Crane – Intergalactic Hero – The Voyage of Ineptitude-Episode V – The Signal

Episode 1 Bloorp and the Camouflage Door

Episode 2 Getting Ready

Episode 3 Blast Off

Episode 4 Planet Taupu

Crane stared at the 3D hologram of his father. Why on Planet Taupu was a beacon emitting a picture of him. Of all the planets in all of the Universe, Crane had landed randomly on this particular ball of rock for no other reason than getting a rest, restocking on food and hopefully gather some fuel for the Arkadia 2.

‘Where is it being transmitted from Bloorp?’

‘The signal is very weak Mr Crane. It looks like it’s source is to the north of the planet. There is some sort of interference which is disrupting the message’

‘Can you make anything out?’

‘Your father appears to be repeating something over and over again’

‘What is he saying?’

‘He is saying “to find me son, remember what I called your mother” ‘

Could it be true. Could he still be alive? Surely if Commander Higgins hadn’t killed him, his father would have contacted him during the the ten years that had passed. What did he mean “remember what I called your mother’?

‘ Ok. I’m prepared to be disappointed but if there is any chance there’s even a message from my father or some clue to what happened to him we have to find out. How long to get there?’

‘From here, even in the Arkadia, it will take us until morning.It is the other side of the planet’

‘Ok. Set the Autopilot and everyone have a rest. We might have an interesting day ahead’

Bloorp turned towards him.

‘Vorisians need no sleep. We will look after the ship Captain Crane’

As Crane and the crew headed for their beds, Bloorp, Exar and Red Urzu Bird stared out onto Planet Taupu. Bloorp knew some of what was ahead of them, but even he could not determine exactly what would happen, in what order, or whether it would all end up well. What he did know though, there was great danger…..!


Crane thought he was dreaming. He had been thrown from his bed, and lay on the floor wrestling with his duvet as if it was his worst enemy. Unfortunately, he was actually lying on the floor, wrestling with his duvet, as if it was his worst enemy. As he came to, he realised he wasn’t dreaming. Lights were flashing, sirens were wailing, even the duvet was shaking. He waved his hand to open the door and ran towards the hub…………

He entered the Contro Hub to find lights flashing, sirens wailing but no duvets to fight with.

‘What’s going on?!!’

As usual, it was his Vorisian guests who were calmest of all, oh and Mrs Tompkins, who appeared to be making a fresh pot of tea.

‘We appear to have company Captain Crane’ said an extremely calm Bloorp.

On the giant screen 20 metres away a large triangle appeared to be spinning through the sky ahead of them.

‘I hope you’re going to tell me it’s not as big as it looks and all those sticky out things are not weapons of mass destruction’

Bloorp turned towards him and his normal face appeared in his circular window, the equivalent of a human head.

‘It is indeed 50 times larger than Arkadia 2 and the ‘sticky out’ things as you so neatly describe them are indeed hydrogen fusion weapons which will completely destroy us if used in any way shape or form’

‘So why is it not blowing us out of the sky?’

‘Because…….it cannot see us’

‘What do you mean it can’t see us? We’re not that tiny, and, it’s just about knocked us out of the sky’

‘Exar and I have managed to hide Arkadia from them using a boson shift disruptor and some complicated algebra’

‘You never cease to amaze me………wait a minute…..what’s that?’

A tiny flash of light appeared in one tiny part of the Triangular craft……..

‘It would appear a small craft has been released from the main ship and is heading to the surface’

‘Where’s it headed?’

‘Exactly the location the signal is coming from’

Oh great, thought Crane. Having landed on a random planet, having unbelievably discovered a message from his father, it couldn’t just be as simple as finding his father still alive and head home together. No, someone with the largest spaceship he’d ever seen, had sent something to the surface which would inevitably not be a soft fluffy pillow.

All of a sudden, the noises stopped. everything returned to normal.

‘The large craft has left Mr Crane and the object has landed on the surface’

‘Okay, unless anyone thinks this a bad idea, lets scan for a landing place and head to the signal beacon’

After a few grumbles everyone returned to their stations, probably knowing what was coming wasn’t going to be a walk in a lavender scented meadow.


‘ TEN miles……..!’

‘I’m afraid so Mr Crane. The nearest landing spot where we can land the Arcadia 2 is ten miles away, the rest has to be completed on foot’

‘But, they landed something a lot closer did they not?’

‘It was probably a much smaller craft Mr Crane’

‘Ok so what’s the reason we can’t land closer?’

‘100 metre tall ice spikes….and that is just for starters…….there are also large holes caused by volcanic activity with frozen ice blobs extending right across the ice field’

‘Volcanic activity-from when?’

