Copyright © Terry Tumbler 2015
The right of Terry Tumbler to
be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by him in
accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
No resemblance is intended to
any real person, living or dead.
This book is sold subject to
the condition it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be
circulated in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise
without the author’s prior consent.
Cover design by firstname.lastname@example.org
anyone cares to read other books by the same author, the suggested
Seb Cage Begins His Adventures
– where Terry Tumbler’s
grandsons come to stay with him and his long-suffering wife, who live
on the Costa Blanca, for the entire summer vacation. During this
period, the elder one, Seb, experiences a number of futuristic
adventures when he joins a summer campus run by a mysterious
organization called The Sombrella
Dreadnought Collective Book 1
– where a presumably unique character, Thomas Beckon, realises his
paranormal talents and changes the nature of society in Great
Britain, and thereafter of the World, to help shape mankind in its
Dreadnought Collective Book 2
The Time Slipsters –
A group of friends take a trip together. It is the near future, and
they will be traveling on the latest type of air-road transport.
Unwittingly, they are entering a world where time travel is a
reality, and soon they embark on a sightseeing tour like no other
they could have imagined. More than one person has a hidden agenda,
as they realise when they reach a highly protected secret location.
Dreadnought Collective Book 3
The Deaduction Agency
− witness at first-hand a group of specialist investigators,
as they set up and run a new agency. They are dedicated to the
resolution of criminal cases using paranormal assistance. This will
be a new and emerging brand of policing designed to protect the
citizens of our country.
Dreadnought Collective Book 4
The Sightseers Agency
the first recruit to the new
Sightseers Agency is a remote viewer who actively seeks the
resolution of events threatening world security. Both his fledgling
agency and that of the Deaduction Agency belong to The Dreadnought
Dreadnought Collective Book 5
For those who may become
more than remotely interested in his upbringing, the author Terry
Tumblers’ childhood behaviour is recounted in a mildly
fictionalised autobiographical work called:
Rough & Tumbles Of Early Years
The author himself subsequently regarded this as a
potentially valuable compendium of incidents, which could be
serialised in the same vein as Just
William. Originally, it was prepared
for the benefit of his family, who would otherwise have known nothing
about his outrageous childhood behaviour
Series: A Wonderfully
Wacky World Book 1
– where the irascible and
incorrigible Terry Tumbler, based very loosely on the personality of
the author, organizes a trip for himself and his cronies to travel to
the sacred city of Santiago de Compostela, following parts of the St
James Camino, in Northern Spain.
route, as well as swapping stories in the same vein as those
published in Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer,
they endure an interesting encounter themselves.
Conceptually, this is a
semi-fictional book within a travelogue.
Series: A Wonderfully
Wacky World Book 2
Note. Please be advised that English UK spelling is mainly used in
This book is dedicated to my wife of many years, without whose help
in its preparation it would never have seen the light of day.
This book acknowledges the bravery of researchers of UFO incidents.
Their dedication and professionalism in the pursuit and publication
of the truth has on occasion resulted in their death.
You have to know where to look to find sources for the following
stories. Sometimes they are provided by whistle-blowers, others come
from innocents who were not looking for the unexpected, it found
I am one of the fortunate latter, several times over.
thanks are extended to:
Hungry Monster Reviews
Who have since emailed me with the following:
We are proud to present you with our Hungry Monster Book
book deserves extraordinary praise and The Hungry Monster is proud to
acknowledge your dedication, writing skill and imagination.
The Gold Award is bestowed on books that we found to be
perfect in their delivery of original content, meticulous development
of unique characters in an organic and striking setting, innovative
plot that supports a fresh theme, and elegant prose that transforms
words into beautifully written novels.
Monster Book Review
A group of friends who drifted apart decide to reunite and take a
trip together. It is the near future, and their intention is to
travel on the latest type of transport, in order to visit ancient
sites in Turkey.
They want to do this in luxury, and the travel company they selected
has done its best to accommodate their desires. They are lost for
words when they first cast their eyes on the spectacular, gleaming
new vehicle waiting for them. It is in fact alien in technology, and
far more of a futuristic craft than a mere ground-hugging coach.
Unwittingly, they are entering a world where time travel is a reality
and machines cater for individuals as well as the masses.
Soon, they embark on a sightseeing tour like no other they could have
imagined, and meet a time-travelling stranger who takes them under
More than one person has a hidden agenda, as they realise when they
reach a highly protected secret location. It contains hybrid
creatures on which the Gods of mythology are based.
Setting The Scene Afresh
Changes of epic magnitude had become established in the United
Kingdom, and were being rapidly adopted by other notable democratic
countries. Some, Turkey for instance, were considering their options
and had taken tentative steps in the same direction.
What were these monumental changes?
On Demand Democracy was the revolutionary flavour of the day.
This was because, under the previous form of democracy, elections
were only held at four or five year intervals.
In between these elections, politicians behaved as they saw fit, in
ways rarely coinciding with what the electorate wanted from them.
By means of electronic referendums modelled on the Swiss style,
voters were now fully participating in the democratic process. They
had proved capable of forcing their elected representatives to debate
issues with them in advance, and were getting their own laws passed
by a majority vote in each constituency.
The tail was no longer wagging the dog, and the powers-that-be were
being forced to accept the will of their citizens. There would be no
more bailing out of rogue financiers, unless with the support of the
With regard to their personal transport, people had become accustomed
to using driverless vehicles, wherever and whenever they wanted to
travel. These were hired from government agencies, and there was no
additional outlay beyond a rental charge, based on the number of
passengers being carried per journey and distance involved.
The Personal Official Transport System was the designated
collective name for such craft, although individuals fondly referred
to them as potties. These were introduced to the public as
replacements for cars, but their initially hidden ability to fly soon
People loved being driven from source to destination without
suffering the inconvenience of having to make stops or changes
Hence, on the broad shoulders of rapid technical advances, there were
two major influences forcing the pace of change in many parts of the
world. These were: ‘On Demand Democracy’ and potties to sit on.
