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Excerpts from the Staggering Stories Blog:


Staggering Stories Podcast #263: Musical Helmets
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sat, 20 May 2017 14:03

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins, Fake Keith, the Real Keith Dunn and Scott Fuller review the 2017 Doctor Who episodes ‘Knock Knock’ and ‘Oxygen’, tell of their recent visit to the Doctor Who studios in Cardiff and the Capitol 2 Doctor Who convention, find some general news, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: […]


Staggering Stories Commentary #191: Doctor Who – The Pilot
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 14 May 2017 09:46

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins and Keith Dunn sit down, puddled, in front of the 2017 Doctor Who S10 premiere episode, ‘The Pilot’, and spout our usual nonsense! This Doctor is a lecturing security guard, Bill is fattening up the locals and Heather has a very moist fixation. But enough of their problems, please […]


Staggering Stories Podcast #262: We Are Pete
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sat, 06 May 2017 16:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Fake Keith and the Real Keith Dunn review the 2017 Doctor Who episodes ‘Smile’ and ‘Thin Ice’, and the 2017 film ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’, find some general news, play a game and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 – Intro and theme tune. 01:12 — Welcome! 01:39 […]


Staggering Stories Commentary #190: Babylon 5 – Intersections in Real Time
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins and Keith Dunn sit down, interrogated, in front of the Season 4 Babylon 5 episode Intersections in Real Time, and spout our usual nonsense! Sheridan is feeling strapped in, William is just doing his job and, well, that’s pretty much everyone. But enough of their problems, please sit down […]


Staggering Stories Podcast #261: Of Companions and Pilots
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sat, 22 Apr 2017 17:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Jean Riddler, Keith Dunn and Scott Fuller review the 2017 Doctor Who episode ‘The Pilot’ and discuss what makes a Doctor Who companion, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 – Intro and theme tune. 02:29 — Welcome! 02:21 – News: 02:36 — Star Trek: Discovery narrowly avoids Worf. 04:41 […]


Staggering Stories Podcast #260: Masterfully Unbound
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 09 Apr 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins, Fake Keith, Jean Riddler, the Real Keith Dunn and Scott Fuller review the 2016 Big Finish Doctor Who boxset ‘The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield, Vol. 3 – The Unbound Universe’ and discuss Doctor Who’s The Master in general, play a game, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: […]

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Buccaneer Chronicles

The Buccaneer Chronicles:
Catharcerous

By Keith Dunn (despite interference by Tony Gallichan and Adam J Purcell)


Part Three - Can I burn the maze as I go? Can I, I don't think so

Chapter Six - ...Never Give In Too Easily

 

Macfadyan finished hammering the last of the pitons in to the ground, and then put the hammer away. Pulling out some nylon rope from his pocket, he attached one end to the loop in the piton, the other he fed into the 'lake'. He pulled out what look like a collection of small parabolic dishes on mini tripods and set them up on the side of the lake. They emitted what looked like a fountain of sparks in a cone of pink light. A hole opened in the lake and the rope dropped through. Testing that the rope was secure Macfadyan quickly disappeared down it.

It took Blanche a few moments to scramble down the rope to stand beside Macfadyan on a gantry at the top of the hanger bay. Macfadyan had a small card like object pressed up to his eyes; it had small lenses in it that made his eyes look large and fish like. It had "property of the Sidney Opera House, Jul 2nd, 2268" printed on it's side.

"Interesting. It seems that they have visitors!"

He passed the opera glasses to Blanche. Cre'at just increased magnification on his visual receptors. In the centre of the hanger bay was a slick chrome space yacht. It was all fine wings, fins grace and style. Down by the entry ramp were two large, black men, dressed in a combination of black leather and silver studs. They had high powered energy weapons hanging from their belts but both held huge scimitars in their crossed hands. Blanche looked towards the hanger's exit only to see the Abbot leading a group of leather clad attendants who were pushing a large water tank that contained a green human worm.

