The continuing adventures of the Leconauts
The Leconauts in Loudhailer Electric Country
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 17 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.
Postscript: And so it came to pass that the Festival of Spacechants due to be held at Admiral Bunting’s Temple of Song in Kardomah City was cancelled, due to an outbreak of lily liver, a mass delusion which induced the irrational fear of running out of personal hygiene products. But, in a parallel universe, there was a Festival of Spacechants. Much spacejuice was imbibed, and witches, thanes, satyrs, nymphs and all manner of renegades and rebels did enter through the hallowed portals. Colonel Greaves and the Leconauts did both launch their spacechants into the aether, telling tales of days gone by, days of now and days yet to come. And Shaman Hood of the Hawk was there, with his fabled earthenware jug, containing Mr Bulmer’s premium original psyder… But!!! Read on space buddies, the story continues …
Season 17 The Leconauts in Loudhailer Electric Country
IT’S TIME FOR SEASON SEVENTEEN! A NEW ADVENTURE BEGINS! MEET FRIENDS BOTH NEW AND OLD! HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE ONE!
The Lonesome Too was heading for Terra Gaia from the outermost rim of the galaxy. It was a Dreadnought Class Starcruiser, late of the Galactic Fleet, but now firmly embedded in the Renegade Alliance. Its captain, Colonel Greaves, Renaissance man, poet, dreamer and spacechanter, was at the controls. He hummed a catchy refrain to himself, unaware he was doing so, until the melody sparked a thought and he realised the Muse had descended. He picked up an ancient and battered instrument and gently strummed the six steel strings which were stretched across its top, for all the world looking like a primitive precursor to the flangector. ‘Euterpe!’ he said, out loud even though there was no other visible presence on his bridge. ‘How nice of you to drop by! Stay awhile?’ He paused for a moment, then nodded, smiling, and uttered a grunt of satisfaction. Then he began to launch a spacechant into the aether…..
Young Syd brought his spacepod gently down onto the surface of the planet known as the Dark Globe. He and his Laughing Madcaps had been sent on a mission by Admiral Bunting. They had travelled for many septalogs in search of the semi-mythical sphere and had finally found it in the Terrapin Belt. The Admiral’s instructions had been very specific; find the Dark Globe, touch down on its surface, then open the encrypted holodoc to find his orders. Young Syd entered the code, waited for it to be recognised, and read; ‘Trip, trip to a Dream Dragon, grasshoppers green Herbarian band, please leave us here, close your eyes to the Octopus ride.’ He smiled; these were his kind of orders…..
Shaman Hood of the Hawk walked through the deserted corridors of the PXR-5, a ship he had found drifting in space, its Nova Drive having obviously failed. He had located three crew members whose life-support systems had apparently ceased to function, unable to take the strain of their unusually extended voyage. He clicked his image capturer and a door opened with a ghostly ‘whoosh’. ‘Anyone there?’ he called. ‘Anyone alive…….?’
Captain Lou shook out her hair, releasing a cloud of trail dust which billowed behind her before being dispersed by the gentle zephyr. Sometime later, she couldn’t say how long, she descried a sign in the distance. She tried not to get too excited; it could be a mirage. After a few dodecabits without water your eyes could play tricks on you. The golden palomino had evidently seen the sign too, as its head came up and it snorted, the first sound it had made for some considerable time. Its pace picked up, almost imperceptibly. ‘Come on, old hoss’ whispered Captain Lou encouragingly. The sign slowly drew nearer, or rather she drew nearer to it, until she could make out the words; ‘Welcome to Bodie. Pop 1848.’ She then saw that the last ‘8’ of 1848 had been crossed out and a ‘2’ written next to it. She chuckled, surprising herself. She wouldn’t have said she had enough strength left to chuckle. She was then surprised again, this time to hear her own voice, loud and clear; ‘looks like the Clantons have been to town…….’
EPISODE TWO OF SEASON SEVENTEEN! IN WHICH THE LECONAUTS FIND THEMSELVES PARTED FROM EACH OTHER!
The Sonic Architect squeezed his finger and thumb together which were gently but firmly holding the knob. It turned almost imperceptibly and a huge sound burst forth from the plasma projection units. He was engaged in his favourite pastime, making subtle but important adjustments to the Leco’s main flangectors, his responsibility as the head of the Sonic Experimentation Unit, or ‘Flangection Section’ as it was affectionately known. ‘That’s better’ he said to himself, as no-one else was around to hear. ‘Now, let’s calibrate the Big Muff……’
Whilst the Sonic Architect was enjoying himself in the Chamber of Sonic Realignment, the Astral Bard was in his favourite place, the Room of Manuscripts, deep in the bowels of the Leco. He was holding open a large and ancient Thought Transference, known as a Teetee for short. He stroked his chin and looked up, catching sight of his own reflection in the highly polished platinum looking glass. There was mischief in his eye…….
