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 25 of the adventurous antics of the Leconauts traversing the galaxy and encountering a myriad of marvellous musical lifeforms and dastardly villains as they venture forth to perform at the galaxy’s Temples of Song.
Season 25 Episode 1
IT’S TIME TO HOOK UP ONCE MORE WITH THE LECONAUTS! HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE ONE OF SEASON TWENTY-FIVE, IN WHICH OUR HEROES ARE GIVEN ANOTHER LIFE-OR-DEATH MISSION BY ADMIRAL BUNTING!
Captain Lou walked purposefully along the main corridor of the Leco, her senses on full alert, ready for any eventuality. The ship’s siren sounded, its urgent and repetitive call heralding some unknown danger. A door whooshed open and she stalked through it onto the bridge of her Starcruiser. The Leco was the flagship of the Renegade Alliance’s fleet and was currently moored in deep space, nine astronomical units from the nearest outpost of civilisation.
“What have we got?” she exclaimed, as the heads of her crew turned to greet her. The Astral Bard, mischief in his eye; the Sonic Architect, a ready smile playing on his lips; and the Bombardier, a giant of a man whose size belied his gentle nature.
“Temporal anomaly!”, answered the Bard. “It shot out of the Poo-tin Quadrant like a bat out of Heaven! It missed the Leco by a hair’s breadth, but it left an unusual signature!” “Can we lose the klaxon?”, asked the Captain, turning to Bombardier Burnby, who flicked his fingers over a control panel; the noise, thankfully, stopped. With that, the Vistascreen crackled into life, and the head of Admiral Bunting appeared. The wily spacedog was the commander of the Renegade Alliance’s Spacefleet, and wasn’t given to dropping in for cosy chats; something serious was afoot.
“Ah, Leconauts, all on the bridge!” said the Admiral. “Good, good! There’s a temporal anomaly heading…..” “our way?!”, said the Bard, a thinly-veiled note of sarcasm in his voice. “Yes, it just about took the skin off the Leco’s spine, but, as you can see, we’re all still here!”
“Yes, indeed”, replied the Admiral, a merest hint of disappointment in his eyes. The Leconauts always seemed to be one step ahead of him………. ”Any clues as to its origin?”, asked the Sonic Architect. “Well”, began the Admiral, “I was hoping you may have picked up some clues on your scanners. Seeing as it passed so closely?” The Sonic Architect, Astral Bard and Bombardier exchanged covert glances. None of them wanted to admit that they had temporarily disabled the ship’s scanners to enable them to beam in a re-run of Blade Runner 2475 from a distant Moviedrome. “Well?”, asked the Captain, entirely sure that there was something her crew were not telling her. “Er, no, nothing to report”, replied the Sonic Architect, who then shuffled uncomfortably in his chair.
“I see”, replied the Admiral, clearly perplexed that no information seemed to be forthcoming. “Perhaps you have some clues?” asked the Bombardier, tentatively. He was definitely fishing, thought Captain Lou.
“As a matter of fact, I do!” answered the Admiral. “I’m sorry to have to tell you that we seem to have lost the Where? Magazine!”
Stunned silence greeted this pronouncement. The Where? Magazine was the Renegade Alliance’s biggest arsenal; a space station filled to the rafters with the most technologically-advanced sonic weaponry in the known universe. If it had gone missing……..
“I don’t have to tell you what this could mean” continued the Admiral. “The Where? Magazine is, of course, famed for its ability to simultaneously occupy more than one location in the space-time continuum. This constitutes its importance to the Renegade Alliance. The Galactic Council have long been jealous of our seemingly superhuman ability to furnish our ships with state-of-the-art sonic capability at the drop of a hat. If they’ve got their hands on……..” His voice trailed off, reluctant to finish the sentence which his brain had formed.
“And what would you like us to do?” asked Captain Lou, knowing the answer already, of course.
“Why, find the Where? Magazine, and I don’t care how. And if this is the work of the Galactic Council, I want to know about it!”
IT’S TIME FOR THE SECOND INSTALMENT OF SEASON TWENTY-FIVE! IN WHICH THE LECONAUTS EMBARK UPON THEIR NEW MISSION……..!
The Where? Magazine; a semi-mythical structure from the Age of Legends, built by two Time Renegades, Lord Tim of Joseph and Sir Christoph of Warkup. The Where? Magazine, so-called because it was notoriously difficult to find, was the repository of the Renegade Alliance’s most advanced sonic weaponry, and had for aeons been the one place where Renegade Starcruisers could find shelter, succour, sustenance and upgrades to their sonic capabilities. Actually, the ‘one place’ was something of a misnomer, as the Where? Magazine was able to exist in several locations simultaneously, due to the cunning application of wormhole theory by its co-creators. The Galactic Council had searched for it through long ages and had never even come near to discovering its whereabouts; until now, perhaps?
