[Book V, Act IX, Scene I. Outside the Duck Ranch. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, SEBASTIAN and SLIM are here. Waiting outside here is MONA WYDER, who has a camera and microphone.]

Mona : And here they are, everyone. Let's see if we can get a word from them. [Jumps up and down, trying to get their attention, as though there were hundreds of people here] Hello! Hello!

Mona Wyder

Clint: [Looks at Slim incredulously.] What the hell is wrong with you?! Harv's dying here. We don't have time for... whatever it is you're doing. [Quietly, to Alice] What is he doing? Freak.

Slim: [Pokes head back in door] you you will fine Ms. Smock?

Smock : [From within] Sure, Slim, I'll be just fine!

Mona : [Addressing an unseen camera] They haven't seen us yet, but hopefully they will. [Waves again] Yooohoo!

Clint: Oh, damn. [Turns to the party] No way in hell we're stopping for interviews!

Alice : [Whinily] Cliiint! Maybe if we get the public on our side, they'll help us get to Euphoria!

Clint: And how often has the bloody press helped get the public on our side?

Slim: [Walking over to Alice and rubbing her shoulders using his learned medical techniques] I know where we basically have to go. [Turning Alice in the direction] That way. Just follow the root-encrusted road.

Alice : [Gives a shiver from Slim's massaging] Mmmmmm! Okay, let's just keep going.

Mona : [Again addressing an unseen camera] No, it looks like they're just too busy. Back to you in the studio, Tim.

Clint: [Nods and starts in the direction indicated] Right. [To Slim] And whatever you're doing, Slick, hurry it up - we don't have all day!

Alice : Nnnnnooo! Take your time!

Clint: [Impatiently] Look, Bimbo, we've got to get to Euphoria for Harv's sake, and at the rate we're going the only one who's going to get there today is you!

Alice : [Squirms away from Slim] Okay! Well said, Clint. Now, Euphoria is quite a distance. [Surveys Mona thoughtfully] You know, I've just had a great idea how the media can help us after all.

Clint: [Looks at Alice incredulously] You've just had a great idea how the [emphasis] media can help us?! [Pauses for a second.] Out of curiousity, what's the idea?

Alice : Let's steal her carriage!

Chastity: [Appalled] What an appalling suggestion! Haven't we sinned enough for one lifetime already?!

Clint: What are you talking about, Chas? It's a great idea!

Austin : Speak for yourself, Sister.

Chastity: [Sighs heavily] Fine, let's do it. I do not have the strength to fight on my own, anymore. [To Smock] You distract them, and we'll liberate the carriage.

Alice : [Looking around her] Uh, me? Okay. [Walks over to Mona] Hey, what's this all about?

Mona : [Jumping up and down with excitement] It's great to see you again Alice, I've been so looking forwards to meeting with all of you again. [Gives a wave to the others] Chas, hi! Heya, Clint. [Points at Sebastian and winks] Looking good my man Sebastian. And Austin, exquisite suit.

Chastity: [To Mona] There's the story of a lifetime happening over there [gestures vaguely back toward the Duck Ranch], young lady. It's got everything--unseemly behavior, fires, poison, you name it.

Mona : [Again addressing an unseen camera] Ah! My old friend, Chastity. I knew she couldn't keep away from me. [Waves dismissively] Oh, who cares about a few burning hookers when we've got the gang back together again! Your timing is perfect!

Chastity: [Suspiciously] Perfect? Why is that?

Mona : [Laughs] Oh, Chastity! You know we talked about this before! [A little more serious] You do, don't you? Don't you?

Slim: Probably something to do with Stump, her lost love I would guess [offhandidly said, though spoken instead of thought]

Mona : Oh no! We don't like Stump any more, do we? [Nods towards the party, clearly counting herself as one of them]

Clint: I'm sorry to have to break it to you, toots, but I've never seen you before in my life. Who the hell are you, anyway?

Chastity: [To Mona] Nor I, I must admit. [Helpfully] Perhaps you've met another holy person, and we all look alike to you?

Mona : [Taken aback] But - but, we're best friends. You said so in your last interview! [Turns once again to the unseen camera] They did! [Back to the party] See my scrapbook! [Opens up a scrapbook and shows them a picture of the party, when it consisted of Alice, Austin, Chastity, Clint, Harvey, Sebastian and Smock, just as they entered the Interior. Glued on is a picture of Mona] See? Look how we're all friends!

Clint: Oh yeah, it's... uhh... you! Hey, listen, as a friend, can we borrow your carriage?

Mona : [With a huge smile] Sure you can! Do you want to wait in it until the Love Train comes?

Sebastian: Love Train? How Beautiful! Train of love heed my call bring me one so fair Train of love heart will fall and bond with my pair [Takes Mona's hand and bows deeply]

Mona : Oh, Sebastian, you were always my favourite!

Alice : [Picking up the lead from the microphone] Hey! This isn't even plugged in!

Sebastian: [To Alice] It's news...unplugged. A throw back to nostalgia for the hip generation. [To Mona] Journalism is a noble profession. The telling of stories is a lost art, I'm afraid. You should perhaps report the news more in rhyme, don't you think? [gazes away lost in thought] An increase in the number of bards on your staff...yes...[snaps back] We Must get to Euphoria quickly, the life of a good man is at stake. Can you help us?

Mona : Why don't you get on the Love Train? It'll be passing any minute now.

Alice : [Emphasis] She's unplugged - she's crazy!

Mona : Crazy, am I? Would a crazy person have this? [Turns her back to the party and lifts up her dress and pulls down her underpants slightly, revealing a tattoo of "Sebastian" across the small of her back]

Sebastian: [Gasps with delight. and skips over to survey his new land] Stunning! [To group, excited at first, but slowly the excitement drifts away] Isn't this astounding! I can't believe it. A television news personality has MY name tattooed on her...Wait. [To Mona, haltingly] Why do you have my name tattooed on [More quickly and excited] Are you a fan?!

Mona : Well, there wasn't any more space on my chest! [Pulls open her shirt to reveal a tattoo of Alice, Austin, Chastity, Clint and Harvey. The pictures are, of course, awful, and bear hardly any resemblance to the people]

Sebastian: [crestfallen] Oh.

Slim: [Starts gagging, angerly] How could you desecrate your body like that! Your body is your vessel. Please, show no more. [pulls out a paper bag breathing heavily into it]

Clint: [Admiring the view.] Too bad all our fans aren't so adoring, isn't it?

Mona : [Aggressively to Slim] Oh no, my body is [emphasis] now a temple!

Slim: [Throws up] Are you crazy? She has a large hairy mole on her... [Throws up again] I'm feeling nausiated.

Alice : [Reaching out and gently tapping Slim on the back] Er, there there.

Sebastian: [To Slim] The internal body is a vessel. The outer skin is a canvas that can be painted to reflect on the vessel within. It can be a very zen experience.

Slim: [eyes bulging out, finger pointing] IT MOVED!!!!! [passes out]

Sebastian: [unsure] CAN be very moving. [Gives a "the hell?" shrug to the group] We REALLY do need to invest in some smelling salts.

Alice : Nah, no need. [Steps away from Slim] Clint? The arm, please.

Clint: [Gives Alice an irritated look, but moves to comply.] He probably has it coming anyway. [Sticks his pits in Slim's face.]

[SLIM gives a jolt, and then starts to come around.]

Austin : [To Mona] Tell us of this Love Train.

Mona : It's like I said when we met in the last interview, it's a carriage filled with the most beautiful of all beautiful elves. The Euphoric Elite.

Clint: Yeah, look, that's great. But I just want to know three things. Will it get us to Euphoria? Is it fast? And are the Euphoric Elite easy?

Mona : Yes, yes, [face drops] no, they are very fussy about who gets on the train.

Sebastian: And you think they would let us aboard?

Mona : Of course! And your favourite media personality, too! [Gives Sebastian a big smile]

Sebastian: What would be expected of us aboard the train?

Chastity: [Uneasily] I don't like the sound of it. Handmaidens of Phili must remain pure, you know.

Slim: And in what reference to purity are we speaking, respectfully speaking, good servant of Phili [bows slightly in respect]

Austin : [Smirks] Pure in thought and deed.

Mona : [To Sebastian] Nothing, save to mix with the beautiful people, listening to anecdotes about famous people and eating snakes' feet.

Sebastian: That doesn't sound too sinful. Which is a good [looks at Clint] and a bad thing. [To Mona] How long will the ride take, Madame Reporter?

Slim: You know, Sebastian, I would qualify what you mean by "how long the ride will last." Her eyes tell it all.

Mona : Oh, just a few hours, because the Love Train is always let pass through anywhere it wants.

Alice : What about the Morcs attacking Euphoria?

Mona : They're not allowed pass through anywhere they want.

Alice : No, will they let the Love Trian pass through.

Mona : [Thinks for a moment, before perking up] It's the Love Train! ### The last time the party were here, Euphoria was under siege.

Mona : [Does an "Ah go on" motion with her hand] Oh, you've heard the rumours, then? I'm afraid we can neither confirm nor deny them, isn't that right, Seb? [Squeezes Sebastian's arm]

Sebastian: [Clearly confused] Riiight. [Shakes his head witha full body 'my brain hurts' tremor] How long until the locomotive of love arrives?

Mona : Any minute now! Just think, Seb, we can get married on the Love Train!

Slim: You are here [realizes he said that outloud] Dangit. [Pulls out a bananna and starts eating it, trying to ignore Sebastian]

Austin : Congratulations, Sebastian!

Alice : [Giving Slim a curious look, before turning to Austin] Oh please! If I married every weirdo who had my name tattooed on his ass, I'd have been married almost as many times as Chastity! [To Sebastian] Cut her loose, Seb.

Sebastian: [To Slim brightly.] Right you are! We are here. Excellent observation. [Shrugs and Austin rolling his eyes and sighing. To Mona, bowing.] Thank you for the offer, my dear. But I just can't get married right now. There are still poems to compose and worlds to be saved...and you...You have such important work. [Motions toward the direction of the unseen camera]

Slim: Austin, I've noticed that your arm, though perfect in every way, looks like its not up-to-par today. I'm skilled in many foreign medical arts. I could take a look. [throws bananna peel on ground]

Austin : Do not touch my arm.

Mona : [Annoyed] Hey! [Points a foot to the left of where Sebastian pointed] The camera is [emphasis] there!

Clint: [To Sebastian] You get used to the crazy stalkers after a while, Seb. All part of being a hero. The chicks dig it. [Lets out a loud belch.]

Clint: [To Sebastian] You get used to the crazy stalkers after a while, Seb. All part of being a hero. The chicks dig it. [Lets out a loud belch.]

Sebastian: [Gasps and clutches his heart. To Clint] A hero. Me? [wipes a little tear from the corner of his eye.] If only Smock was here to hear you say that. [Composes himself. To Mona.] Yes, I know. [adopts a "isn't the world amazing" voice] But the world...the world where all the stories are...that is [Makes a wide sweeping gesture from where he previous pointed] There! [Winks at Mona]

Slim: [Walks over to Sebastian, snubbing Austin] In that case, let me rub the shoulders of our hero. You look tense.

Clint: [Looks at Slim as if he'd grown a third arm or something.] What the hell is wrong with you? Keep your hands to yourself! Or go bother the crazy reporter or something.

Sebastian: [To Slim] Thank you, dear. [whispers and nods to Clint] I think he could use a little R & R as well. I think he neglets himself. It's a same really. As my Uncle Jack used to say "All action and no relaxation makes Clint a dull boy."

Slim: [Stanchly] I do not neglect myself! Look at this sixpack [slowly unbuttons his shirt as not to loose a button, not a hair on the chest, shiny and speck free] See! Hard as a rock. Only the healthiest food enters this body. Daily exercise and healthy eating. That is what I do.

Sebastian: I meant [Nods toward Clint] him, dear. Not you. You obviously treat yourself well. No one questions your commitment to your body. [To the group] What do you think about our newly stumbled upon chariot? Do we take the steam engine of passion? Or do we set out on our own?

Mona : Let's get on the train!

Alice : If what the crazy lady says is true, we're better off on the train, but why on earth would they let us? Don't elves look down on humans?

Mona : Sure, but we have something they want.

Sebastian: But is it something we want to give?

Clint: [Eagerly] If it's Sebastian or Slim, the elves can have 'em!

Mona : Of course you'll want to! It is the Love Train after all. [Turns and looks into the distance] Look! Here it comes!

Slim: Oh, I can't wait. What. Painted pink with shag carpeting and a set of dice hanging from front?

Alice : That and a bunch of snotty elves who think we're little more than savages! [By way of explanation to Sebastian and Slim] The Elves all have Nascency Fluid, so they're pretty much immortal, which is why they couldn't be bothered helping humans. Just wait until you see this lot.

Mona : But they are so much better than us!

Chastity: [To Clint, popping him with a tea towel] Language! [To Mona, sweetly] What has given you such a grave inferiority complex, dear? You aren't [huge emphasis on un] UNattractive.

Mona : Then I can come with you? Super!

[The carriage is getting closer, and looks extremely nice.]

Chastity: [To Mona] Dear, we tend to attract danger everywhere we go. You do not look as if you could withstand a good talking-to, let alone awful creatures and naughty pirates! Last Heather #77

Mona : You said I could come with you! You even signed a contract!

Slim: Hold on now missy. My fingers have not signed any contract. Sebastian was telling us prior to coming out here that he really wanted you, but said that he could only have you when he got back. Something about gifts, toys, things of that nature.

Mona : Did he? [Beams at Sebastian, before turning back to Slim] I never said you signed a contract, it was Chastity.

Austin : May I see this contract?

[MONA hands it over.]

Austin : Ah, I see. [Reads through it] Hm. I don't believe that this will stand up in court. First, it doesn't appear to have been drafted by a law professional, second, there are no witnesses, and third, not only is Chastity's name spelled wrongly, it is also written in crayon. [Points to another part] There also appears to be some red ink spilled across it.

Mona : [Defiantly] That's blood!

Sebastian: [Takes Mona's hand and speaks quietly to her] No Dear, I did not say that. I believe that is Slim's somewhat noble but ultimately misguided attempt at letting you down easy. But I never said it. I, nor anyone in this party, could never dare to deserve a beauty and talent such as yours. Now, a romantic soul such as yourself cannot possibly put her faith in such a cold and harsh object like that. [motions offhandedly at the contract.] Certainly, matters such as this should be resolved on honest emotion...not the impersonal rhetoric of the law.

Mona : Uh, so, you are going to marry me? Whoohoo! [Tries to jump for joy, but finds that Alice is standing on the trailing microphone lead] Hey!

Alice : Ooops.

Sebastian: No. I am not going to marry you. As I mentioned before, I have far too many more adventures to experience before I experience marriage. The most pressing being saving the world.

Clint: [Helpfully] What he means is that he thinks you're insane, and we really have to go save the world.

Sebastian: [Outraged] That is not what I...[To Mona] That is NOT what I was saying. Love and matters of the heart are not insanity, and they guide us through to our greater purpose. Right now, my heart is telling me to save the world and all of her lost souls.

Slim: My heart is saying "thump thump" [he laughs] Those souls that I work with usually don't have a heart. Or at least they are black, hard, and cold. Anybody hungry? I have some carrots [chomps down on one]

Mona : And what about my lost soul? My broken heart?

Alice : [Nods to Clint, mouthing the word] In-sane.

[The carriage pulls up, and the door opens. Enter NICOLE HONEY, a stunningly beautiful looking elf. She smiles broadly at the party.]

Nicole : Well, hello there!

Nicole Honey

Clint: [Gives her his most "charming" (i.e. sleazy) grin.] Well, hello yourself, babe. And here I thought "very fine" only came in a bottle!

Chastity: [To Clint, sweetly] Well done, Mr. Scar! No woman of any species can resist your unique brand of [finger quotes] charm! [To Nicole, in a stage whisper] We'll keep him away from you, dear. [To Nicole, in a too-loud normal voice] Greetings, young lady! Could we secure seats on your lovely train?

Nicole : [Laughs goodnaturedly at Clint] Oh, he's irresistable alright! You must be Sister Chastity, please, you and your friends are welcome aboard.

Mona : [Jumping for joy and punching the air] Whoohoo!

Chastity: [To Nicole, graciously] That's very kind of you, dear. Could you tell us more about your unusually named train and it's destination?

Clint: [Moves to hop on board.] What's the worry, Chas? It's the Love Train, it's fast, and it's going to Euphoria. That's good enough for us!

Sebastian: [Uncertain. Whispers to Party] But after what we saw in there? [Shudders] There are not a lot of places to run, or hide on a train if there is trouble. And we always seem to find trouble.

Alice : Don't be silly, Seb, there are always the lifeboats!

Nicole : [Smiles at Clint] It is the Love train, it is fast, and it is going to Euphoria! It is a carriage populated by the most beautiful of the beautiful people. We have actors, singers, poets and scientists, all of whom are unusually beautiful, even for Euphoric Elves.

Sebastian: [Sarcastically rolling his eyes] Oh yes, lifeboats. How silly of me to forget about something I did not know existed. [To Nicole, offering his hand] It sounds splendid, my dear. Exactly my kind of people. And it will be so nice to commune with the artistically refined.

Sebastian: [Kneels and places his other hand on top of Nicoles. Bowing his head respectfully. To Nicole.] Your beauty transcends ever without end toward the the starry sky Spendid radiance compel a heart's dance with your celestial beams Delicate flower charmed with power to make the mighty cry Your graceful presence humbles ever hence Our lives, our hopes, our dreams [To Nicole. Excitedly] Really! Who is on board?

Clint: [To Alice, disbelievingly] What's [with emphasis] wrong with this guy? He almost makes the lawyer look straight!

Sebastian: [turns his head to address Clint] I appreciate beauty, just like you do. I just express it in a very different way. Where you grope, I verbalize. It is quite effective...I assure you. [Looks back at Nicole again] Women are not objects, my dear Mr. Scar. They have souls...and those souls like to be addressed directly sometimes.

Austin : That's because I am, Mr. Scar.

Alice : [Holds her hands up] No one knows, Stinky!

Nicole : [Gives a little clap] Well, let's see. We have Billy Joe Strongarm, the singer from Dean Grey, Cameron D'Ath, the actress, Gwynnie Deathrow, the writer, Scarlett Washandsome, the poet, and Fin Diesel, the celebrity scientist. ### Each of Chas, Austin, Alice and Clint have heard of some of these people, but only ### from snatches of conversation when in Euphoria. They were indeed very famous ### people. Neither Slim nor Seb have heard of any of them, except for Billy Joe ### and Scarlett, both of who's work has made it to the surface, where they are ### very resepected.

Nicole : And this soul would like to invite you all aboard. [Glances at Mona] Not you, dear. I'm sorry.

Mona : But [points at Sebastian] we're in love!

Sebastian: [To Mona] I am sorry, dear. You know how celebrities are with the press. Privacy is very important. Now, how would they be able to relax if they knew that ace reporter Mona Whitener was on the train? They would have to scurry, fret and start shoving their secrets back into the closets. Not very relaxing I'm afraid.

Mona : My name is Mona Wyder! How can you not know the name of the woman who's carrying your child? [Bursts into tears]

Alice : [Mutters to the others] Let's just all slowly back onto the carraige and get the hell out of here!

Sebastian: [To Mona, gently] I do know the name of the woman who is carrying my child. That woman just happens to not be you....because she does not exist. [To Alice] Nice plan. [Wave exuberantly at Mona] By dear, you take care of yourself. --- F \ No newline at end of file

Mona : But I have the marriage contract here, look! [Holds up a menu from Dacmonalds Burder Joint, but then turns it over to show that "I Sebsatan am married to Mona" is written on it in crayon] See?

