h2g2 Storytime

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This is a traditional opening in all really good stories: Once upon a time the researchers of H2G2 sat

behind flickering monitors all across the Globe and began telling a story. A collaborative story, that was built upon the

successive postings of different researchers. It was called H2G2 Storytime Some called us fools

and mad. Others cried:
'Man was not supposed to meddle in such affairs as these!!'

They may have been right. But here for your delectation the result of that endeavour: committed to memory and then

transcribed onto page by an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of keyboards and too much free


For a full list of characters and previous chapters go to the h2g2 Storytime


Part Eight
On some non-descript island, somewhere in the Bahamas...


he barked.

The assembled captive agents tried looking meek and terribly unimportant on the Bahaman sand as

Leicesterschniitcht Kitanya-irrania-tatonya-karenska-alisov flung open the entrance to the Palace of Westminster and came

at a determined stride over the dunes.

In his full-length trench coat and fur-parka the Red Leicester looked wholly out of place. A kind of anti-Lawrence of Arabia.

He glowered at Tim. The trees that lined the edge of the beach scurried to get out of the way of that look. A couple of them




said Tim, suddenly for the first time very afraid of his boss.


'I just thought we could use some sun, that's all. I folded the story-time continuum with this device to bring us


Leicester snatched the device from Tim's hand and sent it flying into the surf.


screamed the Red Leicester.


- and YOU ruined


He punched Tim to the ground and would have killed him then, but miraculously Tim said the one thing that could

have brought him reprieve:

'Um...where have all the Agents gone?'

The Red Leicester looked up. Beach.


Tim scurried off into the trees and vines and the dense undergrowth. One of the locals tried to get closer to the

strange men on the beach but the Red Leicester just threw coconuts at him until he went away...

Heddingly, meanwhile, was in his element and was rapidly stripping off his down to his waist. Jill watched in a

frankly sexual way.

'That's more like it.'

said Heddingly, wriggling his toes in the sand.

'I feel much more at home now'

'Come ON!'

said Guy.

'We've got to hide NOW!'

'Don't you worry'

said Heddingly, supremely in control despite his near naked state.

'I am a master of tropical island life, and what we need to do is this...'

Tim peered into the gloom. He pushed away some dangling vines with the butt of his silenced revolver and moved closer. A spy by nature and an assassin by training. Tim was on a hunt. He entered the dense tropical forest.


whispered Heddingly.

Outside the Red Leicester heard this:

Thwa-tak! ARRG-fu! -nnh...'

The Agents all turned their gaze upward. Tim was suspended several feet above their heads in the canopy swinging from the trap that Heddingly had set.

'With his only henchman out of the way, maybe we can all jump Leicester.'

suggested Bob.

'No. it's too risky.'

said Arthur.

Meanwhile at the Agency....

...*Krzzk*......'In other news'...*click*

...*Krzzk*......'a small duck'...*click*

...*Krzzk*......'became trapped inside' *click*

...*Krzzk*......'Elton John's baby grand piano'...*click*

...*Krzzk*......'Migration pattern linked to'....*click*

...*Krzzk*......'Deforestation in the Amazon'....*click*

...*Krzzk*.......'The President began holidaying'....*click*

...*Krzzk*......'During the mating season, the male constructs his nest in the' *click*

...*Krzzk*......'Houses of Parliament'...*click*

( ! )

*click* *click*

'... Were sighted by sighted by fisherman in the bays off of this island in the Bahamas. The Government has been recalled from its Summer recess refused to comment on the building's disappearance.
Temporary accommodation has now been allocated in the Millennium Dome. Back to you in the



said Boutros to himself.

A-HA were meanwhile piloting a dilapidated twin otter far out to sea somewhere over the South Pacific.

Too old to be a boy band and with little recent single success; a life of crime had proved too tempting and their little known

piloting skills had often been of inestimable value to Gonzaroolio and the Criminal Federation of Stage and Screen


Suddenly the radio crackled...

'Morton - turn that crate around and head for the Bahamas - your contact will meet you there and give you

further instructions.'

With a shrug Morton hit the left-hand otter with his paddle and 'The Bent Banana' turned slowly and adopted a

new course.

Bob poked his head out from behind a bush and asked:
'Does anyone have any change?'

Jill looked up from where she was sitting, in a circle with the other agents, brainstorming.
'I said, 'Does anyone...'
'I heard what you said'

Jill interrupted.
'I wanted to know ...why?'
'Well, I'm a bit thirsty, and I noticed this Coke machine back here, behind one of these tree-things. It was

hidden by all of these vines...'

