Chapter 4

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John left that lecture with a lot on his mind, with Jigglebert following closely behind.

Prof. Yrnopaew had given him a strange-looking gauntlet, with lots of buttons on it. He had been strictly forbidden to touch any of the buttons.

Apparently it contained a miniature portal generator, and had too many functions to count - he would learn about it all next lesson.

...It really did feel as if he were in some kind of boarding school...

He had a couple of free hours to spare first, though, and he decided to let Jigglebert lead him to his dormitory, which apparently they shared. Jigglebert was alright once you got to know him - which was pretty much five minutes after you met him, really, because he was very talkative.

Jigglebert was the second of five children of an esteemed Candyfloss Factory Owner (which was about equal to an MP on our social scale) in the Bunny District of Wigglaria (Wigglaria being the seventh planet out from their Sun, Greater Fluffiness. The Bunny District was just South of the Butterfly District and East of the Insufficiently Chocolatey Desert, Bordered on the South and East by the Happiest Milkshake Lake).

Their civilisation was very peaceful and voted once every ten years for a new recruit to DHQ. Jigglebert had been prepared for this his entire life, being given extra cookery lessons and even his own chef's hat!

John wasn't given time to say anything, but Jigglebert already seemed to know all about Earth, so that was OK...

Apparently humans are all violent savages who care nothing about their planet and love killing each other for no reason. And they are so stupid that they haven't even noticed the giant Asteroid Protection Shield that's been around Earth since 261.5 BC.

"...but you seem OK..."

Lovely.

Anyway, by the time they'd reached the dormitory, John knew everything about Jigglebert and Jigglebert had guessed everything about John.

Interestingly, due to his lack of arms (or any other limbs for that matter), Jigglebert had decided to wear his gauntlet on the end of his arm-sized tongue. Apparently this was a common way for his people to hold tools, and they had very strong and flexible tongues.

John looked at the door. Well, he thought it was a door. There was a rough rectangle drawn on the grey wall, painted to look like a plank of wood. In the middle was a luminous blue octagon with the number 1024 on it.

Jigglebert explained,

"It is a sensor! You touch it with the glove! See!" and pressed his tongue-gauntlet against it.

There was a faint hum, and the rectangle shimmered before vanishing. After they passed through it returned, just as solid and immovable as before.

John looked around the room. There was a single bunk bed huddled up in one corner, and one wall was a large window overlooking the quadrangle. There was a tattered rug haphazardly positioned in the centre of the room and the wallpaper was too dirty to distinguish.

However, there was a note on the floor saying it could be customised to be however the occupants liked it - they could obtain leave to visit any shop in the universe (excluding the Dark Realm), with an allowance of 1000 Ycnerruc.

John put the note in his pocket, and

...

...oh...

There wasn't a pocket. This uniform does not have any pockets!

He left the note on the top bunk, and then followed Jigglebert to the first lesson.

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