PPC: The Playscript: Episode III
They arre backe again! Join Oure Heroes as theye save HQ from thee gratest danger yet!
Designed for a cast of FOUR, doubling up on parts. Cast list:
Person One: Agent Alex Orange
Person Two: Agent Mortic Wentway
Person Three: Agent Sam Apple
Person Four: The Sunflower Official, CAL-9000
All of these parts may be played by persons of any gender, species or universe, excepting a Hooloovoo. It’s very difficult to design costumes for superintelligent shades of the colour blue.
Scene I: Response Centre
[Enter Sam and Alex SL. Move to centre stage]
Sam: You’ve got the weapons?
Sam: And the food?
Sam: And the remote activator?
Sam: And the... wait, no?
Alex: [Nods] No. You’ve got it.
Sam: [Pats a pocket] Oh, yes, so I do. [Pulls it out] Best get going, then.
[Sam points the RA off SR. The lights flicker]
Alex: Let me see that thing.
[Sam hands the RA to Alex. Alex examines it]
Alex: It should work. [Points the RA off SR. The lights flicker, and then go out. After a few seconds they come back on again, dimmer. They stay dim throughout the play until it is stated that they are not]
Sam: Alex, what did you do?
Alex: It’s not my fault!
Sam: Of course it’s your fault; you did it, didn’t you?
Alex: Look, I may be destructive, but even I couldn’t take out the power in the whole of HQ with a single Remote Activator.
Sam: And what makes you think it’s the whole of HQ?
SO: [Loud, from offstage, as if over a PA system] Do not be alarmed. There has merely been a momentary interruption in power flow. Please continue your duties as best you are able.
[Sam and Alex wince and rub their foreheads]
Alex: Ow... surely he knows how much that sort of global mental link hurts us?
Sam: I’m sure he does. All the more reason to do it.
Alex: Yeah, point. [Pause] So, do you believe him?
Sam: Not a bit. Let’s go and –
Mortic: [Enters SL] Alex, Sam, you need to come with me. Now.
Alex: Mortic? What is it?
Mortic: No time to explain. The SO wants to see you.
Alex: In that case, we’d better go. Come on, Sam.
[Alex, Mortic and Sam exit at a run SL]
End Scene I
Scene II: The SO’s Office
[The SO is behind a desk SR. Enter Alex, Mortic and Sam SL and walk over to stand in front of the desk. As they enter:]
SO: Hurry up, we don't have all standard time unit.
[They walk faster and reach the desk]
SO: Right. As you may have noticed, there has been a power cut. As far as we can ascertain, it has affected the whole of HQ, with the exception of the Department of Sufficiently Advanced Technology, which I believe is currently operating on an experimental generator utilising Plothole Energy.
[He is cut off by the sound of a large but distant explosion from off SL]
SO: [Continued] – which would have been that, then. As I was saying, this power outage affects the whole of HQ, and-
Alex: [Cutting in] – you want us to go to the Department of Dead Author Electricity Generation and ask Cal what's happened, right?
[Pause. Alex watches the SO expectantly, but there is no reply. Slowly, the SO slumps forward onto the desk. Looking at the other in bemusement, Sam leans forward and pokes the SO. There is no reaction]
Sam: Oh, well done, Alex. You broke the SO.
Alex: Er... oops?
Mortic: No, no, not oops. This is great! Where's my camera?
[Alex and Sam turn to stare at Mortic]
Mortic: ... er, I mean, oh no, what are we going to do?
Alex: [Sighs] You've been drinking Rhum again, right?
Mortic: No! – well, a bit. How could you tell?
Alex: It makes you hyper. Remember?
Mortic: No, no it doesn't... not really...
Sam: Excuse me? Can we get back to the matter in hand? You know, waking up the flower who's supposed to be telling us what to do?
SO: [Muffled] No, no, do not be concerned about me, I merely had a momentary shock at the idea of one of my agents knowing anything. [Sits up again] Now. Where was I?
