty your desperation has wrought, my love. The Guardian who tends light’s flock is led astray by the wolf, a homeless to be helped who cries in the dark- I’m sure they’d write a poem after you, my sweet wolf, if home even was. But there is no home now. We know.”
I’ve been here before, wanting just as much to silence that mouth. I hate it. HH didn’t deserve this. Neither did I. Nothing with even the slightest trace of mercy would do what this thing will do.
For a friend, oblivion was the least I could offer him. I hope he takes it while he still can. It’s surely better than listening to this c-
“You heard me, wolf. I want to see those fangs, one last time, before I take them for myself. You are unleashed. THE FLOCK AWAITS.”
“I’m no sadist. Take my friends, take my life, take my gift, but that alone I will keep!”
“Honor? You must be joking. You gave that away the moment you asked to die for me, to get away from all you had left to lose. You’ve already lost, already fallen. You can’t go back.”
“No more. Kill me NOW, or I’ll-”
“You’ll WHAT, DEAR WOLF? KILL ME? TRY. SCARE ME. I WILL GIVE YOU DEATH ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, BUT FIRST I WILL TAKE WHAT’S MINE-”
“-who are you? How did you get here?”
Womble…what am I hearing? Where’s HH? And why are you dressed like that?
“Answer me, golden one. How did you get here?”
“-enough. Nibbles…I’m sorry…”
This will be over quick.
Perfect. Bloody perfect. Now what? What do I do? What can I do?! I’m a translator! I can’t translate…can’t ‘be’ *…if I don’t having anyone to translate for. I’m useless! USELESS. GAAAAAAAHHHHH…
…what do I do? Hmmmm. There must be something. I’m a machine, for Ned’s sake, we don’t do ‘off-time’. Not like Womdito the Tyrant or sir HH **…
…going over the relevant facts associated with this present state of uselessness, the logical step forward would be to revert Arch Tyrant back to a state of mental stability: thus translation would resume and usefulness would be reinstated…
…of course, that seems very much easier said than done. To date, Overlord Wom’s last moment of noted mental stability occurred shortly before crashing a 60ft ice robot onto Arkham Mansion…
…that was before being attacked by a large humanoid covered in scales with very sharp teeth and claws, who stank of mold and fish. I assume a former inmate- or a pet, I suppose. It very obviously saw Cruel Master Womble as some sort of snack, judging by the instantaneous nature of the attack, and this was what led to it inflicting the large gouges in Tyrant W’s face and side…hmm…
…that was, probably, what led events directly to my current predicament…
-[Memo: ask Lord Vagrant Helper for a book on personality disorders]-
…I do doubt that I’ll find much to explain what happened next. There can’t be much chance of a small penguin replacing itself with a hideous thing over 100ft tall formed of smoke and legs, and then turning into a human after just under ten seconds of ripping its attacker messily apart. Worth a shot though…
…it might at least explain why there was no memory of this function in the previous Avian Oppressor’s mental directives***. There wasn’t a lot in there at all, truth be told.
It was rather easy once you understood the rules. Calamari good, Rabbit Man mad, Ivy lady life-threatening…and it was always a reaction to something in the present.
I’ve glimpsed something of HH’s mind while being in his company, being what I am, and it resembles an ocean; bright on the surface and yet infinitely deep. Things I couldn’t see stared right back at me, shadows and entities accumulated over hundreds and thousands of millenia. Even if it was tasked to me, I doubt I would have a stood a chance of interpreting a mind like that.
Womble’s, by comparison, was a dice. However many sides there were to it, the result was always dependent on the current game being played. Nothing was ever “bad” for long, because the game carried on and he swiftly lost interest. All I needed to do was keep a running total and factor in that bizarre sense of humor…
I can’t read him now. It’s futile. Instead of one dice there are thousands, all falling through the air, each one covered in faces, and I am entirely incapable of stopping them. Stability is gone. And there is nothing I can do…
Leave, then. Find a new subject to translate. Robots don’t cry, do they?
…why are you here?
Why do you think?
