The continuing adventures of the Leconauts
You have landed at the place where you can experience the continuing chronicles of the Loudhailer Electric Company mothership and crew. Starring Leconauts Captain Lou Loudhailer, Sonic Architect Parsons, Ricardo the Astral Bard and Bombardiers Walker & Legg. Written by Loudhailer Electric Company’s Sonic Architect and keeper of the sacred flangector, this is Season 20 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 20 Dreamscape Begins
TODAY’S THE DAY, THE ADVENTURES OF THE LECONAUTS, SEASON 20 BEGINS, IN WHICH THE NEXT STEPS ARE DISCUSSED…..
Admiral Bunting was hunched in front of his Vistascreen, intently studying the lines of code travelling up and down in front of him. Suddenly, he sat back and let out an enormous sigh, followed by a sharp and deep intake of breath. He mentally noted that he must have been so focussed on the screen that he’d forgotten to breathe! ‘Excellent!’ he said………
Deep in the bowels of the Leco, the flagship of the renegade fleet, Captain Lou and her Leconauts emerged from stasis. The Sonic Architect was the first to awaken; his body knew when it was required to be on alert, even whilst in a near-death state. He looked around; as usual he was the first to emerge from the pod. ‘Bombardier Walker will be next’ he predicted. Sure enough, the steely frame of his doughty crewmate and thunder-conjurer appeared shortly after.
Next was Ricardo, the Astral Bard, who raised his head and smiled; there was mischief on his mind already.
Captain Lou was last, but the sparkle in her eyes was there, even after an extended period of hypersleep.
They all immediately took to their stations; the hospitality drones would be around soon enough with coffee and flapjack.
At first, they sat in silence, considering the adventure they had been a part of on the astral plane. With the help of three other renegade crews and such luminaries as Shaman Hood of the Hawk, Young Syd, Sir Richard of Harries and Saint Petulia of Clarksdale they had dealt a mortal blow to humanity’s deadliest enemy, the White Crows, or Corvid19. They had known that the White Crows were an early form of Artificial Intelligence, or AI; indeed the 19 in their designation signified the letters of the alphabet, but what they hadn’t known before was that the White Crows had been created in the Age of Legends by an evil and despotic leader called the Orangeman.
The hospitality drones whirred around them, depositing their accustomed refreshments; coffee for the Astral Bard, Sonic Architect and Bombardier, and herbal tea for Captain Lou. Then came four plates of aromatic and sweet-smelling flapjack sourced from an emporium known as ‘Mr Nice’s patented space travelling flapjack.’ The boxes it came in bore the legend ‘Guaranteed to get you there on time!’
‘Well’ said the Sonic Architect, ‘that was quite an adventure! The sight of Saint Petulia severing the silver cord from the Corvid 19 mind hive is a sight I shall never forget!’ His three crewmates smiled and nodded. After a short silence Captain Lou spoke; ‘indeed, and the feeling of relief which came with it. Up until that point I hadn’t realised just how much of a negative influence was being exerted upon us by that….thing!’ The Astral Bard smiled; there was mischief in his eyes. ‘I had taken the liberty of casting a protective charm over us’ he said, as though this were a perfectly natural thing to do. ‘I knew that the Corvid mind hive would try to infiltrate our minds.’ The Bombardier raised an eyebrow and spoke. ‘And now’ he said, with an air of finality, ‘we will be taking ourselves off to the Age of Legends again, this time to assassinate a prominent leader!’
‘Yes’ replied Captain Lou, ‘much as it may go against the grain to end a life, we have to weigh that against the survival of our race.’ They all considered this in silence. ‘I assume we will try to confirm what we’ve been told about this character before we attempt to…eliminate him?’ said the Bombardier. ‘We know that things can be changed depending on exactly who is writing the history?’ After another short silence Captain Lou replied, almost in a whisper, ‘history is written by the victors…….’
‘Right’ said the Astral Bard, now suitably refreshed. ‘I’m off to the Room of Manuscripts to see what I can find out about this Orangeman……’
HERE WE GO WITH SEASON TWENTY EPISODE TWO!
The Transference Spot began to glow, then the familiar form of the Astral Bard emerged from the swirling psychedelic mist, three large Teetees from the Room of Manuscripts under his arm. The Bombardier groaned inwardly; this looked like it was going to take some time……
The Astral Bard regarded his three crewmates, his eyebrow arched mischievously. ‘You won’t believe most of this!’ he exclaimed. ‘That Orangeman was seriously unhinged!’ He sat down and opened the first of the Teetees. ‘Are you sitting comfortably?’ he asked. There was no response. ‘Then I’ll begin. The Orangeman was the president of one of the most powerful countries in the history of Terra Gaia.’ ‘President? Countries?’ enquired the Bombardier. ‘Yes, a ruthless elite had divided the world into separate countries, each with their own identity and culture. They preserved this system for generations, because it set people in competition against each other and made them easier to rule.’
‘They created enemies?’ said the Bombardier, incredulously. ‘Yes’ continued the Bard. ‘The theory was that if people were focused on what their rivals were doing, then they wouldn’t pay too much attention to what their leaders were up to.’
‘Aah, I remember!’ said the Bombardier. ‘You told us before about kings and queens, living in untold splendour when everyone else was scraping just to get by!’
‘That’s right!’ answered the Bard. ‘And get this; the Orangeman’s place of residence was a huge palace called…..the White House!’ A collective gasp met this pronouncement. White had long been regarded as the colour of ultimate evil. Clearly anyone who lived in a White House must be the devil incarnate.
The Bard reached for the second Teetee and opened it. He continued; ‘yes, as part of his strategy to deflect attention from his own evil deeds he had his scientists from the Seabrook Corporation develop nano artificial intelligence.’ ‘The White Crows!’ exclaimed Captain Lou. ‘Correct’ confirmed the Bard. ‘His big rival at the time was a country called Cathay; this country was getting too big for its boots, so the Orangeman decided to contaminate the water supply of a large city in Cathay. His agents released the White Crows into a place called Woohan! His plan worked, but it backfired. As well as wiping out many Cathays, the replication of the White Crows got out of control and they quickly spread throughout the world even to the Orangeman’s own country. They wiped out hundreds of thousands of his voters.’
‘Then what happened?’ asked the Bombardier. ‘Well’ said the Bard. ‘After so many deaths, people began to ask awkward questions and it became clear that the Orangeman was hiding something. So he made a bolt for it in his private plane….’; ‘plane?’ asked the Bombardier. ‘An early and primitive starcruiser’ answered the Sonic Architect. ‘Yes indeed’ confirmed the Bard. ‘But his plane crashed; sabotage was suspected, but he survived. Then his own people, realising the enormity of what he had done, hunted him down. He died like a dog, cowering in a tunnel.’
‘Serve him right, by Jimi’ declared the Bombardier. ‘So, let’s go back in time and kill him again….!’
IT’S TIME FOR SEASON TWENTY EPISODE THREE! IN WHICH THE SPECTRE OF DOUBT IS RAISED……
Captain Lou was anxious; something wasn’t quite sitting right with her. She and her crew had been charged with a task by Saint Petulia of Clarksdale. They were to go back in time and eliminate an evil and despotic leader before he could invent the White Crows, or Corvid19. But actually taking a life seemed somehow a step too far, even though Saint Petulia had put forward the potent argument that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Still, she had doubts……
‘……so I want you to stick with them and see that they discharge their responsibilities. They are to terminate the Orangeman’s command.’
‘Terminate?’ repeated Young Syd. ‘Terminate,’ confirmed Admiral Bunting, ‘with extreme prejudice…..’
