by Alan Caum

MiSTed by Daphne Lawless

[Season 6 Opening Sequence. Satellite of Love Bridge. Deserted apart from Crow. T. Robot, busily typing away at a computer screen, muttering as he types.]

CROW T. ROBOT: "Dear Daphne... of course you have my vote in the upcoming House of Keys election. You're the smartest and sexiest candidate on offer, and I support the New Vision 100%. By the way, I spilt Diet Dr. Pepper on your copy of Tales From Topographic Oceans... I hope you're not too upset... sincerely, Lucinda Raven." And hit send... all done!

MIKE NELSON: (wandering in with a big box labelled "SPARE PARTS") Crow?

CROW: (flips around in shock) YAAAAH! Don't sneak up on me like that!

MIKE: Hey, Frank down in Deep 13 just sent us this box of spare parts up the Umbilicus and I just thought I'd see whether you guys needed any repairs... Hey, whatcha doin'?

CROW: Um... oh, nothing, just talking to a chick from Penguinea.

MIKE: Oh... I see. Well, that's cool.

(wanders away for a few seconds... then wanders back)

MIKE: Uh, Crow?

CROW: (nervously, still staring at computer screen) Yes? Yes? Are you back again?

MIKE: Why are you talking to a penguin? Is this something to do with that Evangelion show?

CROW: (dramatic stage sigh) You ignorant meat puppet, you, the Free Commonwealth of Penguinea is an international self-governing community of about twenty people from all over the world, who meet via the internet. They have elections and pass laws and design new languages and all kinds of fun stuff like that.

MIKE: Oh. (silence) So it's like a model UN, only for nerds, right?

CROW: (gives MIKE evil stare of death)

MIKE: (looks over at screen, putting box down) So, who's this Daphne and why the heck are you signing yourself "Lucinda Raven"?

CROW: Okay, well, Daphne Lawless is one of the people who started Penguinea, and she's been helping me write my application to become a member. And lending me her collection of weird 1970's progressive rock. I figured any band called "Van Der Graaf Generator" must appeal to robots.

MIKE: ...okay. And... "Lucinda"?

CROW: Yeah... well... there'd be a little too much explaining to do if I told her I was a robot stuck in earth orbit by a mad scientist who forces us to watch terrible cheesy movies in an attempt to destroy our wills. So I told her I was a 31 year old horticulturalist and nude model from Skaggerak, Denmark.

MIKE: And she fell for this?

CROW: Well, I read on the Internet somewhere that all lesbians are sex-crased floozies, so I'm hoping if I flirt with her enough and send enough doctored nudie pics of myself she might send me a plane ticket so I can get the hell off this tin can!

MIKE: Crow, planes couldn't come to the Satellite.

CROW: (pause) Oh... yeah. (another, longer pause) Guess I should have thought of that, huh?

(silence for three seconds. Then a brief descending scream, and Tom Servo plummets from the ceiling, narrowly missing the other two.)

CROW: Wow, Tom! Hell of an entrance!

TOM SERVO: (gets to feet, dazed and groggy) My... head... hurts...

MIKE: Servo, what in blazes were you doing up there?

CROW: Are those suction cups on your back?

TOM: Yeah, they're suction cups, so what? Can't a robot attach himself to his own ceiling without you guys making a federal case out of it?

CROW: They're not very good suction cups, apparently.

TOM: Quiet, you!

MIKE: (resigned) Tom, do we want to know why you were doing this thing?

TOM: (sigh)...okay, if you must know, I was spying on Crow's communications.

MIKE: Spying? What for?

TOM: My own micronation! The Splendid Union of Servosylvania!

MIKE: (raises eyebrow) Oh... really?

TOM: Yeah! Servosylvania has declared war on the running-dog imperialists of the Commonwealth of Penguinea! It is vital that we gain all information that the Penguinean terrorist scum exchange amongst themselves!

CROW: What? You hyperpeculiarist swine, I'll shoot you!

(general uproar as the robots rush at each other)

MIKE: Guys! Hey, guys, cool it! (forcibly separates them) You know, if you can't play nicely you're on half-rations of RAM-chips for the next three weeks.

TOM: No! You can't do that! An army marches on its stomach!

MIKE: You're not an army, Tom. Matter of fact, you don't even have arms...

CROW: Yeah! I'm not scared of Tom... he's 'armless! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha...

MIKE: And don't you start. [red light starts flashing] Oh-oh, looks like Kissinger and Gromyko are calling. [hits light] Yes, sirs?

[Vidscreen opens. Deep 13, home base of mad green-coated scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester. Crammed with half-finished gadgets of all descriptions. The doctor's sidekick, TV's Frank, is standing at the console. The doctor is nowhere to be seen.]

FRANK: (barely above a whisper) Uh… hi, Mike… look, I don't have much time, but can I get that box of spare robot parts back from you? Dr F found out I sent them to you and now there's hell to pay…

MIKE: Um. Uh, gee, well, let's see, none of the robots seem to need fixing right now, so I guess that would be…

FRANK: (increasingly nervous) Yeah, y'see, the Doc says he needs them to finish his orbital mind-control laser and… oh no…

[Frank cuts and runs as Doctor Forrester, screaming at the top of his lungs, runs into view wielding an axe. Mike and the bots look away in disgust, and thankfully we cannot see the scene of carnage as he corners Frank in a dark recess, but we can hear the screams and chopping sounds…After a few moments, Dr. F reappears to view, smiling crazily, a few specks of blood on his labcoat, many more specks of blood on his axe.]

DR. FORRESTER: Ah, good evening, Mike... and robots. Sorry about the little… unpleasantness.

TOM: Oh my god, he killed Frank!

CROW: You bastard!

DR. FORRESTER: Oh shut up, Robo-Cartman, I didn't kill him very hard. He'll be back to work within the week, and this will teach him a valuable lesson about acceptable levels of workplace theft. (pauses, drops axe) Well, well, well. So the walking tin-cans have discovered the concept of computer nerds starting their own fictitious countries, has it? How revoltingly cute.

CROW: Hey! Penguinea no longer claims to be a country, since the unanimous approval in a May 1999 referendum of...

DR. F (interrupting): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, anyway, Nelson, I think you should be introduced to "micronationalism" yourself... the hard way. This is a rather disturbing entry from an ongoing Penguinean "soap opera", featuring the usual crowd of internet geeks as characters with the usual quotient of stupid injokes, written by a wannabe member called Alan Caum. I'm sure you'll find it... mindwrenchingly disgusting.

MIKE: A soap opera script? What happened to the cheesy sci-fi movies?

DR. F: (stares, puzzled for a moment) You know, I don't know. This script was just sitting there, in the pile of movies, right between I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Overdrawn at the Memory Bank... (snaps out of it) Oh, who cares where it comes from? You're going to be brain-dead zombies to my will in two hours time, I don't need to explain anything to you! See how you like "Penguinea Hills 90210: Apocalypse"! (evil cackle)

(Yellow light begins to flash on console. General pandemonium)



(All take their seats in the SoL theatre).

MIKE: It's going to be difficult to riff this if it's really that full of injokes.

CROW: That's okay, guys, I'll explain the references to you as they come along.

TOM: (sarcastically) Your generosity overwhelms me.



MIKE: Isn't that the title of an Emerson Lake and Palmer song?

CROW: (sings) Welcome back, my friends, to the fic that never ends...

written by Alan Caum


DEREK JACOBI VOICEOVER: Last time, on Penguin Hills 90210:

TOM: Hey, Derek Jacobi's in this? I, Claudius was cool!

MIKE: I think he's only doing the introductions, Tom.

TOM: Aww, what a gyp.


(Crisis Room - The Protector's Residence)

CROW: (as if reading from a guidebook) Protector - name for the former de-facto "president" of Penguinea, Evan Gallagher. Now replaced by three-person committee, the House of Keys.

MIKE: What kind of country is this if you have crises so often you need a special room for them?


HAVLIX: And you're sure he's dead?

