Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...

Other sites:

:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::

I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.

August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004][20/03/2019 - giving up. I don't have enough time to update the blog atm, let alone edit old entries!]

If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.

First, a recommendation. Dive over to The Jonathan Day Fiction Site and try some of the stories. I love this author's writing - it's funny, bitingly witty, dryly incisive, chilling, and deliciously subversive by turns. Absolutely well worth a look!

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.

My IMDb ep summaries

Arthur of the Britons
Star Maidens
The Starlost
Space Rangers
The Sentinel (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Swamp Thing (part: season 3)
Gravedale High
Transformers: Armada
Transformers: Energon
Transformers: Cybertron (part)
Misfits of Science (four eps)
Zoo Gang
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)
The Café

For later:

BBC Lion, witch and wardrobe
BBC Caspian and Dawn Treader
BBC Silver Chair
(Missing Excel Saga eps)
(Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)

Silver birch at Eastwood 


"Autumnal - nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day... Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it... Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses... deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth - reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere..."

(Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Act 2: Tom Stoppard)


I love this time of year. I love the colours, the sharp slant of sunlight on the trees, mosaics of acid-yellow and harts- blood, velvet and darkness and a haze of mist-grey over the hills. I love its immanence, its mellowness, the tang of frost just around the corner of the year...

Watching the little birds in the goat-willow in my garden, I realised something more.

I love this land with a fierce, possessive love, deep-rooted in two thousand years of history. From the frosted beaches and cloud-brushing peaks of the north to the wind-haunted meanderings of the rivers of the east, from the sensuous rolling patchworked hills of the south to the demanding dark moors of the west, this land seeps into bone and blood and synapse, mother of motley nobility, culture, individual freedoms. It can be known. It can be understood. It can be felt deep inside.

I love its effortless eccentricities, its vigour and vibrancy, its flawed perfections, its silent strength and tenacious resilience, its hard-won tolerances and intense and variable beauty, the profound energy in its sacred mythical landscape.

Home and more-than-home, the forces that shape and protect and bind, in me, as I am in the land. Love returning love in the stillness for those who'll only take the time to listen...

(Joules, Autumn 2004)

All photographs taken by Joules unless otherwise specified. All photographs © Joules A Taylor or other specified individual.

In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme

Currently enjoying:
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

Currently miffed at:
Nestlé, Nonpres Tinyhands Fart, Toadface Farage

Currently maintaining:

Blog Pics
I've gathered some of my pages of photos together: the page of links is here. I'll be adding more as time goes by!

Evil Squid
A Little Glossary of Taylorspeke
(in no particular order)

plit popints - n. Typo for 'plot points' typed on a keyboard with more than half the characters worn off...

[PING] (alt [ping]) - n. A brainwave. The text equivalent of a lightbulb going on blindingly over someone's head. Usually mine. And usually at the most inconvenient of times. [sigh]

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

wulmet - n. A person of little or no talent who somehow inveigles himself into a position where he is in power over other, far more talented people and uses his position to downplay them in order to try to make himself feel superior.

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

Flatterfed - vb. 27.02.08: my typo for flattered, but since it's so cutely apt I thought it would fit nicely here. Lutra defined it as "the lovely warm feeling of satisfaction resulting from enthusiastic reviews..." (which I've been getting for my MB fics).

Composted - vb, 'compos mentis', mentally capable of working. Contrast with uncomposted or non- composted, not 'compos mentis', not capable of working, hungover...

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

Kewp - how Ken says 'thank you'. We rather like Lutra's 'nanx', too...

Musekick - noun, music, without which I cannot work.

'feinne - noun, caffeine, essential for correct mental functioning, especially first thing in the morning. I prefer mine in the form of SodaStream Diet Coke. And on that subject...

Skoosh - verb, noun. To skoosh - to add CO2 to a sodastream bottle filled with water to make it fizzy, prior to adding Diet Coke syrup (or just drinking as sparkling water). A skoosh - a bottle of water that has been skooshed. Skooshy - something that has been skooshed, water, or that whipped cream that comes in tins you have to shake then upend and press the nozzle...

