Watch “The Dark Design Red Queen 360 degree video from Airship Northstar” on YouTube…A long long overdue update in a galaxy far far away 

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An unusual turn round a dark corner takes you unexpectedly to a junction….

Unfortunatly no one can be told what the Cassanova Crowley is… You have to see it for yourself! Remember, I am only offering you the truth … Good, now take the red pill and chill, this won’t hurt a bit…Image

Take a deep breath… good, now relax… This is a journey like no other….

Your mind is not your own.. Why am I even looking for Droids? Who is number one?  I am not an animal! If you’re here then who’s holding the rope?

  • There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture.

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This is not a test… You are under the Influence of Mr Cassanova Crowley…If you are a girl you may already be pregnant… if you are already pregnant then you may be a girl…

Nothing is what it seems and nowhere is safe from the mental powers of Mr Crowley (particularly if you are a girl)…

You think you’ve seen it all then!

BLAMO!

BLAMO!

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You’re helpless…and you’ve never been happier… Do you know where your girlfriend is right now? or your mother? The man that you can see on the Periphery, he’s your best friend, he’s the Duke, he’s A-number-one, he’s the Dude or El Dudeness, or Betty when you call him you can call him Al…

On odd days he plays the ukulele, tells stories with The Dark Design, and gets the girl…On even days he saves the world, kills the bald guy, and gets the girl…On the days in between, he tells stories to the world, kills the Ukulele, and gets the girl… (you’ll note… he always gets the girl…)

Ladies and Gentlemen, you have just had sex with Mr Cassanova Crowley and life from here on in will never feel quite the same…

He is adventure and if he had a middle name, it would be so dangerous that the very mention of it could destroy the universe in a technocolour explosion of gin,movie stars,fast cars, and obscene French lingerie… Image

So there you have it… Mr Cassanova Crowley has just blown your mind!!! And be thankful that’s all he blew…

And since you asked… yes!

Photo credit for Mr Cassanova Crowley by Anthony Edwards

A man with an eye for an eye

As we continue our run through the ship’s roster, please allow me to introduce a most essential member of our crew…

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Tim – Tin Eyed Tink – Tinkerton – Accordionista , banjo dueller and Keyboarder for The Dark Design.

Tink lost an eye in a knife fight with a ship’s monkey and was given the gift of farseeing by way of consolation by her Greek captain who was on some kind of Odyssey. Apparently he got the strange eye from some weavers.. Unfortunately Tink is unable to control how far ahead his vision lets him see and it’s speeding up at an exponential rate.

Will he one day be able to see the end of time? I for one am counting on it…

Photo Credit Anthony Edwards

 

The Queen is dead! Long live the Queen!

More fuel for the fire!

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I am affraid I must keep Ms Drusicilla Desilva’s story to my chest, as there are those around who would pay well for her secret and there are a lot of hungry eyes out there in the ultrarnet.

I will say this though, the circumstances surrounding her sister Julia’s death are most peculiar and I have sworn to investigate the matter thouroughly…You will no doubt have found her sister’s letter at the foot of this blog and if you have I’m sure you’ll have reached the same conclussion as I.

That said I can say that Drucilla plays the sax like a angel and sings like a demon!

I’m sure there are some more clues hidden in the lyrics of her solo number with The Dark Design – The Wages of Sin… If only I could decypher their meaning…

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Picture credit of Drucilla Desilva Anthony Edwards

Who’s Coup?

If you are following the blog or the band or indeed both then you’ll know The Dark Design is as much about the story as the music….

So then to the players…

All this week we shall be revealing a little about each of the members and offering some clues as to who they are and what their purpose in The Dark Design is…

Today we begin with a most vital character and perhaps a contender for the most important…

Professor Simpkin Nobel

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I first met Professor Simpkin Nobel in an alternative Stockholm and I knew there was something otherworldly about the man. After a few hands of cards, brandy,  some delicate questioning, and a sneaky look through Tink’s  tin eye and I was able to discern a little of the man.

