Posthuman Enterprises presents...

Purp and the Revolution

August 18, 2023 Dr. Alan Marshall Episode 4
Posthuman Enterprises presents...
Purp and the Revolution
Show Notes Transcript

Comma and Osta journey around the galaxy in search of a mysterious fluid that will change life on Earth.



‘So what are we going to do now?’ asked Beechy.

Comma looked at Osta and Osta looked at Comma. Both of them looked at the bright hopeful eyes of all their new vegetable friends and then over to the UniCops with their assembled weaponry and spacecraft.  ‘Mmm. Time to eat some dust’ Osta said.

It is usually believed that the brain is the anatomical device which thinks up new ideas and creates original thoughts. According to the radical Earthling psychologist Maxwell Hinchinbrook, this is not the way ideas and thoughts are created at all. Sure the brain controls reflex actions and nerve impulses, he says, but you can hardly get a great inert lump of squishy pink meat to think up original ideas. 

The creative process, suggests Hinchinbrook, is the result of a contagious disease which is transferred via idea germs, microscopic creatures that live within the dust that inevitably shadows modern civilization. This is where the phrase ‘Time to eat some dust’ emerged from.

One rather unsavory side effects of the growing popularity of Hinchinbrook’s germ theory is that an increasing number of the world’s important thinkers now seem to spend most of their time licking the floor beneath the fridge and sticking fingers up their noses in a desperate strive to ingest the accumulated dust particles there.

 ‘I’ve got an idea,’ said Osta, and he announced he was going to steal the Unicop space cruiser lying on the other side of the swamp. He figured that the UniCops were too busy torturing the ion trees to worry too much about him.

 ‘You’re crazy, Osta. It’ll never work.’ 

 ‘Why not?’ asked Osta.

 ‘Because you havn’t been drinking!’

 Osta set off around the swamp anyway and he managed to get to the space cruiser without any UniCops noticing. He didn’t really have any idea about how to get inside so he just knocked on the door. In a few seconds it kranked open. ‘Who the hell are you?’ asked a scary looking silver robot standing in the doorway. Osta told the robot his name. ‘Oh’ said the robot. 


“So who are you?” asked Osta. The robot looked puzzled for a moment. Then it told Osta he was the robopilot. ‘Oh’, said Osta, hoping his non-aggressive attitude would lull the robopilot into a false sense of security. 


‘Your that scholar guy!’ shrieked the robopilot as its memory banks started whirring.


‘Am I?’ said Osta in feigned surprise.


‘Yes. Yes, you are. You’re Osta, the scholar guy. You’re a wanted man!’ Osta asked the robopilot who wanted him, exactly, and he asked it in a tone which suggested that everything could be sorted out. ‘We do!’ said the robopilot, still shrieking.


‘Well, here I am,’ said Osta with his arms spread wide. The robopilot asked Osta what he was doing here on Kank, in front of a Unicop space cruiser. Osta replied that it was all cool, he was just coming to see the UniCops to give himself up and sort out any remaining problems. The robopilot’s eyes glowered in anger and confusion. ‘But you’re just a robopilot and you don’t even have a gun so I had better go give myself up to one of the real cops,’ said Osta as he turned to go.


‘No, no. Just stay right there,’ shouted the robopilot. Osta stopped still as the robopilot’s electronic brain weighed up the situation.  ‘I’ll…um…go get a gun from one of my colleagues’, it eventually said. ‘Just stay right there! Don’t move an inch!’ Osta nodded his head calmly and the robopilot stepped off the space cruiser ramp to walk away. 


Osta then signaled to all his new friends to follow him quickly onboard. The plants were so eager however that instead of letting the robopilot wander off, they ambushed him, wrapping tendrilous branches around his neck, poking spines in his joints, and pelting him with box-shaped tomatoes. Having conquered the robopilot, the victorious plants rushed aboard the space cruiser. As Comma commandeered the pilot seat, Stinky and his friends rampaged through the cruiser, shouting loudly and celebrating their escape from Kank. Osta tried to herd them all together and quiet them down while Comma pressed all sorts of flight buttons in an attempt to launch. When she did manage to find the right button she sniggered at the UniCops who were looking up in surprise at their departing space cruiser. 


