The continuing adventures of the Leconauts
The Leconauts and Terra Fin
You have landed at the place where you can experience the continuing chronicles of the Loudhailer Electric Company mothership and crew. Starring Leconauts Captain Lou Loudhailer, Sonic Architect Parsons, Ricardo the Astral Bard and Bombardier Walker. Written by Loudhailer Electric Company’s Sonic Architect and keeper of the sacred flangector, this is Season 14 of the adventurous antics of the Leconauts traversing the galaxy and encountering a myriad of marvellous musical lifeforms and dastardly villains as they venture forth to perform at the galaxy’s Temples of Song.
IT’S TIME FOR SEASON FOURTEEN! HERE’S EPISODE ONE, IN WHICH CAPTAIN LOU SEES OFF A GANG OF FLYING BUSHWHACKERS!
Captain Lou pulled back on the reins and the golden palomino she was riding reared and whinnied before coming to a halt. About a hundred gardens ahead the trail suddenly wound and disappeared into a dry gulch. Just the kind of place in which an ambush could take place…..
She unholstered both her Colt .45s, tied the reins around the pommel and gently spurred her mount, Magnu, which walked slowly forward. All her senses were on high alert; this was bandit country.
A sudden sound caused her to stop dead in her tracks; falling stones. Just the kind of thing which could indicate something or someone moving, high on the slopes, in order to gain a better vantage point.
She moved forward cautiously, scanning the heights for the slightest movement or sound. And then it happened; a huge lozenge-shaped spaceship with a pair of black variable geometry wings and downturned nose rose swiftly from her left side and manoeuvred itself to face her head-on. She pressed a button on the saddle and immediately rose into the air at speed, the jetpack on her back propelling her skywards. She repeatedly squeezed both triggers on her six guns and a double volley of shots hurtled towards the spaceship. She could see that its flangector was powering up quickly and that within seconds she would have been a target for its deadly beams.
She had aimed for a small ventilation outlet on the left hand side of the ship, a known vulnerability on this particular type of craft. All twelve projectiles found their mark, and she heard them skittering down metal tubes to reach their target; the vessel’s Nova Drive. She descended quickly, landed on her saddle and pulled left on the reins, spurring Magnu into action. In a matter of moments a huge explosion rent the air and fragments of debris, large and small, whistled past her. At what she judged to be a safe distance, she brought Magnu to a halt and wheeled around to see a twisted heap of charred metal with a pall of grey-black smoke hanging over it.
‘Cock-a-doodle-do!’ she exclaimed….
‘….Bird of Prey. It went up like a firecracker!’
The Astral Bard smiled, mischief in his eyes. ‘I’m glad to hear it – I’ve always thought that gulch was a dangerous place – something sinister about it.’
‘Yes’ agreed the Captain. ‘It’s about time we reprogrammed the holodeck. I need some new challenges!’
With that, the Vistascreen crackled into life, and the head of Admiral Bunting appeared.
‘All hail the Leconauts!’ said the doughty space outlaw.
‘All hail Admiral Bunting!’ replied Captain Lou. ‘What can we do for you?’
The Admiral leaned into the view-sharer, conspiratorially.
‘I have a mission for you’ he whispered. ‘It may be dangerous!’
‘Tell us something we didn’t know’ retorted the Bombardier.
‘Do you recall a mission, almost a dodecabit ago, to a place called Udder’s Field….?’
IT’S TIME FOR SEASON FOURTEEN EPISODE TWO! IN WHICH A NEW THREAT TO THE WORLD IS REVEALED!!!
…Udder’s Field…a location imprinted on the memory of all four Leconauts; a place to which they had travelled in time, finding the unusual behaviour and customs of its inhabitants strange and abhorrent, until they began to develop an understanding of the primitive race.
‘How could we forget’ answered Captain Lou. ‘That was the place in which we were stranded when the Galactic Council cut us off from the Source. We thought we would be trapped in the past forever. But then Lord Ron of the Hale came to our rescue!’
Bombardier Walker appeared to have entered into a kind of reverie. He was remembering the taste of strawberry milk shake…….
‘Er, yes, as I was saying’ continued the Admiral, ‘a mission. We have been monitoring a group of individuals for some time whom we believe to be a threat to the security of the galaxy. We believe they are planning to try and destroy the planet of Terra Gaia.’
