[Book VI, Act VII, Scene I. A Small Clearing. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, each having appeared in mid air and falling about ten feet. It is night time and quite dark.]

Alice: [Somehow underneath everyone else, and giving out a grunt as Dur lands on the pile of bodies] Ow.

Clint: [Trying to take advantage of the press to surreptitiously cop a feel.] What the hell just happened? Where's Sarge? And who's sitting on my head?!

Alice: [Squeezing out from beneath the pile] Where are we? [Looks around] I don't see any sign of Charlie.

Austin: [Inspecting Maplin carefully] No doubt she's gone in search of a notepad and pen to document her experience during the fall.

Alice: I suppose - hey! [Points up at the sky] Do you see that?

Clint: See what, Bimbo, the sky?

Alice: Yes! Phew! For a minute there I thought I might be going crazy!

Austin: [Straightening his cuffs, smirking] Crazier, anyway.

Alice: But look! Don't you see?

[Time passes, with ALICE tapping her foot impatiently.]

Alice: Well?

Quiet day in Queens View today!

Clint: [Jerks awake with a snort.] Well what?

One of those "if I throw my alarm clock across the room, I'll *still* wake up, honestly!" kind of days. At least, that's my excuse.

Sure sure!

Alice: Well the stars are in the wrong positions! The last time we saw this was when we went back in time - when we met Aphi and Bjorseth!

Alice is referring to Book 4, Act 5, when the party went waaaay back in time.

Harvey : [Picks himself up and dusts himself down] By the saints dear niece, you are quite correct!

Are there any buildings within view?

Alice: As always! Well, we seem to be out in the countryside, somewhere. I wonder which way Charlie would have gone, assuming she appeared here. [The sound of a woman's scream comes from off to one side.]

Alice: Hm, that sound is very annoying, so I doubt she went that way.

Nope!

Harvey : Sounds like someone is in trouble! On the double, troop, let us see what is afoot!

Heather is away today

Austin: Yes Colonel, but don't forget that we are unarmed, have no personal grooming equipment and are wearing the most diabolical clothing ever designed!

Harvey : By the saints private Sleaze, I'm quite sure the distressed person won't mind being saved by a group of badly dressed rescuers, what! We shall approach with caution and stealth though and survey the scene!

Austin: It's not the distressed person I'm concerned about, Colonel!

thread-topic: [qv] 07.01.019

thread-index: Ack7Zyqybj2npfH1R/aZch6E3ei26QAADfqw

Dur: I'm flattered by your concern Austin!

Sorry, My office has been crazy the last few days moving people around so I have been rather busy.=20

Clint: Oh, get a room, you two! We've got an uptight, clipboard-carrying geek to save. Brings back memories! [Looks around for something he could conceivably use as a club.]

Austin: [To Dur] Not to worry, it'll all go on your bill. [To the others] Trapped here without currency or high fashion items it is crucial that I change the situation. [As CLINT picks up a good sized log, the party creep forward, and spot MARGE GROENING, being pushed around by four men in SCARY MASKs. They have pushed her to the ground and each has a huge sword.]

Marge: No! Please! Not the [breathless with fear] hair!

Scary Masks

Marge Groening

The party met Marge Groening when they were last in this time, and got on reasonably well with her

Clint: [Quietly, to the party.] Hey! Let's beat up these punks and take their swords! [Tries to creep up behind the SCARY MASKS, so he can bean one upside the head with his log.]

[CLINT sneaks up behind one and smacks him hard on the head, knocking him to the ground, still holding his sword.]

Scary1: Hey! What the hell?

Alice: Oh, crap. Now we have to help him! [Picks up a rock and throws it at Scary2, hitting him on the side of the head]

Scary2: Ow!

Austin: [Attempts to stomp on the wrist of Scary 1's sword hand]

travelling today folks, so no post from me

Harvey : [Aims a flying kick at Scary 1] Have at you, briggand!

[Between them, HARVEY and AUSTIN disarm Scary1, sending him flying back onto the ground. SCARY3 and SCARY4 turn to the party.]

Scary3: This is not your fight - we saw her first!

Marge: Help! Help!

Yikes. It's all very quiet today - are we all electioneering??

Austin: [Scrambles to get the loose sword] Any day now, Mr. Scar!

USA! USA!

Clint: [Slams a random, not disarmed thug with his "club."] Drop it, dirtbag!

That, or afraid to get up for fear that the 18-month long campaign will come to an end and we'll have news coverage of something else for a change...

[CLINT swings at SCARY3, but gets struck in return. Meanwhile, SCARY2 and SCARY4 attack HARVEY and AUSTIN, each getting a hit in, just before ALICE dives at SCARY4 and knocks him over.]

Clint lose 8hp, Harvey lose 7hp, Austin lose 8hp Scary car chases??

Clint: You ready to give up yet, or do we have to hit you again? [Waves his log menacingly.] Drop the swords and get the hell out of here.

I miss my scary car chases, dammit!

Harvey : I'd do what the private says, if I were you, briggands! [Adopts the classic boxer pose]

Austin: [Tries to tackle Scary2] You're the ones outnumbered, you know!

Scary2: [Gasing Austin's shoulder badly] That just makes it more fun! [To Scary3] Let's torture them to death, that'll be fun!

Alice: Uh, I think we need some more weaponry, guys!

Austin: [Gasps and checks his wound, fretting] You don't think this will scar, do you?

thread-topic: [qv] 07.01.037

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Dur: [Looking frightened] What if she likes it? =20

Clint: And leave this poor blue-haired lady to be tormented by these whackjobs?! [Tries to force the Scaries back so someone can grab the dropped sword.]

I'm not misremembering that one of them dropped a sword and no one has picked it up, am I? Also, off to renew a driving license, so no posting from me until I get back from that. I'll see everyone in December!

Alice: trust me Dur, when you're involved, no one will like it!

[the party suddenly hear some loud flapping from above]

Harvey : [Attempts to hit Scary2 once more] Have at you, brigand!

[The SCARIES rally, with each of ALICE, HARVEY, CLINT and AUSTIN being hit, and clearly pushed back.]

Alice: [As the huge flapping sound can be heard again] What the hell is that?

Scary2: [To the other Scaries] Criminey! We better get the hell out of here!

Austin: [Looks around to find the source of the flapping sound] Do you see it?!

Alice: [Points up at looks like a winged man flying above the clearing, who just then fires an arrow at Scary2] There! What the hell is that?

Austin: [Doubtfully] An--angel?

Alice: Unlikely.

[A figure that bears a startling resemblance to an angel zooms back over and slashes the SCARIES with a sword, sending them running in all directions. The angel then lands, facing away from the party and talks to MARGE.]

Angel: It's okay. They're gone now.

Marge: [Giggling nervously] Why, thank you!

Clint: You're welcome, toots! [To the party.] It's important to be polite to the broads, you know.

Alice: Yeah. We love that.

Clint: [To the angel.] So what's your story, wings? And why the hell are we are?! And did you see a bossy girl with a clipboard and a pocket protector go by?

[The angel turns to face the party, and gives them a big, cheesy grin. He looks like a normal man, except for the large wings on his back. This is PAN.]

Pan: Hey guys. I'm Pan. Bossy girl with a clipboard and pocket protector? You must be talking about Charlie!

Harvey : Indeed we are! And in matter of fact, we are looking for her! [Bows to Pan] I am Colonel Harvey Kingston Short III.

Austin: And I am Austin Sleaze. Could you please tell us where we could find Charlie?

Pan: [Shakes each of Harvey's and Austin's hands] Pleased to meet you, pleased to meet you! [To Austin] I certainly could - she's in Serenity, [juts his thumb off to the east] About ten minutes walk that way. She's something, that Charlie!

Austin: [Shrugging] Yes, we find her grating and offensive, as well, but she has proven to be a relatively competent member of the party, I suppose.

Pan: [Chuckles] Haw! She certainly has your mark, Austin! That's almost word for word how she said you'd describe her!

Alice: What did she say about me? I'm Alice!

Pan: Alice? [Shakes his head] Nope, she just talked about the Colonel, Austin, Dur and Clint.

Alice: [Dismayed] Hey!

Pan: Haw! Just joshing! She thinks you guys are great!

Alice: So, uh, what's the deal with the wings?

Pan: Well, I could hardly fly without them, could I?

Hi folks, Kevin's work address is off the list for today. Please make sure not to send any mails to that today

Austin: Yes, but--it isn't quite the fashion, is it?

--0-1650913976-1226322535=:5798

Durti: Maybe he's trying to MAKE it the fashion?

--0-1650913976-1226322535=:5798

Last from Heather #55


>Austin: Yes, but--it isn't quite the fashion, is it?

 

Durti: Maybe he's trying to MAKE it the fashion?



 

--0-1650913976-1226322535=:5798--

Pan: [Click-click!] It's already the fashion!

Clint: Yeah, but it makes you look kinda gay.

Pan: Chicks love that, it makes it easy to get close to them, and then [suddenly casts a tiny flash of lightning from his hand] boom! So, I guess you guys want to meet Charlie, right?

Austin: [To Pan] Yes, please, assuming you didn't strike her dead with your lightning trick!

Pan: Nah, but she may have struck me with her lightning! [Flies up above the party, wings beating, pointing to the east] Serenity's that way - I'll meet you at the gate. [Flies off]

Alice: Wow, that was weird, wasn't it? [Turns to Marge] What's going on here? [Looks around] Hey! Where'd she go?

[There's no sign of MARGE.]

Harvey: Gah!

Kevin's back on the list now

Clint: Yeah, like you would know anything about women. [Rolls his eyes.]

thread-topic: [qv] 07.01.064

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Dur: I dunno Clint, he IS the most feminine of us all... =20

Austin: [Smirking] Maybe they didn't think of what you did to them as helping!

Clint: We save her life, and she runs off without even saying thank you. Just like a woman! If you don't show up when they need you, they never let you hear the end of it, and if you do... you never hear of it at all!

Alice: [Nods] That's true, Dur, especially since Charlie left. [Thinks for a moment] Hey!

Hi folks, let's use my gmail address from now on, having problems with the UL one

Clint: [Ponders this for a moment.] Hmm. Maybe you're right. Anyway, follow that winged weirdo! [Suits actions to words.]

Austin : [To Clint, coldly] Your tasteless jibes merely remind me of the thoughtless scum who murdered my fiancee. Please keep them to yourself. [Heads for Serenity]

Alice: Yeesh! [Waves her fist at Clint] Behaaaaave!

Welcome back, Dom. Can you use my gmail address in future? Lots of problems with UL mail

Austin : Thank you for your moral support Alice. I for one think that you are infinitely more feminine than I, both genotypically and phenotypically.

I jus hit reply :o) I'll check if I remember

Alice: Well... most of the time!

Harvey: [Beams at Alice] No one's more of a girl than my little girl! [To Austin] No offense, Private!

Austin : [Curiously at Harvey] None taken, why would I. [Rolls his eyes and wanders towards Serenity]

Alice: Why indeed! [Exit ALL, towards Serenity.]

End of scene, next one coming right up

[Book VI, Act VII, Scene II. The Gates of Serenity. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, having just arrived. Standing at the gate is CASPER, who the party met previously when they were last in this time.]

Casper: Halt! Who goes there?

Alice: Who goes where?

Casper: Here!

Alice: Uh, I'm not sure, was it... [to the party] Jasper?

http://queens-view.com/cast.php?query=Casper%20Caspersen

Ooops, sent this from the wrong address again! [Book VI, Act VII, Scene II. The Gates of Serenity. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, having just arrived. Standing at the gate is CASPER, who the party met previously when they were last in this time.]

Casper: Halt! Who goes there?

Alice: Who goes where?

Casper: Here!

Alice: Uh, I'm not sure, was it... [to the party] Jasper?

http://queens-view.com/cast.php?query=Casper%20Caspersen

Austin : [To Alice] Casper, I believe. [To Casper] Would you be so kind as to open the gate for us, Casper.

Casper: Why? So you can come in and rape all of us?

Harvey: What the blazes do you mean by that, chappie? We are law-abiding citizens, what!

Casper: Yes, but who's law? The law of the jungle? Where it's fine for everyone to rape and eat each other? Yeah, right!

Austin : [Sighs and rolls his eyes. To Casper] Do you have to be such a weirdo all the time? Is it not strange enough that you wander around with a blanket over your head, that you have to accuse normal people of rape and other barbarities?

Casper: Normal? You're coming from the asylum, the rape capital of the world, and you claim to be normal. Hah. Hah! I say.

Clint: Hate to say it, lawyer, but he's got a point. Anyone who thinks this group is normal is hanging with the wrong crowd! [To Casper, crossing his fingers behind his back just in case.] But, we're not going to hurt anyone, I swear!

Casper: Well, if you swear it...

Alice: Hey! What have you got behind your back, Clint?

Clint: [Uncrosses his fingers and folds down all but the middle.] My hands. You know, to help make me look more peaceful!

Alice: [Looks closely] Well, I have to say, it isn't working that well!

Casper: Gasp! That's it! You're not getting in here now, no way, no how!

[Enter PAN, flying in from behind CASPER, and landing beside him. He gives the party a big smile and wave.]

Pan: Hey gang! What's up?

thread-topic: [qv] 07.02.007

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Dur: UNPROVEN accusations. [Dur stresses nervously].

Austin : [To Pan] Oh, not much. Casper here seems to think that we are rapists and murderers, and refuses to let us through. [To Casper] I know a very good tailor you know, you would not have to hide yourself in shame anymore if you had a suit made by her.

Casper: Is she the one who made what you're wearing now? [Sniggers at Austin's prison garb]

Pan: [Laughs at Austin's suggestion, clapping Casper on the back so hard he nearly knocks him over] Murderers and rapists? [Laughs so hard he gives a snort] Oh come on, Casp! Let them in.

Casper: [Clearly unhappy] Fine, but I don't think the minisecure will be happy.

Pan: They never are!

[The gate opens slowly, revealing Serenity. The party were here before, immediately before the town was besieged by Seth and his Morcs. Much of the town has been rebuilt, and it is now walled, although it is clearly still the same place. There is also a huge, white tower in the middle of the town, towering above every other building.]

This is the town where Bjorseth introduced emotions to the world by burning an orphanage. At the time, there were suggestions that he did it to impress Alice.

Harvey: [Strides through the gates] Thank you, good fellow! [To the party] Now, let's see if we can find that infernal female, troop! How dare she break ranks?! The troop must always stay together. [Grandly] As the great man said, "An army must always swim together, or travel on its stomach, after waiting at least an hour!"

Austin : [To Casper] Whilst I was forced to wear this disgusting =20 garment [Pulls at his prison overalls] You seem to have chosen to =20 dress as tramp.

[The gate immediately swings shut after the party enter.]

Casper: [To Austin] You are a fool. Almost certainly a murderer and rapist.

Pan: [To Harvey] Charlie's just up here. She warned us to have food ready for you.

Austin : [Glances at Casper, then to Pan] She means well, she just has an odd way of going about things. I expect that she had a difficult childhood.

Pan: Haw! You guys!

[PAN brings the party into a house near the large tower, and leads them to an upstairs room, which he enters. Sitting here is CHARLIE, still in her prison clothes, talking to an officious looking woman behind a desk. This is FLEUR DE LIS.]

Fleur: [Gives the newcomers a dirty look] Don't you people knock?

Pan: [Gives her a grin] Knock knock! [To the party] This is Fleur. She's just great!

Fleur De Lis

Charlie: [To the party, relieved] At last! We really should have a pre-designated assembly point in the future, so that we all know where to meet when separated temporarily.

Austin : [To Charlie] That would probably be over complicated considering the fact that we just traveled back in time several thousand years. [Looks around. To Charlie] Have you found a talented tailor yet?

Clint: Who cares about clothes at a time like this?! What we need are some good swords and some good cigars! [To Charlie.] By the way, that guy you're definitely not sleeping with said hi.

Disposition-Notification-To: "Day, Kevin R. (Las Colinas) NA"

Dur: [Whispers to Clint] You forgot food. =20

Clint: [Whispers back.] That's Harv's department!

Fleur: [Claps her hands irritatedly] Stop all this whispering! [To Charlie] Honestly, their behaviour is a disgrace. They need someone to organize them. I am Fleur de Lis. Please tell me what you are doing here. So far all I have got is a confused mix of emotionalism. [Glares at Charlie]

Charlie: [To Fleur, defensively] But they were recently imprisoned, and it was all very trying!

Fleur: I was talking about you!

Clint: Yeah, well, she's a girl. I think. So what else do you expect? They're always emotional! Oh, yeah, and we're here because we came to get her because she ran away from her boyfriend and it was either get her back or eat our own spleens. I think that was it.

Fleur: Spleens? I see. And what, may I ask are you doing here?

Disposition-Notification-To: "Day, Kevin R. (Las Colinas) NA"

Dur: Incidentally, that probably also explains why she is so emotional. You know how it is when loved ones are serperated! =20

Fleur: [emotionless] yes I do. Love is a wonderful thing.

Clint: What are we doing here? Well, only the doc actually likes the taste of spleen. So we came to get her back, and since she's here, so are we!

Charlie: [Touched] He threatened to feed you your spleens if you didn't rescue me?!

Clint: Well, not strictly speaking, no. But you could tell he was thinking it!

Alice: What's a spleen?

Fleur: [Disapprovingly] Well, now that you've got her, you may leave.

Pan: Hey, hey, hey! That's hardly very friendly, is it? Come on, Fleur, these guys were the ones who helped get the big P where he is today!

Austin : [To Pan] Why thank you. [To Fleur] I do have Philli's phone number if you would like confirmation.

Fleur: What is it?

Charlie: [To Fleur] Don't be absurd! Obviously, that number would be unlisted.

Austin : [To Charlie] I have no idea wether or not it is listed. He gave it to me personally. We have met several times, you know. [Makes a note on a piece of paper and hands it to Fleur] There you go.

Fleur: [Gives Charlie a withering look before looking distastefully at Austin] No. I meant "What is a phone"?

This is hundreds of thousands of years in the past after all!

Austin : [To Fleur] The name is an abbreviated version of 'telephone', a device for speaking to people of great distances. [Points at the paper he handed to her] Everyone has their own unique number so that you can get the right person. [Makes a note and hands it to her] Here is my number, should you ever travel to the future, you may appreciate a chapperone.

Fleur: I can assure you, sir, that if I ever do travel to the future, I will not be using you as a chaperone!

Gone for the day!

Austin : [To Fleur] And why would that be?

Harvey : I think, private, it is perhaps your prison garb which is creating a bad first impression, what!

Fleur: Correct. The second bad impression is caused by your demeanour. The third by the company you appear to habitually keep. The fourth by the conduct of the person you have come here to meet. The fifth by my recollection of preconceived notions of my own built up by many lonely years with little company other than three loving and one mean cat.

Charlie: [Delighted] Oooh, what are their names? I was thinking of getting several cats, myself.

Austin : [To Harvey] Possibly colonel, but I am sure that a woman of Fleur's caliber is quite capable of seeing through this tarnished veneer [tugs at his overalls] imposed upon us by our captors.

Fleur: [To Austin] Unfortunately for you, I am more than capable of seeing beneath the surface. [To Charlie] They are Mrs. Floppy-BigEars, Cuddly-Bunny Funny-Tummy, Whiskers MacWhiskerson-Purrsalot and Braganburg Eater of Souls.

Alice: I just bet that Braganburg the mean one!

Fleur: No! She's a darling. Cuddly-Bunny Funny-Tummy is the one you need to look out for. [Holds up her arm to reveal that she has a wooden hand] Where do you think I got this from?

Alice: Uh, unskilled carpenter?

Charlie: [Recoils at the sight of the hand] Perhaps I'll get a fish instead!

Alice: A cat did that??

Fleur: No. Don't be stupid. [Turns her hand over] It's just that Cuddly-Bunny keeps using it as a scratching post!

Austin : [Looks alarmed] Eater of souls? That's the kind of name you give to a demon, why did you choose that name?

Fleur: If you saw the way that kitty devours slippers, you'd choose a name like that too.

Clint: Besides, it makes a great name for a guard cat!

Fleur: And if ever you get any ideas about rape or theft, don't you forget!

Austin : [To Fleur] I can assure you that those ideas are wholly yours. Perhaps you should seek psychiatric assistance?

Charlie: [To Fleur] Yes, some of your behavior is disturbingly compulsive, I must say.

Clint: And this is coming from a woman who probably uses a clipboard and post-it notes to organize her sock drawer!

Austin : [To Clint, deadpan] And a ruler.

Alice: How else is she supposed to accurately place each pair of socks exactly 2cm from the next?

Fleur: [To Austin] And I can assure you that they are very real. Your assertion that they are not suggest that you are a murdering rapist who almost certainly is contemplating either or both acts upon my person as we speak!

Alice: [Mutters to Austin] I'm certainly contemplating one!

Austin : [To Fleur] You really to need to see you analyst. Further to that, you should know that is it considered extreemely offensive to call someone a murderer and a rapist. You should know that we have spent most of our lives fighting evil and saving the planet. [Looks dissapointedly at Fleur]

Fleur: Is that some sort of threat?

Pan: [Breaking a brief but awkward silence] Right! Now that we've all got to know each other, how about we let the party get reacquainted?

Fleur: Nothing would please me more.

[Exit FLEUR, storming off.]

Pan: [Gives a somewhat embarassed smile and wave] Er, I'll be back in a while.

[Exit PAN.]

Disposition-Notification-To: "Day, Kevin R. (Las Colinas) NA"

Dur: Is it just me or does this city have a real fetish for rapists and murderers?

Alice: I don't know, I think you'd have to ask Austin about that!

Austin : [Primly] I do not care for fetishes or any other form of geekery, unless you include botanists as geeks. [checks his nails casually]

Austin : [Primly] I do not care for fetishes or any other form of geekery, unless you include botanists as geeks. [checks his nails casually]

Alice: That's a shame Aus. There's nothing quite like a wild weekend in rubber wearing a gas mask.

Harvey: [Coughs] Er, quite. [To Charlie] Can you explain her strange behaviour? Have you seen much of this town?

Clint: And don't forget to give us a fully annotated report!

Austin : [To Alice] That sounds rather uncomfortable and unplesant, and you must get through an awful lot of talcum power.

Alice: Nah, I don't like it. I don't think it tastes like babies at all.

Charlie: [To Clint, distressed] But I haven't had time to make all of my annotations! I've only been here a half-hour more than you. [To the party, in a low voice] I will say, though, that they all seem a bit carried away with rules and regulations here. [Unhappily] You'll have to give me until midnight to prepare the full report, though.

Alice: Yikes! If Charlie here thinks that they're getting carried away, I think we might need to be worried!

Charlie: [Pleased] Indeed, I am touched by your faith in my leadership, Miss Bassett-Short!

Alice: Uh, is that what I said? [Looks confused]

Harvey: By the saints, troop! We need to find out what is going on here! Accusations of being murderers and rapists? Attacks in the forest? Angels? No sign of the food that we were promised? It's outrageous, I say! Outrageous!

Alice: Yeah! Let's go! Er, now, we're not going to rape and murder her, right?

Austin : [To Alice] No, that is not what you said, but sometimes it may pay to indulge Charlie in her insecurity complexes [Still checking his nails. To Harvey] What is your plan of action, colonel? We should find a good taylor immediately, yes?

Clint: [Angrily.] Yeah, no one calls me a murdering rapist and gets away with it! Let's go!

Charlie: [To Alice] That's exactly what we must do, right away! I've already learned that he lives in the big tower at the edge of town, so let us go there at once. Oh, and he goes by "Phili" now.

Alice: Oh! Well, I guess it's just as well that Chastity isn't here, isn't it?

Although this is news to the party, it's not that much of a surprise, and the last time they were here, they suspected as much, but left before it was confirmed. Aphi's name was Aphi Liburni. His best friend was Bjorseth Bjorsethsen. Bjor seemed to turn evil when he burned an orphanage (he claimed that by committing an evil act, he could bring something good, i.e. Love) into the world. He then took the name Seth.

Harvey: If this Mister Taylor is a good chef, then yes, [booms] yes, Private!

Alice: Why don't we go talk to Aphi? Find out what the hell is going on here?

Hi folks, Kevin's address is off the list at the moment

Charlie: [To the group] Shall we go, then?

Austin : [ To Charlie] Of course we will, the colonel said so. [Gazes out of the window]

[Enter PAN, with a big smile.]

