The continuing adventures of the Leconauts
The Leconauts Get Back to Rock ‘n’ Roll
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 16 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.
IT’S TIME TO FIND OUT WHAT THOSE LECONAUTS ARE UP TO! HERE WE GO WITH SEASON 16!
Captain Lou surveyed the landscape in front of her; barren, arid, desolate. It was the kind of place in which one could become utterly lost if concentration wavered. And the heat! That didn’t make things any easier. She gently spurred her golden palomino into forward motion. She had left the town of Bodie a dodecabit ago and so far had not seen another living soul. She scanned the range of hills ahead, still more than a dodecabit’s ride away and wondered how many souls had rode this trail before her. ‘There’s gold in them thar hills’ she thought to herself. If only she could make it to the next waterhole……
On the bridge of the Leco the Vistascreen crackled into life and the face of Lord Ron of the Hale appeared. ‘All hail Lord Ron!’ cried the Astral Bard, who was currently in the chair of power. ‘All hail the Astral Bard’ replied Lord Ron. ‘Is Captain Lou otherwise engaged?’ ‘Looking for water and aurum’ answered the Astral Bard, cryptically, a hint of mischief playing in his eyes.
Lord Ron smiled. ‘I see. I am calling a summit of the Rebel Alliance’ he said. ‘I will send you spatial and temporal co-ordinates presently.’
The screen went blank. The Astral Bard pondered upon Lord Ron’s pronouncement. No clues as to what the summit was about, but he knew that Lord Ron would not call such a gathering lightly. He wondered how long it would be before the Captain returned….
Captain Lou was approaching the town of Bodie again, returning from the Blue Mountains with heavily laden panniers on each of the seven mules tethered together behind her. She had succeeded in ascending the mountain trail, reaching the base camp at Dry Gulch Corner, and had then spent a septalog panning for gold in the Comanche Torrent. All she had to do now was reach the Assay Office before the Clanton Gang found her. She was feeling lucky; as she drew level with the Lone Star Saloon, the Assay office a block in front of her, she decided to celebrate with a drink. She pushed open the doors and entered. Immediately all the sounds of the saloon stopped; the piano, the voices both singing and in conversation, even the barking of dogs. She approached the counter. ‘What’ll it be?’ asked the bartender, who then spat a large wad of chewing tobacco into a bucket at her feet.
Captain Lou spoke, at the same time tossing two gold coins onto the counter. ‘Gimme a shot o’ redeye!’
IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE TWO OF SEASON SIXTEEN! WHAT IN TARNATION IS GOING ON?!!
The Sonic Architect was taking the watch. He sat in the chair of power on the bridge of the Leco. His crewmates Bombardier Walker and the Astral Bard were resting in their quarters. The whereabouts of Captain Lou were unknown at the present time. The Vistascreen crackled into life. A series of co-ordinates flashed up and the Leco’s mainframe began downloading them. Then an unexpected sound captured the Sonic Architect’s attention. He looked up and saw an unfamiliar face. Speech issued from its lips. ‘This is Surgeon Of Pat. The entire crew of your vessel are to present themselves at the location which is currently being transmitted to your control system. Upon arrival you will submit to medical examinations to determine your fitness for continued active duty. Non-attendance is not an option.’ The screen went blank.
The Sonic Architect realised that the sound he had heard was the ship’s mainframe being interrupted in its downloading of Lord Ron’s co-ordinates and a new set of instructions being written over them. Just as this thought became fully crystallised in his brain he felt the comm being removed from him whereupon the mighty Sable Star drive thrummed into action and the ship banked sharply to starboard. He pressed the ship-wide hailer control and spoke; ‘Calling all crew. Emergency! Report to the bridge at once!’
….Captain Lou knocked back the shot of fiery liquid that the bartender had placed in front of her. She wiped her mouth on the sleeve of her buckskin jacket and exclaimed ‘Hoowee! Sure burns a dollar’s worth! Set ‘em up, Joe!’
‘Yes ma’am!’ answered the bartender, wondering to himself how this woman knew his name……
With that the saloon doors sprung open and four of the rootin’est, tootin’est varmints Captain Lou had seen east, west, north or south of the Pecos tumbled into the room.
