A huge thank you to everyone who took the trouble of reading the first chapter and contacted me to tell me how they felt about it! Furthermore, there haven’t been any casualties reported since I’ve posted it and incidents of eye-gouging seem to have been below the prescribed limit. So, with nervously intrepid feet – here comes the second chapter.
“Send him in,” Goloxinout said to his secretary.
Goloxinout was in a cranky mood. Konnit’s elections were due in another millennium, which meant that he had been forced to do some actual work again. He had twenty meetings lined up in the day and wasn’t looking forward to any of them.“Good afternoon, Mr President.” the visitor said as he threw in a well practiced bow of courtesy.
“What is this about, Xylon?” Goloxinout gestured him to sit.
“We still haven’t been able to establish contact with General Wingo.”
“Ah yes, General Wingo…uh…where is he again?”
“It’s been a year minus five minutes since he set out on his mission to Earth.”
“Right, right. Th-aaat general Wingo. Of course. How does General Wingo like the place?”
“We don’t know. We lost contact with him as soon as he left our atmosphere.”
“Ah. Hate it when that happens. So you want me to name a day after him? General Wingo day? It kinda rolls off the tongue, you have to admit. Maybe a parade too..”
“All in good time Mr. President. But first, we must bring his mission to closure.”
Goloxinout groaned and braced himself. This was generally the point where Xylon gave him a long-winded ‘briefing’ and asked him to make a decision. Oh how he hated making decisions. He had become the president by religiously avoiding making them at every turn. They historically had a knack of coming back to bite him in the behind.
“General Wingo’s was no ordinary mission.” Xylon paused.
“Go on, I’m listening. What was it about?”
“Unfortunately, that’s almost all we really know about the mission.”
“All we know about the mission is that it wasn’t ordinary and that it involved General Wingo going to Earth?”
“You must understand that this mission was commissioned during the Wizium administration, Mr. President. Most of the relevant records were a casualty of the Great Digitizing Fiasco of last year.”
“The one where they shredded all the documents before scanning them?”
“That was the year before last, Mr. President.”
“Ah yes, this was the one with the Unicorn, the barrel of gunpowder and the firefly.”
“And the banjo,” added Xylon.
“Yes, the banjo. Of course,” Glouxinaut stifled a shudder before continuing, “But, I still don’t understand why we’re talking about this mission Xylon.”
“Well, there is one more thing that we’ve been able to find out. I’ve double-checked the information and there’s no doubt about its authenticity,” Xylon added.
“The only mission guideline that we could find, explicitly states that if Captain Wingo doesn’t return or contact us in another…” he looked at his watch and continued, “…ninety seconds, we are supposed to destroy Earth immediately.”
Their eyes darted to the clock on the desk simultaneously.
“Well, hold on a minute. Surely there must be someone who was part of the original mission’s planning committee who should be able to tell us what the mission is actually about?”
“They were all a casualty of the brutal military coup that immediately followed the Great Digitizing Fiasco.”
“The one that I led.”
“Yes, Mr. President.”
“Well, at least I guessed that one right,” Goloxinout said with a sheepish grin.
Their eyes darted back to the clock.
“It looks like he isn’t back in time, Mr. President,” Xylon said as the clock’s hands ticked over the dreaded mark with an air of nonchalance.
Goloxinout furrowed his only brow in deep thought. He liked to think of himself as a man of peace and wiping out an entire civilization always made him feel uneasy. On the other hand, if he acted quickly, he would be able to take a quick afternoon nap before the next meeting.
“Who can take care of this for us?”
“It sounds like a job for the Uranians.”
“Where do I sign?” Goloxinout asked.
“Here, there and there,” Xylon said as he pushed an official looking piece of paper towards him.
“One more thing, Mr. President.”
“There’s more?” asked an exasperated Goloxinout.
“The deadline for announcing the nominations for the Lifetime Award For Excellence In Galactic Science is almost upon us. I’ve scrutinized the contributions and careers of all our eminent scientists and one name stands out – that of Kintonx Goulin.”
“Nominate whoever you please Xylon. I couldn’t care less. Hang on…isn’t he the time machine guy?”
“He called it The Sinetransmorgodor – after his pet dinosaur, I’m told.”
“I’ve read about him. Did he ever remember how to make another one of those contraptions? Anyone who lays their hands on one of those would have access to insurmountable power.”
“I’m afraid the memory loss caused by his journey to the future was quite permanent. He was only ever able to create one. And the whereabouts of that machine, despite extensive search operations that have been carried out in the last few centuries, are still unknown.”
What a pity, sighed Goloxinout, as he stared out into the mesmerizing view of the galaxy that his cabin afforded him. He could have used it to go back and cancel all those meetings. And there were those few years when he had tried to make it as ‘Golo –the mime who talked’ that kept cropping up in the press from time to time.
Yes, he told himself, he could definitely have found good use for the device.
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