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Excerpts from the Staggering Stories Blog:


Staggering Stories Commentary #198: Babylon 5 – Day of the Dead
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 20 Aug 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins and Keith Dunn sit down, visited, in front of the Neil Gaiman’s Season 5 Babylon 5 episode ‘Day of the Dead’, and spout our usual nonsense! Zooty has a terrible secret, Lennier has a shadowy visitor, Lochley is trying to establish an identity for herself and Kosh has another […]


Staggering Stories Podcast #269: Jago, Litefoot and AsBill
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 13 Aug 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins, Fake Crumbly, Fake Keith, Jean Riddler and the Real Keith Dunn have a retrospective on Doctor Who ‘Series 10’, discuss Big Finish’s ‘Jago and Litefoot, Series 4’ audio boxset, play a game, find some general news, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 – Intro and theme tune. […]


Staggering Stories Commentary #197: Doctor Who – Knock Knock
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 06 Aug 2017 09:58

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins and Keith Dunn sit down, bugged, in front of the 2017 Doctor Who S10 episode, ‘Knock Knock’, and spout our usual nonsense! Bill has herself some new digs, the Doctor is suddenly a man with a van and the landlord has a wood infestation. But enough of their problems, […]


Staggering Stories Podcast #268: Whittaker and Watling
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 30 Jul 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins, Fake Crumbly, Fake Keith, Jean Riddler, the Real Keith Dunn and Scott Fuller discuss the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, remember Deborah Watling, find some general news, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 – Intro and theme tune. 01:37 — Welcome! 02:07 – News: […]


Staggering Stories Commentary #196: Babylon 5 – Rising Star
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 23 Jul 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins and Keith Dunn sit down, allied, in front of the Season 4 Babylon 5 penultimate episode Rising Star, and spout our usual nonsense! Sheridan has a new job offer, Garibaldi has an impromptu rescue to mount, Ivanova jumps ship and everyone is generally very busy. But enough of their […]


Staggering Stories Podcast #267: The Doctor has a Fall
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 16 Jul 2017 09:23

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins, Fake Keith, Jean Riddler, the Real Keith Dunn and Scott Fuller review the 2017 Doctor Who episodes ‘World Enough and Time’ and ‘The Doctor Falls’, take look back at Big Finish’s ‘Doctor Who: Spare Parts’ audio play, find some general news, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 […]

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The Buccaneer Chronicles:

Dreaming on the Spires of Immortality

By Andy Simpkins (despite interference by Keith Dunn, Karen Dunn, Adam J Purcell and Tony Gallichan)


Chapter Twelve

“If you don't get even, you learn to take. And I will take you...”

 

All of them were dressed in black one piece jumpsuits with elaborate stitching forming a V shape which ran from each shoulder down to a point halfway down the torso. There was a large emblem on the left breast pocket of each of the members jumpsuits. It was a stylised heart vertically transfixed by either a dagger or a sword, Macfadyan couldn't be too sure. This overtly religious symbol of the Sacred Heart was finished off by having a background of an hourglass.

The obvious leader of the team, a tall gaunt-faced man with skin on his face like parchment stretched over his skull, was dressed slightly differently to the others. Upon his head and covering his closely cropped grey hair, was a black skull cap, covered with the same heavy embroidering and about his shoulders was a black cape with a larger copy of the religious emblem embroidered on that too.

Having taken the group buy surprise, Macfadyan and the others could only stand and stare as the leader of the newcomers took a few steps in their direction. Directly looking at them for the first time, they could see that the man had that tell-tale look of religious fanaticism in his eyes. This was confirmed by what he said next:

We, as representatives of The Knights Of The Temporal Heart, have been told that heresy has been commited and that A Transgressor is in your group who has flouted the Sacred Laws of Time for their own perverse and unholy ends and wishes to corrupt the holy pathways of Time. In our eyes, Heresy has been commited and the only sentence is death.The execution will be carried out immediately. I, Brother Sebastian, will mete out the necessary sacrosanct punishment."

"Now just a minute..." bristled Macfadyan angrily, "I am a Time Lord and I have been charged by the High Council of Gallifrey to protect and serve time. We are not going to face summary execution for crimes we have not commited by a bunch of quasi-religious fanatics..."

"What you are and what you do are unimportant." said Sebastian, looking at the group as a whole."There is a sinner among you and they must be punished. You may pray for absolution and mercy at God-Times throne and you may be spared Eternal Damnation; to live without Time....Prepare yourself, Transgressor!"

With that, his right hand whipped up to face in the groups direction. In the palm of his hand was embedded a complex net of circuitry which glowed with an ever-increasingly bright blue light.

"A neuro-systemic blaster!" shouted Nicola, as she immediately recognised what it was."Split up, all of you!!

"What is that?" shouted Macfadyan as he dived behind a bench, just as some masonry on the wall behind him was hit by a blindingly bright blue bolt of energy and exploded in a shower of rubble.

