THE QUEENS VIEW AFFAIR

[Book III, Act XI, Scene I. Outside the Volcano. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, CHASTITY, HARVEY, JEROME and DARIUS are here, having just emerged. CELIA and BODDY are here, both looking extremely irate and somewhat tense.]

Alice : Hi everyone! How are we?

Celia : I'm extremely pissed off with you lot for not killing Contagion.

Boddy : I'm extremely pissed off with you lot for trying to kill Contagion.

Chastity : Well you can't please all of the people all of the time, as the great prophet Joe Christie as he was fed to the lions.

Austin : [To Chastity] You said that this is no time for religeous discussion, so lets keep it that way. [To Boddy and Celia] Well if you don't like it then do it yourself. [Paces away a little and sulks]

Celia : [Exasperated] I couldn't do it myself! You knew it would take everyone to kill him, and perhaps if you hadn't fired at him, we could have done it. [Bitterly] Thanks a lot, Austin.

Boddy : [Taking out a cheeseratte, pauses and looks at Austin before speaking sincerely] Yeah, thanks Austin. [Tosses him the cheeseratte]

Chastity : [Points to make a point to Austin, but puts her finger back down] Foiled by a sulk. [To Boddy and Celia] If its any consolation there will be another time to kill or not kill Contagion later, I'm sure. The big question is what now? We need to get back home to continue our fight against evil.

Austin : [To Celia] I was told that Contagion had to be in the lava for us to kill him, so there [Sulks a bit more]

Clint : And something about not spoiling the timeline, whatever that meant. [To Celia] By the way, we did try to kill him, but Darius didn't use his sword to finish him off. Now we don't have our magical swords, and Contagion is still alive. [Goes to sulk with Austin]

Chastity : [To Harvey] Colonel, the group moral is floundering. Perhaps it's time for one of your trademark fiery speeches.

Darius : [Walks over to Clint and Austin, and puts an arm around each of them] You tell her, boys! [Looks at the others] Look, Celia, you knew the time line couldn't be corrupted, so why get pissy at it not happenning? [To Boddy] ANd you, you got what you wanted, Contagion is stuck there for almost two thousand years, what are you getting pissy about?

Boddy : The fact that I had to kill my wife, and that you sent Contagion here.

Darius : [Nods] Yeah, confound that time line.

[BODDY punches DARIUS hard on the nose.]

Boddy : [Angrily] Just because you knew you were going to do it doesn't mean you didn't want to do it. [Calmly to the party] I can get you back, but first, I want us to drink a toast to Danielle. You didn't kill her, he [nods at Darius] did. [Takes out a bottle of Louis XIV, but glances at Darius] Get going.

Darius : [Smiles at the party] I can get you back too. And I've got Louis XV!

Chastity : [Smiling, to Darius] Somehow, for once I'm glad you've got a drink worth of you.

Jerome : Jerome ponders the fact that is not Louis XV [pauses taps his chin] a rather intoxication liquor with rather dilaterious side effects. Quite right sister a drink worthy of Darius. [Turns his back on Darius and walks toward Boddy, giving Chastity a sly wink] Mr Boddy we are yours to command.

Darius : [Unperturbed, gets up] Okay, kids. Behave yourselves.

[Exit DARIUS down the mountainside as BODDY pours out drinks for everyone and hands them out.]

Boddy : [As Alice is about to throw hers back] Do you want to wait for the toast?

Alice : Er, I'm not really hungry, but, okay.

Jerome : Dr Jerome K Trindle BSc, PhD suspects this little drink is inspired perhaps by a little beneficial chicanery. [Takes a glass and inhales its bouquet]

Harvey : I won't, thank you very much. Don't touch the vile stuff, myself, eh! However, I will take a glass full of the liquid and raise it with the rest of you! In honour of that wonderful woman and her majestic eggy bread!

Clint : [To Harvey] Can I have your glass then?

Alice : Tut! For God's sake, Stinky, behave yourself. [Short pause] If he's going to give the glass to anyone, he'll give it to me!

Austin : [Coughs a little, and gags, then steps away from Clint] Much as I appreciate the comaraderie, Mr. Scar, your distinct lack personal hygene makes it a most unplesant experience. [Takes a glass from Boddy when it is ready. To Boddy] This whole business stinks of something fishy, and I'm not just talking about Mr. Scar.

Chastity : [Taking a glass. To Austin] No, it would have to be a cheese bread factory business to be confused with Clint. [To Boddy] I shall follow the Colonel's procedure in raising my glass to your good lady's memory.

Boddy : [Nods slowly] Okay. [To Harvey] Despite my saving your worthless hide in Insomnia, you are not prepared even to toast the memory of my wife. Well, I said I'd get my revenge, and here it is.

[Takes out a glass orb and smashes it on the ground, engulfing the party in thick brown smoke.]

Celia : [From outside the smoke] Boddy, no! What are you doing?

Clint : [Drawing his sword in the darkness] Oh. Right. And I'm the stinky fishy one.

Alice : That's right, Stinky, you are.

[The cloud is still here, and still very thick. Everyone's weapons and equipment has suddenly started to feel extraordinarily heavy, to the extent that it is almost impossible to lift them. Along with the increase in weight comes an increase in size, so all the swords are now about twice the size they were. The same thing happens with everyone's clothes. However, no one can see anyone else at the moment.]

Alice : Hey! My skirt and panties are down around my ankles!

Austin : [Chuckling] It was only a matter of time. [Stops laughing. Alarmed] Are we shrinking!

Alice : [With a distinctly higher pitched voice than before] Well, I think there's one part of you that can't get any smaller!

Harvey : [Sounding about an octave higher than before] I say! Boddy! What is going on here!

Austin : [Squeakily] 'One size fits all' is starting to sound like a good idea. [To Alice] I take it that you are reffering to my ego.[Smirks in the smoke]

Alice : Actually, I was referring to your [although no one can see her, it is obvious that she's making quotes with her fingers] brain.

[The smoke begins to clear, and it is now quite dark.]

Alice : Hey! Wasn't it morning just a minute ago? [Looks around at the others] Oh my God! What happened to you? [Although her shirt now comes down to just above her knees, she pulls up her skirt and underwear]

[Everyone's clothes are now just hanging off them, and are way too big.]

Clint : [In a high pitched voice] No, she was talking about your d... that's right, your ego. it

Harvey : [Holding up his arms, so his now huge shirt hangs down almost to the floor] Whoo! I'm a ghost!

Alice : [Stepping behind Clint and Austin, still holding up her clothes] He's scaring me, make him stop!

Austin : [Tightening his belt and rolling up his trousers and sleeves. To Alice] Don't be such a baby, only a fool would think Harvey were scary. Idiot.

Austin : [Squeakily] 'One size fits all' is starting to sound like a good idea. [To Alice] I take it that you are reffering to my ego.[Smirks in the smoke]

Alice : Actually, I was referring to your [although no one can see her, it is obvious that she's making quotes with her fingers] brain.

[The smoke begins to clear, and it is now quite dark.]

Alice : Hey! Wasn't it morning just a minute ago? [Looks around at the others] Oh my God! What happened to you? [Although her shirt now comes down to just above her knees, she pulls up her skirt and underwear]

[Everyone's clothes are now just hanging off them, and are way too big.]

Clint : [In a high pitched voice] No, she was talking about your d... that's right, your ego. it

Harvey : [Holding up his arms, so his now huge shirt hangs down almost to the floor] Whoo! I'm a ghost!

Alice : [Stepping behind Clint and Austin, still holding up her clothes] He's scaring me, make him stop!

Austin : [Tightening his belt and rolling up his trousers and sleeves. To Alice] Don't be such a baby, only a fool would think Harvey were scary. Idiot.

Chastity : [Points at the worm bits] Eurgh! My Mummy's friend, Uncle George, said that thats what boys are made from and thats why they shouldn't be touched! [Looks round the cases] Which one is mine? You'll be able to tell, because it'll have [emphasise] all the best stuff in it.

[AUSTIN opens his crate, revealing it to be full of clothes that look as though they will fit him.]

Alice : Oh, I don't like what's happening here at all, what did Boddy do to us?

Harvey : Yargh! [Looks up from where he has stuck his sword into the ground] Hey, I just cut a worm in half, and both sides are still moving!

Alice : [Worriedly] Are you sure you should be looking through those cases? What if the people who own them come back?

[AUSTIN leans back a little to show that there are six cases, each of which has a party member's name on it.]

Alice : [To Jerome] I was a member of the Junior and Adolescent Shopping Service for the Rich and Idle when I was young, so maybe I can help. [Looks around] Although, I don't see any shopping malls around here.

Chastity : [Shouting] I want to see, I want to see, I want to see! [Rushes over and gives Austin a push to see whats in the cases] Sorry, call away back home - tradesman bother. back now Sam

Austin : [Standing back from Chastity] My, what an unruly vagabond you've turned out to be. Father warned me about your type. [Brushes off his clothes where Chastity touched him, frowning. Goes to another crate to examine the contents]

Austin : [Goes over and examines the cases and their contents. To Jerome] Why don't you go and do your boy scouting and make us a lovely shelter, and I'll have a look through these cases. That would be more effecient, wouldn't it, Jerome. [Shoos Jerome away]

Alice : He- I - he - anyone could have thought that! [Looks around] What happened? It's dark now, where are we going to sleep? Who's going to make our dinner? What are those cases over there? Just to explain the husbands called George!

Jerome : [Punches his hand into his fist] Right team, first we have to make sure that we are decent and wrapped up warm, remember Mr Sharp-Stone is not your friend. [Takes his shoes off and stuffs his socks in the ends] Pertinant question Alice, [Runs over to the cases] Wow! A clue as to our present situation, [Runs back] As to where we can sleep, we have Chastities habit that could be used as a tent compared to our current size. [Jogs over to Chastity] You can have my second best Tweed jacket and ermergency formal trousers in exchange. [Swiftly strides to Alice] Jerome was a member of the Junior and Adolsent Scouting Service for the Rich and Brainy in his youth. Therefore we can have shelter lickety-spit. [Finally draws breath]

Austin : [Swiftly gets changed into a smart suit and packs is stuff carefully. To Chastity] I doubt it Chassers, why would anyone give you the best stuff? [Chuckles] As if! [Looks at Harvey, then the worm] Hmm, most productive. [To Jerome] Have you finished the shelter yet?

Chastity : [Finding her case. To Austin] Because I'm the only one that deserves it! [Opens her case and claps excitedly] Super-Fabby! [Pulls out a cutesy pink dress with a big pink bow, and ducks behind the open case to quickly change into it]

Alice : [Stiffly to Chastity] You and I both know that my stuff will be far nicer. [Opens up her case, showing that it is full of ultra-conservative Aura Lashley type dresses, and looks with obvious dismay at the fun filled contents of Chastity's case, staring at them for a few seconds, with her lower lip jutting out] See? My clothes are far smarter. You could borrow some [tiny pause] if you weren't too big.

[CHASTITY and ALICE are essentially the same size now.]

Jerome : [rooting around in his crate, jogs to Austin] Jerome needs some supporting struts. [Runs to Chastity's old habit, and points at various locations] Here, here and here. [Heads back to Austin] remember Mr Sleaze politeness costs nothing. [Rummages back in his crate] Now remember to wrap-up warmly and be ready for rain [Pulls out a scarf and a pair of tweed gloves] and Clint [Jogs over to Harvey] if you could be careful with that implement, [Stroles over and hands Clint a bar of soap discretely, whispers] remember to wash your hands before and after meals. [Strides to the centre of the group] Now the first questions we have to solve are when and where are we?

Chastity : [Comes back from the other side of the case. Sincerely] Of course, Alice, because you're my bestest friend. [Reaches into the case to pull out a similar green dress] There's only this one here really that you can have, but I'm afraid, [Pauses to partially rip one of the sleaves] it's got a tear in it! Sorry. [Offers it to ALice, making a dramatic unhappy puppy type of face]

Harvey : [To Jerome] I'm not Clint, I'm an airplane. [Stretches his arms out and runs around making airplane noises] Neeaaaaooorrroooiingg! Tacka tacka tacka!*

Alice : [Gasps in disbelief, and rubs her hands through her hair] Oh, you're just so mean, Chastity, anyway, I don't want that dress, because I think it makes you look like a tart! [Just then, Alice's underwear, fishnet stockings and skirt fall down again]

Chastity : [Dismissively] Fine! [Puts the dress back in the case and puts on a lovely easter style bonnet and a lollipop. To the group] What are we to do now. [Starts to lick and suck the lolly in an innocently seductively manner]

Jerome : [Runs over to Alice] Come now, you are both very attractive and respectable ladies [Blushes bright red] But we must really be getting ready to go. [Jogs to Harvey, sticks his arms straight in front of him and alternating pulls each arm back in and then lets them out] Ker-boom, ker-boom, ker-boom*. Harvey you have just been shot down, now get your gear together. [runs over to everyone in turn to make sure they have their satchels with them]

Clint : Ok, everyone calm down. Calm down. I seem to be the oldest in the gourp now, so everyone just follow my orders. [To Jerome] Stop running around. [To Harvey] Stop flying around. [To Austin] Stop bickering around. [To Chastity] Stop bitching around. [To Alice, noticing her underwear in the floor] Stop whatever it is you are doing now. Everone listen to me, I have a big annoucement. [Dramatic pause] We need a plan.

Alice : [Does a quick change into a conservative dress with a floral print reminiscint of wallpaper] Chastity, please stop making that disgusting noise! Clint is trying to come up with a plan, and I'm afraid Austin will start getting [shiver] dirty thoughts. [Earnestly to Clint] What are we going to do? Maybe Jerome could help you, because he's ever so clever too.

Harvey : Boom! Wooooaaaw, woooaaw! [Starts spinning around in a circle, until he eventually crashes into a tree] Ow. I think I'm going to be sick.

Clint : Ok, listen to me carefully - I shall say this only once*. [To Harvey] Will you stop behaving like a child! [Sigh] Ok. We need to work as a team to survive. I suggest Austin goes in front, as he's the least important member of the group. Three and a half meters behind we'll have Jerome, immediately followed by both Alice and Harvey, side by side, to cover the flanks. Chastity will follow you at exactly three meters, and I'll cover Chastity's behind. We'll move in this orderly fashion, and explore our surroundings, until we realise where we are. Everyone got that?

Jerome : Harvey spin in the other direction for a count of 5. [Rushes to Alice's side] Thanks sweet Alice [Blushes, pulls out a pocket compass, begins pacing in front of the party] according to the Bumper Boys Book of Bountiful Knowledge we need a number of landmarks to a,orientate ourselves and b, if we cannot it will allow us triangulate our position. [Faces North and puts a pair of binoculars to his eyes]

Alice : [Listens carefully to Clint] Great plan, Clint. [Bites her lower lip, clearly wanting to ask him something.]

Harvey : Good idea, Doctor. [Gets up and does as suggested, only to throw up on the third spin] Urgh, I've definitely been shot down.

Alice : Clint, what came after "I suggest"?

Austin : [Looks over the rowdy bunch. To Jerome] This appears to be the exact same place, but many years ago. [Turns to Clint] You should go infront since you are clearly the strongest, and the thickest. [Looks at Alice] Possibly.

Chastity : [Impatiently tapping her shiny red shoe clad toes] Come on, come on. Will you just get organised so we can go. I'm getting [in kid whine] boooooooored! [Quickly stuffs any extra gear from her case into a bag]

Clint : I don't like this, I don't like this! [Sigh!] Harvey, stop pucking. Alice, pay attention. Austin, yes, I will lead the party, as I'm the oldest member, [notices Chastity's behaviour] and clearly the wisest. That is, if Jerome will stop following his compass in circles.

Alice : [Packs her stuff too] Look Austin, I know I'm strong, but Clint is a boy, he's much stronger.

Harvey : [Examining his vomit] Hey, I've just puked on a frog! [Holds it up] Look! [Throws the frog at Chastity and runs away, giggling]

Chastity : [Jumps out of the way of the frog, screaming] Eeek! [To the scampering Harvey] You horrid little boy, Harvey Bassett-Short. Now wonder you were sent to boot camp! [To the group] Before we all head off, where is it we are going agian?

Alice : I thought we were all going to get into Chastity's habit. [Thinks hard] On second thoughts, let's not.

Jerome : We, my friends and Austin, [Puches his fist into his hand] are going to town get kitted out and find a way to reverse this process. [Enthuses] Is that not correct Clint.[Picks up the frog] Aaah Rana erythraea how rare, not usually found in this climate.

Alice : [Wrinkles her nose up in disgust] Eauh! Put it away, that's disgusting! How are we going to get into town when we don't even know where town is?

Austin : [Surveys the horizon, for smoke/ lights or sound of civilisation, checks his watch for the time. To Alice] Don't worry sweet Alice, I shall save everyone, just dont let these fools [Gestures at Jerome and Chastity] get to you. Their negative, pessimistic and self obsessed intentions serve not our present purpose. [Winks at Alice and goes over to her and gives her a quick kiss and hug] I can navigate by night or day, anywhere in the world. I recieved a scholarship to the astrophysics department, didn't you know, when I was five. [Chuckles] Of course I turned them down to persue more important avenues. [Surveys the landscape]

Alice : [Pushing Austin away] Eauh! I hate boys!

[There appears to be a carriage approaching the party, moving at reasonable, but not excessive speed.]

Jerome: [hands on hips staring open mouthed at Austin's behaviour] Well Austin Jerome hopes your mummy has sent you to the psychiatrist about your compulsive lying problem. [Storms up to Austin] You do realise how bally rotten your behaviour is, foisting yourself onto ladies without care or thought. [Turns to party] All we have to do is visit Rumplestiltskin and obtain directions, since the volcano is circular as long as we follow it round we will encounter his shack. If he is not there, there will at least be a road or trail to follow.

Chastity : [To Jerome] No, silly, this is a different volcano. It's got talking trees and everything! [Points to the oncoming carriage] Let's see if this person will take us somewhere nice.

Alice : [Clearly getting upset and at the verge of tears] Do you think so, Chastity? [Looks around] There could be smugglers, or wolves, or strangers with beards, or, or, even Austin if we stay here!

[The carriage approaches, and, although the party can't see the driver, they can see that, written on the side is "Ms. Stern's Reform School for Delinquint Children".]

Alice : [Worriedly to the others] That sounds like a nice place, doesn't it?

Austin : [To Jerome] Ohh do shut up, Trindel, you are such a bore. [Looks at the carriage] Chastity is quite right, the occupants of the carriage may help us, or give us a lift. That would be much more sensible than walking all the way round a volcano. [Rolls his eyes at the thought]

Chastity : [To Austin] I know a song about that. I'll sing it to you later. [Looks at the carriage sign. To Alice.] Well I certainly won't be going there. I'm not delinquent. My Uncle George is always telling me what a good, special little girl I am as he clumsily tucks me in at night.

Clint : [Exasperated sigh] Don't you realise they're going to take us away, if we don't hide? If you had assumed the formation I explained before, we'd be long gone by now. [Pauses, looking around] Ok, Jerome, you hide behind the boxes, and take Alice with you. Chastity, you put your old clothes over you, making you look like a huge boulder on the ground, and Harvey and me we hide behind you, if Harvey stops vomiting frogs. [To Austin] You go ahead and meet the carriage people, as you're the least important member of the group. [Looks around] Everyone understood my plan? Ok ensigns, engauge!*

Jerome : [Slaps Clint on the back] Cracking plan! [Face beaming, grabs Alice by the hand and bounds to the boxes]

Harvey : [Stops running, panting heavily. Looks in awe at Clint] So private Scar, this is what you were like before killing your brain with thirty years of heavy drinking! I must say, I approve! Quite the tactician!

Clint : [Cleaning his shoulder where Jerome taped him] [To Harvey] Of course you approve, as it is a very good plan. But you're still running around like a child, instead of hidding behind Chastity. [To Chastity] Will you please execute the plan? [Sigh!] This message is in MIME format. The first part should be readable text, while the remaining parts are likely unreadable without MIME-aware tools. Send mail to mime@docserver.cac.washington.edu for more info. On Wed, 3 Dec 2003 conor.ryan@ul.ie wrote:

Harvey : [To Clint] I'm not running, private, I've quite clearly stopped! [Looks down at himself, panting away] Seem to be carrying a few extra pounds than I remember! [Looks at Stern] Good day, dear lady! I'm afraid I'm at a loss as to who you are. Please enlighten us, dear thing!

Chastity : She looks like my old Sunday School teacher. I'm gong nowwhere near her.

Chastity : [To Stern] That Guardian wouldn't happen to be a Mr. Boddy, would it?

Stern : [Haughtily looks down her nose at Harvey] I am Miss Stern. S - T - E - R - N. Your guardian sent me here.

Stern : [To Chastity] Behave yourself! [Looks at a clipboard] Judging by your rudeness, lack of respect and disparaging remarks about the church, I suspect that you are Alice.

Alice : Hey!

Stern : Yes, Alice, it was your Uncle Nigel. He told us all about your awful behaviour. Don't worry, it's nothing that some good, firm discipline can't sort out.

Jerome : Jerome believes Miss Stern, that you are operating under the misapprehension that this [Does finger quotes] "Uncle Nigel" is in fact our legal guardian. [Heads over to Miss Stern, pulling out a card] As you can tell the Trindle family is an patron of Miss Thrack-Whistle's School for the Gifted, and thus any schooling would be performed by that fine establishment. Therefore we do not fall under your purview.

Chastity : [To Jerome] Speaks for yourself. I'm signed up to attend Liz Burley School for the talented. [dramatically] I'm going to be a star! [Holds out her arms and does a little twirl]

Austin : [ To Stern] And are you going to take us to Mr. Boddy?

Stern : [Looks at Jerome's card] Yes, yes, very amusing. [Puts it in her pocket] I have never heard of a Miss Thrack-Whistle's School for the Gifted. Now, into the carriage with all of you. [Looks at Austin] You will get to see Mister Boddy soon enough.

Alice : [Worriedly] We'd better do as she says.

Chastity : [Looking at the two other characters. Also worried] Those two look like they're hiding child catching nets, like in that film "Bangy, Bangy chit-chit". [Starts to discreetly edge way, despite the clickety-clack of her red tap shoes] Sshhhhh, shoes. Not now!

Alice : [To Chastity] Don't you dare start tap dancing and singing about getting on board, Chastity, I warn you!

Stern : [Takes out a cane and swishes it through the air] Stop, children! Stop, immediately!

Austin : [Stops and says nothing, just looks generally exceptionally well turned out and painfully obedient]

Stern : [With a smile] Now, that's a good boy!

Jerome : [Paces back and forth] My good woman, perhaps you have never heard of child abduction, but the fact is Mr Boddy is not my or anyone else here's uncle. Now since you are probably being paid to confine us, you will probably not want to verify the accuracy of our account. What say you Miss Stern, are you a care provider? Or a nefarious blackguard?

Harvey : Jeromes gonna get sma-acked. Jeromes gonna get sma-acked. [To Stern, curiously] What are you going to do if we refuse to come with you?

Stern : Smack you.

Alice : Eek! I'll come with you!

