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The Trials of Sir Peter de Gee

(The Almighty's View)

Twas on a windy November evening that the vaunted Sir Peter embarked on his most perilous mission yet for the Royal Geographic Society. His goal - nothing less than the discovery of the whereabouts of the famed (but lost) missionary, Dr. Goliath Dedpebble. Along the way his aim was to explore some of the darkest reaches of the African jungle, perhaps his quest would even lead him to the elusive source of the mighty Wasamatta River.

Little did Sir Peter know that his aims were to be thwarted by several fellow Europeans also bent on discovery. Soon to be encountered were the expeditions of that famed, vainglorious, man-of-adventure, Sir Richard Burtonovich (Bill C); a force of do-goodys led by the near-sighted, shoot-first-from-the-hip, Carl Saltpeterson (John K); and lastly, a marauding band of Zanzibari slavers led by the nefarious bandit Mehemet Alibooboo (Kyle F). Toss in a few bands of roving pygmies led by John A and Howard G/Erik F, one really nasty tribe of locals under the lead of Paul W, and one hapless band of converts led by Kris W ; and the trail was sure to be one of sorrows. Nonetheless, Sir Peter stepped out with his usual air of casual abandon into the darkness and the unknown.

Our first hint of what was to come occurred when Sir Richard paused along the trail to scan the thickets for signs of life and/or danger and found naught but vines and palm trees. Unfortunately for him, he was all but standing on 2 groups of natives with nocked arrows and loaded trade muskets! No sooner had he turned his back to continue on the trail, when out of the tall grass came several arrows and musket balls. Thankfully for those brought down by the hail of arrows, death came quickly, for the pygmies of this part of Africa use a particularly nasty type of nerve-toxin which leaves its' victims paralyzed and in agony for days before releasing them to the arms of death! Fortunately for Sir R, he was using his porters as living shields for his askari riflemen as well as himself (not so fortunate for the poor sods, the bearers).

Sir Ricky quickly went 'round the bend (both physically and mentally) as he retreated from the gunfire. Turning a corner on the trail, he chanced upon a small village amongst the rock outcroppings lining the river's edge. Since the nastiest item the natives could be seen carrying was a bowl of taro root, the mighty hunter/hunted spared them his wrath. The native converts crossing the river in dugouts weren't quite as fortunate. With steam spouting from his ears and rage from his eyes, the fiery Burtonovich ordered his riflemen to open up on the unsuspecting rowers. Before they knew what hit them, all but one were croc-fodder. Deciding that Dr. D had slipped them some bad juju, the lone remaining paddler turned around and headed back to the far bank and the remainder of his fellows.

In a further burst of insanity, Sir Richard ordered several canoes drawn up on the banks to be holed and pushed out to sink in the danger-filled river. Then with what was to be his final breath, Sir Richard harried on his trusty askaris toward the onrushing horde of pygmy fighters! Though Burtonovich would not live to see it, this battle would rage for many an hour til The doughty Sir Peter would happen upon it with the remnant of his once-mighty force.

While this was transpiring at the river's edge, Sir Peter was having troubles of his own! Proceeding down a winding trail, he stopped to explore the grandeur before him and discovered an exceedingly unusual geologic formation amongst the thick jungle growth. But, much to his chagrin, there was more than rocks to meet the eye as the jungle erupted with the screams of a bunch of really, really, angry spearmen. Before he could react, the onrushing natives had encircled a group of his loyal porters and were proceeding to turn them into bearer-burgers. Showing the true spirit of elan for which he is known world-wide, Sir Peter lifted his shorts, tightened his brogans, and boogied on down the pike! With the screams of his porters to the rear and the sounds of gunfire to his front, Sir P was upon the horns of a dilemma go back to a sure slaughter or proceed on and hope that whoever was shooting at who was pretty well used up by the time he arrived.

Once again, hiking up his gallic nerve, Sir Peter trudged forward just in time to see the remnants of Burtonovich's troopers being rescued by the rifles of the water-borne Carl Saltpeterson. Having spent most of the time lazing down the foul-smelling river, Saltpeterson had heard the sounds of gunfire and, spotting a convenient anchorage, brought his troops to the fray. Here again, a character flaw would louse up the goings on. Displaying his penchant for shooting first and identifying the victims later, Herr Salty began letting loose on anything and everything in his path. Both enemy and friend alike fell victim to his headlong rush to battle. Only the handlebar moustache of Sir Peter saved him from falling to the fusillade as well. Recognizing that such magnificence could only be fashioned by the likes of a gentleman, Saltpeterson made sure his army gave wide sway to his fellow European.

While blazing away at the assemblage of natives and in the thrill of the hunt, Carl S (in the guise of John K) had neglected to leave anyone to guard the little steamer that had carried him this far. Not being brave or a fool, the boat captain (Charly Allnutty) decided that he hadn't been paid to wind up as some natives main course and proceeded to steam off to safer harbors leaving poor Saltpeterson to fend for himself! Which he would find no easy task for, as soon as the steamer made off, a hidden party of hungry pygmies debouched from a nearby copse of palms with dreams of fresh meat on their minds. This attack put our stalwart slaver-hunter in the jaws of a vise what with charging cannibals to his rear and a combination of angry natives and really hacked-off askaris to his front. As we last saw before the rains began to fall, this brouhaha looked to be a fight to the death for one side or the other.

The only party to have an easy go of it were the slavers of our Zanzibari zealot, Mehemet Alibooboo. They spent the duration of the event wandering to and fro gathering up villagers wherever they might. Steering well clear of any sounds of gunfire or war-cries, they survived the expedition with nary a scratch! There was much feasting upon their return to the citadel of Rocque Town.

All in all, not an auspicious beginning to his voyage of discovery for our erstwhile hero, Sir Peter de Gee. He did at least survive the encounters and by gathering up the remnants of Burtonovich's troops and combining the two sets of porters still able to go on plus shanghaiing a few villagers, he will set out once again to find Dr Dedpebble and then find his way through the daunting Enchanted Forest of the Ankylbyter Pygmies whence we should have another report from our traveling scibe, Phileas Phlogue.

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