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 29 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.
STIG O’TRACY! HERE WE GO WITH ANOTHER ADVENTURE IN THE COSMIC AETHER WITH OUR HEROES, THE LECONAUTS! WHAT’S AFOOT, I HEAR YOU ASK? READ ON…….!!!
“This is serious!”, said Shaman Hood of the Hawk. He was not a man given to exaggeration so Admiral Bunting realised that the situation was indeed, very serious. About, in fact, as serious as a situation could get.
“What can we do?”, asked the Admiral, knowing already what the substance of the Shaman’s reply would be. “We will have to send in the Leconauts! I can’t imagine they’ll be very happy. We’ve interrupted their last two rounds of shore leave and asked the impossible of them. I wouldn’t blame them if they told us to find someone else.” The Admiral smiled and nodded, whilst simultaneously thinking “there IS no-one else!” The special skills which the Leconauts possessed made them the go-to crew when the Renegade Alliance came under threat, something which seemed to be a regular occurrence these days.
“What do we know about the situation?”, enquired the Admiral. “The House of Hammond has been a renegade outpost for several quitons. It serves as a waystation between What Has Been and What Is To Come. It is, in fact, a temporal fulcrum, upon which forces of cosmic importance are finely balanced. If the inhabitants of Terra Gaia allow it to fall into disrepair then who knows what may transpire. The Galactic Council would love to see the House of Hammond fail. They have been trying to disrupt its operation since the Age of Legends and you can be sure that having gained the capability of time travel they will be trying their damndest to exploit any weaknesses in its integrity. At any point in the past, present or future!”
Terra Gaia; there it was again. The small, insignificant planet in the Melkweg system which seemed, like a magnet, to repeatedly draw the Renegade Alliance into its eager embrace. “Very well!”, said the Admiral. “I’ll contact the Leconauts and give them their orders…….!”
…….The Leconauts were on the Holodeck, deep down in the bowels of the Leco. They were enjoying their shore leave in the traditional manner; in other words, not on shore at all, but embedded within a virtual reality simulation which was almost as good as the real thing, but infinitely safer.
Captain Lou flew towards the purple glow on the horizon. Her six legs hung below her and as she shifted several grains of pollen detached themselves and dispersed upon the slipstream. The Astral Bard drew alongside her. “Bzzz!”, he said. “Bzzz”, replied the Captain. She turned her head slightly so that her compound eye could discern the Sonic Architect and Bombardier Burnby, who were flying slightly behind. She gesticulated with one of her forelegs. “Bzzz!”, said the Sonic Architect. “Bzzz”, agreed the Bombardier. They flew on……..
……”I can’t seem to raise the Leconauts!”, said the Admiral, looking somewhat perplexed. “Curious!”, smiled the Shaman. “Any ideas?” “They must have gone off grid!”, muttered the Admiral. “There’s no time to waste. I’ll have to deploy another crew!” “Who do you have in mind?”, enquired the Shaman. “Sir Jasper of Bolt-on and the Last Bastions of Bohemia!” replied the Admiral. The Shaman smiled and nodded. “Yes, they should fit the bill!” The Admiral activated the Vistascreen and cried “All hail Sir Jasper of Bolt-on!” The screen crackled into life and a tousle-haired head appeared. “Oh, it’s you!”, exclaimed Sir Jasper, for ‘twas he, “What do you want??!!”
GLORIA PULES! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE LECONAUTS?! AND DOES SIR JASPER HAVE ANY CAUSE TO BE SO RUDE TO ADMIRAL BUNTING? HERE’S EPISODE TWO OF SEASON THIRTY (YES, THIRTY!) OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! READ ON …….!
Admiral Bunting was momentarily put off his stroke by the brusqueness of Sir Jasper’s reply, but regained his composure almost immediately. “Is that an appropriate way to address a senior officer?”, he barked, in his most imperious tone of voice. “Perhaps not”, replied Sir Jasper laconically, showing only the most miniscule signs of contrition, “and it’s probably because I hold you responsible for bringing me back to this Vale of Tears when I was quite happily ensconced in the Dream World.” “Well, yes”, began the Admiral, and mumbled several platitudes which contained phrases such as “the greater good” and “the needs of the many”.
“Anyway”, he continued, “I have a mission for you and the Last Bastions” “Oh yes?”, replied Sir Jasper languorously, “unless it involves drinking spacejuice from the slippers of prima ballerinas and being fed grapes by Spanish courtesans I’m not interested!” He moved forwards as if to leave his station, a most insubordinate action even within the ranks of the Renegade Alliance, but the Admiral forestalled him by exclaiming “It involves Terra Gaia!” Sir Jasper sat back down and smiled, saying “Tell me more……..!”
