Liverpool 2006

We are the Batch - you will be assimilated...

Chief reporters log early May, 2006 earth time:

We set out very early for the land called "pool of Liver", managing to sneak in before the natives had woken (in fact, before most of us had woken). The advance party of Commander Crowley and Lieutenant Doyle were to be waiting with the water born assault vehicles we were to be using but, unusually, we arrived earlier and had to lie low in the hideout known as "VW Golf" close to the rv, trying to blend in with the local methods of transportation.

Launching of the assault craft went incredibly smoothly despite the absence of chief antagonist (1st class) Doyle (M) (and many others including none other than the normally ever present Rocket). It seems he (Doyle (M)) had been called away to lead a separate mission in the world of Ky-Yak and had taken several key members of our usual away team with him, not to mention the absence of those suffering from the illness called 'parenthood' and the closely related 'family-life'. Nevertheless we had a welcoming seat for those returning from a bit of r'n'r in Tie-Land and other such exotic places.

Having finished his third breakfast Captain N T Evans took control - we have no helm or drummer he remarked casually as his mental arithmetic grappled with the ever changing crew weights. Were we going to need more pies to balance out the boat?

Pre-mission intelligence had suggested that we may need to bring more in the way of "core & outer all-purpose thread systems" (or COATS as we like to call them) than was usual for this time of year. At last - something they got right as every last piece of technical fabric was donned between races. This, however, was nearly our undoing and almost gave us away as many of the locals were seen sporting merely short sleeved t-shirts with barely a goose-pimple in sight. We have much to learn from these far away folk.

Our primary objective for this mission was to take on the enemy crews in a series of events called "dragon boat races" and secure first place in the "major final" which would enable us to take home the highly coveted 200m and 500m trophies. There was a much feared home team called Amathus who were amassing huge numbers of troops including sub-divisions of 'Wasps' and 'Bees' - we would have to use all available strategy and cunning to achieve our mission objectives.

The racing was as exciting off the course as on it. Who would helm?... who would drum?... which seat would we be in this time?... the permutations seemed endless. Such were the combinations that at one point we had GB Open ladies superstar Trisha on drums closely followed, a race or two later by GB mens open paddler Billy the Whizz also on the drum. Well, if you will miss training sessions you know the penalty - I, myself, was lucky not to be on coat holding duty for most of the day but it seems I am blessed with the ability to count to 20 strokes without assistance at the start of the race.
The helming duties were fulfilled (in sterling fashion, of course) at various points by none other than Commander "I think so" Crowley himself, Lieutenant Doyle (J) in fine form and first officer Bridges (with his first mate Peyton at the other end, drumming. Some say this is the furthest apart they have been in a very long time).

The 200m battles went smoothly with no major casualties. However second stoker Billy did receive minor wounding although it now seems likely that this was the result of friendly fire (or, even more likley, self inflicted).

First objective complete.

Points for the debrief:

  • We paddle much faster when Lieutenant Doyle is screaming at us.
  • A group of pretenders known as the 3 River Serpents slithered into the final displacing a most dis-chuffed Taniwhas crew in the process. Big up for them! Apparently they are in training for an even grander event codenamed CCWC in the near future, pitting themselves against crews from many galaxies.
  • Who was that person at 4 right in the above mentioned crew - there was something strangely familiar about that alien face, carefully hidden beneath the green beanie. The paddling style was unrecognizable but the voice stirred up haunting memories of previous battles.

Fortunately for us the 500m event also went, generally, to plan. Though, again, the Taniwhas drew a short straw and ended up having to do battle with Kingston in a sort of semi-semi-final, both crews within minutes of their previous encounters and both having to do their respective finals very shortly afterwards. Big thanks to Kingston for wearing down both Amathus and Thames just before the final - we love you guys.

Second objective complete.

New mission: "Assemble at the point of extraction for disembarking, loading of the assault craft and making final preparations for the voyage home."

Having safely arrived at the extraction point that same green beanied fellow re-appeared and started barking out orders like he was some kind of teaching machine. Strangely enough the whole crew seemed mesmerised enough to follow his orders and before we knew it he had hypnotised us into loading both craft onto the long distance transporter and there hardly seemed to be any of the 'colourful' language that normally accompanies such operations - weird.

Fortunately an emergency evac was not required as it soon became apparent that we were missing crucial technical documentation entitled "Securing of craft", sub-section "How to use these confounded straps". No less than six crew members became entangled (almost literally) in the intricate web of time, space and webbing resulting in an SOS call to (now returned from his mission) Doyle (M) with the secret, pre-arranged phrase "how does this *!*!*!* thing work". Things soon became much clearer as we completely disregarded the doodles of a mad-man supplied by Commander Crowley and just started again from scratch. He may well have partaken of too much of the local intoxicant just before drawing them.

Journeying back to the home territories was almost uneventful - bar one small apology to chief stoker Wilkins as first officer Bridges caused her an unneccessary detour through enemy territory when signs to interstellar route M62 suddenly disappeared resulting in a momentary loss of navigational systems. Sorry :-)

Thanks to all our numerous helms and percussionists, thanks to all the other teams and, of course, thanks to our hosts Amathus (but please provide some of your earth 'sunshine' next time).

5 races, 4 drummers, 3 helms, 2 trophies and 1 more event in the bag.
Mission accomplished!

Live long and prosper fellow followers in the path of the dragon.