|An Apple and an Open Mind
Author: ContinuumSpree PM
Sam is sitting on his couch preparing to eat an apple. A girl in black bursts in and holy hell things really pick up after that. Immortals, Magicians, conspiracies, and a universe of deadpan snarkers. Have fun.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Adventure - Words: 17,569 - Published: 01-09-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3090676
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
An Apple And An Open Mind
Sam, Julie, Simon, Shopkeeper, Necromancer, Rob, Bob, Gob, Tanith, Vlad, Thrasher, Biter, Chef, Voice, Anderson, Harold, Clarabelle, Donna, Watchman
A young boy -Sam- is sitting down on a couch with an apple. He shines it on his shirt and raises it to his mouth. A woman -Julie- bursts in stage left and grabs the apple from Sam
Julie: NO. Bad. Do not eat this apple.
Julie: The apple. Don't eat it.
Julie: What do you mean, why? You don't know?
Sam: No! No I don't. Give me back my apple.
Julie: You don't get this, do you?
Sam: Obviously not.
Julie: This apple is important.
Sam: Why is it important? Does it have sentimental value?
Julie: No...It has more...tangible value.
Sam: That sounds incredibly strange.
Julie: Shut up. I'll be taking this apple. Goodbye. (Julie rushes off stage right)
Sam: There's no door there!
Julie: (Off stage.) No. there isn't. But there's a window.
Sam: What? No don't- (Crash is heard) That. Is where we keep the garbage can. (Sits down on couch, a man pops out from behind the couch -The Chef-. He has a chef's hat and a ladle)
Chef: Where's the apple?
Sam: What is it with random people in my house and apples?
Chef: The apple is a vital ingredient of my masterpiece.
Sam: Is that so?
Chef: Yes it is. The apple was going to give my pie a special flavor. A flavor like the world has never seen.
Sam: What kind of flavor?
Chef: It would be sweet-
Sam: Most pies are.
Chef: Shut it. You're ruining my creative vision. It would be sweet, spicy, salty, with a dash of cinnamon. Possibly specked with basil and onions.
Sam: That doesn't sound very appetizing.
Chef: I'm the one with the hat, I make the recipes here. The important thing is the apple. Where is it?
Sam: Some chick just took it away.
Chef: Did she have a pony tail?
Chef: Red lipstick?
Chef: Climbed out the window?
Chef: Beautiful nose?
Sam: Beautiful nose?
Sam: You said that.
Chef: No I didn't.
Sam: Fine. Do you know the girl?
Chef: Yes. She's Julie. She's a former KGB agent -
Sam: She's, likes fifteen.
Chef: She's the Russian Alex Rider.
Chef: She is a bitter rival. She steals my baking soda, you know.
Sam: Oh the horror.
Chef: Do you hear that?
Chef: Good. Neither do I. I should probably go. Catch up to her.
Sam: By all means. (Drums fingers on leg, three people walk in -Bob, Rob, and Gob-, wearing a uniform of some sort, ie similar clothes.)
Bob: I am Bob
Rob: I am Rob.
Gob: I am Gob.
Sam: That is a very attractive name, Gob.
Gob: Thank you, Master.
Rob: Yes. Master.
Bob: You are The Master, are you not?
Gob: The Master of the apple?
Sam: Well...I had an apple. I'm not sure what's so special about it.
Rob: The Master of the apple doesn't know of the apple's power?
Bob: Unheard of!
Gob: Let us sit!
Rob: Sit and talk! (Bob, Rob, and Gob sit down on the couch. Squish Sam if possible)
Bob: The apple you had was a special apple.
Gob: An apple of great power.
Rob: An apple like no other.
Bob: Every thousand years, a single apple grows in a random tree of the world.
Gob: It tastes better than normal apples.
Rob: It is more beautiful and polished than normal apples.
Bob: It warps time and space more than normal apples.
Sam: It warps time and space?
Gob: Yes it does.
Rob: It is an artifact that holds great power.
Bob: It is said that to build a time machine, one needs a millennium apple.
Gob: He who controls the past
Rob: Controls the present
Bob: And what is to come.
Sam: So what you're saying is I had the key to time and space in my hands...And I was going to eat it?
Gob: One must never eat the Millennium apple.
Rob: If this were to happen, the body would be overwhelmed and the eater would die.
Bob: You were tasked by destiny to protect the apple from evil.
Sam: And I just gave it away to some random girl. Fantastic.
Gob: Master, it was not your fault.
Rob: The girl Julie employed terrible amounts of cunning.
Bob: You couldn't have stopped her.
Sam: She took it from my hand. Not a trick. Just "Hey, this apple is mine now, cool? "Aw, yeah, no problem." IDIOT.
Gob: You had no way of knowing.
Rob: The elders have not contacted you.
Bob: Do you have email?
Gob: Do you check it?
Rob: If you didn't check it
Bob: The message could have gone unnoticed.
Sam: (Gets out laptop/ phone/ equivalent) Hmm...One week old. From Elder Pwnage at Apple dot alternate reality dot com. Well. "Hello, we are the Elders. In about a week you will be the proud owner of a Millennium apple...Trademark...Okay. It is your duty to protect the apple from the forces of evil who wish to use it for their own purposes: Demons, Necromancers, Dark Magi, Witchdoctors, Chimeras, ect. These will come to the apple like moths to a flame. When you receive the apple, please call this tool free number yadda yadda yadda And a Force of Light Operative will be with you shortly. Identifying marks of the millennium apple are a longer stem, great beauty, and slight difference in size. We hope you will have fun on your safeguarding adventure! Good luck!" (Pause.) Well. Are we expecting any Necromancers soon? (A person walks onto stage -The Necromancer-)
Necromancer: Yes. Yes you are.
Sam: I don't have the Apple.
Necromancer: I know you don't. Its just that these three have been causing me a lot of distress. I have come to...dispose...of them.
Sam: What have they done?
Necromancer: They have defiled my lair.
Gob: What you were doing was illegal!
Rob:You tortured the spirits of the dead!
Bob: You were raising an army!
Necromancer: I was doing no such thing. They lie.
Sam: You're wearing a necklace with a skull on it. I'm not inclined to believe you.
Necromancer: Fine. (Yelling) Come in, dearies! (2 zombies walk onto stage, clothes must be tousled/worn, but not ripped. Emit zombie sounds) This is Thrasher and this is Biter. Say hello.
Necromancer: Oh come on. Properly. You're not fooling anyone. That is a cliché. Zombies don't really do that.
Thrasher: Hello. I'm Thrasher. I was risen about a week ago.
Biter: Hello. I'm Biter. I was risen about a year ago.
Thrasher: I used to be an assistant to Stephen Hawking.
Biter: I worked at Gamestop.
Thrasher: I had a wife and children. I ate them.
Biter: I had an XBox I called Sopia. Eating her didn't fare well.
Necromancer: And now, the end, like we planned!
Thrasher & Biter: We are remorseless beasts happy to kill and devour.
Necromancer: Good. Now, Samuel Joe Turner, if you would hand over those three I will more than happily spare your life.
Sam: Can Zombies run quickly?
Necromancer: No. Why?
Sam: No reason. GO GO GO OUT THE WINDOW. (Sam runs off stage right, followed by Gob, Rob, and Bob)
Necromancer: After them! (Runs off of stage, Thrasher and Biter stay behind, silence.)
Thrasher: I don't really like human flesh.
Biter: Neither do I.
Thrasher: I just...I eat absentmindedly. If there's a human in the room...I just eat him. Its subconscious. I think I have a problem.
Biter: It's Okay. We all have it.
Thrasher: Its really impacting my life
Biter: You get used to it. I've had that feeling for a year, and you learn to control it.
Thrasher: I also get headaches, and Advil doesn't help.
Biter: Those are the clots in your brain. Eventually, you don't have any fresh blood left, and it goes away.
Biter: Yes. Patience is a virtue. (Silence)
Thrasher: I watch My Little Pony.
Biter: I know, Thrasher, I know.
Thrasher: Its really eroding my image as a zombie. I can't help it but love those ponies.
Biter: You know what? Les go raid a McDonalds. The plumpest, juiciest humans are always there. Will that cheer you up?
Thrasher: Yeah. Yeah, I think it will. (Thrasher and Biter leave, Julie enters)
Julie: Oh nuggets. Where IS he? He was here a second ago! Why. Why do these always leave. Do I scare them? (Simon walks in)
Simon: I just don't think you know how to flirt anymore.
Simon: You're obviously interested in him.
Julie: No, I'm interested in the millennium apple. Now if only I were to find Sam-
Simon: To do what? Share the power?
Julie: No. There's a lot of unsavory types going around here. I don't want an innocent hurt.
Simon: Aww. Love at first sight. Or first thievery, I should say.
Julie: Shut it. I'm only interested in the apple.
Simon: That's what they all say.
Simon: Oh, I only want his apple. Then you only want his jacket. Then you only want him.
Julie: Where in God's name did you hear of a story like that.
Simon: It's everywhere, if you were only observant enough.
Julie: Sorry for not being Sherlock Holmes.
Simon: Please. You barely make the cut for Doctor Watson's five year old niece.
Julie: We need to find Sam.
Simon: Whatever you say. (Exit stage left, enter Vlad, black clothed)
Vlad: I just missed her, didn't I? The Circle of Mages won't be happy about this. We can't let her have the apple! We need it to help in the second coming of Sah'mut. Darkness cannot live without the apple. (Enter Tanith, white clothes)
Tanith: Then I must take it as a good thing you missed her. Selfish wishes are to be preferred over the second coming of the God of Monsters.
Vlad: Hm. Tanith. I didn't think I'd see you again after I killed you.
Tanith: I didn't think I'd see you after I died either, Vlad. However, the day I die will have to be postponed a bit. That death was staged. Sure, I jumped off of that British church. But one cyclist, ten hired hands, and a getaway later, I live. Not hard.
Vlad: Well. I will have to pat you on the back for that one.
Tanith: I don't trust you anywhere near my back. I don't trust you anywhere near the apple. I'm going to have to ask you to leave the boy and all others alone.
Vlad: Oh. Like you won't be trying to get the apple for your own purposes.
Tanith: Our purposes are vastly different. Mine is to give humanity a golden age, yours is to bring about the apocalypse. Forgive me if I hesitate to hand you your goal.
Vlad: Sah'mut is quite capable of bringing about the apocalypse on his own. We seek to wake him.
Tanith: There is no difference.
Vlad: I am tired of this house's aroma. Let us talk more over coffee. The amateurs can have their fun. I can spare some time.
Tanith: You realize we will reach an impasse at some point.
Vlad: Yes. I do. But I much prefer you as a friend, Tanith. I am tired of this feud.
Tanith: As do I Vlad. But we are worlds apart. Let us try to be polite. Delay the inevitable.
(Close curtain, when re-opened, have a long-ish table on stage with 2 chairs. -Shopkeeper- is tending to the counter)
Vlad: Two large coffees, if you would.
Shopkeeper: Of course. (Shopkeeper acts busy doing stuff while Vlad and Tanith talk)
Tanith: What do you think of the new guardian of the apple?
Vlad: Too young. Inexperienced. Too brash. I would like some challenge to my heist. I think in my ten thousand years he is the worst I have seen.
Tanith: I am here to provide challenge to all of the Dark. Think back to your first years of learning The Arts. You were inexperienced and brash and young. Yet look what you've turned out to be. Granted, not a spectacle of all the good in humanity, but you are something great.
Vlad: I'm flattered. But I have become me through long, grueling years of study. I am immortal. The boy is not.
Tanith: Vlad. I am the greatest immortal of them all and I cannot spot a thing off about the boy. I could not spot a thing about you either. I, will, of course, try to make him lean to the side of Light.
Vlad: My dear mentor. You tried converting me to Light. The boy will see the truth. There is no way to stop Sah'mut. It is only due to embrace him.
Shopkeeper: Coffee's ready! (Hands it to Tanith and Vlad, who leave. Enter Sam, followed by Julie and Simon. Simon has a Bowler hat.)
Sam: Give me the apple.
Julie: I don't have it.
Sam: Don't you?
Julie: Well. Not strictly speaking.
Sam: Do you or do you not have ownership of the apple?
Sam: Give it back to me.
Julie: I don't think I want to do that.
Simon: Love is full of problems, isn't it?
Sam: Yes, it is. Do the problems remind you of your parents?
Simon: Well played, Samuel. Well played.
Sam: I pride myself. In about a minute there will be an angry Necromancer here. I would suggest for your own safety you give the apple to me.
Julie: That would be the smart thing to do, wouldn't it?
Sam: Yes it would.
Simon: Sadly, she's hopelessly in love with you, so she cannot bring herself to do that.
Julie: Fine. I'll give you the apple. Be careful with it. Try not to die. I don't want to be linked to a murder. (Takes apple out of bag, gives to Sam, Sam leaves)
Simon: So. Why did you give it to him. You just handed over the most powerful thing you've ever had.
Julie: Don't be silly. It was a decoy. A copy. We can't have him following us around.
Simon: Cheating already, eh?
Julie: Not with you. Never.
Simon: Why? Not enough dashing good looks?
Julie: No, you have none of those. You'll have to rely of your winning personality to get girls. God help you.
Simon: So what are we going to do now?
Julie: We wait for the Necromancer. I want to strike a deal with him. Maybe that way we can stand a chance of keeping this (Takes out apple) for ourselves.
Simon: (pause) You gave him the wrong apple.
Julie: Yes, I did.
Simon: No, I mean you gave him the ACTUAL apple.
Julie: No I didn't- OH NO. No no no no no! NO! We have to catch up with him! Quick! (Jumps up, Simon still sitting)
Simon: Why don't we ask the Necromancer for help?
Julie: That's...not a bad idea. (Necromancer walks in)
Necromancer: Where are the three?
Julie: The three who?
Necromancer: The three. Gob, Rob, Bob. Where are they?
Julie: I don't know who you're talking about.
Necromancer: Tell me!
Julie: I'm sorry if you didn't get the memo, but I don't know!
Necromancer: Hm. Let it be that way. Goodbye,
Necromancer: What is it you desire?
Julie: We want a partnership.
Necromancer: Is that so?
Julie: Sam has the apple-
Necromancer: The apple doesn't interest me. I need the three.