‘Not again’ said the Bombardier, wearily. ‘How many more times do we have to save that blasted stone?!’
Admiral Bunting pretended not to hear. ‘And who exactly are these individuals?’ asked Captain Lou.
‘Dangerous subversives’ replied the Admiral.
‘What, you mean like us?!’ exclaimed the Bombardier. ‘They’ll feel right at home if we turn up on their doorstep!’
‘No, not like you’ said the Admiral, somewhat testily. ‘As far as I can remember you’ve never threatened to blow up a planet before?’
‘You need to come out with us more often, then’ came the somewhat caustic reply. ‘If we find ourselves in a corner then nothing is off limits!’
‘Thank you, Bombardier’ said Captain Lou. ‘Please continue, Admiral. Dangerous subversives, you say?’
‘Yes, from a pan-Gaian cult which has found followers from all across the planet. They have been drawn to Udder’s Field as moths to a flame.’
‘I see’ said Captain Lou. ‘And how will we find these – renegades?’
The hesitation before the word “renegades” was not lost on the doughty Admiral.
They have a base just outside Udder’s Field. I will send you the co-ordinates in a scrambled message. Your mission is to find them and – terminate their activities. Before they can terminate you.’
‘You seem to be very sure of the threat they pose’ said Captain Lou. ‘How can you be so sure that they are quite so dangerous?’
‘Just by the name they have chosen to be identified by. Terra Fin – or, in the proto-Gaian, the End of the World…..!
IT’S TIME FOR SEASON FOURTEEN EPISODE THREE! IN WHICH KNOWLEDGE GAINED LEADS TO ACTION!
All four Leconauts were in the Room of Manuscripts, deep in the bowels of their Sonic Starcruiser, the Leco. They were all engaged in a single task; finding out as much as they could about the radical group which called itself End of the World, or Terra Fin in the Proto-Gaian.
The Astral Bard was the first to speak. ‘Here’s something! Back in the Age of Legends there was a band of renegades who called themselves Terra Fin. They were a fluid organisation, disbanding and regrouping frequently and striking when least expected. They were really keeping the authorities guessing!’
‘What was their aim?’ asked Captain Lou, getting straight to the point.
‘Hard to say’ answered the Bard. ‘From this it looks like they could be said to be travelling along the same path as us! Visiting Temples of Song and launching their spacechants into the aether.’
The Sonic Architect looked up from the large Teetee he was holding. ‘There’s something here, too’ he said. ‘I think the Admiral may have got it wrong – it looks to me like they were prophesying the end of the world, not trying to bring it about!’
‘Tell us more!’ said Captain Lou. This sounded interesting.
‘It’s around the time when the Terra Gaians were about to destroy the planet themselves, simply by dint of the way they led their lives. There was a movement called Extinction Rebellion which saved the Terra Gaians from their self-destructive behaviour. Terra Fin were, it seems to me, a part of that movement!’
The Bombardier spoke next; ‘They were still burning fossil fuel and waging war on each other!’
Captain Lou felt exhilarated at what she was hearing. Perhaps the renegades from the Age of Legends were in some way connected to the current bearers of that name. Perhaps they….but, no – that was a ridiculous thought….But what if? What if somehow the members of Terra Fin had found the secret of time travel, and decided to journey to the future, a future in which war and the destruction of one’s environment were alien concepts…..?
She made a decision on the spot. ‘Bombardier, set course for Terra Gaia – let’s see what we can find in Udder’s Field….!’
EPISODE FOUR! IN WHICH OUR HEROES MEET MORE TIME-TRAVELLING SUBVERSIVES!
….’Aye, aye, Cap’n’ replied Bombardier Walker. He punched in a series of co-ordinates, his fingers moving with a dizzying rapidity, and the Leco banked sharply starboard.
‘Engage Sable Star drive!’ commanded Captain Lou. ‘Aye, aye, Cap’n’ replied the Sonic Architect. The ship accelerated with such force that all four Leconauts felt their vitals move backwards as the pressure of forward motion came into play, momentarily overwhelming the gyro-stabilisation system.
‘Scanners, omni-directional!’ ordered Captain Lou. ‘Aye, aye, Cap’n’ answered the Astral Bard. As well as the onboard sensors, he directed his prodigious mind to search the stars as they streamed past, leaving comet trails in their wake.
