(back to The Improbable Island Irregulars)
(back to Search Parties II)
The Return Home
Rookie Kumquat eyes the req falling from Conchors pouch, picks it up and tries to hand it back to him. Sir you dropped some req on the ground."
Conchor is distracted from his thoughts for a moment to look over to Kumquat. "Oh. I didn't notice my req dropping to the ground. . ." He thinks for a moment, "You can keep it."
In the distance, beyond the city gates, a bell can be heard ringing. A strident, jangling, urgent sort of a bell. A bell that grows louder, as if to say, something is coming, beware!
Rookie Kumquat smiles weakly up to him. "Thanks so much"
Conchor nods to Kumquat. "No troubl-" He is then interrupted by a ringing bell. He mouths quietly to himself,'What on earth was that?'
Rookie Kumquat stomach still rolling she begins to crawl towards the diner, finally makes it, eats her foods and walks back out.
Rookie Gwentel whimpers, hearing the bell.
Rookie Kumquat ask loudly, "What on Earth was that infernal ringing I just heard?"
calliaphone totters into New Home. She is paler and thinner than usual, and alarmingly - even painfully - clean. With just the slightest whiff of disinfectant about her person.
calliaphone is dressed in nowt but a threadbare hospital blanket. Under one arm, she clutches a pile of neatly folded personal effects. And her other hand is pressed to her right ear.
calliaphone looks around New Home, as if trying to get her bearings. Bearings which are proving distinctly elusive. Her whole demeanor, in fact, is peculiarly off-kilter.
Civilian Svergon tilts his head, a bemused expression in place. "All too commonplace once, such use of noise to herald arrivals. Should next trumpeteers be expected, Simon?" He mutters, seemingly to himself.
The jangling grows louder still, and the occasional enraged shout can be heard from the jungle.
Rookie Kitty of Doom is getting slightly nervous as she hears the bell ring. She was still quite new to the island, but whatever this was, it did not sound good to her.
Conchor's ears perk up to try and pinpoint just who is ringing the bell.
calliaphone thwaps ineffectually at her right ear with her free hand, grumbling about "bloody tinnitus. . ." and staggering off-course.
Sergeant Weezle looks over his shoulder toward the gate. He reaches for a weapon, then realizes he doesn't have one. He swears a few times, and moves to put the fountain between himself and the gate.
Edith perks up at the jangling. She follows everyone else's gaze but keeps an eye out for Budd.
Rookie Dremus woories about the bell, and the noises from the jungle.
Rookie Kumquat ducks back into the diner, but keeps her head just out the door. "Whats going on otu there i wonder"
calliaphone veers unsteadily towards the Diner, and narrowly misses tripping over a kerbstone. She is still recovering her balance, when the town gates open once again, to admit a bicycle.
It is a very bright red, shiny bicycle, with a bell. A very loud, persistently ringing, bell. It's rider - a youth with sticky-out ears and a courier's satchel.
The ears give the youth a striking resemblance to Reginald the Paperboy.But the satchel distinguishes him as something Altogether More Official, by virtue of the words "Improbable Island Telegraphy Service" emblazoned upon it.
Conchor cringes at the bell's ringing, ears flattening to protect his hearing. A youth riding a bicycle, he wonders what this person is here for.
Edith sighs at the bike, relieved, and follows Budd to traders. She hugs her friend back "Long time no see."
Rookie Dremus stares pointedly at the bicycle, not having expected it at all.
calliaphone does not see the bicycle. She's too busy thwapping at her ear. She therefore fails entirely to note that the rider is aiming directly for her.
Sergeant Weezle stares at the youth on the bicycle with his good eye, he glances back and forth to make sure everyone else is staring, and that he's not simply hallucinating again.
Mandalore Arka flies over the wall and smashes into the fountain. Thankfully, her armor protects her."Hey all."
Rookie Gwentel stares dumbfounded at the child on the bicycle.
calliaphone looks up just as the bicycle reaches her. She blinks. And has just enough time to say "whuhhh?" before she is bowled over like a nine-pin.
calliaphone's personal effects go everywhere. Top trumps cards and dungarees and a little pink screwdriver and much else besides. The cycling youth says, helpfully "I say, look out!"
