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We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Hamsters

by on May 31, 2012

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, we’d followed Ermingard to 2016 and a battle with Jill Polarity and Dr. Oatmeal, and we’d seen Katrina in a post-apocalyptic wasteland discovering some surprising wreckage before getting tranquilized by persons unknown. Now it’s time to see what the eponymous heroine of the Catrina Chronicles is up to, aboard the Dangling Participle and still all ghostified…

*cue theme*

“Captain’s log, stardate….erm. I say, V.V., what jolly old stardate is it?”

“I do not know, comrade captain. The computer calendar is still set on David Copperfield time.”

“Ah, yes; what a glorious experience that was, the thrill of a phaser duel with Mr. Murdstone, and courageously fending off the attack of Zombie Steerforth. Right, well, then, moving on, whatever stardate this happens to be, we’re in the 12th century or thereabouts, checking in on our valiant ally Catrina, whom we haven’t seen since our adventure with her in her novel. Alas, our computer has scanned the planet several times, and we have as yet not been able to detect Catrina’s life sign. Our search for her continues!”

Catrina, listening to Ferdinand Roderick Marshalham Willingsford the Seventh make this recording on the bridge of the Dangling Participle, facepalmed once again. It was something she’d been doing a lot lately. “Of course you can’t find my life sign on the planet, because I’m not alive!” she said, not that they could hear her. In her current ghost form, Catrina could only be seen or heard by people who were not important to the story in any way whatsoever. This meant that she couldn’t communicate with her friends the space hamsters, much as she’d wanted to. Catrina wondered whether she could try knocking on something, maybe a few spectral taps here and there, but try as she might, she couldn’t make herself tangible enough to do it. She was beginning to worry about her situation. Suppose the Dangling Participle left Earth’s orbit and jumped into meta-warp drive? Would she be able to float along with the ship, or would she be left behind, floating about in the atmosphere? It was not pleasant to contemplate, and so Catrina decided not to contemplate it. Instead she focused on something vastly more interesting; the unusual energy reading that had just shown up on Valentina Viktorovna’s computer. “Captain,” the white-furred hamster whispered in awe, “I believe we have located the Golden Spleen.”

“Well, yeeha,” Becky-Jane cut in, “but would y’all mind tellin’ me why we should care about finding any sort of spleen, golden or otherwise? Is it Catrina’s spleen maybe, and if it is, what’s it doin’ outside ‘er?”

“The Golden Spleen,” Ferdinand said excitedly, “is the repository of the mythical element splenithium, rumored to restore injured or even slain beings who touch it, not to mention serving as a virtually unlimited power source! Valentina! Activate the transporter and lock on to the coordinates of the Golden Spleen!”

“I did that five seconds ago, comrade captain, while you were expositing,” she said calmly, flicking her left ear.

The Spleen materialized on the bridge in a blur of shimmery light, coincidentally right next to Catrina. Intrigued by what Ferdinand had said, she reached out a ghostly magneta-tinged hand and touched it. Instantly the power of the Spleen flowed through her, cool and refreshing like a chocolate milkshake such as you might get at White Castle of an evening except sometimes the shake machine has been shut down for the night and so you must be content with a Mello Yello which really isn’t that bad, all things considered. Catrina could practically feel herself coming together again, taking visible form. Unfortunately the first part of her that took visible form was her small intestine. Needless to say, Ferdinand, V.V., and Becky-Jane were a bit startled by the sudden appearance of a small intestine on their bridge. Becky-Jane grabbed for her lucky plasticianum-handled laser pistol, Pollyanna. “No!” Catrina yelled, suddenly realizing she might very well get killed again. “Don’t-”  But Becky-Jane was already firing at the small intestine, and Catrina, deciding that discretion really was the better part of valor, made a run for it, taking the Golden Spleen with her. This led to a terribly amusing chase scene as Becky-Jane pursued Catrina’s bouncing small intestine throughout the corridors of the Dangling Participle, with Bucklebury the volebot trailing along behind suggesting sensibly that maybe they should try to open communications with it instead of shooting at it.