Bombardier Walker was inside his spacesuit, but outside the Leco, undertaking a much needed clean-up operation. He was removing the drifting spaceweed which would collect on projections on the exterior of the ship. He enjoyed the therapeutic benefits of this task, which afforded him a rare opportunity to be alone and to enjoy the tranquillity of space as he propelled himself around the exterior of the vast Starcruiser. Eventually his net was full and he floated around to the service hatch. He would take the spaceweed down to the ship’s incinerator where he would ceremonially burn the semi-sentient weed then watch the trail of fragrant green smoke as it billowed forth from the exhaust outlet, known colloquially in the Renegade Fleet as the ‘bonghole’. As he opened the service hatch he turned for a last look at the expanse of deep space before making his way back inside. ‘Beautiful…’ he whispered. Just then, a tiny pinprick of light caught his attention. He knew every star in the quadrant, and this one had not been there only a quantabit ago….
Captain Lou made it to the boundary sign before she fell from the horse. The golden palomino stopped and gently nuzzled her still form. The sun, high in the sky, beat down mercilessly……..the sound of horses’ hooves, approaching at speed. Captain Lou had lapsed in and out of consciousness several times, she didn’t know how many for certain. The hoofbeats drew very close and then stopped. Voices, voices she recognised; the Clantons. ‘Weel now, what do we got here?!’ Ribald laughter; and then ‘quit it, Ephraim – I recognise this li’l lady! That there’s Lulah Loudermilk!’ Zeke Clanton; Captain Lou opened her eyes. ‘She’s alive!’ exclaimed the one she now knew to be called Ephraim. ‘Well, bless all that’s holy!’ said Zeke, relief palpable in his voice. ‘You sure that’s her?’ asked another voice. ‘That wus all o’ ten years ago and she don’t look a day older…..!’
‘It’s her, ok’ replied Zeke. ‘Now git her on that hoss, quickly now!’
Captain Lou felt rough hands lift her gently on to the golden palomino, then she lost consciousness again….
IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE THREE OF SEASON SEVENTEEN! IN WHICH WE COULD EASILY BECOME CONFUSED….
Colonel Greaves put down his battered old instrument and smiled. He gave a grunt of satisfaction and folded his hands. ‘Thank you, Euterpe’ he said, ‘and don’t leave it so long before you come visiting again, mind.’ His Vistascreen crackled into life and a face appeared. ‘Howdy, Colonel’ it said. ‘Good day to you’ replied the gnarly space renegade. ‘What have you got for me?’ ‘We found her’ came the reply, ‘just like you said’. The Colonel smiled. ‘She alive?’ ‘Oh, yessir!’ ‘Good, now let’s keep it that way. You take her straight to the Marshal!’ The head in the Vistascreen moved away, revealing the scene; a desert, at the edge of a town. The figure mounted a horse. ‘Oh, and Clanton’ called the Colonel. The figure turned. ‘No accidents, you hear?!…..’
Young Syd and his Laughing Madcaps had fanned out into a classic search phalanx. They were sweeping the surface of the world known as the Dark Globe; what they were actually looking for was presently beyond Young Syd’s ken. But he knew that he would recognise it when he finally saw it. He thought back to the events which had led him into the employ of Admiral Bunting. The Admiral was a wily character, that was for sure, and his cryptic orders would, eventually, begin to make sense. Young Syd was certain of that. Just then his in-helmet comm system crackled into life. ‘Embryo 1 here, sir. Three points Nor’ nor’ west.’ Young Syd’s helmet cam tracked the co-ordinates and a series of digital motors moved his head to the optimal viewing position. What he saw seemed impossible, yet there it was. Something he remembered from his life in the Age of Legends, before he had been brought into the future by the Leconauts. A fairground…….
