CRASH MORGAN VERSUS THE
SPIDER WARLORDS OF MARS


EPISODE ONE - SCOURGE OF THE SILK CLAW
&
EPISODE TWO - CAPTIVES OF THE SPIDER WARLORD


DRAMATIS PERSONAE
in order of appearance

Professor MILTON FAIRWEATHER, Lecturer of Pseudoscience
GLENN FAIRWEATHER, his Daughter and Ace Reporter
WATCHMAN, a Watchman
SPATS, a Gangster
KNUCKLES, another Gangster
BIGDOG, a further Gangster
EDDIE "THE BARD" MALONE, Master Criminal and Performing Artiste
CRASH MORGAN, also secretly THE HUMAN ROCKET, All-American Hero
KASPER VON KRUGER aka THE SILK CLAW, German spy and Agent Provocateur
BUDDY BRANNIGAN, Comic Sidekick
Dr. JOHAN WEINSTEIN, Physicist and Rocket Scientist
HONEST JOE, Barman and Proprietor of Lucky Leon's
BASHER McGINTY, Barfly and Thug
LILY LANSDALE, a Gangster’s Moll
TARRANT, Spider Captain of the Crimson Desert Patrol
COBB, a subordinate Spider Trooper
TANG THE PITILESS, Spider Warlord and Emperor of Mars
PRINCESS ARAKNE, his Daughter
CHANCELLOR MOLLOSK, Prelate of the Snail Men and First Minster of Mars
G'RRRL, a Lowly Slave Girl and Dancer
PRINCE G'RRRR, Regent of the Wolf Men
GENERAL GRR'RR, Aide and Mentor to Prince G'rrrr
CAPTAIN GR'RRR, a Soldier
LEIUTENANT G'RR'RR, another Soldier
HARVESTMANN, another subordinate Spider Trooper and Gaoler

and

A ROBOMAN, Chancellor Mollusk's Terrible Android Creation
GIANT MONSTROUS BEAST, a Denizen of the Crimson Desert
GIANT BEASTLY MONSTER, another Denizen of the Crimson Desert



ACT ONE SCENE ONE

The universal intro jingle plays in blackout, then slides appear on screen to title music.

1: Title card - CRASH MORGAN Vs. THE SPIDER WARLORD OF MARS

2: Title card - EPISODE ONE -
SCOURGE OF THE SILK CLAW

Fade out title music.

3: Slide of the Earth from space.

NEPTUNE from HOLST's PLANET SUITE plays.
FAIRWEATHER is on a stool beside a blackboard.
He is in darkness, only the screen visible.

FAIRWEATHER
This is the Earth. Our Earth. A shining jewel in the velvet firmament of night, and for thousands of years, believed to be the centre of all creation. But, as man advanced, so has his understanding of philosophy,

4: Slide of bust of Plato

the sciences,

5: Slide of Einstein

and the arts.

6: Slide of George Formby.

Fade spot up on FAIRWEATHER over the next few lines.

Consider, if you will, the sun as a pumpkin,

7: Slide of a pumpkin.

mighty Jupiter as a baked potato,

8: Slide of a baked potato.

and our earth as a humble pea.

9: Slide of a bumblebee.

Humble pea.

10: Slide of a single pea on a plate.


Thank you. And in the infinite ink black void of space, it is but one of a whole plateful of peas;

11: Slide of a plate of peas.

a very large helping of planets much like our own pea, and yet ... startlingly different.
A humbling thought.

12: Slide of risqué lady.

Ah. Now, you may be asking yourself just what this ... young lady has to
do with a lecture on advanced physics ... lights please.

The lights come up and FAIRWEATHER begins to write on the board.

E. T. H. E. R.

He writes as he speaks: E. T. H. E. R.

Ether.

He underlines it.

Ether is the gravy in which the peas of the universe float, like ... planets in an immense vacuum. Ether flows through the universe. It is at once ubiquitous and omnipresent. It is the essence which divides masses of matter from each other. If we could convert matter into ether: If we had that scientific capability, why we could traverse vast distances in the twinkling of an eye. The universe would be our oyster. Rockets would be redundant, as would the humble motor car.

He writes: E=MC2

Ether is matter by C squared where C is the constant to be squared. But how to convert one to the other? That was the question that haunted my fevered brain through the sleepless night. I have further postulated that there is, on the edge of human understanding, an alternative ether, a parallel ether if you will, that could prove the exact inverse of normal ether.

He writes: E=1/P. He copies each following underlined equation
onto the board as he speaks it.

Therefore. 1/P=MC2. Hence 1/M=PC2, and if we reintroduce ether into the equation, E/M=EPC2. Ether over matter is EPC2, and so matter into ether is ECPC . Any questions?

A bell rings.

Well, once again time escapes us. Please leave last weeks assignment on my desk as you go, and this weeks assignment is to reconcile the opposing paradigms of quantum physics and the general theory of relativity into a grand unified theory expressed in one simple equation. You have one week.

He collects his books from the walkway. GLENN enters DSR.

GLENN
Daddy!

FAIRWEATHER
Glenn!

They embrace.

Now what would bring the London English Evening Post's star reporter all the way to America and to the sprawling crossroads between the lawless chaos of the past and the bright shining spires of the future which we call Metropolitan City? Could it be that you have been lured here by intriguing tales of that mysterious avenging thunderbolt known only as ... the Human Rocket?

Musical sting.

GLENN
I came to see you, Daddy.

FAIRWEATHER
My baby girl!

GLENN
But while I'm here ... there are some questions my editor would like answered.
Who is the mysterious Human Rocket?

Musical Sting.

Why did he become a mysterious avenger of the night? Who does he avenge, exactly? But you know Metropolitan City better than I do. After all, you do live here!

They laugh perfunctorily.

But seriously, how can I seek him out?

FAIRWEATHER
I can't tell.

GLENN
You can tell me, I'm your daughter.

FAIRWEATHER
I mean, I don't know. However, I am lately in the acquaintance of one Dr. Johan Weinstein, a renowned physicist specialising in rocket science. If anyone can shed any light on the nature of the rocket suit with which the cannonball crusader combats wrongdoing, it is he. Mayhap he can help?

GLENN
Mayhap?

FAIRWEATHER
Mayhap. But I feel there is something else you should be told.
Crash is here.

GLENN
In Metropolitan City? Crash Morgan, Special Federal Agent, Fighter Pilot and ex-football hero? Here? Crash Morgan, in Metropolitan City? This Metropolitan City? The Crash Morgan to whom I was engaged for two years before he ran off to the Amazon to crack some silly Inca blood sacrifice cult thing instead? He's here? In Metropolitan City? The same Crash Morgan who left me on the happiest day of my life with my face ravaged with tears and my bleeding heart staining the pristine white of my wedding dress? That Crash Morgan? Here, now, in Metropolitan City?

FAIRWEATHER
He still means something to you, doesn't he?

GLENN
No. No, I'm a famous reporter for a famous newspaper, not some silly young girl who sobs herself to sleep each night over some tear-stained photograph she had taken of them during that magical weekend at Colorado Springs ... a photograph that she's too weak to throw away even though it rips her heart into tattered shreds each time she looks upon it.

FAIRWEATHER
Ah. That's all right, then. I was worried there might be some tension between you two. I'm due to go and see Doctor Weinstein late this evening. He's a bit of a night owl, I'm afraid to say. Coffee and doughnuts?

GLENN
Daddy, I'd love to. That sounds wonderful.
FAIRWEATHER
Bring the blackboard, would you.

They exit. GLENN carries the blackboard, FAIRWEATHER carries the stool.

Fade to blackout.


ACT ONE SCENE TWO

Smoke pours onto the stage. A foghorn sounds, and the lights rise slightly.
A WATCHMAN enters, casting his torch about the stage. He exits.
There is a loud clattering noise off-stage.

EDDIE, fierce whisper off-stage
Spats, you clumsy shmuck!

EDDIE, SPATS, KNUCKLES, EDDIE and BIGDOG enter.

SPATS
I’m a sorry, boss. I can’t a see my own face in this a fog. What time is it?

EDDIE
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.

SPATS
Yeah, right. But what time is it?

EDDIE, ignoring him
Knuckles?

KNUCKLES
Yeah boss?

EDDIE
When the Nightwatchman comes back. Sap him.

KNUCKLES
Sap him, boss?

EDDIE
Yeah. Sap him. What’s the matter with that?

KNUCKLES
Well … I left my cosh in my other pants.

EDDIE
You left your cosh in your other pants? I can’t believe that.

SPATS
Neither can I. I didn’t think he had other pants.

EDDIE, ignoring SPATS
What kind of gangster are you? Here. Use this.

KNUCKLES
Hey, nice piece. You want me to shoot him?

EDDIE
You better not.

SPATS
Yeah, Stupid. You wanna bring the cops down on us?

EDDIE
That too. But mainly because it ain’t a real gun. (defensive) It’s one of my old stage pistols. I keep it as a momento.

KNUCKLES
These ain’t real bullets?

EDDIE
Nah. They’re blanks. Look, just sap the guy with the gun. Alright?

KNUCKLES
Okay boss.

EDDIE
He's coming! Quick, hide!

They "hide" as the WATCHMAN enters. SPATS creeps up behind him, and goes to knock him out. He drops the gun accidentally, and as he kneels to pick it up, the WATCHMAN spins around, failing to see him completely. SPATS rises and knocks out the WATCHMAN.

EDDIE
And now the night is-

NIGHT WATCHMAN
Ow! What did you do that for?

KNUCKLES hits the WATCHMAN again, harder.

SPATS
Issa clear, Boss!

EDDIE, KNUCKLES and BIGDOG stop "hiding".

Issa quiet, Boss!

EDDIE
The night is still.

KNUCKLES
Still what, boss?