Pan: Hey there, everyone! So, listening at the keyhole as I was, I couldn't help but notice that you wanted to meet up with Phili.

Fleur: [Out of sight, but calling out] They can't!

Pan: I'd be more than happy to bring you there.

Fleur: You better not.

Pan: [Steps back to let the party out] Shall we?

Austin : [Loudly for Fleur's benefit] Yes, that would be excellent, it has beensome time since we last met Philli, and I am sure that he will be able to explain why the locals have gone so weird.

Pan: [Laughs] Huh! They were weird to being with, weren't they, Fleur? [To the party] Actually, the weirdness can probably be explained away by the war and chaos.

Clint: War and chaos? And to think, this time it's actually not our fault! [Pauses, then turns to Pan.] It's not our fault, right?

Pan: [Waves his hand vaguely] We-elll!

Charlie: Of course not! We only just got here!

Clint: Ha! Sarge, it seems like we also only just left here! [Patronizingly.] Don't worry - I'm sure you'll get the hang of this time travel thing with a little practice. [To Pan.] "We-elll," what? Was it something the lawyer said?

Austin : [Snapply to Clint] Don't be so ridiculous, Mr Scar. There was a huge war raging when we left, [To Pan] was there not? [shrugs] but we did not start it, Seth did, as far as I recall.

Pan: [Waves his hand vaguely] We-elll!

Charlie: We-ell, what?!

Austin : [Rolls his eyes and sighs] I expect someone blamed the whole thing on us.

Pan: Not so much a someone as a something. A group, in fact. Actually, quite a large group.

Charlie: What group?

Pan: [A bit embarrassed] They're called the angels.

Austin : [To Pan] What? Some filthy bikers blamed the war on us?

Pan: We're not so much filthy bikers as physical manifestations of the attributes of Phili.

Austin : [To Pan] Oooh, you are all angels, sorry, I thought you said 'The Angels'. [Looks puzzeled] So why on earth do you blame us for the war? We are not even fighting.

Pan: [Shrugs] We might be angels, but some of us are jerks. [Realization suddenly dawns] Oh, please, Austin, I hope you didn't think that I meant I personally blame you - I think you guys were a catalyst for a reaction that had to happen - it's just not all the angels feel that way.

Pan's take on this is probably fair. Although the party did, in a roundabout way, introduce emotions and thus war, everything that they have learned about The Path and The Heart suggests that this was an inevitability

Austin : [To Pan] Well, I am jolly glad that you are on our side. [Looks concernd] You don't happen to know if there is an angelic taylor in the vacinity, do you? [Pulls forlornly at his overalls]

Pan: Hah! The best tailor in town is Fleur! I'm sure she'll knock up something modest for you!

Austin : [Sighs] That is the odd thing about this time, fate is literally snapping at you heels, we must read carefully [sniggers a his own joke]

Charlie: [To Pan] Surely these angels mean us no harm, though? Aren't angels designed to [vaguely] do good deeds and such?

Pan: Yeah, you'd think that, wouldn't you! We're not so much designed as spontaneously produced. Most of us are good, though. [Gives Charlie a friendly wink] Although some are a little too good, as I'm sure you'll soon see.

Charlie: [Awkwardly winks back at Pan] A little too good? I'm sure we wouldn't mind that after dealing with some of the most despicable characters in the known world!

Clint: Yeah! I can't stand those "too good" pricks!

Pan: I know what you mean, but, uh, you might want to be careful of using a word like prick in front of them. They don't like that at all!

Austin : Quite [To Clint] Mr Scar, we do not want to confirm what they already believe about us.

Pan: Right! Let's go!

[Exit ALL.]

End of scene, next one coming right up

[Book VI, Act VII. Scene VIII. Approaching The Tower. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and PAN are here. The streets of the town are reasonably quiet, with mainly humans wandering around, none of whom pay much attention to either PAN or the party. As the party approach the tower, they see that there is another, far more sombre angel standing in front of it. This is CASSIEL.]

Pan: Hey, Cas. This is -

Cassiel: [With some distaste] Austin Sleaze, thief. [Looks at Clint, even more distaste] Clint Scar, murderer and drunkard. [Looks at Harvey, yet more distaste] Harvey Kingston-Short, Murderer. [At Alice, somewhat warmly] Alice Bassett-Short, virgin.

Cassiel, Angel of Temperance

Clint: Plus, the step-niece of a social worker.

Austin : [Does a double take at Alice. To Cassiel] That is a little unfair, I did return that which I took, and bore my sentence. Since then I have saved the world several times, [disbelievingly] does that count for nothing?

Cassiel: Being apprehended and having the items taken from you is not the same as returning them of your own volition.

Pan: Er, don't forget the wonderful and talented Charlie Parker-Kensington and Dr. Dur TiRag.

Cassiel: [Grunts at Charlie and Dur, before addressing the party] You people have a cheek showing your faces around here. [To Alice] Except you, Lady Alice. You're welcome here any time. The fact that you have maintained your virginity in the midst of the company you keep makes your purity all the more awe-inspiring.

Alice: [Bewildered] Uh, thanks, [tails off] I think.

Charlie: [To Cassiel] Your files on this party is shockingly outdated [raises her eyebrows and nods at Alice pointedly]. YEARS out of date, at the very least!

Clint: Sarge, we're years out of our date - what do you expect?!

Alice: Hey! [Haughtily to Charlie] I'll thank you not to cast aspersions on my purity! [Normal demeanour, as she leans in confidentially to Charlie] Aspersions, that's a word, right?

Cassiel: I know all I need to know about this party. And your association with them means that I know all I need to know about you.

Austin : Besides, what I took was already stolen, and I could hardly give it back voluntarily after I had been arrested. [Folds his arms looking indignantly at Cassiel]

Cassiel: I have no interest in hearing your lies.

Charlie: [Haughtily] And we have no interest in yours! [Mutters under her breath] Virgin, indeed!

Cassiel: I'm an angel. We don't tell lies.

Alice: [To Pan] Is that a lie?

Pan: Yes, it's a lie.

Cassiel: No, that wasn't a lie, but what he said is a lie.

Alice: So angels can lie?

Cassiel: [Pauses for a moment] You're pretty uppity for a virgin.

Alice: Another lie?

Pan: [Does a "let's all calm down" motion with his hands] Cass, I know that you and some of the others aren't great fans of the FCs, but come on, they're here to see Phili, you know he'd want to see them.

Austin : [To Pan] FC's?

Pan: First Comers. That's the name given to those who came from the future before the Great Change, when emotions were unleashed in the world. There's another, more insulting version of it too, that I won't repeat here.

Charlie: That's quite all right. No doubt Mr. Scar will fill in the blanks for us.

Pan: Uh, right! Well, if that's the pleasantaries over with, let's go in!

Charlie: Only those with limited vocabulary have need to rely upon profanity. [Modestly] Naturally, I have no need for it, myself.

Austin : [To Charlie] You require mr Scar's assistance for that? [Looks amazed. Deadpan] You do have some large blanks.

Cassiel: That suprises me.

Pan: Come on, Cass! [Knocks on the door] Enough's enough.

[The door opens. Enter RASHNU, a female angel.]

Rashnu: [Smiles when she sees everyone] Ah! There they are. [Bows slightly] May Phili have mercy on your souls.

Rashnu, Angel of Judgement

Rashnu: Rashnu. Angel of Judgement.

Charlie: Charlotte Parker-Kensington. Watcher. Might I ask what you are charged with judging?

Austin : [To Rashnu, brightly] Why thank you, it is a pleasure to meet you miss?

Rashnu: Everyone and everything. I stand judgement at the entrance to heaven.

Austin : [To Rashnu, looks puzzeled] Why?

Clint: Because if she didn't, they'd be letting bums like Pestilence in here. It's a snob thing, lawyer. Shouldn't you know all about that?!

Austin : [To Clint] I do not think that Pestilence would like heaven. I expect that he would find it much too boring. [Ponders] Perhaps I should rephrase my question. Why do people want to go into heaven? Is it fun, or interesting, exciting, or beautiful? Or What?

Rashnu: Because it is ... [joins her hands together as though in prayer and looks saintly] serene.

Alice: Isn't heaven just an outmoded hangover of an idea from times gone by when people were little more than savages who were unlikely to not slaughter each other without the threat of some divine body exacting revenge, which is even more anachronistic now that you are living in the time that the very person you worship as a god has proven to have been a human like the rest of us?

Rashnu: [Narrows her eyes and glares at Alice] One black mark against the virgin!

Clint: Why? What'd the doc do?!

Austin : It is irrelevant anyway, since there is no room for anymore black marks [chuckles to himself]

Pan: Come on, Rash! They're here to see the big P!

Rashnu: To wreak more havoc, no doubt!

Austin : [To Rashnu, dryly] We did not wreak havoc, all of the havoc wreaking was done by your own people, we were no more than well meaning bystanders, who happened to be unwitting catalysts for the havoc caused by your own people. [Looks offended]

Charlie: [Panicked, self-consciously smooths her hair] The big P?! He followed me--er, us HERE?

Alice: [Does a double take on Charlie] What's that? The name for his [whispers] you-know-what?

Rashnu: So you admit it! Well, it'll give you a better chance of getting to heaven. [Steps back] I suppose you'd better come in.

Alice: Wow! Is this heaven?

Rashnu: No. This is a tall building made of ivory.

Austin : [Rolls his eyes, casually admires his nails. To Charlie] Not your boyfriend, silly, the big P is Phili.

Pan: Oh, you've got a boyfriend who's coming to? [Nonchalantly] That's nice.

Charlie: [Briskly] Don't be ridiculous! I could never make time for a personal life, with all of the exciting opportunities in the field of Clementinian Studies! [To the party, clapping her hands] Now, let's all go to heaven, chop chop!

Austin : [To Rashnu] And you think that you have problems! Charlie's boyfriend is a genocidal demon called Pestillence. [Gazes over the tower]

Cassiel: It could be worse. He could be a thief called Austin.

Pan: Hey! Let's all just calm down here! Cass, leave them alone. Rash, [points up the stairs] let's go.

[RASHNU, PAN, ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY enter the huge ivory tower and start heading up stairs. The building is immaculately clean and fairly devoid of any furnishing.]

Pan: Phili's right at the top. [Pants a bit] Phew, this stair climbing is a lot harder than just flying up!

Clint: Blessed are the stairclimbers, for they shall get a great workout.

Austin : [To Clint] Mr. Scar, all we have done is run for the past month or so, we could all use a good rest, and some new clothes.

Charlie: [Appraising her clothes critically] Yes, I really prefer professional dress. It makes a better impression, and it reminds people who's in charge.

Alice: Wow, Charlie, what kind of professional are you talking about? [Makes a whipping sound]

[After much stair climbing, the party get to a huge double doors.]

Rashnu: We will soon be in the company of the Great Phili. No crassness please.

Clint: [Takes his finger out of his ear.] Crass, us? Please! [Turns to Charlie.] Hey, look what I found! [Holds out the finger.]

Charlie: [Takes Clint's wrist and examines his finger closely] Ear mites, it would seem.

Austin : We have met Phili many times before, and many times later, and Mr Scar's behaviour has neve bothered him before, or later. [Winces as Clint examines his ear mites] Certainly not as much as it bothers me! [Steps a little further away from Clint]

Clint: Yeah, the Philster's alright!

Kevin's out until Monday

Dur: Mmm! Delicious earmites!

[The door pushes open, to reveal PHILI, sitting behind a large desk, with his feet up on it, reading a newspaper with the headline "Phili about to kill those wasters from Queens View". Standing at either side of him are two more angels, PERPETIEL and JOPHIEL.]

Rashnu: Lord Phili, you have some visi-

Phili: [Angrily, without even looking up] Don't interrupt me! I'm busy planning revenge on those wasters from Queens View!

Aphi "Phili" Liburni

Perpetiel, Angel of Success

Jophiel, Angel of Enlightenment

Dur: Fix them? You mean, make them [chewing something] even more delicious? Yum!

Phili: [Still holding the paper up] Boy, if there's one thing I hate, it's those wasters from Queens View!

Clint: [Quietly, to the party.] So much for Phili fixing my ear mites!

Apologies all for the silence - it's been a really difficult few weeks at work.

Harvey : [Clears his throat loudly] Ahem.

Phili: [Clenching the paper very tightly, so that it is shaking] Yeah, I really [stifles a weird cough] can't stand them! [Gives another weird cough]

Charlie: [To Phili] Excuse me, but why do you hate them so? And could I borrow a notepad and pencil? I'd like to take this down.

Phili: [Slams the paper down, showing that he's clearly trying to stifle some laughter] Because they're so evil - bam! [Gives a big guffaw] Just joking! It's great to see you guys!

Austin : [Takes a peeks around the news paper to check that it is Phili] You should not beleive everything that you read in a news paper. They are mostly propaganda, spin, lies and deceit.

Phili: I got the boys down in the print room to mock this one up. Look! [Turns the paper over so the party can see the headline "Austin Sleeze Declared Handsomest Man in Serenity"] Sorry about the typo, but they were under pressure!

Back when he was Aphi, Phili was known for his often lame sense of humour

Austin : [Deadpan] Since when did they start printing common knowledge in news papers?

Alice: [To Austin] You should not believe everything that you read in a news paper. They are mostly propaganda, spin, lies and deceit.

[PHILI turns the page to show another headline which says "Alice is very beautiful: official!".]

Alice: Well, uh, of course, when I say mostly, I don't mean ALL!

Charlie: [Disapproving] How irresponsible! The media have an obligation to inform the public of the truth. Why, if everyone thought as you do, any fool with a printing press could spread dangerous misinformation and the world would slip utterly into chaos!

Austin : [Nodding in agreement with Alice] This case is, of course, unique, it is a news paper commissioned by Phili, after all. Probably completely factual and well observed.

Phili: Nah! This is just a once off!

Perpetiel: And something of a waste of time in these dark times.

Austin : [To Perpetiel] That negative approach will really not help our cause, you know. Try to think positively. [Brightly] What are you an angel of?

Perpetiel: [Waves her wand in the air, leaving a trail of sparkles] I am Perpetiel, Angel of Success. I always think positively, yet practically.

Phili: She's got a cool outfit too, don't you think?

Perpetiel: [Smiles good naturedly] Now, now, Charlie. The first rule of true success is that it shouldn't be by pulling someone else down.

Charlie: [Regards Perpetiel's outfit skeptically] I suppose it depends on the field in which one is seeking success.

Alice: [Nods] I see. I see. So, got much experience selling yourself to drunken tourists in Limerick, do you, Charlie?

Perpetiel: [Bows slightly to Charlie] My apologies. I assumed you were accusing me of looking like someone who wished to sell herself on the streets of Limerick. I can assure you, these are the outfits mandated by Phili himself.

Phili: [Clearly addressing the male members of the party] Aren't they great?

Charlie: [To Alice] Don't be absurd! Have you ever seen me dressed like that? [To Perpetiel, cheerfully] Oh, not at all! My only point was that one might be successful in that regard, wearing that outfit.

Alice: Don't be absurd! What do you think I'd be doing in Limerick!

Perpetiel: [Smiles sweetly at Charlie] How kind. You truly do understand the meaning of dreaming for success.

Rashnu: [Superciliously] It is more difficult for a liar to enter the kingdom of Phili than for a large donkey to go through the eye of a needle.

Austin : [Admiring Jophiel's out fit. To Phili] They are beautiful outfits. [To Perpetiel, candidly in a friendly manner] Please excuse Charlie's out of time comments, we are after all from an era when lies, vice, and general badness has been rife for millenia. Some of my colleagues here may have forgotten how to appreciate beauty, purity or innocents' for what it is.

Charlie: [Earnestly] It wasn't an insult! Merely an observation. Allow me to elaborate. A woman dressed like that would not be taken seriously in, say, a university environment [gestures to herself modestly]. That said, a woman dressed like that could do very well selling herself to drunken tourists on the streets of Limerick, for example. [To Alice] It's all about context, you see!

Rashnu: How appropriate, given that you are the very ones responsible for introducing lies in the first place.

Clint: [Gives Phili a discrete thumbs-up. To Rashnu, ogling the angels.] Ssh! I'm busy appreciating beauty, purity, and innocence!

Austin : [To Rashnu, in a friendly way] And how were we to know what would happen. Hindsight makes it easy to criticise us and ingnore the facts, but the truth is that we had no way of knowing what would happen, what time we would be in, and regardless, we were only trying to save the world from evil, again.

Alice: [To Clint] Ew! Isn't [finger quotes] appreciation something you should do in the bathroom?

Rashnu: [To Austin] And who's going to save the world from you?

Austin : [To Rashnu] But you would not exist if we had not come here, so the only way to save it from your perspective is for us to have never traveled in time in the first place, and then you would not exist and then who made the time travelling happen anyway? [Looks mightly ponderous]

Clint: Yeah! It was one of those prestidigitation paradox things!

Rashnu: I would gladly give up my existence if it meant there were no hatred and lies in the world. I do not know who made time travel possible.

Pan: It's a mystery!

All very quiet today!

Austin : Well, why don't we all work together to sort it out?

Perpetiel: That's the spirit, Austin! If you believe you can do it, then maybe you can!

Charlie: [To Rashnu] Surely you're being a bit naive? I hardly think any civilized society would progress or function without the introduction of lies.

Rashnu: More lies? Phili, do you want me to have her killed?

Pan: No! Hey! Leave her alone! They're just here to help! [To the party] You're here to help, right?

Phili: [To Rashnu] Easy, Rashnu, these people are our friends.

Charlie: Oh, yes! We are here to help, most definitely. [Hesitates] Er, what did you need us to do, exactly? We came here quite by chance!

Clint: Did we? Maybe we only think we did, but it's actually all part of someone's plan!

Rashnu: Of course it is. It's part of Phili's plan.

Phili: Actually, it's not, Rash, but we sure could use your help guys. Seth is causing us a whole pile of problems.

Austin : [To Charlie] In a civilised society no one would need to lie, except perhaps for comedic purposes. [Sighs] You should have been here before the change, it may well have been amazingly dull to us, but there were no lies. [Takes a few paces, checks his nails] and additionally, whilst we rarely plan the specifics of our world saving antics, we are certainly not here by accident.

Alice: [Nods] Anyone even remotely familiar with the properties of very large numbers and probabilities knows that there are no accidents, just like there are no coincidences. [To the surprised looking Rashnu] What? I know math!

Rashnu: If ever something sounded like an accident, that must be it!

Phili: [Claps Rashnu on the back] Haw! What a character. You know what? I think maybe I need a little while alone with the party, to tell them what's going on. [To the angels] Oh, and can you guys get some new clothes arranged? [Sees Austin about to react, and holds his hand up to him] And yes, only the best for Austin. Something must have gone horribly wrong for him to be dressed like that.

Alice: [To Perpetiel] I'd like a skirt like yours - although a bit shorter, maybe.

[Exit THE ANGELS.]

It is just the party and Phili left in the room.

Phili: [Points to some comfortable looking couches] Guys, I don't care why you're here, I'm just glad you are. Please, make yourself comfortable!

Clint: [Plops himself down on a couch, contentedly.] Don't mind if I do. So what's Seth up to?

'Tis a bit chaotic here with paper-writing at the moment, given the 4-day weekend we lazy Yanks take this time of year. Speaking of which, I don't expect to be awake before noon tomorrow!

Phili: He's engaging in guerrilla warfare - raiding our city and surrounding towns, dragging people into his tortured hell.

Alice: [Horrified] Oh, those poor monkeys!

Charlie: [To Phili] Don't mind her. She's kept under constant observation and rarely allowed to drive.

Phili: Just as well you're here to help, Charlie! [Gives her a big thumbs up] Seth and his cronies are constantly raiding us, and we can't get near them. [Thinks hard] If only we knew some battle hardened heroes who could help us out here. If only there were some talented and beautiful - not to mention soon to be well-dressed - superstars who could save us. Think, Phili, think!

Austin : [Checking his nails with an air of indifference] Battle weary more like.

Charlie: [To Phili] No need to stroke our egos! We are at your service, of course. Now, I suggest we make three or more plans and then rank them in order of preference.

Phili: Excellent! Excellent! I was hoping that you could lead a raid on his headquarters.

Austin : I take it that peaceful negotiations have already failed?

Harvey: [Outraged] Negotiations? With a villain like Seth?! That would be as pointless as refusing money to one's wife or disciplining one's children!

Phili: You're right, of course, Harvey, but yes, Austin, we did try to negotiate. You might remember that when you were here last Seth had unleashed the Morcs. Well, there was a terrible battle between us and his army which, after months of fighting, we finally won. He laid low for a few months, but then we realised he had spies in Serenity and had been building another army.

Austin : What did you do with the spies you found? Who were they?

Phili: We tried to reason with them, of course. After all, why on earth would anyone want to be part of Seth? I mean, killing orphans? Creating Morcs? Laying siege to the city he lived in? It just doesn't make sense. Of course, all the spies easily escaped - we just weren't set up for imprisoning people. [Shrugs] They were a real mix of people, from all walks of life. [Sighs sadly] I shudder to think of what he did to them. I hope they're still alive so that we can save them. [Brightly, to the party] That's where you come in.

Phili: Then we'll kill them. It's them or us, Austin. If they were prepared to just leave us alone, we could co-exist, but they're not. [Coldly] And I'll appreciate it if don't take that tone with me. [Narrows his eyes] I can have you thrown from the top of this tower and you'll be little more than a stain on the ground. [Bursts out laughing] Bam! Just kidding!

Austin : Riiiight. Saving the spies who attacked you. What if they do not want to be saved?

Charlie: [Urgently] Yes, but what is the plan? [Folds arms] I really don't feel comfortable rushing headlong into an epic battle of good versus evil without a plan.

Austin : [To Charlie] Simple, we rush headlong into an epic battle versus evil, get captured, then, once inside their stronghold we wait until Seth come to gloat at us and tell us all of his plans, then we escape cunningly shortly after finding the weakness in his strategy and strike one almighty, terminal blow. [sighs] At least that is what we usually do.

Clint: [Impressed] That's a great plan, Lawyer!

Alice: He forgot the part about us being trapped in an insanely complicated machine that's supposed to kill us, but that ends up taking so long we're afforded the opportunity to escape.

Dur: Er, about this rushing headlong into epic battle - we'll need someone to hang back, of course, right?

Austin : [To Dur] yes of course, that would be tactically astute. You should guard our backs. Then Charlie shall be just ahead of you, with myself just ahead of Charlie, with the rest of the party infront of me. I suggest that Mr Scar leads.

Clint: Damn right I will, Lawyer. I've been in a right mood to punch someone in the mug since we were thrown in jail!

Phili: [Claps Clint on the shoulder] That's the spirit! Of course, [gestures to Charlie] Charlie here has a point. It's probably best to not simply charge into the unknown. I suggest Pan take you to near their hideout, that way you can get the lay of the land.

Harvey: [To Austin] Who's the Colonel and who's the Private here, Private?! I give the marching orders, what! [To the party, grandly] Private Scar, you lead the way! The rest of the troop, fall in after him, though better have Private Quack waggling his feathers in the rear, I expect. Now MARCH!

Austin : [To Harvey] Ah, yes, about this 'private' rank thing, don't you think that it is high time that I was promoted? I do feel that I have rather excelled myself many times in the field of combat, perhaps 'Commander' would be a more suitable rank for me?

Harvey: [Stares at Austin for a good ten seconds, looking absolutely perplexed, before bursting into laughter] Oh, Private Sleaze! [Roars with laughter again, tears streaming down his cheeks] For a moment there, I thought you might be serious!

Charlie: [To Harvey and Austin] Yes, this is all very nice, but we have real problems to handle just now. You two can go back to playing soldier later!

Harvey: By the saints, young lady! How dare you! Forty years of service in his majesty's army is hardly playing soldierrs! Recklessly diving into a bottomless pit in a prison without even consulting your troop mates, [pounds the table in front] that is [with disgust] playing!

Austin : [To Charlie] Yes, that is a good point, would you mind telling us the next time you plan on time travelling!

Charlie: No, it was taking the lead in a group that often lacks direction! [Looks around wildly for something to pound and settles for stamping her foot angrily]

Harvey: Taking the lead?? Young lady, you are hardly capable of taking the lead of a small dog, and even then you'd probably end up panicking and deserting him!