After a dodecabit they were in orbit around the now-familiar blue planet, Terra Gaia, so unlike any other world in the known universe. ‘We’ll beam down in the Lecopod’ said Captain Lou. The four intrepid space renegades entered the tiny craft which would transfer them from their Starcruiser to the surface of the planet below.
Within a few sextagrains they were on the streets of Udder’s Field, looking for signs which may help them find the whereabouts of Terra Fin.
‘Look’ said the Bombardier, ‘an emporium which looks just like that of Sir Sydney of the Scarred Burrow! Perhaps they can tell us where we may find the Terra Fins!’ The legend ‘Vinyl Tap’ was emblazoned above the entrance.
They entered the emporium and approached the merchant. ‘All hail!’ said the Astral Bard. ‘All hail’ came the reply. The merchant raised his hand in the Vulcan greeting, which had become a universal sign of friendship.
We seek a group of spacechanters known as Terra Fin’ said Captain Lou. ‘Can you advise us of their whereabouts?’
‘Terra Fin’ the merchant replied, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. ‘And who may you be, pray tell?’
‘We are the Leconauts’ answered the Bombardier, proudly.
At once the merchant’s manner changed. He relaxed and a smile played across his lips. ‘The Leconauts, indeed!’ he exclaimed. ‘An honour, an honour! I believe you may find Sir Corey the Clough of Howard in a hamlet known as the Firth of Holm. He is one of those whom you seek.’
‘We thank you’ said Captain Lou and the Leconauts left the emporium. When the Leconauts were out of sight, the smile faded from the merchant’s face and he opened the telepad on his left palm, a curious result of evolution peculiar to Terra Gaians. He keyed several symbols and numbers and held his palm to his ear. After a few sextagrains he spoke; ‘Hello, am I speaking to the Galactic Council……?’
…..The Leconauts knocked on the door in pretty village of the Firth of Holm. It was answered by a tall Terra Gaian with lustrous red hair and an open, cheery face.
‘Sir Corey the Clough of Howard?’ asked Captain Lou. He smiled and replied ‘indeed!’
‘We are…’ began Captain Lou, but Sir Corey finished her sentence for her; ‘…the Leconauts, yes. Come in, we’ve been expecting you!’
The Leconauts entered and were stunned to find an Edifice of Song all ready for the launching of spacechants. Sir Corey introduced his companion, a dark and intense young man called Jonas of the Lapines.
‘No doubt you have heard that we are dangerous subversives’ said Sir Corey. ‘I can assure you that we are subversives, but not dangerous!’
The Leconauts all visibly relaxed at this. ‘We have heard some stories’ said Captain Lou. ‘But what concerns me is that you knew we were coming. How did you know that?’
‘There are prophecies which tell of the coming of sky-beings’ said Sir Corey. ‘We have seen little of the Galactic Council in these parts, but recently we realised that they were taking an unwelcome interest in our activities. They seem to have developed the notion that we came here from…elsewhere.’
‘Another place’ said Captain Lou.
‘Another time’ replied the Terra Gaian.
‘Is this true?’
‘And exactly why did you come?’ asked the Captain, eager to know the answer.
Sir Corey smiled. ‘In the Age of Legends from which we came, we succeeded in saving the planet from destruction. But we knew that it would take many centabits for the world to recover to the ideal for which we had fought. So we decided to come forward to a time when war and self-destruction were things of the past.’
‘That sounds logical enough’ said Captain Lou.
‘But now’ continued Sir Corey, ‘the Galactic Council have begun to take an…unwelcome interest in our affairs. We wish to be able to…remove ourselves from their attentions.’
‘Captain’ said the Sonic Architect, a note of urgency in his voice. ‘I am monitoring the signature of a Galactic Council scout ship, approaching fast!’
IT’S GIG DAY, WHICH MEANS IT’S TIME FOR THE SEASON FINALE! IN WHICH REVELATIONS ARE MADE AND SCORES ARE SETTLED!
‘Quick’ said the Captain, ‘we must leave now! Follow us!’ The four Leconauts and the two Terra Gaians ran to the rear of the building where the Lecopod suddenly appeared as the cloaking device was deactivated. Once inside the Bombardier had the craft airborne within seconds. They were quickly aboard the Leco. ‘Vistascreen’ cried Captain Lou. ‘Flangectors at the ready’. The screen crackled into life and a face appeared. ‘This is Barely Breathing of the Galactic Cultural Infringement Correction Unit! We believe you are harbouring dangerous subversives! Hand them over at once!’
