THE QUEENS VIEW AFFAIR - Book II, Act IV, Scene I

[Book II, Act IV, Scene I. On the beach. Wednesday 6.20am. JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, ALICE, LENIN, CLINT, STEPHEN, VINCENT and no cats are here, lying in various positions around the beach. The tide is coming in slowly, and everyone is just regaining consciousness. The party are clearly underground, in a huge cavern. The staircase is too high up to see, and there is very little on this cove, which is only about 30' X 50', surrounded by solid rock.]

Alice : [Lying face down in the sand, just waking up] Phew. You know, everytime I spend the night in a cupboard, I say that it'll be the last, but this time, it really will be the last!

Stephen : [Sitting up, brushing sand off himself] Ow! [Looks around] Urgh, a beach! I hate beaches. Always full of screaming kids, half buried dirty babies nappies which you only see when you turn over to lie on your front, kids playing football two feet away from you, and semi naked women, water dripping slowly off their highly toned, suntanned bikiniless breasts! Outrageous!

Alice : Ah! I love beaches! The screaming of the kids that you've just abandoned because you've busy pretending to bury their nappies, then watching them play football while getting in a bit of sunbathing after a vigorous swim. Ah! [Lays her head back on some soft, white material.] Hm, what's this? [Looks at it] Eauh! Not even half buried!

[The cave is quite dark, although there is a small amount of light coming from somewhere above, to the eastern side of the cave. In front of the beach there is what appears to be a large lake, disappearing off into the darkness.]

Clint : [To Alice] Dear, will you please stop eating and pay attention? [To Vincent] Mind telling us where the HELL are we? I would if I were you - our comrade here [points at Lenin] might get nervous again.

Alice : [Looking behind her as though Clint might be talking to some other Alice] Well, I'm already nervous!

[VINCENT says nothing, and just continues to lie there, bleeding.]

Alice : Any chance we could salvage any of that closet, and make a fire? [Shivers] I'm freezing, starving, tired, cold and hungry.

Stephen : [Patching up Vincent, stops and sighs] I'm afraid it's no use, he's dead, poor fellow. Who'll help me bury him?

Clint : Okay, so the guy is bleeding to death, big deal - [to Chastity] Mind patching him, before Hatchback turns the poor bastard into one of his kind [Shievers at the thought].

Alice : [Still shivering] I guess you're too late, Clint! Anyway, why don't you dig a grave for the poor guy? At least it'll make a change for you from robbing them!

[From the darkness comes a boat, being rowed towards the party.]

Chastity: [Takes out her glasses to see whether the people in the boat are friends or foe] Everybody, keep quiet.

Lenin: [In a stage whisper; To Chastity] Shhh! They might hear!

Stephen : [Digging a grave with his hands] Thanks very much everybody. Your help has been just fan-tas-tic! You'd think the bloody hairy nun would have helped at least, even with a blessing of some sort! But no, too busy sitting on her fat ass, cultivating a moustache. Hmpfh!

[A VOICE calls out from the boat.]

Voice : I can hear!

Alice : [Calling out to the boat] Shh!

Alice : That's not a moustache, its a cat. [Looks back at Chastity, shaking her head at Stephen's foolishness] Doh!

[The boat sails closer, revealing that there is just one person aboard, SVEN GORING. He sails up to the beach, and leaps out, with a big smile on his face.]

Sven : Hah! Well met, friends! I thought I'd be the first to find the beach, but what is success without the spectre of failure? [Leans back and bellows a hearty laugh] Sven Goring's the name - Goring by name, and goring by nature. [Laughs aloud again, giving a friendly punch to Clint's arm.]

Alice : [To the others] What a big horn he has!

Clint : [Punching Sven back, slightly harder] Aha! Welcome the viking to our beach! What's with the horns? [Takes a look with discretion to the boat, to see if there are any weapons inside].

Stephen : My, you're a fine strong looking fella, aren't you! [Wipes sweat from his brow] Come over here and help me dig this hole, would you? I'm sure we'll be done in no time if you use your huge helmet!

Sven : [Roars with laughter after Clint's punch] I like your style, friend! [Gives another friendly, yet harder than Clint's, punch back] Truth of the matter is that I'm not a viking at all, its just a great way to get bimbos. [Turns to Alice with a cheesy smile] How're you doin'?

Alice : [Swoon] Um, ah, um, pleased to meet you, Mr. Penis. [Pause] Horn! Goring!

[SVEN's boat is brimming with weapons. There are all manner of swords, axes and the like, scattered all over the floor.]

Clint : [To Stephen] I suppose I better give you a hand, otherwise we'll still be here by sunset - which is to say forever, since there is no sun. [Helps Sthepen to dig the hole, putting an effort to it but pretending he is doing little] Nonono, Hinchberg, dig more that way! Alice, you give him a hand! And how about the fat lady making an effort as well?

Sven : [Stands over Stephen, looking at Vincent] Ah, a man who died in battle. I would be proud to help bury him. [Gets some shovels from his boat, and throws one to Clint] There, friend, you look like a man of honour.

Alice : [Brightly] Can I help?

Sven : [Playfully tapping her chin with his knuckle] Of course you can, men digging graves need sandwiches, don't they? [Begins digging]

Alice : Absolutely! [To Chastity] How do you make sandwiches?

[A short while later, the unfortunate VINCENT has been buried, and CLINT, STEPHEN and SVEN take a rest.]

Alice : I didn't have anything to make any food from, but in that bag I found what seems to be cat. [Holds up a tin to the others that has a picture of a cat on it, and, upon seeing the surprised looks of the others] Well, if its good enough for the Jasmine Palace, its good enough for us.

Sven : [Slaps his thigh as he roars with laughter] Excellent! Excellent! However, maybe we'd be better off if we all have some of the food from my boat. [Puts an arm around each of Stephen and Clint] So, men, care to tell me how you got to the beach? Last fron Conoriffic #17

Lenin: [dryly; to Sven] I suppose you'll be wanting hero sandwhiches, Comrade?

Sven : [Still with an arm around each of Clint and Stephen] Haw! [Winks at Lenin] What a personality! But, I must say, I prefer co-operation sandwiches.

Alice : Eauh! What's in those? Stuff like people's appendixes and tonsils and things? [Shivers]

Stephen : Well, Sven, we came here in our closet.

Austin : [To Lennin] Is he not a hero of the people, rowing to save us, unaided by machine or capitalist inscentives?

Clint : [To Stephen] Helllllllo Hyperberk, the Viking was talking to us MEN here! [points to himself and Lenin] [to Sven] Let me tell you the real story, Sven old pal: we came here in our closet!!

Sven : [Turning to Stephen] But now you've come out of the closet, eh? [Big belly laugh, before letting go of the other two, and standing in front of Austin, and bowing slightly] I thank you sir, for your kind words. I am Sven Goring, intrepid adventurer, and wanted to be the first to enter Cointreau using the staircase from the Under City. Of course, it looks like you've beaten me to it, but such is the life of an adventurer. [Reaches into his boat and pulls out a large picnic basket, filled with all kinds of delicious looking food.]

Stephen : Really Clint? I thought MEN had two testicles? And I don't mean one hanging from you, and the other still rotting on a spike a few hundred miles from here. [Checks himself] Two eyes. Two ears. Two arms. Two hands. Two legs. Two feet. And two dangling testicles. Yup, all present and correct.

Alice : Miaow! Let's get into the catmobile, Stephen!

Sven : [Laughing heartily at Clint and Stephen] Hey guys, I gotta admit, being a loner, I miss this kind of hearty banter! [Looks around him] So, where's the staircase?

Stephen : [Retracting his claws] I hope you've brought a rope, love, because the stairs is a long way up. [Points to the staircase] And it's a long, long, long way to the top of that.

Sven : [Taking a look up] Well, it looks like the adventure has just started! It'll take more than a rope to get up there.

[Enter PETER DEADPAN, who was covered by some of SVEN's equipment in the boat.]

Peter : [Dryly] You could fly up.

Alice : [Straining to see up] Really? It's very far up.

Peter : [Climbing out of the boat] Oh sure, all you need is trust, and a little bit of pixie dust. [Takes out a cigarette]

Alice : [Looking at Stephen] Would fairy dust do, I wonder?

Stephen : [Looking incredulously at Peter, before turning back to Alice] Possibly, but you stole all of my poppers before we left Queens View. But I suppose you can't remember that either!

Austin : [To Alice] Do you have some, or know where we can get some?

Alice : [To Stephen] I can't, and come to think of it, I can't remember you either. Help! Help! Spy! Aaaagh! We're all going to die! We're gonna die! [Calmly to Austin] No. And I would be surprised if there was such a thing as Fairy Dust.

Sven : [Catching Peter in a headlock and rubbing his knuckle on his head in classic drunken "I love this guy" style] What a joker! I just love this guy! He can turn even the most serious situations into a laugh a minute! [Lets go of Peter, who bends down to get his hat]

Alice : Wow! Cool hat, can I have it?

Peter : [Putting the hat on] Yes. Maybe you could use it as a tent for you and your friends to stay in when we abandon you here.

Sven : Haw! [Slaps Peter on the back] Well folks, I guess from the height of the stairs, the state of your closet and the deadness of the dead guy, that you're not on the way out of the Under City, but have been thrown down here from Cointreau, right? [Rubs his hands together]

Chastity: [Eyes Sven with suspicion] I normally don't trust foreigners, but I guess your results so far suggest you're the man to lead this party to the glory that they are so deserving.

Stephen : There's no way I'm going down shit creek, sister! Even with a paddle!

Peter : Oh I'm quite sure this party will get what they deserve.

Sven : [Taking off his helmet, and making an ostentatious bow in front of Chastity] Sister, you embarass me with your praise. While I would be honoured to lead such a fine party, I am quite sure that there is already a leader. Instead, now that we know that it is not possible to simply climb up to Cointreau, I suggest I bring you to the Under City, and see if we can find some other way of getting up.

Alice : [Excitedly] What's the Under City like?

Peter : Its just like Disneyland.

Alice : [Makes a face] Aw! You mean its run by a group of right wing Christian fundamentalists who try to stamp their corporate identity on everything from clothing to basic foodstuffs, and who have exhibited a callous and concerted effort to make money from penniless third world countries who don't have enough cash to buy fresh milk, never mind a Mickey Mouse glass for a drink of additive-filled Coke from some oppressive capitalist fast food outlet who happily sell 1% meat beefburgers for an entire weeks wage to Eastern Europeans?

[Everyone goes quiet for a while.]

Alice : [Big smile again] Sorry! Just going back to my childhood for a moment there! I meant, do you mean its full of happy people and no queues?

Peter : That's exactly what I meant.

Alice : [Quietly to Lenin] Sorry! Demarcation and all that, won't happen again, I promise!

Austin : [To Sven] PLease show us the way to this wonderful under-city. May I partake in the consuming of some of your delicious looking food? [Adjusts cuff-links slightly]

Jerome: [Smiles, looking on in pride at Alice's outburst] Dear Alice, you have surprised even the unsurprisable. [Turns to Stephen] It is the belief of Jerome K. Trindle that Shit Creek is already familiar to you, Stephen, and you have swam and drunk from it's waters previously.

Stephen : Not since you hooked up with Alice, I haven't!

Alice : [Taking Jerome's arm] Aw, isn't that nice? Thanks Stephen!

Sven : [Munching on a huge chicken leg, and speaking to Austin] Sir, I would be proud for you to partake of my humble feast. My only qualm is that such an obvious connoisseur as yourself is probably used to finer things.

Stephen : [Helping himself to some dodo wings in sea urchin sauce] Mmm, my favourite. Hey Peter, could you pass me some of those swans legs, oh, and perhaps a slice of gorilla breast please?

Peter : Yes. Yes I could. [Makes no move, either towards or away from the munching party.]

Sven : [Beaming away, watching the party gorge themselves] Ha! An army marches on its stomach, and I say there is nothing better than seeing people eat with gusto. [Whispering to Stephen] You know, of course, that they're not swans legs, but deep fried elephant penises. Quite why they're on my boat, I'm not sure. [Throws his chicken leg into the dark water, whereupon some kind of fish begin a feeding frenzy] Okay team, you obviously want to remain tight lipped about the reasons for being thrown out of Cointreau, but that's fine, because we've all done some wild and crazy things, haven't we Peter?

Peter : Yes. We have all done wild and crazy things. All sorts of mad capers.

Sven : [Smiling] See? Even Peter has his dark side! Now, I'm going to return to the city to see if I can't find a way to get up to those stairs, [raises his voice] who's with me? Who's gonna kick some Under City butt?

Stephen : Wow, lucky old you, Austin! Kissing butt is something you're really good at! Well, we've no way of going back, so I guess it's forward! [Raises his hollowed out elephant tusk filled with ambrosia] Count me in!

Clint : [To Stephen] Ah!, I see you're doing your usual oral treatment to penises! [Suddenly looks at his snake fillet on white sauce very suspiciously] [To Sven] Well, I don't think we want to stay here forever, so might as well go with you! [Looks around] What do you all think? [Whispering to Peter] Say lad, you wouldn't happen to have some rare and strong liquor on the boat by any chance?

Peter : We have eight cases of Louis XIV brandy, possibly the best tasting liquid known to man. [Glances at Stephen] Men have been known to kill, seel their souls and climb over their own mothers to get it. However, I am enjoying your company so much, I think I would rather stay here talking to you than get it.

Sven : Ha! You're a card, Peter, a card and no mistake! Okay guys, if everyone is happy to sail with the Svenster, then lets get aboard.

Alice : [To Clint] I think he's great! I think we should go with him. Who knows, we might even be able to get a hat like that for Jerome, you know, so he could have a big horn too. [Looks away wistfully.]

Lenin: How like a capitalist to feast upon things past. Soon your day will be over, and then, the glorious night of communism!

Sven : [Laughs at Lenin, giving him a friendly punch on the arm, that sends him staggering] Haw! Excellent! Excellent! [Putting on a serious face] But you are right my friend, by feasting here we are preventing ourselves from going forward, and by staying where we are, we are rooted to the past. Let us look to the future, friends! [Leaps aboard the boat] Peter, are you with me?

Peter : No, I'm going to stay alone on this godforsaken beach.

Sven : Alright!

Stephen : [Belches mightily, before climbing into the boat] Hello sailor!

Sven : Ha! Welcome aboard the Rubber Regina, sailor boy!

[CHASTITY and ALICE climb aboard, while the rest of the menfolk push the boat off.]

Sven : Heave!

Alice : [Looking at the choppy water] If it gets any rougher than this, I think I'll have to!

Clint : [Punching Sven quite hard on the shoulder] Aye mate, I hope the journey is long; time is needed to fully appreciate the smoothness of Louis XIV Brandy! [Goes to the remainders of the cupboard, to pick up some weapons] [To Stephen] You might enjoy the brandy, Hitchjerk, Louis XIV was your kind of man - hum, should I really call him that? [Makes it torwards the boat, obviously looking for the liquor cabinet]

Stephen : [Sighs heavily] My name is Hitchberg, moron. And the closest you've ever come of Louis XIV brandy is by drinking a richer mans piss! Ha, fully appreciate indeed!

[The boat sets sail, and the others jump on.]

Sven : Haw! You're my kind of man, Clint. Drinking brandy as we set sail for certain death.

[CLINT continues his searching, without finding anything that even remotely resembles a drinks cabinet.]

Alice : Certain Death? I thought we were going to the Under City? This Certain Death place doesn't sound very nice at all.

Sven : [Ruffling Alice's hair playfully] Okay, we'll go to the Under City instead - I've been there before, so if there's anything you need to know, old Sven will guide you through. [Turns away, holding his hand away from himself] Man, that girl uses too much mousse.

Alice : [Touching her own hair] Ah no! Damned nappy!

Stephen : What do you mean, fight? What fight? Whose fight? How bad is this Under City place?

Peter : It's like the garden from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Alice : [Brightly] Oh! That was always my favourite film, [face darkens a bit] until they made that remake, what was it? Wonka's Chocolate Willy Factory? I don't know, but it somehow lost the naive innocence of the first film.

Sven : Put it this way, there was so much evil in the place, that it sank into the earth to become closer to hell. When I came here, I was with seven of the most skilled fighters in all the Realms - and only Peter and I survived. As soon as the inhabitants of the Under City set eyes on you, they will most likely attack. Women are considered public property and fights are likely to break out over the smallest and most insignificant thing. It is unusual to walk down a street without seeing at least one stabbing.

Alice : Crikey! Sounds just like Limerick!

Sven : [Laughs aloud, punching Clint hard, yet playfully, on the shoulder] Haw! Rich man's piss - he's got you there, friend! But seriously, the Under City is a dangerous place, we'll have to be prepared. This place is an absolute nightmare.

Alice : But its not as bad as Certain Death, right?

Sven : Er, yeah. That's right. Now, you lot look like you've been through the mill, are you ready for a fight?

Clint : [to Sven] Ah!, now is the time for you to know who I really am: [dramatic pause] Clint Scar, expert avenging fighter, who fears no-one and kills everything with the power of his sword! Kill, kill, kill! [Makes a swing in the air with his sword, missing the sails by inches] [to Stephen] I'm not sure this place will be suitable for you, Hinchbark!

Alice : [Trying to spot the curious looking "Z" that has just been cut into her shirt] What about sails, Clint? Aren't you afraid of those? [Pauses, looking satisfied] Oh wait! That's me! [Looks up at the sails] Aiiiieeeee!

[The boat is approaching a small harbour, but it is too dark to make out any detail.]

Sven : We will soon be upon the quay - be ready to fight your way off the boat, people.

Stephen : [Standing up] Once more into the brink, dear...[looks around at the party]...whatever! Let's send in Zero [nods towards Clint] first, and with a bit of luck, the townspeople will think us foul lepers and leave us alone.

Alice : [Dryly to Stephen] We think you're a foul leper, and it hasn't made you leave us alone.

Sven : [Drawing his sword] Ha ha! The smell of the fight is upon us!

[ALICE touches her hair and smells her hand suspiciously.]

Sven : Draw your weapons people, and let us prepare for battle.

[As the boat draws ever closer to the quay, the party can see that there are a few people standing there, clearly waiting for them.]

Clint : [To Stephen] Chickening again are you, Hitchnerd? This is your chance of proving that you're a man after all! [To Sven] Hum, since you and Peter Fan know these people already, you might want to take the lead... [Looks at Sven and Peter, to check for any signs of readiness for battle]

Peter : [Making no move to ready himself for battle] Oh yes. After seeing six of my friends tortured and murdered by these people, I'm all set to engage them again.

Sven : That's the spirit, Peter! [To Clint] It'll take all of us to successfully get onto the shore - some of you won't make it. Some of you will die in battle today, but you'll be waiting for us in Valhalla, where we'll all feast and talk of the wonderful, brave and fearless fight we put up! Ready arms!

Alice : [To Clint] I think he wants you to knock them out with your B.O.

Stephen : [To Clint] And stinky, I am ready for battle. Don't forget who saved your lives twice in as many days. In fact, it's safe to say, if it wasn't for my brilliant idea to get you into the studio, and my wonderful plan of using the closet to escape the Kennys, you Clint, would now be lying rotting in a pool of your own blood. [Sniffs the air] And would probably be smelling a lot better than you currently do!

Clint : [Noisingly sniffing his arm pit][To Stephen] Ah!, the smell of a real man! [Readies his sword, and picks up a small dagger from Sven's weapons][To Sven] You won't mind lending this one to a fellow warrior, would you? [Tries to count the number of opponents waiting in the harbour]

Sven : Not at all, but I'd prefer if you would take this. [Throws a massive sword to Clint] A real mans sword for a real man.

Alice : Wow, it even smells bad! [Looks to the quay] Wow! There must be twenty of thirty of them there - and look, some have bows and arrows! And there's a guy there with a crossbow - and - and - there's someone there selling popcorn?

Sven : This is a sick town.

Chastity: [Picks up a dagger and a staff. Looks to the dock] Oh dear. [Stands behind Clint and begins sniffing] Oh dear. [Stands behind Sven]

[As the boat edges towards the dock, all those standing there lift and point their bows at the party.]

Alice : [Wielding a sword] Hang on, why are we all holding swords when they all have bows?

Sven : Ha! That's part of the glory of battle, my dear!

Alice : You mean, half of us get mown down before we even get to the dock?

Sven : [Big wink at Alice] Now you're catching on!

[ALICE stands behind CHASTITY standing behind SVEN, and promptly falls into the water.]

Peter : So much for instilling a sense of fear in them with our dramatic entrance.

Chastity: Although I doubt my own battlefield tactical prowess, isn't it a little foolish to sail into a sea of arrows? Wouldn't it be better to taunt them from a safe distance? They would swim out in anger and be too tired to fight. [From behind Sven, she shouts] I CAN SMELL YOU FROM HERE.

Alice : [Hanging onto the boat] You mean, like under the water? [Cough, spits out a huge mouthful of water, which, considering she hadn't swallowed any since she fell in, is kind of strange]

[Book II, Act IV, Scene II. On the Dock of the Bay. Wednesday 6.50am. JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, ALICE, LENIN, CLINT, STEPHEN, VINCENT, PETER and SVEN are here, in a boat several feet away from the dock. ALICE is in the water, struggling to catch onto the boat. There are about thirty people on the dock, all but one of whom (BUMCH UM) is armed. One of them, HACKING JACK, who is obviously the leader, is peering down at the boat, clearly about to give a signal to fire.]

Bumch : Get your massacre snacks here!

Jack : [To Bumch] Shaddup! Alright lads, ready, aim, fi-uk! [A look of horror comes over his face as the boat comes within range.]

Jerome: Judging from the look that just appeared on that man's face, I think he must have just spotted Clint and noticed the missing testicle.

Clint : [To Jerome] Right, mister Jerome Triple BSE FMD, what if instead of worshipping my testicle, you would come up with a good idea to get us out of this mess? Use your #3989343 patented Instant Invisible shield, for example? Or maybe you just can't come up with anything useful, and have to rely on us men here [points to himself and Sven, taking extra care not to point at Stephen] and our courage to defend the group! [Extends a hand to help Alice get back on the boat, while still facing the armed party in the beach] Here bimbo, you don't want to have your ass eaten by a piranha!

Lenin: Oh Crapitalism! [Looks for a crossbow or ranged weapon to fire at Jack] Leave it to me to do the dirty work, comrades...

Alice : [Pulling herself into the boat using Clint] I guess being eaten by pirahna is only marginally worse than having to touch you.

Jack : [Throwing down a rope to the boat] Ahoy there! Welcome back!

Sven : [Surprised] Wahey guys! Have you been holding out on me?

[Even PETER looks at the party with what almost passes for admiration.]

Stephen : [Quietly to the party] Have you been here before?

Clint : [Letting go of Alice's hand before she gets inside the boat] Women... [Shouting at Jack] Thanks mate, it's been a long time! [Winks at Stephen] [Quietly to the party] I suggest we play along! [Suddenly feels very awckward for winking at Stephen]

Jack : Its been too long, Lint, far too long.

Bumch : [Waving to Austin] Hi Mr. Squeeze!

[The boat is slowly pulled towards the dock.]

Sven : [Suspiciously to Clint] Lint? [Turning to Austin] Squeeze?

Alice : [To the others] Wait a second - I don't think he's just talking about what he thinks is in Clint's naval, that name sounds familiar.

Lenin: It's alright, Comrades; they probably just recognize me. I'm working on putting down my cult of personality. [Gets out sunglasses] I'll go incognito, I think.

Stephen : [To Alice] Oh? I can't say it sounds famimiliaiar to blerurh! See?

Alice : [Wiping Stephen's spit off her face] No.

Jack : [Peering into the boat, and squinting at Lenin] Hah! Lying Buckley, you old bastard! It's great to see you all again - but where's the Colonel? I hope those fools from Queens View didn't get him.

Stephen : [Shrugs, and acts macho] I had to kill him. I was in a bar, hitting on this fine young thing, when along he came and challenged me to a duel, the old fool. Said she was HIS bit of crumpet! Ran the old idiot straight through in seconds. [Gestures to the others] Having seen my fighting spirit, the others asked me to join them, so, here I am!

Jack : [Impressed] Feck off! Any man that could kill Colonel Slash has to be a real man, and worthy of Pestilence's Malefics any day.

[A ladder is put down to the boat. SVEN ascends it immediately, and stands nose to nose with JACK.]

Sven : Ha! I told you I'd be back.

[A fight breaks out amongst those who were waiting on the dock.]

Alice : [To the others] Pestilence? That sounds vaguely familiar....

[The party all climb onto the dock.]

Jack : [All excited] Dirty Betty will have a heart attack! She still talks about the day that Lice and Chastising beat her up!

[The party are clearly at the edge of town. It is difficult to see anything, as it is so dark and smoky, but there are a lot of lights on in the distance. There is the occasional scream and rattle of dustbins etc. as JACK leads the party towards a large bar called "Dirty Bettys". All the others on the dock are following the party.]

Austin : [In response to the salutations] Greetings, we meet again. How fare things with you?

Bumch : [Sidling up alongside Austin] Hi Mr. Squeeze, do you remember me?

Stephen : [Quietly, to the party] We might be in a lot of trouble here! Do we know anything at all about the other party? Apart from their names, that is?

Alice : Are you sure we even know that? You know [lowers her voice and whispers to Stephen] between you and me, some of the other party members aren't the brightest.

Alice : [Continuing] In fact, they often just stand around not speaking for hours at a time.

Sven : Haw! Incredible!

Alice : Not so incredible, just annoying.

Stephen : [Suddenly, to Jack] Ha, where's my manners. I'm Thievin Aitchberg, mercenary, thief, lady killer and all around bad egg! You hate 'em, I'll terminate 'em! [Laughs loud] Listen, mate, the lads have kept a little tight lipped about the big P, so, any chance you could fill me in a bit! [Gestures to the party] Good fighters, but terrible talkers, know what I mean, eh! [Laughs loud again]

Clint : [To Jack] Yeah, Aitchjerk - no, berk - no, berg - no - yes! - berk - is a lady killer alright... [Tries not to laugh] You tell him about big P anyway!

Jack : [Peering at the others for a moment, before breaking into laughter] Yeah, I know what you mean Aitchberg - they do have a tendency to stand around doing nothing. [To Clint] Well Lint, with Squeeze there [nods at Austin] you could hardly bring a gay guy into the party. [Bursts out laughing.]

[The party enter DIRTY BETTY's bar. The bar is quite small, with seven or eight tables, most of which have people sitting at them. There is a large woman behind the bar, who breaks into a large smile when she sees the party.]

Betty : Wahey! It's the Malefics - Virgin Bloods all round!

[The entire bar cheers loudly.]

Betty : [Angrily] Not for you, you bastards. Just for the party.

[The entire bar gives an audible "awww".]

Stephen : [Angrily, but quietly] Listen you steroid bound buffon, I know most things pass you by unnoticed, but you're this bloody close to blowing my cover! So put your rank cheesy sock in it, okay? [Shakes his head in disbelief]

Clint : [To Betty] Ah!, now you're talking! I haven't had a glass of proper liquor for ages! [To Stephen] Careful, Aitchjerk - this might grow hair on your chest! [To Jack, while walking towards the bar] Anyway Jack, what has been decided while we were away?

Stephen : [Angrily, but quietly] Listen you steroid bound buffon, I know most things pass you by unnoticed, but you're this bloody close to blowing my cover! So put your rank cheesy sock in it, okay? [Shakes his head in disbelief]

Clint : [Quietly to Stephen] Well you faggy moron, I guess you better start acting as a proper [does the finger quotes in the air] "man" then! [Louder to Betty] Here Betty, give us a drink to me and my new pal [slaps Stephen in the back with rather unmoderated strength] Aitchperk - no, nerk - no, nerd. Damn it, Aitchderg! I always get confused with names, you see...

Betty : [Sliding a large mug of red liquid towards Clint] And you ain't getting no liquor today, Lint, arf! Arf!

[The party sit around a table, with JACK, PETER and SVEN joining them.]

Jack : So guys, you were asking about Pestilence. Well, I guess you know more about it than we do - he's still getting the army ready for the big push. And well, you'll know what'll happen then, hah!

Alice : He'll finally get that car going?

Betty : [Bringing a mug to Stephen] Well, hello. Arf!

Stephen : [Winks at Betty] How do. [Looks into the mug, shudders and fishes out a pubic hair with his finger] Mmm, murky red liquid, my favourite! [Slaps Betty on the behind] Arrr, thanks lass!

Austin : [To Betty] How dost my furious whirlwind of death fair today? [Big cheesy grin] I seem to have lost Bumch, most unusual. I will have to peel his skin off later, then cover him in Cognac.

Jack : Instead of covering him in semen like you normally do?

Alice : [Almost choking on her creamy looking drink] Eauh! I think I might have some virgin blood after all!

Betty : [Blushes from Stephen's attentions] Arf! Arf!

Jack : So lads, not that its any of my business, but will you, you know, be going to see Pestilence?

Stephen : [To Jack] You're quite right, it's none of your business.

Jack : Well, I - uh [looks to the other party members for assistance]

Alice : [Who's "milky" moustache somewhat takes from her credibility] You heard what he said, its none of your business.

Jack : [Flustered] Um, of course. My apologies.

Betty : [Fondling Stephen's hair] My, you're so manly. How would you like to stay here tonight? If you're not going back to your friends [nods at the others] house, of course.

Austin : [To Stephen] Pestilence might be useful, might further our current plans? Could be a laugh, but I'm not sure if I can be troubled with such untertakings. [Sips his virgin blood as if tasting a dubiously low quality pint of Tenants]

Alice : [Bursting out laughing at Austin] Hah! Look, you've got red moustache! [He doesn't, of course.]

Betty : [Wide-eyed at Austin's remark] Pestilence might be useful! Wow, Mr. Squeeze, you better not let him hear you make a remark like that, you know how he gets with that temper of his. Anyway [giving Stephen a rather overexhuberant massage] I'd anything to happen to this one, with his silver tounge.

Clint : [Sends a puzzled look at Stephen] [To Jack] Ah... it really isn't, Jack old pal! Unless you want to tell him [points, without looking, to Stephen] what the story really is all about! [Drinks a huge portion of his virgin blood] I've tried to explain him, but he's sooooooooo slow...

Jack : [Trying not to watch Alice wipe her mouth with her sleeve] Er, and what story would that be, Lint?

Austin : [To Betty] I jest of course, he hasn't lost his acute sense of humour I take it? [Looks Alice up and down, shudders briefly and turns back to Betty]

Stephen : [Going white] Can't, erm, babe! Washing my hair. And I gots lots of things to talk over with my friends. But, keep it warm for me, know what I mean! You never know what year I'll be back.

Betty : [Looks sadly at Stephen, and then tries to put on a brave smile, revealing the few teeth she has to be all black and yellow] Washing your hair eh? Next you'll be saying that you spend almost as much time on personal grooming as us girls do, eh? Eh? [Nudges Alice]

Alice : Well, as some of us do.

Jack : [To Austin] I don't know if I'd call it a sense of humour, more like a twisted sense of injustice and intolerance, but yeah, he hasn't changed.

Jerome: [Takes a sip of his Virgin Blood] Ah, this taste grants fond memories of you Alice for some reason, which currently remains unascertainable.

Clint : [To Jerome] You mean Lice of course, right Killer? You're just like me, can't really memorize a name properly!

Jerome: [To Clint] No, what was said was meant - in the manner that it is known that Lice, here, hates being called Alice so it is done to irritate.

Lenin: Quite naturally, comrade Jeroboam.

Alice : [Warming to this new game] And how very successful you were, Killer. [Smiles sweetly at Jerome, before throwing her drink at him. Unfortunately, both mug and contents fly out of her hand, but miss Jerome completely, and smack some innocent at the next table on the back of the head.] Oops! Sorry!

Jack : Heah! [Holds up his mug for Alice to clink hers against] Glad to see you lot haven't changed. [Holds the mug there for a while before realising that Alice no longer has hers] Er, well. [Puts his mug back down] So, we've heard snatches of tales of your adventures on the surface, it must have been great.

Alice : It would have been great, if we hadn't lumbered by that [juts her thumb at Clint] fool.

Jack : [Laughing] Excellent - very funny.

Alice : What do you mean funny? Do you think I'm like a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? [Draws her sword and stands up] Do you think I'm here to fucking amuse you?

Clint : [Smiling to Jack] Do yo understand now what I had to endure when we were up there [pointing at the ceiling]? I think it's her time of the month, you see... [To Alice, with an enquiring look in his eyes] Lice, will you put the fucking sword down, before you hurt yourself? [JACK says nothing, but just smiles nervously.]

Alice : [Pointing the sword at Clint, and, with quite some venom in her voice] The only one who's going to be hurt, Lint, is you. I did it before and I'll do it again.

Stephen : [Slams his drink on the table and stands up next to Alice] Apologize to the lady, friend, or I'll open you from stomach to throat!

Alice : [Roughly pushing Stephen to the floor] Get the hell away from me! Just get the hell away from me!

[The whole bar has gone quiet, with everyone watching ALICE's rant.]

Stephen : [Picks himself up from the floor and dusts himself down] Fine, Lice, have it your way. [Sits down, and says to the others] What the hell was in her drink? [Suspiciously sniffs his own]

Clint : There's definitely something wrong here. [To Betty] You wouldn't know anything about this, would you? [Tries to grab Alice's cup to smell it]

Alice : [Turning back to Clint] And what about you, Stinky? Do you want to make something of it? Becuase I can tell you know, I'm sick you and your shit, your constant snide remarks, your absolute refusal to take me seriously and, quite honestly, your b.o. has got so bad the fly problem is almost out of control. [Flaps away some imaginary flies from in front of Clint.]

Betty : [Dusting off Stephen, and turning to Clint] Arf! Arf! It don't take no drink to do that in the Under City, Lint, Arf!

Stephen : What do you mean? I've never been here before, so I'm confused. What does it take to do THAT in the Under City?

Betty : Aw, poor baby. [Bends down so they are cheek to cheek, and hugs him. When she pulls away Stephen's face has a big black streak down in] All it takes to do that in the Under City is to be here!

Alice : [Still glaring at Clint] I thought not. [Looks slowly around at the rest of the party] I mean it. Things are changing from here on in, I don't want any more of your crap - everything's going to be different. [Tries to put her sword back in her scabbard, misses. Tries again, misses again. Tries again, cuts a small hole in her sleeve. Tries again, jabs herself in the leg. Slams the sword into the table in front of her and sits down.] Get me some drink!

[BUMCH runs off to get it.]

Jack : [Eyeing Alice warily, before turning to the others] So, you heard that Iok was killed?

Stephen : [Gone pale white, rubs his face with his hand and inspects the black dirt with horror] No, I've not heard. When?

Lenin: [To Alice] No, no, he's saying you're a funny gal, comrade. You know, you make him laugh. [realizes what Jack said] WHAT~?

Clint : [With eyes wide open, to Alice] Hey bimbo, I don't take shit from women, specially if they've got a spongy rond tampax in place of their brain! So you better behave if you don't want me to teach you a lesson! [Slams his cup quite hard on the table, and shouts to no-one in particular] Get me some drink here! [Burps] And fast! [To Stephen] And you faggy boy, get your arse as far away from me as possible!

Stephen : Oh shut the fuck up, you thick stupid one balled wanker!

Alice : [To Clint] What lesson are you capable of teaching? How to attract flies? How to get through life without any sexual organs? How to almost get killed? How to use a knife and fork while eating - oh, sorry, silly me, you haven't learned that one yourself yet! Probably too concerned that if Stephen's arse is anywhere near you that you'll find yourself tempted by him!

Jack : [Increasingly nervous] Er, um, Iok was finally killed about two months ago, by those wasters from Queens View - as you know, Dangsten did a good job on him beforehand.

Stephen : [Calms down and shakes his head] I've only been with the group for a few weeks, why don't you tell me about Dangsten? Perhaps your story will help everyone to relax a bit.

Alice : You could hardly get more relaxed, could you? What with your limp wrist and all.

[BUMCH comes down with another tray of drinks.]

Jack : I'm surprised you hadn't heard. Dangsten is Iok's son - he took Iok's Dagger of Soul Stealing and stabbed him with it. [Leans in, clearly enjoying his story.] Since then he's been wreaking havoc all over - in fact, I thought you lot met up with him? Your friends surely did?

Alice : We're not his friends. We just tolerate him.

Stephen : The slag is partly correct. I'm only here for the money, they are definitely not my friends. As for who they have or have not met, I am neither interrested, nor care.

Jack : Oh, okay.

Betty : But I'm your friend, amn't I?

[ALICE turns to STEPHEN and throws her mug at him, smacking him square in the forehead in pure "Big Lebowski" style.]

Alice : Don't you dare speak about me like that.

Stephen : Fuc-Ow! [Grabs his head in pain] Holy shit slapper, there was no need for that! [To Jack, still holding his head] Well, I guess that proves how much of a friend that dirty little Jezebel is! [Suddenly fires his mug at Peter Deadpan] And stop sniggering, freakboy!

Peter : [Wearing his usual calm expression, until struck by the mug] Ow! What the hell did you do that for?

Stephen : [Incredulous] What? What? I've seen you sniggering at me, you think I haven't noticed, but I have. Everything I've said, snigger snigger snigger. Everything I've done, guffaw guffaw guffaw! Well I won't take any more of it, Deadpan, you hear me!

Alice : And its not just him, Stephen. It's everyone. We all think you're a joke. Except Clint, who's incapable of thinking for himself.

Sven : Aw, come on, lads, this no way to behave!

[The crowd have slowly gone back to minding their own business.]

Peter : [Regaining his composure, and turning to Stephen] Excuse me? You'll have to speak up.

Stephen : [Laughs in Alices face] Ha! You're one to talk about people thinking! It takes you two minutes each morning just to remember to breathe!

Austin : [To Clint] You really are the most unplesant component in this group. Your ignorrant canine-excrement-maternal-intercourse mentality has never produced a single contribution to the world of worthwhile orated sentences.

Alice : [To Stephen] Better than only taking two minutes two breed, Mr. Jiffy!

Stephen : Breed? Breed! [Points to himself and does a little ass wiggle] Hellooo!

Austin : [To Alice] Quite correct, I suspect Mr. Jiffy and Peter Panhandle over there [Maplin flips off Peter] Will get along just famously , if only for one-hundred and twenty seconds or less. [nods towards Peter, whilst facing Alice] Where in the name of Pestilence did that Gimp of green find those clothes, we should burn him for sullying our otherwise unadulterated beauty.

Clint : [To Austin] Don't start, mr big-shit-lawyer! Why don't you team up with the arsehole there [points, without looking, to Stephen] and go amuse yourselves in the rooms upstairs? You could switch turns in biting the pillow! [To Alice] As for you, you little bitch, go wash your dick-sucking mouth before even attempting to talk up to me - or I might end up having to show you what a man I am! [Quite irritated] And if there's one more joke about my testicles in here, I promise you all hell will break loose!

Austin : [To Clint] It seems to me that you are currently promoting all of the homosexual activities, I believe that you are indeed a closet homosexual, but you have an insecuriority complex due to your scrotal deficiencies. I saw the way that you and Peter looked at eachother, your tounge was hanging out. [Gestures to everyone else] We all know that you think about, since you blame your thoughts on others. But we can see through it plain as day.

Clint : And I think you've got a tongue which is full of shit. That's probably from licking someone else's arse. Probably Mr. Aitchkenjerk's one, since he's so full of shit himself! [Turning to Alice] What about you bitch, keeping your shit to yourself? It's amazing how the atmosphere actually gets breadable when you have your mouth shut!

Austin : [To Clint, gleefully] You really can't help yourself can you? You just cannot stop thinking about homosexual activities!

Stephen : [To Clint] And listen, wiffy, the only one who stinks of shit is you! If you're determined to wipe your arse with your hand, you could at least stop using the remnants as fake tan!!!

Alice : Why would he use his own hand when he's got yours, Stephen?

Dobbin : I said, it is time for revenge.

Stephen : Because my hands are going to be busy wrapped around your wrinkly throat!

Alice : I don't think so - its unlikely that your weak little wrists could lift your hands that high.

Dobbin : Ahem!

Austin : [Throws his mug at Peter] Leave my audience now, lest your fettid shadow fall accross my path and bring me bad luck.

Stephen : Oh, I won't have to lift them that high! [Indicates Dobbin] You're such a slag you'll be on your knees giving this guy head within the next few minutes, so I can wait!

Chastity: [To Alice] I see your brave husband-to-be is once again walking away from defending your honour. He can't even protect you from a faggot.

Alice : Wait for what? Your turn?

Dobbin : [Leaning in between Austin and Chastity] Enough! [Knocks all the mugs and glasses off the table, covering Stephen, Lenin and Austin in drink.] I will be heard.

Alice : [Watching Chastity and the others get covered in drink from Dobbin] Its okay, not even Clint would need someone to help defend him from that.

Chastity: Look at Lenin. He's a dripping wet.

Peter : [Dodging the mug, causing it to strike someone at the yellow table] I think I shall leave, for I shudder to think what kind of party you would be in if you had bad luck. [Stands up and turns to someone at the yellow table] My apologies sir, but the mug was thrown by an oaf at my table.

Dobbin : [Stamping his foot impatiently] I will be heard!

Austin : [To Throbbin'] You ignorant fool, you have soiled my garments. [Tries to Headbutt Dobbin]

Stephen : My turn! To get a blow job from you, no thanks! [Suddenly notices that he's dripping wet] What the hell is this!

Alice : Makes a change from Stephen, who tends to soil his own garments!

[AUSTIN leaps up from the table and tries to headbutt DOBBIN, who dodges and gets a blow to the shoulder.]

Dobbin : [Pushing Austin back, so he falls against Clint] I will soil more than your garments, sir. For I am here for revenge, for what you and your party did to my parents.

Austin : [To Dobbin] What are you talking about, you imbecile. We have never met your parents. If we had I would be wearing shoes made from you mothers hide.

Clint : [To Dobbin] OI!!! Don't push this sack of shit on top of me! Yuck!!! And he's all wet! Probably playing pocket billiard recently!! [Pushes Austin away] Go play with the faggot, will ya? [To Dobbin] And what's your problem? Can't you see we're in the middle of a discussion here? Wait in line, will ya? [Throws the contents of his mug all over Alice] [To Alice] There, I bet this is the only way to get you wet in the presence of a real man! What a cool fight! dominic wrote:

Stephen : [Pouring beer out of his boot] Ridiculous, you can't make good shoes out of pig skin!

Lenin: [Setting down his mug, slowly, thoughtfully, to Jerome and Chastity] You know, I've always hated the sight of you two. Smug, fat, plutocratic bastards, no concern for anyone else. I hope Dobbert, or whatever that drink-spilling recidivist's name is kills you two first.

Jerome: [Sets his mug next to Lenin's] The same could be said about you, save perhaps for the plutocratic part. Even as a retarded fascist, you fail miserably. Your pseudo-intelligence is pathetic, even compared to the anti-socialite Lint, here. But you do make a good point about Chastity.

Lenin: [still very calm] You're a revanchist ignoramous, Trindle. If you do not apologize for your insulting remarks immediately, I shall mete out a certain rough and uncomradely justice to your thick capitalistic skull.

Alice : [Who has remained dead calm and silent for the last minute or so, turns to Clint] Real man? What the hell do you know about that? [Grabs a mug and makes a dive for Clint, trying to crack it across his head.]

[CLINT blocks, and the two of them roll around on the ground, banging against people standing at the bar.]

Dobbin : [Eyes narrowed, which is quite difficult to see beneath his mask] How dare you speak of my mother's skin - for you were the very ones that skinned my family alive in Fire's End!* [Pulls Alice off Clint, and pushes her against Stephen, knocking both of them to the ground. He stands above Clint looking down, and draws his sword] I will kill you one by one, starting with you, Lint! Stand up, and face me like a man.

[ALICE crashes against STEPHEN, and the two off them fall against some of the people from the green table who are currently fighting.]

Alice : [To Stephen] Get off me, you fool! Green#1 : [To Alice and Stephen] What the hell is wrong with you? Green#2 : [Draws a kick that somehow catches both of them] Get the hell away from me!

Clint : [Rolls to his left, towards Bumch, then tries to get up] [To Dobbin] For fuck's sake, will ya hold on? We have a family crisis here! Wait for your turn, will ya? [To Alice] Biiiiiiiiiiitch! Come back here right now! Lets finish this once and for all!

Austin : [To Dobbin] That was the other party who killed your parents, we were found not guilty! [To Clint] Unhand her scum [Pokes Lint in the eye]

Dobbin : [Pushes Clint back against the bar, knocking over several drinks there] How typical! You try to avoid fighting me so you can attack a pregnant woman - that's really in your style. If you're not prepared to fight me properly, then I'll force you. [Jabs Clint with his sword, drawing blood from his arm] Customer#1* : Hey! My drink! Customer#2 : Bastard!