‘Weel now, lookee what we have here!’ said the first one. ‘They yow mules outsaide?’
‘What if they are?’ answered Captain Lou.
‘Looks like they’s in need of a rest!’ said the second one, a gruesome leer on his unprepossessing face. ‘Maybe I’ll take off they saddlebags ‘n’ bed ‘em daown fer th’night?!’ All four of the desperadoes stood alert, eight eyes all watching Captain Lou like hawks.
‘I want to thank you boys for your generous offer concernin’ mah mules’ she answered, ‘but it won’t be necessary for you to expend any more of your energy on mah behalf. I wouldn’t want to be beholden to you.’
The third one stepped forward. Captain Lou mentally noted that he was the leader. ‘It ain’t no trouble t’us, ma’am’ he said, with a mocking servility. ‘Ah’m sure we could figure out a way fer yew to repay th’favour, if’n yew know what ah mean?’ He turned to the other three and they all tittered in an alarmingly unsavoury manner.
‘I’m sure I have no idea what you might be talking about’ answered Captain Lou. ‘Now if you’ll excuse me, gentlemen, I have some business to attend to and I figure it must be way past you boys’ bedtime!’ Captain Lou turned her back on all four as their leers became grimaces. She counted slowly to herself ‘one, two, three, four’ then simultaneously drew both her blasters and turned on one heel, squeezing each trigger twice. Four six guns flew into the air and clattered across the wooden floor. All four desperadoes sank to their knees, but the leader fixed Captain Lou with a steely gaze of defiance.
‘The Clanton gang, if I ain’t mistaken?’ she said. ‘I reckon you boys got a prahce on yow heads. Now I suggest that if you don’t want to find yourselves swinging from a thornberry tree in the morning you might want to git! Right now!’
The Clantons hesitated only for a moment. Then they turned tail and ran. Captain Lou turned to the bartender and asked ‘you set ‘em up yet, Joe?!’
IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE THREE OF SEASON SIXTEEN! IN WHICH THE PLOT THICKENS!!!
‘What’s happening?!’ cried the Astral Bard as he materialised on the Transference Spot. Bombardier Walker was right behind him.
‘A message from Surgeon of Pat, whoever he is!’ answered the Sonic Architect. ‘We were receiving co-ordinates from Lord Ron of the Hale when the system was hijacked and now I’m not even sure where we are heading! Any sign of the Captain?!’
‘Nothing yet’ answered the Bard. ‘Surgeon of Pat; I wasn’t even sure that he really existed.’
‘What’s his game?’ asked the Sonic Architect, with no small hint of exasperation. With that a message appeared in the holocom; Admiral Bunting’s head appeared in the middle of the bridge and began to speak; ‘Calling all rebel ships! Beware of the Surgeon of Pat. Do not allow your vessel to be commandeered by him! On no account submit to any medical examination. He acts with no authority from the Rebel Alliance. It is a scam!’ The Admiral’s head disappeared.
‘What’s going on?!’ asked the Bombardier. Within the next few bidodecabits two more messages came through, one from the crew of the Holy Moses, and one from the crew of the Haworth Parsonage. Both ships had answered the call of the Surgeon of Pat and had been stood down for what seemed like no good reason. They were currently languishing in space dock and had each managed to transmit one message before their comms were mysteriously shut down. Somebody didn’t want this news to spread…..
‘Who is this Surgeon of Pat?’ asked the Sonic Architect, ‘and how come I’ve never heard of him?!’
‘His origins are shrouded in myth’ said the Astral Bard. ‘Tales of his exploits go back to the Age of Legends. In the days when disease and illness were still commonplace he was a powerful figure, but as medical science progressed he was increasingly sidelined and became embittered as his status diminished. It’s my guess that he is trying to spread fear and panic, but I am at a loss to explain why!’
‘We could certainly do with the Captain’ said the Sonic Architect ruefully…..