However, the UniCops were soon jolted into action by a hovertank commander, yelling orders to open fire at the stolen spacecraft. ‘Get your miserable butts into gear and prepare to fire!!!’ yelled the Commander at his troops. 


The hovertanks soon pounded the air with super-sonar zapp shells that crashed and splattered around the space van. Comma swerved the cruiser as best she could but she knew it would be just a matter of time before one of the hovertanks got lucky and the cruiser would be blasted out of the sky. ‘Arrhh, we need a RandyThrust,’ yelled Comma as another blast pummeled just outside. Osta wondered if Comma had suddenly come over all sexy.  If at all alluring, Comma’s face  expressed a ‘gotta-escape-the-fucking-bad-guys’ look rather than a ‘let’s-get-down-and-dirty-since-we-are-all-gonna-die-anyhow’ look. ‘There must be a RandyThrust button somewhere!’ 


‘Well, what will it look like?’ asked Osta.


‘A little round thing you can press.’ For a few pensive moments Osta looked at what he guessed to be about six thousand little round things that could be pressed. As yet another blast zapped by, he cursed aloud and crazily began to press as many of them as he could lay his ten fingers on. From behind his shoulders and between his legs a whole multitude of twigs, branches, stamens and anthers reached around and through him to press more buttons, push knobs and pull levers. Somehow, one of these fingers or twigs managed to hit the right control. The space cruiser suddenly twisted on its own flight path, knotting the stomachs of all on board.






The RandyThrust is an auto-pilot guidance system that is eminently suitable for situations such as this; being fired upon by an aggressive enemy. The RandyThrust randomly jerks any spacecraft in random directions. The enemy can’t aim their weapons accurately at you because they don’t know where you’re going to be next. This makes sense since you don’t know where you are going to be next, either.


Many cybernetic professionals, however, think the RandyThrust to be a little bit of a scam. Postmodern mathematics has shown that RandyThrust flight isn’t entirely random but actually, subtly patterned. A mathbot named Boomguuder worked out that the RandyThrust pattern of movement is actually based upon the mating motions of the Rhinoid beasts of the planet Buddahh Hhold.


The Rhinoid beasts have a complicated set of sexual moves. Each beast has to circle a potential mate at a speed in direct proportion to the age of its most recent bowel movement multiplied by the weight of all the rotten flesh currently trapped between its mates’ third row of teeth. Then the oldest participant has to jump over the youngest participant while humming quietly and sneezing gently in perfect synchrony with the number one pop-chart hit predicted for a month next Tuesday. Only then will sexual contact be possible.


Add to this the fact that there are seven sexes of Rhinoid beasts, and you do, indeed, have a very complicated set of movements; not really random but sufficient enough to enable space cruisers to easily evade hovertank blasts. Holding conversations during RandyThrust flights, however, is anything but easy.




‘Whaaaaaaaa aaaaaaa aaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaat?’


‘I said hhhhhow…hhhow…hhhow…hhhhhhow….hhhhow…how?’ 


‘Whaaaaaaa aaaaaaaa aaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? 


‘I said how long do we have to put up with this?!’ The space cruiser engines suddenly eased to a gentle stop as it parked itself in orbit around a nice looking planet. ‘That’s better,’ said Osta as he rubbed his bruised elbows. ‘Where are we?’


‘Isn’t that Earth?’ asked Beechy. The bushes and shrubs and herbs all crowded around the window, curious to see Earth: the planet of their ancestors.


‘Yup, it sure is,’ said Comma. 


‘It’s sooo beautiful,’ said Stinky. 


‘But how can it be Earth?’ asked Osta. ‘It takes three days to get from Earth to Kank. How come it only took us a minute to get back?’


‘The RandyThrust must have pushed the cruiser through a bunch of wormholes’ suggested Comma, ‘and since there’s a homing beacon installed on-board, we automatically found our way back to homebase: Earth.’ Comma then turned to Beechy. ‘So, where do you want to land?’ Beechy looked out the window and said that most of plants on board were dug out of the forests of Peroovia. Osta pressed the button to turn on the telescopic viewer and he directed it at the equatorial part of the Earth.


