Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Oh help! help! It is the Hooded Claw...

"I was proceeding on my duties in the vicinity of the Old Vlad Grange ruins when my attention was drawn to one Mimi Mouson (formerly Elsie Bagshaw of E14) the reknowned music hall artiste. Miss Mouson was being chained to a rock by a hooded and robed figure later identified as Grand Dark Master Zooban aka Reginald Spoke of 15 Victory Road where he lives with his Mother ('it all just started as bit of fun officer...') . A number of other suspicious characters were also in the vicinity, namely: a large armoured figure emitting whirring and clicking noises; a gentleman of middle eastern extraction who clearly should still be in hospital due to his injuries and the moans of pain: and a set of fellows I can only describe as: French. I therefore adopted standard procedure of arming myself with my notebook and declaring: 'Oi you lot, you're nicked'. At this point a fracas broke out...."

And so with these words from PC Dorkins, we start our tale of the most shocking events of recent times that led to the death of one of the great characters of our era.

In the middle of the great ruins of Vlad Grange, Mimi is chained to a rock and is the focus of an arcane ritual led by the hooded Master wielding an ancient artefact. Several supporters watch.

Besides PC Dorkins and other members of Scotland Yard, other parties wish to intervene.....

The Cult of Amun (above) are here to seize the artefact and kill the Master and his supporters on the principle that the crazy cult market is already over supplied. The French Foreign Legion Compagnie d’ Extraordinaire are here (below) because Col Croissant taken a real shine to Mimi er.. is seeking to remove the artefact from evil hands. El She-bab the Compagnie's mysterious desert scout has his own agenda: to kill as many of the Amun as possible.

Fresh off a lurking Zeppelin, the Panzerclockwerken Sturmtruppen Abteilung (below) are also here to seize the artefact for the Kaiser. Oh and killing as many Frenchmen as possible 'iz alvays a gut idea!'. They also have a bonus for killing the French professor who is a rival in robot design.

Finally (below) the boys in blue with the assistance of the Great Detective are trying to make sense of it all, rescue the girl and arrest the Master and his accomplices.

The fracas commences:

The Prussians move in at speed with their fearsome clockwork robots, their key wielding operators puffing with the effort to stay close behind, and with cover fire from a lonely jager. However in a rare logistical error the Hun has only one shot per bot from their Congreve rocket guns as  some dolt forget zem on der Zeppelin! (points adding up fail, forgot he had to pay for the grenades).

In early gun play the Bobbies just annoy the mummies while the Arc rifles of the French are just what are needed to negate the armour of the Hunbots: a clockwork man goes down in a flurry of sparks but a barrage of Congreve rocket-grenades in return kills some legionnaires and knocks down the French Professor and so incapacitates the French robot.

One grenade is clearly made by Acme of Hamburg as it corkscrews out of the gun (rolled a 1) and comes with a whisker of landing on the firer (then rolled a 2).

The French professor fails roll after pluck roll to stand up, so much so that the Prussian’s start up that well know Munich beer hall tune: “He gets knocked down und he does not get up again , we vill always keep you down, he takes a schnapps drink, he takes a lager drink…”

El She-bab makes dash and rescues Mimi, making her day: being chained to a rock and being worshipped was fun while it lasted, but being whisked off her feet by the suave Arabian Prince is one story to tell the chorus girls.

The civilian cult supporters scatter at random at the sound of firing/lightning bolts/Germanic singing. One is mercilessly gunned down by the French, two conveniently run towards the Police. The fourth flourish his warrant card from his pocket and reveals himself to be Atkins of Special Branch on undercover duties: he steps forth to clap handcuffs on the hooded Master.

Two other civilians are arrested (aka beaten in a fight) by Scotland Yard’s finest, and they feel all is going well as they haul the prisoners back to the Station. Only the girl needs rescuing from the clutches of the dastardly French and so Benedict Sherly and Doc are dispatched to deal with that.

Their task is made considerably easier when the sniping Jager fells El She-bab leaving Mimi in a dead faint on the ground. More exchanges leave the French severely depleted but the Hun are equally suffering, down to one automaton with the mechanic/operators busily trying to fix the rest to the sound of Hamburgian cursing and springs going ‘boing’. The situation is made worse as Sergeant Baguette, trusty rifle in hand (none of this arc new fangled nonsense for him), takes out the Prussian colonel and the Jager.