For the Love of Temperance (The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance Book 3)

BOOK: For the Love of Temperance (The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance Book 3)
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For the Love of Temperance

 

 

 

 

ICHABOD TEMPERANCE

 

Copyright © 2013 Ichabod Temperance

All rights reserved.

 

ISBN-13:

978-1497455306

 

ISBN-10:

1497455308

DEDICATION

 

 

for Kady

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance

 

Volume One: ‘A Matter of Temperance’

Volume Two: ‘A World of InTemperance’

Volume Three: ‘For the Love of Temperance’

Volume Four: ‘A Study in Temperance’

Volume Five: ‘In a Latitude of Temperance’

Volume Six:‘The Measure of Temperance’

Volume Seven:‘The Seventh Voyage of Temperance’

Volume Eight: ‘The Title of Temperance’

Volume Nine: ‘A Journey of Temperance’

 

 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements             

Prologue · Red Menace             

Prelude · War on the Horizon             

Chapter One · Impact             

Chapter Two · Terror Comes To Alabama             

Chapter Three · Hostilities.             

Chapter Four · Woe of the Worlds             

Chapter Five · The Monster that Ate Birmingham.             

Chapter Six · The Happenstance of Fate             

Chapter Seven · To Pluck A Peach.             

Chapter Eight · Pursuit Into Misery             

Chapter Nine · A Mission Scarcely Possible!             

Chapter Ten · On the Advisement of my Betters             

Chapter Eleven · Regroup             

Chapter Twelve · Arachnopilliphobia.             

Chapter Thirteen · A Seamstress’ Dream             

Chapter Fourteen · Rehearsal             

Chapter Fifteen · Last Chance for Romance             

Chapter Sixteen ∙ The Martian Tango             

Chapter Seventeen · Adventure’s Reward             

Epilogue · A Hero Immortalized             

Afterword             

A
cknowledgements

Thank you, Wolfgang Metzger, for generously providing the delightful silhouette for use on the cover. Thank you, obstreperous Sergeant Turk, for the swell graphics.

Thank you, Lisa Walker England, for inviting Miss Plumtartt and me into your magical world of Aurelia.

Thank you, Rhiannon Chiacchiaro, for your generous assistance with my writing.

Thank you, Herbert Welles, for such an inspirational concept!

Thank you, Miss Persephone Plumtartt, for your invaluable assistance and gracious, patient, support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue · Red Menace

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dumpa-dumpa-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dumpa-dumpa-dump!

“Gringle kronk!”

“Kringle gronk!”

“Gringle kronk-a-donk-a-donk!”

(Stomp and crack!)

(Limbs and backs!)

(Let us all attack, attack, attack!)

Thousands upon thousands of heavy drums pulsate through the thin air. Hundreds of thousands of trio-ed feet stomp the red terrain. An otherwise barren landscape vibrates with the excited dance by an untold multitude of participants. The non-Terran tundra trembles under the tread of the terrible tri-toed tromps.

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dumpa-dumpa-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dumpa-dumpa-dump!

“Grargle jauck!”

“Grargle spauck!”

“Grargle-cauck!-a-cauck!-a-cauck!”

(We will pillage!)

(We will play!)

(We will pillage and slay today!)

Even when seen from a great height, the masses of thrice-armed monsters stretch for as far as your three eyes can see. Millions upon millions of the berserker monsters frolic in uncountable multitudes. In continuous and frenzied rituals, the awkward creatures parade about a gigantic mountain. This, however, is no naturally occurring geographic landscape feature. This is an artificial mountain. Generations of these inhabitants have toiled to create this monumental wonder. Almost inconceivably massive is our butte. It is actually of a metallic construction. Intricate machineries are built into the gynormous, circular behemoth. Nine titanic columns stand at equal distances around her perimeter. These are built to take the hydraulic backlash from the tectonic crushing attributes of the horrible creation.

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dumpa-dumpa-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dumpa-dumpa-dump!

“Smeagle fleag!”

“Fleagle smeag!”

“Fleagle, fleagle, fleagle, fleag!”

(We want water!)

(This planet’s a dud!)

(We want to waller in mud, mud, mud!)

The populace of this used-up planet has worked for this day through countless generations. Having exhausted her resources, the inhabitants of this scarlet world looked to the night sky for relief. In a not-too-distant orbit, lay a scrumptious planet, so young and tender. The object of desire is covered over by two thirds in water, a delicious atmosphere; and best of all, it teems with a delectable food source. A plan of conquest is devised, and all this world’s energies are henceforth directed towards an incredible public works project: this great, upwardly aimed device that so resembles a mountain, but is actually an incendiary launching system.

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dumpa-dumpa-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dump!

Bah-duh-dumpa-dumpa-dump!

“Kitka bitt!”

“Bitka kitt!”

“Kitka, kitka, bitt! bitt! bitt!”

“Bitt! Bitt! Bitt!”

“Bitt! Bitt! Bitt!”

(No more sand!)

(We get mud!)