The Sonic Architect was in his quarters, doing some maintenance on his vast flangector array. He was sure he was going to need every ounce of firepower at his disposal. He felt oddly dispassionate about the task which lay in front of him and his crewmates. The Orangeman was a figure who had lived vast aeons ago, but the Sonic Architect had decided that what he had heard was justification for going back in time and erasing him from existence…..
The Astral Bard was pondering a conundrum; the Leconauts were about to embark on a mission which could have, quite literally, far-reaching effects. What if by eliminating the Orangeman they not only removed the threat of Corvid19, but also changed other aspects of history? And with this being so far back in time, to the Age of Legends no less, the corollary could be, would be, a game-changer. Perhaps they would never be born? They may do the deed, try to travel back to their own time, and simply cease to exist! Or they may come back to their time to find a world changed beyond recognition…..
Bombardier Walker sat in the maintenance hold of the Leco. He had just dispatched a particularly large cache of spaceweed, the semi-sentient drifting plant which was wont to foul the exteriors of starcruisers. He was thinking; it all seemed too scripted, too taken as read, too – simple. Go back and kill this guy and everything will be ok. The Bombardier felt the weight of sinister forces pressing down on him. He realised he was finding it difficult to breathe. He stood up and moved with the grace of a panther to the Transference Spot. A couple of quantabits later and he was on the bridge of the Leco. He activated the telepathic link and announced ‘House meeting! House meeting!’…………..
IT’S TIME FOR SEASON TWENTY EPISODE FOUR! IN WHICH A HOUSE MEETING BRINGS ABOUT A PLAN OF ACTION……
The Leconauts hurried to the bridge of the Leco at the urgent summons of the Bombardier. As they arrived they saw he was doing the house meeting dance and all joined in. ‘Ok, let’s squat down!’ said the Astral Bard. They sat cross-legged facing each other. ‘I’m concerned about the action we are about to take’ began the Bombardier. ‘I get the distinct feeling that we are being impelled by forces beyond our control. I think we need to keep an open mind on what to do about this guy, the Orangeman. I’d like to find out more before we decide to eliminate him.’
‘I’ve been thinking the same thing’ said Captain Lou. ‘I’m sure that Saint Petulia wouldn’t have given us this mission unless she believed it was the right thing to do, but I would like to find out more.’
‘And how shall we do that, exactly?’ asked the Sonic Architect. He had been looking forward to turning the Orangeman into spacedust with his newly-reconfigured flangector array.
‘By travelling back in time and making some observations’ replied the Astral Bard. ‘I’ve also been thinking about it, and I reckon if we could visit say, three, pivotal points of the Orangeman’s life, it would give us a greater insight and help us to make an informed decision about flangecting the hell out of his ass!’
Captain Lou raised an eyebrow, almost imperceptibly. ‘What about Young Syd?’ she asked. ‘Saint Petulia agreed very readily that it would be a good idea to take him with us.’
‘Yes, I think we should’, replied the Sonic Architect. ‘He has a way with words, and don’t forget, he was born in the Age of Legends. He would be a great help in finding our way around and observing the customs and rituals of the time.’
‘Agreed’ declared the Captain. ‘We’ll take him with us!’ She turned to the Astral Bard. ‘Do you have any thoughts on which part of the Orangeman’s life we should visit first?’ she asked.
‘As a matter of fact, I do’, answered the Bard. ‘I think we should go right to the eye of the hurricane. To the point where his people hunt him down and he dies in a tunnel, cowering like a dog…….’
HERE WE GO WITH SEASON TWENTY EPISODE FIVE! IN WHICH THE LECONAUTS LAND BACK IN THE AGE OF LEGENDS ONCE AGAIN…….!
The Leconauts were gathered in the Studio of the Fair View deep in the bowels of the Leco, their Firebird class Starcruiser. They had constructed the Edifice of Song and were about to begin the incantation which would enable them to travel back in time to the Age of Legends. Young Syd was sitting on the floor in the Lotus position in their midst. The Bombardier intoned the ancient spell of commencement; ‘one-two-three-four’ and they began to launch their spacechant into the aether. The Astral Bard approached the verbal capture device and began the recital; ‘I’m a Time Traveller, and I will break your heart…….’
The Leconauts found themselves in a huge open space with an imposing domed building at one end and a tall obelisk at the other. In between was a central strip of water with a concourse on either side. The area was full of people all chanting and gesticulating. They carried placards and banners and some were engaged in scuffles with uniformed and heavily armed military personnel. Fortunately the Leconauts and Young Syd had materialised in a wooded area which bordered the concourse so they hadn’t been spotted.
‘Looks like a riot!’ said Young Syd. He pointed to the militaristic figures; ‘this is the National Guard. They were only brought out in emergencies!’ Clearly Young Syd was enjoying the experience of being back in the familiar time in which he had been born, fraught with danger as it was. They had changed into clothes from the Leco’s vast Room of Raiment which Young Syd had picked especially so as to blend more easily with the people from the Age of Legends. They left the cover of the trees and entered the milling throng……
‘Let’s try and get right up to the front’ said Captain Lou and they began to force their way through the tightly packed people. They used all the techniques learned in Spaceschool which enabled them to move swiftly without actually being noticed unduly and were soon at the front of the assembled multitude much closer to the imposing domed building; ‘The Capitol!’ said Young Syd, almost reverentially. Here there was open fighting and a large number of dark-skinned people were engaging the Guardsmen, who in turn were inflicting physical damage with their clubs on the largely unarmed people.
‘They are attacking the Godlike!’ exclaimed Captain Lou. In the future the people of colour were revered and treated with deference. After all, the gods of the Pantheon were all from their ranks; Nelson, Ali, Rosa and the Creator himself, Jimi. ‘Right’ said the Captain decisively; ‘let’s get in there and give the Godlike a hand…..!’
IT’S TIME FOR SEASON TWENTY EPISODE SIX OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH THE LECONAUTS GIVE THE GODLIKE A HAND…….
Captain Lou and the other Leconauts adopted battle stance and moved forward purposefully. They had asked Young Syd to remain on the periphery of the concourse to document the action using his image capturing device. A large member of the Godlike turned at their approach, shooting them a suspicious glance. When they took down four Guardsmen in as many quantabits his frown turned to a smile. ‘Nice moves!’ he exclaimed. Captain Lou smiled back at him and nodded. The rest of the Guardsmen in the immediate area looked on aghast as their comrades fell and they were quickly either overcome or turned tail. The big man seemed to be a leader and began issuing instructions. ‘Get they clubs and helmets, and anythin’ else y’all think may be vayabuh!’ Other Godlike obeyed his instructions. He turned to the Leconauts who had now been joined by Young Syd.
‘I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure, ma’am!’ he said; ‘Cyrus Bonaventure’. He held out his hand and Captain Lou took it and shook. ‘Lulah Loudermilk’ she said with a degree of regret. She didn’t like to tell untruths, and especially here to one of the Godlike. But telling the truth may do more harm than good at the present time.
‘What y’all doin’ here?’ asked Cyrus, looking somewhat curiously at the Leconauts. ‘We seek the Orangeman’ replied the Astral Bard. Captain Lou dug him in the ribs. ‘He means we’re looking for the President’ she said. Cyrus snorted, turned his head and spat on the ground. ‘That peckerwood!’ he said derisively. ‘You won’t find him here! He be under the White House in one o’ they tunnels, cowering like a dawg!’
As they had approached the imposing domed building the Sonic Architect had noted that it was completely white, the colour of ultimate evil. This place was giving him the creeps.
