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Friday, 10 November 2017

Murder on the Airship Express 2

Flanked by his bodyguards the short squat man, covered by their umbrellas, shuffled up the mooring tower, and onto the gondola.
As the designer and funder of this airship he had spared no expense while creating this opulent wealth magnet. Created for the transportation, in extreme luxury, for the incredibly affluent elite of Thera.
Airships were old fashioned at the time of 1888, ancient even, but this was the appeal. And if they needed speed then the steam engines could be augmented by the twin coils propulsion system. A ballroom with resident quartet and grand piano, premier restaurant and kitchen, first-rate bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. There was also a 10 man crew.
When the designer got to the boarding area he was piped aboard by a four welcoming party and the captain.
Welcome Sir Podney,” saluted the captain.

Penn,” acknowledged the designer as he jerked his head in the captain's general direction. He then looked at one of the guards, “I would like you to prepare my quarters straight away, I'm tired.”

Friday, 20 October 2017

Murder on the Airship Express 1

   Black was the night upon which this dark tale was started. As you can see from the title, an airship loomed into view, as a loom may do if it could fly. Bolt lightning lit up the sky to make a truly epic opening sequence. The pilot struggled with the steering wheel against the driving wind, perspiration beading on his brow. 
   The ground crew of the aerodrome below shivered in the cold air as they waited for the air crew to drop the mooring ropes.
   Giving the order to drop the ropes the pilot nodded to the captain to acknowledge his subservience.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Pokéstop Capital

Sid and Arthur were Pokémon hunting in the Pokéstop capital of the world, York.

"350 Pokéstops in such a small centralised area," authoritated Arthur, as if to prove that it was indeed the Pokéstop capital of the world.

"Are we going to have to come up with a load of Pokémon puns?" intimated Sid.

"The Author only knows two Pokémon jokes so maybe we have to."

"Sid thought for a moment, "What do you get if you cross an explosion with a mighty sound wave?"

"Uh huh?" uh huhed Arthur.


"Mmm, very good, now my turn. How do you get 50 Pikachus on a bus?"

"You Pokémon?"

"So you've heard it?"

"Well it was one of the two jokes that the Author knew."

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 11

As the TEABAG goblins walked towards the electric shield it dispersed in the section that led to the Fenegan outpost. The door opened and Smetherwick marched in followed by the other two. What a scene they saw inside. Both Ruhtra's sitting at table sharing a pot of tea and scones.
Ruhtra's looked up, “It's about time you rescued mus. Me's had enough tea and scones to last two weeks!”
Smetherwick looked at Vinigrette, “Let's get scone,” he punned, “we don't seem tea be 'preciated here.”
(Scone there rhymes with scon not stone, depending upon your pronunciation.) Re-read, laugh.

The end.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 10

“Sounds like a plan,” nodded Smetherwick, “now let's be on with it before we get shot at by a ticked off bigfoot.”

There was not much cover between the goodish goblins and the badish ones. As they zig zagged towards the ASDAG and the outpost the enemy gun lined up on them. “Do you think they know we're goblins?” wondered Tunning-Cymbals.
“They probably think we're green dwarves re-wondered Smetherwick.
Vinigrette took his hat off and waved, “Cooee!“
The ASDAG lurched a little as it fired its payload. It fell about 10 yards short.
A definite shudder was felt beneath their feet.
“What!“ exclaimed Smetherwick, “was that a warning shot?”
They were a little stunned at first but continued to zig zag towards their foe. About a minute and a
half later the ASDAG had reloaded and fired another shot, this time falling behind them.
“That's it,” cried Bartram from the Talent, “we have about a minute and a half before they reload
for another shot.”
“Couldn't we just dodge around in the sky, make us more difficult to hit?”
“Of course, but it's good to be prepared, and we know how long we've got before we need to be
She settled down again and looked through the iron sights at the three ant-like TEABAG goblins.

Jamestown was puffing heavily, “I'm not cut out for all of this zig zagging, I usually get the
servants to do it for me.” He was slowing down and falling behind the other two.
“Throw us the flare gun,” said Tunning-Cymbals, “you hide behind that fortuitously placed granite
boulder that didn't seem to be there just now.
Vinigrette tossed him the flare gun and the extra flare then drooped down behind the boulder.
Traiton flipped the side door open to have a better look at what those three small green dwarves
were doing. He cracked his eyes (not literally, they're not eggs) to see more clearly. They were
This did not compute properly in his android brain. Goblins were underlings, grunts to be grown
quickly for war. What were these three doing on a British airship?

