]

[Book VI, Act XI, Scene I. The Dark Place. ALICE, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and SERENA are here, possibly with more people, in a very, very dark and very, very, very small room, slowly coming to.]

Alice: [Slowly] Whoa... where the hell am I? [Sniffs] Clint? Are you there? Who else is there? , I'm here.

Charlie: [Weakly] I'm here as well, group. I'm not at all sure where "here" is, though, I must admit!

Alice: For someone, here is having their foot in my stomach! [Grunts and pants a moment] Oh wait, that's my foot. Can anyone feel a light or a door?

Harvey : Well dear niece, something is prodding me in the back, and I certainly do hope it's a foot!

Alice: Well, it's not me, my foot is sticking into a mattress!

Next person to search can find a door handle!

Serena: Now dears, if you take a deep breath and close your eyes, you can enjoy this peaceful darkness and let it soothe your minds.

Harvey : [Starts moving his arm around looking for a wall, or switch, or handle]

[There is a distinct clicking sound, and the party are suddenly sent sprawling out a door and onto the floor. Very quickly it becomes apparent that they were inside a closet in what appears to be a bedroom. There are three men with outrageous moustaches here, who come over to investigate. One of them, Bernard, is dressed as a doorman.]

Bernard: What have we got here?

Tim: [Prods Harvey with his umbrella] Spies, by the look of it.

Mervin: [Who has a disturbingly shrill voice] Why yes! They certainly look like sPIEs to me! [Gives a little laugh]

Tim Tiramisu

Mervin Meringue

Bernard Baklava ly

Harvey : Spies? By the saints, not a bit of it. [Attempts to untangle himself from the others] I am Harvey Kingston Short III, ex colonel of his Majestys Fusileers of Kings Reach, what! But currently unsure as to where exactly, this [gestures around the room] is. [Chews for a moment before spitting out a mothball]

Tim: On the contrary sir! You clearly are a spy! Look, look sir! Look at what you wear!

[The party look at each other. Everyone is wearing a t-shirt that says "Spy", along with awful golf shorts and flip flops. No one has any weapons.]

Tim: Who other than a spy would wear a t-shirt that has "Spy" written on it? it?

Harvey : Well, wouldn't that be drawing attention to a spy, the fact that they are going around in a shirt stating "Spy", what? Surely it would be like a thief walking around holding a bag labelled "Swag"!

Serena: And if we were spies, we would hardly show ourselves to you. No, sir, I can assure you that this group has too many issues with flatulence and body odour to remain well concealed for long.

Tim: What?? There's a thief there too? [To Harvey] Perhaps you are going for the double bluff -- by your reasoning anyone who wears a shirt with spy written on it, which means that anyone who doesn't is one, what nonsense you speak sir, what rot! [To Serena] Perhaps you are simply bad spies -- what else would one expect from a bunch of thieves who have become spies?

Charlie: You're being most judgmental, aren't you? How would you like it if we assumed your outrageous facial hair could only be indicative of mental breakdown or perhaps employment with a circus?

Tim: [Taken aback] What? Why - why would she say something like that?

Mervin: I say! [Hugs Tim] Spies like her don't truly understand facial hair= .

Clint: Non-spies like me don't truly understand having a shrub attached to your face either!

Alice: [To Clint] Maybe it might help if you were hiding in a shrubbery?

Tim: A spy!

Dur: [Finally stumbles out of the closet holding his head] Uggg.... I feel = like I was locked in a dark closet for a couple hours.

Tim: Another spy! [Pokes Dur with his umbrella] I say, sir! What are you doing here? [To the party in general] And that goes for all of you!

Charlie: I'm afraid we don't quite know. We were all just [waves hands] suddenly here! I don't suppose you know where "this" is?

Harvey : [Holds up his hands] I say, I say! I believe we have gotten off on the wrong foot here. We are not spies, and I for one have no objection to facial hair [strokes one of his sideburns]. To prove we are not spies, you can ask us any question you want regarding your conversation prior to our outing from the cupboard, and I can safely say, we will not be able to answer you! [Loudly] Not a bit of it!

Mervin: [Squeakily] I know where here is, it's our roooooooom!

Tim: [To Harvey] Well, perhaps... Let's see. We were discussing what sort of underwear Mervin most likes to wear, what was it?

[The party form a huddle to discuss.]

Alice: I'm thinking something pink and frilly! ur roooooooom!=0A> =0A> Tim: [To Harvey] Well, perhaps... Let's see. We wer= e discussing what=0A> sort of underwear Mervin most likes to wear, what was= =0A> Alice: I'm thinking something pink and frilly!=0A=0AClint: Yeah, but B= imbo, that's your answer to any question about underwear! "Pink and frilly= " or "none at all!"=0A=0A=0A=0A

Alice: True, because that's what I said when I was asked what underwear you wear!

Clint: [Nodding in agreement.] Damn straight! The lads should hang wild and free! d and free!

Alice: Then you really shouldn't wear any underwear.

Serena: [To the moustache men] You simply must tell me what you use to keep your facial hair so spectacularly perky.

away for a few hours :(

Charlie: [Scrutinizes Serena's upper lip] Yes, I see you could use their advice. [Helpfully] Perhaps you'd do better just to have the hair off altogether? 2009/9/15 Heather :

Alice: [Horrified, to Charlie] No! If she keeps growing it, she might start to look like one of these fine, attractive gentlemen.

Mervin: [Applauds] Ooooh! Now, that's something I peCAN get behind! [Chortles at his cleverness]

Tim: [Points his umbrella at the party as though it were a sword] Okay, spies, I see that we'll get nothing out of you. Leave our room immediately, immediately I say!

Harvey : As you say, sir, as you say. You are obviously a group not to be trifled with, so we will take our leave.

Mervin: [Gives another high pitched chortle] Triiiifle! Oooh, he's just diviiiiine! Let's keep this one!

Tim: He is something of a beginner, but he shows promise, promise I say, promise! However, nonetheless, he is a spy. [Holds open the door] Take your leave, spies.

Charlie: We shall leave, though our leaving is not meant to be an admission that we ARE spies, you understand. [Attempts to exit] Come, group! Let us continue living our subterfuge-free lives!

Tim: Spoken like a true spy!

[The party leave the room and the door slams behind them. They are clearly in a hotel, judging by the corridor with numbered rooms. At one end is a large window.]

Alice: [Looking out the window] Huh. Looks like a pretty large hotel, and look, there's a pool and all! This is gonna be great! Which room are we staying in? They

Harvey : What an odd trio! [Looks out the window] Well, this certainly beats the factory, I'll tell you that! Troop, search your pockets to see if anyone has a key! [Begins patting his own] They

Charlie: [Looks out the window] A hotel? How peculiar! I wonder--[gasps] NO! What's HE doing here?! [Ducks down below the window and cautiously peeks out again] Did he see me? Did he see me??

Alice: [Checks her pockets] Nope, I don't have any. [Looks at Charlie] You know, now that I think about it, she does kind of behave like a spy! What's upchuck? I mean, what's up, Charlie?

Charlie: [In a loud whisper, still ducking down and peeking] That's my ex-fianc=E9!

Alice: You mean [shocked] Pestilence is here? [Takes a look] Come on! Where is he? All I see is the kind of beach bum looking guy, with a - huh, is that a pile of hams on the chair beside him?

Charlie: SHH! Yes, that's him! [Haughtily] And that so-called beach bum is one of the finest minds in--[suddenly struck by a thought, clearly excited] oooh, perhaps this is my conference! ach

Alice: [With a big smile slowly crossing her lips] Oh, reaaaally?

[Everyone slowly peeps over the edge and spot the man in question. He is wearing a Hawaiian type shirt that is wide open, and is sitting on a sun lounger, surrounded by beers and fruity looking drinks. On the sun lounger beside him are a pile of hams. He is clearly taking in the sun and relaxing, and seems to have something friendly to say to any waitress that walks by. This is PROFESSOR CHARLES "DEUCE" HILLIARD-MONTGOMERY-CARTHINGTON II.]

Alice: [To Charlie] Your conference? You're going to a conference about moustaches?

Prof. Charles 'Deuce' Hilliard-Montgomery-Carthington II =09 7Deuce%27%20Hilliard-Montgomery-Carthington%20II>

Harvey : [Begins drooling] I'm starving troop! Let's find the buffet and indulge gorge ourselves on bacon sandwiches, what!

Alice: I don't know if we can, Harv -- it looks like Charlie's husband has taken all the ham!

Harvey : Gah! [To Charlie] Was it an amicable break up? As in, would he share his ham if you asked nicely?

Charlie: Ex-fianc=E9! [Takes a deep breath and stands up] I suppose I'd better say hello. [Resolutely strides toward the stairs]

Dur: So are we back in our own time?

Serena: How delightful! And perhaps it will allow us to learn a little more about you, Charlie. Though, I would like to prescribe some ointment to protect your fiance from the fierce rays of the sun.

Harvey : Well said, dear sister! It's always amazing how many goodly sensed people believe that lobster red is a natural skin colour, what! Well, let us go and introduce ourselves to those hams! [Begins drooling and wringing his hands]

Alice: I don't know, Dur, maybe we're a little in the future, as surely Charlie's fiance wasn't that old!

[The party head downstairs and out to the swimming pool area, but DEUCE is gone.]

rea,

Harvey : Damn and blast! [Shrugs] Perhaps he has gone to the restaurant! We should look for him there, eh!

Alice: Or maybe here at the bar?

[Enter PROFESSOR CHARLES "DEUCE" HILLIARD-MONTGOMERY-CARTHINGTON II, from behind, giving CHARLIE a good smack on the ass.]

Deuce: Hey there, Puddin'-Pop!

Charlie: [Shrieks and swats at Deuce, hissing] Do stop that! I am no longer your sweet frozen treat, as it were!

Deuce: [Smoking a cigar and holding a drink] Haw! Then who's sweet frozen treat are you? [Looks at the party] Hi, folks.

Harvey : [Nods to Deuce] Hello yourself. I am Harvey Kingston Short III, ex-colonel of His Majesties Fusileers of Kings Reach. I believe you are already aquainted with one of the troop?

Charlie: [Coldly] I am no man's sweet frozen treat! I have no time for such frivolity, as my work is far too important.

Deuce: I'm familiar with her, my little sugar coated ice-cream. [Shakes hands with Harvey] I'm Prof. Charles Hilliard-Montgomery-Carthington II, but my friends call me Deuce. Are you guys here for the conference? [Looks Harvey up and down] Say, do you like ham?

Alice: Charles? So Charlie had a fiance called Charles? tant.=0A=0AClint: Just frozen now, huh [with huge emphasis and obvious amus= ement] Puddin'-Pop?=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A

Alice: [Mutters to Clint] I just hope Pestilence doesn't turn up, or it could all get ugly!

Harvey: [Shaking Deuce heartily by the hand] I do indeed, sir! It's one of my favourite animal fleshes! So versatile, what! [Stomach rumbles massively] And one of the few meats which doesn't take like chicken!

Deuce: Excellent! I just picked up a bunch of 'em. From the kitchen. They were about to throw them out, can you imagine?

Charlie: [To Deuce] I'm sorry to interrupt you just as you're on the verge of giving the Colonel food poisoning, but I simply must ask, what ARE you doing here? I thought you said this conference had become [annoyed finger quotes] stale?

Harvey : [Aghast and angry] Lunacy sir! Lunacy! I'll tell you this, I'm willing to wager the patrons of this establishment have never had to survive three months in a trench, during the worst winter since records began, with nothing to eat but mud and hobnail boot hobnails, what!

Deuce: It sure had, but now that I'm here to shake it up again, it's gonna be great again. [Starts leading the party to the hams] Of course, when I was going through the index of the conference proceedings to see who'd cited me, I spotted your name. Looks like you've been doing some interesting work, Pudding-Pop.

Clint: You tell 'em, Harv! [To Deuce.] So where the hell are we, anyway? And [turning to the party] why would he have sent us here, of all places?!

Deuce: [To Harvey] And I think you'd be right! We're in Dementia, at the Drump Towers Hotel for The Really Big Conference on Science and Stuff". It's one of the biggest conferences in the field, and this year promises to be a doosie.

Harvey : Hmm! I see. Or rather, I don't. Perhaps you could simplify the title of the conference to give me a better idea of what it's about, what.

Deuce: [Clicks his fingers at a passing waitress] Drinks! Drinks for my friends! Go on, help yourself to a ham. [Sits down] Not really, Harvey, all I could do is make it sound more complicated. It's about science and stuff. All the usual things, and all the vicious fighting that goes on with it.

Harvey : [Delighted] A conference on fighting eh! Now I'm on a firmer footing! By the saints, I could deliver quite the talk on a few of my previous battles, what!

Deuce: I'm sure you could, but all the talks here are on sciencey stuff, and all the fighting is nerdy sniping. You know what scientists are like, nothing but a bunch of bitchy little girls. How come you guys are here? Spying?

Charlie: Oh my, yes! [To Deuce] Remember the year Mott Denderhen had to be asked to keep his voice down during Devin Kay's presentation on the Du=F1ak?! It was ever so thrilling! he year Mott Denderhen had=0A> to be asked to keep his voice down during De= vin Kay's presentation on=0A> the Du=F1ak?! It was ever so thrilling!=0A=

=0A=0ASerena: A lot of boring talks around a table. Sounds terribly droll.= [To Charlie] =0ANo wonder you're in dire need of prunes, my dear.=0A=0A= =0A

Deuce: [To Charlie] That's nothing -- this year there are spies at the conference! [Looks around the party] Oh, I guess you already knew that. [Looks at Serena] What are you? Some sort of stripper?

Charlie: What do you mean by "spies"? Unless you mean these [gestures to her shirt]? But surely even you wouldn't stoop to use a novelty item of clothing as an authoritative source?!

Deuce: I don't know, Puddin'-Pop, I've read many a t-shirt that contained for scientific rigour than many a paper in this conference. I mean, looking at this one [picks up a list of conference papers and reads from it] "An Illustrated Empirical Investigation into the Inversely Proportional Relationship between Boredom and the Rate at which Paint from Primary Colours Dries". [Puts his head to one side and snores]

Alice: Sounds awful! Is this the kind of work you normally do, Charlie? [La= ughs]

Deuce: [Continues] It's by some jokers called Kingston-Short, Bassett-Short, TiRag and Scar.

Alice: [Laughing] What a bunch lose- hey!

Charlie: It was the only way I could get you into this conference! It is really rather exclusive, you know. [Cheerily] In any case, not to worry! Your paper is the last session on Sunday, and everyone will be long gone by then.

Harvey : They had better be...including us!

Deuce: Haw! Good plot to get them in. Security is very tight at these events, only the brightest scientific minds of our time are permitted entry.

Alice: And guys with crazy moustaches.

Deuce: Well, sure, but you can hardly have a conference without a bunch of guys with crazy moustaches now, can you?

Serena: I am NOT a stripper. I am a servant of Phili. And I really think we should locate the kitchen and see to some proper nutrition, rather than making our brains stale at a silly conference. think n

Deuce: A church-type, eh? [Frowns] Given your bitchiness and general tone of moral superiority I guess I should have known.

Serena: I do hope you have applied some adequate sun protection, it would be awful if you were to turn up to present your paper looking lobster red.

Deuce: I've turned up looking worse. [Looks around] So what's the deal? What's with the shirts? You spies hired by those weirdoes with the moustaches?

Dur: Nonsense! Why would anyone want to spy on a dull conference such as th= is?

Deuce: You'd be surprised at how jealous people are about our hams!

Charlie: [In an excited whisper] We haven't a clue! We were in some kind of hell dimension, and then we were suddenly here! [To Deuce, quickly] I've already written up my notes on this, so don't go thinking you can write this up before me!

Dur: [Eyes the ham ravenously] Point taken. But as a counterpoint we are ra= rely hired to do anything. Most of the time we just run about doing whateve= r the blazes we want, we just don't have the attention span to be spies. I = suspect these shirts we the final attempted revenge of Seth himself...

Deuce: Hell dimension, eh? Yeah, sure. [Takes a drink] Pretty convenient that you escaped the hell dimension just in time for this conference, eh? And that it happened to open up in this hotel? At the most highly publicised Science and Stuff conference ever? In the run up to the most hotly contested election ever? The day before Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD is due to give a paper? And less than eighteen hours before the Mystery Scientists are to be unveiled?

Alice: It sure is. Hey, this ham tastes like floor.

Deuce: That's not a ham, it's my shoe.

Charlie: Er, Dr. Jerome K. Trindle, BSc, PhD? [To the party] Isn't he dead? And terribly evil?

Dur: Jerome? Why does that name sound familiar?

Harvey : Right on both counts! Perhaps someone is using his name?

Deuce: He might be dead and evil, but that's a whole lot more personality and goodness than most of those jokers going for election. He's way ahead in the polls.

Serena: What is this dead man being elected for?

Deuce: [Shrugs] Idunno. His refreshing take on careers for the dead? Given that I think the president should be elected based on the number of peer reviewed papers in top end scientific journals, it's highly unlikely that I can understand why people want him.

Charlie: I quite agree! That's how you separate the wheat from the chaff! What is his platform?

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn] I see, I see. And what power does this president have, once elected?

Deuce: It seems to centre around keeping his mouth shut. People are so afraid that those HARMA idiots will get in that they've put Jerome and the Clementines ahead in the polls. [To Harvey] He basically owns the place, I guess.

Serena: When you say 'the place', do you mean this hotel? And who are these HARMA idiots?

Deuce: Nope, the country. HARMA are a bunch of religious whack-jobs who want to make everyone and everything illegal. You'd probably love 'em. I think they eat a lot of prunes.

Serena: They sound like excellent leaders! Much nicer than a dead man anyhow.

Deuce: [Watching some security men who are walking around, checking people out] I hope you guys have your keys on you, and aren't wearing any suspicious clothes.

Charlie: [Pats her pockets hopefully] Surely we have keys, don't we, group? And of course the word SPY is meant to be an acronym for Scientific People of York, the, er, corporate sponsor of our research group.

Deuce: [Takes a bite of a ham] Great, 'cos I'd hate to see you get thrown out of the conference. What would the people of York do?

Alice: They'd drink themselves stupid! Start fights with people for no good reason, burn people's carriages and homes, go on wild rampages through neighbouring towns, write mean stuff about perfectly nice girls on the toilet walls.

Deuce: Really? The people of York would do that?

Alice: Oh, sorry, I thought you said the people of Cork!

Harvey : So, when does this election take place? [Pats his pockets looking for a key]

Deuce: [Shrugs] 'coupla weeks, I think. Say... not having difficulty finding your keys, are you?

Alice: Hey! I found something! It's a piece of paper. [Takes it out and unfolds it, before reading from it] The bearer is a spy. Huh, maybe we are spies? Maybe we're so good that even WE don't know about it!

Alas, no one finds any key

Clint: You know, it's just too bad that none of us can pick pockets and take your key! [Laughs one of those "between us men" laughs.]

Deuce: Haw! What a shame. And what a shame you don't know someone staying here that one among you might be able to ask for help. Want some ham?

Harvey : Please! [Takes some ham] I don't think Trindle, if it's the same Trindle, will help us, that's for sure!

Clint: Maybe Puddin'-Pop here could ask you for help? She could repay you by helping with an experiment on how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll! you by helping with an experiment on how many licks it takes to get to the = center of a tootsie roll!

Charlie: [To Deuce, gritting her teeth] Loan me your key at once. To say you owe me would be an understatement. [Puts out her hand expectantly]

Harvey : Perhaps using...[looks suddenly very proud]...science and stuff, we could copy your key!

Alice: Forget that! Give me a piece of paper and some crayons and I'll knock one up for you in half an hour!

Harvey : Of course you could, dear niece, and it was the first thing I thought of! But sadly, I doubt a member of the troop has crayons!

Charlie: [Still holding her hand out to Deuce, clears her throat loudly] A-HEM?! Could I have your key, immediately?

Deuce: Sure thing, Puddin' Pop! [Hands it over] Just like old times, eh?

[Enter TOMPARS PARIS, an officious looking man in a HARMA Initiative uniform.]

