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Staggering Stories Podcast #265: Wonder Cough
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sat, 17 Jun 2017 16:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins, Fake Keith, Jean Riddler, the Real Keith Dunn and Scott Fuller review the 2017 Doctor Who episodes ‘The Lie of the Land’ and ‘Empress of Mars’, discuss the 2017 film ‘Wonder Woman’, find some general news, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 – Intro and theme tune. […]


Staggering Stories Commentary #193: Doctor Who – Smile
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 11 Jun 2017 08:54

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins and Keith Dunn sit down, emojied, in front of the 2017 Doctor Who S10 episode, ‘Smile’, and spout our usual nonsense! The Doctor is interfering with a new species, Bill has a decision to make and the Vardy just want everybody to be happy. But enough of their problems, […]


Staggering Stories Podcast #264: Stimulated Reality
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sat, 03 Jun 2017 16:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Fake Keith, the Real Keith Dunn and Steve Brittain review the 2017 Doctor Who episodes ‘Extemis’ and ‘The Pyramid at the End of the World’, discuss the Big Finish boxset ‘Charlotte Pollard, Series Two’, find some general news, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 – Intro and theme tune. […]


Staggering Stories Commentary #192: Babylon 5 – Between the Darkness and the Light
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 28 May 2017 08:33

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins and Keith Dunn sit down, sprung, in front of the Season 4 Babylon 5 episode Between the Darkness and the Light, and spout our usual nonsense! Sheridan is sporting a fetching head band, Garibaldi is looking for mercy and Ivanova is feeling crushed. But enough of their problems, please […]


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 […]

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Buccaneer Chronicles

The Buccaneer Chronicles:
Ghostwalker

Written by Tony Gallichan. Plot by Karen Dunn and Tony Gallichan


Chapter Ten - 'Take me home, I need to see where I come from.'

 

Mark La Plan was dozing fitfully in an armchair next to the fire in his sitting room when a loud knock at the door jolted him awake. Rubbing his eyes he shuffled towards the front door. As he raised his hand to open the door, he noticed that he was shaking. Another nightmare. He was almost becoming used to them. Almost. Sighing, he turned the handle and pulled the door open.

* Greetings, human. Would you like a vegetable product? * said the floating metal head.

He came round to see the face of a teenage girl looking down at him in concern.

"Mac, he's awake." She said over her shoulder.

"...Which is why I said to leave the talking to me, Cre'at. Ah, good. Make some coffee please, Blanche. We have a long day ahead of us." The girl vanished to be replaced by a plump - ish, blond haired man dressed in the worst eighties fashion had to offer.

"Is this the part when you tell me to stand and deliver?" Mark mumbled.

"No, this is the part where I advise you to take it easy getting up and then lead you to an armchair. Then I ask why you kept pleading with me to take you home."

"What was that floating thing?"

"I asked first!" came the reply. "Here, let me help you up, take it easy." Macfadyan guided Mark into his armchair.

"I was dreaming. I think."

"Well, the 'floating' thing is called Cre'at. He's a Sot'm. An alien. Not from this planet. Got that? Good. Oh, and I'm an alien as well. Hope that helps. Dreaming of what, exactly?"

Mark felt his strength returning.

"Look, just who are you nutters?"

"Take it easy, Mr. La Plan. Ah, here comes Blanche with the coffee. I shall explain. Would you like a chocolate button? You could do with the sugar." Macfadyan offered a large bag of Cadbury buttons. "We are very interested in La Hougue Bie burial mound. Its history, its myths and legends. And I believe that you are the ideal person to ask. Dreaming of what?"

"Well, I can certainly help with your research. As for the alien part of your story, well, your floating head over there indicates I should keep an open mind."

"Excellent. I see you're a scientist at heart. And again I ask, dreaming of what?"

Mark sighed.

"For the last few months I've been having these dreams. They started off as quite pleasant, though I always woke with a, well, a sort of melancholic ache, you know what I mean? Then, recently, they've become horrible. I keep seeing cavemen! You know, furs and all that? And they keep killing me. And I still want to be there even though they kill me. I HAVE to go there, but I don't know where it is. How can I want this? How can a dream get to me like this? Am I going mad?"