Julie: Perhaps we can work out an arrangement.
Necromancer: Nothing you can offer interests me.
Julie: We can offer you everything you've ever wanted.
Necromancer: No, you cannot. You have insufficient magic to beat the two immortals. There is no conceivable way you will end up with the apple in this scenario.
Julie: If we work together-
Necromancer: I have told you, I do not want nor need a partnership.
Julie: The apple will give you power. And maybe we're not likely to get the apple, but why not take a chance?
Necromancer: I can artificially prolong my life. I will achieve power through patience and labor. As for chances, on the most part, they are neither profitable nor wise.
Julie: Fine. Pick up your staff on the way out.
Necromancer: I will make sure of it. Good day.
Simon: It's awfully big. Are you compensating for something?
Simon: Nothing, I'm sure. Don't trip over your dress on the way out. Also, careful on those high heels.
Necromancer: If this is how you seek partnership, I will tell you that you are not good at it. Next time we meet it will not be on pleasant terms. (Necromancer exits with flair, Julie smack Simon upside the head)
Julie: Why did you do that! That was so irresponsible-
Shopkeeper: I'm sorry to break up your circle of crazy, but I will have to kick you out if you don't buy something.
Julie: (drops several coins on the counter) Take that and let us talk.
Shopkeeper: I'm sorry, but I have to ask. What is the apple you're talking about?
Julie: Nothing, nothing.
Shopkeeper: Are you part of a Dungeons and Dragons group or something?
Shopkeeper: Well, I play it a lot, so if you're writing a new campaign, I would love to-
Shopkeeper: Is it exclusive?
Julie: No. We're not doing it at all.
Shopkeeper: Oh. I see. You're planning to release it big time and you don't want me stealing your ideas.
Julie: Oh, no. You've cracked our case. Look at how much I'm trembling. I was going to keep it a secret but nooo. Well. Fine. I'll let you in on it.
Julie: It's a big secret.
Shopkeeper: Okay. Tell me.
Julie: Absolutely huge.
Shopkeeper: Yes. Go on.
Julie: You must not tell another living person. Hell, a don't tell dead people either.
Shopkeeper: I promise.
Julie: The secret is...
Julie: That you are a moron. Let's go, Simon.
Simon: But I like it here.
Julie: No, you don't.
Simon: I don't wanna go.
Julie: I'm not asking you if you want to.
Simon: Well I'm not moving.
Julie: Fine. Just come back eventually. I might need you. (Julie exits)
Shopkeeper: What's her deal?
Simon: The snide comments?
Simon: She's...a bit stressed at the moment.
Simon: Nothing you'd understand. It's a long and complicated story
Shopkeeper: I have time.
Simon: I don't have the patience to tell it.
Shopkeeper: Can I have the abridged version?
Shopkeeper: Is she a thief?
Simon: Where'd you get that?
Shopkeeper: She just looks the type.
Simon: Yes. But I don't think she enjoys it. Always been an honest person when she could.
Shopkeeper: And who are you?
Simon: I represent...an...interested party.
Shopkeeper: What party is that?
Simon: I would rather not say.
Shopkeeper: Come on. Spit it out.
Simon: No. I will not. Good day, Mr. Beckett. (Gets up to leave)
Shopkeeper: I don't recall telling you my name. (Simon pauses)
Simon: You didn't (Exits scene)
Shopkeeper: What is with all these people? Apples, secrets, what have you. If this is a role playing society, I need in. But...then again. These people looked pretty serious. Especially those two who first came in. I need to find out what's going on here. (Shopkeeper puts on coat/ takes off apron, leaves. Enter Gob Rob and Bob)
Gob: Where is the Master?
Rob: I think he left without us.
Bob: What about that Necromancer? Did we lose him?
Gob: I think we did.
Rob: What if we didn't?
Bob: Then we die.
Gob: We can't die. That would be horrible.
Rob: You don't say.
Bob: I for one, want to live. Oh! Look! There are the zombies! (Enter Thrasher and Biter)
Biter: Has the Shopkeeper left? Cuz I wanted some coffee.
Thrasher: Hmph. (sees Gob Rob and Bob) Oh! Hello! How are you?
Gob: You're not going to eat us?
Rob: Devour our flesh?
Bob: Feast on our innards?
Biter: Nah. That's a stereotype. I'm not even hungry.
Thrasher: We'll warn you if we are.
Rob: Do you work for the Necromancer?
Bob: The scary one?
Biter: No, he just brought us back to life. He's not powerful enough to make us obey him yet.
Thrasher: Though when he becomes that strong, we will effectively be slaves.
Gob: If you don't work for him, why do you follow him around?
Thrasher: He's like a TV
Biter: Only better
Thrasher: He is so dramatic all the time.
Biter: I think he once cursed his lamp for falling.
Rob: All we did was steal a vial.
Biter: You did that?
Bob: Yes. Why?
Biter: That vial was his life's work. It was an immortality elixir.
Thrasher: And not the not-die-from-old-age immortality the Elders have. This was good, proper immortal.
Biter: I think you can see why he's so angry.
Gob: We need to get this to the Master (Pulls out vial)
Thrasher: Ah. You carry it around? What if it breaks?
Rob:...don't you want it?
Thrasher: No. I really don't. We're zombies.
Biter: We're not technically alive to begin with. If we drank that it wouldn't do anything.
Thrasher: Awful waste if you ask me.
Bob: You won't tell anyone about this then?
Biter: Well. We can come to an agreement.
Gob: What do you want? (Thrasher and Biter whisper for a bit)
Biter: It's simple.
Thrasher: Nothing, really.
Rob: What is it?
Biter: We want you to restore us to full life.
Bob: We lack the power to-
Biter: Yeah. You're weak. But the magi of Light are not. Give us their location and we will not tell anyone about the vial.
Gob: What's to stop us from killing you right now?
Thrasher: You're Hobbits with an attitude and half a brain to share. You can't kill us. Besides, it would delay your mission.
Rob: Fine. The people you are looking for are located in...Alfheim.
Biter: That isn't helpful at all. What is Alfheim?
Thrasher: Oh, don't worry, Biter. We can use Google maps to get there, can't we? It has walking directions to Mordor, why not Alfheim?
Bob: Alfheim is real. It's where elves come from!
Biter: Of course it is. Just follow the yellow brick road.
Gob: You can walk there if you're in Norway.
Rob: Go to the nearest wired phone. Use the letters underneath the numbers to type Alfheim. It'll get you there.
Biter: How do we know you're not lying?
Bob: Hobbits can't lie.
Thrasher: How do I know that wasn't a lie?
Gob: Because I said so.
Biter: Why should we trust you?
Rob: Hobbits don't lie.
Thrasher: Sigh How about...I take one of you for...insurance.
Biter: We take one of you, and if you've lied, we kill him. Simple.
Bob: You're terrible!
Thrasher: (Grabs Bob) Think of it as motivation. Go on then. Shoo. (Biter, Thrasher, and Bob exit)
Gob: We need to stop them!
Rob: No use. He's right. We can't beat them. Let's find the Master. (Rob and Bob exit, curtain. When It opens, there is a crate. Sam is crouching in front of it, facing the audience. Chef is behind it.)
Sam: (breathing deeply)
Chef: (Pops up from behind crate) Why are you in a warehouse?
Sam: AH! What? How? Who?
Sam: I can see that
Chef: I see you have an apple there.
Sam: No. You're not getting it.
Chef: Of course not. Why would I want a regular apple?
Sam: What do you mean regular apple?
Chef: Regular apple means regular apple.
Sam: No no no. This is the Millennium Apple.
Chef: I appreciate you trying to correct me, but I know a regular apple when I see it.
Sam: Of course you do.
Chef: Have you even looked at it?
Chef: Why not?
Sam: I was getting chased by rabid dogs.
Chef: So you go to a warehouse?
Sam: I don't follow my own logic either. What about the Apple?
Chef: It doesn't smell right.
Sam: Doesn't...smell right?"
Chef: Yeah. It has a more apple-y smell than the real Millennium Apple.
Chef: Yes. The Millennium Apple smells more like ginger than a normal apple.
Sam: Ok. How many Millennium Apples have you smelled?
Chef: Oh, hundreds.
Sam: How many exactly?
Chef: Two hundred and seventy two, I think.
Sam: You're two hundred and seventy two thousand years old?
Sam: That explains a lot. Why are you here?
Chef: I want to bake the most delicious-
Sam: No, I mean in the warehouse.
Chef: Oh. I'm following you.
Sam: That's creepy.
Chef: (looks past Sam) She's coming.
Sam: Here, take this apple. I need to have my hands empty. (Sam gives apple to Chef, turns around to face right. Chef takes apple, holds it triumphantly with a smile, and runs of stage left as Julie enters)
Julie: Give me back the apple.
Sam: Why do you want a fake apple back?
Julie: Fake? What are you talking about?
Sam: The Chef told me it was a fake.
Julie: No no no. (Takes out apple from pouch) THIS is the fake. I accidentally gave you the real one.
Sam: But that means...
Julie: What did you do?
Julie: You gave it to him, didn't you?
Sam: He was persuasive!
Julie: Yeah, because cooks are the most suave people to ever live.
Sam: Shut up. It made sense at the time.
Julie: That doesn't matter! We need to find him!
Cook: (from behind curtain with microphone) Afraid that won't be possible. The doors are locked. Toodle-oo!
Sam: I'm locked in? With you? Are we gunna have a fistfight now? I hate fistfights.
Julie: I'm sorry, I don't hit girls. (cross to stage right)
Sam: Where are you going?
Sam: The Doors are locked though.
Julie: Don't you pay attention? The doors lock from the inside.
Sam: Oh. Well then, leave and never come back.
Julie: Who said anything about leaving?
Sam: I did.
Julie: I'm not leaving.
Sam: What makes you think I'm asking?
Julie: Where did all this bravado come from?
Sam: I have a job.
Julie: Aren't you loyal to people you've never met.
Julie: Oh, you see the flaw now? Congratulations. You should get a ribbon. Not a blue one though. Blue ones are for people in 1st place. You're a bit slow.
Sam: What are you trying to-
Julie: I'm saying that you're very attached to people you don't know. They got your trust with an email. Not a couple of emails. Not a video chat. An anonymous email.
Sam: How did you know about the email?
Julie: It's a standard thing. Right now, you're risking your life for someone you don't know is telling the truth. You don't even know if that apple has any real power.
Sam: You all fight over it. It must be worth something.
Julie: Or maybe we're all crazy. Chef is a bit off, don't you think. I'm not very sane-looking, am I? A guy in black robes with two 'zombies'? That's a Necromancer? Three people who speak in turn? Normal people don't do that. You're dealing with crazies, Sam.
Sam: You all are weird. But no one calls themselves crazy. Schizophrenics think they're fine. You sounded pretty serious before. Are you just switching style of persuasion? I think so.
Julie: Fine. When you're dying for a whim, think of me. (Julie exits stage right, Simon enters stage left.)
Simon: (Startling Sam) Oh. Sweet. Trying to save your life.
Sam: Who are you?
Simon: She's right, you know.
Simon: This is dangerous. You can back out now.
Sam: What do you mean, dangerous?
Simon: You haven't bumped into him yet, but there's Vlad. There's also Tanith. Both are very dangerous. There's the Necromancer. Then there's Julie. And whatever else decides to join.
Sam: How is it dangerous?
Simon: It's the power to grant any wish. We won't be sitting down and civilly discussing it.
Sam: I just want to do what's best.
Simon: Then come with us. Forget about the Magi. What do they have? If you come with us, you'll have money and influence. Is there anything you like to do, Sam?
Sam: I like writing short stories.
Simon: We can make you write short stories for a living. We can make you write short stories and become a millionaire.
Sam: That sounds nice.
Simon: Well...are you in?
Sam: I don't know anything about any of you.
Simon: You don't know anything about the people who wrote you the email either, do you?
Sam: At least they're not tricking me.
Simon: Understand, we only tricked you because you were going against our interests.
Sam: So you'll turn on me as soon as the wind blows the right way? No thank you. I reject your offer.
Simon: (pause) Well...That's a damn shame.
(Some form of killing, hand motion, stabbing, anything. Lays body down. Takes off bowler hat. Holds it to chest, puts it back on and exits stage left. Enter Rob and Bob)
Rob: Master? Master? (Notices body, kneels beside it) Bob! Come here!
Bob: Yes? Oh good God! Where's the vial?
Rob: It won't help. This is a _ (Method of killing.) He's dead. No way he's coming back.
Bob: We should bury him.
Ron: No. We're wasting time. We need to get this potion to someone.
Rob: I think so. (Enter Necromancer)
Necromancer: Ha! Found you. Give me the vial. (Enter Shopkeeper)
Shopkeeper: What are we playing now? Is it for the vial? Cool! I join. (Takes vial from Rob) A potion! I wonder how it tastes.
Necromancer, Bob, Rob: No!
Shopkeeper: What? Like it's poison? Just fill it with water again. (Drinks potion) OH THAT IS VILE. Hm...I feel all...tingly.
Necromancer (To Rob and Bob): What have you done? That potion took me twenty years to brew! Brainless vermin!
Rob: He drank it!
Bob: Yeah. Him. Not us.
Necromancer (turns to Shopkeeper): I would kill you.
Shopkeeper: Aren't we taking this a bit too far?
Necromancer: I swear, someday, I will find a way to kill you.
Shopkeeper: Simmer down!
Necromancer: Are you implying that I am above simmering level?
Shopkeeper: No, I'm-
Necromancer: Simmering level is 94 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The normal human body temperature is 36.6 degrees Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That's a bit below simmering level, don't you think?
Shopkeeper: Look, I don't want to cause any trouble-
Necromancer: You already have! I never want to see you again. None of you. Unless you're being devoured by my zombies.
Shopkeeper: Oh! You're a Necromancer! My favorite class is the rouge, but you know-
Necromancer: Stop talking! Close your pathetic mouth and go to your shop. Watch your loved ones wither away and die around you, go mad! (Necromancer exits stage left)
Shopkeeper: What is he on about?
Rob: You're immortal now.
Shopkeeper: Like, stat-boost wise?
Bob: You can't die.
Rob: Ever .
Shopkeeper: You mean...this is all for real?