Alice : [Looks at the back of the menu] Looks like she's got you there, Seb!

Chastity: [Examining the document. To Austin] Your work?

Slim: She is a persistant thing.

Sebastian: [Cheerfully] Nice try dear, but it seems you've married some chap named "SebaSTAN." Perhaps you should use try to go track him down. [To Group] We really must get moving. We don't want to miss this train.

Slim: [Start humming] Boom Boom Boom lets to up to my...

Mona : No, you see, it says -

[Slam. NICOLE closes the door on MONA, before turning to the party.]

Nicole : [Giving the party a smile] I hope you don't think me very rude!

Sebastian: [sighs with relief] Not at all. It was quite necessary, I'm afraid. [Looks around the inside of the train.]

[Book V, Act IX, Scene II. The Love Train. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, SEBASTIAN, SLIM and NICOLE are here. The carraige is quite large, and this is clearly a small room in it. It is nicely furnished with seats and couches, and a door leading out of it.]

Nicole : [Affixing a bunch of locks to the door] Please excuse me, but we need to keep interlopers out.

Slim: [listening and swinting as each lock is set] I hope nobody has lockaphobia.

Alice : I don't think it's fear of hair that we should be concerned with, Slim!

[The other door opens, enter BILLY JOE STRONGARM, the singer from the well known band DEAN GREY, who is famous for his good looks. Now, however, he looks like a disgusting zombie.]

Billy : Hi guys!

Nicole : [Finishing putting on the locks] Oh, Billy! I told you to wait!

Billy Joe Strongarm h, !

Clint: Either he forgot to put on his face, or it's fear of being zombifi= ed that we should be concerned with!

Billy : [Disappointed] Oh. You noticed.

Sebastian: [reassuringly] It's not that bad, dear. What happened?

Billy : Look, no offence, but I'm not into guys.

Sebastian: None taken. I understand. Neither am I. What did you say happened to you?

Billy : I didn't. No offence, but you shouldn't call guys dear if you don't want to come across as gay. [Turns to Chastity] No offence, but you're kind of ugly.

Nicole : [Exasperated] Billy!

Clint: Hold on there! Is that any way to talk to a woman?! [To Nicole, = with another leer] Don't you agree, sweetcheeks?

Nicole : Yes I do!

Chastity : [To Clint] Thank you, Mister Scar!

Billy : [Sigh] I said "no offence".

Slim: People, ugliness is just a state of mind.

Alice : So, uh, Billy, not to be rude or anything, but did something happen?

Nicole : [To the party in general] Not to put too fine a point on it, but yes. I hope you don't shock easily.

Alice : Very easily! We're constantly shocking people! [Does a pretend jump at Nicole] Roar! [NICOLE jumps back with a little scream.]

Alice : See?

Chastity: [Pops Alice with a rolled up tea towel] Behave! [To Nicole and Billy, stoically] Please tell us. I have plenty of smelling salts for Mr. Sleaze and the ladies, in case things go badly.

Sebastian: Smelling salts! Finally! Chastity, you are an absolute angel. [Moves to give Chastity a big hug. Whispers to Chastity] But I think Slim is the one that needs them.

Nicole : Oh, that's fine, Chastity, don't worry. I think it's best if I show you, though.

[NICOLE opens the other door, revealing a plush carriage with several people sitting around. They are all as ugly and rotting as BILLY. Sitting here are GWYNNIE DEATHROW, CAMERON DE ATH, SCARLETT WASHANDSOME and FIN DIESEL, each of whom greets the party with a big, if somewhat disturbing, smile.]

Alice : Uh, I think maybe [emphasis] I need the smelling salts!




Fin Diesel

Sebastian: Yes. Well. They've looked better, haven't they? They seem...happy...though. That's good. [To Nicole] Seeing them doesn't really explain what happened to them, though. Do you know?

Scarlett : It doesn't explain because you'd hardly notice there's anything wrong, would you? [A little hopefully] Would you?

Sebastian: [To Scarlett, reassuringly] When you travel all together like this, it just looks like you are all working on some big project...Like that Jychael Mackson video "Chiller." No one would have a second thought. But what is REALLY going on?

Scarlett : [Downcast] Oh, so you would notice?

Fin : There's an issue with our Nascency Fluid.

Slim: Isn't that just a little personal?

Fin : [Gives Slim a cold look] Yes.

Sebastian: [brightly] Is anyone up for a game to pass the time...and get our minds off of...things?

Slim: If not, can I persuade anybody into a massage or other soothing and healing remidies? [pulls out a kit filling air with aromas of rose, honeysuckle, etc] I have everything. [lifts out some jars of oils, some very small, thin, needles] Anybody?

Billy : No offence, but you're an idiot.

Fin : [Holds a hand up to Billy and addresses Slim] Do you have Nascency Fluid?

Slim: Stick and stones can hurt me, but words cannot [puts everything back, pulls out a cucumber and starts eating]

Fin : Does that mean no?

Sebastian: I can't speak for the others. But, no...I don't have any. Does that mean "no" on the game?

Scarlett : That depends on what game you want to play. [Snatches the cucumber from Slim, and saliciously takes the tip of it in her mouth, before fluttering her eyes at Sebastian]

Sebastian: Well, we could play "Poet Circle." Where we all come up with a line in a poem in turn...that's dreadfully fun. Or we could play "Musical Charades"...[starting to get distracted] or we could play "Dress My Gaping Wounds"...[snaps back] or a card game. Any ideas?

Slim: [Watches as cucumber is missued] Oh sure...Roses are red, violets are blue, I feel like I'm going to Poo Poo.

Billy : I've a better idea. Let's play eat the fresh flesh of the humans.

Sebastian: Hmmm. No. That doesn't sound fun at all. I really think Musical Charades might be the best game for us.

Billy : No offence, but I think you can shove your musical charades up your ass.

Gwynnie : Billy! Please! [Takes Sebastian's arm reassuringly] Don't worry, dear, no one will eat your flesh. Unless you want them to!

Sebastian: Oh, I really rather not. I like my flesh where it is, thanks.

Nicole : [Clearly a little frustrated with the others] Actually, we were really rather hoping that you could help us.

Sebastian: How can we help you, dear? What has happened here?

Slim: Yeah, on the Love Train, Sebastian will help anyone.

Billy : [Getting in Slim's face] No offence, but who the hell are you? Why should we tell you anything?

Slim: [pulling out a mint leaf] First off, you need this for that breath of yours. Secondly, I'm with this gang on a mission to save the Colonels life. Thirdly [pauses] Thirdly, just because. [Looks inquisitively at a soothing voice] Are you stressed? Your shoulder muscles are all tense. Have you been having trouble sleeping at night? Turn around, I can take care of it.

Billy : [Addresses the party] Is what his man says true?

Alice : Well, your breath [emphasis] is a little stinky.

Billy : Our Nascency Fluid has been tainted. We can no longer heal.

Sebastian: [outraged] Tainted?! That's awful! Who tainted it? Who would do such a horrid thing?! [muttering under his breath] What has this world come to when people think they can go around tainting things all willy-nilly? [To Billy. Try8ng to adopt Billy's tone.] Umm. No offense, but what the hell are you doing on the train?

Billy : [As though it were obvious] I'm one of the beautiful people!

Sebastian: [excited] Oh my Gosh! Me too! [More calm.] No offense, but what can you do about your Nascency Fluid?

Clint: C'mon, Seb, wasn't that obvious! [To Billy] The question is, even= if we wanted to help you, what the hell do you expect us to do?

Slim: [singing and swinging head up and down violently] The beautiful people, the beautiful people, it's all relative to the size of your steeple, you can't see the forest for the trees, and you can't smell your own sh...[looks around] What?

Chastity : [Tuts loudly, turning to Slim] Young man! Please stop that foolish behaviour immediately. One would believe that you are involved in a completely different conversation!

Scarlett : [Takes Clint's arm] Sure you want to help us, don't you?

Billy : Short of giving us some more Nascency Fluid, the best you could do is help us discover who is responsible for tainting ours.

Sebastian: We will not rest until this heinous crime has been solved. [takes out his journal and writing utensil, poised to write] Where was your Nascency Fluid when it was violated?

Clint: [To Scarlett] We'd love too, babe, but we're on a deadline. You k= now how it is. So I'll keep an eye out (heh heh), but... hy ,

Slim: My brother mentioned something about a [fingers quotes] brother who was a bit evil, but I can't remember his name.

[The elves all exchange glances, clearly not comfortable with SEBASTIAN's question.]

Austin ; [Flicks a speck of dust off his sleeve] If you wish us to help, you will need to furnish us with the appropriate information.

Scarlett : On the carriage. days! Are you

Slim: [mouth drops open] And were YOU on the carriage as well?

Clint: Then I guess we have time to help after all. [To Nicole] Who all = is on this train again? panic

Scarlett : [Hurt by Slim's words] Yes!

Billy : Maybe the evil brother your brother was talking about was [triumphant point of the finger] you!

Nicole : Just who you see here. And the driver, of course.

Sebastian: [scribbles in his journal] Yes. On the carriage. Was it locked up in a magical chest, or guarded by demons or whatnot? [glances at Slim] Yes. And where were you at the time of the crime?

Scarlett : [Defensively holding onto Sebastian's arm] Good question, Sebastian! [Glares at Slim] Where [emphasis] were you?

Fin : No, the Nascency Fluid is kept in the Rebirth Room, which is in there. [Points at one of the four doors leading out of this room]

Sebastian: [to Scarlett] No dear, I meant were were all you [motions to the zombie gang] when it was stolen. [Scribbles in his journal. Rebirth Room. Yes. To the party] Perhaps we should go check that out?

Fin : It clearly wasn't one of us, we've all be affected.

[Everyone in the party takes a good, long look at the elves, of whom NICOLE is the only one who doesn't resemble a rotting corpse.]

Alice : So we see.

Austin : [Nods at Sebastian's words] Indeed. We also need to question the driver.

Sebastian: [scribbling] All been affected. Yes. [Takes a look at each elf, quickly sketching them in his journal.] Take a little off the arm here...bit of ear gone...Yes. [Gets to Nicole] Hmmm. Are your injuries more internal, dear?

Nicole : Injuries? I'm not sure what you mean.

Clint: What he means is, why hasn't your nose fallen off, sweetcheeks?

slim: Yeah. [backing up Clint emphatically] I know a little about the dead, mind you, and you DEFINATELY don't look like any of them. I don't see any stretch marks either.

Sebastian: [To Nicole] your skin is flawless we are in awe, yes complexion impeccable one look can quite disable [Getting carried away] on par with the stars quite free of sad scars with beauty you have no fears [notices the other "beautiful ones", adds hurriedly] you are all still pretty too, dears

Nicole : Oh, that's because I haven't been killed.

[Time passes.]

Alice : [Gives a sudden shudder] Huh?

Nicole : I said, it's because I haven't been -

[NICOLE is interrupted by someone knocking on one of the other doors of the room.]

Chastity: [In a loud voice] How rude! [To Nicole] Do continue, dear. You have our full attention.

Nicole : Well, it's like this,

[NICOLE is interrupted by another, more insistent knocking.]

Chastity: [To Nicole, politely] One moment, dear. [Tries to find the knocker, bellowing] Were you brought up in a barn?!!

Sebastian: [urgently] No. Shhhhh. Listen. [Screams] Marco? [then pauses with his hand cupped over his ear dramatically]

Nicole : No, that's probably Brendan - he's the driver. You may have heard of him. He's a human actor who used to play the part of Jason Walsh on some tv show.

Alice : Brendan [emphasis] Priestley? Teenage heart throb of Heverly Bills 02910? Wow!

Chastity: [Disapproving] He's very impolite and clearly not at all the sort of boy to which impressionable young girls should be exposed.

Nicole : Oh, it's okay, Chastity, he's just young. [Opens the door.]

[Enter SMOCK and BRENDAN PRIESTLEY, a man in his thirties.]

Brendan : Yo, what's up, dudes?

Brendan Priestley

Sebastian: [overjoyed] Smock! [rushes over to Smock and tries to give her a big hug]

Smock: [Throws her arms open and beams] Hi guys! [Hugs Sebastian.]

Sebastian: [Gives Smock a big hug. Speaks quickly and excitedly to Smock] How are you? We've missed you! I was almost married and some reporter has a tattoo on her chest of all of us...except me, I'm in a more private place. (It's quite embarrassing) What happened? Why are you here? [Gets a horrified look on his face and throws his hands over his mouth] Harvey isn't...oh, dear...he's he?

Slim: [bows head in respect] We were too late.

Alice : What? [Turns to Smock] What happened? Don't tell me something happened to Harvey!

Smock : Oh, no! The Colonel is doing well! He's conscious now.

Chastity: [Overjoyed] Is he?! We must go to him at once!

Sebastian: Why didn't he come with you?

Smock : Because he's poisoned! He said that Chastity should stay with him, and that I should go with you lot.

Chastity: [Smugly] So, he's finally come to his senses and thrown aside that dreadful tart?

Smock: No, I think he was still eating it when I left. He does need to keep up his strength you know. But don't worry, Chastity, Jasmine seems to know all about to nurse Harvey back to health! I'm sure she'll help you out. [To Sebastian, enthusiastically] Yeah, I met your fiance! She's... nice. But... [Whispers conspiratorially] I think she may be a little crazy. [To the party] And then Brendan came and said I could come on the train which is awesome cuz that means I can still do all the hero stuff with you guys!!

Alice : [Beaming] If he's hungry then he's definitely feeling better!

Brendan : Yeah, we're gonna be Team Awesome!

Sebastian: [Whispers to Smock] She's not REALLY my finance. Just a little...confused, I think. [To Brendan] Are you joining us then?

Smock: [Goes over to hug Austin. To the zombified stars] Who are you freaks?

Brendan : I'm the driver. I'll be driving.

Austin : [Returns the hug] Good to see you again, Smock. These are the beautiful people.

Slim: [Stuttering] H...H..Hi Smo..Smock [waves and tries to smile]

Smock: [Giggles] You're so funny, Austin! [To Brendan] Are these rottens meant to be on your train?

Chastity: [To Smock, scolding] How rude! These poor people did not choose to be repulsive! [To the rest of the party] You must continue without me. The Colonel needs me. [To Sebastian] Do take care of young Smock. Make sure she washes her hands after meals. And her face. [Moves to return to Harvey]

Nicole : Now, now, Smock, I'm sure you don't want to hurt people.

Brendan : [To Smock] These are Euphoric Elves! If you want to get to Euphoria, you should treat them with proper respect.

Alice : Make sure you look after him, Chas. Tell him we're on the way to Euphoria, and that [shoots a quick glare at Smock] no one is going to say or do anything stupid to put that in jeopardy.

Smock: But I thought elves were meant to be pretty! [To Slim, smiling back] Hi Mister Slim. Are you training up to be a hero like us?

Scarlett : [Bursts into tears] But, but I am pretty!

Slim: [Starts to say something, then faints, drooling]

Smock: [Glancing quizzically at Slim, to Scarlett] Um, sure you are.

Sebastian: [Sighs Heavily. To Chasity] Would you mind leaving your smelling salts, dear? I have a feeling we'll need them. Do take care of the Colonel. [To Scarlett] Of course you are, dear. [Starts to fuss with her hair.] Just comb this down in front a bit here...and [looks at her missing arm] oh dear...[snaps his fingers, and pulls out his toga from his bag] Just drap this over your shoulder here... A perfect picture of beauty. --- F \ No newline at end of file

Chastity: [Hands Sebastian some smelling salts. To Sebastian, approvingly] You are a very sensible young man. [To the rest of the party] Do be careful. [Pats Alice reassuringly] I will do all I can to keep the Colonel comfortable and safe. [Adds sternly] I can only hope you will do nothing to disgrace him in my absence.

Clint: He's engaged to a hooker, Chas - I don't think he's worrying about being disgraced! [To Smock] Welcome back, kid.

Smock: [Beams at Clint. Points to Slim] I think he's broken. Heroes aren't meant to faint at stuff. I think you're going to have to help teach him to be more macho!

Clint: Yeah, well, first I have to teach the poet and the lawyer. I can't work miracles, kid!

Austin : And before that you need to learn to wash, Mr. Scar.

Chastity: [Watches the party banter with a heavy sigh. To the party] May Phili protect us all! [exits the Love Train]

Clint: [To Smock] You see what I have to work with? But this is all beside the point. We should be worrying about figuring out who made these people the freaks they are! [To Scarlett] No offense.

Sebastian: [Sighes heavily as he watched Chasity leave. To Sir Archie.] Without our Sister we are like a squid with no eagle with no sky.

Austin : [Tapping his notebook thoughtfully] Hm, it is of the utmost importance that we succeed in our mission, as it has been established many times that the party is strongest together. [To the group in general] Let me summarise the situation. This group of elves is considered the most beautiful of the Euphoric Elves, although recently their nascency fluid has been tampered with, by person or persons unknown, and the only ones present on the Love Train are those that are here at the moment.

Alice : Except us, Aus, we only just got on the Love Train.

Austin : Yes, quite.

Sebastian: [To Austin] Time to check out that room then? Or interview witnesses? [To Smock] We were just about to check out what we believe is the scene of the crime. know.

Austin : [Dramatically] To the room!

Alice : We're in the room.

Austin : The room with the nascency fluid.

Alice : Oh.

[Exit the party and NICOLE through the remaining door, while BRENDAN heads back out the door he and SMOCK came through.]

[Book V, Act IX, Scene III. The Nascency Room. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, SEBASTIAN, SMOCK, SLIM and NICOLE are here. The room is about 10' x 10', and has a large, ornate cauldron in the centre, so it is quite difficult for everyone to fit in. There are no windows or other obvious exits from the room. Inside the cauldron is what appears to be Nascency Fluid, although it isn't the same rich brown colour as before, and contains grey patches.]

Nicole : Here we go - I can't see how anyone could have got at it.

Sebastian: [To Austin] Perhaps a closer look by your keen eye is warranted.

Austin : Quite. [Goes around the room, squeezing passed the others as he checks for secret passages] No, there don't appear to be any other ways in.

Clint: Are we sure that crap in the cauldron is even Nascency Fluid? And if it is, what would happen if we added the stuff we found to it?

Nicole : You have some? [Big smile] Wonderful!

Sebastian: Wouldn't that just be like adding clear water to muddy water? All you get is more muddy water? Right?

Clint: [To Nicole, startled] You're still here?!

Nicole : Of course! [To Sebastian] Maybe, but the muddy water will be less muddy, won't it?

Sebastian: [To Clint} How can you miss such a radiant beauty? To Nicole] Isn't that like saying something is "less poisoned?"

Nicole : I prefer to think of it as "more pure".

Sebastian: [Nods his head approvingly] That's good positive thinking. Say, it *is* very crowded in here, isn't it? Perhaps I should wait outside and talk with the other beautiful people. [Looks around the room to assertain whether there is enough room for him]

[There is just about enough space.]

Alice : Maybe we should all stay together? After all, look what happened when Harvey and Smock went off on their own?

Clint: Great idea. The one who was most insecure about her old looks probably did it. So talk to 'em about makeup and girly crap like that - I'm sure you know all about it. did it. So talk to 'em about makeup and girly crap like that - I'm sure you know all about it.

Sebastian: I guess. [Starts to look a little freaked out] But it's *REALLY* crowded in here. [Clutches on to Sir Archie] Let's just find what we are looking for and start questioning those in the more spacious cabins.

Slim : [Starts massaging Sebastian's shoulders] There's nothing to be worried about, my friend. Just because we're in a tight, confined space doesn't mean we're in any more danger than we were before.