Macfadyan looked keenly at Mark.

"No. No, I don't think so. You see, I've had the same dream."

 

Outside Fort Regent's ghost train, Curtis sighed and pulled the cover back over the body. He straightened and looked up and down the east ditch. The Fort was shut to the public. He'd made sure of that. No need to panic anyone. The three youths had died of fright, judging by the looks on their faces. Things were getting serious. Time to call in the troops. He walked back to his small office in the piazza and reached straight for the phone.

"Operator, please dial this number and say "Brie". No, I am being serious. No, really. Yes, that's right, "Brie". No, I'm not some nutter. I said I'm not... Look, can I speak to your supervisor?"

It was turning into one of those days.

 

Blanche was bored. It was now early evening and the day had been spent waiting on Macfadyan as he and Mark had poured over old books and charts. Enough was enough.

"I'm going for a walk." She announced.

"Mmmff." Was the only reply she got.

"Oh sod you." She said and walked to the door.

 

In the bushes across the road from the cottage, William Small tensed as the door opened and a teenage girl emerged. Looking up at the glorious evening sky and nearly missing her footing because of it, she started to walk down the road.

"Interesting." William said. Then he turned to his companion. "Looks like La Plan has friends. I wonder what would happen to his crusade if one of them vanished and he was advised to scale back his protests? Off you go then. Make sure she's uncomfortable. Take her to Jardain D'Olivier. The ruined fort has a few supplies stashed. I'll come to you later." Nodding his compliance, the man moved silently out of the bushes and began to follow Blanche. William allowed himself a smile. And Caroline thought he had no brains. Perhaps this would show he had.

 

It tensed, awake again. It had realised the last night that there was a lot of what it needed on the island. So many people. So much emotion. And it now knew which emotions were the strongest. Hate. Fear. It began to move.

 

After a few minutes walking, Blanche had come to a small car park that had been signposted: Val De La Mar Reservoir - public footpath. There was a picture of the reservoir on the sign. All in all, it was just the thing she had been looking for. A quiet country walk. She started off down the path. Behind her, small time crook and blackmail victim of Caroline Saracin, Terry Le Main worriedly followed her.

 

"Crumbly?" Macfadyan spoke into the phone.

"That's Curtis." Came the resigned reply.

"Yes, yes, whatever. Look. Meet me at La Hougue Bie in 2 hours."

"Look, Macfadyan, I have better things to be doing then being a taxi service for you. People are dying, and I'm trying to do something about it."

"Well, ok. Shame though. You'll miss the rather fun spectacle of yours truly solving your problems for you."

"I'll be there."

"Thought you might, child. Don't be late." Macfadyan put down the receiver. "Now, I think we have time for another coffee and a review of the facts. I'm pretty sure I'm right and all the research we've done today just confirms it. Hah, is Crumbly going to be surprised?" he chuckled.

"Macfadyan, look, is there any way of doing this without, well, you know..." Mark asked.

"I'm sorry. But I really think that this is the only way." Macfadyan said, almost gently.

 

It was getting stronger, influencing more and more. Hate. Fear .Hate Fear, they were so easy to control.

 

In St. Helier a man hit his wife. In St. Lawrence a barroom brawl flared up from nowhere. In St. Ouen two feuding farmer's and their families went for each other with pitchforks and scythes. Small incidents, but enough to feed the fire. Before long, entire neighbourhoods were descending into chaos and bloodshed. Soon the whole island would be a slaughterhouse.

 

Blanche was starting to get the creeps. The light had faded. The only illumination there was came from the full moon and it's reflection on the reservoir. That in itself was spooky enough but then she had heard the footsteps. She started to walk faster in the hope that the path would come to an end or she would meet someone coming the other way. The bushes and gorse crowded her making it hard to see who was behind her. The footsteps kept pace with her and now she could hear the harsh breathing. She started to run, rational thought giving way to fear. Behind her the footsteps got closer. Then it was over. She tripped over a tree root and landed painfully. She turned and looked up through the fast forming mist.