[One of the GREENs picks up STEPHEN, and the other punches him.]

[ALICE says nothing, but looks to the other party members, clearly not knowing what to do.]

Stephen : [Shoves Alice] Fool! You're the one who crashed into me! [Picks up an ashtray and fires it at Dobbin's head]

Jack : [Standing up] What? You're not the real party?

Betty : [Looks at Stephen with disgust] You lied to me! How could you? After all that's happened?

Stephen : Oh shut up you too, you toothless rancid crone! [Turns around and attempts to punch Green # 2]

Clint : [To Customer #1] Do you mind? [Grabs his glass and throws it to Jack] Will ya shut up, you? Sit down and wait for your turn! [To Sven] Hey Sven, wanted to have some fun? Now's the time, buddy! [Draws his sword]

[STEPHEN's ashtray flies pat DOBBIN and strikes CUSTOMER#3 in the face.]

Customer#3: [Screaming and bleeding] Aiiee! Customer#4: [Drawing a sword] Bastard! [Tries to get to Stephen, but encounters Lenin, who he throws to the floor] I'm gonna kill you!

[STEPHEN tries to free himself, but receives another punch from GREEN#2.]

Alice : God, I hate helping him. [Picks up a bottle and crashes it off Green#1's head, causing him to let go of Stephen. Looks at the broken bottle of Louis XIV in her hand] Aw man! I'm gonna kill you, Stephen! You did that deliberately!

[STEPHEN punches GREEN#2.]

[Meanwhile, the CYAN table has taken exception to STEPHEN's callous treatment of their favourite landlady.]

Cyan#1 : Man, they've upset Betty!

Cyan#2 : Who's Betty?

Cyan#3 : Who cares? Let's beat the shit out of them.

[They charge towards the party, one catching SVEN, who is now leaving.]

Sven : Hey! I've nothing to do with this crowd! [Smack, gets a punch from Cyan#5.]

[The other CYAN people spread themselves out, ready to take on the party with an assortment of broken bottles, glasses and milk cartons. While this is happenning, the YELLOW and PINK tables are eyeing each other up, clearly not happy with each other. For no discernable reason, CUSTOMER#6 throws a bottle through the huge mirror that was behind the bar, while the piano player starts hammering out some good ol' country favourites, all in time to the smashing of furniture and bones. A couple of hookers look down from the balcony, watching the fight, but have to clear a path as a COWBOY is thrown out of an upstairs room, crashes through the balcony rail and lands on the GREEN table.]

Green#4 : [Turning around] Hey! He goddamn gone done broke our table!

Dobbin : [Swings his sword at Clint, who parries the blow] For my family! For my village! [This close up, Clint can see that poor old Dobbin is crying, which is going to make it very difficult to see out of that mask.]

Bumch : [Trying to negotiate his way over to Austin with a huge tray of drinks] Mr. Squeeze! Mr. Squeeze! I've got another drink for you!

Jack : [Hiding under the table with a bottle of whiskey and a cigarette] Ah, now this is why this is my favourite bar!

Austin : [To Jack] Naturally, we are the real party, but twats like Dobbin here fall for that kind of stuff all the time. [To Dobbin] I don't have shoes made from your mothers skin, because I made a jock-strap from her skin instead. [Laughs] Could you kill Lint for me? He tortured your mother to death and wouldn't let any of us have a go!

Austin: [To Bumch Um, take a drink] Ooh thank you, don't mind if I do [Winks at Bumch takes him to the side of the room] What are you doing later on?

Bumch : [Loudly, to be heard over all the noise] Um, checking out your human skin jock strap?

[CYAN#3 breaks a chair across AUSTIN's back, knocking him to the floor.]

Bumch : [Bending down to Austin] Would you like another drink?

[War finally breaks out between the PINK and the YELLOW tables, and glasses, bottles and chairs begin to fly.]

Austin : [Attempts to make for the staircase with Bumch and the drinks] Lets pop up stairs for a quickie shall we?

Stephen : Yeeeeharrr! [Throws a bottle at Jack]

Bumch : Absolutely! [Starts towards the stairs, pausing to turn and see Austin disappearing underneath Green#3 and one of the guys from the yellow table] Oh! Leave him alone!

[STEPHEN's bottle flies across the room and smashes off JACK's shoulder.]

Jack : [Drinking from another bottle] Yeeeehaaa!

Alice : [Angrily to Stephen] Bastard! I just waste a bottle of Louis XIV on you and that's the thanks I get - [lifts a chair to hit Stephen with, but gets knocked down by Green#2 before she can.]

[GREEN#4 and GREEN#2 grab STEPHEN and pull him to the ground.]

Sven : [Slashing at Cyan#5, and making for the door] Guys, I'll catch you later!

Peter : [Standing at the door, watching the scene with a baleful eye] It was a pleasure.

[CHASTITY is suddenly enveloped in a brawl between CUSTOMER#6 and CYAN#4, while LENIN receives a bottle to the side of the head from CUSTOMER#4, sending him to the floor. Meanwhile JEROME is set upon by CYAN#2 and CYAN#3.]

Dobbin : [Crying freely] I'm gonna kill you, then I'm gonna kill the gay one! [Swings at Clint, who parries the blow.]

[The front door is kicked open flattening PETER DEADPAN against the wall, and at least eight or nine heavily armed GUARDS stand at the door, all holding various clubs and maces. The piano player immediately switches to "The Death March".]

Stephen : Get off me, you malodorous brutes! [Struggles to get free of Green#4 and Green#2]

Clint : [To Dobbin] Chill out, will ya? I'm not the one wearing a jock-strap made from your Mom's liver, HE is! [pointing to Austin] [Looking at the guards] Oh great, just when I was having such fun!

Austin : [To Clint] I'm not wearing it you idiot, you really don't have any taste at all do you? Itwas made for me to go into my private collection of object d'art. [Makes for the stairs if he can]

Dobbin : [To Clint] But you're the one who hung her. I swear I'm going to kill you!

[The guards produce a huge hose, from which a massive gush of freezing water comes. It is turned on the bar area first, knocking over CLINT, DOBBIN, LENIN and various CUSTOMERS.]

Alice : [Looking up from the ground] Well, finally Clint gets a wash!

[The hose is next turned on ALICE, STEPHEN and some GREENs, sending them sprawling around the floor.]

[AUSTIN tries to struggle to his feet, put is held back by GREEN#3 and one of the YELLOW diners.]

Bumch : Leave him alone! [Lifts the tray high above his head to strike Austin's attackers, but spills the entire contents on himself instead.]

Stephen : [Grabs onto a table leg]

Clint : [Tries to dive behind the bar]

Austin : [To the Greens and Yellow, enthusiastically] Do you really want to catch scallies from me? The prison I was in yesterday was crawling with the virus and I shall be showing the symptoms by the end of the week. We could al be freckled friends, start a club or something? What do you reckon? Be pure, be vigalent, behave!

Alice : [Kicking away Stephen] Oi! That's MY leg!

[The hose is next turned on AUSTIN, BUMCH and co., and all are sent sprawling too, before CHASTITY, LENIN, JEROME and their attackers are given a dose of the freezing water. The GUARDs stop, seemingly satisfied.]

Alice : [Shivering] I think I'm going to have to talk to the management about this.

[As CLINT dives behind the bar, sounds of a brass band can be heard from outside the door.]

Green#3 : Scalies? Hah! I wonder if you really are Pestilence's party, none of them would have made such a mindless threat here.

[Some of the guards begin walking through the bar, looking at the people on the floor. Practically everyone is soaking and on the floor.]

Peter : [Pushing the main door shut, showing that his nose has been broken, and covered his face in blood] Oh my God. What happened?

[The door is kicked open again, squashing the unfortunate PETER, as a brass band march in, blasting away on their instruments. It is impossible to see how many there are, but there must be at least twenty.]

Stephen : [Looks around at the destruction] Okay guys, that's a wrap! Well done everybody, that looked great! [Starts clapping] Everyone break for lunch!

Austin: [To Green #3] You don't have a very firm grasp on sarcasm do you, I was merely commenting on your chummyness and your seemingly over zealous cuddling, perhaps you would like to join Bumch and I in our club. Unfortuneatly you don't have the dermal polish that I require. [Struggles to get up and straighten his clothes]

Green#3 : [Embarassed] Er, I wasn't cuddling, I was trying to kill you. Look, I'm sorry if you thought I was trying to cuddle you - friends? [Offers his hand to Austin]

Alice : [Glares at Stephen, before turning to Green#2] See? See what I have to put up with?

Green#2 : Oh well, at least he knows how to enjoy a good fight!

[One of the GUARDs points at STEPHEN, and two of them are just about to go over to him when the band enter, playing a stirring rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In"]

Guard : Stop that music!

[The GUARDs charge the band.]

Stephen : I think now's our chance to get out of here! [Starts sneaking towards the door]

Alice : I hope you don't think I'm coming with you! Not after you broke my bottle of brandy, anyway! Go on, get the hell out of here!

[The GUARDs and BAND clash violently, and many of the customers duck to avoid being struck by swords and trombones.]

Sven : [Picking up Peter] I'm outta here!

Austin : [To Green #2, as Austin and Maplin go for the easiest and closest exit] Sorry, don't have time for this now, catch you later! [AUSTIN and BUMCH slip up the stairs, as STEPHEN creeps out towards the door, passed the apparantly* unconscious LENIN, CHASTITY and JEROME.]

Stephen : Gladly! [Pauses] Thanks for your help back there, by the way. [Heads towards the door]

Clint : [Ducking to avoid a flying trumpet] [To Stephen] Chickening out as usual, how come I'm not impressed? [Runs towards the stairs] [To Dobbin] You might as well come with us, if you want to survive!

Austin : [Will attempt to go upstairs, find a suitable escape (fire escape?) or use the sheets from a bed to make a quick rope to get down from a window]

Dobbin : [Who's mask has slipped down so he can't see] What? Who said that? [Blunders into a particularly sharp French Horn]

[AUSTIN disappears upstairs with BUMCH, while ALICE and GREEN#2 slip towards the back doors.]

Guard#1 : [Watching Stephen slip out the door] Right! No one else leaves, order shall be restored!

[Thunk! He gets smacked over the head with a tuba. The other party members slowly disappear under a blanket of guards, angry band members and large metallic instruments of all description.]

[Book II, Act IV, Scene III. In the Sitting Room. Thursday 11.45AM JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, ALICE, LENIN, CLINT and STEPHEN are here. Everyone except JEROME looks very badly hungover. AUSTIN appears quite shaken, and is now wearing the clothes that BUMCH UM had on earlier. ALICE has clearly been in a fight, and has a black eye and swollen lip. CLINT now has an elaborate red tattoo on his face, covering the left side almost completely. LENIN and CHASTITY are handcuffed to each other, and are wearing each others clothes. STEPHEN has had his hair cut, and beard shaved off, and has a blue tattoo on his left hand, similar to the one on CLINT's face.]

Alice : [Mopping some vomit out of her hair] Oh my God, what happened? [Tries to stand up] Ow. My back is sore. Ow. My head is sore. Ow. My lip is sore. Ow. My eye is sore. [Sits back in her chair] Ow.

Stephen : Oh...my...god! What happened? Why is my face cold? [Touches his chin] Aiiee! My beard! My beautiful beard! [Touches his hair] Aiiee! My hair! My beautiful hair! [Sees his hand] Aiie...[faints, comes to, sees his hand and faints again]

Clint : Jeez, I must have had one serious fight recently, my face is sooo sore... Either that or a huge orgy, I'm definitely quiting drink!

Austin : [Finds the nearest mirror type thing and checks his looks]

Alice : Stephen, could you scream a little less loudly, please?

[AUSTIN checks out his reflection in a large mirror, and smiles at the fact that his beauty remains undiminished.]

Alice : [Looks over at Jerome] Strange, how Jerome doesn't seem to be suffering at all.

Stephen : [Being nudged awake, to Jerome] Do you remember what happened last night?

Alice : [Walking over stiffly and peering at Clint] Wow! Cool tattoo Clint, it covers up a lot of your face. Top!

Clint : [To Alice] Shhhhh, don't shout, your voice is annoying enough without me having a hangover! And what tatoo would you be talking about? [To Austin] Hey lawyer, pass me the mirror, will ya?

Alice : [Pulling out a compact mirror, and showing it to Clint] Handsome, don't you think? [Puts it back into her bag] Oop! I suppose I should have opened it! [Takes it out again, opens it and shows it to Clint] Now!

Jerome: Interesting - not one of you can remember what took place all so recently? Oh, it was a magnificent bar brawl in Dirty Betty's - like something out of the New Wild West, one reads about in children's books. Chairs were flying, punches were flying, music was floating and everyone seemed intent on dancing in their own rhythm to the beating which they took and gave. Hhowever, thereupon the guards did arrive and sprayed each and every offender with a patent-pending Extended Garden-Hose Emulator, which Jerome K. Trindle is jealous of for not having invented. My, it would have been glorious to have had one's own invention used against oneself.

Alice : Well, I can certainly remember the brawl, and can also remember how much help I got from Dr. Jerome K. Trindle BSc PhD after Clint attacked me. [Sits down, still clearly very stiff.]

[The room is quite large, with several couches and chairs around the place. It is also extremely well furnished. No one has ever seen this room before.]

Clint : [Streching his legs on the huge white leather sofa, leaving a trail of dirt] Hum, a tatoo, actually looks nice. Definitely looks better than your black eye, bimbo. [Pulls out a cigar]

Alice : [Grabbing the cigar off Clint] Look, Stinky, my name is Alice, okay? And that's the name I want you use, okay? [Glares at Clint] Now look, I don't mean use as in you use my name instead of your own, because it would just be ridiculous if we were both called Alice, but when you're talking to me, you call me Alice, right? [Looks beneath her blouse] What's this? [To all] Hey, look at this! [Holds out a square pendant that she is wearing around her neck.] Pretty cool, no?

Austin : [To Alice] May I have a look? [Examines the pendant as only he can, if Alice agrees, and will do so without Alice taking it off if he can!]

[AUSTIN holds up ALICE's pendant, pulling her to him.]

Alice : Wow! That's really nice perfume, Austin! [Stands there patiently as Austin concentrates on the pendant.] You'll notice it feels like its made of silver, and the back doesn't have any colour on it. I've no idea where it came from.

Stephen : [Lets out a squeal of delight] Oh look, I have one aswell! Look, see how the colours match my eyes! How delightful! [Looks at Austin] By the way, Mr Sleaze, why are you wearing your little [makes the annoying quotes thing with his fingers] "friends" clothes?

Austin : [Looks deep into Alices eyes] Your scent is sweet too. [Will look like he's about to kiss her then] It is certainly not silver, it is much to hard to be the aforementioned metal, but I do believe that it may be of considerable value.

Austin : [Points at Clint] Look, Clint has a black one, Stephen has a Blue one, Alices' is red. A clue perhaps?

Stephen : [To Alice] Alice, do you have a tattoo anywhere on you? Maybe you, Clint and I ended up at some dodgy tattoo parlour last night! I remember leaving Dirty Bettys, but that's it. Where are we, anyway? [Tries the door to see if it's locked]

Alice : [Still almost nose to nose with Austin] Red? I'm afraid your appreciation of colour doesn't match your talent for appreciating scents. My pendant is brown. [Looks over to Stephen, still held by Austin] Strange that Stephen's isn't pink, isn't it?

Clint : Well look at that, everybody happy with their new toys. Hey!, what's this? [Looks at his pendant] Cool, the colour matches my hair! Although I can't say I like the pattern. [To Alice] I'm sorry if I called you bimbo, sweet Alice. You deserve to be treated with much more respect, I'll watch my mouth from now on! By the way, can I have my cigar back, please?

Stephen : And strange darling, that yours isn't sort of tiedye multcoloured carrot encrusted, you know, to match your hair!

Alice : Do I have a tattoo? [Blushes] Well, I don't know if I should - oh, you mean, did I get one last night? [Manages to escape from Austin] Not that I know of, but you know, some people get them in er, out of the way places.

[STEPHEN tries the handle of the door, and it is open. There is a large hallway outside.]

Clint : I, too, have a pendant. [Shows his black and white pendant to the others] Come on, Alice, strip off and lets check you out.

Alice : Do I have a tattoo? [Blushes] Well, I don't know if I should - oh, you mean, did I get one last night? [Manages to escape from Austin] Not that I know of, but you know, some people get them in er, out of the way places. [Picks a piece of carrot out of her hair and sniffs it] Hm, not bad. Not as good as Austin, but not bad at all. [STEPHEN tries the handle of the door, and it is open. There is a large hallway outside.]

Alice : I don't see any dandruff flecks in your pendant! [Tosses him the cigar] Okay, Clint, there you go. So am I correct in thinking that no one else has a pendant? [The others show that they don't] Hm, what can this mean?

Stephen : [Shrugs] I guess we three went out somewhere, while the rest went off somewhere else swapping clothes with each other. Except for Jerome, who looks like he didn't go anywhere at all! See? All cleared up. [Listens at the doorway for sounds of anyone moving around outside]

Austin : [Goes to the window and looks out to see what there is to see, says to Alice] A sort of reddish brown I believe, a rusty colour. [Examines Maplin in the light from the window (assuming there is one?) Smiles at Maplins lovelyness]

Lenin: [Groggily] Mrhuh? [Examines self] What the Hegel? [Begins to hyperventilate in great distress] Lst from Dr. Who? #23

Clint : Chill out, cosmonaut, you're safe now. You look awesome on that black dress, by the way. Definitely better than the bim... I mean, Alice, with her black eye! [Lights the cigar and starts puffing away] So Austin, see anything out there?

Alice : Here, I'll help. [Walks over and slaps Lenin hard across the face] There, better?

[AUSTIN has pushed open the curtains revealing that it is quite dark outside, the only light coming from street lamps. The street outside is absolutely filthy, and most of the buildings very decrepid. There are a number of people walking around, most of whom are dressed in rags, and there are at least three different groups fighting with each other. JACK is out on the street, walking towards the house, but pauses for a moment to wrestle a bottle of whiskey from a bum on the street.]

Alice : [Turning to Stephen] Hey! That reminds me - you owe me a bottle of Louis XIV!

Austin : [Closes the curtains in disgust] What foul place have we come to now. It looks as if we are still in the undercity and that highly undesirable Jack character is comming this way. I wonder what passes for justice in this place. It does not look as if it has ever had a legal system beyond the latest advances in weaponry and gang warfare.

Stephen : [Steps back into the room and closes the door] Alice, it wasn't your bottle, you'd stolen it from someone sitting at the table! And hey, you smashed it in a worthy cause! [Looks back at the door] By the way, someone's coming!

Alice : [Genuinely distressed] That's not the point! I had it in my grasp, I could smell the odour, hear the gentle swishing of the liquid, appreciate the way the flickering lights danced in its beautiful golden body. Ah.

[The door opens. Enter BUMCH UM, carrying a tray with a number of silver covered dishes. He is naked save for a leopard skin jock strap.]

Bumch : Hi! I heard you talking, and figured you might like some food. [Smiles at the others] Wow! Looks like the rest of you had a great night too. [Sashays up to the sideboard, and puts down the tray.]

Alice : [Watching Bumch go past] Hm, where could he have got that jock strap from? I wonder, who in this party would be vain enough to wear such a thing?

Stephen : [Eyes rivited to the jockstrap] Urm, do you know what we got up to last night? And where are we by the way?

Bumch : [Coyly] I'm sure I don't know what [emphasises] most of you were up to. [Smiles at Austin] And what do you mean where are you? You're home, of course!

Austin : [Looking at Bumchs' crotch] That really looks quite dashing on you. Stephen has never been here before, would you like to give him the tour?

Stephen : [Casts a jealous glance at Austin] I've never been here before!

Chastity: [Glances around] Doctor, why are we handcuffed together? And why have we switched clothing? [Shrieks] And who undressed me? [Shrieks]

Clint : Humm, that must be the jock-strap made from Mrs. Dobbin's liver. Whoey!, she must have been a wild one! [Puffs a perfectly round ring of smoke from his cigar]

Alice : [To Chastity] Crikey, Chassers, that's not Jerome, that's Red Lenin!

Bumch : [Eyeing up Stephen] Oh yes, I'd be glad to show him around. I'll show him the kitchen, the dining room, the bedrooms, the bathroom. And, of course, I'll show him the back door. So he can see the garden.

Alice : [Looking from Bumch to Stephen to Austin to Bumch] Shriek! This is like watching Top Gun again!

[There is a knock on the outer door.]

Bumch : I'll just get that. [Makes to leave, but stops at the door of the sitting room and turns to Austin] Don't you go a-changing!

[Exit BUMCH.]

Alice : [Dodging Clint's ring] This is all too strange - someone must have mugged me, Chastity thinks Lenin is Jerome, Austin is gay, Clint is nice and Stephen's got a haircut! I mean, its just too much to take in all in one go! I need something to eat. [Lifts one of the lids from Bumch's tray, revealing a plate full of huge maggots] Mm-mm, sausages. [Tries to pick one up] Woah! A bit raw, methinks!

Stephen : [Looks at the plate, turning green] Oh my god, that is disgusting! [To Clint] You'd better watch out Clint, if the maggots are this big, imagine how huge the flies will be!

Alice : [Shivers at Stephen's words. Sees Clint's huge ring floating passed] Hm. It would be easy to make a disgusting remark, but two years at Ms. Lillisham-Courtney's finishing school for young ladies has taught me better. [Slams the cover down, and opens another] Aw! Yuck! What the hell is that? [There is some disgusting lump of thick brown slime in the latest dish.]

Chastity: [Rubs her eyes] Oh my! Lenin. Any chance we can throw of these shackels? [Motions to the handcuffs]

Alice : Excuse me, Chastity, but I think there's something a little more important than your liberation from Lenin here, breakfast! [Slams down the cover and lifts another] Gah! [Turns away in disgust] Its full of Kellogs Breakfast Bars! This place is sick!

Clint : [To Stephen] Hitchikerg, you're the one that should be careful - bumch wants to show you his [does the quotes thingy] back door that leads to his [and again...] garden; I wonder if you've got what it takes to do it!

Stephen : What kind of deviants are this other party! It's no wonder they're so ill tempered, with a diet of maggots, brown slime, and [shudders] Breakfast Bars! [Takes a bite from Clints passing ring] I'm starving! Lets get out of here and try to find some real food! leads

[The door opens, and JACK staggers in, clutching a bottle of whiskey.]

Jack : Wahey! Man, last night was amazing! Pestilence will be so proud of you - we haven't seen anything like that since you left. [Takes a swig of whiskey] You lot really set the place alight.

Alice : [Rather proudly] Yes, I suppose we were something of a hit.

Jack : No, I mean you REALLY set the place alight. [Points down to the end of the street, where the party can just about make out the smouldering remains of Dirty Bettys.] Boy, I just bet Pestilence will know you're here already! [Takes another drink, before looking guiltily at the bottle] Er, I brought you a present.

[JACK hands the bottle to ALICE. It is covered in a mixture of snot, saliva, puke, blood, pus, urine and shit. She tentatively takes it from him, making a face.]

Alice : Oh my God. [Looks back at the sideboard] Still, it beats having to have one of those Breakfast Bars. [Takes a swig, and downs it. A few moments later, it all comes back up again, including whatever excuse-for-a-kebab she had last night] What the hell is that?

Jack : [Kicking the excuse-for-a-kebab] Looks like you paid a visit to Harolds Horse Eaterie. Those over sized horse-penis-baps are amazing, aren't they?

Alice : No, this stuff. [Points to the bottle]

Jack : One hundred percent pure sewage. Mm-mm!

Alice : Suddenly those breakfast bars don't sound so bad after all.

Lenin: [Shuddering; feeling for an emergency release catch on the handcuffs] There is no God.

Jerome: [After bearing witness to Alice's barfing joins her and throws up all over Clint's leg] Jerome K. Trindle does not feel to healthy.

Stephen : [To Jack] What happened that young lad, Dobbin? Bit too much drink last night, minds a bit blank about the whole thing!

Alice : [Nodding in agreement] Yes, yes, my mind's a bit blank too [pause] about, um, aw, what were we talking about again?

Jack : Dobbin? Oh, the guy in the mask? I don't know, I guess he was killed. Things got a little crazy after the circus turned up.

Alice : The circus?

Jack : Yeah, don't you remember? [Gives a strange look at Chastity and Lenin, and breaks into a smile] Excellent, excellent. [Small clap for the two of them. Pokes at Alice's over sized horse-penis-bap with his foot] Hey, you gonna eat that?

Stephen : Listen, that bap will be fed to you, and not orally, unless you tell us what happened last night! [Suddenly] Were there monkeys on tricycles? And clowns with big feet?

Jack : [Bends over and looks at Clints feet] Yes.

Stephen : [Waves a breakfast bar with menace] Tell us what happened last night, or by God, you won't sit down for a month!

Clint : [To Jerome] You priek, look what you've done, you've dirtied the nice couch! [To Jack, lifting his boot close to Jack's nose] If you give us the keys for Lenin's handcuffs, I'll let you lick all that!

Jack : [Backing off from Stephen and Clint] Alright guys! Calm down, buddies. I can hardly remember myself, I was arrested just as the circus arrived, they only just left me out a few minutes ago. I don't know what happened to you, I think you were gone by the time the circus arrived [thinks for a moment] certainly before the [puts on a ringleader voice] Strongest Man in the World [back to his normal voice] was attacked by someone.

Alice : What? Someone attacked the [deep voice] Strongest Man in the World? [Normal voice] What kind of moron would do that?

[Silence descends on the room, as ALICE touches her black eye and swollen lip.]

Jack : Anyway. It doesn't look like you came to any real harm, Mr. Aitchberg, nor you Mr. Lint, not a mark on either of you. I'm afraid I don't have the key to the handcuffs - I don't know where they came from.

Clint : [To Jack] That's ok, I understand. To show you my sympathy, you can still lick my boots, and for free! [Blows out a huge cloud of smoke from his cigar]

Stephen : Hmmm. [Holds up his tattooed hand] Where would I get a tattoo like this?

Jack : Nah, that's okay.

[One of the windows is suddenly smashed, as rock with a note wrapped around it is thrown through it. Everyone gathers around it, with ALICE standing closest.]

Jack : What the hell was that?

Alice : [Looking, but not touching] I think it cold be a rock with a note wrapped around it. It looks like someone threw it through the window.

Clint : [To Alice] Well bimbo, just pick it up and read it, will ya?

Jack : [Looks up at Stephen's hand] Like what?

Stephen : What? [Shakes his hand] Like this! Or the one on Clints face!

Alice : Why can't you do it? Oh that's right, the last thing you picked up was an STD.

Clint : Yeah, when I had the misfortune of coming close to you. Anyway, can't you see I'm busy? [Puffs another huge cloud of smoke onto the room]

Jack : [Looking from Stephen's hand to Clint's face] This is a joke, right?

Alice : And I suppose you can't see my black eye either?

Jack : No, its definitely there, and looks disgusting, especially the way your eye is all bloodshot and swollen and -

Alice : [Testily] Yes, yes, yes. Back to the tattoos.

Jack : [Shrugs his shoulders] What tattoos?

Alice : I doubt you've ever been that close to a female in your life. [Wryly] Or at least, a live human one. [Sighs] And yes, I guess you are busy, sucking on that long, cigar like thing.

Lenin: Comrades, I implore you in the spirit of brotherly cooperation and Communist fellowship, get me out of these things!

Alice : [Smiling at Lenin] Ah, reminds me of my first time in handcuffs. You know, the harder you struggle, the tighter they get.

Clint : [To Lenin] Sorry there pal, but I'm kinda busy here. [To Alice] I'm not the one pucking horse penis kebabs, am I? And I do remember us having sex in the Dark place, have you forgotten already??

Stephen : Oh for goodness sakes! [Picks up the rock and reads the note]

Alice : [To Clint] I've already forgotten who you are. Anyway, the Dark Place was just a dream, and that's as close you'll ever get to me, sunshine, so dream on.

[Enter BUMCH.]

Bumch : I heard terrible noise, what happened?

Alice : It was just Clint, speaking.

Alice : Well? What does it say?

Clint : [To Alice] You really do manage to sound even more hysterical than usual, today.

Stephen : [Reading the note] God, this handwriting is terrible. It says "Your window has been broken". Bastards! [Fires the rock back into the street] Oops! Wrong window!

Alice : Its hard not to be hysterical when in the same room has you, Clint.

[The rock smashes through the window, and an audible scream can be heard from outside.]

Jack : [Applauding] Wahey! We've so missed you here. So look, what's all this talk about tattoos? You're beginning to freak me out a bit.

Stephen : What are you on about man! Can't you see this tattoo on my hand! And Clints face, look, you can just make it out beneath the dirt! And do you know what this cool little thing is? [Shows Jack his pendant]

Jack : [Eyes wide at the sight of the pendant] Holy Shit! [Looks at Bumch, startled]

Bumch : I didn't know anything about it, I swear!

[JACK and BUMCH both make a break for it, heading towards the hall door.]

Alice : [Studying the note, which is blowing in the draft] What window?

Stephen : What the? After them! [Attempts to trip up whichever one is closest to him]

[STEPHEN stretches out a leg a trips JACK, who's bottle flies out of his hand, and strikes the unfortunate BUMCH who had just got to the door. ALICE drops the note and pulls out her sword, but clearly doesn't know who to point it at, so just waves it around wildly.]

Jack : [Lying on the ground] Get away from me! I won't tell anyone, I promise!

[BUMCH lies motionless on the floor.]

Stephen : [Sighs and sits on Jack] I woke up feeling my head was about to explode, and things have deteriorated steadily since! [Slowly and deliberately takes the breakfast bar from his pocket, unwraps it and holds it close to Jacks mouth] Now, Jack. You won't tell anyone, what?

Jack : [Takes a huge bite of the breakfast bar, almost taking off the top of one of Stephen's fingers, and, speaking through a full mouth] Not a soul, you've got my word.

Alice : Gosh, Stephen, where on earth did you get that pendant?

Clint : [Jumping from the couch and catching Bumch] Good work, I got this one! [Examins Bumch to see if he is hurt/dead]

Alice : Way to go, Clint, catching the unconscious guy!

[BUMCH is alive, but unconscious.]

Jack : Can I go now? I won't tell anyone about the pendant. [Struggles to get away, but can't.]

Stephen : Whooah! [Moves his hand well out of range and looks at Alice in disbelief] Alice! That's what I'm trying to find out! You have one also! [Looks back at Jack] What are these pendants, you crazy old wino? Tell me!

Clint : [To Alice] I didn't see you doing any effort at all, bimbo. [Starts slapping Bumch to wake him up] Wake up, faggot. Time to wake up!! [Blows a cloud of smoke from his nearly finished cigar onto Bumch's face]

[BUMCH starts coughing and choking on the smoke.]

Bumch : Please! Please let me go!

Alice : Strange Clint, isn't it? How many people start screaming for help the minute you get on top?

Clint : [To Alice] That's why you prefer being on bottom, isn't it? Preferably with your head stuffed on the pillow... [To Bumch] Well well, you're not going anywhere until we get some stuff clear. For example, what is the meaning of this?? [Shows his pendant to Bumch] Maybe you would like me to put it on you? like> me to put it on you?

Alice : [Looks at Stephen in disbelief] Oh thanks very much! And now the really evil bad guy knows it too. [Bends down near Jack] Well, Stephen isn't even a real evil guy, he didn't kill any party members, and, [theatrically] he's gay!

Jack : [Struggling madly under Stephen] The pendants belong to a group of monks, the Hierophantic Knights, [begins sobbing] I heard that they were trying to get into the Under City, but, oh please let me go! You don't know what Pestilence would do to me if he thought I was collaborating with them.

Bumch : [Looking away from the pendant] I don't care if you do or not, but I'll have nothing to do with it. [Shouting] Nothing! Do you hear? Nothing!

Chastity: Alice! What has come over you lately. [Points her finger at Alice, dragging Lenin's arm up expectedly] There is no need to sink to this man's [points to Clint, dragging Lenin around] level. [To Jack] Now listen up, young man, I want to know everything you know about the pendants. And nobody is leaving this room until I find out.

Austin : [To Bumch] Come on, amuse me by telling them the meaning of the pendants. [To Clint] DOn't be so rough, you might damage his skin, for heavens sake. Infront of witnesses too. Have you learned nothing whilst in my prescence?

Clint : [To Austin, ironically] I could tell you what I've learned from your presence alright - but not in front of witnesses!

Austin : [To Clint, with an aloof chuckle, examines Maplins beautiful nails] You make me feel so terribly romantic when you attempt to assert your intellectual prowess upon me. And the pigs did fly.

Stephen : Whooah! [Moves his hand well out of range and looks at Alice in disbelief] Alice! That's what I'm trying to find out! You have one also! [Looks back at Jack] What are these pendants, you crazy old wino? Tell me!

Alice : [Looks at Stephen in disbelief] Oh thanks very much! And now the really evil bad guy knows it too. [Bends down near Jack] Well, Stephen isn't even a real evil guy, he didn't kill any party members, and, [theatrically] he's gay!

Jack : [Struggling madly under Stephen] The pendants belong to a group of monks, the Hierophantic Knights, [begins sobbing] I heard that they were trying to get into the Under City, but, oh please let me go! You don't know what Pestilence would do to me if he thought I was collaborating with them.

Bumch : [Looking away from the pendant] I don't care if you do or not, but I'll have nothing to do with it. [Shouting] Nothing! Do you hear? Nothing!

Chastity: Alice! What has come over you lately. [Points her finger at Alice, dragging Lenin's arm up expectedly] There is no need to sink to this man's [points to Clint, dragging Lenin around] level. [To Jack] Now listen up, young man, I want to know everything you know about the pendants. And nobody is leaving this room until I find out.

Alice : [Putting her head down guiltily from Chastity's chastising] What if Lenin needs to go to the toilet?

Austin : [To Bumch] Come on, amuse me by telling them the meaning of the pendants. [To Clint] DOn't be so rough, you might damage his skin, for heavens sake. Infront of witnesses too. Have you learned nothing whilst in my prescence?

Clint : [To Austin, ironically] I could tell you what I've learned from your presence alright - but not in front of witnesses!

Bumch : Please Mr. Squeeze, all I know is what Mr. Jack said - they are like ones the Hierophantic Knights wear, and that if they're here, they probably want to kill Pestilence.

Stephen : [Rubbing his pendant absentmindedly] Who are these Hierophantic knights you're talking about, Jack? Why do they want to come to Under City? Not enough oversized horse-penis baps where they come from?

Jack : There are never enough over sized horse-penis-baps. I don't know why they want to come here, presumeably because they have this crazy idea that there's something wrong down here. If they are here, I guess they'll be trying to kill Pestilence, but they haven't a chance.

Stephen : And why's that? You haven't told me who they are, either!

Jack : All I know is that they are some kind of secret, underground movement.

Alice : You mean, like a river?

Jack : What?

Alice : You know, an underground river, moving without anyone seeing it?

Jack : Yeah, that's what I mean. I had never heard of them until a few weeks ago, but apparantly they've been around for hundreds of years.

Stephen : Perhaps it's an underground movement so secret, that it's own members don't even know they're in it? [To Alice] We've got to find out where we got these pendants from, and possibly, where we can find these knights.

Alice : Maybe we had them all the time? And just didn't know it?

Jack : Excellent idea, Mr. Aitchberg. I can give you a few ideas of places to check, and I can take a look around for you too. Maybe we can all meet up here in two hours or so?

Stephen : And have you running straight to Pestilence? [Waggles his finger] I don't think so! [To the others] Lets find something to tie and gag these two, otherwise the whole town, including Pestilence will be hunting us!

Alice : Good idea, Stephen, but what will we tie them up with? Where are we going to find handcuffs in a place like this?

Chastity: [Excitedly] I have some handcuffs! [Remembers that they are already attached] Oh.

Alice : Sh! I'm trying to think, Chastity.

Chastity: I thought I could smell burning rubber.

Alice : When you were having sex with Lenin last night, is it?

Chastity: [Shocked] I did no such thing! You're getting reality confused with your own fantasies again, dear Alice.

Stephen : I'll just take the cuffs off the two of them now, shall I? [Attempts to pick the lock of the handcuffs]

Alice : Well, excuse me, Sister, but I think you'll find the facts point to one thing. Consider the following - you lost consciousness through drink, someone removed your clothes, you wake up beside a stranger you don't even like, and, [points at Chastity] and you know this is the clincher, Chassers, there was rubber and handcuffs involved. [Nods her head knowingly] Its okay, Chastity, we've all been there. [Leans over to hug Chastity] There there, it could be worse, it could have been Clint.

Alice : [As Stephen successfully removes the handcuffs] Consider yourself lucky, Sister. Its a whole lot better than three hours chained to Tuppy Montfostlewaite's bed with some oaf constantly nipping your wrists with a hack saw. I had to tell poor Mummy that I tried to slash my wrists, so she wouldn't get too upset with me. Hm, I suppose I did get that skiing holiday out of it though.

Stephen : You are a very complex woman, Alice, in your own, special little way! [Turns to Jack] Right then. [Looks for something suitable to handcuff Jack and Bumch to]

Alice : Why thanks Stephen. Look, why don't you handcuff them to each other? [Smiles at her own ingenuity.]

Stephen : [Sees a waterpipe] Aha, that should do the trick! [Handcuffs Jack and Bumch to the pipe] Maybe if you're both lucky, Kate Winslet and her axe will find you soon and set you free!

Alice : [Wiping some carrot from her hair] Maybe we should get cleaned up? I think some of us need a bit of rest before we have any more excitement.

Stephen : [Sniffing the air, and then, his armpit] Not a bad idea, Alice. [Glances at Clint] I know of someone who needs to rediscover the joys of soap!

Alice : [Looking at Clint] Rediscover?

Stephen : I suppose he must have heard about it, at least! [Takes a look into the room to the right]

Lenin: All this talk! I am a man of the people, and that means I am a man of action! Comrades, let us hasten to act. EdDrWho@aol.com wrote:

Stephen : Alright. [Suddenly bellows] Friends, let's not tarry here, for there is a dark cloud...[puts his hand to his head]...descending! [Runs to Alice] With speed, dear maiden, lest it shroud your...[puts his hands over her eyes]...vision! Ah, a dagger, [holds his side, as if in pain]..I am tricked, deceived! [Falls to the floor] Woooooooaaaaa, I am undone! Night falls! My eyes blur with misfortune! And so, I die! [Closes his eyes] Woooooaaaaaa, the pain, the pain [croaks] the paiiiiiiigasp. [Lies still] Wpoooooaaaaacough!

Austin : [To Stephen] Practicing dying may not be as profitable as practicing staying alive. [To All, striding gracefully across the room, Maplin gesticulating with style] Since Clint, Alice and Chas are the Hierophantic Knights, even thought they haven't realised it yet, I do believe their condition will invoke the wrath of Pestilence. So we should prepare for battle, or at least be aware, for a change, of impending doom. Such as the case may be. We could of course attempt to vacate the undercity, or ready ourselves for battle with the intent to win. Should neither of the aforementioned plans be suitable for those of us gathered here at the present time, excluding the captives [Winks at Bumch] of course, I would like to propose a fall back plan where in we put the pendants on Jack and Bumch and turn them in for a reward.

Alice : [Tapping Stephen with her toe] Hello?

Alice : I'm certainly not a knight! How do we know that someone didn't put them on us to make people think that we're knights?

Jack : Actually, the pendants are usually just white squares - I've never heard of them having colours before. I don't think anyone would believe you're knights, and certainly wouldn't be giving out a reward for you. Isn't that right, Bumch?

Bumch : I, uh, I don't really know -

[JACK gives BUMCH a kick.]

Bumch : I mean, that's right Jack.

[ALICE pushses the door that STEPHEN had opened a little more, revealing a Drawing Room, kitted out with comfortable chairs.]

Alice : [Turning back to Stephen] Is he okay?

Stephen : [Gets up off the ground and gives a bow] I presume we would have to turn them in to Pestilence, and somehow I have a feeling that Pestilence will see through our charade in no time at all. You're pretending to be the other party, Pestilence knows the other party, and would realise very quickly that you're not them! I think we should track down these Hierophantic Knights, and find out whats going on.

Lenin: [To Bumch] Comrade Bumch, do not allow the fascistic machinations of the Capitalist tool Jack to drive you away from true workers' solidarity with the people. Rather, tell us, your loyal comrades, what you really meant, in the spirit of true international communism.

Clint : Being a honourable knight myself, I envisage the option of joining my brothers in arms as the only respectable course of action. Still, I wonder how these pendants got on our necks. One could think that those knights chose the bravest amongst us to help them on their cause; on the other hand, with the choice of Hoisterberg that's clearly not the case. Not to mention you, bimbo! [To Lenin] Comrade, let us fight! Fight for communism, fight against oppression, or just fight for the heck of it! I'm sick of all the chit-chat!

Stephen : [To Clint] Okay, Stinky? So you want to fight. Do you actually have a idea of who to fight? Where to fight? What to fight? What do you want to do next? What's your plan? You have our attention! Amaze us!

Alice : [Sigh] Now he's calling poor Lenin a bimbo.

Bumch : [To Lenin] I - I don't know what I was going to say, but from what I heard, I don't think any of you could be Hierophantic Knights, because, as far as I know, the knights are always Eunuchs.

Alice : [Thumping Jerome on the shoulder] Alright, Red Hat Rocks! [Smiles proudly at her open display of geekiness.]

Bumch : Not, that kind of Eunuchs, the male kind.

Alice : So, clearly I can't one. [Looks at Stephen] He certainly can't be one. [Turns to Clint] Looks like you're the one, Stinky.

Alice : Please Stephen, show a little respect for the knight.

Bumch : Er, well, the knights, as far as I know, are monks, I think it is a bit unlikely that he's one.

Stephen : Hmmm, monks never have sex, rarely wash, live by themselves for the most part and wander around the place mumbling incoherently! [Looks at Clint] My God, Brother Scar, you kept that one quiet!

Austin : I believe Clint to be only half a Eunuch, perhaps he chickened out of the initiation ceromony, or has to complete so kind of quest to become a full Knight?

Alice : Oh! I know! I know! I have it, I know exactly what we need to do. You see -

[ALICE is interrupted by a knock on the front door.]

Bumch : You know, I really should get that.

Austin : I'll get it [Goes to answer the front door with caution, puts the chain on and checks the peek hole]

Stephen : [Sticks his head out the window to see who it is]

[AUSTIN can see that there is a single man out there, wearing leather armour, but with his weapons sheathed. He looks pretty nonchalant.]

Alice : You realise, of course, Stephen, that you are looking out the back window? He's not coming in our back door, you know.

Austin : [Opens the door whilst it is still on the chain] Yes, who are you and what do you want?

Rourke : What the hell do mean who am I? Come on, Squeeze, open the door, I've got to talk to you lot, like now. Pestilence is pretty worried.

Austin : [Shouts to the others] It's Rourke, come to talk with us, put your clothes on! [Lets Rourke in] Sorry, we were in the middle of an experimental sex game, you know how it is, we have to keep ourselves amused! [Winks at Rourke and then takes him to the others]

Stephen : [To Alice] Erm, just checking it's not a trap! I don't want anyone coming in my back door. Uninvited, that is!

Rourke : [Coming through the door] You seem awfully jumpy today Squeeze, guess you heard about these knights then, eh?

Alice : What's he going to say when he sees the two of them [points at Bumch and Jack] tied up?

Clint : [Moves closer to Bumch and Jack] [Whispering to both] You better behave now, or I'll force Alice to have sex with you! You know - a real woman, no penis or anything! At least I think she is, from the bitching and all...

Austin : [To Rourke] Well quite, hence a nice spot of bondage to calm us all down. Have there been any sightings? [AUSTIN and ROURKE come back into the room.]

Jack : Mr. Rourke! Help! They're not the real party! They are involved with the knights!

Rourke : [Pulls down his sunglasses, and peers over the top] Is that true? Are you guys really the party from Queens View?

Alice : [To Stephen] Gosh, he's so dreamy, isn't he?

Austin : [To Jack] We are not playing the game right now, okay, just forget about the game for the moment. [To Rourke] He likes to make us angry so that we beat him harder.

Stephen : Er, um, quite. [To Rourke] Heya, I'm Thievin Aitchberg, thief for hire, ladykiller and all around bad egg. [Holds his hand out to Rourke]

Chastity: [To Rourke] We think these two may be involved [points to Jack and Bumch] with the Knights. We were trying to get information out of them when you arrived. We must act fast to save Pestilence.

