Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pt 3: Jenny and the Shadowy Harbour

Now the group was enthralled and Pirate Jenny’s voice quietened as she went on telling her story. "Every night at a late hour," said Jenny, "things became quiet in the ratty hotel. That was when the big time gamblers and their floozies slumped helplessly drunk in massive armchairs." Lapinette wrinkled her nose in disgust but Jenny was warming to her narrative and now she smiled an affectionate smile. "It was at that hour, in the deep dead of night, when Rabbit Jenny hopped to the window and watched the harbour to see the boats crawl in. She saw figures creeping out of the shadows and her ears pricked up as she heard them talking. All across the dock the air hung heavy like blunted daggers ..."  Jenny paused as her audience shrank back and her voice grew bold as she continued her tale. "Rabbit Jenny tried to make out the sound of hollow voices and she closely watched the men glance over their shoulders as they exchanged notes for cargo.  It wasn’t easy to see what everything was and Jenny knew she had to remember every single exchange that took place. But there were so many." The audience murmured with interest, but Wabsworth couldn’t contain himself. "How did she remember everything?" he asked. "Did she take notes?" Everyone shushed Wabsworth to be quiet but Jenny smiled nicely at him. "It was too dangerous to take notes," she said softly. “But Rabbit Jenny devised her own way of remembering ..."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pt 2: Jenny & the Reprobate's Retreat

"But who did stay in this awful place?" asked the Wabbit eagerly. Jenny made some sort of facial expression that wasn’t a frown as such - it was closer to disdain and she pursed her lips and carried on with her story. "In the scruffy town, overlooking the dank harbour lay a ratty hotel. Visitors hardly dared go there and few were brave enough to speak of it at all. The hotel hosted a number of creatures – all men without visible means of support. They seemed to have nothing to do except lay about and drink and shout and laugh and swear like troopers"  Lapinette made a grimace and Jenny matched it as she continued. "But the butt of their jokes fell on a domestic, whose name was Rabbit Jenny." There was a gasp from Jenny's audience - even if they had some idea this was coming - and Jenny’s voice became angry. "All day long Rabbit Jenny scurried after the men, doing their bidding and fetching this and that. But the men tripped her up and pulled her fur and spilled her water. And if she even looked round they taunted her with cruel names and spat at her as she hurried past." Jenny stopped because the Wabbit looked furious and Skratch's claws had extended. Lapinette gazed at Jenny and said softly, "Do you want to stop?" Jenny shook her head. "Now I've started," she said, "and I always finish what I start ..."

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pt 1: Jenny & the Scruffy Promontory

"Please start Jenny," asked Lapinette. As usual, the Wabbit grinned and said "I’m all ears." Jenny smiled a wry smile and began. As she began to speak, they all leaned back and listened eagerly. There was something compelling about her husky voice and the way she described things, so they gave her rapt attention without interruption - well, little interruption, because the friends were very curious creatures indeed. "Once upon a time," began Jenny. Everyone snuggled in anticpation. "... Once upon a time," said Jenny, "in a far-off land, on a scruffy bit of coast there lay an even scruffier promontory. And on that promontory there was a scruffy little town where honest people never went. In the darkness of the night, small boats stole in to the town's dank harbour and departed quietly in the early hours under muffled oars." Jenny paused and looked around the faces and scowled. "Not many went to that shabby place unless they had some sort of business to transact and most arrived and left in haste. But there were others who lived there."  "What kind of business?” murmured Lapinette under her breath. But Skratch, who had been a cat burglar, nudged her to be quiet. Of any of them, he had the best idea of that kind of thing. "Unfunny business," he snorted. Jenny nodded her agreement and continued ...

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Wabbit and the Pirate Caffè

Lapinette made herself comfortable and threw her tunic on the seat. Rabbit Jenny, the Pirate Chief, enquired what manner of grog they preferred. Not getting a lightning answer, she called over her shoulder. "A bottle of Seven Fathoms Rum and five glasses. Chop chop!" Jenny turned to Skratch the Cat, who wouldn't take off his cap. "Lighten up, feline, I believe you usually ask some question at this juncture." "Were not exactly finished our adventure, Captain," said Skratch. "But I think we're in the Pirate Genre." "Certainly not," said the Wabbit, "we're more correctly negotiating the Naval and War genre, about which there is a very enormous book indeed." "One book does not a genre make," observed  Wabsworth, who had been compiling a list of popular quotations. "Belay all that persiflage," said Jenny. "What does the Marchesa make of it so far." "This," said Lapinette carefully, "is different. Neither pastiche nor satire, the adventure is a sardonic comment concerning alliances and coalitions." "I like you, Lapinette," laughed Jenny. "You have it in a nutshell. These blowhards are bilged on their own anchors." "What about your story?" asked Lapinette. "I need to be plied with rum," replied Jenny. The Wabbit grinned. "Skratch," he called. "You're in charge of plying." Skratch flicked an imaginary piece of lint from his coat. "Plying," he purred, "is my middle name."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Wabbit and the Pirate Confab