Shaman Hood of the Hawk heard nothing but his own voice, eerily echoing back to him from the empty corridors of the deserted spaceship. He moved forward. His helmet searchlight swept to and fro, illuminating the strangely empty spaces. Deep in the bowels of the craft he could hear the low thrum of an emergency generator. How long had it been in action? Then, as another bulkhead whooshed open and light flooded the space around him, he saw what he had been hoping to see; five stasis pods, and they were all occupied……
Captain Lou awoke; she felt like she had been hit in the chest by the full force of a subwave flangector. She groaned, at which a figure stirred. ‘You awake at last?’ She turned her head, realising as her vision focused that she was in a cell. The figure was standing outside. He approached her, a large bunch of keys jangling in his left hand. ‘Water’ she croaked. The figure smiled, a not altogether pleasant sight; he was short of several teeth and the ones that were there were stained deep brown. He spat a wad of chewing tobacco into a bucket. Then he turned and picked up an enamel jug, which he passed between the bars of the cell cage. Captain Lou took it in both hands and drank greedily. ‘That better?’ asked the figure. Captain Lou saw he was wearing a tin star pinned to his shirt. ‘I figure the Marshal’ll be along presently. He’ll sure be mighty pleased to see yew!’
Right on cue the door to the office opened and a man entered. He stood framed in the doorway, the light behind him making it impossible to discern anything but his general shape. He stepped forward and Captain Lou took in his appearance. Black boots, black suit, black frock coat, black hair topped with a black stetson hat, a shining silver star, two pearl-handled six guns in black leather holsters, a white shirt and a rattlesnake-head bootlace tie. He spoke; ‘Howdy, ma’am. Marshal MG Greaves at your service……’
IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE FOUR OF SEASON SEVENTEEN! IN WHICH THE CAPTAIN HAS A PREMONITION……!
The Astral Bard was worried. Not overly worried, but worried nonetheless. Captain Lou should have been back by now. When she had indicated that she was going to travel back in time again to the Western mining town of Bodie to bring back more aurum he had felt disquieted. Time travel was a funny thing; it could become addictive, and he wondered if the Captain’s judgement was coloured. He understood the importance to the Renegade Alliance of obtaining uncontaminated aurum, but he figured that the Captain was more important still. They couldn’t afford to lose her. He looked at the Teetee which he had held in his hands for several quantabits. The archaic script was surprisingly easy to understand. The page was headed ‘Outlaws of the Wild West’ and underneath that was the sub-heading; ‘The Clanton Gang’……….
Whilst the Astral Bard was perusing ancient tomes in the Room of Manuscripts, the Sonic Architect was in his workshop, the inner sanctum of the Flangection Section. He was studying the blueprints of a particular flangector configuration which he had been trying to perfect for several septalogs. Apparently to achieve success he needed something called a Binson Echorec; where in Jimi’s name was he going to find one of those?……
Bombardier Walker was on the bridge of the Leco, the ritual burning of his latest haul of spaceweed momentarily forgotten. The star he had noticed was now in the centre of the Vistascreen, at eleven hundred times magnification. Even at that level of enhancement it still appeared to be inordinately distant, yet its brightness indicated it must be nearer. Unless…unless it was by far bigger than any other object in the galaxy…….
Captain Lou breathed a sigh of relief; the last Marshal she had encountered was the fearsome Fender Gibson. She had no desire to see him again. ‘Howdy’ she said. Marshal Greaves inclined his head and raised an eyebrow quizzically. Captain Lou realised that he was expecting her to introduce herself. ‘Lulah Loudermilk’ she said. The Marshal smiled; it was a smile which said he didn’t believe her for a quantabit, but he didn’t voice that doubt. ‘I expect you’ll be hungry. I’ll fix you a mess o’ chittlins ‘n’ grits.’ He turned to leave. ‘I could sure use some orange juice’ said Captain Lou, trying not to sound too desperate. The Marshal turned. ‘Orange juice!’ he exclaimed. Ma’am this ain’t some fancy pants New York eatin’ house! This here’s a god-forsaken frontier town! They ain’t no orange juice in the whole state….’
With that the door burst open and Zeke Clanton entered, a look of wild excitement on his face. He looked at Marshal Greaves, then at Captain Lou, then back at the Marshal. ‘What can I do for ya, Zeke?’ asked the Marshal. ‘Well now, Marshal, see here, the fact is…I kinda figured….if’n perhaps maybe….’ ‘Come on, spit it out, Zeke’ said the Marshal, impatiently. ‘I figured they may be a reward from bringing in this lady!’ He looked across at Captain Lou, his eyes wild. Captain Lou saw something in his expression which she couldn’t quite recognise. Something akin to fear….
‘Well now, Zeke, replied the Marshal, his voice steady and calm. ‘What kind of a reward did you have in mind?’
Zeke looked nervous. ‘I figured you could maybe tear down those wanted posters that’s all over the county. Me an’ the boys want to go straight!’