…Captain Lou left the Lone Star Saloon, unhitched her mules and headed to the Assay Office. She could easily have skipped this step and returned to her own spacetime straightaway, but she felt that obtaining the correct certification of the day for her aurum, or gold as it was called here, was a good thing to do. After taking the trouble to wrest the aurum from the unforgiving landscape herself, she felt it was only right and proper to have incontrovertible proof of the origin of her precious horde. Uncontaminated aurum was highly prized by the Rebel Alliance, not to mention the Galactic Council, who would have paid her with mountains of spacecoin for what she was carrying. Time travel was a perfect way to obtain aurum which had not been compromised by the radiation released as a result of reckless nuclear experimentation by the primitive inhabitants of Terra Gaia in the Age of Legends. No, she would do this correctly, by the book.
She entered the Assay Office and immediately saw that something was wrong. The man who should have been standing behind the counter was unconscious, and whoever had rendered him thus hadn’t even taken care to conceal him from view. Captain Lou looked at the person now facing her from behind the counter. ‘Captain Lou Loudhailer, by the power vested in me by the Galactic Council I hereby arrest you for the crimes of grand larceny, unauthorised temporal displacement and consuming alcohol contrary to subsection six of the Galactic Mariner’s code……..’
HERE’S SEASON SIXTEEN EPISODE FOUR! IN WHICH THE SHADOW OF AN OLD FRIEND APPEARS BUT BRIEFLY!
‘Bland Formulaic!’ exclaimed Captain Lou. I thought we’d seen the last of you!’
‘No doubt that was your hope’ replied the featureless official. ‘Unfortunately your life of serial offending is bound to bring you into contact with enforcement operatives such as me on a regular basis.’ Captain Lou looked over her shoulder to the door of the Assay Office to find it blocked by two large persons wearing the uniform of the Galactic Council Professional Recidivist Apprehension Team, known as PRAT throughout the galaxy. ‘Resistance is futile’ intoned the unremarkable jobsworth. Almost immediately, the two PRATs fell to the ground and a look of alarm spread across Bland Formulaic’s face. Captain Lou turned to see the Clanton gang arrayed around the fallen PRATs; two of them were holding smoking blasters.
‘Weel now, lookee here’ said the one Captain Lou had earlier identified as the leader. ‘Looks like you got y’self into a corner, ma’am’ he said. Bland Formulaic stalked past Captain Lou, bristling with righteous indignation and confronted the Clantons. ‘This is an outrage’ he cried. ‘Obstructing Galactic officials in the course of their duty is a serious offence….’ But he got no further, as a lasso thrown by one of the Clantons drew tight around his torso, pinning his arms to his sides. Then he was on his back, hogtied but still crying out in exasperated rage.
‘Hoowee, but ain’t he a live one! exclaimed the leader of the Clantons. He turned to Captain Lou. ‘I don’t believe we were formally introduced upon the occasion of our first meetin’, ma’am’ he said. ‘Zeke Clanton’ and he proferred his hand to Captain Lou, who shook it tentatively. ‘Lou, that is, Lulah Loudhai – Loudermilk’ she replied.
‘Pleased to make y’r acquaintance, Lulah’ said Zeke. ‘Ah figure you better make yr’self scairce! But if’n ever you faind y’rself back in these parts, be sure to look us up! Now git!’
Captain Lou didn’t need asking twice, but as she turned she was sure she saw a smile playing around the edges of Zeke’s mouth……
‘I’ve managed to access the navigation system’ said the Sonic Architect, ‘but I can’t seem to override it. But I do know where we are headed….’
‘Let me guess’ said the Bombardier. ‘Might it be…Terra Gaia?’
‘Got it in one!’ replied the Sonic Architect. Terra Gaia; that small blue planet which kept drawing them back like a lodestone. Just then the lift doors opened with a familiar ‘whoosh’ and the Astral Bard came forth. He was holding a large Teetee. He’d obviously been in his favourite part of the ship, the Room of Manuscripts. There was mischief in his eyes. He spoke; ‘I’ve managed to unearth quite a bit of information regarding our friend the Surgeon of Pat. He’s quite a character. And he isn’t a surgeon – he’s a Spacechanter……!
IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE FIVE! IN WHICH REVELATIONS OCCUR!