Tompars: [Shield his eyes from Deuce's collection of drinks] Tompars Paris, HARMA Initiative. This is a security check. We've heard that there are spies in the hotel. [Looks at the party] Do you know anything about that?

Alice: Well, I guess it has a swimming pool.

Harvey : And there's a conference occuring also.

Deuce: [Holds up a ham] And they have loads of nice ham!

Serena: Although it would be frightfully exciting to be involved in a plot of intrigue, we are unfortunately unaware of any spies.

Tompars: Then why are you wearing those t-shirts?

Clint: Corporate sponsorship. You know how it is. Besides, if we were really spies, would we be stupid enough to wear shirts that say "spy?" And if we were spies who were stupid enough to wear shirts that say "spy," obviously we'd be really bad spies, so not worth bothering! re really spies, would we be stupid enough to wear shirts that say "spy?" = ," obviously we'd be really bad spies, so not worth bothering!

Harvey : And before you ask, no, we've not been corporately sponsored by spies, either!

Tompars: [Goes to say something, but thinks better of it] Huh, so you're all staying in the same room?

Clint: [Nods.] Damn cheapskate corporate sponsors!

Tompars: [Glares at Deuce] And I know that you're staying here.

Deuce: [Proudly to the party] Already been thrown out of the bar twice, and I only arrived this morning!

Tompars: Just remember what I said, no more fracas with Professor Wernstrom.

Deuce: [Angrily shaking his fist in the air] Werrrrrrn-strom!

Serena: [Helpfully] Perhaps less of that self-medicating would help [gestures at Deuce's collection of drinks]

Heather's away today

Charlie: Wernstrom is his sworn enemy. [Excitedly] It's downright dangerous when they're in the same room!

Deuce: [Sourly] Not any more.

Dur: Why not?

Deuce: Because.. oh crap! Here he is! I'll meet you in the room! [Snatches the key from Charlie and runs off]

[The party turn and see an angry looking man heading this way, although he doesn't seem to be looking specifically for the party. This is DICK WERNSTROM.]

Alice: Huh, he doesn't seem so tough.

Wernstrom: [Suddenly walks up to the party] I want your hams. Your drinks and your seats.

Wernstrom

is there any newspaper handy? I suppose a sufficiently thick, boring pa= per would do as well

Deuce: Because.. oh crap! Here he is! I'll meet you in the room! [Snatches the key from Charlie and runs off]

[The party turn and see an angry looking man heading this way, although he doesn't seem to be looking specifically for the party. This is DICK WERNSTROM.]

Alice: Huh, he doesn't seem so tough.

Wernstrom: [Suddenly walks up to the party] I want your hams. Your drinks and your seats.

Wernstrom

Dur: [Grabs a nearby and lengthy, boring report, rolls it up, and tries to = smack Dick on the nose with it] No! Bad boring scientist! Bad! [DUR makes contact with WERNSTROM'S nose.]

Wernstrom: Ow! Help! Help! I'm be attacked! [TOMPARS looks over.]

Tompars: I knew they'd be trouble!

Dur: As I suspected, these lecturers are nothing but big tatle-tales!

Tompars: What happened?

Wernstrom: He attacked me! Physically! With a newspaper! [Looks at it] A tabloid!

Dur: [Shaking a fist] It's better than you deserve you big bully!

Clint: Yeah! You walk up, demand our ham, our drinks, and our women? What kind of a scientist are you?

Most scientists I've met being wholly uninterested in ham.

Wernstrom: [Annoyed, waving his hand at Clint] Whatever!

That' s the problem with science today, no meat!

Clint: [Glances over at Tompars.] Hell, you want the ham that bad, take it!

Charlie: [To Clint] Oh for God's sake, Mr. Scar! [To Wernstrom] Excuse me, Professor Wernstrom, my name is-

Wernstrom: [Does a similar wave] Whatever!

Charlie: [Taken aback] Er, yes, quite, well, I'm sorry to have disturbed you. Come on, group, let's go to our room.

Alice: What? That's ridic. Don't let this idiot boss us around. [To Wernstrom] Hey, you! You have no right to-

Wernstrom: [Interrupting] Whatever!

Alice: Uh, okay. [Slowly backs off, embarrassed] Let's just go to the room.

Charlie: I quite agree. [Proudly] In any case, I really must do a practice run of my presentation, and I know all of you are just dying to hear it!

Wernstrom: [Sits down on Deuce's seat and eats a ham whole] Mm-mm!

[Exit THE PARTY.]

End of scene, next one coming right up

[Book VI, Act XI, Scene II. The Suite. ALICE, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and SERENA are here, having just let themselves in. It is a fairly large room that appears to be divided into a living area, two bedrooms leading off and a bathroom. In one corner is a huge pile of fruit and soap.]

Alice: What's with the fruity soaps, I wonder? NT,

Charlie: It is rather peculiar, isn't it? I shouldn't think the fruit would improve the cleaning strength, and one certainly wouldn't like to eat fruit that had a soapy aftertaste! [To Harvey, brandishing an orange and trying not to laugh] Orange you glad you don't have to eat this soap?!

Serena: Well that's surprisingly thoughtful of them! Some soap to tend to your failing hygiene and fruit to rectify those vitamin deficiencies! [To Charlie] Are there any prunes in there for you, dear?

Alice: Good question! [To Serena] Would eating prunes make her more like yo= u?

Serena: It surely would, my dear. Cleaner, brighter, less... puckered.

Alice: Interesting. Interesting. [To Charlie] For the love of GOD, don't eat any prunes!

Serena: On the contrary! For the love of God do! Purifying the body, purifies the soul. ,

Alice: [Unimpressed] So God likes enemas?

Dur: [Shoves fruit and soap into his mouth indiscriminately, his masticatio= n becoming a frothy mess from the soap lather] Not bad. =20

Alice: But we keep them in our [points to her rear end]? Ew!

Gah! This is the kind of high brow theological discussion we need more of!

My e-mail must be messed up this morning. I sent that last post and the= n got a dozen more e-mails!=20

Alice: But we keep them in our [points to her rear end]? Ew!

Gah! This is the kind of high brow theological discussion we need more of!

Serena: He likes pure souls, my dear. And our bodies house our soul, so they must be kept in the best condition possible.

My three :)

Alice: [Appalled] Dur! People have to wash their hands on that soap!

Charlie: [Oblivious to the prune conversation, leans toward Harvey and repeats somewhat desperately] ORANGE, get it?!

Alice: Er, yes, but anyway. This ex-husband of yours, Charlie. [Clearly relishing the gossip] How old is he?

Charlie: [Feebly tosses the orange to Dur with a wistful sigh. To Alice] Fifty-ish, I suppose. Why, are [huge emphasis] you interested? [Laughs hysterically]

Alice: Nah, it's okay, Charlie, I don't have Daddy issues!

Clint: With your family, I can see why! [Turns to Harvey.] No offense, Harv. Anyway, we get some idea why the hell Seth would send us here?

Alice: Or why Charlie would be with such a crinkly? Or [thinks for a moment] why we let that idiot take the seats, the beer and ham, and speak to us like that?

Clint: He made a convincing argument, you know? Totally logical and compelling! mpelling!

Alice: Yeah, I suppose it certainly seemed that way. I don't really remember what he said, though!

Clint: [Frowning.] Me neither. Maybe it was logical and compelling but boring as hell? Much like Charlie's presentation!

Alice: I know! Is it EVER going to end!

Charlie: [Aghast] But I haven't yet begun! You'll see, it's quite succinct and really rather punchy with lots of amusing images from Sar Fide cartoons!

Colin's out?

Harvey: By the saints, Private! [Shakes with laughter] Orange you glad? [Roars laughing] That's the funniest thing this old soldier has ever heard! Larry Garson himself couldn't come up with something funnier! [To Clint] Well, Private Scar, I don't know why Seth would have sent us here from hell. What reason could he possibly have?

Alice: Unless he knows that something is about to happen here that's even worse than being in hell.

Harvey : You mean, like a...presentation? [Looks at Charlie] Is it about oranges?

Alice: I think it's about dating creepy older men who smell like ham.

Harvey : By the saints, no wonder Seth sent us here, what!

Alice: [Sits down and peers at Charlie] Tell us all about it, Charlie!

Charlie: [Delighted] Marvelous! [Produces a satchel and briskly whips out a massive stack of hand-outs. To Dur] Do pass around a copy of these to each of the audience members, there's a good man. [Clears her throat and begins] Thank you for that kind introduction, Dr. Huffington-Abbott. As most of you know, I have long had a passion for cryptozoology, and the inherent difficulty in classifying new, often unproven species has long plagued me--

Alice: [Puts her head to one side and starts snoring]

Charlie: [Raps her knuckles on a book] Do pay attention, or you shall be utterly lost when I begin to explain my system for classifying cryptozoological finds!

Serena: Is that the study of crosswords, dear?

Alice: Okay, hands up everyone who wants to hear a boring lecture about zyptocruelogy?

[No one puts their hands up.]

Alice: How about everyone who wants to hear Charlie dish the details about her ex-husband?

[ALICE puts up both her hands.]

Alice: The winner, by a massive vote, is Charlie telling us what the deuce she was doing with Deuce!

Charlie: [Appalled] That was by no means a fair vote! And further, surely it is self-evident why I once found Deuce attractive. [Looks around at the puzzled faces of the party and cries out] Haven't you people read his marvelous and terribly influential Secrets of the Soil?! [Shocked] But, but I referenced it several times in my dissertation--[turns pale] wait, haven't you read my dissertation yet?! I gave all of you copies when I joined the group!

Serena: Could you give us the 5-word summary?

Alice: [Counting on her fingers] Lots of stuff about zyptocruelogy.

Gone for the day!

Typical! Just as I get in.

Gone for the day!

Charlie: [To Serena] I should say not, though I could get you a copy of the abstract. [Ponders Serena for a moment] And probably a truly superlative, unabridged dictionary will be needed, as well. ] And probably a truly=0A> superlative, unabridged dictionary will be neede= d, as well.=0A=0AClint: Skipping all of that... Basically, you slept with = Deuce because of his mind, is that it? What kind of a woman *are* you?!=0A= =0A=0A=0A=0A

Charlie: Clearly, the kind of woman who would never sleep with YOU!

Alice: You mean, because you're [theatrically] alive!

[Enter DEUCE, coming from one of the bedrooms. He's naked save for a ratty pair of underwear and is eating a ham.]

Deuce: Oh, hi folks.

Colin's afk

Harvey: [Eyes up the ham] Well, hello!

Charlie: [Delighted] Deuce, your timing is extraordinary! I was just about to give the group a treat and let them hear my paper. Do sit down and join us.

Deuce: [Genuinely pleased] Excellent! [Sits down, handing the ham to Harvey] Let's hear it. I was reading it earlier and it looks great! [Enthusiastically to the party] There's nothing better than a good taxonomy!

Dur: I'd rather eat rubbish.

Deuce: Ah! A doctor!

[There's a sudden hammering on the door.]

Charlie: What a nuisance! [To Dur] Do get the door.

Dur: What, like a joke? Who's there!

Serena: [To Deuce] Pardon me, but does your diet consist entirely of ham, my dear?

Deuce: Nope, I also eat lots of beans, and drink the occasional beer, glass of wine, some whiskey, rum, vodka, gin, that sort of thing. Oh, prunes. [Shifts in his seat to give a loud fart] Gotta keep regular, you know?

[There's more hammering on the door, more insistent this time.]

the occasional beer,=0A> glass of wine, some whiskey, rum, vodka, gin, tha= t sort of thing. Oh,=0A> prunes. [Shifts in his seat to give a loud fart] G= mmering on the door, more insistent this time.]=0A=0AClint: [Impressed.] He= y, I could be a geek too! I have the diet for it. [Stands up and goes to = open the door.]=0A=0A=0A

[Before CLINT can get to the door, it is unlocked from the other side and swings open, almost hitting him in the face with it. Standing there is TOMPARS PARIS.]

Tompars: Open this door!

Charlie: [Sharply, to Tompars] Mr. Scar was trying to let you in, if you could just wait one moment to be properly received!

Tompars: We did wait one moment, in fact we waited several.

Serena: [To Deuce] I'm terribly glad to hear at least someone is looking after their digestive system! [To Charlie] I think you made a fine choice, dear. [To Tompars] We were too engrossed in this tremendous collection of fruits and soaps [gestures at Dur].

Tompars: I don't care about [gestures at Dur] that fruit, I'm here to search for contraband.

Alice: You mean like stolen treasure and mouldy cheese?

Tompars: [Excited] Yes! Do you have some?

Alice: Nah, we've got none.

Charlie: I presume you have a warrant?

Tompars: I don't need a warrant, lady, I'm with the HARMA Initiative. We have reason to believe that there is illegal and immoral activity being conducted in this room. [Looks around] Hey, are you all staying here?

Charlie: Precisely what illegal and immoral activity?

Tompars: That's private HARMA information!

[About ten other HARMA officers barge in and start searching the place. TOMPARS stays standing at the door, and behind him is WERNSTROM, sneering in at the party.]

Serena: Well I must say you fellows are quite enthusiastic about your job. See that sprightly vigor, dears? That's what a good diet, a bit of exercise and some discipline will get you. [To the Harmas] Nice work boys! t of

Tompars: Why, thank you miss. Say, when we're finished ransacking the room and threatening your friends, do you fancy going downstairs for a refreshing cup of tea?

Charlie: [To Serena, exasperated] Yes, do let's make these men comfortable whilst they rummage through our personal belongings! [To Tompars] Do your search, if you must, and leave at once. I have a very important paper to give in quite a short time, and I always do best with a dozen or so practice runs.

Wernstrom: Get her to show you her paper!

Tompars: [To Charlie] The paper, please.

Charlie: [Flattered] Why, of course! [Hands Tompars a huge stack of papers]

Serena: Tea sounds delightful!

pers]

Wernstrom: [Nods at Deuce] And his.

Deuce: No way! No way are you getting your hands on this!

Wernstrom: [Snarls, waving dismissively at Deuce] Whatever!

Deuce: [Grumbling, but handing it over]

Wernstrom: [To Tompars] Let's go and destroy these. I mean, file them.

Clint: [To Tompars, putting all the expertise he'd acquired from years of listening to Austin to use.] Pursuant to civil code 17, section 5, subsection A, paragraph 3.... now that you've seen those, give 'em the hell back! listening to Austin to use.] Pursuant to e seen those, give 'em the hell back!

Tompars: Er, well-

Wernstrom: [Angrily] We're taking them with us!

Clint: [Makes a hand gesture of his own in Wernstrom's direction.] Whatever.

Serena: [To Wernstrom] Goodness gracious. There's no need to get so angry. You could do with a mud bath on the banks of the Zamanon. There's nothing quite like it for cooling the blood. [To Tompars] What precisely is illegal about these papers? Perhaps we could merely edit them appropriately? gry. ing legal about

Wernstrom: [Who's reeking with a stale body odour] I know I could do with a mudbath -- I'm far too clean.

Tompars: We won't KNOW what PRECISELY is ILLEGAL about them until we SEARCH them, OKAY?

Charlie: [To Serena, sharply] They most certainly will not be edited! Every one of those 220,384 words is crucial to understanding my work!

Wernstrom: We'll see! [To Tompars] Turn over their table.

[TOMPARS knocks over a table, spilling drinks and ham all over the place. Exit WERNSTROM.]

Tompars: [To Serena] So... you wanna come for that cup of tea now?

Colin's away today

Harvey: By the saints! She will not!

Kevin's back on the list, please make sure he's copied on your mails

Charlie: [To Tompars] This is disgraceful behavior! And you can be assured that the ISSS will be informed immediately, and see if we ever have another conference in this venue! [To Deuce, ranting] Why, this is worse than the conference we attended in Limerick when we were served [with enormous, disgusted emphasis] congealed pig's blood for breakfast, [pauses] though to be fair there HAVE been fewer stabbings at this one.

Deuce: [Picks up a beer and stops it from spilling] Conference ain't over y= et.

Harvey: Mmm. Congealed pig's blood. [Stomach rumbles massively]

Tompars: Er, I'll take that as a no. [Closes the door and leaves]

Clint: [To Charlie.] You didn't really give him your paper, did you? What's that freak's problem with us? hat's that freak's problem with us?

Deuce: That freak has a problem with good science everywhere! He's even friendly with those crazies with the moustaches! hes!=0A=0AClint: [Aghast.] Those whackjobs?! It's even worse than I though= t! Maybe we can sic the HARMA thugs on them and steal the papers back?=0A= =0A=0A=0A Maybe we can sic the HARMA thugs on them and steal the papers back?

Deuce: [Picks up another beer off the floor and hands it to Clint] The good news is that HARMA hates facial hair, that bad news is that it was some HARMA guys who helped Wernstrom take the papers.

Clint: [Accepts the beer with a nod and clinks bottles with Deuce.] Yeah. It's perfect, right? While all the HARMA guys are busy dragging those moustache freaks off to be shot, we can break into Wernstrom's room and steal the papers back without being disturbed! e moustache freaks off to be shot, we can break into Wernstrom's room and s= teal the papers back without being disturbed!

Charlie: Splendid idea, Mr. Scar! I had no idea you were such an advocate of intellectual property rights and such! idea you were such an=0A> advocate of intellectual property rights and such= !=0A=0AClint: Intellectual property, nothing! If those HARMA douchebags wa= nt something, I say we should keep 'em from getting it!=0A=0A=0A=0A

mething, I say we should keep 'em from getting it!

Dur: Tell me we can raid their fridge and I am sold! =20

Deuce: Haw! I like this guy! Let's raid their fridge and do a big jobbie in it as a surprise! [To the party in general] There's a social even tonight, could be a good time to sneak into their room. The entertainment is going to be the PhDJ, the Doctor of Drums. It's gonna be great!

Alice: PhDJ?

Deuce: [Cockily] He's a personal friend of mine.

Alice: [Gives Charlie a knowing look] That doesn't surprise me.

Harvey: Perhaps we should split into two groups. One group to infiltrate and ransack that rogues room, the other to keep a close eye on the buffet table in case he has the paper with him during this social event! I will choose the later and far more dangerous task!

Clint: And because he might have a couple of hookers waiting in his room, I'll take the former!

Serena: I'll not take part in the underhanded breaking and entering you are planning, so I suppose I will be accompanying the Colonel. And seeing he does not over indulge.

Harvey : Wonderful! It would be a pleasure to accompany you to the social event, dear sister!

Deuce: We should all at least go along to the event, they'll be checking to see who turns up. Anyone registered for the conference that doesn't turn up would arise suspicion, and with all the election stuff going on, you need to be careful. Maybe we could all go down, and then have some of you slip off? [To Serena] It's okay, honey, two wrongs can make a right. It was proven two years ago.

Charlie: [Bursting with excitement] Wonderful! You're all going to have such fun!

Harvey : As long as the buffet is periodically replenished, then yes, I will have such fun, what!

Deuce: [To Charlie] Steady on, Puddin' Pop, it's not going to be pop quizzes and Table of the Elements game, there's also gonna be a bunch of boring speeches.

Alice: Like cryptozoology?

Deuce: Sure do, it's neat.

Charlie: [Incredulous] Boring speeches? At a Science and Stuff conference?! You can't be serious!

Deuce: [Disgusted] I'm afraid so. It's the upcoming election. Those HARMA idiots are speechifying all over the place, but everyone hates them.

Charlie: [Exasperated] Must they spoil the most wonderful weekend of the year?! [To Deuce] How WILL you be voting, if I might ask?

Serena: That Tompars fellow seemed agreeable enough, with his penchant for tea. I suppose everyone is merely envious of their vigour and discipline. [To Deuce] And who is entitled to vote?

Deuce: Everyone! As you know, prior to this it was only men over the age of 45 who had property valued in excess of 300,000GP, but this time everyone over the age of 16 has the vote. It's a golden age for democracy, so why people would vote for HARMA beats me, but they're campaigning like crazy. [To Charlie] Not at all. I'm going to vote for the Academic Party. They've got this great peer review thing going on, but they need to ditch Wernstrom. What about you guys?

Alice: I was going to vote independent, for Jose. I know he's a demon and all, but his country music is just so great.