Catrina rounded a corner, and stopped in newfound amazement, as red light spilled across her face. The red Sporksaber hung in a rack upon the wall, conveniently pre-activated. (How it got to be there is a long story which I’ll have to go into sometime.) Several things happened at once, as things are wont to do in these stories. A final surge of splenetic power shot through her, finishing her materialization neatly. Becky-Jane rounded the same corner and saw Catrina. Catrina, meanwhile, had reached for the Sporksaber, her hand closing round its hilt. Immediately she felt the power of the Sporky Force; only her other hand was still touching the Golden Spleen. Spleen met spork, there was yet another big kaboom (Catrina was getting used to it) and she and the red Sporksaber both vanished from the ship. At the same time, just outside the vessel, a wormhole exploded into being in a dazzling array of color.

Ferdinand saw the wormhole through a viewport, and dashed back to the bridge, seized with the desire to explore it. Becky-Jane, completely bewildered, nonetheless decided to make something useful of the situation; she picked up the Golden Spleen and marched off to hook it up to the ship’s engine. She didn’t see an oozy black blob drip off one bit of the Golden Spleen and puddle on the corridor floor, nor did she notice the blob taking shape until it assumed an evil and familiar form. “Well,” said Susan, smiling like a diabolical lolcat, and she was about to say something dramatic and ominous, except at that moment the Dangling Participle lurched forward into the wormhole, and Susan was thrown against the bulkhea. “Ow!” she yelped. “Bella Cullen, that hurt! Blasted space hamsters!”

Meanwhile, Catrina opened her eyes, and found herself staring at a jar of mayonnaise. She started to move, and instantly found that she didn’t have much room to move around in, as she appeared to be stuck in a thermally insulated compartment with a metal shelf sticking into her back. “Oh come ON!” Catrina exclaimed. “You put me in a refrigerator? Really? Of all the-seriously, author, do you even understand what the whole women-in-refrigerators trope means? This isn’t even a device to facilitate the development of a male hero, it’s just….random! To quote Rebecca Dew, this is the last straw!” She drew her red Sporksaber and slashed her way right out of the refrigerator, tumbling through the fragments of the door and landing facefirst in snow. Braced by the cold air, Catrina scrambled to her feet, Sporksaber in hand. A long slope ran up before her, culminating in a high ridge that connected two towering snow-clad mountains. On the brink of the ridge stood a single cow, gazing stonily down upon her. “Oookay,” Catrina said. “A cow. This could be interesting. I wonder-”

Just then the cow raised its head and gave a long, low, chilling “Moooooooooooooo”.  A sheep appeared beside it, a sheep standing on its hind legs and waving a terrifying battle-axe. Then another sheep crested the ridge, and another, and another. Soon the ridge was crowded with sheep, a whole horde of them, the sound of their combined sheepish voices filling the air and echoing off the mountains like spring thunder. “EM-TA-LA!” they chanted. “EM-TA-LA! EM-TA-LA!”

Catrina smiled, a slow, half-smile that spread across her face and lit her green eyes like a rising flame. She raised the Sporksaber, its red light dancing across the driven snow. She didn’t even consider emulating Mulan by shooting off a rocket and starting a convenient avalanche; no, instead she ran forward, charging the entire sheep army all by herself and screaming her name like a banshee: “Catrinaaaaaaaaaaaa!” As she ran, her boots tearing through the snow, she heard dramatic battle music soaring in the distance, and she broke into wild laughter. Finally, things were getting fun!

Will our plucky heroine survive? Will this story’s increasingly convoluted timeline ever get sorted out? Of course it will, because I made a helpful diagram of it. To find out what happens, stay tuned for Episode 44 of the Catrina Chronicles, coming soon! To catch up on previous episodes, go here. To check out Catrina’s previous adventure with the space hamsters, read Catrina in Space, available now on Amazon.Thanks for reading!


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  1. Hamsters rule! Great title, too!

  2. ““Well,” said Susan, smiling like a diabolical lolcat” – this is classic. And I love that you mentioned Bella Cullen. Pretty sure that was a first?? If not, I can’t remember the first time 😛

    I agree that hamsters rule. And I was telling a friend at work today about the rock band called Gerballica. hehehe

    the ominous return of the cow (may he moo forever!) and his sheep!

    I think you should publish all these episodes in book form and include that diagram as a ‘map’ 😉

    • I think that may be a first, too; I’ve made references to Edward here and there, but I don’t think I’ve gone after Bella yet. 😛

      If I ever start a rock band, I may very well call it Gerballica. That, or “Magellanic Cloud.” 😛
      and I may have mislaid that diagram. I have it around somewhere, I’m pretty sure.

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