The Adventures of Captain Anoxia and the Space Centipedes, 5: Space Honey

In other news, astronauts have discovered a colony of Space Bees on the Moon. Soon we’ll all have naked Space Honey on the ends of our spoons!
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Unfortunately, as these were merely imaginary astronauts, no-one can work out how to get all that yummy Space Honey back to the Chimeric homeworld.

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Fortunately, as Captain Anoxia no longer believes he exists, we should be able to get him up there in no time. The Space Honey shall be ours!

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Implanted in Captain Anoxia’s transporter dust is a disintegration code enabling the Ministry to dissolve n recall him at a moment’s notice.

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We may have failed to inform Anoxia of this particular code, but as he was only able to speak backwards last time we met, what could we do?

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This is the first time we’ve tried to transfer a real astronaut from Pluto to the Moon, and we’re not sure how much of Anoxia will reconstitute.

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The value of Space Honey renders all such considerations immaterial. As, currently, is Captain Anoxia. Hopefully, the bees will understand.

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Reports are coming in from our Remote Dreamers that parts of Captain Anoxia have begun manifesting all over the lunar surface.

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The body parts look like ersatz jade crystalline formations with occasional vestiges of a limb or feature. The good news: they’re all alive!

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We believe Captain Anoxia’s scattered limbs are attempting to locate each other in a Herculean feat of individuation: a true Chimeric hero!

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Urgent semaphore messages are being sent to our allies the Moon Rats. It is vital no part of Anoxia falls into the hands of the Cicadas.

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As we should have thought of that possibility earlier, the Minister for Extraterrestrial Affairs has been liquidised as a Salutory Measure.

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The Minister for Oort Cloud Trade has been instated as a replacement – its experience in the Space Centipede Wars will prove invaluable.

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This just in: in an unprecedented intervention, the Space Bees have taken all known fragments of Anoxia to an audience with their Queen…

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Big Bill Backward’s True-Faced Western Tales, 10: Byzantium for Mice

Last time I looked up a rat, Big Bill Backwards drawled, I saw me a lil Noah’s ark n the animals wavin n sayin kin we all come down yet?

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Did I say it was a ra-ra rat? Big Bill Backwards continued, tho he was lying on a mesa in a mess all alone. Rats don’t come rarer than that.

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Got it into my head rats were toobular or telescopic – couldn’t get it out n couldn’t work out which. Just then this ole rat shimmied past…

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Course the worst rats are Moon Rats. They call themselves mice but don’t let that fool yuh none. DNA’s mostly some kinda amphibian, anyways.

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Used ta be a proud civilisation, so they say, till them cicadas took over. I been down their burrows n there ain’t nuthin proud about em.

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Gnawed out half the Moon before we got there. Made themselves cathedrals outa dried macaroni, cheese n zircon. Real purty mo-say-hics.

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I was tradin in mica back then. Moon Rats valued it highly doo to an etymological misunderstandin that led em to suppose it wus made outa mice.

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They had them great mo-say-hics of their holiest rats, all made outa lunar minerals, n they wanted mica fur the halos. Who was I to argue?

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The other quantity in which I did trade wus earplugs, on account uh the incessant Moon Cicada music-makin that goes on. Earplugs fur rats.

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Never seen nuthin as dumb as them Moon Rats livin in old lunar modules they dragged under that dome showin their ‘Pon-tee-kos Panto-krater’.

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They all dress in old US flags n plastic crowns n earplugs, and this giant rat stares down with million year old meteorites fer eyes…

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…anyways, this rat shimmied past, n I thought I’d look me up some old buddies on the Moon. So I picked him up n twisted his neck n peered.

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N lo n behold he was neither a telescope nor particularly telescopic in his reaction. Got me an eyeful uh moon-rat that night n no mistake.

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Well I think about that ark I saw up that rat’s behind a whole lot – an asshole lot. Wus it the gee-nu-ine Ark? N wus it here, or on the Moon?

Colossal Guitar

A colossal guitar has been found floating in the Chimeric Sea. It is estimated as being twice as long as the largest supertanker.

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Doc Moreau is attempting to identify what type and size of tree could possibly furnish the wood necessary to construct such a mega-instrument.