"C'mere, bitch." Said the figure that emerged. Then he stopped, staring beyond her. "No. No nononono." He began to shout. Blanche turned around slowly. Two huge red eyes were forming out of the mist. Her breath caught in her throat and she forced herself to see this as an opportunity. Just as she was about to make a run for it, the eyes let out the most god - awful scream and rushed towards the man. His scream blended in with the painful noise coming from the eyes, then he simply burst like a wet bag, organs falling to the floor. And that was when Blanche finally panicked and ran.

After a few minutes, the path widened out into another car park. There was nobody around and she carried on running, the pain in her leg ignored. Foolishly she kept going in a straight line, crossing the road and entering the sand dunes that bordered the whole of St. Ouen's bay. She knew it was behind her, playing with her like a cat with it's favourite toy, somehow she could feel it. She stopped quickly to catch her breath. And that's when the scream came rushing toward her. She stumbled back, lost her footing and all went black.

The pain brought her round a minute or so later. Her right leg was in agony. She couldn't really see but it felt like it could be broken. She looked around herself but all she could see was a small patch of stars. I must have fallen into some kind of hole, she thought, blearily. Vaguely she remembered something the German Underground Hospital tour guide had said about the Nazi invaders building a network of bunkers around the coast of the island. Trust me to find one when I least want one, she thought. Macfadyan's never gonna let me forget this.

Then she felt it, the presence with her in the bunker. It was coming towards her, getting faster and faster, rushing through the tunnels towards her. Then...

The Dalek spun around, gun blazing blue light. She ducked and at Macfadyan's shout ran for the door of the control room. But this time it shut in front of her. She heard the gun roar again and heard Macfadyan scream. Then the blue light hit her.

The lizard lashed out with it's tail, catching Macfadyan by surprise and knocking him off his feet, his blaster falling several feet away from him. He was shouting for Cre'at but the lizard was too quick. Rushing forward it reached her and lunged hungrily towards her. She could smell the rotting flesh stuck in it's teeth. The jaws closed around her.

She was strapped to a wall, she could see Macfadyan shouting at her through the protective screen in the wall. He ran his hand through his dark hair. He was trying to climb up onto a control console, reaching desperately for something out of her eye line. Then he stopped and she saw his shoulders slump. He turned towards her, tears in his eyes. His mouth moved, "Blanche". He placed a hand on the protective screen. Then the white light flooded down towards her.

 

"I must say, for a primitive mode of transport, this is quite enjoyable." Said Macfadyan as the wind blew through his hair. Mark's old-fashioned maroon roadster was eating up the road. Beside him, in the passenger seat, all Mark could do was groan and hold on for dear life and prey that his insurance covered him for accidents caused by mad alien travellers. Above them, Cre'at kept pace with the cars crazy twists and turns.

"How far to La Hougue Bie?" asked Macfadyan.

"About 4 miles." Came the shaky reply.

"Hmm, about 3 minutes then."

Mark groaned again and flicked on the radio. There was just static. He fiddled with the tuner but whatever band he set it to the result was the same.

"Now that's ominous," said Macfadyan.

"Why? The north coast transmitters probably out. It happens sometimes."

"No. It's more than that. Can't you feel it? The heaviness in the air? I think our friend has got a lot stronger. And that means we have to succeed tonight. Or there may not be a tomorrow for this island of yours."

Behind them, William Small struggled to keep up with the crazy red car. His driving experience was limited to Jersey and its 40-mile an hour speed limit. He glanced at the speedometer of his Vectra. It was touching 65. Never again, he vowed. Then he saw something that made him realise that he didn't need to speed.

"La Houge Bie - 3 miles." Read the road sign. William knew exactly where they were going. He smiled and started to think about the reward he would seek off that bitch Caroline. He'd start with certain papers being destroyed. Then he'd destroy her.

His boss on the other hand was lying in a pool of her own blood in a small room off Fort Regent's piazza. Caroline had been attending a meeting of shop owners from the Fort when all hell had broken loose. The atmosphere had been a harsh one as it was, the shopkeepers angry with her for the rent increases. But something had come to the meeting and now Caroline would not be charging rent for anything ever again. Mind you, after killing her, the shopkeepers had started on each other, petty squabbles becoming the reasons for so many deaths. And so it continued.