His is a tale that will take time to tell. I can’t explain everything, but I can tell you that he is the sole surviving nominee of the notorious Nobel Peace Prize War and the only man in history to have successfully altered time…

His story is a difficult one to tell, as it hasn’t happened yet, and indeed it may never get a chance to happen. It’s partly from him, it’s partly from me, it’s past tense, but hasn’t happened yet and there are definitely bits missing/ made up… It took a full bottle of Brandy, but this is what he told me

“In the year 2210 The world’s scientific community came together for the first time ever and under the banner of the Nobel Peace Prize. We began a joint project to unite the human race in one single purpose…. The creation of a Time Machine…

On June 22nd 2210 during its first manned trial, the machine travelled forward in time two years. I was the pilot. To this day I can’t really explain what I saw or what I learned from that brief journey, I was only away for a few minutes. When I returned from the first ever journey in time I was terrified and quite literally unable to speak. A fellow scientist handed me an I-pen and before you can say Armageddon I had written something. It took me a moment to register that I had moved at all, but then I looked down and read…

“Hell On Earth!”

We’d destroyed our world. Through our best intentions and our hardest work we’d ruined the planet. It was the paradoxes. I think that’s why I couldn’t focus on any of it. We’d built a time machine and over the next few years we’d gone back and changed everything that was wrong.

We’d begun nobly, we saved species from extinction, overturned famines and averted disasters, but then we got sentimental and even vain; we’d spared great artists and even cultures.  Soon we became judgemental, we demonised historical figures and executed en masse, we reversed the outcomes of wars and even started some of our own.  Finally we got just plain greedy…  We stole land and mineral deposits, changed governments and all for a quick buck. I was only there for a second but I knew what I had to do. While they let me relax on a day bed n the lab I formulated my plan.

They wouldn’t listen, these were men and women of science they were just far too bloody clever for that. So while they analysed the data, I did what any sane person would have done, I built a bomb. The project was so secure that the research centre at CERN contained not only the machine, but all the research material.

Building the device was easy, the time machine was so blindly important that the facility wanted for nothing. It took me two hours to kill my colleagues and save the the world.

I am a thief and murderer Mr Cope, I executed 200 of the best minds in history. I stole their blasted machine and in doing so I saved the world… or at least saved it for a while. They will remake this machine Mr Cope and when they do they will do the same thing… If we have learned anything about human nature it’s that it’s resilient.”

Picture credit Anthony Edwards 2012

A stranger came today

Have you seen this man? You may see him in the shadows, or on the edge of your vision. He will appear vague and incorporeal at first but we have reason to suspect that this will change.
The plot begins as a stream, but as we know all streams will one day lead to the ocean and who doesn’t love the sea…

 

Of course what shore we’ll wash up on is anyone’s guess…

 

Watch for the stranger…

If you are following this blog and or the plot, then the next paragraph will probably make sense to you if not then stick with us (or go back a few posts…)

This is a little live snippet of the Dark Design playing The Red Queen live for the first time ever at Rae Gee’s book launch for Mars on the Rise….

An Extract fromThe Red Queen by The Dark Design

So basically when the planets align and the we can get the novella, the song and the band all together at the same time then something very special is going to happen and happen spectacularly….

I shall post more extracts soon and the recording is waiting

An extract from the forthcoming novella The Red Queen

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An extract from The Red Queen… Once Again I am pleased to be able to offer up an image, which conjures the essence of the tale… this image, once again captured by my Spectramera is a vision of the Enitiy who rules the Crimson Palace, but I am glad to say a safer version…  If this is you then get in touch because there is something I would like to tell you… (These images are all my own work by the way)

Here Follows the Prologue of The Red Queen.

I bit Caruthers. They’ll have to do it now. Three taps with Thompson’s hammers and I’ll be free. In honesty, I thought it would be easy. An ounce of delirium, a pinch of night terror and a good old glut of faecal flinging, and I was certain they would have had me hard strapped on the stretcher on my way to B wing before the end of the first night shift. But as with most of my damned life, there’s a problem; Mather believes me.

