Fantastic Beats And Where To Find Them: The Grooves of Grindelwald

Brad’s Back From The Brink, And Now – Hey! – More Groovy Than Ever…

“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears; we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams” – Albert Einstein. 

Weh-heh-hell! 

What a month THAT was!

Moreover, what the blazes happened to that hapless idiot who eats too much cake?! 

Thought Brad had succumbed to the wild excesses of his own bloggiversary party?

Not quite, me luvvlies… 

Grab a muffin an’ a mocha, an’ gedda loada THIS sick note…

“Put on your red shoes and dance the blues” – David Bowie. 

My creative faculties were all set to dazzle you with some spooky posts during Halloween week, but then – all of a sudden, and fer one whole bally frustrating fortnight!! – my laptop went on the blink for no apparent reason…

In addition, during the first week of November, a particularly merciless barrage of bad news, rotten luck AND poor health pummelled me into such a lousy mood that the last thing one wanted to do was write. 

During such difficult times, a playlist of frenetic hot-steppers is required, so let me share with you some of the latest platters to lift my spirits (as well as my feet).

Rather than let all my spooktacular ramblings go to waste, the Horrorthon is still scheduled to go ahead!

After all, this is the ideal season to indulge in such frightful endeavours; moreover, some of my SF seems to be seeping into darker, more eerie territory anyways, so it looks like you’re going to have to brave a way lot more than just my usual tedious text…

“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world, For I would ride with you upon the wind, 

Run the top of the dishevelled tide, And dance upon the mountains like a flame” – William Butler Yeats.

Has yours truly – whisper it – run out of ideas?!

NAY! As Thor would say.

Coming up with Posts is not the problem – trying to sustain waning levels of energy and motivation to complete any of them – especially when faced with the unenviable fact that FEWER peeps read Bradscribe than, say, 2-3 years ago – continues to be a niggling concern.

Nevertheless, Brad soldiers on regardless.

Besides, an ever-growing stack of unfinished projects now clutters my Dashboard. And let’s not neglect to mention that abundance of aeons-old journals and papers full of abandoned tales accumulating dust doing nowt but lie about the dark recesses of Brad Manor. 

This site provides a tremendous platform with which to revise (most, if not all) these works and save said endeavours for online posterity.

Yea, intrepid one, know ye this: 

you have NOT seen the last of Brad!

HUZZAH!!

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world” – Voltaire. 

 

“Forget your voice, sing! Forget your feet, danceForget your life, live! Forget yourself and be!” – Kamand Kojouri. 

Annnd, before he realises it, Brad is trying to complete a single Post before this month passes us by…

So, always that most faithful standby: another music compilation is cobbled together.

No worries!

December should – Dyzan willing – turn out to be such a cram-packed month full of fiction, and articles – and goodness-knows-what! – that you should all be sick of the sight of the ‘Scribe by Christmas! 😉

Cheers!

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music” – Friedrich Nietzsche.

 

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Dead Cool At Dork’s Drift: A Fartlighter Story

DON’T Fire At Will! What’s ‘E Ever Done Ta YOU?!

“Gotta hand it to ya, Totem Pole – either you’re hard as nails or scared as shit: WHICH ONE IS IT?!” – Griff. 

 

Magnum Farce! 

Whilst trying to deliver vital consignments of food and supplies to the long-suffering peeps of the planet Woebegon in the Vairdafujarwi System, Brad Company barely managed to dodge some unwanted attention from a cluster of Zandokan patrol-ships.  

Will it be a classic case of out of the marzipan and into the ire as they head towards the hopeless station of Dork’s Drift? 

In amidst all this excitement, the irrepressible Battleforce-Commander-turned-blogger is bound to bump into an ol’ frenemy… 

 

“Innit bloomin’ marvellous?!” Brad wondered as the Calista Blockhead descended into the planet’s atmosphere.

“No mat’er ‘ow many marksmen the Empire can muster, as long as I’m onboard, they can’t put in a precise shot on target! Aah… the gift a’ bein’ – ‘an bein’ wiva groovy galactic ‘ero – it’s GREAT ‘avin’ me arahnd, eh…?! ‘Ello… …?”

“Yo, Brad,” Helmsman Gaz suddenly drawled. “Look lively, m’man – the Purple Haze is entering this sector @ 2:10-“

“Kronsteen?! What in blue blazes is that nerk an’ ‘is combo: Oprah’s ‘Ombres doin’ follerin’ us-?!” 

“Don’t slouch, Blondie,” warned Second Officer Lexi Waldorf. “But MY sensors have also picked up the Harsh Mallow coming out of hyperspace just beyond the Rigellian Ridge-“

“The Harsh…? Uff, stone the flamin’ Porgs, that’s none other than-“

“Ya gotcha! Moab Mungoflumpz: the notorious Gundagun bounty hunter.”

“Blimey, ya’d ‘avta be notorious wiv an ‘andle loike THAT… What in Edrio Two-Tubes’ name is goin’ on ‘ere?! Is this a convention, or what?!”

“Hey! Yer not only a groovy galactic ‘ero, but quite th popular one- Whoa, ‘eads up, mate,”

Harris fiddling with the Intercom. “Yer ol’ mukka: Kronst is ‘ailin’ us!”

“Well, fer cakes’ sake, fella! Switch ta Audio – dahn’ wan’ ‘is ugly mug breakin’ our main screen! Nah, on second thots, let’s jus’ skip it – Company! We got work ta do! I can’t stop ta mess arahn’ – the original Fartligh’er’s in tahn!”

“Just don’t do anything I would do, and definitely don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. There’s a little grey area in there and that’s where you operate, alright…? That’s not a hug, I’m just grabbing the door for you. Good luck out there” – Tony Stark. 

“Okey-dokey, then, y’all know wotcha doin’?” Brad softly exclaimed to Lexi as he loaded his backpack with survival kit, supplementary respiratory apparatus and extra rations of cupcakes.

“Sure thing, Commander,” she nonchalantly replied, leaning against the doorway of the Battleforce-Commander-turned-blogger‘s cluttered quarters. “Gaz, Lee, Monty and I will deliver the goodsOkizaki will beam us back when we’re done, while you check in with Supervisor Waldo aow, for goodness sake…” she stepped closer staring intensely into th hapless hero’s deep blue eyes. “You be extra CAREFUL out there, Brad – something tells me this just might be -“

“A trap? Heh, isn’ everythin’ in this “business,” lov…?”

“Well, also, watch out for the rest of ‘is goons – they’re as demented as fudge and have no hesitation to take matters into their own hands-“

“Or take their own fists inta other people’s mat’ers – yeah, I know, I’ve run inta them on numerous occasions…”

“Nevertheless, I’m still going to keep my eye on you… just in case…”

“Really appreciate that, lov. I want ya ta know that-”

“Blimey Charley, Brad!” Chief Engineer Harris Wrench interjected. “Why d’ya ‘avta get mixed up wiv Kronst- huh, talk a’ the Devil! Would ya Adam-an’-Eve it? ‘E’s tryin’ ta ‘ail ya AGAIN!”

“Well, shut ‘im orf. Again! Let’s get on wivvit, Company!” 

“But what if ‘e follas ya down there? An’ confronts ya, like?”

“Y’know me, ‘Arris! Got a few wisecracks an’ put-dahns lined oop.”

“Delivered in yer own, inimitable way, nah doubt?”

“Yo momma…” 

“I was wondering when El Kapitan would get a chance to use his popgun” – Palmer. 

“UFFF, FFFLAMIN’ FAJITAS!!” Brad growled as a laserblast slammed into his shoulder. He’d only just walked through the door and found the welcome not as hospitable as he’d hoped…

“‘Ere, what th blazes?!” he spluttered as he flopped to his knees. “Since when are the bad guys such good shots…?!” 

“When the bounty on ya is so frickin’ high!” drawled the all-too-familiar peel of Captain Kronsteen, psychotic leader of Oprah’s ‘Ombres, as he lunged over to switch on the desk lamp, illuminating his unmistakable, twisted features.  

“Flamin’ Nora, look what the Wompa dragged in… What the blazes didya do with Waldo?!”

“That moofmilker? Had a close encounter with my rifle butt left ‘im zedding away on the couch in the next room. Personally, yer only good use ta me, Fartlighter, is as target practice, but I’ve come here fer the shop – so let’s talk it, fella.”

“Okey-dokey, but I’m seriously dischuffed by this bonkers twist – I’m in an ‘urry, so bet’er make this snap’y. Spill the beans, fella – wotcha want?” 

“Oh really? Your high cheekbones an’ insuff’rable pecs are suddenly in big demand now, huh? So… here we are, dumbass, two thrill-seekers meeting in a Dyzan-forsaken hole o’ the galaxy, while the hopelessly inept Federation crumbles – you really believe you’re serving a just cause?” 

“‘Ey man, chill, know wha’ I’m sayin’? Why can’tcha be mo’ migh’y fine, Kevin Bacon an’ dandy? Like me an’ me Company? Why d’ya ‘avta be such a-“

“ENOUGH, Dipwit! Don’tcha DARE say anythin’ goldarned SMART. Why should I spare a thought for these… dregs? It’s not my problem…”

“Not yer…?! Oof, reverse thrust wiv THAT attitude, Crotchstain. I tell ya: the last thing Brad wants ta do is sit back an’ wateh while the provincial planets suffer. I see NAHbody else intervenin’ – so it’s got’a be us. Heck, if we can make a diiff’rence, we’ll certainly try-“

“Uff, spare me,” Kronsteen muttered irritably. “Reckon I shoulda’ finished you off when I ‘ad the chance – shoulda’ aimed straight fer yer heart instead, but YOUR ticker’s bleedin’ far too much already-“

“Shoulda’ thought a scrote like you wouldn’t know where the heart was anyways…”

“Ha! Cute… From what I hear, Fartlighter, you’ve become quite a sought-after dude since your little fracas with the Emperor on his flagship Hacked off just about every Imperial nerk this side a’ the Oort Cloud, AND – of course – we witnessed you recently escaping from prison-“

“Yeah, heh heh, get’in’ quite notorious in me middle age, ain’ I?”

