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Author Topic: Dragonhead. 1960-something.  (Read 2092 times)
fsn
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« on: 30 November 2020, 07:42:12 PM »

Gentlemen.

Let me introduce you to a small town, barely more than a village. It is the 1960’s, not perhaps our 1960’s, but a 1960s to someone. Mini skirts swing to the music of John, Paul, George and Pete; families gather around the TV to watch Star Trek, and the doings of Spock, No 1 and Captain Pike are avidly discussed all over the town, almost as much as the recent 4-2 World Cup victory; especially Weber’s third goal. Oh, and Belgium is a totally nudist country. By law.

The town is to be found somewhere in Scotland, close to a city, but distant enough and secluded enough to be away from tourist trails and passing traffic.  The town’s name is Dragonhead (pronounced “draaaagunheeed”.)

Before the war Dragonhead was the centre of a rural community, and it remained so until the RAF moved in in 1941 and established a training centre for wireless operators. In 1945, the RAF left, and Dragonhead resumed it’s sleepy existence, and so it remained until 1959 when the County Council decided to upgrade Dragonhead as a “New Town”.  There was a spate of building – from different architects – resulting in what can only be described as a horrible mix of brutalist architecture monstrosities which clash horribly with the traditional building of the old Dragonhead. The town is now dominated by two tower blocks – named after local heroes the David Lloyd George Block and the Leon Trotsky Building – and known to the locals as Dave and Leon. Dave and Leon were filled with the poor and dispossessed from the bombed out areas of the Glasgow blitz, who remarkably settled to the countryside life with a minimum of fuss.

General view of Dragonhead
Dragonhead was blessed with a relatively large shopping centre, with all the best national chains in place: C&A, Woolworths, Fine Fare and, of course, a Green Shield Stamps outlet. Locals took over some of the units – for example Mr & Mrs Lewis moved their pet shop into some very swanky premises. There is also a library, a cinema, and other civic amenities. Incidentally, the librarian is a much gossiped about figure. Her name is Susan Swan, and appears on the surface to be a typical 30 something librarian; tight bun and glasses, demure attire and mild mannered – but on her desk is a photograph of a younger Susan Swan, taken in an African village, wearing baggy military fatigues and a headband, and casually toting a Soviet assault rifle. This extraordinary image gives rise to her local nickname - AK Su.

Older structures remain in Dragonhead. A row of Victorian tenements next to the Church of Milady of the Dimpled Knees. Three Nissen huts from the days of the RAF – one taken over by the local Scout group, one by the Women’s Institute, and one by the local Wiccan coven. Although there were some eyebrows raised at this latter, they soon won support with their Summer Solstice barbeques. The huts nestle by the local village school, St Catherine of Bologna’s County Primary – so re-named by the rather flamboyant headmistress, Molly Nary, who was enamoured by the patron saint of artists.

It was recognise by the council that the expanded town would need some sources of employment; it was recognised that the rural economy could not support all the incomers and so encouraged a couple of businesses to open manufacturing plants in the town. The first was a ladies’ underwear manufacturer called “Undie Cover”, which boasted it made underwear for all ages, from sexy nylon slips for the newly wed to traditional wool and tweed garments for the more matronly lady. This was the domain of the rather formidable Ethel (Eth) Oriel, a Yorkshirewoman on her third husband who spoke as she found. The second factory was set up by August Cameron ffoukes de Vere Marcher, (of the West Marchers). Jamsie, as he was known, had a keen interest in military matters and had set up a company making plastic kits in competition with Airfix. Many queried his first choice of subject, the Soviet T35 tank, but it sold well enough and now Jamsie has a thriving business.

Thus Dragonhead burbled on, ignored by and largely ignoring the rest of the world, until one seemingly ordinary day in late spring. Mrs Winstone was trying to call her son Ray (who managed the Dark Lord’s Head pub) long distance. She received no answer, either at Son Ray’s home or his workplace. She checked with the operator who could find no fault, but neither could she raise any telephone in Dragonhead.  A Post Office man was duly despatched but he and his van did not return.

The Post Office reported the matter to the police, but the bobby who wobbled his bicycle into Dragonhead did not return. However, a local shepherd wandered into the police station with tales of odd goings on in Dragonhead. The Ministry was called and within hours, two of its agents, a Mr John Steed and a Mrs Emma Peel sat in the Police Station drinking steaming mugs of tea with the shepherd. The shepherd’s name was John MacDonald, know as Jack. He was tall and broad, he was indeed a very big Jack MacDonald. In essence, Jack told of strange lights appearing and disappearing in Dragonhead. He could see them as he tended his flocks in the hills above the town.