Shoogle - verb. To shake gently, for example, of roast potatoes in a roasting tin to ensure they're covered with oil. I have vague memories of this being a real Scottish colloquialism...

Stegasaurus - n, spider of the genus tegenaria. Why? No idea. I just find it easier, that's all...
Edit 08.09.07: Lutra thinks that Brian is a good name for a mini-stegasaurus. From now on, any 'Brian's in the posts may be assumed to be a tegenaria. Except where otherwise specified.

Viterals - noun, vitamins + minerals. Also a pun on victuals.

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

Parrots - noun, paracetemol (from the old joke "Why are there no aspirin tablets in the jungle? Because the parrots eat 'em all...")

Maggles - noun, magpies. As opposed to non-magical people.

Flamewings - noun. Swifts. So called because the first time we became aware of them was an early summer evening when they were flying high, the light from the setting sun seemingly turning their wings to flames. Lovely little birds. We always know summer's arrived when we hear their high-pitched squeeing.

Murfs - noun, moths.

Peasant cut - noun, roughly cut up into big chunks, e.g. vegetables chopped in a hurry for a hearty stew or soup. By extension, anything prepared in a hurry - haircut, material, even a first draft of a story...

Giraffe - noun, a carafe (of wine, coffee or water, for example).

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

Splings - noun, Kai's spelling homework: by extension, any spelling.

Tyops - noun, typos. var toyps, typso, psyto, psoyt, etc. Usual result of a dose of the fingerials (see next entry).

Fingerials - (pr. fin GEEE ree yalls) noun, fingers that will not type what you want them to.

Haddock - noun, time, of which I never have enough. (Origin of this term here.)

Sleep - noun? vb? a.k.a. sheeeeeeeeep.... I used to know what this word meant...

The Updates Blog

The place to stay notified of WaveWrights' Fiction updates: Zone, Darkside, DarkRealm, Matrix, Vault, Safehouse 13...

my computer gremlin Butch. click the pic to see the larger image

Butch, my computer gremlin. Click the pic for larger version, and read his adventures here...

Butch by the talented 


A gift for me! Butch by the very talented Sylverthorne. Click pic for larger image.



This is MY haddock. It was caught exclusively for me by Talon. No, you can't have any. I need all the haddock I can get!!

A'lestrel by Valkyrie.

A'lestrel - a gift for me from Valkyrie...

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


Another gorgeous Valkyrie gift for me - Benten the Albino Alsatian! Click thumbnail for larger image.

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



Oekai by Bakayaro Onna - Radittsu at his sexiest...

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Pruned [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
[::..Fun Places..::]
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
::The Hacker Dictionary
Hackers with Humour!
:: Carol's Place
My GoodTwin's Homepage!
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: About Bristol
The essential guide - and beautifully user-friendly too!
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...

So what is it with the haddock? Am I some kind of fish freak?

I'll leave that to others to decide.

The tale (or tail if you prefer) harks back to October 2000, when my GoodTwin and I, ably assisted by Sue, ran the first UK Professionals convention...
It's common knowledge that I never have enough time, and I was determined not to bewail the fact that weekend: hence I promised not to use the 'T' word...
Of course, that didn't really work (if nothing else I had to let the trainees know what times things were supposed to be happening!) so we decided a substitute word would be employed instead. There were several suggestions. Banana came very close to being chosen. However, I eventually decided that 'haddock' fitted the bill nicely. Ever since, haddock=time. Hence the title of my forthcoming autobiography,
My Half-Life in the Haddock Space Continuum....

Normally I wouldn't, but these were just irresistible...

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

These Too-Kawaii Kitties
were adopted from
Ghost's Anime Page (which appears to have disappeared, alas...)

Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

Anime still needed to complete series' I'm collecting... Many thanks to everyone who has helped me acquire the collection!
Ai no Kusabi

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

   All 3 eps on Video, dubbed
   Dj: Cyberage 1-3
   Illustrated Book 2 (Benten's) in Japanese

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

   English Manga: Vol 1
   Japanese Manga: Vol 1-7 complete
   Tarot Pack
   R.G.Veda video

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

   (Studio Ironcat) Manga Vols 1 -5 (complete)

Yami no Matsuei

   Viz Manga: English translation, Vols 1 - 11 (complete: I believe vol 12 is only available online)
   Japanese 3-DVD set
   Central Park Media: Descendants of Darkness Vol. 1, English/Japanese subbed.