Stern : [To Jerome] I am one of the top care providers in the lands, although I'm sure that naughty children like you believe me to be a nefarious blackguard. Now, you may know lots of big words, but that doesn't make you clever. I suggest you place yourself in the carriage immediately. Lsat from Conor #72

Clint : This is obviously against our plan. [Sigh!] We need to do something. [Pause] Maybe we could run away. [Longer pause, clearly thinking] Yes, that could do it. But then again it would have to be each on their own direction. [To Jerome] You should run NNE, 34'12. [To Alice] You go to the rear, S 180'. [To Chastity] You and Harvey should take west, but slightly diverging directions: you take SWW, 260'12, and Harvey takes NWW, 293'15. I shall take your opposing direction, making that NEE 69'48, and finally Austin shall take N, 0'0, where the mean lady is, as he's the least important member of the group. [Another pause, looking around] Everyone got that? Ready to execute the plan?

Chastity : [To Clint] No! I'm not doing what a future stinky boy tells me! I think we may have little choice. [Does a little tap dance to stand next to Austin, trying to look smiley, cute and co-operative. To Stern] Does you school have a good tuck shop?

Austin : [Getting into the carriage. To Alice] When was the last time you ate, Alice? You look famished.

Jerome : Jeepers guys, remember Mr Boddy is trying to punish us for the death of his wife. [Strides to Clint] Mr Scar has the right of it, we cannot meekly submit to this injustice.

Chastity : [To Jerome] Well I'm not walking all the way home in these shoes. [Crosses her arms in a huffy pose] So there!

Alice : Why don't you hold your breath until we all agree to get in?

[Currently CLINT, HARVEY and JEROME are the only ones not in the carriage.]

Harvey : [Doing his airplane move over to Jerome] Gah, but I think you're correct, Doctor. However, those men on the carriage have awfully large nets, is there anything else we can do for the time being?

Chastity : [To Alice] 'cos by the time they'd dithered about I'd be as blue Miss Stern's veiny legs! Why don't you?

Jerome : Thank you for the advice Chastity [Turns to the Party] Right time flies and all that and the count of three scatter. One - Two - Three, scatter [Begins to run like the clappers]

Harvey : But doctor, what is the use on us running feral around this location for the next few years? We need to find a way back to our true forms, and if meeting Boddy is the only way of doing that, then that is what we shall have to do! [Scratches a smooth chubby cheek] Well, that and the large nets, of course!

Stern : [To the men on the carriage] Get him!

[The two men leap from the carriage. They are dressed in black and have caps pulled down over their faces, so it is impossible to see who they are. However, their bright white nets shine brilliantly.]

Alice : [To Chastity] If holding my breath meant I didn't have to listen to your horrible, high pitched voice, then I would gladly do it.

Austin : [Well behaved, sits smugly in his seat, checks his nails and hair briefly, then his shiny shoes and smiles smugly]

[The two hooded men immediately descend on the others, and quickly capture JEROME, CLINT and HARVEY, and haul them back in nets.]

Stern : [To the three in the nets] Because of your bad behaviour, everyone gets punished.

Alice : [Whispering to Austin] Serves them right.

Stern : Everyone includes [points at the others] you three too!

Austin : [To Alice] We will have to keep them in line from now on, they are obviously too stupid to understand our current predicament. I don't want to be punished for their ingnorance, [Smirks] but hey, that's the story of my life. [Smiles, whistfully whilst sitting all prim and propperly.]

Stern : It is just as well you are so resigned to it Austin, for I fear it will be a common occurence.

[The other three are bundled into the carriage, and the door shut behind them. All the party are now inside the carriage, and can hear a bolt shutting outside.]

Alice : Phew! That should keep them out for a while!

Austin : [Makes to explain the situation to Alice, but then thinks better of it. Chuckles. To Alice] Yes it should. Untile they open it again. [Ponders] I wonder what the punishment will be? [Austin searches the indside of the carriage]

Chastity : Maybe they'll make us eat porridge with sugar. [Pulls a face] Yeurgh!

Jerome : Blast and confound it! [Looks at the doors, windows and environs] We must escape at the opportune moment, Jerome thinks possibly when we enter a built up area or a woodland region. [Looks at Alice, Chastity and Austin] Buck up gang, can't you see the impending doom we're facing!

Chastity : [Seriously] Yes, of course we see the gravity of our situation, Jerome. [pauses for thought] Porridge with sugar. [Again pulls a face] Yeurgh! [shudders]

Alice : Chastity acting all cute. [Pulls a face] Yeurgh! [Shudders]

Harvey : By the saints, Doctor, you may be small and have an annoyingly long scarf, but, by thunder you are right! What did that bounder Boddy do to us?

Clint : [To Harvey] He transformed us onto children. Isn't that obvious? [Sigh!]

Harvey : Yes, Private, but why? Why? Being turned into a child isn't necessarily a bad thing - think of the pretending to be airplanes! Of pulling young girls' ponytails [reaches towards Alice's, but pulls away at the last second] the secretion of insects into your chums' drinks and sandwiches, why, was there ever a better time to be alive?

Chastity : Yuk, Harvey, I'd thank you not to talk about your secretions, thank you. I can only thank our lucky stars that we were reduced to the ages we are. I dread to think what secretions, on top of insects, you would have brought up if we'd all been teenagers! [Looks aorund] Can anyone see where we are going at all?

Austin : [To Harvey] Your unruly and stupid behaviour has displeased Stern, and she will punish us all for it. [Pauses for clarity] Mr. Boddy's punishment is Stern, who will punish all of us for every stupid thing you do, [To Chastity] and it's going to be much worse than sugar on porrige. If you all behave we might only be punished once.

Harvey : It's punishment enough having to listen to your prattle, Sleaze. I see you were as irritating as a child as you were as an adult. [Mutters to himself] One creature cocktail, coming up.

Alice : [Straining to see out through a tiny slit in the door] It's hard to see anything with all the barbed wire, angry dogs and cruel looking guards.

Jerome : Sometimes Austin you can be a supercilious prat, sorry Jerome does not know what came over him, that was a grievous error. Always are. Austin you always are a supercilious prat. [Takes out his junior scout safety pocket knife and starts to whittle at the door frame]

Alice : [Worriedly] Jerome, I really don't think you should be doing that. What if Ms. Stern notices?

Stern : [From outside] What if Ms. Stern notices what?

Harvey : [Quietly] By the saints, troop, she has the ears of a bat! Keep quiet until we are let out, and then we can survey our surroundings!

Stern : Ears of a rat, eh?

[The carriage skids to a halt, and the door is unbolted. Outside is a beautiful looking building, with wonderful lawns and gardens, and with the sound of birds singing all around.]

Alice : Aw! This looks lovely!

Stern : That's where the teachers live. [Points behind the party at what looks like a prison camp] That's where you'll be.

Alice : Gah!

Chastity : [Outraged and stamping her feet] But...but....that looks like the servants' quarters. I hope the gardeners bedroom doesn't have peep hole to the bath-house in these ones!

Austin : [To Chastity] You really should behave until you know what the punishment is, before you incur another.

Chastity : [To Austin] I wasn't misbehaving. I was, erm, just getting any mud off my shoes so as not to dirty the floor of our new residence. [Blows a raspberry at Austin]

Austin : [To Chasity] You are lying. [Pauses] I can see that your comprehension of our situation is, alas, somewhat limited. If you continue to lie we will all be punished for your bad behaviour, and once Harvey and Clint realise that you are to blame for the punishments they are recieving they won't be friendly to you and in a matter of moments you shall have no friends at all, just enemies. [Checks his nails] Your petty an transparent excuses will not fool Ms. Stern, at all.

Chastity : [To Austin] Nobody likes a snitch, Austin. And I'm sure that your tall tales and thieving ways will result in sore bottoms for the rest of us before this adventure is done.

Stern : Indeed, Chastity. Your reputation for cheek and innuendo precedes you. There will be none of that here, and I will thank you to not make that disgusting noise again.

Alice : [Whispers to Austin] What noise did she mean? Chastity speaking?

Stern : [Glances down at her notebook] Ah, I see your description wasn't exaggerated either. [To the men] Put the in ward D.

[The men give a sharp intake of breath.]

Stern : [Sternly] You heard what I said.

[Exit ALL, towards the school.]

On Mon, 15 Dec 2003 conor.ryan@ul.ie wrote:

Stern : It will be more than your bottoms that will be sore, I assure you, Chastity.

[Exit ALL, really this time.]

[Book III, Act XI, Scene II. Ward D. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, CHASTITY, HARVEY and JEROME are here, having just been pushed into a small, cold room, after having been lead through a series of dark and drab corridors. All that is in the room is a tiny window, which is up very high, and five tiny beds, each one just barely big enough for a party member.]

Alice : Well, this certainly doesn't seem like any of [emphasises] my boarding schools.

[Outside comes the sound of a girl with a very deep voice can be heard calling out "Quick, the really slutty one has hidden in the shed, let's get in there and beat her with our hockey sticks."]

Alice : Well, maybe it's not that different.

Chastity : [To Alice] No doubt a future Sister Superior in the making. [To Stern] You're not going to make us sleep with smelly boys are you?

Stern : In my view, all naughty children are equally pungent. [Slams the door]

[Silence descends for a moment, until STERN opens the door and steps out.]

Stern : Stay here until I return for you.

[STERM slams the door shut again.]

Chastity : [Sneaks up to the door to listen for Stern going away. Her bright red tap shoes still making a racket on the floor] I think she's gone.

Austin : [Smirking at Chastity] I see that you started stating the obvious from an early age. [Goes over to the bed in the corner and examines it]

Jerome : [Walks over to the door and examines the lock] Jerome feels it is justifiable that we make provsions to escape at the first opportunity. [Walks over to Alice] Remember team if in trouble blame Austin, and use certain keywords... ringleader, deliquent, troublemaker etc. [Starts to whistle the theme to The Great Escape]

Austin : [To Jerome] Too spineless and feeble to own up to you own actions are you. [Struts over to the door and examines it and the locking mechanism. To Jerome] Our present guardians may be listening to us at this very moment.

Jerome : [Walks up to Austin] Austin why do you criticise everything we do and then proceed to copy them. Sleaze, you noxious little bubo, you are in serious need of therapy to get rid of your psychological screw-up's. [Bounds back to Alice making loopy gestures with his hand]

Alice : [Nods at Jerome] Right, Jerry. I think I can come up with terms like that, culprit, hoodlum, scamp, [thinks really hard] tart, bimbo, strumpet, trollop, slut...

[The door doesn't appear to be locked, just closed.]

Alice : [Rolls her eyes at Jerome and shakes her head] I know, he's such a tart.

Jerome : [Slowly opens the door a crack and looks around] Rightio gang, mission Shush. We shall extract ourselves from this prision, raid the pantry of yonder house and escape into the night. After that we shall seek out a powerful wizard to revert us to our rightful ages. [Slams his fist into the palm of his hand] Firstly, Chastity you will either have to take your shoes off or wrap something around them to conceal the noise.

Harvey : Indeed so, doctor! Those shoes, sister, are a rap-tap-tapping giveaway! We need stealth and food to carry out this mission. But I think we should also have a sneak around to see what's afoot! I think the answer to our current adolesence may be here, and I would rather check out every cupboard, room, closet and ladies showerroom before attempting an escape! For, if we can't find a wizard once free, we may have to face puberty again!

Austin : [Ignoring the nonsensical accusations with a brief wave.] So the plan is to raid the pantry, look around the girls changing rooms and then escape and find a powerful mage. [Ponders] I doubt if there will be any girls in the showerroom, and the pantry is a bit of a chancy venture, since it is quite possibly the most heavily guarded of any room in the building. [To Jerome] Lead the way, [sneers] brains.

Stern : [Standing outside the door] So! The minute my back is turned, this is the kind of naughtiness that prevails!

Alice : Er, but you didn't have your back turned.

Stern : Imagine if I did! Imagine how bad things would be!

Chastity : [To Stern] We were only doing what Austin said. He told us a plan and told Jerome to lead! [Does a two thumbs up to Jerome]

Alice : What a moron! [Goes to slap her forehead with her hand, but accidently hits Clint instead]

Stern : [To Austin] Is that a fact? [Grabs Austin by the ear and twists it] Is it?

Chastity : [To Alice] Yes, for someone who claims to be so clever, that wasn't very bright of Austin, was it! [Quickly slips off her tap shoes and puts them in the bag, pulling out a pair of pink ballet shoes to put on]

Austin : [Wincing in pain and bubling] No! It was Jeromes stupid idea, I was just stating how stupid it was! [Bubbling] They just hate me because they are stupid and want to get me into trouble, they don't understand that we will all be punished, they are too stupid [Crys alot in a disturbingly forlorn manner]

[The two hooded men from earlier come in, and one grabs AUSTIN, while the other canes him hard six times, before throwing him to the ground, just as STERN lets go of his ear.]

Stern : And here endeth the lesson.

[Exit STERN and the two men, taking one of the beds with them. They slam the door shut, but again it is left unlocked.]

Alice : [Whispers] Okay, your turn, Clint.

Chastity : Oh no, now we are all to be punished by having to listen Austin's whining and preaching. Don't do anything else naughty everyone! [Finishes tying on her ballet shoes]

Austin : [Goes to bed crying. To Chastity] Witch!

Jerome : Well now, with that disaster averted we had better proceed with the plan, indeed Clint you seem currently well equipped for most eventualities, what should we expect? [Shoves a thin excise book down the back of his trousers] Lets all be well prepared for trouble! [Walks over to Chastity] Jerome never knew you were so artistically talented.

Alice : Wearing ballet shoes doesn't mean she knows ballet, all it means is that she knows how to tie them, and, while I admit that it is all too easy to end up with your feet tied together, or with one of them tied to a table, we have seen no proof that she is anyway talented.

Harvey : [To Austin] Gah! Stop those tears, Private. The beds haven't been divided up yet, and we don't want you wetting someone else's, why, who would want to sleep on your damp patch, eh? Eh?

Chastity : [Goes up onto one toe and does a twirl] Why thank you, Jerome,. And you still haven't witnessed the special talents Uncle George taught me!

Austin : [Mumble buy the covers] Well it too late for that, this bed is well and truly moist!

Alice : [Glaring at Chastity's twirl with a baleful eye] Hmpf! It seems that the only thing sharper than Chastity's tongue is her pointy toe!

Chastity : [To Alice] All the more reason not to be on the receiving end of either! [Quietly tip-toes across the room to listen at the door again]

Alice : I don't know, Chastity, I'm sure that there is someone, somewhere, that enjoys that kind of thing.

[The party can distinctly hear footsteps leading away from the door.]

Harvey : I say troop, I'll bet they're still right outside the door, marching on the spot, but making their footfalls lighter all the while! [Loudly] Isn't that right, Ms Stern?

[Time passes, and nothing is heard from outside.]

Alice : Hm, they're just so dastardly! [Looks up at the high window] Maybe we should take a look out there?

Chastity : [Looks up at the window] It's awful high, but I suppose we could form a human tower to see out. Dragging the beds around would probably be too noisy and heavy. Especially the one Austin has water logged!

Austin : [To Chastity, sulkly] Well then you won't need this bed, pig face.

Jerome : [Jerome strides to the wall, and cups his hands] Jerome supposes he could boost one of the team to gain a vantage point upon the current proceedings. Jerome also suggests it is not Chastity or Alice in order to preserve their feminine dignity vis-a-vis their skirts or dresses.

Alice : [Gives Chastity a baleful look and mutters under her breath] It's a bit late for that.

Harvey : [Steps up with Jerome's help] I'll do it. [Looks out the window] Hm. Yes. I see.

Chastity : [Glaring at Alice briefly before turning to Harvey] What do you see?

Harvey : I see the opportunity to be the tallest one in the room. [Pushes back slightly from the window, so he is balanced precariously on Jerome's shoulders, and waving back and forth] We seem to be in a place called the Happy Valley Home for Wayward Children. It is very heavily fortified, but at least the children in the yard are being subjected to much discipline in the form of marching and jumping jacks.

Alice : Oh! I love them! It's such fun when someone opens the box and out jumps that funny, if a little scary, clown!

Chastity : [Moving out the way of the teetering Harvey] How many of Stern's boot boys do you see? And are there any obvious escape routes? Like blind stops in the wire, exercise horses.

Harvey : Other than the tunnel that those girls are digging, and that chap vaulting the barbed wire fence on his motor bike, I don't think there are any obvious escape routes, and I'm afraid her lackeys are all over the place.

[There is a knock on the door, quite light.]

Jerome : [Staggers slightly] Yes please elucidate upon the geography of your view, but could you be concise? [Slowly turning red]

Austin : [Sits up in bed, no sign of tears anymore] Please come in!

Harvey : [Gives a huge sway, but stays upright] We seem to be right in the middle of a prison yard, doctor! Quick, see if you can walk me over to the door.

Harvey : Hut hut, good doctor, time's a wasting! [Scratches his smooth cheek] I say, if we had a long coat, we could pretend we were one adult and just walk out of here! [Eyes light up] And if we had a really long coat, we could all stand on each others shoulders and pretend we were a giant! Who'd try to stop us then, eh! Fee Fie Fo Fum, I'll crush your bones to make my bread! Mmm, bread!

Austin : [To Harvey, flatly] Do we have a really long coat? [Pauses] No we don't.

Chastity : [Puts a finger to her lips, and loudly to the rest] Ssshhhhhhh! [Whispers though the door] Who is it?

[The door opens. Enter DORA TREE, a young girl of about twelve, holding a small dog.]

Dora : [Coming in and closing the door after her] I'm Dora Tree, and I'm here to warn you that you are in awful, awful danger!

Chastity : [Briefly pauses for the sounds of marching boots and wails of punished children to subside from outside the barred window. Austin-style Deadpan] No shit, Sherlock? [Looks down, clapping her hands excitedly] Nice shoes, can I try them?

Alice : [To Chastity] Language, young lady! Please behave yourself, you're sounding more and more like Ali- like, like a naughty child!

Dora : [To her dog] Oh, Otto, maybe we've got the wrong room. [Looks down at her shiny black leather shoes, before looking back up at Chastity] No.

Jerome : [Staggers over to Dora] A pleasure to meet a fine young lady as yourself. [Momentarily forgetting he is holding Harvey on his shoulders he lets go and extends his hand] Perchance what danger? [Quickly grabs Harvey's leg to stop him falling to the floor]

[JEROME's handshake causes HARVEY to almost fall over backwards, and sends JEROME running back towards the window, and forwards again a few times before he regains his balance.]

Dora : [Impressed at the balancing act] Things at this school aren't what you might think they are.

Alice : You mean, it's not a thinly disguised prison camp run by sadists who enjoy torturing children and forcing them to play sports in unflattering outfits against large and bitter girls who are adept at smacking people's shins with their hockey sticks?

Dora : Oh, well, maybe they are. But have you heard about the terrible Seven Headed Terror?

Chastity : [Makes a shocked gasp] No! [Dramatically] Not the Seven Headed Terror! [Pauses] Sorry, I mean [Quizically] no, not the seven headed terror. What is it?

Alice : [Sighs in irritation at Chastity's foolishness] I should think it's rather obvious, Chastity. It's a terror with six heads. [Thinks] Eight! No, five! [Gives Chastity her angry look] Shut up!

Dora : I've never seen it, but it is said that any children that who misbehave are eaten by it.

Chastity : [To Dora] Do you have any idea where these children are taken to the meet this terror? [Gives a wary glance over at the staggering Jerome/Harvey tower]

Jerome : Hmmmm our propensity for causing a modicum of civil disturbance in our local would leads me to believe this is a true risk. Either that or it is a euphemism for expulsion. [Shakes his head] Err Harvey could you be a good chap and climb down. [To Dora] My dear if you would not mind telling us why you have visited us? Jerome is afraid his paranoia is currently running rampant, and meaning no offence to one such as yourself.

Austin : [To Jerome] The mere sight of you is enough to offend, Trindle.

Jerome : Bombs Away! [Drops Harvey onto Austin]

Harvey : Look out below!

[HARVEY lands square on top of AUSTIN, flattening him.]

Harvey : Gah! My apologies, Private Sleaze, I don't know what the Doctor was thinking of!

Dora : [Nervously watching the current exchange] I came to warn you that you must escape as soon as possible.

Harvey : [Picks himself up and looks at Austin] I say, yet another poor casualty to friendly fire, eh! [Looks at Dora] Why? What will happen if we don't escape as soon as possible?

Austin : [Gets up, clearly enraged and headbutts Jerome] You piece of trash!

Dora : [To Harvey] Er, well, I was going to say that the evil in this place might start to effect you, but it looks like it's a bit late for that.

[AUSTIN awkwardly headbutts JEROME, sending both of them flying to the ground, with JEROME's nose bleeding.]

Alice : [Outraged] Stop that this minute! Stop it! [Shows the collar of her dress to the others] I've been splashed with blood! [Turns to Austin] Honestly, it's like having Faetan back in the party - apologise this instant.

Austin : [To Jerome, furiously] Well? You heard Alice. Appologise to me at once!

Harvey : Gah! You know very well what she meant, Private! Doctor, are you okay?

Jerome: My thanks Colonel [Dabs his nose] Undoubtedly Jerome will heal but he feels the tweed maybe ruined.

Chastity : [To Austin] Shame on you, you big bully. It must have been a real disappointment to you when you didn't physically mature at puberty. No wonder you became a lawyer! [To Dora] How do we escape?

Alice : [Looking around] Hey! Where's she gone?

[DORA has disappeared.]

Alice : [Angrily to Austin] Oh, well done! Not only do you scare off Dora, you spill blood and tears and god only knows what all over the room - what is Ms. Stern going to say when she comes in? What?

Austin : [To Alice, in a huff] Oh, shut your face you silly cow.

Chastity : Austin, watch your language. There are children present!

Austin : [To Chastity, with a snort] You are a child, you nincompoop.

Chastity : [Gesturing to her garb] Obviously! [Looks to the door] Did Dora leave the door open? We may have to escape from here before Ms. Stern comes back and punishes us all for Austin's mess!

Alice : [Recovering from Austin's petulant outburst] Well, I hardly think that Miss Stern is going to be calling people silly cows or demanding they shut their faces! [Turns to Chastity] I think we should tell Miss Stern that Austin caused all the trouble, and is responsible for all the bad behaviour, including the kicking of Austin in the shin. [Leans back to give Austin a big kick in the shin]

Jerome : Sweet Alice! We cannot blame Austin for kicking himself in the shin. Instead Jerome suggests we state that he hit his own shin upon the bed frame. Thusly causing the contusion. [Mops the last vestiges of blood from his face] Chastity is right however we must depart promptly before any other devilment strikes! [Strides purposfully to the door]

Alice : [Still standing on one leg, swaying slightly] But, that would be a lie!

Harvey : But it would be a good lie, my dear, and one I'm sure even the good man above would turn a blind eye to. But the good sister is quite correct! We've got to get out of here!

Austin : [To Harvey] There are no good lies, you obese cretin. [Lies down on his bed] Why do you want to escape anyway? Where do you plan on going?

Chastity : [To Alice] Did the lawyer just say there are no good lies? Gosh he's really changed since childhood. [Looks at Austin lying confrontationally on his bed] Well, maybe not. Lets just leave him if he wants to stay!

Jerome : [Puts his ear to the door] Staying when there is frightful monster in residence is madness, even if that monster is only Miss Stern. [To Austin and Chastity] If we were to leave Austin here we would not inform him of our destination or suggestions thereof, since he is likely to blub it to Miss Stern the moment she turned up after we had made our escape! [Strikes a dramatic pose]. [Carefully trying the door] Jerome would request a cessation in audible events during the breakout.

