The Leconauts Yuletide Adventure
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 15 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.
SEASON 15 YULETIDE ADVENTURE
THE LOUDHAILER ELECTRIC CO YULETIDE GATHERING, STARRING WORK IN PROGRESS, SIMON RAYWOOD AND RICHARD HARRIES ALONGSIDE THE UNIVERSE’S FAVOURITE SPACE RENEGADES! WHICH MEANS IT’S TIME FOR A WHOLE NEW ADVENTURE IN SEASON FIFTEEN OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! HERE’S EPISODE ONE!
‘I wonder how Young Syd is getting on at Space School?’ said Captain Lou, almost thinking out loud. The four Leconauts were relaxing on the Envirodeck of the Leco, their Sonic Starcruiser, after their successful mission to Udder’s Field. The Envirodec had been configured to resemble the Italian lakes from the Age of Legends, and the four galactic renegades were sitting on a spacious patio under a parasol sipping prosecco and nibbling olives.
‘I imagine he’s loving every minute of it’ said the Astral Bard; there was mischief in his eye. His three crewmates all laughed out loud.
‘I don’t think he will go down as the most willing student in the annals of space School’ said the Sonic Architect. ‘We practically had to drag him there kicking and screaming!’
‘We could check out his record in the Space School almanac’ suggested the Bombardier. ‘An excellent idea’ replied Captain Lou. She pressed a button on the console in the arm of her sun lounger and put in a request. A few sextabits later a microbot appeared on the terrace bearing a large Teetee, which it handed to Captain Lou.
‘Let’s see now’ said the space virago, opening the volume and scanning its pages. Here we are – class of 3535 – a hundred dodecabits since we were there ourselves!’
Young Syd’s reports made interesting reading; many were at pains to point out that he would do much better if he could cure himself of his habit of staring vacantly out of the window. They provided much amusement for all four Leconauts until Captain Lou saw an entry which simply red ‘Expelled due to his lack of application and total unwillingness to submit to the rules of the institution.’
‘Wow, they expelled him!’ said Captain Lou, suddenly serious.
‘I wonder if he’d got around to inventing the Nova Drive?’ said the Bombardier.
‘Well, somebody did’ replied the Sonic Architect, ‘as we have one in our engine room!’
‘I think we’d better pay him a visit’ said Captain Lou, ‘and see what he has to say for himself!’
A short time later the Leconauts were gathered in the Studio of the Fair View, at their stations in the Edifice of Song, preparing to travel back in time to their old Alma Mater.
The Sonic Architect gave the time-honoured command to begin the spacechant; ‘onetwothreefour’ and the process began. The Astral Bard intoned the ancient spell ‘I’m a time traveller, and I will break your heart…..’
All four Leconauts felt the familiar tug in the pit of the stomach and felt themselves soaring through a starlit black corridor of flame………
HERE WE GO WITH SEASON FIFTEEN EPISODE TWO! IN WHICH A RELUCTANT SCHOOLBOY INVENTOR GETS SHORT SHRIFT FROM THE FUTURE!!!
The Leconauts stalked through the corridors of Space School, an imposing building which had been cunningly disguised to look derelict. ‘You know that the people who built this edifice came from a long Line of Lords?’ said Captain Lou.
‘Really?’ answered the Sonic Architect. ‘Yes’ continued the Captain. ‘They were Sea Lords and plied their trade in the most inhospitable oceans, and this building was their headquarters, before the Apocalypse.’
It wasn’t considered good form to talk of the Apocalypse in polite company, but the Leconauts were not given to observing conventions. The Apocalypse had occurred at the end of the Age of Legends when the proponents of war and its junior cousin, sport, had brought the galaxy to the very brink of destruction. Many planets were obliterated. It was only the actions of a disparate band of renegades who had come together from the corners of the universe which had saved the cosmos from mutually assured destruction. Thereafter, sport had been recognised as the training ground for warmongers and was banned across the galaxy. ‘A good thing too’ thought the Sonic Architect. Music had then been made compulsory in all educational establishments and all former sport enthusiasts had been assigned to basket weaving and flower arranging to expunge their bellicose tribal impulses.
