[Book III, Act VI, Scene I. In The Box. CHASTITY, HARVEY, FAETAN, ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT and ALICE have just appeared, crammed into a box, which is about six feet high, four feet wide and three feet deep. It is pitch dark, but the box is clearly filled with some kind of clothing.]

Alice : Well, I don't think this is Daddy's study!

Harvey : [Spits out a mothball] By the saints, where the blue blazes are we? [Tries to push himself upwards] [Tries to push himself upwards]

Austin : [To Harvey] Not close enough to the nearest tailor.

Clint : [Tu Austin] Careful with what you do back there, Lawyer.

Alice : Maybe we're too close to the tailor? [Struggles to move] Or too close to Austin and Clint! [Struggles some more]

[Suddenly there is a bang, and the box flies open, sending everyone sprawling to the floor, covered in all sorts of women's clothes. The party are in what appears to be a young girl's bedroom, which is decorated in pink and lace, and has teddy bears all over the place. Standing here is a stern looking woman, PENELOPE BASSETT-SHORT.]

Penelope : [To Alice] Ah, there you are! I might have known you were in here! And Harvey? I never expected you to come out of the closet, darling! Who are these people?

Alice : [Wide eyed in shock, with her dress up around her chin, looking backwards up at the woman] M-mother?

Austin : [Charmingly to Penelope] Allow me to introduce myself, I am Austin Sleaze, lawyer, this is Mr. Clint Scar, bodyguard, Ms Faetan Jarl, Hero, and Sr. Chastity, a nun. [Big smile]

Faetan : [Beaming at Austin's introduction] Heh...pleasure to meet you.

Penelope : Yes. Yes, I'm sure it is. However, may I enquire as to precisely what it is you were doing in my daughter's wardrobe?

Clint : I'm sure Alice herself can explain. [To Alice] Come on, tell your Mom!

Chastity : [To Penelope] Young Alice was bored, so we were playing a game of hide and seek. The devil finds work for idle hands to do, after all. Unfortunately, Alice got a bit confused and didn't realise that she was seeking.

Austin : [To Chastity] But she did find us very quickly, and who would have thought we would all be hiding in the closet.

Chastity : [To Austin] Well we can't make it too hard for her. We could have been here for days, and you know what a grouch Harvey gets it he misses a meal.

Penelope : Yes, we wouldn't want him to go more than two hours without some honeyed golden locusts. [To Alice] Stand up girl!

Alice : [Leaps to her feet] Yes, Mother. It's just like the others say, we were, er, playing.

Penelope : Well, I would have hoped that you might have told us that you had arrived, but I shouldn't be surprised. However, your father will be pleased that you are here for the reunion.

Chastity : [Cagily] Ah yes, the reunion. Who has all arrived so far?

Austin : [To Penelopy] What amazing foresight, but how did you know we were comming?

Penelope : [Somewhat annoyed] Because you were invited? [Gives Alice a stern look] Do not tell me that you forgot to tell them.

Alice : [Looking down] Um, okay.

Penelope : [Under her breath] Give me strength! [To Chastity] The invitation was extended by Aldwyn two weeks ago, when you were on the Titan Ic. For a moment we wondered if you had been unfortunate enough to have been aboard when it sank, but I suspected it far more likely that Alice simply neglected to tell you about it. About half of the others are here, and we will soon be meeting for afternoon tea. I shall send up Freven to help with your luggage, and perhaps Alice can show you where your rooms will be - you will be have this part of the east wing to yourselves.

[PENELOPE turns quickly and strides out.]

Austin : [To Alice, with innuendo eye brow wiggle] The east wing, to ourselves! Sounds like it's going to be a good party. [Smiles. Then see some pants on his shoe, puts on some white gloves and lifts the pants off his shoe and drops the pants casually on the floor] Shall we go and find ourselves some drinks?

Harvey : [As Alice rubs her eyes with her hands upon seeing Austin lift the garment in question] Perhaps, Private, you could not think about self indulgence for just a few moments, while we get our bearings.

Faetan : [Looking out the window] Wow! This place is huge! Is this your Da's place, Alice?

Alice : [Hurriedly balling up the clothes and throwing them back into the wardrobe] Yes.

Chastity : [Turning to Austin] You can take all turnip related ideas out of your head right now. [To Alice] Well I think a quick tour of the wing, and then a nice cup of tea is in order. [Gestures towards the door] Shall we?

Clint : What I want to know is why we didn't get our invitations. Alice?

Alice : Er, I didn't think we'd have time to come here, you know, what with saving the world and all.

Chastity : If I dodn't know better, I'd think that you were trying to avaoid us meeting more members of your family. [Gesturing towards the door again, and starting to sound a bit desperate] Tea?

Alice : [Looks startled for a moment, before adding quickly] No! [Composes herself] There's a drawing room just across the hall.

[ALICE opens the bedroom door, revealing a large hallway, with eight doors coming off it. The hallway leads off into a much larger one. One of the doors is open, and clearly leads into a drawing room, with several large comfortable armchairs there, and a fire buring.]

Alice : We can get some in there. [Mutters to herself] Thanks for all the help, Phili.

Austin : [To Alice] Indeed, this is perhaps the best evidence yet of the existence of a benevolent deity acting in our favour. Out of the frying pan, into the drawing room, hopefully for something a little stronger than a cup of tea. [Proceeds towards the drawing room after a quick check inthe mirror on Alice's dresser]

Chastity : [Glancing towards Clint] I certainly hope that isn't the case. [Heads towards the drawing room] --0-136535269-1039095553=:76150 Last from Dom - 06.01.023

Harvey : [Points at Austin] Don't you even dream of it, private! There'll be none of your downing of alchoholic berevages in this house, am I understood! You will not make a fool of either myself or Alice, and let me tell you this furthermore, I'm already counting the items of silverware in the drawing room! none of your downing of alchoholic berevages in Alice, and let me tell you this furthermore, I'm already

Austin : [Frowns at the frosty reception of his suggestions. To Harvey] And how many items of silver have you counted? [Smiles at himself in the nearest mirror] --0-726882632-1039097057=:33079

Harvey : I've gotten as far as three forks, two knives, a goblet and that mirrors frame which you admire so much!

Faetan : [Chuckles at Austin's heckling comment. To the party] Let's get out of Alice's bedroom at least [Looks around in horror at the frumpy girly clothes and decor, and shudders] Before I puke. [Heads for the drawing room]

Alice : [To Faetan] Why? Have you been listening to yourself for a while or something?

[Everyone moves into the drawing room, which is similarly well appointed. ALICE pulls a long cord.]

Alice : Okay, it looks like we are pretty much back to our own time. Only about ten days have passed since we were sent back by Darius.

Austin : [Notices the frame of the mirror briefly. To Harvey] I was not admiring the frame. [Checks Maplin, smiles with glee at his beautiful forearm]

[Enter FREVEN STY, a grave and serious looking butler.]

Freven : [In a deadpan voice] Ah, Miss Alice, what a pleasure it is to see you again. Do you want the fire extinguisher?

Alice : [Beaming broadly] Hi Freven! No, no need for that yet! [Laughs]

Freven : [Dead serious] Yes. Yet.

Alice : Can you get some drinks for my friends, whatever they want.

Chastity : [Quickly] A pot of Earl Grey tea please [slows down] whenever you can, would be lovely. Thank you.

[FREVEN nods politely to CHASTITY.]

Alice : I'll have a glass of [big wink] warm milk, please Freven.

Freven : [Gives a wink back] Of course, Miss Alice.

Faetan : [To Freven] I'll have a pint of Guinness please, Freven.

Austin : [To Freven] I would like a cognac, please Freven. [To Alice] Good idea to keep a fire extinguisher handy, I expect your parties can get pretty wild, especially with this many Basset-Shorts around. I wonder if the Turnip was exchanged for the wand, or not. [To Harvey] We really need to get this information pretty quicky, incase something else strange happens.

Harvey : I'll just have a bracing glass of iced water, Freven.

[FREVEN acknowledges the drink orders, before turning to ALICE.]

Freven : And what will the other [glances at Clint] gentleman have.

Alice : Oh, just get him something cheap and nasty.

Freven : Miss Alice, you forget where you are, we do not have anything cheap and nasty here.

Alice : [Glances at Faetan for a second, before turning back to Freven] Just get him a brandy.

[Exit FREVEN.]

Harvey : I am familiar with the turnip, and don't believe that the wand was exchanged for it.

Clint : [To Freven] I'll have a bottle of Louis XIV, please. Not shaken nor stirred.

[FREVEN pops his head back in again, with a grave expression on it.]

Freven : Louis XIV? At this time of day? Most amusing sir, most amusing.

[Exit FREVEN, really, this time.]

Clint : Does that mean he's going to bring it, or not?

Alice : You never know with Freven, he's a wild and crazy guy!

[Enter FREVEN with a large tray, containing a pot of tea and associate paraphenalia, a glass of iced water, a Guinness, two brandies and a glass of warm milk.]

Austin : [To Clint] No, he is not going to bring it. He thought that you were joking, Clint. I don't expect that he will serve Louis XIV at least until dinner, and even then, it may not be served until after dinner. But at least you won't have to pay for it. [Smiles to himself] He may serve cigars now though, why don't you ask him when he returns. [Looks out of the window at the view]

Chastity : [Takes the pot of tea and a tea cup] Aah, I've been in need of this. Thank you, Freven. [Pours a cup of tea and takes a sip] Hmmm, Phili sent.

Freven : [Bows to Chastity and speaks with a bored voice] My pleasure, Madam. [He passes around the drinks, until all but Alice have one, and there is just a glass of milk on the tray.]

Alice : What's this?

Freven : [With a wink] A glass of warm milk, Miss Alice.

Alice : [Smiles] Yay! Thanks, Freevie! [Takes the glass]

[Outside the window that AUSTIN is looking the party can see that the house is huge, and is set among some very elaborate and well tended gardens. Dotted around the gardens are number of smaller buildings, some of which are very elaborate, while those further from the house are less so.]

Clint : [Takes a glass of Brandy] Well, I guess this will have to do... [Downs the glass]

Freven : [Watching Clint with a raised eyebrow] Perhaps sir would prefer me to fetch a decanter?

Chastity : [Glaring at Clint] or show you to the nearest water trough! Clint, we are in polite surroundings. Please, could you act accordingly.

Clint : [To Chastity] But of course. [To Freven] Would you be so kind and bring the decanter. I would be most thankful.

Freven : [To Chastity] I fear that the nearest water trough is at least half a mile away, madam, but perhaps a water closet may suffice? [Bows to Clint] I shall fetch the decanter.

[Exit FREVEN.]

Alice : [Excitedly] Isn't he great?

[Enter FREVEN, with a crystal brandy decanter, which he places beside CLINT.]

Freven : [To the group in general] If that is all?

Faetan : [Nods and lifts the pint in grateful acknowledgement, then stands to peer out the window as well] Wow... I didn't know there were places like this left in the world. I haven't seen this much green since the sanctuary.

Alice : Thanks, Freevie.

[Exit FREVEN.]

Alice : [Standing beside Faetan] Yeah, I suppose it's kind of nice. [Looks out] Hey, see how it isn't as dark here as it was near Queens View? [Takes a drink out of her glass, and spits it all back up again onto the window, coughing madly and with milk coming out of her nose.]

[ALICE's observation is correct. It is considerably brighter here than it was closer to Queens View. The clock on the wall says that it is 3.30PM.]

Clint : What's the matter, Bimbo, the milk's too hot? [Helps himself to a glass of Brandy]

Alice : [Coughing, and wiping milk from her nose] No, it's - it's milk!

Faetan : Wasn't that what you asked for? [Sips from the Guiness and peers out the window]

Alice : Well, yes, but....

Faetan : [Turns from the window] But what? [Glances towards the door] You want some Guiness? Puts hair on your chest!

Clint : [To Faetan] Really? So how hairy is your chest? Will you show us?

Faetan : Oh, it's just a phrase, I'm not really hairy you see-- [Stops with hands on collar of shirt, then clucks at Clint with an 'oh you!' type of look and picks up the beer again]

Alice : [Raises an eyebrow at Faetan] Not really hairy? So only slightly? Well, at the rate you're knocking back that stout, you'll soon be like [glances at Chastity] Cha-Clint. --0-1718766882-1039129355=:85793

Harvey : [Comes and stands looking out the window] By the saints, it feels good to be back in civility, troop! And what a stroke of luck, eh! Spinning the dials and here we end up! Incredible, I say, incredible!

Chastity : [Pourng herself a second cup of tea. To Harvey] I won't say it was all pure luck. May be a helping hand from the Almighty, praise him. I must say I am looking forward to meeting some more of the Basset-Short family. I assume they are as stead fast as yourself, Colonel.

Austin : [To Chastity] Ooh, I am sure they are, their bloodline is as strong and sure as a thousand wildebeast migrating south for the winter. [Sips his brandy as if tasting it to see if he likes it]

Chastity : [To Austin, glancing at Clint] Hmmm, interesting that you should link bloodline and wildebeast. [Takes a sip of tea]

Austin : [To Chastity] Is it? Seems uninteresting to me. Simple things please simple minds. [Sips his Cognac, then lights a cigarette]

Clint : [Watching Austin sipping his Cognac] Make sure you don't drink it too fast! [Downs his second glass, pours a third]

Alice : Look, Stinky, you had better behave yourself, I don't want you showing me up in front of my family, okay?

Harvey : Dearest Alice, [points at her face] you have a little drop of milk on your nose.

[ALICE nonchalantly flicks it away.]

Alice : This is our family reunion. Normally it is only immediate family, but Daddy wanted to invite you because you were all [lowers her voice] mumble mumble mumble.

Clint : Couldn't quite get that, do you mind repeating it for uncle Clint?

Alice : [Breathing heavily, and staring at Clint with her angry look] What I said was -

[She is interrupted by the door swinging open, and ALDWYN charging in.]

Aldwyn : By the Saints, if it isn't Colonel Harvey Kingston Short III! [Vigorously shakes hands with Harvey, looking around at the others, beaming] Ah, it's great to see you all again, especially you, Uncle Clint! When I saw how you were all looking after my daughter so well, I just had to invite you. I don't mind telling you, there was a time when she was a right young tearaway! In fact, I was even beginning to wonder if she had neglected to tell you about the reunion, haw!

Austin : [To Aldwyn] Unfortunately we were unable to reply to your kindly invitations due to circumstances beyond our control, but I hope our presence here is reply enough! It is good to see you again sir and we are most grateful that you see fit to extend the invitation to non family members. [Shakes Aldwyn by the hand, wincing in pain at Aldwyn's ferocious grip]

Aldwyn : [Booming so loudly that Austin's hair is slightly blown back] Of course, my good man, of course it is! [Continues shaking vigorously] I have to say, Mister Sleaze, I was never fond of you lawyer types, but you are the exception sir, [incredibly, gets even louder] the exception, I say!

Austin : [Going slightly pale in pain from the warm handshake] Why thank you sir, your kindly intimations are most flattering. It is a pleasure to be your guest.

Aldwyn : [Catches sight of Alice] Ah, there you are, girl!

Alice : Hello Daddy.

Aldwyn : I'm pleased that you didn't forget to tell them about the reunion, can't have you being afraid for them to meet your family, eh? Eh?

Alice : No, Daddy.

Faetan : Heaven forbid she would EVER be afraid of such a thing! Pishaw!

Aldwyn : [Leans in close to Faetan] Ah, but that girl has some very strange ideas in her head, Phili only knows where they all came from. [Leans back and addresses the group] I hope you'll be staying with us for a while, is there anything in particularly you'd like arranged while here?

Faetan : [Eyes light up] A hot bath?

Aldwyn : A hot bath? [Peers at Faetan, before becoming distracted by Clint, which makes him give a little sniff, before roaring with laughter] Of course! Of course! But we have more to offer than that! [Gestures to the window] We've got a thousand acres here, packed with every conceivable luxury. [Suddenly turns and glares at Alice] Except for the outdoor whirlpool bath. [Turns to the others] That had to be cemented over after an incident, didn't it, Alice?

Alice : Yes, Daddy.

Aldwyn : Of course, it's not just luxuries we have. There are scores of buildings to look at, and you might consider exploring the underground caves, not to mention the waterfall. That's if Alice can find it, of course!

Faetan : Eh, whatever works. [Sniffs arm] Pleh. I'm tired of smelling like smoke!

Alice : [Mutters under her breath] And we're tired of you smelling like smoke.

Aldwyn : What's that girl? Speak up?

Alice : [Jolts with surprise] I said I'll show them their rooms.

Aldwyn : Yes, yes. Good girl. I'll see you all later.

[Exit ALDWYN.]


Harvey : Ha! What a character that man is! Absolute genius of humour, eh! Imagine Aldwyn pretending you, dearest Alice, couldn't find the waterfall! Ha! [Wipes tears from his eyes and shakes with mirth] Ha, I say!

Alice : [Barely audible over the grinding of her teeth] Yes. Pretending. Yes. [Closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, before suddenly opening them and returning to her normal demeanour] Right! I'll show you all where you're sleeping, and then we can get cleaned up. [Looks to Clint] You can skip that part if you want Stinky.

[Exit ALL.]

[Book III, Act VI, Scene II. The Drawing Room. CHASTITY, HARVEY, AUSTIN, CLINT and ALICE are here, having put their equipment in their rooms, and having had a chance to get cleaned up. ALICE is dressed in a conservative grey suit, while HARVEY is wearing his uniform, and has his medals polished so brightly that the others have to shield their eyes occasionaly.]

Harvey : Right, troop. We just have to wait for Faetan, and then we can go down to meet the others. Let's try to be somewhat diplomatic when finding out about the wand, as we don't want to be telling stories about travelling into the past, what?

Chastity : [Wearing a spotless nun's long black habit, with a nun's headscarf/hat thing starched so stiff and creased so sharply that it almost whistles in the air as she turns her head towards Harvey] It's certainly be nice to be in a polite family atmosphere again. [Sniff's slightly] It'll be like the old days with George and the children.

Harvey : Ah, how right you are, Sister, how right you are! It's many the time that I regretted not having children of my own when I sat amongst this brood. They're a special bunch, aren't they, Alice?

Alice : Yes. Yes, they are.

[Enter FAETAN, wearing an understated sleeveless red dress with black gloves, and simple gold chain around her neck with a pear-shaped red gemstone.]

Faetan : Well, Alice, you must really be looking forward to meeting up with the family again, how many of you are there?

Alice : [Thinks hard for a second, with her lips moving as she counts to herself] Including Mother and Daddy? Ten. [Quickly] Eleven!

Chastity : Eleven? My, it will be a lively bantered gathering. [Gives Harvey a slight nudge] As if it was going to be anything else with so many Bassett-Shorts in the same room. [Laughs]

Alice : I don't know what kind of thing you think we get up to when we're all together, Chastity, but we're a pretty quiet bunch, and not really given to [does finger quotes] banter.

[Some shouting can be heard from outside the window, with a voice booming out.]

Voice : You moron! Look at what you've done to my brand new Cermedes carriage, just look at it!

Faetan : So, I guess the [also does the annoying finger quotes thing] banter outside the window doesn't involve any of your family?

Chastity : Goodness, what a commotion! [Goes to the windows to see what's going on]

[Every one goes to a window and looks out. They can see that someone has crashed a small sports carriage into a big, black Cermedes carriage. The Cermedes driver is a dressed all in black, and is very angry, while the other driver doesn't seem all that bothered by what's going on, and appears to be unperturbed at the fact that he has placed a huge dent in both carriages.]

Alice : Er, they are two of my brothers, Bertie and Gordon.

Clint : [Still wearing the same clothes as before, while trying to stretch his sleeves] Phili damned clothes, it was easier when they streched automatically! [Looks out the window] Wow!, that's a Reffari carriage, what a waste!

Bertie : [The one driving the Refarri] I say, Gordon, steady on old chap, it is a mere scratch. [Gives the Cermedes a little poke where the two touched, causing half of the wing to fall off] See? That'll be fixed in no time. [Looks up at the window, and sees all the party looking out] What ho! It's Alice and her friends. [Waves up in a friendly manner] Hi-dillie-ho Alice, I can't wait to meet your chums!

Alice : [Waves back, smiling] Hi Bertie! [Turns to the others] That's Bertie.

Gordon : [Looks up, and gives a stiff wave] Hello, Alice.

Alice : Hello Gordon. [Turns to the others] That's Gordon.

Austin : [Enters the room, groomed to perfection wearing a evening blue Georgious Harmoni suit of pressed silk, with a lay candystripe pattern that catches the light, a Smelvin Jyne shirt with the high collar, again in silk, a Jules-et-Marie tie in gold thread, and Cha-Cha Redbum doe skin shoes, again in a polished evening blue with dancing flashes. Smoking a cigarette in a long cigarette holder, blows a few smoke rings. Looks over to the window] I see the boys have arrived.

Clint : Hey Bimbo, I think the Lawyer has stolen your silk bed sheets.

Alice : Actually, Stinky, I rather think that he's been at your pyjamas.

Austin : [To Alice] You wont be wanting this little something I got for you then? [Frowns at a small and carefully wrapped present in hand, with the designer lable 'Versucksi' on it. Turns to take the gift back to his room] Oh, well, I do try.

Alice : [Clearly dying to know what the present is] No.

Harvey : Right, troop, if we're all ready to go down?

Alice : [Exasperated sigh, to Austin] Okay, if you're going to make such a song and dance about it.

Austin : [Smiles at Alice and gives her the present, wating for her to open it, blows a few smoke rings]

Faetan : [Looks at Austin enquiringly. Then at the gift with confused frown, but a cute one. To Alice] Is it your birthday or something?

Alice : [Slowly opens it, as though expecting to see some rubber snakes leaping out of it] Thanks, Austin.

[The box contains a pair of designer Versucksi gold and diamond earings, which ALICE takes and puts on.]

Alice : Hey! Thanks Aussie! [Gives him a hug, before turning to Faetan] Can't a friend just buy a friend something nice without there being a reason? [Quick glance to Austin] They're not stolen, right?

Chastity : [Suspiciously, To Austin] They didn't happen to be worn by a certain lady from the Titan Ic. at one point, by any chance?

Austin : [Irritated] Of course they didn't, and I would remind you that any libellous claims by you could result in you being sued. [Walks out, pausing to glance at Clint] Sometimes, Clint, I fear that you are not the only barbarian in the group. [Walks passed Harvey, and stops, turning back to the others] Well, are you coming?

Chastity : [Pulls a "ooooooh" face. To Clint] Was that a raw nerve touched there? [To Alice] They look very nice dear. I'm sure you'll be the belle of the ball. [Starts to head towards the door]

Clint : [To Chastity] I think the Lawyer is having too much of an influence on her...

Alice : [Points angrily at Clint] Hey! Two of my brothers are lawyers, so between them and Aussie, you could find yourself in trouble, Stinky.

Harvey : Er, Alice, none of your brothers are lawyers. Two of them are stockbrokers, however.

Alice : [Taken aback] Well, I'm sure they know plenty of laywers!

[Exit ALL to the main drawing room downstairs, where FREVEN opens the door. Standing here are CECIL-ANTHONY, ANTHONY-CECIL and ALDWYN.]

Freven : May I present Miss Alice, and her acquaintences.

Aldwyn : Ah! There you all are. Everyone is here now, they will be down presently. We were just talking about the army's attitude to discipline, [shakes his head] I think they've gone soft, soft I say!

Cecil-Anthony : [Leaning against the fire mantle-piece] Not so, Father. The modern soldier needs room to fully rest and recouperate. Soft beds, warm showers, fewer ritual beatings are all great for the spirit of the men, and make for a happier fighting force. [Pauses and looks to Aldwyn, before looking at his feet and blustering] Which is obviously absolute flim-flam pink talk. I couldn't agree with you more. [Loudly, gesticulating] Soft, soft. [Turns to the door, obviously looking to change the subject] Ah, our special guests, come in, come in. [Waves the party through the door] Come, sister, join the body of the kirk and take a pew. If you'll forgive the pun.