The two goblins zagged across, right in front of where Traiton stood looking at them.
“Quick zig,”ordered Smetherwick. And so they both zigged, back to the boulder.
Puffing, Tunning-Cymbals asked, “Do you think he saw us?”
“Two goblins zagging across his line of sight? I think so!”
“What happened?”asked Vinigrette.
“Traiton had got out to have a look at us?”
“Did he like what he saw?”
“What!”exasperated Smetherwick.
There was a large deafening boom as the ASDAG fired at the boulder. Shards of granite splintered from it and rocked towards the three cowering goblins.
“Great,” greated Smetherwick, as Arthur might well have done in this situation, “we come all this way to get killed by an armoured artillery gun by our own goblin kind.”
“They're not kind at all,” noted Vinigrette, “they're trying to kill us.”
“Well we've got about another minute and a half before they fire at the boulder again. Another few hits and this thing will be in pieces, leaving us no cover whatsoever.”
“How close is it to the end of the story?” asked Tunning-Cymbals.
“I think we'll die before we get there,” reiterated Smetherwick, if you pardon the wrong usage of language.
“Who's the fastest at running?” asked their leader.
Vinigrette and Tunning-Cymbals both pointed at each other.
As he shook his head he accused Tunning-Cymbals, “You know you are TC. I think you should run as fast as you can after the next shot, towards the ASDAG and fire the flare at the eye-slots, try and blind them. Bartram should see it and begin his attack.”
Tunning-Cymbals looked worried, “What happens if I miss?”
“Fire the second flare.”
“What happens if that one misses?”
A look of unbelief developed across Smetherwick's face, “You can't be that bad at shooting? Didn't you win a medal for it at the village fête in '84?”
“I've pulled my shoulder since then.”
“You're pulling my leg?”
Vinigrette also joined in, “He's trying to pull the wool over your eyes.”
(I couldn't think of any more pull clichés...)
“It'll have to be me then,” thought the goblin leader, “I'm not as fast at running but a good shot.” He pulled up his trousers and tightened his belt.

And so he waited until the steam cannon had fired another shot at the badly crumbling boulder. As fast as a hare running down Harehill he sprinted towards the enemy vehicle. When he got to within 60 feet (with only 30 seconds to go) he aimed a little high and fired the flare. It bounced, off the armour, and fell into a field, quite close to the electric shield, with a fantastic fizzle.
He reloaded, it took but a second and this time he aimed a little lower. The flare shot straight through the aiming window.
From inside he heard goblinish screams and then the side door burst open. Four goblins scrambled out, gasping for air and unable to see properly. They looked like green moles at a Gollum convention.

Bartram saw that the goblin mission had been a success and so directed the Talent towards the ASDAG.
Ann fired the front cannon and the shells bounced against the armour. She called to the yeti captain, “Get me near the open door.”

Traiton was still inside his tank thing and sat in the aimer's seat, ready to fire at the attacking airship, “A little closer,” he murmured as he set his eye against the sight.
The Talent crossed in front of the tank and so Traiton fired at it. A hit, upon the starboard fin.
Wobbling slightly, Bartram managed to stabilise her and hovered over near the door. Ann changed to a side gun and she fired at least 50 shells into the infernal machine. Most of the control mechanisms were bent out of shape, as was most of Traiton. The only thing that worked on him was his head. After a slight click he detached it and floated out of the ASDAG., right in front of Ann's Hotchkiss cannon.
“Whoops!” he exhaled (he looked a little like Lukas from The Sun Thief.)
Smetherwick and the other TEABAGs rounded up the enemy goblins, who were suffering from shock and awe, with their electric pistols.

“And now to rescue Ruhtra,” said I and had to let Smetherwick, Tunning-Cymbals and Vinigrette do it to keep the story flowing properly.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 9

Now, because this story is supposed to be about the TEABAG goblins, and not about Ruhtra, we return to them.

Ginster craned his head forward to the place where they saw Ruhtra mashed up. He brought the Talent in low and hovered over the area. “Some help please gentlemen,” he shouted at the goblins.
The posh goblins jumped down from the airship and began to look about on the ground like greedy men looking for a penny. Soft Ann trained her gun towards the enemy tower.
As the goblins were availing a message came through on the overly large radio communication equipment. “We've had a report, from the Fenegans, that Ruhtra's at Brug in the North of the island.”
The yeti captain nodded in acknowledgement and signalled back, “Righto!“ He then shouted to the away team, “It's OK, he's not here, he's in Brug.”
Sighing as they all climbed back onto the Talent the goblins moaned especially Vinigrette, “They could have contacted us sooner.”

Something might have happened at the tower, but I had not thought of anything and Lord D'ark wanted to rest after the shock of being shot at by a female Bigfoot (well, wouldn't you?)
Traiton however, being an android, did not need to rest and thought he'd lead a goblin hunting party to hunt the goblins. He just caught a whiff of the Talent (it must have been Bartram's eau de cologne) and mobilised an armoured steam vehicle. (Though not a tank, they hadn't been invented yet - unless you count the one by Da Vinci.)