Alice : I think he said there aren't any good lawyers, Chastity.

[JEROME gently tries the door, and it is still open. He slowly pulls it towards him, but someone else is trying to open it from the other side, and hits him with it, sending him staggering back into the room. Enter MISS MANNERS, dressed in the same outfit as MISS STERN.]

Manners : Oh my Goodness! What is going on here! [Waves a scolding finger at the dazed Jerome] Nice children don't sneak up behind doors.

Jerome : [Staggers into an upright position] Why thank you Sam, Jerome will have a double! [Jerome slowly falls onto the bed]

Austin : [To Manners] How may we be of assistance Miss Manners?

Manners : [Surveys the scene in front of her, paying particular attention to Austin's tear soaked shirt] I think, Austin, that I may be of assistance to you, by teaching your friends manners similar to yours. Have they been mean to you?

Alice : Hey! He was the one being mean to us!

Manners : Oh hush! No one likes a tattle tale, Alice. [Turns to Austin] Tell me all about it, Austin.

Chastity : [Quietly to Alice] This will test his lies speech!

Manners : [Poking Chastity in the back with an unnaturally pointy finger] No mumbling! Enunciate clearly.

Alice : What's it called when someone else needs to speak properly?

Manners : I beg your pardon?

Alice : Well, Chastity is a nun, so -

Manners : [Interrupting] Alice, please. It is better to remain quiet and appear foolish than to speak and confirm it.

Chastity : [Painfully rubbing her back where Manners poked her] Well I'm sure it's not proper to poke young children from behind. [Pauses briefly] Unless you're a Priest, perhaps!

Manners : [Puts on a concerned face] Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. I think I may need to get Miss Stern to have a word with you, Chastity. I am quite sure that you are the ringleader here.

Chastity : [Looks apologetic and sweet] No, no. I'm a good girl. My Uncle George tells me. I'll be quiet. [Does a closing zip over mouth action, and smiles, tight lipped, to Manners before turning expectantly to Austin]

Jerome : [Shakes his head clearing his daze] Madame apart from your predeliction from quoting the insults from respected authors, what is your purpose in coming here?

Manners : [Shocked] Gasp! That is a terrible, terrible tone to take with an elder, young man. Don't use words that you don't understand and perhaps we might have a chance to understand what you are trying to say.

Jerome : Madame you are one of the least benightedly unintelligent organic life forms it has been my profound lack of pleasure not to be able to avoid meeting. [Pauses] That would be an example of your indicated tone. I prefer to address people by the civility they present to others rather than the age they acquire. Since one is a measure of character, and the other just marks the passage of time not, by implication, the gathering of wisdom.

Manners : Oh, you wicked, wicked boy! It is just as well that I don't address people by the politeness they present. I think I'd better get Miss Fortune to sort out you awful children. Austin, you may come with me if you're afraid of these bullies.

Austin : [Nods vigourously to Manners. In a wimpy voice] I didn't want to say anything incase they beat me again. [Sobs a bit]

Chastity : [Glares at Austin and goe to to say something, but looks at Manners at keeps quiet]

Manners : Oh, you poor boy, come with me. [Takes Austin by the shoulder and starts to steer him out]

Chastity : [Looks apologetic and sweet] No, no. I'm a good girl. My Uncle George tells me. I'll be quiet. [Does a closing zip over mouth action, and smiles, tight lipped, to Manners before turning expectantly to Austin]

Jerome : [Shakes his head clearing his daze] Madame apart from your predeliction from quoting the insults from respected authors, what is your purpose in coming here?

Manners : [Shocked] Gasp! That is a terrible, terrible tone to take with an elder, young man. Don't use words that you don't understand and perhaps we might have a chance to understand what you are trying to say.

Jerome : Madame you are one of the least benightedly unintelligent organic life forms it has been my profound lack of pleasure not to be able to avoid meeting. [Pauses] That would be an example of your indicated tone. I prefer to address people by the civility they present to others rather than the age they acquire. Since one is a measure of character, and the other just marks the passage of time not, by implication, the gathering of wisdom.

Manners : Oh, you wicked, wicked boy! It is just as well that I don't address people by the politeness they present. I think I'd better get Miss Fortune to sort out you awful children. Austin, you may come with me if you're afraid of these bullies.

Austin : [Nods vigourously to Manners. In a wimpy voice] I didn't want to say anything incase they beat me again. [Sobs a bit]

Chastity : [Glares at Austin and goe to to say something, but looks at Manners at keeps quiet]

Manners : Oh, you poor boy, come with me. [Takes Austin by the shoulder and starts to steer him out]

Harvey : [Breathes a sigh of relief before turning conspiratorily to the others] At least she's taking that awful bully away with her, so at least we can spend the rest of the evening in peace, without being ordered to get up to nefarious deeds by that blackguard!

Austin : [To Manners] They are a dastardly bunch who will stop at nothing to see me punished for their crimes. [Sighs] Where are we going?

Manners : I will take you to another room Austin, where all the good little boys go. These naughty children will stay here and be punished in the morning. [Turns a baleful look at the party] You had better clean up that wet bed by the morning or you'll be in even worse trouble.

[Exit MANNERS and AUSTIN, closing the door behind them.]

Alice : [Shocked] Hey! What just happened there? [Sits down on Austin's bed, landing on the damp spot, leaping up again in horror] Hey! What just happened [emphasis] there?

Chastity : [Looking at the damp patch now on Alice's bottom] I won't worry, just some of Austin's bodily fluids. [Looks at the door] I wonder if Ms Manners actually knows that Austin was bad and is off to feed him to that Headed Terror thing. [Goes to check if Manners locked the door after her] [The door is indeed locked.]

Harvey : Gah! That bounder! That absolute bounder!

Alice : I know, going away with her was stupid.

Harvey : [Unable to tear his eyes away from Alice's patch] Er, yes, that was awful too.

[An announcement can be heard coming over a loudspeaker outside saying "Lights Out".]

Chastity : [Rushes over to a vacant dry bed, takes off her shoes and snuggles under the covers] Who's going to read me a story?

Jerome : Of slightly more concern than the oration of a pleasant pre-somnolant meandering moralistic story, is how that girl disappeared before that gynarcical Miss Manners arrived? [Strides back and forth finishing in front of a dry bed] Dibs!

Chastity : [Yawning] Perhaps she got bored of Austin and left through the then open door, like what we were about to do if Austin hadn't been so troublesome.

Austin : [To Manners] They are a dastardly bunch who will stop at nothing to see me punished for their crimes. [Sighs] Where are we going?

Manners : I will take you to another room Austin, where all the good little boys go. These naughty children will stay here and be punished in the morning. [Turns a baleful look at the party] You had better clean up that wet bed by the morning or you'll be in even worse trouble.

[Exit MANNERS and AUSTIN, closing the door behind them.]

Alice : [Shocked] Hey! What just happened there? [Sits down on Austin's bed, landing on the damp spot, leaping up again in horror] Hey! What just happened [emphasis] there?

Chastity : [Looking at the damp patch now on Alice's bottom] I won't worry, just some of Austin's bodily fluids. [Looks at the door] I wonder if Ms Manners actually knows that Austin was bad and is off to feed him to that Headed Terror thing. [Goes to check if Manners locked the door after her] [The door is indeed locked.]

Harvey : Gah! That bounder! That absolute bounder!

Alice : I know, going away with her was stupid.

Harvey : [Unable to tear his eyes away from Alice's patch] Er, yes, that was awful too.

[An announcement can be heard coming over a loudspeaker outside saying "Lights Out".]

Chastity : [Rushes over to a vacant dry bed, takes off her shoes and snuggles under the covers] Who's going to read me a story?

Jerome : Of slightly more concern than the oration of a pleasant pre-somnolant meandering moralistic story, is how that girl disappeared before that gynarcical Miss Manners arrived? [Strides back and forth finishing in front of a dry bed] Dibs!

Chastity : [Yawning] Perhaps she got bored of Austin and left through the then open door, like what we were about to do if Austin hadn't been so troublesome.

Alice : I think she sneaked out when [prods Jerome in the chest] headbutted poor Austin!

Harvey : Actually, niece, it was Austin who headbutted Jerome.

Alice : Oh. Er, poor Jerome. But what about the seven headed beast she was talking about? Has anyone heard of something like that before?

Chastity :[Makes a shocked gasp and sits bolt upright in bed, Dramatically] No![Pauses] Sorry again , I mean no. [Lies back down] You don't think it could just be some sort of punishment, like the cat-o-nine tails?

Alice : You mean like some kind of crazy bondage equipment? Hm, if only Austin were here.

Chastity : [Sits up again] Maybe he's already there!

Alice : [Looks slowly around the room] Right.

Chastity : [To Alice] I said there not here! There doesn't seem to be anything we can do at the moment unless someone else amazingly turns up to help us escape.

Alice : [Loudly] Yes, we are stuck here unless someone just happens to let us out. [Turns expectantly to the door.]

[Time passes.]

Alice : Hey!

Harvey : Harrumph! Maybe we should just break the door open rather than wait for that feckless article Sleaze?

Chastity : Well usually I'd look to Clint for that job, you given our current states maybe your the best boy for the job, Harvey. [Looks at the bed] Unless we can try to use these beds as a battering ram!

Clint : [Nods to Chastity] Now we are getting somewhere. Harvey and I shall get the back of the bed and Alice and Chastity the front, then we shall carry the bed to the door and line it up so that we can be sure that it will hit the door. Next we take the bed ten paces back, and then Alice and Chastity take the back of the bed, whilst Harvey and I take the front. Next we batter the door down with the bed, as a battering ram, as Chastity suggested. [Ponders studiously] If the door does not bow on the first attempt we may have to reform, with Alice in the center, Harvey and I on either side and Chastity at he back. [Slaps his thigh] Right step to it! [Goes over to the back of the bed. To the others] Come on!

Chastity : [Looks at the beds and the room] Is there room for all that? [Gets out of bed] I hope Alice and I can lift the front end of the bed. Alice is OK being a bit burly, but I'm just a delicate little thing!

Clint : [Sighs. To Chastity] Don't be so silly! You are just as [Emphasis] Burly as Alice, just look at the size of your bum. [Lifts his corner of the flimsy bed. To Harvey] Come on soilder. We have a misson to do.

Chastity : [Goes red in the face] How dare you look at my bum! For your information me size of my bum is due to the overly frilly pants I wear! [Flashes the back of her pants quickly at Clint who may glance her standard, not overly frilly, pants] See! [Sticks her tongue out at Clint and takes up postion at the front of the bed]

Clint : [Sighs at Chastity sticking her tongue out, then sees her non frilly pants. Sigh] Whatever. [To Harvey and Alice] What are you waiting for? The door won't fall down itself you know!

Harvey : [Completely distracted by the frilly pants for a few minutes] But surely the noise caused by our battering ram is going to alert every guard and gym teacher within the immediate area? Perhaps if we placed all the pillows against the door, it would dampen the noise? Of course, it would also cushion the blows, so we would have to batter with all our might! Oh, and did the door open outwards or inwards, troop? Wasn't paying attention at the time, what!

Alice : [To Clint] Sorry, Stinky, I was momentarily distracted by the frilly pants - why, they looked like something Austin would wear. [Turns to Harvey] I think it opens out, but are you sure that the pillows will dampen the sound enough? Maybe Chastity's [quotes] overly frilly pants will provide adequate dampening?

Chastity : [To Alice] I think you find that you are the one with the dampened pants around here. [Glances at Harvey] And maybe Harvey as well! I will not indulge your girl fancying fantasies by removing my pants for you! We'll just have to use pillows.

Alice : Use pillows for what? My God! It's just like having Austin back again, we will not indulge your boy fancying fantasies by - oh, you mean to muffle the noise?

Jerome : [Coughs] Perhaps there might be a better way out? [Looks around the room] If we are to proceed with the battering plan maybe I should replace one of the more delicate members of the party? forgotten

Alice : [Looking up at the ceiling] Well, the ceiling has those plastic tiles that you can just push up, so maybe that's a good way out? We certainly can't go out the window because there's now way that [emphasises] Chastity would fit through those bars.

[Of course, no one could fit through the bars. The only furniture in the room are the metal beds.]

Jerome : [Thumps his fist into the palm of his hand] Great plan Alice! We can obtain egress via the suspended ceiling. If we can stack the beds such that it forms a crude ladder we can be gone lickedy-split.

Alice : [Beaming happily at this praise] That's exactly what I was thinking, we get some egress from the ceiling and then stack the beds together. [Gives Jerome two thumbs up]

[HARVEY begins noisily pushing beds into the centre of the room.]

Harvey : Beep! Beep!

Chastity : [Quickly getting out of the way of the Harvey generated bed crush in the center of the room] Well, let hope this works. I haven't been stuck in my bedroom so long since the last time I refused to eat my dinner. [Helps Harvey]

Alice : [Trying to lift one of the other beds on top of some of those already in the middle] Wow, I guess it's been a really long time since you refused to eat dinner, Chastity!

Clint : [Sighs.] That's a stupid plan. We should bash the door in [Takes a running kick at the door] Kiiyaa!

Jerome : [Helping Alice with the beds] Jerome K Trindle would like to ask Clint to please stop that. We are currently trying to pursue a plan of stealth, not one of brute force and ignorance! Your battle cries and cacophonic thumps upon the door will draw attention to us.

Clint : [Indignantly] Oh, and dragging iron beds, screeching across a stone floors is your idea of stealth is it? Anyway, I'm older than you, child. We should use a bed as a battering ram and knock the door down.

[CLINT bangs off the door and bounces back slightly.]

Alice : [Hands on her hips in exasperation] Don't be ridiculous, Stinky! How can we kick the door in? Aren't we already inside?

Clint : [Sighs. To Alice] Don't be so pedan.. peda... [pauses] stupid Alice! It's an expression, who would say 'kick the door out'? Anyway, if you don't want my help then lets see how fara you get without it! [Takes a huff and stands by the door pushing and shoving it to check for loose or shoddy workmaship]

Alice : [Climbs onto the beds] While you're busy trying to open an unopenable door, I'll check out the ceiling.

[ALICE climbs on the bed while CLINT fails to open the door, and stretches up, easily pushing one of the tiles up. HARVEY, meanwhile, glances up at ALICE, and quickly looks away.]

Harvey : Gah! What a lot of frilly underwear there seems to be about these days!

Alice : It looks like we can get out this way.

Jerome : [Looks up at Alice] Marvell... [Pause] ...ous [Turns a funny shade of red and takes a big gulp and looks away]

Alice : Just let me check. [Sticks her head through the hole left by the tile, before coming back down again, black of face, and with cobwebs all over her hair and a huge, ferocious looking spider on top] Looks safe enough up there.

Spider : I say! What's going on here?

Harvey : I say Alice, you've returned with a passenger, what! A talking spider wearing a rather dashing dickie bow! [Rubs his eyes and looks again]

Alice : What? Where? [Looks up for a second] Well, I don't see anything!

Clint : [To Alice] That's because it's ontop of your head [Stops pushing the door and points at the spider. To Spider] Hey, can you show us the way out of this place?

Chastity : [Taking out a handkerchief and dusting off Alice's shoulder] And if possible a cleaner way. [Looks up at the gap in the ceiling] We wouldn't want to emerge from Alice's hole to find we'd caught something.

Clint : [To Chastity, looking at the ceiling] Yes, that's a sweaty, dingy looking hole if ever I saw one, with talking spiders in it. [To Mr. Spider] You did speak didn't you? What's your name? Mines is Clint.

Alice : On my head? Eauh! [Does a freaked out type dance, sending her flying off the bed and crashing to the floor.]

Spider : [Hanging onto one of the beds, with a trickle of web hanging down from him] Hey! You scared the - well, let's just say you scared me. [To Clint] I did speak, and my name is Spider Parker.

Jerome : [Helps Alice up] Salutations nobel arachnid! Jerome queries as to the status your current health?

Spider : Well, my current health is fine, except for a little stiffness in my left elbows. [Holds out three of his left legs and stretches them out and bends them a few times] But it is my immediate future health that I'm concerned about. What's your story? Slaves?

Chastity : No adults changed to children and imprisoned by a School mistress. Can you [whiney] please, help us escape?

Alice : I thought we were adults changed to children? [Whines] Do you want some cheese with that wine, Chastity?

Spider : [Nods his head] Ah, slaves, then. I doubt there's much I can do to help, my escape route is probably a bit too difficult for you lot, but I can warn you.

Clint : [To Spider] Ha! Nothing is too difficult for us, we're super heros on a mission from Philli! Show us the way! [Starts climbing up the beds]

Jerome : [To Spider] Could you please detail the perceived difficulties for us, such that we can work to prevent them posing much of an impediment, thank you.

Spider : [Looks at Jerome for a moment, before turning to Clint] Super heroes? Right. Just spin thirty feet of web, and you'll be able to climb over the gates. [Back to Jerome] The problem, little boy, is that I'm a spider, and you, I believe, are not.

Alice : [Muttering] Despite what Chastity's hairy legs might suggest.

Spider : [To Jerome] I can just scale the fence easily, whereas you, I suspect, can't.

Jerome : [Nodding] That also depends upon the nature of the gate. If, for example, it was a barred gate we could utilise the increased tensile strength of Austin's sodden blanket to forma crude tool to deform the bars and exit promptly. If we can get more information I would be pleased.

Chastity : [Grimacing] Its a sad day when the groups survival depends on the rigidity of Austin's crusty sheets! [To Spider] There must be another cunning way out.

Alice : A tool to open the bars, Jerry? Just what do you think he made the sheets wet with? [Leans in to the sheets uncomfortably close and takes a deep breath] Mm, lemony!

Spider : Well, young man, the fences are made barbed wire. [Puts on an angry face] And not the kind of fences where you can put a nice big web across to catch flies, oh no sir! And if the space is too small for a fly to get through, I think the only way you're getting out is through an open gate.

Alice : Yay! That's fierce easy, let's just find that and go out it!

Clint : [Sighs at Alice] It's not easy because first we need to get out of this room. [Pauses and explains slowly to Alice] If we get out of this room, then out of this building, across the ground patrolled by ferocious guard dogs to the gate, then it migh be easier [Huffs and kicks the wall]

Chastity : [To Spider] Well, at least can you tell us how we can escape from this room? Bearing in mind that we are children and not spiders. Although Alice's touch can make our skin crawl.

Alice : [Sweetly] Much like your voice can, Chastity.

Harvey : [Looks to Clint, then back to Spider] But if the troop can avoid these ferocious dogs, possibly by pretending to be airplanes and flying around them, can we then just go through the open gate.

Spider : Er, I suppose so. [Pause] If it was open.

Harvey : Hmmm, I see. So what we need before we can fly around the ferocious dogs is a way to open the gates. Do you know where the keys are kept?

Spider : I'm not sure, but I'd guess that Ms Stern has them.

Clint : [Sulky] But we still can't get out of this room! [Walk s over to the door and listens, ear to the door]

Chastity : Unless we can get through the roof space. [Looks to spider] Can we? Bearing in mind again that we aren't spiders?

Spider : I think you can, bearing in mind that you're children. You just have to be careful of the ducks.

Chastity : Why the ducks? [Face lights up] We'd be [emphasises] quackers to fall [emphasises again] foul of them! [Falls onto a bed in stitches of laughter for a few minutes, before getting back up and wiping the tears from her eyes. To spider] Well?

Clint : Follow me! [Barges and climbs his way to the hole in the roof and goes in. To Spider] Which way?

Spider : [To Chastity] I said ducts, not ducks. There are simply no ducks here, what on earth would ducks be doing in the roof? [To Clint] It depends on where you want to go.

Alice : I think we should go and feed the ducks! [Gives two thumbs up]

Clint : [To Spider] I want to get out of course. [Sigh. To Alice] Look, I'm the oldest here and I know whats best, so lets go, with no more childish chat about ducks or stupid stuff like that.

Chastity : Quack! [Sniggers. Gestures up the bed tower to Clint] After you, Ma Lard.

Harvey : [Bouncing on the bed while waiting for the others to climb up] There's nothing stupid about ducks, my lad. Gah! How lonely would bath time be without the little blighters? Why, if someone took a man's duck away, what would he do? He'd probably never - [looks at Clint] Ah, I see.

[Exit ALL into a cramped space over the ceiling.]

[Book III, Act XI, Scene III. In the Ceiling. SPIDER, CLINT, ALICE, JEROME, CHASTITY and HARVEY, are crawling along a cramped and dusty passageway. All around are massive ducts that appear to be throbbing. ALICE accidently crawls into one, that strikes her in the lower stomach.]

Alice : Ow! What the hell was that?

Clint : [To Chastity] i'm not lardy, you're the one who is lardy because you have a fat bum, and you're not wearing frilly nickers either! [Sighs]

Chastity : Oh really Alice, stop fussling! You'll never be a woman until you can stand a large throbbing protuberance pushing up into your stomach!

CLint : [To Chastity] That's more like it Chassers, less whinging, more doing. [To Alice] I expect you've had bigger prods than that many times before now, so lets go.

Chastity : Well I have bourn twelve children. They do wriggle inside you know! You boys will never know the discomforts we must go through to become a true woman.

Alice : It depends on where they get prodded by the ducts, Chastity. You know, someone might get accidentally prodded in the - ow! Hey!

[ALICE turns around and glares at JEROME, who's blushing slightly.

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD, apologises profusely. He was merely trying to steady himself.

Spider : Right, keep it down, we're almost at the - [thinks for a moment] where am I bringing you?

Jerome : Well, Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD, was running on the hypothesis that we were being led on an extrication path to end our incarceration, possibly intervening, post or anti our route establishment, with a brief, if slightly reluctant, investigation vis--vis the location of the Master Sleaze. [Pauses for breath] To be concise, for a moment, if I may.

Clint : [To Spider, in an exasperated whisper] You are leading us to the outside!

Alice : [Turns and looks back at Jerome] Er, yes, I think you should, because it would be a whole lot more clearer than what you just said.

Spider : [Loudly] Outside? [Even louder] Outside? [Shouting as loud as he can] Outside?

Harvey : [Whispering as low as he can] It's a good thing that Spiders can't shout, eh?

[Immediately following HARVEY's booming whisper, some bits of plaster fall from the ceiling, into whatever room is below.]

Harvey : [Shouting] Confounded Spider! Keep your voice down, I say!

Chastity : [To Spider] Is there something wrong with outside? And please keep your voice down, as we won't want Miss Stern to discover us plastered! I dread to think what punishemnt we'd get!

Spider : There's nothing wrong with outside, it's just that if you do get out, how are you going to escape? There are search lights and no children are allowed out after dark. Why, it would just like a nice, crunchy fly landing on a spider's web. [Gives an evil cackle] Mwahahaha! [Takes out a small brown paper bag and offers it to the party] Care for some deep fried bluebottle eyes?

Harvey : [Looks at the bag and shrugs] Yes indeed! Why not, eh! You're only young, er, twice. [Digs into the bag and pops a few in his mouth] Hmm, cruncy! Anyhow, if you lead to to the outside, we can observe these search lights, and possibly discover a way out!

Jerome : Hmmm did not the Hydra possess a septuplet of craniums? [Adjusts his bow tie] Jerome couls spin a tale about such a malign beast...

Chastity : [Watching Harvey crunch the eyes] Eurgh! Gross! I see we can add bluebottle eyes to the list with snails and puppy dogs tails!