‘Ah, I can’t see anything green there,’ said Beechy.


‘No, you’re right,’ said Comma.


‘There’s the city of Woftus,’ said Osta. ‘So the Forest of Peroovia should be somewhere thereabouts,’ he said pointing low upon the view screen. Nobody could see any forest, though. Osta zoomed and magnified the view screen some more but still no greenery was evident.


‘What have they done with our forest?’ asked Stinky, directing his angry gaze at Osta.  


Osta tapped some more buttons and announced that there was something there. ‘But only a bunch of burnt out stumps and slashed logs. The forest has been cleared away.’


‘What?’ asked Comma.


‘All of it?’ said Beechy. The faces of the plants sank. 


Osta then zoomed in further with the viewer. ‘And look at that!’ he said.


‘At what?’ chorused the plants.


‘That small bright yellow thing,’ said Osta pointing to a spot on the viewer. 


‘It’s a…a bulldozer,’ said Beechy.


‘And look what’s written on it,’ said Osta.


‘Property of VUW,’ announced Stinky. ‘Those bastards!’ Some of the plants peering at the view screen suddenly grew more animated, radiating heat in anger, whilst others wept at the sight of their dead forest home. One plant emitted gaseous ethylene tears. Comma had to console them before she and the others passed out. 


Just then, one of the buttons on the panel started flashing. ‘Hey!’ said Osta. ‘We’re picking up a transmission. Someone’s broadcasting a message over the Unicop bandwidth.’


‘Greetings UniCops; soldiers of the Universe and technological revolutionaries.’ 


‘It’s Smuts,’ said Comma. ‘The Chancellor of the University’


The plants booed and sneered as the image of the Chancellor was projected on the view screen. Stinky was particularly aggravated; little balls of fetid sap spraying out from the pores of his leaves. ‘Bastard bastard bastard!’ The others chanted insults about Chancellors name; intimating that it sounded like a fungal disease. 


‘Shuddup vegetables and listen,’ said Osta.


‘…your recent campaign on the planet Kank,’ finished the Chancellor. 


‘Uh,’ muttered Osta.


There was more to the transmission but it became intermittent--the signal not clear. Words of congratulation seemed to be part of it, though, as were phrases about ‘galactic progress’, ‘photosynthetic super-machines’, and ‘the coming technological revolution’ mixed in with phrases like ‘Is this microphone working?’, ‘super-moron’ and ‘why didn’t you tell me, you idiot.’ Osta cleared a layer of leaves from the communications panel and the rest of the message came through sparklingly clear.


‘We have another thorn in our side. The anarchic Moopers have still not given us permission to harvest the Mung Bug from their planet. As you all know the Mung Bug is the last surviving creature in the galaxy whose organs contain Purp; that vital fluid needed to circulate the Chembotz through the bodies of our students and if Progress and Learning are to continue to expand, we must conquer the planet Moop and secure its crop of Purp. The attack begins tomorrow at 9am sharp! I bid you the best of luck in this glorious technological revolution.


‘That’s terrible. We have to do something,’ said Comma as the transmission ceased. Osta looked her right in the eye and asked what exactly she thought they could do. He acknowledged the concerns of Comma and Beechy and the other plants, admitting that the University had probably violated its own Ethics Committee rules just a tad but he saw no way to counteract what they were doing. 

‘Well, we can at least warn the Moopers!’ said Comma. The plants nodded their branches in agreement.

‘And replant the forests!’ suggested Beechy. The plants rustled their leaves in enthusiasm and held their green faces high.

‘And then rise up and revolt against the university!’ yelled Stinky and all the plants cheered loudly throwing seeds and pollen all over the cruiser. 

Comma smiled but Osta just frowned. He punched Stinky off of the pilot seat and turned to tell them all it was a pointless endeavor trying to fight the university. 

‘How do you know that?’ asked Comma. Osta answered that the university had been ripping up resources all over the galaxy to finance the construction of a Unicop force that was now so large and so weaponised it was impossible to stop. ‘It’s all part of this revolution in technology Smuts keeps going in about’. The plants enthusiasm subsided as Osta said this but Comma began querying Osta about where he got his information from. ‘I use to work for the university,’ admitted Osta.