…….The Leconauts flew on. The purple glow which they had been approaching for several sextasets was now a huge swathe of vivid colour, stretching for several Davises in each lateral direction. “Bzzz!”, said Captain Lou and the three other Leconauts responded with enthusiastic “Bzzzzs” of their own. The Captain lowered her head and began a steep descent, followed by her crew………
……“You may have heard of the House of Hammond?!”, ventured the Admiral. “Go on”, answered Sir Jasper, playing his cards very close to his chest. “We have reason to believe that the Galactic Council has become convinced that the House is vulnerable enough for them to mount a successful assault. The inhabitants of Terra Gaia have let the House fall into disrepair.” “Peasants!”, muttered Sir Jasper, darkly. “Ahem!”, said the Admiral. “We need a crew to travel to the House and secure it, and you were my first choice.” The Admiral’s cheeks began to suffuse with colour. Sir Jasper noted this and smiled. “You mean you asked the Leconauts and they said “no”. The Admiral’s face turned positively beetroot red. He wasn’t a good johnson. “As a matter of fact”, he continued, “we haven’t been able to contact them”, immediately regretting being so candid.
“I see”, replied Sir Jasper. Thoughts were revolving in his head. They quickly gained speed and substance. There was an entrance to the Dream World very close to the House of Hammond. Perhaps………. “I will accept your mission!”, he cried. “When do we leave?”……….
As the Leconauts descended the whole world turned purple. A heady perfume rushed up to meet them. They crashed down into the endless fields of lavender and began feasting on the delicious nectar contained within the profusion of delicate flowers. “Bzzz!”, cried the Captain. “Bzzz!”, answered the Astral Bard. “Bzzz”, agreed the Bombardier. “Bzzz!” said the Sonic Architect.
“Bzzz! Bzzzzz! Bzzzzzz! BZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!…….”
LUIGI VERCOTTI! HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE THREE OF SEASON THIRTY OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IN WHICH SIR JASPER TAKES THE LAST BASTIONS ON A MISSION – OR DOES HE? AND THE LECONAUTS ARE SAFELY BACK FROM SHORE LEAVE – OR ARE THEY? READ ON……..!!!
Sir Jasper of Bolt-on smiled. Broadly. Then the smile turned into a chuckle. Then, a chortle, and finally a big belly laugh. His bemused crew glanced surreptitiously at him, wondering if anything was amiss. But Helly said, “don’t worry – I’ll get to the bottom of it.” Shaun, Thomo and Mr Pymm backed away as Helly took her seat next to her ship’s Captain. “How long before we reach Terra Gaia?”, she asked. “Oh, a couple of bidodecabits, I should think!”, replied Sir Jasper. “And we’re heading for….?” “Kardomah City”, came the reply. He turned to Helly and spoke again, this time in a more personal tone. “You liked it in the Dream World, didn’t you?” “I did!”, she replied, smiling almost wistfully. “How would you like to go back there?, he enquired. She shot him a sideways glance and replied, “I should like very much to go back there, but we are on a mission, aren’t we?” “Pffft!”, snorted Sir Jasper. “Some mission; almost certainly fraught with an inordinate level of danger and serving no purpose other than to magnify the legend and legacy of old Bunting!” Helly arched an eyebrow and regarded her Captain. “That’s a rather cynical view”, she stated. “Life has made me cynical!”, retorted Sir Jasper. “And I don’t see anything on the horizon which will lead me to reassess that view.” Apart from the entrance to the Dream World almost next door to the House of Hammond, he added to himself……….
……..The Leconauts were flying back from the lavender fields of Terrington to the point at which they could exit the holodeck and report back for duty. As the landing pad drew nearer Captain Lou turned her head and regarded her crew. They were drunk on nectar, weighed down with pollen and giddy from the buffeting of the warm breeze. “Bzzz!”, she said. “Bzzzz!”, they all agreed…….
…….Shaman Hood and Admiral Bunting were sitting with Young Syd in his tepee on the banks of the Colorado river. The air was heavy and heady with the powerful aroma of incense. “The Last Bastions should be well on their way by now”, said the Admiral. The Shaman nodded in agreement. “A couple of bidodecamoons at most”, he added. Young Syd nodded and smiled but at the same time wondered to himself “where do I come into all this?” The only answers he could come up with were less than satisfactory. Just then the Shaman looked at him and said “I guess you are wondering why we decided to pay you a visit at this time?” Young Syd tried to not let alarm register upon his visage. It was as if the Shaman had read his mind. “We are not entirely convinced that sir Jasper intends to carry out his mission”, said the Admiral. “And we hoped that you may be willing to undertake a diplomatic intervention”, added the Shaman. “To convince Sir Jasper of the wisdom of discharging his duty”, said the Admiral. “And not gallivanting off to the Dream World first!” added the Shaman…….