Captain Lou suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of dread. ‘Git out, Zeke!’ she cried. ‘Git out now!’………….
IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE FIVE OF SEASON SEVENTEEN! IN WHICH THINGS BECOME SOMEWHAT FRAUGHT WITH DANGER AND REVELATIONS ARE MADE…..
Zeke didn’t need asking twice. He bolted out of the door. The Marshall shot a glance at Captain Lou. He hadn’t expected her to speak to the likes of Zeke Clanton. Then a huge impact rent the roof of the office asunder and a massive piece of machinery crashed through and embedded itself in the floor, right where Zeke Clanton had been standing quantabits before. Marshal Greaves was thrown backwards by the force of the blast, and the cell cage in which Captain Lou was confined was propelled outwards and tore through the flimsy wooden wall to which it had been adjacent. The cage rolled over several times and came to rest. Captain Lou could see that the bars had been forced apart and she stepped out, momentarily unsteady on her feet. She entered the remains of the office to find the Marshal flat on his back. She offered a hand and he pulled himself into a sitting position. ‘What in tarnation was that?!’ Then he fainted clean away….
Young Syd approached the fairground and gave a signal for the Laughing Madcaps to stop. They were arrayed in an arc with Young Syd in the centre, facing the midway of the fairground. Young Syd motioned ‘forward’ and they all moved. They walked along the midway taking in the outlandish rides and attractions around them. There wasn’t a soul in sight, neither was there any sound. ‘This is bigger than any fair I’ve ever seen’ thought Young Syd. Just then a sound, almost imperceptible, found its way to his ears. It grew and Young Syd turned to the direction from which it seemed to come. The rides were more tightly packed and ever more bizarre. Then he saw movement. One of the rides was actually in motion. He sped up, almost breaking into a trot. The Laughing Madcaps followed. Then, there it was, the Octopus ride, careering crazily whilst an ancient spacechant emanated from its primitive loudspeakers; ‘you’ll lose your mind and play, free Games for May……’
Shaman Hood of the Hawk approached the five stasis pods he had discovered in the PXR-5. He held his image capturer above the status panel on the first pod. A codex appeared in the tiny screen. With his expert knowledge of pan-galactic encoding systems he was able to judge that these pods were due to be activated in three bidodecabits. Well, he could wait. There was nowhere else he needed to be, not for the time being at any rate. He took out his fabled earthenware jug and put it to his mouth. He winced as the psyder coursed down his throat and into his belly. A warm glow suffused his entire corporeal form. He sat down……
The Astral Bard was lost in the story of the Clanton gang, which he was devouring greedily from the pages of the ancient Teetee he had found in the Room of Manuscripts. One passage in particular seemed to be very pertinent indeed; he read it for the third time. ‘Zeke Clanton had been a violent and merciless criminal, but at some time during the year eighteen forty-nine he appears to have undergone an epiphany and renounced his outlaw lifestyle. A contemporary recalls hearing Zeke whilst in his cups begin to talk of spirits from the future appearing from the sky and promising redemption if he mended his ways. It is also believed that the outlaw leader fell in love with a mysterious woman called Lulah Loudermilk, who seems to have figured only briefly in Zeke’s life before disappearing. It was generally believed by the inhabitants of Bodie that Zeke’s meeting with Lulah was the catalyst which brought about the great schism between him and the rest of his family……’
HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE SIX OF SEASON SEVENTEEN! IN WHICH A TALISMANIC OBJECT APPEARS…..
Captain Lou turned to look around her, sweeping the immediate vicinity for signs of life. Adrenaline had kicked in and all thoughts of hunger and thirst evaporated. Then she saw him; Zeke had been caught in the blast and blown clear of the wreckage of the Marshal’s office. A few stunned locals were peering curiously from a cautious distance. ‘Stay back!’ called Captain Lou. ‘It isn’t safe!’ They didn’t need asking twice; nobody moved.
She knelt down and turned her ear towards Zeke. He tried to speak; ‘You came back! I figured you would! Colonel Greaves….I did what he asked.’