“An’ I hear Zan Doka ‘imself has despatched his very own cut-throat praetorian division: the Kriegzlide Killzquad ta bring ya back – ya know what I can get right now fer handin’ you in…?” 

“Egg custard tarts?”

“Wrong again, Bright Eyes – yer bounty now stands @ 75,000 creds-“

“WHOA, would ya Adam-an’-Eve it! I’m now worth more than me own crate? HA!”

“DON‘T crack wise with me, fella – one wrong move an’-“

“An’ you’ll BOTH be kissin’ the dirt! So DON’T try anythin’ stoopid!”   

The door swung wide open and they turned to watch a grotesquely obese Gundagun dwarf waddle frantically towards them, brandishing a blaster.

“Blimey Charley!” Brad gasped. “It’s a talking beachball on legs!” 

The seething three-footer turned his blaster on the Cakecharmer. “An’ don’t SAY anythin’ stoopid neither!” 

“Grief, that’ll be the day with this jackass…” Kronsteen sighed.

Moab swung his blaster towards the Ombres’ Head Honcho instead. “YOU! Kronsteen? Are coming with me! Somebody levelled a sizable bounty on your despicable head!”

“WHAT?! That’s the most ridiculous- There is NO bounty on me, Shrimp-” 

“Lookee here, Longshanks!” the Gundagan chirped sternly, enthusiastically brandishing a gadget displaying the Captain’s mugshot. “See the eye-patch? The scowl? All those warts that spell out: ‘Bad Attitude’? That’s YOU, that is! You’re coming with me!”

“Woohoo! Way ta go, Migh’y Mo!” Brad bawled.

“An’ you, what’s-yer-face,” the dwarf frowned at the hero. “You seem to be taking a most unusual pleasure in all this… are we cool…?” 

“As ice, man…”

“For the umpteenth time,” Kronsteen butted in. “Point that blaster someplace else, Short Round. Why don’tcha go fer the REAL bounty, like this-“

“Yeah, man!” Brad interrupted. “Like goin’ fer this notorious Cakecharmer-chappyapparently ‘is boun’y is bigger than ‘is own crate, hyuk hyuk hyuk…” the Battleforce-Commander-turned-blogger quipped.

Kronsteen spun round, enraged: “You’re jus’ lovin’ this… aintcha?” 

‘ELL YEAH! Ev’ry minute, baby…”

He’s a looney. Just like his tunes…” – Bats. 

A laserblast rang out.

The lamp exploded, and in the abrupt darkness, Moab screamed and Kronsteen bellowed. And Brad yelped as someone grabbed his hand and tugged him out of the office.

“Shoosh, Commander. Hurry! We gotta split – another Zandokan patrol-ship is onto us!” Lexi whispered as they ran down the corridor. “Okey-dokey, Okizaki! Me and the blond bombshell are ready to beam up! NOW!”

Meanwhile, in the Transporter Room of the Purple Haze, two figures materialized.

“Who the blazes is THAT?!” Drogen the Transporter guy cried the moment he saw Moab standing alongside Kronsteen. 

“NOT BRAD, OBVIOUSLY, DIPWIT!” the Captain stormed. “What a cosmic screw-up – you were supposed to beam up the six-foot Terran, but NO! Ya had ta pick up a three-foot Gundagan instead! GAH! Captain to the Bridge! Open hailing frequencies with the Calista! I want that-!”

“But Sir, the Calista no longer appears on our scopes…” Tabasco Tuffnutz replied.

“WHAT?! How can this be…?!”

“They made the jump to lightspeed while you were too busy monologuin’…”

‘Twas true: Tabasco stared into his monitor, squinting at the trail of ionised particles sparkling against the blackest blanket of space – the only sign the Calista had left behind.

“…An’ you LET them ESCAPE…? Hey, Dumbo, flap yer ears an’ ventilate yer BRAINS!! What do I PAY you DIPWITS for, exactly?! “Gah, fer the love a’-”  The enraged Captain grabbed Moab, and growled: “Okey-dokey, Short Round! WHO set the bounty on ME?!”

“Some Terran… b-by th name of Br-Br-Brad-!”

Brad Burrito Fartlighter, I presume?!” he winced.

“Aha! That’s the bunny! What… you know him?”

“KNOW HIM?! I practically wasted this whole episode talkin’ down to him!” 

“That?! That was th C-Ca-Cakecharmer…?! But… nah, that dashin’ fella couldn’t have been him – he was badly wounded in the shoulder – galactic heroes NEVER get-” 

GAH! DON’T lecture me, halfling! Fer someone so SMALL, yer mouth is too BIG!” Kronsteen hollered, hurling the pint-sized bounty hunter into Drogen’s clutches. “We’ll drop off this insignificant lil sideshow – who has no bearing on the plot WHATsoever – on that casino-planet we passed on the way over here…”

The enraged leader of Oprah’s ‘Ombres brandished his fist against the tapestry of distant stars stretching before them on the Main Screen. 

BRAD!! NEXT TIME, I WON’T hang around makin’ idle chit-chat, you’re gonnayou’re gonna- UFF!! You CANNOT evade me forever, jackass – goldarn it… 

“If I havta scour the galaxy fer the

RESTA’

MAH

DAYS

trackin’ you an’ yer accursed, goody two-shoes Company down…

GAH! Just as well yer gettin’ another blasted sequel real soon, hero ya AIN’T heard the last a’ Captain Korsten Kronsteen!!” 

 

“We’re just like Kevin Bacon” – Gamora.

 

The Company Of Robots: My Devotion To Droids

Look, Sir, Droids

Lt. Charley Pizer: “V.I.N.CENT, were you programmed to bug me?” 

V.I.N.CENT: “No, sir, to educate you.” 

Lt. Charley Pizer: “When I volunteered for this mission, I never thought I’d be playing straight man to a tin can.” 

“I don’t mean to sound superior,” remarks V.I.N.CENT, cool and quote-dispensing droid of the USS Palomino, “but I hate the company of robots.”

No worries – when infant Brad first gawped at The Black Hole in 1979 there was no doubt in his tiny mind that he could easily dig the company of robots.

First, and foremost, hovered V.I.N.CENT (“Vital Information Necessary Centralized”), whose laser-precision, drills and other assorted attachments, and mellifluous voice (provided brilliantly by Roddy McDowell) granted his place as my very first favourite movie star. He was wonderfully accompanied by Old B.O.B. (“BiO-sanitation Battalion”), a battered early-model robot similar to V.I.N.CENT (voiced equally suitably by Slim Pickens, no less!).

The antagonist came in the mute, but mighty, imposing, crimson form of Maximillian; thus, a nail-biting David vs. Goliath duel looked inevitable. An army of sentry-robots guarded the USS Cygnus and more than satisfied our yearning for laser-battles as we could barely contain our excitement for the imminent Star Wars 2…

Also that year, British comics grabbed my attention – and pocket money. One of these homegrown titles featured a cosmic hero – white and fair-haired, obviously – who patrolled the spacelanes with a robot sidekick. Genius!

Unfortunately, my memory banks should have been reprogrammed a lot sooner as the names of this pair, the story-title, even the comic in which it appeared every week escaped me. And has proceeded to bug me on-and-off for the last 39 years…

Can vaguely recall one panel presenting this pair racing along in a landspeeder. All British comic interiors back then had no colour, but every so often, the first page of a story would be cyan-tinted, such was the case with this particular episode. This stylistic factor emanated from one company: D.C. Thomson – so ’twas with them that my search would concentrate. When commencing my foray into Bronze Age comic collecting two years ago, one of my objectives involved trying to rediscover the identity of this very first favourite comic character.

Whilst revising my notes (reprogramming my output?), you can sit back and enjoy this classic magic moment from the distant past when Star wars and Disney exrsted as two very separate entities – aah, get that music! get those ultracool sound effects! but mostly – WAHEY!! – somebody get those droids!: 

“Your crack unit, outwitted and outfought by some Earth robot, and that antique from Storage!” – Dr. Hans Reinhardt.

Fortunately, my copy of Starblazer #21: Robot Rebellion – a cherished pocket-book – is still in pretty good nick.

During the school year of 1984, you didn’t need to buy 2000AD – somebody else brought every weekly Prog into class! So, the wacky wonders of Robo-Hunter and ABC (Atomic, Bacterial and Chemical) Warriors could still be enjoyed without denting our meagre coffers. The title of coolest droid ever to be activated must go to the ABC Warriors’ Joe Pineapples. Leather jacket and thongs look DAFT on any male carbon-based lifeform, but Joe somehow made it work.

All these mechanised marvels inspired me to delve into robo-history.

The term: “robot” was coined by Czech novelist/playwright: Karel Capek in his play: R.U.R. (1921) – a satire in which artificial men are gradually made more competent, until they harness the will to rebel and replace mankind.

The author most synonymous with robots has to be Isaac Asimov, whose series of robo-tales extends through three collections: I, Robot (1950), The Rest of The Robots (1964), and The Bicentennial Man (1977) – all based on the premise that robots are equipped with an unbreakable code of inbuilt ethics: the three laws of robotics. Primarily, Asimov sought to combat the “Frankenstein Syndrome,” whereby people sometimes exhibit a neurotic fear that their creations will destroy them. He attempted to allay such anxieties, and in so doing, called into question the philosophical basis for our attitudes to machines.

One SF author to take this stance further was Philip K. Dick. As one of the few members of my generation to have read “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” before watching Blade Runner, the whole issue of not so much how artificial beings look human, but can/do they act human had a most profound effect on my perspectives towards human – and non-human – behaviour.   

“A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law” – Isaac Asimov. 

Having made the case for droids programmed to speak, so the next two awesome candidates for inclusion here, weren’t. 

