The Leader of the Band was the first bonus story to the 2020 Forgotten Heroines of 10,000 Dawns April Fools' Day event, written exlusively for the anthology. It was written by James Wylder and slotted in-between Prototype and Go On, Toddle Along, explaining the shift in the Tourist's characterisation.
After a prologue reveals how the Resident helped the Tourist escape the 10,000 Drafts by draining some of her darkness away, the narrative catches up with the current adventures of the Forgotten Heroines. The Tourist's attempt to give a lecture to her travelling companions about something-or-other are impaired by her drowsiness, as the Tourist has not, in fact, slept in days — but this doesn't stop her from formulating a whole new plan to gain notoriety within the 10,000 Dawns, inspired by Pathway's singing talent: form a band.
As Pathway and Shona are in fact the only members of the crew to know the first thing about music, the Tourist heads to the nearest house of the Resident and asks her old friend to teach them how to be a band, which they do via a montage. Soon, the Forgotten Heroines head for the View. Their first performance goes well, although they need Pathway to improvise a love ballad to “you” to fill their time slot completely.
However, before they can continue in this “battle of the bands,” the Resident, who was present in the audience, pulls the Tourist aside and forcibly returns her darkness to her, as she misses the old grimdark Tourist and the unhealthy codependent relationship she shared with the Resident in those days. The re-embittered Tourist prepares to dump the other Forgotten Heroines, but is convinced by a seductive Ashlyn Oswin to instead only get rid of Miranda, Shona and Pathway, whom she soon leaves at a convenience store without an explanation or goodbye.
- The Tourist
- The Resident
- Ashlyn Oswin
- Shona Daniels
- The Resident's Golden Retriever
- The Gods of Warfarin
- Treyek the Thrice Damned
- Jeffrey Jefferson
- Marie the Ripper
- Shapeshifter Model-8
- Ziggy Stardust
- Marie the Ripper's lover
- The View usually imposes temporal locks on its events, but did not (yet) in the case of the “battle of the bands” to allow “late early arrivals” to make up for the initially-underwhelming first iteration of the event.
- Pathway's glam getup (with an “absolutely ridiculous white and blue jumpsuit”) makes her feel “like Ziggy Stardust”.
- Shapeshifter Model-8 comes from “the arms factories of a secret sect of assassins”. They keep switching between the appearances of various young and “pretty” people of miscellaenous genders, and point out that they are incapable of having opinions of their own, instead merely mirroring thoughts and ideas expressed in their presence.
- The story elaborates on Pathway's relationship with “you”, whose beginnings were shown in PROSE: Prototype.
- The story sets the stage for, and gives an in-universe explanation of, PROSE: Go On, Toddle Along, a much more biting satire than other stories in the Forgotten Heroines series which featured a notably different Tourist and status-quo.
- The fate of Shona, Miranda and Pathway in the convenience store, as well as the Tourist's confrontation with the Resident and restoration to a less aggressive self, are depicted in the second bonus episode, PROSE: The Convenience Store.
- Treyek the Thrice Damned's participation in the music contest has them described as “fresh from their gig on the Great Cosmic Baking Contest”; indeed, the character previously appeared in Episode 12 of Series 1 of Lady Aesculapius, PROSE: The Great Cosmic Bake-Off.
Behind the scenes
Th Leader of the Band was released in July of 2020 in ''The Forgotten Heroines of 10,000 Dawns.