| THE ADVENTURES OF BONNIE & GEORGE
| by Van ©2011
To see the actresses the author would cast in a Junn-Junn Wastes movie,
follow the link below,
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Honorable George Congreve, youngest daughter of the Earl of
Hugo, was a damsel in distress. Truth be told, her actual
forename was Georgetta, George being one of those "nicknames"
that were all the rage with the younger set these days, and she
wasn't in distress as much as dishabille. However,
distress was decidedly eminent.
Shockingly, George's parasol had been confiscated, as well as her hat, dress,
bustle, stockings and boots! This left her in camisole,
knickers, and corset, a shameful
state of undress appropriate only for her boudoir or the
changing room of any public bath or gymnasium of which she might
be a member or guest, and for the eyes of her maid or the female
attendants of the aforementioned establishments, and certainly not for the
gloating gaze of a somewhat elderly gentlemen not even of her
formal acquaintance—if one could call a blackguard who abducted
young ladies off the street and stripped and restrained them in
such a disgraceful manner a gentleman.
George was seated on a comfortable, overstuffed chair with her
arms raised, pulled back, and lashed behind the chair
back. Her legs were spread about a foot apart and her
ankles locked in heavy wooden stocks. The openings were
tight but well-padded and she found the rather medieval
apparatus to be solid and immovable. And speaking of
apparatus, complex, spring-driven, clockwork machines bristling
with quills were positioned near her bare feet and exposed
"I've told you, Professor," George huffed, "if you are a Professor, I have
nothing to say."
"And I've told you,
Miss Congreve," the Professor responded, "you are going to
divulge the primary and secondary gear ratios of the gyroscopic
attitude tracking governor of Miss Plantuckett's new
"So you can steal our design?" George huffed. "It will do
you no good to simply replicate the gear ratios. Half of
the individual components of the transfer assembly are
eccentric, many are slip-gears, and more than a few are
both. I will tell you nothing more."
"Ah, but you will," the Professor chuckled, then threw a switch
and activated the plumed machines. Brass gears turned,
flywheels spun, and the feathers began to individually twirl and
flutter. "And I assure you, I am a Professor, as well as a scientist and
engineer. I will not divulge my name or the institution at
which I conduct my research, for obvious reasons.
George pulled on her
bonds and eyed the feathers with dread. Slowly—ever so
slowly—they were approaching her soles, toes, and freshly shaved
armpits. "You're a Slick Git, is what you are," she muttered.
"Miss Congreve!" the Professor gasped. "That is no way for
a young lady of a prominent family to address a man of
"The pin, Professor?" George said with an impatient sigh,
nodding at the lapel of her captor's frock coat.
The Professor glanced at the button-sized, gold pin embossed
with the capital letters "SG" beneath a stylized lightning
bolt. "Alright, I am a
member of the Societie
Galvanique, but I am no longer associated with the
Reanimation Subcommittee to which the sobriquet 'Slick Gits' is
so often applied by the more sensational press. Dr.
Frankenstein has thoroughly sullied the reputation of that
particular branch of our organization. I only perform
electrical experiments on the living."
George's features were set in an expression of scathing
disdain. "Once a Slick Git, always a Slick Git."
"As well as a kidnapper and would-be scientific plagiarist," a
new voice announced.
A young man with long, dark hair stepped from the
As scandalous as it might seem, the newcomer was a young woman in male
attire! Her fair features and hourglass figure were
feminine, without question. She was wearing knee-boots,
dusky-rose jodhpurs, a white cotton blouse, a dark butternut
leather jacket, and a gray scarf. Her long, chestnut
tresses were loose around her shoulders, a superior smile graced
her strong, angelic features, and the exotic, brass and glass
weapon in her right hand was trained on the Professor's rather
"Bonnie!" George cried, beaming a happy, relieved smile.
