[Book VIII, Act III, Scene I. The Middle of Nowhere. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY, MAC and ZAP are here. ALICE has just pointed up at the top of a very, high tree. There, a good seventy feet up what looks like a very difficult tree to climb are a number of pairs of the flounciest underwear the party have ever seen.]

Alice: Oh. My. God. Have they really done it? Have they perfected the Underwear Tree?


Mac: [Facepalms] No, Alice, it's more likely that someone has climbed up the tree and placed them there. Why is the question we need to ask.


Zap: [Admiring the tree] Looks just like the trees outside of my hotel rooms! [To Clint] The lovely ladies like to throw their panties at the Zapper, natch! [To Dur] What do you think it means, Doc? Those yellow-tie guys have a bunch of groupies or something?

Dur: [Pokes at the tree with a stick] I don't know, but I can definitively say--with a 50% chance of accuracy--that this tree is [looks at the party for a hint] ma--fe-- [triumphantly] MALE, like the human Charlie, who wears the same type of fruit!


Alice: [To Mac] No, it's WHAT is the question we need to ask. [To the party] His poor grammar notwithstanding, what question should we be asking? Maybe it should be "Why is there flouncy underwear in a tree?"


Harvey: Indeed, and also, *how* did Charlie's underwear get up that tree, what?


Austin : [Checking his nails idly] One might conclude that Charlie herself put it there as a message to us. Perhaps we should search around and on the tree to see if she has left a message. [Walks over to the tree and searches around]


Alice: I bet it's like that movie -- The Shankshaw Pre-Emption -- you know, where the gay guy left a box of chocolates under a rock?

[The party all check around bottom of the tree, turning over rocks and the like, and soon find a notepad. AUSTIN flicks through it, but it is completely blank.]

Alice: Huh. Well, that's disappointing. What do we do now?


Dur: [Tears out a piece of paper from the notepad and crams it in his mouth, munching happily] Oh, well--at least she left us a snack!


Harvey: Hmm, well if Dur is now supplied for the march, let us go to the town and see what the situation is there, what?


Austin : [Watching Dur eating the paper] She may have written the message using invisible ink, or perhaps the embossing method. [Takes out a sharp pencil and tries shading the papers to look for an imprint]


[Nothing doing.]

Alice: Maybe it's written in invisible ink? I think if you pee on it it'll show the message!


Austin : [Tears a sheet of paper out of the pad nd hands it to Alice] here you go, show us how it is done.


Harvey: Hmmm, interesting theory. Tell me, is that before or after the good Doctor feasts on it?


Dur: [Shrugs] Either way!


;;; Ew!

Alice: [Doesn't take the sheet] It only works with male urine. Maybe you should ask one of the men?


Mac: Well we have an empty newspaper, and now an empty notepad. Something isn't adding up here but I cant quite put my finger on it.


;;; I hope I'm making Kevin proud!

Zap: [Starts to unzip his pants] I'll do it, but you'd better all stand back. The last time I did this, I knocked over ten innocent bystanders.


Clint: Maybe the "stop" on the newspaper is some sort of gigantic "no more writing" spell or something? Which would be stupid, but...


Alice: It's a pretty short spell, isn't it, Clint? And they spelled it wrong!

;;; No they didn't!

[AUSTIN hastily drops the sheet of paper on the ground.]

;;; Just in case Dom isn't around!


Zap: [Urinates heavily on the notepad, thoroughly saturating it] Aaaaaaaaah!


[The result is a urine soaked piece of paper.]

Alice: So, what's she trying to tell us?


Harvey: Doctor, let us see if we can see any writing before you eat the evidence, shall we?


Clint: Hopefully not that she wants us to hold on to her notepad for her...


Zap: [Snaps his fingers] Of course, all of this is for me! It all fits, the underwear, the empty autograph book for me to sign, the transparent ploy to get me to reveal my love truncheon, all of it! This little honey wants a piece of the Zapper, or I'm a pathetic loser virgin like [jabs a thumb at Mac] that guy. [Runs his fingers through his hair] So, where does the little dumpling live? I am about to give her the thrill of her life!


Alice: You should know that she is mar- uh, you know what, [points back in the direction of Charlie's house] thataway. Although it's a long walk, but we'll pass Apraxia on the way, so maybe we can get a carriage then.


Zap: [Gives two thumbs up] Great, on the way you can tell me about what slutty little freak she is-- [excited] or is she a virgin who's been saving herself for a jolt from The Zapper? [Does a Clint-style hip-thrust for emphasis]


Harvey: Hmmm, seems like an elaborate way to seduce you, Zap, but women are strange creatures, what? Very well, is our plan set?


Clint: [To Zap, man-to-man.] Oh, definitely been saving herself for you. She's all coy, too. Don't buy it for a second! When we get to her place, she'll deny it, but she's been *dying* for a ride on the Zapmobile.


Alice: Yes it is! [To Zap] Sure, she likes freaky guys!

[The party walk on, and, after a while, spot a carriage parked at the side of the road. There is a man a short distance from it, wearing a hard hat and some sort of body armour. This is JOE BLOGGS. He doesn't see the party.]


Zap: [Puts an arm around Clint's shoulder] The day I meet a sexy lady who doesn't want a ride on the Zapmobile is the day I meet my dead mother, and the only reason she doesn't want a piece is because that would be icky. [Spots Joe Bloggs] Hello there, friend!


Alice: What's icky about it? The fact that she's your mother? Or the fact that she's dead?

Joe: [Looks startled] I'm not casting a spell!


Harvey: [Cheerfully] Oh, Zap is not deterred by a little thing like a dead body, are you Zap? [To Joe] I say, good man, if you are not casting a spell, then what *are* you doing, eh?


Joe: Uh, I'm thinking about being calm and, hey, are you guys the Queens View party? And is that Zap Flasheart with you?


Zap: Yes, I am! [Picks up the urine-soaked notepad] Want an autograph?!


Clint: Now with 100% more urine, to guarantee it's authentic!


Joe: [Relieved] Thank God! I guess you heard about my experiment. Okay, step back. I'm going to start with a magic missile [points at a bottle a few feet away] and then work up from there.

[JOE concentrates and starts to cast a spell, which the party recognize from MAC's spells as Magic Missile. However, just as he finishes it, he falls to the ground and starts to have a convulsion.]


Harvey: [Looking down at Joe] I say, he's not very good at this, is he?


[JOE's convulsion continues, with quite a bit of puking, before one of his eyes bursts out of its socket, causing everyone to turn away. When they look back, he is still.]


Dur: [Gingerly pokes Joe with a stick] I think he might be dead, or possibly sleeping.


Alice: Yikes! What the hell is that smell?

[There is a disgusting smell from his vomit, like absolutely pungent rotten eggs, which turns everyone's stomach. Anyone of a weak constitution is likely to get sick themselves.]


Clint: Hey! That's my line!


Harvey: I say, it's a natural bodily function, no need to get worked up... Oh, you meant *him*. [Indicates Joe] No, I have no idea what that smell is.


Mac: [Tries to run from the smell but is unsuccessful and ends up puking a short way from the party] Urg... I hate the taste of sick.

;;;; out all tuesday!


Alice: Well, don't eat it, then!

[Looks at JOE's body with disgust.]

Alice: What the hell just happened? Was there something weird about the spell?


Mac: [To Alice] Funny enough you can taste it when it comes the other way too.


;;; Sporadic posting again today :(


Harvey: Shame it doesn't come in golden honeyed locust flavour, eh, young Mac? [Produces a bag of golden honeyed locusts, munches on one, then offers the bag to Mac] Would you like one?


Alice: Given how much experience he has with eating it, it's probably just as well it doesn't!

Mac: No thanks, Colonel, I'm still on the verge of fainting. [To Alice] His spell sounded perfectly normal -- I've no idea if it was the cause of what happened.


Zap: That's what comes of using magic, if you ask me. All Zap Flasheart ever needed was muscle, guts, and balls the size of kittens!


Alice: Maybe we should get Mac or Dur to cast a spell? Then we could see if they explode!


Harvey: Excellent plan, my dear! Private Mac, you ready to risk exploding again? Don't worry, I'm sure you won't end up like our friend here. [Indicates Joe] Probably.


Dur: Errr... Well... I see. I don't think my magic is working right now!


Alice: [Nods at Harvey's words] Agreed! It'll be totally different because of the, uh, well, it'll be totally different. [Looks at Dur sympathetically] Aw, are you sure? Don't you want to at least try?


Dur: I am pretty sure I don't want to die!


Alice: Pretty sure? Or *very* sure?


Zap: [To Alice] Don't speak to your superior officer that way! If he says it's not a good idea, then it's a bad idea. He is a doctor, after all! Now, let's move out!


Harvey: Now, Cadet, I am the commanding officer here, and Alice may have a point. Dur, just *how* sure are you that you don't want to die?


Mac: Well, I erm... I could try but err... you see my magic has always been a bit erm... unreliable. If someone isn't in danger I can't seem to pull it off.

;;; He's actually telling the truth


Harvey: Excellent! Dur can attempt his spell, thereby putting himself in mortal danger so you can attempt your spell.


Mac: Would be an excellent plan Colonel, but my spells are all offensive, stopping the enemy and such. Therefore there's nothing *I* can do if Dur is in peril from his own spells.


Alice: Maybe if you tried to attack Dur with one of your spells, thereby putting him in danger, you could then cast a spell!

Austin: [Sighs so loudly that it scares some birds away from a nearby tree] Neither of them are going to cast a spell. It doesn't matter whether it's due to incompetence or fear, but we really should stop wasting time and get out of here.


Zap: Let's go! Lead the way, Colonel!


Alice: What should we do with this guy? [Points at Joe] We're not going to just leave him here, are we?

Austin: We certainly are not, Alice!

Alice: Phew! Thank God for that.

Austin: We're going to search him!

[AUSTIN swiftly and expertly searches him, before holding up a wallet to the party.]

Austin: His name was Joe Bloggs -- it looks like he taught magic at the university in Apraxia.


Harvey: [To Mac] Offensive spells, you say? You mean like, fart noises, stink bombs and tasteless jokes, that sort of thing?


Clint: Bah! We don't need magic to make fart noises, stink bombs, and tasteless jokes! Just sheer unbridled masculinity!


Dur: [Looks as if he were about to cast a spell] Y-you don't need magic forthat? [His eyes get misty as if he had just been rejected.]


Clint: Course not, Doc! Magic is for making it sound like someone *else* made fart noises and stink bombs.


Zap: And if you ask me, that's something every man should do for himself! [Puts an arm around Dur] Stick with me, Doc, and I'll make a man of you. In fact, I'll let you do the warm-up work on this saucy little girlie, Charlie. I need you to get in there and establish she's really a girl. With a name like that, it could go either way.


Harvey: Ah, the old misdirection, confusing the enemy, and making it sound like Sprogger Johnson did the whoopsie! Excellent work, Doctor! [To Mac] You too, Private! [To Zap] Ah, now, Cadet, I understand you wish to get in there and give the old heave-ho [Makes a vague pumping motion with his fist] but we really have a job to to do, what?


Dur: [Cringes] Perhaps you should ask her husband. That aught to lay ALL your questions to rest! [Aside to the group] See what I did there? If he asks= Pestilence, we'll be laying HIM to rest, questions and all!


ks Pestilence, we'll be laying HIM to rest, questions and all!

Zap: [To Dur] I dunno, Doc, sometimes the husbands are the last to know! [To Harvey] I thought the mission WAS to meet up with this Charlie and find out what's been happening? The debauchery that will surely follow is just a bonus for the Zapper!


Clint: And the tearing limb from limb that will surely follow that is a bonus for everyone else!


[Paaaaarp. Someone, almost certainly ALICE, lets rip a huge fart.]

Alice: Hey! Who was that? [Waves a scolding finger at Dur] I thought you weren't going to cast any spells!

[The carriage zooms off.]

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up


[Book VIII, Act III, Scene II. The Carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY, MAC and ZAP are here, with all the windows open. They are approaching Apraxia, which is just before CHARLIE's house. About half a mile out, they can see a huge hot air balloon floating over it. Emblazoned on the balloon is the HARMA insignia.]

Alice: Uh oh! Look at that!


Harvey: I say! [Hopefully] Maybe they're giving hot air balloon rides to disabled kids, what?


Zap: [Squints at the balloon] What is it, some kind of HARMA party?


Clint: Don't be silly, Harv! Giving hot air balloon rides to disabled kids is waaaaay too friendly for HARMA! [Musingly.] I think we should steal the balloon.


Alice: [With a hint of hysteria] But the children! Won't someone please think of the disabled children?


Zap: [Considers the balloon] I'm with you, Clint. Let's steal the balloon! [To Harvey] Think of the tactical advantage it would give us in battle!


Harvey: Aha, good plan, Cadet! So we can drop the stink bombs from above, yes?


Mac: [Sarcastically] Yes, lets take the *slowest* transport around. What a fantastic idea! Why not have a picnic while we're at it?


Harvey: Oh, I don't think it's the slowest form of transport. I had to ride to Vietnumnum on an alcoholic donkey. Blasted thing wouldn't move unless it had a bottle of rum in its mouth. I had to keep stopping every few yards to pick it up when it dropped the bottle, or to change it. Then it fell over and went to sleep. *That* was probably the slowest form of transport known to man, what? The picnic idea is a good one though!

;;; Hometime


Alice: You know, if someone punctured the balloon, it would probably travel a lot faster. Of course, what I want to know is why HARMA have a balloon in the first place. I don't think it's for picnics or for racing against alcoholic donkeys.


Austin : [Looking at the balloon] It should be simple enough to shoot it down, a few holes and it should slowly descend to the ground without harma-ing those inside. [Smirks at his own joke] I suspect that they are using it as a look out, supposedly as a defense, but really to subjugate the masses..


Alice: [Nods] If it's HARMA, then it's almost certainly something to subjugate the masses.


Zap: [Considering the balloon with a big smile] After we're through with her, she'll go down faster than a hot nun during Sunday mass, [nudges Clint] when she's sitting next to the Zapper, that is. [Concerned] But I don't have any weapons that are to be used at a distance! Those are only for the cowardly and weak.


Harvey: I say, perhaps it's tethered to the ground somehow?


[As the party get closer, they can see that it is actually tethered to the ground. The city gates are closed and a HARMA operative, ANTON ANON, who the party have dealt with in the past, is standing outside.]

Anton: [To the party] In the name of HARMA, stop!

;;; Although at one stage the party were wanted criminals, since

;;; the Bliss they have been able to move around without any problems


Dur: Stop what? We haven't done anything yet!


Anton: [Waves a warning finger at the party] And make sure it stays that way!


Dur: No problem there! We are the honest sort of people, right group? Can we go on in?=


Zap: Right, doc! [Swaggers up to Anton] I'm General Zap Flasheart, soldier, so it goes without saying that you can trust me and my well-oiled team of [looks the party over skeptically] people?