Chastity : [Smiles uncertainly] Well, this once. Thank you. [Quickly makes for the nearest straight backed seat]

Anthony-Cecil : Speaking of soft treatment, I see young Alice has arrived. [Shaking his head] Look at what soft upbringing can create. [Spots Harvey, and straightens himself in an impecable military fashion, saluting him] Uncle Harvey!

Harvey : Ah, Captain Bassett-Short [snaps into an extravagent salute] by the saints, sir, you look terrific! [Turns to Cecil-Anthony] And you sir, [loudly] it is, as always, a pleasure! [Gives him a salute too.]

Alice : [To Anthony-Cecil] Well, it's great to see you, too, Anthony-Cecil. Still a captain, I see. [Turns and beams brightly at Cecil-Anthony] Cecil! [Enter DAHLIA, wearing a rumpled pale blue duster with a faded red blouse underneath, brown corduroy trousers, and black & white checkered socks peeping out from a pair of clunky black shoes]

Dahlia : [Stops in the doorway, blinking at the others.] Um... [Nervously pushes her glasses up her nose and sidles toward a corner in the room]

Aldwyn : [Bellowing] Gah! Stop that confounded mumbling girl!

Alice : Dahlia! It's so great to see you! This is Clint, Austin, Chastity and Faetan. [Shows her one of her earrings] Austin got me these. [Looks around and leans in to whisper] We're pretty sure they're not stolen! --0-433979987-1039559579=:41591

Harvey : Dahlia, my dear girl, what a pleasure it gives this old soldier to see you again! You're certainly looking well, dear girl! [Enter Fabian, wearing a white powdered wig, silk cravat, silk jacket, shirt and trousers, waving a pomander]

Fabian : Oh, well bless me, the house full of guests and I'm fashionably late! Horrah! [Falls limply into a large chair and waves his pomander at everyone] Hello! I say, Alice, you're hanging around with strange company these days, sister dearest! [Looks at Clint, sniffs and raises his pomander to his nose]

Alice : [Hugs Fabian] Fabes! [Steps back, and brushes some of his make up off her face] They are pretty strange, and one was almost as strange as you!

Aldwyn : [Gives an audible sigh, before glaring at Fabian] Gah!

Cecil-Anthony : [Winces as Fabians pomander scent reaches him, and crouches down to poke the fire, inhaling the burning wood smell as he does so.] Ah, burning wood. The memories of campfires from past campaigns are still there, although memories are all they are. [Stands and turns to Anthony-Cecil] By Phili, you're a lucky man, brother. [Gestures to his own pips] If I hadn't got this promotion I'd still be sent out more often with the rank and file on glorious adventures like you. You must bless your fortune. [Shakes his head in a "You lucky b@sta@td" way] But such is the burden or authority. [To Harvey] Is'nt that right Colonel?

Austin : [Ignoring Alice's libelous comments. To Cecil-Anthony] The Colonel still gets more than his fair share of adventures, don't you Colonel.

Anthony-Cecil : [Slowly stepping away from Cecil-Anthony] You obviously were not kept on the action scene because you're so soft and weak, brother. Only true men like myself and uncle Harvey can be sent on glorious adventures, because we were brought up under the most strict education, and are therefore reliable. Unlike you, brother. [To Austin] Of course the Colonel gets his fair share of adventures, he's a true man. One of the few remaining in this family.

Harvey : [Snapping into a salute at Anthony-Cecil] I thank you, sir, for your praise. But this family has more than its fair share of real men, why, look at your brother! [Gestures at Fabian] I mean, [gestures at Cecil-Anthony] Your brother!

Aldwyn : [Knocking back a whiskey] Don't mind him, Harvey, the boy's got a damned chip on his shoulder the size of a cannonball! [Turns to Alice and Dahlia] Don't just stand there, girls, get us some drinks!

Alice : Yes, Daddy.

Dahlia : Yes, Daddy.

Cecil-Anthony : [Salutes Harvey] I thank you sir, uncle, sir. [To Alice and Dahlia] Ah, yes please, dear sisters. How are we to maintain the vitality of discussion without the aid of some oesophageal anti-lubricationary counter-measures. [gesticulates wildly] Vital, vital. Make mine a brandy.

Dahlia : [To Alice] That's the one in the brandy bottle.

Alice : Thanks, Dahlia.

Aldywn : [To the party in general] So, I presume you heard about those bounders that sank the Titan Ic? I was pleased that you were not on board. Tell me, what have you been doing since then?

Faetan : Oh, you know... [Tugs at the top of her glove] Just killing time. [Glances towards Clint momentarily]

Aldwyn : [Rolls his eyes as though Faetan's answer caused him pain] By the saints! Don't me the girl's time wasting attitude has got to you now!

Alice : Actually, Daddy, they came because they are interested in finding out more about the family history.

Aldwyn : History, eh? Can't say I have much time for it!

Agatha : [Enters the room, wearing a black silk evening dress with a dangerously low back (and front) and a split up the right hand side just high enough to make the boy gape for a few moments. Some very expensive looking jewelery. Walks over to Aldwyn and kisses him on the cheek] Love you Daddy. [Sees Alice, raises one suprised eye brow] Nice earings sweetie, did you get them from the team captain or did the whole club put in for them? [Looks harder at the earings] Hmmm. The reserve squad to, not bad for one nights work. [Saunters over to the drinks and gets herself a large cognac]

Alice : [Muttering lowly] I guess you've got a pair like that yourself, then.

Chastity : [Watching the family react to Agatha] Isn't it just great to see family getting on?

Clint : [Walking to the side of Agatha, decanter in hand] Wnat me to pour you a drink? I'm Clint Scar, fighter and unacknoledged hero.

Faetan : [Looks about ready to gag and turns away from Clint with folded arms]

Dahlia : [Smiling mousily at Agatha] That's, um, a very nice dress, Agatha! Is it new?

Austin : [To Chastity] Indeed, it warms the heart to see the love and closeness of the family. Such strong bonding.

Agatha : [To Clint, her nose twitching slightly] I can see why. [Pours herself a drink and walks over nearer to Austin, her nose stops twitching. To Austin] Let me guess, you're a Lawyer. [Slimes selfconfidently at her own genius, and looks at the view from the window]

Agatha : [To Dahlia] Of course it's new, deary, I don't have your penchant for the distressed clothing look. [Looks at her perfect dress] Georgious made it for me yesterday, he's such a sweetie.

Aldwyn : [Smiling benignly at Agatha] Ah, that Agatha, she has every man in the place trying to please her, [loudly] every man! [To Dahlia] You could do with taking a leaf out of her book, girl.

[In the background, ALICE rolls her eyes in such a petulant manner that the others can practically hear them.]

Dahlia : [Smiles uncertainly] Yes, Father. [Looks at her feet]

Aldwyn : [To the party in general] What's all this about history? Or has the girl got it wrong again?

Austin : [To Aldwyn] I'm not sure what was meant by history, but you are a fortunate man indeed to have such beautiful daughters [Looks at Agatha. To Agatha] I am indeed a Lawyer, and you, [pause] have a fine eye, for people and haute couture. [Pauses, then to Harvey] Perhaps the Colonel can explain our [pause] history.

Aldwyn : [Gives Alice an impatient look, and shakes his head slowly, before turning to Harvey] Well Colonel? Given that the girl has managed to completely misinterpret things again, perhaps you could shed some light on the matter?

[ALICE says nothing, but just looks down.]

Harvey : Well now, Aldwyn, I think it is more the case that Priv - er, Mr. Sleaze here didn't explain it properly.

Aldywn : [To Austin] Not to worry, a simple mistake that could happen to anyone, I'm sure!

Harvey : Alice was telling the others that you have a long family history, and how your wonderful garden contains many historic buildings. Once they heard of your kind invitation to the reunion, they simply couldn't resist the temptation to come and explore them, [smiles] who knows, they might even find a treasure or two, eh? Eh? [Gives a nudge to each of Anthony-Cecil and Cecil-Anthony] Eh? [Knocks back his brandy.] boundary="Boundary_(ID_LQJs8aKhsIPsnCVKEPtVjQ)"

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Fabian : [Winks at Alice] Historic buildings, unlce Harvey? Why, I must declare, the only building in the garden of any interest is the tree house that Alice and I built when we were children, which, I seem to remember, you and Anthony-Cecil laying siege to for three weeks, trying to starve us out so you could use the timber to build a military compound around the lake!

Harvey : [Turns to Anthony Cecil] Ha, sir! Remember that time, lad! We ended up setting fire to the tree to smoke the cads out, eh!

Fabian : Actually, uncle, we were never inside there in the first place, for I have such an apall of heights!

Anthony-Cecil : [To Fabian] Actually that's because you built the house upside down. The only house you ever managed to build correctly was Alice's Bartie Girl house, and that's because you wanted to play with her. [To himself] Softies.

Alice : It wasn't a girl house, it was an apartment, and she even had a convertible Wolksvagen Beatle!

Aldywn : [Clasps his hand to his forehead] God Almighty! Do you have to bore us all with your prattle, girl?

Alice : Sorry, Daddy.

Aldwyn : I think I'll go check on the others, that fool Bertie ran into the back of Gordon today.

Faetan : [Sizes Anthony-Cecil up and down, then gives a silent nod of approval]

Dahlia : Oh, I hope they're okay! [Quickly clears a WIDE berth so Aldwyn can get through the door...and stands ten feet away from it]

Agatha : [To Dahlia] You are much to kind, sweetie. I hope the dam fool has broken his reckless neck.

Alice : Oh, come on, Agatha! Why do you also assume that it's Bertie's fault when something goes wrong?

Cecil-Anthony : Are you trying to suggest that it the incident is Gorgdon's fault. Why he's a dependable as the day is long. Bertie is such an flim-flam, air-headed fellow. Thoughts and responsibilities toss round in his head like underpants in a tumble dryer. [louder] Tumble dryer, I say!

Chastity : [Looks at Cecil-Anthony disapprovingly] Tut!

Cecil-Anthony : [To Chastity] Sorry, sister. Please forgive my mention of a undergarments in a cross-conversed social environment. No excuse, really.

Agatha : [To Alice] Face the facts deary, Bertie will never win carful driver of the year. [Lights a ciggarette in a long ivory cigarette holder, and blows two smoke rings].

Austin : [Lights a ciggarette in a long ebony cigarette holder, and blows two smoke rings, smirking slightly]

Alice : Just because he's had one or two, [thinks a bit] well, a - a few minor incidents, doesn't mean that he's a careless ass who doesn't look where he's going. Everything isn't his fault.

[Enter GORDON, with a face like thunder.]

Gordon : That Bertie is a careless ass who never looks where he's going. Everything is always his fault.

Cecil-Anthony : [Putting his arm round Gordon's shoulder] Come now, brother. It can't be as bad as all that. I'm sure Bertie will make good his misdemeanour. Try to relax and enjoy carefree conviviality of this genealogically bonded congregation. [Quickly to Chastity] Present company accepted, of course, Sister [Waving,to Alice] Serve the man up a nerve calming brandy, dear sister.

[ALICE dutifully gets the brandy, and goes towards GORDON.]

Gordon : [Pleadingly, to Cecil-Anthony] But the Cermedes, the Cermedes!

[Enter BERTIE.]

Bertie : What ho, everyone! Alice, you old hell raiser, I knew you'd make it back, and force me to spend the reunion with all these stuffed shirts, what-what?

Alice : [With a huge smile] Bertie! [Turns to him with the brandy.]

Agatha : [To Bertie] I hear that you have been overdoing the fun again Bertie. [To Gordon] I hope Bertie does not sue you for parking the Cermedes in a foolish place, and ruining his fun. What with Berties lawyer here to witness the events [Nods towards Austin] I hope you are taking notes Mr. err.

Austin : [Moving over to Agatha, takes her hand and kisses it] Sleaze, Austin Sleaze at your service. It is a pleasure to make your aquaintance Ms. Bassett-Short.

Agatha : [To Austin, looking over him once] I'm sure it is. Could you be a sweetie and fetch me another cognac.

[Austin swiftly and gracfully fetches Agatha another cognac, and gets one for himself]

Gordon : [Glares at Agatha] A lawyer? Pah! All laywers are leeches, feeding off the fat of society.

Chastity : What do you do, Gordon?

Gordon : I'm an account.

Bertie : [Chirpily] An altogether more honourable type of leech. Sorry about the carriage old chap, but, well, the peepers [points at his eyes] have never been the same since I got stuck in the Catacombs.

Agatha : [To Bertie] Yes, well you do have a nasty habit of getting into dangerous, but rather interesting situations, don't you. [To Gordon] Do shut up about your Cermedes, dearie, I sure Daddy will buy you another one tommorow. [To Bertie, smiling, puts another cigarette in her holder and holds it out towards Austin, for him to light] Bertie darling, why don't you tell our guests about you adventures in the catacombs.

Austin : [A little suprised, lights Agatha's cigarette] --0-345185564-1039717126=:33329

Fabian : What ho, Bertie, see you've landed in the dunces corner again! [Chortles] What harm, old boy, that Cermedes was such a vulgar colour anyway, twas about time the old [nods his head at Gordon] family suit gave the thing the heave ho! Now, old chap, spill the beans about the catacombs, for your best looking and fantastically dapperly dressed brother is all ears.

Harvey : By the saints Gordon, good to see you, fellow! My goodness, how you've grown! [Nods his head approvingly] Looks every inch the business man what! [Looks at Bertie] Yes. Well. Indeed.

Bertie : [Laughs nervously at Harvey] Well done, Harvey, good to see you too, you old, er, well. Yes! Good to see you!

Gordon : [Strides across to Harvey with a gravely serious face, and shakes his hand vigorously] It is a pleasure to see you again, Uncle Harvey.

Chastity : These catacombs, Bertie?

Bertie : [Rocks back and forth on his heels selfconsciously] Well, not much to tell, you know. [Waves his hand around vaguely] Small adventure for me and some of my chums, you know, [waves hands vaguely again] dark tunnels, tigers, bandits, a few dead servants, nothing really to write home about.

Alice : [Squeezes Bertie's arm] Oh, Bertie! You do tell the funniest stories, dead servants?

Bertie : Er, well, I suppose you're old enough to know now, Alice. Mrs. Bridges didn't really run off to join the circus with Mr. Hall.

Alice : I never thought she did!

Bertie : Yes, well, quite! boundary="Boundary_(ID_kyGDn9QRkdT2A00GTnHajw)"

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Harvey : [Coughs loudly] Yes, well anyway, people, Alice was telling our little group about the historical buildings in the garden, and they were just dying to visit them. Our good sister Chastity is very interested in old architecture!

Fabian : I say, you mean the dear woman has a keen eye for a grand old erection? Ding dong! [Titters into his pomander, before draining his large glass of brandy in one huge gulp] Quite a keen architect myself, until [darkly] they kicked me out of school.

Anthony-Cecil : And rightfully so, when you misinterpret buildings with erections!

Clint : [Looking at all family members knocking down glasses] Hey Alice, I really like your family! [Knocks his own glass, and pours himself another]

Alice : [Brightly] Thanks Clint! They're a great bunch. [Narrows eyes slightly towards Agatha] At least, most of them are.

Bertie : [Guffawing] Interested in historical structures? Perhaps you should take a closer look at Agatha, what-what? [Does a typical Bertie Wooster style laugh with his front teeth protruding] [This continues for what seems to be an age, with the only sound audible that of BERTIE's guffawing.]

Clint : [To Bertie] I'll drink to that! [Swallows his brandy loudly, to the rythm of Bertie's guffawing]

Bertie : [Slowly calms down, and turns to Clint] I say, chappie, you seem like a top fellow. [Leans in and speaks with the by now familiar Basset-Short whisper] There's a little place where Ally, Fabes and I go for the odd cheese sandwich, that no one else knows about, I'll give the old nod when we're heading off, but let's keep it quiet, eh? [Taps his nose with his finger] Eh? Eh?

Agatha : [To Clint, sarcastically] Bertie is such a wit, if he were any funnier he could get other people to laugh at his jokes too.

[Agatha blows two smoke rings]

Clint : [To Bertie, wispering] Just nod! [Sticks his tongue out to Agatha]

Anthony-Cecil : [Shaking his head] Wasters.

Bertie : [Laughs nervously at Agatha] Oh dear! Another strike for Agatha, eh?

Alice : [Snapping at Clint] Put that thing away!

Anthony-Cecil : [To Alice] It seems your friends have the same lack of culture as yourself. I can't believe you bring people like this to our home. [Pokes the fire with a stick]

Alice : I'm sorry, Anthony-Cecil. [Glares at Clint]

Clint : Don't worry, Bim... dear Alice, I'll behave. [Downs yet another Brandy, and pours himself another, emptying the decanter] So, are we going to take a look at these erections you say you have in your garden?

Chastity : [To Clint] Please, Clint. It's already been mentioned, within this very room, that unnecessary way of referring to the buildings.

Alice : I think we should, they could be -

[Enter ALDWYN, bursting in the door, which covers ALICE.]

Aldwyn : Gah! No sign of either of them, perhaps that fool Bertie killed them both?*

Bertie : Oh, what-ho, Father! I'm here!

Aldywn : So, you're not dead then?

[Enter PENELOPE, looking ravishing in a smart blue suit.]

Penelope : Agatha, darling! You look divine, simply divine. Dahlia, doesn't she look divine?

Dahlia : Yes, Mother.

Penelope : [As Alice comes out from behind the door] Alice, doesn't she look divine?

Alice : Yes, Mother.

Agatha : [To Penelope] Thank you mother, that is a beautiful new suit you are wearing, is it Smelvin Jyne? You look wonderful, dressed to kill I say, don't you think, Alice?

Alice : Yes, Agatha.

Penelope : [To Agatha] Oh, darling, you have such a discerning eye.

[She and AGATHA kiss each other on both cheeks.]

Penelope : [To Alice] You simply must introduce me to your darling friends, dear.

Alice : [Takes a deep breath] Certainly. [Turns towards Clint and Austin] This is -

Penelope : [Interrupting] Yes, yes, Uncle Clint and Mr. Sleaze. We met earlier in the room. I do hope you forgive my lack of manners, but I was somewhat taken aback at finding you all bursting out of the wardrobe. However, one should learn to expect to find strange people bursting out of the strangest of locations when Alice is around.

Agatha : [Smiling plesantly] I'm suprised there were only five people bursting out in Alice room. [To Faetan, frowning at her dress] I don't mean to be rude, but have you ever worn a dress before? You look more like the trouser wearing kind of girl [Smiles and turns back to Penelopy] But I can see why one would want to do that after hanging around with Alice for a while [Blows a smoke ring at Clint in a sexy manner] --0-294135448-1039786218=:514

Fabian : Oh do pipe down, Aggie old girl! The girl looks like she's full of spunk, what! Bet the lads would think she'd look ravishing in one of your ball gowns! I know, how about that silvery one you hide behind the dresser? Oh, and by the way old girl, you're out of Channel No 5. [Nonchanantly sniffs his pomander] spunk, what! Bet the lads would think she'd look ravishing in one of your ball gowns! I know, how about that silvery one you hide behind the dresser? Oh, and by the way old girl, you're out of Channel No 5. [Nonchanantly sniffs his pomander]

Agatha : [To Fabian] Have you been to see the doctor yet about your little problem dearie? [Pauses. To the others] Do excuse him please, he is not a well, [Pauses] As for Channel No. 5, it's frightfull stuff and would never stoop to wearing it. I am glad you have found a use for it. [To Clint, pouting] Mr. Scar, be a dear and get another cognac for me could you? [Hands her glass to Clint] --0-1038213775-1039787112=:53696

Fabian : [Titters] That's not what you said to mother when she gave it to you as a present last Phillimas, Aggie old dear. And as for the doctor, yes, I have seen him. Meeting him later for a few drinks and a top ho, slap up feed, actually. as a present last Phillimas, Aggie old dear. And as for the doctor, yes, I have seen him. Meeting him later for a few drinks and a top ho, slap up feed, actually.

Agatha : [To Fabian] Dont' be an idiot Fabin, you know fine well that mother would never give me Channel no. 5, Mother gave me Channel No.9, didn't you mother?

Austin : [Takes Agatha's glass and get her a cognac. To Agatha] A far superior scent, if I may say so.

Agatha : [To Austin, accepting her glass] You may Mr. Sleaze. --0-909069044-1039787824=:93030

Harvey : Now, why doesn't it surprise me that the lawyer enjoys perfume, what! [Looks at Aldwyn and tuts loudly] Would never have met the like back in the old days, what!

Penelope : [To Fabian] Oh, do shut up, Fabian. Bore us not with your tasteless prattlings.

Anthony-Cecil : Thank you for putting him in order, Mother. He's annoying our guests.

Clint : [Downing yet another cognac] Did anyone speak to me?

Alice : [Quickly] No!

Agatha : [Blows a smoke ring at Clint's crotch. To Alice] I spoke to Mr. Scar, Alice [ Then to Clint] I asked you if you would be kind enough to get me another cognac [Hands Clint her empty glass]

Clint : [Looking at the smoke ring slowly dissipating in front of his crotch] [To Alice and Chastity] And you thought I was misbehaving! [Grabs Agatha's glass, fills it way too much, spilling some brandy on the table, and hands it back] Can you down this one too?

Agatha : [To Clint, looking at his buldging ... muscles] Thank you Mr. Scar, but I must decline your challenge [Femininely sips her cognac and still manages to quaff half the glass like it was water]

Austin : [Still sipping his first glass] It is a rather fine cognac, I must say.

Alice : [Sullenly, to Clint] I'd like one.

[ALDWYN turns and glares at ALICE.]

Alice : Um, to, to give to Daddy!

Penelope : [To the party] While I'm sure it is divine to have met you all, I fear I must leave you once again. Dinner shall be served later on. Perhaps you might wish to take a look around the grounds before then?

Austin : [To Penelope] We certainly would, thank you. [To Agatha] would you care to show me around the estate?

Agatha : Oh, darling, I'm afraid I was never one for traipsing about the countryside, you might want to get Dahlia to show you around, or even Alice, as she's far more used to being covered in mud and dirt than the rest of us. [Turns to Penelope] Oh, Mother, remember the time she fell into that mud pit? And we had to hose her down?

Penelope : Agatha, would that it only happened once.

Agatha : And would that the pit wasn't in her bedroom.

Penelope : [To Austin] I'm sure that Alice would be only too delighted to show you around. Isn't that right, Alice.

Alice : Yes, Mother. --0-549133352-1039803034=:55253

Harvey : [Claps his hands together] Splendid, simply splendid! A look around the grounds followed by a gormet meal fit for the finest palate!

Fabian : [Pours a drink of brandy and slips it to Alice] I say Bertie, old man! How about showing me and Alice that, um, thing that you wanted to show us in your car? [Winks outrageously at both Alice and Bertie]

Anthony-Cecil : [To Fabian] Will you shut up? You're annoying Father and Mother, and you're interrupting uncle Harvey! [To Harvey] That's a splendid idea, uncle!

Austin : [To Fabian and Harvey] Perhaps we could pop out and see Berite's car and the others can meet us out there when they are ready for the tour of the grounds [Winks subtley at Fabian]

Bertie : [Puzzled, to Fabian] What thing is that, old chap?

Aldwyn : [Booming] Yes, Fabian, what thing is that?

[ALDWYN turns and glares at FABIAN, who is clearly terrified.]

Faetan : [Looking anxious to get outside. To Austin] Sounds like a good idea to me. [To Aldwyn] Do you have a archery range?

Aldwyn : [Turns from Fabian to Faetan] Of course, of course! You can get Ali- [breaks off] you can get one of the servants to show you where it is.

Alice : Right, we'll take a quick walk around outside then, and we'll see you all later.

[Exit the PARTY.]