" What! The hell is that?"

"Appearances can be deceptive you know Blanche. Just because he looks like a human maggot doesn't mean he is. He might be here to redeem these people, to set them free. He might be overflowing with the milk of 'human' kindness."

"Well is it, I mean he?"

"Oh good grief, no, child! That grubby little money grabber is a Mentor from Thorus Beta. They have all the morality of a human maggot. The best way to describe them is as intergalactic con men or corrupt business directors". Blanche nodded in understanding and handed the glasses back. Macfadyan took another look before putting the back in his inside pocket.

"The thing is; what are they doing here? This whole operation is far too contrived for them. It's simply far too expensive for them. Hmm, tell you what, shall we go down and ask them?"

 

It was resting allowing the automatics to monitor the external instruments. When the alert signal came through, its sluggish heart palpitated in excitement causing mild suppressants to be dumped into its systems. It activated all systems immediately. The mono visual receptor scanned the data that was displayed on the monitors in front of it. The display indicated intruder alert. Plunging the silicon rubber manipulator into the data port, it extended its data probe to further interrogate the computer. Information flooded its mind's eye. Three intruders, one Sot'm, one human augmented, one Gallifreyan. These complied with units gained in the latest cull. That they are here indicated that the first stage conditioning had not taken hold. It knew from its own experience that three doses of conditioning were needed. It activated a group of human replicants with the orders: seek, locate, detain. It also informed the supreme. This all took less than three seconds. Once this was done it returned to stand by mode, dreaming distantly of when it was once a man walking in green fields.

 

They ran down the gantry, a couple seconds with the sonic screwdriver had the door open and they were in the complex proper. A distant electronic throbbing hear beat echoed down the corridor, which made Macfadyan pause as a thought occurred to him and then was rapidly dismissed. A door at the end of the corridor shot open and five jump-suited, armed guards bolted through it to take up defensive positions.

"You! Stay where you are! Drop all weapons!"

Macfadyan's group kept on walking and Blanche called out to the men,

" Its not us you want mister. But we saw them duck into one of those rooms back there." Macfadyan shot her a disgusted look.

"Don't start moaning, gitface. It's always worth a try." She hissed at him. One of the guards shot a warning shot at the ceiling with a Luminas green/yellow bolt of energy. Macfadyan dived into one of the door alcoves and started to rummage in his pockets,

"Ah, Nut Bunnies!" he exclaimed. Cre'at and Blanche took cover on the opposite side of the corridor as a hail of yellow/ green energy flashed down the corridor. Macfadyan pulled his Dalek gun from out of his pocket as a magician would pull a rabbit out of a hat and started to input a sequence on the keyboard.

"We really don't have time for all this, so..." He through himself prone and fired wide beam. The gun roared like thunder. The guards screamed in pure agony as the energy glow lit them up like a photographic negative and crumpled to the floor as the air around them churned with the deadly radiation. The glow faded and they lay still, their bodies slightly smoking. With a satisfied nod Macfadyan picked himself up and waved Cre'at and a green-faced Blanche forward absent-mindedly.

"I'm starting to loose my patience with this wretched little planet", he muttered.

 

It sat in the command centre as a spider would sit in its web, the deep sound of an electronic heartbeat vibrated around it. The black and gold livery of its armor gleamed dully in the subdued light. The eyestalk briefly alighted on one of the multiple view screens for a few seconds, absorbing all information before moving on.

It was the last of its kind; there were only two others on this planet that were its equals. It could remember a time when its race had an empire that spread through time and space. When other planets would surrender merely at the mention of their name. Now they were reduced to hiding in hermetically sealed chambers for fear of the virus that had laid them low. But that would soon change. The new army that they were building out of this planet's inhabitants would be the foundation of a second empire. They would smash the planet of the robot race that had been their down fall, rip the cure to the virus from their data bases, allowing the pure bloods to once again take control.

