THE QUEENS VIEW AFFAIR

[Book III, Act XII, Scene I. A busy street. ALICE, JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and HARVEY have just appeared, coming out of a conveniently deserted side street. None of the party members recognise where they are, but, judging from the clothing of the people, they are almost certainly back in their own time. There is a large bar across the way, the Bright And Relaxing Tavern, with posters on the windows advertising a band called "Diabolique". There is some sort of protest going on outside the bar, lead by a woman called CONSTANCE PRUDE. The protestors are almost all middle aged women, and many of them are carrying placards declaring themselves to be the "Philite Mothers Against Fun", although it isn't clear exactly what they are protesting about.]

Constance : Sisters! We must unite against the awful things happenning in our lovely town! My Phili, won't some one please think of the children?

Harvey : [To the party] I say, I wonder what awful things she's talking about.

Alice : Maybe the guy with the hairy bum could tell us?

Harvey : [Glances at a man lying on the street beside a filthy looking bearded tramp] Unlikely.

Alice : No, him. [Points up at a nearby balcony.]

[Enter MARTIN FAIRCHILD, backing naked onto a balcony on the first floor. He is carrying a bundle of clothes over one arm and a backpack in the other, and is clearly sneaking out of the room.]

Constance : [Points at him with a gasp of horror] Look! Look at this brazen display! [Shakes her head in disgust] Won't someone please think of the children?

Martin : [Turns to face the crowd, making no attempt to cover himself] I would be most grateful, madam, if you could contain your indignation, I am in the middle of escaping from a particularly vile and vicious jealous boyfriend.

Alice : [To the others] I just knew it, all the good looking ones are gay.

Chastity : [Glancing at Austin] And some of the not-so good looking ones as well! [Marches over to the protestors. Shouting] Sisters of decency, lend me a placard, for our cause is true, our hearts are good, and our tolerence is zero. [To Constance] I am Sister Chastity Browne. Is there anything in particular we're protesting about today?

Constance : Oh, Sister, you are welcome to the refuge of the PMAF, you must have felt so uncomfortable, standing near [waves at Austin and Alice] that prostitute and that [almost whispers] homosexual. We were here, minding out own business, just protesting about everyone who isn't a member of the PMAF, when that [points at Martin] came out and flashed us!

[The members the PMAF wave their fists and shout at MARTIN]

Martin : [Does a "calm down" gesture as he puts his pants on] Please, ladies! It's Mortice who is in there - from Pestilence's band!

Alice : Eauh! [To the party] Remember him? He was the ugliest of all of them, this guy is digusting! [Thinks for a moment] Prostitute? [Looks behind her and sees that there's no one there] Hey!

Chastity : [Looking up at Martin, to Constance] Yes, it is indeed a stark reminder of why our organisation exist. This band that are playing though, could be even more horrid. I've heard of them before. They promote Anti-Phili ways. They thrust their bits at people. They sing there songs backwards with secret messages. In one word - trouble!

Alice : [Quickly to the others] Let's go see the band!

[Some of the PMAF throw some rocks at MARTIN.]

Martin : [Ducking to avoid them] Please! Mortice isn't trying to sleep with me, he's trying to kill me!

Constance : And then he'll sleep with you, no doubt! You deserve each other!

[MARTIN starts to clamber over the edge of the balcony.]

Harvey : Come on troop, let's move away from this incendiary situation, before things get out of control! Let us leave this flashing lothario to his own fate!Sister, we must be off!

Martin : Stop throwing those rocks at me! That ... that ... that devil has a woman held captive up there! We must go and rescue her! [He throws his hands up to block a rock, looses his grip and falls to the ground. Luckily, by this time, he was close enough to the ground to only have the air knocked from his lungs]

Martin : Ooof!

Alice : Are we really going to leave him to the mercy of these awful women? I mean, look! Chastity's with them!

Harvey : My dear niece, you reap what you sow in this world! I mean, any man who appears flashing his genetalia to a group of irate women, trying to escape the ire of an offended boyfriend, deserves to have rocks hurled at his rocks! Come on now, let's be away! Besides, the boy looks fit enough, I'm sure he can evade the women! In fact, looks the type well accustomed to fleeing from husbands and the like!

Alice : [Shocked at Harvey] But is he used to fleeing Mortice and Pestilence? [Turns to Austin] Come on, Aussie, you're no stranger to sneaking out of people's rooms late at night, what do you think about this?

Chastity : [To Harvey] Yes, he acts just like Clint. [ A look of shock comes over her face] You don't think do you ... [sniffs the air] no, the scent isn't there. [Looks up to the balcony] Should we do something about Mortice. I can still hear his awful playing from under Adam's tower.

[The door in the balcony swings open. Enter MORTICE, who immediately spots MARTIN.]

Mortice : [Points at Martin] I'm going to kill you.

[The PMAF run away screaming.]

Harvey : [Scratches at a cheek] Very well dear niece, I can't see you upset! [To Martin] Come along with us, then! We've some experience with Mortice already!

Alice : [Petulantly] Yes, and, although we generally don't help people with morals we don't agree with, we're going to help you in case Alice gets upset.

Harvey : [Sighs] Out of the fire and into the frying pan, eh troop! [To Martin] If I were you, sir, I'd get up now and come with us as quickly as possible!

Martin : [Scrambling to his feet] Why, thank you sir! [Glances at Alice] I'm glad you're making an exception, and I hope Alice is okay.

[The group dash down a convenient alleyway, only to find it is a dead end.]

Mortice : [Appearing around the corner] My my! I hardly recognised you all, it must be the best part of two years!

Chastity : I don't about being the best part, but it's been all the better for not seeing your face. Or your tuneless drumming!

Mortice : [Roars laughing with a suprisingly annoying nasally sound] Brilliant! Just brilliant! [Dead serious] I'm the guitar player.

[Enter CHAC GRAINER, rounding the corner quickly, and colliding with MORTICE.]

Mortice : You clumsy oaf!

Chac : [Sounding quite distracted] Sorry, sorry, I was looking for something. [Catches sight of some of the party behind Mortice] Is everything okay?

Chastity : [To Chac] Not really. This [Points at Mortice] being believes its a musician, and in a fit of inadequacy wants to harm us! [Looks offended] Us who [looks up to spot she's carrying a placard bearing the slogan "Burn in Painful Hell Evil Musicians!" and throws it down] have no quarrel with any living thing.

Last from Conor #15
[Enter CHAC GRAINER, rounding the corner quickly, and colliding with MORTICE.]
Mortice : You clumsy oaf!
Chac : [Sounding quite distracted] Sorry, sorry, I was looking for something. [Catches sight of some of the party behind Mortice] Is everything okay?
Martin : [his voice is slightly muffled for the first part of his responce because he is busy pulling on his shirt] Chac! That ... monster has a woman held captive up in his room! [he pulls on his boots]
 
;;; I cannot answer my email during working hours (I work from 17:00 to 1:00 Israel time) except for during my breaks, like I am doing right now. But Conor is doing a good job of filling in for me.


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Alice : Yeah! [Waves a "Down with Unmarried Mothers" placard that she picked up from one of the women] We weren't bothering anyone, and then he [gestures at Mortice with her placard] threw a naked man at us.

Chac : Martin? [Looks back at Mortice] You're going to have to let these people go. [Is momentarily distracted by "Monsters are Monstrous" placard that Mortice grabbed from one of the women]

Mortice : [Shakes his head] I don't think so. [Bops Chac on the head with his placard]

Chastity : Stop that this instance, you ruffian! [Pulls a flask out of her bag and holds it up] Do you know what this is?

Mortice : Sure I do. It's a flask.

Chastity : Aaahh, but do you know what frightening substance is inside it?

Austin : [Sighs] Now I know Chassers is evil, see how she tells the enemy all about the secret weapon before she has even made it! [To Chastity] Remember sister, it's just as bad for you as it is for him. [Looks around to see what everyone is wearing, smirks] At least the proles haven't improved their sense of dress in the past two years.

Mortice : [With a theatrical roll of his eyes] Your piss, old woman?

Chac : Hey! Don't you dare disrespect a lady! [Pulls out a flask of his own] Do you know what this is?

Mortice : Sure I do. It's a flask.

Chac : Aaahh, but do you know what frightening substance is inside it?

Mortice : [With a theatrical roll of his eyes] Your piss, Porg?

Alice : [Whispering to Jerome behind her placard] He doesn't have much of an imagination, does he?

Mortice : [To Alice] Hey! Piss on you, pissy!

Austin : [To Mortice] Who cares about some dumb flasks! What I really want to know is who is the girl in the room that is bonking you and that Martin chap?

Jerome : [Looking up from where he's correcting the spelling on a placard that he has taken by removing an extraneous apostrophe from "vampires"] Indeed, Mr. Sleaze. I am just surprised she hasn't tied him to a cage overhanging a pool of sharks with nasty cut on his harm. [Leans on the placard, which now reads : "Vampires suck me? Suck you!"]

Mortice : What? [Turns to Martin with a mix of horror and anger] I thought you were trying to kill her, this is much worse! [Pulls out his sword]

Chastity : [Opens the flask. To Mortice] Now you'll be sorry! [Tips the flask, and pours herself a nice cup of tea, with milk] I'll shortly be fully refreshed and then you'll be sorry! [Takes a sip] Aahh, that's what's been missing!

Mortice : [Smashes the flask away with his sword, before turning back to Martin, shouting] Answer my question!

Alice : Er, what question?

Mortice : [Momentarily confused] You know, I don't care any more, I'm going to kill all of you and bring your heads back to Pestilence - he needs some more skulls for the chimney.

Chac : [To Mortice] Nobody's killing nobody, big boy. [To Martin] What was that about a damsel in distress? [To Mortice] Have you got a distressed damsel, lad? We can't have that. Take us to her. [Draws himself up to his menacing full height of five feet and three inches] Or you'll be sorry. flu and I've been taking care of her today. Tomorrow should be more on-schedule.

Harvey : Now that's the spirit, lad! To be sure you probably can't hurt anything over kneecap height, but when you grow up, by the saints, you'll be some warrior, what! [Takes out his sword and looks at Mortice] If he fights as badly as he plays that stone music stuff, then we should have him finished in time for tea!

Last from Dominic - 12.01.22 & Colin - 12.01.026

>Austin : [To Mortice] Who cares about some dumb flasks! What I really want to
>know is who is the girl in the room that is bonking you and that Martin chap?
Martin :

>Harvey : Now that's the spirit, lad! To be sure you probably can't hurt
>anything over kneecap height, but when you grow up, by the saints, you'll be
>some warrior, what! [Takes out his sword and looks at Mortice] If he fights as
>badly as he plays that stone music stuff, then we should have him finished in
>time for tea!
Martin : [looks at Austin] How did you know my name? [Looks at Harvey and points at Chastity] We're running a little late since she's already having her tea.


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Chac : [Winces at the age-height comment, but stands firm. To Mortice] I've taken down men twice your size, drummer, and I'll not be moved by you. [Reminiscing] Actually, there was that one time I tackled a lass half my size, too... the renegade! [snapping back to the present] But if you're the first to draw, you'll be the first to fall. [Thumps his halberd on the ground for emphasis]

Mortice : [Sneers at Chac] I think not. [Swings his sword at Chac, connecting with him and sending him staggering back] This is going to be fun. Seven morons and not a magical sword between them.

Alice : Hey! [Draws her sword] There are eight of us!

Harvey : We may not have a magical sword, leprous fellow, but where there's a will, there's a way! [Attacks Mortice with his sword]

[MORTICE doesn't even attempt to dodge, and HARVEY connects with his chest, but the sword just bounces off.]

Mortice : Hey, good catchphrase. [Swings at hits Harvey, causing him to double over in pain]

Alice : Harvey! [Swings her sword, which also just bounces off him]

Harvey : [Wheezing in pain] By the saints troop! Our weapons are ineffective! Perhaps we should make a tactical withdrawal and work out a way of using that [nods towards Chastity, winking outrageously]...magical tea!

Chac : [putting a hand gratefully to his armor] What a brute! How is he impervious to our... [he pauses as the realization of Mortice's true nature dawns upon him] You're in cohoots with Pestilence! Damn it, I should've known! [out of sheer anger, and a little stupidity, Chac swings the flat of his blade at Mortice's face]

[The sword connects, but just bounces off.]

Mortice : [Rubbing the other side of his face] Oh, well done, that really hurt. I'm on stage in a few minutes, so fun time is over. [Swings viciously at Chac, gouging him in the shoulder]

Chastity : [Quickly puts her tea back. Aside to Austin] Now might be a good time to try that dagger again! [Looks around the alley for any help]

Austin : [Tries to stab Mortice with the dagger, dashingly. To Chastity, venomously] If you give away any more of our secrets Chassers old woman, I'll be stabbing you in the head!

Chastity : [To Austin] Like the secrets I'll spilled so far, like I drink tea and you are armed! You were the one blubbing secret weapon. Good to see your back to your old supportive blame culture self!

Alice : [In horror] Tea? [Looks around at the others] Why wasn't I told about this?

[AUSTIN stabs MORTICE with the AKMIRA's dagger, and it sinks straight into him.]

Mortice : [With a gasp that sounds more surprised than pained] Ow. [Looks directly at Austin] That could have killed me. [Inflicts a deep wound on Austin, sending him staggering back, still holding the dagger.] It's just as well you're too stupid to use it. Mortice...

Martin : [whips out two of his daggers and throws them at Mortice] Take that, you ugly brute!

Chastity : [Pulls out her mace] We'd maybe better just get out of here, and return to the battle later. [Tries to rush past Mortice, blocking any attacks with her mace]

[MARTIN's two daggers simply bounce off MORTICE, who doesn't even react, but continues to hack at AUSTIN, backing him into a corner.]

Mortice : I'm going to enjoy killing you, pretty boy.

Austin : [Desparately tries to stab Mortice in the heart] Get of me you rancid faggot!

Mortice : [Roars with laughter] Is that the best you can do? [Raises his sword.]

[CHAC throws the contents of his flask over MORTICE. It is a blue powder similar to the one the party saw previously, and immediately begins to burn on contact. MORTICE falls to the ground in agony, filling the air with a disgusting smell of burning flesh.]

Alice : Nope. [Emphasis] That's the best we can do! [Gives two thumbs up to Chac] Well done! [Beams] And from a kneeling position and all!

Martin: [kneeling to get his daggers] What is that stuff?

Chastity : Shall we go now, or shall I empty my flask? I feel we may need it later though. [To Austin] Come on, lawyer, no time to waste. End his evil existance and lets get going.

Chac : [holding his hand to his shoulder] It's a shame, too. I wanted to keep that stuff. [watches Mortice rolling, writhing, reeking and retching] Oh, well, I guess they gave it to me for a reason. [to austin, concerned] Hey, you okay? That oaf was pretty ferocious there for a while.

Chastity : [To Chac, dismissively waving at Austin] I'm sure he'll be fine. [Looks at Mortice] I wouldn't be so quick to use the past tense. There's a chance that He'll get up looking the same but angrier.

Austin : [Stabs Mortice furiously in the heart and head] Scum! I'm gonna kill you! [Blood spraying everywhere, Austin gasping for breath] Die!

Chac : [incredulously] I don't know if he can survive that! [thinking for a second] And I'm not sure about Mortice, either.

Chastity : [Watching Austin with a look of amazement. To Chac] I've rarely seen Austin in such a messy display at aggression. Granted he's attacking a prone figure, but with complete disregard for his clothing! [Claps her hands] Bravo, Austin, evil slayer!

Chac : Should we make a hasty retreat while Mortice is... er... distracted? Or do you think... Austin, was his name?... can dispatch him safely? After the little I've seen of this brute, I don't want to underestimate him. [Looking at his still-bleeding shoulder] And I'm not keen on that demon cutting me again. [To Chastity] Is this a servant of the Four Horsemen? Who is he?

[MORTICE continues to melt away, with AUSTIN still hacking at him, until there is nothing left.]

Alice : [Wiping some Mortice bits off her face, giving Austin a baleful look before turning to Chac] No, but Mortice was.

Austin : [Gasps for breath, puts his dagger away carefully. Rolls over onto his side oozing blood, looks at his hands. Dramatically] My best panda skin gloves ruined! [Colapses, clearly very badly wounded]

Jerome : [To Chac] Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD would like to thank you for your efforts sir, and would like to enquire about such things as your name, your relationship with this other gentleman and where you obtained the blue powder from.

Chastity : [Goes over to Austin, and find a non bloody part of him to lay her hands on] Hold on Austin. [Looks to the sky] Hear our prayer, O Phili, and heal this, for once, worthy one.

Austin : [Chokes a bit, in the death throws of a fallen hero, gasps] Thanks Chassers, your not so evil after all.

Alice : Wow, for a compliment, that wasn't entirely awful, Chastity.

[Some of AUSTIN's wounds heal up slightly.]

Harvey : [To Chac] Well done, lad, that was superb! [Looks at Mortice] Come along troop, let's get away from here and bandage wounds and suchlike.

Chastity : [Getting up and wiping herself down] Yes. We don't want to be about when Pestilence comes looking for his band member. [Looks down at the pile of dust that was Mortice] Funny, for a guitarist, he went out in an awful drummer-like way!

Harvey : [To Austin] Be sure to clean that knife blade, private Sleaze! It's probably covered in that lethal powder!

Alice : [Eyes open wide with surprise] Hey! How did you get Parmesan on your knife?

Chac : [To Jerome] Well now, sir, uh, Jerome, is it? My name is Chac Grainer, and, well, [looks from side to side] I'm not sure this is the place to talk about these things - Martin and I have rooms nearby, we can go and talk there if you want.

Harvey : [Looks around] Excellent, lead the way! I'm sure it's only a matter of time before those lunatic banner waving women resurface, and I for one do not want to be here when they do!

Alice : [Almost getting her placard caught in some low hanging washing] What lunatic banner waving women?

Harvey : [Flustered, pulls a picture of a puppy from his coat] Look dear niece, a puppy!

Alice : [Lets go of the placard, which is now hanging from the washing] Aw!

Martin : Let's find somewhere more comfortable to talk.

[MARTIN leads the way, followed by the rest of the party, who pause for a moment as a "Down With Unmarried Mothers" placard falls from the clothes line and hits him on the head.]

Jerome : Ow!

Alice : Looks like those lunatic banner waving women have returned! [Gives Chastity a baleful look]

[Exit ALL.]

[Book III, Act XII, Scene II. Chac's and Martin's Rooms. CHAC, MARTIN, ALICE, JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and HARVEY are here, having just been let in. This is essentially a suite, with a fairly large sitting room and three doors leading off it.]

Chac : Make yourselves comfort-

[CHAC ducks as ALICE kicks her shoes off.]

Chac : -table!

Alice : Sorry, but we've had a tough few days of it.

Harvey : [Sits himself down and looks at this shirt] Botheration, troop! Another fine shirt ruined by a blackguard! [Sighs] So, how do you two know each other? Have you been in town long?

Chac : Oh, we've just been here a few days. [Reaches for some cups, which he just about manages by stretching on his tiptoes, before turning to the others] As I said, the name is Chac and this [gestures to Martin] is Martin Fairchild.

[MARTIN nods to the party from his chair.]

Austin : [To Chastity, suprised] Thanks Chassers, that was quite som healing there, and I though you were going to leave me for dead! [Dissapears into the bathroom. To Chac] You don't mind if I use your onsuit bathroom do you. [Closes the bathroom door and locks it]

Chastity : [Looks on after Austin. To Chac] I hope you didn't need to go, he'll be in there for [emphasises] ages! [Picks up the cups] Here let me help, is there some tea?

Harvey : [Stands and bows to Chac] And I am Harvey Kingston Short the third, ex-colonel of his royal majestys fifth fusileers and current gaoler of the Queens View correctional facility, though I presume that role now belongs to another! Allow me to introduce my troop! The darling creature on my left is Ms Alice Basset Short, my niece and the joy of my heart! The lady of the cloth is sister Chastity Browne, as saintly a creature as Phili ever placed on the earth! To her right is the inventor extroadinaire, Dr Jerome K Trindle, wand lastly, private Austin Sleaze. By the saints, all this talking has worn a pit in my stomach! I'm famished! [Eyes light up] Do you have room service here?

Chac : [Rubs his stomach gleefully] The most delightful food I've seen in a long time!

Martin : [Rubs his stomach gleefully] With the most delightful service I've seen in a long time!

Chac : [Big smile at Chastity] Tea? Haw! [Takes out a jug of beer from the mini-bar] Who's for beer?

Chastity : I'd prefer tea. Drinking of alcoholic beverages is frowned upon. It dampens the senses. Alice will be drinking milk. [To Harvey] Isn't that best, Colonel?

Chac : [Eyes narrowing at the mention of the colonel's rank] Fifth fusileers, eh? You were regular military. [Distain is written all over his face. And on the back of his left hand.] Discharged? A deserter? [Sighing] I guess it's none of my business. I just have never trusted regulars. [Remembering Harvey's last question] Oh, yes, I suppose we could ring up room service. If [pauses for emphasis] you care to foot the bill. [Time passes]

Austin : [Emerges from the bath room wearing a Gorgious Harmony crushed blue velvet evening suit, with matching leopard skin shoes (dyed blue to match), a midnight blue silk shirt and a rather splendid pair of silver dodo skin gloves, by Eve Mercedes Lerant] That will teach the like of Mortice to ruin a suit of mine. [Checks his look in the mirror on the wall. Then checks his nails. Turns to Chac] How do you do, my name is Austin Sleaze, pleased to make your aquaintance, [Turns to Martin] and yours too. Is your lady friend safe?

Chac : To each his own. [takes a huge gulp of beer straight from the jug] Or her. So, Martin, would you care to start? What's the history? I'm too hungry to go delving deeper into my past than my last meal. [to party] Who feels like going for the grub?

Harvey : [Aghast, to Chac] You think me a deserter, sir! I'll have you know that I retired when the age came upon me! With honour, little manny!

Alice : [Dryly] Thank you, Chastity, but, after having been dropped from a cable car, turned into a child, forced to watch Austin cry, having to meet his Dad, flown in an out of control school, been enslaved and having to have buried poor old Stinky, all in the last two days, I think I could do with a something stronger. [Pause] And I don't mean butter milk.

Martin : [Shrugs] I don't know - I think she was a groupie with the band, so she seemed well disposed towards them.

Chac : [Holds a placating right hand up to Harvey] I think no such thing, Colonel. I merely asked if that was the case.

Alice : [To Chac] What's that stain on your hand?

Chac : [Holds it up to the party] That stain. [His right hand has "That Stain" written on it]

Martin : Well now, that was exciting. Shall I ring for room service before we continue? Or perhaps for a referee?

Chastity : [A bit too urgently] Room Service. [Re-gains self control] I mean, we are perfectly capable of controlling ourselves.

Martin : [Rings the bell, before turning to the party] Well, we only met recently, when Chac came to my rescue. I had been robbed by some brigands, and couldn't pay my hotel bill.

Chac : And then, later that evening, Martin came to my rescue, when I was getting something of a tough time because of my accent from some locals.

Harvey : Indeed so, good sister! [Bows to Chac] Very well sir, forgive my outburst! [To Martin] Oh, most definitely room service. If I go any longer without sustenance, I fear I'll waste away! [As Harvey sits back down, a few buttons ping across the room from his shirt]

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle BSc, PhD, and former child genius is still curious about where you obtained the blue powder.

Chac : And I'm a little curious as to why none of you seemed surprised at its effect.

Jerome : Touche.

[There's a knock on the door, and a woman's voice calls out "Room service".]

Harvey : [Loudly] Sorry my dear, I'm afraid not! I think you have to pull a rope for room service, and they'll eventually turn up, what!

Martin : Oh-kay! [To the others] I'll get it, the maid is great fun, not the brightest, but very nice.

[MARTIN opens the door, revealing BRANDY standing outside, dressed as a maid.]

Martin : Ah, the delectable Brandy!

Brandy : [Smiling a wonderfully warm smile] Ah, the dangerous Mr. Fairchild and the brave Mr. Grainer. [Sees the party, and brightens her smile without missing a beat] Oh, and you've got company, how wonderful!

Harvey : Ah, Brandy, we meet again! [Stands up and bows] I trust you're feeling well?

Austin : [Looks Brandy up and down] Hello again, Brandy. Come to poison us again? Or are you going to try to kill us by some other means this time?

Brandy : [Inclines her head to Harvey] All the better for seeing you again Colonel, it's been a long time. [Smiles sweetly at Austin] That all depends on what you order from the room service, my dear.

Harvey : I must admit I'm surprised to see you here! How long have you worked at this establishment? What have you been up to since last we met? What do you recommend from the menu?

Chac : [Chuckles and shakes his head] Brandy, sweet, you're full of suprizes. Poisoning people and all. You think you know a gal... [Grinning gleefully] How about a pound or two of that duck we sampled last night? [Pausing] I mean, not the same duck, of course; that would be a big duck. [Somewhat confusing himself] Nevermind. You do have roast duck still, don't you. [Quickly] The good Colonel has agreed to foot the bill for us, see.

Harvey : [Eyes widen, startled] Then I believe we'll have tap water and some small crackers between us, thank you!

Alice : [Roars out laughing at Chac] Harvey gets the bill! From the duck! Man, that's [huge emphasis] brilliant!

Brandy : [To Chac] Oh, they're just having fun with me, I'd never poison any one [mock innocent face] unless they really, really deserved it!

Alice : [Wiping away tears of laughter] Come on, Harvey, don't be such a meanie!

Chac : [catching Alice's contagious laughter] Colonel, may I call you Harvey? [finding it hard to speak without chuckling] I only supposed that since you're the obvious head of the outfit, you would be in control of the finances. [still grinning broadly] And since Brandy is already here... why not treat the party to dinner? Waddya say?

Alice : That's a great idea! It would be a really nice way to thank Chac and Marvin for helping us - you know [gets a little serious] it might be a nice thing to use some of the money you got from Clint to pay for it, it would be the kind of thing he'd like.

[Of course, it was ALICE who took CLINT's money, most of which was taken from HARVEY way back in Book II, Act VII, when HARVEY was captured by pirates.]

Harvey : Hmmmm. Oh very well dear niece, a capital suggestion! [Stomach rumbles massively] One large sumptuous banquet please, dear Brandy, hold the arsenic and light on the mandrake, if you please!

Alice : Prefer the lady ducks, eh, Uncle Harv?

Brandy : One sumptuous banquet coming up. [Looks around the others expectantly] And for the rest of you?

Harvey : [Laughs nervously] Well, I'm sure one sumptuous banquet between all will be quite sufficient, what! But tell me this, my dear, what happened to you after the carriage crash?

Brandy : Oh, Colonel, I fell on hard times, I'm afraid. I never saw Himo again, although his daughter turned up a few times to abuse me and tell me how much she disliked Alice. What about all of you? It must be almost two years since the crash.

Harvey : You know my dear, there's nothing like a full stomach to aide in the telling of a story so fantastical, as to hardly be believed! Join us in our feast and you'll hear all about it!

Chastity : [Dramatically] But make room for tales of adventure, discovery, footwear, alcoholic beverages made from urine, childhood antics, talented child stars, seven-headed schoolmistresses, and tragedy. [pauses] Can you include a pot of tea in that banquet?

Harvey : Indeed so, good sister! Not to forget talking spiders, flying schools, undead men, daring escape attempts, mine carting, sailor suits and lollipops, carriage rides and scarecrows! Derring do and zombies chasing you, witches and tip tapping shoes!

Brandy : [Seriously] Only if your tales involve bravery and derring do, rescuing a mission at the last moment from inner party bickering.

Brandy : [Impressed] Sailor suits, [smiles warmly at Austin] then I guess you were involved! I will return in a few moments.

[Exit BRANDY.]

Harvey : [Impresses] I wonder how she guessed that, private Sleaze? [To the party] It's odd meeting her again, eh! We can't trust her because of the whole Jarl situation, but she did help us out the last time. [Scratches at a sideburn] I just don't know, troop!

Chastity : To quote a previous colleague, Colonel, we must be cautious. Even more so with Pestilence about. We never seem to meet Brandy without dead and destuction being close on her heals.

Harvey : Oh, I agree whole heartedly, dear sister Chastity! I think it might be prudent to neglect mention of the special ore for the time being.

Chastity : [Glances at Alice, who is busy adjusting her skirt up so the belt and the hem meet] Yes, well she can be a bit conspicuous at the best of times. [sighs and looks back to Harvey] We need a way to harness, and perhaps concentrate the power of the Placebium. We've seen what it can do to the likes of Mortice, but it may need to be better applied if we needed it to defeat Pestilence. [To Jerome] Doctor, maybe you could think of some cunning method. On Fri, 20 Feb 2004 Pates@mri.sari.ac.uk wrote:

Chac : [Excitedly] Placebium? You're familiar with it? Well now, that would certainly explain your lack of surprise at my having it!

Jerome : Indeed, Sister, I -

[JEROME is momentarily interrupted by a sigh of frustration from ALICE.]

Alice : Gah! My skirt's gone over the belt, I hate when that happens.

Jerome : [Mops his brow feverishly] Er, yes, yes. [Turns to Chastity] Er, as I was saying, I have given the matter some thought, but the [glances at Chac] Placebium we have is, I believe, already refined.

Harvey : [Averting his gaze] Dear niece, please! [To Jerome] Is it, doctor, is it indeed? Wonderful stuff! Do you think there's a way of coating our weapons with it?

Alice : Oh wait, that is the belt!

Jerome : I don't know, Colonel. Perhaps the redoubtable Mr. Chac knows something about it?

Austin : [Nods] We could poison Pestillences food with it, or perhaps it can be worked like metal, melted and forged into a sword or something? [Turns his back on the others, rolls his left sleeve up and examines Maplin carefuly. To Maplin] Oh, you have been in the wars haven't you! [Carefully rubs some coconut oil into Maplin]

Chac : I know quite a bit about it, actually, but I'm kind of curious as to where you got yours.

Harvey : A valid suggestion from private Sleaze! Create our own magical sword, eh! [To Chac] Where did you come across the Placebium?

Chac : [Gives a little smile] It was entrusted to me by someone who is on the right side in the battle of good against evil. And you?

Alice : [Whispers to Chastity] He means the side of good, doesn't he?

Austin : [Rolls his left sleeve back down and sighs with satisfaction and relief] AAhh [Rolls up his right sleeve and examines Serendipity carefully, seeming satisfied, rolls his right sleeve back down. To Chac] We got ours in a Placebium mine, which we had to close down unfortunatley, as it was being powered by child slave labour.

Chastity : [To Alice] Lets hope so. [To Chac] We only have a one off very limited amount, so we must be careful how, and where we use it. If you have a provider of the powder, that would be excellent news for the forces of good. Who did you get your flask from? [pauses] Hold on, can we see your flask?

Alice : Well, clearly we can't, Chastity, because it's in his pocket.

Chac : [Taking out the flask] It is empty now, but it was given to me by a group of monks, who feared that Pestilence was going to attack them. Where was this mine?

Harvey : Somewhere in a mountain, which was then demolished, I do believe! I'm afraid I don't know where that mountain was, though.

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD believes that the mountain may be close by, for, while the orb that Darius had may have temporally, and possibly temporily, relocated us, there is no evidence to suggest that our physical location changed.

Alice : [Put on her glasses to make herself look intelligent] Surely the displacement of the earth by virtue of its orbit would render it highly unlikely that the planet would be in the same place now as in our previous time, which would suggest that we should simply have appeared in space. Conversely, the fact that we didn't appear in space would suggest that the time travel orbs do have a spatial element, which is correlated with the amount of time travelled, cross-correlated with the direction in time.

[A shocked silence descends for a few moments.]

Jerome : Sh.

Harvey : [Bursts out laughing suddenly, shaking and quaking with mirth] Ha! I've just smoked the joke! Ducks bill! By the saints, that's the funniest thing! [Wipes tears from his eyes]

[Another shocked silence descends for a few moments.]

Alice : [Mutters] Are you sure it was the joke you smoked?

[There is a knock on the door.]

Austin : [Raises an eyebrow, straightens a cuff. Looks at Harvey, then Alice] Never a dull moment when the Bassett-Shorts are in town.

Harvey : [Still wiping tears from his eyes and gapsing for breath] Do come in!

Chac : [with zeal] THAT would be the grub! [jumps out of his chair, his stubby legs carrying him to the door faster than one would thing possible. He opens the door to find...]

[Enter BRANDY, through the open door with a cart crammed with every conveivable type of female duck.]

Brandy : [Giving Chac a warm smile and wink] Now now, don't be too keen, Chac, there are only so many fingers a girl can have bitten off before she gets annoyed.

Jerome : And what does she do then? Poison someone?

Brandy : [Gives Jerome a smile and points] Click-click!

Harvey : You won't be able to do that my dear, if all your fingers are gone.

Brandy : [Still smiling good humouredly] You must think me awfully patient, dear Colonel, to believe that it would take me that long to get annoyed.

Harvey : [Bows his head to Brandy] Now my dear, I see you've brought a whole plethora of succulent duck related delights! [Eyes light up and he goes red of face, begining to shake] Let's hope someone doesn't try to...[pauses, shaking harder and going even redder]...DUCK paying the bill! [Bursts out laughing long, loud and very alone]

Brandy : [Firing out plates to people in a manner normally associated with a card shark] So, where have you all been for the last while? And how do you know [gives Chac a radiant look] these wonderful people?

Chastity : [Taking a plate] We met them at various points outside thehotel, and we're pulled together by the common ugly experience.

Harvey : [Stops laughing suddenly] Indeed, those crazy lunatics with banners! What are they all about?

Brandy : [Dealing out slices of duck in the same manner that she fired out the plates] What was that? Austin interacting with a woman?

Austin : [To Brandy] We met only moments ago, outside the inn. [Puts a ciggarette into a long holder and lights it up, blowing a few smoke rings] But I see that our reputation has already been provided. [Turns to look out of the window. To himself, pondering] Wonderful people.

