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 23 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.
HERE WE GO WITH THE FIRST EPISODE OF SEASON TWENTY-THREE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES. IT LOOKS LIKE OUR HEROES ARE ABOUT TO VENTURE FORTH ONCE AGAIN……..!
“About time too”, said Admiral Bunting, “I can’t have the Alliance’s most powerful Starcruiser in spacedock indefinitely. The six galaxies are under constant threat. There are all sorts of ne’er do-wells on the loose, all eyeing up the main chance. The Leconauts need to be out there – so the rest of us can sleep easy in our beds at night.”
“Yes, of course, Admiral” replied Captain Lou, somewhat testily, “but you know we’ve been trying to find the right person, and now he’s on board.”
“Yes, well, indeed – at last. I don’t understand why you couldn’t have just gone forward in time to see who he was and then come back to the present and just gone and dragged him out of wherever it was you found him!”
“You know it doesn’t work like that, Admiral” said the Sonic Architect. “You have to treat the space-time continuum with kid gloves. We don’t want to create any more temporal anomalies, do we?”
“Hmm, I suppose not” answered the gnarly space renegade. “But now that you’ve found him let’s have the Leco out on a shakedown cruise, just to let the scum of the universe know that party time is over!”
The Astral Bard looked up from his laboratory workstation. He was holding a large bottle of shining red liquid up to the light. A wisp of blue smoke curled from it’s neck. He turned his eye, which was full of mischief, away from the Jeroboam and towards the Admiral. He cocked an eyebrow. ‘I was wondering about a little jaunt to the Vaults of Victoria” he said, innocently. “It’s a while since we were in Eboracum City.”
“Good idea” replied the Admiral enthusiastically. He turned to the new Leconaut, Bombardier Burnby, a tall, rangy, steely-eyed space warrior, who was currently relaxing in an experience chair with an air of studied nonchalance.
“How about it, soldier; Do you like the sound of a trip to Eboracum City? Try out your Thunder Machine in combat conditions. All well and good playing spacegames on the Holodeck. “What about doing it for real?” The Admiral made the last word sound like a purr, as if inviting the Bombardier to partake in some arcane and dubious ceremony.
The Bombardier looked up, levelling his steely gaze with that of the Admiral. “Sounds like fun” he said. “As long as I can take this with me………!”
HOLY MOLY! IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE TWO OF SEASON TWENTY-THREE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH THE BOMBARDIER SHOWS HIS METTLE!
The Admiral jumped back, as if the spot where he had been standing had suddenly grown hot. “What the…..is that a ray gun?” he asked, incredulously.
The Bombardier answered with a genial smile before replying “Yes it is! And it’s a beauty, don’t you think?”
“Don’t point it at me!”, cried the Admiral. “Those things are outlawed by every Convention throughout the six galaxies! I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to surrender it at once!” “Oh, well, easy come, easy go!” replied the Bombardier. “But first I think I ought to show you what it can do!” With that he pointed the fearsome weapon at the ceiling and squeezed the trigger. A shaft of intense and lurid green light shot from its muzzle and hit an inspection panel, which immediately disintegrated, allowing a foetid mass of orange globules to issue forth. Upon exposure to the air the globules coalesced into an ugly lump which resembled cinder toffee. An expression of childlike glee settled onto the Bombardier’s face. “Nice work” said the Astral Bard. “Can I have a go?!”
“That’s quite enough, thank you!” barked the Admiral. “I’ll have to call out the maintenance team again! Now, hand that thing over before you do any more damage!” The Bombardier shrugged his powerful shoulders and threw the weapon at the Admiral who managed to catch and hold on to it, but staggered somewhat under its unexpected weight.
The Sonic Architect sensed it was time to diffuse the situation. “The Vaults of Victoria”, he said. “Why there?” he asked the Bard, who looked across, scarcely able to suppress his glee at the Admiral’s discomfiture. “I’ve been looking up some details in the Room of Manuscripts”, he said. “Now why doesn’t that surprise me?!” replied the Sonic Architect, with the merest hint of sarcasm. All the Leconauts knew that the Room of Manuscripts was the Astral Bard’s favourite part of the Leco and he was wont to spend many sextasets in its cosy surroundings poring over its arcane contents.
