Hornet's Nest - odd stuff

Metalman & Twigboy

The Metalman and Twigboy saga began life as an amusing account of a small meet-up and rideout that was posted on the message board of the Hornet's Nest, Honda Hornet Owners' Club. It was well-received, and I decided to continue the story, posting episodes on a weekly basis. It was then suggested that I publish the story and sell copies to raise money for charity. It was sold in aid of Sport Relief, partly because I believe children to be a particularly worthy cause, and also because I might win lunch with Suzy Perry!

The adventures are based on real events, and the characters based on real club members, although I have, of course, added a liberal sprinkling of my own imagination. I am grateful for the co-operation and support, not only of my fellow members at the 'Nest, but also the members of the Fazer Owners' Club - Unofficial (or FOC-U)

In paticular, I would like to thank:

LittleInsect, for hosting the story on her web-site

dunc, for allowing me to use his superb picture of the Nest Stuntmeister, Porkster, on the front cover

Porkster, for riding his Hornet through a wall of flames for the picture! (Not really, but thanks all the same)

Hornette, for her fantastic picture of Darth Fazer

Hornetmeister Matt, for creating and maintaining the Hornet's Nest

Vanessa, my wife, for putting up with my motorbike obsession

Oh, and if I've forgotten anyone, tough!


for James


Chapter 1

S itting here, basking in the warmth from the log stove, in the cafĂ© of the England's Rose, it was hard for the three friends to imagine how cold it had grown outside. A biting northerly wind had arisen as the day progressed. The conversation inside, however, was quite heated. "I just get fed up with ploughing through your stupid drivel on the message board", Wes was saying."Listen you little weasel" StevieJay smirked, "You like arseing about on there just as much as us - you're just not as funny." "Easy tiger!" Smich tried to keep the peace "Wes can't help being American and having no sense of humour. Besides, he's got a point" "Weasel. You called me a weasel." Wes murmured quietly.Smich scratched his nose."Are you sure you'll find your way home OK StevieJay?" "Yeah, no problem" replied the dark-haired youngster, tilting his chair back away from the heat. "It's not me who'll have the problem. I'm English, remember. I've learnt to read and write, without having to be sent thousands of miles away from home" "Haha, very funny - Not" sneered Wes, his features contorting with sarcasm. "I'll have you know, us Yanks could find an ice-pop in Alaska" "You'll be alright if it snows", laughed Smich "You look just like a stoat in those white leathers" "Nah, more like a weasel" jibed StevieJay. Wes gave StevieJay a funny look. "You did it again."The three Horneteers finished their mugs of steaming cocoa, put on their riding gear and went outside. "I'll ring you tomorrow StevieJay" said Smich, as he pushed the starter and the trusty Honda sprang into life. "And by the way, you've buggered up your wiring. That brake light of yours is permanently on. And what are you going to do if it does snow? The meltwater will get on that spaghetti juncion you've got behind your twin headlamp conversion." "Don't worry mate. I've got protection" StevieJay winked and pulled a small red box of condoms from his front pocket. "Speak to you tomorrow, Chimp Daddy!" he laughed, before saluting Wes and roaring off into the dark. Smich followed closely behind - as always. Wes was the last to leave the deserted car park. He didn't notice, as he surged onto the main road through Postcombe, another bike waiting with it's lights turned off, in the lane which ran down the side of the car park, engine idling quietly. It slowly moved off in the same direction……….
Forty minutes later, as Smich locked the garage door, he glanced towards the house. 'Vanessa will be in bed now' he thought. 'She must have left a downstairs light on'. There was a faint blueish glow showing through the net curtains of the lounge. He opened the front door quietly, and slipped in. It was good to be back home in the warm. A dim light shone under the door to the lounge. He quietly removed his boots and went in. The lights were off, but a pale iridescence emanated from his PC, in the alcove at the end of the room. He was sure he'd shut the PC down before he went out. Perhaps Vanessa had been using it, and forgotten to switch it off. He walked towards it and glanced casually at the screen. The screen was empty, save for a strange message in the middle………………………………..
Went on a ride out last night and am still not home Can see a sign for "Cape Wrath" Anyone got AutoRoute? Am cold, wet and hungry and have about 3 miles left in my tank. ……………………….Worried StevieJay, miles from home
As Smich wondered how the message had got there, a second one slowly began to take form……………….
Can't see anything, snow and fog is hindering my vision, my fingars if forzeig caent tpeeipe adiiia l nede elp adkfj ...................................................
Somehow, StevieJay was texting Smich's computer, and he was obviously in trouble. Smich grabbed his leathers again and went back out into the freezing night.!

Chapter 2

E xhausted, Smich staggered through the blinding whiteout, calling aimlessly: "StevieJay! StevieJay!". But an icy silence greeted him. The cold was beginning to tell, his Cordura jacket scant protection in these deadly conditions. His friend had already spent the night in this. How could he hope to survive? Then, out of the gloom, a hint of red emerged. Lying in the snow...it could have been blood. For a moment, a thousand gruesome fates crossed Smich's mind. Mauled by a Polar Bear? Eaten by a Yeti? He trudged towards the small splash of colour and stooped to examine it. Crusty with iced lubrication, it was a torn strawberry flavoured Durex...
His eyes stinging from the snow, Smich squinted at grey forms appearing, then receding in the gloom: derelict buildings, long since abandoned. He radioed hios old friend, Hornette, but she'd seen no sign of StevieJay at all. Smich fingered the crumbling condom as if it might give some clue as to what had befallen his friend. It was best not to think too hard...
Suddenly, there was a light ahead! Dim and barely discernible, but it shone out at him like a homing beacon. Mustering his last few ounces of strength, Smich waded through the snow towards it. As he got closer he realised that it was in fact two lights close together. He drove through the storm as fast as his weary legs would allow. Surely it couldn't be? His hopes soared, and he dug furiously to free the lamps from the drifting snow. StevieJay's twin headlamps, and they were still working! But, with mounting horror, he realised the truth: the headlamps were not attached to the bike. StevieJay and his steed were nowhere to be seen. What awesome force made the headlights still shine? Then, sinking to his knees, he remembered StevieJay's brake light, and cried uselessly into approaching night:
StevieJay's last few moments.... Am getting colder....my peeenarse and balls resemble 2 M&Ms and a Tick Tack... (blue ones)

Chapter 3

S mich could hear airliners flying low overhead, but he couldn't see them. Disorientated, he wandered until he found a road. He trudged past a German Motor Dealership; the cars outside buried in deep drifts of snow. His fingers were numb with cold, and as the night drove the warmth from the day, for the first time, he began to lose hope. It had been nearly 24hours since he'd last seen StevieJay, and as he thought of his friends' goofy, bearded smile, he began to weep quietly. Through his tears, he noticed flecks of black in the snow ahead. He was approaching some kind of junction in the road, the traffic lights changing in their remorseless cycle between green and red. He crouched to touch the black spots and discovered that they were made of rubber, and a few feet away he saw a black scorch mark uncovered by snow, as if it were still warm there. A fresh burnout? Wiping the sorrow from his face he looked up. A barely discernible trail led to the left. A shallow dip in the bleak whiteness. He followed it. As he rounded the corner, he stopped, dumbstruck. StevieJay's bike!
Hope filled his lungs and he rushed towards it with an energy he had thought was long since spent. It was parked next to a building that glowed warmly in the deepening darkness. Footprints led from the bike to the building - two sets. StevieJay and another, but who? He passed the Honda, but not without noticing its chain was missing. Other than that -and the headlights of course - it seemed intact. He approached a door and opened it...
The sight before him would remain etched into his mind until the day he died. A scene of such utter horror he could only gaze sullenly at it, his jaw slack. StevieJay lay on the floor at the far end of the room, his face contorted with terror. Blood ran from his head and face. His smart leather jacket was ripped and torn virtually from his body. And over him stood a figure, someone giggling and jabbering to himself, holding a blood-soaked blue bike chain in his hand. A crudely assembled pair of glasses, made from cracked motorbike headlamp lenses and held together by electrical wire of various colours and thicknesses, were strapped to his head. Grinning madly, the figure turned to Smich; "Called me a weasel he did. Weasel sssshowed him! Weasel sssstrong! Weasel bite! Weasel win!" His jaw working finally, Smich cried: "Wes! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO........"

Chapter 4

"Wes, what the hell are you doing?" Smich took a step forward. "Keep away!" cried Wes, saliva dribbling from his mouth. The shattered lenses of his makeshift spectacles exaggerated the insane grin on his face. StevieJay tried to move, but could only moan helplessly as Wes drove his foot into his victim's chest."You got to stop this Wes. StevieJay was only joking. He's ALWAYS joking, no matter what he says." Smich moved a little closer. A flicker of doubt passed across Wes' face and, for a moment, it looked like he might have calmed a little. "Joke not funny. Weasel not funny. Weasel gonna get a Fazer and show StevieJay what'ssss funny!" Wes suddenly raised the chain high above his head and Smich realised he was too far away still to intervene. StevieJay could only close his eyes and await his fate.
There was a loud crashing sound and the wall behind Smich imploded in a hail of bricks and dust. Just in time, Smich dived to his left as a flash of blue hurtled past. It was a Honda Hornet, it's front wheel pawing the air like a wild stallion. StevieJay somehow managed to bring his foot up into Wes' groin, just as the front wheel of the motorbike slammed to the ground stopping inches from him. Wes doubled up, dropping the chain to the ground. As the dust began to settle, the rider of the Hornet took off his helmet.
"Who are you?" whimpered Wes, backing away slightly. " I, my little furry ferret, am known as Sir James The Moderator!" said the stranger, in a voice full of importance. "It's Weasel, not ferret" said Wes. "No matter! I have come to save the day!" Sir James dismounted his bike, letting it fall to the ground, this adding to the numerous scratches and dents already on it. "And how do you intend to do that?" Wes began to regain his composure. "Why, I shall TALK you into submission! And don't forget, my little stoat," - "It's WEASEL" interrupted Wes - "Of course it is! Don't forget I have the ability to edit and censor everything you say in return. Hahahahahaha!" StevieJay had raised himself onto his elbows, and was about to grab his assailant, but - too late! Wes turned and leapt headfirst out of a nearby window, sprinkling glass over the snow outside. Sir James sprang forward, and peered out: Wes had vanished. "Damnation! I shall find you, my little one! Find you and bring you back to the 'Nest, where you belong! Fear not!" Sir James shouted at the night outside. "Thank God for that" said StevieJay. "I thought I was a goner. I wonder what came over him?" "Don't be rude" said Sir James. "But to explain, poor Wes has fallen under the spell of the evil Darth Fazer, who has hypnotised him into thinking he wants an ugly motorbike instead of his fabulous Hornet!" "But why would he want to kill StevieJay?" Smich emerged from behind a table, brushing dust from his jacket."Because, my little Twiglet, the dastardly Fazer mistakenly thought StevieJay was the Hornet's Nest message board moderator. Of course, I was simply on holiday! Let that be a lesson to you StevieJay! Usurping my mantle and claiming my throne is not that easy, and can be more perilous than you imagine!" "I'm sorry Sir James. How can I ever repay you?" "In return, my metallic friend, I charge you and your skinny chum here to further the cause of Hornet riders everywhere, protecting them from the clutches -and fairings - of Darth Fazer and his band of ugly cohorts. From now on, you shall be known as Metalman and TwigBoy!" And so began a partnership that would go on and on and on and on and on and on.......................................................