I’m not surprised, not truly. Conviction is a powerful friend and a more fearsome foe. There are those with the gift to read it like a trail. I had that gift, it served me well in the Raj. Fair Findlay they called me, in the letters I’d  get from the furthest corners of that sweaty annex. Sincerest friend, they’d always start, and the darkest deeds would follow. Rape, ravishment, buggery, all the best that war brings out in the worst of us. I should have known better, I should have kept have my blasted mouth shut.  Should have, could have, Christ knows why I just didn’t.  I’d doubt my tale too, but then I had the pleasure of watching it unfold with my own dull eyes.

I was never one to pause; I’ve a chest, covered in gold and silver coins and ribbons that say I know how to make a quick call.  I’ve saved and damned men on my whim and my Lady Empire has praised and doomed me by telegram, handshake and shallow courtesy. I do not fear the crossroads in life, to that contrary, I seek them out. But I’d be a fool if I said I own no regrets and it was at just such a junction where this most peculiar story truly begins.

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Twelve months leave.  I read and re read the telegram almost hourly as I made the month long steamer trip back from India.  I could have done the whole thing by air in a week, but I have my reasons. If pressed, I might say I’d always considered myself a grounded sort and I’d tell you that I despise the eerie feeling of flight, or perhaps I’d brag that I was notorious among the Zeppelin Packets as a risky sort thanks to the infamous duel on the bridge of The Nancy, but here, an hour before I might lose my very mind, I don’t see the harm in telling the truth.  You see, my sleep is, even to this day, plagued by the screams, the sounds, and mercy, the aromas, I witnessed in the moments after the fire that claimed the Air Liner The Carpathian,

Fifty two weeks of thumb twiddling, gin drinking and whore baiting. They may as well have sentenced me to a year in Strangeways. I was not a man who did nothing well. I told myself on the trip that I’d make a proper nuisance of myself in the clubs of London and before I could blink they’d have me back on the next steamer.

The trip itself was uneventful, which only made my predicament worse. All play with no playmates and no work makes Findlay a dull man indeed. Despite myself, I kept to my cabin for most of the last leg; I stuffed my pretty silver pipe with poppy powder and smoked like the ship itself. The sway of the sea was most agreeable and before I could say Straits of Gibraltar, I found myself on the prow of the vessel staring up the muddy Thames towards the great plume of smoke that I knew to be London.

I have never suffered the awful blight of sea sickness and despite the warnings of the liberal set I have never had so much as a head-ache from a pipe of opium, but I will confess, I felt a little rum that morning as we chugged up the filthy estuary. Whatever the cause of my malaise, it most certainly contributed to my failure to spot the figure, who must have approached with canny stealth.

“I do wish sometimes there were warmer sights to welcome one back,” he said.

It took me a moment to register that I had been addressed and another to respond.

“Yes, “ was all that I could muster, but despite my curtness, my new colleague clearly intended to chat.

“Travelled far? “ he asked, I nodded and turned to face him with what I hoped would be a withering glance. “Colonel Findlay, “he said, at once dropping the act,”I am not here by chance sir and clearly you are not a man of patience…” I nodded, but maintained my dagger-stare.

“So who are you? And who sent you?”

“Imperial Defence sent me and my name is Forsyth, Bertrand Forsyth, but you can call me Bertie”

“I’ll do no such thing,” I replied. “Familiarity like that sir is the fever of her Majesty’s Commonwealth.” I lied, and it dawned on me that I already hated this Bertie fellow quite irrationally.

“As you wish, Colonel.”

“So Mr Forsyth, are we to chat about the weather before you get to the point? Let me guess, you’d like an after dinner speaker at some treacherous members club? Or would you have a rogue platoon storm a diamond mine on the Dark Continent? Or do the old boys at I.D. simply want someone to play conkers with the cloaks at M.I.6?”

“It’s a matter of imperial security; I can tell you nothing here.”

“Christ man! I know that! The clue is embossed in gilt letters on your master’s fine oak doors. But who here on the deserted prow of this bloody steamer is going to give the ass of a rat what nonsense your senile masters have concocted in a bid to drag you out here on this vile fluid stream of effluence.” I summed him up then, gauged his reactions.

