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The Great Shnark. Ch 6. Tharg.

by  Shnarkle

Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Word Count: 2167
Summary: Having received a dimensional transportation orb from a stranger at his birthday party; the Shnark, his best friend Grimpleblik, Bob the human knight and the giant spider are transported to Tharg.


Eventually vague shapes began to materialise from the all encompassing white out; indistinct and indiscernible, fading in and out of the companion’s peripheral vision. Moment by moment the fluctuating shapes took on a greater permanence, giving the white out a finite depth for the first time, with a horizon and dimensions.
Their surroundings began to take on shades and hues, and a definite floor could be made out on which their table stood. With a sudden pop, that could be felt rather than heard, their immediate environment all at once stood out in crystal clear clarity.
They had materialised in the middle of a large, duo decagon shaped hall, (that’s twelve sided, to save you the time of looking it up!) with a perfectly smooth, jet black granite floor flecked with whispers of gold. The black walls appeared to emit their own greenish light, but there was no obvious light source. At each wall was a slight alcove which featured various valuable paintings, statues and object d’art from Tharg’s past. Some of the statues were of a classical Greek style; others were more modern in appearance.
The ceiling was difficult to work out at first. It appeared black, with numerous fluffy white clouds swirling around a central point; but it was impossible to determine how high the ceiling was. At times it appeared only a few metres away, at others it seemed to spiral up to unimagined heights. The entire room seemed to hum with a hidden power, but the hum was so deep that it was physically felt rather than heard.
A few metres in from the walls were twelve equidistantly spaced black plexiglass lecterns, and behind each stood a tall human like figure dressed all in black and wearing a pointed black hood with little slits for eyeholes. Each figure was illuminated from above by a spotlight; but again the source of the light was uncertain.
“The planet Tharg welcomes the Great Shnark of Shnarklebark and his companions; although we do think that your spider is a bit on the ugly side.” intoned the hooded figure with a white number one on his forehead.
“Hideously so.” agreed The Shnark.
“Oh, well thank you very much I’m sure!” pouted the spider as Bob put his hand on her shoulder for moral support.
“We thank you for coming to our assistance in our time of dire need.” continued the hooded figure, “I am the First of the Splith, who inhabit this continent of Tharg, and this chamber holds the Council of Splitholith.”
“Try thaying that with a lithp,” thought the Thnark.
“SPLITHOLITH!!” boomed all the hooded beings at once, nearly turning the Shnark white with shock.
“It was obviously one of your mob who turned up at my birthday party, and gave me the present that brought us here.” said the Shnark, “How come you don’t speak, spark, spook like he did?”
“We only do that when we’re visiting other planets, to give us an air of mystery.” answered the First.
“Well it certainly gave him an air of stupidity.” replied the Shnark dryly. “Anyway,” asked the Shnark, quite diplomatically, he thought.“Now you’ve got us here what do you want?”
“Our entire civilisation which has lasted a million years is threatened with extinction. You are the only one who can save us.” The other hoods nodded as the First explained their dilemma.
“In our never ending search for new sources of energy we began drilling for the precious mineral Gath in the depths of the Forgotten Sea which washes our shores. In so doing we fractured a natural fault in the sea bed which opened, freeing the race of the Sploth who lived confined beneath the planet’s crust. They covet our lands and our advanced lifestyle, and as we speak, they are assailing our western borders, preparing for a full scale invasion.”
“Well,” questioned The Shnark, “with all your advanced technology, why don’t you just give them a good kicking and send them back where they came from?”
“Ah, technology has it’s pitfalls as well as its benefits.” replied the First dourly. “For over a thousand of your years we have lived in peace and harmony, with no use for violence. Indeed, we have no knowledge of weapons or the fighting arts at all and so have no way of defending ourselves against even the most basic attack.Because of this we took measures to seek out a champion who could defend us; and set about analysing the DNA of creatures across the multiverse in the hope of finding one who had the internal chemistry to be a special being when they came to Tharg.
Our representative on your planet singled you out as our potential saviour, and gave you the trans-dimensional travel orb in the hope that you would use it and come to Tharg.”
“No,” said the Shnark shaking his head, “I don’t understand a word of this. What makes me so special; apart from my natural intelligence, rapier like wit and stunning good looks of course?”
“Due to your particular DNA sequence,” said the First, “you have special powers when on Tharg.”
“Special powers!?” scoffed the Shnark sarcastically, “What, like Superman?”
“Exactly.” Agreed the Splith
“So I suppose if I point at that ancient and priceless statue over there, lightning is going to shoot from my fingertip and reduce it to a pile of smoking dust!” said the Shnark, pointing at the statue as a bolt of lightning shot from his finger and reduced the ancient work of art to a pile of smoking dust.
The First of the Splith began tapping his foot in annoyance, “That was an ancient and priceless statue from the great history of Tharg!” he complained.
The Shnark was studying the wisps of smoke curling up from his fingertip, “How was I to know that was going to happen; all I did was point at a statue, like this.” said the Shnark pointing at another statue and immediately reducing it to dust in a flash of crackling electricity.
The First of the Splith tapped his foot even harder, “Will you please stop pointing at things!” he shouted, “We’ll have no history left at this rate.”
“Sorry.” muttered the Shnark in surprise.
“Have I got special powers as well?” Grimpleblik asked the First.
“We don’t know,” he replied, “After we found the Shnark we stopped looking.”