“How long have these lights been appearing?” asked Mrs Peel over her tea mug.
“Since bath night – Friday.” Responded the shepherd, picking his teeth for that piece of herring stuck there since breakfast.
“Did you not think to tell anyone?” Asked Steed incredulously.
“Nah. City folk and city ways.” He sniffed. “I only came to say my Doug had gone missing.”
“Your Doug?”  Mrs Peel was horrified. “How old is he?”  Jack shrugged.
“Six or seven. Mebbe.”
“And where did you see him last?”
“Well, “ The old shepherd rubbed his chin, his hand rasping on his grey stubble “we spent the yesterday on the big pasture on the side of Glorfindel, clipping a few ewes and casting an ee o’er the new lambs, and we got home just after dark. I read the Bible for mebbe an oor and when I had just finished - ‘He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ Isaiah chapter 40 verse 11. Do you ken you Bible lassie? “
“Not as well as you, Mr MacDonald. Why did your Doug not go to school?”
“And why would my Doug go to the schoolhouse?” Straggy eyebrows drew down over piercing blue eyes.   
“To learn Mr MacDonald.”
“Ma Doug kens all he needs to to work wi me. To come and go up. To follow my whistles.”

Steed chuckled.
“I think, Mrs Peel, that we have breakdown in communications. Whereas you have interpreted Doug to be a child Douglas, that you are naturally horrified to think has been used as some sort of Dickensian child labour, Mr MacDonald is narrating the disappearance of his faithful canine.”

“Aye, “said MacDonald, “ma dug.”


An hour later, Steed and Mrs Peel stood by an equestrian statue at the edge of Dragonhead.
“What did you make of MacDonald?” Asked Steed. Mrs Peel delicately took a bite out of apple, and chewed for a moment before answering.
“He didn’t really have a lot to tell. Lights appearing and disappearing … what did you make of the noises?”
Steed gazed through the trees at the quiet town. No lights burned, nothing moved.
“Very odd. Screams and moans for about an hour, and then nothing since.” He looked at this watch, then scanned the road.  Where is Major Lethbridge Stewart? He’s supposed to be here by now.”
“Well known for his strong arm and his lusty ways apparently …” said Mrs Peel.
“The Major? He seems such a mild mannered chap.”
“No, Guy de Guy – the chap on the bronze horse.” Steed looked round to see Mrs Peel reading the inscription on the base of the statue.
“Ah. Do you think he wore a traffic cone in life?” he asked pointing at the addition with his umbrella.

Guy de Guy and his impromptu headgear

“Oh no, he was a quite sombre figure” piped in a third voice. “He bore the head of a dragon on his shield, and so probably gave his name to the town.” A curly head in a broad hat appeared from behind the statue.
The man advanced on the agents, a small paper bag proffered.
“Would you like a jellybaby?” He smiled broadly. Almost unconsciously, Mrs Peel took one.   
“And you are?” Asked Steed, solicitously.
“Oh, I’m the Doctor.” Responded the other breezily. He smiled again.
“Are you local?” Asked Mrs Peel.
“Oh no, I’m from quite a way away. Must visiting for a short time.”
“Ah. Well Doctor …?” Began Steed, but the curly headed man just smiled broadly, and  made no attempt to answer the implied question.
“Do you know what’s happened to the people?” Asked Mrs Peel.
“Oh no, but the lights are fascinating, aren’t they?”
“Have you seen them?” Snapped Steed. The Doctor apparently took no offence, but ruminated a while.
“Not directly, but I thought I should come and see for myself. Shall we?” He indicated the town.

Steed and Mrs Peel followed the Doctor’s gaze. A red light had appeared on the road the other side of the trees. It flickered and glowed, it seemed to dance above the road.
“Fascinating.” Said the Doctor. He took a tool from his pocket and began to scan the light with it. The light had no apparent source, and seemed not to cast shadows. It was a most unnatural light. Suddenly the red light seemed to coalesce into a solid red cone, then with a sigh it disappeared.