EDDIE
'Tis now the very witching time of night, when parting is such sweet sorrow.

KNUCKLES
We just got here, boss.

SPATS
We gonna go, Boss? I just coshed this sap for nothing?

EDDIE
Ain't you guys got no education?

SPATS
It donna make sense.

EDDIE
It ain't supposed to make any sense. It's culture.
You guys wanna stay dumb hoodlums the rest of your lives?

KNUCKLES
Don't sack us boss!

EDDIE
Jeez, youse guys. Spats, Knuckles, get rid of this putz and unload the boat.

SPATS and KNUCKLES exit, carrying the WATCHMAN.

Bigdog, you stay with me, I wish to soliloquise.

BIGDOG
Whatever you say Boss. Just so long as you wouldn't be talkin' to yerself again.

EDDIE
It sure is swell to be back in the noble tradition of bootlegging, ain't it? Back in the old days of prohibition, it felt like, I don't know, like providing a service to the community.

BIGDOG
That it did sor, it most certainly did.

EDDIE
Servants to the ...

BIGDOG
It certainly was a mighty fine thing. Heart-warming.

EDDIE
Yes thank you.

BIGDOG
Back in the old tradition so to speak.

EDDIE
Can it. Jeez, Henry Irving never had to put up with this stuff. As I was saying.... Servants to the common good, champions of freedom. A brave band of outlaws fighting the establishment so Joe Q Public could have what they wanted. No, wait, what they needed...... yeah. We were kinda like Robin Hood and his merry men.

BIGDOG
That we were. Fighting for the little guy, they were.

EDDIE
Yeah, damn straight.

BIGDOG
Struggling against the oppressor. The sheriff’s men hot on their trail.

EDDIE
You got that right.

BIGDOG
Breaking the kneecaps of any one who got in their way, fittin' them
with concrete galoshes and feedin' them to the fishes.


EDDIE, less certain
....Right.

SPATS and KNUCKLES re-enter carrying a crate.
Stencilled on the side are the words “SODA POP.”

Here it is. Put it down there. Our new friend will be here with the truck any minute.

There is a whistling noise, like a projectile arriving at high speed.
CRASH arrives, as the Human Rocket.

SPATS
Mama mia, issa the Human Rocket!

Musical Sting.

CRASH
Prepare to taste fiery justice, wrongdoers!

EDDIE draws his sword cane.

EDDIE
Ill met by moonlight, bullet head. Get him youse guys!

They fight to some exciting music, the fight ending with everyone laid flat
out groaning except CRASH and EDDIE. EDDIE is at CRASH's mercy.

CRASH
Eddie "The Bard" Malone! I thought I'd put you behind bars! Well, you won't be poisoning any more of America with your cheap gutrot swill. You're under citizens arrest!

There is a hideous screeching noise. CRASH falls to his knees.

EDDIE
Hey! What gives?

SILK CLAW, off stage
You fool! Haf you so soon forgotten ze sound ray of ...

The SILK CLAW enters as EDDIE, KNUCKLES, SPATS
and BIGDOG struggle to their feet.

The Silk Claw!

CRASH
Von Kruger! What are you doing here working with these common hoodlums?

EDDIE
Hey, Who are you calling common?

SILK CLAW
One day soon the vorld vill be plunged into var ... and vhen zat day comes I intend to see zis so called great nation so corrupted from inside zat it vill not dare stand before ze might of ze glorious third Reich.

He reaches into the crate and pulls out a soda bottle.

You see zis?


CRASH
Very clever, Von Kruger, stashing your cheap moonshine in bottles of innocent soda pop.

SILK CLAW
No, our plan is even more insidiously cunning zan zat. Ve vill sell zis, how you say, hooch, as soda pop to ze American youth.

CRASH
It won't work, Kruger. What Kid's gonna buy your filthy brew when
he can have a real refreshing soft drink instead?

SILK CLAW
Nein! Not so! Soon I shall have an entire generation suckled to my creation - my hooch - and zen, zen zey vill be ready for ze second stage of my plan to cripple zis land of yours ...

CRASH
You Ratzi creep! You can't mean ...

SILK CLAW
Marijuana!

CRASH
Marijuana! Why, you ... do you know how many promising high
school students fail each year, going out and stealing to buy reefers?

SILK CLAW
Yes! And vizout lawyers, accountants and dentists your country vill
surely fall! Ha! Ha ha! Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

EDDIE
Shall I kill him now?

SILK CLAW
Nein. I vant him alive to contemplate ze future - a Europe thriving under the iron care of ze Ubermensch and a pitiful, veakened America, a land of poor legal representation, sloppy audits and bad teeth. Ha! Ha ha! Hahahahahahahahaha! A final burst of my sound ray should prevent him from following us.

He activates his sound ray, and CRASH slumps unconscious.

You, strip him. Viz a copy of his amazing rocket suit, each Aryan soldier vill become a vun man luftwaffe.

They strip the suit from him.

Mein Gott! I know zis man!

EDDIE
If it ain't Crash Morgan, Special Federal Agent, ex-football hero and theatre critic. He reviewed me in A Midsummer Night's Dream back when I was just an actor. Who would have believed that these two guys was one guy, the pair of them? In cahoots!

SILK CLAW
Crash Morgan has stood in my way as often as ze Human Rocket ... and come to zink of it, ve haf never seen zem togezzer. I am rewenged on both of my greatest enemies. Oh triumphant day!

SILK CLAW, KNUCKLES, SPATS and BIGDOG exit.
SPATS and BIGDOG carry the crate. As he passes, EDDIE spits on CRASH.


EDDIE
And that's for criticising my Bottom.

Exit EDDIE. BUDDY enters, huffing and puffing.

BUDDY
Crash? Crash ... I mean, Human Rocket?

Musical Sting.

Oh jeez, I hope no one heard me ... Human Rocket?

Musical Sting.

Mr. Rocket, sir?

Half a Musical Sting. BUDDY picks up the bottle quizzically,
and then sees CRASH. BUDDY runs over to him, still holding it.

Oh, jeez ... Crash! What happened to you, Crash?

CRASH
Buddy ..?

BUDDY
Oh, Jeez, if only I'd gotten here sooner. I got the tip-off from Chief O'Flaherty that something was going down on the waterfront, and I figured you could use some help. How may fingers am I holding up?

CRASH
Tuesday?

BUDDY
Close enough.

CRASH
It was the sound ray of the Silk Claw. They've got the suit. With it they can, they can ...
I don't like to think what they can do.

BUDDY
Well ... they can fly.

CRASH
It worse than that, Buddy. I doubt his Nazi mind can make sense of that suit, and I guess Dr. Weinstein can build me another ... after all, he is one of the greatest minds of this century and the inventor of the rocket pack in the first place. What worries me is ... up until now, no-one has known that I, Crash Morgan and the cannonball crusader known as the Human Rocket were one and the same person.

BUDDY
Well ... nobody but you.

CRASH
No ... even I only suspected.

BUDDY
And I knew.

CRASH
Yes. My most trusted friend and confidante. You knew. But only you, and, perhaps, me.
BUDDY
And Dr. Weinstein. You wouldn't be the Human Rocket if he hadn't
invented the suit and asked you to test it for him.

CRASH
Yes, that's true. A great man. A great mind. A great friend. And along with you, and possibly me, the only other man to know of my dual identity.

BUDDY
But what about that time we rescued Princess Persephone of Atlantis from the Shark King and you were celebrated as Hero of Atlantis? Jeez, they've even got a national holiday for it - the Crash Morgan-Human Rocket day. I guess they might have figured it out?

CRASH, patiently
Alright. There's you. There's the doctor. There's me. There's the entire population of the undersea nation of Atlantis. But apart from that-

BUDDY
But what about the time-

CRASH, explodes
Oh, leave it alone, can't you? It's a secret! They shouldn't know, and they know, all right? He has my rocket pack ...

BUDDY
So what are we going to do?

CRASH
We've got to think. Buddy, if you were a power crazed, egomaniacal Nazi, what would you do?

BUDDY
Annex the Sudatenland?

CRASH
Brilliant! To Central Europe - no, wait. He'll most likely try to figure out how the rocket suit is built, and for that he'll need the help of the only rocket scientist in town, Doc-

BUDDY
Doctor Weinstein!

CRASH
Yes, that's right.

BUDDY takes a celebratory swig, and spits it out in disgust. Blackout.


ACT ONE SCENE THREE

The lights come up on WEINSTEIN, working alone in his laboratory.
There is the low hum of electrical machinery. There is a mock Tesla coil
on the rostra and the windows SR and SL are dressed as lab equipment.

WEINSTEIN is tinkering with the Tesla coil.

WEINSTEIN (to himself)
Ze compensators, ze compensators ... ze flow of electricity is impeded, causing pattern reformation fluctuation ... zis is a toughy, und no mistake ... but vait ... if ze coils are crossed ... if ze electron flow cancels out ze wave inversion at ze atomic level ... zen ... zen ... I am so close ... zen-

There is a knock on the door.
Vat ..? (calls out) Go Away! I am trying to redefine the limits of the possible here! Cross ze coils, but to compensate for ze massive electrical surge ... ze teleport effect would expand unpredictably ... exponentially .. all I must do is-

There is another knock.

Oh, for ze sake of pity.

He answers the door. It is FAIRWEATHER and GLENN.

FAIRWEATHER
Johan, old chap. Not disturbing you, I trust.

WEINSTEIN
No, no. I vas just on ze verge of solving a problem vhich has wexed for nearly eight months, but that's all right. Vhat do you want? To borrow a cup of sugar, perhaps? I vould not vant to zink, for instance, to zink zat my time had been vasted.

FAIRWEATHER
And this is my daughter Glenn. I may have spoken of her?

GLENN
Very pleased to meet you, Doctor. I've heard so much about you.