[::..Joules SPfied..::]

... this is Terra? How the hell'd I end up here...?

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
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01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
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01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
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01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
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01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
01/04/2011 - 30/04/2011
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01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
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01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
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01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
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01/10/2013 - 31/10/2013
01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
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01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
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01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017
01/03/2017 - 31/03/2017
01/04/2017 - 30/04/2017
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01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017
01/07/2017 - 31/07/2017
01/08/2017 - 31/08/2017
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01/10/2017 - 31/10/2017
01/11/2017 - 30/11/2017
01/12/2017 - 31/12/2017
01/01/2018 - 31/01/2018
01/02/2018 - 28/02/2018
01/03/2018 - 31/03/2018
01/04/2018 - 30/04/2018
01/05/2018 - 31/05/2018
01/06/2018 - 30/06/2018
01/07/2018 - 31/07/2018
01/08/2018 - 31/08/2018
01/09/2018 - 30/09/2018
01/10/2018 - 31/10/2018
01/11/2018 - 30/11/2018
01/12/2018 - 31/12/2018
01/01/2019 - 31/01/2019
01/02/2019 - 28/02/2019
01/03/2019 - 31/03/2019
01/04/2019 - 30/04/2019
01/05/2019 - 31/05/2019
01/06/2019 - 30/06/2019
01/07/2019 - 31/07/2019
01/08/2019 - 31/08/2019
01/09/2019 - 30/09/2019
01/10/2019 - 31/10/2019
01/11/2019 - 30/11/2019
01/12/2019 - 31/12/2019

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Bonus post - Devices, Too part 5.

(For anyone new, the story starts with Appliances and continues with Devices, Too...)

Part 5 - Funtime

The first hint Poppy had that all was not as it should be back at the house was when, pulling into the drive, she saw Muncher cuddling a tree...
     'Beat yelped as she slammed her foot on the brake, forcing him to stop dead before she scrambled out and raced to the front door. Which was open.
     "'Spin? Chill?"
     A sound reached her from the kitchen. She frowned, trying to place it, then realised it sounded like... a giggle? What the hell?
     Heavy footsteps behind her had her whirling, alarmed, only to relax a little as the bulk of the transformed Mini loomed over her.
     "Can't let you go in there alone." Internal sensors measured the doorway and he nodded, calculating he would just be able to squeeze through without causing damage. Well, much damage, anyway. "You better stay behind me."
     Only too happy to have half a ton of metal between her and whatever was inside, Poppy followed him as he wormed his way into the downstairs hall. She peered out from behind him, looking around carefully, but couldn't see anything to cause any immediate alarm. Then the giggle came again. She laid a hand on 'Beat's back.
     "I... I think we'd better see what that is."
     "Mm." It sounded a little dubious, but, making sure Poppy stayed behind him, 'Beat moved cautiously to the kitchen door. He could be surprisingly quiet for such a large, metal creature, Poppy thought absently.
     At the door he paused, then sniffed loudly – then straightened up, his head just brushing the ceiling. Arms folded across his chest he turned to glance at Poppy. She was startled by his expression – narrow-eyed, lips a thin line, almost scowling. At least, that was the impression he gave, and looking into the kitchen she thought she knew why.
     'Spin was lying in the middle of the floor in a shallow pool of liquid, with Steamy jumping up and down on his stomach and giggling, while Sucker... was lying curled up in the sink? What...?
     "What the hell is going on?!"
     'Beat growled from somewhere deep inside.
     "They've been at me energon!"
     Poppy closed her eyes with a shudder, then shouted loudly for Chillvern...