Cecil-Anthony : [To Faetan] Ha, with grounds like these, we have room for ballista ranges. The glorious 49th didn't choose to practice their 8 year siege here for no reason, you know. They only lost four thousand soldiers during that time as well. [Swings his arm in front of himself] A bally victory indeed. Damn shame the city they were practicing for collapsed into the sea 2 years before the end of their practice.

Chastity : But aren't we waiting for the meal.

Cecil-Anthony : [Swings round to Chastity on the heel of his right foot, with one finger pointing to her and the index finger of the other hand on the tip of his nose.] Well spotted sister, we can't get disappearing pre-gastronomic attention-divertatory excursions, Gad, we've all just met up. Time for some well deserved, [glances at Bertie] in some cases, fare first. There will be time for the [finger quotes] the Introductory historical tour of the Basset-Short family ,the grounds and their architecture [end quotes] after that. is. see

[ALICE stops dead in her tracks, causing all the party to bump into her.]

Alice : [Snarling at Clint, who's immediately behind her] Ow! Hey, that was really sharp.

[CLINT doesn't reply, but points at ALICE, making that irritating "click-click" sound.]

Aldwyn : [Blaring at Cecil-Anthony] What confounded nonsense are you spouting now, boy? Haven't we just had afternoon tea? Do you think of nothing else, I say [incredibly gets even louder] nothing else [back to normal volume] other than your belly? We will have dinner at the normal time, the normal time I say!

[Book III, Act VI, Scene II. The Downstairs Drawing Room. AGATHA, ANTHONY-CECIL, CECIL-ANTHONY, FABIAN, DAHLIA, BERTIE and PENELOPE are here. The party and the others have just left.]

Bertie : [Closing the door behind them] Well, I say! [Gives his toothy smile] What a top bunch! Dear sister Alice has chosen her pals well, what?

Cecil-Anthony : [Trying to discretely munch on a chocolate he picked up on the way out of the Drawing Room] For once I must agree with you there, Bertie. It's great for Alice to be exposed to such inter-cooperative social-diversification.

Anthony-Cecil : [To Cecil-Anthony] You have got to be joking. That was a bunch of loosers! If it weren't for uncle Harvey to be involved with them, I would be the first to show them the way out. Especially that filthy pig that kept drinking and disturbing everyone, and the lawyer that kept annoying all the females in the room. --0-236049907-1040051036=:92815

Fabian : Oh tosh, brother! They are a fine rum bunch! What chortles we'll have with them over the coming days! That wiffy one seemed a right jack the lad! Should be just the ticket to liven the place up! with them over the coming days! That wiffy one seemed a right jack the lad! Should be just the ticket to liven the place up!

Agatha : [To Fabian] The wiffy one, as you put it, was quite disgusting, quite where Alice found him I don't want to know. As for the rest of them, barring uncle Harvey of course, they're a bunch of idiots, that lawyer even seems to think I'm interested in him [Laughs] what a sap!

Dahlia : Oh, I thought they weren't that bad. I mean, well, there is a nun travelling with them, so I'd imagine they're decent enough. [Looks down and figets with her dress] Don't you think?

Cecil-Anthony : [To Dahlia, arms crossed with one hand on his chin, nodding vigorously] Quite so, my dear sister. A good point well put. One gold star to you. --0-218080238-1040053296=:1174

Fabian : Hmm, well, perhaps it was the way you acted, sister dearest! [Falls from his chair and rolls himself up in a bear rug] Oh please may I have I drink of brandy Mr lawyer, pleaaaase!

Agatha : [To Fabian] Perhaps, but any lawyer worth his salt should know when he is out of his depth. Maybe he was just being a gentlman. Pitty few of them around these days.

Penelope : [Outraged] Fabian! Get up immediately and apologise to your sister! Then, you will apologise to me for this display. After that, you may apologise to the others.

Dahlia : [Gasps a sigh of relief] Yes, yes, they're fine!

Clint : A gentleman? The man looked more like a thieve to me. A sharp tongue, and quick fingers. Did you see him offering a drink to anyone else in the room? I think he was quite annoying towards you, dear sister; he was obviously interested on something more than socialising. Which is intriguing, as I though he belonged to the same category as Fabian. --0-714738114-1040054247=:5829

Fabian : [Rolls himself from the bear rug and stands up, adjusting his wig] I'm sorry mother. I'm sorry Agatha. I'm sorry Anthony-Cecil. I'm sorry Cecil-Anthony. I'm sorry Bertie, old boy. I'm sorry Dahlia. I'm sorry Gordon. I'm sorry Tuppy.

Penelope : [Mouth drops open in shock] How - dare - you! [Slaps him hard across the face] Get out of this room immediately.

Cecil-Anthony : [To Fabian, angrily] You can't say you didn't have that coming, Fabian. Your foppish behaviour is quite enough. But to play the facetious fop [shouts] to Mother, just beggars belief! Now stand up with a good stiff back and thank mother for her chastising. No blubbing, now. --0-821682275-1040055809=:82163

Fabian : [Hand across his face] I'm really sorry mother! [Runs out of the room]

Penelope : I do believe I am feeling quite faint after that outburst. I shall have to have a word with Harvey, for there was no evidence of such rudeness before he and Alice arrived back.

Dahlia : Yes mother, that's a wonderful idea! I'm sure uncle Harvey will give Fabian a good telling off!

Penelope : [Gives Dahlia a cold look] What on earth are you blathering about now, girl?

Agatha : [Gives Dhalia a cold look] Fabian and Dhalia seem rather over excited by the arrival of Alice's guests. Never mind, I expect Alice has go lost on the way to the waterfall again. How anyone can miss a one hundred and seventy foot high water fall is anyones guess. [Sighs] Uncle Harvey has his work cut out for him there, to cope with that many idiots. [Has a smoke, then a drink]

Anthony-Cecil : Dahlia!, please! Behave! [To Penelope] Forgive them Mother. I think it is the influence of Alice's guests. I shall have Freven escort them out right now, if that is your wish, Mother.

Dahlia : [Squirms uncomfortably on the couch] I'm so sorry mother. Perhaps you'd like a cup of tea?

Penelope : Tea? Tea? As if you had any intentions of getting it girl, with the way you're sprawled out on that couch! [To the others] I for one do not like Alice's group. What was she talking about? They were here because they were interested in our family history?

Agatha : [Agreeing with Penelope] Quite right mother, what business do they have inquiring about our family history? I think we should keep an eye on them, [Suspiciously] I bet they're up to no good.

Penelope : Oh, Agatha, if only all my children could be as reliable as you are. Let me find that Fabian and sort him out.


Bertie : [With a big smile] I say! Ooh, er, eh?

Cecil-Anthony : [In a low, scolding voice] Bertie! Enough.

Bertie : [Nervously, but jovially] Oh, come on, old chap! I know Fabian was over the top, but Alice's chums? They seem like a tip top lot!

Cecil-Anthony : Bertie, you know what I was refering to. We'll have no post-situous parental-pops if you don't mind!

Bertie : Oh, come on now everyone! [Gives Dahlia a friendly punch in the arm] Dahls? I know you don't think that - I saw the twinkle in your eye when you saw the smelly fellow!


Tuppy : [Quietly] Hello.

Dahlia : [Unsure] Well, they were a little boorish, Agatha is quite right about that, Bertie. What do you think they're looking for in the garden?

Dahlia : Oh Bertie, this is no time to be flippant, didn't you see how angry mother was? Oh dear, I've upset her terribly! --0-1893833729-1040059509=:26069

Dahlia : [Rubbing her arm] Oh Bertie, that fellow was more boorish than any I've seen before! Not that I'm an expert in vulgarity, of course. The man drank all of the brandy!

Fabian : [Make-up freshly reapplied, looking suitably chastened, goes to the window and looks out]

Tuppy : [Gravely] I think we must be very careful of these strangers. They do not sound like they can be trusted. Perhaps we could establish a policy of misinformation? [To Penelope] Where are they now, Mother?

Penelope : Alice is showing them around.

Tuppy : Ah! The misinformation has begun! --0-851396933-1040060064=:44491

Fabian : I say, Tuppy old boy, Alice isn't that bad! But why would we want to deliberately mislead Uncle Harveys chums?

Tuppy : Until we find out what they really want, we can't have them roaming the gardens freely. We will need to come up with something to keep them occupied for a while.

Agatha : [To Tuppy] Oh Tuppy, what can they possibly do roaming the gardens freely, seems like the perfect place for them until we find out what they want. Better than having them in the house, although it would be nice to play with the lawyer a little. --0-271753473-1040061718=:54741

Dahlia : Oh, but what if they fall into the catacombs? If there's one person who could through complete accident, find the catacombs, it's Alice!!

Bertie : Good point, Dahls! Speaking as one who also managed to find the catacombs by accident, I can assure you all that it's a dashed scary experience, what with all those cobwebs, the darkness and all those screams from the search party as they were killed! --0-877779782-1040062082=:14735

Fabian : [Shudders] Ugh, spiders, what! Can't abide the creatures!

Dahlia : So, maybe it would be a better, could be a better, no, um, how about we tried to keep them somewhere in the house, away from the garden, the catacombs and the brandy?

Bertie : I say! It's not like we've got any dark secrets, eh? Eh? --0-957447408-1040063175=:40753

Fabian : I should think not, what! Our family is an open, and highly respected book! What dark secrets could we have?

Anthony-Cecil : No dark secrets in this family. The catacombs are sealed, after he [points at Bertie] got lost there; I doubt Alice will find the entrance. She'll probably end up in the underground caves and think she's found the catacombs. --0-1918705777-1040122485=:3087

Fabian : I say, what if she ends up in the catacombs and thinks she's found the underground caves? What if they meet a group of smugglers?

Dahlia : [Goes white] Strange men with beards and woolen pullovers!

Cecil-Anthony : [To Dahlia] What would University Professors be doing in the caves? [To Fabian] and I think those stories of smugglers were a bit far fetched! Although they are good fun. All those afternoons as youngsters running around hiding behind stacked barrels and boxes of cheese. [Ducks and crouches as if re-enacting the games] Ah, the innocence of young. And as an added bonus you could skim stones onto the river from some of the caves entrances. [To Fabian] You were always good at that. Must have been the wrist action. --0-1474406327-1040123617=:75235

Fabian : [Looks at Penelope, then back at Cecil Anthony] I'm sure I don't know what you mean, brother. know what you mean, brother.

Cecil-Anthony : [Sighs] That's the problem. --0-685750219-1040126729=:35641

Fabian : [Picks up Dahlia's handbag and raises it to his face] Oooooooh!

Agatha : So the coombs are sealed and the caves have no smugglers, just contraband, and uncle Harvey is there to keep an eye on them. Sounds pretty safe to me. Better out than in as they say. [Looks at Fabian as if she would slap him if he makes a smart comment]

Penelope : [Glares at Fabian] Put that down, and stop making a fool of yourself. Any more of that behaviour, and I'll have you confined to your room during dinner. [Looks to Anthony-Cecil and Cecil-Anthony] While I believe that Agatha is correct, I think the two of you should ensure that Alice's acquaintences keep well away from the catacombs, for fear there may be a mishap. --0-2022842183-1040134348=:97227

Fabian : Certainly mother. [Gives the handbag to Dahlia] I say, perhaps we should waylay them and bring them to the waterfall! An afternoons dunking and diving could be just the thing to keep prying minds from the family history!

Tuppy : [To Fabian] Why don't you just keep your mouth shut? [Turns to Penelope] A capitol idea, mother, capitol! I suggest that they way-lay the group and bring them to the waterfall.

Penelope : Excellent idea, Tuppy, excellent! [To Anthony-Cecil and Cecil-Anthony] Quickly now, make haste! Cecil-Anthony : [Noticably brightens up] I say what a topo idea. For once, I approve, Fabian. A combination of beauty and entertainment, the waterfall is indeed an asthetic-entertainment combo of the greatest proportions. Maybe after that, and a warming cup of tea, a more organised tour could be organised. I don't feel we should stifle their interest in our fabulous family tree. [Rubs his hands in excitemnet] the

Penelope : [Gives Cecil-Anthony a surprised, but stern look] I do not believe it would be appropriate for a mixed group to go bathing, furthermore, Cecil-Anthony, while I know that our family tree is exciting and to be proud of, I suggest we wait and discover their real motives before sharing any kind of information with them.

Agatha : [Shaking her head at Cecil-Anthony] Mixed bathing, indeed! One wonders what kind of girl you believe your youngest sister to be, Cecil-Anthony. [Book III, Act VI, Scene IV. The Garden. FAETAN, CHASTITY, HARVEY, AUSTIN, CLINT and ALICE are here, still dressed in their good clothes. The garden is huge, and stretches out as far as the eye can see.]

Clint : [Lighting up a cigar, and taking a drink from a beautiful crystal brandy glass he smuggled out with him] Hey Bimbo, looks like your family are doing well, there must be some good genes in the family!

Alice : Actually, Clint, no one wears jeans here, Mother thinks they are too working class.

Chastity : [Looking around in admiration and pointing towards some flowers] What lovely sweet peas. My first husband, George always loved growing sweet peas. He'd have a small competition with himself every summer to see how far up the wall his peas went. --0-1629219635-1040135729=:13676

Harvey : And quite right she is too, the dear woman! There is nothing more common than a pair of jeans, and worse, if a suit jacket is worn with them! [Yells] Worn with them, I say!

Faetan : I think that's kinda cool, shows a real disdain for conformity.

Harvey : Ha!

Austin : [Laughing] Indeed they are! Smelvin Jine designed some jeans though, [Ponders, smiling] one of his funnier jokes. Designer jeans for the working class man [Laughs] Brilliant. I heard that the proles even buy them thinking the're upper class or something!

Alice : Say, don't you have a pair, Austin?

Clint : [Knocks back the brandy] Mm-mm. [Huge burp] Where are the servants? My glass appears to be empty! --0-238955300-1040136310=:70559

Harvey : I say private Scar! And empty is how it shall remain until we return to the house for dinner! Now, let's go and see what's what, what!

Clint : Okay, Harv, what's there to see?

Alice : Well, there's the maze, the gardens, the caves, the river, the church, the graveyard, the waterfall, the servants' houses, you know, all the normal kind of things people have.

Chastity : Well they do say that all family history lies in the graveyard, so why don't we go there? The church should also have records of the deceased, which should tell us about them.

Austin : [To Alice, suprised] Err, no I don't have a pair of jeans. Why would I? --0-1177558515-1040136789=:21289

Faetan : [Gasps in shock] The normal things people have? Dammit, I guess you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth too, huh?

Harvey : [Shudders] Let's avoid the maze anyway, troop!

Alice : [To Faetan] Better than being born with my foot in it. [To Chastity] The graveyard is over this way. [Points behind the party] Although, it is quite large - what exactly will we be looking for? --0-417058875-1040137053=:20017

Faetan : [Glares at Alice]

Harvey : [Confused] But dear sister Chastity, what have the diseased got to do with our search?

Austin : [To Harvey] Well the caves sounds like a good place to start deosn't it. The wand could be there for safe keeping, in a grotto of somkind perhaps?

Chastity : I thought we were delving into your family history, Colonel. The most important, pious, humble people always have the hugest crypts and monoliths built in their names. Its always a good idea to take a look at their resting places, and death records to see where they've been and try to [finger quotes] get into their shoes. --0-1256860732-1040137390=:68825

Harvey : Hmm, shoes eh? Sadly I think you'll find most of them rotten by now. Lead on dear niece!

Alice : Er, to where? The graveyard, the church, the caves or the waterfall?

Clint : I say let's go for the caves. It should be fun, and if nothing else, we might find some forgotten boxes of Louis XIV! --0-1504430111-1040137627=:64828

Harvey : Why, to the graveyard, dear niece, so the good sister Chastity can try on some shoes! [Scratches at a sideburn] However, good sister, better watch out, some of them might be contagious!

Faetan : What?

Harvey : The shoes. If the people who own them have a disease, they might pass it onto the good sister!

Faetan : [Shakes her head sadly]

Alice : [Looks confused] Well, first of all, there are no shoes for people to try on at the graveyard, and I'm pretty sure that there are no boxes of Louis XIV. I mean, come on, Clint, do you really think we wouldn't have found them by now?

Chastity : Well lets go to the caves then. If nothing else it'll stop the drunkard going on and on about his brandy. --0-203930605-1040138617=:58960

Harvey : Very well, to the caves it is! Lead on dear niece!

Alice : Right, they are over this way. [Points in the same direction as the graveyard, and starts walking] They are actually pretty groovy. Some of them are under water, while others are only covered sometimes and yet others are higher than the water level all the time.

[The party walk on a few minutes, and eventually come to a river bank. There is no sign whatsoever of the caves.]

Alice : [Brightly, and with a big smile] Here we are. Fabes and I used to spend ages here, and he comes here quite a lot. You know, if you close your eyes, and the wind is just right, [dramatic pause] you can still smell the cheese. --0-1216077843-1040139047=:75914

Harvey : [Closes his eyes and sniffs mightily, before shaking his head] No, I can only smell private Scar, dear niece. [Looks around] But where are the caves?

Alice : [Points down] Down there. [Looks down over the edge] See? Just where one of the Pearces is. --0-1827118897-1040139404=:31836

Faetan : What the hell is a Pearce?

Harvey : [Gasps and looks down over the edge] By the saints!

[Looking up from one of the caves is PEARSE PEARCE.]

Pearse : [Looks back up at Harvey] Uh-huh-huh! Shake it, fat boy, or ah'm gonna stick muh blue suede shoe up your ass. --0-1015254258-1040140800=:34743

Harvey : [Roars with anger] How dare you, sir! And what do you think you're doing? This is private property!

Faetan : Alright, nothing I like better than a fight before dinner! Really improves the appetite

Pearse : [Gives Harvey the finger] God damned yankee! Just cause you and your losers are second in line to fleece this place ain't no god damned reason to be telling us that this ain't no public place. [Calls into the cave that he is standing at the mouth of] Daddy! Looks like we've got ourselves a little competition.

Clint : What are these fat arses doing here?

Faetan : Woot! [Strips off the gloves with a grin, then balls her fists] Let's get this party started! [Moves towards Pearse]

Alice : [To Clint] I guess she's going to climb down to the Pearces!

[There is a ladder on the side of the river bank leading down to the caves, it is about thirty feet down.]

Pearce : Haw! The Yankees are sending a woman after us. [Calls up to Faetan] Watcha gonna do? Cook us some food? [Laughs aloud]

Alice : [Calling after Faetan] Just for that Faetan, you should! [Turns to the others] Surely we shouldn't be going down without any weapons?

Faetan : Chauvanist pork rinds...I'll give 'em what for!!! [Slides down the ladder with a vengeance] --0-901393903-1040148747=:93676

Harvey : By the saints, that would indeed be madness! They certainly have the advantage over us at the moment, so hold up there, Faetan! Perhaps we should pull up the ladder to prevent them from climbing it?

Alice : Good idea, Uncle Harvey! [Thinks for a moment] Although, you might want to wait until Faetan gets down before doing that!

Clint : You party-waters! [Empties his brandy glass, and sends it flying to Daddy Pearce]

Chastity : [Looking over the cliff edge as Faetan slide down the ladder] Oh dear. And I thought she was making such headway in combating her compulsive combating. [Looks around for some rocks to throw]

[CLINT throws his glass and narrowly misses PEARSE.]

Pearse : Tarnation! [Speaks to someone in the cave] Daddy, those damned yankees are throwing crystal at me!

[FAETAN slides down to the bottom of the ladder, and is promptly clubbed on the head by PEARSE. She quickly collapses unconscious in a heap.]

Pearse : Haw! Shake it, shake it, shake it!

Alice : [Looking down over the edge] Oh no! [Turns to the others] Someone remind me why we keep her with us? Here we are, no weapons, [waves at Clint] almost clean clothes and dinner in just under an hour, and she has just handed herself over to the baddies!

Austin : [Reminding Alice] Because she's tidy?

Alice : [Thoughtfully] I'm not so sure about that, Austin. I mean, she does have that awful hair that's always sticking out and [loudly] hey! We can't just stand around here talking! What are we going to do?

Chastity : [Gesturing between Austin and Clint. To Austin] I don't think that personal grooming has anything to do with group membership, considering the extremes contained within.

Austin : [To Chastity] Oh, I see, please excuse my use of the colloquial. My intended interpretation was that she is pleasing to the eye. [Looks down at the fallen Faetan] She certainly makes a good damsel in distress [Makes a few notes in his note pad] and currently has a very good case against Pearce for ABH, I should think he will get at least ten years for that. Perhaps we should call the police, or Aldwyn and the rest of the troop, there are enough of you military boys around here to form a small army [To Harvey] Colonel, could you send the alarm signal to HQ?

Alice : [Gives a little shriek of frustration] Well, I don't think that personal grooming has anything to do with saving Faetan. [Looks to Harvey] What do you think, Harvey?

Harvey : I think you are correct, niece. Personal grooming has nothing to do with rescuing Faetan, unless, of course, she's kidnapped by some kind of arch-criminal, and we need to travel to a casino and play blackjack with one of his minions to get information. In that case, good personal grooming would probably be required to get into the casino, they are very fussy places, what!

Clint : [To Harvey, pointing to Faetan] Euh, weren't we going to rescue her?

Harvey : [Claps Clint on the back] Quick thinking, Private! If we rescue her now, we might be able to avoid you getting embarrassed at that casino completely, eh? Of course, this could be tricky without weapons.

Clint : It would be tricky to get me embarrassed without weapons?

Harvey : Would it?

Clint : I don't know, you said it!

Harvey : Eh? Said what?

Alice : Oh for God's sake! [As the others turn to look at her] Faetan?

Harvey : I believe she is down in the cave, Niece.

Alice : [Gives a little twitch] Gibber! I know! How about rescuing her?

Chastity : [Looking around] Unless we can improvise some weapons we have little chance. Even with weapons, Pearce will just wait at the ladder bottom to pick us off one by one. We really need another way down. [Looks to Alice] Well? You have the benifit of local knowledge, my dear?

Alice : There is a well, but that's at the other side of the garden, and isn't connected to the caves. I think the only way down is using the ladder.

Clint : How about throwing loads of stones down, to know them out? It's though for Faetan, but she's knocked out already anyway, so she'll hardly feel anything. Especially if she had some of that brandy in the house, great stuff!

Alice : To know them out? [Stands with her hands on her hips] It sounds to me, Clint, like you've had too much of that brandy!

Clint : I meant to knock them out, Bimbo. It's not my fault if the brandy was cheap.

Austin : [Frowns. To CLint] Well let us pull up the ladder so that they can't escape until we call the police or the army, then they'll be caught red handed. [tries to pull the ladder up]

Alice : You know Clint, I suspect that it's more of a case that you are only used to cheap brandy, and can't handle the type of stuff that Daddy has.

[AUSTIN struggles with the ladder, until the others help with with it, and soon it is pulled up. It is a very sturdy affair, made of thick metal, and clearly designed to be left there long term.]

Harvey : [Huffing and puffing] Good idea, Private Sleaze! [Looks over the edge, mopping his sweaty brow and trying to get the breeze to cool him down] Gah! They have a boat, although they're not using it.

Austin : [To Harvey] Let us proceed back to the house and inform Aldwyn that he has some tresspassing proletariat males assulting his comley female guests. That should set the balls rolling. [Smiles and lights a cigarette]

Alice : We'd be better off going down ourselves - we're a long way from the town, and, with all due respect to them, sending a bunch of servants down with pitchforks, torches and broken milk cartons isn't really going to help her. I think we should go back and get our stuff and go down.

Austin : [To Alice] Hmmm, [Leafs through a large wad of papers] I don't think my insurance covers me for deliberatley engaging in physical conflicts. I might have to do the planning and stay out of the frakas, probably for the best I should think.

Alice : [Getting very angry and frustrated, and doing a double take on Austin in surprise] What? Well, how about I punch you on the nose? Would that count as getting you involved without you meaning too?