“Grimple,” whispered the Shnark, “you see that big painting over there,” the Shnark nodded his head at a large portrait of a very important looking woman wearing a hood sitting astride a thoroughbred horse.
“What, that one?” pointed Grimpleblik, as a spout of flame shot from his finger and reduced the painting to smoking ash in a split second.
The First of the Splith was now stamping his foot in apoplexy, “Will everybody stop pointing at anything this instant!” he screamed. “That portrait of the first female First of the Splith is…was two thousand years old, and now a bunch of yobs that are meant to be here to save the planet Tharg are systematically destroying it!”
“Take it easy,” said Grimpleblik blowing out the flickering flames that were dancing around the end of his finger. “We weren’t to know that the Shnark is, in reality no other than Lightning Man, and I Grimpleblik is The Great Firestarter of Tharg!”
Behind them, Bob and the spider were busy pointing furiously at every statue and painting they could see, with absolutely no effect,
“My finger doesn’t work.” complained Bob, machine gun finger pointing random statues around the room.
“None of mine do.” moaned the spider, sitting on her backside and pointing all eight legs at different priceless artefacts at the same time.
“You’re not supposed to be trying!” screamed the First, now jumping up and down and banging the top of his lectern with his fist. “Will you please all just sit down and listen for a minute!”
They all sat down and listened for a minute.
“Right,” said the First, regaining some semblance of control. “Now that you have seen the powers you have, do you think you are able to help us?”
“That depends.” replied the Shnark slowly, hatching a plan in his mind as he spoke. “What sort of weapons do this Sploth have?”
“So far as we can make out they are armed with swords and spears.” said the First; finally thinking he was getting somewhere.
“Ooh, dangerous,” said the Shnark in mock horror. “What do you think Grimpleblik?”
“Mmm yes, dangerous.” agreed Grimpleblik catching the Shnark’s wink.
“Bob?” enquired the Shnark, winking furiously at him.
“No, not dangerous at all,” answered Bob, “Let me at ‘em!” The Shnark kicked Bob’s shin under the table. “Ow, actually on second thoughts yes, very dangerous.” agreed Bob rubbing his shin.
“Spider?” said the Shnark with a meaningful look.
“Ooh yes,” said the spider, “sharp sticky pointy things are very dangerous.”
“Well, there we have it,” said the Shnark turning to the First, “A very dangerous mission. I’m sure I can speak for my colleagues,” they all nodded in agreement, “when I say that we will take up the challenge of battling the Sploth if you pay us 10 million Shnack.”
“What’s that?” queried the First.
“Money,” said the Shnark, “Moolah, wonga, spondoolicks, paperwork, folding stuff.”
“Ah,” said the First, “We dispensed with money hundreds of years ago; we have no need of it.”
“Well we most certainly do,” countered the Shnark. “Grimpleblik, hand me a 10 Shnack note please.” after much fumbling Grimpleblik passed a note across the table to the Shnark.
“Can you copy a million of these?” asked the Shnark, getting up and passing the note to the First.
“Of course.” confirmed the First as he eyed the note curiously through his hood.
“Then we have a deal.” smiled the Shnark rubbing his hands together gleefully. “By the way; you said you were drilling in the Forgotten Sea; why do you call it that?”
“We can’t remember.” answered the First, with some embarrassment as the hoots of laughter from the Shnark’s company rang in his ears. “However,” he continued, raising his hands for order, “As you shall not begin your journey to the battlefield until the morning, please accept our hospitality with a meal and private rooms for you all.” He gestured to one of the pairs of huge double doors that were set at regular intervals around the room, which hissed quietly as they swung open. The company made their way through the doors into a hallway where they were met by another Splith with the number 385639 across his black hood.
“Welcome to Splith City,” he said, “Please follow me.” He led the company along the hallway which was all polished granite and tall tinted glass windows, to another set of huge double doors.
“The Spittlewick Hotel.” He intoned gravely. After a couple of seconds a small electronic gong boinged and the doors slowly hissed open, revealing the lobby of the Spittlewick Hotel.
“That is mightily impressive,” said the Shnark amid the gasps of his colleagues, “How does that work?”
“With these portals we can go wherever we want in the city. Here at the Council of Splitholith...”
“Splitholith!!” boomed the Council from behind the closed doors.
“…We are on the 725th floor.” explained the Splith. “Just name where you want to go and you find it on the other side of the portal door.”
“We have a building at home with 726 floors,” said the Shnark, “But that’s another story.”
“Go on then, show us another one.” urged the spider, sniggering at the Shnark’s joke.
“Indeed.” said the Splith as the doors closed again. “The Staz Beach Complex.” Again, the gong sounded and the doors opened onto a large Splithmade bay, with gentle waves lapping a perfect golden beach. A short walk away was a sunken bar where swimwear clad Splith in different coloured hoods sat drinking and chatting. The warm sunshine caressed the sunbathers on the beach, some of whom were playing Frisbee, whilst another group were playing volleyball in a proper sand court with a net.
“Incredible.” muttered the Shnark. “Do another.”
Once the doors had closed again the Splith said, “The Gramstraddler Concert Hall.” As the doors opened the company were assailed by thunderous rock music as a full on rock concert appeared before their eyes, with hundreds of young Splith shaking their hoods in time to the music.
“So we’re still on the 725th floor of the Council of Splitholith,” shouted the Shnark over the wall of sound.
“Splitholith!” shouted the Council in the background, struggling to be heard over the din.
“But as soon as we step over the door,” continued the Shnark, “we’re on the ground floor, in a concert hall somewhere else in the city.”
“Correct.” Shouted the Splith somewhat unnecessarily as the doors had now closed and they were standing in silence.
“Cool.” admitted the Shnark nodding his head in admiration. “Time to get back to the hotel I think.”