Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Deathly Peril At The Volcano’s Edge - Chapter 1

Editor's Note:- As has been extensively documented in these pages, my ancestor, Squire Kirk The Elder, was a figure of some note (or rather notoriety) who left behind extensive writings on his life and views. He wasn't, however, the only twig on the family shrub to have left an impression. Largely forgotten now but a minor sensation in his day, my American ancestor and preternaturally powered world adventurer, "Doc" Kirk (commonly known as "the Man Of Copper") has had much written about him over the years – largely spurious accounts, if truth be told. Recently, a large number of his own writings were found, locked in a steamer trunk along with some of his personal possessions, and have been added to the ever-expanding Greater Kirkian Archive. We now present a selection of his memoirs for your reading pleasure.

Chapter 1 – Peril Comes A-Calling

It had been a period of reflective quietude at magnificent Kirk Towers. I'd spent some time recuperating after my last adventure* and was engaged in teaching my ward, Little Jimmy, the manly art of Peruvian Chess. It's much like regular chess - the main difference being that the loser gets pelted with deadly blowdarts. I was just about to deliver check and mate and was reaching for my blowpipe when the telematronic machine began to chatter.

It was an incoming telematamessage from my bosom chum, Hartley "The Perfesser" Carr. He had in turn received a similar telematamessage from Chief N'Dego of the little known island of Klaatu Baradanikto, an island that my father had long acted as protector for**. My father had seen to it that many of the modern luxuries we enjoyed were freely available on the island.

The Chief's stricken message told of a terrible curse that had befallen the island. The volcano at the island's very center had recently begun to issue forth weird, unearthly noises. At around the same time, young maidens from the communities at the base of the volcano began to disappear. Despite my father's attempts to bring an enlightened view to these ungodly heathens, they still believed that the ancient gods were angry at them for embracing civilised ways and that they had awoken and taken the girls as punishment. The Chief, however, felt that a more earthly power was behind the unexplained phenomena. The Perfesser had received the call for help from the Chief and was already en route in his hydra-pneumatic gyroscope.

My nose twitched. I smelled adventure in the air! I sniffed again. It was rather more pungent than adventure. I looked around to discover that Little Jimmy had been playing with the blowpipe and accidentally blown a dart into his foot, soiling himself as he had slumoed into unsciousness. Fortunately, it was a non-lethal toxin, designed to wear off in a few hours. I propped him in the corner and set about readying myself for another expedition.

Once packed and ready to go, the first order of business was to ditch the little fella. I leaped into my private elevator and hurtled down to my private car pool, dynamically setting off in the Docmobile. First port of call was to the luscious Lucy Lovelady, Gal Reporter, to safely deposit the now-conscious (but still rather ripe) Little Jimmy.

"Doc, don't leave me behind. This could be just the scoop I need to finally make my name at the Daily Interest," opined Lucy.

"Oh, Lucy," I laughed, "there's danger afoot, little lady, and danger is man's work. I don't want to have to be worrying about your pretty little head."

"If only I were a big strong man like you, Doc, then I'd get all the assignments a gal could want," whined she.

"I'm glad you aren't, my sweet Lucy. You certainly wouldn't look as good in that dress!"

We laughed heartily at my witticism but, with time pressing on and excitement lurking around the corner, there was no time to waste. I was back in the Docmobile and on my way. After a brief stop to pick up my other trusted companion, the redoubtable Big John Dynamite, we arrived at my private air strip just at the Doc Plane finished refuelling. Within no time at all, we were on our way into the blue yonder and adventure was ahead. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, adventure was skipping hand in hand with peril...

* as chronicled in "Danger Wears A Pointy Hat"

** in fact, so taken was he with the locals simple ways, that he opened up the Abraham Kirk Center for Young Girls and acted as headmaster and sole teacher there for many years. He actually insisted that many of them live with him in the school so that he could offer them further private tuition after normal schooling hours. His selfless devotion to the young ladies of that island is an inspiration to us all.

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