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‘The scale of the panelling on the colossal guitar goes beyond known timber nomenclatures. We’re talking infra-redwood here.’

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‘We’re concerned that someone has been slicing chunks off Yggdrasil,’ the Doc added. ‘We had enough trouble with that giant squirrel.’

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Regular readers will remember that during the last Squirrel Apocalypse Super Ratatosk was taken out by a buzzsaw that encircled the planet.

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The strings are a bit of a puzzle too: a somewhat grisly one, according to the Doc, as they are hundreds of metres long, and definitely not nylon.

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‘Could the strings be whale intestines?’

‘Some of them. Others may be old trans-oceanic telegraph cables. The lower E appears to be hollow.’

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‘My assistant is exploring the E-string on a motorcycle. If it is passable, he’ll be a few days, but he has breathing apparatus and hardtack.’

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‘Who – or what – could have played an instrument like this?’

‘We’re assuming monsters, but actually in a heavy enough storm it plays by itself.’

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Songs for a colossal at-sea guitar, side 1: ‘Oak on the Water’; ‘The Sloop John Behemoth’; ‘It’s Raining Sharks’; ‘Yellow Sub-Aquatic Megalopolis’.

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Songs for a colossal at-sea guitar, side 2: ‘Don’t Fear the Neap-Tide’; ‘While My Reactor Gently Leaks’; ‘River Deep, Mariana Trench Deeper’.

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‘After three days, we received this report from the mid-point of the hollow E-string: “Passage clagged with shells and mud, had to abandon bike.”‘

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“Interior of E-string carved with intricate markings. At first I thought they were sea-scorpion trails, then I realised they were notation.”

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“The string is a series of furnished rooms, each opening onto each other. Some kind of crew lived here, inscribing tunes on the walls.”

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“Transit between the chambers of the E-string appears to have been by pneumatic tube. I’ve photoed the shattered remnants of this inner tube…”

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“This morning I found one of the containers which would’ve shuttled back and forth along the string. Much larger than a man. Trying to open it…”

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“Oh God, that I had never found the clasp that unlocked this…this sarcophagus! The thing inside, as though asleep, like a giant insect!”

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“As soon as I opened it, this distant music…can’t you hear it? As though falling from the stars. Closing the lid mutes it enough to think…”

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“Terrible night. By cramming my ears with rags I drowned out the insane tunes. Dreams of jigging in mud; a voice commanding me, ‘Transcribe!’.”

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“Knew I shouldn’t, but was possessed by the notion the…cadaver was moving. As soon as I opened the lid, the music got worse, deafening!”

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‘I know now why the inner walls of the E-string are covered in manic scribblings. There is an incomplete symphony here, a music of madness!’

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“I have to reach the other end before it takes me over too. The uncanny resonance of the E-string means it grows louder the farther I flee!”

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“I wake in the night – or is it day? – with my fingertips bleeding, having spent hours transcribing in my sleep. How many days? How far to go?”‘

King of the Rats

Wouldn’t it be great to live in the tunnels, with the King of the Rats? He’s very old now, an albino, and deaf, but he writes with his tail.

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All the aristorats asked Doc Moreau and I to fit them with this luminescent bone so their tail tips can form twitchy letters in the pitch dark.

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By fiddling with the rat genome we made the bioluminescent tailbone inheritable, but the side effects include deafness and deadly laser vision.

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Still, nothing says ‘home’ in the Dark Labyrinth like the sickly red gleam of twin eye beams and the sudden stink of burnt fur!

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Impoverished aristorats, if not strangled, often make a living by teaming up with telepathic Moon Cicadas to form ‘Shriekestras’ of victims.

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Creatures from the Overworld, lost in the tunnels, are ranked by shrieking pitch, then the Moon Cicadas direct the burnings.

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Although the quality of the music is lost upon stone-deaf aristorats, it remains fashionable to maintain Shriekestras for the Rat Courts.

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H.P. Lovecraft’s Birthday Masque

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The curtain is drawn back by bioluminescent tentacles and the Chief of Ghosts walks onstage. You’d think you’d get used to seeing a fish with legs, but no.