‘You bastard, I knew it,’ said Stinky pointing a twig at him. Osta leant down to snap the twig off. 

‘That’s until I realized what they were doing,’ carried on Osta, ‘and politely suggested to them that it wasn’t very nice.’

‘For real?’ asked Comma.

‘For which they declared me an enemy of the revolution and they’ve been hunting me down ever since.’

‘But we have to do something!’ said Comma.

‘Yeah. Put up with it,’ retorted Osta. 

‘What do you mean?’ 

‘There’s always going to be war and exploitation and evil empires,’ said Osta with a disheartening look on his face. ‘They’re all just part of this pointless miserable thing called life’. The plants looked angrily back at him. 

‘Maybe you’re right Osta’ said Comma. ‘Maybe life has no point to it. Maybe life is just one pile of crap followed by another. But we can at least try to make our own little part of the universe a little less crappy?’ The plants all agreed, cheering and stomping their roots in a call for action.

‘Well, tell me how!’ asked Osta.


‘Maybe there is something we can do’ said Beechy. All the plants on board turned to face Beechy with hopeful expressions on their faces.


‘The chem-bots that the university pumps into their students…’


‘What about them?’ asked Osta. 


‘…This ship has got loads of them on board,’ said Beechy, his leaves waving in all directions. ‘In the weapons systems. In the computers,’ said Beechy.


‘So?’ asked Comma.


‘What if we just re-program the chembotz with new ideas? Something revolutionary?’


‘Yeah, yeah,’ said Stinky and the other plants.


‘Like what?’ asked Osta.


‘I don’t know’, said Beechy. ‘A bit of Ghandi, a bit of Jesus, a bit of Marx…”  


‘And the Eco-philosophy of the Foucauldian Robo-Buddhists,’ added Comma.


‘If you like,’ shrugged Beechy.


Osta was shaking his head. ‘But how do we get the chem-bots into the bodies of the students?’ he asked. Stinky threw Osta a nasty look for pouring cold water on the plan but Osta ignored it.


‘The Chancellor just gave the game away’ asserted Osta. We can use Purp. From the Mung Bugs.’ 


Comma looked at Osta and they both thought about it for a few seconds.  ‘Okay, that could work!’ said Osta. The plants raised their green eyes to Osta, hope beaming in all of them. ‘But we have to get to the planet Moop before the UniCops attack tomorrow’, he said.


‘Yes!’ yelled the plants.


‘Let’s go do it, right now!’ yelled Stinky.


Osta shrugged his shoulders and a smile spread across his face in solidarity with the ambitions of his new vegetable comrades. The plants cheered, pledging their allegiance to experimental organisms everywhere and calling for the violent overthrow of Smuts’ government. ‘Revolution here we come!’ affirmed Comma aloud as she stabbed at the control panel. ‘You’d better put on your seat belt on’. 






The way VUW deals with aliens might be thought rather wretched but Earthlings have always had a somewhat troubled time with extraterrestrials. As a prime example of this consider the early history of a scientific project called SETI, the Search Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Way back in the 21st Century, before humans had become galactically important, there lived a famous Earth biologist, Dr. Sidney Schnoll, who earned many prestigious awards by sticking things into starfish and hurting them. 

The starfish he stuck things into all wriggled in pain and many thought that Schnoll would have been aware of this, but alas, no—his mind was on the science. Anyway, Schnoll was also a keen SETIist and so he spent much of his spare time energetically zapping ‘hello’ messages into the heavens in order to contact intelligent space aliens.

Schnoll’s trust in science and technology led him to believe that contact with any technologically advanced alien would immediately make the Earth a far better place since it would provide humanity with beneficial knowledge and useful superduper gadgetry. The dubiety of this assumption only dawned upon Schnoll when, after a night of particularly enthusiastic zapping,  a hyper-advanced alien patrol ship landed near his house before sending out powerful probes that were pushed painfully into his head. He wriggled madly but to no avail. 