The Leconauts touched down on the landing pad and moved forward towards the exit hatch. As they did so, remarkable transformations took place. Their forms shimmered and shook, creased and creaked, moved and morphed until they each were again walking on one pair of legs, not three. “Aah, that’s good”, said Captain Lou. “Yes, being a bee is great fun, but give me two legs any day of the septalog!”, said the Bard. “That nectar was quite something!”, added the Sonic Architect. “BZZZZ!!!!” said the Bombardier……………
VINCE SNETTERTON-LEWIS! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE BOMBARDIER? WILL YOUNG SYD SUCCEED IN GETTING SIR JASPER BACK ON TO THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW? HOW MUCH WOOD WOULD A WOODCHUCK CHUCK? YOU CAN FIND OUT BY READING EPISODE FOUR OF SEASON THIRTY OF THE LECO CHRONICLES!
The Leconauts stopped in their tracks and turned to face their crewmate, Bombardier Burnby; except this wasn’t Bombardier Burnby. Well, it was, but not as they knew him. This was a gigantic bumblebee which didn’t look best pleased to find itself on a landing pad inside a Starcruiser. What had gone wrong?
“Can you hear me, Bombardier?”, asked Captain Lou. “Bzzzz!”, came the answer. The Leconauts took this as an affirmative, though the Sonic Architect fancied the Bombardier was actually saying something along the lines of “Yes, of course I can hear you!” The Astral Bard raised an eyebrow; his mind was racing. “We’ve never had an issue with the Metamorphosiser before, have we? Is it still under guarantee, I wonder?” “BZZZZZ!”, went the Bombarbee. The Sonic Architect fancied he was saying “Never mind the guarantee – do something useful!!”……….
……..“Putting the Bronte into orbit!”, said Shaun. “Very good!”, replied Sir Jasper. “We’ll stabilise our altitude then beam down in La Boheme!” The crew stood on the Transference Spot, which began to glow. A few quantabits later they stepped out into the launch hold of their shuttle craft, La Boheme. They embarked and prepared to launch. “Hatches, please, Puccini!” cried Sir Jasper. The doors all closed to with a satisfyingly smooth motion and a reassuring clunk. “Kardomah City, please, Puccini!”, said Sir Jasper. The craft rose, moved forward and shot out through the widening gap as the outer doors rolled open………
…….Young Syd took a last look at his tepee, then grabbed onto Shaman Hood’s cloak as Magnu sprang forward. The mighty steed took to the air and picked up speed. Young Syd looked back but his erstwhile home was already just a speck in the distance………
……..“We need to get the Bombardier to the Medical Bay!”, said Captain Lou. “I’m not sure he’ll fit through the doors!”, said the Astral Bard, mischief in his eye. “BZZZZ!!!!”, said the Bombardier……..
……..The Last Bastions of Bohemia walked down the Street of Alfred the Gelder. Sir Jasper suppressed an involuntary shudder. Within a few sextagrains they were standing outside the House of Hammond. It looked deserted; all the doors were locked and it showed no signs of life visible from the exterior. Sir Jasper turned to his crew. “Shaun, Tommo, Mr Pymm; gain ingress and secure the building. Helly, come with me!” The three crewmen disappeared round a corner and Sir Jasper and Helly walked off in the opposite direction. “Where are we going?”, asked Helly. “You’ll see”, said Sir Jasper, smiling mysteriously………..
………“This should be about right!”, said Shaman Hood. He had dropped Young Syd in a quiet backstreet just off the centre of Kardomah City. “Thank you, Shaman”, said Young Syd. “I’ll make my way to the House of Hammond and see what’s happening”. The Shaman smiled. “I don’t think that is where you will find Sir Jasper. There is a coaching inn at the sign of the Twin Trees. I think you may locate him in that vicinity!” Magnu reared on his mighty hind legs, whinnied impressively and sprung into the air. Within a few quantabits the Shaman and his steed were gone………
………“I never knew removing the doors to the Medical Bay would be so easy!”, said the Sonic Architect. “Yes”, agreed the Astral Bard. “I thought it would require a much bigger burst of flangector fire. I suppose we’ll be able to get some new ones from Spacedock!” Meanwhile, the Bombardier had become somewhat agitated. He was revolving rapidly and his posterior was pulsating in a most alarming fashion. “Do you think he’s trying to tell us something?” asked the Bard, innocently. “BZZZZ!” said the Bombardier. “Of course I am!”, said the Bombardier’s voice in the Sonic Architect’s imagination. The Leconauts quickly realised that the Bombardier was stopping every so often, and when he stopped the pulsations of his posterior became more urgent. “Quick!”, cried the Astral Bard. Bring the Scrabble!” Captain Lou rushed out of the Medical Bay and returned in a couple of sextagrains with a green box. “Set the letters of the alphabet out in a circle!”, cried the Bard. “BZZZZ!”, went the Bombardier……….
When the Leconauts had completed this task the Bombardier began rotating then stopping to indicate a particular letter with a vigorous posterior pulsation. The Astral Bard wrote each letter down in turn. Eventually the furious gyrating ceased and the Bombardier crouched, his wings folded and a curiously malign intent emanating from his entire form.
