The Leconauts in Bohemia

SEASON 28 Of the Leco Chronicles

Type: LECO

The continuing adventures of the Leconauts

You have landed at the place where you can experience the continuing chronicles of the Loudhailer Electric Company mothership and crew. Starring Leconauts Captain Lou Loudhailer, Sonic Architect Parsons, Ricardo the Astral Bard and Bombardier Burnby. This is Season 28 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.

Written by LECo’s Sonic Architect Jeff Parsons

Stardate 131222

S28:E1

TINKY-WINKY! IT’S TIME TO CATCH UP WITH THOSE SONIC RENEGADES, THE LECONAUTS! HERE WE GO WITH THE FIRST EPISODE OF SEASON TWENTY-EIGHT OF THE LECO CHRONICLES? CAN YOU BELIEVE YOUR EYES? YOU CAN? THEN READ ON……….!

Shaman Hood of the Hawk sat in front of the huge log fire which burned eternally in the hearth of the Great Hall of the Mountain Grill. His fabled earthenware jug stood on an intricately-carved fruitwood table at the side of his bullhide-covered settle. He picked up the legendary vessel and quaffed deeply of its contents. “Safe journey, Captain Nik!”, he cried, “I doubt we shall see your like again!” He smacked his lips and replaced the jug, which felt no lighter despite his having consumed what must amount to half its contents, on the ornate table. With that, his Vistascreen crackled into life and the head of Admiral Bunting appeared. “All hail, Shaman Hood!”, said the wily spacedog. “All hail, Admiral Bunting!”, replied the Shaman. “To what do I owe this undoubted pleasure?!” The Admiral smiled and leaned in, conspiratorially. “We have picked up a communication from Spiral Galaxy 28948. It is couched in a code so ancient that our roboscribes are unable to decipher it!” “I see”, replied the Shaman. “28948, you say. Almost at the edge of time!” The Admiral shivered involuntarily; it was always so dark and so cold at the edge of time.

“So how can I help?” “Well, replied the Admiral, “with your extensive knowledge of ancient texts I figured if anyone could decode this message it would be you. After all, you did decipher the Xenon Codex, and the tablets from the fabled land of Thorasin brought back by Captain Calvert.” All this was true, but the Shaman was feeling in no mood to embark upon yet another adventure which would lead him into the path of almost certain peril. He was enjoying the peace and solitude afforded him within the cosy surroundings of the Hall of the Mountain Grill.

“I’d like to help”, he began, “but the Spacehog is in for its ten thousand tri-decamoon service, and Magnu is off running in the Elysian Fields so I really can’t…”; “I can send a cruiser to pick you up!”, retorted the Admiral, the eagerness in his voice completely evident, with no attempt to disguise his wishes.

The Shaman hesitated; the Admiral was proving to be tenacious; then, a thought occurred to him. “Can you be more specific regarding the source of the communication? Is it possible to say exactly where in Spiral Galaxy 28948 the message originated?”

The wily Admiral tried not to smile. He was like a skilled angler, baiting his line, casting it out, waiting for the bite and then reeling in his prize. “Er, yes, I believe I can. We are quite sure that the origin is within the ………..!”

……….Captain Lou and her crew sat on the bridge of the Leco, the Firebird Class Starcruiser in which they had sailed the nine quadrants. Young Syd was with them. “You are talking utter codswallop!”, cried the Bombardier. “The Mallard was the greatest of all the railrockets, hands down!” “I fear your brain has become addled!”, replied Young Syd. “The Deltic Oracle is surely the pinnacle of achievement in this field. Nothing else from the Age of Legends comes close!” “Poppycock!”, retorted the Bombardier. “By the golden nectar of Glen Morangie, I’ll……!”, but Captain Lou held up her hand before he could finish the flowery threat. The two jousters turned to the Captain who, along with the Astral Bard and the Sonic Architect were looking intently at the Vistascreen which had just crackled into life.

The faces of Admiral Bunting and Shaman Hood of the Hawk were framed in the giant screen. The customary pleasantries were exchanged. “So, to business!”, said the Admiral. “We have detected a communication from deep within Spiral Galaxy 28948. The Shaman has been working on decoding it but we are only half the way there. At this stage we do know enough to be able to identify its origin rather more specifically.” “Well, if the Shaman is finding the task to be less than straightforward I don’t imagine we would be more successful!”, said the Sonic Architect. The Admiral shuffled his feet and looked down; a sure sign that his next pronouncement would lead to certain danger. “That’s not what I was going to ask you”, he replied. “We have reached a stage of the process which initiated a further communication. The fact is, that the last calculation the Shaman made resulted in a catatonia beam enveloping him!” The Leconauts and Young Syd looked to the Shaman; sure enough, his face was rigid, devoid of its usual cheery countenance. “But what…?!” “I’m afraid there’s more!”, said the Admiral. “After the beam connected, a set of co-ordinates appeared on the Rebel Alliance mainframe. It appears that we must send a Starcruiser to Spiral Galaxy 28948 to secure the release of the Shaman!”

“You said you could be more accurate as to the origin of the transmission”, said the Astral Bard. “Would you care to share that information with us?!”

“Of course!”, replied the Admiral, swallowing hard in the process and shuffling even more markedly. “It came from the Last Bastions of Bohemia…………!”

S28:E2

FLOPSY-MOPSY! HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE TWO OF SEASON TWENTY-EIGHT OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! WHAT ON TERRA GAIA HAVE OUR HEROES GOT THEMSELVES INTO……?!

…..The Last Bastions of Bohemia; the fabled home of the Bohemians themselves. A people shrouded in mystery, myth and legend. “The Last Bastions of Bohemia?”, cried the Bombardier. “Where in Jimi’s name is that? And why have we never been there? If it’s that legendary, mythical and mysterious you’d think we’d have spent most of our holidays there!” “Quite so, Bombardier!”, replied Captain Lou. “I would imagine that we have never visited the Last Bastions of Bohemia for one very good reason; it is so remote that we would have to go into stasis to get there, and if memory serves you can be somewhat – tetchy – when coming out of stasis!” “Me, tetchy?!”, protested the massive space renegade. “I will admit to occasional bouts of irritability, but tetchiness? Never!”