 

Yes! It was strong now. So strong. Soon, a voice said. Soon you will be able to leave here. Soon. Soon.

 

The last thing that Bernard Du Pres expected to see was a small - ish figure stumbling in front of the headlights of his car. The last thing he then expected after slamming on the brakes was for the figure to limp heavily to his door, wrench it open and a fist to come flashing in at him. The last thing that he then expected to see was that his killer was a teenage girl. Killer? Oh yes, the silver blade of her knife had slit his throat. No doubt there. The last thing that he saw was his car being driven off in a squeal of rubber. Then he laid his head on the cold tarmac and peace claimed him. He had expected that. The blood pouring down his front and onto the road was a dead give away.

 

St Helier was rioting. The police were doing their best to contain it, but they were helplessly outnumbered. It didn't help that slowly but surely, policemen and women; both Uniformed and Honoury were joining the rioters. There didn't seem to be any set pattern to the riot, people were just lashing out at everybody. And it was spreading. Reports were coming in of similar situations around the island. And through it Lieutenant Colin Curtis struggled. He was making towards La Hougue Bie and his appointment with the Time Lord. Something tickled the back of his mind, making his heartbeat faster with fear. Calling on his training with the Zen brigade in Aylesbury, he edged his car around a burning taxi and turned onto St. Saviour's Hill.

 

Macfadyan emerged from the burial mound nodding his head and muttering excitedly to himself about measurements and block transfer. Mark sat forlornly on a bench outside the gift shop. Silhouetted against the night sky was the first of the builder's JCBs. They had started work before the JADC had been able to file its court protest. A holding order had been placed on the work to allow for public consultation but now it was all for nothing, he thought. He looked at Macfadyan, wondering just what sort of creature could do the things he claimed he would do to sort out this bizarre danger. Then he looked at Cre'at and decided that some things he just wouldn't understand.

A car screeched to a halt, not stopping in time to avoid crashing through the thin wooden entrance gates.

"What on Earth?" Mark yelled and started towards the car. The driver's door creaked open and Blanche emerged, limping towards the burial mound.

"Macfadyan!" he called.

"I'm a bit busy at the moment. What is it?"

"Its your friend. She's hurt." Macfadyan looked up then moved quickly forward towards the girl. He faltered when he saw her injuries.

"Blanche, just what have you been doing, hmm, child?"

She looked at him. Their eyes met...

He was standing in one of the most surreal places he had ever been. Around him was the primitive heath land of his dream. The roundeled walls and crumbling brick slum buildings that were dotted around the place were from different times and different places. Ahead of him, sitting on his stuffed dodo from the TARDIS was Blanche. He walked over to her, skirting around a wall. He saw she was sitting next to an ancient figure dressed like some kind of high priest.

"Blanche?" said Macfadyan, his words echoing strangely. There was no response.

"She cannot speak, Lord of Time. Her mind is gone." Said the priest.

"Gone? How?"

"I truly do not know. The first thing I am aware of was being in a hole in the ground and having knowledge of things not in my world. Before that there was darkness. And before that was death."

"Your death, I take it?"

"Yes, mine. I was sacrificed. I was their priest but I scared them. They sacrificed me to make amends to Orb for my misdeeds."

"I see, tell me more."

"I could hear them, you see? All of them. All the thoughts of my tribe were laid open to me. At first I thought that this was Orb granting me power The figure that approached me in my dream and told me to drink was cloaked in our religion.. But soon it was unbearable. I feared for my mind. And the others feared me. They sacrificed me and took my body form my home to this island burial ground across the sea. They moved great stones the distance between my home and here in the time it took the sea to leave and give up its bed and then return."

"Now that I'm impressed by."

"My people were able to achieve great things. We were builders and farmers and we ruled our lands totally. We praised Orb and received an abundance of food for our efforts. But I will see my home no more."

"Hmm, you look very young to be a high priest."

"I was made priest because of my power. Orb had blessed me and I was holy."