Jerome : Where as the evidence from my Alice seems to maintain the sweet ingredients constituting the building blocks of the fairer sex. [Glances at Chastity] Barring the usual scientific outliers, of course. [Pulls out a ball of string. To Harvey] Perhaps a ball of yarn could be used so when can retrace our steps to the exit at a later time.

Alice : What list is that? The one of things you can cook? Hey look! There's Austin! [Points through a small hole in the ceiling, where Austin can be seen sitting on a large chair.]

[AUSTIN is dressed in a sailor suit, eating a huge lollipop.]

Clint : [Pokes his own hole in the plaster, and has peek] Wow, look at the size of that! I'd give that a good sucking any day!

Chastity : [With no lack of envy] That's not fair. If anyone is to spent their time licking and slurping whilst dressed in seamany clothes it should be me! [Folds her arms in a huff, only to fall forward and bang her head off the floor] Ow!

Alice : [To Clint] Wow, Stinky, that sounds like something Alice would say. [Thinks for a moment before adding in a dismayed voice] Hey! You shut your mouth, Clint Scar!

[CHASTITY's head strikes the floor and goes straight through, so her head is sticking right through. AUSTIN appears to be on his own in quite a large room, with two sets of double doors in opposite sides of the room leading out. It is furnished with a number of large, comfortable looking chairs.]

Chastity : [Looking embarrassed, and slightly pale with plaster] Erm, hello Austin. You wouldn't happen to have any more sweeties would you. We're all so starving that Harvey's taken to eating bits of flies.

Harvey : By the saints, Sister! Things aren't that bad. Sure, they're no snakes feet, but they fill the gap.

Alice : [Pokes a hole for herself to look through] Hey traitor!

Austin : [Looking at Alice and Chastity, pondering as he sucks his lollipop] Slooouurp! [Checks his sailor outfit, and lick his lolly some more. To Alice] If I am a traitor I should run and get Ms Stern right now. But I am not, I am merely the victim of bullies. [Looks at Alice woefully as he licks his lolly]

Chastity : [In mock scolding] Alice, really, that was a bit strong but [breaks into a smirk] We'll go with it. [Quickly does two thumbs up to Alice above the ceiling, nearly falling into the room before catching herself]

Jerome : [Produces a compass and piece of string, and procedes to produce a perfectly circular hole with the point of the compass to look down into the room with] Sleaze, you really mean that your too absorbed in your lolly to bother yourself. Now can you tear yourself away from that sweet to tell us your situation? Last from Sam #19

Austin : [To Jerome] Certainly, Jerry. [Pauses to lick his lolly] I am sitting in a rather comfortable chair, dressed in a Chaira Smergussuon sailors outfit, licking the yumminess out of a riduculously big lollipop, [Slurps] Whilst several retarded children attempt to gain access to the room via the ceiling [Slurp] Rather than using the door, which was designed for entering and leaving the room.

Clint : Retarded! [Bashes his head on the roof as he exclaims] Oww! You had better watch your step Sleaze!

[A huge crack rips across the ceiling, although it doesn't collapse.]

Alice : Yeah! You watch yourself or we'll fall on you!

Chastity : [Looking a bit uncertain] Yeah, and maybe bleed on your clothes and lolly. [Struggles a bit only to find that her head is pretty stuck] I don't like the look of this much. Erm, dear Austin, you couldn't make a pile of seat cushions just below us could you? [Struggles a bit much, whilst keeping an eye on the crack in the ceiling]

Jerome : [Frantically trying to untangle the piece of string he produced earlier] How did that up-down rope contraption of Sleaze's go again?

Alice : [Sympathetically] Poor Chastity, even as a child you are too big. I thought things might be different now, that you'd be able to wear all sorts of clothes, because, as you know, when you're old you'll be far to big to fit. [Pauses] Into the changing room.

[ALICE beams at her cleverness, only to be dismayed for the ceiling beneath her to crack and give away, sending her plummeting downwards.]

Alice : Aiee!

Austin : [Slurps his lolly as he watches Alice, prone on the floor infront of him] Someones has been eatin too many pies [Looks up at Chastity] And you're not the only one.

Clint : [Crawls over to where Alice fell through and looks down] ooh, that's along way, Bimbo, are you okay?

Alice : [Still lying face flat on the ground, dress up around her ears, revealing such frilly underwear that Chastity would be jealous of] Ow.

Harvey : Gah! This will never do troop! We need to decide, do we go down to them? Or bring them up here? Or go down to them and help them get up?

Clint : [Looking serious] We should go down to them and help them get up. We can make a human pyramid, with Harvey and Chassers at the bottom, then Alice on top of them, and then the weakling Sleaze can climb up them to the roof. Then, Chassers climbs up Harvey and Alice and helps me hold onto Alice whilst Harvey climbs up her, and then Finnally we haul Alice up, all together. [Smacks his palm with the satisfacion of a plan well planned]

Alice : Alternatively, the Spider could drop down some web, which I and Little Lord Fauntleroy climb up.

Chastity : [Gives Austin a considered look] He looks more like an Andy Pansy to me! [To Spider] Is you web strong enough to hold Alice?

Spider : I fear not, young lady, for I am but a humble spider, while she is small but well built human.

Harvey : Hmm, I knew a private Pansy in the corp once! Strange fellow, always first to volunteer to play the dame in the troop play. Tended to hang around in the showers a little too much for my liking also. A very, very clean young man! I wonder if he's a relation of this Andy, good sister? [To Jerome] Good doctor, didn't you say something about having some stout twine with you? Perhaps they could use that to climb up?

Chastity : [To Alice] Did you hear that, ALice. You are too, ehem, well built for spiders web!

Jerome : [Finally managing to untangle the string] Why, yes, Harvey. If we double the string to increase the tensile strength of the rescue apparatus, and secure on end to stable anchor point using my patented Trindle knot, that would indeed do the trick.

Alice : [Huffily] If I am, then I'm sure you are too, what with being so much bigger and all.

[ALICE, of course, is actually bigger than CHASTITY.]

Harvey : Excellent! Where is the rescue apparatus?

Jerome : Give me but a moment. [A flurry of hands, string and mummbling later] And Voila! The Trindle-floor-to-ceiling-dangling-rescue-extrication-device, patent pending. [Holds up a mass of complicated knots and loops about a foot long] Now all we have to do is lower this [points to a loop dangling at the bottom] down to the fair Alice. [Looks down into the room] Ah. [Brief pause] One of you wouldn't happen to have another, say, 30 feet of rope, would you?

Spider : [Winces as he sees Jerome's string] Ooo! I wouldn't fancy passing that!

Alice : Sigh. [Looks around the room, before turning to Austin] What's going on here? Why are here? Where's Miss Manners?

Austin : [To Alice] Oooh, so you ahve decided to stop calling me names and [Slurp] poking fun at me have you? [Pauses to give his lolly a really big lick] Miss Manner left through that door [Points at the door Miss Manners left through] As to why you are here, that's anyones guess. Your whole existence seems pretty pointless to me. [Licks his lolly with great satisfaction]

Clint : [Looks confused] Is he being rude again or what?

Jerome : I think we can quite resonably assume that rudeness is indeed the nub of his answer.

Chastity : Austin, you know what Alice meant! Why are you in this room in particular?

Alice : [To Austin] Actually, when I said Miss Manners, I was referring to you. Now, while I think we're entitled to an apology for your behaviour earlier, I'll settle for an explanation of what happened after you left with Miss Manners.

Austin : [To Alice] You want an appolgy from me? [Indignantly] You stupid, stupid girl! [Licks his lolly] You all owe me an appology. Firstly you blame the escape plan on me and Ms. Stern beats me for it, then Jerome drops harvey on me, crushing me badle and causing me actual boddily harm. [slurps his lolly] Next you verbally abuse and ridicule me, inscesantly, and without pause. It is you that owes me an appology. [Licks his lolly more] I expect they put me in this room because I am good and I deserve better treatment than you wretches. [Contemplates his lolly] The other possibility is that this is the room where potential surrogate parents meet GOOD children to decide wether or not to adopt them. [Licks his lolly] But that is just a well found hypothesis. I'm sure the facts will establish themselves in due course.

Alice : [Listens patiently, before looking up to the ceiling once Austin is finally finished] Clint, come down here and break his lolly.

Chastity : [Looking at the large crack in the ceiling] But be careful, or we'll all be down there.

Clint : [To Alice] I'll do more than break his lolly [Tries to get down carefully but breaks through the ceiling in several places in the process] You'd better run Sleaze! [Tries to get down]

[CLINT falls through the ceiling.]

Alice : I'll catch you, Stinky! [Holds her arms out.]

[CLINT falls on top of her, flattening her. Almost immediately, CLINT leaps up and dusts himself off, apparantly unharmed.]

Harvey : By the saints, are you alright, dear niece? Confound you, private Scar and your clumsy ways! Help her up, man! [Looks at Austin] You know, private Sleaze, it strikes me that there's another, obvious reason why you're being kept in this comfortable room, being fed oversized sweets and generally pampered and preened. You are being fattened up to be eaten by the cannibalistic school marm! She obviously likes her little seamen to taste plump and sweet!

Alice : [Gets up] I'm fine.

[The entire ceiling collapses, sending everyone but SPIDER crashing down on top of ALICE. SPIDER reflexively shoots down some some web, which CHASTITY catches onto, leaving her suspended above the others. CLINT and AUSTIN are untouched.]

Chastity : [Looking at the carnage below] Thank you Mr. Spider. Most quick witted. Obviously your web is strong enough indeed [Loudly towards Alice] for those of a normal build!

Jerome : [Struggling to push himself off Alice, underneath the pile of ceiling plaster] Ah, the plaster is blinding me. I can't possibly see where I'm putting my hands!

Chastity : [Lowering herself to the floor] Huh, trust Alice to get plastered and end up on the bottom of a pile of boys.

Austin : [To Harvey] If anyone is going to be eaten, Harvey, it will be you, as you are by far the plumpest morsel in the room. [Licks some more lolly]

Clint : [To Austin, pointing at him] You'd better watch your step Sleaze! Or I'll

Austin : [Cutting in on Clint] What? [Arrgantly] You'll do what? Stinky?

Alice : [Still at the bottom] Hey! You said the web couldn't hold a human!

Spider : Oh, that's right.

[The web snaps, sending CHASTITY crashing onto the pile, visibly and aubibly winding ALICE.]

Harvey : [Pulls himself off the pile] Oh, shut up Sleaze. [To Clint] Private Sleaze, you have permisison to punch him.

Chastity : [Spitting out plaster from her mouth] Pah! [To the pale and gasping Alice] Not a word! Don't say a word! [Struggles to get up]

Jerome : My lovely Alice is fighting for her breath. Fortunately Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD, has read the boys bumper book of first aid and knows how to give mouth to mouth! [Leans down to administer help to Alice]

Austin : [To Harvey] But I don't want to punch him!

Clint : [Enraged, grabs Austin by the collar] You're going to be sorry Sleaze!

Austin : [To Clint] Bully! [Austin sticks his lollypop right down the front of Clints pants and tries to knee Clint in the nuts]

Alice : Gasp! [Pushes Jerome away] Get away from me, you dirty old man! [Shivers] Eauh! I hate boys!

[AUSTIN deftly connects with CLINT, sending him doubling over in pain. Meanwhile, HARVEY punches AUSTIN in the face, sending him staggering back.]

Harvey : Stand down, Private Sleaze! That's the second time you've assaulted a party member - stand down or by crikey we'll put you in one of the soul sanctuaries to keep you quiet. [Glances over at Alice, clearly noticing that she no longer appears to have them] Well, I'm prepared to take that chance, we simply can't have non-comms barking out likes and assaulting party members.

Austin : [Indignantly to Harvey] He assulted me you dotard! I was merely defending myself! [Looks at his sailor outfit] Look! He's ruined the collar on my suit! And you, you villian, you told him to hit me! Then hit me! Thug! I'm going to report you!

Harvey : [Grimly] Right, Sleaze, I'm not going to play your foolish games any longer. This whole debacle started because you headbutted the good doctor back in the room - I hit you because you assaulted Private Scar. I don't know what's got into you, or why your behaviour is even more annoying than usual, but, my lad, you had better either cop on or leave us to make our escape without you.

Austin : [To Harvey, bubbling] Well why don't you all just stop bullyinh me and picking on me? Just because you are all mentally inferior to me doesn't mean you have to hate me. [Starts bubbling more and rubbing the sore bit where Harvey punched him]

Clint : [Gets up sorely, holding his crotch] Lets just go, and leave Sleaze behind.

Alice : Oh, that's not why we hate you, Austin.

Chastity : [To Alice] I don't think we have time for that list now, Alice. We'd best look to get out of here. [Goes to the door to listen]

Jerome : [Looks up to the ceiling] Perhaps we can create the a tower of chairs to scale to the roof.

Alice : Okay, Chas. [Turns to Austin with a baleful look] Don't you think I don't have the list with me.

Harvey : Good idea, Doctor, although, [looks around] perhaps we might find something useful by checking out some of these doors.

Chastity : [Listening at the door Miss Manners went through] Shhhh, I trying to listen! I can't hear a thing with this noise!

Austin : [To Alice] You have a list? Well why did you show it to me you stupid girl? How can I know what problems you have if you don't show me? Obviously I can't really help you at the moment with your dreadful dress sense, but there maybe other thing that I can resolve.

Alice : I can think of one thing you can solve right away.

Harvey : By the saints, private Sleaze, my niece has the dress sense of a fashion guru, and don't you forget it! Now, quieten down there, so the dear sister can listen at the door!

Austin : [To Harvey] Yes, of course she does colonel [Coughs quietly] Well, if everyone stops being nasty to me I'll be nicer back. That's how it works you see, so stop bullying me.

Alice : God Almighty! It's like having Faetan back in the party! The only reason people were nasty to you is because you headed poor old Jerry! Now, while I know that, for you, that's not a particularly nasty thing, most civilised people and Clint would consider it a nasty thing to do.

Jerome : [Rubbing his nose] I would definitely concur. Despite your affirmations to the contrary, you would seem to display behaviours that one would deem Uncivilised. However, in the name of group harmony and re-instigating the collective purpose, namely escape from here and restoration to our adults selves, Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD, is willing to let bygones be bygones. [Strides towards Austin with outstretched hand]

Austin : [To Jerome] The reason I nutted you was because you dropped Harvey ontop of me deliberatley. [Shakes Jeromes hand quickly]

Clint : [Thinking about what Alice said] Hey! I'm civilised too.

Alice : Sure you are, Stinky, we all know that! [Squeezes his arm reassuringly while giving an obvious wink to the others]

Harvey : Right, troop. Now that we're all down here, do we try to get back up or go through one of these doors?

Austin : [Points to the door Manners left through] Through that door?

Clint : [To Austin] THis had better not be a trap, Sleaze.

Jerome : [To Clint] Oh come now, Mr Scar. Austin has just not just shaken my hand in the time honoured hatchet burying manner. I'm sure the good Sister would agree that we must forgive and forget?

Chastity : [Looks up from the door at Austin] Well, I'm not so...

Jerome : [Quickly interrupting, putting a supportive arm round Austin] So tell us, Master Sleaze, will your knowledge of the recent comings and going within this room, which door would you advise we investigate? And why?

Austin : [To Chastity] Well, the way I came leads back to the cell, but perhaps also an exit to the outside, where as the other way leads to wherever Miss Manners went, and possibly the outside.

Clint : [Looking confused] So which way is out? [To Austin] Are you taking the piss again? [To Jerome] So do we still have to be nice to him now?

Harvey : It depends on what we want to do - force Miss Manners and Miss Stern to turn us back to adults, escape from this terrible place or [somewhat hopefully] have some more flies eyes.

Chastity : Do you think that Miss Manners and Miss Stern have the power to turn us back into adults?

Harvey : I don't know, Sister. It was that blackguard Boddy who turned us into children, so perhaps not.

Alice : You know, that was really mean of Boddy to that to us, it wasn't our fault what happened! It wouldn't surprise me if Darius was involved [clenches her fists] he's just so sneaky! And hey, what about that seven headed thingummy that Dora mentioned? Maybe that's through one of the doors?

Harvey : It might very well be, dear niece! But perhaps our spider friend can climb under each door and tell us what's on the other side! Personally, I'm hoping we find the kitchen before the night is through!

Jerome : [Slapping Harvey on the back] A great idea, Harv, why didn't I think of that! And another one to our mostly merry band. [To Spider] Assuming of course that Mr. Spider is willing and able to aid us further?

Spider : It's actually Mr. Parker, young fellow. I would be keen to help but [face darkens] don't underestimate the danger of draft excluders.

Austin : [Well why dont we just go that way Points to the door he came in] At least we know Miss Manners is not there since she went out of the other door, and I didn't see anyone else on my way here.

Clint : [To Austin] But that's back to the cells! You'd better not be tricking us Sleaze. [Give Austin a meanacing look, and goes up to the door Austin came in and listens and looks through the key hole if there is one]

Alice : What do you see, Stinky?

Clint : It's a big room, and someone is in there, sitting on a large seat. It's either Manners or Stern, all I can see is her, hm, yeah. [Smiles] I mean, there's someone in there alright.

Jerome : That would indicate to Dr Jerome K trindle BSc, PhD that we should a: avoid that room, and b) possibly barracade or lock her within. Jerome is in possession of a Young Inventors slot headed screwdriver, it should be possible to disable the door mechanism and thus trapping her! [Thumps his fist into his hand]

Alice : Right, off you go! That should be fine, unless [leans forward and makes a face at Austin] someone [normal demeanour] decides to tell on you.

Chastity : [Completely deadpan] Alice, I hope your not trying to suggest that Austin is [nearly breaks out of her deadpan face into a snigger but recovers] ehem, untrustworthy. He did shake Jerome's hand. I'm [emphasises] sure that he's a changed ma..boy.

Austin : [Looks very nonplused at these comments] Your slanderous inferences are without basis. [Folds his arms and looks dissaprovingly at Jerome and Alice]

Jerome : Dr Jerome K Trindle BSc, PhD, and now child genius proposes that Austin's comments although technically incorrect, since they were implications, as the context was based on statements by sweet Alice and Chastity, does raise a point. Austin your verbal burst did not answer the question. Can Jerome et al trust you to maintain your silence, and to accompany us on our endeavour. Last from Marc #77

Austin : [To Jerome] I shall speak when and how I please, I do not take orders from the likes of you Trundle. The question you have to ask yourself is, can you trust someone that you have spent many hours torturing?

Alice : That's kind of a moot point, isn't it, Aussie? Seeing as how we haven't tortured anyone, yet spent many hours tortured by one we once trusted. Last from Conor #79

Austin : [To Alice] You don't see! You are so self obsessed [Checks his shiny shoes] That you don't even remeber torturing me all the time! And I haven't tortured any of you, so don't try to play the reverse accusations on me because it doesn't work! [Checks his nails and strokes Maplin]

Alice : Oh no! Don't [emphasises as she points at him] you try to play the reverse accusations on us because it doesn't work!

Austin : [Smiles at Alice] Did that make you feel good? Did it make you feel clever?

Clint : [Goes tothe other door ans listens, then looks through the key hole] I've had enough of waitng for you lot to get yourselves organised! [Sighs] You're just a bunch of kids I guess. [Sigh]

Alice : [Smiles back at Austin] Simply listening to your drivel makes me feel clever Austin.

Clint : [Looks back at the others] There's a hallway out here. It might be worth going through there, mainly because neither Austin nor Alice is there.

Alice : Are you sure? [Takes a look]

Harvey : [To Parker] One never would take a draft excluder for granted, my dear arachnid, but surely you'll help us with those doors that have none? Perhaps, for instance, if you look through the door on the other side of that hallway and let us know of danger! Perhaps one shot of web for yes, certain death this way lies, two for looks safe, but proceed with all due caution?

Spider : Sounds good, but how about one shot for safety and six feet for certain death? Last from Conor #85

Austin : [To CLint] Well, what are you waiting for? You are the oldest here are you not? [Waves his hand, gesturing to the others] Take command, show them your leadership skills. [Checks his nails] They are but sheep and will follow you anywhere, all be it noisily.

Clint : [To Austin, exasperated] I don't need you to tell me what to do Sleaze! [Opens the door carefully and looks through]

Alice : We will follow him anywhere, but only as long as it is away from you.

[CLINT pushes the door open very gently, revealing a dimly lit corridor leading in both directions, with several doors along it. However as soon as he opens it, there is an enormous bang.]

Alice : Stinky! Keep it down, will you?

Harvey : Actually, niece, I believe that sound came from the other side of the room.

Chastity : [Immediately wheels round to look at Austin] Ssshhhhhh!!

Alice : [Exasperated, to Chastity] Does he want to get us caught?

[A man, DO BARVILLE, who has entered from the opposite side (where CLINT saw someone sitting down), clears his throat to get the party's attention. He is dressed entirely in black rubber, and has a frightening amount of some kind of slimy gel in his hair, moustache and eyebrows.]

Do : No, I want to get you caught. [Smiles and smoothens out his moustache] Everywhere I look I see naughty children.

Jerome : Dr Jerome K Trindle BSc, PhD feels that he should concur with Chastity's reaction, but that would pose inappropriate behaviour. [Looks around carefully and then darts towards the closest door] Jerome ponders whether opening the door raised a significant through-draft, whose zephyrious currents slammed one of these doors?

Do : [Slamming the door closed behind him] No, Brainiac, it was this door, and I'd advise you to keep the noise down, people are trying to sleep. Everywhere I look I see stupid children. [Smiles his cheesy grin again, showing that he appears to have even greased up his teeth to facilitate his frictionless smile]

Chastity : [With a look of terror] Oh no, it's Austin's soul mate! [To the group] Or at least the best candidate we've met.

Austin : [To Chastity] He is no associate of mine, although he does bear a strinking resemblance to you late husband, George. [Austin gets up an walks over to the open door beside Clint.]

Do : All I see are naughty boys and naughty girls. [Pulls off his belt] Where to start? [Smiles his frictionless smile] The boys!

Austin : [Slips just through the door and beside the wall. Whispers to Clint] We should all run.

Jerome : Austin seems to be spearheading the current tactical plan. Dr Jerome K Trindle, BSc, PhD and child genius, emphatically agrees with a strategic withdrawl which proceeds with haste. [Makes a run for it] Sweet Alice we must away! [Grabs Alice topull her with him]

Do : [Slapping himself with the belt] I love it when they run! [Starts to run after the party]

[The party run out into the corridor, and follow it along. There are quite a few doors here, but there is one up ahead that has "Keep Out" written on it in plain letters.]

Alice : We'd better do as it says, otherwise we might be in trouble.

Austin : [Slips just through the door and beside the wall. Whispers to Clint] We should all run.

Jerome : Austin seems to be spearheading the current tactical plan. Dr Jerome K Trindle, BSc, PhD and child genius, emphatically agrees with a strategic withdrawl which proceeds with haste. [Makes a run for it] Sweet Alice we must away! [Grabs Alice topull her with him]

Do : [Slapping himself with the belt] I love it when they run! [Starts to run after the party]

[The party run out into the corridor, and follow it along. There are quite a few doors here, but there is one up ahead that has "Keep Out" written on it in plain letters.]

Alice : We'd better do as it says, otherwise we might be in trouble.