Dur: That's righ.... [Pauses mid-sentence] Wait, are we supposed to be oiled up?=


Alice: Well, we don't *have* to be..!

Anton: Wow! General Flasheart! Everyone thought you were dead!


Zap: [Big, cheesy grin] Nobody can take down the Zapper, soldier! Now, let us through so I can spread the word to the lovely, lonely ladies that I am alive and ready for action [nudges Harvey] if you know what I mean!


Harvey: Oh, absolutely, Cadet! [To Anton, impatiently] Well, what are you waiting for, man?!? Open up, by the saints!


Anton: Gosh, I'd love to, but you know, anal sex is one of the things that they've made illegal.


Harvey: [Blinks, then turns slowly to Zap] Um, Cadet...?


Zap: Who said anything about anal sex?! I mean, sure, probably--but I didn't mention it!


Dur: In that case, I am NOT oiling up... [Shudders]


Mac: [To Anton] Just let us through you incompetent fool! Can't you see we're a band of superior HARMA officers in disguise?! You're ruining everything!


Anton: [Bent over, looking at the party backwards through his legs] Oh, of course. [Embarrassed] Er, yes, sorry about that. [Hands Zap a note] Here's my address, in case you want, er, in case you need anything.

[ANTON opens the gate and the party stroll in. Apraxia is a mid sized town with a population of over 10,000, but it seems strangely quiet, and most people are walking quietly, with their heads down. Many of the shops are closed, although one stands out amongst the rest, which is the "Flouncy Underwear Store".]


Zap: [Nods at the Flouncy Underwear Store] This place should be crawling with lovelies! Let's go!


[Everyone heads into the store, which is crammed with underwear so flouncy it's difficult to get around. Behind the counter is BRUNI, DARIUS' wife. Her face lights up when she sees the party, and she gives them a big wave.]

Bruni: Yay! I knew you'd get back! Come on in! Oh, and put the closed sign on the door.


Mac: [Flipping the sign to closed] Bruni, how are you?


Austin : [Sighs] Lovelies with absolutley no taste.

;;; awa for rest of the day!


Harvey: Now, Austin, it might be the exact type of style you would normally wear, but let's see what they have to say, what?


Bruni: [To Mac] Just nifty, but things here haven't been so good since you've been gone. Say, will I make you some golden honeyed locust sandwiches? You must be starving!


Zap: [Gives Bruni a cheesy grin] Thank you, sexy lady! And maybe afterward, you and I could slip into the back and take a look at your own underwear. I'll bet it's flouncy and sssssexy!


Bruni: [Laughs] I like this guy! Although he clearly doesn't know Darius. [Gives him a wink] So sexy it's about to be banned!

Alice: So, how long have we been gone, Bruni?

Bruni: About a month, give or take a day or two. I guess you picked up on Charlie's message then? Your timing is great, she's just about to call in.


Mac: [To Bruni] That would be lovely, thank you. [To Zap] For once can you not hit on someone? Bruni happens to be married to one of our friends.


Zap: All I need to know about Darius is he isn't nearly good enough for you, cutie! But why are they going to close down your store? Too racy for HARMA?


Clint: A month! This dimensional time-slip crap always makes my head hurt!


Harvey: Cadet, focus on the mission if you would. There are important questions to be asked, what? [To Bruni] What has happened since we left? What are HARMA doing here in force? And do you have any more of these delightful golden honeyed locust sandwiches?


Bruni: [Laughs at Zap] Of course he's not, but then, no one is! He is, however, the best there is. [Starts making more sandwiches for Harvey] I guess you've been gone for a month, right? Well, shortly after that divorce hearing you were all at, HARMA suddenly started appearing all over the place. They are the elected officials, so there's not a whole lot people can do. Then, last week, things stated to get really weird. [To the others in the party] What would you like for a snack?


Dur: How did things get weird?


[The door of the shop opens. Enter CHARLIE]

Charlie: [Relieved] How marvelous, you're all back, finally! [Looks everyone over] Is everyone all right?


Alice: Well, for as start, you refused a snack! Charlie! Welcome back!

Zap: Ah, the redoubtable Charlie. Looking to be Zapped, no doubt!


Charlie: [To Alice] Why, thank you! I do hope the group didn't suffer too much in my absence? [To Zap] Certainly not. In fact, it is extremely dangerous to use magic of any kind at the moment! HARMA has been poisoning everyone, and anyone who uses magic dies instantly, and in rather gruesome fashion!


Mac: [Looking nervous] Ah, so that's what we witnessed. Certainly glad we didn't try any magic then. Do you happen to know why HARMA is everywhere, Charlie?


Bruni: Because there are so many of them! Colonel Nunpar says it's to protect people.


Charlie: [To Mac] You and Dur should be all right, as they only started poisoning the water since all of you have been gone. And even before HARMA started poisoning people, Pestilence made certain that we had our own protected water supply at the Manor, so our water is safe, at least.


Clint: So when are we gonna take out these HARMA nuts for good, anyway? And can we steal their balloon first? And is Wilhelmina taller than you yet?


Harvey: [Munching on a sandwich] We should resupply then attack under cover of darkness, just before dawn. The scoundrels will never see us coming!


Charlie: [To Clint] I don't know HOW we can stop them. There are thousands of them, and they're more powerful than ever! I suggest we face one thing at a time and find a way to address the problem of the poisoned water first.


Bruni: Charlie's right. There are a LOT of HARMA people. We need to sort out that poisoned water supply first -- we need to distribute the antidote.

Zap: What about the baby supply? Those Yellow Ties have them. What will we do about that?

Bruni: Someone needs to get back to their dimension, but it's a dangerous and possibly sui-

Zap: I'll do it!


Charlie: [To Zap] How splendid of you! What supplies do you require? We'll do what we can to help prepare you for this perilous journey!


Zap: Nothing but a kiss from the sexist lady in the room!

Alice: [Sighs] Sorry, Zap, I told you that I'm --

Zap: [Laughs] Not you!

Alice: Phew! [Thinks for a moment] Hey!


Charlie: [Relieved] Marvelous, I'm sure Bruni is happy to oblige!


Bruni: Oh, I shouldn't, but, go on, then!

[BRUNI grabs ZAP and bends him over, giving him a long, passionate kiss, which finishes with an audible pop. ZAP staggers back after it.]

Zap: Wow! Phew! [Tries to regain his composure] Uh, where was I going again? [Calms down] Ah yes! Those babies! I have a teleportation orb that will jump me back into their dimension, I took the precaution of setting it when we were in there. The Zapper always plans ahead!


Harvey: Cadet, you make the service proud. [Salutes crisply] By the saints I wish I were going with you, but I know you'll get the job done. No doubt we'll meet again on some battlefield somewhere else, what?


Zap: [Gives Harvey an extravagant salute in return] Colonel, it was a privilege to serve with you again. You and the Doc look after these guys, and when you finally get hold of Joe Nunpar, you give him one for the Zapper! [Takes out an orb, and disappears]


Austin : We really should find out where everyone else gets their orbs from. [Sighs. Spots some extra flouncy underwear and frowns. Turns to Charlie] We did not get your message. The notepad under the tree was blank when we found it.


Bruni: You better be careful, though. Orbs are now illegal, not to mention lethal to use!


Charlie: [To Austin] Yes, I am sorry for being a tad cryptic, but that WAS the message. One must be careful drawing HARMA's attention these days, you see. I thought, given the group's obsession with my underwear, you'd surely notice the tree and associate it with me. The notepad was further indication that I needed to communicate with you, and I assumed you'd come to see me. [Delighted] Brilliant, wouldn't you say?!


Austin : [Deadpan] Genius.


Alice: Oh, that's weird. I thought the underwear was a reference to *my* flouncy underwear, you know, given how flouncy not granny-panty at all it is?


Bruni: [Brightly] Sure it was!


Harvey: Well, now that that's sorted, what's to be done about HARMA, eh?


Bruni: There are a couple of high powered wizards who'll be able to cure the poison, but at the moment, they too are poisoned. We need to get a cure for the poison.

Alice: How come the Knights aren't all over this?

Bruni: Poisoned! They're all either in hiding or in prison.


Austin : [To Bruni] Do you have idea of what form a cure might take, or who can help us? What if we stop the HARMA putting poison into the water supply?



Dur: Perhaps Mac and I can help. As I understand it, we are not poisoned and can still use magic?=


Mac: Even 2 magicians can't take out the entirety of HARMA. We need to plan this carefully. What does HARMA intend to gain from all this?


Charlie: The usual--more power, more control over the populace. The more they impede our ability to resist, the easier we are to control!


Bruni: [Nods] That's right. It's all about control. They've clamped down on magic and cheese already, before long it'll be everything from Honey Golden Locust sandwiches to cardigans to creamy cakes. [Looks sad] I really like creamy cakes. There is an antidote, though, although it's a little tricky to get at.


Mac: Then it seems our strategy must be to undermine their control. To free as many people as possible, which is no easy task. How do we go about starting a resistance again HARMA?


Austin : [Smugly] If it was easy I am sure you would not need our help.


Bruni: Oh, I don't know, Austin. [Gives a big smile] You guys are such fun to be around I'd always want you involved! [To Mac] The first step is to get the antidote, once people can use magic again, it'll be easier to get organized.


Mac: Sounds like the start of a plan. Where do we get the antidote?


Harvey: They must be supplying it to their troops, what? Where are their headquarters?


Bruni: No, they're not! They are really hard core -- not even HARMA officers use magic now. I do know where there's likely to be an antidote, but it involves jumping to a different dimension.


Charlie: Pestilence and I have tried to go, but for some reason he appears to be barred from entering. And, needless to say, he wouldn't consent to let me go alone. [Brightly] So, I've been waiting for all of YOU!


Austin : [Deadpan, sighs] We are sooo lucky to have you.


Dur: After all the time and dimension jumping we have done already, it seems like common practice now. How do we get there?=


Austin : And just how dangerous is it?


Charlie: Well, there is SOME danger involved, as there always is with our work. But there is a greater danger in doing nothing!


Austin : So what is the plan Sarge?


Harvey: Well, Private Sleaze, clearly the plan is to go to this other dimension, get this antidote, then come back and give the dastardly blighters what for, what?!?


Charlie: Precisely so, Colonel! [To the party] I assume all of you are willing to undertake this mission?


Austin : But the details colonel, the details. [Casually checks his nails]


Bruni: [Gives a little clap] Yay! That's great! Now, this other dimension, it is kind of dangerous, but as long as you keep a low profile, you'll be okay. You'll need an orb to get there, of course -- I don't have it, but I can send you to someone who does. He's a [waves her fingers around] mysterious stranger!


Alice: Well said, Aus! Now, why don't YOU make the plan? After all, you know as much about this other dimension as the rest of us, don't you?


Charlie: [To Bruni] How intriguing! How do we meet this stranger? A secret location we must be taken to wearing masks? Oooh, or perhaps in a darkened parking garage, and we only see him in shadow? [Excited] Oh, oh--and he only speaks in code?!


Alice: Cool! I want to wear a Harvey mask -- that'll really freak people out!

Bruni: Uh, sure, you could do that, or... you know, not, maybe! He has a room in a tavern nearby, if you give a password to the barman, he'll arrange for you to see him. But, please, you've got to respect his privacy. He's told me that he will only help if no one knows who he is.

Alice: So no one knows who he is? Not even his mother?

Bruni: She didn't even know he was born!


Harvey: Does *he* know who he is?


Austin : [To Alice, shrugging] I don't know anything about where the portal is or the other dimension, that's why I was asking. It does sound like this anonymous chap knows plenty about it. Why else would he be so secretive?

;;;out for the rest of the day!


Charlie: He does sound rather eccentric, Brun, but I suppose we must rely on extraordinary means in extraordinary times! [To the party] Shall we go meet this mystery man, group?!


Bruni: Before you do, here's something you may find useful. [Holds her hand out with a small box for the party to take] You can only use it once, though, and when you open the box, you have to use it immediately. [Gives a "I know I know" look and a sheepish grin] I know, it all sounds super mysterious, but I promise you, you'll know when the time is right.


Alice: None of us know anything about it, Austin! Why do you insist on Charlie or Harvey having details, Austin, details, when they have the same information as you? [To Bruni] Why *does* this mysterious guy insist on being so secretive?

Bruni: I don't know, it's a secret.


Charlie: [Takes the box, fretting] Oh, I hate those sorts of things! I never know when the time is right. One prefers to be able to follow a line of scientific evidence to a logical conclusion, rather than leaving such things to [finger quotes] instinct. [Prissily] It's all rather sloppy, really. [Pockets the box] Right, let's be off, group!


[Book VIII, Act III, Scene III. The Streets of Apraxia. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and MAC are here, heading to the Fabulous And Relaxing Tavern.]

Alice: Right, so we need to go in and ask for a mysterious stranger, right? I wonder what's in the box.


Harvey: Let us go inside, troop, and see if we can spot anyone trying not to be spotted!


Charlie: Good plan, Colonel! [To Alice] Do you think it's the right time to open it? Does it [finger quotes] feel right?


Bruni: Don't worry, Charlie, you'll know!

[Exit the party.]

Bruni: [Sighs happily] Ah! I just know they'll be able to -- hey! Who stole that box of frilly underpants?

;;; End of scene


Alice: I don't know, I haven't even touched the box!

[The party enter and find that the bar is absolutely full of brooding men in hoods, each sitting by himself. There is a barman here, RAI JORDRIGUEZ.]

Rai: Darlings, please, take a seat, immediately!


Charlie: [To Alice] Oooh, you SHOULD touch it! It's actually terribly cold. [To Rai] Thank you, but your tone is rather too personal, I must say.


Mac: We're not interested in a seat. We're looking for someone.


Rai: [To Mac] Sweetie, we're all looking for someone. I hope for your sake that it's a brooding man in a hood.

Alice: [Touches the box] Wow, Charlie, your box is really cold!


Charlie: [To Rai] Almost certainly! Could you point us in the direction of such a man? [To Alice] I know, isn't it peculiar?!


Rai: Honey, Sweetheart, look around you! The bar is full of such men. Unless, [licks his lips salaciously as he looks at Austin] you want a fresh faced young innocent?

Austin: [Steps behind Alice] Er, no, that's okay.


Charlie: [To Rai, dismissively] Do stop addressing me in such a personal tone. It is most inappropriate! [Scans the room] Well, group? See anyone who looks especially mysterious?


Harvey: I see lots of people *trying* to look mysterious, what?


Alice: And badly, in some cases! Look at those guys! [Points to a group of spotty teenagers drinking beer out of a single glass with six straws]

Austin: [Sighs and inspects his nails] I believe Bruni told us we had to give the barman a password.


Mac: Yes, she did. [To the barman] Can I give you a password?


Rai: Honey, you can give me anything you want!


Harvey: Gah! Don't just give it to anyone who happens behind the bar, Private! We should ask him to give us a password so we know he's the right barman and we can give him our password! [To Alice, tapping his nose knowingly] You don't make it through Vietnumnum without picking up a few things, my dear, what?