Chapter 5

StevieJay and Smich cruised the motorway together, StevieJay's trusty steed now repaired and modified by Sir James' Motorcycle Experimental Garage (S.M.E.G), hidden somewhere in darkest Hertfordshire. "TwigBoy, I must try out my bike's modifications as soon as is convenient", said StevieJay over the intercom. Smich sighed: "I'm sure you'll find an excuse soon enough, Metalman." "What?" StevieJay shouted. He had dropped a gear and increased the revs, the resulting scream from his exhaust blowing out the windows of two cars he was passing at the time. "Never mind" Smich replied." Let's stop and eat!""Good idea!" agreed StevieJay.
They peeled off the carriageway and down the sliproad towards the roundabout. The exit for the services, however, was preceded by a set of traffic lights, and they were forced to stop, side by side, behind a white Vauxhall Nova. The driver's head moved almost imperceptibly to the left as he glanced in his rear view mirror, his passenger peering over his shoulder also. This was all StevieJay needed. He began to rev his motor loudly, the bike lurching forward. The Nova driver's left fist appeared. A finger emerged from it. Smich's heart sank. 'Here we go', he thought. Once StevieJay had observed the gesture, his eyes widened inside his helmet. Still revving extravagantly, he forced his front tyre up against the bumper of the Nova, then slipped the clutch. Iincredibly, he pushed the car forwards. "Look, TwigBoy!" he shouted. "Witness the extraordinary power of my new improved bike!" At this point, the driver applied his footbrake. StevieJay's front wheel rose suddenly up over the bumper. It's rear tyre still gripping somehow, the bike launched itself up the tailgate, and much to Smich's dismay, onto the roof of the car.
The passenger of the Nova, a burly gentleman with very short hair, undid his seat belt. StevieJay was unaware of this, and, delighted to be the centre of attention, had lowered his sidestand and dismounted his bike Valentino Rossi style, sidesaddle. Thinking quickly, Smich manoeuvred his bike to prevent the passenger door opening, but was helpless as he saw StevieJay's bike stand began to warp the roof of the car downwards. Critically, StevieJay had dismounted to the right and did not notice when the stand finally and inevitably, broke the surface. The car passengers' heads parted as the stand speared downwards at them. The bike toppled to the left, and down towards the helpless Smich. It landed upside down on top of him, squashing his oesophagus against the handlebars. "Grumph" said Smich, the meat in a Honda sandwich. Meanwhile, StevieJay had decided to fold his arms and casually lean against his steed. Except that it wasn't there anymore. He took a few teetering steps backwards as he lost balance. Smich, with all the strength he could muster, pushed against his handlebars, tipping StevieJay's bike off his back JUST as StevieJay fell off the roof of the car... ...only to land squarely on the seat of his bike.
"F**k me, Twiglet! How did I get here? This bike must have magic powers or something!" "K-hah, k-hah, k-hah" said Smich. "Time to go I reckon - the lights have just changed..." and with that StevieJay took off, Smich close behind coughing into his helmet and inwardly vowing to be nowhere near StevieJay's Hornet the next time he parked it on anything but the firmest surface...
* * Meanwhile...
Wes crawled through the rubbish-strewn alley, and under the fence that guarded the entrance to Darth Fazer's lair. Inside, Fazer sat, waiting, his face hidden behind a mask resembling an early 1970s motorcycle fairing. It was so ugly, Wes could not look at his tormentor directly. He approached slowly, trembling with fear. "Welcome, Weasel," Fazer's voice boomed. "I sense you have failed me somehow." Those two square eyes turned to greet him, one of them burning dimly. "I - I'm ssssorry master," said Wes. "It was Sir James. He came from nowhere. Rescued StevieJay he did. You ssssaid he was gone, but he's not." "Cease your whining, Hornet scum! It is clearly in your nature to do just one thing correctly: grovel!" Wes curled up at his master's feet, moaning quietly. Fazer patted him gently on the head. "Fear not, little one" he continued, "I have further plans for you. And then you shall have the Yamaha I promised." His eyes burned into Wes.


Chapter 6

StevieJay sat happily in front of his PC, firing off messages at the Honda Hornet message board. Since being banned from posting while at work (which meant he was doing very little actual work), he had had to get Internet capability at home. His wife Julie hadn't started complaining yet, so he was enjoying this honeymoon period while it lasted. He'd just made another vacuous but hilarious posting when, suddenly, the screen went blank. "What the...?" He was about to start fiddling around with the leads behind his machine, when he noticed the cursor pulsing in the top corner. It began to move.
Someone had obviously hacked into his system, although not many would know him by his secret name. "Who is this?" he couldn't help but speak it aloud, but decided to type his reply as well.
THERE'S NO NEED TO TYPE. I CAN HEAR YOU QUITE CLEARLY StevieJay's eyes narrowed and a sly smile crossed his face. "You're the filthy slut who turned Wes against me aren't you?" he spat. "What are you doing here, Fazer?" KNOW THINE ENEMY IS THE PHRASE I WOULD USE ON THIS OCCASION, METALMAN. AS FOR YOUR COMPLIMENTS, WELL, YOU'RE TOO KIND. I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE NICE TO MEET BEFORE I TURN YOU INTO SCRAP METALMAN

"@#%$ off, cupcake" said StevieJay, and switched his screen off.
Later, as he lay in bed trying to sleep, the encounter played over and over in his head. For what seemed like hours he tried pushing the fear away and calming his mind. In the end he gave up. Donning his leathers he crept outside and climbed onto his Hornet. Careful not to wake the neighbours (or, more importantly, his wife) he rode off into the night, focusing his mind on the bike and the road, leaving little room for anything else.
As he gunned the bike down a quiet country lane, he saw headlights approaching, on full beam. He switched his own twin headlamps to the same, and to his amazement they revealed a strange cloud encircling what was a motorcyclist -wearing green tights, no less - on a Yamaha Fazer. It weaved onto his side of the road and StevieJay only just managed to avoid him as he flashed past, the cloud screeching and squeaking in his wake. Bats! It was a flock of bats. The noise subsided...but then began to grow again. He looked in his mirrors. The bike was gone, but the bats had turned and were gaining on him. He accelerated as hard as he could, but they kept coming. He turned to look over his shoulder, and it was indeed a lifesaver, because he was just able to avoid the first bat swooping down on him, its fangs bared. Soon, they were all around him, some colliding painfully with his torso, others bouncing off his helmet. Some had flown ahead and were now turning, heading straight for him out of the dark. He ducked low, wishing he had Smich's flyscreen, and veered the bike from side to side, glad of the Hornet's nimble handling.
They all missed him, except one. It struck him in the chest, forcing the air from his lungs. He looked down but couldn't see it. Hoping it had bounced off him, he carried on. Then, he felt a claw on his neck. It had hung on and was crawling up his body! With his left hand he scrabbled about his helmet, groping for the beast, but with no success. It climbed underneath his helmet and towards his face. He threw his head around madly, trying to shake it off. To any passing pedestrians he would have looked like he was laughing crazily. The claws pierced his cheeks as it climbed higher. He screamed, but the sound was stifled as the bat clambered into his mouth, the fur dry against his teeth and gums...
He gasped. What had happened? He turned and saw Julie next to him, sleeping peacefully. He was safe in bed still. Safe and warm. Too warm. "Julie," he whispered. She opened her eyes lazily. "I've shat me bed."
meanwhile ................
* * * Deep in the city, surrounded by dirt and mis-fortune, Darth Fazer roared with laughter.

Chapter 7

S ir James' Hornet teetered for a moment before crashing to the floor. "Don't worry chaps", he said. "Nothing S.M.E.G can't put right in two shakes of a salt pot! Follow me!" StevieJay and Smich didn't look convinced. Nevertheless they joined him as he strode off down the alleyway behind P & Q. "This crazy chimp is starting to get on my tits", whispered Smich. "What's that, Twigboy?", Sir James turned, reaching into leathers and fumbling around his waist. "Nothing, SJ. What are you, er, looking for?" "Ah! Found them!" Sir James produced two strange, green coloured visors. He handed them over to his two protegees. "Ever wanted X-ray vision? These are holo-visors. They will enable you to see through walls, that kind of thing. The outer surface has been laminated with a polydihedrocarbonate tri-lithiosulphurous..." "Yeah, yeah" StevieJay grabbed them from James and handed one to Smich. "It works by refracting the light into tiny concentrated...", James paused. "...blobs. Effectively converting light from energy into matter..." "SHUT UP!" Smich and StevieJay shouted together. "These globules pass through the visor surface...arrrrrrgh!" Sir James stumbled as Smich kneed him in the back of the leg. StevieJay chuckled slightly, and said to Smich under his breath: "I can see through women's clothes now. This has been a good day!" "Hehehe" laughed Smich. Sir James recovered his composure. "You must wait 'til tomorrow before fitting them though lest you see under MY clothes! Now, my little fledglings, there's someone I would like you to meet. Take a seat, please."
They emerged into a small yard lined at the edge with tall, potted conifers. At the centre stood a large oak table and chairs; Smich and StevieJay sat down opposite each other. StevieJay thought he saw something small emerge from one of the trees, but when he looked again, it was gone. He then heard a soft humming, growing louder. His eyes searched for the source of the noise, and found it, just as it landed on the table between them. "Christ!" he whacked the table.
Sir James leapt forward, restraining him, but whatever had been there was gone. "Fool! You'll kill her!" said Sir James. "Quicker than that he must be, mmm?" A soft humming voice came from the air to StevieJay's right. He looked round, into the eyes of a huge hornet hovering close to his face. He tried to swat the air, to drive it away, but Sir James held his arms firmly. Smich spoke up. "A talking hornet? Now I've seen everything." Instantly, the hornet was in front of him. "Everything have you seen? Mindful of what you have NOT seen must you be. Mmmmm". The hornet turned to Sir James. "Willful are these two, James my friend. Willful and impulsive". "Gentlemen, I'd like you to meet Little Insect. The wisest of us all." "You mean this...bug... is a member of the 'Nest? You've got to be kidding me" StevieJay was incredulous. "Indeed, Metalman, she once rode the fastest Hornet of them all. But she met with an unfortunate accident, and used the insurance payout to have her genes modified. She has been morpho-genetically combined with a hornet, hence her ability to fly AND speak at the same time." "Speak and fly could I not do together before, mmmmm?" she seemed slightly irritated, impatient with Sir James. "I stand corrected, Li'l. I hope I have chosen these two wisely. I've granted them the powers they need to fight the forces of Fazerdom. I'm sure they won't let me down." "Sure we er...won't," Smich stammered. "That's right." StevieJay agreed. "Darth Fazer's gonna see the front wheel of my Hornet parked up his arse! Yeah baby!" "And know your enemy, do you? Spot him will you? Even when disguised he is,mmm?" Little Insect hovered in front of him menacingly. "What do you mean? Fazers are easy to spot. That fairing don't half stand out in a crowd," said StevieJay. "Even the one amongst you?" Little Insect swooped over towards Sir James, - who was looking elsewhere - as if to whisper something in his ear.
But instead she stung him on the temple, and flew off. "Blimey mate! Does that hurt?" Smich asked, standing and inspecting the wound. Except there was no wound as such. Just a tiny mark that began to ooze milky fluid. "Does what hurt?" said Sir James slowly, turning towards Smich. "Oooer! Yuk!" StevieJay exclaimed. "He's got sperm coming out of his head!" Sir James' eyelids slackened and his body began to judder. With great speed of thought, StevieJay decided he must protect his passport to panty-vision and threw his new visor to Smich, yelling: "Look after that for me!" The curved shape of the visor caused it to swerve violently towards Sir James. It struck him in the neck, severing his head from his body. But instead of blood, more white ichor gushed over the floor."More spunk! Disgusting!" said StevieJay. "No! He's an android! Planted in the nest, to deliberately f**k things up! WHY DO YOU THINK HE CHOSE US AS SUPERHEROES?!" cried Smich."OH SH*T!" "Eh?" StevieJay said. As the Sir James robot gurgled and twitched on the ground, Little Insect emerged from the trees. "Passed this first test you have. Powerful insight have you shown. Now go. Face your destiny you must, even if your death it means" "I'm not afraid" said StevieJay. "You will be." Little Insect flew closer, her voice lowered to a gruff whisper. "You will be." "C'mon StevieJay," said Smich. "Let's nick his bike."