WEINSTEIN
It is a genuine pleasure to meet you too, Miss Fairweather. Goodbye!

He tries to close the door but FAIRWEATHER enters too quickly.

FAIRWEATHER
You'll have to excuse the good doctor. He's a bit of a recluse by nature, and this can sometimes make him seem a little rude, to those unaccustomed to his little foibles.

WEINSTEIN
Foibles? Foibles? I'll give you foibles where the sun don't shine, you arrogant, self-important, stuck-up, limey ... schmuck!

FAIRWEATHER
Ha ha. My daughter wishes to ask you some questions, and I'd take it as a personal favour if you'd answer them.

WEINSTEIN
And I vould take it as a personal favour if you'd take zese question zen forcefully insert zem-

GLENN
I wondered if you might be able to tell me about the Human Rocket.

Musical Sting.

WEINSTEIN
Oh? Vhy vould you zink I would know anything about ze Human Rocket?

Musical Sting.

GLENN
You are one of the most reputed rocket scientists working today. I had thought perhaps you might have some theory as to who built the Rocket Suit in the first place ..?

WEINSTEIN
Good Heavens! Look at ze time. Vell, it is really late and I must insist-
FAIRWEATHER
You seem awfully guarded, old chap. Is there something you're not saying?

WEINSTEIN
I'm not saying.

FAIRWEATHER
Are you trying to say that there is something that you are not saying?

WEINSTEIN
I cannot tell.

GLENN
Are you trying to say that you don't know? Or are you trying to say that you can't reveal what you know? Or are you just trying to tell us that you can't answer the previous question regarding whether or not you could or could not say whatever it was you did or didn't know or couldn't reveal?

WEINSTEIN
Vat vas the question again ..? (To FAIRWEATHER) I'm a rocket scientist, I don't know what she just said!

FAIRWEATHER leads WEINSTEIN downstage.
GLENN strains to hear.

FAIRWEATHER (sotto voice)
Listen to me, old chap ... we've been colleagues for a little while now, and I like to think that in the time we've spent working on the matter transmitter ray that we've built up a bond of trust ... of caring ... that we've become friends, perhaps more ....

FAIRWEATHER places his hand on WEINSTEIN's shoulder.

WEINSTEIN
Don't touch me there.

FAIRWEATHER
… like brothers. Not close brothers of course. Maybe step brothers, whose respective mothers don't see eye to eye, and one of whom is, perhaps, illegitimate, but family nonetheless. You can confide in me.

WEINSTEIN
I cannot tell you.

The SILK CLAW, EDDIE, BIGDOG, SPATS and KNUCKLES enter.
The SILK CLAW is wearing the rocket pack.

SILK CLAW
You can tell ... me!

ALL
The Silk Claw!

SILK CLAW
None other!

WEINSTEIN
Teeth of Hell! He is wearing the Rocket Suit! How is this possible?

FAIRWEATHER
And Eddie "The Bard" Malone. We've had dealings before. Tell me, Eddie, what's a hardworking honest American crook like you doing working for the Nazis?

EDDIE
Cash, Prof. Filthy lucre.

GLENN
Money? You'd sell out your country just for money?

EDDIE
Hey, the pay's the thing.

SILK CLAW
Enough of zis. I also have come to speak with Dr. Weinstein on ze matter of rocket technology, Fraulein. Such a coincidence! Perhaps you are destined to be mine after all, heh?

GLENN
Never!

FAIRWEATHER steps between GLENN and the SILK CLAW.

FAIRWEATHER
Over my dead body, scoundrel!

SILK CLAW
Zis can be arranged ...

WEINSTEIN
You make me ashamed to be German.

FAIRWEATHER
Yes. All the great things that noble country has achieved; the composers, the philosophers, the artists-

WEINSTEIN
Ze scientists.

FAIRWEATHER
The architects, the beer-

WEINSTEIN
And ze scientists.

FAIRWEATHER
The schnitzel and the leather trousers-

WEINSTEIN
The leather trousers?

FAIRWEATHER
All defiled by you and your kind.

WEINSTEIN
Zey defiled zere trousers?

FAIRWEATHER
You will be defeated, I assure you. The blight of evil will always fall beneath the purifying wind of good. The mop of Virtue and Truth shall lift the sticky spillage of Nazism from the linoleum of History and deposit it squarely in the Bucket of Ignominious Defeat.
SILK CLAW
Silence!

SPATS hits WEINSTEIN.

WEINSTEIN
Ow!

SILK CLAW
You are wrong to presuppose that Nazism is somehow evil. Our way is straight. Our way is true. We do what we do for ze greater good.

EDDIE
Sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind.

SILK CLAW
And sometimes you have to be cruel to be cruel. It cuts both ways, you see. If you must
die to further the cause, you vill die ... but not, however, until I get ze information I need.
(to WEINSTEIN) How does this device work? How is it fuelled? Teach me how to operate
it.

WEINSTEIN
I think that would be a very poor idea.

SILK CLAW
Malone?

EDDIE
Claw?

SILK CLAW
Take ze girl.

EDDIE grabs hold of GLENN. FAIRWEATHER tries to stop him, but is restrained by KNUCKLES and BIGDOG. SPATS hits WEINSTEIN.

WEINSTEIN
Ow!

FAIRWEATHER
Glenn!

GLENN
Daddy! Let go of me, you villain!

EDDIE
My conscience's got a thousand several tongues, and every tongue brings in a several tale, and every tale condemns me for a villain, and you'd better believe it, sister.

SPATS
Our boss, he's a so smart, even he donna know what he's a talking about.

SILK CLAW
Silence!

SPATS hits WEINSTEIN.

WEINSTEIN
Ow! Stop doing zat!

SILK CLAW
Enough of this foolery! I could stay here and force ze information from you, but I suspect it would not be safe for me. I vill take ze girl to my secret hideout now, and leave you two old fools to consider her fate - I suspect zis will be more effective zan a thousand hot needles. I will return tomorrow, at zis time, und you vill help me.

He turns smartly and exits. EDDIE, SPATS, KNUCKLES
and BIG DOG follow, dragging GLENN.

GLENN
Daddy! Save me!

SILK CLAW, off stage
Try to follow and ve vill kill ze girl.

FAIRWEATHER
Don't worry, Glenn! We will save you!

Mournful music starts to play. Seconds later CRASH and BUDDY enter

CRASH
Doctor Weinstein, I have terrible news!

WEINSTEIN
Ze Silk Claw has stolen your rocket pack and decided to force me to reweal ze secrets of its construction and operation?

CRASH
You know already?

WEINSTEIN
Zis is old news.

There is the screech of car tyres.

CRASH
What was that?

FAIRWEATHER
That was the sound of Von Kruger and his henchmen escaping with my daughter in their villainous clutches.

BUDDY
Gosh darn it, we were too late! They must have taken the other elevator!

CRASH
Professor Fairweather! What are you doing here? Wait ... you mean they've taken Glenn? You mean she's here? In Metropolitan City? Glenn Fairweather, beauty queen turned Ace Reporter, here? Glenn Fairweather, in Metropolitan City? This Metropolitan City? The Glenn Fairweather? To whom I was engaged for two years before my Father was kidnapped by the hideous blood cult of the feathered serpent Quetzocoatl and I was dragged from her side to rescue him? She's here? In Metropolitan City? The same Glenn Fairweather, whose tear ravaged eyes have haunted me in my solicitude ever since duty tore us apart? That Glenn Fairweather? Here, now, in Metropolitan City?

FAIRWEATHER
She still means something to you, doesn't she?

WEINSTEIN
Zis man has a Nobel Prize?

CRASH
Why have they taken her?

FAIRWEATHER
They think they can use her as emotional leverage. They want to know how the rocket suit was built, and how it operates.

He leans towards CRASH conspiratorially.

Between you and me, old chap, I suspect that the good doctor knows more than he's letting on. I believe he may be the Human Rocket.

Musical Sting. They all look at Weinstein.

WEINSTEIN
Vhat?

CRASH
Professor, I've got to come clean. The Doc designed and built the rocket pack, but I'm the guy behind the mask. I am the Human Rocket.

Musical Sting.

FAIRWEATHER
That's incredible! Who could have suspected it, that Crash Morgan and the Cannonball Crusader known as the Human Rocket were one and the same? Mind you, come to think of it, we have never seen the both of you together ... All that aside, those bounders return tomorrow, and have threatened Glenn with terrible things if we refuse them.

CRASH
If Kruger gets the secret of the rocket suit, then they'll be nothing to
stop the Nazis from taking over the world.

BUDDY
But if the Doc and the Prof don't help Kruger, then Glenn will suffer?

CRASH
Then we have twenty four hours to find out where the Silk Claw and Eddie are hiding her. I know a place where some of Malone's goons hang out ...

FAIRWEATHER
Let me come with you. I cannot stand idly by whilst my daughter is in grave peril.

CRASH
No, Professor, though I admire your bravery. It's a rough neighbourhood and too many of us will be suspicious ... and, besides, I have a plan ...

Blackout.


ACT ONE SCENE FOUR

A BARMAN is cleaning glasses at the bar. BASHER, KNUCKLES and LILY
are leant against it. LILY is in conversation with KNUCKLES, BASHER drinks alone. SPATS and BIGDOG are stood talking.

BUDDY and CRASH enter, clearly "outside" the bar.
Wearing an eyepatch, BUDDY is nominally in disguise.

CRASH
Well, Buddy. This is the place.

BUDDY
Lucky Leon's - the sleaziest dive on the waterfront. Home to all manner of crooks and hard cases, and where Eddie The Bard's men are reputed to hang out. Just what we're looking for.

CRASH
Before we go in: The plan ...

BUDDY
Right.

CRASH
You go in ... no, come back. Listen. Remember what we talked about? You go in there ...