"It's an energy weapons system that is linked directly into the users nervous system. It can magnify bio-electric impulses to a very high magnitude and these can be discharged in a given direction like an ordinary blaster. Brother Sebastian must have had his Shredded Wheat today as this is the most powerful example of the weapon I have ever seen! A bit like using a cannon to crack a walnut, methinks!"

Curtis, a battle-hardened veteran, had taken shelter behind a tall computer cabinet. Having the foresight to have packed his side arm and numerous clips of ammunition in his jacket pockets, he was fully loaded .At that moment, a member of the Knights of The Temporal Heart, armed with a standard energy weapon, darted between two pillars. Curtis fired and was rewarded with the sight of the Knight snapping around and crumpling to the floor, either dead or wounded.

Blanche, in the meantime, had run a hundred yards or so and had taken shelter by a doorway leading to a room where archaic wooden packing crates were stacked. Breathing hard, she laboured to catch her breath before looking around for a suitable length of wood to arm herself with before rejoining the fray. Before she could do so, an arm snaked out of nowhere to fold itself around her neck and then proceeded to choke the life out of her.

Acting instinctively, she rammed her elbow into her assailants solar plexus and was rewarded with a screaming grunt as her attacker bent double. Just for good measure, Blanche turned and planted a heavy kick in the Knights chest.

Exhaling sharply, the Knight dropped to the floor and rolled over to look up at Blanche, temporarily winded.

Blanche was surprised to see that her attacker was a scowling middle-aged woman with the same close-cropped hair as Sebastian and the same look of eerie religious fervour on her face as well.

Crouching down, Blanche grabbed hold of the female Knight by her shoulders.

"Right then, you bitch! Before I introduce you to my good friend; Mister four by two, I want to know wot the bleedin' 'ell you lot of nutcases are doin' 'ere, takin' pot-shots at us!" Blanche demanded, all the while ominously hefting a long piece of wood in the Knights face.

"There is a Transgressor in your midst." she gasped. "You are protecting the sinner and as a result, you must all be punished as well. The Transgressor has flouted the Sacred Laws of Time and must be punished!"

"Yeah, yeah. I know that. You spouting that religious crap an' all that. I know Mac has done a few dodgy things in the past but to have 'is nuts for garters is bang out of order..."

The female Knights brow knitted in puzzlement.

"Macfadyan? No, he is not the Transgressor. It is the other female in your party; Nicola Marr...."

"Oh shit..." was all Blanche could say. Grabbing hold of the female Knights head, she banged it a couple of times on the hard stone floor to render her unconscious before standing up and running off down the corridor towards the main hall, all the while shouting:

"Mac!! Mac!! We've gotta problem!!"......

 

_________________________________________________

 

 

All the while, Cre'at, normally abhoring violence, had taken to the air in order to view the skirmish from a lofty vantage point. Upon seeing two Knights creeping down a narrow gangway flanked by stone pillars, he fired off two rapid shots from his head cannon.

The columns collapsed, trapping the knights in the gangway and stuck between two large piles of masonry which blocked their escape.

Just as he was about to descend, a bolt of energy skimmed past him, knocking him to one side. Looking down, he saw the circuitry in Brother Sebastian's hand glow blue-hot once again as he fired off another bolt. Quickly firing his head cannon on a higher energy setting, the two incandescent beams struck each other in mid air. A small, but immensely powerful explosion happened which Cre'at bore the brunt of as the shockwave from it hit him and he was slammed into a wall. Temporarily stunned, he dropped to the ground to land with a loud clang. His optical pickups dimmed as his internal power systems closed down.

Meanwhile, down below, the day was not going well for Curtis. A Knight had sprung out on him and had knocked his firearm from his grasp. Before the Knight had time to fire his weapon, Colin had spun on his back heel and kicked the blaster from his grasp. The Knight, lashing out, had his blaster kicked away from him. In losing his weapon, he was able to block the kick and grabbed hold of Colin's leg. Twisting it savagely, he had hoped to dislocate Colin's leg. However, Colin rode with the turn and executed a mid air kick with his other leg which caught the Knight on the side of the head.

Down but not out, the Knight fell to his knees, momentarily stunned. Unfortunately, Colin landed heavily on his left arm. Gasping out loud with pain, Colin suspected that the arm was badly bruised but not broken. Clutching at his arm, he could only lie there and look as though through a red haze, the Knight slowly get up and walk over to where his blaster was.....

 

Running through the maze of corridors that surrounded the Grand Hall, Macfadyan and Nicola made their breathless way. Nicola, in her duty to protect Macfadyan, had to get him back to safe surroundings in order to rescue the others and effect an escape from the city.

Turning a corner, they saw that they were in a blind alley. Whirling around, they sought to make their escape but they found their exit was blocked by Brother Sebastian standing there, blocking their way with the palm of his hand glowing with contained blue fire...

"You cannot escape from the divine and all-consuming fire that is Times divine justice, Transgressor. You flouted the Sacred Laws of Time and for that, you must reap its wrath..."said Sebastian, a small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

"You sadistic swine. I have been charged with governance over the corridors of time. To make sure that it is not corrupted by malign forces and insane tyrants, intent on bending time and all its inhabitants to their will. Yes, we have heard of you but dismissed you as nothing but a bunch of dogma-ridden fanatics; aflame with self-righteous zeal and sabre-rattling rhetoric."