‘A Spacechanter! Well I never!’ exclaimed the Sonic Architect. ‘Tell us more!’
The Astral Bard grinned, warming to his subject. ‘He was born late in the Age of Legends, on Terra Gaia, and won fame as a Spacechanter; but back then they were called Clubsingers, and his repute spread far and wide. But then the Clubsingers were superseded by the Rocksingers, who were more akin to Spacechanters as we know them. But his taste for adulation never left him and close to the end of his natural life he crowd-funded his own cryogenic suspension, the idea being that when medical science could prolong the active lifespan of humans, he would be restored to the height of his powers!’
The Sonic Architect and Bombardier Walker were both enraptured, which was just how the Astral Bard liked it. He continued his tale.
‘Eventually, well into the present age, the facility which was storing him decided to defrost him and he quickly became celebrated all over again, as the spacechants he remembered were unlike anything else still known in the Temples of Song.’
‘So how come he became known as Surgeon of Pat?’ enquired the Sonic Architect. ‘From what you’ve told us it would appear that he never was a surgeon at all!’
‘That’s the best part of it!’ answered the Astral Bard, mischief in his eyes. ‘Apparently, the label had become unclear on his cryogenic tank and had been overwritten, perhaps several times. He is actually called Sir John of Pat, but when he learned of the error he decided he quite liked the idea of being a surgeon!’
All three of the space renegades then burst into laughter at the sheer absurdity of the idea of being summoned for a medical examination by a Spacechanter from the Age of Legends.
Just then the Transference Spot began to glow and a swirl of psychedelic rainbow patterns announced the imminent arrival of Captain Lou. The space Amazon stepped forward; she was followed by seven large bags which looked full to bursting.
‘Welcome back, Captain!’ exclaimed the Astral Bard. ‘How do you do?’
‘I do very well’ replied the Captain and all four embraced at the joy of being reunited. The Sonic Architect cast his eyes over the mysterious bags. ‘Yes’ said the Captain, ‘aurum from the Age of Legends, worth its weight in polypropylene!’
With that the Vistascreen crackled into life and the face of Andy Son of Richard appeared. ‘All hail the Leconauts’ he said.
‘All hail Andy Son of Richard’ replied Captain Lou. ‘What can we do for you?’
‘I am organising a Festival of Spacechants, which I am hoping will be a perfect combination of galactic renegades and vagabonds, so naturally you are foremost in my mind’ replied the impossibly tall Terra Gaian.
‘Indeed’ said Captain Lou. ‘And who else will be joining us for this shindig?’
‘I see’ said Captain Lou. ‘It is indeed good to know that the Leconauts are, as you put it, foremost in your mind!’ The irony was not lost on Andy, and he smiled somewhat ruefully. Captain Lou turned to her crew to find that all three were wearing expressions of stunned horror. ‘Whatever is the matter’ she asked, suddenly concerned.
‘The Surgeon of Pat’ answered the Sonic Architect ‘has hijacked this ship and is currently leading us to an unknown destination where we are all to undergo a medical examination to determine our fitness for active service. Two rebel ships have already been stood down……..and he isn’t even a surgeon!!
EPISODE SIX OF SEASON SIXTEEN! IN WHICH A DASTARDLY PLOT IS REVEALED!
Captain Lou thought quickly. ‘We will speak again soon, Andy’ she said, and the Vistascreen went blank. ‘Now’ she addressed her crew, ‘tell me everything!’
The three renegades quickly conveyed all that had happened and everything they knew so far. ‘Right’ she said, decisively; ‘first things first. We need to regain control of the ship and get as far away from Terra Gaia as possible. Have you tried disabling the flux-inverted coupler in the pre-amp stage of the Sable Star drive?’ Her crew all looked from one to the other amid an embarrassed silence. ‘I’ll take that as a “no”, then’ she stated flatly. The Bombardier turned on his heels and left the bridge via the crew lift. They all turned to watch the main status screen. In a very short time the display indicated that the comm had been returned to the bridge, and they all felt the ship bank to starboard. The crew lift opened with the familiar ‘whoosh’ and the Bombardier stepped out, a rueful smile upon his face.
