Sunday, 30 September 2007

The Lindig Valley Mystery

Anyway folks, here is the next strip story adventure for the annual. Hopefully someone will volunteer to use this synopsis to create the artwork:


Ben is alone in his Cambridge apartment sipping an absinthe and drifting in and out of sleep on the sofa. He is listening to Nico's "The Marble Index" and trying to forget Milo, who had turned down Ben's offer of another date. However just as Ben drifts into sleep, his mobile rings. Its Katie Ryan:
"Ben, Ben... you there? I can't explain now but you must come... please. "
Ben is frustrated at being disturbed:
"Oh what is it? Look Katie I'm not in the mood ok."
"Ben, I'm at the site I told you about the other day, in Lindig Valley. Something strange is going on here. I ... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh........."
Ben is now intrigued:
"Hello? Katie? Are you ok?"There is no reply and Ben is alarmed. Katie had sent him a long email a few days before about her trip to Wales with a small team to excavate the site of an old monastery in the remote Lindig Valley. He tries ringing her back but she doesn't pick up.

Just then the door rings ; it is Chiara.
"Hi Ben, I wondered if you fancied lunch in the Mermaid Bar."
Ben explains to her what has just happened and that he must drive to Wales and see what has happened. Chiara agrees that this is the best thing to do and volunteers to come along.They jump into Ben's rare vintage car and speed off, the wind blowing through their hair.

After a long drive and a few stops along the way, they are soon driving through the fresh Welsh countryside. Ben is slightly disgruntled as Chiara had insisted that they stop at a Little Chef a while back:
"... not only was the food as bad as I predicted but it was full of kids" he is complaining, however Chiara smiles:
"Oh Ben, you should try to loosen up and not let these things get to you. Put the music back on."
Ben puts Tin Machine back on and they enjoy the music blasting out and the countryside passing. Eventually Ben turns down a narrow country lane:
"I think we're not far now. Lets ask this local".They stop next to a rustic local carrying a spade:
"Hi. We're looking for the village of Lanfridigg in the Lindig Valley. This is the Lindig valley isn't it? Are we far from the village?"
The local scowls:"An who might you be boyo?"
"I'm Ben and this is Chiara."
"Well I'd go back home if I were you. We don't much like strangers around these valleys boyo. "
Just then the man's face contorts with a look of pure terror. Coming down the road in front of them are six monks in full habits with hoods up.
"No , No I wasn't talking to them...." the Welshman pleads however the monks all stare at him. A stream of red light emenates from their eyes and hits the man who screams and falls.

Ben doesn't wait for the same to happen to them and he races the car away, narrowly missing them on the thin lane. They enter the village shortly and finding no one around and the shop closed, drive on to the dig site. Chiara is unnerved so Ben lets her have a swig of brandy from his bottle in the glove compartment. At the site, Ben finds it deserted. They are just about to leave when they suddenly find themselves surrounded by monks. One of them lifts a staff and hits Ben over the head. They they drag Chiara & carry Ben to a cave entrance and down some underground steps.Ben awakes to find himself in an underground temple with incense burning and monks chanting. A strange priest-like figure approaches with a golden mask on:
"Why have you come here?"
Ben is angry:
"Who are you?"
The figure gestures to the monks to leave.The figure lifts the mask to reveal....The green face of an amphibian creature with bulging eyes and fish-like mouth.
"I am Zeno of the Zenathon. I came here on a scouting mission to explore this planet and discovered the hidden monastery of the Cestian heretic sect . It was easy to convince them that I was Jesus, reborn as the son of nature and the greenworld. For many years this sect have been hidden here, perfecting their use of psychic mind over matter. Useful
"Ben is angry:"What do you want here?"
"We want this world. Even now my scout ship is landing in the city of Cardiff. Soon the whole fleet will be here."
Ben is shown a monitor screen where a ship is landing in Cardiff. Shoppers run as the alien ship mows them down with lazer blasts. Several girls are hit and the flames spit and crackle through their hair as they fall down in burning heaps. Chiara tries to hit the alien however a beam of energy from its eyes restrains her.

