|Rufus Q Shupuilluliumash|
|"Someone is Stealing the Great Throne Rooms of the Galaxy" |
Set in the Future
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Species:||Giant Sentient Hamster|
Utnapishtim assigned Shupilluliumash to investigate the thefts of several throne rooms and their antechambers from various planets in the Galactic Empire. At the time he received the assignment, Shupilluliumash, a giant hamster, was hung over after enjoying too many fermented starflower seeds. Utnapishtim, also a giant hamster, understood his condition but was not sympathetic. Rufus wished death upon himself, Utnapishtim, and the Omniscient Narrator in that order. None of the wishes were granted so he wheeled the PS Habitrail to Earth, site of the most recent theft.
Rufus landed outside of Paris and compared himself to Charles Lindbergh, but furrier. He was promptly arrested by the French gendarmerie and was released through the efforts of local Space Patrol personnel. He examined the gap left in the palace of Versailles by the theft of the throne room and antechamber and noticed the graffito RD. Then he offended the French and was encouraged by his colleagues to leave Earth.
He next traveled to Alpharalpha B, where he was promptly incarcerated for insulting his hosts upon landing. After local Space Patrol secured his release, he examined their ruined palace and discovered in the place of the missing throne room and antechamber a graffito which translated to "RD" in English. Then he offended the local kumquats once again and was again incarcerated. Space Patrol had a rather more difficult time securing his release this time, but did so and urged him to leave Alpharalpha B. Upon his release he insulted the kumquats a third time and jumped into the Habitrail just as a mob of kumquats was about to seize him.
On arrival at Amana XI, he promptly insulted the ammonia/ice blobs who lived there and was immediately incarcerated in the hot box. Though ammonia/ice blobs considered the hot box, with its oxygen-enriched atmosphere and temperatures hot enough to melt water, a kind of torture, Rufus found it the most comfortable place on the planet.
Upon release, Rufus examined the palace whence the throne room and antechamber had been stolen and noticed that the graffito "RD" was once again present. Reasoning that it was unlikely to mean research and development, he resolved not to use Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" button again, no matter how lucky he felt. He then insulted the ammonia/ice blobs once again and was returned to the hot box. Local Space Patrol secured his release again and encouraged him to continue his investigation elsewhere.
Rufus went to Gould IV. On landing, a saurian humanoid threatened to eat him. Rufus responded by pointing his blaster at the saurian. As a member of Space Patrol he had the right to carry a deadly weapon throughout the galaxy, but he was incarcerated anyway. Local Space Patrol obtained his release and he examined the vandalized palace. The graffiti this time was much longer than "RD;" Albert O'Saurus translated it as "Next Stop--Galactic Central! Royal Drive."
Rufus recognized this as a clue, then insulted the saurians and was re-incarcerated. Upon obtaining his release, Space Patrol suggested Rufus leave Gould IV.
Back on the Habitrail, Rufus Googled "Royal Drive," a phrase he had never heard. Google was also unfamiliar with it, which first led Rufus to suspect he was using the Chinese edition. However, he then had an idea and realized what the thiefs would try next. (Knowing he was in a short story, which was nearing its final act, he was satisfied that there was insufficient time for wrong guesses, so knew he had guessed correctly.) He knew he had to foil them, and checked his supplies of aluminum, tin, and silver, nearly missing Galactic Central in the process. However, the story had no time for mistakes at this point, either, so he managed to stop the Habitrail in time.
With impeccable timing, Rufus arrived at the palace just as a giant chain saw set about removing the throne room and antechamber. Rufus fired his blaster at the chainsaw's power button, a centimeter-wide dot three km in the air. Being a Space Patrol-trained markshamster and luckier than Lucky Pierre, he hit the button on the first shot.
Rufus rushed to the saw's survival capsule and arrested a Frenchman, a saurian humanoid, a kumquat, and an ammonia/ice blob for firing a chain saw without a license and operating an unauthorized space drive within city limits. He had deduced that the Royal Drive was unauthorized because Google produced no hits, and knew as well that it used the energy generated by mixing chambers and antechambers to drive a spaceship across the galaxy in pursuit of the thieves' nefarious ends.
Upon completing the case, Rufus was promoted to Ensign with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto. His actions in this case were deemed to be in the highest traditions of Space Patrol.
See also Inconsistencies (Throne Rooms)