Alice : Well, they were kind of all over the place, really. They were against musicians, monsters and mothers.*

Harvey : [Begins to eat his duck with relish] Ah, that is just wonderful! And much needed! Please Brandy, help yourself!

Brandy : And eat poisoned duck? You must be joking.

Harvey : [Coughs suddenly and spits the duck across the room] Gah! Are you trying to kill me, madam?

Alice : [Watching the duck fly across the room towards Martin] Duck!

Brandy : [Puts on a sad face] I'm sorry, Colonel, I was just having a joke with you. Please, let me fix you another plate. [Fires all the necessary items onto Harvey's lap, before sitting down herself with some duck, which she takes a bite of] So, tell me all these wonderful tales of what happened in the last two years?

Austin : [To Brandy, checking his nails] Not much really, freeing the persecuted slave children, forcing some junkie elves to see the error in their ways, rescuing cities from morc hoardes and drinking Louis XIV and even some Louis XV, which was nice. [Blows some smoke rings] What have you been upto? Poisoned anyone lately?

Brandy : [Looks down at the untouched plate in front of Austin for a second before looking him back right in the eye] No.

[A tense moment descends, only to be broken by MARTIN taking the full force of the duck in the side of the head.]

Brandy : [Looks at Martin for a moment, before turning back to the others with a smile] I'm sure you have much more exciting stories than that.

Chastity : [Trying to roll up a duck pancake] After leaving an evil entity to burn in lava for two thousand years we were all turned into children. [Looks round the group, awkwardly] We got better. [Finally managing to construct her food, takes a big bite, with most the filling coming out the end. Finishes her mouthful] Oh, all except Clint, who was sucked dry by a vampiric zombie, had his head cut off by a seven headed school mistress. [Takes another bite]

Brandy : Poor old Clint, Yvette and Orla will be so disappointed. What are you doing in Dystopia? Facing the music?

Chastity : Seeing what band is playing, hopefully not! Their guitarist was the ugly incident that brought us together!

Austin : [To Brandy, carefully sampling some food] Just a bit of shopping, haveing a look around the place. [Casually] Are there any parties going on tonight?

Chac : [Stuffing his face and listening intently] Brandy, have you any brandy? [To Austin] Not to interrupt or anything. [Belches loudly, spraying duck into his beard] This is very elucidating. [Takes another swig of beer from the jug and continues eating noisily]

Brandy : [Coolly to Austin] Yes. [Warm, wonderful smile to Chac] For you? Of course! But we'd better wait until after dinner, don't you think.

Jerome : [To Chac] Mr. Chac, Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD is curious as to the location the monks from whom you got the Placebium.

Chastity : [looks up in alarm at Jerome] Sssssshhh! [Unfortunately a large piece of duck flies across the room from Chastity's mouth and lands on Jerome's shoulder]

Chastity : [Blushing] Oh, do forgive me, Doctor. Allow me to clean you up. [Rushes over and wipes the partially chewed food from his clothing. Whispering in Jerome's ear] I though we weren't going to mention you know what in front of your know who.

Alice : [Indignant] Hey! You know, I am a grown up, Chastity, you can talk about these things in front of me!

Harvey : [Wolfing down the duck] Ah, excellent, superb! Just delicious! [To Brandy] So tell me, my dear, has Himo gone to ground?

Jerome : [Looks around, confused, but realisation dawns] Of course, Sister, my apologies.

Brandy : I haven't seen him for a long time, not since before the crash. The last I heard he was in the Interior - that was from his delightful daughter. She was on her way down there.

Jerome : [Turns an intense glare on Brandy] Was Himo Vitun Kusipaa?

Brandy : [With a smile] If he was, he didn't know it.

Harvey : By the saints, you mean Himo was a schizophrenic? Well, it would certainly part explain his daughters conduct!

Alice : You mean, all those times Faetan was being really annoying, it wasn't her? And was actually Himo, dressed up in an unconvincing wig? [Nods slowly] So, that whole lesbian thing does make some sense after all.

Martin : [Still wearing the duck on his head] Vitun Kusipaa? Have you had dealings with him? I never believed he was real - but I met some people earlier who claimed to be working for him, and that, because of the [looks at Brandy before turning to the others] you know what, he is actually here in Dystopia! That's pretty amazing, don't you think? I mean, I think it is really amazing, but I'm going on too much, I'm sorry, I always do that, I just go on and on and on and no one can keep up with me? Isn't that right, Chac?

Chac : We-

Martin : [Interrupting] See? Not even Martin can get a word in with me!

Alice : Aren't you Martin?

Martin : Sh.

Harvey : Honestly sir, my dear nieces opinion is one of the most valued in this room, and I'll politely ask you not to sh her again!

Jerome : Dr Jerome K Trindle, Bsc Phd concurs with the colonels heart felt words, and would like to vow now, will be most put out should someone attempt to prevent her sweet voice issuing from her sweet voice again!

Martin : My most humble apologies, sirs. [To Alice] My lady, please, we all await what you have to say.

Alice : Er, um, you've got a duck on your head.

Martin : Yes, I see. Most interesting.

Brandy : These people who say the work for Kusipaa, where did you meet them?

Martin : I was chatting to some lovely lady in a nearby coffee shop, when they came in, demanding that they could skip to the front of Espresso line, claiming that they had special rights as they worked for him.

Chastity : That seems to be an awful casual way to announce you work for such a clandestine figure. I feel they must be trying their luck! What did they look like? And did they by and extra coffees?

Harvey : That would be my feeling also, dear sister. He would hardly be such an undergound figure if his cronies went around announcing themselves to all and sundry!

Brandy : What did they look like?

Martin : They looked like they were all members of the same family. One of them said his name was Bertone.

Alice : Bertone? As in the Bertone Parmesan company?

Martin : I suppose.

Brandy : Well, it was probably only a matter of time before that awful Vitun Kusipaa got involved in cheese importing. [Bows slightly to the others] I must take my leave of you now. I will return later to collect the plates.

[Exit BRANDY.]

Harvey : Oh dear, troop! Us, Pestilence, Vitun Kusipaa and now the Bertones, all together in the same town. Something big is happening here, I can feel it in my water!

Jerome : Jerome K. Trindle, Bsc, Phd and recent child genius would like it made known that he feels a slight nausea at the thought of this group bumping into these groups, as manual combat is sure to ensue. I will devote a large part of my mental process to the possibility of donning suitable disguises to pass through this town unmolested.

Alice : Are they all here because of the Placebium, I wonder?

Chastity : [Looking down at her bag with the flask of Placebium in it] Suddenly I'm not sure if we are very lucky to have some, or very unlucky! [To Chac] Did these monks you met come from around here?

Chac : [Nodding as he sucks on a duck drumstick] Indeed, good Sister, just a few miles from Dystopia.

Harvey : I think we will count ourselves lucky if we bump into Pestilence, dear sister! However, if Brandy suspects we have Placebium, then, through no fault of her own, others might hear of it and track us down! We would be wise to be on our guard!

Austin : [Nods] Placebium or no Placebium, we should be on our gard. [Checks his nails. To Chac] Well then, what do you know about Placebium, can it be foreged into a blade? What are the manners in which it can be best used?

Chac : I'm afraid I don't know much about it - what is your interest in it? You don't seem to be particularly fond of Pestilence and the others.

Harvey : Indeed, we are not fond of that blackguard at all, not one bit! As for the Placebium, we didn't know it even existed until a short time ago, but it seems to be a powerful weapon against Pestilence and his ilk! [Scratches at a sideburn] I wonder, sir, if you would be good enough to bring us to the monks who supplied you with yours? They may know more about it, or may even know where more could be obtained.

Austin : [To Chac, shocked] Wait a moment! You mean somone actually LIKES Pestillence? What the hell is going on around here?

Chac : Er, no, no I don't.

Chastity : [To Austin] Hold on there, mister. [gestures to Chac] He may not have previously known of Pestilence, and therefore hasn't had the chance to hate him. Much in the same way as he only had the opportunity to dislike you once he met you. [To Chac] What do you know of Pestilence? Have you encountered him before.

Austin : [To Chastity] Hold on there, sister. [Gestures to Chac] I did not say that he has previously known of Pestillence, I asked him if he thought [Huge over exageration] Someone [Sighs] actually likes Pestillence. [Muses. To Chastity] You should get your ears shringed old dear, unless the bells have permanently damaged your hearing.

Alice : [Giving Austin a baleful look] There are worse things to have damage to than hearing.

Chac : [Looking from Austin to Chastity, bemused] I've never met Pestilence, and just know of him by reputation from the Four Horsemen. If you lot really are out to destroy him then I'm sure that you can get me to show you where I got the Placebium from - but don't expect it to be easy.

Alice : Which? Getting you to show us? Or showing it? Or getting it?

Chac : [Thinks for a moment] The last two.

Harvey : Very good, how about we head away immediately after this fine and palatable repast!

Alice : Good idea, Unc, it'll give us a chance to check out this band. Last from Colin #93

Austin : [To Alice] And find this party.

Alice : This party? But, we're here, aren't we?

Harvey : Indeed so, dear niece! What party is this you're talking about, private Sleaze? The espresso raiders?

Austin : [Rolls his eyes, grits his teeth a little and then checks his nails. Alice] I meant party as in the celebratory type, where people mingle socially, drink exotic alcholoic cocktails, consume various psychoactive substances, dance and listen to music and such like. [Turns back to have a look out of the window]

Chastity : [Puts her plate down and stands up] By Phli, that sounds like a waste of our precious time, especially as its delaying our vital visit to a religious centre that can combat evils. Unlike your party which obviously is designed to embrace them.

Austin : [To Chastity] I doudt very much that the likes of Pestillence would be at any good parties as he would probably torture and kill everyone present, and therefore, by definition, it would not be a good party, unless of course, you happen to be Pestillence [Eyes Chastity suspiciously]

Alice : Torture at a party? You must be thinking of Christmas at our house! Anyway, in our party, [indicating the group] we mix socially, drink exotic alcholoic cocktails, consume various psychoactive substances, dance and listen to music and such like, don't we? Anyway, I suppose we'd better get changed into something a bit more revealing if we're going to the band.

Austin : [Looks at Alice's already unfeasibly short skirt] I suppost there is a [pointedly] bit more to reveal. [To Jerome] No she is not talking about wearing name badges with our D.O.B's on them. [Ponders] I wonder if it's tick or invites to the gig, maybe Alice could get us onto the guests list, posing as a performer, pole dancer or somesuch. [Dismisively waves a hand at the idea] It's probably just a free bar gig.

Alice : Pole dancer? Hm, I'm not sure if I could pull it off, but I'm willing to try!

Harvey : I'm confused, troop! Why in Philis name are we thinking of going to a party and annoucing our presence to Pestilence, the Bertones, Himo and the rest? Surely we should make immediately for the monks, attempt to arm ourselves with effective weapons and then face the evildoers!

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD believes that it is prudent to at least check the band, to ensure that it really is Pestilence and the others. We can stand at the back, holding pints of beer and [face darkens] moodily watching beautiful girls making out with less educated people.

Harvey : Well doctor, if you think so! Should we be disguised do you think? Perhaps we can all kneel down, place our shoes on our knees and pretend we're all Chacs family paying a visit to the big city for the weekend!

Chac : Excellent idea! Martin, are you ready?

[MARTIN drops his trousers, so he is now naked from the waste down, before taking of his top.]

Martin : I'm not coming, I'm going to stay here and stand naked on the balcony in the hope that some lovely ladies will come by.

[Exit ALL, except MARTIN, in a hurry.]

Martin : [Walking out onto the balcony, and calling down to the passing people] Look upon the wonder that is my body! Feast your eyes upon me! Who is worthy to bring me comfort this day? [Book III, Act XII, Scene III. Outside The Bar. CHAC, ALICE, JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and HARVEY are here, having just arrived at the entrance. CONSTANCE PRUDE is here, with the PMAF.]

Constance : [To the party] Oh, brothers and sisters, you have escaped from that terrible, evil fiend!

Harvey : [Quietly to the others] It's them, the crazy banner waving lunatics! We must be very careful, troop!

Jerome : [To Constance] Dr Jerome K Trindle, Bsc Phd wishes to enter this establishment to ascertain for himself, the baccanalien debauchery contained within, so he can formulate a stiff correspondence to the local constabulary and have this venue taken off the Children Friendly Guide To Local Towns and Burgs (Incorporating Hamlets) guide book. Please move aside!

Constance : No! No! You will be corrupted! It is filled with sleazy city types, lawyers and women of loose morals! [Looks at Austin and Alice for a moment, before turning to the PMAF] Look! They must work in there!

[The PMAF begin jostling the party a bit.]

Harvey : Back ladies, back! Have you never heard of an undercover operation! We plan to blend in with these wrong doers and observe exactly what antics they get up to! Do not worry about our morality being compromised, dear ladies, we are a professional group, highly trained to remain unaffected by these disturbing scenes! But please, tell not a soul, or those inside will find out we are impostors!

Austin : [To Constance] The good doctor is correct, and we do have sister Chastity with us incase the we requie any extra high moralising to be done, and Alice and I are already in our disguises too! [Looking very concerend] We can't go back now, and lets this huse of debauchery continue, unobserved by we who may be able to purify this pit of dispair for the good of all [Finishes hand on heart]

Alice : Say it, brother Austin, let us fear not as we walk amongst the sinners, let us inhale not as their vile odours permeate the air, let us quaff not of their evil brew, nor eat not of their vile cheese, nor sleep not with or as harlots of loose morals, and [listens for a moment as the music starts pumping out] Hey! They've started! Quick, let's get in and see if we can sneak backstage by pretending we'll give blowjobs to the bouncers.

[CONSTANCE's mouth drops open with shock.]

Alice : Er, I mean, let us not say things like that when temptation is put our way.

Jerome : [Drops to his knees] And please, please Lord Phili, make any promises of blowjobs be true! [Starts getting up, but slips back down again] And by women! [Starts getting up, but slips back down again] And by - [glances Alice before catching Harvey's eye] Er, yes. [Stands up and straightens his tie, speaking calmly again] Please madam, we have loose morals to tighten.

Harvey : So dear ladies, please stand aside and let us observe these evil doers!

Constance : [To Chastity] Is this true Sister? [Loudly] Are they undercover? [Even more loudly] Are they going in secret to bring down the awful Pestilence?

[The PMAF all cheer loudly at this.]

Chastity : [Places a hand on Constance's shoulder] Indeed rejoice, Sister. We are sowing the holy seeds that will see this filthy house of cards topple like a line of evil dominoes! Praise be to Phili. [Turns to the group] Let's go. [To Alice, handing her a handkerchief] Take this, in case you need to wipe your chin. And if you get any stains on your dress, make sure to keep in wrapped up safe. You never know when it may come in useful!

Alice : Oh, Sister Chastity, I don't think that it's drool on my chin that we should be worried about, rather the - hey!

Constance : Rejoice! Rejoice! [Leans in confidentially to the party] Shall I accompany you? I have a rather racy twin set that is so naughty that I could pass as a regular visitor of the bar. Last from Conor #10

Austin : [To Constance] If you do not fear evil, and vow to destroy it by anymeans no matter what danger you put yourself in, then you may come with us.

Constance : Oh yes, brother, I do not fear evil! I vow to destroy it by any means! And I don't care about - er, danger, you say?

[The PMAF are all excited, pleased at CONSTANCE's enthusiasm.]

Last from Conor #12

Austin : [To Constance] I hope your acting is good, we will have to fit in with the crowd, which means we will have to do as they do, behave as they behave, but as long as we stick together, I'm sure good shall triumph [Smacks his fist into the palm of his hand, triumphantly, and heads into the bar] Let us purify!

Constance : [To the PMAF] You know, Sisters, it might be better for me to let them go in on their own.

PMAF : Hooray for the brave Sister Constance! In you go!

[CONSTANCE is pushed into the bar, where they are met by SPARK ALMOND, a bouncer. There is another set of doors leading into the bar, but the music is deafening.]

Spark : [With a smile] Well, hello. We've got a special treat tonight, so you can go right in and don't even have to prove you're a sexual pervert!

Constance : [Terrified, and trying to hold onto to each of Austin and Alice] Thank Phili for that, we'd be in terrible trouble otherwise.

Austin : [To Spark] No proof, that's a shame, I rather enjoy that part [Winks at Constance and takes her into the bar. To Spark] Nice tats!

Spark : [Winks at Austin] Thanks, hon, they're edible, you know.

Alice : Edible tattoos?

Spark : Well, the one on my d-

Harvey : Yes, yes! Thank you very much, sir!

Spark : Enjoy, and be careful! Dangsten's here tonight.

[The party follow AUSTIN and the shocked CONSTANCE into the bar. DANGSTEN BLACKHEART is on stage, with PESTILENCE playing bass, STRAHD on the keyboards and ANIMAL on the drums. The room is quite large and dark, so it is reasonable to assume that the band can't see the party. It is also absolutely filthy, with the floor and tables covered in hundreds of cheeseratte ends and used glasses. A lot of people are smoking cheeserattes, snorting parmesan and even brazenly injecting cheese whip in full public view, and several are engaging in unspeakable sexual acts.]

Constance : [White with horror] Oh my God!

Alice : [Eyes wide with delight] I know! It's great!

Chastity : [Attempting to stop Alice galloping into the crowd. To Constance, very stilted] Yes, great that there are so many that have strayed to be converted back. [Looks at the band] They could do with a guitarist! [Giggles] prob.

Austin : [Draws a pre-rolled cheesearette from his pocket, lights it up. To Constance] This is a fake cheesearette I made earlier, good isn't it [Blows three smoke rings. To Constance] I've been practicing my part [ Hands the cheesearette to Constance] Remeber, it's just herbs, juts take small drags to start with until you get the hang of it, then you'll fit in a treat!

Alice : [Looking back with dismay to see Chastity catching the back of her cardigan] Hey!

[There don't appear to be any free tables, although there is just one person sitting at a nearby table that has enough free seats. It is a woman dressed in black leather smoking a cheeserette. The constant strobe lighting effect makes it difficult to see her face, however.]

Harvey : [Stiffly standing near Constance, Chastity and Jerome, with each of them standing out like a sore thumb] Right, let's try to look inconspicuous, troop.

Constance : [To Austin] Thank you, it would be awful to have to try the real thing. [Takes a smalldrag, and immediately begins coughing and choking]

Alice : [Takes it off her] Here's how you do it. [Takes one long, slow drag, causing the entire cheeserette to burn down to the butt, before leaving outall the smoke in one smooth, slow movement] Aaah!

Harvey : [Glares at Alice] We don't want to look too inconspicuous, Alice!

Alice : [Swaying slightly] It's okay, Unc, it was a fake one. [Tries to give Austin two thumbs up, but instead falls over the table where the woman is sitting]

Chastity : [Looking at Alice] Just goes to show that even herbal rollies aren't good for you! [To the woman at the table. Trying to be cool, and failing dismally] Hey, cool, sorry, this chick is totally out of it, man..er..lady..er...yeah! [Turns round and does two thumbs up to the group before turning back to the woman with a cool look on her face]

[The woman looks upon, showing the party that she is ASTRID, a Hierophantic Knight who came down into hell with SVEN to save the party.]

Astrid : [With a wry smile] You'd better put those thumbs down before you have someone's eye out with them, Sister.

Chastity : [With a smile, until someone with a rubber suit complete with gas mask linked to pants walks by] Well there are plenty of sights in her tempting me to do it to myself. [Takes a seat] What are you doing here?

Astrid : I was kind of hoping to try and find a way to kill Dangsten, as it happens.

[The rest of the party sit down, and are soon joined by the figure in the gas mask.]

Chastity : [Looks up at the gas masked figure] Yes? Can we help you? Unless...Peter?

Austin : [To Astrid] Like the outfit, do you know if there is an after party? After we kill Pestillence party, that is.

Astrid : [Leans in close to Austin] If you kill Pestilence, I'll sort out the party. Just remember, it's Dangsten who's their leader - no one knows just how powerful he is, but it's a safe bet that he's considerably stronger than Pestilence.

Peter : [Takes off the gas mas, revealing him to be somewhat sweaty, but this doesn't stop him from looking at the party with barely concealed disdain] What a joy it is to behold you all again.

Castity : [Excitedly to Austin] Yay, Peter Deadpan is back. [Happily to Peter] I just knew that that was you seemlessly blending in with the crowd in that suit. [To Constance] Your going to love him. What a guy. [Turns back to beam at Peter]

Austin : [To Peter] Continuing your tireless fight against evil I see. Do you plan to kill Dangsten or Pestillence or both? [Ponders] I'm not sure if we can manage both.

Peter : We're only here for the lovely clothes.

Astrid : [Leaning into the table, waving her cheeserette around] We're here to steal back Beaucaphalus, what about you?

Constance : [Enthusiastically to Peter] Hello, I'm an undercover agent!

Peter : [Deadpan] You're very convicing. you

Harvey : [Looking around the room with poorly concealed shock at a scene in the corner] By the saints troop, do they pay that poor woman to sleep with that polar bear? [Turns back] And if you do plan to kill them all, how so? Are you going to use Placebium? in that

Austin : [Trying not to say anything, but ... sarcastically deadpan] I know, why don't we all, good guys and bad guys, [Points generally at them and us] have a get together later on, an open forum type thing, where we can all discuss how to kill each other, our plans, weapons and goals, etcetra, in an open and freindly way. That way there will be no suprises and the bad guys will have a fair chance of getting away. [Looks at the Colonel to see if he gets it]

Chastity : [Following Harveys gaze to the corner] What you mean that polar bear with with checked scarf and trousers [stops in horror] I'll never see Rupert in the same light again! [Ignoring Austin, to Peter] We've seen what's going on in here, I think we should all leave and find a plan of action. Tea-wise this place probably only serves [pauses for effect] Diregelling. [Smiles at her tea joke]

Astrid : Actually, Sister, this is probably the safest place to be at the moment - Dangsten has minions roaming the streets. Anyone not listening to the music or outside protesting about people listening to music is likely to be killed. [To Austin] That's an interesting, if somewhat stupid idea, mainly because we're not sure who all the bad guys are. Since rumours of the Placebium came about, all sorts have come to Dystopia looking for it.

Chastity : [Clutching her bag tightly, looking around nervously] Really? [To Constance] Do you think the rest of the PMAF are still outside?

Constance : The PMAF, why they're just so [emphasis] square, a [stilted] hep cat like me wouldn't have any, er, jive with them. [Gives a big wink and thumbs up to the party, before whispering] Do you think I should check on them? They're not all as worldly wise as I am, you know.

Chastity : I think you'd better. Rememeber to give the doorman some excuse, though. You don't want to give the game away. Oh, and best check the special entry condition is still on as well, just in case.

Constance : [With a smile and two thumbs up] Gear!

Astrid : Okay, now that we've gotten rid of her - what did you want to talk about?

Chastity : [Trying to discretely whisper over the deafening music to Astrid] Do you know anything about a group of monks that stay around here? We think they may have a source of Placebium.

Austin : [To Astrid, stoney faced] I was being sarcastic. [Sighs. Looks around the place to see if there is a wonder sword or other magical weapon lying around]

Astrid : Well, the monks are common knowledge, but their monastary was recently destroyed, and getting at the Placebium would be very difficult without some sort of inside knowledge. [Looks around the room] There are a lot of people here who would want to get at it - including, from what I hear, Dangsten himself. There are several well known adventurers in town, and there's even a rumour that Vitun Kusipaa is in town.

[A man from the next table turns around, it is CARLOS BERTONE.]

Carlos : That is my employer of whom you speak. I suggest you do not speak of him again, or I will kill you. [Narrows his eyes at the party] You, of course, I shall kill anyway.

Chastity : [To Carlos] So we can just mention him anyway. Thank you for letting us know. [Turns away from Carlos. To Alice] I wonder how Constance is getting on.

Austin : [Pondering] Hmmm, Vitun Kusipaa, [Ponders] Vitun Kusipaa, I wonder if that's and anagram for something, hmmm Vitun Kusipaa. [Ponders] Aunt vau I skip. [Shakes his head] nope. [Ponders] Vitun Kusipaa, Vitun Kusipaa, Anti-VISA puku [Shakes his head] Vitun Kusipaa,

Alice : [To Chastity] I'll check. [Heads off too]

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle finds it highly unlikely that it is an anagram for anything. The name has popped up so often in our past, it seems unlikely to Jerome that there is such a person, unless they are sneaky to the tune of Darius-like proportions. Hm.

Chastity : [To Jerome] I suspect that Austin is tired of our company and is looking for some new challenge to argue with.

Jerome : How fortunate then, that we, too, grow tired of him.

[There is a small commotion from the direction that ALICE went in. She is arguing with TARA and SEBASTIAN.]

Tara : You dumb bitch, I ought to cut your throat right now!

Sebastian : Oh, Tara, you are so delightfully vicious, do make sure to use the magical sword though, because we are in a hurry.

Alice : [To Tara] Hey! All I said was the you looked more like a man than he does!

Harvey : [Rushes over towards Alice] Here here, what's all this? How dare you threaten my niece for speaking the truth! Every woman in here looks more like a man than [gestures towards Sebastian] he does! Even Peter does, and that's saying something!

[Both SEBASTIAN and TARA draw their swords.]

Tara : Kill him, Seb! Slit his gizzard!

Sebastian : [To Harvey] What worries me most about your statement, sir, is that you will believe that I am woman!

Harvey : [Draws his own sword] By the saints, you're certainly as sensitive as one!

Sebastian : Whereas you, sir, I'll wager, fight like one! player - AGAIN! Conor, Well, this is my first stab at this character. I hope you enjoy it. I'm actually kinda fond of this character and will definately have to use him later if not in your campaign. I took out the level information and anything else like that because I don't know what you allow, etc. Hope you enjoy him. Also, I named him George for a reason. Clayt

Harvey : [Rushes over towards Alice] Here here, what's all this? How dare you threaten my niece for speaking the truth! Every woman in here looks more like a man than [gestures towards Sebastian] he does! Even Peter does, and that's saying something!

[Both SEBASTIAN and TARA draw their swords.]

Tara : Kill him, Seb! Slit his gizzard!

Sebastian : [To Harvey] What worries me most about your statement, sir, is that you will believe that I am woman!

Harvey : [Draws his own sword] By the saints, you're certainly as sensitive as one!

Sebastian : Whereas you, sir, I'll wager, fight like one!

Chastity : [Rushes over. To Sebastian] I'm sure you'll find that the Colonel is more than experienced in recognising a dandy fop when he sees one. [Points to Austin. Aside to Alice] I'm not sure that came out quite as well as I hoped. [To Sebastian and Tara, scolding] Put you swords down this instant. [Takes the opportunity to look at the swords to see if they're familiar]

[The swords aren't familiar.]

Tara : I'll put my sword down after I've trimmed your beard with it, old woman!

Sebastian : And I - [looks passed the assembled party members and spots Peter, causing his face to light up] Hey! It's Peter! Hey Peter, are they friends of yours?

Peter : [Curling up his lip in disgust] No, they're my hostages.

Sebastian : [Laughs out loud before turning back to the party] Hey, sorry guys, I'm really sorry, any friends of Peter's are friends of ours.

Tara : [Putting her sword away] Me too, man, that was a total over reaction, I'm really sorry. [Squeezes Alice's arm reassuringly] Are you okay?

Alice : Er, I'm fine.

Austin : [Wanders over to Tara] Well, I for one think you look like a woman, and quite a fiesty one at that. [Offers Tara a lit cheesearette, after casually blowing three smoke rings]

Chastity : [Visibly relaxes. To Sebastian] How do you know Peter? [Big cheesy grin] He's a great guy, isn't he. [CHuckles to herself] Hostages [Chuckles again]

Sebastian : I know! Who else would get away with that? [Escorts Chastity back to the table] I see you've been Peterfied, isn't he great? [To Peter] Hey guy! It's great to see you!

Peter : Of course it is. I can hardly contain my excitement at seeing you.

Tara : [Taking the cheeserette from Austin] Ha! If you weren't such a friend of Peter's, I'd think you were seriously trying to chat me up with that line!

[Everyone sits down again.]

Sebastian : [Clearly trying to stop laughing and turning to Chastity] Hostages!

Chastity : [Wiping away a tear] Ohhh dear. [Composing herself. To Tara] Now then. What brings you here. [Looks around to check no-ones listening and leans closer to Tara] I heard Sebastian mention something about your magic sword.

[TARA's face grows cold, but she glances at PETER, who just wears his normal, unreadable expression.]

Tara : [Smiling] Okay, okay, I guess I can trust you lot. Seb and I are freelance adventurers, we've been tracking [lowers voice] Vitun Kusipaa for months. All the indications are that Vitun is in Dystopia to get at the Placebium. [Looks back at the still inscrutable Peter for a second] Oh yeah, and to kill the Four Horsemen if we can.

Austin : [To Tara] Fiestier than I had originally assumed! [Smiles] We too are here to destroy the Four Horsemen, if we can. Of course one of them is currently dieing a thousand deaths in a river of molten lava. [Looks around to se whats afoot]

Chastity : Well we presume he still is, but without going and checking we don't know for sure. Anyway, getting rid of as many as are here is good.

Astrid : Contagion is dead, Sister, or at least, he will be. You have already gone into the future to do that, although this isn't common knowledge yet. We believe there is a power struggle in the Four Horsemen, and that Pestilence will try to take over like he did the last time. [Looks around the table] We need to be careful, every low life in the Realms is in Dystopia to get the Placebium.

Chastity : Hey that's hardly fair. [Gestures to Chac] Just because he's a bit stumpy doesn't mean you can call him a low-li...oh I see what you mean. Sorry.

Austin : [Rolls a cheesearette, lights up and blows a few smoke rings, casually] Okay, so what's the plan, does anyone have one?

Chac : It is okay, Sister, many men of high morals had low physical stature.

Astrid : [To Austin] I presume you'll do the same as everyone else, just hang around the ruins of the monastery in the hope of running into some dumb luck.

Alice : You mean like someone leaning back against a candlestick that opens a secret passage? Or someone moving a book on the shelf that moves the whole thing out of the way to reveal a Placebium store room.

Astrid : Sounds like you may be familiar with that strategy.

Chac : I have a map.

Austin : [Pondering] Well, a goal, a map, and a method, that sounds like a plan to me. [Ponders, blowing a few more smoke rings] How about Friday after noon [Considers the entries in his diary] I have a space there, so we could do it then.

Chastity : [Taking Alice's napkin] Maybe if we leave it here, some of these desperate people will be decoyed. [Looks at the napkin] Gah! The stains on this make a picture of a ruined monastery with an X over it. [Looks up] We'd best get going. No time to waste.

Chac : Hey! That is the map! [Grabs it back off Alice, and looks at it] I didn't see that forest on it before.

Chastity : [Looking over Chacs shoulder] I think you'll find that forest will wipe off the map. [Stands up] Shall we go?

Chastity : [Taking Alice's napkin] Maybe if we leave it here, some of these desperate people will be decoyed. [Looks at the napkin] Gah! The stains on this make a picture of a ruined monastery with an X over it. [Looks up] We'd best get going. No time to waste.

Chac : Hey! That is the map! [Grabs it back off Alice, and looks at it] I didn't see that forest on it before.

Chastity : [Looking over Chacs shoulder] I think you'll find that forest will wipe off the map. [Stands up] Shall we go?

Beta : [Coming over and standing behind Chastity, speaking in a low, but threatening voice] You're all going to die, you murderous, rocket stealing, mouse loving, cheese business destroying bastards.

Sebastian : [Slaps Peter on the back, causing him to spill his drink] Oh, excellent! This lot are almost as wild as you, Peter! No wonder you all get on so well.

Peter : [Disdainfully] We're like peas in a pod.

Austin : [Looks from Peter to Harvey, then back to Peter] Quite. Let's go. [Austin moves towards the exit, casually checking out the talent as he goes]

Chastity : [Sighing at Beta's words. Turning to Beta] You'll have to speak up we can't hear you over the loud music. Maybe another time. [Follows Austin quickly]

Beta : [Steps in front of Chastity, blocking her way] How about I kill you and then repeat it?

Alice : Well, that's never going to work, if she can't hear you when she's alive, what chances does she have when she's dead.

Beta : We work for Vitun Kusipaa now. Stay away from the monastery if you know what's good for you.

Chastity : We do know whats good for us. That's why we're leaving this dismal hole before we catch something. Now if you'll excuse us. [Tries to step past Beta, but pauses] Where is your boss at the moment?

Beta : [Leans in so he's almost nose to nose with Chastity] Counting out all the cash he's going to pay us.

Chastity : I doubt if that'll take very long! [Steps back from Beta, coughing slightly] And now talking of knowing what's good for us, let us depart from this place where the breath is tainted by cheap liquor and smokes! [Goes towards the door]

Austin : [To Chastity] Come on sister, lets leave this place, it's full of thieves, liars, extortionists and hoodlums. With no dress sense [To Peter, deadpan] Present company excluded of course.

Peter : Of course.

Beta : [Calling after the party] I'm going to kill you, do you hear? No one crosses people who work for Vitun Kusipaa! Do you hear me?

[The music stops.]

Dangsten : I can hear you which means you're speaking too loudly. [Throws off his guitar and leaps out into the crowd, sword waving]

Alice : Aw! Do we have to leave? It's just getting good!

Austin : [Takes a quick look at Dangsten's sword, is it Beaucaphallus? To Alice] But the band is falling to pieces. Let's go find a party some place.

Dangsten : [Swiping through a table, sending people screaming and running for panic] What do you say, Beaucaphalus?

Beaucaphalus : I say he's a liar and a big mouth, let's kill him and all his family!

Harvey : Indeed, Private Sleaze, I think we should get out of here as quickly as possible.

[The party head out towards the door, only to see CONSTANCE and SPARK engaged in an intimate act near the door.]