The Leconauts paused outside the classroom in which they knew Young Syd was currently engaged in an Advanced Propulsion seminar. Captain Lou tentatively opened the door. The room was crowded and people were milling around in informal groups. She decided it would be safe for the Leconauts to enter. They quickly located Young Syd, who was surrounded by a coterie of female students who were hanging on his every word. ‘And then I had to use my jetpack to escape through a window on the third floor…’ he was saying, at which point he caught sight of the Leconauts and extricated himself from his adoring fans with a polite “excuse me”. Every one of them became immediately crestfallen and shrank by several inches.
‘Well hello’ he said, beaming from ear to ear.
‘Hello, Syd’ said Captain Lou. ‘How are things at Space School? Invented the Nova Drive yet?’
‘Wow, straight down to business’ he replied. ‘Indeed’ said Captain Lou. ‘We are not given to travelling through time to make social calls.’
‘No, I suppose not’ replied Young Syd, picking up the vibe from all four space renegades. ‘Well?’ said Captain Lou. ‘Is there any progress?’
‘Yes and no’ answered the hapless Space Cadet. ‘Plain speaking if you please’ said the Captain.
‘Yes, I’ve done all the theory, the preliminary drawings, created a test simulation model, but no, the School haven’t been convinced enough to build a prototype yet.’
‘Well, you’d better convince them quickly, because they are going to expel you in a tridecabit!’
Young Syd looked genuinely surprised, alarmed and relieved all in the space of a few sextabits. The Astral Bard felt very uneasy about revealing details of the future to Young Syd, fearing a temporal anomaly, but the Captain had decided it was the only way.
‘Well, I’d better get my finger out then’ said the recalcitrant student.
‘Yes, you had’ answered Captain Lou. She moved closer. ‘The fate of the entire renegade alliance depends on it!’
‘Ok’ said Young Syd. ‘No pressure, then……!’
IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE THREE OF SEASON FIFTEEN! IN WHICH WE MEET FRIENDS OLD AND NEW AND THE FUTURE BEGINS TO UNRAVEL!!!
Captain Lou was deep in thought. She was troubled by various aspects of the Leconauts’ journey back in time to give Young Syd a dressing down. Perhaps the Astral Bard was right, and no good would come of revealing to Young Syd that he would be expelled from Space School. She had more or less promised that as soon as the Nova Drive was ready that they would return to the past and bring Young Syd forward in time once more, to the present. They had left him with a promise to return to Space School twenty eight bi-dodecabits from when they had last seen him, roughly two bi-dodecabits before he was due to be expelled. Captain Lou hoped it would be enough time for the reluctant inventor to change the course of history.
With that, the Vistascreen crackled into life and the face of Sir Cavan of the Dale appeared. ‘Howdy cap’n!’ He exclaimed. ‘How’s your cotton-pickin’ day goin’?!’
‘Greetings, Sir Cavan!’ replied Captain Lou. ‘Very well’ she replied, without any degree of conviction. ‘I trust all is well on board the Lucky Strike?’
‘Y’r durn tootin’!’ replied the gnarly space cowboy. ‘We got ourselves a hoedown arranged at Admiral Bunting’s saloon fer the Yule festival. Ah figured you an’ that ornery crew o’ varmints you ride roughshod over might like to mosey over ‘n’ help us convert a case o’ redeye into hawgwash!
A Yule festival; that sounded like a good idea to Captain Lou and for a moment all thoughts of Young Syd and Nova Drives left her mind.
‘We’d love to come on down and launch some spacechants into the aether with you, Cavan!’ said Captain Lou enthusiastically. ‘Who else you figurin’ on invitin’?’
‘Well now, that’d be down to Andy Son of Richard who’s puttin’ the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle t’gether! I heard tell he already done invited the Bard o’ the Withering Sea, Sir Richard o’ Harries! And an ole buddy o’ y’r Sonic Architect’s. Feller from Ghoul name o’ Sir Simon o’ the Ray Wood! I heerd tell they used to raise seven sorts o’ merry hell when they was knee high, ooh whee yesiree!’