Captain Lou couldn’t entertain such thoughts. She had to hold on to the belief that the Where? Magazine was still out there somewhere and that it had temporarily gone off-grid for reasons known only to itself. It would turn up somewhere, wouldn’t it? She regarded the other Leconauts, arrayed around her in the Astral Bard’s favourite place, the Room of Manuscripts, deep in the bowels of the Leco.
The Astral Bard broke the silence; “perhaps we need to consult with Shaman Hood of the Hawk? I’m sure he would have something to say about this situation.” “I’m sure he would”, answered the Captain, “but he is currently with Young Syd observing C-beams at the Tannhauser Gate. I don’t think he would take kindly to being interrupted.”
“I’m not so sure”, replied the Bard. “I think he would be discomfited if we didn’t give him the opportunity to become involved.” Then the Bombardier spoke; “What about Sir Paul, son of Jack? He would be the logical choice to approach first, wouldn’t he? I’m sure he was involved in the design of the Where? Magazine, wasn’t he? We could use our time-travelling capabilities and go and find him. Didn’t he live just outside Kardomah City?” The other Leconauts regarded their crewmate in awed silence. The Bombardier had casually uttered these seemingly innocuous remarks as if it were nothing more than a comment upon the state of the space-weather. In actual fact, it was an idea of brilliance, which had not occurred to anyone else.
“Yes, indeed!”, answered the Sonic Architect. “I’m definitely up for some time travel! It’s been a while since we’ve ventured forth to confront the Laws of Physics and turn them on their head!”
“Right-o!”, said Captain Lou. “That’s what we’ll do! We’ll travel back in time to the Age of Legends and pay a visit to Sir Paul son of Jack!” With that the Vistascreen crackled into life and the head of Admiral Bunting appeared. “All hail the Leconauts!”, he exclaimed, giving the Renegade Alliance salute as he spoke. “All hail Admiral Bunting!”, replied the four Leconauts in unison.
“I’ve been thinking” said the wily spacedog. “How about paying a visit to Sir Paul…” “son of Jack? Yes, we were just discussing that very thing!” replied the Astral Bard, mischief in his eye. The Admiral turned a muted shade of puce. They’d done it again! Always, one step ahead……!
……Later, even deeper in the bowels of the Leco, in the Edifice of Song, the Leconauts took their positions at their Sonic Stations and prepared to launch into the aether the ritual that would send them back in time. The Bombardier gave the coded signal and the Sonic Architect uttered the invocation “one, two, three, four”. The Leconauts each began to input data to their Sonic Interfaces; the Bombardier at the Thunder Machine, Captain Lou at the Subsonic Wave Generation Module, and the Sonic Architect at his Bird of Fire Flangection System. Then, the Astral Bard began to launch his spacechant into the aether; “I’m a Time Traveller, and I will break your heart………”
HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE THREE OF SEASON TWENTY-FIVE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH THE LECONAUTS ONCE AGAIN FIND THEMSELVES IN THE AGE OF LEGENDS! BUT JUST WHAT IS ADMIRAL BUNTING UP TO……?!!!
The Leconauts stood together in the shadows. They were back in Kardomah City on Terra Gaia, the insignificant planet which had played such a significant part in their continuing adventures. It seemed that they were forever to be drawn back to this primitive world with its warlike inhabitants who had still so much to learn about existing in harmony as part of a greater whole. Now they were trying very hard not to be seen by any of the natives, as they had just come through the time vortex and needed to compose themselves before interacting with anyone.
“Now we need to find Sir Paul, son of Jack!”, stated Captain Lou. The Astral Bard smiled, mischief in his eyes. “According to my research he was a prophet and lived in the Temple of Adelphi. It was dedicated to Euterpe.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” enquired the Bombardier, somewhat testily. “Euterpe is one of the Muses in ancient mythology. She is associated with music.” “What’s music?”, asked the Bombardier. “It’s what spacechanting used to be called in the Age of Legends”, answered the Bard, patiently. “So, the Adelphi is a temple to spacechanting?!” said the Bombardier. “Yes”, replied the Bard, evidently pleased. “Well, why didn’t you say so?! Let’s go and find the place…..!”
…..Admiral Bunting sat on the porch of his log cabin on Svalbard, his eyes closed and a broad smile on his face. Now the Leconauts were off on an adventure he could afford a little relaxation. They wouldn’t be pestering him for a septalog or two………With that, the clouds parted and a large clap of thunder announced the arrival of visitors. The Admiral strained his eyes to see if he could identify his guests. He spotted a tiny speck in the north-eastern quadrant. It grew larger until he could make it out. Eventually, he realised it was Shaman Hood of the Hawk, sitting astride Magnu with Young Syd riding shotgun……..
……The Leconauts proceeded carefully through the streets of Kardomah City, at once trying not to be too conspicuous but also to not push it too far. The Sonic Architect wasn’t sure if they were succeeding or not. “It must be around here somewhere”, he said, trying not to alert his crewmates to the fact that he wasn’t entirely sure they were anywhere near their destination. “I’m sure we’re close”, said the Astral Bard, but he didn’t sound entirely convincing. They approached a piece of waste ground; the Sonic Architect mentally noted that it looked as if it has sustained a heavy flangector attack. “This is it!”, exclaimed Captain Lou. They were standing in front of an ancient edifice, as nondescript as it was old. There was a curious symbol mounted on the wall. The Leconauts all regarded it but could not work out if it held any significance…….