‘What y’all want with the Duke, anyway?’ asked Cyrus. ‘The Duke?’ enquired the Bombardier. ‘Yeah, that what he call hisself these days, after he hero, John Wayne!’ The Leconauts were momentarily stumped and looked askance at each other. Luckily Young Syd came to the rescue. ‘You know, John Wayne, the actor, from all those Westerns and war films!’ He widened his eyes and nodded imperceptibly at the Leconauts, indicating that they should agree with him. ‘Aah, of course’, ‘John Wayne, yeah’, ‘aah, the Duke!’ A chorus of concurrence came from the Leconauts.
‘What has happened here today, Cyrus?’ Captain Lou enquired. ‘Where y’all been?’ asked Cyrus incredulously. ‘In a vacuum?’ ‘Something like that’ replied the Bombardier.
‘The Duke call out the National Guard again’ continued Cyrus. ‘We bin protestin’ about his latest executive order. No-one within five hunnerd yards o’ the Capitol durin’ the hours o’ daylight!’
‘Why would he do that?’ asked the Sonic Architect. ‘Because o’ the vahruss! Since we done found out he invented it he runnin’ scared. We think he gon’ try to make a run for it! But now he gone to ground. But we gon’ hunt ‘im down! Then he gon’ dah like a dawg! Y’all can he’p us!’
‘We have things we need to do first, Cyrus’ said Captain Lou, again feeling a pang at being less than honest with one of the Godlike. ‘But where is this – White – House?’ The word stuck in her craw.
Cyrus turned and pointed; ‘look over yonder………’
The Leconauts and Young Syd stood in front of the White House; it radiated evil and they all felt the unwholesome aura which completely enveloped it. ‘The Orangeman is in there, then’ stated the Bombardier, flatly. ‘Yes’ answered Captain Lou, with barely a trace of emotion in her voice.
‘Is this when he makes a run for it?’ asked the Sonic Architect. ‘I believe so’ answered the Astral Bard. He looked at the temporal measuring device strapped to his wrist. ‘Any sextagrain now, in fact.’
With that, a loud and strangely surreal sound emanated from behind the sinister white building. ‘What the hell….’ Began the Bombardier, then his words simply froze in his throat as a hulking dark craft topped with what appeared to be rotating blades on its top rose up vertically and turned to face them. ‘A helicopter….!’, whispered Young Syd. It looked like nothing so much as a huge angry bee, thought Captain Lou and for a moment she feared it was going to attack them. Instead, it rose higher and then turned again and began to fly north. The Leconauts looked at each other incredulously. Then another sound from behind them; a huge ‘whoosh’ followed by a streak of white light and an impact upon the body of the strange craft, which began to spin as it fell from the sky. The sound of a massive impact from behind the noisome edifice told its own story; the craft had plummeted to the ground and crashed.
Young Syd and the Leconauts began to run toward the sound of the impact. ‘Steer clear of that building’ cried the Captain. With that, three men wearing mirrored shades, earpieces and strange dark suits appeared as if from nowhere, blocking their path. Within quantabits all three were on the ground groaning in pain. The Leconauts pressed on and came to a grassy area behind the squat mansion.
The strange craft was on its side. A woman had climbed out and was checking her appearance in a small mirror she had apparently produced from a shiny bag. After a short time another figure appeared; the head emerged first. I was topped with what the Sonic Architect could only describe as the most unfeasible head of hair he had ever seen. It seemed to defy gravity. The big man slowly extricated himself from the stricken craft, staggered slightly, looked around in a daze as if searching for something or someone. He finally noticed the Leconauts, pulled himself up to his full height, puffed out his chest, narrowed his eyes, cocked his head on one side, stuck out his arm and uttered, ‘who the hell are you……..?’
IT’S TIME FOR SEASON TWENTY EPISODE EIGHT! IN WHICH THINGS GO WRONG AND THEN COME RIGHT AGAIN……….
The Astral Bard opened his mouth to answer the Orangeman but Captain Lou dug him in the ribs before he could speak. Then she said ‘visitors. We came to see the sights in your marvellous…country!’ The Orangeman’s mood changed instantly. He dropped his arm and relaxed a little. He smiled but Captain Lou noted that it didn’t touch his eyes. ‘Ain’t it great? It’s beautiful! We got a beautiful country here, beautiful country. And we’re doing our best but I gotta tell ya, not everyone appreciates what I’m doing here. Subversives, they really got it in for me. Where you from anyway? Sounded like maybe Englandland? Did he send you?’ He became defensive again and his eyes narrowed. ‘Nobody sent us’ answered Captain Lou. ‘The Orangeman became agitated. ‘It was Boris, wasn’t it?! He sent you to spy on me! And now those damned subversives have shot me out of the sky!’ By now the woman had come to his side and several of the men in shades and suits had arrived. ‘Arrest these people!’ cried the Orangeman. ‘And find out who sent them! I want answers!’
Then a large crowd of people, including many of the Godlike, rounded the corner of the building and rushed towards the small group standing in front of the downed aircraft. Leading them was Cyrus Bonaventure. The Orangeman turned and ran, dragging the woman along with him. The men in shades and suits were quickly overwhelmed and Captain Lou approached Cyrus to thank him for his timely arrival.
‘No matter, ma’am’ he replied. He then turned and shouted ‘get after him!’ Several people ran in pursuit of the Orangeman and his companion.
‘They figure you was spies?’ asked Cyrus. Captain Lou nodded. ‘Everyone’s a spy these days. They runnin’ scared. We got ‘em in a corner now! He ain’t gon’ get away!’
Several members of the Godlike came back over to Cyrus. ‘They gone into the tunnel! We got the other end blocked! He cain’t get away now! He gon’ die, cowering like a dawg…..!
HERE WE GO WITH THE LECO CHRONICLES SEASON TWENTY EPISODE NINE! IN WHICH THE ORANGEMAN REVEALS HIS TRUE COLOURS………!
Cyrus and his followers ran around to the back of the sinister white house. Two more Godlike were standing by a clump of bushes waving to the oncoming group. The Leconauts and Young Syd followed. ‘In here!’ said the Godlike nearest the bushes. Under cover of the foliage was a low door in a stone structure, beyond which was a flight of concrete steps leading downwards. A curious aroma lingered by the entrance; Captain Lou sniffed the air. Cyrus turned to her. ‘Chanel Number Five!’ he said. ‘They’s definitely down there! Come on!’
The disparate group descended the steps, which took a while, as there was only room for one person at a time. Eventually they were all at the bottom and found themselves in a wide piazza with various steel doors around the perimeter, all except one of which were tightly shut and secured with intricate and heavy locks. The tunnel which was open was directly opposite the one by which they had entered. ‘Follow me’ cried Cyrus.
Captain Lou tried to make her way through the crowd as they progressed through the tunnel. She was trying to get to Cyrus. The rest of her crew followed on her heels. Eventually she found herself beside the big man. ‘What are you aiming to do, Cyrus!’ she asked. ‘He gon’ dah!’ came the curt reply. ‘Tell me more about what he’s done’ said the Captain. ‘Why has it come to such a pass?’
Cyrus considered for a few quantabits. ‘He betray his own people. We knew we wus low on his list, but everbody sufferin’ right here, right now! He got blood on he tiny hands!’
‘And does he have to pay the ultimate penalty?’ asked the Captain. ‘Yes ma’am’, came the reply, swiftly and definitively. ‘He done crossed a line…….’
After what seemed like a long time, they could hear sounds ahead. The tunnel suddenly broadened out into a piazza like the one at which they’d entered the underground complex. The door opposite was locked and the Orangeman was on the floor clutching at the handle, alternately sobbing and raging. The woman stood to face the pursuers. She looked unafraid, composed, and imperious.