ELLIOTT (under her breath): No.



TOM: (as Elliott, snivelling) No. I mean yes. I mean, uh, whatever you say, oh great one...

CROW: This Elliott needs to take some self-assertion lessons.

MIKE: Self-insertion lessons?

TOM: No, Alan Caum needs those.

GALLAGHER: So there is no further danger of Alan Caum's interference in Penguinean affairs... or Penguin Hills 90210?

CROW: We wish!

MIKE: Oh, be nice.

HARWOOD: It doesn't look that way.

DEPUYDT: Wait a minute. So you're not sure?

HARWOOD: I left him with a gaping wound in his chest and he was asking about last words. That work for you, mate?

MIKE: Ah, so this is how we know that Harwood is Australian.

TOM: Alan Caum, master of magic dialect!

CROW: (as Harwood) Yeah, mate, throw a couple of gapin' chest wounds on the barbie...

DEPUYDT: (shrugs) Okay.

ELLIOTT (to herself): Wait... did Rick just call someone "mate"?

TOM: (as Elliott) That's not Rick! That's a CLONE! CRUSH! KILL DESTROY!

CROW: Scarily enough, that's probably how Lisa Elliott would react.

MIKE: Hey, that's right, Crow, you know these people. You can point out when they're out of character.

CROW: No, that'd take too long. I'll tell you when they're in character.


HART: Alan Caum is probably dead, long live the Free Commonwealth!

ALL: Alan's probably dead, long live the Free Commonwealth!

ALL: (zombielike) Welcome to Penguinea, land of diversity.


(The Royal Palace at Cocoa City)

MIKE: Where the…?

CROW: It's the capital of another micronation that Lisa Elliott is the queen of, I think.

MIKE: (chuckles) What a strange name. Sounds like something out of Pokemon…

TOM: (startled) What? WHAT? If this is a Pokemon crossover I'm out of here…

CROW: Say, Tom, do you know if there's a penguin Pokemon?

TOM: Better fraggin' not be…

NEWS GUY: And in news from the Free Commonwealth of Penguinea...

ELLIOTT: Why do you always turn on the TV when the relevant bit comes on?

TOM: What the...? Wasn't she in Penguinea a couple of lines ago?

MIKE: Maybe they're right next to one another or something.

CROW: Or they've built really fast monoralis.

TOM: And who's she talking to here?

MIKE: I dunno. Some royal flunky whose only job is to turn TVs on?

NEWS GUY: ...called him a prick in public.

TOM: Is that anything like calling someone a taxi?

According to a report from the Office of the Protector, Alan Caum, underage prospective wannabe and centre of a recent debate over age requirements,

CROW: ... and shameless self-promoter...

was killed yesterday attempting to interfere in Penguin Hills 90210.

LAWLESS: Interfere?

TOM: (as News Guy) Yeah, you heard me! Interfere! Wanna make something of it?!?

NEWS GUY: The report goes on to babble at some length about some damnfool thing called "The Vortex".

MIKE: (as News Guy) ...which I won't read out to you because I can't be bothered. You are tuned to the Slacker News Network.

TOM: You know, I can't remember the last time I heard a newsreader use the words "damn fool".

ELLIOTT: Somehow I think that this is all... far from over.

ALL: (general groans of despair)


(A Range of Dark and Forbidding Mountains Beneath An Angry Red Sky)

TOM: This feature presentation from the Mordor Tourism Board!

MIKE: Are we still in Penguinea?

CROW: I just do not know.

DEEP AND IMPOSING VOICEOVER: Thus peace once more spread hir soft wings over the land.

MIKE: (as Blackadder) Soft, strong, and... thoroughly absorbent.

But in a distant and evil place, dark and sinister plots

MIKE: Oh, good, there is a plot around here somewhere.

were being laid with a cunning that could destroy that peace...

CROW: But for how long?


CROW: Thank you!

MIKE: Hey, no fair reading ahead!

(Lightning flickers in the roiling crimson sky.

MIKE: Hey, that sky was red only a couple of lines ago.

CROW: Must be coming near sunset in the Lair of Evil or wherever this is.

MIKE: Or the author's colour-blind.

After a long and terrible pause, the distant thunder sounds.)

CROW: (makes flatulent noises)

MIKE: (giggling) Stop that!

DEREK JACOBI: And now the conclusion of the longest period Penguin Hills 90210 has ever gone through without Rick Harwood writing....

TOM: ...the Emperor Augustus finally died, leaving Tiberius to rule in his place.

MIKE: Huh?

TOM: (haughtily) It's an I, Claudius riff, you ignorant unclassical human.

(Theme music is terrifying and apocalyptic -

BOTS: (sing "Who Do You Think You Are?" by the Spice Girls)


Title sequence resembles some of the cooler video bits from Command & Conquer)

TOM: Alan Caum, master of magic scenery!

MIKE: And owner of many computer games.


(Arrakis... Dune... desert planet.)

TOM: Wait! Did you hear that!

MIKE: Hear what?

TOM: Frank Herbert spinning in his grave.

(The absolute silence of a still desert night.

BOTS: (keep singing Spice Girls in a whisper)

MIKE: (dissolves in fits of laughter)

Above the endless undulation of the vast sand dunes,

CROW: (sleazy) Oh, yeah. Shake those dunes, baby.

thousands of stars shimmer in a mystic night sky.)

MIKE: My God, it's full of stars!!!

(The stillness is abruptly broken by a quiet rumbling.

MIKE: Okay, I think we've reached quota on flatulence jokes, Crow.

CROW: Awww...

The noise gets louder and louder until--

BOOM! A huge sandworm breaks the surface. From its gargantuan tripartite mouth

TOM: Wow, they must be paying Caum by the syllable.

a tiny figure can be glimpsed tumbling through the clouds of sand and dust raised by the enormous beast's passage.)

CROW: (starts to say something)


CROW: Oh, come on, Mike, Caum's handing the fart jokes to us on a plate now!

MIKE: No. We're better than that, guys.

ROSARIO: Damn you Dune fans... daaaamn yoooouu....

(all stare blankly at screen)

TOM: ...wow. That's the end of that scene, I guess.


(A Huge Cavern)

(A distant wind whispers through the kilometre-long underground fane.

TOM: (as Eliza Doolittle) The fane in Spain is mainly on the plain.

CROW: By George, I think she's got it!

A shaft of livid radiance

CROW: You mean light?

MIKE: Let's not jump to conclusions.

slices through the air from a hole in the roof, casting an eerie red glow

CROW: Or eerie crimson glow, we're not sure which.

on the ebon-robed figures gathered in the centre.)

TOM: Who do you suppose these guys are, Mike?

MIKE: Obviously not roofing contractors.

CROW: Possibly the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night.

TOM: You mean the Illuminated Brethren?

CROW: No, they meet three doors down the street.

MIKE: Well, if these are the Elucidated Brethren, when does the dragon turn up and fry them to a crisp?

TOM: The Terry Pratchett sketch, ladies and gentlemen.

VOICE: How much could be recovered?

VOICE: Nearly all, my Lord. The missing portions are unimportant to the completion of the whole.

CROW: I think this is the author talking about the episode here.

TOM: So, these missing portions would be...

MIKE: Well, the section explaining how Elliott got from Penguinea to Cocoa City in precisely no time flat, the section explaining what the hell relevance Dune has to the narrative, and the names of these black-clad Rent-a-Cultists here.

TOM: Oh yeah. Real unimportant.

VOICE: And the timetable?

VOICE: No variations.

VOICE: Excellent.

TOM: (as Voice) The commuter trains will run on schedule! BWAHAHAHAHA!!!

How soon will all be ready?

VOICE: At the turning of the Fifth Cycle, my Lord, no later.

TOM: (as Freddie Mercury) I want to ride my Fifth Cycle, I want to ride it where I like!

VOICE: You have done well, my servants. Now leave me. I wish to meditate on the future... our future... and the future of the One.

MIKE: (as Zathras) You... are the one who was.