…..Shaman Hood of the Hawk was pouring a libation from his fabled earthenware jug into Admiral Bunting’s hunting horn. The Admiral had a slightly glazed look in his eye and seemed to sway almost imperceptibly. The wily Shaman regarded him quizzically. Young Syd looked on, seemingly uninterested, but actually taking in everything.
“You were saying….!”, said the Shaman, pausing to encourage loquacity in the Admiral. “Yes, I was, wasn’t I?!” The Admiral paused, then giggled hysterically. The Shaman didn’t react, but merely continued to fix the hapless spacedog with his gaze. “Hobgoblin!”, exclaimed the Admiral. “And all the little nibbly things! Prick him with a fork!” He then guffawed uncontrollably until stopped by the fact that his lungs were empty of air. The Shaman looked at Young Syd. “I think we may be in for a long night!”, he said………
…….The Astral Bard knocked at the door. For several sextagrains nothing happened. The Sonic Architect was just about to protest at the delay when a muffled sound came from inside the crumbling edifice. The door swung open and a tousled-headed face appeared, wearing a strange item of headgear and curious glass circles in front of the eyes. Captain Lou was just about to announce her party with the fanciful aliases they had adopted, but the figure forestalled her by saying “Ah, the Leconauts! Come in! I’ve been expecting you…….!”
IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE FOUR OF SEASON TWENTY-FIVE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH OUR HEROES MEET A HERO OF THE PAST WHO APPEARS TO KNOW OF THE FUTURE…….!
Sir Paul son of Jack beckoned the Leconauts in to the Temple of Adelphi. The four space renegades entered into a dimly-lit space which seemed unbelievably cramped and were ushered by Sir Paul into an inner chamber, in the centre of which stood a large table covered in green cloth. The Sonic Architect noted that there were string pockets at each corner and also in the middle of each of the longer sides. “A strange object!” he mused to himself; “perhaps sustenance is piped up through these indentations?!” They stood around the green table and Sir Paul regarded them quizzically, a faint smile playing upon his lips. Then he did a strange thing; he put a small cylindrical paper object into his mouth and set fire to it! The room was immediately filled with a foul-smelling and noxious stench which set the Sonic Architect coughing. Sir Paul muttered something unintelligible and actually seemed to be breathing in the acrid fumes in a quite deliberate fashion! He had almost disappeared in a cloud of blue-grey smoke.
“You were expecting us?”, said Captain Lou, aware that her eyes had started to smart. “Yes, I was”, said Sir Paul, matter-of-factly. “I have my own sources of….intelligence. I believe you are looking for the Where? Magazine?” “Yes, we are, but how could you know that?!” asked the Captain, with not a small measure of exasperation.
“Perhaps you think you invented time travel?!”, said Sir Paul, in, it had to be said, a faintly mocking tone. “It’s been around far longer than you may think!”
“Yes, I’m sure”, said the Astral Bard. “And when people began to travel back in time they would obviously come across people who were capable of divining their secret. And perhaps they shared their knowledge with these primitives?” Sir Paul winced at the use of the word “primitives”. “Typical”, he said. “The automatic assumption that the peoples of the past are somehow intellectually inferior. Let me tell you, some of the finest minds which ever existed had dropped the body long before mankind had even learned the secret of flight!”
The Astral Bard was momentarily lost for words; a situation which was indeed rare. “I, er….” “And furthermore”, continued Sir Paul, “some of those minds developed the ability to project themselves forward in time without a body, and then cause themselves to be born again, sometimes thousands of years after they had originally lived!” “What are ‘years’”, whispered the Bombardier to the Astral Bard. “Tridecamoons” whispered the Bard.
Captain Lou was sensing that Sir Paul was trying to tell them something without actually saying it. “And perhaps some of those minds were born again in this time, Sir Paul?”, she posited. “Entirely possible” answered Sir Paul, curtly. Then he added “and probable, in fact.” Captain Lou began to understand.
“Would you know where we could find Lord Tim of Joseph?”, she asked, innocently. “Lord Tim?!”, exclaimed Sir Paul, emphasising the word ‘Lord’. “My my, he’s gone up in the world! I hope I won’t have to genuflect to him. Perhaps he could have me thrown into the tower!” Sir Paul spoke the last sentence to himself. “What’s going on?!”, whispered the Bombardier to the Astral Bard. “This man is clearly off his mod!” “Steady”, replied the Astral Bard. “Just let the Captain handle it!”