Rourke : [Ignores Stephen, and bends over and peers at Jack] Are you lying to me? [Lights a cigarette.]

Jack : I swear it Mr. Rourke! They really are from Queens View, I swear it!

Rourke : [Burns Jack's face with the cigarette] Liar. [Turns and shakes Stephen's hand] Pleased to meet you, Aitchberg. You be careful with these guys, they're dangerous company. [Turns and looks at Jack, shaking his head] Jack, Jack, do you really expect me to believe that the Queens View party would be dumb enough to come to the Under City? And then, dumb enough to come to this house. Not even the bimbo would be that stupid. [Looks to Alice] Speaking of which, how're you doing? [Strides across the room and gives her a passionate kiss.]

Alice : [Ten minutes later, when the kiss is finished, speaking somewhat shakily] I think I need that cigarette.

Stephen : [Makes sure his pendant is concealed during the kiss. Claps his hands together, glances quickly at Jerome, then back at Rourke] That's right, sister. [To Rourke] Sooo, what can we do for you?

[ROURKE takes the cigarette back from ALICE, and gives the filter a strange look, before glancing at the bottle on the floor.]

Rourke : [To Chastity] They're involved with the knights? Hah! That's about as unlikely as you being a real nun, Chastising. Look, the information I've got is that the knights got into the city using an Orb of Protection, and gave a map of Pestilence's inner sanctum to someone. Now, that scum Archer Delay probably knows who, as do a few others that, frankly, I couldn't care to mention, but he's gone to ground. [Throws his cigarette on the floor and stubs it out, before lighting another.]

Rourke : [Popping another cigarette into his mouth] You can start by finding out were Archer is, and if you can't find him, check out if any of that other bottom feeding pond scum that your buddies are friends with know who has the map. I've heard that there are a couple of Orbs floating about the place, so there may be more than one person to look out for.

Stephen : [Nods his head] Okay, fine. Do you know what these orbs look like, so we know what to look out for?

Rourke : Sure, they're about the size of a tennis ball, and are a kind of glowing white colour. [Looks over at Jack and the weeping Bumch] Well guys, if there's nothing else, I'll leave you to your business.

Stephen : [Looks around at the party] No, that's about it, Rourke. We'll find Delay, no problems.

Austin : [Eye brows raised momentarily] All done then? Good. [Attempts to burn Jacks nostril hairs with a zippo lighter] Squeal piggy! Beg for more, and don't forget to say 'please sir'!

Rourke : [Walking out] You know, Squeeze, you never cease to amaze me.

[Exit ROURKE, through the front door.]

Jack : No! Please!

Alice : [Grabbing Austin] For God's sake, Austin, what do you think you're doing?

Austin : [Stops torturing Jack] Well he was trying to get us killed. Now, which party are we again? Are we the good guys or the bad guys, or is ther no difference at all?

Alice : [Stands nose to nose with Austin] I know what party I'm from, what about you?

Austin : [Attempts to licks Alices nose] I'm from your party missy.

Alice : [Pushing back from Austin, wiping his saliva from her nose. Much to her dismay, a large smear of something brown comes off too] Well isn't it about time you started behaving like you were?

Stephen : Keep rolling guys, nice bit of dramatic footage here! Close up on Alice, switch to a close up of Austin, but not too close, perhaps soft focus! Dimmed lights. Grainy.

Austin : Just making a point. So, now our cover is well and truely broken, and no-one seems interested any more [Looks at Chastity] in acting the part of the other group in order to stay alive, what do we propose to do? Group suiscide?

Alice : No, just yours will suffice. [Smiles] Why don't we explore the house, and come up with a decent plan?

Clint : [Suddenly waking up] Huh? Eh? We're actually going to act? No, serious? As in moving out of this forsaken room? That's freaking about time!

Stephen : Perhaps you can attack the dining room, Clint. Or the kitchen could do with a good kicking! [Stephen looks into the room on the left]

Clint : I'll check upstairs; maybe there's a view point to check for those orbs. And there might be a liquor cabinet somewhere; I'm still to discover those promised bottles of Louis XIV!! [Moves to the hall to climb up the round stairs]

Alice : [Holding out her arm and blocking Clint] Hold on there, Clint. Not that I'd like to be accused of caring or anything, but do you really think its a good idea to go upstairs on your own? After all, we're dealing with a group of shapechangers, and, although I know we all like to think that it is impossible to replicate your special smell, we should all stay together.

[STEPHEN opens the other door, revealing an office next door. It is very tidy, with no papers at all on the desk, but on the south end is a huge silver sliding door, which is tightly shut.]

Clint : [To Alice] You mean of course shapeshifters - except that this is not a Deep Space 9 episode. But I'm surprised once again at your geekiness, Alice. You don't want to be parted from my wonderful scent - that's understandable! Let's check the office instead, then. [Gives his arm to Alice, making sure his arm pit is well exposed and ventilated]

Alice : Aw, poo! [Waving a hand in front of her nose] Shields up - stench factor 9!

[The two join STEPHEN in the office.]

Alice : [Looking at the door] Look, there's some kind of keypad beside the door. [Looks at Clint] You know, this looks really familiar.*

Clint : [Letting go of Alice, to hold his crotch firmly] There's no way I'm even getting close to that! Do you hear me? No fucking way! [Shakes with fear]

Lenin: Comrade Clint, cease this childish masturbatory behavior at once! This is no way for you to comport yourself!

Alice : Lenin, the poor guy has only a tiny window of opportunity in which to exhibit this childish masturbatory behaviour, in another five minutes, the other little Clint will no doubt go the way of his twin. [Peers at the combination lock] Looks the same as the one in Iok Sotot's place, I wonder, does it have the same combination. [Looks over to Austin] Do you remember the combination?

Clint : [To Alice, while still holding his "package"] Right so, why don't you try out the elevator? You might loose a testicle tough. Oh, I keep forgetting, you actually don't have any!

Alice : How similar we are, Clint. Anyway, I guess it must be true that men's brains are in their pants, because I think you've lost some memory along with your lad. The elevator was separate from the door, it was down in the corner of the room. The big sliding door with the keypad was just a door, nothing else.

Stephen : [Scratches his head] No, I don't remember the combination, or the combination lock. I must have still been in a soul prison at the time.

Alice : What a terrible time that was.

Stephen : What we need is another luck virus! Austin, you opened it the last time, didn't you?

Austin : Indeed I did, Mr. Hitchberg. However, it was merely a random punching of digits, guided by the luck virus. It is highly unlikely that I could repeat such a feat.

Alice : Maybe we should take a look around the house, there may be some clue.

Stephen : Good idea Alice. I think even if Austin could remember the combination, what are the chances of this one being the same! How about checking upstairs? [Stephen checks if the desk has a drawer, and if so, will attempt to pick the lock]

[The drawers are all unlocked, and all but one contain only stationary. The remaining one contains a number of shackles and handcuffs.]

Alice : So, I guess Lenin and Chastity are no strangers to this room, eh? I think we should check the downstairs first, and then meet up back in the sitting room to talk about what we've found.

[Book II, Act IV, Scene IV. In the Sitting Room. Thursday 12.30PM JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, ALICE, LENIN, CLINT, STEPHEN, BUMCH and JACK are here, having searched the ground floor. JACK is now sporting a large stain on the front of his trousers.]

Alice : So, the house looks pretty normal so far. [Looks at her list of rooms] We've checked the dining room, the kitchen, the drawing room and what appears to be Bumch's room. Bumch, should we have found anything of interest in your room, other than all those pictures of Squeeze and Barbara Streisand?

Bumch : [Pushing himself as far away from Jack as possible] No, I just work for the party, I'm not involved in any of the stuff they get up to. I just do the cleaning, and a bit of painting in my spare time.

Stephen : What's behind the silver doors in the drawing room?

Jack : [As the stain on his trousers increases] I dunno.

Bumch : Please get him away from me, you've no idea how bad the smell is.

Alice : [Sympathetically] Oh we do, believe me, we know only too well!

Bumch : Its the safe room - I don't know what they keep in there, I've never seen it open.

Stephen : Urgh! [Steps quickly away from Jack] I suppose we could lock up Bumch somewhere else, using the handcuffs in the desk! [To Bumch] But only if you start co-operating. Who has the combination for the safe?

Clint : [Approaching Jack] [To Bumch] That's actually the smell of fear coming from Jack. [To Jack] I really think you should start co-operating as well. I'd be only too happy to let loose our french decapiteur here [points at Lenin]; trust me, he'd make a fine job on you. [Sniffing the air]

Jack : What the hell do you want me to do? Co-operate how? I'm just a visitor here - I only called to see how you were doing after last night, and the next thing I know, I'm tied up.

Bumch : [To Stephen] I thought they [points at the rest of the party] had the combination. I guess its the other party, or maybe Pestilence has it too.

Stephen : [Keeping as far from Jack as possible] We going to check upstairs next, maybe a few more minutes of sniffing Jack will help jar your memory. [Turns to the others and indicates the hallway] Shall we?

Alice : Shall we what?

Stephen : Erm, shall we take a look upstairs?

Alice : Top idea, Stevie!

[The party troop upstairs and look around. They discover three large bedrooms and a bathroom. Each of the bedrooms is made up, but there are no clothes or personal effects in the room. After having searched each of those rooms, the party are now in the upstairs hallway, outside the remaining room.]

Alice : [Exhausted from all the traipsing about] You know, I don't think there's any point in looking in this room - its clearly another guest room. Come on, lets go downstairs. last couple of days.

Jerome: [Puts his ear to the door to listen] Jerome K. Trindle upon hearing nothing through the door, believes Alice to be correct. However, it is known to him that a Quantum Transplacement facility runs at near silent levels, so it is possible the room contains one of those.

Alice : Its also true that a Cosmic Fengle Briemeister Munglewarker 5000 also runs at close to silence, so we all better watch out for flying boots, just in case.

Stephen : [Surprised] What? Why? It's a bit silly leaving this room unchecked! You might spend the rest of your life wondering what was behind that door! Where's your sense of adventure? [Listens at the door]

Alice : Well, Stephen? What can't you hear?

Chastity: My mother used to tell me to never pass by an open door. [Pulls on the door] Hmm, it seems to be locked.

Stephen : [Shocked] That was not the door knob you just pulled, sister! [Gets out of the way]

Clint : I'm really getting sick of all this looking around and no action! I'll just [annoying finger thingy] knock at the door, shall I? [Attemps to kick the door open]

[CLINT kicks out and the door flies open. Inside are what appear to be seven large coffins, each with a name on the end : KILLER, LINT, LICE, SQUEEZE, LYING, CHASTISING and SLASH. The coffins are glass topped, but quite fogged up, so it is difficult to see into them. They are all attached by some kind of tubes to a large metal tank at one end of the room.]

Alice : Lucky Clint didn't make the same mistake as Chastity, eh, Stephen?

Chastity: [Closely examines the coffin for Chastising and peers through the glass, wiping the fog (if the fog is on the outside)]

[CHASTITY wipes off some condensation, revealing the coffin to be empty.]

Alice : Very strange, lets check out Uncle Harveys. [Wipes the coffin, revealing it, too, to be empty.]

Jerome: Jerome K. Trindle believes we have, and not to state the obvious, stumbled upon the renewal tubes of our friendly and childishly imitative shapechangers. Perhaps, rather than attempting to wake them if they are present, we could somehow soil the contents of the that reservoir [points at the metal tank].

Chastity :[To Jerome] Doctor, I do believe this is where the alternative party go to rest, and I have a very cunning plan. Could we sabotage the tank so that our evil nemesisisis, nememisism, nesemism, [spits] so that our arch-rivals wouldn't make it out of their coffins alive?

Jerome: Jerome K. Trindle's thoughts indeed. Literally.

Chastity: [Flushes with pride] Well, they do say that small minds never differ. [Coughs] I mean great minds think alike. [Curses inwardly]

Clint : [Cleaning Chastity's spit from his eye] That was very sweet, sister! [To Jerome] Right doctor, it's time for one of your incredible inventions - maybe the Astrophobic condensator pat #5623542, or better still, the all new Claustrophobic atmosphere generator, patent pending! No? Or otherwise shall we just break the whole thing into very small pieces? I'd like that plan!

Alice : Well, when Jerry said "soil" them, I think he was rather hoping that you might breathe into them, Clint. [Walks over to the large tank, and knocks on it. It gives a hollow metal sound] Hm, we'll never manage to break that, guys. [Knocks on her head. It gives a hollow metal sound] You know, I really ought to get that seen to.

Jerome: Yes, yes, that would be the approach that Jerome K. Trindle would have expected from the less evolved members of this race. However, consider that upon their return, these creatures would immediately notice the destruction and would thus be more likely to inform someone, namely Pestilence of the situation. If a more subtle fashion of sabotage were employed, then no one would be the wiser, as they would place themselves to rest, from whence they would never wake.

Clint : [To Jerome] Ah crap! Can't you be simple, for once in your life?? [Examines the tubes connecting the cuffins to the tank]

Jerome: Jerome K. Trindle does have some good news, though, for it is fortunate that he has brought his patented Rotary Penetration device which in principle even the most simple minds can comprehend [glances at Clint, smiling, then attempts to drill a hole in the metal tank. Unfortunately, the device just completely falls apart] Hmm. Yes, it must be admitted that this invention was for drilling regulation-size holes in swiss cheese, and the odds of it penetrating metal were at least one tiny part of a millionth to one.

Lenin: Thanks to my vast experience conducting various labor strikes, ochestrating civil unrest, and throwing clogs into machinery's gears, I'm sure I'll be able to damage these contraptions, Comrades. [Produces, seemingly from nowhere, a pair of French-style laborers clogs and hunts about for a gear to jam them into.]

Stephen : [Hands on hips] Excuuse me! It seems to me that even if we somehow manage to drill into the tank, we have no poisons of any description. I think it would be better to find a poison, and I'm hoping that someone like this Delay guy, or one of the Hierophantic knights might be able to supply that very thing. And do you think that the poison might work better if the lads are in the coffins, breathing the fumes?

Austin : I concur with the good Doctor Jerome K. Trindle in this matter. Subtle sabotage is, without reasonable doubt, the most beneficial direction in which to proceed. Instead of drilling we could unscrew this inlet pipe [Attempts to unscrew an inlet pipe thing]

Stephen : I agree with the Doctors plan also, I'm only saying that there's no point in sabotaging the machine until we have the poison to put into the tank.

Alice : [Mimicking Stephen with a squeaky voice] I'm only saying there's no point! Where do you think we're going to get our hands on poison, genius? That's the most ridiculous suggestion I've ever heard.

[As AUSTIN unscrews one of the tubes going in to SQUEEZE's coffin, the party can hear, from the street, a VENDOR calling out.]

Vendor : Get your poisons here! We cater for all your carcinogenic needs. We've got venoms to cause migraines, viruses, infections, ague, angina pectoris, appendicitis, Asiatic cholera, spasmodic cholera, biliary calculus, kidney stone, black death, bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, blennorrhagia, blennorrhoea; blood poisoning, bloodstroke, bloody flux, brash; breakbone fever, dengue fever, malarial fever, Q-fever; heart attack, cardiac arrest, cardiomyopathy; hardening of the arteries, arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis; bronchocele, canker rash, cardialgia, carditis, endocarditis; cholera, asphyxia; chlorosis, chorea, cynanche, dartre; enanthem, enanthema; erysipelas; exanthem, exanthema; gallstone, goiter, gonorrhea, green sickness; grip, grippe, influenza, flu; hay fever, heartburn, heaves, rupture, hernia, hemorrhoids, piles, herpes, itch, king's evil, lockjaw; measles, mumps, polio; necrosis, pertussis, phthisis, pneumonia, psora, pyaemia, pyrosis, quinsy, rachitis, ringworm, rubeola, St. Vitus's dance, scabies, scarlatina, scarlet fever, scrofula, seasickness, struma, syntexis, tetanus, tetter, tonsilitis, tracheocele, trachoma, trismus, varicella, varicosis, variola, water qualm, whooping cough; yellow fever and yellow jack.

Alice : I'm [searching for words] I'm just going to stand over here by the wall for a while. [Stands away from the others]

[After AUSTIN undoes the pipe, some thick white smoke starts to come out, it is quite foul smelling.]

Stephen : [Sticks his tongue out at Alice] Phoarh! That's one disgusting smell! [Steps away from Clint] Better. What kind of poison would you use to kill shapechangers though? Or will we just give them all a bad dose of gonorrhea, mixed with St. Vitus's dance, topped off with a nasty hernia?

Alice : Gonorrhea, St. Vitus's dance and a hernia? [Big smile] Sounds like this guy I once knew who - I - [glances guiltily at Jerome] I mean, that a friend of mine knew, well, didn't know exactly, but had heard about, and, yeah, yeah that smell is really bad. Better put the tube back in, Aussie.

[AUSTIN obliges, and puts the tube back on.]

Clint : What?!? No virus for diarrhea? Even I could make up that one, in my chemistry classes back in the old days!

Alice : What kind of diarrhea was that Clint? Verbal diarrhea?

Clint : No bimbo, real liquid brownish-with-floating-crumbs disgusting yucky smelly diarrhea. The same kind that fills your brain!

Stephen : Well, it would certainly explain the eau de toilet!

Alice : From your mouth to my ears Clint, no wonder I don't like listening to you.

[Enter TOM SELLSICK, standing at the door of the room.]

Tom : [Friendly smile] Hi everyone. Sorry to intrude on your argument and all, but I'd like a word.

Alice : Eskimo.

Tom : [Laughs good naturedly] Very funny, very good. What I meant is that I'd like to talk to you.

Stephen : Well hello there. God, you're a fine looking fella! What would you like to talk about?

Tom : I'm glad to see you're in a talkative mood, because I'd like to talk about your map.

Stephen : Map? I don't know what you're talking about, friend. We don't have a map. Unless you count the varicose map of the Amazon running down the good sisters legs.

Tom : [Sad sigh] You know, I was afraid you'd claim that, but I know for a fact that you do have the map. Now, am I going to have to torture someone to death? [Shakes his head sadly] I really don't want to have to do that.

Alice : I suppose if he has to do it to someone, he could do it to Jack, downstairs. That whole pants situation is pretty icky.

Stephen : Maybe he has this map you're looking for. Because we certainly don't! Now, you can threaten and menace us as much as you want, but you're wasting your time. How did you get in here, anyway?

Clint : [To Tom] Hellllllllllllo? Let me clear the situation: there's like [starts counting with his fingers] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ... euh ... a lot of us, and only one of you! So how about dropping all the menacing act, and tell us which map you're talking about?

Alice : [Whispering, to Clint] There are six of us. [Gives a big thumbs up sign and wink]

Tom : [Broad smile at Stephen] No. He doesn't have the map, you lot do. [Smiles at Clint] You know, I really will torture you, and I really will hurt you, unless I get the map. As for getting in, well, for a mage of my skills, getting past a door made of paper is quite simple.

Alice : But its a big thick door made of wood.

Tom : [Gruffly] I had a key, okay?

Stephen : [Sighs] What makes you think we have your map, anyway?

Tom : [Puzzled at Stephen's attitude] Wait, wait a second. You don't get pissy with me, I'm Tom Sellsick - I'm the cool guy, I'm the guy with the attitude. Now, I know you have the map, and I know the knights gave it to you, so either hand over the map or people start to lose fingers.

Clint : Ok Mr. I'm-so-sick, why would you want the map anyway? And I suposed the knights were the good guys, so why would they give us the map? We're the bad guys!

Stephen : What? You're the cool guy? Ha! You've got a moustache for goodness sakes! [Rubs his clean shaven face] Facial hair is soooo last season, don't you know! Please just go away, or my fine fetid friend here [indicates Clint] is going to pummel you to a pulp!

Tom : Not only do I have a moustache, I've also got a Ferrari.

Alice : Wow! Really?

Tom : Yep, its outside.

Alice : [Looking out the window] Look, one of those tramps is after doing a big jobbie in the driver's seat!

Tom : Now I'm really getting pissed. [Turns to Clint] The only thing you're bad at, Sir, is being good. The knights gave you the map because they knew who you were - in fact, the only people who don't know who you really are have got to be Pestilence and that fool Rourke.

Alice : But he's so dreamy.

Tom : Has he got a Ferrari?

Alice : No, but he also won't have a big shit on the back of his pants.

Tom : Enough of this. I want the map, and I want it now.

Stephen : Arrrrgh! Okay, okay, you can have the map! It's in the safe, alright! Open it, and you can have the bloody thing!

Tom : [Joins his hands together and smiles, touching his lips with the tips of his fingers] Okay, okay, I see what's going on here. You think I'm going to go downstairs and get killed opening the safe, right? What about I take someone down with me, and get them to open it?

Stephen : [Tuts] God, you're just never happy, are you! So much for being an all [waves his hands and waggles his fingers mockingly] powerful mage! Bet you're just an amateur! Now, you know where it is, so get it and leave us to our coffin-fumes sniffing!

Tom : Aw, now look what you've gone and done. You've gone and made me mad. [Waves his hands and waggles his fingers, mumbling an incantation] Now, how does that feel?

[Suddenly, everyone is frozen solid.]

Alice : What a bastard, why, if I wasn't paralysed, I'd give him a piece of my mind. I bet he only has that Ferrari because he has a really small winky.

Tom : You should be aware, my dear, that you are still able to speak.

Alice : And was I speaking or thinking?

Tom : Speaking. Without thinking.

Stephen : Okay, guess you are a [tries to wave his hands and waggle his fingers, but can't] all powerful mage after all! Sorry.

Tom : [Sadly] No, you see, you don't understand. It'll take much more than that to make up for the way you behaved. Now, please apologise, otherwise I'll have to do all sorts of terrible things to your friends.

Clint : Alright big shot, now having us frozen solid really isn't going to help you getting the map, is it? What are you going to do next? Take a rabbit our of your pants?

Tom : No, a snake. [Punches Alice on the jaw, sending her sprawling across the room, crashing against the wall.] Unless, of course, you tell me where the map is.

[ALICE no longer seems to be paralysed, but is clearly stunned from the punch, and lies in a crumpled heap against the wall.]

Clint : Oi!!!!! What the fuck was that all about? We've told you a million times, we do not have the fucking map!

Jerome: Yeah, you tell him, Clint. [Then in a panicked voice] Alice? Alice, where are you. You are outside my field of vision. Say something. [To Tom] Oh, you bastard - if Jerome K. Trindle could simply move his hands, you would be so regretful of your decision to pursue the location of this imaginary map. You could have at least described it somewhat so that we knew of what you spoke.

Tom : [Plaintively putting his hands out to the others] Guys, guys, guys! What do you hate the girl so much?

Alice : [Stirring] What map?

Tom : [Catching Alice by the hair, and dragging her across the room] You know guys, I don't want to do this, and I'm getting a bit upset at you making me do it. [Smashes her face against the large tank, leaving an untidy smear of blood, saliva and snot on it.]

[ALICE rolls onto her back, barely conscious, breathing heavily.]

Tom : [Standing in front of Jerome] Now, I'm a reasonable man, but this is a team game, we're all on the same side here. [To Clint] Come on, you don't want to see her hurt, do you? Is that what you want? You know, I don't think it is, so please, please, help me to help her.

Jerome: Tom, Tom, Tom, you do not improve your standing with the good Jerome K. Trindle with such behaviour, who would ask you to cease momenetarily your bullying pretense. Would your map, be made up of different colours? For example, blue and brown. Would they be tiled?

Clint : [Trying to make an astonished look of his frozen face][To Jerome] Oh for fuck's sake, is that all that he wants? Well just look into the bimbo's boobs, she's got the map stuck between them! [To Alice] Hey Alice, it's stripping time, Mr. Freeze needs to check you out... Alice?

Tom : Excellent! Now you're talking. [Pulls Alice close to him before taking out a knife and cutting through her top, giving her no opportunity to save her modesty.]

Tom : I don't see any map. [Throws Alice back onto the ground, before turning to Clint, with a big "oh you guys"-type smile on his face] You, you, excellent! Very good. But, and here's the thing. [Smile disappears from his face] I want the map, and you're beginning to piss me off. [Holds his knife down around Clint's crotch] Now, how would you feel about losing a testicle?

Clint : [To Tom] Hum, kinda feels like deja vu! Look, I've got a piece of the map as well, so just unfreeze me and I'll show it to you, ok? And for fuck's sake stop torturing the bimbo!

Tom : You know something, I think its time for you lot to learn a lesson. And I find, in my experience of torture and murder, that the best way to teach somebody a lesson is to kill a person in front of them. Do you know what I mean? You know to - to show them that you're serious. [Smiles at Clint] I'm serious, and I'm getting pissed off. So, who will it be? [Looks at Lenin] Its got to be the guy dressed as a nun, [looks at the other party members] come on guys, I'm doing you a favour here. [Walks up to Lenin, knife in hand]

Jerome: Are you out of your mind? Jerome K. Trindle has petitioned you to remain calm and that given the current predicament the party finds itself in, the likelihood of us attempting to help you is very high. Now, from whom did you learn that we have this map? How did we come by it? Is it not obvious considering the seriousness of your threats, that we are not feigning ignorance?

Tom : Out of my mind? [Laughs out loud] Of course I'm out of my mind! Why else would I do this? [Kicks Alice in the stomach] Now, [to Lenin] ladyboy, you've got a habit I don't like. [Stifles a laugh] Habit! Cool. [Puts on a serious face] Focus. [Brings the knife up to Lenin's throat.]

Lenin: ERm. Let's not be too hasty, comrade... [inching back slowly]

Tom : [Pushing the knife up against Lenin, with a smile on his face] Don't worry, I won't be hasty, I'll do this nice and slowly. [Face suddenly freezes, and he turns back to Alice] Where the hell did you get that?

Alice : Where did I get what? The sore jaw? My strained roots? My bleeding nose? My shredded top? My sore stomach?

Tom : No, that. [Points at Alice with the knife]

Stephen : All I can see is the wall, so I've no idea who or what you're talking about!

Tom : [Strides across the room, and grabs Alice's pendant] This, this is what I'm talking about. [Pulls her across the room with it] Where did she get this from?

Alice : Hello? You know, I am still in the room. You might try asking me.

Tom : Where did you get it from?

Alice : [Lamely] Er, I don't know?

Austin : [To Tom] We were wondering that ourselves. As far as we can gather they were from some Knights or something, but the witnesses, Bumch and Jack were witholding information and we were unable to garner any further information from them.

Tom : The Hierophantic Knights? [Looks around the room, but it is impossible to tell his mood.]

Alice : Um, I'm actually choking here.

[There is a knock on the door.]

Tom : Are you expecting someone?

Alice : Well, yes. I'm expecting a baby.

Austin : [To Tom] No. We have a completely empty calendar. Would you care to do lunch sometime? Perhaps when Lennin has thawed out some what, though that may never happen...

Tom : [Taking out a pair of handcuffs, and locking Alice to a convenient pipe] Now, don't anyone go anywhere, I'll be back in a few moments.

[Exit TOM.]

Alice : Why don't we just give him the map?

Stephen : [To Tom] Well, are you going to answer it?

Austin : [To Alice] What map? Where is this map?

Alice : Well, I don't know, I certainly don't have it. [Covers herself up] If only you lot weren't paralysed, then someone could free me. What are we going to do when he comes back?

Stephen : He seemed pretty shocked at seeing the pendant, but I doubt that's a good thing. He's calling the shots, Alice, we'd give him the map if we could, but we can't, as we don't have it!

[Enter SVEN.]

Sven : [Does a double take on the party] Friends! What has happened here? [Draws his sword, and looks around]

Stephen : That lunatic who let you in froze us all, and then bashed poor Alice around the room! He's looking for some kind of map which we don't have, and won't take no for an answer! Where is he?

Sven : No one let me in, the door was open. [Shakes Stephen, who unfreezes] Hah! Time to get this party moving again. [Turns to Clint] Free shot! [Punches him on the shoulder, freeing him]

Stephen : Thanks Sven! [Looks at Alice] Good God! [Attempts to pick Alice's handcuffs]

Lenin: Comrade, I bessech you, show not this unabashedly Capitalistic altruism, but bestow freedom upon an embattled fighter for the Wroking Man, one who struggles for the very Souls of the Proletariat. [looks at Austin] No, not you. Me.

Alice : [As Stephen frees her] Thanks Stephen, what a psycho, out of his mind, the worst sort of freak I've ever encountered.

Sven : So, the guy who did this to you was a bit on the crazy side, eh?

Alice : [Slapping Clint across the face] No, its this psycho I'm talking about! Check the bimbo's boobs? Thanks a bunch Clint!

Sven : [Shaking Lenin out of his position] Nice change of image there, friend. [Slaps Lenin's ass] Haw!

Clint : [Punching Sven back on the shoulder] I thought you'd never arrive! [To Lenin] I bet not even in Siberia have you been this frozen, have you comrade? [Shakes Lenin to unfreeze him]

Clint : [To Alice] C'mon babe, it was a one-off chance to check you out! And I'll have to say, you didn't disapoint me! Now, how about getting the hell out of here before the phsyco returns?

Sven : [Taken aback at Alice slapping Clint] Looks like I arrived just in time, eh? [Notices that Alice's top is now closed] Or maybe, just a bit too late.

Alice : [Glaring at Clint] If you ask me, the psycho is already here!

Stephen : [To Sven] What are you doing here, Sven? How did you know that we were here?

Sven : [Reaches out and gives a Stephen a big hug, rubbing the top of his head] Haw! Excellent! [Lets him go] I love it, seconds after saving you from certain death, you're suspicious! [Points at Stephen] But don't get me wrong, because in a place like this, its the only way to survive. I was down talking to some of the firemen and -

Alice : [Squeezes Sven's hand reassuringly] Yes, they can be very depressing, what with all their sad stories of burning homes and all, but, you know, a lot of them go stripping at night and really enjoy it, so they don't have quite the terrible life you'd imagine.

Sven : Er, yes, thanks. Anyway, the whole town is talking about you, so it was easy to find you.

Stephen : [Dreamily] And just in time to! I don't know what Tom Sellsick would have done to us if you hadn't turned up! He kept asking us about a map, and refused to believe us when we told him we didn't have one! Crazy man!

Austin : Great party this. Stick together, help eachother out. Not a chance. Leave eachother frozen on the floor, no problem. Alice, Stephen, Lennin?

Alice : [To Austin] Its okay, Aussie, all three of us are unfrozen.

Sven : Well done, Stephen. It was very brave of you all to claim you didn't have the map, especially considering what he seems to have done to poor Alice.

Austin : [To Alice] Could you unfreeze me please Alice, sweetie.

Stephen : [Taps Austin on the shoulder] Not you as well, Sven! We don't have any map! Why does everyone think we have a map? Just what the hell happened last night?

Alice : [After Austin has clearly been unfrozen] No problem Austin, now, if you could just stop moving, I'd be able to do it.

Sven : Well, myself and Peter left just after the band arrived, so I really don't know what happened - but I've heard from a reliable source that you got a map from a Hierophantic Knight.

Stephen : [To Austin] No problem, sweetie. [To Sven] I have no memory of it! What does the map look like?

Austin : [Stands up, straightens his clothes, checks his nails briefly, examines himself in the nearest shiniest object] Thank you. I may remember you in my Will. [To Sven] A reliable source? [To Alice] No ketchup jokes thank you.

Clint : I'm beginning to think... [Scratches his ball] Sven, can you see this wonderful tatoo on my face?

Austin : [To Clint, examining the tattoo] For a scrotumlly challenged homo-sapien of reclined cerebral aptitude, you have a certain knack for identifying potentially crucial pieces of information.

Sven : [To Austin] I read it on some graffiti in a toilet. [Looks at Clint] Sure, I can see your tattoo. [Glances over at Stephen] And yours.

Austin : [To Sven] I take it that it was a relaiable toilet? [Looks at Stephens tattoo] A map in two parts perhaps? How on earth did a genius like Selsick miss that. It was written all over your faces [Smirks]

Stephen : Curious, how you can see it, yet, Jack and Bumch could not. And I don't think that deranged Sellsick could see it either. Who told you that we'd received a map from the knights? And why is it your concern?

Stephen : [Looks at the tattoo on his hand, and then, puzzled, back at Austin] What?

Sven : [To Stephen] As I just said to your friend here, it was written in a bathroom, but that is not the only place I heard it from. The news on the street is that you captured a knight, tortured him and killed him, stealing his map.

Alice : You heard that from your reliable source?

Sven : Yes. However, another, less reliable source claimed that you are not the real Malefics at all, and that the Knights gave you the map. A third story tells how there is no map, and that you are actually a bunch of cleaners, here to sweep the streets.

Alice : How reliable was the source where that came from?

Sven : Not very reliable at all.

Alice : Phew! Because after that Tom guy, I don't think I could do any sweeping. Of course, given that I've never actually used a sweeping brush, I probably wouldn't be able to do it anyway.

Alice : I think he was talking about Clint's.

Stephen : [To Sven] Do you know a guy called Archer Delay?

Sven : I've heard of him - I think he's a used chariot salesman. I haven't met him though.

[Enter PETER DEADPAN.]

Peter : [Looking Lenin up and down] Nice frock.

Stephen : Okay so, just so I'm clear. The word on the street is we either killed or befriended a Hierophantic knight, using our cleaning skills to sweep away all evidence of the deed, received some sort of map, burned a bar, got tattooed, in some cases, swapped clothes, visited a barbers, attacked a strongman, got chased by clowns with big feet, gorged ourselves on oversized horse-penis baps, found some exquisite jewelery, drank the town dry, had sex with the servants, beat up a marching band and somehow, had all the memories of these events removed. Yes?

Alice : Well, if I had sex with a clown, I'm glad I don't remember it. [Looks at Jerome] Doh!

Peter : [To Stephen] Yes. The entire town is talking about you. They are fascinated by your wild ways, wonderful looks and exotic body odours.

Sven : Haw! [Slaps Peter on the back] Of course, now that you have the map, you really should seek out Pestilence - if you kill him off, things on the surface would be a lot safer for everyone.

Lenin: I'm sorry comrade, I've taken a vow of celibacy until all the workers of the world live in freedom.

Alice : [Looks at Lenin, nodding her head] Yeah, what man in his right mind would want anything to do with a woman dressed like that, who has a huge moustache. [Glances at Chastity] Yikes! Last fom Conor #101

Clint : [Checking his armpit to make sure he still stinks] Hey!, what if we try to get those pendants together? Maybe they'll transform and show us something new... [Takes off his pendant]

Stephen : [Uncomfortably] Urm, what makes you think we're here to kill Pestilence, Sven?

Alice : [Takes off her pendant, and hands it to Clint] See? See how it can be taken off without flashing my boobs at anyone?

Austin : [To Alice] I do believe that we had a majority of 3 votes for 412329671842, with 3 abstaining from the vote for reasons univestigated.

Alice : Go on then, Aussie.

Austin : [With Ninja Style and grace, and the arrogance of 007] Very well my dear. [Surveys his audience, enters the combination]

Stephen : Such style. Such grace! Such arrogance! [Stands well back with his fingers in his ears]

Lenin: [Casually sashays behind someone large enough to deflect any blast] Good Luck, Comrade. We're all behind you.

[Swish. The door slides open in true Star Trek fashion. The safe is relatively empty, with just two small chests inside, both of which are open. One contains a number of vials of a light green potion, while the other contains three small orbs, glowing white.]

Sven : [Slapping Austin on the back with such ferocity that it sends him stumbling into the room] Hah! What fine bravery you display, as well as your extraordinary brain power.

Peter : Not to mention the light and joy he brings to any room with his natural beauty and charisma.

Lenin: [Puzzled] Comrades? When did you start to speak only in Austin's interior monologues?

Stephen : [Petulanty] Oh for Gods sake, Austins been gay for only a day and already getting more tail then me!

Sven : I don't know Lenin, I guess I suppose the answer depends on what you mean! Haw! Typical politician, no one can understand him. So, lets check out your chest.

Alice : [Slapping Sven across the face] Enough! It's bad enough having that [points at Clint] pervert at it, but not you too!

Sven : Okay, sorry. Lets look at your chests instead.

Alice : Much better.

Peter : [Deadpan] That's incredible, seeing as how fantastically attractive you are and all.

Austin : [Recovering from Svens slap asif enjoying it, trys to pick up one of the orbs. Completly and obviously ingnoring Peter. To Stephen] I am not gay, I and do believe that this has been made quite clear to you on numerous previous occasions. The correct terminology for refering to my sexual preferences is bi-sexual, and you would do well to remmeber such, in light of my legal background. The slander case grows ever stronger.

Stephen : I know, that's what I think too! There's just no justice! [Looks at the chests] Hey, maybe they're those soul prisons from Ioks place! [Shudders] Believe me, you don't want to be trapped in one of those things! Talk about deep vein thrombosis!

Alice : [Watching Austin pick up one of the orbs] I don't think they're soul prisons - they were much smaller.

[AUSTIN holds up the orb, and its glow appears to get brighter. SVEN and PETER exchange surprised looks.]

Chastity: [To Stephen with some confusion] Erm... Deep Vein Thrombosis, or Deepus Veinus Thrombosisis as it's known in Latin, is a disease commonly found in the dark jungles of Cork. Symptoms include sweating, tightness, and pulsing of the veins. [To Stephen] Was that okay?

Alice : [Bursts out laughing at Chastity] Sounds like anal sex to me!

Peter : What does?

Alice : Er, a nul sox?

Austin : This will be my one then, only two left. [Examines the other non orb things, then catching the end of the conversation, Maplin vaguely waves hand] Oh, Bumch has some, you could borrow some from him, I'm sure [Preoccupied with the other items]

Stephen : [Gives a so-so gesture with his hand] Adequate. You left out the bit about the possibility of it leading to a stroke! But not bad, not bad at all. Tell you what, leave the name of your agent, I'll talk to my people, and you should hear from us in a few days time. Nice suit by the way! What is it, a Hugo Bosvski?

Sven : What have you got there, friend?

Alice : Well, obviously, Austin is going to keep one of the orbs. Does anyone else need a new ball? [Looks around at the others] Clint? Have you any interest in this?

Stephen : [Laughs] Go on Clint, this is your chance to be a real man again! And you never know, perhaps you can fill it with soap liquid and give your clothes their first wash ever!

Clint : [To Alice] I thought you liked playing with balls yourself, Alice! [Looks at Stephen] On the other hand, he might enjoy it more than you... {Picks up one of the orbs Geez, it's big and heavy, nearly as big as my remaining testicle! I wonder if it's as powerful, though...

Stephen : [Peers at Clints hand] Are you holding something Clint? God, it's so small! Don't drop it, we'd never find it again!

Alice : [Whispering to Stephen] Its in his other hand.

Clint : Oh!, look Hitchfeck, it's getting warmer, probably excited from you looking at it! Quick, open your mouth in a "O" shape!

Alice : As long as it is only his mouth that opens in an "O" shape!

Sven : What do you mean its getting warmer?

Stephen : [Sighs] Clint, the only time I'll ever open my mouth in an "O" shape for you, is when I get the chance to whistle For He's A Jolly Good Fellow at your funeral!

Sven : [Frustrated] Is there no communication in this safe? Tell us what the orb feels like.

Austin : [To Sven] My Orb feels hot, but in a rather plesant, caring way.

Sven : Interesting. Interesting. [Looks at the potions] Now, what could these be about?

Clint : [To Stephen] That means that you'll actually have something flowing out of your mouth, rather than in as usual! [To Sven] Easy, tiger! [Shows the orb] It feels quite nice, warm and soft. It's actually very pleasing! refernce to work in the

Chastity: [Casts a detect spell on the potions if she can] Hmm.

Alice : [Stroking Clints ball] Yes, yes, it is rather pleasing. I wonder, why would the other party have something so nice in their house?

Austin : I think these are the orbs that someone mentioned the other day, what where they called again? [Tap chin with index finger, Peter Cushing style]

Austin : Does anyone remember what those orbs were called? Or what they did? Chas?

Clint : [Winks at Alice] You think that's pleasing? Wait until I'll show you my other ball! [To All] Would these be the orbs of protection Jack was telling us about, in which the Hierophantic Knights came into the Under City? [Rubs his ball - the orb, not the other one]

Alice : Which ball? The one from the ball gag that we'll soon put on you?

Stephen : Ooh, Alice. I never knew you were so into bondage.

Alice : I'm into anything that keeps him [points at Clint] tied up and away from me. [Looks into the chest] Look, there's a tongs in there, big enough to lift the orbs. [Turns to the others] Maybe that's because they're not the Orbs of Protection, but actually Orbs of Cursing, damning whoever touches one to die in excrutiating agony, with parts of their body dropping off, starting with the smallest. [Zones in on Clint] Guess we won't need that ball gag after all.

Clint : [To Alice] Will ya shut up? This poor orb is trying to sleep! Look at all the colours! This definitely feels nice!

Alice : [Picking up the tongs, making a scary clicking sound around Clint's crotch region] Hello? Are you not in the slightest bit concerned at why this thing is here?

Lenin: Ahm, Comrade Clint, perhaps you should put down the orb before it stunts your psychohistoricosexual development further.

Alice : Or even worse, causes you to start making up words. [Uses the tongs to pick up the last Orb, which she swings around the party] What do we make of these orbs? And why did the other party have them? Why are there tongs here if we can just pick them up? And, most puzzling of all, why haven't Lenin and Chastity changed clothes back yet?

Lenin: [sighs condescendingly] Because in our current situation, I'd have to see Sr. Chastity naked. You discern my plight, Comrades?

Alice : Yeah, but then we'd get to see you naked! [Laughs so hard that some milk comes out her nose. Then stops.] Wait a second, eauh! Keep your clothes on Lenin, you damned pervert! [Shakes the orb threateningly at him.]

[SVEN and PETER exchange glances]

Sven : Excellent. A high spirited party, that's what I like to see.

Austin : [Puts his orb into his pocket and turns to Alice] The tongs could be for the other items [maplin points lethargicly to the other stuff] Or perhaps there is a salad bar around here somewhere?

Alice : [Watching Austin cram the ball into his jacket pocket, leaving an unsightly bulge in the pocket] Maybe they are for the potions, but I guess someone should check them out. And Austin, I have to say, I think it is extremely unlikely that there's any salad in here. [Glances at Stephen] There is, however, a fruit.

Stephen : [Bitchily] Oh and look, there's some salad cream on your lip Alice, oh no, my mistake. [Bends down to look at the potions] Why would there be a tongs to pick these up when they are in glass containers?

Austin : [Removes the overly lardy orb from his pocket and re-smoothes his pocket to perfection. To Stephen] Not Jelaous are you? Do you desire to have salad creams on your lips?

Stephen : Not as much as you appear to desire me to have your [makes the quotes with his fingers] salad cream on my lips.

Austin : [To Stephen] You are indeed deluded. I find you quite certainly ugly and ungraceful, lacking in refinments of any form, ill in your vocal tones and almost as undesireably pungent in scent as our beloved Clint, and almost as primitive in appearance.

Stephen : [Doing a "Handbags at Twenty Paces" move] Ooooh! So what you're saying is that I've gone up in your opinion, eh, lover?

Austin : [To Stephen] I am clearly and undeniably stating an opinion, whereas before now I had not completly formed the aformentioned opinion as one finds it necessary, so often, to reserve the construction of the said opinion until I have once more grown acustomed to the affront to mine eyes that so many homosapiens present, at which point I may form an opinion of the individual in question, based on character, rather than my initial disgust and loathing for uncouth beings such as yourself.

Stephen : Austin and Stephen, sitting in tree, K - I - S - S - I - N - G. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes oops! [Hand to his mouth, but smiles at Austin] Don't worry Austin, I'm not insulted, because, lets face it, what's passion without anger? Anyway, before Austin needs a cold shower, should we consider what these things are? Before we just take them with us?

Alice : I think they're glowing orbs.

Stephen : Excellent. Thanks. Anyone else got any ideas?

Austin : [To Stephen, as if the previous 5 minutes of positioning had never taken place] I believe they are the orbs of protection as previously mentioned. I also believe that the other party are around here somewhere and hence there is greater confusion than that created by us alone. Perhaps the other items a labled [Has a look, uses the tongs to pick the other items up carefully]

Stephen : [Nodding in agreement, and also apparantly unperturbed over the argument] Makes sense, but why would the other party leave them here? And what's the tongs about?

Alice : [A little unhappy at having the tongs taken off her by Austin] Maybe they're for picking things up with?

[AUSTIN lifts one of the potions. There is a definite glow off it, but no label.]

Austin : [Put the items back, and returns the tongs to Alice] Thanks you. It may be possible that the other party, being as they are, evil, may be unable to pick these orbs, due to the fact that the orbs could be good, and therefore are required to use the tongs to manipulate either the orbs or the other items. I would now like to invite comments from you all with regards to this hypothesis.