TOM: (as Zathras) You... are the one who is.

CROW: (as Zathras) And you... you are the one who sucks. Go away.

VOICES: Yes, Lord.

CROW: (as underlings, muttering) Yeah, yeah, you big ebon-clad megalomaniacal freak...

(The distant figures scurry away, leaving one standing alone in the centre of the shaft of crimson light.)

CROW: (sings) In the Court of the Crimson Kiiiingggg....

TOM: Again with the red/crimson thing! They're different colours, Alan!

MIKE: What's the difference?

TOM: (nervous) Uhhh... well, crimson is sort of purpler, I think.


(Fort Cromwell)

ELLIOTT: Wait a minute! Hold the elevator!

CROW: (guidebook voice) Fort Cromwell - hypothetical "capital" of Penguinea.

TOM: And again, Lisa Elliott gets back from Cocoa City in a hell of a hurry!

MIKE: Penguinea has obviously advanced far beyond the rest of the world in teleportation technology.

HARWOOD (pressing hold button): What is it?

CROW: (as Elliott) It's a button that stops the elevator from leaving temporarily so that latecomers can get on, but that's not important right now.

ELLIOTT (dashing aboard): Shut the door.

HARWOOD: All right. (shuts doors)

TOM: Wow. Dig that for dramatic dialogue.

MIKE: No-one will be admitted during the heart-stopping door shutting scene!

Now what?

ELLIOTT (pressing 25th floor): Alan Caum's not dead.

HARWOOD: Lisa. I killed him myself. You were watching - you saw it yourself.

ELLIOTT: Then maybe he's come back.


ELLIOTT (handing him a file): Here. From the last episode.

HARWOOD: Well, I'll look at it, but I think you're just in need of a rest....

TOM: (as hypnotist) Yes, Lisa... you are getting sleepy... very sleepy... when you awake, you will cluck like a chicken every time someone says the word "crimson"!


(Radio Port Vampru HQ)

(Erik Rothwell sits dozing

CROW: ...surrounded by dozens of empty liquor bottles...

TOM: Huh?

CROW: Daphne says Erik's a drunk-ass.

TOM: Oh.

at one of the mixer boards as little lights blink on and off on the control panels all around him.)

CAUM VOICE: Erik....

TOM: (as Erik) Shut up! Shut up!

CROW: (as "Caum voice") Don't tell me to shut up, you spotty little bastard, I'm your conscience! You killed Neil, didn't you?

ROTHWELL: Gfstflbg.

TOM: Man, the spelling of these Penguinean constructed languages is just weird.


ROTHWELL: Mmm... bggroff.

MIKE: Someone ought to buy Rothwell a vowel or two for Christmas.


ROTHWELL (jerking awake):

CROW: Ewww! I don't think we're old enough to see this.

Huh? What?

CAUM VOICE: Listen Erik... you must leave here within three days.

ROTHWELL: What's going to happen?

CAUM VOICE: Something wonderful.


TOM: If this authorial voice tells Rothwell to build an Ark, I'm out of here.

CAUM VOICE: It's all very clear to me now.

ROTHWELL: Okay, why am I getting the spectral visitation from 2010?

MIKE: Well, we did the "full of stars" riff earlier on...

CAUM VOICE: Sorry... I just needed something spooky to say.

ROTHWELL: Aren't you dead?

CAUM VOICE: Yes. And no.


MIKE: Oh, so this is how we know that Rothwell is Canadian.

TOM: The Master of Magic Dialect strikes again!


(A Huge Cavern)

MIKE: Echo!

TOM: Echo!

CROW: Echo!

(Once more the wind rasps through the upper reaches of the Cyclopean hall;

MIKE: You know, I really hope a Cyclops comes out and eats all these guys.

TOM: Sadly, this isn't a Xena fanfic.

once more the sinister robed and hooded figures take their places within the circle of blood-red light.)

CROW: Now are you sure that's blood-red, Alan? Because you won't be allowed to shift back to crimson for at least a paragraph or two now...

VOICE: What happened?

VOICE: An unforseen side effect, my Lord.

MIKE: (as scientist from the Simpsons) Hmmm... metallic aftertaste... some monsterism...

A will does not always travel the intended path, and sometimes is let loose on the winds of the soul.

CROW: (opens mouth)

MIKE: No more flatulence jokes, guys. It's just too easy.

CROW: (sulky) You're no fun any more.

It will not happen again.

VOICE: No. It will not.

CROW: Oh, this underling guy is so doomed it's not even funny.

(Suddenly a horrific scream burts out as one of the robes erupts into hellish flame,

CROW: Told ya.

TOM: Crimson flame!

CROW: Red flame!

TOM: Crimson flame!

CROW: Red flame!

TOM: Crimson flame!

CROW: Crimson flame!

TOM: Red flame!

CROW: (chuckles)

TOM: D'oh!

MIKE: The Bugs 'n' Daffy Flame Colour sketch, ladies and gentlemen.

taking its occupant with it. As the unfortunate one is reduced to a heap of stinking ash,

TOM: Crimson ash!

CROW: Red ash!

MIKE: Guys, that ain't gonna work.

the others step back - all but the central one.)

MIKE: (as Calvin) Mere spontaneous combustion bothers him not, for STUPENDOUS MAN has a stomach of steel!

VOICE: Incompetence is punished by death. Let us remember.

VOICES: Let us remember.

MIKE: (as lead voice) Hey, there's a great echo in this cavern.

TOM: Hold the phone a moment there - this is the same kind of call and response thing that Rob Hart was doing with the Penguineans in the first scene. You know, the "Caum is dead" thing.

CROW: So... you think that the evil cultists are actually the Penguineans in disguise, and this is some whole twisted psychological thriller thing?

MIKE: Well, that's it if the story is at all well crafted.

CROW: (pause) So, the answer's no?

MIKE: Most probably.


(Somewhere near Niagara Falls, Ontario)

CROW: Barrels! Getcha barrels here!

McDOUGALL: You say you heard his voice?


McDOUGALL: And you weren't asleep?

CROW: No, he was passed out on cheap, sweet booze!

ROTHWELL: I'm sure I wasn't.


ROTHWELL (checking watch): I gotta get back to RPV to do the evening show.

McDOUGALL: I'll listen in.


(ROTHWELL leaves)

MIKE: Sheesh. I haven't seen dialogue this scintillating since High School health films.

TOM: Erik and Nicki in "It's Not Cool To Hear Disembodied Voices".

McDOUGALL: Hmm... Rick saw Alan die... but Lisa swears he must still be alive....

(McDOUGALL goes into the bathroom)

McDOUGALL: It's strange....

CROW: (as Nicki) Usually the walls in here don't melt.

TOM: Rothwell spiked the toothpaste! That fiend!

(CAUM's face appears in the mirror)

BOTS: (together) Candyman! Candyman! Candyman!

MIKE: Okay, enough of that.


TOM: Alan Caum is her gods?!?

CROW: Man, if I were her I'd pick a new religion.

CAUM: Nicki... listen... time is short and I must speak quickly...

McDOUGALL: I'm listening.

CAUM: Strange things are happening. Strange things, and terrible. They must be stopped.

TOM: You're the author, Caum, you have the power to stop writing right now!

MIKE: Save it, Tom, they never take our advice.

They must not be allowed to--

(the vision disappears in a flash of light)

TOM: Red light!

CROW: Crimson light!

MIKE: Okay, I think we've worn that one out by now.


(Protector's Office)

GALLAGHER: Let me get this straight.

TOM: You put the lime in the coconut, and drank it all up?

You, Lisa, say your evidence conclusively proves Alan is still with us.

CROW: Lisa! What's your favourite band?


CROW: Thank you!

MIKE: I said, stop doing that!

GALLAGHER: Okay. And you, Erik, say you heard his voice...


TOM: (as Rothwell, whimpering) Please keep your voice down, I'm hungover.

GALLAGHER: ...while napping.