Once you’ve seen “her” you can’t forget “Maria” from Fritz Lang’s ground-breaking Metropolis.

For 1926, the sleek and sophisticated style of “her look” was truly staggering.

It still is. 

Soon after its grand opening during the ’80s, my mother took me to MOMI (Museum Of the Moving Image, in London) – there, in a special case, stood the actual life-size metal suit used in that German silent movie.

Must have stood there for AGES, honoured to be gawping at such a complex design; 1926?! Incredible!

“Gort! Deglet ovrosco!” – Klaatu.

The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) remains one of my most beloved SF masterpieces.

The charismatic – though enigmatic – Klaatu arrives on Earth (in Washington, USA, of course) to present a dire warning to the human race, but it’s his travelling companion – “that big iron fella” – an eight foot robot named Gort who stole the show. Instead of using a frightening voice, Bernard Herrmann’s eerie score helped enhance the fear factor quite considerably.

In his closing address, when Klaatu explained that Gort acted as a policeman, “patrolling the galaxies, protecting the planets,” his place in my Hall of Fame was assured. 

Obviously, sprawled across the living room floor, watching avidly back in the day, it’s a shame Klaatu couldn’t drum into me the name of this elusive blond space hero with the same intensity he instructed all us seven-year-olds that in order to prevent Gort from destroying the Earth, we must go to Gort. We must say these words:

Klaatu.

Barada.

Nikto.

“I thought it was a bit too quiet in this place, Boots. Here come the guard-dogs and I don’t like the look of their teeth” – Rory Pricer.   

“Robots, and they look like military versions too.”

“Something sinister was afoot without doubt. It was bad enough that alien ships had trespassed in Federation space, but these looked too like the representatives of a sophisticated and alien civilization for Boots’ liking…”

At this phint, allow me to mention one of my fav droids featured in one of the very first SF books to grave my shelves (and still standing beside my desk, nestled behind the smaller – but no less significant – Science Fiction Source Book 

The Space Warriors by Stewart Cowley, telling the galactic exploits of Commander “Boots” Walker and Rory Pricer as they battle the evil Phantor Gorth and his droid army. Apart from the menacing warbots (illustrated above by the legendary Eddie Jones), there was an amazing yellow sentry-robot (who cannot be found anywhere on Google Images or Pinterest) and the delightful domaestic robot who was so ecstatic to see Boots come home again he almost blew a fuse…

Droids can also offer unlikely moments of comic relief.

Take Woody Allen’s zany (and only) SF offering: Sleeper (1973), for instance. Trying to acclimatize to 22nd century life, Miles Monroe is given a robot dog called Max: “Is he house-trained or will he be leaving batteries all around the place?” Who could forget Reagan The Gaybot (“Here’s your silly hypervac suit!”) or the Jewish Tailor Robots (“What’re we gonna do with all this velvet?!”)?

And then there is The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, written by the late, great Douglas Adams (we shared the same birthday!) which featured Marvin The Paranoid Android.

He was hilarious in the TV series; one feared the worse when it received recent Hollywood treatment, but, with a HUGE sigh of relief, the Hitchhiker’s movie turned out to be pleasantly entertaining, especially with Sam Rockwell, Mos Def and Martin Freeman onboard. And of course, the late, great Alan Rickman provided the voice of Marvin: 

Chewbacca: “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh!”

C-3PO: “He made a fair move. Screaming about it can’t help you.”

Han Solo: “Let him have it. It’s not wise to upset a Wookiee.”

C-3PO: “But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.”

Han Solo: “That’s ’cause droids don’t pull people’s arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.”

Chewbacca: “Grrf.”

C-3PO: “I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2: let the Wookiee win.”

(Been waiting patiently for the most suitable Post to insert this all-time classic exchange!) 🙂

 

Inevitably, we reach Star Wars. 

There are more droids to be found in this galaxy far far away than you can shake a lightsaber at. The original trilogy helped bolster my devotion to droids even further.

Apart from the iconic duo of C3PO and R2D2, take a look at The Empire Strikes Back (1980): especially 2-1B, the medical droid that tends to Luke Skywalker in the bacta tank after that nasty Wampa attack on Hoth, and the one responsible for replacing Luke’s hand in time for this episode’s finale.

My one gripe towards arguably the saga’s greatest instalment, is that FORTY SECONDS did NO JUSTICE to that awesome assembly of badass bounty hunters. Not enough time to see IG-88 (blink and you’ll miss the moment when he actually TURNS HIS HEAD). Unlike other droid action figures, Iggy not only came with a blaster, but an extended assault rifle! Curiously enough, the insectoid 4-LOM is actually defined as a protocol droid – blimey, who knew?! 

More comic relief in Return Of The Jedi (1983)8D8 assigns R2D2 to waiter-duty aboard Jabba The Hutt’s sail-barge, but please, have mercy on the little, upended droid, screaming with a Munchkins voice, getting his soles branded while EVERYBODY in the cinema LAUGHS at him! And Wookieepedia can’t even tell me his name. Poor lil fella…

And yes, you guessed it, one of the joys of Rogue One (2016) came in the sure, yet surly, ex-Imperial form of K-2SO, who just like the best droids, instantly captured our attention – and hearts? – with a unique “personality.” In addition, “he” followed the old SF tradition of letting the droid steal the best lines… 

A unique, seldom praised, factor about that original smash hit of 1977 is how, to begin with, the events are experienced solely through the two droids. Although never a big fan of C3PO, perhaps his finest moment in the whole saga came on Tatooine, arguing with “that malfunctioning little twerp.” There followed another great joy: those pesky Jawas, roaming the Midlanowhere Plains inside their ginormous clanking Sandcrawler with its diverse collection of droids, including the Death Star Droid: 5D6-RA7 (see above) – always liked its slick design, and unnerving vocalizations; the Power Droid (nothing more than a cute box on stumpy legs, its unremarkable and weaponless action figure has since become so rare, it is now THE most valuable one out there!); and spare a thot for that R5 unit (even if it did have a bad motivator).

And to think these adventures transpire before we even get to meet that blond kid from the moisture farm… 

K-2SO: “I’m surprised you’re so concerned with my safety.”

Jyn Erso: “I’m not. I’m just worried they might miss you… and hit me.”

K-2SO: “Doesn’t sound so bad to me…”

Speaking of blond galactic heroes, it is heartening to be able to end this Post (yes, even this insufferable dirge has to be deactivated at some point! 😉 ) with some promising news.

Just a few months ago, following an extraordinary incident of Baggins-like philosophy, yours truly finally managed to find what he was looking for. By looking for something completely different instead!

Naturally, this year’s birthday triggered a tremendous nostalgia-rush. Among my recollections happened to be a short-lived “boys’ paper” produced in 1983 (by D.C. Thomson) named Spike. It covered the full gamut of boys’ stories: football, war, espionage and school gangs, but the SF entry: Starhawk Against The Powerbeast (not surprisingly, my best of the bunch) rang a few bells…

It featured a fair-haired cosmic hero. With a robot sidekick.

AHA!! 

My search is finally OVER. 

Should have known he’d be called Star-something; just consider the number of Starlords to have passed through the comics industry on both sides of The Pond – why, even the obscure precursor to 2000AD was entitled: Starlord! And, the original combo of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy boasted a member known as Starhawk! 

Yes, checking the D.C. Thomson database, the Starhawk of Spike 1983 did make a previous appearance in 1979. 

The comic? The Crunch!

Jeez, how could it be possible to forget such a groovy title?! Especially when it sported such a formidable masthead?

Scant info told me that the sidekick was merely called “Droid.”

That’s it? Just “Droid”?!

Nothing facetious like Cecil? Or Humphrey? Or anything remotely badass like Joe Pineapples? Or Marvin…? 

Still, as long as it’s NOT a meaningless stream of numbers and letters…

Anyway, a recent Bronze Age expedition into the heart of London returned with some encouraging findings. Only one awemonger (to my knowledge) stocks British comics, and much to my surprise – and sheer delight – when it came to The Crunch, substantial copies were indeed in stock. Came away with two ishs #35 (dated 15 September 1979, see below; tried to upload the first page, but, apologies, being produced on rather cheap “newsprint” paper, it does not copy satisfactorily) presenting Starhawk‘s debut; while #40 (dated 20 October 1979) featuring on its back page the aptly-titled: Gallery Of Heroes, and that week’s subject?

YES!

It IS (please pardon the pun) the droid that Brad‘s been looking for!!

Amazed to learn that Droid came equipped with such a cool array of gadgets: his “eyes” were actually highly sophisticated radar sensors; a medipak, computer, scanners and vidcams installed in his chest; an Impulse Unit was attached to his right hip; a repair kit fitted to his left thigh; a communicator built into his wrist; and – get this! – lasers AND “space blasters” loaded in EACH arm!

The text added:

“But Droid has another more important function. He can pilot the Space Raider – Starhawk’s battlecraft – by remote control… He can also aim and fire the ship’s weapons. So Droid is the perfect side-kick for Starhawk…”

Oh, so much more than a mere “side-kick” as finally getting to perusing this forgotten nugget in British comics history would reveal…

Of course, as we all know, by the 26th century, the Terran Empire is in serious decline:

“…survival once again depended on the swiftness of man’s gun. Chaos reigned in solar systems that had reverted to barbarism (hence the men wearing pleated mini-skirts…?), but one man stood for law and order. His name, Sol Rynn, known as… 

STARHAWK

Interestingly, ultimately, this Sol cuts quite a drab figure, nothing more than a typical, one-dimensional blond galactic hero. Ironically, his only merit is that his co-pilot is a robot! Droid, on the other hand, comes across as cool, clever and regularly cracks wry remarks pertaining to the human condition. Even his tendency to address his mundane “master” as “Mister Rynn” is classy in itself. 

Thus, the revelation struck me: 

‘Twas NOT this ordinary protagonist, but his extraordinary partner, who had captured my imagination all those years ago!

