THE QUEENS VIEW AFFAIR

[Book IV, Act IV, Scene I. The Hotel Suite. ALICE, EVAN, CHASTITY, STUMP, STEPHEN and ARAMIS are here, having just arrived back. Many of the other Knights are now at the hotel, and are taking care of the bodies etc.]

Alice : Right, now, the only problem I can see with the current plan is that we don't have a time machine. [Thinks for a moment] Oh, and that the universe might be destroyed if we did have one. [Thinks again] And that we're not entirely sure how they work. [Brightens] Other than that, everything is just peachy! Oh, except for the fact that I'm almost dead. Chas, how about breaking out some of those healing potions?

Aramis : Hah! It sounds like you're all a lot more prepared than usual!

Alice : [Smugly] We're not amateurs, you know. Hey! Where's Beaucaphalus?

[Cut to the hotel foyer, where MORRIS is looking at BEAUCAPHALUS, who is still stuck into the ceiling.]

Morris : Pretty good, pretty good, pretty neat, pretty neat.

[Cut to current scene.]

Alice : Gah!

Chastity : [Opening up her bag and taking out the seven remaining healing potions] Of course dear. I hadn't forgotten.

Chastity : [Sighs] Lets hope we've no need for a magic sword, then! I think I need a cup of tea to wash the taste of death from my mouth. Any takers? [Goes over to make some tea]

Aramis : Tea? Hah! After an epic clash like that, I think we're more in need of some very good brandy and a couple of .. [smiles] cigars.

Alice : And how about some healing potions?

Stump : And how about a plan? We have no time machine, so I suspect that will make time travel a little bit difficult. Here, Sister, let me help you. [Goes to help Chastity]

Alice : [Sighs] I don't know. Maybe Faern is still around?

Stump : Here, Sister, let me lift the hot kettle. [Stump lifts the kettle using Peter's tissue from earlier, making it clear that there is something written on it]

Chastity : Look! [Grabs the tissue, almost causing Stump to burn himself] There's a map on it! [Turns to the others, beaming] Oh, that Peter!

Aramis : The tea lover is right. How are we going to manage for a time machine? I suspect the Knights are less than likely to facilitate our journey.

Aramis : A map? [Tries to get a look] It seems the quest has begun, we must make all haste, perhaps delaying for just a few short hours for us to ravish some bystanders and perhaps engage in a brawl with some ne'er do wells.

Alice : [Also straining to see the map] I'm sure it'll only take a small while for Chastity to cast those healing spells, Aramis, then we can make a move.

Stephen : Oh goody! [Full of enthusiasm] Can I see the map? I wonder why that man gave it to you? Do you think it might lead to a time machine? Could it be a trap do you think?

Chastity : [To Alice, pointing at the seven vials of healing potion she took out her bag] The healing potions are just there, dear. You're a big girl now, I'm sure you can manage on them on your own.

Alice : [Looks directly at the potions] Where? I can't see them?

Stump : [Pulling the map away from the others so they can't see it] Look, Chastity, our map seems to lead to a cave just outside the town.

[ALICE grabs two potions and knocks them back.]

Aramis : [Unphased by Stump's handling of the map] That fellow in the enchanting green outfit, can he be trusted?

Alice : It depends on who you ask, but I think so.

[Enter SPRUCE and JUSILLA, the former carrying BEAUCAPHALUS. BEAUCAPHALUS is clearly in the middle of talking to the two.]

Beaucaphalus : And then the two of you can get into a big vat of baked beans and fight over who gets to hold me, and the winner can -

Spruce : Bored now. [Hands Beaucaphlus to Alice]

Beaucaphalus : Aw, man! She never does anything!

Alice : Good to see you too, Beau.

Chstity : [To Alice] Don't leave the sword hanging around anywhere this time. [To Spruce and Juscilla] Thanks you for returning the sword. I hope it wasn't too rude!

Jusilla : He's a very naughty sword, and you all are very, very naughty too. [Turns to Alice, and puts her hand on her stomach, with a puzzled look that turns to a smile] I can feel it inside her! A life. This is so much better than the other times.

Alice : [Swallows hard] Er, is it?

Chastity : [To Alice] Do you have a soul sneek into your chamber? The Colonel?[To Juscilla] What other times?

Aramis : [Smiles his best smile at Jusilla] More lovely ladies, what more can I ask for?

Alice : [A little taken aback, and clearly somewhat flustered at Jusilla's proximity, but not moving away] Uh, I don't know. I never felt it the other times it happened, and there was so much going on I'm sure none of us would have seen anything. [Excited] If there is, it must be Harvey.

Jusilla : [To Chastity] When we first met, in the lovely little garden. I don't know who or what it is, but there is a warm fuzzy feeling off it.

Alice : [Deflated again] Didn't someone say that he couldn't have got in? [Quietly to Aramis] We think they're lesbians. positive > for once!

Aramis : [Whispers back to Alice] For the moment. [Twirls his moustache some more]

Stump : [To Juscilla] What do you feel know. [Approaches Alice] Maybe I could feel something special.

Spruce : [Looks at Evan, more bored than annoyed] Hey, he's said something non-committal and uninteresting. What a surprise.

Stephen : [Impressed at Spruce's bitchiness] Miaow! [To the others] Didn't Sven say that only certain party members could use them? And by certain party members I mean no one here except you, Chastity! Remember? In the Under City? He said only people who were in the pyramid could use them, so I think that excludes me, Evan, Aramis and the Chastity's big wart. I mean, Stump.

Chastity : [Looking suprised] Really. It seems so long ago!

Alice : How about a sword up your ass? [To Stephen] You're right, it was only supposed to be me, Chastity, Austin, Clint, Harvey and [face becomes a mixture of surprise and disgust] Jerome! [To Jusilla] Are you sure there's someone in there? Who is it? Who?

Jusilla : [Dead calm] No. I don't know. I told you, I don't know.

Alice : You know, Sister, you really should pay more attention to what's going on around you. [Thinks for a second] Hey! Where's Beaucaphalus?

Spruce : In your hand.

Chastity : You don't think that Dangsten used Harvey's captured soul to piggy-back his way into the soul sphere, do you?

Alice : Ew! [Gives a shiver] What do you think, Juice? Are there two in there?

Jusilla : I'm not sure there's even one, so I don't know.

Aramis : Intriguing. Only Chastity and Harvey could have used them, Faern maintains Harvey didn't use it, and yet there is a soul in there? I feel the need to drink much ale and carouse with some wenches, that always helps me think. What do you say, Stephen? You seem like a man's man!

Alice : You've got that right!

Stephen : [Does a finger gun at Aramis] Click-click!

Aramis : [Doesn't break his stride] Ah, I see! Well sir, while I would not welcome your advances, I'm sure you have many fashion suggestions, and unthreatening methods to get close to the ladies.

Chastity : Mr. D'Artagnan, this is not the time for that kind of behaviour. [Thinks] Actually, there is never a time for that kind of behaviour, but it is particularly inappropriate now! We do not have time to waste.

Spruce : Actually, time is the one thing you do have. That's the beauty of time travel. If it worked, which it won't.

Alice : [Irritated at Spruce, but nods in agreement with Chastity] She's right, Aramis, we've got to get going as soon as possible. Hey Chas, ever think you'd see the day when we'd be the ones pushing on the action?

Chastity : No dear, I never thought I'd see the day when [emphasis] we'd be the ones pushing it on.

Stephen : What makes you so sure it won't work, unless of course you've yourself travelled back from the future knowing that it didn't work, which would also mean that by travelling back from the future that it does work! Hah, proof if ever it were needed!

Chastity : I think the point being missed here is that the problem with time travel is that we have no way to navigate it at will at the moment. [To Stump] I think it we should get to the cave.

Stump : What will the others be doing while we're there? [Eyes go slightly misty] On our own. [Rubs his hand] Busying ourselves. [Mops his brow]

Chastity : Mr. Stump, Phili himself could not lead me to spend time with you in a darkened cave with no other backup.

Stump : [To Aramis] She obviously couldn't trust herself. [Brushes himself down]

Spruce : Sure it is. Bored now.

[Exit SPRUCE.]

Alice : I see you haven't lost that silver tongue of yours, Stephen.

Aramis : So it would appear. [Gives a sexy growl at Chastity, before turning to Stump] Unless it's you she can't help, in which case I shall have to thrash you to within an inch of your life, for I cannot bear to see ladies made feel uncomfortable. Nothing personal, you understand.

Stephen : I'll certainly go with you Sister Chastity!

Stephen : [Wags his finger] Oh come on, I'm quite sure there are times when you're overjoyed to see ladies uncomfortable, such as tied up, or on their knees, or wrapped in clingfilm, or whatever else your kind get up to!

Alice : Right, let's go - Chas, do you want to take the rest of those health potions?

[Everyone quickly suits up, and CHASTITY grabs the potions, before they head off following PETER's map. The cave is just about half a mile outside the town, and is a nice, pleasant walk.]

Alice : [Gasping and wheezing] Pant! I think I'm going to have to cut back on the cheeserattes. Okay, here it is. You know, doesn't it seem strange that Peter just happened to have one so close by, just when we needed? Not to mention how strange it was that he actually told us about it!

Aramis : Good Stephen, you must have a terribly low opinion of me - for any lovely ladies I have in such positions are always most comfortable. [Gives a wink, but it isn't clear if it is at Jusilla, Alice, Spruce or Chastity]

Stephen : [To Chastity, Jusiall, Alice and Spruce] He's kind of dreamy, isn't he!

Alice : Yeah, I know what you mean, I like the way he - hey! [Looks confused] I think I should be annoyed with you, but I'm not.

Aramis : Such a beautiful friendship. Why, within the day you'll be braiding each others' hair and exchanging friendship bracelets!

Alice : Aramis, you're a sexist pig.

Aramis : [Snorts like a pig] Guilty as charged, but I'm so charming no one minds. [Flashes his best smile]

Harvey : For once I agree wholeheartedly! But a dreamy, sexist pig, none the less! [Looks at Alices hair and grimaces]

Alice : [Glares at Stephen] What?

Stephen : [Smiles at Alice] Absolutely nothing a visit to Clicky Narke couldn't fix, dear girl.

Alice : [Looks up at Stephen's hair for a moment] Hm. What a pity one can't say the same about you.

Stephen : Touche! [Grabs Alice by the hand] Oh I missed you so much Alice! [Suddenly embarrased] So, are we going into this cave or are we waiting for Alice to sprout roots, gray ones.

Alice : You'll be waiting a long time for that, Stephen! [The party go into the cave, which is about 20' square. It is quite clean and, in the middle, is a large piece of tarpaulin over something.]

Alice : [Looks around] Gah! Where is it?

Chastity : [Goes over to the tarpaulin] Let try under here. [Looks at the tarpaulin for any obvious traps] It's at times like these I miss Austin. You know, when there's a chance of sudden ,unexpected deadly traps being sprung!

Alice : I know what you mean, Chas, it would be handy to know where the safest and furthest possible point from any potential trap is! [It isn't possible to test for traps without actually touching the tarp, but there is nothing obvious from where the party currently are.]

Chastity : [To Evan] You seem to have got the words useful and condescending mixed up there! [looks round the group] Who had the rope?

Alice : [Rolls her eyes] Be fair now, Chastity, that must be, what, two useful suggestions? [Holds out some rope] Here you go.

Chastity : [Takes the rope from Alice and ties it round the corner of the tarpaulin] Everyone back now. [Retires the lenght of the rope, waits for everyone to get back, and pulls off the cover]

Aramis : Ah, party unity! It is like being in the bosom of a loving family. [Takes the rope and carefully ties it onto a corner of the cover] Alright, my friends, although it is not in your nature, I would advise you to all keep back.

Aramis : [As Chastity helps him] Ah, good Sister, it pleases me to be in such close proximity, such closeness is crucial to co-operation. [Helps pull]

[The tarp comes off easily, and reveals a sundial type time machine, as has been used by the party before.]

Alice : [Gives a little clap] Yay! Well done guys! [Turns to Stump] Did you see how close they were? Two, sweaty bodies, pulling and heaving? [Does a dramatic mopping of her brow] Phew!

Stump : [Grumpily] I hadn't noticed! [Quickly walks up to the time machine] How's this thing work then?

Alice : 'm sure t'van will know. He's been just chock full of good ideas today!

Aramis : [Smiling at the party politics] Well, it sounds like 'van doesn't know - but I bet yourself and the delightful, if somewhat sweaty, Sister Chastity know.

Alice : I know how to do it. So, when do we want to go?

Chastity : [To Aramis] Please, no need to be vulgar. Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies [gesturing towards herself and, hesitantly, Alice] glow.

Aramis : [Bows deeply] Please accept my apologies, Sister. I meant no harm. [Looks up] And might I just say, you are glowing today. In beauty. [The entire sundial glows brightly. Although cursory glance would suggest that it is an ordinary one, it is clear that the surface is made up of six dials, each of which can be turned.]

Alice : You use the dials to see how far you want to travel, and the gnomon for the direction. We thought before that the dials set the number of hours to travel, but if you notice that dials contain only prime numbers, I'm sure you'll see that they are more likely Walsh Coefficients that are set before being put through a Fourier Transform to reduce to a discrete number from an apparantly [smiles at the cleverness of it] continuous set. [ALICE notices the others looking at her in surprise and/or non understanding.]

Alice : [Tuts irritably] Okay, strictly speaking, it's a Walsh Transform, but come on, it's implicit that we're using binary, so what's the diff? [Under her breath] Geeks.

Aramis : Ri-ight! It seems your depth knows no bounds, and that you are as clever as Chastity is holy. In this matter, I bow to your superior knowledge and will let you operate the device.

Alice : Was that another useful suggestion? You know, you really should tell us when they are, otherwise we'll never notice. [To the party in general] Look, the whole not being able to change the past thing might be true, but then again it mightn't - remember, Darius did it.* Will I send us back to a bit before we went to Jerome's hut? Where Horatio and Tommy died.

Chastity : Except that the whole purpose for going back this time is to change the past. To save the Colonel.

Alice : [Exasperated sigh] So what do you suggest, Chastity? That we just forget about him?

Chastity : [Turns to Alice] That is not what I said, was it? Did I not argue the case for going back? We're not all here to just to test the accuracy of Peter's map making! Get dialling, child. To time to hit the hut!

Alice : But when? How long before we arrived there the first time should we arrive this time?

Aramis : My my, tensions are running very high. Might I ask, what do we actually intend to do? Who are we going back to speak to? Yourselves? The apparantly villainous Jerome?

Chastity : Well with Austin gone I suppose we might get the opportunity to speak to the evil Jerome. [To Alice] How about an hour before we formerly turned up. That should give us enough time to see what's going on.

Alice : Okay, let's see. [Puts on her glasses and plays with the dials a little, before stepping back and taking off the glasses again] Right. Looks like we're ready. [ALICE presses the gnomon, and the party is enveloped in white light.]

Stephen : How about a few hours before hand, so we can find a local hostelery and get a much needed drink! It's been an absolutely harrowing night!

[Book IV, Act IV, Scene II. The Cave. ALICE, EVAN, CHASTITY, STUMP, STEPHEN and ARAMIS are here, in exactly the same position they were as before, although the time machine is gone.]

Alice : Right. Looks like it worked. We've got an hour to get things sorted out. [Face drops] Of course, we're miles away from the hut, how are we going to get there?

Stephen : Perhaps we can head into town and rent a carriage?

Aramis : Hm. [Looks at Stephen] I fear you spoke up too late, my friend. [Tosses a hip flask to him] That will help you with the drink situation, but what about the travel? Shall we see if there is another mode of transport? I fear our carriage won't arrive for a few days. Kast from Tessa and Colin #002

Evan : Pr'bly t'best thing t'do. Cn't stand 'round here gabbin' f'r too long 'nyway.

Alice : Not a bad idea, Stephen. [Mutters under her breath] Just a pity you didn't say it two minutes earlier.

[Exit ALL, out of the caves. Surprisingly, there is already a carriage out here, a high class Refarri one, parked near another cave. There doesn't appear to be any one around.]

Alice : Yay! A Refarri! My brother Bertie has one of these, they're great. Although, you'd be surprised at how easily they scratch.

Aramis : Perhaps we could [sly smile] rent this one?

Alice : Forget that! Let's just steal it!

Aramis : An entirely more practical suggestion, my dear. Ah, a lady with a dark side, my favourite.

Stephen : Hmmm, a Refarri! That's a little too convenient, don't you think? Quickly, let's nick it and flee, before the minisculey genitalied owner returns from whereever he is!

Evan : So, d's anyone k'how to hotwire th'se horses?

Alice : Aramis? I somehow suspect you know, and what about you, Stephen? Aren't you supposed to have thieving abilities? [Enter DARIUS, coming from the cave nearest the carriage, he is carrying the orb that the party saw in the sewer previously (but in the future relative to now).]

Darius : [Momentarily surprised, but quickly regains his composure] Ah, to what do I owe this pleasure?

Stephen : [To Alice] Hey, of course I know how! Just give me a second to open their oat bags and I'll have them started in no time.

Chastity : [Gives Stephen a nudge] I think you'l find that the likely owner is here. [To Darius] Whats the orb?

Darius : [Gives Chastity a wink] That's a little something for later, but don't worry you'll find out all about. [To Stephen] Need a little help?

Evan : 'Think it's the same one h'had earlier, y'know! The one that st'pped Phili f'listening 'n.

Stephen : [Back turned as he jacks open the oat bag] No, we just want to get this thing started before the flashy git who owns it turns up!

Darius : [Clearly taken aback at Evan's words, but gives a smile] Ah! Tinkering with time travel, are we?

Alice : [Guiltily] No!

Darius : [Mock serious as he nods his head] Glad to hear it.

Darius : No panic, the flashy git who owns it is miles away. [To the party] He's obviously one of yours?

Alice : I wouldn't say he's ours, but he does follow us around from time to time.

Aramis : You must be Darius, I am Aramis D'Artagnan. [Ostentatious bow] Am I correct in assuming that you are responsible for liberating this fine vehicle from it's previous owner?

Darius : Indeed you are. Aramis, eh? [Looks around] Where are Harvey and Austin?

Chastity : Austin is following his route on the path. The Colonel is tragically deceased.

Darius : [With a big, big smile] Well now! And you lot have come back in the past save him? [Goes to lean against the carriage, but pauses for a moment to help Stephen with the hotwiring] There. [Turns his focus on the party again, but is very clearly struggling to assimilate all this information] You know, of course, that it won't work?

Alice : [Defiantly] Why?

Darius : [Shrugs] Because if it was going to work, Harvey wouldn't be dead, and if he wasn't dead, you wouldn't here in the first place, would you?

Alice : That's not what Faern said, he said something about jumping to a different dimension.

Darius : [Good natured irritated tut] That Faern, always planting er, ideas, in young girls' heads. That's only a theoretical possibility, and even if it could happen, you really don't want it to.

Chastity : Why?

Darius : Here's the theory. You go back in time and prevent Harvey from being killed, but that's impossible, right? If he wasn't killed in the first place, you wouldn't have gone back. Not according to the theory, which says that, when someone changes something in the past, they are immediately sent to a different, parallel dimension where that did happen.

Alice : So, what's the problem? Why can't we do that?

Darius : Because it would mean that not only would Harvey still be dead in this dimension, but your consciousness would be transferred to a different one.

Alice : So, what's the problem? Why can't we do that?

Darius : Have a cheeseratte, it normally helps people understand this kind of thing.

Stephen : Are you saying that if Alices saves Harveys life here and now, that it won't be here and now at all, but a different there and sometime else? That we'll all no longer be here, but somewhere very like here, where Harvey is and remains alive, and we carry on living there instead?

Darius : Not exactly, just that it's one possibility. Personally, I think you'll fail. So, Time Travellers, what else can you tell me about your strange and fantastical world? What else happens?

Chastity : [To Evan] That's not particularly valid here, as he's probably been further ahead than us. Darius hops about time travel like a strange temporal frog. Except I doubt if there is a prince hidden under the slimy exterior waiting to be kissed.

Alice : I don't.

Darius : [Flutters his eyes at Chastity] Are you my beautiful princess?

Alice : You clearly don't know Darius very well, Evan. Normally he only asks when he does know!

Aramis : [To Darius] Sir, you seem like a scheming and sly fellow. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

Darius : Actually, I prefer to think of myself as scheming, sly and self-serving. [Nods politely to Aramis, before turning to the others] Let me guess, Harvey dies in the attack on Dangsten, and you're all here to prevent it from happening?

Chastity : Good guess. [Speaking with emphasis for Evan's benefit] Almost as if you've already been into the future and seen it! Also for the record, I've always thought of you as scheming, sly and self-serving as well. I'm a bit worried we've agreed on something.

Darius : Oh, Sister, I think you'd be surprised at how much we probably agree on. Anyway, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that something happened to Harvey when you attacked Dangsten - and it also doesn't take a genius to figure out that something went wrong with the soul sanctuary, after all, if he was in there, why would you have come back?

Alice : So, you're not a genius?

Darius : Oh, I am. It's just that anyone could have figured that out. [Looks Alice up and down] Well, almost anyone. [Looks over the rest of the party] Okay, I'm sure a lot of people could. So, what's the deal with the soul sanctuary?

Aramis : If I may be so bold as to answer your question with one of my own, Mr. Darius, what do you know of the Jewel of Arais? [To the party] That's the one Faern mentioned, and I believe he was referring to something in my future.

Chastity : [Slightly confused, looking round the groupf or help] How did that question answer his?

Darius : [With a big smile] Jewel of Arais? Right. Hm. I know what it does and where it is. Or at least, where it was. So, pesky soul sanctuaries not doing their jobs? [Gives a deliberately sleazy look at Alice] I can check those out for you if you'd like.

Alice : No. [Mutters to the others] What do you think? Does he know something or is he just fishing for info?

Aramis : Good and lovely sister, forgive me for confusing you. I meant answer as in respond, not as in explain. [To Darius] Are you going to share your information?

Darius : You understand, don't you, Chastity? It's a bit like a religious answer. It's given in response to a question, but doesn't actually give any information. [To Aramis] I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

Chastity : [To Darius] You make it sound like the Church wants to manipulate peoples sense of inferiority through confusion and suggestion in order to appear superior. Preposterous!

Darius : Yes, preposterous. Anyway, it looks like you folks are going to keep quiet about the soul sanctuaries, and good job too, loose lips sink ships [gives Alice a wink] amongst other things, so I guess I'll leave you to it. [Slips into the carriage and revs up the horses]

Stephen : Hey! We had just stolen that!

Stephen : [Hands on hips] I said, hey! Excuse me! You can't just steal that carriage! We need it to help the Colonel!

Darius : [Revs up the horses] All I want is information - a little sneak peak of what happens in the fight. You can confer if you want. I'm just curious. [Shrugs] It's not like I can change it or anything.

Alice : [To the party] Well? Should we tell him?

Aramis : Hm, this time travel malarky is confusing and no mistake. If we tell him what he did or does, then maybe he won't do it. If he doesn't do it, then Alice will die, and if Alice dies we won't be able to use the time machine to come back and tell him what he did, so Alice won't die, so we will be able to use the time machine to come and tell him what he did, and, er, if we tell him what he did, Alice won't die, so... [Rubs his chin with a smile] Hm. I think I understand why some of the others might have suggested changing the past. Of course, that is his future. [Takes out his hipflask and takes a quick drink] Life was a whole lot simpler when all I needed to be concerned with was juggling several lovely ladies, a handful of jealous husbands and the occasional town guard.

Alice : [Rubs her eyes] Gah! Of course, if we stop us from getting into danger in the first place, he won't need to do it!

Stephen : [Quietly] But er, won't that mean that Dangsten and the others will still be alive? [ALICE stares at STEPHEN for a few seconds.]

Alice : You know, I don't remember us actually agreeing to you coming along.

Aramis : The lad does have a point, sweet lady. Perhaps it is better if we say nothing at this point. After all, to have one temporal anomaly would be unfortunate, but to have two would be careless.

Alice : [Looks around at the others] So we tell him nothing?

Aramis : Indeed, I believe we should not.

Stephen : Perhaps you should just thank him now for what he will do for you. [quietly to Alice and Chastity] I'm not sure you had a chance to, earlier.

Alice : Good idea. [Walks up to Darius] Darius, we're not going to tell you anything because we think you're scheming, sly and self-serving, and will almost certainly use any information we give you to torture or use us in some way. [Leans in and gives him a tender kiss on the cheek] I know there's more to you, though. [For once in his life, DARIUS doesn't reply, and just looks at her in surprise.]

Alice : [Stepping back] Hey, can we have your Refarri?

Darius : [Still bemused, but regaining his composure] Sorry, but it'll take more than a kiss to get that.

Alice : [Seductively] How about a blow job?

Darius : That would be acceptable.

Alice : Stephen? [Points at Darius] He's all yours.

Chastity : [Looking on disapprovingly] I'm not sure that it's [emphasis] her style that get the results.

Darius : [Takes a good look at Stephen] Nah, I think I'll pass. [Starts pulling out slowly] Why don't you ask Jerome for a lift?

Stephen : [Slightly disappointed] Have you seen Jerome around here then?

Darius : [To Evan] Sh! Don't give me any clues about what will happen in the future! Yep, Jerome is just down the road - there's a small cottage there.

Aramis : I believe we have no choice but to speak with the Doctor, and perhaps steal his carriage.

Darius : [Roaring off in the Reffari] You crazy kids have now, y'hear?

Alice : [Looks around at the others] What are we going to say to him?

Alice : Well, he's still the same Jerome he was before he killed Lucy. [Looks around] So that's the plan? We wait and see what he does first?

