The Absolutely True Story of Gork and Slarb

Submitted into Contest #134 in response to: Set your story beyond our own world.... view prompt


Coming of Age Science Fiction Funny

Many time cycles in a different notion of our galaxy, Gitfangula was born.

Wait, that really is not fair. How could I possibly begin the story of those two that way?

In the celestial voids of Marnus and Minuous, there was a plan (oh, yes, that’s much better). In the minds of the elders of those sacred spaces, there was an urgent need to create a place where their thoughts could meander and grow without causing too much of a headache. At first, this idea, like all great ideas, was considered controversial and silly, so no more was said about it, until one day when one elder made the terrible mistake of using more than the mindlinks they had developed over the centuries. Instead, he did something that many thought to be impossible in such a gaseous and insubstantial region.

He actually made a sound.

There were rumours that such things could be done with their physical presences, but this had been strictly forbidden since the Poor Times. There had been so much conflict and pain that it had been decided that everyone should just shut up…and keep their thoughts to themselves. And it worked.

And then it did not work.

Rumours flew fast and hard between the different mindlinks that something from the past had invaded the present. The idea that someone would actually forget how peace was created seemed so ridiculous that they had to laugh in Marnus while many other guffawed in Minuous.

No, this was not the truth.

But there were others who did believe it could have actually happened.

An elder who had not spent much time crossing through the different nebula and quasars out in his dull part of the universe knew that sound was a very powerful quantity. Without giving the creator a name, he had to trace back through the mental messaging and thought patterns of all the other elders until it was clear who it was that spoke (even the word sounded unusual). And then he responded.

It is very rare for someone to receive a psychic punch. The last recorded episode occurred in the history of the elders when they were still vocal. But this was something quite planned and difficult to make real. But it worked.

It worked very well.

Soon, the victim once again became vocal, cursing his state in the only way he knew how with the only word that he knew: “Gitfangula!”

There are many theories as to how or why the word existed. Some believe that it was the name of the elder who decided to punch out the other near the Marnus border; others believe that it was a particular patch of nebula near the Minuous territory; either way, it was the first word spoken out loud in a generation and it was shared with every elder who was connected to the Great Consciousness*.

*[Oh, the Great Consciousness was not spoken of during the Silent Era. It was a term that only existed when certain members of Gitfangula tried to understand their origins. Many terms were first put forward and tried: the Mental Meandering, the Unspoken Speakables, even the Hard-to-Say-It-with-Just-One-Phrase Spot. It was certainly less of a mouthful than these others; it was much more useful when people knew what a mouthful was.]

And then things proceeded very quickly.

The first timegates opened up in the dust and heat of the elders’ once sacred place, allowing life that was still quite primitive and raw to grow. With time, there came moments. With moments, there came incidents. With incidents, there came remembering.

Now, there are many in Gitfangula who believe that this was truly a worse moment in their history than the first sound. Despite their deep respect and awe for The Great Consciousness, they often felt that things would have been easier without sounds, timegates, or even their fabulous market, Tectonia. Maybe there would have been less wars, less problems, fewer batarchs attempting to rip out their guts if they travelled through the wrong gate.

But that is all speculation. What is past is past.

Until…well, the arrival of those two.

Their parental entities were so proud when their birthing chambers announced the arrival of the entities that would be known psychically as Gork and Slarb. Arriving within the same time frame, the announcement on the mental feed was loud and spontaneous:

“Hear me, oh citizens of Gitfangula! The arrival of two noble births has taken place, and I am sure that all Gitfangs are proud to share in this moment of great importance. Let us celebrate!”

A wild intercranial cheer went out as the new life forms grew and accumulated all the necessary knowledge needed to become citizens. Their parental units did expect something like this and had stored plenty of food units and other goodies to revel in their good fortune.*

*[One more note: both Gork and Slarb, with different parental units, were what could be considered the high nobility of Gitfangula, with entities in their past linked to the first sound, the founding of Tectonia, and the establishment of controls over the timegates; they even had one named after them. This does matter.]