In the meantime, the world-wide population was in the throes of
reducing dramatically. This was the outcome of one final, desperate
act of autocracy by its leaders, for the sake of survival in a
populous universe. They had intervened to ensure the human race
temporarily ceased procreating.
By induced infertility, the world-wide birth rate was stabilising at
a much lower level. In the ageing generations to come, the fertility
needed to induce a controlled birth-rate would be gradually
Naturally, while the population lessened, many adults were redeployed
in leisure industries for the rest of their natural lives. Free
enterprise was diminishing as state control over daily lives
Given evolutionary change, this is surely the natural order of
events? Nothing will be left to random chance in obsolete, free-trade
There’s an apocryphal curse which can reputedly be invoked by
stating, may you live in interesting times. This would have
certainly applied under these circumstances.
Flying Carpets, Turkish Carpets
Moving swiftly through the air
Without noise above the ground
You’d hardly know they’re there!
Flying Carpets, Magic Carpets
Which transport you around
As they rush you everywhere
To where vendors do abound.
There are no nerves a ‘jangling
As they scatter you around
Amongst the populace who enjoy wrangling
With prices that astound.
But don’t forget the reasons why
To Turkey you did fly
To see amazing sights and scenery
Whilst people test your patience
Forever selling things to buy!
§ 1: A Fateful Decision Is Executed
“Fancy a trip to Turkey?”
Terry Tumbler, a retired detective from Scotland Yard, posed the
question to his long-suffering wife, Sandra.
She snorted. “You’ll
be lucky! What makes you think I’d want to go back there?” After
their previous one and only visit, she’d said repeatedly there were
too many people in the country.
Also, wherever they
went, everyone was trying to flog them stuff.
She added in
justification, “Besides, we’d have to suffer their notorious
money-grubbing visa system on entry!” The first time they had
visited Turkey, it was to see their injured grandson and they’d
been given priority clearance.
He said in a hurt tone,
“It’s changed a lot since then. We can fly there direct using a
potty, the visa is paid in advance, and I’ll invite some friends to
come with us.”
“Huh!” she exclaimed.
“What friends are you talking about? You upset everyone I liked on
our last trip.” She was referring to their previous excursion to
Santiago in Northern Spain, when his outrageous behaviour had caused
ructions with most of the others on the coach. Since then, he’d
stuck with family for company, and – as she insisted rather cruelly
- they didn’t really like him either, did they?
He looked at her with a hang-dog expression.
“Well, I’ll behave myself this time.
Pretty please, baby give me one last chance?”
“I’ll think about it.” This
was her usual response when she had an open mind. Terry was therefore
content to let matters rest; they both knew she tended to give in
when she spoke in this way. Henceforth, the onus would be on him to
find friends to join them.
The true reason he
wanted to go to Turkey was best not confessed; he had a gut feel he’d
been there before, in another incarnation. Quite possibly, it could
be his last opportunity to find out if there was foundation to this
This was being reinforced by a voice in his head
telling him, “You need to come to
Turkey and save us from oblivion!”
He wondered, “How
any of this is going to pan out lord knows, but I want to get there!”
The first and most essential
step was to gather his friends and invite them to join him on another
trip by coach, to see the ‘Ancient Miracles of Turkey’.
“That should pacify the missus!”
he decided, trying to remember who she liked most on the Santiago
So far, the list had stabilised, with only a small core of people
expressing a wary interest in going with him. By implication, this
meant he had to improve his behaviour else they wouldn’t come.
Plus, cost was a major factor.
The list read:
Billy, a retired Engineer, with
Bessie, his wife;
Graham, a retired soldier and boyhood friend of Terry, who
lives in the UK with
Norma, his wife;
Wilf Right-Angle, a retired printer, accompanied by
Prissy, his wife, whose maiden name was Angle.
Hence the double-barrelled surname he had adopted.
The final couple were:
Dr John Watson PhD, retired librarian and poet, who had acted
as the official record-keeper on his last trip with Terry, to
Santiago. He was refusing to document anything if he went with him to
Now he was with,
Mary. She was the younger wife who he had recently courted
Only Graham and Norma lived in the UK, while the others were Spanish
And so Terry buckled down to the task of offering them ‘an
unrepeatable opportunity to go to Turkey’.
The recipients of his emailed tour offer read it with little
interest, looked at the price and nearly fell out of their chairs. In
the drop of a hat, they changed their minds, and viewed their
friendship with the Tumblers in a favourable light.
His previous behaviour was now regarded as an aberration.
When shown the email, their equally indifferent soul-mates changed
their tune and commented, “Well, she is really nice, so I
suppose we can put up with him for the duration!”
Thus, in a spirit of forgiveness, they accepted the offer, gleefully
glad-handing each other.
The sole exception to this hypocrisy was the gentlemanly and
forgiving Dr Watson, who was still preoccupied with satisfying his
newly acquired marital duties.
Each couple hired a two-seater potty from the nearest regional
centre, to come direct to their home for the outward bound flight in
two weeks’ time.
Using the world-wide web, the return journey was booked for 10 days
later from the Turkish Potty Centre in Istanbul.
Terry, dismayed by the poor response, told Sandra, “That’s all I
could muster! Including us, the total will be five couples.”
She eyed him with scorn, warning, “In that case, you’d better be
on your best behaviour, hadn’t you!”
To Terry’s consternation, shortly before they were due to depart he
got an urgent phone call, followed up by email, ordering them to
attend the main hospital at 9:00am within the next two days. They
were also told to bring with them all the medication they were
currently taking. The reference to quote was ARNY 5070.
“What’s it all about?” they wondered, so Terry recited the
reference into Twinkle Search. Nothing of true relevance was found,
only mention of a long-dead actor and a film called The
Terminator, so they decided to go post haste the next morning.