Spark : [Smoking a cheeserette, and giving the party a wave] Hey, I like your friend - [gives Chastity a wink] how're you doing?

Austin : [To Constance] Getting stuck into the social scene I see! Keep up the good work. [Walks past Constance]

Chastity : [To Constance] The committee will have to hear of this, you understand. [To Spark] I take it the entry offer is over then?

Spark : [Takes a long drag of his cheerette as he pats Constance on the head] I hope not!

[Exit the party outside.]

Chac : Hey! There's something wrong with the map - half of it is missing! [Holds up the map to show that this is indeed the case, and it is clear that the half was missing before the party saw it inside]

Alice : Half is missing, eh? How big was it?

Chac : Er, about the size of the sheet of paper that [points at a small man with his back to the party] he is looking at.

[The man, STUMP, a man with a wooden leg who is even smaller than CHAC hears this and turns to face the party with a smile, clearly thinking CHAC is waving at him.]

Stump : Hey there! Man, is this a great town or what? Friendly people, nice looking ladies [blinks bashfully] towards Alice and Chastity and now, [rubs his chest a little] if only I could get this indigestion sorted out I could be on my way. [Folds up the map and puts it into his pocket]

Harvey : [To Chac] Are you sure that's the missing piece?

Chac : [Annoyed] Of course I am.

Harvey : [To Stump] I say, you there, you chappie! What are you doing with our map, eh?

Austin : [Leans towards Harvey] You've got him stumped there Colonel.

Stump : Your map? [Puzzled] I think not! This here piece of paper belongs to myself along with this juicy, roasted duck [taking a bite out of it's side].

Harvey : Yes, I suspect he could be part of a splinter group.

Chac : [Drawing himself up to his full height, which is just a few inches taller than Stump] Liar!

Harvey : [To Stump] Now then, little, er, fellow. Perhaps we might just see the map?

Stump : Now, let me see [in a smart-assed tone] Why should I? This is my map, well, er, part of a map and it will stay with me. Period.

Stump : [To Chac] Who are you calling a liar? [Pushing is stomach out as far as it will go, belly butting Chac]

Chac : [Sizing up to Stump, rubbing his beard in an irritated fashion] Now look here, Shorty, where did you get my map from?

Chac : [Doing the same thing back] You! [Points a stubby finger at Stump, but can't reach far enough to prod Stump in the chest]

Stump : [Irritated] You really want to know...Big guy! I was walking down the street and this duck and map fell from the sky. I took it as a sign for my quest for the magical substance Placebium that I was in the right place. Satisfied! [a small belch eases out of his nose, then picks a red hair out of his mouth]

Chac : Fell from the sky? [Steps back and draws his axe] How about having my axe falling from the sky?

Alice : Hang on there, big guy, maybe it was from him. [Points up at a balcony where the still naked Martin is being pelted by members of the PMAF] Look, his backpack is empty on the balcony, and the last time we saw a duck like that it was Martin's head. [Looks more closely at the duck] Although, judging from the length of that particular red hair, well, the important thing is that Martin had a duck, right?

Stump : [Waving the duck] Wait just a sec! You asked for the truth, I gave it. [Turning to look at Chastity] You look...well...like a woman who knows when somebody is lying. Was I lying?

Harvey : Look the two of you! It's quite obvious that half of a map is useless, so how about you call a temporary truce and join together! I'm sure we can all benefit from another troop member! By the saints, dear niece! [Turns to Alice] Four Shorts in the party now!

Alice : Yes, in fact, you could say we're one short now! [Roars with laughter, but slowly calms down] Hey! That doesn't make any sense at all!

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD agrees with the Colonel's peaceful suggestion, however, perhaps we should verify that the two pieces belong to the same map?

Stump : [Stump doesn't get Alice's joke, smiles meekly at it, and addresses Jerome] First off, who are you? What are you? And why? [he continues] Secondly, why the interest in MY [large emphasis] map piece? [still rolling] Thirdly, I'm hungry and thirsty [as he finishes off half the duck]. Let's go someplace and get a piece of meat. [placing an arm around Jerome] You lead.

Jerome : [Twisting away from Stump's arm] I am Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD, and I wish to inform you that Jerome is not entirely comfortable with physical contact between two males. Our level of interest in your map is directly proportional to the probability of it being part of a map which we believe was stolen from us.

Stump : Uh...Yeah...right...whatever [scratching his head] Just a second [a devious smile comes over his face] Dr. Tinkle. [his hands start moving in strange jestures while he speaks unintelligable words]

[JEROME's head starts to slowly increase in size.]

Alice : What big eyes you have!

Jerome : [Starts to feel around his head] Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD feels distinctly odd.

Chastity : [Slaps Stump accross the hands. Scolding] Stop that this instance! The good Doctor's eye's bulge enough whenever Alice goes up some stairs without your hocus-pocus making it worse. Its not big and its not clever! Now I suggest we find somewhere out of the way to compare our maps.

Alice : [Pointing at Jerome's head] But Sister, it is big! And it is clever!

Stump : I'm sorry, er, Sister? I was just trying to defuse the situation. [Clicks his fingers, and Jerome's head returns to its normal size]

Chac : [Narrows his eyes at Stump] I'm counting. One, you stole my map, two, you have attempted the most grevious assault on the person of one of my friends, three, you consumed half a duck and several hairs without so much as offering any to the rest of us.

Stump : [Burps loudly in Chac's direction, before turning to Chastity] Excuse me, Sister.

Chastity : [Grimacing slightly] I think we should go. If we do have a valid map, albeit in two pieces, we don't want to draw any more attention to ourselves as we already have, by belching, fighting, casting magic in public places, for example! [Looks over at the PMAF] Oh do hold on for a second. [Rushes over to THE PMAF group and joins in throwing rotten fruit and bricks at Martin.] Shame! Boo! Put it away! [After a minute] Keep up the good work. Oh, and get Constance some mouthwash! [rejoins the group, smiling] It's so nice to meet decent folk. [Getsures down the street] Shall we?

Alice : [Glancing up at Martin, who is bent over double in pain after taking a particularly painful strike from a half brick] Good arm, Chas!

Stump : [As the party begin walking along the street] So, given that you have half of my map, you're obviously here for the Placebium, and, given that you didn't try to kill me, you're probably not too evil. What do you say we join forces while we get the Placebium? Last from Conor #101

Chac : [To the others] What do you think? [Looks enviously at the bones of the duck] He clearly can't be trusted. Last from Tessa #102

Chastity : Come now. We've already had our fill. And sometimes we have to work for the greater good of Phili with morally dubious and untrustworthy types. [Pointedly to Austin] Isn't that right, Austin.

Stump : [to Chac] Here then [takes a bite out of the duck], I give this to you as a sign of my friendship...oh, watch out for those red hairs, they get caught everywhere. [to Chastity, looking at here with an unusually long stare] OK, let's find a place to look at the maps, but I'm keeping this part no matter what. Can we at least get a drink?

Austin : [Looks Chastity up and down] Indeed, Sister. Indeed.

Harvey : [To Stump] I'm afraid we don't have time for drink, young sir, it seems as though half the town is looking for the Placebium, including the Four Horsemen and Vitun Kusipaa himself.

Austin : [To Chastity] If there were no persons of ambiguous moral disposition we would not need churches at all. [Looks at Stump, pondering him as one would consider a strange looking animal. To Chastity] Curiouser and curiouser.

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD, believes that it would be a good move to put as much distance between us and the bar as possible.

[As if on cue, BETA is thrown out of a window of the bar that the party has just left.]

Chac : [Surprised at Stump, takes the duck] Oh, right. Well, thanks. That's a nice sign of friendship. [Turns away from the others] Sorry, I've got something in my eye.

Alice : While you're at it, you might want to do something about that big bone in your beard!

Austin : [To Alice] He should ask Chassers how she keeps her beard bone free. [Checks his nails] Mine you I don't think I have ever seen a bone anywhere hear her face. [Checks his nails again, takes a final drag from the cheeseartte, drops it, and stubs it out with his foot]

Stump : [looks at Harvey kinda questioniong] Did you say Vitun Kusipaa...himself? He, is not a he, but he is a she, or at least that is what I've heard. And she, who was a he, is supposidly very attractive [glancing at Alice oh so briefly], though in the sack seems to be an animal. Hmmm. So is he a she or an animal?

Alice : [To Austin] Strange then how you have no beard yet apparantly are no stranger to having a bone near your face.

Harvey : [Thundering] A woman? Impossible! Impossible, I say! Women are of such fair nature that the kinds of acts perpetrated by the villain are simply beyond them and [waves a stern finger at Stump] I'll thank you not use such lurid language in front of the ladies, Mr. - [pause] actually, what is your name, sir?

Stump : [First looking over Chastity and Alice] They don't seem to be offended and might be animals in the sack for all I know. [Winks to them, then address Harvey] As for my name, I am George Crosscreek, though most all me Stump [lifting his leg and almost groining Harvey], Illusionist supreme.

Harvey : Mr Stump! I will thank you to mind your manners in front of the others, because - illusionist, eh? [Looks at Stump's stump] Excellent, chappie, excellent! That looks like it's just a piece of wood! I am Colonel Harvey Kingston Short III, [gestures to each of the party members as he mentions them] Sr. Chasity Browne, Miss Alice Bassett-Short, Dr. Jerome Trindle.

Jerome : [Interjecting] Actually, Colonel, it's Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD.

Harvey : Er, yes, of course it is. And these are Private Sleaze and Mr. Shaft.

Alice : [Looks around] Sleaze, Shaft and Stump? It's like the credits of a porn movie!

Stump : [Bows, well, rather bends slighly] Good to meet you all. [To Alice] If only you knew Shazzam. [Cringing, waiting for Chastity to backhand him across the head]. Now that introductions are done with, where to? I do know that a dude name Old Joe Blind, who had an intimate and ultimately painful encounter with the he female shemale-type Vitun Kusipaa is heading for a monestary around these parts.

Austin : [To Harvey] Well, lets find this monastry then, before it get dark. [Looks around to see if any of the streets are named 'Monastry road' or anything really obvious]

Alice : Monastery? [To the others, clearly trying not to let Stump know what she's talking about] Isn't the you-know-what a you-know-what of a monastary? Maybe we're finally going to get to meet Vitun Kusipaa after all.

Harvey : Well said, Private.

[DANGSTEN climbs out the window, and picks up BETA.]

Beta : No! I'm protected! I work for Vitun Kusipaa!

Dangsten : No you don't. [Throws Beta through a shop window]

Alice : Let's get out of here.

[Book III, Act XII, Scene IV. Near the top of a very steep hill. STUMP, CHAC, ALICE, JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and HARVEY are here, having just spent the last twenty minutes walking. Up on top of the hill is the ruins of a large monastery.]

Alice : You know, it still hasn't been established that the two halves of the map actually match?

Jerome : Interesting observation, Alice. In fact, [slows down walking and starts to look dizzy] oh. I don't feel so well. [Falls on the ground]

Austin : [Looks at Jerome, checks his own nails breifly. Sighs] Looks like somone ate something that Brandy poisoned.

Stump : [Watching Jerome fall to the ground] Looks like too much blood has been running to his oversized head.

Alice : [Annoyed] Look, Mr. Stumpy, I don't care how small your penis is, when someone in this party is hurt, we try to help them. [Glares at Austin] Don't forget, we all ate something that Brandy prepared, including [points dramatically at Stump] him, except his had a much higher hair count than ours.

Chac : [To Jerome] I have the perfect cure for you, my patented chicken broth, it's good for almost any [glares at Stump] disease.

Jerome : Thank you, Chac, and you, dearest Alice, but this is something to do with whatever lies in the monastery - the last time I felt like this was when I was too close to Darius.

Stump : [to Chac and Alice] Touchy are we? Just a joke, no offence. As for you, Alice, Stump may be small and round, but Shazzam, well, that is another matter [huge grin]. Last from Gary #6

Austin : [To Stump] Please be so kind as to help me carry the good doctor further away from the monastry. [Austin lifts Jerome's shoulders] You get his feet, it should be easy as he's a bit of a light weight.

Stump : [Puffing out his chest, no noticable difference, trying to impress the ladies] Light? He's as heavy as a...[remembering that everybody is looking at him] feather. Last from Gary #008

Austin : [Grunting at the strain of lifting Jerome hauls Jerome 20 feet further away from the monastry and puts him into the recovery position] There we go old boy [Pats Jerome on the head] The question is, why is Jerome affected, when none of us are affected? [Ponders] Perhaps it is something to do with the time he was indestructible, in the underworld.

Chastity : [Comes over and mops Jerome's brow] But we've met Darius since then. Although who's to say quite how meeting that scoundrel is going effect someone for one time to the next. [To Jerome] Do you think you'll be able to continue, Doctor?

Stump : [To Chastity] Who is Darius? And may I say that outfit you have on really makes your eyes shine.

Chastity : [Gives Stump a glare and stands up to her full height] I'll thank you not to look at a lady of the cloth in that fashion. Darius is one of the Four Horsemen who runs very much to his own agenda. We have had several dealings with him, most involving us having to take his help which he cunningly uses to his advantage. He is a despicable evil manipulator of events.

Stump : [Truely embarrassed] No maam, I was not looking at you like that. All I was doing was stating that you look nice, a gentlemans comment. [Look of guilt, punishment, and hurt on his face] I'm sorry for any disrespect done. [Turns away from her, shoulders slumping over a bit, and walks a few paces away, mumbling something while shaking his head]

Chastity : [Sighs. Calls after Stump] Apology accepted. Just be careful what you say, as word can often be misconstrued. Now, please, come back. There is no need to go in a huff.

Alice : Ooooh! Chastity and Stumpy sitting in a tree, K - I - S - E - E, er, so, how are you, Jerome?

Jerome : [Clearly feeling better] Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD is feeling better, but feels that his proximity to the monastary is in some way the cause of his pain. It is similar to that experienced when in the presence of Darius, but worse.

Stump : [Turning around, though his confidence shot] Might it be that there are multiple horseherders, or horsemen, or whatever in that monestary? [Pulling out his duck-stained map] Let's look at these maps and see what we've got [making sure not to look directly into Chastity's direction].

Chac : [Slowly takes out his half of the map, and places it near Stump's] Right, it looks like they do match. I haven't looked at it before, but the map is of an old, underground mine. We need to get into the ruins of the monastery and find a lift that'll lead us down. [Looks at Stump] Any more duck?

Alice : [Peering at the map] Well, why is there a forest in the mine?

[A brief moment passes, which ends when ALICE nonchalantly leans over and flicks off the mysterious green substance.]

Alice : Right, what are we going to do with you, Jerome? [Realises that the green substance is stuck to her nail, and keeps trying to flick it off]

Chac : [Slowly moving his piece of the map away, and carefully putting it in his pocket] What about Jerome? What about [points at Jerome] him? Surely we should be more concerned about this poor man's health!

Stump : I think we should take him, he's like our, well, that thing-a-majiger-bobber-thingy that indicates if something bad is about to happen [Patting Jerome on the back knowing it annoys him].

Harvey : But of course we'll take the doctor with us! We can't leave a man in the field, what! Unless of course, good doctor, you wish to stay in the town until our return? Perhaps in Chacs room? I can't say how long we'll be, but I'm sure you'd be comfortable there! And by the time we return, I'm convinced you'll have worked out every manner and means of making use of the Placebium!

Stump : OOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Good idea. I like that, I...wait...what if we need the doc for something?

Chastity : In all eventuality, the Doctor will be unable to do anything. If he can't get much closer than this to the monastery without losing consciousness, he won't be capable of any of the boffin-type help we may require of him anyway. [To Jerome] Do you think this is the case, Doctor. Maybe your valuable time would be best spend harnessing the power of the placebium, as the Colonel suggested.

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD fears that you are correct, Sister. However, he shall endeavour to discover why he appears to be incapable of entering the monastery. Any success will immediately result in the reunification of the party.

Chac : Wise and clever Jerome, you will be missed. Before you go, however, perhaps you could counsel us on the manner in which the map should be transported. [Hopefully] Surely it makes sense for one person to carry it?

Jerome : Actually, it makes less sense.

Alice : Right. Then I guess you should both give your halves to me. [Holds out her two hands]

Chastity : And that makes even less sense. As long as we are all agreed that we can all refer to any part of the map we should just leave the arrangement as is. Hopefully, should the unthinkable happen and we get apprehended, the security of our combined map knowledge will be preserved.

Chac : Fine. [Folds his arms with some difficulty] Whatever.

Alice : Good idea, Sister. [Puts her hands down again and thinks for a moment] Hey!

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD will takes his leave of you now. He will return as soon as possible.

[Exit JEROME.]

Austin : [To Jerome] I take it that you are capable of making your own way back to town, unassisted? [Looks carefully at Jerome, does he have any acne?]

[Like all true geeks, JEROME has more than his fair share of acne.]

Jerome : [Stops and turns around] Indeed I am, Mr. Sleaze. I thank you for your concern, but it is almost certainly whatever is contained within the monastery that is causing my pain.

Austin : [Seemingly satisfied with the copious amounts of acne on Jeromes face, nods to Jerome] Very well, good luck with the Placebium analyses. [Turns to the party] Shall we proceed before anyone else gets here. [Stars walking in a leisurely fashion towards the monastry]

Stump : Good idea, Austin, good idea. [Falls in step with Austin, trotting a little to keep up] So, what's your interest in the Placebium?

Chastity : [Looking round at the rest of the group] COme on. We don't want to get out paced. There's good work to be done. [Follows after Stump and Austin]

Austin : [Raises an eye brow, a little suprised] It can kill the four horsemen, and it just about the best method of killing them that we have ever come across. [Ponders] Our previous attempts have been less than satisfactory and very, very costly. [Looks at Stump to see if he is listening carefully. With the dignity of the great hero that he is] Once we had to sacrifice the life of one of our comrades, Conan, and all the magical powers of two djinns. Another time we had to implail Contagion with seven magical swords and then push hi into a river of molten lava, but alas, one sword did not get thrust into him, and he will probably survive, despite the burning lava. On numerous other occasions we have incurred great losses in our battles against evil.

Chac : Sure. Right. [Stomps after the group, clearly sulking]

Alice : Conan? I think you mean Cocan, and even that's wrong! It was Sven that we had to sacrifice, and Contagion does survive, only to be killed by us in the future, remember? It happened ages ago!

Stump : [Tuts irritably at Alice, before turning back to Austin] Yes, yes, go on, how will the Placebium kill him? [Takes of his hat and mops his brow with the map] This is all extremely interesting

Chac : Fascinating. [Draws his halbeard] I think some of those bad guys from the town are likely to be around, they're probably going to ambush us all and kill us.

Chastity : [To Chac] This may be true, but I think you've been standing a bit close to Austin's cheeserette, dear. [To Austin] Please watch where you blow those rings of yours in future. [Looks around to spot any trouble]

Austin : [To CHastity] I certainly shall. [ To Stump] So, as I was saying, we had to sacrifice Sven, the reincartation of Cocan, as you may have guessed, time travel and reincarnation or ressurection can confuse one at times. [Sighs] Anyway, the good Dr. Trindle is currently investigating ways in which we may use the Placebium to destroy the four horsemen. We already know that is very harmful to any adult, perhaps the good doctor will find a way to forge the refined ore into a weapon of some sort.

Alice : Refined ore? Well, I guess Dystopia is the place to find one of them!

[The party approach the monastery, which is little more than a ruin, having recently (within a few weeks) been burnt down.]

Harvey : Right, where next, troop?

Stump : [Holds out his half of the map, standing between Austin and Chastity] What do you think? This doesn't seem to bear any resemblance to here.

[This is true, STUMP's half of the map seems to detail somewhere undergound.]

Austin : [To Chac] Mr. Chac, what does your half of the map show?

Chac : The entrance! There is a lift that leads down into the mine, it is located in the middle of the monastery complex.

Alice : [Looking around] Well, it looks like there were several buildings, so I guess the middle is somewhere around the centre, right?

[The party start walking towards the centre, and are almost run over by VASCO DE SAO NUNO GOMES, tearing passed them carrying a flag, which he plants in the middle of the buildings. There is no obvious sign of the lift, but there is a particularly large well just off centre.]

Vasco : [Planting the flag near the well] I claim this clearing for the glory of Prince Manuel, Prince John and His Holiness the Pope. [Kneels in front of the flag and blesses himself.]

Chastity : I have sneaking suspicion that the entrance to the caverns may be over there.

Vasco : [Turns to the party and bows] Greetings my friends, it does my heart good to see that you survived the terrible tragedy the befell the Titan Ic. [Smiles his devastatingly bright smile at Alice]

[Enter DUNCAN.]

Duncan : Alright, how're ye doing? [Looks around] Is that damned doctor dead?

Chastity : [To Duncan] You'll be glad to know that the good Doctor is fit and well and cunducting some vital research to combat evil as we speak. I take it it would be foolish to ask why you are here?

Duncan : Aye hen, it would.

[Time passes.]

Alice : Why are you here?

Duncan : I guess for the same reason as you, [points behind the party] and them.

[Behind the party are SEBASTIAN and TARA, the BERTONES and several other people from the bar, all of whom are trying to look nonchalant as they wander around the monastery.]

Stump : OOOoooooo, how exciting. Should I create a great red dragon that swoops down from the sky bring a reign of fire and chaos to the scene, or should I do something a little more mundain, like create a swarm of killer flying locuses that attack and devour the skin of each? [there is a sickning joy in his tone]

Alice : A giant red dragon? You could create a giant red dragon that can fly, and you wait until now, until we've walked [emphasis] all this way before telling us? Do you have any idea how uncomfortable it is to walk that far in high heels? [Takes a look up and down Stump] Okay, well, clearly you don't, but it's really uncomfortable!

Vasco : Ah, lovely lady, let me massage your feet.

[In a second, VASCO is kneeling in front of ALICE, and takes off one of her shoes.]

Vasco : [Visibly blanching, with a tear in his eye] Er, actually, maybe you should just wait until you get home so you can wash them.

Stump : [To Alice] Nobody asked.

Alice : Nobody asked you to be really narky to me, either, but that didn't stop you doing that!

Stump : [Sticks out wet tongue]

Chastity : [Grimacing] Oh please, put your tongue away. It's hairier than your beard. Have you never heard of oral hygiene? [Quickly To Alice] And no, that doesn't mean wiping your chin afterwards! [Looks up at the approaching group] Maybe a dash for the well may be a better strategy, [To Stump] and any wonderful distraction you could conjure would be marvellous.

Alice : [To Chastity] So [emphasis] you don't wipe your chin after? Okay.

Stump : Alright, my friends, just say the word and the giant red dragon of the east will descend.

Chac : Good idea, Sister, we head for the well. [Thinks for a moment] What happens then? [Worriedly] It looks quite high off the ground!

Stump : No problem, I'm sure some of the tallies will be able to help us out. [Closes his eyes and mutters the words to a spell.]

[Far away on the horizon, a tiny dot appears, flying towards the monastery quite quickly.]

Harvey : Excellent, Private Stump, I do believe this will work. [To the rest] Panic settings on high, troop!

Chastity : [To Harvey] Manic waving arms, screams, and wide bulging eyes at the ready, Colonel. Last fro mSam #55

Harvey : [As the dot gets closer] Steady, steady; Alice, do you think you can play the part of hysterical girl running around mindlessly screaming?

Alice : I'll see what I can do.

[The dot reveals itself to be a harmless robin, who flies across the compound singing a pretty tune.]

Harvey : Gah! What ill-conceived and ill-timed civilian drollery is this?

Chastity : [Putts her half raised arms down] By Phili! All that effort for naught! [Looks at the approaching group]

Stump : Duh [emphasised with the Duh look], I was wondering what all the fuss was about. Nobody told me to start.

Chastity : OK then [pauses] Start, for phili's sake!

Stump : [Cracking knuckles] OK, this one if for you! [Starts Casting]

Austin : [Examining his nails nonchalantly] I hope this is good, after sucha big build up.

Alice : [To Chastity] So [emphasis] you don't wipe your chin after? Okay.

Stump : Alright, my friends, just say the word and the giant red dragon of the east will descend.

Chac : Good idea, Sister, we head for the well. [Thinks for a moment] What happens then? [Worriedly] It looks quite high off the ground!

Stump : No problem, I'm sure some of the tallies will be able to help us out. [Closes his eyes and mutters the words to a spell.]

[Far away on the horizon, a tiny dot appears, flying towards the monastery quite quickly.]

Harvey : Excellent, Private Stump, I do believe this will work. [To the rest] Panic settings on high, troop!

Chastity : [To Harvey] Manic waving arms, screams, and wide bulging eyes at the ready, Colonel. Last fro mSam #55

Harvey : [As the dot gets closer] Steady, steady; Alice, do you think you can play the part of hysterical girl running around mindlessly screaming?

Alice : I'll see what I can do.

[The dot reveals itself to be a harmless robin, who flies across the compound singing a pretty tune.]

Harvey : Gah! What ill-conceived and ill-timed civilian drollery is this?

Chastity : [Putts her half raised arms down] By Phili! All that effort for naught! [Looks at the approaching group]

Stump : Duh [emphasised with the Duh look], I was wondering what all the fuss was about. Nobody told me to start.

Chastity : OK then [pauses] Start, for phili's sake!

Stump : [Cracking knuckles] OK, this one if for you! [Starts Casting]

Austin : [Examining his nails nonchalantly] I hope this is good, after sucha big build up.

Alice : [Takes out her camera] I don't want to miss this.

[Out of nowhere, a huge, fearsome looking dragon appears. It is mainly black, except for a white band across its forehead, and a white patch on its chest. On the back of each wing is a large cross. The dragon swoops down over the middle of the monastery, giving a ferocious roar, which seems incongruous with the fact that it reveals that it has no teeth while doing so.]

Alice : Got it! [Blinds herself with the flash from holding the camera the wrong way around]

[All the others dive cover.]

Chastity : [Standing watching calmly] Very impressive. Not a lttle less red than expected, but I do like the colour and motif theme. [Looks around as people are diving for cover] Oh, sorry. [Starts running around waiving her arms in the air, screaming, eyes bulging and making for the well]

Chac : Aiieee! [Runs into Alice, getting a quick grope, before heading towards the well]

Alice : Ow! Hey! How did he even reach that high? [Runs towards the well]

Chac : [Running as fast as his legs will carry him] What happens if the lift isn't in the well? [Will take a look in if he gets there] before.

Stump : [Bows, and in a terrible impersination of Elvis] Thank yuh. Thank yuh very much. [Backs up towards well, concentrating real hard, sweat pouring from his face]

Chastity : [Still waving arms] AAaaahhhhhhhh we look for alternatives aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh [Tries to look down the well] [All the party is now at the well, which is a tradional stone type thing with wall and roof, even CHAC and STUMP can easily get over it. The lift is clearly in the well, and it looks as though people can just climb down into it.]

Harvey : [Vaulting over the wall with surprising agility] Quickly, now, Troop!

Chastity : Aaaaaaaaaah [Jumps into the well] Do you think this lift has a person limit? And will it include small people as whole people?

Stump : [Waiting for everybody to jump in] Banzai!! [in some strange accent as he rolls over the side on top of everybody, a little duckish-smelling fart squeezes out upon impact]

Alice : [Vaulting over the wall using Chac's head as leverage] It depends on how big the small people are, Chas! [Crashes against the wall, and slowly pulls herself in, skirt up around her ears] Hey! This wall was higher than I thought!

Chastity : [Coughing slightly] Mr. Stump, we know you are a mighty illusionist, but you can stop now. Although quite what the advantage is of appearing to be Welsh is quite beyond me. [Tries to waft away the smell]

Chac : [Calling after Alice] Unhand me, woman! [Scrambles over the wall, after painfully standing on his beard on take off]

Harvey : [Inhales] Mm, duck a la [shakes himself back to reality] Right, troop, well done! Now, how does this work? Anyone here know anything about going down?

[There is are two levers on the side, one marked "down", which is currently up and one marked "up" which is currently down.]

Alice : Let me take a look, Unc, I'm used to going down. [Studies the levers, face wrapt in concentration]

Austin : [Grimaces in horror at the ducky fart and sprays a tiny amount of Eve's-Quaint-Laurent aftershave into the offending air. To Alice, whispering] I think we probably want to pull the down lever, what do you reckon?

Stump : Why not do what the sign here says? [Pointing to a sign on the wall]

Harvey : Perhaps dear niece it would be more prudent for one of the menfolk to examine the contraption, what with it being a technical piece of gadgetry, what!

Chastity : [Outraged] Colonel! What a sexist remark, I'd have expected better from you of all the group [Goes over to the lever and looks at it. After a moment] Erm, how do you think it works?

Austin : [Reads the sign, checks his nails]

Chastity : [Glances over the wall at the baddies] We've no time for this. [Pushes the the "up" lever up and the "down" lever down] I hope this lift wasn't taken from Stanley Stonkers Candy Factory! [Braces herself for some lift movement]

Chastity : [Looks at the levers as nothing happens] Come on then, in th ename of Phili, do something, stupid machine! [Gives the lift wall a kick]

Austin : [Looks at the sign again, check his nails, the looks at Chastity] Why don't you read the sign, check the small print. [Austin checks his hair in his pocket mirror and smiles]

Chastity : [Gives an exasparated sigh] Why don't I read the small print? Small print? Why don't you help, is more the question? [Looks at the sign Austin refers to]

Alice : [Reading out the sign] Do not point. [Glares at Stump] Oh, well done, I just bet something awful will happen.

[CHASTITY pulls the lever and the lift begins to descend, but stops after just a foot. Some floorboards between CHAC and STUMP burst open, enter PESTILENCE, climbing up through the floor.]

Pestilence : [Wide toothy grin] Back to the scene of the crime, eh?

Chastity : [Reaches into her bag and pulls out her flask] Back to the scene of your crime, perhaps! [Opens the flask and tries to through the contents over Pestilence]

[CHASTITY throws the flask over PESTILENCE, causing CHAC and STUMP to dive out of the way for cover. Quite a lot of it strikes him, sending him staggering back, but not burning him like it did MORTICE.]

Pestilence : Argh! What the hell? [Leans back against the wall, with no obvious wounds, but clearly stunned] Where the hell did you get that from?

Stump : And why might you be, Pestilence? You sound like some disease.

Chastity : [Looking initially a bit disappointed before putting on a more belligerent front] To Pestilence None of your business, evil one! [To Stump] He's one of the Four Horsemen as well as the leader in that truly awful band!

Chac : [Pulls out his halbeard] We've got more of it, now get out or we'll use it.

Alice : [Whispering loudly to Chac] No we don't, that was the - oh, I see! [Gives Chac a big wink before turning to Pestilence] we've got more and we're not afraid to use it.

Pestilence : [Calmly and coldly] No you don't. [Holds out his hand] I want the map. Now.

Stump : Frankly, Pestilence, I don't like how you talk to these women. [tries to hit him in the groin him with his wooden stump].

[STUMP throws his kick, but PESTILENCE catches him by the leg, before pushing him back against the wall of the lift, colliding with CHASTITY and AUSTIN, sending all three to the ground.]

Pestilence : [Draws out Beaucaphalus with a smile] You know, now I'm so irked with you that even if you gave me the map this very second I'd still kill you.

Harvey : [Drawing his sword] Stand down sir! Beaucaphlus, is that you?

Beaucaphalus : Come on, Pestilence, let's kill him first. Gay blade my ass!

Chac : Charge! [Runs at Pestilence, swinging at him]

Chastity : [Tries to grab the back of Chac and hold him up] No. We need a special weapon to hurt him.

[CHAC escapes CHASTITY's clutches and swings at PESTILENCE, who quickly grabs him and pushes him back against the wall.]

Pestilence : Now, little man, I don't know how you losers managed to sneak some Placebium back without Death noticing, and, quite frankly I don't even need your map. I just thought it would be a cool thing to take it off you and have you lot running around in the mine lost and trying to find me. [Puts Beaucaphalus up to Chac's throat] But after that Nun threw the Placebium, I'm pretty pissed off.

Chac : Er, well, I'm sure I can sympathise with that, I'm sure we all can. It's just awful. Now, if you'll just step back, we can be on our way, and we'll be sure to give Chastity a good talking to when we leave.

Stump : Ahhh, so THAT's what Placebium can do. [A wicked smile crosses his face] Let me try. [spitting on his hands, rubbing them together forming a foamy slime]

Chastity : [Looks at Stump's slimey hands] Eurgh!

Pestilence : [Turns and looks at Stump, who's muttering the words to a spell] Do you really think someone like you can affect me? [Grabs a dagger and throws it at Stump]

[Just as the dagger is about to hit stump, the lift tips over to one side, sending everyone sprawling. The supports on one side have been cut, so it is now just hanging from one side, and everyone, including PESTILENCE is hanging off it.]

Alice : Hey! What happened? [Glares at Stump] What kind of spell was that, Mister Stumpy?

[A drip of STUMP's slime slides off his hand and hits ALICE square on the forehead. Just to be clear, everyone is either holding on to a wall or sitting on the wall that is now at the bottom. At the top are PESTILENCE and CHAC, midway down are HARVEY, AUSTIN and STUMP, and, at the bottom are ALICE and CHASITY.]

Chastity : [Looks over the edge of the lift to see how deep the well goes] I believe that this lift may not have been designed to how Pestilences additional evil!

[The well is very, very deep.]

Pestilence : [To Chac] Give me the map! [Let's go off the lift, and grabs onto Chac, and starts searching his pockets]

[Enter BRANDY, appearing at the top of the well.]

Brandy : [With a warm smile and a wave] Hello!

Stump : Sorry about that! [Looking up at Pestilence] You see, you evil piece of rat dung, my magic IS more powerful than even you might suspect. In fact, there is a dragon circling above waiting for my signal. If it doesn't here from me in the next few seconds, it will begin to rip this well, bit by bit, to shreds! [A hideous coughing laugh]

Chastity : [To Brandy] Hello dear. You couldn't throw us a rope could you. [To Chac] Don't be a hero, we'll need you as we explore. Just give the evil fiend your map this time.