Deuce: Interesting, if a little crazy. He's actually leading the polls at the moment. What about the rest of you?

Harvey : It is a private affair, my good sir, and I will not reveal my preferences.

Serena: I will wait until I have heard the candidates speak.

Charlie: Don't be silly, Colonel! It's our duty as citizens to engage in the political process and discuss your views with others. [Brightly] Perhaps you might sway a voter to your way of thinking, however unlikely it might be that anyone other than old men might think the way you do. [Proudly] I shall, of course, vote for the Academic Party.

Deuce: That-a-girl! Their first order of business will be to remove the vote from anyone who doesn't have a PhD. I'm sure they're a shoe-in. [To Serena] That could take a while, girl. There are 256 different candidates. I see you as either Religion First or a Healthy Eaters kind of voter.

Serena: Those do sound like excellent choices! Now I hope everyone will be on their best behaviour, and perhaps acting least like spies as we're able.

Alice: Good idea, Ser! We need to blend in, be one with the nerds. [Looks around at the party] Is wearing luminous yellow t-shirts with the word SPY written on them such a good strategy?

Serena: I'm not sure. [To Charlie] Is this something you would typically wear, dear? ly

Charlie: [Wrinkles her nose disapprovingly] My word, no! It's far too garish. A sensible gray or black suit would do, I think.

Serena: [To Deuce] Would you perhaps have a suggestion as to where we might acquire some less garish attire? Though it doesn't have to be quite so prudish as what Charlie is used to.

Deuce: I've got just the thing! [Opens a closet door, and it is full of luridly coloured Hawaiian shirts] Aren't they great? Some of them were even cleaned last week!

Deuce: Sure, you could try the hotel gift shop. They have plenty of stylish clothes there.

Dur: I'm sure they are stocked full of boring suits for this event.

Dur: I'm sure they are stocked full of boring suits for this event.

Serena: [Poking around in the closet of shirts, then pulling one out and holding it up to Dur] I think this would suit you nicely, dear. [Tuts] But first we need to clean all that soap off your face! Can't have you at the fancy event looking like a rabid rodent.

out for the night But the

Deuce: [To Dur] Nah, not a bit of it. [Picks up one of his shirts from the ground] Where do you think I got this baby?

Clint: [Selects a garish shirt at random.] Okay, let's rock! With a bright shirt like this, no one'll notice us stepping out of the party! ight shirt like this, no one'll notice us stepping out of the party!

Charlie: [Gingerly picks through the shirts and comes up with a white one with a slightly more muted color scheme] I suppose this will have to do, though [squints abruptly at the pattern of the shirt] Deuce, really! I hardly think a shirt that illustrates the reproductive habits of Hylobates moloch gives one a professional appearance! nd comes up with a white=0A> one with a slightly more muted color scheme] I= suppose this will have=0A> to do, though [squints abruptly at the pattern = the reproductive=0A> habits of Hylobates moloch gives one a professional a= ppearance!=0A=0AClint: [Steps over to peek at the shirt.] Really depends on= the profession, doesn't it Chuck?=0A=0A=0A=0A

Charlie: Precisely my point! Deuce, I will concede that you are a brilliant man, but you are by no means an expert in primatology. This shirt is a blatant misrepresentation of your knowledge and skills.

Deuce: But not my desires! [Gives Charlie a quick slap on the ass] Right! Let's p-a-r-t why? Because scientists are drawn to alcohol and fun like negatively charged ions to their positive buddies!

Unless someone wants to do something else, let's party!

Dur: I have no idea what that means, but I could go for a drink.

Deuce: Ha! I like this guy - don't know why, but I do. Let's go!

[Exit ALL. A few moments pass, and DEUCE returns.]

Deuce: Yeesh! So I forgot to put on my clothes, big deal! [Throws on some clothes, and leaves again]

End of scene, next one coming right up [Book VI, Act XI, Scene III. The Function Room. ALICE, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and SERENA are here, accompanying DEUCE. The room is fairly large, with a bunch of tables around the edge and a dance floor in the middle. Just beside the dance floor is a large buffet of all the geek staples, such as cold pizza, flat cola and other various convenience foods. There are a number of people here already, sitting at the tables, and on the stage, playing a "Tunky Fown" record, is DR. HIRAM FINKELSTEIN, the PHDJ."]

Hiram: Annnnd welcome to the ISSS special conference on Science and Stuff! [Grooves to the sound of the record] Unfortunately, the HARMA people confiscated all my records except this one, but hey, it's a groovy one!

Dr. Hiram Finkelstein ction Room. ALICE, CHARLIE,=0A> CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and SERENA are here, acc= ompanying DEUCE. The room=0A> is fairly large, with a bunch of tables aroun= d the edge and a dance=0A> floor in the middle. Just beside the dance floor= is a large buffet of=0A> all the geek staples, such as cold pizza, flat co= la and other various=0A> convenience foods. There are a number of people he= re already, sitting=0A> at the tables, and on the stage, playing a "Tunky F= own" record, is DR.=0A> HIRAM FINKELSTEIN, the PHDJ."]=0A> =0A> Hiram: Annn= nd welcome to the ISSS special conference on Science and=0A> Stuff! [Groove= s to the sound of the record] Unfortunately, the HARMA=0A> people confiscat= ed all my records except this one, but hey, it's a=0A> groovy one!=0A=0ACli=

nt: [Looking around for the alcohol.] Hey, I think I beat that guy up in sc= hool!=0A=0A=0A=0A

Harvey : [Shouting over the music] I sincerely doubt that private Scar, as he looks like he actually went to school, what!

Clint: [Nods.] I meant "I think I beat him up *at* a school."

Alice: But what was he doing at a little girls' school?

Serena: [To Clint] I think these pasty types have enough problems getting through life, what with their poor diets [grimaces at the buffet table] indoor habits and lack of exercise. No need to be challenging them to physical combat.

Charlie: [Peers at Serena curiously] Have you ever had yourself evaluated for mental disorder? You certainly seem fixated on food, which suggests a possible neurosis.

Alice: [Looking around at the hundreds of election posters that cover the wall] Hey, let's find a geek and I'll beat him up! It'll be funny to see one beaten up by a girl!

Charlie: You'll do no such thing! These are my colleagues, and I expect you not to disgrace me.

Alice: Oh please, when would I ever disgrace myself? [Looks around] Huh! My pants just fell down, that's kinda weird.

[The doors to the room open, and there stand some of the moustached men that the party met earlier.]

Deuce: What the hell are they doing here? God damned bastards don't have name tags or anything!

Neither does Deuce or any of the party

Serena: An unprovoked violence is not an ideal course of action, dear. Especially, when we're so outnumbered by their 'kind'.

Serena: But they do have the finest moustaches in all the land!

Deuce: I heard half of them are fake! [Enter TIM and MERVIN, walking through a bunch of geeks, knocking them out of the way.]

Dur: [Double fisting two drinks] Mustache implants! Did I ever mention that= I was the world's leading mustache implant surgeon?

Serena: Pardon me, dears, but there's no need for that unprovoked violence!

Mervin: [To Dur] Oooooh! Dr. Hairintheface? What a pleeeeasure to meet you!

Tim: [To Serena] This is our conference, those geeks shouldn't be here.

Serena: [To Tim] I thought geeks were integral to Science and Stuff?

Clint: Hey, someone has to serve the drinks... so yeah!

Mervin: Oh my dear, noooo, noooo! This is a moustache conference! Our candidate for election will be speaking here later this evening, it promises to be thriiiilling!

Charlie: Be that as it may, it coincides with the annual conference of the International Society of Science and Stuff, a far worthier organization than one designed solely to cultivate and admire facial hair!

Mervin: Oooooh! Don't we have a high opinion of ourselves! With the new alliance we have formed with another front running political party, we are far more important than your silly science and stuff stuff.

Clint: [Hopefully.] That wouldn't be an alliance with the Vote Clint party, would it?

Mervin: Oooooooh no! It's ever such an important and exciting party! Finally, an alternative to voting HARMA!

Charlie: And what is your platform?

Mervin: More rights for generously moustachioed men! Higher pay for the hairy, mandatory grooming for all men, a law permitting men with moustaches to have the right to select any female for mating, oh, and universal healthcare provided by a marginal tax on high earners which can be supplemented by private healthcare for those who want it.

Charlie: That does sound a bit saner than the HARMA platform, I'll give you that. Surely no one would vote for those dreadful people?

Serena: What is the HARMA platform?

Mervin: Conservatism, enforced prayer, bland diets, all that kind of thing. It's positively awful. They have people eating prunes, pruuuuunes!

[Time passes.]

Mervin: Pruuuuunes!

All very quiet in Queens View today!

Charlie: Dreadful! [To the others, looking around the room] Perhaps we should mingle a bit? I think I spy Dr. Conrad-Woolf, and I simply MUST have a word with him about his half-baked cryptobotany theories!

Alice: Forget Dr. Wolf Conrad, what about that guy? What the hell is he doing here?

[Everyone turns and looks at DUR.]

Alice: No! Behind him! [Behind DUR, on the opposite side of the room is LIVITICUS, one of the Custos-Clementines that nearly killed the party before they were rescued by PESTILENCE.]

Charlie: [Gasps] Group, stay close! We can only assume this bodes ill! [To Deuce, in a low voice] I don't suppose you have anything we could use as weaponry?

Deuce: Other than my razor sharp wit? [Finishes his beer] How about a broken bottle?

Charlie: Yes, that will have to do. Group, arm yourselves with bottles and keep your eyes open for signs of trouble!

Clint: [Looks around for a bottle of whiskey.] Hey Deuce, you got any matches I could borrow?

ches I could borrow?

Dur: Do you really think he came to a convention to stir up trouble? =20

Charlie: That's the only reason ANYONE goes to conferences!

Deuce: [To Clint] Sure do, bud. [Tosses some matches to Clint, alas there is no whiskey to be seen]

Mervin: [Shocked at this reaction] Oh deeeearie me! What is all this about?

Serena: [Frowns] Yes dears, this behaviour is quite uncomely. We should be promoting peace and harmony. Perhaps we all need a good dose of sunlight. d

Mervin: Daaaahling! You sound daaaangerously like a HAAAAARMA member.

Alice: [To Clint] Will someone please punch this guy?

Serena: Well it's true sunlight can be dangerous in large unmetered doses, but whilst we lack access to more effective remedies, it shall have to do! And what is so wrong with prunes? They are an excellent digestive aid and well needed by some [looks at Charlie]. in large=0A> unmetered doses, but=0A> whilst we lack access to more effect= [looks at Charlie].=0A=0AClint: Now Bimbo, no need to resort to violence. = [Puts a friendly arm around Mervin's shoulder.] Let's you and I go talk fa= cial hair... [Tries to drag Mervin into a dark corner.]=0A=0A=0A=0A to drag Mervin into a

Mervin: [Shrieks like a girl] Unhand me sir!

Tim: [Appears to call to Leviticus] Help! Help! We're being attacked!

Charlie: [To Tim, urgently] Don't call to HIM! He's terribly evil!

Clint: [Startled, let's go of Mervin.] What the hell? A man can't even talk politics these days without some other guy screaming like a baby! alk politics these days without some other guy screaming like a baby!

Mervin: Well, actually, sir, I was going for a little giiiiiiirl!

Tim: [As Leviticus strives over] Madam, I will thank you not to speak that way about a fully paid up member of our political ally.

Serena: And which party have you allied with?

Tim: [With relish] The Custos-Clementines!

Charlie: No, you mustn't! They tried to kill us!

Serena: That sounds awfully like an indulgent dessert... tried to kill you? Well, I'm certainly not supporting would-be murderers!

Tim: Nonsense! They wouldn't try to kill anyone! They and their main party, The Sons of Clementine are peace loving! [Points accusingly at Charlie] I suspect that you tried to kill them!

Charlie: We did not! You can ask any one of dozens of my fellow academicians at this very conference, and they will gladly attest to my strong moral fiber!

[Enter LEVITICUS.]

Leviticus: [Bows politely] How nice to see you again. And how surprising that Pestilence didn't kill you.

Charlie: [Blurts] We did NOT sleep together!

Leviticus: Ah, that explains it. [Looks around the party] Why don't you get the hell out of here? That way, no one gets hurt.

Charlie: That is quite impossible. I'm presenting one of the most important papers on cryptozoology in the last century, and it would be a terrible disappointment to those who follow my work, not to mention a real setback for the field itself!

Dur: Besides, we're having a good time. [Takes a loud, long drink from the = straw of some fruity drink with a mini-umbrella in it]

Mervin: Not any more! [Reaches into Dur's drink and takes the umbrella] Oh nooooo! [Breaks the umbrella in half]

Dur: [Angrily] I'll remember that if you ever need an emergency mustache tr= ansplant!

Colin's away?

Harvey: [Angrily to Mervin] I say! A man's tiny umbrella is his castle! Give it back immediately!

Mervin: [Considers for a moment] No.

Charlie: [To Leviticus] Why are you here?

Serena: Yes, that was quite unnecessary. Perhaps you should try for a more positive and friendly approach in order to win over voters.

Dur: I've got your more positive and friendly approach right here! [Tries t= o kick Mervin in the family jewels] =20

Clint: [Surprised but impressed.] Hey, I didn't know you had it in you, doc!

oc!

Dur: *Hiccups* I think it's the booze. =20

Clint: [Cracks a smile.] Haw! Let's hear it for booze! [Turns to Leviticus.] Anyway, we can't leave - we're on a mission from Phili himself!

[The music stops, just as DUR connects right on target, causing MERVIN to give an even higher pitched scream than anyone would have thought him capable of.]

Leviticus: [To Charlie] In case something like this happened. [Punches Dur hard in the faces, knocking him to the ground]

PhDJ: Hang on! Hang on! I'll put it on again! [Tunky Fown starts up once more] ng more]

Charlie: [To Leviticus, attempting to help Dur to his feet] This is how you spend your time now? Anticipating the drunkenness of incompetent back-alley physicians?! drunkenness of=0A> incompetent back-alley physicians?!=0A=0AClint: [Trying = to salvage the situation.] Hey! He may be an incompetent back-alley physic= ian, but he's also a man of God! Show a little respect, Chuck!=0A=0A=0A = t, Chuck!

PhDJ: Now, let's get on down to the groove, to Tunky Fown!

[Enter TOMPARS striding across the room]

Tompars: What's going on here?

Leviticus: [Gestures to the party] They attacked Mervin. The poor man will speak in a high pitched voice for the rest of his life. [To Charlie] I think of it more as protecting the innocent.

Serena: I think his vocal chords were already affected, my dear. [To Tompars] These fellows were attempting to bully us into voting for them in the upcoming election, but due to their affiliation with unhealthy desserts, we simply cannot. Oh, and this one [gestures at Leviticus] threatening the lives of my friends.

Tompars: [To Leviticus] Is this true?

Leviticus: Yes.

Mervin: We are taking over this conference fortwitch.

Tompars: What? Fortwith?

Mervin: Yes, that's what I said, fortwitch.

Tompars: Forthwith?

Mervin: Yes, fortwitch.

Tompars: It's forthwith.

[Bang. LEVITICUS punches TOMPARS and knocks him back into CHARLIE.]

CHARLIE.]

Charlie: [Hurls a beer bottle at Leviticus and shouts] To arms, group!

[LEVITICUS ducks, and it strikes a studious looking man standing off to one side. His friends gather around him.]

Friend1: Dr. Frankelhoffer!

Friend2: [Producing a blackboard] Let's produce an equation that expresses how enraged we are.

Leviticus: Now you've gone and done it, you've made them write equations! [Punches Charlie, knocking her down]

Deuce: Hey! Puddin' pop! [Leaps onto Leviticus]

Charlie: [Attempts to pull herself to her feet, grabs a thick binder, and tries to whack Leviticus with it] How dare you come here and ruin my special day!

Colin's away?

Harvey: By the saints! [Throws a punch at Leviticus]

[LEVITICUS topples over, with all the party members leaping onto him, followed by a bunch of moustahious leaping on top of them, followed by a bunch of enraged scientists jumping on top of them, followed by a bunch of HARMA members jumping on top of them.]

Alice: [Punching someone hard] Take that, you bastard!

Deuce: Ow! Hey, that really hurt!

Alice: Oops! Sorry about that!

We have a new player starting today folks, that's Valur. Please make sure he's on all mails from now on

[Enter FREDERICK HROTHGAR GOREBLOOD, a huge man almost seven foot tall, who has to stoop to get through the door. He is greeted by the sight of about forty scientists, moustache-freaks, HARMA Initiative types, barman, maids and a stray dog called "MUFFIN", all punching and swinging at each other.]

PhDJ: [As the record finishes] Please! Remember where you are! [Thinks] I know! Some music will calm the down.

[Up starts "Tunky Fown" for the fifteenth time, further enraging everyone.]

Fred e man almost seven=0A>foot tall, who has to stoop to get through the door. = He is greeted by=0A>the sight of about forty scientists, moustache-freaks, = HARMA=0A>Initiative types, barman, maids and a stray dog called "MUFFIN", a= ll=0A>punching and swinging at each other.]=0A>=0A>PhDJ: [As the record fin= ishes] Please! Remember where you are!=0A>[Thinks] I know! Some music will = calm the down.=0A>=0A> [Up starts "Tunky Fown" for the fifteenth time,= further enraging=0A>everyone.]=0A=0ASerena: This is really quite... [cops = a punch to the gut].. That's it! [goes=0Afor gold]=0A=0A=0A ng

Fred: [Lights up like a child in a candyshop] It's like Christmas all over again! [Spots Deuce in a headlock] Don't worry, Deuce, I'll save you! [Picks up nearest throwable thing and hurls it at whoever Deuce is struggling with]

[FRED throws a fairly hefty table across the room and hits MERVIN with it, while the party slowly fight their way out.]

Deuce: [Shakes his head and looks out] Fred! [Waves him over] Come on in! The water's fine! s

Fred: Don't mind if I do! [Charges into the brawl, making his way to Deuce, playfully throwing punches this way and that while laughing heartily.] You know, Deuce, if this is how you civilized people debate, I'm never going home again!

Mervin: [Missing half his moustache] I protest! These people aren't even remotely civilized!

Deuce: Thanks Fred! These are my buds, Alice, Clint, Serena, Harvey, Dur, and the one with the really fine ass is Charlie.

Fred: Neither am I, half-stache! [To the party] Well met, you can call me Fred. I'll say, I haven't had this much fun in years, and I haven't even killed anyone yet! Do you do this all the time here?

Dur: [Trying to take cover under a table] Yep. This amounts to our standard= operating procedures where ever we go. Well met, you can call=0A> me Fred. I'll say, I haven't had this much fun i= n years, and I haven't=0A> even killed anyone yet! Do you do this all the t= ime here?=0A=0A=0ASerena: We're not having fun dear... [Ducks a wild swing]= We're defending=0Aourselves.=0A=0A=0A rd operating procedures where ever we go. ing

Deuce: Fred, can you take my buddies out? They need to check something out. [To the party, somehow not being overheard by anyone in the brawl] Now's your chance to check out the paper, I'll stay here and sort things out, although, maybe if one of you could hang on too?

Alice: [Pulling at someone's moustache hair] Sure, I'll stay.

Fred: And leave all the fun behind? Damn you, Deucebag, always hogging the good stuff. [Sighs] Fine, I'll get you guys out. [Picks up the table Dur's hiding under] Here, get behind me, all of you! [Holds the table in front of him like a cowcatcher and drives towards the exit] MAKE WAY FOR CHIEF GOREBLOOD! RAAARGH! ucebag, always hogging=0A> the good stuff. [Sighs] Fine, I'll get you guys = out. [Picks up the=0A> table Dur's hiding under] Here, get behind me, all o= f you! [Holds the=0A> table in front of him like a cowcatcher and drives to= wards the exit]=0A> MAKE WAY FOR CHIEF GOREBLOOD! RAAARGH!=0A=0AClint: Haw!= I *like* this plan! [Slugs a random scientist on his way towards the exi= t.]=0A =0A=0A=0A

Harvey : [Yelling in pain] Gah! Desist with the moustache pulling, dear niece! I'm on your side, what! [Launches a sausage roll at Leviticus] y towards the exit.]