“Yes, I think I can put you in touch with ‘Lord’ Tim!”, said Sir Paul. He then picked up a small device, pressed some buttons and held it to his ear. He applied a fire-stick to the small object which had remained glued to his lip and was again engulfed in a noxious fug. He then began to speak into the small device he held at his ear! “Ah, Lord Tim!”, he said, once more emphasising the word ‘Lord’. “There are some people here who would like to speak to you. Can you get round? You can?! Good, good. Ten minutes?! Excellent!” “What are minutes?”, whispered the Bombardier. “Sextagrains”, the Bard whispered back. “He’s on his way”, said Sir Paul. “Pool?”, he said, indicating the green table. “You have a pool?!” said the Sonic Architect. Sir Paul looked blankly at him for a few quantabits, then suddenly laughed loudly. He slapped the Sonic Architect on the back. “You and I are going to get along just fine”, he said.
HOITY-TOITY! IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE FIVE OF SEASON TWENTY-FIVE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH THE PAST AND THE FUTURE BECOME INTERTWINED IN A POTENTIALLY CONFUSING MANNER…….!
There was a knock at the door. Sir Paul son of Jack stood up, sighed, and approached the primitive portal, the only tangible object between his living space and the outside world. He opened the door and the Leconauts heard him say “come in!” He returned to the room, followed by a Terra Gaian who wore a beaming smile on his face. “Leconauts”, said Sir Paul, and then with an extravagant flourish, “may I present Lord Tim of Joseph!” Again, he put particular emphasis on the word ‘lord’. Lord Tim stood forward, regarded all four Leconauts and said “how lovely to see you! I feel like I know you all!” The Sonic Architect was looking at Lord Tim with something akin to amazement. “But I know you! I mean, I really do know you! You work in the Experimental Section at the Institute of Cybernautics in Parsonia!”
“Indeed I do!”, replied Lord Tim, “one of the many positions I hold, for my sins!” “But how, who, why……?!”, said the Astral Bard. Captain Lou dug him in the ribs. “I do get about a bit, don’t I?!”, said Lord Tim. “It started about, ooh three weeks from now”. “What’s a week?”, whispered the Bombardier in the Astral Bard’s ear. “A septalog!”, replied the Bard. Sir Paul arched an eyebrow. “And he doesn’t mean three weeks in the past, either”, he said. “You mean…”, said the Captain. “Yes, I do mean!”, answered Sir Paul.
Lord Tim continued; “Three weeks, or septalogs, if you prefer, from now, I come and see you perform in this very Temple. This causes me to put into practice certain – ideas – which I have been formulating for some time. In short, I invent the Where? Magazine and uncover the secret of time travel!” “But how, who, why……?!”, said the Astral Bard. Captain Lou resisted the temptation to dig him in the ribs again and said “aah, yes, I see. We come to the Temple of Adelphi from our future, but you come to it from further on in your future!” “Correct!”, exclaimed Lord Tim, “and that is in fact our first meeting! And hearing you launch your spacechant into the aether gives me the missing information which I needed. I create the Where? Magazine after I travel forward in time, meet Admiral Bunting and Lord Ron of the Hale, and become involved in protecting the security of the Renegade Alliance!”
“But something goes wrong”, said the Bombardier. “Otherwise we wouldn’t be here now!” “Correct again!”, exclaimed Lord Tim. “The Galactic Council have been, or perhaps I should say will be, looking for the Where? Magazine for many solar revolutions. They have an agent who has, or perhaps I should say who will, stumble inadvertently on information which prejudices the security of the Where? Magazine.” “Don’t tell me, and our job is to eliminate this agent!”, said the Bombardier, unconsciously flexing his considerable muscles.
“Actually, no!”, said Lord Tim. “Your job is to evade this agent, and arrive here safely three septalogs from now to launch your spacechants into the aether!” “And what about this mysterious agent; who is s/he?, asked the Sonic Architect.
“His name is Pootin” answered Lord Tim, “but you can leave him to me.” “I know that name!”, said the Bard. “There’s a deep space quadrant named after him!” “Indeed there is!”, said Lord Tim. “He is a descendent of a cub reporter named Tintin! A nasty piece of work and no mistake. Sir Paul and I have a little surprise waiting for him; oh yes!” Sir Paul smiled, but it actually was more of a snarl, thought the Sonic Architect.
“So there we have it!”, said Lord Tim. “Present yourselves here three weeks hence and all shall be well!” “Fair enough!”, said the Bombardier, “should be a doddle!” Lord Tim smiled, “I admire your confidence, Bombardier Burnby. But you must take care. The forces of darkness are arrayed against you!” The Leconauts all shifted uneasily; Captain Lou broke the silence. “And what form may these forces take?”
“Blancmanges!” said Lord Tim…………..
HOT DIGGETY! HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE SIX OF SEASON TWENTY-FIVE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH OUR HEROES HEAR A TALE SO OUTLANDISH THAT THEY CAN SCARCE BELIEVE THEIR EARS……..!