‘You mean Marshal Greaves?’ answered Captain Lou. ‘No’ replied Zeke. ‘I mean Colonel Greaves – the one from the sky – the one where you come from.’ And then he lost consciousness……
Shaman Hood of the Hawk woke up. A sixth sense told him something was wrong. Almost immediately an alarm began to sound and a robovoice began to speak; ‘self-destruct activated. Zero minus ten sextagrains.’ He sprung up and ran across to the five stasis pods and began the uncoupling procedure. As each catch was released the pods floated free from their restraints and hovered over their bases. Shaman Hood clicked his image capturer and the five pods moved in concert. He made his way to the loading bay with the pods following closely. He intoned an ancient Shamanic ritual and was instantly transported from the PXR-5 to his own ship, the Spacehog. He checked that the precious pods were all present and intact, and then crossed to the observation port. ‘Thrusters rear’ he called and the ship’s Sable Star drive whirred into life. As the PXR-5 became smaller in his observation pane a massive explosion occurred. The Spacehog’s gyrocompensator kicked in and he only felt a minimal amount of displacement. The PXR-5 had completely disintegrated, apart from its Nova Drive, which hurtled towards the Spacehog and then simply disappeared. Shaman Hood noted a blurring in space, which seemed to rectify itself almost immediately. ‘Wormhole’ muttered the Shaman. ‘I wonder where that Nova Drive is headed for?’………
Young Syd closed his eyes. He found he could still see! He stood before the Octopus Ride in disbelief. All the seats on the ancient machine were now occupied by phantom spacechanters from his own past, in which they were called musicians. Some of them he recognised, and he realised that the spacechant he was hearing was actually being played by some of them on archaic instruments, just like the ones he had been used to seeing in his own adolescence. The Laughing Madcaps were still arrayed around him, all rapt and in disbelief at the spectacle to which they were witnesses. As the spacechant (song?) drew to a close one of the musicians spoke. ‘Hey, Syd!’
‘That was fantastic!’ replied Young Syd. Four of the musicians looked straight at him. ‘You like that?’ asked one, an incredibly good-looking young man with curly brown hair. ‘You bet’ replied Young Syd. ‘Well, have this to remember us by’ called the handsome man, and threw a green metal box down, which Young Syd deftly caught. ‘Take it to the Admiral’ said the handsome young man. Young Syd looked at the box; an ancient machine with several knobs and bearing the legend ‘Binson Echorec’……..
HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE SEVEN OF SEASON SEVENTEEN! IN WHICH PLOTS THICKEN AND DECISIONS ARE MADE……
The Astral Bard was sitting in a sumptuous armchair in the Room of Manuscripts. His two crewmates, whom he had summoned over the telepathic link, sat facing him. The Astral Bard spoke; ‘I’m worried about the Captain. I have a strong feeling that she’s in some kind of danger and may not be able to return. I think we need to rescue her.’
‘That could be tricky’ said the Bombardier, in his deadpan manner, ‘seeing as we don’t exactly know where or even “when” she went!’ The Sonic Architect smiled. Trust the Bombardier to get to the nub of the situation. But he was right. Captain Lou’s aurum missions had been shrouded in a strange sense of mystery. Where would they start to look for her? As if reading his mind the Astral Bard spoke; ‘I do have some knowledge of the Captain’s whereabouts’ he said. ‘And what about her “when-abouts”?’ retorted the Bombardier. The Astral Bard smiled thinly. ‘I have an idea of that too’ he replied. The Sonic Architect was intrigued; it appeared that perhaps the Astral Bard had been taken into the Captain’s confidence.
‘I’ve been looking into the most likely destinations for anyone wanting to find aurum before the contamination of the twentieth century of the Age of Legends’ he said. ‘And I think I know where she may have gone.’ He paused for dramatic effect.
‘Pray tell’ said the Bombardier, with not a small hint of irony in his voice.
‘The California hills, 1849. A town called Bodie, in the Bodie Hills. Lots of prospectors went there. Given the Captain’s penchant for the lifestyle of that era, I think we should look there first.’ ‘More time travelling, on nothing but a hunch’ snorted the Bombardier. The Sonic Architect placed a hand on his crewmate’s shoulder. ‘It’s the best we’ve got’ he said, quietly. ‘And the Bard’s hunches are very often on the spacecoin. My vote is we head for Bodie…..’
Shaman Hood of the Hawk entered a deep trance and began the ritual. As he moved rhythmically and diverse exotic vapours wafted through the air, a rainbow of psychedelic hues played on the walls of his cabin. The rhythmic and harmonic pulsations swelled to a crescendo and the temperature and atmospheric pressure rose alarmingly. Shaman Hood kept his eyes on the control panel but continued the ritual. When the volume and pressure had swelled to a level he thought he couldn’t withstand much longer, all five pods blew off their catches, the lids flew back and five figures slowly emerged from the swirling mists……
Colonel Greaves was concerned; not worried, just concerned. He hadn’t heard from Clanton for several sextasets, which was unusual. Any mistakes now could set back his plans. Plans he’d been making for many dodecamoons. He decided that if he didn’t get word from Clanton before eight bells that he’d have to go in himself……..
