25 January, 2012

Jack in The Box

We join our jaunty jaunting jackdaw in his favourite establishment, The Blue Rabbit. 

“Feck off!”

Oh, ho! Yes, he’s in high spirits today, isn’t he? Now we see him bid adieu to this fine house, and exit out into his beloved Cornish countryside. Except, what’s this? It’s changed, and now Jack finds himself in the strange world of Outland. Looking about for a moment, Jack shrugs, unruffled. He consigns the drastically altered view to the trusty old aphorism, ‘If you don’t like the scenery in Britain, just wait ten minutes.’ 

And who do we have here? Why, it’s Scarecrow, a tengu who is perhaps as much bird as he is man. He gives Father Jack a warm welcome to this odd land, and is rewarded in kind. 

“Arse! Drink!”

After such pleasantries, our determined pair set off in a heretofore unexplored direction, accompanied by the Father’s trusty torchier, Garmir, and a newfound companion, Vince Vinton, a local vintner. Striking off to the northwest from the Outpost, it’s only a few miles until they find themselves struggling up and down rough dry hills. By this time, Jack has completely dismissed Scarecrow’s beaky countenance, believing him to be a big-nosed Norman. 

Less than an hour into the craggy hills, our travellers look down into a basin with seven shadowy holes in the hillsides. Discovery! All the holes but one show evidence of steady traffic in and out from some sort of V-footed individuals. Now joined by Doc Sampson, they descend the hill and enter the one trackless tunnel mouth. 

An eight foot round dirt hole burrows away into the hillside. With a call of “Girly! Light!” Garmir sets a torch aflame, and in they go. After several turns, a side tunnel rewards their view with several doors. One offers scratching sounds, and they press on. One door proves locked, and again they move along. A large round wooden door in the side of the tunnel, it’s knob oddly in the centre, opens to their efforts and they are rewarded with a small room. A heavy metal cabinet within is no match for Scarecrow’s masterful ministrations, and they look within. What’s this? Oddities of Outland greet them. One gives its wearer sight in the dark, while another proves ready to blast a smoking hole in the tunnel wall with a blast of flashing green. Extraordinary! 

Taking their newfound swag, they return to the locked door, Scarecrow brimming with newfound confidence in his considerable abilities. His confidence is well-placed, as the lock falls before his efforts. Waiting behind this round portal is a dark and musty dirt descent. Down go our travellers, fathom after fathom. 

Finally levelling out far below, their path takes them into an enormous cavern filled with tables, desks and stands. Every surface throughout the expansive room is covered with bubbling, smoking glassware. Beakers, tubes, flasks, all filled with liquids of a hundred scintillating colours. We see our good father has become quite animated. 


Trusty Garmir settles Father Jack with a few words, and our intrepid band begins carefully and quietly exploring this subterranean laboratory. 

As we will soon see, this is the exhaustive and prodigiously proportioned laboratory of a very unusual man. A man the likes of which none of our travellers have ever seen. His alien skin is jet black, yet he is indeed human. All his varied chemical apparatus is in fact one vast process. Scores and scores of intricately interconnected tubes and glass, flasks and beakers boiling away with a hundred rare reagents, all this vast experiment, all working toward one final precipitate. A tiny drop falls, only one in many minutes, into the final ultimate flask. It boils away in a flashing instant, the smoke dissipating in a colour never before seen by human eyes. Each drop thus leaves only a tiny speck of dust, and the flask, though by no means full, holds the product of untold hours! Here he is now! The exotic jet-skinned master of the laboratory emerges in his white coat! 

So then the party killed him.

And broke the flask. The precious precipitate disappeared all over the dirt.

Doc Sampson is heaving a flask of acid at the furious dagger-wielding onyx-toned scientist! What can happen? It melts his face off! He drops dead. 

Wandering into the ex-scientist’s bedroom, we see Jack discover a horde of glittering jewellery! He shrugs non-committedly. But what’s this hidden away in there? A pouch filled with strange white powder. Following his curiosity, Jack sniffs the pouch to see if it bears some unique aroma. 

Threee. Hours. Laterrrr… <- Jacques Cousteau accent

Here is Jack, but he’s not looking very jaunty. He is struggling back across the dry rolling grass, with Garmir’s help. The craggy dirt hills are far behind. What has happened? Sadly, our narrative depends on the memory of Father Jack, and he doesn’t remember a bloody thing. He is, however, carrying the decapitated head of a gigantic white flower. Looking about, he sees everyone has one. Ah well, such is the way of things in a traveller’s life, and our unflappable Jack dismisses these details with a wave of the hand, and turns his mind to matters ahead. 


Unfortunately, the local libations prove too much for our far-ranging friar, and he falls afoul of jurisprudence. As well as several other kinds of prudence. He awakes in a barred cell, not long before his release is arranged. He is less than happy about the arrangement. 


And now, his purse emptied of all coin to pay his fines, and many of his possessions confiscated to make up the remainder of his debt, he falls asleep in an alley of the outpost. He reaches for his trusty Neverending Rumflask. Knowing what the future holds, the faithful Garmir plugs his ears. 


It is gone.

Thanks to Jeremy for a great game! :)

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