Captain Lou’s mind boggled. She had heard some of the tales the Sonic Architect told of his adventures with Sir Simon, most of them requiring the suspension of disbelief. But before she could reply Sir Cavan’s attention was turned to a commotion behind him. It was his second in command, Ramrod Kelvin Richmond, who was yelling urgently ‘Cap’n, cap’n!’ At exactly the same time Captain Lou realised that behind her the Bombardier was also yelling to her ‘Cap’n, cap’n!’ What was going on? In a completely bizarre moment she heard Ramrod Richmond, speaking on the bridge of the Lucky Strike, and her own Bombardier behind her utter the exact same words at the exact same time.
‘Cap’n, there’s a problem with the Nova Drive – the craziest thing – it seems to be fading away before my very eyes! I can see right through it, as if’n it was made of plexiglass…….!’
AS PREPARATIONS FOR THE LOUDHAILER YULETIDE GATHERING AT STARBASE O’Rileys ARE UNDERWAY, THE ADVENTURES OF THE LECONAUTS CONTINUE IN S15:E4 OF THE LECO CHRONICLES. READ ON SPACE CADETS…
Captain Lou rushed to the engine room deep in the bowels of the Leco, closely followed by the Astral Bard and the Sonic Architect. The Bombardier was already there, having issued the urgent summons via the ship-wide comms system. An incredible sight met their eyes; the ship’s Nova Drive was pulsating between being completely there and being a see-through shadow of itself. It was one of the most disturbing things Captain Lou had ever seen.
‘What’s happening?’ she asked of no-one in particular. The Sonic Architect was the first to answer. ‘A temporal anomaly!’ he said. ‘It’s as if the universe knows that Young Syd is struggling to invent the Nova Drive, and if he doesn’t it will merely cease to exist. The universe is cycling between believing that the Nova Drive exists and believing that it doesn’t!’
The Astral Bard was quick to agree. ‘Young Syd has to make progress, and fast! Otherwise the Nova Drive will simply be erased from existence, and we’ll be stranded in deep space without the means to get back to our own planet!’
‘But we must be able to get back!’ exclaimed Captain Lou. ‘Get back to where we once belonged!’
‘We still belong there’ said the Astral Bard with complete conviction. ‘And we will get back – trust me!’
At that moment Captain Lou didn’t trust anyone or anything. Eventually the Nova Drive solidified and a welcome feeling of calm descended. Captain Lou realised that the situation was far more urgent than she had previously imagined. Another visit to Young Syd was imperative…..
A dodecabit later and the Leconauts were once again trying to remain inconspicuous in the Space School of the past. This time they found it more difficult to locate Young Syd. Eventually they spied him in an area called the Student’s Union. To Captain Lou it looked more like a den of depravity. Once again, Young Syd was holding court, surrounded by a number of adoring female students who were hanging on his every word. ‘Of course, I didn’t do it all on my own’ he was saying. ‘I had help with the bits that weren’t dangerous, heroic and totally unprecedented…..’ Then he spied the Leconauts. ‘Excuse me’ he said, to the complete displeasure of his fan club.
‘Hello again’ he said. ‘I take it that there are new developments?’
‘You can say that again’ said Captain Lou. ‘Let’s just say that things have become – urgent. I need you to tell me that you have made significant progress.’
Young Syd smiled. ‘Indeed I have’ he said. ’I’ve made an arrangement with the Principal, Dr Nicholson, that as long as I’m credited with the invention of the Nova Drive, I’ll agree to the termination of my enrolment. They’ll get the kudos of the invention by one of their….students; and I’ll be free!’
Captain Lou breathed a mental sigh of relief. At last, some good news. ‘And what do you plan to do with your newfound freedom?’ she asked.
‘Why, go back to the future with you, of course…..!’
HOLY MOLY! IT’S TIME FOR SEASON FIFTEEN EPISODE FIVE! SCHOOL ASSEMBLY WAS NEVER LIKE THIS…..!
‘This Dr Nicholson’ said Captain Lou, ‘can he be trusted?’
‘Oh yes’ replied Young Syd. ‘You seem very sure’ said Captain Lou. ‘Let’s just say I have…insurance’ said Young Syd, with a twinkle in his eye. ‘All the same’ continued the Captain, ‘I think we’d better stick around here until the paper is published, just to be on the safe side.’ In truth, Captain Lou was wary of going back to the future and seeing her ship’s Nova Drive disappearing before her eyes.