‘Thank you, Bombardier’ said the Captain. ‘Now, perhaps you would be so kind as to set a course for Antares?’ ‘Aye, aye, cap’n’ replied the Bombardier. With that the Vistascreen again crackled into life and the face of Sir Tony the Beast, captain of the Rebel, appeared. ‘All hail the Leconauts’ came the amiable greeting. ‘All hail Sir Tony’ replied the Captain. ‘I wanted to let you know that the Rebel has thwarted a cyber-attack by Surgeon of Pat. We were able to disable the flux-inverted coupler before his co-ordinates had fully uploaded.’ Captain Lou shot a sideways glance at her crew.
‘Thank you, Sir Tony’ said Captain Lou. ‘No problem’ replied the good-natured renegade. ‘I trust that the Leco wasn’t duped by such a simplistic ploy?’
‘Of course not!’ replied Captain Lou, trying to inject a tone of jaunty humour into her voice. ‘Do we have any idea why surgeon of Pat has embarked on such a course of action? Sir Tony smiled. ‘It would appear’ he began, ‘that all the ships he targeted were those whose crews were scheduled to appear at the forthcoming Festival of Spacechants which has been proposed by Andy, Son of Richard. I think that Surgeon of Pat believed that if he could get every other renegade outfit stood down then he could spend the whole night launching his spacechants into the aether! He loves nothing more than the adulation of the assembled faithful. He can’t get enough of it!’
‘I see’ replied the Captain. ‘We thank you, Sir Tony, and look forward to seeing you at the Temple of Song by the Willow Grove.’
Captain Lou turned to her crew; ‘“duped by such a simplistic ploy”? How embarrassing; that the flagship of the renegade alliance should be humiliated in such a way!’ All three crew members suddenly found their feet inordinately interesting, and began to shuffle nervously.
‘I think it’s time we paid Surgeon of Pat a visit! Bombardier, scan the galaxy for the Dreamliner and lock us on to it!’
HERE’S EPISODE SEVEN OF SEASON SIXTEEN! IN WHICH THE LECONAUTS COME FACE TO FACE WITH THEIR NEMESIS….OR DO THEY?
Captain watched the Vistascreen closely. Bombardier Walker had locked onto the co-ordinates of the Dreamliner, the starcruiser of Sir John of Pat, and now the Leco was approaching it at sub-light speed. ‘There it is!’ cried the Captain. A highly unusual craft came into view and drew closer; the Astral Bardmentally noted that it resembled a Boeing 720 from the Age of Legends. He had spent many hours in the Room of Manuscripts studying such things.
‘Prepare to beam aboard!’ exclaimed the Captain. ‘What, no hailing or waiting for an invitation?’ answered the Bombardier. ‘Certainly not!’ came the curt reply. ‘This is a man who all but hijacked the cream of the renegade fleet on a jumped-up pretext! We’ll not stand on ceremony!’ Captain Lou was bristling visibly.
The Leconauts all gathered on the Transference Spot and within a sextabit they materialised inside the Dreamliner. The first thing Captain Lou noticed was the temperature – it was unbelievably hot – like a steam room. Then she began to take in the surroundings. All the surfaces; the walls, floor and ceiling, were covered in thick white shag-pile carpet. There were several people, all female, Captain Lou noted, dressed in outlandish costumes hurrying around fetching and carrying for a man who was seated on an ornate and ostentatious gilded throne; the Surgeon, or rather Sir John of Pat himself. He was dressed in a heavy white towelling bathrobe and was wearing mirrored sunglasses. He held a tall glass of sparkling white wine, and was being fed grapes by a woman standing behind him. The Astral Bard mentally noted that the women were all dressed as representations of an ancient Egyptian queen called Cleopatra. The Sonic Architect noted that despite, or perhaps because of, the unusually high temperature, two women were standing behind Sir John, one to either side, fanning him with large palm leaves. His face wore an expression of unabashed euphoria.
The Leconauts stood regarding the scene for what seemed an age before Sir John came out of his reverie and noticed that he had visitors. He snapped his fingers and called ‘Tattoo’. A man in a dinner suit appeared and said ‘Yes, boss?’