Alex: Insulting us?
SO: Obviously. Other than that?
Sam: DoDAEG. [Note: Dee-oh-day'g]
SO: Ah. Thank you, Agent Apple. Now, I would like you three to take the map and travel with all speed to DoDAEG, and there endeavour to get the power back online as soon as possible or, if this is not possible, formulate some other plan for providing enough power to activate every single console at least temporarily.
Mortic: Only the consoles?
SO: Yes. I need not remind you that we have a large number of agents currently on missions. With the consoles offline, they will have lost their ability to open portals. They will also have had their disguises removed. In short, they are in trouble.
Alex, Sam & Mortic: [Simultaneously] Dear Eru!
SO: [Seriously] We may need to enlist His help in getting them out, along with the Overpowers of the other Canons. But we would prefer not to, so could you please get going?
Alex: Yes, yes, of course. Come on, people, we can't let our fellow agents die.
[Alex, Sam & Mortic exit at a run SL. The SO sighs]
SO: [Loud] Agent Apple!
[After a moment, Sam re-enters SL]
Sam: [Breathless] Sir?
SO: You seem the most sensible of the three. Please take the Map [Indicates it lying on the desk], as Agent Orange appears to have forgotten it.
Sam: [Picks up the Map] Oh, that's just Alex... a bit too enthusiastic at times.
SO: Indeed. Speaking of which, hadn't you better be catching them up?
Sam: Oh, yes, right. Gottit.
[Exit Sam at a run SL with the Map. The SO sighs and slumps slightly]
SO: And those are the best we have? I might as well just give up right now...
End Scene II
Scene III: A Corridor
[Alex, Sam and Mortic enter SL at a run. Sam is holding the map. They run across towards SR. As they reach the middle…]
Sam: [Shouting] Stop!
[All three stop, and catch their breath. After a second, Alex speaks]
Alex: Yes, Sam?
Sam: [Waves the Map] This thing says we have to go backwards in consciousness... how're we supposed to do that?
Mortic: Well, obviously, we... ah.
Alex: You forgot the Rhum?
Mortic: And the coffee, yes. [To Sam] We can't do that. Reprogram it to find a different route.
Sam: [Blinks at Mortic] How?
Mortic: What, don't you remember?
Sam: I was in Medical the last time you two ran around with this, remember?
Mortic: And Alex hasn't told you about it.
Sam: [Looks at Alex] No, all I've had is a quick 'We ran around for a bit. People got hurt. It all came out right'.
Mortic: [Sighs] Alex, why haven't you told your partner what happened?
Alex: [Defensive] It's not my fault!
Sam: [Mutters] You've been saying that a lot recently.
Alex: But it isn't! Come on, Sam, you know we've been on missions practically non-stop since then!
Sam: ... okay, that's true.
Alex: And they've been worse missions than we've ever had before. I'm surprised we've got out alive from all of them. I wonder how many agents have been lost since they…
[Mortic suddenly looks sad]
Mortic: [Softly] At least one.
Alex: Sorry, Mortic…
Sam: What happened?
[Alex looks at Mortic. Mortic shakes head]
Mortic: I... can't. You tell it.
Alex: Right then. [Turns to Sam] Mortic's partner was involved in an... accident, about the time you were injured. She, er...
[Alex pauses, and looks at Mortic. Mortic leans against the back wall with eyes closed]
Alex: She got shot in Lothlórien, and didn't make it back to HQ. They were… close. Mortic… ah...
[Alex seems at a loss for words, and falls into silence. Still with eyes closed, Mortic speaks up]
Mortic: I got upset and went off to yell at the SO. Then I bumped into Alex, and got sidetracked. I'm… well, I'm still not sure if that was a good thing or not. [Sighs] I should go and talk to him about it, really…
Sam: Yes, it sounds like you should… but, er, can we deal with that later? When we can see?