Chapter 8

S mich sought solitude in the peace and quiet of his garage. He sat astride his beloved Hornet, trying to drink in the events of the last few weeks; to make sense of them somehow. The abduction of Wes, and his attack on StevieJay, Sir James rescuing his partner's face from further disfigurement. Then the discovery that Sir James was actually an android, planted to sabotage the nest, and bring about its ruin. And finally, Little Insect's dreaded instructions, to meet your fate even if it meant death. At least their Hornets were equipped with the latest gadgetry, and StevieJay's mood had improved when he'd tried out his x-ray visor in the ladies hairdressers (pretending to be a courier, no less). Smich studied his handlebars and clocks absently, but noticed a small blue switch on the underside of the kill switch housing on the right. He'd not seen one before and wondered if it was an addition by S.M.E.G. But what did it do? He flicked it.
There was a flash of blue light and a brief moment of pain. Then nothing. At first. Then he realised that the light outside was flickering, from light to dark and back again. It was speeding up, too. He was just about to get off the bike when he was bathed in light. His garage had disappeared around him! He gazed upwards and saw that the cause of the flickering light was the sun and the moon, rising and setting hundreds of times a second. He was travelling through time! Once he'd realised this it took only a moment to establish whether he was travelling to the future or revisiting history. The sun and moon were going the wrong way across the sky, now travelling so fast that they formed solid arcs across the sky, rising and dipping between solstices. The house had now also disappeared along with his neighbours', and now the area surrounding him was no longer Barnet, but wild countryside. Fear made his thumb hover over the switch, but something else stopped pressing it again. He wanted to see history, how things used to be. Above all he wanted to see a dinosaur. So he waited. He was now travelling so fast that only the slowest of events registered to him. The growth and death of great trees occurred in a second, the seasons merged into a strange greyness. Then suddenly, the bike began to shake violently. He was almost thrown from it, but just managed to flick the switch in time.
Silence. He waited a moment, then dismounted quietly. He had no way of knowing what year it was, so he could only explore to search for clues. The countryside around him seemed still except for the chirruping of insects and the call of distant birds. But there was something else, a humming from over the crest ahead. He moved off in that direction. He was soon too far away to see the figure appear out of nowhere and crawl for cover in some nearby bushes. As Smich approached the crest, the noise became louder, and he began to suspect that he was not very far back in time at all. The sound was of revving engines, interspersed with the tooting of familiar sounding horns. He climbed the last few steps and gazed at the vista before him. Then he blinked and looked again, stunned. There were Hornets. Hundreds of them. Without riders, they seemed to be to all intents and purposes a herd. They moved over the terrain like a swarm of insects, a huge mass of roaring colour. He realised that isolated Hornets at the edge of the herd WERE being ridden; these were the ones tooting as they drove the herd onwards. The riders were dressed in loincloths and carried spanners, brandishing them and striking fear into the wild motorbikes. Smich moved down the slope to get a closer look. The tribesmen had brightly coloured face paint; one of them approached Smich as he drew near to the commotion. He raised his spanner in the air to challenge the intruder. "My name's Smich" said Smich, opening his hands to show he was unarmed. The tribesman's face was painted blue and white. "You look like Mel Gibson in Braveheart." The man's face softened. "Me Gordo," he said, pointing at a very large chest."Come."
They approached the village, down in the heart of the valley. Smich had learned that the tribesmen were herding the bikes, intending to tame them. They would then be used to hunt and capture food. Gordo motioned for Smich to wait on the outskirts, whilst he went into what looked like the chief's tent; it was by far the largest tent, and had a deep balcony providing shade over a large area. Soon Gordo returned. "Come. Someone wish to meet you". He led Smich to the tent, and, as he approached, an entrance flap opened. A figure emerged. Smich gasped "Oh my God..."

Chapter 9

"Mandy?" Smich squinted a little. The figure silhouetted before him was recognisable, except for a shock of electric pink hair where he was used to seeing a Valentino Rossi replica helmet. "Who?" said the figure, emerging into the light. It was indeed his friend from the Nest; but the hairdo, along with the brown leather skirt, thigh high boots and skimpy leather basque made him do a double take. So did the huge sword that nestled against her thigh. She didn't seem to know who he was, so he decided to introduce himself rather than get off on the wrong foot with the person who seemed to be the "chief" of the village. "I am Smich, of the Hornet's Nest". "Then you are welcome Smich. We hear legends of the Nest of which you speak, but few claim to have intimate knowledge of it. Come, and rest amongst friends. I am known as Hornette, and I lead this band of brave warriors." She motioned for him to enter the tent. "And a fair body too", Smich murmured quietly. She couldn't have heard him clearly, but she gave him a benign smile all the same. As he entered the tent she whispered:"Cheeky monkey!" Once inside, Smich looked around, his eyes adjusting to the gloom.
The air inside was clear and odour free, despite the large fire in the centre that glowed dimly like a pool of cool lava. The tent housed about twenty or so tribesmen and women who were adorned in an array of brightly coloured clothes. He already knew Gordo, with his lean muscles and blue and white striped face. But others seemed familiar: a young(ish) man wearing a yellow hairnet on his head; another who sat quietly in a corner tinkering with an old computer. By the fire sat a large, cheerful looking fellow devouring a huge slab of meat. Looking up at Smich, he pointed to the joint with a chubby finger and said: "Hungry! Horse!" He gestured at the meat again and went back to eating noisily.
Hornette gestured at some cushions near the fire. "Perhaps you would like to sit?" she said. Smich did so. He wasn't expecting the next question, however. "Who is your companion?" "What companion?" said Smich. "My people tell me you have travelled here over the crest yonder," she gestured with a delicate hand. "And that you were followed by another, who crawled often on all fours, and sniffed the air suspiciously." Her voice hardened: "Your welcome here will not last long if you keep secrets from us! If my people thought you were working for the evil armies of Fazerdom you would be cut up and fed to Wun-tun here!" Wun-tun looked up from his equine feast, smiling agreeably, fat dribbling down his chin. Smich shuddered. "I don't know who you're talking about. I swear! I don't know if you'll believe me, but I've come from the future! There's this switch on the handlebars of my bike that..."
"Wait!" Hornette stopped him. "You say you are from the future?" A sudden silence settled on the room, like a restaurant where one of the waiters has dropped a plate. "Then it's possible..." she paused for a second eyeing him closely."Let me show you something." She stood and led Smich outside and across the central clearing of the village. The others in the tent followed, and more villagers congregated, making a sizeable crowd. They gathered by the simple pen at the far end of the village square where a red Hornet stood. Gleaming in the sunlight, it reminded Smich of his own 1997 model pride and joy. It was absolutely spotless. "Behold! The sacred Hornet!" said Hornette. "Unridden by humankind, though many have tried. Sent to us by the great one, to remind us of the beauty and purity of the Hornet breed." "Unridden? How come?" asked Smich. Hornette climbed the fence to the pen and, beckoning Smich to follow, approached the centre. As she did, the surrounding villagers began to dance and chant around the perimeter fence. "The great one gave us the key, but said that only the purest of heart may ride her." Hornette's voice rose. "That person shall be the one to free the key!" She looked down. A small grey oval stone, maybe four inches across, sat by her feet. From it protruded the black fob of an ignition key. "You mean, pull the key out of that, ER, pebble?" "You mock the sacred keystone?" Hornette looked at Smich sternly. "Perhaps you would test your own worthiness?" "If you like." Smich reached down, but before he could grab the key, the sound of a shrill horn stopped him. "Run for cover!" shouted Hornette as the villagers ran wildly in all directions. "The Fazers are attacking the village!"

Chapter 10

There was a loud rumbling, followed by a thunderous whoosh. Smich looked up and was amazed to see a WW2 Lancaster bomber zoom overhead. The pilot was leaning out of his cockpit, the flaps of his leather flying helmet flickering in the wind. "Tally ho, Hornet scumbags! Here's a special delivery for all you blighters, courtesy of 633 Squadron, what?" The bomb bay doors opened and a multitude of Yamaha Fazers dropped out. Landing rear wheel first their riders adroitly kept the front wheels aloft as they ploughed into the helpless villagers and their Hornets. There was a loud pop, followed by a splashing noise, like a wave crashing: Wuntun had exploded.
"This way!" Hornette grabbed Smich's arm. He just managed to grab the stone at his feet and put it in his pocket before he was dragged out of the village. They narrowly avoided a green Fazer that was hurtling thru the village without the back wheel gaining traction once. The rider had a tattoo on his forehead that read 'slidey', and a mad grin on his face. Yet there was something strange about some of the other Fazers. They were different somehow, was it that the fairings looked almost appealing? Smich could not quite put his finger on it for the moment. As they cleared the village, the noise began to subside, and Smich, Hornette and a few other survivors hid behind a ridge to survey the carnage down in the valley. The Fazers, with their headlights blazing brightly, were rounding up the villagers, some of whom had been dreadfully injured by the cruel front wheels and fairings of the bikes. A thought about those headlights began to form in Smich's mind..."bright Fazer headlights?" he wondered.
And then a dark figure appeared, striding purposefully into Hornette's tent, emerging again a few seconds later. A long black cape flowed out behind a horribly disfigured black visage. Darth Fazer! He grabbed a villager - a young lad with pointed sideburns, wearing a tight fitting pink leather outfit - by the throat and lifted him from the ground. He seemed to be asking him a question, but the man just spat on that terrible mask and stuck his tongue out. Fazer threw him fully twenty feet away, like the ragdoll 'Woody' from Disney's Toy Story. Then Fazer turned and beckoned someone from the shadows. Slowly, crawling on all fours, cowering, Wes appeared.
"HE'S the one that followed you to the village, by all accounts!" said Hornette. "Do you recognise him?" "Sadly, Yes,"said Smich. "It's the Weasel or more commonly, Wes. I don't know how but he must have followed me back through time, riding the temporal wake perhaps. He must have been the one who told Darth Fazer of the whereabouts of your village." "Then I shall kill him with my bare hands and avenge my people," growled Hornette huskily.
"I was hoping to restore him to his former self somehow. He used to ride a Hornet you know. We all knew it was a restricted one but he pretended to have a full power version and we thought he was a good kid. Then Fazer got his claws into him, and he tried to kill my friend StevieJay," Smich explained.
"StevieJay?" Hornette's eyes softened. "You know him, too?" "Yes. Why. Do you?" answered Smich curiously. But Hornette averted her gaze and changed the subject. "Listen!"
"Where is Twigboy?" Fazer boomed as he towered over the prostrate Wes, who started to mumble incoherently. Then suddenly, Fazer pointed up the hillside RIGHT AT THEM! The headlights of the Fazers all turned to point towards the group. Headlights! Smich thought. Thats it! Those bikes have 2002 model year headlights! They don't exist yet in the time I come from! They're from MY future! Someone has brought them back in time to affect something that's going to happen in my present! "I've got to get back to my bike!" he said to Hornette. "But it's on the other side of the valley! And the Fazers are starting up the hill to catch us!"

Chapter 11

They stared down the hillside as the Fazer army started towards them, led by a man in green tights and a green smock with a pointed green hood carrying a bow and arrow. Darth Fazer followed behind, flanked by guards and the weasel, Wes. To Smich, it felt like Fazer's eyes were burning right into his deepest soul. He felt paralysed, frozen in fear, as a sense of terrible, inevitable forboding sapped the strength from him. "Come!" Hornette said. "I know of a place to hide. But we must hurry!" They clambered backwards, away from the approaching hordes, only to be confronted by the Lancaster bomber roaring towards them once more. "Hahahahaha!" cried the pilot. "Prepare to meet your makers, scumbags! This shall be your swansong, mark my words!" But just as the bomb bay doors opened, something seemed to get caught up in the starboard propellor. The pilot's grin crumbled as the plane veered off towards his own army. He didn't have a hope of landing the plane. It had flat tyres, so he banked it off safely and disappeared into the distance. Smich and Hornette looked around the group of surviving villagers. One of them pushed his glasses up his nose and nodded sheepishly. "Thank god for your hairnet Mark! Well done!" said Hornette. "It were all I could think of. I just threw it, like." Mark replied.
They moved quickly through the undergrowth until they arrived at a rocky outcrop strewn with boulders. Some of the villagers pushed at one of them and, rolling to one side, it revealed the entrance to a cave. Hornette ushered them all inside, and they manouvered the stone back in place. "We should be safe here for a while. Light the candles," ordered Hornette. Dim, flickering light filled the chamber.
Luxurious animal fur rugs were strewn everywhere, and in the centre was a pool, the fluid in it perfectly still. As he approached it, Smich said,"What's this? It smells of strawberry." "It is my pool of pleasure. But for some," her eyes glistened,"the difference between pleasure and pain is not easily perceived." Something was moving under the surface, and Hornette prodded at it sharply with a long stick. Slowly, a head emerged, gasping, and Smich saw why the liquid was so still. It was not liquid at all. It was jelly. The rest of the figure emerged, and Smich struggled to stifle a snigger. "Twigboy? Thank god! " Dressed in a soggy tigerskin loincloth and a studded dog collar, StevieJay tried to smile confidently, but the dummy in his mouth prevented him doing so. "Shut. UP." Hornette slapped him hard, and StevieJay fell backwards into the jelly. "Now, what do you say?" She took the dummy out of his mouth and pressed her foot under his chin. "Thank-you, Ma'am. May I have another!" said StevieJay. "Good boy" she said and leant over to smack him again. "Wait!" said Smich. "I want to know what the hell he's doing here! In THERE!" "Permission to speak really quite urgently Ma'am!" StevieJay said, his arm pointing up in the air. "Very well" said Hornette. "Speak, worm." "I was hiding. You never know who's gonna come in here these days!" StevieJay explained. "But how can you let her treat you like this?" Smich was appalled. "Whaddya mean? I'm lovin' every minute of it, mate!" With that Hornette pushed his head into the jelly with her foot. "He arrived in the village some days before yourself, Smich. I had thought he was working for Darth Fazer, but realising he was in fact quite harmless to us, I have...put him to work in this cave for the time being." "Won't he drown?" asked Smich. "Pardon?" Hornette seemed puzzled. Smich pointed to the pool as a bubble of air rose lazily through the jelly to the surface, emerging with a loud pop. "Oh! Of course!" She pulled him from the jelly, and slapped him hard across the face again. "Thank-you Ma'am, may I have another," StevieJay beamed.
Smich said, "But what are you doing HERE. In history." "You told me to come here," StevieJay explained. "You told me about the timeswitch. Told me to come back and change history. Don't you remember?" "No, mate. I don't. I haven't even got back to the future yet." StevieJay's smile dropped. "Don't know how to tell you this, mate. But you told me all this just before Darth Fazer killed you."