‘Calculations show the last volcanic activity in this area was………last Wednesday’

‘Last Wednesday……….😳’

‘Yes, Mr Crane…….last Wednesday’

‘So, lets recap……we have ten miles of giant ice spikes, giant ice holes and an active volcano to cover on foot, then, probably something nasty to contend with at the other side’

‘Yes. That would be a reasonable summary Mr Crane’

‘Okay, lets land her as close as possible, and get ourselves ready to leave first thing in the morning……..’


Bloorp, Exar, Crane and nine of the crew set off at daylight with the aim of completing the ten mile walk in a few hours, reaching their destination before the suns went down……….

Within a few yards they realised the task ahead might not be straightforward . The fresh deep snowfall made even putting one foot in front of the other somewhat difficult. Add in the fact Fittipaldi swiftly fell into a 20 foot hole and had to be rescued, it was obvious the 10 mile trek might not be as simple as first thought.

Half a mile in Crane realised this trek might take for ever. Deep snow, large holes and large ice spikes reaching over 100 metres into the sky. He wondered what else might be waiting for them……..

‘I was just thinking Bloorp……you can teleport things from one place to another. So how about you teleport us all another 9 miles and save us all this nonsense?’

‘I’m afraid it’s not that simple Mr Crane…..teleporting an inert metal object is easy, producing a forcefield is easy, but quantising a human atom by atom and recreating it metres away never mind 9 miles, is quite a feat’

‘What’s the worst that could happen?’

‘Well, Mr Crane……I suppose the worst thing could happen would be teleporting only to find your insides on the outside…..’


‘Well, you did ask’

Crane decided trudging ten miles in a volcano spattered snow field with giant spikes and deep snow, was more appealing than being turned inside out.


The Grek smelt food and lots of it. He licked his lips and callowed the others. The ability to leap from spike to spike, withstand -24 deg c and have razor sharp claws, gave the Grak a slight advantage in this inhospitable environment. The frozen lake in the centre of the snowfield was their normal feeding area with Terrin fish being easy to catch and plentiful. But, he could smell something he’d not smelt for many years, flesh…….the pack closed in on the unsuspecting crew of the Arcadia 2……


The crew trudged on through the snow and ice. Exar was able to warn of large hidden holes under the snow, but, having to walk round the large ice spikes was turning 10 miles into 20. After a few hours it became obvious they were not going to complete the journey before dark………

‘I suppose we can dig some holes into the snow and camp overnight…..will be cold, but I can’t see any other way…’

As Fittipaldi plodded around another huge ice spike, he became the first human ever, to stare a Grek directly in the face. This was a big mistake. Mainly due to the fact Grek’s hypnotised their victims before doing bad things to them with their fangs, claws and incisors. Fittipaldi found himself lost in the eyes of his new friend. He could see fluffy things, clouds and a warm fire, whereas, the Grek could see his first non fishy meal for many months. The Grek slithered down the ice holding the gaze of his new found victim. It had the advantage of having four eyes, so doubling the hypnotising power of a bi-eyed Grek………………….

‘There is electromagnetic interference Mr Crane but I’m picking up lifeforms…..’


‘All around us Mr Crane…….can’t tell exactly how many…..but, if I had to guess….there are 14 of them’

Fittipaldi wanted to cuddle his new friend. He was just about to kiss it when suddenly it wasn’t their anymore.

‘Fittipaldi…..for god sake, what were you doing?’

Prost stood over him.

‘What happened? Where did he go’

‘Vaporised… let’s go. There are more of his pals nearby’

The crew of the Arkadia 2 gathered in a circle ⭕️ energy blasters pointing outwards. They could hear snarling, scraping, scratching and no degree of slurping.

‘Do you hear them slurping…….that’s not right……..that’s definitely not right…’

‘What a way to go, stuck in a frozen wilderness, eaten by alien hypnotists’

‘Keep quiet Moss, we are not going to die. Bloorp, how many of them do you think there are?’

‘As i said Mr Crane, the radiation is interfering with my ability to detect them but I would say upwards of one hundred…’

‘Hmmmm, the energy blasters take 5 seconds to recharge and we have 12 of them. As long as they don’t all arrive at once…………..’

The falling snow cleared for a second…….unfortunately this allowed the crew to see the Greks, lots of them, lots and lots of them…….and even more unfortunately, the Greks to look the crew in the eyes. One by one energy blasters fell to the ground’

‘Don’t look them in the eyes you idiots…..’