Young Syd and his Laughing Madcaps were headed back to their spacepods. The sound of the Octopus ride had faded into the distance and he was relieved that the strange distortions of time, colour and space which he had felt in the fairground were receding. He suddenly felt the urge to eat a large bowl of Crunchy Honey Space Mix with lashings of oatmilk, but that would have to wait. The priority now was to get back to the spacepod and report to Admiral Bunting. He hoped that the Binson Echorec was what the wily space renegade wanted……
The mayor of the town of Bodie stood at what was left of the doors of the Marshal’s office. Inside, the huge gleaming machine sat where it had embedded itself into the ground, periodically releasing puffs of strange-smelling smoke and the groans of twisted metal upon metal. The mayor looked perplexed, then spoke, as if thinking out loud;
‘It came from the sky…..it came from the sky………’
IN A WEEK DURING WHICH REAL LIFE HAS BECOME STRANGER THAN FICTION THE LECONAUTS STILL INTEND TO DISEMBARK FROM THE MOTHERSHIP AT ADMIRAL BUNTING’S TEMPLE OF SONG ON ORILEY AVENUE THIS FRIDAY. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR TELEPATHIC TRANSFERENCE SYSTEMS OPEN TO RECEIVE FURTHER UPDATES. IN THE MEANTIME, AS OUR CLIMAX DRAWS EVER CLOSER, HERE’S EPISODE EIGHT OF SEASON SEVENTEEN……..
The three Leconauts materialised on the outskirts of Bodie on a hot summer day. They had scarcely time to adjust after the mind and body-wrenching experience of travelling through space and time when a huge explosion shook the very ground on which they stood. All three turned to see a plume of smoke rising from the remains of a wooden building in the town’s main drag. They ran towards it…..
Admiral Bunting sat behind his desk in the headquarters of the Renegade Alliance in Kardomah City. He drummed his fingers on the polished oak surface. He was expecting company; a knock on the door, right on cue. ‘Enter’ cried the gnarly spacedog. Young Syd entered the room and sat at the Admiral’s bidding. ‘Well?’ said the Admiral. Young Syd opened his travel pouch and produced the Binson Echorec. The Admiral’s face lit up. ‘You did well’ he said. ‘Is that it?’ asked Young Syd. ‘What do you mean “is that it”?’ replied the Admiral, somewhat testily. ‘Do you have any idea what we went through to locate that thing?’ demanded Young Syd. The Admiral stood, drawing himself up to his full height. ‘That’s no way to address your commanding officer! You were given a mission, which you completed, as ordered. Dismissed!’ Young Syd stood, turned on his heels, and left. The Admiral waited for a few sextagrains, then began to laugh; silently at first and then full-bodied guffaws of sheer abandoned delight……
Shaman Hood of the Hawk stood facing the five space travellers who had just emerged from their stasis pods. ‘Baron Brock’ he said, smiling. ‘Welcome back!’
‘Shaman Hood!’ answered the Baron. ‘It’s been a long time!’ ‘So it has’ replied the Shaman. ‘There is work to do and we have no time to lose.’
Baron Brock smiled; ‘Onward!’ he said……..
Colonel Greaves hid his Temporal Traveller behind several switches of sagebrush and walked towards the small town he could see in the distance. He saw the sun glint on something shiny at the other side of the town. Curious; if he didn’t know better he would have said – but then all thoughts were expunged by a huge explosion from the middle of the town. He began to run.
‘Whisky!’ cried Captain Lou. And again, ‘WHISKY!’ A man came out of the saloon with a bottle in his hand. He came over and proffered it to Captain Lou. She took the bottle and held it to Zeke’s lips. A few drops of the fiery liquid found their way into his throat. His eyes flickered and he smiled. ‘Sure burns a dollar’s worth!’ he said. ‘What did the Colonel want you to do, Zeke’, asked Captain Lou. ‘He wanted to know if’n you came back. I told him he better not hurt you!’ Captain Lou smiled. ‘Where did you speak to the Colonel, Zeke?’ Zeke pointed upwards. ‘In the sky….in the sky……..’
EVEN AS EVENTS CONSPIRE AGAINST THEM, THE LECONAUTS MUST COMPLETE THEIR ADVENTURE! HERE’S THE FINALE OF SEASON SEVENTEEN!