They are thrown in a cell with Katie Ryan.In the cell, Ben finds that his mobile is useless.
"We must play along with it and catch it off guard." Chiara suggests:"Wow, idea of the century." Katie mutters,
"I didn't know Ben was bringing one of his trainees"."I'm not a trainee archaeologist, I'm his friend."
Katie is irritated:"Ben's friends usually have a degree at least of sense, not to mention looks."
Ben intervenes and tells Katie to shut up as he has an idea. He takes out a small bottle of absinthe from his pocket and pours it under the door. Then he borrows Katie's cigarette lighter and sets it alight. As the flames rise outside, the monks open the cell door to see whats going on & Ben, Katie & Chiara overpower them. They rush out and race down the cave, clambering over rocks, eventually getting out. They all jump into Ben's car & speed off, as the crazed monks emerge from the cave after them.

Ben drives to Cardiff where buildings are ablaze as the aliens roam the streets on a killing spree fighting street battles with Torchwood and the arriving UNIT forces. The aliens have the upper hand, however Ben races up to the UNIT commander with an idea. The commander radios Cambridge Dept of Ecology.Several hours later a UNIT helecopter is spraying the city with a yellow liquid and the aliens start dying. The UNIT Commander turns to Ben:
"Its working."
Chiara is puzzled:"What was your idea Ben?"
Ben smiles:"Oh its simple. I have an interest in ecology and I know about Cambridge doing research into finding an antidote for Hatchkov's Disease, which is killing frogs & newts in asia. I knew they'd have some of the virus and since the aliens are amphibians...."

Later, Ben, Chiara & Katie are enjoying a drink in the Mermaid Wine Bar . Chiara laughs:
"Well its been an interesting day but I've gotta go. Up early tomorrow ".
As she leaves, Katie scowls:"You haven't been trying to hit on her have you?"
Ben is annoyed and has a Fox's Glacier Mint to calm down. He feels his mind floating as transluscent colours swirl through his consciousness in a kaleidoscope of ambience. Then he gets up and goes home, leaving Katie to finish her drink.

- the end.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

The Lindig Valley Mystery - coming soon!

And its an absolute classic, possibly the finest Ben Chatham spin off adventure next. It involves a strange underground monastery and a threat from beyond the galaxy.

The Key to Time Boxset: Who bought it?

I did and its stunning. I'm halfway through so far. Androids of Tara next.

Adam Rickitt is Innocent

Just to emphasise what thinking people already know. It was an honest mistake. Thats all.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The New Ben Chatham annual story

Anyway, moving forward, here is the next story in the annual folks. It will take up the challenge and introduce a new female character who is presented favourably:

The Cult of Quexecostal

It is Saturday evening. Ben is alone in his apartment sipping an iced tea and listening to Radiohead's 'OK Computer' album. Katie is away on an archaeological project and Ben is alone, thinking about his poor luck in relationship matters.
His phone bleeps and he sees that he has recieved a text from Tara asking if she can come round 'to hang out and listen to some music'. Ben groans to himself and thinks that there must be more to do on a Saturday evening than this. He steels himself, texts Tara back saying 'Not tonight' and determines to go out. There is a new gay club in town ,'Heaven's Above' , and Ben decides to give it a try. He puts on some nice clothes, sprays himself with excusive 'Odour a la Plature' and sets off into the cool evening air.

Arriving at the club, Ben sees a crowd of young guys buzzing around the entrance and going in. Its a cold night and several are dressed just in thin white T-shirts and tight jeans. Ben chuckles to himself and follows them in, thinking that the club looks a tad scabby but needs must. Inside the loud dance music blasts out and Ben finds it all rather unpleasant. He buys a double Martini on the rocks and sits down where he can have a clear view of the young guys on the dancefloor. As he is sitting there, a girl comes and sits next to him:
"Hi. I'm Chiara. You here on your own?"
Ben is puzzled:
"Yes. I'm Ben by the way. I presume you're with your girlfriends'.
Chiara laughs:
"Oh no, I'm straight. I'm with some gay friends from uni, male friends. I do like coming to gay clubs, its less intimidating for a girl in some ways."
Ben frowns:
"Well it sounds weird to me. How are you going to pull a bloke in here? And you'll attract female attention."
Chiara laughs again:
"Not all women go out just to pull. Anyway Ben, have you seen anyone you fancy?"
Ben looks at the dancefloor:
"Yes. That young guy in the purple shirt with the hilights in his hair. I wouldn't mind spending the night with him."
Chiara laughs again:
"Oh I know him, he's one of my friends, Milo. I'll introduce you."