‘It would appear that we have guests’ said Sir John. ‘Uninvited, but guests nonetheless. More champagne, if you please. And canapés!’ Tattoo turned on his heels.
‘And who might you be?’ asked Sir John. The Sonic Architect couldn’t help noticing that his voice had a musical quality to it, very pleasing to the ear and he wasn’t at all discomfited by the fact that four strangers had just materialised in front of him.
‘We are the Leconauts’ said Captain Lou. ‘You tried to hijack our ship only a couple of dodecabits ago!’
‘Did I?!’ said Sir John. The Sonic Architect noted that the euphoric smile hadn’t left Sir John’s face. ‘Perhaps I did. There’s so much going on here, I find it difficult to keep track of it all. In truth, I rather let things take care of themselves, as there always seems to be something more…pleasurable to become involved in…’ He looked up at the woman standing to his side, who lowered a bunch of grapes towards his mouth. He lazily bit off several and chewed them slowly, whilst making sounds which seemed to indicate indulgent pleasure.
Captain Lou was rather put off her stroke, and hesitated without actually fully understanding why.
Sir John swallowed and then seemed to bring himself back to the present. ‘You know, I’m not sure I did hijack your ship. After all, I have everything I need here…why would I want your ship? I’m sure it’s a perfectly nice ship, but, does it have wall to wall shag-pile carpet? Champagne on ice and canapés permanently available? I rather think not!’ He chuckled; the Sonic Architect thought it sounded like the tinkling of a grand piano.
Tattoo returned bearing a large silver tray with four glasses and a bottle of expensive-looking champagne. He set it down and poured four glasses, then proffered them to the Leconauts. ‘Cheers’ said Sir John, and held his own glass aloft. ‘Cheers’ replied all four Leconauts, and then they all drank. The Sonic Architect savoured the taste of the champagne; much better than the spacejuice he was used to….but what…how…the room began to spin, and as he fell to the floor he saw that his crewmates were falling too, but in slow mo t i o n……
HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE EIGHT OF SEASON SIXTEEN! IN WHICH AN OLD FRIEND COMES TO THE RESCUE….OR DOES HE?!
Captain Lou opened her eyes and looked around. She and her three cohorts were in a stark sterile white room; a hospital, she thought with a sudden feeling of panic. All four were in beds and around them machines whirred and Medidroids bustled around. She tried to sit up but was immediately prevented by strong straps which tightened across her torso. A Medidroid glided over and spoke; ‘Do not attempt to move. You are under sedation. You are subject to quarantine regulations. Your status is unfit for active service.’ Captain Lou stopped struggling and fell back onto the bed. How could she have let her guard slip so far as to drink the wine offered by Sir John? That was a fundamental principle which she had somehow overlooked. Was it the undoubted charisma which oozed from Sir John?
The Astral Bard, confined in the bed next to her, stirred. ‘What’s happening?’ he asked. ‘Ooh, my head!’ The Sonic Architect and the Bombardier were both now awake. ‘Am I dreaming’ said the Bombardier ‘or did we just fall for the oldest trick in the book?!’
‘I’m afraid we did and it isn’t a dream’ answered Captain Lou. With that three more Medidroids glided across to the beds of her crew and all spoke simultaneously; ‘Do not attempt to move. You are under sedation. You are subject to quarantine regulations. Your status is unfit for active service.’
‘Well, that’s our vegan roast cooked!’ said the Sonic Architect. ‘How are we going to get out of this one?’ The door to the medical facility opened with a ‘whoosh’ and Sir John of Pat swept in. He had changed out of the towelling bath robe and was now sporting a white jump suit slashed to the waist and a large medallion of aurum on a heavy aurum chain around his neck. He still wore the mirrored shades and was carrying a cocktail glass containing a golden red liquid and a miniature multicoloured parasol.
‘How are my guests?’ he asked, urbanely. ‘Settling in?’
‘We have no intention of “settling in”!’ answered Captain Lou. ‘We have business to attend to!’
‘Oh, I’m afraid that won’t be possible’ said Sir John, with a note of concern. ‘You have all failed the Standard Galactic Medical examination and have been deemed unfit for active duty. You may have to be with us for some time.’
