The Thargoid and Fer-de-Lance

"Whatever you say, 'boss'..." Jenner said, giving Rollo a wink and turning off the screen.

She sat back in her chair, which squeaked in protest. Rubbing her temples helped alleviate the still throbbing headache.

'Maybe you're right.... ' she mused.
Meanwhile in the corridor, Mark , Amber and Richard were confronted by a group of rogue security droids. They appeared to be staggering around in a confused state as if they were looking for something. As the droids closed in on the group Richard protested fearfully ' They're getting so close, aren't either of you two going to do anything?'

'Stay calm, we'll be okay' hissed Amber.

Just as it seemed that an attack from the droids was inevitable, they started to smoke and spark before collapsing in a heap of jumbled parts.

'What happened? I thought they were going to get us for sure' Richard asked plaintively.

'Frankly it looks like they were hit with a thermal spike' Mark replied .

'A thermal what?'

'It's a way of quickly getting something very hot then rapidly cold again. The sudden expansion and contraction often breaks systems. Not many people use it now as it isn't that reliable.' Amber explained.

'You know it's a strange coincidence that the last time we saw someone use a thermal spike is linked to the reason we knew that answers to the quiz in the bar.' Mark said deep in thought.

'Care to explain?' Richard asked.

'It was during a mission to find a criminal gang. We had been sent undercover as high rollers in a poker contest at the Fantasies Hotel. We had a lot of spare time and there was a exhibition of early 21st century culture from the Torontonian Institute. That's where we saw the animated feature and also got into the music...' Amber started to reply.

'But wouldn't that be an issue for law enforcement and not the military?' Richard interjected.

'Usually yes, but there was some cross over and potential links to terrorists. We knew that the gang had been involved in a bullion heist, the theft of an arms shipment and the kidnapping of a female under 17 hockey team.' Mark replied.

'So how did things pan out?'

'The mission was a washout for us. One of the other agencies had better leads, and we were unlucky in the poker tournament. But then again it was fun. We even thought one of the characters in the animation looked a little like Amber'

'I guess I shouldn't complain as Samantha was the smartest of the them. Talking of people resembling characters from that animation I'd say that Jenner looks a little bit like the character Clover'
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A stranger appears and says 'I thought this was a bar?'
The group pauses for a moment before Mark answers ' You need to go down the corridor a bit and take the next left, halfway down that corridor you'll see the entrance on the right. You can't miss it. The people in there can be a bit odd at times, but Sven should be able to fix you a drink'

So you lot still haven't worked it out yet despite me giving tonnes of clues. You've been tantalisingly close to the answer but seem to have gone off track. It really is simple (I know it's easy for me to say) I'm reminded of this scene from LoTR [video=youtube;DgHCM68KkPY][/video]
I'll give you one thing for free, the answer isn't 10cc Perhaps the band in question is a little obscure. Apparently they're huge in Canada, but the particular song I'm after has been used in several video games; Fifa 10, Teat Drive Unlimited 2 and APB: Reloaded to name three. It also features in the film Zombieland as well the animated feature I'm looking for.

In my last post you might say that the security droids are a metaphor for you lot searching for the answer, the thermal spike could indicate something too;). Somewhere in there you'll find the album name and a clue to the song title. Heck, I've even given you the names of two of the main characters in the animation, though in the cartoon series Samantha is more commonly referred to as Sam or Sammy. You really do have more than enough clues to get this.

As the stranger headed off towards the bar another figure appeared from the shadows carrying a thermal spike. Mark and Amber recognised her instantly. It was their old friend Solveig Klu.

'I thought you needed a little help' she said with a grin.

'Yeah, thanks for that, Sol. We probably could have handled them, but it might have got a bit messy' replied Amber.

'Who's your friend?' Sol inquired.

'That's my brother, I guess you haven't met Rick?' Mark answered.

'I thought you told me that he was dead?' Solveig replied in a bemused manner.

'It's a long story.' Richard replied
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"Frank! Where the hell are you!"

The Old Codger could hear the sound of a Thargoid fight in the background of the comms. But it had suddenly dawned on him...

Totally Spies: The Movie, "Gold Guns Girls" by Metric

All Frank could think about was that free cocktail sitting on the bar of the Thargoid & Fer-de-Lance, and how someone else was going to enjoy it.

He cursed under his breath and engaged the drive of his Asp.
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A sort of shimmering appeared in the nothingness at a distance of about two kilometres from Barnard´s station. The shimmering changed into a glow, a scintillating pattern of lights. From the middle of it, an unusual ship appeared to grow. As the ship grew, the surrounding light dimmed, until the long, narrow ship matched the length of the now very faint elliptical glow.
As the ship turned to point towards the station, the glow disappeared entirely.
The ship approached the station, lining up with the entrance.
Apparently, ship to station communications took place. The ship approached rapidly, entered without incident and came softly to rest on pad 21.
A hatch opened, the pilot stepped out of the ship.