Cranes words fell on deaf ears and hypnotised eyes. The nine crew members had fought bravely for approximately 3.276 femtoseconds before capitulating in the softest way since the Dorgs at The Battle of Fafflemount *

* The Battle of Fafflemount was famous for the fact the Dorgs had a passion for cakes. 10,000 of their troops had gathered to fight the Chensas on a cold Monday morning. However, distracted by the largest Eccles cake ever baked, they were decimated within an hour, indirectly by the baking women of Chensa.

The Greks closed in just as Crane realised that diverting your eyes to avoid being hypnotised, made shooting the blighters pretty difficult.

‘Any ideas Bloorp?’

Bloorp was just about to say ‘No’, when the first ball of molten rock fell.

Expletives erupted from Cranes vocal chords and, if Bloorp had known what an expletive was, I’m sure he would have used them.


Another molten ball from hell landed 10 metres away.


Ice and snow went everywhere……

Crane, Bloorp and the crew basically ran haphazardly away from the balls of molten lava. No plan, no organisation, no to do list, no nothing, just legs, lungs, or in the case of Exar, a float across the ice.

Greks were obviously even more scared than humans regarding molten balls of lava, as they had scarpered.

When the team stopped running all was quiet.

Bloorp stepped forward……

‘I’m not sure why but the interference is weak here. 8 have a temporary solution to help our voyage’

Suddenly a dome of light appeared with a metal door inside it.

‘What is it Bloorp?’

‘Refuge Mr Crane……refuge…..follow me’

Crane and the crew followed Bloorp, whilst looking upwards for molten lava balls and behind for slurping, fanged Greks.

Fittipaldi, Moss, Hamilton and Senna stared at the table. Bacon butties 🥪, mince rounds, sausage rolls and cakes filled the room. Beer and Vorisian wine 🍷 filled the back of the room.


‘The interference dropped sufficiently to allow me to create this space and the protective dome around us. We are safe for now and have food for 3 days’

‘ But, How can you create something from nothing?’

‘I am only able to transfer materials from Arcadia when the electromagnetic field allows. The lava balls saved us or we might not be here’

The crew couldn’t believe their luck. From being at deaths door to beer and pies, things had taken a turn for the better. This was good. What lay ahead was much less fun.

Crane Intergalactic Hero – The Voyage Of Ineptitude – Episode V – ‘The Signal’ was brought to you by ©️DodoProductions and @qosfc1919 David Linden on Twitter email


#TeamTartan Christmas Special Part 1 – ‘The Banana Skins’

It‘s a while since i‘ve written a #TeamTartan story (Thank goodness i hear you say  😀 ) In fact it‘s quite a while since I‘ve written anything ( ok ok …..i know…….and the worlds a better place for it 😁 ) but I couldn’t let 2017 end without one.

#TeamTartan are of course……

@StokerDean Dean builds things, photographs things and has just generally missed half the point of twitter turning up several days after the event 😄

@Mark_Leggat Mark scribbles on walls in his house, has a fetish for pencils and somehow ends up with a published novel or two.

@FewArePict (Debs) been known to play wheelchair rugby for Scotland, never off the telly (Question Time, Eggheads….) known to like a Mojito or three.

@YoorWullie (Lyndsay) loves flying in helicopters to oil rigs to fix Windows 10 problems, old photos of Scotland and Arbroath smokies.

@thehistorytwins (FT) political cartoon writer, history fiend and lover of Bullseye 😀

@GigiCorp (Gigi) owns most things, runs gambling dens and has people who can ‘sort things’

@monotonous65 (Bawb) father of Francesca and Gigi – writer of cutting tweets, Scottish beer and haggis lover

I could write other things about the above but lawyers would get involved……. 😁


The White House

Knock knock knock

‘What is it!!! ?’

‘Sorry Mr President…..I thought this couldnt wait’

‘I’ve told you never to disturb be when I’m Skyping!’

‘Well…’s just that you’ve just been nominated in the top 3 men who’ve pissed off the entire world’

‘Excuse me… 3!!! Why the hell am I not top!’

‘Well, Mr President, despite you building a wall on the Mexican border, a dome over Australia, liking Nigel Farage and pouting excruciatingly we’ve found one person on Earth 🌏 who you’ve not annoyed yet’

‘IMPOSSIBLE! I’ve done everything I possibly could to annoy every little person on this damn globe and you’re telling me there’s still someone out there???’

‘I’m afraid so Mr President……’

‘RIGHT…..I’m sorry Vlad, I need to cut this Skype session short… long as it’s just Latvia….then ok, but no Lithuania or I’ll ban your personal chef from entering Senegal…..ok!’


‘Believe me, that award is so mine……..I’m not here to be liked. I’m here to win tremendously…..even if I have to take everyone with me. Who’s this fly I need to swat?’