‘Great’ said Young Syd. ‘I can take you out and show you the sights – I’m sure that things will be very different when you turn up a hundred dodecabi-dodecabits from now!’
‘I think we’d better pass on that’ answered the Captain. ‘It will be best if we keep a low profile. We don’t want to risk any further temporal anomalies!’
Two bi-dodecabits later the Leconauts were again within the hallowed walls of Space School, sitting unobtrusively at the back of the Great Hall during morning assembly. Dr Nicholson strode on to the stage and took his position at the lectern. ‘Good morning Space Students!’ he intoned, his voice carrying to the far corners of the chamber. ‘Let us rave; Our Jimi, who art in Nirvana…..’ The entire student body recited the well-known catechism with their Principal. He continued; ‘now we will launch today’s spacehymn into the aether, number nine-zero-five, “Pure and Easy”’. Again, the entire student body joined in and sang ‘There once was a note, pure and easy, playing so free like a breath rippling by……’
As the last reverberations of the voices faded away Dr Nicholson stood still for several moments, eyes closed, head raised with a beatific smile upon his lips. He came out of his reverie and proclaimed ‘Now, on to today’s business. It is my pleasure to announce that an invention by one of our students, Mr Syd Young, has been commissioned by the Galactic Innovations Board and will be going into production as soon as the prototype, built here by our own engineering team, has completed initial testing. It is a Nova Drive, something which has become a cause celebre within the scientific community and we are proud that this institution has produced such an epoch-making innovation’ At this point there were audible gasps and a smattering of applause from Young Syd’s adoring fans. Dr Nicholson continued; ‘However, it is with the utmost regret that I now have to announce that Mr Young will not be continuing his studies here at Space School (cue wails of shock and surprise) but will be leaving us to seek pastures new. Now, let us launch our closing spacehymn into the aether, Saint Peter’s ‘I Can See For Miles……’
The Leconauts slipped out of the hall ahead of the students and waited for Young Syd in a handy alcove. Presently, a gaggle of female voices could be heard issuing entreaties along the lines of ‘please don’t leave us’, ‘life won’t be worth living’ and ‘how can we persuade you to stay…..?’ ‘I’m sorry, ladies’ replied Young Syd. ‘I guess this place has just become too small to contain me!’
He reached the Leconauts and a look from the Astral Bard, completely devoid of mischief, had the effect of causing the entire coterie to evaporate mysteriously.
‘Ok’ said Young Syd, ‘future here we come!’
IT’S TIME FOR SEASON FIFTEEN EPISODE SIX! IN WHICH VARIOUS SPACE RENEGADES PONDER THE INTENTIONS OF THE LECONAUTS!
Sir Cavan of the Dale pushed through the double-hinged saloon doors which led to the bridge of his Starcruiser, the Lucky Strike. The doors clattered to and fro behind him, then settled into the closed position.
‘Hot diggety!’ he called. Ramrod Richmond looked up from the control panel at which he was seated. ‘Mornin’ cap’n’ he answered. ‘Howd’ya sleep?’
‘Like a baby, Ramrod, like a baby! Now how ‘bout some chow! I could eat me a horse and come back fer the saddle!’
‘Dexter’s fixin’ a mess o’grits and refried beans’ answered the Ramrod. ‘I figure he’ll be along in a flash.’ Dexter was the cabin boy of the Lucky Strike although that belied his true position in the hierarchy. In fact, Captain Cavan was thinking of promoting him. With that the cabin boy arrived on the bridge via the saloon doors, with somewhat less swagger than his commander.
‘Hoowhee, sure smells good!’ exclaimed the venerable space renegade. Dexter handed him a tin plate and he proceeded to chow down in time-honoured fashion.
The Captain spoke between mouthfuls; ‘them Leconauts is up to su’thin’, I can feel it in mah water!….I reckon they’s hatched one o’ their hare-brained schemes….that Astral Bard, long-eared galoot….ornerier ‘n a rattler….ah sure would like to know what stunt they’s fixin’ ter pull!’ He wiped the juice from his plate with a piece of cornbread, and then handed the salver to Dexter, who disappeared in the direction of the galley….
….Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away, Sir Simon of the Ray Wood was piloting his Starcruiser, the Kiss the Sky, towards the Milky Way. He was looking forward to launching some spacechants into the aether at the Temple of O’Riley, with the Leconauts, the Wipsters and Sir Richard of Harries. His Vistascreen crackled into life, showing his forward scanners. He detected the signature of a Starcruiser. ‘Amplify’ he commanded, and the screen seemed to surge forward at great speed, until a ship became visible. ‘The Leco’ he said, almost to himself. In the top left corner of his screen he saw the life signs monitor. It was showing five heartbeats. ‘Strange’ he mused and tapped the screen sharply. The five heartbeats remained. He opened a hailing frequency. ‘Kiss the Sky calling the Leco’ he said. ‘All hail Sir Simon’ came the reply. It was the Sonic Architect. ‘All hail Jeff’ replied Sir Simon, who was one of the few people who called the Sonic Architect by his birth name.
‘Everything ok on the Leco?’ asked Sir Simon. ‘I seem to be monitoring five life signs.’
‘Er…yes…all ok with us….the four of us….’ came the reply. Sir Simon tapped the corner of his Vistascreen again. Sure enough, it showed five distinct heartbeats. Without visual confirmation he would have said that the fifth life sign indicated a male of around twenty bidodecabits of age; a stowaway? He pressed his comms button; ‘have you checked your holds recently? You may have a stowaway!’
A slight pause; ‘…No, there’s no-one here who isn’t supposed to be here….’ A cryptic answer, thought Sir Simon. What were the Leconauts up to…..?!
At that moment, Sir Richard of Harries, the Bard of the Withering Sea, was sitting in his listening station on top of what looked light a lighthouse from the Age of Legends, but was actually a sophisticated Starcruiser. He had just monitored the entire conversation between the Leco and the Kiss the Sky. He looked out of his window and saw a huge paper heron fly out over the Withering Sea. He stroked his chin and thought to himself ‘Now, what are those Leconauts up to….?!’
IT’S ONLY 3 DAYS UNTIL THE LOUDHAILER YULETIDE GATHERING AT O’RILEYS AND… IT’S A MOMENTOUS DAY! A DAY ON WHICH THE FUTURE CAN BE IRREVOCABLY CHANGED! THERE’S ONE THING YOU MUST DO ABOVE ALL ELSE! YES, THAT’S RIGHT – YOU MUST READ S15:E7 OF THE CONTINUING ADVENTURES OF THE LECONAUTS…….!
Captain Lou sat in the Chair of Power on the bridge of her Starcruiser, the Leco, once flagship of the Galactic Fleet and now a renegade vessel with a reward attached to it. She was acutely aware that her ship was being monitored by a veritable plethora of other vessels, agencies, bounty hunters, rebels and ne’er-do-wells, any one of whom would take great pleasure in handing her over to the Galactic Council for several bags of spacecoin. The source of this awareness was one Young Syd, a Terra Gaian from the past whom the Leconauts had brought forward in time not once but twice, in order to ensure he invented the Nova Drive, a technological advance which would, ironically, be the single most important development in allowing anyone to break away from the hegemony of the Galactic Council. Captain Lou found it intensely frustrating to think that the entirety of those arrayed against her would be happy to betray the very person who had given them the means to claim their birthright of freedom!
The Sonic Architect spoke first; ‘I’m monitoring thirty-seven spybots which are all attempting to crack our communications firewall. In all my time with the Leco I’ve never encountered such a concerted cyber-attack!’
‘They know we’ve done something big’ said the Astral Bard. ‘I just hope none of them figure out just how big.’
‘Indeed’ said the Bombardier. ‘Breaching the Tenth Protocol has never been done before.’
Captain Lou pondered what their next move should be. To bring someone forward from their rightful place in time went against every Galactic Regulation in the book, and a few which hadn’t yet even made it into the book. This was indeed the big one.
At last she spoke; ‘Well, the question is, what do we do with Young Syd? We brought him forward in time, so we can’t just abandon him. We have to find a way to integrate him into society without all the usual biometric data which everyone has as a matter of course in this day and age.’
That was a tough one; to be at large without such vital information was tantamount to walking around with a sign on one’s forehead reading “illegal alien”! Young Syd himself wasn’t helping. He just wanted to be with the Leconauts sharing in their sonic adventures. He didn’t see the problem.