Austin : [Bursts out laughing, almost in tears of laughter] Excellent! Could not lead a small dog! [Sighs in merriment and composes himself]

Charlie: [To Harvey, crossing her arms huffily] I notice you did follow me, though. All of you.

Harvey: Do not confuse being rescued with being obeyed!

Austin : Or demons with boy friends.

Charlie: [To Austin] I do nothing of the sort! [To Harvey] And that's just about enough on this subject, wouldn't you say? Surely we can agree that we need to take action and cease this quibbling?

Harvey: I think that's more than enough about the subject!

Gone for the weekend!

Clint: Yeah, and don't call him Shirley!

Austin : Quibbling? [Arrogantly] We are discussing a plan, or did that escape your elite 'Watcher' notice?

Charlie: [To Austin, wearily] Very well, do tell us about the plan, then. I'll just sit here and [finger quotes] watch.

Alice: Too busy too watch. How coincidental. [Tries to look intelligent, but momentarily gets confused] Or is it paradoxical?

Phili: I thought we already had plan! To perform some reci on the place?

Austin : [To Phili] That is not really a plan, more of an idea that requires planning. [To Harvey] Colonel, what is the plan of action?

Harvey: Why, dinner, of course! [Stomach booms massively] Then we'll gather information, slowly and surely, and then, [thumps the table] then, Private, we'll rush headlong into an epic battle versus evil, get captured, then, once inside their stronghold we wait until Seth come to gloat at us and tell us all of his plans, then we escape cunningly shortly after finding the weakness in his strategy and strike one almighty, terminal blow.

Charlie: [To Austin] This was the plan to which you referred? Yes, I can see why you felt inclined to treat me with such contempt when I suggested further discussion might be in order!

Austin : Ingenious [Looks a little nervous for a moment]

Austin : You suggested that we stop discussing, I believe you called our discussion 'quibbling'.

Charlie: I hardly think what I characterized as quibbling was a discussion of a plan of any kind! [Concedes] Though, to be fair, I suppose to discuss this any further would most assuredly be quibbling. Do let us drop it, Mr. Sleaze! We have a reckless and foolhardy plan to execute!

Alice: And the less time we spend thinking about it, the more reckless and foolhardy it'll be!

End of scene, next one coming right up

[Book VI, Act VII, Scene IV. The Entrance to The Tower. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, along with PAN and PHILI. Everyone has eaten at this stage and been given whatever clothes they want, as well as basic weapons.]

Phili: Gosh, I wish I was going with you guys! Pan here will guide you to Seth's headquarters. I doubt you can get close enough to Seth to take him out, but if you could manage to grab one of his henchmen we might be able to find out what they're up to. [Indicates a quiet and rather sulky looking male angel standing in the background] This is Charoum. He'll accompany you too. Charoum, say hello.

Charoum: [Doesn't speak, and just gives the party a shy wave instead]

Charoum, Angel of Silence

Austin : [Raises an eyebrow] Chatty fellow, is see.[Straightens the =20 cuff on his new suit, frowning a little]

Charoum: [Speaking annoyingly softly] Silence is golden.

Austin : Indeed. [To Harvey] Don't you agree colonel?

Harvey: [Shrugs] idunno.

Pan: Yeah, those talkative angels are really, really annoying. They just go on and on and on and on!

Clint: [Loudly.] Hey, it's good. After all, if we got a loudmouth angel, we couldn't hear Seth's minion squealing on his boss!

Clint: Kind of like women, really!

By the way, happy Monday, all. And happy December, too. Yay.

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Dur: True. Like pesky, annoying women when they threaten with the ol' malp= ractice suit because they came in for a cold and not for a breast cancer ex= amination!

I'm back!

Charlie: [To Dur] Yes, no doubt that would be tiring, but at least there's never any danger of increasing your patients.

Alice: [To Dur, incredulously] You can sue for that?

Pan: [Laughs at Charlie] Haw! [To Charoum] That's Charlie, she's really funny.

Charoum: [Rolls his eyes and gives a tired sigh, looking moody]

And there we take a break! We're away for the next two weeks, so we'll pause until December 16. Your mail reader is not capable of displaying this MIME message.

Austin : [Contemplative] It seems as though many of our angelic hosts could use some anger management classes, or a perhaps yoga and meditation.

Hi, welcome back!

Charoum: [Stares at Austin, apparently with pure hatred and disgust] I do not require meditation. We have a long journey ahead of us. I suggest we pass it in total silence, with you contemplating the imperfection of humanity.

[A brief awkward silence descends.]

Pan: [A little nervously] Hah! What a kidder!

[CHAROUM says nothing, but gives PAN a similar glare.]

Thanks Dom! We're back, but rather jet lagged!

Charlie: [To Charoum] Splendid idea! But perhaps instead we could each make a list of what we consider to be the key ten or so most egregious imperfections of humanity and then cross-reference each list, eliminating duplicates then choosing the best five overall by secret ballot?

Some more than others!

Charoum: I already have fifty. And that's just from you alone.

Alice: Fifty? Pf! I bet I have way more!

Charoum: I'm sure you do.

Alice: Yay! I win!

Charlie: [To Alice] Congratulations! The achievements of the individuals in our group reflect positively on the group as whole, [modestly adds] especially the leadership of the group.

Alice: [Squeezes Harvey's shoulder] Well done, Harv!

Austin : [To Harvey] Yes, well done colonel, we have impressed the watchers at last. [Frowns] Not that we ever cared what the watchers thought of us. [Much more brightly. To Charoum] Why don't we also make a list of our good points, to put the whole human existience thing into perspective!

Charoum: Great idea. [Hands over a piece of paper, about quarter the size of a postage stamp] Here.

Sorry all - I'll be with everyone tomorrow, but then gone on Friday to west coast time and thus probably completely off sync with everyone until the 29th. Workstation formatted and reinstalled last night, files copied over today, firefox set up just now. Bleh. -Tom watchers good

Charoum: Great idea. [Hands over a piece of paper, about quarter the size of a postage stamp] Here.

Austin : [To Charoum] It is no small ownder that you are all grumpy when you harbour such a needlessly low opinion of humans.

Charoum: On the contrary, it is a wonder that I am so upbeat given that I have such an accurate view of humans.

Charlie: Yes, let's say you're both perfectly justified in your radically opposing viewpoints and move on, shall we? [To Alice] I find it's easier to simply mollify difficult people in these situations. It helps one move things along more efficiently.

Alice: Of course, you're absolutely right.

Charoum: [Sighs boredly] I think I'll just fly there and meet up with you.

Austin : [To Charoum] Were you ever happy?

Charlie: By all means, don't let us keep you! We have important work to do ourselves.

Charoum: How can I be happy with the way humans are behaving?

Clint: [Shrugs.] When in Rome? [Aside, to Alice.] That guy's really got to get laid!

Charlie: [To Clint] Mr. Scar, I really don't see what good that would do, other than briefly remove him from our presence.

Alice: She's right, Stinky. I mean, look, it hardly made any difference to her!

Colin? Kevin? Are you two around?

Clint: True, but look what it did to Pestilence!

Charlie: [Insulted] I hear he's looking marvelously well--I mean, do be quiet, Mr. Scar! We have serious work at hand and no time for further shilly shally!

Alice: And he's STILL nicer than Chadoom here!

Charoum: I will see you later. [Zooms off into the sky]

Pan: Ah, there's probably time for a LITTLE shilly shally! So, [nonchalantly] who's Pestilence?

Clint: Oh, he's just some guy, you know? Evil, trying to take over the world... the usual.

Pan: Hm, interesting. Anyway, don't pay too much attention to Charoum, some angels have, well, not entirely high opinions of humans.

Austin : [Watching Charoum zoom off] It is entirely mutual.

Charlie: Yes, you'd think angels would be a bit--cheerier?

Pan: [Showing the party the way] Yeah, you'd imagine that, but other than the Angel of Cheer we're a pretty sombre bunch.

Charlie: [Following Pan] Well, it is rather sensible to divide and specialize, I must admit.

Pan: That certainly seems to the prevailing opinion - the first few angels were just general goody-two-shoes like me, but all since then are specialists.

Austin : [To Pan, in a friendly manner] Well, you are very nice, so we'll stick with 'goody-two-shoes', if that's okay with you.

Pan: Thanks, Aus, I think you guys are awfully nice too. So, you were here during the Great Divide, right? Must have been pretty scary!

Harvey: [Scratching a sideburn] Great Divide, you say? Not that I recall!

Pan: Sure you do! It was when Seth split off and became all evil.

Clint: I bet we were too busy trying to save the world to have time to be scared!

Alice: I thought we were too busy scaring people to save the world?

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Sorry everyone, I am around, just unable to respond at the moment. I re= cently got promoted and have been training this week.

Alice: I thought we were too busy scaring people to save the world?

Clint: [Modestly.] It's a gift.

[The group continue walking for another hour or so, talking like this until they come across CHAROUM, who's waiting impatiently for them in a clearing. He gives an exhausted sigh.]

Alice: [To the party] Did you hear that?

Austin : [To Alice] Yes, he sounds very tired, must be all of that flying.

Pan: Okay, folks [pauses for another massive sigh from Charoum] okay, we will have to wait here, as they can detect us. We need you to get in close to the village and scope the place out - don't get involved, though, and if you get into trouble, well, you can use this. [Holds up what appears to be a heart shaped whistle] Charlie, I think you're the best one to hold this.

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Dur: [Scoffs]What makes her better suited than me!

Charlie: [Pleased, takes the whistle] Why, thank you! [To the party, briskly] You've got your orders, group! Now, let's roll out!

Harvey: It's TROOP, not group! And I'll take that whistle, missy! [tries to snatch the whistle authoritatively]

[CHARLIE moves a little too quickly for HARVEY, and slips it around her neck.]

Pan: [Looks Dur up and down with a sympathetic smile] You'll be too busy to be blowing whistles, Dur! What with the, uh, the... ummm...

Alice: [Helpfully] Screaming and running away like a little girl.

Pan: [Embarrassed] Well, among other things, I'm sure.

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Dur: [Thinks] Actually, that's about all I do.

Austin : [To Pan] One moment if you please, when charlie blows the whistle, what should we expect to happen, other than a whistling sound that is?

Charoum: It will bring the Sethites rushing to kill you.

Pan: Haw! What a kidder! If we hear the whistle, we'll come rushing to your aid.

Charlie: Splendid! We shan't abuse the power, I assure you. Now, group, let's be off!

Clint: [Turns to Harvey.] What now, Harv?

Harvey: Now? Let's be off, Troop!

[The party move on, out of earshot of the angels.]

Alice: [To the party] Boy, some of those angels are, well, they're certainly less than angelic, aren't they?

Charlie: They certainly weren't, though I can't say that I'm surprised. Organized religion is typically fraught with contradiction and hypocrisy!

Alice: True, but these guys are ANGLES! [Thinks for a moment] I mean, these guys are ANGELS!

Charlie: Well, have a word with Phili and lodge a complaint, then. According to my records, you and Phili have a [discreetly] special relationship, no?

Alice: That depends on what you mean by special. If it's that I'm very pious and good, then yes, but if you mean in the sense of you and Pestilence, then no!

This is true. However, Seth did have something of a thing for Alice, and there is some belief that it was his desire for her that made him introduce evil to the world

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Dur: Now, now ladies. Let's not turn this into an argument about who has th= e better boy to! Before we know it, this line of discussion could deteriora= te into a violent bout of pillow fighting!

Come on! Everyone knows that's how girls settle an argument! Right?

Alice: I think it's pretty clear that ANYONE has a better boy toy than Charlie - well, that is, unless their boy toy is you, Dur!

Only after they've stripped down to their underwear!

Austin : [Lights a cigarette in a long holder and blows some smoke rings]

[The party creep up over the brow of a hill.]

Alice: [Looking down over the hill] Holy crap! That's just unbelievable! Wow! [To the others] Isn't that the weirdest thing you've ever seen?

And there we will pause until after Christmas. We'll start up on the 6th Jan. Happy Christmas everyone!

Merry christmas every peeps! D And I, now that it's finally Christmas where I am, wish you all the same! Merry Christmas! On Thu, Dec 25, 2008 at 10:02 AM, Tom Henderson wrote:

Harvey: [Struggling up the hill] Eh? What is it, niece? Some disgusting evil, no doubt!

Alice: Not quite, look!

[Everyone else gets a look and can see what appears to be a perfectly normal looking small town, with people wandering about doing their daily business and children playing soccer on a nearby piece of grass.]

Alice: Well, they don't seem that evil - unless those kids are playing soccer with someone's head?

Charlie: [Cautiously] Don't be so sure, Ms. Basset-Short! Most of these small towns hide an unspeakable evil underneath their gentle, sunny exterior! Surely you've seen the plays of Lavid Dynch?!

Alice: Of course I have - didn't understand a word of them, of course, but I like the parts about the pie lady and the dwarf.

Austin : [Nods in agreement with Alice] And the beautiful scenery.

Alice: So, uh, what are we supposed to do? It's not quite the horrors that I expected. Should we just go down and mingle? See if we can get some Sherry Pie?

Charlie: Yes, I supposed we'd better. But be on the alert for hidden evils!

Austin : Yummy sherry pie. Sounds like an excellent idea. [Straightens his cuff and heads towarsd the town]

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Dur: [Crests the hill huffing and panting making a real show of being exhau= sted until someone mentions food.] Did someone say pie?

Alice: No pie for you!

Charlie: Most definitely not. [To Dur] It might be evil or cursed or something, so one can never be too sure.

[The party cautiously approach the children who are playing, and the ball bounces over towards them. One of the kids, a filthy creature called GRUBBY MCGRUBERSON, calls out to them.]

Grubby: Hey! Can you kick our ball back?

Alice: I'll do it! [Gives an almighty kick which completely misses the ball, sending her shoe flying high into the air] Uh, I guess no, no I can't.

Grubby

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Dur: [His stomach grumbles loudly.] Forbidden pie! Awww, but it's the best = kind!

Grubby: Come on, Mister! Kick the ball over and we'll give you some pie!

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Dur: [Thinks about it] Yep! That's all the incentive I need! [Tries to kick= the ball!]

Charlie: [Shields her face] Watch out, group!

[DUR connects with the ball and gives it a surprisingly strong and well placed kick, sending it connecting hard with GRUBBY's face, knocking him to the ground in a mess of mud and blood. The ball rolls back to the party.]

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Dur: [Looks at the ball, then at Grubby] Well? Where's my pie?!

[GRUBBY sullenly fishes some sort of squashed, disgusting looking pie out of his pocket.]

Grubby: Please don't hurt me!

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Dur: [Shovels the pie in his mouth.] We won't as long as you keep the pie c= oming!

Grubby: Yes sir! Don't worry, sir, there's plenty of mud left!

Alice: [To the party] Soooo. Making a good impression with the locals, eh?

Clint: We always do! [Nods sagely.] Anyway, we've taught this kid an important lesson - don't talk to strangers. And knowing is half the battle!

Alice: [Gestures to the town] Okay, well, let's get the ball and teach some lessons there!

Austin : [Wincing at the sight of the pain inflicted on Grubby. To Dur] Please apologise to to this urchin immediately, our reputations are already in tatters without your completely unwarrented attacks on the locals.

Clint: [Heads down towards the town.] Hey lawyer, maybe you should kiss it and make it better! Haw!

Alice: [To Austin] Yeesh, as if our reputation wasn't bad enough, now Clint is going to be our first point of contact!

Austin : I believe that Mr Dur has already made enough contact. I'm quite sure that there will be severe repercussions. [Sighs]

Clint: Oh, relax, lawyer. I'm sure they'll laugh about it. You know, "boys will be boys." Besides, look at Dur and the kid. They're obviously kindred spirits!

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x-tm-as-user-blocked-sender: No oys will be boys." Besides, look at Dur and the kid. They're obviously >k= indred spirits!

Dur: And besides that, I never face repercussions for the things I do. The = trick is to forget your actions immediately after you do them. If you can't= remember them, how can you be held accountable for them? Now what were we = talking about? [Follows after Clint.]

Austin : [Frowns at his current suit] I wonder if they have a good designer outlet.

Alice: They did - at least, they did until Dur burned it down.

[Enter WALTER BADD, a man in his fifties, heading from the town towards the party.]

Grubby: [To the party] That's my uncle - he's going to make you pay for what you did!

Walter Badd

Charlie: [To Grubby, hopefully] He seems like a reasonable, mild-mannered sort?

Grubby: He's gonna kick his [points at Dur] ass!

Walter: [Storms up to the party] What the hell is going on here?

Charlie: Hello, good man! There seems to have been some misunderstanding here, but nothing a shiny copper wouldn't clear right up, I expect [brandishes a copper piece impressively].

Walter: What? [Enraged] Are you trying to buy my son?

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Dur: That's absurd! He's not even dead yet. We'd be considered cannibals if= we bought your son just to broil him in a good stew. What do you think we = are, monsters?

Walter: [Horrified] I do now!

Harvey: [To Walter, reasonably] Calm down, chappie. This fellow [gestures vaguely at Dur] is just a harmless quack. He's hardly ever allowed around children and the elderly these days, so there's no cause for undue alarm. [Spots Grubby] Gah! Hide the child! Quick!

Kevin, your last post absolutely cracked me up!

Walter: [Grabs Grubby and puts him behind him] What the hell is going on here? Who are you people? There better be a good explanation for this.

Alice: [Nods at Harvey's words] Just calm down. There's a perfectly simple explanation for this.

Walter: Well, it had better not involve cannibalism or child murder!

Alice: [Disappointed] Oh, okay. Hm. [Looks to the others] Anyone want to jump in here?

Charlie: [To Walter] Naturally, we have no intention of attempting to purchase or consume your child! Our serving boy, Dur, is but a simpleton, often confused and always saying exactly the wrong thing. My offer of a copper was to smooth over any hard feelings he has caused, as you are clearly working class and no doubt in need of copper for bread or water or so-called [finger quotes] poteen, to ease the pain of your lowly existence and so forth. We'll keep a closer eye on him henceforth, rest assured. Now, we'll just be off! [Attempts to stride away purposefully]

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Dur: [Waves off Walter's concerns] Bah! Don't worry about it. By tomorrow m= orning you won't even remember meeting us! I know I won't!

Austin : [Looks at Walter's attire with a frown, then more hopefully] I don't suppose you know of a good designer outlet in the local area?

Walter: [Steps in front of Charlie] Hard feelings? What about the hard feelings caused by your condescending attitude? [To Austin] Sure, there's one in Equality, but I'm not sure your friends would be welcome, they're as bad as those damned angels.

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Dur: Angels? [Thinks for a moment.] I don't think I've ever been accused of= being as bad as an angel before.

Clint: [Helpfully.] Except that angels don't buy children for supper!

Alice: You were, but you forgot. It's like you said earlier, that you always forget things - don't you remember?

Alice: [Triumphantly] See? Point proven!

Walter: I think I better get some security out here - I don't trust you people.

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Dur: [Looking Worried] Not at all!

Oh and thanks Heather! I try to bring my A game at least part of the ti= me.

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Dur: [Indignantly] That's not fair! You don't know us well enough not to tr= ust us! If you knew half the things we've done while adventuring together, = then you REALLY wouldn't trust us!

Harvey: [To Walter] There's no need for that, now! Have you seen us do anything suspicious at all?

Walter: You mean, other than your reluctance to meet security?

Austin : Perhaps Mr Dur could take this opportunity to apologise to the little boy that you hit in the face with a football. [To Walter] I'm am quite sure that it was an accident, he could not had done it if he tried. [Sighs] But security is a good idea, [Looking towards Dur] I don't trust him either. [Looks around] So which way is it to Equality?

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Dur: [Looks infuriated] What!? You don't think I could do it again? Hand me= that stinking ball and I'll prove I can!

Walter: [To Austin] At last! Someone who's talking sense! [Points towards the town] That's Equality.

Alice: [Points at the ball, addressing Dur] Go on, knock yourself out.

Clint: What's wrong with not wanting to meet the cops? Bastards'll put the boot in, if they can be bothered to leave the donut shop. Bah!

Which actually brings up a question - are the Gardai as unaccountably fond of donuts as their American brethren?

Walter: It's not going to be a cop, it'll be a Dark Angel.

Not just donuts, they don't mind, as long as it's food!

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Dur: [Sticking his tongue out in concentration, he gives the ball another b= oot]

Clint: Dark Angel?

Walter: Of course - you don't think that it's just Serenity that has angels, do you? Ever heard of balance?

Alice: Sure, it's a device used on ships and submarines and other submersibles to control buoyancy and stability.

Austin : Quite chilling to realise that we are little more than an unwanted peturbation in the otherwise balmy equilibrium that is life [Sighs. Checks his hair in his pocket mirror]

[DUR takes a good run at the ball and gives it an almighty thump, striking first ALICE on the head, then AUSTIN and then HARVEY.]

Alice: Ow! Hey!

Walter: [After ducking to avoid the ball] All life is a perturbation in the equilibrium, that's why we embrace change and strangers, as long as they don't try to eat our children.

Charlie: [To Walter, curiously] Balance, or The Balance?

Walter: Same thing, isn't it?

Charlie: [Delighted, assumes lecturing position] According to my research, there are three schools of thought on the subject. The Literalists, such as yourself, believe that they are, in fact, the same. A bit short-sighted, I say! The Balancers, of which I am one, believe The Balance is a supernatural force that can only be maintained by keeping the forces of good and evil in equilibrium, and that lowercase b balance refers to all things relating to the traditional, non-supernatural meanings of the word. The Radicals believe the words have no meaning, that balance cannot exist, and that chaos rules all.

Walter: Uh, okay. You know what? Why don't I bring you to meet one of the Dark Angels. I'm sure they'll just love talking to you.

Austin : [To Walter] That is usually the case. [Glances at the others] Speaking for myself, naturally.

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Dur: [Pumps his fist in victory after kicking the ball] Yes! I should have = been a professional!

Walter: In that case, let's go meet them.

Grubby: So I'm not going to be eaten.

Walter: Of course not! Well, not tonight, anyway. [Exit ALL, towards EQUALITY.]

End of scene, next one coming right up

[Book VI, Act VII, Scene V. The Gates of Equality. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, accompanied by GRUBBY and WALTER. The town isn't walled, so it is possible to simply walk around the gates, and they seem to be more ornamental than anything else. Standing here is SAMANDRIEL. She is another angel, but looks quite different to the ones in Serenity, and is dressed all in black.]

Sam: [Pouting at the party] So. These are the child eaters?

Samandriel

Austin : [Chuckles] Excellent! An angel with a sense of humor!

Harvey: [Sighs wistfully] A better description of my dear bride I've never heard, Private Sleaze! Oh, how I miss her!

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Dur: [Whispering to Alice] I didn't know they had Emo Angels.

Alice: [Looks at Harvey, and whispers] He said sense of HUMOUR.

Sam: [Waves a mock scolding finger at Austin] How very naughty. That could be taken to mean that you don't like other angels.

Clint: Nah. Just that other angels don't like us! I wonder why? [Scratches himself.] We're not that bad!

Sam: Maybe not that bad, but fairly bad!

Clint: Bad-ass, maybe. Haw! [Looks around at the party for support.]

Austin : [To Clint] Mr Scar, I believe that every part of you could be described as bad, certainly from a hygenists point of view.

Clint: [Impatiently.] Lawyer, real men don't wear perfume, or get manicures, or any of that other sissy stuff. We just do manly things! [Picks at his earwax.]

Charlie: [To Clint] Most men, however, do not consider "soap," perfume!

Clint: [Defensively.] Hey, at least I don't eat it! [Glances at Dur.]

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Dur: Oh I assure you, there's nothing fair about us. [Spits at the ground b= eside him]

Sam: Now, now, children, behave. What are you doing here? You're clearly not from Serenity.

Harvey: We are the Queen's View Party, from the town of Queen's View! I am Colonel Harvey Kingston-Short III, and this is my troop--

Charlie: [Interrupting] Colonel, that won't mean anything to him! [To Sam, gravely] We are from another place and time, not known to you, but fear not--we are here to [vaguely] help!

Clint: Actually, we're from last year. You know how it is.

Sam: Honey, you might be from last year, but your clothes are so the year before that.

Alice: Hey! You're pretty mean for an angel, aren't you?

Sam: I'm a dark angel, what do you expect? [To Charlie] Go on, sweetheart, try me. When and where are you from? And what are you going to help with?