"A Tessla projection pistol will have no effect on me, Miss
Plantuckett," The Professor sneered. He opened his coat to
display his brown, oddly textured waistcoat. "The leather
of the electric eel, with insulated copper wires connected to
the battery cells of my projection
device, which is strapped to my right forearm. If you
shoot, it shall only increase the potency of my weapon."
"I see," Bonnie said, still smiling. "How did you solve
the feedback problem?"
The Professor blinked in surprise. "Feedback problem?"
Bonnie thumbed a lever on her pistol. "The inevitable
spiral feedback that occurs when the incoming energy pulse
oscillates across harmonic frequencies. It leads to extremely violent cascade
failure of the conduction matrix, every time. That's why I abandoned the project."
"You lie!" The Professor hissed, raising his right arm.
Bonnie triggered her weapon. Instantly, sizzling energy
bridged the gap between the tip of the barrel and the
For something like two seconds the bolt sparked
with all the colors of the rainbow. Then, the pistol went
The Professor, on the other hand, continued sparking, as well as jerking and
shaking. Smoke enveloped his shuddering form—and grew
thicker. After several seconds, there was a loud snap, a flash of blue fire,
and he collapsed to the floor. It was obvious that he was
inside his own eel-skin waistcoat.
George took a delicate sniff of the smoky air. "Roast
pork," she intoned.
Bonnie sighed as she holstered her pistol. "Overcooked
chicken. The arrogant fool gave me no choice."
"I'm glad you found me," George sighed. "He was about
to—ahhh!" The feathers had reached their targets.
George giggled and writhed. "He-he-he-he-he-he-he!
Stop it!—stop-it!—stop it!"
"I had to find you,"
Bonnie said as she strolled forward. "We leave in two
days, and there's no time to train a replacement. I can't
stand every watch
across the entire Junn-Junn
"Turn it off!—turn it off!—turn it—" George collapsed in
her bonds. Bonnie had thrown the master switch.
"Thank you," she gasped.
"You're welcome," Bonnie responded, then crossed her arms under
her breasts and frowned. "Did I or did I not tell you to leave the
aerodrome only in the
case of an emergency? Every villain and would be villain
in the city is trying to learn our secrets."
"It was an
emergency," George huffed. "Madam Rimoux' Maison du Chapeaux just
received shipments from Paris and Milan. I simply had
Bonnie had thumbed the switch. The tickling machines'
flywheels began spinning and the quills began quivering against
George's exposed flesh, threatening to resume their flickering,
"All right! All right!" George giggled. "Y-you were
r-right and I w-was wrong!"
"How many times does this make?" Bonnie demanded. "How
many times have I saved your bacon?"
"F-five! Five times! Please, Bonnie, p-please!"
Bonnie thumbed the master switch, again, and the machines whined
to a stop.
"The Secret Order of the Occult Mechanical Octopus and that
Tonkanese air pirate chieftain don't count," George muttered,
tugging on her bound wrists. "We were both captured and we
rescued each other."
Bonnie's thumb moved towards the switch.
"Okay, okay, you were right," George sighed. "I should
have remained on the aerodrome. Thank you, again."
"You're welcome, again." Bonnie began untying George's
wrist bonds. "Let's get you dressed and the both of us out
of here before the constabulary arrives. We don't have
time to answer questions and fill in forms. We have to get
back and complete our final preparations."
the Junn-Junn Wastes
Three days later,
aboard GTAS BELENUS...
BELENUS was a magnificent
warship. More than 350 meters in length, she was the third
largest airship in the Hibernian contingent of the airborne navy
of the Grand Alliance of Iroquoia, Britannia, Hibernia, and
Gaul. Bonnie and George couldn't ask for better transport
to their chosen point of departure at the edge of the Junn-Junn
for their hoveryacht, GWENDOLINE. Named after one of
George's great maternal aunts (and the generous financial
contribution to the expedition from that branch of the family
had nothing to do
with it), GWENDOLINE was safely stowed in the larger of BELENUS'
two auto-gyro launching bays.
