See my notes on Chapter 3 placed first. This is Chapter 1 of the book now being renamed The Time-Lords. The reason why wanted to introduce myself with Chapter 3 instead of Chapter 1 should be evident. Warning; Graphic Violence. This is not my main theme, it just happens to be Chapter 1.
Chapter 1: Tonsil Time Warp (Part B)
Krog himself, still with Torm at his side, covered the backs of the control unit crew as they fled down, down into the body of the Icarissa.
The body of the Icarissa was only partially inhabitable. Centuries earlier man had already discovered these space-travelling giants and realised that using them would be cheaper than expensive space programmes. Initially they were thought to be comets, as from afar that is what they looked like. They even left an energy trail similar to that of a comet. However, eventually it was discovered that these were giant life forms with space travelling abilities. They were found willing, and a steering mechanism much like the bit of a horse was developed. A control room and crew quarters was built on top of the Icarissa and some others of the species.
In this way it had come about that humans used spaceships that had two components: A biological one and a mechanical one. More recently Torm’s father, the famous scientist, had made that startling discovery which led to the development of the Comprehensive Timeline Adjuster or CTA. The Icarissa was one of few on which this device had been installed. It was with great excitement therefore that Torm had assumed his first commission here after qualifying from the Academy. They were on a secret mission to travel what they thought was a route around the war-zone to the deep space beyond.
Krog started talking about Ian, Torm’s father, as their lift descended into the body of the Icarissa. Krog had met him at the Academy way back when. He was respectful of the scientist whose wisdom and skill, he felt, came to the fore in every situation.
Torm listened and then instinctively reached for his necklace which carried a treasure of digital images and videos of his family hidden inside a chalcedony stone.
His childhood had been shortened due to the shortage of soldiers. Like many others he had been sent on an enhancement programme where they were fast-tracked in a growth accelerator in order to be sent to war. Although Torm was barely ten years old, he had the mind and body of an eighteen year old. His childhood memories were therefore his most precious belongings.
“Could it be that Krog understands that this is what I need to think of during these critical moments?” Torm thought while he looked at the old soldier who carried his years with dignity, just like father Ian.
His thoughts were interrupted by their arrival down below in the biological component of the spaceship. Chaos reigned down here! The inhabitable part of the Icarissa’s body was a bit cramped. The area was filled with the stuffy body odours of their living spaceship. They had brought along only the bare necessities in terms of equipment, and were busy setting themselves up for survival.
Preparations were being made to flee into deep space and to repel attacks down the shaft of the lift. The Insect energy pulses could not penetrate the flesh of the Icarissa as her genetic code would interfere with that contained in the pulses.
However, the Insects then adopted a new and even more deadly plan of attack! The Icarissa suddenly cramped with pain and her crew were thrown about inside. Sight on the outside was partially restored by means of old-fashioned radar and some periscopes that were stuck through sweat follicles in the skin of the animal.
Krog and Torm tried to see what was going on outside. They watched in horror as a new kind of attack was being employed by the Insects: Insect-controlled worms were attaching themselves to the skin of the spaceship. Once attached, the worms would turn their bodies inside out into the body of the spaceship, with just the attaching sucker showing on the outside. The worms then proceeded to eat their way inside, growing visibly as they did so.
Laser canons were hastily employed to shoot down a few of the worms before they could get in. Scraps of exploded worm were flying about outside. The stench of pus was fast becoming unbearable inside. An immunity booster was introduced to try and contain the infection and growing wounds in the body of the doomed spaceship.
But the attackers were too many. Gaping wounds were appearing in the body of the spaceship, and the Insects resumed their attacks through those wounds. Once again hand-to-hand combat ensued between Insect invaders and the human crew. Poisonous Insect vapours hung in the air, showing the areas of penetration by the invaders.
“Sergeant!” called a soldier by the name of Neil, a much-revered veteran of the war. Torm stood there with them as Neil told Krog the shocking news: “The Insects are moving towards the tonsil!”
Krog and Torm looked at each other and acknowledged the truth with a mutual nod of the head. The time had come. The battle was lost.
Their only hope of reaching the tonsil in time, vested in three supersonic sweepers. Some soldiers called them “brooms” in jest. Actually these flying bikes were the best way for a man to compete with the speed and mobility of an Insect. Each one was also fitted with a deadly 20 calibre canon. Torm, Krog and Neil each grabbed a helmet, jumped onto the saddle of a “broom” and clicked the safety belts into position. There was no time to lose!
“VVRRUUUMM!” Torm was almost knocked off the ‘broom’ by the brutal power of the engine when he ignited the machine. He retracted the wheels and flew just under the slimy ceiling of the tunnel they were in. They flew around a corner and then suddenly the Insects were below them. Neil took the lead and opened up fire with his canon.
Then Insects started jumping high to get to them. Torm and Krog shot them down with their laser-guns. Some Insects with flying or light-weight hosts could also fly and pursued them in the air. Krog turned his cannon back and shot them to pieces.
Suddenly Torm felt dizzy and saw stars in front of him. A lucky shot from below had hit him on the helmet! The helmet tumbled down and he followed, his ‘broom’ spinning out of control. The floor came up quickly! He regained control just in time, but now he was flying too low. The Insects were all around him! Then Krog and Neil were there. They fought a way open for him to fly upwards.
Then the wind was rushing through Torm’s unprotected hair. They were flying close to the ceiling at a crazy speed. It took all of his skill just to keep from crashing against obstructions. They were now flying in the throat of the Icarissa. To top it all, ether was now dripping on them from the diseased spaceship.
By the time Torm saw the Insect crawling up from the bottom of his ‘broom’, it was almost too late. It had an octopus-like host which had fastened its suckers to the craft. They were so close that Torm could smell them. The host smelled like rancid fish and the Insect smelled like sulphur. He knew just what to do. One shot in the eye of the Insect, and his attackers tumbled down screaming to the floor.
Then Torm saw that Neil had engaged in hand-to-hand combat with three Insects that were attached to his ‘broom’. Before he could rush over to help, he saw Neil getting caught in a monstrous claw and dropping off his ‘broom’. Krog motioned for Torm to continue onwards. Neil would sell his life very dearly and buy some time for them. Torm shuddered from the shock of the realities of war. That was not what it felt like during practice at the Academy.
They flew on and through an opening into a room-like edifice in the Icarissa’s throat. They could fly no further, and landed. Krog activated the safety barrier behind them. They weren’t certain for how long that would protect them. Torm saw a narrow passage in front of them. It was then that Krog took him by the arm and led him through that slimy tunnel towards the inner room, the holiest of holies, his final destination.
© J.M. Conradie
I say nothing about myself except what is suggested by what I write. Internet personas are unverifiable and dangerous to put any faith in whatsoever. Here I am"Jan Conradie"for lack of a better name, or Godspeller Jan for purposes of introducing a protagonist I am busy with today. For being kind to a stranger, you deserve to get some insight into my psyche, so I decided to give something instead of nothing. What little I have in life, is not on the web but in a little house somewhere in reality.