Young Syd, the Astral Bard and the Sonic Architect all suddenly seemed to be caught in the grip of an attack of dyspepsia, if the expressions on their faces were anything to go by. The Astral Bard snorted suddenly, as if the effort of keeping his breath in had become too much. “What?!”, cried the Bombardier……..

…….Sir Jasper of Bolt-on pored over a yellowed manuscript from his extensive library. He sat up and rotated his head several times. Since his unfortunate encounter with Baron Viktor Frankenstein his head had been attached to his body by means of a large metal bolt. It was a source of constant irritation and he found himself thinking again that he really must visit his old friend Dr Phibes, who had offered more than once to remedy the problem. He returned his attention to the manuscript on his escritoire. “One thing I like about Bohemia”, he said aloud, “is that it’s quiet. One can immerse oneself in one’s studies, without distraction.” With that the heavy oak-panelled door flew open and Jeeves, Sir Jasper’s inscrutable butler tumbled into the room followed by a statuesque woman and a mousy moustachioed man. “Miss Vera Sackloth-Vest and Mr Henry Mickleton!”, spluttered Jeeves. The couple stepped over the hapless butler, the woman placing her jack-booted foot in the small of his back, and approached Sir Jasper. “Darling!”, she cried and flung her arms around his neck. The mousy man stood slightly apart, his hands clasped and wearing an expression which managed to convey discomfort, embarrassment and curiosity all at the same time. “Vera!”, exclaimed Sir Jasper. “To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?” “Well”, answered Vera, “you didn’t answer any of my letters, so we became concerned for your welfare! Poor Henry positively insisted that we come and check on you, didn’t you, darling?!” “Henry wrung his hands, cleared his throat twice, and replied “well, the fact is…”. “You see!”, interrupted Vera, “he was positively insistent that we set of from Sizzlinghurst without delay. The osteospurmums are about to come into flower and I was loth to desert them, but Henry insisted!” She regarded Henry with an expression which was a mixture of contempt and rapacious hunger. “I, er….well, quite!”, said Henry……..

……..Admiral Bunting rose from his swing-seat on the porch of his log cabin on Svalbard and entered the capacious dwelling. He walked through to the guest quarters and looked in on Shaman Hood, who was lying in a hammock with that same blank expression on his face which had so surprised the Leconauts. The Admiral sighed and returned to his porch……….

……”I’ve had an idea!”, said the Astral Bard. “Oh-oh!”, muttered the Bombardier. “What is it?”, asked Captain Lou. “A quicker way to reach the Last Bastions of Bohemia!” “Here we go!”, scoffed the Bombardier, “this should be good!” “Bombardier, please!”, said Captain Lou, then turned back to the Bard. “Go on!”

“Well, it occurred to me that there must be a way to the Last Bastions of Bohemia in the Dream-world!” “The Dream-world?!”, cried the Bombardier. “I’ve never heard such….!”, but the Sonic Architect interrupted him; “Of course! It really could work! And it would have the added advantage of us being able to leave our corporeal forms on the Leco whilst our astral selves made the journey!” “Bd, Dd, Pff, Wmmm!”, spluttered the Bombardier. “That’s it!”, exclaimed Captain Lou. “To sleep, perchance to dream…….!”

Within a few sextasets the four Leconauts and Young Syd had entered the Cavern of Flame, passed through the Gate of Deeper Slumber and on into the Enchanted Wood………….

With grateful acknowledgement to Mary Shelley, PG Wodehouse, Sue Limb and HP Lovecraft!

S28:E3

HICKORY-DICKORY! IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE THREE OF SEASON TWENTY-EIGHT OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! WILL SIR JASPER SURVIVE HIS ENCOUNTER WITH THOSE PESKY BOHEMIANS?! AND WILL THE BOMBARDIER KEEP HIS COOL IN THE WORLD OF DREAMS? READ ON………!

Young Syd and the Leconauts were walking through the Enchanted Wood in the World of Dreams on their way to the Last Bastions of Bohemia. They had decided that accessing the remote and legendary land would be easier this way rather than going into stasis and making the long journey via conventional means. Their astral selves were actually enjoying the experience, although the Bombardier was becoming increasingly impatient with the curious Zoogs who fluttered and flittered around the strangers who had suddenly appeared in their midst. The Zoogs were the mortal enemies of cats, and the Bombardier seemed to sense this as he swiped angrily at a particularly persistent young Zoog who seemed determined to take up residence in the Bombardier’s rich silver mane. “Irritating, aren’t they?”, said the Astral Bard. “We will soon be out of the Enchanted Wood and they will not follow”, said the Sonic Architect. “Good”, stated the Bombardier, flatly. “I’m sick of the blimmin’ things!”

Sure enough, as the trees thinned and gave way to scrub and grassland, the Zoogs faded back into the forest. “So, where to now?”, asked the Bombardier. “We will head for Celephais” said the Sonic Architect. “We simply have to follow the river Oukranos to the city of Thran and there we can take passage to cross the Cerenerian Sea to Celephais. From there we will find a ship to ferry us on to the Last Bastions of Bohemia.” “Ah, well, that’s ok, then!”, said the Bombardier. “Should be a doddle! Er, what will we use for money?” “I think these should do!”, replied the Captain, pulling from her doublet a large cloth pouch which produced a delightful chinking sound as she shook it. She loosened the drawstring and opened the bag, pulling out a handful of shiny coins made from what could only be aurum. “Where did you get…..oh, never mind!”, said the Bombardier. Captain Lou chuckled. “Don’t forget we have travelled in the World of Dreams before whilst you are a newcomer. There are things which you won’t understand.” “Don’t even try to work it out”, said the Sonic Architect. “Just accept that it is so!” “Marvellous!”, said the Bombardier…….

……Sir Jasper of Bolt-on regarded his visitors quizzically. They, in turn regarded him with what could only be interpreted as open curiosity. Vera spoke; “I hope you don’t mind, darling, but I’ve taken the liberty of inviting a few friends.” Sir Jasper groaned inwardly. “Yes”, continued Vera, Lionel and Ginny Fox, and Lytton Scratchy and Barrington!” “Vera!”, exclaimed Sir Jasper. “You know I can’t abide Lytton! How could you?!” “Don’t be so beastly, darling!”, cried Vera. “They are all concerned about you, and when I told them that Henry and I were planning to visit, well….” “When are they expected?” asked Sir Jasper, resignedly. “Well, the fact is, they are outside now!” “Oh no!”, cried Sir Jasper…..

