The Leconauts in Eboracum
The continuing adventures of the Leconauts
You have landed at the place where you can experience the continuing chronicles of the Loudhailer Electric Company mothership and crew. Starring Leconauts Captain Lou Loudhailer, Sonic Architect Parsons, Ricardo the Astral Bard and Bombardier Walker. Written by Loudhailer Electric Company’s Sonic Architect and keeper of the sacred flangector, this is Season 13 of the adventurous antics of the Leconauts traversing the galaxy and encountering a myriad of marvellous musical lifeforms and dastardly villains as they venture forth to perform at the galaxy’s Temples of Song.
HERE WE GO WITH A MINI-SEASON! HERE’S EPISODE ONE! IN WHICH THE LECONAUTS RECEIVE SOME DISTURBING NEWS….
‘One thing is bothering me’ said Bombardier Walker. ‘What’s that?’ replied Captain Lou. ‘I think the Astral Bard has brought one of those crystal ruby decanters of moon-wine back from the Dream-World. I wonder what would happen if we were to drink it………?’
‘No doubt we’ll find out when the time is right!’ said the Astral Bard. There was mischief in his eye. ‘Time’, replied the bombardier. ‘Now, there’s a thought!’
The Leconauts were back on their trusty Starcruiser, the Leco, on the bridge but relaxing for what seemed the first time in several dodecabits. Suddenly, the Vistascreen crackled into life and the face of Admiral Bunting appeared.
‘All hail the Leconauts’ said the doughty renegade.
‘All hail Admiral Bunting’ they replied. ‘How can we help, Admiral?’ asked Captain Lou.
‘I received a psychotropic communication this morning’ continued the Admiral. ‘It contained some vaguely disturbing news.’
‘Here we go again’ said the Bombardier, rolling his eyes.
‘Go on’ said Captain Lou.
‘The message originated in the Age of Legends. It was sent out on a probe from the Skylark. One of my drones intercepted it this morning. I’m only glad I got to it before the Galactic Council did.’
The Leconauts all sat forward, intrigued.
‘It would appear that Baron Brock, leader of the Lords of the Hawk, managed to clone himself and several of his crew, towards the end of the Age of Legends. The clones have been in stasis-sleep for several quitons. But it is written that they will be drawn forth from their slumber to launch their spacechants into the aether in Eboracum City two septalogs from now. The transmission also asks that whosoever finds it draws it to the attention of the foremost sonic renegades of the day, which would be, er, you!’
‘I see’ said Captain Lou, sensing that there was more which the Admiral wasn’t divulging. Sure enough, the hoary space renegade shuffled from one foot to the other, then said ‘yes, you are required to join them at the Vaults of Victoria so you can launch your spacechants into the aether too. But if my atmospheric almanac is correct, doing so would result in a plasma peak, higher than any we have yet experienced……..’
IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE TWO OF THE MINI-SEASON! IN WHICH A CONUNDRUM IS REVEALED!
‘A plasma peak!’ exclaimed Captain Lou. ‘Something outside my experience, I fear.’
‘Something outside everyone’s experience’ replied Admiral Bunting. ‘It is widely believed by certain Spacescholars that a plasma peak was responsible for the coming of the Age of Ice on Terra Gaia, many quitons ago.’
Captain Lou felt alarm begin to rise inside her. ‘And you suggest that the combination of the Leconauts and the Clones of the Hawk both launching their spacechants into the aether may result in a potentially apocalyptic event?! I’d say that in the light of such knowledge we should avoid all contact with them!’
‘Do not panic’ said the Admiral, in a tone of voice which was meant to be reassuring but which only served to alarm Captain Lou further.
‘I have no intention of panicking, Admiral’ said Captain Lou, somewhat testily. ‘But I do not wish to put my crew, my ship and indeed the entire galaxy in the path of danger.’
‘Why not? Haven’t you been doing exactly that since you went renegade and vanished with a Starcruiser which is still technically the property of the Galactic Council?’ came the reply.