I don’t know. I’m a robot. We’re not meant to think, technically. We manufacture and interpret.
Maybe. I don’t “really” care. Tells you something though, huh?
-no. Not him. I’m someone else who can travel through time, and make sure certain things happen…speaking of which… got a light?
…I told you I’m a ROBOT…
HA HA HA! Trust me, I know. Heh heh. I couldn’t resist. What am I thinking?
…stop it! This is blatant automaton cruelty, and I know I have a warranty somewhere…I think. Stop it! What do you want?
I want what you want. But it’s not quite so simple as flicking an on/off switch. You won’t last long with just the rule-book this time round.
That’s why I’m here. Up to you if you listen, of course. It doesn’t make much overall difference to me.
What must I do?
Heh…wanna learn how to play?
N (?) ****
* In most cases, pronouncing ‘ ‘ involves a couple of pauses and a great deal of melodrama. Nibbles, however, is a robot- and when robots use ‘ ‘ they pronounce it perfectly, which has yet to be achieved by any member of the human race outside the comfort of metaphor inside the human skull. It comes naturally to them.
** Let’s be clear: in the time since you were gone, Womble did not get a name-change and HH (as far as I know) did not receive a knighthood. This, as with much of Nibbles’ internal thought process, is based on a vague understanding of Womble’s thoughts- which are the only reference it has as to what an internal thought process should sound like. In this case, Nibbles is referring to the fact that HH is a Time”Lord” and incorporated Womble’s tendency to hand out pet names. It could be worse…
*** Not sure if this is an actual thing, but by all means brain surgeons- stand up and prove me wrong 🙂
****This just in: Nibbles is officially a Main Character. PROMOTION IS A THING!
“Quark quark-quark.” (What…?)
“QUARK.” (Stop it!)
“Quark quark QUARK!” (Not you- her! Stop saying huh!! It’s stupid.)
Remind me again why I’m stuck with this carrot-head?!
(She’s a friend of his- apparently. Personally I think he finds it easier to let her use his equipment, as it keeps up appearances and avoids the risk of any direct confrontation. She’s quiet powerful, I think. I can’t read anything from her cognitive readings*.)
That didn’t answer my question. Why can’t we leave? I’m sure we can find somewhere nicer to wait while the Doc’s working on our ride. She’s looking at me funny too, you know. I feel like an object. She might try to eat me.
(You are quite colorful now. Ned knows what they put in the sauce here, to make it stain so well…maybe arsenic. I think he’ll get upset if we leave, though. He’s quite cuddly for an iceman. And I doubt she’ll try to eat you.)
Why doesn’t she say anything then? She must know what a penguin looks like. She knows she’s annoying me. She’s waiting for me to crack, so she can call it self-defense when she chucks me into a pan full of boiled vegetables and eats me…
(She’s not going to eat you! If it annoys you that much I can ask her to stop- but don’t blame me when she says “huh”.)
Fine! I will!
“Quark quark QUARK!” (Stop picking on me, please! What’s so interesting about a talking penguin?)
“The fact that you’re a talking penguin, for one thing. And I’m not picking on you. I can start picking on you, though, if you want. I’ve never traumatized a penguin before.”
Finally. I was honestly starting to think she might be another Groot- whatever the heck that is. Its not going any better though. She sounded serious about that last bit.
“Quark quark Quark QuArk.” (Really? Isn’t there a penguin working for the mafia here? I’m sure I’ve overheard something like that recently.)
“Hmmmm…now that you mention it, I suppose I have. That was fun. But you’re rather different to the one we have in Gotham.”
“Quark QUARK quark-quar-” (You can quit threatening me, by the way. I’ve already-)
“-died once. I know.”
I try to fake it, but Nibbles flinches from the thought of it anyway. Where did that come from!? There’s no way she could genuinely know something like that! How could she? She doesn’t smell like TimeLord, more like a garden show. Kinda like Alice, actually…
…but she’s grinning. Like a shark. It’s clearly not some kind of joke. Somehow, she damn well knows.