Chastity : Unless you have a better idea, dear, yes.

Alice : [Sigh] Okay, let's go. [Exit ALL, in the direction that DARIUS pointed.] [Book IV, Act IV, Scene III. The Cottage. ALICE, CHASTITY, EVAN, ARAMIS, STEPHEN and STUMP are, a short distance from a small thatched cottage, outside of which is parked a large carriage, that could easily accomodate the party. The cottage is small and is surrounded by a three foot high stone wall, and has a short path leading from the door to the carriage. JEROME is here, kneeling in the garden, bent over, with his back to the party.]

Alice : There he is - how do we do this? Pretend like we know nothing?

Chastity : Unfortunately, dear, that probably comes a lot easier to you than the rest of us. one.

Stephen : Well, why don't we just steal his carriage without saying anything to him. Or even just tie him up so he can't do those terrible things you told me about!

[JEROME is clearly breathing, and, although it is difficult to tell from this distance, looks as though he is rocking back and forth.]

Alice : We have to talk to him - that can't have really been him who killed Lucy, it just can't! too...

Chastity : I agree with you Alice, we'll have a good sharp word with the doctor and get him to stop this evil mongering.

Stephen : What if he's not alone and a load of his goons attack us?

Stephen : I'm confused by what he means by fakes?

Chastity : Now doctor, calm down! What's upset you so? somewhere

Alice : Then we kill them.

[The party slowly approach JEROME, and get to the carriage, about ten feet away from him. JEROME is rocking back and forth, making a strange kind of sobbing noise. Suddenly he turns and looks at the party.]

Jerome : [Has clearly recently been crying, and still quite distressed] From within it consumes. [Blinks in recognition] Who are you? Fakes! Liars! Thieves and whores!

Aramis : [Whispers to the party] Looks like he recognises us, then!

Jerome : [Stands up] Chastity? Is it really you? [Steps forward quickly and hugs Alice, before she can get her sword out] I knew you'd come for me, I knew it! [Looks behind her at the others] Where is everyone else?

Aramis : Good doctor Jerome, what others do you speak of?

Jerome : [Still hugging Alice] Harvey and Sleaze, of course, where are they?

Alice : Er, I'm having difficulty breathing. [JEROME lets her go.]

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD humbly apologises, sweet Alice. However, the question remains [looks around] where are the others? Stephen? Aramis? What's going on?

Jerome : Who's this? [Steps up real close to Evan] Who are you? [Turns to Alice] Is this your boyfriend?

Alice : [Indignantly] No!

Jerome : You bastard! [Punches Evan and knocks him to the ground]

Alice : Jerome! No! [Stands between Jerome and Evan]

Aramis : [Draws his sword] Stand down, sir! They are not romantically involved.

Jerome : So you're the one?

Alice : [Bewildered] Jerome! What's gotten into you? There is no one!

Jerome : [Clearly not satisfied] Okay. [Keeping an eye on Aramis, but speaking to the party in a conversational tone] So, what are you up to?

Stephen : Good to see you again Jerome! See you've caught a case of the green fingers, out in the garden, doing a bit of weeding are you? Lovely day for it.

Jerome : [Steps slightly back to block the others from seeing whatever he was at] Stephen. [Gives him a nod] Still gay?

Aramis : [Starts strolling nonchalantly in the opposite direction] Indeed, it is a most pleasing cottage.

Jerome : [Watching Evan walk around the cottage] What do you want? [It looks as though JEROME was kneeling over a small metal box, and just as though he was looking at it, not burying it.]

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD, believes that you are an idiot. He further believes that there is something sinister going on here. [Looks directly at Chastity] Good Sister, perhaps you would be kind enough to let me know?

Aramis : Indeed, Sister Chastity speaks for all of us.

Chastity : Well doctor, it seems to me that you haven't been yourself, lately. What was that you said about being consumed from within? Quite frankly, we're worried about you and about your future plans.

Stephen : Why did you leave the group?

Chastity : And did you find out a connection between your headaches and the Placebium mine? Is that it, in the metal box?

Aramis : Good Doctor, please believe that we are concerned for you. The good Sister asked about being consumed? Would you care to elaborate?

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD departed company from the group at the Placebium mine, as the overpowering headache he suffered upon approaching the Placebium mine prevented him from getting closer. What future plans? Who have you been speaking to?

Alice : But where did you go, Jerome? When we returned to Dystopia you were gone?

Jerome : Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD was conducting vital scientific research into the connection between his headaches and the Placebium mine.

Jerome : [Looks back at the box] Not really, although it has been the cause of a lot of headaches. Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD does not wish to appear rude Sister, but he is concerned at your belief his future actions give rise to concern on your part. Do you, Sweet Alice, believe this too?

Alice : [Awkwardly] Well, maybe...

Jerome : [In a peculiar tone that could be either joking or deadly serious] And are you here to save me?

Alice : I don't if save is the right word.

Aramis : [Put out at being ignored] This thing about consuming, Dr. Trindle, what is it about?

Chastity : We are concerned, doctor, that you have cut yourself off from those who love you, and are spending far too much time unhealthily alone, rather than with those who care for you. Why don't you come with us now and forget about this research.

Stephen : We could find somewhere to get a few drinks, kick back and disco dance! Come on, doctor, let your hair down and your flares flap!

Jerome : [To Aramis] I believe we are all going for a drink?

Stump : A drink sure sounds like a good plan to me, Doc. [Climbs into the carriage] Hey, nice carriage!

Jerome : It wasn't me, Sister, who cut me off. [Turns to Stephen] Drinks, eh? Well, Dr. Jerome K. Trindle BSc, PhD would not say no to some full bodied caffeine drinks, especially if the lovely Alice will accompany him. [Offers her his arm]

Alice : [Gives a look to the others that's somewhere between annoyed and concerned] Sure, I'll be there.

Jerome : [Good naturedly] Everyone aboard!

Chastity : [Very quietly to Alice] If we keep him distracted for long enough, he won't be able to commit the murders! Normally I wouldn't advocate such a thing, but perhaps we should somehow slip something in his drink, to help him sleep?

Stephen : [Jumps onto the carriage] Horray, time to strut our funky stuff! Come on doctor, all aboard!

Chastity : [Stiffens slightly] What makes you say that, doctor? Let's get in the carriage and you can tell us all about your feeling of being consumed on the way to the tavern.

Aramis : [Also gets into the carriage] And what dress might that be, good Doctor Trindle?

Aramis : [Shrugs] Far be it from me to speak up against carousing and consumption of alcohol. [To Chastity and Alice] As long as you ladies have no problem?

Alice : [Whispers back] But Chas, it wasn't Jerome that killed Tommy and Horatio!

Jerome : [Still smiling] What's all this about? Girl talk? You know, [rubs Alice's arm] I've got the feeling I'm going to see you in a nice dress soon! wearing when he will kill

Jerome : Oh, that's just some silly saying that Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD encountered in his research. [Waiting for Evan to get on before helping Alice up onto the front seat and getting in beside her] What I meant about the dress is just that things are really coming together for me now, and I think it might be time for us to move our relationship forward. [Claps his hand on Alice's knee and gives it a good rub]

Alice : Please! Just stop, Jerome! What relationship? We have no relationship!

[JEROME says nothing, but recoils as though slapped.]

Aramis : [To Evan and company in the back] Ouch!

Alice : Er, I'm sorry, Jerome, sorry, I don't know what I was thinking about. [Does her best dumb blonde look] You know me!

Jerome : [Beaming braodly] Indeed I do. [JEROME gives ALICE a huge hug, and she looks over his shoulder at the others.]

Alice : [Mouthing silently] What am I supposed to do?

Aramis : [Gives a big smile and two thumbs up, mouthing] Keep it up!

Stump : [Clearly enjoying Alice's discomfort] You sure are a lucky guy, Jerome, man, she talks about nothing else!

Jerome : [Squeezes her more tightly and gives a contented sigh] Oh, Alice!

Alice : [Glares at Stump, mouthing] I'm going to kill you.

Stump : Click-click!

Stephen : All this heterosexuality fair turns my stomach! Rent a room, for Philis sake!

Chastity : [Slaps Jeromes hand from Alices thigh] Goodness gracious, doctor, contain yourself, please. There are ladies present! We'll have none of that carry on, thank you! Alice, I think it's fair that you sit next to me, away from prying hands! Honestly doctor, I'm surprised at you! For shame!

Jerome : [Moves back from Alice] Sorry Sister. [Gives Alice a big wink] Not to worry, my love, we will have plenty of time. [Starts the horses going, and chats in a conversational way] Dr. Jerome K. Trindle is touched, if not a little intrigued at the party's concern for his well being. Would you care to elaborate?

Aramis : Ah, sweet, young, innocent love. [Muses] I will have to get me some of that.

Aramis : Not since I was eleven, my laconic friend. I fear now that I am reduced to merely claiming the innocence of others.

Chastity : Oh, that Aramis, I fear he's a tightly bound barrel of hormones, waiting to explode.

Jerome : [A little seriously] As long as he doesn't explode all over my Alice. ago hasn't even

Aramis : [Somewhat sleazily] I never waste time, for time is best spent in the company of a beautiful woman, and I always make the most of that.

Stump : I know what you mean, [pats his massive stomach] all that love making over the last few days has me looking slim and trim!

Stephen : Lovemaking? In this party? I assume you meant alone?

Stump : [Does the finger gun thing at Stephen] Click-click! [A brief spell of time passes.]

Stump : That means no.

Aramis : Ah, so you did the beautiful deed with a lovely lady? [Interest perks up] From this party? otherwise buggered yahoo account, what's ago hasn't even

Aramis : [Somewhat sleazily] I never waste time, for time is best spent in the company of a beautiful woman, and I always make the most of that.

Aramis : [Somewhat sleazily] I never waste time, for time is best spent in the company of a beautiful woman, and I always make the most of that.

Stump : I know what you mean, [pats his massive stomach] all that love making over the last few days has me looking slim and trim!

Stephen : Lovemaking? In this party? I assume you meant alone?

Stump : [Does the finger gun thing at Stephen] Click-click! [A brief spell of time passes.]

Stump : That means no.

Aramis : Ah, so you did the beautiful deed with a lovely lady? [Interest perks up] From this party? otherwise buggered yahoo account, what's

Chastity : Mr D'Artagnan, please don't encourage his feverish mind into the realms of ficticious liasons with members of this group, I ask you! [Sighs and sits back, to Jerome] Now doctor, what's all this about being consumed from within?

Stephen : Maybe he's picked up a dose of the worms?

Alice : Well said, Chastity. [Turns around and glares at Stump] You're an idiot.

Stump : [Nonchalantly looking at his filthy and bitten nails] That's not what you were saying last night. [The carriage screeches to a halt, and JEROME turns around and shouts at STUMP.]

Jerome : What the hell is that supposed to mean? thought this very late during the week

Aramis : [Lets out a huge, shocked gasp, which is slowly replaced by a big, big smile] My, my, Mister Stump!

Jerome : [Getting angry, looking around] What is he talking about? Alice?

Alice : [Trying to sound nonchalant] Oh, nothing, he's just an idiot. A small little man with a small little stump.

Stephen : Oh I don't know Aramis, you know what they say about dwarfs and their nether regions! Hmm, I've always wondered if that was true. Anyway, I know Alice and I know for sure that the last person on earth she'd go for is someone like that!

Jerome : [Takes a long hard look at each Evan and Stephen, before pointing angrily at Stump] Stop lying about Alice, and stop harassing Sister Chastity you pathetic little dwarf. [Turns back and drives off]

Stump : [Seething] I may be a pathetic little dwarf, but the woman who dumped you was throwing herself at me last night. Want me to show some of the souveniers I picked up?

Chastity : [To Evan] And just what is that supposed to mean? I'll have you know that I've been married three times, which means that at least three people have loved me. How many times have you been lucky in love, Mr Starglow, not including your hand? [The carriage screeches to a halt yet again. JEROME stands up, and puts himself between ALICE and the others.]

Jerome : Keep back, Sweet Alice, there is something very wrong here. [Looks at Chastity] Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD believes that you are not the real, sweet and honest Sister Chastity, but in actual fact some unusually hirsute imposter, who is quite possibly a man, here to sew doubt into Jerome's mind. [Points at the others in the back, who are irritatedly picking themselves off the floor] You are all liars! There was never that kind of behaviour in Jerome's party, never! Never! [Calmly] Well, at least not when Sleaze wasn't around.

Chastity : [Quite shocked] Doctor, calm down, there's no need for that level of abuse! As you well know, we've always diffused tense situations with interparty banter, even when you were with us. it hasn't arrived being left behind

Aramis : Good Doctor! [Brushes himself down] Good doctor, control yourself! Perhaps you may not know the redoubtable Mister Stump, but I can assure you that any group that he is part of quickly becomes a mass of sexual tension. On Fri, 13 Aug 2004, Mystery Player2 wrote:

Jerome : [To Chastity] Look sir, I don't know who you are, but Jerome suggests you remove yourself and your dwarf from his carriage forthwith, or Jerome will not be held responsible for his actions.

Alice : [Taps Jerome on the shoulder] Er, for your actions or for Stumps?

Jerome : Jerome's.

Alice : Oh. [Considers this] Hey! What the hell is wrong with you Jerome?

Jerome : [To Chastity] Step off the carriage.

Stephen : [Into his mobile] Erm, calling nurse Ratchett, calling nurse Ratchett!

Chastity : Jerome, I don't know what you're going through, but I believe that you are not yourself. Trying to kick a lady, a nun off your carriage is something the old Dr Trindle would never even dream of!

Jerome : Oh, so that's what this is about? You can't bear the fact that Jerome is changing, growing. I see what's going on here. [Very slowly and very clearly] Get off my carriage you stupid bint.

Alice : Jerome! [Tries to turn him to face her]

Jerome : [Pushes Alice back down into her seat] Sit down and shut up! [ALICE falls against the seat, and says nothing, but holds up BEAUCAPHALUS for the others to see, and points at him with a questioning look.]

Chastity : [Shocked] Bint? Bint? Your behaviour is unbecoming, Dr Trindle, if that's even who you are. The fact I can't bear, doctor, is the thought that you've turned into some ill tempered. boorish oaf with the darkest thoughts and schemes, a man haunted by dreams of death and murder.

Aramis : [Holding up his sword] Dr. Trindle, I insist you apologise to the ladies, or I shall be forced to thrash you within an inch of your life. this account for a while

Jerome : Actually, Sister, I think you'll find that I'm unbecoming Dr. Trindle. [Takes out his sword] Now get off. Bint.

Stump : [Draws his sword] Right, that's enough. Stay away from my Chastity you brute, or I'll kill you. You can have Alice. [Short pause] I'm finished with her.

Jerome : [Getting confused about where to direct his anger] What's that supposed to mean?

Stump : That I know what shape the birthmark is on her left butt-cheek.

Jerome : That's not a birthmark, it's a tattoo that she pretends is a birthmark.

Alice : [Slaps a hand against her forehead] Hey! We're supposed to be talking about Jerome here, not me!

Chastity : [Takes out her mace] How dare you? How dare you threaten me with a sword?

Stephen : [Takes out his knife] Well Jerome, I think you've shown us all what a complete madman you've become!

Aramis : [Holds up his hand] I have a question. [Waits for everyone to calm down, and then looks directly at Jerome] You're crazy!

Chastity : Although that doesn't constitute a question, Mr D'artagnan, I must agree with the sentiment and the conclusion.

Jerome : Really? [Takes out a gun* and points it at Chastity] Would a crazy person have one of these?

Stump : I don't know, it depends on what that is.

Alice : [Slowly and quietly taking out Beaucaphalus] It's a gun, and it shouldn't be here.

Jerome : That's a shame. [Fires the gun at Chastity, shooting a hole right in her forehead, and knocking her clean out of the carriage, covering Aramis and Evan in blood]

Alice : [Horrified] Jerome! What have you done?

Aramis : [Momentarily stunned, but recovers] For that outrage, sir, you shall have to die! [Leaps over any seats in the way and attacks Jerome with full force]

Alice : No, Aramis! You can't hurt him! [ARAMIS, joined by STUMP swing and hits JEROME, causing him to double over in pain, clearly hurt.]

Jerome : Doctor Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD predicts that you will die, dwarf. [Is still holding the gun, but makes no effort to use it or even point it at anyone]

Aramis : Ah! The joy of battle! I do believe your doctor friend can be hurt after all. [Swings again] [As several thick metal bands appear and wrap themselves around JEROME's arms, pinning them to his sides, ARAMIS hits, while STUMP misses.]

Jerome : [Quite badly wounded] It looks like [cough] old Jerome's gonna buy it. I think you got me Pahdnuh. [Cough... cough] Hold me close, Red. It's a gettin' dark. [Cough] Auntie Em to let Old Yeller out. [Cough... cough] Tell Tiny Tim I won't be makin' it home for Christmas. [Cough] Tell Scarlett I do give a damn...I... I... UUG! [Dies]

Stump : We got him!

Alice : [Warily] I wouldn't be so sure.

Aramis : [Vaults over the side of the carriage to check Chastity] Sister!

Jerome : [Leaping to his feet, the bands disappearing] That was bracing. [Lifts up his shirt to show the others to show that his wounds have healed] Now, let's have some fun! [As ARAMIS discovers that CHASTITY is quite dead, ALICE drives BEAUCAPHALUS into JEROME's back.]

Jerome : [Jolts in pain] Oh. [Breathes out heavily] That's not good. [Looks down and gingerly lifts his shirt again, to show that the point of Beaucaphalus has come through the front of his stomach] That's not good at all.

Aramis : [Very, very angry] I can keep killing him all day. [Climbs back onto the carriage]

Jerome : [Turns his head to face Alice] You bitch! You always hurt me, always! [Pushes her back, causing him to wince as she pulls on Beaucaphalus, who doesn't come loose, before turning to face the others, pointing the gun at them, clearly badly hurt] Get off the carriage. Now.

Stephen : [With his hands up] What trick is that? Losing?

Jerome : Off. Everybody off.

Jerome : [Shoots Evan in the chest, knocking him to the floor of the carriage] I said get off.

Alice : For God's sake, Jerome! Stop this! [STEPHEN and STUMP get off, and start helping EVAN off too.]

Jerome : [To Alice] Did I ever tell you that your cutie pie voice cuts through my head like a red hot poker?

Alice : [Sigh] No.

Jerome : Your cutie pie voice cuts through my head like a red hot poker.

Aramis : [Backs away and also gets off the carriage] I will hunt you down and kill you, you scum.

Jerome : Sure you will. [To Alice] Come on, my love, let's get of here.

Alice : [Does a triple take on Jerome] What? Didn't you see what just happened here? Oh, sorry, I forgot you were crazy, so let me say this once and for all, I am not your love, I never was and never will be. [Turns her back on him and climbs down beside the others, before turning back] And women don't think that a man's most exciting sex organ is his brain, they don't believe that pocket protectors are a practical yet attractive item and let me tell you, they don't give a fuck whether or not you have your name in a Linux kernel patch, regardless of how many times you tell them how important that is.

Jerome : [Shocked, sits down on the driver's seat, painfully pulling out Beaucaphalus, and blinks away a few tears] What about you, Beau? Will you come with me?

Beaucaphalus : Hey, I'm a sword, I'll go with whoever's the strongest.

Stephen : Well well Jerome, the only friend you have in the world is a piece of metal!

Jerome : Which means I've got one friend more than you, Stephen.

Aramis : You sir, are scum, and you shall suffer for what you have done here today.

Stump : [With tears in his eyes] I'm going to kill you.

Jerome : [Stops the carriage, stands up and turns around, with a gloating look on his face] No you won't.

Stump : Yeah? Why?

Jerome : [Points down at Stump] Because from within it consumes. [JEROME sits back down and drives off.] [Book IV, Act IV, Scene IV. On the roadside. ALICE, STUMP, EVAN, STEPHEN and ARAMIS are here, with EVAN sitting back against a rock, clearly very badly injured.]

Alice : [Rubs Stump's shoulder] Are you okay, Stump?

Stump : Fine. [Rubs his eyes] I'm fine, but how are you? You must feel just awful.

Alice : What do you mean?

Stump : Well, when you think about it, this is all your fault, isn't it? Chastity's only dead because you insisted we come back in time, Harvey's dead because you made us wait before attacking Dangsten, Austin couldn't wait to get away from you, and Jerome went all crazy because, for once in your life, you wouldn't put out. In fact, from what I hear, Clint is dead because you didn't have the soul sanctuaries with you, the one thing you're good for!

Alice : [Sits down heavily on a rock near Evan, head in hands and barely audible] You're an idiot, Stump.

Stump : Yeah? Now I know what Dorchadas was on about.

Aramis : [Puts an arm around Alice] Ah, Mister Stump, the eternal pessimist! Don't listen to him, sweet Alice, that is the grief speaking. Perhaps those soul sanctuaries will prove useful now?

Alice : [Irritated] Well, excuse me for being helpful, Evan! Why didn't you ask Faern about it? [Grumpily looks through Chastity's stuff] There are four left. [Hands them to Evan]

Stump : [Looking forlornly at Chastity's body] I'd like something to remind me of her. [Goes into her bag and stands up with a somewhat surprised expression, holding a huge steel studded dildo] I don't know what to say! [Gives the length of the dildo a long sniff, like a connoisseur sniffing a fine cigar. Exhaling] Ah! It has her scent! [Wraps it in a spare tea towel and puts it in his bag]

Alice : [Looks up] If they actually worked this time, she'll be okay, but we'll have to find a resurrection orb.

Stump : [Thoughtfully] If you hadn't been so rude and aggressive to the Watchers, we could probably get one off them.

Alice : Thanks, Stump.

Aramis : [Looking slightly ill at Stump's actions] I fear you are correct, my terse companion. We appear to in the process of being whittled down, and are no nearer to preventing anyone's death. Perhaps we should visit Jerome's house? It may give us an insight into his movements.

Alice : [As the carriage disappears into the distance] Well, we're going to be too late to help Horatio and Tommy, so we might as well. [EVAN's wound has healed somewhat, but he is still quite stiff.]

Alice : Aramis, how about you and Stump carry Chastity? [Sees Stump going for the legs] Actually, how about Stephen and Aramis carry her?

Stump : [Waving Stephen away] No, no. They hardly knew her. It would be a lot more personal if I helped. [Puts up Chastity's feet, one in each hand facing towards Chastity. His quick actions tilt the body back, causing her habit to ride up a bit. Glances up Chastity's habit.] A lot more personal! [Starts to pull her along] Hmmm a bit stiff already.

Alice : [Clearly on the verge of a nervous break down] I don't know what to think, okay? All I know is that we can be pretty sure that he has done some time travel since we last met him [catches Stump out of the corner of her eye and storms over, pulling down the habit, and momentarily pauses, getting her train of thought back] since last we met him, because that gun clearly isn't from our time.

Stephen : Wow, Alice, I never thought I'd see the day when [emphasis] you thought that the [emphasis] Sister's skirt was too short!

Aramis : [Lifts the other end up high enough to cause the habit to fall back down again] Please, Mister Stump, respect the dead! [The party slowly make their way back to JEROME's house, with STUMP constantly lifting CHASTITY up as high as he can, and with ARAMIS retaliating by lifting even higher, until STUMP has got his arms held up almost straight. Fortunately, ARAMIS is substantially taller, so CHASTITY's dignity is spared.]

Alice : [Getting to the gate] Doesn't look like anyone's been here since. And look, that box he was at is still there. [Points to the lawn]

Stephen : [Quietly] Not the only box he was interested in, I think! Do you think we should open it? [He walks up to the box, checking for traps]

Stephen : [Stops and looks over his shoulder at Evan] That wouldn't surprise me in the least, seeing as how malicious Jerome has become! Perhaps it'll have a timer which will count down, the camera zooms in to show the clock ticking away its final few moments, pans to my face, a bead of sweat collects on, and falls from my nose, a wide shot, showing you all anxious and worried, back to the device, which wire, the red or the blue, red or blue, seconds tick tick tick, red or blue, a dashing young recruit in a tight uniform mops my brow as I'm poised over the blue wire, tick tick tick, three seconds left, two, one, I suddenly cut the red, remembering that Jerome once said that red was his lucky colour, clock stops at one second, queue adoration and exultation, a ticker tape parade and my own float at the Pride march, fade out, end credits! Massive box office success and a clean sweep at the Oscats!

Alice : [Leaning back against the gate with her arms folded] Now I'm starting to hope that the box [emphasis] is booby trapped! [The box is small, about ten inches by four, and is made of fairly thin metal. It has a hasp for a lock, but there's no lock there, and STEPHEN doesn't find any sign of a trap.]

Stephen : Or not, as the case may be. [Gently lifts the hasp and prises open the box]

Alice : Creeaak! [Sees the others looking at her] Hey, I'm just adding atmosphere! [The box opens without any fuss, and there are three oversized playing cards (about three-four times the size of regular playing cards, and picture frame that just fits into the box. All four are face down in the box.]

Stump : Come on, show us, what are they?

Stump : [Muttering] No doubt it'll just be another catalyst to getting our asses whupped! [Grumpily kicks the head off one of the flowers nearby]

Aramis : [Draws his sword] Be careful, perhaps we should just tip them out? [By way of explanation] For fear the nefarious and ne'er do well Jerome has done something terrible to them.

Alice : Guess what, Stump? I think it's working for you already!