Clint: If you believe that, I have some deodorant I'd like to sell you. And you two take that somewhere private!

Smock: [Elbows her way past to get a look at the Nasency Fluid] Looks like it's just gone rotten to me. [Sniffs at the barrel] Things aren't supposed to keep forever you know.

Nicole : On the contrary, Smock, they are.

Alice : [Gives Clint a curious look] What would they do with the deodorant in private?

Sebastian: [Moves away from Slim] I appreciate the effort...but really, I just need my space. Thank you, though. Ok. We've seen it, can we go now?

Nicole : Of course you can, Sebastian. [Opens the door to the other room, so the party can see the other elves scrambling back to their places from having been listening at the door]

Sebastian: [Moves quickly into the other room and takes a deep breath. mutters] Thank the heavens. [Address the elves all business] Now, did anyone see anyone (other than us [motions to the party] ) enter that room who wasn't supposed to go into that room or at a time that he or she or they weren't supposed to go into that room...or anyone enter that room that looked especially shifty or suspicious (beady eyes, greasy black mustache, bottle of [air quotes] tainter...that sort of thing) or generally up to no good or at a time that would indicate behaviour that was shifty or suspicious? [pauses with pen poised over paper, hanging on every word]

Slim: Maybe it was either someone disguised as an elf or maybe someone who can make themselves invisible. [Offhandedly] My brother could do that. He was good at that. He could make a dragon appear out of thin air. Use to scare the crap out of me until I had him wake up one morning with a smiling corpse next to him.

Alice : Was that the day he lost his virginity?

Fin : [Waits until Sebastian is finished] No.

Sebastian: [To Slim] Your brother lost his virginity to a corpse?! [Turns to a page in the back of his journal and scribbles furiously. Then turns back to the original page writes slowly.] Nooooo. Okay. [Looks back at the other elves.] Anyone else see anything suspicious?

Slim: [looks shockingly at Fin] Fin? You and Stump?

Fin : [Glares at Slim] No.

Billy : No offence, but this bogus! What the hell kind of help is this? What have you got so far? [Snatches the notebook from Sebastian's hand and reads] "No". Useless!

Alice : [Snatches the book from Billy and writes as she's talking] No offence, but Billy is an [to the party] how do you spell asshole?

Sebastian: A-S-S-H-O-L-E. [Lets Alice write it down, then holds out his hand for his journal] Those are my private thoughts, dear. Please give them back. [To Billy] No offense...but you aren't helping.

Alice : Sheesh! [Slaps the book back to Sebastian] Excuse me!

Billy : No offence, but neither are you.

Sebastian: [Sighs and sits down on one seats in the room, flips to another page in his journal and begins writing. Looks up briefly and addresses Austin] It's all yours, dear. [Goes back to writing]

Austin : Please do not address me as dear. [To the elves] Do you know of anyone who would wish you harm?

Scarlett : No one! We're the beautiful people, everyone loves us!

Clint: Somebody didn't love you, toots. [Takes a look at Billy.] Hard as that is to imagine. [To the group.] This is getting us nowhere. Either one of these losers did it, in which case he's really stupid, or someone else is on the train. Why don't we search the damn thing?

Slim: Scarlett, not everyone loves BEAUTIFUL people. Why else would they turn BEAUTIFUL people into something that is only seen on the boob tube late at night. I mean, come on. Get it through your thick skull that somebody has something out for you all. Piss off any wizards? Clerics? Mothers? You are hiding something. Nobody messes with making that stuff look like a hard nights hurl. Nobody. Unless they are after something. Come. On. Spit it out.

[SCARLETT runs to a corner of the room crying.]

Fin : [Stands up very close to Slim, dead calm] We have never [disdainfully does finger quotes] messed with anyone. Whoever is doing this is clearly psychotic. [To Clint] You are free to search the carriage, but there is no one else here.

[The carriage stops, and there's a knock on the door that BRENDAN went out through.]

Sebastian: [Closes his journal and walks over to Scarlett] It's okay, dear. We know it's not easy being beautiful don't we? Chin up. [goes back to scribbling in his journal]

Scarlett : It's not easy not being beautiful either!

[NICOLE opens the door, and BRENDAN is here once again.]

Brendan : [Now wearing a backwards baseball cap] Yo, dudes, we're just outside Paranoia. Wanna speed passed them? There are a lot of people there.

Smock: [Excited] Oh yeah! Let's go really, really, really fast! [Trots over to Brendan] I want a hat like yours!

Brendan : Isn't it cool? Look! [Turns it around so the others can see that it says "Humans Do It Better" on the front] Rad, isn't it?

Slim: [Goes to open his mouth, then shuts it, spits out a bug] I agree with Smm..Smmmm..Smock. FASTER!

Smock: [To Slim] My name only has one 'Sm', mister.

Slim: [Stuttering] I...I'm [with a bit more confidence] Smock. [bows his head and turns away embarrassed, wobbling just a bit]

Brendan : [To Smock] Who's the old dude?

Sebastian: [Looks up from his scribbling] Oh, his name is Austin. He's a lawyer [looks to the elves] if you need know...for...[makes a waving motion toward them] know.

Austin : [Glances briefly at his nails before smiling at Sebastian] I see your memory is once again not functioning too well. How convenient.

Smock: Uh, sure... Are you okay? Don't faint again. It's really un-hero-like.

Nicole : Yes, Brendan, I think you better just keep on going. Not too fast, please. And Brendan, we've spoken to you about that hat before.

Brendan : Yes, [over dramatically, and clearly for Smock's benefit] your majesty!

Smock: [Frowns at Sebastian] Austin is not old! [Shrugs at Brendan] Some dude who turned up and busted in on the bad guys. Now he's chillin' with us. [Confidentially] He's been buggin' a lot though.

Slim: [trying his best not to pass out] I...will try not to. [smiles and stare at her up and down, turns and steadies himself against a wall] Are you of royalty? [working as hard as he can not to fall over]

Brendan : [Nods and smiles at Smock's words] Looks like the grey's inside and out, [does a lame rap pose] Slip slop insop, know what I mean? [Laughs]

Smock: [Clearly not understanding, but smiling anyway] Totally! [To Slim] What are you talking about now?

Brendan : Come on, Smock! You been hanging out with these squares too long? I'm talking about the grey, on the 'side and out!

Smock: [Glances at Slim, then grins at Brendan] No worries, I be down wit'choo. But don't diss me homies. They're da bomb!

Brendan : [Holds up his hands] Hey! Don't slammin' no scrumb! I just got a whip wax flip flop upside my head!

Clint: [Looming] Get lost, creep. Don't you have a train to drive or something?

Sebastian: [Snaps his head up from his journal] Oh God! I hope not! He's not our he?

Brendan : [Nudges Smock, nodding at Sebastian] This old guy's harshin' my glinker. [Loudly and slowly to Clint] Yes, Grandad.

[Exit BRENDAN, closing the door after him.]

Nicole : So, do you have any idea who it could be? Everyone loves us, and we're all so nice.

Sebastian: Does the [air quotes] home-boy get to leave his post whenever he wants to? That seems a bit dangerous.

Alice : [Nods] Especially if the carriage is moving at the time.

Nicole : Oh, he can only come in here when one of us let him in.

Billy : No offence, but he's [with some distaste] a human.

Sebastian: Did anyone let him in the night the Nascency Fluid was tainted?

Clint: And does anyone know what it was tainted with?

Nicole : That's part of the problem! It seems to have been tainted over time, and we have no idea with what.

Slim: I'm telling you, somebody was invisible. Especially if over time. Who it could be, don't know. But a good spell or several potions would do the trick.

Billy : No offence, but that's a stupid suggestion. This is a small carriage, there's no way someone would be able to avoid detection, never mind come and go through all those locks.

Alice : [Writing in her own notebook] Locks? On the canal, is it?

Billy : Yes. On the canal.

Smock: Canal? What? I'm telling you, that gross stuff has just started to go rotten!

Austin : So. Who else has even been in the Love Train in the time prior to the Nascency Fluid going bad? For that matter, when did it start to happen?

Nicole : A few weeks ago, I suppose, and no one else has been on board, at least, not on their own. When we travel to other towns we either leave the carriage, or have people on board.

Smock: [Jumping up and down and waving her arms] Hello? I already told you what happened!

Nicole : Perhaps you could remind us of what you said?

Smock: I said the fluid's gone rotten. You've probably got algae or something growing in there or it's curdled or the magic has been corrupted. Why can't you just die anyway? It's not natural to keep on like that. [Gives a look of distaste at the living corpses]

Clint: C'mon, kid, they don't look that different from any other "beautiful person" who's been caught without makeup. [To Nicole] Anyway, when you leave the carriage behind, what's to keep anyone from sneaking on? And has anyone explained why you don't look like the rest of them yet?

Billy : No offence, but you're an idiot. We know that it's been corrupted, what we want to know is how, and by whom.

Alice : And why! And where, and when. [Sits back and folds her arms] Who, how, why, what and how. [Thinks for a moment] No, that's not right. [Counts on her fingers] Who, how, why, what, when and how. Well, something like that, anyway.

Gwynnie : Oh, Smock, on the contrary, it is natural to stay alive, being reborn every time you get harmed. What is unnatural is wasting away the way humans do.

Nicole : But, but I am affected in the same way.

Fin : One of us always stays in the carriage and keeps it securely locked. We know for a fact that no one sneaks on.

Clint: [To Nicole] Yeah yeah, whatever you say toots. Prove it. [Shakes his head.] Anyway, if you know that someone did something to your Nascency Fluid, and you know that no one sneaks on, then obviously one of you did it. Or else you don't know what you think you know. You know?

Fin : Maybe [emphasis] you don't know that we know that we think we know? Nicole is as affected as any one of us. As soon as she returns to the fluid, she too will be affected.

Slim: Not trying to be a genious or anything, but I would not go back to the fluid if I were you.

Nicole : I won't, as long as I have a choice.

[Time passes.]

Alice : Hm?

Nicole : I said, I won't, as long as I have a choice.

Slim: I think the choice is obvious. You don't do it. Why would you think otherwise?

Fin : Because when elves die, they return to their Nascency Fluid.

Clint: Oh yeah. So what killed the rest of you, then?

Fin : Suicide. Rebirthing is normally a very pleasurable experience.

Slim: [slowly] OK. And you said WHO were the perfect people? I would say that although suicide might be painless, if you are doing it for pleasure, then you all are missing a bit upstairs.

Billy : No offence, but you're an idiot. We said that we're beautiful, not perfect, and we said that rebirthing is pleasurable, not the act of suicide.

Clint: [Impatiently] This is getting us nowhere! All you've told us is that your Nascency Fluid is corrupted, but that it's impossible for anyone but you people to get at that crap. Oh, and that after you freaks killed yourselves so you could get your rebirthing fix, you came out looking like that. And since you're all vain as hell, it can't be any of you who did this. [Rhetorically] It can't all be true, can it?

Austin : [Raises an eyebrow] Well put, Mr. Scar. There is an obvious flaw in their story. [To the elves] I say obvious, because Mr. Scar knows it's there.

Fin : [Nods at Clint's words] It appears not. This isn't the first time that Nascency Fluid has been poisoned. It happened in Euphoria itself too, just not to the same extent. The fluid there is even more secure than it is here.

Slim: Ok. So. [aggrivated] WHAT in the world was done to correct THAT!

Nicole : Well, actually, it coincided with the arrival of your friends in Euphoria.

Slim: [aggrivated] Did you not understand my question. WHAT WAS THE SOLUTION!

Fin : [Dead calm] I did understand your question. I just don't know the answer. Perhaps you should ask them?

Smock: Don't get so angry mister Slim! [To the party] So what did you do last time? And how come you haven't already fixed it now?

Alice : [Shrugs] Idunno. We took the wand off them, and made them stop drinking that brandy that was distilled from humans.

Smock: Well there you go! You just have to stop drinking brandy! [Folds her arms and gives and Austin-smug smile] Problem solved!

Billy : No offence, but you're an idiot. Of course we stopped drinking the brandy.

[The carriage suddenly skids to a halt, sending everyone flying and landing in a heap.]

[Book V, Act IX, Scene III. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, SEBASTIAN, SMOCK, SLIM, NICOLE, GWYNNIE, BILLY, TIM and SCARLETT are here, piled up in a heap.]

Alice : Ew! Who's hand is that in my mouth?

Scarlett : [Quite a distance from Alice] Mine!

Nicole : Oh no! Gwynnie's dead!

Clint: [Trying to sit up] What the hell just happened? [To Nicole] And what's the problem there? She'll come back, right?

Nicole : Yes, but more zombified than before!

Alice : [Spits out Scarlett's hand] No wonder you're all zombies if Brendan keeps killing you!

Sebastian: Have we arrived?

Alice : I hope so - Euphoria's a lovely place. [Gets up and pulls back a curtain, revealing that there are at least ten Morcs crowded at the window, wielding torches, hatchets and swords, before closing the curtain again and turning to the party] Of course, it may have gone down a bit since we were last here.

Billy : Of course not, you fool! We've crashed! Look! [Points at the crash light, which hasn't lit up]

Alice : What's wrong with that?

Billy : It got broken in the crash.

Clint: Don't worry about it, poet. You get used to being set on by angry mobs in this line of work. That's, what, the third this week?

Billy : [To Sebastian] No offence, but I was calling you a fool, you fool.

Austin : [To Clint] Tsk. And they don't even have an appointment.

Sebastian: [To Billy, upbeat] Oh! Well, that's okay then. [To Clint and Austin] Oh, I'm fine with the angry mob...I just don't anyone to die. [with dramatic bravado] Shall we go out and meet them? Cut them down upon their own soil? [regular voice] Or, you know, just wait for them to come kill us here?

Alice : [Pointing at part of the carriage that is clearly being bashed with something huge] Or, we could dither long enough to not have a choice.

Slim: I agree with Sebastian. We should soil them well.

Clint: [Looks where Alice is pointing.] No way in hell are we staying in here! C'mon guys, everybody out! Maybe we'll get lucky and those morcs were soil themselves?

Alice : [Draws her sword] Let's smite some Morcs!

Nicole : But what about our Nascency Fluid?

Slim: [pulling out a dagger] Praying to your gods might be a start. A good coffee filter might work as well. [Slim follows Alice]

Nicole : We don't have gods - we [emphasis] are gods!

[GWYNNIE disappears with a puff of smoke.]

Clint: Huh. [Glances at where Gwynnie was.] Well, one "god" is dead. So... [Steps out of the carriage after Alice and Slim.]

Smock: [To Nicole] You wish! [Bustles out after Clint]

Alice : [Now at the outside door] Hey! We're locked in!

[Enter GWYNNIE, looking even more decayed than before.]

Gwynnie : Now do you understand? --- F \ No newline at end of file

Sebastian: Farewell, beautiful ones! [follows along behind the Party]

Clint: [To Gwynnie.] Yeah, well, sorry toots, but we've got bigger problems right now than you getting even uglier! [Flexes his door-kicking foot.] Step aside, Bimbo!

Alice : [Theatrically shaking the door] Let us out! Let us out!

Morcs : [On the other side, also shaking the door] Let us in! Let us in!

[SEBASTIAN's spell takes effect on AUSTIN.]

Austin : [Bows politely to Sebastian] Thank you.

Smock: Wait, Clint! You have to be full strength to be the best hero you can be! [Places her hands on Clint's arm and mutters some arcane words]

[The rest of the elves come in to look as CLINT gets healed by SMOCK.]

Nicole : What are you doing? You haven't got a chance!

Alice : Oh please. How bad could it be?

Updated Map

Clint: You had to say it, didn't you?

Alice : Hey! It could have been worse - I could have said "God himself can't stop us from getting out of this carriage."

[The elves are clearly terrified, and are all holding onto each other.]

Nicole : [To the party] Aren't you frightened? We're all going to die, for ever!

Clint: [Bravely] Nah. It's just a fuckton of morcs, you know. We can always out-think them or something. [To Austin] How would you like to go cheat a bunch of morcs, lawyer?

Austin : [Calmly flicking a speck of dust off his sleeve as the carriage is rocked back and forth] There is nothing I would like more. However, I suspect it may be difficult to get them to listen to reason.

Nicole : You must do something! You have something, right? Some secret weapon hidden away that will save us all? across the Morcs

Clint: [To Nicole] Working on it, babe! Give us a minute! [To Austin] Maybe if you tried speaking their language? "We come in peace, ooga booga," that sort of thing?

Sebastian: [To Clint] Certainly they would listen to us. They seem to be passionate creatures, who would understand our heartfelt mission.

Morc : [Throwing himself at the window, hitting it hard with his face, covering it in saliva, blood and snot] Ragapagabaga!

Austin : [To Clint] Perhaps, Mr. Scar, you might be better at speaking to them? As far as I remember, they are able to understand us, it was simply that they chose not to. However, I believe that we had already decided on an [casts a quick glare at the cowering elves] heroic bid for freedom. [Takes off his glove, revealing his skeletal finger]

Sebastian: [Glances at the Morc sadly] Anger and rage most intense the passion for the kill Feeling ev'ry warrior sense and sending quite a chill body oozing fluid death eyes glow of wanton hate poison vapor is your breath i fear we've sealed our fate

Slim: Well, at least if we are going to die, lets die with a poem. Good god man, what are you thinking? [Sticks tongue at Morc]

Alice : Don't stick your tongue out at the rampaging horde, it'll just make them angry! lead the way, so

Austin : [Glances at the snot and blood running down the window] And we don't want to make them angry.

Clint: Of course we don't want to make those sick freaks angry. We want to make them go away! [Rhetorically] Ready? [Kicks open the door and leads the way.]

Austin : [To Sebastian] After you. You have a much better chance of scaring them away than I. [Holds his skeletal finger up ready for action]

Smock: [Comes away from pulling faces at the Morcs, to Austin] But you have a better chance of smiting them!

Clint: But the poet has a better chance of making them want to kill themselves!

Austin : [Nodding at Clint's sage words] Or at least making them run away.

Smock: Maybe Clint can just assimilate into their group and defeat them from the inside! [To Clint] You shouldn't need much disguise since you've already got the smell and crudeness going.

Clint: [With a wink for Nicole] Maybe, but you're forgetting about my good looks!

Austin : Unfortunatley I do not believe the Morcs are stupid enough to mistake Mr Scar as one of their own. [To Nicole] How does one make or obtain nascency fluid? These Morcs all have it too, perhaps we could use that to our advantage.

Sebastian: [Gives Smock a slightly crestfallen glance. To Austin. Heartfelt] YOU think *I* could *really* scare them off? [Stands up a little straighter with pride.] You do the intellectual attack then. [Nods at Clint] We'll go rough them up. Ready when you are. [Giggles to Alice] Isn't this exciting? I've always wanted to write about and epic battle. What better way than to experience it from the inside!

Austin : [Briefly checks his nails. Looks across the Morc horde. Sighs. To Sebastian and Clint] Before you plunge to your certain deaths, perhaps you would like to consider the fact that I have another rather cunning plan to save our lives.

Sebastian: [Looks a little longingly at the door] Perhaps we'll have to hold them off while your cunning plan does it's magic? [To Clint] We should at least be ready, right?

Clint: [Having already lead the way, after all...] A little help here guys?

Alice : I think it's probably a bit late for that, Aus. [To Seb] To be honest, I think experiencing it from the sideline would be much better. Chaaaarge! [Storms after Clint, swinging her sword around] won't use the normal least hurts if not a quarter and

Sebastian: [To Ausin] Are you going to join us?

Smock: I knew you'd have a plan Austin! [To Seb] Let's go! [Runs in after Alice] Weee!