Chapter 12

"Thank you Ma'am, may I have another!" StevieJay winced at this latest blow. "Shouldn't have said that, should I?" He looked nervously over at Smich, his bottom lip trembling slightly. "After all, you might have changed the future by changing the...er...past?" Then, he could contain himself no longer, and burst into tears. "Now now, my little worm," Hornette stroked his hair. "I didn't mean to hit you quite so hard. How can you say that our friend Smich was killed? He stands here before us plain as day!" StevieJay sobbed, "I saw it with me own eyes. It was terrible! Darth Fazer was..."
"STOP!" Smich bellowed. "I'm not gonna go round second guessing everything I do to avoid a situation that may or may not get me killed in a future that may or may not er, have happened. Oh, you know what I f*cking mean!" Everybody in the cave stared at him blankly. He continued, "Look, I've got to get back to the future. Back to my bike, I mean. Can we go now?" Hornette climbed to peer over the rocks outside. StevieJay looked up at her and his loincloth began to stir as the tears dried on his cheeks. "I see your still the same old StevieJay, even in pre-history, mate!" said Smich. "Hehehe," said StevieJay, crossing his legs. "She hasn't found me x-ray visor yet, either, boyo!" "What's that, worm?" Hornette raised her hand as she landed next to him. "Nothing nothing nothing!" StevieJay looked a picture of pathos, and Smich marvelled at his chum's cunning...
Outside the cave Hornette led the way across the valley towards Smich's bike, avoiding the Fazer horde. StevieJay had elected to stay in the cave and guard the jelly pool, thinking that was the safest place to be in the meantime. He hadn't counted on the visitor who came crawling through a gap between the boulders guarding the entrance. "Helloooooo my loveleeeeeeee! Weeeeeeesssssal comessssss to talk, yessssssss? Bringsssss friend to meeeeeet Metalman, yessssssss?" It was Wes.
"There it is!" Smich cried. His bike was intact. "Thanks for your help, Horny. I mean Hornette. I don't know if I'll see you again." "Farewell, Smich. I feel somehow that we will meet again, though I know not how this could happen," she replied. "Goodbye!" Smich climbed onto the bike, flicked a switch on the handlebars, and vanished. Blue light flashed for an instant, then the sun began to flicker once more across the sky. Smich saw just in time that it was setting in the west now, (which meant he was travelling forwards in time) before it's movement became a solid arc, rising and falling with the seasons. The years raced by faster and faster until his home and garage appeared around him, signalling that he was once more in his own present. There was another blinding flash, and just as he flicked the time switch to "stop" the bike, he realised that the walls of his house had once again disappeared! The sun froze in the sky. And there before him, where London once stood, was a huge crater.

Chapter 13

Smich gaped at the vast crater before him. He was about ten metres from the rim, and could see some twenty miles across to the other side. It reminded him of the Grand Canyon but on an even more massive scale. Drinking in the import of the vista before him, he turned the key, and brought his Hornet to life. What had caused this? A Meteor? There wasn't a soul in sight. What year was it? His mind raced. There seemed to be no option but to try and find someone, somewhere. He was just about to ride off when he heard a voice.
"Expecting you I was, Hon." "Little Insect!" Smich swung round, and, hovering in front of his nose was a large hornet. But it wasn't the Little Insect Smich knew, but a kind of cyber-hornet. Her body was largely chrome, as were the segments of her tail. Inbetween this armour, her body glowed with pink neon light. "Cool do I not look, mmmmmmmm? Another accident I was in. Sued for more money I did. Paid for...enhancements. Many volts does my sting carry now!" "So you're still not as dangerous as Sue Tym then," Smich said. "Remember this name I do..." Little Insect mused. "Never mind," said Smich. He changed the subject. "What year is it? What the hell has happened here?" Little Insect replied,
"Year is 2002. Great explosion there was. Atomic bomb. Mmmmmm." "Has no-one survived?" asked Smich. "Very few are left," she paused. "No Fazers." Smich smiled wistfully. "No Fazers? Sounds good." "But Fazer riders there are! Smich must beware! Follow me. Someone to meet you I have." She flew off, along the rim of the crater. Smich followed. Before long they came to a large aircraft hanger that remained intact despite being so close the edge of what used to be London. As Smich parked his Hornet outside, a figure emerged clad in gold. "StevieJay! You look a deadringer for C3PO!" cried Smich to his friend. "Metalman, if you don't mind, mate!" He tapped his breastplate proudly, but then cocked his ear to the sky. A voice, deep and thunderous, bellowed, "The Yamaha Fazer may be a memory, Metalman. But I am not!"
Then, from round the side of the hangar, he appeared. Knees spread wide apart, wobbling like a poorly balanced trapeze artist. It was Darth Fazer. On a mini-moto. "Vengance or death!" he cried. But StevieJay simply walked towards his nemesis, plucked him from his bike, and drop-kicked him into the hangar. Fazer lay there, dazed, as Smich, StevieJay and Little Insect entered after him, closing the door. He tried to scrabble away but was held, as StevieJay undid the hoses and pipes in the helmet that kept Fazer alive. Gas hissed as it escaped. "Let's see who Darth fazer is after all!" said StevieJay. He lifted the face plate away...

Chapter 14

"Wait!" cried Smich. StevieJay hesitated. Darth Fazer sighed heavily. "I have to tell you something. It's important." "What?" StevieJay placed Fazer's mask back on for a moment. "My Hornet has a switch on a right handlebar. It's a time switch. You flick it back and forth to go backwards or forwards through time. You must go back in time, mate. Darth Fazer has created a history that means the end of Hornetkind." "I don't follow," said StevieJay. "Two years ago, Hornets and Fazers existed together, right?" StevieJay nodded. "That's right, until Fazer brainwashed poor Wes into attacking me and also created that android in the image of Sir James. He thought that our incompetence would bring down the Hornets Nest! He thought wrongly, as you know Smich!" "I don't know first hand, but that makes sense. Because he failed in that, he resorted to different tactics. He sent Fazers back in time to destroy all Hornets! In the history I saw, Fazers were systematically killing us all off! You have to go back and stop him," Smich said. "I don't know what you're talking about," Fazer hissed. StevieJay straightened for a moment, his golden armour creaking loudly, and Fazer seized his chance. He brought his foot up into StevieJay's groin and there was a loud clang. StevieJay screamed, "Aaaarrrrrgghhh! The vibes!"
"Look out Smich!" Little Insect warned, but too late. StevieJay fell stiffly backwards, trapping Smich on the floor. "This reminds me of when you fell off that Vauxhall Nova, you twat," said Smich. "Ah yes!" StevieJay replied. "I remember being a twat!" But Fazer was off and out the door, mounting his mini-moto, and riding round the side of the hangar. StevieJay got up first and ran after him but when he reached the corner, he stopped, shrugging his shoulders and peering down the side of the building. Smich emerged and just happened to look in the other direction. He saw Fazer fizzing unsteadily round from the other side, brandishing some kind of laser-gun. He aimed it at StevieJay. "Noooooooo!" cried Smich and leapt forward. He landed heavily on the mini-moto in the pillion position and put his arm round Fazer's throat. The bike veered off sideways, out of control now. Smich made his decision. He would not let go. StevieJay and Little Insect could only watch helplessly as the two combatants sailed off the edge of the cliff, plunging thousands of towards the crater floor below...
Smich felt his stomach lurch upwards into his ribcage; sky and land swirling across his vision; he heard a voice pierce the rushing air: "Why, Steve?"; he could not think of an answer. He could only embrace his adversary until he slammed into the ground and there was only blackness.
StevieJay scrambled down the scree, Little Insect hovering just ahead of him. As the crumpled heap that was Smich and Fazer grew larger, it became apparent that they couldn't have survived. But that didn't stop him going even faster. He nearly lost my footing as tears blurred his vision." My loyal Twigboy, lying there, his limbs snapped like...twigs. I had no idea his devotion would extend to this". They arrived at the bottom of the slope and StevieJay rushed to Smich. He was dead. Little Insect alighted on StevieJay's shoulder, but before she could say anything, he heard a weak cough. It was Fazer. He was still alive. StevieJay walked over to his shattered frame, the dark robe soaked in blood. He looked like a crow that had been run over. Twenty times.
"You b*st*rd!" StevieJay said, and ripped his faceplate off. He wasn't ready to see Matt, the Hornetmeister; but that's who it was. "YOU were Darth Fazer all along? I can't believe it!" "Mmmmmmmmm...Forseen I have that the enemy on our doorstep was," said Little Insect. "Er, pardon?" Matt said weakly, before continuing "I wasn't the enemy, StevieJay. I infiltrated the Fazer club, and tried to tempt them away from Fazers. I bought any old pile of sh*t. Even a BMW! But apart from one who bought a Falco, I had little success. Sir James and S.M.E.G. had developed a time travel switch, and I used the technology to send as many Hornets as I could back in time, where they would safe. I then called all Fazers to a meeting in London, where I blew them up with an atomic bomb." "Wey Hey!" StevieJay could barely contain his surprise. "You blew up London, just to destroy the Fazers?" "Of course! They're ugly, but you wouldn't understand. You're not as pretty as I am, StevieJay" - "Opinions vary, mate" StevieJay said kindly - "you don't understand how much it hurts to see them blight the landscape like they do. It makes me so angry I could, I c....." Matt began to fade away, his eyes glazing over. "Easy mate. Easy..." StevieJay held Matt's head nearer. He looked afraid. StevieJay reassured him,"It's okay mate. I'm not going to kiss you." "Kiss me? Hardly." There was relief on Matt's face, then confusion. "What I don't understand is, how did Fazers go back in time? I didn't send them," he said, "and I certainly didn't go back in time myself. Who is the Darth Fazer that Smich was talking about? I suppose it could be...could be....Meir......" and he died.
StevieJay straightened, and looked back up the crater wall. "Don't worry, my fair-haired little cherub," he said. "Metalman is going to find out." As he turned to leave, something caught his eye, glinting in the rubble. A couple of feet from Smich's broken body, was a small round stone. Protruding from it was a key. A Honda key. He tried to pull the key out, but it was stuck fast. "Need this you will," said Little Insect knowingly. She said nearly everything knowingly. StevieJay started up the slope.................