Tompars: [Being held down by someone] Stop that table!!

Harvey : Troop, to the table, to the table! [Picks up a whiteboard and flings it into the crowd] ay towards the exit.]

Charlie: [Wielding a pencil like a weapon] Stay together, group! Let's go!

Welcome, Valur! go!

[MUFFIN leaps into the air and snatches the pencil from CHARLIE, but the party manage to keep together behind FRED, and are almost at the door.]

Muffin: Grr!

Muffin ir he can use to batter people.] What's the rush, Chuck? This is awesome!= =0A=0A=0A =0A> ;;;Welcome, Valur!=0A=0A;;; Err.... yeah, so I forgot to sa= y hi. I'm not awake yet! So, hi Valur!=0A=0A=0A

Harvey : Push troop, push! [Glances at Muffin] I say, there is a cloud with teeth attempting to attack us!

Dur: [Follows closely behind the table-turned-bulldozer] I'm only surprised= that anything still surprises you Colonel.

Fred: [Turns his head to Harvey.] Now that is just preposterous, Harry. Clouds are nebulous collections of countless little droplets of water and have neither any significant physical staying power nor the necessary solidity to have anything that can be construed as any kind of dental appendages. Of course, even if they did, they do not have the nervous system or motivation to attack us. Indeed, a cloud is just the same as a fog-[A flying book smacks Fred in the head] I AM HROTHGAR GOREBLOOD AND I WILL CRUSH YOU ALL! [Renews his push towards the exit]

Oh, right, hello there everyone!

Charlie: [Gapes at Fred] You certainly know a lot about meterology for a--[looks Fred over skeptically before continuing in a diplomatic tone] er, friend of Deuce's!

Welcome to the game Valur.

Harvey : Firstly, it's Harvey, or Colonel, if I prefer. Not now, nor ever has been, Harry, what! Secondly, that cloud-fog with teeth you do not believe in, is eyeing your rump rather hungrily, what!

Muffin: Grr!

[The party stagger out, and slam the door behind them.]

End of scene, next one coming right up

[Book VI, Act XI, Scene IV. The Foyer. CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, FRED, HARVEY and SERENA are here, all looking rather dishevelled. Also here is DEL BHOY, a bell boy.]

Del: Cor, luvaduck, strike me down and paint me left toe green, boy, that was a bruiser, eh? [Does some pretend boxing] Zap! Pow! You guys sure legged out there faster than anyone else, eh? Eh?

Del Bhoy the Bell Boy

Dur: Well, if there is one thing we do well as a group, it is getting out o= f tight spots.

Charlie: [Looks at Del blankly, then turns to Dur] Could you please tell your friend that there's a shiny copper in it for him if he can go fetch me a pot of tea and a plate of cucumber sandwiches?

. CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR,=0A> FRED, HARVEY and SERENA are here, all looking ra= ther dishevelled. Also=0A> here is DEL BHOY, a bell boy.]=0A> =0A> Del: Cor= , luvaduck, strike me down and paint me left toe green, boy,=0A> that was a= bruiser, eh? [Does some pretend boxing] Zap! Pow! You guys=0A> sure legged= out there faster than anyone else, eh? Eh?=0A=0AClint: Uh... yeah, sure. = Freak. [Looks to the rest of the group.] Does anyone know what he meant?= =0A=0A=0A=0A of tight spots. ] Does anyone know what he meant?

Harvey : [Puffing and panting] Not I, private Scar, I never could understand that cockerney dialect, what! You there! [To Del] There is a jellied eel in it for you if you show us the nearest exit of this establishment, what!

Del: [Looks around at the others confused for a moment] Ah! Mum's the word, eh? [Lifts up his hat and mysteriously takes out a pot of tea and a plate of cucumber sandwiches, cut into the shape of little books] There y'go, darlin'. [Again addressing the party] So, Deuce asked me to bring you up to the room.

Del: Lovely jubbly, mate, but we've got this whole secret mission caper to sort out first, don't we? 'sides, I got a few jellied eels secreted on my person, just in case! [Pats one of his chest pockets, sending a jellied eel shooting out and onto the floor]

Charlie: [Beams at Del, impressed] Aren't you a marvelous find?! [Hands Del three copper pieces. To Dur, with a sniff] Your services are no longer required.

Harvey : [Looks at the eel] Wonderful idea, what! The cockerney version of the banana skin, used to fox our pursuers! Lead on, good bellhop!

Fred: Wait. Room? What room? Who has a secret? And how does your mother enter into it? [Spots the eel] Hey, munchies! [Picks it up and

Del: [To Charlie] Yes I am, Missus. And I don't even work here! I'm a postgrad of Deuce's, it's how I got him to extend my funding. Now, you want me to take you into a room, I believe? Who's would you like? [Looks around, before addressing the male members of the party] Deuce's ex-GF is here, maybe you might wanna check out her's, in case she's in there. [Confidentially] I hear she has a very fine ass. ]Fred: What is it with you city-dwellers and your fixation on donkeys? That's the second time the possession of a fine ass has been the main characteristic of a person. [Shakes head and nibbles experimentally at the eel he's holding] 't you a marvelous find?!=0A> [Hands Del three copper pieces. To Dur, with= a sniff] Your services=0A> are no longer required.=0A=0A> Harvey : [Looks = at the eel] Wonderful idea, what! The cockerney=0A> version of the banana s= kin, used to fox our pursuers! Lead on, good=0A> bellhop!=0A=0A> Fred: Wait= . Room? What room? Who has a secret? And how does your=0A> mother enter int= o it? [Spots the eel] Hey, munchies! [Picks it up and=0A> (does something w= ith it but I can't quite make that out)=0A=0AClint: Now Chuck, the doc may = be a garbage-eating lunatic, but he's our garbage-eating lunatic!=0A=0A=0A= =0A

Del: [To Fred] Ah, young Miss, I don't think you quite appreciate just how fine we're talking here. [Looks Fred up and down] My, but you're a well built girl, aren't you?

Harvey : [To Fred] I'm sure it is considered something of importance among these scholarly types, exactly how many books their beasts of burden can carry from conference to conference, what!

Fred: [Ignoring Harvey and stepping closer to the Bell Boy, towering over him] I will attribute those comments to your strange accent and refrain from breaking your puny skull with my hands. Question my overpowering masculinity again and I will remove yours.

Dur: [Raises an eyebrow at Fred's reaction and whispers to the rest of the = group] Mighty ornery isn't he? Think his 'overpowering masculinity' is comp= ensating for something?

Del: Cor, blimey! Take it easy, mate, I was just confused by your delightful 'air!

Charlie: [To Fred] There's no need to overcompensate. We are all in full view of your masculine traits, and we are most grateful for your timely assistance! Now, let us find Deuce, group!

Del: Actually, Missus, Deuce told me to say that he'd meet up with you back in his room, and to take you to Wernstrom's room to get your papers back.

Charlie: [Brightly] Well, why didn't you just say so! [To Dur, in a low voice] Perhaps we'll keep you around a bit longer, just in case this one [nods at Del] doesn't live up to his initial promise. [To Fred, wearily] Good help is SO hard to find!

Fred: Eheh, certainly is, er... Charlie, was it? [Stepping back from Del, rather red in the face] So, er, shall we, ah, go to this Wernstrom's room, then? [Smiles awkwardly]

Harvey : [To Del] Well, lead on, my good fellow!

Del: Certainly! Walk this way, mates. [Heads upstairs, and soon the party are at room 666] I've got the keys to every room in the 'otel.

I'm borrowing Clint for a bit, hope that's okay, Tom!

Clint: What the hell do we need keys for? Why don't we just kick it in?

Fred: What are these 'keys' you speak of? [Tries to pull the door open] to pull the door open]=0A=0A=0ASerena: What an ominously numbered room... = Perhaps we should knock=0Afirst?=0A=0A=0A

Del: Now, why would you want to do a thing like that? [Unlocks the door] Wernstrom is downstairs, I'll keep an eye out while you guys go in and search the place. Oh, and don't leave a mess, we don't want him knowing someone was in there.

Charlie: [Attempts to open the door, whispering] Follow me, group!

Fred: But why would we not want him to know we were here? We are here now. What are we doing here again?

Clint: Looking for science and stuff. Chuck here is going to present some boring paper, and Wernstrom stole it.

[The party sneak in, and are appalled to see a ten foot tall poster of WERNSTROM, glaring sternly down at them.]

Del: [Just as the last party member slips in] Someone's coming! Hide!

[It's a fairly normal looking hotel room, with typical hiding places such as closets, curtains etc.]

all ding

Fred: Hide? Pfah! [Puts fists in his hips and straightens his back] I do not hide!

Charlie: [Slips into a closet and whispers urgently to Fred] You MUST hide, at once! The very future of cryptozoology is at stake!

Clint: [Getting into the closet] Come on, Fred! No one's going to miss a seven foot barbarian in the middle of the room!

Fred: [Panicked] No! Not cryptozoology! [Squeezes into the closet]

Harvey : They would if that barbarian stood in the shower! Academics are notorious for having only the vaguest familiarity with hygiene, what! [Hides behind a curtain]

Clint: [As Dur also tries to squeeze into the closet] Come on, Dur! We can't all hide in here!

[Somehow, both SERENA and DUR squeeze in there. Time passes, and the party can hear some laughing from outside. It is DEL.]

Del: [Doubled over with laughter] Haw! You guys! You should see yourselves! That's just the funniest thing I've ever seen! oset] Come on, Dur! We=0A> can't all hide in here!=0A>=0A> [Somehow, = both SERENA and DUR squeeze in there. Time passes,=0A>and the party can hea= r some laughing from outside. It is DEL.]=0A>=0A>Del: [Doubled over with la= ughter] Haw! You guys! You should see=0A>yourselves! That's just the funnie= st thing I've ever seen!=0A=0A=0ASerena: [Extracting herself from the close= t] I hope you'll recall your humour=0Athe next time you're in such close pr= oximity to individuals with such poor =0Ahygiene.=0A=0A=0A

Fred: I, for one, am proud of my well-cultivated manly odour.

Clint: That's the spirit, Fred, no harm in smelling like a man!

Harvey : Thankfully close proximity to Private Scar over the last few years have reduced my sense of smell to a mere memory! Search the room for the papers, troop, and let us get out of here before that bell hop cries wolf one time too many!

Dur: [Looks around nervously] Do you really think there are wolves in the h= otel?=20

Del: Don't worry your pretty little 'ead about it, mate. They're all in the fridge, downstairs. People think they're hams!

Fred:[Stepping out of the closet] Really? I shall have to order one later. Haven't had good wolf in weeks...

Harvey : [Begins drooling] Wool, slow cooked and marinated with more wolf, delicious, what! [Begins searching the room for the papers]

[Within minutes, HARVEY has discovered both CHARLIE's and DEUCE's papers, on the desk.]

Charlie: [Eagerly tries to grab her paper] Oh, Colonel, how splendid of you! I shall list you in my acknowledgements for this!

Fred: Glorious triumph! Wait, what were we doing here again?

Del: [Searching through the pockets of a jacket that's hanging up] Looking for their papers, and any spare change left around. Say, are there any other rooms you guys want to check out? Any other suspicious characters?

Harvey : [To Charlie] Here you go, you can have these. I'll carry on looking for the wolf!

that' hanging up]=0A> Looking for their papers, and any spare change left a= round. Say, are=0A> there any other rooms you guys want to check out? Any o= ther suspicious=0A> characters?=0A=0AClint: Only a bellhop who's going to g= et locked in the closet if he tries a stunt like that again!=0A=0A;;; Alway= s welcome to borrow Clint, of course. Also, wow, that's a lot of =0A;;; po= sts to catch up on this morning!=0A=0A=0A a stunt like that again!

Del: [Laughs a little uneasily at Clint] Nice one mate. Say, wanna check out those Moustache guys? of

The balance of power swings back to Europe! All those Americans are just gonna have to get up early!

Dur: We're always ready to root through other people's things!

I already get up at 6 in the bloody morning! (See that? I threw that=20 'bloody' in there for all the 'Europeans' :p) ople's things!=0A=0AClint: Especially if they're hot women and we'r elookin= g through their lingerie drawer!=0A=0A;;; I don't suppose you Europeans cou= ld start a little earlier so I could =0A;;; catch you before I go to sleep?= It's not easy being a night person in =0A;;; a morning person's world!=0A= =0A=0A

Harvey : It might also be worth checking out the HARMA rooms while we're about it! Maybe get some sort of idea what they are about, what! [To Del] I say, is Dr Trindle staying here? ngerie drawer!

Del: [Gives Clint a wink] Say no more! [To Harvey] Dr. Trindle? Sure, he's booked in. I don't think he's arrived yet, though. in

It's a tough life, Tom! y] Dr. Trindle? Sure,=0A> he's booked in. I don't think he's arrived yet, t= hough.=0A=0AClint: Hey, maybe we should see what that Leviticus guy has in = his room, maybe leave a bomb, something like that?=0A=0A=0A=0A

Harvey : I'm sure the combined smell of the big lad [gestures to Fred], and your own body odour will be bomb enough, private!

Fred: [Beams] Thank you! etter safe than sorry... Get us a couple of Deuce's old shirts, and we'll b= e set!=0A=0A=0A=0A

Del: Leviticus? [Shakes his head] Sorry, mates, never heard of him.

Harvey : Perhaps Tompars room?

Del: Give the man a coconut! Come on, chums. It's not far.

[DEL locks the door and leads the party up a staircase, along a landing, down two floors, along another landing, up another flight of stairs and a short way along a landing again.]

Del: Here we go, room 665! [Unlocks the door] ong

Charlie: My, what a complicated numbering system! I must have a word with the manager. [Attempts to open the door] ystem! I must have a word=0A> with the manager. [Attempts to open the doo= r]=0A=0A=0ASerena: Don't you think we have done enough breaking and enterin= g for =0Atonight? I'm sure there aren't any documents in there authoured b= y us...=0A=0A=0A

Harvey : [Puffing and panting] By the saints, I feel we should be laying a trail of breadcrumbs to find our way out of this maze!

Del: [Struggling to contain his obvious mirth] Sure!

[CHARLIE opens the door, revealing a normal hotel room. It is perfectly neat.]

Clint: Let's do a big jobbie and leave it in his fridge!

Harvey : Ah private, contain yourself! There are ladies present! [Gestures to Alice and Serena, before stepping into the room]

Fred: Let the looting commence! [Strides into the room and starts rummaging for books and papers.] o the room and starts=0A> rummaging for books and papers.]=0A=0A=0ASerena: = No, no looting! Bad Fred. We have no need to loot this room.=0A=0A=0A =

Fred: B-but... Just a little?

Del: No! You don't want to let 'im know we were here, do you?

[The party search through all the closets and drawers, and find virtually nothing. In fact, it is suspiciously devoid of any personal possessions.]

here, do you?=0A>=0A> [The party search through all the closets and d= rawers, and find=0A>virtually nothing. In fact, it is suspiciously devoid o= f any personal=0A>possessions.]=0A=0A=0ASerena: [Glancing at the door anxio= usly] Nothing to see here, dears. =0AOff we go then! Wouldn't want to keep= Deuce waiting. Alone with all=0Athat ham... wolf... meat...=0A=0A=0A =

Harvey : I agree with the good sister, we should not press our luck, what! However...[looks around]...it's quite odd that there are so few of the mans personal possesions! The blighter must travel light!

Del: Hooo boy. Those HARMA guys are all like that, not like those moustache weirdoes, you should see their room!

Harvey : Why, what's in their room?

Del: How should I know?

Harvey : [Getting a bit flustered] But you just said we should see what's in their room, which I took to mean that you were comparing the contents of this room with the contents of their room! Rather than, as I now think you may have meant, that we should see what's in their room meaning, we should see what's in their room, see! t said we should see=0A> what's in their room, which I took to mean that yo= u were comparing the=0A> contents of this room with the contents of their r= oom! Rather than, as=0A> I now think you may have meant, that we should see= what's in their=0A> room meaning, we should see what's in their room, see!=

=0A=0A=0ASerena: I don't think we have further need to snoop. We collected= what=0Awas taken from us and it would be an awful bit of karma to keep pok= ing=0Aaround other people's private rooms.=0A=0A=0A=0A

Fred: Now that I think of it, I agree. This skullduggery is beneath me, and all of you, I hope. Would that I was younger and still slaughtering people, I would plunder this entire hotel, but alas, I am a man of peace now. Let's find the papers Deuce sent us to find and return!

Harvey : [To Fred, holding up a massive bag of hotel toiletries] Perhaps you could these with you, what! The spoils of your labour!

Heather's afk

Charlie: Perhaps we should check their room -- briefly -- to see if we can ascertain their connection to Leviticus? out why!

Harvey : [To Clint] What on earth do you mean, we should figure out why? Wasn't it obvious we were spying on them? Why else were we wearing t-shirts with Spy written on them? e should figure out=0A> why? Wasn't it obvious we were spying on them? Why = else were we=0A> wearing t-shirts with Spy written on them?=0A=0AClint: Oka= y, Harv, but why were we spying on those losers?=0A=0A=0A=0A

Del: Wow! Spies and you don't even know who you're spying on or why? Spying sure is a secretive business!

Fred: Certainly is. I haven't got the foggiest clue what we're up to.

Harvey : Perhaps we were waiting for someone to enter their room looking for information on their association with Leviticus while they were away, and spy on doings, eh! That sounds like the kind of thing a spy would do. r someone to enter their room=0A> looking for information on their associat= ion with Leviticus while they=0A> were away, and spy on doings, eh! That so= unds like the kind of thing a=0A> spy would do.=0A=0A> Fred: Certainly is. = I haven't got the foggiest clue what we're up to.=0A=0AClint: [Shrugs.] Gaw= d, it's almost like you guys think spying and breaking and entering are wro= ng or something!=0A=0A=0A=0A

Del: [Nods] If stealing a lady's underwear from her hotel room is wrong, then I never want to be right!

Charlie: [Reassuringly, to Del] And you never shall be! [To the party] Let us continue our investigation! We really must get to the bottom of this whole Leviticus nonsense.

Del: Cheers, Missus! Right, let's go!

[DEL locks the door and leads the party up a staircase, along a landing, down two floors, along another landing, up another flight of stairs and a short way along a landing again.]

Del: 'ere we go! Room 667! [Unlocks the door]

Harvey : I say, any more of this and the next persons room we search will return to find a pooped ex-Colonel of the Kings Reach fusileers fast asleep in their bed, what! [Opens the door]

Del: Well, don't go into the first bed you see, because that would be too hard!

[The door opens to reveal a room that more resembles a hairdressers. Every surface is covered in hair care products.]

hard!

Charlie: [Looks around with a melancholy air] Ah, this puts me in mind of our dearly departed Mr. Sleaze, may he rest in piece--and in a very expensive suit!

Del: [Picks up a nose hair trimmers] Now that's a scary looking toothbrush! [Looks around] I suppose we should search the place? I thought if they were involved with the Sons of Clementine that they'd have loads of their stuff around, but there doesn't seem to be any.

Fred:[Examining a bottle of shampoo("For extra shiny hair!") with uncanny interest] Sons of Clementine? Who are they again?

r] Ah, this puts me in mind=0A> of our dearly departed Mr. Sleaze, may he r= est in piece--and in a very=0A> expensive suit!=0A=0A=0ASerena: [Wringing h= er hands] Well nothing out of the ordinary here. Let's =0Abe along then.= =0A=0A=0A t's

Del: A pretty weird and secretive organization, that your buddy Leviticus seems to be allied with. They seem to believe that some God no one has ever seen or heard of will be coming to earth. Ridic, huh?

Harvey : Well, I've certainly never heard of a God called Ridichuh.

Del: Get with the program, Grandpa! Ridic is short for ridiculous -- I'm young and hip, places to go and people to see, I don't have time to be wasting by saying entire wo.

Harvey : [Grumpily] And yet, those words you do choose to use are probably the ones you should not! Grandpa indeed!

Del: Less talking and more searching! They'll be back soon, and there has to be some more evidence of their involvement with the Clementines, surely.