"I'm so sorry, Poppy." Chill – who had been so engrossed in the five games of chess he was playing simultaneously with Ramp that he hadn't noticed what was happening in the rest of the house – was wringing his hands. "I didn't hear anything, didn't realise anything was happening... I'm sorry." He bowed his head, shoulders hunched, and Poppy sighed.
     "It's not your fault, Chill."
     "But you left me in charge, and I've let you down."
     "It wasn't your fault! They all knew the energon was for 'Beat." She glowered at 'Spin, who was wincing and rubbing his head with both hands. "You at least should have known better!"
     "But we only had a little bit! A tiny little bit each. Jutht to... tathte."
     Poppy humphed her disbelief. 'Spin flapped a hand vaguely in the direction of the garage. "Go and thee if you don't believe me..."
     With Chill and 'Beat following her, Poppy went to check. To her surprise she found that 'Spin wasn't exaggerating: there were barely two pints missing from the first tank, and none from the other three. She frowned at Chill.
     "It is really that potent?"
     "Not usually, not even after such a long time without..." He leaned closer and sniffed cautiously at the upended cap, and pulled back sharply. "That's... strong." He glanced at 'Beat. "Is that your usual grade?"
     'Beat smelled the cap and shook his head.
     "Nah. That's had stuff added, that has." He carefully removed the caps of the other three tanks, large fingers surprisingly dextrous, and he and Chill sniffed the caps. "All the same. All had somethin' put in 'em."
     Poppy switched her gaze between them uncomprehendingly.
     "Is that good or bad?"
     Fridge and Mini stared at each other for a moment or two, then Chill turned to Poppy and shook his head.
     "We'll need to have it analysed. It would probably be best if no-one took any more until we know what's in it."
     "I have to contact Graham anyway – I'll tell him what's happened. Will NEST be able to check it?"
     "Yes. It's a pity we don't have the facilities here – it would be quicker - but that can't be helped."
     "Will you be able to manage?" Poppy was watching 'Beat anxiously. "Without refuelling, I mean."
     "Got enough in me tanks to cope for a couple weeks, s'long as you don't want to drive Landsend to John O' Groats."
     Poppy chuckled briefly. "Not in my diary for this year. Will everyone be OK though?" She gestured towards the house. Chill nodded.
     "It would have been useful to have clean energon to flush the other out of their systems, but since we don't have any, it'll just be a matter of time. Sunlight would help, but the forecast is for cloudy for the next few days." He eyed Poppy wryly. "I'm afraid you'll have to cook your own food for a day or two. I wouldn't trust Steamy to boil water at the moment."
     "I'm sure I can remember how." Poppy turned back to the door. "But I'd better contact NEST right away."

Graham frowned.
     "Hm. I'll arrange to have the tanks collected – no, on second thoughts, I'll pick them up myself. When they left HQ they were perfectly fine. If the energon was doctored, it was probably on route, and that couldn't happen without the driver's cooperation. I'll have him detained for questioning. What I don't understand is why anyone would want to tamper with it. Not to denigrate your value to us, but your operation simply isn't that important in the larger scheme of things."
     Poppy nodded: she'd considered that herself already. Her transformers were all neutrals, refugees, and none of them were fighters (though she suspected they could all defend themselves if they had no alternative).
     "Well, we see what we can find out." He glanced to one side as someone leaned in to speak to him, then nodded and turned back to Poppy. "Fortunately we have enough energon stockpiled for me to replace the dodgy tanks. I'll bring it with me."
     Poppy grinned. "Thanks. 'Beat says he has enough for a week or so, but I'd rather not push it."
     Graham nodded. "And how did your meeting go?"
     Poppy frowned momentarily, then smiled.
     "Oh, yes, at the pub. Well, Lightdance's alternative form is a jukebox, of all things. We couldn't actually speak, but 'Beat says that he likes me but isn't sure he really wants to leave the pub."
     "I expected that. It really would be safer though."
     "We're going back on Thursday to see if he's changed his mind. Or if we can change it for him."
     "Good. Let me know how you get on. I'd rather not intervene if we don't have to but I do want to see him settled with you."
     "Do my best." She was about to sign off, then remembered. "Oh, just one last thing. Do you think you could take Grunt back with you? He seems to think he's training me to join the army and Chill thinks he'd be better off at one of your bases. You know, where he can torture real soldiers."
     Graham laughed.
     "Oh, I'm sure he would. Very well. Tell him it's an order from me. I'll see you later – I should be able to get there by 2 a.m., if that's not too inconvenient."
     Well, she was already tired, but should be able to get in a nap this afternoon.
     "Should be OK. I'll see you then."