'A coke machine?'

said Jill, standing up.
'On this island, are you still sane?'
'No there really is one, saw it when Tim came into the clearing. I was rear-guarding, guarding the rear... yes

that's it...'

said Bob
'You were doing what back there?'

asked Arthur, sweetly.
'I was... um he - he... er... hiding.'

Bob finally admitted.
'Show us where you saw it last.'

said Heddingly seizing control of the moment.

said Bob glad to have someone seem to take him seriously.

He turned and led the others back through the bush, brushing aside large swipes of ferns they emerged into a small

clearing, more of a gap between the trees really. The plants had reclaimed this small patch and the grass was thick


But there it was. A big red machine, emblazoned with the logo of the Coca-Cola Company. Familiar and welcome like the

face of God. It was dirty to be sure and lines of condensation dripped down it's front and collected in the little tray at the

bottom, birds bathed in this small font and vines climbed over it's surface but nevertheless.

'A coke machine?'

said Arthur.

agreed X
'Why is it humming?'

asked Jill....

Back now on the beach, The Red Leicester was growing impatient. It had been over a quarter of an hour since he had last seen that effete incompetent, Tim and sent him to go and re-capture the elite of Boutros's Agency. Leicester had

already shed his sullen winter garb and constructed a shade to shield him from the worst of the noonday's sun. 'Very

, he thought, 'if you want a job done right you just have to do it yourself.' as he marched towards the

leading edge of trees.

Further up ahead the Agency all thought they heard a twig snap and 'wha... 'he blood... e'll... doin'... p

come filtering through the leaves.

'They're coming!'

said the normally unflappable Arthur with uncharacteristic alarm.
'Quickly, Follow that flex!'

said Guy.

The group each took hold of a length of the wire coming out from the back of the coke machine and plunged

headlong into the heavy undergrowth. They could not have gone more than a few metres when Heddingly, who was at the

front, calmly walked nose-first into a large, grey and above all, solid wall.

'What's going on Heddingly?'

hissed Arthur.
'He'll be here any moment now.'"
'It's a wall.'

said Heddingly simply.
'A what? Wall. Here?'

questioned a stunned Jill
'Yes and some carpet tiles.'

continued Heddingly.
'Are you serious?'

said Arthur.
'Oh, absolutely.'

said Jill
'There's a door handle over there, sticking out from that bunch of ferns and


She leant across and pulled hard at the heavy foliage it quickly became dislodged and fell at her feet. What the

group now saw was a large red door set into the dangling roots and limbs of the forest.

'Is it open?'

asked Bob.

Jill tried the handle and it swung inwards revealing a long set of dark and treacherous looking steps descending into

the gloom. The flex led into a plug socket just inside. And now that the group looked around... yes, there were shapes to be

glimpsed in the half-light.

A section of broken wall could be seen protruding through the rapidly advancing forest and Heddingly had been right. Dotted

here and there about were some cheap brown carpet tiles and wasn't that a strip light hanging from the


Through yet more vines, Heddingly thought he saw a screw, he gently pushed aside he leaves and revealed a sign suspended on the wall next to the waste-paper basket. It read:

U.S Armed Forces, Weapons Depot # 6


said Bob...

Morton Harket eased the controls forward and plunged the floatplane into the shallow water of the island's natural bay. Surf fizzed up over the nose and Morton tugged at the two levers above his head to reduce the speed of the twin props. As its speed fell the plane sank lower in the water on its big banana-shaped floats and Morton was able to turn the plane in towards land. He raised his hand and pushed the accelerator levers sending the plane bounding over the gently undulating water.

Minutes later the plane was wallowing next to a short wooden jetty and Paal Waaktaar-Savoy was outside tying off the

mooring rope. Then Mague Furholmen opened the small hatch under the wing and allowed the passengers out. They'd

picked them up at Grand Bahama for the trip to this out-lying island and they'd been cooped up ever since. This had

apparently been only the last leg of an arduous journey. Boutros, a very ugly woman in stilettos, a clown with green hair and

Zammo, formally of Grange Hill each thanked Morton, shaking his hand through the cockpit window. The plane was much

lighter in the water now and the beach and jetty were crowded with clowns and D-list British actors. They were distributing

weaponry from several crates that had been dragged out of the little plane's cargo-hold.

The Red Leicester's private army had also arrived just around the beachhead in a flotilla of hovercraft. They were generic guards, without identities. They were people, of course, with wives and girlfriends and kids, but for narrative

purposes, they were expendable. They were dressed in one colour - black boiler suits in this case, and they all carried rifles.

