A Tall Ship Tale: History Through #52

Paul DeAnguera recaps the first 52 entries in his pun epic.

Ship’s Log

These are the voyages of the frigate H.M.S. Legume. Its 80-pun mission; to seek out new words and new incivilities. To boldly go where no pun has gone before!

Boatswain Rhet Ayring, humiliated (1), deserted the ship in Lisbon. To replace him, Captain Quid sent out a press gang which returned with Cilantro. He tried to throw away an encrypted letter, but the First Mate found it and realized that Cilantro was a spy (2). Meanwhile, (in a story by Paul C. Riter,) The Brotherhood (an anti-royalist cult which possessed awesome technology) was plotting to trick the Russian Tsar, Peter the Great, into abdicating. Cilantro, afraid that the Russian secret police would discover his role in the plot, absconded with the Captain’s pinnace (3) in the North Sea. The Brotherhood outfitted the Legume with their GAG levitation system and sent it overland to Moscow to bombard the Kremlin, but an agent of the Tsar sabotaged the ship and aborted this mission (4).

A storm drove the Legume into Transylvania (5) where it battled spooky monsters (6). A vampire came on board (7) and was recruited (8). The ship dropped off the Brotherhood in Yalta, and apprehended the saboteur (9), whereupon the Brotherhood swore allegiance to the Tsar (10).

Heading south to the Automan Empire (11), Captain Quid was tricked into a heavy debt (12). He earned the money to repay it with a cargo of oil and tinned duck (13, 14, 15). When the Legume returned to the Automen, the Unix Kernel chartered the ship on behalf of the goddess Cybele to troll for a djinn (16, 17). But the First Mate unknowingly added the djinn to his own crew instead (18, 19).

A shore party became trapped in Minos’ Labyrinth (20) and were pursued by mechanical monsters (21), but escaped (22). Quid then bought a cargo of olives from a Greek Buddhist colony (23) and sold it to the merchants of Pisa (24). But an accident during the party which followed left a tower in that city with a permanent lean (25). Quid was obliged to accept surplus velvet in payment for the olives, but the First Mate managed to sell it (26).

Racing the American frigate U.S.S. Groundpea to Egypt (27) for evidence that the pyramids were built by aliens, the Legume’s crew removed the nose of the Sphinx and brought it on board (28). A shore party scouted the Great Pyramid of Cheops for more evidence (29) but was overcome.

As the Legume crossed the desert to Suez (31), the First Mate remembered the encrypted letter which Cilantro had dropped (32), but nobody could read it. Even Sir Hillary, a British intelligence agent, failed to decode it (33) — or so he claimed. He stole a sacred lamp (34) and, disguised as an Arab, took it to Mecca (35). But his disguise was penetrated, and he barely escaped (36). The Legume fled under fire (37) and went on to Zanzibar, where the First Mate broke the Prime Directive (38, 39).

They sailed to Khartoum to ask Prof. Rita Hentrack, a cryptographer, to decode Cilantro’s letter, but she disappeared with it (40). The First Mate led a search party into booby-trapped ruins to look for her (41, 42). Meanwhile, back on the ship, a snail extruded a silk map of the Legume’s entire voyage (contributed by Bill Wright). The search party was captured by the underground empire of Kush, but managed to stave off death by telling stories to its Queen (43, 44) until the Legume rescued them (45). Rita was searched, but her confederate Yassar concealed the letter until they escaped on the American brig Goober (46). The Legume followed the Goober to Alexandria. The First Mate met an American sailor in Alexandria’s empty library, (47) and bribed him to steal the letter and bring it to Thera (48, 49) where it was finally decoded. It was an order to Cilantro to set fire to the white house. This mystified the sailors, because in Thera all of the houses were white.

Prof. Peabody brought his chronometer on board for a sea trial, but its spring could not power the clock and be wound at the same time (50). So he devised a way to wind it in no time; but this sent the ship back in time to the Jurassic period (51, 52).

Stay tuned for more exciting episodes!

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