Alice: Too true, Uncle H -- thank Phili for those doctors, eh?

Charlie: [Whispers to the party] Did anyone actually get the password from Bruni?


Harvey: Maybe we should ask the barman?


;;; Heather's AFK

Charlie: Good idea, Colonel, but get a password from him before you ask him anything!


Harvey: Right! But before I ask him for a password which might reveal who we are, I shall acquire a password from him to be sure of his identity, what? [To Rai] I need a password from you so I know that I can ask for another password, which I need in order to determine whether I can tell you that we are the [Loudly so everyone can hear] QUEEN'S VIEW PARTY. [Quieter, to Charlie] How was that?


Charlie: [Grimaces] Shockingly bad, Colonel.

Rai: The Queens View Party, eh?

[The hooded men all turn and look.]

Men: Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb!

Rai: Now, why would I want to give you a password?


Charlie: These are dangerous times! One can never be too sure.


Austin : [Rolls his eyes] The details. No one ever bother about the details. [Sighs]


Alice: [Looks at her nails, a la Austin] The details, Austin, the details! Why didn't you think of the details?! [To Rai] It's about talking to [lowers her voice] a mysterious stranger. But before we give you our password, we have to know that you're the real barman. So, what's the password?

Rai: Wow, I'm not sure, I suppose if I had to guess I'd say it's abcd1234.


Harvey: Indeed Private Sleaze, indeed. Details such as "does this place sell snakes feet"? I'm framished!


Rai: Well? Is that it?


Harvey: [Looks confused] Um. [To the party] Was that the right password?


Mac: [Quietly to the part] I don't think so.


Harvey: Hmph, this is going to take all day, by the saints! Maybe we should give him a hint, what?


Charlie: [Strides over to the bar. To the barman, with confidence] Abcd1234!


Austin : I think that 'abcd1234' will do just fine. [To the barman] Now, please can you take us to see this mysterious person in the secret room round the back?


Rai: [Face lights up] Yay! That's it. [To Austin] He's not upstairs, but, I can tell you that he's in room 13. Knock three times and wait for him to answer. Also, each of you get a voucher for a free drink and steak dinner which is valid before 5.30PM tonight. That's a two gold piece value!


Charlie: [Delighted] How splendid! [To Harvey and Dur, firmly] We are not using those vouchers until we've spoken to this mysterious man, so do restrain yourselves! Now, come along, group! [Heads for Room 13]


Austin : [To Rai] Excellent! What a fine establishment you run here. [Takes the vouchers and distributes them between the party] Does anyone know what time it is?

;;; Probably should have mentioned that I was going to be out on Friday :x


[The party head up the stairs.]

Alice: Sure, Aus, it's [checks her watch] 5.31PM.

[They arrive at Room 13.]


Austin : [Looks at his flyer] A feeble ruse to fool the prole into parting with his money. [Knocks on the door 3 times]


Harvey: And when do we have to use the vouchers by?


Alice: 5.30! [To Austin] I don't think so, Aus, because look, even if you don't have the voucher, you can still get a meal for 1GP!

[A voice calls out.]

Voice: Enter.


Austin : [Carefully opens the door and ushers the others in To Alice] Afteryou.


Dur: Anyone else feel a little concerned when a disembodied voice tells youto enter?=


Charlie: [To Dur] Don't be silly! Just because we can't SEE his body doesn't mean he lacks one, [adds uncertainly] necessarily! [Enters the room]


Alice: Why, Austin, if I didn't know you better, I would think you were being a gentleman! [Steps in]

[This is a normal looking room hotel room, and there is a HOODED STRANGER standing facing the door. His hood is pulled down over his face and there is a very bright light behind him.]

Stranger: I've been expecting you, although I would have thought you'd be downstairs gorging yourselves on free food at the moment.


Dur: We are full of surprises! [Stomach growls audibly for all to hear] Butless full of food... [Dur looks longingly at the door] .


Harvey: Sounds like a good plan, what? Let's go, troop!


Charlie: [To the Stranger] We were told you could help us travel to another dimension. Is that it behind you? [Points at the light behind him]


Austin : I for one feel rather uncomfortable about traveling through a portal with only the assurance of a hodded figure that we will be safe. [To the rest of the party] Does no one else want to know who this hooded figure is?


Stranger: No, that's a very bright light to make it difficult for you to see me.


Alice: Of course we do!

Stranger: There's nothing to worry about, Austin. You trust Bruni, don't you? Then trust her judgement.


Austin : [Sighs] I barely even know Bruni, but I guess today is as good as any other to die.


Charlie: [Confidently] Well, I've gotten to know her, and she's terribly trustworthy. [Less confident] And you trust ME, don't you?


Dur: As much as we could trust any wife of a demon I suppose!


Alice: [To Charlie, a little unconvincingly] Sure!

Stranger: [Gestures to a wooden box, about three inches cubed] There are two orbs that will get you to the other dimension back. I can't tell you too much about what lies in wait, but what you are looking for is a general dispell magic potion. It is likely to be very well protected, and your skill at tuning pianos is going to be key.

;;; Unless you've already heard otherwise from me, your character

;;; knows nothing about pianos.


Clint: [Uncertainly.] You can tune a piano?


Austin : [Looks around the party] Can anyone here tune a piano?


Alice: Not me!


Charlie: No, but I'm sure it can't be THAT difficult. I can pop into the library and get a book about it!


Clint: Maybe it would be easier to just, say, kidnap a piano tuner and take him with us?


Harvey: Fine plan Private Scar! Now, where do we find a piano tuner with reasonable kidnap rates?


Austin : Perhaps we should just find a piano tuner first, and worry about rates later.


Stranger: The International Piano Tuning University is located in Apraxia, I'm sure you can find a suitable victim there.


Charlie: What a remarkable stroke of luck! Group, let us go to the University!


Clint: Then let's go to Apraxia and find the world's most heroic piano tuner! Heroes always work for cheap.


Alice: [Picks up the orbs] Well, thanks Mr. Mysterious Stranger!

Stranger: My pleasure.

[Exit the party, although they stop out in the hall. They can hear the STRANGER talking to himself.]

Stranger: Oh yes, Alice, it is my pleasure to help you and your little party. [Breaks into a huge laugh]


Clint: [Quietly.] Hey, do we trust the stranger? He seems a little weird.


Harvey: Just like most of the people we meet on a daily basis, what?!?


Charlie: [To Clint] Bruni wouldn't have sent him to us if he wasn't in some way reliable. [Frets] Unless he has her fooled. She DID marry that awful Darius, after all! [To Alice] He certainly seemed interested in you! Did you recognize his voice?


Alice: Hey, I *am* very interesting, Charlie! He also seemed to know Austin, and, well, maybe Harvey and Dur too, you know, with his remarks about food.

[The stranger continues to laugh, clearly unaware that the party are outside.]

Stranger: That's right, my friends, you play your role, play it just right!


Austin : Well why don't we find out who he is? Let's go back in there and decloak him!

;;;Does Aus recognise his voice?


Harvey: I say, there does seem to be something a little odd about that fellow, what? I can't quite put my finger on it, though.

;;; Going to be out from 11 till 12 UK time


Mac: Or if you guys go downstairs and get some food I'll stay here, being very quiet, and find out who he is!

;;; Sorry about yesterday. Forgot to check my e-mails till about 3pm,

;;; and then didn't have time to catch up until this morning.


Charlie: Hmm, I agree with Austin! Let's just go back in and take his cloak. [To Mac, firmly] You are quite brave to volunteer, but we cannot split the party--it's too great a risk!


Austin : Indeed sarge, we should stay together if at all possible.


Alice: [Waves a warning finger at Mac] Never split the party!

[The party push the door open and spot that the MYSTERIOUS STRANGER has pulled his hood down. It is DR. JEROME K. TRINDLE, BSC, PHD.]

Jerome: [Still chortling to himself] Oh yes, and wait until they find the truth -- oh, crap!

Alice: [Shocked] Jerome?

;;; Jerome is an ex-party member who went on to become a member of the

;;; Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, killing all the older party members

;;; at least once as he did so. He was on the brink of taking over the world

;;; when he finally relented, and killed himself on top of (the hill of)

;;; Clementine. When Clementine came to earth, Jerome was with her,

;;; but was noncorporeal. He is responsible (possibly indirectly) for bringing

;;; Austin back to life and did save the party when they were on the way

;;; to Queens View to stop Clementine, when the Interferons killed the

;;; Custos-Clementines, although they did steal Austin's Orb of Generomentis

;;; when they did.


Harvey: Gah! I say, by the saints, what are *you* doing here?!?


Jerome: Gah! You weren't supposed to see me! [Steps through the wall and disappears]

Alice: Let's follow him! [Runs at the wall and crashes into it] Ow.


Mac: After him! [Rushes out of the room and heads to the room Jerome just went into]

;;; Assuming he went into another room and not out of the building.


Austin : [Walking cautiously after Mac] Is he just terribly keen or disturbingly suicidal? [Calling after Mac] Mac, you do realise that Trindle has killed us all at least once?


Charlie: [Holds up the box Bruni gave her] What do you think? Is it time to open this?


Mac: [Stopping abruptly at Austin's words] Killed? Um... [optimistically] fighters first?


Alice: [To Charlie] I don't know, she made it sound like we would definitely know when to use it.

[The party are now outside room #14.]

Alice: [To Austin] That's true, although, if he wanted us dead, why didn't he kill us just now? Or when the Interferons took that orb from you?


Charlie: [Exasperated] See, I knew I wouldn't know! [Gives a quick knock on the door of 14] Hello, anyone there? [Tries the door knob]


[No answer, and the door is open. CHARLIE pushes it in, and it is another, almost identical room to the last, but there is no sign of JEROME. From downstairs the party hear a commotion, and an angry voice.]

Voice: I don't need any password! I'm a HARMA Officer, and we're here to investigate allegations of magic use!


Dur: That sounds like our cue to make with our escape!


Alice: How? We're on the fourth floor!

;;; out for about 30 mins


Charlie: [To Alice] Did he really give you an orb? Perhaps we should use it now. Maybe he intended for us to follow him!


Austin : And we do not have a piano tuner! [Looks out of the nearest window] Perhaps we could escape accross the rooftops?

;;; Do any of the windows allow for roof top escape?


Mac: If we're quick enough we can go down a level an hide in some rooms.


Alice: Yes, I have the orbs. [Holds up the box showing that there are two orbs] Which is it? Downstairs or up on the roof?

;;;; Yes!


Charlie: The roof! Hurry! If we go downstairs, HARMA will certainly arrest us.


Harvey: Right! You chase the devil across the rooftops, while I [Puffs out his chest self-importantly] take on the job of securing the supplies!

;;; Sorry guys! Had one meeting then got pulled into another at short notice.


Alice: I have the supplies!

[The party run out onto the balcony, and can see that they can climb onto the roof from there.]

Alice: Hang on! I've got an idea. [Runs to the door and puts a "Do Not Disturb" sign on it] Hah! That'll keep them out!


Austin : [Lithely opens a window and slips out onto the roof top, with the grace of a practiced expert] Ahh, just like old tim... [trying to hide his ease] Oh, I say, this looks rather dangerous, do be careful!


Alice: [Climbs up after Austin, pausing to shake her rear end at the party before saying in a very unconvincing way] Oh no. I hope everyone doesn't see my super flouncy underwear.


Dur: Women choose the most inappropriate times to show off their undies! [Looks to Charlie] Right, Chuck?=


Charlie: [To Alice, scolding] Oh, do hurry! We'll all admire your underwear and feed your disturbing need for inappropriate attention later! [Heads for the window]


Mac: [Runs to the window, pausing half way to admire Alice's flouncy underwear] My Alice! That is extremely flouncy. I'm amazed that you can still move with the weight of all those frills.


Harvey: Private Brindleworth! A gentleman should avert his... er look awa... I say, that's quite a feat of structural engineering, what?


Clint: Not now, Harv! You guys go for the window and I'll cover our escape! [Looks around for something suitably fragile to break, on general principle.] By Phili, I love this kind of thing! Haw!


Alice: [To Mac] As long as I don't go swimming in them, they're fine!

[Everyone but CLINT is on the room, but the door into the room is suddenly split. Clearly someone huge is smashing it in.]

Alice: [Looks around] Where now? [Gets narrowly missed by an arrow] Hey!

[The HARMA balloon is moving towards the party.]


Charlie: Mr. Scar, join us at once! [Eyes the balloon] Could we jump to the balloon and commandeer it?!


[A hail of arrows engulf the party, hitting everyone at least twice.]

Alice: Those bastards! Not a chance, Charlie! Unless we had our OWN balloon, and attacked them from above!


Charlie: Then perhaps we'd better use the orb!


Clint: [Eyes the splitting door.] That's my cue! [Heads out onto the roof.]


Dur: And sooner rather than later if you could!


[A voice calls out from the balloon using a megaphone.]

Voice: Stop in the name of HARMA! Do not use any magic, I repeat, do not use any magic!

Alice: Right! [Throws one of the orbs onto the roof]

[The orb hits the roof and a large, shimmering hole opens up.[

Voice: Hey! What did I just tell you?


Mac: But without a piano tuner there's no point going into the alternative dimension. We have to find a way out on foot.


Harvey: Good point Private Brindleworth!


Alice: Maybe it is, but it's a bit late, isn't it?? And anyway, how the hell are we going to escape on foot?

[Another round of arrows strikes, and everyone is knocked to the ground.]


Clint: [Trying to shield everyone at once.] If it's Jerry saying that we need to tune a piano, why the hell should we believe him anyway? Let's just get out of here!



Charlie: Crawl into the hole, group! [Heads for the hole]

;;; Are these current? We're missing Harv?


Harvey: Take cover, troop!

;;; Jerrick's on there


Alice: Where, Harvey? Maybe we should just get into the hole and go to this other dimension. This is like them shooting sitting ducks in a barrel!

;;; Sure, it SAYS Jerrick, but it MEANS Harvey! :)


Clint: I told you we should have stolen that balloon!


Mac: Yep, and hindsight is 20-20. [Jumps through the portal]


Clint: [Frustrated.] It's not hindsight if I said we should do it before! [Waves the rest of the party through the portal.]


Alice: Yeesh, Clint. Why didn't you suggest that earlier? [Leaps through]


Charlie: [To the party] Come on, everyone! [Hops through]


Harvey: Retrea-- er, I mean tactical withdrawal!


Last from me 101

[Exit ALL, into the hole.]


[Book VIII, Act III, Scene IV. The Dark Room. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and MAC are here, crammed into a tiny room.]

Alice: Hey! Where the hell are we? And what's that awful smell?

;;; No, it's not just Clint, it's something else too.


Clint: [Defensively.] I didn't do it!


Austin : [Slowly pulling an arrow out of his suit] Perhaps we could get some healing spells on the go? [Winces in pain] Mac and I nearly died out there!


Harvey: Dur, I need you to get my troop shipshape! And somebody do something about that awful smell, what?!?