An alert from security control informed it that the intruders had eliminated the replicants that had been sent to contain them. It reviewed the data of past encounters against the Time Lords. Twenty five percent of encounters had ended with the destruction of the Time Lord with no useful information. Seventy five percent had ended in loss of all operational personnel and equipment. This Time Lord seemed more ruthless than others. It came to a rapid decision and then sent back its commands.

"Seal off the briefing rooms and V.I.P areas. Activate a cadre of augmented units with orders to seek, locate and exterminate!"

 

The lift doors opened and Cre'at floated out followed cautiously by Blanche and then Macfadyan. The Time Lord was holding the Stattenhiem, with a wire frame map of the surrounding area floating above it in miniature. As soon as they left the doors closed and the lift disappeared into the depths of the complex. The long metal clad corridor ended in a large arch that shimmered as if in a heat haze. This was the direction that Macfadyan was heading. As they passed underneath the arch there was a rapid sense of disorientation as gravity flipped then re-settled. Beyond it were a few anti-chambers leading into one huge chamber. Macfadyan continued to search in the anti-chambers, while Blanche and Cre'at proceeded to the end to look over the rail into the chamber beyond. The walls of the chamber receded into infinity and as far as the eye could see were the domed heads and dropped eyestalks of thousands and thousands of dormant Daleks. A gentle mist floated around the casings.

Macfadyan frowned as he checked his readouts. Then he brightened as the Stattenhiem beeped. Checking the readout he walked into the shadows. The TARDIS was sitting on an anti-grav pallet in one of the side chambers surrounded by parabolic projectors. The air around it shimmered with an oil slick on water intensity Macfadyan surveyed the equipment with a professional air, pulled out his sonic screwdriver and set to work dismantling the main projectors junction box. While he worked he whistled a tune.

Blanche stood hands gripping the rail and stared at the rows and rows of Daleks. Despite the coldness of the air, her checks were flushed.

"He promised me, he promised!" Letting go of the rail she ran in search of Macfadyan leaving Cre'at to count domes.

Macfadyan pulled out the last cable. It didn't move. He made a small noise of annoyance and tugged. Still nothing happened.

"I really do NOT have time for this", he snarled. Wrapping the cable around his hand he leaned away from the junction box and yanked with all his might. With an electric crackling sound and a slight shower of sparks the cable detached. He staggered back, his legs becoming twisted up in one of the dishes and he came crashing down, cracking his head on the metal floor. The swirling globe collapsed just as Blanche burst in, in an agitated state.

"You promised me that we would never see them. You said you would deal with them!"

"Deal with what, you petulant little child?"

"DALEKS!"

"Ah Ploppy the Yak!"

Macfadyan stared down upon the rows of Daleks in their metallic blue with silver hemispheres,

"Bugger. Awhole freezer departement of the little gits. Hmmf. How many, Cre'at?"

* One million, five hundred and six thousand, seven hundred and eighty three *

"Well that explains the test we've been subjected to over the last couple of weeks." Blanche looked at Macfadyan askew

"How do you mean?"

"Oh come on, Blanche Wake up and smell the Ractajino. The hi-Tec instruction, the atmosphere of constant war and patriotism. This whole planet is one great Dalek nest! These poor, deformed lost souls down there are all that is left of the great Catharceran armies of the past." Macfadyan dismissed the hall and its occupance with a wave of his hand

"Come along you two, we need to move the TARDIS manually. This chamber has been augmented dimensionally, we have to move it out before we can take off." As the group moved away from the rail with Blanche complaining bitterly, five eyestalks swivelled round to look up at them. The Daleks they were attached to then disengaged from the nutrient feeding pipes and glided up the ramp.

As they walked, Macfadyan clicked into lecture mode.