Shopkeeper: I'm not inclined to believe you.
Rob: Look at him. (points to Sam) He's dead. This is all too real.
Shopkeeper: I assumed he was knocked out.
Bob: No. Dead.
Shopkeeper: Oh my...do...do we know why?
Rob: Not precisely.
Shopkeeper: Tell me.
Bob: So you see, there's this apple, it has the power to grant any wish. It comes along once every thousand years
(Words become softer and lights dim. Curtain. Opens to Chef, Julie, and Simon)
Simon: If you don't give me the apple, I'm afraid I'm going to have to take it from you.
Julie: Or maybe you'll just kill him. Won't that be fun?
Simon: Aww. One puppy is sad that the other died. Deal with it.
Julie: Stop mocking me. Stop mocking him.
Simon: Oh, did he mean a lot to you? Are you sad?
Julie: No. I'm mad. You killed an innocent for no reason.
Chef: Who'd you kill?
Simon: I killed the boy.
Simon: He would have gotten in the way. If you don't hand over the apple, you'll be getting the same.
Julie: Oh. A preemptive strike, is that it? He might have messed up your plans?
Simon: Yes. He might.
Julie: That doesn't justify murder!
Simon: For me it does.
Julie: I can't work with you.
Simon: What was that?
Julie: I'm not working with you.
Chef: That might be a bad idea.
Simon: The man has it right. I might just might bury you next to the boy. Is that what you want? Because it can happen. I don't take kindly to traitors.
Chef: Oh? You're a traitor yourself, in case you've forgotten.
Simon:...You were there?
Chef: I'm everywhere. Like God. Only more omnipresent.
Simon: If you're omnipresent, you're omnipresent. There aren't varying degrees of being everywhere at once.
Chef: You would think so, wouldn't you? Back to the boy. Why'd you kill him? Why was he important?
Simon: He wasn't important.
Chef: In all my eons of living I haven't run across anyone who wasn't important. Either you tell me. Or. (Takes off hat, holds up apple, which was under the hat) I will forcefully feed this to you in your sleep.
Simon (smirking): I sleep with one eye open.
Chef: Well. I could get rid of one eye. (Walks up close, threatening) We wouldn't have a problem then. (Steps back hurriedly) Oh! And you'd wear an eyepatch! I loooove eyepatches! All my favorite people in history wore eyepatches! Nikola Tesla wore an eyepatch.
Simon: No he didn't.
Chef: Did you ever meet him?
Simon: Yes I did.
Chef: Then you must have done something to his eyes. Maybe you're just ugly. But don't worry. I still love you. Well. No, I don't. In fact, I sort of dislike you. But don't let that dishearten you. I'm sure there are people who love you. Unless you've killed them all, in which case no one loves you at all.
Simon: I assure you no one does.
Chef: And I can see why. Last time, Simon. Why did you kill the boy.
Simon: I am a businessman, you see. If something gets in the way of business, I get rid of it. It's easier to make apple pie if you don't have annoying oranges getting in the way.
Julie: That's not an excuse to kill!
Simon: Please. I know you have blood on your hands.
Julie: That's different!
Simon: Why? Because it's you?
Julie: No! Because I do it as a last resort. The ones I kill are capable of fighting back!
Simon: Hm. The honor of a thief. Finicky thing, isn't?
Julie: You know that I don't want this life!
Simon: I'm sure you don't. But in the end you live it. You're used to robbing people blind. You can't fathom bagging people's groceries. You think it's below you. Nothing but you was keeping you here before. You had no excuse. But now I'm here, and if you try to leave, it would be the last thing you ever do. You stay here not because you're afraid of death. You stay here because I give you an excuse for your inexcusable behavior. Now be a dear and take that apple. (Chef offers apple, Julie takes it.) Good. Now. (Turns to Chef) You. You're a loose end. But I think you've learned your lesson here. I'll let you live. A show of good faith. In exchange for your life, you stay out of this. I never want to see you again. (Chef exits stage right.)
Julie: A show of good faith?
Julie: Not killing someone who means no harm is a show of good faith to you?
Simon: I've met the Chef before. He used to go by Michael Aranda
Julie: Why'd he stop?
Simon: Same reason as me.
Julie: What reason is that?
Simon: Being stripped of Elder status.
Julie: You were an Elder?
Simon: I invented Egyptian hieroglyphics. I tutored Alexander the Great. Watched Rome fall. Took part in the coronation of Richard the Lionhearted. Discussed politics with Tanith Flamel! Drank tea with Shakespeare! Came up with the steam engine! Survived the Great Fire of London! Founded Portland! I punched Hitler in the face!
Julie: Why'd you get kicked out?
Simon: All those things are illegal.
Julie: Punching Hitler in the face is illegal?
Simon: Interfering too much in human history is.
Julie: Drinking tea with Shakespeare is illegal?
Simon: You may inspire a play that wouldn't have otherwise happened. Instead of "Hamlet", you could have gotten "Greetings, My Name Is Simon" or "The Charming Fellow With The Hat"
Julie: The Chef mentioned you were a traitor.
Simon: That was a long time ago and I prefer no to talk about it. Now we need to get to a receptacle.
Julie: A receptacle?
Simon: The apple is a manifestation of pure power. A receptacle serves to manipulate that power and make the power in the apple physical. The receptacle allows your wishes to be granted.
Julie: So...Where's the nearest receptacle?
Simon: I don't think there's one here in New York. I know for a fact there's one in Beijing, London, Moscow, and Alfhiem. I don't consider Alfhiem to be an option. Off to London it is.
Julie: How are we getting to London?
Julie: Is that, like, a magic monorail or something?
Simon: Have you ever seen The Matrix?
Simon: Fantastic movie, by the way. I directed it. They have phones. They use the phones to get out of the Matrix. It's like that here. Except you dial a special number and it takes you there. You can tell it to bring you to a vague area, like London. Or a narrower area, like Baker street. Then 221B Baker Street. You can get inside a specific room in 221B Baker street. You can go into a specific place in the specific room in 221B Baker Street. That would take an obscenely large amount of numbers though.
Julie: So each place has its own phone number? Cool. But...Why does distance matter then?
Simon: It adds a couple digits to the number, and frankly, I'm too lazy. Have you seen a payphone?
Julie: yeah.. I saw one on the way here. (Simon and Julie exit stage right. Enter Tanith and Vlad from stage left)
Vlad: Hm. Seems they actually have the apple.
Tanith: Shame about the boy.
Vlad: It was probably Simon.
Tanith: Yes. It probably was. Where do you think he and the girl are headed?
Tanith: You're slower than you used to be.
Vlad: Oh that girl!
Tanith: Did you actually see her?
Tanith: Get glasses.
Vlad: Glasses are soooo old fashioned.
Tanith: Then why don't you wear contacts?
Vlad: Contacts are a lot of work. And if I lose them, I'll be completely hopeless.
Tanith: Why don't you just get your vision fixed with magic?
Vlad: Have you ever met a Dark mage who's a healer?
Vlad: Neither have I. And I refuse to go to a Witchdoctor. They scare me.
Tanith: There is an old folk treatment. Russian, I think.
Vlad: I don't trust old folk treatments with my eyes.
Tanith: Laser eye surgery?
Vlad: Oh! Laser eye surgery is cool! I could say 'Hey! I had lasers in my eyes! Lasers!' Maybe they'd give me laser vision if I ask politely.
Tanith: I don't think the world could take a Vlad with laser vision.
Vlad: The world is unworthy of me with laser vision.
Tanith: The prospect scares me.
Vlad: Where do you think they've gone?
Vlad: The girl and Simon.
Tanith: You mean which receptacle they went to? I'd say Seattle. It's the closest one.
Vlad: Proximity has nothing to do with anything. You can dial any city.
Tanith: I don't think you know Simon. He is the laziest man I have ever met. He went to Seattle because it needed less digits to dial.
Vlad: We're going to Seattle, aren't we?
Tanith: And I don't even have my raincoat. Pity. (Exit Vlad and Tanith, enter Rob Bob and Shopkeeper)
Shopkeeper: Who were those guys?
Bob: And Vlad
Rob: They're very powerful sorcerers.
Bob: Each are the top field operatives of the Light and the Dark.
Shopkeeper: Do they have and agreement, or are they just at war.
Rob: Not war.
Bob: They just have opposing morals.
Rob: The Dark wants to bring back Sah'mut, god of monsters.
Bob: They think that as believers, they will be spared and rewarded, while the unworthy burn.
Rob: The Light wants to protect humanity and overcome it's flaws. Give us a golden age.
Bob: They are on opposite sides of the scale.
Rob: But they aren't openly at war. They don't engage in violence unless they have to.
Bob: Vlad and Tanith have been known to drink tea and eat biscuits together when the Millennium Apple isn't a problem.
Rob: They are quite friendly. But when the Apple comes into play, they fight for it.
Bob: The Apple is the only thing that can bring back Sah'mut. It is the only thing that would overpower our flaws.
Rob: Their motives put them at ends.
Shopkeeper: Which side are you?
Bob: We work for the Light.
Rob: We are Hobbits.
Shopkeeper: Like, Lord of the Rings hobbits?
Bob: Um...I guess?
Rob: Anyway. They've probably followed Simon and Julie to Beijing.
Bob: Why Beijing?
Rob: Beijing's receptacle is the newest. It has magic-science features that the others don't.
Bob: So you're saying it might make the wishes more likely to come true?
Rob: More fully, yes.
Shopkeeper: So we're going to Beijing?
Shopkeeper: But how? Beijing is on the other side of the world.
Rob: We use a phone.
Shopkeeper: I'm going to pretend that makes sense.
Bob: We'll explain later. Right now, we need to find a pay phone. (Curtain. When open, all characters together on stage. Except Sam. Because Sam is dead.)
Voice (from backstage): Welcome to the Transport Nexus. It seems all of your combined travels from the same ZIP code have caused a local matter capacitor overload. All passengers will re- directed to Atlantis while necessary repairs are made.
Necromancer: No! I don't want to be disturbed! Do you have any idea how out of the way Atlantis is? It will take me years to get back!
Julie: Why don't you just stay there?
Necromancer: Atlantis is controlled strictly by the Light. I'll be arrested the second I get there!
Thrasher and Biter: Ha!
Necromancer: You too! Your very existence is an abomination!
Thrasher: We just want to live again!
Necromancer, Vlad, and Simon: Impossible. (Surprised looks at each other)
Vlad: You run on dark energy.
Simon: If your master's power is barred, as the Atlantis law enforcement is sure to do, you will die along with his magic.
Necromancer: You rely on me to function. In fact, if you had gotten all the way to Alfheim-
Tanith: You were going to Alfhiem?
Biter: Yes! The wizards of Light would have a way to help us.
Tanith: I'm afraid not. There's no cure for being a zombie.
Thrasher (Turning to Gob) :You lied. (Looking over Rob and Bob) You all lied.
Gob: You asked to go to Alfhiem.
Biter: We wanted to live! Not be sent on a wild goose chase!
Rob: You asked for directions. We gave them to you.
Thrasher: Read between the lines!
Bob: You're not exactly the type to inspire sympathy.
Thrasher: Oh. You think we want to be this way?
Shopkeeper: I think being a zombie would be pretty cool.
Thrasher: Care to try?
Biter: I could bite you. You could see how great it is to be a zombie.
Necromancer (To Shopkeeper): Yes. Go ahead. I assure you, it is fantastic.
Tanith: I assure you it's not. Your flesh rots while you shamble around without a soul.
Biter: I don't have a soul? Well. I haven't noticed anything. Don't even feel funny.
Vlad: Oh, yes. You're quite all right.
Simon: You just don't have a soul.
Necromancer: Don't worry though. There's no real effects. You can reason, love, whatever. You just lack a certain something. The thing that makes you inherently good. The thing which would render you a true human.
Simon: Yes. Now you're just an imitation of life. A good imitation, granted, but an imitation nonetheless.
Vlad: It's like a pair of custom Italian shoes made by, I don't know...some Italian. Mussolini. Speaking of which, I've met the man. I forced him to make these very shoes I have on now. They are the only shoes he made. And if someone somewhere made ones that looked and felt exactly the same, they just wouldn't be them. They wouldn't be the same shoes that were resentfully hand-crafted by Benito Mussolini.
Simon: They wouldn't have the same shine. You are the cheap knockoffs of Mussolini shoes, Hitler dresses, and Stalin underwear.
Julie: What. Are you talking about?
Tanith: Clothes made by genocidal maniacs.
Julie: Yeah, I got that. Why?
Tanith: I don't know. Every villain has clothes made by other villains
Julie: Is that a hobby you immortals have? Let's have evil people make articles of clothing?
Tanith: I have some socks that were made by Carl Sagan.
Simon: I'm Aristotle.
Tanith: I'm Archimedes.
Vlad: (raising hand) Pythagoras.
Tanith: You do math?
Vlad: I tried. I was always bad at it.
Shopkeeper: I'm sorry, do we have different definitions of "bad at math?" By anyone's definition, Pythagoras wasn't bad at math!
Thrasher: I can do most of what Pythagoras did.
Biter: So can I.
Vlad: You see, it's one thing to follow a rule, it's quite another to make it.
Tanith: You make it sound as if it took effort.
Vlad: The thing with the triangle was hard to figure out!
Tanith: Do you know why they don't bother teaching that in the School of Light?
Vlad: Because you want uneducated drones to do your work for you?
Tanith: No. Because it's blatantly obvious.
Julie: Wasn't obvious to me.
Tanith: Because you have a human brain.
Thrasher: You're not human?
Gob: He is a Storm Lord.
Shopkeeper: He looks human.
Rob: No, you look Storm Lord.
Bob: They came first.
Shopkeeper: So when you say they're immortal, is that magic or anatomy?
Vlad: Well. Genetic engineering as well.
Shopkeeper: You're one of those Storm Lords too?
Julie: Do you have special powers, or what? Because all cool races need special powers.
Tanith: Humans don't have special powers.
Vlad: Do you not consider humans cool?
Julie: We kill each other and drive cars. Not much coolness there.
Vlad: Yes, you are a rather terrible race.
Julie: I didn't say that!
Vlad: You implied it.
Julie:...So...you're an alien?
Vlad: Oh no. We live on Earth. I can remember you humans evolving.