The Orangeman suddenly realised he was being regarded by many pairs of eyes. ‘It won’t open!’ he sobbed. ‘Why won’t it open?!’
One of the godlike handed Cyrus an evil looking implement. The Astral Bard whispered to Captain Lou, ‘a machine gun!’
A look of abject terror entered the Orangeman’s eyes. ‘Don’t hurt me’ he pleaded. ‘Don’t you know who I am?!’
‘Oh yeah’ replied Cyrus. ‘I know you a’ight. You’re A Number one! YOU’RE THE DUKE! YOU’RE THE DUKE! YOU’RE……. THE DUKE……….!’
HERE WE GO WITH SEASON TWENTY EPISODE TEN OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH OUR HEROES TRY TO ENSURE THEY ONLY CHANGE HISTORY A TEENY WEENY BIT……..!
The Leconauts and Young Syd emerged from the tunnel with Cyrus and his followers. A large crowd of people had gathered in silence. Cyrus held the machine gun aloft and smiled. Someone began to clap, then another and another. Soon the whole audience was clapping, cheering and whooping in a frenzy. Captain Lou was sickened that they could be so happy at the demise of one of their number, however much he had done wrong. But this was a different time…….
Back on the bridge of the Leco the five sat in silence. The Astral Bard was the first to speak. ‘There’s obviously a great depth of feeling in the population. They were actually pleased to see the Orangeman meet a violent end. I wonder if we could find a way to stop that from happening?’
‘I don’t think we can’ answered the Sonic Architect. ‘We can’t’ prevent a momentous event like that from happening. It would be too risky. We would almost certainly change the future too radically. What we need to be able to do is to prevent the Orangeman from creating Corvid 19, but to allow his people to….deal with him in the way they see fit.’
The Bombardier smiled. ‘And how might we bring that about, exactly?’, he asked.
The Sonic Architect sighed. ‘We need to go further back. To plant a seed in his head which will change his way of thinking. To make him want to steer clear of viruses. And then to ensure that his people find something else he does that is so bad that they want to eliminate him!’
‘From what I can see’ said the Astral Bard, ‘there are any number of things which could get him killed. I’m surprised he actually lasted as long as he did!’
Young Syd then spoke up. ‘I seem to remember reading that he had a pathological fear of germs. I’m sure there must be an opening there!’
Captain Lou stood up, decisively. ‘Right!’ she exclaimed. ‘We’ll go back to his childhood and put the fear of Jimi up him! We will change history, but only a teeny weeny bit……!’
HERE WE GO WITH SEASON TWENTY EPISODE ELEVEN OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH YOUNG SYD USES HIS KNOWLEDGE OF THE AGE OF LEGENDS TO MOVE THE PLAN FORWARD…..
Captain Lou and her Leconauts, together with Young Syd, permanently seconded to them by Admiral Bunting, were preparing to go back in time once again. This time, they were set to go even further back, to the Orangeman’s childhood. Captain Lou had a plan, but so far it had precious little flesh on its bones…..
They had seen the Orangeman’s demise on their last adventure in the Age of Legends, and Captain Lou was struck by the ferocity of the people who lived in that era. It was not a pretty sight. Still, the Orangeman had invented a deadly microbionic weapon, the Corvid 19, or White Crows, the first artificially intelligent agent of mass destruction, and then, albeit unwittingly, unleashed it upon his own people. There was no wonder they wanted him dead.
Now the Leconauts had been charged with the task of going back in time and eliminating the Orangeman before he had chance to invent the Corvid 19. But Captain Lou had foreseen problems, not the least of which was changing history so much that they may not be able to return to their own time. Indeed, their own time may simply not exist anymore…..so they had decided to try and stop the invention but not the death of the Orangeman. They had to trust that his own people would find something else about him that would bring about the desire to exterminate him. From what Captain Lou had seen of these people that shouldn’t take them too long……
They had decided to go back and look at his childhood. The Astral Bard had figured that if they could bring about his well-documented fear of germs and amplify it that he may become so opposed to the idea of infection that he would not countenance the use of such a weapon. It was a long shot, but worth a try.
Deep in the bowels of the Leco, a Firebird class starcruiser, the Leconauts stood again in the Studio of the Fair View, within the Edifice of Song they had again constructed. Young Syd sat in the lotus position at their feet. The ritual began……..
The Leconauts looked around them in wonderment; they were in a forest of tall buildings in the middle of the night. The streets were almost deserted. They moved silently. Young Syd had taken the lead. He had devised an audacious plan, the details of which he had only just revealed. It was based on something he remembered from his own life in the Age of Legends.
He waved the rest of the Leconauts on and they approached one of the tall buildings. Young Syd fiddled with the mechanism on the wall near the entrance, and the doors swung open silently. They entered. ‘In here’ said Young Syd. A pair of doors, curiously like the one on the bridge of the Leco, opened and the five entered a small, cramped space. The doors closed and a pull in the pit of their stomachs indicated upward motion. ‘I don’t like this’ said the Astral Bard. ‘It’s ok’ said Young Syd, ‘we’ll be out of here soon’. Sure enough, the tugging sensation stopped and the doors opened. They exited the capsule into a spacious hall with many numbered doors. Young Syd stopped outside one of them. ‘This one’ he said. He fiddled with the mechanism on the door and it swung open. They entered. All was quiet, and dark. Young Syd tried a door but immediately shut it. ‘Wrong one’ he said. At the next door he hesitated briefly, then said ‘Yes! In here!’ A small blond-haired boy was sleeping. Young Syd opened a bag he was carrying, which he called a ‘rucksack’. He handed an unusual mask to each Leconaut, then put one on himself. He then took out a small metal box from which a wire emanated, terminating in a pair of headphones which he gently placed over the sleeping boy’s ears. He then pressed a button on the metal box and the boy immediately sat bolt upright, clutching his ears. Young Syd shone a torch in the boy’s eyes. The boy blinked and said ‘who are you?!’ pointing rudely at Young Syd, who replied ‘silence, earthling…….!’
HERE WE GO WITH ANOTHER VISIT TO LECOLAND! IT’S TIME FOR SEASON TWENTY EPISODE TWELVE! IN WHICH THE YOUNG ORANGEMAN IS MADE AWARE OF HIS GREAT EXPECTATIONS!
‘….I am Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan!’ continued Young Syd, and slapped himself on the chest with his fist in a mock salute. ‘What do you want?’ asked the boy, glancing furtively at a magazine on his pillow which was adorned with a picture of what looked like a primitive starcruiser and some people in space suits. He looked back at the five figures gathered around him. The Sonic Architect noted that he didn’t appear to be afraid. The boy looked at the magazine again. One of the space-suited figures was holding a weapon from which a stream of what looked like plasma was emanating. Young Syd was just about to speak again when the boy butted in.
‘Could you zap my dad?’ Young Syd was momentarily put off his stroke. ‘Zap your dad?’ he repeated, incredulously. ‘Yeah’ said the boy, enthusiastically. ‘I s’pose you’ve got ray guns an’ all?’
‘Why do you want us to “zap” your dad’, asked the Astral Bard. ‘He calls me a dumb-ass jerk’ answered the boy, and he lowered his head. But within a quantabit he raised it and stuck out his chin defiantly. ‘I’m smarter ‘n him, though! That’s what mom says. She says I have “unmatched wisdom” and……’
He got no further as Young Syd pressed the button on his metal box and the boy clapped his hands to his ears once again and shouted ‘owww!’
Young Syd spoke again; ‘you are in great danger’ he said, ‘you must be careful. Yes, you are destined for great things, but there are many who will try to stand in your way. Beware of……germs!’