Chac : [Hanging on, with beads of perspiration pouring off him] Sister - pant - I don't - pant - think I've got - pant - much of a choice!

Alice : Oh, poor Chac, Sister, he must be terrified. [Looks up, only to get a drop of sweat into the eye] Eauh! Yuck! [Rubs her eye and turns to Chastity with her good eye] How terrified do you think he is? [Gives a shiver]

Pestilence : [Finds the map in Chac's inside pocket] Excellent. [Looks up and sees Brandy] What the hell are you doing here? You bitch!

Brandy : [Covers her mouth in mock horror] Oh, Pesty, surely you don't have all hard feelings towards me? I can remember a time when you just had one. [To Chastity] Certainly Sister, but it looks like the rope holding you up at the moment can't take all the weight in the lift. Perhaps if you pass me up the map, I might be able to help you.

Chastity : By Phili, blackmail! I should have expected it! Well, [Glances at Pestilence] Pesty seems to have the map now, so maybe you'd better help us against him!

Pestilence : [Shouts up at Brandy] Vitun, you bitch, I swear I'm going to kill you!

Brandy : [Wags a scolding finger] You naughty man, stop that nonsense at once. Now do you see what you've done? You've gone and shown them all who I really am.

Chastity : [In a complete Peter Deadpan] Oh, yes. Gosh. We never read the hints. What a [emphasise] complete surprise. It just confirms why we never trusted you!

Brandy : [Beaming] You know something, Sister, I believe you! I really thought I might have gone too far when I tried to starve you all to death, and you did surprise me when you got out of it, but I was pleasantly surprised when no one really said anything more about it. To be honest, I let my temper get the better of me because I was so annoyed with Austin, but that's us redheads you know, awful tempers.

Alice : Hey! Red isn't your natural colour!

Brandy : True, but which is more unnatural? Unnatural blonde or unnatural red? Anyway, the point is, you got away the last time because I was too elaborate, this time we'll take the direct route. [Takes out a sword and starts hacking at the rope, causing the lift to creak and groan]

Harvey : Stop that this minute, you! By the saints, troop, suggestions?

Austin : [looking pale. To Brandy] You have my sincerest apologies Brandy! If there is anything I can do to make amends I shall!

Alice : [Wiping her hair] Well, if Chac could stop sweating on top of me, it would be a start.

Pestilence : She'll never cut the rope, she needs the map.

Brandy : [Stops cutting for a second, before holding out another map which she shows to the party] You mean, this map? [It is a copy of the map that Chac and Stump have]

Brandy : [With a disappointed look] Aw, no, Austin! Don't do that, don't go all whiney on me now. I didn't like you before because you beat me up, but at least hen you had balls, now you're just a snivelling little wimp who's apologising because he thinks it'll save his worthless hide. [Hacks at the rope again]

Alice : [To Austin] Quickly, insult her! You're really good at that!

Chac : Miss Brandy! That's my map, where did you get it from?

Brandy : Why, I copied it from yours that night that I accidently brought up too much beer for yourself and Martin and agred to let you drink it all.

Chastity : [To the group] You see? You see? The demon alcohol again leading people astray and bringing doom to the party. I've told you all so much in the past! [To Brandy] You'd better watch out there are some pretty unsavoury types up there with you.

Alice : Too right, Chassers. Now, if they had been smoking cheese, it would have been entirely different.

Brandy : That's okay, Chastity, most of them work for me [smile increases a little] except the Bertones, I really don't like people who pretend they work for me.

[BRANDY hacks at the rope again, so it is now just hanging by a thread.]

Austin : [To Brandy, nervously] I'm glad we didn't pretend to work for you, [To the others] just think of the trouble we'd be in then! [looks very pale as he looks down into the darkness]

Alice : Yah! You tell her, Aussie! [Thinks for a moment] Hey! That wasn't insulting at all!

Brandy : Goodbye everyone, and watch out for the Placebium, who knows what effect it will have on the devils amongst you.

[Cuts the rope, sending everyone plummetting downwards, still clinging to the lift.]

Alice : [Presses the "emergency stop" button] Look at this, we're saved!

[To ALICE's surprise, it doesn't work.]

Chastity : [Looking down the well, and still not seeing the bottom] I hope this well has been used as the dump for old springs! [To Pestilence] Or you've got a good landing technique!

Austin : [To Chastity] We'll all be fine if we land on you Chassers, however I fear that your ample derrier is not quite large enough for all of us to land upon!

Chastity : [To Austin] Unlike your self-inflated ego, Sleaze. Although after your display of snivelling and grovelling it should have deflated slightly. How like you to start bickering at a time we should pull together, may I add!

Austin : [To Chastity] And how like you to be so hipocritical, arguing the efficacy of team work whilst at the same time abusing and making slanderous remarks about those you accuse of undermining the team spirit!

Chac : What a typical, snivelling lawyer, face death like a man! [Notices that he's caught part of his moustache and beard while trying to hang on] Ow! Nasal hair! [A tear comes to his eye]

Harvey : People, please! This is not the time for petty arguing, conduct yourselves!

[PESTILENCE slips the map into his pocket, before pulling out BEAUCAPHALUS and sticking him into the wall, quickly drilling a large trench in as the lift continues to fall.]

Beaucaphalus : Ow! Hey!

Chastity : [Looks at Pestilence] I think, for once, Pesty has had a good idea. Drag your weapons on the wall as a brake. [Takes out her mace and digs it into the wall]

Alice : Great idea! [Sticks her sword into the wall, but it flies up, narrowly missing Chac and Pestilence] Hey!

Beaucaphalus : Oh great, now they think their pathetic weapons can help too?

Pestilence : Can you blame them, Beau? It looks like you're afraid you can't do it on your own.

Beaucaphalus : Outrageous! [Beaucaphalus begins to glow brightly, and, incredibly, the lift starts to slow down]

Austin : [To Beaucaphalus ] Wow, that's impressive. [Looks down to see if he can see the bottom]

[As the lift begins to slow, ALICE manages to get a torch lit.]

Alice : How deep is this thing?

[The light from ALICE's torch shows that the ground is approaching very, very fast.]

Chastity : [Looking down at the approaching ground] Suddenly falling doesn't seem too bad. [Looks up] Get ready everyone! When Pesty's feet hit the ground jump! [To ALice] That'll be bound to work this time [Gives two worried thumbs up}

Stump : [To Chastity] My dear, some of us may be able to jump, while others, like myself, I fear, will more like splat.

Austin : [To Chastity] At least try a pray or something! Or have you lost your faith? [Braces himself. To Chac] At least I am a man [Pokes his tongue out at Chac]

Chastity : [To Austin] It is my faith that means I have no need to pray at this time. One does not put Phili to test if one has faith of his greatness. [Braces herself, looking skywards. Under her breath] DOn't fail me now, O Phili.

Chac : [Sneers at Austin] Yeah, sticking your tongue out is a really manly thing to do.

Alice : Come on, Chastity, we're below a monastery, plunging to our deaths, this is neither the time nor the place for that kind of thing! [Thinks for a moment] Hm, actually, maybe it's both!

[Slowly, the lift grinds to a halt, with the bottom about ten feet up from the ground.]

Alice : Yay! Looks like we didn't need Phili's help after all!

Chastity : [Gives Alice a bainful look] Well done Beaucaphalus.

[Seconds later, the board ALICE is sitting on cracks, sending her plunging to the bottom.]

Alice : [Hitting the ground with a thump] Ow! [Gets up and dusts herself off] Well, that wasn't so bad.

[With a huge creak, the lift falls apart, sending everyone sprawling down towards ALICE.]

Alice : Right, when are the rest of you coming [looks up] down?

[Book III, Act XII, Scene V. The Bottom of the Lift Shaft. STUMP, CHAC, ALICE, JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, PESTILENCE and HARVEY are here, all having fallen. Everyone somehow landed on ALICE, each taking a bang as someone lands on top of them, with the exception of CHASTITY who, despite having been at the bottom of the lift, is the last one to land. ALICE's torch landed away from the group, showing that there is a single tunnel leading away from here.]

Pestilence : [Squeezing out from the pile of bodies, and leaping to his feet] That's good prayin', Sister!

Chac : [Rolls out onto the ground] Ah! Saved again by my ballast! [Slaps his stomach]

Stump : I should not have eaten that duck. [stomach makes a nasty growling sound] I think I'm going to be sick [face starting to turn green].

Chastity : [Climbing off the pile] Ah! Saved by the Lord Phili. [Bows her head briefly] In his almighty mercy. [Looks around for Beaucaphalus]

Austin : [To Chac] That's an odd way to refer to your pregnancy, [Emphasises] Ballast! [Strolls into the cave a little and has a look. To Pestillence] Thank you, and Beaucapallus for saving us there, it was most kind, albeit incidental to saving you own skin? [Looks to Pestillence to see his reaction]

Pestilence : Not entirely co-incidental. Getting out of these mines won't be trivial, it'll help to have a little cannon fodder. [Smiles] Did I say cannon fodder? I mean sacrificial lambs. [Bigger smile] Well, you know what I mean.

Chac : [Puffing himself up to his full height, glaring at Austin] I'me sure it would be a less odd way to refer to your head!

Alice : [Crawling out from the remains of the lift] Ow. [Gives Chastity her angry look] Nice praying, Sister.

Harvey : [Stiffly standing up, glaring at Pestilence, who has a cut on his arm which is bleeding] I thought only magic weapons could hurt you.

Pestilence : Usually, but this has its advantages too. [Wipes some of the blood with a finger and rubs it on his cheeks] Hey, I'm healthier than a Bavarian milk maiden!

Stump : I don't think Pestilence is so bad. He has some good in him. [upon the Bavarian milk maiden] So. Sooooo hungry. Pesty, you wouldn't have anything to eat would you?

Pestilence : Sure I do. [Swings Beaucaphalus at Stump, slicing half an inch off his stump] I've got a bunch of juicy looking humans who, if they give me hassle, I'll kill and have for breakfast.

Alice : Oh no! Poor Mister Stumpy! Did it really hurt? hurt?

Chac : [To the others] What surprises me is that he hasn't killed us yet - there must be some reason for him keeping us alive.

Stump : [To Pesty] You slut! You slimy piece of donkey crap. You hairless turd. You brainless slug. You son-of-a-monkey-loving-jerk-faced-zit-headed-butt-smelling-nose-picking-bird-turd-mother-loving-grass-munching-ass-breathed-crotch-rotting-slut! [Stump tries out his 1-inch shorter leg and now walks with a nasty limp] I thought you could be my friend, you...you...gutless-girly-man-female-figured-virginesk-fairy! I aught to let out the most nasty, raunchiest, horrid-smelling fart the world has seen, aiming it at you, and I would hope it would be completely wet and greasy! [still in the same breath] And you know what, that sword of yours if probably your lover! I think I see a piece of curly brown hair on it!

Pestilence : [With a big smile] Wow! It is true what they say about small men! [Swings Beaucaphalus at Stump, driving it through his side] Still, if this is going to work we can't have people like him barking out insults.

[STUMP slumps to his knees with a grunt of pain.]

Pestilence : Now, let's all just calm down, shall we?

Stump : Ouch [In a painful voice he starts singing and laughing, with lots of tears and bloodloss] Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. [Passes out with a thunk]

Stump : Ouch [In a painful voice he starts singing and laughing, with lots of tears and bloodloss] Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. [Passes out with a thunk]

Pestilence : [Earnestly to the party] Can't we all just [choke] get along?

Alice : [Warily draws her sword, but doesn't advance on Pestilence, instead turns to the others] What happens now?

Austin : [Smiling wryly at Pestilence] You have such a plesant way with people. [To Stump and Chac] As Mr Pestilence said, he needs sacrificial lambs, [pauses] That's us by the way [pauses] and that is why he hasn't killed us yet. However, he is still Pestilence. [Pauses] We on the othere hand do not require scrificial lambs, but do require an almost indestructible fighter with a magic sword, as wonderful as Beaucaphalus, since the demise of poor Mr Scar. along?

Pestilence : Sounds like a match made in heaven!

Alice : I'll see if he's okay, it probably just needs a woman's touch. [Checks Stump] Are you okay, Mister Stumpy? [Slaps him hard across the face]

[STUMP starts to regain consciousness.]

Stump : [Opening his eyes and seeing Alice, in a low voice] Am I dead or are you an angel sent to confort me? [His left hand moves up to where Alice slapped him, his right hand grabs for her, trying to touch her body]

Alice : [Smiles] No, you're not dead, you're [realises she's in the process of being groped] Hey! [Slaps him across the other side of the face]

Stump : [A smile crosses his face as he touches his other reddened cheek, then he looks at Chastity, and that smile fades away into a pittiful look of pain, hands now around waist] Oh Chastity, please, I'm...leaking!? [Looking down at his sliced belly, the layers of fat, skin, and muscle very noticable, especially the fat]

Alice : Leaking? [Looks down but can't see anything, before turning back to Stump, waving a threatening fist at him] That'd better be blood you're leaking!

Stump : [Trying not to laugh] I didn't think you had that type of a mind, my dear? [Grimmising]

Chac : [Dusting down his beard] Well, Mr. Pestilence, with you going around stabbing people, I don't think there's that much of a chance of us all getting along.

Pestilence : We'll all get all just fine and dandy as long as no one makes petulant outbursts like the lopsided fellow.

Austin : [Keeping well away from Pestillence. To Chac] Yes, you should view petulance to Pestillence as fire to gunpowder, a natural consequence if you like. Then I'm sure we'll a just get along fine, until the sacrificial part of course, then panic shall no doubt ensue, after a short bickering bout, of which there can be no doubt [Checks the shine on his shoes ans smiles brightly at Chac]

Pestilence : Well said, Austin, well said! [Gives a little clap]

Alice : Er, Pestilence, would you mind if we spoke in private for a moment?

Pestilence : Not at all. [Puts his arm around Alice and starts to escort her away from the others] You know, about that whole trying to cut the fetus out of your womb thing, I didn't mean anything by that.

Alice : Hey! [Pushes off his arm] I meant with them! [Juts her thumb at the others]

Pestilence : [Sheepeshly] Oops, my mistake. [Leaves Alice on her own at the exit to the lift shaft and goes over to the others, speaking quietly so she can't hear] You know, about that whole throwing faeces thing at you, I didn't mean anything by that.

Chac : [Looks at Austin, taking in what he said, before turning to Pestilence] And how petulant were they to make you do that?

Pestilence : Not very petulant at all.

Chastity : [To Alice] Come back over her, dear. [To Pestilence] Can the group now have a private chat without the most evil being down here. [Follows Pestilences glance to Austin. To Pestilence] Suprisingly that mean you!

Pestilence : [Looks back from Austin to Chastity, with a big smile breaking out on his face] Alright! I'm number one! I'm number one! [Heads away from the party, arms raised in triumph] I'm number one!

Harvey : [As Alice rejoins] Right troop, any opinions on why the blackguard hasn't tried to kill us yet?

Austin : [Smirking at Harvey. Deadpan, buy loudly] Appart from the fact that he is obviously deeply in love with you old boy, so he doesn't want to spoil the romatic underground tunnel adventures that you may have, no. [Checks his nails]

Harvey : Gah! Private Sleaze, once again you confuse your own, sick and twisted urges with someone else's. There's only one person in this troop who associates romance with dark passages and that, I'll wager, is you!

Austin : [To Harvey] Sick and twisted? Colonel, what ever you and Pestillence had in mind is none of my buisness, and I'd rather not be anywhere near you when it happens. [Pauses] Shall we get a move on, before Ms Brandy V. Kusipaa gives us another suprise?

Harvey : Gah! You are such a fool, Sleaze, I don't even know where to start!

Alice : Hold on a second. Do we even want to discuss what's going on here? Or are we just going to waste time making cheap comments at Unc-

Harvey : [Interrupting Alice, talking to Austin] I do know! It's your extremely stupid habit of insulting people when we need to formulate a plan of action!

Chac : Everything I've heard about Pestilence suggests that he should have killed us all by now. Either there's something up ahead that he can't kill without our help, or [big smile] well, we are in the Placebium mine, aren't we?

Chastity : Yes we are. And Pestilence has been cut coming down here. Perhap he is indeed vulnerable, hence his sudden lack of aggression. He only cut up Mr. Stump in self defense after all.

Stump : [Clearing his throat as he puts his intenstines back in] You call this a cut? I've been opened up like a Ginsu knife slicing a tin can! Ah, but I guess that doesn't matter. [Looking at Harvey] Just taking for the troop.

Alice : That's true - and there is a difference between unprocessed Placebium and the pure stuff, remember the rocks we threw at Stern didn't kill her, while we were able to melt Mortice without any trouble. [Turns and looks at Pestilence]

Pestilence : [Spots the others looking at him] Hey, to show Stump there's no hard feelings, I'm going to set him up with a girl. Her name's Eileen.

Alice : I wonder does that mean we can hurt him with our swords.

Harvey : In future, Mr. Stump, perhaps you might want to think before talking.

Stump : [To Harvey] What if somebody cut your stump off? What would you do. HUH! [To Pestilence] As long as she can fix my stump.

Austin : [To Harvey and Alice] He is quite a witty fellow really, are you sure he is vunerable now? [Ponders] Perhaps Mr Chac .... no, he's not brave enough [Looks at Stump's stump] Hmm, maybe he's not so funny after all.

Chastity : [Goes over to Stump] I'm not sure if this will work, as I'm limited to how often I can heal. It all else fails I'm sure I've got a needle and thread somewhere. [Puts her hands over Stumpsgashed belly and mumbles a prayer]

Austin : [Looking at Stump] A good dollop of nun power, that'll get you sorted out boy. [Turns and looks into the tunnel. To Harvey] No plan yet Colonel? How about we go into the tunnel, follow the map ... [Looks at Chac and Stump] Do we still have the map?

Stump : [The look of a being in heaven, or being attented like a sick child, or the look of a boyish crush] Oooooo. Ahhhhh. Ummmmmm.

Chac : No, [points at Pestilence] he took it.

Pestilence : [Gives the party a wave with the map] Click-click!

Alice : Look Stumpy, don't get narky with Harvey, he's only trying to help! Anyway, Pestilence cut the piece off after you got snotty with him, when you called him a - well,

Pestilence : [Calling out helpfully] A son-of-a-monkey-loving-jerk- faced-zit-headed-butt-smelling-nose-picking-bird-turd-mother- loving-grass-munching-ass-breathed-crotch-rotting-slut. And that was after I cut the piece off his stump.

Alice : Oh. Well. Look, the point is, although it looks like we may be able to hurt him now, let's not provoke him okay?

Stump : [Whispering softly in Chastity's ear] I have the other piece of them map [moving her hand to his chest where it is hidden]

[STUMP takes a sharp intake of breath, and his leaking subsides.]

Alice : Well, who's half of the map deals with this part of the mine?

Pestilence : Mine.

Chastity : [Moving her hand quickly back to Stumps wound. Whispering back with a hiss] Don't interrupt while I'm channelling Phili's healing power. And don't move my hands, or you may end up with an informative tattoo instead of a map. [Goes back to incantation mumbling]

Alice : [To the others] Do we have any choice?

Pestilence : Wow! The old gang, back together again! Now, no killing old Pestilence once we've got through my part of the map, okay?

Austin : [To Pestilence, with a brief nod] That's fine by me. [To Harvey] Well, now that Mr Stumpy here is all nuned up we can go. [To Pestilence] Which way?

Pestilence : There's only one way [juts his thumb down the tunnel] and it looks like the passage is nice and wide, so we can walk two abreast. [Smiles] Who's going first?

Stump : [To Chastity, in a sincere voice] You have a way with your hands. Thanks. [Stands up, testing his balance with his shortened leg, and makes sure he is way away from Pesty] Can't we just kill him or something? He's doesn't understand the term cooperation, doesn't he?[loud enough for 'ole Pesty to here him]

Chac : Actually, Shorty, I think that you're the one who doesn't understand it.

Pestilence : [Takes a good look at the map] Ah, I see, hm, yes, right. [Folds up the map and puts it in his mouth, before turning to the others, giving an enormous burp] That's good eating.

Alice : [To Stump] Off you go.

Chastity : [To Stump and Chac] You two should lead. Aren't people of your stature meant to be good in tunnels? Also if we run in to trouble we can fight over our front rank. It'll just be like in Zolo! [To Harvey] You could be Michael Stick.

Stump : [Smiles at Chac] I'll tell you what I understand, and that is, I'm famished. [Stomach grows] Anybody have something to eat or drink? I need to plug this hole.

Chastity : [Impatiently] Your hole has been plugged with Phili's mighty love. Lets get going.

Harvey : [With the worst Michael Stick impression ever] My name is Michael Stick. Not a lot of people know that. [Blushes slightly at his frivolity and gives a bow]

Alice : [Applauds happily] Yay! All we need are a few bitter, drunken, maiden aunts, and it'll be like Christmas all over again! Michael

Harvey : Well said, Sister. Let's get going. [Looks around] Well, are the Zolo specialists going first?

Stump : Yes maam! [to Chac] I love when she gets mad. She gets these dimples...[catching himself] By the way Chac, have you thought about Sumo Wrestling? You might be good at it.

Chac : [Walking towards the front] I did, Stump, but the women who watch such sports aren't fans of men in long beards. [Stops, and points at Pestilence] Where's he going to stand? No offence, but I don't want to be stabbed in the back.

Stump : Bummer about the beard. [Nudging Chac in the arm and speaking softly] I think 'ole Pesty is trying to compensate for a small willy by wielding a large sword [laughing a bit then shutting up] Not funny huh.

Chac : No. For several reasons. First of all, I don't think someone called Stump should be making jokes about another man's penis size, second, you're standing a little to close to me for someone who's about to annoy Pestilence, thirdly, do you [emphasis] want him to kill you? If we kill him, we're stuck here. If he kills you, we all still escape. Except you. Because you'd be dead.

Austin : [To Stump, looking at his huge belly] And what are you trying to compensate for then?

Alice : [Bursts out laughing at Austin, but, almost as suddenly puts her serious face on] You shut your mouth, Austin!

Stump : My leg.

Alice : [Mutters to Austin] Man, that must have been one huge leg!

Austin : [Goes to say something kind to Stump, but then looks like he thinks it's just not worth it] Well, Mr Stump, shall we go? Further to this I would like to enquire wether or not you require any assistance in perambulating through this veritable black pit of dispair [Gestures down the tunnel] Or wether or not it is the case that you are fully able to compensate your movements to account for your recently shortend peg?

Stump : Your concern is noted, Austin, and thanks. I will WOBBLE [heavy emphasis] along just fine thanks to 'ole cleaver the beaver [waving at Pesty]

Pestilence : I can slice the same amount off the other foot if you'd prefer it.

Harvey : Now now, enough of that, me lads! [Looks down the tunnel] I'll lead the way! [Heads into the tunnel]

Austin : [Follows the Colonel very carefully, making sure that Pestillence isn't to close to himself. To Harvey] Is this tunnel safe? [Looks worriedly at he tunnell roof] It looks like it could cave in at any moment.

Chac : [Elbows passed Austin, catching up with Harvey] I'll help lead the way!

Pestilence : And the big question is, who gets to stand at the back with Pestilence?

Chastity : You should go in the middle so you're surrounded. You can also call out directions, as you so insisted on having the map!

Pestilence : Good idea, Chas, that way, when you decide to double cross me, all of you can get a stab at me! [Gives her two thumbs up with an inane grin, before calming down again] Actually, I think I'll go at the back, perhaps with one of the more alert party members keeping a vigilant eye out for any mischief. I suggest Clint.

Alice : [Coldly] Clint is dead.

Pestilence : And he's still the most alert of you all!

Chastity : [Sighs] I guess I'll take the age old church role of keeping a eye on evil, and accompany Pestilence. Come on then, before we lose the others. [Gestures down the tunnel]

Stump : No Chastity [trying to stop her]. Pesty and I have a real GOOD relationship. I'll stand by Mr. Evil. He and I are like buddies [smiles slyly]

Pestilence : [Offers his arm to Chastity] After such a charming offer, dearest Sister Chastity, how could I refuse?

Stump : [Realizing what Chastity's answer will be, Stump heads off, limping and making a nice wooden clip clop sound]

Chastity : [To Stump] No, Mr. Stump. I fear that if you and he wear left side by side there down be even less of you left by tyhe tunnel end. [Turns to Pestilence, looks at his offered arm and ignores it. Gesturing again down the tunnel to Pestilence] After you.

Pestilence : Mmm, feisty! I like that! [Heads off down the corridor.]

[The marching order is, from the front, HARVEY and CHAC, then ALICE and STUMP, followed by AUSTIN, and finally PESTILENCE and CHASTITY taking up the rear.]

Austin : [Unhappily looking at his proximity to Pestilence] Perhaps, Stump, we might swap places, that you could be closer to Chastity. To protect her.

Chastity : [To Austin] Just you stay there. I can keep my holy eye on all the party evil from this position.

Chac : Well said, Sister. [Drawing his halbeard] So, Pestilence, what's coming up next?

Stump : [To Alice] Well, it's you and me I guess [Taking a gander at her end, then realizing what he had done as he quickly looks back at Chastity] You seem a bit out of place here? How did you get involved with this, well, interesting group?

Stump : [Seeing Chac draw his halbeard] Weapons? Ah yes, my staff will do I guess, as long as 'ole Pesty doesn't get ahold of it. [Talking to himself]

Pestilence : This tunnel leads up to a T-junction, if we turn left, we're most likely to be killed in fearsomely gruesome and disgusting fashion. [Rubs his chin in thought] Or was that right?

Alice : [Watching Stump's gaze suspiciously] Hm. [Turns to Austin] Do you think he was looking at my - hey! What were you looking at?

Austin : [Dead calm] Your back. Protecting you.

Chac : [Stops dead in his tracks] Bah! How do we know he's not leading us into a trap? [Turns right around and points his finger at Pestilence] Eh?

Pestilence : [Thinking hard] B!

Chac : [Indignantly] See? -- Tessa Reader wrote:

Stump : That's why you are in front. Remember. Cannon fodder? Sheep for the wolves? Star Trek extras?

Austin : Indeed, just thank yourself lucky that we don't force you to wear one of those awful red shirts.

[The party is now stopped in the corridor.]

Chastity : Mr Stump we are all valu..[voice trails off as she sees Alice spinning round and round try to see her own back before catching herself] group members, not cannon fodder.

Chac : [To Pestilence] Well? Which way is it?

Stump : Uh, yes maam, I'll watch my tongue.

Pestilence : [Very stilted] I'm quite sure the way to go is right. The guaranteed gruesome death is to the left.

Chastity : [To the rest of the group] Let go to the right. [With completely obvious irritation] I'm not going to start second guessing Pestilence and his games. If it is the wrong way, at least we'll spare ourselves a [quotes with mock whiny voice] should have gone the way I said.

Pestilence : [With a an even whinier mock voice] Great idea, Chastity!

[The party turn right, and soon come to an area with black and white tiles on it. Each tile is about four foot square, and they alternate between black and white.]

Austin : I see. Turning left leads to a gruesome death, whereas turning right leads to a trap that leads to a gruesome death.

Stump : We could throw something...I know what you're thinking, not me...on the tiles to see what happens, or we could do an Indiana Jones move and run like hell?

Pestilence : Or we could consult the map. [Clicks his fingers] Dash it all! Someone ate it!

Stump : Maybe a little banging from behind by somebody or sticking something down your throat could make you hurl it up? Any volunteers? Maybe the talking stump-slicing sword could help you? [a light bulb pops over his head] Pesty, since we can't kill you, and mortal weapons can't kill you, why don't you just walk across?

Pestilence : [Reaches over and turns off the lightbulb] Because it's a trap, and this is a Placebium mine, where no one is invulnerable. According to the map, if you walk on the tiles in the wrong order, they give away, sending you falling a long way. [Earnestly] For people who are small, I'm sure it'll seem like a lot longer.

Chac : So how are we supposed to get across? I bet the map said something about this. [Huge, deflated sigh] I'm sorry, I've let everyone down. If I had managed to hold off that devil with his magic sword, we would be across by now.

Harvey : Ha sir, don't fret about it! There are very few who could hold off that devil! Now [turns and looks] alternating tiles, you say? Perhaps we could trying poking one with a sword, to see what happens?

Stump : Then would you all mind if I walk back to the corner and watch while holding my breath? [Starts heading back to the corridor corner for protection]

Harvey : Perhaps it would be prudent, sir! If foul gasses are released, most of this troop will be immune, having spent much time in the proximity of sadly missed private Scar!

Alice : [Distastefully] That would be a good place to protect Chastity from, Stump.

Austin : [Already making his way to the precise spot Stump indicated] Indeed, it is pleasing to see someone in the party using their brain for once.

Pestilence : Man, if only someone had remembered what was written on the map, then we'd probably know how to cross. Reek.

Stump : Better alive than dead I say.

Stump : [Hearing what Alice said, he stops right in stride, balancing on his shortened stump with his other leg out read for a step. Plants his foot, shakes his head, and turns around, eyeing Alice then Chastity] Maybe you girls should come back here as well, for your own safety, of course. [Gestering]

Alice : It's okay, [watching Austin carry onto the corner] we'll let you girls stay back there.

Austin : [Gets to the corner] Very good, Alice, very amusing. I shall think warm thoughts of you as I help Stump scrape your lifeless body from the floor.

Chac : [Depressed monotone] If any one deserves to have their lifeless body scraped off the floor it's me. Maybe I should just throw myself on the tiles now? Phili knows I'd be more use to you than I have so far.

Alice : Aw, come on, Chac, there's no need to be so down! Alright, so your partner turned about to be a madman, and you let him steal half your map, and you let Brandy copy it, and then you gave it to Pestilence, but - [considers this for a moment] hm, yes, I can see why you're down.

Pestilence : [Beaming manically] Hey there, Shaft, you've gotta turn that frown [draws a big smiley in front of him with his index fingers] upside down! I know the combination for getting across.

Chastity : [To Pestilence] Are you going to show us, or see if we can guess and go across last?

Pestilence : Not only am I going to show you, I'm even going to explain how the the trap works.

[Time passes.]

Alice : Well?

Pestilence : Pretty good, actually. This is my first time in a real party and I can [gets louder] feel the love!

Austin : [Looks suprised] Is some one banging him from behind already? [Looks around] Where is the Colonel? [Sees him] Oh there you are. [To Pestilence] So how does the trap work? [Pauses] If you've finished 'feeling the love' yet?

Chac : [Still depressed] Sigh. I'm surprised any one can feel any kind of positive emotion when you're around, Austin.

Alice : Well, Austin, you're the one surreptiously taking up a space behind him, so if he's going to be feeling love from anyone, it's most likely going to be you. Unless, of course, you're too busy feeling your own [finger quotes] love.

Harvey : [Gives Austin a baleful look, clearly about to explode, but turns back to the others near the trap] By the saints, I'm starting to fear that Private Sleaze is attracted to me! His constant sniping about gayness can only mean that, surely! Gah, we never had to deal with that in his majesty's Fusileers!

Pestilence : [To Austin] I'm not feeling much love from you, lawyer, but then, you're Dangsten's bum chum aren't you? Don't confuse his and your tastes with mine. I'm much more into sexy women, with beautiful hair, clothes and just the right amount of curves.

Alice : [Getting all bashful] Well, I'm flattered, of course, but -

Pestilence : [Looks to Chastity and gives her a sexy growl] You're my kind of girl! [Ignores the surprised Alice] The trap resets itself each time someone crosses it, so that it is a different path across for each person. The map had ten combinations written down, so we should all get across, but I think you should go first Chastity, because I'm the most sure of the first combination. [Flutters his eyelashes at her]

Austin : [Sighs. To Stump] Do you know a spell that could dramatically increase the rest of the party's sense of well being, they're getting too gloom and doom to have a sense of humor anymore. [Looks tired]

Chastity : [To Pestilense] I don't suppose it really matter when I go over, so first is as good as the next, I suppose. DO you know what horrible fate you are exposing me to?

Stump : Hmmmm, no. I could make somebodies butt start laughing, but I think concentration crossing over the trap with Pesty around might not go over well. Or, I could do this...[starts an incantation, hands rubbing body all over (Armour spell)] Now I feel much better.

Chastity : Great, one mention of SUatin enjoying his own love and everyone feels they can do the same!

Stump : Just protecting my butt, maam. [staring a bit longer than he should at her] So, where to know?

Alice : [Narrows her eyes at Austin] I can think of one way of making everyone feel better.

Pestilence : [To Chastity] Okay, you need to take four steps, and the tiles are numbered from left to right. You can only use one tile per row, so you, Chasity, should take one, three, two and four.

[It looks possible to do this.]

Stump : Go babe! [realizing his error] sorry [in a sheepish voice]

Chastity : Ok then. [Tentatively takes a step onto the first square, slowly tranfering her weight and being ready to jump off]

Austin : It may be prudent to tie a rope around her incase she falls, then the rest of us can pull her back up. [Gestures in the general direction of the others]

Pestilence : Not at all, if the trap is triggered, she'll be sucked down. Anyone holding the rope will end up going down on her. [Looks at Stump with an expressionless face]

Chastity : [Stepping onto it] That's quite alright, I believe that I am safe, as the others will surely kill you if something bad happens to me.

Pestilence : [As Chastity successfully lands on the second tile] And rightly so! They would be so overcome with rage at the nicest party member dying, they would have no choice.

[CHASTITY takes the last few steps, and makes it over to the other side.]

Pestilence : [Big smile] Who's next? I think I can remember the combination.

Chac : [Jumping up, applauding] Well done, Sister! You are as brave as you are wise! [To Pestilence, taking a deep breath] Me next. [Throws a quick glance at Stump]

Alice : [Mutters to Austin] What's the deal with all of them and Chastity? Maybe it's the Placebium?