Nicole : [As Clint, Smock and Alice disappear out into the horde] No! Don't leave us!

Alice : Yeeeeeha! [Slices through a bunch of Morcs, although gets hit a few times too] ### Alice lose 14hp

Sebastian: [Yells to Smock] Do be careful, Little Sister! [Runs into the fray sword swinging.] ###Sebastian Lose 8hp [Enter COARSE and GALL, two Morcs who lead the group that captured the party back in Book III, Act VII, pushing their way to the party.]

Gall : That's them! Get them! [Hits Sebastian, knocking him down]

Coarse : One! [Slices his sword across Sebastian's throat] ### Sebastian lose 37 hp

Sebastian: For a moment I thought we were going to be in trouble. [pulls Sir Archie to his chest, and looks for Smock]

Clint: [Still struggling through the morc horde.] Hey! He's one of ours, you bastards! Only we're allowed to do that to him! ### Clint loses 20 hp

Austin : [From the top of the train, shoots at Coarse. To the Morcs] Beware Morcs! We are contaminated with a nascency fluid virus! Touch us and you will be contaminated! Run for you lives!

Sebastian: [Gets that faraway look in his eyes. Opens his mouth to speak, then goes still]

Alice : Hey! Come on, Seb!

[ALICE is hauled down under a pile of MORCs and disappears.]

Smock: Sebastian! [Carves a path through to Sebastian, taking a fair share of hits] Don't die! [Drops to her knees beside Seb] Someone has to write about our adventures! And you haven't forced any of these guys to suicide yet.

[A bunch of Morcs converge on SMOCK, pulling her to the ground.]

Clint: Dammit! [Wipes some blood from his face, looks between Alice and Smock, and starts cutting his way towards the latter.] Hold on, kid! I'll be there in a... [takes one blow too many] Oh, hell. [Goes down.] ### Clint loses 15 hp

Austin : Alice! [Takes a running jump from the train, diving into the Morcs where Alice dissapears, turning ten Morcs into dust with a wide swipe of his skeletal finger] Arrrrrrruuugh! [Screams in pain, grimacing turns to attack more Morcs and find Alice] Alice!

Billy : [Peers out of the carriage] No offence, but they're a bunch of idiots. They should have stayed in the safety of the carriage with us.

[The carriage is almost immediately set alight.]

[Book V, Act IX, Scene IV. A cramped cell. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, SMOCK and SLIM are here, squashed into a cell that can comfortably fit three. Everyone is quite badly beaten, but alive.]

Alice : [Wakes up with a start] Where are we? Ow! [Bangs her head off the wall]

Austin : [To Alice] We're in a prison. [Flicks a cockroach off his sleeve frowning, tries best to clean up, dabbing his cuts with a handkerchief]

Alice : Gee, thanks, Aus. [Looks around] Where's Seb?

Clint: [Sullenly] I think those bastards murdered him!

Smock: I'll help you, Austin. [Makes a concerted effort to wipe most of the blood off her hands on to her shirt which is equally filthy. Wriggles past Slim to get to Austin and reaches out to heal him. To Alice] Maybe the uglies didn't kill us because they want to harvest us too.

Clint: Maybe they're just saving us for later. We need to get out of this god damn cage. [Tries the door]

[As SMOCK's spell takes effect, CLINT tries the door and finds it locked.]

Alice : Why would they keep us and not Seb?

Smock: [Worriedly] Maybe they're already harvesting him! He is the most emotional of all of us! [Yells out, shaking the bars] Hey uglies! What have you done with Sebastian!?

Alice : Well, what I meant was why did they kill him? Surely he can't be harvested after that?

Clint: Maybe they're literary critics and hated his poems, Phili rest his soul. [Snorts.] They're morcs, Bimbo. Do they need a reason to kill someone?

Alice : No, but they need a reason to [emphasis] not kill someone!

Austin : [To Smock] Thanks. [Squeezes over to the door and tries to pick the lock] Perhaps Sebastian escaped? Perhaps he offered some help to the Morcs inorder to secure his release?

Alice : Unlikely. I'm pretty sure I saw him get cut very badly. Anyway, when would he have had the opportunity?

Smock: [Beams at Austin] You're welcome. [To Alice] Maybe the Morcs will make him better so that they can harvest him. Or maybe they just left him at the train.

Austin : [Still trying to pick the lock/ open the door] Perhaps Archie charmed the morcs into letting him go or venerating him as some form of demi deity. But I think it's more likely that Archie went invisible and escaped.

Clint: Speaking of escaping... Can you get the lock or can't you?

Smock: [To Clint] Of course he can! Austin's the bestest lock picker ever! [To Austin] Isn't that right?

Austin : [To Smock] Absolutley. If I can't pick it, no one can. [Winks at Smock. Tries his skeletal finger at picking the lock too]

Clint: [Busily picking his ear] I'd be careful about the way I say that kind of thing, Sleaze...

Austin : [Looks at Clint with a curious expression] Why, pray tell?

Clint: [Pulls his finger out of his ear.] Because some people might take it as a challenge, but not know what you're picking! [Waggles his waxy finger for emphasis.]

Austin : [To Clint] Just as well there is such a gulf of a difference between "can't" and "won't"

Smock: Well, I do think you might be best at picking your nose, Clint. Maybe you could smear it on one of these bars and see if it eats through!

Slim: I might like dead people and playing with the dead, but snot nuggets on metal just creep me out.

Smock: [To Slim] Ew! Dead people? That's gross. How is that fun?

Alice : It's probably less gross than the things that Clint regularly sticks his fingers into!

[AUSTIN fails to pick the lock. Meanwhile, enter COARSE and GALL, the Morcs who killed SEBASTIAN, dragging a human, CHARLES "FREE" WHITTAKER VI with them. They open another cell beside the party's one and throw FREE in there.]

Coarse : [Holding a bloodstained Sir Archie] What about this one?

Gall : Let's take him up to the leader for questioning.

Slim: There is life after death. Just not in the sense most understand. It really is [looks at Smock] uh...well...[gets a blushed look on his face]...n...n...nothing rrrr...really. [looks as though if he could pass out, he would, but with no room, just stares at Smock]

Free: He is but a poor innocent brought down by The Man. His soul is free now, man, like the birds. [Takes and assessing look around his cell] This is not cool. [Notices the party] Oh far-out! I've been looking for you. And there you are. This is beautiful, man.

Alice : Oh? And who are you? [Looks around for a moment before leaning over and speaking more quietly] Say, do you have any cheese?


Clint: [Dubiously] Who the hell are you? Man.

Clint: [Dubiously] Who the hell are you? Man.

Free: [Looks after the exiting brutes] Sadly, no. My cheese has been taken from me. I hope whoever took it is enjoying it. I'm sure they needed a little chilling out, though. So good for them. [Flashes a "peace" sign with his fingers] I'm known as Free. I've been tracking you for a while now. Peter told me you were down here, so I figured "why not?" How did you find yourselves being oppressed by the Morc Machine?

Slim: [Nausia leaving] The beautiful people decided to stop by the Morcs for a chat.

Alice : We were trying to get to Euphoria when the Morcs attacked. They set fire to the beautiful people and killed Sebastian. [Holds a hand up, as though telling everyone to be quiet, and then points off into the distance with her other one, and groovy Beat type music starts up] Sebastian, dead, [Drawn out] Drag. Sebastian, dead, [Drawn out] Drag. Sebastian, dead, [Brightly] Free!

Austin : [To Free, excitedly] Peter! Is he here? Is he going to rescue us? [Trying to get on Free's level] He's soooo great, I mean like, man, you know what I mean, man?

Alice : [Clearly disappointed with the lack of thunderous applause, but bravely tries to cover it up] So, er, Free, how come you were tracking us? And how did you do it? Was it the [lowers her voice, and points at Clint, covering up her pointing hand with her other one] S - M - L?

Free: [To Alice] Sebastian Waugh? That's too bad, man. He was groovy. Beautiful soul. He's free now though, man. Free of The Man. [nods his head to the beat of the music] Good song, sister. I think he'd like that. [To Austin] Hey man, don't hurt yourself there, know? You're the lawyer, right? We'll get you going down a more enlightened path, man. Don't worry. Your spirit will be free. Peter's not coming. He just pointed me in the right direction. A regular beacon of truth and light, that know?

Alice : Thanks [sounding a little stilted] man. Hey, I've got my extra secret cheese stash, no one would ever look for it there. [Slips her hand down her shirt and feels around, before suddenly paling] Hey!

Austin : [To Alice] I think you need a cheeryer subject matter for your lyrics. The fact that one of us has recently fallen in battle is not the most uplifting of lyrical subjects. But appart from that it was "groovy". [Looks concered. To Free] Am I on a bad path?

Alice : So anyway, you were about to tell us why you were tracking us?

Free: [Sways again to the beat] Naww, man, it's fitting to write a song about Sebastian's death. Art was born from his blood...he'd love that. He's in the spirit world now, smiling down on you and writing a thank-you poem. [Stops swaying. To Austin] Yeah, man...Law is an instrument of The Man. It's supposed to protect freedom...but it just takes it away, brother. Lawyers are the mouthpiece of Oppression. I know you didn't know, man. I'll help you see the truth. [To Alice] I was tracking you so I could catch up with you, sister.

Alice : Aaaaand why do you want to catch up with us, er, sister?

Austin :[Looking most perplexed. Whispers to Alice] I 'm quite sure he's a man. [Normal voice. To Free] The Man? What man? Do you mean Seth or Phili or someone? [Even more perplexed] And how can you have a society without lawyers and law? Outlaws would run amock, anarchy would rule. We'd be no more than savages, scraping at the earth for food.

Free: Oh, I'm not a Sister, sister. Speaking of which, aren't you missing a couple of partymembers? I came for help. I need you to help me help Dangsten, man. His soul is in some serious trouble.

Free: [Totally chilled out, trying to convince Austin.] Nah, man. The rules are what make the criminals...not the other way around man. Think about a free society, there would be no rules to there would be no criminals, you know? Look around, have laws really kept order? No way, man, the laws just keep the free man down. Don't worry, it's a lot to see, man. The veil will be lifted from you eyes. \

Alice : [Bursts out laughing at Austin's words] Oh, Austin, you are funny!

[Enter COARSE and GALL, dragging something behind them. They step up near the cell.]

Coarse : The leader said that we aren't to harm you. [Turns to Free] Not you. We can torture you.

Austin : [To Free] So you believe that it is okay that these Morcs can torture you without breaking any laws! [Looks at Free in disbelief] Ridiculous!

Free: It's the laws and rules and oppression that have made them this way, man. The shackles of The Man is what leads to violence. It's a free man's nature to walk the spiritual path of goodness and light. Society teaches him to hate. [To the Morcs] I know you are just slaves to your master, man. Break the chains that bind you, and set your souls free, brother. You don't have to live in this downer groove.

Coarse : [Laughs] You must be joking! The master will lead us to triumphant victory.

Gall : In the meantime, you can get to watch us torture your friend.

[They drag a chair into view, which has a blood soaked SIR ARCHIE tied to it.]

Gall : [Leaning in close to Sir Archie] I'm gonna cut you up good, and I'm going to love hear you scream.

Archie : [Says nothing, but stares impassively forwards]

Gall : Tough guy, eh?

Clint: The master? Get him over here so I can kick his ass!

Coarse : Not until you see your friend here beg for mercy! [Punches Sir Archie]

Archie : [Stares into space, as though he didn't even feel it]

[COARSE and GALL exchange surprised looks.]

Slim: That's it Archie, use the force!

Free: He's in his zone. You can't hurt him anymore, his mind is free.

Coarse : [Takes out his sword] Let's see how cool you are after this. [Starts to cut through one of Sir Archie's ears, before turning to the party with a wink] Prepare to hear some screaming.

[Unnoticed by COARSE and GALL, the rope binding ARCHIE to the chair slow unties itself, and suddenly grips onto COARSE.]

Coarse : [Screaming like a girl] Aiiieeee!

Free: [To the party] He didn't lie. [To Coarse and Gall] You can't stop a free mind. [Gives Clint an assessing look] You're the biggest as strongest, right? Ready for a fight?

Clint: I can take 'em!

[CLINT slowly turns to a gaseous form and begins drifting out through the bars.]

Archie : [Says nothing, but his eyes seem to take on a look of smug satisfaction.]

Coarse : Noooo! [Runs away, still with the chair tied to him, causing him to fall several times]

Gall : [Surveys the party members, before pointing at Free] It must be you. The Master said the others would be too dumb to cast spells.

Alice : Hey!

Gall : Can you cast any?

Alice : [Sulkily] No.

Clint: [To Gall, trying to act like a ghost and failing miserably.] Ooooh... Souls...

Free: Hey, may take a Chill Cheesarette. I'm sure you have some stashed on you somewhere.

Slim: Who you calling to dumb to cast a spell. Lets see you cast one from that fat head of yours.

Gall : [Turns and runs to one wall, slipping as he does, but keeping his balance, before turning to the party] Parlour tricks! [Starts ringing a bell]

Slim: [Disgusted] Parlor trick! From the looks of what is oozing through your pants, you've created a parlour trick. [starts laughing]

Smock: [Defiantly] I can do magic too!

Free: [Gives a blissful nod] Groovy. Maybe you could help heal the physical bodies of your fellow man in there. Bob, please go get that sword and bring it over to me.

[The discarded sword floats into the air.]

Gall : [Looks down at his own stained pants] No, that's not a parlour trick, it's urine.

Austin : [To the spell casters, indignantly] If you're all so good at casting spells why don't you heal Mr Scar and the rest of us, as Ms Smock has done, instead of wasteing your talents in petty competitions of making the floor slippery or scaring the Morcs. [If Austin gets close enough he'll stab the morcs with his skeletal finger]

Smock: [Frowning at Free] Don't tell me what to do! [Beams at Austin] Sure, Austin! [Goes to heal Alice]

Austin : [To Smock] Good work there, cadet. The colonel would be proud. [Straightens and already perfect cuff]

Clint: [Waiting impatiently to turn solid again.] Let me at him! Let me at him!

Slim: Some people just don't appreciate a little help...Austin. [Pissed off at being thought of as nothing more than a palour mage] Fine, you want

[ALICE's wounds heal somewhat, as a large ghostly hand floats up from SLIM. Meanwhile AUSTIN slides across the floor and collides with GALL, managing to stab him with his finger as he does, causing both GALL and AUSTIN to cry out in pain. GALL disappears in a puff of dust, while AUSTIN falls to the ground, clutching his shoulder.]

Alice : Well done Aus! [To the others] Let's get out of here before any more come!

Austin : [To Slim] Help is always appreciated Mr Slim, however frivolus showboating is not. [Watching Slim cast another spell] I didn't ask for magic, I asked for discipline, thoughtful use of power, not petty competitions.

Slim: [makes spectral hand move fingers into an inappropriate sign of being number 1 for Austin using wrong finger] No competitions here. Just power. [looking at Free] And Love.

Free: [To Austin, very chilled out] Hey, man...don't feel like a lesser person because you don't do magic. You have skills, too. That's one groovy finger you have there brother. [Passes the sword th/the bars to Alice. To Smock.] Awww, I wasn't telling you what to do little sister. I don't have the power to heal, I just looked at your beautiful aura and knew you could.

Alice : [Takes the sword] Thanks Free, maybe you might want to check on Austin? [Glances at Slim's finger gesture] Good to see we're not wasting time on parlour tricks.

[GALL's sword and a bunch of keys remain in the dust.]

Clint: [Happier now that he's solid.] Good job guys! [Picks up the sword and the keys and unlocks the door. Turns to Austin.] You okay, lawyer?

Free: Bob, please bring me those keys. [To Clint, but eyeing Austin.] Sorry, for the freak-out, man. I wanted to get someone through through the bars. You looked like you could take care of yourself if something happened to me and you solidified. That dude looks bad. Are there any healing potions in that dust, man?

[The keys float over to FREE.]

Alice : [Finds a metal cup and begins to rattle it theatrically against the bars] Let us out! Let us out!

Free: Thank you, Bob. [Takes the keys and starts trying them in the lock on his door. Glances sideways at Alice and chuckles.] Exactly. You tell The Man, sister. Could you perhaps tear off a bit of bedsheet and hold it through the bars?

Austin : [Gasping for breath] I'm okay. [Recovers a bit, leaning most uncharacteristically against the cell] I don't know how often I'll be able to use my finger. I seem to absorb about a fifth of the wound that I inflict. [Grimaces as he stands up straight, dusting himself down] Let's get out of here!

Alice : Sorry, Free, no bedsheet here.

[FREE unlocks the cells, and soon everyone is free.]

Alice : [To Austin] How's the pointy bit on your shoulder?

Free: [Looks at the battered group, then glances around the room] Hey, man. I don't know what we are will find out there...and I'm not sure you guys are in shape to run into any more tools of oppression. Maybe Bob and I should go find some healing potion and come back. It looks like this may be a good place for you to hold up.

Austin : [To Alice, with a deep and serious] My Aspect is one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. [Frowns] I'm not overly keen on it. It rather spoils the hang of one's attire.

Alice : Maybe you could drape a jaunty shawl over it? [To Free] Not such a good idea. Surely he rang that bell to get more Morcs to come? [Thinks] Or maybe it was to get them to run away?

Clint: [Scoffs] Not a chance. Let's find our stuff and get out of here!

Free: [To Alice] That's cool, sister. I'm just afraid our brother with the groovy finger may be on his last legs. [To Austin] You cool, to carry on then, man? [Pockets the keys from Gall. To Alice] What do you think? I can take the lead and you can guard from behind? We seem to be the healthiest.

Slim: We could always make sure the lock is broken, get back into the cell if we hear sounds aproaching, and whistle as though nothing has happened. Might be funny to watch them slip and slide on the grease as well.

Alice : We could say that Sir Archie did it! [To Free] If we do go, let's both go in front, as we're more likely to meet someone there.

Free: That's cool, sister. I'm down with that. [Walks over to Sir Archie, picks him up and brushes him off.] Seems a shame to leave such a brave soul behind. Shall we go then? Bob, please come along with us.

Austin : I'll be okay as long as nothing touches me [Siddles into the center of the party]

Alice : And as long as you touch nothing! [To the party] So, are we going to wait in the cells or keep going?

Austin : [Looks terribly pale, eyelids drooping, leans onto Alice for support]

Slim: [hands acting like a scale] Stay and die, leave and die [repeates several times] Leave and die then.

Alice : [Flinching from Austin's touch] That's the good hand, right?

Free: I think we should go, man. This place is bringing me down. We have a better chance of healing Austin if we go. Let's leave it up to him. [To Austin] What do YOU want to do, man?

Austin : [To Free, weakly] I don't want to die in here. I want to die in a beautiful, natural place. [Coughs up some blood]

Alice : Okay, let's get to Euphoria - [enthusiastically] you can die there! [Looks a bit unsure] Uh, well, you know what I mean!

[Exit ALL, lead by ALICE and FREE out of the cave.]

Free: That's the spirit, man. Then we'd better hurry. Okay. Alice and I will take the lead. Clint, you take up the rear...and Smock, please keep a watchful eye on Austin. One more thing, man, I need a length of least 5 feet long. If anyone sees one, please get it for me. Ready?

[Book V, Act IX, Scene VI. The Caves. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, FREE, SLIM and SMOCK are here, having just exited the cave with the cells. This is a corridor cut into the rocks, and has four exits leading off it, each disappearing into darkness. One is the one the party have just come through, one clearly leads down and there is the unmistakable sound of a rampaging horde charging down another.]

Alice : [Gets down and puts her ear to the ground] A horse came through here recently.