You know the type - they can fire hundreds of rounds at someone with a speaking role and not hit them, while they

themselves are killed a few at a time during battle scenes or during sticky situations from which our heroes escape by the

skin of their teeth.

They are baddies though, so it's all right. Having made camp on one of the other beaches the Generic Guards were called

into the forest by Leicester. They were drawing towards a target whose identity they had not been told.

Leicester clamped a megaphone to his fat mouth, and let go a deafening burst of machinegun fire. Everyone turned to face him. He pointed the mega-phone at the forest and BOOMED'You are surrounded. surrender and your deaths will be long, protracted and considerably painful!'

Bob and the others ducked as bullets shredded the canopy above their heads. They couldn't tell where the voice or the gunfire was coming from, but it was close. Then they saw the black-clad figures all around them, crouched just out

beyond the leading edge of the trees

Jill pushed Heddingly urgently towards the entrance of the arms bunker.
'We can't go in there!'

he croaked.
'We can and we are.'

said Guy.
'We're unarmed and trapped - Go!'

They all ducked and entered the dark passage.

On the beach Boutros looked up sharply. He had just heard muffled gunfire in the distance.
'Come on!'

he yelled to the crowd of clowns and actors. Shouldering a large assault rifle, he started to run up the

beach. Gonzaroolio got his motley outfit into order. Loyal to no one, he seemed to have changed sides on this one.

It wasn't really his fight, but as they were here now, they would follow Boutros. The clowns and actors marched after him,

watching as Boutros stopped to remove his stilettos and then continue running over the sand towards the forest, gun in one

hand and shoes in the other.

Bob, Jill and the others pushed forward and down the steps. In utter darkness they felt their way along the walls. The receding window of light that marked the open door way behind them began flickering as black-clad shapes passed in front of it.

'They're coming - go!'

insisted Arthur.
'I can't see where we are going - it's pitch black in here.'

panicked Heddingly.
'Wait... there something here... it's not a wall...'

The heavy security door swung open, the huge dead-bolts set in it's frame had thankfully not been locked in place and with a concerted effort Heddingly employed those powerful muscles of his which Jill quietly appreciated through his shirt. They all ducked inside and hid behind the door Arthur, X and Heddingly all put their weight behind trying to close it


It wouldn't budge.

'Oh you've got to be kidding.'

whispered an exasperated Arthur.

The Red Leicester stormed into the clearing, there he found a group of his Generic Guards camped outside a large red door which appeared to be just suspended in the forest.

He screamed down the megaphone, which he had forgotten to put away.

The assembled Guards nearly jumped out of their collective skins.

mumbled Leicester, motioning to Tim to take the instrument away.
'Down there are they?'

he said.

saluted one of the indistinguishable Generic Guards
'We'll see about that...'

The door still wouldn't shut.
'The ease of it's opening is matched but it's absolute refusal to go back again.' thought X


'Um guys... have you actually checked where we are.'

said Guy.

Given the fact that the enemy was quite literally right outside the door and that that door was neither fully shut nor were they sure it could even be locked, it was fair to say that, No., the group had not really taken stock of their surroundings: which was a pity for two reasons.

Firstly it would have made them feel a little bit better, though not for very long.

And secondly because this thing that would lead to such a speedy
reversal of fortunes really was quite bad and on the whole it would just have served them all a lot better to have

concentrated on the door...

Boutros feigned left. Gonzaroolio took the clownz right...

The Red Leicester heard the sound of gunshots flare up from all around the forest, they were coming towards him, suddenly Vanessa Feltz and Uri Gellar burst through into the clearing.

Uri took out one of the black-clad guards with a shot to the head. He lunged at the others but the guards responded

and emptied a couple of clips at him.

His great telepathic spoon-bending abilities deserted him along with most of his internal organs and a quite colossal

amount of blood.


screamed Feltz, maddened at seeing her war-brother slain in front of her, she sumo-wrestled Leicester to the ground and proceeded to punch him repeatedly in the face.

Leicester fended of the blows with deft and deadly hand movements pausing only to reach out and break the neck of his assailant. Feltz slumped awkwardly against the trunk of a tree.


Leicester boomed as he stood up.

From further outside the clearing came:

Echoed the war-cry around the high trees

seethed Leicester.

Meanwhile Gonzaroolio had adapted incredibly well to guerrilla tactics in the dense greenery of the island. He felt he was born to this. 'I AM Alexander The Great.' He thought. 'I AM Genghis Kahn leader of the barbarian hordes. I AM Stormin' Norman Shwarzkopf and General Wellington and William

Wallace leading my troops into battle.'

This was decades of repression and custard pies being excised on the field of battle...

To be continued...

Clive the flying ostrich

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