Conchor almost jumps upon seeing someone smash into the fountain, almost losing his balance again.
Rookie Kitty of Doom has her fingers in her ears but it helps little to tune out the bell's ringing. Her eyes fixed on that strange rider.
TabbyMorph Buddleia finishes shovelling Improbabombs into her bag, just in time to grin at Edy and go over to help callia collect her misc and various stuff.
calliaphone remains unresponsive as the youth attempts repeatedly to hail her, waving two slips of paper before her closed eyes. After a short time, he gives up. Tucking the slips into
Rookie Howard Millpond runs over to the bicycle and steals the rider's satchel
calliaphone's bandolier, he jumps back onto his bicycle. There's a flash of pillarbox-red paint and a cloud of dust, and he's gone.
Edith follows Budd and starts helping pick things up.
calliaphone says, "nyurrghhhh" and opens one eye.
TabbyMorph Buddleia waves gently to callia, making a tidy-ish pile of her stuff. "You ok there?"
calliaphone opens the other eye, and looks straight at Howard Millpond. "bricyclamen" she says. and blinks vaguely. she detects waving in her near vicinity, and tries again. "budd? hm'lo"
Rookie Kitty of Doom wonders what that quite improbable courier wanted in NewHome and what those papers might be he stuffed into that woman`s bandolier. Life on the island sure is interesting.
Conchor is hit by the sudden case of narcolepsy just as he regains his balance. The balloon of his that was floating around NewHome slowly makes its way down to earth.
Edith adds her stuff to Budd's pile. She puts her hands on her hips looking proud. She helped someone today. She must have earned good karma.
calliaphone manages a lopsided smile at both Edith and Buddleia. And sits up, thwapping irritably at her right ear.
TabbyMorph Buddleia smiles, sitting back on her heels. "Hello to you, too."
calliaphone is possibly still somewhat confused, but much reassured by Buddleia's manner. She transfers her lopsided smile to everyone in town. "whajushappened?"
TabbyMorph Buddleia peers up at the sky for a moment, ordering her thoughts. "You came in. There was a noisy noise. A guy on a bike came in and ran into you. You fell over. He gave you a thing. We came over to help."
calliaphone says, "ohh." It is not clear whether she's fully understood. She thwaps some more at her ear, and then says, "a fly on a mike? saved me a fling?" she looks at Buddleia, blankly.
Rookie Howard Millpond shouts in the background "And I stole his satchel!"
Edith nods with Budd, that was a rather accurate description.
TabbyMorph Buddleia tries not to giggle, and says, clearly and slightly louder, "A guy on a bike gave you a thing." She points at Callia's bandolier, where the paper sticks out slightly.
calliaphone stares at Howard Millpond, wide-eyed. Just what is she thinks he said, is anybody's guess.
calliaphone stops thwapping at her ear suddenly, as the residual catarrh decides to give her a bit of a break. She blinkblinks, and says "alright alright, no need to shout!" And looks down at her bandolier
Mandalore Arka lays back down. Sex.
Rookie Howard Millpond looks at calliaphone. "I was a shouting so you could hear me!"
calliaphone says to Howard Millpond, "ahh." and then "i can hear you fine! you've got a nice clear voice." she tugtugs at the papers in her bandolier, and turns them over. "how did these get here?"
Impractical Relevance stretches and yawns a bit as she strolls through the gates. Train rides make her sleepy.
calliaphone finds that the slips of paper are envelopes. Clumsily, she breaks the seals, and then sighs deeply. Bits of paper, covered in words. It really isn't her day.
TabbyMorph Buddleia says "Who's it from, what's it about?"
Edith looks at Callia "There was a kid on a bicycle that hit you. While you were dazed he tucked them in your bandolier then -poof-."
calliaphone looks up at Buddleia. "from? you think it's from someone?" she studies the papers some more, struggling to form the words. "it's got my name on it" she finally works out.
calliaphone says to Edith, "a kid on a bicycle, huh? sticky-out ears, by any chance?" she presumably means the kid, and not the bicycle.