All was not a total loss, however, since the sad grunts and screams that he let out when each probe were removed were imaginatively used by the aliens to communicate benevolently with the Earth’s starfish.

Thankfully, Comma and Osta fared rather better than Schnoll when they contacted the Moopers. In fact, Comma and Osta were so much welcomed by the Moopers they were immediately invited to a First Contact seminar held in their honour in a great stadium.

The Moopers are a fiercely democratic and egalitarian society, believing that no individual is more qualified than any other individual to run their planet. Because of this, managers of public projects were chosen randomly from the population via the rolling of balls in a computerised lottery. And this, for your information, was how Comma and Osta’s seminar was organized. 

In the middle of a stadium full of some fifty thousand eager Moopers, a little metal ball plopped out into a clear plastic bucket. The number of the ball was projected for all to see on a huge screen above the spot where Comma and Osta were standing. A single pastel green Mooper was perched on its hind flippers nearby, calling out the number into a public address system.  ‘The first number,’ said the Mooper in a rather self-important tone, ‘is 13,401. Will holder of ticket 13,401 please direct a question at our Earthling guests.’ 

Up in row H, on the north stand, a pastel blue Mooper stood up. The cameras raced over to the selected Mooper and ornate microphones descended from the roof for it to speak into.  The Mooper said hello and then announced his question ‘Why have you come here’?

Comma got out of the three-legged bathtub thing that was her seat and spoke to answer the question. ‘We have come here to warn you that you will be attacked.’

‘And we have come here to ask you if we can have some Mung bugs,’ added Osta.


‘What for?’ asked the Mooper in row H.


‘No no,’ said the pale green Mooper standing next to Comma and Osta. ‘You’ve had your question,’ and it pressed a button on a panel to allow another ball to run out. ‘Okay, ticket number 48, 984,’ she called out.


‘That’s me!’ yelled out a pastel yellow Mooper in the last row. ‘So, who’s going to attack us?’ it asked. ‘Is it you?’


‘No!’ said Comma into her microphone annoyed by the confusion. She then tried to explain that all they really wanted were the mung bugs but she didn’t get very far.


‘Yes yes! That’s enough,’ interrupted the ball-rolling Mooper. ‘Only one answer per question, please. Otherwise it becomes unfair,’ it said wagging its flipper at Osta. Osta was just about to make a point but the ball-roller had pressed another button and was reading out the number. ‘33,744.’ 


A pastel orange Mooper stood up in the stand behind Comma and Osta. He asked them whether on Earth they have mountains or not.


‘Yes,’ said Comma. ‘Of course.’


‘Who cares about mountains?’ said Osta sharply. ‘We’ve come to tell you…’ But yet again he was interrupted by the ball-rolling Mooper, telling him that they had a lot to get through and a yes or no answer would have to do for that particular question. The ball-roller then pressed for a new ball and it duly came out. 


‘Do your mountains go up or down?’ came the question from a pastel grey Mooper. Osta rolled his eyes.


‘What?’ replied Comma.


‘Do they go up or down?’ asked the ticket holder again


‘Well’ said Comma a little confused. ‘Up’. 


‘Up?’ repeated the ticket holder and the whole stadium echoed his surprise.


‘Yes, up!’ said Osta forcefully. ‘The same way you’ll be blown when the UniCops arrive. Listen…’


‘You are respectively reminded,’ interrupted the ball-roller once more, ‘to answer the question asked. Due democratic process must be adhered to’. It pressed another button and a new ball rolled out. ‘Okay. Ticket number 3457.’ 


A salmon colored old Mooper stood up slowly. ‘In case you didn’t know,’ it said. ‘Our mountains go down. Well, mostly. So it’s quite exciting for us to…’


‘Ask your question please ticket number 3457,’ said the ball-roller impatiently.


‘Yes. Certainly’, answered the old Mooper. But then he spoke up again to admit he had forgotten it. ‘Um…just a second, I wrote it down here on the back of my flipper. Woops, wrong flipper. Nope not that one either. Just a moment...’ Osta frowned at the slowness of proceedings and he suddenly grabbed a microphone and spoke aloud to warn the Moopers they would soon be attacked by an interstellar army.