With that the Vistascreen crackled into life. At first, nobody was visible, but a psychedelic light show of pulsating colours swirled and eddied across the screen, mesmerising the Leconauts with its majestic beauty. After several sextabits a familiar face entered the bottom left of the screen; Shaman Hood of the Hawk!
‘Shaman Hood!’ exclaimed Captain Lou. ‘Am I glad to see you?!’ And she was; more glad than she could reasonably explain.
‘Greetings!’ said the Shaman. ‘I thought you may like to see this! The Aurora Borealis! One of the most wonderful of Jimi’s creations on Terra Gaia!’
‘It’s beautiful!’ said Captain Lou. ‘But something tells me that you didn’t open up a comm channel from Terra Gaia merely to give us a glimpse of such a wonder?!’
‘Perceptive, as ever!’ replied the Shaman. ‘I’ve been thinking; one day it will be time for me to mothball my spacehog and settle into a more…relaxed way of life. I need an apprentice. Someone to hand my reins to, as it were. The Renegade Alliance will one day need to appoint a new Embodiment of Universal Wisdom.’
‘Surely not!’ exclaimed Captain Lou. ‘You have quitons in you yet!’
‘I hope so’ replied the Shaman. ‘But it will take me that long to pass on the accumulated knowledge which I have for so long been keeper of. I need to make a start. So, here is my question; do you know of anyone who may be a suitable candidate? Someone fearless, possessed of a strong will, impervious to self-doubt, and willing to put their soul on the line in pursuit of what is right?’
At that moment the doors on to the bridge of the Leco opened with a familiar “whoosh” and Young Syd stepped out. ‘Did somebody call me?’ he asked…..
IT’S TODAY! THE YULETIDE GATHERING! WHICH MEANS IT’S TIME FOR THE SEASON FINALE! IN WHICH SEVERAL FATES ARE DECIDED!
…..The four Leconauts all turned to look at Young Syd, who had frozen in the doorway, sensing all eyes, including those of Shaman Hood looking out from the Vistascreen, upon him.
‘What?’ he asked, hands apart with palms turned upwards.
Shaman Hood broke the silence; ‘I didn’t hear anyone call you’ he said, smiling. The four Leconauts all breathed audible sighs of relief.
Captain Lou turned back to the Vistascreen. ‘In answer to your question, Shaman Hood, I do have a suitable candidate in mind; Sir Richard of Harries, Bard of the Withering Sea!’
The Shaman’s smile, already very wide, became even wider. ‘Just the name I was thinking of!’ he said. ‘I am glad to find we are in accord. Until next time!’ The Vistascreen went blank. Young Syd asked his question again; ‘What?’ Captain Lou turned to him. ‘How would you like to be apprenticed to Shaman Hood for the next five quincadecaseptalogs? It would include daily classes on Shamanic wisdom and ritual along with in-depth study of the lives of all the leading Shamans since the Age of Legends?’
The smile faded from Young Syd’s face; or rather it became a kind of rictus, fixed in place by the power of his emphatic displeasure at such an idea.
‘That’s what I thought!’ said Captain Lou. ‘However, we still have the problem of what to do with you. There are several interstellar bounty hunters who would be very happy to hand you to the Galactic Council dead or alive if they even suspected your existence.’
‘But why? I’m such a nice guy!’ said Young Syd. ‘They don’t care about that!’ replied the Bombardier. ‘All they’d see when they looked at you would be bags of spacecoin!’
A sextabit later and the Leconauts, with Young Syd accompanying them, walked into Admiral Bunting’s Temple of Song. They were surprised to see the Admiral wearing his full uniform and regalia. ‘Are you on a mission, Admiral?’ asked the Astral Bard. ‘Yes’ came the reply. ‘I have been asked to create a new department of the renegade alliance, to be called the Temporal Insurgency Monitoring Executive. I need to appoint a Head of Agency; someone who is completely off the radar as far as the Galactic Council is concerned; someone whose existence is completely unknown. Where can I find such a person?’
Once again, all four Leconauts turned their gaze onto Young Syd. Once again, he held out his hands, palms up, and said ‘What?!!’
At that point the doors of the Temple of Song burst open and a tangle of bodies exploded into the room, all in a state of high agitation and speaking at the same time.