BUDDY
And mingle.

CRASH
That's right. Make yourself at home.

BUDDY
Make myself at home. Check.

CRASH
Your name is Dutch. Dutch Tortellini, just in from out of town. Looking for work.

BUDDY
Looking for work. Check.

CRASH
Then I come in. You pick a fight with me, and I throw it. If they recognise me,
then they trust you, and you find out where they're holding Glenn. Got it?

BUDDY
Got it.

CRASH
Good going. I'll watch from here outside. I can see the bar through the window.
When you seem to have fitted in, I'll make my entrance.

BUDDY
I won't let you down, Crash.

BUDDY enters, and goes over to the bar. LILY notices him.

LILY
Hi, Handsome.

BUDDY looks over his shoulder, then realises that she's talking to him.

BUDDY
Aw, Jeez.

LILY
My name's Lily. What's yours.

BUDDY
Oh, Its Buddy, Buddy Brannigan ... ski ... sen.

LILY
Really? Buddy Branniganskissen?

BUDDY
Yes, really. It's ... Polish. Czechoslovakian. On my Mother's side. No... yes ... Dutch!

LILY
Hey, Joe, get a load of the guy with the weird name. It's Dutch.

JOE
Howdy, Dutch. What can I get you.

BUDDY
I'm from out of town. I'm looking for work.

JOE
Well, I guess I could use another hand behind the bar.

BUDDY
Just one minute ...

BUDDY leaves the bar and talks to CRASH silently. He returns.

BUDDY
No. Thank you. I'm looking for work ... you know, "work" ...
I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty.

JOE
We need a dishwasher.

BUDDY
No ... look, what I'm really looking for is - hey!

BASHER has deliberately shoved BUDDY.

BASHER
You spilled my drink.

BUDDY
No, I didn't.

BASHER
You spilled my drink.

BUDDY
No, I didn't. Anyway, you bumped into me.

BASHER throws his drink into BUDDY's face.

BASHER
You. Spilled. My. Drink.

LILY steps in front of BUDDY.

LILY
Back off! (to BUDDY) Listen, Buddy, you better watch your step in here.
Can't you see this guy's just come here for a fight?

BUDDY
Gee whiz! Me too!

BASHER grabs BUDDY. Suddenly CRASH enters .

SPATS
Hey, youse guys! Issa Crash Morgan, Special Federal Agent, ex-football hero and Lion Tamer!

CRASH strides over to BASHER.

CRASH
You! Tell me what you know about the Silk Claw.

BASHER
Can't you come back in five minutes?

CRASH
Okay, that sounds ... No, wait a minute. You tell me now!

BASHER
Listen, I was just gonna cream this jumped up no-account prissy little squirt.

CRASH
No. You put that jumped up no-account prissy little squirt down right now!

BASHER puts BUDDY down.

BASHER
I'll deal with you later.

BASHER fights CRASH and loses. CRASH grabs BUDDY.

CRASH
Now, you! Talk!

BUDDY
Crash! It's me! Buddy!

CRASH, in a fierce whisper
I know. It's pretend. Play along!

BUDDY
Ah, right. What do you want me to talk about?

CRASH
No. Don't talk. You're not supposed to talk!

BUDDY
But you just said-

CRASH
Just hit me, and shut up!

BUDDY weakly punches CRASH, who flies backwards.

BIGDOG
Hey, that guys got a killer punch!

BUDDY
Aw Jeez, Crash, are you all right?

CRASH
It's pretend! Threaten me! Say, "Get your god damn stinking pig ugly mug out of this joint."

BUDDY
Okay. You! Get your stinky pig ... out!

CRASH
All right, I'll go. (to BIGDOG and SPATS) I know when I'm beaten.

KNUCKLES
You ain’t going nowhere, Crash Morgan.

KNUCKLES pulls out his pistol and shoots CRASH.
CRASH clutches his chest in horror.

BUDDY
You just shot Crash!

CRASH takes his hand from his chest. He is completely unharmed. He flees.

SPATS
Yeah, and with blanks. Hey that’s really some stupid!

KNUCKLES
It ain’t my fault! I forgot it was the bosses gun! I mean, what kind nut fills a gun with blanks anyhow …

BIGDOG
What a wasted opportunity … Crash Morgan, dead in our sights and yet still alive. Mind you, even so, that was some fight, so it was.

KNUCKLES
Hey that’s true, I ain't never seen anyone floor Crash Morgan before.

BUDDY
Aw Jeez. It was nothing.

LILY wraps herself around BUDDY.

LILY
You're some kinda hunk.

BUDDY
It was really nothing. But there was this one time in Phoenix, I beat up a whole room full of guys.

SPATS
Issa that so?

BUDDY
Oh, yes. Big guys. Real big guys.

KNUCKLES
You don't say.

BUDDY
Yes, they won't forget my name in a hurry.

KNUCKLES
What is your name?

BUDDY can't remember. LILY saves him.

LILY
It's Dutch, isn't it Buddy?

KNUCKLES
Listen, Dutch, we got a proposition. I overheard, you're looking for work.

BUDDY
Oh yes! That's right! And I don't mind getting my hands dirty!

KNUCKLES
Oh. We were kind of hoping you could maybe beat people up for us.

Blackout.


ACT ONE SCENE FIVE

The stage is set as EDDIE's HQ, with two chairs set. EDDIE is rehearsing.

EDDIE
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their entrances and exits, and one man in his time plays many parts. Yea verily, there are no small parts, only small actors. A stage, a stage, my Kingdom for a stage, princes to act and monarchs to behold the swelling scene. But who comes here?

Enter SPATS, BIGDOG and KNUCKLES leading BUDDY and LILY.

'Tis my henchmen true. Soft, speak you now.

SPATS
Hiya Boss. Hey we brought someone to see you.

EDDIE
Oh yeah. So to what do I owe this pleasure?

KNUCKLES
Don't be mad boss. You're really gonna like this guy. He floored Crash Morgan with just one punch. I ain't seen anything like it. This guy is dynamite.

EDDIE
Yeah but dynamite goes off.... like dairy products.

KNUCKLES
Yeah right,.... but this guy ain't no cottage cheese ... He's a fighter. A real powerhouse.

EDDIE
All right already, so stranger, what's your name?

BUDDY
Dutch... Dutch Tortellini.

LILY
I thought you said it was Branniganskisen?

EDDIE
Can it, you dumb broad. Jeez, Dames! Only good for one thing, am I right?

BUDDY
Yeah right, only good for one thing.. heh heh heh.. and what is that exactly?

There is a stunned pause.

SPATS
Hey thatsa good. Itsa funny joke eh? (laughs)

EDDIE
Yeah I like that. What are they good for? Hey you're a funny guy.

BUDDY
Yeah they can't climb trees, and they don't play baseball..

EDDIE
Yeah right.

BUDDY
Apart from my sister. She's swell. We used to play pirates together.

EDDIE
We're always looking for new talent, Dutch. A new guy willing to work his way up the ranks. But I gotta tell you, buddy, I don't trust no one, so if you want to join my company of crime, you gotta pass a test ... Crash Morgan took out three of my men, I reckon you should be able to do the same.

EDDIE reaches into his jacket and pulls out a cosh. He throws it to BUDDY,
who throws it back. He throws it again, and BUDDY tosses it back again.

Take the cosh, you nitwit. Guys ... get him.

SPATS, KNUCKLES and BIGDOG advance and circle BUDDY. BUDDY raises his
cosh as BIGDOG approaches, knocking out KNUCKLES behind him. He turns to apologise, catching BIGDOG on the side of the head as he turns. He turns to SPATS,
who drops to his knees.

SPATS
Mama mia! Don't hit me!

LILY
I don't care what his name is ... he sure is something special.

EDDIE
Don't get sweet on him Honey, remember you're my girl. Alright, Dutch, you're in. Fact is, we've got a very special guest could use some ... security. We wouldn't want her being bothered by uninvited guests, if you see what I mean.

BUDDY
... Right. Like a doorman.

EDDIE
That's right. There's a door. There's you on one side and a little
piece of insurance called Glenn Fairweather on the other.

BUDDY
Glenn? Glenn Fairweather?

EDDIE
You heard of her?

BUDDY
No.

EDDIE
Okay. So no-one goes in and no-one comes out unless I say so. Understand?

BUDDY
Got it. Can I make a 'phone call, please?

EDDIE
'Phone call? 'Phone call? Who you gonna 'phone this time of night?

BUDDY
My mom, to let her know I'll be late for dinner.

EDDIE
Your mom?

BUDDY
My mom? Did I say my Mom? Aw Jeez, I meant to say my bookie.

EDDIE
Your bookie?

BUDDY
Right. To let him know I'll be late for dinner.

EDDIE
You have dinner with your bookie? Either you're real close or you owe him big time.

SPATS
Hey, itsa all right. Family's real important. He wants to 'phone his Mama, let him 'phone his Mama, doesn't make him less of a man. I 'phone my Mama all the time, my brothers 'phone my Mama all the time ... except for Luigi. But he's a louse. I love my Mama.

BIGDOG
An' you can be sure he'd love his father, too, if only he knew who he was.

SPATS
Thatsa right ... hey! You watch your mouth. You insult me, you insult my whole family. My point is, itsa very special to be loved. I remember one time I was ten, and I had measles, and my Mama-

EDDIE
For pity's sake, 'phone your mother! Over there, in the office!

BUDDY
Gee thanks.

BUDDY goes to the phone in one of the windows, which is lit up.
He picks it up and dials some numbers.

KNUCKLES
What do you think boss?

EDDIE (smiling knowingly)
I think he's exactly what we need.

Lights come up on CRASH as he picks up a phone in the other window.

CRASH
Hello.