“Well?!”, said Captain Lou. “What does it say?!” The Astral Bard looked up,. “It says ‘When this is over you’re all dead’!”……….
ARTHUR PIRHANA! HERE WE GO WITH EPISODE FIVE OF SEASON THIRTY OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IF YOU ASK ME, THINGS ARE GETTING OUT OF HAND!
Sir Jasper and Helly walked along the wide boulevard known as the Ferens Way, toward the Inn at the Sign of the Twin Trees. However, upon approaching the impressive pile Sir Jasper let out a deep sigh. Helly looked across and saw he was somewhat crestfallen. “What’s the matter?”, she asked. “It’s not the place!”, he replied, “yet this is the location. It should be a ballroom called the Locarno! This is all wrong!”………..
……Young Syd had followed Sir Jasper and Helly at a discreet distance and had bobbed into doorways every so often in an effort to avoid detection. Sir Jasper’s reaction upon reaching the edifice was unexpected. Young Syd wasn’t quite sure what he should do next. So he hunched up one shoulder, twisted his face into a grimace, and shuffled up to the two space travellers. “Impressive, ain’t it?!”, he croaked. Sir Jasper turned and regarded him with undisguised distaste. “Is it?”, he barked. “Ooh arr!”, replied Young Syd. “Fit for a king in there! In fact, I do believe the old king did stay in there once! A long time ago, moind! Before the revolution and all! A bloody business!” “Tell me, yokel; how long has this building been here?!” “Ooh, arr, now, let me see. It weren’t here in the toime o’ the Deltics!” “Who were the Deltics?!”, asked Sir Jasper, moderately impatient. “Not ‘oo; what!”, cried Young Syd. “They were a ‘what’! Foinest locomotive ever produced, by gum!” He spat to add emphasis and depth to his character. Sir Jasper looked visibly taken aback. “So when did it appear?!” asked Sir Jasper, now quite definitely impatient. “Back in the Age of Legends!”, cried Young Syd, adding an ‘a-har’ for extra effect. “And what was here before this monstrous carbuncle?!”, asked Sir Jasper. “Locarno!”, cried Young Syd. “Where the young ladies and gennelmen come t’hear spoicechaants laanched int’the aether!!” He made a mental note to himself to tone down the accent – he thought he may have gone over the top…………
………Captain Lou looked expectantly at the corridor outside the Medical Bay. She heard a “whoosh” as a door slid open, then footsteps approaching. The Astral Bard came into view; alongside him was a young man in a blue overall. He was carrying an impressive-looking tool bag. “In here, is it?”, he asked. “No”, answered the Captain. We need to take the service elevator!” The young man glanced into the Medical Bay as he walked past the open door. Funny; he could have sworn he’d just seen the back end of a massive bumble bee. “I’d better cut back on the lunchtime spacejuice”, he thought to himself.
A sextaset later and the Captain, the Bard and the repair man were on the Holodeck of the Leco. The repair man was looking at the Metamorphosiser whilst stroking his chin and slowly shaking his head. “This is an old one, and no mistake! I haven’t seen an Ovid in tridecamoons! You ought to be upgrading this to a Kafka!” “Yes, yes!”, said the Bard, “but can you get it going?” “Let’s have a look-see! He turned to the Captain. “It’s thirsty work, though, if you know what I mean?!” He winked at the Captain……..
………..“It must be here somewhere!”, said Sir Jasper. He and Helly had entered the Inn at the Sign of the Twin Trees by a side door and were now in the basement. “We need to find a hatch – just like the one we had in Bohemia, remember?!” Helly nodded – she could see the oak-panelled door with the curious symbol in her mind’s eye. She shuddered involuntarily. They proceeded along a corridor. Rows and rows of bottles of spacejuice were stacked in racks on either side. Then, Sir Jasper saw it; “The Sign of Koth!”………….
……..”Quickly, he’ll be coming round in a sextaset!” Captain Lou shot a glance at the repair man, who had seemed to become unconscious after winking at her. She noticed the Bard’s knuckles were grazed…….. “Nearly done!”, said the Bard, and gave the Metamorphosiser another sharp rap with the lump hammer he had found in the repair man’s tool bag. The unit whirred as if in protest………
……..Sir Jasper turned the heavy bronze handle and pushed the door, which swung open easily on well-oiled hinges. Instead of seeing a familiar flight of stone steps leading into stygian depths, however, he merely beheld a man so plain of mien and dress as to be almost invisible. The figure spoke; Do not move! You are under arrest! Resistance is futile………!”
KITTY MALONE! HERE COMES EPISODE SIX OF SEASON THIRTY OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! WILL THE BOMBARBEE BE RESTORED TO HIS RIGHTFUL CORPOREAL FORM? WILL SIR JASPER EVADE ALMOST CERTAIN PERIL? WILL YOUNG SYD SAY “OOH-ARR” AGAIN? READ ON………..
