Monday, 8 August 2011

Wordzzle 163 or something

More Wordzzling fun with Raven

The challenge: to include the set words in a piece of writing
Set words:  windows, pollution, space ship, little person, cheese cake

The last ever space ship, SS Windows of Opportunity, blasted off from the pollution-stricken Earth, leaving behind those not lucky enough to be chosen in the Grand Lottery or rich enough to buy a place on board. Their fate would be a miserable one: the oceans were dying, along with the trees. Once they were dead, such animal life as remained would shortly follow them into the endless night. The ship was mankind's last hope. Down in the hold, Carolyn "Cheese Cake" Brown congratulated herself on her own cunning and audacity. Being only a little person, she'd managed to sneak aboard the ship inside a large crate – no slow lingering death for her! Up on the bridge, the ship's automated systems continued their pre-set sequence. The systems' current activity flashed up onto the captain's console: MASS REDUCTION PROTOCOL 003-alpha - CARGO SECTION DE-PRESSURISATION IN 3...2...1...

Set words: peace, purple, pelican, particular, pugnacious

Owen had a particular reputation for being overly pugnacious.  He himself didn’t see it that way.  He was, he would tell anyone who would listen, forthright, yes, a little brusque perhaps, but never pugnacious.  “I’ve never pugnated in my life!”, he would quip, and those around him would laugh politely, having heard the same joke a million times before.   But inwardly, Owen was filled with a nebulous inarticulate rage that dogged his days and kept him up at night, restlessly pacing.  His wife had run off with a rat-faced little runt, one Simon Titchner , owner of the Purple Pelican bar.  It had been twenty years, but the sting of her betrayal would still not allow him a moment’s peace.

And more Harold......

Moon put down the phone and jumped out of bed. A mixture of excitement and puzzlement was building inside him.  The c-detectors at Infinity had never so much as twitched before now, except when rigged for staff training exercises.  Nugent had said the reading was low - a mere 3.5, but it was stable and seemed to be moving purposefully and systematically around the outside of the site. 

Moon tugged on his trousers and hurriedly fished his shirt and jacket off the floor.  One shoe was playing hard-to-get under the bed and he had practically to lie down full-length to retrieve it. 

There could really only be one explanation for the blip.  Somehow, Mercury and his team, plus their pet demon by the looks of things, had figured out where the facility was!  Keys, phone, phone, phone! Where the hell was his phone?  Oh, there it was on the bedside table.  How on earth had they managed to find out where the facility was?  Flowers's interrogation of Box had revealed that they knew nothing worth knowing.  The facility wasn't even officially listed as belonging to Infinity Recycling - only some serious digging would have revealed the connection.  Someone obviously had been digging, though, probably Othello, he would have been the only one smart enough.  Flinging on his jacket, Moon headed for the door.

The quiet of the night was broken by the sound of an approaching vehicle. 

"Quick, get down behind here," Prada whispered, tugging Harold's arm.  They both crouched down behind Adept Engineering's conveniently placed and neatly clipped box hedge.  Teatime hopped off Harold's shoulder and moved toward the hedge with a view to climbing up it.

"How exciting is this?" whispered Harold excitedly.

"Don't get too enthusiastic," she whispered back, "we're just keeping a low profile is all, just a precaution.  After all, it's unlikely anybody would look twice at us anyway, but still..."

Teatime peered over the top of the hedge as the vehicle passed by.  After a moment, he clambered down to ground level.

"False alarm, chaps," he said, "It was just a delivery van or some such."

Nugent repositioned the CCTV cameras to point to the area corresponding to the dot on the c-detector.  Annoyingly, the area lay just beyond the reach of the perimeter lighting, so he brought the thermal camera to bear on the same spot.  Aha!  Two crouching figures could be made out, along with a third much smaller one on the ground next to them.  Nugent spoke into his headset microphone.

"Units one, two and three, search your sectors, we have a positive in sector 4 and there may be others."

"Unit four.  You have two targets and possibly a small animal of some kind on your front porch."

"Unit four, copy." came the crisp reply.

It was as if the guards appeared out of nowhere.   Prada and Harold scrambled to their feet as the six men appeared suddenly to shimmer into existence around them.  They were all dressed from head-to-toe in a snug-fitting uniform of some strange material.  It resembled more than anything the sort of shiny nylon silver suits actors wore in old sci-fi B movies that were meant to show that in the far, far future mankind may have had jet-packs and food pills, but absolutely no sense of style.  The guards' heads were covered in a ski-mask like affair of the same stuff and round their waists they had broad pouched belts, a-la Batman, and some kind of oblong backpacks.  Science Fiction props their costumes might have been, but the weapons they were now drawing looked perfectly realistic.

One of the men, a leader of some sort presumably, whipped off his ski mask.  Underneath, he was revealed to be a pleasant-looking, blond man in his late twenties.

"Sir? Ma-am?" he began, "I have to inform you you're trespassing on private property and I'm gonna have to ask you to come with us please" 

Harold and Prada glanced at each other, neither sure exactly what to do. Of course, the guards might just want to ask them a few questions and then let them go on their way, in which case, there would be no harm in going with them. On the other hand, if the guards were part of the shadowy organisation responsible for the disappearance of the angels and demons and possibly the murder of Agent Emerald as well, it would be very foolish to go with them right now.

Suddenly, one of the guards grabbed at his head as a quick, agile shape landed upon it and began tearing at the ski mask covering the man's face.

"Run!" screeched Teatime in Infernal and leapt off the man's head just as one of his colleagues took a swipe at him.

Harold vaulted the low hedge and ran.


  1. So good to have you back. I think you are in brilliant form as always. I misread your comment at my blog and didn't expect to find a Harold segment. I SOOOO love Harold and it's getting very exciting.

  2. The "Window Of Opportunity" is very Iain M Banks - but i like the story

    And yeah - how come in the future we lose all taste in clothing? Wierd

  3. Loved them all as usual. May I demand that you forget about work & just write more Harold stories? No? Oh well...

  4. Argent here (Blogger seems to hate letting me stay signed in)

    Raven, I'm glad you enjoyed and thanks for sticking with me.

    DFTP, another writer who loves strange ship names is Alastair Reynolds - he goes in for the something-of-something style of names, too. In truth I was more inspired by wanting to get rid of some words than by those two authors.

    Bug, how I wish I could give up work and just write. Hope your recovery is proceeding well.


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