Harvey : Troop, lets search this place from top to bottom for anything out of place! [Opens the cupboard and begins searching]

Fred: Well, whatever else can be said of this returning God, at least his hair is immaculate. p to bottom for anything=0A> out of place! [Opens the cupboard and begins s= earching]=0A=0A=0ASerena: If it will get us out of here quicker... [Goes to= help search, being=0Aextra careful to replace everything she moves. Howev= er, inevitably ends=0Aup knocking over a bottle of shampoo, which quickly a= nd painfully starts=0Aa domino effect with nearby products, and ends up in = a mess off upturned =0Abottles and a few puddles of gel or cream.] Oh dear= .=0A=0A=0A=0A ing s

Del: [Looking at the mess in horror] What have you done?? We gotta get out of here now! you done?? We gotta get=0A> out of here now!=0A=0A=0ASerena: [Vainly attemp= ting to tidy the mess] Yes, yes we should. =0A=0A=0A

Fred: I'll handle this! [Knocks over several more bottles and a chair in an attempt to held Serena tidy up]

Harvey : [Poking his head out of the cupboard] By the saints troop, what's all of this kerfuffle? [Sees the destruction] We'd best be on the off, troop, and sharpish, what!

Charlie: [Surveying the mess] Yes, I expect we'd better! Perhaps we'd better find Deuce and--[sharply] where IS your niece, Colonel?!

Del:[Horrified] Gordon Bennett! Stop helping! [Tries to grab a cloth, but knocks over an oil lamp which sets the mess on fire]

Del: [Desperately smothering the flames with an expensive looking fur coat] Quickly! We better get out of here! expensive looking fur=0A> coat] Quickly! We better get out of here!=0A=0ACl=

int: [Admiring the fire.] Fine. Dammit! [Glares at Serena and Fred.] Now = how are we supposed to figure out how Leviticus and HARMA and these moustac= he losers are all connected?! [Turns to leave the room and trips over a lo= ose bottle of hair spray.]=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A d.] Now how are we supposed to figure out how Leviticus and HARMA and these= over a loose bottle of hair spray.]

Charlie: Let us rejoin Deuce, as I suggested! We really must locate Alice. Always keep the party together! d.] Now how are we supposed to figure out how Leviticus and HARMA and these= over a loose bottle of hair spray.]

Harvey : [Steps hurriedly out of the closet] By the saints sister, you're quite correct! Where is my dear niece? Did we leave her in one of the other rooms? Was she grabbed by the fog cloud? [Looks very worried] Come troop, let us retrace our steps and find her!

[The bottle zips out from under CLINT's foot and ricochets around the room, landing in the fire, before exploding, knocking everyone to the ground, albeit unhurt.]

Del: Oh my god! Run for your lives! [Opens the door and runs out]

Fred: Indeed. It is time to invoke that most important rule in

chemistry: "When stuff starts blowing up, run away!" [Runs out, knocking his head on the doorframe and cursing loudly on the way] portant rule in=0A> chemistry: "When stuff starts blowing up, run away!" [R= uns out,=0A> knocking his head on the doorframe and cursing loudly on the w= ay]=0A=0A=0ASerena: Hurry now! I'm not sure we can find our way out of thi= s maze=0Awith out Mister Del. [Runs after the bel hop]=0A=0A;;; will be a= n hour or two late for posting!=0A=0A=0A

[The party rush out of the room and down the stairs.]

End of scene, next one coming right up

[Book VI, Act XI, Scene V. The Suite. CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, FRED, HARVEY and SERENA are here, having just got in and shut the door behind them. The suite is as they left it, except one of the bedroom (there are two) doors is closed. There are distinct sounds of giggling and an unmistakable creaky "ee-ee-ee-ee" noise coming from behind the closed door.]

D,

Harvey : [Tiptoes over to look through the keyhole of the closed door]

[Unfortunately HARVEY can't see anything, but everyone can hear the unmistakable sound of ALICE giggling.]

r the

Harvey : [Turns to the others, with great relief on his face] By the saints troop, I think it's my dear niece! [Attempts to open the door]

[HARVEY bursts into the room, followed by the rest of the party, to see DEUCE and ALICE, laughing and giggling, working on some complicated looking mathematical formulae on a blackboard.]

Alice: Hey! Don't you people ever knock?

Fred: Oooh! Is that Gergrovitch's Algebraic Diagram for the Nebulous Accumulation of Additions formula?

Harvey : Dearest niece, you had me most worried! I had thought the worst!

Charlie: [Enraged] Deuce, how COULD you?! You know Gergrovitch's was OUR Algebraic Diagram!! !

Deuce: Babe! Puddin' pop! It'll always be our diagram, but this kid, phew, well, she gives good math!

Alice: [Looking a little flushed for someone who's only been doing maths] No need to worry, Unc, we were just doing some.... hard sums. gram, but this kid,=0A> phew, well, she gives good math!=0A=0A> Alice: [Loo= king a little flushed for someone who's only been doing=0A> maths] No need = to worry, Unc, we were just doing some.... hard sums.=0A=0A=0ASerena: Excel= lent to see you giving your mind some exercise, dear! We=0Ahave just been o= n a short run. Getting the blood pumping.=0A=0A=0A

Harvey : I certainly didn't realise that maths gave you such enjoyment, dear niece! You're practically quivering!

Deuce: Ah, maths is great. I've always had a good eye for figures!

Fred: [Walks up to the blackboard and puts on a pair of square, thick-rimmed glasses] Indeed, I see you have used the Locomotive Transition here [Points] instead of the classical Ukrainian Method. Very unorthodox, but I see it saves a lot of time...

Harvey : Hmmm, as in Dates Of Birth?

Deuce: Sure! [To Fred] Isn't she great? She's great. [To Alice] Why don't you go get us all a couple of beers, my little Pixie Stix?

Alice: [Giggles] Sure thing, Deuce!

Charlie: Pixie Stix?! [Stammers] But--but--sugary confections are your way of expressing affection for ME!

Dur: [Thinking it now the right time to be brought up] Speaking of which, w= hy didn't WE use pet names when we were married?

Charlie: Given that it was an imaginary marriage, perhaps you could simply imagine that I called you something that appropriately feeds your ego? riage, perhaps you could=0A> simply imagine that I called you something tha= t appropriately feeds=0A> your ego?=0A=0A=0ASerena: How did the fight finis= h up downstairs? Does anyone need =0Amedical attention?=0A=0A=0A

Dur: [Defensively] How dare you! There was nothing imaginary about it! We w= ere 'other people' during the episode, but that doesn't nullify the vows we= took... err... they took...? =20

Deuce: Come on, Puddin' Pop! That's all in the past! [To Serena] Probably, but no one that matters! The HARMA guys came in and questioned everyone, although there was no sign of your buddy Leviticus.

Harvey : No doubt he escaped with the Fog-Cloud! Perhaps secreted within it's misty depths! ast! [To Serena]=0A> Probably, but no one that matters! The HARMA guys came= in and=0A> questioned everyone, although there was no sign of your buddy= =0A> Leviticus.=0A=0A=0ASerena: It's nice to hear the HARMA guys are sortin= g things out. =0AIt's good to have some responsible sorts around here.=0A= =0A=0A

Deuce: But what the hell was he doing with those moustachioed freaks! It makes no sense. If the Clementines teamed up with them, then no one will vote for them. Even those HARMA idiots would be more palatable.

Gone for the weekend!

Fred: [Takes off his glasses and rubs the bridge of his nose] This is why I prefer the barbarian method of choosing leaders. This is all so complicated. of his nose] This is=0A> why I prefer the barbarian method of choosing lea= ders. This is all so=0A> complicated.=0A=0AClint: The main thing to remembe= r is that we don't like any of 'em! Also, vote Clint!=0A=0A=0A=0A so, vote Clint!

Harvey : [To Alice] We have reclaimed the documents, dear niece! Our mission was a success!

Alice: Hooray! Now we get to see Charlie's presentation! [Face falls] Huh. Did you find much in the moustahiers room to explain what they're doing with the Clementines?

Charlie: Not a thing, unless we are to understand some hidden truth by divining hair products!

Alice: Oh! I can do that! What kind of stuff did they have?

Charlie: Yes, well, there's really no time to get into all of that. There's a fantastic party later tonight, and you're all invited! Doesn't that sound marvelous?

Harvey : Was that not the kerfuffle we managed to escape from earlier?

Alice: Yay! [Gets suspicious] Now, is this a fantastic party as in having total strangers snorting parmesan off your bum? Or fantastic party as in sitting around putting things in alphabetical order? get into all of that.=0A> There's a fantastic party later tonight, and you= 're all invited!=0A> Doesn't that sound marvelous?=0A=0A=0ASerena: It certa= inly does! What are we celebrating Charlie?=0A=0A=0A

Fred: Or maybe a grand orgy of gratuitous violence!

Charlie: [Eagerly] It will have all of that and more!

Alice: Wow! That sounds great! [Flutters her lashes at Deuce] Are you coming?

Deuce: Sure am, Pixie Stix, I wouldn't miss it for the world! [Gives Charlie a wink] Thanks for inviting us all.

Harvey : [To Charlie] I wouldn't have thought you would be interested in an event like the one just described, what! And I'm quite sure the good sister would be most horrified at the goings-on!

Charlie: Well, there's also quiet time and prayer in some of the rooms, of course! [To Harvey] And all the snake's feet you can eat, as well as comfortable slippers and a pipe. Something for everyone!

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn and looks around the room] Who in this troop touched the upended shampoo bottles in the 'tashes room. For it seems to me that certain members are a little too eager to attend an event which up until two minutes ago, did not exist, what!

Harvey : Did we not just escape from the previous gathering! We would be fools to attend another, considering it will be with the exact same people on the guest list, no doubt! I believe you have somehow all fallen under a spell of suggestion! Whatever was in those bottles is no doubt what has caused the unlikely alliance with the Clementines, what! And now you have been infected!

Deuce: [Smiles good naturedly] Come on, Harv! Of course it existed -- I knew all about it. It's gonna be great!

Alice: Will there be drinks with little umbrellas in them?

Deuce: Yep! In fact, they're so small that every year someone chokes on one. It's hilarious! us gathering! We would=0A> be fools to attend another, considering it will = be with the exact same=0A> people on the guest list, no doubt! I believe y= ou have somehow all=0A> fallen under a spell of suggestion! Whatever was in= those bottles is=0A> no doubt what has caused the unlikely alliance with t= he Clementines,=0A> what! And now you have been infected!=0A=0A=0ASerena: I= t does sound suspicious, but wouldn't it be an excellent opportunity=0Afor = some troop bonding Colonel? And perhaps some undercover detective=0Awork [= taps the side of her nose knowingly]=0A=0A=0A nity

Harvey : [Aghast] What, but dear sister! How can you even think of condoning the sniffing of parmesan off of peoples rear ends? an you even think of=0A> condoning the sniffing of parmesan off of peoples = rear ends?=0A=0A=0ASerena: I'd never condone it, Colonel. The abuse of one= 's body is a =0Agreat sin! But I was thinking perhaps we could use this op= portunity,=0Awhilst the conference guests are distracted, to find out more = about that=0Adastardly fellow who wanted to kill you, or why we were sent h= ere?=0AWe would walk amongst the sinners but never indulge, of course.=0A= =0A=0A

Alice: Besides, Unc, Deuce and me were here -- we didn't even get to see all those hair care products!

But Alice would turn up to the opening of an envelope!!!

Harvey : But dearest niece, perhaps they have done to same to pens, and markers, and ham! Perhaps they have contaminated the surfaces which are most likely to be used by each victim, what!

Dur: Perhaps the mind control hair products have made you overly suspicious= , colonel, even to benign threats such as a good time?

Alice: That's right! Maybe [dramatically points at Harvey] you're the one who's been drinking from the L'Oreal Feria Hair Colouring Kit!

Harvey : Wrong, wrong, and thrice, wrong! I smell mutiny in the air! Get a grip of yourselves troop! You've had enough fun for one day and you could all do with a good nap!

Deuce: [Soothingly] Harvey, Harvey, I promise you, there's nothing sinister going on here. And think about it, this is a conference on science and stuff, how much fun do you think people can even have here! Anyway, it's only 8PM or so. Plenty of time to make an appearance and mingle with the science types and still get back to bed nice and early. [Shrugs] You never know, someone there might have some information about that Leviticus guy. Come on, what do you say? There'll be ham there, I bet. And not second-hand, about to go rancid, probably disease carrying ham like these babies [holds up a half eaten ham] proper ham, cooked with a crispy honey glaze, coated in locusts. Mm-mm! [Takes a bite of his ham]

Harvey : We-ell, I suppose we could take a quick look, troop! But let me tell you this, the first sign of trouble or nefarious undertakings and I'm pulling the pin and instigating an immediate exit strategy! Honey glazed ham, or no honey glazed ham!

Charlie: [Beaming, starry-eyed] Splendid! This is going to be the most magical night of my--er, OUR lives!

Alice: Yay! This is gonna be great!

[The party all head out, lead by CHARLIE, who brings them downstairs and into a room, where there are a number of people -- scientists, judging by the general level of geekiness -- sitting in front of a stage.]

Alice: Huh, seems pretty quiet, doesn't it?

Harvey : And glazed ham free, what! [Looks around suspiciously] d suspiciously]=0A=0AClint: [Suspicious] This "party" wouldn't involve us l= istening to your paper by any chance, would it Charlie?=0A=0A=0A=0A

Alice: Don't be silly Clint, if that was the case, there'd be no ham or parmesan or ... hey! None of these things are here, just a bunch of boring guys in suits!

Charlie: This will be even better than that! [Briskly walks to the front of the room] riskly sidles towards an exit.]=0A=0A;;; And I'll briskly sidle towards the= office, I think.=0A=0A=0A

Alice: I'm with you, Stinky! [ALICE and CLINT turn to the door, which, just at that moment, shuts with a resounding clang, as though it were a massive door in a dungeon somewhere, with DEUCE now standing in front of it.]

Alice: Nooooo! Why? Why Deuce?

Deuce: Come on, Pixie Stix, give her her twenty minutes. It won't kill you. You too, Clint. There's a vat of beer in it for you once we're done.

Alice: [Wails] Twenty minutes!

Deuce: Plus five for questions.

Alice: [Wails even more disconsolately] Questions!

Deuce: And another five for standing around talking about paint.

Alice: [As though someone has just tied] Paint!

Deuce: [Gives her a wink] You'll be fine. [Starts applauding as Charlie walks up to the front] Whoo! Hooray!

Harvey : [Sits down] Time for that well advised nap, troop! Zzzz.

Charlie: [Takes her position at the podium, clears her throat primly, then begins] Proper naming and classification of newly identified creatures not yet proven to exist has long been a significant problem for cryptozoologists. . . .

[On and on it goes, full of interesting factoids about creating taxonomies of non-existent creatures. Despite the party being singularly unimpressed, the audience seem to love the paper, and even seem to find some of her more outrageously geeky jokes hilarious, causing various party members to wake up. Finally, the paper is finished, and several questions are asked. One of these is by a man who identifies himself as BON JILKES WOOTH who, rather suspiciously, is wearing a surgeon's mask that appears to have a moustache on it.]

Bon: [Sounding nervous] Uh, yes, I have a question

Bon Jilkes Wooth

Check out the picture, it really does! ng ooth>

Class photo!!!

Harvey : [Loudly and quite rudely] I believe mine is more timely and pertinent! [To Charlie] Are you finished?

Charlie: [Ignores Harvey and asks Bon] Yes, what was your question?

Dur: [Finishing Harvey's question for him] Where can we get our fruity litt= le drinks with mini-umbrellas? rly startled] Uh,=0A> [looks back at Charlie] death to you and the Queens V= iew murderers!=0A> =0A> Alice: [To the party] Now, that's not really a ques= tion, is it?=0A=0AClint: [Stands up.] I have a question and a comment. [To= Bon.] That's not a question, moron! [To Charlie.] Can we leave yet?=0A=0A= =0A=0A

Charlie: [Puzzled] Yes, could you rephrase that in the form of a question?

Bon: [Looks at Harvey and Dur for a moment, clearly startled] Uh, [looks back at Charlie] death to you and the Queens View murderers!

Alice: [To the party] Now, that's not really a question, is it? ?

Bon: Er, death to the Queens View [raises voice as though asking a question] murderers? as though asking a=0A> question] murderers?=0A=0A=0ASerena: I'm not sure yo= u've been paying attention during Charlie's=0Apresentation, dear. It wasn'= t about murderers at all... [To Charlie] Was=0Ait?=0A=0A=0A ] Was

Scientist1: Oh! I get it -- he's speaking in analogy! He's saying that he disagrees with her because of her suggestion that Category VI creatures be merged with Category V, which, in effect, is murder, because he's a Cat VI researcher.

[All the SCIENTISTS seem to agree with this and there's a general murmur of agreement.]

Bon: No! I mean I'm going to kill her, that I'm going to kill you all!

Fred: [Snaps out of his daydreams] Wait, whaa? Sorry, I drifted away there for a moment. Who's going to kill who now? Sorry, I drifted away=0A> there for a moment. Who's going to kill who now?=

=0A=0A=0ASerena: I think this gentleman here isn't getting enough oxygen wi= th that=0Amask over his face. I wouldn't think I'd have to tell you this, = but air is very=0Avital to continued good health.=0A=0A=0A r is very

Bon: [Gives a grunt of frustration] Me! I'm going to kill everyone! And continued good health doesn't matter, because I'm a suicide bomber, about to kill you in the name of moustache wearing Clementines everywhere!

Alice: [To the party] I'm confused. This doesn't sound like a question at a= ll!

Fred: A suicide bomber? Now you're just being silly. Look, I enjoy killing as much as the next guy, but doing yourself in too? [Snorts] That's just masturbation, really, and no-one does that in public!

Charlie: More importantly [looks at Bon] while I respect your right to disagree with my innovative, sensible and scientifically flawless classification system, I must insist you present some kind of argument so that I may properly defend myself! [Miffed, crossing her arms] These thinly veiled criticisms are really too insulting!

Hilariously disturbing post, Valur!

Colin's out this morning

Harvey: [To Fred] Well, hardly anyone! [To Bon] Look, Chappie, what the hell are you blathering about?

Bon: [Pulls out a black orb, which has a diameter of about three inches and a small string on top of it, which he grabs hold of but doesn't pull out] Stay back! [Thinks for a moment] And be more frightened! You're all going to be sacrificed for the good of Clementine, you damned HARMA lovers!

Charlie: [Gasps, offended] You weren't here to hear my paper at all! [To the audience] Clear the room in an orderly, brisk fashion! Look, Chappie, what=0A> the hell are you blathering about?=0A>=0A> Bon: [Pu= lls out a black orb, which has a diameter of about three=0A> inches and a s= mall string on top of it, which he grabs hold of but=0A> doesn't pull out] = Stay back! [Thinks for a moment] And be more=0A> frightened! You're all goi= ng to be sacrificed for the good of=0A> Clementine, you damned HARMA lovers= !=0A=0A=0ASerena: [To Bon] Firstly, how does sacrificing us benefit Clement= ine?=0ASecondly, since first arriving here, all I've been hearing is how mo= st =0Apeople dislike HARMA (though I can't for the life of me see why). An= d=0Athirdly, as murder and suicide are both sins, I think you're the one wh= o's=0Agoing to be damned. [Looks at Charlie] Was that put scientifically= =0Aenough, dear?=0A=0A=0A

Bon: I'm a suicide bomber, what makes you think I listen to reason? [Shuts his eyes and pulls the cord, to the sound of much screaming from the audience.]

[Nothing happens, although DEUCE does pull the door open, so that most of the audience try to run out, only for them all to get stuck, as the one in front stops.]

Scientist1: [Clearly looking at something the party can't see, outside the door] Oh crap. It's the end of the world. We're all gonna die!