Chiara leaps up and drags Milo over and introduces them. Ben looks into Milo's dark eyes and they begin to chat. Milo is in his final year at Cambridge studying ancient history and they have a chat about Mayan culture. After a while, Ben needs the toilet and heads off while Milo gets the Martinis in.
In the gents, Ben is irritated to see several camp teenagers laughing and pointing up at something. Looking up he sees a used condom draped over a cubicle door.
"Thats not funny, "
Ben snaps, annoyed, and hearing grunting noises from another cubicle he storms out and finds Milo at the bar:
"This place is too noisy and lowbrow. Lets go somewhere else."
Milo suggests his place and, agreeing, Ben & he leave. On the way out he finds Chiara and they exchange phone numbers:
"I'll tell you how good he is in bed, "
Ben says grinning.

At Milo's penthouse apartment, Ben is delighted to see a well stocked bar. Milo pours him an absinthe and they lie across the leather sofa, kissing. Eventually Milo leads him to the bedroom. As they go in, Ben is puzzled to see that part of the room is partitioned by a purple curtain. Ben is curious:
"Whats behind that?"
"I'll show you" Milo replies and he draws the curtains back. Ben is disconcerted to see an altar with the gold-coloured statue of a large bird on it. Suddenly two more guys enter from the other room and grab hold of Ben, forcing him down onto his knees:
"Behold the image of Quexecostal. All must kneel to him."Milo shouts as the statue's eyes begin to grow red:
"What the hell is this?"
Ben shouts:
"Bend, bend to the will of Quexecostal" Milo and the others chant as a red light shoots out from the creature's eyes and onto Ben's head. Ben screams as the lifeforce within him is consumed by the light.

As the light consumes Ben, the door flies open and a shocked Chiara bursts in:
"What the hell....."
Shocked by what her friends are doing to Ben she feistily grabs him , dragging him out of the light, while karate kicking Milo and the others. She knocks Milo into the wall and gives him a rabbit punch while the light retracts into the statue. Ben is dazed and semi-conscious but alive. However an image forms and materialises in the room. It is of a bird like creature standing on two legs with an elongated, hideous face:
"I am Quexecostal, last of the Quallufax. Long ago after the Andromeda wars I took refuge in this statue to hide on this primitive planet from out victorious enemies the Hex. Now I have consumed enough cellular energy to return. My disciples have brought me many creatures to consume. "
Chiara is shocked:
"H... How? They would be missed."
A dazed Milo laughs:
"We used mostly renters we picked up in London. Lots of young men disappear in London every year. Of course our Master leaves no bodies to find."
Quexecostal flexes its wings:
"Soon I will control the minds of all humanoids on this planet and enslave them."
Light beams emenate from the creature's eyes and hit Chiara , however she just manages to lob a tablelamp at the gold statue. It knocks its head off and Quexecostal screams.
"No no. Transference not complete."
The creature has not fully transfered from the statue and breaking it in this transitory stage destroys Quexecostal and sends his atoms into the ether in a hazy swirl. Milo and his friends scream as they are released from the creature's mind grip.

A few days later they are all sitting in the Mermaid Wine Bar enjoying a drink and a chat.
"Its lucky you dropped your mobile in the club after we exchanged numbers or I'd never have followed you to Milo's place" Chiara tells Ben.Ben smiles:
"Yes, you certainly saved the day for all of us Chiara, though I don't usually appreciate being followed to my pull's place by women. How did you learn karate moves like that, it must be hard for a girl?"
"Oh I did martial arts classes when younger."
"Well you picked it up surprisingly well" Ben adds.
"You guys are so funny"
Chiara laughs.

Ben, Milo and the others all propose a toast to Chiara and they all clink glasses.
"Heres to Chiara" they say in unison.


Sunday, 16 September 2007

I have been challenged.....

To write a Ben Chatham story with a new female character in it. As if my previous female characters are awful or something. What a cheek- who does this person think he is?

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

The 'Key to Time Season' DVD

I'm really looking forward to this release. A bit pricey though.