…..“Now, Barrington”, said Lytton Scratchy. “When we go in you may notice something odd about Sir Jasper!” “Oh?”, replied Barrington. “What might that be, Lytton?” “He has a bolt through his neck to keep his head in place, don’t you know. He’s self-conscious about it so don’t let him catch you staring!”……

…..”Well, look who’s here!”, cried Vera in mock surprise. “Lytton and Barrington! And Ginny and Lionel, too!” “Darling!”, cried Ginny and threw herself at Sir Jasper. “Steady on Ginny!”, said Lionel. “You don’t want to bring on one of your headaches!” “Oh, shut up, Lionel!”, retorted Ginny. “Don’t be such a bore! You know I adore Jasper!” Sir Jasper then caught sight of Barrington over Ginny’s shoulder. She was stood stock still, eyes wide and mouth open. “What are you looking at?!”, said Sir Jasper, nervously fingering his neck. “Nothing!”, cried the hapless Barrington. “I swear I wasn’t looking at your bolt!”…….

……The Leconauts and Young Syd had crossed the Cerenerian Sea to Celephais where the Sonic Architect had visited a man called Randolph Carter. From there they had boarded a galley crewed by some very strange-looking beings with broad smiles and curiously-shaped turbans. The Bombardier found himself wondering about what may be concealed beneath them. Captain Lou was conferring with one of the strange beings and returned to her companions. “This ship will take us to the Last Bastions of Bohemia”, she said. “How much did that cost?”, asked the Bombardier. “Two crowns of aurum”, replied the Captain. “We’d better be on our guard. When I handed them over he looked rather greedily at my pouch!” “Don’t worry, Captain!”, said the Bombardier. “Quite!”, said the Astral Bard. “He’ll have to get past me first!” “Look!”, cried Young Syd. As they had been speaking the galley had picked up speed and had parted company with the foaming brine and was now heading through the aether into the stars…………..

With grateful acknowledgement to Sue Limb and HP Lovecraft!

S28:E4

ABRACADABRA! THE WEB GROWS EVER MORE COMPLEX! DO OUR HEROES REALISE THE FULL EXTENT OF THE FIX IN WHICH THEY FIND THEMSELVES? AND WILL SIR JASPER SURVIVE THE ATTENTIONS OF HIS UNWELCOME GUESTS? READ ON……..!

Captain Lou and the Astral Bard stood at the prow of the strange vessel which was carrying them to the Last Bastions of Bohemia. Although they were in fact sailing through space and not the ocean, the galley was seemingly being propelled by two rows of oars apparently operated by a silent and unseen crew……

“I quite like being in the Dream World”, said Captain Lou. “It does have a certain something”, agreed the Astral Bard. “It reminds me of the time when we became interested in fungiculture.” “We just need to keep our wits about us until we reach port”, continued the Captain, “which may be easier said than done. We must make sure that none of us are tempted to partake of that moon-juice which they seem so keen to keep offering us!” “Quite so”, replied the Bard. There is something – unsettling about these fellows.” “Indeed”, said the Captain. “They seem awfully fond of gambling. I would suggest that we resist any attempts to inveigle us into sitting down and gaming with them!”…………

……Admiral Bunting looked in on Shaman Hood as was customary at this particular time of day. There was no change; the Admiral stood for a few moments, a range of emotions playing upon his weather-beaten features. As he turned to leave, the Shaman stirred, then spoke, so quietly that the Admiral was at first unsure if he had heard anything or not. “Lollipop”. The Admiral stooped and set his ear against the Shaman’s mouth. “Lollipop”

“’Lollipop’?! What in Jimi’s name does ‘lollipop’ mean?!”………..

Sir Jasper of Bolt-on was becoming increasingly exasperated at the turn of events. As if playing host to Vera Sackloth-Vest and Henry Mickleton weren’t enough of an imposition, he now had that infernal Lytton Scratchy and his odd companion, Barrington, to contend with. Scratchy kept trying to manoeuvre Sir Jasper into a secluded corner of the library where they were taking afternoon tea. “Hmm, mm, m’dear”, cooed Lytton, “you simply must show me your collection of French daguerreotypes. I hear they are the envy of the whole of Bohemia, hmm, mm, mmm?!” “Er, perhaps another time, Lytton!”, replied Sir Jasper, neatly extricating himself from the snare into which had been expertly steered……

Young Syd, Bombardier Burnby and the Sonic Architect were sitting below decks with several of the strange crew of the galley. They were playing a game called Mah-Jong and it was becoming increasingly apparent that the crew were much more familiar with its rules than the Leconauts. One of the crew gesticulated in the direction of the large collection of coins in front of him. He looked across at Young Syd, who had no coins at all in front of him. The crew member pointed a gnarled finger at the shirt Young Syd was wearing. “What, this?!” The crew member smiled and nodded. “No, I can’t part with this! Stereolab, from the Age of Legends! Worth a – fortune!” The last word tailed off as Young Syd realised he’d said too much. “Nicely done”, said the Bombardier, sarcastically. All of the strange crew began to look greedily at Young Syd’s shirt. Reluctantly, he began to take it off………….

……The heavy oak-panelled library door swung open and Sir Jasper’s inscrutable butler, Jeeves, entered. “Ahem”, he began, coughing into his white-gloved fist. “Not more visitors, Jeeves?! I don’t think I can stand it! We’re almost out of canapés and this is the last bottle of Chateau Lafite!” Jeeves merely fixed his master with a vacant stare and announced “Miss Venus Traduces and Mr DH Lollipop!” “Oh, no!”, cried Sir Jasper, “not more bloody Bohemians!”………

With grateful thanks to Sue Limb, PG Wodehouse and HP Lovecraft!

S28:E5

ALABASTER STICKING PLASTER! IT’S TIME FOR ANOTHER NAIL-BITING INSTALMENT OF THE LECO CHRONICLES. SIT BACK AND RELAX AS SEASON TWENTY-EIGHT EPISODE FIVE UNFOLDS LIKE A SILKEN PARACHUTE!!!