Alice : Hm. Yes. I see. I like your thought process. However, is it possible that there are certain things that evil people can't touch or see? But good people can? [Peers at the phials again] Does this mean they couldn't pick up the phials either? There's no pair of tongs in that chest.

Clint : [Still having pleasure with his orb] These have definitely got to be the orbs of protection; maybe they contain the knights? [To Orb] "Hellllo? Anybody there?" [Roughly throws the orb in the air, catching it again, in pure baseball style]

Chastity: I'm having trouble identifying any of these.

Austin : It is therefore also possible that there are things that we cannot see, but they can, like the tattoos of Stephen and Clint, but the other way around. And what about this map? Is it invisible to us, or do the other party have it, or what?

Alice : [Watching Clint throw the orb around] Maybe we have it and can't see it? Hm, that doesn't make any sense. [Picks up one of the phials with the tongs] Is there some way we can identify what they are? [Tries to throw it up in the air in the same way as Clint did, but it, the tongs and one of her shoes fly across the room, each narrowly missing a party member. The phial smashes off the wall of the office. The liquid drains down the wall, causing no obvious damage.] Er, oops?

Clint : [Looking at the green liquid] Yuck!, what's that smell? [Looks at Alice's shoe] Oh, never mind.

Alice : [Looking at her shoe] Yuck! What's that smell? [Looks at Clint] Oh, never mind.

Austin : [Carefuly goes to examine the liquid, has a sniff]

Alice : [Carefuly goes to examine Clint, has a sniff] Pooh! [Limps away.]

Austin : [Pulls a shoe that he has just spotted out of the wall] Hmm, smells tasty!

Clint : [Lifting his arm] Ah!, the scent of a pure male! [To Alice] Hey Bimbo, do you know what winks, and fucks like a tiger?

Alice : [Turns to Clint, and makes a big display of yawning, before turning to Austin] Thank you Aussie. [Limps across the room to him, demonstrating just how ridiculous her unfeasibly high heels are] What do you make of the potion? After I cleverly found a way of opening it a good distance from us.

Stephen : If it was poison, we would all have been trapped in the safe.

Sven : If it was corrosive acid, it would have taken down a supporting wall.

Peter : If it quacked, we'd call it a duck.

Alice : [To Austin] Lets just ignore them.

Lenin: [To Clint] A Tiger with a nerve condition?

Austin : [To Clint] Are you sure that Tigers wink? It seems most unlikely. Perhaps you should say 'blinks like a Tiger'.

Lenin: I had assumed that that part of the comment was subsumed into the statement; winking being analogous to blinking in Clints [coughs] mind. Isn't that so, Comrade?

Austin : [To Clint] Are you sure that Tigers wink? It seems most unlikely. Perhaps you should say 'blinks like a Tiger'.

Lenin: I had assumed that that part of the comment was subsumed into the statement; winking being analogous to blinking in Clints [coughs] mind. Isn't that so, Comrade?

Clint : [To Austin] Trust me, they do. [Winks at Alice] [To Lenin] It's a catch phrase, Comrade - I suppose it would be censored in your regime. It's just a pity that the only people responding to it are an old-fashioned communist and a queer lawyer...

Austin : Well I am so glad we have got that one sorted out. Shall we have a look round the rest of the house now, or shall we spend the rest of our lives discussing the sexual insecurities of a mono testicular testosterone vessel?

Clint : Was that a compliment? I think we should indeed do something, but Alice, Stephen, Sven and Peter seem to be lost in their thoughts... it's rather anoying!

Alice : I think we have looked around all the house, Aussie. Upstairs there were just a few guest rooms where some of us [checks herself out in a nearby mirror] can get a chance to get washed up [checks out Clint] or not, as the case maybe.

Stephen : Of course, there's also the matter of these potions? Could we get one of the less useful members of the party [glances at Jerome] to try one out?

Peter : We're just marvelling at the wonderous conversation that abounds.

Alice : [Putting on her shoe, somehow getting the foot wrong] So, what are we going to do about these potions? There are a fair few of them here, so if they do something useful, they could be very handy.

Jerome: Just as annoying as you not getting lost in yours. [Turns to Sven] It has only struck Jerome K. Trindle that the recent appearance of Sven et al, was very timely with the leaving of Mr. Sellsick, which only leads one to wonder is there a game of good-cop, bad-cop being played here.

Clint : [To Alice] I suggest we do NOT throw them around the room.

Sven : Haw! Good thinking, Doc Trindle. Like I said to your clean friend, [clapping Stephen on the back] you always have to be on your guard in the adventuring game. [Draws his sword, as though anticipating something.]

[Crash! ALICE has just knocked over a previously unnoticed pyramid of champagne glasses that was lovingly laid out in the office.]

Alice : Oops.

Sven : [Putting his sword away] Not to worry, missy. [Turns back to Jerome] You do have a point, sir. But I put it to you that I have been demonstrably trustworthy, and have made no effort to coerce you and your friends to do anything. Furthermore, myself and Peter are about to leave, heading for Cointreau - I offer a friendly ear and nothing more, isn't that right Peter?

Peter : Well, that and a performing troupe of monkeys.

Alice : [Standing knee deep in smashed champagne glasses] I know that, I'm that awkward, you know. [Rolls her eyes, and walks back to the rest of the party, managing to stand on any remaining glasses as she does so.]

Clint : Bimbo, are you ok? [To the others] Maybe the potion smell his making her allucinate. [Looks at her shoes] Then again, stronger odours don't seem to affect her at all... [Suddenly lifts his arm to check his body odour]

Alice : [Staggers slightly] Woah! Its the muppets! [Makes a peace sign at the others] Being for the benefit of Mister Kite.

[Everyone stares at ALICE.]

Alice : I'm not hallucinating Clint, I just had an unfortunate sequence of accidents.

Peter : [Eyeing up Alice's pregnant bump] I'll bet.

Alice : So, do we go out and see if can find Arthur Delay*, or will we try and figure out what the deal is on these potions? [Looks behind the party, makes a thumbs up sign and whispers] It's okay, Kermie, no one else saw you.

Jerome: [Looks at Alice, with obvious concern on his face] It might cause some concern, given previous encounters with potions of this nature, that the possibility that the potion from which Alice just sampled is not a luck potion, but an unluck potion. I'm surprised that no lode-stone has been fastened about her neck.

Stephen : [Looking at Jerome, with obvious scorn] I think, Dr. Trindle, that she has a millstone fastened about her neck instead.

Alice : No Stevie, its just one of those tiled pendants, remember? [There is a knock on the outside door.]

Clint : I wonder if that's Mr. I'm-so-sick again, probably complaining about that unfortunate incident with the driver's seat. How about we prepare him a "Pisang Ambon" cocktail? [Puts on "Mr. Bond" look] Shaken, not stirred. [Picks up a phial of potion with the tongs]

Alice : You are aware, Clint, that we've no idea what's in those potions. Why, they could be potions of healing, or maybe just luminous green paint.

Clint : From looking at you, one would say they are potions of bad luck alright! Or maybe that's just your natural way with things. Anyway, do you have a better idea? [Picks up the orb with his other hand - for luck?]

Lenin: [scooting away from Clint] Comrade, if you explode, I shall not be held responsible.

Austin : [Moves over to the door and opens it to see who's there, if he can] Hello? [AUSTIN can make out that there are two men outside, but can't see their faces. The first one speaks.]

Man : Hello sir, I was wondering if the lady or the gentleman of the house might possibly be available.

Austin : [To the strangers] And who might I say is calling? What is your business?

Arthur : My name is Arther Delay sir, proprieter and manager of Delay's General Stores. I have a business proposition for you.

Maplin : [Holds the orb inside Austin's jacket] Ahh, the illustrious A. Delay, please do come in! We have been expecting you.

Clint : [Puts orb back into pocket] [Enter ARTHUR DELAY and TERRY McHARD. ARTHUR doffs his cap to AUSTIN as he enters.]

Arthur : Pleased to meet you everyone, this is my man, Terry.

Terry : [A bit selfconscious] Hello everyone.

Arthur : I am so pleased that my fame has preceeded me - how, may I ask, did you hear of me?

Austin : [To Arthur, in a wise Vince Price manner] When many questions wait restlessly for their answers, the pressure builds up, and eventually the answers must arrive to relieve the pressure. It is the way of the world. We heard from some one that you were the Man who knows what's afoot in the land, and so expected your arrival.

Arthur : [Smiles modestly at Austin] I thank you sir, for your kind words. Now, [broad smile] I believe you have a map that you may be interested in selling.

Austin : Indeed. Which map exactly are you interested in buying? Perhaps you could relate to us its physiognomy, to illuminate its identity to us?

Arthur : Its physiowhatney? I'm sorry sir, but I'm not an educated man. Born the son of a penniless miner -

Terry : Oh, here we go again.

Arthur : I struggled against poverty by building up my small business, renting out poor people with particularly bad body odours to rich people who wanted to offend their friends. It took ten years of that before I achieved my dream of opening a second hand chariot shop.

Alice : The point?

Arthur : Excuse me?

Alice : Not you, him! [Jabs her thumb at Stephen] The point of your sword is sticking into me, Stephen.

Stephen : That's not my sword.

Alice : If any one else said that, I'd be worried.

Arthur : Er, anyway. [To Austin] What were you asking?

Austin : [Thinks hard looking at Arthur, nodds] What does the map look like, what is it a map of and where do you believe we acquired the aforementioned chartographical...[sigh!]..have you been told where we got it? Please. [Smiles]

Arthur : What does it look like? You've got to be joking, right? Listen, if you're going to be wasting my time, my boy Terry here will punch you. [Turns to Terry] Go on Terry, smack him one.

Terry : Look Arthur, no one is going smacking anyone okay? [To Austin] Look mate, for obvious reasons, we can't tell you how we know you have it, but we do, okay? And we also know that the Knights gave it to you, but, as for what it looks like, we haven't a clue.

Stephen : But what is it a map of?

Arthur : [Exasperated] Strike him, Terry. Strike him I say!

Terry : [Ignoring Arthur] Its the map of Pestilence's Inner Sanctum.

Alice : Eauh! You mean, like x-ray or something?

Terry : No, his inner sanctum is the only place where he is vulnerable. Arthur here believes he has a buyer who might be interested in buying any copies that are floating around.

Stephen : And does he sleep in his inner sanctum?

Terry : No, he just regenerates there. Pestilence doesn't really sleep.

Stephen : Doesn't sleep? Wow! He'd be excellent in a pbem game, wouldn't he?

Alice : Only if the DM had gone to the bother of getting an internet connection in his apartment, so he could log on at night and check it.

Stephen : True, but what a fantastic DM he'd have to be to do that.

Alice : I'm sure the rewards would be worth it Stephen - all those guys on the opposite side of the clock would post and post and post so there'd be loads of mails the next morning when everyone came in.

Stephen : Wow, sounds excellent!

Lenin: This "Deeyem" fellow sounds suspiciously bourgeousie and labour-bossish. And if there's one thing I dislike it's....well, there are a number of things I dislike, Comrades, but one of them is Tyrannical Overlord figures with God complexes. Both Pestilence and this "Deeyem" seem to exhibit such tendancies, and I'm not sure I like it. No, Comrades, I don't like it one bit. Perhaps we, ourselves, have a MORAL duty to destroy Pestilence, once and for all.

Alice : On the contrary, Lenin. I think he sounds quite dreamy, if not a little sad, given that he's checking mail at 11.10pm, but I suppose its not all that inconvenient given that he's spent all evening downloading porn that's too shocking even for the University of Limerick to sanction.

[Bzzzt! ALICE is struck by lightening.]

Arthur : [Shaking his head at Lenin's words] Kill Pestilence, well, I never heard the like. Come Terence, let us leave these madmen. If they are not interested in our ovens, we have nothing to say.

Austin : [Looking around in amazement] What the hell are you lot all talking about? Have you completely lost the plot? [Searches his pockets to see if he has the map, then will go to search Bumchs 'pockets' to see if they are in his other clothes] Lets have a look for this elusive map. It must be around here somewhere, what was that horse kebab thing wrapped in?

Jerome: [Shakes his head in disbelief] One is overcome by a severe sense of deja vu.

Jerome: [Shakes his head in disbelief] One is overcome by a severe sense of deja vu.

Alice : [Looks puzzled at Jerome] Hmm. [AUSTIN searches all the available pockets, no map is found.]

Arthur : Look people, I don't really care what your argument is with Pestilence, I'm sure its none of my concern. But time is money, now, are you prepared to sell the map, or not?

Austin : [To Arthur] Therein lies the problem. We have never had the map. Everyone seems to think we have it, but the fact remains that none of us have ever seen it. It is my hypothesis that someone, somewhere, for whatever purpose, would like everyone to think we have the map. Perhaps they want to see who is interested in the map, and are watching the house. Perhaps they want to stall us by inflicting all manner of map seekers upon our good selves, you two being the most plesant by far, that 'Tom Sellsick' was a horrible character. I fear I will be unable to press charges against him, since he will most probably be outwith the duristriction of my beloved legal system. However, we may be interested in a chariot.

Arthur : Tut tut tut. [Takes out a cigar and lights it] I am sorry to hear that you had the misfortune to deal with Sellsick, not a nice character at all. You know, I almost believe you when you say you don't have it, but, I'll bow to your wishes. If you don't want to sell it, that's your business. Come, Terence, let us leave this place.

Austin : [To Arthur] Do you know the meaning of these [Points to Alices pendant, or where it should be!]

[Exit TERRY and ARTHUR.]

Sven : Well friends, best of luck in your mission. Peter and I best be off now. [Opens the door.] [SVEN is pushed back by someone kicking open the door. It is DOBBIN, holding a crossbow.]

Dobbin : [Pointing the crossbow at the party] Surrender, or die!

Alice : I think we should choose die.

Dobbin : Uh, what?

Alice : Well, did you mean, die straight away, or die about a hundred years from now?

Dobbin : Er, now, I guess.

Alice : Oh, well that puts a whole new complexion on it.

Arthur : [Peers at Alice] Mm-mm.

Alice : [Dryly] He meant the pendant.

Arthur : Oh. It looks like one of the Hierophantic Knights ones, but they are usually white. [Smiles at the party] You know, you claim that you don't have the map, which everyone knows that the Knights gave you, and yet now you show me a pendant that surely came from them! Come on, what do you want for the map?

Clint : [To Arthur] Hey, I thought you were a respectful business man, man! But fine, if you don't want to deal with us, then I'll just have to sell this [shows his pendant] to your rival Dunnes, manager of Dunnes Stores.

Arthur : [Peers at Alice] Oooh, er!

Alice : [Dryly] He means the pendant.

Arthur : It looks like one belonging to the Hierophantic Knights, except theirs don't have colour. They are always just white.

Stephen : And is white not a colour?

Arthur : I mean, it doesn't normally have a colour other than white. [Smiles at the others] How can you say that you don't have the map? That pendant clearly came from the knights, so I know they gave you the map too.

Austin : [To Dobbin] Ooh hi Dobbin. Now that we are no longer within enemy earshot it may interest you to know that we are not the bad party. [Examines nails (not Maplins)] If you would like proof you will find Jack and Bumch tied up in the other room. We were unable to convey this information to you before as we would have had a considerably larger number of homcidal mainiacs atfer us, with intentions of the kind that are not the most beneficial to our health. [Surveying the others] I think I can speak on behalf of the others here when I convey our deepest condolences for the resultant pain and suffering caused by the actions of our nadirs, our 'otherselves' to boot, who I may hasten to add have no connection to ourgoodselves, physical, spiritual, financial, extra-terrestrial or otherwise. They are infact aliens, disguised as us, no doubt for some evil purpose. Will you help us to find them and destroy them?

Austin : [Looks at the walls, then the floor, then celing] It's it just me or is everything a bit [pauses, finger tapping chin] 'wobbly'. [To Arthur, slowly, Lloyd Grossman style (no vommiting please)] Let me just infuse into the present exchanges, the situation so far. We do not have the map, we never have done, and you have not even said what you might pay for the map even if we did have it, which of course we don't.

Stephen : [Looks around the room] The only wobbly thing I notice is the sisters buttocks. But I'm sure the make-up department can disguise the flab with a few sheets of titanium or something. [To Arthur] So, you know the knights gave us the map, do you? Well, what makes you so sure about it, and don't give me any rubbish about reading it on toilet walls, or receiving a vision, or reading it in tea leaves, or seeing it in a crystal ball, being told by a burning bush, reading it in your palm, examining the entrails of birds, or reading to the end of this films script!

Arthur : [Holding up his hands to Stephen] Alright friend, take it easy! I heard from my mate Franky Four Fingers, who got it on good account from Bullet Tooth Tony, who was told by "One Punch" Mickey, who's friends with Boris The Blade, who I guess heard it from Turkish, who surely was talking to Brick Top, and he gets all his information from Doug The Head, who usually converses with Barry the Baptist who I think may have heard it from Hatchet Harry, who is commonly seen speaking to Boris The Blade.

Alice : Boris was talking to a lot of people, wasn't he?

Arthur : [Tapping his nose] A lot of people were talking to a lot of people, my dear.

Alice : About what?

Arthur : Cheese.

Terry : Look, what he's saying is that everyone knows you lot have the map. In fact, its just a matter of time before Pestilence comes looking for you, because he'll realise pretty sharpish that you're not the Malefics. Arthur here wants to get the map off you and sell it to Pestilence. The problem is, we don't know what it looks like either.

Alice : [Confused] You don't know what cheese looks like? [Looks at Clint] I can give you an idea of what it smells like, if that's any good.

Austin : [Appears to have miraculously found a bottle of Louis XIV and is pouring himself a glass] Here's to Prestilence (nb: spelling deliberate)[necks the lot, pours another, already looks smashed. To Arthur] What are the Malefics really like?

Arthur : [Taking a glass from Austin, shaking his head] Oh, they're a nasty bunch, and no mistake. Psychotic, sick and twisted.

Alice : [Glancing at Clint] So, quite unlike us then?

Arthur : [Taking a drink] I'm sure. [Coughs up the brandy, making a face at it] Tut tut tut. This is just what I'd expect from them. A pale, evil imitation of something good, like everything Pestilence is involved in.

Terence : [Whispering to Arthur] Steady on, Arthur, you don't want to lay it on too thick, do you?

Arthur : I'm just helping these good people, Terence. Who knows, they may need to employ a guid to show them where Pestilence lives.

Stephen : [To the party] Hey, if the Malefics can't touch the orbs or the phials, perhaps we could put them into the regeneration tanks, and that might kill them! [Looks around the room] And if Pestilence is going to come looking for us, I'd prefer not to be trapped in this house. There's only one door in, and one door out. [To Arthur] And where would we hire a guid?

Arthur : Well, my boy Terry here could show you around.

Terry : Leave it out, Arthur! Only a maniac would go into Pestilence's place! No one but a fool with a death wish, a crazed moron with repect for neither their own nor their friends safety, would dare set foot in that place.

Alice : [Worried look] But if they had a map of the place, then it would be a whole lot easier, right?

Terry : No, then it would be a whole lot harder.

Austin : [To Terry] We have a considerable quantity of unluck liquid to use on Pestilence, to aid us in any potential negotiations we may enter into, with the aformentioned extra-terrestrial being.

Stephen : [Hands on hips] You know, I've been thinking about this bloody map business, and, everyone is convinced we have it, right? So, everyone is looking for us, and Pestilence will devote all of his energy into destroying us, okay? But, what if the Hierophantic Knights have set us up as scapegoats, giving us these wonderful pendants, spreading the rumours, getting Pestilence to devote all his time and energy into hunting us, meanwhile, they slip into the unguarded temple, whack, bam, wallop, Pestilences black soul in a pickle jar! Our heads on a spike!

Terry : Unluck liquid? Don't know what you're on about John.

Alice : [To Austin] You know, John, we never really proved that they were bad luck viruses - everyone agreed that there was a pleasant odour from them, that's all we know. Now, I know I had an episode with the glasses, but that could have just been an accident - surely if it was a virus, something worse would have happened, like, oh, I don't, being lumbered with a smelly party member. [Glances at Clint] Aaaieee! Throw them out! We're all gonna die!

Sven : [Annoyed] That would never happen. [Smiles again] Stevie, the Hierophantic Knights might work in strange ways, but they would never do something so underhand. If they have chosen to give this mysterious map to you, then you can be sure that you have it, even if you don't know it already. And, my brave friend [puts an arm around Stephen] if they chose this party, then there must have been a very good reason. [Gets a little choked up] You know, looking around at the brave and wonderful faces in this room [glances at Alice who's all bruised, Lenin who's wearing a nun's habit, and then gives up] I'm reminded of my own party that came down here originally. You've got something great here guys, [walks away from Stephen, standing in the middle of the room, fists clenched] you've got something beautiful, and if you were chosen by the Knights, then you weren't just chosen by them, you were chosen from on high. [Wipses away a tear] The adventures that must lie ahead of you, together, forever. You know -

[PETER interrupts, by hugging SVEN.]

Alice : [After an awkward silence] Er, that actually did happen, did it?

Austin : [To Alice] Well, Jane, one may be able to further our investigations if someone trys the liquid [Will attempt to go and get one phial, bring it back and taste it, if nothing happens he'll neck the lot, after saying 'bottoms up']

[AUSTIN brings the phial to his nose, and inhales deeply. He then holds it up to the light, admiring its sheen, before tentatively sipping some, making a nodding motion as he does so.]

Austin : Bottoms up. [Drinks the potion, and seems to tingle all over after it. Some of the cuts and gashes on his body from the incident with the Kennys heal up.]

Alice : Yay! Healing potions! [Looks over at Sven and Peter who are still hugging] Should we just leave them alone for a bit?

Arthur : [Wiping a tear from his eye] You know missy, you should never underestimate the love a man can feel for his friend. The love and brotherhood between two men can be pure and beautiful. Isn't that right Terence?

Terry : Get off!

Alice : [Looking at Stephen] I think I have a good idea how much love a man can feel for another man.

Stephen : Ha! I'm surprised you even remember what love is, missy, considering the amount of attention you get these days from your [gestures dismissively at Jerome] husband to be! Ha! If he's even looked at you since Cointreau it's probably as much!

Alice : [Dismissively to Stephen] I should think its quite obvious why he's behaving like this, even to one of your limited intellect, Stephen. He clearly [pauses] um, hmm. [Takes a good look at Jerome, and her lower lip begins to quiver as she tears up]

Sven : [Noticing Alice's plight] There there, young lass. [Moves away from Peter and gives her a huge hug]

Alice : Ow. Your horn is sticking into me.

Sven : Sorry. [Moves his helmet]

Stephen : [Glares jealously at Alice] Alright then, who needs the health potions the most?

Alice : [Tearfully] Will they mend a broken heart?

Stephen : [Also bursts into tears] Oh, I'm so sorry, Alice, I had no idea that Jeromes insensitivity had such a deep impact on you! I'd never have brought it up in conversation if I'd been aware! Forgive me! [Runs over and hugs Alice and Sven]

Alice : [Still crying] Oh Stephen, I only realised how insensitive he was when I saw how sensitive you and Sven are!

Arthur : [To Terry] What's this, Terry? A love in?

Terry : Buggered if I know, Arthur, but I think we better get out of here before we're dragged into some kind of sick and twisted orgy.

Arthur : Sick and twisted orgy you say? Hmm.

[TERRY drags ARTHUR towards the door.]

Stephen : [Breaks away from the hug, wiping tears from his eyes and snot from his upper lip] Hang on Mr Delay, where can we find you if we need to hire a guid?

Clint : I'm gone as well! This heartbreaking scene makes me want to puke... Are there any real men left in this room, apart from me? [Leaves the room to go get phials from the safe]

Arthur : Your best bet is to go to Dirty Bettys and ask around for me.

Alice : [Goes to wipe away some of her snot] Oh, its gone.

Austin : I belive Dirty Bettys was destroyed in a fire last night.

Arthur : True, but its such an excellent bar, people still go there. [Doffs his cap at the party.] A pleasure. [Exit ARTHUR and TERRY.]

Sven : You know, people, I had better go too.

Sven : [Catching Clint's shoulder as he bends down] Don't be so quick to judge, friend. Only a real man is man enough to face his true feelings. [To the rest of the party, drawing his sword] Friends! I must leave, Peter and I must get out of the city within the hour. Best of luck with your mission. [PETER and SVEN head towards the door.]

Stephen : Sven, you're more than welcome to stay here and help us! I can't help but think that you are linked to the Hierophantic Knights, and it's perhaps you who have given us the map! I mean [looks at Peter] who but a holy knight of infinite patience, would be able to put up with...that sarcastic yoke, as a travelling companion!

Peter : A man with a pig under his arm would probably have no problem.

Sven : [Turns and gives a wide grin] Ha! Much as I'd love to go with you, I have to leave, but I'm sure we'll meet again friends.

Alice : [Blurting out] In The Bright Place?

Sven : [Big smile at Alice, and nodding] Yes, in the Bright Place. [Closes the door.] [Exit SVEN and PETER.]

Stephen : [Waves after them] Chao! [Turns to the others] So, are we just going to stand around here all day, or get out of here before Sellsick returns?

Alice : Why don't we sort out these health potions first? And give people a chance to change their clothes and get the diced carrot out of their hair. [Suddenly, the door is kicked open by DOBBIN.]

Dobbin : [Pointing the crossbow at the party] Surrender, or die!

Alice : I think we should choose die.

Dobbin : Uh, what?

Alice : Well, did you mean, die straight away, or die about a hundred years from now?

Dobbin : Er, now, I guess.

Alice : Oh, well that puts a whole new complexion on it.

Stephen : [Sighs] Does anybody knock in this crazy town? Hang on a second Dobbin, we're not who you think we are! We had nothing to do with your parents death, we couldn't tell you that in the pub because we'd have been ripped apart by the crowd! Look, we have Hierophantic Knight pendants, and everything! Now, you don't expect the Malefics to wear one of these, do you? [Looks at the crossbow] My aim is the same as yours, to destroy the evil dopplegangers, the ones who killed your parents.

Clint : [Looking at Dobbin's crossbow] Oh no, not again! I know, I know: you want us to give you the map, or otherwise you'll kill us all, right?

Dobbin : [Clearly unsure of himself] Er, so you *do* have the map? I thought you didn't. [Points the crossbow at Clint] Hand it over.

Alice : Hang on, didn't you hear what he said [waves at Stephen] about us wanting to kill your parents?

Stephen : [Looks in shock at Alice] I...what? I said no such thing! I said we want to kill the people who killed his parents, not we want to kill his parents, because they've already been killed! [Hastily] And not by us! [Throws his hands to heaven] And for the last time, we do not have the bloody map!

Alice : Alright, alright! Sheesh! I'm sorry, shoot me. [Twang! DOBBIN's crossbow fires, barely missing ALICE.]

Dobbin : Oh no! Sorry! I didn't mean to fire, honest, I wasn't ready yet.

Alice : [In a state of shock] Well, if you weren't ready, how do you think I felt about it! [DOBBIN drops his crossbow and makes a break for the door.]

Lenin: CAKE OR DEATH! [ducks low and bobs and weaves towards Dobbin like a linebeacker] I surrender!

Clint : [Attemps to jump at Dobbin's legs to make him fall]

Stephen : [To Clint and Lenin] After him lads! [CLINT dives at DOBBIN, but just misses. LENIN gives chase, but JACK stretches out from his prone position and trips him.]

Jack : Hah! You bastard, I bet you'd forgotten about me.

[Exit DOBBIN. Disappearing out the door which slams after him.]

Stephen : [Sniffs the air and turns to Jack, wrinkling his nose] Eurgh! Not likely! [Takes some aftershave from his bag and sprays it in Jacks direction. Sniffs] Eurgh! [Sprays some at Clint and sniffs again] Mmm, much better!

Alice : Cough! I think I need some of the healing potion after that!

Austin : [Producing a small, battery powered fan, which he uses to ensure that none of Stephen's aftershave approaches] While I am interested in your desire to disguise us all as prostitutes by spraying that evil substance in our direction, I suspect it is less than useful. We must decide immediately what we are to do.

Alice : I'm going to sit down.

Austin : Excellent. Well done. However, in the longer term, we must consider if we are going to attempt to vacate this city, or if we are to try and assassinate Pestilence Sotot. If the latter, it will certainly involve considerable personal risk to me, little financial gain and possibility of witnessing the gruesome deaths of my fellow party members. On the other hand, the possible future financial gains from being the party responsible for the removal of Pestilence could outweigh the risks. What say you?

Stephen : [Annoyed at having his aftershave criticised] Hmm, involve considerable personal risk to Austin, eh? I'm in,lets get Pestilence Sotot!

Austin : Well, we will clearly need to employ some vicious, sick and twisted weapon to thwart him, so it will be good to have you along Stephen, I'm sure you will be able to spray him if he gets anywhere near us.

Stephen : No way, Austin, this is expensive stuff! How about we let the two of you chat for a few minutes, I'm sure he'll blow his own head off, saving us the trouble!

Austin : If he doesn't, I'm sure you'll blow some head off. [Turns his back on Stephen] I suggest some of the less clean members of the party wash themselves, some of the less healthy members heal themselves and some of the less polite members keep from talking to me.

Alice : Good idea, I'm off to have a wash.

[Exit ALICE, upstairs.]

Clint : [To Stephen] Shut up, Eau de Toilette. [To Austin] Now, let's talk business; what's this about possible future financial gains for the removal of Pestilence? You'll definitely need a valuable warrior like me in this party, if you're to succeed!

Austin : Clint, you are in the party, and have been for quite some time.

Clint : But I've never been paid to kill someone! Well, not with this party anyway...

Austin : [Flipping him a GP] There. Go kill yourself.

Stephen : [Draws a sharp intake of breath] Shriek, I'm out of here before this gets nasty! I'm off to have a good clean! [Runs out the door]

Clint : [Drawing his sword, and putting it against Austin's neck] Say that again?

Austin : [Yawns] No.

Clint : [Withdrawing his sword] Though so. [Picks up the GP from the floor] I'll keep this one anyway! [To all] Now, will you all hurry up having your showers and all that crap? [Heads towards the safe for the phials]

Austin : How wonderful you must feel, having won an argument by threatening someone with a large weapon. [Sneering] It should only be expected, seeing as how rare it is for you to be in possession of such a thing. I tell you now, Mister Scar, I will not forget being threatened, and suggest that you keep that in mind the next time you require any assistance from me. [With a flourish, whirls around, and dramatically leaves the room.]

[Book II, Act IV, Scene V. In the Hallway. Thursday 2.30PM JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, ALICE, LENIN, CLINT and STEPHEN are here. Everyone has washed and changed, and partaken of the health potions, so everyone is back to full health.]

Alice : Okay, I bet we all feel better for that. You know, its just as well we had a chance to freshen up, because if we hadn't, I think some people might start getting tetchy with each other! [Big smile as she takes an arm from both Austin and Clint] Okay, lets go sort out Pestilence. Its time to give him what's coming to him, time to put an end to his evil ways, time to - hmm, where does he live?

Stephen : Don't have a clue. However, Arthur said we could find him at Dirty Bettys, and hopefully he'll be able to bring us to the temple, or tell us where it is, at least.

Alice : Good idea, Stephen. Before we go, there are three potions left, and one orb. Who's going to carry those?

Austin : [Takes one potion] I'll shall take one, I suggest those of us supporting an orb, carry these spare potions, one each, as we are most likely to be the ones able to administer them to you others when you are unconscious or wounded.

Chastity: [Grabs the other orb] I'll take that.

Clint : [Grabbing one of the potions] Not a bad idea, for a lawyer. I'll take one of these, so.

Alice : That's hardly fair - you seem to be suggesting that if there is any advantage, that the more selfish [glares at Chastity] members of the party get it. In fact, I think it is more likely that you greedy lot [clearly talking about Austin, Chastity and Clint] are going to be killed, and, furthermore, that ease with which you took our potions and orbs suggests that you wouldn't be that quick in givin gthem back. How about we divide the stuff equally, seeing as how we're a good party and all?

Clint : [Grinning] Hey, this wasn't my idea in the first place; you know me, I'm so fair and equal and all that. But I don't think that he [pointing at Austin] knows what an equal division is! Here, have my potion anyway; in battle, all I need is my courage and my sword! [Hands his phial to Alice]

Jerome: Jerome K. Trindle must express his surprise that Lenin had not chirped with his pro-communist tirade about the division of the potions and orbs. [To Clint] Indeed, your wits can be left behind.

Alice : [Clearly taken aback at Clint's reasonable attitude] Er, thanks Clint. [Takes the phial, and turns to Austin] See? See how easy it is for us all to co-operate? You know, Clint might talk big, and sometimes might be mean to me, and yeah, he does have that whole body odour thing going on, but deep down, under it all, he does care about us [begins to tear up a bit] he does work for the party as a whole. [Turns and hugs Clint] Oh Clint, I'm so sorry about all the mean things I've said about you!

Austin : [To Jerome] Whatever, as long as no one person has all of them I am in aggreement with the distributuion of the aforementioned potions. [To Alice, checking the shine on Maplins nails] You are most hostile for one who identifies themself as 'good'.

Alice : Maybe I am hostile, but only in regards to your selfishness. [Gives her phial to Jerome] All I said is that the stuff should be divided equally - if the orb does give you some protection, then it is only right and proper that someone else gets a chance to hold the phials. In fact, to show just how fair and non hostile I am, I suggest Stephen and Lenin get the last two remaining phials. [Checks out her own, bitten nails] I'm so sure this is a good party that I know someone will come to my aid if something bad happens. [Smiles sweetly at Austin] Conor Ryan wrote:

Stephen : Right, are we ready to move on?

Clint : Er, ok ok, let's cut the sentimental part, ok? Hitchberk needs this film to be rated "15"! And... [sniffs Alice] ...you stink of perfume!!

Alice : [Sniffs Clint] And you, Clint, stink of - [pauses] naw, I can hardly do that after such a tender moment, can I? Before we go, I discovered in the shower that I also have a tattoo, similar to Clint and Stephen. [Pulls up her top, showing her back to the party. It is indeed similar to the other two. It is a brown mass of spirals and knots, covering most of her back.] What is it of? I looked in the mirror and could only see a brown mass of spirals and knots, covering most of my back. Of course, that was in the mirror, so it probably looks really different to you.

Clint : [Passing his fingers in Alice's back] It actually looks like a brown mass of spirals and knots, covering most of your back. Except that the spirals go the other way around, comparing to what you saw. I like your skin hidrating milk potion, by the way, if it wasn't for the vanilla smell!

Alice : [Unhappily] I know, I smell a bit too much like Stephen!

Stephen : [Looking at the tattoo, holds his left tattooed hand against Alices back, to see if the tattoos are similar] Gosh Alice, what in hell were we up to last night?

Alice : He's talking about the tattoo, right?

[All three tattoos, while not identical, are very similar. It seems reasonable to assume that they were all done by the same person / people.]

Alice : [Pulling her top back down] I don't know Stephen, but it surely has to have something to do with the pendants. No one else seems to have had anything done to them. [Opens the front door] Shall we?

Stephen : [Putting his potion into his pack] Very well, let's go to Dirty Bettys and try to find Arthur. [Exit ALL, to the street. The street is quite dark, and there is a persistent drizzle falling. There are a number of street lights, about half of which aren't working. Those that are working serve to illuminate the filthy state of the streets. There are a number of fights going on, which the party carefully avoid. After a short time, they arrive at DIRTY BETTYS. Most of the building has been burnt down, but there are a number of people sitting around tables in the smouldering ruins. BETTY is behind the ruins of the bar, and comes out to the party.]

Betty : Ah lads, at least give me a chance to get the place rebuilt!

Stephen : Oh, hello Betty! [Winks at her] Looks like there was one hell of a bash last night! [Glances around the ruins] We're looking for Arthur Delay. Has he been in?

Betty : Arthur? I think he may have been in earlier, lets see he -

[Enter ARTHUR, all smiles to see the party.]

Arthur : Ah! Friends, here we are. Please, step into my office. [Leads the party towards one of the less burnt parts of the bar.] How can I help you friends?

[There is a huge flash of lightening, which, considering the party are underground is somewhat surprising. A large house, on top of a hill overlooking the town, is lit up by it.]

Stephen : [Looks in dread up at the house] Er, we want to know where the entrance to Pestilences temple is, Arthur. But please don't tell me it's that spooky house up there!

Arthur : [Looks up to the house] Er, okay.

Stephen : [Looks up to the house] Well? Where is it?

Arthur : [Looks back at the party] Well now, nothing in the Under City is free. The standard charge for guiding is 5GP. [Holds out his hand, waiting for the cash.]

Austin : [To Stephen] It is the house on the hill, who else wuold live in a place like that? [Gazes forlornly around the bar, as his world deteriorates around him]

Alice : [Confused look, handing over 5gp to Austin] Hm, why did we have to ask Arthur, if Austin knew?

Arthur : [Annoyed] Good question, my dear.

Alice : Oh man, is that going to cost me another 5gp?

Austin : [Looking for an obvious route to the house on the hill] Shall we proceed [Guestures to the house, looks at the others]

Austin : [Looking for an obvious route to the house on the hill] Shall we proceed? [Guestures to the house, looks at the others]

Alice : [Holding out her hand] Well, it'll cost you five gold pieces for the answer!

[There is a pretty clear route to the house, which is about half a mile away, and a bit outside the town.]

Stephen : [Takes the 5GP from Austin] Yes.

Austin : [Takes the 5Gp back from Stephen] I was not asking you, uncouth theif! [Takes Alice by the hand] My good lady, I see that you have finally succumbed to my beauty, I did enjoy the chase so. [To all] Now, let us procced to glory, those who are too scared should stay behind, make feeble excuses, or create distractions.

[The party leave a rather annoyed ARTHUR, and head towards the house.]

Alice : [Being led up the garden path by Austin, clearly trying to figure something out in her head] So, do I still owe you 5gp, Austin?

[Everyone stops as they see a farmer, BUDDY CLAMPETT, standing in a nearby field. Everything in the field is black, including the grass, the trees and even the dried up pieces of fruit on the tree. BUDDY has a live pig in his arms, that he keeps lifting up to the tree, but the pig keeps squirming away from him, so he has to pick it up again. He notices the party looking at him, and turns to face them, still holding the pig.]

Buddy : How y'all doing?

Clint : [To Buddy] Hello there! That's a fine field you've got here; I kinda like the colours, I mean, the colour.

Buddy : [Lifting the pig up, only for it to squirm away again] Thanks boy, I kind like it myself. [Snatches the pig by its tail, and drags it squealing to himself. The pig also squeals a lot.]

Austin : [To Buddy, standing well back] Greetings, commoner, we are currently all in good health thank you. How long has this field been black?

Buddy : [Holds the pig up to the tree, but it squirms away again] What you done be meaning by that, boy? [Catches the pig again] Its always been black. Everything here in the Under City is black.

Stephen : [Watches Buddy for a while] Excuse me, but what are you doing with that pig?

Buddy : [Turns and glares at Stephen] What do you think I'm doing, boy? I'm trying to get this here pig to some of them apples. [Points at some disgusting looking shrivelled up black pieces of fruit.] City folk! [Tries to lift the pig up again, and again fails.]

Clint : Maybe your pig doesn't like apples.

Clint : Maybe your pig doesn't like apples.

Buddy : Of course he gone done like apples, he's a pig, ain't he? He eats apples every day! [Hoists the pig up near the apples, but again drops him.]

Stephen : [Turns and looks at the rest of the party] But, but, surely it would be easier if you picked the erm, fruit, from the tree, and fed it to the pig?

[BUDDY says nothing, but just gives STEPHEN an incredulous look.]

Alice : [Nodding in agreement with Stephen] Yeah, look how much time it would save!

Buddy : Time? What's time to a pig?

Clint : Maybe they're not apples anymore. Last from Miguel

Stephen : [Looks incredulously from Clint to Buddy, to the pig and back again] Oh dear god, let's get away from here right now!

Buddy : Just keep on going, boy. [Turns back to his pig.]

[The party carry on, and come to a large gate outside the house. Standing outside it is ROURKE.]

Rourke : You know guys, that was pretty cool there, back in the house. Putting one over on old Rourke.

Chastity: Don't mention it. It was nothing. Open the gate so that we may pass, please.

Rourke : [Looks away for a second, as though thinking of how to reply to this] No, you see, you don't understand. Pestilence doesn't want you to go into the house. If you do, he'll kill you.

Alice : What if we don't?

Rourke : He'll kill you.

Alice : [Indignant] Just me? That's not fair!

Rourke : [Smiles] No, not just you, but he'll probably kill you first, because it will piss the others off.

Alice : [Pleased and a little self conscious] Aw, thanks!

Chastity: [To Rourke, sternly] I'm afraid that Pestilence is in for a nasty surprise. Now, please open the gates and let us in, or you will be sorry. Very sorry. Very sorry indeed. [Frowns at Rourke as though she is disappointed by his behaviour] Don't make me ask you again, young man. [Taps her foot impatiently]

Rourke : [Puts his sunglasses down and smiles] Go on, ask again. [A number of shadowy figures approach from somewhere behind ROURKE. There are about eighteen or twenty.]

Alice : Maybe they're here to help us?

Clint : Or maybe they're here to stop us... A fight, at last! [Looks at all the shadowy figures] Hum, then again there's a lot of them! [Grabs his orb from his pocket] [The figures all draw out weapons.]

Rourke : [Still standing back from the figures, with no weapon drawn] Okay, so here's how it is. You're all going to go back to the city - you can either go back now, with some shred of pride intact, or my boys here can kick your asses back.

Alice : Hah! Shows what you know, we don't even have any donkeys!

Austin : [Draws his sword, Maplin hold the orb inside his jacket, Napoleon style. To Rourke] Which of your 'boys' would you like me to kill first, or are they all you equally favorite 'boys'.

Rourke : You know, I don't think you're going to kill any of my boys. I'll ask you once again, return to the town, or they [emphasises] will kill you.

[The HOODED FIGURES spread themselves out and advance towards the party. It is impossible to see their faces or armour, but all are holding what appear to be large clubs.]

Clint : [To Austin] Ok, Mr. big-mouth-lawyer, how about coming up with a contract invalidating Rourke's use of the hooded figures? [Tries to take a look at the closest one]

[The hoods are down so far it is impossible to tell what they look like. In fact, it is difficult to understand how they can even see.]

Rourke : Okay guys, do your stuff.

[The FIGURES advance surprisingly quickly, swarming around the party. CHASTITY is attacked and struck by two of them, AUSTIN by three and ALICE by two. All attacks by the FIGURES are successful.]

Alice : Ow! That's a strange club, its not made of wood, but it still hurts. [Swings her sword at one of her attackers, and cuts him in half] Yay! We'll have them killed in no time.

[To ALICE's obvious dismay, both halves of the FIGURE immediately grow into full size versions, each holding a club.]

Alice : [Startled] Everyone else saw that too, right?

Clint : Ok mate, if that's the way you want it... CHAAAAAAAAAARGE! [Draws his sword and attacks the closest figure, making his way to Rourke]

Stephen : Damn, we're in a tight spot! Try to touch the figures with an orb! If the dopplegangers can't touch them, then perhaps these things can't either! [Aims and fires his dagger at Rourke]

Austin : [Tries to smack a hoody on the head with his orb] Stitch this!

[CLINT rushes towards ROURKE, who draws his own sword and parries the blow.]

Rourke : [Smiles at Clint] Although it would give me great pleasure to kill you, it would give me even greater pleasure not to kill you.

[STEPHEN's dagger flies through the air, narrowly missing ROURKE, while AUSTIN smacks one of the FIGURES with his orb. The FIGURE immediately disappears in a puff of smoke, dust and cheap addidas tracksuit material.]

Alice : [Impressed] Wow! Just like Buffy! [Smack, she gets hit by three hoodies] Aw! Buffy never gets hurt. [Swings at one of them, slicing him in half. Again, he immediately grows into two.] Whatever you're going to do, Orb guys, it had better be quick!

[LENIN gets a thwack, and instinctively reacts by punching back, taking the head clean off. Immediately, both body and head grow into two more figures. Meanwhile, STEPHEN gets a bop over the head from the FIGURE nearest him.]

Jerome : Perhaps fire will scare them off. [Fires magic missile into the group between Alice and Austin, striking four of them. All four break apart, only to be replaced by eight more.] Perhaps not.

[CHASTITY gets three attacks from her FIGURES, and also pulls out her Orb. As she does, all three stand back slightly. The large group near AUSTIN also begin jostling for position, clearly keeping back from the Orb.]

Rourke : [Calling out to one particularly confused figure] Oi! Get back here!