ROTHWELL: (shuffles feet) Well, not exactly..

TOM: (as Erik) ... more like passed out.

CROW: Yes, you too can see otherwordly visions, for the mere price of two quarts of cheap, sweet booze! Choose booze! This message brought to you by the Liquor Brewery Union of Penguinea.

GALLAGHER: I see. And Nicki, you had a vision of him?


GALLAGHER: And what were you on at the time?

MIKE: (as Nicki) Hey, it's not my fault Erik spiked the toothpaste!


CROW: Oh, she's Canadian too. Right. I get it, Alan.


(The Harwood Cave!)

TOM: ...na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-NAH! HARWOOD!

HARWOOD (coming down elevator): Something's not right here.

MIKE: Yeah! You're supposed to slide in on a pole!

(Suddenly the vast banks of equipment and instrumentation explode. The lights flicker and go out.)

TOM: Fortunately, Rick could see his way around by the light of burning equipment.

HARWOOD (voice): Bugger.

MIKE: (giggles) Alan Caum, master of magic dialogue!

TOM: Wow... another totally pointless scene...


(A Huge Cavern)

CROW: Hey, are the Beatles going to be playing tonight?

(The shrouded figures of mystery again congregate beneath the blade of terrible luminance....)

TOM: The what now?

CROW: Mike, is that a literal blade, like a Sword of Damocles thing, or just some smart-assed way of saying the light through that hole in the ceiling?

MIKE: (shakes head) I just do not know.

VOICE: All is in readiness, my Lord.

VOICE: There will be no further... accidents?

VOICE: No, Lord.

CROW: (muttering) ...you big ebon-clad pyromaniac jerk, you...

TOM: Unless Lord Voice there decides to drop that blade of terrible luminance on you.

MIKE: Actually, I don't think luminance is a word.

TOM: We'll check it out in the break.

VOICE: Then let the preparations begin.

CROW: Get this place cleaned up! My parents are coming round for tea in thirty seconds!


(A Smaller Cavern)

MIKE: The rent is cheaper.

(The black-cloaked things file in and throw back their hoods, revealing....

MIKE: The members of Spinal Tap!

CROW: Oh, I get it. That guy who spontaneously combusted must have been the drummer.

they look human, they sound human, but there's something about them, some aura, that is very different.)

TOM: (fake Cockney accent, mysteriously) No-one knows who they were, or what they were doin', but their legacy remains... hewn inta th' livin' rock of Stone'enge!

MIKE: (chuckles) Man, I loved that movie.

LEADER: Let us go.

ALL: Yes Lord.

(They form a circle. The air between them seems to thicken.

CROW: (opens beak)

MIKE: No flatulence jokes, remember.

CROW: Awww, MIKE!!! He's just tossing them up now!

MIKE: Okay, okay. Next time.

A glow appears in their eyes.

TOM: Damn cheap flash photography...

There is a flash of light, and then--)


(A Tunnel)

(They reappear in a roughly hewn tunnel lit by dim grey lights half-hidden in the rock walls.

MIKE: Hey, the San Francisco subway system!

The scene is underlain by a distant rumbling noise.)

CROW: (looks at Mike expectantly)

MIKE: (sigh) Oh, all right.

CROW: (as Leader) Damn that cheap Mexican food! Heh-heh...


(And all enter a door.)

CROW: Okay, let's think here... they dematerialised in a flash of light, to end up in a tunnel, through which they go through a door? They could have stayed home and done that!

MIKE: Teleportation ain't what it used to be.



LAWLESS: What's going on?

VEGA: My sources tell me something big is about to happen in Penguinea.

MIKE: Who's that?

CROW: Um... Mike, you won't believe it, but that's Daphne's cat.

MIKE: Daphne Lawless's cat, better informed than Lawless herself?

TOM: It must use her computer while she's out.

Beyond that I cannot say.

CROW: (as Vega) I'm surprised I can say anything, frankly, being a cat and all.

TOM: If this is a Sailor Moon or Sabrina the Teenage Witch crossover, I'm out of here.

LAWLESS: Time to get back to Fort Cromwell. Come, Vega!

VEGA: (purrs)

CROW: I thought cats tended to scream when they...

MIKE: Eww! Don't even finish that sentence.


(In The Caves)

CROW: (sings, as Peter Gabriel) In the caves... get me out of these caves...

MIKE: (as Arthur Dent) Did you know this robot can hum like early Genesis? What else can you do, Crow?

CROW: Rock and roll?

(Crow breaks into the Beatles' version of "Rock and Roll Music", which continues under the next few paragraphs)

(Our robed mystery men from a circle

TOM: From which circle?

MIKE: Twelth circle of Dante's Inferno, if I'm any judge.

TOM: What sin is that?

MIKE: The terminally lame.

about a hovering ball of fire.)

TOM: Crimson fire!

(Crow is still singing)

TOM: Heh, heh, heh. I win!

CROW: (breaking off) Hey!

ALL: Now the power begins to grow.

Now the time has come to go.

From death to life, from hell to earth

We bring the Chosen One new birth.

So present now from past we sever,

That some will sleep in death forever.

(all giggle)

MIKE: Geez, you'd think that if you're an occult society with such fantastic powers you might be able to teleport some guy in who could write you some decent poetry for your evil rituals!

(The fireball pulses once... twice...

MIKE: (as Lionel Ritchie) Three times a lady...

CROW: Never, ever, do that again.

and we are blinded by a flash of light.)

VOICE: Yes..... YES!!

TOM: (as lady from When Harry Met Sally) I'll have whatever the masked cultist over there is having, thanks.

(And the demoniac laughter echoes...)

ALL: (chortle like Goofy)


(Fort Cromwell)

LAWLESS: What's going on?

TOM: Daphne Lawless is Marvin Gaye!

ELLIOTT: Alan's alive.

ROTHWELL: I heard him.

McDOUGALL: I saw him.

GALLAGHER: You're crazy.

CROW: Oh, now this is the point where they stopped paying Caum by the word and started charging him by the word.

HAVLIX: I must check if we have a word for "resurrection". (goes out, muttering to himself) o-Wio fyr-þisfyr e-newid gejre rajdwil....

MIKE: "My hovercraft is full of eels"? What the...?

GROGHAN: You won't need to.

HARWOOD: Something destroyed my equipment!

CROW: Well, I'm no scientist, Rick, but my bet is it was that big-ass explosion.

VAUGHT: How about baptisms? Funerals?

CANADIAN: Eh? Me eh? Oy eh?

MIKE: Man, Caum's milking that magic dialect thing for all he's worth.

CROW: Can't wait for his brilliant Jamaican, or hilarious drunk Glaswegian.

TOM: (really bad accents) See you, Jimmy! Where dat ganja, mon!

LAWLESS: Whoa, one at a time!

CROW: (as Rizzo from Grease) This ain't no gangbang, ya know!

MIKE: (shudders) Crow, that was completely gross.

CROW: I do try.


(In The Caves)

(The light clears, to reveal the robed guys standing around.... the body of Alan Caum.)

CROW: Hey, the robed guys killed the author! Yay!

MIKE: No, Rick Harwood did that in the last episode, and these guys are going to bring him back to life.


ALL: Damn you, cultist scum!

FOLLOWER #1: Was the transference successful?

LEADER: We shall know in a minute. Kal tash valic thingdxin nashura!

TOM: Klaatu Barada Niktu!

MIKE: Redrum! Redrum! Redrum!

CROW: Ite-bay E-may!

(Caum's eyes snap open. He breathes.)

CAUM: What's going on?

CROW: Alan Caum, eco-conscious author... recycles all dialogue at least twice.

LEADER: Sh. Do not ask. Sleep. (passes hand over Caum's face)

MIKE: (as Caum) Oh god, no, not the stinkpalm! AAAAH!

CAUM: (sleeps)

ALL: (make exaggerated snoring noises)

MIKE: You know, coming back from the dead and all you'd think he'd have had enough rest. Come on, guys, it's time for a break.