When they arrived, Terry went to a row of ticket machines, fed in
their Health ID Numbers, and both were allocated Tickets showing
their call numbers and area to go to; the title of it was Special
“Never heard of it,” Terry said, looking around for a relevant
sign, which he found on the wall opposite with an arrow pointing to
He and Sandra strode into a large waiting room full of wrinkly
oldsters, just like them. The queue was clearing fast, as the call
numbers showed on a display panel, and people rose to hobble through
one of a row of doors opposite.
They would often pause, not sure which to open, as the lights above
randomly turned from red to green.
“It can’t be bad news if all oldies have to attend,” Terry
whispered to Sandra. “Maybe it’s a jab against the flu.”
When their numbers came up, Terry sang, “Green door what’s that
secret you’re keeping?” and pulled one open as the light above it
He laughed as he passed through; there was only one room the other
side of the row of doors, and it was full of white-coated doctors
sitting at desks. Alongside stood nurses, and opposite sat their
A roving nurse came across, and asked Terry and Sandra to show their
health cards, ticking their names off her list as she hummed happily.
When requested, they handed over the pills they were taking at
present. She looked at them keenly, to ask, “Is this all? You must
not keep any, or you could suffer when you start the new
“Nope, you’ve got the lot,” he replied cheerily, and she told
them to sit in front of the next available doctor
“What’s this all about, Alfredo?” he sang to the white-coated
doctor sitting opposite, reading the name printed on his chest ID
badge. Standing next to him was his assistant nurse, grinning as she
held a large bottle containing a cloudy, dark liquid swishing lazily
around as if it had a mind of its own.
The doctor replied with a smile, “You are taking part in Project
ARNY. This is akin to the Flu inoculation you get every year, but
this one is taken orally, once a day for a month, two teaspoons per
dose. The instructions are on the bottle.”
The nurse handed it to Sandra, and they studied its label. The doctor
said, “We are giving this free to all the older patients on our
“Is it going to have side-effects, and does it taste vile?” Terry
“No to both questions. In fact, it is tasteless, with no harmful
after-effects, and will benefit your body and brain.”
“What does ARNY stand for?”
“Oh, Age Related something or other; I forget the rest of
it. You have given back all the drugs you are taking? As from now,
your current prescriptions are cancelled.”
Terry asked, “Are you sure, the whole lot?”
The doctor checked Terry’s and Sandra’s medical notes, and
pronounced his verdict. “Yes, all of them! I see your pills are
taken to combat the perils of strokes, cholesterol and arrhythmia,
and to keep your blood pressure under control with dodgy alpha and
beta blockers. All are tailored for the pair of you ageing burdens on
our health service!”
“Goodness gracious me, great balls of fire!” Terry chanted,
while Sandra looked astounded.
“What we are about to take is really good, is it?”
Sitting back beaming, hands behind his head, the doctor replied,
“Yes, it’s the Holy Grail of science, an elixir to give you a
pain-free, germ-free life in your old age! You can leave here now and
live in comfort. Go forth and multiply!”
As they left, Terry asked Sandra, “Did he just tell me to pee off,
or did he mean we can have children?”
She gave him a kiss on the cheek, patted his bum and said, “Only
time can tell, but don’t worry; no one is giving birth anyway,
Within two weeks of the potties being ordered, the five couples in
the group were on their way.
Terry and Sandra were tracking the others, and arrived some 30
minutes in advance of them, landing in the gardens behind the Hotel
Senator in Istanbul. The journey from their address in Spain had
taken only a dizzying quarter of an hour.
They dismounted and walked to the front of the hotel, leaving the
luggage to its own devices.
Each suitcase was branded a Bright Boy, because it had
micro-chip intelligence and could do a variety of things on its own.
These abilities became apparent, as they rose on anti-gravity pads
from the rack behind the seats and moved into the hotel on their own,
to sit on the floor by reception.
Collectively, they were jocularly called the ‘Bright Boys’, and
being the same size, occupied less space as they sat neatly side by
The receptionist pointed a scanner at them, and checked the embedded
bar codes against the bookings on his screen.
“Ah, the Tumblers are here!” he said, typing an ‘x’ against
each of the two names shown.
The empty potty flew back to Spain on automatic recall.
The margin of half an hour gave them ample time, so they hoped, to
confirm the booking-in procedure. They wanted it to be smoothly
handled for the remaining couples in their retinue.
After checking the computer records at reception, they went up to the
hotel room, with their bright boys in hot pursuit, to unpack a few
essentials. Briefly, they freshened up before returning to the
gardens to meet and greet their fellow companions.
The next potty to arrive held Graham and Norma, who greeted them
warmly as they dismounted.
Terry asked their friends, “We trust you both had a smooth
Norma nodded, while Graham enthused, “Yes, but it would have been
nice to view the scenery. The speed was terrific!”
Terry agreed, “True, but you could have had a catnap most of the
time! How long did it take you to get here, from the UK?”
“Oh about 20 minutes,” Graham replied, staring at his and Norma’s
suitcases floating unattended into the hotel entrance.
They didn’t have much time to natter before Billy and Bessie
arrived, swiftly followed by John and Mary. For a while, the six of
them stood chatting in the gardens.
Terry studied Mary with a professional eye, not having seen her
before. She was shorter than John by a few inches, had naturally
blond, wavy hair, and a shapely figure, emphasised by her dark red
straight dress cut above the knees.
At first sight, she was adorable eye-candy. He was entranced as he
looked intently at her face, with its blue eyes, straight nose,
cutely-spaced cheeks, cupid lips and admirably proportioned chin. Not
that he was staring at her, mind.
At the very least, she was 20 years younger than the doctor, and he
thought, “You lucky son of a gun, she’s a cracker, if she’s
got a brain to match!”
She startled Terry by saying with a laugh, “Yes, I do have a brain
Sandra’s face was stony, as John interceded with a knowing smile.
“Ignore him Sandra; she often gets this type of reaction from
strangers. The problem for men is: she can read their minds!”