Young Syd and Bombardier Burnby emerged from the fore hatch onto the deck of the strange galleon which was carrying them to the Last Bastions of Bohemia. They were both shirtless and didn’t look in the best of spirits. Captain Lou raised an eyebrow. The Sonic Architect came next; he was still fully clothed and wore his customary cheerful expression. “What happened?!”, asked the Captain. “We discovered that we are less than familiar with the intricacies of a game called Mah Jong!”, replied the Sonic Architect. “It’s ok for you!”, grumbled the Bombardier. “At least you still possess your shirt!”………

…….Sir Jasper of Bolt-on was pacing to and fro on the chamomile lawn at the back of his spacious residence in Gloomsbury. He had to find a way of getting rid of his unwelcome guests without committing social suicide. It would be tricky but he thought he may have devised a way around the conundrum. He entered the dwelling through a side door and tiptoed into the kitchen. He found his faithful butler, Jeeves, filling a samovar with Earl Grey tea. Jeeves looked up; the almost unprecedented event of his master entering his domain didn’t register at all on his face. “How may I help, sir?”, he asked……..

Admiral Bunting sat on the rocker which took pride of place on his porch. The crisp air of Svalbard burned as it entered his lungs and turned to vapour as he exhaled. Something was amiss; he could feel it. Some detail which was eluding him, tantalisingly just out of reach…………

The Leconauts stood at the prow of the strange galley, out of earshot of the crew. “You didn’t drink any moon-juice down there, did you?”, asked the Captain. “Certainly not!”, replied the Bombardier. “It tastes like shuttle fuel!” The Captain’s eyes grew wide. “Er, allegedly!”, he added. Then, a cry came from the crow’s nest at the top of the main mast; “Land ho!”………

…..Venus Traduces was sitting at the piano, emitting a series of caterwauling shrieks which, Sir Jasper considered, could remove enamel from teeth at twenty paces. It was time to act. Suddenly the heavy oak doors flew open and four masked figures wielding truncheons burst in. They were all wearing berets and hooped shirts. Three of them had strings of onions around their necks. “Nobody move, or it will be ze worse for you!”, cried the tallest of the newcomers. At that, everyone moved at the same time. Ginny Fox let out a piercing scream and ran to Lionel who promptly fell over with the force of the impact of his wife’s terrified person. Henry Mickleton whimpered and began to spin round. Venus rose from the piano, hands aloft and commenced jumping up and down on the spot, waving her arms and still producing those ear-shattering shrieks. DH Lollipop moved assertively toward the masked figure who had spoken, but Vera roughly pushed him aside and stood nose to nose with the aggressor. “Now look here!”, she cried. “How dare you enter this house without an invitation! Have you no sense of decency?!” She stuck out her chin, tilted her head and widened one disapproving eye at the miscreant. “Ah am French, so ah ‘ave no sense of ze, ‘ow you say, decency! “You will ‘and over ze jewellery and maybe I spare your life!” “Never!”, cried Vera. “Your ambassador is a personal acquaintance of mine. I shall be giving him a full account of your disgraceful behaviour!” “Stand aside, Vera, lass! I’ll handle this! I used to work in a coalmine!” DH Lollipop confronted the ringleader. “Now, lad, if tha knows what’s good for thi, tha’ll walk aht o’ that door while you still can!” With that the four masked intruders began belaying the company with their truncheons………..

……”There it is!”, said Captain Lou. “The Last Bastions of Bohemia.” The ship descended swiftly and the Leconauts braced themselves for the impact as it met the shimmering water. However, the transition from aether to ocean was hardly noticeable and within a few sextagrains the vessel was tying up at a wharf of porphyry……..

……..Sir Jasper breathed a huge sigh of relief. The Bohemians had all fled, even the redoubtable Vera. DH Lollipop, for all his bluster, was the first out of the door when the blows began to rain down upon him. The four newcomers now removed their masks. Sir Jasper smiled; “Shaun, Thomo, Mr Pymm, Helly! I knew it was you! Jeeves”, he continued, turning to the urbane butler, “that was a stroke of genius!” “Thank you, sir”, said Jeeves………..

With grateful acknowledgement to Sue Limb and PG Wodehouse!

S28:E6

ITSY-BITSY, TEENY-WEENY YELLOW POLKA DOT BIKINI! HERE WE GO WITH SEASON TWENTY-EIGHT EPISODE SIX OF THE LECO CHRONICLES. IT LOOKS LIKE THE LECONAUTS HAVE ESCAPED FROM WATER-BORNE PERIL, BUT WHO KNOWS WHAT AWAITS THEM ON DRY LAND……….?!!

Young Syd and the Leconauts stood on the wharf of porphyry; they were exceedingly glad to have left behind the noisome confines of the strange galley which had brought them to the Last Bastions of Bohemia, albeit minus a number of their personal possessions. Just as they were about to discuss their next move a commotion caught their attention. Several outlandishly-garbed individuals were running towards them from the direction of the sleepy seaport town. They were calling out urgently and gesticulating wildly. “Hello!”, said the Astral Bard, mischief in his eye. “What have we here?!” “Excuse me, sir!”, exclaimed a statuesque jack-booted woman. “Do you happen to know where this vessel is bound?” “We don’t, actually”, answered the Sonic Architect. “Did you just disembark from it?”, persisted the raw-boned virago. “We did”, replied the Sonic Architect, “but I would strongly advise against….”, but he got no further as the woman imperiously stalked past him and began to hail the crew. “I say, you fellow!” One of the strangely-turbaned crew turned to face her, smiled broadly, rubbed his hands and began licking his lips……..

The Sonic Architect turned to Captain Lou; “Well, I tried…..!”

The five adventurers began to walk up the hill towards the picturesque town. “What exactly are we looking for?”, demanded the Bombardier. “I’m not sure”, replied Captain Lou, “but I imagine we are looking for the likely launch spot of a catatonia beam.” “What exactly is a catatonia beam?”, asked the Bombardier. “I’m not quite sure”, replied the Captain. “Marvellous!” muttered the Bombardier. “We don’t know what we are looking for or where it may be!” “Steady on, sailor!”, warned the Captain, “or I’ll have you on a charge!”……….