Perhaps the traditional low-key status of robots in SF, plus his dull, inconsequential name, had prevented him from making a more significant impact on my sensors. But now – it’s been too long – he (not it, he) is back in my life, and in my collection. And he’s here to STAY.

As Asimov professed, there is no reason why intelligent machines should not be considered good people. 

Thus, rather than the happenstance of flesh and blood, through the capacities of wit, moral behaviour and rational thought can a being rightfully claim recognition as human.

To that end, then, rather than rediscovering my very first favourite comic character, this feels more like reuniting with my oldest friend. 

Starhawk: “A successful mission, Droid. Luckily I didn’t fall for the old drugged food routine. You see, my mechanical friend, they made us too welcome, and that’s downright suspicious!”

Droid: “Trying to analyse human thought processes causes severe strain on my logic circuits, Mister Rynn. Course laid for Cygnus Alpha…”

 

Tropical Feat: The Sunshine Blogger Beach Party!

The Sunshine Blogger Award Comes To Me From Danica, At Living A Beautiful Life

 

“But at night it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come on, come on and dance all night
Despite the heat it’ll be alright” – John Sebastian.

 

Come on in! The bliss is just fine. 

In this normally dreary part of our mad, mad world, we’re heading into our third week of a record-breaking heatwave, but the hottest news to light up my Notifications box this week happened to be this:

Thank you, Danica! I am honoured. Please visit her if you’re not already Following her blog – she is indeed very sunshine-y! 

The Sunshine Blogger Award “recognizes bloggers who inspire positivity and joy”

Well, by Jiminy! It’s comforting to know that such a groovy, sunshine-y aim is being maintained here (whilst trying to keep the sand out of the nachos bowl). 

Always enjoy compiling these Awards Posts as it helps spread the love across the blogosphere.

 

What are the rules for the Sunshine Blogger Award?

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you for the award and link to their blog.
  • List the rules and include the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.
  • Answer the 11 Questions asked of you.
  • Write a new list of 11 Questions for your Nominees.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

 

Is everybody alright?! 

VJ Brad, you cry, where are the mighty stompin’ doof-doof-bangers which we have come to expect from you, and will transform this Post into a veritable rave on the sands?

Yay! All in good time, baby! 

There will certainly be another Fantastic Beats Post on its way very soon, but for the moment, with all this humidity, it’s best to just chill out…

Club Tropicana, drinks are free,
Fun and sunshine – there’s enough for everyone.

“Watch the waves break on the bay.
Soft white sands, a blue lagoon,
Cocktail time, a summer‘s tune,
A whole night’s holiday!” – George Michael.

 

Just taking a break from manning the barbecue to answer these:

11 Questions Asked Of Me:

 

What is happiness to you?

The greatest feeling in the galaxy

What is one place you love visiting?

wordpress.com 🙂

What is your favourite comfort food?

Hahaha! Everybody who regularly reads this blog knows the answer to that already! 😉

What is the best advice about life you’ve received?

My dear father was the best guru a boy could have; 

“Question EVERYTHING” turned out to be his most inspirational mantra.

What is your favourite song at the moment?

Right now, it’s a track from a CD forever synonymous with that other record-breaking Summer of 2000. Remember slinking away from the beach one day to cool off in a mercifully air-conditioned record store, and, upon hearing this supercool classic reggae compilation, felt compelled to snap it up right there and then:

“Between the eyes of love I call your name
Behind the guarded walls I used to go
Upon a summer wind there’s a certain melody
Takes me back to the place that I know
Down on the beach” – Chris Rea. 

 

What have you been wanting to do and haven’t yet?

A spot of spelunking in an old, abandoned Imperial Star Destroyer

What would you teach a class or person tomorrow, if you had to?

How To Spot A Creep From A Distance

What did you dream of as a child?

Fighting endless laser battles for the Galactic Defence Militia against the evil Zan Doka and his Varlok Shokk Troopers

What habit would you like to quit?

Photobombing

Where do you get your blogging inspiration?

The Classified Ads section of The Bounty Hunters’ Digest

What is one interesting or weird thing about you that most people don’t know?

Brad is an expert archer (or at least was – before you crack those “Kevin Costner: Prince Of Thieves” jokes, there are no facilities around here, so am way out of practice by now)

 

My 11 Sunshine-y Nominees: 

 

boxofficebuzz

byhookorbybook

cinemaparrotdisco

graphicnovelty

hankthehedgehog

mycomicrelief

mysideofthelaundryroom

raistlin0903

scifijubilee

wordsforeverything

100wordanime

 

11 Questions To My Nominees: 

 

What book do you recommend most to others? 

What would you like to see on Bradscribe that hasn’t been done here before? 

What is your favourite song at the moment?

What is the one thing about 21st century life you really cannot dig?  

What is one place you would love to visit?

Which comic book character (apart from Black Widow, of course!) deserves his/her own movie? 

Do you believe in the supernatural? 

If you had a time machine, which year/period would you like to visit? 

What is one fascinating thing about you that most people don’t know?

What shall we do with Marky “Mark” Wahlberg? 

Footloose: Is it still the greatest movie in history?

 

In this Bradtastic sector of the blogosphere, there’s always enough fun and sunshine for everyone. 

Long may it continue…?

Summer loving had me a blast, oh yeah
Summer loving happened so fast,
I met a girl crazy for me,
Met a boy cute as can be,

Summer days drifting away,
To, uh oh, those summer nights

Well-a well-a well-a HUH!”

 

Jailhouse Crock: Escape Now, Hug Later

A New Intern @ The Old Outpost

Andy Dufresne: “You know what it’s about? You’ll like it, it’s about a prison break.” 

Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: “We oughta file that under “Educational” too, oughten we…?” 

 

Lock Up!

Following a hefty bout of blockade-running around Planet Tumblabungla, Brad Company got caught in a nasty ambush on Droopy’s Heights.

On the other side of this theatre of inter-galactic war, Brad Fartlighter awakes to find himself – sans Companytrapped in the harsh prison complex of Sandler’s Slammer on Ajövő Világában, in the Wotchagonnado System, one of the misbegotten outer worlds of the Zandokan Empire. 

Talk about an insufferable dive: Mexican food is NOWHERE to be seen on the menu and the local constabulary have struck the word: ‘escape’ from the local vocabulary… 

 

“Hiya fellas, ‘ow ya doin’?” Brad slurred groggily, massaging the wincing pain at the back of his noddle.

A typical pair of scheming, thoroughly-nogoodniks stood by the bars of what looked like a grotty litle prison cell. The shortest, most brutish-looking miscreant stepped forwards.

“I am Warden Mal Praktizz. I will be your host for this – the final day of your pathetic, misspent life…”

The Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger looked around in confusion: “Wha’…? No par’y, then…?”  

“‘Fraid not, Fartlighter. You will find no donuts in this institution…”

Woddafuj Wuzzat, the Warden’s twisted right-hand man, leered at your hero: “NO donuts – no HOPE! NOBODY can save you NOW, you rebellious… rebel…!” 

“Okey-dokey, Bright-Eyes…” the Warden spat impatiently. “Leave the monologuing to me, capisce? Hmm… they warned me about your… flippancy, FartlighterYOU are quite possibly the WORST Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger I have ever seen. Really, this does NOT look good for you, jackass… The Zandokan Provincial Council have already found you GUILTY of crimes against the Empire. At Dawn tomorrow, you will be executed! Do you have anything to say?”

“Oh, you BET the blue blazes I do, fella!”

“Very well, Earthman, OUT with it…” 

“I ‘AVEN’T ‘AD ANY CAKE FER FOUR’Y-EIGHT ‘AHRZ, AN’ I’M STARTIN’ TA MOULT…”

“Can you believe they call us criminals when he’s assaulting us with that haircut?” – Rocket Raccoon. 

“Welcome…!” announced Graf Masvoodler – that shifty scavenger from Shakatak – as Brad was flung unceremoniously into Cell 21-87. “…to the Imperial Home For Stray Moofmilkers, Mr… erm- by Dyzan! It’s YOU… isn’t it?! How did you end up all the way out here, Commander?!”

“Same as th resta’ yas… I got caught…”

Your hero found himself in a larger, but equally grotty cell. Apart from Graf, it was occupied by two other, very different, humanoid aliens: a scowling, purple-skinned being looming a full head taller than everybody else, and a fidgeting, green-skinned bounder. Brad became aware that the latter stared at him rather too impudently. 

“‘Ey, Earthman!” smirked Thurston Satnavbenda, that mischievous mercenary from  Szoldos. “Come ‘ere! I’m gonna redecorate this cell with yer-” 

“Oh yeah?! See this, Fudgeface?!” Brad gleered, waving a clenched fist between them. “ONE swipe from this an’ I’ll break EVERY bone in it! So jus’ BACK ORF-!”

“Now, NOW! That’s enough hoity-toity!” Graf interjected. “Stow that attitude, Thurs! Don’t you know who you’re talking down to?! This is the Cakecharmer himself: Brad-“

Fartlighter?! What, legendary Battleforce Commander? Leader of the notorious Brad Company… all the way out here?!”

“Yayep! I am that person; I am him, I am he…”

H-Hero of Revlon…?!” Thurston gawped, dropping to his knees in shock. “D-D-Defender of Zamora…?!” 

“In full effect, fella,” Brad replied nonchalantly, reaching down to pull the shocked admirer back to his feet. “Git OOP, ya wazzock. I’m not the Pope…” 

The Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger turned to the tallest inmate: “An’ you! I bet yer in ‘ere fer makin’ dodgy pies-“

“Rengeteg van hátra!” the alien grumbled.

“Oho, well, we both know that, but-”

“Egyet fizet kettőt kap!”

“That much, huh…? Who the blazes is this fella…?!”