The three Leconauts arrived in the centre of the town to find a man lying on the ground and Captain Lou bending over him, trickling spacespirit into his mouth. A man dressed almost entirely in black and wearing a silver star on his lapel came out of the ruined building and walked towards them. Several townsfolk were standing around looking bewildered, including one, dressed more smartly than the others, who simply kept repeating ‘it came from the sky…..’ The Astral Bard swiftly sized up the situation. The building had apparently been destroyed by a Nova Drive which had obviously come from space. The town’s inhabitants had clearly seen nothing quite like it before. The man in black spoke; ‘I’m MG Greaves, the Marshal here. Can I ask what business you folks have in my town?’ ‘We came to find our Captain’ said the Astral Bard. The Sonic Architect dug him in the ribs. ‘Our sister; we came to find our sister. This lady right here’ he said, pointing to Captain Lou. ‘This lady is currently residing here at the pleasure of the State o’ California’, said Marshal Greaves. The Sonic Architect was just about to speak when a lone figure stepped into the main drag and headed straight for the disparate group of people standing in front of the Marshal’s now-ruined office. The man strode purposefully up to the assemblage. He was also dressed in black, but his clothes were obviously from another time and place. However, in all other respects he was the doppelganger of Marshal Greaves. He drew a blaster and pointed it at the Marshal, who looked at the newcomer and said ‘who the hell are you?’ ‘Never mind who I am’ replied the stranger. These people are all under arrest!’ ‘By whose authority?’ demanded Marshal Greaves. ‘I’m the law in this town.’ ‘You mean you were the law’ replied the stranger. ‘You’ve just been superseded by a…..higher authority.’ The stranger smiled unpleasantly. Marshal Greaves stuck out his chin. ‘These people are going nowhere. They are under my protection.’ The stranger smiled again and said ‘well, you are all just about to find out how much that protection is worth!’
But then a sound not previously heard in Bodie grew in intensity and a wind began to blow down the main drag. A spacepod came around the far corner of the street and stopped right in front of the disparate group. The hatch opened and out leapt Shaman Hood of the Hawk and five Space Bandits. The stranger turned and pointed his blaster, but one of the five newcomers blew it out of his hand with a flurry of flangector arpeggios. The stranger howled, not with pain but with rage. ‘Good work, Baron Brock’ said Shaman Hood to the newcomer who had loosed of the flangector salvo. The Shaman looked at the stranger, then at the Marshal, then back at the stranger again. ‘Colonel Greaves of the Galactic Council, unless I’m much mistaken?’ he said. ‘The stranger appeared visibly shocked. ‘No, not at all, I’m a renegade!’ ‘Perhaps you were, but you have been creating trouble here for some considerable time. You have been using a sky portal to speak to certain of the inhabitants of this town, which is completely against all fundamental principles of astro-law laid down by the Galactic Council and ratified at the Betelgeuze conference in 3567.’ ‘Zeke Clanton then sat up, pointed at the Colonel and shouted ‘that’s him! He spoke to me from the sky! He told me to find Lulah and hold on to her! He said to bring her to Marshal Greaves!’ ‘I’m sure he did’ said Shaman Hood. ‘He has been spying on this town for some time and had noted his remarkable resemblance to Marshal Greaves. He planned to come here, dispose of the Marshal and take his place.’ Finally, Captain Lou spoke; ‘but why? Why would he do that?!’ ‘Because’ began Shaman Hood, ‘he’s not really Colonel Greaves at all. He is galactic bounty hunter Marshal Fender Gibson….’
‘But, how can that be?’ exclaimed Captain Lou. ‘He was incarcerated in a maximum security home for the psychotically deranged!’ ‘He escaped’ replied Shaman Hood. ‘Then he genetically modified his appearance to evade detection. We think he saw a picture of Colonel Greaves in an almanac of Spacechanters and decided he liked the look. It would appear that Marshal Greaves is the Colonel’s ancestor!’ ‘But where’s the real Colonel?’ asked Captain Lou. ‘Imprisoned on his own ship, I shouldn’t wonder’ answered the Shaman.
The five space bandits took hold of Gibson and led him away. Zeke was looking up at Captain Lou. ‘I didn’t mean you no harm, ma’am’, he said, earnestly. ‘I wouldna let ‘em hurt you!’ ‘I know, Zeke’ said Captain Lou, and touched his face tenderly with the palm of her hand. Zeke began to cry. ‘I’m gonna give up this life o’ crahm an’ become a preacher!’