Informed observers could identify BELENUS as Hibernian, even if
they were too distant to see the harp in the upper right field
of the Grand Alliance naval ensign fluttering from the stern,
the GTAS prefix (Great Thane's Air Ship) before the name painted
on the bow, or the emerald-green and sky-blue piping on the
blue-gray uniforms of any officers and crew that might be out
and about on the exterior catwalks and ladders. The
warship's camouflage was a Grand Alliance standard pattern, but
the specific shades of blue-gray, haze-gray, and dirty-white
chosen provided the essential clue. If doubt remained and they were clever
enough to penetrate BELENUS' wardroom, chief's mess, or general
mess, the presence of Guinness Stout on tap would have been the
Bonnie was seated in the wardroom lounge, reading last Sunday's
editions of the Times of
London, the Manhattan
Ledger, and the Many
Nations Intelligencer. Virtually all sections of
all three papers were devoted to coverage of the
"Plantuckett-Congreve Trans-Junn-Junn Expedition."
After glowing biographies of "The Heroines of the Hour" and
summaries of the technical aspects of the expedition, the cover
articles went on to emphasize the importance of its purpose: to
find a safe path across the Junn-Junn Wastes—as if every
Luropean didn't already appreciate the promise of Luropean and
Gondwanese trade that would go with success.
Waterborne vessels that attempted the voyage to Gondwana from
the west coast of Luropa attracted the attention of the infamous
"mountain fish" of the Tethys Sea. Blue water predators
the size of small islands, they could swallow a scooner in a
single gulp and a clipper in two. Not even ironclad
steamships-of-the-line dared to traverse equatorial
waters. Commercial airship traffic faced crippling tariffs
from the Iberian kingdoms, as well as attack from air pirates
operating from hidden bases on the Califarallon Islands.
The eastern sea routes were blocked by the navies and privateers
of the Grand Caliphate and Phoenician Confederation, as well as
aggressive pods of plesiosaurs. Eastern air traffic faced
similar difficulties, with pterosaurs substituting for their
And the direct route across the Junn-Junn? Steam-powered
land-walker expeditions simply vanished, and the handful of
traumatized survivors who managed to return babbled about
predatory herds of bipedal dinosaurs and warlike natives.
Air expeditions were attacked by "dragons", which naturalists
speculated might be pterosaurs of unusual size. Why the
beasts attacked airships, even to the point of suicide, was yet
another unknown. In one famous account, the captain and
crew of a British scout-frigate airship shadowing a full-sized
Gaulish airship-of-the-line watched while something like a dozen
flying reptiles, some nearly as large as the British scout,
swarmed the Gaulish airbattleship and quite literally ripped it
to shreds over the course of a quarter-hour. There were no
survivors. The horrified Brits barely escaped back to
Luropean airspace. But for the superior speed of their
vessel, they would have met the same fate. Photographic
evidence and the testimony of his crew exonerated the Captain in
a Grand Alliance Air Admiralty Court of Inquiry.
Curiously, small airships at low attitude were ignored by the
dragons, but lighter-than-air designs could not be scaled down
to produce a safe and commercially viable means of
transport. They were too susceptible to high winds, especially at low
altitude, and crossing the entire Junn-Junn, nonstop, with all
the required fuel, water, and other stores onboard, left
precious little space for sufficient cargo to justify the risk.
Bonnie and George proposed an approach that had not yet been
Cavorite, or "upsidasium," as some wags called it, was a
recently discovered mineral. It exhibited what the popular
press termed "anti-gravitational" properties. Scientists
fought a losing battle trying
to explain that this was patently innacurate.
Electrically charged plates coated with cavorite that had been
polarized in opposing planes acted to enhance inter-molecular
force. Cavorite was repulsive, not anti-gravitational. In any case,
the technology was already being integrated into aeronautical
design, and Cavorite Lifting Modules graced the hulls of the
newest airships, intersperced among the engine pylons.