Stephen : Well, it looks like a couple of huge playing cards! [Upends the box and spills the contents to the floor]

[The box flips over, and the contents land on the grass. Rather conveniently, all four land face up. Three are what appear to be tarot cards, but the characters in them are people that the party have encountered before. The cards are "The Priestess", "The Hierophant" and "The Sun", with the faces of MARASMUS, ADAM TORQUE and SVEN GORING, respectively. The picture frame contains a picture of ALICE and JEROME, cut in the shape of a love heart, and decorated with shells and beads, with a lot of colouring in done, and things like "Alice loves Jerome", "Jerome + Alice 4ever" and "1+1=me+u" written all over it in the manner of a teenage girl, with lots little love hearts.]

Alice : [Looks at the picture] Oh my god! This was taken on the Hamstrain.

Stump : [Looks at the cards] Great! Another look into the future. Just what we need! [Looking at the frame] Your handwriting's good, Alice. Nearly all joined up as well.

Aramis : [Looking at the picture] It looks like Doctor Jeromes infatuation with the beautiful Alice is bordering on the psychotic, is it not! However, that picture, while it certainly does capture your beauty, it is a pale thing, the merest shadowed reflection compared to seeing you in the flesh.

Alice : [Glares at Stump] Thanks, Aramis. [Hunches down and looks at the picture] Well, I feel sick. [Looks up] What about these cards? Any one know what to make of them?

Stephen : I had cards like these in my movie, 10 Ways To Kill A Wasp, which were used by a fortune teller to predict peoples futures. For instance, I believe the sun card means we're all going to go on a holiday to the beautiful gay island of Mykonos for two weeks! [Delighted] Oh how wonderful!

Aramis : [To Stephen] Somehow I doubt that, my fine foppish friend. [To Evan] A fortune making one, perhaps, perhaps. But do you know the people depicted in the cards? It seems likely to my way of thinking, that these people may be connected with Jerome. Whether for good or for ill, I'm not certain.

Alice : Does anyone know what they mean? Marasmus and Sven were both good, while Adam, well, he thought he was good, but I ask you, how good can a man who urinates on people be?

Stephen : Oh don't be so prudish, Alice, a golden shower never hurt anyone! Do you think Jerome has been travelling through time to visit and influence each one?

Stump : [To Alice] Hey!

Alice : I didn't say I didn't like him. I mean, shut up, Stump! We need to figure out what these cards are about. [Enter MONTGOMERY GILES, a smartly dressed man of about thirty. He has a small backpack, and is holding a clipboard.]

Monty : The Deck of The Path.

Alice : Oh, okay. Has anyone heard of - hey! [Turns to Monty] Who are you?

Monty : [Clicks his heels together a bows smartly] Montgomery Reginald Giles, at your service. [Looks at his clipboard] You must be Alice, [looks around at each in turn] Aramis, Stephen, [dissaprovingly] 'v'n, and the redoubtable Mister Stump. I see that Sister Chastity is taking a rest. [Whispers to Alice] Perhaps you might reconsider hunching down like that, I fear that skirt is rather [barely audible] revealing.

Stump : [Glancing at/up Alices skirt. To Monty] Sshh! Who are you? Where did you come from? Are you another watcher?

Aramis : [Whips out his sword and points it at Monty] You sir, what is your purpose here, and for shame on commenting on the length of sweet Alices skirt. It is neither your business, nor your concern.

Monty : [Gently pushing Aramis' sword to one side with his clipboard] I think, Mr. D'Artagnan, that you'll find it is both. Mr. Stump is correct, I am a Watcher, charged by Mr. Snyder to give interface with your party, aid you in any way I can and help keep the Watcher Chronicles up to date.

Alice : [Standing up] Snyder sent you? He doesn't even like us!

Monty : Mr. Snyder. While his personal feelings towards you are irrelevant to his sacred duties as a watcher, I believe that he is unusually well inclined to this party in particular.

Stump : I'd hate to be in a group he dislikes! Had you actually been watching, instead of looking at Alice's pants [to Alice quickly] sorry, thong [back to Monty] The beautiful and bountiful Sister is deceased! Can you tell if she is in Alice's orbs?

Aramis : Then I wonder how he is with people he is not, as you say, inclined to?

Monty : I did not say "inclined to", I said "well inclined to", and, while one is a substring of the other, they are fundamentally different, as I was clearly talking about the fact that Mr. Snyder likes you, while "inclined to" simply means has a propensity to. [To Stump] I cannot. However, I have an Orb of Saol. [Smiles and folds his arms, as though expecting applause]

Stephen : [To Alice] Well Alice, what do you think about this being followed around by someone who wants to document everything you do for reasons not entirely known by you?

Monty : [Before Alice can reply] I am here to help you at least as much as I am here to watch, and is not merely Alice, if I may be so bold as to use such a familiar term, that I am here to watch. I perform a sacred duty to record the exploits of the Knights and their associates. I am trained in five different hand weapons, three different types of missile weapons and a variety of martial arts. I have extensive knowledge of demonology, philosophy and the use of magical items such as the [clearly miffed at the lack of reaction earlier] Orb of Saol. [Becomes increasinly oratorical] I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Scones in twenty minutes. Leaving me out of your organisation would be an egregious error of gargantuan proportions that one simply cannot imagine a more ill advise course of action. Oh yes, and I speak five languages.

Alice : And what language were you just speaking there?

Stump : [With a snort of derision] Thirty minutes scones in twenty minutes indeed? It's not possible unless you want to use them as one of your missile weapons! As for the rest,[shruggs] we may let you stay with us, although we will have to be mindful that we are only as strong as our weakest link! What's that orb you keep dropping into conversation?

Stephen : Not so intelligent as to just rent a room in a top hotel for a year and make up a load of stuff about what we get up to, living the life of Ryan and having flunkies chater to your every whim.

Alice : [Theatrically] And us without a translator, here, at this time of day, oh no!

Monty : [Unperturbed] Mr. Stump, it is not a question of my obtaining permission to join the party, it is a question of your survival. The Orb of Saol? Alice, if you please. [Time passes.]

Alice : Huh? I don't know anything about it!

Monty : [Pained sigh] Good grief, you and your party have used them on at least five occasions! [Notes something down on his clipboard] It can be used to ressurect the soul of one who is in a soul sanctuary. Mr. Snyder thought it likely that you would need to procure the services of one before long.

Aramis : That is indeed gracious of Mr Snyder, and comes just in time to save the soul of sister Chastity. It is most fortunate you have appeared at this moment.

Stephen : Just the one, looks like your Snyder doesn't know as much about the party as he lets on!

Monty : On the contrary, Stephen, it is because [emphasis] Mister Snyder knows so much about your party that he felt the provision of several orbs would lead to reckless and foolhardy behaviour. Even more reckless and foolhardy behaviour. Alice, if you would be so kind as to assume the position.

Alice : What? Now we're going to be searched for contraband too? [Turns and leans against the window sill clearly preparing to be searched]

Stump : [Perks up] Bring back the Sister? [Glancing down at her body. Speaking excitedly] So she'd be living and breathing and walking and bouncing and scolding and wobbling and bending down again? [To Monty] Come on then, use it!

Stump : [Looking at Alice] Hmmm, you're right, a thong. [To Monty] Shouldn't find somewhere private for that? Or at least discuss prices?

Monty : [Looks aghast at Alice's position, before inclining his head down and to the side slightly] Indeed, somewhere private might be - Mister Stump! Control yourself, please. [Tentatively taps Alice on the shoulder] Er, that's not quite the position I had in mind. Perhaps if you could just sit down?

Alice : Oh? Oh! I'm sorry! [Sits down.] [MONTY holds the orb in front of ALICE, and begins chanting in a language foreign to everyone else. Soon, there is a burst of blue light from ALICE towards the orb, and then to CHASTITY, who immediately begins stirring.]

Chastity : [Sitting up, all wounds healed without a trace] Quickly, quickly everyone! I think a rat has climbed up my leg! [Looks around, disoriented] Er, I mean, what happened?

Monty : On behalf of the Association of Watchers of Hierophantic Knights, may I welcome you back.

Aramis : Ah, finally a job for Aramis D'Artagnan to excel in, for the frisking down of a beautiful lady is something I consider myself as a master! Move aside, and weep at the beauty of watching a master display his skill! [Begins to frisk Alice]

Alice : [Mercifully out of the way of Aramis] It's okay Aramis, I don't need to be frisked. [Haughtily] Control yourself, please. [Whispers to Aramis] Maybe later though!

Monty : [Shakes his head] No, the Hierophantic Knights are not characterised by their recklessness and foolhardiness, rather their brave actions. Recklessness and foolhardiness, why they are just, well, reckless and foolhardy!

Chastity : Thank you, Stephen. [To Stump] You obviously didn't wait long to search my belongings. [Quickly checks to see if her pendent is still there, which it is. Sighs with relief] I'd have expected that from the lawyer. [Pats her pendent] At least you didn't get close enough to take advantage. What of mine have you in your bag?

Stump : [To Chastity, indignantly] Oh yeah, that's right, accuse ol' Stump without a moments consideration that Stephen might be lieing [Tuts]

Stephen : [To Stump] Well excuse me, but I never mentioned names, did I!

Alice : Welcome back, Chas. [Gestures to Monty] This is Monty, Snyder sent him to spy on us.

Monty : [Steps forward to shake her hand] Montgomery Reginald Giles, Sister. I have heard much about you and I am excited to be working with you. Mister Snyder is concerned about your group, and asked if I would accompany you temporarily.

Stump : [To Stephen, mockingly] Well excuse me Mr. Fopp, we all knew that you were accusing moi! [Does an bitter face at Stephen] Last Mysterious Colin & Conor- 04.04.047

Chastity : [Taking Monty's hand and shaking it lightly] It is a pleasure to meet you. Your manner is much less abrasive than Mr. Snyders. And thank you for bringing back from beyond.

Alice : It was awful Sister, what he did to it. Awful.

Alice : [Peers at Stump's bitter face] Hey, that's a nice look for you, Stump. It's a huge improvement on before.

Stephen : Well, I thought the others would, but certainly didn't think you'd have the brains, Mr smelly dwarf, to realise I was talking about you! Guess I was wrong and you do know that you're an ugly, smelly creature! [Sticks his tongue out at Stump]

Aramis : Gentlemen please, cease this argument please. The first sounds the reborn sister should hear is not that of a bickering party member, but a warm welcome from all. [Bows to Chastity] A pleasure to see you up and about, wondrous sister.

Alice : [Sigh] He's just so smooth, don't you just love him?

Monty : [Momentarily startled] No!

Stephen : [Dreamy look] He'd almost restore your faith in men, wouldn't he.

Stump : [To Monty, nodding approvingly] Well I glad at least one member the party has some sense!

Monty : [Chuffed at the praise, apparantly not noticing Stephen's inappropriate behaviour] Excellent, excellent. Now, what have we here? [Looks at the picture] Hm, poorly cut heart shape, childish writing, abomnible spelling and over reliance on sms-like shorthand. [Turns to Alice] Your work?

Alice : Hey!

Chastity : Thank you, Aramis, your sentiments are warmly accepted. [Glances down at the ground] Ah, Tarot cards what are you doing with these? [Picks them up] How strange they have peoples faces on them. Appropriate ones at that! [Holds up the High Priestess card] Marasmus, the high priestess, urging us to delve deeper into ourselves to achieve. [Holds up the Hierophant card] Torque, the hierophant, with his twisted, rigid institutionalised teachings of hate [Holds up the Sun card] And Sven, a shining beacon of good in this world of darkness. A fine example of conifdence and achievement.

Monty : You are familiar with these cards?

Alice : I've seen tarot cards before, but why are their faces on them? [To Monty] What did you say about them being from the Deck of The Path?

Monty : I said that they were from the Deck of the Path.

Aramis : Ah, as wise as she is benevolent when it comes to things of a mystic nature. Have you any idea as to why the mad doctor would have hoarded these cards along with a picture of his object of affection?

Monty : The Deck of the Path is a very powerful magic item, and is very, very different from normal tarot cards.

Alice : In the sense that they actually work?

Monty : [Quick glare at Alice before continuing] I have never seen a full deck, and, although several of those on the path are clearly aware of them, they are quite slow to share their information. As to why he should have a picture of Alice, well, [looks her up and down] I should say that is quite obvious.

Alice : [Taken aback] What's that's supposed to mean?

Monty : Just that you're rather lovely.

Alice : Oh. Well, thanks.

Monty : That is, to those who enjoy your sort of [grapples for a word] look.

Chastity : [Looking at Alice's outfit] Well I suppose that's one way of labelling it! [To Monty] As we are on the path, does that mean there may be cards of us? Or is that not the case, as we are travellers on it, where as the personages on the cards are people, or places, along the path. [Looks at the cards] Deceased ones at that.

Stump : [TO Evan] More likely that the scumbag drooled over it whilst pleasuring himself. I expect he sniffed it alot too.

Stephen : [To Stump] What a charming person you are. What do you do when you're not picking peanuts out of poo?

Monty : Good question, Sister! The Deck of the Path is reputed to contain images of all those who play a large part in it, although I'm not sure if all those in it are dead. [Turns to Evan] Interesting suggestion, however, I believe that Mr. Stump's disgusting comment to be more likely.

Alice : [Disgusted] Ew! [Looks in through a window] Let's trash his house. [Turns back to the others] Or at least make sure there's no more pictures of me in there.

Alice : He seems to spend a lot of time eating peanuts.

Aramis : [Looking slightly sickened] Well my friends, let us search the house of the mad doctor and see what leads might be found. Sainted sister, perhaps you would like to hold onto the cards? [To Alice] It is up to you what you wish to do with that photograph, sweet Alice.

Alice : Thanks Aramis. [Takes the picture off him and smashes it against the wall, before pulling the photo out and ripping it to shreds, and turning to the others with a big smile] Now that's a lot better!

Stephen : Right then, I'll just check the door for any traps.

Stump : [Kicking through the debris with his pegleg to see if there was anything hidden in the picture frame. To Alice] I just don't know what you saw in him. The Geeky, acne ridden backstabbing, murderous, decitful, scumbag. [To the party] I blame him for the state of your almost corrupted personalities. I expect he was in league with Seth himself, probably sexual favours and everything.

Alice : [To Stump] And what's to blame for your corrupt personality? [STEPHEN checks the door, and not only does he not find any traps, he discovers that the door is unlocked.]

Stephen : Well well, looks like the doctor left his door open. Must be mad leaving his place unlocked! [Enters the house]

Alice : As long as there are no more photos of me, I don't care what's in here. [Enter ALL, into the cottage.] [Book IV, Act IV, Scene V. The Cottage. ALICE, CHASTITY, STUMP, ARAMIS, STEPHEN and MONTY are here. The cottage is quite small, and contains just one room, which, although essentially a kitchen, has a mattress and blankets right in the middle of the floor. The kitchen looks perfectly normal, with a few shelves of crockery dotted around and some unwashed ware on the sink.]

Alice : [Looks at the ware] Hm. [Scoops up some leftovers with her finger and takes a taste] Hm.

Stephen : [Looks around the room] Well, the doctor certainly wasn't one to blow his pay check in Ikea, was he! [Begins checking the shelves in the kitchen]

Monty : [To Alice] Can you identify what was on the plate?

Alice : I think it's kitty litter.

Monty : Fascinating! [Everyone spreads out and searches the shelves, drawers and cupboards, but no one finds anything remarkable. The place seems fairly domesticated.]

Alice : Not exactly what you'd expect from the lair of an evil super villain, is it?

Stephen : I don't know Alice, it certainly has that whole I'm a complete madman who exists on nothing but hatred, revenge and kitty litter thing going on, don't you think? Perhaps all it is missing is a suit made of skin, a hillbilly family cutting up some kids and perhaps one of us saying, Hey, I know it's really spooky, but I'm going for a walk outside for a while. By myself. Alone. Without any protection.

Alice : Right, I'll find a tv and turn it up really loud, so we won't be able to hear you call for help if something does go wrong. [Looks around the room] Right, nothing in shelves or cupboards, where else could he hide stuff? Surely being insane isn't that easy to cover up?

Alice : [Gives Evan a baleful look] I'm not touching that.

Stephen : I'm guessing that's the first time you've ever said that! [Takes out his knife and begins slicing up the mattress]

Chastity : [To Stephen] If there is nothing there we can try under the floorboards. [Starts walking round the room heavily looking for a loose floorboard]

Alice : [Points at Stephen] I'm not touching that. [STEPHEN easily cuts through the mattress, revealing that it is a perfectly ordinary one. However, as he cuts through it, he moves it slightly, showing that it was placed on top of a large trapdoor.]

Monty : [Leans in to look at it] Excellent work, Stephen. Excellent.

Stephen : [Moves the mattress out of the way] Well well, the dank, dark evil cellar, no true den of evil is complete without one. [Examines the trapdoor for traps] [The trapdoor is not rigged, although STPEHEN's thorough investigation shows that there is an unarmed trap, which would attach the handle (on the outside) to something on the other side by a thin thread. However, it is not attached.]

Alice : Looks like he wasn't expecting company. [Outside the coast is clear, and EVAN can see for quite a distance in all directions as there isn't much foliage around.]

Stump : It's probably to lull you into a false sense of security, you lot are soo gullable! [Stands with his arms folded and shakes his head]

Alice : [Looks at Evan] I'm kind of curious about that myself. [Lights a torch] So, you reckon there's a trap down there, Stump?

Chastity : Well, we'll soon find out! What can you see down there, dear?

Monty : Allow me, Sister. [Opens the door.] [There are stairs descending quite a distance down into darkness.]

Alice : Whatever's down there, it's pretty far down. Seeing as Stump too scaredy to go down, why don't we leave him here to guard?

Alice : [Laughs] I know what you mean, Evan! [Thinks for a moment] Hey! You'd better not be talking about my picture!

Monty : Perhaps, Stephen you might lead us down? I shall be a mere half step behind you.

Stephen : Actually I'd prefer it if you were a mere half step in front of me. I mean what exactly are you going to do if I get attacked? Curse the creatures in five languages? [Not happy, Stephen starts to descend]

Aramis : Never you fear, my fine foppish friend, if you fall in danger, you can be sure that we will come immediately to your aid.

Monty : Of course not, Stephen, don't be ridiculous. A gentleman never curses. [Draws his longsword and follows him] [ALICE and EVAN go next, followed by CHASTITY. They descend down the stairs, which appear to be cut into solid rock, for a good twenty feet, before STEPHEN gets to the top of the steps, and stops with an audible gasp, causing the others to bump into him.]

Monty : I say, Stephen, what's the hold up? [Crouches down to see what Stephen is looking at] Oh.

Stephen : Well, I'm not sure what to say, but there's something you should see in here, Alice. [Walks forward to create room for the others to descend]

Alice : Come on! What is it?

Chastity : Well it can't be any worse than having to watch Alice and Stump together earlier on. [Tries to peer down the stairs past everyone]

Alice : [Stepping into the room] You could say that! [The room is about 10' x 20', with every available square inch of wall space taken up with pictures of ALICE. These have been taken at various times over the last few years and, although there are too many to examine them all with a cursory glance, it is clear that several were taken at times when JEROME wasn't with the party, e.g. at the hotel in Book IV, Act I, or that ALICE was under the impression that she was alone. One entire wall is covered with bookshelves, all of which are jam packed with notebooks, which, from glancing at the spines, seem to be the same.]

Monty : [Looking closely at one of the photos] Ah, so that's what all those straps are for! [Takes off his glasses, cleans them and mops his brow before putting them back on] I say, it is ever so warm in here.

Alice : [Standing in the middle of the room, rubbing her temples] I think I'm going to be sick.

Aramis : [Steps into the room and looks around] This doctor, he was indeed an ardent amirer of young Alice, no? He must have spent all his free time taking sneaky photographs of you. And these notebooks, what could possibly fill so many pages, I wonder? [Picks a notebook at random and looks through it]

Stump : [Whispering angrilly from somewhere up the staircase a little] Alice and I were making beautiful sweet music earlier on. Just because you have no appreciation of beauty!

Alice : [Shouting back up the stairs] Oh, shut up, Stump! [ARAMIS flicks through the notebook, revealing it to be completely full of handwriting. Every line on every page says the same thing : "From Within It Consumes".]

Monty : [Looking over Aramis' shoulder] A rather repetitive work, don't you think?

Stephen : That's what he said to us back in the carriage too. From Within It Consumes. Honestly, talk about a fixation! I wonder what the other notes say? [Takes out another notebook and flicks through it] [STEPHEN's notebook is exactly the same, filled to the brim with "From Within It Consumes".]

Alice : [Gives a shiver as she takes another one] You know what, I think that Jerome is a whole lot madder than we gave him credit for. [Flicks through the book, showing it is the same as the others, but her attention is suddenly caught by one of the pictures] Tut! [Pulls it down and puts it in her pocket]

Aramis : [Drops the notebook on the floor] The deranged doctor must have spent many an hour compiling these repetitous journals. Why I wonder? [Starts to examine a few photographs, peering closely at one] You know sweet Alice, it looks more like a birthmark than a tattoo.

Chastity : I wonder if the doctor was talking about a consuming love coming from within, that is the heart. [Looking around] Either that maybe he's talking about the darkness of jealousy, lust and desire consuming a person once it gets inside you. [Pointing to Aramis] You'd best take note, young man. [Searchs round the room for any clues]

Alice : [Rifling through more notebooks, all of which are the same] I don't know, Evan, there are a few hundred here, each of which has about forty pages - how long would that take to write?

Stephen : This place is freaksville! I think we should just get out of here for doctor happy snapper comes back!

Alice : Absolutely, I don't think I can bear to spend another minute in here. This is the most disgusting and perverted thing I've ever seen, let's get the hell out of - [gets distracted by a picture] hey, I look really nice there, a bit like Damonna.

Aramis : [Leans close to Alice] Sweet Alice I think you look really nice in all these photographs. [Points at one] But not this one. I agree with Evan though, it would take many lifetimes to write such a collection of journals. But come, we should leave this place, as our foppish friend has suggested.

Alice : [Looks at the picture which is of her bent over a toilet being sick] Yeah, I know what you mean, those trousers really make my bum look big. [Starts heading up] It's been about two and a half weeks since we saw Jerome, and that's probably enough time for him to have written those, although he had that gun, and that isn't from our time.

Stump : [Calling down from the top] Hey Alice, remember when you went all sweet on me on account of the love potion? It was me who gave it to you, and you know what? I didn't even want you, it was Chastity I wanted, that's right, Chas, all I wanted was you, but I'm nothing to you, and if I can't have you, no one can. [Slams the trapdoor shut with a resounding thump]

Chastity : [Looking up at the trap door] Love potion? Just when I thought I'd heard it all, but trying to drug another party member is outrageous. [Races up the stairs to push on the trap door] Come here you vile little man!

Aramis : Aie, such sexual frustration in this group! I am thinking Mr Stump is angry with the sister for some reason.

Stephen : Hey! Open this door immediately, you horrid little dwarf! [Begins hammering on the trapdoor] [CHASTITY stampedes over STEPHEN and gets to the top of the stairs first, but someone has clearly moved something very, very heavy on top of it.]

Alice : [Somewhat smugly] So, Chastity's got a stalker too? I guess it's not so funny when it's you is it? I mean, [leans back beside a picture of herself taken from behind with her skirt tucked into the back of her panties] who looks stupid now?

Monty : Ironic, isn't it, how Stump chose Chastity over you, isn't it?

Alice : [Annoyed] You're a watcher, aren't you? Well, why don't you [vague wave of her hand] watch for a way out of here?

Stephen : [Picking himself off and brushing the footprints from his coat] Honestly sister, there was no reason for that rush, I'm sure Stump will be around somewhere when we get out!

Chastity : [Comes back down the stairs, helping Steven up on the way. To Alice] Never mind that know, I doubt if I'll be asking you how well he kissed. We need to find a way out of here. Could there be a tunnel hidden behind any of these pictures? [Looks round the room for any posters] or maybe even behind the bookcase.

Alice : It looks like those book cases won't come off easily.

Monty : [Lighting up a dark corner with his torch] I say, what ever is this? [MONTY holds up a mannequin that is dressed in a black leather dress with large buckles across the front, stockings, high heels, a huge blonde wig and a smear of slut red lipstick.]

Monty : I wonder if it is anatomically correct.

Alice : [Gives a shiver, and then takes her sword out and tries to prise the shelves off the wall] Come on, people! These shelves won't just move themselves!

Chastity : [To Monty] I don't know from here, but holes on the stocking knees and the overly loose hip joints are cause for some concern. We really need to get out of here. [Helps Alice with the shelves]

Aramis : [Looks closely at the doll] It would seem that the mad doctor took his compulsion to a most unhealthy level, consorting with this mockery. In truth, the man has spent far too much time on his own.

Stephen : [Looks from the mannequin to Alice, and back again] Well well doctor, I see you didn't spend your time here alone after all. [Helps Alice with the shelves]

Alice : [Horrified] Or not enough!

Monty : [Leans over and looks] Hm, but an uncanny resemblance nonetheless. [Realises where he is] I mean, yes, let's get those shelves moved. [MONTY joins in, and the entire shelf is soon pushed off the wall onto the floor, revealing that there is solid rock behind it.]

Monty : [To Aramis] Do put that depraved mockery of Miss Alice down, and help us with these shelves [Goes over and helps pull the shelves/ posters down]

Alice : [Banging some of the walls, all of which sound extremely solid] How are we going to get out of here?

Aramis : Why do we not chop through the trapdoor? I think it is only the mattress replaced on top of it, for there was nothing else in the house.

Monty : [To Aramis] Yes, but Mr Stump may have found something else to cover the door with, so perhaps it would be more beneficial to hack through another part of the ceiling. Perhaps there is another trap door [Stomps around the floor listening for a trapdoor.