Shaman Hood of the Hawk and Young Syd carried the prostrate form of Admiral Bunting down a corridor on the Rebel Alliance Starcruiser the Levitation. “He’s not exactly a featherweight, is he?!”, remarked Young Syd. The Shaman smiled. “Agreed!”, he said. “I’m sorry that it was necessary to incapacitate him in such a way, but the success of the plan depends upon him being entirely unaware of its details!” “And what plan would that be?!”, asked Young Syd, already conversant with the answer. “I’m afraid I can’t…” “…divulge any details; yes, it was a rhetorical question!”, answered Young Syd. They reached the sleeping quarters of the Starcruiser and carefully laid the Admiral on his side in a spacious bunk. Shaman Hood drew a cover over the comatose spacedog, and they withdrew. “I should think he’ll come round in a few sextasets, by which time we’ll be safely on our way.” Young Syd resisted the temptation to ask “on our way to where, exactly………..?!”
“…….Blancmanges?!” said the Bombardier. “Oh no, not the blancmanges!” “Yes”, answered Captain Lou. “Tricky to deal with; slippery creatures at the best of times. Much less transparent than jellies!” The Sonic Architect regarded his two crewmates, not entirely sure that his ears were not playing tricks on him. “Do we have…..knowledge of such beings?!”, he asked. “Of course not!”, replied the Bombardier. “I fear Lord Tim is amusing himself at our expense!” “I fear not”, interjected the Astral Bard. “There is a well-documented incident involving blancmanges and Terra Gaia!” The Bombardier turned to the Bard and stood, legs apart and hands, balled into fists, planted firmly on his hips. “Go on!”, he said, flatly. “Well”, said the Bard, clearly relishing the opportunity to impart another obscure episode of Terra Gaian history, “the Blancmanges came from the planet Skyron, in the Andromeda Galaxy and began eating people. Not just any people, however; they were particularly interested in people who could play an ancient game called tennis.” “What’s a game?” asked the Bombardier. “It’s an archaic form of warfare”, answered the Bard, “particularly popular with primitive societies such as the one on Terra Gaia at the time.” “I see”, replied the Bombardier. “Pray continue!” “It became clear that the purpose of the invasion was a desire to win Wimbledon, the ultimate battle in the tennis wars. The blancmanges felt that this was the greatest prize the galaxy had to offer. They turned the entire population of Terra Gaia into Scots, who were notoriously bad at tennis, to give themselves the best chance of victory.”
The Sonic Architect, who had hitherto remained silent, now spoke. “So you’re telling us that these blancmanges invaded an entire planet with the sole purpose of winning a sports tournament?!” “Oh yes”, answered the Bard. “The inhabitants of Terra Gaia took sport very seriously. They were the last planet in the quadrant to ban all sport, due to their extreme proclivity for warfare, sport being the infant brother of armed conflict. And its training ground, of course.” “And did the blancmanges from the planet Skyron prevail?” asked the Sonic Architect. Here Lord Tim interjected; “they did!”, he replied. The entire population donned kilts and marched northwards, leaving the tennis arena empty, but for a single Scotsman to defend the honour of the planet!” The Astral Bard then took up the story once more; “but an elderly couple, who had escaped the ray which had turned everyone else into Scotsmen stormed the pitch and, armed only with dessert spoons, ate the blancmange before it could claim the trophy!” “And it was a good job”, continued Lord Tim, “as the trophy was in fact a sophisticated interplanetary beacon. If it had fallen in to the hands of the Skyrons, galactic disaster would have ensued!”
“But what on Gaia does this have to do with us being here in three septalogs’ time?” asked the Sonic Architect. “Because”, answered Lord Tim, “the blancmanges have decided they want another crack at Terra Gaia. They have clearly forgotten about the drubbing which was inflicted upon them last time they tried their hand. Not that a blancmange has hands; anyway – that’s the situation!”
“I can’t see what’s in it for them”, said Captain Lou. “It’s not as if there are any trophies to win, sport having being outlawed throughout the known space-time continuum upon pain of disintegration!” “Yes, you would think so”, replied Lord Tim, “but I’m afraid the Galactic Council have upped the price on your heads to a degree which has rather changed the game for the Skyrons.”
“Really?”, replied the Bombardier. “What are they offering now, all the clotted cream you can fit into the average Starcruiser?!” “No, nothing like that”, replied Lord Tim. They have offered the Skyrons the Venus Rosewater Dish…….!”
HERE WE GO AGAIN! IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE SEVEN OF SEASON TWENTY-FIVE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH OUR HEROES FIND THAT THE BLANCMANGES MEAN BUSINESS…………..!
The Galactic Starcruiser Levitation sped through the deep reaches of space, Shaman Hood of the Hawk at the helm. Young Syd sat in the navigator’s chair. The two renegades were intent on the Vistascreen in front of them, although Young Syd wasn’t sure what they were looking for. Suddenly, the door behind them opened with a ‘whoosh’ and the figure of Admiral Bunting stumbled onto the bridge. He was rubbing his eyes sleepily; Young Syd noted he was wearing a leopard print onesie. “My head hurts…!”, he said, in a very small voice. “Ah, Admiral!”, replied Shaman Hood. “You join us at last! I trust you are well rested?!” “I’m not sure”, replied the hapless spacedog. “Er, where are we?” “We are in the Andromeda Galaxy!”, answered the Shaman, “on our way to the planet Skyron…….!”