‘That’s not the same and you know it! I can’t see how or why we would want to embark on a process which would endanger not only all concerned but also the rest of organity.’
‘Aah’ said the Admiral. His eyes cast downwards and he began to shuffle his feet, a sure sign that he was hiding something; something big, thought Captain Lou.
‘There is another thing’ he continued. ‘I thought so’ said Captain Lou. ‘Come on, out with it!’
‘The probe I mentioned earlier, which my drones intercepted.’
‘Yes’ said Captain Lou, becoming somewhat impatient with the doughty space bandit.
‘Well, we did intercept it, but we didn’t neutralise it…..’
‘What does that mean?’ asked the increasingly exasperated space Amazon.
‘It means’ replied the Admiral, ‘that if you and the Clones of the Hawk don’t launch your spacechants into the aether on the stardate specified in the transmission, then the probe will flangect Terra Gaia into spacedust……..’
HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE THREE OF THE MINI-SEASON! IN WHICH THE TRUE NATURE OF THE PROBE IS REVEALED…..!
Captain Lou reeled from the impact of what Admiral Bunting had just told her. She found herself and her crew in a Catch-22 situation. Either attend a ritual at a Temple of Song which could cause a potentially cataclysmic plasma peak, or not attend and risk destruction from an ancient probe which had been travelling the cosmos since the Age of Legends!
‘What else can you tell me about this probe, Admiral?’ she asked. ‘Is it possible to communicate with it in any other meaningful way?’
‘From what my drones have been able to discern it would appear that the probe is programmed to accept complex communication, the nature of which is not fixed or computable. The transmission we have received states quite clearly that the spacechant of the Clones of the Hawk must be combined with that of the foremost renegades of the day, which is unquestionably you.’
‘But how can the probe know who are or are not the “foremost renegades of the day”’ asked Captain Lou with increasing exasperation.
‘I should also say that my drones did detect the presence of a PSI Power generator within the probe’ said the Admiral, sounding reluctant to have to reveal this particular piece of information.
‘I see’ said Captain Lou. ‘So the probe itself has sentience and will decide upon receipt of the coded information contained in our spacechants whether or not we are indeed the “foremost renegades of the day”?’
The Admiral shuffled his feet again. ‘Yes, er, that’s about the size of it!’
‘Well thank you, Admiral’ said Captain Lou with a note of sarcasm in her tone. ‘Once again the fate of the galaxy rests on the shoulders of the Leconauts!’
‘It would seem so’ replied the Admiral. ‘Which is quite encouraging, really. After all, you have saved the galaxy, indeed the universe, from almost certain destruction on more than one occasion!’
Captain Lou smiled. The Admiral was stating the truth. But somehow, this time it felt different, and she was currently at a loss as to explain why………
HERE’S EPISODE FOUR OF THE MINI-SEASON! IN WHICH THE PLOT THICKENS….
Captain Lou and the rest of her crew sat on the bridge of the Leco, a Sonic Starcruiser, late of the Galactic Fleet, and now their home as rebels who would be hunted by the Galactic Council if indeed, that august body became aware (again) of their existence.
‘So let me get this straight’ said Bombardier Walker, ‘it sounds to me like we are damned if we do, and damned if we don’t! This Baron Brock had some kind of a sense of humour, didn’t he? Sending a probe out with a message which, if answered, can destroy a planet, and if left unanswered, well, the probe will destroy the planet for you!’
His three crewmates were struggling to find something to say which would not sound inane in the circumstances. At last the Sonic Architect spoke. ‘These clones with whom we are meant to rendezvous; what do we know about them?’
‘Very little’ said Captain Lou. ‘They are currently in stasis-sleep, so they could be anywhere.’
The Astral Bard spoke next, mischief in his eyes. ‘Why don’t we commence our search in Eboracum City? That’s where the launching of the spacechants is due to take place. It would make sense that the clones are somewhere nearby.’ He remembered the last time he had been in stasis; it had taken him a septalog to be able to walk from his stasis chamber to the nutripod.