Stephen : Look, just put the thing down and give us a hand here, I'm in danger of breaking a sweat!

Alice : Good idea! As long as there was nothing around the back of the house.

Stephen : Great, locked in a madmans cellar, awaiting his return! [Clicks his fingers] I know, why don't we hide, and when Jerome comes down, Alice pretends to be the doll, then knees him in the privates when he comes too close.

Stephen : Or perhaps he had help. Anyway, we've got to try at least. Maybe he's got a big doll dressed in black robes covering the trapdoor.

Alice : [Also up at the top of the stairs, and gives the door a push] I can't budge it. Whatever it is, it must be big.

Aramis : If we all push together, we may be able to shift this obstruction blocking our exit. For it is either that, or we must tunnel our way through the wall. [Everyone arranges themselves on the stairs so that they all can reach the door.]

Alice : Heave! [The door doesn't budge.]

Alice : I mean, lift! [The door moves a fraction of an inch, but it appears that whatever is holding it down must be enormously heavy, and almost certainly too heavy for STUMP to have put there without the help of at least several people.]

Chastity : Well hold on for a second, let me try something first. Best get away from the stairs. [Waits for everyone to get clear from the stairs and then mumbles an incantation.] [As everyone backs away, the planks in the trapdoor slowly begin to warp, but clearly can't move upwards, causing two in the middle to break. There is some sort of shield above the trapdoor, which is partially opaque, and looks like some sort of thick gel.]

Alice : [Peering up] What the hell is that?

Monty : [Pondering] A magical shield of some form, perhaps? I must say that Stump fellow turn out to be a real rotten apple, what!

Chastity : Most peculiar. [Pulls off one the arms from the manikin and goes up to the trapdoor and tries to peer through it, before shoring herself on the stairs and wall and giving the shield a poke with the manikin arm.]

Monty : [To Chasitity] Err, hmm, yes, sister, good idea. It might indeed be tickleish. Yes. Worth a try. We wouldn't want to startle it by thrusting a sword into it [Looks briefly at Alice then quickly back to the gel stuff]

Stephen : [Looking at the arm] Isn't Alice lucky that it wasn't a voodoo doll!

Alice : Maybe if you hadn't been so mean to him, Chastity, he wouldn't have turned out so bad? [While everone considers the irony of this, CHASTITY pushes the arm up, and demonstrates that the shield is solid.]

Alice : Look, there's no proof that's supposed to me, I mean, it bears no resemblance whatsoever, none, nothing, nada, zip! Although, now that I think of it, it is a really nice dress.

Monty : [To Alice] Mater always said that girls who wore dresses like that were always 'ladies of negotiable affection'. [Ponders momentarily] Hmm, but yes, err [Looks at Alice] It is a very nice dress. Yes. Lovely. [Looks a little embarrassed. Turns away and pokes the shield with his sword] We'll get that blackguard Stump and give him what for!

Alice : [Gives Monty a dirty look] And did she always say it? For no good reason? [To Evan] Sounds like a good idea.

Aramis : [Sighs sadly] Well my friends, time to start tunnelling. [Holds up a small spoon]

Stephen : That certainly might do the trick. Give it a try!

Alice : A spoon? That's solid rock, it's going to take us years to dig out. Evan, that spell of yours better work!

Chastity : [Makes her way back down the stairs and tosses the arm at the feet of the manikin. To Evan] All clear. Do your stuff. [EVAN mutters an incantation and, while the shield glows temporarily, it is still very much there when he is finished.]

Alice : Did it work?

Monty : [To Alice] I fear not. Perhaps we can cut it away from the edges of the doorway. [Tries to cut along the seam between the doorway and the gel] [MONTY discovers that the seal appears to be somewhat larger than the doorway, and extends passed the walls of the stairway, so it doesn't look like it's going to be possible to prise it off.]

Alice : [To Aramis] Give me another look at that spoon.

Chastity : Well as we're stuck here, maybe there are some clues as to the doctors doings in the pictures. [starts to examine to photos on the walls]

Monty : [To Chastity] I, I believe, sister, err, perhaps I should start diging a way out before we run out of air. [Starts slashing at the ceiling with his sword]

Alice : [Ducking to avoid the sword] Are you sure that's going to work, Monty? It looks like the entire opening is covered with it. [Looks at Evan] Time for drastic measures, I think. [Just to be clear - the stairway is cut into solid rock, and the trap door covered the entire opening, so the ceiling of the basement is much lower down. Unless someone can magically open the shield, the only way out will be from down below. Meanwhile, downstairs, CHASTITY's search has yielded little more than a collection of embarrassing, sleazy and one or two sinister pictures of ALICE.]

Monty : [Fumming, returns to cellar] Dam and blast that Scoundrel Stump! I shall have him flogged in the stocks for this! [Stars digging at the wall with his dagger] Mutinious scunner! [Stabs the wall violently] Traitorous mongrel! Last fro mDom #67

Aramis : Good Mister Giles, I believe that such panicking is out of character with one who is as so obviously civilised as yourself. Furthermore, if air is in a short supply, you may use it up more quickly. Perhaps you might like some high quality brandy to steady your nerves? Last fro MP #68

Monty : [Stops digging. To Aramis] Panicking? You mock me sir! Either that or you have a dimished ability to interpret the behaviour of others! I am angry, and quite rightly so. That scoundrel Stump has deliberatley interred us. [Looks around the room] I expect there is at least enough air in here for a few days. Perhaps it is you who should not panic, resorting to the debilitating effects of alcohol to ease your nerves is a most improper approach for a Knight to take. I'm just glad no one else can see us, what with you proffering drugs to the group at a time like this! [Tuts and returns to digging again] Last fro Tessa #68

Chastity : Alcohol abuse at this time is as useful as panicking. A clear head is what is required. [Looks at a final photo, shudders and turns away]

Alice : A few days? A few days? [Calms] So what you're saying is that it's probably okay for us to have a smoke in here? Hey! Why don't we light a fire? That way any passing ships will see us from miles away?

Chastity : Alice, I can understand your want to rid yourself of any embarrassing photographs that may adorn the walls, but now is really not the time to start a raging inferno.

Monty : Wise words, Sister Chastity. [To Alice] Peter and Mr. Snyder know we came here too. I'm sure they'll send someone to rescue us when they realise that we have been gone this long. I'm quite confident that help will be on it's way. So, no need to intoxicate ourselves with narcotics [Beams a smile at Alice, which fades when he realises that Alice WANTED to get intoxicated]

Alice : You're a kind of a glass is half empty type of person, aren't you, Monty? If we're going to be saved, then let's go for it!

Monty : [To Alice, frowning in a puzzled fashion] But you are a knight! A bastillion of virtue, a hero ... [Tails off from the rousing speach. Quietly] It might impair you ability to combat evil. Errm. [Spots an 'overly informative' picture of Alice, gulps and turns away quickly] Errm, yes, well okay. [To Alice] Yes, well I suppose you probably need a break, errm, you did take some very serious injuries in that last battle.

Chastity : [To Monty] Mr. Snyder didn't give quite a full briefing of this group, did he? I'm afraid that most the other members don't quite display the virtues that they have been specially chosen by Phili to defend.

Alice : [To Monty] Hey! We're Hierophantic Knights, normal rules don't apply to us. We're the rock stars of the adventuring world, we live fast, die young, drink like Irishmen and smoke cheese faster than a French gourment shop, so don't you dare try to cramp our devil may care style! [Looks around her for a moment] Hm, I think I need to go pee.

Monty : [To Alice] I, err, hmm, perhaps errr, no. [Ponders] I am quite aware of the knights propensity for fast living, it's partly why the watchers were set up. Someone had to keep an eye on things. [Ponders] Perhaps we could construct a blind from all of the pictures and posters, [To the party] to give Alice some privacy.

Stephen : Privacy, privacy! What are you talking about! We're trapped in a cellar with a madman about to return, trapped, I might add, by some nun loving dwarf with help from Phili knows who, trapped until we tunnel our way out with a blunt spoon, and you suggest builing a blind from a million photos and journals, so we give Alice, who I might add, wants to burn us all alive in the rare event that a ship is crossing overland a thousand miles away from the nearest ocean notices the flames and smoke, some privacy? [Begins hammering on the forcefield] Get me out of here! Get me out, get me out, get me out!

Alice : [Blocking her ears] Can someone calm him down? I promise I'll hold it in if they do - I'll just have a glass of water, that's bound to take my mind off wanting to go. [The shield first gives a massive shudder, before a huge lightening bolt appears and crashes against, sending STEPHEN tumbling back down the stairs, dazed, but unhurt. The shield, however, remains unscratched.]

Alice : Yay! It worked, you shut him up!

Monty : [Watching the lighting bolts etc, takes his glasses off and cleans then carefully] Yes, well, good effort. [Proceeds to chip away at the wall a little more. To the others] It may have escaped your notic, but it would be considerably quicker if we all took part in exclavating a tunnel out of here.

Chastity : Maybe better headway would be made if we used some of the shelving? [Inspects the shelf to see it will come apart] [The shield first gives a massive shudder, before a huge lightening bolt appears and crashes against, sending STEPHEN tumbling back down the stairs, dazed, but unhurt. The shield, however, remains unscratched.]

Alice : Yay! It worked, you shut him up!

Monty : [Watching the lighting bolts etc, takes his glasses off and cleans then carefully] Yes, well, good effort. [Proceeds to chip away at the wall a little more. To the others] It may have escaped your notic, but it would be considerably quicker if we all took part in exclavating a tunnel out of here.

Chastity : Maybe better headway would be made if we used some of the shelving? [Inspects the shelf to see it will come apart]

Alice : Quicker? It may have escaped your notice, Monty, but the walls are made of solid rock, it would take years to tunnel out, even if we had Beaucaphalus the Wonder Digging Sword with us, and the whole reason we came back in time was to save Uncle Harvey and Lucy. We've already missed Horatio and Tommy, Lucy will be dead in about nine hours and Harvey in ten. [The shelving, unfortunately is all made of wood. EVAN's suggestion might work, depending on how far the shield extends beyond the trapdoor.]

Chastity : [To Evan] I think you may have point there. We are too deep down to effectively dig our way out from down here. [Looks round] Who's for the first digging shift? It'll be just like the parable "The Greats Escape"

Aramis : My sword has lain waste to many foes, but few as hardy as this shield. [Starts chipping away at the area pointed out by Evan] over and I'm starting day time posting. internet, so I won't be able from Conor, I've agreed that I'll try to sneak in a few in advance for that, but let's [9.00 AM]

Monty : [Still at the wall] Fine. Whatever. [Composes himself] I mean, splendid idea, sister, absolutely splendid. [Starts humming the theme tune to the Kwai over the River Bridge as he heads up the stairs to help] [10.00 AM]

Alice : [Also hacking away] This is pretty slow work, isn't it? Hey, Evan, maybe if you cast your spell on the wall instead of the shield, we might be able to get through faster?

Chastity : Good idea, dear. [To Stephen] You'd best stay out of the way this time. [To the rest] As had we all. [Goes down the stairs and take cover behind the shelves.] Fire away, Mr. Starglow. [11.00AM]

Monty : I fear Alice's suggestion is flawed, is it not, Evan? Magic ability is not like some sort of [struggles for an analogy that the party would understand] cigarette vending machine where one can simply keep putting in copper pieces in the expectation of getting more cigarettes.

Alice : So what kind of vending machine is it like?

Monty : [Suppresses a sigh] It's not like any vending machine.

Alice : So it's more like a shop?

Monty : [Rubs his temples] No. The point is, Evan can't simply just cast another spell, it takes time.

Alice : So, it's not really like a vending machine at all, is it?

Monty : [Sigh] No.

Chastity : [Nodding her head. To Alice] Sometimes a magical power can only be used once in a time period, say a day. That is the case with my holy powers, save healing, which is a special case. [Shrugs] Oh well, back to the digging. [Starts to bash the worked area with her mace]

Monty : The most effecient way to tunnel through solid rock is to cut out around the edge of where you wish to make your tunnel, about a foot at a time, and then use wedges of wood to jam into the crack along two orthogonal sides, thereby forcing the remaining stone in the middle of your chosen area, to split off from the rock face. I estimate roughly fourteen hours of non stop tunneling should suffice.

Aramis : Five languages, eh? Interesting. [Takes a drink of whiskey, before carrying on cutting]

Chastity : [Stops bashing and turns to Monty with no little frustration] Two hours we've been at this, and now you tell us! [Stomps off down the stairs] I think I'd best hit the shelves. I may even create some wedges! [12.00PM]

Alice : Well, I'm knackered. Where are the sandwiches? [1.00PM]

Alice : Excellent, Chas, I'll have a few of those while you're at it. [7PM]

Alice : [Clearly very frustrated at how little they have got off, even after using Monty's suggestion] Lucy's already dead, Evan, and if this doesn't work, so too will Harvey.

Aramis : [Mopping his brow] The last time I sweated like this, I was in the presence of a lovely lady. Of course, now I am in the presence of two even lovelier ladies, I am only surprised that I do not perspire more. However, I am inordinately tired, and will require a rest if this doesn't work. [Everyone but EVAN heads back downstairs, while he goes through the spells again, causing an immense crashing sound, followed by a shower of dirt and stone.]

Alice : [Coughing from all the dust] Did it work? [Unforunately not, as the shield does extend slightly beyond the trapdoor. However, there is just the narrowest of gaps at the edge of the shield where EVAN directed the spell, so air supply is no longer a problem, and it looks as though another shot of the spells will open the hole enough to get out.]

Alice : [Big sigh] I don't believe it. We won't be in time to save Harvey.

Chastity : That'll be that fate thing playing its hand! [Sits at the bottom of the step with a sigh]

Alice : [Sits on a slightly higher step than Chastity] Thanks, Evan. That makes me feel a whole lot better. [To the party in general] You know what, why don't we just wait for Evan to learn the spells again? There's no point in us hacking away, not with so much sweat and so many people needing to pee. [Book IV, Act IV, Scene V. Jerome's Cellar. ALICE, ARAMIS, CHASTITY, EVAN, MONTY and STEPHEN are here. It is now about 9PM, around an hour after the party had left through the time machine, so we are now effectively back in normal time. Enter AUSTIN SLEAZE, at the top of the stairs, barely visible through the shield.]

Austin : [Clearly speaking loudly, but barely audible] Ah, I see it didn't take long for you to end up in trouble without me.

Alice : [Leaping up] Austin! Where have you been? Can you get us out of here? I really need to pee.

Chastity : [Calling up to Austin] Watch out up there. It was that horrible little Stump that trapped us here.

Austin : Oh, I have been taking care of a few things [Taps the shield. To Alice] That is an amazingly tough shield, you guys must have really pissed someone off again! What the hell are you doing poking around Tridle's dingy fettid cellar anyway? [Pokes the shield with his dagger a little] I can probably destroy it, you had better all stand back! [Austin pauses whilst everyone gets back out of the way] Okay, here it comes!

[Austin destroys the shield]

[The shield glows bright blue for a few seconds, and then completely disappears.]

Alice : [Rushing upstairs and out passed Austin] Just a sec! [Runs out the front door]

Monty : Ah, Mr. Sleaze, it is most excellent to see you!

Aramis : Mr. Sleaze, I thank you. [Bows ostentatiously] I have some very fine brandy and some extra mature cheese that I believe should be consumed this very moment.

Alice : [Coming back in, looking far less anxious than before] Ah! So Austin, what's going on? I thought you left with Quintin?

Austin : [To Monty] Well met, Monty old chap. [To Aramis, briefly glancing at Alice rushing past] Excellent! [Straightens his cuffs momentarily] I would be delighted to partake in your inpromptue celebration. [Examines his nails] I shall have to rescue you lot more often [Smirks a little smugly]

Austin : [To Evan] No, I didn't see Mr. Stump, I take it that he wasn't down there with you. [To Alice] I did leave with Quintin, I have been away for 3 months, such is the nature of time travel [Waves a hand nonchalantly] Quintin and I have concluded our business for the present. [Frowns at how slowly Aramis is at dishing out the Brandy and cheese. To Alice] How are you? You look a little flustered, I take it that you founf some interesting evidence down there?

Alice : No.

Aramis : [Taking out a bottle of good brandy and a fine chunk of Wensleydale] I can imagine one or two that we didn't see. [Opens the bottle with a fine pop] goodbye, but sorry to be player...

Monty : I normally don't approve of this kind of thing, but I'm sure we can make an exception this once for a small glass of brandy each. [Gives the cheese a baleful look] Perhaps you might keep that for another, more appropriate time.

Stephen : [Already rolling up a cheeseratte] More appropriate than this? We're gonna be a long time waiting for that to come!

Alice : [Dismissively to Austin] There's really no need to go down, there's just some silly stuff, but, well, I think we can be pretty sure that Jerome is crazy. I believe the technical term is he's a Loon.

Stephen : [Inhaling deeply] We're probably best off getting away from here as quickly as possible. Austin, do you have a carriage with you?

Austin : [To Stephen] Just because you dress like and look like a prole doesn't give you an excuse to behave like one and be rude to me. As if! [Indignantly] Me, walking here? [Checks his nails, looks at the sky briefly] As if! [To Alice] Would you like to drive? My mark 9 Aspen Martini sports carriage is over there, behind those trees [Points to some trees]

Alice : There's nothing wrong with my driving! [Looks over at the Aspen Martini, upon which a scratch suddenly appears] Hey!

Chastity : [Almost gleeful with the thought of Alice driving Austin's flash carriage] I think Alice should drive.

Monty : I believe we should return to Asphyxia. There is the matter of a small number of funerals to attend. [Raises his voice to be heard over the revving of the horses] Perhaps we should attend that? [ALICE beeps the horn impatiently.]

Alice : Come on! Come on!

Chastity : [Jumps into the carriage looking a bit more worried as she sees Alice seemingly practicing driving with her feet] Lets just hope the number of funerals remains small.

Monty : While eight hundred funerals may seem small to you, Sister, I believe it is quite enough. [Beep beep!]

Aramis : [Watching Alice] Ah, I suspect that she has the enthusiasm Coadicea, the derring do of Lamelia Hockhart and the driving skills of Hohnny Jerbert. [Seriously] We're all going to die, aren't we?

Chastity : [To Monty] I do believe it was you who initially refered to the number of funerals as small, not I. [To Aramis] The laws of probablility I suspect are slowly catching up on us. And I fear that driving is not the only characteristic the Alice shares with Mr. Jerbert

Aramis : [To Evan] Yes, my friend, but do we really need to seek it out? It is strange though, I always imagined myself dying in a high speed carriage crash, naked, with a glass of champagne in one hand, a fine cigar in the other, and a beautiful lady, doing what she does best.

Alice : [Calling from the carriage] Driving?

Aramis : [Laughs] Sure.

Monty : I - I - [lifts his finger as though to make a point to Chastity, and then thinks better of it] Yes, laws of probability. Well said, Sister, a good point, well taken. Nicely put, and, oh my goodness, is that the time? We had better get aboard immediately. [Climbs aboard]

Austin : [Gets into the back of the cab and buckles up. To Alice] The nitro tap is on the right hand side of the seat! [Smirks] Lets see what this old wagon can do.

Alice : [With a look of dismay as she glances at Chastity] Hey! I thought I was driving!

Chastity : [To Alice] Shut up and drive,[forced]dear, or I will! We have many souls to lay to rest. And a mad Doctor Jerome to avoid, or are you procrastinating to grab a change to see him again on his return?

Austin : [To Alice, cackling] I was talking about the cab! You are driving, so let's go! [To Monty] This is the fastest cab on the road. Or at least, it soon will be. [Smirks]

Alice : No, I was hoping Stump would turn up. [ALICE roars off, with STEPHEN just hanging onto the door, although he pulls himself in.]

Alice : This is gonna be great! [Almost immediately, she rear ends another carriage.]

Stephen : [Thrown against the carriage windscreen] Wow. That must have been the longest you've ever travelled without hitting something.

Chastity : [Regaining her balance] Or how much the repairs will cost Austin if she isn't a named driver on his insurance. [shakes her head muttering] I can't imagine the premium if she is. [Looks out the front to try and see the other carriage involved in the crash]

Austin : [Smirks gleefully. To Chastity] Why would I insure someone elses cab? [Checks his nails, casually]

Alice : [Revving up the horses, who sound a little sick, and who don't move the carriage] I think they're stuck. [Enter BODDY, stepping out of the other carriage, the rear of which is badly damaged.]

Boddy : [Smoking a cheeseratte as he surveys the damage] Hm. [Looks up at the party's carriage] Ah.

Alice : Quick, Boddy! Help us out before the guy from the carriage comes!

Alice : You could say that - he's Darius' soulmate, but he's a lot not nicer and apparantly less evil. Then again, he was one of the original Four Horsemen and we know that he's killed hundreds if not thousands of people, while Darius claimed he never killed any.

Boddy : Nice carriage. Where'd you steal it from? And why did you park it in the back of mine?

Chastity : Alice was driving. I think that explains everything!

Austin : [To Boddy] Hi Nige, great to see you again too. [Sternly] The carriage has not been stolen. Not yet at least. [Looks at the damage]

Boddy : Call me Nige again and it will be stolen. [To Chastity] The question is, why was she driving?

Chastity : Well practice makes perfect. What are you doing here, if I may be so bold as to ask?

Chastity : [To Evan] There's a contradictory statement if ever there was one. [To Austin] Actually you're a crook [emphasis] and a lawyer. But we'll overlook that for now as common knowledge.

Austin : [To Chastity] He obviously came for the competition, he a big fan. [To Evan, taking out his not pad] No, I'm not a crook, I'm a lawyer. [Looks at the carriage. To Alice] No harm done, the carriage is almost unmarked. [Frowns as a wheel arch falls off] Almost.

Boddy : I'm on the way to Asphxyia, looking for Aramis D'Artagnan - he's involved with the Knights, although they don't really trust him. I think the Watchers described him as a lecherous, alcoholic drug addict. In fact, I was kind of expecting him to be with you.

Aramis : [Leaps out of the carriage] And you were right! [Twirls his moustache] It seems those Watchers have my measure alright. [Bows to Boddy]

Chastity : [To Aramis] The watchers didn't exactly earn their pay for that label. You as good as tell everyone you meet. [To Boddy] Why are you looking for him. Planning to form a monastery?

Austin : [To Chastity] Probably after some of that fine stilton that Aramis shared around earlier [Lights up a cheesearette and blow some smoke rings]

Boddy : Nah, I doubt either of us are perverted enough for that. I got a message to come and find you, to help you find the Jewel of Arais.

Aramis : Ah, the jewel that Fearn referred to. [Gestures to the rest of the party] And are my fine companions invited on this quest too?

Monty : Certainly not! It is of the utmost importance that we return to the Knights forthwith. I must insist on it. [Stands as straight as possible and puts on his determined face]

Austin : [To Monty] The choice is not yours, but that of Mr. Boddy's. [Waves his hand dissmissivley] The funeral will proceed without us, and we can always visit the graves later, if you insist.

Monty : Unacceptable! Utterly unacceptable! Mr. Boddy, it is unacceptable.

Boddy : Okay. [To the party] I don't want to come between you and the schoolmistress here, and anyway, it's more of a two man job.

Monty : [Harrumphs victoriously] Now, everyone back onto the carriage, and perhaps someone else could take a turn to drive.

Chastity : [A bit flustered] Oh well, with a vote of confidence from Mr. Starglow I'll take the reins.

Boddy : [Peers at Evan] What did he say?

Alice : That all the beer and cheese is nearly gone and every time we meet someone they beat us up.

Boddy : Like The Prof?

Alice : Well, no, we killed him.

Boddy : Dorchadas?

Alice : Actually he's dead too.

Boddy : Anima-

Alice : Okay! Maybe not everyone, but [defiantly] a lot! Las from Sam #45

Alice : [As Chastity sits into the driver's seat] Hey!

Aramis : Well, my friends, it looks like this is goodbye, however, I am sure we will meet again.

Alice : Hey Aramis, whatever happened with Faetan?*

Aramis : [Shrugs] Ah, such a lovely, energetic lady. We travelled together for several months, and then nature took it's course.

Alice : You fell in love with her?

Aramis : Oh no, I got her drunk, slept with her and then sneaked off. I often wonder what happened to her, but I'm quite sure she turned out fine.

Alice : Actually, he said insured, not ensured.

Alice : Actually, he said insured, not ensured.

Stephen : [To Boddy] So, you're taking away the only thing worth looking at in this group, are you? Just great!

Stephen : [Haughtily] I believe you are confusing your own likes with my own.

Aramis : Farewell, my friends. [Gives each of Austin, Evan and Monty a firm handshake] Goodbye Stephen, we didn't spend much time in each other's presence, and well, perhaps that was a good thing. [Gives him a quick hug, before turning to Alice, grabbing her, and bending her over backwards in the classic passionate kiss stance] Goodbye, sweet Alice. [Politely holding his hand out to Chastity] Look after these reprobrates, Sister. [As CHASTITY shakes his hand, he pulls her to him, and gives her an even more passionate kiss than he did ALICE, and holds her there for a good minute.]

Alice : [A little woozy after her own kiss] I think I need a cigarette!

Monty : [Fanning himself with his clipboard] Well, really!

Austin : [Offers Alice his cheesearette] I think I need to know fewer men who desire passionate relationships with Chastity. [Grimaces at Aramis and Chastity] He's braver than I thought, or blinder perhaps.