Clint :[To Alice] We are already in trouble! [Opens the door with KEEP OUT on it, and goes in]

Chastity : If this is the staff coffee room we really will be in trouble [Follows Clint]

Jerome : Jerome sagely agrees with Chastity, passive smoking leads to a increased chance of lung cancer as well as potentially depressing the immune system.

Harvey : [Pushing Jerome from behind] Perhaps so, doctor, but at this moment, a belt whipping is more potentially impressing on the buttock system! Hurry on there, man!

Alice : [As the party stagger into the smoke filled room] Cough! Judging by the smell of corduroy and suede, this is definitely the teachers lounge!

[The room looks something like a sitting room, and is covered in empty whiskey bottles and overfilled ash trays. A dank, heavy smoke hangs in the air. The only thing out of place in the room is a highly polished metal desk at the opposite wall.]

Harvey : I say, troop, that's a damned odd desk, what! It's obviously important! [Eyes light up] Perhaps it's the magical place where all childrens confiscated contraband is kept? [Harvey approaches the desk] Imagine, troop! Stink bombs! Peashooters! Fake turds! AR-15 automatic rifles! Fusion reactors! Claymores! [Checks the desk for drawers]

Alice : [Regards Clint with a baleful eye] Fake turds?

[The desk is absolutely solid, and contains one large, red button in the middle of it.]

Chastity : [Looking at the big red btton] Ooooooo, I wonder what that does. [Reaches towrds the button, pulls back, reaches towrds it again, and pulls back again. Moving quickly round the table, not taking her eye off the button] Can I push it? Please? Please? Please?

Alice : Don't be a fool, Chastity! No one should press a button unless they know what it does, tut! [Edges closer to the button, in classic button-pressing stance]

Chastity : [Elbow Alice away from the table] Go and see where Austin's dad has gone! We may be left with little choice but to push this button. [Adopts Alice's classic button-pressing stance]

Alice : This is something we have to discuss, Chastity, we can't have any frilly knickered moron thinking that she can press it! [Slips in front of Chastity, with her button-pressing finger at the ready]

Chastity : Exactly! [Pulls up the back of Alice's dress, quickly tucks it into her frilly pants and tries to get round in front while she's distracted.

Alice : Hey! [Pulls her dress back out, and goes shoulder to shoulder with Chastity, so they are now both right up against the table, and catches onto Chastity's hand to prevent her from pushing the button] Leave it!

Jerome : [Face a stunning shade of betroot-red after at Alice knickers incident] Oh my! [Mops his brow and leans against on of the sides of the desk, away from the girls] Jerome shall see if this ruddy, as in red, button is part of a system integral to the building. [Climbs under the desk

Chastity : [Stops struggling with Alice. To Jerome] No looking at our pants down there! [Suddenly restarts the button struggle, with her and Alice's hand getting pearlously close to the button]

Alice : [Looks behind Chastity] Gasp! Austin's father has just come in!

[ALICE is clearly lying, and intends to press the button when CHASTITY looks behind, but moves too quickly, with the result that the struggle continues. Meanwhile, JEROME doesn't appear to find anything down below.]

Clint : Look, there's an easy way to solve this. [To Alice] Bimbo, do you want to press the button?

Alice : [Struggling and panting] Yes!

Clint : Chas, do you want to press the button?

Chastity : [Desperately trying to reach the button. Straining] Yes!

Clint : Good. [Presses the button]

Alice : [Stops struggling] Hey!

[Just as CHASTITY and ALICE fall to the floor as a result of ALICE no longer struggling, DO enters.]

Do : Don't press the button!

[The entire building begins to shake.]

Chastity : [To Alice] You really must lose some weight! [Tries to join Jerome in sheltering under the table]

Alice : [Glares at Chastity] I can think of fifty pounds* of dead weight we could all stand to lose!

Harvey : Gah! Look, there's a tornado outside!

Austin : [Emerges silently from near the coat stand, and moves to beside Alice] What the hell is going on?

Alice : Well, when we tried to kill Contagion, Boddy was unhappy, and cast some kind of spell on us - but, you know, I think Darius was involved too. Anyway, we -

[ALICE is thrown to the floor as the building shakes from side to side.]

Harvey : Gah! It looks like the building is taking off!

Do : I'm going to kill you! [Takes off another leather belt, revealing that he has yet another on beneath it]

Austin : [Runs to the window to see if they are far off the ground yet] Hey maybe we can jump! [Looks out of the window]

Chastity : Quick, lets put all these whiskey bottles and ashtrays to good use. He'll never die of lung cancer before he reaches us!

Clint : [Looking around through the smoke] Gah, permission from the nun, just when I'm too young to drink and smoke!

Chastity : [To Clint] No, throw them at him! [Scrambles from under the table to grab a nearby bottle]

Jerome : [From underneath the desk] Sweet Alice Jerome advises that you adjorn to the safety of the desk for the duration of the unexpected meterological phenomena. [Grabs the back of Alice's dress to pull her down]

Harvey : [Stumbling, stands before Do] Don't you dare try to hurt my niece or the dear sister, you greasy fiend! [Adopts the boxer stance] Perhaps you'd be better off trying to stop the building from shaking itself apart, rather than trying to tan our hides!

Do : Shut up, fat boy. [Holds Harvey at bay by gripping his forehead with his hand while whipping Austin across the backs of his legs with the belt, causing painful red welts to appear]

Alice : Hey! [Tries to move towards Do, but gets pulled back by Jerome, and crashes onto him and Chastity] Ow!

[The building begins to spin slowly.]

Jerome : As a percautionary measure, we should brace ourselves against increased rotational motion. [Firmly grasps the desk and Alice]

[The building is now quite high up in the sky.]

Do : You fools, you don't realise what you've done!

Harvey : You mean, we've done something other than make the entire school take off?

Do : Well, maybe you do, but I bet you don't realise the consequences of your actions!

Chastity : [Looking a bit green at all the spinning] I've not felt this bad since we woke up in Mermantort. [Wafts away some smoke] Are you sure this smoke isn't from cheese? [Staggers towards a window. To Do] Where is this building going?

Do : To the mines. We make a delivery once a month - my God [smoothens out his moustache] there'll be hell to pay when we turn up unannouned.

Chastity : [Queasily outraged] You use child labour in your mines? You deserve all the hell you get!

Do : Hey! I never said that!

Alice : But, you do, don't you?

Do : Well, it's not like [emphasis] I own the mines.

Chastity : What is mined there? [Reaches for nearby bin, holding her stomach]

Jerome : [Climbs out from under the desk and begins to spin in a direction counter to that of the building] Jerome would enquires as to whom runs the establishment for you to be so concerned?

Do : Placebium. [Smirks, and pauses, clearly expecting gasps of amazement]

Do : [A trifle annoyed at the lack of reaction] Almira Gulch! [Pauses, again clearly expecting a reaction]

Alice : [Watching Jerome and Do walking to stand still in the spinning house] Hey, it's just like being on the waltzers - I'm great at that.

[ALICE stands up, only to be immediately thrown flat against a window with a sickening thud.]

Alice : Ow.

Chastity : [To Do] Never heard of it. [Turns to Jerome] Have you? [Starts to waver even more on focusing on the spinning Jerome] Last from Conor #131

Austin : [Wincing in pain, moves well out of the way of Do's belting range, grabbing an atray which he empties and throws as hard as he can at Do face, enraged] You bastard!

Do : [Ducking to avoid the ashtray] Just wait until Almira gets her hands you, sailor boy. You'll end up wishing that the Seven Headed Mistress had got hold of you.

Clint : Seven Headed Mistress? Sounds like she's having an affair with a bunch of dwarves!

[The school begins falling slowly towards earth again.]

Chastity : A person holding office in a responsible organisation taking advantage of small children? That makes me si..[Is violently ill in the waste paper basket she picked up. Looks up, wiping her mouth] See! [Notices that bin she's picked up is a mesh one] Gah! [Throws the puke filled bin at Do, with a fine mist following it as it arches throw the smoke filled air] Anyone got a breath mint?

[The bin flies through the air, but is particularly undynamic, and crashes through a window instead.]

Alice : A person holding office in a responsible organisation taking advantage of small children? Who isn't a member of the church? That makes me sick!

Do : You're going to be more than sick when Almira gets hold of you.

Chastity : [Gives Alice a brief glare. To Do] OK, OK I'll ask. Who is Almira? And why should we be so afraid?

Harvey : [Still swinging at Do] And what's Placibiumium? And unhand me this moment, you slippery ruffian! [Tries to kick Do] [HARVEY kicks at DO, but can't reach him. DO, in return, pushes HARVEY away, sending him staggering, before the spinning motion sends him flying to a wall.]

Do : Almira owns the mine. She won't be expecting us for another few weeks. [Narrows his eyes at Chastity] I just hope the landing site is clear, otherwise we're all in trouble.

Chastity : [Rolls her eyes] So what your saying is that we could be in trouble. [clutches her stomach] Personal note, don't roll eyes in spinning room! [Does a dry wretch]

Do : [Looking out a window] What I'm saying is that you are in trouble, look! [Points dramatically out the window] [Book III, Act XI, Scene IV. The Placebium Mine. SPIDER, CLINT, ALICE, JEROME, CHASTITY, HARVEY and DO are here, looking out the window of the still spinning school. It looks as though the school is about to set down in a large field, where a number of heavily armed men are running around, screaming in panic. A woman is standing in the middle of the field with a wand, shouting up in such an unfeasibly loud voice that even those in the school can hear her. This is ALMIRA GULCH.]

Almira : [Pointing the wand at the school] By the powers of the North, the East, the South, the West, the Bottom and the Top, I command you to stop!

[The school continues towards her, not hugely fast, but it is getting steadily closer.]

Harvey : [Looking out the window] Run, woman, get out of the way! [Turns to the others] If she doesn't move, she'll be Almira Mulch in a few moments, troop!

Austin : [To Harvey] She enslaves millions of children you buffoon, we want her to get squashed!

Harvey : Shut up, soft lad! Of course she should get her comeuppance, but she has power and might also be the only person who can change us back to adults! If we can't find Darius, and she gets squashed, that might be our only hope gone! I'm aware that your testicles probably never dropped throughout adulthood, but I for one, want mine once again on the outside!

Chastity : [Pulling a face] Eurgh, do you have to talk about boys bits? Some of us aren't feeling up to it! [Looks out the window] Well we'll soon see.

Almira : [Waving her wand again] By the powers of the North, South, the Bottom, the Top the East abd the West I command you to come to a rest!

[The moves inexorably closer to ALMIRA.]

Clint : So, Harv, does that mean you don't have any testicles?

Austin : [To Harvey] Why would it matter if you testicles never dropped since you never used them! [Grabs another ash tray and throws it at Do]

Jerome : We really should stop pontificating about the status and activities of the Colonel's reproductive organs. Dr Jerome K Trindle BSc, PhD and child genius gladly opens the floor for productive discussion of our options, for example, running like the proverbial devil was pursuing ourselves.

Almira : [Waving her wand again] By the powers of the Bottom, the Top the East, the West, the South and the North, I command you not to come forth!

[Crash. The school lands on ALMIRA, crushing her, and sending everyone flying to the ground as all the windows shatter.]

Alice : [Lying in a corner] Ow, I always hated rear entry. [Pause] I mean re-entry!

Chastity : [To Alice] we know what you mean! [To Do] Looks like we're no in trouble after all, then. [Gets up and dusts herself off] Well I'm glad we're on terra-firma again.

Do : [Staggering to his feet] I'm going to kill you. Then Miss Stern is going to kill you. Then Miss Manners is going to kill you. Then Miss Prim is going to kill you. Then Miss Proper is going to kill you. Then Miss Demeanour is going to kill you. Then Mis Take is going to kill you.

Alice : [To the others] Then I guess heading back to the room isn't an option?

Jerome : [Stands upright and brushes the broken glass off his clothes, goes and leans out the window and looks around, To Do] Dr Jerome K Trindle, BSc, PhD and presently a child genius would advise taking deep breaths; ranting like that could lead to apoplexy and possibly a brain aneurism. [To Alice] Sweet Alice you are correct in your assumption that we have indeed reached a situation of irreversibility.

Chastity : What, you've used [emphasises] both sides of your pants? I didn't think it was that scary! [Glances out the windows to look for heavily armed men] I think we should think about using Jerome's earlier plan of getting out of here!

Austin : [Looks out of the window] Lets just jump out of the windows and run!

Alice : [Rolls her eyes] Oh, great idea, Austin, let's just jump out of the window on the [glances out, before adding in a small voice] er, ground floor. Hey look!

[ALICE points to the right of the party, where ALMIRA's legs are jutting out from beneath the school. They are starting to curl up, in "Wizard of Oz" fashion, and she is wearing an even shinier pair of red shoes than the ones CHASTITY was showing off earlier. There are a number of armed guards nearby, but those who haven't been crushed by the building are clearly not sure how to react.]

Do : [Staggering, and clearly dazed from the crash] You little bastards, who pressed the button? Who?

Alice : [Terrified] It was her! [Points at Chastity]

Jerome : Sweet Alice you know it wasn't Chastity, and unlike Austin has done nothing within reasonable memory to inflict harsh punishment upon her. [To Do] we are united and shall not indicate whomever pressed the button. Even if his name was Austin Sleaze, that's [Spells out] A.U.S.T.I.N. S.L.E.A.Z.E., which it wasn't. [Takes off his tweed jacket and lays it over the bottom of the window frame] Jerome would like to execute the agree upon plan of fleeing this detestable institution, and leave. After you Alice. [Cups his hands to give people a boost]

Chastity : [Looks down at her feet and then out the windows at Almira's feet] Those shoes are mine! [Pushes past Alice, shoves Jerome aside, and clambers onto the window, briefly pausing] Nothing should get in the way of a girl and her new shoes! [Jumps out of the window and makes for Alimira's shoes]

Austin : [To Jerome] You're reall detritus, T.R.I.N.D.L.E. [Swiftly slips out of the window Shouts, raising his arms] Alimira is dead, lets have a party!

Clint : [Gets out of the window] Yeah! Lets have a party. [Ponders] I want jelly, lots of jelly and icecream, and fizzy pop, and sausage rolls!

Alice : [To Jerome] I know it wasn't Chastity, but she wanted to do it! It really was C.L.E.N [pause] shut up, Stinky! [Climbs out the window] Now what about this party?

[Many of the survivors have drawn weapons, and are slowly advancing on the party.]

Jerome : [Picks up a shard of plate glass, and wraps his scarf around one end, climbs out, dusts off his tweed] Dr Jerome K Trindle BSc, PhD and child genius is presently a proponent of proactive spatial dimension relocation as a method for the zero interaction between sapient individuals and implements of negative corporeal enhancement. We should make haste before the henchmen have secured a non-permeable perimeter.

Chastity : [Starts to try and wrestle the shoes from Alimira] Agreed, Jerome. I think. [Coughs] Phew, you'd think that someone with so many enslaved children could get a couple of them to run a foot bath every now and again. [Continues with the shoe removal]

[Enter SEAN BORINGMORE and MORTEN VIGGOSEN, two heavily armed men.]

Morten : Halt your thieving ways, lest you feel the cold steel of my blade against your traitorous throat, child.

Sean : [Monotone] Yeah. We don't like people stealing. Stealing is bad. It's not as bad as killing, but still pretty bad all the same. If you kill someone and then steal their stuff, that's worse, because then it makes you like you only killed them to steal their stuff, which is a lot worse than if you killed them because you didn't like their haircut or their donkey or if they were trying to kill you.

Do : [Leaping out of the window] Hah, now you'll see what happens.

[Unfortuntely for DO, his pants is now down around his ankles, revealing a leopardskin thong, just before he gets his feet tangled up and falls flat on the ground. In front of the school is what appears to be another school, with quite a lot of men charging from it. Behind is a large mountain.]

On Mon, 26 Jan 2004 conor.ryan@ul.ie wrote:

Chastity : I hope you are not referring to me. I am not stealing, I am retrieving. This poor ladies next of kin may want her shoes, and I thought I'd retrieve them before the old witch's withering curled decaying feet ruined them. [Quickly tries on the red shoes]

[The shoes are quite large, but, as soon as CHASTITY tries them on, they fit her perfectly. The advancing crowd stop and gasp.]

Morten : [Holding up her sword] Kill her, kill them all!

Do : Hey! Even me? [Struggles to pull his pants up]

Morten : Especially you.

Alice : Where can we go? There's an army of angry men approaching us, and a mountain with a school in the way behind us!

Austin : [Smugly, turning towards the hill] I think it best if we run to the hills. [More Smugly yet] Now that Alice is a murder and Chastity a thieving corps looter, we're outlaws.

Clint : [Happy] Yeah, outlaws! [More serious] I didn't really want the silly jelly any way. [Looks at Do] Austin, isn't that your thong he's wearing?

Chastity : Never mind that, look at these shoes. [Does a brief tap/shuffle dance routine. To Morten] Stop. Look, look at these shoes! [Repeats the routine, but with a bit more of a flourish]

Alice : [To Austin] Who did I murder? It was [points at Clint] Clint who pressed the button not me!

Do : [Grabs hold of Austin, still with his pants down around his knees] I've got one for you guys! [Makes a grab for Harvey]

Morten : [To Chastity] Take them off, now.

Austin : [Screaming at Do] Let go of me you pervert! You sexual deviant! Pederast! [Tries to kick Do in the face] Chastity, use your magic on them!

Jerome : [Darts in and slashes at the hand Do is holding Austin by with his makeshift glass knife]

[The glass gashes DO, causing him to let go of AUSTIN.]

Jerome : Jerome reserves the right to gloat and some future point regarding your requirement to thank me for freeing you from almost certain buggery.

Alice : You obviously don't know Austin very well then, Jerome!

Harvey : Quickly troop, let's get out of here, to the hills, the hills I say! Brrrrrrrrm!

Chastity : [Pointing to her shoes] I don't have to, they fit! [Gives two thumbs up]

Alice : Which way? Through the school? Under the school? Over it? Around it?

[The charging men are dangerously close.]

Do : [To Jerome] You little brat, I'm going to kill you!

Chastity : We'll have to go through the school, we'll get caught if we go round. Come on. [Makes for the windows again, trying to pull Harvey with her. To Do] Leave us alone!

Harvey : Good idea, Sister! [Leaps through the window] Hut! Hut! Hut!

[Everyone else follows through the window too.]

Alice : Hey Jerome, how about giving me the other end of your scarf so I can have a knife too?

Austin : [To Jerome] Thanks for the rescue Trindle! [To Alice] You won't need a knife if we run fast enough! [Runs for the door dodging any adults in the way]

Chastity : [Hopefully] Maybe we could hit the button again?

Alice : I got it! [Dives towards the button, and sails through the air in slow motion]

Jerome : [Confused expression on his face] Jerome ponders on how Sweet Alice defies gravity and the laws of physics? [Walks around the slow moving Alice and examines her intently and occasionally prods her] Marvellous! [Bends down and begins to fashion a knife for Alice, To Austin] Your thanks are gratefully received.

Harvey : [Slips on a shard of glass, crashes into Chastity setting her in motion] Gah, dear sister, apologies for my clumsiness!

Chastity : [Propelled towards the button by Harvey's collision, stretching for the button also in slow motion. I a low, slo-mo voice] IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ssssssssssssaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwww iiiiiiiiitttttt ffffffffiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrssssssssttttttttt.

Alice : [Stretching out her finger tips and calling witn an even deeper, slower voice] Nooooooooooooo!

[Time suddenly speeds up again, except with CHASTITY and ALICE floating in mid air.]

Clint : Oh for crying out loud, stop behaving like children. [Presses the button, but nothing happens] See?

[CHASTITY and ALICE immediately fall on the floor.]

Chastity : [Huffily to Clint] Gah, you've broken it! [Gets up and quickly dusts herself off. To Alice] Come on then, stop lying around, unless you want to be left with a man in a leopardskin thong? [Looks round to see where the guards are]

Alice : [Petulantly] I'm not lying on the ground, you are! [Gets up off the ground]

[The guards are now coming in through the windows, and the only way out of the room seems to be through the door that the party came through.]

Last from Conor #39

Austin : [Opens the door to see if anyone is there] Come on! Lets goooo!

Chastity : You don't have to say that twice. [Heads for the door]

Harvey : Quickly, Private Sleaze! [Does his airplane thing out the door, only to get stuck] Gah! Confounded delta wing design! [Puts his arms down and runs through] Quickly troop, I'll take point!

Alice : [Takes the sword from Jerome] Thanks Jerry, now let's go! [Heads out after Harvey]

Chastity : We need to find some space. Firstly just for Alice, but secondly I'm sure these shoes should do something more than look perfect on my little feet, but I don't what or how!

Jerome : [Dashing through the door] Indeed Chastity, however unless inspiration unexpectedly arises we should translocate to give ourselves time to ponder the vexing issue. Last from Marc #43

Austin : [To Chastity] Well they are obviously magical as they changed size to fit your feet. Perhaps they bestow upon the wearer the power to enslave others, like the child slaves and those morons [points at the guards, then runs through the doorway with the others]

Chastity : [Stops briefly at the door and points to the guards coming through the window and clicks the heals of the shoes together] Leave us now, I command it! [Briefly watches for any reaction]

Guards : Chaaarge!

[The GUARDS start to charge her down, while everyone else starts heading down the corridor, in the order HARVEY, ALICE, JEROME, AUSTIN, CLINT and then CHASTITY.]

Alice : Where are we going?

Chastity : [Turns and runs down the corridor. Mutters] So much for the traditional method! [To Alice]Away from the guards! Look for open doors. [To Jerome] Any other ideas will have to wait.

Harvey : [Running as fast as he can] Follow me troop, I have an unerring sense of direction and will be able to find the back door!

[The party round a corner that leads to a dead end.]

Harvey : Gah!

[A quick turnaround and the party are on their way again but, as they run passed the door to the room that AUSTIN was sitting in, which opens. Enter MS STERN, holding the door open with one hand.]

Stern : What is this?

Harvey : [Running passed] A door, my good woman, a door!

Austin : [Shouting to Chastity, slipping past Ms. Stern] The command was something like this [Mimicing the witch] In the name of the north, the south, the east and the west, I command thee to stop!

Clint : [As Jerome approaches Miss Stern] Yeah, it really worked well for her, didn't it?

Stern : [Stretches out her leg to trip Jerome] Stop!

Austin : [To Clint] She was trying to stop a large falling building from falling to the ground, Chassers just wants to stop some rotund guards!

Chastity : [Gasps at seeing Stern] Oh no, now we're in trouble. Running in the corridor! At least we weren't carrying scissors! [To Stern] In the name of the north, the south, the east and the west, I command thee to go back into the room!

Jerome : [Frantically tries to turn the trip into a forward roll, arms windmilling for a second] Wooooo....

Harvey : [Puffing and panting] Quickly troop! Dear sister, why do you think they'll follow your commands?

[JEROME miraculously does his roll without stabbing himself, and ends up on his feet again. The judges award him 5.7, 5.2, 5.8 and 5.9.]

Alice : Take that, you meanie! [Stabs Stern in the chest with her makeshift sword]

[STERN says nothing, but looks down at the sword sticking out of her with shock.]

Chastity : [To Jerome] I was hoping these shoes had more magic than autofi...[Breaks off to look in disbelief at Jeromes stabbing]..t!