Where the light had been, there now stood an ominous green shape.
“Is that …?” breathed Mrs Peel.
“It’s a tank … a Russian tank.” Confirmed Steed. 
 “Do you think there is someone in it?” As if in answer, the turret of the tank began to turn, as is sniffing it’s surrounding.
“How’s your Russian, Mrs Peel?”
“Neplokho.”
The Doctor was staring at the tool he had used to scan the red light.
“Oh!” He gave a short laugh. “That explains it.”
“Explains what?” chorused Steed and Mrs Peel. The Doctor looked up as if he had just noticed the agents.
“It’s a hyper dimension conduit, probably just a bit misaligned.” He smiled broadly at their blank stares. “You know those pneumatic tubes that they have in offices for whizzing messages all over the place? You pop a capsule in and it gets sucked up to a central point where some kind person pops it into another tube and so it lands on your desk? Well, think of one of those but on a cosmic scale, and not really a tube, and not really pneumatic.” He smiled again.
“Are you saying … Doctor, that someone just popped a Soviet tank into a pneumatic tube?” Said Steed slowly.
“That isn’t pneumatic, and isn’t a tube. Yes.” The Doctor nodded.
“Is it the Russians?” The Doctor barked a little laugh.
“Well beyond them. Possibly the Judoon … though they don’t really like red, or the Krotons … hello, we’re off.” Sure enough the tank had begun to move slowly down the road towards David Lloyd George Block, the turret swinging back and forth. Steed, Mrs Peel and the Doctor set off in cautious pursuit.

The tank stopped some distance from Dave, apparently confused by the road ending. The turret turned rapidly and the trio found themselves in the middle of the street staring down the barrel of what seemed to be a very large gun. For a long moment the tableau was frozen. The tank seemingly studying the followers, and the followers mesmerised by the implicit threat.

“Be prepared to run.” Suggested the Doctor. “Any time now.”  As he spoke, a red light appeared between the tank and the people. It danced and bobbled briefly, then solidified into a red cone.
“Run!” Shouted the Doctor, and following his own advice, ran for cover. With a sigh that was more like a moan, the red light disappeared. In it’s place was an American helicopter – a Huey, flying low and fast – too low and too fast. The pilot, if he was able to control the helicopter, was not quick enough and the Huey smashed into the David Lloyd George block and exploded.

The Russian tank reacted swiftly, it turned on its tracks and moved back the way it had come, the turret machine gun lashing the sides of the street.
The Russian tank moves away from the crashed Huey

In the Undie Cover factory, the people of Dragonhead heard. They stirred from their torpor,  they struggled to their feet and moved painfully towards the door. Molly Nary was there, and AK Su, and Eth Orial, and August Cameron ffoukes de Vere Marcher, (of the West Marchers) and Mrs Winstone’s son Ray. Their sightless eyes were unblinking, just white orbs in their grey faces, their clothes torn, showing bloodless wounds and in some cases exposing bone. They shuffled towards the explosion. They had no leader, no plan, just a need, an awful hunger that drove them, staggering, limping or crawling in a ferocious desperation to feed.

The undead of Dragonhead come on ...

... and on ...

... and on (OK, perhaps I overdid the zombies.)

Maybe I should explain.

Sometimes I buy stuff from Pendraken with no real plan as to what to do with them. I buy them because I think they will be fun to paint. Or I have a notion that I may do something with them … or  sometimes I don’t even remember buying them.  I even have some stuff that isn’t Pendraken and I have no idea how they arrived in my lead mountain.

Anyway, I decided that during lockdown I would try and clear a bit of my aforesaid lead mountain, and probably because I live alone and didn’t get out much before I had the excuse of the virus. I found some stuff I had started many years ago and so Dragonhead was (re)born.

The mechanics of the game are that each move I will randomly generate a location in the town. This will be the site of an event. Mostly they will deposit something into the town, but sometimes they will suck up whatever they land near.   

What can they deposit in poor old Dragonhead? Anything in my collection.
    1. Clip clop, swish swish (to 1500)
    2. Clip clop, bang bang (1500 to 1914)
    3. Brrm Brrm, bang bang (1914 to date)
    4. Zoom Zoom, zap zap (sci fi)
    5. Fantasy.
    6. Suck it up, Buttercup

So the event could be a unit of hoplites, Robert the Bruce, a Bf109, laser tank, or a dragon.

Needless to say, this presents some interesting scenarios. Determining friend or foe is one  issue to be resolved. The T62 at loose in Pendraken may turn out to be an ally to Major Lethbridge Stewart  … or not. Certainly, letting the zombies loose adds a common enemy for all living humans. Do you think centaurs can become zombies?