Stephen : [Looks at all the hoodies] God almighty, it's like being at a teenage disco back in Cork city! [Takes his potion out of his pack] Worth a try! [Gently presses it against one of the hoodies]

Clint : Damn!, why did I get to be an orb guy?? [Throws a blow at Rourke with his sword] Hirchberk, back me up against this bastard so that I'll go for the hoodies! [Pulls the orb from his pocket] Just prod him with it. Conor Ryan wrote:

Clint : Damn!, why did I get to be an orb guy?? [Throws a blow at Rourke with his sword] Hirchberk, back me up against this bastard so that I'll go for the hoodies! [Pulls the orb from his pocket]

[CLINT takes out his orb while tangling with ROURKE, and receives a blow to his side for his trouble.]

Rourke : Turn back while you can.

[STEPHEN prods one of his HOODIES with one of the healing potions, and, quite rightly, receives two blows to the head for his troubles. Jabbing him with the potion had no effect.]

[AUSTIN leans over and smacks another FIGURE with his orb, causing it to disappear. The others take this opportunity to surround him, and four of them get a hit in.]

[Two of the FIGURES have reached JEROME, and both strike. JEROME can't help put hit back, and causes one of his to replicate. Similarly, LENIN receives two blows, and his ire only succeeds in creating yet another HOODIE.]

Alice : [Receiving four blows from the hoodies] Help! I'm getting swamped. [Jabs one with her sword, creating another enemy for herself.]

Rourke : [Laughing at Clint] You're all just too dumb to figure it out, and by the time you do, you'll be over run! What a bunch of morons!

[The FIGURES that had been avoiding CLINTs orb earlier are now coming back in through the centre. Meanwhile, CHASTITY destroys another HOODIE, and receives two blows from the survivors.]

Stephen : [To the hoodie] Ow, ow, watch the face, okay! [To the party] Put your weapons away, for Phillis sake! [Opens his potion and begins spraying the liquid at the nearest hoodies]

Austin : [To all, shouting] Only hit them with an orb, if you have one, the rest of you get Rourke!

Alice : How the hell do you expect us to get over there? [Curls up in a ball, getting thwacked by five angry hoodies.]

[STEPHEN throws a phial full of important, life giving healing potion at his HOODIES, who ignore it and beat him savagely, if a little ungratefully, with their clubs.]

[AUSTIN takes out another HOODIE with his orb, but four others hit him, and even more begin to surround him, yet still keeping a small distance. LENIN is pulled to the ground by his attackers, and is also beaten without mercy.]

[CHASTITY takes out another HOODIE, but is hit by three others.]

Rourke : [As the really timid hoodie approaches him] Its not too late, Clinty boy! [Swings at Clint, but they parry each others blows.]

[JEROME adopts ALICE's position and curls up in ball as the HOODIES pound on him.]

Lst from Conor #061

Clint : Fuck! [Runs away from Rourke, in the direction of the hoodies surrounding Stephen and Chastity, holding the orb in his hand. Will try to smack as many as possible]

Austin : [To Clint] We must fight side by side to stand any chance! [To Chastity] Are these things real, or illusions? Wha-hey Miguel! He's definitely well into Clint! Miguel Nicolau wrote:

Stephen : [Holding his head] Hey, if those with the orbs, surround us without, then we can move towards the gate and kick the shit out of Rourke without worrying about the hoodies! Or we throw them to each other, taking out as many hoodies as we can!

Alice : [Beneath a bunch of hoodies] They feel pretty real to me!

[As if to prove her point, they proceed to beat her with their clubs. LENIN's bunch follow suit, as do STEPHENs and JEROMEs.]

[CLINT turns and runs, but ROURKE savagely stabs him from behind, sending him flying to the ground, with his sword and orb also flying into the air.]

[As CHASTITY takes out another HOODIE, and receives two more blows herself, CLINTs orb falls on the ground between AUSTIN and ALICE, and literally explodes with light, blinding everyone, and enveloping everyone within 15' radius.]

Alice : [Still curled up in a ball] What the hell was that?

[As the brightness clears, the party can see that most of the hoodies, as well as CLINTs orb, have disappeared.]

Rourke : Damn! [Turns and runs]

Stephen : [Takes out his sword and runs after Rourke, realises the danger he's putting himself in, and pretends to trip] Ow! After him!

Alice : [Stretching stiffly] Ow! That really hurt! [Looks at Stephen] I hope you didn't break that healing potion Stephen.

[ROURKE disappears behind a large bush, followed by the remaining HOODIES.]

Stephen : [Looks down at the empty phial in his left hand, throws his head back and screams] Nooooooooooooo! Curse my clumsy two left feet!

Clint : Shit, that REALLY hurt! [Gets up and grabs his sword] Where is that bastard?? [To Stephen] Can I have some of your valuable healing potion? I really need it.

Alice : [Says nothing for a while, but just stares at Stephen, with her nostrils flaring, before speaking through clenched teeth] That's okay Stephen, no worries. You just wasted one of our three healing potions when some of the more attractive members of the party have been quite hurt. That's fine, not a problem. [Rolls her eyes] At least you didn't spray the potion all over those guys, anyway. [Smiles at Clint] I bet your glad you gave away your healing potion now, huh?

Lenin: [yelling at the retreating baddies] COME BACK! YOU COWARDS! [suprised; to Alice] I never knew you considered me attractive, Alice.

Lenin: [yelling at the retreating baddies] COME BACK! YOU COWARDS! [suprised; to Alice] I never knew you considered me attractive, Alice.

Alice : Attractive? I don't even consider you hurt!

Lenin: I'm handsome and unscathed? Thank you, but I think they actually got me once or twice...

Alice : So I see. The swine took all your hair, stole your fashion sense and, [loudly] oh my God, they even left you with no personality! [To the others] So, the question is, should we take some of the potions now? Or give them to Stephen to spill?

Stephen : [Tuts loudly] It was an accident, Allie! For goodness sakes, I didn't even want to carry the thing in the first place! For exactly that reason! [Sniffs sadly] If I fell and spilled the potion, everyone would hate me and probably kick me out of the party, just like last time, no matter how hard I tried to be helpful, all's I'd hear is "Off you go Stephen, we never want to see you again! Damned clumsy poof" And now I have fallen and spilled the potion, and Alice hates me and wants me to leave!

Alice : Off you go Stephen, we never want to see you again! Damned clumsy poof! I mean, I don't hate you Stephen. [Smiles brightly at him]

Austin : [To all, as he moves towards the bush where Rourke went] The answer is fair and simple: Stephen spilled his share of the potion and more, so he doesn't get any. We simply share the rest out between the rest of us, as required, and laugh at Stephens unsightly wounds, and stupidity.

Stephen : [Gives Alice a withering look, gets up from the ground and throws the phial at the bush. Limps theatrically for a bit] Well, that was a bit of a disaster, eh! Right, are we going to carry on, or retreat back to the town?

Austin : We top up with potions now, save some if we can and then we go in and strike before re-enforcements arrive. [Drinks a small bit of potion if available (enough to heal him)]

Alice : [Horrified] And that, Mr. Austin, is precisely the reason why you weren't allowed to carry both potion and orb! [Takes Jerome's potion] By my reckoning, the ones who need it most are Stephen, Austin and myself, but probably Stephen more than myself and Mr. Generosity here. [Hands the potion to Stephen, muttering] Now, for God's sake, don't drop it.

Alice : I don't think topping up works Oz, its an all or nothing thing. Taking a sip doesn't really make any difference. Its a bit like when you're drinking Jack Daniels, if you take really small sips, you don't get drunk. [Stands holding the potion out to Stephen]

Austin : [To Alice] Good grief woman, if that is how you feel then do not complain about Stephens spilling the other potion in the first place! [To all] Someone drinks potions now, I would suggest Clint or Alice since they have lost the most and are our finest combatants, and then we go in and strike before re-enforcements arrive.

Stephen : [Takes the potion gingerly] No, Alice, thanks but no. I think the fighters should take the potion, I'll merely follow Sleazes example and do my best to stay out of direct action. [Gives it back to Alice] Perhaps if you hold onto it until it's truly needed.

Alice : What? [Shakes her head] Honestly Austin, I sometimes wonder what is going on in that funny little head of yours. [To Stephen] If you're sure. [Drinks her potion] I also sometimes wonder what you're thinking about.

[CLINT takes LENIN's potion and drinks it.]

Alice : So how about one of the thieving types checking out the lock on the gate?

Austin : [To Alice] If you are refering to me the term is 'Lawyer' thank you very much. I have never stolen enything, and I only re-arranged those items from the church in order to improve there aspect [Attempts to check the lock/gate for traps and then pick the lock, making sure it's not about to be struck by lightning]

Chastity: I think we all underestimated the power of these orbs. [Casts a heal wounds spell on the most injured person]

[CHASTITY casts her spell on STEPHEN.]

Alice : [To Austin] How well you thought I was speaking about you when I used the word thieving.

[AUSTIN finds that the gate is not locked, but simply on the latch. He pushes it open. Ahead is a path leading about fifty feet upto a huge wooden door. The rain inside the gate is quite heavy compared to that outside.]

Alice : [Reaching in, feeling the rain] That's strange, isn't it?

Austin : [To Alice] It was a reasonable assumption to make, since no others in the party have been accused of thievery, wrongly or otherwise.

Alice : I was merely casting a net Austin, to see what it dredged up. And I found you. Shall we call on Pestilence?

Stephen : Ohhh, how tetchy you are! I'm also a thief, Sleaze, and make no bones about it. I find my alternate career sometimes helps fund my epic celluloid masterpieces. Movies for the people, paid for, by the people.

Alice : A case of rob from the rich and give to the poor of talent?

Stephen : Philistine! Just because my films didn't feature doe eyed cartoon deer, or blue genies, or talking toys, or bedknobs and broomsticks, or green trolls, or Jim bloody Carrey, you, the world reknowned intelligencia that is Alice Basset Short, adventurer and film critique, found them a little too, and I quote, highbrow! Well Alice, perhaps I'll pitch my next movie at your level, and release a remake of Clueless!

Austin : [To Stephen] Pitty then that you have the dress sense of Crusty the Clown.

Austin: [To All] Let us advance [Goes through the gate towards the house abit ]

Clint : Once again, useless verbal fights while the real enemy lies ahead laughing at us. Let's go get the bastard! [Moves towards the house as well] And if you see Rourke, remember: he's mine. I'll make him pay for that coward blow in the back!

Alice : [To Stephen] Clueless? Like, hello? I'm like, totally certain I don't know what you are talking my friend. I have like, totally not heard of that movie. Anyway, with a name like Clueless, its got be your like autobiography, and I would just die, because wow, its only got the greatest role in the whole history of like, cinema, me! Whoo! Give me a C, give me an L, give me an Oooooh, Clueless! Rah! Rah! Rah! [Calms down] Okay Clinty boy, I like the cut of your jib. Lets see what's beyond the door.

[The party advance to the door. It is a huge set of double doors, with a massive pair of knockers. All around the door frame and continuing up to the roof are sculptures of cherubs. However, their faces are all contort with pain and fear.]

Alice : [Looking at the knockers] Clint? Here's your big chance.

Austin : [Checks the door to se if it is unlocked] Perhaps we should sneak in around the back. Pestillence knows that we are honest, and will probably come in the front door. [Completely ignores the knockers jokes]

Clint : [Completely misses the knockers joke] Maybe we should knock?

Chastity: They are the ugliest pair of knockers I have ever seen. [Knocks on the door. Winks to the others] Hello? Milkman! [Knocks again] Argh. I mean Milkmaid.

[Just as CHASTITY leans over to knock on the door, AUSTIN slips in and tries the handle, ignoring the obviously important knockers.]

Alice : Typical man, going straight for what he wants.

[The door pushes open slightly.]

Jerome: Ah, what a surprise! Austin should be commended on his knowledge of breaking and entering and also the law, for if the door is open, then it might be surmised that it is not a crime, but an invitation.

Austin : [Moves silently just inside] Shhh!

Alice : You know, Jerome, sometimes I wonder if you were a lawyer in a previous life.

[The door is now slightly open, revealing an opulently furnished hall which is very well lit. Some music can be heard coming from a room off to one side.]

Alice : [Draws her sword] Shall we go in?

Clint : [To Stephen] Please turn off all electronic equipment, including mobile phones and laptop computers...

[Book II, Act IV, Scene VI. Pestilence's House. Thursday 3.30PM JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, ALICE, LENIN, CLINT and STEPHEN are here, in a large hall. There is a large staircase ahead, which leads up to a landing, and then divides into two other staircases. To the right is a large double doors, which are shut. On the left is an open room, with a FIGURE sitting in front of a huge pipe organ, playing "Phanton Of The Opera" in a frenzied fashion. He has his back to the party, and doesn't seem to notice them.]

Alice : Wow! What a big organ he has.

Stephen : Mmm, that's one big pipe alright! Let's give these doors a try! [Checks to see if the double doors are locked]

[As STEPHEN walks across the floor, the music stops, and the FIGURE turns around, smiling at the party.]

Pestilence : [Big smile] Wow! Colour me impressed!

[The organ is raised about ten feet off the floor, on a large platform. PESTILENCE gets up, and stands with his foot on the edge of the platform, facing the party.]

Pestilence : [With admiration] You know, I didn't think you'd make it this far. Rourke and the Norries normally deal with the likes of you before you even get to the gate. [Face snaps into frown] But you know, I am going to have to torture you all horribly.

Stephen : [Frozen to the spot] Er, why?

Clint : [Making a similar frown] You know, those are the exact words your brother said...

Pestilence : [Puts his head back and roars with laughter] You know, I bet you're right! And by the way, way to go killing my arch enemy. [Gives an extravagent bow to Clint, and, holding his bent over position for a moment, looks Stephen straight in the eye] Why? You ask why, Stephen? [Straightens up] Why? [Holds his arms high up in the air] Because I'm a kick-ass evil guy, that's why. [Whirls around, and hammers the high keys of the organ, before running his finger the length the keyboard, and turning back to the party.] I'm also a bit of a showman, you know.

Clint : [Accentuating the frown] I'm sorry to disappoint you, but next to you, even the singing of Alice in the shower sounds like Pavarotti! But don't worry, Hinchberg here is looking for a cast for his next porn movie, maybe you stand a chance there!

Austin : [To Pest] Well, well, you are rather more graceful than I had expected. Why on Underworld do they call you Pestillence! You look like a rather dashing fellow to me. Perhaps you fancy showing me your inner sanctum sometime? May I call you 'tilly' instead?

Pestilence : [Smiles at Austin] Oh you'll get to see the inner sanctum alright, and you'll be begging for me to kill you, such will be the pain that you'll be in. [Yawns] So what are you lot going to do? Stand there and try and injure me with your cruel jibes and smart remarks? [Pulls down his trousers, and hunches on the platform, as though about to defecate.]

Stephen : Wow! What a big organ he has! [Takes out his pendant and holds it towards Pestilence]

Austin : [To Pest] Do you always instigate foreplay infront of an audience? Which way is it to your sanctum, I would like to inspect the equipment before we copulate, and I'd rather you left the 'dirty talk' for more private venues. [Sees what Pest is doing] What on Underworld are you doing? [To all] Euugh! He's not going to defecate is he ? [Grimaces, Maplin shields his eyes as Aus moves to the rear of the party] I feel quite sick!

Pestilence : [Flinches slightly at the pendant, but carries on doing whatever he is doing] Ah! Sweet relief. [Smiles, turns around, and picks up something, before turning to the party once again] So the knights did get in contact? Then I guess you do have the map, after all.

Pestilence : [Looks at what is in his hands, and takes a nice big sniff of it] I love the smell of shit in the morning! [Throws it at the party, striking Austin across the face with a large smear of faeces, and also catching Clint and Stephen with it] You know Austin, I think that's your colour.

Alice : [Disgusted] Aw, yuck! Its like being in Spud's girlfriend's house!

Austin : [Freezes, ghostly pale, Maplin quivering, drops his sword limply and stands silently in shock]

Pestilence : [Earnestly] You know, in some cultures, body painting is considered foreplay.

Stephen : [Looks at the stains on his coat] You bastard! This is a real Lecroix! [Takes out his shortbow, aims and fires]

[STEPHENs arrow narrowly misses PESTILENCE, and sticks into one of the pipes.]

Pestilence : [With a mock look of horror in his face] Gasp! Stephen's angry with me! [Turns to the organ and plays the classic horror film "den den den!" on it, before turning back] Go on, try again.

Lenin: The blood of the workers cries out as loudly as my solidarity with the party, [draws his pointiest weapon-type thing and tries to bum-rush Pesty] Pestilence, the workers cry out for blood! Stephen cries out for drycleaning.

Stephen : [Reloads] Right, you pathetic, half brained, B monster movie, bad makeup and rubber masked piece of trash! [Fires]

Clint : [Cleaning his forehead with his hand] Pfff, not even warm! [Smells it] Ah!, is that all you can do? I could show you much better, but I won't, for respect to Hickenberg's feelings...

Austin :[Perspires cold sweat from his forehead, slowly falls to the ground]

[As LENIN draws his sword and rushes into the organ room, STEPHEN fires another arrow at PESTILENCE, striking him in the chest.]

Pestilence : [Looking down at the arrow protruding from his chest] Ow.

Alice : Alright Stephen! [Takes out her own bow and prepares to fire.]

[PESTILENCE turns back to the organ, and starts playing chopsticks, agonisingly slowly.]

Stephen : [Gritting his teeth] Philli almighty! Someone throw an orb at him, quickly!

Alice : [Firing an arrow directly into Pestilence's back] Or maybe throw some healing potion at him. [As everyone gives her an incredulous look] Well it might work!

[PESTILENCE shudders as the arrow strikes him, and begins to pick up the pace of his playing. Meanwhile, LENIN is climbing the platform, clearly unaware that he is the only one foolish enough to rush the stage, and will soon be upon him.]

Stephen : [Sticks his tongue out at Alice, before firing once more at Pestilence]

Maplin : [Extracts what appears to be a pocket 'mini'-field-dressing table and sink, and process to delicately clean the apparently unconscious Austin] [Both ALICE and STEPHEN let fly, and both hit PESTILENCE, who staggers slightly, causing his rendition of chopsticks to suffer somewhat, but he recovers, and continues hammering away, faster and faster.]

Alice : Go on, Lenin!

[LENIN gets to the platform and prepares to swing his sword at PESTILENCE.]

Pestilence : [Turns to Lenin, sneering, but now both his eyes have been plucked out, and all that remains are two holes, streaming blood and pus] Aw come on, you wouldn't hit a guy who needs glasses now, would you?

[LENIN turns away in disgust, almost falling off the platform.]

Pestilence : [Turning back to the organ] Faster! [Carries on playing at an incredible rate.] Just the girls! [Taps away on the high notes] Just the boys! [Thumps the low notes] Everybody! [His hands are just a blur, and it is almost impossible to tell the notes apart now.]

Stephen : [Holding his ears] Must...stop...that...noise! [Looks around the room for the plug, and if he spots it, will plug out the organ]

Austin : [Still pale, but once more immaculate, looks like he has lost a lot of blood, hobbles like the wounded hero he is and sprays Pesty with some of the most fantastic and inspiringly-scented aftershave ever in the existence of mens designer toiletries] Die foul obscenity!

Stephen : [Spots the aftershave] What! That's the same brand I have! [Checks his bag] Hoi, it is mine!!!

Clint : [Moves onto the landing]

[PESTILENCE continues playing, incredibly managing to get faster and faster, and suddenly stops.]

Pestilence : [Turns to Clint, now having his eyes back] Boy, I'm pooped.

Austin : [To Pest] I shall be seeing you in court.

Stephen : [Enjoys the silence] Thank Philli for that! Now, down to business. The death of Pestilence, take two. Quiet on the set, roll cameras, and...action! [Fires another arrow at Pestilence]

Austin : On second thoughts [Hits Pest on the back of his head with his orb]

Chastity: Here goes nothing. [Throws the orb at Pestilence]

[AUSTIN swings his orb, just as CHASTITYs strikes PESTILENCE, both, however, seem to go through him, making him shimmer slightly as they do. Immediately after, the arrows from STEPHEN and ALICE fall to the ground.]

Pestilence : [Makes a sad face] Busted! [Jumps off his stool*, onto the edge of the platform and dives off, spinning slowly onto his back as he does so. He hits the floor back first, and disappears in a burst of flame. When he is gone, nothing remains.]

Alice : What on earth was that?

[Both Orbs are on the platform, unharmed.]

Austin : That was an illusion.

Clint : Right, and since when do bolts hold on to illusions?

Stephen : [Claps and claps] Horray! We've killed him! Easy, easy, easy! [Plays 'We Are The Champions' on the organ]

Alice : [Hands over her ears] He might have a point Clint, maybe the bolts didn't really hit him, the illusion just made it look like they did. Oh, Austin, you've got a speck just here. [Points at his chin.]

[AUSTIN doesn't reply, and just glares at her, because, of course, he knows he doesn't.]

Alice : Oooh! Excuse me! [To the others] If we did kill him, wouldn't the orbs have disappeared like the did with the Norries?

Stephen : [Plays Waah Waah Waaaaaah on the organ and stops] Hmm, Alice, you might be right. Maybe we didn't kill him, but there's no way that was an illusion! Look, his shit is still on my coat!

Alice : If you ask me, it improves it.

Stephen : [Snorts] Believe me, Mizz Crimpolene, the last person on this planet I would ask for fashion advice, is, ha, you!

Alice : [Looks Stephen up and down] I should say that is quite obvious, Mr. Hitchberg!

Stephen : [Amazed] Finally, you and I agree on something! [Picks up the orbs and gives them back to Austin and Chastity] Conor Ryan wrote: I was waiting for Alice to call him Mr. Kitch-berg!

Alice : Mind you don't drop them, Stephen. Anyway, getting back to Pestilance, maybe it doesn't matter if it was an illusion or not - what matters is that he's not dead, and will probably be hard to kill, given that he can dematerialise and all that kind of thing, [emphasises] and, most importantly of all [points at the stain on Stephen's jacket] anyone with that much iron in his diet is going to be one tough opponent!

Stephen : [Looks in disgust at the stain] There'd better be a dry cleaners near here, there'd just better be! [To the party] Okay, so let's check the ground floor first, then move up to the next, and so on. [Walks over to the double doors to check if they're locked] With a bit of luck, we'll find some Vanish Stain Remover.

[STEPHEN opens the door to reveal a lavish dinner table, covered in beautiful silverware and china. The table is laid for eight people, and each place has a plate with a silver cover, and a name card by each seat.]

Alice : [Looking at the cards] Look, its our names. We're all here. [Starts at the top right of the table.] Jerome, Clint, Lenin, Austin, Chastity, Stephen and me.

[The party spread out, with each standing in front of their name plate.]

Chastity: [Sits down, looks to her right and says sarcastically] Oh great, that's just great. Who put me next to the lawyer?

Alice : [Also sits] It could be worse, Chastity. You could be sitting next to Stephen.

Clint : [Moves onto the top place, to check the name tag] [CLINT lifts the name tag, and turns it to the party. It has "Harvey" written on it.]

Alice : [Gets a shiver down her spine] What? That's a pretty sick thing to do to us, isn't it? He seems to know a lot about us, so how come he doesn't know about poor Uncle Harvey? It must be deliberate!

Chastity: [Wipes a tear from her eye] Oh how I miss the Colonel. Maybe he's been resurrected from the dead. Or maybe he'll be an evil clone. Or maybe it's a spelling mistake. I wonder what's on the menu.

Clint : [To Chastity] Seing how sick Chastity was, this might shock you old 'sis, so you better close your eyes! [Lifts the silver cover in Harvey's place]

Alice : [Incredulously to Chastity] What? [CLINT lifts the silver cover of HARVEY's plate, to reveal what appears to be ALICE's head. It is quite fresh, and quite beaten, with the eyes looking up at CLINT. There is quite a bit of blood and entrails around the neck, which is on a bed of fresh Iceberg lettuce.]

Alice : [Covers her eyes] Oh. My. God.

Clint : [To Alice] You never told me that Harvey had been eating you! And beating you as well, from the looks of it... [Examines the head to see if it is real] I suppose these are our likes here in the Underword. Or rather were.

Alice : [Looks around the table, and finds a bottle of wine. She then proceeds to unscrew the cork and breaks it, before pulling the corkscrew out and breaking the top off the bottle, the contents of which she then pours into a nearby glass.] Shut up, Clint! [Throws the contents of the glass of wine at him] Put the cover back on. [Puts her head in her hands.]

Clint : [Holds the head and turns it towards the rest of the party] [Imitating Alice's voice and moving the head's mouth] "Shut up, Clint! Put the cover back on!" [Laughs] Oups, sorry, dark humour. [Puts the head back into the plate]

[ALICE says nothing, but just stares at CLINT, with her lower lip quivering.]

Clint : Ok, ok, whatever you do, don't start crying again, ok? [Puts the lid back on] The thing's dead anyway! [Grabs a bottle of wine, pulls the cork out with his teeth, smells the liquid making a frown, but then drinks half of it happily]

Jerome: [Goes over to comfort Alice] Without doubt, that head must be a result of the ire that Pestilence visited upon that other party for failing to prevent us from reaching here. [Goes over to examine the plate at his name tag.]

Alice : Without doubt, that hound [points at Clint] must be a result of the ire that Pestilence is visiting upon our party for reaching here. You know, the last time we saw one of the Doppelgangers dead, they reverted to their original shape, didn't they?*

[JEROME lifts the cover of his plate, revealing an empty plate.]

Alice : Wow. That's scary.

Austin : [Lifts the cover from his plate] So these are not the dopplegangers then. They could be some other kind of clones, illusions, or perhaps Pestilence cut their heads off so quickly they did not revert to there homogenous form?

[AUSTINs plate has large pile of piping hot faeces, clearly from a number of different sources; some is runny, some well-formed and the rest all forms in between. The smell is absolutely overpowering, and some of it drips onto the table when he removed the lid. The entire mound is placed on a bed of fresh Iceberg lettuce.]

Alice : Holy shit!

Austin : [Pale as a ghost once more, puts the cover back down, takes two paces back, gaze fixed straight ahead, shaking slightly] Uuugh!

Alice : I just surprised no one has picked it up and pretended that its Clint speaking.

Stephen : [Holding a pomander in front of his face] Urgh, simply disgusting! I wasn't hungry when we came in here, and I'm twice as unhungry now! [Gingerly lifts the lid of his meal]

[As STEPHEN lifts the lid with his right hand, a huge spider crawls out and onto his left hand. It is black and brown hairy affair, about six inches in diameter.]

Stephen : [Screeches and stumbles backwards over his seat, shaking his arm like mad] Ahhh, get it off, get if off!

[The spider flies across the room, and attaches itself, limpet like, to the top of LENIN's bald head. As the cover of STEPHEN's plate is carelessly discarded on the floor, the party can see that the bed of fresh Iceberg lettuce is hardly visible because of the hundreds of live spiders, of all size and colours, escaping onto the table.]

Lenin : Ack! What was that? [Puts his hand to his head] Hmm, its just like being 22 again. [Suddenly realises what it is] Yeargh! [Jumps of from the table, drawing his sword, causing Spidey to run off into a corner.]

Alice : [Jumping back from Stephen's Spiders] Yuck! Hey look, I think that other guy is watching us! [Points over to the corner, where all that can be seen in the darkness is a pair of tiny eyes, glaring at Stephen] Conor Ryan wrote:

Stephen : [White with fear] Shriek! Gedemoffgedemoffgedemoff! [Begins slapping himself all over, then throws himself to the ground and rolls over and over, hoping to crush anthing on him] Ahhhhh!

Austin : [Takes a lit candle stick towards the corner to see who the eyes belong to, holding his orb inside his jacket still, Napoeleon style once more] Harvey?

Alice : [Frustrated] Tut! Will you lot just stop going on about Harvey?

[AUSTIN moves over to the corner, illuminating it, and showing that the eyes belong to STEPHEN's big spider. As AUSTIN approaches, the spiders scurries off, making a spine tingling scratching noise on the floor as he does.]

Alice : [Slams the cover back down on Stephen's plate] For Gods sake, Stephen, grow up. They can't do you any harm. [Looks down at her arm] Aiieee! There's one on my arm, help! Help! [Calms down] Oh, its just my sleeve. [Turns back to Stephen] Anyway, grow up!

[There are still a few spiders sitting around on the table, but STEPHEN appears to be arachnid free.]

Conor Ryan wrote:

Stephen : [Rolls himself into a ball] I'm not coming out until they're all gone! Every last one of them! [Muffled, to Alice] What's under your plate anyway!

Alice : [Looking under the plate] Nothing. Although, if the question was, what's on my plate, I haven't a clue, because its covered. [Smiles at her own cleverness] And, to be honest, I'm not sure I want to look. [Slaps off a few spiders with her napkin.]

Stephen : [Tuts and gets up] Oh, aren't you sooo smart! What a big brain you must have! Let's find out exactly by examining your dead twin! [Looks under Harveys plate] Hey, it's gone!

Alice : [Yawns] Notice his strategy. By repeating something almost immediately after someone else has said it, other people might believe that he was the one who came up with it.

Austin : [Paceing the room like a true Sherlock Holmes fan] This could all be an illusion. We must be most careful! [Waves finger in the air in a cautionary manner. Then attempts to uncover the remaining dishes to see what is there]

[AUSTIN lifts the dish in front of LENIN, his plate contains a pile of fresh eyeballs, placed on a bed of fresh Iceberg lettuce.]

Lenin : [Covering his eyes] Snekov's shroud! That is digusting, cover it up! Cover it up!

Stephen : Yeah, whatever. [To the party] Lets take a look around upstairs. I don't even want to think what's under the rest of those lids!

Alice : [Lifts up her own cover, but holding it so she can't see what's on the plate] Well, what is it?

[On the place is what appears to be a foetus, that didn't come to term.]

Lenin : This is the most disgusting place I've ever seen. Conor Ryan wrote:

Stephen : [Puts his hand to mouth] Urggh! Put the lid down Alice, and whatever you do, never, ever look under it!

Clint : I'm beginning to like this Pestillence fella. He's definitely got a sense of humour. [Goes over to his place to lift the lid]

Alice : [Slams the lid down, and stares at Stephen] I'll take your word for it.

[AUSTIN proceeds to CLINTs plate, and lifts the lid, revealing what appears to be a small sausage and potato on a bed of Iceberg lettuce.]

Alice : [Leaning over the table to look] Hey, it looks like a penis, only smaller. And look at that funny little mole on it, Clint!

[CLINT says nothing, but goes pale.]

[Everyone stands and watches for CLINTs reaction, as he and AUSTIN stand, both holding onto the lid.]

Austin : [Lets go of Clint's lid] Curiouser and curiouser! [To Alice] Remind me to thank Pestillence when we next see him [Poker faced smile]

Clint : [To Austin] Put. the lid. down. [Pauses] Now. [The cover shakes from Clint's hand, making a tingling noise against a glass]

Stephen : Hey, better put the lid down, one of those tiny spiders might swallow it whole!

[CLINTs pride is saved by the replacement of the lid.]

Alice : The only one left now is Chastity.

Chastity : I'm quite sure there's nothing here to frighten me. It's like my second husband George always used to say, there's nothing that can frighten you Chastity, or was it, there's nothing you can't frighten? [Lifts the lid] Oh look, its a piece of steak on some Iceberg lettuce.

Alice : Steak? She gets steak? Poor old Clint only got a mangy sausage and rotten potato! [Looks at the plate] Chastity, that's not steak, that's a dead rat!

Chastity : [Prods the "steak" with her fork] Good grief!

[The RAT isn't dead, and leaps into life as she prods it, biting her hand.]

Chastity : [Screaming] Get it off! Get it off! [Starts to run around the room, screaming, waving the rat and squashing a few unfortunate spiders. The rat maintains its grip.]

Austin : [Still doing the Napoleon/Sherlock holmes thing] Pestillence appears to be toying with us, none of these attacks are direct, they are all intended to lower our spirits and self esteem. He is trying to get us to defeat ourselves! We must overcome our fears if we are to confront him.

Stephen : [Jumps up on a chair] Urgh! Clint, do something! Once they bite they never let go! You'll have to cut its head off! Lsat from Colin #079

Clint : [Still blank] [Takes his sword and launches an attack on the rat, cutting it in 3] Ok. [Looks away again]

[CLINT swipes at the rat, narrowly missing CHASTITY, but eventually cuts it in two.]

Alice : The attack on Chastity was pretty direct, Austin! Anyway, why is he doing this? Is it to freak us out by showing stuff we're afraid of? Or to show us what might happen?

Stephen : It's my guess that he's showing us how well he knows us, our likes and our dislikes. I think this is his way of telling us that if we don't leave now, things are going to get a whole lot worse. The [shudders] spiders become bigger, the urm, sausages become even smaller, if possible, and so on. I still think we should carry on, though, and take a look upstairs. [Tries to remove the rats head from Chastitys arm]

[Enter TOM SELLSICK, who stands at the door, smiling.]

Tom : [Waving at the party] Hi guys, I see I missed dinner.

Austin : [To Stephen] That's more like it Stephen, a bit of spirit. [To all] Let us ascend to higher levels.

Tom : [Nodding in admiration at Austin] Wow, you lot have got some spunk. Most people would run screaming after sitting down to one of Pestilence's special dinners.

Austin : [To Tom] Well, if you had been here on time you would have noticed that we do not do 'run screaming', we go for a much more subtle and graceful 'go pale and faint'. Can we help you in someway, or are you just getting in our way?

Tom : [Gives Austin a sheepish look] I know what you're thinking, you're all probably thinking "here's that psycho again raving about the map, and he'll probably want to torture the bimbo again."

Alice : I wasn't thinking that, I was thinking that if you made a beret out of kitten, you could call it a Flat Cat Hat.

Tom : Sure you were. [To Austin] The truth of the matter is that you can help me, and that I can help you. I'm proposing an alliance.

Stephen : [Laughs] Ha, an alliance! And how long is that going to last, until you decide to freeze us all and torture us to death? Well I for one don't trust you, or your seventies style moustache!

Clint : [To Tom] Fuck off!

Austin : [Gets one of those dictation typing machines that you see in court, out of his pocket, if he has one] Sounds interesting Tom. Please outline your proposal.

Tom : Woah! [Does a time out sign with his hands] Guys, guys. I'm sensing a little negativity here, and, and frankly, your sharp comments injure me. [Clasps his hand to his heart, and makes a serious face] I'm hurt, deeply, deeply wounded. [Big smile] So I guess we're even now! You sure got me, you guys! [Does a quick boxing move, even though he is nowhere near anyone] Are we gonna talk?

Austin : [To Tom] Please outline your proposal, you have ten of Phillies finest seconds [Presses the record button on the dictaphone, perfectly]

Tom : Okay, I'll talk. [Waits two seconds] Its a good idea to record it, but I don't know what you think you'll with it when [click! Tape runs out] Anyway, I have to admit, I underestimated you lot. I didn't think you'd make it past the Norries alive, and now, well, you've not only managed to get in here with the map, you also had the gall to smuggle in a Soul Sanctuary too. [Smiles and nods, pointing at the party] And that, my friends, is the kind of group I want on my side.

Stephen : [Throws his head back and curses] Now, the map was annoying enough, extremely annoying! But now, you claim we have a, a, what, a soul sanctuary with us also? Why stop there? Why not say we have the lost city of Atlantis, the gold of El Dorado, Walt Disneys head, even! Why do you keep saying we have things we do not have!!!

Clint : Ok, ok, let me laugh. [Makes an effort] Can't... make... it... [Farts] Oups. Sorry Austin, don't take this one personally.

Tom : [Warm smile] He's very angry, isn't he? Look guys, you mightn't know you have them, but you do, and, based on the fact that you've managed to get this far without being killed, killing each other or trying to torture each other with Pestilence's foodstuff -

Alice : [Glaring at Clint] A-ahem!

Tom : Based on that fact, I think its a fair bet that when the time comes, you'll figure out where the map is.

Austin : [Does and 'it's nothing' hand gesture to Clint] Oooh, that is quite alright, I expect that it is the stress of seeing the small potato and mole thing that has caused your flatulence.

Tom : So what's it to be? We all want Pestilence dead - I've got some useful information, you've got the map. What do you say? We could be the original odd couple, the mismatch that's just so crazy it might work. Conor Ryan wrote:

Stephen : Hang on, the odd couple ended up poisoning each other! And besides, why do you want Pestilence dead?

Clint : Very funny, Mr. Lawyer. Except that maybe something came out on this one, let me check... [Puts his hand on his trousers] Mmmmm, maybe a little bit... [Takes hand out, smells hand] Nothing comparing to the dish you got today, though! [Extends the hand to Austin] Friends?

Alice : Don't touch that thing, Austin, because you DO know where its been!

Tom : My reasons are my own. I won't ask you why you want him dead, because I don't care. Now, I know what you're thinking. Will Tom kill you all as soon as the job is done? [Holds his hand up] Scouts honour I won't.

Austin : [Moves away from Clint. To Tom] Yes, I believe it would be of profit to both parties to work together on this one. We can kill eachother later, if needs must. However I do believe that it would be in our best interests not to fight eachother at anypoint in time, before or after the demise of the aforementioned subject of our retirement attempts.

Tom : Agreed, we need each other to get to Pestilence, and, to be quite honest, I have no interest in killing you. As far as I'm concerned, once we've done the business on Pestilence, we've got no argument between us. [Stretches out his hand to Austin] Deal?

Alice : We have to play cards with him?

Austin : [Puts his free hand in his pocket. To Tom] I agree, but I must say I find tactile certification completely unnecessary, and dangerous with a worker of magic, such as yourself. Conor Ryan wrote:

Stephen : Hang on, surely this is everyones decision, not just between Sleaze and that madman! I don't think Alice would be too happy fighting alongside the same man who nearly killed her a few hours ago!

Tom : [Face darkens, as he pulls his hand back in] As you wish. [Smiles again] Of course, as a recent victim of magic, such as yourself, you should be aware that I don't necessarily need to touch someone to cast a spell on them. [Walks over to the table] Anything interesting to eat?

Austin : [To Tom] Just because lightening can strike anywhere does not necessarily infer that it is a good idea to hold onto a lightening conductor.

Alice : No happier than I am fighting alongside the same man who tried to freak me out a few minutes ago! [Points at Clint] Or the nun who callously dismissed the memory of my beloved Uncle! Or the supposed fiance who's hardly spoken to me for the last week! Or [turns to Stephen] or [clearly can't think of anything to say] you!

Tom : [Looks at Austin and laughs] Good point, good point. [Looks over the table] Let me guess, you're probably um, Clint, eh? [Lifts Clints dish] Oooh! Castration complex eh?

Clint : [Very serious face] [To Tom] I believe the plate that would most please you would be Austin's one. [Pauses] Now put the freakin' lid down.

Tom : [Puts down the lid, and lifts Austins] Eauh! Nasty! We better be on the look out for that, guys, I'm pretty sure the rest of you aren't too keen on it either.

Austin : [To Tom] So, the story so far. Pestillence probably knows mor about us than we do. He may know everything we intend to do. I believe that he can only be retired whilst in his inner sanctum, is this true? If so how do you propose to ensure his retirement?

Stephen : So, you've been with us now for two mintues, and already you are trying to waste our time with these pathetic delaying tactics. [To the others] Let's get out of this horrible room and check upstairs

Austin :[To Tom] Of course, you may not be Tom at all, you could be none other than Pestillence himself, or an illusion of his. But let us not dally further. Lead the way Stephen.

Clint : [To Stephen] For the first time, we both agree with each other, Hitchgerb. [Opens the main doors to leave the dinning room]

Tom : [Glances at Stephen, before sitting at Lenin's place and pouring out some wine for himself] That is correct, Austin. [Tastes the wine] Mm-mm. Pestilence is a slippery character - he can only be harmed by magical weapons, you may have experienced something like this with Iok. The trick is to weaken him first.

Clint : [Standing by the doors] Right, that does it! I'm really getting sick of having people around us who seem to know EVERYTHING about us! Who told you about Iok???

[TOM sits at the table, and says nothing, clearly waiting for the party to question him further.]

Alice : [Torn between leaving and staying] Um, do we just leave him here?

Tom : [Sips some more wine] Its common knowledge in the Under City. You guys were kind of heroes after Iok was killed off - I guess that's why Pestilence chose to have doppelgangers of you lot, you know, the irony of that whole Party of God killing his enemy thing really appealed to him.

Stephen : [Hops from foot to foot] Look we can walk and talk, can't we! [Walks to the door]

Alice : [Haughtily] Well, some of us can. [Walks into the door] Ow.

Chastity: [Holding her throbbing finger] Ow, ow, ow! Let's get out of here before I'm attacked by any more rodents. [Heads towards the door] [Pauses. Turns to Tom] How did you get in here? And how did you know we beat Rourke and his cronies? away on vacation as of............now.

Tom : I was watching. I had 10 gp bet that you'd all get killed.

Stephen : Ooooh, thanks very much!

Tom : No problem. Anyway, Rourke generated another bunch of them for me, probably by slicing bits and pieces of the survivors. I had to deal with them, so that's why I was a bit late for dinner.

Stephen : Ha, a bit late! Judging from the names, you weren't invited at all.

Tom : And what a tragedy that was, not getting to see [Glances over his shoulder, but continues] not getting to see my worst fear.

[More scurrying of the large spider can be heard on the floor, as it runs from behind TOM to some other part of the room.]

Tom : Anyway, as you're all so anxious to get out of here, lets leave. The choice is do we go up, or do we go down.

Clint : Well, since you're all so smart and magical and "knows what we don't know that we have, but doesn't have what we don't know we have", how about we check it on the map? You tell us where do we have the map, we show you the map!

Tom : [Indignantly] What map? [The entire party stare at him incredulously.]

Tom : Just joking. [Stands up] I don't know where you the map is, and don't even know what form it takes. However, I suspect that it isn't of the entire house, rather of certain important parts. So, lets go! [Puts his arm around Alice as he walks to the door.]

Alice : [Pushing him away] Get off me!

Tom : Woah! You guys sure do keep a grudge, don't you?

Clint : [Looking up] What have I done to deserve this? [Opens the doors and moves onto the main hall] [Exit ALL, into the main hall.] [Book II, Act IV, Scene VII. Pestilence's Hallway. Thursday 4.30PM JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, ALICE, LENIN, CLINT, STEPHEN and TOM SELLSICK are here. The hall is as it was when the party entered originally.]

Tom : Okay guys, I suggest we split up, I'll go upstairs with Alice, and the rest of you can check out the dungeons. [Turns to Alice] I'll show you what its really like to have a ride with a Ferrari. Roar!

Chastity : Pay him no heed Alice, Ferrari's are very over rated. [Looks at Jerome] Take it from me, a good, reliable Ford Fiesta is your best bet.

Stephen : [To Tom] Forget it Ferrari-boy! We're not splitting up. And besides, it looks from the stain on your arse, that you forgot to clean the shit from the driving seat!

Austin : [To Chastity] I concur, Ferrari's look wonderful but are prone to breaking down, just when you need them most. [Briefly scrutinises the shine on his shoes]

Tom : [Haughtily to Stephen] When you own a Ferrari, you don't waste your time cleaning them.

Chastity : [Looking up the stairs] So do we go up here? Or down to those dungeons?

Austin : [Smiles] I believe that the inner-sanctum is more likely to be down below. Let us descend Sure was, I found it on Uglypeople.com, along with a few other choice Deadpan poses. You should also check out his Fashion Tips link, on his web page - hmm, I'm turning into a Peter Deadpan stalker, aren't I! Conor Ryan wrote:

Stephen : I think we should check upstairs first. Mainly because Hollywood dicates that the evil baddie must build his evil laboratory in the cellar, filling his second floor with much safer props, such as cobwebs, flickering candles, comfortable doubleposter beds, and secret passages.

Tom : Hm, comfortable beds, I like the sound of that. However, I suspect that Austin is correct, and that the best thing to do is to go down to the cellar/dungeon area. [Heads over to the organ, and pushes one of the pipes, which causes a door to open. Turns to the party and smiles] Wasn't that good?

Alice : [Quietly to the others] He is kind of dreamy, isn't he?

Chastity : Alice! He tried to beat you up this morning!

Alice : I know, but, well, he does have a Ferrari. Of course, on the downside, he also has a moustache.

Austin : [To Tom] And how did you know that the opening mechanism was one of the pipes?

Tom : Didn't I tell you? I used to work for Pestilence.

Stephen : [Hands on hips] Does anyone else find it unusual that he knew exactly which pipe to press? The word Trap is being screamed in my ear, here!