Then, a sound like thunder rolled over the hills to the west; everyone looked to see where it was coming from, and what seemed like the entire Paiute nation came over the crest of the hill. The chief, astride a white stallion and wearing a full-length eagle feather war bonnet, rode forward. The rest followed him into the town at a respectful distance. The chief spoke; ‘Our legends tell of the daystar and the night star. We saw the night star fall from the sky. We knew that this was a powerful portent. We know that the false Colonel summoned the night star. He makes war on his own people. We must speak with the wise man who has followed him here.’ Shaman Hood stepped forward. ‘We can pow-wow’ said the Shaman, and rode off with the chief on another horse which had been provided for him.
As the Shaman disappeared over the hill with the Paiutes, a flash of light produced an explosion of dust and sand. When it cleared Young Syd was standing there holding a green metal box. The stunned silence was broken by the Sonic Architect who exclaimed ‘a Binson Echorec! That’s exactly what I need!’
‘How did you get here?!’ asked Captain Lou. ‘I’m not sure!’ answered Young Syd. ‘I just twisted this knob like this……’
‘NO!’ said four voices in unison. Young Syd froze, then spoke. ‘Anyway, you’re needed. A Festival of Spacechants. The Leconauts and a Colonel Greaves; do you know him?’ Captain Lou turned to Marshal Greaves. ‘I want to thank you for your hospitality, Marshal. But I think it’s time for me to take my leave of you and your town’ The Marshal appeared to consider for a few quantabits, then nodded silently. The mayor approached them; ‘it came from the sky….it came from the sky…..’
HERE WE GO WITH THE POSTSCRIPT TO SEASON SEVENTEEN….WELCOME TO THE FUTURE….YOU ARE WELCOME TO THE FUTURE…..!
And so it came to pass that the Festival of Spacechants due to be held at Admiral Bunting’s Temple of Song in Kardomah City was cancelled, due to an outbreak of lily liver, a mass delusion which induced the irrational fear of running out of personal hygiene products. But, in a parallel universe, there was a Festival of Spacechants. Much spacejuice was imbibed, and witches, thanes, satyrs, nymphs and all manner of renegades and rebels did enter through the hallowed portals. Colonel Greaves and the Leconauts did both launch their spacechants into the aether, telling tales of days gone by, days of now and days yet to come. And Shaman Hood of the Hawk was there, with his fabled earthenware jug, containing Mr Bulmer’s premium original psyder.
The Sonic Architect approached the wily Shaman and asked; ‘one thing is bothering me; what happened after you rode away with the Paiutes?’ The shaman smiled. ‘I talked to them, just like I said I would. I explained to them that what they had seen fall from the sky wasn’t the night star, but the work of a spirit from the future. I told them to look out for a time when the daystar would be shielded by the night star, and that that would be the time for them to embark on a great journey because the buffalo would leave. Apparently that was foretold in their legends too, so they were happy to let me go.’
As the Sonic Architect was talking to Shaman Hood of the Hawk the Astral Bard approached Admiral Bunting; ‘everything ok, Admiral?’ he asked. ‘Yeah’ replied he gnarly space renegade. ‘I’m just having to rethink my retirement to Svalbard again’ he said, a note of resignation in his voice. ‘That’s a shame’ replied the Bard. ‘How come?’ The Admiral shot a glance at the Astral Bard, appearing to weigh up how much he could safely divulge. ‘Let’s just say an extremely valuable object came into my possession; an object which would have brought me many bags of spacecoin. But then, it disappeared!’ ‘That must have been a shock!’ replied the Bard, innocently. ‘Any idea where it went?’ ‘Oh, yes’ answered the Admiral, ‘but I can’t prove a thing!’ Young Syd looked across at that point, smiled and raised his glass in a toast.
Bombardier Walker was, at the same time as the two previous conversations were taking place, talking to Captain Lou. ‘One thing is bothering me’ he said, ‘I saw an object, just before we came to rescue you.’ ‘What kind of object?’ asked the Captain. ‘I can’t be sure, but I think it was big, and I think it was headed this way. When we get back to the Leco I must find it again. It was an immense distance away, and I don’t know how fast it was travelling.’ At that point the Sonic Architect and Shaman Hood of the Hawk came across to join them.
‘Oh, one more thing’ said the Shaman. ‘The Paiutes told me about another one of their legends concerning the night star and the daystar. They tell of a new star in the future which will consume the daystar and the night star. They call it the legend of the End of the World of Night and Day. They say people from the future will save the planet from the new star. When they saw the false Colonel speaking from the sky they thought the prophecy was being fulfilled!’
Captain Lou thought for a moment, then spoke; ‘The Leconauts, Terra Fin, Night and Day…..!’
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