Mac: [Gags on the smell before remembering his wounds] OW! Those arrows bloody hurt!


Charlie: [To Dur] Can you even see Mac and Mr. Sleaze?! We really could use more room, so that you can work your magic, so to speak. [Feels around for a door] Does anyone see a way out?


Alice: I can't find any!

[The room is suddenly flooded with light from above, and, although no one has a chance to adjust to the light properly, the party can see that they are in what appears to be a huge box of socks, into which dozens more are added.]

Alice: Maybe we're in some sort of hell dimension?


Harvey: A hell dimension which bears an uncanny resemblance to a laundry bin! By the saints, we are truly damned! [Pauses, reflectively] Actually brings back memories... Hmm, I was in Vietnumnum - or was it Kareo...?


Austin : Maybe we are in a sock factory, and maybe we should try to climb out of this box [Austin tries to climb out of the box, standing on Clint's shoulders if he has to] Brace yourself Mr Scar!


Alice: What? You think they make dirty socks? Ow! Hey! That's not Clint you're standing on!

;;; I'm sure Tom's not around yet!

Clint: Yes it is!

[AUSTIN pushes the lid open, flooding the hamper with light. He can see that the party appear to be in a bedroom.]


Austin : [Climbs out of the hamper] I have a very very bad feeling about this! [Tries to help the others out of the hamper]


Dur: We should have a bad feeling about anything we do, just to be prepared! We always seem to dig ourselves into more trouble.=


Mac: [Climbs out and looks around] Where the hell are we?

;;; I'm guessing we're small compared to the objects in the room to

;;; have fit in the hamper?


;;; No!

[The party all climb out, and can see that the hamper is recessed into the floor. Everything else in the room is normal sized. There is a man in one corner, who is hunched over and wearing socks on his feet and hands, this is DIBO BUCHIC, and he appears to be polishing the floor with his hand socks.]


Charlie: [To Dibo, trying not to look horrified] Er, hello, there! I hate to disturb you, uh, further, but--where are we?


Harvey: Perhaps we should, um, interrogate him, what?


Mac: [Shocked] We can't just interrogate any innocent we find!


Harvey: Why, of course not, Private Brindleworth, I would never suggest interrogating *any* innocent we find - just this one. [Sadly] Such things are sometimes necessary in war, young Mac.


Alice: [Starts laughing] Oh! Oh! If he starts screaming or whatever, [laughs some more] we can tell him -- hold on [tries to contain her laughter] give me a moment, [composes herself] we can tell him to... wait for it... be quiet! [Roars with laughter, but slowly stops, embarassed when no one else reacts]

Dibo: [Startled] Who the hell are you people and what were you doing in the hamper?

Alice: Oh wait, I should have said "we can tell him to put a SOCK in it!"


Mac: [Groans loudly] Alice! That was terrible. [To Dibo] Hello, we just arrived here. Umm... where is here?


Charlie: [To Dibo, briskly] I am the inspector and these are my assistants! I am here to make sure you're doing your job, so do behave! [Looks around the room, inspecting] Right, I've seen everything I need to see. [To the party] Group, let us go at once and write our report.

;;; Any doors?


Harvey: [To Alice] Now, my dear, bad jokes have been an effective torture technique in the past, but a nice young woman of virtue such as yourself should not engage in such things, what? Best leave the terrible comedy to those of hardier disposition, eh? [Pauses, reflectively] Why, I once caused the fearless Immortals of Vietnumnum to desert and scatter in terror, just by uttering the words "why did the golden honeyed locust cross the road?" And I thought that joke was rather good!


Austin : [To Dibo, pointing at a spec of dust on the floor] You missed a spot!


Alice: [Dismayed at the party's reaction] Huh. I thought it was devastingly clever. You know what they say, puns are the highest form of witless!

Dibo: [Looks at the spot pointed out by Austin] No! No! I already cleaned that! [Scoots over to it and spits on the spot, before polishing it crazily.]

[There is one door leading out.]


Harvey: [To Alice] Of course they are, dear. [To the party] Well, troop, shall we engage in some reconnaissance?


Charlie: [Quickly heads to the door, motioning for the party to follow her. In a low voice] Time to go!


Austin : It could take us some time to check the entire floor.


Dibo: Yes, Grim, I'll clean the floor, yes, yes I will!

[CHARLIE pushes the door open to reveal a normal, if unusually clean house.]


Dur: I bet he [Points to Dibo] knows where we need to go...


Alice: Yes. I bet he does.


Charlie: [Turns to Dibo] Excuse me, who is Grim?


Harvey: Well, we all look pretty grim, what?


Dibo: Sorry! Sorry! I didn't mean any disrespect! I only called her Grim as a token of my affection!

Alice: Whoever she is, she certainly *sounds* nice!


Charlie: [To Dibo] Where could we find this Grim? What is her given name?


Dibo: Uh, is this a trick question? She lives in the castle. And how can you not know the name Grimhilde Rasumussen Ostergaard?


Harvey: Well, a name like that is quite a mouthful, what?

;;; That's me for tonight. See you tomorrow


Charlie: Aha, but we do! This is part of our inspection, making sure YOU know! [Casually] And where is the castle?


Dibo: Uh, on top of the hill?

Alice: [To Harvey] It is quite a mouthful, but, you know, it sounds strangely familiar.


Charlie: [Gasps. Whispers to the party] You're right--that's Bruni! [Frets] What a peculiar turn of events!


Alice: Not quite Bruni, isn't she Brunhilde Granuaile Rasumussen Ostergaard?

Dibo: [Gets between Alice and Charlie] Excuse me, there's a spot here.

Alice: Is he wearing any clothes?

Dibo: I'm wearing five socks!


Clint: And make sure it stay that way!


Charlie: [Quickly] Right, that's what I said, Bruni's family name! [To Dibo] Is it difficult to get into the castle? Does one need a special invitation?

;;; Sigh, no I didn't read properly, so both Charlie and I

;;; are wrong and guilty of not paying close attention! : )


;;; Tsk!

Dibo: Oh, it's totally diffic. Especially with her big celebration coming up.


Clint: [Nodding sagely.] Yeah, the big celebration. Cleaning the floors, tuning the pianos, that sort of thing?


Dibo: Oh yeah, you know what she's like if those pianos are out of tune!


Austin : [Sternly to Dibo] And how many pianos does she have?


Harvey: Something of a piano enthusiast, is she, eh?


Mac: And who would happen to be the official tuner for said pianos?


Harvey: There may even be more than one, what? I remember General Mettelch had a whole brigade of specially trained men just to peel his oranges. Very particular about how his oranges were peeled, that man. 1st Orange Brigade, 4th Logistical Services Division, they were called.


Austin : [Ponders] A fascinating story colonel. The intricacies of modern warfare.


Charlie: [To Harvey, riveted] Oh, I think I read about that brigade! Weren't they the ones embroiled in the Orange Peel Chicken Scandal?


Harvey: [Grimaces] Indeed they were. Hardly their finest hour, what? But I feel it's important to remember their successes as well, and respect the vital part they played in the war effort - they peeled many thousands of oranges for the General, and possibly made the crushing defeat we suffered slightly less crushing.


Alice: Ah yes, the famous Orange Crush Defeat.

Dibo: Uh, I don't know how many pianos she has. One? Five million? Somewhere in between? I don't know!


Austin : [Makes a note in his note pad] Shame.


Dibo: Yes, I do feel shame. Look at the filth here! [Gestures to the unnaturally clean room]


Harvey: [To Alice, still rambling about the Orange Brigade] Hmm indeed. Indeed. [Pause] Some people say that commanders should spend less time worrying about oranges and more time, you know, *commanding*, but by the saints anyone who knows how he likes his oranges peeled is alright by me! Can you imagine if men went into battle with their oranges peeled any which way? It'd be chaos, what?


Dur: With all due respect, Colonel, I don't think that peeled oranges are the answer to our dilemma here.=


Harvey: Eh, what dilemma? We can't have people running round having dilemmas willy-nilly, especially not with unpeeled oranges. [Muttering, shaking his head] How is anyone supposed to maintain an effective, disciplined fighting unit with dilemmas and unpeeled oranges everywhere, that's what I want to know.


Austin : Precisely colonel, but I believe that in our specific case that the presence of untuned pianos may be of greater import. I expect that they will have food in the castle. [Watches Harvey for his reaction]


Charlie: [Impatiently] Enough of this nonsense! To the castle, group! [Heads outside]


Alice: But the oranges! Won't someone please think of the oranges!?


Harvey: I'm quite happy to think of the oranges, my dear, all propery peeled and whatnot. [Dramatically] To the food, troop!


Mac: Do please try to keep your priorities straight Colonel!


Alice: [To Mac] It's okay, this will keep him focused!

[Exit the party.]

Dibo: [Starts polishing the part of the floor where the party were standing] Germs! Germs everywhere!

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up


[Book VIII, Act III, Scene V. A street. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, MAC and HARVEY are here, having just exited the house. There is a huge mural on the wall of a woman who looks very like BRUNI, although she has a very stern look. She also appears to be missing one eye. This, presumably, is GRIMHILDE. The street is empty, and the party can see a huge castle looming over the town, which seems pretty large.]

Alice: Yikes! She looks like Bruni, only mean!


Austin : And missing one eye. I do hope the castle is as clean and tidy as the house we just left. [Looks at the castle doubtfully]


Alice: I just hope we don't have to clean it! [To the party, doubtfully] Do you think we can just ask her for help?


Charlie: Well, if she's related to Bruni, she can't be all bad, right? Though, to be sure, perhaps we should come up with an alternate plan, just in case!


Dur: That is dubious logic at best. After all, you are related to Wilhemina, but that doesn't make her NOT a demon spawn.=


Harvey: And how does she peel her oranges, eh? [To Mac] What would you do with someone who didn't know how to peel their oranges properly, young Mac?


Charlie: [To Dur, narrowing her eyes] She isn't [angry finger quotes] spawn--she's a child! And furthermore, she is a perfect delight, [appealing to the group] wouldn't you say?


Harvey: [Long pause] Of course, my dear!


Alice: [Unconvincing] Sure!


Clint: See there? We all love your baby. Now let's spend a quick ten minutes learning how to tune a piano and go from there!


Alice: I'm just super great at music! When I was doing singing lessons, Daddy always said that I would go far. [Goes all misty eyed] I remember practicing one day, and he came in and told me I should go to Heel. I'm not sure where that is, but I bet it's very far away, because I couldn't find it in any atlas.


Clint: It's in the legendary far away land of Michigan.


Charlie: Perhaps Jerome was lying about that piano-tuning bit. He is terribly evil, after all!


Alice: Jerome didn't say anything about tuning pianos -- that was the stranger in the hood!

;;; Yes, the stranger in the hood was Jerome!


Harvey: So what the devil could he be up to, what?


Clint: Something evil, of course! And we'll stop him anyway, without knowing how or why. It's what we do!


Alice: Come on, how bad can that castle be?

[The entire sky is lit up with a scary flash of lightning that crashes around the top of the castle. The party can see that virtually the whole city is devoid of people (at least on the street) and that there are huge murals of GRIMHILDE everywhere.]


Clint: Oooh, an evil megalomaniac!


Harvey: Indeed - keep your eyes open, troop. This Grimhilde may be an ally of Jerome, what?


Austin : As long as they don't breed together there may be hope for the world. [Gently massages Maplin]


Mac: [Suddenly stops and looks strange] I just had an epiphany. What if Jerome and Grim *did* breed, and that offspring is Bruni? This could be one huge trap!


Harvey: Disturbing thoughts, troop.


Austin : There appears to be some form of curfew, which we are obviously breaking. We should take care to avoid any enforcement agencies. [Looks around, concerned]


Charlie: No doubt you are right, Mr. Sleaze! Let us hurry to the castle and stay to the shadows. [To Harvey, urgently] And do modulate your voice, Colonel. This is a stealth mission. [Helpfully] Try using hand gestures to help amplify your expression, should your vocabulary fail you and you are tempted to substitute volume for substance.


Dur: It's a good thing we have been practicing then!


Harvey: [To Charlie, in a loud, booming voice] Of course my dear, of course! We shall stealthily slip past these amateurs as if we were no more than smoke, what?!? Hand gestures, of course! Pay attention, troop while I brief you on the hand signals we shall use for stealth purposes!


Alice: [Nods] She's right Uncle H. What we need is silence, stealth, secrecy and er, surreptionality.

[The party slowly make their way through the town. It is getting dark now, and there are plenty of shadows thrown about to help stay hidden. Finally, a relatively short distance from the castle, they spot a man wearing a weird pair of underpants and very little else, other than a tie and single boxing glove. This is BARRY MCTWIGGEN. He spots the party.]

Barry: Halt! Who goes there?


Barry: Hey! Are you people deaf? I said that the curphew is in force!


Austin : [To Barry] Shhh! You'll wake everyone up!


Barry: [Lower] I said that the curphew is in force.

Alice: You liar! That's not what you said at all!


Charlie: Now, Alice, do be gentle with him. He's obviously suffered some sort of abuse, likely sexual. [To Barry] Go back to bed, dear. We'll just be on our way.


Barry: I said "show me your pass or suffer the consequences!"


Harvey: [Still in a rather loud voice] That's right, my good man! Just be on your way and don't worry about us! We're not stealthily skulking about like people who don't want to be noticed, what?!? [To the party] Don't worry troop, I think we have him fooled!


Alice: [Beaming with pride] Pretty stealthy, Uncle Harvey!

Barry: I [loudly] said [normal voice] I need to see your passes.


Dur: [Trying to add to the confusion] But we already gave you our passes!


Harvey: [Outraged, to Barry] You already have our passes?!? I demand that you give us back our passes this instant, by the saints! [To the party] When did we get passes? I didn't know we had passes!


Charlie: [To Barry, feigning outrage] How dare you keep our passes! Hand them back to us this instant. Can't you see our group is comprised of the simple-minded and the elderly?!


Alice: You don't have our passes? Oh my God! Did you lose them? [To the others] I bet he doesn't even have his own pass!

Barry: Yes I do! [Holds out a large card with "Official Pass" stamped on it]


Harvey: [Frowning, then to Charlie] Hey! Who's simple-minded?


Charlie: [To Harvey, in a low voice] Colonel! It isn't polite to say! [To Barry, trying to grab his pass] WHAT are you doing with MY pass?! How dare you pass yourself off as a world-renowned researcher!


[Yoink! CHARLIE snatches the pass.]

Alice: [Gasps] Hey! He's out in the street without any pass!


Harvey: By the saints, man! Don't you know there's a curfew?


Barry: Gibber! [Runs away into the night]


Charlie: [Pleased] Well done, group! I see you are already benefitting from my return to the party with a well-designed and well-executed plan! Now, let us hurry to the castle. We cannot assume that everyone in this place is equally moronic and easily fooled!


Alice: This is gonna be great! They're all a bunch of idiots! [Looks around] Where's the castle?