Austin : [To Alice] No, that would be a clear cut case of assault, 'Actual Bodiliy Harm' and you would get two years hard labor for that. [Pauses] Unless Daddy coughed up the reddies for your bail of course, and sent a member of your house staff to do your hard labour. But we should go now and get our weapons, we are waisting valuable time standing here talking.

Alice : [Thinks for a moment] That sounds fair enough. [Pulls her fist back.]

Harvey : [Catches Alice's arm] Easy, girl, let's not waste a second more!

Alice : Okay, [relaxes] but maybe someone should stay here on watch?

Austin : [To Harvey] Clint could stay and guard while we get the weapons. He is the strongest, and the rest of us could enjoy the fresh air on the way to the house.

Alice : Good idea, Austin, but [looks a little panicky] who's going to go into Clint's room and go through his stinky luggage?

Clint : [Turns to Austin, about to say something, but turns instead to Harvey] You do it Harv. Just bring my sword, and if you happen to find some bottles of brandy, I don't know how they got into my bag.

Austin : [To Alice] Surely one of the staff can manage to get a sword from Mr. Scar's [pauses] sack.

Harvey : I'll look after it. [A hint of a smile passes over his lips] And I'll see what I can do about your brandy.

Clint : [To Harvey] I wouldn't mind if you would bring one with you. You know, to maybe use as a weapon.

Harvey : Yes. Weapon. I fear, Mr. Scar, that the person you do the greatest damage to with that weapon is yourself. [Exit HARVEY.]

Alice : [Looking down over the edge] I wonder what they're doing to her.

Chastity : [To Alice] I shudder to think what monstrous deeds those Pearce's are capable of. Although, thankfully, Faetan should be safe for sexual assault, not being a blood relative to them!

Austin : [To Chastity, helpfully] In conjunction with that she is also not an animal, deceased or living, making sexual assault by a Pearce highly unlikley. [Peers over the edge to see if Faetan is visible.]

Alice : [Somewhat doubtfully, to Chastity] I don't know, Chastity, she was always kind of ornery and does use the term "Ah reckon" a little bit too much for my liking. [Time passes.]

Alice : [Looking around impatiently at the others] Don't you think?

Austin : [To Alice] Well, she has improved, and proved to be less ornery, even though her oratory abilities [Smirks] require not a little improvement.

Alice : [Looking back up from the ledge] Well, there's no sign of them. Whatever they're doing, they're doing it inside the cave.

[A small beeping sound can be heard coming from the direction of the house.]

Austin : [Turning to the sound of the beep] Here comes the cavalry, to rescue the damsel in distress. [To Alice] I will require access to the deeds for this property in order to ascertain wether or not it is legal for a member of your family to kill the Pearces, and if it is legal for you to be assisted by unpaid associates.

Chastity : [Looking round towards the house] What's that noise? Is it the Colonel already?

Alice : Oh, come on, Austin! How likely do you think it is that I have access - I mean, that I'd give you access to any valuable family documentation?

[The beeping gets louder, and the party can see that it is being caused by HARVEY, who is driving towards the party in what appears to be a golf cart.]

Harvey : Faster! Faster!

[As it approaches, the party can see that it is being pushed by six out of breath servants, at least two of whom are considerably older than HARVEY.]

Chastity : [Waving towards the cart] Ah Harvey, ever the resourceful soldier. Using every means at his disposal. [Looks concerned for a moment] I do hope that some of the volunteers are up to their efforts.

[The golf cart continues up the incline to the party, before skidding to a halt right beside them. HARVEY is grinning from ear to ear, and has all the equipment with him.]

Harvey : [Beep beep!] What a fantastic invention! [Leaps out and takes out the equipment] Right, gentlemen, you may take it back now.

[The servants start to push it back down the hill, but it almost immediately runs away from them, but they fruitlessly pursue it.]

Clint : [Putting on his equipment] Great, let's get to business. [Examines the cart more closely] Hey!, where are my brandy bottles? --0-631680219-1041885584=:1363

Harvey : Back in the house, private Scar! I told you, I'll not have members of the troop inebriated before going into battle, what!

Alice : Hey! When was that rule introduced?

[In double quick time, everyone is dressed.]

Alice : [Looks down at the huge shirt she has on, with one hand holding up a pair of massive trousers] This doesn't look right. [Looks at Harvey, who is crammed into a tiny skirt and is having difficulty with some fishnet stockings] Does it?

Harvey : [With a tiny cardigan that only comes down to his elbows] I should say there is something very, very wrong, niece!

[ALICE and HARVEY quickly swap clothes, to everyone's great relief.]

Clint : So, shall we follow them?

Alice : Well, let's just add up all the good points and the bad points about Faetan not being here. Right, the first good point is that Faetan isn't here! [Takes a deep breath, as though about to start on a rant, but checks herself] Nah, we'd better go. Do you want to go first, Stinky? Seeing as how you and the Pearces have such a special relationship and all. >

Austin : [To Alice] I didn't know Mr. Scar was a blood relative of the Pearses! Now everything makes sense, the violence, alcholism, poor diction, bad dress sense, poor personal hygene standards [Looks down the ladder] abnormal skull shape, mental disabilities. [Checks his nails and looks suddenly horrified, gasps, as he finds a speck of dirt under a fingernail. Austin turns quickly away from the others, gets something out of his pocket, fiddles, puts whatever it was away again and then turns back to the party, still inspecting his (now perfect) nails as if nothing had happened, smiling] Shall we get on with this then?

Alice : [Squeezes Austin's shoulder reassuringly] Aw, I don't think you're skull is all that abnormal! [To Clint] Come on, Stinky, make a move.

Clint : My pleasure. [Starts going down the stairs]

Chastity : [To Clint] But try to make it a move that doesn't require lifting your arms up to much. [Looks over the cliff edge] We don't want to alert the Pearces too soon!

Chastity : Right, me next. [To Clint] No looking up my habit, now! There is nothing more private that a Nun's privates [Starts to descend the ladder]

Clint : What was that you said? [Looks up] Euh! [Proceeds down the ladder as fast as possible]

[HARVEY climbs on next, followed by ALICE.]

Alice : You know, Chastity, you should be a little more careful about flouncing your skirt around like that, shouldn't she, Harvey?

Harvey : [Takes a quick glance up and grumbles under his breath] Hrm.

[When CLINT is about two thirds of the way down, PEARSE PEARCE looks out.]

Pearse : Tarnation! They're all a-coming, Pa! And they've got weapons! [Waves his hand in front of his face] And the one in front smells worse than Momma on a hot day in August! [Face lights up a little] And the real slutty one ain't got no pants on!

Alice : Oh no! They must have taken Faetan's clothes off!

Chastity : [Calling down to Clint] Quick, get down. We must protect the base of the ladder to let the whole group get down. [Pauses] And don't look up this time!

Clint : What was that you said? [Looks up] Euh! [Slides down the ladder without using the steps, fireman style, as fast as possible]

Pearse : Hot diggididy, Pa! There's a-going be a fight!

Daddy : [Coming out from the cave, doing up his trousers, and looking back angrily into the cave] God-damned no account, bitch! If you ain't good enough for your own family, you sure ain't good enough for mine!

Chastity : [Shakes her head. To herself] One day someone will figure out a way to get down ladders cross-legged. [Makes her way as quickly as possible down, and slides down the last few feet, as Clint did] [Both PEARSE and DADDY swing at CLINT and CHASTITY respectively, as soon as they land.]

Daddy : Yeeha!

Harvey : Hm, looks like there's only one solution. [Attempts a graceful swan dive off the ladder, onto the Pearces.]

Daddy : [Looking up] What in tarnation? Is it an eclipse?

[The HARVEY bomb lands with a crash on top of the PEARCEs.]

Daddy : What the? Pearse! Wake up boy!

[ALICE climbs down as fast as she can, while AUSTIN also gets on the ladder. DADDY grabs PEARSE by the hair and drags him to their boat.]

Harvey : [Landing a hefty kick up Daddy's backside] Off with you, you rednecked thugs!

[Pretty soon, ALICE and AUSTIN are down, and CLINT and CHASTITY start to come to.]

Austin : [Shoots at Daddy] Filthy scum!

Daddy : [As the two stones ricochet off the boat] God damned yankee cowards! Shootin' a man while he's saving his son's life. I've a good mind to come back and kick your ass.

Alice : [Drawing her sword] You don't have a good mind for anything!

[DADDY has PEARSE in the boat, and starts pushing it away.]

Austin : [Shouting at Daddy] Progeny of cannus feminius! [Shoots Daddy again]

Daddy : Ow! Hey, what kind of cowardly varmint shoots a man in the God damned back.

[The boat is carried along by the fast moving river.]

Clint : What on earth would the pearses be doing in your house, Bimbo? I smell trouble. [Goes onto the cave to check on Faetan]

Alice : They weren't in my house! These are caves, Stinky!

[FAETAN is just inside the cave mouth, tied up, and with her clothes torn. Her face is a peculiar mix between upset and anger, and there are tears in her eyes.]

Faetan : Clint! Am I glad to see you!

Austin : [Unties Faetan and gives her his jacket] Did they harm you? [Offers her his hankerchief to wipe away her tears]

Clint : What a question, the woman is tied up and with her clothes torn, and you ask her if they harmed her.

Alice : Yeah, Austin, for God's sake. [Pause] Did they?

Faetan : No, because - [breaks off and wipes her face] well, they just didn't*, okay. [To the party in general] Thanks for coming to help me, you guys. --0-1099555928-1041963417=:74077

Harvey : Well, madam, you put the entire troops lives in peril by rather stupidly coming down here in the first place! I mean, dear girl, what were you thinking? You, unarmed, against a group of armed thugs? By the saints, perhaps next time you'll think long and hard before flying off the handle, what!

Clint : [Mumbling] She's not the only one that flew off the handle... --0-434161983-1041966625=:27329

Harvey : Eh? Speak up there private! Enunciate your words loudly and clearly, what!

Austin : [Shouting at Daddy] Progeny of cannus feminius! [Shoots Daddy again]

Daddy : Ow! Hey, what kind of cowardly varmint shoots a man in the God damned back.

[The boat is carried along by the fast moving river.]

Clint : What on earth would the pearses be doing in your house, Bimbo? I smell trouble. [Goes onto the cave to check on Faetan]

Alice : They weren't in my house! These are caves, Stinky!

[FAETAN is just inside the cave mouth, tied up, and with her clothes torn. Her face is a peculiar mix between upset and anger, and there are tears in her eyes.]

Faetan : Clint! Am I glad to see you!

Austin : [Unties Faetan and gives her his jacket] Did they harm you? [Offers her his hankerchief to wipe away her tears]

Clint : What a question, the woman is tied up and with her clothes torn, and you ask her if they harmed her.

Alice : Yeah, Austin, for God's sake. [Pause] Did they?

Faetan : No, because - [breaks off and wipes her face] well, they just didn't*, okay. [To the party in general] Thanks for coming to help me, you guys. --0-1099555928-1041963417=:74077

Harvey : Well, madam, you put the entire troops lives in peril by rather stupidly coming down here in the first place! I mean, dear girl, what were you thinking? You, unarmed, against a group of armed thugs? By the saints, perhaps next time you'll think long and hard before flying off the handle, what!

Clint : [Mumbling] She's not the only one that flew off the handle... --0-434161983-1041966625=:27329

Harvey : Eh? Speak up there private! Enunciate your words loudly and clearly, what!

Faetan : [Gets up and pushes passed Harvey] Bah! I just trying to stop them. [Storms out of the cave]

Alice : [Turns and looks after Faetan, holding up a finger, as though about to say something, but thinks better of it] Hm. [Turns and looks at Clint] What? --0-151190153-1042023521=:59999

Harvey : By the saints troop, I guess that's what passes for an apology in Faetan land, eh! [Turns to Alice] But dear niece, what could those Pearse characters have been up to in these caves? [Looks into the darkness] Perhaps we should check this out?

Alice : Unless Faetan wants to jump unarmed into the waiting arms of another sworn enemy, yes, I suppose we should.

Faetan : [Returns to the cave] Wow, so sue me for being enthusiastic!

Alice : Austin? Off you go. [To Harvey] I wonder, can we sue her for all the rest of the stuff too - I mean, come on, that hair is verging on the offensive! --0-416787082-1042024524=:65801

Harvey : Now now, let's just crack on, shall we! A quick exploration of the cave, and then back to the house in time for a sumptous feast! Ah, can life get any better!

Alice : [Gives Faetan a baleful look] I bet it can.

[ALICE lights a torch, and holds it up so the others can see the cave. It narrows so only two abreast can fit down, and continues into the darkness.]

Faetan : [Glares at Alice] I can certainly think of a few improvements.

Alice : Well, it's a pity you haven't tried out any of them.

Chastity : [To Alice and Faetan] Come now, girls. Lets not resort back to the dark old days of snide comments and cattiness. Shall we see what's in the cave?

Austin : [Wating hopfully for the cat fight to start. Looks at Chastity] Spoil sport! [Gets his sling ready]

Alice : We're just waiting for Stinky to take up his position.

Clint : Alright, alright, I was just hanging back here in case the two of you had to be seperated.

[CLINT and HARVEY go first, followed by ALICE and CHASTITY, and finally AUSTIN and FAETAN. The passageway continues for about thirty feet, before coming to a corner, which the party turn. This soon divides into three passages.]

Alice : Hm, I don't remember seeing these before. Austin, you're the expert on dealing with dark passageways, what do you think?

Chastity : [Looks into her bag] Tsk, I knew I should have brought my knitting with me. [Looks down the passageways] I know that it'sto meant to be the route of evil, but shouldn't we take the left hand path. Doesn't the rule of thumb say keep your hand on the left wall in a labyrinth? [Looks round for confirmation]

Clint : I thought the rule when getting into a dark hole was keep your pants close, in case the husband comes back from work earlier.

Chastity : [To Clint] Trust you and your mucky mouth to quickly convert an underground tunnel into a sewer! [Goes to the entrance to each path to try and detect a breeze or sound]

Austin : [Looks at Alice, then Chastity] Keeping to the left is fine if you are blind, however, we are not. [To Alice] Have you had any premonitions about dark passageways?

Alice : Well, actually, I did have this dream the other night about - I mean, no, no I didn't, no premonitions. You know, I spent a lot of time in these caves, and never found this one. Most of them only go back in a small bit, and I'm surprised at how deep this one is.

[ALICE shines her torch around the walls some more, showing that where the party have just crossed there is a circle going up one wall, across the ceiling, down the other and along the floor, that makes it look like a wall has been removed.]

Lst from Conor #108

Clint : [After looking at the cave for a good 5 minutes] Hum, it looks like a wall has been removed.

Alice : Damned Pearces! They've only gone and stolen our wall - Daddy won't be happy about this!

Clint : Well we better check to see what they were looking for. Who knows, this might just be the place we're looking for.

Alice : Good idea, Stinky, but which way?

Chastity : I presume that the Pearces went further than this. [Looks at the floor to see if any recent footprints lead up the passageways]

Austin : [Writing in a note pad] Hmmm, the case against the Pearces is really comming together, tresspassing, kidnapping, assault, breaking and entering, theft, dammage to property, GBH, ABH. [Smirks] And all in front of witnesses too, they'll get twenty years for that.

[CHASTITY's excellent tracking abilities reveal that all three of the passages have footprints leading in and out. They are all fairly recent.]

Clint : Let's just follow Chassers' hint and keep left. [Starts going that direction] Better than just sitting around doing nothing.

Chastity : [Stands up] We'd best follow with the light. We might lose Clint in the dark. [Sniffs] OK maybe not, but he might injure himself.

Alice : You mean, more than he did when he and you got hurt trying to save Faetan and weren't even thanked? Okay, I suppose we had better follow. [Everyone moves up the passageway, only to find that it comes to a dead end almost immediately.]

Chastity : [To Austin] Maybe you could use you're light-fingered probing skills a ascertain if there is any secret down here before we try another path.

Alice : You know, I was just thinking there.

Austin : If I must. [Puts on a pair of white gloves, by Trada, and inspects the dead end for 'secret' doors / edifices]

Harvey : [As everyone flattens back against the wall to let Austin pass] Were you thinking anything in particular, niece?

Alice : I was. I was thinking that it would be a really sneaky, Pearce like thing to do, to come back and attack us while we're all crammed into this cave.

[AUSTIN searches around, but doesn't appear to find anything.]

Chastity : [To Alice] A good thought Alice my dear. Perhaps even better if you'd had it before we all crammed into this cave, but good all the same. [Calling back to Faetan] Maybe we'd best head briskly back to the junction now.

Clint : How about some of us guard the junction, whereas the other explore the two remanining paths. The Pearces surely weren't here as part of a tourist package.

Alice : Thanks Chastity!

[The party briskly move back to the junction, which is decidedly Pearce-less.]

Alice : Where now?

Austin : [Muses at the wall he has just searched] I can't find anything unusuall here, but it does look asif someone else has recently searched here too.

Faetan : They must not have found anything here, either. Maybe the next passage over.

Alice : That's just what we were going to do. [Mutters under her breath] I'm just surprised you didn't rush down there on your own in the expectation of us rescuing you again.

Clint : [To Chastity] Seems there's going to be a female boxing fight after all. [Crosses his arms and looks at both Alice and Faetan, smiling]

Faetan: [Glares sharply at Alice] I didn't ASK to be rescued! The only reason I went down was to... No, forget it, I don't know why I waste my breath. [Stomps past, grumbling and growling to herself]

Austin : [Looks at the mud on the floor. To Clint] Perhaps we shall witness some female mud wrestling instead? [Sees Faetan stomping off. Sigh!] There she goes again, we had better follow, lest she get herself into more trouble. [Gestures to Clint to follow Faetan]

Alice : She didn't ASK you to follow her, did she? [Puts up her hands] Forget it, the whole thing is my fault. I assumed that she might actually be grateful for having been saved from the Pearces, when in actual fact she clearly had the whole thing under control from where she was tied up.

Clint : [To Austin] They're still doing ok. Don't sell your ticket yet, the performance isn't over!

Faetan : Oh yeah? Maybe I'll mud wrestle YOU, and see how you Ah... Just kidding, ah ha ha ha...FASTER, dang you! [Scuttles forward] --0-624223514-1042070891=:17859

Harvey : Gah, girl, I think that private Scar is quite wiffy enough without encouraging him to wallow in dirt, what! [Looks around the cave and taps at some walls] I wonder if the Pearses planned on stealing any more walls?

Chastity : And there'll be no wallowing in mud before dinner. Think of the mess your clothes will get into. [To Clint] And before you say anything, no, it would still not be OK if they took their clothes off first! [Shakes her head disappointedly] Barbarian!

Alice : [Watching as Faetan disappears down the middle tunnel, before turning back to the others] So, shall we go down the one on the right?

Chastity : I'll accompany Faetan, and maybe a couple of others should investigate the right hand tunnel, and perhaps there should be a guarding party in case those reprobates return. [Turns to follow Faetan] Hold on, Faetan. Wait for me. [Goes down the middle tunnel, mumbling to herself]

Harvey : [Thundering so loudly that a few small rocks fall from the ceiling] No! We won't split up. While I am as irritated as you, dear niece, at Faetan's total lack of gratitude, I fear we have no choice but to follow her - it could be very dangerous to split up the party.

[Everyone follows down, with FAETAN and CHASTITY at the front, followed by CLINT and HARVEY, and finally ALICE and AUSTIN. Again, this tunnel soon comes to a dead end.]

Austin : [Search the walls floor and ceiling for 'secrets' once again] Colonel, you really should get some staff down here to clean up all this dirt. [Frowns at a speck of dust on Maplin's glove, by Trada]

Chastity : [Tries to examine the rock face, but keeps casting shadows from Alice's torch on the wall] Pah, this is useless, there's not enough light. [Picks up an unlit torch and holds it out to Alice] Will you do the honours, dear?

Alice : [Looks puzzled at the torch] Oh-kay, if you really want me to. [Quickly snatches the torch from Chastity and bops her lightly over the with. Not enough to hurt, but certainly enough to annoy] That okay?

Harvey : [To Austin] Why should we, when we have you to clean it, Private, what? [Roars laughing with a thunderous sound that shakes the cave once more.]

Chastity : [Grabs the torch back with a little irritation. To Alice] I meant can you light this torch with yours, please. Ow! [Rubs her head as a small rock from the roof bonks her on the head precisely where Alice had hit her a second ago] Colonel, I don't think that these caves are up to your commanding military vocal style. Maybe you should lower the volume a tad whilst we are in here? [Gingerly fingers the emerging lump on her head] Oh, I wish I'd brought my head-bump liniment!

Alice : [Realisation dawns] Oh! You see, now that makes a whole lot more sense. [Lights the torch]

Harvey : [Lowly to Chastity] Good idea, Sister, very good idea. [Gets a bit louder] In fact, [blares] an excellent idea! [Continues even more loudly, thumping his fist into his palm to accentuate each word] The best idea I've heard all day!

[The entire cave shakes again, and everyone braces themselves. However, nothing falls this time.]

Harvey : [Whispers to Austin] Well, Private, what have you found?

[A small rock falls from the roof and hits CHASTITY square on her bump*.]

Austin : [To Harvey] Nothing, but this area has already been searched buy others, and recently. [Taps the wall to see if it is hollow]

[The wall sounds very solid. However, AUSTIN's tapping loosens another tiny rock above the unfortunate CHASTITY, which lands right on the target zone.]

Alice : [Wincing as she watches Chastity get hit yet again] Ow.

[A much larger rock falls and hits ALICE on the head.]

Alice : [Much louder] Ow!

Austin : Oops! Let's try the other passage, this one looks like it's about to cave in. [Heads back to the junction]

Chastity : [Crouching slightly and shielding her aching head, with a slight tear in her eye glistening with the torch light. To Alice, in a slightly urgent panicky tone] Ssshhhhhhhh! [Quietly] Lets try the other tunnel.[Starts to tip-toe back up the tunnel, occasionally glancing at the roof.]

[The group all go back to the main junction.]

Alice : This looks like a waste of time. [Rubs the top of her head] Let's just go back for dinner.

Chastity : [Also rubbing the top of her head] Come now, dear, we've only one more to check. Just think how good a nice cup of tea will taste after checking all these dirty tunnels and knowing we don't have to come back.

Alice : Tea? Oh great.

[The party head back down, with HARVEY and CLINT in the lead, followed by ALICE and CHASTITY and finally FAETAN and AUSTIN. This looks pretty much the same as the other two.]

Chastity : [Has a quick look at the rock face before turning to Faetan, whilst leaning on the wall mopping her brow] Faetan, did you overhear any clues to what the Pearces were doing here?

Faetan : [Glares at Alice] Well, if I had been allowed to speak earlier, I would have told you that's what I came down to check.

Alice : [Rolls her eyes] Seems like speaking is all she does these days, other than being captured, of course. What clues did you pick up?

Faetan : Er, none actually, I didn't have enough time.

Chastity : [Standing back up straight] Well then, I believe all that remains to be done is Austin's specialised search, and then back to the house for a nice cuppa. Assuming Austin finds nothing untoward here.

Austin : [Searches this area for 'secrets'. To Faetan and Alice] Would you two stop bickering please [Hands Alice his hip flask] Drink some [Winks at Alice] milk, it will calm you down and make you feel more relaxed. [Turns back to his search] I require silence in order to hear inconsistencies in the immediate geology.

Clint : [Farting] This is a waste of time. Let's go back to the house, my stomach is complaining.

[There is a huge, but highly localised, rock slide that completely covers CLINT. Despite not even having opened the flask yet, ALICE laughs so loudly that some milk comes down her nose.]

Alice : Bravo, Clint!

[This wall seems identical to the others, in that it has also been searched. As AUSTIN searches, the others dig CLINT out.]

Chastity : [Wafting her hand in front of her face] I don't think that was your stomach. More like your breakfast!