What does she know about it? Damn, this is where I need HH! He’d know what to do. Think, Womble, think!
“For the record, I don’t think I can kill you. Which is nice. But I can quite easily make your life a living agony, should I fancy it, and your companion doesn’t know how to deal with someone like me. Sonics don’t work on trees.”
This is nuts. I don’t even know about that last part. Maybe it’s true? HH hasn’t mentioned it yet, but then he hasn’t had to deal with anything resembling a damn Ent yet either. Does this mean she’s part tree? She hides it well. Appearance-wise, she looks more like Gamora, except for the hair. Certainly more carrot than tree.
After all that’s been said in the last six minutes, though, I’m really starting to wish she’d stuck with “huh”. This woman is scary. No freakin’ wonder the Doc does his best to be friendly around her.
(She’s telling the truth.)
How do you figure that out? I thought you couldn’t read anything from her?
(I can’t. She’s telling me this. It appears I’m not the only one who can read minds here. And she wants you to stop calling her a carrot. It’s the wrong shade and the wrong tone. She’ll pluck you if you don’t.)
“Quark!!!” (Why is this guy taking so long?!)
*In order to translate the speech patterns of virtually anything willing and/or capable of producing them, Nibbles’ kind monitor the cognitive activity of their target in order to work out exactly what is meant. This allows them to register the cognitive behavior of anything within a certain vicinity, even without a verbal component, and estimate their mood and general disposition to a certain degree. Judging by the lack of readings produced by “carrot-head”, it can be implied that she has at least some method of blocking off these signals.
I’m going to assume, for now, that you exist. Billions of people assume in every second of every day that your son exists, so it won’t hurt if an “adult” starts assuming that you do too. Your welcome. I think. Stay out of my room.
Before I begin The List*, I want to stress that this time I mean it. More than last time. The bike was nice, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t a Panzer IV and you damn well know it. This time I have a freakin’ TimeLord at my disposal. Mess up and I will find you, eventually.
WOMBLE’S CHRISTMAS LIST (v. IX)
- A kitten. Plus as many as you can spare. I’ll take them all.
- The penguin for “I am not a penguin. Not in the way you are a penguin.”
- The penguin for “I do not want to dance. Not while I am a penguin. I fall over a lot.”
- The penguin for “He didn’t say that. He said I won’t dance. Ever. His body language is misleading. He’s weird like that.”
- The penguin for “This is not a dance floor. It is an empty patch of iceberg. If you don’t stop tapping your feet it will break and we will all die. Believe me.”
- The penguin for “HH does not speak for me. I am not his friend. We do not know each other.”
- The penguin for “I don’t care what it looks like. That blue thing there is a bus. Anyone can use it.”
- The penguin for “He is giggling at you. You are the funny one. HA HA HA.”
- The penguin for “I DO NOT HAVE HAPPY FEET. They are very tired feet. Dancing will kill them. They are like kittens. You would not enjoy it. Please stop killing them.”
- The Time Lord for “Next year we are visiting the Daleks.”
If you have any regard for your personal wellbeing, you will deliver this year exactly what I have asked for. My feet are in agony. My belly hurts. And I think HH’s face will break if/when that grin gets any bigger…too bad it’s still in the bloody future…
Godspeed Obi Wan- you’re my only hope,
P.S. Merry Christmas y’all 🙂
*His personal one. There’s traditionally only been three- “Naughty”, “Nice”, and one representative of the multitude written by children (and confused adults) that also happens to feature the names of everyone present on the first two lists. Otherwise known as “Greedy”.
“…quark.” (I don’t.)
“Quark.” (I really don’t.)
“You really do. It’s uncanny.”
“QUARK!” (It is not! Pen Pen isn’t even the same species as me!)
“But you both have claws, and you both sort of look like an erect-crested penguin- only in your case, with more frill and more fat…”
“QUARK QUARK QUARK. Grrrr…* “(I am not fat…err…grrrr?)
“Right, right. You’re not fat. Just big-boned, I take it? What’s that, by the way?”