[Right in front of the party. There is a huge wooden door there, with a metal panel that can open for those inside to look out. There are no obvious guards around.]


Dur: Indeed. After all, there has to be at least one, competent, capable individual running around this place.=


Clint: [Pause.] Why not? We've got an official pass now...


Harvey: [To Dur] Indeed, and I am proud, honoured and indeed humbled to fulfil this role.


Alice: Well? Are we going to go in through the front door?


Mac: Being brash and open has worked so far. Why don't we just knock on the door, show the pass and demand to be given the antidote?


Charlie: Excellent plan, Mac! [Goes up to the castle door, pauses awkward, then knocks] Helloooo?


Clint: Or we could lie. You know, knock on the door, show the pass, claim to be the piano tuners, and then when we're inside the castle we could steal the antidote.


Charlie: [Waiting patiently for someone to answer the door] Oooh, excellent addition to the plan, Mr. Scar! Let's try that, instead!


[The metal viewer opens, and, although the party can't see the person, they can hear them. This is CHOM TAMBERS.]

Chom: Yes?


Dur: [Nervously shouting] We're here to tune the pianos!


Harvey: And not steal antidotes!


Chom: What? Did you say you were here to steal antidotes?

Alice: No! He said we're to NOT steal them.

Chom: Oh, okay. Can I see your pass, please?


Charlie: [Frantically flashes the pass] Here! All on the up and up, as you can see!


Chom: Hey! That's not your pass! You liars!

[The door swings open, to reveal CHOM about to throw an orb at the party.]

Chom: You must all die!

;;; And there we will pause, until Monday 15th August!

I knew this was going all too well. Ah well, he shall feel my wrath!


;;; Annnnd we're back!

[Everyone ducks, but CHOM stops short of throwing it and realization dawns on his face.]

Chom: Oh my God! It's you! It's really you! [Breaks into a big smile] I'm Chom! Chom Tambers!

;;; Unless you've heard otherwise from me, your character doesn't recognizeChom


Clint: [Pasting on a big fake smile.] Uhh... Hey! Guys, it's Chom! Chom Tambers! Good to see you!


Harvey: [Cheerfully] Yes, my good man! It's us! [To the party, in a low voice] Who is this idiot, what?


Clint: [Concerned.] He's Chom. Chom Tambers. Maybe Chuck's right and you're getting a little old for this, Harv!


Charlie: [Delighted] Of course I'm right! [To Harvey, giving him a big stagey wink and enunicating elaborately] Colonel, it's Chom Tambers, you remember him! [Pats Harvey on the head and says to Chom, in a low voice] You must forgive the colonel. His best years are decades behind him.


Harvey: [Slyly] Is that so? My memory must be going -- old age, you understand -- but could you remind me which of us left their underwear in a tree?


Alice: [Embarrassed] That only happened twice! [Thinks] Well, four or five times, because all those other times it was someone else that put my underwear up there!

Chom: Oh, come on, Harv. You remember. [Does a weird little dance] Cha cha cha, one two three, cha cha cha, one two three!


Mac: Chom! How are you? [Laughs a little nervously] Look, someone must have given us the wrong pass and we just didn't notice! You wouldn't happen to have our passes available would you?


Harvey: [To Alice] Whatever do you mean? I was referring to Charlie! *You're* not the sort of lady to leave your underwear lying around, unlike [Giving Charlie a 'Look'] *some people*. [To Chom] By the saints, man, have you been eating cheese on duty?!?


Alice: Uh, that's right. [To Charlie, unconvincingly] Shame on you!

Chom: [To Harvey] Keep your voice down, Harvey! You can't say the C-word here.

Alice: Which c-word? The one that is four letters long, starts with c and ends with nt?

Chom: Well, that too.

Alice: So, you can't say can't. Interesting.

Chom: [To Mac] Of course I don't have your passes, you're not even supposed to be in this dimension!


Charlie: [To Harvey, with a sniff] That underwear was a coded signal for you to come and see me, not evidence of wanton behavior or untidiness! [To Chom, delighted] Ooooh, it's like a little party game. What happens if we say the c-word? We have to rapidly drink a quantity of tequila?


Harvey: Maybe you have to eat some cheese? That would explain this man's inebriation, what?


Dur: Errr... Right well, we didn't have much a choice in coming to this dimension.=


Chom: But you do have a choice about whether or not to say the c-word!


Harvey: Not if you don't tell us what the c-word is! It could be 'cheese', for all we know, what?!?


Chom: Stop saying cheese! If you keep saying cheese, they'll come and arrest you for saying cheese!

Alice: Oh! *Cheese* is the c-word!


Charlie: [Disappointed] Oh, I thought it was [finger quotes] can't! It's far easier to avoid saying cheese. In fact, that's no challenge at all! [To Harvey] I mean, how often does one find the need to discuss cheese, barring perhaps in planning a wine and cheese event or some such?


Mac: [To Chom] But why would the arrest you for just *saying* cheese? Surely they're more likely to arrest you for smoking cheese?


Harvey: [To Charlie] Indeed, I hardly ever finding myself needing to discuss cheese. Why, I can't even remember the last time I even mentioned cheese! [To Chom] Are just supposed to not discuss cheese in general, or are there certain types of cheese that can be discussed? If I said cheddar, for example, would that be OK? How about Roquefort?

;;; This cannot end well...


Chom: Too damned French! Look, come on in and stop saying cheese!

Austin: [Sighs and examines his nails] I fear his over reliance on the discretion of the party will be his undoing. [To Chom] They cannot be relied upon to not do something they have specifically been told not to do.

Alice: Hey! Austin just said cheese!


Charlie: [To Austin, scolding] Mr. Sleaze, do take care! We were specificially warned not to say that word! [Attempts to enter the building] Come along, group, before Mr. Sleaze gets us thrown in jail!


Alice: [Gives Austin a reproachful look] Nice going, Aus!

Austin: You people disgust me.

[CHOM directs the party to follow him, and they can hear the sound of people running towards them.]

Chom: Quick! After me! [Does his strange little dance again] Cha cha cha! One two three!

;;; Out for an hour


Harvey: [Disgusted] Lawyers, eh? Can't even be trusted to do a simple thing like not saying cheese!


Clint: Well, at least not without being paid a thousand gold an hour first! [Follows Chom.]


Austin: [Musing] Probably the same amount a two GP day time hooker would charge you, Mr. Scar, to tolerate your oafishness!

Chom: Here! Into my office! [Opens a door into which the entire party run]

;;; End of scene


[Book VIII, Act III, Scene VI. Chom's Office. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY, MAC and CHOM are here, crammed into what looks like a broom closet with a tiny desk and chair in it.]

Chom: Make yourselves comfortable!


Dur: [Looking doubtful] Well... If you insist. [Drops his pants] Ahhhh. It needs to be aired out every once in awhile...=


Charlie: [Shields her eyes. To Dur, urgently] Pull your pants up at once!


Dur: [Voice whiny] But he said to make myself comfortable!


Harvey: I don't believe he said to make the rest of us *un*comfortable!


Dur: Well, then he should have clarified! [Pulls his pants back up]


Mac: Why are we hiding in here?


Chom: Because you people keep saying cheese!

Alice: [Points at Dur] Wow, that looked kind of like a penis, except smaller!


Clint: What's wrong with saying cheese?


Harvey: Hrmmph, just because Austin couldn't stop saying cheese, what?


Austin: [Sighs] Clearly, in this dimension it is illegal to say [emphasis] that particular word [normal voice] Please refrain from doing so. [To Chom] We appear to be in some sort of totalitarian regime, is that correct?

Chom: Yes! Grimhilde has very strong laws about mind altering substances -- simply saying the c-word is enough to get you thrown in jail!


Charlie: Well, I quite agree that the abuse of cheese is terribly dangerous and can destroy one's ability to think clearly [subtle nod at Alice and Clint] , but surely there ought to be free speech, no? [Disapprovingly] It's all rather like HARMA all over again, isn't it?!


Alice: Holy Phili! You just said it again, Charlie! Are you TRYING to get us caught?

Chom: Of course there should be free speech, but this is a dictatorship! What do you expect? Free speech and cuddly kittens for everyone?


Charlie: [To Alice, defensively] Well, we ARE still hiding, after all! Surely we can enjoy free speech in the privacy of our own closet! [To the group, firmly] From this moment forward, no more saying that word, group!


Harvey: That's right, troop! No saying cheese, understand? No-one's allowed to say cheese without command approval until further notice!


Mac: Colonel, that includes you!


Dur: Indeed! Lead by example!


Chom: [Frustrated] Holy shit! I think I'm just going to turn you in myself! Are you really the same Queens View party? Have you changed so much since that fateful day when that wood carving was made? [Holds up a plank of wood with seven stick figures burned into it using what appears to have been a red hot poker. Strangely, each of them does resemble a party member]

Alice: Wow! That one of me even has flouncy underwear!

Chom: That's not you, that's Charlie.

[ALICE clenches her fists in rage, but says nothing.]


Mac: [Clearly intrigued] When was this made?


Charlie: [Surprised] Yes, and how do your people know us?!


Harvey: Spies, by the saints! Smoking cheese, no doubt!


Chom: Well, my Grandf-

[CHOM is interrupted by a loud banging on the door, and a voice booms out.]

Voice: Open up! We have reports of utterances of banned words from this office!

Austin: [Disgusted] Well done, Colonel!


Charlie: [To The Voice] Nonsense, we are merely holding the monthly meeting of the Mathletes! You know how those darned jocks get all of the good meetings spaces. Now, do leave us alone so that we may to continue discussing advanced mathematical principles in peace.


Voice: [Bangs on the door] Open the door!

Chom: [Terrified] We have to open it! Everyone hide, quick!

Alice: Where? There are only a few brooms and mops here!


Harvey: And we are definitely not talking about cheese! Not even Camembert!


Charlie: Quickly, open the door and pull whoever it is inside!


Mac: Damn it, Colonel! Will you shut up for once?!


Austin: Yes, Colonel, shut the hell up!

Chom: [Walking to the door] Uh, just a minute, I need to put my pants on. [Slowly starts to turn the handle of the door] Quickly! Hide!

[ALICE stands beside a mop, with the yarn of the head of it over her own hair.]

Alice: They'll never spot me! [Takes a deep breath]


Charlie: [Ducks behind a broom] Find a hiding spot and stay still, group!


Harvey: Right you are! [Stands perfectly still in the middle of the room]


Mac: [Dives under the table] Shhh!


Austin: [Standing with a lamp shade on his head] Colonel, you are an idiot. Hide, damn you!


Dur: [Glances around nervously looking for a hiding place. Finally he curlsup in the fetal position among a corner of various cleaning supplies] =


Clint: [Goes to stand very still right next to the door, next to the hinges.]


Charlie: [To Clint, in a whisper] Be ready to grab him if he gives us any trouble!

;;; That's it for me today. See you all tomorrow!


[The door is pushed open, causing CHOM to stumble back. Enter ANDY FIFE, a huge, six foot six man in armour.]

Andy: You're under arrest! [Grabs Chom]

Chom: No! Please!

Andy: [Looks directly at Harvey] Who the hell is this?


Harvey: [Haughtily] I am Colonel Harvey Kingston-Short III, retired. And who, may I ask, are *you*?


Clint: [Grabs a nearby broom and gets ready to use it.]

;;; From the sound of it, the door opens into the room, so is between Clint

;;; and Andy. If it isn't, Clint will trip the big lug and hope for the best.


Andy: Andy Fife, castle guard. Show me your pass.

[The party can see that there are three other guards behind ANDY.]

;;; Alas, the door is between them!


Mac: [Preparing for the worst gets ready to cast fireball right in the middle of the guards should a fight start]


Andy: I said show me your pass!


Clint: [Gets ready to do something foolish.]


Harvey: [To Andy] I don't *have* a pass, you blasted fool! Give me your pass, and I'll show that to you, what?


Andy: [Draws his sword] Right! You're under arrest!


Clint: [Gestures for Harvey to retreat and puts a hand on the door to keep from being smushed if the door is slammed open.]


Harvey: [Backs away slightly, hand on his sword]


Andy: Hands in the air!


Charlie: [Puts her hands up] My goodness, what seems to be the trouble? What is your objection to our little meeting?


Andy: [Momentarily startled at seeing Charlie] What the? Hey! [Settles down] Wanton use of a banned word is punishable by death. Unauthorized meetings are punishable by death. Illegally providing a meeting place is punishable by a large fine. Then death.


Harvey: Suppose we are a support group for people with an uncontrollable urge to say banned words at unauthorized meetings, what?


Andy: Death.

Chom: For liberty! [Pulls out a knife and stabs Andy in the back, before calling to the party] Run! Run for your lives!

[ANDY gasps in pain.]


Mac: [Casts fireball in the middle of the guards]


[The fireball bursts in the middle of the hall, setting three guards there on fire.]

Chom: Quickly! You gotta get out of here!


Harvey: Let's go, troop! [To Chom] Any particular direction you recommend?


Charlie: [Tries to run for it] Come on, group!


Mac: [Scrambles out from under the table and grabs CHOM by the arm on the way out, dragging him with us] Which way do we go?


Dur: I would suspect that any direction is better than the way we came at the moment!=


Chom: [Pushes Mac away] No! I have to stay here! [Stabs Andy again] If you're looking for something valuable it'll be upstairs, now, for god's sake, go! And try not to attract any more attention!


Harvey: We, sir, are the Queen's View Party! We do not [With some distaste] attract attention. We are perfectly stealthy and blend in with any crowd, what? [To the party] Now where are we going?


Austin: Colonel, you would fail to blend into a crowd made up entirely of Colonel Harvey Kingston Short IIIs! The man said to go upstairs, and that's what we shall do!

[ALICE grabs the wood burning and the party race away.]

Chom: [Killing one of the guards on fire] This is what becomes of people saying cheese!

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up


[Book VIII, Act III, Scene VII. An alcove. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and MAC are here, hiding behing a statue of either GRIMHILDE or BRUNI. The party are now on the third floor. They have seen several guards wandering about, but have somehow managed to avoid them.]

Alice: Phew! That was close!


Charlie: [Looking at the statue] Group, please tell me that isn't Bruni!


Austin: [Checks his nails] That isn't Bruni.


Harvey: Ok, troop, we still need to find that piano tuner!


Austin: Colonel, the piano tuning ruse was to help us gain access to the castle and to facilitate our movement within it. I think we can reasonably assume that we cannot simply wander about now that there has been a fracas.


Dur: I don't remember that ever stopping us before...


Austin: It stopped Chom. I suggest we stealthily examine some of the rooms on this floor. Although we don't know what it is we're looking for, if it is valuable, it is most likely to be stored behind some sort of security device.


Charlie: Agreed! [Looks around] Let us sneak into the nearest room, while we have this chance!


Harvey: And remember troop, be stealthy and no more talking about cheese!


Charlie: [In a panicked, low voice] Colonel, do be careful! It doesn't seem safe to say that word anywhere, and we must not attract any further attention!