Stern : [More annoyed than hurt] You stupid girl! Haven't you heard about the seven headed beast? It will make you pay for this. [Slaps Alice across the face, knocking her to the ground, and pulls the sword out of her chest] Tsk! A perfectly could blouse, wasted!

Chastity : [Looks worriedly at Stern] Lets run, she obviously build of stern stuff!! [Continues to run down the corridor]

Alice : Look! The exit is here! [Points at a large sign that says "Excite", although there is a door slightly futher on with "Exit" written on it.]

Austin : [Run to the door marked exit] Much as I'd like to go through the door marked 'Excite', I think it best that we get out of here first! [Checks Maplin, then tries the door to see if it will open]

Jerome : [To Alice] Thank you my sweet, but we should expedite and follow Austin to the exit. [Looks at Miss Stern, To Chastity] Stern and yet terrible contents.

Alice : Oh, so his exit is better than mine? Fine. [Folds her arms sulkily while still running, almost causing her to fall over.]

[The exit is unlocked, and AUSTIN opens it a fraction.]

Last from Conor #62

Austin : [Goes through the door. To the others Come on!

Chastity: [To Austin] This had better not be a trap, Sleaze. [To Clint] Sorry, thats your line isn't it! [Rushes through the door behind Austin]

Clint : Actually, it's Harvey's.

Harvey : [Waving his fist at Austin] This had better not be a trap, Sleaze!

[Exit ALL through the door, slamming it behind them.]

[Book III, Act XI, Scene V. The Entrance to the Mine. SPIDER, CLINT, ALICE, JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and HARVEY are here, having just exited the school, slamming the door behind them. There is a large cave immediately in front of the school, and a number of squashed guards around the place. There is also a SCARECROW here, even though there doesn't appear to be any crops around.]

Alice : Which way now?

Scarecrow : [Pointing towards the cave] Maybe it's this way? [Points at the school] Or maybe it's that way?

[There is suddenly a whole lot of banging on the exit door.]

Jerome : [To Scarecrow] Good Sir, Jerome and his companions are in a perilous situation and require and answer with alacrity and clarity. What is further down this cave which we should be cautious of and what are you endeavouring to search for?

Scarecrow : Alacrity and clarity? [Laughs] Now, if that isn't classic Jerome! [More serious face] Don't tell me the other names - [points at Alice] Beautiful golden hair? Got to be Alice. [Smiles at Chastity] The best taste in shoes? Chastity. [Looks at Harvey] Noble bearing? The good Colonel! [To Clint] And you sir, you can only be the brave and good Clint Scar.

Chastity : [Beams at the group] I like him. [Looks worriedly at the door] Shouldn't we baracade that door?

Austin : [To Chastity] Or run down into the mines? [Austin is clearly more of a runner than a barricader and moves towards the mine] Come on! Lets go. [To Scarecrow] What are you doing here anyway?

Scarecrow : No need to worry, Chastity, I've got the door held shut for a while. Boy, it's great to meet all of you.

Chastity : [Looking slightly confused] And nice to, erm, meet you as well. How do you know our names, if I may ask?

Jerome : Dr Jerome K Trindle BSC, PhD and presently child genius would inoffensively attempt to inveigle from you how you are arresting the motion the door? [raises a single eyebrow] And your name good sir?

Indusia : [Laughs again] Ah! Chastity and Jerome, there's certainly no hiding anything from you two, eh? [Takes his hat off, causing some straw to drop on the ground as he does] I am Indusia Smartish, one of those cursed by the evil Almira Gulch.

Clint : [Stepping forward] The very same Almira Gulch that I killed with the Clint Scar Incredible Flying School?

Indusia : That's the one! Well done, Stinky, if any one was going to kill Almira, it was you.

Chastity : [Mutters] Should have been my Flying School! [Goes to sulkily kick a stone but stops, looks at her shoes and gives them a quick polish. To Indusia] Do you know anything about these shoes?

Indusia : Other than the fact that Alice thinks they would look better on her? Well, they're magic shoes - although I suggest you hide them until you know how to use them, or you could be in a lot of trouble. Maybe in Harvey's bag? No one would expect such a manly soldier to have a pair of shoes like that.

Chastity : [Screeches] No! They're mine! [Quickly takes them off and holds them to her chest, stroking their shiny exterior. With eyes bulging slightly, speaking softly] They're mine. They're [pauses. With emphasis] precious! [Puts the shiny red shoes in her bag and pulls her old black shoes back on]

Austin : [To Chastity sighing] Come on now Chassers, this is no time to start one of your episodes of insanity. [To Indusia frowning] So why don't you know my name, if you know the others names?

Chastity : [Calm and innocently to Austin] I don't know what you mean.

Indusia : [Roars with laughter] Of course I know your name, Austin! I was just kidding!

Harvey : So, you just didn't have anything good to say about him, is that it? [Scowls suddenly] And my dear scarecrow, I have a backpack, not a bag! Ladies have bags!

Indusia : [Laughs out loud] Sorry Harvey! I should have known better, that's what you get for having a brain made out of straw, you know! Why, I might as well have asked Clint to take bath! [Does a pretend defensive boxing move on Clint]

Chastity : [To Indusia] Funny, you haven't actually answered any of our questions yet? [Takes a pondering stance] Head filled with straw, mysteriously knowing peoples names, hanging around in dark places, [Glancing at the door] manipulating the local heavies? Are you the local Council leader?

Indusia : Ow! [Playfully pretends he's just been shot] Now, if that isn't an archetypal Chastity attitude, I don't know what is. It was foretold in a dream that your party would come to save the children.

Austin : [To Indusa] And what part did you play in this dream, stranger?

Indusia : I was the one who had the mushrooms growing on his shoulder. I was sent along to make sure you go into the mine.

Jerome : Dr Jerome K Trindle BSc, PhD and currently child genius would wax lyrical and support whole-heartedly in the release of captive minors ![Looks at the others significantly, Pauses] Minors, miners... [Sighs] How can we verify you are not another minion of Miss Stern and that seven headed beast of hers?

Austin : [To Indusia] Sent by whom? [Looks into the mine in a Sheerluck homely style] It doen't look like we have much choice!

Chastity : [To Jerome] He's the only one so far we've met that hasn't immediately wanted to spank or punish any child in the school. So he's either the janitor or he's here to help. Either way, we can't go back. Lets go free some [pauses for effect. Emphasis] Minor Miners! [Bursts out laughing for a minute before calming down. Wiping away a tear] Oh, I don't know where I get them from. Come On! [Starts to head into the cave with a chuckle]

Indusia : [Roars with laughter at Chastity] Brilliant, Sister, absolutely brilliant! [To Austin] I was sent along by Adora, she's the one who had the dream. There are a lot of people here rooting for you lot, you know. I'm here to do anything I can to help.

Austin : [To Indusia] Why, thank you, for explaining these things to us, and thank you for your offer of assistance too! [Looks into the mine] Can you come with us into the mine as our guide please?

Indusia : I'm afraid not, only children and Almira's henchmen, or possibly Stern's people can get in. [Turns to Jerome] Well now, young master Jerome, I'm afraid I can't guarantee that I don't work for either Stern or the Seven Headed beast - the only proof I can offer is that I am keeping the door shut for you.

Jerome : That, under the present situation, is sufficient for Jerome. Direct us to our goal good sir.

Indusia : [Points at the entrance to the mine] Straight through there, child genius. [Holds his hand up] But I warn you - there are many guards in there. Also, the Seven Headed beast will almost certainly come after you.

Chastity : Can [frustrated emphasis] you tell us what the Seven Headed beast is? Everyone seems to go on about it.

Indusia : Well, I haven't seen it myself, but I think it has seven heads. Everyone's going on about it because it is the most evil thing in these parts - it is the one creating the demand for Placebium.

Chastity : I'm glad you mentioned that. Can [frustrated emphasis] you tell us what Placebium is? Everyone seems to go on about it.

Indusia : It is an ore with special magical properties.

Harvey : Oh, god, better keep the lady away from Private Scar, so!

Indusia : It can be used for killing demons and devils. It is hugely potent and harmful to all who touch it, except for the truly innocent. That's why Almira had children mining it.

Harvey : Do you mean that this seven headed creature is not a demon or a devil? in what way does it use this magical ore? And finally, my good straw sir, what would happen if we touch it? I mean, apart from the good sister and my dear niece, I fear that none of us are innocent, exactly. For instance, I have killed many men in battle, some even from the opposing side, what! We are in the bodies of children, but do we have the souls of our adult selves?

Indusia : I haven't seen the Seven Headed Beast, but I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that it is a demon or devil, or somesuch scary evil thing. I don't know what it uses it for, a weapon against others maybe? Good mages can be effected by it too. As for innocence, well, I suppose that all depends on how you killed these soldiers, Harv. But it's true, not everyone can be as innocent and pure as sweet Alice.

Austin : [Giving up looking suprised at the claims of Alice's innocents, frowning] Okay, lets go. This seven headed beast sounds much less scary than Do's fashion sense. [Ponders, straight faced] Alice should probably go first, since she is the purest of all of us [Nods at his own judgement, looks at Alice to see if she believes him]

Alice : [Dead serious] Good idea, Austin, but we'd better make sure you're at the back, so my purity and innocence isn't tainted too much by you.

Austin : [To Alice, nodding with a very serious expression] Indeed, that's a good plan. If you want me to come considerably behind you that's fine. We don't need you to get tainted incase you have to handle the Placebium.

Alice : Yes, now, if we could get someone else really pure to come next. [Looks around] Cha - hm, Clint? No, um, Jerome! You can come second!

Indusia : In the middle of the mine is a power source, Almira used that to power her brain sucking zombies, if you knock that out, that will stop them, and let us come in and help you get the children out.

Jerome : [Beaming] Sweet Alice Jerome shall indeed accompany you, [To Indusia] Dr Jerome K Trindle BSc, PhD and currently child genius would pose the quandary as to whom do you refer to as [Does finger quotes] us.

Indusia : We are the cursed - parents of the children, people who tried to rescue them, virtually any one who has opposed Almira. I wasn't always a scare crow, you see.

Austin : [To Indusia] And where are the other, cursed parents?

Indusia : Around the place. Some were turned into strange looking creatures, some were killed and some spent much of their time making placards and protesting outside the mine. Of course, most of them were crushed by the school.

Austin : [To Indusia, innocently] Why didn't they get out of the way?

Indusia : They were in the middle of the first verse of "We Shall Not Be Moved", they had their credibility to think of.

Austin : [To Indusia, checking Maplins nails] Indeed. Credibil but dead. It's all depends on ones views on such matters as reincarnation, time travel and [Does finger quotes] 'The after life'. [To the party] shall we go now?

Alice : [Leaning back against the school with her arms folded] Well, there's only one person we're waiting for, Austin.

[Time passes.]

Alice : Oh! It's me, isn't it? Quick troop, follow me in order of purity!

[ALICE heads into the cave.]

Austin : In order to hasten the order selection, I shall go next [Proceeds after Alice] thereby implying that you are all less pure than I, and inducing haste in your decision making by circumventing your self apprasal of personal guilt and replacing it with you intense preoccupation with being holier than I. [Wanders after Alice]

Chastity : Oh, the very thought of you believing that you are pure, Mr. Sleaze. I will go next, although quite clearly I am more pure than you, why, just look at all my curls! [Shakes her heads, sending her ringlets a bouncing]

Jerome : I shall follow you Chastity, lingering traces of amnesia about effects upon my person give rise to the possibility that I may not be strictly innocent. Or more likely Jerome should linger at the back. [Whilst waiting for everybody to file out, To Indusia] How did you hear of our gathering and presence in the school?

Indusia : I told you, it was foretold in a dream, a great wonderous dream that said you would come here and save the children.

Austin : [Shouts back to Jerome] Come on will you!

Clint : I had better go and check that Sleaze isn't getting up to anything dodgy, and you know, protect Alice in the dark and stuff [Grinning, follows Chastity]

Jerome : Harvey, it's a tight confined space, only a devil-may-care hero would risk his life and his plane running through those death defying gulleys. Chocks away Colonel! [Nods goodbye]

Austin : Does anyone have a torch?

[Nothing happens.]

Indusia : Well, go on then! There's plenty of light further down.

[Exit ALL but INDUSIA into the tunnel.]

[Book III, Act XI, Scene VI. The Entrance to the Mine. SPIDER, CLINT, ALICE, JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and HARVEY are here, walking along the passageway, which gets increasingly bright. After about thirty feet, the party see a figure dressed in a hooded cloak, holding a huge sword.]

Alice : [Stops, and turns to the others] Hey, wouldn't it be much better if we had swords and weapons and things?

Chastity : We'll just have to rely on our cunning, guile, [does a couple of dance steps] fleet of foot. [Looks at the hooded figure and then back at the group] Yes, swords weapons and things would be good. Maybe we can get in by pretending to be newly enslaved children?

Harvey : Good idea, Sister, I just hope we can pull it off. [Turns to Austin] Private Sleaze, I believe you are the one best qualified for the combination of childishness and lying required.

Jerome : Dr Jerome K Trindle BSc, PhD and presently child genius would agree that the underhand lying insidious invidious nature of Sleaze would be most appropriate at this juncture. [To Austin] You may need this. [passes Austin some boot black] To disguise yourself to appear malnourished, downtrodden and waif-like.

Austin : [Casts the boot polish to the ground with disdain. To Jerome and Harvey] Well, now that you have finished insulting me perhas you would like to tell me why you think that [Points at the creature] has any reason to be nice to slave children? [keeps well back from the robe figure]

Chastity : If we are pretending to be newly enslaved children I don't think that'll be necessary. Which is just as well, as some us may have trouble appearing malnourished and waif-like. [Glances at Alice and Harvey]

Alice : [Narrows her eyes at Chastity, before turning to Austin, clearly holding her stomach in to appear thinner than she actually is] Good point, Austin, we have no reason to expect him to be kind to children, so maybe we should send Chastity in first. Last from Conor #6

Austin : [To Alice] Indeed, a sterling plan [To Chastity] Off you go. Go speak to the nice man with the sword.

Chastity : [To Alice] I think you should go, Alice, as you are by far the most experienced in going down and dealing with strangely hooded weapons.

[Time passes with no-one moving]

Chastity : [Sighs] OK, I'll go! Watch and learn how to conduct yourself as an adult! [Turns and gayfully skips down the tunnel, briefly tripping and stumbling to the ground in front of the hooded figure. Looking up, playing with her curls] Hello?

[AMON says nothing, and doesn't move an inch.]

Alice : [To the others] You know, it strikes me that someone who spends so much time tripping probably shouldn't have those red slippers.

Chastity : [Ignoring Alice's comment. Stands up and brushes herself off. To the hooded figure] Can me and my friends go past?

[Even at this distance, CHASTITY can't see his face, but AMON remains silent and still.]

Alice : Hey, I wonder if he's even real. [Stage whisper to Chastity] Try pushing him over. [Turns to the others] He seems like a real pushover.

Chastity : [To Amon] If you don't answer, I presume you won't mind me going past you, then. [Takes a slow, tentative step to go past Amon]

[AMON still does nothing, as CHASTITY slips passed him.]

Harvey : By the saints, she succeeded in sneaking passed him. Quickly, who's next?

Alice : Me! I'll go next.

[ALICE stealthily creeps up, only to trip over AMON, who again remains motionless. ALICE gets up and joins CHASTITY.]

Alice : See that? I guess all those midnight raids on the tuck shop weren't in vain after all!

Austin : [To Alice] Indeed, your stealth and guile know no bounds. [Tries to walk carefully past Amon]

Chastity : [To Alice, glancing at her tummy] Or un-noticed either! [Looks up at Austin sneaking] This should be good [Folds her arms, looking between Amon and Austin]

[AUSTIN slips quietly passed, also apparantly unnoticed, followed by CLINT, who just strolls through.]

Alice : Maybe Indusia exaggerated the quality of guards here?

Chastity : Either that or the guard only reacts to the impure, and as children we are regarded as pure. [Gives Harvey two thumbs up] On you come ,Harvey!

Harvey : Excellent! Come on, Doctor, let us go through.

[HARVEY, JEROME and SPIDER all stroll through, however, AMON reaches out and skewers SPIDER.]

Spider : Ow! [Dies]

Amon : Only children are allowed.

Harvey : I say, that was a bit rum, what! Poor Parker, I hope he's in creepy crawley heaven now. His fly eyes will be missed by all! Perhaps we should take him with us until we find a suitable burial ground. There must be a toilet around here, or somesuch! [Attempts to pick up both halves of the spider]

Amon : [Amazingly skewers both halves of Spider, keeping them both on the sword] Advance to the mines, children, lest you find yourself in a similar watery grave to this invader.

Chastity : Well by killing a spider you've already consigned us to a watery future of sorts anyway. Can you give us directions? We wouldn't want to get lost.

[AMON says nothing, and stands there as still as before, while the party can hear it starting to rain outside.]

Alice : Hm, if all her zombies are like that, this'll be a cinch.

[Enter CARLYSLE, a disgusting, yet strangely snooty, looking zombie.]

Carlysle : Ye-es. [With a somewhat monotonous tone] I think you'll find that we come in all shapes and sizes. Now come, little children, it is time for you to be worked to death in horrific conditions. [Pause, before continuing in the same tone] I mean, time for you to come and play with the toys.

Chastity : These toys wouldn't happen to come in the form of sharp and potentially lethal digging implements, would they? Last from Sam #23

Austin : [To Chastity] You should be so lucky. I expect we wont even get gloves. [Looks glum]

Carlysle : [Haughtily] There is no need for gloves - you will be dead long before your hands get worn. Now, if you would be so kind as to follow me?

Chastity : [Sarcastically] Well as your leading us to our certain deaths, OK. [Normal voice] How did you get here? DO your children work down here as well?

Carlysle : [Walking off down the corridor, clearly expecting the party to follow] They used to, until they died.

Alice : [Not moving] Hey, maybe we can just sneak out?

Austin : [To Carlysle] Why do you care what we do? Almira is dead, along with most of the other adults up there [Points up the tunnel] You might as well go home. If you have one.

Carlysle : Because of what the Seven Headed Beast would do to me. Also, because I enjoy it.

Chastity : Will you tell us what the Seven Headed Beast is?

Carlysle : No.

Austin : [Sneers at Carlysle] No I don't suppose you would, you spineless oink! I bet it doesn't even exist. You're just scared of some propaganda you were told to keep you oppressed. You never thought of standing up against your oppressors and saving the children, or if you did you gave up a long time ago.

Carlysle : Mm-yes. I gave up long ago. Please follow me. [Carries on down the corridor]

Austin : [To the party] Do we have any choice? Are there any other ways to go [Looks about the place]

Harvey : Only back past that chap. [Indicates Amon]

Harvey : [Scratches at a chubby cheek] Hmm, perhaps that's why we didn't have any trouble entering the mine! The spider killer is there to stop us from leaving, not from entering! [To Carlysle] You there, leprous fellow! You're an adult, how come you're not effected by this magical ore?

Carlysle : [Bored] Because I am a zombie that feeds off the brains of overweight, annoying children. [Short pause] Like you. [Does a Hannibal Lecter type "siff-siff-siff-siff"]

Alice : [Gives a shiver] Looks like we'd better keep an eye out for you too, Chastity.

Harvey : [Holding in his stomach] I say, I'm not annoying, what! Am I? Am I? I'm not, see! I'm not I tell you! I'm not annoying in the least! Am I! Am I! By the saints, I'm not, by thunder! [Runs around with his arms outstretched making airplane noises] Arrrrrrrghhhh!!!!!! Ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatat![Sniffs loudly and holds in his stomach] Besides, I'm not overweight, merely big boned! Arrrrrrrrghhhhhhhh! Phut phut phut phut! Damn, engines siezed! [Almost collapses in exhaustion]

Chastity : [Turns from watching Harvey's display, to Alice] I think the majority of us are quite safe from consumption for the moment. [Looks Alice up and down] There's a definitely [ pauses for effect] pecking order emerging.

Alice : So says the mother hen.

Clint : [Giving Harvey a baleful look] You know, I'm tempted to kill you myself, Harv!

Chastity : Lets get going, there's nowhere to turn to at the moment. [Cotinues to follow Carlysle]

Carlysle : [Turning back to see the party approach] Ye-es. About time.

[The party follows him around a corner which leads into an enormous cavern, around a hundred metres square. There are hundreds of wretched looking children here, with tiny pick axes and shovels, digging away, and there are about thirty or forty zombies, clearly guarding them. In the middle of the cavern, on the ground, is a large metal cylinder from which a slight humming sound is coming. One of the zombies, ARCHIBALD, approaches the party.]

Archibald : [In a friendly manner] Hello everyone, and how are we all today?

Chastity : I'm confused. I thought we were to be taken to a mine, but judging by the miserable children and the semi-dead adults we seem to have strayed into the local Ifda Superstore. Are you the employed "Meet and greet"? [Looks for a name badge on Archibald's chest] Is Mr Romero, the manager about?

Archibald : [Gives a patronising little laugh] I'm afraid there's no Mr. Romero here, just Mr. Whip.

Harvey : Mmm! Ice cream!

Archibald : No, Mr. Whip [Points at another zombie, Montague, who is whipping some crying children]

Chastity : [Looks over at the scene of punishment] He'll never stop them crying like that! [Points at the cylinder in the centre of the cave] What's that?

Archibald : [Smiles, and tousles Chastity's hair] My, you're an inquisitive one, aren't you? Not to worry though, a few hours here will soon have that beaten out of you. It's the shield generator, it prevents any grown ups from getting in here, apparantly it was build by the Seven Headed Beast herself.

Chastity : [Eyes light up] Erm...oh never mind [pauses] Oh, what the hell.[To Archibald] Will [emphasise] you tell us what the Seven Headed Beast is?

Archibald : She's a beast with seven heads.

Harvey : So it is actually a she?

Archibald : We sure all hope so.

Austin : [To Archibald] Why, do you find her sexually attractive?

Clint : [Grimacing at Archibald] Hey! Your a homos.. hom.. hom. gay! [Covers his bum] Keep away from me!

Archibald : [Smiles indulgently at Clint] No need to worry, my young friend. [To Austin] I've never met her, but you don't get much action when you're a zombie, so I'm pretty sure I would find her attractive.

Alice : So she's a woman, then?

Archibald : [Shrugs] Idunno.

Harvey : By the saints! Imagine having seven heads, what! The arguments you'd have with yourself would be incredible! And imagine the fight over the last after eight mint! [Looks at the shield generator] What's it powered by? And how does it work?

Austin : [Smirks. To Harvey] Old Archibald here is hardly going to know. He is sacared of something he has never even seen, and also thinks he would find it attractive at the same time, appart from the fact that he is refering to an, allegedly, seven headed woman. [Looks at Archibald] He is clearly quite insane. [Stand with is palms out faceing up in that 'stands to reason' type fashion. Smirks] Is he related to you Chassers?

Chastity : Well he has the same attractive charisma as you, Austin, so I thought he was your relative!

Archibald : [Chuckles at the party] Wow, you guys sure have got my number alright!

Alice : Sorry. [Hands over a three]

Archibald : Thanks! Now, off to work! [Points towards a small cart on a mine type railway]

Austin : [To Archibald] Slavery is not just outlawed and illegal, is it also immoral and extreeeeemly unethical. [Paces around a little, for effect] As for child slave labour, well that's just way O.T.T. [Looks around the cavern. To Archibald] It's a good job you're undead, because they're going to lock you up for a long time.