Chastity : [Watching Clint emerge from the rubble] Time for tea, I think. Unless....[pauses dramatically, looking in Austin's direction]

Clint : [Dusting himself] ...unless there's something better to drink? If I don't get a drink soon I'm affraid the whole cave will fall down. I can't hold it much longer!

Alice : At least then we'll be spared the indignity of having to inhale your flatulence.

Austin : [Tapping the wall in front of him] I believe this wall to be hollow. That is, it could easily be broken through.

Chastity : [To Clint, indicating towards the wall] Perhaps you could open up a way, in your inimitable way?

Austin : [To Chastity] Or perhaps he could just kick it.

Clint : Decide yourselves, either I fart or I kick it. Or maybe both at the same time? [Goes over to the wall]

Austin : [Gets a small bottle from his pocket and sprays some Hugio Choss aftershave into the air surrounding Clint] I think a kick to this point [Points at a point on the wall] shall be suffice, Mr. Scar.

Clint : Alright, alright, no need to use chemical warfare on me. [Kicks the spot Austin pointed]

Chastity : What an ironic accusation. [Covers her head for rocks]

Alice : It could have been worse, Chastity, he could have kicked Austin!

[CLINT gives the wall a hefty kick, and it is indeed hollow. A large piece of it falls into the next room.]

Clint : He shoots! He scores! [Makes an attempt at a couple of samba moves]

Austin : [Wafts away the dust away with his note book and peeks through the hole] Looks at that, the Pearces have made a hole in this wall too!

Alice : [To Austin] Can't you ever give someone credit? [Glares at Clint] Hey! This place is cramped enough without you doing your nasty pelvic thrusts!

[Something, or someone, hits AUSTIN hard in the face, and he is sent flying back into the others, with blood dripping down his face.]

Alice : [Turns to Austin] Did you see anything?

Austin : [Groans] A big stick. [Austin gets a handkerchief from his pocket and dabs blood from his face.] Kill them please Mr. Scar, before I run out of handkerchiefs.

Faetan : [Moves protectively in front of Austin and balls her hands into fists] All right, come get some.

Clint : [Drawing his sword] Ah, nothing like a good fight before dinner. [Shouting to the whole] Hey!, come on out and show yourself!

[The hole doesn't answer.]

Faetan : [Relaxes a little bit] Bah. One of those stinkin' booby traps, I bet.

Alice : Or maybe someone who didn't speak.

Faetan : Right...and they've been sealed behind that wall for however many years this blockade has been here.

Alice : [Taps her head and smiles] At last you're using your brain, Faetan!

Faetan : [Sighs, tends to Austin] You all right? --0-1110799788-1042136217=:31094

Harvey : [Puts his torch up to the hole] I say, is there anyone in there?

[This time the only reply is in the form of a terrible howling from the otherside, which sounds like a dog, but is a bit too high pitched.]

Alice : Now, was that a yes or a no?

Austin : [To Alice, nursing a bloody nose] I believe it was a shriek of fear. Perhaps my assailant has been trapped in there for sometime, and is very frightened of strangers, and bright lights. Light up some more torches. [Hangs onto Faetan in a wounded way] We must capture the thug and bring them before the courts, they'll get ten years hard labour for this. [Wipes more blood from his face]

Faetan : [With a hint of wryness, as she taps Austin's shoulder] There there, big fella.

Alice : [Indignantly] Not to mention tresspassing underneath Daddy's house! What will we do? Go in after him? Faetan, are you on for running in unarmed so we can rescue you again? I mean, so this time we won't foil your plan and [emphasises] won't rescue you.

[FAETAN doesn't reply, but gives a low growl and narrows her eyes at ALICE, who just smiles happily back.]

Austin : [To Clint] Clint, why don't you smash the wall in a bit more so that we can all see through. It will shed some light on the situation, I'm sure [Snuggles into Faetan a bit more, and coughs woundedly]

Faetan : [Disentangling herself from Austin] Okay, big guy, we had better get ready for this.

[CLINT hefts another kick at the wall, causing the hole to get much larger, big enough for most party members to slip through. There is more hissing and growling from the other side.]

Alice : Hey! It sounds like Faetan's there! [Holds her torch near the hole.]

[ALICE's torch shows that there is another passageway here, but whatever was at the hole has run back.]

Chastity : OK, Lets get a couple of lit torches through the hole and investigate. [To Clint, in mock sympathy] Looks like that drink of yours will have to wait, unless of course smugglers have hidden their barrels of grog behind this wall.

Faetan : [Scowls at Alice, makes sure that Alice is watching, turns and kisses Austin pashionatley. Drops Austin like a used rag, lights her torch and steps through the hole. To Alice] What are you waiting for girly? Christmas?

Austin : [Now looking genuinely shocked, takes his hip flask back from Alice and has a swig, then offers it to Clint] I think a, woow, is in order. Woow. [Big cheesy grin. To Alice] Can you two argue more often please.

Alice : [To Faetan] No, for you to drop your weapons and armour, and then run blindly into whatever is waiting up there, and then to wait for us to come and rescue you.

Chastity : Shall we all just keep our eye to the front and our minds on th ejob? There is one or thing in the tunnel that is violent and threatening. [To Alice] And I'm not talking about Faetan! something)

Austin : [To Alice] Go get 'er girl [Swipes the air. Stands up looking much better. To Clint] Let's go get it, whatever it was it seems scared.

Faetan : [To Alice, from inside the hole] Why would I do that, that's a stupid idea, Alice.

Alice : That never stopped you before.

Faetan : [To Alice] I was just trying to get away from you, the risk seemed worth it.

Clint : [To Chastity] I still think the mud wrestling session is going to happen. It's only a question of when.

Alice : For someone who's trying to get away from me, you seem to spend a hell of a lot of time either following us and being rescued by us.

Alice : To be quite honest with you, Stinky, I think it's more likely that yourself and Austin will end up mud wrestling. [Goes through the hole, and stands very close to Faetan, so the two are eyeing each other up.]

[Only ALICE and FAETAN have gone through, everyone else is still on the other side. The light from ALICE's torch shows that the tunnel goes on into the darkness, but there are definite sounds of something further up. The wall was actually quite thick, and has been dug away from the side where ALICE and FAETAN are.]

Chastity : [Goes through the hole] Will you too girls just stop it for once. You're making Clint perspire with excitement and there's not too much of a through draft in this system of caves. Peers into the darkness No wonder the creature has run off.

Austin : [Goes through the hole. To Chastity] Alice is just jealous because Faetan snogged me where as Alice isn't brave enough [Chuckles in the darkness]

Alice : [Wide eyed] Not brave enough to snog Faetan? Too right I'm not!

Austin : [To Alice] No, I meant not brave enough to snog me [Chuckles] Though now you come to mention it, I don't think you are, brave, enough to snog Faetan either. [Smiles in gleeful expection of some sort of show]

Chastity : Austin Sleaze! Enough of your immoral and sinful suggestions. Can we [emphasises] please get on. [Turns to help Harvey through the hole] It now appears that we probably have quite a bit to do, and we don't want to offend our hosts by being late for dinner.

Austin : [To Chastity] I dont' recall kissing being a sin. Since when was 'Thy shalt not kiss, nor snog' appear in the book of Phili? [Muses] I don't recall reading 'Thy shalt not covet thy Colonels niece', in the book of Phili, either.

Chastity : [Sighs] You were suggesting a degree of same sex, erm, contact. Which, when it is what you so charmingly refer to as [quotes]"snog", is a sin. As for not being a sin to covet thy Colonels niece, I'm sure the Colonel will have something to say about that!

Alice : [To Austin] Oh, I'm definitely not brave enough to snog Faetan, not with all the filthy diseases she's probably after catching from you.

[From further up the passageway comes another howl, which almost sounds like pain.]

Alice : [To Austin] Oh, I'm definitely not brave enough to snog Faetan, not with all the filthy diseases she's probably after catching from you.

[From further up the passageway comes another howl, which almost sounds like pain.]

Harvey : By the saints, yes! I do not want my pure niece tainted by the likes of you, Private Sleaze.

[There is yet another howl from up ahead, which is considerably more aggressive than the others, although it is either from the same source, or something very similar.]

Harvey : [Draws his sword] Careful now, troop.

Austin : [To Chastity, chuckling] Imagine that, girls touching each other, how sinful. [Looks at Alice, chuckles] You wish. [Looks up the tunnel] It's sounds like we will have to remove a thorn from the foot of the beast. Shall we proceed?

Chastity : [Draws her mace in readiness, holding the torch up in her other hand] Lets see whats going on down there, while it at least sounds pre-occupied. [Takes a couple of steps down the tunnel, and waits for the others]

[Book III, Act V, Scene V. In the Passage. ALICE, HARVEY, CHASTITY, FAETAN, CLINT and AUSTIN are here, moving slowly up the corridor. Enter COARSE, a peculiar looking creature with huge claws and a helmet jammed down over his head, leaping towards CLINT with terrible scream.]

Alice : Stinky! Look out!

[As COARSE approaches, he immediately jumps away again, and curls up against the far wall where the tunnel ends. This end is bricked up.]

Faetan : Poor guy...he looks terrified!

Alice : Maybe he heard that Austin was going around the places kissing people?

Faetan : Anyone got any food to offer him? Show him that we're friendly and all. and then...THE WORLD!

Alice : [Turns to Faetan with a raised eyebrow, before turning away again, mouthing to herself] Friendly?

Harvey : I happen to have a number of biscuits. [Takes a few crumbs out of his pocket and throws them to Coarse]

[COARSE says nothing, but grabs them and eats them.]

Faetan : Wow, if only I had some of my cookies here, I'd bet those would be devoured immediately!

Austin : [To Faetan] Indeed, but then there would be none left for us [Smiles].

Clint : I bet some of the [quotes...] milk you have on your hipflask will tame the monster, give him some.

Chastity : [Puts her hand up] Don't be so hasty. His demeanour reminds me of some people I saw on a trip to Limerick once, so it's probably advisable to keep the hip flask contents as far away from him as possible.

Clint : Those people in Limerick were behaving like that? They must've been out of drink as well.

Alice : I don't think ever actually been out of it completely, although I heard once they were reduced to drinking Buckfast and vintage Port shandies. And [leans in confidentially] they weren't even holding the bottle correctly!

[COARSE continues to cower into the wall. It is clearly a dead end. However, this wall is made of bricks.]

Chastity : It would appear that the creature may have been imprisoned here, judging by the bricking up. [To Alice] You don't know of any stories that may relate to this, do you? There must be a reason for treating this animal in this manner? It's in a shocking state. [Looks at Coarse from a safe distance]

Alice : I hope you don't think any one in my family is responsible from this! [Glances at Clint for a second before looking back to Chastity] We're not descended from a bunch of barbarians, you know! All I can say is that I think we must be pretty close to the catacombs, given how far into the hillside the cave is. I never knew any of them were that long. [Turns right around, trying to get her bearings] Well, either that or we're on the other side of the river.

[COARSE leaps out from the wall with a snarl towards CLINT, but immediately jumps back from the torchlight, and shields his eyes.]

Clint : [Drawing his sword] Woha! Easy, tiger!

Chastity : Tiger? I thought that was your pet name for Faetan?

Alice : Of course it is, he's just pre-empting her over reaction, which is about to happen any second.

[FAETAN turns and glares at ALICE.]

Alice : [Points at her] See?

Harvey : [Peers at Coarse] What are we going to do with it? What is it?

Chastity : Well unless we can tether it or sedate it, we have very few options. I suppose we could try some elementary communications. [Speaking slowly to Coarse, pointing round the group] Friends. Good. [Points at Coarse] What is your name?

[COARSE replies with a snarl, and leaps at CHASTITY, swinging madly.]

Alice : I hope everytime he says his name he doesn't have to do that!

Chastity : [Jumps back from Coarse] Well that didn't go too well.

Alice : [Looking around, sniffing suspiciously] Hey, Clint, don't stand so close! [Looks down, only to see that the soft mud the party are standing on is actually congealed faeces] Oh my God!

[COARSE takes another leap at CHASTITY.]

Faetan : Chastity! [Draws her sword as Chastity falls down unconscious.]

[COARSE swings at CLINT and misses.]

Lsat from Conor #18

Clint : [To Harvey] Can I kill it? Can I?

Alice : [Tries to pull Chastity back] Come on, Stinky!

Clint : Cool. Let's play. [Swings at Coarse]

[COARSE screams another high pitched scream and swipes madly at CLINT.]

[With a blood curdling scream, COARSE's head is lopped off.]

Alice : Is he dead?

Clint : [Putting his sword away] Hey!, you told me to get him. --0-142397681-1042467946=:82611

Harvey : [Looks closely at Coarse] Yes, I certainly think so, dear niece! Well done, private Scar! [Bends down and tries to revive Chastity] I say, sister! Are you awake, what?

Alice : [To Clint] Alright, alright! Calm down! No one's giving out to you.

[CHASTITY slowly revives.]

Chastity : [Painfully sits up] Ohhh, what I would do for a good cup of tea right now.

Faetan : [Gives two thumbs up to Clint] That was one heck of a shot, Clint! [Sheaths her sword]

Alice : [Helpfully] I think Austin has some milk, if that's any good. --0-1180487023-1042469126=:85124

Harvey : Well, good sister, I'm afraid tea is something I can't offer you, until we return to the house, eh! [Helps Chastity to her feet] I say, I wonder what the blazes that creature was! And what it was doing here? Do you think that is what the Pearses were searching for?

Clint : Or maybe a forgotten family member?

Austin : [Daintily stepping over Chastity] Either they were searching for the creature, or for whatever lies beyond that wall. [Gestures to the brick wall, which he then begins to caress, searching for any holes.]

Chastity : [To Alice, watching Austin] It always makes me uneasy when he does that. --0-881712348-1042469529=:86852

Harvey : A forgotten family member? By the saints, private, what type of family do you think this is? There is no way on earth that [points] that has any link with the Shorts! Outrageous, I say! Outrageous!

Alice : [Laughs] Yeah, those Pearces are bound to have strange relatives. [Frowns for a second] Hey! You'd better be talking about the Pearces!

Austin : [Turns from the wall, with a sickeningly self satisfied smile] Behold, Maplin does it again. I have found a small pipe in the wall, which, I'll wager, leads to the other side.

Alice : Same here, but at least this time he's doing it to a wall. --0-363192277-1042469947=:11540

Harvey : [To Austin] A pipe, private? What could be on the other side, I wonder? Another foul beast, perhaps? Back, all of you! [Give the wall a mighty kick]

Chastity : [Looking at the faecal mess they are standing on] You don't think it could be a drain, do you? [Steps away from Harvey, in case of any substance surge from the other side of the wall]

Alice : Probably some stoner, no doubt.

[HARVEY's kick gives the wall a mighty thump, but it is clearly more solid than the outer wall.]

Austin : [Disdainfully brushing some dust off his jacket] Perhaps, Colonel, you could let me vacate the site first, and then yourself and Clint can break it down. However, I would first advocate some discussion before leaving us vulnerable to a surprise attack.

Austin : I do not believe so. It appears that the mess on the floor was put here by this [gestures at Coarse] unfortunate. I wonder how long he was here. --0-931595925-1042470639=:90892

Harvey : How can it be a surprise attack, private, if you are expecting to be attacked, eh? Ha, should they attempt such a thing, we'd be already one step ahead!

Austin : [Examining his nails with a sigh] While you may expect to be attacked, Colonel, I suspect that you do not know what is on the other side. What if it were a huge pit? Or a large tiger? --0-1906055152-1042471356=:45398

Harvey : Yes indeed, we need to be ready, especially in the event of a huge pit rushing out of the dark at us!

Faetan : Good point, Austin! We should make ourselves ready for anything! [Takes out her sword]

Austin : [Snottily] All I was trying to say, Colonel, is that perhaps one should consider what lies beyond the wall, and why this unfortunate was bricked up in here before rushing headlong into the unknown. --0-595923293-1042471751=:752

Harvey : Perhaps the fell beast bricked itself in here? It seemed to hate the light, so perhaps it decided to hide away from it forever.

Austin : [Rolls his eyes] Yes, Colonel. That seems likely. Especially if you ignore the total absence of tools, cement and spare bricks, as well as the copious amount of faeces and excrement, which suggests that the creature has been stuck here for quite some time, apparantly able to feed off something. light, so perhaps it decided to hide away from it forever.

Austin : [To Harvey] I believe that it is considerably more likely that the creature hated light because it has been living in the dark for a long time.

Alice : So, whoever, or whatever bricked him up is on the other side? --0-511138305-1042472203=:28816

Harvey : I ignore no facts, private Sleaze! How do you know, private, that the beast didn't feed off its own faeces? Or cement? Or spare bricks?

Clint : Yes, yes, that makes perfect sense. [Pause] So are we going to kick the wall down or not?

Alice : It is a bit unlikely though, isn't Harvey? That it ate faeces and produced bricks out the other end? Although, from the expression on his face when Clint cut his head off, I think he did shit a brick.

Austin : [Looks at Alice, then Harvey] Maybe it ate it's own legs and then grew them back again? [Steps away from the wall and the faeces. To Clint] Be a sweetie and knock the wall down please. --0-1250439626-1042472604=:21120

Harvey : I'll say he did! [Laughs long and loud] Now, let's get this wall down, what! Everyone get ready for a fight! [Looks at Clint] Well, private, are you ready to lend a boot?

Alice : [Draws her sword] Go on, Stinky!

Austin : [Reddies his sling, watches for attack from behind. Looks at Coarse's head] Is he wearing a mask or is he just very ugly?

Alice : [To Austin] Clint? Aw, come on, he's not that ugly.

Chastity : [Nursing her wound whilst Clint continues to ready himself for a charge] I hope this works. --0-1386508077-1042473702=:56316

Harvey : [Readies himself] I'm sure it will, dear sister! However, I implore you to stand well back, incase we are indeed attacked.

Alice : [Looking back down the corridoor where Clint has gone to ready himself for the charge] If this doesn't break the wall, nothing will.

Faetan : [Waves her sword] Come on, Clint! Lets get this wall down and our swords in use! Yeehaa!

Clint : [From down the hall] Here I come!!! [Runs to the wall to knock it down]

[CLINT charges.]

Alice : Go on, Clint!

[CLINT continues charging.]

Faetan : Whoo!

[CLINT continues charging.]

Harvey : Keep your shoulder up, Private!

[CLINT continues charging.]

Austin : Mind you don't spatter any faeces on us as you run.

[CLINT continues charging.]

Chastity : Give it a good whacking, Clint.

[CLINT smashes off the wall, and bounces back onto the floor. The bricks have definitely moved, but it looks like there is more than on layer.]

Clint : Ow. --0-235897024-1042474355=:37933

Harvey : [Grimaces] Well done private, one more run should do it, lad!

Alice : How about we all try and bash it down? Rather than letting poor old Stinky here take all the punishment.

Austin : [To Alice] Sterling idea, I think CLint has weakend the wall considerablly, but be careful not to step in the faeces. [Stands well away from the poo]

Alice : [Ankle deep in it] It's everywhere, Austin! The whole floor is covered in it. Look! [Holds her torch closer to the ground, showing that this is, indeed, the case.]

Chastity : WIth the bricks loosened, perhaps we could dig out the mortar between them to get through.

Faetan : [Nods her head] Right, lets do that then!

Clint : [Getting up from the faeces] Easy for you to say that, you're not the ones that landed face down in the floor! --0-389750259-1042475626=:31772

Harvey : Well sister, it's certainly worth a try! [Digs around the mortar with his knife] [It is working, albeit slowly.]

Alice : [Confused] I thought we were all going to try breaking it down?

Chastity : Maybe the Colonel's good work has weakened the wall just enough for us to succeed now. [To Harvey] I suppose it is a bit of a slow pace for a man of action such as yourself, Colonel. --0-320363865-1042476109=:45489

Harvey : [Sheaths his knife] Well, I was just giving the good sisters idea a try, dear niece. And unfortunately, it would take us an age to get through the wall. So, we shall have to bash the blighter down with brute force! [Turns to Clint] Ready, brute? [Bursts out laughing, long and loud and alone]

Clint : [To Chastity] The Colonel's good work??? [To Harvey, while cleaning some of the remaining faeces off his face] I'm not sure if I'm still enjoying this. Maybe we should let Chassers dig as she intended.

Alice : [Waits, embarrassed, as Harvey's ripples of laughter slowly disappear] Er, yes. So, let's go. [Hands her torch to Chastity, who now holds both.]

[ALICE, HARVEY, CLINT and FAETAN barge against the wall, causing much dust to fall. A second and third charge loosen some bricks, before a fourth sends them smashing through the wall, and into a pitch black room.]

Alice : Hey! Who's hand is that? [Sounds of someone being slapped across the face] Ow! Hey! Who just slapped me?

Chastity : [Quickly rushes to the hole to illuminate the area that's been crashed into] Well done. Great team effort.

[As CHASTITY enters the room, so too do two other creatures from the opposite side, through a large, ornate doorway, which is open behind them. There are clearly more of the creatures behind there, some of which are carrying torches. The two in the room, CLOY and GALL, are armed with bows, which they immediately fire.]

Alice : Ow!

Clint : [Charging at Gall] Cool, more monsters to kill! --0-249803552-1042477796=:71609

Harvey : [Shocked] By the saints, troop, a surprise attack! [Takes out his sword] No one hurts my niece and gets away with it! [Attacks] sword No one hurts my niece and gets away with it! [Attacks]

Austin : [Sees the beasts] Holy shit! [Fires his sling at Cloy]

Faetan : Nothing holy about it! Heh! [Moves after Gall for the attack]

Austin : [Standing well backfrom the fray, firing shots. To Faetan] Well, mind where you're splashing it.

[GALL and CLOY swap weapons as the party bear down on them. ALICE and HARVEY attack CLOY, while FAETAN and CLINT attack GALL, and AUSTIN fires his sling at CLOY.]

Alice : Come on, Uncle Harvey! Let's get him before the others get theirs! [Looks through the open door] Oh no! There are loads of them outside! boundary="Boundary_(ID_XiYswTe1KlfZyvUtnltw9A)"

PMDF-SMTP-Warning: Lines longer than SMTP allows found and truncated. --Boundary_(ID_XiYswTe1KlfZyvUtnltw9A)

Harvey : Gah! Out numbered, dear niece, the cads! Hiding here in wait until some poor unsuspecting person broke through their reinforced, double bricked wall! Bounders! [Attacks Cloy]

Alice : What'll we do? Move back into the passage? You know, Daddy won't be happy if all these people arrive uninvited for dinner?

[Everyone clashes again, with the creatures in the corridor holding their position.]

Gall : Aieee! [Falls to the ground in a heap]

[The creatures beyond the door take up archers stances, with two in the front kneeling, and two behind, standing.]

Alice : I don't like the look of this!

Faetan : [Looks unhappy] I hate to even THINK of retreat, but...hell, there's just too many of 'em! And probably more besides!

Clint : [Looking back at Alice] I'm sorry you don't like it, Bimbo, but if people tell me to attack, I do it until the beasts are transformed into a heap of shit. [Notices the archers] Oh. Shit. --0-2072602195-1042484914=:45458

Harvey : Back! Everybody back! [Stands infront of Alice and Chastity] I think a retreat is our only option!

Alice : [Panicking slightly, to Clint] Well, don't just stand there!

[CLOY attacks ALICE again, while each of the archers fire two arrows at each of the four in the room.]

[ALICE and CLOY both fall to the ground.]

Chastity : [Pulling Alice through the hole in the wall] As I said before, I could really do with a cup of tea. [Looks at the creatures forcing their way into the room] And I can't see any reason not go for one now.

[The creatures prepare to fire another round. They are still just beyond the door which, incidentally, is a large disc, which looks as though it should be rolled in front of the doorway, rather than slammed shut, as one might imagine.]