“And what have you found this time, pray?”, asked Captain Lou, somewhat pointedly, in the Sonic Architect’s estimation. “An ancient legend”, replied the Bard, who then paused for dramatic effect. “Well?!” asked all three of the other Leconauts, with a modicum of exasperation. The Astral Bard looked momentarily shocked but within a split quantabit his usual expression of barely suppressed mischief was back in place.
He took a deep breath, then announced “It’s the legend of Lord Percy Percy and the Bone Orchids………..!”
HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE THREE OF SEASON TWENTY-THREE! IN WHICH THE ASTRAL BARD HOLDS FORTH AND THE BOMBARDIER PUSHES SOME BUTTONS!
“Lord who and the whats?”, asked the Bombardier, incredulously.
“Lord Percy Percy and the Bone Orchids” replied the Astral Bard, as if it were the most prosaic pronouncement he’d ever made. “It’s all here in this Teetee” he continued. Why don’t you all sit down and I’ll fill you in with the details.” The Sonic Architect tried hard to not roll his eyes. This could take some time. As if reading his mind, Captain Lou said “ok, but try not to gild the lily. We have to be up early in the morning!”
“It will take as long as it takes” replied the Bard, pouring five measures of fiery spacejuice into inorganic flagons and handing one to each of his somewhat reluctant audience. He opened the large Teetee* and began to speak………..
“It goes back to ancient times” he began. “What, you mean when the Sonic Architect was in Space School!” quipped the Bombardier. “Cheeky” countered the Sonic Architect, “you better watch out for those hickory sticks! They could easily catch fire….”
“Now, now” said Captain Lou, and the two crewmates settled into an easy silence. “Ahem” said the Bard, “if I may continue?” “Yes, do go on” said the Bombardier. The Sonic Architect shot him a glance and said “your largesse knows no bounds!” They smiled at each other and then turned their attention to the by now somewhat impatient Bard.
“As I was saying” continued the Astral Bard, “in ancient times, long before we discovered the secret of interstellar travel, there was a character called Lord Percy Percy, an unremarkable man, but for the fact that he discovered the secret of making pure green.”
“What, that stuff that all that terrible jewellery used to be made from?” scoffed the Bombardier. “He should have been put in an escape pod and jettisoned in the Medusa Quadrant for that!”
“Yes, yes” answered the Bard, a little waspishly. “But, if I may continue, another use was found for this otherwise unremarkable substance. He decided to dispose of it and took it to the queen’s private garden and unceremoniously dumped it on her precious roses. A week later her Chamberlain discovered some very unusual specimens which appeared to have emerged from the ground overnight.” He paused for dramatic effect, but no-one asked the question.
“Yes indeed” he continued, completely unperturbed. “A new species of orchid had appeared, but they were constructed completely from bone china!” He paused again, but the expected chorus of sharp intakes of breath and sundry “wows” didn’t materialise.
“So you’re telling us that this Lord Percy threw away his stock of “green” and it sprouted flowers made from bone?!”
“That is precisely what I’m telling you” said the Bard, with, he considered, a level of patience which he wasn’t exactly feeling. But the Bombardier wasn’t done yet; “That’s the biggest load of……”, but he didn’t get to finish. The Admiral’s Vistascreen crackled into life and a face appeared. The body it belonged to was clothed in a rich red velvet costume, the like of which even the Sonic Architect had never sported. On top of its head was a large and ornate headpiece, made from the same rich material as the tunic.
“All hail the Leconauts and Admiral Bunting!” the head said. “I am Lord Percy Percy, Duke of Northumberland and Bishop of Ramsgate……..!”
*A Teetee (or TT) is a book in the future; it represents Thought Transference
HERE WE GO WITH MORE ADVENTURES FROM THE LECO CHRONICLES! IT’S TIME FOR SEASON TWENTY-THREE EPISODE FOUR, IN WHICH A ‘HISTORICAL’ CHARACTER BECOMES HYSTERICAL!
“All hail Lord Percy Percy” replied Captain Lou. “To what do we owe this undoubted pleasure?”