The pilot ran a hand through the long, straight falls of white hair while looking around, acclimatising itself, then nodded to itself and headed off towards the open public areas.

Several minutes later, the doors to the Thargoid & FerdeLance swung open and the pilot of the strange ship entered the bar. It was unusually dark in the room as the pilot walked over to the bar...
A lone ship drifts silently through the emptiness, making it's way to the docking port. It's pitch black hull blends nearly seamlessly with the darkness of the void; Only the dull white hues of it's engine trail and occasional flash of it's nav lights betray it's presence. Stars wink into the darkness, emerging a blink later as the ship slowly passes by, silently, effortlessly like a predator in a deep, desolate ocean. Finally, the ship begins to pass through the opening in the Coriolis type station, the interior lights revealing a Gunship bearing a lone sigil of a skull, a broken butterfly adorned upon it's head with one wing shattered in two. Scars line the hull, painting it with slashes and burns though the ship bears them well, like marks of honor on a wounded soldier. On the side, in torn grey letters almost indistinguishable from the ships colors is a name, "The Lagoon".

Slowly, gently, the ship makes it's way to the pad designated for it, one in a nice, silent edge of the hangar. The ship looms closer, ominous and dark, intimidating in it's black, bullet riddled hull. The ship begins to make a gentle descent towards the landing pad, the act made seemingly effortless as would distinguish any elite pilot. The landing gears extended, the ship is merely a few meters from touching the pad when suddenly a loud pop, then a bang rang out. "Awe, SON OF A-...!!".

The port landing thrusters suddenly give out, half the ship dropping like a lead brick, slamming into the docking pad with an ear shattering screech of grinding metal as the ship slides. Immediately, the remaining thrusters are cut, and the ship rocks, the remaining gears crashing onto the pad with a loud, resonating metallic thud. "Landing successful. Engines disengaged." the computer informs as the pads magnetic guides draw the ship back towards the middle.

"Yeah, right... If that's what you wanna call it. Hunk of junk..." Crystles growled as she stood from the commanders chair, giving it a kick as she made towards the rearward hatch. The ramp began to lower, and the tall woman began walking out onto it not waiting for it to fully land before she hopped down. A crowd of passer by's stared at the ship and the pilots awkward landing performance, though a dark scowl thrown in their direction had them moving on quickly enough.

A pad maintenance technician began to approach, the man glancing at the rough strewn marks and gouges left behind by the rough landing. "Well... I've seen worse. Nothing the landing fees dont account for." he said idly before looking towards the tall, red headed woman. Her eyes were dark and dangerous as she gazed about, the eyes of some one who has seen, and participated in, more than their fair share of combat and atrocities. Glints of metal could be seen from under the black leather jacket she wore, one sleeve missing revealing an arm with a scrolling tattoo from shoulder to bicep hiding a faint, almost invisible scar that ran the full radius of her arm. The worn young woman glanced back up at her ship and it's many scars, sparks arcing from the failed thrusters before they gave another pop, a plume of smoke billowing from one marking it's demise. Crystles let out a dejected sign before turning to the technician. "Whatever... I need it fixed, refueled and rearmed. I'll be staying for a short while, but I prefer it done sooner than later." she'd say, her voice rough and gravely. Without waiting for a reply, the female began walking away, pulling a pack of cigarettes from a pocket, taking one and beginning to light it.

"W-wait, ma'am! Theres no-" the tech started before being cut off. "Send whatever bill to registration PD-00X..." Cry called back with out looking, she ignoring him knowing full well, and not caring about the no smoking policy in the landing bay. The woman was in a foul mood, her ragged ship evidence of a less than shining week of hunting, but she knew the one thing that would fix that. Cry took a long, deep pull of that cigarette as she continued on, making her way to the one place she was most familiar with, the Thargoid and Fer-de-Lance.
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Quimby gave a contented sigh ,and dabbed at his eyes before the lights came up,though whether at tears of laughter or sorrow would be anyone's guess.He signaled Sven for another round,then idly scanned the crowded room,noting faces old and new.The reception had been excellent and he allowed himself to be enveloped in the sussurus of stimulated connversation provoked by the entertainment.For one hour a week he allowed himself to lose himself within himself almost totally,emerging refreshed and fully charged to tackle the week ahead.
The svenbot steering his refill towards him paused briefly,allowing the angry looking woman to squeeze into the booth beside him.
'Crowded tonight.Do you mind?'
She blew a cloud of smoke into the bots faceplate as she ordered her drink.
Quimby glanced sideways at her,not entirely convinced of her sincereity.
'I'm afraid you've missed the first half.'
'The place has changed.Is it under new management?Entertainment used to be a jukebox in the corner and a grumpy old man propping up one end of the bar.Where is he,by the way.I thought he was a fixture?'
'The way i heard it,that old man somehow got bitten by a spider and managed to drop a spanner in the jukebox Then he went on the lam.Well,what with the emergency and all,amnesty was declared and rumour has it he's off fighting thargs down below.And of course,increased traffic means that R'n'R becomes more important,morale and such like.Hence the makeover.'
He indicated the teeminng throng of commanders.'For some,this is their last stop before oblivion.'
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The bar is busy tonight. An old man enters, hobbles over to a to the bar and rubs his shoulder while he patiently waits for enough space to sit down on a stool at the bar. He can't see his velcro-covered stool anywhere.