Feeling embarrassed and starting to blush, Terry diverted attention
by saying, “There’s no sign of Wilf and Prissy on the horizon.
We’d better move indoors and complete bonking-in…” He looked
embarrassed. “Oops, sorry, I meant booking-in!”
Mary grinned wickedly, as Terry blushed deeper and said, “After
you’ve escorted your suitcases to your rooms, we can meet in the
bar, at the back of the hotel foyer. Later, if you’re okay with the
idea, we’ll go out and see some of the sights.”
Sandra nudged Terry in the ribs as they walked, hissing at him,
“She’s got better taste than me,” and adding cattily, “John
is more handsome than you are!”
Terry retorted, “It was far better for me to keep one woman
ecstatic than twelve happy!”
Her reply was unprintable, until she realised John’s wife might
be capable of reading her thoughts too.
The four couples had gathered by the bar and were sipping chilled
lagers when Billy saw Wilf and Prissy arriving at reception. He rose
immediately, to say, “I’ll go and tell them we’re here.”
Where have you been?” Billy quizzed them, after they’d completed
the booking-in formalities.
“It’s a long story,” Wilf replied. He was all hot and bothered.
Billy looked at their suitcases and noticed they were the
old-fashioned type on wheels, which needed pulling.
Without waiting for the inevitable questions to follow, Prissy added,
“Yeah, we’ll tell you all about it later, when we’ve unpacked.”
She waved to the rest of the group and pointing at her watch,
indicating with sign language they’d only be a few minutes.
Ten minutes later they emerged from one of the elevators and shuffled
over to the others.
Wilf apologised, “Sorry we got here late, but we’ve had a few
Terry whispered to Graham, “As usual!”
Out loud, he asked, “Why are you using suitcases on wheels?” He’d
heard the rhythmic clicking as the suitcases were being pulled along.
After ordering a brandy for himself and a lager for Prissy, Wilf
explained, “What we ordered didn’t come.”
Terry whispered to Graham, “That’s one of the problems with
living out in the sticks. No one can find him!”
Out loud, he asked Wilf, “But your potty found you, didn’t it, at
your correct address?”
Wilf shrugged, leading Terry to suspect the new suitcases had been
delivered, but he had sold them at auction.
Wilf gave a shifty smile, and said, “Maybe someone local kept them
on our behalf, while we were out.”
Changing the subject swiftly, he added, “Anyway, we had to use our
own suitcases and the blasted potty wouldn’t let us get on,
once we’d loaded them!”
Unable to resist himself, Terry groaned, “Don’t tell me: you
tried to smuggle your own booze on board!”
Wilf looked at him guiltily and asked, “How’d you know that?”
Terry kept up his attack, “Because I know you! You always try and
do illegal things! I’ll bet you got fined a large sum for breaking
the rules, didn’t you?”
Wilf guiltily nodded, while Prissy sat there with her jaw hanging
slack, as it often did.
He looked at Terry and said, “Well yes, I need to speak to you
He added brightly, to a groan from the others, “And they
confiscated all my brandy and whisky!”
Out of compassion as a fellow fisherman, Billy bought him and Prissy
more drinks, while Graham quietly asked Terry, “Are they always
like this? Why’d you bother with them?”
Terry didn’t like to admit he was short of friends on this trip,
and replied, “They’re not bad when you get to know them, and a
blooming sight nicer than many of the expats around me, in Spain.
You would not believe how badly old people behave when they move
Terry had forgotten his and Wilf’s bad behaviour over recent years,
like during the trip he had organised to Santiago de Compostela. He,
Wilf and the naive Billy had pushed off, leaving the others to walk
the caminos (or pilgrims’ pathways) on their own, while they hired
Eager to start sight-seeing, Terry ushered his flock to the nearest
tram station. He bought their tickets and they got on the next
available tram, where they settled down to watch the passing traffic
and bustling crowds, while ascending a long, main road and then
slowly rolling down it the other side.
On the pavements, they soon glimpsed ruins from the earlier Roman
Empire. Occasionally as well, they passed a few
solitary examples of Istanbul's own 16th domestic architecture, built
of wood and intricately carved.
In less than half an hour and after many stops to allow passengers to
get on and off, they reached their destination station, only a few
minutes’ walk to the Topkapi Palace and museum next door.
After guided tours at both venues, which all but Mary found tiring,
they had lunch, and sipped chilled lagers at a nearby Turkish
restaurant. This was in a busy area, opposite the high Roman walls
protecting the palace and museum complexes.
It was a hot day with only a few fluffy, white clouds drifting
overhead, and they strolled across to the park to wander aimlessly in
the shade of the walls, before agreeing to head back to the hotel for
Wilf asked, “Shall we use a taxi?”
Terry growled back at him, “You can, if you wish. I’m sticking
with the tram system!” He was conscious of the fact Wilf had asked
him, at the hotel, for a ‘sub’ of 500 Liras, to help ‘a good
Now, Wilf wanted to waste some of it on a taxi ride, when Terry was
paying for him and Prissy to use the tram system.
In an aside, the inquisitive Graham asked Terry “Is he really short
Terry replied, “Yes, stony broke until Prissy sold her last
remaining ‘buy-to-let’ house in the UK and it helped bail him
out. There wasn’t much profit in it, so I was led to believe.”
Buy-to-let houses were what some people invested in, hoping for a
steady income from tenants.
“For many reasons, he’s still got a mortgage on the old finca
they bought over here, and there are other debts on it as well, like
his car. He’s in his seventies, and the greedy bank holding the
deeds will no doubt seize the place when he dies.”
“I offered to look at the state of his finances, but he and Prissy
are proud, and laid off the subject for a few months!”
In the evening, Terry took them to a nightspot opposite the Hotel
Senator, located in a bazaar.
It was reached by a flight of stairs leading down to what was once a
large Roman water cistern, and is now a popular venue providing high
quality meals for a fixed price, including a belly-dancing show.