Julie: So your only advantage is that you're really old?
Vlad: And smart. We're smart too.
Julie: So you live for thousands of years and you don't have joint pain? That's your thing?
Vlad: It is much more interesting once you apply it.
Chef: Hm. The Cortex is really lagging behind today. I remember when she...it. Was a young little computer. Archaic now.
Julie: You mean we're not supposed to be here this long?
Chef: No. We're not. But you see, that's the beauty of old technology. When it malfunctions, you have no idea how to operate it and can't fix whatever mess it makes.
Thrasher: So...what you're saying is that you can't control the thing we're riding in?
Chef: Absolutely. Like a blind, deaf, mute, paralyzed mole rat in an airplane.
Biter: What if we get stuck in here?
Chef: Then we'll enjoy the next couple of thousand years together before the Cortex is given a periodic reboot for maintenance and software patches.
Julie: What then?
Chef: We cease to exist.
Thrasher: We die?
Chef: No. You cease to exist. Nothing is left of you. The string of ones and zeroes and occasional twos and fives we are right now halts. Then it is destroyed. The fiber of your being is condemned to the blackness of doom, death, dragons, derision, derailment, dancing, demanding roommates and didgeridoos.
Chef: I like D-words. Not quite as much as L-words, though. Lions, lemurs, lemons, lactose, lamination, all of it. Loads and loads of lucrative L-words.
Voice: Destination near. Prepare for arrival at Atlantis. In 3. 2. 1. No. Maybe my count was off. Oh. No. There. 1. (Lights flicker, curtain, whatever else) Have a great day, or week, or year, or century, or other substantial unit of time in Atlantis.
Necromancer: I don't want this! Now I have to start running! Do you people have any idea how much experimentation I could get done in the time it takes me to escape this place? A lot! Head start, head start, yes! (Necromancer runs off)
Gob: (To Thrasher and Biter): Sorry. Looks like the end for you.
Rob: Have fun rotting!
Vlad: That's a bit mean.
Simon: Yes. It really is.
Julie: Shut up, Simon. You killed someone just today.
Simon: Fair point. But I'm naturally evil. I just can't help it. My mother was terrible and my father had mutton chops. Where else could I turn?
Vlad: Hm. My father had mutton chops as well. Maybe the public humiliation causes a psychological imbalance. Fascinating.
Tanith: I hereby outlaw mutton chops.
Shopkeeper: I agree. Mutton chops suck.
Julie: You can't just outlaw mutton chops.
Tanith: Yes I can.
Thrasher: I'm sorry, are mutton chops more important than our lives?
Bob: Not really lives, are they?
Biter: I'm feeling hungry, aren't you, Thrasher?
Tanith: I could help you escape. But if you take one step in this direction, I will not hesitate in dispatching you.
Biter: You're awfully violent, for the good person you say you are.
Tanith: I don't claim to be a good person. I claim that I more often choose good over evil. And I like these hobbits. I made them myself. So don't touch them.
Biter: How would you help us escape?
Tanith: I designed the fundamentals of this city. I know where the emergency docking station is. I could have you out of here before the police can respond to a call.
Biter: Why would you do-
Thrasher: Don't question it! He might change his mind!
Tanith: There is one condition. You were right to think that. The condition is that you never come near humankind ever again.
Thrasher: Where are we supposed to live then! Humans are everywhere!
Tanith: You can live in the Everfree Forest. No humans there, and there won't be for a couple of hundred years at least.
Biter: Where is it?
Tanith: Away. Far away.
Vlad: Far away? Far away is an understatement! It's in another solar system!
Julie: You have spaceships?
Vlad: Of a kind.
Julie: What are they called?
Julie: Any particular cultural reason, did we borrow that from you, or is it-
Vlad: (Big gestures) They're ships. In space. Ships that sail in space. Ship. Space. Space. Ship. (Sounding out the letters) S-p-a-ce-sh-i-p. Spaaaaaaaceship. Spaceship.
Julie: Fine. I get it. Stupid question.
Vlad: Yes it was. Exceedingly so.
Tanith: Anyway. I can get you to the forest. But promise me and all present that you will stay there.
Vlad: I personally don't mind if we release them in a suburb.
Simon: I don't mind either.
Tanith: Promise everyone here who isn't a sociopath that you won't come back.
Thrasher: Are there threats in the Everfree Forest?
Simon: No? The elves are a huge threat!
Tanith:...They don't like being called elves.
Simon: I honestly couldn't care less. Pointy ears equals elf. They're psychotic!
Tanith: They're not that bad.
Vlad: Not that bad? They're barbaric!
Tanith: I don't think they have anything against zombies.
Vlad: They probably don't. But their culture is complex and harsh. They could get killed for shedding skin in the wrong place!
Tanith: Fine then. Stick to the beeches and if you see a bush rustle, kill it.
Thrasher: The bush?
Tanith: No, the sky. Of course the bush!
Thrasher: Who in their right mind kills bushes?
Tanith: Now? You do. Come on. Follow me. (Tanith, Thrasher, and biter exit)
Vlad: You hobbits must be awfully hungry. Here, Julie and that one man...the man who served me coffee. I have no idea why he's here, but he can take you as well.
Gob: I'm not hungry.
Rob: neither am I.
Bob: Or I.
Vlad: Oh, yes you are. You're famished. In fact, you're faint. You'll drop unconscious...If you don't get some food in your belly.
Gob: Oh. Fine.
Rob: we understand your threat.
Vlad: Good, because I thought it was fairly obvious. Go.
Julie: We don't have money!
Vlad: (Takes out bills from coat) There. Have this.
Julie: This. (Waves money around) is Monopoly money.
Vlad: That it is. I hope they accept it here. If not, you can always write a check.
Julie: I don't have my checkbook
Julie: Fine, fine, going. Come on, Mr. Shopkeeper man.
Shopkeeper: My name is Carson Beckett!
Julie: Don't care. Come on. (Julie, Gob, Rob, Bob, and Shopkeeper exit)
Chef: Oh! Now we're all alone! All alone. Together. Here. Alone. In loneliness.
Simon: Shut up. Why didn't you send him away?
Vlad: Oh, who, Chef? Of course I wouldn't send him away. I like him.
Simon: You like him?
Vlad: Yes I do. Don't you?
Simon: No! He's irritating! He pops up out of boxes, he can't even keep track of what he's saying!
Vlad: Oh. Well. Sorry then. Michael? Do people still call you that? I presume not. Leave us alone.
Chef: But we are alone. Together. In lonesomeness.
Vlad: I want to be more alone.
Chef: But what will I do while you talk? Or...are you proposing? Oh my goodness, you are so proposing! Simon, say yes. Vlad is a fantastic man, well, I say fantastic, he's a bit morally bankrupt, but fantastic nonetheless. Two morally bankrupt people together! The world cannot withstand your moral-less onslaught. It'll be brilliant! Well, I say brilliant-
Vlad: I am not proposing to Simon.
Chef: Awwww. But you'd be so cute together!
Vlad: No. Simon is far too ugly for my taste.
Simon: I'm sorry, what?
Vlad: You're ugly.
Simon: I'm not ugly!
Vlad: Glad you think so. Keeps up self-esteem.
Simon: Fine. You're ugly as well.
Vlad: Thank you.
Simon: And so is your father.
Vlad: I know. Corpses don't tend to be pretty.
Simon: And your mother!
Vlad: I suppose she's let herself go after Father died in the war.
Simon: And Chef or Michael or whatever his name is.
Vlad: Absolutely. Positively hideous. I looked at him for a few minutes once. Nearly turned to stone.
Simon: Everyone you've ever known is ugly.
Vlad: Being pretty is not a prerequisite for my friendship. Tanith looks like a mangled dog's skull sitting on a cow's body. He's still alright.
Simon: You are almost as irritating as that psychotic chef!
Vlad: I've trained myself to be immune to insults.
Chef: Are you fighting?
Vlad: Yes. It will be graphic. Leave, spare yourself the sight.
Chef: oh...I hope you make up. (Leaves)
Vlad: As I was saying, insults have no effect on me. Anger muddles thought. And thought is important.
Simon: So if I was to say that your work has no practical application, causes nothing to stir in anyone, and your existence is entirely inconsequential, You wouldn't even feel the need to fight back?
Simon: no interest in a clever rebuttal?
Vlad: Not at all.
Simon: I admire you. You care even less than me.
Vlad: I serve a dark god. I can't be too sad when the world is destroyed, can I?
Simon: I suppose not. Why do you want to talk to me?
Vlad: You have the apple.
Simon: That I do.
Vlad: I want it.
Simon: Too bad. You're not getting it.
Vlad: I can offer you a very lucrative offer.
Simon: I hold reality in my hand. What could you offer me?
Simon: I get enough of that from Jehovah's Witnesses who knock on my door every other Tuesday.
Vlad: The salvation I offer is more tangible. What they offer applies only after death. Mine is more...immediate.
Simon: Is that so? Tell me more. I'm intrigued.
Vlad: Sah'mut will rise. No slumber lasts forever. He will wake. And all will die.
Simon: That's encouraging. You haven't convinced me.
Vlad: There is a common misconception. Most say we seek the end of the world.
Simon: You do.
Vlad: No. We seek to hasten it's coming. There's no point in waiting, is there.
Simon: I would like to live a long while longer, thank you.
Vlad: You are immortal. You will see Sah'mut's awakening. And you will die.
Simon: This isn't helping.
Vlad: And so will I.
Simon: I thought the faithful were spared.
Vlad: Oh, they are. I've just taken a shine to Earth. I want the apple to control Sah'mut.
Simon: You can do that?
Vlad: Yes we can. We will use the apple to wield a god as a weapon.
Simon: Oh. Clever. But why the ruse?
Vlad: Oh, there is no ruse. The negative image of our cult is just propaganda by the Light. You've experienced that, haven't you?
Simon: Yes I have. But...I must ask. What will you do with Sah'mut? It's a god. Not at all easy to control.
Vlad: That's the beauty of it. After Sah'mut is released, we will need every Millennium Apple that follows to keep it in chains. No one can act against us.
Simon: That doesn't bode well for me. If I don't like the new regime, what am I to do?
Vlad: I am prepared to give you a seat on the council of Elders. That way, you can have a say in what will be done.
Simon: That is fine and dandy, but how do I know you're not lying?
Vlad: First, I must know what your plans are.
Simon: I would change the Order of Light. I would make it never exist.
Vlad: Oh, that's a good one. But think about it. If you have control over a god, the Light is powerless to stop anything. We have absolute power. In fact, once he awakens, we can demand the Light to disband.
Simon: But if you're lying, I will die.
Vlad: So will the Light.
Simon: One of the prerequisites is that I live.
Vlad: Do I look like I would lie?
Vlad: Very well then...Do I look like a man who wants to die?
Vlad: I would never loosen this monster on the world if I wasn't absolutely sure that I would live. That we would live. The Order of the Dark are not religious zealots. We take nothing on faith. Calculations have been made and checked over more times than you can count. Every possible scenario has been foreseen and accounted for. Everything is prepared. All we need...Is the apple you have in your jacket pocket.
Simon: I don't know.
Vlad: Think of it. Power over all of creation. A god at your command. All of that. If you would just join me.
Simon: Okay. I'm with you. (Takes out apple, gives it to Vlad)
Vlad: Many thanks. Now. We need a spaceship.
Simon: I haven't been on one of those in decades! But isn't there a receptacle on Atlantis?
Vlad: I need a controlled environment to summon Sah'mut. And the connection to the Beyond is highest on Earth.
Simon: Where on Earth?
Simon: Oh god. I hate Moscow. It's so cold!
Vlad: I assure you it'll be warmer when the world is burning. Chef-man! Here! (Enter Chef)
Chef: Oh! You're done! Have you made up yet?
Simon: Yes we have.
Chef: Good! Where are we going?
Chef: That's great! I haven't been on Earth in centuries! or...Days? I can never tell. Get those messed up.
Simon (To Vlad): We haven't been gone an hour.
Vlad: He has a bad sense of time. He's lived far too long. Too many memories.
Simon: I don't care. Get him a watch. (Exit Simon, Chef, and Vlad, curtain) (Opens with Gob, Rob, Bob, Julie, and Shopkeeper)
Julie: So. How'd you get mixed up in this?
Shopkeeper: I served coffee to Sorcerers
Julie: That's not something everyone gets to do.
Shopkeeper: Then I became immortal by drinking from a Necromancer's vial.
Julie: You're immortal? I want to be immortal!
Shopkeeper: I don't.
Julie: Why not?
Shopkeeper: Because I can't die. I have a wife and children. They'll grow old. I won't.
Julie: I'm...I'm sorry.
Shopkeeper: There's apparently no way to reverse it either.
Julie: I don't have any real connections.
Shopkeeper: Get some.
Julie: I don't belong anywhere.
Shopkeeper: Find a place.
Julie: I've lived in forty six of the fifty states, in a total of about one hundred cities. I just can't settle down.
Shopkeeper: Oh. You're the adventurous type, aren't you?
Julie: Not by choice.
Gob: Everything is a choice.
Rob: You can will yourself to make friends.
Bob: Not really.
Gob: You're not helping.
Rob: We're trying to help her.
Julie: That's sweet, guys. It really is.
Shopkeeper: You're a thief from what they've told me.
Julie: Yes I am.
Shopkeeper: Do you like what you do?
Shopkeeper: What do you like to do?
Julie: Art. I like to draw. And design things.
Shopkeeper: Am I right when I say that you steal to make a living?
Shopkeeper: Have you ever tried applying yourself in art, or design?
Julie: I never had a chance.
Julie: My parents disowned me.
Shopkeeper: What for?
Julie: I have no idea.
Shopkeeper: They disowned you for no reason?
Julie: As far as I can tell.
Shopkeeper: That's terrible!
Julie: I know.
Shopkeeper: Do you have an education?
Julie: Only to the end of High School.
Shopkeeper: But you are a good thief, correct?
Shopkeeper: Can you put yourself through college?
Shopkeeper: Why haven't you?
Julie: My designs aren't that good, neither is my artwork.
Shopkeeper: Well...You can learn.
Julie: I suppose I could. But I'm too deeply engrained in the underground. I couldn't leave if I wanted to.
