Frontline 10: My tunnel, my home

Posted July 10th 2004

This is Radio WRKX broadcasting, and in our latest visit to the floating ringworld Halo, our ever willing reporter Suzie Hoffenblatt has ventured underground on a desert island for a word with something unspeakably large and yellow. All the news, all the time, here on Radio WRKX. Take it away Suzie…

Suzie: Mr Yellow…

Mr G: It's 'Gold' actually.

Suzie: Oh I'm sorry, but in this light I…

Mr G: It's not like I'm asking a lot. But after hanging around in this tunnel for days on end and I do finally meet someone, you'd think they could at least notice I'm golden.

Suzie: I do apologize. 'Mr Bright-And-Shiny-Golden-Boots' it is then.

Mr G: Don't push it, short-stuff.

Suzie: No, no, absolutely not. Er… perhaps we can start over. Mr Gold, we're here in this dark and dingy little tunnel, and I suppose you must get this question a lot, but: for heaven's sake why?

Mr G: You tell me! It's those admin johnnies again. "Go stand in a tunnel and wait", the order said. Or words to that effect; 'scuse the sarcasm. Been here five days now, and all that's happened is that some green-helmeted fool popped his head in an hour ago and blew my best friends up! There's nice for you.

Suzie: Ah, your 'friends' would presumably be…

Mr G: …the messy collection of bodies you stepped over on your way in, yes, that's them. Did you see my pal Terry?

Suzie: Parts of him certainly.

Mr G: Yes, well, he didn't deserve that at all. Lovely chap he was. Took great care of his Grunts too. Even gave a chocolate bar to one of 'em this morning. Birthday, I gather.

Suzie: Oh that's nice. And the birthday boy's now received a little something from that helmeted fellow too it seems.

Mr G: Yeah. Something blue and glowing. And he only had three seconds to play with it.

Suzie: That's really not long enough.

Mr G: Not long enough at all. I'm getting upset now… sniff… change the subject, change the subject.

Suzie: Of course. So, not your ideal posting, down here then.

Mr G: Too true, but I think I can stick it another week or so.

Suzie: You may not need to wait that long…

Mr G: And the galling thing is, there's a beautiful beach up on the surface. Lovely it is. Palm trees, coconuts, the lot. Heck I could really go for a bit of the sun right now. I could lollop down to the waves and just splash around I could. But no, "Stay down in your damn tunnel" they said. Heartless sons of a multilegged omnipod! Oops, you'd better edit that out. Oh god we're live aren't we.

Suzie: I'm afraid so. You're very much the outdoors type then?

Mr G: Yeah I'm out and about every chance I can get. Quite looking forward to my next posting actually, if the rumours are true. Looks like I'm finally gonna be able to use my new snow boots. I've got 'em in the closet; would you like to see?

Suzie: That won't be necessary thank-you, but I'm sure they're enormous.

Mr G: Oh yes. And there's trimmings on them and everything. Best quality. Got 'em on the home shopping channel back at Vargos 9. That was before we levelled the place of course. So anyway, they should come in handy when that posting comes through. Sounds like a pretty wild area; cliffs and canyons and everything. I've got my camera ready too.

Suzie: And I'm sure you'll see a few things you weren't expecting. But in the meanwhile, tell me, what sort of facilities do you have down here?

Mr G: Well, it's not exactly five-star, I can tell you that! No, I've got a small room just up the way here. Pretty basic. Bunk, washbasin, that sort of thing. But I managed to sneak down a bit of entertainment too. Just around the corner. Video-game unit disguised as an uplink station, heh heh. Not really supposed to have it of course, but I get so bored otherwise. You have video-games on Earth too I hear.

Suzie: Oh yes, they're very popular. I shouldn't be surprised if they make one all about this floating ring actually.

Mr G: Really? Gosh, I'd like to see that.

Suzie: No… I don't think you would. But if I can move on, I must say that's a rather splendid glowing sword you've got there.

Mr G: Ah yes, old 'Zippy' and me go back a ways now. Been through a lot together. Slaughtered dozens on Vargos 9. God I loathed them. Sliced up hundreds on Veppledork 6. Loathed them too. And don't even get me started on the fun Zippy and I had on Vockletron 12. Now they were really worth loathing.

Suzie: That's a lot of 'V's there…

Mr G: Yes, we're starting to run out of them actually. You wouldn't happen to know any more would you?

Suzie: Not offhand, no, but I could probably fax you something once I'm back at the office.

Mr G: Oh would you Suzie? That would be super. Mind you, we'll be starting on the 'W's pretty soon I imagine. Plenty of those to keep us busy for a good old while.

Suzie: I'm sure. But going back to your sword, it does look pretty fearsome.

Mr G: Yeah, scares the blazes out of the enemy. That's just before I give it a good swing and lop their heads off, usually. Very smooth action it's got. But you do have to be careful. I almost took my own leg off a few years back. Put me out of action for ages. I missed 'U' entirely, as a matter of fact.

Suzie: Oh I'm sorry, that must have been painful for you.

Mr G: Yeah. And there were some 'U's I really wanted to stick it too as well! Still, mustn't grumble. But like I say, you do need a bit of care. You can't just swing it around willy-nilly or anything.

Suzie: No, that would never do.

Mr G: Never do, Suzie. Never do. I tell you another thing I enjoy though. This is a bit evil this. Sometimes just for a laugh before I actually lop a head off, I'll chase around after an enemy and whizz the sword past his ears a few times. If he's got any that is. Boy that really gets 'em running. Zzzzzzp! Love it.

Suzie: I can imagine. And yes, I noticed the slight humming noise.

Mr G: Yeah, something to do with the power unit. You'd have to ask the technical johnnies about that. I just do the swingin' you understand.

Suzie: Of course.

Mr G: Battery's getting a bit low mind. You don't have any spares do you?

Suzie: I'm afraid not. But moving along…

Mr G: Hey, hold on, did you hear that?

Suzie: Sounds like gunfire from deeper below. Perhaps it's that green-helmeted gentleman you were talking about.

Mr G: What? Oh god, he didn't come back and sneak past me did he? I knew I shouldn't have bunked off for that sandwich break earlier. Admin'll kill me!

Suzie: They may not have to…

Mr G: Hey, I think it's getting louder. Tell you what, just pop 'round the corner with me and we'll warn my buddy, Ralph The Red. He's just down here having a go on the games unit and… what the… RALPH! Speak to me!

Suzie: Oh dear. He doesn't seem too well does he.

Mr G: What have they done to you Ralph? My last buddy, gone! And look! He'd almost reached level 9!

Suzie: Really, level 9… that sounds difficult. So, what now? Sounds like that ruckus is working its way up the stairwell at a fairly brisk pace.

Mr G: Oh yeah? Well I'll sort him out. Back to my tunnel. I'm gonna wait until he pokes his oversized tin-plated noggin around the corner and then I'm gonna lop it clean off!

Suzie: Oooh gosh, that could be nasty. Well, you're obviously a busy man, so at this juncture I think perhaps I'd better thank you for your time and leave you to your work.

Mr G: Arrrr… It's been a pleasure Suzie.

Suzie: Oh and Mr Gold?

Mr G: Yes?

Suzie: I'm not sure you'll be needing those snow boots after all…