Fred: Bah, I've heard that one a dozen times before. [To Bon] Oh, you puny little man. Here, I'll help you. [Walks up to Bon and tries to grab the orb and throw it hard into the least populated corner of the room]

Dur: [Watches the ruckus and mayhem in the room before turning back to Char= lie and raising a hand] Oooohhhhh, NOW I have a question! [FRED easily wrestles the bomb from BON and throws it into the corner where it lands with a clunk. Meanwhile, the fleeing scientists are pushed back into the room. ]

Deuce: What the hell is going on out there?

Charlie: [Wails] This horrid man interrupted my presentation! Oh, AND threatened us all with a bomb!

Deuce: I know, Puddin' Pop, I know, and he'll suffer for it, but there's something weird going on out here too! [Tries to see out] Holy crap!

[Enter PESTILENCE SOTOT, pushing frightened scientists out of his way. He fires a fairly large axe across the room which strikes BON square in the chest.]

Bon: Long live the revolooooh. [Dies]

Pestilence Sotot

The party last saw Pestilence back in 6.6, when he broke them out of jail. Charlie had just jumped into The Core, and Pestilence urged the party to follow her, saying "...You look after her, I'll look after you...".

Charlie: [To Pestilence, shocked] You remembered my conference?! ed my conference?!=0A=0AClint: After that thing you did with your... you k= now... you really think he'd forget?=0A=0A=0A=0A think he'd forget?

Pestilence: [To Charlie, with a cheesy grin] Sure, baby, I love science and stuff. [Grabs Charlie and gives her a passionate kiss, which lasts a good thirty seconds, before letting her go with an audible pop]

Deuce: [Surprised, but seemingly pleasantly so] Well now, who's this?

Alice: Just some nephew of the devil that she did the business with.

Deuce: Alright, puddin' pop! I see your boyfriends have got less evil!

Charlie: [Attempts to wriggle away from Pestilence] He is NOT my boyfriend, merely a fan of my work!

Pestilence: [Gives her a wink] That's for damned sure!

Fred: You are certainly very... intimate with your fans... [Moves to pull the axe out of Bon's chest and inspect it.] I'll say, that was a nice shot. [The axe blade is completely embedded in poor BON's chest, so far in that FRED has to use his foot as leverage to pull it out. It seems like a fine axe.]

Deuce: [Reaches out to shake Pestilence's hand] Pleased to meet you, the name's Deuce.

Pestilence: Deuce the ex-fiance Deuce?

Deuce: That's me!

[PESTILENCE pulls out a dagger and stabs DEUCE right in the heart.]

Deuce: [Looks down at the dagger that's buried up to its hilt] Ow! [Staggers back]

Charlie: [Rushes to Deuce] Deuce! [To Serena] Sister, hurry!

Deuce: Son of a! [Wildly punches at Pestilence]

[It's a terrible punch, but DEUCE connects with PESTILENCE and the two of them career backwards and crash straight through the window.]

Alice: Deuce! [To Charlie] Nice going, Charlie! Your boyfriend just killed mine!

Harvey: By the saints! This is awful! [To Alice] He was your BOYfriend? [Perspires a little] What on earth will your father say? d mine!

Charlie: This is dreadful! What CAN they be thinking?! [Smiles a bit smugly] Though it is really rather flattering, I must admit! [Hurries to the window to survey the damage] thinking?! [Smiles a bit=0A> smugly] Though it is really rather flattering=

int: Screw that! I want to know how he survived getting stabbed in the hea= rt! And what he meant by your boyfriends getting less evil! Who the deuce= is Deuce?!=0A=0A=0A=0A [Everyone goes to the window and looks out, only to see that the canopy directly beneath this window has been ripped apart from the two falling through it, as has the one beneath it and, as far as the party can tell, all the ones all the way down.]

Alice: I can't see them! Let's go down and find out what happened!

AClint: You mean, find out which one of Charlie's boyfriends w= ins, or you mean find out how Charlie picks 'em?=0A=0A=0A=0A

Alice: Oh, come on, Clint, she does have some standards, you know -- I mean, she hasn't picked you, yet, has she?

Charlie: I haven't picked anyone, nor shall I! I have far too much to do to indulge in a private life, what with the fate of the world constantly in the balance, etc.

Fred: Hey, er, can we leave Charlie's questionable romantic habits for a later time and concentrate on more pressing matters, like my friend Deuce being attacked by a douche? Besides, I seem to have an axe which belongs to him.

Harvey : Well, that certainly was a most exciting finish to what started as an incredibly dull affair, what! Come troop, let us descend to find out what's what, what! ing finish to what=0A> started as an incredibly dull affair, what! Come tro= op, let us descend=0A> to find out what's what, what!=0A=0A=0ASerena: [Foll= owing Harvey out] I really don't approve of all this cavorting=0Awith demon= s...=0A=0A=0A prove of all this cavorting=0A> with demons...=0A=0AClint: That's okay, sis= ter. Charlie's doing your share of cavorting anyway! =0A=0A=0A yway!

Charlie: I would HARDLY characterize my behavior as cavorting! [Briskly] And do let's hurry! Who knows what carnage we will find downstairs?!

[The party rush down stairs and outside, where PESTILENCE and DEUCE would have landed, but, although there is a real mess here, with smashed tables and the like, there is no sign of the two.]

Alice: Where they hell are they? [Is suddenly distracted by the sound of someone roaring laughing from the pool side bar] Deuce? [DEUCE and PESTILENCE are sitting at the bar, enjoying some Jomitos. They both look a little worse for wear, especially DEUCE, but are clearly having a great time.]

Deuce: Hey there, Pixie Stix! Puddin' Pop, come on over, this guy is great!

Harvey : Well, I suppose that partly depends on if any more of your past aquaintenaces come out of the woodwork to join in the fray, what!

Charlie: [To Harvey] At least my past acquaintances come through for us when needed! [Uncertainly, to Deuce and Pestilence] How splendid you've managed to patch things up? [Hopefully] Though, surely there's a tinge of residual anger and sexual jealousy tainting these supposed good times and male bonding moments? intances come through for=0A> us when needed! [Uncertainly, to Deuce and P= estilence] How splendid=0A> you've managed to patch things up? [Hopefully]= Though, surely there's=0A> a tinge of residual anger and sexual jealousy t= ainting these supposed=0A> good times and male bonding moments?=0A=0A=0ASer=

ena: Charlotte, now is hardly the time to be asking these men to plump=0Ayo= ur already overextended ego. [Goes to Deuce] Do you need any help =0Awith = that wound, dear?=0A=0A=0A=0A

Deuce: Nah, I'm fine, Sis. [To Charlie] Not a bit of it, Puddin' Pop, I think he's a great guy.

Pestilence: [Clinks glasses with Deuce] And I hardly want to kill him any m= ore! it of it, Puddin' Pop,=0A> I think he's a great guy.=0A> =0A> Pestilence: [= Clinks glasses with Deuce] And I hardly want to kill him any more!=0A=0A=0A=

Serena: But... he stabbed you in the chest. Hm, maybe I should further =0A= investigate the health benefits of a ham diet.=0A=0A=0A

Deuce: [Chuckles good naturedly] It's the darndest thing. He stabbed me right in the heart, but look, I had a ham in my shirt pocket! [Holds up a well stabbed ham]

Charlie: That's [huge pause for effect] HAM-azing! [Laughs hysterically]

Harvey : So, let me get this straight. At some stage between your stabbing, crash through the window and collapse to the ground, you both became, what is the term used by the young 'uns, BFF's? stage between your=0A> stabbing, crash through the window and collapse to = the ground, you=0A> both became, what is the term used by the young 'uns, B= FF's?=0A=0A=0ASerena: Well, they both fell for Charlie, so they must have s= omething=0Ain common.=0A=0A=0A

Fred: At least it makes for a good story to tell your grandchildren... or at the bar, whichever you prefer.

[Both PESTILENCE and DEUCE start to talk at the same time, and both laugh and back off.]

Deuce: Go on, you tell them!

Pestilence: Nah, you tell it better!

Deuce: [To Harvey] Actually, it happened after we hit the ground. Nothing like a fight to get someone's respect.

Alice: Yes, it's [looks at Charlie for a moment] Ham-believable! [Looks pleased with herself] d

Charlie: [Snorts loudly] Ham-iracle!

Alice: [Rising to the challenge] Ham-- [thinks hard] burger!

Harvey : [To Pestilence] Why are you here?

Fred: Oh and while you're answering; here's your axe [Hands Pestilence his axe.] I was kinda going to put it in your head for stabbing Deuce, but hey, things change fast, right?

=0A=0ASerena: Yes that's quite enough talk about hams, ladies, lest you be= =0Acalled one yourselves.=0A=0A=0A

Pestilence: [To Fred] You can keep it. The guy I got it from doesn't need it any more. [Looks at Harvey] To see the paper, of course. Oh, and to save your lives, although it didn't look like you needed much saving.

Alice: Say, it is a bit weird that the bomb didn't go off, isn't it? I wonder, where is it now?

Fred: Meh, I already have an axe, and I don't want to dull a new one. [Drops the axe casually on the ground.] [To Alice] More like disappointing. I chucked it into a corner in the hope that the shock would make it explode, but nope, it was a complete dud.

Alice: I sure hope someone doesn't just come along and explode it!

Harvey : Hmm, you're quite right, dear niece! We should alert hotel security to the fact that there is live ordnance in the lecture hall! But...[scratches at a sideburn], I wonder who that masked chappie was working for?

Alice: Good question, Harv. If only we could have seen his face beneath that mask! Of course, he did claim to be working on behalf of the Moustachers and Clementines, didn't he?

Deuce: [Rolls his eyes] I still don't buy it. Why would the Clementines get involved with a bunch of losers like that? And why have one set off a bomb? It's like they want those HARMA guys to win the election or something! [Spots someone approaching] Speaking of which, here come some now.

Harvey : Gah! [Turns to look in the direction Deuce indicated] ve seen his face=0A> beneath that mask! Of course, he did claim to be worki= ng on behalf of=0A> the Moustachers and Clementines, didn't he?=0A> =0A> De=

uce: [Rolls his eyes] I still don't buy it. Why would the=0A> Clementines g= et involved with a bunch of losers like that? And why=0A> have one set off = a bomb? It's like they want those HARMA guys to win=0A> the election or som= ething! [Spots someone approaching] Speaking of=0A> which, here come some n= ow.=0A=0A=0ASerena: Well I don't think any of us were planning to vote for = the =0AMoustachios, so if it was someone impersonating them, they probably= =0Apicked the wrong group to bomb.=0A=0A=0A

Pestilence: [Watching Tompars and the other HARMA members approaching] Come on, let's kill them!

Fred: Now hold on here just a minute. Let's not eat the candy before it's paid for. We can't kill anyone unprovoked!

Charlie: Quite right! We must learn all we can before we act!

Tompars: [Pointing at the party] You there! Stop this instant!

Wernstrom: [Who is with Tompars and several other HARMA types] Make them st= op!

Alice: What do they want us to stop?

Pestilence: See you later, folks. [Gives Charlie a wink] And maybe you a little sooner, Sarge! [Turns and grabs someone's horse, before riding off into the distance, still drinking his Jomito]

Deuce: I must admit, Puddin' Pop, he's got style!

Charlie: [Watches Pestilence with a sigh] He can be rather dashing, all right, but watch out or you'll end up with your knickers--[catches herself and continues briskly] er, that is, what are we to stop, indeed?!

Wernstrom: [Angrily to the party] You've done it this time! [Singling out first Deuce, then Charlie] Your element is not welcome at the Science and Stuff conference! Fighting? This is outrageous! This is the worst thing I've ever heard at a conference!

Kevin is off the list for a few days, please make sure he doesn't get sent any by mistake!

Harvey : [To Wernstrom] Really, you obviously weren't present during the last presentation I attended! Talk about dulllll! eren't present during=0A> the last presentation I attended! Talk about dull= lll!=0A=0AClint: Besides, that's what conferences are for! Get together wi= th some old friends, have a few laughs, and make a public nuisance!=0A=0A= =0A=0A

Charlie: [Gritting her teeth] How peculiar! The last presentation I attended was fascinating and changed the face of cryptozoology forever, and I could have sworn I saw YOU there! e old friends, have a few laughs, and make a public

Alice: [To Wernstrom] And really? A fight is the worst thing you've ever seen? How about the suicide bomber in the last session?

Tompars: What?

Alice: [Sighs] And really? A fight is the worst thing you've ever seen? How about the suicide bomber in the last session?

Wernstrom: [Waves his hand at Alice] Whatever. e worst thing you've=0A> ever seen? How about the suicide bomber in the las= t session?=0A> =0A> Tompars: What?=0A> =0A> Alice: [Sighs] And really? A fi= ght is the worst thing you've ever=0A> seen? How about the suicide bomber i= n the last session?=0A> =0A> Wernstrom: [Waves his hand at Alice] Whatever.=

=0A=0AClint: [Makes a gesture of his own at Wernstrom.] =0A=0A=0A

Wernstrom: [To Clint] Whatever! [Does it to each party member]

Harvey : My niece is quite correct though. Some madman left a bomb in the conference centre! It's no doubt still there, what! Ticking merrily away until ka...[moves his hands slowly apart]...boom! [Loudly to Alice] The least the lunatic could have done was interrupt during, or preferably, at the begining of the whole dull affair, what! madman left a bomb in=0A> the conference centre! It's no doubt still there= , what! Ticking=0A> merrily away until ka...[moves his hands slowly apart].= ..boom! [Loudly=0A> to Alice] The least the lunatic could have done was int= errupt during,=0A> or preferably, at the begining of the whole dull affair,= what!=0A=0AClint: Ixnay on the oringbay, Harv! Ol' Chuck here might tell = one of the psycho mass murderers she's "not sleeping with" and ask him to g= ive you early retirement!=0A=0A=0A=0A he psycho mass murderers she's "not sleeping with" and ask him to give you = early retirement!

Harvey : Or worse, private Scar! Dupe us into attending another presentation, what! ttending another=0A> presentation, what!=0A=0AClint: [Pales and looks at Ch= arlie appealingly.] You wouldn't do that to us, would you Chuck? After all= we've been through together?=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A

Fred: I actually found it quite relaxing.

Harvey : Agreed! But only for the moments I was forty winking, what!

Tompars: Right! I'm shutting this bar down! Everyone back their rooms, immediately. You will be visited by a HARMA officer later on to take your statements. We want to know where everyone was, what they were doing, who they were with, why they were there, how they got there, when they left and, uh, [checks a notebook] what they were wearing, where they got that from and [checks his notebook] and, let's see, what they had last eaten, when they ate it...

Alice: [To the party, as Tompars drones on] Can we please go to the room?

Harvey : A most sensible suggestion, dear niece! Let us be away!

Alice: Thank god!

[Exit the party, leaving TOMPARS still talking.]

Tompars: ... what kind of bottle it was in, how large it was, how many sails it had, which port it was bought in...

End of scene, next one coming up. For a gajillion points, what was Tom talking about there??

[Book VI, Act XI, Scene VI. The Suite. ALICE is here. It is now the next morning, and the party had no visit from a HARMA member during the night. At HARVEY's insistence, all the men slept in one room and all the women in another.]

Deuce: [Arriving out from the men's room, with a big smile and giving Alice a smack on the ass] Hey there, Pixie Stix, I sure missed you last night! How are you doing this fine morning.

Alice: [With a head full of bed hair and a mark of pillow on her face] Muh.

Deuce: Not a morning person, I see, gooood to know!

When you're ready to post, just have your character come out of the appropriate room s h.

Charlie: [Exits the women's room and says cheerily] Good morning, group! [Aghast, looks around] Where IS everyone? I thought surely I'd be the last one up at this outrageous hour. [To Alice] Presentations can be a bit taxing, you see, so I always have a bit of a lie-in and an extra crust of toast to give myself a bit of a boost the morning after I've presented. [Modestly] And just a drop of honey on the toast when I've been privileged enough to receive a standing ovation [pauses to build anticipation], which has happened [enormous, proud emphasis] TWICE. eerily] Good morning,=0A> group! [Aghast, looks around] Where IS everyone?= I thought surely=0A> I'd be the last one up at this outrageous hour. [To= Alice]=0A> Presentations can be a bit taxing, you see, so I always have a = bit of=0A> a lie-in and an extra crust of toast to give myself a bit of a b= oost=0A> the morning after I've presented. [Modestly] And just a drop of h= oney=0A> on the toast when I've been privileged enough to receive a standin= g=0A> ovation [pauses to build anticipation], which has happened [enormous,= =0A> proud emphasis] TWICE.=0A=0A=0ASerena: [Right behind Charlie] Good mor= ning, dear! I recommend having=0Asome tea with your toast. The hot water = and herbal infusion does wonders=0Afor cleansing and refreshing the system,= especially after hiding away in a =0Alightless room, squinting at a page o= f text all day.=0A=0A;;; Ship in a bottle?=0A=0A=0A rs a

Harvey : [Walks out of the room] Morning troop! [To Charlie] Morning little miss falsehood!

Deuce: Hm, do I detect a little tension in the group? Come on, Harv, look at all the excitement we'd have missed if we stayed here!

Correct, Ellen! It's important for HARMA to have details about people's ships-in-bottles!

Charlie: [Defensively] It WAS two standing ovations, wasn't it Deuce? Remember, that conference three years ago when I gave my groundbreaking paper on the Clementine movement, and then the one where we all had to wear those dreadful name badges that postively ruined my best grey suit??

Deuce: I remember it was three, Puddin' Pop, because there were two at that one. [Cracks open a beer] Anyone for breakfast?

Fred: Did someone mention- [THUD! Fred knocks his head on the doorframe as he enters the room.] Gah! [Rubs forehead] -breakfast?

Harvey: Be very careful of the offer of any food, Fred, for another long winded lecture on science and stuff might be the end result, what!

Fred: Oh come on now, it wasn't that bad. Admittedly, I did space out during most of it...

Deuce: If you're lucky, Harvey, we might get to see the keynote lecture, that's on later. There'll be thousands of people at it. [Takes a drink] And hardly any bombs!

Alice: I wonder what happened to the HARMA guys? I thought they'd have called in by now. I had a really witty put down for them that I was practicing all night. It's really great, really witty. One of the cleverest things anyone's ever thought of. Oh, go on, if you're going to make such a song and dance about it, I'll tell you, but I was going to keep it for when we were being interrogated. It's [dramatic pause] stop hassling us, man, we're not doing anything wrong! [Looks confused, and thinks for a moment] Oh! Hang on, it's we're not doing any [stagily] HARM [quietly] a. [Looks proud] Preeeetty cool, huh? see the keynote=0A> lecture, that's on later. There'll be thousands of peop= le at it.=0A> [Takes a drink] And hardly any bombs!=0A> =0A> Alice: I wonde= r what happened to the HARMA guys? I thought they'd have=0A> called in by n= ow. I had a really witty put down for them that I was=0A> practicing all ni= ght. It's really great, really witty. One of the=0A> cleverest things anyon= e's ever thought of. Oh, go on, if you're going=0A> to make such a song and= dance about it, I'll tell you, but I was going=0A> to keep it for when we = were being interrogated. It's [dramatic pause]=0A> stop hassling us, man, w= e're not doing anything wrong! [Looks=0A> confused, and thinks for a moment= ] Oh! Hang on, it's we're not doing=0A> any [stagily] HARM [quietly] a. [Lo= oks proud] Preeeetty cool, huh?=0A=0A=0ASerena: [Brightly] Very good, Alice= . Perhaps we should go and find Tompars so=0Awe can make our report and yo= u can tell him that lovely joke you've been =0Aworking so hard on.=0A=0A=0A= pars so

Harvey : [Laughs long and loud] By the saints, dear niece! That's just the best thing! The best thing ever! [Wipes tears from his eyes] In fact, you could say, meeting with Tompar might cause more...Wrong...a than good! Wait, no, that's not right.

Charlie: [Bursts out laughing] Their name can be used against them to humorous effect! Priceless!

Alice: Gosh, I'm ever so clever!

[ALICE's moment in the sun is spoiled by someone hammering on the do= or.]

ALICE's moment in the sun is spoiled by someone hammering on the door.]=0A=

=0A=0ASerena: [Chimes] Who is it?=0A=0A=0A

Tompars: Open up in the name of HARMA! the door.]