“Oh, don’t mind him, that’s just Tummhenkkz – he’s one of those Kadaars from Kajta-Flajka-“

Oh, one a’ those, is ‘e? ‘Oowould ya Adam-an’-Eve itdoesn’t speak a frickin’ word a’ English – tha’s gonna be a real bummer once we break aht-“

“Break… out?!” Graf laughed incredulously. “Oh no-ho-ho! You don’t understand, Commander. Absolutely NOBODY has broken out of here in all the DECADES this lousy institution has been in op-“

“Well, whoopee-doo, lucky fer you, cootchie-coo – I’m a COMPLETE nobody so this should be a doddle…” 

“Hogy érted, nem viselsz nadrágot?!”

“Whoa, took the words right outta me mahf, fella…” 

“He’s right! We’re going to need to distract the guards! But how…?!” Graf shrieked.

Brad let off one of his trademark snarky grins: “Easy peasy, fellas – I got jus’ th bunny…”

Carla: “But Captain! They need your help!”

Captain Kremmen: “Well, they can’t have her! Besides, she only comes twice a week…” 

“Okey-dokey, kiddies, it’s like this…” the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger scratched his straggly crumbcatcher in pensive mood.

BUT! At that very moment:

“RIGHT!” roared Tendril Soggisox, Captain of the Guards, as he loomed up outside the cell. “Which one of you bums is Fartlighter?!” 

“Well, obviously…” Brad drawled, approaching cautiously. “‘E’s the only one in this nick wiv migh’y fine cheekbones-“

“Oh, YOU, y’mean? Doesn’t matter – you all look a sorry sight to me. You will come with us – the Administrator wishes to interrogate you-”

“Huh, do ya mind?! We’re still in the middle a’ ‘atchin’ our escape plan, ya see…”

“…Ha! Cute. NOBODY is going to escape-!”

“Ooh! Fancy me chances then, do ya…? Cool!” Brad winked.

“Uff, that’s ENOUGH a’ this banter. We will stall no further- Guards! If you please…”  

One more tedious frogmarch to another decrepit part of the complex later…

++BRING IN THE EARTHLING!++ 

– hollered Denny Dethlok, a lofty, nasty-looking cyborg – half his face encased in galamantium steel, his eobham-chrome hips creaking ominously as he marched into the interrogation room. Guards burst in, dragging Brad into the seediest dentist’s chair in the galaxy. 

++PREPARE TO BE CATALOGUED, ENEMY OF THE EMPIRE! ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS TO BEST OF YOUR ABILITY!++

“Ooh, goody gumdrops, quiz-time! Groovy. Fire away, fella.”

FULL NAME?!++

“Brad Burri’o Fartligh’er.”

++AGE?”

“32.6 years-BWHAHAHA!”

++SEX?!++

“‘Ere, steady on, Cassie Nova! We only jus’ met! Ain’tcha gonna woo me first wiv flahs an’ choccies?!” 

++ARE YOU PREGNANT?++

“NOT YET! Slow DAHN, willya?!” The Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger lifted his jacket in disgust: ‘Ave a butcher’s at me abs, ya dozy stainless steel nerk. Do I LOOK like I got a bun in the oven?! Fer goodness sake, flamin’ Nora…”

++BIRTH ORDER?++

“‘Eadfirst, wunnit? Whaddya think?! What kind of cockamamie questions are th-”  

++ANY DEFECTIVE ORGANS?++

“You betcha – me Roland keeps playin’ bum notes…”

++ARE YOU DISABLED?++

“Jeez, I’ll disable YOU in a minute, fella! Right, I’ve jus’ abaht ‘ad ENOOF a’ this – I’m outta ‘ere…”

Thoroughly dischuffed, Brad shot to his feet and lunged back to the door: “Bein’ stook in me cell wiv that gaggle a’ goofballs is preferable ta this loada’ cobblers…”

But the guards shot back in, fully-charged stun-batons waving manically in front of his ridiculously good-looking features.

++HMM, SUBJECT: S.K. SYSTEM BEING – NON-COMPLIANT TO OFFICIAL PROCEDURES-++ 

“Huh, story a’ me life-“

++SILENCE, EARTHLING!++

“Uff, cyborgs…” 

++INTERROGATION TERMINATED. GUARDS! RETURN RECALCITRANT SUBJECT TO HIS CELL++

Denny stormed out of the room, his circuits overheating in frustration… 

“What’s wiv these barmy questions anyways…?” Brad huffed as the guards escorted him out sharpish. 

“Testin’ your suitability, rebel-scum!” Tendril muttered. After your execution tomorrow, your organs will be relayed to the Imperial Medical Division for clone-development-“

“WHOA, reverse thrust, fella! NOBODY gets ta fondle me organs except-“

GYAARRRGH!!” the Captain abruptly screamed, then collapsed unconscious to the ground.

As the second guard slammed ferociously into the wall, Brad peered over his shoulder to gawp at a colossal alien being in military fatigues. Its pointed ears twitched excitedly; a big, dopey grin spread across its oversized canine-like face. 

All of a sudden, it flung its mighty arms around your hapless hero. 

“Oh moy Commander!” it boomed ecstatically. “Thank the stars! Oi’ve found you…” 

“Stone the flamin’ Porgs!!” Brad hollered aghast. “BARBY?!” 

“Oi would folla Commander Fartloighter anywhere. Oi wouldn’t betray ‘im fer all the custard in the galaxy” – Barb Degoya. 

“GerrORF, ya big softie!” Brad grumbled, struggling to prise himself out of the Rontavahrian handyman’s pincer-like grip. “What the blazes are ya doin’ all the way aht ‘ere?!”

“Oi came all this way to rescue you, moy Commander-” 

“Didya?! Aww, bless yer ‘eart, Barby… but- but ‘ow didya get in?!”

The Rontavahrian cracked his knuckles; the Earthman gulped. 

“Yikes, I migthta’ known! Always a brute force ta be reckoned wiv, eh?! Good on ya – glad yer on ahr side! C’mon Barby, let’s go par’y-! ‘Ere – ‘ang abaht… I’m forgettin’ some’t…”

Brad raced back inside; Barb jogged apprehensively behind his Commander, clamouring for an explanation.

They arrived at Cell 21-87.

Graf bolted upright on his bunk, staring in consternation: Welcome… back, Commander? What, no guards…?!” 

“Nah! Mostly useless ayways. Chop-chop, Thurs! Tummy! We’re breakin’ AHT!”

“You- you come back… for us?!” Thurs spluttered in disbelief. “Bless you, Brad! Er- who’s your Rontavahrian friend?”

“Our best chance ta escape! Meet Barb Degoya, the best buddy ya could ‘ave in a tight spot! Stand thee back, fellas! ‘E’s gonna rip the door orf its ‘inges – mind yer toes…”

The show of gargantuan strength gobsmacked them all.

“Abbahagyja, a köldökem a tűz!”

“‘Ell yeah! Ya can say that again. It must be all that custard ‘e gobbles… Well, dahn’t jus’ gawp there, amigos – C’MON!”  

They raced straight out the main gates; the guards still lay out cold. Onto the harsh Swiftayla Wastes they emerged, shivering in the treacherous cold, and gasping in the thin air. 

“Over this next ridge, Commander!” Barb panted. “Oi got a ship waiting…”

“Excellente! Good lad! Er… oo’s ship, Barby-?”

“….“Borrowed” from Boba Boxanuggetz-“

“Boxanuggetz-?! That charmless nerk?! ‘E NEVAH let’s ANYBOD borr- uff… Blimey Charley, Barby…!! I’ve only jus’ broken aht a’ prison, an’ ya expect me ta fly orf in an ‘ot crate?! Bloomin’ marvellous this is – ‘ow’s me muvva gonna ‘andle all this?!”

“Soz, Commander, Oi-” 

“‘Ey, Brad’s Rontavahrian sidekick!” Thurston suddenly chirped. “Didya bring friends…?” 

Both Brad and Barb spun round in confusion. 

To their horror, on the opposite ridge, stood Brad Company’s rivals: the notorious Oprah’s ‘Ombres – the meanest and most merciless combo this side of Scarif, led by their moronic mauler-in-chief: Captain Korsten Kronsteen.

As if losing an eye and a leg during this war wasn’t bad enough, the Cap looked close to losing his patience…

“Well, well, blinkin’ ‘ell! WHOA no!” he growled, training a particularly vicious pulse rifle at… guess whose cheekbones…? “This dipwit ain’t NO CHUM a’ ours! What the blazes are YOU doing all the way out here?!”

“Ah jeez…” Brad cried. “If it ain’t one nerk it’s anuvva…” 

Princess Leia Organa: “Looks like you’ve managed to cut off our only escape route.” 

Han Solo: “Maybe you’d like it back in your cell, your highness.” 

“Goldarn it!” Captain Kronsteen snapped impudently. “That’s all we needanother nut ta fall outta the stoopid tree… Well, what kinda Mickey-Maus-mission are ya on now, BattleFARCE Commander Jackass?!” 

Well, Captain Crotchstain, it’s kinda like this…”

“Hush up! I don’t wanna know. It’s alright fer you dashin’ ‘ero-types – arsin’ about ‘ere, a bit a’ sabotage there – then ponse back ta base fer cake an’ medals. Us grunts…! Goldarn it – us grunts are the ones doin’ ALL th real ‘ard work of trying ta destroy this rotten Empire-!”

“OI, Kronst!” Barb bellowed. “You can’t talk down to the Commander loike that!”

“Oh, is that so… Fido? An’ YOU can’t talk back ta ME like that – hey, Jackass! Ever thoughta’ keepin’ yer dozy doggy on a doggone LEASH?!”

Barb thrust forward, snarling through his fangs, but Brad held him back: “An’ ya don’ wanna talk ta this big fella like THAT! You should see what ‘e did ta some a’ Sandler’s guards… blimey! It’s jus’ like ya: NOT a pret’y sight!”

“Seein’ as the ‘Ombres an’ I came all this way, Brad – an’, heh, this sector is never monitored anyway – we oughtta deal with you… here and now, once an’ fer all…” Kronsteen drawled. “But we’re here on behalf uv… a certain Boba Boxanuggetz – seems like yer DARN DAWG ‘ot-tailed it in ‘is prized cruiser: the Mapother IV. 