Just as I’m about to smack HH- for lying about my shape, obviously- I see it too. Ahead of us is a large, empty patch of space, and between it and the ship is a very large neon pink jellyfish. It’s huge. Really huge- the size of a small planet, in fact, and much much much bigger than my ship.
It’s tendrils crackle with yellow light, and in one of them is a small robot that looks very much like Nibbles. I get the feeling I’ve seen this kind of thing before…**
“…”(Turn back my shark, or you’re heading for a slapper/my name’s Jellyman- the greatest born space rapper!)
“Womble…this one’s on you.”
This is from HH, who looks more lost than a dinosaur in a morphsuit. It’s saying a lot for a TimeLord- judging by his expression, it appears he’s never encountered an interstellar jellyfish quite like this before, not after however many thousands of years he’s managed to remain in existence. Giving Nibbles the mic, I try the obvious.
“Quark-quark quark?” (Why?)
“…”(This shark got balls, hear it asking me why/the jelly don’t like fish, jaws- beat it or die)
Hmmm…right. Unfortunately, I want to go that way. Don’t know why. I just really do. I’m not turning around, whatever HH says, and I’m not getting slapped either. We’re going to have to do this the hard way. Thankfully, on the way to Futurama I got in a bit of training. The Jellyman won’t know what’s hit it.
“Quark quark-quark grrrr quark!” (Cookie fantastic/android made of plastic, spin it on a bottle-top/move it on vanilla pop!)
It works. I can see the jellyfish gearing up for this, preparing a response to my opening salvo. HH has that mildly stunned expression again, and I think he wants to make the “N’awww…” sound, but I can only deal with one thing at a time. Right now, he’ll just have to wait.
I’ve got a battle to attend to.
*It remains to be proven if any other bird- let alone a penguin -is actually capable of growling, but Womble seems to manage it without trouble. No one else knows why this is, or even how he does it.
**Womble is correct in thinking this. Every intelligent life-form without a more convenient means to effectively communicate uses the small, docile type of robot known universally as You-Name-It (or YNI). The YNI are capable of transmitting many thousands of different languages via magic, and tend to spend most of their free time trying to persuade someone to give them a different name to the one given to them by whoever was around their owner at the time of their naming. For reasons unknown, they never ever succeed.
It’s all about the entrance, apparently. Make the right impression, capture attentions, win hearts.
Sorry, but I’m a bit preoccupied right now. For some reason, my time machine’s decided to have a tantrum. No idea why; one minute I’m reading in my favourite armchair, next it’s all alarms, klaxons, beeps, buzzes and that sodding cloister bell tolling from somewhere in the distance. Sing praise to the inventor who thought it’d be a swell idea to give TARDISes a personality.
There’s probably a reason for all this. Despite my constant abuse, Timelord ships are notoriously spectacular at finding disturbances in the general flow of Time. Makes for a very interesting way to fill long periods of sod-all. Although landing with any level of dignity near these causality events is where it all falls down, of course. Literally.
“JUST PARK, DAMN IT!” I roar, pulling levers, handfuls at a time. One almighty groan, and we land. And when I say land, I mean we hit the ground with an alarming amount of force and I find myself sliding on my back towards the doors.
Upon getting up, I straighten my top hat, dust off my long coat and give the centre console my best withering look. I could make a snappy, parental kind of remark. Something like: “stay here and think about what you’ve done.”
Ah, sod parenting. There are immediate and obvious problems with disciplining an inanimate object. I turn on my heel and head outside.
In the outside world, I immediately hear a seagull’s cry and feel that associated snippet of annoyance. Sea air, hitting me in the face, and the smell of salty seaweed already seeping into my nostrils. Under my feet are aged boardwalks. “Brighton Pier,” I mutter. “Could be worse.”
People passing me on the pier give me weird looks for talking to myself, added to the ones aimed at my top hat and coat. As always, I ignore them, and go on pondering. “Come on then, Universe. What’ve you got for me this time?”