“’Tis a most confounding connundrum, upon my soul. Not a sennight hence I awoke in the dead of night to find sundry individuals arrayed around my bed, attired most peculiarly in raiment the like of which I had ne’er seen. They intimated to me that they were astral travellers and were visiting me from the future; a future which was in great peril. ‘Twas passing strange!”
“I see”, said Captain Lou, although she didn’t see at all, but was not about to reveal that to the strange apparition. “Pray tell me, Lord Percy, did these individuals identify themselves to you?”
“Forsooth, they did! They told me that I was their ancestor. They told a tale of the proliferation of the fruits of my loins down the ages. ‘Twas pleasing to my ear, to think that my scions have flourished unto a time so far into the future, a future of which I could scarce imagine!”
Imagine indeed; there were certain things conjured by Lord Percy’s soliloquy which Captain Lou was trying hard to not imagine. He continued to tell his tale……
“They told me of wondrous things, all of which had come to pass as a result of my invention of green. ‘Twas most illuminating. But then, they told me, sundry nefarious scoundrels did attempt to undo my work. They spake of Bone Orchids which had been cruelly used by villainous sponges from a far-off world. These sponges had journeyed to my lady queen’s garden and harvested the precious blooms and fouled the ground with noxious unguents, whereupon the sainted orchids did forthwith expire.”
“’Tis a sad a sorry tale, my Lord Percy”, said Captain Lou. “But I fail to see how you come to be telling it to us?”
“’Pon my soul, I am bereft of an explanation” replied Lord Percy. “All I know is that the astral travellers did charge me with a sacred responsibility; to make contact with you upon this very day!”
A brace of thoughts occurred to Captain Lou. “Tell me, my lord, how so were you able to contact us?”
“’Tis a wondrous thing! The travellers did leave a difference engine in my safekeep. I fear it may be witchcraft, but I did as they asked and, just as they said, you didst appear in answer to my exhortation.”
Captain Lou gave voice to her second thought; ”pray tell me my lord, what is the date today?” “Why, ‘tis the seventeenth day of November in the year 1558!”
Captain Lou’s mind was racing. Why had the descendants of Lord Percy deemed it so important to go back in time and exhort their ancestor to make such a contact? And perhaps more appositely, how had they done it?! She turned back to Lord Percy’s image and asked “pray tell, my lord, did these travellers ask you to deliver unto us a message?”
“Indeed they did, fair lady. They impressed it upon me in terms most vigorous. I confess it means but little to me, but they did assure me that you would divine its meaning.” He cleared his throat and began to speak, as if reciting a poem learned by rote.
“Upon the first day of October in the year twenty-twenty-one the Leconauts must present themselves at the Vaults of Victoria in Eboracum City. They must launch their spacechants into the aether and make merry with the denizens of the settlement. In this way only may the galactic sponges be vanquished and order restored to the universe……..!”
IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN! HERE’S EPISODE FIVE OF SEASON TWENTY-THREE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH THE LECONAUTS CALL FOR REINFORCEMENTS!
The Astral Bard smiled. If his crewmates had been watching they would have undoubtedly noted a higher than usual level of mischief in his eyes. Instead, they were too busy being incredulous and venting their consternation. He waited patiently and, when he sensed the moment had arrived, he spoke. “I recommend that we repair immediately to the Leco and sort out this most unusual situation” he said, calmly. The other Leconauts stopped in mid-flow and turned to him. “Yes”, said Captain Lou. “That’s exactly what we will do. I bid you good dodecabit, Admiral!” The startled space commander hesitated before answering; “Er, yes, well, good dodecabit to you too, Captain. Carry on!”
All four Leconauts moved to the Transference Spot, which began to glow…….
Back on the bridge of the Leco the four space renegades fell into their tried and trusted routine; Captain Lou sat at the helm, the Bombardier at the Thunder Machine, the Astral Bard at the Pentameter, and the Sonic Architect at the Flangection Station. The Bombardier was the first to speak; “Was that a wind-up, or what?!” “I don’t think so” replied the Bard. “Isn’t it just too much of a coincidence that we were discussing the very subject and then the main protagonist appears on the Vistascreen?!” “I don’t think so”, repeated the Bard. “I think some – intelligence has worked very hard to ensure that Lord Percy Percy’s message came through at exactly that – time.” He smiled at his own use of the word ‘time’, the meaning of which now seemed to be somewhat fluid…..