‘Does that answer your question, ticket holder 3457?’ asked the ball-roller. The old Mooper responded that he hadn’t even asked his question yet; to which the ball-roller just reached to press for another number ‘Well, we have to move on. Maybe next time.’ A new ball popped out. 


‘What next time?’ yelled the old Mooper angrily. ‘There’s 50,000 of us here. What are the chances of…’ The ball-roller interrupted telling the old Mooper that he should have been more careful with his question. 


‘Here’s my question, then…’ said the old Mooper not giving up. ‘Who made you the bloody ball-roller?’ With this, the entire stadium became tense, all eyes focusing on the ball-roller. The ball-roller indignantly wiggled its flippers and announced that the question had not been authorized. 


‘Puhhh--you’ve become a ball-rolling fascist?’ said the old Mooper into the microphone still dangling in front of it and a couple of Moopers nearest him yelled out the same.


‘Listen...Moopers,’ started up Osta again. ‘We just wanted to warn you! Now, may we collect some Mung bugs, please!’


‘No No No Earthling!’ said the Ball-roller with its flippers slapping violently against the panel. ‘You must wait before you can ask your questions. Now where was I?’


‘When will the attack begin?’ yelled out a random Mooper from the masses. The indignant Ball-roller demanded to know who asked the question without her permission.


‘It was me, 5006.’


‘Did I roll your number?’ asked the ball-roller as she looked at the computer and the ball in the bucket. 


‘Shuddup about the ball-rolling for a minute,’ yelled out number 5006, before proceeding to warn all present that they had better listen to the Earthlings to find out more about the imminent attack. The Ball-roller was convinced that due democratic process must be adhered and was beginning to rattle of various laws of Ball-rolling.


‘Stuff due democratic process!’ yelled number 5006; along with his brothers, 5005 and 5007.  The cameras rounded in on them closely. ‘What are we going to do?!’  


‘Yeah, what are we going to do?’ shouted the ticket holders in all the rows nearby. Soon the whole East Stand was on its feet asking the ball-roller the same question. Another bunch of Moopers in the North Stand then started yelling for them to all shut up and let the ball-roller do her job. Amongst the growing cacophony the ball-roller screamed aloud the next number. 




‘Hey—they’ve already had a question’ yelled a group of light tan Moopers from seats behind the ball-roller. One of them then lurched into the air rather aggressively to physically grab an intruding camera and rip it down from its rigging. More Moopers lifted their bathtubs up, heaving them at the ball-rolling computer. It crashed apart spilling 50,000 metal balls all around the ground.  


Amongst the chaos, Osta shook his head and whispered to Comma that they best leave to go find the Mung Bugs for themselves. She agreed.






With little light traps and soothing gentle tones Comma and Osta attracted the Mung bugs out of their warm hiding places in the peri-urban Mooper grasslands. They then carefully deposited them in a very cute and humane little cage on the space cruiser, making sure to keep each family of bugs together while gently breathing on their whiskers to keep them moist. Then they put them into a blender and squished them into a thick paste.


‘Right,’ said Osta. ‘That’s a lovely nice pile of Purp.’ Beechy then emptied a vodka bottle full of reprogrammed Chembotz into the Purp. 


‘Cool,’ said Comma.


‘Yeah,’ said Beechy.


Late that night, Comma crashed the space cruiser gracelessly into the Victorious University duck pond.  While Comma kept the engines purring over, Osta took hold of the Purp-filled blender and, with Beechy and Stinky, he scampered out of the pond and across the campus, darting from tree to tree. This was made easier by the fact that Beechy was a tree, so that if a Unicop came along Beechy would just prop himself up in a regal manner while strategically sprouting leaves to hide Osta. 


After some minutes of this scampering, they managed to get themselves to the bottom steps of the marble steps.  ‘I think we can make it’ grunted Beechy. Just as they started to climb the steps, though, a hover truck descended from the rooftops with sirens wailing. Right in front of Osta and his plant friends, two burly UniCops stepped out of the hover truck. They unfastened their BeamWave guns and pointed them at Osta. Behind the cops, a man with a shiny bald head stepped out of the hover truck.