‘Germs?’ said the boy. ‘Yes, germs’ repeated Young Syd. ‘They are your greatest enemy. Keep away from them. Do not be tempted to use them. They are not your friends. Wash your hands often. Stay away from bad areas. And don’t use the music of The Rolling Stones!’
Captain Lou could see that the boy’s mind was racing. ‘So I’m gonna be important, right? I knew it! Mom always said I had a shining intellect! I’ll show him! I’ll show him who’s a dumb-ass jerk, alright!’
‘Now we must leave! Go back to sleep. We will visit you again. But remember – stay away from germs! They are bad!’ Young Syd removed the headphones from the boy’s head and they all turned to leave. ‘Hey, mister’ cried the boy. Young Syd turned to face him. ‘Could you get me some milk and cookies……..?’
IT’S TIME FOR MORE ADVENTURES WITH THE LECONAUTS! HERE WE GO WITH SEASON TWENTY EPISODE THIRTEEN! IN WHICH YOUNG SYD HOLDS HIS NERVE……!
‘That kid’ said the Sonic Architect, ‘the idea that we could wipe out his dad really appealed to him!’ ‘Yeah’ answered the Bombardier, ‘the minds of the rulers work in different ways to ours. That’s how they end up being rulers.’ ‘He wasn’t afraid’ said the Sonic Architect. ‘He was startled, but he wasn’t afraid.’ ‘Maybe he wasn’t clever enough to be afraid’ said the Astral Bard. ‘Or maybe’ said Captain Lou, ‘he’s never encountered anything in his life thus far that he needed to be afraid of? He lives a life of privilege!’ The Bombardier snorted. ‘If wanting five total strangers who say they come from another world to wipe out your dad for calling you a “dumb-ass jerk” is living in privilege then I’m glad I was brought up without it!’ No-one replied.
The Leconauts and Young Syd were walking through the streets of the vast city after leaving the home of the Orangeman. ‘What was that gizmo you put on his head?’ asked the Astral Bard. ‘Sony Walkman’ replied Young Syd, with a wide grin. ‘The item of choice if you wanted to be cool back in the eighties!’ The four Leconauts looked at him uncomprehendingly. ‘Forget it’ he said, ‘it’s too hard to explain.’ Captain Lou smiled. ‘It’s easy to overlook the fact that we hijacked you from your own time and took you back to ours!’ she said. ‘Yes, back to the future!’ said Young Syd, smiling and looking at them expectantly. When he received no reply his smile faded and he mumbled ‘please yourselves’ under his breath.
‘What was the sound which came from it?’ asked the Sonic Architect. ‘Van Halen!’ replied Young Syd enthusiastically. ‘You see, in the film ‘Back to…..oh, forget it! It’s too difficult!’
They walked on in silence past steaming vents in the road and empty trashcans rolling around on the pavement. Eventually they found the alley they sought. Nice and quiet, and only one way in or out. Just as they were about to commence the ritual which would take them back to their own time a couple of dark figures emerged from the shadows. ‘Well, lookee what we have here’ came a voice from one of them, eerily familiar, thought Captain Lou. ‘You better hand over your wallets, now’ came another voice. ‘Wallets?’ said the Astral Bard. ‘We don’t have any wallets!’
‘Don’t get cute with me, mister, I got a knife!’ He moved his hand and something glinted brightly in the dark. Young Syd stepped forward and pulled a huge bladed weapon from his rucksack. ‘Nah’ he said. ‘That’s not a knife! This is a knife!’
The two hoodlums turned and ran. ‘Zeke!’ whispered Captain Lou, too quietly for anyone else to hear…….
IT’S TIME FOR MORE ADVENTURES OF THE LECONAUTS! HERE WE GO WITH SEASON TWENTY EPISODE FOURTEEN! IN WHICH AN OLD FRIEND POPS ROUND FOR A CHAT…….!
The Leconauts and Young Syd were back on the bridge of the Leco following their most recent visit to the Orangeman’s past. They sat in silence, deep in thought. It had been a somewhat unsatisfactory mission and they knew would have to visit him again to ensure the seed they had planted had taken root.
The Astral Bard looked up and was just about to speak when the Transference Spot began to glow. Psychedelic mist began to swirl and miniature stars emanated from the eddying tube of light. Then a familiar figure emerged from the dancing effulgence. ‘Shaman Hood of the Hawk!’ they exclaimed as one.
‘Greetings’ said the wily Shaman. ‘How goes your mission? Have you eliminated the Orangeman? Admiral Bunting is keen to hear some good news!’
The Leconauts and Young Syd looked at each other, then Captain Lou spoke. ‘We decided that to eliminate him would risk damaging the space time continuum, so we decided we would – influence him – rather than eliminate him. That way, we figure there’s a lesser chance that we bring about too fundamental a change.’
There was an awkward silence, heavy with anticipation, then the Shaman smiled. ‘I agree’ he said. ‘Better to let the bigger events take their course, and prevent the smaller events from happening. What progress have you made?’
Over the next few sextagrains they related the details of their two meetings with the Orangeman. When Young Syd was describing the subterfuge they had used on the boy Orangeman, the Shaman spluttered with laughter just as he was taking a draught from his fabled psyder jug. The atmosphere, somewhat tense up to this point, lightened noticeably.
‘So what is your next move?’ asked the Shaman, notably mellowed after the copious draught of psyder he had partaken of.
‘We are going to go back to the time when he is a Young Man, and possibly use the Darth Vader ruse again. We figure that as he’s not the brightest of individuals that it will work a second time.’
‘Not bright?’ replied the Shaman. ‘All the history teetees speak of his unmatched wisdom and shining intellect!’
‘Well, I can tell you quite categorically’ said Captain Lou, ‘that they got that one wrong……..!’
HERE WE GO WITH SEASON TWENTY EPISODE FIFTEEN OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH RATHER THAN BEING ALTERED, HISTORY IS MADE……..!
Young Syd and the Leconauts were time travelling again. They had decided, after consulting with Shaman Hood of the Hawk, to visit the Orangeman as a young adult and to check if he had become pathologically afraid of germs as they had hoped. They weren’t in the city of the forest of tall buildings but somewhere more littoral.
The air smelled salty, there was a balmy breeze and the evening air was warm and sultry. They crossed an elegant lawn and entered the large building at the back. ‘This way’ said the Astral Bard. The others followed and they climbed a staircase which was very narrow. ‘Servants’ access to the upper floors’ explained Young Syd. ‘This way!’ They walked stealthily down a corridor with regularly spaced doors. Eventually they came to one which, unlike the others, seemed to be made of aurum. ‘In here!’ said Young Syd.
Captain Lou inserted an implement into the lock and twisted it deftly. The door swung open. ‘Ok, now we wait!’ said Young Syd. They sat silently in the sumptuous armchairs within the luxuriously appointed room. Eventually the door of the apartment opened and they heard voices. ‘Could I tempt you in for a little nightcap? I got some of that vodka you like!’ ‘Not tonight, honey’ came the reply. ‘I gotta wash my hair!’ They heard the door close. ‘Her hair looks beautiful!’ they heard the Orangeman say to himself. ‘Why the hell would she wanna wash it?!!’
The Leconauts assumed combat positions in the inner room as Young Syd stood up in his makeshift spacesuit. He marched through to the room in which the Orangeman had just removed his trousers and was standing there in a shirt and tie and socks with suspenders. The Orangeman spun round. Within a quantabit several emotions passed over his face; fear, surprise, incomprehension and finally recognition. He pointed at Young Syd and said ‘you!’