Free: That doesn't sound good, man. [Points toward the corridor with the rampaging horde.] Want to try that one? [Points toward the corridor that doesn't lead down, doesn't have the rampaging horde, and doesn't go back to the cells]

Smock: [To Alice] Don't be stupid! No horse in its right mind would be underground! Don't you know anything? [Heals Austin, careful not to touch his skeletal finger]

Austin : [To Free, with feeble breathing] Go for it!

Alice : [Getting up and turning angrily to Smock] Yeah? Then where did this [wipes her ear and shoves her hand towards Smock] horse shit come from?

Smock: [Snidely] It must have leaked out of your ear, just confirming what we already knew you had for brains.

Free: Hey, sister, don't call it "shit", man. That degrades the beauty of nature. We had better get out of here. [Moves toward the indicated corridor]

Alice : [Smiles sweetly at Smock] Well, you're the one who's constantly speaking it, so I guess it's no surprise it's stuck in my ear. what we already knew you had for brains.

Free: [Stops walking toward the corridor, and goes over to Smock and tries to hug her] Come on, sister. Don't tarnish your natural beauty with hurtful comments. We need to get out of here now, man. We'll find some cheesearettes, and we can all chill out. [Continues back toward the corridor.]

Clint: [Amused] Enough, you two! I swear, you must both be on the rag! [Turns towards the passage Free indicated.] Let's get going. This way.

Alice : [Clapping Clint on the back] Sorry, Stinky. [Wipes her hand clean, and is only slightly dismayed to see that Clint's jacket looks marginally cleaner] Okay, [peers down Free's dark passageway] Hm. It's a little dark and cramped, isn't it?

Slim: Hey, don't talk to her like that! Keep that shit to yourself.

Free: Let me see if I can shed some light on the situation, sister. [Walks to the corridor opening]

Alice : [Turns and looks at Slim with a mixture of amusement and surprise, before glancing at Smock for a moment and then turning back to Slim] Hey, back off! She's not a child, she can speak for herself.

Slim: If you would treat here like she was an child, then...well... [imitates the worlds smallest violin] Oh, you might want to...uh [points to a speck of dung next to her mouth]

Alice : [Gives Slim a look that's a mix between sympathy and disgust] As usual, I have no idea what you're talking about. [Turns and looks down the passageway, addressing Free] Looks good!

Slim: [Shouts loudly] Respect! R..E..S..P..E..C..T [to Free] Free, do you have these issues with your women?

Free: I don't own any women, brother. [Looks nervously toward the horde-iddor] You might want to keep your voice down a little, brother, lest we draw some unwanted attention from that. Bob, please walk slowly down the center of this corridor. [Waits for Bob to get in front then starts cautiously down the corridor]

Alice : Oh good idea,Slim. Want to shout a little bit louder to make sure there's no doubt at all that the evil Morcs will find us?

Smock: [To Slim, looking a little uncomfortable with Free's hug] Yeah! I can speak for myself! [Marches off down the corridor] sure there's no doubt at all that the evil Morcs will find us?

Free: [Pauses and looks back at the party] I don't want to bring you guys down, but we really should get moving. Don't forget many of you are almost ready to take that step to the "other side."

Austin : [Just noticing that Smock cast a heal on him. To Smock] Thanks Smock. [As she marches down the coridor] Be careful! There could be traps!

[Enter JEROME, and a large bunch of MORCs, coming around the corridor. GALL, who was just killed by the party, is with him. JEROME is looking very well, and seems to have gained quite a bit of muscle.]

Jerome : [Stops, causing all the Morcs to stop too, and then gives a laugh] Well, you did escape. Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD applauds you.

Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD

Slim: [Goes to tap Smock's shoulder, but hesitates, begins to massage Alices shoulders] Is he good or bad?

Clint: [Eyes Jerome warily.] He's a treacherous bastard, is what he is! [Coldy] Long time, no see Jerry.

Alice : [Pushes Slim away] Get off me, you weirdo!

Jerome : [Gives Clint a wave] Not really, Clint. It was only yesterday! A lot has happened since then, I know. [Gives him a wink] Thanks for the wand, by the way! ### This is true! It's only been a day in game time, although weeks in real time. ### The last time the party saw him, he had given himself up, and asked them ### to kill him. He was sentenced to death by Judge Fudge, and seemed to ### be resigned to it, but Dangsten and Boddy arrived in the nick of time ### and saved him ### The wand he's referring to is Adam's Wand, which the party were going ### to return to the elves in an effort to get them to join the fight with ### Dangsten

Sebastian: Another poor soul lead into evil by The Man, huh? That's too bad, brother. [Looks longing down the corridor. Whispers thoughtfully to himself.] I guess the universe didn't want us to get away, that's why no one would listen to me. [louder] Bob, please wait where you are.

Jerome : Good and Evil are such absolutes. Remember, [cockily] it's all about the balance.

Free: Yeah, man...balance. There's a definite balance in nature, man. You got any cheesearetes, brother? We could chill out a while and talk about balance.

Smock: You're still a traitorous jerk! And we're not going to give you the wand!

Smock: [Agreeing with Free] Yeah! There's no evil in nature!

Jerome : Nope, I'm afraid we don't have time for that. [A little sheepishly] I'm afraid I'm going to have to kill Alice. The rest of you can leave, though.

Alice : Hey!

Jerome : [Shrugs] Sorry, I'd prefer not to, but you're the Link. ### Alice has been referred to as "the link between good and evil" ### several times in the game, but this has never been properly ### explained. ### It has also been claimed (and in most cases proven) that ### all the party members (not including Free and Slim) ### who have played a major part in proceedings have ### committed an evil act in the past

Slim: So gang, what do you say if we just turn around and go down another passage? This one is occupied. We could restore the balance that way.

Jerome : [To Smock] I'm not a traitor, I'm a traveller. On the Path, just like all the rest of you. And I already have the wand.

Free: "The Link", man? That sounds groovy. Let's light up some cheesearettes, and you can explain how she's the Link. We can meditate on the truths of good and evil, and our place in the universe, brother. Just look at these beautiful rocks, man. We are surrounded by the beauty of nature. We should just chill and enjoy it, you know?

Slim: And the beautiful people thought [emphasis] I was a moron. [realizing what he said] Did I say that out loud. We should probably run, or I could just do one of my [finger quotes] parlour tricks.

Smock: [To Slim] Heroes don't run away! [To Jerome] And Alice is on our team, so you're not allowed to kill her, fathead! [Steps in front of Alice protectively]

Jerome : I can kill her fat head if I want to. [To Slim] Do one of your parlour tricks. Please. It would amuse Dr. Jerome K. Trindle to see what you think is impressive.

Clint: You know we're going to keep you from hurting her, Jerry. And it's going to be impressive.

Austin : [To Jerome, quietly and calmly] It's not too late you know.

Free: Yeah, man. There's no reason for violence. Violence is an instrument of The Man, brother. You've got to get off this oppressive path you're walking on now, and learn how to be truly free again. It's not to late for you, man. It's not too late for you to be the man you want to be...let that beautful soul that's in you float out, man. Let it free.

Jerome : I [emphasis] am the man!

Slim: Hmmm. A parlour trick. Ok. How about this one.

[JEROME holds up his hand, causing the lights that FREE cast in the tunnel to disappear. Nothing seems to happen as a result of SLIM's spell.]

Jerome : Not so good.

Slim: Man. That wasn't cool. What gave you the right to do that? You asked for a trick. I did one. And you chickened out. [To All] Definately scared of me now. Frick'n chicken.

Free: [Looks down the tunnel and sighs] Farewell, Bob. Catch you on the flip side. [To Jerome] No man, can't you see? You are just a tool in the nihilistic machine of autocracy. They've put a veil over your eyes, brother. You can no longer see your true Path. You say you are walking the Path...but it's not the path you chose, brother. It's the path that was chosen for you. You've got to break free from these chains, man. Break free and really live.

Free: [To Slim] Man, don't say "chicken" like that, man. Chickens are beautiful animals. They aren't inherently cowards, it's The Man that has caused them to be high strung from years of oppression and abuse. [Nods toward Jerome] And don't talk down to our brother, man. He's under a veil of confusion. He needs our love, not our judgement, brother.

Clint: What he needs is morals, a conscience, and a swift kick in the ass!

Austin : [To Jerome] You don't really want to be hated and despised do you. You want to be a great hero, venerated and loved, a champion of champions.

Free: He has a conscience, man. It's in there. He knows. He knows what truly lies in his heart. Let the veil drop, brother. Let the veil drop, so you can be loved, and admired for the beauty that rests within. Be a true champion, brother. Be a champion for truth, beauty and love, man. The big three seasonings that make freedom the most delicious dish in the world man. Don't you want your own big helping, man? And then maybe an after dinner cheesearette?

Jerome : On the contrary, Sleaze, you confuse my desires with your own petty ones. You of all people should know that what matters is the Path, not any transitory fame. [To the Morcs] Kill her.

Free: [To the Morcs, Stepping in front of Alice] No. Wait, man. Don't be a tool man. You aren't mindless obutuse creatures. Think for yourselves man. Don't let The Man use you for dirty work.

Morcs : [In complete unison] We aren't mindless obtuse creatures. We all think for ourselves!

Gall : [Timidly holding up his han] I don't.

[The MORCS get closer, drawing weapons.]

Free: [To Gall] You just did, brother. Good for you. Cracks in the machine, my friend, cracks in the machine. [Backs away from the Morcs, trying to keep Alice behind him.]

Austin : [To Jerome] So you want to join Seth? Have you seen how he treats his peers!

Jerome : [Holds up his hand again, just as a mist from Free's spell appears, causing it to dissipate] No, Sleaze, I don't want to join him, I want to be one of his peers. Do you even know who his peers are?

Alice : Uh, I think we might want to consider running screaming into the darkness.

Austin : [To Jerome] No. I very much doubt that he has any peers at all.

Free: My fog is offended by your untimely dismissal, man. Where is all of this negative energy coming from, brother? Why do you nurture this evil? Let that goodness out in you. [Whispers to Alice] I think it may be best if you took the more weak party members and fled down the tunnel sister. The lawyer and I will try to distract them from your escape.

Alice : [Whispers back] The lawyer [emphasis] is one of the more weak members of the party!

Jerome : [Smiles and shakes his head at Austin] Then you're a fool.

Austin : [To Jerome] No, you're the fool, your the one hiding everything you know. Why don't you tell us who Seth's peers are? Scared of simple, foolish Austin? Last fro Dom #44

Jerome : No, amused by him. Let's see. You may be familiar with Phili? Figured it out yet, Austin? Bjorseth and Aphi? Now, who else? There's -

[JEROME is interrupted by a huge fireball coming from behind him, engulfing him and most of the MORCs. Those closest to the party aren't caught in it, but dive for safety, in amongst the party, knocking everyone to the ground.]

Free: Weak, maybe...but he's the least injured of all of you, man. Except you, but since you seem to be the target, perhaps you should flee. You can take care of the two of them [indicates Smock and Slim] if it comes to that, sister. Regardless, he seems to have his attention now. So now would be a good time to exit.

Free: [Gets quickly to his feet and assumes a guarded stance] Thank you, Fire. That was very thoughtful, man. Is anyone injured? Austin? Clint? Jermone? Morcs? [searches th/ the mess for a weapon and his peeps] Last fro Conor and Erin #45

Austin : [As the dust and fire settles, peeps his head up. To Jerome] You were saying?

Jerome : [Says nothing, because he's lying in a heap on the floor, on fire]

Alice : [Stabbing the nearest Morc] Get them! [The Morc explodes into dust as before]

[There are five surviving MORCs, who seem dazed, but who are now drawing their weapons.]

Free: [Grabs a sword and tries to get a good stab in on a Morc before they lose their daze.] Where did the groovy fire come from, man?

Austin : [Draws his sling shot and fires at the nearest living Morc] I think we must have a friend nearby.

Free: There's always a friend nearby, man. Nature loves you. [Peers through the smoke trying to see the source of the fire]

[Enter COCAN THE BARBARIAN and MILICENT FLUFF. COCAN is holding a crossbow in each hand and smoking a huge cigar, while MILICENT is holding a dainty wand.]

Cocan : [With a huge, toothy grin] Hail, friends! [Lets loose with the crossbows]

[COCAN hits two MORCS, while each of ALICE, FREE and AUSTIN deal with the others, causing each of them to disappear into dust like before.]

Cocan The Barbarian

Milicent Fluff ### Alice, Austin and Clint have met these two before. Milicent is a soulmate ### of Peter's, who is an accomplished spell caster, while Cocan is a ### soulmate of Sven's. Both have helped the party out several times, and ### they last parted on very good terms with Milicent, and fairly good ### terms with Cocan, as they had just learned that he killed a Hierophantic ### Knight in order to get them into Euphoria, and were unhappy about it. ### Cocan is very like Sven, but has a somewhat harder edge, and has shown ### that he is a believer in the end justifying the means, while Sven was ### an out and out goody. Both Cocan and Milicent are, apparently, ### Hierophantic Knights, and both are a least some way along The Path.

Slim: Now that is what I call some parlour magic. [gets a quisical look on his face, to Fluff] Good god man, are you wearing pink?

Milicent : [Bops Slim on the head with her wand] Don't be naughty. I don't want to have to turn you into a toad.

Slim: [rubs head, then questionably and slowly] So, you are female? [changes tone] Damn proud to meet you. Sweet burn job. Keep up the fine work. Great timing. I could have handled one of them myself, but hey, every bit helps. [Looks at Cocan] I must say, them are some large muscles. Might you be interested in a technique that is both relaxing and will make you feel great afterwords? [Starts pulling out some oils, etc...cracks fingers]

Free: [To Slim] A toad wouldn't be bad, man. They are miraculous creatures. [To Cocan] Your help is appreciated, brother. [Survey's the damage] The destruction is regretable, though. I'm known as Free, although labels are the mark of The Man. You know? [To Milicent] Say, sister, you remind me of a friend of mine.

Cocan : [Claps Slim on the shoulder] Sure, friend! That sounds great.

Milicent : [Gives Free a curtsy] Pleased to meet you Free. I am Milicent, and this is Cocan. We're happy to help.

Austin : [To Cocan and Millicent] Thank you once more. Excellent timing. [Cautiously goes over to check Jerome, and will search him. He'll also tie him up if Jerome is still alive]

Free: [Flashes a peace sign] That's cool, sister. We dig you being here. We were in a bit of a jam. [Holds up Sir Archie] I don't know who this little fellow is, but he's a brave and beautiful soul. I don't suppose you have any healing potion on you, man. They are pretty banged up. [To Alice] Should we risk trying to find our belongings?

Cocan : Needles, eh? I see, you have a point. However, are the important enough to warrant us all risking our lives?

Alice : [Gives Free a curious look] I'm not wearing make up! Well, maybe just a tiny bit.

Slim: Yes. Its an ancient set of accupuncture needles handed down to me from a bizarre over yonder east. Way east. And my oils. Those too. Purchased at the same bizarre. Very important.

Alice : Hey! I'm twenty one!

Cocan : [Makes a finger gun motion at Alice] Click-click! [To Free] We sure did, Free. I don't know about getting your stuff back, though. Jerome and the others will be coming back pretty soon.

Sven : [Stretching after Slim's handiwork] Haw! Excellent! I feel like a twenty one year old. Now, if only there was an available twenty one year old around. [Gives a sexy growl to no one in particular]

Free: [Nods his head slowly to an unheard beat] Right on. Thanks, sister. Hey, we need to find our material possessions that were taken from us. Do you know where they might be, man?

Slim: Next! [mutters] Need to find my equipment for the encore.

Alice : Well, it's going to be difficult to convince the Elves to help us without that wand!

Milicent : Of course. [Waves her magic wand dantily.]

[All party members are immediately healed, and back to full health. Meanwhile, just as AUSTIN gets to JEROME, he disappears in a puff of smoke.]

Free: [Ever so slightly taken aback. To Alice] Really? You should wear less make-up, sister. It's the mask of conformity. You'll feel freer when you let your body be itself. Set the body free, and the mind will follow. [To Cocan] I'm cool with leaving my possessions behind, brother. Material things mean nothing to me. But I believe they've lost something of value to them, dig?

Slim: Well, let me tell you. Your muscles may be purring like a kitten, but with the acupuncture needles, I can make you feel as though you were with 3 women at once without any ill side effects. [Looks around] Fine. I can get some later. [Softly to Cocan] Maybe 4!

Free: That's groovy, man. Relaxation of the body leads to a sharper mind. When we get out of this mess, you can perform that [air quotes] parlour trick on me, brother. [winks at Slim] Aren't kittens beautiful and mysterious creatures?

Free: [To Cocan] Yeah, man. I think most of our bodies are much older than that. Except Smock, she's seems rather young. I think our spirits are all young though, brother. Age is a relative thing. Do you know where our possessions may be? [Looks around, unsure] We were going to go down that tunnel. [Points to the final resting place of Bob.] But since they all came from there [points to the horde-dor] I guess that's the path to take. You came that way, right man?

Slim: [Realizing he doesn't have his oils] This won't hurt a bit. [Rubs Cocan's shoulder's until they are mushy, hits them with the sides of his hands, creates some small talk until finished] That should do it. You are as good as new. If I had my equipment, you would be purring like a kitten by now. Just as Alice. [Looks at the rest of the group] See, it didn't hurt and it sure made him feel good. [Winks at Smock]

Smock: [Frowns at Gary] Stop thinking about your stupid needles! [To Cocan] We need to get the wand so we can get an army to save the world! [Smiles at Milicent] Thank you.

Cocan : [Jovially punches Slim on the shoulder] Haw! It'll be just like last night!

Milicent : [Curtsies politely to Smock] My pleasure.

Cocan : So, lost the wand, eh? Why would the elves want to help a bunch of barbarians like us without a bribe?

Austin : [To Cocan, inquisitively] They wouldn't. Do you have a plan?

Cocan : 'fraid not, Aus. Short of trying to take it back from Crazy Jeromitus, I don't think we're going to get it back. We need to think of another way to persuade them to join us.

Austin : [To Cocan and Millicent] Do either of you know how to make nascency fluid 'belong' to oneself? Jeromitus appears to have achieved this feat.

Milicent : [Gives a resigned sigh, as a huge grin appears on Cocan's face] You just had to ask, didn't you?

Cocan : I sure do, Aus! I sure do! [Wiggles his eyebrows] Got your mitts on some? ### It was never proven, but the party suspected that Boddy, ### Peter and Sven had, at some stage, figured this out. That ### Cocan would have done it too is no surprise. In fact, it is ### quite possible that he was with the others and that ### they all did it at the same time.

Austin : [To Milicent and Cocan] Yes, and not for the first time either. [Looks around nervously. Pleading] Could you tell us before someone, or something, interrupts us. Please!

Free: Hey, man. I think maybe we should move this conversation somewhere else, you know? I'm not down with creating a situation that breeds more unnecessary violence.

Austin : [To Milicent and Cocan, desparatley] Please, please tell me! [Straightens up, more seriously, and selfconciously, adjusting a cuff] It would be most facilitating to party endeavours. Last ffrom Dom #77

Milicent : Oh, Austin, don't get involved with that filthy stuff. [To Free] Quite right. We need to get out of here immediately. [Looks around nervously] Jeromitus will be back soon. Last ffrom Conor #78

Austin : [To Milicent] Well let's go. You can tell me on the way how it's done and why you advise us against incorporating the fluid's properties into our repertoire.

Clint: Isn't figuring out how to get the damn wand back more important?

Austin : [To Clint] Indeed Mr Scar, but knowing how nascency fluid is used may aid us greatly in this endeavour.