Aramis : [Lets Chastity go with an audible popping sound] Forgive me, good sister, for the unforgivable, but I am uncontrollable in the presence of the irresitable. [Gets into Boddy's carriage]

Alice : [Shakily taking the cheeseratte from Austin] Thanks, Aus.

Boddy : Any luck with finding a regeneration orb?

Chastity : [Wide eyed staggers back and grabs the cheeserette from Alices outstretched hand, takes a drag gives it back to Alice and plonks down on the drivers seat. In a wheezy high pitched voice, still looking dazed] We should go!

Austin : [Suprised at Chastities reaction. To Boddy] No, we had no luck finding an orb. [To Aramis] Thanks for your help. [Looks at the difference in Chastities demeanour. To Aramis] You should do that more often, but please warn me first! [Gets into his carriage and buckles up]

Alice : [To Boddy, still perspiring heavily and red of face, fanning herself with her hand] Do you know where we can get an orb?

Boddy : Not exactly, but I know a man who might.

Alice : [Sigh] Will you tell us?

Boddy : Sure, you want to find the Bringer.

Chastity : [Slowly regaining her composure] Where can we find this Bringer fellow?

Boddy : Not sure, but you might try asking your Watcher buddies. Although, they are a pretty stiff bunch, so I'm not sure if they'll tell you.

Monty : I say, sir!

Boddy : [Looks Monty up and down] Oh yeah, they're also pretty anal.

Austin : And very, very geeky. You know how geeks like to keep their 'hard earned' knowledge to themselves. It gives them a sense of purpose, makes them feel needed. [Starts rolling another cheesearette] Of course, once they've told you what you need to know, they are useless. [Ponders] I guess that's why old Monty here decided to come with us and see a bit of the action.

Monty : [Getting flustered] I - well, perhaps [regains his composure a bit] perhaps it is you who need to prove to me that you deserve the information?

Chastity : Surely as our watcher you should already have seen such evidence, Mr. Giles. [Adjusts the carriage rear-view mirrors]

Montgomery : Well, of, of course, I have sister, and from you especially, but there still seems to be something of an atmosphere of mistrust amongst certain members of the party directed at me, and how can I properly trust people who mistrust me? In particular, if their mistrust is based on my mistrusting of their mistrust of me, then how can we function properly as a group?

Boddy : Don't anything about the Bringer, huh?

Monty : That's not the point!

Austin : [Sharply to Monty] If you're going to be pissy about this you can go back to your soft geeky Watcher friends right now. [Lights up his cheesearette] We have no need to prove anything to you or the Watchers. By definition, you watch us, so if we didn't exist neither would you. Without us the Watchers are nothing. Quod erat demomstrandum. [Blows three perfect smoke rings and cheack his nails for shine]

Monty : I can assure you, I am not being [with distaste] pissy. While it is true that we only exist because of the Knights, it is also true that the future existence of the Knights will quite possibly depend on us. Now, although I do not personally know of this Bringer of which you speak, I can easily find out about him. You, on the other hand, cannot. Assuming that he exists, although, seeing as how Mr. Boddy is the good one.

Alice : You mean, as opposed to Darius, the one who died saving my life? [BODDY seems completely unperturbed at this news, even though DARIUS only died less than an hour ago.]

Monty : [A little less sure] Er, yes.

Chastity : [Starting to rev up the horses so that they are barely audible] We are clearly getting nowhere with this track of conversation. We should get back and find out about the Bringer there.

Monty : [Walking haughtily passed Austin] Excellent suggestion, Sister. As a party member, I would be more than happy to enquire on your behalf. [Gets into the carriage]

Austin : [Smriks. TO Monty] That's the spirit old chap [Offers Monty his cheesearette, but withdraws it when he sees Monty's reaction] Oh well, one step at a time I suppose.

Monty : Quite frankly, Evan, I've wondered that myself on several occasions. [BODDY and ARAMIS go off in their carriage, while CHASTITY eases the party's one into motion too.]

Alice : [Tapping her foot irritably, continuously glaring at Chastity] So anyway, Austin, how did you get on with the Path? After all, that's what you went away for, wasn't it?

Austin : [To Alice] Oh, fine, fine thank you. [Blows some more smoke rings] Quintin was a thoroughly nice chap. Very good taste too.

Alice : [Sigh] And what did you find out? You said you were away for three months, surely you did more than sit around admiring each other? [Thinks] Oh, I see. [Turns to Chastity] Are you sure the handbrake isn't still on?

Chastity : [Concentrating very hard on the road and waving past a man walking his dog] How far is it to Asphyxia?

Monty : Just about another mile, Sister.

Alice : Great, we should get there sometime tomorrow, and that still won't be enough time for Austin to tell us what happened while he was away.

Austin : [To Chastity] It's about five miles down this road, don't you remember? [Snigers] Aramis's kiss has really rattled you [Chuckles a little then frowns at Alice] What are you insinuating? [Sighs. Matter of factly] Everyone is on the path, even if they don't know it. [Looks at Alice to see if she understands] Some of the time this involves beign with others, just as we are together now and have been for a while, and sometimes it involves being alone, or with a soulmate, which is what Quintin was to me, and Darius was to Boddy, Millicent to Peter, Alyssa to you etc.

Chastity : [Turns round to Alice] Ssshhhh, dear. No-one likes a back seat driver. [On turning back round Chastity accidentally hits the nitro tap and with a squeal of hooves the carriage hurtles off down the road, with Chastity trying to sit back upright from the sudden acceleration and stop her habit from flying over her head at the same time] Oooooooohhhhhhhh! [The carriage lurches forward with acceleration which, although enormously fast, isn't as fast as ALICE drove, nor is CHASTITY anywhere near as reckless as ALICE was, so no one is too concerned.]

Alice : Aiiiieee! Watch what you're doing! For God's sake slow down!

Stephen : [Hanging onto the seat for security] And where does the Path lead?

Austin : [To Stephen] Thank you for asking such a pertinent question. [Pauses for gravity] It's not so much 'where' it leads, it leads to somekind of ultimate reward, which, as far as I can make out, is total and absolute self fulfilment, understanding your purpose and existence, but more importantly, if you don't follow the path, or your path, as the case may be, you will feel dissatisfied with everything, worthless and be prone to feelings of dispair and dissilusionment, lost in a world of purposelessness, so much so, that when you know and understand that you are on the path, no one in their right mind would choose to do otherwise. [Blows some more smoke rings]

Alice : [Pale and ill looking] Please, Chastity! [To Austin] So what was Jerome talking about when he killed Lucy?

Austin : [To Alice] Well, everyone's path is different, I guess that Trindle must be on a Seth type path, where as we are on the Philli path or some nonsense like that. I dunno. Maybe Trindle is like Pestillence and his cronies, and it just so happens that they have all chosen an evil path, or something like that [Waves his hand dissmissivley] I'll find out when I torture Trindle to death. [Sighs]

Austin : [To Alice] Well, everyone's path is different, I guess that Trindle must be on a Seth type path, where as we are on the Philli path or some nonsense like that. I dunno. Maybe Trindle is like Pestillence and his cronies, and it just so happens that they have all chosen an evil path, or something like that [Waves his hand dissmissivley] I'll find out when I torture Trindle to death. [Sighs]

Chastity : We'll have no torturing to dead in this party, Mr. Sleaze. [Overtaking a carriage with the banner "St. Mungo's Orphans Home Great Day Out" before completely cutting it up to avoid a rabbit and sending it careering off the road. Looking back to Alice] This is quite exhilarating really, isn't it. None of my George's would ever let me drive before.

Alice : Except for the torture and the maiming and the killing. And how do soulmates come into it? And why are some more like people than others? I mean, Quintin was just like you, whereas I'm pretty sure Alyssa wasn't even one of mine.

Alice : [Screaming, although the carriage is slowing down to almost normal speed now] Keep your eyes on the road! [To the others] I think I'm going to be sick.

Austin : [To Alice] It's not about how soulmates look, or behave, because you and your soulmate Alyssa are soulmates because you both have a part of the soul of a much bigger single soul, shared by many others, as far as I can make out, possibly millions. So you might have millions of soul mates, and just as Darius and Boddy don't seem to be too alike personality wise, they are soulmates, sharing the same soul. [Pauses] When you realise that you are soulmates, you'll see just how alike you are, and you will see that your differences are really just superficial personality traits bought about by your experiences to date, for example, your family and friends, you schooling and other life events, such as the demise of King Horseykins, or the recent loss of the Colonel and Clint. [Shrugs] Something like that anyway. [Checks the shine on his shoes]

Monty : [As the party approach Asphyxia] Fascinating, fascinating! Well done, Mister Sleaze, that is most informative. Did you, on your travels, encounter the saying [tries to sound ominous, but fails miserably] "From withing it consumes"?

Stephen : That's what Trindle kept on saying, and writing, over and over and over!

Alice : It was written in loads of notebooks in that awful cellar of his, they were all exactly the same, boring and predictable. It was like reading one of Stephen's movie scripts!

Austin : [To Monty] Yes, I did indeed. On the evening of the night that he died, Faern claimed that he had discerend what it meant, whilst we were staying in a haunted hotel, you could hear it being whispered at night, but Faern died before telling anybody what it meant. [Ponders] It perhaps has something to do with leaving the path and being consumed by your own evils? [Shrugs] But that's just speculation. [Flips the cheesebutt out of the window and into a drain]. Where did you hear the saying?

Stephen : Perhaps I should put a few big pictures in my scripts so you can follow whats going on, Alice! Perhaps a picture of Spot chasing the ball.

Alice : Like Stevie said, Crazy Jerome was writing about it - he also said it to Stump after killing Chastity, and that it was the reason why we wouldn't be able to kill him - or maybe he just meant Stump?

Austin : Well, it was the last thing that Faern wrote, scrawled in his own blood. The whole town had heard the saying at sometime or another. [Pauses] Appart from that I spent most of the three months looking for an Orb of Saol, to ressurect the Colonel with, but I only found that dispel magic orb thingy that I used to get you lot out of the cellar.

Alice : I'm sure there are plenty of pictures of balls in your movies, Stephen. [Turns to Austin] Faern's dead? [Big sigh] Did he know you were looking for one of the orbs?

Stephen : Only one, actually Alice, in my movie James and The Giant Beach Ball! A rip roaring adrenaline ride of a movie, sadly misunderstood by those useless critics! It's reception was less than I would have cared for.

Austin : [To Alice] Probably. [Ponders] Of course the important thing to remmeber is that, although you are only one of many soulmates sharing a soul, very few of those soulmates will ever find out about the path, and as you and those other soulmates who do find out about the path, progress, you gain some kind of power. I suspect this is how Trindle became impervious to our attacks, in the same way as Pestillence and the others.

Alice : Hm, it's strange he didn't tell you it wouldn't work, as he seemed sure when Harvey died that it wouldn't - maybe he changed his mind? [The carriage arrives at the hotel. Standing outside talking are SPRUCE, JUSILLA and SNYDER.]

Snyder : [Face lights up when he sees the party, but he immediately scowls at them] Ah, I see the scumbags are back. Well done, Mr. Giles.

Chastity : [Dismounting from the carriage] All back safe and sound. [To Snyder] That odorous little man, Mr. Stump went mad and trapped us in the mad Doctor Trindles basement. Unfortunately they are both still at large.

Stephen : Your spy in the camp tried to make sure we didn't get into too much trouble, Snyder.

Snyder : Ah, Mr. Stump, the very one that I expressed reservations about right from the start. [Looks over the party] I see your attempt to go back and change time failed.

Jusilla : [Holds out a small red orb that fits into the palm of her hand] We found this funny little apple, but we don't know how to peel it. Do you know what it is?

Austin : [Goes over to Jusilla and take a close look at the orb] Well, it could be and orb of Saol, where did you find it?

Chastity : [Looks round at the others] Does it look like the last one? I don't know as I was somewhat incapacitated at the time.

Alice : No, the last one was bigger, at least three times the size of it.

Spruce : It's definitely not an Orb of Saol, although it is magical. We found it in the hotel.

Snyder : That's usually what happens.

Austin : [Steppng back from the orb. To Spruce] Oh, and can you discern what it's magical properties may produce, in any way?

Spruce : [In a bored voice] No, that's why we asked you if you knew what it was.

Austin : [To Spruce] Well if you and Jusilla and the watchers don't know and we don't know, maybe [Looks around. To Beaucaphallus] Beaucaphallus, sword of wonders, do you know what this orb does?

Alice : [Sheepishly] Er, Jerome took Beaucaphalus.

Snyder : What? A certified homicidal maniac that we can't hurt, and you gave him the sword.

Alice : No. [Very slowly and deliberately] Jerome took Beaucaphalus.

Austin : [Austin's demeanour changes from chirpy to icy cold and still. He says nothing for a moment, whilst looking at Alice with deathy stare] You let Trindle take Beaucaphallus! [Sighs, turns his back on Alice and paces forward a little. Under his breath] In the bastard phuking name of phuking Philli! [Turns back. Composed and chirpy again] Oh well, never mind. [Sighs. To Spruce] Fancy going for a quick sigh and tequilas?

Spruce : Phuk off.

Alice : Hey! No one [spits out the word] let him take anything! Chastity was dead, Evan badly wounded and Stump about to throw a wobbly, and, he had a gun! Now, while I know if you were there, Beaucaphalus would probably have been safe, what with you more than likely being in hiding from the trouble, but believe me, no one let him do anything.

Alice : What? So it's all my fault, is it? No one forced anyone to come!

Alice : Well I'm glad to see you're so upset about Faern! We got into the Interior through a gate beneath Dementia, in the grounds near Daddy's house. The gate we used needed special jewels to open it, which Austin should still have, and which we're going to need again.

Monty : [Excited] You have those jewels? Excellent! Most excellent! My goodness, but it seems a terribly dangerous thing to carry them around all the time, perhaps Mr. Snyder could look after them?

Chastity : I think we should hold onto them for the moment, thank you. We've already had our fingers burnt by entrusting important items to supposedly trustworthy allies. The wand for example.

Snyder : The wand? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Celia has the wand, and since she got it the Shapeshifters have been contained - another two months and they will almost certainly be defeated. The issue, Sister, is not can we be trusted to look after the jewels, but if we have the time or the inclination to spend a few weeks travelling with him! [Points at Evan] Quoting Conor Ryan :

Austin : [Agreeing with Snyder] Quite true. Faern did no harm in selling the wand to the evles for a vast fortune. The slavery of several hundred thousand humans is testament to the fact. [Checks his nails] And you're kidding yourself if you think I'm letting you touch my jewels. [Pauses] But, Faern was correct, that in the long term, it all worked out 'just dandy'. [To Alice] How was I supposed to know Trindle took Beaucaphalus after a big fight? Huh? You made it sound like you had given it to him. [Looks at Spruce, raises an eyebrow of doubt, then to the party] So, where to we find this Bringer fellow?

Alice : Your jewels? I think not! They belong to Da- to my family, you were only minding them.

Snyder : [To Evan] It doesn't surprise me, but then again, they're scumbags, so what do you expect? You saved their lives and now they won't even hold up their part of the agreement.

Austin : [To Alice, sighing] I only refered to them as 'my jewels' for the vaguely humerous connotations. [To Evan] Don't listen to that chagraigner [Nods towards Snyder] We'll get you to the interior and an elven city, if that's what you want. [Looks Evan in the eye] But, why do you want to go there anyway? They hate half elves as much as they hate humans, they treat us all as a sub-species, and have the most abominable taste in clothing [Grimaces at the memory of the knitted flip-flop].

Alice : [Embarassed at having over reacted] But they do make exceedingly good brandy.

Chastity : Pah. Why does everything have to come back to drinking Seth's urine, alcohol. I just despair sometimes! I need a cup of tea.

Snyder : [To Evan] That's right, Mister. If we have the jewels, they will be returned to the party when they need - when they want them.

Jusilla : Poor little Evan, he just wants to go home. Spruce and Juice will go with you, and bring Austin's testicles back.

Snyder : You certainly will not! We have tasks for you!

Spruce : [Gives Snyder a long, wry look, before turning to Evan] S'van, when d'y'want t'leave?

Austin : [To Spruce] Are you deaf? I just said that we'd take him. And anyway, you don't have the jewels, and since Faern and the Colonel are dead, it's up to Alice what happens to the jewels, there are her's after all. [To Snyder] How do we find the Bringer, to get one of the Orbs of Saol?

Spruce : [To Austin] No, I'm not deaf. Are you stupid?

Snyder : The Bringer? We've heard rumours about him, but what has he got to do with the Orbs of Saol?

Austin : [To Spruce] Fuck off. [To Snyder] We just need an Orb of Saol, do you know where we can get one? [Checks his hair in his Mucci pocker mirror] What rumours have you heard about the Bringer?

Jusilla : That naughty, naughty Jerome. I can help you with that.

Alice : I suppose we could go to Dementia like Austin said - where's this Bringer?

Snyder : A week's ride south of here, he's supposed to - hey! We have a mission for you!

Alice : [To the party in general, including Evan] What do you say? I don't mind trusting them with the jewels, so it's up to you, Evan.

Austin : Very well [Takes out a suprisingly large velvet case from his bag, bound with thick silk straps, checks the jewels briefly, closes the box and gives them to Evan] There you go. Good luck, and watch out for those Morcs and the elves too, they don't take to strangers very well.

Snyder : [Getting nervous] I think we all need to calm down a little here.

Spruce : I guess you are stupid. [Punches Austin as he checks himself, and knocks him to the ground]

Jusilla : Mmm! Feisty! [Holds herself tight against the back of Spruce]

Monty : [Steps in front of Spruce] Please, Miss Hannigan, control yourself! [SPRUCE looks down at AUSTIN as he gets up, before looking at EVAN.]

Spruce : Y'comin'? We're gonna have a blast!

Chastity : [Angrily to Spruce] Outrageous! I think you'd better go, no matter Mr. Starglows reply. [To Alice] And you are fine with handing over your family heirlooms?

Spruce : And I think you had better remember how sexy I find women in uniform. [Pretend sexy roar]

Alice : [Helping Austin up] I am - we did agree to help Evan after all, and I'm sure we can trust them, you know, they are Knights and, well, one of them did punch Aussie. No offence, Aus!

Austin : [Gets up, put his mirror away calmly. To Spruce, calmly] Why are you still here? Fuck off.

Spruce : [With a smile playing about her lips] No.

Alice : [Exasperated, to Austin] What the hell is wrong with you? Do you want her to hit you again?

Chastity : [To Alice] Maybe he has been imbued with some surly darkness in his personal route following the path, like The mad Doctor Trindle. [Takes a wary step away from Austin.

Alice : Maybe, but he always was kind of cranky. [To Snyder] The Bringer?

Snyder : The Bringer of Death, as he is known. He controls a large area on the borders between us and the South. One theory about why the South hasn't invaded us is that they are afraid to cross his territory.

Austin : [To Alice] I politely invited her for a drink and she told me to fuck off, so I told here to fuck off, and then you call me cranky? [Sighs] She could have just said no. It's not that difficult. And I don't care if the silly bitch punches me, it merely confirms her ignorance. [Sighs and wanders away from the group ten feet or so and lights up a cigarette]

Alice : [Thoroughly confused] When did she do that?

Jusilla : You come with me, Evan, Spruce will probably want to stay here and play. Be nice everyone. [Takes Evan's hand, waiting to lead him away, but not pulling him] And Spruce, keep an eye on that funny little apple in case it changes colour again.

Alice : Looks like this is it, Evan, thanks for everything. We might see you in the Interior - we did promise to bring the wand back.

Chastity : That's a point. How long do we have before the deadline? she did it a few post ago, i have deleted them and the 'current scene' link is not working .... Austin asked her if she wanted to go for a drink and she said 'Fuck off' D Quoting Conor Ryan :

Austin : [To Chastity] It was something like a day in the interior equalled a month on the surface, and they said 24 hours didn't they? [Flicks some ash away] I don't expect they'll be any more unplesant than they already were even if we are late.

Alice : I don't expect that they'll be any more unpleasant than you, either, Austin. It was 24 hours, and it's only been less than a month since we were there, so we've plenty of time.

Austin : [To Alice, annoyed] Me! Unplesant! I asked her and her mate out for a drink and she tells me to fuck off! I have every right to be unplesant, thank you! [Turns away in a huff, muttering] Some people.

Alice : [Sigh] I see you're doing well at exercising that right.

Spruce : I could punch him again if you want.

Snyder : [Takes Spruce by the arm and escorts her back into the hotel] Now, why don't you come in with me, Missy!

Spruce : [Calling out with a big smile] Bye bye, lover boy!

Monty : Er, yes. So, it appears that the Bringer is a powerful and evil creature, perhaps it would be prudent to avoid him until we have greater numbers?

Austin : [Watching Spruce being led away] Lovery boy? My god she's a really sick bitch! Has she forgotten that Lucy has just been murdered or is she really that nasty? [Frown goes as Spruce dissapears. To Monty] We could try to convice the North and South armies that the Bringer is the real enemy, and get them to attack simultaneously. [Ponders] How many times has that orb changed colour?

Monty : That's a preposterous suggestion. The Southerners are a bunch of savages, it is highly likely that they are in league with the Bringer. The orb, to the best of my knowledge, has only changed colour once. It was originally green when discovered, and soon turned that red colour. [Enter MAXWELL, looking back towards the direction that SPRUCE and company went.]

Alice : Well actually, I'm not entirely sure the southerners are as savage as everyone thinks - has anyone actually tried to speak to them?

Maxwell : Good lord, no. They are about as unreasonable as Spruce is when she's missed her afternoon espresso.

Stephen : I'm not too sure about that, to be honest, I've met a few on the film festival circuit, and they seemed a normal enough bunch. I wonder if they have their own version of you knights? Perhaps you could join up and face this Bringer.

Austin : [To Monty] The southerners we met were just like us, almost litterally. They seem to have as low opinion of us as we do of them. It can only be propaganda spread by the Bringer and his cronies, a classical way of destroying your enemies, pitch them against eachother, then finish off the weaken victors once they have destroied the other side. [Ponders] That was because she missed her coffee? Oh dear. [Looks a little miffed] Remind me to offer her a double expresso next time, not a tequila.

Maxwell : That is an interesting suggestion, but quite clearly wrong. The Bringer has only been in existence for a few months, while the Southerners have been waging this awful war for more than two years.

Alice : What war? It's like Darius said, no one's ever actually seen anything happen - I bet it's Dangsten who's got both sides at each others' throats, this Bringer is just a side effect.

Maxwell : Er, yes. Of course. Now, I presume you are not interested in pursuing this nonsensical visit to the Bringer?

Austin : [To Monty] Just because you think the Bringer has only been around for a few months doen't mean that he hasn't been around, secretly, for many years [Smuglyer than normal] He's hardly a three month old baby is he?

Monty : Unlikely.

Alice : [Turns her back on Maxwell] So, are we going to check out this Bringer? Seeing as how [just her thumb back at Maxwell] these guys don't know anything about him?

Maxwell : Certainly not! We have an urgent mission for you!

Austin : [Sighs, checking his nails. To Alice] What mission could be more important than ressurecting the Colonel? [Turns to Maxwell for an answer] Not another suiscide mission I hope. [Raises momentarily on his toes a bit]

Chastity : By going to the Bringer of death, mightent we be heading on our own suicide mission? [To Monty] WHere did you get the last Orb of Saol from. You said that the watchers had a few, but wanted to control their use, or words to that effect.

Monty : Peter gave it to me, he's a smashing chap.

Alice : [To Austin] No mission. [Glares at Maxwell] Are you watchers or tellers?

Maxwell : Excuse me?

Alice : Watchers or tellers?

Maxwell : Er, watchers?

Alice : Right, case closed. [Dusts her hands off] I think we're all clear on that.

Maxwell : Huh?

Alice : [To the party] I think we need to establish a pecking order here. If they want to watch us, fine, but do we really want to let them tell us what to do?

Austin : [To Alice] Good point, well made. [Takes out his dagger and checks it]

Chastity : It is not there place to tell us what to do, are we're assembled to work for a higher order. It is their duty to aid us, not control our actions.

Stephen : A-men! We're the doers, you're the watchers!

Alice : Right, let's get the next carriage to - where are we going?

Maxwell : South.

Alice : Right, sounds like that's sorted then! [Exit ALL, into the hotel.]

Austin : [To Alice] I'll go and find a carriage for us, something a little more comfortable than the last one, with a better stocked drinks cabinet [Ponders] Ice bucket holders, reclining 'Lickardo' seats. [Slips off round the back of the hotel] [Book IV, Act IV, Scene VII. The Carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, STEPHEN and MONTY are here, sitting in a carriage provided by the watchers, with MONTY in the driving seat. This is two days later, with the party having attended the funerals of LUCY and HARVEY the previous day. SNYDER and MAXWELL are also here, standing at the door of the hotel.]

Maxwell : Do please be careful, and please return as soon as possible!

Snyder : You scumbags! Just make sure one of you stays alive to tell us about the Bringer. [Gives Monty a hug and whispers] You look after them, y'here? [Steps back] Get out of my sight, you scumbags!

Austin : [To Snyder] Au revior, Scumbagmeister. [Nodding towards Monty] We'll bring him back, probably in one piece. [Raises his champaign glass to Snyder, sincerely] Bye! And thanks for the help.

Chastity : [Nodding] Yes, especially that Orb of Saol. Don't worry, we ride off with the love of Phili in our hearts and your shouts of scumbags in our ears.

Austin : [Sighs, checking his nails. To Alice] What mission could be more important than ressurecting the Colonel? [Turns to Maxwell for an answer] Not another suiscide mission I hope. [Raises momentarily on his toes a bit]

Chastity : By going to the Bringer of death, mightent we be heading on our own suicide mission? [To Monty] WHere did you get the last Orb of Saol from. You said that the watchers had a few, but wanted to control their use, or words to that effect.