BUDDY, loudly
Hi Mom, it's Dutch. Sorry I'll be late for dinner. I've just made some swell new friends.

CRASH
Buddy? Is that you.

BUDDY, sotto voice
Of course it's me. Just play along. (loudly again). So how's my brother Frankie?
I heard he was feeling a bit peaky.

CRASH
What are you talking about? Do you know where Glenn is?

BUDDY
Yeah I change them twice a day, and I powder regularly.

CRASH
Powder? Powder what?

BUDDY
There is a shortage of milk but I'm getting along fine.

CRASH
Buddy. I appreciate the need for secrecy but if I don't understand
you there ISN'T ANY POINT!!!!

BUDDY, sotto voice
Okay. Eddies secret warehouse is in the old chunky chunks tinned fruit warehouse on the east side of Metro City's old abandoned warehouse district. (loudly) Yeah Mom I'm eating fine but I sure do miss your apple pie. (sotto voice) I think they're holding Glenn here. They've asked me to guard her.

CRASH
But where is she?

BUDDY, sotto voice
No one can make it the way you can. (loudly) I don't know where they're holding Glenn exactly but I think I've got them fooled!

Gangsters look at BUDDY. BUDDY smiles with a little laugh.
The gangsters look away disinterested.

CRASH
Buddy?

BUDDY, sotto voice
Don't worry. I don't think they heard me. Between you and me, I don't think they're very bright.

CRASH
Okay. Look I'll be straight over. Find Glenn. Tell her everything's going to be alright.

BUDDY
Okay Mom. Love you!

Drop light on CRASH as he puts his phone down.
BUDDY moves back to join the GANGSTERS.

BUDDY
So what do you want me to do?

The GANGSTERS draw pistols.

EDDIE
We want you to raise your hands in the air real slow.

BUDDY
You've rumbled me. How did you know?

EDDIE
We always knew, buddy ... or should I say Buddy?!

BUDDY
No, Buddy's fine ... but how?

Enter JOE THE BARMAN and GLENN. GLENN is bound and gagged.

BUDDY
Joe! What are you doing here!

JOE
Hiya Buddy. Or Dutch. Or whatever. Gee, isn't it terrible when you don't know what you should be calling someone? Like me, for instance. Honest Joe, barman and proprietor of Lucky Leon's, but better known to you as ...

He peels away his moustache to reveal his moustache.

SILK CLAW
Ze Silk Claw! Ha! Ha ha! Hahahahahahahahahaha!

BUDDY
Your accent!

SILK CLAW
Pah! Any idiot can do an American accent. In fact, zey do. Did you
zink that your pathetic attempt to fool us would be successful?

There is a pause.

Vell?

BUDDY
Gee, I'm sorry. I thought it was a rhetorical question. Yes, sir, we did. We did think our pathetic attempt to fool you would be successful. After all, it did work two years ago in Constantinople.

SILK CLAW
Ja! And you used ze same alias! Vhat do you zink I am, a goldfish?

GLENN
Mmmmf? Mmhm. Mmmmf mm mmmhm mm mmhmmmh, mm mmm ... mmm'mm mmfmm mm m mhmm hmmmhmhmm hmm!
GOLDFISH? HARDLY. GOLDFISH ARE SWEET AND PEACEFUL, AND YOU ...
YOU'RE NOTHING BUT AN EVIL BLOODTHIRSTY SHARK!

SILK CLAW
Evil bloodthirsty shark I may be, but ... yes, I like zat. Zank you.

BUDDY
Listen up, Mr. Claw, you're in for it now. That wasn't my mother I was calling just now.

SILK CLAW, mock surprise
No!

BUDDY
Just you wait 'till Crash Morgan gets here!

SILK CLAW
Zat is exactly vhat I intend to do. And vhen Crash Morgan breathes his last, pained choking breath you vill know zat it vas you who lead him to his doom! Ha! Haha! Hahahahhahahaha! Take him avay ...

All exit except for EDDIE, SILK CLAW and GLENN.

GLENN
Mmm mhm mm hmm mm mf. Mmm mm mmhmmhm mm hmm mm hmm mhmm, mm mmm hmm mmm hm m mmhmmhm.
YOU'LL NEVER GET AWAY WITH IT. CRASH HAS DEFEATED YOU TIME AND TIME AGAIN,
AND THIS TIME WILL BE NO DIFFERENT.

EDDIE
Yeah, well you would say that. This time your fiancé ain't fightin'
just the one nefarious and cunning supervillain!

GLENN
Mf-mhmhm!
EX-FIANCÉ!

EDDIE
Ex-fiancé? Aw heck, that's terrible. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you guys.

GLENN
Hm hmm mm mhm mhmhm hmmm mm hm!
I GUESS IT JUST WASN'T MEANT TO BE ...

EDDIE
That's real sad. You know, me and Lily hit a rough patch a while back ... I remember one time-

SILK CLAW
Enough idle chit chat! You! Leave us!

EDDIE
I'll go ... but I ain't one of your Nazi goons, Claw. You don't talk that way to me.

He leaves. SILK CLAW removes GLENN's gag and bonds.
She rubs her wrists and sits.

SILK CLAW
So ... at last, ve are alone.

GLENN
What do you intend to do with me, you fiend?

SILK CLAW
I? Nothing? Provided zat your father and his friend comply with my not unreasonable demands.

GLENN
I'd rather die than see my father help you!
SILK CLAW
My dear, you have mistaken me. I am not ze monster you suppose me to be. I appreciate beauty when I see it, and would no more harm you now than pluck a rose, only to vatch it vither in my hand.

GLENN
Did no-one ever tell you that a rose has thorns?

SILK CLAW
But of course. But zey serve only to make its beauty all ze more ... exquisite. Vould it surprise you to learn zat I find you ... attractive? You are in my power and I could force a kiss from you as easily as I could have you killed ... but I choose not to.

GLENN
So ... what's stopping you?

SILK CLAW
I am a man of power ... and of some refinement. I would not seize that which would more precious given freely ... your love.

GLENN
I'll never love you ... and besides, my heart belongs to Crash.

SILK CLAW
Crash Morgan vill soon be no more, and zen ... you will learn to love me, in time.

SILK CLAW moves upstage.

Guards!
SPATS and KNUCKLES enter.

Tie her to the chair, gag her ... and prepare ze snare.

SPATS and KNUCKLES move in on GLENN. As they tie her the lights fade
and the SILK CLAW laughs maniacally.

Blackout.


ACT ONE SCENE SIX

The set is still EDDIE's warehouse. Lights are low, except for a downstage spot.
GLENN is gagged and tied to a chair in the spot. CRASH enters on tiptoe from
the opposite side of the stage..

CRASH, loud whisper
Glenn!

GLENN
Mmmf!
CRASH!

CRASH, loud whisper
Glenn?

GLENN
Mmmf! Mmm mmm mfm mmfmm!
CRASH! DON'T COME ANY CLOSER!


CRASH, loud whisper
What? What are you trying to say?

GLENN
Mm m mmf! Mmm mm mfm mmfmm!
IT'S A TRAP! DON'T COME ANY CLOSER!

CRASH, loud whisper
I can't hear what you're saying! You're gagged!

GLENN
Mm mm mmf!
I KNOW THAT!

CRASH, loud whisper
Don't move!

GLENN struggles to free herself as CRASH creeps over.
As CRASH reaches for her gag, the lights come up full,
and the SILK CLAW, EDDIE and SPATS enter.

SILK CLAW
So, Crash Morgan ... you have fallen into my wicked snare.

EDDIE
None are surely caught, when they are catched, as wit turned fool.

CRASH pulls off the gag.

GLENN
... It's a trap.

CRASH moves to attack the claw, but his feet are stuck fast.

CRASH
What the ..?

SILK CLAW
It would seem your courageous plan of rescue has come unstuck ...
ironic, wouldn't you say, considering your current situation.

CRASH
What have you done to me?

SILK CLAW
I haf treated ze ground surrounding Miss Fairweather with a fast acting glue ...
you are trapped like a fly in a spider's veb. I have your girlfriend. I have your friend.
I have your rocket suit ... You are powerless.

GLENN
You shouldn't have come, Crash.

CRASH
How could I not have?

Cue slushy romantic music, which rises in volume as the scene progresses.
The lights fade gradually leaving CRASH and GLENN in the spot.

How could I just stand by and do nothing? I love you, Glenn. I always have. I always will.

GLENN
Oh, Crash ...

CRASH
I've loved you since the first time I ever rescued you -

GLENN
1928. The Cannibal Kitchen of Doc L'orange.

CRASH
- and my love has grown with each and every individual power crazed villain who ever kidnapped you. I never meant to leave you, Glenn. It's a big, hard world, and sometimes, just sometimes, it gets in the way of two people who love each other and just want to be with each other. I need you. I always will.

GLENN
Oh, Crash. I guess I always knew in my heart that you could never leave me ...
and in my heart perhaps you never did. I love you.

CRASH
I love you too.

SPATS (in tears)
Thatsa so ... beautiful.

SILK CLAW
Enough!

The music ends and lights snap back up abruptly.

Zank you!

Blackout.


ACT ONE SCENE SEVEN

The set is dressed as the laboratory. WEINSTEIN and FAIRWEATHER are on
stage upstage. CRASH and BUDDY are tied to chairs back to back downstage,
by the door. There is a bowl of oranges on the walkway.

A spot comes up on CRASH and BUDDY.

CRASH
Well ... tied to a chair. Again.

BUDDY
What are we going to do, Crash? Remember that time we were caught by the Shark King
in that taxidermist's storeroom in Fiji?

CRASH
No conveniently placed stuffed swordfish this time.

BUDDY
Ah. What about that time that Doc L'Orange had us tied in that Preserves warehouse in Cairo?

CRASH
No obliging army ants to eat their way through the jam soaked ropes now, I'm afraid.