‘It’s a guy called Dave from Scotland…..he seems to have ‘ignored the fact you exist’ ‘

‘Ignore me…..IGNORE ME…….NO ONE IGNORES ME! Not only am I going to make America great again….I’m going to make sure this ‘Dave’ remembers me BIG time…… one ignores Donald Slump…….No One…..get me wotsername on the Skypemobility thing……NOW!’


Meanwhile in Edinburgh……..

Leggat lay in the dark, unable to sleep. He’d just finished his 18th novel ‘Murder on the Tram’ and was thinking about his next storyline, tentatively entitled ‘Damnation in Dumfries’, which would bring together a cross between the Bourne Identity, Bond and a bit of Bollywood, to the sleepy rural town of Dumfries, where sheep rustling was not only rife, it was ‘out of control’.

He heard the click. One eye opened and clocked the clock. 1:32am…… he reached underneath his pillow……where was it…….Christ…….where was it……another click and a squeak…….the bedroom door was opening………drops of sweat 💦 oozed from his pores. Leggat knew the score, he knew the story…..he knew a hit when it was on…….another click…….suddenly he found it….a Glock G43…..his fingers curled round it’s smooth barrel……another click…….he felt something at the bottom of the bed…….this was it…… chance…….one opportunity….in one movement he flicked the lava lamp switch……and pointed the Glock towards his killer………’

‘McWuff……McWUFF!! YOU DAFT MUTT…… scared the life out of me!!!’

McWuff, his little Scottie dog, scampered up the bed and licked Leggatt’s face, recoiling swiftly on tasting salt. He put the plastic gun back under his pillow. He knew, given the nature of his job, and the information he’d gleaned during his research for his best selling novels , he was on some bad peoples ‘hit list’. He knew a plastic Glock wasn’t going to deter every assailant, but it was better than a scotch peh……..’


Somewhere in Whitehall……………

‘I’m sorry for dragging you all here at such short notice but something’s come up….’

‘It had better be important…..I had to leave behind a whole bottle of Bolli in the Commons Bar because of this!’

‘Michael, I’m sure it’ll still be there when you return’


‘…..and where may i ask is Boris?’

‘I’m afraid Boris has upset BBC viewers…’

‘Again! What’s he done this time?’

‘He is quoted as saying ‘he’d rather watch Happy Feet 2 as the quality of dancing was better than Strictly…..’ ……nearly a million viewers have called in to complain – I don’t think he was too chuffed that a Scot won it’


‘Alright, perhaps whilst dealing with one loose cannon issue, it’ll be easier with one less loose cannon actually in the room’


Just then the door burst open……..

‘Hello chaps and gals, sorry I’m late, some buffoon left a nearly full bottle of Bolli in the Commons Bar….couldn’t let that little gal slip out of my fingers, now could I?’


‘Alright Boris, now sit down….this is serious’

‘Don’t tell me you’re starting to take Brexit seriously?’

‘Right Boris…….Enough! This is more serious than Brexit – Our future trade with America is at stake!! Apparently there is someone called Dave, lives in Scotland and is a threat to the national security. President Slump says we must find him and deal with him immediately’


‘Do we know anything about him?’

‘All we know thus far is he has a Twitter account…..’

‘Oh well, that’s enough for us to haul him in in itself……’

‘…….aaannnnnd he’s been known to go out jogging wearing Lycra….’

‘Oh Bish, bash, bosh……..that’s almost a hanging offence. You wouldn’t see me wearing stuff like that..’

*chortles round the room*

‘We need to be clever and subtle about all this……our ratings are down and we can’t afford any more cock ups…….. I’m going to call in the FB Aye…..’


then long pause…….


‘Apparently it’s the Scottish version of the FBI….an organisation so secret even I didn’t know they existed……until now’


Somewhere in the highlands of Scotland………


‘Yes Donald’

‘You know when ye told me wi were members o’ the most secretest secret secret organisation in the world…’


‘Well, ah just thoucht wi’d be a touch busier than wi are…..apart frae thoan time thoan giant Mr Whippy ran amock doon Princess Street, there’s been nothing’

‘Don’t be silly Donald. Is it not only last week we helped save Mrs McCleans cat’

‘I don’t think finding out it was not lost at all, and it wiz actually under the wummins bed, is hardly ‘saving it’ ‘’

‘Aye ok Donald, but mine the time we got called to help the Dingwall polis?’

‘Aye, but that didnae go well did it. Wi baith ended up gan doon the weir in oor waders and had to tae bi rescued by the very folk wi wur there tae help’

‘Look Donald, we’re like Ninjas, highly trained, capable of anything, just waiting for that moment when wir needed’

‘Hi mean wur like giant green ninja turtles waiting to save the world’

‘Aye Donald…..giant green turtles, that’s whit wi are……… noo let’s get back tae base…yi never know the moment the world micht need us….’


