Chapter 27: Fools rush in

Admiral Jules Hullster was nobody's fool, thank you very much. He took great pride in his above average mental and strategic abilities. Abilities that had seen him quickly rise up in the ranks to become Admiral at a considerably younger age than usual. That's why it caused him no small amount of displeasure that all through his life he'd had to put up with the nickname of Jules the Fool. All because Admiral Jules Hullster had had the misfortune of being born on April Fool's Day.

In primary school, he tolerated it. He was just a small kid back then, not much else he could do. By High School, he'd hit the gym and anyone who was foolhardy enough to foolishly call him a fool. But still the insult would find him and it would sting. Then, one happy day, a school counsellor took him aside and suggested a good career path could be the military. There he'd be afforded the respect he'd craved all his young life.

Jules quickly came to the conclusion that Mykur's military was the one to join. Even back then Mykur was growing in power and looking to gain more by deadly force. As Mykur came to 'franchise' more and more planets, Jules Hullster rose higher and higher in the ranks. Then the day came: Mykur announced he was to launch 366 brand new, cutting-edge W2 Class Planet Destroyers. And Jules was promoted to be Admiral in charge of one such ship.

Now, one can only imagine the look on his face when he discovered the name of his ship, for his Planet Destroyer was to be called: The Ship of Fools.

You see, as fate would have it, Mykur's military was made up almost entirely of conscripted men and women from various planets under his control. When conscription was first brought in, it was done via a lottery style draft. If you were unlucky enough to be born on the date drawn out, you were called up for service. However, as Mykur's thirst to conquer the galaxy grew unabated, so to did his need for conscripts, until eventually every date of birth had been called forward to join, creating 366 conscripted soldier squadrons.

For simplicity's sake, it was decided that each Planet Destroyer would be staffed by a conscript squad – the theory being that they should have good teamwork having been through basic training together. And so it came to be that Admiral Jules Hullster found himself onboard The Ship of Fools with over five thousand men and women sharing his April 1 birthday.

It's safe to say Admiral Hullster's mood was far from pleasant on this particular morning, as it was on every morning. But that was all set to change. For, on this particular morning, as he drank his extra strong coffee (with no sugar nor any of that artificial crap, thank you very much), he glanced at the tracking monitors and saw something he didn't expect to see: The Blackbird.

By now it was the most wanted ship in the galaxy. He'd have to be a fool not to recognise it – and Jules Hullster was nobody's fool.


“Earth!? Are you sure?” asked Justice.
“I know how to read a flight chart!” replied Jupiter. “We're headed straight for it.”
“But you know what Earth is these days, don't you?” Abe said.
“Of course I know. Like I said, I'm not controlling it – it's the Trinity Key!”
Almost in a synchronised motion they all turned to watch the two pieces of the key as they floated, spinning in mid-air.
“Should we knock it down?” asked Abe.
“You think that's a good idea?” replied Google.

Before Abe could answer, the two pieces of the Trinity Key started to spin together faster and faster. A whirring noise erupted from the pieces as they became just a blur. Then the small blur began to blur until it was a six foot tall blur. The blurred blur wavered like an an old tv set finding reception, until it was suddenly replaced by a hologram of an attractive young lady with long, flowing black hair.

“Hello, I am Rebecca Jorden: the keeper of the third piece of the Trinity Key,” the hologram informed them. “If you're watching this, you've proven your intelligence by solving Alexander Vogel's riddle on Atlantis and shown your heart by passing Christopher Charles's test on Super-Sunny-Happy-Bright-Fun Land. Congratulations. But now you face a test that will push your physical abilities to their very limit. A test you will most probably not survive.”
“Oh this sounds promising,” Abe muttered.


He had a lock on their ship! No one would call him Jules the Fool now. Perhaps Jules the Destroyer or Jules the Ruthless. Maybe even Jules the Great. This was his moment. And there was his red alert hologram button, blinking right on cue. No doubt it was Prince Mykur calling to congratulate him on his achievement.