All had gone well until Wilf was invited to reward one of the dancers
with a paltry tip, and slipped when lodging the bank note between her
It took a lot of explaining to convince the staff it was truly an
accidental stumble, and only the roars of laughter from the massed
diners saved them from eviction.
§ 2: The Tour Begins
The following morning, they all awoke to an automated phone call
arranged by Terry for 8:15am. They wandered down in couples to the
restaurant, in which a self-service area had been set up, and ate
breakfast while commenting happily on the previous evening’s food
It was a relaxed start to the day, and the coach was not due to
arrive until 9:30am.
Terry took the opportunity to tell them about the time it had taken
others to reach to reach their hotels in Cappadocia, using normal
coaches; it was up to 14 hours, and their wake-up calls came at
4:30am in the morning!
Now they could expect to spend considerably less time on the road.
It was his way of raising their hopes of a much better overall
experience than originally suffered, but in reality he had no idea
what was in store.
The breakfast had been good, they’d filled their stomachs, and
there was plenty of time before they assembled with their packed
suitcases in the foyer.
Terry grumbled light-heartedly, “It’s a pity they can’t pack
themselves, without our help!”
At 9:30 on the dot, the jovial Guide arrived carrying a clipboard
with the travel company’s logo and his name printed on it, and
asked the receptionist for ‘the Tumbler group’. When Terry was
pointed out, the guide came across and greeted him like he was his
long lost brother, introducing himself as Erdal; Terry was flattered,
though he’d never met him before.
The hotel receptionist wished them a safe journey as they departed,
and watched with a smile as their suitcases floated behind
This of course excluded Wilf and Prissy. However, Erdal was a man of
compassion, and took pity on Prissy by pulling her heavy, wheeled
case along at the head of the group, chatting to her. Wilf stoically
put on a brave face, pretending to enjoy his task as a porter.
A few minutes later, they arrived at the so-called coach, standing at
the kerbside of a busy main road.
They stood there staring at this marvel of transport. It was only
slightly larger than a normal, luxury coach, but in no other way did
it resemble one. Was it meant to travel on the road, or did it fly?
In structure, it was a gleaming, metallic bronze tube with rounded
ends. Midway up the top section was a row of oval windows from front
to back, but they couldn’t see inside.
lower part was defined by a narrow, raised flange,
and was a third the height of the top, curving inwards at its flat
The overall impression gained was of a futuristic craft,
standing on four short, stout struts straddling the road surface,
there being no wheels visible. Yes, this was the deciding factor: it
had to be some type of aircraft.
There wasn’t a single seam or joint visible on the fuselage,
especially around the windows, which Terry suspected allowed light to
flow into the interior of the craft, but obscured those inside from
To a gasp of amazement from the onlookers, two previously invisible
door-frames emerged midway up, near the front and back. From each of
them a single door seamlessly popped out and slid sideways with a
Ramps then extended down from them at a steep angle, and thumped as
they made contact with the pavement.
At the same time, two long panels appeared from the lower section
facing the group, and rose vertically upwards until they almost
touched the upper tube. They revealed a cavernous storage-hold (or
bay) for the tourists’ luggage.
Many ordinary suitcases had already been stored inside, so they were
not travelling alone on this trip.
Admiring his new craft, Erdal asked them, “What do you think of
Graham replied with awe, “Amazing!” The others nodded.
Billy asked, “What’s it called?”
He looked at Erdal’s puzzled expression and tried to clarify his
question, “What is its name?”
Erdal’s face brightened in comprehension, “Ah, we think we’re
going to call it The Magic Carpet or The Turkish Express!”
John commented, “I quite like both of those! But Magic Carpet
is more to my fancy!”
Wilf’s face lit up as he spoke, “I’ve got a much better name
Fearing the worst, Terry groaned, “Oh no!” while Wilf continued
in a loud whisper, “I think it should be called The Turkish
Terry bellowed in exasperation. “NO WAY!” while Erdal’s face
was a picture of innocent bliss. He endorsed the name with
enthusiasm, “Yes, I like your choice more! It best describes what
Billy, Graham and John doubled-up laughing, as the older women
Mary piped up with a frown, “What’s a floater? Why’s the choice
of name so funny?”
John had tears running down his cheeks as he explained to her,
delicately, “In the bad old days, many coastal towns laid long,
sewage pipes far out to sea, and used them to pump their waste into
She nodded, so he continued.
“Often, the incoming tides would wash it back to shore.” She
continued to nod, still frowning in puzzlement.
“Much of the human excrement, known as ‘poo’, would float
around, like long, brown corks on the surface. That’s where the
term floater comes from!”
“Oh!” she gasped, and slapped his arm as others creased up,
laughing fit to bust. Erdal was confused.
Terry scolded Wilf, “Shame on you! Here we are, admiring this
marvel of technology, while you want to describe it as a
“Yes,” Erdal said innocently, “I like the name you have chosen,
Turkish Floater, it is good!”
Wilf added mischievously, “After all, bronze is a shade of brown!”
“Yes,” Erdal said, his eyes bright and eager, “You are most
Terry groaned, holding his head between his hands. He asked in
despair, “What’ve you just done, Wilf?”
Erdal helped Wilf load his suitcases, and stared in admiration at the
Bright Boys as they rose unaided and floated into the luggage hold.
Each tourist then moved forward to stand in front of the rear door
ramp, which shaped itself into an escalator, and they were soon
whisked upwards one at a time until they all stood on the main
The interior of The Magic Carpet was a testament to spartan taste,
minimalism, and easy-cleaning.
The level floor was seamlessly made from a non-shine substance, soft
and warm to the touch, which could be mistaken for a carpet.
Appropriately, as Erdal clarified later, it was a metal alloy, with
its molecules jostled with dye to give a dark colour known as ‘Turkey
Red’. This was cleverly inlaid with swirls of black, shaped
abstractly like scimitars.