[all leave the theatre]


[SOL Bridge. An ugly green line has been drawn down the centre of the bridge. On one side, Crow is flying the blue-and-white flag of Penguinea; on the other, Tom is flying a crudely drawn sketch of himself on a black background. Mike wanders in, flicking through a big dictionary..]

MIKE: Let's see now... lemur, ludicrous, mastodon... no, gone too far... Ah! Here it is! "Luminance: amount of light emmitted from surface per unit area in any given direction." Well, chalk one up for the author, guys - he got that one right at least. Although it wasn't in any given context, but at least he... hey guys, what's going on?

TOM: Ah, Mike, you're just in time to be our mediator!

MIKE: Mediator?

CROW: Yeah. Tom and I are having peace talks to settle the differences between Servosylvania and the Penguinean colony on this satellite. And we need someone to mediate.

MIKE: Oh. Okay, guys. [sits between them] Okay. Tom...

TOM: That's Ambassador Royale Servo, you lowlife commoner!

CROW: Hmph. Feudalist anachronisms!

MIKE: (sigh) All right, all right. What were your demands again?

TOM: Ahem. Firstly, that the despicable Penguinean traitors...

(Crow shoots a pingpong ball out of his beak and hits Tom on the head.)

TOM: Owww! Did you see that, Mike? An act of war!

MIKE: Crow, behave. Tom, carry on.

TOM: Thank you. That they give up all claim to the lawfully established Servosylvanian territory on the earthward side of this satellite.

MIKE: Crow?

CROW: Granted. Penguinea makes no claim over any territory, and that's an ugly part of the satellite anyway.

TOM: What? How dare you call the blessed motherland ugly?

(Crow shoots another pingpong ball at him.)

TOM: RIGHT! That does it! (bots lunge at one another and battle, despite Mike's protestations.)

(Gypsy, the vacuum-cleaner-like droid who keeps the satellite running, enters.)

GYPSY: Hey, guys, whatcha doing?

MIKE: (sigh) Tom and Crow were playing diplomacy and a things got a bit out of hand...

GYPSY: Diplomacy? Oh, I love that game! Can I be Austria-Hungary?

MIKE: No, not that kind of diplomacy... It's kind of hard to explain.

GYPSY: Oh. It's something to do with that Penguinea thing that Crow is always talking about, is it?

MIKE: Yeah. Tom declared his own country and now they're at war.

GYPSY: Well, I know how to sort this out. Hey, boys?

(Tom and Crow pause in their struggle)


GYPSY: Why are you two fighting, when you could be banding together against the common enemy?

TOM: Uh... which common enemy could that be?

GYPSY: The powerful force who claims to control both sides of the Satellite, and the valuable RAM-chip deposits contained therein, of course!

MIKE: (nervously) Uh, Gypsy? Are you sure this is wise?

CROW: Yeah! The forces of decadent Mikeism have been pushing us around for too long!

TOM: Let's get him!

MIKE: Gypsy! No!

GYPSY: I'll leave you boys to get on with it. (exits humming)

(Tom and Crow ready themselves to pounce on Mike, but are interrupted by the movie-sign light)

MIKE: All right! Movie sign! (quickly runs for theatre, with bots in hot pursuit)



(all resume their seats)

TOM: Huh. Women. No understanding of international politics.

CROW: I dunno, Servo, she certainly understood how to get us to stop fighting...

MIKE: (annoyed) I'd be really tempted to get even with her for this… if she wasn't running the life-support system and could kill me with a thought if she so chose.

CROW: Oh yeah, the little things get you every time.


(Penguinean Military Headquarters)

GALLAGHER: I have a question.


GALLAGHER: Okay. Penguinea doesn't have a military...

SAULS: Right.

GALLAGHER: So why do we have a military headquarters?

TOM: Author doesn't know what he's doing? Just a suggestion.

LAWLESS: It's not as if we need someone to direct the Stealth Bombers to Milwaukee or something.

CROW: Wow. It's just like something the real Daphne would say!


CROW: Actually, come to think of it, it is something the real Daphne said. Alan is scavenging his dialogue from old Penguinean Discussion Group posts!

MIKE: Ten points for creativity, that man.

MORGAN: We were tired of holding meetings in the Crisis Room at the Protector's Residence.

CROW: (as Jim Morgan) Because, y'know, every time we did that there was some kind of crisis.

GALLAGHER: (pause) I see. And what do we know about--

(The big screen lights up with static,

TOM: What big screen?

CROW: Oh, you can't have a military headquarters without a big screen. Everyone knows that.

resolving itself into the image of everyone's favourite black-robed cult leader.)

TOM: L. Ron Hubbard?

MIKE: Marilyn Manson?

CROW: Homer Simpson when he was in the Stonecutters?

LEADER: Citizens--

MIKE: Oh, no, it's the Computer from Paranoia!


LEADER: Electors

TOM: Well, actually, this fiction is set in a fantasy world where Penguinea is really a country with territory and a capital and everything, so they would be citizens, actually.

CROW: Shh! Don't spoil Alan's one joke.

of the Free Commonwealth of... how the **** do you pronounce this?

MIKE: I have no idea. How do you pronounce a row of asterisks?

TOM: Like this: ****.

MIKE: I'm sorry I asked.

CROW: You'd really think you'd learn how to pronounce a country's name before you made a takeover bid for it.

(An argument breaks out among the cultists in the background)

LEADER: Um. Yes. Anyway, electors of the Free Commonwealth of... ah, hell... Penguin Ear... I bring you tidings of your doom.

TOM: (as Kodos) Your pitiful planet is doomed! DOOMED!

CROW: (as Kent Brockman) Well, refreshingly frank comment from Senator Dole there...

Soon your pitiful attempt at perfect democracy will be crushed and you will all bow before your new King!

CROW: (as Elvis) You ain't nuthin' but a penguin... votin' all the time...

TOM: (chuckles) Nice impression, Crow.

CROW: Thanks. You should see my Tom Jones.

HARWOOD: That being?

LEADER (standing aside): Behold.

(The Penguineans gasp to see Alan Caum, dressed in a military uniform and a Romanian conductor's hat with blue-white insignia, standing on a dais.)

TOM: Waving his baton at the orchestra?

MIKE: What the...?... Oh, I get it, conductor, yeah. (to Crow) Watch it, fella.

CROW: I wasn't going to say anything!

MIKE: Like fun you weren't.

LEADER: We will not rest until you are rudly crushed under the leather jackboot

CROW: Heyyyyy, looks like the party's started!

TOM: You are a sick, sick bot.

CROW: Bite me.


FOLLOWER: Uh, my Lord?

MIKE: (as Leader) Yeah, leather jackboot of my Lord. Yeah, that sounds good.

LEADER: What?!

FOLLOWER: Erm... he's wearing shoes, my Lord.

LEADER: Oh. Um, indeed he is. Well noted.

ALL: (totally exaggerated and insincere laughter)

TOM: (monotone) Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, beware, Alan Caum is after you.

Er, that's it really. 'Bye.

(Screen goes dark. Uproar.)

TOM: (as random Penguinean) Hey, I was watching that! Put it back on, the football's about to start!


(In The Caves)

LEADER: You know what it is to be King?

CROW: (as Mel Brooks) It's good to be the King.

CAUM: I... I think so.

TOM: Face on the coinage, opening shopping malls, putting up with endless tabloid speculation on your love life, people keep trying to abolish your job...

LEADER: Tell me, Chosen One. What do you remember of your former life?

CAUM: So little... Talossa sucks. Daphnevan does not exist. Penguinea is cool.

CROW: Four word maximum sentences.

LEADER: You have much to learn, Chosen One.

CAUM: I don't understand... what is this Chosen One?

MIKE: You, ya dumbass!

LEADER: I thought you'd never ask.

From the mists of time they came, moving silently down the centuries toward the time of the Gathering, when those who remain would battle to the last.

CROW: ... the hell? How did we end up in a Highlander crossover?