“Hello, Jules the Grea... Ah, Admiral Hullster here,” he said answering the hologram call.
“Admiral Hullster, this is Raymond Tonkins,” said the hologram appearing before him.
“Good day, sir,” said Admiral Hullster. “I trust you received my most glorious news. I will fire on your signal.”
“I'm afraid I need to you stand down, Admiral,” Tonkins informed him.
“What!?” Why?”
“That's need to know information Admiral. I repeat, stand down and avoid any contact with The Blackbird.”
The hologram flickered off leaving Admiral Hullster shell shocked.

This must be some sort of a joke. He had a clear shot on The Blackbird – a ship whose occupants all had a kill order on their heads. In fact, they were all tied for number one spot on Mykur's 'Most Wanted Dead' list. The blood inside him boiled.

In a way, it was personal for Jules. He wanted desperately to avenge all the lives lost onboard The Leaper, the warship destroyed on Atlantis. The poor crew never stood a chance, being severely undermanned due to one of the more obvious oversights in Mykur's conscription squad strategy. It turns out, not that many people are born on February 29. Not enough to fully man a W2 Class Planet Destroyer anyway. If only they'd had enough crew to have someone monitoring the skies above, the battle on Atlantis may well have turned out differently.

That's when Admiral Hullster noticed all the balloons and streamers and banners proclaiming “Happy Birthday Everyone!” around the cockpit. That's right, he thought to himself glumly, it's April fools day. It was so hard to keep track of days out in space.
“Well no one will make a fool of me,” he said quietly to himself.
He'd suspected the hologram of Raymond Tonkins looked a little strange and now he knew the reason. It was obviously a fake. Someone's misplaced idea of a practical joke. There's no way in the world Mykur would ever have mercy on anyone. With that thought in mind, Jules turned the key on the Planet Destroyer Death Ray and typed in the activation passcode.

How high should I set the death ray? he wondered to himself. He turned the switch all the way to “Planet Destroyed” level, then paused. That could be overkill. After all, it is just a tiny vessel, he decided. Plus, the power bill from using that much energy would be extreme. Casually he flicked the switch back a few notches to “Planet Severely Messed Up” level.

No one was there to stop or question him. They were all too busy celebrating their birthdays as he pressed the FIRE button.


“...into a nest of possibly the most dangerous creatures known to mankind,” the hologram of Rebecca Jorden continued.
“Did she just say what I think she said?” asked Abe.
“It's impossible,” said Liberty.
“A lot of impossible stuff seems to keep happening lately,” Google pointed out.
“Look! I can see Earth!” said Billy as he pointed out a cockpit window.

“Ah guys, we've got a problem. Well, another problem,” said Jupiter, glancing down at the cockpit monitor.
“What now?”
“Planet Destroyer on our tail. Strap yourselves in! They're opening fire!” Jupiter yelled to the others as he reached for the wheel. He swung it desperately to to the right, before remembering the ship was still under the control of The Trinity Key.
“Oh, you've got to be kidding me!”

The Death Ray (which wasn't really a ray at all - more a ten mile long ball of electricity, metal and rock) raced straight towards The Blackbird at the speed of light.
“Impact in three seconds!” yelled Jupiter. Then looked at his instruments again. “Impact in seven... ten... twelve seconds?” he said confused as The Black Bird sped up to faster than light speeds, moving away from the poorly named Death Ray.

Bolts of electricity shoot out all along the outside of The Black Bird as a loud ripping noise filled the air.
“That sounded like it came from outside!” Jupiter yelled as he was forced way back into his seat by the massive g-forces they were experiencing.
“There's no sound in space,” Justice said.
“Are you sure?”
All of a sudden the black space before them ripped open, revealing a ruby and white swirl. The strangest thing of all: as they travelled through it, they could hear what sounded like elevator music. Then in an instant they were thrust out into the black of space again, Planet Earth clearly visible out the main cockpit window. Only something looked slightly different about it.