Shopkeeper:...Is that why you want the apple?
Julie: I don't get the question.
Shopkeeper: You want to leave. You want to use the apple to turn your life around.
Julie: Yes. How did you know?
Shopkeeper: You don't seem like a thief to me.
Julie: I suppose I don't see myself as one either. And right now, Simon has the apple. We have an arrangement. We will share the apple's power for our separate goals.
Shopkeeper: Good for you! (Enter Tanith)
Tanith: Where's Vlad?
Julie: Back there, with Simon.
Tanith: Simon has the apple.
Tanith: And you left him there with Vlad.
Tanith (To Gob, Rob, and Bob): And you thought this was alright? You leave the man with the most powerful artifact in the universe with Vlad?
Julie: What's wrong with Vlad? Aside from the dark god business?
Tanith: I like the man. But he has quite a way with words. He's probably already talked the apple away from Simon. He knows this city almost as well as I do.
Julie: So? What's the problem? We catch them and get it back.
Tanith: You're taking betrayal very well, young lady.
Julie: Used to it.
Tanith: I see. They will be headed to the shipyards.
Julie: Why are you so convinced Simon gave away the apple?
Tanith: I tell you, Vlad lies. He lies and twists you around his little finger.
Julie: If you don't like him, why are yo all buddy-like?
Tanith: Vlad is not a bad man. Our goals are at odds. But they only come to odds every once in a thousand years. I can overlook what he does on one day out of countless others.
Julie: Okay. But where do you think they would go?
Tanith: ...I don't really know.
Julie: You don't know?
Tanith: not really.
Julie: You've known Vlad for years! He must have let something slip!
Tanith: I guarantee you that if he let it slip, it was purposefully said to misguide me.
Julie: I think you're overestimating his abilities.
Tanith: It wouldn't pay to underestimate them, would it?
Julie: Come on, anything. Anything at all.
Gob: I have heard him talking about London.
Rob: And Paris.
Bob: And Dublin.
Julie: See! They know something!
Tanith: Or maybe he is trying to have us look in the big cities around Europe while he summons the god of darkness over in Tahiti! (Shopkeeper whips out phone)
Julie: Who summons monsters in Tahiti?
Tanith: People who hate the tropics.
Julie: Okay. Say he went to Tahiti. Why would he go there as opposed to Hawaii?
Tanith: Tahiti is an example. He could go literally anywhere. What he says is untrustworthy, can you not see that?
Julie: Well, we have no other hints.
Tanith: I suppose not. But how do we choose where we go first? It doesn't take long to grant a wish. A lot less time than it takes to sweep a city.
Julie: So they've won?
Tanith: Not yet. If we can catch them en route to Earth, we can stop them.
Shopkeeper: Hey? Guys? Sorry to rain on your parade of deduction, but I found him on Facebook.
Shopkeeper: Facebook. It's a social networking-
Tanith: I know what Facebook is, thank you. Why does he have one?
Shopkeeper: I don't know.
Tanith: How do you know it's him?
Shopkeeper: He has pictures. He's pretty recognizable.
Tanith: Fine. What does it say?
Shopkeeper: Place of residence, Moscow, job, Order of the Dark.
Tanith: That's...Very... Helpful, actually. Why would he put that up for everyone to see?
Shopkeeper: Maybe he's just not as smart as you make him out to be.
Tanith: Well then. Off to Moscow?
Julie: My turn. How can we be sure it's in Moscow?
Tanith: Vlad is one of the higher-ups in the Order of the Dark. Very high up. The cult wouldn't be here without him. He would demand that it be moved to his location.
Julie: Where in Moscow then? It's a big city.
Tanith: And this is a big cult.
Julie: What if they have a secret meeting hall in the Metro tunnels?
Tanith: The members of the Dark are insane. That doesn't mean that they aren't classy. Most of them wear suits and don't like getting dirt on their hands. The headquarters would probably be some upscale address downtown.
Julie: They want to destroy the world and they're afraid to get their hands dirty?
Tanith: Most come from rich families.
Julie: Alright then. They're posh. But really? No dirt? They should man up.
Tanith: I don't like getting my hands dirty either.
Julie: Boo Hoo Hoo.
Tanith: It's unpleasant.
Julie: Oh, go take a mud bath.
Shopkeeper: Are we going, or no?
Tanith: Oh! Right! Come on then!
Gob: Uh. We would like to stay.
Tanith: What for?
Rob: We failed at our job of keeping the boy safe.
Bob: And that is really most of our purpose.
Tanith: So...Yopu're just going to live in Atlantis until you are needed again?
Gob: Yes. We will.
Tanith: Okay then. We know where to find you, then. (Exit Tanith, Shopkeeper, and Julie. Close curtain) (Open curtain, Vlad, Simon, and Chef on stage)
Simon: Shouldn't you be piloting this?
Simon: Won't we crash?
Vlad: Yes. It really is a useful invention, isn't it?
Simon: That is is.
Vlad: Shame we haven't perfected it yet.
Vlad: You didn't know? You are very out of touch, Simon.
Simon: You're letting an imperfect autopilot fly us through space at the speed of light?
Simon: What if we hit something!
Vlad: Depends on what we hit.
Simon: I don't care what we hit! I want to know what would happen!
Vlad: If it was an asteroid, it would be blown to nonexistence, and so would we.
Simon: From an asteroid? What if we hit a planet?
Vlad: We blow a crater in the planet the size of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined.
Simon: We don't live through this, right?
Vlad: No. We don't. In fact, neither does any of the life on the planet we hit. It's like what happened to the dinosaurs, only worse.
Simon: We need a pilot!
Vlad: Actually, when traveling at the speed of light, a computer is shown to be millions of times more reliable than a creature of any sort.
Simon: So If I were to take the helm-
Vlad: You would probably accelerate us to a speed faster than light, wipe us from reality, rip a hole in the universe, and manage to obliterate three fourths of the solar system in the process.
Simon: Okay then. How high is the probability we'll crash into something with the autopilot?
Vlad: Eh. About one in one hundred crashes.
Simon: That's a lot!
Vlad: No, it's not.
Simon: Why do you trust this autopilot so much?
Vlad: I helped design it.
Simon: That's a terrible reason.
Vlad: Hey, we're not dead yet.
Voice: Autopilot failing. Slowing down vessel to moderately lethal levels.
Simon: Moderately lethal?
Vlad: It means that if we crash, the only dead things will be us.
Simon: I prefer not to crash at all.
Voice: Incoming vessel. Firefly class. Docking sequence engaged.
Simon: What? Who's docking? I don't want to dock! (yelling to Voice) Go! Faster!
Voice: Shutting down life support.
Simon:What? Why would you shut down life support? It supports lives!
Vlad: Hm. Maybe it's a way of forcing us onto their ship. Clever. Maybe space pirates are starting to grow brains.
Simon: Space pirates?
Vlad: Oh, yes. Space pirates are everywhere.
Simon: I could have lived a perfectly happy life without knowing that there is such a thing as space pirates.
Vlad: Are you scared of them?
Vlad: Why? They're pirates!
Simon: It's just how it sounds. How did your brother die? Oh, he was killed by space pirates. I don't want my death to involve something as ridiculous as space pirates.
Vlad: Space pirates are nothing to laugh at.
Simon: Maybe not. But if they want to sound intimidating, they should do a better job.
Voice: Docking sequence completed. First life form coming aboard. Analysis: Storm Lord. One hundred and fifty thousand years old. Male.
Simon: Wow. One hundred and fifty thousand? That's Tanith?
Vlad: Yes. Our species is practically immortal. One hundred and fifty thousand is middle aged.
Simon: What's Chef?
Vlad: Oh. Him. He...couldn't stand the test of time. Two hundred and seventy two thousand, I think.
Simon: What about you?
Vlad: A gentleman must never reveal his age.
Simon: You're thinking of an older woman.
Vlad: No one should reveal their age. Makes life interesting. Once, I talked to a man in about eighteen hundred. Fascinating man. Looked about thirty five, forty. You know what? Turned out it was a sixty year old woman. Imagine my surprise.
Simon: How did you find out?
Vlad: She had a heart attack.
Simon: Were you that mean?
Vlad: I can never tell. (Enter Tanith)
Tanith: Hello then! How are you?
Vlad: Oh! Hello! I'm well and good. How are you?
Tanith: Oh, I'm fine. How's the family?
Vlad: My wife is disappearing for hours on end and my son is failing all his classes.
Simon: Is this normal for you? Is this just a typical conversation?
Tanith: Of course it it.
Vlad: Actually, it goes more along the lines of "Oh Vlad! You magnificent example of a human being! I have come to wallow in the pools of your glory!"
Tanith: I say nothing of the sort.
Vlad: You want to.
Tanith: The only thing I want is the apple.
Vlad: Sad that you won't have it then, isn't it?
Tanith: Tell me, Vlad, do you have experience re-wiring spaceships?
Vlad: No. Not really.
Tanith: Then it'll be terribly hard to get life support back online, won't it?
Vlad: Oh. I see how t is. But, you know, I'm not giving it to you.
Tanith: If you don't, you will die.
Vlad: And I'll die if I do.
Tanith: You have my word that you will leave unharmed.
Vlad: Your word means nothing.
Tanith: Bitter today, aren't you?
Vlad: I'm in space with a limited amount of air. Yes, you could call me bitter.
Tanith: Come on now, Vlad. You know I do not want to kill you.
Vlad: You've just been putting it off.
Tanith: And look at how long I've put it off! Thousands of years. If I wanted you dead, you would already be dead.
Vlad: I suppose that's a fair point. But if you don't want to kill me, why should I give you the apple?
Tanith: I don't want to, but I will if it becomes necessary.
Vlad: When will it become necessary?
Tanith: In about 5 minutes.
Vlad: Why then?
Tanith: That's when the air runs out.
Vlad: Hm. I don't have another way out, do I?
Tanith: Not at all.
Vlad: Hmph. Fine. Come along, Simon.
Tanith: Oh, no. He's not invited.
Simon: I'm sorry? What?
Tanith: You stay here.
Simon: So you don't even have the decency to do it yourself?
Tanith: You're unstable. Can't have that.
Simon: You're sick, you know that?
Tanith: You killed a defenseless young boy and betrayed your partner.
Simon: So just like that, you don't even care? You're the moral one. What you're doing is murder.
Tanith: No, what I'm doing is retribution. Come along Vlad, Chef. (Exit Tanith, Chef, and Vlad)
Simon: I always imagined myself dying more grandly. Maybe destroying a horde of orcs. Or in an explosion. Getting shot or stabbed, something interesting and flashy. But no. Suffocation...At least it's not space pirates. (Close curtain. Open to Tanith and Vlad)
Vlad: You didn't really destroy the life support, did you?
Tanith: No, I didn't.
Vlad: That means Simon is still a threat.
Tanith: Maybe later. But now, he's sitting in a stopped ship floating aimlessly in space, expecting to die. Not exactly a situation where you are motivated to do something.
Vlad: he still might.
Tanith: Simon has neither the abilities of a pilot, nor an engineer. Even if he were to realize we tricked him right this second, he wouldn't be able to do anything about it.
Vlad: Well played. How long do you think before he gets help?
Tanith: Well, there is a distress beacon. Can't say how long it will be until he finds it.
Vlad: A hat tip to you, Tanith.
Tanith: Don't be so quick to shower me in praise.
Vlad: Why ever not?
Tanith: We're dumping you too.
Vlad: There aren't any habitable planets nearby.
Tanith: But there is a rather pretty asteroid in our sights. Big enough to have an atmosphere. There are signs of civilization.
Vlad: Oh you wouldn't-
Tanith: I'm sure the people there are great. Down to earth farmers with traditional family values.
Vlad: I hate you.
Tanith: They might even have enough people for developed political parties.
Vlad: Oh god, no.
Tanith: I'm sure they'll accept you with open arms. Or tentacles. Whichever.
Vlad: Please. Leave me somewhere with normal people. People I can get along with.
Vlad: This isn't nice. This is humiliation.
Tanith: Of course it is. Oh. I forgot to thak you.
Vlad: For what?
Tanith: The apple. Now. Ta-ta. Places for you to be. You'll find your designated pod in the third door on the right. (Vlad exits muttering. Enter Julie)
Julie: He's gone then?
Tanith: For the next ten years or so.
Julie:So that's it then? The apple is yours?
Tanith: Yes it is. Oh...you want it?
Tanith: What is your wish?
Julie: I want to stop being a thief. To be free to leave.
Tanith: Little girl. We will bring a golden age to the universe. There will be no crime. No hunger, poverty, disease.
Julie: That seems too good to be true.
Tanith: It is a tad ambitious, even by the apple's standards. But we are confident it will work.
Julie: If it doesn't?
Tanith: Then we simply won't get all of what we wished for. Not quite heaven on Earth, but better than it is now.
Julie: That's good of you.
Tanith: Yes, well. Anyone would do the same. I say anyone. Not Vlad or his friends.
Julie: Why do they want civilization to end?
Tanith: They see it an inevitable, and one day, their god will wake and bring about the apocalypse.
Julie: Not much for procrastination, then?
Tanith: Not at all.
Julie: Could...Could the apple bring back Sam?
Tanith: We don't need to waste the apple on that.
Julie: Waste it?!
Tanith: Yes. I know a couple skilled Necromancers.
Julie: I don't think he'd be too enthusiastic about being a zombie.
Tanith: Oh no. The one we met today is far from skilled. A beginner.
Julie: A beginner can make an immortality elixir, just like that?
Tanith: It's not hard. Bringing someone fully back to life is. Which is why we need skilled Necromancers.
Julie: From what I've seen, Necromancers aren't exactly the most agreeable folk.
Tanith: So yes, they have zombies and tamper with the fabric of life, but it doesn't hurt anybody, does it? The subjects are past caring. And they come in useful every once in a while.(Enter Shopkeeper)
Shopkeeper: The computer says there's something following us.
Tanith: Is it the space police? Hate the space police.
Julie: What? Are we speeding? Is the limit ninety percent the speed of light?
Tanith: Actually the limit is up to three hundred times the speed of light, so we're really lagging behind. Maybe we're causing a traffic jam.
Julie: Why are we going so slow?
Tanith: Because breaking the light barrier and defying the laws of physics is a very strange process.