TOM: If the Leader over there is Christopher Lambert under that hood, I'm out of here.

In the end, there can be only one.

MIKE: Highlander 2; there should have been only one.

LEADER: Well, it didn't quite turn out that way. For untold aeons we of the Ordo Panteris

MIKE: Crow?

CROW: Ummm... "the Order of the Panther", an organisation run by Daphne Lawless to defend a certain little-known Yes album.

TOM: Hold on... if Lawless runs this Order thing, so she's supposed to be the leader of these wackos in black?

MIKE: If this fiction makes any sense at all, I suppose so.

CROW: (pause) So your answer's no, then?

MIKE: Uh-huh.

TOM: (forcedly calm) And... this has to do with the plot, or Penguinea, exactly what?

CROW: Settle down, Tom. Alan obviously just picked the name at random from Lawless's webpage.

TOM: That's no excuse!

have held a prophecy that one would come to confound the people of Penguinea and seize their throne. Until 1997, we assumed this referred to Antarctica.

MIKE: (as Leader) Which has no people, let alone a throne, so we thought it was pretty much a bunch of crap.

CAUM: Pengöpäts?

TOM: (still sounding pissed off) Thrill as Alan Caum battles the Umlauts of Doom!

LEADER: Erm... no. In any event, once the real Penguinea came onto the scene, we began to take a definite interest. For a while we thought Nicholas Bridgewater might be the Chosen One, but we were rather quickly disabused of that particular notion.

MIKE: (as Bridgewater) Will you black-clad jerks get the hell off my front lawn? No, I don't want to join! And take your crimson-and-red light show with you!

CAUM: Bridgewater... the name sounds familiar.

LEADER: It should.

CROW: (as Leader) ... you're arranged to marry him in September.

TOM: Okay. I'm calm now. If I could breathe, I'd be taking deep breaths right now.

Anyway, when you appeared we knew that you had to be the one.

CROW: (as Elton John) All I ever needed... baby, you're the one.

TOM: One what?

But you moved too fast,

MIKE: Yeah, we cultists never kiss on the first date!

and were killed before we could act to place you on the throne of Penguinea.

TOM: (as Leader) Well, actually, the beer-crate of Penguinea, since we haven't actually built the throne yet, but it should be ready in a month or two.

And so we resurrected you.

CAUM: Cool.

LEADER: Yes. And now I shall teach you... everything.

TOM: (uneasy) Uh... Mike? I really don't like the way this is heading.

MIKE: I know, I know. Just don't think about it.

CROW: The Erotic Awakening of Alan C., now coming to all bad video stores near you.

(puts his hand against Caum's forehead,

TOM: That's probably what these cultist guys consider "first base"! Oh, the depravity!

weird magic noises start)

CAUM: Whoa....

MIKE: (as Caum) Hey, cool, I have this Ultravox album at home!

LEADER: (disengages,

CROW: (as Peter Hammill, screaming) DISENGAGE! DISENGAGE! DISENGAGE!

MIKE: (chuckles) No-one will get that one, Crow.

his eyes stop glowing)

TOM: ...Caum got a better quality flash.

And now, Chosen One, what do you know of these things?

CROW: Mike? Are we supposed to know what things he's talking about here?

MIKE: I just do not know.

CAUM (becoming rather sinister):

CROW: All right! It's EvilAlan!

TOM: Well, it's not much of a personality, but better than the monosyllables he's been uttering ever since they brought him back from the dead...

I will seize Penguinea. It shall be mine forever. The democrats and their pitiful bickering shall be ended for once and for all time.

MIKE: Alan Caum is George W. Bush!

Nothing can stop me. And for my assistance...

(He looks up, eyes blazing.)

MIKE: I shudder to ask what colour they're blazing.

TOM: Red!

CROW: Crimson!

MIKE: Let's not start that again, guys.

CAUM: ...I shall have at my command all the powers of Hell, Chaos, and the Darkness Beyond.

MIKE: Geez, these self-insertion fics slide into wish fulfilment so easily.


(Niagara Falls)

MIKE: Port Colborne topples.

TOM: St. Kitts remains upright.

CROW: Toronto sinks into the lake.

MIKE: The "Ontario" sketch, ladies and gentlemen.

McDOUGALL: I still can't believe it.


TOM: Uh, Alan? The hilarious mock-Canadian dialect is wearing a tad thin by now!

McDOUGALL: Why would Alan appear to us trying to warn us, then turn out to be some insane messiah after the nonexistent throne of Penguinea?

CROW: He's the author of a self-insertion fic. He can do what the hell he likes, you low-life fictional characters!

ROTHWELL: You know, that may be the sanest question asked in all Penguinea so far this year.

TOM: Dear God, what must the competition have been like?

McDOUGALL: Yes....

MIKE: Is this McDougall chick a Vorlon or something?


(In the Caves)

CROW: I hope they step on a grizzly bear or something.

CAUM: When does it start?

LEADER: Soon, Chosen One.

TOM: Hey, if Caum's like the reincarnated God-King or whatever, shouldn't he be the Leader now?

MIKE: No, that would have to mean thinking up a name for the other guy.

CROW: (as Caum) When was that again?


CROW: (as Caum) Thank you!

TOM: Mike, what's déjà vu?

MIKE: It's the feeling that you've been in an identical situation before.

We can watch the preparations from here.

CAUM: That reminds me. Where exactly is here?

LEADER: The last place anyone will ever look, Chosen One.

CROW: (as leader) ...under the sofa.

MIKE: There's a black-robed cult living under my sofa? No wonder I keep losing my pencils there!


(Exterior, Niagara Falls)

LEADER (v/o): In the hidden caves beneath Niagara Falls....

TOM: ...there lived a hobbit?

CROW: That's a damp hobbit.


(Radio Port Vampru HQ)

McDOUGALL: So this is where you heard his voice?

ROTHWELL: Yeah... what's this blinking light?

TOM: Hey, Erik's got movie sign!

CROW: My guess is "Moron Alert".

MIKE: Crow! Be nice!

McDOUGALL: Erm, Erik, there are six thousand blinking lights in here.

TOM: Erik Rothwell built his radio studio using Christmas ornaments.

ROTHWELL (pointing): No, I mean that one! I built this place and I don't even know what it does!

MIKE: His short-term memory appears to have taken quite a battering.

CROW: (as Erik) Damn! I've got to stop sniffing that Drano!

McDOUGALL: Anomalous Transmission Received...

MIKE: Yep, you're right, Tom, it's movie sign.

you don't think...

TOM: Well, that much is obvious.

MIKE: Tom! Don't you start.

ROTHWELL: All the time actually.

ALL: (forced and insincere laughter)

So, what have we here?

(sits at keyboard, taps through reams of data)

MIKE: There must be a Star Trek joke here somewhere, but it's just not coming to mind…

McDOUGALL: *gasp*

CROW: (as McDougall) Great God... I didn't think you could do that with a zucchini!

MIKE: Erik had accessed his favourite porno site - www.fruitsnveges.com.

ROTHWELL: Oh my Goddess...

CROW: And now it's an anime crossover?

LAWLESS: Which one would that be?

TOM: (bitter) And Lawless suddenly appears out of nowhere to say that completely unfunny quip for no apparent reason. Ha ha. What comedic delight. Alan Caum, the master of zany.

MIKE: Tom, are you feeling all right? Don't want to have to find you a new head again...


(Penguinean Military Crisis Management HQ)

GALLAGHER: And all the signs outside have been repainted as well?



CROW: (as author) This is a running gag, you yokels, so LAUGH! Damn you, LAUGH!

(Rothwell and McDougall burst through door)

CROW: Eww! Someone's going to have to clean that up.

ELLIOTT: Sweet Mother of Hershey! What's happened?

ROTHWELL / McDOUGALL: We've figured it out!

TOM: We now know exactly how many licks it takes to get to the centre of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop!

HAVLIX: Figured what out?

LAWLESS: Explain?

McDOUGALL: You know how we couldn't trace that call from those cult whatevers?