There was a time in my life when I might have hurled him into the river for no more than his mysterious nature. A shiver traversed the length of my backbone as I exorcised the thought that once I could have been so callous. Forsyth seemed to be making his own assumptions and a few seconds passed silently. Save for the thrum of the ship’s great pistons and the sound of her wheels churning the murky Thames, there was no other noise. We stood like that for what felt like a swift eternity. Then suddenly he spoke.

“There are those within my office, who believe we are under threat of invasion.”

“Her Majesty’s Empire? poppycock, “I said. “There’s not a power on earth with the might, manpower or technology to threaten these shores.”

“I agree Colonel, but then I am just a messenger.” As he spoke he knelt down and placed a leather satchel by my feet. “Inside you will find a hundred pounds and an invitation. I have done my duty Colonel Findlay; I can only hope you do yours.”

To my disservice, I didn’t even deign to give the man a last glance and being in no mood for his cloak and dagger nonsense I picked up the satchel he had laid at my feet and up-ended its contents all over the steamer’s quarter deck.

My impatience cost me £10, if the stranger had told the truth about the bag’s contents and I see no profit in his dishonesty. The breeze had been all too sudden and brief and before I could register what was happening, paper snowed all around me. I could discern charts and maps and obviously a number of bank notes. Instinctively I set my dull muscles to work, ploughing after the sheets which were dancing out towards the sea and oblivion.

I can’t say I got them all and I’d like to say that perhaps if I had, then I wouldn’t have taken the assignment, but to my shame I failed even to read all the scraps that I did save. All I could think about was the money I had squandered.  I without the means to procure a room upon dismemberment, had found someone who clearly could. As I hastily shoved the documents back into the satchel I noticed that I hadn’t emptied it completely and there inside, still intact was a letter sealed with an Imperial Seal.

When I found the initials M.O.I.D on the envelope, I nearly threw the whole lot into the  river. Don’t get me wrong, I am no coward and my wanderlust and adventurous spirit have piqued the interest of scribblers the world over, but if there’s one thing I cannot abide it’s  a meddler and nowhere in the world is so well wrapped in the affairs of the honest man than the Ministry of Imperial Defence. Still I was in need of a brandy and since I knew who was buying I cracked the seal and sat down to read.

As I tried to read and re read the letter to myself I became aware of the city appearing in the periphery.  The sights, sounds, and unfortunately the smell of the Imperial Capital were overwhelming. The sky was littered with aircraft. Some were ornate and others were solid and vast, while the majority appeared to little more than cheap silk balloons with charcoal burners. I took a deep breath and instantly regretted it. The air was thick with smoke, but it wasn’t invasive enough to spare me from the rank stench of effluence.

I distracted myself by watching an approaching air liner. She had been shadowing the steamer for a couple of hours, using the ship’s smokestack as a cheap thermal. It appeared she had finally grown tired of the piggy back and was making ready for her own jauntl to the city. She had doubled her speed during the minutes I watched her and would soon over take the steamer. I took a seat on a wrought iron bench at the ship’s prow to watch the airship make her final approach.

She was directly over-head, and had dropped to barely 20 feet from our spinnaker and I could clearly make out her colours and even her name plate. The Delft was a Dutch boat of the Royal Dutch Trading Company and had been built for those who liked a luxury. She was a vision of teak and filigree gold. As she passed overhead she gunned her motors and her props roared in the morning air. I needed a hand to keep my hat and the impromptu blast scattered the missing fragments of my satchel and the very letter I was holding into the estuary. I caught the first line of the second paragraph and the words stuck in my throat… Go to the Red Planet and neutralize the threatThe Delft had nearly cleared my position when I heard a shout from her stern and she opened her cess tanks covering me in month old shit and piss.   The red mist descended on me and I ran for my cabin and for revenge. I read the missing MOID letter over and over in my head as I made my way to my deck and a single thought escaped the confines of my furious mind. Time to see just how powerful my new friends were…

The Design Darkens

So here’s the thing… The stories of The Dark Design are more than mere  songs, and the songs of The Dark Design are more than mere stories…

Each is a work of art and each exists as its own unique entity… What follows now is the The Tale of The Red Queen… An honest and stark warning about what truly lies on Mars the Red Planet… We will begin with the lyrics to the song and tomorrow I will post an extract from the forth coming novella of the same name… and sometime in the future I will post a link to the song itself… Then, when all three are ready we will release them all….