……The Leconauts were back on board their Starcruiser, trying to unravel the events and conversations they had had with Lord Tim and Sir Paul. The fact that they were being hunted by galactic blancmanges seemed somehow ludicrous. Captain Lou couldn’t stop herself from smiling, but she knew that the situation was far from funny. They had to present themselves at the Temple of Adelphi and the blancmanges were going to try and prevent them from doing so; that much was certain. “Why don’t we just set co-ordinates and beam ourselves there right now?” said the Sonic Architect. “I don’t want to risk overshooting the date”, replied the Captain. “I’d rather give ourselves some leeway and spend some time lying low on Terra Gaia.” “Do we know if the Skyrons can time travel?” asked the Astral Bard. “And if they can, then does it really matter when we make our move?”
“We have to assume that they can”, replied Captain Lou. “I can’t help feeling that they are being aided in some way; who would want to sell us out to a gang of galactic blancmanges?!” She asked this question almost of herself, but the Astral Bard heard. “Any number of people”, he stated, flatly. “Think about who we’ve upset over the quitons. “Yes”, said the Sonic Architect; “that Marilyn Monroe was livid!” He suddenly turned a deep shade of red and Captain Lou got the distinct feeling that he had inadvertently thought out loud………
…….The Levitation banked steeply and a planet came into view on the Vistascreen. The three space renegades watched as it grew bigger. The Shaman spoke; “there she is, gentlemen! The pink planet; Skyron……..!”
……On the bridge of the Leco the Vistascreen crackled into life and the head of Lord Tim of Joseph appeared. “Calling the Leconauts…..calling the Leconauts…….ca…..”, “All hail Lord Tim!” replied the Captain. “Ah, yes! There you are!”, said Lord Tim. “Not quite sure how to…..can you hear me?!” “Yes, we can hear you!” replied the Captain. “Go ahead!” “Ah, yes, well, it’s like this! Due to unforeseen circumstances we are having to postpone our rendezvous at the Temple of Adelphi. It will now take place on the 24th of July! It is imperative that you are there!” “That’s ok!”, said Captain Lou. We will time travel to this stardate and see you there.” “I’m afraid that won’t be possible!” said Lord Tim. “This date is a fixed point in time and can only be approached in one way. You will have to travel to the temple known as Stonehenge and we will bring you in!” Stonehenge; the Leconauts had been there before, remembered Captain Lou. “Very well!”, she replied. “We will set co-ordinates and head there immediately!” “Excellent!”, said Lord Tim. “Er, over and out!”
Captain Lou cleared the Vistascreen which defaulted to exterior vision. Stars careened past. She began to issue orders but suddenly the light on the bridge changed quality. She turned to the Vistascreen which had changed colour. It no longer showed the panoply of stars, but had instead turned a vivid shade of pink…….
“Ventral scanner!” she cried. The Vistascreen changed to a view of the ship’s external surfaces, which were being impacted by exploding pink blobs……
“Oh, my Jimi!”, exclaimed the Astral Bard. “Kamikaze blancmanges……….!”
LAWKS A MUSSY! IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE EIGHT OF SEASON TWENTY-FIVE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH OUR HEROES GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH DESSERT……!
The Renegade Alliance Starcruiser the Levitation was orbiting the pink planet, Skyron. Shaman Hood of the Hawk had activated the ship’s cloaking device so the ship was safe from prying eyes. Young Syd glanced sideways at his enigmatic companion. Beyond the Shaman sat Admiral Bunting, now, thankfully, dressed in his regulation Renegade Alliance uniform and not the leopard-print onesie which he’d been sporting only a few sextasets ago.
Young Syd was itching to ask a question, but wasn’t quite sure how best to frame it. Eventually, he just decided to go for it. “Er, why are we here?!”, he asked, innocently. “We’re waiting for some guests to arrive”, answered the Shaman. “Ok”, said Young Syd. “Er, anyone I know?” “You may have heard of them. They are featured in some very ancient spacechants, launched in the Age of Legends by the Lords of the Hawk!” The Lords of the Hawk; a mythical band of spacefreaks and misfits whose exploits formed the basis of many a hoary old folk-tale. “If my calculations are correct, one of these spacechants is due to pass by this very point in, oh, a few sextagrains from now!” After a short silence, during which the Shaman repeatedly consulted a strange object which was strapped around his left wrist, he cried “Capture! Magnify! Transmit!” Young Syd heard a segment of spacechant, tantalisingly close to his head, which seemed to fade, then grow in intensity. He caught a snatch of Terra Gain speech; “onward crunching, munching men! Star Cannibal has come again………!”