Austin : [To Tom] And of course, you no longer work for Pestillence, who was no longer in need of your services and laid you off with a meagre pension and gold watch?

Tom : That it is not the case. [Pause] It was a carriage clock.

Alice : Cool! So you can tell the time when you're out travelling and the like?

Tom : Er, yes. Precisely. [Pulls back the door, revealing a long dark staircase.] Who wants to be first?

Stephen : When you ask who wants to be first, do you mean, who wants stumble across all the traps and end up spiked to death or crushed by the falling ceiling? Not me, Ferrari-boy!

Tom : I know what you're thinking, but this isn't some plan to kill you all off. When I ask who wants to go first, I want to know who wants to stumble across all the treasure, to cheat death and, well, I suppose the downside is that whole falling ceiling thing, but its not really that bad.

Stephen : [Repeats sarcastically] Not really that bad? Being crushed to death is not really that bad! Tsk! [Thinks for a moment] I'm sure Clint will go first, especially if you roll a gold piece down the steps in front of him!

Austin : Clint? This sounds like hero, macho, rambo stuff to me. Would you like to steal the glory and go first?

Clint : I'm sure Hitchnerk will go second, especially if you send a man down ahead of him. [Starts off down the stairs] Well? Isn't anyone else coming?

Alice : No, we're going to lock the door after you.

Clint : Suits me, that way I won't have to listen to your whining anymore, bimbo.

Chastity : [Clapping her hands together loudly] Enough! Down the stairs with you. [Starts pushing Stephen and Austin slightly] Come on, come on!

Alice : Falling roofs? Spikes that will impale us? And [makes a horrified face] follow Clint down a dark stairway?

Tom : [Smiles at Alice] You could always come upstairs with me.

Alice : Hold on Clint, Alice is coming! [Follows Clint]

Stephen : Well Scar, just as well we're sending you down first then, isn't it! I'm sure I'll be able to keep myself in check!

Austin : I shall follow Clint, to get a good view of any traps he may trigger.

[The party all enter the passage, in the following order : CLINT, ALICE, AUSTIN, TOM, STEPHEN, JEROME, CHASTITY and LENIN. The stairs are just wide enough for one person, and are quite dark.]

Clint : The steps are getting very rough further on. Alice, when you fall, make sure you don't land on me.

Alice : I think I'd rather land on Stephen's spike.

Clint : I think I'd rather you land on it too!

[The steps are looser and looser, until soon the party are essentially walking on a dirt track. It is very dark here.]

Austin : [Perfectly straight faced, very matter of factly] Who would have thought that Clint would be the first to go down Pestillences back passage.

Clint : [Stopping dead, causing everyone to collide with everyone else] And who'd have thought that you'd be so quick to follow someone down a back passage - oh, that's right, just about anyone. [Flashes a smile, but it is too dark to see it]

Stephen : Don't suppose anyone thought to bring some torches along?

Austin : [Gets out his orb and gives it a rub] Perhaps these orbs will produce enough light?

Alice : Yes, I did. [Tries to carry on, but crashes into Clint] Ow! There's a statue here, that looks and [with disbelief] smells like Clint!

Clint : That is me, you fool.

Alice : Crikey, given how close we are, I think I'm glad its pitch black!

[The orb gives a fair amount of light, but less than a torch.]

Tom : [Shying away from the orb as though it were hot] Ow! Put that away, will you? You'll bring the whole place down on top of us at this rate.

Stephen : Well, well, well. Someone doesn't like the orb, eh! I wonder what that tells us about you, Tom! For instance, I wonder what would happen if Austin dropped it? Ha, just as well I'm not holding one!

Tom : [Turns at looks at Stephen] Aren't you? Isn't that interesting?

[ALICE takes out a torch and lights it up.]

Alice : Well Clint, what's up ahead?

Austin : [Puts his orb & hand back inside his coat. To Tom] How much did that hurt?

Stephen : Ahh. [Goes white and very, very quiet]

Alice : Cool, a second torch. Well done, Stephen. [Turns, and shields her eyes from the very white Stephen] Er, maybe one will do after all.

[The group trudge on warily.]

Tom : [To Austin] Quite some discomfort, it felt extremely hot. I should have known that you had more than one - otherwise you'd never have got the map and soul sanctuary into the building.

Clint : The tunnel is turning off to one side, that's all I can see. If someone had a lighter, I could fart and light all the path - but I suppose that wouldn't please all of you. [Stands still for a moment] Shhh!!! I think I can hear some kind of animal scratching ahead... Does you family live here, bimbo?

Chastity : [Poking Stephen in the back] You know what you need, young Stephen, is to spend time in the outdoors, doing some honest toil. That'll soon bring the colour back to your cheeks.

Alice : Of course, if Clint repeated what they were upto last night, I'm sure his cheeks would be nice and red. [Bumps into Clint] No, Stinky, but you're correct in assuming that if they thought you were anywhere near, they'd have some large animal to keep you away. [Draws her sword] Oops, I better be careful that I don't burn Clint with the torch.

Austin :[Whip out his orb and shines it towards Stephen, look to see if Stephen is okay] Is your physical disposition to your liking Stephen?

Clint : [Draws his sword] [To Alice] How about you give me the torch, so that I'll scare whichever beast we're about to face? [To Stephen] Hey Hitchbird, maybe it's your beloved spider, coming for a good night's kiss!

Stephen : Yes, yes, I'm fine, just a little, erm, nervous about our present circumstance, and, it must be said, one of our present travelling companions! [Indicates Tom]

Alice : [Helpfully, to Austin] Well, Clint's physical disposition isn't to my liking!

Stephen : Or perhaps he's coming to have a penis size competition with you, Scar!

Tom : [Smiles at Stephen] There's no need to be nervous Stephen, [smile goes cold] as long as you don't threaten me, that is.

Alice : What are you going to do, Clint? Show them your face in the hope it'll scare them off?

Alice : Oh, so you'll be needing the magnifying glass too, Clint?

[Everyone can hear the scratching noise now, it is getting quite loud, and definitely approaching.]

Lenin: [nervously] Erm, Comrades, bantering aside, what the hell is that?

Austin : [To Lennin] I do believe that it is some kind of large clawed creature.

Clint : [To Stephen] No Stephen, spiders don't have penises! Oh!, I suppose that's why you don't like them. [To Alice] Look here Bimbo, if you want to get a go at the beast first, then be my guest! And are you going to give me that torch or what?

[Up ahead, the party can see that there are literally hundreds of rats, running towards the party.]

Alice : Oh no! They're going to attack us! Quick Clint, get your penis out, scare them away before its too late!

Chastity : [Straining to see] WHat is it? What is it?

Alice : Take it! [Holds the torch out to Clint, before turning to the others] He obviously needs it to find his penis. [Loudly to Chastity] A penis!

Stephen : Throw your torch to the ground, they hate fire!

Clint : [To Alice] What's your problem with penises anyway? [Looks at her tummy] Oh, I see. [Faces the rats - puts the torch near the ground to try to scare them] Whatever you do, keep the ol'sister distracted! [The rats ignore the torch, and keep running. Their apparant oblivion is such that some bang into the torch and are carried on by the others, and some even catch fire from it, yet they all keep going.]

Alice : [Standing in the middle of an absolute sea of rats that charge passed her] Yeargh! And I thought Clint's penis would be scary!

[The rats continue, rushing past ALICE, and proceed to do the same to AUSTIN.]

Austin : [Holds his Orb low to keep the rats away]

[The rats ignore AUSTINs orb, and tear past it, also rushing past TOM, who remains silent. The front runners, some of whom are on fire, have now gotten as far as STEPHEN, while the back markers have not yet got to CLINT.]

Austin : [To all, loudly] They are not running towards us specifically, They are probably running away from something else. If it makes you feel any better!

Stephen : [Watching the rats running passed] Hey, maybe the ship is sinking? Horrible creatures! [Stephen squeezes himself against the wall, getting as far out of the rats way as he can]

Alice : [Eyes tightly shut] It did until I realised that the something else they are running from is probably chasing them!

Chastity : [Realising what's happenning] Aaiiiieeee! [Turns to run, but crashes into Lenin] Let me out! Let me out!

Stephen : Clint, can you see anything coming after the rats? [Takes out his shortbow]

[CHASTITY and LENIN fall onto the ground, and are covered in the rats.]

Alice : It looks like we're at the end.

[The last of the rats is approaching CLINT.]

Stephen : [Turns and notices the way back is blocked by nun] Here sister, give me your hand! [Will attempt to pull Chastity from the ground]

Austin : All the worst things come to an end.

Clint : It looks like this is the last batch. I wonder what they were running away from, I can't seem to see anything after them.

Alice : Are you sure, Aussie? Old Clint here has been killed three times and he's still with us! [As STEPHEN pulls CHASTITY to her feet, the last of the rats disappear into the darkness.]

Tom : [Looks at Clint] Three times, eh? Guess you've been making a lot of use of the soul sanctuaries then. Come on, let's go.

Alice : Lets go? There's something up ahead that just scared four hundred thousand rats away, and we have to go and see what it is?

Austin : [To Alice] Do excuse me my dear, I shall not resort to sarcasm again.

Clint : I didn't knew you could count that far, bimbo. I suppose that's what you were doing while I was trying to scare these rats away. [To the rest] Everybody OK back there? [Pause] Are Lenin and the ol'sister finished already, can we move on?

Alice : Its an easy number to remember Clint, its the number of times you've annoyed people today. [The party move on, and arrive at the end of the tunnel. There is a pit leading down into darkness, with a ladder at the side. Everyone gathers around the pit and looks in.]

Tom : That's where the dungeons are.

Alice : Not very convenient to get to, are they?

Tom : Not unless you use the elevator, no. boundary="part1_9a.144c76b2.2832d185_boundary"

Lenin: [still sobbing softly after the rat incident]

Clint : [Looks suspiciously at Tom, after hearing the word "elevator"]

Tom : This way is so much more fun. You see, its a bit like when you need to go to a shop just around the corner - you can walk down and get whatever it is you need, or you can jump into your Ferrari, and risk your life, speeding down there, meeting women, living life to the full. Now, [points down the hole] lets live a little!

Stephen : [Looks into the hole] You know, during your prancing horse-shit, you forgot the bit about speeding down there, meeting women, living life to the full, not finding a parking space in front of the shop, spending three days driving around and around waiting for one to become available, filling up the tank twelve times, at a cost of fifty pounds per refill, and still ending up three miles away from the corner shop, the women long gone, the car covered in dead bugs, you stinking like some great unwashed wino, your house burned down because you never switched off the cooker as you were only going to be gone for a few minutes, and absolutely no memory whatsoever of what you were going to buy in the first place. Now, [points down the hole] let's be a bit cautious about this!

Austin : [Carefully adorns his hands with white gloves, then proceeds down the hole, avoiding all dirt, very carefully. To Stephen] Now, now, let us not fight amongs ourselves. Just yet.

Tom : [To Stephen] Sigh. Some people are Ferrari drivers. Others are destined to drive other, less significant marques, for sure.

[ALICE makes to go second after AUSTIN, but after team orders, moves aside to let TOM take second place. The rest of the party follow down, giving the order AUSTIN, TOM, ALICE, STEPHEN, CLINT, JEROME, CHASTITY and LENIN.]

Alice : [Looking up at Stephen] Hey look, Stephen's got "left" and "right" written on his shoes!

Tom : [Looking up at Alice] At least he's got them on the right feet.

Austin : [To Tom] How deep is this pit then?

Tom : How long is a piece of string?

Alice : Which piece?

Tom : [Holding up a six inch long piece of string] This piece.

Alice : About four inches?

Tom : [Angrily] Eight inches! Its eight! [Calmly, to Austin] About another twenty feet, I'd say, we should be able to see the ground pretty soon.

[The party can hear an audible "Ahem" from above.]

Alice : Maybe we should have left someone on guard up above, in case someone came along?

Stephen : [Looking at Alices hands] And more importantly Tom, at least I have them on my feet! another

Alice : [To Stephen] Which makes a change, because at least one is usually in your mouth!

Pestilence : [Standing at the top of the pit] Excuse me!

Austin : [Continues down with haste. To Tom] Whom do you believe was the instigator of that last audible contact from outwith our present party?

Tom : What?

Alice : He's speaking Legalese again. Just say a name at random.

Tom : A name at random.

Pestilence : Hi guys! I've got something for you!

[The rungs have come to an end, and it is impossible to see how much deeper the pit is.]

Stephen : [Looks up] Oh dear! Quick everybody, run down the steps before he takes a dump down on top of us!

Pestilence : Hey, good idea Stephen! But I've a better idea. [Pours the contents of a bucket down the pit. The bucket contains hundreds of live spiders.]

[The party are covered in the spiders, most of which are of the large, hairy variety. A lot pour through, but everyone is covered in at least eight or nine.]

Lenin : [Almost falling off the ladder as he smacks one off his head] Snekov's shroud! The party will have to organise a hat for me!

Austin : [Goes pale] Tally ho! [Jumps the rest of the way down the pit!]

Chastity : [Blesses herself] Oh good lord Philli, what a pickle we're in...again! However, I'm sure if we all just hold hands and pray, the good Lord himself will come to save us. Except Austin Sleaze, as he's just a horrible criminal! I mean, it didn't surprise me that someone like him would carry around a pair of white gloves, what with his second career and everything! [Turns to Jerome and taps her nose with her finger] Fingerprints, don't you know!

Stephen : [Screeches like a schoolgirl and starts beating himself with his fists, dropping his bow into the hole]

Chastity : Euch! Alice dear, be sure to close your mouth, otherwise a spider will climb inside your throat and lay it's eggs! [Glares at Jerome for a moment or two]

Stephen : [The air is suddenly rent apart by 'It's Raining Men'. Stephen takes out his unfeasibly large cellphone and punches the Answer button with all his might] HELLO? WHAT? YOU'RE BREAKING UP! I SAID, YOU'RE BREAKING...YES, THAT'S BETTER! WHAT? WHAT? I'M IN PESTILENCES HOLE! I SAID, I'M IN PESTILENCES HOLE! WHAT? NO, NOT THAT HOLE! HIS OTHER HOLE! YOU'RE FADING IN AND OUT, CAN'T QUITE HEAR YOU, LOVE! YOU...blast, lost him again! God, that Silvester Stallone, would he ever stop stalking me! [Puts his phone away]

[AUSTIN sails through the air and hits the ground thirty feet later with a bang.]

Pestilence : Yeehaa! One down.

Tom : Follow me, guys. [Climbs down to where there appears to be no rungs, but doesn't fall.]

[Another bunch of large spiders is dropped down. One particularly large one lands on STEPHEN and bites him.]

Clint : That's for not having switched off your mobile as I told you, Hipshberg. [Follows Tom]

Stephen : [Tries to shake off the spider] Owww! That really hurts! [Nearly in tears, shaking his arm] Alice, please hurry a bit!

Chastity : [Looks down the hole] Now, don't you come crying to me with skinned knees looking for sympathy, young man, for as my second husband George always said, look before you leap! [Listens for some kind of reply, then looks around the party] Gosh, do you think he's alright? [Casts cure light wounds at Austin]

Tom : Okay, we're almost there. Oh no! Pestilence is down there with Austin!

Alice : [Straining to see] What? How could he be, when he was at the top a while ago? [Sees what Pestilence is doing to Austin] Oh my God, that is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen! Thank Phili Austin is unconscious for this!

Stephen : [Shielding his eyes] Erugh, even I think that's disgusting, and that's saying a lot!

[AUSTIN regains consciousness, to find that his hands and legs are tied, and that PESTILENCE has forced a not inconsiderable amount of faeces into his mouth, and tied a large gag over the whole lot.]

Alice : Oh my god! What kind of sick and twisted scum are we dealing with here?

Pestilence : A sick and twisted scum with a touch of panache! [Puts a nice hat on Austin] Hm, what a quandry they face - their lawyer friend will suffocate to death in a matter of minutes, but they can't get down because the really evil guy is there. [Theatrically] Oh no!

Alice : [Angrily to Tom] Come on, you're the one who insisted on going ahead of me, help him.

Tom : No way, bimbo, you must be even dumber than you look if you think I'm going down there.

[Boomph. ALICE kicks TOM in the face.]

Alice : Ow! I knew I should have worn shoes.

[TOM falls right on top of PESTILENCE, who disappears, causing poor TOM to hit the ground. ALICE climbs down, and cuts the gag of AUSTIN.]

Alice : [Concerned] Austin! Are you okay? Can I do anything to help? [Quietly] Would you like a polo mint?

Chastity : [Horrified] Ohh, you naughty unholy oik! Just you wait till one of the big men get their hands on you! Only the good Philli himself would be able to fix you, if He deemed you worthy of it, which I sincerely doubt, not of course, that I claim to know the mind of my God, I would never do such a thing! But [waggles her finger at Pestilence] you are in big trouble now, sonny! [To Clint] Well, go on lad, get him for picking on your little brother! My third husband, George, would have knocked his block off by now! [Blesses herself] Philli rest his soul!

Stephen : [Impressed] Hey, way to go Alice! [Skips lightly down the steps, careful to dodge spiders and examines Austin] Hey, that's a really nice hat, Austin! I must get the props department to get me one!

Clint : [Getting down as well] Next time, send a proper fighter in front! [Points at Stephen]

[AUSTIN is conscious, but appears to be in shock.]

Alice : I guess you better get that out of his mouth, Stephen. [Turns to Chastity] Of course, you're used to washing people's mouths out with soap and stuff, so you might be better.

Tom : [Staggering to his feet] You bitch! You could have killed me!

Alice : [Indignant] Excuse me, but I believe that I'm the one with the bruised toe here.

Tom : Next time some lays a finger on me, I'll kill them.

Stephen : [Hands on hips] And just what is that supposed to mean, Scar? I never claimed to be a fighter, in fact, as you well know, I'm a lover!

Austin : [Turns over and vomits for a while, apparently unconsious]

Chastity : [Gives Clints hand a slap] Now, Mr Scar, don't you know that pointing is rude, even to someone of [indicates Stephen with her whole hand] his disposition! Now, don't let me see you do it again, do I make myself understood?

Clint : So ye're going to gather all around the lawyer, discussing who's to take the shit out of his mouth? [Kneels down by Austin and pulls out as much as he can] Yuck! I knew you were full of bullshit, but this goes beyond everything you've done! [CLINT, aided by AUSTIN's vomiting, removes most of the offending substance.]

Tom : Come on, forget about her. We'll collect her on the way back. Why don't one of you break down this door?

[The party are now in a room, with a single door leading out.]

Chastity : [Gasps] Oh, Austin, are you alright? Let's have a look at you! [Bumps Clint out of the way, takes a handkerchief from her bag, spits on it and begins scrubbing around Austins mouth with it] There now, Austin, much better! Heya, who's Tom talking about?

Austin : [Gets up and faces a wall, vomiting a bit, in a 'stylish' maner (see Conor for further details). Takes out a hip flash and gurgles and spits, about thirty times in all. Then produces some kind of Detol wipes, uses most of the box. Follows this with a tooth brush and paste, using most of the tube over a 10 minute brushing extraviganza. Anyone who is still watching then sees Maplin getting out one of those 'sticky roller to remove fluff things and grooming Austin head to foot whilst Austin brushes his teeth. Then, to all, clean and presentable, smelling sweetly once more] I believe that the spoor inflicted upon my goodself was indeed an illusion, albeit an unplesant one. [Self denial] D'Oh! Conor Ryan wrote:

Alice : [Poking at something on the floor] Hey look, that thing looks like one of those raisins that you always see in goat poo.

Tom : [Watching, arms folded, with a baleful look] That was no illusion, breathmint guy, however much you want to believe it. Pestilence is one sick guy, and this is just a taste [smiles to himself] of what is to come. If its going to be too much for you, I suggest you go back up the ladder. If not, lets go through this door.

Clint : [To all] I cannot believe I've just pulled a whole bunch of bullshit of the lawyer's mouth. As if he needs any help for that! [Roughly cleans his hands on his trousers] There, what do you need know? The door? I wonder what would be of this party without me... [Tries the door] does Austin still have his orb?

Stephen : Ha, and I bet Austin thought he had a bad taste in his mouth *before* Clint put his fingers in there! [Picks up his shortbow from the ground and readies an arrow]

Alice : [Mischeviously] I wonder if that was the dirtiest thing that's ever been in his mouth? Or even, if it was the dirtiest thing to ever come out! [Takes Austins arm] Aw, poor Aussie. [Watches Clint opening the door] Eauh! I hope the rest of us don't have to touch that handle!

[Beyond the door is a large body of water, about thirty feet across. On the other side is a small pier, but it is too dark to see what is on it.]

Tom : [To Austin] Looks like here's your chance to get a wash.

Stephen : I wonder what's over there? [If possible, Stephen will light an arrow from a torch, and fire it in the direction of the pier]

Clint : [To Tom] Do you have any idea of what this room's all about? [Washes his hands in the water]

Austin : [Takes out his orb caressing it gently as he examines it for damage. To Tom] What was that Tom, I couldn't quite hear you, can you see any cracks in my ball [show the glowing, and unharmed orb to Tom]

[The flaming arrow sails across and hits the covered wagon of the INGALLS family, setting it, all their belongings and children alight.]

Alice : [As the family all die in excrutiating pain] Wow, that was a bit mean of Stephen, wasn't it?

Lenin : Not really, he merely put the rest of us out of the misery of having to watch them.

Alice : Aw, but what about all their feel good stories? Mr. Edwards and Nelly Oleson? Doc Baker and Reverand Alden? They don't write characters like that any more.

Lenin : And with good reason.

[STEPHEN fires another arrow, and it lands on the pier. Between the light from it and the fire on the wagon, the party can see that there is another doorway on the end of the pier.]

Chastity : [Watches with horror as the Ingalls family cook] Noooo, that was my favourite program, full of good family values, good religous morals and clean, scrubbed, all around, uncorruptable happy folk! Why, it was a sunday institution, my third husband George, and my twelve children counted down the days until it was on again! [Glares at Stephen] You will burn in hell for this, sinner! [Blesses herself and prays for the Ingalls]

Tom : [Stepping back from Austin, smiling] No cracks in the orb, no.

[CLINT leans in to wash himself, but as soon as he puts his hands into the water, it begins boiling. He withdraws in agony, with his hands covered in blisters.]

Alice : [Looking at the water] What? That's incredible! There's no heat from it!

Austin : Perhaps Chastity could bless the water to make it nice and wholesome.[Removes his white gloves and throws them into the water]

[The gloves just float on the water.]

Tom : [Lighting a cigar] Of course, if we had a map, we could probably find a way through.

Chastity : This water already seems nice and wholesome, just hot. And how am I to know that this heated water is not the work of Philli, why, before this door opened, isn't it concieveble that Pestilence was ready to attack us on a ship made of ice? could probably

Austin : [To Tom] Indeed, it is a shame that we do not have the map. But just imagine how fortunate it would be if we were accompanied by a former employee of Pestilence, who knew all the secret passages etcetera. I am sure someone like that would know how to get through.

Tom : [Blowing a large smoke cloud towards Austin] Yeah, you'd think that, wouldn't you? The water is actually a trap. If you stand in the correct part, it doesn't burn you. I only ever came down here with Pestilence, and he led me through it. It changes from time to time, so that's why I don't know it.

Stephen : [Takes out his pendant and dips it into the water]

Alice : [As Stephen takes out his pendant] Stephen! Look at your tattoo!

[STEPHENs tattoo begins to move on his skin, as though it were alive. It slowly reforms itself into a blue rectangle, completely fitting on the back of his hand, with some small patches of skin visible in the middle of the rectangle.]

Tom : [Taking another long drag, before saying in a squeaky voice] We've got no map!

Austin :[Shows the orb to Tom] Is one absolutely positive that there are no cracks in this?

Stephen : [Looks in amazement at his hand] My goodness, it's the map to get across the lake! [To Tom, in his usual squeaky voice] And excuse me, but I do not speak like that! Cheek of him! Right then, are we going to follow the map to the other side?

Tom : [Stepping back instinctively from Austin] Absolutely positive. [Throws his cigar on the ground, smiling] Sorry, but its hard to take a man seriously when just two minutes ago he was lying on the ground choking on someone else's shit.

Clint : Good idea, Hitch. If we stay here any longer, they'll probably be dancing with each other.

Stephen : Then again, it's not as if we're in any kind of a rush. You'd better give Austin another breath freshner, Alice! [Sits on the ground, looking from Austin, to Tom]

Austin : [Accepts the mint] I do not require one, but I shall induldge in one regardless.

Chastity : [Bends and prods Stephen in the back] Excuse me, young...man, but there'll be no dancing here today! We'll have no male bodies rubbing against each other in terrible sinful eroticism. Why, if my second husband, George, were here, we'd already be on the other side of this lake having a super picnic! Please, lead the way!

Tom : [To Stephen] So what's this? Are you just going to sit there?

Stephen : [Stands and looks disappointed] Aw, no dancing? Anyway, how about following the map to the other side! [Holds out his hand in front of him]

Chastity : Well, go on, then! We've been stood here long enough, thank you very much, Mr Hitchberg.

Alice : [Frustrated] You're the one with the map, Stephen, how about you lead the way?

Stephen : Here goes nothing! [Takes a deep breath and takes a step to the left of the doorway, as the map suggests. He pauses here and waits for instant, boiling death]

Alice : [Sniff sniff] Is that boiled fruit I can smell?

Lenin : [Applauding Stephen] Well done, Comrade Hitchberg, for your show of faith and bravery. Lead the way, and I will follow.

Stephen : [With much relief, to Lenin] Why, thank you! [Looks back at his map and follows the trail carefully, making sure each person behind is going in the correct direction]

[Everyone follows STEPHEN, in the following order : LENIN, ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, JEROME, TOM and CHASTITY. The water is about waist high and is perfectly cool.]

Alice : [About halfway across] Ow!

Clint : What was that? Maybe the lawyer, taking advantage of the waist level water? Naaaaa, we wouldn't know what to do! [Looks at the dirty water around himself] Jezze, I can't really remember the last time I had an imersion bath! [Pauses] Or just a bath, actually.

Alice : [Regaining her composure] Its okay, it just suddenly dawned on me that I was sharing the same water as Clint.

Clint : [Wincking] Wanna share more, bimbo?

Chastity : [Attempts to peer around Tom] What's happened? Was that young Alice? Oh heavens, girl, are you alright?

Alice : Breathing your horrid germs on people doesn't qualify as sharing, Mr. Stinky.

[The party reach the other side of the water, and climb onto the pier without any incident. There is a small metal door here, as well as the burned out remains of a covered wagon.]

Alice : [Putting on a "Laura Ingalls" type bonnet] Gee, Pa, the black pig is sick again.

Chastity : [Gasps] Now, Alice, you naughty little girl, that's in terrible taste! Why, if my my third husband, George, were here he'd put you over his knee and tan your brazen hide! [Tuts and begins squeezing water out of her habit]

Stephen : Wow, don't everyone thank me at once for getting you all over here safely! [Shakes his head sadly] Ingrates, these cinema hating philistines! [Examines the metal door]

Alice : Mmm, spanking, eh? Wow Chassers, I'm seeing a different side to you!

Alice : Oh, okay.

Lenin : I thank you on behalf of the party, Comrade. You must forgive them, they are so used to their capitilist ways and the use and abuse of servants, that they have forgotten to thank anyone. You will have your just rewards, of that I am sure, Brother Stephen.

[The metal door opens and smacks STEPHEN in the head. It shuts again immediately. STEPHEN staggers back, stunned, but unhurt.]

Tom : Mind the door, Stephen.

Clint : [Laughs out loud!] Geez bimbo, you do have a sense of humour after all!

Alice : [Startled at Clint] Er, yes. Yes I do.

Stephen : [Holds his head in pain] Ow for goodness sakes! Am I cut? Am I bleeding? Am I hideously scarred for life? Oh woe!

Alice : [Turning Stephen's face to her] Yeeaaaargh! You poor man, how will you be able to make it through life looking like that?

Lenin : But Alice, he always looked like that.

Alice : Oh. Erm, I meant, no, no you're not bleeding.

Stephen : Thank god for that at least, for a second...[stops suddenly and glares at Alice] You know, people think you're soooo cute and innocent, but I know the truth, hellspawn! [Turns his back on Alice and walks carefully to the door]

Alice : [Big smile] Aw! Do people really think I'm cute and innocent? [Smiles happily]

[The door opens again, this time a bit more tentatively, so STEPHEN doesn't get hit. It is impossible to see what's on the other side, as it is only slightly ajar.]

Clint : [To Tom] Right, Mr. I smell-sick, what can you tell us about this door? [Pulls out his pendant]

Tom : Its metal. And its open.

[The door opens fully. Enter BENSON HEDGES.]

Benson : Er, hello?

Chastity : [Looks at Benson, then quietly to Alice] Alice, see what happens if you make faces and the wind changes! My first husband, George, made a habit of making such faces, infact, that's exactly the kind of face I found on him when I discovered him dead of his heart attack, after the newsagents had mistakingly put that sordid flesh magazine in with his copy of the Queens View View. Poor George. [Blesses herself and mumbles a quick prayer]

Clint : [To Benson] Hey there, you must be George, the ol'sister's first husband! Or is that the second? The third, fourth, fifth? I can never tell!

Chastity : That does not surprise me in the least, Mister Scar, even the simplest of mathematics is a conundrum to your poor befuddled brain, is it not. That man is not my husband, I merely said his expression reminds me of my first husband, George. First as in number one, the divine number, the number of true Gods. [To Benson] Hello, my good man!

Clint : So the others were just wild rides after that, was it? Yeeeha!, sister, you really must have been a serious piece of meat back then! [Pauses, looks at Chastity from head to toes] Really long time ago!

Benson : [Settling down a bit] Hello, hello. You know, you really shouldn't be down here because [notices Alice] hey! Are you from "The Little House Near The Dairy"? That's one of my favourite shows.

Chastity : Mr Scar, that is the most hurtful and untrue nonsense I've ever heard you utter! You big bully! Oh, how my heart is broken by these unruly children! Take, take, take, that's all they do! [Wipes away tears] Well, Clint, Philli watches and listens to every foul lie you spout, and He will judge you accordingly!

Alice : [Ignoring the unfortunate Benson] And is it a very big sin to tell a lie, Sister?

Chastity : Well, Alice, the modern church of Philli believe that there are varying degrees of untruths, some small lies will have the lier receive a serious giving out to on judgement day, but little else, whereas other, larger lies [glares at Clint] will cause their souls to burn for eternity in Hell, and believe you me, me gal, that's a very long time indeed! Why do you ask?

Stephen : [To Benson] Hello, why shouldn't we be down here? Isn't the fact that we crossed the lake proof enough that we should be here?

Alice : I was just wondering if a nun, for example, told a lie about a poor unfortunate ugly man [turns to Clint] no, not you, [back to Chastity] would she burn for eternity in Hell?

Benson : Um, er... [eyes roam the room wildly] hang on. [Turns his back on the party, takes out a hip flask and takes a good long drink out of it, before putting it away and turning back to the party, with a nervous smile and shouting] HELLO! [Normal voice again] Hello. Dinner is served upstairs. The master will be expecting you.

Chastity : [Very snotily] Hmm, well, it's not for me to decide, I'm sure.

Alice : [Amused at Chastity's snottiness] So am I.

Benson : [Shouting] Mooargh! [Cough] Hello.

Stephen : [Waving away the smell of liqour] Yeah yeah yeah, we got passed that part! We've had the dinner and now we're on the tour of the house, invited on a tour by Pestilence, I add. Now, what is your role here?

Benson : [Gives a nervous, twitchy smile] Already had dinner? But why are you in the dining room if you've already had dinner, eh? Eh? [Shouting] EH? [Takes another quick drink, before turning to Stephen calmly] I'm the butler. I clean the house, feed the prisoners, torture the guests and kill tresspassers. [Bursts into hysterical, nasal giggles, until a large stream of runny snot is pouring from his left nostril all down his front] Are you tresspassers?

Clint : C'mon now, do we really look like trespassers? [Burps lowdly]

Stephen : [Steps quickly away from Benson, and laughs] Tresspassers? Of course we're not tresspassers! As I said, how would we have crossed the lake if we were tresspassers! And the dining room is upstairs, is it not?

Benson : Hm. Let me take a proper look. [Moves a little closer]

Alice : [Annoyed] Looking at my breasts isn't going to help you decide.

Benson : Doh! [Takes another quick drink, before turning to Stephen triumphantly, waving his hipflask at him, spilling some kind of alcohol all over the place] Hah! If you weren't tresspassers, how would you know where the dining room is?

Clint : That's because we were invited, and if you were really the butler then you would know it, because the real butler layed a table for us, with our names and everything! [Smiles at his intelligence] And special plates also! [Suddenly stops smiling, thinking of his own plate]

Stephen : [Suddenly starts smiling, thinking of Clints plate. To Benson] He's got a point you know! Besides, why would only a trespasser know where the dining room is? Do you know where the dining room is? If you do, does that mean you are also a trespasser?

Benson : Heah? [Takes another big drink] Um, no.

Austin : Step aside, sir. We have business to conduct, and you are clearly to drunk, too stupid and too ugly to either help or hinder us.

Benson : [Roars at Austin] Hello!

Stephen : He's as drunk as a, a, what's that smelly creature, a Clint! Let's just go passed him, eh!

Austin : Strike him Clint. Strike him very roughly.

[CLINT punches BENSON, and knocks him out.]

Chastity : [Tuts] Tsk, well Mr Scar, that's just your answer for everything, isn't it. A bit of mindless violence sorts out any problem. [Looks at Austin] And as for you, I might have known you'd be involved somehow! At least Clint has the excuse that he isn't capable of thought, but you, you naughty boy, you should be ashamed of yourself! No supper for you tonight!

Austin : If you were going to be the one cooking, Sister, then I consider that a blessing!

Alice : [Checking Benson] He's unconscious - I guess we can just go through? [Looks at the hip flask, the contents of which have all now spilled onto the ground] What was this? [Smells it] Oh no! Louis XIV! So close, and yet so far.

Stephen : [Examines Benson] Out like a light. [Takes a look into the next room]

[STEPHEN opens the door, revealing a room about ten feet long and ten feet wide. There are a number of suits of armour along each side, each one set into a small alcove, and each holding a number of severe looking weapons.]

Stephen : [Turns to the others] Uh oh, I don't like the look of this set at all! I think we might need one of the maps to get through here! Maybe if Clint or Alice checks their tattoos?

Clint : Well, since no-one says it, I'll do it myself: [makes oscars pose] I would like to thank Clint, for once again showing why he is so important to this party, and for proving how we would all be dead by now if it weren't for him to always solve the troubles that we face with his courage and wisdom! Thank you, thank you very much! [Looks at the corridor] Now, what's next?

Alice : [Takes to the podium, applauding Clint] Well, I'd just like to add my voice to all those [gushing] thanking Clint for the brave manner in which he beat up a drunken old man. [Wipes away an imaginary tear] Oh, he's just so wonderful!

[Both ALICE and CLINT produce their pendants, but neither have any reaction from their tattoos.]

Chastity : [Watches Clint for a moment] Well Mr Scar, you knock out some poor defenseless inebriated servant, who posed no danger to us whatsoever, and you actually expect some kind of praise for the sorry task? Foolish brat!

Alice : [Putting her pendant away] Yeah, foolish brat! [Sticks her tongue out at Clint.]

Stephen : [Tuts at Clint] You know, everybody knows that to make a truly exceptional award speech, you have to throw your arms wide and shout, 'I'm the kind of the world', at the end! That way, you really endear yourself to the assembled crowd and everyone is swept along in a euphoric wave of adulation! [Grumpily] Or so I'm told! [Carefully steps into the room] [STEPHEN steps into the room. There are ten suits of armour in total, five at either side.]

Alice : Wouldn't it be really cool if they came to life and started hacking and slashing? I think that would be a great idea for a movie, what do you think, Stephen?

Stephen : God, Alice, you have to give the audience some credibility at least! I mean, moving suits of armour, how incredibly far fetched is that! No film is ever going to think the audience so gullible. Erm, apart from Bedknobs And Broomsticks, of course! You're familiar with that film, Sister, are you not? [Steps a little further] Erm, perhaps someone else would care to go first, one of the big strong fighters, like Clint. After all, it was his own suggestion earlier, I do believe!

Lenin : I think you're doing fine, comrade. It takes a delicate touch to tiptoe through what is clearly a trap filled room.

[The party can clearly hear a sniggering coming from the first suit to STEPHEN's right. It is about a foot away from him now.]

Stephen : I'm sorry, I'm not going any further, I mean, if I get attacked, the only weapon I have is a short bow, not exactly the weapon of choice against [looks around the room] axes, broadswords, spears, halberds, morning stars, maces and pikes. And laughing suits of armour. No way, hose!

Alice : Maybe you could check if there's a trap there, Stephen. Your well-honed thieving skills and crack abilities could well weed out potential dangers to the party. [Whispering, too loudly to the others] Plus, if any get set off, we'll be safely back here! [Makes a puzzled face] Of course, I wonder why there's a hose there.

Lenin : I'll lead the way. Its about time one of the workers took the lead.

[The sniggering continues in the armour.]

Chastity : Oh Stephen, for shame! Look deep inside yourself, and try to get in touch with your masculine side, your courageous side, your true side! Stop wrapping your self in this pansified skin! We all know you can do it! You know you can do it! The great and good Phili made you to do it!

Alice : [Whispering to Chastity] He can and does do it, Chas, he just prefers to do it with other guys. [Turns to the others, sighing] These nuns just live in their own little world, don't they?

Stephen : Okay, okay! [Checks the sniggering suit of armour for traps] What hose, by the way, Alice?

Chastity : [To Alice] Honestly, just what kind of an upbringing did you receive, to know about such things! Just imagine if your poor uncle were alive to witness that foul mind of yours!

Austin : [To Stephen] What hose indeed you might ask, for I can see none either. In fact the only hose I have seen recently is the veritable hose of delusion that is Sister Chastitys mouth. She so incessantly spews forth upon the world, mindless drivel about her imaginary deity that it make one realise why creatures like Pestilence exist. In fact perhaps we could swap Pestilence for Chastity, at least he is sane in his actions.

Alice : [Looks down at her feet, red faced and mumbles] I'm sorry.

[As STEPHEN nears the armour, a voice from within cries out.]

Armour : You bastard! I'm gonna kill you! [The right arm, holding a morning star, moves slightly, but then stops. The armour then remains motionless.]

Chastity : Well, Mr Sleaze, only a lunatic could entertain such a ridiculous notion, for who but a lunatic could consider a man, a man who does his Number Twos into that very lunatics mouth, to be sane in his actions! Dear Phili, rescue me from the criminal, and from the deranged, both of whom live comfortably inside Austins body.

Austin : [To Alice] Fear not Alice, do not hasten to her words, for she is but an insane old hag, deserving only of pity and a quite death. [To all] Do you think that might be Dobbin in that suit of armor. [Completely ignores Chastity. To Alice] See, is she deranged or what? 'Dear Philli' indeed.

Stephen : [Turns around to the party and gives a 'what now?' shrug, then turns back to the suit of armour and gives it a slight push]

[The suit rocks back and forth a litte.]

Armour : Stop that! Stop that or I will kill you! [Creak. The right arm straightens.]

Stephen : Is that a fact? [Gives the armour a harder push] And what would you do if we lit a nice little fire under your suit? [Clunk. The suit is now leaning against the back wall, but the wearer says nothing.]

Tom : Oh, come on. Lets just cut his head off.

Stephen : Oh come on, Tom, that's a bit harsh! Austin isn't that annoying! [Lifts up the helmets face grille and has a look inside]

Tom : I was talking about you, Stephen.

[STEPHEN lifts the grill to reveal none other than DOBBIN, still wearing his mask.]

Dobbin : You bastard! I'm going to kill you, I swear it! [Scrunches up his face as though concentrating. Eventually, one of the fingers on the left hand straighten out] Aaargh! I just broke a finger!

Stephen : Dobbin! What are you doing here? I didn't know you worked for Pestilence! I thought you were here to seek revenge on the other party for killing your parents!

Austin : [To Dobbin] You appear to have found yourself a veritable straight jacket. There is a nice swimming pool next door, would you like to go for a swim?

Dobbin : [Spits at Stephen, but somehow the grill falls at just the wrong time] Ach! [Composes himself] I'm here to seek revenge on you for killing my parents.

Tom : [Takes out a large knife] Come on, lets do him.

Lenin: Forgive me for saying this Comrades, but this is just getting confusing.

Stephen : [To Lenin] That's alright Lenin, have you ever known it to be any other way? [To Dobbin, trying to ignore the big spit dripping onto Dobbins face] How the hell did you get in here, in this suit of armour?

Dobbin : I came in through the crypt, and hid in the armour so I could kill you. That nice Pestilence told me where you'd be.

[TOM takes out a match, lights it and flicks it at DOBBIN, it hits the grille, but thankfully doesn't go in.]

Tom : Aw, shoot!

Chastity : [To Tom] Ahem, no one is going to be doing anyone, Mr Sellsick. Now put away that knife this instant! And don't forget, I've got my eye on you, you pup!

Austin : Once more the vile Pestillence attempts to delay us. We should waste no more time with this obsessed fool, let us proceed.

Tom : [To Chastity] It wouldn't be the first time that a menopausal woman had her eye on me. [Makes a kissy face at her, and lights another match, which this time is thrown into the suit of armour] Alright! Slam dunk!

Dobbin : [As the lighted match passes in through the visor] Aiieee! [Manages to move his arms and legs, but just falls in a crumpled heap at Stephens feet] Help!

Stephen : [Opens the visor and blows out the match. Turns to Tom] Would you quit that, you lunatic! I know I suggested setting fire to the suit, but that was before I realised it contained this poor dimwit! [Turns back to Dobbin and tries to pull off the helmet]

Austin : [To Stephen] At last, your dreams have been answered, Stephen, a warrior wearing a batman suit grovelling helplessly and prone at your feet. I am under the impression that suits of armor have taken into account the necessities of numan kind and built an easy opening door for in the rectal area, suits you Stephen?

Alice : Ooooh! Suits you sir!

[The helmet is stuck fast.]

Tom : Give it a good kick, that'll make him take it off!

Alice : [Looking behind the party] Hey, look! There's a big bunch of hoodies sailing towards us!

[Its true. There are at least four rafts of them approaching, each containing about six, they are halfway across. Enter ROURKE, at the opposite door.]

Rourke : [Looking over the rims of his sunglasses] Hi guys.

Alice : [To the party] You know, he really is cooler than Tom, isn't he?

Stephen : Oh, not him again! Quickly, everyone into this room and...shut that door! Come on!

Alice : Stephen, you are aware, of course, that Rourke is in the room with us? [Points at Rourke, who is standing at the opposite end of the armour room. Rourke flashes a smile in return.]

Tom : Okay team, lets see how good you are now.

[The rafts are getting closer, but no one can see anything behind ROURKE.]

Stephen : [Looks from Rourke to Alice] Ah. That changes circumstances somewhat! Listen, I think we should all get in here, anyway! Those hoodies look a bit annoyed! [Aims an arrow at Rourke]

Chastity : [Blesses herself] Oh deary me! Do as he says everyone, we'll last a lot longer facing only one enemy, compared to a few dozen! [Steps into the room]

Alice : [Unhappily] Well, if no one has any better ideas... [Enter ALL into the armour room. As they do, ROURKE opens the door behind him, revealing ten or more HOODIES, who come charging in. ROURKE takes shelter in one of the alcoves.]

Dobbin : [Now being stood on top of by Tom] Er, help.

Tom : [Lighting a cigar, before dropping the still lit match into Dobbin's grill, which is accompanied by a sharp scream] Hi Rourke, still hiding behind your little boys, I see.

Clint : [Draws his sword][To Rourke] Rourke, what a pleasure to see you again! [To all, silently] Those with the remaining orbs take care of the hoodies; I'll go for the coward! [To Alice] Fancy a little side by side fighting, bimbo?

Alice : [Drawing her sword] I'd prefer if it was against you, Clint, but this'll do fine too!

Clint : We can get to that when we're out of this hole! [To the others] Orb guys, are you ready?!?

Stephen : Let's hope they are! [Fires an arrow at Rourke, if any part of him is visible]

Tom : Wait a second - you can't use an orb in a confined are like this!

[The HOODIES advance from ROURKE's direction, and, on the opposite side, begin hammering on the door.]

Lenin : By Trotsky's ice pick! This door will never hold!

[STEPHEN fires at ROURKE, but one of the HOODIES gets in the way, and gets his head cut off. Immediately, both head and body grow into two more HOODIES.]

Alice : [To Clint] Wait a second, if we cut them up, won't they just come back after us?

[The door near LENIN and CHASTITY flies open.]