“Let me explain!” Barb protested to the enraged Captain. “Oi pleaded with Mr. Boxabut he steadfastly refused to co-operate…”

“Yo, that sounds like the Boba I know an’ not love…” Brad blurted.

Oi assured him that Oi WILL return his ship, once Brad is safely returned… It was on the spur of the moment…” 

“Ya dig spur of the moment, boy?!” Kronsteen leered. “I’ll give ya spur of the moment…

And with that, he swung his pulse rifle menacingly at the startled RontavahrianA deafening shot rang out. Then another! And another?! 

A bunch of Sandlers’ guards had regrouped and were streaming out of the main gates, blasters blazing; th ‘Ombres returned fire.

In the confusion, the good guys scarpered off the battlefield.

“Hey, you guys!” cried Graf. “If we stick close to the hero from Earth, we CAN’T get hit!” 

Kronsteen hollered some furious curse after them, but fortunately his expletives were drowned out by the laser barrage.

Huffing and wheezing, the desperate band reached the Mapother IV. 

“I would like to extend my gratitude to Commander Fartlighter and Barb Degoya for breaking us out of that hellish place…” announced a peculiar voice.

“Eh?!” Brad frowned. “Who in blazes said that…?”

The Kadaar gingerly raised his hand.

“So ya DO speak English…! Tha’s a neat twist. But why didn’tcha-“

“I figured: they can’t interrogate me if I pretend that I can’t… After all, what are the chances of finding a Kadaari interpreter-“

“All the way out here…” the others interrupted in unison.

As Barb took the helm and engaged the Mapother’s engines, the free fellas settled back to enjoy the flight to somewhere-infinitely-more-groovy. 

“Okey-dokey then – before we take orf, Tummy, there’s some’t I’d like ta wish ya…” 

Brad stood upright and – giving a flawless Kadaar salute – announced: Három herékem van…”

“Impressive. Most impressive… Apart from not conjugating the verb properly that’s… not bad for a… human. I will return the sentiment: The “very besta’ luck” to you TOO, Commander… …”

 

That’s right! That’s right! We bad! Uh-huh, that’s right, we don’t want no shit either!” – Harry Monroe.

“The guards have managed to quell the… trouble outside the gates, sir,” Woddafuj babbled, trying to appease the irate Warden. 

Mal Praktizz and his goons assembled outside Brad’s cell.

“Very well, dipwit! You may have bamboozled my guards, but you’re NOT gonna fool Warden Mal Praktizz!”

“Oh… he already has, sir…” Woddafuj moaned, surveying the cell in dismay.

“What are you talking about?! Stand aside! Let me see-” he blurted, shoving his right-hand man off to the left, and froze in astonishment at the EMPTY cell.

“OH MY SWEET VIN DIESEL…” he wailed, realising, full well, that: “That Earthling really gets on my-“

“My goodness… That’s got to be the best Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger I’ve e’er seen…” Woddafuj shook his head in utter astonishment.

“So it would seem…” Mal shook his head in utter dejection. “GAH! Zan Doka will have MY HEAD for this… AOW FUDGE! SOUND THE ALARM!!” 

 BRAD FARTLIGHTER WILL ESCAPE RETURN!

 

“Don’t Delay, Book Today!”: The Entertainer Is Back in Town!

2ooth Post!!

The Entertainer Blogger Award comes to me from the talented and entertaining

Danica @ Living A Beautiful Life Thank You, Danica!

“You mean old books?”

“Stories written before space travel but about space travel.”

“How could there have been stories about space travel before-“

“The writers,” Pris said, “made it up…” – Philip K. Dick.

Having succumbed to a particularly debilitating bout of Scribe’s Fever a few months ago, it was truly a delightnay, a blessing – to be presented with this particular Award. 

The Entertainer Blogger Award recognizes bloggers who are funny, inspiring and most of all, entertaining. This special Post – also marking my 4th Blogiversary! – happens to appear in the same week that this blog hit the 30,000 views mark. 

Yes, yes, this is a BIG brouhaha for me – it makes me want to dance on the beach; shout in the local library. Feel so high, wanna touch the sky etc. etc. 

One of the questions asked as part of this Award intrigued me:

What is your favourite book?

Thus, these last few evenings have been spent, deep within the cosy and cushty confines of the Sanctum Sanctorum @ Brad Manor, perchance to pour over the VAST array of books that one has accumulated across four decades and determineonce and for all – which of them proved to be The Life-Changers… 

“A room without books is like a body without a soul” – Marcus Tullius Cicero.

The most amazing SF novels to inspire me will – no doubt – feature here @ some point. Probably in two parts. Or even three… 

For this Post, we will – whole-heartedly – concentrate on the NON-fiction cabinet of my book collection. Selecting just FIVE titles proved to be quite a perplexing beard-scratcher in itself.

Without further ado, welcome to Brad’s Books 

Hmm, sounds like a vintage secondhand tome emporium, lost down some leafy English lane. No doubt such an establishment would look very much like the inside of his head: small, cramped, and full of dust and good reads. 

Aah, can see it now:  rather surly-looking fat Persian cat sits in the window, nestled on a comfy, leather-bound edition of How To Spot A Creep From A Distance.

A sign on the door reads: Come In, We Are Awesome!

“I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re sceptical” – Arthur C. Clarke. 

The first book that springs to mind is the tome that helped get me mixed up in SF in the first place – the joy of The Space Warriors has already been praised elsewhere, but then, it IS fiction, so instead, let me draw your attention to that other hefty tome snapped up around 1979/80: Alien Creatures, by Richard Siegel and J-C Suares. 

It is one of those books that could appeal at once to a moppet like me and an intellectual like my father. Its in-depth history of SF cinema came with such an incredibly stuffy, hi-brow text for such a small boy to ingest, (read it and appreciated it only fairly recently, in fact) – my immediate attention was especially drawn to the rare stills from the Flash Gordon RKO serials (repeated every morning during the school holidays back then) and Ray Harryhausen filmography then my main obsession.

In addition, it contained conceptual art by Ralph McQuarrie and “exclusive stills” of a space opera – from the director of American Grafitti – that had only appeared in cinemas that past Summer…

While that unexpected smash went on to transform big-budget moviemaking – and the whole course of science fiction (for the better?), Alien Creatures set the standard for what my bookshelves – back then: clean, sturdy and reputable keepers of knowledge – should come to expect… 

“Enticing, imaginative, readable, iridescent” – New York Times.

What’s that?

Want to read a book telling the story of how fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution transformed matter and life into consciousness?

Ha! Got just the thing – Cosmos by Carl Sagan admittedly, we were hooked by the ground-breaking TV series in 1980. In such a rare moment, the medium of television actually fulfilled its remit of offering an educational and entertaining programme.

In this bold project, here was someone – Dr. Carl Sagan – prepared to discuss the mysteries of the universe in a captivating and uncomplicated way. Not only did his book instil in me a wonder of science and a zest for all-things-cosmic, it taught me the value of questioning anything and everything (much to my teachers’ annoyance)…

And there are half a dozen groovy quotes accompanying each chapter, so when my blog came to fruition, one automatically assumed that quotes were obligatory – ha!

“The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be” – Carl Sagan.   

“Sh! We hear a rustling in the greenery and a soft sound of running feet. This is Procompsognathus, an early meat-eating dinosaur. But how small it is!”  

Every boy should have a book on dinosaurs, so Dinosaurs And Other Prehistoric Reptiles by Jane Werner Watson became my go-to – published in 1978, and it shows. The sauropods had to “stay in swamps to keep their massive bulk upright.” Moreover, the advances and discoveries made in palaeontology since this book’s publication are quite considerable. 

However, what sets this tome apart from all the rest is the INCREDIBLE artwork by Rudolph F. Zallinger. 

The wonder of this book lies in its staggering timeline. Along the bottom of each page, a yellow, numbered box represents a million yrs; a tiny illo shows which major type of dinosaur roamed Pangaea at that time. While each chapter describes the (pre)history of these palaeontological marvels – from the emergence of fish onto land to the final members of the Cretaceous Period – that timeline works in reverse. 

To put this gargantuan chronology into perspective, we homo sapiens barely make it halfway across the first page, while the dinosaurs hold sway throughout the majority of the book’s fifty pages…

Interestingly, the last (first?) beast to be featured is the fish-like Eusthenopteron that swam around 290 million years ago. The otherwise empty timeline terminates at 293 million years BC… 

“Down along the sunny shore, Tyrant Lizard finds the hunting better. He can walk fairly fast on his two legs on dry land. But he does not like to get too close to the water…”

“Science Fiction: still for some of us the most marvellous subject – or at least the second most marvellous subject. ‘The glory, jest and riddle of the world’ – at once abominable and abysmal in so many of its manifestations, and yet, in its best, the voice nearest to our inner voice” – Brian W. Aldiss (1925 – 2017). 

Now, where would this blog be without The Science Fiction Source Book?! 

Acquired during a Withdrawn Stock sale @ the local library, this veritable encyclopaedia of science fiction, first published in 1984 – edited by David Wingrove, with a Foreword by Brian W. Aldiss – represents, arguably, the best thirty-five pence ever spent. 

Following an introductory decade by decade Brief History of SF, there are sections discussing the sub-genres of SF; various small features describing the Art of Writing contributed by a whole host of leading writers; and a considerable A-Z Consumers’ Guide: listing authors from Edwin A. Abbott to Roger Zelazny.  

It has flown with me between three countries, in my travel bag, nestled next to both my writing journals, a copy of either Scientific Enquirer or The Economist, and whatever novel piqued my interest at that time. 

Even now, as this Post is prepared on my Dashboard, the Source Book lies in easy reach…

“The strength of Maisel’s approach to his grand theme lies precisely in its breadth… it is generously illustrated with diagrams, maps and graphs… both scholarly and accessible to non-specialists; indeed it is a tour de force” – David R. Harris, Director, Institute of Archaeology, London. 