An even more recent innovation was the "hoveryacht," an airborne
vessel that relied entirely on lifting modules for
support. Without gas bags, hoveryachts were restricted to
low altitude, but they were capable of great speed, especially
when outfitted with advanced engines. Current designs were
limited to racing and pleasure models; but, if the right vessel
was built, might even as formidable a barrier as the Junn-Junn
Wastes be crossed?
That is what Bonnie and George were risking their lives to find
out—and with the inspired genius the Luropean public had come to
expect. Their hoveryacht
was truly novel. The size of a coastal brigantine,
GWENDOLINE was wind rather than steam powered, but its design
was hardly technologically retrograde. Bonnie and George
had devised lifting modules that also acted as lifting
surfaces. As the pitch of a module's polarized slats was
changed, the entire shape of the plate warped like a bird's
wing. Even more revolutionary, the rigging of the
hoveryacht's two lateen sails (characterized by one reporter to
be "as graceful as a pterosaur angel's wings") and the lifting
module controls were integrated and automated. The craft could be
easily controlled by one person.
Bonnie turned the page and continued reading. Thus far,
all three papers had agreed...
The FINANCIAL pages:
Regular, reliable trade with Gondwana, even on the scale of
luxury goods on small transport, would be quite
lucrative. The "Southern Continent of Mystery" was known
for its exotic spices and rich mineral wealth. Also, the
Ashanti, Zulu, and Gambizi nations were renowned for their
Art, Literature, Architecture, and the learning of their
scholars, scientists, and healers. Even tourist travel
would make the owners of a hypothetical Luropa-to-Gondwana
Hoveryacht Line very wealthy.
The SCIENCE/ENGINEERING pages: GWENDOLINE incorporated
technological innovations that were sure to revolutionize all
manners of "semi-surface transportation." Hoverclipper designs were
speculated upon that could cross the Tethys Sea, sailing above
the reach of the largest and most lethal mountain fish.
The accompanying illustrations were very flamboyant.
The STYLE pages: Georgetta Congreve's groundbreaking
traveling gowns she had designed for use on the expedition
were sure to set trends for lady's summer-wear in the coming
season. No bustle? Only a light corset?
Gauze-thin petticoats against the heat?
Revolutionary! Already tan and pastel earthtones were
all the rage, as well as lady's hats styled after pith
helmets. As always, the Honorable Georgetta was a
recognized engineering and
fashion genius. As for Bonfilia
Plantuckett... Her inappropriate male attire was
considered intriguing by some but far too daring by most.
Just then, George entered the wardroom. She poured herself
a mug of tea from the samovar on the side-table, then joined her
partner in the lounge area, settling into an easychair.
"Anything of interest?" she inquired.
"Apparently," Bonnie answered, "my attire is 'practical but
inappropriately boyish,' while your recently cropped hair is
'provocative and courageous.' Also, clippership-sized
hoveryachts would be just the thing for traversing the Tethys
Sea in safety and comfort."
George rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Coriolis
"Exactly," Bonnie replied. The Tethys Sea was notorious
for incredibly fierce
storms, especially during the summer months. "I suppose if
one's 'hoverclipper' survived a Tethys Tempest, one might
persuade a friendly mountain fish to hold the hull in its jaws
while one replaced every mast and sail from the ship's infinite
"Quite," George agreed. "Ready for tomorrow?"
Bonnie folded the paper and dropped it on her lap, then
George raised her mug in salute. "Across the Junn-Junn
Wastes!" she cried.
"Huzzah!" Bonnie responded, and the partners laughed.
George sipped her mug, again, and frowned. "With all due
respect to our gracious hosts, this tea tastes like tar."
"Which is why I only drink the Guinness," Bonnie replied,
lifting what was left of the pint on the side-table to her right
and taking a sip of her own.
the Junn-Junn Wastes
GWENDOLINE was ready for
launch. Bonnie and George were on the elevated quarterdeck
above her stern with Bonnie at the wheel and George ready to
throw the levers that would release the mooring lines.