Smock: Stop talking, and let's go! [Sighs and hurries on down the corridor. Mutters] In the wilds any prey that dawdled so much would be called suicidal!

Free: Man, I think the most important thing is keeping us safe. Wand or no wand, dead is dead, brother. We should avoid this violence at all costs. [Motions toward the horde-iddor] I think that's our ticket out of here. Let's go. [Starts walking toward the exit]

Slim: I agree. I think living is just a bit better than dying. [he hesitates] Well, might be interesting though. A walking dead wizard. The power. [he trails off]

Austin : [Following Free] I hope you're right! zombie free!

Milicent : [Walking quickly with the rest of the party, heading out of the caves towards daylight] All you need to know, Austin, is that you need to give up some of yourself to use it. Too much.

Cocan : It's totally worth it, Aus!

Alice : [Struggling to keep up with the pace because of her high heels] What do you have to give up?

Milicent : It's not so much what you give up, as what you get. [Dramatically] An Aspect of the Path.

Slim: Sounds interesting. [beggingly almost to either Milicent or Cocan] Go on?

Smock: [To Milicent] That's okay, cuz Austin's already got one of those! pretty cool!

Smock: [Frowns at Slim. To Milicent] You don't have to get all dead and icky like those elves do you?

Milicent : [Stops abruptly, causing everyone to bang into her] Austin Sleaze! What [emphasis] have you been doing?

Austin : [To Smock] No, that's just what happens when your nascency fluid gets tainted. [To Milicent, inquisitivley] I already have an aspect, would you like to see it?

Free: Perhaps when we have reached the safety and beauty of freedom, for now we should just keepm moving, man. [To Alice] Those shoes are the shackles of the man, sister. They are only used to objectify women. Feel your true inner beauty and let it shine through. Just shine, sister. [flashes her a peace sign]

Slim: If shoes are the shackles of man, aren't her clothes as well? [gleem in his eye]

Free: Thanks for proving my point, man. [To Alice] Yeah, sister. Tight clothes, high heels...the costume of those who have been so beat down by oppression that they conform automatically. Turn themselves into what the media and The Man say they should be. [Motions to her face] You've got the mask and the duds of masses, man. But you've to the heart and soul of an individual. This adventure can help you find your true self, sister...if you let it.

Alice : [Gives Slim a quick glance before turning to Free] If that means you want me to wear lesbian clod hoppers, Free, then I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.

Milicent : [To Austin] Smock's right, let's get to the carriage.

[Right on cue, a thundering horde of murderous Morcs round the corner, with JEROME leading them.]

Smock: Oy! [Glares at Slim] Only Clint's allowed to be rude like that! [To Free] And Alice is allowed to dress like a tart if she wants. Besides, it's part of her heroness. She has to be the sexy girl genius one!

Alice : [Stands beside Smock and glares at Free] Yeah! [Thinks for a moment, before giving Smock a curious look] Hm.

Milicent : Get out of here!

Free: [Looks up toward the sky and says to the Universe in general] I'm not sure I understand your plan, man. [Dramatically increases his pace of exit.]

Slim: [Studdering] I...i'mmmm...sorry me lll...lady. Still [smiles]

Alice : [To Milicent] How about another one of your fireballs, Mil?

Milicent : I'll try, but I'm not sure if it'll do any good. [Stops and turns, waving her wand as she chants a spell]

Jerome : [Holds his hand out] Stop!

[MILICENT's wand droops.]

Slim: [to Jerome] Do you not understand just how annoying that is? It's not like we want to kill you or anything. We just have a beef with the Morcs. You can leave. We will not harm you. [waves hand in a shoeing motion]

Milicent : [To Slim] You fool! Get out of here!

Jerome : [To Slim] That warms my heart.

[A huge fireball shoots from JEROME's hands, engulfing MILICENT, partly taking in SLIM and just missing the rest of the party. SLIM is knocked to the ground, badly hurt, but still conscious, while MILICENT is a crispy bit.]

Cocan : [Urgently to the party] Keep going!

Slim: [sniffing the air] Something burning?

Clint: [Picks up Slim by the back of the neck] That's you, fool! C'mon, we're getting the hell out of here.

Free: [Looks back from where he has been fleeing down the tunnel] Hurry! [Looks around for something he can use as an obstacle.]

[There's a conveniently located carriage outside.]

Cocan : [To Clint, with a menacing tone, nodding at Slim] You better keep an eye on him.

Free: [Hops into the front seat of the carriage and gets it ready for departure] Far-out, man. Thanks for the help, whoever left this here.

Slim: Anybody have some carrot juice?

Clint: [To Cocan, as he helps Slim into the carriage.] This carriage yours, or are we stealing another one?

Cocan : It's ours, although it is stolen. [Leaps into the drivers seat, but turns and grabs Slim] You're lucky I don't kill you now. [Turns back and starts up the horses]

Austin : [To Clint] But what difference does it make, we're going to borrow it anyway!

[Exit ALL in the carriage, with a smell of burning wood as the tyres squeal.]

[Book V, Act IX, Scene VII. Yet another stolen getaway carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, FREE, SLIM, SMOCK and COCAN are here, zooming away from the caves at breakneck speed, causing everyone to be thrown about.]

Alice : Hey! Jerome is making himself and the Morcs really small!

Cocan : [Glancing in the rear view mirror] Haw! If only! I think it's because they're getting further away!

Clint: Either one works for me!

Free: To we have a destination, man? Or are we just going "away?"

Cocan : We're going to Euphoria! First we need to pick up Milicent, though.

Austin : [To Cocan] I take it that she will be reborn from her nascency fluid? Is that near here? [Austin has a sneak look at his aspect, and frowns] Appart from destroying the lay of one's attire, what does an aspect actually do?

Cocan : Very close, my friend. I'm just taking the long way around because it's fun to drive fast! [Peers at Austin's aspect as he checks it] Ay ay ay! Depends on the aspect, my friend, but if I were you, I wouldn't go pokin' that finger into anything unless I [emphasis] really had to.

[The carriage approaches the remains of the Love Train, and COCAN stops the carriage. The Love Train looks pretty battered, and there is no sign of life.]

Clint: Millie isn't planning on being reborn from the Nascency Fluid on this train, is she? Cuz if she is, it's not gonna be pretty!

Austin : [To Clint, shrugging nochalantly] We've seen worse than an undead ballerina.

Smock: [Leaning out the carriage] Hello? Is anyone undead?

Austin : [To Smock] Don't you think the term 'undead' has terribly negative connotations? [Briefly checks the shine of his shoes and smiles] Perhaps 'unalive' would be a progressive step towards a more endearing nomenclature for those persons suffering from the condition.

Clint: Yeah, whatever. Just call 'em the living dead and get it over with. Speaking of which, I wonder what happened to the elves on the train?

Smock: [To Austin] I think they look much more dead than alive. What with their gaping wounds and decomposition. [Screws up her nose in disgust] Besides, they're going from dead to 'not dead', not alive to 'not alive'. So undead fits better.

Cocan : [Getting out of the carriage] Nope, Milicent will be coming back with her own Nascency Fluid. [Gives Austin a wink] Got a bit of a thing for her, eh? [To the party in general] Let's be careful here, the Love Train might be booby trapped. [Gestures to a large number of rakes scattered around]

Clint: [To Alice] Ah, rakes, your old archenemy.

Alice : [Gives Clint a baleful look, before jumping out of the carriage and climbing onto the Love Train, stepping on a rake which hits her in the face as she does so] Ow. [Steps on another one] Ow. [Steps on yet another one] Ow. [Angrily] Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking rakes on this motherfucking train!

Cocan: [Grabs a rake and attempts to smash it to pieces by slamming it on the ground. To Alice, trying not to laugh] Watch out, friend. They're everywhere!

Free: [Moves in to stop Cocan] Hey man, what did that rake ever do to you, man? That rake is your brother. The wood in that handle was once a beautiful and mighty tree which rose up from the ground...the same ground that gave birth to you, man. Don't hate your brother.

Austin : [To Smock glancing at Alice stomping on the rakes] But I was considering how we might overcome the stigmata attached to terms like 'zombie' and 'undead', as they are generally considered to be brain eating, dribbling morons, not perfectly nice people who happen to smell iffy. [Carefully steps bewteen the rakes to get onto the train]

Alice : Like Clint, you mean?

Cocan: [To Free, laughing heartily] There's collateral damage in every war to save the world, friend.

Austin : [To Alice, nodding in aggreement] Exactly my point Alice, just because Mr Scar smells worse than a decaying corpse does not give us good reason to refer to him as a monster, so why do it to the nice undead [emphasis] people.

Smock: Because undead "people" are gross and unnatural. At least Clint is naturally offensive.

Alice : I don't know, Smock, those Elves seemed naturally offensive too.

Free: Hey, man. You cats are bringing me down. Nothing is "naturally" offensive, man. Nature is innately beautiful and free. So is every living thing in the beginning, brother. People learn to be offensive by living in a culture that nurtures hate and hostility. Don't let The Man lure you into his way of thinking, cats. Be free.

Smock: I'm not a cat! Besides, I don't think what Clint's nuturing is hate and hostility. I'm pretty sure it's just a couple of colonies of bacteria.

Alice : Well, maybe more than a [huge emphasis] couple!

Free: Man, this scene is bumming me out. [Shields Sir Archie's eyes] The little dude has some bad memories of this place, man. Let's do what we need to do and then cut out.

Smock: [Maneuvers her way around some rakes] Hold on! [To Free, excited] I know who you remind me of! You sound just like my dad! Except he was a lot better looking.

Free: [Moves toward the wreckage, avoiding the rakes] That's cool, sister. Your old man sounds like one groovy cat. Hey, what are we looking for, man?

Austin : [Sniggers at Smocks comment and drops sleekly into the train to search it] Hello? Is any one here?

Smock: [To Free] Well, actually, he's not a cat either... though I haven't seen him for a very long time... [Trotting along behind Free, chattering] Do you write poems too? My dad wrote poems. He used to read them to me all the time, but I didn't understand what they were about, but he said lots of words like you do, like 'the man' and stuff. Who is 'the man' anyway? Is that like Phili? Chastity always talked about Phili and she didn't like Alice's clothes either.

[Everyone manages to avoid the rakes on the way in. Sitting here drinking a cup of tea is a well dressed gentleman wearing a bowler hat. He politely lifts his hat when he sees the party. This is STON JEED.]

Ston : Good evening.

Ston Jeed

Cocan: [To Ston] Hello again, friend! These are the folks I was telling you about [points in turn and names them off] Alice, Austin, Clint, Smock, and uuuuh [looks and points at Slim] their pal and [looks and points at Free] this hairy fellow, who seems decent enough.

Free: [To Smock] Your dad sounds like a cat, sister. Cool, and intune with nature, truth and the beauty of life...that's all it means to be a cat, little one. [To Ston, flashing a peace sign] Hey, man.

Ston : Thank you, Cocan. [Politely nods at each of the party] Good to meet you all. [Gives Free a quick smile] Perhaps you would like some tea?

Smock: [To Free] Hey, you didn't tell me who the man was. Oh, [looking at Ston] is that the man? He doesn't look like an opressor. [To Ston] Hello Mister Man. Free doesn't like you very much because you are mean to people and animals and everything, and if that's true I don't like you either.

Free: Yeah, man. I love tea. [looking at Ston] is that the man? He doesn't look like an opressor. [To Ston] Hello Mister Man. Free doesn't like you very much because you are mean to people and animals and everything, and if that's true I don't like you either.

Free: [To Smock] You've got me all wrong, sister. I love everybody. He's not The Man. The Man is the Establishment....the oppresive machine of society. This cat has tea, he's cool.

Ston : [Gives Free a brief but polite nod] Thank you, sir. [To Smock] My name is Ston Jeed. [Daintily sips some of his tea] I am a lover of animals and all things natural. [To Free] Please, take a seat. [To the party in general] All of you. I'm sure you would like a rest before the test.

Free: Test, man? What test?

Clint: [Crosses his arms and stands.] Yeah. What kind of test are we talking about here, and why the hell should we take it?

Ston : There are multiple parts to the test. Including a politeness one, which, may I say, you, Mr. Scar, are not doing too well on. [Pours some tea for Free] I merely wish to ensure that you will be able to handle the rest of the journey to Euphoria. I can help you get passed the thousands of Morcs laying siege to it, but want to ensure that I don't accidently kill any of you in a horrifically painful manner. [Holds up a plate of impossibly delicate biscuits] Biscuits?

Alice : Oh! Oh! I know this one! [Steps forward] Yes. Yes, they [emphasis] are biscuits.

Ston : Excellent!

Austin : [To Ston] Why thank you [Takes a biscuit and sits down. Looks a little nervous] Could you tell us a little more about the test please.

Ston : You are a bunch of fucking idiots who should all be killed.

Austin : [Indignantly] I take it that you're not going for the politeness test. [To Ston, cooly] Well that is hardly suprising is it. Everytime we ask someone a question they palm us off with diversions. [Looks Ston in the eyes] However, despite our lackidasical approach, we have saved the world several times. If it wasn't for us idiots, everyone would be dead or enslaved to the horsemen, Seth and his cronies.

Ston : [Picks up a clipboard and ticks something off, giving a smile as he does so] Excellent reactions! [Gives Austin a polite nod] You'd be surprised at how many people react aggresively to the reaction test.

Austin : [Niffs his biscuit, then takes a cautious nibble] Hardly suprising. So are you a Heirophantic knight?

Cocan: [Chuckles heartily] Nothing to be worried about. It's going to be great!

Clint: Like he said, we're used to it by now. But seriously, tell us more about these tests of yours, eh?

Smock: Don't worry, Clint! All good quests have a bit where the heroes get tested! [To Ston, enthusiastically] Do me, do me!

Austin : [Glances at Smock. To Ston, hopefully] Is there a hyperactive enthusiasm test?

Ston : [Glances down at his notebook] Unfortunately not. However, we may institute one forthwith. Your assistance may be required.

Smock: Ooh, ooh! [Raises her arm, shifts about excitedly] Pick me, pick me! I'll help!

Ston : Very well. What's the most annoying noise that you can make for the longest time?

Smock: Well now, that depends. Do you want something abruptly and immediately annoying or something subtle and insidious that gradually brings people to breaking point? [smiles sweetly].

Clint: [Sharply] No demonstrations, kid! [To Ston, by way of explanation.] She's an excitable tot. Don't get her worked up, whatever you do!

Smock: [Indignantly] I am not a tot!

Clint: [To Ston] See what I mean? Excitable!

Ston : [Covers his ears] Yes, that is quite an irritating noise she's making.

Smock: Oy! I haven't started yet! [Whines to Clint] Now look what you did. I can't even do the test properly. [Sulks]

Ston : [Ticks something off on his chart] I see. Now for the eye test. [Pulls back a curtain from behind him] Please read the top line of the chart.

[STON has revealed a chart with pictures of hats.]

The Eye Test

Free: Hey, man. Groovy hats. [Places his hand over his left eye and reads] Bowler, Top Hat, Trilby, Fedora. [Places his hand over his right eye] Want the rest, man? Second line...Fez, Beret, Calvary Hat, Panama Hat. [Places both hands over both eyes] Third line...Sombrero. Skimmer or Boater, Deerstalker Hat...and a Turkey and cheese sandwich with tomato, cucumbers and lettuce on...honey wheat. [Removes his and and looks at the chart] Oh wow, brother. That sandwich is beautiful, man.

Smock: [Squints] Mister Jeeds... is a classy man... he has influential friends... and he likes to sing... he has a worker monkey... and... um [brightens] Oh, I see! [continues] He is going to take a French cowboy on holiday to Mexico. They will travel by boat and when they get there, they will smoke lots and mingle with aristocracy.

Ston : [Gives Smock a curious look] For the sake of the rest of you, I will choose to ignore her. [To Free] Excellent. Although the order is Bowler, top Hat, Fedora and Pork Pie. [Gives a polite nod of his head to Free] Still, your knowledge of milinery is outstanding. Congratulations, you have passed the test. [Picks up the sandwich and bites into it] Mm-mm.

Smock: [Hopefully] Did I pass too?

Free: [Bends down and picks a flower from the ground and places it in Smocks hair] Oh yeah, sister. You passed. That was a freeflowing read, man. You read hats like other people read the stars. It's beautiful, man.

Smock: Oh yay! [Claps her hands excitedly then hugs Free. To Austin] Did you see that? I passed!

Ston : Indeed. All but one of you has passed.

Clint: You mean me, don't you? [Shrugs] All right, I'll take your test.

Austin : [To Smock] And with flying colours too. [Frowns. To Ston] Which one of us failed your test?

Ston : No. You have passed.

Alice : Oh, then it's me? Fine, what do I need to do for a pass?

Ston : No. You have passed.

Free: [Holds up Sir Archie] This little dude?

Austin : [Jaw drop] Noo! Surely not! [looks at Ston for an explanation]

Ston : No. That's a stuffed animal. [Points at Slim] Him.

Austin : [To Ston] What did he fail on? [Glances at Slim's clothes] Appart from taste, that is.

Ston : Cocan failed him.

Cocan : He's a weak link. We need people who support the party.

Slim : But I'm part of the group!

Cocan : No you're not. If we're going to succeed, we all need to be in it together. You're just along for the ride, [juts his thumb back towards the door] get going, and don't let the rakes hit you on the way out.

Smock: [Nods] It's for your own good. If you're just along for the ride, it's the same as if we don't know your name. You'll die a horrible, pointless - though possibly entertaining - death.

Clint: Kid's got a point, you know. Chicks dig a hero, but this is no job for amateurs. And since everyone who's coming has passed the test, can we get on with it now?

Austin : Indeed Mr Scar, we should go and find Milicent, she may require our assistance [Remembers something, taking out some papers from his bag] Mr Slim, before you go, perhaps you would like me to assist you in drawing up a Will? For a small fee of course.

Slim : [Hits Austin's hand, sending papers flying everywhere] Pah! You call yourselves heroes! You're nothing but a slime sucking lawyer, [to Clint] a moronic bully, [to Free] idiot hippy who should have been drowned at birth, [to Alice] bimbo that Stump had the right idea about, [to Smock] uh, um, a - uh, s-sorry, m-miss Smock.

[Exit SLIM, running out of the carriage, stopping every so often as he gets smacked in the face by a rake.]

Slim : [Hits Austin's hand, sending papers flying everywhere] Pah! You call your selves heroes! You're nothing but a slime sucking lawyer, [to Clint] a moronic b ully, [to Free] idiot hippy who should have been drowned at birth, [to Alice] bi mbo that Stump had the right idea about, [to Smock] uh, um, a - uh, s-sorry, m-m iss Smock.

[Exit SLIM, running out of the carriage, stopping every so often as he gets smacked in the face by a rake.]

Austin : Sheesh! That guy had no sense of humor. He'd never have fitted in! [To Smock, curiously] He like you though, seemed to be terrified of you.

Alice : I think it was more nervous, you know, in a tongue tied, shy kind of way. In fact, if she didn't act like a child all the time, it might have been endearing rather than just creepy. No offence, Smock.

Smock: [To Alice] Whatever! I bet he was just scared of me because I'm a hero and he's not! Anyway, he was icky with all his dead people stuff.

Alice : Yeah, it was the dead people thing that was icky. [Enter MILICENT from the other room.]

Milicent : Hello, everyone.

Austin : [To Milicent] Oh, good to see you alive and well again.

Milicent : [Curtsies] Good to see you, too, Austin. [To the party in general] I see you let that naughty Cocan throw poor Slim out.