Charlie: [To Sam] We're from the future, in fact, and we are here to help the forces of good triumph over the forces of evil.

Sam: You mean like that pesky Seth, who killed all those children in the orphanage fire and who started an almost world ending war? [Clenches her fists in anger] He just makes me so mad!

Austin : [Looks suprised] We are? [Smirks] Is that why you copped off with Pestillence?

Charlie: [To Sam, briskly] Quite right! We are decidedly opposed to that sort of thing! [To Austin, haughtily] And for YOUR information, I formed a brief but crucial alliance with Pestilence, which as you may have noticed later resulted in us being rescued by him, so I'll thank you kindly to stop questioning my diplomatic efforts!

Sam: Hmmm, Peeeestilence. He sounds just lovely. Unfortunately, as a Dark Angel, I'm a servant of Seth, so I'm probably going to have to kill you.

Charlie: Well, you're certainly welcome to try! [To the party] Group, to arms!

Austin : [To Sam, quickly but calmly] Well, we're old friends of Bjorseths, or Seth as you call him, and infact, Alice and he were pretty close, so perhaps you could kill us later, after we have spoken to Seth. [Looks Sam over] That dress really suits you. Most fetching.

Sam: Is that a fact? Well then, I suppose if you're old friends we should bring you along to meet him - I'm sure he'd be more than happy to meet the FCs, and, of course, especially Alice, The Non-Virgin.

Alice: Hey! [Juts her thumb back in the direction of Serenity] Those guys all think I'm a virgin!

Sam: Further proof, if it were needed, that they are idiots. [To Austin] I'm glad you approve.

Austin : [To Sam, a little curiously] The FC's? What does FC stand for?

Sam: That depends on who you ask - we like to tell people that it stands for First Comers. [Takes Austin by the arm and leads him into the town, before stopping and calling to the party] Come on, let's go and meet Seth. [Gives Charlie a wink] Try to keep your rage under control, please.

Charlie: [Annoyed] Yes, I'll try to take future threats with greater good humor!

Sam: That's the spirit!

[SAM leads the party through the town, which is smaller than Serenity but which seems much busier, with people wandering about doing various day to day tasks. It feels much more like a modern town than Serenity, as there is much more hustle and bustle here and the people seem far more animated. Before long they arrive at a fairly large house with another angel standing outside, this is SACHAEL.]

Sam: Hi Sacha, it's the FCs, they've returned.

Sachael: [Looks over the party] Well, hello.

Sam: [Gestures to Charlie] Be careful of her, she has rage issues.

Sachael: Let me guess, you threatened to kill her?

Sachael

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Dur: Yes, but to be fair, a lot of people have that reaction to Charlie.

Austin : [To Sachael} A pleasure to meet you. [To Sam] Are all of the angels in this town as beautiful as you two?

Clint: Who'd want an ugly angel, lawyer? Think of all the bad press!

Sam: Exactly! We're all like this - it's the product of a diseased mind.

Charlie: [To Sam, puzzled] Diseased mind? Belonging to whom?

Sam: To Seth, of course! [Shows off her outfit] Do you really think anyone other than the devil could come up with an outfit like this?

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Dur: AND how much would this person with a diseased mind pay for medical tr= eatment?

Clint: [Impatiently, to Charlie.] Seth, woman!

Austin : [To Alice] It looks like your entire wardrobe is in fashion here.

Alice: I feel like I've come home!

Charlie: [To Austin] Yes, I think I heard somewhere that evil is the new black.

Clint: Yeah, well... We're still here for a reason, right? [To Sam.] Take us to your leader!

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Are my e-mails coming through? Kevin Day Credit Administrator Hanson North America 300 E. John Carpenter Freeway, 15th floor Irving, TX 75062

Tel: 972-653-5541

Fax: 469-586-1605 Kevin.Day@hanson.com

Clint: Yeah, well... We're still here for a reason, right? [To Sam.] Take= us to your leader!

Sam: Sure. Follow me.

[SAM enters the building and leads the party along the corridors to an office, on which she knocks.]

Sam: [Calling out] Seth?

Voice: [From within] Yes?

Sam: [To the party] Prepare to meet the devil.

Harvey : Keep frosty and alert, troop, who knows the reaction we receive!

[SAM turns the handle and pushes the door in. Sitting at a comfortable desk with his feet on the table is SETH, looking similar to how the party last saw him, although a few years older, more haggard and with a few faded battle scars.]

Seth: [Gives a big smile] Well, well! The First Comers! Come on in!

Charlie: Greetings, your Wickedness! I believe you have met my group before, so I will introduce myself [gives a small, awkward curtsy] Charlotte Parker-Kensington.

Seth: That's okay, Charlotte, we don't stand on ceremony here. Come on in, make yourself comfortable.

Harvey : [Steps into the office] So, we meet again, what!

Seth: That's right Harvey. It's good to see you - I hope Phili was pleasant to you.

Charlie: He was delightful, thanks so much. I must say, you seem rather pleasant, yourself, considering.

Harvey : Yes, you seem most relaxed, I say! Most relaxed indeed!

Seth: It's about having the serenity to accept what I can't change. Several years of war taught me to calm down, to let change come at it's own pace. It's one thing to be a catalyst for change, it's something else to be it's only instrument. [Opens up cupboard] Fancy a few drinks before you try to abduct someone? [Turns to the party] I mean, that's why you're here, right? To snatch someone for Phili and the Pole Brigade?

Charlie: Certainly not! We've never even heard of this so-called "Pole Brigade"?!

Seth: I mean Phili's angels - you know, Charoum, Rashnu and those other losers.

Harvey : Sir, we are not in the habit of abducting anyone! Why would you think such a thing?

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Dur: [Thinks] Wait, he does know you all right? Maybe that's why he would '= think such a thing'.

Seth: Because I know Phili, and it's definitely the kind of thing he'd want to do, and also, you guys seemed to have a fairly low opinion of me the last time we met, what with that whole burning down the orphanage thing and all.

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Dur: Oh don't worry, they've lowered their standards since then.

Austin : [To Seth] Well, that kind of behaviour never did anyones reputation much good, but did you actually do it? [Shrugs] Not that there is any such thing as a fair trial. [Smirks] I should know. [Sighs] But anyway, I think Aphi, I mean Phili, did ask us to 'rescue' one of your spies, but we thought that popping in for a chat was a much better idea.

Seth: [To Dur] So I see. [To Austin] Much better, Austin, and I appreciate your honesty. Some people think they need to be dishonest when dealing with the devil - you know, that it might be rude to tell the truth or something, but honestly, it's just tiresome. Now, I fancy an Orange Whip. [Pours himself a fancy looking cocktail, before turning to each of the party members in turn, starting with Harvey] Orange Whip? [Charlie] Orange Whip? [Alice] Orange Whip? [Dur] Orange Whip? [Austin] Orange Whip? [Clint] Soap?

Harvey : I'll have a water, please! And I do not wish the troop to drink this early in the day. Clouds judgement, what!

Charlie: [Wrinkles her nose] No, that sounds positively vile. I'll take the soap.

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Dur: [Scratching his head] You mean it's NOT our policy to start drinking w= hen we wake up?

Alice: Technically, we haven't gone to sleep yet!

Seth: [Hands out the requested drinks, including a glass of soap for Charlie] As you wish. So, gonna kidnap someone?

Austin : [About to accept an orange whip, looks a little forlorn when Harvey refuses it, then brightens up. To Seth] Are these orange whips alcoholic?

Harvey : [Takes a sip of his water] Have you heard something about this supposed kidnapping? You seem quite keen on this idea, what?

Clint: Really! Like we would do something as dishonest as kidnapping. [Tries to look offended.]

Seth: [To Austin] Of course, Austin, there's rum, vodka and [is suddenly startled by a loud slurping sound as Alice drinks hers back] and uh, a few other nice things. It's not that I'm keen on it happening, I'm just keen on knowing what nonsense Phili is up to now. I know he's keen to get hold of someone from here, but as long as we don't stray too close to Serenity, he can't. [Gives Clint a look] Constipated?

Austin : [Takes an orange whip and sips it] Yes, there does appear to be a small communications breakdown between here and Serenity. They have a very low opinion of you, and it appears to be entirely unjustified. [Sips his drink] Perhaps you could suggest an exchange of ambasadors?

Charlie: [Distastefully] It's really rather crass to inquire about that state of one's bowels, don't you find?

Clint: Nah, I don't mind. Hey, at least he didn't inquire about the state of your clipboard!

Seth: [To Charlie] I'm the devil, what else do you expect? [To Austin] We tried it. Any of our people are immediately seized and proclaimed to be brainwashed traitors, while any of theirs either run screaming before they get here or end up choosing to stay. Phili isn't interested in dialogue, he's only interested in destroying us.

Harvey : When was the last time you attempted to initiate dialog with Phili?

Seth: Probably within the last two months. [Slurps his Orange Whip noisily] I must said, it's gratifying to see how calm all of you are. The last time we met you were leading a mob armed with pitchforks and torches after me.

This is kind of true, the party did chase him out of Serenity

Charlie: [Laughs uneasily] Yes, well, never underestimate the mellowing that comes with the maturity of years, etc. And you? I assume your aims and ambitions are less diabolical these days?

Seth: Hardly diabolical at all! All I want is for us all to get along - I've even given up on the idea of getting Phili and the Pole Brigade to calm down.

Austin : To be fair, the last time we saw you, you had just burned down an orphanage, yes?

Seth: True, but you of all people know why that had to happen, Austin. Don't you remember the song?

Austin : Which song in particular? [Glances at the angels] I don't recall any songs that expose the benefits of burning down orphanages.

The angels are waiting outside

Seth: Surely you remember! It was "I'm The Deceiver", you all helped play along with it.

I'm The Deceiver (To the tune of "I'm a believer"

Alice: You do remember, Aus, it was when he claimed that his act of evil was what made love possible.

Charlie: [Snorts] Typical man!

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Dur: [Laughs] Classic Charlie!

Austin : [To Charlie] Indeed, where would your lovelife be with out Pestillence! And whilst you were doing it for the good of humanity, you certainly seemed to be enjoying yourself. [Sighs. Then to Seth] Anyways, as we were discussing, why is evil necessary for love? That does not make any sense.

Clint: Hell, everyone knows that sometime love's a hurting thing, Chuck!

Seth: [To Austin] Because it's all about the Balance. Something good can only happen in this world if there's also something bad to counter it. Phili and The Pole Brigade believe that we should all still be as boring and controlled as we were before you guys first came - that was never going to last.

Charlie: Rather a cruel twist, isn't it? But I'm afraid studies show there is something to this theory, including Ryan O'Connor's seminal work, "It's All About the Balance, You Morons."

Alice: Ah yes, that's the one that preceded the famous "You're all a bunch of idiots" work, isn't it?

Austin : Excuse me for not being the Devil's advocate in this [Smirks at his own joke], but surely you were in love with Alice before you burned down the orphanage? And could you not have burned down a public house, or something else?

Seth: I was, but I couldn't articulate it properly. I'm sure we all remember the awkwardness caused by inappropriate references to masturbation.

Alice: [Defensively to Dur and Charlie] By him!

Seth: I didn't make the rules, Austin, I just followed them. My Path was set the moment we found the Heart of the Beast. Phili is a dinosaur who doesn't realise that change is inevitable.

Clint: [Scandalized.] You'd prefer he burned down a public house, lawyer?! Those kids can always sleep out in the cold, but the beer, man, the beer! Won't somebody think of the beer?

Charlie: I think you're thinking of beer enough for all of us, Mr. Scar.

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Dur: I have to agree with Clint. Hell I lived on the street for years and l= ook how I turned out!

Austin : [To Clint] Yes Mr Scar, as I suspect it would shift the pain from the small children to the likes of you, who would cry and suffer just as much. [To Seth, pacing] So we need to do good and evil things to instigate change and reciprocal evil and good deeds respectively, resulting in an ever escalating cycle of good and evil, and evil and good, as the case may be, actions and reactions, culminating in what? Some huge explosion? The end of the world, or the birth of a new one? [Theatrically exasperated] What is this Heart of the Beast anyway?

Clint: [To Dur] Not helping, doc! [To Austin.] Who knows what evil lurks in the Heart of the Beast? [Shrugs.] Beats the hell out of me. Seth?

Seth: [Shrugs] Idunno.

Alice: Remember, The Beast was just the name of the volcano where we found The Heart. The Heart itself was - [to Seth] May I? [Draws something out on his desk] This thing, and we discovered that each world has a heart, that had to be, er, inseminated by the Brides and Grooms. We found that for a world to thrive, it had to have a heart, but that this could ultimately destroy it - remember the whole [dramatic voice] From Within It Consumes thing?

The Heart of The Beast

The Heart of The Brides (Before being inseminated)

Her version is pretty accurate. The party discovered in book 4 that the world is powered by a Heart, which gives all emotions to a world, and that without emotion everything is bland and boring, or that nothing can exist. Having a balance of good and evil is crucial to keeping the heart healthy and in most worlds evil eventually took over, so that the very thing that gave the world life (the Heart) is what destroys it in the end - From Within It Consumes

Charlie: [Delighted] How fascinating! Now, how did the insemination work, exactly? Was the heart organic? Mystical? Tell me everything--no one has published on this!

Alice: [Horrified] What kind of publishing are you thinking about? Saucy magazines?

Austin : [Smiles] Ah yes, the heart of the brides, that was about the time that Mr Scar regained his testicles, I believe. [To Clint] How fortunate for you Mr Scar. [To Alice] Indeed Daern Shorts last words were 'From within it consumes'. Nasty way to go.

uber busy today

The name was FAERN Short, but I think Aus would have got that right

Alice: True, but, uh, what happens now? Do we try to kidnap Seth?

Charlie: [In a hushed voice] Discretion, Miss Bassett-Short!

Alice: Oh! Sorry! What happens now? Do we try to kidnap [whispers] you-know-who?

Quoting Conor Ryan : Yess, typo

Austin : That is a silly idea. Why don't we organise a pow-wow, half way between the towns, where Phili and Seth can have a nice chat about the Path and the Hearts and whatever else.

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Dur: Wouldn't it be more prudent to just ask if he'd accompany us?

Alice: Dur! He's standing just there!

Seth: [To Austin] You can try, Austin, and I'm open to it, but I suspect Phili won't be.

Clint: [To Dur.] Yeah, like we ever worry about what's prudent! But getting those two to talk out their differences man to man sounds like either a really good or a really bad idea.

Charlie: Nonsense! I'm sure he'd be willing. It's very love and peace and all that.

Harvey: Then we're agreed. [To Seth] Well sir, for a child murdering devil, you don't seem to be entirely awful.

Seth: How kind. Is there anything else you want? Fancy a tour of the place? We've got bars, libraries, schools, hospitals, torture chambers, operas, theatres, pretty much anything you could want.

Alice: [Horrified] What? What was the fourth one again?

Seth: Hospitals.

Alice: Oh. Okay.

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Dur: And if he's not, we could just kidnap HIM!

Austin : [Looks unsettled] Torture Chambers? Who do you torture, and why?

Seth: [Laughs] Just joshing! What? Just because I'm the devil I can't have a sense of humour?

Austin : Perhaps we could talk Phili into meeting you half way for a pow-wow, say tomorrow afternoon, and we could have a picnic or something, you know, something nice and informal.

Charlie: Marvelous! Do let's borrow a croquet set! Oh, and we simply must have cucumber sandwiches!

Harvey: [Stomach booms massively at this talk of cucumber sandwiches] Excellent idea! Excellent!

Seth: It's a date. I'll even bring the croquet set and the sandwiches.

Alice: Yay! [Gets serious for a moment] Now, it's not going to be an evil croquet set or anything, right?

Seth: Nope.

Alice: And these sandwiches, they won't be poisoned or anything, will they?

Seth: Hardly at all.

Clint: And there will be beer and wings, right? Maybe a couple of Hooters girls to serve them?

Seth: Better than that, I'll have Samandriel and Sachael there! See you tomorrow, folks.

[Exit the party, to where SAMANDRIEL and SACHAEL are still waiting.]

Sam: Well? Good meeting?

Clint: Hey babe, he's the devil. It was an evil meeting.

Well, *I* thought it was clever.

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Dur: Awww Com'on. I didn't think it went THAT bad.

What have we told you about 'thinking' Tom!? It's dangerous. It's far ;= better to listen to that little inner voice telling us to kill our friends while they sleep. O.o What? You don't hear that?

Sam: He's not the devil! Honestly, the things he tells people - he just likes to shock people.

Austin : [To Sam] Do you happen to know if there is a delicatessen in town?

Sam: There certainly is.

Alice: Do they serve [stagey] spicy eggs? [Pauses for the laugh that never comes] I mean, deviled eggs?

Charlie: [Laughs uproariously] Egg-cellent yolk, Miss Bassett-Short!

You know, the pun is the lowest form of humor!

Alice: Egg-stremely pleased you liked it!

Sam: [To the others] Please make them stop.

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Dur: [Professionally] Believe me I have tried. Unfortunately I have failed = to find an effective treatment.

Sam: Yes, but how do we make them stop making puns?

Charlie: [Composing herself with some difficulty] Right, that's quite enough of that, Miss Bassett-Short! We have serious business to attend to.

Alice: Agreed! Let's go and talk to Phili!

[SAM and SACHAEL escort the party to the edge of their town, chatting away in a fairly relaxed manner. Each of the greet various townspeople and the place seems pretty calm. Before long they are at the gate.]

Sam: Best of luck, and don't let that meanie Phili talk you out of this. It's very important to get everyone together.

Clint: [To Sam.] See? They'll stop on their own, as long as Charlie's involved. [Conspiratorially.] She just can't stand people having fun for more than a moment or two.

Sam: Sounds like she'll fit in just perfectly with the Pole Brigade.

Austin : [Smirks] It is a pitty they do not dance [Smirks at his own joke]

Charlie: [Confused] I am not much of a dancer, myself, Mr. Sleaze! [Flattered] Unless you're suggesting I should be included in a traditional Maypole Dance, as the May Queen?

Alice: Nah, that's Austin's job!

Clint: You don't really want to see Pan do his Pole dance, do you?! [Pauses.] Well, maybe you do, but I don't!

Austin : [To Alice] The May Queen is traditionally a woman, and I would not want to break from tradition. [To Charlie, acting startled] You were a pole dancer?

SaM: The Pole Brigade aren't pole dancers, by the way, far from it, although, I must admit, Pan is the best of them.

Austin : So who named them the Pole brigade?

Sam: We did. And it's not pole as in dancing, rather as in shoved up their asses.

Charlie: [Skeptically] That hardly seems conducive to proper rhythmic dance!

Sam: Then make sure you tell them that!

Austin : [Chuckles. To Sam] I thought it might be that, and it is certainly appropriate for several of them. I expect that they do not partake in many orange whips either.

Sam: Not a whole lot!

[Exit the party, leaving SAM and SACHAEL behind, heading back towards where they left PAN.]

Sachael: [To Sam] Orange whip?

Sam: Keen!

End of scene

[Book VI, Act VII, Scene VI. A Road. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, heading back towards where they left PAN and CHAROUM.]

Alice: So, they seemed pretty decent for a bunch of devil worshippers.

Charlie: I quite agree! Perhaps the sides of good and evil aren't so terribly far apart after all.

Alice: And the Dark Angels seemed way nicer!

Austin : Well there is not really much difference between them, they were best buddies for many years.

Alice: True. I hope we'll be able to get them talking.

[The party come across PAN and CHAROUM. PAN is clearly delighted to see the party, while CHAROUM just looks disgusted.]

Pan: You're okay! Phew! We were getting worried - I knew that Charlie wouldn't lead you astray, though.

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Dur: [Suddenly excited] A stray! [Looks around for a stray animal] Where is= it?1 I smell Barbeque!

Charoum: [With a face like thunder] And I smell.... Orange Whip!

Clint: [Innocently.] But you won't after we have that barbecue!

Charlie: And enjoy a rousing croquet match!

Clint: Yeah, and, uh, enjoy a rousing croquet match?! [Pauses and turns so he's half addressing Charoum and half addressing Charlie.] Uh, you do know what "enjoy" means, right?

Alice: Sure she does, she just doesn't know what rousing means!

Charoum: You were supposed to abduct a Sethite, not consort with them!

Austin : [To Charoum] We are supposed to be resolving the problems, not making them. [Indignantly] How would you like it if we abducted one of you and then delivered you to Mr Orange whip? Not at all I expect, so why would we do that to them. [Plesantly] They are very nice and pretty much the same as you, save for a little more politeness and geniality on their behalf.

Charoum: How dare you! Do you think you know better than Phili? Nice? You have been dazzled by the devil! [Puts on a squeaky voice] "Little more politeness and geniality"!

Alice: Wow. That's uncanny. Sounded just like you, Austin.

It didn't, of course.

Austin : [To Charoum] If Phili had wanted someone to blindly follow his orders, oblivious of the actual situation and the potential for compromise that there may be, he would have sent the likes of you, Charoum. However, it appears that in his great wisdom that he chose us. Any truly faithful follower of Phili would assume that Phili did this for a very good reason, and that all of our actions, choices and decisions are exactly what Phili wanted, the task of abduction merely being what we need to be asked to do. [Shrugs] Phili moves in mysterious ways. [Looks quite smug]

Charoum: On the contrary, he sent you because you were able to move in and out of Seth's disgusting lair. He sent me to keep an eye on you. Do not dare speak for Phili.

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Dur: [Thinking] Sooooo.... If Phili sent you to supervise.... YOU are the o= ne that actually failed and not us?

Charoum: Incorrect. I was here to observe, not to supervise. Phili knows that humans are inherently unreliable and uncontrollable.

Clint: Look, you daft prick, you're getting this all wrong. There's a lot of them and a few of us. So first we get some of them to trust us, then we get them to come alone to meet us, and then we grab one of 'em! Much better than trying to fight our way out. [Shakes his head.] No wonder you guys are losing!

Uh, that is the plan, right? =)

Charoum: We are not losing! You are traitors! You've gone over to the Dark Side - you've been drinking from the Orange Whip!

Clint: Dark Side, deep end, what's the difference? And, besides being kind of girly, what's wrong with the Orange Whip?

Charoum: Come on, Pan! Let's get away from these traitors!

Pan: Now, steady on, Charoum!

[CHAROUM leaps into flight, shaking his fist at the party]

Charoum: I knew you couldn't be trusted - I just knew it! [Flies off]

Clint: [To Pan.] What's eating him? He didn't really expect us to fight our way in and out, did he? Or did he just want an orange whip for himself?

Austin : He is nuts! We are sent in to reconoitre, then we return and he calls us traitors! That angel has some serious personal issues.

Pan: Sorry about that guys, some of the other angels aren't really great fans of yours - some of them even claimed that you would be in cahoots with Seth.

Charlie: I can't imagine why! We've been model guests.

Pan: I know, Charlie, and I've argued with them, telling them how brave you all are, and especially you, charging into the unknown the way you did, but a lot of the angels believe that life was better before the Great Divide.

Clint: Hey, don't worry about it. We're pretty used to no one really liking us. [Frowns and shrugs.]

Alice: Speak for yourself! Everyone likes me! [To the party] Don't you?

Last friom Conor # 28

Harvey : By the saints, dear niece, of course we do! You are everything that is good and righteous about this party, what!

Alice: [Sticks her tongue out at Clint] See?

Charlie: [Smiles brightly at Alice] That's the spirit!

Clint: Now if only "everyone" included all these loser angels around here, we'd be set!

Pan: Speaking of the loser angels, I think we should head back as fast as possible - just in case Charoum is badmouthing to the others.

Austin : [To Pan] I expect that we are already too late, Charoum seemed ot have made that decision before he even met us. He is probably building a gulliotine as we speak.

Pan: Actually, I think he already had one, just in case you came here. [Starts leading the way] Come on, we better start moving.

Charlie: Yes, come along, group! [Follows Pan]

Alice: At least we don't have to put up with Charoum until we get back, honestly, that guy is a pain in the-

[ALICE breaks off as a volley of arrows from behind some bushes strike the party, hitting everyone at least once.]

Everyone lose 4hp

Clint: You shot me! You shot me in the arm! [Pulls the arrow out of the wound and whips out his borrowed sword.]

Alice: [Pulls out her sword] I didn't shoot you - you shot me!

Austin : [Points at the bush] They shot us [Readdies his sling shot to fire in the direction of the bush]

Alice: [Throws a rock at the bush] Hey! It's bad enough that Clint is shooting at us without these guys joining in too!