…….Sir Jasper entered his library; Jeeves had spent the last several sextasets restoring the venerable chamber to its former peaceful and cosy character. “Thank you, Jeeves!”, said Sir Jasper. “Absolutely top hole!” Jeeves inclined his head and coughed politely into his gloved hand. “Will there be anything further, sir?” “No thank you, Jeeves. I intend to take it very easy for the rest of the day and relax with my companions. But in recognition of the restoration of order I think we may fly the Ensign from the tower, don’t you?!” “Very good, sir!”…………

…..”What a lovely little town this is!”, remarked the Astral Bard. “Isn’t it?”, answered Young Syd. The narrow streets were paved with cobbles, the houses were built of a pleasant honey-coloured stone, with small glazed chequerboard windows fitted with wooden shutters. Smoke curled lazily from elegant chimneys, seagulls cried, blossoms bloomed and the scents of jasmine, geranium and rose filled the air. “I could settle here!” said the Sonic Architect wistfully. Captain Lou looked across and fancied she could discern a tear in the corner of his eye……..

As they crested the hill they turned to look at the harbour. The strange galley had already put out to sea, and eight colourfully-dressed people could be seen standing at the stern, looking back at the town they had just left with such injudicious haste………

The Leconauts continued up into the town, which revealed fresh delights at each turn; the smell of baking bread, artisans mending nets, dyeing cloth, repairing small boats. “This is all very chocolate-box”, said the Bombardier, “but it strikes me we may as well be looking for a needle in a haystack.” With that they rounded yet another corner and a magnificent manor house appeared before them. Rising from its gable roof was a six-sided tower. Fluttering in the breeze atop the tower was a flag. The five space renegades all looked at each other. The Sonic Architect spoke first; “Is that what I think it is?!” “Yes, I believe it is!”, replied Captain Lou. “I think we may have just found what we are looking for…….!” They ascended the marble steps to the imposing oak door and Captain Lou rapped the lion’s head knocker. After a short pause the door opened to reveal an urbane and smartly-attired gentleman who was wearing white gloves. “Ah”, he said, “Come in, Captain Lou – I’ve been expecting you”……………….

With grateful thanks to Sue Limb, PG Wodehouse and HP Lovecraft!

S28:E7

HUNCA MUNCA! IT’S TIME TO CATCH UP WITH THE ACTION IN SPIRAL GALAXY 28948! WILL THE LECONAUTS SUCCEED IN BRINGING SIR JASPER BACK INTO THE FOLD?! READ ON……!!

Captain Lou, Young Syd and the other Leconauts stopped in their tracks. They had traversed unknown galaxies in the Dream-world merely to find a suave and urbane gentleman who was actually expecting to see them! Regaining their composure they entered the imposing edifice. “Forgive me”, said Captain Lou, “but who are you?” “My name is Monk de Wally du Honk, but in this world I am known as Jeeves”, came the reply. “Monk de….is it ok to address you as Jeeves?” “Certainly”, came the reply. “How did you know we were on our way?”, asked the Bombardier, rather tersely. “I assumed that someone would answer the distress signal, and in my experience of Admiral Bunting I deduced that it would you whom he would send.” “You know Admiral Bunting?”, said the Astral Bard. “Indeed! We attended Space School together. He’s a wily old bird!” “He certainly is!” replied the Sonic Architect. “You mentioned a distress signal!”, said the Bombardier. “Quite so”, replied Jeeves. “As far as we know, there was no distress signal”, said Captain Lou. “I see. It may have….manifested itself in a….modified form”, said Jeeves, somewhat hesitantly………

…..”Lollipop!” There it was again; some sort of code, thought the Admiral. He knelt beside his old friend and whispered; “Lollipop, you say?” The Shaman opened one eye and regarded the grizzled spacedog, but could say no more…….

…..”The catatonia beam!”, said the Astral Bard, realisation dawning on his face. “Er, yes”, replied Jeeves. “Unfortunately the velocity needed to escape the gravitational pull of the Spiral Galaxy coupled with the immense distance and inter-dimensional flux can have a deleterious effect upon the signal. Did it strike anyone?” “Only Shaman Hood of the Hawk!”, replied Captain Lou, with not a small degree of exasperation. “Ah, regrettable”, muttered Jeeves. “Still, here you are and there is work to be done!” “What sort of work?”, demanded the Bombardier, immediately suspicious. “Why, the task Admiral Bunting charged you with, of course!” “He didn’t mention a task, other than finding the source of the beam!” “And the coded message!”, interjected Young Syd. “Oh yes, that as well!”, grumbled the Bombardier. “He said the Shaman was working on decoding the message when the catatonia beam struck”, continued Young Syd. “Apparently it came from Spiral Galaxy 28948 which, I assume, is here?” Jeeves nodded. “Had he deciphered anything before he was….incapacitated?”, he asked. “We don’t think so”, cut in Captain Lou. She was getting the distinct feeling that they should keep some of their powder dry. Jeeves seemed to sense this and visibly relaxed. “The signal was to alert the Admiral to the fact that Sir Jasper is proving reluctant to return to the waking world. The Admiral wants him to take command of a Starcruiser, the Bronte, but Sir Jasper is enjoying his shore leave rather too much. In the normal run of things he could be classed as being AWOL, but here in the Dream-world time has a way of surprising one with its motion.”

“Where is Sir Jasper now?” asked Captain Lou. “He’s in the library, with his companions; Shaun, Thomo, Mr Pymm, and Helly. They are the members of his crew.” It was all beginning to make sense to Captain Lou. The wily Admiral had known that a trip to such a far-flung destination to bring back a recalcitrant renegade would have met with a less than favourable response from the Leconauts, so he had devised a mysterious plot to entice them into accepting the mission. She made a mental note to have a robust conversation with him upon their return.

“Right, let’s have a word with Sir Jasper, shall we?!” Jeeves led them into the oak-panelled salon, where the recent contretemps with the Bohemians had occurred. A scene of Bacchanalian excess met their eyes. Sir Jasper was laid on his back; two figures were holding ramshorn goblets over his head and were pouring a thick red liquid into his mouth. Two other figures were reclining on damask-covered chaise longues, holding large bunches of grapes aloft, which they were trying to fit into their mouths. Sir Jasper became aware that someone had entered the room. “Halt!”, he cried. “Who goes there?!” Then he and his crew all burst into hysterical laughter………….