Civilian Svergon shakes his head. "Too many, too fresh and begging to be devoured. Acting with the impetinence of one who knows what they ought not, and the impunity of one that rules." He mutters.
calliaphone blinks at Svergon. Has her hearing gone on the blink again. "EH?" she says. because, y'know. if you're not sure youcan hear, best thing is to raise your voice.
Edith nods to Callia "Sticky out ears. Red bike."
TabbyMorph Buddleia laughs. "Didn't notice. He was delivering stuff."
Impractical Relevance jumps when she hears the muttering and points an accusing finger at Svergon as she recognizes him."You! Creepy frustrating riddle guy!"
calliaphone turns to Buddleia and Edith. "I CAN'T MAKE HEAD NOR TAIL OF THESE. . ." she brandishes the slips of paper. "I DON'T SUPPOSE EITHER OF YOU CAN READ. . .?"
calliaphone stops shouting abruptly as she realises she can hear Buddleia and Edith perfectly. She looks sheepish, and simply waves the papers, helplessly.
TabbyMorph Buddleia chuckles and reaches out a paw for them. "Give it here, I'll read it to you."
Edith winces at the yelling. She looks over to Budd "After you Budd."
calliaphone hands over the slips of paper to Buddleia, with a look of utmost gratitude. To Edith, she says "i bet it was that Reginald, or one of his wretched family."
Civilian Svergon murmurs,"Is it not an act of arrogance to sit at the gaming table and expect to play without first offering up equal stakes? "At this,the head of a small spiderkitty pokes out from his sleeve.
TabbyMorph Buddleia starts giggling as she scans the telegrams. "Hellebore, Dave and Ari want to know if you've been kidnapped, and Bishop wants you to come home."
Civilian Svergon hardly spares a glance at Relevance. Simon the spiderkitty on the other hand stares at her from it's position in Svergon's sleeve.
TabbyMorph Buddleia then reads them out properly. "Miss Calliaphone. Err. . . Stop. (Stop) Have you been kidnapped? (Stop.) If so, where? (Stop.) Miss Hellebore, Mr Dave and Missus Ari. (Stop)"
Edith giggles at Callia. She hasn't really meet this person but she seems like a boat load of fun. Considering Edith is only a barrel load this is a massive upgrade from the usual.
TabbyMorph Buddleia tucks the first one behind the second, and reads that out too, trying to keep a straight face."Calliaphone. (Stop.) Get the fuck back here! (Stop.) Bishop (Stop.)"
calliaphone boggles at the telegram-reading. "Kidnapped? Hellebore? Dave and Ari. . .?" a blank look, then . . . "Bishop . . . home . . . " blink blink. "get the fuck back . . . here? where's here?"
calliaphone adds, in tones of utter bewilderment, "if i'm not here, where am i?"
Impractical Relevance frowns a little. Ignored! Again! But the dissatisfaction turns to curiousity as she spots the little creature on Svergon's shoulder. And then she realizes. Spiderkitty.
TabbyMorph Buddleia says "Ummm . . . have you been back to the Bingo Hall, or seen them, recently? They might have not seen you and got worried and wanted you to go back there, maybe?"
calliaphone smiles confusedly at the dark-haired person with glasses, who is frowning at the muttering guy. To Buddleia she says, "The Bingo.. OHHH!"
Impractical Relevance shudders but is too fascinated (horrified) to look away. She feels obligated mention it. "Creepy guy, you have a," horrible, flesh-rending, abomination-of-life "spiderkitty on your shoulder."
Impractical Relevance shudders but is too fascinated (horrified) to look away. She feels obligated mention it. "Creepy guy, you have a," horrible, flesh-rending, abomination-of-life "spiderkitty on your arm."
calliaphone says, attempting to stand up, losing her blanket, hoiking it up over her skinny freckled improbably grime-free self,"kidnapped! the Irregulars! the. . .oh no" she sits again, abruptly.
Civilian Svergon mutters,"Aye, the fragile nature of recollection.Remembrances so carefully directed about for storage may find themselves astray."Simon startles at being spotted,and scuttles deeper into the sleeve.