‘Silence, earthling!’ said Young Syd and the Orangeman recoiled, looking about wildly as if to summon help which wasn’t there.
‘I thought I dreamed you!’ said the Orangeman. ‘That’s what I told myself! I thought I was going nuts! I….I….’ and then he seemed to have a realisation. ‘I stayed away from germs! Just like you said! Can’t stand ‘em! They give me the creeps! See?!’ He headed into the bathroom and began washing his hands wildly, throwing water and soap all over. ‘Gotta stay clean! Gotta stay clean!’ he repeated, several times.
Then there was a knock on the door. ‘Who is it?!’ cried the Orangeman. ‘It’s George!’ came the muffled reply. ‘Wait a second!’ cried the Orangeman and before Young Syd could make a move he had crossed to the door and opened it. A man entered, looked at Young Syd, then at the Orangeman and back at Young Syd. ‘What the hell….’ Said George.
‘George’ said the Orangeman. This is Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan. Darth, this is my buddy George Lucas. He’s a film maker. He’s working on a big project – has been for years! Great project! Beautiful project! Great guy! Beautiful guy!’
With that Captain Lou decided it was time to play her hand. She motioned to the other Leconauts who were all dressed in their Renegade Alliance uniforms. They stepped into the next room where Young Syd was facing the Orangeman and George Lucas. ‘Who the Sam Hill are you?! exclaimed the two men in unison. ‘Allow me to introduce my companions, earthlings!’ said Young Syd. He motioned to Captain Lou; ‘this is Princess Leia’. Next he indicated the Bombardier; ‘this is Han Solo’. He pointed to the Sonic Architect; ‘this is Luke Skywalker’. ‘Wow’ said George, ‘cool names, man!’
‘Who’s this guy?’ asked the Orangeman, indicating the Astral Bard.
‘This’ answered Young Syd, ‘is C3P0………..!’
IT’S TIME TO JOIN THOSE WACKY LECONAUTS FOR ANOTHER SLICE OF THEIR ADVENTURES IN TIME AND SPACE! SO HERE WE GO WITH SEASON TWENTY EPISODE SIXTEEN! IN WHICH YOUNG SYD SOWS SOME MORE SEEDS IN THE GARDEN OF THE FUTURE……!
‘So where exactly do you guys come from?’ asked George.
‘A galaxy far, far away’ replied Young Syd. A light seemed to shine momentarily in George’s eyes, and then it was gone.
‘And why are you here, right now?’ Young Syd led George to one side. He could hear the Orangeman asking the Leconauts questions; ‘do you have a spaceship? Does it have ray guns? Could it blow up a planet?’
‘We came to ask your help, George’ said Young Syd, conspiratorially. ‘In the future there will be a war between the Galactic Council and the Renegade Alliance.’
‘Wow’ exclaimed George. ‘This is fantastic stuff! Let me get this down!’ He pulled out a tatty notebook and pencil and began scribbling frantically. ‘Go on, go on!’
‘Your friend here could change the course of history’ continued young Syd. He is destined for greatness, but his greatness can take two paths. He may go to the dark side, but we need to keep him on the path of light. He must use the…force…of his personality to do good rather than bad.’
George continued scribbling whilst mumbling to himself; ‘use the force….dark side….this is great stuff! Great stuff!’ He looked up. ‘The poor guy has had a tough time. His family treat him like dirt! Only the other day I heard his dad call him a dumb-ass jerk! Can you believe that?!’ Young Syd smiled inwardly. Yes, he could believe it, but he gave George no indication of his true feelings. ‘We visited him once before, in his childhood. We need to steer him clear of germs, George. He must not be allowed to think that using germs as weapons is a good idea. Do you understand?’
‘I got it, I got it!’ He was scribbling frantically again.
‘Better he creates a death star rather than an artificially intelligent nano-robotic virus.’
‘Man, my head is reeling!’ said George, running a hand across his forehead. ‘I need some air!’ They went outside….
The Leconauts were gathered around the Orangeman. Captain Lou was speaking. ‘We will visit you one more time. I can tell you that you are a significant figure in history. You must do the right thing to ensure that you are remembered with reverence. If you stray the consequences would be dire.’
‘I’ll do whatever it takes to close the deal’ said the Orangeman excitedly. ‘Can I take a ride in your spaceship? That would be somethin’ else!’
Captain Lou smiled. ‘Perhaps’ she said, ‘but now we must go.’ She turned to the Astral Bard. ‘Did you see where Yo….Chewy went?’ The Bard looked puzzled, then cottoned on. ‘Yes’ he smiled, ‘outside with George.’
They walked out onto the spacious lawn. A shocking sight greeted them. Young Syd stood as if paralysed whilst George ran around waving his arms and yelling ‘security…..security…….!
HERE WE GO WITH ANOTHER INSTALMENT OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT’S SEASON TWENTY EPISODE SEVENTEEN? IN WHICH THE LECONAUTS KIDNAP A FUTURE FAMOUS FILM DIRECTOR……!!!!
The Leconauts immediately assumed battle stance as several large men in dark suits and sunglasses came running across the lawn to where Young Syd was looking somewhat nonplussed and standing face to face with George Lucas.
Captain Lou got to George first, who, seeing that salvation was now debatable, fell to his knees, clasped his hands in front of him and began to yell ‘I’m sorry! I’m sorry!’
As the security guards closed the Leconauts each activated a device on their wrists. A shock wave spread from the epicentre and incapacitated the would-be assailants. The Bombardier picked up George Lucas and slung him unceremoniously over his shoulder. The Leconauts and Young Syd ran to the side of the large house, across the back lawn and through some scrub into an area of sand dunes. ‘Please don’t hurt me!’ yelled George. ‘Incoming!’ cried Captain Lou. ‘Plasma wave, rear!’ They all pressed buttons on the devices on their wrists and several more shadowy figures fell to the ground.
The party made for some thick scrub a few gardens away and concealed themselves within it. ‘Activate!’ cried the Captain. The Astral Bard looked worried; ‘but…!’ ‘Just do it!’ cried the Captain and within quantabits that familiar pull in the pit of the stomach told them they were travelling through time…….George wailed piteously……..
……’and the guy said “don’t worry sir! What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!”’ The people around the Orangeman all laughed, perhaps a little too enthusiastically. He didn’t notice this, however, and walked away with a wide grin on his face. Suddenly a thought occurred to him; ‘where’s George?!’ He began to move purposefully; ‘where’s George? Have you seen George? Later honey, later! Did you see where George went? I bet they took him in their spaceship! The little weasel! I’ll bust his sorry ass! George! George! GEORGE!!!!!’……..
….George opened his eyes. He was worried. Where was he? This didn’t look like anything he’d ever seen or anywhere he’d ever been. Except, wait a minute….it looked like the inside of the spaceship in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey……
‘Oh no!’ he moaned; ‘oh, no, oh no, OH NO!! Momma……….!
The Orangeman stood in the middle of the carefully manicured lawn. Several of his security men were in the process of picking themselves up and dusting themselves off. ‘What happened here?’ he barked. The men in suits looked at each other but no-one spoke. ‘What happened, Murdoch?!’ The man looked to his comrades for support, but none was forthcoming. ‘Well, sir….I…that is to say, we….they….they took Mr Lucas, sir!’
‘Well I’ll be a jack rabbit’s uncle! He’s in their spaceship……!
HERE WE GO WITH MORE ADVENTURES OF THE LECONAUTS, IN SEASON TWENTY EPISODE EIGHTEEN! IN WHICH GEORGE LUCAS FINDS HIMSELF ELSEWHERE……..AND ELSEWHEN!