‘Why did we fail the examination?’ asked Captain Lou, angrily. ‘On what authority are you holding us?’
Sir John waved his hand as if to shoo a cloud of midges. ‘Oh, technical stuff; I don’t much bother with the why and the wherefore! I leave that to my Medidroids. And they assure me that you are all rather unwell!’
‘Poppycock!’ exclaimed the Bombardier. ‘I’ve never missed a watch in my entire career! I have the constitution of an ox!’ ‘That’s not what I’ve been hearing’ said Sir John, wagging a finger at the furious Thunder Conjurer. ‘Bed rest is the order of the day.’ He walked to the door and paused. He snapped his fingers and all the lights went out.
After a few bidodecabits the Astral Bard spoke. ‘We can’t stay here. We have to get to Andy Son of Richard’s Festival of Spacechants. We have to get out.’
‘And just how do you suggest we achieve a resolution to this particular problem’ asked the Captain, with a degree of sarcasm. The Astral Bard didn’t need to see her face; it was perfectly plain that she was livid.
Just then the Sonic Architect sensed a presence. He was just about to ask ‘who’s there’ when a voice spoke from the darkness. A voice like spacespirit and honey…
‘Now here’s a pretty pass….the big bad wolf has been busy!’ The lights went on and all four Leconauts blinked at the brightness. The Sonic Architect had been right…there he was…Dino of Jackson D’Ville!
IT’S GIG DAY! WHICH MUST MEAN IT’S TIME FOR THE SEASON SIXTEEN FINALE! WILL THE LECONAUTS MAKE IT TO THE TEMPLE OF SONG BY THE WILLOW GROVE?! READ ON …
‘Dino!’ said Captain Lou. ‘How long have you been here?!’
‘I’ve rather lost track of the time’ crooned the suave Neris. ‘But I have no complaints. Sir John is a most agreeable host.’
Captain Lou was momentarily sideswiped. It appeared that Dino wasn’t here under duress at all. He actually seemed to be enjoying himself!
‘But, wasn’t the Italian Vogue brought here without your consent? The Leco was practically hijacked!’ said the Astral Bard
Dino chuckled, and multicoloured butterflies flew around his head before popping into confetti. The effect was mesmerising….’Oh, that’s a bit strong’ he protested. ‘Surely enough, at first I was somewhat perplexed but as Sir John’s purpose became clear I realised I owed him a debt of gratitude; as do we all!’
Captain Lou couldn’t quite believe her ears. ‘You mentioned a purpose?’ said the Sonic Architect, who had picked himself up and dusted himself down after swooning. ‘Indeed I did’ answered Dino, his silky tones dancing through the air like melodies from a spinet. ‘You are aware that the cream of the Renegade Alliance is meant to be appearing at a Festival of Spacechants at the Willow Grove in Kardomah City, Terra Gaia?’
‘Of course’ answered the Sonic Architect. ‘We were under the impression that Sir John was trying to sabotage the festival to his own advantage.’
Dino looked positively shocked. ‘My dear boy, nothing could be further from the truth. The reverse is in fact the case. Sir John is working to ensure that all who are scheduled to appear will actually be able to do so.’
‘And how exactly is he going to do that?’ asked Bombardier Walker.
Dino opened his mouth to answer but was forestalled by the arrival of Sir John of Pat himself. He swept in and clapped his hands together. ‘How are you all?’ he asked, jovially. Without waiting for an answer he turned to Captain Lou. ‘It would appear I owe you an apology’ he began. ‘A software upgrade and new scans have revealed that you aren’t ill at all, and you will be able to appear at the Festival of Spacechants in the Willow Grove after all!’ Captain Lou was momentarily rendered speechless. ‘You see, I have been monitoring the progress of a virus as it swept through the galaxy. The Galactic Council does the same thing of course, but they seem reluctant to share information with us these days. Anyway, this virus has been causing alarm across the quadrant so I decided the only course of action for me to take would be to ensure anyone travelling to Terra Gaia would be safe to do so, which is why I decided to bring you all to my state of the art medical facility to carry out the necessary screening. It is of paramount importance that we are all able to attend the Festival.’