Pestilence : [Chin in hand, theatrically drumming his fingers against his face] Now, I think this time it is two, three, four, three. three.

Chac : You think? [Looks around at the others] I think Chastity's right, he's never going to lie when we've got him outnumbered. [Heads across]

Stump : [Dumbfounded] Why is everybody looking at me when Chastity's name is brought up? Yeah, I think she is a sweet overbearing, kind, motherly lady. So!? What's the harm in that. [Pointing to Alice] I mean, look at Alice, she has a nice...er...is a nice...well, she is a little dizzy, but she is nice also. I don't see bringing up her name with mine. [To Pesty] I'll go next, but if I get sucked down into some abyss and die in some horrible, terrifying way, I hope you all remember me with the fondness I have for all of you. Especially you Pesty. We are like brothers! [Slamming a fist against his chest]

Austin : [To Alice, putting his arm round her, and giveing here a bit of a hug] I really don't know, may be it is the Placebium, or something to do with Jerome's illness.[Ponders] Maybe they all have Oedipus complexes.

Alice : [Not returning the hug, but not pulling away either, as she turns angrily to stump] Hey! What do you mean, a [emphasis] little dizzy?

[A brief spell of time passes, as ALICE clearly thinks about what she has just said.]

Alice : What do you mean a little [emphasis] dizzy?

Pestilence : [Good naturedly to Stump] Sure. Of course, my brother was Contagion, and I cut all his fingers and toes off when I tortured him. The next set is three, four, five and four. [Thinks a moment] Oh wait! THat's four, three, five and four - no, four, five, four and three, no! Three, four, four, five. That's it. [Way overcompensating] I'm absolutely certain about that. Brother. [Big smile] Four, five, four and three.

Stump : OK, I'll go, but Pesty, you are going with me...Brother. What are the numbers again?

Pestilence : No I'm not, brother.

Chac : Come on in, Stump, [stands closer to Chastity with his arms spread] the water is fine!

Stump : [Shaking his head] OK, so, what are the numbers again? the first response is the correct one.

Pestilence : Four! [Jumps onto the tile] Five! [Jumps onto the next] Four! [Onto the next] and three! [Skips on three and then over to Chastity and Chac] Tada!

Harvey : Well, he seems to have the way of it! I'll go next, eh!

Pestilence : Right, especially for you, Harvey, it's two, three, two and two.

[HARVEY follows PESTILENCE's instructions, and is soon over on the other side.]

Pestilence : Wasn't that just the [gushing] easiest?

Austin : [Looking at the tiles, wondering if Pestilence is ling about the danger. To Pestilence] Well then, what's the next combination, please?

Pestilence : [Puts each of his index fingers against his temples and puts on his thinking-really-hard face] Ummmm, one! Two! Three! Four! [Opens his eyes looking at Austin's sceptical look] Blessed are those who believe, but have not seen, Brother Austin.

Austin : [Crosses the tiles in the order one, two, three, four, nervously] Have not seen what, Brother Pestilence?

Pestilence : Have not seen the proof that danger lies beneath, [puts an arm around Austin's shoulder and puts his other hand over (his own) heart] but you have shown that you are amongst the believers, you do not doubt, [becomes increasingly louder and more emotional] you have shown the faith, you are a [deafeningly loudly, causing small rocks to fall from the roof] true believer! [Lets go and whirls around] Who's next?

Stump : [Coldly] I'll go.

Pestilence : Sure, brother, the numbers are two, two, two and two, but you might want to give the map to Alice, just in case.

Stump : [About to step on the first tile] Just in case of what?

Pestilence : Click-click!

[STUMP walks over slowly, and makes it to the other side.]

Pestilence : Right, [big wave] bye Alice.

Alice : Hey!

Chac : What the hell are you doing? Get her across! Come on, you were doing so well!

Pestilence : What's the problem? I'm over and so is that map, come one, let's go.

Harvey : [Shouting] I say sir! We'll do no such thing! [Even louder] No such thing, I say!

Austin : [Moves away from Pestilence. To Alice] Don't worry, we wont go without you!

Chac : [Sneers at Austin, which is difficult to see due to the amount of facial hair he has] And you're going to see to that, no doubt! [Draws out his halbeard and turns to Pestilence] Get her across!

Stump : Pesty, I know we aren't the closest of [quotes] brothers, but didn't you say that Alice was, well, your type. Maybe she secretly has the hots for you? If she stays over there, you'll never find out.

Pestilence : [To Alice] Do you have the hots for me?

Alice : [Emphatically] No! [Short pause, and then, in her most seductive voice] I mean, oh yes! [Points at Pestilence] How're you doin'?

Pestilence : Nah, I go for the more mature type myself. [Gives Chastity a wink]

Chastity : Perhaps, Pestilence, if you behaved a little more maturely yourself, we wouldn't be stuck here wasting time while that awful Brandy is up above, doing Phili knows what.

Stump : Actually Pesty, Chastity probaby isn't your type. Yes, she is mature, but she is of the cloth and with you being, well, evil, I don't think there is a match there. But Alice. Think of it. She is young, has tons of energy, probably very limber, and...well...[heart pounding a little harder]...never mind, you get the idea. I mean, look at those curves. She is all but begging for a man like you.

Chastity : [Angrily] Mr Stump, I don't think that this, or any other place is right for your conversation with Pestilence. And if you continue to describe Alice, like that then you risk being run through by the good her uncle, Colonel himself. I suggest you humble yourself closer to the ground than you already are and ask for his forgiveness. [pauses] Oh, and maybe say sorry to Alice as well.

Chac : [To Stump] Yeah! What she said. [To Pestilence] Yeah! What [indicates Stum] he said!

Harvey : By crikey sir, let her over!

Pestilence : [Does an annoying "time out" sign with his hands] Woah, woah, woah! Let's all just calm down a minute, I was just having a bit of fun! [To Alice] It's one, two, three, four.

Alice : About time! [Takes three steps] Er, what was the fourth one again?

Stump : [Turns red, falls to his knees, and starts kissing Chastity's feet] Please forgive me. I'm a good person, and was only trying to persuade Pesty to aid in Alice's return. I ask for your forgiveness in this. [Looks up at her, then turns head slightly towards Alice] Sorry!

Chastity : [Shuffling back from Stump, embarrassed] Please don't do that again. As a lady of the cloth I am set for a life of modesty, and cannot accept such a display from another. Even if I do deserve it. [To Pestilence] Are you sure that last number is correct? Wasn't that combination the one you gave Austin?

Alice : [Appalled at Stump's display] Ew! The best way you can make it up to me is to stop that immediately!

Pestilence : [To Chastity] Yes. Yes. What's wrong, Chastity? Don't you want her to get over? There's no need to be jealous of her.

Chastity : [To Pestilence] Oh, please. I'm above all that! Of course I want Alice over safely.

Pestilence : Above all that? But not above the sin of pride? Why do you hate her so much, Chastity? Why won't you tell her? [Falls on his knees, arms spread wide and cries out] Why?

Stump : [Standing up] You should be honored to be in the presence of this fine lady, Pesty. [To Alice] Hey, I was only trying to help. I didn't see any of the rest of these [quotes] men [end quotes] trying to help. Oh wait, Chac did, but did your uncle? Nooooooooooooooooooooo.

Harvey : [Turns angrily to Stump] You sir, are a liar! While you were busy embarrassing the good Sister and Alice with your lurid talk, I was preparing to thrash the living daylights out of Pestilence. [To Alice] The number was four. [To Pestilence] If you're lying, I will kill you.

Pestilence : [Standing up, with a wry smile] Sure you will.

Alice : [Steps on the fourth and then gets across] Right, that wasn't funny. [Punches Pestilence in the mouth, knocking him back against the wall and drawing blood] Ow. [Shakes her hand to loosen it up]

Chac : Wow! Good shot, Alice! What happened to only being hurt by magic weapons?

Stump : [Flinches and smiles] Ooooo, that's gotta hurt! [To Harvey] I told it like I saw it, but I may have saw it wrong. If so. My apologies. [In a friendlier voice] That niece of yours sends quite a wallup. Ole Pesty's gunna be hurt'n for a while. [Smiles again]

Chastity : [Rolls her eyes. To Chac] We are close to source of Placibium, so all of us, including Pestilence, are vulnerable to damage from what aver source [Looks at Pestilence's bloody chin] as the good Alice has just demonstrated. If this wasn't the case we'd probably all be in bloody little pieces at the bottom of the well back there!

Pestilence : [Smiles broadly at Alice as he wipes the blood with his finger] Just because you cut me doesn't mean we're married or anything, so don't get carried away, and yes, Sister, you're right, that awful Placebium isn't helping me, but particularly that stuff you threw at me in the lift. You're lucky that you managed to sneak that passed Death when he searched you before sending you back to this time. [Throws a GP onto the tiles, which immediately disappear, causing an enormously sucking to come from the pit]

Alice : [As one of her garters slides off and disappears down the pit] Hey! [Steps away from it]

Harvey : [To Stump] You did get it wrong, sir. In future think before you criticise members of the troop. Now, let's move on.

Stump : [Trying to not look at Alice's predicament] Will do sir, yes sir. Where to now?

Chastity : [Pointing down the tunnel] I suggest we go this way. [To Pestilence] Can you remember what comes next on the portion of the map you had?

Chac : Good idea, Sister! Excellent! [Strides down the corridor, but stops and looks back] Well? Aren't you coming?

Chastity : [Looks down at the stride pattern of Chac's boots in the dust of the corridor] I think we'll manage to catch up. [Follows Chac] We'd best not stray too far forward. We don't know what lies ahead.

Pestilence : [Theatrically] Or do we?

[The party reform their marching order and carry on.]

[Book III, Act XII, Scene VI. A large wooden door. CHAC and HARVEY, ALICE and STUMP, AUSTIN, and CHASTITY and PESTILENCE are here, in that order.]

Pestilence : Okay, gang, there is a temple just through here, but not one of your run of the mill, devoted to one God, types, it's a temple to virtually every one who's ever tried to take over the mine, so careful with the blasphemy, evil thoughts or good thoughts. In fact, if you can just blank your mind, it would be the best thing. [Turns to Alice] Maybe you should lead us through?

Alice : [Distracted by her stocking hanging down around her ankle] Hm? Hm?

Stump : Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, My, oh my what a wonderful day! Plenty of...[Seeing everybody looking at him strangely] Just trying to clear my thoughts.

Chastity : Not clear the room then? [To Pestilence] The bulk of the party are veterans of controlling our thoughts after our trials in The Corridor of Truth to get to Nether City.

Stump : So, what happens if we don't clear our thoughts? Anybody know the Vulcan mind grip thing?

Austin : [Smugly to Chac] My you are a strange fellow, perhaps if the good doctor were here he may have heard of such a head gripping device. [Rolls back Maplin's sleeve. To Maplin, whispering] You have to clear your mind, just like in the corridor of truth okay. [Rolls up Maplin's sleeve] Right then, everyone clear those thoughts out and we can go in. [Smugly thinks for a while, smirks] I ready.

Stump : [Doing his best not to think of anything, like things with sharp teeth, but that song keeps popping into his head, and he unconsciously hums it]

Alice : [Looks at Maplin, before looking at Austin] How about that [quotes] head gripping device?

Harvey : Right, let's see what's in here. [Pushes the door in slowly.]

[It is unnaturally dark in the room, and a freezing cold wind blows out of it.]

Chastity : [Matter of factly] We appear to have found the door to Pestilence's heart!

Pestilence : Yes, and you hold the key, dearest Chastity.

Harvey : [Shudders] Yes, well anyway, what can we expect through here? What happens if we don't keep our thoughts as innocent as possible?

Pestilence : Then [waves his fingers around] something will happen, something, something terrible, and [dramatically] soon!

Alice : Gee, Pestilence, could you vague that up for us a little?

Chac : If anything comes near us, then something terrible will happen to that something, soon! [Holds his torch into the room for a better look]

Stump : [In a slight German, Hogans Hero's Shultz accent] I hear nothing! [emphasis on nothing] I see nothing! [emphasis on nothing]

Austin : [Snottily to Stump, softly] That's because all we can hear is your big mouth flapping away, sssssh!

Alice : [Even more snottily to Austin, and slightly louder] Will you stop telling people to be quiet? We can't hear anything with you!

[CHAC's torch illuminates only small part of the room, much smaller than one would expect. All that the party can see are some large flagstones, about a metre squared. About nine of them are lit up.]

Harvey : What trickery is this? Better get your torches out everyone, we all need to be able to see, and make sure we don't get split up.

Alice : Maybe we should tie ourselves together?

Harvey : To stop someone being lost? Good idea, Niece.

Alice : Er, yes, yes. That's what I meant.

Chac : [Loudly] Could you all just stop telling each other to shut up? [To Pestilence] Why are we being so careful? Surely the map showed how to get through here? Why do you make it sound like we're in danger?

Pestilence : Because we are.

Chastity : If the monks gave him the map, why would they put him in danger? [Looks at Chac] Mr. Chac? Do you have any reason to believe that the monks wanted to harm you?

Chac : Absolutely not! In fact, they wanted me to be the one to get the Placebium.

Austin : [Sniggering. To Chac] Did they tell you that Placebium can kill you? [Looks around. To Pestilence] Okay Mr. P. Horseman-of-the-apocalyse, where now?

Pestilence : [To Chac] Sure, sure, and did the monks call you "jerk"? Or "Schmoe"? Shnook? Dope? Dipstick? Lamebrain? [Turns to Austin] Now, you lot wait here while I go check something. [Starts to head in the door, moving towards the left]

Chac : They didn't call me any of those things! [Moves to the middle of the doorway to block Pestilence] Where do you think you're going?

Pestilence : Passed you. [Stops, and gives a big smile] To make sure the room is safe.

Austin : [Follows Pestilence at a safe distance, to see what he is up to. To Pestilence, sarcastically, scolding] Does your mother know you're here? I hope you're not going to get us into trouble! [Looks around where Pestilence is]

Pestilence : [Still at the doorway, which is blocked by Chac, turning back to Austin] No, but your mother does, I told her last night while I was screwing her. [To Chac] You better move it, short stuff. There's a switch inside I need to flick, it'll light the room up properly.

Stump : Oh great [to Austin] We weren't suppose to think of anything and you bring up the evil dudes MOTHER! [slaps palm against head] What do you think she is like? And if it's that time of the month!!!!! [shakes his head]

Pestilence : [To Stump] Given how cranky you've been all day, I suspect it is certainly your time. [Turns and punches Chac, sending him to the ground]

Chac : [Lying on the ground] Ow! [Takes a quick look around to see if he can see what Pestilence is going for, and then leaps to his feet, picking up his halbeard] Right! I've had just about enough of you!

Pestilence : [Pulling out Beaucaphalus] Well isn't that just dandy, I've had enough of you! [Moves towards him, but notices something to his left, and turns towards that]

Stump : Hey Pesty, only stating the obvious. And yes, I am kinda cranky today due to SOME person.

Austin : [Fun scolding manner] Now now Mr. Stump, lets play nicely and think nice wholesome thoughts. [To Pestilence and Chac] It would be a real shame if you both died before we even saw the Placebium. [Checks his nails and mutter to himself sarcastically] A real shame! [Sighs and shakes his head]

Alice : [Straining to see] What's going on in there?

Pestilence : [Walks to where he was looking, and pockets something, before turning back] Sure it would. [Big broad smile] But it won't be me who dies. [Points to the opposite side of the room with Beaucaphalus] Thataway, and stay together, and take particular care of my buddy Slump, I don't want anything to happen to him.

Stump : Oh the warm and fuzzy feeling you give me. So, whatcha put in your pocket? [turning to Austin] Why are you always picking your fingers?

Pestilence : It's a key to the other side, it has opened a door there and we're going to have to hurry, as we've only got a few moments before it shuts. I'll lead the way - and make sure [to the party in general] you keep up with me, and don't lose [points at Stump with his sword] him on the way. Quickly! [Looks at Chac] Get the hell out of my way! [Starts moving off, but stops and looks back] Single file only, this time, [gives his trademark smile] Just in case!

Harvey : [Following, but not too happy] I say! Slow down there, sir!

Chac : [Extremely unhappy] Is that it? He punches me and no one even criticises him for it? [Puts his halbeard away and folds his arms] When he tries to double cross you - and double cross you he will, I hope you show each other more support than this.

Stump : [Running as fast as he can wobble, making a nasty clopping sound] He only punched you. At least you didn't get your innards skeward! And finally, Pesty has it out for me for some unknown reason.

Pestilence : [Waiting for Stump to catch] Well said, George! [To Chac] You know, in some cultures punching is a sign of friendship.

Chastity : [To Chac] Oh, stop trying to make people feel guilty, that's the job of the church. [Walks forward quickly, while talking to the others] But you know, you should have helped him.

Harvey : Sorry, Sister.

Chac : [Hurries after Stump and Pestilence] Well then, I can't wait to express my friendship, Pestilence!

Pestilence : That's the spirit, Shaft!

[PESTILENCE heads deeper into the room, followed by STUMP, CHAC, ALICE, HARVEY, CHASTITY and AUSTIN in that order.]

Pestilence : Quickly, Stumped! Keep up with me!

Stump : All this running is making me hungry.

[A huge grinding sound echoes through the room, and the floor shakes as though there is going to be an earthquake.]

Pestilence : [Running, but looks back with a manic grin] Looks like someone isn't keep a blank mind, you'd better start thinking like Alice or we're all gonna die! [Laughs hysterically]

Stump : [Thinking of the girls] Alice... Chastity... Chastity... Alice... Chastity... Chastity... Alice... Chastity... [repeats over and over]

Pestilence : Passed you. [Stops, and gives a big smile] To make sure the room is safe.

Austin : [Follows Pestilence at a safe distance, to see what he is up to. To Pestilence, sarcastically, scolding] Does your mother know you're here? I hope you're not going to get us into trouble! [Looks around where Pestilence is]

Pestilence : [Still at the doorway, which is blocked by Chac, turning back to Austin] No, but your mother does, I told her last night while I was screwing her. [To Chac] You better move it, short stuff. There's a switch inside I need to flick, it'll light the room up properly.

Stump : Oh great [to Austin] We weren't suppose to think of anything and you bring up the evil dudes MOTHER! [slaps palm against head] What do you think she is like? And if it's that time of the month!!!!! [shakes his head]

Pestilence : [To Stump] Given how cranky you've been all day, I suspect it is certainly your time. [Turns and punches Chac, sending him to the ground]

Chac : [Lying on the ground] Ow! [Takes a quick look around to see if he can see what Pestilence is going for, and then leaps to his feet, picking up his halbeard] Right! I've had just about enough of you!

Pestilence : [Pulling out Beaucaphalus] Well isn't that just dandy, I've had enough of you! [Moves towards him, but notices something to his left, and turns towards that]

Stump : Hey Pesty, only stating the obvious. And yes, I am kinda cranky today due to SOME person.

Austin : [Fun scolding manner] Now now Mr. Stump, lets play nicely and think nice wholesome thoughts. [To Pestilence and Chac] It would be a real shame if you both died before we even saw the Placebium. [Checks his nails and mutter to himself sarcastically] A real shame! [Sighs and shakes his head]

Alice : [Straining to see] What's going on in there?

Pestilence : [Walks to where he was looking, and pockets something, before turning back] Sure it would. [Big broad smile] But it won't be me who dies. [Points to the opposite side of the room with Beaucaphalus] Thataway, and stay together, and take particular care of my buddy Slump, I don't want anything to happen to him.

Stump : Oh the warm and fuzzy feeling you give me. So, whatcha put in your pocket? [turning to Austin] Why are you always picking your fingers?

Pestilence : It's a key to the other side, it has opened a door there and we're going to have to hurry, as we've only got a few moments before it shuts. I'll lead the way - and make sure [to the party in general] you keep up with me, and don't lose [points at Stump with his sword] him on the way. Quickly! [Looks at Chac] Get the hell out of my way! [Starts moving off, but stops and looks back] Single file only, this time, [gives his trademark smile] Just in case!

Harvey : [Following, but not too happy] I say! Slow down there, sir!

Chac : [Extremely unhappy] Is that it? He punches me and no one even criticises him for it? [Puts his halbeard away and folds his arms] When he tries to double cross you - and double cross you he will, I hope you show each other more support than this.

Stump : [Running as fast as he can wobble, making a nasty clopping sound] He only punched you. At least you didn't get your innards skeward! And finally, Pesty has it out for me for some unknown reason.

Pestilence : [Waiting for Stump to catch] Well said, George! [To Chac] You know, in some cultures punching is a sign of friendship.

Chastity : [To Chac] Oh, stop trying to make people feel guilty, that's the job of the church. [Walks forward quickly, while talking to the others] But you know, you should have helped him.

Harvey : Sorry, Sister.

Chac : [Hurries after Stump and Pestilence] Well then, I can't wait to express my friendship, Pestilence!

Pestilence : That's the spirit, Shaft!

[PESTILENCE heads deeper into the room, followed by STUMP, CHAC, ALICE, HARVEY, CHASTITY and AUSTIN in that order.]

Pestilence : Quickly, Stumped! Keep up with me!

Stump : All this running is making me hungry.

[A huge grinding sound echoes through the room, and the floor shakes as though there is going to be an earthquake.]

Pestilence : [Running, but looks back with a manic grin] Looks like someone isn't keep a blank mind, you'd better start thinking like Alice or we're all gonna die! [Laughs hysterically]

Stump : [Thinking of the girls] Alice... Chastity... Chastity... Alice... Chastity... Chastity... Alice... Chastity... [repeats over and over]

Harvey : Clear my mind, clear my mind, think of something else...I know, I'll think about food, like egg and soldiers...soldiers, war, death...gah! [Snaps his fingers] I know, I'll think about private Sleazes good qualities, that's bound to make my mind go blank!

Austin : [Running swiftly looking very worried. Talking to himself] No, no no. No. [Pauses] Skin lotion, I must buy some more lotion, Oil of U-lie, yes, and some coconut oil, and K-Y, No! No, miscellaneous skin care products! Prescision buy Chunel, yes, 'Arm yourself against time', get cleansers, toning lotions, have radience, moisturisers, intensives, specifics, use masks, have eye care, [Sighs in relief]

[The whole ground shakes, and a huge crack runs along the room from top to bottom, just immediately behind PESTILENCE.]

Pestilence : [Manically] Looks like people's minds aren't blank enough! We're all gonna die! unlikely to be fixed until resend it here.

Chac : We've got to get over the crack, [runs even faster] and I'm going to do it under my own steam because [loudly] No one tosses this dwarf! [Tries to leap across the crack]

Chastity : [Shrieking] Oh no! Is there any way that Austin will be able to pass this huge crack and not have to go in?

Alice : [Picks up her speed and easily coasts passed Chac] Yay! Strike one for the tallies! [Accidently steps on her loose stocking and goes sprawling, diving for the other side] Gah!

[The two parts of the room are starting to seperate, with the far side moving up and away from the side from which the party came.]

Austin : [Runs like crazy to jump over the gap] Jump everyone!

[The floor shifts very fast, up and away, causing AUSTIN, CHASTITY and HARVEY to skid to a halt, inches from the edge, while each of CHAC, ALICE and STUMP cling onto the edge, with PESTILENCE the only one to safely make it over.]

Pestilence : [Stops running and turns to face the others] Oh no! [Does a "Macauley Culkin" Home Alone pose, looking down at where the others are hanging on] I just hope that the ledge doesn't crumble!

[The ledge that STUMP is clinging to begins to crumble, and he begins to slip.]

Stump : Austin! Why didn't you think about a moisturizer for cracked skin! [Like a cartoon character, Stumps feet go into a running motion to climb up the wall]

Alice : [Who is right beside Stump] Maybe if you didn't have so much moisturiser on your hands you wouldn't be about to fall!

[STUMP falls, but grabs onto ALICE as he slips, who then tries to wrap her legs around him. The result is that her legs are tucked in under his shoulders, and he is hanging on to her.]

Alice : [Grunt] For a small man you sure weigh a lot!

Pestilence : [Standing above Alice] My my, what have we got here?

Chac : [Starts to pull himself up] Pestilence! You knew something like this would happen! What did you take when you came into the room?

Pestilence : [Surprised] I took an amulet that the monks had left for you so you wouldn't spring the trap. Unfortunately with you lot coming in, it fired.

Alice : [Slips] Oh no!

[In pure Indiana Jones fashion, PESTILENCE whips out a whip, and wraps it around ALICE's neck, suspending the two of them.]

Alice : Gurk!

Stump : Under normal circumstances [looking at what is in his face] I would be pleased, but in a different manner. I'm pleased. Yes. I am. Just hold on. [trying to look down, but distracted]

Alice : [Holding onto the whip with her hands] No, Stump! Don't look down! Don't look down! [Realises their position] Look down! Look down!

Pestilence : Now, I think this might be a good time to renegotiate who should hold the second piece of that map.

Stump : [Clinging onto Alice's waist, face planted smack there, muffled] I cannot. If I let go, I fall. You will need to pull us up first. [makes a blowing sound like on a babys belly against Alice]

Austin : [Gripping on for grim death] Give him the bloody map for Phillis sake!

Alice : Great, not only am I about to be strangled, I'm also now being molested!

Pestilence : I don't think so, that Alice has fine strong hips, and you only need one hand to pass the map up. I reckon poor old Pesty was going to be turned on by you as soon as we reached that side of the map, so either I'd be dead or needing to traverse the mine by myself anyway, so I don't really have any problem letting you two die. [Drops the whip down an inch] Woah! This is heavy - guess you've really been piling on the pounds, eh, Alice?

Chastity : Oh dear! I can't look! [Covers her eyes, but leaves a finger crack open to watch]

Harvey : [Shouting at Pestilence] You bounder! Let her go this instant! I mean, don't let her go!

Stump : [face still against Alice, but yelling] You come and get it! I'm think I'm going to get sick.

Chac : [Climbs up on the ledge] Right, Pesty! [Draws his halbeard]

Pestilence : Right, Shaft. [Draws Beaucaphalus and stabs Chac through the neck, without even looking, before giving a big smile to Stump] Are you really dumb enough to think I won't kill you? These others know differently, don't you?

Alice : [Starting to cry from the pain] Give him the map!

Harvey : For Phili's sake man, give him the map!

Stump : [Starts crying] I don't care about the map, I just don't want to die. [stops crying] If you would have asked politely instead of sticking everybody, I would have been more willing to give it to you. [Handing up the map with a shaking hand]

Chac : [Falls to his knees] I've failed the party again, I am worthless, I deserve to [falls to the ground] die! [Dies]

Alice : [Crying even more liberally] You cry baby! [Passes the map up to Pestilence]

[As PESTILENCE takes the map, HARVEY somehow manages to catch a lassoo around STUMP's stump.]

Pestilence : [Earnestly] Gee, I'm sorry Stump, I didn't realise you were such a nice guy, I thought you were an undersized, deformed, bitter piece of snot. Man, do I feel bad about what I've done. [Lets go of the whip, and turns away] Politeness, that's where I've been going wrong, I'm gonna turn my back on that whole Four Horsemen mischief and work for the Lord! [Holds his arms aloft as he disappears into the darkness] Hallelujah!

[ALICE and STUMP fall, but are gripped by the rope, with the result that they are now hanging upside down. CHASTITY quickly moves to help hold the rope.]

Alice : [Looking back up, noticing her skirt is now upside down] Sigh. Can this day get any worse?

Stump : I sure hope so [smiling]

Alice : [Sigh] It just has.

Chastity : Quickly, Austin! Before she realises she forgot her underwear!

Alice : Hey! That's not true! [In a small voice to Stump] Is it?

Harvey : Come on, Private Sleaze! Help us!

Austin : [Takes a deep breath and helps] Ooops sorry, of course [Puts on a pair of gloves before toutching anyone]

Stump : Maybe just a peek [a hand heads that way]

Austin : [Dons a pair of white gloves] Okay, okay [Helps Harvey. To Alice] Nice thong dearie. [Helps Harvey. To Alice] Nice

Alice : [Voice high pitched with shock and anger] A peak? A peak of what?

[The three on top slowly pull the two back up, eventually dragging them onto the floor.]

Chastity : Poor Alice, how unfortunate for you to be stuck in such an awful position. Again.

Stump : [To Alice] Thank you...er...for saving my life. [To all] What know, 'ole Pesty took the map and ran after killing Chac. I feel as though some of this is my fault.

Harvey : Well troop, we may be down, but not out! Poor Chac, he would have been a fine addition to the troop, what!

Alice : He sure would, poor old Chac. [Turns to Stump] No problem, Stumpy, and thank you for looking away when we were in a compromising position. [Feels her neck] You know, I think I'm a few inches taller.

Harvey : Er, that's because you're standing on a piece of rubble.

Alice : Oh. [Steps off, returning to her normal height] What happens now? And do we all still have blank [thinks for the word] minds?

Chastity : Not all of us. [Looks across the gap into the dark] Oh, that villain!

Austin : [Looks at Chac's corpse] He didn't listen did he. Looks at Alice's tummy, no orbs this time.

Chastity : You'll need to look a bit higher up! [Looks at the gap] Have we enough rope to bridge the gap?

Alice : Didn't listen to what?

Harvey : [Takes out a length of rope] Indeed we do, Sister, I have about fifty feet of rope here. [Takes out a bundle of rope, that is considerably shorter than that] Harrumph! Somone has taken twenty feet of it - [glares at Austin] some pervert, I'll wager!

Alice : [Going a bit red, and speaking quickly] I'm sure it wasn't! [Calms down a bit] There's nothing there to tie it to. [Looks up at Chac's body] Unless... opposite side is about ten body is there, with one

Austin : [To Harvey, snootily] Who is more perverted, the accused or the accusee? For if the accused has commited no perverted deeds then all of the perversions, colonel, are in the mind of the accusee. [Takes the rope from Harvey and fashions a lasso from it, step into a suitable position and tries to lasso Chac's convenient sticking out leg.]

Chastity : [Aside to Alice] I think in this case we can safely say the accused! [To the group] Who is going to climb up? [Looking directly at Stump] It'll have to be someone with comparable weight, [switching her gaze down to his stump] if not less.

Harvey : That would be true, Private Sleaze, [emphasises] if the accusee [quotes] has committed no perverted deeds.

[AUSTIN expertly lassoos CHAC's leg.]

Alice : Yes, Chastity, I think this is a job for one of the more slender, dainty and graceful members of the party. [Does a little pose]

Harvey : Exactly, dear niece, well said! [Turns to Austin] Looks like this is a job for you, Private!

Austin : [To Harvey] Well I'm sure that Alice is by far the daintiest and [Dripping of his tounge] slender here, but I guess it's to dangerous a task for a girl, colonel. You are much too protective of her, [Deadpan] she has to learn the ways of the world [Austin carefully climbs up, being careful not to pull Chac's corpse down on himself]

Alice : Hey! [Turns to Harvey, annoyed] What do you mean it's too dangerous for a girl?

Harvey : Er, nothing, dear Niece. [Sigh]

Alice : Maybe we should tie another rope to Austin, in case Chac isn't heavy enough?

Chastity : [To Alice] A good idea, dear. [Puts her arm round Alice. To Harvey] We'll do it. [Puts up her hand to make a special cool sign gesture, but after some awkward digit fumbling ends up with a Mr. Spock split fingers sign. Awkwardly] Girl Power! [Releases Alice and looks round for some rope]

Alice : [Puts one hand on her hip, and points at the other one, trying, and failing miserably to do that head from side to side thing] You go girlfrien'!

[ALICE and CHASTITY take some of the rope and try to tie to to AUSTIN's legs. Moments later they step back.]

Alice : Tada! [Tries to spread her arms out, but realises she and Chastity are now tied to each other] Hey!

Austin : [Straightens his trousers and looks at the girls ties up, smirks] You go girls! [Tests his weight on Chac's corpse, then looks back to the girls] I think you need to practice a little more, and perhaps some handcuffs would add a little extra spice [Ponders the situation and tests the rope again]

Stump : [Grabs the girls] Let me help.

Chastity : [Slaps Stumps hand] You'll do a lot better if you take hold of the rope. And watch where you're looking when you're down there, please.

Stump : [Shaking hand feverously to ease the pain] Yes ma'am. I always try to watch what I'm doing. [Grabs hold of the rope, anchoring it around his body]

Alice : [To Stump] That's just what we're worried about!

[AUSTIN tests the rope, and it seems as though CHAC's body will hold his weight.]

Austin : [CLimbs up carefully, trying to avoid getting dirty] Sigh! I suppose I'll have to do all the work as usual, whilst you all play around tieing each other up as the colonel ogles you.

Stump : For a feather, you sure are heavy [counter-balancing the weight]

Harvey : [To Austin] Yes, I see, this must be another one of those situations where one must wonder who is the more perverted, the accuser or the accusee.

[AUSTIN swings against the edge of the other side and starts pulling himself up slowly. CHAC's body moves once or twice, but he succeeds in reaching the top.]

Alice : What now? Head back the other way?

Stump : I'll just anchor the rope to myself and the rest of you can climb over, then you all can pull me up.

Austin : [Carefully ties both ropes onto Chac temporarily. Straights out his suit and checks for creases and soiling. Smiling checks his hair. Looks around to see if there is anything solid to attach the ropes to. To Alice] Hey I heard that. [Disgruntled] And I was the only one who said you were daintly and slim too!

Alice : [Climbing across] Yes, and imagine the awful things I'd have said about you if you hadn't. [Pauses, and looks from the huge void beneath her back to Austin] Er, I mean, I'm sorry Austin! [Gives him a big smile and carries on across.]

Harvey : You'd better go next, Sister, what with being the most dainty and slim of us!

[The sound a of a cave in comes from the direction that PESTILENCE went.]

Stump : Do be careful. [Ducking slighly] Wonder what good 'ole Pesty got himself into now.