Bonnie was in her usual knee-boots, rose jodhpurs, white blouse,
and gray scarf, all of tropical weight, of course. Her
butternut jacket was rolled and tucked in the rigging, within
easy reach. George was in one of her new desert-ready
traveling gowns, a charming mix of coral and ecru. A pith
helmet with a pair of her trademark polychromatic, stereoptical,
polarizing, and magnifying goggles was atop her head.
BELENUS was holding its position, hovering with idling engines
several thousand feet above the chaparral in the still dawn air. The
rising sun cast long shadows, highlighting the rugged terrain
and what to Luropean eyes used to lush, green forests would
characterize as stunted, sickly, and widely dispersed trees and
shrubs. The southernmost border of
Gaul was about midway to the horizon, but there were no visible
clues as to its precise location. The altitude and
distance was far too great for the eyes of the bridge watch or
lookouts to make out the regularly spaced markers required by
Captain Seamus Delany, BELENUS' Commanding Officer, watched from
a nearby catwalk as the deck crew made final preparations to
release the docking clamps. Four sets of clamps were
involved. They would normally be securing four of BELENUS'
complement of auto-gyro fighters. The fighters in
question, the latest variants of the famous P-7 Harpy, were currently
lashed to tie-downs on the top landing deck and CAPT Delany
would be very happy once they were back in their proper places
and ready for instant launch—not
that he was anxious to be rid of his guests. The
famous "Genius Girls" had been perfect guests, but no Captain
wanted two thirds of his quick-reaction fighter protection
unavailable, even in peacetime.
BELENUS' Master Chief and a squad of Air Marines were at their
Captain's side, ready to pay the departing expedition the honors
due. All were in dress uniform (summer), whites, in the
case of the Captain and Chief, and bottle-green blouses and
white trousers in the case of the Air Marines.
Captain Delany unrolled a parchment. "On behalf of the
Monarchs and President of the Member Nations of the Grand
Alliance, the Senate of the Grand Alliance; and the Parliaments,
Congresses, Moots, and Councils of the Member Nations,
greetings. On this auspicious dawn..." He paused and
glanced at the brightening landscape below. "Uh, I'm
supposed to read the entire proclamation, but 'auspicious dawn'
will be 'auspicious mid morning' by the time I reach the
signatures." The crew laughed, except the Air Marines, of
course. Air Marines on duty never laugh. Captain Delany rolled the
parchment and slid it into the leather message tube held ready
by the Master Chief. "I'll let you read this at your
leisure." He then pulled a message flimsy from his side
pocket. "Be that as it may, the Great Thane, himself, has
composed a poem to commemorate the occasion and to speed you on
your way. That, I most certainly will read."
Bonnie and George exchanged a carefully polite glance. The
Hibernian monarch was a figurehead, like Britain's Queen, but
this particular Grand Thane was also a recognized bard, in the
long tradition of Hibernian bards. He was also considered
to be slightly mad, also in
the long tradition of Hibernian bards.
Captain Delany cleared his throat and in his ringing Command
Voice began to read. "There once was a lass named
the Junn-Junn Wastes
of laughter echoed from BELENUS' docking bay as GWENDOLINE
dropped towards the ground. Her cheeks crimson, Bonnie
adjusted the levers beside the wheel that controlled the pitch
of the lifting modules. Their descent slowed as the masts
and yards extended and the sails deployed.
"You should be flattered," George suggested as she stowed the
nearest mooring line. "A love sonnet from the Great Thane,
himself. I imagine it will be a popular drinking song
across the Alliance before the week is out."
"Shut it," Bonnie huffed. "Stow the other lines or I'll
"Aye-aye, Captain," George chuckled.
BELENUS was a rapidly diminishing, streamlined shape, above and
astern. Its splinter-pattern and counter-shaded camouflage
was less effective than usual, thanks to the bright, direct rays
of the sun, but she was still a lethal and increasingly ghostly
presence. The airship was executing a stately turn to
port, and activity on her top-deck suggested Captain Delany had
already ordered the return of the four Harpys to their proper berths.