Edith is attempting to follow what is going on "Irregulars?"
TabbyMorph Buddleia puts out a steadying arm. "Hey, are you ill or something? You're looking . . . odd." Well, certainly different to usual.
Civilian Svergon mumbles in reply: "It is so. It is Simon. Thunder often dictates the strange and unpurposed paths that are taken."
calliaphone nodnods. "The Irregulars. Albert, and Stinker, and Rover, and Little George, and Micky, and Fido and. . ." she doesn't have enough breath to list her entire gang of grubby revolting youths
Impractical Relevance can't repress another shudder. God, the scuttling. "Simon? You gave it a name? Are you telling me that it's a pet?"
calliaphone contents herself with waving a hand. "i wasn't kidnapped, they was! i was just. . ." she looks pained. "i went after 'em. but found . . . y'know. the thingy." very quietly, "drive-thing."
calliaphone adds, really softly now, "i didn't mean . . . didn't mean to hurt it."
Civilian Svergon frowns, "Is not a pet, least not mine. Nor would I presume to pass a name onto another. That one chose it's name. I mind it in preparation for the day also of it's choosing." He murmurs.
TabbyMorph Buddleia's ears twist sideways. "Huh. Not fun. Hmph. So, do you need to get home, tell them what's happened, before you go looking for your Irregulars?" It's more of a suggestion than a question.
Impractical Relevance pauses and reigns in her disbelief. "Simon. . .the Spiderkitty. Who lives in your shirt." She eyes Svergon a little warily and inches away. "Okay. Uh. Nice to meet you Simon?"
calliaphone nods slowly. Buddleia's suggestion makes sense, even to her befuddled mind. "you're right. and anyway, can't rescue no-one without chocomilks. have to go home for supplies."
Civilian Svergon stares off into the distance silently.Some rustling of his trenchcoat can be seen,and shortly the spiderkitty head pokes out of Svergon's other trenchcoat sleeve.Simon looks cautiously at Relevance.
calliaphone struggles to her feet once more, tucking the blanket as firmly as she can around herself, and stooping to pick up her neatly-piled belongings. "i better go right away" she says.
Impractical Relevance stares as Simon appears again and swallows. Wincing, she offers a hand to the Spiderkitty to (sniff? devour?) investigate and manages a wobbly smile. "Hi there, little guy."
calliaphone adds, "g'bye" to Buddleia and Edith, and "thankyou for picking up my things. an' for the reading." she drops her top trumps cards again, and retrieves them.
TabbyMorph Buddleia helps her collect them up. "You going to be ok? Shall I come with you? Do you need anything before you go?"
calliaphone then waves to the bespectacled one and the trenchcoated mutterer, and sets off. tripping over her blanket hem, dropping her blue buoyancy vest, picking it up, colliding with the gate-post. . .
calliaphone ricochets off the gate-post, and staggers round to look once more round at Buddleia. "i'll be fine!" she says, as if she at least believes it. "but thankyou for offering."
calliaphone tries once more, with greater accuracy this time. and vanishes into the jungle, roughly headed in the wrong direction.
Impractical Relevance waves a little uncertainly to the leaving girl with her freehand and flinches a little in sympathy as she watches the collision.
Civilian Svergon quirks his head, apparently hearing something. Simon does indeed sniff the hand, but still cautiously. After all, the fear or nervousness smelled the same as a desire to attack.
TabbyMorph Buddleia briefly contemplates going after her, but shrugs. Callia is (probably) an adult and can make her own (bad?) decisions. She stands to hug Edy again, instead. "So, yeah, long time no see."
The Bingo Hall Stables
calliaphone arrives here, and smiles at the sight of her dusty old mattress on the cobblestones. she dumps her possessions in a heap on the ground, and sits down to finish her pie and chocomilk.
calliaphone then divests herself of the soggy blanket, swapping it for her favourite tie-dye top and dungarees. and that's about all she's got the energy for.
calliaphone flops over sideways onto the mattress, and is asleep within minutes.
(back to The Improbable Island Irregulars)
(forward to The Rescue)