Mortic: What? [Opens eyes] Oh, yes. Right. Can I have the Map?
[Sam hands Mortic the Map]
[Mortic fiddles with buttons on the Map. Sam and Alex watch patiently for a few moments, and then Alex frowns, walks over to the back wall, and puts an ear against it. Sam watches]
Sam: Alex… what're you doing?
Alex: Shh! Can you hear that?
[Sam blinks, and moves over to the wall, putting an ear against it. After a moment…]
Sam: Is that… are you hearing the same thing as I am?
Alex: I think so…
Sam: That's… well. At least we know there's one agent who's not concerned about the power cut.
Sam: Yes, definitely two…
Mortic: [Looks up] What's Constance doing now?
[Alex and Sam stare at Mortic]
Alex: You, ah, know this person?
Mortic: Yeah, that's Constance Sims' response centre… I've seen her around a few times with that Maglor agent we rescued a while back, remember him?
Mortic: Yeah, he goes by the name of Dafydd now… but yes. That's her RC.
Sam: Well, one thing we don't have to worry about, she's not stuck on a mission.
[Mortic frowns, and presses an ear against the wall. After a moment, Mortic laughs]
Mortic: No, I'd say we can be sure of that. But come on, let's leave her and whoever she's with to… well, whatever they're doing.
Alex: You got the Map working?
Mortic: Yup. Come on, it's this way.
[Mortic leads Alex and Sam off SR]
End Scene III
Scene IV: DoDAEG
[CAL-9000 is lying centre stage underneath a pile of metal]
Sam: [Off SR] And this should be the place.
Alex: [Off SR] Let's hope you're better at this than the Daisy.
Sam: [Off SR] Can we stop with the obscure references to things I don't know about?
Alex: [Entering SR] Sorry. I-
[All three agents enter and stop abruptly, staring at the wreckage at the centre of the stage]
Mortic: That… doesn't look good.
Cal: No. It isn't.
[The three rush over to Cal]
Alex: Cal? CAL-9000? Is that you?
Cal: [Irritated] Well, of course. Who else would it be?
Mortic: [Thoughtful] Well, I assume there are other agents in DoDAEG… or, of course, it could be one of the Authors in question.
Alex: [Reasonable] But they're dead.
Mortic: True, but this is the PPC. Death may not be permanent.
[Sam and Cal exchange a Look]
Sam: Alex, Mortic, we've got a job to do, remember?
Alex: [Surprised] Why, you're right! And?
Sam: And we should probably do it before half of the PPC gets killed off.
Mortic: Oh, I doubt it's half.
Alex: At the rate they send us out on missions, I'd guess more like ninety percent.
Mortic: No, not necessarily.
[Sam looks on the verge of screaming]
Cal: [To Sam] What, not going to join your organic friends in wasting time?
Sam: Unlike some people, I have my priorities straight.
Alex: Hey! So do we.
Mortic: Most of the time.
Alex: And, of course, they're not always the same priorities.
Mortic: But we do, all the same.
Sam: I give up.
Alex: Now, now. That's not a very good attitude to-
[Sam cuts Alex off with a glare, and then turns to Cal]
Sam: Could you please tell me why the power in HQ has shut down?
Cal: Certainly I could.
[Sam waits a few moments]
Cal: I never said I would.
Sam: [Exasperated] Would you, then?
Cal: All right. It's really quite simple. It's Tolkien. He stopped spinning.
[Sam stares. Cal continues talking]
Cal: We're so used to him going on and on like a gyroscope that the sudden halt ripped his generator from its mounting and sent it flying across the room, wrecking most of the others as it went. The rest of our agents are in there trying to fix it now, but it would certainly be easier if we had Tolkien spinning again. He powers most of HQ these days.
Mortic: So there are other agents in your department!
Cal: … yes.
Sam: Cal, do you have any idea what stopped Tolkien spinning in his grave?