Twenty years ago this quarter, mu Ancient History abd Archaeology degree @ The University Of Manchester began.

When the Unconditional Offer arrived through the post, my parents were so delighted. And relieved. My freelance journalism career had come to an abrupt, unforeseen halt the year before so my life needed a dramatic upturn. The next letter to come from Manchester felt like a dream – it contained a READING LIST!! 

Deep joy. 

Thus ensued a (mostly) satisfying book-hunt. At the Top Of The List – and deservedly so when recalling it in hindsight – was: The Emergence Of Civilization by Charles Keith Maisels.

Integrating Archaeology, Ecology and Textual History to produce a new Anthropological perspective, it charts the rise from hunter/gathering – through farming and advances in social complexity – to the rise of city-states in the ancient Near East.

Now, you’d think that a textbook with such chapters as:

“The relationship of demography and technology to social structure,”

“Is agriculture the outcome of technological discoveries?” 

and – whisper it – “The ecology of the Zagrosian Arc,”

would make for trying and tiresome studying, but no!

Far from it!

It proved to be endlessly fascinating, responsible for helping me to produce some of my most successful essays. My interest was, however, not all it managed to absorb…

One day, somebody accidentally sat on my backpack (don’t ask), thereby squashing my daily banana onto this academic behemoth. All three page edges remain cursed by dark, frightful – but fruity – stains. But for months the sweet essence of banana lingered.

Lo, every book tells its own story… 

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life” – Mark Twain. 

THANK YOU SO MUCH to each, and everyone of you, who have Liked and Commented on my various movies, comics, books, science and fiction gubbins.

Brad is a humble wordsmith, but is nothing without YOUR appreciation.

CHEERS!!

There is a lot more cool stuff yet to come. Promise!

And who does Brad Nominate for this Award?

Well, automatically, YOU who are reading this! (If you want to do an Entertainer Blogger post let me know and you will receive the full set of questions!)

By the way, this Post could not finish without a special shout-out to the Best Book Blogger In The Blogosphere, who can read a novel AND post its review faster than Brad can eat a burritothat’s some considerable talent right there…

Think she might be absolutely thrilled to see this: 🙂

“A book is a fragile creature, it suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements and clumsy hands. So the librarian protects the books not only against mankind but also against nature and devotes his/her life to this war with the forces of oblivion” – Umberto Eco.

As soon as this Post goes out, no doubt another half-dozen life-changing titles will spring to mind.

Ah well…

For the moment, this insightful, perhaps interesting dare one say it – entertaining – Post looks groovy enough.

Doesn’t it?

As for the Book With The Greatest Title Of All Time – it didn’t take long at all to work that one out: 😉

“Books are a uniquely portable magic” – Stephen King.

keep-calm-and-read-a-book

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them” – Ray Bradbury.

 

The Merchant Of Menace: Rebel Without A Code Clearance

Twin Suns, Ray Guns And Puerile Puns About Brad’s Buns…

 

This is Episode II in the Firm And Shapely Trilogy you can find Episode I ‘ere:

“What chance do we have? The question is “what choice.” Run, hide, plead for mercy, scatter your forces. You give way to an enemy this evil with this much power and you condemn the galaxy to an eternity of submission. The time to fight is now!” – Jyn Erso.  

 

Well, that escalated quickly!

Despite fighting off Tenko Tash’vaa’s monologues as well as his goons,

Brad and Lexi remain holed up inside the villain’s headquarters on Wotsit IV in the Midlanoware System. 

Time is running out, and there is little hope of ever finding that reckless young spy: Bagel Looney…

But now, across the street, out of the clouds with a deafening drone

descends the most feared and infamous cruiser in the entire Imperial fleet: 

the Zoulzukker!

Kriegzlide Killzquad have arrived… 

 

“Getcha lousy biochemech mitts offa me!” Lexi protested as two giant Killzquad gooms seized her and began dragging her out.

Another two grappled with her companion.

“NAH!! Leave ‘er alone!” yelled the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger. “She’s gonna beat the stuffin’ outta yas!” 

“Hush urp, Urfmairn!” grumbled Zoltan Zovran – the Kriegzlide psychonaut too deranged even for a regular Shokk Trooper division to manage. The ruffian suddenly raised his Particle Accelerator Lance and jabbed it into the back of the Battleforce Commander’s head.

The squad, and their hostages, emerged onto the hot, crowded street. As half of those milling about – or just hanging around, wasting their Imperial time – consisted of the occupying Zandokan garrison, so Zubizmaar’s lunatics could avoid the hassle of gawping bystanders for a change.

As delirium seeped over him, Brad’s groggy eyes could just about discern a lone, armed Shokk Trooper emerge from the bustling throng and approach the group. With some urgency.

“A chenge uv ordairs, yo lot!” it barked. “Ze Emprah hez infairmed ze Wotzeet Proveencial Offizer zat zeez preeznair be brurt to ze Zentient Towair, een ze Men Zquare, fer ferzair eentairrogation!” 

And with that, he forcefully snatched the Earthling. The Killzquad stared uneasily among themselves.

Commander Zmutti Zubizmaar looked the most disbelieving. 

“Hmm… Zoundz laike a lurda covfefe to me, Troopair…” he snarked. “Ve vere zent ‘ere pairzonally by ze Emprah! OUR uddairz come STRET frurm ZAN DOKA IZZELF! Shur me YER uddairz, Troopair!”

“Directeev: Zero-seex-zero-ett – yo ken doneludd eet frum ze men Empeerial Moaneetor…” 

As they started to depart, Zubizmaar signalled them to halt: “Troopair! Vot eez yer urpairateenk numbair?”

“ZX2187…” 

He raised his blaster at them as they trudged away, crying out: “Two-wun-ett-zeven! Ze Urfzcurm ztayz weev uz! BREENK HEEM BECK ur-” 

“Ur whut?!” ZX2187 barked, not stopping, not looking back… “Yo vood shoot en Empeerial Troopair een ze beck…?!”

“‘Twood NUT be ze firzt tem, fool… Geev our preeznair beck, KNOW!” 

“C-come urn, Earthman, murve!” the Trooper muttered nervously as he nudged your hero in the back.

As this unlikely pair wandered off down the street, the Killzquad watched in bewilderment. 

“Vell, ZEEZ wuz NUT een ze zcripp…” Commander Zmutti Zubizmaar stood akimbo, shaking his repulsive head: “Yo ‘ombrez! Tek ze gell ta ze sheep – Zoreen! Follair zem! Ve durn’t dare lewz NEIZAIR uv zeez deepweetz!”  

Zoreen Zeegazeeg – a ruthless spy/assassin in his own right – stepped forth.

“‘Tweel be may genueen pleazure, zah!” 

And before anyone could cue some suitably dramatic music, he had vanished into the crowd…

Strangely, Trooper ZX2187 looked anxious, glancing every which way before nudging Brad into a narrow alley.

Your hero frowned in confusion: “…’Ere, ‘ang abaht… yer goin’ the wrong way…” 

“No, we’re not! In ‘ere, quick!”

At that moment, they barged into an empty hovel halfway down one side. Brad spun round to watch the Trooper remove his helmet and reveal not a green-skinned Imperial grunt, but:  

“Bless me blueberry muffins! BAGEL!”

“Shoosh, Commander! Ya wanna let everybody know where we are…?!”

“The longer we’re here, the less luck we’re gonna have…” – Han Solo.

“Too short for a Shokk Trooper?” Brad Fartlighter muttered cynically, massaging his sore bonce.

“Huh? Shucks, man, done pret’y well up until now…”

“‘Ave ya really, kid? Jeez, wanna know the reason why I didn’ pounce on ya jus’ now? Ya said: “Earthman,” instead o’ “Urfmairn”…!”

“Did I…?! Fudge… ‘Sfunny, there may ‘ave been some slip-ups earlier; it’s gettin’ well dodgy – I reckon some o’ the Shokk Troopers’ve kinda sussed me aht… Ya gotta ship? I’m itchin’ ta get offa this rock!” 

“Not so fast, Lil Itch – we ain’t goin’ nowhere jus’ yet! Those Kriegzlide goons ‘ave snatched me Second Officer – ya’d bet’er polish yer accent ‘cos we’re gonna break inta the Zoulzukker an’ get ‘er th blazes aht before they can get ta the muvvaship!”

“‘Er?! Yer Second Officer’s a woman?!”

“Whoa, a gold star fer keepin’ oop, Bright Eyes! She came all this way ta getcha back – an’ now both of us ‘ave ta get ‘er back!”

“You came ‘ere ta get me an’ all?”

“Nah, I came ta keep me eye on ‘er-“

“Well, you’re doin’ a fine an’ dandy job o’ THAT!” 

“An’ whose fault wuz that then, fella?! Cos o’ you, dipwit, I’m further from Lexi than I’d like! I’m gonna need me own Shokk Trooper’s togs ta pull this ruse orf – we’ll ‘ave ta coax one of ’em in ‘ere…!”

“Easy peasy, Commander be back in a jiffy…”

“BAGEL…?!”

And with that, the reckless Rebel wandered off up to the main street; just two minutes later, in burst a suitably perplexed Shokk Trooper. 

Brad waved and chirped: “‘Iya, amigo! ‘Ow ya doin’? Got any Doritos on ya…?”

The next minute, Bagel wandered in to see Brad standing over the fallen felon, extracting its armour. 

“I shudder ta think, kid: what did ya say ta this nerk?”

“Simple: ‘If ya wanna catch the Wanted cake-lovin’ Brad Fartlightercome wi’ me’…!”

“You…!” Brad gasped, then chortled: “You’re a crafty lil nerk, Bagel, I’ll givya tha’… sheesh!” 