Chapter 15

This was just about the last thing StevieJay needed. "Hello Wes, you filthy little spunkdrip." He had left Little Insect at the rim on the crater. It seemed like ages ago, but was in fact just over a week. Smich had told him to go back in time just before he died protecting him from Fazer. Except Fazer was Matt the Hornetmeister! It was then that everything had fallen into place. Matt had sent the Hornets back in time to protect them from the bomb he'd used to blow up the Fazers. Smich had inadvertantly travelled back to the same time - the one StevieJay was now occupying - and discovered Fazers here too! So StevieJay came back on Smich's Hornet and making his home with the Hornet villagers. It was heart wrenching to see his dead chum arrive here. He had to warn him of his fate! At least that way, he would have a chance to avoid it! So Smich has left, to travel back to the future. "And now I've got the Weasel in front of me. And no doubt he's got the other Darth Fazer with him..." thought StevieJay
"Ssssspunkdrip. Very fffffunny, yessssss! Like your underwear!" Wes sniggered. "This is real tigerskin! Better than Tarzan's!" StevieJay was offended. "Yessssss. Does StevieJay have my loveleeeeeee under there?" Wes began to crawl slowly towards him, craning his neck to see underneath... "Stop right there, perv!" StevieJay bellowed."What do you mean, "your lovely"?" Wes trembled with anticipation. "The key! You have it yessssss?" He meant the key in the stone that he had found next to Smich's body after he'd fallen to his death. "What key?" he asked, trying to sound ignorant, amd succeeding. "It'ssssss mine! Mine mine mine mine mine..." "Hold on, hold on... SHUT UP you crazy little twerp." "Twerrrrrp?" Wes' American accent was very apparent as he said the word. It reminded StevieJay of the time when he'd been asked to give directions for a rideout from "Amersh-hayam" to "Notting-hayam", via "Birrrrrming-hayam". Needless to say, the riders had got lost. They couldn't reconcile the signposts with the placenames Wes had given them!
StevieJay continued, an idea forming in my alert mind, "If I had such a key, what would it be worth to you?" Wes thought for a moment, his bulbous eyes rolling upwards as he scratched his fluffy chin. "Weasel could tell you the name of the Fazzzzzzzzzzzer! Darth Fazzzzzzzzzer!" He looked round nervously. Obviously, said Fazer was not far behind. StevieJay didn't have much time. I produced the stone from under his loincloth. "Very well, Wesley!" he declared. "Tell me his identity and you shall have your lovely!" Wes' hand groped towards the stone. StevieJay moved it away. "Not 'til you tell me, you little slag!" After a long pause, Wes blurted it out: "Meirion! It'sssssssss Meirion! Now give me my lovely!" He reached forward, but StevieJay was ready for him and leapt stealthily into his jelly. "Noooooooo! Give it! GIVE IT!!" Wes screamed with rage, but then his voice was over-powered by another.
"Give what?" it thundered. A dark figure entered the cave, black cloak flowing behind. Those two mirrors sticking up and out like two stumpy antennae. God he was ugly. Wes turned, cowering. "Nothing, nothing! No no no!" He smiled sweetly at Darth Fazer. "Wes gives you enemy," he gestured at StevieJay. "Metalman, yessssssss?" StevieJay had to think fast. "Here I am, blackhead face! And my friend the Weasel here, tells me you have a GIRLS name! HAHAHAHAHA" he mocked. Wes' mouth dropped open, his head shaking. He began to wave his hands too, palms outward. "No, don't!" he gasped desperately as Fazer turned his attention to the poor wretch. "Is that so, Wes?" The menace shimmered from him, a curdling anger directed now at his minion. "You mussssstn't! You promissssssed!" Wes pleaded, but now StevieJay delivered his coup de grace. "I suppose you think," he said looking up at Fazer, "that if you kill me, you've got it made, MARION!" Panic-stricken, Wes put one hand over his mouth, the other on his head. He didn't seem to know what to do. "Marion? You told Metalman that my name is Marion?" Fazer seemed calm. But the look on Wes' face told the reality and StevieJay decided to press home his advantage. "Save yourself Wes! Come and join the Hornets again! Forget about that waster! You can have your lovely and be amongst friends again. Marion has hypnotized you. Break the spell, come and join me in the jelly!"
"No Wes!" Fazer countered, his 'eyes' beginning to glow, somewhat dimly StevieJay felt. More impressive were his 'ears' which began to twirl around and around above his head. Light glinted from the mirrors as they spun. Wes' expression became slightly vacant as he fell under Fazer's hypnotic spell. StevieJay had one more chance."Wes! Remember your buddy Smokey and his sexy leathers! Remember the fun you had together at the NEC! On the scooters, you remember? How you learnt to warm up the tyres before getting your knee down, even on scooters! Forget this loon! It's only Fazey! Not Darth Fazer! Come home with me, Wes"

Chapter 16

StevieJay could sense Wes was on the verge of a decision. His eyes were bulging, and he was racked with indecision: the remorseless, pulsating glow of Fazer's lights and twirling mirrors; or his friends from the Nest? His moral obligation to his chums seemed to be winning, which was strange, what with him being an American. Then his eyes wandered to the sacred key in the stone. Clearly, he wanted that more than anything. StevieJay held his hand out further, and he moved towards it. But suddenly they were interrupted.
By Hornette. "What's afoot?" She stood on the ledge, hands on hips, legs slightly apart. StevieJay loved it when she stood like that. "It's a five-toed appendage on the end of a leg, but that's not important right now," he answered. "Wes has decided to rejoin the Nest, haven't you Wes?" "Oh no he hasn't!" Fazer took a threatening step forward. "Ohhhhhhhhh yes he has!" StevieJay countered. "We've broken your spell over him, Blackhead! And besides, you're not the real Darth Fazer. You're Fazey Fazerman" "Fazer? The one who decimated my village, attacked my people? Prepare to die!" Hornette unsheathed her sabre. God, she was magnificent! She leapt from the ledge, her leather skirt billowing upwards as she fell, and brought her sword crashing down on Fazer's helmet. A loud ringing noise sang through the cave, as Fazer's helmet split open, revealing Meirion's ugly visage."Hahaha!" StevieJay laughed, and even Wes could not contain a giggle. But Fazey was fast. He leapt upwards, and out of the cave through an opening in it's roof near the entrance. Hornette led as they gave chase, but as they emerged outside they realised they were too late. With a loud whoooosh, the WWII bomber appeared. A large net hung beneath it, which Fazey grabbed as it sped past him. "Tally ho, chief! Squadron Leader Swanson to rescue, what!" shouted the plane's pilot, but Fazey was looking back at them, shaking his fist. "I'll be ba...ow! eech! ugh! ack!" "Sorry chief! Didn't see those trees there! Must be flying a tad low, eh?" said Swanson. The plane gained height, Fazer clinging on for dear life - much as he did when he rode his Fazer - and soon they were gone.
"Well!" StevieJay said. "That was an eventful half hour! You came back just in time, sweetness!" Hornette was not impressed. She slapped him, hard, and he fell back. "I can't leave you for five minutes, can I, worm? But I suppose we must be grateful for small mercies. It's good to have you back with us Wes." "Yessssssss. Weasel issss with Hornets now. With hissss lovely! Weasel suggestssss we go to village. Village sssssssafe now yessssssss!" Hornette said, "That's a good idea. Let us see what remains of our homestead. Has the sacred Hornet survived intact I wonder?" Wes' eyes shone with anticipation.
They emerged from the undergrowth and found themselves back in the village. But for a few villagers, it was deserted. An old woman hobbled clumsily across the main clearing. She wore a blue and white patterned headscarf, but was otherwise poorly protected from the elements. StevieJay stopped her. "How many villagers are left?" he asked. She looked up at him, her craggy face vaguely familiar. "Yallah, yallah" she mumbled, shaking her head, and then shuffled off. "What did she say?" asked Hornette "I don't know ma'am. Sounded like Afghani to me," StevieJay replied. They reached the pen, and there she was: the sacred Hornet, safe and sound. StevieJay inspected her closely (noting with interest that the chassis plate read 000001-the very first Hornet! No wonder it was sacred!). Wes stroked the bike lovingly, keeping half an eye on the loincloth, where StevieJay kept the key. "Everything seems to be in order here," said Hornette. "Let us take a short rest in my tent, and drink tea." As StevieJay had been living in the jelly cave for the last few weeks, he could barely remember the tent, but everything was as he expected: scatter cushions everywhere and a large fire still smouldering in the middle. Hornette sat first, and produced what looked like small mushrooms from the pouch around her waist. "When Smich left us for the future, he and his Hornet vanished into thin air. I found these mushrooms where his bike had stood. Let us make tea with them," and she added the slender fungi to a small pot of water. Before long they sipping away happily, and for the first time in a while, things seemed to belooking brighter.
Feeling warm and comfortable, StevieJay looked around the tent once more. A few surviving villagers were here too, sitting on the brightly coloured cushions. And they were VERY brightly coloured, he realised. He looked down in front of him at a small rug, with woven squares of red blue and yellow. Something strange was happening. As he looked, the squares in his peripheral vision were rising up out of the ground towards him. But if he looked directly at them, they were flat again. He stared, constantly aware of the moving columns of colour at the edge of his sight. He looked up and saw a glowing red skeleton where Hornette had been sitting a moment ago. it turned towards him. He slurred, "I don't feel too good..."

Chapter 17

Things were getting stranger by the second. The rugs and carpets around the gloomy tent rippled like some kind of kaleidoscopic sea. Hornette glowed at StevieJay from across the fire. Next to her, Wes grovelled around, nodding and grinning. His teeth appeared to move around of their own accord as his face merged with the background and disappeared entirely. Someone across the tent announced,"I'm thinking of buying a Gold Fazer." "That would make everyone here, especially Frank, incensed," someone else replied. "Aye," murmured Frank. StevieJay began to giggle. "Hwy, this is startong to sound like Christmas!" Another voice: "It's wet outside. It looks like it rained here." "Oh stobbit!" StevieJay blurted, laughing harder. "Who said that?" "I think it was Nick," Hornette replied. But someone corrected her. "This ain't Nicholas! By the way, if you could lend me a fiver, you'll tide me over 'til next payday!" StevieJay's ribs ached, he was laughing so hard. He knew what was happening. All of them, ganging up on him. Trying to kill him. He had to escape. He tried to get up, but long arms reached out to hold him down. He couldn't see who it was, because of the tears streaming down his face as he giggled hysterically. A blurred figure sat astride him... "Yeah baby," he said, and blacked out.
Little Insect hovered, exhausted, over Smich's body. She had worked tirelessly for some days now and it had tested her vast knowledge and enormous reserves of stamina to their limits. And now came the moment of truth. She moved towards his still, peaceful face, and paused a moment.' Kill him it might', she thought to herself. 'But nothing to lose I have. Or Hornets as know them we do'. So she stung him. The final act in this daring attempt to revive him. A huge dose of Hornet venom direct to the brain! The effects would be hard to predict... After a moment, Smich's eyelids fluttered. Then opened. "Hi Li'l! What happened?" "A long story it is." She smiled.
StevieJay's ribs were still sore when he woke up later. The tent was empty, so he ventured outside.It was still daylight - just. There was some kind of argument going on over by the sacred Hornet pen. He wandered groggily over. Hornette was barking orders at anyone within ten paces of her. Some villagers ran off in different directions. As StevieJay approached, he bumped into the old woman with the blue and white headscarf. "What's going on, old woman?" he demanded. She looked offended for a moment then smiled placatingly at him. "I not knowing. I from Turkey!" "Don't you start aswell," he groaned.
Hornette had spotted StevieJay and came striding over. "Disaster! As if the loss of so many villagers wasn't enough! Now we have lost the sacred Hornet too! "But surely you need the..." StevieJay stammered. "That's right! Whoever has taken her must have not only found the key in the stone, but RELEASED IT AND RIDDEN HER AWAY!" StevieJsy fumbled under his loincloth...