"The Daleks got in to a non-shooting war with a robotic race called the Movellans that went on for a century or so until the Movellans cracked the Dalek genome and created a so-called 'intelligent' virus. The Dalek Empire disappeared almost overnight. Small factions escaped to work on a cure, but each faction thought that the other faction's cure somehow made them less than Dalek and so began fighting amongst themselves. Some even abandoned the search until they had wiped out every other faction first. That's roughly when we are now. This situation lasted for another century or three until one faction gains dominance, eliminated or absorbed all the other factions, founded the second Dalek Empire and finally buggered off to the Seriphia galaxy. Where they took up knitting for all I know. So you see, child, I can't keep track of every green slimy blob can I?"

Blanche looked at him sullenly,

"The other one did!"

Doubt clouded Macfadyan's face,

"Other one? What other one? What are you blathering about child?"

Blanch look at him almost pleadingly,

"The other Macfadyan, the one before you!"

"Oh my dear girl, as you are so fond of saying..." he struck a dramatic pose "I'AM MACFADYAN". Glaring at him Blanche muttered some thing under her breath.

"What did you say young lady? Oh look, just go away, stand over there and keep an eye on the corridor."

She stood at the top of the T-junction just down from the lift, in constant motion due to nerves. Macfadyan and Cre'at burst out of the shimmering arch with the crystalline TARDIS. The lift doors opened and six Daleks poured out. Blanche gave a yelp and ran towards the ship. Cre'at activated his head cannon and shot round the front of the ship. As Macfadyan hit the off switch for the Grav-pallet then fumbled in his pocket for the ship's key and Dalek gun, Cre'at fired off five thick bolts of energy aimed at their eye stalks. Macfadyan stared almost open mouthed as the searing bolts of energy hit a panel of distorted air just in front of the lead Dalek and dissipated.

"The little buggers!" he murmured with a slight smile on his lips. "They've developed personal shielding. You have to admire their ingenuity." With the ship behind him he unlocked the door without looking and rushed inside. He bounded over to the console, slapping one hand down on a contact making the exterior scene swirl into existence between one of the aches that decorated the console room. He could see Blanche white face and wide eyed, green fire coming too close for comfort as she ran. He began twisting dials and flicking switches on the console. Macfadyan looked up to notice Blanche had stopped running and her face had taken on a new level of despair as five more Dalek shapes glided in to view from the edge of the screen. They had come from behind the ship. Cre'at slipped in through the main doors and Macfadyan closed them, and then hit the dematerialisation switch. Lights flickered; indicators clicked over to red and alert klaxons went off.

"More power, more power... Still close to that damn room!" He rushed to another panel on the console and looked up again. By this time the Daleks had surrounded Blanche. They just watched her for a few moments, and then on an unspoken command, all of them opened fire. Blanche was lifted by sheer force of energy that ripped through her, crucified on a cross of power. Then she slumped to the floor like a puppet with its strings cut.

* They have broken Blanche *

Macfadyan casually flicked a switch, turning off the scene.

"Cre'at, you had better start breaking out another clone, I'm going to have some fun". As Cre'at glided over to the door that leads deeper in to the ship, Macfadyan looked down curiously. His left hand was clenched in a tight fist, the nails driven so deep in the flesh of the palm they had drawn blood. Lifting the hand to his face he gazed at it surprised and it took a visible effort to relax and open the hand. He then lifted a panel on the console and pushed home the plunger that lay beneath it with a vengeance. The roundels flared with an incandescent light, one of the panels sparked and started to leak a few wisps of smoke. Then the central rotor kicked in as outside the ship laboriously dissipated.

 

This was the V.I.P. reception lounge. Warm lighting, carpeted floor and soft furnishings to cater for humanoid comfort, Distantly a strange bleeping started. It grew stronger and was accompanied by a wheezing, groaning sound. Slowly at first, an emerald green Dalek faded into view. Looking around casually it then trundled off in search of the briefing room.

Ilan was enjoying himself. The negotiations were going well. The D.N.A. and gene splicing equipment was of course top notch and it was being sold to his customers at vastly inflated prices and the sweetest part of the deal was that these flat footed priests were willing to pay, Dacktaries, diamonds, latinum, mackanite or genetic material. His standing with Lord Kiv and the board just kept on rising. He plopped another marsh minnow into his mouth and chewed vigorously.