GWENDOLINE reached her normal cruising altitude of a hundred
meters and continued south. The wind quickened and Bonnie
adjusted the set of the sails, triggering winches that reeled in
the sheets until the canvas stopped luffing. The
hoveryacht surged forward, the lift pylons automatically
compensating for the force against the sails and keeping the
deck horizontal. Quiet, regular clicks vibrated through
the hull as small, spinning wind turbines automatically rewound
the springs that powered the deck winches.
Bonnie and George grinned at one another. They were off to
a good start. Bonnie rapped the polished oak of the wheel
housing. Knock on wood,
the Junn-Junn Wastes
Sand Amazon raiding party had attacked a Tyrrhenian plantation
across the supposed border and was returning to the Junn-Junn
with three captives and a dozen dinocamel loads of concentrated
wine. A troop of Tyrrhenian armored land-walker cavalry
had tried to pursue, but after three days, when the dinosaur
mounted amazons reached the broken fringe of the badlands, the
clunking, clanking, steam-powered behemoths had fired a few wild
shots and turned back.
Camped for the night in a long, deep cave in the side of a small
butte, the female warriors fed their reptilian mounts strips of
dried jerky and prepared their own meals around small
fires. The captives, two strapping lads and a girl, all
not much older than eighteen, watched their captors with wide,
frightened eyes. Their wrists were bound behind their
backs, their ankles lashed together, and gags of rough cloth
filled and cleaved their mouths.
The amazons were dressed in boots, loincloths, and scraps of
leather armor. Their strong, athletic bodies were deeply
tanned from the tropical sun. All were armed with what
were either long knives or short swords, as well as pistols,
carbines, crossbows, and lances. The coiled lassos they
had used to capture their prisoners hung from their belts or the
horns of their saddles. Stripes of blue and purple paint
framed their eyes in narrow masks, the mark of dino-riding
warriors among their kind.
Two amazons, a blonde and a brunette, approached the
captives. The brunette pointed to the female's ripped and
soiled gown. "Pale skin," she observed. "New
cloth. Not frayed and worn. She owner's
daughter. She work hard for one, two years, then we sell
her back to her father."
"Or maybe she decide to join tribe," the blonde chuckled.
"Maybe she not weak
"Maybe," the brunette shrugged, then pointed at the young
men. "Field hands. Patched trousers. Rough
boots. Make many strong babies before we let them go."
The blonde nodded. "Strip all three after they eat.
They might as well get used to it. Then, tie them tight for the night, and
make sure they can't roll around and free each other."
"The old women decide who gets the males' seed, you know
that." The blonde amazon eyed the terrified, helpless
young woman. "Anyone want jûb-jûb with that
one, no problem; but no damage. Old women train her to
make proper jûb-jûb,
and old women like start with undamaged captive."
The female prisoner was crying and the blonde knelt and lifted
her chin. "Stop that," she ordered, with surprising
gentleness. "You not be tortured unless you try escape or
not work hard."
"Chieftess!" an amazon called from the cave entrance.
The blonde stood and strode to the entrance. The caller
pointed to the west.
Far in the distance, a strange, pale object was drifting across
the broken horizon. The blond chieftess pulled a
spyglass from her belt, snapped it open, and held it to her
right eye. "Winged airship," she intoned, then handed the
telescope to the guard.
"Too far to see flag," the auburn-haired guard muttered.
"Too far to see weapons."
"Corda!" the chieftess shouted, and a third amazon appeared,
this one with black, straight hair. The chieftess pointed
at the intruder. "Ride through the night to Spire Rock and
send flashy-flashy signal to Queen. Tell her visitor
coming. Small airship. Wings but no gasbag.
Take remount and ride double-quick. Look out for big
honkers. They like to hunt dry stream beds at night."
Corda nodded and returned to the cave. "Big honkers," she
muttered under her breath. "Tell me something I don't
The chieftess smiled and returned to watching the pale airship
ride the breeze. It was still too far to make out much
| END of...
the Junn-Junn Wastes