“One thing is certain”, he continued, warming to his subject. “We have to be at the Vaults of Victoria on the first of October, in the year 2021.” Silence fell at this pronouncement. This was a time in which the denizens of Terra Gaia were facing multiple crises and civilisation was breaking down. No-one in their right mind would go to such a place at such a time. Captain Lou broke the silence; “yes, of course we have to go. I think we may need some help, however.”
“Young Syd?” said the Sonic Architect, as if reading her mind. The Terra Gaian who had invented the Nova Drive and now worked for Admiral Bunting was actually from that time and place, so his insights would be valuable. “Exactly”, replied Captain Lou.
“Get me Admiral Bunting!” commanded Captain Lou. The Astral Bard pushed a button on his Pentameter and the Vistascreen crackled into life. The face of the Admiral appeared. “So soon!”, he exclaimed. “Can’t manage without me?” “Something like that”, replied Captain Lou. “We need to ask a favour. We were wondering if…”, but she got no further as the Admiral interrupted. “You were wondering if I could spare Young Syd from his important work with the Laughing Madcaps?” “Er, yes…!” replied Captain Lou, with some surprise.
At that precise moment the Transference Spot began to glow and two figures emerged from the swirling mist; Young Syd and Shaman Hood of the Hawk…….!
HOT DIGGETY! IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE SIX OF SEASON TWENTY-THREE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH REVELATIONS COME THICK AND FAST!
“We were one step ahead of you!” exclaimed Admiral Bunting, clearly delighted to have anticipated Captain Lou’s request. “All hail Shaman Hood and Young Syd!”, he called as the two space bandits approached the Vistascreen. “Pleasant journey?”, he enquired. “Tolerable”, replied Shaman Hood. He then turned to Captain Lou; “I’ve left Magnu in the holostable; I trust that meets with your approval?” “Of course”, replied the Captain. “I’ll instruct the Groom-o-matics to supply him with a nosebag of spaceweed.” Unlike other equines whose preference was for hay, Magnu subsisted on spaceweed, the strange, semi-sentient plant which drifted in space and was wont to foul the appendages of passing Starcruisers. The Shaman smiled and nodded. Meanwhile Young Syd was engaged in animated conversation with the Sonic Architect. Captain Lou picked out occasional words such as ‘Pink Floyd’ and ‘Tasmanian Treehouse’.
“To business, then!”, exclaimed the Shaman. “We will bond ourselves together in Righteous Quest with the Pseremony of the Psyder!” With that he produced an earthenware jug from the voluminous folds of his cloak. Bombardier Burnby gasped; this was his first sighting of the fabled artefact, of which tales had been told in hushed tones since time immemorial. Indeed, there was much conjecture as to whether or not it actually existed, and now, here before him was living proof!
The Shaman uncorked the jug, took a goodly draught, and then passed it to Captain Lou, who also drank deeply. Before long all the Leconauts and Young Syd had imbibed and the ancient ritual was concluded. The Shaman returned the jug to its home deep within his cloak and smiled.
After a short silence the Shaman spoke; “Lord Percy Percy is an old acquaintance of mine. His reputation was sullied by the dubious company he kept and history has not been kind to him. But he is a most perspicacious fellow and to hear him talk of sponges from far-off worlds was troubling indeed!”
“We decided to investigate” said Young Syd, “and found that the sponges came from the planet Trublue in the Mofo galaxy. Self-centred, aggressive, grasping and unfeeling, their only interest is the success of their kind and the total oppression of all others.”
Shaman Hood picked up the narrative; “They used their technological know-how to identify the unique signature of the Bone Orchids and travelled to Terra Gaia with the sole purpose of acquiring the plants for themselves. They then destroyed the only known site where the orchids grew, specifically to deprive anyone else from benefitting from their magical properties.”
