Wednesday, July 8, 2015


A Headless Body Production
All Quiet on the Martian Front Introduction: Nell
Game: All Quiet on the Martian Front
Writer: Phil Gardocki

The Forces: "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron*, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment*, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade* is about to get a new arrival.

Scenario:  Background information on Canada's latest weapon against the Martian invaders.

The Board:Canadian Base Edmonton.

Captain Palen was enjoying his tea and pondering how Camp Edmonton's 122 acres would make a wonderful shopping area some day.  In the background sounds of the RCMP's rendition of the Lumberjack Song started up.  "Bloody hell", he thought, "How much effort would it take to learn a second tune."

He put the tea cup back on it's saucer, and noted the strange, rhythmic, concentric rings forming on the surface. 

He turned in his chair in time to see a pair of Larch trees separate, then crash to the ground, a before him was a monstrosity!  A full 80 feet tall with two luminous eyes  glowed, it ground slowly towards the tea set.  Then it stopped, a massive steam whistle let out a cry that would be heard for miles.

Captain Palen finished his tea, wiped the biscuit crumbs from his fingers, placed his hat upon his head then stood up.  
Nell, starboard forequarter.
Hands on his hips, he confronted the monster, looking upward, he squinted into the distance, "Thomkinson, is that you?" he shouted.

A small figure in the distance leaned over a rail down at Captain Palen, "Yes sir."

"What is that thing you are riding on?"  

"It's a model of a Land Ironclad, sir."

"A model?" queried Captain Palen, "What scale model?"

"One to one, sir!" came the answer.

Exasperated, Captain Palen stated, "Thomkinson,  if it is one to one scale, then it is no longer a model, but a real ironclad."

Thomkinson looked confused, but affirmed, "Yes Sir."

"Get rid of it."


"Get rid of it, we can't have that noisy thing announcing our presence to Martians."

"But sir, it weighs 8,000 tonnes!"

"I don't care, it is silly, so return it where you found it."

"Detroit?  Sir, that's 1,921 miles from here."

"I don't care, and remember you have potato peeling duty later."

There was "thwonk" followed by a collapsing Private Concorde, "Message for you sir".

Captain Palen retrieved the arrow buried into Private Concorde's chest, and unrolled the message around it.  It read, "To whoever finds this note, I have been imprisoned by my father, who wishes me to marry against my will. Please, please, please come and rescue me. I am in the tall tower of Swamp Castle."

He looked around and then pointed the arrow to one of his men, "Private Lancelot!  How many times must I tell you not to use official communications equipment to receive your cries of distress, we are running out of Private Concordes!"

"I'm getting better sir", squeaked Private Concord.

Private Lancelot stepped forward, and exchanged the roll of paper with one from his hand.  "Sorry sir, I must have gotten your message by mistake."

Captain Palen unrolled the second message and read the message.


"Yes Sir!"

"You didn't just happen to find this thing now, did you?"

"Yes I did sir, it was under a rock sir, and I thought what a useful thing to have with the 12 inch main gun, all those 5 inch guns, and the bunkers just full of coal."

"Is this?" Captain Palen looked down at the message, "The Spirit of Detroit?" He then looked up again, "Reported missing by the Yanks 6 days ago?"

"No sir, this is Nell, and I found her!"

Captain Palen took a slow stroll around the giant machine, giving it his best inspection attitude normally due a preinspection check by the General.  "I see, so you named it Nell, right after you crossed out The Spirit of Detroit, painted here on the, ah, stern?"


"Now, now Thomkinson, fess up", consoled Captain Palen.

"You got me sir.  But it was just sitting there, all shiny and new and fully loaded  and me and  three score of the boys thought this thing hasn't been tested and wouldn't it be neighborly of us to make sure everything works before giving it back."

Sergeant Idle spoke up, "Sir, it seems to me that if the Martians are so busy shooting at Nell that the rest of us might not get hurt at all."

Captain Palen seemed to ponder that point. 

At that point the Colonel showed up.

"Alright now,  we all can see that this is getting silly.  After all, this is just a cheap writeup to show off our newly painted toy (which was purchased at 30% discount) using some Monty Python dialog taken out of context, to justify how the Canadian Army would have managed to acquire one of the preeminent war machines on the planet, while demonstrating that the writer is still king of the 'run on sentence', and I'll have none of it!"

*Canada and England have different titles for their units than the Americans.  A Canadian Brigade is the equivalent of an American Regiment.   The Canadian Regiment is the equivalent of an American Battalion.  The Canadian Squadron is the equivalent of an American Company.   The Canadian Troop is the equivalent of an American Platoon.  One element could be a Section.

Nell, receiving coal from a nearby coal tower.  Three Mk II's are standing by.

The Bounders have arrived.