"Ah, religion. I never bothered with it myself, though my people used to. We banished our monks and embraced reason. And reason tells me that you my friend are a gifted telepath whose powers seem to have manifested themselves at adolescence. As for your dream figure, I expect you ate too much cheese that night. It seems you were more powerful than you thought, though. Somehow your powers survived your death, lying dormant in the burial mound until they started digging. And as you had no reasoning for yourself you latched on to those around you. You embraced their emotion as their rational thoughts were beyond your understanding. However, it seems that in your loneliness you boosted their feelings too high. And killed them. Not your fault, of course. I mean, I can hardly ask what you were thinking now, can I?"

"It was only your friend that gave me thought. I don't know what happened, but I awoke in her. I was confused. I had all these other memories. I could move the horseless carriage and knew what I had to do. I came here, though her memories were fast fading."

"Hence your little mishap at the gates. So, what can I do for you?"

"I wish to go home. I know you can take me. Please, take me home."

"It will be my pleasure."

 

William walked through the shattered gates of La Hougue Bie. His jaw dropped open at the sight before him. A whirling funnel of mist, not unlike a tornado, was spinning down to the ground, a dark, misshapen figure stood at its epicentre. Then everything happened at once.

There was the sound of a car pulling up in the road behind him. He heard the door open and slam shut and heavy footsteps approach. Mark La Plan was stumbling towards him, yelling something about getting away from the funnel. Then the mist evaporated, revealing the tall blond man, the girl from the cottage held in his arms. He gently lowered her to the floor.

"Ok, that's enough. Say still. Miss Saracin has had enough of you, La Plan. It's time to chair the big protest meeting in the sky." William pulled out his gun and turned slightly towards Mark.

"Say goodnight."

"Goodnight." said the blond man. There was a blinding blue/white flash of light and a noise like hell itself. Then there was nothing.

 

Curtis couldn't believe his eyes. The charred smoking figure of William Small crumpled to the ground revealing a smug looking Macfadyan holding some kind of tubular weapon. Anger flared inside him.

"That was murder!" Macfadyan raised a casual eyebrow at this.

"He had the audacity to point a gun at my friend here," he indicated Mark, " and I don't like jumped up humans who go around doing things like that." He looked at Mark.

"Well, goodbye, my friend. You should have peace of mind now. Cre'at, c'mon, we are leaving." The floating head hovered over to Macfadyan.

* What about Blanche? She is broken? *

"Oh don't worry. There'll be another one along in five minutes." Macfadyan held up a curious black rod with flashing lights along one side. "Goodbye, Crumbly. Do try to get some intelligence, will you?"

"You are going nowhere." Curtis pulled his revolver and pointed it at Macfadyan. "You are under arrest for murder."

Macfadyan tutted at him. Then he gave a huge wink. His finger moved slightly on the rod.

From all around came a strange discordant electronic bleeping sound, a wheezing groaning noise fading up from it. And the burial mound vanished, replaced by red and white striped candyfloss booth. Then it to vanished, leaving nothing behind but empty dirt and two very confused humans.

 

Normandy in France is a beautiful place. Rolling hills and farmland go on for miles. With a discordant, electronic beeping, wheezing groaning sound, one such field suddenly gained a large hillock.

Inside the TARDIS Macfadyan double-checked the instruments on the console. Cre'at had taken the empty shell that was Blanche's body to the resyk chamber and would then activate another clone. Macfadyan could have done it himself from the console but he was tired. The solution to the problem had been simple enough. Materialise around the burial mound and transport it back to France. But what bothered Macfadyan was the fact that it had taken him so long to work out what was going on. The very first inkling of telepathic activity and he should have unshipped the psychic containment units. Instead, according to the news reports the Ship was feeding him, several thousand people had died on Jersey. He knew he should be concerned, but a shadow in his mind smoothed the worry away. They were only humans. Primitives. And as for himself, well, a picnic would be just the trick to relax and refresh him. Almost without him noticing, his hand reached out and set random co ordinates. Just for a second he paused and felt Fate calm him.

He pulled the master power switch.

 

 

(With apologies to Karen)

 

The Buccaneer Chronicles: Catharcerous