With grateful acknowledgement to PG Wodehouse, Beatrix Potter and HP Lovecraft

S28:E8

TOPSY-TURVY! HERE WE GO WITH ANOTHER THRILLING INSTALMENT FROM THE LECO CHRONICLES! IT’S SEASON TWENTY-EIGHT EPISODE EIGHT AND OUR HEROES ARE TRYING TO PERSUADE SIR JASPER TO RETURN TO THE WAKING WORLD! WILL THEY SUCCEED? READ ON…….!!!

“On your feet, sailor!”, bellowed Captain Lou. The sight of Sir Jasper behaving in such a manner had offended her to the very core and this conveyed itself to the hapless fugitive in no uncertain terms. He immediately sat up and focussed his attention on his guests. “Sailor?!”, he said. “Been talking to old Jeeves-y, have you? Well, let me tell you; old Jeeves is not all he appears to be, are you, Jeeves?!” Sir Jasper swayed and his eyes began to search for each other. He fell backwards and his head hit the parquet floor with a loud thwack. “Ouch!”, he said, sitting up again. “That hurt!” Jeeves remained perfectly impassive.

“Your shore leave is over!”, cried Captain Lou. “You will report for duty at the Renegade Alliance Headquarters at your earliest opportunity! Prepare to leave within the sextaset!” Sir Jasper looked as if he had been punched in the nose by a large pugilist. “But, I like it here!”, he protested. “I was having a wonderful time until those dratted Bohemians turned up and ruined everything! Then you arrived! Why can’t everyone just leave me alone!” “We’re leaving!”, retorted the Captain. “Now! Gather your belongings and get your crew fallen in!” With that she turned on her heel and the rest of her crew followed her out of the library………

……”So, let me get this straight!”, said the Bombardier. “You are actually called Monk de Wally du Honk, and you aren’t really a butler?” “Correct”, answered Jeeves. “I work for a department of the Renegade Alliance Security Corps called CKimHear.” “CKimHear?”, said the Bombardier. “Never heard of it!” “That’s the way we like it,!”, replied Jeeves. “If you had heard of us I would ajudge that we weren’t doing our job effectively!” “So what is your job, exactly?”, asked the Astral Bard. “I’m afraid I can’t tell you that. But I do report directly to Admiral Bunting!” Captain Lou made another mental note. The Sonic Architect spoke; “It seems unusual that an agency so obviously – important as yours is concerned with a matter which seems to be fairly mundane. Why have you become involved?” Jeeves coughed into his white-gloved hand. “Again, I’m afraid I can’t tell you that! Suffice it to say that it is of paramount importance that Sir Jasper is persuaded to return to the waking world!”…………

……The Sonic Architect sat with Sir Jasper at an occasional table in the cosy surroundings of the library. A log fire burned and crystal goblets of spacespirit stood on coasters of blue john. “….And this is the SableStar drive which powers the flangector array”. “Fascinating!”, said Sir Jasper. “And the interface module; a Bird of Fire?” “Indeed!”, replied the Sonic Architect. “Interchangeable with the Master of Jazz and the Super of Sonic for whatever situation may arise.” “Excellent!”, replied sir Jasper. “This is my Polfus of Les, a very versatile interface module, which works well for me in a variety of scenarios!” Captain Lou regarded the scene. They were like two small boys, comparing their collections of bubblegum cards or postage stamps. She noticed that the corner of Sir Jasper’s eye was glistening. “Dream-world be damned!”, he cried, springing to his feet. “We’ll return to the waking world and take our place in the renegade fleet! Come Shaun, Thomo, Mr Pymm, Helly! It’s time to get back to doing what we do best! Captain Lou; I’m ready!”…………

……..Young Syd, the Leconauts, Sir Jasper and his crew were arrayed around a large and ancient map of Dream-world which was spread out on a handsome mahogany desk in Sir Jasper’s library. Young Syd traced a finger across the ancient parchment. He was something of an expert when it came to journeying through the Dream-world. “The quickest way would be to go through the cavern of the ghouls”, he stated, rather matter-of-factly. “It is fraught with danger, of course, but it is the quickest way back to the Enchanted Wood!” The Bombardier bristled. “Not that infernal place!”, he cried. “Those blimmin’ Zoogs were a perishing nuisance! I won’t be held responsible…..!” “It is simply how it has to be, Bombardier!”, said Captain Lou. “How can we reach the cavern of the ghouls?”, she asked. “Well, if I’m not mistaken, there is an entrance to the cavern very close by. Very close indeed”…….. “Well then?”, cried the Bombardier, unable to disguise his impatience. Young Syd turned to Jeeves. “I wonder”, he began, “does this house have a cellar?”…………

With grateful acknowledgement to PG Wodehouse and HP Lovecraft

S28:E9

RAG, TAG AND BOBTAIL! IT’S TIME FOR THE SEASON FINALE! EPISODE NINE OF SEASON TWENTY-EIGHT IS SO EPIC THAT WE’VE HAD TO DIVIDE IT INTO TWO PARTS!! WILL OUR HEROES MAKE IT OUT OF THE DREAM-WORLD WITH SIR JASPER AND HIS CREW? HERE’S PART ONE…….!!!

…… “Indeed, it does!”, replied Jeeves. “Step this way!” Young Syd, The Leconauts, Sir Jasper and his crew all followed the urbane secret agent through the hall to a stout arched oaken door, which bore a curious sigil made of some heavy metal like bronze. “Do you know, I can’t say I’ve ever noticed this door before!”, said Sir Jasper. Jeeves arched an eyebrow but said nothing. The Sonic Architect found that looking at the curious symbols produced a feeling of unease, but nevertheless found it difficult to avert his eyes. Jeeves opened the door and the spell was broken. The ancient portal rolled forward on hinges which protested loudly. Visions of torture presented themselves in the Sonic Architect’s mind’s eye. He shook his head vigorously. A foetid aroma belched upwards from the depths of the cellar, propelled by a current of cool air. The company proceeded down the ancient stone steps, the only illumination being the flambeau carried by Jeeves.