Austin : [Shoots the nearest standing baddie] I think it's time to go people! --0-886543828-1042542836=:98690

Harvey : [Moving backwards, still standing infront of Alice and Chastity] Go go go!

Clint : Hang on, Harv, what's to stop them just following us?

[The archers let fly another volley of shots, as AUSTIN fires back. HARVEY has moved back slightly, while CLINT and FAETAN are still in the middle of the room.]

Faetan : [To Harvey] What'll we do? Slam the door? Or run away?

[CLINT falls to the ground.]


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Harvey : Gah! Risk more lives shutting the thing, or risk more lives getting arrows in the back while we make a strategic withdrawal! Nothing for it, we'll have to close the door, troop! Come give me a hand, eh! [Harvey tries to dash forward and close the door]

Chastity : [Through the hole, to Faetan] Quick, close the door if you can. I'll try to get Clint.

Faetan : Let's go, Harvey!

[The two run towards the door under a hail of arrows, attracting two attacks each.]

Faetan : Heave!

[The two push the door, which is surprisingly light, and it quickly slides across, with only enough time for one of AUSTIN's stones to knock out an archer. The door slams shut with a deep thunking sound.]


Harvey : [Slaps Faetan on the shoulder] Well done, soldier! A most excellent display of troop spirit, what! Now, let's find something to wedge this disk shut!

Faetan : How about using one of their heads? [Gesturs to Cloy and Gall]

[Almost immediately, the door seems to seal itself, by moving slightly back into the doorway. It is now far from obvious how the door can be opened again. Meanwhile, ALICE and CLINT start to come around.]

Chastity : [To Clint] Welcome back. [Goes up and has a look at the door]

Clint : Ow. I hate them damn archers. Too scared of close combat.

Alice : [Tartly, to Chastity] Thanks. [Joins the others at the door.]

[The door is about six feet in diameter, and looks totally sealed. The door itself is clearly some kind of metal, while the frame is a combination of metal and stone. Set into the frame are eight smaller triangles, each of which is some kind of gemstone.]

Austin : [Looking rather pleased with himself] Well, that was exciting. [Checks his nails. Then looks at Cloy and Gall] Are they dead? [Muses] I wonder if we can pin this on the Pearces aswell. They must be responsible. [Makes some notes]

Alice : [Gives one of them a little kick] I think so.

[Almost immediately, both begin stirring.]

Clint : [Kicks Cloy in the head] I said die, you beast!

[CLOY howls in pain as CLINT's boot connects with his head.]

Gall : Hey! What the hell are you doing? --0-1467469309-1042552943=:31852

Harvey : I say, can't keep a good monster down, eh! Do we have anything to tie them up? Perhaps they will be able to answer a few questions, that is, if in fact they can talk!

Chastity : [To Harvey] It would appear so. [Takes a few steps away from Cloy and Gall, out of leaping range] Have we something to restrain them with?

Gall : Of course we can talk! [Glares at Clint for a second, before turning back to Harvey] Who's the real monster here? Who?

Alice : Well, based on who has the worst skin, the most appalling dress sense and simply the worst smell ever, that's got to be Clint. --0-1964898497-1042553693=:33886

Harvey : [To Gall] I say, you there! What business do you and your ilk have below the Short mansion? Eh? Tell me, I say!

Gall : [To Faetan] You don't scare me, you dumb bitch. [Looks to Harvey] A short mansion? What the hell is that? Somewhere rich dwarves live?

Clint : [To Gall] That's right, and if you don't start talking and explaning what's happening here, you'll have a taste of the other boot as well.

Chastity : What a show of arrogance and ill manners. [Pales. to Gall] You're not a lawyer are you?

Faetan : [Presses her sword to Galls throat] I think this should restrain them, sister! [Growls] Just try to move, handsome, just try it!

Faetan : Not so dumb that I don't know where your jugular is, slug! [Prods her sword gently into his throat]

Gall : [To Chastity] Who? Me or them? [Looks Faetan straight in the eye] Go on then, if you've got the guts. --0-1068078652-1042554786=:57103

Harvey : [To Faetan] Let's give the creature a chance to talk, private! [To Gall] What are you doing in these caves? And what is the design on the door?

Gall : [Laughs loudly at Harvey] What am I doing in there? I've got a hell of a greater right to be there than you! --0-407264860-1042555158=:41208

Harvey : [With great patience] Oh, and why is that?

Gall : You'll never know, because you're all too damned ugly and spend too much time screwing like animals to figure it out.

[With an audible pop, GALL disappears, leaving just an outline of his body on the floor in dust. CLOY is still here, and sneers at the party.]

Austin : I predict that this one will perform a similar act. Clint, strike him immediately.

Faetan : Oh, allow me! [Kicks Cloy in the head] Screw like animals! Huh!

[The unfortunate CLOY receives another kick to the head, knocking him back to the ground, with blood pouring from his face.]

Cloy : For your sake, I hope you never figure out how the door works.

[CLOY disappears in the same manner as GALL.]

Alice : [Wide-eyed at all this violence, turning to Faetan] You mightn't screw like one, but you sure as hell behave like one. --0-919286666-1042556788=:94189

Faetan : What the hecks your problem? That thing tried to kill us two minutes ago, but I guess that's beyond your retention span, right?

Alice : I guess it's only appropriate that you should be criticising me about being retentive - seeing as how wonderfully anally retentive you are yourself! And, maybe it's just my lack of memory, but I don't remember them torturing us while we were on the ground and unarmed.

Faetan : A kick in the head is hardly torture! It was a throat ripping monster for gawds sake! Jeez! --0-344103266-1042557732=:26378

Harvey : This door certainly is quite odd! [Examines it closely]

Alice : Oh, there are [emphasises] many forms of torture, believe me, and forgive me, it must just be beyond my retention span, but I don't remember him ripping out anyone's throat. [Looks around at the others] I mean, does anyone else see anything wrong with beating those that we've already defeated? Chastity? Is the church in the habit of endorsing the torture of innocents? [Face falls] Okay, you don't have to answer.

[The door seems very definitely sealed, and it doesn't look like there are any moving parts on it.]

Faetan : Oh come on, it was hardly an innocent! It tried to kill us! Came close to killing Clint and Chastity, didn't it! A few more arrows and who knows what would have happened!

Alice : [Coldly to Faetan] You're hardly innocent, yet we prevented the Pearces from torturing you. We're not in the habit of torturing people who annoy us. As you may have noticed.

Austin : Actually, Clint was the first person to kick him.

Alice : Oh for God's sake! [Storms off in a huff.]

Faetan : [Flashes a big smile at Austin]

Austin : [In a matter of fact fashion] And in addition to that Faetan was attempting to stop our assailant from escaping, albeit unsucessfully, though completely and utterly justifiable.

Chastity : [Examines the door] I presume that the gems are the key here, although I must admit that at the moment I am at a miss to how they work. --0-1493142067-1042560235=:8967

Harvey : Right, that's enough, private Sleaze! Let's let the matter lie, eh! Now, has anyone any idea how this bally door operates?

Alice : [Moodily coming back in] Yeah, and it had nothing to do with that fact that her uncontrollable temper was raging yet again.

[Time passes, and no one answers.]

Alice : Any one have any idea what those creatures were?

Faetan : My temper was held perfectly in check, Alice. Had I lost my temper, I would have probably stabbed the thing through the throat, not just given it a soft kick with my foot! --0-569227394-1042561484=:57557

Harvey : By the saints, dear niece, I've never seen such a beast! Why did they burst into ash like that? Was it because of the light, do you think? Smells of devilry to me!

Clint : No clue whatsoever. Could they be some sort of wand-protectors?

Alice : [Looks at Faetan, and makes a big production of yawning] That's the most worrying thing of all, Faetan, that you probably genuinely believe that. [To Harvey] I'm not so sure, if that was the cause, they would surely have burst into ash immediately. And, look [points outside the gap, where they met Coarse] there's just ash left around him, too.

Alice : [Nods in agreement with Clint] Maybe, maybe. [Pause] What's a wand protector?

Austin : [Grimacing] They smell worse than Clint. I had no idea anything so ugly existed. [Checks his hair do in a pocket mirror] Perhaps they are shape shifters that haven't chosen a shape to be? Perhaps they were all close to one of the time machines when it exploded? --0-2126081818-1042562141=:60024

Harvey : Perhaps it has something to do with our closing of the door, then! Perhaps when the disk is shut, they cannot survive outside for more than a few moments!

Clint : A wand-protector is someone protecting a wand. Remember? We're looking for the wand that Random has hidden somewhere around here, in the past? [Pause] By the looks on your faces it seems either I'm confused or you all are. [Another pause] Why are you all so confused? --0-290541865-1042562772=:75649

Harvey : Well, private, it seems to me that had Random hidden the wand down here somewhere, for us to find, then perhaps he'd have made it a bit easier for us to find it? By telling those creatures what we look like, for instance.

Faetan : It's been a long time since Random hid the wand, maybe they've forgotten that they were supposed to give the wand to us when we turned up?

Alice : [To Clint] I think they all look so confused because they think you're making sense! However, it wasn't Random who had the wand, it was Kelly. And, if Darius was to be believed, that happened two thousand years ago. Those creatures would have to have a pretty good [emphasises the words] retention span to harbour a grudge against us for that long, wouldn't they?

Austin : [To Alice] They did smell and look like they could be two thousand years old. Maybe they are all relatives of the Pearces?

Alice : Why? If the Pearces did have a right to be here, how come they didn't find their way in?

Austin : [To Alice] Maybe the Pearces knew some other way in? The certainly don't have the right to be here. At least I hope not.

Faetan : [To Austin, looking at her watch] Well, we've only got another ten seconds to go before I never hear the phrase retention span again. --0-493839786-1042565190=:74026

Harvey : They certainly do not, private Sleaze! But I do think they are looking for the wand also. Perhaps they were hired to find it by some third party, unknown to us at this time!

Alice : Maybe, but is there really anything we can do here now?

Clint : Kick the door open?

Alice : [Steps back] Well, yourself and Faetan are the ones with the best experience in that department, so, off you go. --0-1333947330-1042565949=:66604

Harvey : Hold your horses there, private Scar! Alice is of course, correct! There is nothing more we can do here now. The last thing we want to do is to open that door, and have more of those fiends pour out and attack us! What I suggest is we return to the house for a veritable banquet, and ask a few subtle questions about the catacombs over dinner!

Alice : Good idea, Harvey, but look at us! We've clearly been through some kind of trouble, how are we going to explain that? [Looks at her own watch, before turning nonchalantly to Faetan] Retention span.

Faetan : [Begins grinding her teeth audibly]

Alice : [To Harvey] What do you think? We do need to get back - maybe we could claim we were attacked, [lamely] or something? --0-695097113-1042567221=:38437

Harvey : Hmm, that certainly is a conundrum, dearest niece! We can explain our appearance by telling the truth, or at least part of it! That we happened upon a gang of leprous thieving curs, and after a brief scuffle, hunted them off, by God!

Alice : [Surprised] Hey, sounds like a good idea, Harvey!

Austin : Although I would not normally expect such a ruse to work, I suspect there is some chance of it being of use in this case. I suggest that we immediately change into our other clothes.

[Everyone does a quick change, before heading back up towards the house.]

[Book III, Act VI, Scene V. Outside the Short house. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY and FAETAN are here, approaching the house, dressed in their good clothes. Walking towards them are ALDWYN and FREVEN, the former looking even more angry than usual, while the latter looks extremely calm.]

Aldwyn : My God! Look at them! Look at them! This is a thundering disgrace! [To Freven] Didn't I say that I knew they would be hurt?

Freven : Yes, sir.

Aldwyn : [Walks quickly towards the party] Good Lord, this is just too awful, too awful! Are you okay?

Alice : [Visibly touched] Well, actually -

Aldwyn : [Walking passed Alice, up to the others] You must think this a terrible place, terrible! I just hope none of you are badly injured. My God, you look like you've been in a fight! I always knew those golf carts were a danger!

Faetan : [Blinks, looks at the others and shrugs] Too right. Absolute menace to society, mm-hm.

Chastity : Yes, we have had a bit of an unexpected scare, but we are all back in one piece, which is the main thing, and all looking forward to your generous hospitality, if I may say so.

Aldwyn : [Bellows] Haw! What a brave woman you are, Chastity! Come, the dinner is almost ready - and I do believe that there's some tea waiting for you.

Austin : [To Aldwyn, smiling] Tea! Your hospitality knows no bounds, Sir.

Chastity : [Smiling in anticpation] Yes indeed. It's been more than once since our departure I've longed for a splendid cup of tea.

Aldwyn : Nonsense, sir! When I am in the company of the only lawyer I actually like, nothing is too good. [Snaps into an extravagent salute to Harvey] Colonel!

Harvey : [Saluting back] Colonel!

Aldwyn : [To the party in general] I hope the girl managed to show you at least some of the grounds.

Chastity : We have had in interesting tour of the caves. We saw some ruffians there, no doubt up to no good, but they were scared off.

Aldwyn : Ruffians in the caves, eh? Sounds most rum and uncanny. [Glares at Alice] Why did you bring them to the caves? There's nothing to see there!

Alice : Sorry, Daddy, but they wanted to see them.

Aldwyn : Oh, it's always someone else's fault, isn't it, Alice? [Back to the party] The caves are a waste of your time. Perhaps tomorrow I'll get one of the others to help show you around.

Austin : [To Aldwyn] We heard some disturbances, and when we investigate we saw those Pearce's hoodlums, they attacked dear Faetan here, but we chased them off.

Aldwyn : Gah! Outrageous! [Roars] Outrageous, I say! [Takes a close look at Faetan] My God, look what those barbarians did to her hair!

Faetan : [Not sure whether to laugh or growl] That's okay, sir, I'm sure it will recover.

[The group enter the house, and head towards the dining room, from which the seductive aroma of tea is wafting.]

Chastity : [Sniffing the air in pleasure] Aaaah [She almost seems to float across the floor, led nose first by the tea fumes] [Enter ALL, into the Dining Room, where some of the family are already sitting down. They are AGATHA, ANTHONY-CECIL, CECIL-ANTHONY, DAHLIA and BERTIE. Each party member has a name place, and everyone takes up their positions, with FREVEN helping them to find their places.]

Aldwyn : [At the head of the table] Well, everyone, tuck in!

Penelope : Perhaps, Aldwyn, the good Sister Chastity would like to say a few words of grace.

Chastity : [To Penelope] Thank you. [Bows her head in prayer] Dear Lord Phili..[Stops and looks up at the sound of some munching]

Cecil-Anthony : [Looking sheepish and hurriedly swallowing a mouthful of food] Sorry, Sister. [ Quickly looks over to Freven and gives two thumbs up] Great sprouts though! [Back to Chastity, making a show of clasping his hands together, closing his eyes and looking solemn] Please continue.

Chastity : [Bows her head again] Dear Lord Phili, bless this table and all that sit at her. May we obtain full benefit from the selection of flora and fauna cut down by blade and club and chopped into small pieces and added to a selection of interesting sauces. May we enjoy the present and protect us all in whatever future events you hold by for us. Especially if those events have big weapons and are set on our brutal and bloody demise. In thine name and mercy. Amen.

Agatha : [Gets her glass and takes a drink. To the party] So, did you enjoy Alice's tour of the grounds? It looks like Alice took you away from the usual paths. [Looks at Faetans hair]

Aldwyn : One of those cursed golf carts crashed again, the confounded thing!

Faetan : Well, we were curious about those caves, and the catacombs. Can anyone tell us about them? [Looks around the family]

Agatha : [Gets her glass and takes a drink. To the party] So, did you enjoy Alice's tour of the grounds? It looks like Alice took you away from the usual paths. [Looks at Faetans hair]

Aldwyn : One of those cursed golf carts crashed again, the confounded thing!

Faetan : Well, we were curious about those caves, and the catacombs. Can anyone tell us about them? [Looks around the family]

Agatha : [Gets her glass and takes a drink. To the party] So, did you enjoy Alice's tour of the grounds? It looks like Alice took you away from the usual paths. [Looks at Faetans hair]

Aldwyn : One of those cursed golf carts crashed again, the confounded thing!

Faetan : Well, we were curious about those caves, and the catacombs. Can anyone tell us about them? [Looks around the family]

Cecil-Anthony : What a flap that was. That idiot Bertie losing himself, all hands to the pumps style emergency. A sibling-seeking-estate-wide-human-resource-drain if ever there was one.

Chastity : [Making sure her napkin is squarely set on her lap] How awful. Was he found safe and sound.

Cecil-Anthony : [Looking a bit disappointed] Yes. [Catches Aldwyn's glare. Looks a bit more enthusiastic] I mean yes, yes thank Phili.

Aldwyn : [Turns his glare around the table at Bertie] Yes, thank the Lord indeed.

Bertie : Well, old chap it wasn't so much that I found a way in, rather that a way in found me, what?

[ALDWYN glares at BERTIE.]

Agatha : [To Faetan] I afraid there's not much to tell, the caves use to be used by smugglers, and the catacombs are sealed, and have been as long ans anyone knows, although Bertie managed to find a way in.

Agatha : [To Bertie] That does not suprise me Bertie dear, but let's not bore our guests with idle chatter. [To Alice] I see you have been eating well, Alice. Plumping up for winter are you?

Alice : [Muttering under her breath] Just following your lead.

Penelope : Speak up, girl!

Alice : Sorry, Mother. I mean yes, we have been eating well.

Faetan : [To Bertie] I find it fascinating. What do you mean that a way in found you?

Bertie : [To the obvious dismay of several of the others] It was the damnedest thing, some hideous monsters came out of the caves, and pulled me in!

Agatha : [Sighs. To All] Bertie's vivid imagination keeps getting him into trouble. Personally, I find the idea drudging around in filthy, dark and wet underground passages quite fatiguing, especially as the golf carts won't fit down the passages.

Penelope : [Nodding in agreement with Agatha] Indeed. Furthermore, I seem to remember that there was quite a lot of cheese consumed that day, Bertie, so I suspect it is more likely that what you saw was a product of your diseased and poisoned mind, rather than some kind [does the finger quotes] "monsters".

Anthony-Cecil : [Carefully unwrapping a brussels sprout with his fork and knife] Mother is of course right, as always. There are no monsters in the caves. There might have been some smugglers in the past, but that's long gone. [To Alice] Why did you take our guests there in the first place? There's nothing to see there, and it's dangerously close to the catacombs. [To the party in general, but to Clint and Austin in particular] I thought you were only interested in our historic buildings.

Aldwyn : And the history of our family, which stretches back over a thousand years! But, of course, I'm quite sure that Alice told you all about the family founder, didn't you, girl?

Alice : Er, [looks around at the rest of the party for a second] about Kelly?

Aldwyn : Good God, girl, no! I'm talking about Faern!

Alice : [With a blank look] Oh. Faern.

Austin : [To Aldywn] Alice did tell us something about [Pauses and looks at Faetan] Faern, but I would love to hear your, original, version too, family histories always change slightly from generation to gerenation.

Aldwyn : For generations, the family were little more than poor farmers, until Faern came along. Apparantly, up until that point, the most valuable thing they possessed was a piece of old stick! [Laughs out loud] Faern was a great adventurer, and legend tells that he travelled to far off lands with only his stick as a weapon, before returning with great riches.

Agatha : [To all, gleefully] And as you can see we have invested our riches wisely and protected them from those who whould take it from us, admirably. [Looks at Austin, then Clint]

Bertie : [With a big smile] Oh, come on, now, Aggie! Who in their right mind would try and take anything from the old Bassett-Shorts, eh? Why, the house is positively chockers with all kinds of valuable ornaments, turnips and that collection of jewels that Father thinks no one knows about, eh? Eh? [Makes a typical Bertie Wooster style mindless grin]

Penelope : [Rolls her eyes] Of course, certain people simply shouldn't know about it, should they, Bertie?

Bertie : You mean like.. [holds a hand up to stop the party members from seeing him pointing at them with his other hand]

Penelope : No. I meant people like you.

Clint : Interesting. Do you still have the old stick?

Aldwyn : [Turns from glaring at Bertie to look at Clint] I'm afraid not, old fellow. God only knows where it is.

Penelope : There is actually an amusing story about how Faern sold it to some foreigners for some enormous amount of money, and that that's where the family wealth comes from, but it is, as I say, only a legend.

Faetan : Who on earth would buy a stick for gross amounts of money?

Penelope : Why do you ask? Do you have one for sale?

Faetan : [Shrugs] Just an old pussy willow branch...

Clint : You're selling your pussy? [Pause] I mean, your pussy branch, of course.

[In the background, Anthony-Cecil sakes his head sadly]

Faetan : [Stares at Clint, shocked] writers...

Clint : Hey, you never showed it to me, so I can only guess what it looks like! [Seeing Faetan's shocked face] Your pussy willow branch!!!

Chastity : Clint, calm yourself. This is neither the time nor the place for your smutty innuendo. The only thing wooden at a family table should be the conversation. Furniture and dining accessories excepted, of course.

Penelope : Well, we certainly seem to be doing well with that.

[ALICE has her head down, trying to suppress a smile and avoid looking at CLINT, but elicits an enormous grunt in doing so.]

Alice : Excuse me! [Coughs]

Austin : [To Penelope, in a "let's end that conversation with some light humor manner"] Well all I can say is, that must have been one fantastic stick. [Lifts his glass, smiling] A toast to the stick!

Aldwyn : [Laughs aloud] Well said, Sir! What manner of stick could possibly be so valuable that it funded our entire family fortune, including the family jewels? To the stick!

[Everyone echoes the toast, although there are distinct strains of "To Faetan's Pussy" coming from the general direction of CLINT and ALICE.]

Chastity : [To Aldwyn] So, what interesting historic buildings are in your grounds?

Aldwyn : There are quite a number. Before this house was built there was a castle on this site, built by Faern, and a small town sprung up around it. Obviously these were mere hovels, but we can use them for the servants, what? [Laughs] Then there's the church, and, although, strictly speaking, it isn't a building in its own right, there's also the vault.

Chastity : What was the town round the castle called?

Penelope : Dementia. It, and the castle, were built on the site of another, much older town, called Insomnia.

Austin : [To Penelope] Your family history is quite fascinating. [Takes a genteel sip from his glass of wine] No doubt there are tales of knights and dragons, and damsels in distress, from those times.

Penelope : The actual stories have become confused over time, I'm afraid. What one would imagine started out as tales of chivalry and wonder are now little more than boastful and softly pornographic tales about the voracious sexual appetite of Faern, and the Short males in general.

Bertie : [Lifts his glass in toast] Well, I'll drink to that, what!

[FREVEN pushes in a trolley of food. On it there are There are steaks, chops, a soused pig's head, complete with apple, golden honeyed locusts, jellied eels, thrushes ankles, snakes feet, crispy popadoms and curried brussel sprouts.]

Harvey : [Eyes lighting up] Ah! Golden honeyed locusts!

Austin : [To Harvey] After you, Colonel [Waits for Harvey to take some locusts, the takes one and nibbles it. Chuckling] Well it's good to see that some things haven't changed!

Aldwyn : However, I am a bit concerned about these ruffians you say you encountered. What were the brutes doing here, I wonder?

Austin : [To Aldwyn] We are not sure, but we have encountered them before. They were the hooligans that caused the ruckus on the Titan Ic. I believe they are a notorious gang of theives and muggers known as the [Pauses] "Pearces". Anyway, if they are caught they'll get twenty years for attacking and kidnapping Faetan. Someone ought to do somthing about them.

Clint : Maybe they're after the vault that you mentioned?

Anthony-Cecil : Maybe. The question is, why are you so interested in the vault?

[ALDWYN doesn't appear to react to AUSTIN's assertion, but merely continues to munch on some pig's ear.]

Alice : He didn't say was interested in it.