Obviously, the rules (Nobby’s Omnirules) are quick and dirty. If that unit of space marines comes on the table, I have to  determine their stats before deployment.

I’ve added in some characters from 1960s popular culture. Steed and Mrs Peel from the Avengers (the proper British one, not the inferior US variant), and Tom Baker’s Dr Who are already on the table. I have Modesty Blaze and Bond, James Bond (Sean Connery of course, none of the poor imitations) ready to go if needed. 

Very silly but great fun.


Coming next ... The British Army Arrive.  Major Lethbridge Stewart with his troops arrive in a convoy of Land Rovers. 
Lethbridge Stewart takes charge and interrogates the civilians
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Steve J
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« Reply #1 on: 30 November 2020, 09:19:34 PM »

Love it! It may be silly as you say, but it certainly looks like fun Smiley.
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« Reply #2 on: 30 November 2020, 09:20:24 PM »

Excellent start, interested to see how they progress. And one can never overdo the zombies so no fear there...
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mad lemmey
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« Reply #3 on: 30 November 2020, 10:21:54 PM »

Love it all!
Where did the Doctor come from?
I know where the Soviet tanks came from...  Wink
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« Reply #4 on: 01 December 2020, 07:07:41 AM »

Nice stuff
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fsn
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« Reply #5 on: 01 December 2020, 07:12:21 AM »

Love it all!
Where did the Doctor come from?
The Doctor was last seen manning a Napoleon in the Army of the Confederacy. 

Thanks chaps.
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Lord Oik of Runcorn
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Raider4
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« Reply #6 on: 01 December 2020, 07:37:34 AM »

The town’s name is Dragonhead (pronounced “draaaagunheeed”.)

Yeah, that's not how British (actually usually English) naming conventions work.

It'll be more along the lines of "It may be spelt "D r a g o n h e a d", but it's pronounced "Diddlysquat"" (with an unspoken (usually . . .) "Don't you know anything you fearful oik!" tacked on the end)

Other than, good fun  Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up
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Techno II
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« Reply #7 on: 01 December 2020, 07:53:25 AM »

Excellent, Nobby !!  Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up

(Can I just use this opportunity to advertise the fact that the pet shop has a special offer on Mongolian attack squirrels this week ?)

Cheers - Phil. Smiley

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« Reply #8 on: 01 December 2020, 09:29:24 AM »

Importing dangerous wild life Phil, would ha tort dat the labs, collie, 'orses and particularly sheep would be nough !  Shocked
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Techno II
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« Reply #9 on: 01 December 2020, 12:17:35 PM »

The collie died on the 'operating table'....A year or more now, Ian. Sad

On of the labs is going to cost another hundred quid tomorrow. Roll eyes

Hey Ho !

Phil
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« Reply #10 on: 01 December 2020, 01:12:27 PM »

The collie died on the 'operating table'....A year or more now, Ian. Sad
Phil

Whoops - Sorry  Broken heart
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« Reply #11 on: 01 December 2020, 01:31:04 PM »

Once again we find ourselves exposed to the insane abyss that is Nobby's mind.    d'oh   Tongue

(but, Christmas isn't Xmas without it!)   Cheesy

The idea of clip, clop, bang, bangs meeting up with zoom, zoom, zap, zap sounds like fun!*  Grin

* Wait a minute, haven't they already done that with Cowboys vs. Aliens?   Undecided
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« Reply #12 on: 01 December 2020, 02:24:34 PM »

Whoops - Sorry  Broken heart

Don't worry, chum. Smiley

Von and I have been through this SO many times with all the animals we've been 'Mum & Dad' to.

Each one of them have been very precious..in their own way. But we can both accept that it's the natural order of things.

Cheers - Phil

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« Reply #13 on: 01 December 2020, 04:16:19 PM »

Have missed the Yule epics and celebrate their return now made three dimensional (or four or five)! The cameo is much appreciated particularly with the typical inner-new town decoration, although a barber’s basin would have served  Wink .  It is Love’s Labour Lost made more stylish and intelligible (and even transcendent with the major appearance of Emma Peel).  The image  of  The Zombie Apocalypse will never again be the same.

I rigidly and unblinkingly await act II.
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« Reply #14 on: 01 December 2020, 06:24:02 PM »

Good stuff fsn!

It looks suitably bonkers! I’m looking forward to Phlanx (Greek) vs T-62

Like d_Guy I’m noticing hints of the Yule epics of previous years.
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