Stephen : [Pushes Dobbin with all his might, so his suit of armour will topple against the next, and domino effect on top of Rourke]

Chastity : [Fishes the orb from her bag, spins and throws it at the nearest hoodie] Take that, you foul, evil creature!

Stephen : [Blows out the match on Dobbins face. To Tom] Would you stop doing that, you madman! He's only a kid!

Lenin : [Horrified] No! Don't waste it on just one bunch!

[Too late. The orb flies through the nearest HOODIE, vapourising him, and lands in the middle of the pier, causing another huge explosion of light that comes back into the armour room, up as far as JEROME.]

Tom : [Hiding behind the armour for protection] Aiieee!

Rourke : [Peeking out from behind the alcove with his shades on] Woah! Guess it goes to show that these shades ain't just a fashion accessory!

[The HOODIES are upon ALICE and CLINT, and both hack at their nearest opponents, both of whom are each replaced by two more HOODIES.]

Tom : [Lying on the ground] You stupid fucking nun! You could have killed me! [His face is covered by his hands, but there is a lot of blood coming out.]

Chastity : [Puts her hands up to her face] Oh no, what have I done! Oh lord Phili, why? [Looks at Tom] Oh dear! [Looks miserable]

Tom : [Shouting] Why? Because you threw the orb in here, that's why! [As Tom turns to berate the upset, if somewhat foolish, Chastity, the others can see that the entire left hand side of his body has been severely burned. In particular, the left hand side of his face looks as though it has been melted off, and much of the skin is just hanging from it.

Austin : Produces the orb] I am here, Clint, but wonder if there is any other way we can do this, without expending another orb.

Alice : Look, they're not even attacking us now, just pushing up against us.

[She's correct. They clearly aren't trying to attack CLINT and ALICE, rather they seem to be trying to back them up the room towards the water.]

Alice : Ow! Its like trying to buy a cardigan during a 95% off sale at Hartigans Cardigans! [Looks at the armour] Don't think it will work, Clint, each is in his own alcove, so we can't push them against each other.

Rourke : [Calling out] Looking kinda peaky there, Tom!

Stephen : Oh no you don't! Heave ho! [Starts pushing back against the hoodies] [ALL but CHASTITY and TOM join in with the pushing.]

Alice : Ow! [Tries to look behind her] Hey! Who's got their hands on my bum!

Austin : [Hands not visible, speaking dreamily] Ah, soft, gleaming orb...

Tom : [To Chastity] I'm going to kill you, you bitch!

Clint : [Pushing] [To Stephen] Don't even think of getting your hands on my arse, Hickberg! [Louder, to Tom] No you're not - not if you want the remaining orb not to be thrown!

Chastity : [Still upset] Now excuse me, there's no need to be like that about it! You look fine, a little crispy, perhaps, but sure, you'll be back on your feet in no time! And don't forget, you have a Ferrari, so it doesn't really matter what you look like! That's why Phili himself put Ferraris on earth...um. Yes. [Closes the door, and helps with the pushing]

Alice : [Being squashed] Its not his hands you should be worrying about, Clint! [Suddenly goes white and tries to look behind her again] Someone BETTER have their hands on my bum!

[CHASTITY makes to join in with the pushing, but suddenly everyone, including ROURKE and the HOODIES, is frozen solid, in exactly the same manner as before. The room goes deathly silent.]

Dobbin : Um, help?

Tom : Shut the fuck up. [Jabs a dagger through the grille on the front of the helmet which, judging by the scream it elicits from poor Dobbin, makes contact.]

[TOM staggers a bit, and leans against the wall, taking out a cigar, lighting it and having a long, satisfying drag.]

Tom : Even a good cigar can't lift my mood now. I'm pretty pissed.

Alice : [Loudly] Its just as well we can't talk, because if we could, I'd give him a good talking to.

Austin : Alice, while it is true that some of us shouldn't, we can.

Alice : Oh? Just as well I didn't say that last part out loud then, wasn't it?

Clint : Why do I get this feeling of deja vu? [To Tom] Euh, hello? Can you not just freeze them and unfreeze us?

Tom : [Taking another drag of the cigar] Yes.

Chastity : [Very afraid, starts praying quietly]

Tom : [Standing very close to Chastity, so that she can see just how badly injured he is] You know, if I was you, I'd be very afraid, and would be doing a lot of silent praying.

Chastity : [Very, very afraid] I had no idea that the orb would hurt you, I threw it outside, at those things in the boats! If I hadn't, we'd all be dead now! There was no way we could survive being attacked from both sides!

Tom : [Turning away from Chastity] Give me a moment to think about how I'll deal with you. [Slips passed the other party members, and begins touching the hoodies. As he touches them, they disappear, until eventually, he is in front of Rourke, who is also frozen.] Looking kinda peaky there, Rourke!

Alice : Couldn't he have told us earlier that he could do that?

Clint : [To Alice] Of course he could, but then again he drives a Ferrari... [To Tom] Make sure you torture that bastard slowly but painfully! [Thinks for a moment] If you do, do you mind unfreezing us before?

Tom : [Pulls out a dagger in front of Rourke, before looking back at Clint] I'm still not sure if I'm going to kill the nun. Maybe killing Rourke will calm me down.

Rourke : You've got to stop him! He'll kill you all! I can help you, I swear I can!

[TOM slices the dagger across ROURKE's throat, who then falls to the ground, pouring blood out onto the floor.]

Tom : [Turns to the party] You know? I'm still pretty mad!

Stephen : No doubt, but won't killing Pestilence be the best thing in the world? And to kill Pestilence, you'll need all of us, just as to kill Pestilence, we need you!

Tom : [Steps out of the blood and walks up to Stephen] Maybe I do, but I don't think I need that dumb bitch.

Alice : Aw! What did I do?

Tom : I meant her. [Points at Chastity with his knife]

Alice : [Who has her back to Tom] Is he pointing at me?

Tom : I think I'll kill her [points at Alice] next.

Alice : [Whispers to Clint] Phew, I think he's talking about Chastity.

Clint : [To Tom] Ok, here's the deal: you kill the ol'sis, and you'll never get to see the maps. That's a bit annoying for you, you see; no going forward to Pestilence, and no going back through the boiling water. I don't mind if you make her loose her voice or something, though! [Tries to wink at Alice, but obviously is not able]

[TOM says nothing, but goes in front of Clint and stares at him for a few moments.]

Alice : [Loudly] He said -

Tom : [Interrupting] I heard what he said. Okay, you've got a deal. I won't kill her.

[TOM walks to CHASTITY and burns her face with his cigar. She screams and falls to the ground, clutching her face and no longer paralysed.]

Jerome: [Blinks his eyes in frustration] At the risk of making a bad situation worse, Jerome K. Trindle B.Sc. Ph.D feels obliged to question the motives of you, Tom. Knowing that the means with which we escaped the last confrontation with those duplicating creatures was with the aid of the orb, you may have forewarned us of any allergies or adverse effects it may have caused you. Also, as your recent demonstration informed us, you could have aided us prior to the orb being thrown, yet declined to do so. Although I find it difficult to apologise on behalf of Chastity, I will do so and thank you for sparing her life. Now, given the weapons that we have, how would you recommend that we deal with these creatures should we happen upon them again as we surely will on the other side of the far door? My best guess would be that if cutting them in twain causes them to replicate, then forcing them together should cause the opposite.

Tom : [Outraged] What? [Stands in front of Jerome] How many times has he [pushes Austin, causing him to break out of his paralysis and fall on the floor] threatened me with it? I should think that my reaction and aversion to the ball was obvious even to a moron like you! [Punches Jerome hard in the face, knocking him to the ground. For a short time, Tom just stares at him, rigid with anger, before calming down] Okay, apology accepted.

Rourke : [Still alive, and in agony] Please, please help me.

Jerome: Threatened you with it? If memory serves correctly, which it usually does, for without it Jerome K. Trindle would not be able to append his suffices which were truly well-earned and quite dependent upon his trademark memory faculties, he merely asked you to inspect it for cracks. Your aversion to and retreat from it might have been attributed to your loathing of Austin. Now, knowing that you have such a distinct reaction, you might be persuaded to tell us what you are and why it causes you such pain. [Tries to bump into Stephen in an attempt to free him from his invisible bonds.]

[STEPHEN becomes freed.]

Tom : [To Jerome] It seems sir, that you rely upon your memory for wit, and upon your wit for memory. It should have been clear to anyone that his asking me to examine it was a thinly veiled attempt to cause me discomfort.

Alice : [Both her and Clint have their backs to the party] What's happenning? Can any one move yet?

Stephen : [Touches Alice and pokes Clint with a long stick. Then he goes to check is Chastity is alright]

[CHASTITY is okay, but has a pretty severe burn on her face.]

Alice : [Peering over at Rourke] Oh, God, I think he's still alive!

[ROURKE stretches out his hand to ALICE, and tries to speak, but, as he has no throat, is less than successful.]

Alice : I think I'm going to be sick.

Tom : Can we go already?

Chastity : [Rises from the ground, clutching her face. To Tom] Thank you for sparing my, and my friends lives. [Grimaces at the pain in her cheek]

Tom : [Smiles at her] My pleasure.

Alice : What about Rourke?

[TOM takes out a small crossbow and shoots ROURKE in the shoulder, ROURKE gives another pathetic cry of pain.]

Tom : There, that should give him a little more pain.

Alice : [With anguish] That's not what I meant!

Stephen : Sadly, there's nothing we can do for him, he's on deaths door, plus, he's a baddie. One who tried to kill us earlier! Alls we can do is bandage him up and leave him here. I'm sure Pestilence will take care of his own. [Stephen begins bandaging up Rourke]

[Despite STEPHENs valiant efforts, ROURKE expires.]

Chastity : I know he wasn't one of us, but...[says a prayer over Rourke] If only my third husband, George, had been here, what he didn't know about knife wounds and how to cure them wasn't worth knowing! Just one of the benefits of living in Limerick for a few years. [Sighs and closes Rourkes eyes]

Austin : Phili knows that living with you would drive any man to inflict numerous knife wounds on himself. [To all] If we are quite finished torturing one another, I suggest we move on.

Tom : [With a baleful eye] You still don't get it, do you? This is just the start - all that stuff you saw at dinner? That was just a hint at what lies around the corner. You better fire up the soul sanctuary, because its going to be needed really soon now.

Dobbin : Er, help.

Stephen : What soul sanctuary? What do you mean? [Looks curiously at Dobbins body]

Clint : [To Dobbin] Will ya shut up? [To Tom] How about we let go of the crap and get some honesty here, eh? First of all, you obviously know what lies ahead, so how about sharing some information. Second, it would help to know to what extent are your powers helpful against this mob [points at hoodies]. And finally, what's this soul sanctuary you're talking about? [Unfriendly look at Tom]

Tom : There probably aren't any more of the Norries left, they were a special present from Pestilence to Rourke. Up ahead is the crypt, and that's where we'll get a chance to weaken Pestilence. [Walks towards the door, before stopping and turning to the others] As for the soul sanctuary, well, I didn't know where you had the map, but I knew you had it, so you shouldn't be surprised that its no different in this case. It was common knowledge in the Under City that you had brought at least one in with you - how Rourke and Pestilence didn't know is anyone's guess. What amazes me is that you still have them with you, they must be hidden pretty well for them not to have been taken off you last night. Now, can we go on? I'd advise you to have your weapons ready, because the easy part is over.

Austin : [To the party] So, it appears that someone planted this, or these, soul santuaries on us. However, they have been so well hidden that not only do we not know we have them, but we didn't even notice them being planted. It all sounds highly irregular to me. Perhaps they were planted last night?

Tom : You sound highly irregular to me, constipated men are always uptight. What I said was that you brought the soul sanctuary, or santuaries, into the city with you.

Chastity : [Goes to Dobbin] Oh goodness, he's still alive, I thought he was yet another casualty! [Tries to take Dobbins helmet off]

[CHASTITY twists the helmet and, incredibly, it comes off. DOBBIN has been stabbed in the face, but his mask deflected most of the blow, so he is left with a scratch.]

Dobbin : [Spits at Chastity] You bitch! I'm gonna a kill you! [Face screws up with concentration] Hah! [His left gauntlet turns and grabs a sword, but moves no further.]

Tom : Come on, lets just kill him.

Stephen : [To Tom] Well, not knowing where or what a soul sanctuary is, is going to cause us a bit of a problem, isn't it! I mean, how are we going to activate something we know nothing about? [Exasperated] These script writers never think out a plot correctly, do they!

Alice : [Looking at Clint holding Dobbin's helmet] You know Clint, that would really suit you, especially with the grille down.

Dobbin : [Straining to catch Clint's eye] Bastard! Stealing my helmet! And you - [glares at Alice] how dare you suggest he wear my clothing! But that's what you lot are all about, isn't it? Stealing from people, cosying up to whoever has the greatest wealth, you, you whore!

Alice : [Muttering under her breath] Maybe we should just let Tom kill him.

Tom : [Leaning in close to Stephen, giving him no doubt as to how disgusting he now looks] You didn't know where or what the map was, but that didn't stop you from using it, did it? If you've got one, it will become activated as soon as someone dies. [Pulls out his sword] Want to see?

Stephen : [Backs away in disgust from Tom and raises his bag in front of him] Ooooooohhhhh! Fair enough, point taken! I was just a bit confused when you told us to 'fire up' the thing a few moments ago.

Clint : [To Dobbin] Ya stupid asshole, we were just trying to help you! [Kicks Dobbins armour] [Draws his sword] Enough of this, shall we proceed?

Chastity : [Shocked at Dobbin] Why young man! That language is just foul! I'll not stand here and listen to such unholy utterances! Clint, you may replace the helmet, if you so wish! [Tuts loudly] Perhaps a few hours on the floor will help you to realise and repent your sinful ways, young man!

Tom : [Flicks his cigar at Stephen, bouncing it off his forehead] What? Look, you little shit, I could kill you this instant, and, given that you've been of no help whatsoever, save for mincing around the place and pulling on peoples helmets, I suspect I would be doing the rest of the party a favour by cutting you into small pieces, then we'd see what happens when the soul sanctuary is used.

Austin : [Examing the now dead Rourke] If we do have one or more of these soul sanctuaries, why then did one not get used when Rourke died?

Tom : I don't know, it could be that the soul sanctuary is already occupied, did a party member die recently? Or maybe there's something about the sanctuary that only certain people can use them. [Angrily] Anyway, what the hell do I care!

Alice : Er, is that a question?

Tom : [Shouting] No!

Clint : [Replaces the helmet, making sure it's as tight as possible]

Tom : [Watches the proceedings, with a smile] Why don't we just kill him? He might come charging after us in his armour.

Stephen : [Rubbing ash from his forehead] Ow, you fuc...let's just leave him alone and get this over with. The sooner we do that, the sooner we can go our separate ways, Tom.

Tom : Lead the way. [Steps aside, waiting for one or more party members to open the door.]

Alice : [Drawing her sword] Okay, will I go first?

Tom : [Roaring laughing] Yeah, right. Send your two biggest, toughest fighters out first, because they just might stay alive long enough to let the rest of us weaken Pestilence enough.

Stephen : [Glaring daggers at Tom, behind his back] Clint, do you want to go first?

Tom : Good idea, get the more stupid and ugly members of the party to go first.

Lenin: Now, Tom. We value all of our comrades in the party, much as it sometimes pains us to do so.

Tom : I was expecting that you'd go second.

Stephen : [Takes out his shortbow and readies an arrow]

Tom : Let's rock.

[Exit ALL, through the door.]

[Book II, Act IV, Scene VIII. The Crypt. Thursday 5.00PM JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, ALICE, LENIN, CLINT, STEPHEN and TOM SELLSICK are here. This is a long hallway with large pillars all the way down. PESTILENCE is sitting on a small stool at the end of the hallway.]

Pestilence : [Impressed] Wow! I am impressed. [Stands up, and begins clapping] Excellent, excellent. [Reproachfully] You know, I thought a few of you would be dead by now, but this is so much more fun. Of course, its unlikely that any of you will be sane when you leave this room.

Alice : [Defiantly] Hah! How do you know any of us were sane before we came in?

Pestilence : [Big smile] Haw! Touche!

[ALICE turns to the others and gives a big smile and thumbs up sign.]

Clint : [Unimpressed] Wow. I am unimpressed. [Looks at Pestillence] So is that what happened to you? Poor creature. Not only you got insane, now you're going to die! I pity you.

Pestilence : [Big clap for Clint, but it sounds like there is a thunderous standing ovation from a huge number of people, so it is almost deafening] Bravo! Bravo! Stirring words, sir! Stirring. You've sure got balls to talk to Pestilence like that. [Abrupt silence] Oh that's right, you don't.

Clint : [Uncovering his ears] In all fairness, who needs balls to talk to a lunatic? I'm actually restraining myself for slagging you. I mean, a guy that takes pleasure from eating shit... You've got the perfect name, by the way! Your brother must be jealous. [Silence] Oh, I forgot, we actually killed your brother. Sorry about that. But don't worry - you'll be joining him soon enough.

Pestilence : [Does a "handbags at twenty paces" stance] Miaow! Clint, its just a pity you're too dumb to understand it all. It wasn't me who ate shit, it was your lawyer friend, and as for old Iok, well, three cheers for the party, I say. Hip hip [an unseen crowd cheer "Hooray"] Hip hip [again, an unseen hooray] Hip - nah, I couldn't be bothered. You see, you actually did me a favour killing him off, now I can return to the surface. [From without, comes DOBBIN's voice.]

Dobbin : Okay, you bastards, this is where I get mine. [A large metal door slides down, in front of the door that the party came in through. There is a brief scream from behind it, and what appear to be three of DOBBIN's fingers end up on this side.]

Alice : Hey, they look just like Clint's penis did!

Pestilence : So what's it to be? Are you just going to stand there, goading me? Or are you going to fight me?

Lenin: Goading works for me. I'm The Party would be willing to match wits with your half, if it so pleased us. Right, comrades?

Pestilence : Engaging you in a battle of wits, comrade Lenin, would be like shooting an unarmed man.

Chastity : Well, I'm sure you have plenty of experience with that, you evil little man!

Pestilence : [Considers this for a moment] Well, much as I'd like to be able to claim that I do - its not really my style. I tend to go for slow and agonizing, you know, feeding someone spider eggs so that a tarantula eats them from the inside out, that kind of thing.

Austin :[Starts sneaking up on Pestilence, behind the pillars so that Pestilence can't see him and can't throw shit at him. Orb concealed under jacket]

Stephen : [Goes deathly pale and has to grab onto a pillar to stop himself from sinking to the floor] Well, that's put me off food for...life!

Pestilence : [Excited] Oh! Oh! Oh! I've a great idea - how about most of you distract me with your witless banter, and then [can barely contain himself] man, this is so brilliant, then Austin [emphasises] sneaks up through the pillers and tries to kill me. [Proud as punch] Whaddya say, guys?

[AUSTIN is now at the second (of nine) pillars.]

last from conor #11

Austin : [To Pestilence] I knew you would know I was here, I just thought that I would sneak up and kill you while the others were distracted by your witless banter [Still sneaking, ready to dodge poo].

Chastity : Gosh, I can feel myself going insane already! [To Austin] He's probably just another projection, Mr Sleaze!

Pestilence : [Theatrically] Gasp! [Seriously] Poor Pestilence, humbled by the mighty Sleaze. [Holds his arms aloft, and cries out, like some kind of demented game show host] Its soft poo time!

[Incredibly, it begins to rain in the room.]

Alice : [Holding out her hand] Hey! This isn't rain. [Smells her brown speckled hand] Aw, no way!

[The rain gets heavier.]

Austin : [Crouches behind a pillar, jacket over his head, muttering insanely] Nice new and clean Dexter Wong shirt, handmade piglet skin Gustav shoes, in ochre, and a vintage look suit by Lili d'Or. Now, socks, let me see, the Armani are fun but have gone way down hill since 'Europe' [Does quote fingers] Hmm.

Stephen : Aaahhhhhh! [Head down, barely opening his mouth] That's disgusting! That really is disgusting! [Holds his backpack above his head]

Pestilence : [Jumping onto the base of one of the pillars, singing for all he's worth] I'm singing in the rain, Just singing in the rain What glorious feeling, I'm happy again [dances across the floor, before carrying on] I'm laughing at Sleaze, So scared of my shite, And Stephen is next, Oh, what will it be.

Lenin : [Hand shielding his eyes] By Trotsky's ice pick, this is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen.

Pestilence : [Stops singing, and looks manically at Lenin] Well, now, we have that, can we? [Turns up his palms] Come to Papa! [One by one, and with an incredibly disgusting squishing sound, Lenin's eyes fly out of his head, and into Pestilence's hands. Pestilence smiles, and holds up the eyes so that they are looking back towards the party] Hey! I bet that gives you a whole new perspective! [Takes a bite out of one of the eyes, which makes a crunching sound not unlike an apple] You know guys, I'm pretty impressed that you've come this far, but I suspect that you had a lot of help, and now, this business with the soul sanctuaries, well, I've just gotta have 'em. [Crunch, takes another bite]

[LENIN falls to his knees, screaming.]

Chastity : [To Lenin] It's not real, it's not real! It's all in our minds! Oh Phili, please help us! [Starts praying]

Clint : It feels pretty real to Lenin, Sister. [To the others] What do we do? Rush him?

Jerome : Let us see how he reacts to a magic missile. [Begins an incantation] Um, er, I've forgotten it.

Pestilence : [Still singing to the tune of singing in the rain] Du du, du du du, I'm happy again.

Stephen : [Wiping soft poo from his face. To Clint] That's exactly what we should do! He can't take us all, can he! [Takes out his knife] Are you all with me? On the count of three, one...two...three! [Charges at Pestilence]

Jerome : [Sinking to his knees, clinging to one of the pillars] What am I doing here? What's going on?

[STEPHEN, ALICE and CLINT make charge.]

Pestilence : [Whips out a trumpet and plays the first few bars from the Lone Ranger theme tune] Here they come. [Starts running towards them, in pure cartoon style, by running on the spot for a few seconds, before tearing off at an incredible pace.]

[STEPHEN leads the other two, but is suddenly caught up in a huge spiders web, which spans two of the pillars. It catches with a "booooinnnnggg" sound, and traps him in it. ALICE and CLINT stop abruptly.]

Pestilence : [Also stopping] Stiiiiiiirike!

Stephen : [Tries to prise himself off the web] Urgh! Help! Get me out of this thing!

[The more STEPHEN struggles, the more he gets stuck. A huge number of spiders, each about six inches in diameter, begin descending.]

Alice : [Tries to cut the web with her sword] Ah, shit!

Clint : What's wrong? Can't you cut through it?

Alice : I don't know, I just can't see what I'm doing with all this shit! [Hacks at the web, but her sword sticks to it.]

[Meanwhile, a flagstone beside CHASTITY becomes dislodged, and huge rats, about two feet long, begin pouring out and heading towards her.]

Chastity : [Stops praying and starts screaming, jumping from foot to foot] Oh lord Phili, make this stop!

[The RATS engulf CHASTITY, knocking her to the ground, into a puddle of particularly soft poo, and begin scratching and biting.]

Pestilence : [Cuts one side of the web, sending Stephen falling to the ground, and getting covered with spiders.] Hi! Pestilence Sotot, great to finally meet y'all!

[ALICE pulls out a dagger, but PESTILENCE punches her before she can do anything, sending her flying against a pillar, where she gets another nasty block. Almost immediately, he turns to CLINT, and grabs his crotch.]

Pestilence : [Gasping] Oooh! Looks like I've got you by the ball now, eh, Clint?

[CLINT doesn't say anything, but just looks down in alarm, with sweat pouring down his face.]

Pestilence : Now, unless someone tells me where the soul sanctuaries are, Clint will be saying bye bye to Mister Flopsy.

Austin : [Will attempt to approach Pestilence from behind the pillars and ram the orb into Pestilences mouth. Staring without blinking, in that 50's vampire film style] One Thousand new suits shall I buy!

[AUSTIN slowly moves towards PESTILENCE, and is almost within reach.]

Pestilence : [Squeezing ever more tightly on Clint] I'm losing patience here. Give me the sanctuaries!

[CLINT screams, and falls onto his back, with tears in his eyes.]

Pestilence : Looks like you'll be speaking an octave higher in future, Clinty boy. [Suddenly stops, and looks at Alice.] No way! [Drops Clint on the ground, and approaches Alice, putting his hand on her stomach, with a huge smile] Oh, brilliant. [Pauses as though in thought] And twins! [Puts his head back and laughs loudly] Excellent! I'll have them, I think. [Produces what appears to be a scalpel, and cuts through her top.]

Alice : Get off me! [Tries to get up, but Pestilence uses his free hand to hold her down.]

[Meanwhile, CHASTITY is still engulfed in rats, while STEPHEN is being attacked by the spiders.]

[TOM draws a sword, and starts moving up on the opposite side to AUSTIN.]

Stephen : [Pulls out his pendant with his free arm] No Pestilence, don't! You can't!

Pestilence : Sh! This is delicate work. [Goes to make an incision.]

[ALICE screams, and tries to get away, but PESTILENCE catches her by the throat and bangs her head against one of the pillars, knocking her out. Her face now looks exactly the same as the one on HARVEY's dinner plate.]

Pestilence : The doctor is in the house.

[TOM rushes up, and stabs PESTILENCE through the back with his sword. PESTILENCE opens his mouth in shock, and he drops the scalpel.]

Tom : You bastard, I told you I'd be back.

Pestilence : [Turning to Tom] Et tu, Thomas? [Staggers, clearly hurt.]

Chastity : [Rolling around on the floor, covered in rats] By Phili's grace, now Austin, now!

Austin : [Attempts to viscously ram the orb into Pestilences mouth in a dashing manner] The dry cleaning bill will arrive with a summons.

Tom : [Seeing Austin] No! Don't! It will kill me too!

[AUSTIN crashes the orb against PESTILENCE and there is the familiar explosion of light, which fills the whole room, blinding everyone. When it dies away, all the rats, spider and faeces is gone, and TOM's burned body is on the spot where he stabbed PESTILENCE. Incredibly, PESTILENCE is alive, lying on the floor a short distance from the party.]

Pestilence : [Clearly extremely badly hurt] You better pray you get to my inner sanctum before I regenerate, because I know there are no orbs left. [Disappears.]

Jerome : [Curled up in a ball] What's happenning? Where am I? Help!

Stephen : Huh? [Looks around for the spiders and breathes a huge sigh of relief] Thanks Austin, that was a close one! [Starts to examine his numerous bites] And you took out that madman also, well, thank god for that! Didn't trust him one little bit!

Chastity : Yes, well done, Mr Sleaze! [Goes quickly to Alice] Alice dear gal, Alice, are you alright? [Roots in her bag] Drat, no smelling salts! Clint, you wouldn't mind waving your finger under Alices' nose would you, there's a dear?

Clint : [Still bent over double, speaking like a man who's been too close to the helium] Get bent, Sister.

Alice : [Waking] Ow. [Feels her head] Ow my head. [Looks down] My favourite shirt! [Looks at the others, hand on stomach] Twins?

Austin : [Wry smile] Yes, indeed. Most satisfying. I believe that we must have severly drained Pestilences power, for all of the low-down-scum-ridden imaginata of his to have disapeared. We must make haste to the inner sanctum, please display your tattoos now that we may further our quest promptly.

Alice : [Staggering to her feet] Maybe we have, but I think he's drained a lot of our power too!

Jerome : Who are you people? Why am I here?

Chastity : [Smirks at Clints pain for a moment, before turning to Jerome] Why, good doctor, whatever do you mean? We're here to kill Pestilence of course! Honestly, you wag, you and your games! [Tuts]

Clint : I'll remember your charity, Chastity, the next time you need help. [Takes a few more deep breaths]

Jerome : [Wide eyed and terrified] Kill?

Alice : Oh that's just great, as soon as he finds out its twins, he suddenly knows nothing.

Stephen : [Looks curiously at Chastity] Poor Clint! There's gratitude for someone who saved your life two minutes ago! [Shrugs] Nuns for you, I suppose! What's up with Jerome anyway? Surely not the shock of having not one, but two, [looks at Alice], well, three childrens minds to deal with!

Alice : I'm not a child! [Sticks her tongue out at Stephen] If Daddy was here you wouldn't dare speak to me like that.

Lenin : [Pawing around helplessly in the dark] Help me... [catches onto Jerome]

Jerome : [Looks at Lenin] Yeargh!

Austin : [To all] Please can we focus on the task here, Pestilence is obviously wore off than, otherwise he would not have run off. The only critically wounded party member is Lenin, [Looks around] Could someone perhaps cast a healing spell of somekind on him? Now, Inner sanctum, before Pestilence regenerates and goes to the surface.

Chastity : [Sees Lenin] Oh dear Phili! Here, let me! [Chastity starts wrapping bandages around Lenins head] Unfortunately I've no cure spells left, so that will have to do until tomorrow. Besides all my spell will do is stop the pain, I can't restore his sight. I'll help him around for the time being though.

Alice : Okay, Aussie. [To Jerome] Just stick with Lenin, he'll look after you.

Alice : Yeah, maybe that's a better idea.

[The party move to the far end of the room, where there is a large metal door.]

Stephen : I'll have a look. [Carefully examines the metal door]

Alice : Me too. [Leans in beside Stephen, so they're almost cheek to cheek. After a second, she turns to him] I think its a door. <3B0BCE16.75C78AF5@ul.ie>

Stephen : [Turns to the others] Looks okay, no traps as far as I can tell. [Attempts to open the door]

[The door creaks open, revealing a large room with over thirty coffins. Each of the coffins has an elaborate sculpture on it, and, in all the nearby ones, the subject of the scultpure seems to be in agony. In one corner is a huge vat, that leads up to the ceiling, and all the coffins have a tube leading to the vat.]

Alice : [Looking at one of the scultpures] Aw, yuck. Hey, isn't this very like Iok's place?

Austin : Evidently Pestilences regeneration device. We should smash it to pieces before he has a chance to use it [Attempts to cut the tubes with his sword, if he fails he will try to unscrew them]

[AUSTIN leans towards the nearest tube, but suddely jumps back with a cry of pain.]

Alice : Aussie? What is it?

Stephen : Is this his inner sanctum though, or a time wasting ploy? [Looks at the coffin in row 1, column 7]

Austin : [Jumps back from the coffin] Ouuu! Be careful, it is a hot floor trap type deterrent. Maps anyone?

[The coffin in question has a sculpture of a man in his mid thirties. In the sculpture, he is screaming in agony, although there are no visible marks on him.]

Alice : [Helping up Austin] Even if it isn't, there's no way back - the door in the other room was sealed, remember?

Stephen : [Looking at the sculpture with distaste] Perhaps one of these coffins leads to his inner sanctum? And we need one of the maps to locate the correct one, as Austin suggests.

[ALICE and CLINT take out their pendants. As soon as CLINT's one is out, his tattoo changes shape, much like STEPHEN's did earlier.]

Clint : Darn, I was just getting use to it and all.

Stephen : Excellent! Let's follow the tattoo! [Looking closely at it] Well, it looks like we walk right until we're between the seventh and eight coffin of this first row, then down until we're between the second and third row, then left until we're between the third and fourth coffin, then down again, following the curve of the vat. Clint, it's your tattoo, do you agree? Anyone else disagree?

[Everyone makes vaguely assenting noises.]

Clint : [Still limping slightly] Okay, I'll lead.

Alice : [Whispering] You know, its kind of hard to take him seriously when he has that high pitched voice.

Clint : [Angrily to Alice] You know, its kind of hard to take you seriously.

[The party set off, in the following order : CLINT, ALICE, AUSTIN, STEPHEN, CHASTITY, LENIN, HEROME. All the coffins they pass have similar sculptures - all of different people, but all in agony. The coffins towards the end of each row, however, seem to have people lying down flat.]

Alice : I wonder what's different about these? [Takes a look at the first one] Look, it has Stephen's name on it!

Chastity : [Leading Lenin] Probably just another one of Pestilences mind tricks, Alice. Pay it no heed! [Chastity remains very wary, though]

Alice : [As they continue] You're probably right, Chas. I'm not so sure it looks like him anyway, his nose is way bigger than that.

[Of course, it is identical to him. Each member of the party, as well as HARVEY, has a coffin.]

Stephen : I heard that! [Touches his nose, self consciously and looks again at the carvings] Look, even the carving of Lenin has no eyes! How do you reckon Pestilence knew that would happen! This is freaky!

Jerome: I find myself asking myself why I am following like a sheep that follows the flock, when I don't even know if they might be wolves in sheeps clothing.

Alice : [As the party pick their way through the coffins towards the large vat] What? [Stops abruptly] What is wrong with Jerome? [Sighs in frustration] Its not like there was anything bad on his plate - in fact, as far as I remember, there was nothing on it, nothing at all.

Lenin : [Momentarily trips over one of the tubes going from one of the coffins to the vat] Ach! This is like picking my way through the minefield of capitalism, these damned tubes are a curse.

[Everyone stops as CHASTITY helps up LENIN by hoisting him up by the shoulders and not, as one might imagine, by putting her fingers in his eye sockets and lifting him up like a six pack.]

Alice : [Pointing at the large vat with her sword] So exactly why are we going towards this thing? And what is it?

Stephen : [Shrugs] Well, the map points us in that direction, so I suppose it must be important. [Stephen examines a tubes going into a coffin with one of the partys names on it] Do you think we should open one of these things?

Alice : Open what? The tube, the coffin or the chest?

Austin : [Inspecting his nails] Does anyone have a crow bar?

Stephen : [To Alice] One of the coffins. [Looks around] I don't see a chest.

Alice : Well then, I guess we won't be opening any chests then, will we?

Clint : I don't have a crow bar, but I do have trusty sword. [Looks at Stephen] Or maybe we could use something more scrawny to prise one open.

Stephen : What, such as use your penis as a lockpick, do you mean, Scar? [Looks at one of the coffins] Perhaps we just have to pull it open.

Clint : No, I mean use your scrawny, spider fearing head. Of course, it would probably just smash like an eggshell, so that's another reason for wanting to do it.

Austin : [Still instecting the nail on his pinky. To Stephen] We could use your razor sharp wit to cut the coffin open. Not.

Alice : [Annoyed, to Austin] Or maybe we could use your negative energy to open the coffin, kill Pestilence and get Lenin's eyes back. Oh no, of course we can't, because your negativity achieves nothing short of annoying everyone.

Austin : [To Alice] Why do we not simply follow the map and get to the inner sanctum before pestilence regenerates and we are all tortured to death. It may have escape your notice but I have already attempted to tamper with one of the coffins in our present company and accomplished naught but thermally induced damage upon the soles of my feet. [Points to his exquisite feet] Anoying everyone seems to be this partys purpose in life, it is indeed, I deduce, what makes us tick. We achieve when we bicker, just wait and see [Smiles smugly and gestures onwards]

Stephen : [Sniggers at Austin before examining the pipe leading into the coffin]

Clint : Just great, the lawyer started babbling again. Let's just get on with this, shall we? [Shows his face with the tatoo to Alice] Where to next, Bimbo?

Alice : Eauh! [Covers her eyes] Keep that thing away from me! [Puts her hand down and turns to Austin] You didn't actually get to tamper with the coffin though, did you? Maybe, just maybe there's a chance that damaging this system of pipes, bandages and coffins will further weaken that sicko.

Austin : [To Alice] Did I not. I shall make amends immediately [Takes an almighty valiant swipe at a pipe using his sword]

Chastity : Good thinking, Alice! Perhaps Pestilence draws his power from whatever is kept inside these coffins. Perhaps this is how he is able to regenerate. [To Austin] I know we must move along quickly, Mr Sleaze, but I think it would be folly indeed to ignore these, without first finding out what they are. I think we should open one.

Austin : [Looking at Chastity, smiling. Speaks loudly] Yes, yes, very good [nods and smiles a Chastity. To the others, shaking his head]. Quite mad, poor old thing. Deaf too it seems. Never mind.

Alice : Which one are you going to cut Aussie? One of the party coffins? Or one of the others?

Chastity : [Loudly to Austin] I am neither, you brazen little pup! You may notice that I was speaking to you when you hit the coffin. Rudely interrupting me, I might add! [Sniffs]

Alice : [Loudly to Austin] Hello?

Austin : [To Alice] What?

Alice : Yes, yes, very good [nods and smiles at Austin. To the others, shaking her head]. Quite mad, poor old thing. Deaf too it seems. Never mind. last from dom #74

Austin : [To Alice] Sorry Alice, sweetie. Old Chazzer there was babbling rather loudly. [AUSTIN's sword swings through the air and easily cuts the pipe. There doesn't appear to be any effect though.]

Alice : [Bending down to sniff the outlet] Aw, pooh! [Looks up, annoyed] Clint, how can I be expected to smell anything with your stinky shoes around?

Austin : [Hand musing on chin] Hmm. Uneventful. I shall try the rest [Goes to cut the pipes of coffins belonging to non-party people]

Alice : Aussie, while I know it is tempting, don't stray too far from Clint's face. Remember what happened the last time.

[AUSTIN slices through another pipe, of the coffin on the other side. The sculpture on the coffin is of a middle aged woman, and again, her face is a picture of agony, and her body is twisted in pain. A small amount of green odourless gas pours out from the tube and coffin, and disappears into the air. As it disperses, the sculpture begins to move, taking on different forms.]

Alice : Wow! Look at that! That's the most amazing thing I've ever seen!

Lenin : [Dryly] Oh great. How about describing it for those of us who can't see?

Alice : Well, its like the person is in less and less pain!

[The expression of the woman becomes less and less pained, until eventually the sculpture is of someone lying flat on her back, her face a picture of sereness.]

Stephen : Well, here goes. [Carefully tries to open one of the coffins which has had the pipe severed]

[STEPHEN opens up the woman's coffin. In it is the body of a woman, very much decomposed. In one swift motion all the party, even CLINT, cover their noses.]

Alice : Yuck! Close it Stephen!

Stephen : Urghh! [Quickly closes the coffin]

Lenin : What the hell was that?

Alice : So what does this mean? If we cut the pipes, the scupltures go back to normal people - so, um, hmm. [Looks at Jerome] What do you think Jerome?

Jerome : I think I have no idea what I'm doing here, who I am, who you are, or who anyone else is.

Alice : [Nodding sympathetically] Yeah, I often feel like that too.

Chastity : [Covering her nose] Oh dear Phili! Pestilence must be living off the souls of these poor people! What a monster! Quickly now, we must free as many of these poor unfortunates as possible! Or would it be quicker to destroy the vat?

Austin : [To All] Excellent, this may indeed be the source of Pestilence's power, let us proceed to cut all of the pipes that we a able to safely do so, with respect to the map on Clints face. [Proceeds top cut more pipes, if he can - any pipes that are 'safe' to cut]

[The others join in with AUSTIN, cutting and puncturing all the pipes on the way to the vat. There is a ladder on the side of the vat, that ascends way up into darkness.]

Alice : Look, there are still a whole load of them not cut - what are we going to do about those. [Looks uneasily at the ladder] And just how high is that ladder?

Clint : Maybe by cutting Lenin's one his eyes might pop back into their holes again! [To Lenin] I meant the pipe. [Pauses] The coffin pipe.

Austin : I believe that it would be in our favour to smash the vat as soon as possible, Clint would you do the honors?

Alice : [Looks at Clint in surprise] Wow, that's a really good idea! [Looks at the vat] Is the vat breakable? [Wipes some of the condensation off it to see inside] Oh my God!

[There is a huge foetus inside.]

Clint : [High piched voice] That looks just like the one on the plate! [Looks at Alice] Oops. I mean, it looks like a babe. [Pauses] [Voice gets back to normal] Yeah, that's what I meant. A baby, babe.

Alice : You know, Clint, any time I think you might have something intelligent to say, you go and speak. [Sigh] How about someone cuts the pipe to Lenin's coffin?

Clint : [Goes to Lenin's coffin to cut the pipe] You know Alice, I didn't know you actually knew how to think.

Austin : Has no one done that yet? [Attempts to cut the pipe to Lenins coffin]

Alice : I'm not surprised, because when I'm dealing with you, Clint, I rarely have to.

[CLINT and AUSTIN hack at the same time, and cut the pipe. A small amount of smoke comes out.]

Lenin : [Putting his hands to his eyes] My God! [Takes them away again] I can see! I can see again! Thank you comrades, thank you! I am forever in your debt. Comrade Clint [shakes Clint's hand vigorously] I always knew you were a man of the people. [Turns to Austin, clearly at a loss for words] Mr. Sleaze, if even a lawyer, the lowest form of carbuncle on the hairy ass of capitalism, can show such common decency, then there is hope for society yet. I thank you sir, from the bottom of me heart.

Alice : Wouldn't it be funny if the eyes grew back in the wrong sockets? I wonder how things would look to him then.

Austin : [To Lenin] Even a lawyer can cut someone eyes back out again. [Goes and looks up the ladder, attempts to break the Vat using his sword] I hope this does not soil my shoes.

Lenin : [Smile snaps into a sneer] How typical - for everything the lawyer gives, he must take back even more.

[AUSTIN smacks his sword against the vat, but it just bounces off.]

Alice : There's no way that's going to break. [Face brightens] Oh! Oh! I know! If we had someone singing with a very high pitched voice, the glass might shatter. Clint? Your audience awaits!

Stephen : [Takes out his bow and readies an arrow]

Alice : Given that we can't break the vat, its a pity there's no way of cutting or puncturing the pipes from here, seeing as how we can't walk over and all.

Alice : Woah there, tiger. Look [points at the pipes with her sword] the pipes are connected to the base.

Stephen : Ah, so they are. Well, um, in that case, perhaps we can fire arrows at the ones we can't reach, puncturing the tubes?

Alice : Cunning plan, Stevie. [Takes out her bow and shoots at one. The arrow punctures it, with the same result as before. Smiles to herself with a somewhat psychotic look] Now we'll see who's going to cut who open.

Stephen : [Shoots at a tube] And find out who's really afraid of spiders! [See's a shadow] Shriek, a spider!

[The entire party take out missile weapons and shoot all of the tubes. All the sculptures react in exactly the same manner as the first two.]

Alice : [Looking up] Okay, who's going to go up and kill the spiders so the rest of us can go up in safety?

Austin : [To Alice] The spiders will probably go away if you take your clothes off, or they may die if Clint does the same, there again so might we. [Tests to see if the ladder is moveable] We may be able to reach the other coffins safely using the ladder flat on the floor, so that we do not burn our feet.

[AUSTIN gives the ladder a good shake, but it is extremely solid, and bolted to the vat every couple of feet.]

Alice : Why would we want to do that Aus? We've almost got all of the pipes punctured at this stage anyway.

Stephen : Hey Clint, how do you fancy a trip up the ladder? I even promise not to go behind you!

Lenin : I'll go first, to show my gratitude to the party.

Stephen : Well, if you're sure! Good man, yourself! Remember, just shout and we'll be there to help!

Lenin : [Jumps onto the ladder, but turns back to the others] I am glad that I have my eyes back so that I can witness the co-operation of this party, but more so that I can weep with joy at being present at such solidarity at a time of strife. It puts one in mind of the Window Cleaning Riots of '56, when Comrade Spongevoski rallied the workers with his cry of -

Alice : If we have to listen to a speech, we'll just send someone else up instead, okay?

Lenin : Fine, Comradette. [Begins climbing]

Alice : Who's next?

Stephen : [Wakes himself] Oh, is he finished? I'll go next, but I think you or Clint should follow. Preferably you, as I do hate being attacked by swarms of flies everytime Clint comes close!

Alice : [Laughs at Stephen] I know what you mean, its a whole lot better to have me following you, so you get followed by a swarm of - [face drops] hey!

Austin : [ Looks at Lenin ascending the ladder, looks at the map on clints face ] The 'leader' is finally leading. Does the map lead us up the ladder? If not then it could be a grave mistake.

Alice : [Looking at the map] Well, if you look at the steps, they seem to say that we follow the route that we've just taken, and then climb up the red mountain with the snow on top. [Looks more closely] Oops, my mistake, that's a zit. Okay, the trail actually ends here, but where else is there to go?

Clint : [To Alice] Mind you bimbo, it's not a mountain it's a volcano, and it might erupt! [Squeezes the zit] Anyway, I'll follow up the ladder.

Alice : [Ducking to avoid the shower of blood and pus] Oh man, I thought we'd seen everything disgusting that Pestilence had to throw at us, but now... [shakes her head and sighs, before turning to Stephen] there's none in my hair, right?

Lenin : [Looking back] Well? Are we all going up, comrades?

Chastity : [Looks in disgust at Clint] You are a very disgusting little man, Mr Scar! Repugnant!