[One of the assailants comes into view, popping up to get off another round. He is wearing a mask just like the men that were attacking MARGE at the start of the act. He gets one shot off before being struck by AUSTIN.]

Scary1: Ow! [Ducks back down again]

Scary Mask

Charlie: [Attacks Scary1 with her sword] To arms, group!

[As CHARLIE approaches SCARY1, at least twenty more reveal themselves.]

Scary1: Surrender, or die!

Alice: [Still holding her sword] What the hell is this clown's problem? [Looks around] Hey! Where's Pan?

Harvey : [Stops advancing suddenly, looking at the additional attackers] Hmm troop, things have suddenly gone less in our favour! You there, why are you attacking us!

Scary2: Because it's the end of the world, baby! Whooooo! Whooo!

Scary1: [Glances at Scary2 and gives a quick tut of annoyance before turning to Harvey] We want to find out who the hell you are and what you are up to.

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Dur: [Shielding his face] Do you always attack the people you seek to quest= ion?

Scary1: Not always, just when they are consorting with angels.

Scary2: And when it's the end of the world, baby! Burn! Burn! Burn! Whoo!

Charlie: I must disagree! We have come from the future, and we would not be possible if the end of the world was nigh, true?

Scary1: We don't have any proof that you've come from the future. You can either lay down your weapons and come back to our camp, or we can disarm you by force.

Scary2: Whooo! Force! Whooo! Burn it up! Burn it up!

Alice: [Whispers to the others] Maybe we should surrender? Otherwise we might have to listen to that guy all night!

Charlie: [Confidently] Oh, we can prove it, rest assured! [To Clint, whispering urgently] Quickly! Give them the final score of an important future sporting event!

Scary1: I'm running out of patience.

Scary2: And we're running out of time! Burn it up! End of the world, whoooooo!

Clint: [To the party, in a cheesy tone.] Never give up, never surrender. [To the scaries.] I'll prove we're from the future! In a couple of thousand years, the champions of the Super Bull XXVII will be called the cowpokes, and they'll win by 35 points. [Nods decisively.]

Scary1: The Cowpokes, eh? Hm, well, fair enough, I suppose.

[The SCARIES all start to slope off, somewhat embarassed about their boorish behaviour.]

Scary2: Gee, I guess the world isn't going to end, and that I'll need to re-evaluate my whole belief system.

Scary3: Not just you, Trevor, we all need to. I'm certainly glad we didn't just kill them.

[The rest of them grumble echoes of this.]

Scary1: Hey! Wait a minute! What the hell is the Super Bull? And a couple of thousand years?

Scary3: We've been gypped!

Scary2: Let's get them! [The SCARIES charge down the party, clearly meaning to haul down the party and trap them.]

Clint: [Speaking quickly.] Wait! The Super Bull is the championship of a game called "Merkin Football," where the players use their hands but not their feet, and they count scores in sevens. See? [To Charlie.] Any more bright ideas?

Austin : [Gets out a cigarette and lights it up with his modern lighter, then offers Scary1 the cigarette] Have you ever tried on of these, they are from the future, as is my lighter [Strikes a flame]

[AUSTIN is knocked to the ground and the lighter sent flying.]

Scary1: Get them!

[The party are quickly mobbed.]

Scary2: Burn! Burn! Burn it up! Whooo! World's gonna end after all!

Clint: But not for a couple of thousand years! They have to play the Super Bull first!

Harvey : [To Austin] Oh, very well done private Sleaze! Show a prehistoric pyromaniac a whole new way of lighting fires! [Gestures towards the dropped lighter] Perhaps the world will burn to a cinder, all because of us, what!

[The party are wrestled to the ground and disarmed.]

Scary2: [Standing over them] Yeeeeeeah baby! Whoooooo! Burn it up! Burn it up! Burn it -

[Whap. SCARY2 gets punched hard in the face by SCARY1.]

Scary2: Ow! What the hell?

Scary1: Just shut the hell up, Trevor, you're annoying everyone! [To the party] Now. I want to know who the hell you people are and why you're consorting with both Phili's angels and Seth's. What are you? Spies?

Charlie: [Nobly] We are brokers of peace, nothing more! What have you got against peace, I ask?!

Austin : Just about everything it seems. They are clearly utterly mad.

Scary1: Peace? It's worse than I thought! You come in here, trying to tell us how to live our lives and trying stop our business, and you tell us that we're mad? Well, we are mad, and by mad I mean angry!

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Dur: Well you are clearly angry! Have you ever thought about seeking help w= ith your anger management?

Scary1: I'm not angry - more disappointed.

Alice: I thought he just said that he WAS angry?

Scary1: Okay, NOW I'm starting to get angry.

Alice: Well, that's disappointing.

Harvey : [To Scary1] Disappointed with what, eh? That your barage of arrows missed their intended victims?

Austin : [Nodding towards a arrow sticking out of him] I think that most of them hit.

Scary1: [Shrugs] No, with life in general, really. [Gives a sad sigh and then perks up] Still, torturing you lot to death will help make up for it all.

[All the other SCARIES give a loud cheer.]

Scaries: Burn it up! Burn it up!

Scary2: Hey! How come they can say it?

Scary1: Shut up, Trevor!

Charlie: [Disapproving] And you claim to be peace-loving!

Clint: [Trying to be cunning.] Hey, if you really want to torture us to death, put us all in a locked but easily escapable room with Trevor as our only guard and let his jibber-jabber annoy us to death!

Scary1: Nah, I think we'll just burn you to death. [Starts emptying kerosene on top of the party]

Clint: Burned to death? What kind of a sissy torture is that?! You've been talking to Trever too much!

Charlie: [Gasps] You're not serious?! That's inhuman!

Scary1: Haven't you heard? It's human! [Lights a match]

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Dur: Wait! Your not going to kill us before you reveal you dastardly plan a= re you? Isn't that against the villain's code or something?

Scary1: Uh, yeah, I suppose. [Thinks for a moment] But our dastardly plan is to kill you - there's not really a whole lot to reveal, is there?

Charlie: [Excited] Oh, I can help you form a better plan! I have notepad and charts and ever so many books to consult!

Clint: And while she's looking through her clipboard, you can tell us why you want to kill us and why you haven't popped Trever in the jaw!

Austin : [Nearly in tears, possibly because of kerosene in his eyes] But we came here to save thte world! If you kill us the world might end and you will all die too! It doesn't make any sense!

Scary2: Whooo! Burn! Burn!

[SCARY1 drops his match on the party, setting CHARLIE on fire.]

Alice: [Struggles to get free, but fails] Oh my god! What the hell!

Charlie: [Shrieks] Noooo! I still have so much to publish!

Scary1: Let's start with your obituary!

Austin : [Wipes the kerosene from his eyes. Fixes Scary1 with a steel glare] Is this what you are? A bunch of mindless morons, like Trevor, who are capable of nothing more than running round mindlessly burning people? What will this achieve? Nothing! Noe one will remember you for great deeds or bravery! [Looks disgusted at Scary] You will be no more than a bunch of morons who burned the worlds only hope of survival. Stop this nonsense now, release us, and perhaps we can help you achieve what you desire!

Austin attempts to use his power on Scary1

Scary2: You already are! Burn, baby! Burn!

Scary1: [As Charlie starts to writhe in pain from the heat] Hm, he might have a point, you know.

Harvey : He does! He does! Private Sleaze is a man of many fine points, and this is one of them, what!

Scary1: Yeah, we might be a little hasty here.

[The fire starts spreading to the other party members now. Everyone is protected by the ropes, but the flames are starting to singe CHARLIE's hair and are dangerously close to her face.]

Charlie: [Tries desperately to wriggle free of the ropes] Come on, group! We must get free!

Scary2: Too late! Burn, baby, buuuuurn!

[Enter PAN, swooping down on the scene and crashing into SCARY2 (TREVOR), knocking him onto CHARLIE, which catches him on fire before he rolls off. PAN spreads his wings and covers the bound party members, which slowly starts to douse the flames.]

Scary1: Get him!

[The SCARIES lay into PAN with their swords and, although he flinches with each blow, they don't appear to be doing too much damage.]

Scary2: I'm burning, baby! Burning!

Harvey : [Struggles to get free and attempts to stamp the flames near Charlie]

Charlie: Well done, Pan! [Tries to get free of the ropes]

Harvey : [To Charlie] That's it girl! Try to see if you can singe the rope enough to break it!

Pan: [Gives Charlie a wink] My pleasure! I couldn't let them hurt Charge-In Charlie!

[With a bit of help from PAN, everyone is soon released and free of the flames. PAN swoops up again, revealing that the SCARIES are all backing off.]

Scary1: [Holds his hands up] Okay, okay! We're sorry!

Harvey : By the saints, you're only sorry because you were stopped from killing us all! How very dare you, sir! [To Pan] Do you know anything about this group [gestures to the scarries]

Scary1: No, I really am!

Pan: [To Harvey] Other than the fact that they're soon all going to be dead? Not a whole lot. [Draws out a sword and swings at Scary1, gouging his chest and spraying everyone with blood]

Clint: All right! And here I thought I was gonna have to wait until you weren't looking! Eat fist, morons! [Tries to take one of the Scaries alive.]

[CLINT makes contact with SCARY3, making a very satisfying crunching sound which sends him staggering back.]

Scary4: Run away! Run away!

[The SCARIES turn and leg it, with SCARY3 limping along after them.]

Scary3: Bwait bor be!

Austin : [Trying to get as clean as he is able to. To Pan] Thank you for saving us, that was most timely.

Pan: Any time, my friend. [Lands and staggers a bit, clearly worse for wear] You know, I'm not feeling so - [collapses]

Alice: What? Not feeling so what? What was he going to say?

Harvey : [Rushes over to Pan] Man down, what! Man down! [Checks for a pulse]

[There is a pulse, but PAN is clearly badly hurt.]

Alice: Thank God it was Pan that was with us and not one of those other guys - they would probably just have left us burn! We better get him back a sap. [Ponders] A sap, that's a weird saying, isn't it?

Charlie: [Rushes to Pan] Oh, if only we had a doctor! [Looks at Dur] Wait! YOU can fetch a doctor for us! There's a shiny copper in it for you!!

Austin : [To Charlie] Mr Dur is, in fact, a doctor. Your memory appears to be fading faster than an aging Colonel's.

Alice: Don't be silly, Aus, she means a REAL doctor!

Charlie: Precisely! We cannot entrust Pan to just any hack who's ever tweezed a splinter and called himself a doctor!

Austin : [To Charlie and Alice] So would you suggest we just leave him, or should we let Alice tend to him, as she is a *real* doctor.

Charlie: [To Dur, impatiently] If you have any true medicinal skills, please use them on this brave man, and hurry!

Just to keep things moving along...

Dur: [Checks Pan quickly, applying some bandages] She's hurt badly - we need to get her back as soon as possible.

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I just got into the office :p Kevin Day Credit Administrator Hanson North America 300 E. John Carpenter Freeway, 15th floor Irving, TX 75062

Tel: 972-653-5541

Fax: 469-586-1605 Kevin.Day@hanson.com

Just to keep things moving along...

Dur: [Checks Pan quickly, applying some bandages] She's hurt badly - we need to get her back as soon as possible.

Charlie: How can we possibly trust your diagnosis? You haven't even correctly identified his gender!

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Dur: What does gender have to do with his/her health?

Austin : [To Dur] I can see that you have no appreciation for the medical profession whatsoever. [To Harvey] Colonel, we should go and get help, or perhaps Mr Scar, and Mr Dur could carry him back to Phili.

Alice: He has a point, Charlie - these would be bad wounds even if he was a female!

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Dur: [Tries to cast a healing spell to stabilize Pan] You mean he's a she?

Charlie: [Sighs wearily] Perhaps a little less conversation would help the healing process go more smoothly?

[The spell definitely has an effect on PAN although he is still unconscious. ]

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Dur: [Waves a hand at Charlie] Nonsense. Talking actually helps comfort the= dead or dying. It lets them know they won't die alone. [Tries another heal= ing spell for safe measure.]

Clint: Plus, if the patient can't get a word in edgewise, he can't tell you that you're standing on his arm!

Austin : {Sighs. Scoldingly] Mr Scar, I must insist that you stop standing on Pans arm right this moment!

Alice: That's not his arm he's standing on, it's his - [blushes] oh my!

Charlie: [Fans herself girlishly] And this while he's near death! Just imagine when he's in the full of his health!

[ALICE pales slightly and swallows hard.]

Alice: [Tries to lift up Pan] Come on! We have to save him! Let's bring him back to Serenity.

Charlie: [Helps Alice with Pan] Yes, we must save this heroic, magnificent specimen of manhood!

Alice: Quick, Clint, grab his, uh, arm!

[The party lift up PAN, who is surprisingly heavy and well built, before heading off towards Serenity at a quick pace.]

End of scene, next one coming right up

[Book VII, Act VII. The Gates of Serenity. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, carrying the still unconscious PAN. Standing at the gates are CASSIEL, RASHNU, PERPETIEL, JOPHIEL and CHAROUM, the angels that the party met in Serenity. They look even more gloomy than normal.]

Charoum: [Angrily to the party] What did you do?

Austin : [To Clint] Perhaps you could help us carry Pan [Austin takes an ankle]

Austin : [To Charoum] We were attacked, and Pan was badly wounded, so we brought him back to recieve further medical care. [Indignantly] Would you have prefered it if we had left him to die?

you are allowed tiredness on Mondays?

Harvey: Indeed so! Help us with him, there! He almost killed himself saving us from a group of brigands!

Charoum: I would have prefered it if you hadn't been cosying up with Seth and his dark angels, and if you hadn't attacked him! What the hell do you think you were going to achieve?

Austin : [To Harvey] Why are we talking to him [juts a thumb at Charoum], he hates us and wants to get us into trouble.

Rashnu: [Holds up a calming hand] Easy. Let's all just calm down. [To Charoum] Maybe they had a very good reason for betraying the Lord Phili and trying to murder Pan.

Clint: Oh, for Phili's sake! Look, if we were trying to murder him, we wouldn't have brought him here for medical care, would we?

Austin : [Furiously] We did not try to murder Pan! He needs medical care right now! To Rashnu] I know your game, you are using Pan's condition to turn Phili against us. [disgusted] How can you stand there idle whlist your comrade lies here an inch from death! You disgust me, only the lowest of scum would try to turn Pans heroic rescue against him. [To Harvey] We should go and find someone else to help Pan [Looks around. Shouts] HELP! We're being set up by angels! Help us! We require medical assistance now! [adds] I have extensive medical insurance!

Rashnu: I judge you... [thinks for a moment] guilty!

Cassiel: Guilty!

Jophiel: Guilty!

Charoum: [With a smile] Guilty! Pan clearly realised that you were traitors and so you attacked him. Bringing him back here is just your way of sneaking in, acting on orders from your new master, Seth!

Clint: [To Austin.] Hey, you're supposed to be our lawyer, lawyer! Object! Or whatever it is you lawyers do at times like this.

Charoum: [Draws a sword and points it at the party] Drop that angel! [Pause] Gently!

Austin : Mr. Scar, we are thousands of years in the past, and these angels seem to think that they are judge jury and executioner all rolled into one. I suggest that we run.

Charlie: Agreed, their legal system is absurd and ripe for abuse!

Alice: Not to mention they're a bunch off assholes who don't like us.

[The other angels all draw weapons.]

Charoum: Let Pan go.

Austin : [Draws his sling. To Charoum] Why? So that you can murder Pan and blame it on us?

away home

Charoum: So we can save him!

Clint: Then go get a doctor! We have one, but, well, you wouldn't trust him, and anyway... [gestures vaguely at Dur.]

[The angels take off and surround the party.]

Charoum: We will not leave him with you. Let. Him. Go.

Alice: [Singing in a deep voice] Let my angel go! [Sees everyone glaring at her] Soooo-rry! Excuse me for trying to lighten the mood!

Clint: All you had to do was say please! [Let's go of what he firmly maintains is Pan's arm, this time.]

Austin : [Shouts} Phili! If you can hear me come quickly! [To Charoum] Do you really think we would let you murder him! Call a doctor now and proove your allegiance to Pan!

[CHAROUM swoops down and kicks AUSTIN in the face, knocking him to the ground. Along with CLINT letting go of PAN, this causes PAN to fall to the ground.]

Charoum: I am a doctor!

Harvey : Where's your stethascope then? And your white coat?

Austin : [To Charoum, nursing a sore nose] Well help him then, you idiot!

Charoum: [Swings his sword at Harvey, almost slashing him across the face] Here!

Alice: [Ducking for cover] Hey! That's not a stethoscope at all!

Charlie: Even Dur would know that!

[The angels land all around the party, while CHAROUM picks up PAN and flies into the city.]

Rashnu: [Accusingly to the party] You will suffer for your sins.

Charlie: What sins?! We regularly save the world from utter doom!

Alice: [Echoing] Doooooom!

Rashnu: Amongst your multitude of sins are causing the Great Divide, having truck with Seth, attacking Pan, and generally being really rather annoying. Drop your weapons [gives a sweet smile] unless you want to give us the joy of tearing you to shreds.

Jophiel: [Echoing] Shreeeeeds!

Charlie: But if we drop our weapons, how can we know you won't tear us to shreds anyway?

Jophiel: [Looks holy and pious] We're angels. We don't do that sort of thing.

Charlie: I suppose we haven't much choice, have we? [Drops her sword] Courage, group! We'll find a way through this frightening time!

That's three for me.

Alice: [Eyeing the angels warily as she drops her sword too] I hope so, Charlie, I just don't trust these guys.

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Dur: [Confused by the instructions he drops his robe instead of his weapon = and looks around.] What?

Our work servers were out all day yesterday and today we're facing poss= ible ice storms in Texas. Hell has officially frozen over people, you may n= ow begin panicking!

Clint: [To the angels in general.] I'd rather kick your asses on general principle, but since the rest of the group is going along with this crap... [Drops his sword as well.]

Move to the nice part of Texas, Kevin! It's 70 at the moment, and no ice storms in sight!

[All the angels snigger at DUR's manhood, in a very unkind way.]

Jophiel: It's so cuuuute!

[The party are grabbed by the angels, who put hoods over their heads and tie their hands. Soon they can feel themselves moving, flying through the air, before being led through a series of corridors and eventually being pushed into a cell, with their hands free. The party find themselves in a dimly lit cell with no windows. Outside is a similarly dark corridor with other cells that appear to be empty. The angels that brought them here are outside in the corridor.]

Rashnu: [Reproachfully] You may take solace in the knowledge that your deaths will serve as a warning to others.

There are no nice parts of Texas! [Ducks]

Charlie: Yes, that WILL be nice for us, won't it?

Spoken like a man married to an Okie!

Rashnu: [Waves an annoyingly condescending finger at Charlie] Don't take that tone with me. We'll starve you to death if that's what it takes to make you behave.

Clint: [With no enthusiasm whatsoever.] Terrific.

As a native Seattlite, may I just say that (a) I suppose I meant the less dreadful part of Texas, and (b) don't get me started on Oklahoma!

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Dur: And if we behave voluntarily you'll let us go?

Rashnu: [Laughs] Humans are fun.

Clint: Does Phili know about this, or have you morons decided to threaten, abduct, and apparently torture his friends without bothering to tell him?

Rashnu: Oh, he knows, and he is very, very disappointed. [Holds up a sheet of paper] He has passed a series of new laws, forbidding the sort of behaviour that you people typify. I'll give you just a few. [Reads from the paper] No loud noises. No fornication. No lying. No consorting with Seth. [Looks up] To name but a few.

Alice: [Squints to read the paper] No scratching in public?

Rashnu: It's disgusting.

Charlie: Consorting is a bit strong, wouldn't you say? Attempting to broker a peace agreement is more accurate, to be fair.

Rashnu: So you admit it? Interesting.

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Dur: She did, but she doesn't speak for the rest of us. Don't we get a fair= trial?

Rashnu: Given that you're still not wearing your robe, it's a miracle you haven't already been put to death! Anyway, this is a fair trial. [Joins her hands as if in prayer and looks serene] I am the Angel of Judgement, after all.

Clint: Yeah, but do you know anything about substantive due process or habeas corpus? Trial by a jury of our peers? The right to confront the witnesses against us? Huh? [Turns to the party, a little embarrassed.] I saw it on Law and Order once.

Austin : [Looks suprised. Then to Clint] Mr Scar if you had one single brain cell you would have realised that the 'light' angels are less fair than a witch hunt run by the Sponush Inquisiton.

Alice: And nobody expects the Sponush Inquisition! [Listens expectantly]

Rashnu: [Smiles at Austin] Quite right. Now, if you wish, you may dig out some bricks [points at the far wall] with this spoon. That will reveal a window, where you can get to witness humanity finally being controlled. [Tosses a spoon into the room]

Alice: [Disappointed at not hearing the Sponush Inquisition] Aw!

Charlie: [Scolding] You'd be very foolish indeed not to expect the Sponush Inquisition!

Austin : Thank you [Picks up the spoon and starts working on the window area]

Alice: Huh. Look, it's a "Souvenir of Dollywood" spoon. How odd.

Rashnu: Hey! Give that back! [Checks her pocket and calms down] I mean. Whatever are you talking about?

Austin : [Whittling away at the window] Oh dear, is this spoon from your own personal collection? I am afraid that it might not be in as good a condition as it used to be.

Charlie: [Scoffs] Collectors items aren't meant to be used in this manner! They're meant to be displayed in glass cases, with backlighting!

Austin : [To Charlie] Perhaps she thought that it was the spoon that she used as a small child. I used to have a cute little spoon with a smiley elephant embossed on the handle. [Digs the spoon into the mortar roughly]

Alice: You mean for... eating elephants?

[AUSTIN is making surprisingly quick progress, and the ANGELS all storm off, with RASHNU coming back.]

Rashnu: [To Charlie] For your information, all my collectible spoons are behind glass - she just tried to trick me. [Wags a scolding finger at Alice] Not very virgin like behaviour at all!

Charlie: [To Rashnu, raising her eyebrows skeptically] Yes, she's really rather prone to behavior unbecoming a virgin, if you know what I mean.

Rashnu: Well... [blows a big raspberry at Charlie and storms off]

Clint: [Watches Rashnu storm away.] I'm looking forward to kicking her ass! Something's really messed up here. They plan on controlling people now?! We have to stop them!

[AUSTIN pulls away a brick that he has carved out, letting more light into the cell. Before long, the rest of the party have helped him to pull more off. The party are clearly up very, very high. The town seems even quieter than normal, but they are up so high it's difficult to tell. All around, ANGELS are putting up posters with stern looking pictures of PHILI, saying things like "Don't have truck with Seth", "Phili is watching" etc.]

Alice: [Looking through the hole, frowing] Well, I don't like that at all. Change the channel.

Austin : [Sighs] Ohh dear, this is all so very very wrong.

Alice: Surely Phili doesn't agree with this!

Charlie: Don't be too sure. Religion always serves to control the populace!

Alice: But he was always the fun one! And now, look at this! They haven't even given us metal cups to rattle against the bars!

Austin : Here Alice you can use this spoon [Offers Alice the spoon]

Alice: Aw! Thanks Aus! [Theatrically rattles it against the window bars] Hey! Hey! Let us out of here! Let us - oh! [Drops the spoon, sending it into the street, where it lands inches from Charoum, who just happens to be standing outside]

Austin : Oh, unlucky, Alice. Nice try though. Lets try something bigger [Picks up a brick and throws it to hit Charoum]

[Even before AUSTIN's brick exits the jail cell, posters are appearing all over the place featuring a picture of PHILI holding a spoon saying "It's all fun and games until some loses an eye. Losing an eye is bad. Fun is bad. Games are bad." Within seconds, the brick strikes CHAROUM hard on the head and knocks him to the ground.]

All: [In the cell] Hooray!

Austin : [Smugly] Perhaps there is a god, after all.

Charlie: Well done, Mr. Sleaze! Now, quickly, let us make a plan of escape!

[Within seconds, posters are appearing all over the place featuring a picture of PHILI holding a brick saying "It's all fun and games until some loses an eye. Losing an eye is bad. Fun is bad. Games are bad." ]

Alice: [Turns to look at the door] Well, let's see, there's - hey! They're bricking us in!

Austin : Perhaps Mr Scar could boot the cell door open before the motar dries?