Admiral Bunting sat at his Vistascreen. He was watching lines of code travel up and down in endless streams. A casual observer would have had no idea what the Admiral was seeing or what it meant, but it clearly did mean something to the wily space renegade.
‘Look at that!’ he suddenly exclaimed. He turned to the figure sitting next to him. ‘Indeed’ replied Shaman Hood of the Hawk, who then took a long pull of psyder from the neck of his fabled earthenware jug.
‘I hope they haven’t blown it!’ said the Admiral. ‘No’ answered the Shaman, ‘they know what they’re doing………’
‘……….I haven’t the faintest idea what we’re doing!’ exclaimed the Astral Bard. ‘We’re making cornbread’ answered the Sonic Architect. ‘But, what is it? I thought we were supposed to be feeding him! This looks like it would kill him – slowly and painfully!’
‘In the Age of Legends it was considered a delicacy’ countered the Sonic Architect. ‘If we tried to get him to eat our food he may well die!’
‘If I had to eat that I’m sure I’d die’ said the Bard, shaking his hands vigorously.
Captain Lou and the Bombardier were entertaining their guest by showing him the Sablestar Drive in the Room of Power, deep in the bowels of the Leco. Everything he saw was greeted with cries of ‘wow!’ or ‘awesome’ or ‘amazing!’ Captain Lou didn’t think he particularly understood anything they were telling him but he simply adored the fact that he was on board a Starcruiser.
A door ‘whooshed’ open and Young Syd entered. He gave the renegade salute to the Captain and the Bombardier, which they returned. George Lucas tried to do the same but it didn’t quite work and he almost poked himself in the eye again.
‘I can’t get the hang of this’ he muttered. ‘Don’t worry, George’ said Young Syd. We can greet each other in the old-fashioned way.’
George smiled and nodded and then the light seemed to fade from his eyes. ‘I’m tired’ he said. Suddenly he sounded old. ‘I think I’d like to go home now.’
The three renegades looked at each other. Captain Lou spoke. ‘That’s not quite as straightforward as it may seem, George’ she said. ‘Can’t you just power this thing up and take off?’ asked George, sounding equal parts bewildered and annoyed.
‘It’s just that we didn’t bring you some place, we also brought you some time.’
George looked puzzled. ‘You mean, we travelled through time?’ ‘That’s right’ answered Young Syd. ‘And getting you back to where and when we came from isn’t going to be a piece of cake!’
‘Well, why the hell not?!’ demanded the frustrated future filmmaker. ‘Because’ answered Captain Lou, ‘a Galactic Termination ship has just locked on to our co-ordinates………!’
……..‘What was that?’ asked the Admiral, suddenly alert. ‘I don’t know, but I don’t like the look of it!’ answered the Shaman. ‘I’m going in………!
HERE WE GO AGAIN WITH MORE ADVENTURES OF THE LECONAUTS! IT’S SEASON TWENTY EPISODE NINETEEN! IN WHICH SHAMAN HOOD DECIDES TO INTERVENE AND LEAVES AT LEAST ONE PARTICIPANT QUAKING WITH FEAR……!
The Transference Spot began to glow; George Lucas wheeled around and just had time to exclaim ‘what the hell’ before a figure emerged from the swirling mist. The figure began to speak in a soporific monotone. ‘This vessel is hereby impounded and you are all under arrest. The launching of spacechants into the aether is now outlawed by the Corvid 19 Decree. Resistance is futile.’ He looked from the Leconauts to George Lucas. He produced a small steel device from the pocket of his gabardine raincoat and pointed it at George. The device began to glow red and a klaxon-like sound filled the space at deafening volume. George clapped his hands over his ears. The sound subsided. ‘I see’, exclaimed the newcomer. ‘The transportation of sentient beings between different vectors of the temporal continuum is expressly forbidden. You are also under arrest for contravention of this regulation!’
‘Bland Formulaic!’ exclaimed Captain Lou. ‘Your timing doesn’t get any better, does it?!’ The Astral Bard and the Sonic Architect both trained their flangectors on the unremarkable official, and the Bombardier whipped out the interface rods which would power up his thunder machine. For a moment the faceless enforcer looked almost concerned, but then a loud ‘pop’ and a flash of star-spangled glittering sparks announced the arrival of someone else. The Leconauts and Young Syd all exclaimed as one; ‘Shaman Hood of the Hawk!’
The wily Shaman looked around and as soon as his eyes alighted on bland Formulaic he pulled out his image-capturer, pointed it and pressed a button. The nondescript jobsworth simply disappeared. ‘Say!’ remarked George Lucas. ‘Did you just vaporise that guy?!’ The Shaman looked genuinely aggrieved. ‘Certainly not!’ he retorted. ‘I sent him – elsewhere!’ ‘Wow!’ muttered George.
The Astral Bard moved swiftly over to the Vistascreen and deftly keyed a sequence into its control console. ‘The Termination Ship has vanished!’ he said. ‘Nice work, Shaman Hood!’ said Captain Lou. ‘But how did you know we were in danger?!’ ‘Let’s just say that Admiral Bunting and I have been….keeping an eye on things!’ ‘I see!’ replied the Captain. ‘Well, I’m glad to hear it!’
The Shaman produced his fabled earthenware jug, raised it to his lips and took a long pull. ‘Ah, that’s better!’ he said. ‘Vanquishing the minions of the Galactic Council can be thirsty work!’
The Shaman turned to George Lucas and smiled. George tried vainly to make himself look smaller. ‘Mr Lucas!’ said the Shaman. ‘I think we’d better get you home, don’t you? How about if I take you for a ride?!’ For a moment there was silence and then George screamed ‘don’t let him take me! I saw him vaporise that guy! He looked like a cop! Oh, god, I’m in trouble. Momma………….!!!
HERE WE GO WITH MORE LECO CHRONICLES! IT’S TIME FOR SEASON TWENTY EPISODE TWENTY! IN WHICH OUR HEROES DECIDE ON THEIR NEXT MOVE! IT’S NOT LOOKING GOOD FOR THE ORANGEMAN……..!
The Leconauts and Young Syd were sitting together on the bridge of the Leco, their Firebird Class Starcruiser. They had recently returned from another trip into the past of the Orangeman, an evil dictator from the Age of Legends who had invented an artificially intelligent virus called Corvid 19, or the White Crows. The 1 and 9 of ‘19’ represented the letters of the alphabet, A and I, denoting Artificial Intelligence. The Leconauts had been given a mission by Saint Petulia of Clarksdale, which necessitated them travelling back in time to prevent the Orangeman from inventing the virus, thereby saving humanity yet again. Admiral Bunting, the head of the Renegade Alliance’s fleet of starcruisers, had given his blessing to the mission and had paid close attention to their movements. He had seconded his protégée, Young Syd, to the Leconauts and had charged Shaman Hood of the Hawk with the job of ensuring they remained focussed on the task in hand. Progress so far had been patchy. They had succeeded in scaring the young Orangeman out of his wits but whether or not they had done enough remained to be seen.
The Bombardier was the first to speak; ‘the way I see it’, he began, in his customary laconic drawl, ‘is that we need to go back to just before we encountered him at the White House and ask him about the White Crows. We’ll soon be able to tell if he knows what we’re talking about or not. He isn’t the brightest star in the firmament; he won’t be able to pull the polyester over our eyes. We’ll know whether or not he knows what we’re talking about.’
Captain Lou shuddered at the mention of the White House; white had long been regarded as the colour of ultimate evil and the fact that the Orangeman lived in a White House and called his deadly virus the White Crows was proof enough for her that he was dangerously deranged.