Chapter 18

Wes sped down the valley howling with glee. The red Hornet beneath him swerved nimbly between the trees and bushes with the ease and smoothness of a pendulum. He had forgotten how much fun these bikes were and was glad to be rid of the "courtesy Fazer" that Meirion had lent him whilst he was under the evil spell. He flew across a large clearing, some four or five (American) football pitches in length, looking just once over his shoulder to confirm he wasn't being followed. He appeared to have made a clean getaway. When StevieJay had laughed himself unconscious, it had been almost too easy to steal the stone with the key from under his loincloth. Fumbling around down there had made his hand itch a little, but in the gloom of the tent, no-one had even noticed him slinking away. The sacred Hornet had started first turn (Hornets always do, he knew) and he was off like the wind! Now he had to get phase two of his cunning plan underway...
Wes passed a lone sheep grazing lazily as he entered the woodland at the edge of the clearing. The trees formed a thick carpet at the foot of a great gorge many thousands of feet deep. He dodged the trees with the grace of a gazelle, as the the canopy overhead grew thicker, and the ground around him darker. Back in the clearing, the sheep had grown something on it's back; a figure in black leathers with a long flowing cape. Fazey Fazerman! He picked out some of the fake wool from between his legs and patted the tank of what was, in fact, a Yamaha Fazer in disguise. "Come on Dolly," he whispered to the instrument cluster. "Let's show that two-timing weasel what happens when he tells the world I've got a girl's name." He gunned the motor to life, selected first gear and set off in pursuit - for about ten seconds. Then he stopped to inspect his back tyre, which had worn right through the canvas and punctured. Cursing the head start Wes was getting on him, he settled down to wait for another Fazer to pass by (which wouldn't be long).
StevieJay's hangover seemed to be getting worse by the minute. With his heartbeat thumping against his eardrums, he turned to face Hornette. "Sweetness darling, I'm afraid whoever it was must have stolen the key to the holy Honda from me whilst I was asleep earlier." "How did it come to be in YOUR possesion?" she asked. This magnificent woman was becoming more suspicious of him, he realised. He tried to explain."When the village was last raided, my buddy Smich picked it up to prevent it getting into the hands of the Fazers. He then had to go to the future to meet his terrible destiny, you recall. Whilst there, he gave the future me the key and I came back here with it. I've had it for the last two weeks. Lucky I didn't lose it in the jelly eh?" Hornette punched him hard in the face. He fell back, thinking that his nose might be broken. "You fool!" she spat. "Had you handed the key over to someone with brains in their head or bravery in their heart, the sacred Hornet would be safe still. But there's no use punishing you any further." "That's a shame," StevieJay said, and meant it. He loved it when she was angry.
Then something occured to him. "Has anyone seen that fat old bint with the blue and white headscarf? There's something familiar about her...perhaps she knows who took it?" "Over there!" a youngster called Smokey shouted. Their eyes followed his finger, and true enough, there she was across the yard. However, as soon as she realised she was the centre of attention though, her decrepit hobble disappeared and she started to run towards a shed at the end of the village. Hornette led the way as we gave chase. StevieJay looked briefly up the valley, and saw a flock of sheep speckling the hillside. They were making their way slowly towards the village, which seemed strange, but he was soon distracted by the unmistakeable whimper of a Fazer engine. The old woman burst out of the shed, and splintered wood flew in all directions. She narrowly avoided Hornette's sword, and the villagers grasping hands, but there was no way she was going to get past StevieJay. She went through him instead. He was suddenly in her face, as the acceleration of the bike held him against the handlebars. He pulled her headscarf back, and his worst fears were confirmed. This was no old woman. "Jake the Cat! You old woman, you!" StevieJay stuck two of his fingers up his nose, and they both fell off.

Chapter 19

"I'm ready L'il," Smich said. "Judge of your readiness I will be, hmmmm?" Little Insect replied. If she had normal eyes, instead of her luminous pink bug-type ones, they would have narrowed, Smich thought. "Limited materials I have had," she continued. "More exotic materials than stick and stone did I need. But, recovered well you have, hon. More like a real Twigboy now you look!" "Er...thanks." Smich didn't know quite how to take that, but he knew how grateful he needed to be to his hovering friend. When he'd come round, his body broken from the fall, she'd been waiting patiently at his side. She'd nursed him back to health and now she had augmented his body with toughened wood and hardest diamond collected from near to the centre of the great crater. Her multi-purpose dremel stinger had shaped these materials into a permanent armour over his body. And now he'd found his beloved Hornet and was sitting astride it, ready to go. "So I go back in time to Hornette's village, right?" L'il said, "Yes, Smich. Help StevieJay you must. Another Darth Fazer there is. Rid the world of Hornets he will!" "You coming too, L'il?" Smich asked. "Perhaps not. Time travel sickness do I get," she answered, but Smich insisted. "Don't worry L'il. Sit on my shoulder. If you barf, there won't be much of it, after all!" "Hmmmmmmm" said L'il. "Very well."
Jake tried to scramble away, but StevieJay was on him like a dose of Lemsip. "Come here, you spying scumbag. I'm gonna drown you in jelly so help me." He stopped struggling eventually, and StevieJay dragged him to his feet to face Hornette. Seeing the Smokey standing by his bike which was lying on it's side a few feet away, Jake said,"I see you are admiring my Fazer!" Smokey looked up at Jake. "Sorry m8, but it sucks like a vacuum cleaner," he said. "Hahaha - that told you, Jakey!" StevieJay laughed. "You gonna tell us who took the sacred Hornet?" "Not a chance. It won't matter soon. The Fazers are gathering," answered Jake. "Permission to torture the b*sta*rd 'til he screams, please Ma'am." StevieJay asked Hornette, trying to look as serious as he could. "Granted," said Hornette simply. "Take him to the main tent. And give him some of my mushroom tea, too. We wouldn't want him to die of thirst, would we?" "Heheheh" laughed StevieJay. "I think I'm gonna need to slip into something a little more comfortable..." Jake waited, unable to move. The tea was starting to take effect. He tried to ignore it, but the dim light in the tent was already playing tricks with his eyes.
Just then, a golden man entered and walked slightly stiffly towards him. Jake saw that he was wearing a black helmet with a green visor. "Here I.......am." said the man blankly. "It is in your nature to do one thing correctly: tremble." "You're Metalman. Fazey has told me about you," Jake said. "Enough to make you afraid?" asked Metalman. "No. I'm an engineer, you know. Nothing scares me." Metalman nodded and produced a motorbike chain from behind his back. It swayed slowly in his hand, dripping chain lube. "You may be wondering why this chain has been lubricated." said Metalman. "No, but I WAS wondering if you'd used oil or foam lube." "Very funny. But you're right. It's important. Because I don't intend to hit you with it." "Oh?", Jake began to feel just a little afraid. Metalman kneeled by Jake's head, and as Jake began to scream, he fed one end of the chain up one of Jake's nostrils. Four, five, six links disappeared easily, sliding up into his dark skull. The pain was unbearable, and the lube stung like Vicks Sinex when you haven't got a cold. Nine, ten, eleven. "There's more room up there than I thought, Jakey. Ah! Here it comes!" The chain emerged from the other nostril, coated in green gunk as well as chain lubricant. "I wode tell you a thig," Jake spluttered. "That doesn't matter, my filthy little spunkdrip. I'm enjoying every minute!" came the reply. Jake screamed again as Metalman took the emerging end of the chain in his left hand and pulled hard. Then he yanked hard with his right hand. And then again with his left. The lumpy links rubbed against Jake's suffering sinuses...

Chapter 20

Smokey looked up the valley and frowned. He'd been pleased to see his old buddy Wes was back with the Hornets, although he hadn't seemed interested in socialising much. Where had he got to now? The villagers were sitting in the main clearing now, waiting to see if Hornette's love slave, StevieJay, could find out from Jake who it was that had taken the sacred Hornet. Smokey touched Hornette's arm to attract her attention, then gestured at the hillside. "Dunno wot thatz about, m8." "Pardon?" said Hornette. "Those sheep. Never seen that many here b4. And on the other side 2." Hornette looked across the valley to the opposite flank. "You're right Smokey. I wonder what brings such a large flock here to graze?" "Not sure yet, but something looks odd about 'em." Hornette agreed. "Yes. They don't look right do they?" It wasn't just the sight of them either. At the back of the flock, one of the sheep made a clop-clopping sound as it trudged through the long grass, the clogs on it's trotters tripping it up occasionally.
StevieJay, clad in his suit of shining gold, held up the wet chain between his thumb and forefinger. "I'm only gonna ask you once, Jakey. Hopefully you won't answer me and I'll get the chance to finish the job off. Now. Who took the sacred Hornet?" Jake was dazed, unable to form the words he wanted. Amazingly, he felt the urge to giggle. But he knew that was the effect of the mushroom tea he'd been given. Eventually, he said, "Stick it up your aftermarket can, Metalman." "Hehehe," laughed StevieJay, looking at the chain which was dripping the green slime from Jake's nose (and cranial cavity). "I've had an idea." He took a nearby pot and, crouching, placed it on the floor beneath the trickling snot. After a few moments, he went outside and returned with Jake's dark blue Fazer which he placed on it's stand. He then picked up the pot and a paintbrush and said,"Time your bike had a new paintjob, boyo. Bright green should suit this piece of shite nicely. I just hope the paint doesn't slide off before it hardens." "Nooooooooo!" Jake cried. "I'll tell you everything. Anything! Just don't paint my Fazer green! I couldn't face the others!" StevieJay knelt next to Jake, and dipped the brush into the pot. Dabbing a bogey onto the tip of Jake's nose, he asked softly, "Who took the Hornet Jakey?" "Wes." Jake began to sob but his nose didn't run. There was nothing in it. "It was Wes. He went down the valley towards the forest at the bottom of the gorge. That's all I know." "There there. No need to paint your bike after all. However," StevieJay rummaged through a pile of old bike parts in the corner, "I think your Fazer would look much prettier with this yellow Hornet fuel tank, don't you think?" "You bastard! How could you?" said Jake as StevieJay got to work.
Wes rode deeper into the woods. He was glad of his Hornet headlamp. With the Fazer one, he could have hit any number of trees. Eventually, he came to his makeshift camp. He dismounted, admired the bike's funky looks for a moment, then pulled out the heavy book he had hidden beneath the tarpaulin: "The S.M.E.G Book of Motorcycle Modification" by Sir James. "Yessssssss. My loveleyyyyyyy gets the bessssssssst. Revenge on Fazzzzzzey. heeheehee."
Fazey Fazerman paused at the edge of the woods. Puncture repaired, he wondered if he would be able to catch the nimble Hornet. His Fazer was a match for the Weaselmobile anyday, he knew. But that demented little urchin was capable of amazing things. To make off with that sacred bike had been impressive, to say the least. If opportunistic. He took a deep breath, flipped down his visor and headed into the darkness.