Aldwyn : [Finishes his pig's ear, wipes his mouth and stands up, thumping the table] Attacking her? Preposterous! Preposterous! Freven! Get a bunch of the more expendable servants to take a look for these brigands - and be sure to arm them with pitchforks, torches and some broken milk cartons. [Eyes narrow] They'll rue the day they crossed the Bassett-Shorts.

[As ALDWYN sits down again, FREVEN leaves the room.]

Aldywn : Uncle Clint does have a point. They may have heard about the vault. I'm afraid certain people here [glares at Bertie] have been rather careless in talking about it to strangers.

Alice : What vault?

Agatha : The one we didn't tell you about because we knew you'd almost certainly blab to strangers about it.

Clint : So what's in the vault?

Anthony-Cecil : Nothing that concerns you.

Agatha : You see, Alice? This is precisely why we didn't tell you.

[ALICE says nothing, but gives AGATHA the evil eye.]

Aldwyn : [To Anthony-Cecil] It's okay, my lad. We can trust them, they have already proved that to me. The vault has existed since Faern's time, and it contains the eight gemstones that he brought back with him from his adventures.

Penelope : No one has ever been able to determine what the stones actually are, but Faern left explicit instructions that they were to never leave the vault.

Aldwyn : [To Clint] But some say they've got magical powers, and could account for that voracious sexual appetite us Shorts have!

Agatha : [Smoulderingly looks at Austin, whilst slipping off her shoe and fumbling Clint (Who is sitting opposite her). Fixing Austins gaze] Though it is probably just one hundred percent natural, animal, instinct.

Austin : [Fixed by Agatha's gaze, looks a little suprised by Agatha overt flirting, loosens his collar a little, takes a drink, but doesn't break into sweat. Smiles, calmly to Agatha] I'm sure it is. [Eats a piece of very rare steak, still staring at Agatha]

Penelope : But that is enough about myth and legend. I would not be concerned about the vault, it is impenetrable. Even family members are not allowed see the jewels until they are 21.

Alice : [Surprised] I'm 21!

Penelope : Yes, dear, and perhaps, when you start acting like it, you may be allowed see them.

Chastity : [Looking a bit uncomfortable with all the chat regarding the baser of instincts. To Aldwyn, a little more loudly than normal in an effort to change subjects] What about the church? Why is it not a building in it's own right? [mashes together some jellied eel and curried brussel sprout to scoop onto a popadom]

Aldwyn : [Turns and looks at Chastity, as though she has said the most outrageous thing he's ever heard, but returns to his normal demeanour after a few seconds] I think you may have misunderstood me, Sister. The church is a building in its own right - I meant that the vault isn't a seperate building.

Chastity : My apologies. Thank you for the clarification, I mustn't have heard you correctly. [Looks embarrassed] A bit of a case of lady of the cloth ears. [Smiles weakly, and takes a bite from her laden popadom]

Cecil-Anthony : [Blusters out a guffaw, sending a jellied eel head shooting down the table] Ha, good one sister! [Points dramatically to the flying titbit] Imcoming!

Agatha : [Looks at Chastity like her joke was disturbingly wierdo, then at Cecil-Anthony as if he was a regular everyday boring guy] Oh Cecil Anthony, do stop playing with your food, what will our guests think! [Chuckles]

Bertie : I've got it! [Swats the eel head with a poppadum, sending it across the table into Dahlia's cleavage] Intercepted!

[DAHLIA claps her hand to her chest, clearly sending the eel further down, causing her to squirm uncomfortably.]

Dahlia : Oh!

Penelope : [Indignantly] Cecil-Anthony! Please! [Glares at Bertie] Bertie, you are not in the Drones* club now, my lad! --0-1604241244-1042811979=:46106

Fabian : [Titters] I say Bertie old man, spiffing strike what! That sent the Eel all out for two hundred to three, in the third test for a duck with a sticky wicket, what! See Anthony Cecil, I do follow the rules and terminology of cricket!

Harvey : [To Aldwyn, around a mouthful of curried brussel sprouts] I say Colonel! These eight gem stones, are they each of a different type of stone?

Clint : [Gazing at Agatha, clearly enjoying something] Well there seems to be quite a few gems in the family, anyway.

Penelope : [To Fabian] Ah, I see you've found your way to the table. Please don't encourage them.

Aldwyn : [Turns to Harvey and roars] Gah! [Calms down again] Good Colonel, I cannot believe that I never showed you the gemstones! I should be bent over and have my bare bottom lashed by a Sergeant Major! Lashed, I say! However, the answer to your question is no, they are all of the same type of stone, but each is of a different colour.

Alice : [Blushing slightly] Aw! Thanks Clint! --0-289274596-1042813022=:68464

Fabian : [Bows to Penelope] Yes, sorry I was delayed in getting here, mother! It will not happen again.

Harvey : Hmmm, and do you know of any possible use for these stones, apart from giving such aesthetic pleasure, Colonel? Is there a story behind the bejewelled glory, what? It will not happen again. giving such aesthetic pleasure, Colonel? Is there a story behind the bejewelled glory, what?

Agatha : [Stops fumbling Clint imediatley, and looks at Clint rather disgusted, as if she has just discovered something unexpected] Yes, I expect our family has considerably more gems than your family does.

Austin : [To Aldwyn] Were the gems ever set into anything, like a crown, or sceptre? [Chuckles] Maybe the 'stick' was set with gems, hence it's worth!

Aldwyn : [To Harvey] They are supposed to grant good luck to the family, as well as that voracious appetite that the Bassett-Short [glances at Alice and speaks up a little] men have. Faern wasn't much for keeping records, but was very explicit about them being kept here.

Penelope : Of course, there were myths about them. They are generally of two types, the first being the talisman type, in which the holder of the stones is lucky. The other is that, at some stage, their hitherto unknown magical powers will be required by another adventurer from the family. [Smiles] We are still waiting for another fearless knight to appear from the Bassett-Short family. The gems themselves are relatively large, so it is unlikely they could be worn on a crown, unless the person had an unfeasibly large head. [Glance at Harvey] --0-220999171-1042813698=:52181

Harvey : Stuff and nonsense, private Sleaze! This stick was probably some fabulously powerful item which was put in safe keeping to be, erm, kept safe for a few thousand years, but sadly, either through nefarious deeds or absent mindedism, fell into the wrong hands.

Penelope : [With barely concealed amusement] Yes, Harvey. Yes. That is a theory.

Austin : [To Penelope] And how will you know which one of you this adventure is? I could be anyone of you, Aldwyn, Harvey or Alice? [Looks at Alice and winks]

Penelope : [Laughs] Of course it could!

[FREVEN returns, and starts serving dessert.]

Penelope : As I said, it is but a myth. There are no details about how this adventurer would make themselves known.

Agatha : [To Austin] Perhaps this adventurer will never be known to us. They may have to keep their identity secret in order to protect their operation. Like the childrens cartoon heros, like Zero, you know the chap who wears the mask and just leaves a 'Z' with his sword after he does something heroic.

Penelope : Or perhaps there is no such adventurer.

[The dinner is now pretty much finished.]

Clint : [To Freven] Will there be some digestives served? Some brandy for most of us, and a glass of milk for Alice?

Freven : But, of course sir. [Steps to one side revealing a large trolley full of drinks, including the infamous Louis XIV.]

[ALICE glares at CLINT for a second, but her face lights up when she sees the bottle.]

Freven : [To Clint] I took the liberty sir, of anticipating Ms. Alice's desire for that particular libation. [Lifts up a silver serving dish, revealing a mouth watering glass of ice cold milk] Voila!

Austin : [To Freven] Louis XIV please Freven.

Agatha : [To Alice] You should get low fat milk, Alice. It will help you slim down a little.

[FREVEN pours out a generous measure of brandy for those who want it, and passes AUSTIN's to him, just in front of ALICE, causing her nose to twitch and her to inhale deeply as it does.]

Alice : [With gritted teeth and flared nostrils] Thanks, Agatha. That's very helpful.

Chastity : [Spends a few minutes looking at the different liqueurs, brandies, whiskies, whiskeys and bourbons, occasionally picking up the odd bottle to examine the label, nodding admiringly before turning to Freven] Tea please.

Freven : [Smiles thinly] Of course. [Bends down to the lower part of the cart, which is covered by a cloth, and removes a tea pot and some impossibly delicate china] I presume that Earl Grey will suffice?

[FREVEN pours out the tea.]

Aldwyn : [Holding up his huge glass of brandy] A toast, to new friends!

All : [Cheerfully] To new friends!

[There follows the sound of much satisfied drinking, which almost drowns out ALICE, who slowly holds up her glass.]

Alice : [Grumbling, and clearly extremely unhappy as she toasts with her glass of low fat] To new friends.

[Book III, Act VI, Scene VII. The East Wing. CHASTITY, HARVEY, FAETAN, ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT and ALICE are here, having just come back from dinner.]

Harvey : Ah! A splendid dinner, splendid! Well, troop, what do we think now, eh? Eh?

Alice : [With a determined look] That low fat milk doesn't taste anywhere near as nice as proper milk, not to mention Louis XIV!

Harvey : Er, I meant about this business with the wand. wand.

Faetan : Hiding something, obviously. I say we interrogate one of the more talkative ones. Fabian seems like a good choice to me.

Alice : What? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Hiding what?

Chastity : [Outraged. To Faetan] I don't know what you've been used to in the past, young lady, but you don't accept the generous hospitality of a household, and then hold members of said house down for interrogation. Who do you think you are, the Spanish Inquisition? [Turns dramatically to look towards the door]

Clint : Especially if they offer you Louis XIV!

[Everyone turns to the door, and an air of tension descends.]

Alice : [After a few seconds] Well, I suppose they only come when not expected. [Turns to Faetan] Anyway, explain!

Faetan : [Rolls her eyes] Sheesh! All I said is that we have a chat with Fabian.

Chastity : You said interrogate, which has a completely different inference. Anyway, what about the gems stone. They could be our way through that strange door in the caves. [To Harvey] Didn't Aldwyn say he'd should you his jewels?

Faetan : Sure, interrogate, chat, lop off a testicle, whatever works for you.

Harvey : [Irritated] There will be no more of your barbarism, young lady, or by crikey the party will cut all ties with you faster than you slice a testicle off a prone man. [To Chastity] Why, yes, Sister, he did say he wanted to show me his family jewels. In fact, I think we are all invited to see his family jewels. Alice? Have you ever seen his family jewels.

Alice : No.

Harvey : Before we visit them, I believe we should discuss what we think happened to the wand. Could it be the stick that Penelope spoke of? [To Faetan] If we could see your pussy, that might help matters.

Chastity : Should we concentrate on one item at a time. We'll have to watch we don't overstretch ourselves here too much. I don't know if I can handle Faetan's pussy and Aldwyn's family jewels in the same afternoon.

Austin : [To Chastity, in a deadpan manner] Well I'll handle Faetan's pussy, and you handle Aldwyn's family jewels.

Chastity : [Looks surprised] I would have though that a man of your experiences would be better suited to handle Aldwyn's family jewels than Faetan's pussy.

Austin : [To Chastity] Oh? What experiences would they be?

Alice : I guess we all thought you would be the one most likely to take the family jewels up the backside - that's where people hide stuff when they steal it, isn't it? No offence, but you did conceal Bose Hatwearer's jewel pretty well.

Austin : [To Alice] Yes well, that's a myth spread by educated theives so that they can have a laugh at novice thieves walking funnily away from the scene of a crime, only to be immediatley appropriated by the police, and subjected to a cavity search.

Alice : [Reproachfully to Austin] You know, falling for it once was unfortunate Austin, but fifteen times? Well, that's just gay!

Clint : [To Alice] You fell for it fifteen times?

Alice : [Points at Clint, making a "click click" noise like Sky* used to] Sometime's it's worth the pain!

Austin : [To Alice] You fell for it fifteen times? Anyone would think you enjoyed it! [Pauses, then in a 'listen to words of wisdom from the master' manner] What you should do is find somewhere cunning to hide the contraband, not on your person, but somewhere where no one will look. For example, when I acquired Ms. Hatwearer's 'Part of the Ocean', I hid the necklace in her used santiary towel container, in her en-suite bathroom. Once all of the searches and accusations had subsided I paid a visit to Bose to assure her that I would find the necklace, and retrieved it from the container. Simple, but effective.

Alice : Austin, it was funny when Clint said it, but simply copying him doesn't make you funny, just a little pathetic. Anyway, this stick that Faern is supposed to have sold - could it have been the wand?

Austin : [To Alice] That's because I wasn't trying to be funny Alice. I was merely experessing amazement at how stupid you were.

Alice : I know, it's awful. If I were any more stupid I'd almost be as stupid as you.

Austin : [To Alice] So you are stupid and infantile, and have the attention span of a curried Brussel sprout. You were talking about the wand, or had you forgotten?

Chastity : [Aside to Harvey] I see Austin is back to his argumentative self. [Wipes a pretend nostalogic tear from her eye] By Phili, it's almost like the good old days.

Alice : I hadn't forgotten, it's just that you interrupted me, and insisted carrying on your stupid argument. I suspect this is another example of your usual strategy of arguing, that is, keep rambling on until the other person gets bored, regardless of how ridiculous the argument was. Now, while it is tempting to try and compare your intelligence to that of a curried Brussel's sprout in the light of your latest claim, I couldn't be bothered, quite simply, Austin, because you bore me.

Harvey : [Rolls his eyes] Indeed, good Sister. I'm just waiting for the blackguard to trot out the old "just because I don't believe you're stupid, doesn't mean I don't think you're stupid" routine. [Coughs] Now, getting back to the wand.

[The door swings open. In barges CARDINAL XIMINEZ and CARDINAL BIGGLES.]

Ximinez : Aha! No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Austin : [To Ximinez, whilst inspecting his nails briefly] Does that suprise you?

Ximinez : Don't try to weasal your way out of this, Fernando! We've got you bang to rights.

Austin : [To Ximinez] WHo the hell are you? Who the hell is Fernando, [Looks Ximinez once over] and make sure you execute your tailor the next time you see him. [Steps behind Clint]

Clint : [To Austin] Woha, careful back there lawyer. [To Ximinez] What are you inquisitionating?

Chastity : [Indicating towards the nearest upholstered seat] And would you care to take a seat while you tell us.

Austin : [To Chastity] But what are they doing in the house in the first place? They could be anybody.

Ximinez : [Moves around so he can point angrily at Austin] Don't you dare claim you don't know what we're talking about!

[BIGGLES nudges XIMINEZ, and shows him a photo.]

Ximinez : [Dead calm] Er, you're not Fernando.

Austin : [To Ximinez] Well I'm glad we've got that settled. How can we help you gentlemen?

Ximinez : [Clearly quite embarrassed] Er, so, who are you people? [Feverishly checks his notebook]

Harvey : He's Austin Sleaze [points out the rest of the group] Sr. Chastity Browne, Alice Bassett-Short, Faetan Jarl, Clint Scar and I'm Harvey Kingston-Short III.

Ximeniz : [Flicks through the notebook] Well, I'm sorry, we've got the wrong place. [Flicks through some more, before adding brightly] But we'll see you all in two weeks time!


Alice : [Clearly puzzled at what has just happened] So, er, anyway. The wand. Do we think Faern sold it? --0-271088030-1043090956=:71235

Harvey : I say, how damnably odd, what! [Turns to Alice] Indeed, dear niece, that is what I think happened! The wand, sold to a foreign power, as fast as kiss my hand, no sooner were our backs turned! [Scratches at a sideburn] But I also feel that this circular gate is of utmost importance also! And of course, these family jewels of the good Colonels are no doubt the keys to fit the doors locks, eh!

Clint : But why would we want to go through that door? Last time we fiddled with a round magical artifact, we ended up time travelling, and look at the trouble we've been through to get to our time! [Pause] I say we try to sort out the wand matter first.

Alice : But are the two related? Daddy did say that Faern insisted on them being kept here.

Austin : I think Alice is correct, we should investigate the door, and use the jewels to open it if necessary.

Harvey : Indeed, Private Sleaze, although it would be useful to have an idea of what lies in wait for us. It is surely related to the wand, but there's more to it than just having the wand hidden there.

Austin : [To Harvey] Perhaps Fabian would tell us more. He is the only one of the Basset-Shorts who has been into the catacoombs, as far as we know.

Alice : Actually, Austin, it was Bertie who was in the catacombs. [Muses to herself] Attention span of a curried Brussels sprout, eh? [To the others] We could ask him about it, but he was quite young when it happened. Now, I know you might find this difficult to believe, but not all of the others are as grounded as I am. He mightn't be entirely reliable.

Austin : [To Alice] Disturbing news, indeed. Yes of course it was Bertie who was in the coombs, but Fabian seeemed to have some information that he wanted to tell us.

Alice : No, it was Faetan that wanted Fabian to have some information to tell us.

[There is a soft knocking on the door, and BERTIE's hushed voice can be heard calling through.]

Bertie : [Somehow almost shouting, even though he is clearly trying to keep his voice down] What-ho, Alice! Are your chums gone to bed? I've got simply the wheeziest cheesiest sandwiches you could imagine. You know, I don't mind saying, some of your pals are a little queer, what!

[An awkward silence descends, as BERTIE stays outside the door, clearly waiting for an answer.]

Chastity : [Eventually breaks the long awkward silence, quickly opens the door, pulls Bertie inside and shuts it again] Come in. We don't want you catching cold in these chilly corridors.

Bertie : [Looks surprised for a second, before grinning sheepishly at the party] Er, hello chaps! [To Alice] Well, as I was saying, some of your pals are a little queer, [overcompensating] unlike these fine people!

Alice : Thanks Bertie, no one here is a [emphasises] little queer.

Faetan : [To Bertie] No, although we would like to [Does the sarcastic double quotes to Alice] "Have a chat" with Fabian.

Chastity : [To Bertie, looking concerned] We were just discussing what a terrible fright it must have been for you when you were lost down the catacombs. What happened to you down there?

Alice : [To Faetan] Actually, you were the one who wanted to chat with Fabian. [To Bertie] Make sure you keep Fabian away from her.

Bertie : Er, right-ho, Alice! [To Chastity] Gosh, Sister, it was so long ago, I can hardly remember. It's all a bit of a blur of dark caves, scary monsters and dead servants.

Chastity : Dead Servants? I thought you were on your own.

Clint : If they were dead, how did you know they were servants?

Bertie : Well, quite! That's why Father had to send them down. Well, they were armed with pitchforks, torches and a broken milk carton, so it's not like they were completely defenceless!

Bertie : Because when they found me, they told me they were. And [continues with a flourish] those that survived apparantly continued to work here.

Austin : [To Bertie] Has anything nasty come out of the coombs since?

Bertie : Absolutely nothing. The cave I fell in through was sealed off.

Harvey : By bricks?

Bertie : No, by Father.

Clint : [To Harvey] Who's Bricks?

Faetan : [To Bertie, whilst chewing a wooden tooth pick] And what did your father use to seal off the cave?

Austin : [To Bertie] Perhaps you could show us this sealed entrance?

[HARVEY glances at CLINT, but ignores him.]

Bertie : I jolly well will! Would you like to see it now?

Chastity : Maybe not right now. We've just had dinner and we wouldn't want to get a stitch.

Alice : Well, I'd like to see it now.

Chastity : [Tuts with irritation] Such impatience. I would have thought that we'd all learned the trouble that impatient rushing into situations brought. [Glances at Faetan, the looks thoughtful for a moment] Well, I suppose that it'll be alright, just as long as we take it easy. And definitely no swimming. [Wags finger] That's guaranteed to bring trouble after a big meal as much as running with scissors.

Alice : It's a deal. No swimming, and no running headlong and unarmed into groups of inbred murdering rapists.

Bertie : Ooh-er! Let's go! [Opens the door]

Clint : [Carefully taking out a pair of scissors from his pocket] Ok, I'm ready. Let's go see those phantoms and huge monsters.

Chastity : Can we just get our stuff first. We don't want to risk the Colonel in another golf carting incident.

Austin : [Looks worriedly at Alice] You do understand that this could be really dangerous, we nearly got killed in the caves. And I had to destroy my kid skin Trada gloves, they were so soiled.

Faetan : Aw come on Aussis, Chassers, you know what they say - the longer we wait, the colder the trail gets.

Alice : [To Austin] At least they weren't as soiled as your underpants were!

Bertie : [To Chastity] What stuff is this? [Enthusiastically] Cheese?

Harvey : Certainly not! Most of the troop are, er, keen painters. The good sister just wants to ensure we have our equipment.

[Everyone has their weapons and armour now, but in bags, not worn.]

Bertie : [Looks out the window, into the darkness] Painting, eh?

Chastity : Yes. We help fund our travels by making those amusing postcards of different places at night that look like they are just painted black.

Clint : Assuming we have all packed, let's go. [To Bertie] You did pack your sandwiches for the way, I hope. We might get [finger quotes] hungry along the way.

Bertie : [Squirms with delight] Oh, I say! Tip top! I just love those. I've sent loads of those, and they always get a great laugh. Or there was that one with just a picture of the planet, which I sent to Alice here, saying "Wish you were here!" - was that one of yours? Oh, oh! And do you do all those risque ones of large women wearing just their underwear? [A look of recognition comes across his face, and he points at Chastity in delight] Hey! I knew that I knew you from somewhere? [Big smile] Can I get your autograph?

Chastity : [Angrily] You can take that inane grin off your face. [Goes red in the face] Those cards have nothing to do with me. [Wags her finger in Bertie's face] Nothing I say. [turns away and looks out the window to calm down]

Bertie : [Raises his eyebrows, and blushes slightly, turning to Alice, saying sheepishly] Ooh-er! Artistic temperament, eh?

Alice : Something like that.

Bertie : Righty-ho! Follow me.

[The party follow BERTIE out of the house and across the gardens. Although in the same direction as the caves earlier, they clearly haven't got quite that far, when they approach a well. Sitting at the edge is SAM JEEJAMS.]

Sam : Halt! Who goes there? [Squints a bit] Oh! Master Bertie, and Miss Alice!

Faetan : [Peers at the well, then at Sam] What's up?

Sam : I'm guarding this here well. --0-338667702-1043176275=:55198

Harvey : [Sorts] Oh indeed you are not sir! Not well at all! Our group were mere feet away before you noticed our trespass! Why, were we brigands, you would have had no time to raise an alarm before we'd done you in, sir! Honestly, dear niece, where do you find these people?

Alice : Er, on the well? Oh, I see what you mean! I don't know him, I never met him before.

Sam : Miss Alice! I've known you all your life, I've been gardener here for the last forty years.

Alice : [Looks a little more closely at him, before turning to Harvey] I think Daddy hired him.

Chastity : [Peers down the well, and then to Sam] More importantly then what's down? has

Sam : [Moves to stand in front of Chastity] Begging your pardon, Missus, but it's just not safe. It's full of scary monsters and such.

Chastity : [Hopefully] By that you won't happen to mean that there are monsters down there that scare easily, would you?

Clint : [Quietly, to Faetan] We wouldn't want them to run away without a good fight, would we?

Faetan : [Quietly, to Clint] What chance would [Catches a whiff of Clint, *Choke*] I can't say I'd blame them [Moves further away from Clint].

Sam : [To Chastity] I do! They sure scared me easy!

Chastity : [picks up a small stone and tosses it down the well, cupping her hand to her ear in traditional listening to stone dropping down well fashion] I wonder how deep the well is? It was too dark to see the bottom.

Alice : [To Clint] With all the racket she makes running unarmed towards them, I'm sure they'd have plenty of warning.

[CHASTITY's stone lands with an undeniable thunking sound, which is clearly not water.]

Clint : If Chastity's stone didn't scare them, we'll send Faetan next.

Faetan : [To Clint] Just because you're running low on stones.

Austin : [To Bertie] This could be a good time for a cheesey sandwich. [Wiggles his eyebrows at Bertie]

Chastity : That's assuming all the usual bitching and back-chat doesn't scare them away before she gets there. [Looks down the well again] How are we to get down there? Do we have any rope? [To Sam] Or is there some sort of ladder.