After what seemed an eternity, but in reality could only have been a handful of sextagrains, they reached the bottom of the staircase and gained level ground. The floor was flagged with heavy stones; the Sonic Architect was reminded of the wharf of porphyry which they had disembarked upon. “We’re looking for a trapdoor!”, said Young Syd. Jeeves was lighting wall-mounted torches from the flambeau he carried. An eerie glow suffused the dim chamber. The Astral Bard drew in his breath sharply. “Spacejuice!”, he exclaimed. Sure enough, there were rows upon rows of dark bottles, shelved and stacked twelve-high and disappearing into the distance……. The Bard’s eyes misted over, and his pulse quickened. “The floor!”, said Captain Lou, rather sharply. “We’re looking for a trapdoor!” The Bard snapped out of his reverie and they began to systematically comb the cellar for signs of an opening. After a long period of fruitless searching Young Syd said, “It’s concealed! It must be under one of these stacks of bottles. Look for marks on the floor – anything which may indicate that the shelves have been moved!…..

……..”Over here!”, cried the Bombardier. The company rushed toward whence the shout had come. Sure enough, there were curved tracks where the bottle stack had been moved, more than once. The Bombardier and Young Syd began to manhandle the heavy unit. “Careful!”, cried Sir Jasper, “Premier Grand Cru!”

And there it was. A circular flag bearing a bronze ring and a curious symbol…..The Sonic Architect felt his stomach lurch………

……”Yes, there are entrances to the Underworld all over the Dreamlands”, said Young Syd, matter-of-factly. “I read about this one in the Pnakotic Manuscripts”….. “The ground is very uneven!”, came the voice of the Bombardier in the near-darkness. “What are we walking on?” “Bones!”, came the reply. “It is the cavern of the ghouls!”, said Young Syd. “This is the remains of eons of their feasting!” “Well I hope we don’t bump into any of them!”, said the Bombardier. “Oh, the ghouls are ok”, replied Young Syd. “They are timid by nature. They only become aggressive if you try to part them from whatever they may be gnawing upon!” “Well, that’s all right, then – I think!”, replied the Bombardier. “Yes”, continued Young Syd. “Now, the night-gaunts are another matter. They….”, but the Bombardier cut him off; “I don’t think I need to know any more, thank you!” “We must be vigilant!”, whispered Captain Lou. “And keep your voices down. Night-gaunts have very sensitive hearing!”……….

…….”Will you stop that!”, cried the Bombardier. “Who? Stop what?”, said Captain Lou. “The Sonic Architect! He’s tickling me!” “Actually, I’m not!”, came the voice of the flangectorist, clearly from too far away from the Bombardier to make him culprit. “That’s funny!”, came the voice of Sir Jasper, “someone’s tickling me, too!” “Not someone”, said Captain Lou, “something! Night-gaunts!” With that a curious ‘meeping’ sound came from the darkness and suddenly the renegades were surrounded by the fierce and frantic sounds of combat. After a short time calm was restored and a strange creature appeared in front of Young Syd. “Pickman!”, he cried. “Thank you, old friend!” The strange apparition ‘meeped’ then he and his unsavoury companions melted back into the shadows. “Someone I knew in the Age of Legends!”, said Young Syd. “A timely intervention!”, said Captain Lou.

Eventually, a grey light began to manifest and the travellers realised they could see what lay ahead. They were climbing a steep incline over piles of scree. “Not much further!”, said Young Syd. And then, a trapdoor appeared in the rock above them, once again adorned with that disquieting sigil. “Here we go!”, said Young Syd, assisting everyone through the aperture then following himself. “The Enchanted Wood!”, cried Captain Lou. “Yes!”, said the Sonic Architect. “Isn’t it lovely!” Then, a harsh voice rang out; “Stop right there! Raise your hands! Resistance is futile!” It was the statuesque woman whom the Leconauts had last seen on the stern of the galley taking her and her companions away from the Last Bastions of Bohemia. They had been Bohemians then, but they certainly weren’t Bohemians now………….

With grateful acknowledgement to PG Wodehouse and HP Lovecraft

Watch out tomorrow for Part 2!

S28:E10

HUEY, DEWEY AND LOUIE! HERE IT IS; THE SECOND PART OF THE SEASON TWENTY-EIGHT FINALE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! THE PERFECT WAY TO PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR AN EVENING OF SPACECHANTS AT THE TEMPLE OF ADELPHI! PROVIDING, OF COURSE, THAT OUR HEROES HAVE MANAGED TO EXTRICATE THEMSELVES FROM THE DREAM-WORLD!!!

“Bullingdons!”, cried Jeeves. “This is no time for expletives, Jeeves!”, replied the Bombardier. “Who are they?” “Bullingdons!”, repeated the urbane manservant. “The most loathsome, corrupt, venal and detested agents of the Galactic Council. They’d sell their own mothers for a small profit!” “What are they doing here?!”, cried Captain Lou. “The last time we saw them they were scuttling away like frightened schoolchildren!” “Yes, I’ll explain that some other time!”, said Sir Jasper. “I’m afraid it’s me they’re after!” “Well, they can’t have you!”, exclaimed Captain Lou. “My orders are to deliver you safely to Admiral Bunting and that’s exactly what I intend to do!” The Bullingdons had fanned out and were now approaching the renegade party, their faces filled with deadly intent. Young Syd was just about to close the giant trapdoor to the Underworld, but hesitated. He leant into the gaping aperture and gave a shrill whistle. A cold wind began to funnel upwards from the netherworld and, as if it were a sentient thing, began to envelop the advancing Bullingdons. “It will slow them down but it won’t stop them!”, cried Young Syd. “To the Enchanted Wood!” The renegades all began to run towards the cover of the ancient trees. The Bullingdons followed, but it was as if they were wading through treacle. Suddenly the spell seemed to break and the pursuers regained their full powers of speech and motion. “Halt”, “stop” and cries of “resistance is futile!” rang out behind the fleeing renegades. Then, as they reached the edge of the forest a swarm of angry Zoogs flew out and began to buzz the Bullingdons. Soon, they were all on the ground and covered in a living layer of infuriated insectoids. The renegades ran until they were deep into the Enchanted Wood and came to rest in a clearing. “Phew!”, exclaimed the Bombardier. “Those Zoogs; they’re not all bad, you know!”……