Chapter 21

“Finisssshed!” Wes took a step back and admired the Hornet. He was glad he’d brought the S.M.E.G. manual and parts kit with him. It had a multitude of gadgets and gizmos to fit to a Hornet and he had fitted them all. The bike was only just recognisable, he thought. Suddenly, he turned, cocking his misshapen head to one side. What was that? Another motorbike? He listened keenly for a few moments, then relaxed. Must have been trees swaying in the wind. He flicked a small switch on the handlebars and activated the beacon.
Fazey let out a quiet breath. That had been too close. He had almost ridden right into Wes’ little camp, and had killed his motor just in time. Through the bushes, the sacred Hornet looked different. Large panels on the side, a strange bellypan underneath and larger than usual exhaust can. He watched as Wes switched on some kind of beeping light, then start the bike up. Fazey decided to re-mount his own machine but as he took a step backwards… Craaaaaaaack! He trod on a twig and froze. Wes didn’t seem to notice though. He simply swung his leg over the saddle, selected first gear and shot off into the undergrowth; the branches swaying back into place as if Wes had never been through them. Fazey followed.
“What’s he up to?” Hornette was starting to get anxious. StevieJay was taking too long extracting the truth from Jake, and with every moment that passed the sacred Hornet was further away. “Do u want me to c wots keepin’ him m8?” asked Smokey. “No thank you. I shall check on him myself,” she replied and walked over to the tent. She stopped outside for a moment, hearing muffled screams and StevieJay’s voice saying, “Shut up Jakey! You look fabulous mate! It’s the real you! Hahahahaha!”
She lifted the flap and went in. StevieJay was standing next to Jakey's Fazer, wearing his ridiculous gold armour. Except it wasn’t a Fazer anymore. The fairing (which she had to admit didn’t look too unattractive) had been ripped away and the bike had been fitted with a yellow Hornet fuel tank. Sitting on it was Jake, dressed as a large furry bumble bee. “What the hell is going on, StevieJay?” she asked. “Darling! Good to see you! Look at my new creation. Jake is a Hornet!” StevieJay beamed, but then doubt flickered across his face. “Sort of.” “Take that stupid metal suit of yours off you idiot,” Hornette snarled. Turning to Jake, she looked into his eyes and saw his tears, humiliation and despair. “There there Jakey,” she soothed, twirling his soft fluffy antennae through her fingers. “Count your blessings. This is the closest you’ve been to riding something as cool and good looking as a Hornet. Besides, you look kind of cute.” “Hmmmmm, Hmmmmmmf” said Jake. Hornette turned to StevieJay. “I thought you were finding out who took our sacred Hornet, not holding a fancy dress party,” she said. “I did! It was Wes, wasn’t it Jake?” Hornette punched StevieJay in the groin. It obviously hurt a lot, because he was sick on the floor. Jake squeeked with muffled laughter. “Then why didn’t you tell me? We’ve lost valuable time because of this buffoonery.” She kicked puke and dirt in StevieJay’s face. Jake, unable to laugh hard and balance with his hands tied, toppled off his Fazer. Hornette lifted his fuzzy head off and removed the gag from his mouth. “Jake. Is there anything else I need to know? I wouldn’t hesitate to leave you here with StevieJay for a while longer if I thought for one moment that you were holding out on me.” “No no, that’s okay”, said Jake as he struggled to his feet. “The only other thing is the sheep.” “The sheep in the valley around the village?” “Yes. They’re not sheep.” With that, he tried to waddle for it, his enormous yellow and black striped behind swaying from side to side. He looked just like a football club mascot.
On the hillside, some 'sheep' were holding a war council. “If we want stay under cover until the last minute, I could baaaaaaa really loudly to give the signal,” said T-cat. “No way, TC. I can baaaaaa louder than you. I should give the signal,” countered Sticks. “I could be clopping my clogs together? This would be making a most distinctive sound, yes?” said the Dutch Fazer, JB. He clacked his feet together to demonstrate. “Shut Up” said the others all at once. “I am most sorry to have been suggesting this.” JB looked crestfallen. “Oi!” interjected Rob G. “I’m the fattest one here, so I get to give the signal. Blue2, you go over to the other side of the valley and tell the others to keep their ears peeled.” “Don’t u mean eyes peeled, m8?” asked Blue2. “No. I do not. How can you hear a signal with your eyes stupid? You would SEE a signal with your eyes…” RobG paused for a second, thinking hard. “I have a cunning new plan boys. Listen carefully. And JB. Lose those bloody clogs, there’s a good Dutchman.”
Fazey burst from the edge of the forest and took off over a large mound of earth. The rear wheel of his Fazer spun madly, but he held the throttle wide open, nevertheless. He tucked his head under his fairing to get every extra bit of speed he could. He glanced over his shoulder as he raced across the clearing back towards the village still some miles away. They were still there, but closer now. He was riding for his life. He wasn’t sure if it was the modded Hornet or Wes’ riding, but he had lost the little cretin soon after he left the camp. He’d picked up the trail though, and followed it further and further through the forest. The sun had been getting low in the sky and he didn’t want to find himself lost in the dark with just a Fazer headlamp for company. After what seemed like hours, the trail of Wes’ Bridgestone led out of the woods at the far end of the gorge. Fazey had emerged into a huge meadow and slammed on the brakes. It was filled with swarming Hornets. Over a hundred of them. Led by Wes, they were heading straight for him.

Chapter 22

StevieJay sat alone in the tent, dejected as a dog that's realised he's not going walkies after all. His groin ached still, and Jake the Cat had been allowed to go free (just as the torture had been getting interesting). Worse still, it looked like his relationship with Hornette was over. That was the real reason he'd come back in time ? not so much to help the Hornets, but to help himself to Hornette. He looked at his 'Metalman' outfit strewn over the floor and wished he was back in his own time again. When Jake had made his cryptic comment about the sheep not being sheep, Hornette had rushed outside and he had heard her barking orders to everyone, taking control of the sudden crisis. God she was magnificent! Jake had grabbed his bike (was it a Fazet now? A Horner?) and made his escape. StevieJay didn't dare venture outside now in case Hornette tried to send his balls up into his pelvic cavity again. He sighed. Then, as the sounds of the villagers faded into the distance, he heard a humming sound. And a whispering. He figured someone must be guarding the tent exit, to make sure he was unable to cause any more trouble. But no, the sound was coming from behind him. He was just about to turn round when he felt a tap on his right shoulder......
Outside, the villagers collected their Hornets and assembled in the main square of the village. Hornette sat astride her own black bike, her sword resting against her throbbing exhaust. Now she looked more closely, it was obvious that Jake spoke the truth. These 'sheep' were nothing of the sort. Many of them had wheels as well as legs. And one of them was wearing clogs! They were Fazers. What was also obvious, and this perplexed her now, was that they had moved down the valley beyond the village and had effectively cut off her escape route. The head of the valley was much too steep for road bikes. Her only hope was to lead her people down the floor of the valley before the Fazers had a chance to mount a concerted attack.
"Hurry people!" she cried. "Form up behind me. Bring as many weapons as you can carry. We must leave soon!" The villagers lined up behind her, some twenty brave riders all told. No match for the two hundred or so Fazers waiting for them down the valley......
"Reckon they're gonna try and escape, eh boss?" asked T-Cat. "They've got two chances of getting out of this valley alive," replied RobG. "Jack, and @#%$. And Jack's outta town." "Haw haw haw" chuckled JB. "I am being glad we are going downhill to the valley floor! I am not used to all this wonky undulating ground. Perhaps I could build a dyke at the bottom of the valley and we could drown the handbag waving Hornets in their own village?!!!!!!" "Yeah good idea, ya stupid tulip grower," growled RobG. "Why don't you make a start on that whilst us MEN are pulverising the Hooners into the ground. Then you might drown in yer own man made lake while we're all celebrating afterwards." "You would be celebrating my drowning?" JB looked hurt. "No idiot! Celebrating our victory over the Hornets! Bloody hell! You lot obviously smoke too much of that wacky baccy." "Boss! Boss!" Blue2 came scampering up the hillside towards them. "'s all ready. There all w8ing 4 ur signal ? flashing headlamps, rite?" "Good work, Blue2" said RobG. "Let's do it."
StevieJay blew his nose and wiped his eyes. "I thought you were dead mate!"Smich smiled. "Would I let you down just when you need me the most? Ya crazy chimp! Seriously though, without Little Insect I would be a goner. She fixed me up; even sorted me out this special wooden armour. Now I really am the Twigboy!" "YOU might be a superhero," StevieJay sniffed, "but it looks like I'm a superzero. Bloody laughing stock. I was having a top laugh too. Perhaps I should have been concentrating on the big picture instead of trying to get inside Hornette's knickers. Tell you what though, I discovered who Darth Fazer really is - it's Fazey!" "Fazey Fazerman? Well that's a turn up for the books. Better not tell LittleInsect though. I think there's a bit of history between those two, if you know what I mean. "Okay brozine. but where's Little Insect now? I thought I heard a humming noise just before you came in." "She's doing a bit of reconnaissance for us, mate. Seeing how the land lies. Looks like the Fazers have surrounded the village and are about to cut off the escape route down the valley. Get yer stuff together. Metalman and Twigboy are going to war!" Little Insect fluttered into the tent. "Hello Metalman. Pleased to see you in one piece I am." "What's the story L'il?" Smich asked. "Hornette gathers the villagers," she said, "but stranded they are. Hmmmmmmmm. Blocked will the valley be, but brave are the Hornets. Battle their way through they might. Also, help comes. Many more Hornets. Arrive soon they will. Most of them." "Most of them?" StevieJay said. "Others there are. Some distance hence. Hmmmmmmmm. Strange Hornets. Unsure I am. Never seen them before have I." "Well, it looks like we're gonna be in the thick of it," said Smich. "Suit up Metalman. Let's rock and roll!"
RobG watched as Hornette and her pathetic band of Hooners set off from the village. He had only to wait a few moments and the trap would be sprung. He wished Fazey was here to see it, but there'd been no sign of him since he'd set off after Wes the weasel. JB was fidgeting, anxious. "What's the matter clogdancer?" Rob asked. "I am being worried about the paperwork," said JB. "Paperwork?" said Rob. "It's the part of this that I will be hating the most." "Why? What exactly are you intending to do to the Hornets?" "I am arresting them of course." "Good grief," said Rob and rolled his eyes. He turned away from the Dutchman and moved his thumb over the light switch on his Fazer: the signal to attack. "Any second..............any second..............." Suddenly, the ground around them was flooded in light. Rob and all the other Fazers in the valley looked up just as the sound of a screaming motor hit them. "Wait a minute. I'M supposed to give the signal," muttered Rob. And then he realised who it was. Having reached the crest of the hillside at such a rapid rate that he had taken off completely, it was Fazey! "Nice 1 Fazey!" shouted Blue2. "U gonna take up bus-jumping or summat?!" "Look out!" shouted Fazey. "They're coming! Over a hundred of 'em! HOOORNNNETTTTSSSS!" Fazey crashed to the ground, the bike bouncing as it landed. All the Fazers in the valley obviously thought Fazey's headlight was the signal, for they began to pour down the hillside towards the escaping villagers. "This is going seriously pear-shaped isn't it boss?" said JB. "You said it JB," said Rob.
At that moment they appeared. Headlights blazing, strung out along the crest like a sparkling diamond necklace, Wes and his army of Hornets stopped. Rob, JB and the other Fazers followed Fazey down into the valley to attack Hornette's band. Wes motioned down to the valley floor also, and he and his army headed down to join Hornette, who whooped with joy at seeing such a great number of Hornets being ridden in anger. Ridden to war.
"Blimey! Fazey's made quite an entrance," said Smich as he peered out of the tent down the valley. "I've got to get to him somehow." "What, to smash the filthy little tart's face in you mean?" StevieJay asked. "On the contrary mate. We've got to find a way to end this. So that we can all get back to that normal future - before Sir James and his beloved S.M.E.G. ever invented time-travel. Look at this!" he gestured at the gathering armies "It's gonna be carnage!" StevieJay stood next to Smich, and Little Insect hovered above them as they watched. Wes and his Hornets merged with Hornette's band. They accelerated. Faster and faster towards the assembled Fazer throng. Then, as if in slow-motion the two armies collided and became a seething mass of mayhem.

Chapter 23

The Hornets were fighting bravely, though still outnumbered by the Fazers. They had made crude weapons out of local fauna and the remnants of their village from the earlier attack. Now they brought these arms to bear against their mortal enemies. But the Fazers had other tactics; they were ramming the Hornets, crashing, kicking, elbowing. Anything, in fact, that would dismount the Hornet riders so that a following Fazer could run them over.
Some Horneteers had already been felled, their broken bodies lying beside their beloved motorbikes in the dust.
Hornette had been joined by her fellow female riders: MissHornet, LittleMissRoadRage, QuickChick, and FearlessFiona, amongst others. "Stay close girls," she rallied them round. "Our tactic is a simple one. They have hardly any women within their number. We should be able to distract them without too much trouble. Watch" she rode towards a Fazer4 called MoffMeister. As she approached, she drew her sword from its' scabbard behind her, whilst with the other hand, lifting her leather skirt ever so slightly. MoffMeister's face creased with concentration and he began to salivate as he came within striking distance. Transfixed on Hornette's rising skirt, he never saw the sword as it came crashing down on his head. "Sisters! Let our bodies be a weapon, as well as our brains!" Hornette yelled. "Chaaaarge!" And the women riders headed into the fray.
Meanwhile, Blue2 had confronted Smokey. They stood about four feet apart, eyeing each other warily. "I'm gonna av u m8" said Blue2, menacingly. "I ain't scared bruv. I've seen worse, an' 'ad worse. If ya wanna tlk txt, take ya best shot." "Oh yeah? 'Ow 'bout I av a go at a littl of me msg bord spk so 2 spk?" "Er, no probs m8, I'll use txt spk - an old codger like u never 'ad a mobile I s'pose?" Smokey ventured. "Ur rite. Don't need 1."
At that moment JB walked past and gave them both a tulip. "He's gotta b wiv u innit!" Smokey laughed. "Yeah, but wen dis is over, he's ded." Blue2 said. "Like U, m8" Samokey said, and lunged for his opponent's throat. He hoped to gain an advantage, knowing that Blue2, being much older, could probably text him into submission. If he misunderstood a single sentence, he was lost.
But Blue2 was quick for a pensioner. He dodged Smokey's outstretched hands and held him in an armlock. "Rite, yung'un. Listen very carefully cos I ain't gonna say dis twice."
633 was back with his - now repaired - aeroplane. Plunging down the valley, he opened fire on the hapless Hornets. "You snivelling toerags!" he shouted, peppering the bikes with bullets. "Papapapapapapapapow! Ah, Fazey!" He Spotted his leader down below. Too late, nearly! Strafing bullets just missed Fazey, as 633 pulled back at the stick, forcing the nose of the plane up. Fazerman was much too busy to notice the gunfire though. He forced his way through the throng, more interested in finding Jake than he was Hornets. "I'll have that two-timing sonofabitch, if it kills me," he vowed. Then he saw a hovering Hornet: LittleInsect. "woah woah woah" he tried to placate her as she approached. But she zoomed past him as if he wasn't there, and headed up into the sky to confront 633.
"My name's Thomas, comin' right atchya, small in size, but great in stature!" the young American Horneteer, Thomas4Moore had waited in the sidelines for his chance, and he was more than capable of doing his bit for the Hornet cause. He powered his way into the battling hordes, sliding his knee as he went. Keeling the bike over from side to side, he scythed into the Fazers, kicking and punching. Until he came to one, who was simply holding his hand out, motioning for him to stop. It was JB.
"I am arresting you for riding without due care and attention. You are the eighteenth such Hornet riding criminal I am writing a ticket for in the last half an hour. All this paperwork will be keeping me cooped up in the police station for a very long time, aren't you thinking?" "Your English is worse than mine, you stupid tulip grower. Still, if it keeps you off the road, it can't be bad, can it?" Thomas said. "Right then," said JB "I'll be adding 'talking to me in a cheeky way' to your list of offences then. Here is a fixed penalty ticket" "Fixed penalty? Like in soccer, you mean?" "Soccer? Football, you handbag waving Horneteer," JB corrected. "Humpf. How would you know? Holland didn't even qualify for the last World cup!" Thomas laughed. JB went red with rage. Then, tears rolling down his cheeks, he wandered off to find his next victim.
Up, up, LittleInsect flew higher until she was alongside 633 in his bomber. He looked across at her tiny form. "Didn't think you were still around, Littl'un!" he shouted as he swerved the plane towards her, trying to chop her up with his propellers. "Harder than that you must try, mmmmmmmmmmm?" she replied, and flew through the open canopy into 633's cockpit. He swatted the air uselessly, as LittleInsect buzzed about his head. It wasn't long, though, until she became bored and decided to sting him on the nose.
"Yeeeeouch!" 633 grabbed his reddening hooter just in time to see the approach of another plane heading straight for him. It was red, and ..... NOT a plane! It was a Hornet. With wings. And it had just fired some kind of missile at him...................... "Bye bye Fazer," said Wes, as he launched his LAFTS (Like A Fly To Sh*t) homing missile at 633. It didn't miss................
Down below, Hornette pointed to the sky and shouted, "Look, the Sacred Hornet! Come to save us all!" "Hail the Sacred Hornet!" cried the other girls. Wes passed low over them, waving happily.