Harvey : [Walks to the door and shouts] Avast that damned hammering there, blackguard! Who is it, and what do you want?

Fred: What a hilarious coincidence. Speaking of the devil indeed. I hope they have food. [Moves to open the door.] [FRED opens the door to reveal TOMPARS, looking very worried. ]

Tompars: Something terrible has happened! One of our agents is missing!

Alice: And?

Tompars: And what?

Alice: [Sniggers] And what's the terrible thing that happened?

Charlie: Who is missing?

Harvey : And for how long? This is quite a confusing hotel, perhaps the agent is just lost, roaming the corridors looking for his room?

Tompars: Examiner Schubert. te a confusing hotel, perhaps=0A> the agent is just lost, roaming the corri= dors looking for his room?=0A=0A> Tompars: Examiner Schubert.=0A=0AClint: [= Staggering out into the room.] Who the hell is examiner Schubert? And why = should we care?=0A =0A=0A=0A

Tompars: He's a really super nice member of the HARMA Initiative, and he was investigating the bomb from last night. HARMA Initiative, and=0A> he was investigating the bomb from last night.=0A=

=0AClint: You mean, the one some whack job threw at us?=0A=0A;;; Got quiet = here as soon as I arrived... *conspiracy theorist*=0A;;; Also, post office= this morning. Mailing out job application to =0A;;; Cal Tech. Should pro= bably save the postage, but hey, everyone =0A;;; knows I'm an optimist!=0A= =0A=0A s?=0A=0ASerena: You sent him to investigate the terrorists on his own?!=0A= =0A;;; Good luck, Tom!=0A=0A=0A

Tompars: So you admit to being terrorists? Unbelievable!

Colin's out today

Harvey: By the saints, Chappie! What's unbelievable is that you have the audacity to come in here throwing around these wild and crazy accusations!

Charlie: Quite right, Colonel! [To Tompars] I find your investigative techniques to be inadequate. It appears your entire strategy is based upon making accusations and hoping one of them will strike true!

Fred: Yeah, you could at least have tried to bribe us or something. Like with food. Do you have any? be us or something.=0A> Like with food. Do you have any?=0A=0A=0ASerena: We= were not the terrorists. We were attacked by one.=0A=0A=0A

Tompars: So you say! [To Charlie] These are not baseless accusations

baseless accusations=0A> -- Schubie as last seen in 663, which is right nex= t door to your room!=0A> [Looks at Fred] No, and if I did, I wouldn't give = it to you, you=0A> murdering terrorist scum.=0A=0A=0ASerena: We can't be he= ld responsible for the goings on next door. Especially=0Awhen the rooms he= re are such a journey apart. Though it is a great=0Acardio work out findin= g your way back!=0A=0A=0A cially

Tompars: Hey! My mother is in the room next door, and I know for a fact that she didn't kill him!

Charlie: [Scoffs] Don't tell me you're sharing a room with your mother?!

Tompars: [Indignantly] Of course not! [Leans in confidentially to Charlie] There are so many guys wandering in and out of there in the middle of the night, I'd never get any sleep.

Fred: Whatever your residential status, the truth is that we are not terrorists and I, at least, have not murdered anyone since I got here and we don't know anything about your, ah, what's-his-face. I tire of this pointless conversation and demand to be shown the nearest food dispenser.

Harvey : Agreed! [To Tompars] Either step up, or step out! We had nothing to do with the disappearance of your chap!

Tompar: You're in no position to demand anything! The facts of the matter are clear -- Examiner Schubert was last seen heading to your room. Now, does anyone remember anything strange happening?

[Enter DUR, staggering out of the room, wiping sleep from his eyes.]

Dur: [Yawn] Stranger than people constantly wandering in and out of our room? eyes.] oom?

Charlie: Not in the least. Well, I suppose one of my bunkmates briefly stepped out to attend to the call of nature, but certainly that shouldn't be considered strange.

Tompars: It certainly should! Those rooms have bathrooms off them, why would the person leave the bedroom?

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn] Hmm, I also heard someone leave the room last night. [Scratches at a sideburn] Gah! [Glares at Deuce and Alice]

Tompars: There you go then! Find the culprits, and you'll find the murderers!

Deuce: Hey now, I'm sure there's an innocent explanation for this. [Time passes.]

Deuce: Huh, well, maybe not, but two people meeting for, uh..

Alice: A glass of milk and some cookies!

Deuce: Exactly! That's hardly evidence of murder!

Tompars: How do you know? How do you know that Schubie wasn't beaten to death with cookies?

Deuce: Was he?

Tompars: We don't know, he disappeared. nd you'll find the murderers!=0A> =0A> Deuce: Hey now, I'm sure there's an = innocent explanation for this.=0A> =0A> [Time passes.]=0A> =0A> Deuce:= Huh, well, maybe not, but two people meeting for, uh..=0A> =0A> Alice: A g= lass of milk and some cookies!=0A> =0A> Deuce: Exactly! That's hardly evide= nce of murder!=0A> =0A> Tompars: How do you know? How do you know that Schu= bie wasn't beaten=0A> to death with cookies?=0A> =0A> Deuce: Was he?=0A> = =0A> Tompars: We don't know, he disappeared.=0A=0A=0ASerena: Then perhaps h= e is actually alive and well and gorging himself on ham =0Abeside a pool so= mewhere?=0A=0A=0A

Tompars: Highly unlikely -- he told Mom that he was coming in here.

Harvey : Well, to the best of my knowledge, in here he didn't come.

Tompars: And you know this because you killed him in the hallway and hid his body, no doubt!

Harvey : Outrageous! Outrageous I say! This is a large hotel, chock to the brim full of heaven knows who! We have already had one madman attempt to kill us. Who is to say that your man didn't meet with someone en route to this room to finish the job, what!

Tompars: He was only checking this floor! He had checked the room beside you last, do you think he just magically skipped you?

Charlie: Perhaps the people next door are lying! Had you ever considered that? ed that?

Tompars: The room next door is MY room!

Charlie: AHA! [To Harvey] Really rather suspicious, wouldn't you say?!

Tompars: And what is so suspicious about that?

=0A=0AClint: The fact that you know how to say the word "suspicious," for o= ne thing. Moron.=0A=0A=0A

Fred: Indeed your articulatory abilities exceed your demonstrated cognitive capacity. Have you considered placing yourself under suspicion? After all, you were just as nearby as we, and unlike us you have motive, by dint of being a stupid and annoying little man.

Tompars: Everyone is under suspicion, especially people who insult official HARMA officials! For you not to have been the ones that abducted him, he would have to have somehow skipped your room and moved onto the next occupied room, whereupon he was then killed by someone who [waves his fingers in a very stupid and annoying way] magically knew that suspicion would fall on you. Well, why don't we just go and talk to them, so you can tell them that they are lying murderers?

Charlie: You certainly seem clear on the strategy such a person would take. Are you sure YOU are not the lying murderer?

Harvey : [Placatingly] Listen all, I'm sure your man just got hungry or somesuch, and decided that a trip to the kitchen was more important than questioning a group of innocent conference attendees [gestures around the room at the party]. Look for him there and I'm sure you'll find him, fast asleep with his head resting on a pillowlike ham!

Tompars: Yes.

Alice: Now, isn't that just the kind of thing a lying murderer would say?

Tompars: Okay, that does it, you're all under arrest!

Fred: No. I dislike you and your baseless accusations. I refuse to be placed under arrest.

Tompars: Oh, okay then. [Walks out and shuts the door]

Alice: Hey! That was really easy!

Deuce: [Uneasily] I don't know, guys. He's probably gone off to get a huge bunch of HARMA types to drag us out of here, and there's that big keynote speech later that I don't want to miss.

Charlie:

Charlie: [Distressed] Oh we MUST see the keynote! Group, hurry, let us blend in with the other conference-goers!

Sorry about the non-post! Slip of the finger!

Harvey : Well, then we should relocate to somewhere else in the building and regroup!

Deuce: Okay, but we really do need to hurry. When they want to, those HARMA guys can really--

[DEUCE is interrupted by someone hammering on the door. TOMPARS can be heard from without.]

Tompars: Open up, in the name of the HARMA Initiative!

Deuce: Hustle!

Fred: Can't we just fight them all?

erena: No, we've had quite enough fighting! We need to start practicing=0A= some peace and understanding. =0A=0A=0A

Harvey : Well, ordinarily yes. But in this instance, it would be rather hard to prove we are innocent of the crime, when we've beaten seven bells out of them! ng

Alice: Besides, there are loads of them!

[The banging continues.]

Tompars: Open this door immediately! [The banging continues.]=0A> =0A> Tompars: Open this door immediately= !=0A=0A=0ASerena: Well, I think we should surrender in good faith to show t= hem that we=0Aaren't guilty. If we're innocent we've nothing to fear. [Go= es to open the door]=0A=0A=0A we en the door]

Fred: [Frozen with horror] S-S-Sur-Surrender?

Charlie: Never! We'd never get to see the keynote! I say we run for it! it!

[SERENA opens the door, and TOMPARS stands there, with what looks like dozens of HARMA types behind him.]

Tompars: [To Serena] Thank you. [To the party] Right, you can accompany me to the next room, or we can drag you down to the station and beat the living daylights out of you.

Fred: Oh, the next room? That doesn't sound so bad. Why didn't you just ask nicely?

Tompars: Well, not the NEXT room, because that was mine, but the one after it. s there, with what=0A> looks like dozens of HARMA types behind him.]=0A> = =0A> Tompars: [To Serena] Thank you. [To the party] Right, you can=0A> acco= mpany me to the next room, or we can drag you down to the station=0A> and b= eat the living daylights out of you.=0A=0A=0ASerena: You're welcome. And t= hey will of course accompany you [looking =0Aat the party] civilly. Please= excuse their behaviour. Too much ham has=0Amade them a little aggressive.= =0A=0A=0A has

Tompars: If only everyone could be as co-operative as you folks.

[The party come out and up the corridor, to room 666, WERNSTROM's ro= om.]

Tompars: And now you'll see how a good law abiding citizen answers their door. [Knock knock] He'll be out in here almost instantly... [Time passes] He's probably just getting dressed first. [More time passes] Possibly putting a tie too. [Yet more time passes] And, uh, getting his brief case. [An annoying amount of time passes] Hum. OM's room.]

Harvey : Perhaps he's in the bath. You should knock louder!

Tompars: Ah, yes, of course. Such a polite, law abiding citizen would almost certainly wash himself most days. [Knocks harder, before turning to the others] We should probably give him time to get dried off and such. He'll be here in a moment.

[Time passes. Clearly more than enough for any person to have dried themselves off.]

Tompars: Yep. Aaaany second now.

Harvey : [Watches a spider build an intricate web, before turning to Tompars] Or you know, something might be wrong! Perhaps you should call the bellhop and have him open the door?

Fred: Can we please barge in now, or leave? I'm starving, and all this standing about isn't helping. abiding citizen would=0A> almost certainly wash himself most days. [Knocks = harder, before=0A> turning to the others] We should probably give him time = themselves off.]=0A> =0A> Tompars: Yep. Aaaany second now.=0A=0AClint: And= now I'll show you how you really knock on a door! [Gives his door kicking= foot a shake, draws it back, and boots the door.] Open up in the name of t= he law!=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A s door kicking the law!

[With one swift movement, CLINT kicks the door open. Lying on the floor with his throat cut and multiple wounds is WERNSTROM. Also here is another body, wearing a HARMA uniform. This one seems to have been hit from behind with something.]

Tompars: Schubie! g on

Charlie: How ghastly! [Brightly] Though this does provide evidence that we had nothing to do with these crimes, and so we should have no problem making it to the keynote after all!

Tompars: [Kneeling beside Schubie (the HARMA type)] What? If anything, this is just more proof that you DID do it! e)] What? If anything,=0A> this is just more proof that you DID do it!=0A=

=0AClint: And then locked the door from the inside, flew through the window= , then kicked the door open to let you in? What kind of an idiot are you? = [Flexes his door kicking foot again and gives Tompars a meaningful glance.= ]=0A=0A=0A=0A flew through the window, then =0A> kicked the door open to let you in? Wh= at kind of an idiot are you? [Flexes =0A> his door kicking foot again and = gives Tompars a meaningful glance.]=0A=0ASerena: I think you'll find it's p= roof we didn't do it. Why then would we willingly=0Afollow you to the crim= e scene? Besides, Charlie here is quite set on this=0Aspeech that's happen= ing soon and would never let any one of us jeopardize =0Aher chance of atte= nding.=0A=0A=0A ce.]

Harvey : Truly! Do you honestly think we would still have been waiting for you to arrive to our room, knowing that we'd committed this most heinous crime? We would have fled hours ago, what! we willingly his

Tompars: You just closed the door after you, clearly! Which of you left the room last night?

Deuce: Well guys, I must admit, I heard someone leaving our room last night= .

Harvey : As did I, but it is impossible that a member of my troop would have been involved in this skullduggery, what!

Deuce: I hate to say it, but, Alice, you left the room last night, didn't you?

Alice: [Defensively] What? No I did not!

Charlie: I did, as well, but I agree with the Colonel. We fight on the side of good and right, and no one in this group would commit so vile a crime!

Tompars: Oh, really? How interesting. [To Alice] So you didn't leave the room?

Alice: Well, I did, but not the room, just the bedroom.

Tompars: [Unimpressed] Mm-hm?

Fred: What were you doing anyway, milling about in the middle of the night and disturbing my sleep? in the middle of the=0A> night and disturbing my sleep?=0A=0A=0ASerena: Wh= atever she was doing, I'm sure it wasn't anything as ghastly=0Aas this. Di= d you need a glass of water, dear?=0A=0A=0A

Alice: [Shocked] I think I need something stronger than water, Sister! [To Deuce] What are you talking about? We made love last night!

Deuce: Hey, I wouldn't describe it as making love. Wild, crazy, monkey sex, sure, but not making love. I guess your blood was up when you got back to the room, huh?

Alice: [To the party] I never did!

Charlie: Never got back to the room, or never had carnal relations with Deuce? [In a low, confidential voice] Take it from me, you may have and just not realized it.

Harvey : [To Tompars, red faced] So there you have it! Misguided, foolish and cringeworthy, yes. Murderous, absolutely not, what!

Alice: [To Charlie] I did do the business, and went back into the room after.

Deuce: [Shrugs] Sorry, Pixie Stix, what can I say? I can't defend you when you murdered a man, a beloved member of the scientific community, no less. [Sad face] And, although it pains me to admit it, I have to tell you, Tompars, the others knew full well what she did.

Tompars: [With relish, to the party] Right! Now you're going to suffer!

Charlie: [Shocked] Deuce, you must be mad! We knew no such thing, and though a good many terrible, terrible things may be said of Alice, she is NOT a murderer! We knew no such thing, and=0A> though a good many terrible, terrible things= may be said of Alice, she=0A> is NOT a murderer!=0A=0AClint: Besides, isn'= t the dead guy your greatest rival? Seems like you have a motive and we do= n't!=0A=0A=0A

Harvey:[Outraged, to Deuce] I say sir, retract that statement as of the now! You know damned well that my niece had nothing to do with this! Nothing! It looks like you have more in common with Pestilence than we originally thought, what! ave a motive and we

Alice: [Nods] That's right! Thanks, Charlie! [Thinks for a moment] Hey! What terrible, terrible things?

Deuce: [To Clint] Wernie? My greatest rival? Not at all, he was my mentor! I can only hope that now he has been killed, taken from us in this awful, awful way, that I can somehow take his place as the chairman of the International Society for Science and Stuff. Charlie! [Thinks for a moment]=0A> Hey! What terrible, terrible things?=0A= =0A> mentor! I can only hope that now he has been killed, taken from us in= =0A> this awful, awful way, that I can somehow take his place as the=0A> ch= airman of the International Society for Science and Stuff.=0A>=0A> Harvey:[= Outraged, to Deuce] I say sir, retract that statement as of=0A> the now! Yo= u know damned well that my niece had nothing to do with=0A> this! Nothing! = It looks like you have more in common with Pestilence=0A> than we originall= y thought, what!=0A=0AClint: For Phili's sake, Deuce, the jerk's body isn't= even cold yet and you're already trying to take his prestigious job?! [To= Tompars.] Officer, I believe your duty is clear!=0A=0A=0A , I believe your duty is clear!

Fred: Really? Because I'm really confused here. You guys murdered Wernstrom while I was sleeping, then locked the door from the inside, flew back into our room and just now kicked the door in? [Scratches his head, frowning in thought.]

Tompars: No, they murdered him and then simply let the door close, it's a hotel, the doors lock themselves.

Deuce: [To Clint] Sure, it might appear unseemly, but it's a really good job! Take them away, boys.

[The HARMA types begin to move in.]

et the door close,=0A> it's a hotel, the doors lock themselves.=0A> =0A> De=

uce: [To Clint] Sure, it might appear unseemly, but it's a really=0A> good = to move in.]=0A=0AClint: Oh, I've been wanting to do this for a long time!= [Makes a fist and looks to Harvey pleadingly.]=0A=0A=0A=0A and looks to Harvey pleadingly.]

Harvey : [Angrily] Right, we've tried the sensible approach with these rogues! Looks like we'll have to resort to the type of language they understand! But no mortalities, troop! [Attempts a flying kick at Deuce] le approach with these=0A> rogues! Looks like we'll have to resort to the t= s a flying kick at=0A> Deuce]=0A=0AClint: [Enthusiastic.] All right! [Trie= s to sucker punch Tompars.]=0A=0A=0A;;; By the way, the image of Harvey doi= ng a flying kick cracks me up! =)=0A=0A=0A )

Fred: Yeah! Another fight! Wait, which side am I on?

[HARVEY sails through the air, only to stop in mid air, as DEUCE holds up a card.]

Deuce: Whatever.

[HARVEY flies backwards and lands on a bunch of HARMA initiative members, knocking them to the ground.]

Deuce: Catch them! They are in league with the Clementines! stop in mid air, as=0A> DEUCE holds up a card.]=0A>=0A> Deuce: Whatever.=0A= nitiative members, knocking them to the ground.]=0A> =0A> Deuce: Catch them= ! They are in league with the Clementines!=0A=0A=0ASerena: Now seems like a= perfect time for an expeditious retreat, dears!=0A[Tries to get past the f= allen HARMA members and escape]=0A=0A=0A [SERENA easily climbs over the pile, followed by ALICE.]

Alice: Let's go!

Fred: Now hold on everyone, I'm sure this is all just a big misunderstanding. [Turns to Deuce] Right?

Deuce: Whatever.

Fred: B-b-b-but- [Runs out after Alice and Serena]

Harvey : Exit stage left, troop! [Exit the party, stage left.]

Tompars: [To the HARMAs] Quick! After them!

End of scene, next one coming right up

[Book VI, Act XI, Scene VII. The Staircase. ALICE, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and SERENA are here, charging down the stairs.]

Alice: That bastard! We're never going to get out of here alive! se. ALICE, CHARLIE,=0A> CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and SERENA are here, charging do= wn the stairs.]=0A> =0A> Alice: That bastard! We're never going to get out = of here alive!=0A=0A=0ASerena: [To Alice] What did you do to him, dear?=0A= =0A=0A

Alice: I told him that you fancied him!

Harvey : [Enraged] That leprous turncoat dog! He will rue our next meeting, troop, I'll tell you that now! We need somewhere to lay low for a while! Where is the last place they would think to look for us?

Alice: The moon!

Harvey : Good thinking dear niece! And where would be the first place they would think of looking for us?

Alice: [Stops dead on the stairs to think] Hm. The stairs?

Fred: [Enter FRED, who crashes into Alice as he catches up with the rest of the party.] Gah! Sorry! Why are you stopping? Why are you running to begin with? Why am I running with you? Gaaah! I'm so confused!

You forgot Fred when counting the characters present! :P e stairs?=0A=0AClint: Hey, why don't we hide out in Tompars' room? That mo= ron'll be too busy trying to find us to search his own room... It's the la= st place he'd expect [gives Alice a glance] except for the moon.=0A=0A=0A= =0A=0A he'd expect [gives Alice a glance] except for the moon.