"You are agreed then Abbot on our price of two hundred ingots of Mackanite for the Mark five?"

One of his attendants handed over the info-chit for the Abbot to review and authorise. Ilan grabbed another hand full minnow's to stuff down his throat when the door to the briefing room shot open and a green Dalek glided in. Ilan choked, gagged and spat the half chewed minnows all over the Abbot in a reflex action. The eyestalk swung round and the metallic voice grated out,

"Are there you are! Erm has the mentor agreed to our demands?"

The Abbot jumped up in shock and surprise.

"What is happening my master? I thought your presence here was meant to be secret."

"Silence your negotiations was inefficient I have taken over".

Ilan seemed to come out of shock at hearing this,

"Doing any form of business with Daleks is against the law of the Galactic Commerce and also very bad for business. Come attendants we are leaving!" The guards scrabbled to stand around Ilan's tank, protecting him with their bodies; they started to push his water tank out. The green Dalek watched him go.

"Goodbye. Don't let the door hit you on the way out!"

At that point recessed panels in the wall snapped back to reveal a darkened tunnel packed wall to wall with Daleks in blue and silver livery. They came pouring out

"Renegade Dalek detected, all Daleks open fire. Exterminate! Exterminate! EXTERMINATE!!

 

Macfadyan stood at the console watching the holo viewscreen as the Daleks surrounded the ship, firing salvo after salvo into the Dalek form of the ship's exterior

"What's the matter? Can't you hurt me? Isn't that a shame, frustrating isn't it? Well hang around my friends, I have a lovely surprise for you." A bubbling ping attracted his attention and he moved to one of the panels and leaned over to have a look "Defence grid fluctuation? Now that shouldn't be happening! Perhaps the auxiliary power surge damaged the..." The panel exploded in his face flinging him crossed the console room. Red lights strobed on, alert sirens echoed around the chamber. Smoking slightly Macfadyan picked himself up and staggered over to the console and hit the demat switch. Outside the Dalek shape of the TARDIS, surrounded by green fire, bolts of blue electricity arching crossed its surface, slowly and painfully disappeared.

Cre'at floated into the console chamber to find Macfadyan with his head and shoulders in the guts of the console

* Is there a problem? *

With a cry of triumph Macfadyan extracted a small crystal globe, it was blackened and scorched, and crumbled even as he held it.

"Get a replacement would you Cre'at. You know were they are". Cre'at floated over to the wall locker that was recessed behind one of the glowing roundels and retrieved a rainbow sparkling crystal sphere. He floated back to Macfadyan to hand it over, getting a good look at Macfadyan's face.

* I did not know that your eyebrows were detachable *

Macfadyan just gave him a look and snatched at the globe and fitted it.

"I've had enough of this. Enough pussy footing around, I think. When it comes to Daleks there's really only one course of action. And to be honest, I really don't have the time, energy or patience to take them on in person, so to speak. Come a long Cre'at, we've got a nest to fumigate!" He started for the door that lead to the inner recesses of the TARDIS, stopping only to stroke one of the cats lounging around the console room.

The chamber was vast, illuminated by small patches of light. Long sections of racking stretched into the distance. On these racks was every conceivable weapon. Cre'at and Macfadyan strolled down the narrow corridor between racks rather like customers at a supermarket. Macfadyan selected a set of dull silver globes and placed them very gingerly in the trolley. Within minutes they were back in the console room. Macfadyan went straight to the console and started to make fine adjustments to the co-ordinates and the defence grid. The sound of the ship's materialisation echoed through the chamber. He checked the instruments one last time. Satisfied he opened the doors, grabbed the trolley and pushed it out, followed by Cre'at.

Because of the glare Cre'at had to rapidly adjust his visual receptors, Macfadyan stood there wearing mirrored shades. The orange /red glow of molten magma surrounded them. After Cre'at had looked all around him he approached Macfadyan,

* Where are we? *

"In the planets core. I've extended the ships shields so to give us some room to work."