In the long, central section of the craft, there were swivelling,
reclining chairs, their bases welded to the floor, with round tables
dotted between them, fixed in position.
Each currently upright ‘recliner’ was fitted with a loose, fabric
cover, patterned with narrow, medium-blue stripes on a dark-blue
background. On the black headrest cover, the name of the proposed
occupant was printed in gold capital letters.
On each side of the craft, between the fuselage and long, central
seating area, were open corridors used as walkways; both also doubled
as observation areas, for those who wished to stand when looking out
of the craft.
Internally, it was much like a wide, conventional aircraft cabin in
shape, with cream coloured, storage units above the seats, fixed in
rows of four facing front and back.
The overhead units were restricted to lightweight hand-luggage,
within easy reach of clusters of seats below. Prissy tried to cram an
oversized, sagging bag into one unit, and rapidly pulled it out when
it made a pronounced groaning noise.
“That’s clever!” she drawled, looking startled.
The interior fuselage walls and ceiling were lined with cream-colored
panels up to the edges of the windows.
At least ten other people were already standing around in small
groups, sipping soft drinks. They stopped chatting to look at the new
arrivals with mild interest, many of them giving a welcoming smile,
to which all those entering responded by waving.
From the front ramp, the last to board was Erdal, who invited the
British to help themselves to drinks from a fridge by the rear
He then went to where the pilot was sitting, in an open cockpit area
surrounded by instruments. It was the same person who had driven
Terry and Sandra on their first visit to Turkey, to see their
“That’s good,” Terry said to the others around him. “I know
this man, and he’s a totally dependable, steady driver, or should I
say pilot!” Unfortunately, he didn’t recognise Terry, who
remembered how taciturn he’d been originally.
“Could you please sit down in your allotted places,” Erdal
requested them in Spanish and English, which resolved the question of
the nationality of the other group, as he gestured to all of them by
lowering his hands repeatedly, with the palms facing downwards.
After finding their recliners they settled down, and swivelled round
to face him.
As he stood by his own, comfortable guide’s chair opposite the
pilot, six, solid three-dimensional images of Erdal sprang up at
intervals along the walkways. They shimmered for a few seconds and
stabilised, the sound system enabling his voice to be projected to
the various tourists.
“Welcome to you all!” he said simultaneously, in their native
“Cor!” exclaimed the British
“¡Hombre!” exclaimed the Spanish.
Everyone rose to their feet in amazement, before collapsing back
down, some of them turning to look at the original, grinning Erdal in
“You clever devil!” Terry said to Erdal’s nearest image,
Erdal’s image responded personally by giving him a conspiratorial
wink, before he addressed them all.
“We’ll be leaving Istanbul by the newly designated Super
Highway. This is invisible to the human eye, and can only be
detected by special instruments, like those we’ve got on board.
“It is literally a high way, well above the regular road
system and its associated air corridors; these are used by normal
traffic and the potties which will replace them.
“Our progress will be monitored separately by a dedicated control
“You will only be able to get around when you become used to the
exceptionally high speed at which we travel, and the extreme
variations in acceleration.
“We have our own gravitational field on this craft, but you
need to learn how to cope with what you see on the outside, or you
will feel sick. It affects your eyesight, but I can help you
“Our ultimate destination today is Goreme, in the province of
Cappadocia. This was a secretive religious centre for early
Christians, who carved it out of solid rock in isolated areas, when
Christianity was frowned upon by the early Roman Empire.”
route we will spend a few hours in Ankara, our
capital city. There, we will first of all see Atatürk's Mausoleum,
which is dedicated to the founding father and first president of
modern Turkey, and visit the museums built on the same site. After,
we will go to the historic part of the city. Have you any questions?”
Billy put his hand up, like a schoolboy.
“Yes?” Erdal asked him.
“How long will it take us to get there?”
This reminded Terry of his younger daughter, who used to ask this
question every blasted time they went on holiday. It still irked him
now, many decades later.
Erdal patiently replied, “It will take a maximum of 15 minutes, to
reach our first destination.”
Terry chimed up, “It used to take up to 4½ hours by normal coach!”
“Blimey!” Billy exclaimed. “What is the itinerary we will be
“Since none of you declared your faith to be Islam, the default
archaeological sites we visit will be Greek, then the First and
Second Roman Empires, then we go to Turkish monuments and centres of
Billy intervened and asked, “When you say, ‘The Second Roman
Empire’ do you mean ‘The Byzantine Empire’?”
Erdal nodded and explained gravely. “The term Byzantine Empire
was coined in 1557, by German historian Hieronymus Wolf to describe
the second Roman Empire. This was a century after the fall of
Billy beamed, and followed the first question with a second, which
was loaded. “Why didn’t we get to see the itinerary, in advance?”
squirmed in embarrassment as some of his own party of tourists looked
at him accusingly; they’d not been given the
opportunity to select their options.
Erdal came to his rescue, rising from his seat and saying hurriedly,
“By the way, I’ve got these envelopes to distribute to the most
recently arrived group; they detail the tour route we’ll be
following. Naturally, with our mode of transport, there will be
Erdal passed them around for the contents to be studied.
It was a timely reminder to Terry about his main reason for making
the trip; while he wanted to keep his group happy by enjoying their
holiday experience, he also had priority issues he needed to address.
First of all, who was the stranger insisting he had to ‘come and
save them’, whoever they were?
Secondly, why did he keep getting this persistent feeling he’d
lived before in this part of the world?
Erdal interrupted his train of thought by announcing via his images,
“Since you’re all sitting, we’ll begin the tour.”
The majority rotated their recliners forward, to look at what the
pilot was doing; apparently, it wasn’t very much. Keeping totally
still, he gazed at screens on the control panel, while instruments
woke up and relayed information in a light shade of green.
At the same time, one of the screens showed the struts supporting the
craft raising automatically.
