With the release of our cracking Christmas caper, Curse of the Infernal Euphonia, we present a quick catch-up guide to the Honest Tommy omniverse, featuring the characters you'll encounter in our seasonal spectacular, and what exactly they've been up to while Yuletide has drawn near....
"I'm afraid he's rather worse than Santa."
— Princess Victoria
The hero of our festive tale, Captain Dashworth helms the Jolly Good as it blasts into adventure across the Fifteen Galaxies, fighting the foes of the British Empire and saving the miserable peons of the Realm and Star Territories. He's also a big fibbing fraud who got his commission after blowing up a planet and making a secret pact with the Princess Royal.
Once a lowly Tea Ambassador with the Mother's Brown company in London, Dashworth hoped to become a hero of space and fable by regaling England with his daring exploits in the pages of his Penny Amazings, a series of torrid chapbooks scribbled by his mucky writer-for-hire Quilton. Ensnaring a crew of rogues and vagabonds, Dashworth rescued Princess Victoria on Vorgak 3, and has seen off everything from genocidal Graven Monks to a sinister plot simmering beneath London itself. He even encountered a disembodied voice that briefly inhabited his Penny Amazings, and after a sensational adventure was able to install this Great Narrator into Victoria's secret library hidden under the Royal Observatory.
After all that, he thinks he's due a splash of port and a roaring fireside this Christmas, and hopes to find a willing Princess Royal to share them both.
"The Queen's speech is in jeopardy. I can't think of a more appropriate time for some derring-do."
As Princess Royal of the British Empire, one is expected to behave with a certain decorum. And while Victoria, daughter of the Empress Supreme and England's darling, knows royal protocol like the stock of her blazer pistol, she also knows exactly how to bypass stuffy officials and fawning Stewards to have a suitably merry Christmas.
Accompanied by her armoured Ladies-in-Waiting and an arsenal of very useful and highly destructive weaponry, Princess Victoria has embarked on untold missions across the Space Empire in the hopes of bringing peace and goodwill, and having herself a cracking time of it as well. She's seen off the Mage of Spiders and given killer robots the run-around, but now faces one of her most trying tests to date: a twelve-course dinner with her colossal extended family, who enjoy eating about as much as they do bending the ear of a Princess Royal with the patience of a saint.
Privately, Victoria hopes something dangerous and exciting will happen, preferably before Uncle Bunstard starts telling his war stories.
Commander Gwen Broadchest
"It's Christmas! I want at least one proper adventure before the year's out."
The reluctant commander of the Jolly Good and former skivvy with the grand Space Navy, Gwen has been at odds with Dashworth since first strong-arming her way aboard his rocket ship to escape the royal marines. Having longed for adventure while cooped up in the Navy's grimy freighters, Gwen now has to contend with Dashworth's bloated ego which, when set against her own equally inflated sense of superiority, leaves very little room on deck for anybody else.
The daughter of the great General Broadchest, hero of Corvanus, and heir to a British dynasty of broad-chested warlords, Gwen wants no part of her blood-soaked ancestry, and intends on striking her own blazing trail through the cosmos. Unfortunately, with Dashworth off on a jaunt on Earth, Gwen is stuck in the winter doldrums with Ensign Benson, whose idea of a jolly Christmas is really getting to grips with the mould on Deck Four.
"It's just so exciting sir! I get to clean up all of your messes! The Professor makes a right state of the table—that's how I know she's enjoying it, you see."
Captain Dashworth's loyal manservant and general dogsbody aboard the Jolly Good, Benson is at his happiest when scrubbing the decks or Dashworth's stubborn bunions. As a former native of Vorgak 3 volunteered up to the British Army before his family quickly packed up and shipped out of the quadrene, Benson can't believe his luck at getting to jet about the cosmos in the company of his hero.
And not only that, but he picked up a pair of odd socks while stocking up for Christmas in the bazaars on Sentum Central, so things are really coming up Benson this year.
"Season's greetings to you and yours. I've decided I'm going to kill you all."
The resident science officer aboard the Jolly Good and the ship's genius inventor, Runcible is Professor Emeritus of the Royal Academy and creator of a thousand contraptions and gizmos that have made Babbage and Brunel weep into their hats. On the downside, she's utterly deranged, and quite possibly psychotic several times over.
The very definition of a mad professor, Runcible has a brain that exists beyond the confines of this reality or any other, and bounces up and down the length of her own timeline like a cat with a ball of string—if that cat was capable of inventing an army of murderbots for the times when she really needs to dispose of whoever happens to be between her and a really cosmic idea.
The Cosmos at Christmas
"The rampaging berserkers can't all have gone home for Christmas, surely?"
— Gwen Broadchest
As the darkest nights draw in and the deep snows fall across the colonies and Crown dependencies of the British Empire, the cosmic Realm settles in for another Christmas among the stars.
While the peons of London put up strings of fairy lights and try not to mug quite as many alien tourists, beings across the Fifteen Galaxies celebrate their own, unique traditions. The streets of the Glim Blazar fairly glitter with festivities honouring the Winter Queen, and on the Tela de Arañó the Morris dancers add some extra jingle to their bells. Elsewhere, Bombooshi elders compete to consume as many of their young as possible in a tradition dating back... well, hardly very far at all considering the species' sadly truncated lifespan. Mythweavers on Gos fill the night skies with carols, and the Voloren gather to bring much-needed light to their nebula and a dozen worlds.
At this time of year, a space-farer's thoughts turn to home, and a grand murmuration begins as the spacecraft pootling through the cosmos drift for port to be with families, friends, and loved ones. Of course, this necessarily becomes a bit of a problem for space captains with loved ones in several ports, but the occasional deep-space mutiny only enlivens the festive spirit.
In London, as the royal family feasts, plans are afoot to broadcast a grand Queen's speech to the Realm, and the strangest of devices is wheeled into Buckingham Palace carrying not only the hopes of a princess, but the infernal inner workings of a Yuletide plot that could seed the stars with misery and all things antithetical to the spirit of Christmas and goodwill to all beings.
Don't miss Curse of the Infernal Euphonia, or else you might receive a visit from the Krampus, who definitely won't be leaving good tidings in your stocking....