* The shields that you just broke and had to repair? *

"YES!"

* Oh. *

Macfadyan lent over the trolley to retrieve one of the globes then stopped, a strange look crossing his face. He shivered,

"Did you notice that? A sort of temporal blip! No? Oh well, probably doesn't matter, hmm? ".

He rapidly pressed all the activator studs then ran for the ship shouting over his shoulder,

"Last one back is a bunch of vaporised molecules".

It took Cre'at a few seconds to realise what the globes were or what Macfadyan intended before he turned round and zoomed of beating Macfadyan back to the ship.

 

Aralan looked up curiously as all the birds in the forest stopped signing and took to the air at the same time in a frightened flutter. They made no noise, though, no squawking, completely silent. Then the roar started at a distance at first but rapidly it grew. The ground shifted and heaved; the bells of the cathedral begin to chime in sympathy with the tortured earth. The temperature began to rise. Aralan looked to Jalke, who was also looking around, trying to find the root of the problem, to do some thing about it. Suddenly he was gone, a red glowing hole where he was standing. Lightning arced down from the sky, the trembling of the ground increased, so she was no longer able to stand. The hole increased so that it was now a gapping chasm, looking in to a red glowing hell. It started to ooze red glowing lava that rolled leisurely towards her. In her last moments of life, Aralan recalled to things Magyars words

"He is beloved of the dark lady ".

And the lines of a nursery rhyme:

"The sky now grows dark, And the wind starts to blow, The Judder Man's amongst us, And his anger does show, We'll lift up our voices, And scream our pain, For here comes The Judder Man, Again and again, Again and again, Again and again".

They were the last words that crossed her mind as the magma devoured her.

 

Macfadyan watched the holo- screen, holding the lapels of his coat, rocking on his heels, and with a smug, self-satisfied look on his face. On the screen, the planet Catharcerous was dying in a fiery conflagration. Cracks appeared on its surface. Then the inevitable happened. The planet exploded. Large chunks of rock sped past the TARDIS. If you looked closely enough some of the debris consisted of charred body parts.

"Thus, I win!" He flicked a switch; turning off the image then started operating more controls

"Come along Cre'at, our work here is done. Lets see if we can get the latest Blanche up and about".

He hit the master power switch, then strolled towards the inner door humming to himself. Cre'at paused for a couple of seconds, staring after the Time Lord as if unable to comprehend what he had just witnessed. Then he floated after Macfadyan.

With a wheezing, groaning and random beeping sound, Macfadyan's TARDIS slowly faded away leaving behind the sight of the planet's remains on the view screen. Adh Saidhe sighed and leaned crossed the polished oak and walnut console and flicked the illuminated rocker switch. The Holo globe that contained the horrifying image dissolved. He was in his late forties, thin faced, close-cropped hair and neatly trimmed goatee beard. He wore dark clothes that hinted at business suit. He grasped the brass edge of the console and sighed again.

"And so it begins".

Nicola Blaine looked up from the circuit she was trying to clean. An athletic woman somewhere in her late twenties, sharp faced with a mane of brown hair, she wore clothes that were faded with time but were comfortable on her. She unfolded from the chair and hugged Saidhe from behind

"Why do you keep doing this to your self Adh? You know it's going to happen. You told me you've seen it at least twice before."

"I know Nicola, truly believe me I know! But I hope and pray that just once Macfadyan would see the error of his ways, that my presence adds a random factor that pulls him back from staring into the abyss." Straightening himself, he started to operate the controls

"But it's not to be, and the future lies this way".

With a whirling, chuffing bleeping noise Adh's ship faded from view

And somewhere in the vast multitude of the space/time vortex, mad gods were laughing...

THE END

 

Macfadyan endangered his soul in the making of this story

 

The Buccaneer Chronicles: The Iytean Menace