It was a propitious start to their careers. Both Gork and Slarb attended their education sensorials on the same dates; both Gork and Slarb used the same timegates when their parental units – okay, families – made trips to other realms for education and restorative reasons; both Gork and Slarb made long trips to Techtonia to buy things, gossip about other dimensions, and boast about all the batarchs they were going to hunt and fight.

But they never met.

It was only by accident that they became a duo that the citizens of Gitfangula would detest, hate, love and finally admire.

It was a neural newsflash that no one could have ignored.

“Citizens of Gitfangula, we are under attack!”

Both Gork and Slarb felt the fear on the neural network, and they were themselves also a little scared by the news.

“We have a new enemy on our borders and they wish to use the timegates to invade and destroy what we have created! We need to watch these portals and make sure that there are no alien entities among us. Who will join us in this great battle?”

The psychic roar was above what anyone expected – a few days would be needed for a complete recovery – and the citizens of Gitfangula prepared themselves for battle.

And Gork and Slarb?

They both looked for a ship.

Now, there is some debate whether it was outright cowardice or strong practicality that led them to the outer edge of Tectonia. That was where the newest and best vehicles for time jumps and the like. The owner, a large entity who refused to vocalize his name – it was Dode, so you can understand why – wanted to clear out his lot before the worst of the coming war touched his business. Seeing that Gork and Slarb had both arrived at the exact moment that the announcement was made, he felt overjoyed at his luck.

“And to what do I owe this shared honour?”

Gork saw Slarb; Slarb saw Gork.

They both saw the vehicle.

“We want the Nectar!”

Many moments later, they would debate about who first said that they both wanted the car, but for Dode, it was a sale, and he refused to confirm anything for any of his customers (not good for repeat business, even in the case of war).

So, Gork met Slarb.

And then they met the Nectar.

When they pooled their credits, they found that they had exactly the right amount to purchase it (an equal split between the both of them). And Dode knew that he was done for the day. Gork and Slarb did a simple tour of the inner consoles, rest chambers and the power sources and fell deeply, totally, and cripplingly in love.

“We are not fighting any invaders, are we?”

“No, we certainly will not.”

Again, there was a debate after events about who began the conversation – it was on the psychic feed – and who drove into the timegate. But most of the discussion ended when the citizens of Gitfangula realized that the war was over. The Nectar, as it passed into the nearest gate, collided with the invading army, killing the entire armada and making their deaths vivid and clear through the neural connections all Gitfangulans could access. The fact that the invading army was small enough to be crushed and burnt to death by one of the exhaust ports on their ship was not discussed.

Celebrations were long, psychic and vivid; from Marnus to Minuous, the leaders heaped praise on the families of Gork and Slarb; the Nectar became their favourite ride; and the timegates were considered safe and reliable. Gitfangula was now known as a tough, stable and important port of call for travelers, all thanks to an accident of both combustion and dumb luck.

And Gork and Slarb would continue to have many adventures together. And those tales will be told on another day…

February 26, 2022 01:38

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Lore Ax-Horton
03:22 Mar 25, 2022

Love this!! Thanks for writing. Keep it up!! "There had been so much conflict and pain that it had been decided that everyone should just shut up…and keep their thoughts to themselves. And it worked." "The idea that someone would actually forget how peace was created seemed so ridiculous..." M-hm. Great story.


Kendall Defoe
04:25 Mar 25, 2022

I just wanted a laugh with this one...but I think I made a good point.


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Francis Daisy
02:42 Feb 28, 2022

I giggled all the way through! I loved this story and the mix of short and long sentences. Very clever story!


Kendall Defoe
04:05 Feb 28, 2022

Thank you! I had a lot of Douglas Adams' work on my mind (think I should relax more often and let it all hang out when I can)!


Francis Daisy
01:01 Mar 02, 2022

You are definitely quite witty! and talented!


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