Sir Jasper quickly weighed up the situation; the oddly-forgettable official was not alone. Behind him stood several figures who by their appearance could only be Galactic Council stormtroopers. Before Sir Jasper could react Helly had taken matters into her own hands. She slammed the heavy oak door shut and brought down the bronze handle. Sir Jasper waved his hand over the Sign of Koth and a remarkable transformation took place. The wooden door shimmered and pulsed and became a stone wall! The panel which held the Sign of Koth remained and seemed to communicate some purpose or design to Sir Jasper. They could hear muffled cries of consternation from behind the wall. “Quick thinking, Helly!”, exclaimed Sir Jasper. “This was a trap! We’d better make ourselves scarce. They’ll be through that wall in a matter of sextagrains!………….
………..The Astral Bard delivered another blow from the unconscious repair man’s lump hammer, and the Metamorphosiser whirred into life. “That did it!”, he cried. “Right, let’s get the Bombardier!”, exclaimed Captain Lou. Within a few quantabits they were back in the Medical Bay, where the Sonic Architect was sitting with an increasingly irate Bombardier, whose posterior was pulsating ominously. The Sonic Architect was clearly relieved to see his two crewmates. “Thank goodness!”, he said. “Let’s get him down to the Holodeck!”, said Captain Lou. “Bzzzz!!”, said the Bombardier……..
…….Young Syd was lurking behind a low wall outside the Inn at the Sign of the Twin Trees. Helly and Sir Jasper burst out of the side entrance into which they had disappeared some sextagrains ago. They strode purposefully in the direction of the House of Hammond. He was just about to follow them when the Shaman’s voice magically appeared in his head. “Stay there and watch the side door!”, it commanded…………
………Sir Jasper and Helly reached the House of Hammond and immediately rapped on the door. After several quantabits they heard footsteps from within. “Who goes there?”, came a voice. “It’s us, open up!”, answered Sir Jasper. The door creaked open to reveal Shaun and Thomo. “Where’ve you been?”, enquired Shaun. “Never mind that now!”, answered Sir Jasper. Let us in and get these doors secured!………..
The Leconauts reached the Holodeck. The Bombardier was clearly feeling the cumulative effects of being a bee. His movements had become sluggish and his breathing was laboured. “Let’s get him under the Metamorphosiser!”, cried Captain Lou. The three of them manoeuvred the Bombarbee into position and stood back. “Engage!”, cried the Captain. The Astral Bard pushed a red button and the Metamorphosiser emitted a loud ululation. The Bombarbee shimmered and swayed, the smell of ozone filled the air and then the familiar form of their crewmate appeared. “Hooray!”, cried the Captain, and the Astral Bard and Sonic Architect broke into spontaneous applause………
Young Syd kept his eyes on the side door of the Inn at the Sign of the Twin Trees. For some time nothing happened, but then the door was opened from within and a figure emerged. Young Syd blinked as he wasn’t sure that he had actually seen anybody, so unremarkable was the figure. But yes, he was real enough. Then, several more recognisable forms emerged. Young Syd drew breath to speak but before he could utter a word the Shaman’s voice spoke inside his head. “Yes?”, it said. “A development”, said Young Syd. “Some people have emerged from the building?”, came the Shaman’s enquiry. “Yes”, replied Young Syd. “Seven Galactic Council Stormtroopers”……………
HARRY “SNAPPER” ORGANS! MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS OCCURRING! IT’S ALL HAPPENING IN SEASON THIRTY EPISODE SEVEN OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! JUST WHAT IS SIR JASPER UP TO?!!!!
The Bombardier rose to his feet unsteadily, apparently unaccustomed to the sudden reduction in his complement of limbs. He surveyed his three crewmates with a steely glare. For a moment he said nothing and the Leconauts held their breath, anticipating an apoplectic explosion of pique. However, after a few quantabits the Bombardier visibly relaxed and said “I never want to see a jar of honey again!” The other Leconauts all exhaled at the same time, then Captain Lou said “perhaps you’d better go and put some clothes on!”………..
…….Sir Jasper and Helly greeted Shaun and Thomo and made sure the doors were firmly secured behind them. “Mr Pymm?”, said Sir Jasper. “On the top floor”, answered Shaun. “You’d better come and see – it’s rather interesting!”…….
……The characterless official walked briskly from the Inn at the Sign of The Twin Trees, the seven stormtroopers following him in phalanx formation. The few people they encountered seemed unconcerned by their presence. Young Syd followed at a cautious distance, trying his best to remain unseen. The newcomers were heading for the House of Hammond which looked, on the face of it, to be completely deserted……….