Austin: [Sighs] Colonel, it was your carelessness that lead to us being discovered the first time. Please, let's not have a repeat.

[The party edge along the hall, which has a number of large, oak doors. The furnishings and carpet in the hallway are lavish, suggesting that this might be a living area of the castle.]


Clint: To be fair, it could have been any one of the dozens of times that one of you guys said "chee"... err... that word.


Austin: Mr. Scar, I did not say that word. Please do not try to blame me for the consequences of your own stupidity. Now, let us put the matter to rest and check out these rooms.

[There are six plush looking doors along the corridor.]


Charlie: [Heads for the nearest door] Right, now that that's settled, I suppose let's try any of these? Now, do be quiet! [Tries to open the door veeeery quietly and peek inside]


Harvey: Um, what word is that?


Clint: [Hissing, to Harvey.] "I". [Glances over Charlie's shoulder.]


Dur: [Whispering] Perhaps it is best, Colonel, if you cease speaking at alluntil we are out of our current predicament.


[ALICE glances over CLINT's shoulder, MAC over ALICE's shoulder, HARVEY over MAC's shoulder, AUSTIN over MAC's shoulder and DUR over AUSTIN's shoulder. Inside is a plush looking bedroom with a huge picture of GRIMHILDE/BRUNI. There doesn't appear to be anyone in the room.]


Clint: Huh. Next! [Glances at the big picture and shudders a little.] This is not the room we're looking for!


Harvey: [Tries to open the next door]


[The door opens quietly, and reveals what appears to be a plush office. Once again, there is no one here.]

Alice: Well, this doesn't look like a kitchen.


Charlie: Perhaps at least a rudimentary search of the room? [Goes to poke around the desk]


Harvey: Hmmm, I wonder if there're any good books on military theory? [Strolls over to the bookshelves]

;;; I'm assuming there are bookshelves here


;;; Indeed there are!

[The desk is fairly neat, and has a bunch of papers about people being sentenced to death and to long terms of imprisonment for very minor crimes. The bookshelves are crammed with books about how to keep a population down. One stands out, though, which is "The Secret Gardenia".]


Charlie: [Delightedly joins Harvey in searching the books] How exciting, look at all of these books! Oooh, Colonel, doesn't this look a bit odd somehow? [Reaches for "The Secret Gardenia"]


[As soon as CHARLIE touches the book, the entire bookcase slides to the side, revealing a huge metal door that doesn't appear to have any handle or keyhole. AUSTIN approaches the door.]

Austin: Hm, most curious. [Looks at a glass panel beside the door, which is around head level] I'm not sure what kind of locking/unlocking mechanism we have here.


Charlie: [Looks over Austin's shoulder at the glass panel] Perhaps this is where one would show one's pass?


Austin: Perhaps -- if one had a pass.


Dur: Maybe we should knock?


Austin: Excellent idea, Dr. TiRag. Just a moment. [Curls up in the foetal position under the desk] Okay, you can knock now!


Charlie: [To Dur] We don't wish to attract attention, so perhaps we'd better move on if no one can see an obvious way of opening this portal! [Looks around for candlesticks to pull or other lever-like objects]


[There is a distinct lack of candlesticks and other lever-like objects.]

Alice: Well, I guess if there's something valuable in the castle, it's probably behind here. It's a pity Bruni didn't tell us how to get in, though, isn't it?


Charlie: [Hesitantly] Well, she DID give us that box. Perhaps now is the time to use it? Shall I open it now?


Alice: [Looks around at the others] Could be a good idea -- what do the rest of you think?


Dur: Maybe it's our pass!


Austin: [Looking up from behind the desk] It's rather small, isn't it? The other passes were substantially larger.


Harvey: Perhaps it's folded up?


Alice: So.... I guess we open it?


Charlie: [Holds the box up to the window and prepares to open it] Be ready to run, in case this goes horribly wrong! [Open the box Bruni gave her]


[CHARLIE struggles to open the box, and has to use both her hands. When she opens it, the party can see that it contains an eye.]

Alice: Ew!


Harvey: Why the blazes would anyone want to put an eye in a box, what? Hmm... Maybe it's a magic eye and we need to get it to look at something?


Clint: [Hastily.] And Dur, it's not a snack! [Goes to look for a dirty magazine or something and leave the thinking part to the nerds in the party.]


Alice: [To Harvey] It's probably as good a place to keep an eye as anywhere else! You know, in all those pictures, Grimhilde is missing an eye. Could that be... you know....


Charlie: [Wrinkles her nose, disgusted] I suppose we could try putting it up to the glass? Perhaps it's a type of identification? [To Austin] Mr. Sleaze, have you any gloves I could borrow?


Austin: Certainly. Would you like panda skin or latex?


Charlie: Latex, please!


Harvey: [Disapproving] There's quite enough time for *that* kind of thing later, when you two have some privacy. For now, let us just concentrate on the task at hand, what?


Clint: [Sniggers a little.]


Austin: Powdered or powder free?


Charlie: [Sighs and snaps on the latex gloves] I miss Pestilence! [Adds quickly] Because our conversations are a good deal more stimulating than those of the group!


Dur: [Elbows Clint to get his attention] I bet it's not just their converstaions that are "stimulating!"=


Clint: If it is only the conversations, he's doing it wrong!


Charlie: [To Clint, haughtily] Spoken like a man who will never EVER have sex with the same woman twice!


Clint: [Puzzled.] Why would I want to do that?


Harvey: Indeed, nothing wrong with a little variety! Or at least that's what we said when I was in the Infantry, what?!?


Alice: And besides, Charlie, I'm sure that hookers appreciate repeat business!

[CHARLIE holds the eye up to the panel, and the door slides open, revealing a large room beyond. Off to one side is what appears to be a doorway that opens to the wall, beside which are twelve large orbs set into the wall. At the other side is yet another, more traditional looking safe.]

Alice: [Peering over at the orbs] Huh, any idea what that is?

<P><a href=http://www.queens-view.com/Resources/8.3.images.png>The Embedded Orbs</A>


Clint: Some kind of representation of the elements or something, right? Other than that, not a clue!


Austin: Yes, but look at that, [points at the other door] a safe within a safe. [Eyes light up] One wonders what sort of treasures lie within!


Charlie: [To Austin, scolding] There is no time for your extracurricular pursuits, Mr. Sleaze! We are here for the antidote only. [Looks at the orbs, excited] How thrilling, it must be a puzzle!


Mac: Indeed, but without some sort of instructions how are we to know what to do? [Looks around for some instructions]


Harvey: [With some distaste] A puzzle? [Snorts derisively] Give me an enemy I can fight the good old fashioned way, any day of the week, right Private?!? [Claps Mac heavily on the shoulder]


[The room is completely empty, so if there are instructions, they are elsewhere. The party is suddenly surprised by the appearance of a giant (six foot tall) floating head that resembles GRIMHILDE. It is clearly noncorporeal as they can see through it.]

Grimhilde: What the hell do you think you're doing?


Charlie: [Startled] Oh! Ah, we're admiring your delightfully challenging puzzle! Goodness, it took me nearly an entire minute to figure it out!


Grimhilde: You idiot! That's not even a puzzle! How did you get in there?


Dur: In where?


Charlie: [To Grimhilde] Oh? Well, certainly it is designed as some sort of security system, so quite like a puzzle? I mean, one must surely press the orbs in a certain order to open that door? [gestures to the door next to the orbs]


Grimhilde: How the fuck did you get through the door with the panel?

Alice: Yikes, is there really any need for that sort of language?

Grimhilde: Yes!


Mac: What does it matter? I could tell you we had help and that thousands of people are revolting and helping us. Wouldn't necessarily be true so what does it matter if we tell you anything? You can't believe anything we say to you.


Charlie: [Takes a deep breath and then reveals Grim's eye] That said, you might recognize this?


Grimhilde: [Shocked] You bastards! [Disappears]

Alice: [Puzzled] Well? Did she recognize it or not?


Charlie: [Relieved] Quickly, we probably haven't much time now! Mr. Sleaze, how are you with safes?


Dur: Perhaps showing her the eye was a rash decision!


Alice: It's not like she didn't know we were in here, is it?

Austin: [To Charlie] Expert. [Starts to examine the safe, caressing it softly]

Alice: Er, so anyway. [Looks at the door and the orbs] If it isn't a puzzle, what is it?


Harvey: [Wistfully] She seemed rather charming, actually!


Alice: Ah yes, the famous weakness of the Short men for aggressive women!


Dur: Then perhaps you can concentrate on distracting her, Colonel. [To Alice, looking at the orbs] Can we take them out? Or maybe put the eye up to on= e of them?


Charlie: Mr. Sleaze, see if you can open the safe! The rest of us shall try to make sense of these orbs. [To Dur] It's worth a try! [Holds Grim's eye up to the sun orb]


Clint: [Tests to see if the orbs are easily removable.]


[Holding the eye up to the sun orb has no effect. However, when CLINT tests to see if the sun orb can be removed, although it is definitely stuck into the wall, the door shimmers and where there was once a blank wall, there is now a shimmering surface. Meanwhile, there is an audible click from the safe door.]

Austin: [Literally dripping with smugness] That was an extremely difficult to break lock. However, I have gained access.


Charlie: How marvelous, Mr. Sleaze! What is inside? As you can see, we have made a development of our own! [Cautiously pokes a pencil at the shimmering surface]


Clint: You're not going to write on it, are ya Chuck?


[The pencil is sucked out of CHARLIE's hand and disappears into the shimmering surface.]

Austin: [Opens the door and peers in, giving a gasp] Oh my. There is quite the largest collection of potions that I have ever seen!


Dur: [Going over to Austin] I suggest we take as many as we can carry and haul ass through the shimmery portal before we are caught!=


Charlie: [Gasps] How extraordinary! I wonder if each of these orbs correspond to another dimension?! Why, just think of possibilities!


Alice: But how do we know where the shimmery portal leads? It could be anywhere -- just think of the possibilities! It could be the surface of the sun. [Thinks] It could be awful! I might freckle!

Austin: [Steps into the vault in the other room] There are some dispell magic potions, this is what we need.


Dur: [Follows Austin and starts stashing potions in his pants] Well we haveto do something right?=


Harvey: [Follows Austin and Dur and grabs an armful of potions]


Alice: I suppose we should get nothing but dispell magic, even though [wistfully] there are some others too. [Eyes light up] Hey, taking one potion of Beautiful Hair won't hurt, will it?

;;; Everyone can take (and make up!) a potion for their character to

take. It will be a one

;;; use item and shouldn't give any crazily unfair advantage. If

you're not sure if your

;;; choice is too much, shoot me a mail first. The weirder and more uselessthe

;;; potion is, the better, of course!


Dur: Who could it possibly hurt? Not us! [Dur snags a potion of "Waterless Bath!"]


;;; Heh! That's exactly the kind of thing I was talking about!

Austin: [Slips a potion of "Arm Shine" into his back pack] Although I find it difficult to believe that Maplin can be improved upon, I feel it my duty to investigate!


Charlie: [Sternly] You will do no such thing! That is plainly theft, and-- [stops suddenly and coos] Oooh, how lovely! Magic Fingers potion! [Excited beyond all reason] That's a special potion that makes your fingers just ever so slightly sticky, to facilitate page turning. It's terribly useful for the rarer, more fragile texts. [To the others, scooping up the potion and putting it in her knapsack] One doesn't wish to risk tearing an irreplaceable page with inadequately prepared fingers.


Clint: [Grabs a potion of "Eau de Merde."] Oooh, some kind of fancy cologne! [To Charlie.] And you didn't think I'd be able to pay the same whore twice!


;;; I'll be out for the rest of the day!


[Enter GRIMHILDE and a dozen heavily armed guards.]

Grimhilde: How dare you! How DARE you steal my things? I would rather destroy them than see you have them. Let's see how you like a taste of my Magical Flame, it will burn forever! [Starts to cast a spell]

;;; Oh no! Another pause! Travelling back to Ireland so we'll be back to normal

;;; hours and service for a few months when we start up. We'll break

for a week,

;;; so things will start up on August 29th.


Mac: Awesome, how much more perfect can you get than a potion of anti-stammering? Perfect for those frightening situations when you just have to be able to speak quickly! [Grabs a potion of anti-stammering]


Harvey: [Examining a bottle] Hmm, 'Even More Magnificence', eh? Hard to imagine, but I shall give it a go, what?


Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

<p>I have overcome many of lifes obstacles nobody was much help to me there is nothing else like this out there!!<br><a href="http://ciciorr.ugu.pl/JamesCooper83.html">http://ciciorr.ugu.pl/JamesCooper83.html</a> now nobody disrespects me just picture the possibilities<br>trust me, you will be happy</p>



Charlie: [Groans] Even if we can somehow make it to the water tower, how are we ever going to stay out of HARMA's clutches?!


Alice: I will not! [Thinks] Hm, I probably need to go right now, actually. Oh well. [Knocks back all the potions she had]

Harvey: By the saints, Troop, I think we have no choice. [Drinks his too]


Mac: [Horrified at the idea, but rationalising what must be done] I think we're all "full of potion" right now. Perhaps if we were all to "contaminate" the water we might achieve our goal. After all, urine isn't harmful to health when fresh.


Mac: [Blushing] Yes, erm... I may just wait till we're a *wee* bit closer. Would want to waste the potion now hehe.


Clint: [Nods.] I can do that. Wouldn't be the first time. You remember that one time when we were visiting... [glances at Charlie] well... now's not the time to discuss it.


[It is better again, but clearly, the party are going to have to drink all the potions they have.]

Alice: Loads!


Alice: Oh, stop being such a girl, Charlie!

[The balloon is now very close, and everyone lets loose. Down below, the party can hear various HARMA officer becoming enraged. The level of missiles dramatically increases, and the party can start to hear the balloon being punctured.]


Harvey: Perhaps We should do a number two as well, just to be safe?


Mac: [Exasperated] Yes, Alice! Just pee, no "jobbie".


Alice: [Giving a huge sigh of relief] Oh, please. Surely you've gone over the side of a bridge or a yacht?? It's the same thing!


Austin : [Looks around frantically for doors, windows, trap doors. To Charlie] Try insulting her! It might put her off her casting!


Clint: [Ponders for a second.] Nope, not really. [Digs through his pockets for anything flammable.]


Harvey: Perhaps he was suggesting you cast some form of fire spell, Private Sleaze!


Austin : [Ina very high pitched squeaky terrified voice] Perhaps one of our magicians could cast a spell?


Austin : Alice, sweetie, we are trying to save them, not kill them [Tries to pee into the water tower] I am simply busting.


Charlie: Men of the party, hurry! Aim for the water tower! [Covers her eyes and shudders in disgust]


Dur: Didn't the prophecy refer to our world with some kind of tree metaphor?=


Charlie: We most certainly will not! That would pollute the water and defeat the purpose of this exercise entirely. And I did NOT just debase myself for nothing.