Jenny the Pirate Chief led the Unut to a secret castle built on two secret hills - and there they docked and disembarked for a confab. "Now," said the Wabbit, "we must talk about details." "How boring," said Lapinette. "I want to know all about Rabbit Jenny and her curious ship." Lapinette advanced on the Wabbit but Jenny held him securely by her hook. The Wabbit looked from side to side, shaking his head sternly. "There are certain protocols that must be followed." He turned to Jenny. "Thank you Captain for inviting us to your castle." Jenny laughed. "Oh, it's not my castle, I just borrowed it." The Wabbit grinned a very broad grin indeed, which he did well to conceal. "It's delightful," murmured Lapinette. "Will we be dining at a banquet?" Jenny laughed again. "I'm afraid the caterers have deserted us." "Oh what a shame," said Lapinette, "I so want to hear your story." Jenny paused. "We use a cafe a wee bit down the Glen, so we could go there." The Wabbit nodded approvingly. "Excellent!" he said with glee and he rubbed his paws together. "There, I'll tell you as much as I can," continued Jenny. "Is it a long story?" asked Lapinette. "As long as a length of rope," said Jenny. Lapinette didn't turn a hair. "Splendid," she said, "I want to hear every single detail." "Will the story have pictures?" mused the Wabbit. "What's the use of a story?" asked Jenny, "without pictures and chit-chat?"

Monday, April 21, 2014

7. The Wabbit & the Dangerous Strait

They emerged out of the mist in a place they weren't expected. That was all to the good except for the treacherous waters. All sounds were muffled except the steady chopping of Lapinette's Merlin, but the ether was electric with radio signals. Commander Wabbit's voice crackled. "Lepus, nasty reef to starboard, just below the surface." But there was no reply. Now Lapinette's radio crackled. "Lepus come in please, currents taking you too close to the Unut." Still there was silence. "Lepus, Lepus?" The Wabbit broke in. "Flight Commander, switch to short wave and keep calling." His voice was terse. "Skratch, hail the Lepus. Don't stop until she answers." The Wabbit lifted his walkie talkie. "And Wabsworth, place a warning flare in front of the Lepus." With a bang, a flash hung over the Lepus and briefly painted the water pink. There was an agonising delay. Then with an inexplicable creaking, the Lepus swung slowly to starboard. A sudden burst of static announced Captain Jenny. "Sorry Commander, we had an electrical failure."  "You certainly picked your spot," said the Wabbit and he looked up. "Lapinette, how do we look now?" "Like a painting, " said Lapinette. "What kind of painting?" asked the Wabbit. "Watercolour," said Lapinette. "You can't get better," smiled the Wabbit.

Friday, April 18, 2014

6. Rabbit Jenny, Pirate Chief

Rabbit Jenny was piped aboard the Unut and she strode forward to meet the Wabbit. For a moment they both looked up at the bridge while the crew took photographs and only then did they speak. "Welcome aboard Captain," said the Wabbit. "We've been waiting some time," said Rabbit Jenny. "Then we saw the helichopper and we knew you'd come." The Wabbit asked after the Lepus and Jenny kind of smiled. "I have 400 sailors ready to do my bidding," "they're a pirate cooperative." "You take your orders from them?" asked the Wabbit. Jenny stiffened. "I take orders from myself and I answer only to Unut, the rabbit goddess." If the Wabbit was surprised, he kept it too himself. "The deal is this," stated the Wabbit. "You have control of the seas, but you answer to me and the Department of Wabbit Affairs (Navy)." Jenny nodded gravely and the Wabbit continued. "You may keep 50 per cent of any spoils accruing to you in consequence of pursuing our mutual enemies." "To whom shall I pay the remainder?" "Bonifico to the Dinosaur Fund, Bahamas," grinned the Wabbit. "The casually cruel Agents of Rabit must be eliminated," said Jenny. "All in due course," said the Wabbit. "What course?" asked Jenny. "My course," said the Wabbit, "will you require more ferries?" "I have that matter well in paw," said Jenny, "but the sun is long past the yardarm and my mainbrace requires splicing." "Aperitivi!" yelled the Wabbit. "On the double!"
[Bonifico: Money Transfer]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