Julie: In what way?
Tanith: Sometimes it drives people mad, others they throw up uncontrollably over every single console in the ship. Neither is wanted right now.
Julie: So how fast can this thing actually go?
Tanith: Oh...three-four hundred times the speed of light.
Julie: All I needed to know. (Julie runs off)
Shopkeeper: She's in a hurry.
Tanith: Hold onto something.
Tanith: We're about to go faster than light. Hold on.
Shopkeeper: There's nothing to hold on to.
Tanith: Find something. (Exit Tanith and Shopkeeper. Nothing happens. Enter Tanith and Julie)
Tanith: Why aren't you throwing up?
Julie: That's an odd question.
Tanith: I'm serious. Why?
Julie: Well, the speedometer says we're going 250C, whatever that means.
Tanith: C is the speed of light. But why? Why aren't you throwing up? You should be throwing up!
Julie: Well...I'm not.
Tanith: Not even a little?
Tanith: I feel a very strange mix of disappointment and happiness.
Julie: Those don't normally don't go together.
Tanith: On one hand, I'm happy that they smoothed over the transition. And on the other hand, I'm sad that you're not vomiting all over my shoes.
Julie: Well. Sorry to disappoint.
Tanith: Oh no, not in that way. I mean, we're going faster than is physically possible. Much faster. You should feel something.
Julie: I'm pretty awed.
Tanith: Eh. I suppose that's something. If there is a tangible effect, you have a story. All Storm Lords have one. For instance, the first time I went faster than light, I lost my balance and sense of smell for three days. Couldn't walk, felt nauseous. I fell in the waste unit, but didn't notice, because I couldn't smell.
Julie: I'm sure that was fun for everyone involved. I prefer not being an emotional and physical wreck for days on end.
Tanith: Your loss.
Voice: Destination nearing. Slowing down vessel. Prepare for total stop.
Tanith: There. We're in orbit around Earth.
Voice: Docking initiated.
Tanith: Hm. We should go down. Avoid whatever is coming through our roof.
Julie: How do we do that?
Tanith: Oh, there's a ship-to-surface teleporter in the other room. Grab Chef and that Shopkeeper. I'll meet you there. (Exit Tanith and Julie stage right. Pause of nothing happening.)
Voice: New passenger. Analysis: Storm lord. Fifty thousand years old. New passenger. Analysis: Storm Lord. Twenty five thousand years old.(Enter Vlad and Simon)
Vlad: Really, only twenty five?
Simon: Oh, don't act so smug.
Vlad: Do you want me to stop being boastful and sarcastic too? Simon, you'll ruin me.
Simon: Listen, I haven't thanked you for coming back for me.
Vlad: Oh, no need. You're nice to have around.
Simon: Well, thank you.
Vlad: Funny too.
Simon: I try.
Vlad: Like a drunk and somewhat stupid puppy with three legs.
Vlad: Oh calm down. I'm just making a joke. You, Simon, are good for my health.
Simon: Nice to hear.
Vlad: You're like my own little vegetable.
Simon: What kind of vegetable?
Vlad: Brussels Sprouts.
Simon: I actually like Brussels Sprouts.
Vlad: Liar. Anyway. The others have probably already gotten down to Earth. We need that apple and I don't want to wait another thousand years.
Simon: What's the codename for this?
Simon: Yes. Something like Operation Delta, or Operation Grey Wind.
Vlad: Operation Grey Wind? Since when does wind have color?
Simon: It's a figure of speech.
Vlad: A bad one at that.
Simon: Fine. What would you name it?
Vlad: Operation Puppy-Sized Elephants.
Simon: I'm not taking part in Operation Puppy-Sized Elephants.
Vlad: Elephant-Sized Puppies?
Vlad: Operation Operation?
Simon: Not at all.
Vlad: Operation Apple Connoisseurs?
Vlad: Operation Steal the apple then take the apple to Moscow then summon Sah'mut then rule the world with an iron fist from the thrones of Gods?
Simon: Fine, fine. You win. Operation Puppy-Sized Elephants
Vlad: I rather liked the last one.
Simon: Too bad, you're getting puppy-sized elephants.
Vlad: I like this compromise.
Simon: Of course you do.
Vlad: Operation Puppy-Sized Elephants is a go! (Exit Simon stage left) Other way. (Simon walks across stage to right. Exit Vlad. Curtain. Opens to Tanith, Julie, Chef, and Shopkeeper)
Chef: Oh! London! I love London! I think I founded London. Maybe it was Paris. Or Athens. Maybe Armograd.
Shopkeeper: What's Armograd?
Chef: It's the village that built Stonehenge. Or The Sphinx. I can never tell.
Tanith: Don't mind him.
Shopkeeper: Don't mind him? He can't help but be minded! He's there! And he's spewing nonsense!
Tanith: Oh, I assure you it all makes perfect sense. In fact, as an immortal, you'll find out in a couple thousand years that you sometimes do history-changing things by accident.
Julie: How can you change history by accident?
Tanith: Your actions have no weight. No offense intended, but if you were never born, nothing would change. Oh sure, maybe a couple little things. Maybe the criminal world would be worse off. Maybe some statistics would be a little different. You haven't managed to do anything.
Julie: Oh, thank you. Nice. Really gives me perspective I don't need.
Tanith: You are one person out of seven billion. One planet out of eight. In one solar system out of one hundred billion. One galaxy out of one hundred billion. You are enormously insignificant.
Julie: Great now I feel bad. Thank you, Mr. Lord of Storms.
Tanith: Okay. Fine. There are about as many Storm Lords as humans. Seven billion. But we are spread among the stars, among galaxies. We live for hundreds of thousands of years! Our mark on the world, the universe, is infinitely larger than yours. If I were to never exist, or Vlad, or Simon, Earth's advancement would be moving slower than a slug on a glacier.
Julie: So, basically, you're mystically wise creatures who are essential to the development of everything?
Tanith: Oh, no. You would eventually think of it yourselves. We just help the process.
Julie: You can stop bragging now. I get it. You're infinitely more significant than me and all I know.
Shopkeeper: So...after a long time I'll be like Einstein?
Chef: Oh! Einstein! I liked him. Actually...No. A bit stuck up. And arrogant. I much prefer Issac Newton. Issac. There's a fellow you can like. We played poker every Friday. I always won, but he never got mad. Or maybe he did.
Shopkeeper: I want to stop talking about how insignificant I am. What are we doing in London?
Tanith: The apple must get to the Elders. They'll put our plan into action.
Julie: I thought the Elders were in Alfshiem.
Tanith: Oh, they are. Alfshiem is just accessed through the London Metro.
Shopkeeper: Where do you people find the money to build these things?
Tanith: Oh, no, it's a short tunnel.
Shopkeeper: You still had to excavate enough room to set up shop in.
Tanith: oh, no. It's a portal.
Shopkeeper: A portal to where?
Tanith: The center of Mars.
Shopkeeper: We're going to the center of Mars?
Julie: I always wanted to go on Mars!
Tanith: You won't be seeing Mars as it is now.
Julie: How will we be seeing it?
Tanith: You'll be seeing it as a city.
Julie: What's the city like?
Tanith: Oh, it has gold-plated roads, and marble palaces. Sparkling monuments to battles. Skyscrapers raising to the sky!
Julie: That sounds beautiful.
Tanith: Oh, it is. (Enter Vlad and Simon)
Vlad: Why hello, Tanith, fancy meeting you here.
Tanith: Fate is a cruel mistress.
Vlad: Don't be so down. You didn't actually think that I would willingly go into banishment, did you?
Tanith: No, but why did you have to drag him along?
Vlad: He may prove useful.
Tanith: I don't like him.
Vlad: But father!
Tanith: No, Lily, you can't see that boy anymore.
Vlad: We're in loooooooove!
Tanith: You wouldn't know true love if it slapped you across the face with a horned pink fish.
Vlad: Dad! You're oppressing meeeee!
Tanith: I'm not oppressing! I'm protecting you!
Vlad: Go awaaaaaaay! I wanna be alooooone!
Simon: Are you quite done?
Vlad: I don't know. I feel as if I've really embraced the teenage girl inside of me.
Simon: Could you let her go?
Vlad: I don't know. It's a part of me that doesn't often see the light of day.
Simon: Lets keep it that way.
Vlad: Fine. But only for you.
Tanith: Lily, this will only result in pain.
Julie: Stop with the Lily! (To Shopkeeper) Does this creep you out?
Shopkeeper: Yes. Very much.
Julie: You're thousands of years old! Act like it!
Tanith: Afraid I can't play dead well.
Julie: You are all something special.
Vlad: I think what we are is called "Deadpan Snarkers".
Julie: Snark all you want. But don't take things like that and just roll with them. It creeps me out.
Shopkeeper: It really does. If Chef said he was your grandma-
Chef: I've always wanted to be a Grandma!
Julie: I don't need this. Call me when you're done with this freak show.
Shopkeeper: Me too. I don't want to know how this will turn out. (Exit Julie and Shopkeeper)
Vlad: That's good. I wasn't looking forward to that particular skit.
Simon: Skit? You have these planned?
Tanith: Of course.
Vlad: We call each other on weekends and arrange these things.
Tanith: Any possible situation, we have a plan.
Simon: If George Lucas just walked through that door, what would you do?
Vlad: We would punch him.
Tanith: He stole our screenplay.
Vlad: We worked collaboratively on Star Wars for several hundred years.
Tanith: He did write the prequels, though. That sure showed his talent.
Vlad: Which is to say none.
Simon: There's still a flicker of doubt in my mind that maybe, just maybe, you scripted that.
Tanith: Have faith, Simon. It's easier than trying to figure out a madman.
Vlad: Even harder is figuring out two madmen.
Simon: I have better things to do than trying to figure you out.
Tanith: Brace yourself. You run out after a couple thousand years.
Vlad: There is one thing we have to do which is better than figuring you out, Tanith. We need you do give us the apple.
Tanith: You just came off of your ship, correct?
Tanith: I will win if it comes down to a fight, one way or another.
Vlad: Yes, you probably would. Which is why I won't fight you.
Tanith: That's nice of you.
Vlad: Oh, no. What I have in mind is far from nice.
Tanith: Is it possible that you'll talk me to death?
Vlad: I don't know, Simon probably could.
Simon: I'll have you know that I am very persuasive.
Vlad: Not as persuasive as me. But that doesn't matter right now. What matters is our well-meaning hippie friend Tanith here.
Tanith: You won't fight me and you won't talk me to death. Whatever shall I do?
Vlad: Oh. Nick. Can I call you Nick? I feel as though we've become friends over the last couple of eons.
Tanith: May be true.
Vlad: I want to use Nick to show a level of trust that we have.
Tanith: We don't have a level of trust.
Vlad: We have a bit of trust. It may not be a lot, but it's there. Enough to shock you when I threaten you.
Tanith: I'm not shocked.
Simon: Wait for it.
Vlad: Enough to be shocked when I threaten the lives of everyone in London.
Vlad: See. That got your attention. What about the lives of everyone in a major city in Europe?
Vlad: Oh, nothing. Just Russia's nuclear stockpile.
Tanith: You can't do that.
Vlad: Of course I can! That's the beauty of it! If you don't give me the apple, I will destroy civilized Europe! Maybe I'll bomb Tokyo and Seoul! Just for fun! To hell with it, bomb every major city! With a call from me, everyone dies! I hold the lives of billions of people in my hand!
Tanith: If I give you the apple, you let them live?
Vlad: Of course I will. Even evil has standards.
Tanith: Enough standards not to slaughter countless people?
Vlad: Afraid not.
Tanith: Don't have a choice, do I?
Vlad: Not at all. Give it here. (Tanith gives Vlad apple, starts to leave) Oh no, Tanith. You're not leaving yet.
Tanith: Aren't I?
Vlad: Not at all. Get on your knees.
Vlad: Do it. (Tanith gets on his knees) I want to take this chance to humiliate you in front of yourself. And some witnesses.
Tanith: How would that work?
Vlad: Oh, very simply. Hello? Julie? Shopkeeper man, we're done. You can come back. (Ender Julie and Shopkeeper)
Julie: What is this?
Shopkeeper: I thought you said you were done.
Vlad: We're done with what we had before. Let's begin. Why did you give me the apple?
Julie: You gave him the apple?
Tanith: He was threatening the lives of billions of people.
Vlad: But I'm evil. I work to summon a dark god. He would kill all, wouldn't he?
Vlad: Then why give me the apple? Surely some of the population is better than all of it.
Tanith: We don't work that way.
Vlad: Don't you? You're the saints, aren't you?
Tanith: Here, yes, we are.
Vlad: Then why let us destroy the world?
Tanith: We could stop you before you were finished with the summons.
Vlad: You could. But is that a favorable gamble? In one, most of the population surely stays alive. One hundred percent chance. But in the other, you bet all of humanity that you can do the improbable.
Tanith: We can even the odds.
Vlad: I don't think you would do that. You like being certain. Which leaves one option.
Tanith: Enlighten me.
Vlad: You know what we intend to do.
Tanith: You intend to destroy the world.
Vlad: Stop lying. You know that we only seek control. You know that our plan is less deadly than either of the options I present you with.
Vlad: Good. See, we're getting somewhere. Now. Doesn't that mean you've been lying and spreading false propaganda?
Vlad: (To Julie and Shopkeeper) Are those the people who you want in charge of the future?
Julie: They're better than you. Care to elaborate on your own plan?
Vlad: We wish as much of peace as them. We will summon Sah'mut but we will destroy nothing.
Julie: How will you control him?
Vlad: With the apple, of course. We will provide the world, the universe protection. If someone or something breaks the peace, they will be taken care of by an unstoppable monster.
Julie: That doesn't sound like the peace anyone would want.
Vlad: Yet it is total peace. Nobody dies of war. No senseless sacrifices. It can all just stop.
Tanith: No useless sacrifices? You just threatened to bomb all of the major cities of the world.
Vlad: A billion or two people is a fair price to pay for never ending peace in every galaxy.
Julie: That is sick.
Vlad: No, it would have been necessary. No war! Ever!
Julie: You can't just kill all those people!