BUDDY
What about when Eddie the Bard had us tied up in that Vaseline warehouse downtown ...

EDDIE enters.

EDDIE
You won't be slipping away so easily this time!

BUDDY
What are you going to do with us? Are you going to kill us?

EDDIE
Gee ... To waste, or not to waste, that is the question. I mean, is it nobler to make you suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or ... the big sleep. Aye, there's the rub.

BUDDY
The what? The where?

EDDIE
Can it. I mean, who would these fardels bear?

BUDDY
What's a fardel?

EDDIE
I said shut up. (calls) Claw?

SILK CLAW, off stage
Vhat?

EDDIE
Can I waste them?

BUDDY
Waste not, want not, that's what my mom always used to say.

EDDIE
I said Can it! (calls) Claw?

He draws his pistol as the SILK CLAW enters carrying what is obviously a bomb.

Let me off these wiseguys.

SILK CLAW
Patience, Eddie, patience. I could have had zem shot at any time, but vhere would be ze satisfaction in zat?

EDDIE
Well, I gotta be honest with you, Claw. You say to me, maybe, here's a big bowl of pistachio Ice cream, where's the satisfaction in that? I say, "It's a big bowl of pistachio Ice cream." Shoot the ice cream!

SILK CLAW
Zat is because you are a coarse vulgarian. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

EDDIE
Like ice cream.

SILK CLAW
Yes, like ... shut up! Zey vill know, in zere last moments, ze true meaning of fear. Zey vill feels zere last gasping breaths like a metronome marking out ze few remaining moments of zere pitiful ineffectual lives. Raw terror vill fill zere hearts ... zere minds ... zere every thought ... it vill crawl upon zere sweat soaked skin ... icy, cold, vet, like-

EDDIE
Ice cream?

SILK CLAW
Yes, like ... shut up! Vhat is it vith you und ze ice cream?

BUDDY
I like ice cream.

SILK CLAW
I haf a good mind to shoot you right now. But ze path of ze connoisseur is one of restraint.
Zat is vhy you are restrained, a ha.

He taps the clock display on the bomb.

Zis is how long you have to live.

BUDDY
That's a big clock.

CRASH
It's a bomb, Buddy.

The SILK CLAW carefully places the bomb under BUDDY's chair.

EDDIE
You know, I like your thinking. Some of the guys, they say you're an unstable psychopath but me, well, I think you're a swell. When you came to me and hired me and my gang, I though you was a real dumb kraut, but I got a lot of respect for you now. It was just business then, but I kind of like to think maybe we're friends.

SILK CLAW
Vhy, thank you Eddie! I have never had a friend before ... acquaintances, yes, and allies, compatriots even, but friendship, true friendship ... yes, you and I, Eddie, share something very precious ... in fact, it vill cause me great sorrow vhen I am forced to have you killed.

EDDIE
What?

SILK CLAW
A joke! It is but a joke! Cannot you take a little ribbing?

EDDIE
I'll go get the car and the girl. We got an appointment with the eggheads, remember?

EDDIE exits.

SILK CLAW
Just a joke ... I vill feel no remorse vhatsoever. Farewell, Crash Morgan ... or perhaps I should say, crashed Morgan! Ha! Ha ha! Hahahahahahahahahahaha! And zey say ve Germans haf no sense of humour.

He follows EDDIE.

BUDDY
I guess this is curtains, Crash.

CRASH
We can't give up. What will Professor Fairweather and Doctor Weinstein do without us?

Cross fade to FAIRWEATHER and WEINSTEIN.

FAIRWEATHER
Amazing work, old boy. By crossing the coils, we can at last successfully teleport matter.

WEINSTEIN
It is a delicate procedure. If they are fully short circuited, I cannot answer for the consequences.

FAIRWEATHER
We can modulate the power to translate matter into a bioelectrical pattern matrix which can be transmitted through the dimensional ether, resulting in the instantaneous transmission of one object from one place to another.

WEINSTEIN
I know zis. Vhy are you telling me zis?

FAIRWEATHER
Incredible to believe, but we shall be the fathers of a new age. We stand on the threshold of a new era of science. Old concepts of space and distance will become as meaningless as ...

WEINSTEIN
Vun of your hopeless meandering metaphors?

FAIRWEATHER
Actually, that's a simile, but that's beside the point. You see, after years of hard work-

WEINSTEIN
My hard work!

FAIRWEATHER
Patient research-

WEINSTEIN
My patient research!

FAIRWEATHER
And frustration-

WEINSTEIN
Tell me about it!

FAIRWEATHER
The tree of our labours has borne fruit.

WEINSTEIN
Okay, so you brought the fruit ...

He picks up an orange, and places it in a window

Speaking of which, ve had better test zis theory.

FAIRWEATHER
Quite so. Pull the lever!

WEINSTEIN pulls the lever. There is a rising crescendo of electrical humming accompanied by flashing lights, ending with the ping of a microwave.

The orange is gone from the window. There is a banana in the opposite window.

FAIRWEATHER
Ah. Not a total success.

WEINSTEIN
Zis may need some vork.

Cross fade to CRASH and BUDDY.

BUDDY
... and she looks up Panda in the dictionary, and it says "animal that eats shoots and leaves"!
Get it?

CRASH
I got it.

BUDDY
Well ... I didn't. Could you maybe explain it to me?

CRASH
I haven't got time for this, Buddy. I' m trying to break my bonds, but they're very tight ...
if only Rebel the wonder dog were here.

LILY enters.

BUDDY
Lily!

CRASH
That's close. I don't suppose you could gnaw your way through the bonds.

BUDDY
Crash! Don't talk to her that way.

LILY kneels by BUDDY.

LILY
I couldn't let you die ... I've seen you in action, and, well, you're kind of special.
I guess I've kind of fallen for you.

CRASH
Well, it wouldn't be the first time ... but I'm afraid my heart belongs to another.

She begins to untie the ropes.

LILY
When I saw you floor Eddie's goons, and Crash Morgan-

CRASH
He faked that! I faked that! It was a sham, a show!

LILY
I know. I believed it. You're a great actor, Buddy, one of the best. that's why I originally fell for Eddie. His Lear captivated me ... but he's a third rate ham compared to you.

The ropes fall away, and BUDDY stands.

Kiss me, Buddy Branniganskissen!

They kiss, LILY taking the man's role.

CRASH
We haven't got time for this! That bombs due to go off any second!

CRASH and LILY exit, carrying a chair each.
BUDDY follows, carrying the bomb.

Seconds later, he enters in a hurry, dumps the bomb where he found it,
and flees back the way he came.

Blackout. There is an explosion.

After a few moments, there is the microwave ping of a
completed matter transmission.

The lights come up on FAIRWEATHER stood upstage, holding another banana.
The fruit bowl is now full of bananas. WEINSTEIN is stood downstage by the lever.

WEINSTEIN
So ... zis is the fruit of our labours.

FAIRWEATHER
Yes. But wait. We are I feel making some progress.... This latest ... banana, for instance
(he holds it up to the light) is definitely more orangey. Yes I would say so. The skin for example has a distinctly orange hue, and it's texture.... less smooth. The skin is far more... orangey.

WEINSTEIN
It's a banana.

FAIRWEATHER
Yes I know.

WEINSTEIN
Ve are getting novhere. The problem as I see it is etheric feedback. Vithout a large expanse of vacuum to buffer the transmission, ve can achieve nothing.

FAIRWEATHER
I see. Yes, it's so simple. Matter transposed into etheric patterns will inevitably become distorted on the subquantum level, and consequently reform with an alternative morphological paradigm. Unless we can buffer the electromagnetic emission via an uncorrupted etheric field, say a large expanse of vacuum, all matter will become warped upon the molecular level and transmogrified upon it's re-entry into normal space. The feedback acts upon the signal rather like a distorting mirror at a funfair in fact.

WEINSTEIN
Ja. Zat is vhat I said. What time is it?

FAIRWEATHER
I beg your pardon?

WEINSTEIN
Vhat time is it. He's late.

FAIRWEATHER
I'd been so busy, I hadn't noticed. I'll go look out.

He goes over to the door, and opens it. Stood sheepishly behind it are the
SILK CLAW, EDDIE leading a bound GLENN, SPATS carrying the rocket suit, BIGDOG and KNUCKLES.

The Silk Claw!

SILK CLAW
Hi ...

FAIRWEATHER
What on earth are you doing waiting out there?

SILK CLAW
Vell, if you must know ... I vas vaiting for an appropriate cue line.

FAIRWEATHER
I beg your pardon?

SILK CLAW
Vell, you say something like, er ...

SPATS, in flawless FAIRWEATHER accent
" Don't worry, old chap. Crash Morgan has never been defeated."

SILK CLAW
And zen I enter and say something like, "Until he faced ze nefarious cunning of ...
ze Silk Claw! Ha! Haha! Hahahahahahahaha!

FAIRWEATHER
Ha? Haha? Hahahahahahahahahahaha?

SILK CLAW
It's a villain thing.

FAIRWEATHER
I'm most terribly sorry.

SILK CLAW
Ja, vell ...

WEINSTEIN
But ... vhen I said, "Vhat is the time?", could you not have burst in and exclaimed,
" It is time for you to face ... ze iron vill of ze Silk Claw! Ha! Haha! And so on ..."

SILK CLAW has pulled out a notebook, and is taking notes.

SILK CLAW
... Iron vill ... got it. Zank you. I'm sorry I missed that one ...

There is an uncomfortable pause.

FAIRWEATHER
Well ... won't you come in?

They shuffle in. While the others are talking, KNUCKLES picks a banana
out of the bowl and peels it. He takes a bite and pulls a face, and passes it
to BIGDOG, who does the same.