(We slake our thirst on blood, blood, blood!)

(Blood! Blood! Blood!)

(Blood! Blood! Blood!)

Pulled by teams of slathering three footed oxen, a carriage is drawn to the overgrown hillocked howitzer. This vehicle is different than most. It is smooth and shiny. It has no windows. Cylinder shaped, its thick steel-like walls have no features. This hardtop buggy is very big. It is rounded on one end, forming a blunt nose, and flat on the other.

A round hatch is spun open in the center of the flattened end. A three-footed, three-armed fellow in a baggy, one piece suit steps forward. Enthusiastic admirers deluge this brave voyager in three-handed applause. Pausing at the entry hatch of his coach he turns and accepts the accolades of his peers. One final salute is given the raucous crowd before this worlds hero steps into the vehicle. The first of many inter-planetary conquerors is sealed into his projectile. The hatch is screwed shut tightly, safely sealing its hematanaut within.

Huge machineries begin the complicated business of opening their entry to the metal mountain. With many accompanying ‘kuh-whirrs’ and ‘kuh-chunks’, steel sections reveal their paths of conveyance. One after another, the heavy receiver sheets lift and pull backwards, like the many layers of a steel onion peeling open to accept the intrepid, packed passenger. This capsule is fed into the deepest breeches of the colossal cannon. This places our cosmic commuter atop his prepared propellants. There is enough bang compactly packed under this boy’s butt to send him on a very long journey.

Once the space carriage is properly seated, the breech receivers begin the complicated process of closing again. With the last great metallic breech snapping to place in a thunderous click, a hush falls over and spreads out among the gathered masses.

This moment has been worked towards for millenia.

A few moments of silence are reverently observed.

Instinctively, the chants, stomps, and drums start up again. Spreading through the throngs like a monster tsunami, a fevered and frothy hysterical pitch overtakes the inhabitants. They are a threat to themselves and each other in their violent and calamitous happiness. The wild and uninhibited celebration extends around this World of War.

Without having being told, the populace once again falls under the grip of a profound silence.

The breath of an entire species works as one.

An entire planet suspends its collective breath.

A subconscious, visceral umbilical cord connects this hopeful race of hematavoric monsters.

In some uncanny manner, a simultaneously occurring count-down begins.

At the critical, titular crescendo, the last crucial switch is thrown to fire the dread weapon.

B
O
O
O
O
OOM!
!
!

With a shot heard around the solar system, Mars begins her invasion and conquest of planet Earth.

Prelude · War on the Horizon

“I say, Mr. Temperance, is this not a thrilling occasion we share, eh hem?”

“Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am, you sure are. Oops, that is, what I meant to say was, it’s always a thrill, whatever the occasion we share, Ma’am, but I reckon you were referencing the astral phenomena we are here to witness.”

“Why, my dear Mr. Temperance, I believe that you have grown quite forward in your affections towards me. Yes, rather, for I note, sir, that we are out together, late at night, without chaperon, nor companions.”

~batt, batt, batt~

“Uhb, … oops! Careful, Ma’am, you know how I find myself easily flustered at the batting of your lengthy eyelashes. Golly, your clear, blue eyes make me more discombobulated than a drunk cow in a funhouse.  Anyhow, there must be thirty folks all around us.”

“Yes, but Mr. Temperance, none of us are in each other’s company. This mountaintop just outside of Birmingham, in your State of Alabama, is the darkest patch of the county.”

“Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am, that’s the idea. We were all trying to avoid the city lights to get a good look at the sky. I think a lot of folks had the same idea and picked Ruffner Mountain to do their nocturnal rubbernecking.”

“I am sure that they would agree with me though, sir, that this occasion has a certain thrill. You were considerate to so thoughtfully provision us with this blanket, that we might lie back and enjoy our celestial Heavens spread out above us. Looking into the endless stars, I am reminded of another incredible phenomenon from its unknowable inky depths.”

“Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am, it’s almost seven years now since June of ’69 and the ‘Summer of the Comet.’ Nowadays, in this year of 1876, that visitor from the galactic void is commonly referred to as ‘The Revelatory Comet.’”

“Quite so, Mr. Temperance, but was that not a thrilling time? Out of the dark aether’s limitless distances, the celestial snowball approached our warm yellow sun. Passing on her other side, the fiery visitor re-emerged again having gained momentum from our sun’s heavy gravitational well. The blazing comet whipped around Sol and hurtled back toward Earth as if slung from David’s sling.”

“I remember, Ma’am. There was a panic as the two bodies hurtled towards a cosmic collision. Of course, as you and I know, there was no direct impact. The comet crossed Earth’s orbit ahead of our tender world. Terra rolled through the glittering wake of the passing visitor. However, our planet underwent an amazing change after our passage through the tail of that comet.”