There was no way a steam powered armoured vehicle was going no to catch a nippy little airship so I had to think of a plot device where that might be possible.
Time travel?
Lift by ultra-fast airship?
Or I could just say that the Talent breaks down for just long enough to allow the steam tank to get in front and of them and block their way to the Fenegan entry post.
This could lead to a long, drawn out section where they all bond together, but I read Lord of the Rings when I was 19 and the bit with Sam and Frodo really slowed me down, so...

“There,” sighed Soft Ann as she placed the wrench on the deck plate, wiped her dirty brow with a cloth (though you couldn't really tell) and climbed up to the rest of them. “Who would have believed I would have to do a full engine rebuild with a multi-wrench and a Swiss army knife.”
Vinigrette looked at Smetherwick, “Was the Swiss army knife invented this early?”
“Who can tell without Google?”
The yeti called out as he grabbed the steering wheel, “Let's fire her up.”
As the electric motor began to whirr the finely balanced Tesla coils did their work and the Talent started to rise gently.
“Who would have thought,” remarked Tunning-Cymbals, “two weeks in enemy territory rebuilding an electric engine, hiding from goblin scouts and living on iron rations.”
“At least we won't be anaemic when we get back.”
“Eh? I thought you were going to say something about Wolfenstein and Enemy Territory.”

Before I could think of anything Bartram zipped the Talent towards the end of the story.

There, parked before the outpost, chugged, hissed and steamed the steam tank (although it should really be described in another manner.) Traiton ordered the crew to, “Load the cannon, I can see them.” A single shot wouldn't do, they really needed more firepower, maybe a couple of machine guns!

The Talent way outgunned the steam tank but one good shot from its opponent would do for her. Bartram knew this and therefore kept his distance, hovering over 500 yards away. “So this is why we were held up for two weeks.”
Ann commented, “We can tank them on.”
“Eh? It's an Armoured, Steam Driven, Artillery Gun so the acronym should be ASDAG.”
“It's ASDAG price?” misquoted Ann, but only those people who have seen the ASDA advert, of the well known Northern British superstore chain, would get that reference.
“Stop being so obscure, I have only ever heard about the ASDA supermarket chain from looking at future copies of the Times FT share index.”
“Huh!“ puffed the female bigfoot knowing that he was being just as obscure. She looked through her iron sights, “Are we just going to look at them or what?”
“I think we need a diversion, draw their line of fire. We also need to know how quickly they can re-load that thing, because that's the time we have to close on them for the kill.”
“What about the armour though, won't the Hotchkiss cannon shells just bounce off?”
“I don't know, I haven't been in an action before with a heavily armoured vehicle. We will have to take our chances.” He shouted down to the galley, “Oi, you three, you're the diversion. Get out of the Talent, with the flare pistol, and get close enough to fire it into their front window. When you have, get out of the way quickish, Soft Ann and I will finish them off.”

This irked all three of the TEABAG goblins, for not only were they half way through their afternoon tea, but that they would also have to harm other goblins. They all started grumping about the spoiled tea and how inappropriate for upper class, traitor goblins, to kill lower classes in the pay of some off-worlder female empire builder who must look like a man, for that is what her impersonator was.
“I CAN HEAR YOU MOANING,” shouted Bartram, “get the flare gun, get off the ship and get going, or I'll let Ann fire a few rounds at you!“
“Well really,” tutted Smetherwick, as he fumbled for the flare gun and his green jacket.
“We'd better not get killed in this stupid adventure,” re-tutted Vinigrette.
Tunning-Cymbals jumped to the ground ahead of them and crouched in typical goblin manner.
“Stop messing around TC,” reprimanded Smetherwick, “your mother's genetic line is not that bad.”
Tunning-Cymbals straightened up with a, “Cheek! I don't mind harming Traiton,” he admitted, “but I draw the line at hurting other goblins, unless they're from the Black Hand Gang.”
“Well that goes without saying. Traiton is an android after all, and part of the evil Nefad.”

“So kill him and just blind the other goblins? Unless they're Black Handers.”  