Austin : [To Stump] I expect he's made a cave in occur further up so that we can't follow him any further. [Still looking around for something to attach the ropes to.

Chastity : I won't put it past him to be blocking our way just in case we got over. The scoundrel! [Starts to climb up]

Stump : We can only hope we will find his hand sticking out of the rubble with a death grip on the sword. [Out of curiosity, Stump leans forward, grabs a rock and drops it down the chasm]

Harvey : [As Chastity makes it to the other side] Right, I'll go next. [Climbs across with surprising agility.]

[The rock disappears without a sound.]

Stump : [Watching and listening] Right. That leaves me. [Making a gulping sound] Hear I come. [Repeats all the way across] I'm like a squirrel. I'm like a squirrel.

Chastity : [Grimacing to Alice] I hope by that he doesn't mean he likes to carry his nuts in his mouth! [Looks over in the direction Pestilence disappeared]

Austin : [Smirking at Stump] A squirrel who has had a few to many pies I think. [Strolls down the tunnel a little way, very carefuly, to see what's there]

Alice : Certainly not if he expects anyone else to taste them.

[STUMP joins the rest of the party. It is still very dark here, and not possible to see the other side of the room.]

Alice : [To no one in particular] You know, I've been doing a lot of thinking since I nearly died, and nothing else has happened here. [Gasp of shock] Could it be that Pestilence lied to us?

[The party walk towards the other side of the room, which isn't too far away. There was a corridor leading out of the room, but this has been filled in by a landslide.]

Harvey : Gah! Foiled again!

Stump : Might there be some other way out here that not even Pesty knew about other than going back over the pit? Or might the pit have some way of getting out other than falling to a most horrible death?

Alice : [Waves her torch over to one side of the room] What about those statues that he talked about? Maybe one of those might help us find a way out. [Face darkens] Unless that was another lie.

Stump : Look at that one Alice [pointing to a statue of a male showing off], maybe you should have a looksee. [Goes to the nearest statue and starts twisting, turning, pushing, pulling, whatever to see if anything happens]

Chastity : [Alarmed] Mr. Stump, don't. I would have thought that by now you'd have learnt to be a might less impulsive. [To Harvey] It's like having Faetan back again, but with wandering hands instead of general surliness.

Stump : If you insist, Ma'am, but I was just trying to get us out of here. Don't want you to come down with a chill or anything. [Immediately giving an inquisitive look] Who was Faetan?

Chastity : We just don't know what sort of traps are in here. Best let a light fingered expert like Austin apply his skill to the situation, lest we lose anyone else. [Looks round for Austin] I suppose credit where credit is due. [To Stump] Faetan was a feisty girl who was briefly with the party. Head strong, impulsive and over all angry. We had an unfortunate encounter with her later on though, so we're not on the best of terms. Her father is Himo Jarl, of whom you may heard us mention to that Brandy girl.

Stump : Oh, ok. Then I guess I'll just sit over hear [pointing to a small outcropping of rock] and work on some stuff. [Walks over and sits down, leaning against the rocks, periodically adjusting a few, proceeds to pull out a small, well worn, spell book and starts reading]

Chastity : [Shaking her head. To Harvey] Sometimes I'm surprised that he's only lost a leg. [pauses] Oh, and been mortally run through by a demon with a magical sword.

Alice : [With surprising ferocity to Stump] She was a mean spirited old bitch with horrible hair who had a [huge emphasis] big problem with people wearing nice shoes.

Harvey : Er, yes, Niece, quite. [To Stump] Let's just say there was a lot of punching, snarling, growling, window-jumping throughing and the like. [Looks around] Which way?

Alice : Mortally wounded? Oh no! When did that happen?

Chastity : OK, badly wounded. [pauses] He got better.

Alice : [Beaming proudly] Right. I see. So anyway, which way will we go?

Stump : [To Alice] Around and around? [Chuckling] Right, so in essence, what you are saying is that you were not fond of her.

Austin : [To Stump] Pay them no heed. Faetan was one of the most beautiful, plesant and brave women I have ever had the pleaseure of meeting. [Waves a hand in the general direction of the rest of the party] This lot are just so mean and short sighted that their rudeness and bigotry made her really angry at times, and she wasn't one to back down. [Composes himself, looking snootly at Alice. To Stump] So, lets have a look at those statues, [looks around] where are they?

Stump : [To Austin] Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. Quite a group, troop, or whatever we are. I would help you look, but I've been ordered by my Chastity not to touch anything, so I will refresh myself with this most excellent book.

Alice : That's right, Stump, we were awful to her. We made fun of her when she had a vision, we were too stupid to wear the amulets that Boddy gave us to protect us in hell, we kept running into battle without a plan, calling her a loser and even punching Austin, although, in hindsight, that's understandable. Oh wait, that was her who did all those awful things!

[Tries to get ahead of AUSTIN by walking as quickly as she can, which, given the unsuitability of her footwear for adventuring is not very fast at all. However, soon one of the statues is lit up. The statue is just a bust, showing the person from the neck up, and is about ten feet high. The first one they come to is of IOK SOTOT.]

Harvey : Ugly looking brute, eh?

Chastity : [Sigh] I ordered you to do no such thing, Mr. Stump. I merely suggested that you take care before twisting and pulling, Phili only knows what might break off.

Stump : Oh. I thought that's what you meant...Keep my hands off of things they shouldn't be on. Well, OK then, but I need to look at this anyway. [Starts reading, then day dreaming of him and Chastity (without the belt) having a picnic in a meadow] Hmmmmm [Starts smiling and dazing off]

Alice : Humph! If only he would!

Austin : [Carefully examines the bust of Iok Sotot. To Stump] See what I mean? Constant snide remarks and bitterness, it's no wonder Faetan left. [Ponders the bust] I wonder why I stay sometimes, what with all the abuse I get. I stay because someone has to keep it altogether. [Examines the plinth the bust is on]

Alice : You're the one she hated the most, Austin! In fact, I seem to remember you being the only one she threw up on, and the only one she punched! [Thinks for a moment] Hey, you know something, she wasn't really that bad after all!

[The entire structure is marble, right down to the ground.]

Chastity : I cant say that I'm any better for finding a bust of such an evil being below a Monastery.

Austin : [To Alice] You were just super jealous of her, and treated her really nastily. So she was a bit highly strung, it was no big deal, and I'm sure she couldn't help vomiting on me, that was an accidient. [Ponders] That suit was already ruined anyway.

Alice : God knows I've wanted to vomit on you often enough!

Harvey : Er, yes, she was a very special girl. Now, I wonder what other statues are here. [Walks back towards the entrance]

[HARVEY's torch lights up a similarly sized statue. It is of DARIUS.]

Chastity : [Following Harvey] Are you sure it's just a statue? [Wraps on the head with her knuckles]

Harvey : [Watching Chastity stretch to be able to hit the statue] Er, yes, I believe so, good Sister. [Glares at the statue] So, the monks knew that he was trying to get at the Placebium. [To Stump] Turns to Stump Darius is an old enemy of ours - one of our party died because he trapped us in the Placebium mine so he could get some of it.

Alice : Didn't Pestilence say something about us sneaking the Placebium passed Darius? After all, he was kind of surprised when Chastity Plabeiumed him - he seemed to think that Darius had searched us.

Chastity : [Climbing back down] Yes, but he did conveniently point it out to us in the first place didn't he.

Alice : Who did? Pestilence? Darius? Clint? [Thinks for a moment] Point what out?

Austin : [Searchs the statue of Darius carefully] Do you think it might be a good idead to smash the statues? They may have some magical link to the real life counter parts. [Looks around] Is there one of Jerome? And I don't mean for smashing, either. It is would be worthy of note as Jerome was clearly affected by his proximity ro the placebium mine and to Darius.

Alice : Good idea, Oz! [Moves onto the next one] Nope, not here, this one is of Random, remember him? We're at the edge here, so maybe we should check the other side?

Stump : [Having been listening to all this, trying real hard to read] Are you NUTS! Oh wait, you are bit, well, turned to the dark side maybe. But that does't matter. What are you thinking! [Raising his voice] Talk about me touching things. But you would be destroying a statue of a god, doesn't that entail some type of, like, instant death or somthing?

Alice : [Calmly] Darius isn't a god, he just thinks he is. You know, looking at those statues, I reckon it would be possible for us to slip inside their mouths - it looks hollow inside.

Stump : Is that something you are good at?

Alice : [Momentarily confused] Looking? Er, yes, I guess I am.

Chastity : [To Stump] It'll be an interesting experience in role reversal for her. [Looking up at the statues] But who goes where? It's such an appalling thought.

Stump : I don't think she can handle the change.

Austin : [Tries to climb up to look into Dasrius's statue's mouth] Let's have a look see shall we, before anyone goes slipping things in to anyone else's mouth. I hope he's brushed his teeth.

Alice : [Following the last exchange with a puzzled look] Hey! Just because you're used to dealing with change after paying whatever unfortunate has had sex with you, Mr. Stumpy, doesn't mean that any of us are involved in that kind of thing!

Stump : So much for role reversal. He looks in his natural element.

Stump : Yeah, but at least I don't have to clean up afterwords.

Austin : [To Stump] Being a lawyer one is quite able to slip things into others mouths [Looks at Stump smirking] Words! I'm talking about words, and you can wipe that smile right off your face Mr Weeble because you're going to need some of this [Throws a tube of Slippy Slimey Lubricant(TM) to Stump] And I expect he colonel may require the same. [Casually slips into the mouth]

Stump : [Instantly drops the tube of Slippy Slimey Lubricant(TM), jumping away from it] Ah, that is just nasty. Who knows where he has stuck that before. [Picks up his book and kicks the stuff into the cravass] He's probably enjoying that. [To Alice] Stop drooling.

Alice : [Haughtily] That's not drool, that's - hey! Shut up! [Looks at Austin, who's head is inside the mouth of the statue] Isn't it very stupid indeed to climb into the statue without at least checking the rest of the room?

Stump : Isn't it fitting that his head is in the statues mouth?

Austin : [to Alice] Probably, unless the rest of the room is a big trap. [Climbs back down to the floor and proceeds to check the rest of the room To Stump] I find your mistrust and general negative attitude towards me suprising and unnecessary. That lubricant might have been the only thing that could get you out of this mine. [Shrugs] Your loss. [Search around a lot]

Stump : Oh, on the contrary, I trust everybody here, but have issues with a [quotes] man, who may have gone over to the dark side, and who carries around womens supplies, especially used rubricants.

Austin : [To Stump, Angryly] Firstly that was an unused tube of lubricant! [Looks indignant] As if I, Austin Sleaze, would offer, or use, an old tube of lubricant, what do you take me for! A prole? [Calms down alot] Secondly why on earth do you think I may have 'gone over to the dark side'? What are you insinuating?

Chastity : Now, now, boys. We don't want to argue and bicker at front of these statues. They may be empowered by such negative feelings. Austin has not so much gone over to the darks side, more he's standing in a poorly lit area. [calls after Austin] Are you OK over there? [Goes over to Random's statue] Bagsie me jump down Random's throat. Should the need arise.

Alice : Lubricant? Women's supplies? [Smiles at Stump's naivete] You know something, Stump, the only one who seems to have gone over to the dark side is you! You've been really cranky since you looked at that book - what's going on here?

Stump : [To Austin] My apologies, Austin. Didn't mean any insult. It's just that when somebody sees somebody like you, using items like that, and acting in a more, well, hmmmm....different behavior, one gets to thinking. [To Alice] Cranky, no. Just hurts thinking about what 'ole Pesty did to my poor leg. It didn't do anything to deserve that. I need to find something to replace it with, and quickly. It's giving me a nasty rash. [Immediatly looks at Austin] Don't say a word.

Austin : [To Stump] 'Different behaviour', [Pauses, looks at Stump disdainfully] Just because you don't mind looking like a tramp and smelling like a mangy stray mongrel with a failed bladder, is no reason to make indecent inferences about those who take the time to stay clean and dress properly. [Walks briskly away from Stump to another statue and has a look at it]

Alice : Well don't forget it was Pestilence who did it, and not us! [Marches off after Austin even more briskly]

[The next statue, which is on the opposite side of the room and, if the first side is anything to judge by, is the first of three, is of DANGSTEN BLACKHEART.]

Alice : [Slipping in some previously unnoticed slimy substance] Woah!

Stump : Hey guys, I'm new to these parts and not use to the local customs. For me, it's just strange. For you all, its normal. I'll try to keep an open mind of these things. K?

Alice : [Regaining her balance] No, KY.

Harvey : What?

Alice : Um, I mean, why, why on earth would Dangsten be here?

Austin : [Ponders] Who are the other two statues of? Maybe that'll give us a clue [Looks at the other two statues]

Stump : [Chuckles as Alice falls flat on her tender rump, then goes back to studying]

[There are two other statues, of people that no one in the party has seen before.]

Alice : [Pointing at statue #1] He's kind of dreamy, isn't he?

Austin : [Looks closely at Statue #1] Amazing how the sculptor managed to get designer stubble carved into the marble. I wonder who they are. [Looks around for a name plate etc/ searches the statues and their mouths]

Alice : [Touches the stubble] Ow! It's pretty prickly isn't it? And look at the detail in that other guy's rat!

[Both of these statues have the mouth open wide enough for a person to fit through, but neither have name plates.]

Harvey : Well, if the only way out is through one of those mouths, which would be the best to use?

Austin : [Searches the rest of the room. To Harvey] Well, since we know how evil Dangsten, Darius, Iok, and Pestillence are I suggest on of these two. [Points at staue No.1] This chap looks much less evil that that one [Points at No. 2].

Alice : [Folding her arms as she thinks about this] True, but doesn't number one look a little gay?

Chastity : Oh, Mr. Sleaze, I wish you would pay more attention. The statues are of Iok Sotot, Darius, Random, Dangsten and these two men. There was no statue of Pestilence, he was actually with us.

Alice : [Shocked] Then you mean?

Chastity : [Nods her head seriously] Yes, Alice, you are not in a room with a bunch of statues that look like your Uncle and your friends. QLast from Conor #148

Austin : [To Chastity] Was that Random? Oh, silly me, I thought it was Pesty, some huge oblect was casting a shadow over it at the time, i wonder what it was [Looks around and sees Chastity's huge bum] Oh! Never mind. Well let's slip into Random's gaping hole then. [Climbs up to Random's mouth]

Chastity : I'm sure that large object must have been your own over inflated ego, Mr. Sleaze.

[AUSTIN slips into RANDOM's mouth, and, just as he disappears from view, all manner of moaning comes from there, as though AUSTIN is having a wonderful time.]

Alice : Hey! What's going on in there?

Chastity : [Tutts] It's just like Austin to enjoy slipping into a random orifice. [Climbs up to the mouth and calls down] Austin, can you hear me? What's going on? [Knocks on some of the statues teeth] Is it safe?

Harvey : I say, Sister, what an absolutely terrible display. [Taps the side of the statue's mouth] You in there, stop enjoying yourself!

Stump : Are you saying [Feeling himself] that I'm as hard as a rock?

Stump : Alice. Don't get your panties all wrinkled. [Shakes head, then sees Austin enter the mouth of the statue] There you go again Austin? What do you expect to find INSIDE the mouth?

Chastity : I fear that Austin may be to indulged to respond. Maybe best to go in and help. [Drops into the statue's mouth]

Alice : [To Stump] No, she's saying you're a moron. Anyway, it's already been established that I'm not wearing panties, I'm wearing a thong!

Austin : [Shouts to the others] No! It's not me making those sounds, it's the statue, and no I don't know why either! [Austin has a search around]

[The noises get more salacious.]

Harvey : [Puts his hand flat against the statue, to feel if it is moving] Hm, the statue isn't moving, and it certainly sounds like you, Private Sleaze.

Austin : [To Harvey, shouting] I know it sounds like me Colonel, but I am really not having a great time in here [Austin looks around, searching]

Alice : Well, since you placed yourself in Random's mouth, someone sure is having a great time!

Harvey : Well, private Sleaze, do you see anything in there? Can you identify where that noise is coming from?

Austin : [To Harvey] Well, Colonel, it's sort of comming out of the statue walls, andappart from that there is a very slidey tunnel going down from here.

Stump : I can see what's going on. Austin is having the time of his life in the statues mouth! Why else would he have put so much lubricant on himself? [Trying not to laugh]

[A climactic moan of pleasure that most definitely sounds as though it is coming from AUSTIN bursts out, and slowly fades away.]

Alice : Er, do you want a cigarette, Austin?

[As the noise fades away, STUMP bursts out laughing, and falls to the floor, clutching his stomach, shrieking and snorting in mirth, with tears running down his cheeks.]

Chastity : [Turning to Austin] I think someone is doing away with Mr. Stump.

Alice : [Watching Stump writhe around on the ground, still laughing] Hm, death by orgasm or death by laughter? Well, I know which - I mean, I wonder what's going on here.

[STUMP slowly calms down, and pulls himself to a sitting position.]

Stump : Oh, man, that was the funniest thing I've ever heard! I just wish I could have seen his face! Actually, given the kind of noises he was making, it's probably just as well that we couldn't see it! [Roars with laughter again]

Chastity : [To Austin, Looking down the next tunnel] This looks like our next route. Best get the others in line.

Stump : [Picking himself off the ground, still tittering] Excellent!

Austin : [Shouts out to Stump] Look Stumpy old fellow, I'm not making these noises, it's the statue, and I expect it'll do the same when u get in here, if you can, because contrary to what the colonel says I am not covered in lubricant, that is merely a figment of the colonels foul imagination, especially since you stuck the tube of lube into the crack, fat boy!

Chastity : [Covers her ears from Austin's loudness in such a confined space] Please don't shout such. The only ringing I long for in my ears are the festive knells of a church.

Alice : Isn't that what you're supposed to do with a tube of lube?

Harvey : [Annoyed] I say, Private Sleaze! I said no such thing, it was Private Stump here who said that. Calm yourself.

Alice : [Peers in through the mouth] Well, are you just going to stay there all day or slide down? It looks pretty cramped.

[The two can just about barely fit, although it is clear that there is a slide leading down, which AUSTIN is at the top of.]

Austin : [Shouts] well I haven't got all day to wait around for you sloths, I'll see you at the bottom, whereever that may be. [Takes a deep breath and slides down the slide feet first]

[AUSTIN disappears down the slide.]

Alice : Me next! Me next! [Climbs in behind Chastity]

Chastity : [To Alice] Not so fast, dear, or you'll knock me [Topples down the slide thanks to a knock from Alice] Iiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnn.......

Alice : [Smiles to herself, before putting on a serious face] Oops.

[ALICE leaps in, soon followed by STUMP and HARVEY.]

[Book III, Act XII, Scene VII. The Depths of the Placbium Mine. AUSTIN, CHASTITY, ALICE, STUMP and HARVEY are here, having arrived in that order and landeed in an untidy pile at the bottom of the slide. This is a small, 8' X 8', room with a huge metal door that has a grille on it, which is covered from the other side.]

Alice : [As she arrives] Woohoo! Freedom here we come! [Stops and looks around] Oh.

Stump : I can get use to this. [Raising himself from an indecent position with Alice] Nicely done, Austin. A cage.

Chastity : I'm sure that Austin has fully utilised his leader time and sorted out an escape. [To Austin expectedly] Well?

Alice : [Taking out a metal cup and theatrically rattling it against the grille] Free the Placebium Mine Five!

Harvey : [Beams at Austin] Ah! A plan! Excellent! Well, Private, let's hear it!

Austin : [Straightning out his suit] That was close! [Smooths a cuff, nods. Looks ar the others, then examines the door to see if he can open it]

Alice : [Leans back against a wall] Hm, a cell. You know, any time we've ever been stuck in one before, we've always got out almost immediately [face darkens] except for that whole [quotes] disturbing the peace [end quotes] thing [brightens up again as she turns to the manacled skeleton beside her] so I wouldn't worry about being here too long. [Does a double take] Aiee! We're all gonna die!

Stump : Why not just push the door open? Maybe it is unlocked and this poor boner on the wall didn't realize that.

Alice : Maybe the fact that he was chained to the wall made it difficult for him to reach?

Chastity : Don't be silly, girl. Look [Slips the skeletonal limb out of the manacle] You see, the man was obviously a fool! [Ignores the clunk as the skeletons hand falls off]

Alice : [Confused] Hey! [Examines the skeleton closely] How come he's hanging there if his hands are too small? These manacles are so huge we could probably fit Stump's head into one. [Slips her own hand in to try it out for size] Ow! I'm stuck! Help!

Stump : [Smiling while knocking on the skeletons head] And look, he's an air head.

Austin : [Stops looking at the door. To Stump] We may all be the same unless your magic can open cell doors from the inside.

Stump : I was trying to study, but kept on getting interrupted. Let me thumb through my spell book and see if I have anything like that [Thumbs through book] It will take a few hours to learn it.

Skeleton : Man, it's a real pisser when people interrupt you, isn't it?

Austin : [To Skeleton] I should think that you have had ample uninterrupted time to do whatever you wanted, during your time in here. Please do you know of any way by which we might escape?

Stump : Yeah, we have a date to slice and dice Mr. Pesty. that, just memorized ones.

Skeleton : You lot sure are pretty forward for people who were making fun of the dead earlier on. [Turns to Chastity] Shame on you, Sister! [Picks up his arm]

Harvey : Er, sorry, er, sir, it was just a little tension relief. I'm Colonel Harvey Kingston-Short III, how do you do? [Holds out his hand]

Skeleton : [Shaking his hand] Bones McToy, charmed, I'm sure. [Turns away from Harvey, leaving his arm in Harvey's hand and turns to Austin] Sure. I know how to get out of here. I just didn't bother using it, seeing as how [narrows his eye sockets at Chastity] I'm a fool and all.

[HARVEY gives a huge shiver, still holding the hand.]

Stump : Harvey, give the man, [To the skeleton] well, that is, I presume you are a man by your voice [back to Harvey] back his arm. How rude.

Austin : [Steps into the conversation. To Skeleton] Well, I am Austin Sleaze, and I would like to take this opportunity to appologise to you on behalf of my comrades here for any comments they made about you earlier, when they thought you were [pauses] inanimate. Now, you may know a way out of here that you were unable to use because you were chained to the wall, or just plain dead. If so would you mind telling us, and we can help you get out of here too, if that is what you want? [Ponders, simperlingly] Allow me to introduce the others, they are [Pointing as he goes] Harvey, Chastity, Stumpy; and Alice, who might you be, good Mr Skeleton?

Bones : [Sighs and spreads his palms wide, including the one Harvey is still holding] I just told you, my name is Bones McToy. [Accepts the hand back from Harvey] The only way out of here is if the monster comes and kills you.

Alice : Oh, then you get out?

Bones : No, then you die. He killed the rest of my party - their remains are on the floor.

Alice : [Looks at the floor with her torch] There's nothing here.

Bones : Exactly.

Austin : [Looks back up the slide. To McToy] Aah, yes, Mr McToy, so how did you come to be in this cell, and indeed in this mine, how long have you been here?

Bones : About two hundred years - it's the Placebium, you see, it has kept me alive. You may find it hard to believe, but I was once a proud Knight, pure in thought and deed, so the Placebium keeps me alive rather than killing me in terrible agony.

Alice : Pure in thought and deed? [Looks him up and down] Are you wearing any clothes?

Bones : [Petulantly] Are you?

Stump : Though she has a nice little thong on. Pink I think.

Harvey : Actually, I thought it was brow- Mr. Stump! Please! This is no place for such talk!

Alice : Hey! You know what we need to get out of here?

Stump : No, but this should be good.

Chastity : Mr. Stump, any idea to get us out of here would be a good one!

Austin : [To Stump] Sister Chastity is correct, and unless you can come up with an escape plan I suggest that you kindly stop making snide remarks and comments about those members of the party, in particular Alice in this instance, who have proven their worth many times over in times of need, like this one.

Alice : [Triumphantly] We need a skeleton key! [Beams at the rest of the party]

Bones : [Unimpressed] That's bordering on racism.

Alice : [Taken aback] I'm sorry! I thought you'd find it funny, after all, you are, er, smiling?

Bones : You know, now I'm starting to hope you do escape, because spending eternity would make my ski- well, it would annoy me.

Stump : I do have one spell up my sleeve that might get us out here, but we have to wait til the nasty monster gets here before I can cast it. He will just fall to the ground laughing.

Austin : [To Stump] We could expidite the event by calling and shouting to attract the monsters attention. [To Bones] What nature of monsters are they anyhow?

Stump : It must be human or humanoid for it to work.

Bones : I'm not sure, but I don't think it's human or humanoid. Say, do any of you have a cheeseratte?

Austin : [To Bones] Why, yes, of course, you must be parched [Gets out a pre-rolled cheesearette and lights up, taking two draws and then passes it to Bones] There you go, get your teeth around that.

Bones : [Takes the cheeseratte and takes a huge drag] Hm, maybe it's nostalgia, but I used to get a much better hit off it before.

[Everyone's attention is drawn to the smoke drifting out of his ribs.]

Alice : So, er, this monster, how often does he come here?

Bones : [Aggressively] How often do you come here?

Austin : [Examines the door again and also the floor and walls etc. To Bones] I noticed that your hand moved [Points at the arm that Harvey shook] even when it wasn't attatched to the rest of your skeleton. Perhaps if we can get your hand or arm outside the cell, for a short time of course, you could open the door from the outside. [Searches for a gap that the hand might fit through]

Bones : Perhaps [emphasis] you could open the door from the outside!

[The only gap in the door is a grille for looking through, and that is blocked from the outside. From some distance away comes the sound of a fearsome roar.]

Alice : [To Harvey] Hungry again, Uncle H?

Harvey : Indeed, niece, but I wasn't responsible for that particular roar.

Austin : [To Bones] What the hell has got into you? You're behaving like a stroppy teenager! [Indignantly] Of course I can't open the door from the out side, my arms are not detatchable.

Chastity : It was probably a horrible monster. [Brightly] We should be quite safe from it in here!

Bones : No, you're behaving like a stroppy teenager!

[The growling gets louder, until whatever is outside reaches the door. It hammers on the door, putting a fair sized dent into it.]

Bones : Of course I can't open the door, my arms aren't so tiny that they can fit through the shut grille!

Alice : But what if the monster smashes the door open? Would you be able to reach out and open the door then?

Bones : Sure, no problem. I'd be glad to.

Chastity : [Looking a bit rattled by the huge thump on the door, pulls out her mace] Best get ready, this may not be pretty!

[The hammering continues, and the door will clearly be knocked through in a few minutes.]

Alice : Sh! Everybody quiet a second, I think I can hear something. [Calls out irritably to the monster] Excuse me! Just one moment!

[The MONSTER obliges, and the room goes quiet. There is a definite scraping sound coming from one side of the room.]

Alice : Nope, can't hear a thing. [Calls out] Carry on.

[The MONSTER roars and continues hammering on the door.]

Austin : [Stands well back and out of fire of the door and gets his dagger out (the special one), looking pale] Let's hope he's a vegitarian.

Alice : Yes, that would be good news for all of us who don't smell like a fruit.

Stump : You know, it's not easy to study with all this noise going on. [Looks at the wall where the scratching was coming from] I wonder what this is?

[As the banging continues, the door edges ever closer to breaking point. The scratching sound that STUMP is investigating sounds like there is someone or something behind one of the blocks in the wall.]

Chastity : [Goes over to help Stump] Do you think we can get one of these blocks out?

Stump : [Puffing himself up] Oh yes, Sister, I'm sure! [Starts to heave at the block]

[The banging continues, so part of the door is now bent in.]

Alice : [Looking through the gap] It's a hydra! Whatever's behind that block had better be helpful!

Chastity : [Also heaving on Stumps block] By Phili, what is it about hydras and Placebium. Maybe there's a box of heads through this wall.

Austin : [Rushes to help with the wall, clearly terrified] That Hydra is no illusion! [To those who are not helping with the block] Come on you fools, dig!

Chastity : Now's not the time to get all hippy, Austin!

Austin : [To Chastity] I meant dig out the block! [Austin tries to help but he is also trying not to get dirt on his white gloves in a panicy fashion] Come on!

Harvey : [To Austin] Look, you long haired waster, we can't all pull at the block - Alice, you and I will try to hold off the monster if it gets through.

Alice : We will? I mean, we will.

[ALICE and HARVEY start poking their swords through the gaps in the door but the HYDRA keeps hammering at it. Meanwhile the others succeed in pulling the block in a bit, and it is clearly being pushed from the other side. A child's voice, a boy, calls out.]

Boy : Hey! What's all the racket in there?

Chastity : We've a busy party in here, my boy.

Stump : Push boy [Pulling at the stone] He stops. [A shiver runs down his spine, then it dawns on him...] Push lad PUSH!!! [Screaming and pulling as hard as he can at the stone] PUSH! [In an unflattering frantic voice]

Austin : [Ponders] Perhaps we could feed him to the hydra?

Stump : Would you shut up! If he hears you, he might stop pushing, then I will make sure YOU are the first to be fed to that drooling, long-fanged, sharp-teethed, ginsu mouthed, sword-tipped, slicing machine-of-a-multi-headed creature. [to the boy] PUSH BOY!!!!!

Chastity : [Leaning up to the moving stone and calling through] Ho, ho, you two jokers. [To both Stump and Austin in a hissed whisper] Sssshhhh! Not exactly trained up in youth motivation, are you? [Turns and continues pulling the stone]

Austin : [Panicing takes some swipes at the hydra as it's heads hit the door] Aaargh!

[The HYDRA bursts through the door, with ALICE, AUSTIN and HARVEY all hacking away at it. The stone from the wall is almost out, and there is a small gap. A small leather bag is thrown out into the cell.]

Boy : Use this, but be careful!

Stump : [going to grab the bag, then noticing the drooling, fanged, sharped-tooth hydra] AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! [throwing the bag like a scared little girl at the hydra]

[The bag flies through the air, spreading Placebium liberally through the room, but with most of it landing on the HYDRA, which disappears with a pop that is barely audible over the anguished cries of AUSTIN, ALICE and HARVEY.]

Alice : Ow! What the hell was that?

Chastity : [Pulling out her mace to defend herself] No! I think he meant use the bag contents.

Stump : [still cowering] How was I suppose to know! Maybe it was open. Did any get on it? [see's the drooling, nasty teeth, starts biting his fingernails, making wierd sounds]

Alice : [Turning back to face the others, showing that the left side of her shirt has burnt away, and that the skin is red and raw beneath it] He also said to be careful!

Stump : [Composing himself with his staff out in front of him as though protecting the others, does the yes-thing with his arm] Yes. [then a little dance] Who's your daddy?! [tries to moonwalk, but trips over Mr. Bones]

Austin : Urrggh! [Caught by the Placebium whilst swashbucklingly stabbing the Hydra, slumps to the floor. Silence. Austin looks very much dead]

Stump : [stops his dance of celebration as Austin thumps to the ground] Did I do that? [a light bulb appears over his head] Wait, didn't Mr. Bones say that we can't die in here? or was that he couldn't because he was perfect?

Chastity : Mr. Stump, please stop your celebrations. Your actions have not only killed the hydra, but also the most disagreeable member of the party. [Turns quickly to the small hole in the wall. Sincerely] Thank you, friend. [Rushes over to Austin to check his vital signs]

Chastity : I think Mr. Bones said it kept him alive. But looking at his less than healthy state, that could mean that we now have an undead lawyer. I hope he's not as depressing as Roy!

Austin : [Smoulders, as the placebium burns away at his flesh and exceptionally expensive suit and shirt] Sssssssss.

Chastity : [Takes out a tea towel and tries to get the placebium off Austin] Quickly get his effected clothes off. Alice, you'll be quickest at that!

Harvey : [Looks at Austin] Private Sleaze is undead, what! [To Chastity] How do we kill a dead man? We can't have zombified lawyers lurking about the place, creeping up on people in the dark, you never know what they might get up to, sneaky devils. [Prods Austins corpse with his toe]

[AUSTIN isn't dead, but is quite unconscious, and clearly badly hurt. He has a similar burn mark to ALICE, across the front of his chest.]

Bones : [To Stump] No, you said that!

Boy : Hey! How about you stop all your bitching and get me out of here?

Bones : No, how about you stop all your bitching and get us out of here?

Stump : [to boy] I'm going to try and remove the stone. Push as hard as you can. Oh, and cover your eyes when you enter. Alice is missing part of her shirt and is exposed. [to Chastity] I didn't say anything bad, just stating the obvious. Don't want to corrupt him now, do we? Oh yeah, you were very brave against that Hydra. [Wipes a bit of dirt off her cheek, then realizes what he did] Terribly sorry.

Alice : I'm on it! [Immediately has Austin's belt and zip undone, and pants down around his ankles in seconds, before turning to Chastity, speaking loudly to be heard over the burning] Tada!

Stump : I've got a little watered-down wine left [Takes a small swig then hands it to Chastity]

Chastity : [To Stump] Thank you, but I don't drink. [Turns back to Austin, only to be shockingly confronted by his newly exposed genitalia] Argh, cover it up.[ Instinctively throws the tea towel over Austin's privates and relaxes] That's better. [Sniffs] Where's that barbequed sausage smell coming from. [Looks down at the placebium covered tea towel in realisation] Oh no! [Lifts the teatowel to expose Austin again] Oh no! [Puts it back] Oh no! [Lifts it off again and turns away]

Harvey : [Seeing Chastities plight, covers Austins genetalia and half disolved leopard skin thong with his handkerchief, pocket fluff etc] Damed Sleaze! He's even a pervert when he's dead!

Chastity : Thank you, Colonel. I do hope he's OK [glances back at Austin under that pile of pocket contents] I, erm, doubt if I've any healing power left. [Goes to help pull out the wall stone] Someone should check outside.

Stump : [to Chastity] No,no. The drink isn't for you. [Dumps the cheap wine on Harvey's burning thong]

Chastity : [Takes out a tea towel and tries to get the placebium off Austin] Quickly get his effected clothes off. Alice, you'll be quickest at that!