‘A virus!’ exclaimed the Astral Bard. ‘I thought they’d all been eliminated back in the Age of Legends!’ ‘And so they were’ answered Sir John. ‘But this one is thought to have survived in a bottle of fizzy drink which was held in a museum in Cathay.’
‘Fizzy drink? From the Age of Legends?!’ asked an increasingly exasperated Sonic Architect. ‘Oh yes’ replied Sir John. ‘That’s where its name comes from – the Corona Virus! Now, you can all dine with me here on the Dreamliner before returning to your own ships. We have a banquet lined up – Master Gregg will be serving his veganic rolls – the best in the galaxy! And we’ll wash them down with Master White’s lemonade – a perfect combination!’
S16 Post Script
And so it came to pass that a perfect combination of space renegades did gather at the behest of Andy Son of Richard at the Willow Grove in Kardomah City, Terra Gaia. Many flagons of spacejuice were consumed amid much merrymaking.
Dino of Jackson D’Ville, Sir Keith of Chedley, The Leconauts, Sir Paul of Sutton with his Duvets, Sir Tony the Beast and his Rebels and the Surgeon of Pat with his Team of Dreamers all did launch their spacechants into the aether. Witches, thanes, druids, heavy metal kids, nymphs and satyrs did journey from afar and marvelled at the spectacle which they beheld. Sir John of Pat basked in the approbation directed toward him and graciously appreciated the contributions of all the other renegade tribes. Shaman Hood of the Hawk did capture photochromic images and Hazel and Gary looked on and smiled upon all they saw.
Towards the end of the evening the Sonic Architect said unto Sir John, ‘one thing is bothering me. When we beamed aboard the Dreamliner why did we all pass out simultaneously? I can’t really believe that the drinks were spiked!’
‘My dear boy! How could I even entertain the idea of contaminating vintage champagne with something as base as a Mickey Finn?! I’m afraid it must have been a combination of factors: the temperature on the Dreamliner is, I admit, somewhat sultry; after dodecamoons of imbibing spacejuice, perhaps a vintage bubbly will go to one’s head; and the difference in atmospheric pressure from one ship to another, can, I have found, play havoc with one’s equilibrium! Dashed strange, though, what?!’
A sextabit later Captain Lou approached Sir John and asked ‘one thing is bothering me. I know Sir Tony and his Rebels didn’t ever present themselves on the Dreamliner; how come you were sure that they were unaffected by the Corona Virus?!’
‘Quite simple!’ replied the urbane adventurer. By monitoring the emissions of the Rebel I was able to plot a stargraph which showed that during the last dodecabit they had not approached Cathay, or had had any contact with the denizens of that world. Unorthodox and against renegade privacy protocol, I know, but I was able to conclude that there was no risk to Sir Tony’s crew, or indeed, anyone else’s!’
A short time later the Bombardier sidled up to Sir John and whispered conspiratorially ‘one thing is bothering me; when we first appeared on your ship you didn’t seem to know who we were. I would have thought that having summoned us you would at least have been expecting us?!’ ‘Of course I was expecting you!’ replied Sir John. ‘But life can become tedious in the outer reaches of space; even with unimaginable levels of luxury all around. You must forgive my play-acting. It was a highly enjoyable diversion, though, wouldn’t you say?!’
Finally, the Astral Bard approached Sir John and enquired, ‘one thing is bothering me…when we were in the hospital ward on board the Dreamliner and Dino of Jackson D’Ville came in to find us all in the dark why did he say “the big bad wolf has been busy”?’ Sir John chuckled; ‘you may well ask! That goes back to the time when Dino and I appeared in a pantomime together. He played Little Red Riding Hood and I played the Big Bad Wolf! Surely you must remember? It received universally enthusiastic notices! Now, if you will excuse me, I must sign some autographs……
Check out the gig here: Let’s Get Back to Rock n Roll
Discover more Adventures of the Leconauts here:: https://loudhailer.net/the-leco-chronicles
By Loudhailer Electric Company’s Sonic Architect and keeper of the sacred flangector, Jeff Parsons