The Astral Bard spoke next; ‘I think we should go back to where we recently left him and offer him a ride in the Leco. We could shoot him up with a psychic suggestive enabler and get him to do just what we want!’
Captain Lou moved her head from side to side, as if weighing up what she’d heard. She wasn’t swayed by either argument. Young Syd was next to speak; ‘I reckon we should go back and blast him with some more Van Halen! And maybe a bit of Pink Floyd too! That would make him see thing our way!’
A sombre mood hung over the assembled fivesome like a cloud. Nobody said anything. After a long pause, heavy with anticipation, the Sonic Architect spoke; ‘we need to be sure he doesn’t invent the Corvid 19, but we also need to be sure that history takes its course and his own people still hunt him down and he dies cowering in a tunnel like a dog. So why don’t we go to his White House (another shudder from the Captain) and scan it for any trace of the Corvid 19? We have its signature in our system; we could scan the entire place within seconds and we’d know if he’d been working on anything remotely like it. If he hasn’t then we let Cyrus and his crew deal with him.’
‘And what if he has been working on it? What then?’ asked the Bombardier, a note of urgency in his usually lazy drawl.
‘Why, then we flangect the place into dust……….!’
Captain Lou and the Leconauts, together with Young Syd, were in a familiar place; the stand of trees on the edge of the concourse which ran from the tall obelisk up to the white domed building, which Young Syd had referred to as the Capitol. As they emerged they could see a large group of people, containing many Godlike, assembled in front of the ominous edifice. Some were carrying placards and most were chanting. The group of space bandits moved forward carefully, until they were on the edge of the gathering. They could hear a voice, magically amplified. They moved forward. ‘Cyrus!’ exclaimed Captain Lou. Sure enough, the imposing figure of Cyrus Bonaventure came into view; he was speaking into a large object which he held in his right hand. It was this which was amplifying his voice. ‘A megaphone!’ said Young Syd, and then realised he had thought out loud. A Godlike turned to him; ‘mega-whut? Man, that there’s a bullhorn!’
‘Oh yes’, thought Young Syd and smiled. The Americans, for some reason known only to themselves, had chosen to give entirely different names to objects which already had perfectly good names. ‘What’s he saying?’ asked Captain Lou. ‘Move closer!’ The group edged forward carefully until they had a good view of the big man. They could now hear his words; ’……….the Duke can kiss my ass! We ain’t gon’ be fobbed off anymore! He done called out the National Guard and ordered them to fah on they own peop’e! It’s time to bring this to an end! Can you dig it?’ A cheer went up from the crowd, somewhat half-hearted. ‘Ah sid, CAN YOU DIG IT?!!!’ A much more enthusiastic cheer, full-throated and filled with hunger, came from the crowd this time. Many fists punched the air.
‘We need to get to the White House, quickly’ said the Astral Bard.
Minutes later, the space renegades were inside the home of the Orangeman, or the Duke, as he liked to call himself. They were stalking through its corridors scanning left to right as they progressed. ‘Nothing so far’ said the Bombardier. ‘I think the place is clean’. As they rounded a corner they encountered two of the Orangeman’s henchmen, the curiously-dressed mirrored sunglasses-wearing ‘G-Men’. They both pulled out pistols but a flurry of Lydian arpeggios from the flangector of the Sonic Architect left them both writhing in agony on the floor. They left the building without further incident and returned to the concourse. Most of the people were heading into the grounds of the Capitol; the Leconauts caught up with some stragglers. ‘Any news on the virus?’ asked Captain Lou of one of them. ‘Vahrus? Whut vahrus?’ Captain Lou smiled. ‘It doesn’t matter. Excuse me!’
The Leconauts and Young Syd looked at each other. ‘I think we did it!’ said the Sonic Architect. ‘I think we did!’ answered the Captain. ‘Come on!’
They followed the people into the grounds of the Capitol. A pitched battle was going on between the sinister G-Men and the Godlike. The Leconauts fired up their flangectors and thunder machine and soon the G-Men all lay on the floor, incapacitated. Cyrus Bonaventure walked over, a big grin on his face. ‘I ain’t never seen nuthin’ quite like that!’ he exclaimed. He held out his huge hand; ‘I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure; Cyrus Bonaventure!’ Captain Lou took the big man’s hand, a puzzled look on her face. ‘Lulah Loudermilk’ she said, and turned to the Astral Bard, who whispered in her ear; ‘alternate reality……!’
HERE WE GO WITH THE FINALE OF SEASON TWENTY! IT’S EPISODE TWENTY-TWO! HAVE THE LECONAUTS SAVED THE DAY? OF COURSE THEY HAVE! BUT AT WHAT COST……..!
‘…….so by going back in time and preventing the Orangeman from inventing Corvid 19, we changed the course of history?’ ‘That’s right’ replied the Astral Bard. ‘And when we went back to the – white – house Cyrus had never met us because we were then in an alternate reality?!’ ‘Correct again’ smiled the Bard. Captain Lou looked thoughtful; ‘I wonder how much else we’ve changed?’ She stood up decisively. ‘Let’s get back to the Admiral and find out how things stand. Bombardier; the helm!’
A dodecabit later the Leconauts and Young Syd were arrayed in front of Admiral Bunting in his spacious office. Captain Lou was relieved to see that everything looked familiar………
‘…….and consequently the White Crows, or Corvid 19, were never invented and that particular threat has been removed – permanently.’ The wily Admiral folded his hands across his stomach and looked up at the Leconauts, a smile playing across his face.
‘Right; so, what’s our next mission?’ asked Captain Lou. ‘Before we get to that there’s someone who would like to see you’ replied the Admiral, somewhat enigmatically. ‘Enter!’
A familiar ‘whoosh’ made the Leconauts and Young Syd turn to the door which was opening steadily. A golden glow, warm and comforting, filled the office and the Leconauts and Young Syd became filled with euphoria. Then, the unmistakable figure of Saint Petulia of Clarksdale glided into the room, closely followed by her trusty Champion, Sir Richard of Harries. They all bowed their heads. Saint Petulia spoke; ‘you have done well, my children. You accepted the mission and have achieved the best possible outcome. The spacetime continuum has hardly been disturbed at all. You eliminated the White Crows with the minimum of temporal disruption. My thanks to you all.’ Sir Richard smiled beatifically.
‘A cause for celebration’ announced the Admiral. ‘Coffee all round! Bonaventure’s finest!’ Captain Lou spun to face the Admiral. ‘What was that?’ she asked nervously. ‘Surely you haven’t forgotten coffee? And your favourite blend? Bonaventure’s Finest?’ The Admiral proffered a small shiny bag of aromatic powder. It bore the legend ‘Bonaventure’s Finest Ground Coffee; single origin beans from the Lulah Loudermilk plantation in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.’
Below was a cameo style profile portrait of a lady, who looked strikingly familiar………….!
The Astral Bard whispered in the Captain’s ear; ‘alternate reality…….!’
And so it came to pass that the Leconauts did gather at the Studio of the Huge Ones and in celebration did launch their spacechants into the aether. Witches, warlocks, thanes and sorceresses did connect to the cosmic consciousness and interact with the spacechants as they traversed the airwaves. Much spacejuice was consumed and Shaman Hood of the Hawk did lift his fabled earthenware jug of psyder unto his lips. At the close of the evening the Leconauts gathered in the loading bay and a fearsome and mighty wind did howl around the edifice, creating eddy currents in the air. Captain Lou lowered her face to protect it from the chill blast; when she looked up, her Sonic Architect and the Astral Bard were still in the same positions but someone was missing. The Bombardier was gone…………….
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