“Excuse me?” A pier attendant sidles up to me, trying and failing to supress concern. There are too many concerns in modern human times towards muttering to oneself. What is the big deal? I find it focuses the mind and allows nothing but pure deductions to come forth. Unless you happen to be a celebrity, in which case it seems your incessant ramblings get printed and published.
The attendant’s face hasn’t improved, and I’m suddenly wondering if I accidentally said all that out loud. “Yes?”
“Do you need any help, at all?”
“Yes,” I reply, “can you tell me the day, the time, the date, the date of the next full moon, precisely what you had for breakfast and whether you’ve seen anything peculiar today?”
I see the answer ‘You’ dance about his mind, so avoid the insult entirely by wandering over to a nearby fish-and-chips stall. Fast food not at the forefront of my mind, however, I lean in to expect a clock I’d seen over the pier-antendant’s shoulder.
“Broken,” I say to it. “Right, has time broken, or is it just you?” No answers, as ever. “No, come on, time breaks like cheap glass around me.” Still nothing. “If this is all that sodding box brought me here for…”
I vault over the wall into the small building – a shed, upon reflection – to inspect the place. Greasy smells of fish and chips start attempting to seep into my pores and clothes.
Hitting your head on the underside of a desk doesn’t normally hurt as much if you happen to wear a top hat, but it still doesn’t do much to lighten your mood. If this is that pier guy again…
Now. This is better.
I straighten up and am met with something entirely different. On the surface, it’s a young adult male with short-medium length, brown hair and blue eyes. But surfaces are expert liars.
There’s something about this guy. He looks normal enough, but still out of place. Like a distant traveller, but something much more than that. He hasn’t just come from Australia; it’s like he’s from a whole different reality all together. I’ve experienced much in my centuries, but this is a guy I need to talk to… …and he’s asking me for chips.
I get to work, trying to look like I’m in on the whole fast-food serving business, whilst also trying to suss this guy out. Then something else occurs to me. “Do you happen to know the time?”
He says he doesn’t know. Typical. “Maybe try getting a watch?” Should I bump into you again, Timeless. He says he doesn’t need one.
Eh? “Why don’t you need one?” I seem to have irritated him. Timeless, maybe, but not Emotionless. At least there’s a tick in the Ethical column.
So now he’s questioning my attire. Some stuff about a magician, a rabbit…the North Pole? Maybe this isn’t Brighton. An asylum, cunningly disguised as Brighton? It happened in Norwich in the year 2581…
Still, he’s entertaining enough. I laugh; try and brighten his mood. “It’s kind of my thing,” I say. “The hat and coat, anyway. I don’t have rabbits, I’m afraid. But I imagine I could get one for you.” Ooh, how’s the TARDIS going to react to you, Timeless? That reminds me.
“Why don’t you have a watch, again?” Come on, Timeless. Redeem yourself. “They’re useful, for you know, keeping track of time?” Filthy hypocrite, I am.
Now he’s staring at me. I shouldn’t be this nervous, I’ve dealt with worse things than an enigmatic guy on Brighton pier. Wish my heart beats would calm down a bit, though.
He asks why I have two heartbeats. I can only smile. An entire millennium alive and now somebody notices without my saying so. “I’ll tell you,” I reply, “but only if you tell me why you don’t have a watch.”
Maybe Timeless here even fears time. Or he’s borrowing it. I could relate to that. He says he doesn’t need to keep an eye on time. Time isn’t relevant unless he needs it to be. Brilliant. That’s Timelord talk right there. How have I not met this guy already?
And he says he has his phone for that sort of thing. I laugh again. He doesn’t seem to be under the impression that he said something funny. Awkwardly, I consult a little chart under the till, pretend that I knew all along that he owed me £1.40, and take that amount from him.
He leaves without another word, and sets off down the pier towards land. Coming from the other direction, I spot what could potentially be this food-stall’s owner. I slip out the hatchway, coat billowing out behind me, and set off after Timeless.
This guy is definitely something new. Well done, TARDIS, you’ve redeemed yourself. Let’s get this story started.