Graham had only stopped long enough to unload the new tanks, load the old and get Grunt (who to Poppy's relief had raised no objections to being moved on: she rather suspected he was simply used to obeying orders. She wondered idly what he'd been, back on Cybertron) settled in the back of his Defender. She waved him off, hiding her yawn behind her hand, then locked up and set the alarm. As she passed the kitchen door Chill appeared, a mug of rich hot chocolate drink in his hand.
     "Don't tell Steamy..." he chuckled. Poppy grinned tiredly.
     "Thanks Chill. You're a star."
     The fridge blinked, head tilted to one side – then smiled as he tracked down the reference.
     "One does one's best. Sleep well, Poppy."

Wednesday morning was... awkward. 'Spin was sullen, Muncher maudlin, TeeVee and Blue – who had imbibed less of the energon than the others – were irritable, Sucker was hiding somewhere, Livewire was curled up on the bed with his head under the pillow refusing to speak, Grounds (the coffee maker) was sulking, Hotpot the microwave refused to open his door, Downbeat (the stereo) was working – sort of, if you could call playing music at the wrong speeds working, Airhead (the tumble drier) wouldn't stop working, Blurt the kitchen TV played nothing but static, Hooker the food processor kept shorting out, and Steamy was inconsolable, not least because he still wasn't sufficiently recovered to cook Poppy's food. Ramp, who'd been playing chess with Chill and hadn't partaken, was unbearably smug and amused himself by making loud noises whenever one of the suffering transformers was in his vicinity. Cable had been with Poppy so had missed out on the fun, but was wisely keeping quiet. Only Chill and 'Beat were normal. Well, what passed for normal in this household, anyway. Poppy was torn, on the one hand wanting to be sympathetic – after all, they were all suffering the transformer version of massive hangovers – and on the other wanting to shout at them all to just shut up!
     Eventually she took herself out to the garage and offered to rub Ratchet's special oil into 'Beat's frame, an offer he accepted warily. She opened the can and carefully poured a little onto a soft chamois cloth as he transformed from Mini to robot mode and hunkered down so she could reach all of him.
     It was very soothing. 'Beat was happy to play music quietly rather than talk, and after a few minutes apparently decided she was skilled enough for him to relax (though quite what he thought she could do to cause him discomfort Poppy couldn't work out. Perhaps the cables and wires between his metal plating were particularly sensitive...) and settled a little lower to the ground. She took her time and used careful strokes, and an hour later patted him on the shoulder as she finished.
     "How's that feel?"
     'Beat stretched and blinked at her.
     "S'good. It'll do nicely."
     "Good... How often do you need it applied?" She frowned. "Come to that, how do I keep you clean? Should I take you through a carwash? Or can you use a hose? I mean, I can help you with that..."
     "Hose would do, as long as water's hot, ta. We got our own cleansers – there'll be some at NEST, if your officer could have 'em sent. And th' oiling should do me for a month, unless weather's really bad."
     "Thanks. And I'll be sure to ask Graham." She sighed then patted him again, affectionately. "I suppose I'd better go and see how everyone's doing..."

By Thursday morning everything was back to normal – helped, admittedly, by Chill allowing everyone a little of the pure energon on Wednesday afternoon. (Poppy had watched, bemused, as he'd trickled small amounts into inlet tubes with the precision of a nurse: the beneficial result was almost immediately clear as they'd all visibly perked up.) 'Beat had also refuelled – Poppy saw that the first of the energon tanks was now about a quarter empty and made a mental note to keep an eye on the supply so she could request more in plenty of time – and was ready and waiting as she slid into the driver's seat. She took hold of the wheel as he started his engine.
     "Right. Let's go and see if Lightdance has changed his mind."

© JAT Nov 2011

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