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Dressed as one of Arkham City’s finest, it’s actually Julie Andrews in drag. She sings ‘Ichthyoallyeinotoxic’ over a bass solo by Chris Squire. There’s blood on her gills.

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It’s one hundred years in the future. The undead members of Yes have become Ring-Wraiths (apart from Rick Wakeman, who, for contractual reasons, is a 3rd Stage Navigator).

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There is a distant chorus of ‘Mu Mu’ as the barbarians arrive, bearing the remains of H.P. Lovecraft in a large bottle filled with brown sauce.

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The cadaver slops about in there as their pace picks up to a funky jog. There is a chorus of ‘Deny ketchup, and get brow-ow-own…’

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As the skull-faced ‘Classic’ line-up break into ‘Pates of Delirium’, ghostly legions of further ex-members of Yes rise from their tombs and join in.

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The husk of Jon Anderson rides up and down in a chariot drawn by the reanimated remains of three other singers, eyes put out like disgraced Byzantine princes.

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As the complex time signature shifts and pointless paradiddles continue, it sinks in that this music can only be played by the multi-limbed.

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Seeing those empty skulls controlled by Moon Cicadas – themselves lackeys of powers beyond the stars – you realise Prog’s true purpose…

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Julie Andrews begins levitating as the ‘camera’ pulls back: all this is happening on Roger Dean’s turd island floating toward the edge of the world.

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As it tips slowly over, a thousand skeletal albatrosses in gold chains take up the burden and, without missing a single note, the song continues inexorably.

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Meanwhile, the Justified Ancients, rowing like fuck in the opposite direction, go over the edge in their longship with H.P. Lovecraft strapped to the mast.

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Tammy Wynette, perched on a rock in the role of ultima sirena, waves as they tumble by to one final chorus of ‘What Time Is Pointleeesssss?’

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Yes Turd-Thing is voyaging back to its cold interstellar masters when it is struck by a derelict spaceship full of the infected remains of Hawkwind.

The Chimeric Chorus

Cheryomushki-Geranium Awakes!

Cheryomushki-Geranium Awakes!

The Chimeric Chorus is going out below oceans and between mountain tops: from squid to yeti can you hear them call? ‘Zoorp zoorp. Galoop!’

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Spume from the billows, snowflakes from the lips of crevasses: jellyfish and iceworms wobble as the Chorus resonates: ‘Zoorp zoorp. Galoop!’

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Sentient cucumbers in the sick vegetable patches of Doc Moreau lift their tormented eyeless heads and join the Call: ‘Zoorp zoorp. Galoop!’

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Pygmy mammoth skeletons on guard outside Big Bill Backward’s Ice Tepee Of Contemplation puff out ghost cheeks n Call: ‘Zoorp zoorp. Galoop!’

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Flickering in and out of transparency in his decontamination cot, Captain Anoxia half-whistles, half-whispers the Call: ‘Zoorp zoorp. Galoop!’

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Moon cicadas poring over dusty scores in the Archive seize astronaut bones and beat out the Call on resonant grubs: ‘Zoorp zoorp. Galoop!’

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The Red Spot on Jupiter expands and contracts like a planetary sphincter, sending the Call on to further worlds: ‘ZOORP ZOORP. GALOOP!’

Shinkystonk

Until you have seen Zombie Fish Fingers crawling down the street like dead n breaded caterpillars you haven’t looked into The Hand Of Horror.

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They can smell an unplayed upright piano from miles away and are compelled to produce undead ‘shinkystonk’ cacophonies.

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‘Shinkystonk’ or ‘Shonkystink’ music was first played by dead crabs on the sea floor upon pianos discovered in the wrecks of Spanish galleons.

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It’s believed the ‘tunes’ of Shinkystonk were telepathically transmitted to dead fish and crabs by necromantic Moon Cicadas.

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Whatever its origins, Shonkystink causes ex-‘hepcats’ to rise from roadsides and writhe in broken-backed delight, wheezing in a parody of breath.

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Mediums wearing haunted crabshell headphones claim to have received Shinkystonk, but efforts to play it inevitably result in smashed digits.

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A record called ‘Shonkystink Favourites’ by one Marjorie Bloater is notorious for causing psychotic reactions in 90% of live hepcat listeners.