‘What the hell do you think you are doing Mr. Osta?’ the man said.


‘Smuts!’ said Osta in disgust. ‘How’s your revolution going?’


‘Fine. How’s yours going?’ Smuts answered, pointing at Osta’s plant friends and sniggering.  


Osta stood firm but he knew he was in trouble. ‘God, Osta! I reject your papers. I cancel your grants. I close down your department, and still you don’t disappear. Well, try surviving this you crazy fricking philosopher’ said Smuts as he waved for the UniCops to shoot him with their guns.


Before they could get their shots away though, the Chancellor yelped in disgust. ‘Oh yuck!’ The two UniCops turned to look at the Chancellor, who had a nice big blob of fresh bird poo smeared upon his bald head. As the two cops turned, though, they bashed their massive BeamWave guns together, each accidentally letting off a round and zapping one another into the paddy wagon cell at the back of the hover truck. 


Swaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark squawked with laughter as he flew away, leaving the Chancellor to stumble inside the hover truck swearing at Krollder to fly off as fast as he could.   


‘I’m not a philosopher! I’m a sociologist of modern thought!’ yelled Osta at the departing hover truck. ‘PHILOSOPHERS ARE ALL SCREWED IN THE HEAD!’


‘Are they?’ asked Stinky. ‘Why?’ 


‘You’d better ask them that’ Beach told him..


They then climbed the marble steps to a huge classroom. Here all the current crop of students were lined up in the dark in cushioned cubicles with purple fluid flowing through a tube into their arms.


Osta crawled along a corridor following an arterial tube backwards into an adjacent service room. The room was cluttered with Chembotz computers, vats of bubbling Purp, and a couple of vendor machines. Upon one of these vendor machines Osta set down the blender. He yanked out the arterial tube from University’s Purp vat then fumbled around in the dark with it for a few moments until he managed, with some difficulty, to plug it into the blender. 


‘Yes!’ said Osta exultantly. ‘Flow, you ugly goo. Flow!’


Racing back to the space cruiser, he patted Stinky on the head, threw the seagulls a bag of fresh sandwiches, and then climbed aboard.


‘We did it,’ yelled Stinky. And they launched into the Woftus sky.






So that was it. All they had to do now was wait; wait for the Purp to flow into the students’ bodies, wait for their minds to digest the revolutionary ideas within the Chembotz, wait for them to revolt against the university. It was all so easy. 




Osta had made a small mistake. Instead of plugging the arterial tube into the blender, he had plugged it into a vendor machine. The only thing he managed to pump into the student’s bodies was diet lemonade.


Anyway, as far as Comma and Osta were concerned the best place to wait for the revolution was somewhere a good distance from the UniCops, which is why they ended up here in my bar.


For six straight days they sat and drank. And as so often happens when one drinks, they also sat around chatting to a lot of strangers, too. They chatted to Bog Beasts, they told tales to Weasel beings, and they even managed to find a lost Kanker to cavort with. By the end of the six days at least a couple of hundred weirdo vagrants and booze-head hippies had heard their story, including--as you already know--a drunk little FlySpy robocamera.


The funny thing, though, is that a revolt did occur on Earth. Some weeks later the university was ransacked and its Unicop regime overthrown. Chancellor Smuts was the first with his head in a noose and some blurry film of the event suggests that the guy kicking away the stool was shoving a crap-stained handkerchief into the Chancellors mouth whilst bleating out ‘Who’s the super-idiot moron, now?’


Soon after, the VUW policy of galactic-wide domination was repelled and chemical learning was banned. The University was also opened up to several non-human species and within a few years Beechy and Stinky graduated with first class double degrees in botany and politics. 


But--you may very well ask--how could all of this have happened when all Osta had managed to do was plug a tube into a vendor machine?


Well, in that six days of drunken storytelling, Comma and Osta had so inspired their multitude of eager listeners with ideals of righteousness and hope and purpose, that all who’d heard their story rose up to rally an even larger idealistic group of activists. The group soon became so enraged with the dealings of the University that they all went off to Earth to do something about it. It seems it was not technology that changed the world, but enthusiastic storytelling.