5. The Wabbit and an Exchange of Fire.

Out of a mist loomed an armed ferry and she was flying the Jolly Roger. "There she is!" said the Wabbit. Skratch pointed. "She's the Lepus and she's packing, Commander!" "Dead Slow Ahead," said the Wabbit. "But she's going to fire," said Skratch. The Wabbit shrugged, then grabbed a rail and ducked as several shells burst around the Unut. The Wabbit lifted his walkie talkie. "Now Wabsworth!" An arc of machine gun fire from a deck-mounted Oerlikon split the pirate flag from a mast and it crashed onto the deck. Everything became still. All that could be heard were waves and the cries of disgruntled seagulls. "Why didn't we pick her up on radar?" asked Skratch. The Wabbit shook his head from side to side. "And where did you get that gun?" asked Skratch. "Army and Navy Surplus," said the Wabbit. Skratch shook his head too, then looked across to the Lepus. He could see activity on deck and tapped the Wabbit's shoulder. "What next?" Before the Wabbit could answer, the ship's radio crackled and a voice spoke. "This is the Captain of the Lepus. I'm known as Rabbit Jenny." "This is Commander Wabbit of the DWA Unut," replied the Wabbit. "Belay your weapon fire and heave to." "You belay first," said Jenny. "We're already belayed," smiled the Wabbit. "Permission to come on board," said Jenny. "Granted," said the Wabbit.

Monday, April 14, 2014

4. The Wabbit & Lapinette's Something

"Flight Commander?" said the Wabbit. "Reporting," said Lapinette. "What's in the report?" asked the Wabbit. "Nothing much to report," said Lapinette. "Nothing much to report isn't much of a report," said the Wabbit. "Well it's not exactly nothing," said Lapinette. The Wabbit shook his head and raised his eyes. "Well, why don't you tell me about the something." "It's not much of a something either," sighed Lapinette. The Wabbit hid a smile. "I'm in the mood for not hearing much," he stated. "So tell me about the something you didn't see much of." "It was just something that flashed on the horizon," said Lapinette. "Something that made you blink," said the Wabbit. Lapinette nodded. "And that something was lying north of here?" "Yes it was," said Lapinette. The Wabbit lifted his walkie talkie and spoke gently. "Co-ordinates as instructed, 15 knots." The Unut's bow swung slightly to port and she headed towards the horizon. "What is it that's lying to our north?" asked Lapinette. "A heavily armed ferry," said the Wabbit. "I guess someone's in charge of that ferry," observed Lapinette. The Wabbit nodded but said no more. "Does he know we're coming?" asked Lapinette. "She knows we're coming," corrected the Wabbit. "But not when we're coming," "I guess this ferry doesn't have a timetable," said Lapinette.

Friday, April 11, 2014

3. Lapinette spots Something

Lapinette grumbled to herself as her Merlin helichopper gripped the air. "I don't like ships, I don't like ships." The Merlin was an unfamiliar aircraft to Lapinette but she didn't care and she sent it skittering round in a mock search pattern. The Wabbit was playing some game that only he knew, but she accepted her orders professionally and carried out her duty. The sea looked calm enough now and her delicate shade of seasick green had disappeared. "I prefer to be in the air," she thought. "Mostly, it doesn't move up and down." Just then a gust of wind caught the chopper and sent it spiralling wildly but Lapinette merely twitched the controls and everything was smooth again. Even if her search was designed as a tactical manoeuvre, Lapinette kept an eye open for any craft that might be in the vicinity - but there was nothing, just an aching void of blue green waves. Lapinette looked straight ahead and hummed a Pink Floyd tune she thought went well with helichoppers. Suddenly she blinked. Was that something on the horizon? She stared for quite some time and headed northwards and away from her search pattern. There it was again. A flash of something. Lapinette squinted her eyes and figured it might be the sun glinting from a far-off ship. So she circled back. The radio crackled and the Wabbit's voice crackled too. "Anything to report?" "Not one single thing," said Lapinette.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

3. The Wabbit Sails Out

The day was calm enough when they set out and the Unut sliced through slack water, leaving only a rudimentary wake. The Wabbit nodded with satisfaction. "How are we looking, Chief?" he smiled. Skratch the Cat wasn't going to be happy until they had cleared the coast, but he smiled anyway and purred. "On radar, we look like a fishing boat." The Wabbit shuffled his paws from side to side and his voice was dry. "Now the fishermen cast the net." "What is the drill, Commander?" asked Skratch. "Two points off the starboard bow for 70 miles," said the Wabbit, "then an Anderson Turn." "That's a circle, Commander," said Skratch. The Wabbit nodded. "Make it look like someone's overboard. Send Lapinette up in the chopper. It's got to look convincing." Skratch waited. "Scour around then set a course for Ardnamurchan," advised the Wabbit. "Fifteen knots, no hurry." "Tell me more about that craft," said Skratch. "How will we recognise it?" The Wabbit shook his head. "We don't have to. She'll recognise us." "And then?" asked Skratch. "And then, I don't know," replied the Wabbit. "Need the guns?" asked Skratch. The Wabbit thought for a very long time and then shrugged. "Maybe," he said.