“Indeed, certain creatures, great and small, were greatly affected by the strange radiations. Many men and women from around the world had their natural mental acuities, or some other latent talent, greatly magnified. It is thought perhaps one in a thousand have been affected to a greater or lesser degree. The resulting change has been the most amazing fruition of inventive tinkering and blossoming of imagination to which mankind has ever been subject. The most obvious display of this has been in the prevalence of things mechanical. Powered by spring and steam, incredible creations abound in our world just a few short years after the ‘Comet’s’ passing. The hidden mysteries of electricity’s many strange applications have been revealed to men and women scientists in the shocking new field. It is not always in the form of inventive genius, such as yours, Mr. Temperance, that we witness signs of the Comet’s passing. Others are affected in ways more subtle than the ability to invent. Novelists, journalists, and artists flourish in this ‘Post-Comet World’ in which we live.”

“It’s an amazing time to be alive, Miss Plumtartt, with marvelous airships prowling the Earth’s skies, and automata abounding. It’s astounding how cities both large and small boast new methods of transport and communication. They say the telegraph is being superseded by the teletalker and pneumatic tube express. Have you heard of the contraptions homing pigeons can now carry? There are tiny devices that can convey vast amounts of information, including photographic images and voice reproductions.”

“I must say, Mr. Temperance, the Comet’s pass has bequeathed you with more than a fair turn toward invention. Your uncanny goggles that allow vision in dark conditions are among the greatest inventions of this Age. Your ability to quickly conceive of devices and build such is astonishing.”
~batt, batt, batt~

~gulp~
“Gee, whiz, thanks, Miss Plumtartt, but you are the one that is a true wonder. The noble bloodline of the proud Plumtartt name carries with it a native sensibility towards things occult. These ancestral abilities were greatly magnified in the Comet’s passing.”

“Yes, Mr. Temperance, but ever more so when I was caught in that unfortunate laboratory explosion. My father, the noted Professor Plumtartt, was attempting to fuse the very nuclei of a hyperactive isotope. The dangerous experiment he was conducting went horribly wrong. I was doused in an elemental beam of radioactive particles. This experience, coupled with the burden of my familial characteristics, begat a strange change in me resulting in an ability to cast red orbs of destructive power against ectoplasmic foes.”

“If I may, Ma’am, I would say your real strength is in your brilliant intellect, Miss Plumtartt. You are as smart as you are pretty and have attended the finest schools of England. You are the very image of the modern, British woman.”

“Oh, Mr. Temperance, aren’t you dear, but tell me, did you happen to provide a means of magnifying tonight’s observations?”

“Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt Ma’am! I whooped this here tellyscope together myself!”

“I say, I am pleased to see you able to turn your inventive genius toward peaceful ends, rather than the need to arm ourselves for battle against frightful foes. It seems that wherever we turn, you and I find ourselves at odds with inter-dimensional beings bent on devouring our fair planet, megalomaniacal despots with dreams of world conquest, or some other kind of hideous creature with which to contend, eh hem?”

“Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am, I sure am glad to have that sort of thing behind us.”

“It was seven years ago, people from around the world looked up into the night sky to witness the ‘Revelatory Comet;’ however, tonight, we look to the night sky to observe another wonderful spectacle from the black velvet heavens.”

~tinkily-tinkily-tink!~

“Do you hear that, Miss Plumtartt? Those little tinkly bells we hear are warning of the approaching pre-ordained time. Some of our hillside companions have little springbound devices to alert their owner. Gosh, ain’t it  thrilling to live in a time of incredible invention! How our predecessors would be astounded by the uncanny inventions that surround us and that we so freely take for granted. How quickly people become accustomed to and dependent upon these modern luxuries!”

“Humanity is quite adaptable when it comes to embracing new technologies, Mr. Temperance. Information travels freely in this day and age, and such is why we are here. Observatories from around the world have reported seeing volcanic activity on the planet Mars! Moreover, it has been occurring on a regular schedule for the past eight nights, miraculously, at the same time every night. Our reason for being here draws nigh sir. I say, do you mind if I assume control of the telescope and locate our red quarry, eh hem?”
~batt, batt, batt~

“Uhb, … oops! I mean, No Ma’am, you go right on ahead and help yourself!”

“Thank you, Mr. Temperance. Ah, there you are, Mars. How peaceful you appear, hanging in the night sky. Oh! There it is, Mr. Temperance! Along the equator, and in the planet’s shadow! There is a sudden flash of light! Here, come quickly and look!”

I quickly take a peek at the inter-planetary display. Sure enough, there it is, a bright pinpoint of light on our sister planet’s middle.

“Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, I see it! Ain’t it thrilling to get to watch something happen from such an unfathomable distance?”

“Indubitably, Mr. Temperance, though I cannot help dwelling on the clockwork regularity of the volcanic activities. One notes, however, that unlike our Terran volcanoes, each eruption happens in a brief flash. To my mind, the activity we just bore witness to was more like that of a cannon being fired than an actual volcanic disturbance.”

 

{This just happened to be the last night of the action, for though the volcanic clouds could be seen for many nights to come on Mars’ distant landscape, no more than those initial nine flashes were ever seen.}

BOOK: For the Love of Temperance (The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance Book 3)
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