SILK CLAW
I've lost ze thread now ... (to EDDIE) Vhere vas I?
EDDIE
Secrets of the rocket suit?

SILK CLAW
No, before zat.

EDDIE
Er, triumphant greater Glory of the Third Reich?

SILK CLAW
Inevitably, but first things first.

EDDIE
What about, "Your daughter is safe ... for now."

SILK CLAW
Ah, ja. (clears throat, to FAIRWEATHER) Your daughter is safe ... for now. But unless you divulge ze secrets of zis amazing rocket suit ... I'm sure a man of your imagination requires no further explanation.

WEINSTEIN
Flattery will get you nowhere.

FAIRWEATHER
There's one thing you've failed to take into account. I know my daughter
would rather die than see me help Nazi Scum like you.

GLENN
Pardon?

FAIRWEATHER
So even if it means her death, and mine, we will not help you.

SILK CLAW
Curses! But vait ... Dr. Weinstein here is ze rocket expert, not you.

WEINSTEIN
No, you can kill zem both. I still won't talk.

SILK CLAW
Ve could kill you.

WEINSTEIN
If you kill me, I can tell you nothing.

SILK CLAW
True. But torture ...

WEINSTEIN
I tell you everything.

FAIRWEATHER
Doctor!

GLENN
How could you!


WEINSTEIN, sotto voice
Stalling! Stalling! (to SILK CLAW) Since ze dawn of time, man has had a dream. It is a dream vhich has filled his every vaking moment, and sometimes even his sleeping ones. Ancient man vould glance out of his vattle hut, crafting primitive tools from ze bone of ze mastodon, and looking up, see ze birds vheeling in ze sky. Ze proud eagle, ze majestic condor, ze hunting falcon ... ze chaffinch-

SILK CLAW
Enough! Get to ze point!

He grabs the suit from SPATS.

How do I fly zis suit?

WEINSTEIN
Vhat do you veigh?

SILK CLAW
Vhat do I veigh?

WEINSTEIN
In your stocking feet.

SILK CLAW
Vhat difference does that make?

WEINSTEIN
So now you're the physicist?

CRASH and BUDDY burst in.

FAIRWEATHER & GLENN
Crash!

WEINSTEIN
Thank you, God!

SILK CLAW
But how? How did you escape my fiendish trap?

CRASH
Eddie's moll -

BUDDY, proudly
Ex-moll!

EDDIE
What have you done with her?

CRASH
I left her singing like a canary downtown -

BUDDY
With the chairs!

CRASH
Turns out she's sweet on Buddy.

EDDIE
Lily? My Lily? Fallen for ... Buddy?
BUDDY
Yep.

EDDIE
That Buddy?

CRASH
I'm afraid so. And there's worse news than that.

EDDIE
Worse than that? My squeeze has just ditched me for pudding head here:
What could be worse than that?

CRASH hits him. A fight ensues, CRASH, BUDDY and FAIRWEATHER
versus EDDIE, SPATS, KNUCKLES and BIGDOG.
WEINSTEIN and the SILK CLAW fight over the rocket suit.
WEINSTEIN wins, and the SILK CLAW is thrown across the stage.

The SILK CLAW stands, draws his gun, and fires a single shot into the air.
Everybody stops, and looks at him.

SILK CLAW
Enough! I am sick of zis whole charade. I capture you, I set a fiendish trap, you escape,
I capture you, I set a fiendish trap and you escape ... It's so frustrating! I am just going to shoot you.

EDDIE
Hey! That was my idea!

SILK CLAW
Shut up! Why didn't I think of this before? It's so simple, so uncomplicated ... it's not fiendish, it's not clever, but it's going to vork. So vhat if ze other superwillains laugh at me, you vill still be dead! Ha! Haha! Hahahahahahahahahaha! None of your cunning tricks can save you now, Morgan.

CRASH
You think I'm scared of a man who can't even tie his own shoelaces?

SILK CLAW
Vhat?

The SILK CLAW looks down at his feet, and as he does so CRASH grabs his arm and
swings him around into one of the matter transmitters. CRASH leaps over to the switch
and throws it.

SILK CLAW
Nooooooooooooooooooo!

Cue LFX and SFX as the SILK CLAW is transmitted across
to the other matter receiver.

The SILK CLAW staggers out from the second matter transmitter. He spins around to reveal that his head has been transformed into a banana.

FAIRWEATHER
My God!

GLENN
That's horrible.

He staggers forward and grabs at the Tesla coil. The teleport begins to hum.

WEINSTEIN
No! He's crossing the coils!

FAIRWEATHER
What?

WEINSTEIN
Don't you understand? It's going to -

There is a massive explosion. Blackout.

Cue interval music.

Slide: NEXT EPISODE - CAPTIVES OF THE SPIDER
WARLORD!


I N T E R V A L


ACT TWO SCENE ONE


Blackout. Play the universal intro jingle.

Bring up slides on screen to Crash Morgan theme.

1: Title card - CRASH MORGAN Vs.
THE SPIDER WARLORDS OF MARS

2: Title card - CHAPTER TWO -
CAPTIVES OF THE SPIDER WARLORD!

The NARRATOR speaks as the slides appear on screen.

SLIDE ONE
CRASH MORGAN, in the guise of the mysterious "HUMAN ROCKET", and acting on a tip-off from his old friend Police Chief O'FLAHERTY, is overwhelmed by the combined villainies of his
arch-enemies the SILK CLAW and EDDIE "THE BARD" MALONE, and his "rocket suit" stolen.

SLIDE TWO
Meanwhile, Professor FAIRWEATHER has introduced his lovely daughter GLENN, ace reporter and estranged fiancée of CRASH to the "suit's" creator, the brilliant but short Dr. WEINSTEIN.
She is abducted by the SILK CLAW and EDDIE "THE BARD" MALONE, and the scientists blackmailed into revealing the secrets of the incredible "rocket suit."

SLIDE THREE
Using his native wit and cunning, CRASH's loyal sidekick BUDDY Brannigan infiltrates "THE BARD'S" company of crime, and informs CRASH of GLENN's whereabouts, only to learn too late that he has been duped by the SILK CLAW, leading CRASH into a fiendish trap!!!

SLIDE FOUR
Leaving CRASH and BUDDY tied to a bomb, the SILK CLAW and EDDIE "THE BARD" MALONE take GLENN to WEINSTEIN's laboratory where the scientists tirelessly experiment to perfect their "Matter transmitter ray", there to finally deliver the final ultimatum.



SLIDE FIVE
Meanwhile, smitten by BUDDYS charm and sophistication, LILY Lansdale, innocent but misguided "girlfriend" to EDDIE "THE BARD" MALONE, frees her heroic pair.
Arriving just in the nick of time to prevent the villains from forcing the secret of the "rocket suit" from Dr WEINSTEIN, CRASH and BUDDY struggle to bring an end to this diabolical plot, and ...

The lights come up suddenly on the fight at the end of
ACT ONE SCENE SEVEN.

The SILK CLAW stands, draws his gun, and fires a single shot
into the air. Everybody stops, and looks at him.

SILK CLAW
Enough! I am sick of zis whole charade. I capture you, I set a fiendish trap, you escape, I capture you, I set a fiendish trap and you escape ... It's so frustrating! I am just going to shoot you.

EDDIE
Hey! That was my idea!

SILK CLAW
Shut up! Why didn't I think of this before? It's so simple, so uncomplicated ... it's not fiendish, it's not clever, but it's going to vork. So vhat if ze other superwillains laugh at me, you vill still be
dead! Ha! Haha! Hahahahahahahahahaha! None of your cunning tricks can save you now, Morgan.

CRASH
You think I'm scared of a man who can't even tie his own shoelaces?

SILK CLAW
Vhat?

The SILK CLAW looks down at his feet, and as he does so CRASH grabs his arm and swings him around into the other matter transmitter. CRASH leaps over to the switch and
throws it.

SILK CLAW
Nooooooooooooooooooo!

Cue LFX and SFX as the SILK CLAW is transmitted across
to the other matter receiver.

The SILK CLAW staggers out from the opposite matter transmitter. He spins around to
reveal that his head has been transformed into a banana.

FAIRWEATHER
My God!

GLENN
That's horrible.

He staggers forward and grabs at the Tesla coil. The teleport begins to hum.

WEINSTEIN
No! He's crossing the coils!

FAIRWEATHER
What?


WEINSTEIN
Don't you understand? It's going to -

There is a massive explosion. Blackout.


ACT TWO SCENE TWO

The lights come slowly up on a red lit stage. CRASH enters.

CRASH
Glenn! Glenn, where are you?

GLENN enters.

GLENN
Crash? Oh Crash, I was so worried .... I thought you might be dead.

They embrace.

CRASH
We're all right. We're going to be all right. I thought we were goners in that explosion.

GLENN
Oh, Crash ...

CRASH
I think we're stranded on the surface of an alien planet.

GLENN
An alien world! That would explain the two moons ...

She looks around, as if suddenly noticing her surroundings for the first time.

Incredible! A crimson desert, punctuated only by lonely tufts of scarlet foliage ... far away, distant streams of ruby water rolling down from the sullen brick mountains, beneath a blushed mauve
sky ... it's all a bit red, really ...

CRASH
Wait! Someone's coming! Quick, behind this rock!

CRASH and GLENN "hide".

BUDDY, WEINSTEIN and FAIRWEATHER enter.
WEINSTEIN is carrying the rocket suit.

FAIRWEATHER
... An intriguing proposition. The very nature of our identities is questioned.

WEINSTEIN
An interesting conundrum, Ja? Am I who I think I am? Or do I simply remember being somevun else? Vun is reminded of Theseus' Ship.

FAIRWEATHER
Indeed, indeed. Or Hemingway's typewriter.

BUDDY, worried
I don't understand. Hemingway's typewriter?