Harvey : [Looks at Austin] Private Sleaze is undead, what! [To Chastity] How do we kill a dead man? We can't have zombified lawyers lurking about the place, creeping up on people in the dark, you never know what they might get up to, sneaky devils. [Prods Austins corpse with his toe]

[AUSTIN isn't dead, but is quite unconscious, and clearly badly hurt. He has a similar burn mark to ALICE, across the front of his chest.]

Bones : [To Stump] No, you said that!

Boy : Hey! How about you stop all your bitching and get me out of here?

Bones : No, how about you stop all your bitching and get us out of here?

Stump : [to boy] I'm going to try and remove the stone. Push as hard as you can. Oh, and cover your eyes when you enter. Alice is missing part of her shirt and is exposed. [to Chastity] I didn't say anything bad, just stating the obvious. Don't want to corrupt him now, do we? Oh yeah, you were very brave against that Hydra. [Wipes a bit of dirt off her cheek, then realizes what he did] Terribly sorry.

Alice : I'm on it! [Immediately has Austin's belt and zip undone, and pants down around his ankles in seconds, before turning to Chastity, speaking loudly to be heard over the burning] Tada!

Stump : I've got a little watered-down wine left [Takes a small swig then hands it to Chastity]

Chastity : [To Stump] Thank you, but I don't drink. [Turns back to Austin, only to be shockingly confronted by his newly exposed genitalia] Argh, cover it up.[ Instinctively throws the tea towel over Austin's privates and relaxes] That's better. [Sniffs] Where's that barbequed sausage smell coming from. [Looks down at the placebium covered tea towel in realisation] Oh no! [Lifts the teatowel to expose Austin again] Oh no! [Puts it back] Oh no! [Lifts it off again and turns away]

Harvey : [Seeing Chastities plight, covers Austins genetalia and half disolved leopard skin thong with his handkerchief, pocket fluff etc] Damed Sleaze! He's even a pervert when he's dead!

Chastity : Thank you, Colonel. I do hope he's OK [glances back at Austin under that pile of pocket contents] I, erm, doubt if I've any healing power left. [Goes to help pull out the wall stone] Someone should check outside.

Stump : [to Chastity] No,no. The drink isn't for you. [Dumps the cheap wine on Harvey's burning thong]

Harvey : It's best to chain the blighter up before he turns into one of those foul undead types [Starts dragging Austin's body by the wrist, towards the shackles on the wall. Then very suprised] By the Saints! He's alive, I could swear there is a pulse [Checks Austin's wrist more carefully] He must be zombified already, [Looks concerned] I'm certain he didn't have a pulse before now.

Chastity : [Awkwardly, looking up at the damp Harvey] I think you maybe wanted to pour that on Austin! [Goes back to Austin] I'll try to bring him round. [Puts her hands on his chest and mumbles a prayer] O great Phili, its me again. Another one for your bountiful love. Again. In your mercy.

Stump : Oops

Alice : [Still confused over the whole clothes taking off thing] Hey! It's his chest that's hurt! [Spots Harvey trying to chain up Austin] Hold on, let's all just calm down a minute.

[Enter YOUNG CLINT SCAR, climbing through the hole.]

Clint : Well said, Bimbo, I couldn't put it better myself. [Looks around] Well, well, the lawyer with his pants down, it looks like nothing changes. [Looks Bones up and down] Except you, Jerome, you've sure lost a lot of weight.

Bones : No, you have!

Stump : [Looking at the kid] Dang kid, no wonder you couldn't push that block out. You're wearing funny looking cloths and you are scrawny as a limp twig. Need to put some meat on those bones. [Glances at Mr. Bones] You too, but I think that might be a bit harder.

Clint : It looks like you've done enough for all three of us.

Alice : [Shocked] Stinky? Is that really you?

Clint : Yes, no thanks to you lot. Someone better have some brandy with them, seven hundred years without a drink is a long time - especially when you're only fourteen.

Stump : Why thanks. If you want something to drink [Points to Harveys dripping crotch and the floor] have at it. It's cheap stuff though.

Clint : [Looks Stump up and down before addressing the party] Looks like you didn't have much success in replacing me, then.

Stump : [Returns the look] When we get out of here, lets have a drinking and eating contest and see just who is the man.

Harvey : But..but...you can't be private Scar! He died in this mine, we saw him get his head cut off! What abomination is this! What creature makes mockery of our dead friend!

Clint : I doubt we'll have much trouble seeing who'll win the eating contest. [Turns to Harvey] Not exactly, Harv, true, I did get my head cut off, but I wasn't killed.

Alice : Cool! Did it grow back?

Clint : At least I'm pretty sure that you're who you appear to be.

Chastity : [To Clint] I must say that I'm glad to see you. How did you end up next door?

Harvey : [Drops Austin] Dammed Sleaze, he never was tough enough for soldiering! [Stomach rumble] Damm I'm famished, any one got any of that splendid duck?

Chastity : [Turning round as Austin's head clunks off the floor with Harvey dropping him] Please, Colonel, he's not dead yet! Although he will need some rest, as my healing is spent for this day.

Stump : Let me put it this way, Clint. Yes, I could win that contest, yes I could win a drinking contest, and yes, they are. Just ask Alice if she is wearing thong underwear. Or maybe how much 1 plus 2 is? Or just how fast she undressed a man...which is under 5 seconds if you didn't know.

Clint : [To Stump] Sure you could. [To the others] I wasn't next door, Sist, I was about two hundred yards back that way [indicates the loose rock with his thumb] I've been digging to get out of here for almost fifty years.

Alice : [Petulantly to Stump] Maybe you're wearing thong underwear!

[BONES gives ALICE a bony two thumbs up.]

Alice : [To Clint] So anyway, Stinky, you turning up with Placebium right when we needed it, that's something of a paradox, isn't it?

Clint : No, it's a coincidence.

Harvey : [Suprised, to Chastity] What! The blighter's not dead? [Looks at Austin and props him upagainst the wall] Stand up man! [Slaps Austin's face a bit] Pull yourself together, you're making a disgrace of yourself and the troop!

Clint : Typical lawyer, pretending to be dead again, no doubt.

Alice : Harvey! Let me, it needs a gentler touch. [Kneels beside Austin, holding up his head, before suddenly getting an idea and turning excitedly to Clint, dropping Austin's head with a sickening thud as she does so] Hey! Can some of your Placebium make him better?

Clint : If by make him better you mean kill him, then yes.

Chastity : [To Alice] Being in the vicinity of the placebium seems to drastically slow the aging process, hence the youthful Mr. Scar, and passively preserve the life force, hence Mr. Bones here. There is a chance that should we manage to revive Austin that the only way we'll get him to leave here is to kill him!

Harvey : [To Chastity] What?? I thought we wanted him alive? Then he died, now he's alive again but not zombified and now you say we have to kill him! What going on here?

Stump : [Scratches head] Got me? The longer I'm with you guys [looks at Chastity] gals, the stranger you get. And that feels natural, which puzzles me.

Chastity : [Sighs] I was only musing on a scenario based on the lawyers vanity. I was not [emphasise] actually saying we should kill him. [Looks round the group] Well now we are together, shouldn't we make haste out of this cell? [Gestures towards the broken door]

Stump : Oh. Right'o you hot m...[catching himself]...er right'o!

Harvey : [To Stump] Just you mind your tounge private Stump! We have enough perversion in the troop without you joining Sleaze in his devilry! [Looks at Bones, then Clint] Did you call Mr. Bones, Jerome a minute ago? What? Speak up boy! [Cuffs Clint across the head] Come on lad, we'll make a man of you soon enough! [Marches to the door] Bones, are you comming with us?

Clint : [Draws a short sword, and holds it up to Harvey's neck, preventing him from moving towards the door] Stand down, Harvey. You wouldn't have dared hitting me when I was an adult, and you sure as hell won't start now.

Stump : And you think [emphasis] I have problems. Jeeze, that little pipsqueek has some serious puberty issues to resolve.

Alice : Stinky! Put that down immediately! [Mutters to Stump] What a little twerp!

[CLINT, of course, is taller than both ALICE and STUMP.]

Clint : [Slowly puts the sword down] Alright, Bimbo, but I don't know what's come over you Harvey. I never saw you hit a [quotes] troop member before.

Harvey : [To Clint] Aaah! A spunky young warrior are we lad! [Pushes Clints sword away casually] I say, that was no hit Private Scar, it was a friendly cuff! If I had hit you, by george, you would have been sprawled across the floor calling for your mother! [Roars with laughter. Pats Clint on the back] I think we're going to get along just famously young lad. Good to have you back!

Clint : Any time, Harv. Even as a fifteen year old kid, I can handle myself.

Alice : Hey! Can we all just calm down? Harvey, leave him alone and you, [turns to Clint] well, you leave him alone!

Stump : Can't we all just get along?

Chastity : A bit of a revolutionary idea. Getting along has never been a requirement of group harmony before. [Shrugs] But maybe with the lawyer unconscious...

Harvey : [To Alice] Dear niece, I am perfectly calm, young master Scar hear is just a little excited, that's all. Perfectly normal for a boy of his age! [Winks at Clint. Makes towards the door]

Clint : And your uncle is just a little confused, that's all. Perfectly normal for a man of his age.

Alice : [To Chastity] I know, who'd have thought it? Party unity and harmony breaking down because Austin isn't here!

Harvey : Silence in the ranks, there, private Scar, young fellow me lad! Right then sister, are you seriously saying that private Sleaze must be killed in order to live?

Chastity : [sighs again. To Clint] I fear you may be correct for once. [To Harvey] Certainly not, Colonel. He is a fallen member of the troup, and we must take him with us, surely. Otherwise he may end up like Mr. Bones, here. Or even worse, he'll turn up as his younger self later on. [Shudders]

Alice : [Incredulous] So we have to kill him?

Chastity : [Gives Alice a look] The question is how would we move him? We really something to fashion a stretcher with. [Looks around the room before her eyes stop at Bones, or more specifically his legs] You don't fancy coming with us, do you? [Time passes.]

Clint : Well do you?

Bones : Sure, I'll come.

Harvey : Splendid! [To Bones] Can you walk? [To the others] That's what I like to see, the man's dead but he's still got fight in him, more than I can say about private Sleaze. [Tuts]

Alice : Too right, Unc, it was really careless of Austin to get in the way of the Placebium that Stumpy threw at everyone in the room. [Tuts]

Harvey : [To Alice] Yes dear niece, Stumpy's damned careless, could have killed us all! Makes you wonder who's side he's on, what! [Roaring Laugh. To Clint] Private Scar, you're a fellow who's rearing to go, lead the way! [Motions towards the door] I'll help Mr. Stump carry Sleaze. [Goes to pick up Austin by the shoulders]

Clint : [Grumpily] I see nothing has changed here. [Goes to the front, but turns to Bones] Why don't you go in front me?

Bones : Why don't [emphasis] you go in front [emphasis] me?

Clint : Okay.

Bones : Gah!

[Exit ALL, into the corridor.] ;;; End of scene, next one coming up

[Book III, Act XII, Scene VIII. The Corridor. BONES and CLINT, ALICE and CHASTITY, and HARVEY and STUMP, carrying AUSTIN, are here, in that marching order. ALICE and CHASTITY both have torches lit, as there is no other source of light here. The corridor extends in both directions, and CLINT has started towards the right.]

Alice : So, Stinky, how come you're still alive? What's that all about?

Clint : The Placebium Effect.

Chastity : I take it your not talking about the itching and burning sensations you usually have. [Looks up and down the corridor] DO you know which way the placebium mine is?

Bones : Do [emphasis] you know where the -

Alice : [Interrupting] Excuse me, but could you not do that please?

Clint : This is the Placebium mine Sister! Or don't you recognise the place where you left me to die seven hundred years ago?

Chastity : We didn't leave you to die, for Phili's sake! You were dead with your head chopped off and we gave you a burial. It was all very emotional. [Wipes a away tear and looks around] And no, I don't recognise this corridor.

Clint : Yeah, yeah, as if you checked to see if I was still breathing.

Chastity : Oh please stop whining, or your pocket money will be stopped! [Looks around] Now, which way did the hydra come from? [Looks at the ground for any prints]

Harvey : [To Clint] When a chap has got no head it's usually safe to assume that he is not breathing! Damned strange stuff this Placebium, kills you but make you live for ever! Hah! [Shakes his head in disbelief]

Stump : Man he's heavy. I wonder what would happen if the stuff was rolled into a cheesyretty thinging and smoked?

Harvey : [To Stump] I think you have aldreay had quite enough, soilder!

Chastity : Well said, Colonel. None is quite more than enough, in my opinion. [To Stump] Austin can't be all that heavy to a strapping lad like yourself. You've got his feet, and Austin did always seem a bit light on his loafers.

Alice : [Eyes lighting up at Stump's suggestion] Hey! That's a really good idea!

[There are no tracks in the corridor. The floor is rock, and is perfectly clean, with no dust to be seen.]

Chastity : [Standing up from examining the floor] Hmmmm, nice to see a bit of mine pride at last. [Points right] Well I suppose this is as good a way as any. The left hand path always leads to evil!

[The party move on a short distance, and soon come to a large cave in.]

Clint : Right, we'll have to shift this lot. Come on.

Stump : Wow, great maid service! [looking at the sparkling clean rock floor]

Harvey : [Smiling. Puts Austin down in a suitable out of the rock moving spot. To Clint] Aaah, that's the spirit, private Scar! That's why you're at the front, [Nods to the others] Always put you're best man at the front! Sharp as a wild boar's tusk, private Scar! [Helps move the stones from the cave in]

Stump : Not that I ever give an opinion, but might you have just jinxed us with your saying the left hand always leads to evil? I will follow you anywhere, but just wanted to make that point.

Chastity : [Looking at the huge pile of rocks] Not at all. It is just that sometime we have no choice but to face evil. For what better way is there to defeat it? [To the rock clearers] I don't think we have time for this. I'm afraid that we will have to go the other way.

Clint : [Struggling with a rock and failing to lift it] No! [Turns to Chastity, pointing at her] This is the way out - the hydra came from the other direction.

Chastity : [To Clint] I know you've been here seven hundred years, but it'll take us all another seven hundred to move this huge pile of rubble. There is little option.

Clint : Fine. You go back the other way, which leads deeper into the mine and passes by the hydra nest. I'll stay here.

Stump : Let's get some more of the Placebium. Where did you get it from?

Chastity : [To Stump] No doubt on the other side of this cave in! [To Clint] You seem very knowledgeable about the layout of the mine considering you've been imprisoned for Seven hundred years and spent the last fifty digging into another cell! [To Harvey] Are we sure this is really Clint? We may need to test him. Calling Alice a bimbo hardly ranks as special knowledge after all!

Alice : Yeah! Everyone knows that! [Sticks her tongue out at Clint]

Clint : The Placebium is on the other side of these rocks. Look, I don't see what the problem is here, I've seen others in the mine, and spoken to lots of people. It's a well established fact that this is the way out. Tell them, Bones.

Bones : It's a well established fact that this is the way out.

Stump :Well, why don't we just try this for an hour or so and see how far we get?

Clint : Thank you! With such an open mind, I'm sure you're experiencing a lot of trouble from the others. An hour will surely be enough for us to get through.

Harvey : Well, I suppose we've nothing to lose by trying it, eh! [Looks at the ceiling] Well, apart from bringing the whole thing down on us, I suppose!

Clint : Well done, that's more like the Harvey I remember.

Bones : No, he's like the Harvey you remember!

[ALICE, STUMP and HARVEY start moving some of the rubble.]

Chastity : Oh well. I've no fear of hard work. [Starts to help as well]

Clint : Right, we'll soon be out of here.

[Time passes.]

Alice : [Wiping her sweat covered brow] Is it an hour yet?

Clint : [Checks his watch] It's two minutes.

Alice : And that's more than an hour?

Clint : No.

[ALICE, HARVEY, STUMP and CHASTITY continue lifting for about twenty minutes.]

Clint : [To Chastity] Sister, surely you can cast some kind of healing spell on the lawyer? I know he's not much good, but he might speed things up a bit.

Chastity : I did try, but unfortunately I have had to drain my holy power much today. Mr. Stump here was run through by Pestilence, and Austin has already benefited from my Phili given powers as well this very day.

Clint : [Leaning back against the wall] Typical lawyer. I suppose it doesn't make much of a difference, his tiny little arms wouldn't be able to lift much.

Alice : Like you, you mean?

Clint : Hey, I've just spent seven hundred years digging a tunnel, remember? I think I'm due a bit of a rest.

[The lifting continues.]

Harvey : [To Clint] How did you know we were going to be in that cell? What a damnedly clever chap you are private Scar, damned clever! Best rescue I ever saw! Ha! [Grunts shifting boulders]

Clint : I didn't, I thought I was digging a tunnel out of the mine and into a whorehouse - I must have been confused by Alice and Austin's perfume.

Chastity : [To Alice] I always thought you wore too much scent. I'd didn't realise it was so strong you could smell it 50 years away though. Phew.

Alice : Hey! This is high quality perfume, look!

[ALICE holds out a small bottle with "SLUT" written on it.]

Alice : See? It's got those little dots over the U, so you know it's got to be exotic! Anyway, speaking of scent, it's also possible to not use enough, Chastity. [Waves her hand in front of her nose]

Clint : Hey! Can we have a little bit less bitching and bit more lifting? We're getting close now, I can feel it.

[The party has been lifting for about thirty five minutes.]

Harvey : [To Clint] That's the spirit private! Of course it would be quicker if we didn't have to do private Sleaze's share of the work on top of our own, [Looks at Austin's unconsious body. Angrily] Disgraceful, sleeping on duty! A chap would have been court martialed for that, in my day!

Chastity : Well he was unexpectedly tackled from behind by a dwarf with a powerful weapon. In other circumstances he'd probably be quite happy. [Continues to lift out rocks]

Harvey : What! Dwarves? Dwarven scoundrels got him did they? Hmm. [Looks at Stump suspiciously]

Stump : [Leaning over to Chastity and giving a slight sniff, to Alice] I particularly like her lovely scent. Some of us don't need to cover our [emphasis] other odors.

Stump : I may be small and round, sir [spitting emphasis], but I am no dwarf! [Stops working]

Alice : [Leans back from Stump] While some of us should! [Waves her hand in front of her face again]

Clint : You know, if you all spent a little less time insulting each other and a little more on lifting, we'd be through here by now. Can I suggest you all just shut the hell up and concentrate on the task at hand? I'll see if I can do anything for the lawyer. [Leans over Austin, checking his pulse etc.]

Clint : [Turns from Austin] Given how crap you are digging tunnels, I'm sure no one is any doubt about that!

Stump : Well thanks Clint, that's the nicest thing anybody has said to me in a long time [Starts digging again]

Clint : [Turns back to Austin, muttering to himself] What a pack of wasters. It's a miracle they managed to get back down.

Alice : [Dropping the rock she's holding] Hey! We've been heaving these rocks around for [looks at her watch, and counts out on her other hand, mouthing the numbers] well, for a long time, how about giving us a hand now? [Turns to Bones] And you, surely you can help?

Bones : No, surely you can help.

Clint : [Glancing over his shoulder again] Shut the fuck up and keep digging.

Chastity : [Puts a rock she's holding down] Now just you listen up here, young man. There is no need for such language. What has brought this on, [wags her finger at Clint] and don't try and fob us off with the puberty excuse! We need an explanation, and we need one now!

Clint : [Stands up, turning away from Austin] What's to explain? I've shown you how to get out of here, and instead of moving a few rocks all I get is tantrum throwing and lack of co-operation. If I wasn't a prissy teen I'd be tempted to look for some brandy and a cigar to calm me down. We're almost there, just another few, now come on!

Stump : Ooooooo. You tell'em girl!

Chastity : [To Clint] No, there's more to it than just disappointment. Even at your oft-hungover grumpiest you didn't behave like this. You're acting like Austin of old, and there has to be a reason. What do you know of down here that we are unaware of? Why are you not helping with these rocks. You never used to shirk from physical endeavours?

Harvey : [Burls round] Who's shirking? There will be no shirking around here! [Sees Austin still slumped in a corner] Aaah ! I might have guessed [Goes back to shifting rocks sweating profusely and huffing and panting]

Clint : [To Chastity] Look, old woman, if you spent as much effort on your lifting as you do on your bitching, whining and hypocrisy, we'd have dug a tunnel clean through to the other side of the planet. I already told you that I was tired after digging the other tunnel [emphasis] by myself [normal voice] now, let's just get back to work, what do you say?

Alice : [Folds her arms] I say if it looks like a shirker and quacks like a shirker it's probably a duck. [Momentarily looks pleased, but this is replaced by her familiar look of confusion]

Bones : [Steps in front of Harvey, stopping him from digging] Say! You look really tired, my friend. How about having a brief rest?

Clint : Yes, that's a good idea, Bones.

Chastity : [Looks round at everyone elses lack of interest] Pah! [Turns and pulls a rock out the way. Muttering] You may be you younger self, put something still stinks! [Goes back to clearing the rock pile. Briefly stops. To Alice] Somethings just not right here!

Clint : Stop! Everyone stop for just a moment! I think there might be a landslide, we need to go very careful here or we could be trapped. No one make a sound.

[ALICE gives an ear piercing scream.]

Clint : [Angrily] What part of don't make a sound didn't you understand?

Alice : [Pointing behind Bones] The part where I'm not allowed scream in fright even after seeing a hand in the pile of rocks!

[This is true. There is clearly someone buried under the rocks, or at least an arm, as an entire hand, visible up to the wrist, has been uncovered.]

Stump : [in complete joy] Oh, I really hope it's Pesty. Oh. Please. Please. Please be Pesty. I would give up my left foot if...oh yeah, already did. Oh Please let it be him. [falls to the ground, praying]

Stump : [Stops digging and stands up] Wait a sec, could Pesty have changed into looking like Clint? Or might this mine be changing them into evil creatures.

Clint : That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!

Bones : No! It's the stupidest thing you've ever heard!

Alice : You gotta admit, Stinky, you have been pretty disagreeable.

Clint : When? When I dug a tunnel into your cell? When I gave you the Placebium and saved your lives [emphasis] and was indirectly responsible for making that damned lawyer finally shut up? Or how about when I steered you away from certain death outside the cell? Do tell me, because it certainly seems to me that I've been perfectly agreeable. So, when?

Stump : [To Clint] The way I see it is that you don't want to get out of these mines. I think you enjoy it here. Because if you really wanted to get out, you would have your skinny little scrawny butt digging with us. Instead, you want to play a Mr. Harvey. [to Harvey] No disrespect ofcource. [back to Clint] But while we work, all you do is stair at Alice's and Chastity's butts! Furthermore, if you've been in that cell this entire time, how do you know this really IS the way to go. You might be leading us into a trap. [Looking at person buried] We could end up like him while you and Mr. Repeat-what-Clint-says sit back and enjoy the sites. Huh! Hmmmmm! What do you say to that! [Throws down a rock, jumping out of the way to avoid smashing his feet, finally crossing his arms]

Clint : [Looks from Chastity to Alice, and then back to Stump, as though taking his time to think over what he's about to say] I didn't look at Chastity's butt. [Crosses his own arms]

Stump : [like duh] I knew it. He was looking. [Defensively] And what is wrong with Chastity's butt! Not good enough for you! HUH! I think you owe her an apology. [very loundly and demanding] NOW!

Clint : [Unmoved at this emotionalism] You're the one who seems to spending all his time either looking at it or with his head stuck up there, why don't you tell us what's wrong with it?

Stump : Wrong, why nothing. It's perfect. [Realizing what he's doing, he immediately, with haste, starts moving the rocks double time hoping Chastity doesn't go midieval on his buttocks]

Alice : [Ducking to avoid the shower of rocks from Stump, who now has the arm uncovered up to the elbow] You know, Stinky, I don't think you've explained to us why you're not helping us.

Clint : I have. Twice. But that's probably not enough for you.

Chastity : I think it's not enough for more than just Alice. It's very suspicious that you are so insistent that we dig through a pile of rubble that uncovers a body. An explanation is definitely required. Perhaps you're not scared of a cave in, more of a noise waking up whoever is dormant under the rocks? [To Stump] Maybe you'd best stop digging until we discover what's going on.

Clint : [Gives an exasperated sigh as Stump stops digging, before shouting at Chastity] I'm not afraid of making noise! [Normal voice] I just think we should be careful moving the rocks around the body, lest we damage it further. Just think, it could have been a great man, a wonderful, heroic man, we wouldn't want to taint that kind of memory, would we?

Chastity : [Gestures at the body. TO Clint] Its you, isn't it. You've had us digging through this rubble to find your old body.

Clint : Of course it's not - I was a child when I died, that's the arm of a man, a big man, with rippling muscles. Also, you buried me, remember? Now, I know that Alice might have been involved in the funeral arrangements, but you hardly buried me under a landslide, [glares at Alice] did you?

Alice : [Annoyed, but gives Clint a smile] Hey, I'm the girl who puts the fun in funeral.

Chastity : Ok, sorry. But do you know who's body is under there?

Clint : No, but if you actually did some work, old woman, we'd get to see.

Chastity : And if you'd actually help we'd see quicker, young sprout. Come on. [Goes over to the arm and starts to clear rubble from round it]

Harvey : [Looks anoyed at the arguing and shifts some more rocks very carefully] Does anybody recognise him?

Alice : No, but maybe if we get a little closer.

[Soon enough rubble has been moved to reveal his head. It is BARTHELOMEW, the zombie who killed CLINT.]

Clint : Come on, don't stop now!

Harvey : [To Clint] But private Scar, this is the dastardly cad that killed you! Why do you want us to dig him up?

Clint : So I can cut his head off. Come on, hurry up! [Lifts a relatively small stone, but grunts under the effort]

Alice : Hey, where's Bones?

[BONES has disappeared.]

Chastity : I've a bad feeling about this. Good never comes of desecrating the dead.

Clint : I'm not going to desecrate his body, I'm just going to cut his head off.

Alice : [Looking around, puzzled] Where's he gone?

Clint : Oh, shut up, and get digging.

Stump : [Stops digging] I'm going to see where that bag of bones is off to. I won't go too far. [picks up one of the torches and leaves]

Alice : [As Stump disappears around the corner] Hold on, Faetan, let's not split up until we decide what's going on here.

Harvey : [To Alice] Faetan? Faetan is here? Where! [Looks around. To Faetan] Come out girl, make yourself seen! [Looks around. To Alice] Dam girl must be hiding.

Alice : [Sigh] I'm sure Stump will find her.

Clint : Forget them, come on, let's get him out. [Starts heaving unsuccessfully at some of the rocks] Come on!

Harvey : [Shifting a few rocks] That Stump fellow is certainly a strange one. [To Clint] Come on lad, put your back into it!

Clint : Why don't you help me, old man?

Harvey : [Laughs loudly] Old man! Ha! I'll teach you a thing or two young lad! [Vigourously helps Clint with the rock Clint can't lift]

[HARVEY easily plucks it out of CLINT's hands and tosses it on the ground.]

Clint : Good stuff, Harvey, now how about getting the tart and the old bint to help too? We're almost there, look, both his arms are free now.

Chastity : With language like that you may well be left to struggle on your own. If you adopted a civil tongue in your head we may help.

Clint : [Huge sigh] Oh-kay. Sorry, Sister. Please help me dig him out.

Chastity : That's a bit better. Manners cost nothing but they maketh the man. You'd be well advised to remember that this second time round, young Clint. [Starts to help with the rubble] [STUMP returns, coming back around the corner.]

Stump : [Clip Clops into the cave, jaw drops seeing Clint dig] He actually works! Harvey, you are the man. [to all] Hey. Stop diggin. There is another cave down there that is identical to this one. Before we uncover another dead person and have them running around, why not check out the other cave?

Chastity : [Glares at Clint. To Stump] You managed to make it past theHyrda's nest then?

Harvey : [Suddenly agast, Shouts at Clint] Tart! Tart! [Steps back and draws his sword] How dare you refer to my niece in such a way! You're not the private Scar we once new! Who are you? What are you? Tell me or by Philli I'll run you through!

Stump : I went past the cage to the end of a 50 foot or so tunnel and came to a cave like this one. I didn't see anything, and nothing ate me as far as I know, but I also didn't take a long look. I think he's lying [pointing to Clint] Something doesn't add up. Also, I didn't see Mr. Bones either.

Clint : At least it shows I know her better than you, Harvey! I am Clint! [Points at Stump] He's the one who's lying, there is no cave there, and Bones didn't disappear, I bet he's in the cell, because [points at Stump] he was too stupid to look there.

Stump : Hey, if you don't believe me [patting himself down] I think I'm still alive. Let's go back there. Or are you too scared, Clint! Tie me up then. Take off my stump. If there is anything back there, it most definately would have heard me coming as well as all our moving of the stones and YOUR shouting. Clint. I'm going back there. You guys can stay here and unearth that zombie undead thingy [Looks at Chastity hoping she will follow]

Clint : [Shouting] I'm not shouting! [Calms down] You heard the half man, stay here and unearth the zombie. Last from Conor #85

Harvey : [Looks enquiringly from Stump to Clint. To Stump] We're going to get to the bottom of this, and by george, you had better not be lying to us. [Stops digging. To the others] Fall in! We're going to go and reconnoitre to make sure that Mr Stump is on the level. [To Clint, chirply] This cave in will still be here when we get back, lad!

Chastity : Right you are Colonel. [Stops digging as well and makes to leave the cavein site. To Clint] If you've really waited Seven hundred years for this a few more minutes won't make a difference.

Clint : Stop! The other cave in isn't what it seems - it's an illusion! If he had touched it, he would have seen that was the case. Unless this [gestures to the rocks] is some sort of fantastic illusion, cast by a fantastic and brave magician, I think we can be pretty sure this is real.

Harvey : [To CLint] Illusionary cave! [Laughs heartily. To Clint] Well lad, let's just go and see if Mr. Stump here is telling the truth or not. [Strides towards the cave]

Alice : [Wiping her sweaty brow] Those rocks sure seemed real to me! [Heads off after Harvey] What about Austin? Will we take him too?

Chastity : I suppose we'd better, otherwise he'll come round when we're away, and we'll have to endure countless [does a whiny voice] "You left me to die" [normal voice] statements on reunion. [Glances at Clint]

Clint : God, you are such a bitch, Chastity. No matter, I think you've done enough work for me. [Pulls out the emerald dagger that Austin killed the Seven Headed Beast with, and gives a big smile] By the way, thanks for bringing this back down! I think Austin should really be awake for this. [Shakes his head and smiles] Man, you lot really are the stupidest bunch of morons I've ever come across.

[AUSTIN stirs, and begins to wake up.]

Chastity : [Triumphantly] I knew it! I can always detect evil. [Looks at the knife] And what do you plan to do now?

Austin : [Cough, choke. Looks over to Clint, weakly] Hey! That's mine! [Checks his pockets to see what else has been stolen]

Clint : I plan to introduce the soul of the Seven Headed Beast into Barthelomew's body, thanks for keeping it safe.

Alice : Hey! What's going on here? Why didn't his body rot?

Clint : The Placebium Effect. Bart is a special type of vampire, one of the Ancient Ones, that can ingest the soul of a human. Because he had taken the soul of your friend just before he died, the Placebium kept him intact. What he needs now is a shot of energy, preferably from an evil source, and guess who brought it right to us?

Alice : [Looks around at the others, before slowly putting her hand up] Er, us?

Chastity : And where do you fit into all of this, whoever you are? Are you just the dead ones flunky?

Austin : [Shouts to the others] Kill him! He is vunerable! [Gets up weakliy and fires his sling shot at the fake Clint, using a a suitable bit of stone from the floor. Urgently] It's not Clint!

Chastity : [Looks at Austin] By Phili, reborn as a man of action. [Readies her Mace] And he has a good point! Come on everyone, all together!

Clint : [Smiling even more broadly as Austin pulls out his sling] Too late! [Plunges the dagger into Bart]

[AUSTIN gets off one shot, that hits CLINT. His skin seems to move inwards at the point of impact, but moves back out again as the stone falls out.]

Clint : Not a flunky, but a rather funky astral projection, using your buddy's thoughts and memories for information!

[BART's eyes flick open, as the entire cavern starts to shake.]

Bart : Aye caramba!

Chastity : {looks up at the roof and at Bart Time to see what Mr. Stump found. [quickly heads out]

Harvey : Astral project? Eh? The bounder's head certainly seemed firm enough when I clipped him around the ear!

[As the party run, it is clear that most of the corridor is an illusion, and it fades, showing that the party are in fact in a long tunnel with tracks, and that there are no turns. BART does genuinely seem to be still half buried in the rubble though, although he is starting to move.]

Alice : Hey! This is where we were before - maybe we can grab another one of those trolleys to escape!

[Just up ahead are two trollies.]

Chastity : Yes, quick. [Glances over her shoulder] The placebium is our only hope. We don't have the weapons to hard the vampiric zombie.

Stump : Well said, Sister! [Glares at the others] Didn't Chastity and I say there was something suspicious about him!

Alice : [Leaps into one of the trollies] I'll drive, I'm the expert! [Tries to shake it to move it] Hey! It's broken - the wheels have rusted, we're all gonna die!

Harvey : [Climbing aboard too] Actually, dear niece, I think you'll find that the handbrake is on.

[Book III, Act XII, Scene IX. The Trolley. ALICE, CHASTITY, HARVEY, STUMP and AUSTIN, are here, in one of the trolleys.]

Alice : Come on everyone, you push and I'll steer. Wait a second, someone's stolen the steering wheel!

Chastity : It follows the rails, dear. [Quickly looks in the other trolley for any rocks or mysterious boxes] Last time we needed placebium to win!

[Both trollies are empty.]

Alice : Let's concentrate on just getting out of here. Brrrrm! Brrrrrm! Eeeeeek! [Looks at the others] Come on then, heave!