Captain Cavan of the Dale was saying ‘…dang Leconauts…up to no good…bushwhacking varmints….’
Sir Simon of the Ray Wood was saying ‘….something fishy going on….illegal aliens….heavy people…high time….when all’s said and done….’
Sir Richard of Harries was saying ‘….by the cowl of Saint Petulia….the Withering Sea is full of portents….strange days of future passed in the land of grey and pink….’
The Admiral drew himself up to his full height and shouted ‘Order, order! Silence, gentlemen! Now, a little decorum if you please!’ Then he made a snap decision.
Everything went quiet, and Young Syd felt every pair of eyes in the room searching his face, boring into his very soul.
‘I don’t believe you’ve met my new protégé, Syd Barrett? Head of the newly-formed research group, the Laughing Madcaps……..’
S15 Post Script
And so it came to pass that the Leconauts, the Wipsters, Sir Simon of the Ray Wood and Sir Richard of Harries did launch their spacechants into the aether at Admiral Bunting’s Temple of Song. Sir Cavan of the Dale did promote Dexter the Cabin Boy to the position of First Fiddler. Many witches, warlocks, druids, thanes, heavy metal kids, satyrs, nymphs and sprites did congregate within the hallowed walls and much spacejuice, spacespirit and psyder was consumed. Shaman Mike observed all whilst holding aloft his fabled earthenware jug and toasting the health of his new apprentice.
Captain Lou approached Young Syd, judging quite correctly that he’d imbibed a flagon or two of spacejuice, and asked a question which had been playing on her mind; ‘One thing is bothering me – what was the “insurance” of which you spoke when I first asked if Dr Nicholson could be trusted?’ Young Syd smiled and replied; ‘One morning at Space School I went into the library, quite early. I wanted to consult a special Teetee which I knew was kept in a turret room at the far end of the library. I didn’t expect to find anyone there, but as I opened the door I saw Dr Nicholson drinking from a bottle of Johnnie the Walker’s Red Label spacespirit! He’d already downed about half of it. He told me that he did this once a year as a kind of ritual, in remembrance of an occasion when he was a student at Space School himself. He had acquired the spacespirit and he and two friends had taken it into that room and passed it around, with the result that one of them became very, very, drunk! He and the second friend had conspired to get the third one tipsy for a laugh so they only pretended to swallow and the third guy ended up completely battered! He’s felt guilty about it ever since so remembers it each year by getting completely battered himself!’
A short time later, Bombardier Walker approached Young Syd, with a somewhat conspiratorial air. ‘One thing is bothering me’ said the Bombardier, ‘how on Gaia did you manage to invent that Nova Drive so quickly; to do something that the finest scientific minds had being trying to do for quitons?’ Young Syd smiled, considering his reply. ‘Promise not to tell?’ he asked. ‘Promise’ said the Bombardier. ‘Well, about three dodecabits from now I go back to the past and visit myself in Space School. I take with me a copy of the Haynes Sable Star Nova Drive workshop manual. My younger self hides me for three sextabits in his rooms and I show him how to invent the Nova Drive; pretty neat, huh? In fact, whilst I was there both iterations of myself went to the library and surprised Dr Nicholson on his spacespirit day; he thought he was seeing double!’ They both laughed heartily. ‘Your secret’s safe with me!’ said the Bombardier.
As the evening drew to a close Young Syd turned to Admiral Bunting and said; ‘One thing is bothering me – when all the renegades burst into the Temple of Song and you introduced me as Syd Barrett….why did you choose that name?’
‘No reason’ replied the doughty Admiral. ‘I couldn’t use your real name as your position is meant to be a covert one – so I just said the first thing that came into my head. Do you have any objections?’
‘No, not at all’ replied Young Syd. ‘Just curious; I actually quite like the sound of it…..I may stick with it….I wonder if it’s been used before……?’
Leco Gallery by Sydpix:
Discover more Adventures of the Leconauts, Captain Lou Loudhailer, Sonic Architect Jeff Parsons, The Astral Bard Richard Duffy-Howard and Bombardier Rich Walker here: https://loudhailer.net/the-leco-chronicles/
Written by Loudhailer Electric Company’s Sonic Architect and keeper of the sacred flangector, Jeff Parsons