Alice : No, Chastity. [Points to herself] I'm the one who's pregnant. Honestly, sometimes I think she lives in her own little world.

Clint : And sometimes I wonder how a [finger quotes] man like the Doctor BSc FMD could possibly get you pregnant! Anyway, none of my business... [follows Lenin up the ladder]

Austin : [Dons a pair of white gloves. Follows Clint up the ladder, at a distance] Artificial insemination is my suspicion. We could have some tests done when we get back to verify their claims.

Alice : And I sometimes wonder why people wonder why? I mean, why not wonder why not instead of why? Hmm.

[ALICE gets on the ladder, followed by the rest of the party, so the order is now : LENIN, CLINT, ALICE, STEPHEN, AUSTIN, JEROME and CHASTITY.]

Lenin : [Looks up at the dizzying height above him] Onward brave comrades, perhaps we should sing a working song to help pass the time away. [Carries on climbing, and bursts into "The Solidarity Song".]

Stephen : [To Clint] Well Clint, it helps if you copulate with the same species! Word to the wise, eh! [Climbs the ladder]

Alice : [Over the sound of Lenin singing] What kind of tests, Aussie? Maths and stuff, is it?

Alice : Well Stephen, it also helps if you copulate with the same sex! Word to the wise, eh! [Smiles at her cleverness] Oh wait, the opposite sex, I mean. [Looks back at Stephen] Shut up, Stephen.

Clint : [To Alice] I wonder if you know the meaning of that. Sex, that is. [Pauses] Or rather, good sex. I'll have to show you one day... [Keeps climbing]

Alice : Who are you going to show me with? [Thinks for a moment] Oh that's right, you usually do it on your own, don't you?

[There is a huge sucking noise from above.]

Lenin : Woooaaaah!

[LENIN is sucked up into the air, apparantly near the ladder all the time.]

Alice : Crikey! He's fast at going up ladders!

Stephen : Hey, what just happened Lenin? [Shouts] Lenin, are you okay, luvie? Lenin?

Alice : He's gone! Clint, maybe if you go up a little further, the same thing will happen?

Clint : Or maybe if you shut up, bimbo, we'll be able to listen to Lenin! [Shouts up] Lenin? Hey comrad, are you there?

Alice : [Outraged, and shouting] Well how the hell can we hear him with all your shouting, Stinky?

[There is no answer from above.]

Austin : [Looking straight ahead as Clint is above] All for one and one for all, and into the valley rode the six... oh well at least the air is clean, well almost. Clint I believe that we should all climb up the ladder to follown Lenins wonderful example of leadership.

Alice : Agreed. We can't stay here all day, someone might come in and start shooting at us - and worse, I think there's a draft coming from above, pooh!

Clint : I have no intention to get sucked, not in this way anyway! [Starts climbing up again, hold the stairs as firmly as possible]

[There is a quick "svip" type sound, and CLINT disappears also. ALICE is now at the front of the group.]

Alice : [Turning back to the others] It looks like whoever passes that point gets sucked up - will we all go through? [Takes out a dagger] This out to keep us safe - oops! [Drops the dagger, which somehow hits everyone on the way down, but, incredibly, doesn't hurt anyone] Sorry!

Stephen : Maybe we should tie some rope around you, so at least we can try to pull you back.

Alice : [Nods in agreement] Not a bad idea Stephen, but it would be better if we had some leather cuffs, because rope leaves awful marks on your wrists.

Stephen : Hmm, how about we tie some rope around one of your feet. Surely your boot would protect you? Does anybody have rope?

Alice : [Snorting with derision] Well it would if I was wearing one! Who's going to hold the other end of the rope?

[ALICE takes out some rope, and ties it to her right boot, and dangles the rope above the others.]

Stephen : [Takes the rope and ties it firmly to the ladder] There, that should do it!

Alice : Okay. [Begins climbing, but pauses] Hey, what happens if the suction is too strong?

[There's another sucking sound and ALICE is whipped off the ladder and shoots up. The rope immediately goes taut, and stops her.]

Alice : [Screaming out in pain] Ayeek! My leg! Help, help!

Stephen : Bloody hell! Try to pull her back down again! [Pulls on the rope with all his might. Shouts to Alice] Will I cut the rope?

[STEPHEN pulls, but there is no give at all in the rope.]

Alice : [Crying liberally] Cut the rope! Cut the rope!

Stephen : [Quickly cuts the rope]

Austin : [Cuts the rope if he can and quickly climbs after Alice] Here goes everything!

[STEPHEN gets the rope first, and cuts it, sending ALICE high into the air. The others follow, each one disappearing up as they do.]

[Book II, Act IV, Scene IX. The Glasshouse. Thursday 5.40PM. JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, ALICE, CLINT and STEPHEN are here, having each spent about a minute flying quickly through the air. This appears to be a huge glasshouse, which clearly is not underground, because it is incredibly bright, and it takes a few moments for everyone's eyes to become accustomed to the light. The party is sitting around in some lush vegetation, but it is difficult to see how large the glasshouse is.]

Alice : [Curled up in a ball, crying] Ow! Help!

Chastity: [Starts to rush over to help Alice] What's wrong? Are you okay? [Stops, noticing some nice yellow Clemetis] Oh my, that is lovely. Just what I need in the corner of my rockery. [Takes a cutting] And the roses are simply gorgeous. And what about the Hiemis?

Alice : [Stops crying, and looks at Chastity with a mixture of disbelief, anger and hurt] Ow! I think he just broke my leg!

[As CHASTITY cuts the clemetis, a burst of acid shoots out, burning her face.]

Austin : [Gets up and begins checking for any imperfections in his suit, then hands, shoes, nails and finally gets out a mirror and smiles at himself and nods] Excellent! Not a hair out of place. [Goes over to Alice] Oh dear, I believe that you are beyond help, good taste is something one is born with [looks at her disheveled state].

Alice : [In utter disbelief] You fucker! [Kicks Austin with, of course, her injured foot] Agh! [Bursts into tears] You bastard!

Stephen : [To Alice] Oops, sorry about that, Alice! Didn't expect you to shoot up so quickly! [Examines her leg to see if it's broken]

[STEPHEN touches the leg, and, judging by the scream he elicits from the beleagured ALICE, it is indeed broken.]

Alice : Well, at least there's sympathy from someone. [Looks over at Chastity, who's now lying down, clutching her face, clearly in great pain.] You better see if she's okay, and, hey, where's Lenin?

[A sudden scream can be heard, off to the east.]

Stephen : [Goes white when he hears the scream] Doesn't sound good! Oh, these sound effects people are good, aren't they! [Goes over to Chastity] Hey nun, are you alright? [Gives her a gentle shake]

[CHASTITY is hurt, and her face badly burned, but she is alive and conscious.]

Alice : Sound effects? That's probably Lenin!

Austin : [Helps Chastity up and removing his gloves he uses them to carefully remove the acid from her face] Steady there old girl!

[Off to the east, the party can hear more screaming, it is definitely LENIN.]

Stephen : [To Clint] Come on then! [Takes out his bow and heads east]

Alice : Are you sure its a good idea to split up? One of you is wounded, and the other is Clint, after all!

[As STEPHEN makes to move, there is a sudden bang as he puts his foot outside the clearing. He is sent flying back, landing, of course, on ALICE's foot.]

Alice : [Grimacing, and looking up at the sky] You know, God, sometimes I wonder if you have it in for me!

Chastity: [Wipes and checks her face] Ow, that burns so much. [All her facial hair has fallen out] Hmm. Not bad, actually.

Clint : [To Jerome and Austin] Take care of the injured women, while we check on Lenin! [Draws his sword and heads east after Stephen] Hey Hitchingberg, wait for me!

Alice : Ow! Now I've put my elbow on some thorns! [Looks down] Oh. My mistake, its someone's facial hair!

[Another blood curdling scream comes from the east, followed by something being thrown into the middle of the group.]

Alice : [Leaning over to look at it] Oh no! Its someone's arm! Look, the hand has a ring on it [points at the ring, which is red, and has a hammer and sickle on it] well, it doesn't look like it belongs to any of our party, does it?

Stephen : [Gets off Alices leg and inspects the hand] Oh my God, it's Lenins!

Clint : [Obviously stressed by the arm thing] Ok, who's got the last tatoo? Bimbo it's you, right? On your back... Time to strip again so!

Alice : [Sad face] Has it come to this? A fiancee that doesn't speak to me, the closest thing I get to a gift of jewelry is having a communists arm thrown at me, and now I'm being told to strip by a man who's idea of romance is to buy himself a new glove. [Sigh. Turns around, and lifts up her top, revealing, not surprisingly, that the tattoo has changed shape.]

Chastity: My, the tatoo looks just like a map of a golf course.

Alice : [Pulls up her underwear a bit] Not there, here! [Points to the brown tattoo on her back.]

Clint : Can you lift the top just a bit more? Ok ok, just joking. I suppose we should go all together, so I'll have to carry you on my arms, bimbo!

Alice : [Looking at the others] Maybe we should split up? I can't walk and Chastity is [smiles, showing off her biblical knowledge] has lost her strength*. If we don't, I'm sure we can persuade Jerome to help me.

Jerome : [Looking terrified] But who's going to help me?

[Another scream rings out.]

Clint : [Clearly stressed by Lenin's screaming] Well, we definitely need you to come because of the tatoo, so you better get moving! [Tries to help her up] [To Jerome] And how about you help the future mother of your children? Oh, that's right, we haven't reached a conclusion on that issue yet.

Jerome : [In horror] My children? As if I wasn't terrified enough! [Looks a bit closer at Alice, and makes an incredibly geeky smile] Well, hello, maybe things aren't so scary after all!

Alice : [Being helped up by Jerome and Clint] Maybe things are scarier than I thought. Well Clint, are you going to lead the way?

Clint : Well Alice, are you going to lift up your top? [To Stephen] Maybe you should help the hairy ol'sis. Don't worry, she's not a real woman, you know...

Alice : Me lifting my top for you is about as likely as you having a bath, Clint. [The discussion is interrupted by the arrival of LENIN's head into the clearing. The eyes have been gouged out.]

Alice : How about you just copy down the map? [Sighs, and shows the map again]

Clint : [Looking at the head] What the fuck!!?!? That somehow looks much more serious than the popping eyes! [Let's go of Alice and picks up the head] Do you think that there's any way to put him back together this time?

Chastity: [Aloud in prayer] Lord Phili, accept this valient servent of good into your paradise, and yea, forgive him of his sin of being a Communist. For you are so very big. And let us rejoice this man's spirit and hope it finds happiness, whatever happiness it so requires, so long as you don't mind. Amen.

Alice : [Dryly] That's so beautiful Chastity. Words for us all to remember him by. [To Clint] I suppose you better bring it along with you, and his arm. And his - [is interrupted by a small brown and red squishy thing landing on the ground right in front of Clint] er, maybe someone else should carry that. Chas?

[ALICE draws her sword, and lifts the mess that was LENIN's testicles, so that everyone can see them.]

Alice : Well, they're clearly not Clint's.

Stephen : Alice, please! Put those away! Poor Lenin, seemed like a good sort, once you got past his grumpy, silent, bald exterior. [Clicks his fingers] Hey, Tom said that one of the soul santuarys would become active as soon as one of us died! Check your bags for anything unusual! [Starts to rummage through his bag] Yaah! Found it! [Lifts up a magazine called The Hairy Buttock, which, judging from the front photograph, contains plenty.] Thought I'd lost this ages ago! [Goes back to searching his bag]

Austin : [Holds Maplin out to Alice] There we are, my sweet, feast your eyes upon the most beautiful object in existence. [To all] Relish your good fortune in being privvy to my beauty [Looks adoringly at Maplin] You may call him Maplin, in time you may become more comfortable in his presence, as you grow acustomed to your own drab, grey, uglyness. [Looks at the party] There, do you all feel better now? [Gets out his pocket mirror and admires himself, almost a tear of admiration in his eye]

Alice : [Putting the testicles down] To be quite honest, Aus, it makes me all the more upset that it was Lenin who died, and not someone who spends his time insulting the rest of the party with such foppery that makes Withnail look like he came from Newcastle. A party member is dead, and all you can do is drone on about that damned limp wrist of yours, which, if the amount of physical masturbation you do is even remotely as much as the mental masturbation you force us all to watch, should be rippling with muscles. We've got a bad guy to kill, so how about we start moving?

Stephen : [Stunned] Wha..wha...wha...sp! What a wanker!

Alice : [Still glaring at Austin] Did anyone notice anything strange after Lenin died? And no, I don't mean Austin here twisting an already twisted situation to talk about himself and insult the rest of us. Did anyone get an indication that they might be holding a soul sanctuary?

Stephen : [Still shaking his head in disbelief] I feel nauseated, but that has nothing to do with a soul sanctuary. No Alice, and I've checked my bag to see if anything in there looked, or felt different.

Alice : Maybe Austin had it? Maybe, when it was activated, it suddenly made him horrendously obnoxious? [Considers for a moment] Nah, he was always like that. [Looks at Austin in disgust and shakes her head]

Austin : [To Alice] Of course, my little sugar plum. Have you realised yet what a worthless, waste of time the good doctor is? Surely you must have realised by now how much better off you would be with my good self. We would make such a fine couple. [To Stephen] That, my friend is slander. I hope for your sake that you can prove it.

Alice : [Ignoring Austin, speaking to Clint and Stephen] So, what's the plan?

Austin : [Doing the rally and enthuse the troops with hope speech pose] We cannot wait for Pestilence to come to us, we must take the fight to him before he regenerates. Those too wounded to fight hand to hand should be equiped ready with projectile weapons, Alice, Chastity and myself. Those able to fight hand to hand shall do so valiantly with swords, Clint, Stephen. In this way we shall defeat Pestilence. I shall help Alice through the traps, Stephen would you help Chastity, Clint take point, and I expect that the good doctor will just follow us along like a zombie. Perhaps you could use him for a shield, Clint.

Alice : [Looks at Austin with a sneer] The only time you will ever help me, Mr. Sleaze, is when you help yourself to me, after I've died, because, sir, I suspect such is your horrific arrogance, outrageous self-opinion and all round inability to deal with others, that is the only way you will ever get close to another person. [Turns her back on him, holding her hand out to Jerome] Jerome, you can help me. The rest of you, get your weapons out. Clint, I think you should lead.

Clint : Does that mean that he's a vulture? [Starts leading the party through the left side, with Lenin's head under his arm]

Alice : [As Clint walks out] It means he's scum.

[The party leave the clearing, and follow the map. The glass house is huge, and full of absolutely enormous, badly drawn trees. It is difficult to see the tops of them because it is so bright.]

Alice : [Squinting in the light] Is that something up ahead? [Points into the distance.]

[ALICE is pointing at a number of huge spiders. Suddenly they appear in various positions around the party.]

Austin : Clint, throw Lenins head to them, it may distract them, and it is of no financial value anyway.

Chastity: I really can't get over what a good job the gardener has done here. Just look at those herbaceous borders. [Spots the spiders] Gah! [Takes out her set of blessed throwing knives that double as steak knives]

Stephen : [Spots the spiders] Nooooooooooo! I can't take much more of this! [Hides behind Chastity]

[The spiders quickly advance, acting far more deliberate than one would normally expect. CLINT is set upon by five of the spiders, three of whom try to bite him, and two of which are successful.]

Alice : [Clinging to Jerome] Thank Phili I've a big strong man to protect me!

Jerome : [Clinging to Alice] Where? Will he protect me too?

[Chomp. JEROME is attacked by one of the spiders, and screams in surprise and pain.]

[STEPHEN, behind his shield of CHASTITY remains safe, but she is bitten by a spider, as is AUSTIN. CHASTITY falls to the ground, unconscious.]

Pestilence : [Out of view, but very much in earshot] Wohaha! Two down!

Alice : [Trying to prise Jerome off her] What are we going to do? They seem to know that Clint is the strongest. And look! Those two up there are building a web! And [in disbelief] that guy in over by the tree, he's eating curds and whey!

Stephen : [As Chastity falls] Oh no! [Looks around for someone else to hide behind] Ah damn! [Attacks the nearest spider with his knife]

Austin : [Gets out his spray deoderant/aftershave and a lighter in an attempt to use them as a flame thrower on the spider attacking him] Take this [Sprays flame on the spider]

[AUSTIN's spiders gives a peculiar kind of scream and catches fire, but carries on attacking, as does one of CLINT's, that has moved in to help. The burning spider, clearly in agony, fails to bite, but the other is successful.]

[STEPHEN stabs his spider, who tries to bite back, but is unsuccessful.]

[CHASTITY's spider proceeds to start chewing away on her.]

[ALICE swings at JEROME's spider and hits, but the spider bites JEROME.]

[CLINT swings and kills one of his spiders, but three of the others attack, all making contact.]

Alice : This isn't going to work, someone's going to have to make a break for it! Ow, Jerome, you're hurting me! Ms. Muffet : [Running past the scene, screaming] Aiiiieeee!

Austin : [Makes a break for it, back past Stephen and Alice and out of the right hand side of the traps, and makes for the far side of the spiders Web, avoiding traps, to where he believes the weak and weary Pestilence is] Let's go!

Stephen : [Attacks the spider chewing on Chastity] A break for it where? We can't go back, and the way forward is blocked by a web!

[STEPHEN skewers CHASTITY's spider, and kills it, but receives a bite from a spider near AUSTIN for his trouble.]

[AUSTIN makes a break for it, deftly avoiding bodies, testicles and spiders, and dodges around the web. Unfortunately, as he does so, there is a bang, and a shower of sparks that sends him flying across the clearing, landing in a crumpled heap, unconscious.]

Pestilence : [Still out of sight, singing] Den den den, another bites the dust!

[All the spiders near ALICE and JEROME home in, but all three attack JEROME, and hit.]

Alice : Jerome is unconscious! [Thinks for a moment] Maybe he'll be more use now.

[CLINT swings, and kills another spider, but is bitten by two more. Enter PESTILENCE bursting through the huge cobweb.]

Pestilence : [Big smile] Wow, its you lot again - I just can't believe my eyes. [Holds up what appear to be Lenin's eyes, and points them at the party] Nope! Can't believe Lenin's eyes either!

Stephen : [Strikes at the spider] What do you mean, Clint! We don't know what the soul sanctuaries are! Damn, we're in a tight spot!

[LENIN's head falls to the ground, hitting a particularly sharp rock.]

[CLINT and STEPHEN swing at their spiders, each hitting one. CLINT kills his, while STEPHEN's is injured.]

Alice : [Swinging at and killing a spider] What the hell is the use of the soul sanctuaries if we're all dead?

[ALICE's spiders hold their ground, and don't advance.]

Pestilence : [Puts his hand over Clint's face, and pushes him back onto the ground] I know where they are, and I'll have them now, please.

[The two web-spinning spiders begin to advance on CLINT.]

Stephen : They seem to be keeping away from Alice! [Picks up Chastity and places her right next to Alice]

Clint : [Kicks Lenin's head onto Pestilence and moves as close as possible to Alice] Alice, you must have the soul sanctuaries! Can you feel anything different?

[As STEPHEN bends to lift CHASTITY, one particularly sneaky spider sinks its teeth into him, he collapses on the ground unconscious.]

[LENIN's head flies at PESTILENCE, who traps it on his chest, dropping it down to his right knee, and then solos it for a bit, before flicking it up high.]

Pestilence : [Shouting] He shoots! [The head comes down and he catches it on the volley, sending it into the remains of the web] He scores! Scorchio! Gooooooooooooooooooooooooal Lazio! [Dives onto the grass and slides along]

Alice : [To Clint] I don't have them! I've been through all my stuff, and I don't! Where the hell could they be?

Pestilence : [Looks up from where he's lying on the grass with a serious face] But enough fun. [Stands up] Its time.

Clint : Well, what have you received in strange ways lately? Apart from your babies, that is? [Pauses] [Air of surprise] Wait a minute! He [points at Jerome] obviously can't be the father, he hardly can move! So... could it be that the babies are the soul sanctuaries?

Alice : What? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!

Pestilence : [Starts a slow clap] Well done Clint. It was obvious, they aren't babies, they are soul sanctuaries. How else would you manage to get them into the city? How else could you carry them without even knowing you had them? [Walks over, and catches Clint by the shoulder, throwing him to the ground] I'll have them now please. [Bends over Alice, with a scalpel in his hand.]

Clint : Nooooooooooooooooooooooo! [Throws a blow with his sword to Pestilence's back, in the same fashion that Tom Sellsick had done previously] You're not touching the bimbo!

[The sword just bounces off PESTILENCE, who turns to CLINT.]

Pestilence : Only magical weapons, remember? [Holds Alice down and pushes the scalpel up against her.]

[Suddenly part of the roof of the glasshouse smashes, sending tiny shards of glass down.]

Pestilence : [Looking up] What the?

[Enter SVEN GORING, PETER DEADPAN and BEAUCAPHALUS (being held by SVEN), sliding down ropes. BEAUCAPHALUS is singing the "Ride of the Valkyries".]

Beaucaphalus : Hang on, Stinky, the cavalry is here.

Clint : About time, for fuck's sake! [Will attempt to grab Beaucaphalus if possible] [Tries to make Pestilence trip by kicking his legs] Bimbo, do something will ya?

Sven : [Laughs at Clint] Haw! He never changes! [Throws Beaucaphalus to Clint] I knew they'd still be alive.

Peter : Fantastic. And there you were, thinking that there wasn't enough time for that extra mug of coffee.

Pestilence : [Stands up, and turns to face them, with a self-deprecating smile] Oh dear. I guess this is it. [Looks at Clint] Come on, Stinky, you do the business. [Stabs himself, hari-kari style with the scalpel, and falls to his knees, head bent invitingly in front of Clint.]

Clint : [Catching Beaucaphalus] Now now, that suddenly sounds too suspicious! How about we trap you in one of the soul sanctuaries instead? [Trows a blow at Pestilence's right arm instead of the head]

[BEAUCAPHALUS slices through PESTILENCEs arm.]

Beaucaphalus : Aw come on, one nut! Lets cut his head off!

Pestilence : [Slips, but uses his left arm to stay balanced, before looking up at Clint] A bit of torture, eh, Clint? Be careful, I bite back. [Pulls the scalpel out of his stomach and makes a lunge for Clint's crotch]

Alice : Kill him, Clint!

Clint : [Takes a blow at Pestilence's scalpel holding arm] But that's exactly what he wants! Alice, Sven, Peter and Beaucaphalus : Its what I want too!

[CLINT swings and removes the hand, which is sent flying into some undergrowth. PESTILENCE propels himself using his feet, and somehow ends up going head first into CLINT's crotch. Chomp.]

Sven : Ach! [Covers his eyes and crosses his legs.]

[CLINT screams out, and is so high pitched that every pane of glass in the glasshouse shatters.]

Alice : Do nephews of the devil get lockjaw?

Clint : [With a Speedy Gonzales voice] Aie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [Throws a blow at Pestilence's head]

Alice : Arriba!

[CLINT slices off PESTILENCE's head, causing his body to fall to the ground.]

Alice : [Still covering herself from the falling glass] Er, Clint, I think there's something stuck to the from of your pants.

Sven : [As Peter begins tending to the wounds of the others] Hah! [Punches Clint hard on the shoulder, almost knocking him, and causing the clamped on head to shake painfully] That kind of pain is nothing to a hero like Clint!

Clint : [With eyes nearly popping out] Aye caramba! [Carefully puts away his tortured instrument of pleasure] [In extremely high pitched voice] No jokes. Please.

Alice : Okay, I won't tell the others about how Pestilence gave you some head.

[PETER appears to have given some healing potion to each of the others, and everyone is regaining consciousness.]

Alice : Crikey! Lenin could regain consciousness after having his head cut off.

Sven : No, young lass, I'm afraid old Lenin is dead.

Alice : [Sadly] Better red than dead, huh?

Clint : [Betty Boop voice] Here, I'll show you Lazio's latest reinforcement for next season! [Kicks Pestilence's head towards the spider net]

Chastity: [Groggily] Wha.. what happened?

[Goal! PESTILENCE's head ends up alongside LENIN, looking strangely like they are kissing each other.]

Sven : [Squeezing Chastity's shoulder] Your party did a great thing, that's what happened. Pestilence is dead, and the world is a better place because of it.

Alice : [Painfully stretching her foot] You know, of course, what we must do next?

Clint : [Massaging his hurt pride] Sure he does: we must get the hell out of here! [Exceedingly high pitch voice] Right?

Alice : [With a slightly insanse look] Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of heading into Dirty Bettys, getting totally trashed and smashing the place up.

Austin : [Stands up] Oh, my goodness [Whips out a mirror and starts checking his comliness, de-fluffs] Excellent. [Looks around, sees the body of Pestilence, and his head next to Lenins, then looks at Clint] What is that disgusting saliva looking like gunk upon your genital area Clint? [Sees Sven and the others] Greetings Sven. And it is most plesant to see you again Beaucaphalus, how are you? I hope they did not treat you badly in Cointreau. [Straightens his cuff. To Alice] Excellent idea, I shall purchase each person here present, and alive, one drink each upon entering the drinking establishment in the undercity known as Dirty Bettys. However, I accept no resposiblility whatsoever, for any damages caused to property or person, that are claimed to be the result of the aforementioned action of buying you all a drink, in the manner previously stated. I reserve the rights to change my mind at any time and accept no liabilitys whatsoever, if it should be the case that I am unable to fulfill my aformentioned offer.

Jerome: [Looks about groggily, noticing the array of bodily parts] What weird things happen with these strange folk.

[The search of LENIN's head and arm takes about second, and only results in the discovery of his Party Ring.]

Alice : [To Austin] Does that mean you apologise for your callous and uncaring manner earlier? [Smiles] I knew you couldn't keep it up, Aus, because, although we all know that you're an arrogant, selfish and egotistical, we do know that you're a really nice, caring guy.

Sven : Haw! [Puts a huge arm around Austin] I love it! The first call already booked! Now, unless there's some reason to delay, we should get out of this place. [Looks at the spiders, that have just remained frozen in place] To be honest, team, this place freaks me out.

Peter : [Sitting on one of the spiders, as though it is a huge pouffe] Well, I find it all very cosy.

Stephen : [Takes the party ring and gives it to Alice] I suppose you should give this to his family when you get back to Queens View. Well, it's either that or his testicles! [To Sven] Okay, let's get out of here! Alice, do you need some help? Seeing as I sort of feel responsible for your leg and all.

Alice : [Takes the ring and puts it on, but its too big and falls off.] Hmm. [Picks it up and tries it again, but it is still too big and falls off again. Tries a third time, and, yet again, it falls off.] Sigh, I guess those communist made rings just don't have the quality! [Pops it into her bag, before turning to Stephen] I suppose you are responsible, but you were only trying to help, and, given the new atmosphere of co-operation that Austin here has started, I won't hold it against you. [Picks up Beaucaphalus] If you don't mind, I'll use you to help me into town, seeing as you're such a big, handsome sword and all.

Beaucaphalus : My pleasure.

[Exit ALL.]

[Book II, Act IV, Scene X. The Under City. Thursday 6.40PM. JEROME, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, ALICE, CLINT, STEPHEN, SVEN, PETER and BEAUCAPHALUS THE WONDER CRUTCH are here, walking into the town. There is a large number of townspeople gathered along the streets, and the mood seems downright ugly. Although all the party can now move under their own steam, everyone is clearly very badly injured. In particular, CHASTITY's face is badly scarred from the acid, CLINT is limping almost as badly as ALICE, and ALICE is using BEAUCAPHALUS as a crutch. CLINT has his sword out, with PESTILENCE's head skewered onto it, and is holding it against his shoulder. The group slowly stagger into the town.]

Alice : Looks like there's a welcoming committee.

Clint : Just as long as they don't stand between me and my bottle, I'm happy.

[Enter JACK, pushing his way to the front of the crowd.]

Jack : There they are - they're not Pestilence's Malefic's, they're the Queens View party. Lets get them, and hold them prisoner for Pestilence!

Stephen : Well Jack, I'm sure Pestilence will be head over heels to know that you've captured us! [Points to Pestilences severed head] Wow, colour me impressed!

Austin : [To Jack] Pestilence is our buddy now. We had a bit of a scrap, but now we are all off to the pub to have a drink together, is that not so Pesto? [Looks at the head] My, my lost for words!

Jack : [Suddenly his nice clean trousers take on a stain similar to the one he had earlier] Oh.

[As the party carry on, the crowd spread apart, letting them all through, and right up to the door of DIRTY BETTYs. A huge wind was started up, blowing tiles off roofs and picking up the occasional small child and depositing them in amusingly tall trees.]

Dirty Betty : [Standing at the door of the bar] I hope you bunch of bastards don't think you're coming in here!

Chastity: Clint, show the good hostess our invitation.

Betty : [Folds her arms and sneers at Chastity] There's no invitation that could ever get you in here.

Stephen : Hello Betty, surely Pestilence remembered to tell you we'd be here for a few drinks this afternoon. Tut! You know what he's like, he'd forget his own head if it wasn't stuck on our spike!

Betty : [Face drops as she sees what Clint is carrying] Er, you had better come in.

[As all the party troop in, the weather outside gets worse. There are a few other customers inside, who all get up and leave as the party stagger to a table.]

Alice : '782 GrinGrippers all round! Austin's paying!

Clint : Betties, bring me the [high pitched voice] strongest [back to normal] drink you have around. Actually, bring the bottle, since the nice and friendly lawyer is paying.

Austin : [Nods at Alice. Jingles a pouch with precisely the correct amount of the appropriate currency, at Betty] One for yourself Betty, you are looking abit 'Peaky'.

Stephen : [To Sven] So, how did you know that we'd confront Pestilence in the glasshouse? And secondly, what do we do about Alices soul sanctuarys?

Betty : Thanks, I'll have the last glass of Louis XIV. [Grabs a bottle and horses it back.]

[Everyone sits around the table.]

Sven : [To Stephen] Haw! I love your enthusiasm - you know, I remember how suspicious you were of us at the start, and here we are, after saving the lot of you, and you still are. Haw! I love it. [Serious face] But of course, you are entitled to answers - quite simply, Peter and I are both Hierophantic Knights.

Clint : [Extremely pitched] Ah! [Normal] Oups. Sorry about that. [To Sven] What the hell? If ye were the knights, how come you didn't stand with us all the way, to fight the shit-lovin'-scumbag?

Sven : Because Pestilence would have spotted us immediately. [Leans in to the party] What was needed was a group of apparent misfits and wasters to launch the attack.

Alice : [Puzzled] But we were chosen instead?

Sven : [Smiles] Like I said, misfits and wasters. Pestilence wouldn't have realised exactly who you are - if he did, he'd have crushed you in an instant.

Clint : Ok, ok, but you had the Beaucaphalus! Why didn't you let us take it? It might have a tongue longer than its blade, but it does come in handy from time to time! [Downs his drink] Betties, where's that bottle?

Stephen : My goodness, but you're very free and easy about whose lives you put at risk, aren't you! We've lost one of our members here, don't forget.

Chastity: [To Betty] Can I get a small glass of sweet sherry please. [To Sven] What does Hierophantic mean?

Austin : [Puts his feet up on the table and leans back admiring his shoes, then sips his drink gingerly, as if he remembers how no one remembered what happened the last time we were here] The 'Hierophant' is a holy man, a wise teacher, in this case a holy knight, a warrior priest to boot!

Clint : Whatever. [To Betty] Since you seem a bit lost, I'll just help myself to the bar. [To Pestilence's head] Don't go anywhere, be back in a minute! [Heads over to the bar]

[Some drinks arrive at the table.]

Sven : [Taking a beer, and holding it up to Austin as though toasting him] Thank you sir, a good interpretation. The Hierophantic Knights interpret secret scrolls of Phili, that have been handed down from generation to generation. Much of our future, particularly titanic life and death struggles, are mapped out in the scrolls - not in great detail, but enough for us to have an idea of what kind of thing is likely to happen. We knew that your party has a special place in the grand scheme of things.

Alice : You mean, we're on a mission from God?

Sven : [With Peter Gunn playing in the background] That's correct, we'll sort you out with shades and dark suits later on. [To Clint] Remember, Clint, we didn't have Beaucaphalus - you left it behind in Cointreau. It was our mission to make sure you got to the town; we couldn't go to Pestilence's place with you, so we returned to get the sword. [Takes another drink, as though satisfied]

Alice : But what about what Stephen said? Risking our lives and all?

Sven : I'm sorry to hear about Lenin, but I didn't choose your party, Phili did.

Betty : [Putting the empty bottle of Louis XIX down in front of Clint, and turning to Austin] The bill? That's 2 GP for the drinks for you and your friends, and 114GP for the Louis XIV brandy - thanks very much, it was delicious.

Betty : [As Clint walks passed her towards the bar] Oi! Where the fuck do you think you're going? I'm gonna kill you! [Pulls out a sawn off, double barrel crossbow.]

Alice : Ahem. [Taps Pestilence with Beaucaphalus.]

Beaucaphalus : If there's any killing to be done, I'll be doing it, and I'll be doing it to you, barmaid.

Betty : Er, what I meant was, help yourself.

Clint : Thanks Betts! [Taps her on the bottom] So anyway Sven, that means you know the way back to Cointreau. So how about we get back there once we're finished with our drinks? [Starts looking for a bottle of Louis XIV or Jameson behind the bar]

Austin : [Returns Svens toast. Throws the pouch of Gold to Betty. To Sven] So what, prey tell, comes next. Is the 'mystery' solved or is it back to Cointreau to fight the amusingly bad tempered Torque?

Sven : [To Clint] I'm afraid you won't be able to get back to Cointreau, there's no way back up to the stairs. [To the others] I don't know what happens next - only the inner circle of Knights is privvy to that information.

Austin : Perhaps some one could build me a dirigible of some form. To carry the party to the stair.

Stephen : [To Sven] What about the soul sanctuaries, what's Alice suppposed to do about those? [Sips his drink] Thanks Austin.

Jerome : [To Austin] Ah, you'll be thinking of the the Dr. Jerome K. Trindle BSc. PhD aeronotic helium based hoverplane, patent pending. A good suggestion, Austin, but it is highly unlikely a city such as this would contain the necessary raw materials.

[Everyone stares at JEROME, but he is busy making notes on a napkin.]

Alice : Jerome? Does this mean that -

Jerome : [Holding up a hand to silence her] Hush, dearest Alice, I am attempting to calculate the probability that there is the requisite amount of helium and pigskin in this town.

Sven : [To Stephen] You know, I'm kind of wondering about that myself.

Alice : What?

Sven : Well, they were inserted when you were all outside the Pyramid of Giza, by an undercover Knight. I'm not sure how they can be removed, but we do have the technology to remove a party member from one of them.

Alice : Outside the pyramid? But that was months ago!

Stephen : Do you know if the sanctuaries contain anything?

Sven : [Exchanging a glance with Peter] Yes, one of them does contain a soul.

Austin : Just out of interest, can you tell if it is Pestilences soul or Lenins soul?

Sven : No - but these are special soul santuaries - only one of the chosen group can enter the sanctuary.

Alice : Chosen group? What chosen group?

Sven : Your party has already met a Hierophantic Knight, who should have told you about this. Do you remember Marasmus Bane?

Alice : In the pyramid? When we had the shared dream?*

Sven : [Smiles] Ah! The dream will have told you who is in the group. Only one of them may enter the soul sanctuary, as it has been deemed crucial that none of your group perish. At least before you have fulfilled your destiny.

Stephen : [To Alice] Was I in the dream?

Alice : [Makes to say something, but looks around at the others for help. Needless to mention she gets none, so speaks quietly, avoiding eye contact with Stephen] No.

Stephen : [Says nothing, just looks at his glass]

Alice : [Says nothing, but looks at Stephen, trying to gauge his reaction]

Chastity: [Puts her hand on Stephen's back and looks at the floor with sadness]

Stephen : [Stares at his glass a moment longer, before blinking a few times] Ow, I have an eyelash in my eye! [Runs teary eyed to the toilets]

[Silence descends on the party for a few moments.]

Alice : [With relief] Phew! I think that went pretty well - for a moment I thought poor old Stephen was going to cry! [Takes a long drink, before putting the glass down with a bang] Hey, if I'm not really pregnant, does that mean I can drink?

Chastity: [To the others in a hushed tone] What should we do with him?

Clint : [Finally finding a bottle of Louis XIV] Oh for fuck's sake, we're not going to start a whole moaning session again, are we? [Pulls the cork out of the bottle with his teeth]

Alice : [Turning around and looking at Clint] We have to do something! We can't just leave him here. [Looks at Dirty Betty, who has been standing beside the table listening to everything] Go away!

[Exit DIRTY BETTY.]

Clint : [To Alice] Well, go get him then! I bet it won't be the first time you go inside the men's toilet anyway! [Downs half of the bottle]

Clint : [Starts getting a red face, smoke coming out of his ears] What the fuck is this!?!?!? [Looks at the bottle] Arrrrrrrrrrrhg! [Pukes, and runs to the toilets holding his stomach]

Alice : What's the betting that this IS the first time he's gone and done that in a toilet!

Jerome : [Finished his calculations] It is the belief of Dr. Jerome K. Trindle BSc PhD that there is but a .01% probability of discovering helium in this town. I suggest we find another way out of the town.

Sven : Well, actually, we have a different way out, we - Alice : Hold on a second! This whole [waves her hands around] soul sanctuary, Hierophantic Knight thing means that Jerome didn't take advantage of me?

Sven : Correct. You were drugged to prevent any, er, unwanted visitors messing up the soul sanctuaries.

Alice : [Angrily to Jerome] Is that the respect you have for me? That you wouldn't even have sex with me when I was unconscious? Well, let me tell you, Dr. Jerome K. Trindle BSc PhD, I've never been out with a man who behaved like that, and I'm not going to start now. If you'd had the good grace to give me an engagement ring, I'd take it off and throw it at you, but you didn't, so this [picks up her beer] will have to do instead. [Finishes the beer, and throws the glass at Jerome. Bonk. It smacks him straight in the forehead. She turns and heads towards the toilet, but mistakenly opens the men's door, before screaming] OH MY GOD! What the hell are you doing, Clint? [Slams the door, and stands with her back to the wall, shivering.]

Clint : [Coming out of the toilets, blank face, stain in trousers] What did you expect? The toilet seat is broken, and the ladie's door is locked, Sickberg is crying inside there; I had to use the sink! Don't look so shocked! [Heads back to the bar] Hooooowoooo, my stomach...

Alice : If I had to be in the same room as someone doing what you just did Clint, I'd be crying too.

Clint : [Again behind the bar] But you weren't, so please spare me the tears and the moaning, will ya? [Throws the fake Louis XIV bottle to a corner, smashing it in little pieces] If I get my hands on Bettie...

Alice : Talking to you is enough to reduce anyone to tears. [Looks over at the shell-shocked and silent Jerome] But at least you can talk, I suppose.

Clint : And listening to you is enough to make anyone sick. [Picks up a bottle, opens it, smells the liquid, and sends it flying to the same bottle-smashing corner] Is there any drink in this bar that isn't a fake?!

Alice : I think the pure bile spewing forth from your mouth is probably real.

Clint : And I think you've been spending too much time with the lawyer - you're starting to speak just like him. [Looks at a Jameson bottle with a greenish liquid inside] Yuck!

Alice : I think I've been spending too mujch time with you, Clint, because I feel like farting. [Sits down again]

Clint : Then by all means do so! But be careful, one of the soul sanctuaries might come out through the wrong hole... [Keeps fiddling with bottles, glasses and one-week-old sandwiches behind the bar]

Jerome: [Rubs his forehead, still looking stunned at Alice and Clint] Jerome K. Trindle did believe that Alice meant to throw that bottle at Pestilence's forehead, as that seems to be the cause of all this commotion. Were it not for him, not of this under-handed behaviour by all and sundry would have taken place.

Alice : [Bewildered] Underhanded behaviour? What about your underhanded behaviour back at the pyramid, mister? That was Pestilence's fault too, I suppose! [Looks over at the toilet] What are going to do about Stephen? [Looks back at the others] You know, he was in the bathroom when Clint threw up - do you think he'll be okay?

Austin : [Looking into his glass, having only had three sips, sniffing it lightly] Why are we arguing? Harve is in Alice, and we are in hostile territory, hundreds of miles from home. We are drinking drinks served to us by some one who would probably quite like to kill us and we are all severly wounded with only one soul sanctuary left. Let us move it. [Gets up puts on a pair of 'Blues brothers' type shades and goes to the bar to see if there is anything worth stealing - hidden safes, loose brick etc]

Alice : And where, Austin, do you suggest we move it?

Sven : Actually, old girl I have a -

Alice : Sh! Lets all hear what Austin has to say.

Austin : [Looks up from behind the bar] I can see that my attempt at 'factory' street talk has failed. I shall re-iterate my intended meaning in a clear statement. We are all nearly dead. We need to leave this hostile territory. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we may solve these two problems?

Peter : I think if we all just sit around here bickering and breaking bottles, the way forward will just magically appear.

Alice : [Glaring at Peter] That's how we've conducted ourselves since the party was formed, and we haven't faired too badly so far.

Sven : Actually, team, Peter and I will be able to help you there. The way the Hierophantic Knights operate is that each Knight is only ever given a small bit of information about any particular activity - in your case, we knew you'd end up in the glass house, but we've no idea where you can go from here. We can get you out of here, show you where to get your wounds healed and release whoever is in the soul sanctuary, but happens after that is up to you.

Alice : Well, if its up to me, I think we should go on a long holiday to Jamaica.

Austin : [Sidles up to Alice] Excellent idea, Alice. Not just a pretty face after all.

Stephen : [Kicks open the toilet door, green faced, and collapses onto his hands and knees on the bar floor, gasping for breath] Typical! I leave you lot alone for a private moment to myself, and next thing I know, some buffoon is spraying the walls with some vile corrosive stinking, acidic substance, six inches from my head! [Get's up from the ground and sits down with the party]

Alice : [Smiles at Austin] Excellent praise, Austin. Not just a pretty arm after all. Jamaica, here we come!

Sven : [Drinks his beer] Haw! I love it! They've just scraped through a life or death situation and already they want to take the most treacherous journey imaginable.

Alice : I thought Jamaica was fun?

Sven : It is, but it is four thousand miles away, across jungle, desert and every kind of crazed lunatic imaginable will try and get in your way.

Alice : [Makes a face as she thinks really hard] Would there be a guy who shaves all his body hair off, paints himself red and goes "whop" every second Tuesday?

Sven : More than likely.

Alice : Man, that guy gets around!

Alice : Actually, Stephen, [points to his hair gingerly] I think it might have been a bit closer than that!

Stephen : [Looks at his ruined hair in a piece of smashed bar mirror and sighs. To Sven] Do you have a way of getting out of here?

Sven : Yes, we do. We have a sphere of location shifting, which can use to escape the Under City. We had better use it soon, because the city will become unstable without Pestilence - I'm not sure what will happen, but it is likely to be earthquakes, terrible storms, tidal waves, that kind of thing.

Stephen : [Shudders] I'm no fan of disaster movies, so I think we should get out of here! I mean, did anyone ever see the film about an earth quake hitting New York? Oh..my..God!

Peter : Was it one of yours?

Sven : [Produces a glowing orb from his backpack] This will bring us to a conveniently prebooked hotel room in Hysteria, where we will be able to appear without causing any panic.

Alice : Hysteria? You're going to bring us to Hysteria?

Sven : Yes, we wanted to avoid Cointreau, given the fact that the Kennys are pursuing you lot, and now Peter and me too, after we freed Beaucaphalus, and Hysteria is the next nearest town. So, unless there are any more bottles you wish to break, I suggest we get out of here.

Clint : [Drinking directly from the beer tap] Be right there, just topping up!

Stephen : [Nods his head] Yeah, let's get out of here. This town only holds bad memories and disappointments.

Austin : [Takes the gp from behind the bar and sets up and incendery with a small bottle of aftershave and a lit candle. Hurredly walks back to the others] Let us depart before this place explodes.

Clint : What the fuck?? But I haven't stopped drinking yet! [Hurriedly picks up three bottles from the bar] Yickes!

Alice : [With disgust] Austin! Are you really going to burn this place down? Again?

Sven : Well, using the sphere of location shifting will cause a huge fire anyway, so it won't make that much of a difference.

[Everyone gathers around the sphere, and, with a few words of incantation, are enveloped in a blinding white light, causing them all to disappear. Enter DIRTY BETTY.]

Betty : Oh wait, please, wait for me - I've seen the error of my ways, and want to change - I want to do good, to help others, to change the bar into an orphanage, to collect for starving children in -

[She is cut off by a small explosion, which sets her on fire.]

Betty : Aiieee!