“So where do we fit into this epic saga?” asked Captain Lou. “And how did Lord Percy manage to direct his message to us across time and space?” The Shaman smiled again. “As I said, he is a most enterprising fellow. The sudden appearance on his doorstep of time-travelling strangers didn’t disquiet him in the least. On the contrary, he embraced the opportunity to learn from them and was eager to help further their cause. They in turn saw that he was just the person they needed.”
“And now we need to send the sponges back where they came from” said Young Syd. “But, didn’t all this happen in the Age of Legends?” asked the Bombardier. “You know, whilst the Sonic Architect was at Space School?!”
“Quite so”, interjected the Bard. “So we will have to ensure that the sponges never got to Lord Percy’s time in the first place!” “How in Jimi’s name can we do that?!” asked the Bombardier.
“By launching a particular sequence of spacechants into the aether, I should imagine” said the Sonic Architect. The Shaman smiled yet again. “Correct”, he said. And not only your good selves, but also two other groups of spacechanters must attend the Vaults of Victoria at the appointed time. Only then will the cosmic vibrations align successfully to reach back to the Age of Legends.”
“And who may they be?” enquired Captain Lou. “Oh yes”, replied the Shaman; “I almost forgot. The descendants of Lord Percy himself, and the very horticulturalists who first raised the Bone Orchids from the fertile earth…….!”
LAWKS A MUSSY! CAN IT REALLY BE TIME FOR THE FINALE OF SEASON TWENTY-THREE? YES, IT CAN! SO HERE IT IS! EPISODE SEVEN! WILL THE LECONAUTS SAVE THE UNIVERSE FROM ALMOST CERTAIN SPONGING?!!!
All four Leconauts fell silent as the import of the words spoken by Shaman Hood sank in. “Let me get this straight” said the Bombardier. “The people who will be launching their spacechants into the aether alongside us are the same people who went back in time to find Lord Percy Percy?” “Correct”, answered the Shaman. “And the Bone Orchid people; who are they exactly?” “They are the descendants of the Chamberlain who discovered the Bone Orchids in the queen’s garden.” “Right”, said the Bombardier. “Isn’t this all just a little too neat? Two groups of people who are intimately connected with these events have somehow got it together to appear in the same time and place after the passing of several ages?”
“One could take such a view”, smiled the Shaman, “but the universe works according to its own laws and its own needs. If something is required to happen then the universe can usually bring about that very eventuality.”
“One thing is puzzling me in all this” said the Sonic Architect. “Just what is so important about the Bone Orchids? Clearly there are mighty cosmic forces working in concert to ensure that all of these disparate threads can come together at a fixed point in spacetime!”
The Shaman smiled again. “You are an insightful fellow!” he smiled. “And of course, you are quite right. Mighty cosmic forces have aligned in a juxtaposition which has been proceeding to its conclusion for millennia. As to the significance of the Bone Orchids, I cannot reveal that information at this time.”
“So we just have to trust you” said the Bombardier, somewhat bluntly. “Of course” interjected Captain Lou, “Shaman Hood’s reputation precedes him, and the services of the Leconauts are ever at his disposal. We travel to Eboracum City!”
At that precise moment the Astral Bard looked up from his Pentameter and exclaimed “Captain, the entire exterior of the Leco is covered by…..sponges!”
“Sonic Pulse!” cried the Captain. The Sonic Architect manipulated several controls on his flangector interface module and the ship shuddered violently. “What was that?” asked Young Syd. “Sablestar core” replied the Sonic Architect. “It will give us just enough time to get out there in plasma bubbles and give them a proper talking to!”
With that the four Leconauts all converged on a section of panelling which rotated to reveal four see-through egg-shaped vehicles. They embarked and the panel rotated again, moving the bubbles into an escape chute. Each bubble shot out in turn from the Leco’s hull. The scene which met them was somewhat eerie. Hundreds of galactic sponges were floating in space, momentarily stunned by the Sonic Architect’s Sablestar pulse.