This image which I captured with my Spectramera of a latter day Boadicea conjures the image of the struggle beautifully and once again if this is you then please get in touch, for there is something you need to know…

Red Queen…

This is the tale of the Red Queen

or maybe it was all just an opium dream

I can pretend it didn’t happen if you think that will help…

I can’t tell you exactly how we got there, but I’ll tell why we went…

For Queen and country the letter said…

Determine the threat of invasion and if needs be prevent it…

But our mission To Mars was doomed from the start….

12 months of planning, but it still fell apart…

The letter itself was curt… Go to the red planet and neutralise the threat…

A service to the Empire… which we’ll never forget…

Well that was a lie if nothing else…

I don’t suppose we really had much of a choice…

But all I remember is death… and death had such a beautiful voice…

She Said…

Come to me my love…

It was January 1893 when I met the nine others who would travel with me…

There were ten of us at the journey’s start…but  I‘m the only one that made it back…

Death was with us before we left… it was almost as if our enemy lacked patience…

Jone;s went mad in the cold dark void and before he shot himself, he shot Smith and stabbed Jonny boy…

Cole’s cabin burned up on entry, I reached for the extinguisher, but found it empty…

Foley’s harness failed as we landed, and despite brave attempts, he could not be resuscitated…

Ten had set out for the surface of Mars, which only five us lived long enough to stand upon. And all the while I heard that voice…

It said….

Come to me my love…

I’d expected rocks, I had expected dust I hadn’t really expected much, but I never imagined that I would see a scarlet palace on a crimson sea…

We buried our dead, sang God save the Queen and then made our way to the palisade…If I knew then what I know now there would be four more men with me right  now…

As we approached from the southern shore we crossed a rusty drawbridge over a ruby moat…

There were no guards, no battlements the castle looked completely defenceless…

but that’s just what she had intended…and the voice grew ever closer…

It said…

Come to me my love…

And there on a throne of souls was the Martian queen in a robe of bones….A voice in my head said strangle Mcabe and I saw her smile as I turned to my friend…

As I reached out to grab his neck I saw Tommy Vines do the same to Dave… Old doctor Bill tried to escape, but the Martian queen wasn’t finished yet…

Life faded from my friend and he turned blue, I turned back to Tommy and he was finished too…the Red Queen had given Bill a knife and in return he’d given her his life…

In the end there was Tommy and I and we both knew one of us had to die… I knew then it wouldn’t be me… because only the winner would get the Martian Queen…

She said…

Kill for me my love…

and I did…

As I knelt before her with Tommy’s head in my lap, she smiled she laughed, then she clapped…

It was more than I could ever have hoped, but then she opened her scarlet lips and spoke..

Your planet had nothing to fear…

For I am just a prisoner here … I can never leave these walls

Let alone launch an assault…

But I greatly admire your desire…

And by feeding on it I survive…

And you brought enough here to me

To last a hundred years

But a girl’s got to eat

And soon I’ll need fresher meat

So I’m sending you home

So you can tell others to come…

Come to me My Love…

steam punk ventriloquist puppet master

May 20th

Despite my best efforts I am having trouble escaping the feeling that my plans are not entirely my own. It’s almost as if I am being steered by some unseen figure. I have consulted the usual sources and it seems there may be a way to meet my maker, so to speak.

So I may have to make my way to Scotland soon for reasons I am not at liberty to divulge at this moment.

I captured the very essence of my current malaise recently with my spectramera at a soiree on the planet Earth… If this is you, then please contact me immediately as I have information you may like…

I do so love the thrill of the Hunt, that said… I’m pretty confident I’m not the only one on the prowl and I hate to admit it, but I can’t help feeling like I’ve sprouted a bushy tail… (still… at least this time it’s only a feeling)

Your Friend,

Othniel Cope