Harvey: Well then troop, let's let our pee go free! [Unzips his trousers and attempts to aim for the water tower] For freedom, what?!?


Austin : All we have to do is keep it flying, if we can heat up the air inside then we might get high enough to clear the water tower and the HARMAS weapons!


Austin : Really? [Looks panicked and drinks as many potions as he has, saving one if he as enough!] One for Maplin, [Drinks another] One for serendipity [Drinks another] One for me [Drinks another] One for my suit [drinks another]


Dur: Maybe we should be using it on the fire and not ourselves!


Charlie: [Resolved] All right, then! Everyone take a sip, and let's try to get through!


Charlie: [Wrinkles her nose in disgust] Of course not! [Sighs, resigned] But, for the good of the people, [primly drops her pants and tries to urinate into the water tower] .


Charlie: [To Alice, warning] Don't you dare urinate on this balloon! We'll be down soon enough. [To Mac] I wonder if we could cause a slow leak? Would we be able to get down safely and try to make an escape when the balloon collapsed on the passenger below?


Harvey: Blast! I need to go, as well.


Clint: Hey, if all we need is more hot air, that ought to be right up your alley as a lawyer!

;;; Ha!


Charlie: [Flushed] I told you, Colonel, that was a [vaguely] recreational device and a gift from my husband--and also none of your business! [Flustered, but trying to gather her composure] Furthermore, I have given birth, obviously, therefore I am a woman, as well, and no more able to [finger quotes] aim than Alice!


Mac: *Phew* I didn't have to chose who to save and who to let die! Now, h-how do we c-climb down from here?


Harvey: Yes, quick, men! Private Parker-Kensington, are you waiting for a written invite? *ALL* the men must contribute their bit to achieving the mission, and that includes you! Alice is obviously a lady, and is thus excused from such things.


Alice: Are you sure you only want to drink one, Aus? After all [knocks back another] no one could put even a finger in the fire after just one.


Charlie: [To Harvey, reassuringly] Surely you won't have to wait very long, Colonel. We only need to land this balloon, fend off the HARMA agents, walk back into town, locate Pestilence and Wilhelmina, check in with Bruni, and then find proper facilities!


Mac: A fire spell of the magnitude needed to keep this balloon aloft is just as likely to set fire to the actual balloon itself. No, I think we're just going to have to go as far as the balloon will take us and then hope it's far enough away from HARMA.


Austin : Mr Scar, I should think that the biomass mould in your oxters will produce far more heat than my highly appropriate and succinct suggestions.


Mac: We could, but I thought we wanted to climb down into the basket and escape in the balloon? If we do make a hole though we need to make it small enough so that the air leaks out slowly, yet big enough to avoid explosive decompression.


Austin : Ingenious. Vile but rather clever. [Ducking to avoid Harvey's spray] Colonel, perhaps we shuld wait until we are a little closer to the water tower?


Clint: I dunno, I kind of like the idea of going to the dimension of love! If you know what I mean. Haw!


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Alice: But we're ON the balloon! It'll just be the basket that falls off -- the anchor lines are connected to the basket.=

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Charlie: [Quickly drinks her entire Dispel Magic potion] Right! Now let's try. [Gingerly pokes a pinkie finger at the fire]


Voice1: You idiots! Stop immediately! What do you think will happen if you cut the ropes??

;;; mine's more boring!


Charlie: [Sighs] And I suppose this will mean that Alice will need a bathroom as a matter of urgency in a matter of minutes! Drink up, group! [Starts guzzling potions in a most unladylike manner]


[The balloon continues to drift towards the tower, as HARMA fire a hail of arrows. Fortunately, none of them hit the party.]

Alice: Those damned Apraxians! If only they'd help us!


Alice: We've none! We had to drink them all! [Looks into the water tower] Oh God, I really need to pee. I think those magic potions have just run right through me!


Alice: [Knocks back half a potion] We have LOADS! Come on, let's see how well they work. [Holds her finger out near the flame] Ow! [To the party] We're gonna need a bigger potion!


[This has pretty much the same effect that CHARLIE's experiment did.]

Alice: You know, it's looking more and more like we've just gotta drink them all.


Alice: [To Mac] Now, by contaminate, you just mean pee, not do a big jobbie into it or anything, right?

[The balloon is now very close -- close enough for someone with good aim and high power to make it.]


Charlie: Shall we risk the Shimmering Surface?!


Austin : [Aprehensively] Is that wise? [Looks nervous]


Last from Kevin 22

Austin : [Worried] But why are you cutting the ropes? We need to cut the anchor lines, not the ropes holding the basket to the baloon! If the basket falls off won't al the ropes fall off too, including us?


Charlie: [Still cutting ropes] Quite right, Alice, though how we'll steer the balloon, I couldn't say!


Austin : [Sighs. Ponders] Perhaps the one with the cog, as we seem to have more mechanisation than the other dimensions that we have been too, or possibly the watery spiral one, as we have fairly extensive oceans. Do we really have a choice?


Austin : How many dispel magic potions do we have left? We can put them into the water tower since we are passing. I think I have one left at least.


Charlie: [Suddenly horror-stricken] Oh dear GOD. I think I have a disgusting solution to the problem. [Shudder] Perhaps we could--well, maybe Alice and Clint could-- [winces] urinate in the water supply? Our urine must be positively bursting with the Dispel Magic potion, given how much we drank.

;;; EW! Conor, WHYYYYY?!


Austin : I vote we sever the anchor rope some how and drift away from here, we can make a small hole later.


Austin : [Drinks some dispel magic potion] This could go wrong in so many ways!


[Everyone empties their bladders into the water tower, just as the balloon bursts, sending them flying at high speed away from the tower.]

Alice: Woooooah!


Clint: Guess we'll just have to find some other way to stop HARMA when we get back, huh?


Charlie: [To Alice] Yes! [Boldly] All right, group! I'm going in! [Heads for the shimmering surface]


Austin : Oh, no! Not again, aaaaaaaaaaaH!

;;; sorry couldn't resist


;;; Yep, the party are cut off at the moment, with the flames approaching

Alice: Oh no! We're all gonna die! These magical flames will kill us all!


Charlie: Let's try Dur's suggestion first, before we waste more! [Grabs a potion and tries to douse the fire with it]


Charlie: [Starts tapping at the walls, looking for anything hidden] Quickly, look for another exit, group!

;;; Sorry, I didn't realize the flames were between us

;;; and the orbs/shimmering door!


Clint: Blackmail, huh? That'd probably work. Freak like that's bound to have something he doesn't want anyone to know about. Probably involves sheep. [Guzzles his potions, belching loudly.] Aah.


Dur: We try not to think too much! It heats up the brain and can cause serious damage! And that is me medical opinion!

;;; but mine has lasted 2 days!


Grim: [Enraged] Hey! Stop drinking that, immediately!

[CHARLIE pokes her finger in and, although she can hold it there longer than ALICE did, it's still too hot.]

Alice: Uh oh. [Looks at the armfuls of potion] More?


Last from Heather 25

Austin : [Furiously starts cutting the ropres beneath him] We should cut opposite ropes at the same time, so as not to unbalance the baloon!


Austin : [Drinks a potion] Are we going to run for it now?


Charlie: [Hesitantly] Well, no. Do any of those orbs look like home to anyone? We just picked the sun one, as a guess!


Austin : Let's hope they designed that basket well and built in a reserve parachute, or perhaps some form of airbag.


Clint: Or make one!

;;; Are the walls wood or stone? If the former, Clint will try and

boot his way

;;; through, and will presumably fail hilariously!


Charlie: [Wails] We can't die yet! I haven't finished writing my new book! There must be a way out of this. What are we missing, group?


Clint: [Flapping madly.] Faaaaaaalllll.....


Charlie: Mr. Scar, you are NOT helping! Do worry about satisfying your disgusting needs later, won't you?!


Alice: [Holding up one of the Dispel Magic potions] Isn't this the antidote?


Charlie: [To Mac] While that is perfectly splendid, it must be a last resort. [In a low voice] It isn't fair to the others, the ones you wouldn't be able to save. Not me, of course. [Looks down at the ropes. In a normal voice again] Can we just cut them?

;;; We have swords and/or daggers, I assume?


Austin : [Shoots at Grimhilde. To the party] Throw something at her for heavens sake!

;;; must have been supplied by British Gas :)


Harvey: [Catches Charlie by the arm] Wait! The flames have cut us off from it. Besides, who knows where it leads to?


Austin : [Nodding in agreement] The skull is probably a bad idea. Hopefully the sun will be someplace nice, on the coast. A quaint little fishing village with some nice cafes. [Looks hopeful]


Alice: [As the party plummets to the ground] We're all gonna diiiiie!


[The fire dies down temporarily, but very quickly rages back up.]


Alice: [Hanging upside down off the balloon which as completely flipped over] Good idea, Aus!

[After some quick cutting, the basket is safely released, and the party are all back on top of the balloon. The party can see the basket plummeting to the ground.]


Dur: Oh please let it be something with wings! [Dur tries to cast Summon Monster III:http://dungeons.wikia.com/wiki/SRD:Summon_Monster_III] =


Alice: Well done, Dur!

[A huge tiger appears in the air beside the party, also falling.]

Alice: Uh, what does it do?


Dur: Yep! The universe hates us!


Austin : [Dashes through the door. To Alice] Why are unicorns more understandable than sheep?


Austin : Excellent Mr Dur. A huge hungry carnivore. At least our smashed corpses won't go to waste now.


Austin : [To Alice] To someplace that they might not be trying to kill us? Better than being somewhere that they are certaily trying to kill us, right?

;;;; which orb was used for this portal?


Mac: It's fire, surely it's affected by wind! Only thing is if I try and fan it back at her it may just fuel the fire more and we'd have an even more intense fire coming at us... Well, here goes nothing [Casts Gust of Wind at the fire]


Charlie: Well, likely he'll be smashed to pieces along with us. On the bright side!


Alice: Hey! If anyone's gonna be saved, it's me!

;;; Indeed! Stuck in a meeting for an hour or so


Clint: Look, we're in a balloon. Cut it loose and make good our escape! It's the perfect crime. Plus, Alice can pee over the side, like a lady.


Alice: [Nods to Austin] Agreed -- but only if it isn't the surface of the sun! We used the orb that Jerome gave us to get here -- I think we need to be pretty certain that whichever one we choose sends us back to our own dimension. I mean, that one with the skull doesn't look too inviting, does it?


Alice: If he survives, maybe he'll eat some of the HARMA officers below us!

[The party plummet down and down and, seconds before they hit the ground, they disappear, leaving only the tiger, who immediately mauls a bunch of HARMA officers.]

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up


Mac: Oh no, oh no, oh nooooooooo! [Casts Feather Fall]

;;; I'll let you decide which 5 it effects Conor ;)


[Some voices from below (in the basket attached to the balloon) can be heard.]

Voice1: Hey! What the hell just happened?

Alice: Agreed, Aus! We need to put as much hot air between us and them as possible!


[Book VIII, Act III, Scene IX. A Comfortable Sitting Room. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and MAC are here, having just appeared. Also here is BRUNI, drinking a glass of water.]

Bruni: Mm! Tangy!


Austin : [Sighs] We could find out what Nunpar's personal problems are and get him a therapist. [Checks his nails]


Dur: [Doesn't even blink] Hey! Where's my tiger!?


Clint: [Gives Charlie a look.] Well, it's a magical (but slow!) fire and we have dispel magic potions, but otherwise, not much.

;;; Seriously, nice slow fire, innit? =)


Mac: Erm... [Looks around quickly at each party member as if trying to decide something very important] Oh god! Er....

;;; Mac can save 5 of us. 2 will have to save themselves.


Bruni: On a rampage.


Harvey: Well, I would have to say that that's the second best experience I've had falling from a great height.


Dur: Oh! On the Harma guys?


Alice: It was just a plain, normal looking one. These ones must work differently.

Harvey: Gah! Before we make any decisions, how do we think these ones do work?


;;; in meeting next two days, limited to no posting from me!=20

-----Original Message----- Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 8:23 AM To: Heather Cc: dom; Vel Angelus; Day, Kevin R. (Las Colinas) NA; Tom Henderson; John Ludlow; Tom Henderson; qvblogger@gmail.com; djmalzie

Alice: [Nods to Austin] Agreed -- but only if it isn't the surface of the sun! We used the orb that Jerome gave us to get here -- I think we need to b= e pretty certain that whichever one we choose sends us back to our own dimension. I mean, that one with the skull doesn't look too inviting, does it?


Harvey: Gah! Not a chance, Private! These walls are made of steal.

Alice: Don't you mean steele?

Harvey: No, they're a steal -- look at the price on that sheet!

[HARVEY points at a price tag sticking off a huge sheet of metal that helps form part of the wall. It says "Joe's Bargain Metal Shop -- 30SP per square yard". Unfortunately, although bought at bargain prices, the wall looks solid.]

Harvey: That's a steal by any measure.

Alice: Wow, what other kind of things have they got at Joe's Bargain Metal Shop, I wonder? Is it all things like walls?

Harvey: [Laughs good naturedly] Why, no, young Alice. They sell everything from kitchen sinks to teeth braces to second hand cock rings.

All: Joe's Bargain Metal Shop -- if they don't stock it, you probably shouldn't be using it.

Alice: But anyway, we're all gonna die!

;;; Queens View proudly welcomes its new sponsor,

;;; Joe's Bargain Metal Shop!


Charlie: [To Bruni, surprised] How did we get here?


Alice: [Wails] Slow leak? That's just what I want -- only fast!

Harvey: [Points at a large water tower] We could make our escape down through that if we can get the balloon over to it.


Charlie: [Also flapping aimlessly] Oh, dear! This was very poor planning!


Austin : [To Mac and Dur] Can one of our wizardy types sever the rope, or make it slippy so that the knots undo themselves?


Austin : [To Bruni] Madam, I believe we all owe you our gratitude for saving our lives. Thank you. [Gesturing to the water] You might not want to drink that. I happen to know from good sources, that it might not be the purest of water at the moment.


Charlie: [Nauseated, holding her stomach] With any luck, that will be enough! I don't think I could drink another. [Puts her hand in the flame]


Mac: Unfortunately not... [Perking up] I can stop 5 of us falling to our deaths though!


Alice: At least that would be understandable!

[The party, having consumed all the Dispel Magic potions, leap through the flames and CHARLIE presses the tree orb. The door shimmers once more, as GRIM and her men fire a huge volley of weapons at them.]

Harvey: Come on, Troop! Quickly! [Leaps into the door and disappears]


Charlie: What do you think, group?! More? [Quickly drinks another Dispel Magic and tries her hand again]


Charlie: [Hanging on to a rope] What a relief! [Frets] Though we really must get away as soon as possible, or likely we'll end up in jail!


;;; Ah, just got this as I sent mine. Disregard my post then.


Bruni: It's how I was able to cast spells, Aus. Besides, I like it -- it's tangy!