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The TEABAG Goblins 8

Arthur stood there giving the TEABAG goblins a dressing gown. (I meant down but gown sounds funnier.)
“I don't want this,” balked Smetherwick as he handed Arthur the dressing gown back, “it's pink!“
“Not a girl's colour in this time and dimension,” spoffed Arthur.
“Now look here,” continued Arthur, “you left Ruhtra behind.”
“He's dead,” re-iterated Tunning-Cymbals, “Shill told us so.”
“He's not, I have it on good authority...”
“Which authority?”
“The Author authority.”
“Oh, do you believe in him?”
“It goes without asking, anyway he wasn't killed just mashed up a bit so that you lot have to rescue him.”
“Why us?” moaned Vinigrette.
“The story's about the TEABAG goblins?” he looked forcefully at them, “that's what YOU are!“
Smetherwick looked at Vinigrette, “We'd better do it or we'll not get paid by the Funny Character's Union.”
“Are you Union spies or not?” queried Arthur.
“Erm, sort of,” thought Smetherwick, “we're part of the Funny Character's Union Special Fun Force.”
“And what's that when it's at home?”
“We observe Union members and if they're not funny enough we can either revoke their licence...” Arthur immediately went into his slapstick routine with Sid, who was quite non-plussed. Smetherwick looked disparagingly at the Colonel/King. “Or...”
Arthur stopped, hoping that his 'slap a pork pie in Sid's face' was good enough to keep him in the Union.
“We have the authority to make things funnier.”
Sid spat out the crumbled pork pie, “I hate the pork pie slapstick routine,” he grumbled, “it makes me feel that snout is sacred.”
Smetherwick got out his notepad and compared notes with the other goblins, “Snout,” he compared, “it IS a pig joke...”
“But not necessarily a pork pie joke,” warned Vinigrette.
“Oi'll give it foive,” utterated Tunning-Cymbals (if anyone is old enough and British enough to understand that reference, if not then look at Janice Nicholls and 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' on YouTube.)
The TEABAG colonel looked absolutely agog in desperate panic to see if a five was good enough to keep him in the Union.
“What about me?” moaned Sid.
“Automatic 10,” replied Smetherwick, “even adjusting for the racial bias between goblins and dwarves.”
Sid smiled broadly at Arthur and nudged him, “Automatic 10.”
Pulling a sour face Arthur lemoned it into the next chapter.


“A lemon, a lemon, my kingdom for a lemon.”
I made Arthur say as he waved off the Talent and it flew away to re-rescue Ruhtra.

In the belly of the Tesla coil powered airship Smetherwick was looking at Vinigrette and spoke softly, “I can't wait till this gig is up. It sickens me to have to work with dwarves and elves.”
“Me too,” bawled Vinigrette, “I want to get back to bashing them not befriending them.”
“What about Ruhtra though?” suggested Tunning-Cymbals, “he's a wicked shape changer, turned good. It shouldn't take a lot to to set him back on the road to destruction.”
“Like a knife in the back it was to so traitorously treat our own goblin kind at the tower of Awat.”
They all looked goblinish and nasty until Soft Ann popped her head round the door, “Tea anyone?”
They quickly put on their snooty faces.
“Er, Darjeeling for me,” said Tunning-Cymbals.
“Assam for me,” quoted Vinigrette.
“Sorry,” interjected Soft Ann, “we only have Theran Eran, or coffee.”
“Oh,” snooted Smetherwick, “erm, coffee then, for us all.”
She popped her head back out and they heard her in the galley getting the cups ready.
What was happening there?
They all looked at each other like The Sweet in a Ballroom Blitz.

Brug was on the island where Corsica would have been on the earth. The tower of Awat was in the South of the island, Brug was in the North. The safety of the electric shield kept Brug from attack, the tower of Awat had no such protection. To get back inside the safety of the electric shield, he's would have to make contact with the outpost about 6 miles before the city. He's could not pass through the shield or he's would turn into green jelly again.
“Mmm,” mmmed the lesser of the two Ruhtra's, “green jelly, I like that.”
Ruhtra 1 thought it but didn't say anything.
And then they saw the outpost, part of the Fenegan empire.
He's didn't know much about Fenegans, well, about any of this world really. He's would have to play it by ear (or ears?)
The Fenegan entry post was well fortified in case giants or other enemies tried to access the protection of the area behind the electric shield.

Two gun turrets surveyed the skies about the area and a large artillery piece looked out to sea to guard the approach from that direction by naval units (no, not navel units!) [Swimming belly dancers by chance?]
As he's approached, a gun turret lined up on them.
“Ooer,” exclaimed Ruhtra 1 from the side of his mouth that was facing forward.
An authoritative voice spoke from a Tannoy system, “Name your business, or be shot.”
As quickly as he could speak from the side of his mouth Ruhtra 1 spat, “Secret mission to rescue our Queen, gone wrong, stomped on by Lord D'ark's Pegasus.”
“Mmm,” hummed the voice on the other end, “I didn't quite understand that, but your outfit shows that you're from the British colony. I'll assume you're lost and need help.”
Ruhtra's heard the microphone being switched off.

The roving gun turret re-aligned itself on the sky and a door opened into the entry post.