Austin : [Looking pissed off] I can barely believe that you let a fake Clint rob me! Idiots! [Something else dawns on Austin. To Stump] What the hell are you still doing here? You nearly killed me you blithering vertically challanged, big boned, perambulatorily impaired psychopath! [Slaps Stump]

Chastity : Save the slapping for the ones chasing us, Austin, and push! [Pushes the cart]

Stump : Ow! [Raises his fist] If that didn't feel so much like being slapped by a girl I'd punch you - don't forget I threw the Placebium as I was under attack, and saved everyone's life as I did so. [Gets beside Chastity] Good advice, Sister.

Harvey : [Also pushing] Private Sleaze! Control yourself, man! There will be plenty of time of finger pointing after we escape. yr old little miss muffet.

Austin : [To the others, whilst still in the cart] Push! It's gaining on us! [Realises that he is nearly naked and screams in mental agony] Look at my suit! Ruined! Ruined! [Visibly get paler than he already was. To Stump] I'll see you in court for this! Attempted murder! Assault! ABH! Damage to personal property, public humiliation!

Alice : [Turns to the others] It's just as well he was unconscious when someone took his pants off, wasn't it?

[The trolley begins to move, and is picking up speed.]

Chastity : [Jumps into the cart] Quick, you don't want to be left behind!

Stump : Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Alice : [Turns to the others] Quickly! [Sees Stump bearing down on her] Not that quickly! [Crunch, he lands on Alice]

Chastity : [Pulls Stump off Alice] Please be more careful. You seem to have an awful habit of clashing with the ladies. We're starting to think it may be deliberate! [Looks back up the track to see if Clint and Bart have caught up]

Austin : [To Alice] Oh! Suprise suprise. I lie here dying and Alice gets rolly polly with a dwarf with a damaged stump! [Sighs! Gets one of those mini sweing kits from his pocket {the type you get in the Hilton} and begins repaing his clothes with lighting speed, turning the reminants of his trousers into a rather natty pair of baggy surfer shorts, at which he frowns quite a lot and then puts them on]

Alice : Yes, Austin, I deliberately got him to jump on me. [To Stump] Say, is that a wooden stump on your leg or are you just pleased to see me?

Stump : A bit of both.

[The trolley speeds along, plunging down at an alarming angle, with no sign of BART or CLINT.]

Alice : Yay! Everyone put there arms outside of the trolley! [Holds her arms up, but her baseball cap immediately flies off] Hey! My Placebium Fun Park hat!

Harvey : [Looking decidedly seasick] Please, niece! Don't rock the death plunging trolley!

Chastity : Death plunging trolley? Blast, we got into the wrong one! [To Alice] Never mind your hat dear, how about using that brake before we run off the rails?

Alice : You're already off the rails, Sister!

[The rails begin to smoothen out, so the trolley is going straight for a second, but then head up a very steep incline.]

Harvey : I've got it! [Pulls the handbrake, which immediately comes off in his hand] Gah!

Chastity : That's OK, Colonel, we'll need all our speed to get up this next bit. Watch out not to fall [notices Harvey's green complection] or hurl.

Alice : Look! Daylight!

[ALICE is correct, the trolley is heading up towards an opening in the mountain. It is difficult to hear over the noise of the wheels, but there is clearly some shouting going on up there.]

Harvey : Get ready everyone!

Chastity : [Holding on] I can't help but think that life around a monastry should be a lot more quiet and simple. [Checks to make sure where her mace is, ready for action]

Austin : [In a desparate last ditch attempt to clean up his suit] I just hope no one recognises me! I'd never live this down. [Holds on]

[As the party approach the top, it is clear that the voices belong to PESTILENCE and DANGSTEN.]

Pestilence : [Clearly in distress] No! I swear! I was getting the Placebium for you - look, three bags of it!

Dangsten : [Calmly, but loudly] You're a liar and I'm going to kill you.

[The trolley shoots up passed them, high into the air, and reaches its maximum height about fifty feet up, before starting to head back down again.]

Dangsten : [Looking up with a huge, terrifying grin] It's the Scoby gang!

[Aside : Yes, he did said Scoby, as in the famous Realms cartoon of Scoby Don't and the Don't Do That Gang, about an ever hungry dog and his gang of misfits who get into hilarious adventures every Thursday night at 7PM when one of the Don't Do That Gang invariably does something stupid that they shouldn't have done, thus getting the entire group into sticky situations that are almost always solved by ripping the mask off the ghost/vampire/monster to reveal Old Man Smithers. The Don't Do That Gang are often refered to as the Scoby Gang. Notice that the word "that" in the title is pronounced in the traditional Irish way, that is "Dat".]

Alice : [Peering over the edge] Looks like they've got the Placebium, what a pity we don't have a huge anvil to drop on their heads.

Austin : [To Alice] But we do have a mine cart to drop on their heads. [Ponders] But there's one little snaggle, we're inside the cart.

Alice : [As the trolley begins plummeting downwards] And we can't control it.

[The carriage flies down, so it is almost level with the two.]

Harvey : [Reaches out and grabs a small back that Dangsten is holding] I'll be having that, thank you very much!

Austin : [Tries to grab one of the other bags of Placebium] I'll have that, thanks!

[AUSTIN snatches it from DANGSTEN, who looks surprised for a moment, but then laughs.]

Dangsten : You're welcome to it, if the fall doesn't kill you, the Placebium will! [Kicks Pestilence off the ledge]

Pestilence : No! [Falls down after the party.]

[PESTILENCE and the party are now falling at an alarming rate back down. The trolley begins to spin in mid air, sending everyone out.]

Harvey : [To Alice] So, in those fairground rides, how does a ride like this normally end?

Alice : With the horrible deaths of everyone falling, and then their mangled bodies being crushed by the very vehicle in which they were travelling.

Harvey : Oh, I see. Noooooo!

Stump : [Waves at Pesty] Hiyah! [To whoever is holding the bag of Placebium] Open it and let Pesty fall right through it! Can't wait for him to have a mouthfull.

Austin : [Looking pailer (Pun intended) than ever, screaming to Stump] I was Pestillence who saved us the last time we were falling down a mine shaft you fool!

Chastity : Austin Sleaze, you're as fickle as a football fan. Pestilence is one of the sources of ultimate evil we've been seeking destroy. Pestilence saved himself, we just happened to be saved as well!

Stump : How was I suppose to know Austin! [cheeks flapping in the wind, well, every bit of fat flapping in the wind] This is the first time I've been airborne. Oooooo. Look, a bird.

Chastity : [To Stump] Just because we are falling to our doom, there is no need to descend into colloquialisms. Alice is a young lady not a [quotes] bird [end quotes]. Similarly you should not refer to her as a chick, bint, skirt, eye-candy, quine, gal, clothes horse, [glances at Alice] tart, slut, slapper, or even hoor.

Stump : But I have eyes only for you. She is just a sex object. You are the real thing. I never told you this, but my real name is George. George Crosscreek. Wanted you to know that before our end comes. [Starts screeming] AHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Chastity : [Visibly blanches] George? I left all my beloved Georges behind me when I became a bride of Phili. He fills my heart, I have room for no more.

Stump : [Stops screaming, the look of a sledge hammer hitting him across his chest, a knife slicing a hole through his heart, his heart bursting with complete sadness, his life has no purpose anymore.] Oh. Well you now know. May Phili save us all. [In a sad, dry voice of one whos heart has been broken]

Austin : [To George Stump Crosscheek, deadpan] George George Crosscheek? My, you're parents were profoundly imaginative. [Looks down for a bit. To Stump] Was that choice of name a lie buy you in a desparate and vain attempt to impress Chastity? [Looks down] Not that I care really. [To Chastity, shouting over the wind] A quick prayer to Philli might help us? It's worth a try! I mean you're credit must be good, you promised him your body and soul! Not that your body is worth much, but souls seemed to be quite valuable in Hell! [Ponders as he looks down again] Maybe this is collection day?

Stump : [Stands up and slugs Austin] First, don't insult my parents. Second, that IS my name. And third, NEVER insult Chastity. Now get up and lets figure out why we are still flying through the air and haven't hit the ground yet. [Offers hand]

Austin : Argh! [Reels in pain and appears to fall unconsious]

Stump : [agrivated] Oh, get up. That didn't even hurt a fly.

Austin : [Stirs, obivously badly hurt, and looks down. To Chastity] Maybe you prayer has been answered, and Phili has turned it into a bottom less pit. [Looks back up] Cursed, for ever falling!

Chastity : Don't be so quick to damn. A long fall never killed anyone, [looks over the side of the cart] its the landing we have to worry about.

Stump : Yeah, who knows, maybe we'll keep flying for a week or so and softly land on something hard.

Pestilence : [Nonchalantly sitting cross legged, rolling up a cheeseratte, speaking to Alice] So, you're a sex object, eh? How's that working out for you?

Alice : Actually, I was kind of hoping you'd cut a piece off his stump.

Pestilence : Another piece?

Alice : No, the other piece. [Thinks for a moment] It could be worse, I suppose, he could have called me a [looks at Chastity] lesbian, dike, fish eater, you know?

Stump : [To Alice] That just isn't cool. One hand on each. with us.

Alice : One hand on each what? Maybe on each of mine as I try to choke you for being so insulting! [There is a sudden ripping sound, and something small flies up passed her] Gah! Confounded cheap knicker elastic!

Pestilence : [Leaning back as though sprawled on a couch] So, how about we team up until we get out of this jam? flying in the air

Chastity : [Folding her arms. Grumpily] You have already demonstrated that your understanding of team up is to leave everyone to die in a known trap while you run off with the map, extorted under false pretence and duress! I'm not so sure. [Looks down at the approaching ground. Hurriedly] Although you could start by help us survive this fall.

Pestilence : Woah woah woah! You say betrayal, I say healthy competition. Now, we are plunging to our doom into one of the deepest pits on the planet, which is in the middle of a Placebium mine, so even in the remote chance that anyone does survive the fall, they will be trapped here forever, unless they are completely sin free, in which case they will not only survive the fall, but also simply be able to climb out. Hands up all who qualify.

Chastity : [Raises her hand] As a bride of Phili I am resolved of all my sins. [Looks down uncertainly again] Although in the spirit of group unity I am willing to be included in any fall survival plan. Any ideas?

Harvey : Well done, Sister, it does this old soldier proud to see such party unity.

Pestilence : [Gives a big smile] I have a cunning plan.

Alice : [Impatiently] Well, let's hear it!

Pestilence : What? Are you in a hurry somewhere?

Alice : Well, I am plunging to my death.

Pestilence : Oh, fair enough. My plan is that we all just calm down and it'll all magically solve itself. [Smiles to himself] Good plan, Pestilence!

Chastity : [Deadpan] Yes, brilliant! Do you have any reasoning behind this plan?

Stump : Oh sweet mother of a rat turd, I think I just swallowed a bug [choking, coughing, and trying to spit it out]

Pestilence : As a matter of fact, Chastity, I do. The word on the street is that you mob, with the exception of the crooked one, have been set aside by Phili for a special task - probably to die killing Dangsten. It seems highly unlikely to me that he'll just let you all die, but, because the universe is a place of such balance, he will also have to save me. [Looks at Stump] I guess you're screwed. My suggestion is that we just sit back and wait for something improbable to come along and save us.

Alice : Hey, that sounds like what Boddy told us when we were in Insomnia.

Pestilence : It sounds like the kind of thing that slippery backstabber would twist for his own gain. Man, I really like that guy!

Stump : [Spitting out insect parts] Screwed? Maybe, but at least I'll go out as a man and not a coward like yourself.

Pestilence : [Big toothy grin] Sure you will.

Alice : I think there's something below us, coming up fast - what could it be?

Austin : I believe it is something improbable, coming along to save us. [Checks his nails] Sigh.

Chastity : [Looks down to see what the object is] Oh no. We'll never hear the last of it!

Stump : [To Pesty] You as such an optimist. You see, I am one with the group, and where they go, I go. So, you are stuck with me. [sticks out his tonge which naturally flaps violently in the wind]

Pestilence : That's what you think, George. You're no more part of the group than Stephen was, or Immaculata, or Faetan, three people who risked their lives, and in one case, lost it, for this scum, only to be cast aside when they weren't needed any more. [To the rest of the party] You know, it's that kind of behaviour that keeps you all so close to my heart. Man, treating Faetan the way you did after she travelled down to hell to save you, brilliant! [Gives the party two thumbs up]

[A huge, golden dragon is flying towards the party at an enormous rate, and flies up passed them. PESTILENCE continues, not skipping a beat.]

Pestilence : [To Stump, laughing at him] Ask them if they'll let you use their soul sanctuaries and you'll see just how much a part of the group you really are. [Looks up to see that the dragon has turned, and is heading back down, growling at them] Ah, looks like our lift is here. [Gives a big smile at Stump] Just make sure you don't get killed, because if you do, you're on your own!

Stump : Well, look at it this way. If you can't kill me, do you really think a dragon can?

Pestilence : [Roars with laughter] What a moron! Can't kill you? [Laughs again]

[The dragon matches the speed of the party, and is now right alongside.]

Alice : Yay! It looks like he's a friendly dragon, I just bet he's going to carry us to safety.

Stump : [To the dragon] Mind if I use a likeness of you in some spells I use? You are truely magnificant. I hope you will rescue us from this death fall. And I am speaking on behalf of all of us except him [point to Pesty] He is on his own.

Harvey : You know, that creature doesn't exactly look like the type to pick up hitchikers, what! [To Stump] Don't speak to it, don't encourage it!

Alice : How else are we going to escape if he doesn't help us? [Reaches out to pat him] There there, nice draggie.

[Chomp. In one swift move, the DRAGON swallows the party whole.]

Dragon : [Swallowing the party] This must be my lucky day! Freed from the prison I've been in for thousands of years and some tasty treats to boot. All I need now is to find a petrol station and I'm sorted.

[Book III, Act XII, Scene X. The Stomach. PESTILENCE, ALICE, CHASTITY, HARVEY, STUMP and AUSTIN, are here, having just been unceremoniously deposited into what looks like a huge cave. However, the movement of the walls suggests that this is an altogether more organic cave than previously experienced by the party. There is a thick fluid on the floor, about a foot deep, that burns people's hands and faces slightly.]

Austin : [Leaps up, and has a handkerchief out before he even lands on his feet] Quickly, clean yourselves. [Thinks for a moment] Oh yes, and clean that stuff off you, I suspect it to be stomach acid. With a bit of luck our clothes will afford us some protection.

Alice : Protection? Aw, no, what a day to pick to wear fishnet stockings! Ow. Ow. Ow.

Chastity : [Standing up] It's at times like these that you can see why the convent rules forbid the use of leg razors. [Pulls out a some tea towels, wraps one round each shin, quickly wipes her hands and face and passes round the flannel towel] Wipe the acid away with these.

Stump : [Pulls off his stump, while balancing on one leg, crapes the acid off, puts the stump back on, then balances on it] Well, isn't this a perdicament. [To Pesty] Told you. [Noticing an echo] Yoo De Lay Eee Hoo! [listenting to the echo] Anybody home?

Pestilence : No, I told you. [Pulls out Beaucaphalus] Now, I believe you made an idle boast about me not being able to kill you, let's put it to the test.

Alice : [Gratefully taking some tea towels from Chastity, glaring at Pestilence] Now, is that teaming up?

Echo : Anybody home?

Stump : [to Pesty, sticks out his hand in the wait gesture] Wait...Quiet. Listen. I heard something or somebody. [After a pause] Hello?

Echo : Hello?

[This is clearly more than an echo, as something or someone is sloshing towards the party.]

Pestilence : I guess you're right, I really can't kill you. Oh no! Why! Why! [Theatrically shakes his fist in the direction of the sky]

Chastity : [To Pestilence] Ah, that'll be the binding power of promises then.

Pestilence : [Sniffs] Nope, that'll be the smell of Clint. [Nods at Alice]

Alice : Hey! I'm not Clint, I'm Alice!

Pestilence : [Shrugs] You all smell the same to me.

[Enter JONAS, a man in his thirties, dressed in loose robes which are quite filthy.]

Jonas : Well. [Spreads his arms wide] Well. [Closes them again] Um, hello.

Austin : [Pales] We need to get out of here, in case our clothes turn to [looks away and points at Jonas] that!

Stump : [To Pesty] Tough luck I guess. Maybe it's because we are not blood brothers, but something on a much more deeper level? [To the thing coming towards them] Is there anybody out there? Just nod, er, uh, say something, if you can here me?

Harvey : I say sir, are we inside the belly of the beast? [Hops from foot to foot] And how long have you been here, eh?

Jonas : Well, it's difficult to say, what with there not being much daylight in here. I tried carving a notch in the wall each time a day passed, but it just gave him indigestion.

Pestilence : [To Stump] Yeah, blood brothers, that's a great idea! [Punches Stump on the nose, knocking him to the ground, before looking at his hand, which is covered in Stump's blood] Yep, now we're friends forever!

[ALICE and HARVEY grab STUMP and pull him to his feet. His face is red from the acid, but doesn't look burnt.]

Alice : Okay, remember the important lesson. Bad man punches people who goad him.

[Time passes.]

Jonas : [Nervously] So, do you, uh, spend much time in dragons' stomachs?

Stump : [rubbing his face and seeing the blood] You're death will be slow and painful, I predict. [smiling, to Jonas, ignoring Pesty] So, what happens when he has indigestion? Have you been able to make it gag?

Chastity : [To Jonas] Not so far. Some of us have spent some time in Alice's stomach, but that's another story. This may be a silly question, but do you know how to get out of here alive?

Jonas : Sure. [Thinks for a moment] Oh, alive? No. [To Stump] When he gets indigestion the whole stomach fills with acid, nothing can survive it. I can't get up high enough to make him gag - and it could be very dangerous. It's a little known fact that dragons breathe fire when they puke. It's strange, but when they lose control of an orifice, fire comes out of it too.

Alice : Yeah, I get the same thing with curry sometimes.

Stump : [to alice] Did we ask you?

Alice : [Surprised] Er, no.

Chastity : [To Stump] Mr. Stump, I think you'll find that Alice will also punch you if goaded. [To Jonas] So we need to exit through an orifice that the dragon has complete control of? Seems simple enough.

Jonas : It does, but there is about two miles of intestine to get through, and there's no air, light and a lot of small soft rocks there.

Alice : [Looks at Chastity for a moment, and then back at Stump] Were you goading me?

Stump : [To Alice] I would never do such a thing to you. [to Jonas] The two miles of intestines is not an issue. The small soft rocks, though kinda gross, is not the problem. The little issue of air might come into play. [Stump thinks for a second] What if we could make him fart? Wouldn't that give us enough air?

Jonas : In the sense of air meaning some type of gas, yes, but in the sense of air being breatheable and not noxious, no.

Alice : [Clearly not believing Stump, folds her arms] It's a pity that question isn't open to everyone, someone else might have an idea.

Stump : [Leans over and gives Alice a kiss on the cheek] I'm not that type of person, or at least only to evil people.

Harvey : [Shocked] By the saints sir, you are taking a liberty with my niece! I do not wish to see such conduct again!

Alice : [Shocked, both at being kissed and at Stump being able to reach that high] Mr. Stump, I think you'll find that Harvey will also punch you if goaded.

Stump : [Throws a tantrum] What is it with all of you?! I'm not goading anybody. Only that evil piece of crap right right there! [pointing to Pesty]

Pestilence : [To Alice and Harvey] Why don't I just cut his other leg off and we can all have some peace?

Alice : Please don't - we need to get out of here now, cutting pieces of people isn't really going to help. [Turns to Stump] Telling people to effectively shut up and then mauling them might be acceptable where you come from, but it's not how we do things.

Austin : [Remaining disturbingly composed. To Stump] You see, Mr. Stump, violence is not the answer. If you attack Pestillence, physically or verbally you will probably loose, [Shrugs] You can't beat fire with fire [Ponders] It just like when two superstars turn up at the Oscars wearing exactly the same designer suit, the ugly one looses. [Looks at Stump, matter of factly] It's all about this balance thingy, if you hit him, he can then hit you, because you started it. If we kill Dangsten, then to balance the equation, we might die too, if that balances things out. [Ponders, clearly, quite sure where this is going, with an air of certainty] Of course the big question is, where is it all going to end?

Pestilence : [Smiling] Check out the big brain on Austin! I guess you're on the path alright - [glances at Stump] at least, most of you are. [Turns back to Austin] One correction, though, I can hit him anyway, and could kill him, but, seeing as how we're all one big happy party now, I choose not to.

Stump : Can't you see, Austin? It's just a matter of time before he turns on us again? What about you, Alice? Have you forgotten how he almost killed you?

Pestilence : Phew! You stab them in the back once, and you never hear the end of it!

Alice : I haven't, Stumpy, but I'm more concerned with the fact that the structural integrity of the tea towels is being compromised, and that these stockings won't afford much protection.

Austin : [Watching the t-towels disintegrasting. To Pestillence] I didn't say you couldn't hit him an kill him, I just pointed out that if he did attack you, you would retaliate. Do you have any orbs or such like that might get us out of here?

Pestilence : Nope, but I bet you do. Or are you all thought out for the day?

Chastity : Well we at least have to get out of this area soon, my lovely tea-towels are not doing too holding out to well. Some are at risk of becoming positively obscene. [Holds up a badly eaten away tea-towel that originally said "Come, stay in Scunthorpe"]

Harvey : Well said, Sister! We had better act quickly before more of the tea-towels become offensive. [To Jonas] You sir, where do you normally go when the stomach fills up?

Jonas : Where the sun don't shine.

Alice : The sun doesn't shine anywhere here, we're inside a dragon's stomach!

Jonas : I mean where the sun [emphasis] really don't shine!

Austin : [Frowns for a moment trying to see what obscenities Chastity fears that her t-towel may say] Ahh, I see. [Nods. Looks around] How about we try and cut our way out through it's heart? [Looks pleased with his suggestion] Killing two birds with one stone, so to speak, we get out, AND, the dragon is dead so it can't eat us again!

Chastity : What....you don't mean....on TV do you?

Stump : And can we breath down there?

Alice : [Helpfully] Wouldn't that be in a TV?

Jonas : It'll only work for one person - it's the entrance to the intestines. We could try cutting towards the heart, but who knows where the dragon's heart is?

Chastity : Or if it's still flying.

Stump : Well ain't that a load of crap.

Pestilence : Well, judging by the rate at which the liquid is increasing, those of us in slutty looking skirts are going to be in trouble real soon now. Confound it! If only there was a way to get out!

Stump : I fear that if we cut into him, it will only cause more acid and lots of blood. What if I made him laugh hysterically, so it forced him to land?

Jonas : Not exactly a load, but enough to be offensive.

Alice : [Lets out a sigh of relief] Just as well I don't have my slutty skirt on, isn't it? [Looks down to see that the liquid is now over knee deep] Ow! Hey, that's starting to hurt!

Chastity : [To Stump] That would be a good start. Are you familiar with dragon's sense of humour? [To Jonas] How high do we have to go to get the dragon to gag? We could form a tower to get higher. Maybe that would do the trick.

Stump : Can we climb back up the throat?

Jonas : [Looking up] I don't think so, it is very high up.

Pestilence : [Shakes his head, smiling at the party's predicament] Sigh! Come on people, put some thought into it! [Looks to Alice] Not you, in case you strain something.

Stump : [thinking] Yeah, I do remember that spell. So, if I cast it and make this dragon laugh his head off, what then? I guess if he's on his back or side, we could make it to the throat. Whatcha say?

Austin : Let's see if we can get back out of it's mouth [Starts climbing if he can]

[The whole cavern starts shaking, and the DRAGON is clearly in flight, although it doesn't help getting to the mouth.]

Harvey : [To Austin] Hold on, Private Sleaze, let Mr. Stump try his spell, it might work.

Pestilence : What? He's going to make the dragon laugh so much it pukes? Why not just show it a picture of him making googly eyes at the nun, that's enough to make anyone puke.

Stump : Hold onto your britches [looks at Alice] well, most of us. Here it goes! [starts casting]

[The entire stomach rumbles, and there is a peculiar hacking from above, as the party struggle to stay on their feet. The DRAGON clearly stops flying, but the rumbling and rippling still continues, splashing the party with more acid.]

Pestilence : How about you tell the dragon about your stupid plan to get us out? That might make him laugh even more.

Austin : [To Stump, screaming] Why is it that every time you do something your actions ruin my clothes ans leave me near death, covered head to toe with severe burns? Why is that? [Frowns as he hangs on for his life]

Chastity : [To Alice] Good old Austin. Always trying to look to the positive side of a situation. [Looks up] Can we get up the throat yet?

[The acid is now about waist high.]

Alice : I'm sure glad I wore my sensible pants today.* [Thinks for a moment] Ow! Ow! Come on, let's get out of here, this really hurts!

Pestilence : [Snottily to Austin] At least he's trying to do something and not just standing around making negative comments!

Stump : [dumbfounded] Please, everybody take note that Pesty has given me...ME mind you, a compliment.

Alice : Actually, it sounded more like he was criticising Austin.

Pestilence : As a matter of fact, I was criticising all of you for being so dumb.

Austin : [To Pestillence, even snottilier] Well then brainiak, what's your great plan? Sit around until we are all dead and then say [In a silly Pestillence type mimic] We should have used the Placebium [To Normal voice] Or some other stupid suggestion! [Austin continues to try to climb up the throat]

Stump : Here. Here. Well said Austin, or should I say, mini-Pesty.

Pestilence : Actually, I was going to wait until you fell off the side and then take the Placebium and use it.

Stump : Uhm, not that I'm confused a lot, but who has Placebium with them? Wouldn't that make for one hell of a laxative?

Harvey : Laxative, sure that's a bit drastic! How about we just try to make the creature sick? That's surely a preferable route to the outside, eh!

Pestilence : How about we burn a hole through its stomach?

Alice : But that could kill it!

Pestilence : Either that or it kills us - the acid is now above our waists. [Leaps onto the wall near Austin, and drives Beaucaphalus into it, giving him a good grip, but causing the dragon to writhe in pain, sending everyone staggering, and Austin hanging off the wall] I guess those of us without magic swords are in trouble.

Chastity : Well maybe if you didn't horde them all to yourself. Remember your pledge of co-operation?

Pestilence : No. Okay, you can have all my spare magic swords. [Makes no move]

[All those standing in the acid are starting to feel pain now.]

Alice : Ow! Hey, this is really starting to burn now!

Harvey : Well? Should I use the Placebium? I expect that Private Sleaze will be too concerned with hoarding his.

Austin : [To Harvey] It's obvious that you don't want to use youre either! [Austin pours his Placebium onto the dragon]

Harvey : [Thundering] Incorrect sir! I merely wished to discuss the matter with everyone else!

[The Placebium drops into the acid and sinks. Almost immediately, the dragon begins convulsing and the party are thrown about. Fortunately, much of the acid has drained away by the time people have fallen into it.]

Alice : Quickly! Let's get through the hole before he starts to -

[Everyone suddenly experiences a terrible lurching feeling as the dragon clearly begins dropping out of the sky.]

Alice : Fall!

Austin : [Looking smug] Hey I killed the dragon! [Looks glum] but we are still falling! I can't die in this suit! It's ruined [Looks to be going into a state of shock staring at the tatters of his suit]

Stump : [Smacks his hand across Austin's cheek] Snap out of it man! Just think of it as a new fashion statement. Forget that tie-tied stuff, you've just invented Dragon die-tied.

[The hole in the dragon is getting larger, although everyone is now pinned to the roof due to the force of the dragon falling.]

Alice : Look! We're outside the Placebium mine, but how can we get to the hole?

Pestilence : I guess once the dragon hits the ground, we'll hit it too.

Harvey : But that will kill us!

Pestilence : Not me!

Stump : [as if] Once again, Mr. Death rubs it in that he cannot die.

[The dragon hits the ground with a terrible bang, sending everyone flying towards the ground. Miraculously, their fall is broken by the dragon falling again.]

Harvey : Gah! What's happenning? [Looks out through the now quite large hole that the party are close to] Look, troop! We're falling down another mine shaft!

[It looks as though it should be possible to jump out through the hole.]

Austin : Let's go Colonel! [Jumps swiftly out of the hole]

Harvey : Well said, Private! [Leaps out after Austin]

[ALICE and PESTILENCE go for the hole at the same time, and get stuck.]

Alice : Oh, sorry, excuse me.

Pestilence : No, excuse me. After you.

[ALICE jumps through, followed by PESTILENCE.]

Stump : [Stump squeezes through the hole] BONZAI!!!!!!

[Just as CHASTITY leaps through, the DRAGON crashes against another lift, smashing it in half, and sending the party members scrambling to grip onto it. The DRAGON plummets downwards, making a terrible screaming sound, while everyone hangs onto the half of the lift that is left.]

Alice : Whoo! We made it!

[PESTILENCE fared the worst, and is hanging on to the edge of the lift, while the rest of the party are safely on it, in the order STUMP, CHASTITY, AUSTIN, ALICE, HARVEY away from PESTILENCE back to the wall, with BEAUCAPHALUS lying between CHASTITY and AUSTIN.]

Beaucaphalus : At last! I'm free from him! Quickly, let's kill him.

Austin : [Grabs Beaucaphalus and, holding on tightly to the lift, tries to chop Pestillence in the head] That's for trying to kill us!

Stump : Hell, give it to me. I'll kill him for chopping my stump.

[AUSTIN swings and catches PESTILENCE on the left collarbone, causing him to slip, but he still hangs on.]

Pestilence : [Smiling crazily] Hey! What happened to the spirit of co-operation? Chastity, you'd better keep them on the path, or when Athlacca comes, they'll be screwed. [Slips again, and is barely hanging on. Looks Stump straight in the eye, still smiling] You think I'd let a cripple like you kill me? Not a chance, and I'm going to be going counting down from [in the tradition of darts commentators] one hundred and eighty!

[PESTILENCE lets go, and plunges silently into the darkness.]

Alice : Wow! He's gone! A hundred eighty? What does that mean?

Stump : [to Alice, sweating and unnerved] Uh...I don't kno...It's...just gave me the creeps. I wanted to so bad to kill him, but...lets get out of here. One hundred and eighty...[shakes his head]

Alice : [Looking at the lift controls that just say "up" and "down"] Hm, can any one remember how this worked?

Austin : [Starts skillfully cleaning Beaucaphalus. To Alice] Try the one marked down, or get Chassers to help you.

Alice : Sure. [Pulls the down lever, sending the lift downwards] Hey!

Harvey : By the saints troop, what a narrow escape, eh! Well done private Sleaze, a masterful stroke with Beaucauphalus!

Alice : [Wrenches the up lever upwards] But not so with your lift instructions!

[The lift screeches to a halt, sending everyone falling to the floor, before heading upwards again, only to stop a short (ten feet) distance from the top. Standing above, beside the cable, with a large sword in her hand, is BRANDY.]

Brandy : [Giving a little clap] Excellent! When I saw the dragon I thought you might be on the way up. [Sad face] Of course, after that old meanie Pestilence blurted out who I am, I'm afraid I'm going to have to send you all back down.

Harvey : [Suddenly outraged] Oh for goodness sakes, woman! Can't you find another pasttime for yourself other than trying to make our lives hell! What about crouchet, or darning, or pressing flowers between the pages of books!

Chastity : [To Harvey] Colonel, what an outdated sexist remark. The modern woman does not just spend her time in frivolous pastimes! She should be in the kitchen caring for her family, cooking and cleaning. [Looking up at Brandy] Although some cases may be too bitter, twisted and bilious to be capable of forming such meaning full relationships. [To Alice] Send us down again, dear, quickly.

Alice : [Pulls the lever frantically, but nothing happens] She must have broken it!

[Enter DARIUS, stepping into sight beside BRANDY, smoking a huge cigar.]

Darius : Haw! Looks they've got your number alright, Brandy!

Brandy : All the more reason to kill them.

Austin : [To Brandy] But aren't you going to tell us why? You're not the secret 5th Horsewoman of the Apocalypse are you? What could you possibly have to gain by killing us? What the hell do you want anyway [Stands looking pissed off with Brandy]

Chastity : [To Darius] Ah, I thought I could smell the stench of Death around. Managed to increase your stock of Placebium from the amount you already had, then? [Looks at Brandy] Or are you in the middle of delicate negotiations?

Brandy : [Smiles at Darius] Looks like they've got your number alright. [To Austin] I just want what all girls want, a nice husband, a house in the country and loads of babies that I can cook and clean for, and I can't have naughty boys like you who, for some unknown reason hold me in little regard, blurting out all sorts of awful things about me. [Raises her sword to cut the rope]

Darius : Ah ah! [Catches her arm] You can't do that to my favourite party, not when they're on the path - they'll soon understand the importance of secrecy.

Brandy : Oh, Norville, that's why I like you so much, you're just so nice and thoughtful. [Big smile and wave to the party] Be seeing you!

Darius : [To the party] Now that surely entitles me to an invitation, so don't leave me off the list.

[Exit DARIUS and BRANDY, arm in arm.]

Chastity : [To the rest of the group] Between Pestilence's 180 comment and Death's strange comments, do you get the worrying feeling they know something we don't. [Looks at the levers] Well, up or down?

Alice : [Excited] Forget that! Darius' name is Norville? How lame is that?

Harvey : Now, now, Niece, many people have names they don't particularly like.

Alice : Well, I don't! [Composes herself] I don't think we should be worried about Darius knowing things - and Pestilence knew that the big P would look after us when we fell down the shaft, in fact, I feel better about things already. In fact, I'm one hundred percent sure that things are going to be a whole lot better for us from now on, the sky's the limit! [Dramatically pushses the lever.]

[The lift plunges down fifty storeys in about four seconds, with everyone clinging to the lift. Eventually ALICE pushes the lever back to its position and then pulls the right one.]

Alice : Er, sorry about that. [Whistles nonchalantly]