‘Some chance’ cried the Bombardier.
The Sonic Architect made for the Transference Spot and in a moment had disappeared in a myriad of swirling star particles. He materialised on the bridge of the Scout Ship, flangector poised, and raked the crew with a sequence of Lydian arpeggios, rendering them impotent in a flash. He then bound them together with a cord of intertwined Mixolydian scales. Next he crossed over to the control unit and deftly keyed in a message to the Galactic Council Headquarters on Aldebaran. ‘Nothing to report – heading to the Catesby Quadrant.’ He then hailed the Leco and requested that Captain Lou secure the scout ship with a tractor beam. ‘Where’s your identipod?’ he demanded. ‘Quickly now or you’ll be feeling the sting of a Locrian arpeggio!’ All three of the bound crew pointed in the same direction. The Sonic Architect followed the line to a small aperture in which was contained an egg-shaped object, pulsating slowly with a baleful red light. He seized it and stowed it in his Envirosuit. Then he beamed back to the Leco.
‘Good work!’ exclaimed Captain Lou, as her Sonic Architect reappeared on the Transference Spot. ‘Thanks, Captain! This needs to go in a probe and be sent to the Catesby Quadrant’ he said, proffering the egg-shaped identipod.
‘Leave it to me’ said the Bombardier, taking the object and disappearing through the access hatch. A septalog later the Galactic Council monitoring station on Aldebaran lost contact with its Scout Ship Orion in the Catesby Quadrant. The roboscribe who recorded the event thought to itself ‘Damn fools. Strayed too near to Guido and paid the price.’ It listed the ship as “missing, presumed destroyed”.
‘Well, gentlemen’ she said, ‘it looks like you are now the proud owners of a Galactic Scout Ship.’
‘What about its crew?’ asked Jonas. ‘Don’t worry about them’ said the Astral Bard. ‘I’ll wipe their memories, give them new identities and put them to work. I know just the place!’
‘Well, this calls for a celebration’ said Captain Lou. ‘How about a visit to Small Seeds to launch some spacechants into the aether….?’
Sometime later the Leconauts and Terra Fin were walking through Udder’s Field towards Small Seeds. ‘Let’s go this way’ said the Astral Bard. ‘But Small Seeds is this way’ said the Bombardier, momentarily puzzled. ‘This way will be more interesting’ said the Astral Bard, mischief in his eye.
As they approached the emporium of Vinyl Tap, they saw an altercation taking place. The merchant was gesticulating wildly to three clipboard-bearing officials. ‘You can’t do this!’ he was saying. ‘I’m afraid we can!’ said the first official. This property is being commandeered by the Social Realignment Committee and will be made into vegan café! You have one septalog to vacate the premises!’
The Bard smiled; ‘that’ll teach him to go telling tales to the Galactic Council!’ he said. Captain Lou looked at him wonderingly. ‘I picked up his transmission on my omniscanner when we were in there before’ he explained.
They rounded another corner, and there it was; the Temple of Song known as Small Seeds……..
S14 Post Script
And so it came to pass that the Leconauts and the Terra Fins did launch their spacechants into the aether and the Temple of Song known as Small Seeds did resound to the cosmic vibrations and the merrymaking of the assembled witches, thanes, warlocks and all manner of galactic renegades.
‘One thing is puzzling me’ said the Astral Bard to Sir Corey the Clough of Howard. ‘How did you travel forward in time? We didn’t think anyone else had discovered that particular secret!’
Sir Corey and Jonas shared a meaningful glance. ‘We met a Shaman. He took us to an ancient place where the earth magic was strong. He told us when the time was propitious and showed us the rituals to perform. That is how we came to be here.
‘Where was this place?’ asked the Astral Bard.
Sir Corey smiled once again. ‘It was the stone at the bend of the Gypsey Race……’
‘And who was the Shaman?’
At that moment, the Astral Bard looked to the bar, where he saw Captain Jarnail of Hombre, who raised his flagon of spacejuice and smiled………
Loudhailer Electric Company at Small Seeds, Huddersfield 23.11.19 photographs by Sydpix
Terra Fin at Small Seeds, photographs by Rich D-H
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