………Captain Lou’s mind raced; “Shields!”, she cried. Her crew were frantically darting around the bridge, pushing buttons, turning levers, intoning code. The muted sounds of blancmanges impacting the hull of the ship were growing ever more frequent. “Sablestar drive!”, she cried. The Sonic Architect threw a switch and turned a dial up to eleven. The ship’s motion sensor compensatory gimbals took a couple of quantabits to kick in, during which time the Sonic Architect felt his stomach lurch. Then, the ship seemed to leave the attack zone behind. “Steady as she goes!”, ordered the Captain, and the ship came to a halt. “Phew!”, said the Astral Bard, “those blancmanges meant business! I’m afraid the hull will be in a bit of a state!” “We’ll sort that out later”, said the Captain. “Right now I want to get to Stonehenge before those blancmanges figure out where we’ve gone……..!”
…….Young Syd saw a plasma wave emanate from the Levitation and completely enclose the pink planet. It shimmered slightly, then seemed to explode out in all directions simultaneously. He again heard the spectral strains of the ancient spacechant as it was magnified and sent out to the four corners of the quadrant. A shock wave rocked the Levitation as the spacechant sped by. “Now we wait!”, said the Shaman……….Young Syd opened his eyes. Admiral Bunting was asleep, snoring gently, his chin on his chest. The Shaman was alert, eyes closed but all his other senses working overtime. He opened his eyes. “Here they come!”, he said. Then, a monstrous parade of gigantic misshapen monstrosities appeared from every direction, wheeling madly toward the pink planet below. The surface of the globe seemed to writhe in a most unsavoury fashion, then began to change colour to a deep red, then to an ashen grey. The shaman spoke; “Star Cannibal has come again…..!”
……Captain Lou and her Leconauts stood in the centre of the circle of giant monoliths known as Stonehenge. She was thinking of their previous adventures here, when the sun rose and shot its fiery beams into their midst. The world seemed to lurch, then twist, and then stabilise. “Hello again!”, said a familiar voice. “Lord Tim!”, exclaimed the Captain. “Am I glad to see you!” But then, a curious thing happened. Lord Tim seemed to go fuzzy around the edges and a belt of static electricity sizzled in the air which then made a strange ‘popping’ sound. Captain Lou blinked. In the exact spot where Lord Tim had stood only quantabits before, there now stood a large pink blancmange……..!
IT’S TIME FOR EPISODE NINE (A FINALE OF SORTS!) OF SEASON TWENTY-FIVE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! WILL OUR HEROES ESCAPE THE CLUTCHES OF THE KILLER BLANCMANGE? READ ON………!
……..The blancmange wobbled in a sinister and disquieting fashion as it moved slowly but purposefully towards Captain Lou. For a moment time seemed to stand still and not one of the Leconauts was able to move. The blancmange made a terrible sucking sound as an orifice appeared then disappeared in its frontal aspect. As if in a dream Captain Lou realised that the thing was chuckling! Then, the spell broke as Bombardier Burnby cried “No!”, and hurled himself head first into the advancing pudding. The foul creature greedily gobbled him up and the sight of his feet thrashing wildly was imprinted forever on Captain Lou’s cortex. Then, his head appeared from the side of the wretched thing and he gasped for air before being swallowed again. The Leconauts all looked at each other in a frenzy of indecision. “What shall we do?!”, cried the Astral Bard. But then the Sonic Architect stepped forward. Captain Lou noticed he was wearing a plastic backpack to which was attached a tube and some kind of metal lance. There was a handle on the side of the backpack which the Sonic Architect was pumping vigorously. Liquid shot from the tip of the lance, spraying the blancmange, which began to writhe as if in mortal agony. Then, it began to break apart and the globs of pink milky matter fell aside to reveal the Bombardier. He was clearly in a bad way.
Then, with a familiar ‘pop’ which was the indicator of the imminent arrival of a time traveller, Lord Tim of Joseph appeared. “Are you a blancmange?!”, cried Captain Lou. “Why, of course not?!”, answered the smiling Lord Tim. “How can we trust him?!”, cried the Astral Bard. “I know you all!”, answered Lord Tim, “and I did warn you that the blancmanges would seek to avert our rendezvous.” The Sonic Architect lowered his lance and Lord Tim stepped forward. “Come”, he said, “there is no time to lose!” He looked at the prostrate Bombardier. Captain Lou could see the mental process he was inwardly debating. “Go on without me!”, said the Bombardier, evidently divining the negotiation taking place in the mind of Lord Tim. “I’ll only slow you down!” Lord Tim looked questioningly at Captain Lou. “No way!”, she declared. “We’re not going anywhere without you! You’re a Leconaut! Now, on your feet, soldier!” With that, the Bombardier took a deep breath and, using every ounce of his remaining strength, rolled onto his front and brought his knees together. He then pushed himself into a sitting position. The Sonic Architect and the Astral Bard both extended arms, and the Bombardier gripped each one, and, with a final superhuman effort, brought himself to a standing position. “Thanks, guys!”, he muttered.