Sam : I'm sorry Sister, but you are not going down there. It is far too dangerous.

Bertie : [Unwrapping some sandwiches] Besides, Sister, the well has long since been sealed. There was concrete poured into it.

Chastity : [To Bertie] If the well has been sealed, why is someone required to guard it?

Bertie : I'm afraid old Sam here is quite mad, aren't you, Sam?

Sam : [Sullenly] No.

Bertie : He became a little unhinged after going into the catacombs. Didn't you Sam?

Sam : No.

Bertie : Even after the well was sealed, he insisted on staying here every night, in case the [waggles his fingers in a pseudo scary fashion] creatures come back. Didn't you, Sam?

Sam : Yes.

Chastity : [To Sam] Can you tell us anything more than Bertie has about what happened down there? [Glances despairingly towards Bertie] Which was nothing, by the way.

[BERTIE says nothing, and just gives a sheepish shrug of the shoulders.]

Sam : I would like to, Sister, but I don't think such things are fit for a lady like yourself, and I wouldn't want to frighten Miss Alice.

Alice : [Sigh] It's okay, Sam.

Sam : I'm not so sure, Miss Alice. [Lowers his voice slightly] You know, Miss Alice, Mrs. Bridges didn't really run off to join the circus with Mr. Hall.*

Alice : I never thought she did!

Chastity : Bertie has already informed us of this piece of local gossip. Are you trying to tell us they were brutally butchered, heads lolling, arms being wrenched off with blood gurgling screams by vicious monsters within the catacombs whilst trying to save Bertie. [Puts an hand on Alice's shoulder] I think you'll find that Alice isn't scared by such images. She isn't as frail as her demeanour would lead you to presume.

Alice : [Nods in agreement] That's right. [Suddenly notices Chastity's hand on her shoulder and jumps in fright] Yeargh! [Turns angrily to Chastity] Hey! Don't creep up on me like that!

Sam : Well, they were brutally butchered, with heads lolling around, arms wrenched off, although it was difficult to hear their blood curdling screams over the roaring of the monsters that attacked us.

Clint : That must have sound as bad as Faetan's singing.

Faetan : [To Clint, pissed off] Hey stinky, shut your stupid face! What are you waiting for, let's get down there [Points into the well]

Sam : I guess that depends on who or what a Faetan is. Of the group of us that went in, only three came out, and we swore that, from that day on, we would guard the well constantly.

Alice : Off you go.

Clint : [To Featan] Sure, let's just drill through the concrete. [Mocked look of realisation] But we don't have a driller!

Austin : [Carefully looks down into the well] Is it or is it not sealed with concrete?

Sam : Yes.

Austin : [To Sam] Do you mean 'yes' it is sealed, or 'yes' it is not sealed?

Clint : Maybe we could band Faetan's head onto it until it cracks. [Pause] The concrete, that is.

Sam : It is sealed. There is no way through it.

Alice : Then why are you guarding it?

Sam : I'm not guarding it to stop people getting in, but to stop them [points down the well] getting out.

Austin : [To Alice, in a humerously quisical style] Maybe we could use Faetan's line of questioning instead, your staff here [Points at Sam] may be more helpful that way, although a little less able to procreate.

Faetan : [To Austin. Growls] That was thousands of years ago!

Alice : [Glances at Faetan for a second, before turning back to Austin] She's not getting near anyone. I don't know why you all think that people might be lying - I'll have you know that no one in my family, or on the associated staff ever lie, do they Sam?

Sam : No.

Alice : [Thinks for a second] Of course, if they did, you'd hardly say yes, now would you? Hm.

Harvey : I think it's quite obvious that the well is sealed. There is little to be gained by hanging around here.

Clint : Especially with Louis XIV back in the house!

Faetan : [Nods] Right. Let's go hang around somewhere...else.

Austin : [To Sam] Well, keep up the good work. [To Harvey] Where next then? [To Bertie] Are there any other wells, or deep hole around the estate?

[The group begin the walk back.]

Harvey : Well, troop, what now? Shall we get Aldwyn to show us the jewels? To see if they do match the door?

Bertie : Not that I know of, old chap. I suppose there's the caves.

Clint : We could try the caves then. But make it quick, there's a bottle waiting for me in the house.

Austin : Down into those filthy, Pearce infested, holes again? [Looks displeased at Clints proposal] I think it would be much more advantageous to go and look at the gems [Clasps his hands as he says 'gems', and aglazed expression covers his eyes for a moment. To Harvey] Don't you agree Colonel? --0-209946034-1043262926=:56988

Harvey : [Looks suspiciously at Austin] I do agree, as it happens, private. There is no point in us returning to the caves just yet, and certainly not until we know a little more about that gate.

Faetan : The gate was open the last time we were there, I say we go back and kick some monster ass.

Alice : [Rolls her eyes] Yeah. [To Austin] Remember, we're just going to look at the gems, right?

Austin : [To Alice] Naturally, I wouldn't want to destroy the Bassett-Short libido, the honey eyed locust vendor would go out of business.

Alice : That's most kind of you, Austin.

[The party approach the house once more, and see that FREVEN is outside, waiting for them some distance from the front door.]

Freven : Good evening. Perhaps you would all be good enough to use one of the side entrances.

Clint : And why is that, Freven?

Chastity : Probably something to do with your personal presentation causing embarrassment to the family, Clint. Hence we have to use the trades entrance.

Freven : Oh no, Madam, the gentleman's particular odour, while possibly not the most pleasant, is not the reason for my desire to have you enter by a different means to the one used traditionally. I am afraid there is something of a disturbance in the house.

Clint : They're fighting over the Louis XIV bottle. I knew we should have brought it with us.

Clint : They're fighting over the Louis XIV bottle. I knew we should have brought it with us.

Freven : I fear, sir, that it is even more grave than that particular issue. A number of armed gentlemen have attacked the house. There are several small fires burning, and I believe that a considerable amount of damage has been done to the dining room.

Chastity : The Pearces? [To Freven] They didn't look dumber and smellier than Clint did they?

Freven : [Considers this for a moment] While they most certainly appeared to lack the intelligence that the good Mr. Scar appears to be endowed with, I couldn't really comment on the relative odours.

Austin : [To Freven] Have the attackers been killed yet?

Freven : I fear, Mr. Sleaze, that if there is any killing to be done, they are the ones that will be doing it. One of the servants has been despatched to alert the local constabulary.

Clint : And why do you want us to go through a side entrance?

Freven : [Looks directly at Clint for a second,before turning to Chastity] Madam, I retract my earlier comment about the intelligence of the interlopers.

Chastity : [Nodding] Fine. Please lead on, Freven.

Austin : [To Harvey] Well colonel, why don't we get tooled up, so to speak, and go and teach them a lesson, lest they escape by the time th elocal constabulary get here.

Freven : [To Chastity] But, of course. [Starts walking to the side of the house.]

Harvey : By the saints, Private Sleaze! You've got more spunk in you than I thought! [Points to convenient telephone box] Quick, let's change in there!

Freven : [Stops] Excuse me. Do you wish to follow?

Clint : [With his pants half-way down his legs] Never mind the phone booth.

Alice : [Glances at Clint, before looking away, only to turn back again in horror] Eauh! Is that all hair? [Gives a shiver] I think I'll join Harvey in the phone box. [Squeezes in with Harvey]

Austin : [To Freven] No, please don't follow anyone into the telephone booth, the party is quite capable of dressing itself. [Gets his sling, dagger and knives out]

Freven : I am sorry sir, but when a young lady is getting changed in a telephone box, it is my duty to [slight pause] to offer my assistance.

[FREVEN squashes into the telephone box too.] > > ;;;Does Austin have armor? Padded leather? Studded leather? > ;;; Learther, the same stuff he always has!

Austin : [To Freven] Quite. [Takes off his suit and puts on his leathers, pausing momentarily to admire Maplin as he slowly, tantilisingly, slips into his leather sleeve]

Faetan : [Pulls armor on over her clothes, gives hair a toss once finished] Ready! Mwah ha ha!

Clint : [Looking at the telephone box] Is that the handset in Freven's pocket, or is he just happy to be squashed into the telephone box with Alice?

Alice : [Squeezing out, now dressed] The question should be, Clint, who's hand is set in Freven's pocket, to make him that happy!

[HARVEY and FREVEN come out of the telephone box, the latter smoking a cigarette.]

Freven : I believe they were looking for the vault.

Chastity : [Removes her Dress habit to reveal her battle habit underneath] And people think I wear baggy clothes for vanity!

Austin : [To Chastity, chuckling] So what are you wearing under the battle habit? [To Faetan, smiling] You looks much better in your armor, if I may be so bold, ma'm [Bows to Faetan in a fun way]

Faetan : [Bows in return] Why thank you, sir.

Alice : [To Clint] I think I preferred her when she was rude.

Harvey : Let's go!

[Enter ALL, into the house, through the front door.]

Faetan : You may, my dashing comrade-in-arms! [Bows back the same] And Maplin looks finer than ever. [Book III, Act VI, Scene VIII. The Front Hall. CHASTITY, HARVEY, FAETAN, AUSTIN, CLINT and ALICE are here, having just entered. FABIAN is also here, in a heap on the ground, crying.]

Alice : [Looks at Faetan] Well, nothing seems out of the ordinary here.

Faetan : [To Fabian, approaching awkwardly] Uh...are you...injured? [Looks confused at seeing a man cry]

Chastity : [To Harvey] If only she'd approach more situations with such caution. [Looks around the hall in case of ambush]

Alice : [Drawing her sword and stepping between Faetan and Fabian] Back off! I mean it. There's going to be no interrogation here. here.

Faetan : [Snorts a laugh] Alice, you psycho! Fine, YOU ask him if he's injured!

Alice : You calling someone a psycho? That's rich. [Turns to Fabian] Are you okay?

Fabian : Of course not! Look, my make up is running! Some men came in, they were looking for the vault.

Clint : Did they find it? [Pause] I mean, are the others okay?

Fabian : I think so, most of them escaped, but they've taken Father, and I think he knows where the vault is.

Clint : [To Alice] Damn, they have taken you dad, and know where the vault is. [Pause] Huh?

Alice : [Confused] Huh?

Faetan : [Blink]

Austin : Hmm..

Harvey : [Peers at Clint] Eh? --0-1023567252-1043356339=:20893

Harvey : [Waits in silence for a moment] Yes, indeed, hmmm. [Turns to Fabian] You there! When did they take the Colonel, what? Which direction did they go in? And finally, does your mother know where the vault is? [Turns to Alice] Why, dear niece, if she does, then we can go immediately to the vault and rescue your father!

Alice : [Impatiently] I know where the vault is.

Clint : [To Harvey] That's a good plan, Colonel. Let's go ask Alice's mum. --0-1326424273-1043357830=:17985

Harvey : But of course, dear niece! Whatever was I thinking, do forgive me! Please, lead the way! [Turns to the others] Best be ready for some inbred hayseed bumpkin thumping, eh!

Alice : [To Clint] I don't think she'd tell you!

[Everyone draws their swords, as ALICE leads them along a short corridor, with several doors in it. She stops at one of them and nods at it.]

Alice : It's in there.

Clint : [Pointing at his boot] Do you want me to knock?

Alice : As politely as you can.

Clint : [Kicking the door hard] Knock-knock. [The door smashes open, revealing a small bathroom. In here is FABIAN, checking his make up in the mirror.]

Alice : [Does a double take] Huh? I thought you were down stairs!

Fabian : Yes, darling, I was, but your [waves at Clint] big strong man here made me feel so safe, that I slipped up here while you were all busy being confused.

Clint : [Slightly stepping away from Fabian] Woha!, keep your lipstick to yourself!

Chastity: [Leaning on her mace] Ahem. The Vault?

Alice : [Leaning back against the wall, smiling at Clint's discomfort] Hm? [Suddenly remembers] Oh! Next door on, I think.

Chastity : [Picks up her mace and goes over to the next door. To Alice] Are you sure this time? [Listens at the door]

Alice : Pretty sure. [Draws her sword]

Chastity : [To Clint] Do want to do this door? Or would you rather we leave with Fabian in the bathroom?

Alice : Come on, Stinky! Give it a kick!

Faetan : Yeah, let's show 'em what for!

Chastity : Oh, for Phili's sake, I'll just do it the traditional way! [Slowly turns the door handle, takes position against the wall, so as to avoid any hostile fire from within and gives the door a back kick to help it open]

[CHASTITY knocks it open with grace and ease. It opens into a long corridoor, which ends in another door. About two thirds of the way along is another door, which is a large metal one. Standing just before that are ALDWYN, PEARSE PEARCE, DADDY PEARCE, KENNY WHO? and RICKY NICKETT.]

Alice : What the hell? What are they doing here?

Faetan : [Growls, eyes narrowing] I'm gonna wail on that scum like he's going out of fashion...

Alice : I know your voice is annoying Faetan, but it's not dangerous! [Runs into the hallway, sword drawn]

Clint : Hey!, wait for me! [Runs after Alice, sword drawn] drawn

Faetan : [Annoyed, rolls eyes] Doesn't she EVER shut it? [Brandishes sword and heads straight for Daddy Pearse]

Austin : [Without getting too close. Fires shots at Daddy Pearce. To Daddy] You'll hang by the neck for this! Scum --0-2001129605-1043691144=:7311

Harvey : [Draws his sword] Brigands! By the saints but you'll rue this day you invaded the Short household! [Attacks]

[DADDY ducks into the doorway with ALDWYN, while PEARSE PEARCE, KENNY WHO? and RICKY NICKETT advance to meet ALICE and CLINT. AUSTIN, meanwhile, fires at PEARSE.]

Pearse : [As Clint hits] Ow! Pa! The stinky one hit me!

Daddy : [From without] Well, hit him back boy!

Pearse : I knocked him out Daddy! [Clint falls to the floor.]

Kenny : For Kenny! [Swings and hits Alice]

Austin : [Fires at Pearce] Chew on this, inbred!

[FAETAN reaches over CLINT and swings at PEARSE, while ALICE swings at KENNY again.]

Alice : [With her face contorted in rage as she knocks out Kenny] You bastard!

Pearse : Daddy! They killed Kenny!

[The door behind AUSTIN and CHASTITY opens. Enter KENNY WHY? and KENNY WHAT?]

Kenny : Looks like it's time for revenge, Kenny!

Kenny : I'm sure going to enjoy this!

Austin : [Looks worried. Fires at Kenny Why] Oooh, good giddy Phili!

Kenny : Ow! Let's get them!

[KENNY WHAT? and KENNY WHY? close the gap to AUSTIN and CHASTITY respectively, and attack.]

Kenny : [Slicing through Chastity's hand, sending it flying towards Austin, slapping him in the face] Revenge will be ours!

Alice : I'll get Daddy! [Climbs over Kenny Who?, and runs into the room where the vault is.]

Harvey : Well done, niece! We'll take care of these brigands.

Pearse : [In consternation as Harvey knocks out Ricky] Pa! Now Ricky's gone!

Daddy : It's okay, boy, I've got muh knife to this here hostage's throat.

[CLINT regains consciousness.]

Clint : [Ducking to avoid Chastity's flying hand] I think that blow affected my brain, next I'll be seeing flying feet! [Throws a blow at Pearse Pearce] Die, scum!

Faetan : [Jumps back to avoid Clint] Okay, Clint, I'll go help Austin. [Runs towards Austin, who is now being attacked by Kenny What? and Kenny Why?]

Harvey : [To Clint] Good to have you back, Private, we've got them on the run now, eh? [Attacks Pearse]

Alice : [Out of view] Let him go!

Daddy : No way, you surrender, or I'll slit his gizzard!

[KENNY WHO? shakes himself, and starts to get up.]

Austin : [Goes for Kenny Why] Your mother was right about you!

Kenny : What?

Kenny : What?

Kenny : No, I was talking to him.

Kenny : Look, let's just kill them.

[The KENNYs attack AUSTIN and FAETAN.]

Pearse : Uh, huh huh! Shake it, shake it, shake it!

Harvey : Gah! The cur has cut me!

Kenny : [Shakes his head and smiles] Well, it looks like it's all under control here, and I'm the spare man. [Looks to Harvey] I guess I'll take her from behind. [Calls out] Mr. Pearce, knock the old fool out, once we've caught his daughter, he'll give us the combination in double quick time.

Daddy : I like you're style, boy!

[A large thunk can be heard coming from the vault room.]

Clint : [Shouting] Hey Bimbo, hold on tight, we're almost done in here! [Swings at Pearse] Will you die?

Faetan : [Maneuvering to take any blows aimed at Austin] steel, you bags! [Attacks the nearest Kenny again] --0-1101952617-1043791520=:48571

Harvey : [Attacks Kenny Who] Austin or Faetan, try to patch up the sister if you can! Bind her wound, or by the saints, she'll be dining with them tonight, eh!

Faetan : Eh? [Nods towards Austin, but still facing Kenny] I'll cover you, if you'd be so kind as to do the honors.

Austin : That's a noble suggestion, Faetan, but there is the issue of this Kenny in front of me.

Kenny : [Laughing as he hits Austin] And who's going to bandage you up?

Pearse : [Swings at Clint] Almost done in here? Haw! We're kicking your ass, boy!

[CLINT swings and savagely wounds PEARSE, knocking him to the ground unconscious, with a surprised look on his face. HARVEY and RICKY clash, but no damage is done.]

Daddy : [To Alice] Drop your sword, or I'll cut his throat.

[ALICE says nothing, but all those in the corridoor can hear her sword hit the ground.]

Harvey : [To Clint] Gah! We're in trouble, Private! The good Sister is almost dead, and now Alice is disarmed! boundary="Boundary_(ID_zVlcni9milPke5buza3ZOA)"

PMDF-SMTP-Warning: Lines longer than SMTP allows found and truncated. --Boundary_(ID_zVlcni9milPke5buza3ZOA)

Harvey : [Looks at Clint] This may be a fight we cannot win, lad! We may have to throw down our swords and plead mercy, otherwise, Alice and Chastity and the Colonel will surely die!

[Enter ARAMIS D'ARTAGNAN, through the door by HARVEY and CLINT, and FENTON BRASER and VASCO DE SAO NUNO GOMES through the other door.]

Aramis : [Wiping his face with a delicate lace handkerchief] I say! Kennys and Pearces, put your swords down this instant if you wish to live.

Vasco : In the name of Prince Manuel, Prince John and His Holiness the Pope, I shall save the good Sister's life. [Kneels at Chastity and binds her wounds.]

Pearse : Let's kill them!

[ARAMIS throws a dart at PEARSE, which swerves around passed HARVEY and CLINT, before flying back and striking him in the eye.]

Pearse : Aiieee! --0-1156847968-1043845625=:40457

Harvey : [Laughs with relief] By the saints, am I glad to see you all! Alice is in need of assistance in the vault! I'll thank you a million times when this little tiff is over! Ha! [Attacks Kenny Who] in need tiff is over! Ha!

Austin : [Goes for Kenny Why again] Your mother told me your half brother is also your father, and that why your ears are so big, and your cranium so small.

Clint : [Swings at Kenny Who] You're going to end up just like him! [Nods towards Pearse]

Faetan : [Cheers] Hurrah for the cavalry. [To Kenny What] Your end comes now! [Attacks Kenny What?]

Kenny : [To Kenny] What's a cranium?

Kenny : I think it's a penis.

Kenny : [To Austin] Bastard!

[FENTON and VASCO join FAETAN and AUSTIN attacking KENNY WHY? and KENNY WHAT?, with only FENTON getting hit, which knocks KENNY WHY? to the ground.]

Kenny : [Drops his sword] I surrender!

Aramis : [To Alice] Here you are, dear lady, I believe that you will find this useful. [Throws a dart to her, but it simply lands in her hand]*

Daddy : [Holding his knife to Aldywn's throat] Back off, or I'll kill him, I swear!

[ALDWYN wakes, and is clearly confused, while KENNY WHO?, after giving PEARSE PEARCE an annoyed look, drops his sword too.]

Kenny : [Holding his hands up] I'm out of this!

Clint : [To Daddy, while putting his sword to Kenny Who's throat] You so much as touch the Colonel, and your blood line will be used to colour this floor.

[The party gather around the doorway, with FENTON and VASCO guarding the prisoners.]

Daddy : [Laugh, showing the party that his two remaining teeth are disgustingly yellow] I don't care boy, he ain't no part of my no god damned bloodline of mine!

Kenny : [Still with Clint's sword to this throat, even though Vasco is also there] Hey!

Aldwyn : [Thoroughly confused] I say! What's the meaning of this? [To Alice] Girl, what's going on here?

[DADDY tightens his grip, and draws a tiny amount of blood from ALDWYN.]

Daddy : Shut up, boy!

[ALDWYN doesn't reply, and just gives a little whimper.]

Alice : [To the party] What's the betting I can take him down with this? [Holds up the dart]

Austin : [To Alice] I don't doubt your abilities. Go girl! [Swipes the air with his dagger]

[A look of disbelief crosses DADDY's face as ALICE fires the dart, which sticks in his throat, sending him to the ground, screaming. ALICE strolls across the room and lops his head off, with no small amount of satisfaction. ALDWYN says nothing, and just looks at her open-mouthed, shocked.]

Aramis : [Wiping his nose with his lace hanky] Well, it looks like we timed our arrival badly, for you had those ruffians defeated and humiliated before we even entered the house. [Bows extravagantly to the party] Please accept my humble apologies, both for my lateness and my jealous and the adventure you have just had.

Faetan : Yes, well they were just playing into our hands. But thank you for your help, I suppose.

[Miraculously, CHASTITY awakens.]

Aramis : Of course you did. However, we have a problem, to which I believe your vault may be connected. There is also some wand involved, which, I suspect, you may already be familiar with. [A smile toys about his face]

Chastity : [Levers herself up from the floor, and looks at dismay at her severed hand, with a tear in her eye] There goes my cross stitch record attempt! [Picks some fluff from the hand stump, before awkwardly wrapping it in a tea towel with tight knot. Smiles weakly] Best make it secure. The devil finds work for idle hands after all!

Faetan : [Glances briefly at Aldwyn. To Aramis] Perhaps.

Chastity : [Entering the room] What problem? Surely the Colonel knows how to get into his own vault.

Aramis : Good Sister, you should know, my hands are never idle.

Alice : [To Aldwyn] What do you say, Aldwyn? Can I have the key? [Puts her sword into the scabbard]

Aldwyn : [Still in a state of shock] Of-of course. [Hands her the key.]

Alice : [Taking out a cheese cigarette and lighting it] Thanks. [Opens the vault]

[ALICE reappears, carrying a briefcase which, when she opens it, lights up her face.]

Alice : [Closing the case] Right, I've got them. Let's go.

Austin : [To Aldwyn] Alice is your family's long lost adventurer, [Looks at the case] She is a true, that has fought many battles over the years, protecting the innocent and slaying evil, so you won't mind if she has a quick swig of this, I suppose [Hands Alice his hip flask, that Ausitn managed to fill with Louis XIV - for real this time!] the -

Faetan : [To Aldywn] I think Austin meant 'True Hero' [Looks doubtfully at Alice]

Alice : [Takes the hip flask from Austin and takes a slug] Sure Chastity, sure. [Ushers the group out of the room]

Aldwyn : [Reeling from shock] Is - is this true, Alice?

[ALICE gets to the door, and she stops, with a wry look on her face, before turning back and walking over to ALDWYN.]

Alice : Of course not, Daddy, this is just a dream.

Aldwyn : [Relieved] By the saints! Thank Phili for that, girl, I knew it couldn't be true. You? A hero? Haw!

Alice : We're all really sound asleep in our beds, and in the morning, my chums and I might go into town to buy some candy and soft toys.

Aldwyn : [Rolls his eyes and speaks reproachfully] Mind you don't get lost, girl, you know what you're like!

Alice : Yes, Daddy.

[Exit ALL.]