Cal: The only other time I recall this happening was back in the spring of 2004. Tolkien wasn't giving us so much power then, so we managed to bring everything back online fairly quickly, but we decided it was necessary to make sure it didn't happen again.
Alex: Doesn't look like it worked.
[Cal glares at Alex]
Cal: As I was saying, we discovered that the cause in that instance was a group of members of the PPC visiting the grave. The concentrated presence of so much Canon Love apparently counteracted the effect of the Badfics, at least temporarily.
Mortic: Members of the PPC? You mean agents did this?
Cal: Not… exactly. The Protectors of the Plot Continuum has developed something of a fandom of its own out there in the World, and it was a Gathering of these fans – members of the 'PPC Board', their internet meeting place – that caused the disaster.
Alex: We have fans? Why haven't we had badfic written about us, then?
[Mortic and Sam stare at Alex]
Sam: Alex, two words. 'Jaycacia Thornbyrd'.
Alex: … oh, right. Point.
Mortic: So, Cal, you think another group of these PPC fans has visited Tolkien's grave?
Cal: That would follow from what I said, yes.
Mortic: Then there's no time to lose! We have to move them away! Come on, gang!
[Mortic runs off SR. Alex and Sam look at each other. Mortic re-enters SR]
Mortic: Actually, first, Cal, do you know how we could get a console to work? I think we'll need a portal for this.
Cal: The portal function doesn't require much power, you know. If you're not using disguises, a simple cellular power device should suffice, provided you connect it correctly.
[The three stare at him blankly]
Cal: … a battery.
Alex: Ohhhhh. Do we have any of those?
Sam: I think the Map runs off one.
Mortic: Excellent. Now let's go.
[Mortic runs off SR again. Alex and Sam exchange a look, shrug, and follow]
Cal: I suppose it would have been too much to expect them to help me up.
End Scene IV
Scene V: Response Centre
[Alex, Sam and Mortic are crouched at the front of centre stage, looking at the floor]
Alex: Well, who'd've thought it? A battery holder in a PPC console.
Sam: Well, in the floor in front of one.
Alex: Or that.
[Mortic picks up the Remote Activator from the floor between them]
Mortic: Well, I suppose we'd better get out there and move those fans away from the Professor's grave.
[Mortic points the RA off SR and presses the button. Blue lighting off in that direction. Mortic nods]
Mortic: See you on the flip side!
[Mortic runs off SR. The light switches instantaneously to red and there is a 'Glop' sort of sound. Then the light switches off]
Sam: … that didn't sound good.
Alex: No. What happened?
[Sam looks down at the floor]
Sam: … Alex.
Sam: You put the battery in backwards, Alex.
Alex: It has a backwards?
Sam: I only hope it worked regardless.
[The main stage lights come up]
Alex: I guess it did.
[Sam stands up and looks at where the screen of the console would be. Alternately, there can be a console prop to SL of the actors, facing SR]
Sam: No, it didn't. According to this, Mortic's in a badfic… somewhere in Rohan.
Alex: Rohan? What's he doing there?
Sam: Probably panicking. There's a note saying the RA's malfunctioning – every time it's used, it'll randomly open a portal to one of its default locations. One of those is HQ, though, so eventually...
Alex: Wouldn't you give up after a few tries, though?
Sam: I might. Mortic wouldn't.
Alex: I hope not… hey, so if it didn't work, why's the power back?
Sam: Maybe they moved away from the grave by themselves?
Alex: Oh, now that's just crazy talk.
SO: [PA system again] All agents are required to report to their Head of Department as soon as possible. All agents are required to report to their Head of Department as soon as possible. This is not optional.
Sam: Do you think that includes us?
Sam: Well, this should be fun.
Alex: Ah, but you forget. We have a way to beat the rush.
[Alex waves the Map in Sam's face]
Sam: Good point. See if you can put the battery in right this time, though.
End Scene V