Monty : Peter gave it to me, he's a smashing chap.

Alice : [To Austin] No mission. [Glares at Maxwell] Are you watchers or tellers?

Maxwell : Excuse me?

Alice : Watchers or tellers?

Maxwell : Er, watchers?

Alice : Right, case closed. [Dusts her hands off] I think we're all clear on that.

Maxwell : Huh?

Alice : [To the party] I think we need to establish a pecking order here. If they want to watch us, fine, but do we really want to let them tell us what to do?

Austin : [To Alice] Good point, well made. [Takes out his dagger and checks it]

Chastity : It is not there place to tell us what to do, are we're assembled to work for a higher order. It is their duty to aid us, not control our actions.

Stephen : A-men! We're the doers, you're the watchers!

Alice : Right, let's get the next carriage to - where are we going?

Maxwell : South.

Alice : Right, sounds like that's sorted then! [Exit ALL, into the hotel.]

Austin : [To Alice] I'll go and find a carriage for us, something a little more comfortable than the last one, with a better stocked drinks cabinet [Ponders] Ice bucket holders, reclining 'Lickardo' seats. [Slips off round the back of the hotel] [Book IV, Act IV, Scene VII. The Carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, STEPHEN and MONTY are here, sitting in a carriage provided by the watchers, with MONTY in the driving seat. This is two days later, with the party having attended the funerals of LUCY and HARVEY the previous day. SNYDER and MAXWELL are also here, standing at the door of the hotel.]

Maxwell : Do please be careful, and please return as soon as possible!

Snyder : You scumbags! Just make sure one of you stays alive to tell us about the Bringer. [Gives Monty a hug and whispers] You look after them, y'here? [Steps back] Get out of my sight, you scumbags!

Austin : [To Snyder] Au revior, Scumbagmeister. [Nodding towards Monty] We'll bring him back, probably in one piece. [Raises his champaign glass to Snyder, sincerely] Bye! And thanks for the help.

Chastity : [Nodding] Yes, especially that Orb of Saol. Don't worry, we ride off with the love of Phili in our hearts and your shouts of scumbags in our ears.

Alice : Or is that hole and whale?

Snyder : [Muttering under his breath] Scumbags. [MONTY slowly moves off, and the journey begins. After about three hours, the party can see a figure approaching them on foot, moving at quite a speed. It is too far away for them to identify even if it is male or female, but it is approaching, even though it appears to fall over every so often.]

Alice : [Squinting] What on earth is that?

Austin : [To Alice] Some piss head, look he can hardly walk!

Alice : Don't be so judgemental, Aus, he might be stoned. [The man is close enough now to see, it is BARRY BARRY, and he has a look of absolute terror on his face, and is clearly exhausted.]

Barry : No! No! You've got to turn around, you've got to go back!

Austin : [To Alice] I wasn't judging him, although perhaps I should have. He looks like a no-good type to me. [Leaning out of the cab, to Barry] Why? What's the trouble? Is someone chasing you?

Barry : [With a look of abject terror] Huh? What did you see? [Looks behind him]

Alice : Maybe you should have!

Barry : [Looks back] I hope not - I think I slipped away without anyone seeing me, but if you value your lives, you'll turn back. [A little hopefully] And take me with you!

Stephen : Perhaps it's a mob who dislikes shiny shell suits and bad perms.

Alice : Then I guess you're in big trouble, Stephen.

Barry : It's the Bringer - he has taken over Ataxia, and he's slowly turning the people into zombies!

Austin : [Sniggers at Alices remark. To Barry] So, what exactly is it that you are scared of?

Barry : The zombies!

Alice : I thought you were scared of the Bringer?

Barry : Well, him too.

Austin : [To Barry] Well I'm glad someone is doing something around here for a change. [Ponders] Zombies. Hmmm, sounds reminiscent of the placebium mines. [Sips his champaign]

Barry : Er, right. Please take me with you, please get me away from this awful place, I've been running all night.

Alice : How far is Ataxia?

Barry : About half a mile. [Sees the lack of understanding in the party's faces] Hey, I'm a slow runner.

Austin : [To Barry] We are going to pay this Bringer fellow a visit, and you may come along if you wish, but I suspect that you don't wish to seem him or his minions him again. [Grimaces at Barrys shell suit and white trainers] Did he make you wear those clothes too? He's worse than I had expected.

Stephen : Are they the slow lumbering zombies, or the fast as anything spitting blood and belching like a Ryan type zombies?

Chastity : We can take you with us and maybe even take you away from here, but there is somewhere and someone we must go to first. Namely the Bringer, who would appear to be in Ataxia.

Barry : Woah, woah, woah, woah! [To Stephen] Somewhere between the two. [To Austin] Hey! These trainers light up when you run! [To Chastity] Are you crazy?

Stephen : They light up when you run? But surely that is a bonus for the local constabulary during night pursuits? [Shakes his head] Where can we find the Bringer?

Barry : That could account for the correlation in successful arrests with the soaring sales in luminescent footwear, hm. The Bringer is in Ataxia, and you can be pretty sure that if you go there, he'll find you [dramatically] or his minions!

Alice : He'll find his minions?

Barry : Well, most of them live there.

Austin : [To Barry] Okay, well, thank you for your helpful information. [To Monty] I think we have discovered all we shall ever discover from this man, shall we proceed to Ataxia.

Alice : Okay, but we better be careful, I'm getting a bad feeling about this. [The carriage moves on, and soon comes to a small town, which is clearly Ataxia. It looks perfectly normal, and there are a number of people wandering about calmly. One of them, ELLIOT FRIEDKIN, approaches the party.]

Elliot : Hail, Strangers! You have come to a town with a dark, I say, dark secret.

Alice : [Unimpressed] The zombies?

Elliot : [To the general populance] Hey! It's supposed to be a secret!

Stephen : Well not anymore, I'm afraid, the secret is out, word is on the street, the canary has spilled the beans. Everyone knows about the zombie infestation.

Stephen : [Looks around but lowers his voice all the same] Who will? The zombies?

Elliot : [Does a placating move with his hands] Keep it down! [Looks around him before whispering to the party] They'll hear you!

Elliot : Aye, my friend. There's one over there. [Nods over at a man walking down the street] [Everyone turns to look, and sees that the man, JACK ALANSON, looks perfectly ordinary.]

Elliot : Don't look! [Sadly] Strangers, you are in terrible danger.

Stephen : [Looks towards the man and back to Elliot] He doesn't look like any zombie I've ever seen! I think you're having us on. If he's a zombie, then surely he'd be straight after us!

Elliot : Why?

Alice : [Looking down the street] Is that the Bringer?

Elliot : No, lass, that's just a statue of him.

[Down the street, in what seems to be the middle of the town is a huge, seven foot tall statue.]

Elliot : [Genuinely confused] Eh? What do you mean? He most certainly, I say most certainly is!

Austin : [To Elliot] That man over there is clearly not a zombie. Explain yourself.

Stephen : Well, because zombies eat humans, don't they? When did this bringer first appear in town?

Elliot : Eat humans? [Disgusted face] No! The Bringer has been here for about a month, I'd say, no longer than 28 days, and almost certainly more than 22.

Elliot : Indeed he is sir, and people are [huge emphasis] dying to meet him. [Bursts into a roaring laughter, with tears in his eys and needing to lean on the carriage to stay standing.] [The party watch in silence as ELLIOT guffaws away, repeating his hilarious phrase over and over to himself, and small tumbleweed blows passed in the background.]

Elliot : [Composes himself] I apologise, my friends, it's just that was the funniest, I say funniest thing ever said by anyone, anywhere!

Elliot : Sir I am saying no such thing! They are zombies in every sense of the word.

Alice : What about in the rotting flesh, lumbering monsters eating human brains sense of the word?

Elliot : Well, maybe not in every sense, but in the senses that matter.

Chastity : [Looking down at Elliot wiping his eyes] Maybe the Bringer is not killing life, but sense of humour. [To Alice] It's just as well we have a watcher with us. They seem to have all notions of his removed, and will this be unaffected.

Elliot : The Bringer lives in a huge castle at the edge of town, it used to belong to a local lord, but he was turned into a zombie, and now serves the Bringer. [Enter SONIA MEEK, a mousy looking woman with a friendly smile.]

Sonia : Coo-ee! Hello! You must be new in town, I hope Elliot hasn't been telling you a lot of nonsense about zombies.

Austin : [Looking out the other window] Perhaps the Bringer has destoryed his mind, and therefore they ahve the mindlessness of zombies?

Austin : [To Sonia] Yes he has, what's the matter with the man?

Sonia : [Does a crazy sign with her finger] He's quite mad, aren't you, Elliot? He believes that the town is filled with evil zombies.

Alice : And isn't it?

Sonia : Oh, God, no, they're all really nice.

Austin : [To Monty] Polite? The man lies to us and then laughs hysterically at his own bad jokes! And you call me rude? Did you forget to have your coffe thismorning too? [Austin waves a hand dismissing the whole thing]

Sonia : If it's the kind of thing he normally comes out with, then I can verify that it is nonsense!

Elliot : [Slowly backing away] Now, lass, I didn't say anything to anyone about any zombies, I say nothing!

Sonia : I'm afraid the man is quite mad. You must be tired after your journey, would you like some tea and fresh brains?

Alice : [Shocked] What?

Sonia : I mean, tea and fresh scones. [Laughs] Hey, I'm only joking!

Chastity : [To Sonia, suspiciously] Joking about what? The Brains or the scones? [Deadly serious] Or, Phili forbid, even the tea!

Sonia : [Laughs at Chastity] I'm afraid it's fairly common, but it's motivated by ignorance more than anything else. Come on, the Tea Shoppe is just over here.

Austin : [Checks Maplin to see that he is comfortable, frowns a little and adjusts his cufflink. To Sonia] And where on earth did Mr. Bringer get that awful helmet he wears? Is he disfigured?

Sonia : Oh no, he's just very mysterious! [To Monty] I'm not sure, I suppose the awful zombie rumours started around the time that the zombies started to appear.

Stephen : [Quietly to the party] Perhaps we should just skip the poisoned tea and head straight for the castle? Who knows what is waiting for us in that tea shoppe - zombies, ghouls, demons or even, even, old people!

Chastity : Now, now, Stephen, tea is tea, even if it is poisoned. [Sees the startled looks on the party] What? I can't make jokes?

Alice : Even worse, Monty, there could be people like Chastity there!

Sonia : [Realises the party aren't sure about following, and stops walking, but doesn't seem too upset] Oh, the Bringer makes the zombies.

Alice : Exactly. [Thinks for a moment] Hey!

Sonia : Oh, I don't know - one minute your drowning in an out of control rising dough accident, and the next you're an undead servant of the master. Tea?

Sonia : [Taken aback] But, of course! Don't tell me you actually believe all that nonsense about zombies! [A bit more aggressive] Don't tell me you believe we eat brains? [Very aggressive] Don't tell me you think that the Bringer is evil! [A brief period of time passes.]

Alice : Er, okay.

Austin : [Checks his nails] I can see we`re going to solve this mystery quickly.

Chastity : [Looking parched] All this talk of tea has given me quite a thirst!

Sonia : Well, Sister, why not come to the Tea Shoppe? It's a zombie owned enterprise, so I get ten percent off.

Sonia : [Laughs off Monty's concerns] Not to worry - drown in home made dough once, shame on the bread mix manufacturers for not highlighting the incredible output volume to input ratio of their product, down in home made dough twice, shame on me!

Chastity : [To Sonia] You clumsy girl! Drowning in dough twice. [Tuts] You should always read the instructions on the packet.

Austin : [Looks doubtfully at Sonia. To Alice] Pitty there are no instructions on her packet. [To Sonia] So, am I to take it that you yourself are a zombie servant of the Bringer?

Sonia : I sure am! [Does a pretend scary pose] Roar! See? All that nonsense about lumbering, mindless, brain eating monsters is all just Wally Hood nonsense. [Glances at her watch] Actually, the Bringer usually rampages through the town around now.

Stephen : Ah, Wally Hood, a genius if ever there was one. Look at all the valuable lessons he taught us, everything from how the Communists eat babies to how polite the Canadias are, how mean the Scots are, how posh the English are and how drunk the Irish are.

Alice : My favourite was Hie Dard, [gets into story telling mode] it's about Chip Dard, a hard drinking, tough talking, slightly insane but cute as a button cop who's always fighting with his Captain, and Tommy Hie, an older cop who's just three days from retirement, and who's been saddled with Chip. Of course, being oriental, Tommy knows all kinds of hilarious kung fu moves!

Sonia : Actually, it's more of an "intimidate anyone who isn't one of your unholy undead servants" kind of rampage - and the Bringer loves tea, so the shop is probably a safe a place as any to be.

Alice : You know, Chastity, if he likes tea, he can't be all that evil, can he?

CHastity : [To Alice] Well, that's why one should always reserve one's opinion of someone until they have actually met them.

Austin : [To Alice] I expect Seth likes a cuppa now and again too. [Looks around. To Sonia] So what will the Bringer do to us when he finds us here?

Sonia : Most likely nothing, unless he thinks you're here to do him harm.

Alice : What'll he do then?

Sonia : Send some minions to bring you back to his castle so he can turn you into zombies.

Austin : [To Sonia] And just what, exactly, does the bringer do to people to turn them into zombies?

Sonia : What exactly? I don't know.

Alice : How about vaguely?

Sonia : I sort of don't know.

Austin : [To Sonia] Well, you seem much too nice to be a zombie, so what is it about you that make you a zombie? For instance, do you eat human brains?

Sonia : [A little embarassed] Oh, I'm sure there are far nicer zombies than me. I guess what makes me a zombie is the same as any other zombie, the fact that I was raised from the dead by the Bringer to serve his every whim.

Chastity : [To Sonia] So did everybody in the town die by some unfortunate accident, only to be raised from the dead by the Bringer? How very kind of him. [Pauses] Do you have a pulse still?

Sonia : Not everybody, and not all by unfortunate accident. Mainly beautiful girls, and [coyly fluttering her eyelids at Austin] me too, of course, but quite a few men too, mainly big and burly. Some zombies were created after accidents, like me, but others were killed and then made into zombies, you know, those who didn't properly accept the authority of the master.

Chastity : [To Sonia, horrified] He killed them because they wouldn't 'properly' accept his authority! How terrible! [Looks horrified]

Austin : [To Sonia] Could you take us to Mr. Bringer's residence, we would like to ask him some business related questions.

Sonia : [To Monty] Oh, the usual things, fetching, carrying, cooking, cleaning, driving, filing, storing, killing, painting, drawing, knitting, sewing, giving blow jobs, mending, wiring, building, that kind of thing. [To Austin] I guess I could. Do you want to go now or after the poisoned scones?

Alice : [Rubs Monty's arm reassuringly] Don't worry, Monty, I bet men don't have to do it.

Stephen : [Rubs Monty's other arm] But look on the bright side, they might have to! Well, I for one am stuffed, and could quite happily skip the poisoned scone and go straight for a meeting with the Bringer.

Alice : Stop it, Stephen! You're going to freak poor Monty out - I mean, why don't you tell him that the Bringer will almost certainly make us into zombies when we go to his house, I mean, that'll have an even bigger effect!

Austin : [To Alice] Well, it sounds like Stephen has just volunteered to go in first. [Rubs his hands gleefully] Smashing!

Chastity : [To Austin] Typical Sleaze! Will you never be man enough to take the lead?

Austin : [To Chastity, checking his nails] Hardly likely when I have you for competition.

Alice : I guess it depends on what you want him to take the lead in, Sister!

Austin : [Nodding to Alice] True, I do lead a rather brilliant tango. [Stylishly does a few dashing tango moves. To Sonia] So how long have you been a zombie for?

Sonia : Oh, about two weeks or so. It's really not so bad once you're used to it. [From down one of the streets comes the sound of a thunderous roar of horses.]

Sonia : Ah! That'll be the Bringer!

Chastity : [To Monty] Rampaging usually goes hand in hand with burning to the ground, murdering, and pillaging, why should the Bringer be any different?

Austin : [To Chastity, deadpan] Perhaps he has a penchant for jelly babbies and leaves a headless one on the corpse of each of his victims, as a calling card.

Sonia : Oh no, sugar makes him nauseous, that's why it's banned in Ataxia. And he's not really one for murdering and pillaging - after all, he does own the whole town, so why bother? [The horses are getting closer, but the BRINGER hasn't made an appearance yet.]

Alice : So no one in the town can eat sugar?

Sonia : Yep, but really, that's probably the only edict from the master, so we're not too bothered.

Stephen : Crikey, this town is a dentists wet dream! [To the others] Well, do we stay or hot foot it to his house? A bit of searching around while he's away rampaging might be just the thing!

Sonia : [Shrugs] Okay, it might be for the best, as he often gets some of us to kill a few Norms during his rampage.

Alice : Thank God none of us are called Norman!

Austin : It a bit odd to ban sugar. I wonder if he is particuarly vunerable to it, it may be poisonous to him or something?

Alice : It doesn't really do much for his image though, does it? I mean, the statue makes him look all scary, but a harmless white powder can make him sick? [Book IV, Act IV, Scene VIII. The Mansion. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, MONTY and STEPHEN are here, still far enough away to be reasonably sure they can't be seen. The mansion is large, but nothing that the party haven't seen before. From the front, it appears to have a large wall around it, with a massive gate, outside of which stand two guards.]

Alice : So what's the plan? Is this a sneak in and get information mission where we try to find another way in? Or a sneak in and get information mission where we burst through the gate?

Austin : [To Alice] We don't actually know that the Bringer is evil. [Ponders] That Sonia girl didn't look like a zombie to me. I reckon it's just all talk to frighten stranger away, so lets try and find another way to sneak in.

Austin : [To Monty] Surely you mean furtive and crafty, and I'm sure you'd know all about it, after sneaking around watching knights for years. [Emphasis] 'Devious', could be construed as a slanderous term. [Makes some notes in his diary.] Shall we go round to the side of the house and see if there are any open windows or unlocked cellar entrances.

Chastity : [To Austin, frowning suspiciously] I would have thought you'd go for the rear entrance, by preference. Slipping in the back door seems more your style, Sleaze.

Austin : [To Chastity] No, wrong again Chassers, old girl. [Checks his nails briefly and then makes towards the side of the house stealthly]

Alice : I think he meant devious in the nicest possible sense of the word, Austin. [Everyone creeps around the back, and see that there are just three walls, with a huge hedge in the place of the fourth at the back of the house. The hedge is quite high, and has several animal and human shapes cut into it.]

Alice : [Points at one of the shapes] Hey, what's that guy supposed to be doing with the donkey?

Chastity : [Squinting at the odd donkey and man sculpture. To Alice] I think they're playing a game of twister, Alice.

Austin : [Nods in aggreement] Yes, sister, plenty of twisting going on there. [Sneaks up to try to peek thorugh the hedge] [The hedge isn't particularly thick, and so everyone manages to get a look. The house is about forty feet from the hedge, and there doesn't appear to be anyone in the garden.]

Alice : Look, there's a glass door at the back, maybe we could slip in there?

Austin : Maybe we could. [Looks at Chastity, then back to Alice] Let's go [Austin strolls nonchalantly in a stealthy manner accross to the door, if he can]

Stephen : [Haughtily] You know, I bet he thinks that's stealthy. [AUSTIN makes it to the back door without attracting any obvious attention.]

Alice : Well, it seemed to get him over there - should we sneak across too?

Chastity : [To Alice] It looks like the coast is clear, so let's go before Mr. Sleaze get's hid face blown off by a booby trap again. [Proceeds after Austin]

Stephen : That's a good reason for us all to sit here and wait for the explosion, sister! I'll even video tape it so we can watch it over and over!

Alice : Yeah, that would be funny. [Looks around and realises she's standing with Stephen] Eauh! [Quickly catches up with the others]

Austin : [Checks the door for traps and if it's safe checks to see if the door is locked. To Alice, whispering] I never thought I see you messing around in the bushes with Stephen.

Chastity : [To Austin] Less whispering, more working, Mr Sleaze.

Alice : [Whispering, but so annoyed she's virtually shouting] I so was not messing around with him! [Gets louder] And Chastity's right [very loud] Less whispering, Austin, and more sneaking! [The door, while locked, doesn't have any obvious traps. STEPHEN crosses to the others.]

Stephen : Suckers.

Austin : [To Stephen, gesturing towards the door] After you. [Steps back from the door]

Austin : [To Monty] Well you had better keep an eye on old Stephen then, he get's more than a little carried away sometimes, when he pretends to be a master spy, or such like. [Puts on a fresh pair of white kitten skin gloves]

Chastity : [To Monty] Keep an eye on Mr. Sleaze at all times. He has been punished for filching before, as you are probably aware. [Gives Austin a stern look] I too shall keep a cautious eye on Mr. Sleaze, lest the good name of the party be marred once more.

Austin : [Checks the door for traps and if it's safe checks to see if the door is locked. To Alice, whispering] I never thought I see you messing around in the bushes with Stephen.

Chastity : [To Austin] Less whispering, more working, Mr Sleaze.

Alice : [Whispering, but so annoyed she's virtually shouting] I so was not messing around with him! [Gets louder] And Chastity's right [very loud] Less whispering, Austin, and more sneaking! [The door, while locked, doesn't have any obvious traps. STEPHEN crosses to the others.]

Stephen : Suckers.

Austin : [To Stephen, gesturing towards the door] After you. [Steps back from the door]

Austin : [To Monty] Well you had better keep an eye on old Stephen then, he get's more than a little carried away sometimes, when he pretends to be a master spy, or such like. [Puts on a fresh pair of white kitten skin gloves]

Chastity : [To Monty] Keep an eye on Mr. Sleaze at all times. He has been punished for filching before, as you are probably aware. [Gives Austin a stern look] I too shall keep a cautious eye on Mr. Sleaze, lest the good name of the party be marred once more.

Alice : [Hides an apple that she'd stolen from a tree in the garden behind her back] Mmpf-es. [Swallows] I mean, yes.

Stephen : Step back out of the way Austin, and watch the master at work. [Looks around at the others] Suckers?

Austin : [Steps back] I didn't know you were a master at opening doors for people.

Stephen : No, I'm asking if any one has suckers, that I can put on my hands and feet and climb across the windows with. [Makes the classic suckers sound] Shlurp! Shlurp! Alice, you can surely help me.

Alice : Huh?

Stephen : Oh, that's right, you're interested in the opposite, aren't you? Right, if Austin can't open the door, I suppose I'd better try.

Alice : [Mystified, clearly knowing she's been insulted, but not understanding it] Huh?

Austin : [To Stephen] The door is not locked, we are merely waiting for you to open the dam thing. [Sighs] Suckers indeed! [To Monty] See what I mean. He can't even open a door without pretending to be some kind of special agent.

Chastity : [To Stephen] Just open the door now please, Mr Hitchberg.

Alice : [To Monty] So those scones I picked up from ourside the shop in the bag with the skull and crossbones on it weren't necessarily waiting to be picked up by the local pirates?

Stephen : [Looks at the door] Sigh, what an amateur, the door is locked. Just a moment. [Works on the lock, until it opens, and then eases it open] See? Peescake.

Austin : [To Stephen] The door is not locked, we are merely waiting for you to open the dam thing. [Sighs] Suckers indeed! [To Monty] See what I mean. He can't even open a door without pretending to be some kind of special agent.

Chastity : [To Stephen] Just open the door now please, Mr Hitchberg.

Alice : [To Monty] So those scones I picked up from ourside the shop in the bag with the skull and crossbones on it weren't necessarily waiting to be picked up by the local pirates?

Stephen : [Looks at the door] Sigh, what an amateur, the door is locked. Just a moment. [Works on the lock, until it opens, and then eases it open] See? Peescake.

Alice : Do you think so? [Big smile] Aw, Aussie, you do love me!

Austin : [To Alice] Yes of course I do. [To Monty] Unfortunatley there is no policy that covers death as a result of the deliberate consumption of poison or any toxic substance, otherwise known as suicide. [Looks casually at Stephen, checks his nails] Pardon? oh, yes, I meant trapped, it wasn't trapped. Unfortunatley. [Looks at Stephen's smug expression after opening the door] You have the smugness of an amature that does not realise that I merly left the door locked as I thought you needed a considerable amount of practice, and I was correct. Hopefully you'll do the next one a little more quickly.

Stephen : [Yawns massively] Perhaps Austin, if you spent more time picking locks, and less time picking your leopard skin g-string out of the crack of your ass, you'd have been able to open it yourself.

Alice : Hey! I've an idea - how about Stephen picks the g-string out of your crack, thus freeing up valuable time for you to open locks, Aus?

Alice : Sorry Monty - you let me know when it is the time. [Looks in through the door] Looks like an ordinary drawing room? Will we slip in?

Austin : [To Stephen, grimacing] You are as crude, if not worse than Dangsten himself, I would have thought even a prole like yoursekf would have manners. Disgusting!

Chastity : [Anxious] COme along now [Walks into the room] We don't have all day to discuss Mr. Hitchberg's lowly upbringing. I'm sure it wasn't his fault. [Looks around the room] [Everyone slips in after CHASTITY. The room is comfortably furnished, and nothing seems to stick out too obviously.]

Stephen : Fine, Austin, leave them up your crack, see if I care. Doesn't look like there's anything here [nods at a closed door] should we check that out?

