Aug 9th 2011, 15:49 by E O Hatterpol | 1228 AU FROM SUN
The Starbasemen swung their batons. Ravi the Bookman sent a flood of books surging across the ground towards us. Nixie and I took cover and screamed, "Eeeeeeeek!"
And although I was glad to be saved by my best friend just in the nick of time, I dreaded telling him what I'd done.
The flood of books surrounded our ankles, sheets of paper flittering over our feet in an undertow that pulled strongly towards Ravi the Bookman. We rode a literal wave of books across the floor, our ears brushed by angry nightsticks. And then the wall of books closed behind us -- we had been saved!
But then, we heard muffled screams and shouts coming from inside the books!
"Hey, let us out!"
"What is this place?!"
"What's that noise?" I asked. "Where is that coming from?"
"The Starbasemen," Ravi answered slyly. "They may or may not have tripped over an unusually placed obstruction, fallen all over one another and all over one another's batons, and subsequently found themselves trapped in a very dark, very cramped closet made, astonishingly and to their surprise, of books."
I laughed out loud. I couldn't believe my luck!
"Really!" Ravi said, chuckling. "My friend @Korallieam likes when I use this trick to terrify. Watch -- I'll make the books rattle and shake."
He held his hands at arm's length and waved his paperback fingers like a magician might. The Starbasemen's fright was unmistakeable.
"AAAAAUGH! The room is getting smaller on us! I think it's getting smaller -- I can't tell!"
"We're gonna die like in that one Star Wars trash compacter scene!"
"No! It's ghosts! Starbase Octopus is haunted -- YEEEAARRRGGHH!!"
Ravi and I doubled up with laughter; he slapped his thigh in merriment, a big, fat, green book whose title read Let's Get Thigh. And then, all of a sudden, somebody's crossed arms and tapping feet reminded me I had been rude, and forgotten my gentlemanly manners.
I cleared my throat.
"Ah-ah-HEM, excuse me. Ravisius Textor, I'd like you to meet Nixie. Nixie, this is Ravisius Textor, but everyone calls him Ravi the Bookman, or just Ravi."
Nixie held out her hand daintily, palm down. Ravi - who had obviously read up on etiquette in primary source manuals from the 1800s, secondary source modern histories and fictional accounts of characters in the same exact situation as he - took her hand graciously and planted two dry, dusty book spine lips just above her knuckles.
It was then that I wished I was as cool as Ravi the Bookman.
"Enchanté, mademoiselle," he said, flourishing into a low bow. Nixie blushed.
"OK, OK, that's enough," I drawled on. "Besides, I'm the French major here, espèce de bouquin."
Ravi raised a book spine eyebrow and looked over the rim of his glasses at me, which means to say he showed me the books behind his spectacles. That kind of well-guarded knowledge is not something you want to see until you're mentally prepared for it, so it effectively has the strength of a fierce glare. That's why I said what I said next -- because he had put the fear in me.
"But thanks for saving us from those Starbasemen."
"What was that all about?" Ravisius asked, graciously accepting my apology.
"Let's talk and walk. It's high time we give Nixie the tour, anyways."
WHAT do we see, Flybrarians? Help me build the Starship Flybrary just like we built Starbase Octopus!
If you can imagine it, the big blue whale can hold it! Keep in mind those areas of the Flybrary that have already been built:
-- The Whale's Tummy, a massive cafeteria for all Flybrarians located roughly where a whale's stomach would be & about as big
-- The Whale's Blowhole, a room just under the Flybrary's blowhole to be used later when breaming technology upgrades at Starbase Octopus have been completed.
-- The Whale's Fluke by @KillitCoco, which if I recall correctly is a beatnik jazz lounge in the blue whale's tail
-- The Whale's Liver, (my favourite!), a proper pub with chess boards, books and good beer, again where a blue whale's liver is roughly located
-- The bookstacks, a gargantuan collection of books that starts off neatly arranged by popularity on shelves, then less so, then a little less so, and finally way in the back becomes huge rolling mountains of old paperbacks and broken hardbacks and some gems (Ravi the Bookman woke up under one of these mountains, a product of outer space, the heat and pressure of a great deal of books and most likely some science-magic)
-- The Baleen Plates Observation Deck, or BPOD, a massive glass-plated hang-out area that runs the length of where a whale's mouth would be (or its fibrous teeth-hairs, known as baleen plates)
-- That one place under that one fin that I like to go to when I want to take a #2 in privacy
-- My cramped bunk, which is "somewhere around the roof of [the blue whale's] mouth, so to speak, but I'm still getting my bearings."