Suddenly, he grabbed said crafty lil nerk by the collar, and retorted: “JEEZ, kid! Ya’ve REALLY dropped me buns in the fire NOW! Outta ORL’A goons ya coulda brought in ‘ere, ya HADTA pick aht ol’ Zeeg? One of the most demented bunnies I’ve EVAH run inta! DAHN’T need this – ya KNOW I’ve ALREADY got an ‘eadache…”

“SOZ, Commander, but- but ‘ow wuz I supposed ta know…?!”

The Commander loosened his grip, and replied gently: “Yeah… ‘ow… were ya supposed ta know… Too late, we’re in deep, now – ‘elp me wiv these boots, will ya? (This is the part abaht bein’ an ‘ero I detest the most: takin’ other fellas’ clobber orf). C’mon, kid, we’ve got an appointment wiv da Killzquad ta keep!”

While Brad nonchalantly scanned up and down the street, counting Imperial sentries, working out their next plan of action, Bagel stared in such a befuddled state at the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger.

“Are we really doing this?!” whispered Bagel.

“We’re gonna do this!” whispered Brad. 

“Congratulations. You are being rescued. Please do not resist” – K-2SO. 

“How’d ya end up ‘ere, Bagel?!”

“Bah! Got shot dahn by a Zkorpion – thought it best ta infiltrate the Shokk ranks – tha’s ‘ow I’ve managed ta stay undetected fer so long-“

“Too darn roight ya were undetected, ya dozy donut! We all thought we’d lost ya altagevvah…!”

“Soz, Commanderme transmit-piece got busted when I bailed outta me crate. An’ I aven’t ‘ad the opp ta fangle a way ta send any signal back ta the Resistance. Reckoned I oughtta… take on the Empire all by meself-“

“An’ worsen the situation fer th rest ovuz?! If – IF – I can getcha back ta base in one piece, the General’s probly gonna rip ya ta shreds ‘imself anyway!” 

“What, Rajendra…?! ‘E wouldn’t! Get ‘is first name: “Ajaan”: tha’s the Yanduri word for ‘teacher.’ From what I’ve ‘eard, ‘e’s a mild-mannered… placid fella… … in’e…?”

Brad clasped the lad’s shoulder and jigged it a lil.

“Lissen oop: so ya got away wivvit… but sheesh, man! That wuz more reckless than anythin’ I got upta when I wuz yer age! An’ tha’s sayin’ some’t…! Be cool, Bagel – when we get back… when I meet Raj, I’ll tell ‘im tha’-“

“You DAHN’T know ‘im eivver?! What chance do I ‘ave?!”

“Shoosh, Bagel. COOLIO. Nah mat’er ‘ow it turns aht, I’ll  stick up fer ya. Trust me…”

“Cheers, Commander… but ‘ow the blazes are we gonna bust inta the Kriegzlide crate an’ get yer Officer back, Mr. ‘Ligh’er, if ya please? An’… an’ what if they take off before we can reach ’em?!” 

“Na worries, kid! That Zkorpion I nabbed in order ta get ‘ere – wipe me cake crumbs offa the passenger seat an’ we’ll be jus’ fine an’ dandy.” 

“Yeah, but…! But wha’ abaht the Clearance Code?! ‘Ow can we gain our own access to the muvvaship wivaht one?! ‘Ow – where – are we gonna get THAT?!”

“Uff, cobblers ta the Code, kid! Seems like the only reason why these Imperial dipwits ‘ave rules is so that Brad can break ’em… We’ll find a way – I always do… …”

“Well, somebody has to save our skins. Into the garbage, fly-boy!” – Princess Leia Organa.

“…Ya ougtta know the most important thing I’ve picked up while ‘angin’ aht dahn ‘ere – but I dunno ‘ow ta break it to ya,” Bagel huffed indignantly as they marched back into the main street, their Imperial togs gleaming in the intense rays of the twin suns. “…The Empire ‘ave upgraded their biochemech armour, so ‘elp us. Notice ‘ow these new bods wear slightly darker suits… ligh’er, but thicker… Pret’y soon, blasters are gonna ‘ave little to NAH effect on ’em…”

“Blazes…” the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger muttered, dreading how all this cosmic gubbins was escalating. “…An’ it’s only Imperial blasters that we can find ta arm the Resistance. Tha’s some’t else we’ll ‘ave ta deal wiv- Gah, dash it all!”

The vicinity of the Zoulzukker positively crawled with Shokk Troopers as they peered round the cornerBagel threw his hands in the air with despair:

“Whoa! We’re in a tight spot-“

“Oh really? You’re tight?! Shame ol’ Zeegazeeg wuz a wimpy sprat ‘is armour ain’ ‘arf pressin’ me buns! An’- OOF! Me pecs are posi’ively ‘EAVIN’ in this blasted breastplate!”

“Aow, quit whinin’, Commander. It- say! Guess that physique’s why the girls back at base keep talkin’ abou’cha…”

“Do they? Groovy…”

“Everybod’ don’ call ya a groovy galactic ‘ero fer nuthin’, eh…? D’ya work aht?”

“Nah. No need, kid. Got bit’en by a radioactive chipmunk…”

“Did ya…?!”

“Course, bleedin’ o’ course I work aht! Whatcha think?! Fer goodness sake, flamin’ Nora… Don’t wanna be mistaken fer a donut like Zeeg in these dark times-“

“Yeah yeah…” the younger fella drawled sarcastically.

Brad leaned across and rapped his knuckles against Bagel’s helmet: “No, seriously: be STRONG: that means MENTAL, as well as physical, fella! So, if ya got some’t inside there, WORK IT! Blimey, if ya’d used yer wits before an’ ‘ADN’T carried aht that dumbass raid on the Ztodgeztonker, we WOULDN’T be in this mess NOW…!” 

Suddenly, a typically rasping Zandokan voice from across the street blared out:

“ZHERE ZEY AIR! Shoot ze zhirt wun, but ze ‘unky wun eez NUT to be ‘armed!”

Shokk Troopers dashed in from all sides, blasters blazing.

“‘Ere, tha’s bang OUT’A order! Frickin’ charmin’, THAT is!” the short one protested, blasting back, but the hunky one grabbed his reckless companion and dragged him away from the action. 

“Quit whinin’, Bagel! Ya see… ya SEE?! These tosspots are seriously dischuffed at what YOU did…”

After a few frantic yards of scarpering as fast as their biochemech-clad legs could carry them, the spy scowled at your hero: “‘Ere… ‘old on! I wuz only copyin’ what YOU did… Commander‘Ow is it tha’ YOU get ac’olades, an’ I just get grief?!” 

“‘Cos I’m a PERFESSIONAL idiot! Cut the chat’er, kid – we got’a split!” 

And these blast points, too accurate for Sand People. Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise…” – Ben Kenobi.

“AHA! Ze Burrito end Bagel!” Zoltan Zovran cried as he crept up behind the two leads, wielding THAT particularly nasty Particle Accelerator Lance. “Ze two murzt repreehenzible Oomanz in ze galaxy een may clutchez!” 

“Now now, nerk!” Brad waved a steady hand at the Kriegzlide madman, and protested: “Ya already bopped me over th ‘ead wiv that bloomin’ thing – ta do it twice would be careless…”

“Votzamattair, Urfmairn, expect mercy…? Kriegzlide Killzquad durn’t knur ze meaning uv ze verd…  heh heh heh!” he snarled, aiming his weapon right at Brad.

“‘Old on jus’ a finger-lickin’ minute, ‘ere! I’m the ‘ero – ya can’t bamp me orf, not like that!” 

“Uv courze…! Egen, Bred, yo air ebzolutely raight. Ze Emprah weejez to zee yo…”

Zoltan gradually swung the weapon at Bagel

“‘EE eez ze eccurzed ZPY! ‘Ee’ll do!”

Out of a piercingly-loud, deadly flash, Bagel yelped and fell limp into the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger’s arms.

“Ah, Jeez…! Stay wiv me, kid… …”

As your forlorn hero collapsed to the ground, clutching the lad in his trembling arms, a brood of Zandokan guards ran over to encircle him. Without warning, they proceeded to pummel the poor dude viciously with their lances and rifles.

“WETT! DOLTZ! Zat eez ze gret Zan Doka’z prize! ‘E muzt NUT – Ay reppit: NUT – be ‘armed! BECK URF!”  

Commander Zmutti Zubizmaar strode nonchalantly in, and – seeing Zoltan posing triumphantly, and the prize captive hunched dejectedly on the ground – couldn’t resist wandering over to have a quick gloat. He squatted, and squeezed the crestfallen Earthman’s throat.

“Heh heh,  wunce murr, yo aire BEATEN, “galacteec heeeruh”! Aah… Bred, Bred, Bred….”

Having stared too long at the still-crackling blast point on the young Rebel’s right pec, the Cakecharmer looked up with teary eyes, shaking the Kriegzlide Commander’s hand away, and defiantly muttered:

“I’m the one in da middle, ya drunken ‘obo!” 

“HA…! Zteel curzed wiv zat eenfairnal “Oomarn zpeeret.” Zad…” 

“Whut aboat zeez wun…?” Zoltan chirped, prodding Bagel’s still body with his boot.

“Nur, leaf eet – zeez planet payz foolz ta remurve feelth frurm ze ztreetz… Ve hef ze wun ve need – yez… Bred, ve hef yo exactly vhere yo jhood be: URN YER KNEEEZ! Broken, helplezz, hopelezz…  UZELEZZ…! Bred ta ze burne – NUR MURR! Vot duzzeet feeeel laike to be a LEWZAH, tweetfez…?”

“They say it’s difficult at first, but I’m sure a big, Imperial jackass like you will soon get the ‘ang of it-“

“Uff…” the Commander grumbled, and shot back onto his feet. “Yo ‘ombrez! Poot zeez comedien aburd ze Zoulzukker… 

“Ve VEEL tek heem ZTRET TA ZE EMPRAH KNOW!!… …” 

 

Luke Skywalker: “I’m endangering the mission, I shouldn’t have come…”