It's not Sven behind the bar. He says to the bot "Where's Sven?"

Even without any facial features, the bot manages to look disdainfully at Frank. "I guess you'll be wanting your usual. Janx?"

Frank responded with a nod. He sat on a stool and checked his watch to see if the bar had logged him in. He glowered at the bot. "You know you'll never be as good a barman as a real human being."

The bot didn't dignify that comment with a response. It slammed a glass of Janx in front of Frank with a derisive snort before attending to some other customers.

The Lone Gunman

Deadly, But very fluffy...
The crouching figure behind the bar could only just muffle his laugh, Frank turned away his eyes rolling on how the bar had gone downhill lately, the figure held one hand over his mouth and used the other to control the bot doing his bidding.

Agent Illu wondered if Franks taste buds had deteriorated some what since Illu had been away, the glass of Jinx instead of Janx which the bot had given Frank would either show the old miner that Imperial Jinx was the Superior beer, or on the other hand, and more then likely ...Frank would know the difference and just trash the bar, and probably the bot to!

Illu hoped Sven who at this precise moment was jam locked in the toilet cubical, was fairing well, Illu kinda regretted that it had only just been vacated by Agent P as the bot shoved the unsuspecting Sven in as he was taking a leek.
The obnoxious smell A.P produced was usually funneled by the powerful air suction unit above the cubical and funneled straight to Franks and A.Ps craft which ran on dubious concoctions of bodily fluids and odors to power the engines. However on needing pieces to make the bot some things had to be sacrificed, the unit was one of them, Illu hoped Sven could hold his breath well!

"Hmm what to do with the bot now" though the Imperial agent, he wondered if the lovely princess was still aboard the station "more then likely still working for that corporate slime ball Rollo and working on his smuggling ships" he thought, "maybe i will have some fun down there" his lips curled into a wicked smiled.
Frank watched the moronic bot slap the drink on the bar in front of him. He knew instantly it wasn't Janx. Both Jinx and Janx are a murky brown colour, but Jinx has a more bluish-brown tint than Janx. The smell was a give-away as well. Jinx has a more hoppy smell than Janx.

But the biggest way to tell the difference between the two is that Jinx is a beer that has a head, while Janx is a spirit.

The old codger held the drink in his hands. He should tell the bot to replace it with the right drink, but he has a drink in his hand right now. Changing it might take minutes! He decided to compromise; drink half of it and then complain to the bot.

Frank lifted the glass to his lips and tipped it upwards. Within a few gulps the glass was empty and any evidence of wrongdoing gone.

As the warmth of the beer spread in his chest he didn't seem too bothered about his mistake. He started to sing a little ditty.

"Oh don't give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit
No, don't you give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit
For my head will fly, my tongue will lie, my eyes will fry and I may die
Won't you pour me one more of that sinful Old Janx Spirit"
The bar seemed quieter than she remembered it. Dirtier, too, if that were even possible.

<sniff> And what was that *smell*?

The door to the Bar swung open with a groan, reminding Jenner of old Western holovids when the bad guy would saunter into the saloon and challenge the lawman to a duel. She chuckled inwardly.... was she the 'bad guy'? She was working for Rollo full time since her banishment so the answer to that question was fairly self-evident. She strode over to the bar and took a seat. She glanced at the man sitting next to her, then did a double take.

"....Well if it isn't Illu!" she said, a wide grin slowly covering her face. "I haven't seen you in so many moons. How the heck are you?"

The bot trundled over to her. "Exioce Starshine. Neat", she ordered over her shoulder, still fixed on her old friend who she had had so many adventures with and hadn't spoken to in ages.


She rolled her eyes. "Just give me whatever Frank is pretending he doesn't like you stupid machine."
I appreiciate the sentiment...

But I'm wanted in too many systems to set foot in any licensed establishments, that would unfortunatly result in jail time for both myself, and the owner of said establishment.