‘Good idea!’ said Captain Lou. ‘Bombardier, set course for Eboracum City……’
A bidodecabit later and the Leconauts were stalking the city streets, on the lookout for clues as to the whereabouts of the Clones of the Hawk. Captain Lou was replaying her conversation with Admiral Bunting, searching for any clues which it may contain. One thing the Admiral had said kept recurring in her mind; “Do not panic”. Why would she panic? And why hadn’t he just said “don’t panic”? Why use the courtly form?
Just then she was brought out of her reverie by her crewmates all stopping dead in their tracks. ‘Look ahead’ said the Astral Bard. They looked but saw nothing. Captain Lou looked askance at the Bard. ‘I could swear I just saw Shaman Hood of the Hawk enter that hostelry with the sign of the Hog of Harley!’
The Leconauts entered the dimly-lit tavern which had straw on the floor and an atmosphere heavy with the aroma of spaceweed. Bombardier Walker smiled.
‘Over there’ said the Astral Bard, and pointed. The unmistakeable figure of Shaman Hood of the Hawk, wearing a flowing cape and a Viking helmet, was standing at the bar, about to address the tapster. He uttered one word; ‘psyder!’
‘That’s our man!’ said Captain Lou. They approached the venerable space wizard…….
They ordered spacejuice and joined the Shaman in a cubicle set back in the least busy part of the tavern. After the customary pleasantries Captain Lou got down to business and told the Shaman all they had learned from Admiral Bunting.
Shaman Hood smiled. ‘I can see your predicament’ he said. ‘But knowing Baron Brock as I do I can assure you that there will be a way to solve the conundrum!’ The Leconauts looked at each other in wonder. The Shaman knew Baron Brock? A space renegade from the Age of Legends?!!
The Shaman had begun to speak again. ‘My advice is to not waste time searching for the Clones of the Hawk. They will, as clones inevitably do, turn up at the appointed time and place to discharge their duty as programmed by their creator, the good Baron. What you must do is to put your energies into finding a way to do as the Baron asks without causing galactic mayhem!’
The Leconauts all began to speak at once; ‘but…how…impossible…in the name of Magnu…Jimi on a bike…’
‘Steady, steady’ admonished the gnarly warlock. ‘Do not panic……’
TONIGHT! THE LECONAUTS MEET THE CLONES OF THE HAWK AND SAVE THE UNIVERSE – AGAIN!
‘There it is again!’ thought Captain Lou. “Do not panic”! There must be a significance, she thought. She realised Shaman Hood of the Hawk was smiling, a twinkle in his eye. Then a thought seemed to transfer itself and appeared large in her mind’s eye.
‘Leconauts’ she said, ‘it’s time to return to our Starcruiser. We will bid you farewell, Shaman Hood.’
The Shaman smiled and nodded.
Back on the bridge of the Leco Captain Lou issued instructions to each of her crew. She then stood on the Transference Spot, closed her eyes, felt the familiar tug in the pit of her stomach, and opened her eyes to see the interior of the Room of Manuscripts.
She scanned the shelves looking for a particular Teetee. After a while she saw one tome which was pulsating slightly and glowing a pale orange. She stretched up her hand and the volume freed itself from the shelf and fell into her palm…
The Sonic Architect meanwhile was carrying out the instructions his Captain had given him. He was reconfiguring the polarity on the Leco’s awesome array of flangectors. He was unsure as to why, but reasoned that Captain Lou knew what she was doing…..
At the same time, Bombardier Walker was changing the phase on the Leco’s mighty Thunder Machine, as the Captain had requested. He thought this seemed a crazy thing to do, but figured that the Captain must have a method to her madness….
As his three crewmates busied themselves with their tasks the Astral Bard was conducting a scan of the space/time around Eboracum City. He had fed a series of codes into the mainframe compubrain and was watching the Vistascreen as an endless parade of numbers and symbols marched up and down and left to right across the screen…..