Clint : [To Archibald] Just ignore him, [Sighing] he's always like this. [To Austin] Just remember I'm the oldest here so I'm in charge, so shut up! [To the others] I say we all get in the cart and go on a roller coaster ride to saftey! [Jumps into the cart] Come on!

Chastity : [Looking around the cavern for any exits] And where will this freedom express of yours take us exactly?

Archibald : [Chuckling, but a little uncomfortable] Now, now, that isn't a ride, you'd better get out of it. It's for you to fill up with Placebium [Pause] Right now. [To Austin] You're a funny little thing, aren't you? You'd better direct questions like that to Carlysle.

Austin : [Austin backs away from Archibald towards the shield generator and has a look at it] So does this run on Placebium or some thing? [Tries to spot a weakness or flaw in it's design that might lead to it's destruction or malfunction, with a little help]

Arcihibald : [Enthusiastically] Aren't you great? Aren't you just great? [To Carlysle] Isn't he great?

Carlysle : No. It is [even more nasally than before] highly inappropriate for slaves to raise such questions. Remove your colleague from the cart and push it down. Slowly, mind you, for we have lost more slaves than I care to remember through careless discarded carriages. Remember children, a carriage is a not a toy, it is either an out of control death machine or a tool of your oppression. [Long pause] We prefer the latter.

Harvey : So, how long do you leprous chaps expect us to work here? What are the hours? How long do we have for lunch? Is that supplied, or is there a tuck shop nearby? Are we paid by the hour, or a daily rate?

Austin : [Goes over to the cart. To the others] Come on, lets go and leave there two pervos ponsing around here [Tries to push the cart]

Clint : [Still in the cart] Come on Sleaze, put you back into it!

Chastity : [to Clint] Don't be so mean. How is Austin supposed to push that heavy cart with his wrists. [To Alice] You'd better help Austin, as you're obviously the one here best suited to moving carts!

Carlysle : [Gravey to Harvey] For the rest of your lives.

Archibald : [Chirpily] On the plus side, that'll only be a few days! [Two thumbs up]

Alice : [Stomping over to the cart] I don't see why we have to push Stinky. [Realisation spreads across her face] Oh, I see Austin, out of control death machine? Nice thinking!

Alice : Right, Chastity, I'll push, you take up your normal position in front.

Harvey : [Shocked] What do you mean two days? What happens in two days time?

Archibald : [Laughs good naturedly] Oh, you kidder!

Carlysle : [To Clint] Please remove yourself from the cart.

Austin : [Tries to push the cart as hard as possible] Let's go! Come on Alice, just ignore rude old Chassers and give me a hand please.

Alice : No donkey harness then? Okay, we don't need her. [The two begin to push, but clearly aren't strong enough]

Archibald : [Laughs good naturedly] Oh, you kidder!

Carlysle : [To Clint] Please remove yourself from the cart.

Austin : [Tries to push the cart as hard as possible] Let's go! Come on Alice, just ignore rude old Chassers and give me a hand please.

Alice : No donkey harness then? Okay, we don't need her. [The two begin to push, but clearly aren't strong enough]

Chastity : Evidently not your not the independent little madam you think you are! [Starts to help to push] Have you got the brake off?

Austin : [Looks to see if the brake is off. To Chastity] With your weight behind it it shoudl move no problem. [To Clint] You may have to get out and pull if you want to go anywhere.

Clint : [ Sighing] Do I have to do everything around here! [Gets out and starts pulling the wagon]

Alice : [Impatiently] Look, Stinky, how are we going to send you speeding to your death in an out of control cart if you're not in it?

Chastity : [Looking up and down the tracks] Where does the track go? We wouldn't want to accidentally push the cart the wrong way.

[The cart can go both ways, but this is pretty much the end of the line, leading out of the cave. The direction ALICE and AUSTIN are pushing towards leads down into the large cave.]

Alice : Remind me, why are we pushing this?

Carlysle : You need something to place the Placebium in. Once it is full, you may leave.

[

Chastity : [Brightly] Oh, is that it? That hardly seems like hard graft to me. [Gestures to the rest of the group] This lot will get that finished in no time!

Alice : That's right, the boys are great at this kind of thing.

Austin : How large is this Placebium that you speak of?

Carlysle : [Holds up a pin] The average piece is a hundred times smaller than this pin head.

Chastity : [To Clint] Best not drop any down your trousers, Clint, or we might mistakenly remove your ma...boyhood!

Clint : [Pops his head up from the front of the cart] Just remember, that from humble acorns mighty oaks grow!

Chastity : Or in your case cheese plants!

Clint : Halter up or shut up, witch! [Pulls on the cart]

Chastity : [Sighs] Maybe we'll get lucky and find a rare cart sized piece [Starts to push]

Alice : [Also pushing] Halter up? My god, the work is getting to him. [Points down into the cave] Look, there's Miss Stern, how did she get in?

[This is true, MISS STERN is now in the cavern, although there is no obvious way for her to have got in ahead of the party.]

Austin : Can we please put a little more effort into pushing this? It is extremely hard work. [Pause] At least it would be if I wasn't just pretending to be pushing.

Harvey : [Puffing with the exertion of pushing] Put your jellied spine into it, private Sleaze! I say, how on earth can that Stern woman be here? I thought only children and the undead could survive in the mine?

Austin : Of course, Harvey. [Heaves with his face contorted with effort, in a most convincing way] Everyone now!

Jerome : [To Archibald] Is that true?

Archibald : Gosh! You're all just so curious, it's great! It's just a pity that you'll soon lose all your spirit due to slavery. Miss Stern has some special magic to allow her and the others come in here for short periods of time.

Chastity : And what happens if she's still in here after that time?

Carlysle : [Steps forward with an even more serious expression than normal] Cease asking questions and get to work, less I be forced to get one of the staff who likes children even less than I do to discuss the matter with you.

Archibald : [Good naturedly] Aw, come on, Carly, they're just taking an interest in their work. It's not like they've got the Emerald Dagger or anything, is it?

Carylys : [Steps closer to Archibald with an even more serious expression than before] Cease answering questions and let them get to work, less I be forced to get one of the staff who likes you even less than I do to discuss the matter with you.

Chastity : [Obviously wants to ask Archibald a question] Oh, oh [Glances at Carlysles stern look] never mind.

Clint : [To Archibald] Do we need an emerald dagger? Would it help us work?

Chastity : [To Clint] Hey! I was going to say that! I thought you were meant to be pushing!

Clint : Pulling

Chastity : [Grumpily] Whatever.

Alice : Hey! I'm the one who's pulling, you're supposed to be pushing, Clint!

[This is, of course, completely incorrect.]

Carlysle : Oh dear. I fear I will have to fetch someone to whip you.

Archibald : [Worriedly] You'd better get to work, or he really will. You don't need to know anything about that awful dagger.

Clint : [To Alice] No, Bimbo, I'm then one who does the pulling around here. [Pulls the front of the cart]

Chastity : That's just what we all though , you're a complete puller! [Starts to push the cart]

Alice : Yes, and if he was pulling the cart, he might even be of some use.

[The party start pushing the cart, which is now moving easily enough down the track. The cave is conical, tapering into a flat centre which contains the generator and an exit through which the track runs.]

Austin : I suggest we quickly come up with a plan. Otherwise [dramatically] you might have to work!

Chastity : Don't count yerself out now, You'll no longer be Miss Stern's golden boy after your escape.

Clint : And no blaming it on us either, Sleaze.

Chastity : [Looking down into the cave] Perhaps we could topple the cart and break the generator?

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD has a plan. He suggests we push the cart off and leap onto it. Then, as we pass the working children, we grab their tools before suprising Miss Stern with a combination of our speed and dexterity, thus smashing the generator in front of her very eyes. [Steps back from the cart, beaming with pride, and almost slipping into the cave as he does so]

Harvey : But good doctor! Surely she'll notice us flying passed three times while we spin towards the generator!

Jerome : [Narkily] If you had listened to the plan put forward by Dr. Jerome K. Trindle BSc, PhD and now child genius, good Colonel, you would realise that the plan advocated surprising her with our speed and dexterity, not our occupancy of the cart.

Alice : It could be fun though, like Rool Funnings! It certainly sounds more fun than being worked to death in a mine.

Chastity : [Worriedly to Alice] But in Rool Funnings they didn't win.

Clint : Lets do it. Now I'm too young to drink I've really been missing that feeling of the room spinning round!

Alice : But they smoked cheese, that's just so much cooler. [Goes dreamy at the memory] Remember when they did the last run and crashed? Almost killing everyone? [Super enthusiastically] We could be like that! [Face drops] Hey!

Austin : [Sneering at Clint] You were never too you to drink. [To the others] It is clear that I am the most sleek and aerodynamic of the party, so I shall acrobatically leap aboard the [gives the air a gentle punch with Serendipity] Sleazeshot while you lot bring us up to the requisite speed, before leaping aboard in an entirely more functional and less artistic way than I did.

Clint : Just you do that, Sleaze. As the wimpiest waife here you are less physical use than the girls. Just watch for by feet as I leaping aboard [puts on a pathetic voice] in an entirely more functional and less artistic way than you.

Chastity : [To Alice] Sleazeshot sounds like the sort of phrase you should have [pauses for effect] come across before?

Austin : Excellent! [Leaps into the cart] Heave-ho!

Alice : [To Chastity] As long has it hasn't come across me, I don't care.

Clint : [To Alice] I'm sure you'd know about it [winks]

Chastity : Ok now, lets all push. And remember if we don't manage to jump in, we still get to watch Austin hurtle down the mine to his demise. [Smiles, and starts to push]

Harvey : Ah, good sister, always one for the encouraging words!

[The party give the cart a push, and it builds up speed quickly. Everyone stands back as it starts off.]

Alice : You make a good point, Sister, but we should really be on it too.

[Everyone runs to the cart and piles in, in a flurry of flapping skirts and frilly underwear.]

Alice : Why, Uncle Harvey, wherever did you get those shorts?

Harvey : Part of the young person's uniform I've been forced to wear, Niece!

[The cart goes around the first bend, picking up speed as it does so.]

[Book III, Act XI, Scene VII. The Sleazeshot. CLINT, ALICE, JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and HARVEY are here, all piled into the cart.]

Alice : [Pointing towards the shield] Look! It's Stern alright, and some zombies, and a really big box!

[This is true. STERN is here, standing beside a long wooden box, about 5' x 2' x 2', talking to two zombies, BARTHELOMEW and MONTAGUE. The party has rounded the second bend, and is picking up speed.]

Jerome : Well spotted, gentle Alice. Observe, it appears as though Dora is nearby too. [Points at where Dora from the school is working away.]

Chastity : [To Austin] Now no more of your pointless violence this time. We don't want to scare away poor Dora.

Clint : [Calls out to Dora] Hey Dora, had us some tools, will you?

Harvey : Gah! Keep your voice down, Private Sleaze! [Waves from side to side keeping his balance] I mean Private Scar, confound it!

[As the cart passes DORA, she makes a leap, and catches on to the edge so she is now being dragged along by it.]

Dora : You've got to get out of here - the Seven Headed beast will kill you for this, [hopefully] unless you managed to find the Emerald Dagger?

Chastity : [Pulling Dora into the cart] What and where is the...eem...seve..I mean Emerald Dagger?

[CLINT and HARVEY also try to pull her in, but are having a difficult time, worsened by the manner in which DORA waves her hands around while talking.]

Dora : It's always kept under the strictest of conditions, I've never even seen it. It's powerful enough to kill the Beast even in a jarred state.

Alice : You mean when it's drunk?

Dora : No, when it has projected its presence to somewhere else.

Chastity : Like my new red shoes?

Clint : [Sniffs] Not really they're not my colour.

Chasity : [Gives Clint a glare] No, does the dagger project its presence through another item, [Slowly with emphasise to Clint] like my shoes.

Clint : [Slowly with emphasise to Chastity] No, they're not my colour! [Rolls his eyes]

Austin : Excellent! [Leaps into the cart] Heave-ho!

Alice : [To Chastity] As long has it hasn't come across me, I don't care.

Clint : [To Alice] I'm sure you'd know about it [winks]

Chastity : Ok now, lets all push. And remember if we don't manage to jump in, we still get to watch Austin hurtle down the mine to his demise. [Smiles, and starts to push]

Harvey : Ah, good sister, always one for the encouraging words!

[The party give the cart a push, and it builds up speed quickly. Everyone stands back as it starts off.]

Alice : You make a good point, Sister, but we should really be on it too.

[Everyone runs to the cart and piles in, in a flurry of flapping skirts and frilly underwear.]

Alice : Why, Uncle Harvey, wherever did you get those shorts?

Harvey : Part of the young person's uniform I've been forced to wear, Niece!

[The cart goes around the first bend, picking up speed as it does so.]

[Book III, Act XI, Scene VII. The Sleazeshot. CLINT, ALICE, JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and HARVEY are here, all piled into the cart.]

Alice : [Pointing towards the shield] Look! It's Stern alright, and some zombies, and a really big box!

[This is true. STERN is here, standing beside a long wooden box, about 5' x 2' x 2', talking to two zombies, BARTHELOMEW and MONTAGUE. The party has rounded the second bend, and is picking up speed.]

Jerome : Well spotted, gentle Alice. Observe, it appears as though Dora is nearby too. [Points at where Dora from the school is working away.]

Chastity : [To Austin] Now no more of your pointless violence this time. We don't want to scare away poor Dora.

Clint : [Calls out to Dora] Hey Dora, had us some tools, will you?

Harvey : Gah! Keep your voice down, Private Sleaze! [Waves from side to side keeping his balance] I mean Private Scar, confound it!

[As the cart passes DORA, she makes a leap, and catches on to the edge so she is now being dragged along by it.]

Dora : You've got to get out of here - the Seven Headed beast will kill you for this, [hopefully] unless you managed to find the Emerald Dagger?

Chastity : [Pulling Dora into the cart] What and where is the...eem...seve..I mean Emerald Dagger?

[CLINT and HARVEY also try to pull her in, but are having a difficult time, worsened by the manner in which DORA waves her hands around while talking.]

Dora : It's always kept under the strictest of conditions, I've never even seen it. It's powerful enough to kill the Beast even in a jarred state.

Alice : You mean when it's drunk?

Dora : No, when it has projected its presence to somewhere else.

Chastity : Like my new red shoes?

Clint : [Sniffs] Not really they're not my colour.

Chasity : [Gives Clint a glare] No, does the dagger project its presence through another item, [Slowly with emphasise to Clint] like my shoes.

Clint : [Slowly with emphasise to Chastity] No, they're not my colour! [Rolls his eyes]

Chastity : Why didn't you tell us of this before? So much for the innocence of childhood!

Austin : Excellent! [Leaps into the cart] Heave-ho!

Alice : [To Chastity] As long has it hasn't come across me, I don't care.

Clint : [To Alice] I'm sure you'd know about it [winks]

Chastity : Ok now, lets all push. And remember if we don't manage to jump in, we still get to watch Austin hurtle down the mine to his demise. [Smiles, and starts to push]

Harvey : Ah, good sister, always one for the encouraging words!

[The party give the cart a push, and it builds up speed quickly. Everyone stands back as it starts off.]

Alice : You make a good point, Sister, but we should really be on it too.

[Everyone runs to the cart and piles in, in a flurry of flapping skirts and frilly underwear.]

Alice : Why, Uncle Harvey, wherever did you get those shorts?

Harvey : Part of the young person's uniform I've been forced to wear, Niece!

[The cart goes around the first bend, picking up speed as it does so.]

[Book III, Act XI, Scene VII. The Sleazeshot. CLINT, ALICE, JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and HARVEY are here, all piled into the cart.]

Alice : [Pointing towards the shield] Look! It's Stern alright, and some zombies, and a really big box!

[This is true. STERN is here, standing beside a long wooden box, about 5' x 2' x 2', talking to two zombies, BARTHELOMEW and MONTAGUE. The party has rounded the second bend, and is picking up speed.]

Jerome : Well spotted, gentle Alice. Observe, it appears as though Dora is nearby too. [Points at where Dora from the school is working away.]

Chastity : [To Austin] Now no more of your pointless violence this time. We don't want to scare away poor Dora.

Clint : [Calls out to Dora] Hey Dora, had us some tools, will you?

Harvey : Gah! Keep your voice down, Private Sleaze! [Waves from side to side keeping his balance] I mean Private Scar, confound it!

[As the cart passes DORA, she makes a leap, and catches on to the edge so she is now being dragged along by it.]

Dora : You've got to get out of here - the Seven Headed beast will kill you for this, [hopefully] unless you managed to find the Emerald Dagger?

Chastity : [Pulling Dora into the cart] What and where is the...eem...seve..I mean Emerald Dagger?

[CLINT and HARVEY also try to pull her in, but are having a difficult time, worsened by the manner in which DORA waves her hands around while talking.]

Dora : It's always kept under the strictest of conditions, I've never even seen it. It's powerful enough to kill the Beast even in a jarred state.

Alice : You mean when it's drunk?

Dora : No, when it has projected its presence to somewhere else.

Chastity : Like my new red shoes?

Clint : [Sniffs] Not really they're not my colour.

Chasity : [Gives Clint a glare] No, does the dagger project its presence through another item, [Slowly with emphasise to Clint] like my shoes.

Clint : [Slowly with emphasise to Chastity] No, they're not my colour! [Rolls his eyes]

Chastity : Why didn't you tell us of this before? So much for the innocence of childhood!

Harvey : [Still attempting to pull Dora into the cart] By the saints, private! Thank you for opening a whole new experience for me! Actually being pleased that you are a member of the troop! [To Dora] Do you know where we can find this seven headed beastie? And how do we know whether the dagger is drunk or not?

Dora : [Confused] Drunk? [Scratches her head and rubs her chin with her other hand] Drunk?

Alice : [Peering over the edge] Hey! How can she scratch both her head and chin and still not fall off?

[DORA immediately falls off.]

Alice : Gah! Confounded cartoon physics!

Austin : [With an unbearably smarmy smile] Given the innocence of the children around me, I felt it prudent to keep information pertaining to the dagger to myself, lest some say the wrong thing at the wrong time. [Looks sympathetically at Alice] I see it is too late.

Harvey : [Sighs] A shame that new experience was so short lived! [Looks at Dora] I hope she's alright, troop!

Alice : [As the cart begins to pick up speed] Look, there are actually two boxes beside Stern - what do you think could be in them?

[The cart is getting increasingly close to the generator.]

Harvey : I must admit, dear niece, that I'm stumped! But perhaps the seven headed beast comes part assembled!

Austin : [Trying to keep his hair in place] This speed is going to ruin my coiffure!

Alice : [Doing a doubletake at Austin's "Thelma and Louise" style scarf and sunglasses] Maybe we should grab the boxes?

Harvey : Whatever those boxes are, troop, they're bound to contain something important! Like vittals, for instance!

Austin : [Sighs] Perhaps Colonel. Or a more likely object would be the ore.

Alice : Prossies in a box? Man, all your dreams must be coming true!

Clint : I'll get one, someone else lean over for the other. [Hangs out of the box upside down] Cool, now I'm dizzy and upside down, I wonder how much of an area my puke will cover!

Austin : [Looks at Alice] Well, you're still here, so sadly not!

Harvey : I'll do it, private, but I'll warn you in advance, if one half digested piece of carrot ends up on my clothes, there'll be hell to pay, what! [Leans over to grab the other box]

Alice : [To Austin] Then I guess it's true for both of us.

Clint : [Side by side with Harvey] Hey Harve, do you think if we spat hard enough it would hit us by the time we came around to the other side?

[The boxes are approaching fast.]

Stern : Stop that! Stop that at once!

Barthelomew : This is going to be fun. [Takes out his whip, clearly waiting for the party to be upon him]

Clint : Or let's see who can hit him with a spit - 20GP says I get him on the forehead!

Harvey : Hah, private! I know for a fact that you've never had 20GP in your life, and certainly don't now! Lets just do it for pride! One in the face of the enemy and all that, eh! For Parker!

Clint : Heuk, thwo! [Spits a huge glug which wings its way right onto the X on Barthelomew's forehead.]

[The party give a huge cheer.]

Stern : I think it's time for the Seven Headed Beast to come out!

Harvey : [Laughs loudly] Well done private Scar, well done eh! Bring the beast on, Sterny, bring it on!

Chastity : [To Austin] As your the one with the dagger it looks like its nearly time for you to be the hero and fight the beast. Ready?

Austin : [Idly picking his nails with the dagger] I am always ready. However, until such time as the beast presents itself, I cannot act.

Clint : Cannot or shall not?

Chastity : Nevermind that now, [points at the rapidly approaching crates next to Stern] there's a box I'm dying to get into!

Clint : Sister, I don't think this is the time for one of your lesbo fantasies!

Austin : [Calmly] Shall not because I cannot.

[Each of HARVEY and CLINT make a grab for the two boxes, each grabbing one.]

Harvey : Got the blighter.

[The boxes are very heavy, and it will take a lot of effort to get both them and two back in.]

Chastity : [Grabbing hold of Harvey and trying to pull him back into the cart] Well, while you cannot, help get these two in!

Stern : After them! [She and Barthelomew leap into a cart which Montague starts to push]

[JEROME and AUSTIN start pulling HARVEY in]

Jerome : Jerome advocates concentrating our efforts on pulling one in at a time.

Alice : I'll help you, Harvey!

[As HARVEY is pulled up, ALICE also grabs on, but only succeeds in catching the front of his trousers, causing him to squirm in shock and fall back again, still holding the box. ALICE still holds on, and is pulled forward, so she is now hanging onto HARVEY's trousers, but has her face buried in CLINT's crotch.]

Alice : [Sigh] This is going to cost me a fortune in psychiatrists!

Clint : [Desperately holding on] You're not the one who'll have a damp patch on the front of their pants for the rest of the day!

Chastity : [Still holding onto Harvey] We should all pull together. OK? One, two, three, pull...[Pulls on Harvey ]

Harvey : [Gasping with the strain] Come on troop, this box weighs a ton!

Austin : [Looking from Clint to Harvey] Hmm, the lesser of two evils, methinks! [Puts on a pair of calf skin gloves, over which he puts another pair and grabs at Harvey, attempting to pull him in]

Chastity : Gosh, Harvey seems to have suddenly got even heavier. [Glances round] Oh, Austin's added his muscle, that explains it! OK everyone, all together again. One, two, three, pull! [pulls on Harvey again]

Austin : [Stops pushing at Chastity] Oh, my mistake sister! I thought we were trying to lighten the cart and get rid of all this dead weight! [Starts pulling on Harvey]

Alice : Ow! Watch it, Austin, that's my hair you're pulling!

[With an almighty heave, both HARVEY and his box are hefted into the cart. The box splits open as it does so, showing that it contains hundreds of small rocks, each of which is speckled blue with some sort of dust.]

Chastity : Right now for Clint. [Gingerly makes her way to pull on Clint] Careful, don't step on Harvey's rocks! Watch out for the Placebium as well. [Starts to pull on Clint] Come on everyone, all together again.

Harvey : Thank you troop! Let's get private marksman Scar into the cart as of the now! [Heaves on Clint]

Austin : There's not enough gloves in the world for me to touch...that!

Alice : Quickly! Look, Stern and that zombie are catching up!