Smock: It was him too! [Points at Ston]

Milicent : Just because someone else was naughty doesn't mean that you were less so. Slim will almost certainly come to a sticky end. [Turns to Cocan] And you are the most guilty of all, they wouldn't have done it if it wasn't for you.

Cocan : [Lighting up a huge cigar] Yeah, I'm wracked with guilt.

Smock: Oh no! We have to go save him then! [Runs to the window] Slim! Come back!

Austin : [Points out the 'No Smoking' sign] You could get a fourhundred crown fine for that! [Looks around] Good job there are no police anywhere near.

Cocan : [Laughs at Austin] Too right! Want a cigar? [To Smock] Take it easy, kid. Being a hero doesn't mean being an idiot. We've got a world to save. What's the value of one selfish dirty old man against that?

Smock: [To Cocan] I don't know. How much do you think you're worth?

Austin : [Chuckles. To Smock] Good question. [Accepts a cigar from Cocan, get's his Quigo Shloph engraved platinum cigar trimmer out and snips off the end casually]

Cocan : [Roars with laughter at Smock] Haw! [Grabs her in a headlock and ruffles her hair] Excellent! Excellent!

Austin : [Puffs on the cigar, coughs a little. Looks at the cigar] Errm, quite, errm, full bodied. [Offers it to Smock] Would you like to try some?

Free: [Watching Austin's cigar display with a little confusion] But I thought...[His eyes brighten for a moment and he slowly dips his hand into his bag] Ah far out, here's my little friend. [He pulls out a cheesearette and lights up] So do we cut out now? Head to Euphoria? [Tips his chessearette at Austin] Are we sure we don't have that wand?

Smock: [Squirms in Cocan's headlock] Oy! Put me down! [Glances about the party, then grins] No Harvey, and no Chastity! [To Austin] I sure would! [Reaches for the cigar but can't quite reach it while being held] A little closer...

Alice : Well, I'm pretty sure we don't have the wand! I don't think we're going to be able to get it off crazy Jerome, either.

Cocan : [Lets Smock free] Haw! The makings of a true heroine if ever I saw them!

Clint: We'll just have to find another way. [Absently lights up a cigar of his own.] Maybe if we figure out what happened to those freaks on this train, we can use that to get the rest of the elves to help us?

Cocan : Good idea, Stinky. [Looks around] What did happen to them? I assumed the Morc got 'em.

Austin : [Steps closer to Smock and hands her the cigar. To Clint] Indeed Mr Scar, few things would motivate the elves better than something that threatens their nascency fluid and their beauty. [To Free, nodding at the cheesearette] Any more of those handy? [Then quisically] Why would you think that we had the wand?

Smock: [Beams at Cocan. Looks to Austin. Triumphantly] At last! [Takes the cigar and inhales a rather over-ambitious lungful. Pauses, looking stunned as her eyes start to water, before doubling ovre and coughing and spluttering roughly. Finally manages to straighten up, and though looking sickly, puts on a serious face and smoothes down her hair before rasping] We should check that icky fluid. [Coughs some more.]

Free: [Still puffing away on his imaginary cheesearette] Hey, man. I'll go look around the wreckage to see what I can see. [Licks his fingers and puts out his "cheesarette" then puts "it" behind his ear. Walks over to the wreckage and starts looking around]

Cocan : [Gives Smock a good natured punch in the shoulder, nearly knocking her over and causing her to start coughing again] Haw! I knew you were one of us. [Prompting the party] So anyway? Something happened to the elves?

[FREE's search reveals that the place has been completely picked apart.]

Free: [Continues searching the ground] Wow, man! This place has been completely picked apart, man. That's dragsville.

[FREE finds a piece of carelessly discarded, but clearly strong rope, about four feet long.]

Austin : [Smirking. To Free] I hope you're not going to oppres someone with that!

Free: Right on. It's time to liberate this rope. [Picks up the rope and ties Sir Archie onto his back, backpack style.] No offense little dude, but I'm going to need my hands, and I can't just leave you out here. [To Cocan] Yeah, man. Someone dosed their stash. What a bummer, you know. We've got to find out who did that, man. And talk to them about cooling out.

Cocan : I guess that'll be Jerome. He's probably not so much for the cooling.

Milicent : He's a very, very naughty boy.

Free: [Adjusting Sir Archie on his back] Yeah, man. What's his hang up? He's, like, a cool cat trapped in the body of a square, sister. Why would he want to oppress the beautiful people?

Clint: Because he's an evil son of a bitch. What kind of excuse are you looking for? Friggin' weirdo! [To the party in general] Are we done here then? 'Cause if we are, we need a plan.

Cocan : Haw! [Takes out a bottle of whiskey and tosses it to Clint] That's the kind of talk I like to hear! But, my friends, you have yet to tell me what happened to the Beautiful People.

Clint: [Catches the bottle and takes a swig.] Thanks. But we don't know what happened to 'em. Someone got to their Nascency, and Phili only knows what happened after the crash.

Alice : They weren't particularly beautiful, and Billy was downright mean.

Milicent : He was always like that, I'm afraid. So, their Nascency Fluid was tainted? Any idea how that could have happened?

Austin : [To Milicent, flipping out his note pad] Well, we were just discussing that before the crash and the 'Beautiful People' all swore that no one except themselves could possibly have got to the nascency fluid, and that only one of them had the opportunity [casually checks his nails] which was odd because she was the only one who had not died since the fluid was tainted, and hence was still beautiful at that moment in time.

Cocan : Interesting. The last time anything like that happened, it was because they were drinking that brandy from Mermantort, that you guys made them give up.

Smock: But they... [coughs] they said they weren't doing that anymore. [Hands the cigar back to Austin.]

Milicent : And they're not. Not since that naughty Olive Branch left Euphoria.

Clint: Yeah, but she's back at it again. Well, she was. Back at the whorehouse, you know. [Grins at the memory.] We stopped her now, but who's to say how long she was up to it before we did?

Austin : [Frowns momentarily at the saliva soaked cigar, then offers it to Clint. To Milicent] Olive was making Louis XVI or whatever they call the 'human extract', again, so she's probably up to her old tricks once more.

Ston : Ah! That could explain it.

Alice : But these guys were really rotten, like zombies.

Ston : [Daintily sips some tea] Human sexual desire is a powerful thing.

Alice : Are you coming on to me?

Ston : Maybe.

Clint: [Takes the cigar and begins to puff away contentedly.] Okay, so they've been drinking the tainted brandy for a while, and we just cut off their supply. So those freaks should get back to whatever passes as normal for them, right?

Cocan: [Gives Ston a hearty slap on the back] Down, boy!

Ston : [Spilling tea over himself and on the floor, before addressing Clint] That depends on how much of the brandy was made before you stopped it, and how much is in Euphoria. Clearly, the Beautiful People drank more than their fair share.

Cocan: [To the party] Guess we'd better be off to Euphoria, then!

Milicent : Ah! Euphoria! Where the beauty of the city is matched only by the beauty of the city.

Ston : Be careful. [Tosses an orb onto the ground in front of the party, causing all but himself and Milicent to disappear] Wanna try on some hats?

Miicent : [Taking off her dress] Sure, but I get to wear the fez this time.

Ston : [Taking off his pants] Deal!

Smock: [Mostly recovered] To raise an army and save the world!... Again!

[Book V, Act IX, Scene VIII. A smoking ruin. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, COCAN, FREE and SMOCK are here, having just appeared. They are in a pretty dilapidated house, part of which has recently been on fire, and the rest of which is filthy, with rubbish and other disgusting substances strewn about the floor.]

Alice : [Looks around] Ew!

Smock: Mister Hatty's gone mad! He's sent us to Clint's house!

Cocan: [Begins searching the house. Calls out] Anybody in here?

Alice : Unlikely, Smock. It's far too clean for that. [To Cocan] Of course, silly. We're here!

Cocan: [Laughs heartily at Alice and ruffles her hair affectionately] You're as perceptive as you are chaste, my friend! [Crouches down to examine the disgusting fluids on the floor] Spoiled nascency fluid?

Smock: [Rummages through the piles of rubbish, trying to find something recognisable] This certainly looks like somewhere those rottens would live.

Austin : [To Smock] Careful where you tread, you haven't seen Alice's bedroom before have you?

Alice : Not everyone hangs out in trees with binoculars spying on people, you know, Aus.

[Most of the rubbish seems to be just carelessly discarded household items, just a lot of them. Enter HARIS PILTON, another disgustingly zombified Euphoric Elf, who is holding a pair of feet.]

Haris : Cocan! [Big smile] Darling! [Leans forward, clearly expecting an air kiss]

Haris Pilton

Smock: [Gives a look of disgust at Haris' appearance] Bleh! [Hides behind Austin. To Haris] What do you want, freak?

Austin : [To Smock] Hey, steady as she goes, Ms Smock, no need to be rude to strangers. [To Haris, curiously] What lovely feet you have, who's are they? [Looks to see if Haris has any feet]

Cocan: [Shocked] Haris! What's happened to you?!

Haris : Cocan, darling, whatever do you mean? [To Austin, ignoring Smock] I'm not sure, I found them outside. Cocan, why are you in my room? And why did you bring [gestures to Smock with one of the feet] that?

Austin : [To Smock] Even if you know she's a freak, it's not usually a good idea to say so. [To Haris] What my good friend Cocan means is that you appear to be decaying rather egregiously, [then adds] and this seems rather out of the ordinary to us, but not to you.

Alice : And what's that awful stink? [Realises she's standing beside Clint] Ah, I see.

Haris : [Face drops at Austin's words] Oh, you noticed.

Cocan: [To Haris, quickly] Don't worry. You're still looking good. Just a bit, er, different. So, what happened?

Clint: Kinda hard not to. You look like a freak!

Haris : [Downcast] I don't know, but the Nascency Fluid has been tainted.

Clint: Yeah, well, there's a lot of that going around.

Haris : But how? How? We stopped drinking the brandy!

Smock: [Making an effort for Austin's sake] Olive's been harvesting humans again. Have you been eating or drinking anything else weird lately?

Haris : No, just the normal hakatakapoopoo washed down with ambrothia. [Holds out a plate of delicious looking wonderfully scented chocolates with large glass of a beautiful golden liquid that smells heavenly]

Alice : Don't mind if I do. [Takes a chocolate and a sip of the liquid, squirming with pleasure] Mm-mm! What is it?

Haris : Hakatakapoopoo. It's poopoo from the Hakataka pig. [Points out the window at a disgusting filthy boar like creature]

Alice : Ew! [Washes her mouth out with ambrothia, before giving Haris a suspicious look] Where does this come from?

Haris : You know, the Hakataka pig produces bounty from two different places, it would just be wasteful not to use them both.

Alice : [Looks around] If this place wasn't so filthy, I'd faint!

Austin : [Shudders at the thought of falling on the ground in this filth. To Pairs] And who brews this Hakatakapoopoo, and supplies it to you?

Haris : No one brews it. We get it straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Alice : What about brandy? You've been drinking brandy, haven't you?

Haris : Of course not!

Clint: You don't give the brandy to the horse, do you?

Smock: I'm sure they're not [emphasis] that stupid, Clint!

Haris : Absolutely, we're not humans, eh? Anyway, if we had brandy, we wouldn't be wasting it on animals, would we?

Smock: Humans are so smart! I mean, who told you guys the brandy was bad for you in the first place?

Free: Wow, man, where's the love? Let's all just cool out. [To Haris] Hey, sister. Where was your nascency fluid kept? [Looks around the house] Was it here somewhere?

Haris : [To Smock] I doubt you even know what brandy we're talking about. [Looks haughtily at Free] Are all humans as intelligent as you? My nascency fluid isn't here.

Free: That's cool, man. Where is it? And when do you think it was spiked?

Haris : [Dramatic sigh] Cocan, tell him he's an idiot.

Cocan : Haw! Free, my friend, [squeezes Free's shoulder] you're an idiot for trying to think you'll get a straight answer from an elf, and that they'll agree to let you help them. They keep their fluid under lock and key, in an ultra secret location.

Alice : The Nascency Chamber?

[HARIS gasps in shock.]

Alice : [Steps back from the window to let the others see a huge neon sign with "Nascency Chamber" written on it] I think it might be over there.

Clint: Good going, Bimbo! Let's go take a look. [To Haris] Sorry, babe, but this is important. [Heads for the sign.]

Haris : [To Cocan] Fancy staying here for a bit of [whispers] you know what?

Cocan: [To Haris] Wish I could, but duty calls. I'll see you later, though [winks at Haris and follows Clint].

Haris : [Winks, but, because she's using her missing eye, no one notices] See you soon!

[The party exit onto the street, which isn't quite as filthy as HARIS' house, but is a lot less clean than before. ALICE pauses to look at the Hakataka pig.]

Alice : [Munching some Hakatakapoopoo] Doesn't this thing look awful?

Free: No, man. It's beautiful. [Grabs some Hakatakapoopoo and takes a bite] Beautiful. Let's go check out these digs now. [Walks toward the neon sign]

[FREE gives a little squirm of pleasure as he chews on the Hakatakapoopoo. Meanwhile, the party arrive at the building beneath the sign. Standing outside is TRISTRAM PLATH, who is one of the first elves the party met when they first came to the Interior. TRISTRAM doesn't bear any traits of zombification.]

Tristram : [Draws his sword and steps forward] Stand where you are!

Austin : [To Tristram, indignantly] We're hardly likely to sit in this filth! [Frowns at Free and Alice eating the Hakatakapoopoo] Eeeww. Yuck!

Smock: [To Tristram] Don't you draw your sword at us! We're heroes, you know!

Austin : [Looks at Tristram] Aah, Tristram, nice to see you again. Good to see that you have not fallen foul of the tainted nascency fluid.

Clint: How'd you avoid that, anyway? Not a suicide junky?

Tristran : [To Smock] I know who you are. [To Clint] No, nor have I died, but I have fallen foul of the tainted nascency fluid, like all Euphoric Elves.

Cocan: [To Tristran] Hello again, friend. How have you fallen foul of the fluid?

Tristran : Hail, Cocan. As you know, the fact that I haven't yet had to use the Nascency Fluid doesn't mean that I won't suffer when I do use it.

Cocan: [Slaps Tristran's back encouragingly] Don't think like that, friend! A man with your wits and strength isn't going down anytime soon!

Tristran : Perhaps not, but if and when I do use it. [Looks across the street where Haris is waving coquettishly at the party] Well...

Cocan: [Waves at Haris. To Tristran] What's being done about the situation?

Tristran : We've formed a committee to discuss it.

Clint: [Aghast] You're all going to turn into the undead, and you decide to refer it to a committee?! That's insane!

Tristran : No, what's insane is [looks the party up and down] being all human!

Alice : [Licking the Hakatakapoopoo off her fingers] Well, I guess they don't need our help, then!

Tristran : No! That's not what I meant!

Austin : [To Tristran] Do you have a lawyer to ensure the correct procedures are followed? [Glances at Haris] It looks like you would all be due considerable compensation. [Starts making some notes] How many elves are there in Euphoria?

Free : [To Austin] Oh, that's harsh man. Harsh.

Tristran : Of course correct procedures are followed. We spent the first few weeks laying them down. There are over a hundred thousand Euphoric Elves.

Cocan: [Skeptically] What are the procedures?

Free: And the nascency fluid stash for everyone is kept in one place? Or are there multiple stashes? Has it all been spiked, man?

Austin : [To Tristran] More to the point of the matter, what kind of insurance or cover did you have for your nascency fluid?

Free: Man, insurance is the red tape and beauracracy of the man, brother. Isn't it more important to find out how it got spiked in the first place? Maybe we can stop it from happening again. Having a stash harshed like that is a one-way ticket to dragsville, man...we gotta find these dudes a way back to the light, man. You know? Was that the end of it man, or do you have another connection?

Tristran : The unusually smelly one is correct. The last time this happened, it was cured when you stopped us from drinking the brandy. It is very difficult to recreate, and, given that we are currently under siege by the Morcs, we are in trouble. Interior have it, and some immediately reborn Beautiful People

Free: That's a bummer, man. Do you have any idea how it may have gotten tainted? If you'll let us go check it out, maybe we can find a clue, man. We got ourselves a little investigation thing goin' on here.

Clint: C'mon. If they knew how it was tainted, they'd have fixed it by now, right? Looks like it's all up to us. Again.

Free: [to Clint] Maybe, man. Or maybe they have an idea, but don't feel like they can go after them, since death would mean... [Glances toward Haris] Well, you know man. We need to get all the facts, brother. There is no truth too small to no longer be a truth. You know what I mean?

Tristran : Yes, of course. You may enter. We would welcome any help you can give us. However, I will need to be with you at all times. After all, you are humans.

Austin : [Looks at Clint] Perhaps. [To Tristran] No insurance then. [Frowns, folds away his notes] Shame. [To Tristran] Please lead the way.

Clint: Don't encourage him, lawyer. You'll have him thinking that we couldn't find our way without him, you know!

Austin : [To Clint] Mr Scar, need I remind you that we are Mr Plath's guests at the present time, and although we are offering our help we are also asking him to assist us in uncovering the mystery. It was very kind of Mr Plath to offer to escort us on a tour of the nascency fluid facilities.

Tristran : That is correct Mr. Sleaze. You really are the most inhuman human that I've met.

Alice : That's meant to be a compliment, right?

Tristran : And you are the most human human. [Dramatically turns and enters the building, followed by the party.]

[Inside here is a large vat of Nascency Fluid, although the surface is dotted with evidence of souring.]

Cocan: [Examines the vat] This doesn't look good!

Smock: This is so gross! Does anyone else see this as gross. I mean, they die and get spawned again in vats of fluid... Ew! It's unnatural

Tristran : How typical of a human to be frightened by that which they don't understand. Rebirth is entirely more natural that burying a rotting corpse in the ground. [Emphasis] That's what's unnatural.

[The vat is about thirty feet across, and the party are up on a raised walkway which runs right around it, about ten feet high.]

Alice : Looks kind of like the stuff the not so beautiful elves had, doesn't it?

Tristran : [Startled] Does it?

Austin : [To Tristan] Indeed it does. It seems unlikley that each pool was individually contaminated at the same time. Which brings to mind the temporal differences between the interior and the surface. Do you recall how long it has been since our party left the interior?

Tristran : [Almost before Austin has finished asking the question] Sixty one days!

Smock: Looks like someone missed you, Austin. [Smiles at Tristran]

Tristran : [Lowers his head] That's when we stopped drinking Louis XV.

Clint: And how long has it been since people started turning into zombies?

Smock: And started eating that Hacki-doodoo stuff? [Scrunches up her nose] Well, anyways [avoids looking at the fluid] we found out that Olive is making brandy again. She hasn't turned up here has she?

Tristran : It happened very gradually, starting about three weeks ago.

Alice : Hm, that's pretty much exactly what the others said, isn't it? told the party, but

Tristran : Hakatakapoopoo. We've been eating that for as long as anyone can remember. [Suddenly jumps, startled] More brandy? But how? Where? When? Who? What? Why? When? Where? Is it good?

Smock: Don't worry. [Smiles sweetly] We made sure to destroy it all.

Austin : [To Tristram] Olive Branch has been making a new kind of brandy for some time now, one that contains extracted human sexual desire [Briefly checks his nails] We destroyed several barrels of it.

Tristran : [Draws his sword] Why?

Cocan : Easy there, friend.

Clint: Why? Because she was doing the same thing she did last time, only in a whorehouse!

Tristram : What's so wrong with making brandy in a warehouse? Surely the large space afforded by it facilitates the brewing and storing of the brandy?

Clint: Yeah... You really don't know what a whorehouse is, do you? We'll have to change that later! They're great!