However I can provide buisiness in the form of supply, off the books of course, and running in a dead drop setup of course.
An email dropped into the AI system of the Thargoid & Fer-De-Lance bar. It was first passed to the sorting algorithm to see if it was SPAM, a bill to be paid, a job application, or something else. This was something else.

The sorting algorithm passed this "business opportunity" to one of the higher functions of its electronic systems. The deal seemed as though it could be quite lucrative. The cogs whirred in the soulless calculating machine as it assembled together a reply

"Dear Mr Turnip

I'm afraid you have caught us at quite a bad time. The owner of the bar, Garthyre is away on extended leave exploring the galaxy. Her manager, Sven, is a little tied up at the moment. I am the automated email reply program, and I hope we can come to some mutually beneficial arrangement.

We are currently experiencing problems sourcing Lavian Brandy. If you were able to supply us with this commodity could you please tell us your best price, and the quantity you could offer us. Be aware of the legality of this deal. I shall be factoring in the probability of our discovery, and the penalties that would incur, as to whether I wish to do business with you.

We have a nearby ring system we can use as a drop off point, but tell us if you need a more private location.

Could you also please furnish us with a pricelist of any other commodities you could obtain? The more profit we can make with each transaction, the more worthwhile the risks of dealing with the authorities."

The bot finished polishing some glasses then looked around the bar. Frank was still sitting on a stool by the bar, nursing a Janx. The bot trundled over to him. "Frank! Your a miner aren't you? I bet you that mining ship of yours has got a big hold? Do you ever do any mining over at Barnard's Star 5? It's just that I have a package that needs picked up there, and a miner in a mining craft doing a bit of mining in a mining ring might just be the sort of cover that won't arouse too much suspicion."
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The Thargoid & Fer-De-Lance might not be as active and chaotic as it once was, but it still has its moments. There are still customers who wake up in a stupor and ask themselves "Where is this?"
A slight rumble emanated from the ventilation shaft above the bar swiftly followed by a loud crash as Gir fell heavily onto the bar crashing through the vent hatch, pushing herself up off her chest coughing she quickly glanced around

"oh a few familiar faces" She beamed with a face covered with dirt, oil and a little blood from the few small cuts she had received when a sound from the stool she was currently in front of drew her attention.

The colour quickly drained from her as a terrified look crept onto her face as she was now eye to eye with Frank, who is normally an OK guy to talk time away with in the bar, but on this occasion Gir had done the one thing all the regulars of the bar knew never to do or attempt the ultimate taboo she had knocked Franks drink out of his hand. His face was a mixture of sorrow and fury as the old miner slowly took to his feet.

Her eyes darted quickly amongst those she knew, Illu had seemingly disappeared and Jenner strangely enough would not make eye contact almost trying to look as tho she had not even noticed Gir's catastrophic entrance, accepting no help would be found she slowly turned to face Frank once more.

Gulping she timidly mouthed a few words "Sorry Frank...."
Frank stood over the spilled drink, staring down at it like a mourner standing over a grave. It was a long while before he said anything. "People gotta take responsibility for their actions. Seems to me when someone's crawling through ventilation ducting they know they doing something stupid, and that there's... consequences"

He glanced up at Gir to see if she was listening before his attention returned to the spilt drink. He was controlling the rage in his voice. "Course I'm expecting a replacement drink. But the neighbourly thing to do would be two drinks fer...", Frank choked back a sob, "... emotional distress."
A few moments passed as Gir sat there on the bar like a small child being scolded by an adult staring blankly up at Frank, which felt somewhat strange given Franks physique, till she suddenly snapped back into the situation. Nodding frantically she slipped off the top behind the bar and starting rummaging pausing only momentarily to kick some annoying clanking robot which had started protesting and attempting to stop her leaving a distinct boot shaped dent in it, she then started placing bottles onto the bar into of Frank like some sort of production line, finally stopping when there where about 13 bottles of various beers and spirits arranged in front of Frank including a couple of bottles of varying fullness of Janx and Jinx.

Given her profession there where few things Gir was afraid of and at one time she would have simply brushed Franks comment off and ignored the old miner but after the first time she did what felt life a lifetime ago she knew better, he wasn't some master martial artist or a skilled fighter but she still had teeth marks from the last time so a mental note that time was made 'its always better to keep on Franks good side'

Hopping back over the bar Gir sort of ushered Franks back to his stool like a waitress "Sorry again, we good now Frank?"
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The old miner hadn't responded to Gir when she first asked the question. The task at hand was filling and emptying glasses.

Eventually Frank slowed down and then stopped completely. Gir repeated her question "Are we good now?". She gave him a little nudge to try to elicit a response.

Frank's face came crashing down onto the bar.
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