Via Crescenzio, Rome

FT and Gigi were just leaving their hotel when two stern looking men pushed past them.

‘Excuse me why don’t you….!’ FT growled.

‘Yes…..what she said’ chipped in Gigi

The men never wavered and headed on to the elevator.

FT and Gigi squeezed past the very large concierge who was staring into the hotel.

‘Did you see those jerks….got out of that Merc there and just pushed past’

‘Yes Dad, we did……can we go now….I want to see the Colliseum before it gets too busy’


‘Donald…’ll neffer believe it……we’ve got mail!!’

‘It’s probably the Council Tax folk – i telt ye tae pay it’

‘No, no Donald…..i mean ‘email’, on our FB Aye account, and it’s encrimped’


‘Aye, ye know, so that nae other bugger can read it’

‘So how are we going tae read it?’

‘We’ve got a password tae unencrimp it’

‘This is exciting Dougal….whit’s the password’

‘Ah canny remember……wiv never had an email before….I wrote it doon somewhere……if only i could remember where……gie’s a minute it’ll come back tae me……..

……….ah ken where it is…….i wrote it the 1970 Broons annual i got frae Auntie Mabel when i was wee……. it’s in the bookshelf in the hall….’


The Oval Office……..Washington DC

‘You’re telling me, that, we contact the British Government, they contact MI5, who, in turn contact the FB Aye, who send a password reset request to us stating ‘We wrote it in a 1970’s Broons Annual that Auntie Mabel gave us as a present but Donald took all the books to the Dingwall Charity jumble sale the other week and wiv lost it’ – Are these guys morons? – they’re making our FBI look actually competent!!!’

‘I’m afraid Mr President these appear to be the facts and you’re the only person who can sign off on us giving them a new password………….

…………..oh, and does that mean i can reinstate the head of our FBI?’

‘Hell no, get your ass out of here’


Somewhere in Dingwall…….

‘Anither email Dougal……!!’

‘Open it Open it……’

‘Ok….here goes…..clickety click let’s unencrimp’

‘What’s it doing Donald?’

‘Well, our ‘Sooper Fast Broadband’ isnae quite ‘sooper fast’, it’s still travelling from America’

An hour later…………

‘Make us anither cup o’ tea will ye Donald?’

‘Whit’s it up tae?’

‘87 per cent’


Near the Coliseum..Rome

FT was a lot happier now. Yesterday had turned into a disaster. By the time Bawb, her Dad, had diverted proceedings to the Highlander Pub in Vicolo de San Biagio it was too late to visit the Colliseum. At least it was near the Pantheon so it wasn’t all bad. Things went AWOL again when they returned to their hotel only to find police, police and more police 👮‍♂️ surrounding the place. They were told they couldn’t return, and their luggage was being moved to another hotel a few blocks away. Now, having had a decent nights sleep, she, Gigi and Bawb were walking towards the Coliseum.

A girl approached in high heels, tight shorts and a green t-shirt emblazoned with the name of an oil company. Wearing a fixed smile, she thrust forward a leaflet and a small stuffed polar bear in her outstretched hand…. Gigi took the bear and FT ended up with the leaflet

‘Dad…..did you see the guy on the park bench we just passed?’

‘Yeah…..he looked like crap’

‘I was thinking he look more like the guy who followed those jerks who barged into us in the hotel foyer last night’

‘I doubt it FT. If it was, he’s had a very very wild 24 hours’


‘We’re in Donald….we’re in’

‘What does it say Dougal?’

‘It says our new password is ‘YouMo_Rons’

‘Ok….let’s see what the encrimped email says….I’m excited Dougal…..!!’

5 minutes later……

‘What does it mean, ‘disrupt, annoy, if not detain and interrogate, or eliminate’ ?’

‘I don’t know Donald, but whoever this Dave is, he must be bad…..let’s go we’re packing up and heading for Dumfries’


Two days later Dave was walking towards Marks and Spencers. He saw the yellow up ahead on the pavement. As he got closer, he realised it was a pile of banana skins. There must have been at least twenty. He stepped over them and carried on.

Donald and Dougal peaked from behind the fountain, they looked at each other, and realised this was not going to be as easy as they’d thought……

The #TeamTartan Christmas Special Part 1 – ‘The Banana Skins’ was brought to you by ©️DodoProductions and @qosfc1919 2017

Mark Leggatt’s novels Names of the Dead and The London Cage published by Fledgling Press are available now at