Alice: No good - it's just out of booting range!

[This is true. The bricks aren't right up against the door, rather they are building around it, to prevent any interference with the mortar. CASSIEL is there, putting on the bricks.]

Cassiel: Phili couldn't bear the thought of killing you. We thought that a natural death would be much more bearable.

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I'm back in the office today everyone. Here in DFW yesterday the roads = were so icy I couldn't make it in. Hence my absence. Kevin Day Credit Administrator Hanson North America 300 E. John Carpenter Freeway, 15th floor Irving, TX 75062

Tel: 972-653-5541

Fax: 469-586-1605 Kevin.Day@hanson.com

Alice: No good - it's just out of booting range!

[This is true. The bricks aren't right up against the door, rather they are building around it, to prevent any interference with the mortar. CASSIEL is there, putting on the bricks.]

Cassiel: Phili couldn't bear the thought of killing you. We thought that a natural death would be much more bearable.

Clint: Oh, much. Who the hell is "we"? [Looks around for a way to get out a window or something excitingly heroic like that.]

Cassiel: We're the physical manifestations of the kinds of characteristics that Phili believes to be good.

[The rest of the bricks around the window look pretty solid, and some more angels appear to be flying up with a large metal sheet.]

Alice: Uh, I have a bad feeling about this!

Clint: So you haven't actually asked the big guy, have you, before deciding to wall us up to die and start repressing people?

I don't suppose Clint could manage to bend the bars or something totally ridiculous like that?

Charlie: [Crossing her arms] This is what we get for not making a plan!

Austin : [Indignantly] You think that starving people to death is good? Let us speak to Phili now! This is ridiculous!

Alice: I thought this was the plan!

Clint: It's sure working line one of our plans!

Cassiel: We're not starving anyone to death - we're just fixing a wall. It's not our fault you didn't think to bring any food in with you.

Harvey: [Stomach rumbles massively] That's where you're wrong! [Pats his pockets, smugly, before eyes open wide in terror] My God! Empty what! [Starts struggling against the bars] Let us out! Let us out! We demand to speak to the zoo keeper, not his monkeys! We want to speak to Phili!

Cassiel: [Putting in the last few bricks] Sorry, my friend, but YOU are the monkeys.

Alice: Hey, hey, we're the monkeys!

Cassiel: Whatever. Weirdoes. [Puts in the last brick]

Charlie: This is absurd! Why are people always so quick to imprison this party?! There was nothing about this in your files!

Austin : [Sighs] The files people keep on us usually bear little resembelance to us our our actions, or the things that people do to us. [Picks up another brick and looks for an angel to hit]

[Too late! The ANGELs carrying the large metal sheet cover the window, and the party can hear it being screwed onto the wall.]

Alice: [Starts pushing against the sheet] Come on! We're totally screwed if they put it on!

Austin : [Helps Alice pushing against the sheet] I think we have been totally screwed for a long time.

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Dur: [Helping Push] Like since the day this group formed?

Harvey : [Also pushing mightily] Well, we've been doing so much time travel, I would guess you could say we've been fighting adversity since the world formed, what!

Austin : [Dryly] Correct colonel. Or near as makes no differrence. [Beats at the walls with a brick, looking for loose bricks or mortar]

Alice: [Panting] Wow - there sure is a lot of pushing and shoving involved in this being screwed lark, isn't there?

[Clunk. Despite the party's best efforts, the metal sheet is in place, and it is very solid. The cell is now pitch dark, and already the air is a little stale. Absolute silence descends on the party for a good ten seconds, only to be shattered by someone letting loose an absolute cell shaking, rip roaring fart.]

Alice: [After a short pause, sounding a little stilted] That. Wasn't Me. I mean, hey! Who was that? I mean, hey! Stinky!

Austin : Great. Not only do we have to starve to death in the dark, we also have to do it whilst inhaling lady farts. [Sighs]

Alice: Nice going, Charlie!

Clint: [Struck by a sudden inspiration.] Hey, doc! Can't you do something to the walls? I could swear I remember you doing that before.

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Dur: [Scoffs] Ha! I assume you want us to rely on your terrible memory Clin= t? [Thinks] Oh wait, I did do something to the stone walls in the cavern on= our escape with Pestilence. [After giving the angels a few moments to clea= r out, Dur rubs his hands together and tries to cast the spell that allows = him to manipulate stone.]

Alice: Yay! This is gonna be great!

[Although it's too dark to see anything, the party assumes that nothing happened, based on how quiet everything is.]

Alice: [Whispering] Did it work?

int? [Thinks] Oh wait, I did do something to the stone walls in the cavern = on our escape with Pestilence. [After giving the angels a few moments to cl= ear out, Dur rubs his hands together and tries to cast the spell that allow= s him to manipulate stone.]

Charlie: [To Alice] Don't be ridiculous, Miss Bassett-Short! Everyone knows the old truism, "She who denied it, supplied it!"

Alice: Really, Charlie? Fart jokes? How very unbecoming. How very unworthy. How very - oh! I have one! She who blamed it, flamed it!

Charlie: [Nods at Alice] Too true. Now, do try to contain your flatulence, given that we are in a restricted space and our air supply is precious.

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Dur: [Shrugs his shoulders and feels along the wall] How the heck should I = know if it worked or not?

Alice: And yet you still insist on speaking!

Austin : [To Dur] You could try to feel if you have expanded the orifice, [sniggers] in the wall that you cast the spell on?

awa hame

Clint: [To no one in particular.] You ever notice how imminent death brings out the bitchiness in women? [Tries to batter his way through a wall.]

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acceptlanguage: en-US s >out the bitchiness in women? [Tries to batter his way through a wall.]

Dur: [Nods in agreement] You'd think they'd broken a nail or something.

Alice: Mia-ow! Clint and Dur, I never knew you were so [puts on her sassy woman voice] A - W - L.

Clint: Riiiight. [Tries harder to batter through the wall.]

Austin : [After a short pause] What is A - W - L?

Alice: [Embarrassed] It's uh, um... Look, to be honest, Aus, I just thought it sounded cool and didn't think anyone would ask me about it, because it sometimes seems to me that people aren't really that concerned about what I have to say and seem to have this attitude that I just prattle on and on and on about meaningless stuff as though I never have a thought in my head that doesn't relate to ponies, pink or mathematics and I figured that if I threw out that acronym people would have the same attitude, which, if you think about it, isn't really fair as I often say stuff that isn't related to ponies, pink or math, and don't just rattle on and on and on. Uh, what was the question again?

Charlie: [To Austin, scolding] Really, Mr. Sleaze, do please refrain from confusing her in future!

Alice: [Confused] Uh, was I confused?

[Everyone sits down, realising that there really is no way out of this one. There seems to be plenty of air. So far....]

End of scene. Next one coming up

[Book VII, Act VII, Scene VIII. The Bricked Up Cell. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here. It is now almost twenty four hours later and the various party members are drifting in and out of unconsciousness, barely able to breathe and extremely thirsty. The copious amount of flatulence from person(s) unknown has only served to exacerbate the situation. Finally, the party hear something, as though someone is outside the bricks, and eventually one of them pops out, letting some fresh air into the cell, as well as a slat of light.]

Alice: Finally!

Quoting Conor Ryan :

Austin : [Looks around] Where is Charlie? [Looks at the gap] Who's there? Is that you Charlie?

Oops, sorry, my mistake - Charlie is with the party

[Another brick is knocked out and PAN sticks his head through the wall, grinning madly.]

Pan: Heeeeeeeeeere's Panny!

Hmph! Chastity indeed!

Charlie: Pan, it's wonderful to see you well! And here to rescue us once more! I could just kiss you!

Austin : [To Charlie] Oh there you are. I thought you had run off again. [To Pan] I would be careful old chap, she has a thing for powerfull men, good or bad.

Pan: [With an even broader grin] That's just what I was hoping for! [Knocks down some more of the bricks and steps up to the bars] Hey there, Chargin' Charlie. I thought you were a gonner.

Austin : [Helps Pan remove more bricks] How is Charoum's head? I heard that he had an unfortunate incident involving some loose masonry?

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Dur: Yeah, yeah! Escape first, tongue wrestling later you two!

Pan: Yes, I heard about that, I'm afraid his head is way too thick to be affected by that. Guys, things are turning nasty, you gotta get out of here.

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Dur: No arguments here, just show us how to get home.

Austin : [Looks suprised] Things are getting worse? Worse than being sealed in a dark room to suffocate to death! How do we get out of here?

Pan: Everyone who disagrees with Phili is being treated the same way - he's out of control! [Points at the metal barrier] That's the only way out. I can go outside and open it.

Charlie: Please do, and hurry if you could!

Pan: [Pushes a rope in through the bars] I'll be back for that kiss! [Exit Pan]

Alice: Wow, Charlie! You go, girl! [Tries to do a sassy "Jenny from the block" move but just ends up looking lame and awkward]

Clint: What the hell's wrong with the Philster, anyway?

Alice: He's gone crazy! All these rules and regulations? And those angels are no help either - well, except Pan, of course.

Austin : I suspect that there is nothing wrong with Phili, this whole thing stinks of mutiny! [To Pan] Have you actually seen Phili?

Pan: [Steps back in for a moment] Very briefly, but I hate to say it, everyone is acting on his orders. Stand back from the metal, I'll open that now. [Exit Pan]

Charlie: Group, we must act quickly once we are freed! I think it best that we avoid Phili, given his unpredictable and alarming behavior of late. Perhaps we can learn more from the townsfolk before dashing in half-cocked?

Clint: Oh please let it be a mutiny! It'd give me a chance to introduce some of those pricks to the business end of a 2-by-4!

Which actually brings up a question I never thought I'd ask, but... do the UK/Ireland still use inches for measuring lumber? Because hitting someone with the business end of a 5-by-10 just doesn't have the same ring to it!

Alice: [Tying one end of the rope to some of the bars in the door] Well, I agree with Charlie, I think we need to get the hell out of here and to safety as fast as we can.

We use both, actually. The particular one in use at any given time is usually dictated by which is the most inconvenient!

Austin : [To Charlie] You see, Alice makes perfect sense on many occasions! [Looks around for escape routes]

[There is a bang on the outside of the window, and the sheet of metal is slowly bent back. PAN is outside, flying, holding a bunch of pillows.]

Pan: Ready?

Clint: Hell, I was born ready! [Gets ready to leap out the window and plunge hundreds of feet to a safe landing in a conveniently placed cart full of straw.]

Austin : [Looks alarmed at the pillows] Ready when you are, but what do you need the pillows for? [Gulps, looking to the ground from their lofty position]

[Much to CLINT's dismay, once the window is open enough, it becomes horribly apparent that there are no carts full of straw, just a very solid looking pavement.]

Pan: I don't need them, you do - [excitedly] you know, for disguises!

Remember, the party do now have a rope that Alice tied to the bars

Charlie: Everyone, down the rope!

[CLINT slides down the rope. It is dark outside, so he appears to have gone unnoticed.]

Alice: Yay! Now we can jump on Clint!

Really, really small.

Clint: Ya think, Chuck? I'll go first, in case the rope isn't long enough or something. [Makes good on his word.]

Hmm. So both metric and imperial lumber. Sort of like us over here with hex keys, and ratchet sets, and all that sort of obnoxious guff. It's all very hard, because what kind of red-blooded American knows what the devil 10 mm is?

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Dur: [Confused] For a pillow fight? I guess, though shouldn't we concentrat= e on escaping first?

Pan: No! The feathers! They're to make fake wings!

Austin : [To Pan] So that we can disguise ourselves as angels? [Takes a pillow] To you have any glue? [Looks doubtfully at the pillow]

Pan: Sure I do! [Takes out a huge vat of glue]

Alice: Wouldn't it have been a better idea to have given us this in the cell? Before you had the window open in full view of the whole city?

Pan: Absolutely, but I only picked up these pillows when I came outside. They, along with other sinful material, are being confiscated.

Charlie: Surely not! Pillows?! But they have many, non-erotic uses!

Austin : Perhaps, more worryingly is the fact that anything can be used in an erotic endeavour. Can Phili ban everything? [Looks at his pillow and then the glue] I think that it may be rather difficult to make angelic wings from goose down.

Alice: [Confused, to Charlie] Such as?

Pan: Gah! I think you're right, Aus. Quickly, slide down onto Clint, that'll break your fall!

Austin : [Squeezes his pillow] Nice pillows though [Tucks his pillow under his arm and slides down the rope]

[ALICE follows AUSTIN down.]

Alice: Whooooohoooooo!

Pan: Sh! There are people around!

Alice: Oh, sorry. [Whispers] Whooohoooo!

Charlie: [Following Alice] Thanks ever so much, Pan!

Pan: My pleasure, Charlie. [Gives her a quick spank on the ass as she passes down]

[HARVEY and DUR follow after, neither receiving a spank. As soon as everyone is at the bottom, the party suddenly spot CHAROUM, across the street.]

Charoum: Hey! What the hell is going on?

Austin : [Sighs] Not that idiot again! [To Harvey] Which way now colonel?

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Dur: [Slides down the rope, still naked except now covered in glue and feat= hers] Quick! Act like angels, all snobby and like your defecation smells li= ke roses!

Alice: Hey! That's how I am all the time!

Austin : [Shrugs. To Alice] You must be an angel then. [Grimaces and looks away as he sees Dur comming down the rope] Oh, my god! [Looks disgusted]

Charlie: [To Alice] As if getting out bottoms spanked wasn't bad enough!

Alice: What? Oh, uh, yes, that was just awful.

Pan: [To the party] Quickly! Make a break for it! [Flies towards Charoum]

Austin : This way! Run for it! [Heads for the best escape route that he could see from the tower]

[AUSTIN heads straight for the main gate.]

Charoum: Fools! The gate is locked! Hey! Who opened the gate?

[Smack. Everyone feels gratified at the sound of PAN's fist smashing into CHAROUM's nose.]

Alice: [Legs it after Austin, holding about six pillows under each arm] Quick! Before Dur gets too close and sticks to us! [Loses half the pillows almost immediately]

Clint: [Dashes after Austin and Alice. To Dur] Don't even think about sticking to me, doc! If you're into that kind of thing, the lawyer's just up there!

Alice: Oh no, Clint! That'll just make him run faster! [Spots that Austin has just disappeared out the gate] Keep going, Aus!

Clint: Yeah, but it'll make you and the lawyer run faster too! [Proudly.] It's mind games!

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Dur: [Running] Sorry Clint, the only thing I am interested in at this momen= t is protecting my girlish figure.... you know... from death!

Charlie: [Running toward the gate] Surely we'd all run faster if we did away with this inane chit-chat!

Colin's away at the moment??

Harvey: [Well behind the pack, puffing and panting and very red of face] That's - right - party - less - chit -..... - chat!

[Between a combination of PAN keeping CHAROUM busy, the party's running and sheer, dumb luck, the party manage to get out of Serenity and into the countryside. In fact, they don't stop until DUR runs straight into SACHAEL, one of the Dark Angels, sending her crashing to the ground.]

Sachael: Ow! [Looks down at herself to see that she has taken quite a lot of the feathers from Dur] Huh? [Looks up at the party, puzzled] What the? I thought you guys were dead!

Austin : [Looks at his disgusting, dirty and kerosene covered suit] I might have been, were I better dressed. [Grimaces at the sight of his own clothes] How could I die looking like this!

Clint: Very embarrasedly, I'd say! [To Sachael.] I don't think Phili wants to talk, by the way.

Sachael: [Nods sadly] I know what you mean. Now you [looks Dur up and down with a salacious look] on the other hand... [steps in real close and gives a sexy growl] Grrrr!

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Dur: [Looking a little frightened] Oh take it easy! The feathers aren't eve= n real!

Sachael: [Not taking her eyes off Dur, who she stands even closer to] Hm? Yeah, I heard about that. I was scouting around to see what I could find out about - really? [Peers even closer at Dur] Are you sure they're not real?

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Dur: They're pillow feathers. [Peels a feather off for illustration]

Austin : [To Sachael] Whilst the feathers themselves are quite real, goose down I believe, they are only afixed to his person by glue. [Looks slightly horrified at Sachael's interest in Dur]

Clint: [Spins around rapidly as Dur starts removing his feathers.] Doc, you do that again and I'm gonna have to deck you.

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acceptlanguage: en-US u >do that again and I'm gonna have to deck you.

Dur: [Rubs his chin as he observes Clint] A fear of feathers, eh? I'll have= to keep a closer eye on you to see if you develop other symptoms of insani= ty.

Sachael: [To Austin with a wink] Don't worry, I'm just messin' with him. [Looks wounded] Hey, I'm a dark angel! You have to expect that sort of thing from me! Are you being chased?

Alice: Uh, you mean by you?

Sachael: No, by someone from Serenity.

Charlie: And you would have my full endorsement, Mr. Scar! [To Dur, explaining] The more feathers you wear, the less of your bare flesh the rest of us must be subjected to, you see!

Clint: Except for the doc, we got away clean! [Frowns.] Shouldn't we be trying to rescue Pan or something?

Austin : [To Sachael] We were being chased by Charoum, but Pan was holding him off to allow us to escape. [Sighs] They have gone completely insane in there, banning just about everything, they even bricked us up into a cell and left us to suffocate. The specialist angels were completely devoid of reason. [Looks rather sad]

Sachael: Hey buddy, [emphasis] I'm a specialist angel! [Juts her thumb at herself] Angel of Water, here!

Austin : [To Sachael] I meant to say the evil specialist angels [ponders] No I meant Phili's specialist angels, they are evil! [Looks quite exhausted]

Sachael: Yes, it is very confusing, isn't it? Come on, we need to get going.

Charlie: But where do you plan to take us?

Austin : [To Charlie] What is the matter? Pinening for your new lover boy already?

Sachael: New lover boy? Pan, I suppose?

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Dur: [Shrugs] We can't keep track of Charlie's numerous [coughs] 'suitors'.

Charlie: [Haughtily] Let me simplify it for you, simpleton--I have NO suitors whatsoever!

Alice: [Whispers to Dur] Yeah, but how many is she, uh, suitoring?

Sachael: Well, Pan's a very attractive angel, I can't say that I blame you. Now come on, we need to get out of here, if you're being chased by the others, you need to get to Equality as fast as possible.

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Dur: Hopefully they have some clothes in Equality...

Alice: That's what we're ALL hoping, Dur!

[Before too long, and before too many feathers have fallen off DUR, the party approach Equality. Standing outside it is SAMANDRIEL, looking somewhat concerned.]

Sam: What happened?

[SAM and SACHAEL embrace and give each other a long, long, passionate kiss, while everyone else stands around.]

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Dur: Hey! Knock that off before you start ruffling my feathers!

Clint: I think I'm going to like it here!

Sachael: [Breaks off with an audible pop] Really? I wonder why. Come on, everyone's waiting. [Heads into the town, pausing for a moment] Well?

Clint: Yeah, I guess. But we still have to save Pan!

Charlie: Given that he's saved us twice now, I hardly think he needs our help!

Sam: If Pan was stopped by the other angels, I can assure you, he very much needs your help. Our help.

Clint: Ha! See? Clipboards aren't everything!

Alice: Oh please. You're just hoping that you'll get to see more lesbian angels kissing!

Sam: Not all angels like kissing females, Alice, some prefer males.

Alice: Oh. Here we go. Clint, rush in and make some crude and awkward come on in [gives him a count down] three, two, one...

Clint: [Obligingly, and clearly trying to be charming.] Hey baby, let's play house. You can be the door and I'll slam you all night long!

[CLINT delivers his super smooth lines just as SAM leads the party to nearby building. Right on cue, CLINT comes face to face with an angel exiting the building, just as the line is delivered. This is EZEKIEL, who's rather scruffier than the female angels and, if truth be told, a whole lot more male.]

Ezekiel: [Takes a drag from his cigarette] Sure, but I ain't gonna shave.

Ezekiel, Angel of Death

Austin : [Sniggers] I looks like you have finally met your perfect lover, Mr Scar.

Clint: [With much distaste.] Not *you*.

Ezekiel: [Shrugs] Sure. You can shave if you want to.

Harvey: [To Clint, in a loud whisper] Pull yourself together, man! This is no time to try and make time with the locals!

Charlie: [To Ezekiel] That isn't stubble, I'm afraid.

Austin : [To Charlie] It isn't? What is it then?

Ezekiel: Doesn't bother me. It's not like I'm gonna be looking at his face.

Sam: There'll be time for that later! [Points at a large double doors] Seth and the others are waiting in there.

Harvey: Right, troop! Let's get to the bottom of this nonsense as of the now! [Attempts to enter the double doors]

Austin : I thought that we were trying to get away from the nonsense? [Casually follows Harvey]

Clint: [Following the others.] Yeah, but we're versatile that way!

Alice: [To Austin] Unlike Clint, who's nonsense is to get to the bottom of Ezekiel!

[The party go through the double doors and into a large room with a huge table. Sitting at one end is SETH, and at the table are various angels.]

Seth: Ah. You're here. Everyone, I think you know the First Comers at this stage? [To the party] Let me introduce everyone. You know Sachael and Sam, and now Ezekiel, but here is Angelina [gestures to an angel who bears an uncanny resemblance to Peter Deadpan]

Angelina: [Smiles sweetly] Hi everyone.

Seth: [Going through the others] Lucifer, the fallen angel.

Lucifer: I prefer to go by the name Lucy. It's much more evil.

Seth: Israfel, the Angel of Fire.

Israfel: Hello, boys. [Takes a drag from a huge cigar]

Seth: Raziel, the Angel of Mysteries.

Raziel: Hi there. [Pats a vacant seat beside her] I want one of you to sit by me.

Seth: And Muriel, the Angel of the month of June.

Alice: [To the party] The month of June?

Muriel: [Annoyed, to Seth] See? I told you it was lame!

Angelina

Lucifer (Lucy)

Raziel

Israfel

Muriel

Austin : [Smiles] A pleasure to meet you all. [Casually walks over to =20 the seat that Raziel offered and sits down. To Raziel] Thank you.

Charlie: [Goes to sit by Raziel] Oh, delighted! What mysteries can you reveal to me?

Harvey: [Covers his eyes] Greetings, ladies! Troop, give them a private moment to find the rest of their clothing!

[AUSTIN makes it to the seat first, slipping in beside RAZIEL, while CHARLIE sits on her other side.]

Raziel: [To Charlie] None, I'm afraid, Charlie. If I did, they'd hardly be mysteries any more, would they? [Turns to Austin] My my, you're a nice looking chap.

Seth: [To Harvey] My apologies, Harv, but this is what passes for clothing here in Equality.

Angelina: We girls love our fashion, you know!

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Dur: [To Seth] That's ok. This [motions to his feathers] passes for clothin= g where I am from.

Seth: That seems highly unlikely.

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Dur: [Offended] I lived in a dumpster! Don't judge my people!

Clint: Dumpster or not, doc, put some clothes on!

Austin : [To Raziel] Why thank you, [admires her wings] What beautiful wings you have.

Ezekiel: Aw, leave the little guy alone! [Puts his arm around Dur] I think you look adorable.

Raziel: [To Austin] You should see my legs.

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Dur: [Coughs uncomfortably] I need an adult! I need an adult!

Austin : [Takes a quick peek at Raziel's legs. To Raziel] Wow! [Pauses for a moment, then distracted by Dur, frowns towards Dur] I think Mr Dur needs some help to go to the bathroom.

Clint: Yeah, like you're gonna find one around here!

Alice: [To Austin] Five more minutes of being around his ever dwindling feathers and I think I'll need to go to the bathroom.

Seth: [Holds up his hand] Forget his annoying nudity for a moment. What's going on in Serenity?

Charlie: We have been made targets for trying to negotiate a peace agreement! We shall have to have bodyguards accompanying us in future if we are to make any real progress.

Seth: We can probably arrange that, but who are you going to talk to? to his angels.

Angels: [All loudly agreeing] Bastards! They're just awful!

Austin : [To Seth] Well, we don't know that for sure, as we have not actually seen Phili, although Pan seemed to think Phili was behind it all.

Seth: Pan, eh? He was always the best of them. Is there any way you can get him to come here and talk to us?

Charlie: He very well might to speak to you, but just at the moment he is under siege in Serenity!

Lucifer: Typical. Disagree with Phili and you're either imprisoned or cast out. Welcome to Heaven. [Looks around the table] I think we should get him back.

