Note that this is not the final version and may change when the book comes out
Duth_Olec: It’s a whole new world they live in,
It’s a whole new world to see,
It’s a whole new place, and a copyrighted song.
But you can’t actually hear the tune, so you can’t tell what it be.
Wally_Plotch: That’s one way to start the story.
Duth_Olec: It’s way better than “Once upon a time”.
Wally_Plotch: So what you’re trying to say is we’re looking at a new world for this story?
Duth_Olec: Correct! For those of you who read the first two Cloudy Cuckoo Cosmos novels, Slubes! These Slugs Are Okay, and Darmenzi! I Hate This Guy, Too, you’re familiar with the planet Mintop. Next door, however, lay the cool planet of Derantu and the cold planet of Zhop.
Wally_Plotch: While we remain here in The Cloud, the court-stenographer-turned-narrator Wally (that’s me), the robot mechanic ALFALFA, and the… Duth.
Duth_Olec: The Duth. I kind of like the sound of that, actually.
The_Duth: Okay, I’m The Duth from now on. Meh, Wally. Meh!
Wally_Plotch: At least you decided to do this at the beginning instead of halfway through the story.
Duth_Olec: Okay I decided The Duth isn’t a good idea. Now then, are you strapped in, Wally?
Wally_Plotch: Sometimes I think I should have a seat belt with your piloting skills.
Duth_Olec: I have been piloting this cloudy ship for over ten thousand years, so I have to say my piloting skills are EXCELLENT.
Wally_Plotch: What was that cracking sound?
Duth_Olec: Nothing important.
ALFALFA: Duth just broke the brakes.
Wally_Plotch: What? Really?
Duth_Olec: Give me a break, ALFALFA. Where we’re going, we don’t need… Actually, brakes would be incredibly helpful where we’re going. Give me a brake, ALFALFA.
ALFALFA: Shall I install the new brakes?
Duth_Olec: Yes, of course. What, you think Wally is going to do it? He doesn’t know anything about this machine, he worked at the courts.
Wally_Plotch: How long is this going to take?
Duth_Olec: Shouldn’t take long. If The Cloud wasn’t such an ancient, worn-out, battered piece of junk I could just auto-install it, but at this point trying to use The Cloud to alter The Cloud would probably result in a black hole and not a few gray craters. Maybe even a violet tunnel. I don’t know; I’m not much of a physicist. Tell you what, Wally, sit tight while the brakes are installed, I gotta go make a call.
Cosmos Logbook entering standby
Cosmos Logbook reactivating
Wally_Plotch: Are the brakes in?
ALFALFA: The brakes have been reinstalled.
Duth_Olec: And I called Neil deGrasse Tyson for his opinion on the whole black hole thing, but I got the wrong universe because he just said he was a coleopterist, which is apparently someone who studies beetles.
Duth_Olec: Oh, Earth guy. You wouldn’t know him. Since, you know, Earth. Different universe, different dimension. Anyway, now that we got the brakes in, let’s go to the core of Zhop!
Wally_Plotch: The core of Zhop?
Wally_Plotch: Duth, Zhop is coming in way too fast on the screen. Are we actually moving? We’re going to crash into it at this rate. Why are we going to the core?
Duth_Olec: The planet’s like ground zero for fallout, and we need to refuel The Cloud.
Wally_Plotch: What? Nuclear fallout?
Duth_Olec: Years ago, yeah, but what’s left mostly now is imagicational fallout, the stuff The Cloud runs on.
Wally_Plotch: I barely stayed on my seat through all that shaking. What was that weird sound?
Duth_Olec: We’ve barely started or said anything of any meaning, and you’re already on the edge of your seat.
Wally_Plotch: The screen is black, though.
Duth_Olec: It’s dark down here. Okay, all systems are ready to go. The Cloud’s reserves of magic are full and probably leaking. If you see a Flibodew, don’t bother letting me know because I don’t actually know what that is and might have made it up, which probably means, now that we’re full of imagication, it now exists somewhere in the engine and ALFALFA is going to have to clear it out. Meanwhile, let’s us do a magic screening and find our little bundle of crazy.
Wally_Plotch: Who are we following here?
Duth_Olec: You’ll find out soon enough. Here it is. Let me link up with their thoughts, get sound up, video feed, and everything should be ready for you to start narrating, Wally.
Wally_Plotch: Gah! That was loud. It was like a glacier splitting in half.
Duth_Olec: Well, the sound should be dying down now, so put your headphones back on.
Wally_Plotch: Yeah, it is. Now I’m hearing chanting. Okay, I’m hearing our subject’s thoughts. Let’s get started.
Duth_Olec: Cloud’uckoo Cosmos!