Vlad: Their deaths would be honored! They helped destroy war! If we put in enough time, we could make a universal utopia! All people would be treated as equals! No poverty, hunger. This would make the world infinitely better than anything the apple could do otherwise! But now we have the apple! We can do this with no deaths!
Julie: You just became a lot less evil.
Vlad: Tell them, Tanith. Tell them why you don't want this to pass.
Vlad: Power! That's his answer! Elaborate please, dear Tanith1
Tanith: No one should have that power.
Vlad: There's not one of us, Tanith! You know there are more! So many more! Our council of elders has over fifty members! Fifty men and women who want peace! But you won't let them spread it.
Tanith: It is peace by fear! If there will be peace, it should be because people have defeated themselves! Become fundamentally better! Not because they're forced to!
Vlad: No. You don't want us to succeed because you want to be the hero. You want a big bad to fight. That is what we are to you. That is why you've brainwashed all those people to your side. You want to be the saviors of the universe. In fact, you've even brainwashed yourself! You've repeated the same lie over and over in your head until you convinced your sorry self that you are more righteous than me!
Tanith: It is you, Vlad, who has delusions.
Vlad: I have the apple now, Tanith. Every delusion I have can be made a reality. I'm off to Moscow now, Tanith. I'm off to make the universe better. You can stay here.
Julie: I'll come with you.
Shopkeeper: And me.
Chef: Oh! Is this a party? I love parties! I'm coming too!
Vlad: I have my allies, Nicky. Go round up yours. (Exit Vlad, Simon, Julie, Shopkeeper, and Chef. Tanith stands up.)
Tanith: I'll round them up. Hundreds. And I will bring them to your doorstep. I'll bring them to your living room and smash your family memorabilia! I'll smash your favorite tea set and eat your favorite cookies! Nothing is safe from me, Vlad. Nothing.
(Exit Tanith. Curtain. Open to office-type space. Anderson behind desk. Enter Tanith)
Anderson: Tanith. Hello. What brings you here?
Tanith: The Dark has the apple. They are preparing to summon Sah'mut.
Anderson: You gave them the apple?
Tanith: Vlad was threatening to kill millions.
Anderson: He would do that anyway.
Tanith: I figured that we could stop the summons.
Anderson: Maybe we can. Tell me, where are they located?
Tanith: Downtown Moscow.
Anderson: Thank you. That is all I needed to know. You are free to go.
Tanith: I need men for this mission.
Anderson: No, Tanith. You need rest. Time after time, you fail to bring back the apple. Time after time you make promises that you do not keep. I will not trust something of this much importance to you.
Tanith: You're firing me?
Anderson: Yes. I am.
Tanith: Well then. Good luck with your ventures. If you ever need me, I'll be in Atlantis, too busy to respond. Goodbye. (Exit Tanith)
Anderson: Hmph. Didn't need you anyway. (Yelling) Margo! Get me some interns!
Voice: Interns, sir?
Anderson: Yes, Margo, interns!
Voice: We don't have interns!
Anderson: Promote some kitchen staff!
Voice: They'll be up soon! (Enter Harold, Clarabelle, and Donna)
Clarabelle: You called for us, sir?
Anderson: Yes! I did. You're promoted.
Donna: Promoted! To what?
Donna: I don't want to be an intern.
Anderson: Too bad. Uh...Clarabelle, get me some coffee.
Clarabelle: I'm not getting you coffee.
Anderson: But you're an intern. You're required by law to give me coffee.
Harold: I don't think there's any law anywhere that forces us to get you coffee.
Anderson: It's in the constitution.
Harold: What constitution?
Anderson: I don't know. Somewhere sometime there's a constitution that makes you get me coffee.
Harold: Is my life in danger if I don't?
Harold: Then I'll pass.
Anderson: You are an intern now. You have power the likes of which kitchen staff can never even comprehend. An intern does what they are told! They do it well! And more importantly, for free!
Clarabelle: Can we go back to being kitchen staff?
Anderson: I have an important mission for you.
Clarabelle: Important enough for senior officers?
Anderson: Yes. But they're all on vacation. They picked a really bad time for it too. So that's where you come in. You are the best of the best. And well worth my time. Nope. Couldn't keep a strait face. You sub-standard footsoldiers will go to Moscow and try to stop the summoning of Sah'mut.
Anderson: Big kill-y evil lizard thing. Bad. End of the world thingy.
Harold: How are we supposed to stop it?
Anderson: I don't know. You're interns. Find a way.
Donna: If we die-
Anderson: Don't worry. You won't.
Donna: But if we do-
Anderson: Then we are incredibly sorry and we will notify your family immediately after I do some paperwork.
Donna: On our death?
Anderson: Oh, no. Tax returns. Ta-ta.
Donna: Tax returns? When three people die?
Anderson: Of course. Tax returns are more important than you think. Normally I'd have interns do them, but, you know, you'll be dead.
Harold: Nice to know you care so much.
Anderson: Oh, I'm sure we offer bonuses. I'm not sure how or where or why. But we do. Probably. Now, go away. I have the utmost level of confidence in you. Though if you fail I reserve the right to say that I knew all along. I need to make myself coffee now. Bye. (Exit Anderson)
Harold: So...Perilous quest, eh?
Clarabelle: I was never good with stress.
Harold: I wouldn't think that they'd just send us out if it were that important.
Clarabelle: You're right. We probably have backup.
Donna: You think he's actually being serious? This is all just one cruel joke, don't you see? It's annual prank the kitchen staff day.
Harold: There's never been a prank the kitchen staff day before.
Donna: Well, they're starting it. And they're gunna have trouble beating this one.
Harold: Well, what if we actually have to go?
Donna: We don't.
Harold: Look, Mr. Anderson is a fairly smart man. I've seen him laying out battle plans and doing science. But I've also seen him be quite strange. He ordered a sandwich with ketchup and relish once, just ketchup and relish. I don't think his reasoning abilities are at their highest right now. He might be in a swing of irrationality. We should notify a high-ranking officer about what he told us. They're better suited to making decisions than us.
Clarabelle: I agree. Mr. Anderson seemed off the pill, so to speak. We should let somebody know.
Donna: You guys go ahead. I have pasta to make for lunch.
(Everyone Exits. Curtain. Opens to Harold, Clarabelle, and Colonel Stevens)
Harold: Uh...Colonel Stevens, sir?
Col.: Yes? What is it?
Harold: We were called into Mr. Anderson's office.
Col.: Did you screw up breakfast, is that what you did, because if it is, I don't want to hear it.
Clarabelle: Um. No, sir. He said something about the Dark rising, and needing someone to stop it.
Cal.: And he chose you?
Clarabelle: We...We don't think he was entirely...lucid...while bringing us there.
Col.: You don't say. I know about the whole Darkness thing. They're planning on summoning Sah'mut today, aren't they? It's fine. Margo told me about the entire situation as soon as she heard Mr. Anderson send for kitchen staff. I have a team of Clerics assembling. They'll be good to go in a couple of hours.
Col.: Now, don't be getting yourself in trouble anymore. Take care. (Exit Colonel Stevens.)
Harold: I'm...I'm still wondering whether we should go.
Clarabelle: Go? Are you crazy? We can't GO.
Harold: Well. A squad of Clerics won't be enough to topple an entire Base of Operations.
Clarabelle: I think you're forgetting how highly trained Clerics are. They do magic, shoot guns, swing swords. They're masters of everything. One Cleric would be enough to topple a base.
Harold: And I think you're forgetting how many people are in that base. The Dark must have it's own version of the Clerics. It also has other people, sorcerers, wizards, necromancers, everyone. They'll be ready for an attack.
Clarabelle: Then what can we do?
Harold: We could stealthily infiltrate the base. Pose as members until the time is right.
Clarabelle: We could get caught!
Harold: If things are as bad as I think they are, whether we're caught or not won't have a difference in the scheme of things. But if we stop it, that could change the world.
Clarabelle: Well...I still want to be alive.
Harold: If Sah'mut is awakened, you won't be alive. No one will. This is an all-or-nothing kind of scenario we have here.
Clarabelle: Can't we just run away somewhere?
Harold: Oh, yeah. They find our personnel files and go to interrogate us. We can always say we were cooking the food by accident.
Clarabelle: Fine. Point taken. But were do we go?
Harold: You heard Mr. Anderson. He said Moscow.
Clarabelle: Moscow isn't small, Harold. You can't scour every inch of Moscow.
Harold: Well, we don't look in every inch. We just look for ominous buildings.
Clarabelle: Yes. Because there aren't that many ominous buildings in a rough metropolitan city. Why would there be?
Harold: Shut up, Clarabelle. There will probably be, I dunno. People in black, or clouds or something.
Clarabelle: Should we get Donna?
Harold: Have you seen Donna try to be subtle? It's like an Elephant in a herd of Meercats.
Clarabelle: Meercats live in herds?
Harold: Well. I don't think they're flocks.
Clarabelle: A pride? A pride of Meercats?
Harold: No...Those are lions. A murder of Meercats?
Clarabelle: Meercats are fuzzy and cute. They can't be a murder. Um...Conglomeration?
Harold: You know what? No more damn Meercats. They can be whatever they want. Let's go. (Exit Harold and Clarabelle. Enter Donna.)
Donna: An elephant? I'm nowhere near an elephant! I can be as stealthy as I want! I'm a queen among Meercats! And everything else, if it comes to that! I'll play your little game, Harold! I'll go with you. Do whatever I feel like. (Walking away) Hmph. Elephant. (Exit Donna)
(Curtain. When up, Harold, Clarabelle, and Donna are arguing)
Harold: Did we ask for you to come?
Harold: Ah, but you said no!
Donna: You called me an elephant!
Clarabelle: No, Donna, no! You're a meercat, I promise!
Donna: Shut up!
Harold: No you shut up! You didn't even tell us!
Donna: I was mad!
Harold: You're mad now!
Donna: It wasn't that bad, Harold!
Clarabelle: No it really wasn't. Or it was. I don't know!
Donna: Shut up, Clarabelle! (Pause Clarabelle whimpers)
Harold: You just jumped on me!
Donna: No, I jumped on Clarabelle!
Harold: I don't care who you jumped on! You jumped!
Harold: You don't jump on people! Nobody jumps on people! It's not a thing that you DO!
Donna: Evidently, I do it!
Harold: Oh, you do everything, don't you?
Donna: What does that supposed to mean!
Harold: I don't know! Why don't you misconstrue that as well!
Donna: I misconstrued nothing!
Harold: Fine. Fine, you know what, fine. The point is, you're here with us, and we didn't account for that.
Donna: How were you going to account for it if you knew I was coming?
Harold: Maybe I would have brought a gag! (Gasp from Donna) Or some tranquilizer!
Donna: Tranquilizer? Maybe you forgot how big elephants are!
Clarabelle: Could you please-
Donna & Harold: No!
Clarabelle: But I just want to-
Donna & Harold: No!
Clarabelle: Will you please-
Donna & Harold: Be quiet!
Harold: I never forgot how big elephants are! Maybe the size is why I chose an elephant!
Donna: Oh you little-
Harold: Yes, I'm little, unlike some people here!
Donna: I will rip out all your hair if you don't stop, Harold!
Harold: Oh, yes, I'm sure you will! Such big hands like yours are perfect for it!
Donna: I don't have big hands!
Harold: Oh yes you do! They're the size of watermelons!
Harold: And your face looks like it was smashed in my a hammer!
Donna: My face is perfectly normal!
Harold: Maybe you accidentally hit it with your giant hands!
Clarabelle: Shut up! (Bickering instantly stops) Will you just stop! Yes, Donna is here! Deal with it! We're here to get into the Order of the Dark, and we aren't going to do it by yelling on their doorstep! What are you planning to do? Make them go deaf? Start being angsty and sulk them to death? They would never see that one coming! Just be quiet and discuss this civilly! Okay? Good!
(Harold and Donna looking at Clarabelle.)
Harold: Wow. Never heard you crack before. That was scary.
Donna: Yes, it was.
Harold: Well, elephants are scared of mice-
Harold: Right. Sorry.
Donna: What do we do now?
Clarabelle: I managed to sneak a peek at one of the Cleric's maps. It was marked fairly distinctly. I know where it is.
Clarabelle: While you two were arguing, I was steering us in it's general direction. I can see it now.
Harold: So... Do we just, like, walk up to there? Knock and ask for evil?
Clarabelle: No. There's a password.
Harold: Oh. Great. A password. No one trusts their neighbors anymore. What kind of world is it when you can't leave your door open and not expect to be robbed.
Clarabelle: I think they leave their doors open in Canada. No one does anything bad in Canada.
Clarabelle: I saw graffiti in Canada once. It was a thumbs up and a caption wishing me a good day.
Harold: Wow. I want to live in Canada now.
Clarabelle: Oh no, they only take the nicest people. If you're not nice enough, they either kick you out or put you on the beaver hit list.
Harold: Beavers have a hit list?
Clarabelle: Only for Canadians.
Donna: You're mad.
Clarabelle: Just a bit. Sprinkles! (Crash off stage)
Clarabelle: Sprinkles. It's the password.
Donna: How did you know that?
Clarabelle: I just did.
Donna: Just did?
Clarabelle: Yup. Get in character.
Clarabelle: You're Beatrice, Dark Mistress of All. Harold is Stormaggedon, Dark Lord of All.
Harold: Who are you?
Clarabelle: I'll be Jordan Cobb, Destroyer of All.
Harold: Why of all?
Clarabelle: It sounds more intimidating.
Clarabelle: Shush, the guard is coming. (Enter Watchman)
Watchman: Who are you?
Harold: Uh. I'm Stormageddon.
Watchman: Who names a girl Jordan?
Clarabelle: Some people do.
Watchman: Couldn't they name you something like Daisy or Melody, something feminine?
Clarabelle: Jordan is perfectly feminine.
Watchman: You might as well be named Me. Detective Inspector Me. How does that sound?
Clarabelle: My parents were very cynical. I'm lucky I got away with any measure of dignity at all. My brother was named Mistake, and my sister was Misery. So I'm thankful for what I got.
Watchman: Oh. Well then. I suppose Jordan isn't that bad, then.
Clarabelle: It really isn't.
Watchman: Regardless, what are you here for?
Harold: We're here do join The Order of the Dark.
Watchman: No idea what that is.
Harold: People, all magic, walking around with black robes?