“Quickly” said Captain Lou, “before they begin to recover! Flangectors on stun! Lydian mode! Thunder machine to one-twenty bpm! Launch paradiddles!” A crushing sonic assault emanated from the four plasma bubbles, sending deadly sonic waves in all directions. Then, an unearthly sight met their eyes. Shaman Hood of the Hawk, holding a Black Sword and sitting astride the golden-maned Magnu, with Young Syd behind him, shot forth from the Leco and began to cut a swathe through the galactic sponges as if he were a reaper harvesting his crop with a giant scythe. The sponges could not withstand the combined assault and fled outwards into the cold reaches of outer space……….
Back on board the Leco Shaman Hood, Young Syd and the Leconauts excitedly discussed the battle and their individual exploits. As their euphoria began to subside they stood momentarily in silence. Captain Lou spoke; “Well, someone or something definitely doesn’t want us to get to Eboracum City! Astral Bard?!”
“Set a course for the Vaults of Victoria! Star date Zero-one-one-zero-two-zero-two-one……..!”
YOWSAH! AND SO IT CAME TO PASS THAT THE UNIVERSE WAS SAVED ONCE AGAIN…….!
And so it came to pass that the Leconauts did journey to the Vaults of Victoria in Eboracum City with Young Syd and Shaman Hood of the Hawk. The descendants of Lord Percy Percy and the Bone Orchids did meet with the Leconauts in joyous abandon and all did launch their spacechants into the aether. And out in the endless reaches of spacetime the spacechants did twist, curl and fuse with one another whilst the universe looked on and was pleased.
The cosmic singularity continued on its journey and eventually reached its destination, whereupon the strands of time did reorder themselves in such a fashion so as to preclude the galactic sponges from ever entering the garden of the Bone Orchids.
At the height of the evening the Vaults of Victoria did throb and pulse in a most agreeable manner and all assembled did witness a strange folding of the air, whereupon after this curious anomaly all felt to be renewed, fresh and energised with an uncommon spirit.
Shaman Hood of the Hawk did proffer his earthenware jug and all who partook of its contents told tales ever after of glistening impossible vistas, wharves of porphyry and dark, looming basalt towers, which no-one dared enter, and whose improbable forms were built to principles of geometry which should not, could not be.
Bombardier Burnby said to the Sonic Architect “that was a most enjoyable experience, my friend. I wonder if we really did make it so that the sponges were vanquished from history and indeed never left the planet Trublue to wreak their cosmic havoc.”
“I have no doubt that the universe will find a way to answer that question!” replied the Sonic Architect. Just then, Shaman Hood came across to join them. “Well met and strap the Star Rats of Eye See Eye! A most convivial evening! Rarely have I seen such a launching of spacechants as I have witnessed this eve!”
“Most gratifying, Shaman Hood!” replied the Sonic Architect. “Hast thou had recent intelligence of your old friend Lord Percy Percy?” The Shaman looked askance; “Who?” he asked. The Sonic Architect did not reply and the Shaman shook his head and muttered something to himself. The Sonic Architect fancied that he caught something about having one too many pulls from the earthenware jug……..
The Bombardier smiled in a self-satisfied way. “He didn’t know what you were talking about!” he scoffed. “Exactly”, replied the Sonic Architect, “exactly……!”
Back on the Leco Captain Lou and the Astral Bard were relaxing in the Room of Manuscripts. The Bard, as was his wont, had his nose buried in a large Teetee. The Captain was enveloped in a generously-upholstered leather armchair, with a glass of spacespirit in one hand and a slice of refresho-luxe in the other. “Hmmm……most peculiar” muttered the Bard. “What is it?” asked the Captain. “It’s just that I……I have the distinct feeling that there was something in this Teetee…..something I read quite recently, but now, for the life of me, I can’t seem to find it!”
“What did it concern?” asked the Captain. The Bard looked up, cocking his head to one side; “I have absolutely no idea” he replied.
Out in the corridor Young Syd, Bombardier Burnby and the Sonic Architect were heading for the holodeck. The Sonic Architect suddenly stopped in his tracks. The others looked at him. “What is it?” asked Young Syd. The Sonic Architect sniffed. “Does it smell….different in here to you?”
“Different in what way?” asked the Bombardier. “Like……like flowers. Like orchids!” said the Sonic Architect. “Dunno!” replied the Bombardier. They walked on. Young Syd turned his head away and smiled………………
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