ROTHWELL: The equipment at RPV detected the original transmission and we were able to pin down its exact location.

GALLAGHER: Um, right. Which was what?

CROW: The Starship Enterprise?

MIKE: Planet Ten?

TOM: Z'ha'dum?

McDOUGALL: The tunnels beneath Niagara Falls.

TOM: Ah. Well, that was my next guess.

FINKE: You realise we'll have to go in there after them.

TOM: Joerg Finke, secret identity of State-The-Obvious Lad!

CROW: Man, apparently every single Penguinean is getting a line in this thing - even if there's nothing for them to say.

TOM: Ah, it's that damn liberal equal-opportunity legislation.

SAULS: Can we change this back to the Military Headquarters now? Just temporarily?

MIKE: (as Evan Gallagher, pompous) No. Get knotted.


(In the Caves)

CAUM (seated in throne): Barkaroum?

(all collapse in giggles)

BOTS: (to tune of "Doctorin' the Tardis") Barka-ROO-OUM! Hey! Barkaroum, Barka-ROO-OUM! Hey! The cultists, Barka-ROO-OUM! Hey! Barkaroum, Barka-ROUM!

MIKE: Let me guess. Penguinean for "dog kennel"?

LEADER (BARKAROUM): Yes, Chosen One?

MIKE: Right, so Leader-Guy finally gets a name, and it's... BARKAROUM?!?

TOM: Heh, no wonder he just prefers to go by "Leader".

CROW: Sheesh, we shouldn't have been ragging on Alan so hard to come up with a name for this guy. Now we've cursed him!

CAUM: I have had a vision, Barkaroum.

(more giggles)

CROW: How does he say that without cracking up?

BARKAROUM (eagerly): What did you see?

CAUM (trancelike): In a far off place... Saint Helena... yes... the Penguineans had...

MIKE: William Shatner is Alan Caum!

(He snaps out of the trance. An unpleasant glimmer shows in his eyes.)

CROW: (as Barkaroum, nervous) O-kay, well, I can see that you're just about to go spectacularly insane, o Chosen Nutbar, so me and the cultists'll just go out for pizza and, um...

CAUM: We must leave this place. At once. (rises, makes for the door)

BARKAROUM: What has happened, Chosen One?

TOM: (as Grytpype-Thynne) The rent's too high. Pack the floor. We're leaving.

CROW: Man, those old Goon Show lines crack me up.

CAUM (turning): They've found us.

CROW: Hi! Would you like us to tell you about the Book of Mormon?

TOM: (as Barkaroum) No, we've already got a cult in funny uniforms here, thanks very much.


(Outside the Caves)

(To the entrance of the Niagara Falls Tunnels come a group of heavily armed soldiers in strange blue-white mediaeval uniforms...)

MIKE: The UN Peacekeepers move into Niagara Falls!

CROW: Some guy in a bar told them that Saddam Hussein had a secret outpost there.

McDOUGALL: Ready men?

ROTHWELL: *ahem*

McDOUGALL: Okay. Ready, entities and non-entities?

CROW: (forced chuckle) See, that's funny, because in real life it's always Rothwell who objects to gendered language and... oh, no, wait, he doesn't...

TOM: (whimpering) Kill me. Kill me now.



TOM: (weary) Should I even bother asking how Penguinea got shock troops when they were going on about how they didn't have a military a few pages back?

MIKE: It's all right, little buddy. Hang tight, we're past the halfway mark.


(In the Caves)

(A crash is heard in the distance as the cultists make hasty preparations to leave.)

MIKE: (as Barkaroum) You idiots! Do you know how much that Ming vase cost?

BARKAROUM: That's it. They're in.

CROW: Like Flynn!

CAUM: Go ahead. I shall remain here to fight.

BARKAROUM: But Chosen One, if you should fall--

CAUM: I will not fall.

TOM: (as Caum) I nailed my feet to the floor! Clever, huh?

BARKAROUM (straightening his shoulders):

BOTS: (make sounds of bone crunching and tendon popping)

MIKE: (as Caum) Owww! Get your hands off my shoulders!

No. You are the Chosen One.

CAUM: Exactly. Now go. Return with our followers to the Darkness Beyond.

TOM: Since this is under Niagara Falls, I'm going to assume they mean Nunavut.

CROW: Hey, cool, Barkaroum must be an Inuit name!

MIKE: Hmmm... nah, not enough "q"'s.

I shall join you there shortly.

BARKAROUM: It will be done.

(The cultists go through the ritual again and disappear.)

CROW: Now see, if I were running a cult, I'd learn more cool stuff than just teleportation.

TOM: Fireballs, disintegration spells, that sort of thing?

CROW: Yeah. Caum needs some better followers, I tells ya...

CAUM: Time to kick arse and chew bubble gum.

(Pulling a pack of Juicy Fruit out of his pocket, he goes out the door.)

CROW: Tragically, Caum got mixed up, and ended up kicking his bubble gum and chewing...

MIKE: Eww! Let's not go there.


(The Hidden Tunnels)

McDOUGALL: Be careful. They could be anywhere.

CAUM (o/s): "They"?

(Everyone whirls to see Caum casually leaning on a wall behind them.)

TOM: (as Caum, suave) Hi there!

CAUM: It's only me.


CROW (as McDougall, deadpan): What a shock. You evil cultist. I will kill you until you are dead.

ELLIOTT: What have they done to you?

TOM: (as Caum) Made my eyes all glimmery and deprived me of my difference to tell crimson from red! Oh, the humanity! (sobs)

ROTHWELL: It must have been a thorough brainwashing.

CAUM: *chuckles* Brainwashing? Oh, no a-hErica, my eyes have been opened. I see my destiny.

MIKE: (as Caum) Yeah, it's behind those big ol' pink hairy spiders climbing up the wall. Woo.

CROW: Rothwell spiked his toothpaste as well.

HARWOOD: That being?

TOM: Which being are they talking about? I'm confused.

CAUM: The throne of Penguinea.

McDOUGALL: There is no throne of Penguinea.

CAUM: There will be when I'm done.

CROW: The cult is an evil conspiracy of unemployed carpenters!

MIKE: No, Crow, if they were carpenters they would have fixed that hole in their roof.

ELLIOTT: I think we've heard enough.


(Caum runs.)

MIKE: Why is he running? He can teleport and stuff!

TOM: Yeah, and I wouldn't have thought he'd be afraid of fire, being the Chosen One and all...

CROW: No, guys, I think McDougall was ordering them to shoot.

TOM: Ah, you're right. It's this damnable Caum writing style - never use three words where you can use one and utterly confuse people.

ROTHWELL: After him!

(The soldiers and characters race after the fleeing black-clad man.

MIKE: Alan Caum is the Fugitive.

TOM: (as Caum) I swear, it wasn't me, it was a one-armed Barkaroum!

CROW: (still to "Doctorin' the Tardis") Bark! Barkaroum, Barka-ROUM! Bark! Barkaroum!.

MIKE: Ladies and gentlemen, the Barkaroum Theme Song.

Through seemingly endless identical tunnels of roughly hewn stone, up and down ramps and stairways, deep into the bowels of the earthy, in circles and out again...)

ALL: (hum silent movie "chase scene" music) Dadilada-DUM, dadilada-DUM...

CAUM (suddenly stopping): I think this has gone on long enough.

SHOCK TROOPS: (come to a halt) Can we kill 'im now?

TOM: I'm not even going to try to guess what that magic dialect is.

CROW: I say Latvian.

MIKE: Tongan's my guess.

HARWOOD: Again? Sure. Fire.

(They fire with merciless accuracy toward the unmoving Caum. With no effect.)

CAUM: Hey shock troops?


CAUM: Do me a favour?


CAUM: Die.

MIKE: Hey, the author rips off Young Ones riffs too!

TOM: I think this whole story is a negative reality inversion.

(He raises an arm... and they are grey ash on the floor of the tunnel.)

TOM: What, no cool crimson fire?

