The full twenty-six episodes of the The Lower Deck can now be downloaded in a single click to your Kindle or PC from Amazon, for a mere $US2.99 (or its equivalent in the Euro, the UK pound, etc.)

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Episode 1 remains on the blog as a free sample. Enjoy...

Monday, 16 April 2007


'You can tell by the way the hairs on their necks bristle,' boomed the Fellow Passenger in my ear.

I jerked my neurons out of the depths of the week's real-estate adverts and followed the wave of his hand.

Frozen horror was written on every face on the Lower Deck, except for the ones still being stuffed with chips and bottled fluids. Quickcat had just changed down a cog on its Massey-Fergussons and was cruising into Matiatia Bay.

The Fellow Passenger beamed ferociously at me. 'And why not?' he demanded, 'It's enough to set any human hairs bristlng.'

I was still struggling out of the depths of the real-estate smorgasbord, and was not quite au fait with the drift of the FP's diatribe.

'That,' he said, noting my confusion. 'That! That's what's causing all the bristling horror.'

I followed his gaze out the windows and over to the left of the bay. My own neck hairs started quivering, and my hundred billion neurons clicked into a higher plane as light dawned. My eyes stood out like hairs upon the fretful porpentine as they became fixed upon the Sprawling Horror on the Hill.

It's an alien spaceship that crashed,' the Fellow Passenger said, beaming at my now obvious comprehension and noting with approval my horizontal neck-hairs and organ-stop peepers. 'It's one of them things that warp through the space-time continuum full of giant and hideous beings that drink ammonia and cyanide and beam you up to steal yer body-parts for unspeakable experiments, before exhibiting you in some intergalactic museum stuffed like pickles in a preserving jar.'

I digested all that, inwardly observed that his encounters with pickling were not of the Third Kind, and prepared to give him some of the Scientific Method.

'I admit,' I began, 'that that thing is one of the most hideous eyesores ever to be constructed upon the Beloved Isle, but--'

'That's it,' intoned the Fellow Passenger, 'that's the first layer of the proof. No one truly human would do something like that deliberate. It has to be alien. And it's obviously a crash. Anyone with half an eye can see that.'

I thought it was time to call in the law to back up the Scientific Method. 'But there's the Resource Management Act,' I pretended to protest. 'It must just be a house that went through the process.'

A black scowl crossed the face of the Fellow Passenger, and a few of the Frozen Faced within earshot began to look as if I should walk a plank ASAP. Outside a couple of dozen ducks licked their lips in anticipation.

'Not even the worst, most criminal excesses ever committed under the RMA could explain that sprawling disaster,' he said. 'It must be alien. Just the colour should be enough to tell you that. Alien pus. Obvious.'

I saw his point. Science and the Law collapsed and died in acquiescent silence.

'And this is not the first one, or the only one,' crowed the Fellow Passenger, surveying with glee the Dead Corpses of Reason. 'They're all over the place. Our island is being picked on. Picked On.' His voice rose to a scream as the Massey-Fergusson's revved to begin the pirouette into the wharf and we began to fumble in the wallets for the Wharf Tax.

'Picked on!'

Three times always proves the point. But this needed no proof. I was with him now. 'That semi-circle disguised as concrete half-buried in the hill above Palm Beach--'

'Exactly,' bellowed the Fellow Passenger. 'You've got it, mate. You've got it. They're everywhere. This island is obviously the node of some intergalactic power-grid. They reset their navigational thingies here. But when we get one of them mysterious power-blips on the National Grid (you know what I mean) and the lights flick off for a quick sec it sends them right off and they crash. It's obvious.'

I pretended a return to Science. 'Could just be bad earthworks,' I said, nodding at the ruin that surrounds the Hillside Horror.

The snort delivered by the Fellow Passenger nearly blew all the windows out. Quickcat staggered and the captain did a quick course-adjustment to avoid wiping out the waiting queue.

'Earthworks!' he shouted. 'Earthworks! Those are not human. Those are where the alien bodies were buried, quick, to cover up the evidence and prevent mass panic. That's why nothing will grow there.'

'And I suppose the giant deckchair is some kind of Alien Signal or Ritual,' I said, slightly nettled by the Snort that Upset the Massey-Fergussons. Even I have limits.

He beamed. 'Yeah,' he said. 'You got it in one. Why else would such a weird thing be there? How many humans do you know who have bodies that big? Giant hideous beings, that's what.'

He paused to create a perfectly timed effect.

But the clincher,' he said, 'the clincher, is that one of them wasn't killed in the crash. The runt of the crew survived. And is now in A Position of Power.'

I gasped. The neurons staggered like the National Grid in a Louis Vuitton gale. 'You mean--'

He nodded. 'Yeah,' he crowed, as the Absolute Proof simultaneously dawned on me and half the Lower Deck, now agog around us. 'How else do you think he won the election? Why else would he try to bump off the pensioners by starving them out of house and home? It's all Dark Doings by an Alien Mind. Bank on it, mates, bank on it.'