……The travellers sat around a campfire in the clearing. Captain Lou and the Astral Bard had been foraging and returned with a basketful of aromatic herbs and delicious-looking fruits. They sat quietly and ate. The Sonic Architect broke the silence; “I think it’s about time you two levelled with us!” He directed this at Jeeves and Sir Jasper, who were sitting next to each other, flanked by the rest of Sir Jasper’s crew. “OK”, said Sir Jasper. “Somehow, the Galactic Council got wind of the fact that I was in the Dream-world and those individuals were sent to try and capture me. Fortunately, Jeeves had already arrived to help enable me to successfully conclude my mission. He brought some useful items with him!” “Those truncheons you saw us use when you first arrived?”, said Helly. They are coated with a powerful psychoactive substance which induced irrational terror upon contact with their heads!” “Aah, so that’s why they were so keen to flee!”, said the Bombardier. “I must admit, I’d never seen such weaponry before!” “I know it must have seemed odd”, continued Helly, “but we didn’t want to kill them, despite their reputation as being the scum of the universe!”

“But why was the Galactic Council so keen to capture you?!”, asked the Sonic Architect. “They’ve really gone to a lot of trouble, haven’t they?” Sir Jasper hesitated, then spoke again. “I believe it is because of this.” He pulled a chain from around his neck which revealed a tiny book, the smallest any of the Leconauts had ever seen. “It is the Gospel of St Emily of Bronte”, said Sir Jasper. “It is believed to contain a secret code which can unlock one of the last remaining mysteries of the cosmos. We have been trying to decipher its contents for an age, and the Galactic Council has long coveted its possession. We thought we were getting close, but there were several infiltrations of our facility in the Waking World. It was decided that the safest place to continue our work would be in the Dream-world, a place which hitherto the Galactic Council has not been able to penetrate, owing to the almost complete lack of imagination within the ranks of its members!”

“So, all that hoopla back in the Last Bastions of Bohemia was just a diversion!”, said the Bombardier. Sir Jasper smiled; “Unfortunately, yes! I couldn’t be certain that your identities were bona fide. I apologise for the deception. But, it became apparent that your intentions were honourable, so I agreed to return with you to the waking world. And it just so happens that we have finally succeeded in cracking the code!”

“Well”, said Captain Lou, “I’d say this calls for a celebration! When we get back to the waking world I say we gather at the Temple of Adelphi and launch some spacechants into the aether! “Capital idea!”, said Sir Jasper……..

Postscript

FULL FATHOM FIVE! IT’S TIME FOR THE SEASON TWENTY-EIGHT POSTSCRIPT! DID THE LECONAUTS SAVE THE DAY? READ ON…….!

And so it came to pass that Young Syd, the Leconauts, Sir Jasper and his crew did cross the Gate of Deeper Slumber into the Cavern of Flame and arrived back into the waking world. Immediately upon awakening in their berths onboard the Leco, the Leconauts set a course for Terra Gaia, put the Leco into orbit and travelled to the surface in a fleet of Lecopods. Arriving in Kardomah City, they made their way to the Temple of Adelphi and rendezvoused with Sir Jasper and his crew. “Greetings!”, cried Sir Jasper. The Bombardier was bemused to see that he no longer had the bolt through his neck which he had sported in the Dream-world. He was just about to ask but then thought better of it……

“What a capital adventure!”, cried Sir Jasper. “And in its honour I have decided to accept Admiral Bunting’s invitation to take over command of the Bronte, but informed him that my appointment would only be on the condition that I can rename the ship The Last Bastions of Bohemia!

“Excellent idea!”, said Captain Lou. “Now, let’s see about launching some spacechants into the aether!”……..

……”One thing is bothering me”, said Young Syd to the Sonic Architect, “I couldn’t help noticing that the sign on those trapdoors seemed to have an adverse effect upon your equilibrium?” “Most perspicacious!”, replied the Sonic Architect. “It is known as the Sign of Koth and is connected rather too closely with an old adventure in the city of the Gugs!” “The Gugs?!”, repeated Young Syd. “Yes, a loathsome race of self-interested and brutal giants, who cut a swathe through huge tracts of dreamland, all in the name of the machine logic god Eye-See-Eye. It still makes me shudder to recall it!……….

Admiral Bunting sat at his desk reading the reports from Monk de Wally du Honk, Captain Lou, and Sir Jasper. When he got to the arrival of the fake Bohemians, he stopped in his tracks and the blood drained from his face. “Lollipop!”, he exclaimed, “one of them is called ‘Lollipop’”. He got up and went directly to the sick bay where Shaman Hood of the Hawk was just about to be discharged, having made a full recovery from the effects of the catatonia beam. “Ah, Shaman!”, said the Admiral. “Do you recall during your, er, indisposition saying the word ‘lollipop’?” “Lollipop!”, repeated the Shaman. “Yes, I believe I do!” “Can you tell me of its significance?”, asked the Admiral. “Yes”, replied the Shaman. “My mouth was so dry that I could only think of something cold and cool – like a lollipop. One of those coloured ones shaped like a rocket – a Zoom!” “Zoom; rocket”, said the crestfallen Admiral. “Yes, Zoom!”, replied the Shaman. “And I don’t believe you brought me one! Now, is there anything else? I need to be at the Temple of Adelphi!”…………

……The Leconauts and the Last Bastions of Bohemia did gather at the Temple of Adelphi and many glorious spacechants, telling of bold adventures old and new, were launched into the aether. Shaman Hood did proffer his fabled earthenware jug and the psyder it contained warmed the hearts and minds of the assembled throng. Captain Lou looked at the gathered witches, thanes, spacenauts, heavy metal kids, druids and priestesses, and saw that all was good. The Astral Bard, mischief in his eye, announced that the last bus home had already left and that the carousing would have to continue on into an uncertain future. The company cried “hurrah”!

Loudhailer Electric Company at Hull Adelphi Club photo copyright Brett Hambling 2022

Cover image by Sydpix

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

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