“That’s more like it!”, said the Captain. “Now, we have business to attend to! Into the circle…….!” All four Leconauts felt the familiar pull in the pit of the stomach which presaged time travel. The purple shaft gave way to the Tasmanian Treehouse, then the steam-heated living-room of the warm teenage tangerine, and suddenly they were in the familiar surroundings of the Temple of Adelphi. Sir Paul stood, leaning nonchalantly on the bar. “What kept you?!”, he said. “We had a little problem with dessert!”, answered Captain Lou. They looked around. “Where’s Lord Tim?!”, asked the Bard. “My guess”, replied the Sonic Architect, “is that we won’t see him again until the day of the Festival of Spacechants, when he will have the idea to invent the Where? Magazine……….!” Sir Paul smiled, but said nothing. “Pootin!”, exclaimed Captain Lou, suddenly. “We didn’t encounter him, did we?! Lord Tim said he would take care of him!”
“Actually, we did encounter him!”, said the Bombardier, gravely. “He was the blancmange!” Hushed silence fell. “When I was being swallowed by him, his mind and mine connected briefly!” He shuddered at the memory. “His sole intent was to stop us from rendezvousing with Lord Tim, but he failed. And that drove him completely crazy.” “Ah, that would be my patented Swarfega Blancmange Inhibitor!”, declared the Sonic Architect. “No”, replied the Bombardier. “It wasn’t that; in fact, it had virtually no effect on him whatsoever. It was the fact that I resisted his will and when he realised he wouldn’t prevail, he destroyed himself!”
Suddenly, the door was flung open and into the room ran Young Syd and Shaman Hood of the Hawk! The Shaman spoke; “you haven’t by any chance seen any……blancmanges, have you……..?!”
IT’S TIME FOR THE POSTSCRIPT OF SEASON TWENTY-FIVE OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH SOME LOOSE ENDS ARE TIED TOGETHER!
And so it came to pass that the Blancmanges from the planet Skyron in the Andromeda Galaxy were vanquished by a combination of steely grit and overwhelming firepower. The Leconauts did present themselves at the Temple of Adelphi at the appointed time, Lord Tim of Joseph was there to witness the launching of their spacechants into the aether and the idea to build the Where? Magazine occurred to him.
The Astral Bard sidled up to Shaman Hood of the Hawk; “one thing is bothering me!”, he said. The Shaman regarded him quizzically; “Oh yes?” “Yes, there is talk of you – kidnapping an admiral of the fleet – leopard-print onesies may have been mentioned…….?”
The Shaman smiled. “I had to act fast. I had intelligence that the blancmanges intended to take the Admiral and hold him to ransom. They would have used him to get closer to you and your crew. I couldn’t let that happen. So I had to get him out of the way quickly!” “Ah, I see!”, answered the Bard. “So why dress him in a leopard-print onesie?” The Shaman smiled again; “that’s what he was wearing when Young Syd and I paid our call on him. There wasn’t time to think about such things. I rendered him….compliant and we executed our plan……!”
The Sonic Architect sidled up to the Bombardier. “One thing is troubling me”, he said. “What was it like being swallowed by a blancmange?!” “Oh, you know, it wasn’t too bad!”, replied the Bombardier. “Apart from the smell of vodka. I’m just thankful we weren’t attacked by haggises………!”
Young Syd slung his backpack onto a table and unfastened its clasps. As he was reaching into it for his image-capturing device Sir Paul son of Jack approached him. Something inside the backpack glinted as the flashing lights bounced off its surface. “What have you got there?!” asked Sir Paul. “Er, nothing, really!”, answered Young Syd. “Let’s have a look!”, said Sir Paul, and stuck his hand into the voluminous bag. As he withdrew his hand all could see a large ornate silver plate. “What’s this?”, muttered Sir Paul. “What does this say – the Venus Rosewater Dish……..?”
Captain Lou found a quiet corner and looked at her portable sensor. She entered a set of code numbers and pressed ‘locate’. And there it was……the future had been reset, and the Where? Magazine was out there, ready to supply the Renegade Alliance with all it needed to stave off the unwelcome attention of the scum of the universe. She smiled and returned to the throng of witches, warlocks, druids, thanes, heavy metal kids and flower children. She located her crew and said “come on – it’s time to find our next adventure………!”
Later, safely back on their home ground in the distant future, the Leconauts were going about their business as normal. The Sonic Architect decided to pay a visit to Experimental Section at the Institute of Cybernautics in Parsonia. He strolled casually around the busy department and stopped at the workstation of a young man who was clearly on his lunch break. He was eating pink blancmange from a small plastic carton. “Hello”, said the Sonic Architect. “It’s Tim, isn’t it?” “Yes”, smiled Tim. “And you are the Sonic Architect! Your exploits are legendary. Vanquishing invading forces, launching spacechants into the aether, travelling through time. I’d love to be able to travel through time!” The Sonic Architect noted a twinkle in Tim’s eye as he spoke the last sentence…………
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