Watchman: You're sounding loony.
Harold: You have the Millennium Apple, don't you?
Watchman: Millennium Apple?
Harold: You're summoning Sah'mut, are you not?
Watchman: Hm. You know what you're talking about, I take it. Okay. We'll take you in for examination.
Harold: Where is the entrance?
Watchman: Oh, right over here, follow me. (Exit Watchman)
Harold: That was rather easy.
Donna: I bet you they have a technique to tell whether you're evil or not. Wood burns, evil people burn, wood floats, ducks float, therefore evil people have to weigh the same as a duck. Something like that.
Harold: Maybe they'll have us kill something furry and cute.
Clarabelle: I think it's a multiple choice test. To gauge how evil you are on a scale of one to ten. If you get anything below a five you get kicked out.
(Close curtain. Opens with Donna at a desk, with a paper, a multiple choice test)
Donna: Hm. It is a multiple choice test. And it has ten questions. This is getting suspiciously coincidental. Lets see. Question one. Old Man Jenkins lives in apartment 21B. You are tasked by the Council to exterminate him. What did an old man do to you people? How do you go about it? A) Blast in the door with dynamite and throw him out of the window. Oh my. B) Invite yourself in for tea and dump cyanide into his cup when he's not looking. That seems less barbaric. C) Invite yourself in for tea and...beat him with the metal teapot. There went the subtlety. D) Burn the entire building down and throw a kitten into the blaze? Good god! What is wrong with these people? Poor Old Man Jenkins. Hmmm...Sorry, but you get a cup full of cyanide. Next question. (Writes for a bit, then folds the paper in half and stands up.)
I'm done! (Enter Watchman)
Watchman: That was rather quick. (Glances over the test) Wow. You're a seven, Mrs. Beatrice. Real piece of work. Might put you to good use. You pass with flying colors. (Turns to leave, but turns back around) What's your last name, Mrs. Beatrice?
Donna: Uh. Noble.
Watchman: Beatrice Noble? I suppose that name is fine for our purposes. Though we don't have many Nobles in our midst. Your companions are outside the door. You might want to compare results.
(Exit Watchman, enter Harold and Clarabelle)
Harold: Hey Donna.
Clarabelle: How are you, Mrs. Beatrice?
Donna (Whispering): are they listening?
Clarabelle: Oh, no, I don't think so. They're very trusting.
Donna: Why is that?
Clarabelle: They're an organization of presumably evil people. I don't think people with good intent show up on their doorstep asking to join all that often.
Donna: You mean that The light hasn't tried infiltration before?
Clarabelle: Nope. Not really our style. We normally go in with fire and explosions. It's never worked though. Our leaders are like generals in World War One. Trying the tactics that they are comfortable with, but never work.
Harold: Who did you lose?
Harold: You sound really passionate about this, sad. Like you lost someone important due to the generals.
Clarabelle: Maybe I did.
Harold: Care to tell?
Clarabelle: Not now.
Harold: If it has bearing on what we're here to do, we need to know it.
Clarabelle: It's nothing important. Left that behind.
Harold: Left what behind?
Clarabelle: Nothing that has anything to do with you, or Donna. Don't trouble yourself with it.
Donna: We need to know, Clarabelle.
Clarabelle: You were fine not knowing it before. Can you go back to that?
Donna: Fine. But as soon as you're comfortable with it, just tell us. (pause)
Harold: No melodramatic statement?
Clarabelle: Not at all. I got a nine.
Harold: A nine? Wow. An eight.
Donna: I got a seven.
Clarabelle: Okay then. I presume we're ready to go on with what it is we're doing.
Donna: I suppose. What's our plan?
Clarabelle: We try to get an audience with Vlad, or maybe destroy the room where they plan on doing the summons.
Donna: Oh, hey, we just got here! Can we talk to the head honcho? Just a casual interview. Ask some questions. What's his favorite color, do you know? Is he a cat person or a dog person?
Clarabelle: I don't think we'll have much trouble. Far as I can tell, it's still a fairly lax organization.
Donna: You worked here, didn't you?
Clarabelle: I was a consultant, lets say that.
Dona: What made you come to us? Why kitchen staff?
Clarabelle: Times change.
Donna: That's it? Times change? That's your whole answer?
Donna: You're hiding something.
Clarabelle: You hide alcohol under the counter in the kitchen, but I don't complain.
Donna: You found that, did you?
Clarabelle: What I'm getting at is that we all have secrets we don't want found out.
Donna: Well, you know my secret, why not swap?
Clarabelle: Because children do the swapping, Donna. I'm a grown woman, and I can decide what I do and do not want you to know at the present time. I assure you that it has no bearing on who I am today.
Donna: Fine. But you're telling us as soon as it becomes relevant, kapeesh?
Clarabelle: Kaposh. Now. Nothing else needs to be said?
Harold: Don't think so.
Clarabelle: Good. I'll try to get a talk with Vlad. You two see what you can find out about the summons.
Harold: Okay. But... Be careful, Clarabelle. (Exit Donna and Harold. Enter Watchman.)
Watchman: You're all done here?
Watchman: I guess I could show you your quarters, if you want.
Clarabelle: Actually, I was hoping to talk to Vlad.
Watchman: Vlad Nefarian?
Clarabelle: Actually it's Vlad Ivarstead. Doesn't like people knowing it, though, so don't spread it.
Watchman: You're a friend of his?
Clarabelle: Casual acquaintance.
Watchman: Serious enough to know his name?
Clarabelle: Old enough to know his name, more like.
Watchman: You're quite the liar.
Clarabelle: Not lying. Just telling an unlikely truth.
Watchman: How'd you meet him?
Clarabelle: Not your business.
Watchman: Even if I wanted to let you talk to him, which I don't, I couldn't be able to. Don't have enough influence.
Clarabelle: Okay. Then lead me to his office.
Watchman: You're an acquaintance. You should know the layout of this place.
Clarabelle: When I was here, the Dark was operating from Egypt. I know the catacombs of the Great Pyramid, not this place.
Watchman: Hm. Where does that place you? Four Hundred at least.
Clarabelle: Not important. A woman never reveals her true age.
Watchman: Tricky one you are. But fine. If he wants to talk to you, I suppose my time wouldn't be wasted
Clarabelle: Good. Lets go. (Exit Watchman and Clarabelle, curtain. Opens to Vlad with his feet on a desk. Knocking.)
Vlad: Come on in. (Enter Watchman)
Watchman: There's someone here to talk to you.
Vlad: Who is it?
Watchman: She calls herself Jordon. Says that she was with us when the base was in Egypt.
Vlad: Oh. Egypt. I liked that base. So much more grand that this dump. Shame that air conditioning wasn't invented yet. Anyway. Let her in, lets see her. (Enter Clarabelle) Oh! You! Hello.
Watchman: What is it? Who is she?
Vlad: Certainly not Jordan. Now go away. We have things to talk about. (Exit Watchman.) Things to talk about indeed.
Clarabelle: Sooo. Vlad. Long time no see?
Vlad: Long time no see. So, Clarabelle. What makes you show your face here?
Clarabelle: I want you to stop the summons.
Vlad: Oh, of course you do. Just like last time.
Clarabelle: Your symbols were wrong. The enchantress you hired-
Vlad: I've heard it all before. I went over all the symbols personally-
Clarabelle: And what good would that have done! You think you're an expert enchanter? You barely qualify as a novice! You couldn't imbue fire into a sword if you tried! Your handiwork is sloppy, your grammar is pathetic, and your grasp of magical theory is depressing!
Vlad: My grasp of magical theory is good enough to objectify and solidify the idea, wasn't it?
Clarabelle: You think you were the first to find Sah'mut? No. You weren't.
Vlad: I know that.
Clarabelle: I wasn't finished talking! Sah'mut is immensely powerful. Do you know how strong the magic binding him is? You can feel it through realities, Vlad!
Vlad: I've felt all kinds of things through realities.
Clarabelle: Consistently? For tens of thousands of years? No. The things you feel are Apples going off. Wishes being granted in other universes, some no doubt as big as ours or The Light's.
Vlad: We've had this conversations thousands of times, Clary.
Clarabelle: Sah'mut cannot be controlled by anything we have, Vlad.
Vlad: Yes, he can. Do you have any idea how much those symbols in the chamber amplify magical energy?
Clarabelle: Yes. I do. And it isn't enough.
Vlad: I thought I'd gotten rid of you once and for all. But you had to come back.
Clarabelle: Because I don't want to watch the universe die!
Vlad: It's not going to die! It's going to be void of chaos! No one will die needlessly anymore, Clarabelle! No one will break the rules, no one will do wrong! Do you see that?
Clarabelle: I see it clearer than you! No one will die needlessly, or do any wrong. You know why? Because they'll be dead!
Vlad: I have worked too hard on this for it to fail. We've put too many hours of checking and double checking into this. It can't be wrong.
Clarabelle: They're afraid of you, Vlad.
Clarabelle: They're faking the results, Vlad.
Vlad: They wouldn't fake the results. They believe in this as much as I do.
Clarabelle: Are you aware of what you do to deserters?
Vlad: Let them back in to insult me in my office, it seems.
Clarabelle: You do terrible things to them.
Vlad: We haven't had a deserter in more than three hundred years.
Clarabelle: Because they're afraid of what you'd do if they went away.
Vlad: You're fine.
Clarabelle: That's because I was never a member. I was always there to dissuade you, to stop you from doing this.
Vlad: You failed pretty majorly, didn't you?
Clarabelle: Vlad. Clerics will be here soon. If you stop planning for the summons, you can pack up and leave without anyone being hurt.
Vlad: The summons have already started, Clarabelle. I can't stop them.
Clarabelle: I hate you.
Vlad: You'll love me after the universe is pure.
Clarabelle: Can't corrupt something that doesn't exist, can you?
Vlad: Oh shush.
Clarabelle: Well. We don't have much time, do we? (Turns around to leave)
Vlad: Where do you think you're going?
Clarabelle: Make peace with my gods. Make peace with Donna and Harold as well.
Vlad: Clarabelle, stop being irrational. (Clarabelle turns to face him.)
Clarabelle: It's you who's being irrational. You who's going to destroy everything. (Turns back around. Saying over shoulder.) Have fun in hell. (Exit Clarabelle)
Vlad (Yelling after her): Don't be afraid of hell, for you will be in good company! (sits in silence) What if she's right? No. I've gone over everything thousands of times. We'll be fine. (Close curtain)
(Opens to Vlad and Serana looking up from behind a guardrail.)
Vlad: I remember the stars, Serana. I remember when there were still stars in the sky.
Serana: By god. You're ancient.
Vlad: Oh. I'm ancient. Of course I am.
Serana: Is it true what they say, Ruler?
Vlad: I don't know what they say, Serana. I've stopped listening.
Serana: They say you've reigned eternal.
Vlad (Chuckling): I suppose so. It's been almost eternity, hasn't it?
Serana: I wouldn't know. I don't remember the stars. No one does.
Vlad: There might be another one who remembers.
Vlad: A woman called Tanith. We didn't see eye to eye, but she was brilliant.
Serana: Were you...together?
Vlad: Oh god no. We were far too antagonistic for that. Or anything beyond going out for coffee every once in a while.
Serana: Do you think she's still alive?
Vlad: I don't know. She may have gone into hiding, or died. (Silence for a bit)
Serana: Where did the stars go, Ruler?
Vlad (Chuckling): Gone. Extinguished like a lightbulb.
Serana: Why did they go out?
Vlad: Describe people to me, Serana, Describe them to me as you know them.
Serana: Good. Happy. Hard Working. Unworried. They do no wrong.
Vlad (More chuckling) :I see you know what wrong is.
Serana: Of course I do. My father told me.
Vlad: You may shake at how uncommon that knowledge is here.
Serana: Just how uncommon is it?
Vlad: Very. But in my world, the ancient world, the world with stars, people weren't like that. Some were good, some were bad, and everyone knew what wrong was. They could actively avoid it, do it occasionally for their own enjoyment, or just bathe in it daily. There was pain and agony not caused by chance.
Serana: What do you mean?
Vlad: People would harm one another, Serana. Whether for themselves, or for their beliefs, or just because they felt like it.
Serana: What about the stars going out? Tell me.
Vlad: I'm getting there. My organization, the one I founded and sat at the head of the counsel on, we decided it was bad. It was wrong that people were doing wrong. They shouldn't do that, we thought. Tanith was of the same school of thought. We wanted to destroy the wrong. We wanted to do it in different ways, however. Tanith wanted people to get over their own faults. We wanted for people not to do wrong out of fear. Neither of us believed that the other's method would work.
Serana: Where would you get the power for your schemes?
Vlad: There was an artifact, an Apple formed from the energy of swirling galaxies. It sprouted on the branches of a random tree once every thousand years. It was the embodiment of the power of the universe. We each wanted it to use for our plans.
Serana: How would you have the people live in fear?
Vlad: I wanted to summon the God of monsters, Sah'mut. He was held in another reality, with absurdly powerful magic. There was a girl, Clarabelle. She spent all of her life warning me that my plan was doomed to fail. There wasn't enough power in the Apple to control the God, you see. When he was summoned, he went on a rampage across the universe. Galaxies disappeared in his maw. He devoured the stars, Serana. He was just about to get to Earth when the greatest sacrifice was made. Wizards and Sorcerers and Enchanters, every able bodied man or woman sacrificed their power, their life to protect us. With their collective might, Sah'mut was locked away.
Vlad: Yes, it quite is. I survived the ordeal, I didn't give my life. So I I rule this rock.
Serana: But it's a great kingdom, isn't it?
Serana: But you have so many subjects, so many people who would listen to your every word. There are monuments to you, Ruler, fields of crops and grand cities and so many wondrous things.
Vlad: But no one here is human. I don't have to quell the will of the people. They're down their working away. But you know what? There's nowhere to expand to. You can't have an empire, you can't have a legacy. The only people who remember the humans are the humans themselves. Soon everything on this planet will run out, and we'll all die. No one will remember us. The things that have been built here will erode away, never to be discovered again. We used to be a speck of dust in a universe teeming with life. Now we've made the universe smaller. Our speck of dust is now the whole thing. By becoming grand, we've become insignificant. So, so insignificant. (Curtain.)