Billy said, “I bet the gravitational field is taking over, to hold
us in position.”
barely glimpsed the scenery around them through the windows, as the
craft ascended at great speed, turned in a set direction and shot
ahead horizontally, as the scenery outside became a passing blur.
gasped, feeling collectively sick as it affected their vision.
Gradually, they adjusted to their perception of speed, identifying in
seconds what they were passing externally. They could make out a long
bridge below them to their left, on which conventional traffic was
stopping and starting as it tried to flow into and away from
Directly above conventional road-bound vehicles, potties streamed in
multiple rows at a much higher velocity, but these were still slower
than what their Magic Carpet was achieving in its Super Highway
corridor at higher altitude.
Effectively, they were seeing things as a series of snapshots,
without sound. There was little doubt this could also be turned on if
wanted, but it could lead to subliminal brain-washing!
It was better not to expose travellers to the risk, in case
advertisers or official agencies got involved!
On this view-only basis, events were shown in slow sequence, via a
series of flat screens lowered from the overhead units. These
displayed other traffic flows in one controllable stream which could
be paused, replayed and fast-forwarded as the need arose, using
“That’s clever!” Terry thought, practising the key words
to use when giving instructions; these were listed in his tour notes.
In the process, his eyes began to close and he settled back to enjoy
a few minutes of relaxation.
The Craft Controller introduces itself
At this exact moment The Magic Carpet used telepathy to communicate
Tumbler, Terry Tumbler?” it asked.
“Yes?’” he asked out loud, looking around for the source of the
“What? Did you say something to me?” Sandra asked.
“No,” Terry said. “I was thinking out loud. Ignore me.”
She looked at him suspiciously and turned back to look through the
“Who are you? What do you want?” He asked, using his mind
to transmit the question.
the Controller of the craft you are flying in. To be precise I am its
command chip. Biological I am, like you are!”
It sounded proud of the fact.
He recognised the chip at once; it was integral to the potty, and
therefore The Magic Carpet had to be sharing the same technology.
It gave the craft the ability to communicate as an intelligent device
with each person who mounted it. The most unsettling feature of this
chip was its modus operandi: it was alleged to tap into the human
How else did it know so much about a person?
The chip continued. “Sorry
to bother you, Terry, but I understand you wish to resolve a
deep-rooted personal problem. Am I correct? If so, I can help you.
This service is included in the package we provide as standard.”
“Elucidate!” Terry demanded, thinking this was the best
way to deal with this ‘Controller’.
need to sound so stuffy!” the Controller said,
with a simulated chuckle. “You
are welcome to call me Chippy, or Mr Chips if you wish to keep some
distance between us.”
“What is it you wish to say to me, Chippy?” Terry asked,
unable to resist a smile.
He wasn’t keen on this over-familiar device talking to him.
better!” the Controller responded. “I
have taken the liberty of applying hypnotic assistance to induce
regression. This will help you resolve questions worrying you about
your past life. I hope you will find the experience to be pleasurable
“Yes, I hope so too, and thank you.” Terry replied, mildly
annoyed by the notion he needed help. “Was there anything else
you’ve decided to do, on my behalf?”
the Controller continued. “I
intercepted a message from a gentleman by the name of Marius. He
wishes to meet you. He is the top man at a secret shelter located in
Turkey which is under increasing threat from outside forces.
needs your help to assess the level of threat and combat it. You will
receive a message from him this evening, so he can brief you on the
situation. The time he will suggest will be 7:15pm. Please attend.”
Terry sighed. “I don’t know what I can do, but I’ll go and
“Good man, over and out.” The Controller said.
Next, he introduced himself to Sandra, using a female voice.
Tumbler, Sandra Tumbler?”
She started to shriek in fright, but Terry put a hand over her mouth
when those nearby looked up.
“Shush!” he told her, thinking she was having a bad dream,
and laid back to try and have a snooze.
out! You’re a grown woman and should be ashamed of yourself!”
the controller said to her, in a stern, female voice. “I’m
Miss Chippy, the person who speaks to you when you’re on your
potty! Don’t you recognise me?”
Sandra nodded, dumbstruck, her eyes wide open, as the voice in her
were scanned on entering the craft, and were found to have a minor
ailment needing my attention. It will impact your travel pleasure if
She sunk down in her swivelling recliner, scared by the diagnosis and
its potential treatment. “What is it?” she asked.
onset of cataracts in your eyes. I will operate on them within the
next few minutes. Lay back, close your eyes, and relax, relax,
In her brain, she could see a flock of sheep. They were wandering in
a green, sloping meadow under a sunny blue sky. Soothing pastoral
music was playing to help distract her from what was being done.
Terry looked at his wife sharply as she began to snore quite loudly,
causing others around to nudge each other and laugh. This woke and
startled her into opening her eyes, as a result of which she started
to blink furiously and then burst out crying.
The onlookers resumed reading or talking, to hide their
embarrassment, while Terry comforted her.
He asked, “What’s the matter dear?”
“Nothing, nothing at all,” she replied, dabbing her eyes with a
tissue and blinking. “They’re tears of relief and happiness. I’ll
Arrival at Ankara
Ten minutes later, Erdal announced their arrival at the mausoleum in
Ankara, and the craft landed, to park at the far end of a row of
Not many people in Turkey had seen anything resembling The Magic
Carpet, and a crowd of curious onlookers gathered around it, taking
photos as the doors opened and they all descended.
Some of the other drivers began questioning Erdal, who could be heard
praising its capabilities and comfort, and speculatively referred to
it as the Turkish Floater.
“Oh no!” Terry groaned, cursing Wilf for his daft sense of
The groups spent a worthwhile hour seeing the sights, and
appreciating murals depicting Turkey’s War of Independence, before
returning to their craft.
Soon they were being whisked to the old district of the city, called
Ulus, and parked in the plaza in front of the hilltop citadel
which provides the best views of Ankara.