“It... it worked! Look at Earth! The shape of the continents!” said Google in disbelief.
“You mean...?”
“We've travelled back in time, like the hologram said we would! The Trinity Key, it must've created some sort of rip in the space-time continuum!”
Jupiter tentatively took the wheel of The Black Bird as he brought them closer to the planet, breaking through the atmosphere.
“Oh my... look it's a... what are they called? A pterodactyl!” Billy said as he looked out one of the windows in amazement.

Jupiter glanced back up at the ruby and white rip that they'd travelled through as it slowly started to close up. Just before it was fully closed something came rushing out of it.
“Whoa! Hold on!” Jupiter screamed as he slammed the ship to the right, just in time to avoid the Death Ray which came racing out of the rip, right at them. The crew watched as Death Ray flew past, missing them by inches before crashing into the Earth with the force of a billion atomic bombs. After a few seconds of stunned silence, Abe was the first to speak.

“Ah guys... I think we just killed the dinosaurs.”

5 Response to Chapter 27: Fools rush in

  1. This ended up being a bit rushed - hope it doesn't show too much!

  2. Dale says:

    'By High School, he'd hit the gym and anyone who was foolhardy enough to foolishly call him a fool.'

    Genius! :) Jules the Fool is a great idea for a character. If he doesn't come back I think there's some potential there for his own story!

    And I love the way you killed the dinosaurs. Reminded me of how Thursday's dad was the cause of life on earth (at the end of the second Jasper Fforde book).

    Didn't seem rushed at all!

  3. Haha, yeah Jules was pretty much created to fill in some time so I could end the chapter on the 'we just killed the dinosaurs' line. Otherwise it would've been too short to be a chapter.

    Happily his background all came about really quickly - I knew I needed a reason for a planet destroyer to shoot at them (despite Tonkins/Mykur saying not to) and it flowed from there.

    Oh and the killing of the dinosaurs was one of the few things planned from the start (along with gravity storms) - long before I'd read your book Mr Fforde so don't sue me! :P

    (Actually we should both sue him, Dale. He also hi-jacked your person who can make people forget thing! And your middle name! And from memory all in the space of one or two chapters. He's taunting us!)

  4. Jimzip says:

    Hahahah. Amazing!

    Well I just read the comments above and I would have said the same things, the fact that you created Jules just for that purpose though is fun, Dale's right he could easily have his own story! Though it would be a very frustrating story, everyone always getting the better of him ... hmm.

    Anyway I do love things planned from the start. X) (Not to derail too far, but I hope you're both watching Lost this season! There'll be fist-shaking if you aren't!! Fist-shaking I tell you!)

    It must be super fun to write this, planet destroyers and all the other crazy sci-fi action going on. What's great is that you've given yourself such an open-arena for creation. Literally anything can (and usually does) happen. X)

    Things look like they're coming to some kind of intergalactic climax though ... (did that sound wrong?? O_o) and I eagerly await the next chapter. :)

    Jimzip :D

  5. I've been watching Lost! (Next week is meant to be a big one!) And yes, rest assured some stuff was planned from the start (in fact, there's still a couple of early planned things to come). Although there's also a few big bits left to decide - eek!

    The 'anything can happen' aspect was very deliberate (I always worry I'll run out of story after two chapters - so tried to remove that fear.)

    PS. One last bit about Jules that didn't make it into the chapter (as I was too lazy) is I figure everyone else on board The Ship Of Fools loves practical jokes because of their birthday, so it's like April Fools everyday. Oh and I was happy that by creating Jules it explained the victory on Atlantis as I always thought that was too easy for them!

    And whether it sounds right or wrong, you're right, the intergalatic climax is coming soon - I think there's around 5 chapters left (but I sometimes underestimate!) :)