CROW: Red fire!

TOM: Crimson fire!

CROW: Red fire!

MIKE: (groans)

McDOUGALL: Erm... word of advice?



MIKE:And so I see they've started charging Alan by the word again.

(They all do.)

CAUM: (laughs evilly, then disappears.)

CROW: (as Caum) I'm the God! I'm the God! Bwahahahahaha....

MIKE: Oh, so he was just running to... what? Give the Penguineans some exercise?

TOM: Heck, the amount of time they have to spend sitting on their keisters reading the Internet, they probably needed it...


(Penguinean Military Crisis Management Defence Forces HQ)

GALLAGHER: All of them?

McDOUGALL: All of them.

GALLAGHER: Well, under other circumstances, I'd strip you all of your ranks. But you don't have ranks, since we don't have a military, since we're not a country--

HARWOOD (muttering): Despite having a legislature, laws, an executive, leaders, and a judiciary....

GALLAGHER: What's that?

HARWOOD: Nothing.

(all laugh forcibly and insincerely)

TOM: I can't stand this any more! If Penguinea's not a country in this fictional universe, then where the ding-dong hell is this military HQ supposed to be?

MIKE: Steady on, Tom. Alan's obviously just hammering in the Penguinean injokes with a forty-ton steam hammer. Trying to bring topical references in, or something.

CROW: If Alan thinks that Penguinea is really a country, then I want whatever drugs he's on...

MIKE: You're a robot, Crow, drugs won't work on you.

CROW: I didn't say I'd take them. I'd sell them on to Erik Rothwell at a phenomenal profit.

GALLAGHER: ...right. Okay. So, where do we go from here?

CROW: (as Fish from Marillion) White Russian!

MIKE: Okay, little buddy, I bite. What is it with all the obscure music riffs today?

CROW: It's all from Daphne Lawless's record collection. It sort of sticks in the head.

TOM: You'll have to tell the poor chick you're a robot at some stage, you know.

CROW: From what I've heard, it might turn her on!

ROTHWELL: That's the problem. We don't know where they went.

GALLAGHER: Throw me a frickin' bone here!

TOM: I knew Doctor Evil, Mr Gallagher. Dr. Evil was a friend of mine. You are no Doctor Evil!

ELLIOTT: Evan... you're scaring your officers.

GALLAGHER: You're not officers! Why do we even have this building?

SAULS: Here we go again.

GALLAGHER: I have only one request, and that is a Free Commonwealth without the frickin' fake nation remnants.

MIKE: (just whimpers) This is wrong on so many levels.


GALLAGHER: Honestly, throw me a bone. So what do we have?

LAWLESS: I got a whole bag of shut your cake hole right here.

TOM: Another line like that and Mike Myers is going to sue.

CROW: Good!

GALLAGHER: Oh. Sorry. Right.

HARWOOD: Shall we hold a meeting in the Althing Chambers?

LAWLESS: What for?

HARWOOD: I'm hoping it'll calm our hyperventilating Protector down.


(The Darkness Beyond)

(In a familiar cavern, some familiar evildoers gather 'round....)

TOM: (calming down somewhat) Dear Gods, it's an Osmond family reunion!

CROW: Told ya they were Mormons.

MIKE: No, Barkaroum's going to tell ghost stories.

BARKAROUM: What next, Chosen One?

CAUM: I need time to meditate... gather my powers...

MIKE: (as Caum) Yeah... that's it... gather my powers!

The final battle will be soon.

CROW: When?


CROW: Thank you!

TOM: Mike, what's déjà vu?

MIKE: It's the feeling that you've been in an identical situation before.

BARKAROUM: And then?

CAUM: Apocalypse.

MIKE: Wasn't that that movie where Bruce Willis and a bunch of guys have to go and blow up an asteroid or something?

TOM: No, that was Armageddon.

MIKE: Close enough. Let's get out of here.

(all leave the theatre)


[SOL Bridge. Tom is dressed in full lumberjack get up, with a big fake moustache and plaid shirt; Crow has a leather waistcoat and a hat with corks hanging from the brim; and Mike is dressed in an ill-fitting black cultists robe.]

MIKE: (raising hands above head and talking in dumb portentous voice) Tremble ye with fear, foolish mortals, it is I, the Chosen One, only avatar of the supreme god Author's-Ego! For I will strike down upon ye with great vengeance and furious anger, etc, etc... (goes into "Ezekiel" routine from Pulp Fiction while bots speak)

TOM: (in very bad Quebecois accent) Oh, no, Evan, eh? The evil Alan Caum is roaming Penguinea, eh, and stealing our poutine and ice-hockey pucks, eh? We must, 'ow you stay, stop 'im before it is too late, oy eh?

CROW: (in even worse "Crocodile Dundee" accent) Aw, no bloody worries, Erik mate! Fair suck of the sav, me ol' dingo, we'll round this mongrel up and hand him over to the Aborigine women, they'll bloody well eat him, mate! Just have time for a few tinnies of bloody Foster's first, mate...

TOM: (same) Make mine Canadian rye, eh?

CROW: (same) Sweet as, mate! No-one's going to run around wreckin' our bloody great community!

TOM: (same) But Evan, 'ow you say, we're a nation, eh?

CROW: (same) No we're bloody not, mate, we're a community!

TOM: (same) Nation, eh!

CROW: (same) Community, mate!

TOM: (same) Nation, eh!

CROW: (same) Community, mate!

MIKE: (finally reaches end of rant) ...and you will know that my name is the Author's Ego, when I lay my vengeance upon ye! BWAHAHAHA... uh, guys?

TOM: (same) Nation, eh!

CROW: (same) Community, mate!

TOM: (same, almost screaming) NATION, EH!


MIKE: (out of character) Guys? What about the rest of the skit!



TOM: (normal) Ha! Gotcha back, mon ami!

CROW: What the... hey! Why, you little Canuck fireplug, I'll…

MIKE: (forlorn) Oh, come on, guys, we spent ages working on this...

(Gypsy wanders in again as Tom and Crow leap for each other)

GYPSY: Hi, Mike, are the boys at war again?

MIKE: (sigh) No, Gyps, one of our little skits just went off the edge.

GYPSY: Oh! Well, I was just wanting to say that I thought up an even better idea to solve their war than both of them ganging up on you...

MIKE: (annoyed) Well, it's about time.

CROW: (desists from wrestling Tom for a moment) Aw, get your hand off it, ya nong. What's the bloody idea, sheila?

(everyone looks at him)

CROW: ...oops, sorry, still in character. Translation: "Please desist from your tiresome complaining, human. What is your idea, esteemed member of the feminine gender?"

GYPSY: Well, boys, why don't you have one big micronation?


CROW: That's a pretty good idea, actually! Thanks, Gyps!

TOM: Yeah, she's right. When you're a one-person country, there's not a lot to do apart from go to war with other one person countries... it's a deal, Crow! Let's federate!

CROW: Done! I'd shake hands with you, if you had hands.

MIKE: (breathes sigh of relief) Thank goodness. So you guys are going to play nice, then?

CROW: Of course, Mike! We're both equal citizens of the Grand Federation of Robotica now, we live in peace and harmony!... until election time, of course.

MIKE: Uh... election time?

TOM: Oh course! We've got to elect a President of our Federation! And campaign season in Robotica is brutal!

CROW: Yeah, you hyperderivatist NV-sucking maroon?

TOM: What? Why, you egotistical teenage emotionally-blackmailing Marxist, I shoot you!

(inter-robot fighting starts again)

MIKE: Oh, great. Thanks, Gyps! This isn't really an improvement!

GYPSY: (sigh) Boys, boys, boys... what is it with the testosterone poisoning?

MIKE: They don't have testosterone, Gypsy, they're robots. There's no excuse.

GYPSY: Oh, yeah. (pause) Well, it's fun to watch.

(the fight is interrupted by the red light flashing)

ALL: Oh, no, MOVIE SIGN! (rush for theatre)

continued in part 2