Monday, August 8, 2011


Aug 8th 2011, 11:23 by E O Hatterpol | 1228 AU FROM SUN

I shook the stars from my eyes.  Nixie gaped at the wall of books.  The Starbasemen approached!

And despite all the fantastic choices we made together on Facebook, Twitter and in the comments section below (my thanks), something still more fantastic made a choice for us.

Nixie gawked at the approaching Starbasemen, then turned to me with wide eyes.  They were nice, almond-shaped eyes, with looooooo-oooong lashes!

"What are we gonna do?" she asked, batting them frantically.

I stood up, rubbing my temples, and whipped out my smartphone.  The screen's light hurt my eyes; I could barely look straight at it.  But, like Colonel Condor would say, Soldier through it!, and so soon I was booting up my salty social apps.

"Bah!  I have no idea!  It's one for hiding and four for fighting!  Actually, that's pretty clear."

I squared my body to my attackers, gripping down on the neck of my beer sword.

"Wait!" Nixie cried.  "I have something I want to say to you first.  I did some research while you were in jail.  I crunched the numbers & drew the records, so to speak."

"So to speak?"

"So to speak.  I found that six months ago, a woman from the cleaning staff was reported missing.  Then a few more from the same cleaning staff disappeared over the next three months."

"Why didn't anyone notice?" I asked, gritting my teeth at the approaching Starbasemen.  Granted, it's a huge Starbase and I'm a fast runner, but they weren't that far away, and I was getting nervous.

"Largely because nobody really cares about housekeeping," she answered indignantly.  

I made a sour face at her.  As if SHE cared about housekeeping!  Yeah, RIGHT, Nixie.  I saw you drop that bag of half-eaten french fries into the trashcan on our first date and when it bounced off the rim and hit the floor instead, dirtying up the Squid's Beak in an environment-crushing act of littering, you just kept walkin' that sassy butt on down the Tentacle pretending like you hadn't noticed, now didn't ya??

"But then whoever this is, this Master Bokor," she continued, "he or she must have wanted more and, well, better prizes, because people from outside that initial cleaning staff began to disappear.  I tracked it by date, and right up it went, lower class young girls working as prostitutes in Tentacle Five, middle class girls in all-women's colleges on Tentacle One, and then the cream of the crop all the way up in the Octopus Brain!"

"Say whaaaaaa?" I said in disbelief.

"I know, isn't that terrible?"

"There's an Octopus Brain??"

"E O!" Nixie whined, crossing her arms and tapping her feet.  "The police are coming, so we don't have much time!  If they split us up or something happens to me or both, I want you to know this: bad things are starting to happen on Starbase Octopus.  

"General Alistair Asteroid's two granddaughters have gone missing," she added, assuming the second sentence proved the first beyond a shadow of a doubt.

"What?  You know he sold me this super-salty spacesuit woven of asteroid thread strong as steel but soft as silk," I said with swagger, pinching the fabric and pulling it away from my body.  I let it *pop* back into place so she could see how schweet my digs were.  "Man, I should tell @KillitCoco and @squishsquabble what happened!"

I pulled out my smartphone and started tapping away.

"Get off your smartphone and listen to me!  The police are seconds away!  I'm pretty much done telling you the meat of what I wanted to say before they came but then I got on this aside about General Asteroid and it's going to bother me if I don't finish it!" she harumphed.

"He's closed up shop and loosed himself on the Starbase!  He's vowed not to stop searching until he finds them!  There!  I said it!"

"That's messed up!  General Asteroid should be able to play with his granddaughters, and cut them well-tailored tiny child spacesuits of asteroid thread!  But now you've waisted (reading is pundamental!) all our time and we can neither hide nor fight!  There's only one thing left to do!"

I turned and banged on the wall of books, whimpering like an injured coyote.  The Starbasemen were so close they raised their batons to strike.

"Let us in!  Let us in!  Let us--"

And then the strangest thing interrupted me.  The portion of the wall I had been beating on actually toppled over!  Had my strength somehow increased in a moment of terror, like Heartbreak said, or had the wall been taken down by--

"EOH?" Ravi the Bookman asked, nonplussed, standing upright but with joints loose, peering out into the dimly lit tentacle with five paperback fingers shielding his dark-rimmed eyeglasses.



WHAT happens next, Flybrarians?

A: Ravi the Textor pulls Nixie and me inside just in the nick of time.

B: Not quick enough! All-out brawl between Ravi the Textor, EOH and the Starbasemen!!

Vote A or B in the comments section below, on Facebook or @EOHatterpol.  Storyline ideas can be mailed to EOHatterpol[at]gmail[dot]com.

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