Harvey : So, somewhere between the stairs and the moon is the perfect spot, eh! [Scratches at a sideburn] Tompars room is certainly an option. Or Tompars mothers room, which is even less likely a place than his own room, as I'm sure he'll have to return to his own room at some stage and catch us.

Charlie: There must be dozens of empty rooms in this hotel! Let's find one and duck inside!

Harvey: Gah! Where's a bellhop when you need one! !=0A=0AClint: Why don't we talk about this somewhere other than the stairs?= One of those HARMA freaks could show up any minute!=0A=0A=0A=0A ne of those

Alice: Okay! Okay! Let's go onto this floor! [Opens a door that leads into the foyer.]

[There are several HARMA Initiative members walking around, but they don't seem to notice the party. The door leading out of the hotel, however, is very heavily guarded. Standing nearby is DEL BHOY, the bellboy.]

t

Harvey: Aha, the very man! [Sidles up to Del] I say, we need to make an inconspicous exit from this hotel! We've been blamed for something we didn't do. Hung high and dry, what! Can you help? say, we need to make=0A> an inconspicous exit from this hotel! We've been b= lamed for something=0A> we didn't do. Hung high and dry, what! Can you help= ?=0A=0AClint: If you do, the annoying lady in tweed will give you a couple = of shiny copper pieces!=0A =0A=0A=0A give you a couple of shiny copper pieces!=0A=0ASerena: [Hopefully] Or Alice= might give you a pair of her underpants.=0A=0A=0A =0A=0A=0A> Serena: [Hopefully] Or Alice might give you a pair of her underp= ants.=0A=0AClint: [Scoffs.] You really think she's wearing any?=0A=0A=0A=0A=

Alice: [Enraged] Of course I am! What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Oops, sent too soon! [Cut to DEUCE, sitting in his room, holding something pink, silky and frilly up to his cheek.]

Deuce: Mmm. Siiiiiilky! [Cut to current scene.]

Del: Sure thing, mates, I got just the place. [Pulls out a luggage trolley, that is completely see through] Leap onto this and I'll get you there.

Fred: Excellent! [Jumps onto the trolley.] With this, we can charge over our enemies and scatter them like leaves in the wind! Come on, everyone!

Charlie: Del, how splendid you are! [Follows Fred onto the trolley]

[Soon everyone is on, and DEL sets off, heading straight towards some dangerously steep stairs that lead down.]

Del: I'll take you to the green room, it's where Dr. Reinstein is waiting before giving his big presentation, he's the keynote speaker. [Almost at the top of the stairs] There are almost ten thousand people here to hear what he has to say.

Charlie: [Excited] How marvelous! I have SO many questions for Dr. Reinstein, and this will be the perfect opportunity to speak with him privately!

Del: Have fun! [Lets go of the trolley and sends it careening over the edge of the stairs, thundering down, out of control]

Harvey: By the saints! Alice, are you driving?

Alice: Uh, I don't think so!

Harvey: Phew! it careening over the=0A> edge of the stairs, thundering down, out of cont= rol]=0A> =0A> Harvey: By the saints! Alice, are you driving?=0A> =0A> Alice= : Uh, I don't think so!=0A> =0A> Harvey: Phew!=0A=0A=0ASerena: At least we'= re giving our systems a good shake up! Get some =0Aof those toxins cleared= out!=0A=0A;;; omg I keep going to post then someone beats me to it!=0A=0A= =0A

Alice: Speaking of which, I think I'm gonna puke -- too much ham!

Fred: Spray the walls! As wide as you can! This is AWESOME! is AWESOME!=0A=0ASerena: Yes, if you wouldn't mind vomiting out the back of= our trolley.=0A=0A=0A

[Fortunately, ALICE keeps it down, but the trolley crashes heavily at the bottom of the stairs, spewing party members out all over the place.]

Alice: Ow.

Harvey: [Staggers to his feet] Gah! Surely he could have let us get out before the stairs? [Looks around] Ah! This could be the room. [Points at a door with "Blue Room" written on it. Beside it is another door with "Green Room" written on it.]

Charlie: The Green Room is what we want! Hurry, group! [Attempts to enter the Green Room]

Harvey: Damned colour blindness!

[CHARLIE opens the door to reveal DR. ALFRED REINSTEIN.]

Alfred: Hello.

Alfred Reinstein

Charlie: Dr. Reinstein! It's such an honor to meet you. Could we come inside? We have ever so many questions about your work! about your work!=0A=0AClint: [Nods.] Yeah. But we won't be able to ask at = your address because... uh... it embarrasses Fred here. You know how it is= .=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A

Harvey : [Dusting himself down] Indeed, a pleasure to meet you, what! I've heard that there is quite a crowd amassing to hear your keynote speech!

Alfred: Ah yes, I've been away for five years, working on the top secret GINGER project. Everyone wants to know what it is about. Who are you?

Harvey : Mmm, ginger bacon! [Bows to Alfred] I am Harvey Kingston Short III, ex colonel of his Majestys fusileers of Kings Reach, what!

Fred: I am Frederick Hrothgar Goreblood and I demand, in the name of science and the quest for knowledge, to know what the GINGER project is about!

Charlie: [Extends her hand eagerly] Dr. Charlotte Parker-Kensington. You will no doubt recognize my name from my work in cryptozoology, though I have made contributions to a number of fields. orking on the top=0A> secret GINGER project. Everyone wants to know what it= is about. Who=0A> are you?=0A=0A=0ASerena: Oo ginger is a wonderful plant!= A delicacy, a spice, and a =0Abrilliant gastro-intestinal therapy!=0A=0A= =0A

Alfred: I've never heard of any of you, but then, I'm very important. [To Fred] You'll have to wait to hear, like the rest of the scientific community. However, I frankly doubt that you would understand.

[The party can hear someone kick open the door next door, and shout about looking for the party.]

and

Charlie: [Crestfallen] N-not heard of me? Not even my seminal, groundbreaking work on the Clementinians?! Not even my seminal,=0A> groundbreaking work on the Clementinians?!=0A=0A=

=0ASerena: [Glancing worriedly at the sounds of HARMA] You wouldn't =0Aneed= any assistants at your presentation, would you?=0A=0A;;; You mean the blue= room door Conor?=0A=0A=0A

Alfred: [To Charlie] There is no such thing as Clementine. [To Serena] Are you people fugitives?

Yep!

Harvey : Not at all, sir! We are more, what you would call, flee-ers! Those Harma brutes are attempting to blame us for a most heinous set of crimes, of which we are completely innocent! Innocent I tell you!

Alfred: Oh, I see. [Thinks for a moment] Help! Help! They're in here!

Fred: [Tries to grab Alfred and cover his mouth.] Silence, you fool! He said we were innocent!

Alfred: Mmf! Mmf!

[There's a knock on the door.]

Alice: Holy crap! Now they're here! Let's pile a bunch of stuff against the door!

[There are plenty of chairs and tables lying around.]

Harvey : [Grabbing a chair and lodging it under the door handle] Oh dear, oh dear. Now not only will they think we're murderers, but will also believe we are kidnappers also!

Alfred: [Getting free for a second] Help!

Alice: Quick! Can't you tie him up with something?

Harvey : [Hurriedly shoving a table in front of the door] Quickly troop, gag the man! [Looks around the room to see if there is another exit]

Fred: I'll hold him, you tie him up! Use... ah, use his socks or something! [To Alfred] And stop struggling so much, I don't want to accidentally break your neck and prove HARMA right. use his socks or=0A> something! [To Alfred] And stop struggling so much, I= don't want to=0A> accidentally break your neck and prove HARMA right.=0A=

=0A=0ASerena: Oh my, this is really not going well at all. [Reluctantly he= lps to=0Apile things against the door. To the door] Hello, um, I'm afraid = Dr. =0AReinstein is too busy practicing for his presentation to receive gue= sts=0Aright this minute.=0A=0A=0A s to

Harvey : [Loudly] But he's not practicing his presentation, dear sister! He's currently in the process of being tied up, what!

Alice: Oh no! What happens if he doesn't get to practice? All those scientists will be so disappointed!

[There is more hammering at the door, and then voices can be heard outside it, discussing getting a battering ram. Just then, a door in the opposite wall opens. Enter The PHDJ.]

PhDJ: [Not noticing that Valur now has Alfred bound and gagged] Oh, hi. I'm here to get the speaker. can be

Harvey: By the saints! This is ecalating quickly! I mean, this is really getting out of hand, fast, what! Grab that man! [Lunges for the PhDJ]

practice? All those=0A> scientists will be so disappointed!=0A>=0A> = [There is more hammering at the door, and then voices can be=0A> heard o= utside it, discussing getting a battering ram. Just then, a=0A> door in the= opposite wall opens. Enter The PHDJ.]=0A> =0A> PhDJ: [Not noticing that Va= lur now has Alfred bound and gagged] Oh,=0A> hi. I'm here to get the speake= r.=0A=0A=0ASerena: [Steps between PhDJ and Alfred. Looks meaningfully at C= harlie] =0ALooks like it's time to go on stage, dear. Wouldn't want to kee= p the fans =0Awaiting.=0A=0A=0A can be

Charlie: Ah, he is, incapacitated at the moment. [Lowers her voice] He had the dodgy oyster starters with lunch.

Harvey : [Loudly] Ginger! What is it? What could it be? Is it a half emerging thought, wrapped in an enigma, hidden within an condundrum? Could it perhaps be a new species of being, populated by the pale fleshed brutes from the western isles called the Oirish?

Charlie: [Looks up at slide one frantically] Yes, we're here today to make a very exciting announcement on behalf of Dr. Reinstein regarding his mysterious GINGER project, as this slide would indicate! ears.]=0A> =0A=0AClint: Or perhaps GINGER is instead about how one reads re= ally gay quotes without hurling! The ginger root has a well known calmativ= e effect on the digestion, after all.=0A=0A=0A=0A he digestion, after all.

Fred: Or the secret to... ah, eternal happiness!

Harvey: [Looking at the slide] Or being touched by a child at night! [Helplessly shrugs his shoulders]

Harvey : Which tasted truly horrible, when fried! So the people of this country set about trying to find some mixture to sprinke over the fried bird to make it more palatable! Mmm, black pigeon!

Charlie: [Glances at the slide] And that country's flag bears a black dove, which is a symbol of--[fumbling] war and hatred? [Quickly] Quite contrary to the spirit of GINGER, of course!

Harvey : So, the people of this country all had to enter an art competition, the winner of which would get to search for the mysterious ingredient! Most were rubbish, but the winning entry had quite a good swing on it, so they won!

Fred: And so they had to visit all the places shown on the map, where clues were hidden, which would lead to the mystery ingredient. And, apparently, while someone else was walking back and forth between the house and the swing set. That was quite crucial, yes. Very crucial indeed. wn on the map, where=0A> clues were hidden, which would lead to the mystery= ingredient. And,=0A> apparently, while someone else was walking back and f= orth between the=0A> house and the swing set. That was quite crucial, yes. = Very crucial=0A> indeed.=0A=0AClint: Crucial because, obviously, the person= walking back and forth between the house and the swing set was a child, an= d we all know how picky they are. If GINGER could make black pigeon appeal= ing even to a child, it would clearly work for adults!=0A=0A=0A=0A awn

Charlie: [Gapes at the slide, baffled] Er, is GINGER a new breed of cartoonishly adorable rabbit? Good question!

Alice: Because we all know that children are attracted to cute bunnies, even when they're being told about them by sleazy men in dirty raincoats. But nevertheless, the secret to GINGER lay in rabbits. racted to cute=0A> bunnies, even when they're being told about them by slea= zy men in=0A> dirty raincoats. But nevertheless, the secret to GINGER lay i= n=0A> rabbits.=0A=0A=0ASerena: Because, although they share the same plague= tendencies, =0Abunnies are much more attractive than black pigeons, and ta= ste better=0Atoo.=0A=0A=0A

Charlie: Truly, the very mob mentality one finds so horrifying in humans becomes a way of increasing the factor of cute in cartoonishly adorable rabbits. That is to say, when many wide-eyed, small creatures perform the same action in unison, they are thought to be cuter than they were when viewed singly. This factor is further increased if said creatures are looking curiously at another wide-eyed, small creature. More so if they are somehow anthropomorphized and performing some traditionally human action, such as ironing or reading a book.

Alice: Indeed. The whole relationship can be summed up by saying that the level of cuteness is directly proportional to the product the wideness of the eyes and the level of co-operation, and inversely proportional to the reciprocal of the level of human activity being carried out. It can also be multiplied by the number of hats and adorable cardigans that the animals are wearing.

Fred: Bear in mind that the slide cannot, of course, demonstrate the high-pitched, simpleton-accented speech the cartoon portrayals produce, which makes 74% of all women who hear it respond with an "aaaaawww!" slide changes yet again.]=0A=0AClint: Meanwhile, consider the fate of the = ugly black rabbit with buck teeth and beady eyes. By his very ugliness can= we not tell that he is evil and untrustworthy? How much easier if only pe= ople worked this way! Which... err... brings us back to GINGER. [Nudges C= harlie.] Tell 'em, Charlie!=0A=0A=0A=0A Charlie!

Charlie: Right! What is GINGER? [Does a fake drum roll for a long, long t= ime] the

Harvey : Let me start by saying, what colour is ginger! Orange, I tell you! And what else is orange? Carrots, that's what! The people of this country thought that ginger was processed from minced rabbit!

Fred: Mmmmm, minced rabbit... marinated in garlic oil and a few drops of red wine, served with baked potatoes, bernaise sauce and a sprinkle of basilica... [Fred ets out a sigh just as his stomach rumbles loudly.] Er, yes, that is the national dish of er... er... the Fraspanishtan... Kingdom... Republic. c oil and a few drops=0A> of red wine, served with baked potatoes, bernaise= sauce and a sprinkle=0A> of basilica... [Fred ets out a sigh just as his s= tomach rumbles=0A> loudly.] Er, yes, that is the national dish of er... er.= .. the=0A> Fraspanishtan... Kingdom... Republic.=0A=0AClint: Yeeees, the Fr= asphanistan Kingdom Republic, the people of the black dove, who are plagued= by an overabundance of rabbits, some of which are cartoonishly cute, some = of which are cartoonishly ugly, and all of which are a great threat to nati= ve black and are therefore killed and eaten, ground up, mixed with.... ging= er!=0A=0A=0A=0A

Harvey : Grrrr! Said the angry man when the people realised that Ginger was not made from minced rabbit, cartoon cute or otherwise! Grrr! We need to find out what Ginger is, he shouted at the sky! For how else will we enjoy our black pigeon without it!

Alice: And when he shouted, saliva flew from his mouth, and snot from his nose, and together, they combined to form... GINGER!

[There is some clapping from the audience, who are clearly excited now.]

y

Harvey : Ginger, a mysterious substance born from saliva, snot and anger! m saliva, snot and anger!=0A=0AClint: Yes, saliva, snot, and anger, that ma= gical combination which adds immensely to the appeal of cute cartoon rabbit= s, ugly cartoon rabbits, and black doves!=0A=0A=0A;;; Just a driveby, reall= y, to compliment everyone on a presentation far =0A;;; better than most of = those I've had to sit through in my time! =)=0A=0A=0A p.]

Fred: The combination and preparation of these ingredients is done in a four and a half step process, as you can see here. The first step, the half step, is the easiest by far, whereas the other four are all equal in difficulty. The first step is collecting the ingredients...

Charlie: Yes, and the second step involves preparing the ingredients, a complex process of er, chopping and marinating, and so forth. The third step, of course. . . .

Alice: Adding GINGER extracted from Wernstrom at his angriest.

Kevin is still away

Dur: Next you stuff the whole thing through the big grinder, and out comes a disgusting mess. [Thinks] Mm-mm. Disgusting mess! [Smiles]

Charlie: And the final step is, of course, most crucial of all! [Looks frantically for the next slide to come] rom the audience in=0A> anticipation, and, after waiting just long enough t= o get them on the=0A> edge of their seats, up pops the next slide.]=0A=0A=

=0ASerena: It is repeating the second step of preparing the ingredients!=0A= Turning the disgusting mess into something more palatable...=0A=0A=0A=0A =

Alice: Some people find it offensive, of course. [Sees the audience doesn't understand, but then gives them the finger, causing them to understand]

Colin has a new address on the list!

Harvey : Which goes somewhat to explaining why cooks were a rare breed in t= his place, having unwittingly caused offence one time too many! reland

Charlie: [Looks at the chart, aghast] Of course, the obscene gesture is a mere accident. What is important is the hard science behind this data. [Cheerily, clearly at a loss] That's GINGER! on their feet, applauding. The=0A> slide changes once again.]=0A=0AClint: [= On a roll now.] Of course, GINGER isn't for everyone. For some people, thi= s rare and exotic dish causes loss of bladder control. We shall put them o= n one side of this line. The red and green indicates that there are other = side effects, including bleeding and nausea. Perhaps from all the snot!=0A= =0A=0A=0A

ople, this rare and exotic dish >causes loss of bladder control. We shall = put them on one side of this line. The red and green indicates that >there= are other side effects, including bleeding and nausea. Perhaps from all t= he snot!

Harvey : Indeed so! The greens represent those who are immune to the side e= ffects! The reds, those who are completely susceptible, and the combination= s of red and green are those who are partials! Ask yourself this, dear audi= ence? Are you a ginger green? Or a ginger red? reland

to=0A> go "awwwww!"]=0A=0AClint: Whatever you do, do not use cat in making = your GINGER!=0A=0A=0A=0A

Fred: Because this will cause a disturbance in the space-time continuum, which will either kill you and everyone you love or cause the timeline to bundle up into a knot, as happened in the famous case of Cassie-Stravinsky, who became his own father, son, aunt and pet rat after trying to spice GINGER up with the neighbour's housecat.

Harvey: Truly! Because science and stuff has proven that this will increase= your chance by one thousand percent of become ginger red! reland

Tompars: [Who has been watching the whole thing, and getting increasingly enraged] That's the last slide, we'll easily be able to catch them now!

Scientists: GINGER! GINGER!

Charlie: [Delighted, to the group] How marvelous! I can't remember the last time we had a hearty group chant. We're going to go down in Science and Stuff history!

Harvey : As long as that Science and Stuff history records our resounding success of a presentation, rather than our hanging, drawing, and quartering by Harma, I'll be happy!

Alice: A group chant at the Science and Stuff conference, it's like a dream come true!

Tompars: This is getting ridiculous, let's get them.

[Suddenly the scientists are on their feet and clambering onto the stage, shaking hands with the party and congratulating them.]

Harvey : [Happily shakes hands and claps backs] Why thank you, thank you indeed! Of course, it was a team effort! Praise goes to all! And remember, keep it green, what!

Alice: [Shaking hands and kissing babies] Thank you! Thank you! Don't do drugs! Stay in school!

Tompars: [To the HARMA members] Oh, this is intolerable! Let's get in there and break it up!

[To his horror, the party are lifted shoulder high in celebration and victory by the delighted scientists.]

Scientists: Ginger Red! Ginger Red!

Charlie: [Furiously scribbling her autograph, choking back tears of pride] This is all so gratifying--a celebration of my life's work!

Tompars: [Struggling to get near the party] Come on! Stop them! [Calls out] You'll never get out the front door, we have thirty men there.

[None of the HARMA members can get near, and the cheering continues, with ten thousand excited scientists surrounding the party.]

Alice: [Calling to the other party members] This could be our chance!

Fred: Challenge accepted, Tompars! Fans and admirers- oh, sure, I'll sign your child - bring us to that door! [Points to the front door from atop the shoulders of two straining scientists.]

[The two unfortunates holding FRED collapse, but he is soon hoisted up again by a larger cohort. Meanwhile, the sea of scientists heads out the door, pushing aside the HARMA members, out into sunshine and freedom.]

Alice: Hurrah! A famous victory for us! For science! For scientists everywhere!

End of scene. Next one coming right up. n where! [Book VI, Act XI, Scene VIII. A cupboard in the Green Room. ALFRED REINSTEIN is here, bound and gagged.]

Alfred: Mmf! Mmf!

End of Book VI, Act XI, Scene VIII. Next act starts TOMORROW.