[This is true, BARTHELOMEW and STERN's carriage is close behind, and BARTHELOMEW has a whip in his hand. The party give CLINT a heave, but, just before he gets into the carriage, BARTHELOMEW's whip lashes out and wraps around his neck, pulling him back down again. The box, however, lands in the carriage. The carts have now entered the cave at the bottom of the main one, and there are three rails, one of which appears to join from yet another cave. Another cart is sliding down that at speed.

Jerome : Look! Look at what is in the other cart!

[There appears to be a HYDRA in the other cart.]

Alice : Oh no! What are we going to do?

[The HYDRA is almost level with the party, on a different track, while STERN and BARTHELOMEW are getting closer and closer, using the whip to pull themselves up.]

Harvey : Well sister, I hope that satisfies your curiosity concerning the seven headed beastie! By the saints, it's an ugly brute if ever I've seen one, eh! Private Sleaze, make ready with that dagger, or even better, give it someone who can use it!

Austin : [Narrows his eyes at Harvey] I know how to use it. Believe me. [Makes ready to throw the dagger at the hydra]

Stern : [Screaming almost hysterically at the party] Curse you! Bring them back! Bring them back!

Harvey : [Scratches at a chubby cheek] I say troop, perhaps these rocks aren't rocks at all, but eggs! [Points at the hydra] Her eggs! [Harvey bends and picks one up, before holding it over the edge of the cart] Back off, of I'll smash the lot of them!

[Several of the HYDRA's heads make a dive for HARVEY, clearly trying to bite him, but miss. In return, AUSTIN makes a stab at the HYDRA, but misses.]

Austin : [Irritably] Can't you hold it still, Colonel?

Stern : You bastards! Give them back or it'll be worse for you!

Harvey : [To Austin] Well private, it would seem that the perfect suspension and shock absorbers in this rusty old mine cart aren't working very well! [To Stern] Now now, madam, what type of language is that to use around minors?

Jerome : [Examines a rock closely]

[Several of the heads dive at the party again, with one taking a chunk out of the side of the cart. Again AUSTIN tries to stab it, but a combination of avoiding the HYDRA, being crushed by everyone else avoiding it and the movement of the cart cause him to fail.]

Austin : I for one wish to issue a formal complaint about the quality of the transport. It is quite the worst equipped child labour enterprise it has ever been my misfortune to be incarcerated in.

Stern : [To Harvey] You fat fuck! Give them back, now!

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD and now child genius believes that these are not eggs. Perhaps this blue substance is the Placebium that so many people have spoken of?

Chastity : Very likely, Doctor. Try throwing a bit at the beast!

Clint : [Holding on to the cart with one hand, and the whip round his neck with the other. Gasping] Cut the whip, cut the whip! [Tries to pull the whip from Barthelomew's hand]

Austin : [Queasily] How can I get at it? [Fearfully] Short of being held upside down at arms reach from the cart?

Jerome : Good idea, Sister. [Throws a handful of the rocks at the Hydra.]

[The HYDRA snarls in pain, with each rock that strikes causing a burning in him. However, they are so small that, while they slow it down, it isn't going to kill him.]

Chastity : [To Jerome] How can we increase the power of the rocks, Doctor! [Gives Clint a sharp pull to try and help release him from the whip]

Clint : Aaaaargh, my head!

Harvey : I know troop, let's throw the boxes onto their track! That's sure to dislodge their cart! Come on private Scar, help me empty the contents of this box onto our carts floor, then place the box on their track!

Clint : Come on, Harv, how about asking someone who isn't hanging upside down out of the cart with a whip around his neck?

[The cave splits in two, with the HYDRA's carriage going through one, and the party and STERN's going through the other.]

Alice : What's in the other box? [Grabs Clint's foot, but his shoe comes off, sending her staggering back] Gah! Chemical warfare! How low can they go?

Austin : [Tries to cut the whip from Harvey's neck] Trust you to be playing with whips at a time like this [Re-adjusts his scarf in a 'Mustin Boffman - The Graduate' style]

Chastity : [Still holding Clint. To Alice] I'll bet that's the first time he's been in a prone position and glad of Austin approaching him with his weapon out!

Alice : [Grabbing Austin's legs to prevent him from falling over, so she has one at either side] Yeah, and I bet Austin is glad this is the first time that a girl has held him like - hey! You shut your dirty mouth, Austin!

Clint : Okay, let's all calm down. We don't want the lawyer getting too excited here.

[STERN and BARTHELOMEW are just about a foot away from CLINT now, and STERN swings at AUSTIN with a short sword, cutting through one of his unfeasibly large sailor collars, but not hurting him.]

Stern : Oh, Austin! I'm so disappointed with you, I thought you were a good little boy. Wait until Miss Manners gets hold of you!

[A voice seems to come from somewhere in the carriage saying "Wait until I get hold of you".]

Harvey : I know, let's try throwing a few of these rocks at Stern! Adults can't touch the stuff, right, so perhaps that'll disuade them from coming closer, eh! [Attempts to throw the rock he's holding at Stern]

Austin : [Gasps!] My sailor suit! [To Stern] You bitch! You slag, whore! I'll get you for that! [Tris again to cut Clint free]

Chastity : Pass me a rock, Harvey, I'll try to fend of the grown-ups long enough for Austin to free Clint. [Reaches back for a rock]

Harvey : Help yourself, sister, there's plenty to go around!

[CHASTITY, HARVEY and JEROME pelt the other carriage with rocks, clearly causing a lot of distress to STERN and BARTHELOMEW.]

Alice : Hang on, Stinky, we've almost got you! [Steps forward, lowering Austin so they are now cheek to cheek]

Clint : Don't get any funny ideas, lawyer!

[Just as AUSTIN starts to cut the whip, CLINT falls out of the carriage, but is saved from going under the wheels of STERN's by BARTHELOMEW pulling him into their carriage.]

Chastity : Phew, that was close! We nearly lost Clint the...Oh bother! [Calls over to Stern et al.] Excuse me, can we have our boy back?

Stern : Stop your cart and give me the boxes back.

[ALICE staggers back, still holding AUSTIN by the legs, so the two of them fall to the ground, on top of closed box. Sounds of people calling out in more annoyance than pain can be heard around the carriage, which is still flying along.]

Alice : Ow! That box was really, really hard.

Chastity : Well lets get it open then. Maybe there are cushions, or something else useful, inside. [Picks up a rock and tries to open the box]

[The box isn't sealed, so CHASTITY and ALICE easily get it open, only to jump back at surprise at finding MISS MANNERS' head in there.]

Manners : I say! What on earth is going on there!

[There are five other heads in the box too, all quite clearly alive. Just then, the HYDRA carriage appears from another cave, and starts gaining on the party.]

Austin : [Gets ready to attack the Hydra with his emerald dagger] Throw the talking heads at the hydra, they might get stuck in it's throats!

Chastity : [To Manners] Why is your head in this box?

Jerome : [As the track does a high banked corner, turning back around in the direction it came from] Be careful, Mr. Sleaze, we've only got one chance!

Heads : [Hearing Austing's suggestion] No! No!

Alice : [Bends down to pick up one of the heads, only to almost have a finger snapped off by Miss Manners] Hey! These things are vicious, it's just as well they don't have bodies. [Looks back at Miss Stern] Hm.

[BARTHELOMEW pulls CLINT up in front of him and smiles at the party, revealing that he has vampire like pointed teeth.]

Clint : [Struggling] So there is something worse than being sucked dry by the lawyer!

[BARTHELOMEW sinks his teeth into CLINT.]

Stern : [Slaps him] This is hardly the time for that!

[BARTHELOMEW continues, clearly sucking the life out of CLINT.]

Manners : [Rolls her eyes] That is none of your business, young lady! I insist that you stop this cart immediately, isn't that right ladies?

[All the other heads loudly agree, particularly the one that's upside down.]

Alice : [Counting out on her fingers] Hey! [To Chastity] Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Austin : [Astonished at Clint's remarks] I protest! I have never sucked him dry, no have I attempted to do so! Take that back, Scar! [To Alice] Just throw the whole box!

Chastity : [Watching Alice counting her fingers] I don't think now is time to wonder about if your [points downwards] childhood elasticity has returned. [Looks down at the box] We're one head short of a Hydra full. Shame. [To Manners, clapping excitedly] I think its time to feed the snakey! On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 Pates@mri.sari.ac.uk wrote:

Manners : Don't you dare! Miss Stern! They've got us, all of us! Me, Miss Management, Miss Lead, Miss Fortune, Miss Conduct and Miss Fitt, and Miss Fitt is upside down!

[BARTHELOMEW leans back from the limp body of CLINT, dropping him on the floor.]

Barthelomew : Mmm! Tasty!

Harvey : Right, let's ditch some of these unwanted passengers. [Grabs one the heads and throws it at the Hydra.]

[The head goes straight through the HYDRA, bounces off the wall, and is somehow caught by MISS STERN.]

Stern : Miss Fortune! I've got you!

Fortune : [The head] Put me on, I think it's time they got a taste of their own medicine.

Harvey : Hmm, not quite the effect I was hoping for, troop! [Clicks his fingers] I know, destroy the other heads! Private Sleaze, use the dagger on them!

[The heads all start screaming in terror.]

Fitt : I think I'm going to be sick!

Conduct : Oh, behave yourself, you haven't even got a stomach!

Stern : We'll show them. [Bends down out of sight a second]

[MISS MANNERS appears, wearing the same clothing the Miss Stern had on, and holding CLINT's severed head in her hand.]

Manners : Oh, you naughty children, now look what you've made me do. [Throws Clint's head at the party but, because the carraiges are going so fast, it blows back and hits her on the blouse, leaving a stain of blood and saliva.]

Alice : [Horrified] Oh no! They've killed him! [To the heads] Who's in charge of hockey lessons? Miss Fitt : That would be me, young lady.

Alice : Right. [Stamps on Miss Fitt's face]

Harvey : [Shocked] By the saints, you'll regret doing that for the remainder of your miserable life, Stern! Which by my reckoning, will be measured in seconds! Private Sleaze, stab those heads immediately!

Barthelomew : Hey! I'm the one who killed him, she only cut his head off and threw it at you!

Alice : Look, Miss Fitt has chomped onto my shoe! [Lifts up her foot to show Miss Fitt is clung onto it with her teeth.]

Austin : [Muttering as he puts on a third set of gloves, and tries to stab all of the heads a few times, muttering] How does one stab heads in a box with flare and dashing? [Keeps stabbing] I guess I'll find out in a second or two.

[AUSTIN easily gets each of the heads a number of times and, although they all cry out in pain and bleed, none of them die.]

Manners : Oh, you naughty, naughty boy!

Alice : [Looking down at her blood splattered dress from Austin's stabbing] This isn't working - there must be some way of killing them all in one go!

[The HYDRA makes another swipe at the carriage, barely missing the party.]

Austin : [Tries to stab the Hydra] Those heads appear to be undead heads, demons, instruments of evil! [Cackles at his own joke]

[AUSTIN swings and misses yet again.]

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD, and now child genius postulates that the seven beast with which we should be concerned is not, as one might expect, the slavering and rabid Hydra, rather [dramatically points at Miss Manners] Her! Consider the evidence, she has seven heads, and one body, no two Misses have ever been seen in the same room and the fact that the good Colonel threw the ever patronising Miss Manners' head right through the Hydra.

Austin : [To Jerome] Well I have stabbed all of those heads and they didn't die, so what can we do? Drown them?

[STERN and BARTHELOMEW are inches from the cart and the latter strikes out with his whip, somehow managing to hit everyone, including the unfortunate MISS FITT, who finally lets go of ALICE's heal.]

Alice : Ow! [Angrily to Austin] God almighty! Even Clint understood it and he's dead! [Points at Miss Manners] Get her with it, right in the heart! [Dead calm, turning to Jerome] That is what you meant, isn't it?

Jerome : Yes.

Alice : [Still calm] Okay. [Turns to Austin, red of face] Just throw it, will you?

Austin : [Sighs] We really should capture this on camera, so that others may appreciate the beauty of my craft.[Flicking his scarf back dashingly, tries to Stab manners in the heart] Die evil demon!

Harvey : [Awkardly avoiding the scarf] That's the way, private! [Scratches at a chubby cheek] Keep trying!!

Alice : [Getting a savage slap of scarf in the eye] Ow!

Manners : Don't you dare stab me! That would be unconscionably naughty of you.

[AUSTIN leans over, being held by HARVEY and CHASTITY, and plunges the dagger into MISS MANNERS' chest.]

Manners : Aiiieee!

[All the heads give out piercing screams, before bursting into dust, and BARTHELOMEW slumps over in the cart.]

Jerome : It feels like the cart is slowing!

[This is true, the two carts slowly glide to a halt back in the main room. The party can see that all the zombies have collapsed and that all the children are running about cheering, with many of them heading out of the cave. DORA TREE is here, looking very excited.]

Dora : You did it! You did it!

Alice : Yes, but Stinky! [Looks at Clint's severed head, before appealing to the others, clearly on the verge of tears] Do you think he'll be okay?

Harvey : Alas poor private Scar! He was a good man, and a great fighter, and will be missed by all! [Looks at Alice] I wonder if the soul sanctuary still works? [Darkly] Boddy is going to have a lot to answer for, troop!

Alice : What soul sanctuary? [Claps her hand against her flat stomach] Remember it disappeared when we were turned into children!

Austin : [Unsurprised by his swashbuclking greatness, blows the dust from the dagger and slips it into his pocket carefully wrapping the blade in a spare glove. To Manners] That was for Clint [Kicks Bartholemew] Mr. Boddy now has man slaughter charges to face. [To Alice, giving her a gentle hug] I think it's a bit late for poor Clint, unless Chasers can get an extra super healing magic thing with the red shoes? [Looks at Chastity] It's worth a try. He might even come back cleaner.

Harvey : Gah! I'd forgotten about the soul sanctuary disappearing! But certainly the dear sister might be able to help! Or perhaps even, because Clints body is not really Clint, but a younger and certainly more fragrant version of himself, that perhaps, he'll still be with us if we manage to return to our original bodies? With makes finding a method of doing that all the more important!

Chastity : [Sadly] I don't think so, Mr. Sleaze, other than making a terribly cutesy noise when I walk, I don't think they serve any purpose. [Blesses Clint] We'd better bury him, [awkwardly] you know, in case he starts to smell.

Alice : [Sits down in a huff] Well, I'm pissed off. Clint's dead and we're still stuck here. It's not like it was our fault that Danielle died, I don't think we even had a choice in the matter.

Dora : [Sympathetically] I'm sorry your friend died, but hundreds of children have been saved as a result. Maybe one of the adults will be able to arrange a funeral.

[Enter INDUSIA SMARTISH, pulling bits of straw off himself, and an old sack cloth off his head.]

Dora : [To Indusia, who's just pulling off his scarecrow accessories] Excuse me, sir, but do you think you could help these kids?

[INDUSIA throws his stuff to the ground, revealing his true identity to the party as DARIUS.]

Darius : [With a piece of straw hanging out of his mouth] I'm sure I could, what seems to be the problem?

Harvey : You! What games are you playing this time, man! What the blazes is going on here?

Chastity : Did you have anything to do with us being turned to children? Do you know how we can be turned back? And what about Clint, can he be resurrected? Quoting Conor.Ryan@ul.ie:

Austin : [To Darius] Clint is dead, we prefer him to be alive. If you have some means of ressurecting him we would be grateful, and it would save us from diding a grave too. [Austin checks his nails after all that fighting]

Darius : [Looks around him, before turning to Harvey] Looks like some kind of child labour operation to me. Placebium, I guess, probably a handy thing to have if you want to kill a scary nephew of the devil.

Alice : [Glaring at Darius] Or you.

Darius : True.

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD urges you to answer the good Sister's questions.

Darius : Okay, okay, I have to admit, I knew that Boddy was going to do something to you with an orb, he was pretty annoyed with you. I took the liberty of swapping orbs with him before I left. [Looks into the cart at Clint's dismembered head] It looks like there's part of him missing. [Shrugs] I'm sorry folks, I can't help you resurrect him. Oh, but I do know how you can be turned back. [Glances at Austin] I'm sure the locals will dig the grave for you, so no need to panic.

Chastity : [Looks at Clints head] Do you mean you can't resurrect him because of the missing part, or even if we found the missing part you still couldn't. Or do you mean you can't or you won't help resurrect him? [Taps a dance of frustration]

Harvey : You swapped orbs? What fate did Boddy intend for us then?

Darius : [Mirrors Chastity's little dance] I mean I can't, even you had all of him. [Looks around at the stony face party members] Hey! I'm upset too, he was the least irritating of all of you! Anyway, he died a brave death, I'm sure [closes his eyes and puts his hand over his heart] Clint is looking down on us now, eating his favourite meal of pocket fluff covered locusts, reading his favourite physics book, singing a couple of hymns, polishing his favourite arm [blinks earnestly at the party] or even just walking into things.

Alice : [Throws her shoe at Darius] You bastard!

Darius : [Ducking and narrowly avoiding the shoe] I'm not sure what Boddy had planned, but I just [emphasis] bet it was something awful!

Austin : [Coldly to Darius] And what would Nigel's orb have done to us?

Darius : Well, like I just said, my young sailor friend, I don't know, but it's most likely something awful. [Takes out another orb] Here it is. My bet is that it would either blow all of you up or transport you back to your own time.

Harvey : [Sighs] More tricks, old man? How can we be sure that you're Darius and not Boddy, intent on wreaking even further revenge on us? And why did you want to bring us back here anyway?

Chastity : [Eyes light up] Well, Boddy had that large scar didn't he?

Darius : [To Harvey] Because I look like me, and not Boddy. [Turns a lazy look on Chastity] That's right. He did.

Harvey : [Irritated sigh] Why did you bring us back?

Darius : I didn't bring you back, you followed me, remember? [Looks around the cave thoughtfully] Who knew there'd be so much Placebium, ripe for the picking for any would be demon slayers?

Alice : Does Placebium hurt you?

Darius : It sure does, [smiles as Alice picks up a big rock of it] but only in its refined form. I do so hope you don't find any in [over long pause] the generator!

Chastity : [Sighs. In a laboured manner] OK, lets go and have a look at the generator. [looks at the rocks lying around] We should maybe take some Placebium for future use. [Picks up a couple rocks and heads for the generator. Briefly stops and turns to the group] Come on then, and don't forget the Placebium!

Austin : [SIghs] Well lets go check the generator [Stars walking to the generator] Now we have freed the children there will be no more Placebium, and nothing to kill demons with, which is a shame, so lets go and get some. We may also be able to get some rather nice cufflinks made from the stuff [Ponders other Placebium related accessories, removes his Thelma and Louise sunglasses and scarf and puts on a fresh pair of white panda skin gloves]

Chastity : [To Austin] I hope your not condoning the use of child labour, despite the usefulness of the product! [Stops and ponders for a moment] It still confuses me why an evil monster like that would want to mine and refine the very substance that can hurt it? [shrugs] Oh well, at least I've got some nice shoes! [Does a small dance towards the generator]

Jerome : [Opening a small hatch on the generator] It appears to contain a large amount of a very fine blue powder.

Darius : [To Chastity] Placebium doesn't just hurt demons and such, it can also harm adults. That's why you're all able to touch it now, but if your Uncle Darius helps you turn back to adults, well, you won't. [Picks up a ladle and scoops some of the blue powder into a small metal flask, clearly finding it difficult to be so close to the powder] You never know when you might need some. Oh, if you intend on killing me, you might want to get some yourselves. [Tosses a similar flask to Austin]

Chastity : [To Austin] Quick, quick, fill up the flask!! [To Darius] No offence.

Darius : [Does a funky tap dance in front of Chastity] None taken. Now the question is, do you want to return to your own time as children? Think of all the fun you'll have! [Enthusiastically to Chastity] Imagine, you'll get to eat all those pies again!

Chastity : [Grimaces] Yes, and have to witness the boys going through puberty. [Takes the flask from Austin and fills it up with Placebium, putting the lid tightly back on and brushing off any dust] Quickly now, turn us into adults. [glances round at the group, sighing] or at least back into our previous grown-up selves.

Darius : Sure. [Takes out a red coloured and throws it in amongst the party, which then covers them in thick red smoke] I suppose you should have changed into your old adult clothes before turning back but, oh well.

[Everyone is back the way they were, with several of the larger party members struggling to breathe in their clothes.]

Alice : Oh thank God! [Looks at Chastity] Oh my God!

Darius : Hey Alice, that little dress is almost as short as your normal skirt. [Turns to go, but looks back] Your old equipment is back there, but you'd better hurry up, some one [with a scolding tone] who shall remain nameless [normal tone] rigged the whole mountainside with explosives, and it'll come tumbling down in a few minutes.

Chastity : Now I remember why I stopped wearing this dress. [Scuttles off to get her changed and pick up her gear]

[A few minutes later, everyone is changed back into their normal clothes.]

Darius : Right, I'm off, and I'll be sure to keep an eye out for you the next time, [suppresses a smile] in case you try to kill me. [Laughs, but composes himself] Sorry, let me try that again. [Puts on an angry look and stares down the party] I'll be sure to keep an eye out for [points at the party] you next time, in case you try to kill me. [Gives a cheesy smile and two thumbs up, before using another orb to disappear.]

Alice : [Sulky face, looking at Chastity's shoes] You know, Chastity, I think a nun wearing shoes like that is entirely inappropriate! [Looks around] Where's Clint?

Harvey : While you all were changing, some of the adults buried him outside. [Holds up the orb left by Darius] I fear we have no choice but to use this.

[The party go outside, and see that CLINT's grave is there, in a newly constructed graveyard containing about fifty graves.]

Harvey : [Salutes the grave] Goodbye, Private Scar.

Chastity : Goodbye, Clint Scar, you were the dirtiest, smelliest, scruffiest, most drunken, lecherous, base character I've ever had the misfortune met, but at least you stood up for the group and didn't steal from the church. Rest well, and we'll think of you every time a door needs [stops to wipe a tear away] kicking in. [blows her nose emotionally]

Austin : [To Clint's grave] Well, you smelled worse than a dead farmyard animal, but atleast you're not a haggard old fat witch and didn't selfrightously terrify the poor into giving you their hard earned cash, or interfere with the delicate processes of the fashion industry [Checks his nails and nods] I think that's about it [Rolls a cheesearette, takes a few deep drags and then pokes it into the ground where Clint's head would be]

Chastity : I hope they didn't bury him upside down and face down, otherwise you've just symbolically shoved something with a glowing red tip up Clint's bottom! He'll be spinning in his grave. [Puts her hand to her ear to listen in the direction of Clints body]

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD would like to state how grateful he is for the occasions in which Mr. Scar saved his life, and how much he regrets the unfortunate accident involving Mr. Scar's testicle.

[ALICE turns her back to CHASTITY, and crouches down low, letting out a rip roaring fart, inches from CHASTITY's nose.]

Alice : [With tears in her eyes] That's for you, Stinky! [Straightens up and puts on Clint's jacket] I'm going to always wear this in memory of you. [Sniff sniff] Well, maybe I'll just always carry it with me. [Takes it off and opens her bag, but pauses] Er, Harvey? Would you mind carrying it for me?

Harvey : [Sigh] Yes, Niece. [Takes the jacket, and throws the orb on the ground.]

[A large shimmering pool appears, which each of the party steps into and disappers.]