Chapter 24

"I don't bloody believe it!" Smich was incredulous. "Why now? Of all the moments to conk out on me!" He kicked the fat back tyre of his Hornet, as if that might coax it into life. "No worries, bro." said StevieJay. "You can ride pillion on Da Guvnor". "Are you sure it's safe?. That rear sprocket of yours looks unreasonably large." said Smich. "Don't be rude, Chimp Daddy! You'll be fine mate. You gonna be a pussy or you gonna climb on?" "Okey dokey, pop picker! Let's find Fazey! If we can get him back to the future, we can fins a way to stop SirJames inventing time-travelling motorbikes!" Smich hopped onto his chum's Hornet. "Let's ROCK!" Steviejay gave it a full handful.
"Fuuuuuuuuuuu............!" Smich yelled, as he was tipped backwards off the bike. His quick thinking saved him, however, for he just managed to hook his feet under StevieJay's armpits. "Da Guvnor's wheelying real easy today, bud!" said StevieJay over his shoulder, as his front wheel rose smoothly into the air. "uuuuuuuck!" said Smich, as the back of his head hit the ground. "Feels like it ain't gonna flip on me this time either! Yeah baby! I'm the beez neez!" Smich tore a stomach muscle pulling himself back upright, holding on grimly as StevieJay rode in search of Fazey.
Two Horneteers, Flash Gorman and Spawny, had been captured, and were being held in a small clearing away from the main battle. They were sat facing each other, an open packet of Revels between them. T-Cat prodded Spawny. "I suppose you're wondering why we picked you two? Put your hand in the sweetie bag and take one. Any one." "Oh, I couldn't possibly do that" said Spawny. "I'm allergic to peanuts. If I pick the wrong one, I could die." "I knew you'd spot that!" T-Cat chortled. "He's bright, this one, eh, Flash?" "Oh dear" said Flash, knowing that he had the same allergy. "Take one, and eat it, NOW." T_Cat prodded Spawny again, as a few nearby Fazers placed bets amongst themselves.
"Go on kid," Flash said to Spawny. "Take the disc shaped one. They're like Minstrels." Trembling, Spawny reached into the bag. He fumbled for a moment. then quickly took his hand out and put one of the sweets into his mouth. The Fazers gawped at him for a while, then, dosappointed at the lack of reaction, began to hand their money over to RobG. "Your turn Flash. Take your pick" said T_Cat. Flash reached forward. He felt another all chocolate Minstrel, but left it for Spawny. Instead, he picked a very large round one. A Malteser? Had to be. He put it in his mouth, as the gathered Fazers placed their bets with RobG. They waited.
"Arrrrrrrgh!" Flash grabbed his throat. The Fazers cheered wildly, demanding their winnings from RobG, who'd gone very pale. "Coffee! I hate coffee ones!" Flash winked at Spawny, trying to reassure him. "It's OK mate. There's another Minstrel in there." "Bastid!" T-Cat said. He, along with all the other Fazers, were losing a lot of money to a very smug-looking RobG. "Come on Spawny, take another" Spawny groped in the bag once more, sweat pouribf off him. There it was! Flash was right! He tried to look as worried as possible, encouraging the Fazers to bet more money with RobG. Then he gobbled up the choccy and grinned. RobG pocketed more cash from the increasingly agitated Fazers. "This is a fix, I reckon." said one of them to T-Cat. "Come off it!" T-Cat said. "They've only eaten three! Get your hand in your pocket and bet more! He's bound to pick a peanut one this time."
The Fazers placed their bets, as Flash put his hand into the bag once more. Then he smiled. I think one of you might be a chocoholic. Sorry to disappoint and all that, but the bag is empty. Someone must have eaten the majority of them beforehand." Everybody looked at RobG, who wasn't exactly the slimmest Fazer. "What? You don't think........" "You git!" the gamblers shouted, and piled on top of him, trying to get their money back. Flash got up and dusted himself down. "Come on Spawny. Let's leave them to it!" they wandered off, back to the battle.
Some moments later, T-Cat emerged from the fight and picked up the Revel bag. It still had about ten Revels in it, of which at least five were peanut shaped. He sighed to himself. "We don't deserve to win this war."
"Found you!" Fazerman had spotted JakeTheCat, and was just about to grab him, when..............
"Found you!" StevieJay swept past, whilst Smich grabbed Fazerman, and placed him on the Hornet between them. "Room enough for three!. Kinda cosy on here, eh Fazey?" "Lemme Off, Lemme Off!" Fazerman writhed and struggled. "All in good time mate" said Smich. But Wes had spotted them from his position high above. "Yesssssssss! Fazey AND Metalman AND Twigboy, all together! All my Christmasssssesssss have come at once! Wes 'The Weasel' has the firepower now!" he fired a LAFTS rocket at them, it's deadly warhead fully armed. Closer, closer.........
"Go on then!" said Smich. "Flip the switch! Let's time-travel!" StevieJay complied. The three of them felt a brief flash of blue pain. Wes' missile exploded on the ground, throwing nothing but dust over the warring Fazers and Hornets.

Chapter 25

SirJames looked up. What was that? He thought he'd seen a blue flash of light. He waited a moment, tense, rigid as a pair of braced Renthal handlebars. There was no sound, except for the light whistling of the wind outside the S.M.E.G. workshop. He went back to his tinkering. Just a few more adjustments, and the time-switch would be ready to test. If it worked, he would be able to send all of the Hornets back in time, so that Matt the HornetMeister, would be able to go ahead with his plan to destroy all the Fazers. SirJames had often wondered what the plan might entail, but Matt was keeping the details a secret, although it had something to do with a disguise.
"What's the plan then, Chimp Daddy?" StevieJay said, over his shoulder. "Let me off this piece of gorforsaken shite, you........ooof!" Fazet felt StevieJay's elbow in his ribs. Smich whispered "If we've timed it right, SirJames is in there now, finishing off the first time travel switch for the Hornet. The way I figure it, we've got to take him by surprise; one of us can keep him occupied, whilst the other two get this Hornet and the one in there to come into contact with each other. If we both flick the switches simultaneously, while they're touching, that should do the trick nicely!"
"What are you trying to do then?" asked Fazey. "Destroy the time-line, so that the carnage we've just come from, never existed." said Smich. "Bit I wanted to wring Jakey's neck for grassing my Fazers up!" said Fazey. "Don't worry, you can still do that in the future." Smich lied. "Oh, OK" said Fazey. "We'd better wheel the bike a little way away, then I can take a run up and leap us through that large window into the building. Will that be surprising enough for you?" StevieJay chuckled. "I hope you know what you're doing." Fazey said. "Trust in Metalman, and you shall come to no harm. It'll be more fun than squeezing spots in a mirror." said StevieJay. "Hmmmmm. That is a lot of fun." mused Smich.
At first, the battling Hornets and Fazers thought it was an earthquake. It was the sound of motorbikes, but it was a deeper sound than you would associate with 600cc motors. Then they appeared.................
"Forseen this as well I have." LittleInsect said to herself smugly. Porkster, AndyB, Janet, MrO and others, came hurtling down into the valley, all riding brand new Hornet 900's. They were an awesome sight, twin pipes gleaming in the sun. They didn't have many accessories fitted, but at least they were different colours. The last few surviving Hornets' hopes were lifted. They had never stood a chance against so many Fazers, but now the odds were in their favour at last. T-Cat and JB watched, as these larger Hornets wreaked havoc amongst the Fazer army.
"Aren't we having any Fazer 900s, T-Cat?" JB asked. "Yamaha make a Fazer 1000, but nobody bought any. They were too expensive. Fazey had one, I think, but he's nowhere to be seen" T-Cat explained. "Then the game is well and truly up." said JB.
StevieJay accelerated hard, the front wheel of the Hornet skimming the ground as they picked up speed. They were travelling at nearly 60mph when they hit the ramp, took off, and flew the last twenty foot or so to the window. Crash! Splintered glass imploded into the S.M.E.G. workshop. SirJames dived for cover as the bike landed, StevieJay locking up the rear wheel to slew the bike round. Fazey and Smich leapt off, Fazey jumping on SirJames, pinning him to the ground, Smich jumping on the Hornet with the time switch. "Let's do it! Quick!" said Smich. "What the......?" SirJames, disorientated, could only stare as Smich and StevieJay moved the bikes so that the front wheels were touching.
"Fancy one last burnout mate?" said StevieJay. "Before we go to the place where people who've never existed go? Nice one!" laughed Smich. They spun up the rear wheels until the workshop was full of tyre smoke. "At my count, Metalman!" Smich shouted through the din of the Honda 4-pots. "I'm ready Twigboy!" StevieJay shouted back.
And everything was all white.


Matt had had a good cobweb-clearing ride. Tired, but exhilarated, he'd been really dialled in, and his Hornet had behaved as nimbly and predictably as ever. On his way home, he waited at a set of traffic lights at the top of a hill. Another bike pulled up alongside. It was a Fazer. The rider flipped up his visor and gave Matt a wink, nodding slightly. "Aye, lad."
Matt thought he recognised the stranger, though he didn't know many Fazer riders personally. He nodded back. "Fancy a race lad?" the Fazer rider asked. "Against a Fazer? Huh! Anytime mate. Where to?" The rider pointed ahead. "There. As far as the eye can see lad."
"The horizon, you mean? I've got news for you mate. The earth is round. We'll be racing forever, and will never be able to prove who's the best."
"He he he" laughed Fazey, before closing his visor and lurching away from the lights at full power.
Matt smiled.
"You're on" he said, and sped after him


or is it..............................................?

Explaining the markings on your tyres

Previous Press Releases

Been digging these out of the archives. There's more, which I will add when I've got time. I will also add the video from the Swarm at Larling.
N.B We did a whole series for UBG, which looked at the Hornet in various concepts, from a new rider's point of view, through touring, to customisation

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