Austin : [To Seth] It does not make sense, Phili is always very nice to us, and we have not spoken to him directly, so perhaps the Phili angels have organised a coup, and Phili is being held hostage?

Seth: He is very nice, he was my best friend. That doesn't mean he's always right, though. The angels wouldn't hold a coup - they come from within Phili, they could no more stage a coup than your left foot could attack your pancreas.

Alice: [To Dur] That's a thing you use for cooking creases.

Austin : [To Seth] I see. [Does a double take at Alice. To Seth] So Phili has a few personal problems then. Is there any possibility of putting the angels back into Phili?

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Dur: [To Alice] Really? I always thought creases were best served raw.

Alice: Nah, that's just something they tell the tourists.

Seth: [To Austin] 'fraid not. Once you let the buggers out, you're stuck with them.

Angels: Hey!

Angelina: [Scoldingly to the angels] Oh, come now! He's just having some fun!

Austin : [Smiling at Seths joke. To Lucifer] Lucy, why are you the fallen angel? What happened?

Clint: [Trying to be helpful.] Stepped on a banana peel, did you? Look, I bet we can talk this out with Phili, if there's some way we can keep from being locked in a box when we try. We just need a cunning plan!

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Dur: A cunning plan you say? [Thinks for a long anguishing moment] We're do= omed!

Austin : [Ponders] A plan more cunning than a fox that outwitted Sheerluck Homely's extraordinarily cunning fox proof chicken shed!

Clint: Okay, Chuck, here's your chance! You're always blathering about plans... plan away!

Austin : [To CLint] Well since we are all here perhaps we should all try to come up with some good ideas. The big question is, what, exactly, are we trying to achieve? Without a clear statement of our goals, how can we formulate the perfect plan?

awa hame, have a good weekend

Lucy: I was one of Phili's favourites - I was cast out for disagreeing with him. Our plan should be to give him a good kick in the ass, he's taking himself way too seriously now, and is so terrified of anyone doing anything bad he'll throw them in jail before they do it. If only he could see how cool things are here.

Charlie: [Beside herself with excitement at Austin's words] Yes! Yes, exactly! We need a plan! [Flips out notebook] Option one [nods to Lucy] Operation Bully Into Submission. Other ideas?

Tom is away this week

Clint: Let's try and be really nice to him, perhaps bake him a nice cake and buy presents for this angels.

[Everyone turns and gives CLINT an incredulous look.]

Clint: Nah, just joking - I'm up for the bullying into submission!

We have a new player about to start, that's Rachel, who's address is now on the list. Please make sure she's copied on all the mails from now on!

Charlie: Yes, no surprise there, support from the brute for the brute force option [makes a note in her notepad]. But now let's have some fresh ideas, perhaps some involving diplomacy or complicated traps, and so on!

Austin : But how will we do that? [sighs] I really don't see how that will work. We need to use their own policies against them. They want to ban everything, including fun and happyness, so perhaps if we offer to help them achieve this they will soon see the error of their ways. [Matter of factly] Prohibition has never worked. Force them to live by their own rules!

Seth: Yes, but how do you force them to that using anything other than brute force. I think Charlie's right - bullying is the way to go.

Alice: [Nods] Yes, I agree with Charlie's vote for brute force too, after all, when we tried the diplomacy thing, we ended up bricked up in a cell!

[The angels all quickly agree that brute force is a good idea, commenting loudly on how great CHARLIE is to have thought of it.]

Angels: Char-lie! Char-lie! [Banging the table in time] Char-lie! Char-lie!

Charlie: [Flattered, takes a bow. Modestly] Well, I am fully trained for this business, not to mention a highly educated, published author.

Harvey: And the best plan you can come up with is brute force?

Angels: [Still chanting] Brute force! Brute force!

Clint: [Shoots Charlie with a finger gun] Good call, you bloodthirsty minx!

Alice: [To Charlie, loudly to be heard over the chanting] What happened to organization? Putting things in alphabetical order? Brute force is hardly your way, is it?

Austin : [Indignantly] Brute force is [shouting to be heard] STUPID!

Angels: [Chanting] Stu-pid! Stu-pid!

Seth: [Holds up his hand, causing everyone to fall quiet] What do you suggest we do, Austin?

Charlie: [Shakes her head vigorously] Oh, dear! I allowed myself to be dazzled by celebrity. I swore I'd never let that happen again! [Claps her hands briskly] Settle, group! Brute force is not the way! We're not Clint! [To Clint] No offense.

Clint: [Shrugs] I don't even know what hell that meant!

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Dur: [Scratching at a particularly itchy patch of feathers] I could pose as= his physician coming to give Phili a yearly physical. Once I'm in I could = drug him and sneak him out so we could have a chat with him?

Austin : I have already proposed that we call their bluff. We assist them and uphold their laws to a ridiculous degree until the system colapses and Phili sees that it is fundamentally flawed. As I said, prohibition never works.

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Dur: That could take years Austin! Especially with those over-zealous winge= d beasts on his side! [Looks to the other angels in the room] No offense.

Seth: What makes you think they'll believe you? The last time you dealt with them they bricked you up in a cell. [To Dur] Your plan is flawed on three counts. One, Phili doesn't have annual physicals. Two, it wouldn't be possible to smuggle him out. Three, who the hell is going to believe that YOU are a doctor?

Charlie: [To Seth] Surely you don't advocate the bullying option? Wouldn't that result in all-out war?

Austin : Indeed, Charlie, it would result in great loss of life and we would probably be in the same situation as we are now, except that there would be fewer of us, of course. They would still win as we would be proving their point, that we are mindelss bullies that need to be bricked up in a cell and left to die. [Casually] Which is a complete fabrication, of course.

Seth: Of course I don't advocate it. In fact, it was your idea, Charlie! I vote we go in and get Pan - he was always the most reasonable of them, maybe we can get him to listen to reason. The mistake we made before was trying to talk directly to Phili.

Clint: [Yawns] Wake me up when you people make up your minds. My vote is still with the ass-kicking.

Charlie: [To Seth] That seems like a sound plan, though we must have assurances that Pan is not to be harmed. He has come to our aid repeatedly and is a true friend to us.

Angels: [In chorus] Whoooooooo!

Ezekiel: [To Charlie] What happen? Did he boink you?

Clint: Nah, she prefers doing it with bad guys.

Seth: Oh really. [To Charlie] So, you know I'm the devil, right? [To the party] Of course Pan won't be hurt - at least, not by us. If he doesn't want to talk to us, then we won't even take him out of Serenity. We'll send one of our top guys with you on your mission to rescue him.

Charlie: [To Seth] Marvelous! Chop chop, group! We mustn't dawdle!

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Dur: What about our disguises? [Points at the spotches of feathers that hav= e somehow remained clinging to his body]

Ezekiel: I don't know about the others, but yours is crap.

Clint: [To Ezekiel] That's great, because that's what he was going for. [To Seth] Where's your best man? Let's have him so we can stop yapping.

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Dur: Ummmm.... thanks?

Austin : [To Dur] Perhaps Angelina could lend you some more suitable attire, Mr Dur.

awa hame

Angelina: What a splendid idea! I'm thinking of something in brown velvet and red lace!

Seth: [Stands up, pointing at himself] You're looking at him, Charlie.

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Dur: [Whispering to Clint] Do you think he picked himself so he can try to = get into Charlie's pants? If he does, you know we'll never hear the end of = it!

Alice: [To Dur] You mean SHE'll never hear the end of it!

Charlie: Do stop tittering like little schoolgirls! My personal life has nothing to do with this mission, so let us be on our way!

Harvey: Let's go troop!

[Exit the party and SETH, leaving all the angels sitting around the table.]

Muriel: Let's play charades!

End of scene, next one coming right up

[Book VI, Act VII, Scene IX. The Forest. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and SETH are here, making their way back to Serenity. The party have all been given a change of clothes and equipped with weapons. About halfway there, they encounter a body, lying face up in the grass. It is a man, disfigured from a massive blow to the face, but who is wearing a HARMA uniform.]

Seth: [Looks at the body] Ew. [Pokes the HARMA badge with his sword] Any idea what that is?

The badge

Clint: [Prods the body with his foot] I'm no doctor, but it sure as hell looks like a dead body to me!

Harvey: It's one of those bally HARMA ruffians! What the hell is he doing here?

Alice: Not a whole lot, by the look of it.

Charlie: Some of them must have slipped in when we did. Oh, dear--what would the implications be of an invasion by future forces into the innocent past?

Seth: If they're all as spry as this guy, I don't think we're going to have much of a problem repelling them!

Clint: [Scratches his armpit then sniffs his finger appreciatively] Yeah, it won't be a problem.

Austin : We can only hope that we find many more of his colleagues in a similar condition. [Frowns at his new suit, and shifts a little uneasily to try to get comfortable]

Alice: Actually, [wrinkling up her nose at the way in which his face is bashed in] I could do with seeing a lot less of this kind of thing.

[The discussion is interrupted by the sound of some fighting from just up ahead. There is some clashing of swords and a considerable amount of swearing in a female voice.]

Clint: [Perks up] Sounds like some broad needs help! [Rushes toward the sound of the swearing woman]

Austin : [Readies his sling shot] She sounds really charming. Just Mr Scar's type.

[The party rush through the forest and get to another clearing, where they see a woman, SHONA HAN, being attacked by several of the men in the SCARY MASKS. One of them spots the party.]

Scary: Quick! Run!

[The SCARIES all rush off.]

Shona: [Takes one last swing at a retreating Scary] Get out of here! [Turns to the party, panting] Phew, nice timing. Those guys know you?

Shona Han

Austin : [To Shona, chivalrously] We have recently engaged in conflict with their number. [Concerned] Did they inflict and grevious injuries upon your person?

Shona: [Grimly] Good. No, but I sure inflicted some grevious injuries on them. [Looks around] Where the hell ARE we?

Austin : [To Shona] We are near Equality. But you may be more interested in when it is, rather than where you are. [To Seth] What is the present date anyway?

the current scene link has not worked for a while :o(

Seth: [Shrugs] Idunno. We only started counting after the Big Split. We call it Four.

Gah! I'll sort it out. Thanks for telling me

Sent to just me by accident:

Shona: [To Party] The Hell is 4 supposed to mean eh? [looking around with a slightly wary expression] Where is the Core?

Alice: The Core? [Does a double take] Did you just come from Asphyxia?

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: What\'s it too ya? [wipes sword clean on grass] Are you friends of these fools? [gestures around her]

Alice: [Indignantly] No!

QVIM? This is a beta of an IM program I'm writing to let people post even when they can't connect to a webmail program. Rachel will be using it for some of her posts.

Austin : [To Shona, adjusting his cuff] He means that it is the year four, and that if you have come from Asphyxia you have traveled backwards in time. [Shrugs] The core does not exist in this time, as far as I know. [Lightens up] And I don't think that Hell or Heaven exist yet either, but Seth and Phili do, and this is Seth [Introduces Seth] And I am Austin Sleaze, lawyer extrodinaire, this is the colonel, Alice [gestures at the rest of the party] And some, [pauses] acquaintances.

Seth: [Gives Shona a friendly smile] Hi! I'm the devil. [Does a pretend roar] Grrr!

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: My name is Shona Han [she glares at everyone] So what your telling me is, that I am practically at the beginning of time?

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: My name is Shona Han [she glares at everyone] So what your telling me is, that I am practically at the beginning of time?

Alice: Not exactly, just very, very, very, very, very [pauses for breath] very, very far back.

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: Uh-huh, and I suppose he is really the devil [she points to Seth]

Alice: Well, that's certainly how it appears.

Seth: Hey! You say that like it's a bad thing!

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: [raises a single elegant eyebrow] mmhmmm, I apologize [she gives a sarcastic bow] I\'m honored to be in the presence of someone as great as you oh Fallen One

Seth: [Gives a smile and bows politely] Actually, I prefer to think of myself as the Enlightened One. It's a pleasure to meet you.

Just a note on QVIM. The part that forms the subject lines isn't perfect (yet!) so if some of Rachel's mails look like they have a stale number, this is why.

Clint: [To Shona, eyeing her up and down lasciviously] Hey, baby, I'm Clint. I like your shirt, but it would look better on the floor next to my bed [shoots Shona with a finger gun].

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: Well I think [At Clint\'s comment her head snaps around] And I think you would look better with a dagger in your gut, but then I guess we can\'t get everything we want [she turns dismissively] Your not my type anyway.

Alice: Hey! That would be a great look for you, Stinky! [Gives Shona a thumbs up] Top idea, Shone!

Clint: [Winks at Shona] Maybe not, but I'll bet the Little General is! [Does a classy hip thrust for emphasis]

Charlie: [To Clint] Do stop that, Mr. Scar. It's clear that if you will merely give this woman a copper or two, she will perform whatever disgusting service you require. [To Shona, patiently] He isn't very sophisticated, I'm afraid.

Alice: [To Shona] You'll have to forgive, Charlie, Shona, she thinks anyone not wearing a tweed suit is a street walker.

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: Hmph, I am no common whore [she sheathes her sword with a visible effort] So, lets say I believe you. Why are we in the past, and more importantly why are we with the \"Enlightened One\"

Austin : [To Alice, and Shona, nodding in agreement] Or a client.

Alice: Haven't a clue - we were in The Core and the next thing we knew we were here. As for why we're with the Light One, well, I think it's to stop God from becoming a control freak, [to the others] right?

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Dur: [Thinking about the corpse they just passed] Is anyone else getting hu= ngry?

Hey Conor, Can dur steal the harma uniform and wear it? I think those f= eathers are starting to get itchy!

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: We are here to make sure GOD isn\'t a control freak!? [glancing at Du] And no, I am not.

Alice: [To Dur, horrified] Not any more!

Harvey: Pleased to meet you, Miss Han. I fear you heard correctly. Phili has become misguided, we are going to contact one of his angels to help persuade him of the error of his ways.

Sure thing, Kevin, but everyone got a change of clothes at the start of this scene, so he's not too awful looking!

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: Does God have a way of getting back to the future... Does anyone?

Harvey: By the saints, young lady, I certainly hope so - [booms loudly] I certainly hope so!

Alice: We're pretty sure we can, we just don't know how.

Clint: [To Shona] Don't worry about that, baby. [Finger gun] Let's go to the moon instead!

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Dur: What the hell is on the moon?

Alice: [With a big smile] Lots and lots of cheese!

Austin : [Smirking] The worring part being, where is the cow that produced all that milk!

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: [looks around] I agree... lets get out of here.

Alice: So, uh, Shona, what were you doing in The Core?

Shona: Kicking some HARMA ass.

Clint: [Nods approvingly] You might be frigid, but you talk a lot of sense, for a broad.

Shona: So, what are you? One of those enuchs who needs to constantly overcompensate?

Charlie: [To Shona] So, you [emphasis] aren't here to proposition our men? Despite your tawdry appearance?

Shona: Look, Sister, how about I shove that clipboard up your ass? Don't worry, I won't be taking any of your clients off you.

Charlie: It isn't a clipboard, it's a notepad! [To Alice] Only older Watchers use clipboards, of course. I'm part of newer, hipper generation of Watchers.

Alice: I knew that the moment I saw your groovy tweed code with leather arm patches.

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: Newer, Hipper Watchers? Don't make me laugh. Now, what were you all doing before I did the Time Warp?

Austin : We were going to try and get Pan, I think. Pan is one of Phili's angels that is still sane, and hopefully he will be able to help us make Phili see sense once more.

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: And Phili is... God? Interesting. I have never put much stock in Religion so lets just get this over with [grimaces] I need to get back to my time asap.

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Dur: Provided of course that he's not already dead.

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: [slight eyebrow raise] So your looking for someone who may or may not be dead [spins finger in air] Whoo hoo!

Austin : [To Rachel] Considering the fact that we just rescued you from certain death after you accidentaly fell through a time portal, you are not in a good position to be criticising our plans. [Checks his nails]

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: [scoffs] Those guys? They weren't so tough [smirks] And I'll criticize any plan that I think is half-assed and/or lacking.

Alice: That's right - we win either way. Either he's not dead and can help us, or he is dead, in which case he'll be easy to find, as it's not like he's going to be moving around, or anything!

[The party get to the walls of Serenity, and can see that the gate is locked, with a guard outside it.]

Harvey: Indeed? Well then, what was your plan to fend off those clowns, eh? Spray them with your joke flower, I suppose!

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My work is blocking all of the e-mails coming out of the www-data thing= y.

Austin : [To Rachel] Considering the fact that we just rescued you from certain death after you accidentaly fell through a time portal, you are not in a good position to be criticising our plans. [Checks his nails]

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Dur: [To Shona] Well you certainly are in for a surprise while traveling wi= th us! All of our plans are half-assed!

--0-853446884-1234363601=:72874

Shona: Nothing so crass. I was simply going to kill them [pauses to look at Serenity] Well, at least its impressive...

Harvey: Indeed? Well then, what was your plan to fend off those clowns, eh? Spray them with your joke flower, I suppose!

--0-853446884-1234363601=:72874

Shona: Nothing so crass. I was simply going to kill them [pauses to look at Serenity] Well, at least its impressive...


From: Conor Ryan <conor.r@gmail.com>
To: www-data <www-data@pyrrha.csisdmz.ul.ie>
Cc: heather.goggans@gmail.com; djob@staffmail.ed.ac.uk; thg8rguy@yahoo.com; beatmyaces@yahoo.com; Kevin.Day@hanson.biz; colin.dinan@gmail.com; rgreystone@yahoo.com; qvblogger@gmail.com
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 9:43:10 AM
Subject: [qv] 07.09.051

--0-853446884-1234363601=:72874--

Alice: Sounds like a pretty half-crassed plan to me!

Boom boom!

Post by Rachel through QVIM

Shona: [sigh] Well, lets just get it over with [glances around] Anything I need to know?

Alice: Well, I'm really good at math.

QVIM

Shona: [glares at Alice] I meant the situation Princess, not your alleged skills.

Alice: Well, the angels are really rude, so I guess you're gonna fit right in!

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Dur: I'm the groups doctor?

QVIM

Shona: [to Dur] That is... Good to know [to Alice] I just got teleported back in time and attacked by killer clowns, I think I have the right to be a little rude!

Alice: Sure you can be a little rude, just do it to someone else. [Points at Dur] Like him!

Harvey: Like him? I can hardly stand him!

QVIM

Shona: [To Alice} I'll be rude to whoever I damn well please [To Harvey] ...What?

Alice: Fine. [Points at the guard] Go over and be rude to him. Once he's called the angels and they've killed you, we'll sneak in.

Clint: [To Shona] Look, you got a nice rack and all, but you will respect good old Harv or I'll kick your ass.

Charlie: Yes, he may appear to be frail and doddering, but he is quite capable, at times!

QVIM

Shona: [To Alice] As if I'm sacrificing myself for you people [To Clint and Charlie] I just honestly didn't understand his question [To Clint] Stop looking at me like that Damn it!

Alice: I don't care what you do as long as you don't do it to me!

Harvey: By the saints! Stop this, Troop. There is no room for this sort of infighting in the Troop. [To Shona] You are more than welcome to come along with us, but try not to cause any more friction than there already is. [To Clint] You! Private Sleaze! I mean, Private Scar, stop leering immediately, at least, to the extent that you are capable of.

Austin : [To Shona] All of our plans are half arsed at best, and Mr Scar always leers at women, and men dressed up as women. [Sighs] And you are partially correct in that he was once a half eunuch, but he has now, unfortunately for the rest of us, regained the missing organ.

QVIM

Shona: [to Harvey] Yes sir [smirks at Clint] You'd better listen to him, Or I'll make you a full Eunuch... and I'll use a spoon.

Clint: [Winks at Shona] It's gonna take a helluva big spoon, girlie! [To Harvey] You're the boss, Harv! Let's get moving.

Harvey: Right. Now, troop. Just one guard. Ideas?

QVIM

Shona: [Thoughtfully] Well that depends, I am sure that we, as a team, could Bushwhack the bastard, but I'm not sure if that'll get us in God's good graces. I am relatively skilled at speechcraft, if you can tell me what to ask for I may be able to get us in. uld Bushwhack the bastard, but I'm not sure if that'll get us in God's good= graces. I am relatively skilled at speechcraft, if you can tell me what to= ask for I may be able to get us in.

Clint: Right, I vote for Bushwhacking. Talking is for girls. Let's go!

[The party slowly creep forward, skirting the forest as they do so, only to see that it is CASPER on guard. Fortunately, he his wearing his sheet over his head, and appears oblivious.]

Casper Caspersen

Charlie: [In a low whisper] Perhaps we need not engage in combat? This fellow seems harmless enough.

Alice: Not all that harmless - let's bash him over the head with something.

Austin : [Whispering] Unless you have ears!

Harvey: [Picks up a reasonable sized rock] This seems to be an appropriate size for bashing someone on the head. [Taps it hard against his own head] Gah! Yes, just perfect.

Clint: All right, Harv! Knock that little freak out!

QVIM

Shona: I'll do it - it's been ages since I got a chance to bash someone on the head. [Holds out her hand for the rock]

Harvey: [Hands the rock over to her] That's the sort of enthusiasm I like to see!

QVIM

Shona: [Tries to creep up on the guard and smash him on the head]

Seth: [Takes out a crossbow and aims it at the guard, before glancing up at the party] Just in case.

[SHONA smashes CASPER on the back of the head, and he sinks to the ground, immobile.]

Seth: Gah! That's a pity. [By way of explanation] I hate that guy.

Charlie: [To Seth] Yes, he did seem rather insipid. [To the party] Let's proceed with caution, group!

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Dur: [Scratching his head] I have no idea what you just said Charlie! What = does 'caution' mean?

Austin : [Carefully checks his hair in a pocket mirror, then carefully stares at his own reflection for a while]

Alice: [To Dur] It doesn't really mean anything. You know how it is, a cop catches you wandering around late at night, topless, having lost a shoe and with a big chunk of cheese stuffed down your sock, and tells you that he's letting you off with a caution.

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Dur: Hey! That's not what they told me when they found me wondering around = topless with one shoe and cheese stuffed in my sock!

Clint: That's because you're not a hot bimbo, like Bimbo here [jabs a thumb towards Alice].

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Dur: [Looks about ready to cry]

Alice: [Does a finger gun at Dur] Click-click! Life's tough, Dur!

[The party creep up to the gate, which is slightly ajar. There are a few people scurrying about, but everyone seems to be in a rush, and are hurrying from building to building with their heads down. Everywhere there are posters with pictures of Phili pointing angrily, and with titles like "Don't have truck with Seth", "Phili is watching" and several with Phili holding a brick that say "It's all fun and games until some loses an eye. Losing an eye is bad. Fun is bad. Games are bad."]

Seth: Don't have truck with Seth? Man, he really is getting desperate. Where's Pan?

Austin : [Using a fat black marker pen, crosses out the 'bad' on 'fun =20 is bad; and replaces it with 'good', and does the same with 'games are =20 bad' on a few posters] Pan is probably suffocating in a bricked up =20 cell somewhere.

[Enter FLEUR DES LIS, who the party met at the start of this act, walking around the corner.]

Fleur: [Shocked] What - you - Seth - evil - brick - what?

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Dur: Everyone cheese it! [Makes to run off]

Alice: Maybe someone should silence her? Clint, you're used to punching women, aren't you?

QVIM

Shona: [rolling her eyes, then to Fleur] Excuse me Miss I need to [Under the cover of the polite sentence, Shona attempts to punch her in the throat then cover her mouth to make sure no noise comes from her mouth. [If Successful] Well, I'm helping the devil anyway, sorry sister [If failed] C'mon guys! help me out here! --- F \ No newline at end of file

Austin : [Cowers at the unexpected, and unnecessary violence] What are you doing! This is a diplomatic mission!

[FLEUR collapses to the ground, gasping for breath.]

Seth: Wrong, Austin. It's a diplomatic mission once we get to Pan. Until then it's covert one. Now, where could he be? [Slowly looks around the town, coming to a halt at the huge, ivory tower in the middle] Hm. You think Phili's trying to compensate for something?

Charlie: I hardly think that a man's sexual organ should be used as a yardstick for measuring his potential greatness. [To Alice] Though, it might determine his ability to satisfy his sexual partner, which is a measure of success. [To Seth] Yes, you do raise an interesting point. Perhaps if we were able to find some sort of herbal remedy for Phili's sexual malfunction, we might be able to avert a war?