Austin : [Wanders carefully around the room, checking draws etc. TO Stephen] I'm not wearing a thong [Rolls his eyes in an 'asif' manner]

Chastity : [Goes over to the closed door and peeks through the key hole if there is one]

Alice : [Nodding in agreement] Especially now what we know Austin is going commando!

Chastity : [Tuts irritably] Oh, do be quiet, all of you. [Looks back] There is someone there, a young girl, possibly a maid.

Alice : [Folds her arms huffily] Oh, so just because she's a young girl in a nice house, she has to be the maid, does she? You and your small mind, Chastity.

Chastity : Well, that and the fact that she's wearing a maid's outfit and is doing some dusting. What else can she be dressed like that for? [Shoots a glare at Austin, daring him to answer]

Austin : [Catching Chastity's glare] Erm, role play sex games?

Chastity : I'll check again. [Looks back through he keyhole. Tuts] Such a lazy dusting action, I hope the Bringer hasn't got any allergies. These young maids have no standards. And that vase has clearly been replaced facing a different way - sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Last fom Sam #36

Stephen : [Sleazily] Maybe she needs punishing, Sister? Stern Nun Punishes Naughty Maid, sounds like one of my old pal, Bruce Lightening's movies. Last fom COnor #37

Austin : [Sighs at Stephen's suggestion] Typical, you always want to turn everything into a film.

Stephen : Click-click! If you've got the cane, I've got the camera!

Austin : [To Stephen] She's probably a zombie, you necrophile. [Looks disgusted]

Chastity : [Looking over her shoulder with a hissing whisper] Will you two stop your twisted eroticism. There is no place for it. [Looks back through the keyhole to see if the maid is gone]

Stephen : A zombie! God, that sounds even more like one of Bruces films! Stern Prudish Nun Punishes Naughty Undead Zombie Maid from Hell! What is she up to in there, stroking her duster?

Alice : Don't be so disgusting, Stephen. [Takes a look] Hey, all I can see is a big knob! [CHASTITY adjusts ALICE's position so she is a little lower and can actually see through the keyhole.]

Alice : Ah. Looks like she's just cleaning in the hallway, it doesn't look like she's heading this way.

Alice : Uh oh! Looks like she's heading this way - I don't think she suspects anything though, as she's strolling. Or maybe it's ambling?

Stephen : [Takes a look] Nope, that's definitely a sashay.

Chastity : [Standing back from the door] We could get her worried by saying we're housework inspector! [Looking around] Isn't there somewhere we could at least hide?

Alice : Uh oh! Looks like she's heading this way - I don't think she suspects anything though, as she's strolling. Or maybe it's ambling?

Stephen : [Takes a look] Nope, that's definitely a sashay.

Chastity : [Standing back from the door] We could get her worried by saying we're housework inspector! [Looking around] Isn't there somewhere we could at least hide?

Stephen : Prevaricate, Alice. It means to lie.

Alice : Annoy, Stephen. It means to... annoy! [There are a few small cupboards, of which a quick examination reveals could each just about hold a party member.]

Chastity : [Rushes over to a cupboard, opens the door] It's centre stage for Austin to do what he does best, lie! [squeezes into the cupboard] Quick everyone, she'll be here in a minute. [Pulls the door too without actually fully shutting it]

Alice : [Tries to cram herself into Chastity's cupboard] Breathe in, Sister! [STEPHEN heads to an unoccupied cupboard.]

Stephen : Oh, for God's sake, it's just as well there isn't a telephone box around, or you'd probably all try to get into it.

Austin : [Checking his nails casually] Actually, prevarication means to avoid the truth, where as lieing is completely different. [Sits down and picks up a newspaper to read]

Chastity : [To Alice] I am breahing in! but I'll need to breath out again at some point and unlike some people I haven't managed to learn to intake oxygen through my ears! Quickly, use locker.

Stephen : [From within a cupboard] Liar!

Alice : [Huffily entering a locker] Okay. Right, are we all hiding? [Everyone except AUSTIN is in a cupboard now, and he is simply sitting in a comfortable chair.]

Alice : Hey, this can't be right!

Austin : [To Alice] What's that? You stuck in a cupboard with a bunch of sweaty men and a nun? Sounds like on of Stephens dreams come true.

Stephen : Given that you're outside the cupboard, Austin, it could very well be. [Enter DOT, a nice looking girl dressed as a maid, who wanders in and gives AUSTIN a smile.]

Dot : Hello, I hope I'm not disturbing you, but I need to - hey! Who are you?

Austin : [Stands up gracefully. To Dot, curteously] I do appologise for startling you so miss, please forgive me [Does his most genuine appologetic face], allow me to introduce myself, my name is Austin Sleaze. I am a lawyer, and I have come to see Mr. Bringer about some business, I have been informed that he will return shortly. [Smiles] Is it suitable for me to sit here and wait for Mr Bringer, or would you prefer me to wait elsewhere whilst you perform your duties? [Smiles plesantly at Dot, awaiting her answer]

Dot : [Definitely taken aback] How did you get in here? [Nervously glances around the room] Who let you in?

Austin : [Suprised] Oh I am ever so sorry! I did knock but when no one answered I thought it best to just take a seat until Mr. Bringer returned, I didn't want to loiter outside the house, someone might have thought I was a salesman or such like. [Gesturing towards the door] Since the door was open I just popped in and took a seat. [Gestures towards the armchair] And very comfortable it is too.

Stephen : [Peeks through a tiny gap in the door to see what's going on]

Dot : [Clearly quite frightened] I'm afraid that it's not okay, not okay at all! And that's the master's favourite seat! He'd kill me if he knew someone was sitting in it - you've got to go away!

Dot : [Looks around suspiciously at the cupboards, from which some distinctly heavy breathing can be heard and asks worriedly] What's going on with the cupboards?

Austin : [To Dot] Very well, I should leave then, I did not mean to cause you distress. [Stands up and puts the newspaper down carfully folded] What's that about cupboards? [Looks at the cupboards] Spiders?

Stephen : [Screams] Spiders? Where? [Leaps out of the cupboard] Get them off me!

Dot : [Leaps back] What the hell is going on here?

Chastity : [Briskly stepping out of her cupboard waving a dusty tea towel] Not anymore, now that it's been cleaned properly. [To Dot] I take it you're an agency girl. [Tries to surreptitiously move between Dot and the internal door.

Austin : [Acting suprised at Chastity's and Stephens appearance] What on earth! [Looks at the maid] This is a very strange house you run! [Backs away towards the door. To Dot] Are all of you cupboards filled with people?

Dot : [Standing aghast as Chastity smoothly moves into position] I most certainly am not - I'm one of the Master's favourite zombies!

Austin : [To Dot, frowning] Well, are you going to introduce me to your associates? I'm sure Mr. Bringer will be most upset if you behave inappropriatley towards his guests.

Chastity : [Sighs] This isn't working. [To Dot] Perhaps you would like to take a look at the inside of one of these cupboards.

Austin : [To Dot] Do you have more people in your cupboards? How strange. [Wanders over to a cupboard ad has a look in]

Stephen : [To Dot] Well, we've been caught in the act, my dear! Your master asked us to hide in the cupboards and observe all the people entering and leaving these premises! He has a suspicion that people are smuggling sugar into this house! Sugar, can you believe such a thing!

Austin : [Visibly shocked. Gasp!] Are you accusing moi of smugging illegal contraband? [Gasps] I say, that is no less than slander! Where is your proof? Where. [To Dot hastely] You are witnesss to this outrage! You heard them accuse me!

Chastity : [To Dot] I think you'd best tell us where we can take this [pointing at Austin] suspect so that we may question him. [Looks at the floor] We wouldn't want to add to your work by getting ugly stains on the rugs! Quoting Pates@mri.sari.ac.uk:

Austin : [ To Monty] That's total and absoult bigotry! Anti-judiciary comments are nothing short of grevious mental harm! [Scribbles some notes in his notepad] You'll get eight years hard labour for that. [Writes furiously]

Dot : [Very nervous and close to tears] Who are all you people? [Looks around, with panic in her eyes] I think you'd all better just leave. I don't think I could take any more surprises. [As if on cue, ALICE's cupboard bursts open and sends her sprawling to the floor, ending up on her back, looking up backwards at DOT.]

Alice : Right. You're probably wondering what I was doing in the cupboard. [DOT turns to run, but bangs into CHASTITY, although both stay on their feet.]

Dot : Ow!

Austin : [Angrily] Though I do expect it is the first time he has had guest that jump out of cupboards and attack his other guests, and staff! [Looks dissaprovingly at the party, but helps Alice up] guest that

Stephen : [Looks Austin up and down] Well if you're not here to smuggle sugar into the house, why are you here?

Alice : [Still on the floor, gives a puzzled look around at everyone] Oh, so that's what [clearly means Monty] you meant by him maybe staining the carpet. I thought you meant that he might spill something white and sticky on the it.

Dot : [Backing towards a corner] You people better leave, or I'll, I'll -

Alice : Call for help?

Dot : Yes! The house is chock full of guards!

Alice : You know, this is a really comfortable carpet. Must be a good shag. [Sits up, making a strange velcro-like ripping sound as her blouse sticks to the carpet, causing her to give it a puzzled look]

Chastity : [Reassuringly but firmly takes Dots shoulders. In a soothing voice] Calm down now, dear. Don't get yourself in a tizzy. This can't be the first time Mr. Bringer has had guests you didn't know about?

Stephen : [To Alice] Isn't it amazing how sticky your arse can get after getting up from a good shag.

Alice : Well excuse me for getting distracted by the nice furnishings.

Dot : [Nearly crying] He never has anyone who just appears! Please don't hurt me - [a little defiantly] or the master will turn you into zombies too!

Austin : [To Dot] I have no intention of hurting you. Why would I? [To Alice] You should have a go in Mr Bringer's armchair [Gestures to the Bringer's arm chair] I believe that you will find it most ergonomic.

Dot : Look, I'm confused - are you all together?

Alice : Sure. [Sits on the seat very slowly, as though expecting it to eject her, but gets all the way back] Say, this is a comfortable chair. [Taps the left arm] Look! A fridge! [Takes out a can of beer and taps the right arm] Peanuts! This chair has everything! [Moves uncomfortably] Wait, there's something down the back of it. [Pulls out a porn magazine from the back of the cushion] Ew! This chair really does have everything! [Looks at the others with a digusted face] What kind of terrifying leader of zombies reads porn?

Chastity : That filth is corrupting evil manifesting itself in print form. It fits the profile. Or it may have fallen from Austin's pocket.

Austin : [Sneers, to Chastity] More likely you planted it there so that you could balme someone else and come over all self righteous! [To Dot, impatiently] Where on earth is Mr. Bringer? I need and orb of Saol asap! I don't have time for this nonsense! [Gestures to the others]

Alice : [Flicking through the magazine] You're right Chastity, this is disgusting. It's - oh my! [Turns the magazine sideways and widens her eyes in surprise before closing it and putting it down]

Dot : An orb of what? [To Monty] Well, I don't have any particular problem being a zombie, it's being a maid to the Bringer that I'm not so keen on. [From without comes the sound of a number of horses approaching at high speed.]

Dot : That's him!

Dot : [Grabs Monty's arm] I don't know who you people are, but you wear glasses, so you must be the leader - you must escape while you can, it's too late for me, but you must leave, now! Before he comes! There's not a second to spare!

Alice : [Opens up the porn mag again and turns the original offending page to the rest of the party] Is that a real picture? I don't think that's a real picture.

Austin : [Looking at the picture casually] It looks like a real picture to me. [To Dot] You don't look or behave or talk like a zombie, can you prove that you are a zombie?

Chastity : Oh well, this should be interesting. [To Dot] You may want to go about your duties upstairs.

Chastity : [Looks over at the picture Alice is showing, craning her head sideways] Thats disgusting put it away! Although it does remind me of my first religious experience with George, my first husband. [To Austin] Check her pulse, although I don't really see why you need to know at this time. [To Dot] Is there anything the Bringer doesn't like you can quickly tell us about?

Alice : [Looks at the picture again] I wonder if this is available in postcard form.

Dot : [Getting tearful] He's a monster, the most evil man alive! If he finds you here he'll kill you and turn you into zombies too - it's been weeks since he made any, so I know he's dying to do it again. [Gives a puzzled look] Pulse? Of course I have a pulse, but I did when I was alive too.

Austin : [To Dot] You're not really a zombie are you. Zombies are the walking dead, they are cold, have no pulse, usually their decaying flesh hangs grimly from their bones, they attack the living on sight, and I'm pretty sure they don't bother themselves with house work.

Dot : That's what I thought too - until I became one. I had a terrible accident, but woke up here.

Alice : What kind of accident? Maybe you were just knocked out?

Dot : Someone broke into my house one night and cut my head off.

Chastity : Why don't we quickly rush up stairs and have a search round? That'll at least delay any meeting with the Bringer? [Goes to the door to check for the Bringer entering]

Dot : It gives him spots. [The horses have stopped outside, but there's almost certainly enough time to slip upstairs.]

Alice : How did you know your head was cut off? Seeing as how you were dead and all?

Dot : The Bringer told me - but I have seen him have his guards kill several people, only to bring them back as zombies. Once he had done it a few times, the town was his.

Austin : [To Dot] Hmm, sounds like trickery to me. Let's all go upstairs.

Chastity : Well lets be upstairs. The more we can find out the better. [To Dot] Does he have a special study or room upstairs?

Dot : Not really. Although, there is the Study Room. Maybe that might be useful?

Chastity : That sounds good. Will you lead us to it? [Looks round] Or are we standing in it?

Dot : No, you're not standing in it - I cleaned that up earlier. The Study Room is at the top of the stairs, it's the room with the velvet door.

Alice : A velvet door?

Dot : Well, it's just glued to it, it's not like it's tacky or anything.

Chastity : [Glancing towards the sounds of the carriage screeching outside] With most haste I think, Mr. Giles. [Follows Monty up the stairs]

Austin : Why do the bad guy always have such poor taste. Veltvet doors [Shakes his head chuckleing as he follows up the stairs]

Chastity : [Glancing at Austin's outfit] Hmmm. Quite.

Austin : [To Chastity, laughing] What on earth would you know about good taste, or did you mean God taste? I expect you know all about that [Smirks]

Chastity : [Still continuing to climb the stairs. To Austin] I would not be so arrogant as to guess the tastes of the Holy One. Aside from that, one does not have to have good taste to recognise bad.

Austin : [To CHastity, still walking up the stairs] I wasn't refering to the tastes of God, but the taste of God, sister, and one does have to have good taste to recognise bad, although I dont' expect someone who have been in the habit of wearing a habit for fifty years, to understand.

Stephen : A velvet door, my goodness, can you imagine such finery? This guy has a real good sense of luxury!

Chastity : [To Austin and Stephen] Mr. Giles means picking locks and looking for traps, by the way. Not objects pertaining to any mutually shared perversions that you discover in the room.

Stephen : Mutually shared? Between you and someone else, eh, Chastity? [STEPHEN gently touches the door.]

Stephen : Mmm. Velvety. The door's open. [STEPHEN pushes it in slowly to reveal that this is a bedroom. Meanwhile, the party can hear the sound of the front door down stairs.]

Alice : Maybe he studies in his bedroom? [Peeks into the room and looks at all the Car Trek figures and models] Or maybe this is his son's room? [All but one of the other doors are standard, wooden doors. The remaining door is a soundproof one. Voices can be heard from downstairs, but it isn't possible to understand what they are saying.]

Austin : [Has a quick peek in the room] Dot didn't seem to be with it enough to play terrified and trick us at the same time.

Alice : What kind of trick would sending us to the wrong room be? [Further examination of the room shows that it is most definitely a bedroom.]

Alice : Neeaaaaoooiiirriiing! [Swooshes some model space ships around] QLast from COnor #116

Austin : [Nips accross to the door of the sound proof room, checks it for traps and examines the lock to see if it's locked] This looks more promising. [As AUSTIN examines the door, the voices downstairs suddenly stop, before a couple continue speaking in considerably more hushed tones. AUSTIN opens the door to demonstrate that it was unlocked.]

Austin : [Peeks carefully into the room and gets his dagger out ready for any suprises]

Chastity : [In a hushed voice, pointing after Austin] Quickly, come on. I think the news of our presence here has been passed on. [Follows Austin]

Alice : [To Chastity] Shields up, number one. [Enter ALL into the study, just as people can be heard on the stairs.] [Book IV, Act IV, Scene IX. The Study. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, MONTY and STEPHEN are here. The study is a well appointed affair, with plush leather furniture, and a number of paintings of the BRINGER on the wall. All of the paintings show him in the best possible light, e.g. slaying dragons, killing enemies and one behind the main desk of him surrounded by beautiful women, etc. It is difficult to tell how big the BRINGER is from these pictures, as his relative size seems to vary from picture to picture.]

Alice : [Closes the door and mouths something to the party]

Monty : Excuse me?

Alice : Oh, sorry, I thought this was a soundproof room.

Chastity : It is, so we won't be able to hear anyone coming up on the other side of the door. [Looks around] Best look for a way out or some useful information.

Alice : [Standing near the window] Well, we're only on the first floor, so I guess we could get out through the window, and look, there's a spyhole in the door.

Stephen : [Looks through the hole] It looks like there are two people out there, one with a really big head.

Alice : Hey! What's Austin doing out there?

Chastity : [Starts to look through the filing cabinets] Hmm, quite organised.

Alice : [Flicking through another cabinet] Organised? What kind of organisation has he used?

Monty : [Also checking a cabinet] The alphabet?

Austin : [Turning away from Alice to search the room] I'd rather have a big head than a big derrier. [Looks to see if the door can be bolted or lock in someway, from the inside]

Alice : [With a mischevious smile] What a pity you've got both. [The door does have a lock, but there is no key.]

Austin : [Smiles at Alice] Sure. [Wedges the door with a chair, presuming the door opens inwards]

Stephen : [Looks at Alice] You know Alice, in some circles having a big head is positively a plus point! [Starts to check the bookcases for any sign of a lever]

Alice : I'm sure you know more about those circles than anyone, Stephen. [Everyone continues searching through the records, which are a database of the town. It looks like the population is a few hundred, at least a hundred of whom are apparently zombies. Each has a date associated with being turned into a zombie, the most recent of which is a few weeks ago.]

Alice : [Peers through the spyhole] There are some people there, outside the bedroom door.

Chastity : [Moving over to quickly search through the books, occasionally pulling one out in case its a secret door trigger] What are they doing? Is the Bringer with them?

Alice : No, he's not there. They're taking out weapons - I guess they're about to go into the room. [Looks over to the window near Monty] Didn't we find [emphasis] anything?

Stephen : Just this file on you and your bad behaviour. [Holds up a massive, four inch thick file]

Alice : What you and all your funny lines? [Holds up an empty folder] Isn't there a safe or something?

Chastity : Good Idea, dear. Lets check the traditional place first, behind the pictures. [Lifts up the picture behind the desk to check underneath it]

Alice : Yay! You found it! [Looks closer] Hey! That's just a picture of a safe!

Chastity : [Checks under the picture of the safe] We underestimate the cunning of evil at our pearl. [Lo and behold, there is a safe there.]

Alice : [Clenches her fists angrily] Why that's just so sneaky! [Glances through the spyhole] They've just gone into the other room.

Austin : [Searches the room for secret hidden things. To Monty] You may want to push that heavy desk infront of the door to hinder them further.

Stephen : Okay, Austin, if you're afraid you can't unlock it, I'll look after it for you.

[STEPHEN begins working on the safe while MONTY and AUSTIN rifle through the drawers, and find nothing that explains the difficulty in moving the desk.]

Alice : That's strange, I was pushing as hard as I coulld. [Somewhat accusingly to Monty and Chastiity, who's still on the other side] Were you?

Austin : [Tries to lift the corner of the desk to see if it is really heavy or if it was just Alice pushing against Chastity and Monty. To Stephen] You're not unlock it for me, you're unlocking it for the party, of which you are a member, albeit a rather limp and flaccid one.

Chastity : [tuts and rolls her eyes] Will you two boys please stopgoing on about your genitalia. [gestures to herself and Alice] There are ladies present! [To Alice] Maybe if you were to pull this time, dear.

Alice : Pull?

[AUSTIN gives the desk a push, and it moves a small bit, indicating that the difficulty was caused by ALICE pushing.]

Alice : Well, okay. [Goes around to Austin and starts pulling]

Stephen : [Working on the safe] Hm, yes, Mr. Sleaze, that's right. Yet another limp and flaccid member for the party.

Austin : [Searches the room for secret hidden things. To Monty] You may want to push that heavy desk infront of the door to hinder them further.

Chastity : I'll help you Mr. Giles. [To Austin] Perhaps you would like to tackle this safe?

Stephen : Or you can stand in front of it pretending you know what you're doing, and then I'll come along and save the day.

[ALICE goes to one end of the desk, with her back to the door, while CHASTITY and MONTY are at the other end facing the door. After a fair bit of huffing and puffing, they've only moved it a few inches, even though it doesn't look particularly heavy.]

Alice : [Pushing with all her might] What on earth is this desk made of?

Austin : [To Stephen] Why don't you stop yapping and open the safe yourself? Or are you unable to do so? [Nips over and inspects the desk to see why it is so heavy] Perhaps there is something inside it or it's made of metal or somesuch.

Stephen : Okay, Austin, if you're afraid you can't unlock it, I'll look after it for you.

[STEPHEN begins working on the safe while MONTY and AUSTIN rifle through the drawers, and find nothing that explains the difficulty in moving the desk.]

Alice : That's strange, I was pushing as hard as I coulld. [Somewhat accusingly to Monty and Chastiity, who's still on the other side] Were you?

Austin : [Tries to lift the corner of the desk to see if it is really heavy or if it was just Alice pushing against Chastity and Monty. To Stephen] You're not unlock it for me, you're unlocking it for the party, of which you are a member, albeit a rather limp and flaccid one.

Chastity : [tuts and rolls her eyes] Will you two boys please stopgoing on about your genitalia. [gestures to herself and Alice] There are ladies present! [To Alice] Maybe if you were to pull this time, dear.

Alice : Pull?

[AUSTIN gives the desk a push, and it moves a small bit, indicating that the difficulty was caused by ALICE pushing.]

Alice : Well, okay. [Goes around to Austin and starts pulling]

Stephen : [Working on the safe] Hm, yes, Mr. Sleaze, that's right. Yet another limp and flaccid member for the party.

Austin : [To Stephen] As Sister Chastity said, we have heard quite enough about your genetalia. [Pauses] Haven't you got that safe open yet? We don't have all day you know!

Stephen : If you could just stop talking about my genitals for a moment, Austin, I'll have this open for you.

[Eventually, everyone is where they're supposed to be relative to the desk, and is pushing/pulling as appropriate, so the desk is easily moved over.]

Alice : [Looking through the spyhole] Uh oh! They're back out of the room, and they don't look happy. In fact, one looks really depressed and a bit sad. A little like a puppy, except wearing a suit.

Austin : [Searches the room for secret hidden things. To Monty] You may want to push that heavy desk infront of the door to hinder them further.

Chastity : I'll help you Mr. Giles. [To Austin] Perhaps you would like to tackle this safe?

Stephen : Or you can stand in front of it pretending you know what you're doing, and then I'll come along and save the day.

[ALICE goes to one end of the desk, with her back to the door, while CHASTITY and MONTY are at the other end facing the door. After a fair bit of huffing and puffing, they've only moved it a few inches, even though it doesn't look particularly heavy.]

Alice : [Pushing with all her might] What on earth is this desk made of?

Austin : [To Stephen] Why don't you stop yapping and open the safe yourself? Or are you unable to do so? [Nips over and inspects the desk to see why it is so heavy] Perhaps there is something inside it or it's made of metal or somesuch.

Stephen : Okay, Austin, if you're afraid you can't unlock it, I'll look after it for you.

[STEPHEN begins working on the safe while MONTY and AUSTIN rifle through the drawers, and find nothing that explains the difficulty in moving the desk.]

Alice : That's strange, I was pushing as hard as I coulld. [Somewhat accusingly to Monty and Chastiity, who's still on the other side] Were you?

Austin : [Tries to lift the corner of the desk to see if it is really heavy or if it was just Alice pushing against Chastity and Monty. To Stephen] You're not unlock it for me, you're unlocking it for the party, of which you are a member, albeit a rather limp and flaccid one.

Chastity : [tuts and rolls her eyes] Will you two boys please stopgoing on about your genitalia. [gestures to herself and Alice] There are ladies present! [To Alice] Maybe if you were to pull this time, dear.

Alice : Pull?

[AUSTIN gives the desk a push, and it moves a small bit, indicating that the difficulty was caused by ALICE pushing.]

Alice : Well, okay. [Goes around to Austin and starts pulling]

Stephen : [Working on the safe] Hm, yes, Mr. Sleaze, that's right. Yet another limp and flaccid member for the party.

Austin : [To Stephen] As Sister Chastity said, we have heard quite enough about your genetalia. [Pauses] Haven't you got that safe open yet? We don't have all day you know!

Stephen : If you could just stop talking about my genitals for a moment, Austin, I'll have this open for you.

[Eventually, everyone is where they're supposed to be relative to the desk, and is pushing/pulling as appropriate, so the desk is easily moved over.]

Alice : [Looking through the spyhole] Uh oh! They're back out of the room, and they don't look happy. In fact, one looks really depressed and a bit sad. A little like a puppy, except wearing a suit.

Austin : [To Alice] Do you recognise any of them?

Alice : Nope. There are two who seem to be in charge, and another twelve who are wearing scary masks. [Suddenly leaps back from the door, pale] What if they can see back in through the spyhole?