Charlie: Did anyone get a look at the orb Jerome gave us?


Charlie: Thank you for that well-timed rescue, but I must say I have quite a few questions for you! First, what is your connection to Grimhilde?!


[CHARLIE can hold her hand in the flame just fine. Meanwhile, everyone has gorged themselves on potions.]

Alice: So, before we leap through, [points at the shimmering door] do we have any idea what we're leaping into?

;;; A reminder


Harvey: [Nods sagely] Must be those oranges I had earlier, what? [To Alice] Hah, told you oranges would save the day, right, my dear?!?


Austin : Or golden unicorns?


Bruni: [Clearly faking] Who?

Alice: [Nods] Yes you did, Harvey!

;;; Out for about an hour


[Book VIII, Act III, Scene VIII. Up very, very high. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and MAC are here, having just appeared. Unfortunately, ALICE was correct, and the party have appeared actually more than four stories up, in the middle of the air, high above Apraxia.]

Alice: Holy crap! What are we going to do? [Starts to flap her arms]


Mac: At a guess, your mother. The woman who's the spitting image of you who happened to be in the dimension you sent us to.


Alice: Because they're magical!

[Everyone else jumps through, just ahead of the barrage of missiles from GRIM and company.]

Alice: [Just as she steps through] Hey, what happens if we appear up really high? After all, we are up on the fourth floor here.

[Everyone is gone.]

Grim: [Enraged, to her men] You idiots! How could you let them drink all those potions?

Man1: [Sniggers] It's okay, I had peed in one of those potions.

[GRIM slaps him across the face.]

Grim: [To the others] Kill him.

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up


Alice: Plus, I really need to pee!


Alice: Really? Okay. [To Charlie] Your suits are really boring and you spend too much time trying to alphabetize stuff. [To Austin] I don't think this is going to put off Grim!

[CHARLIE can stick her hand into the flame for longer this time, but clearly not long enough to get through it.]

Harvey: [To Clint] Nor do we, Private -- even though some of us look like we should live in them!


Alice: Look! Just below us! It's the HARMA balloon!

[ALICE is right, the party are falling right onto the huge HARMA balloon that has been hovering over the city. They hit it, and all manage to grab onto the ropes that hold it in place, so everyone is hanging on.]


Alice: Maybe we could use those?

Harvey: [Throws a knife at Grim] Have at you! [The knife catches fire and a tiny ball of ash falls out the other side]

;;; It's DRAMA! :)


Alice: If we're dead we won't exactly be in a position to deliver though, will we?


Charlie: [To Alice, offended] Pestilence LOVES my suits! And organization is FUN! [Tries downing another potion] How many more of these do we have?! [Pokes her hand into the flame again]


Alice: Yeah! I bet they have an airbag in that!

[Crash! The basket hits the ground and explodes.]

Alice: Huh. I guess the deployment charge might have been a bit too strong!

[There is a gentle breeze, which is making the balloon drift towards the water tower. Down below, many HARMA officers are running onto the street, getting ready to draw weapons.]


Mac: Maybe we should try to think of how our world could be represented? Then, by a simple process of elimination, we should be able to identify the correct orb.


Dur: We're cutting the ropes! Be patient!

;;; Me too!


Charlie: [Examines the orbs] Well, ours isn't a fiery dimension, nor is it particularly known for love, I shouldn't think. And it wouldn't be the skull, one hopes, or the moon? We do have quite a lot of trees, I suppose? Though not necessarily more than any other dimension. [To Austin] What do you think, Mr. Sleaze?


Charlie: Well, we can't waste our Dispel Magic potion, can we? That was the whole reason we came here!


Charlie: Let's start severing the ropes, group! [Takes out a sword and (carefully!) tries to cut one of the ropes]


Dur: Hmmm. Not specifically. But I will go anyway as long as it is well away from water!=


Bruni: Other than the missing eye, of course! No, she's not my mother -- we're...sisters.


Austin : Really! I take it that you two do not get on, you having her eye in a box. [Sighs] Oh well, sibling rivalry is not new. [Casually checks his nails] The good thing is that our plan worked! [To Harvey and Charlie] Well done Colonel, Sarge.

;;;;awa hame


Charlie: Why didn't you think that might be worth mentioning?


Last from Heather 18

[CHARLIE cuts through one of the ropes, causing the whole thing to give a huge shudder.]

Voice1: Hey! What the hell is going on?

;;; still in the meeting!!


Mac: Perhaps we all have to drink and stick our hands in together? Cumulative effect and all that. [Drinks a potion and sticks his hand in the fire]

;;; That'll be my only post today.


Charlie: Yes, but it IS just a guess. Do any of these symbols mean anything to any of you?


Charlie: [Takes a swig of Dispel Magic and passes it on. Defensively] I only saw the one! [To Austin] Surely YOU grabbed a few extra with those light fingers of yours, hm?


Clint: Careful with that stuff! It doesn't grow on trees, you know... Quoting Heather <heather.goggans@gmail.com>:


Charlie: [Smacks her forehead] Quite right, Dur! The tree with no thorns, wasn't it? All right, group, let's try that one! [Attempts to grab the Tree orb]


Alice: I can't look! [Covers her eyes]

[A huge gust of wind and dust begins to fly from MAC's hands, but, to everyone's surprise, they can see it being sucked directly into the flame.]

Alice: [Peeks out through her fingers] Gah! What'll it do to us if we try to go through? We need to make sure we can't be effected by the magic!


Alice: Or maybe we should be using more on ourselves?


Austin : [Worriedly, glances at Charlie] Let's hope so!


Dur: Besides, we grabbed more than 1 didn't we?


Alice: Of course we have a choice! It's either the tree, the cog or the water! Now, have we ever heard our dimension described in terms of one of these?


Charlie: [Jumps into the door] Coming, Colonel!


Clint: C'mon, Sarge, family is never worth mentioning!


Bruni: Oh, that's not true, Clint, and you know it! [To Charlie] Pestilence and Wilhelmina are here.


Charlie: [Lights up] Oh, how wonderful! I do hope he wasn't too worried about me when I disappeared! [To the party] This will be so much better than a flip book! You'll actually get to see our precious little girl in person. [To Bruni, quickly] She is still a child, isn't she? How long were we gone?!


Clint: She's probably as big as you are, and better with a sword, too! Kids grow up so fast these days.


Harvey: Ahhh, working on our next recruit, eh? Excellent work, Private!


Bruni: Oh, you were only gone a few minutes -- that's one of the crazy things about those dimensions, sometimes things move faster, but sometimes they move slower.

[Enter PESTILENCE, giving a big grin.]

Pestilence: Charlie! [Looks around the party] Hey! It's, uh... you guys! [Looks Alice up and down] Clint, right?

Alice: No!


Austin : I am sure Pestilence is just joking, Alice, after all, who could forget you! [Smiles. To Pestilence] Hi.


Charlie: [All smiles] Hello, darling! [Gives Pestilence a kiss] Not too worried, I hope? Where's Will?


Clint: And how's that tiger doing out there? [Gives Pestilence a look.] I'm Clint, by the way.


Pestilence: [Returning the kiss, and talking to Charlie] Oh, she's fine. She's outside playing with a puppy. [To Austin] Hey. So, I guess we really haven't talked since you guys tried to have me divorced, huh?


Austin : We were simply supporting Charlie and her decision. I am quite sure that each and every one of us was well aware that she was still madly in love with you, and we would all have supported her in any decision that she made, with respect to your marital status.


Pestilence: I suppose that means I shouldn't kill any of you, then.

[BRUNI throws her now empty glass at PESTILENCE and bonks him on the head with it.]

Pestilence: Ow! Hey! [Draws his sword] I'm gonna stab you in the face!

Bruni: Oh, behave! We're all friends here, aren't we?


Charlie: [Laughs nervously and quickly grabs Pestilence's sword arm] Darling, what a funny little joke to make, but do be serious! You don't do that sort of thing anymore, of course. And let's not dwell on the past. The group WAS only trying to help me, and things turned out far better than either of us ever dreamed they could, didn't they?


Pestilence: [Puts his sword away] Yeah, it's been ages since I gouged someone's eye out,


Charlie: [Supportively] That's right, SEVERAL days, in fact. [To the party, explaining] He gouged out the eye of a HARMA agent who came to examine our dear little Will. They've gotten dreadful sticky about the whole demon business, I must say. Anyway, we've now added eye-gouging to the list of things Pestilence doesn't do anymore.


Pestilence: He did say he wanted to keep an eye on Will.

Alice: Uh, you probably gouged out Grim's eye, didn't you, Bruni?

Bruni: Oh, you know sisters, always taking each others' stuff!


Harvey: Of course! And now we should begin planning our next daring adventure, what?!? Or possibly have lunch.


Austin : [To Harvey] Indeed colonel, it is a moments like this when we all realise why you are the leader! [To Bruni] Is there a good restaurant in town?


Charlie: [To Bruni] Certainly, I'd understand a sister borrowing a copy of the Cryptozoology Annual or perhaps an especially good dictionary in a pinch, but taking an eye?! Care to tell us a BIT more about your dimension, Bruni?


Bruni: [To Charlie] Oh, who wants to hear about a stuffy old dimension when there's lunch to be discussed? [To Austin] I'm afraid most restaurants are now out of business, shut down by HARMA. The only real choice is in the bar where you got the orbs.


Austin : [Dissapointed] Oh. [Glances down at his shiny shoes briefly]


Mac: Well then, I suggest we postpone lunch until we've overthrown HARMA!


Charlie: [To Mac] I quite agree. It's only a matter of time before HARMA realizes we've dispelled the water in Apraxia. We must act quickly.


Alice: It could take us weeks or months to overthrow HARMA -- are we really going to delay lunch until then?


Mac: Well, [looks Alice up and down] it's not like you couldn't do with losing the weight.

;;; I couldn't resist.


Harvey: Nonsense! A military force cannot march on an empty stomach! Besides, perhaps we will find allies at this establishment.


Alice: [Gasps in horror at this outrage] Hey! It's the flouncy underwear! It's really bulky! [To Pestilence] Tell them that flouncy underwear is bulky.

Pestilence: All the flounce in the world doesn't change the fact that I thought you were pregnant.

;;; See what you've started??


Charlie: [To Alice, patting her shoulder] Do calm down, dear. It isn't good for the baby.


Alice: Pestilence, what's the best way to gouge out an eye?

Pestilence: I like to use my fingers. It's fun to lick them afterwards.

[Enter WILHELMINA "WILL" PARKER-KENSINGTON-SOTOT. She looks like she is about seven years old, and is covered in blood. Dangling from her hand is a dead rat.]


Charlie: [To Will, scolding] Drop that at once! It isn't sanitary. [To Pestilence] I thought you said she was playing with a puppy?!


Harvey: Ah, so this is the, hmm, bouncing baby, er... Why is she covered in blood?


Pestilence: Huh. That's not a puppy? [Thinks for a moment] I guess that explains why her kindergarten teacher got some upset when we brought in that litter of puppies.

Will: [To Harvey] Because she just killed a rat.


Charlie: [To Will, kissing the top of her head while trying to avoid the blood] Now, dear, you must be polite to your elders. Please address Uncle Harvey in a more courteous tone. [Assesses Will critically, wrinkling her nose. To Pestilence] Darling, you really must get her home at once and make sure she scrubs herself with strong soap. And [to both Will and Pestilence] no more [finger quotes] puppies!


Dur: [Eyeing the rat hungrily] Don't worry chuck, I'll get rid of that thing for you... [licks his lips] .=


Will: [To Charlie] Aren't you coming home?


Mac: [Trying to ignore the blood] Hi Will, I'm Mac. Nice to meet you.


Charlie: [To Will, uncomfortably] Ah, well, not just yet, precious, but you'll be having SO much fun with Daddy, you won't even miss me. [Nudges Pestilence] Isn't that right, darling? [Cheerily] Now, hurry and give your each of your Uncles and Auntie Alice a big hug goodbye, like a good girl! [Wrinkles her nose] And you may as well give that rat to Uncle Dur.


Will: [Hands the rat to Dur] Does he really eat everything? [To Mac] Hi Mac. [Gives him a hug] Bye Mac. [Proceeds to say goodbye to each party member]


Harvey: And then we go and get lunch, right?


Charlie: [Sighs] Yes, but only a very quick lunch. We really mustn't dilly-dally.


Alice: Uh, maybe just a salad.

[PESTILENCE gives CHARLIE a long passionate kiss, before heading away with WILL.]

Alice: Hey! Bruni, how come Jerome had the orbs?

Bruni: Oh, goodness me! Was it Jerome? Why, how about that?


Harvey: Isn't that what we've been doing, when vital issues of supply and, um, supply are at stake, what?


Charlie: [To Alice] What an excellent question! [To Bruni] What IS your connection with Jerome?


Austin : Come now colnel, you cannot expect Charlie, one of your newest recruits, to understand the intricaties of logistics and the supply chain so soon.


Harvey: Of course you are right, Private Sleaze! But we mustn't let discipline slip, eh? Not to worry, I have a clever little trick I learnt in the army used to sort out just this kind of thing. [Marches up to Charlie] Drop and give me fifty!!!


Bruni: Oh, you know, none really, but you know what they say, once on the path, always on the path.


Austin : [Barely covering up a smirk, dabbing a tear of laughter with his handkerchief] My, what a stunning display of leadership skills.


Charlie: [To Harvey, dismissively] Don't be silly, Colonel. [To Bruni, puzzled] What do you mean by that, "once on the path, always on the path"?! You're being terribly cryptic. Though I am starting to see now why you and Darius are such a good match!


Charlie: But how does helping us dispel the enchanted drinking water in Apraxia facilitate Jerome's advancement along The Path?


Harvey: [Frowning, confused] Subordinates aren't supposed to be able to say that. What's the world coming to, eh, Mac?


Alice: And how does Jerome seeming to be in cahoots with Clementine facilitate his advancement along The Path.

Bruni: [Gives a sheepish grin] Hey! I made sandwiches for you! To keep you going on the way to lunch! [Pause] Look guys, the truth is, only Jerome knows why he helped, but the fact is, he did help. Just remember that when everyone's needs coincide, it's okay to co-operate.


Bruni: I know! He's soo much more straight forward than me! I mean that Jerome is on The Path, so it shouldn't really be any surprise that he's helping out from time to time.


Dur: The question is.... How long will he co-operate? And what happens whenhe decides to stop co-operating?=


Charlie: [To Harvey, impatiently] Do be serious, Colonel. I am NOT your subordinate!


Harvey: [To Charlie, still frowning and confused. ] Then whose subordinate are you?


Charlie: [Patiently] We are all equals in this group, of course, though clearly I am in charge. [Briskly] Now, let us take these delicious-looking sandwiches and be off! [To Bruni, warmly] Thank you so much for your help, dear. I do hope you and Darius will join us for charades some night soon!


Bruni: Have fun destroying HARMA everyone!

;;; End of Book VIII, Act III. Next one starts on Tuesday!