The appointed day arrived, and the Leconauts travelled down to the Vaults of Victoria via the Lecopod, which they left cloaked in the convey-o-park across from the Temple of Song.
They entered, to find an Edifice of Song ready and waiting. A large banner across the back of the Temple bore a visual depiction of a structure which Captain Lou was amazed to find was an exact replica of Atomhenge. Below the image was the legend ‘Do Not Panic……’
The six Clones of the Hawk, who had been sitting in a corner, immediately rose and held out their hands in the traditional Terra Gaian greeting.
‘Welcome to the Leconauts’ said one of them. ‘I am Psi Power! Allow me to introduce my fellow clones; Huw Android Replica; Rich, Lord of Light; Doctor Technikal; Moondoggle; and Donna the Silver Cat!’
Captain Lou reciprocated by introducing the three other Leconauts and all hands were shaken.
Worshippers began to enter the Temple until a goodly crew of witches, thanes, sorcerers, druids and heavy metal kids were assembled. Captain Lou spotted Shaman Hood of the Hawk at the bar with his jug of psyder in his hand.
At last the time came and the Leconauts took their positions and, at the archaic command from Bombardier Walker, began to launch their spacechants into the aether………
And so it came to pass that the Leconauts did launch their spacechants into the aether, and much merrymaking was enjoyed by the denizens of Eboracum City. And then the Clones of the Hawk, known throughout the Eebigum quadrant as Do Not Panic, did launch their spacechants into the aether. And again, there was much consumption of spacejuice and psyder and revelling into the night. And then the assembled throng left the Temple and stood outside to howl at the moon as a shower of meteors passed overhead.
The Sonic Architect turned to Captain Lou. ‘Well, we are still here’ he said. ‘Indeed’ said Captain Lou, a smile playing around her lips. ‘Nothing like stating the obvious’ she said to herself.
‘That is to say’ continued the Sonic Architect, as if reading her mind, ‘that the probe has not flangected us out of existence.’
‘Again, indeed’ replied the Captain. ‘I had every confidence that we would survive’ she said, although secretly, she hadn’t been able to say she was one hundred per cent sure.
The Astral Bard joined them. ‘The probe has received our transmissions and has continued its journey’ he said. Bombardier Walker appeared. ‘So tell us, Captain’ he said, ‘how did you do it?’
Captain Lou smiled. ‘It was to do with a thought that I picked up from Shaman Hood of the Hawk’ she said. ‘About a character from the Age of Legends, Sir Seth the Lover. He was a pioneer in the field of electrickery and invented an early form of flangector. It was to do with avoiding the unwanted side effects of non-binary plasma flow.’
‘Aah, I see’ said the Sonic Architect. ‘So by changing the polarity of our flangectors and the phase of our Thunder Machine we were able to combine our spacechants with those of the Clones of the Hawk without creating a plasma peak!’
‘Exactly!’ said Captain Lou, feeling very pleased with herself.
‘And the probe accepted the transmissions and went on its way’ said the Bombardier. They all looked up to see the meteor shower overhead. ‘The Leonids’ said Captain Lou. ‘They were part of the equation too. They had the effect of scrambling the probe’s sensors, which made it easier for our transmissions to find their way to their target without too much sentient decoding taking place.
‘But how did you know….’
‘It was something the Admiral said, about his “atmospheric almanac”. It jogged something in my memory. I looked it up and realised that the meteor shower would almost certainly have an effect on the probe’s ability to decode our signals.’
‘Almost certainly’ repeated the Bombardier.
‘Yes, almost’ said Captain Lou. ‘Well, you have to have a little adventure in your life, don’t you…..?!
Loudhailer Electric Company at Victoria Vaults, York, photos by keepers of the captured image Syd Young aka Sydpix and Capitano Smurf aka Mike Hood:
The Clones of the Hawk, Do Not Panic
Discover more Adventures of the Leconauts here:: https://loudhailer.net/the-leco-chronicles/
Written by Loudhailer Electric Company’s Sonic Architect and keeper of the sacred flangector, Jeff Parsons