Chastity : They'll probably think you've got on a scary mask too! [To Stephen] How are you getting on with that safe?

Safe : Click-click!

Stephen : Click-click! [STEPHN opens the safe to reveal that there are three glowing orbs in there, virtually identical to the ones previously used by the party to ressurect people.]

Stephen : Anyone recognise these?

Stephen : [Picks the orbs out of the safe and holds them up to show the rest of the party]

Alice : [Excited] THat must be them! Is there anything else in there?

Stephen : Let's see. [Has another rummage around inside] There's another, different orb, and an envelope.

Alice : Is the orb in the envelope?

Chastity : Probably not, dear. [Goes over to the safe] Best open the envelope now, while we have the chance.

Stephen : [Does a handbags at twenty paces move to Monty] Don't spoil my moment. [Puts on his brightest smile] And the winner is... [fumbles with the envelope for a second as the drum roll continues]

Alice : I think Monty's right, they're headed this way. Hurry up, Stephen! [Tries to grab the envelope from Stephen just as he opens it] Ow! Paper cut!

Stephen : [Successfully holding the envelope] Oh. There are two winners. [Looks at the envelope puzzled] Clint and Harvey.

Chastity : [To Stephen] Does it say anything else other than the two names?

Stephen : It's two more of those cards, look! [Turns the cards to the party. One is "The Emperor" and features Harvey, while the other is the "Page of Wands" and features Clint]

Alice : Why is there some blood on Harvey's one? [As MONTY glances out the window to see that there are five or six people in the back garden (milling around, not just outside this window), the handle of the door turns, but it doesn't open.]

Stephen : [Shrugs] I think someone cut themselves opening the envelope.

Chastity : [To Stephen] Let me see those cards. [Takes the cards from Stephen. Shakes her head sadly] More passed on members. Hmmm, Harvey as the Emporer, an figure of authority, bringing order and control to those around him, and Clint as the page of wands, enpowered with individual enthusiasm and an energetic, if not boyish sense of adventure. [To Alice] Interesting that your blood should fall on Harvey's card, after his life was lost defending you, his family, from harm. Fate almost mocking his noble sacrifice.

Alice : No problem, Monty, I can help you out with that. [Thinks hard for a good thirty seconds] Could you rephrase the question as a mathematical enquiry? [The group outside the door are trying to kick it in.]

Austin : Well, any good sound proof study should have a secret getaway tunnel thing somewhere. [Starts searching the room for secret doors]

Alice : [Instantly] That's easy, it's the safe! That's why it's called a safe, you see. We just wait in it until they throw it out because they were so digusted that the safe was opened.

Stephen : You're not really one for the practical problems, are you Alice?

Alice : [Folds her arms huffily] There are too many unknown variables in the problem, too many things that can go wrong and cause any solution to behave in an unpredictable way. I'm a mathematician, not a computer programmer. [The others search the room, paying particular attention to adjusting statues, pulling knobs and moving books, in the hopes that they'll open a passage, but to no avail. The door cracks open, right down the middle, but hasn't smashed enough for them to simply climb in over the desk yet. An id card appears, clearly being held up by someone outside. A woman's voice speaks.]

Sully : My name is Agent Sully, from the FIB. Let us in immediately.

Chastity : FBI? No need to ask if she's a mindless zombie then.

Austin : [Checks his nails. To Sully] DO you have a search warrant?

Sully : First of all, I'm with the FIB, not the FBI. Secondly, I live here, so I don't need a search warrant. Thirdly, you are here illegally, and thus have no right to demand to see a search warrant. [The shoving continues, pushing the desk back slightly.]

Alice : [To Monty] I don't know, Monty, we've dragged the good name of the Knights through the mud so often that this might actually do them some good!

Austin : [To Sully] Then do you have the correct title deeds or tennancy aggreement to prove that you are the current residents of this abode? And what the hell is the FIB? Females in Business suits?

Chastity : That would be FIBS, Mr. Sleaze, something you would know all about. [Quieter] I fear you may be arguing a lost cause here. You don't want to become the next Stephani Di Giovanno, do you? [Quickly continues to search for any hidden levers]

Austin : [TO Chastity] You know Stephani? How is she? I haven't seen her in years. [To Sully] So what does FIB stand for? Friendly Inbred Barmaids? Fabluously Interesting Beaureaucrats? [Smirks at his own joke and then examines the orbs]

[Another voice speaks up, and another badge appears. This is SOCKS MOULDY.]

Mouldy : The FIB is the Federal Investigations of Bringer. [AUSTIN holds up the orbs to show that the fourth one is a different colour to the other three. It is slightly larger, and has a beautiful soft white glow off it.]

Alice : [Starts pushing the desk] Hey, come on, help me hold them back!

Chastity : [Helping Alice] Maybe we'd better use one of those orbs while we have them, if we do believe the Colonel is in Alice.

Austin : Indeed. [Holds up one of the orbs of Saol (If that's what they look like?)] One of these I guess? [MONTY and STEPHEN join ALICE in pushing the desk back, but are clearly fighting a losing battle. The party can now see MOULDY and SCULLY, as well as eight or nine figures wearing scary masks, THE SCREAMERS.]

Alice : [Pushing with all her might] That's a good idea!

Scully : [To Austin] Sir, step away from the orbs.

Stephen : [Pushes against the desk] How do we know that you are really with the FIB? Do you have a contact address where we can send a letter seeking verification of your identification cards? I'm sure we'll have a reply back in a week or so.

Mouldy : Sure we do. Let us in and I'll give it to you.

Screamer : Not as dubious as your face will look when I beat it to a bloody pulp. [MONTY, ALICE and STEPHEN are slowly being pushed back into the room.]

Alice : Chastity, if you're going to do something with the orb, you better do it soon, they're almost in.

Screamer : Not as in as your face will look when I beat it to a bloody pulp.

Chastity : [Looks at the orbs] Yes, I know. Mr. Giles, I assume you used one for me. Is there an incantation, or do I just smash it?

Alice : Just smash it! Smash it! [The desk is pushed back far enough for the SCREAMERS to start climbing in.]

Mouldy : Ma'am, put the orb down. They are the property of the Bringer.

Chastity : [To Mouldy] Certainly. [Throws the orb down onto a hard surface to smash it]

Mouldy : [Annoyed] Hey! You know that's not what I meant! [Just as the SCREAMERS climb in over the desk, wielding various swords and burning torches, CHASTITY smashes the orb, causing the entire room to be enveloped by a bright blue light, causing everyone to stop. Slowly everyone's eyesight returns to normal.]

Alice : [With a huge smile] Harvey? [Face drops] Hey! You're not Harvey! [MOULDY, SULLY and the SCREAMERS are clearly shocked at what has just happened, and hold their ground, staring at the person who has just appeared. It is DARIUS, dressed as he was on the night he was killed.]

Darius : [Looks slowly around himself, before turning to the party] Don't tell me, there's an angry mob about to kill you. [Checks his pocket] Hey, even my cheeseratte made it back! [Leans over to one of the still shocked Screamers and lights the cheeseratte off his torch, before turning to Alice] Thanks for the ride.

Austin : [To Chastity] Harvey must also be in one of the soul sancuaries, so we'll have to use another orb [Throws another orb of Saol at something hard near Alice] [The orb hits virtually the same point that CHASTITY's did, but doesn't break, instead ricoheting around the room.]

Alice : [Ducks to avoid the orb] What the hell is going on?

Darius : [Leaning back to avoid the orb] Looks like you're all out of souls.

Alice : What? How could that be? [Smack, gets hit in the back of the head with the orb] Ow!

Stephen : Didn't Faern say something about Harvey being sucked into some other dimension with Dangsten?

Chastity : [Tries to catch the spare bouncing orb, glancing at Darius] Poor Harvey. Well I suppose its could have been worse. At least Phili still has his piece [pauses. grumpily] apparently.

Darius : [Points at Chastity with the cheeseratte] Click-click! I told you, Phili was never too happy about that deal we struck. What's going on with these jokers? [The SCREAMERS slowly start dropping to their knees.]

Sully : Who are you people? What is going on here?

Mouldy : Don't you see, Sully? We've just witnessed a miracle! They must be Bringers!

Chastity : [Cringes. Aside to ALice] I hope they don't think Darius is some sort of miracle god. We hardly have room for his ego as it is! [To Mouldy] We are indeed Bringers, of a different sort.

Alice : Hold on a second, I'm not happy at all here. First, what were [points at Darius] you doing in there? Second, where's Harvey? Third, why on earth would they think he's a God? Fourth, that cheeseratte has been lit for a long time without being shared.

Darius : [Counting up on his fingers] Resting. I don't know. I don't know. [Looks at the cheeseratte] That's right. [Smokes some more]

Mouldy : [To one of the Screamers] Fetch the Bringer, he will be thrilled that his compatriats are here.

Sully : Of course, given that he told us he was the only one with the power to make zombies, he mightn't be that happy. [Looks at Darius] Seems like good work.

Austin : [To Sully] Are you a zombie, or were you just born a slave to your master? [Tries to catch the orb]

Sully : [Watching the orb still bounce around] I'm a zombie too, controlled by the master in the same way you'll no doubt control your zombie. [Enter THE BRINGER, along with the SCREAMER who was sent downstairs to fetch him. The BRINGER is a lot less impressive in real life than in any of the pictures or the statue seen earlier, standing only about five foot eight inches tall. It is not possible to see his face, however, as his helmet is on.]

Bringer : [With a surprisingly deep and thunderous voice] They are not bringers! See how none of them have a big shiny helmet! Anyway, there's only one Bringer, and that's me.

Austin : [To Sully] You are not a zombie, and quite how this oink [Gestures towards the Bringer] managed to convince you all that you are zombies I'm not certain, but these [Holds up and orb of Saol] can be used by anyone, as you have just witnessed, but ! [Pauses for dramatic effect] They don't make you into a zombie, they ressurect ou completely, and you are under no ones control other then yourself. And! [Paces a little, then fixes Sully with a steely gaze] if you were a zombie you would be cold and have no pulse, you certainly wouldn't need to breath either, so this creature [Points at the Bringer] Is merely using you to carry out his weird perverted will!

Mouldy : [To Austin] Do you have a big shiny helmet?

Sully : Hm. Interesting points, all. [Turns to the Bringer] How do you answer them, Master?

Bringer : [Still sounding very deep and serious, which, given what he says sounds totally incongrous] He's a big fat liar!

Alice : [Nods as she listens] What do you say to that, Austin?

Chastity : [To Mouldy] No, it's just the way he stands!

[ Everyone pauses as one of the screamers brings out a miniature drum kit and does a quick drum roll and cymbal crash]

Chastity : [To Austin] Please, remember you're meant to be avoiding the topic of genitalia.

Bringer : Kill them! Kill them now! [The SCREAMER does an exciting drumroll, increasing the tension.]

Sully : [Looks Austin straight in the eye] Wait a minute. [To the Bringer] Why don't you just turn them into zombies?

Bringer : [Says nothing for a few seconds, but breathes deeply, which is greatly amplified by the helmet] Don't want to. [Folds his arms] [The SCREAMERS move forward, clearly confused, but moving forward all the same.]

Chastity : [Pointing at the Bringer] Halt. He cannot turn us into zombies, just as he didn't turn you into zombies. He used magic orbs to bring you back to life, but you have you're own will as before. [Gestures to herself] I myself have been through this very process, and am I anyones slave? No! [Points back to the screamers] Try it for yourselves, try disobeying him. You are your own masters!

Mouldy : That's not true! The master brought us back, that's why we must obey him! It is written, a zombie must obey their creator! [The SCREAMERS keep moving in, now outnumbering the party two to one.]

Bringer : Now you will pay the price for challenging my authority! [Roars laughing with the classic evil maniac cackle]

Chastity : [To the Bringer] Call off your brainless minions, lest we smash the other orb from your safe.

Bringer : Idiot! The orbs only break if someone is in a nearby soul sanctuary!

Stephen : Hang on. [To the Screamers] Have any of you slept or been to the toilet since you became zombies? I only ask because, well, zombies are undead. They don't need to sleep or make visits to the privy. If any of the male zombies have woken up with a good old morning glory poking through their pyjama flaps, then that's another no-no, as, since the undead don't have beating hearts, blood doesn't circulate or rush to any, ahem, big shiny helmets. And the same for the ladies, have the, er, painters been in since you became zombies? Another sure fire way of telling that the helmeted midget here has been lying to you.

Alice : [Turns to Stephen with a disgusted look] You know something, I think you have managed to offend just about everyone in the room with that!

Mouldy : Of course we have normal bodily functions! Being undead doesn't mean that you don't have them. I mean, look at vampires, we all know about their crazed sexual desires. Their lust for passion, leather, plastic, s and m, bondage, domination, cross dressing -

Sully : [Interrupting] Where did you get all this information from?

Mouldy : [A little embarassed, straightening his tie, and looking a little flushed] It's common knowledge.

Bringer : [Somewhat more petulantly than one would expect from an arch criminal] No! She'll only cheat!

Chastity : [To the Bringer] Do not judge me on your own sets of twisted and flawed morals and actions. You seem to live behind a careful spun web of deception and ignorance.

Bringer : See? Even if she wanted to, she couldn't turn you! [The SCREAMERS start to slowly surround the party.]

Darius : Looks like we're in for a bumpy ride, unless someone can think of a sneaky, evil way out. [Looks directly at Austin] What do you say, Alice? You're supposed to be the link between good and evil, any bright ideas?

Alice : Hey! What's that supposed to mean? Actually, as it happens, I do have an idea.

Chastity : [To Alice] Yes, go on? I just hope it doesn't involve jumping from the window.

Alice : [Leaning in, as do the rest of the party, as well as the Screamers, who can't hear] Why don't we turn him into a zombie?

Chastity : Very good, dear. All we have to do is kill him first, which may be the only stumbling block! [Steps back and glances out the window to see what's there]

Austin : How much of a stumbling block is it?

Darius : Come on, a quick knife to the throat and it'll be all over.

Alice : Off you go, then.

Darius : Not me, I'm afraid. I've got that deal with Phili, remember?

Stephen : One.

Austin : Two.

Darius : Three.

Alice : Four.

Darius : Actually, I'd rather hoped you'd go after three.

Alice : I thought it was on three.

Darius : Then why didn't you go then?

Alice : Oh for God's sake! [Turns and stabs the Bringer]

Chastity : [Swinging her mace at the Bringer] Good show, Alice. That's got to be serious. Things are never trivial when there's a stabbing pain under a mans shiny helmet!

Stephen : [Stabbing the Bringer] You don't have to enjoy it quite so much, Sister!

Austin : [Sneering as he joins in] At least she's not enjoying it as much as you are! [With a scream, the BRINGER expires, falling towards the party as he spins around slowly, landing back first against ALICE. As one, the SCREAMERS give a sharp intake of breath, and pale blue mist rises from the BRINGER'S body, before dissipating around the safe.]

Alice : Ow! [To Darius] What now?

Darius : [Shrugs] Search me. Murderers. [Looks at the shocked faces of Scully and company]

Chastity : [To SULLY and company] Now if you are all zombies, you will be in [emphasis] real trouble as your master is dead. [Goes to check the orbs in the safe, to see if any look different from the bringers soul entering one]

Alice : [Holds her sword to the Bringer's throat] Back off!

Sully : Or what? You'll kill him again?

Alice : [Defiantly] Maybe! [The fourth orb that STEPHEN found with the envelope has gone from a dark green to a light blue colour.]

Chastity : [To Stephen] Best be careful with those other orbs of Saol. We've got the bringer in here, and we don't particularly want to let him out. [To Sully and Co. doing a shooing hand action] Well, move along now. It's all over. nothing to see. Go about your business.

Alice : You heard her, move along. [Some of the SCREAMERS start to walk off.]

Mouldy : Hold it! [Turns to the party] That's proved nothing other than the fact that you're a murderous bunch of swine. [Glances at Darius] Except you, you're fine. They, on the other hand are evil scum.

Darius : It's true! It's all true! They're murderous, lying, backstabbing bastards! [Acting up a storm] And God help me, it's why I love them so!

Stephen : [Dramatic, but terrible ham acting] And now, people, behold, as we resurrect the Bringer and turn him into our own personal zombie! Gasp in amazement as he bends to our will! Shriek in terror when his helmet is removed showing his horribly disfigured face and rotten teeth, the result of an insatiable sweet tooth as a youngster! [Bends down and attempts to remove the mask] [STEPHEN soon discovers that the faceplate of the mask slides up, and reveals the face, to shocked gasps from the SCREAMERS and SULLY and MOULDY.]

Sully : That's Rick Moronis!

Alice : You know him?

Sully : Know him? He stalked me for six weeks - I've got a high court injunction against him stating that he can't come within two hundred feet of me!

Chastity : Not that there is such a thing as an ethical con artist.

Alice : [Glares at Chastity, doing a secret pointing thing to Darius] Chas! Not in front of him!

Sully : [To Mouldy] What happens now?

Mouldy : We kill them for slaying our evil master.

Screamer : No! We need a leader!

Mouldy : [To Sully] Maybe if we kill them [nods at the party] we can become the new leaders?

Screamer : No! We need a leader!

Mouldy : [To Sully] Maybe if we kill them [nods at the party] we can become the new leaders? From Pates@mri.sari.ac.uk Tue Sep 21 12:03:24 2004

Chastity : I'll tell you what. Why don't you be the new leaders. We have done what we came here to do.

Austin : We could ressurect the Bringer right now, so then Sully and Mouldy here could kill him again and then assume leadership of the [Ponders] erm house, [Gestures flambouyantly] or whatever [Checks his nails briefly]

Alice : Actually, that's what I thought the plan was - don't tell me you thought we were going to murder him.

Darius : Okay.

Austin : Well, if we are going to ressurect him we should do it far away from here otherwise the towns people may just kill him again, wasting an orb [Looks at the orb he is holding] I wonder where he got them all from anyway, he must have had alot to ressurect so many people.

Mouldy : You liars! You can't ressurect anyone!

Chastity : A minutes a go a miracle was being declared as this [gestures to Darius] fellow was resurrected, and now you doubt our abilities?

Austin : [Sighs] Okay I'll ressurect him now [Smashes an orb of Saol off the table]

Chastity : [Watching the bits of glass fall to the floor and the smoke appear, alomistin slow motion] Oh, in the name of Phili!

Alice : [Calling out, in the traditional slow motion voice] Noo-ooo! [Everything speeds up again, and the there is yet another puff of smoke. When it clears, the BRINGER is alive again.]

Mouldy : He's alive! Our master is alive!

Screamer : But, if they created him as a zombie, surely they're his masters?

Mouldy : [Snottily] Of course.

Screamer : And, er, is our master's masters our masters?

Rick : What happened?

Alice : You're screwed.

Rick : [Big smile] Alright! With you?

Alice : Kill him again.

Chastity : [Scalding, To Rick] What have you been doing, you odious little man? Enslaving an entire town to overcome your own inadequacies? [Shaking her mace at him] And more importantly, where did you get those cards and orbs from.

Austin : [To Rick] Just wait until all those women you tricked into servicing your sexual cravings find out what you have done! [Chuckles smugly] Hell hath no wrath greater than the wrath of a woman!

Austin : [Takes a breath to say something, but falters. To Monty] What? How long have you been watching me? Since birth? [Looks suprised] and anyway, I did not trick any of them, they all succumbed to my charms willingly, [Reflects momentarily] some of them we even in quite a hurry, [Angry again] how dare you suggest I tricked them! [Gives Monty a disgusted look]

Chastity : You must have tricked them in some way. No woman of decent standing would succumb to physical relations outside blessed wedlock without some sort of trickery. [pauses] and even then only for procreative duties.

Austin : [To Chastity] Your naivety knows no bounds [Smirks at his own joke] Of course you, good Sister, would never succumb to physical relations outside blessed wedlock, [Pauses momentarily] neither would Alice of course. [Checks his left cufflink, gleefully smugly]

Alice : [Roars with laughter at Chastity's words, before stopping and putting on her serious face] I mean, that's right, Chastity. [Gives Austin a grave look, shaking her head] Tut tut tut.

Rick : Please! It just started out as a way to get closer to Sully! I stole those things from the Bringer, and when I saw how much control I had over her, I just couldn't help myself, and the next thing I knew I had used up over forty orbs. [Gives a sad look at Sully] It wasn't so bad, was it? [SULLY has to be restrained by a bunch of SCREAMERS.]

Stephen : [To Rick] Oh, you're in big trouble now! But, if you're not the Bringer, and you stole the orbs from the Bringer, who and where is the Bringer? dying with flu [As if on cue, SULLY struggles extra hard, causing the SCREAMERS to almost, but not quite, let her go.]

Rick : The Bringer is south of here, about a week's ride - I was working for him, one of his most trusted aides. I'm one of the leaders in my field.

Alice : [Takes a long hard look at Rick] What's that? Putting things in alphabetical order?

Rick : Hey, I also do numerical! [To Monty] When the war comes, we're all going to die anyway, I just wanted to go out with some fun, and you stopped me. Who's the real monstrous dictator here? Who? Hi folks, Please don't forget the homework assignment, I'd like that info sooner rather than later if possible. Remember, it's just something brief that I need. Also, just send it to me without any [qv] tag in the subject, otherwise it'll end up on the website for all to see. Conor

Stephen : [To Rick] Oh, you're in big trouble now! But, if you're not the Bringer, and you stole the orbs from the Bringer, who and where is the Bringer? dying with flu [As if on cue, SULLY struggles extra hard, causing the SCREAMERS to almost, but not quite, let her go.]

Rick : The Bringer is south of here, about a week's ride - I was working for him, one of his most trusted aides. I'm one of the leaders in my field.

Alice : [Takes a long hard look at Rick] What's that? Putting things in alphabetical order?

Rick : Hey, I also do numerical! [To Monty] When the war comes, we're all going to die anyway, I just wanted to go out with some fun, and you stopped me. Who's the real monstrous dictator here? Who?

Austin : [Tickles one of the screamers that is holding Sully. To Rick] Better start talking!

Darius : [Looks over the party with what almost looks like pride] And who said they were idiots? [A brief spell of time passes.]

Darius : [Annoyed] I said, who said they were idiots?

Screamer : [One of those near but not holding Sully] That was me.

Darius : Right. You can go to the back of the mob.

Screamer : Aw. [Trudges back]

Bringer : I don't know much about him - he came from somewhere up north, and the southerners are so convinced that he is working for the North, they're about to launch a massive invasion. All I heard was that he was trapped in some sort of magic mountain for hundreds of years, and he makes real zombies, and he's sick!

Alice : Hundreds of years on a Dizziny ride? No wonder he's nauseaous!

Chastity : [To Rick] The magic mountain didn't happen to be an old volcano, did it?

Austin : [To Chastity] Good point Sister, that we left ermm, Pestillence, or was it Contagion, I think, in that volcano, before we traveled back to the future, with all of our swords stuck in him, and we have [Glares at Alice] had Beaucaphallus more recently than that too.

Rick : No, I think it was an old mine or something.

Alice : [Glares back at Austin] What?

Chastity : [Pales slightly] You don't think that Clint could have been resurrected in an evil form, do you? Like Jerome. Imagine the evil stench!

Rick : He dresses just like me, and I've never seen his face.

Alice : [Concerned] What about his body odour?

Rick : I've never seen that either.

Alice : We can kill you again, you know.

Rick : Alright! Alright! His body odour was fine.

Chastity : Waiving the thought that coming back from the dead would improve Clint's body odour, I'm relieved to hear that report. It was distressing enough to see the turned Doctor without seeing another of our old valued colleagues under such an influence. [Gesturing to Rick] We what happens now? Do we turn this trickster over to the baying mob?

Alice : I think it would be only fair - let's let Sully decide what happens to him.

Rick : No! No! I can show you where the Southerners have their armies!

Stephen : Up their sleevies?

Chastity : [Briefly looking at the Screamer with mini drum kit expectantly before turning to Rick] Well, if we are to avoid the needless bloodshed of a war that would be valuable information.

Rick : Then maybe I should - [RICK is interrupted by the SCREAMER tapping out a roll and crash.]

Rick : Maybe I should show you? [Gives a smile at Sully]

Austin : [To Rick] Very well, and once you have shown us you will face the judgement of Sully, as she has every right to seek justice for the offenses you have commited against her. [Checks his nails] It should be a public trial, naturally, as the public will no doubt want to know what you are going to be punished for. [Glances disinterestedly out of the window]

Stephen : I'm sure the town is going to be in an uproar once they find out what you've done here. Imagine how they'll feel when they find out they've been denied sugar based products for nothing more than a sad little mans whim!

Rick : [Nodding so hard in agreement that his visor falls down] Yes! [Pushes it back up again] Yes, please let the Knights look after me, please! That's the only fair way, I have to have the Knights look after me. [Pause] Who are the Knights?

Chastity : They are an order sworn to Phili to destroy evil in all its guises.

Rick : [Somewhat hopefully] Destroy evil in the passing flowers around kind of way?

Chastity : As someone who's just been stabbed and beaten to death by a group from the order, what do you think?

Rick : [Looks around slowly at the faces of the party members, and then to the still struggling Sully] I'm screwed.

Mouldy : [To the party] You just make sure you let us know when the little prick is having his trial. [Slowly, the SCREAMERS and the others move back, clearing a way for the party, out through which they walk.]

Rick : [To Darius] Please, sir! You're the only one who didn't attack me, you'll keep me safe, won't you?

Darius : [Picking up the Sal Holo action figure from inside a glass case] Sure I will, I really like you. [DARIUS bites the head off SAL, eliciting a sob of pain and shock from RICK.]