Another crowd of onlookers
gathered around the craft, and Erdal was obliged to spend time
answering their questions before his group were able to enter the
Afterwards, they toured the area
inside, which included a traditional Turkish
village, giving everyone photo opportunities and the
chance to buy souvenirs.
Wilf whispered to Billy, “I’m
not interested in this type of thing, are you?”
Billy was preoccupied and merely
grunted, while Bessie rounded on Wilf and replied, “Well you should
be! What’s the point of coming here in the first place if you’ve
no interest in Turkey’s history?”
Wilf retreated into his shell,
while Prissy was absorbed in a guide book describing the attractions
in the area.
To aggravate him, she asked
Erdal, “If we go down the hill a bit, it says we will find the
Temple of Augustus and a mosque nearby, plus the Roman Baths of
Caracalla. We can also walk on a sunken Roman Road, to see Julian’s
column. All of it is near here. Can we go to these places, now?”
Wilf groaned and said, “Well
back to the floater, for a nap.”
Erdal replied to Wilf, “You
can’t. It’s locked up. We’ve got to stay together.”
Then he turned to Prissy, gave
her a sympathetic smile, and confirmed, “Of course we can go to
these places; they’re the reason we came here!”
They all continued, with Wilf at
the rear, talking crossly to himself, until Prissy loudly told him to
shut up. Terry was hoping she’d give him a cuff around the ears,
but she didn’t.
Close to the citadel gate was
located a favoured restaurant, where Erdal had pre-booked lunch.
While they were munching their
food, Terry asked Sandra, “What was your problem earlier on? Were
you having a nightmare?”
“No,” she replied. “I had
an amazing conversation with our craft. It has a biological chip in
it, similar to the ones put in control of the potties. Guess what? It
removed cataracts in my eyes, and I didn’t know I had them in the
first place! Imagine, a machine looking at your health and performing
minor operations to enhance your travel experience!”
He shook his head in shared
amazement. “Wow, I’m glad for you. Now you can see me properly
and tell our friends how good looking I am!”
She looked at him with
affection. “Get stuffed!” she said.
wasn’t until later in the afternoon they were able to leave
The journey onwards
The Magic Carpet sped across the
green countryside, initially at thousands of miles per hour.
They were told, “We are
speeding above a long highway originally earmarked for a rapid rail
service between Ankara and its province of Cappadocia.”
The Magic Carpet occasionally
moved into the nearside ‘slow’ lane, to allow the tourists to
stand at the windows and view the scenery.
It was splendidly fertile, with
crops growing in rows stretching to the distant horizon, interspersed
with fallow land waiting to be ploughed at intervals, for renewed
They could also see areas of
deep grey cloud moving across the landscape, with sheets of rain
pouring heavily down. Sometimes, when they picked up speed, the sound
of water beating against the craft became loud.
Erdal announced. “It’s not
really touching us; it’s bouncing off the plasma screen created all
around our splendid craft by its propulsion system. Hence, there is
no need for windscreen wipers!”
The tourists looked towards the
pilot’s cockpit, where the windows in front were seen to be clear
of beating rain.
As the journey continued, Erdal
would order the pilot to slow down at intervals, for passengers to
appreciate changes in the scenery. It reminded them of what they had
left behind in England.
Billy could see big differences
in the type of land below, as the plains receded and they ascended to
He exclaimed, “Good lord, you
would think we’re going through counties like Wiltshire, Berkshire
Graham said, “I wouldn’t
mind living here.”
Wilf whispered, “I’ve got
plans to do so!” but didn’t elaborate further.
§ 3: Return To The Past (1 of 4)
Arrival at Goreme
Minutes later they rose over higher ground, and Erdal advised them
they were nearing the open-air museum of Goreme.
This is located near crossroads used centuries ago by camel trains
and invading armies alike.
The volcanoes of Cappadocia had erupted several million years ago,
depositing countless layers of ash, lava and debris. This raised the
altitude of the land by more than 1000 feet (300 metres) to form a
Over millions of years, the volcanic ash turned into a soft, pale
rock called tuff, overlaid by a thinner layer of dark lava known as
The craft slowed down above a winding mountain road, giving them
their first view of the famous ‘Fairy Chimneys’, made from the
eroded Tuff and basalt. There seemed to be a large number of them in
a valley on the left, like closed mushrooms on stalks poking up from
the yellow, barren soil.
Terry leant over to confide in Sandra, “Can you imagine the
reaction of an invading army? It would have been a barren, uninviting
countryside into which they were riding and marching. When they saw
this area, they must have found it evil and mysterious.”
“Brr…” Sandra exclaimed with a shiver. “I’m glad we didn’t
live in those troubled times!”
Playing on her reaction, Terry said, “When they came to some of the
towns and villages in this region the population had vanished!
“They had in fact fled underground, via hidden tunnels. Many such
cities were carved out of the soft rock, with linking tunnels for a
The craft continued slowly until they saw a narrow road signposted to
Goreme. This twisted down the hillside, following its contours.
seconds, they landed in the valley, and parked alongside a long row
of normal coaches.
Before long, Erdal was ushering them through a specially opened side
gate, at the entrance to the site of the secluded Christian
Terry looked ahead and was dismayed. “It’s all up and down!” he
said, referring to the terrain stretching into the distance; there
were hardly any level pathways to be seen, and it was teeming with
The group had gathered around Erdal, who was smiling and loudly
talking, while holding aloft a yellow placard. This would allow him
to lead his flock on the sign-posted route, joining other slow moving
Terry muttered to Sandra, “I’m not keen on this. Shall we make
our own way round?” Sandra nodded, and they slipped off, hoping to
get a better view at each stop. However, it didn’t take them long
to realise the cave dwellings were empty!
The lack of imagination invested in the site was pitiful, considering
the high number of tourists who were there. Later they would visit
Konya, where a far more modern approach had been taken.
Getting bored as they progressed, Terry said to her, “I don’t
want to see any more, do you?”