…….At the top of a flight of moving stairs the crew of the Last Bastions of Bohemia stopped in their tracks. “Impressive, isn’t it?”, said Sean. “It certainly is!”, cried Sir Jasper. The entire top floor of the building resembled nothing so much as the flight deck of an intergalactic starcruiser! Lights pulsed and twinkled and the low thrum of powerful anbaric machinery was evident. Mr Pymm sat at the Vistascreen which was divided into eight frames, all connected to cameras on the outside of the building. “Looks like we’ve got visitors!”, he said. Sir Jasper crossed to the screen and squinted. In the bottom left corner he could see seven – no, eight – figures standing in front of one of the doors. They heard urgent and persistent knocking. “Open up!”, cried the figure at the front. This was the person Sir Jasper hadn’t seen at first glance; in fact, the same person who had tried to arrest him and Helly in the basement of the Inn at the Sign of the Twin Trees. He spoke again. “Open up in the name of the Galactic Council! You are all under arrest!”
The Leconauts, now all fully-clothed, disembarked from the Lecopod and took the elevator to Admiral Bunting’s personal apartment. As the door “whooshed” open to reveal the interior Captain Lou noted that the wily spacedog had redecorated. His apartment was now an exact replica of his log cabin on Svalbard, with the temperature set to emulate that of his arctic retreat. “Come in!”, he said, affably, and ushered the Leconauts into his sitting room. There, upon a large wooden throne, sat Shaman Hood of the Hawk………..
…….Young Syd surveyed the scene; the stormtroopers and the official who seemed to be their leader were rapping on the front door of the House of Hammond. He decided to take action. He hunched his shoulder, twisted his mouth to one side, and shambled over to the grim octet. “Scuse Oi, squoire!” he barked, “Do ‘ee by any chaance ‘appen to ‘ave sum spoire choinge?!” He held out his hand in supplication. The unremarkable official turned to face Young Syd, bestowing upon him an appraising examination from top to toe. “What is the meaning of this?!” he asked. “Oi don’t mean no offence, squoire!”, said Young Syd. “I needs sum choinge for a cup o’ tea!” The official raised his hand to strike Young Syd, who cried out in mock alarm and raised his hand to defend himself. With his other hand he deftly slipped a small metallic object into the pocket of the official’s beige gabardine mac. “Be off with you!”, cried the pen-pusher. “Oi be goin’! Oi be goin’!”, cried Young Syd and shuffled off………..
……..”So you see, we had no option but to send Sir Jasper!”, said the Admiral. “Yes, I can see that that was the course of action you were compelled to take”, said Captain Lou. “Do you know where Sir Jasper is now?” “We do”, said the Shaman. “He is inside the House of Hammond with his crew. Outside are a Galactic Council official and seven stormtroopers. They are currently attempting to gain ingress!”……..
…….Sir Jasper stood behind the door upon which his unwelcome visitors were still enthusiastically banging. He took a breath, then opened the door. “You are under arrest!”, cried the bland official. “No problem!”, said Sir Jasper. “It’s cold out there, isn’t it?!” Come inside! The official turned to look at the troopers, then inclined his head towards the interior. They entered the House of Hammond. Sir Jasper looked out, checking sinister and dexter, and closed the door………….
DOUG PIRHANA! HERE WE GO WITH SEASON THIRTY EPISODE EIGHT OF THE LECO CHRONICLES! IT’S LOOKING DICY FOR SIR JASPER! WILL OUR HEROES COME TO THE RESCUE? READ ON………
Sir Jasper turned to face the anonymous official and his cohorts. “Where are your companions?” asked the jobsworth. “There’s only me”, replied Sir Jasper, flatly. “I think not!”, retorted the lackey. “There was a woman with you earlier! Where is she?” “Ah, yes; so there was!” answered Sir Jasper, tartly. “Don’t play games with me!”, barked his inquisitor. He turned to the troopers; “Secure the building!”, he commanded. The troopers rushed off, leaving Sir Jasper alone with his captor, whose mind was clearly alert, despite his rather ramshackle appearance. “Do not try to escape!”, he advised. “I have a stun-tube in my pocket which I will not hesitate to use should the need arise.” “I see!”, replied Sir Jasper, laconically. He glanced up the moving staircase, nervously, then looked at his companion, guiltily. The subterfuge worked. “Aha!”, cried the featureless official, thinking he had been prescient in spotting a tell-tale sign. “Up there, are they?” Sir Jasper attempted to look crestfallen, but inside he was whooping with joy. The fellow had fallen for his ruse…………..
………….Captain Lou regarded Admiral Bunting, who had begun to shuffle nervously from sinister to dexter; a sure sign he was discomfited. “I can’t afford to send another crew on a mission which is already under way!”, he protested. “Come, come, Admiral”, replied Captain Lou. “You said yourself that you expected Sir Jasper to try to access the Dream-world! That’s why you sent Young Syd to keep an eye on him!” “Yes, well; and a fine decision that turned out to be!” He realised he’d said too much, but Captain Lou had not missed his inadvertent admission. “And why is that?”, she pressed. “Has Young Syd reported back? Just what is going on in Kardomah City?”……….