Austin : [To Seth, anoyed] No, you are wrong. If we go around violently assulting everyone, even if they are rather starchy lady dress makers, it will merely reenforce their preconcieved misconceptions about us!

QVIM

Shona: [removes a piece of cloth from pocket, ties it around Fleurs mouth] Sorry about that, [turns to Austin] Alice said silence her, and I wanted to act before someone [she glances at Clint] stabbed heror otherwise ended her life.

Seth: No, I'm right. If we go around violently assaulting everyone it won't be a covert operation. However, if someone spots us and blabs, we'll be caught. The occasional violent assault isn't going to kill anyone!

Alice: Or worse, made some inappropriate remark about her [finger quotes] rack!

Clint: [Puzzled.] Why the hell would I do that? She's just an insane old woman!

Back, awake to take some family to the airport, a bit grumpy about it because the bloody sun isn't even up yet and I hate to see a good sunrise from this end of the sleep cycle!

Alice: It never stopped you before!

[Enter MARGE, coming around the very same corner, almost falling over FLEUR.]

Marge is the woman that the party helped save when they first arrived in this time.

Marge: [Shocked] Oh! [Calms down a bit] Oh, am I glad you guys are here!

Alice: Actually, I'm not sure, but we're hoping you are, otherwise either she'll [points at Shona] punch you in the front of the neck or [points at Clint] he'll make an inappropriate remark about your chest size.

QVIM

Shona: I dunno, I just guessed you took things literally

Charlie: [To Marge] Oh, dear! What's happened?

Marge: It's Phili! He's gone crazy! You need to talk to him - you need to make him stop! He'll listen to you! You're only only hope, you! You!

Alice: [Disappointed] Hey! He hardly even knows her! What about the rest of us.

Marge: I meant you in the collective sense.

Alice: Oh. There should really be two different words. That would make much more sense.

Austin : [Calmly, putting his pocket mirror away. To Alice] The proletariat in Glasvegas often use the term 'Youz', for the collective sense of the word 'You'. I suspect that you would fit in there really well [Smirks]

Alice: Oh, come on, Aust. There's not really enough headbutting or urinating in the street for that.

Clint: Oh, if that's all you need, I'm your man! [Looks around for someone to headbutt, or, alternatively, a place to urinate in the street.]

Marge: There's no time for public urination! If we wait any longer Pan will be dead!

Charlie: No! We must save him. Hurry, group!

Harvey: Calm yourself, Charlotte! [To Marge] Where is he?

Marge: [Points to the top of the tower] Up there.

Seth: Why didn't Phili just cast him out? That's what he did with Lucifer and any of the others that turned against him?

Marge: I don't know, but I think he's afraid that there's going to be a revolution - all the ordinary people are turning against him, and he wants to make an example out of Pan.

Charlie: [Snaps at Harvey] I am perfectly calm, Colonel! Do not mistake concern and a sense of purpose for hysteria! To the tower, group!

Harvey: [Calmly] And do not mistake hysteria and a sense of purpose for a plan! What do we know about this Ivory Tower in which Phili is making an example of Pan?

Alice: Uh, I think it's made of ivory.

Clint: Also, it's tower-shaped.

Austin : Well then let's see if there is a way into the tower or up the tower. The angels may just fly up there, in which case we will need a very very long ladder.

Marge: There are stairs too - it's how I get up and down.

Charlie: [To Seth] Surely you can assist us?

Seth: The tower is likely to be filled with angels, only someone known to and trusted by them will be able to get in.

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Dur: Surely you're not recommending that we strap explosives to Marge, send= ing her into the midst of the angels to clear a path for us [Looks horrifie= d].

Seth: [Guiltily] No!

Marge: [Shocked] Gulp!

Seth: Nah, just joshing. Why don't we get Marge to go to the top and lower a rope down, that way we can climb up to Phili's room at the top.

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Dur: [Looks around] Ummm.... right... That is a much better plan. [Mumbling= to self] Great, it'll be like gym class all over again!

Alice: Don't be silly, Dur. We'll just turn the camera on its side and walk along, pretending to be climbing. It's a cinch!

Charlie: [To Marge] How wonderfully brave of you! [Claps her hands] Now, up the tower, chop-chop!

Clint: [To Marge.] Uh... do you have a rope?

Seth: [Hands over a huge rope that Marge can hardly hold] Here, you can have mine. It's big and long.

Marge: [Struggling under the weight] Pant! Uh, thanks!

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Dur: [Mumbles] Now who's compensating for something?

Seth: That would be you, by putting on the deepest and loudest voice that you can. It's not very loud, is it?

Charlie: [To Marge] Excellent, now let's get you up into the tower! No time to waste.

Clint: [To Marge, reassuringly.] Don't worry. Nothing can go wrong!

Marge: Phew! Okay, here goes!

[MARGE rushes to the tower, only to find that she can't get in because the rope won't fit through the door. She turns and looks at the party, her face wretched with helpessness.]

All: Turn it around! Turn it around!

[MARGE turns the rope sideways and enters the tower.]

End of scene, next one coming right up

[Book VI, Act VII, Scene X. Outside The Ivory Tower. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY, SHONA and SETH are here, hanging around trying to look nonchalant. To their surprise, there appears to be a protest march off to one side, with people holding banners demanding the release of Pan and the repeal of the recent behaviour laws. Standing near them are several of PHILI's angels, looking highly unimpressed. After what seems like an eternity, the bottom of the rope falls to the ground, showing that it is exactly the right length.]

Alice: Huh. Amazing how that rope was just the right length, isn't it?

Seth: Coinky dink!

Clint: Hey, I'll go first! [Starts up the rope.] You don't suppose Phili was talking to one of those HARMA idiots, do you?

Alice: Yikes, well, I do now! [Gets on the rope behind Clint] He sounds exactly like them!

Charlie: Surely he wouldn't be so impressionable and weak-minded? [Takes to the rope after Alice, looks up, then winces] Really, Miss Bassett-Short! I don't see why you can't wear proper undergarments like the rest of us! [Proceeds to climb, looking downward]

Clint: Speak for yourself, Chuck!

Alice: Like you, you mean? Oh, god no!

Harvey: [Also getting on the rope, face to face with Charlie] I should hope he isn't!

QVIM

Shona: [grumbling to herself as she follows up the rope] Freaking loons, Why do things never make any sense for me.

Alice: Maybe because YOU'RE the freaking loon!

[The party continue up the rope, and can see that the crowd and the angels are pushing and shoving each other, but that no one has thrown a punch yet.]

Charlie: How disappointing! They fight like little girls!

Charoum: [Addressing the crowd] Go back to your homes! Phili will not tolerate this!

[One of the SCARY CLOWNs steps up and throws a brick at CHAROUM, smacking him in the face]

Scary: Death to Phili! =A1Viva la revolucion!

QVIM

Shona: [to Alice] I am the sanest one here [response to Clown] This isn't going to end well....

Alice: Only a crazy person would think that they're the sanest one!

[Some of the people look up and notice the party, however, they are cheering them on.]

Mob: Death to Phili!

Perpetiel: [To the mob] Don't be silly. Phili is God, he can't be killed. And we're angels. We can't be killed. [Sternly] But we can kill. [Suddenly spots the party] Stop them!

Austin : [To Shona] It seldom does. Nice VPL. [Smirks]

[The party continue their climb upwards, with the ANGELS below trying to fly upwards, but being held back by the mob.]

Seth: Come on! Move it! We need to get up there before the angels get free!

Austin : Free what? [Looks down] Ohh, free as in freedom! I see. [A look of realisation dawns on Austin's face and he starts climbing much more quickly]

[The party get to a balcony near the top of the building.]

Alice: [Peering in] There! They're in here!

Charlie: Hurry, group! We haven't a moment to spare! [Tries to climb onto the balcony.]

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Dur: Is there a plan? Or are we going to just rush in and use the resulting= chaos to free Pan hoping that we all escape with our lives.... as usual?

Alice: [Climbing on to the balcony] Well, it looks like Pan is tied up, so he won't be able to give us any ideas.

Austin : He can still talk can't he? [Climbs onto the balcony]

Alice: Look! Phili's in there with him!

[Everyone ducks out of sight. PHILI doesn't appear to notice them, and is locking the main door.]

Clint: [Looks over at Phili, down at the angels, and back at Phili.] Dammit! Caught between a rock and an insane place!

Austin : Perhaps Phili is being held prisoner too and the angels are using a simulacrum to consummate their mutiny! [Peeks into the cell to see what is happening]

Phili: [Advancing on Pan with a red hot poker] Pan, you broke my heart. You were always my favourite.

Pan: [Struggling against the ropes that hold him to the chair] Phili! No! You have to stop this!

Alice: [To the party] Holy crap! We better charge him!

Charlie: [Tries to knock the poker out of Phili's hand] Don't you dare burn that magnificent creature!

Austin : [To Phili] For heaven's sakes man, what is wrong with you! Have you gone complety insane? [Tries to free Pan, if he can]

[CHARLIE and AUSTIN take PHILI unawares and knocks the poker across the room. Meanwhile, the angels below have drawn weapons and are wreaking havoc amongst the people.]

Pan: Charlie! I knew you'd come!

Phili: [Shocked] What are you doing with him? Traitors!

Seth: [To the party, pointing at some golden bows and arrows] Get them - they're the only way to stop the angels!

Charlie: [Tries to untie Pan] Poor dear, have you been hurt?

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Dur: Kiss his boo boos later hussy! Right now we got more pressing problems= ! [Grabs a golden bow and arrow]

Pan: [Now untied] Charlie, we have to stop him! [Hugs Charlie]

Phili: [To Dur] No! Don't hurt them!

[Each of HARVEY, ALICE and SETH grab bows and start firing at the angels.]

Austin : [Grabs a bow and arrows. To Phili] This is all your doing! What were you thinking of, leaving us to suffocate to death. Torturing Pan to death? Have you lost your mind? [Fires at Charoum or another angel]

Clint: [Grabs an arrow and tries to fire warning shots - not wanting to kill Phili's favorite snotty little pricks.] Yeah! Did you listen to those HARMA bozos or something?! People can't live like that!

Phili: [Drops to his knees] I don't know who HARMA is, but I know, I know you're right! [Puts his head in his hands] It's all gone wrong!

Seth: [Shoots Charoum through the stomach, causing him to fall to the ground] Got him!

Alice: [Shoots Cassiel] Yay! I got one too! You can't miss with these arrows!

This is true - shoot anyone you want!

Charlie: [Shoots Perpetiel] Take that, you horrid thing!

Clint: Hey, insanity happens! [Puts the bow back down.] Now call off the rabid attack angels, and you guys can talk about this like civilized people!

Austin : [Looks suprised at Clint] How very forward thinking of you Mr Scar, I did not know you had it in you. [Has his bow ready but does not fire. To the Angels] Surrender now!

Clint: [Defensively.] Hell, it *was* the plan.

Rashnu: [Flying up high] Consider yourself judged, Austin! [Fires an arrow at Austin, hitting him and knocking him to the ground]

Alice: [Fires back at Rashnu] Judge this, bitch! [Hits Rashnu, sending her flying to the ground along with Perpetiel]

[The crowd are now out of control, and are thrashing the place.]

Phili: [Sobbing] They need their god, but what can I do? What can I do? Ever since you left, everything has got out of control. They need to be told what to do - but what have I got? Revolutionaries wanting my head on a silver plate! I used to rule the world! The world!

Seth: [Glancing back, unimpressed] I think they need a new god.

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Dur: Being a god?? Now THERE is a job I think I could enjoy!

Alice: I think you'd be really good, Dur, you know, with your, uh, um, well, the way you, huh. Actually, I think you'd be crap.

Phili: I just need more time - the people will learn to behave, honestly they will. This HARMA group you speak of, they sound like they are onto a good thing!

Clint: Them? Everyone hates them! Look, Phili, the problem is that you have to make people want to be "good," and you're trying to make them afraid to be "bad." Though, uh, we have to work on those definitions some!

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acceptlanguage: en-US have to make people want to be "good," and you're trying to make them >afra= id to be "bad." Though, uh, we have to work on those definitions some!

Dur: [Glaring at Alice] If I were YOUR god, I'd smite you for saying that.

QVIM

Shona: [staring in shock] This is madness

Charlie: [To Phili] From what I've read, your natural instincts are pure and good. You must use those to guide your people and not fall prey to outside pressures. Just because these HARMA people have flashy outfits, travel in groups, and seem to have all the answers does not mean you should emulate them! If they all decided to leap off a cliff, for example, surely your own better instincts would caution against that?

Phili: I don't know who the HARMA people are - but it sounds like they are only trying to do the same thing I am. Maybe you should be asking them if I leapt off a cliff if they would follow? And I have followed my natural instincts, that's what I'm trying to do!

Pan: [Putting his arm around Charlie] Maybe your natural instincts are wrong?

Charlie: [Shoots an uncomfortable glance at Pan, but leaves his arm around her. To Phili] Then perhaps Pan is right about your instincts. I mean, even the name itself should tell you they are not on the side of good--putting the HARM in HARMA and all that?

Phili: I don't even know who they are, what the hell should I care what they're called? I know that I'M right - I know what's best for the people, a return to the clean and pure ways before [points at Seth] he made The Heart active.

Seth: Genie's out of the bottle, baby, get used to it! You'll never force people back to the way they were, that's why those Clowns are winning support. If the people can't trust their god to look after them, then they might as well resort to chaos.

QVIM

Shona: [sighs and rubs her neck] Just show them you have changed... perhaps that'll work if your honest. That and we kill some clowns.

Austin : [On the ground with an arrow sticking out of him, coughs] Help!

is he badly wounded or what?

Phili: l haven't changed! They have changed, they must be punished, as all of you must!

Alice: Austin! Are you okay?

yes! Clinging to life!

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Dur: [Sighs and rolls up his sleeves] Out of the way, out of the way! The g= roup Hypochondriac needs his boo boo looked at. [Inspects the arrow and tri= es to remove it and cast a healing spell on Autin].

Austin : [Clinging to life, weakly to Phili] No you are wrong, change is good [fades out]

Charlie: [To Seth] Do something! He's dying!

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my reply went through right? Kevin Day Credit Administrator Hanson North America 300 E. John Carpenter Freeway, 15th floor Irving, TX 75062

Tel: 972-653-5541

Fax: 469-586-1605 Kevin.Day@hanson.com

Charlie: [To Seth] Do something! He's dying!

yes :o) Quoting "Day, Kevin R. (Las Colinas) NA" :

Accept-Language: en-US

acceptlanguage: en-US Just wanted to be sure. We can't let Austin die again can we? Kevin Day Credit Administrator Hanson North America 300 E. John Carpenter Freeway, 15th floor Irving, TX 75062

Tel: 972-653-5541

Fax: 469-586-1605 Kevin.Day@hanson.com

yes :o) Quoting "Day, Kevin R. (Las Colinas) NA" :

Clint: Oh, don't worry, Chuck - the doc'll save him! [Cracks a smile and snorts a bit, trying desperately to keep a straight face.] [AUSTIN is definitely hurt badly. The bleeding isn't that bad, but he is still fading.]

Seth: He can't be helped - that arrow will suck the life out of him.

Phili: It's no more than he deserves. [To the party] Come on! You know that I am trying to do good.

Seth: [To the party] Just because he doesn't know he's doing evil doesn't mean he's not evil. Let's throw him over the balcony.

Clint: There will be no throwing Phili over the balcony! [Gruffly.] Besides, we have to save the lawyer!

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acceptlanguage: en-US des, we have to save the lawyer!

Dur: There has to be a way to counteract the arrows effects!

Phili: [Points at Clint] You will be saved! Now, quickly, turn your arrows on these traitors! [Points at the party]

Charlie: [To Phili] None of us want any more bloodshed! [To Seth] We're here to stop a war, not murder Phili!

Clint: Well, that, and we're here to make sure Phili is the friendly lovable guy we remember, and not a psychopath. But other than that, stopping a war, absolutely!

QVIM Shona [nodding, glancing at Austin] I don't know any of you, but we really aren't here to fight. Now, its up to you how this goes down. You can work with us, save the lawyer, and so on. Or things will probably be messy for all of us. It's really your choice Phili.

Austin : [Gasping for breath. To Phili] You are being evil. Trying to kill us was evil, torturing Pan was evil, and wanting to punish people is evil too [coughs up some blood] You may be a god, but you are naive and crude in your thoughts and actions. [Wheezes and closes his eyes again]

QVIM

Shona: [nods with a quiet growl] Indeed [She gets very close to Phili, hand on her hidden dagger in her coat pocket] Now save him, or there will be a reckoning.

Phili: [Looks at Shona] What are you gonna do? Stab me with the dagger you have hidden in your coat? I'm a god, moron. You can't kill me. [To Clint] You will sit on my right hand side in the Brave New World! [Pushes Shona backwards, before pulling out a bunch of arrows that he cocks in his bow] Die, you traitorous scum, die!

Charlie: [Panicked] Let's rush him, group! Send him off the balcony--there's no other way. [Attempts to tackle Phili/knock him over the balcony]

Pan: Charlie! Nooooo! [Steps in front of Charlie to block any arrows from hitting her, and opens his wings up full to protect Alice, Clint and Harvey]

Charlie: [Shrieks] Pan! Stay low, or you'll be killed!

QVIM

Shona: You may be God [she leaps forward and attempts to drive her shoulder into the bow, knocking it away] but that doesn't make you invincible [the dagger flashes as it speeds towards Phili's chest]

[Everything goes into slow motion, in true dramatic cinema style.]

Phili: Wanna bet? [Ducks a little and flips Shona over his shoulder, sending her flying in the opposite direction]

Austin : [Swiftly gets up, and grimacing, charges Phili] This ends now! [Tries to charge Phili and grapple Phili off the balcony]

Phili: [Glances over to Austin] What the-?

[AUSTIN crashes into PHILI and the two bang against the railing of the balcony.]

Phili: What the hell do you think you're doing? You can't kill me! I'm invincible! I'm - [the two fall over the edge] Phiiiiiiiiiiiiiilli.

[Splat. The two have fallen over the edge and onto the ground below.]

Charlie: [Rushes to the edge and looks down] Austin?!

[AUSTIN lies motionless at the bottom of the tower, beside PHILI, who appears to have landed face first on the ground. Incredibly, PHILI is slowly pulling himself to his knees.]

Phili: My face! My beautiful face!

[Everyone but SETH joins CHARLIE at the balcony looking over.]

Alice: Is he-?

Charlie: [To Seth, furious] Don't just stand there, do something!

Harvey : Good show Private Sleaze! That's how to deal with the blighter! [Punches the air, then goes over to the balcony and looks down at the splat] Gaah! Dammed unlucky there Private!

Seth: What do you want me to do?

[The crowd have stopped rioting, and several that the party have met before (in a previous act) take a look at PHILI, who is slowly and painfully dragging himself to his feet, his face a mess of blood, bruises and gravel. These include J. JACK JACKSON and HANK TOMS.]

Hank: Look! He's wearing Phili's clothes, but his face, it's so disfigured, it has to be Seth!

Jack: [With relief] That's it! He must be holding Phili hostage and making up all these awful rules!

[The crowd give a big cheer, and people who were, minutes previously, rioting and fighting with each other, are suddenly hugging and telling each other how great it is that PHILI is back.]

Charlie: [To Seth] Perform a miracle before your people--save Mr. Sleaze! They mistook Phili for you, and so you must step into the leadership void! What better way to say "benevolent god" than raising a hero from the dead?!

Phili: [Staggers to his feet, causing those around him to step back in fear] You stupid bastards! You deserve nothing but punishment! I'll be back - and I'm going to drag each one of you to hell to suffer for your immoral ways!

[Exit PHILI, running out of the city.]

Mob: [Clearly thinking that Phili was Seth, chanting] Phili! Phili! Phili!

Seth: Hey, I might be god, but I'm not a miracle worker, you know. If I could do it, I would.

Mob: Phili! Phili!

Seth: It does sound like they're calling my name, though, doesn't it?

Clint: [Distractedly.] Uh, yeah. Sure. [Stares down at the mess on the pavement below.]

Alice: [To Seth] Really? Are you sure you're supposed to be god? I thought you were the devil?

Seth: Relax, Alice, it's all about the balance. What's the point in being god when all you do is punish people for doing what comes naturally to them? I know what it's like to have done bad, and I know what it's like to have to redeem yourself. Doesn't a god who helps people come to peace with themselves and each other make a whole lot more sense than a god who just punishes people? [Steps up to the balcony and addresses the crowd] My friends!

Crowd: Hooray!

Charlie: [To Alice] To be fair, that does make an awful lot of sense. Perhaps there's no evil and good, after all? [Suddenly worried] Or perhaps we have just hopelessly muddied the waters between the two and doomed humanity to decadence and wickedness?

Clint: Charlie, look around where we come from! You really gonna tell me that people are nice?!

Harvey : Rice? What? [To Clint] I could use something much more substantial than rice, Private Scar! [Looks down at Austin] We seem to have a man down troop, where is that dammed doctor when we need him?

Alice: Whoohoo! Decadence here we come! [Thinks for a moment] Hey! Maybe those HARMA guys don't represent Phili, well, the [finger quotes] real Phili at all? Let's call [points at Seth] him Phili and [juts her finger out towards where the original Phili went] him Seth. Maybe they represent Seth?

Kevin's away?

Dur: [Peers over the balcony] Uh, I don't think it looks good.

Alice: Pan? Can you fly down there and see if you can do something for Aus?

Pan: [Looking very dejected] I'm afraid I can't do that, Alice.

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Dur: Can't do what? Help us?

No I'm here. Just got through a hectic morning.

Pan: [With a tear in his eye] Can't help you, can't be with you, can't speak to you.

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Dur: Why the hell not?

Pan: Because I'm an angel, one of Phili's angels. And as goes my creator, so go I. Before long I will have no choice but to turn against you, against [points at Seth] the new Phili and against everything that happened here today. There's only one way to stop me.

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Dur: That's crazy! He just tried to turn you into a golden arrow pin cushio= n! Why would you continue to follow him?

That's three for me.

Charlie: Pan, you must see that Phili had to be stopped! He was completely out of control, utterly unworthy of your devotion!

Pan: I don't have any choice. I'm part of him.

Harvey : [To Pan] Dammed admirable loyalty, young lad, but I think your leader has gone insane, and we could use an energetic new recruit like you! What do you say?

Clint: Dammit! [To Pan, quietly.] Okay, how do you want it?

It's very Old Yelleresque!

Pan: [With tears in his eyes] You're completely right, Charlie, and that's why this has to be done. Unless I'm stopped and reduced to some second rate demon, this will happen again. [Picks up one of the arrows and addresses Clint] A stab through the heart. [Turns to Charlie] By the one who taught what it feels like to love.

Not a dry eye in the house!

Charlie: [Shocked. To Pan] No! I could never harm you, not after all you've done for us. Pan, be reasonable! [Pleads, holding out her hand] Come with me. Please.

Pan: [Hands the arrow to her] Do it for all I've done for you. Do it because I love you.

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Dur: [Whispering to Charlie] Or at least do it before ol' Pesti finds out. = What do you think HE would do to this guy if he knew about you two?!

Sorry, had to break up the sudden serious tone of the game >.>

Charlie: [Takes the arrow reluctantly] Pan, please! There must be another way! Think of all the good you could do if you lived on.

Clint: [To Seth.] I don't suppose there's anything you can do about this, either?

Seth: [Still standing on the balcony] I'm afraid not, Clint. He's right. You have to do it.

Alice: [Whispers to Dur] You know, maybe it's just me, but doesn't Pan look just a teeny tiny bit like Pestilence?

Pan: [To Charlie] Please, please! Do it!

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Dur: [Thinking] Wasn't Lucifer originally created by Phili?

Charlie: [To Pan, weeping] How can you ask--how can I--?? [Grits her teeth and shoves the arrow into Pan's heart]

[CHARLIE drives the arrow into PAN.]

Pan: I love you, Charlie!

[The whole building begins to shake, and is suddenly enveloped in white light. The whole party fall unconscious. When the light disappears, the entire tower, including the party, has disappeared, leaving SETH(the new PHILI) standing on a balcony in mid air.]

Seth: [Peers into the void that was once the tower] Hm. It looks like an entire core has disappeared. [Looks around] Huh. I think I'm about to faaaaaaa-

[SETH falls into the arms of the adoring crowd below.]

End of Book VI, Act VII.