Alice : [Leans over and whispers something to Tristram]

Tristram : [Horrified] Ew! That's the most disgusting thing I've ever heard! [Looks Alice up and down] Are you one?

Alice : Hey!

Austin : [To Tristram, matter of factly] No, prostitutes charge money for their services. Anyway, may we get back to the matters at hand. Olive was brewing the brandy again, so it follows that someone was probably drinking the brandy. If they died and were reborn in the nascency fluid, perhaps some contamination could have passed from the brandy to the nascency fluid? [Shrugs peering into the vat, frowning]

[As if on cue, everyone peers over into the vat.]

Tristram : It's possible, I'm afraid. The Elves love their brandy. I will need to talk to the others.

[Enter DAVE ANGEL, an elf who is a little zombified, but has a pair of wings.]

Dave : I can't let you do that Dave. [Pause] I mean, I can't let you do that. [Pause] Dave. Dave Angel.

Dave Angel ast from Conor #78

Austin : [To Dave] Pleased to make your aquaintance. [Gesturing to each of the party in turn] This is Ms Basset-Short, Ms Smock, Mr Scar, Mr Free, Mr Cocan, and I am Austin Sleaze. [Looks aroun. To Dave] What is it that you cannot allow whom to do?

Dave : I can't let Tristram tell the others about the new brandy.

Free: It's just "Free", man. No "mister." "Mister" is just an oppressive label used to segregate the sexes. Groovy to meet you, man. What new brandy, brother? There are no secrets in the universe.

Smock: [To Dave, accusingly] You're the one that's been drinking it, haven't you!? How come you want to be a zombie? That's just disgusting!

Dave : No, what's disgusting are humans sticking appendages into each other. Brandy is delish.

Free: [Flinches visibly at the word "delish"] What's even more disgusting is people sticking swords in each other, man. I think it's groovy that you cats can be reborn. That's freedom, man. It should be one of the five basic freedoms...[takes his fake cheesearette from behind his ear and takes a long drag, holding in the fake smoke.]Freedom from want, freedom of speech, freedom from fear, freedom to groove and freedom from death. [exhales heavily] That's deep, man.

Dave : How about freedom from filthy, stinking humans?

Alice : Hey! You're the one with decaying flesh, Stinky! [Turns to Clint] No offence, Stinky.

Dave : True, and yet I still smell better and look more beautiful than you.

Tristram : [Clearly troubled at the argument, addressing the party] You must admit, he does have a point.

Clint: If you say so. [Turns to the party.] Why are we helping these losers again?

Austin : [To Dave] If you think that your decaying corpse looks and smells better than a living human than you don't need our help. You need a psychiatrist.

Dave : And you need a [thinks for a moment] person who plants humans.

Smock: Humans don't get planted, stupid! [Pauses] No. You don't... Well, I'm not going to be the one to give you the talk about the birds and the bees! [Crosses her arms] Don't you elves know anything?!

Dave : [Takes out a crossbow] We know how to deal with pesky humans.

Tristram : Dave!

Smock: Fine. You want the talk? You want to know where babies come from? [To the party] Tell him, guys. [Looks at Dave, a smile showing (misplaced?) confidence in the others]

Austin : [To Smock] Why don't you tell him. I doubt if he'll believe you. [To Tristram] Your associate Dave here seems to have some aggression management problems, amongst others. He also appears to know about the brandy that Olive Branch was making from the extracted human sexual desires. Perhaps he unwittingly knows why the nascency fluid became tainted?

Dave : [Fires his crossbow, hitting Alice] You can stick your appendage up your own orifices! [To Austin] I don't care.

[Enter OLIVE BRANCH with several hooded figures. The party are now trapped on the walkway, meanwhile, ALICE falls to the ground.]

Austin : [Goes to help Alice. To Dave] You animal! You're no better than a morc!

Dave : [Flies up into the air] I'm [emphasis] way better than a morc!

Olive : [To the party] I told you I'd be back.

Clint: [To Austin] Is she okay, lawyer? [To Tristran, as politely as he can manage] I need to borrow your sword for a minute... [To Dave] You! Get back down here so I can kick your ass! [To Olive] And you'll just have to wait your turn.

Austin : [To Olive] We've been expecting you for some time. What took you so long? [Helps Alice with the arrow wound]

[Closer inspection shows that it is more of a graze, but that ALICE is bleeding quite badly.]

Alice : [Sitting up] Ow.

Olive : Tristram will never betray the elves.

[TRISTRAM looks as though he is about to give the sword to CLINT, but is clearly torn. Meanwhile, DAVE shoots off another bolt, this time hitting AUSTIN in the shoulder.]

Cocan: [Attacks Dave] Bastard!

Austin : [Looks shocked and pales at the cut in his suit] What! [Then sees the blood and looks even paler. Looks around nervously for an escape but sees none. Take's of the glove from his skeletal hand and holds it near to the nascency fluid. To Olive] Back off and take your zombies with you, or the fluid gets it!

[DAVE easily flies out of COCAN's reach, making an irritating, mosquito type noise as he does so. To AUSTIN's dismay, the gangway is too high to reach into, as it is about ten feet above the vat.]

Olive : [Smiles sweetly] The only way you can touch the fluid is by jumping in, and if you jump in, you'll be dead before your Aspect does any harm.

Clint: [To Tristram] C'mon, Tristram, we're the good guys here! We've volunteered to help out, haven't we? Be a pal!

Austin : ['Accidentally lets some of his blood drip into the vat. Looks up to Olive. Dramatically] Are you sure my corpse wouldn't harm the fluid? After all, you've already contaminated and weakened it, haven't you? [Pauses for effect] To gain control over the rest of the elves. [Glances at Tristram] It seems to have worked.

Olive : [Smugly] I'm sure.

[TRISTRAM sadly hands over his sword to CLINT, as blood from both AUSTIN and ALICE drips into the fluid.]

Tristram : [Points at where the blood dripped in] Look! Their blood! It's cleaning the nascency fluid!

Austin : [Looks into the vat with a flicker of amazement, which quickly turns to smugness] Oh, well that was rather easy [Drops some more blood into the vat] Waste not want not I guess [To Tristram] Well, all that remains now is to make sure that Olive cannot contaminate the fluid again, and all elven kind will be saved, [casually] all in a days work.

Olive : On the contrary, now that we have a way of cleaning the fluid, all we need to do is to bleed them to death, and then we can return to the old ways.

Clint: [Distractedly, to Tristram] Thanks. [To Olive] Oh, c'mon. Think about that for just a second. If you kill us to purify the Nascency, where the hell is the brandy going to come from? --- F \ No newline at end of file

Olive : From the hundreds of thousands of humans we have trapped beneath Euphoria. Now that you were stupid enough to bring back the wand, we can keep them imprisoned.

Clint: [Glances at Austin, then Alice, then back to Olive.] What wand? I don't see a wand.

Dave : [Buzzes around the party for a moment] They don't have it! What are we going to do?

Alice : I think it might be time to discuss that army, Clint!

Cocan: [Groans. To Clint] Not the one led by the Big General, I hope?

Clint: Hey, when you got what it takes... [To the party, quietly] How do we want to play this? Bimbo's right - we've got some leverage here. But how much are we willing to offer?

Free : Can't we all just get along?

Alice : How about we give 'em a few drops of blood and promise to stop the humes from killing them? In return, they agree to fight with us?

Smock: What about all the trapped people? And I really don't want them on my team [points at Olive and Dave] But he's nice [smiles at Tristram] Do you think that's a fair deal, Tristram? We'll clean your icky fluid if you and your zombie friends free the humans and fight with us against evil?

Austin : [To Smock] I think your hero book can be slightly over optimisitc at times. [To Olive] Bleeding humans to death is a pointless waste as a little blood from many humans will clean the fluid, and no one needs to die. [sarcastically] Unless of course you have some brilliantly clever reason for killing all the humans you have trapped, which I suppose you do.

Clint: Don't go giving her any ideas, Sleaze! And besides: How is this going to help us get what we need?

Austin : [Still dripping a little bit of blood into the vat] Well, my pungent [pauses] comrade, the is a very, very slim chance that some of the elves may be grateful that we fixed the nascency fluid. [Considers Olive and the hoodies] Although it wont be much use if Ms Olive 'psychotic killer' Branch want's to dance in our entrails before leaving. [To Olive] Perhaps you'd consider some form of treaty?

Smock: Well, actually, my book says that we have to kill Olive and then all the Elves will be on our team, [bored] but you're too busy talking. [To Tristram] Sometimes I think maybe a team of animals would be better heroes since they wouldn't have to yap so much. They'd use their instincts to know that that crazy loony [points at Olive] isn't going to ever be on our team!

Austin : [Looking a little afronted at Smock] And does your book tell us how to kill Olive? We did explode her to smithereens once before, remember?

Smock: Well, since she's not zombified, it must mean she has her own supply of that gross goo [makes a face at the vat of Nancency Fluid]. So we just have to find that and get rid of it. Duh.

Tristram : The small and unusually pungent and annoying one is correct on all counts. [To Olive] You are guilty of the worst crime.

Alice : Tainting nascency fluid?

Tristram : No, underestimating elves. The Euphoric Elves [emphasis] will be very grateful for you saving their Nascency Fluid. You have shown us that elves and humans need each other, even though you are little more than idiotic savages. Draw your weapons, friends. [Tries to go for his sword] Hm!

[Of course, CLINT has TRISTRAM's sword.]

Smock: Now that's what I like to hear! [To the party] You guys could learn something from this dude. [Mutters something arcane]

Free: That's right, man. W

Free: That's good, man. The world needs each other to be free, brother. But violence is never good. Are we sure we can't reason with this chic, man?

Olive : [Holds her arms up, clearly about to cast a spell, but stops] W? What do you mean?

[A small flame appears in SMOCK's hand.]

Dave : [Buzzing around irritably, firing a crossbow bolt at Clint and missing] Come on! What are you waiting for?

[Enter SIEGFRIED WEAVING and HELEN BACK. SIEGFRIED took over as leader of the elves after OLIVE was deposed because of the party's allegations. Although he seemed to hate humans, he did try to warn the party about being trapped in Mermantort.]

Siegfried Weaving

Helen Back

Smock: [Throws the flame in her hand at Olive. To Tristram, indicating Helen and Siegfried] Are these guys cool?

Cocan: [To Helen and Siefried] Welcome, friends! Here to sort out the crazy? [points to Olive] --- F \ No newline at end of file

Siegfried : Indeed, Cocan.

[SMOCK's flame catches OLIVE, who screams in pain, but runs towards the party.]

Olive : Damned humans! I'll kill you all!

Free: Aw man, don't kill us all. We need to just find a way to live in harmony. There's no reason for all this violence. [to Sir Archie] This is one bad scene, little man.

Clint: [Looks at Tristram a little apologetically and moves into Olive's path.] In your dreams, bitch. Someone take care of that flying freak!

Olive : [Takes out a sword and swings it at Clint] Never!

Alice : Quick! Let's turf her into the Nascency Fluid!

Dave : [Surveys the scene for a moment, before buzzing out through the door] Farewell, gentle Olive!

Cocan: [To Alice] Good idea, girl! [lunges for Olive]

Austin : Hey! I've just used my own blood to purify that fluid! [Indignantly] Don't stick her in there!

Alice : Ah, there's plenty more where that came from, Aus!

Tristram : No! I can't watch! [Turns away, as do Siegfried and Helen]

[ALICE and COCAN, aided by SMOCK, hoist OLIVE up high, and a blow from CLINT's sword sends her plummeting over the edge.]

Olive : You cannot kill me! I am the great Olive Branch! I will retuuuuu! [Squelch]

[OLIVE lands in the fluid and burns away, screaming in pain, and soon, there is nothing left of her.]

Free: Hey man, don't taint the stash. [reaches back and pulls a loose end of the rope on his back, catching Sir Archie as comes free]

Clint: Ouch! Gimme a hand here guys! We can use my blood to repurify that crap later!

Alice : Poo! [Wrinkles up her nose] Is it supposed to smell so bad? [Turns and looks at Clint] Ah, I see.

Austin : [Nodding in agreement with Alice] I hope for the sake of elven kind that Mr Scar's blood smells of nothing worse that alochol. [Gets down from the walkway. To Tristram] Does that mean that Olive is dead permanently? [Looks doubtfully at the vat] I suppose we could always get an ASBO against her.

Tristram : [Head bowed] Yes, Olive is dead permanently. As the short, irritating one correctly pointed out, Olive's Nascency Fluid is elsewhere, so when she touched ours, it killed her.

Cocan: [Peers into the vat] She looks pretty dead to me! [To Clint] Wanna do some more bleeding?

Siegfried : [To Helen] See how the savage humans have saved us? See how, even though they are hurt, they still wish to aid us? See how -

Helen : [Interrupting] Yes, yes, I see!

Austin : [Considers Smock, nodding in agreement with Tristram] Short but smart. [To Siegfried and Helen] Well then, now that we have discovered a way to purify the fluid, and Ms Branch can no longer attempt to enslave Elven kind, perhaps we could write up a binding contract to free the humans trapped beneath Euphoria, and then save the world from falling under the sway of the Four Horsemen? [To Smock] How does that sound to you, Smart round? [Looks amused at his own joke]

Clint: [Hands Tristram back his sword.] Thanks. [Moves to bleed over the Nascency Fluid.] There, this ought to do it...

Austin : [Looks queasy and turns away as Clint prepares to bleed. To Tristram] So tell me how you came to know about Ms Smock?

Tristram : You arrived with her and she annoyed me. Ireland, so normal

Austin : [To Tristram] Oh, sorry, I thought you had met before. [Peers at the nascency fluid] So how do you make nascency fluid one's own? [Goes very pale] Oh, poo. Is it by dripping your blood into it? [Looks alarmed]

Smock: [To Austin] I bet he's just heard of us cuz we're heroes. [To Helen and Siegfried] Are you gonna join our army now, or what?

Austin :[Quickly to Helen and Siegfried] Please?

Free: [Approvingly to Austin] Nice manners,Groove-Cat...but an army's not the answer, man. Don't you think there's a less repressive way to settle your differences? [Starts tying Sir Archie back onto his back]

Seigfried : [Looks at Free for a a moment, before nodding at Austin] Your friend is correct, a united army is the only way to handle the evil that is coming. We will join you. There is just the matter of the civil war to finish first.

Smock: Are you having a war? So no only are you turning into ugly zombies, but you're killing each other too? [Huffily] I wanted to see the perfect, beautiful people!

Seigfried : Of course, the civil war hasn't started yet.

Clint: [Trying not to let his impatience show, and not doing a great job of it.] And what do you people have to fight about? Brandy?

Seigfried : Not just brandy, the enslavement of humans. On one side are those of us who believe that humans should be treated like animals, and on the other, a bunch of dangerous radicals who feel that they should be afforded the same rights and privileges as us elves.

Clint: Don't you people have animal rights activists?!

Smock: Yeah! Animals should get rights too! Most of them are better than she was [Points to where Olive burnt to death]

Seigfried : Sure we do. We call the Human Rights Activists. The HRA has been active in the Interior for many years, and their leader is considered a dangerous liberal.

Clint: C'mon, how dangerous can these guys be? Nowhere near as dangerous as Trindle and the rest!

Seigfried : You misunderstand. [Gestures to himself and Helen] We are the dangerous liberals.

Clint: Oh! Yeah, right. Why didn't you say so? Let's go start a civil war then!

Cocan: [Amused] Dangerous liberals, you say? What's so dangerous about tree-hugging bra-burners?!

Seigfried : [Gives a wry smile] That's just what we say. We will join you on the surface as soon as we can, but, in the meantime, you may tell Helen what equipment you need. She will be pleased to help you.

Helen : [Stomps forward grumpily] Whaddya want? reasonable equipment here. lovely Helen

Smock: Oh, well, [flips through her book] we have to get matching outfits so in order to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies through us being a team - but they can't be too much the same because we all have different special abilities. And we have to have ultra cool weapons and kits and stuff, like Austin needs for picking locks and Alice needs for tarting up.

Clint: No way I'm wearing an outfit that matches the lawyer's! People might get ideas! [To Helen] Definitely gonna need a sword. And some cigars, if you have 'em!

Smock: But we're all in the team together, Clint! [To Helen] I bet Austin could help with the outfits cuz he knows all the best clothes!

Clint: You don't get it, do you kid? I'm not dressing like the lawyer!

Alice : And no way am I wearing what you're wearing, Smock, it's just awful. No offence, of course, it's just that some of us like nice clothes. [To Seigfried] We'll need the cure to Olive's awful poison too.

Seigfried : No need. The poison would have been made from her Nascency Fluid, now that she is dead, he will be cured.

Smock: [To Siegfried] Oy! Who told you about Harvey? [To Alice] Well, your 'nice' clothes aren't at all suited for a war! If we dressed like you we'd all be in danger of exposing ourselves every time we got in a fight. You might like to flash around, but heroes are more classy than that.

Siegfried : [Gives Smock a thin smile] We know lots of things.

Helen : [Sulkily] Milicent told him.

Alice : On the contrary, Smock, if we're going to all get killed in a war, we might as well look nice while doing it.

Austin : [Goes pale at the mention of 'elves' and 'fashion' in the same sentence. To helen ans Siegfried] Please excuse me one moment whilst I educate Ms Smock a little. [Leans over to whisper in Smock's ear] You should know what passes as fashion to an elf [Describe's the Fillip fillop's fashion designs in some detail] It's bad.

Alice : [Nods gravely] They might make good weapons and brandy, but they sure suck at clothes.

Seigfried : Very well, then, if there is nothing more?

Austin : Well, if Helen could furnish me with a fine elven slingshot, some bullets and a dagger, all that is left is for us to help you with your civil war plans. Perhaps we could help ou free the enslaved humans?

Seigfried : Your help is unnecessary. We will return you to where you came from - it is crucial that you slow down Jeromitus to give us time to get our army to the surface. After all, we still need to push out through the Morcs, but with the help of the humans, we will no doubt be able to do so.

Smock: I want a dagger too! And... [Steals Austin's notepad, scribbles down a list and hands it to Helen] And that stuff. [Puts Austin's notepad back.] Maybe you elves do got some redeeming qualities after all.

Helen : [Takes the notepad gingerly, as though it may infect her, and speaks through gritted teeth] How kind of you to say.

Free : Chill out, Smock! Don't be so grabby, they're just trying to help. [Squeezes Helen's shoulder reassuringly]

Helen : Are you trying to have sex with me?

Free : Whoa, you guys have a lot to learn about humans.

Smock: [Matter of factly] If anyone's trying to have sex with you, it will be Clint.

Seigfried : It is time to return you from whence you came.

Free : Hold on, man, I think I'll stay. You guys need some help.

Smock: [To Seigfried] Uh, what exactly does that mean? We don't want to go back to the Morcs, and we don't have icky fluid stuff to go back to... You're not going to kill us are you? Cuz we're heroes you know, so it wouldn't be a good idea to fight us.

Seigfried : No, little one, we will not kill you. I will, however, leave you with a warning, of such importance that it may enable you to save the world. Jeromitus is on the Path, and that is the key to his power. Remember, however, that From Within It Consumes.

Alice : [Trying to write it down] Huh? What came after "No"?

Seigfried : [With a flicker of annoyance] Oh, you'll be fine. [Tosses an orb onto the ground in front of the party, causing all but Free to disappear]

Free : Pretty good, pretty good, pretty neat, pretty neat.

Seigfried : For you, Free, we have an important task. We want you to teach us the ways of sex. [Motions to Helen] Which of us would you start with?

Free : [Takes his imaginary cheeseratte down and takes a drag off it, taking his time to look Helen up and down] Well, let's start with her and see how we get on.