…………..Sir Jasper set off up the moving staircase, the featureless official behind him. At each floor the man looked around then, satisfied that Sir Jasper’s companions were not nearby, ordered Sir Jasper to proceed to the next level. Within a few sextasets they were approaching the third floor. At the top of the moving staircase Sir Jasper feigned to stumble; the official stepped forward to restrain Sir Jasper, and at that moment Helly and Thomo fell upon him. He was quickly overpowered. “You will regret this!”, he exclaimed. “Check his pockets!”, cried Sir Jasper. Helly found the stun-tube and removed it. “Now”, ordered Sir Jasper, “call your men and tell them to come to the third floor! No funny business or we’ll find out just how effective this stun-tube is!”…………..
……..Young Syd was speaking to Shaman Hood, whose voice had magically appeared in his head. “Yes, they’ve gone inside the House of Hammond! It looked like Sir Jasper let them in!” “Good!”, replied the Shaman. “Good?!”, exclaimed Young Syd. “How is that good?!!” “It means”, answered the Shaman, “that he has a plan!”…………
“Let me get this straight!”, said Captain Lou. “Sir Jasper is in the House of Hammond, the most important waystation in the Renegade Alliance, with someone who sounds very suspiciously like our old friend Bland Formulaic!”
The Shaman smiled and nodded. “But, we sent him to the Edge of Time!”, cried the Bombardier. “He couldn’t have found his way back from there! It is dark, so dark, at the edge of time!” “Perhaps I should say ‘Yes’ and ‘No’!” said the Shaman, somewhat cryptically. The Astral Bard smiled, his eyebrow raising mischievously. “Clone!”, he stated. “Almost certainly!”, answered the Shaman. “I’ve long suspected that the Galactic Council would have taken steps to ensure the – effective continuity of their leading agent!” “I think I understand!”, said the Sonic Architect; “Sir Jasper will contain Bland Formulaic and somehow remove him from the House of Hammond?” “Precisely!”, answered the Shaman. “And just how will he go about that?”, asked Captain Lou………..
……….Sir Jasper stood behind Bland Formulaic at the top of the moving staircase. The stun-tube he had taken from the vapid official was pressed into the small of his back. “Don’t try anything!”, hissed Sir Jasper as the sound of footsteps rang up the stairwell. The seven troopers came off the top of the staircase at a run and bounded into the room. The door “whooshed” closed behind them and they realised, too late, that they had been tricked. “Engage!”, cried Sir Jasper. Thomo pressed a red button on the control panel and the room began to vibrate……..
……..Young Syd was standing across the road from the House of Hammond when a deafening roar rose from the depths of the venerable edifice. Then, the whole top floor detached itself and rose into the sky upon a pillar of flame…………
DINSDALE PIRHANA! WILL SIR JASPER AND THE LECONAUTS SAVE THE DAY? DOES A BEAR DO ITS BUSINESS IN THE WOODS?!!! IT’S TIME FOR THE SEASON THIRTY FINALE!!!
“I demand you release us immediately!”, cried Bland Formulaic. “If you do not comply then the full weight of the Galactic Council will descend upon you!” “Let me think about that”, said Sir Jasper. “I’ve thought about it”, he added, within a few quantabits. “Not a hope in Mar-a-lago. I think you need a holiday. I’ve got the perfect destination in mind”…….
……The Leconauts took their leave of Admiral Bunting and Shaman Hood and headed for their starcruiser. “I don’t care what he says, we’re going to Terra Gaia!”, said Captain Lou. “There’s more to this than meets the eye and I’m determined to get to the bottom of it!” “Nothing to do with settling old scores?!”, enquired the Astral Bard, mischief in his eye. “Certainly not!”, cried the Captain. No-one said anything else…….
…….Young Syd watched as the top floor of the house of Hammond ascended gracefully. Within a couple of sextasets it was a tiny pinprick in the grey sky over Kardomah City. Shaman Hood’s voice appeared in his head once more. “Has it departed?”, enquired the wily wizard. “Yes”, answered Young Syd. “Then your work is done” continued the Shaman. “Return to base post-haste!”………
Bland Formulaic and his seven stormtroopers were tethered to a central column on the flight deck of the House of Hammond. Mr Pymm and Thomo had bound them tightly with lengths of Roto-Sound and they were plainly uncomfortable. “I’ll see you in chains!”, cried the unremarkable official. “Every bounty hunter in the fourteen quadrants will be looking for you!” “Yes, yes!”, cried Sir Jasper, dismissively. “Now, about your holiday; Thomo, escort these – individuals to the ejection deck!……….
…….The Leco sped through the Melkweg Galaxy, Captain Lou at the helm. Suddenly, lights began to flash and screens morphed and pulsed. “What’s happening?!”, cried the Bombardier. “The controls are not responding!”, exclaimed the Bard. “You mean we’re being hi-jacked?!”, said Captain Lou. Just then the Vistascreen crackled into life and the head of Shaman Hood appeared………..