Monday, April 07, 2014

2. The Wabbit & the Gods' Commission

It was a dank and a miserable day for a ship's Commissioning and everyone was bad tempered. "Let's get this over with," shivered Unut the Rabbit Goddess. She produced a cake and cut off a slice and handed it to the Wabbit. The Wabbit saluted and Unut watched him fumble and drop crumbs. "Wabbit, do you know how many Gods' coffee mornings it took me to raise the funds for this vessel?" The Wabbit nodded but remained silent. "So bring it back in one piece," said Unut strictly. The Wabbit nodded again. "There's a lot depending on this mission, Commander - and the Gods are stressed about it." "Yes Majesty" said the Wabbit gravely. "So be diplomatic. Don't rock the boat." The Wabbit wanted to smile, but thought better of it. "Can you think of anything else you need, Commander?" asked Unut. The Wabbit raced through a mental check list of various weapons, tools and stocks of food and drink. "I could do with some luck," he said finally. "Fortune favours the bold," said Unut, "but the Gods will keep a vague lookout for you." The Wabbit smiled limply. "Well," sighed Unut. "There's an awful lot of sea and we're rather short on sea gods." The Wabbit had a sudden thought. "Majesty, what about the Commissioning?" "Never mind the Commissioning, here's your ship," said Unut.

Friday, April 04, 2014

1. The Wabbit and the Swift One

"Is she ship-shape, Chief?" The Wabbit was deadly serious and Skratch responded in similar vein. "One or two minor details, Commander. They'll keep until we're at sea." "How were the trials?" asked the Wabbit. "She's faster than we thought," said Skratch, "she exceeded 46 knots over the Measured Mile." The Wabbit grinned with all of his 28 teeth. "Unut the Swift One!" he smiled. "Fastest Type- 45 Destroyer on the ocean," murmured Skratch. The Wabbit looked around. "Where's Lapinette?" he asked - although he already knew. "She's in the engine room, throwing up," said Skratch. "We're not even underway," sighed the Wabbit. "I'm afraid she has no sea legs, Commander." The Wabbit shook his head. "I know," he said, sadly. "Great legs though," risked Skratch. The Wabbit nodded gravely but kept a smile to himself. "Who's officially commissioning our vessel?" asked Skratch. "Rabbit Goddess Unut," said the Wabbit. "Unut is very present in all this," said Skratch with a surprised voice. "She paid for the ship," shrugged the Wabbit. Skratch nodded as if all that was normal and inquired, "Where are we headed?" "I have only rough coordinates," stated the Wabbit, "but it's near an island and we're looking for a heavily armed ferry." "I don't believe in ferries," joked Skratch.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Wabbit on the Conspiracy Express

The Wabbit and Wabsworth, the Wabbit's android double, took the high speed train to Milan and back. This was for security reasons and because they liked it. The Wabbit visited the refreshments coach, leaving Wabsworth to read a John le Carré novel. He returned to catch Wabsworth's worried look. "What's up Doc?" he asked. Wabsworth frowned. "I'm unhappy with deceiving our friends." The Wabbit grinned a lopsided grin. "What's the word from our enemies?" Wabsworth laid down his book and turned. "They're convinced we're arguing and think we're a spent force." The Wabbit raised an eye, so Wabsworth continued. "They've turned their attentions to things they consider more important." Now the Wabbit beamed. "That was the idea. They musn't see what we're about to do." Wabsworth faced the Wabbit squarely. "Sometimes Wabbit. I disapprove of you." "Me too," shrugged the Wabbit. "I suppose I am a copy of you." moaned Wabsworth. The Wabbit spoke gently. "Sometimes we have to work for the greater good." Wabsworth nodded carefully and reached for his book. "When's the launch?" "Soon," said the Wabbit. "Who's presiding?" asked Wabsworth. "Unut the Goddess," replied the Wabbit. "No-one knows where we're going?" said Wabsworth. "Only me and even then, I only have a rough idea." "Quo vadis?" queried Wabsworth. "Follow me," answered the Wabbit.