Macfadyan took a step towards Brother Sebastian, anger making his eyes ablaze at the numerous injustices that were so prevalent throughout time.

"You may kill this body, Sebastian, but beware! I will regenerate and I will come after you. Then you, your followers and the rest of your poisonous ilk will be brought before the court on Gallifrey to answer for your crimes. Religious hysteria and all its bloody adherents spring up like a plague all throughout time, blinding mens judgment and clouding their vision, sacrificing reason and logic for fear and cowering before false idols and tyrannical despots. Too many times have I seen good and honest people ground down beneath a dictators heel. Made to pledge cringing fealty to creatures that expect to revered as gods but are nothing but base-born scum who should crawl back from whence they came!"

"Go on! Take your best shot but, mark my words, I will return and you will then know true divine wrath!!"

With his back to the wall and with a look of contemptuous defiance on his face, Macfadyan stood there, challenging Sebastian to strike him down...

With the same half-smile playing over his lips, Sebastian raised his palm and pointed it in Macfadyan's direction.

Straightening his shoulders and throwing his head back, Macfadyan awaited the final blow.

With a sardonic sideways look at Macfadyan, Sebastian fired....

 

The bolt of energy hit Nicola squarely in the chest. She barely had the chance to utter a single cry before falling to the ground

Rushing over to where Nicola lay, Macfadyan squatted down, picked her up in his arms and cradled her as her life flickered and faded in front of him.

With her life ebbing away in front of his eyes, all Nicola could say in the last couple of minutes before life fled her body was:

"I can't believe he lied to me. I thought that I was sent here to protect you and yet I was the target all along. So much duplicity and double-crossing, I was completely fooled by him..."

An agony of despair crossing his face, Macfadyan could only implore of her:

"Who sent you! ?Please tell me, for Times sake!"

Clutching at his sleeve the same way a drowning man would clutch at a piece of driftwood before sinking for the final time, Nicola dragged up the last reserves of her strength and looked at him with desperation and fear on her face.

"It was you who sent me!...The giggling madness that will be your thirteenth and final regeneration sent me to find you. He knew what would happen to me and yet he did, deriving some perverse pleasure from my passing...."

She coughed and a runnel of blood began to trickle down her chin.

"For Pitys sake, do what you can to change your own timeline or else you will be sucked down into a whirlpool of chaos and madness that your future self will end up in....."

Her eyes widening and her face contorting in terror at something only she could see, her fingers contracted and began clawing at his sleeve as her breathing became more ragged and uneven.

"No! I can see Her coming for me!! The Woman in Black, standing in the midst of a dead and barren land, beckoning to me!!"

Pulling herself up with her last reserves of strength, she whispered harshly in Macfadyan's ear:

"Stop Thirteen!..Stop Thirteen!... Stop Thir........"

She never finished the last word as her head slumped back and her arms dropped limply to the floor, her eyes wide open and staring into infinity...

Nodding imperceivable to himself and with satisfaction at the completion of his duties in this timeframe, Brother Sebastian squatted before Macfadyan, who was sat on the floor, holding Nicola's body close to him, rocking gently while whispering unheard platitudes, entreaties and consolations to her.

It was at that moment that Blanche rushed by and seeing what had happened, halted as tears filled her eyes and blinded her with grief. Short moments after, Colin was pushed none too gently into the room at blaster-point and was roughly shoved over to where Blanche and a recently recovered Cre'at hovered. The Sot'm had recovered enough from the blast to repair his internal circuits and hover unsteadily next to Blanche but he did not have any power for his head cannon.

With the eerie light of religious fervour aglow in his eyes, Sebastian held his palm up in front of Macfadyan's face, so close that he could see the circuitry embedded in his palm glowing with a fierce blue light, the same blue light that so callously slew Nicola.

Involuntarily, he drew away from that light. Sebastian, noticing his discomfort, cocked his head to one side and said:

"Know you, Macfadyan. Even though you sail close to the shores of Heresy at times, you still serve a purpose in Times great scheme of things. Think well on what you do next. The Transgressor knew what she was doing and yet she flouted the Sacred Laws of Time in order to come to you to warn you...."

By way of the final admonishment, Brother Sebastian straightened up and glared at him:

"Be careful, we shall be keeping a close eye on you. Should you ever sin and stray from the path of righteousness, we shall be watching and waiting, ever-ready to administer divine judgement on you...."

Closing ranks around Sebastian, the surviving members of The Knights of The Temporal Heart turned and faced Macfadyan and uttered;

"Time is God and God is Time..."

With the air around them shimmering, the groups outlines wavered and they were gone.

It had only seemed a moment since they had vanished but at Blanches gentle ministrations, Macfadyan shook himself out of his reverie. Still holding Nicola's body, he looked up to see Taarl and the other council members standing in the entrance to the alley, surrounded by a phalanx of proctor-captains.

Taarl, his face set in a stony glare, simply said:

"You want answers. Then listen to us...."

 

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Chapter Thirteen