……..The House of Hammond was orbiting a large grey celestial body. Sir Jasper smiled. “Prepare to launch escape pod!” Helly pulled a large red lever, a hatch opened and the escape pod shot out into the blackness of space. “What is that planet?”, asked Helly. “It’s a moon!”, replied Sir Jasper. “Ganymede.” There is water there, but they may have a hard job finding it”………..
……..I need you to rendezvous with Sir Jasper”, said the Shaman. “He is currently in orbit around Ganymede!” “What’s he doing there?” asked Captain Lou. “Playing travel agent!”, answered the Shaman, cryptically……..
………”There it is!”, said Captain Lou. “Ganymede! Take us into orbit, Bombardier. “Aye, aye, Cap’n!” “Visual on the House of Hammond!”, cried the Sonic Architect. “Enhance!”, answered the Captain. The screen magnified until the House of Hammond was plainly visible. “I thought it was a four-storey building!, cried the Bombardier. “It is!”, replied the Captain, “but only the top floor flies!”……..
……..”Fire retro thrusters!”, ordered Sir Jasper. “Thrusters fired!”, replied Shaun. The top floor of the House of Hammond descended gracefully until it made contact with its lower floors. After some grinding and shaking, the venerable building looked as if nothing so bizarre as its top floor taking to the skies had ever happened. Then, a remarkable thing happened. It was as if a giant decorator had emptied a magical paint pot over the top of the building. Fresh colours and patterns cascaded down the walls until, upon reaching the ground, the building looked as if it were brand new…..”That’s better!”, said Sir Jasper. “That’s what the most important waystation in the galaxy should look like!”……….
The Last Bastions and the Leconauts stood in Admiral Bunting’s office. The Shaman and Young Syd were also there. “Well done, everyone!”, said the Admiral. “A most favourable outcome! The future of the House of Hammond is secured and an implacable enemy of the Renegade Alliance has been consigned to exile on Ganymede. I think a celebration is in order! Let us launch some spacechants into the aether!………..
SPINY NORMAN! THE SHADOWY SNEAKING SKULKERS OF THE GALACTIC COUNCIL WERE NO MATCH FOR THE LAST BASTIONS OF BOHEMIA AND THE LECONAUTS. DO WE NEED TO TIDY UP ANY LOOSE ENDS? MORE THAN LIKELY…………
And so it came to pass that Sir Jasper of Bolt-on and his intrepid crew of Helly, Shaun, Thomo and Mr Pymm did gather with the Leconauts at the Oriley Temple of Song and launch their spacechants into the aether. Druids, witches, wizards, gnomes, thanes, heavy metal kids and all manner of spacefolk did congregate at the Temple to see and hear the magnificent musical mayhem. Admiral Bunting smiled beatifically and Shaman Hood of the Hawk did proffer his fabled earthenware jug, which never ran out of psyder no matter how many quaffed from its neck. The Shaman, Young Syd and Brett the Bling of Ham did use their image capturers to record the event for posterity.
The Sonic Architect did engage Sir Jasper in conversation and enquired of the mighty warrior about his quest for the Dream-world. “Yes, I’m sure old Bunting thought I was about to go AWOL!”, said Sir Jasper. The Sonic Architect smiled; “Well, you do have previous when it comes to the Dream-world!”, he said. “I am fond of the place”, said Sir Jasper, and the Sonic Architect fancied he detected a hint of mistiness in Sir Jasper’s eyes…. “But on this occasion, he was wrong!”, he continued. “I knew there should be an entrance to the Dream-world close to the House of Hammond and I figured there may be a way to put the House into the Dream-world, where it would be safe from the Galactic Council, but it appeared that our unremarkable friend had already had the same idea!”………
……“Ah, Admiral!”, said Captain Lou. The wily spacedog glanced sideways at Captain Lou and looked at his tempo-wrist. “Goodness, is that the time!”, he said and tried to leave. “Not so fast!”, said Captain Lou, “I’ve just had a report from Saturn Stan’s Spacegear Servicing Section!” “Really?!”, said the Admiral, nervously. “Yes”, continued the Captain. “It makes for interesting reading. Apparently, according to his service engineer who attended the incident onboard the Leco, our Metamorphosiser was sabotaged!” “Sabotaged?!! I – er, I, hah!” “Yes indeed!”, continued the Captain. “If I didn’t know better I might think that someone had deliberately ensured that the Leconauts were out of the way so Sir Jasper would have to be sent on that mission!” “Preposterous!”, cried the Admiral. “Do you think so?!”, asked the Captain, innocently. “I think it’s time the Leco was upgraded to a Kafka, seeing as our old Ovid has become unreliable. Don’t you agree?!” She smiled sweetly. “I’ll see what I can do!”, muttered the Admiral. Captain Lou stood aside to finally allow him to escape but his way was blocked by a gigantic insect.
“Bzzzz!!”, said the Bombarbee………
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