FAIRWEATHER
Ernest Hemingway, a writer with whom you may not be acquainted, has chosen to write on the same typewriter all his life. But, over time, he has replaced each and every part as it became worn away. Is it still Hemingway's typewriter?

BUDDY
I dunno. Did he sell it?

WEINSTEIN
Nein, his original typewriter. Theseus ship ... Theseus' ship was kept by the Thebans after Theseus' died, as a monument to zis great man. Zey keep his ship in ze harbour, and vhen a piece of
vood becomes rotten, zey replace it vith an identical piece of vood. So, eventually, every single piece of vood is a new piece of vood. So, is it still the same ship?

BUDDY, decisively
Yes!

WEINSTEIN
No, but every single piece has been replaced.

BUDDY
Oh, I see. No.

WEINSTEIN
No, Buddy!

BUDDY
Just tell me the answer!

WEINSTEIN
Yes! Zat is ze point. Nobody can truly say. Like Theseus' ship, ve have been destroyed and replaced, our component parts reduced to itsy bitsy quantum particles and recreated in our own images. Ve have ceased to be, zen been again. Are ve who ve vere? Are you you? Am I me? Is Professor Fairweather here simply a flawless copy of a pompous ass?

CRASH and GLENN emerge from hiding.

CRASH
Buddy? Doc? Professor? Is that you?

BUDDY, wails
We don't know!

GLENN
Daddy!

GLENN and FAIRWEATHER embrace.

WEINSTEIN
It's good to see you, Crash. Ve are on Mars!

CRASH
I suspected as much. I guess your Ray works after all.

WEINSTEIN
Ja, ja. Vhen se Silk Claw crossed ze coils and ze power influx abruptly increased, ze Matter Dematerialisation Vave must have spread out from ze transmitter booth and projected us into space.


GLENN
But how are we going to return home, Doctor?

FAIRWEATHER
Never fear, Glenn. No problem is insurmountable to the properly trained scientific mind.

WEINSTEIN
Vell, it has to be said zat no man has more faith in your talents zan you have yourself.

FAIRWEATHER, oblivious to the insult
Thank you.

BUDDY
Someone's coming!

CRASH
Quick! Behind this rock!

They all hide. EDDIE enters, carrying SPATS' corpse.

EDDIE
World, world O world! That thy strange mutations make us hate thee, Spats would not here be slain. Why should a dog, a horse, a dirty rat have life, and thou no breath at all? Thou't come no more? Never, never, never, never, never. O insupportable, o heavy hour!

He puts SPATS' body down.

The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones, but Spats was my friend, faithful and just to me - well, not just to me, he was faithful to everybody ... This was the noblest Italian of them all. His life was gentle and the elements so mixed up in him that nature might stand up and say, "this was a man!"

EDDIE weeps. The others come out from hiding.

CRASH
Eddie? Is that you?

EDDIE
Yeah, It's me. Me and ... Spats.

BUDDY
Oh Geez.

GLENN
What's happened?

EDDIE
I'll tell you what happened! Some kinda goddarned giant Gila monster, that's what happened. There was me, the Claw's body and the guys, and this ... thing came out of nowhere! It was as big as a whale.

FAIRWEATHER
Which variety?

EDDIE
What?

FAIRWEATHER
Well, smaller varieties of whale - a Beluga whale, for instance, or an Orca, can measure as little as ten to twelve feet, whereas an adult sperm whale -
EDDIE
I don't know! A big whale! The biggest goddamned whale you got!

FAIRWEATHER
Ah, now that would be the Blue Whale, which can measure up to -

EDDIE lunges for FAIRWEATHER, but is held back by CRASH and BUDDY.

Steady on, old man!

EDDIE
My best buddy's dead and all you can do is talk fish!

FAIRWEATHER
Ah, now that's a common fallacy. A whale is not, in fact -

EDDIE
Just once! Let me hit him just once!

WEINSTEIN
Vell, perhaps just the vunce ...

EDDIE
Just you wait ... (calls) Spats!

He suddenly remembers that SPATS is dead. He breaks abruptly away
and goes back to kneeling over SPATS.

Oh, Spats ...

CRASH
A giant lizard, you say?

EDDIE
Yeah. Big as a ... (glares at FAIRWEATHER) It was big. It got Knuckles and Bigdog before we even knew it was there. Me and Spats started running, but the tail ... It smashed Spats 'gainst a rock. I dragged him to safety, but he died in my arms. "Boss," he said - he calls me that - "Boss, I'm a goner." "You're gonna pull through," I told him, "You're gonna make it ..." I had the last word, but he had the more compelling argument.

GLENN
Oh, you poor man!

EDDIE
I am a man more sinned against than sinning!

WEINSTEIN
You're a hardened criminal.

EDDIE
Well ... fifty fifty, then. But my guys sure didn't deserve getting creamed by no giant Gecko.
Poor guys ... did you know I was the only crimelord in Met City with an Irishman and an Italian working for him?

FAIRWEATHER
Giant lizards! Well, I never ... but, of course, on reflection, it makes perfect sense. Such creatures would be inevitable on this world. What with the lower gravity ...

WEINSTEIN looks doubtful.

I mean, thinner atmosphere ...

WEINSTEIN looks more doubtful.

the action of cosmic radiation through a rarified ionisphere?

WEINSTEIN shakes his head in pity.

Oh, all right, I confess. I've no idea. I suppose giant lizards could happen just about anywhere.

WEINSTEIN
My friend, sometimes we have no answers. You forget that the joy of science is the wonder of not knowing. All wisdom begins with the statement, "I don't know ..."

BUDDY
I guess that makes me the smartest guy here, huh?

FAIRWEATHER
Yes, Buddy. I suppose it does ...

CRASH
Quick! I hear something coming ... behind the rock!

They all hide again (except for SPATS, obviously).
A ROBOMAN enters from behind them. GLENN sees it first, and screams.

CRASH
Quickly!

They flee, but are stopped by TARRANT entering.
TARRANT raises his weapon.

CRASH
No, this way!

They flee across the stage, only to be stopped by COBB.

BUDDY
There's nowhere else to run ...

TARRANT and COBB advance, as does the ROBOMAN.

COBB
Surrender!

TARRANT
Surrender to the will of Tang, Supreme Ruler of the Spider Warlords and Emperor of Mars!

Dramatic sting. Blackout.

ACT TWO SCENE THREE
SECTION A

The lights gradually come up TANG's throne room, to Orion Slave Girl Music.
G'RRRL dances with much waving of arms and more energy than style.

TANG is sat on his throne. Chancellor MOLLUSK is stood at his right hand,
and a ROBOMAN guard at his left.

Prince G'RRRR is conversing silently with ARAKN. General GRR'RR, Captain GR'RRR and Lieutenant G'RR'RR. are stood watching G'RRRL. G'RR'RR is carrying a bag containing an appalling Snail Man disguise.

TANG summons MOLLUSK with a wave of his hand.

TANG
Kindly instruct the Wolf Girl to sit at my feet.

MOLLUSK
Your Majesty desires her?

TANG
I desire her to stop dancing.

MOLLUSK claps his hands and the music stops.
G'RRRL sits at TANG's feet.

What further diversions have you in store for Us, Mollusk?

MOLLUSK
A report from your ally Prince G'rrrr of the wolf men, your Majesty.

TANG
Ah ... proceed.

PRINCE G'RRRR steps forward and bows formally.

PRINCE G'RRRR
I, Prince G'rrrr , first regent of the Forest of Burgundy and ruler of the wolf tribes, the son of Gr'rr'r, grandson of G'r'rrr, cousin to Earl G'r'r'rr of the Dale of Arden, nephew to ...

TANG
Enough of the family tree. I know what you people do to trees.Well, Prince G'rrrr ...
I knew your father well. He was a worthy adversary.

PRINCE G'RRRR
I aim to prove as bold and ferocious a warrior as my father,

There is some coughing from the Wolf delegation.

Yet wiser in my choice of allegiances.

TANG
Oh, well said. I like that.

PRINCE G'RRRR
I have, as charged by your Majesty, attempted to infiltrate my spies into the camp of the Rebel Snail leader Prince Escargot.


TANG
Have you been successful?

PRINCE G'RRRR
Well ... success is relative. I mean, it's not black and white, is it?

TANG
I see. You have failed.

PRINCE G'RRRR
Failed is too strong a word. Too ... final. We've been unsuccessful, I'll grant you that, your Majesty. But only unsuccessful as yet, so to speak. Work in progress, slowly but surely getting where we want to go. We all learn by our mistakes, after all.

TANG
Then I concede to your greater wisdom.

G'RRRR is unable to work out whether he has been insulted or not.

Continue.

PRINCE G'RRRR
Captain Gr'rrr here commanded the mission.

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Sir!

TANG
I see. And your ingenious plan was?

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Sir! This is Lieutenant G'rr'rr, Sir! Our finest counter-insurgency agent, Sir! Trained for months to impersonate a shellhead, begging your Chancellorship's pardon, Sir!

TANG
At ease, Captain.

GENERAL GRR'RR
He is at ease. (To CAPTAIN GR'RRR) Captain, it really isn't necessary to round every sentence off with the word "Sir".

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Sir, sir? Do I really end each sentence with sir, Sir?

GENERAL GRR'RR
I'm rather afraid you do, lad. Now knock it off, there's a good fellow.

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Very sorry, sir! Won't happen again, Sir! Sir?!

TANG
Quite. Returning to the subject of your ingenious infiltration of the snail rebels' camp. May I enquire what went wrong?

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Can't think, Sir!

TANG
Clearly.

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
I mean, the Rebels rumbled him like a shot, only just escaped by the skin of his teeth, Sir! Lieutenant!

LIEUTENANT G'RR'RR
Captain!

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Show his Majesty your disguise!

Obediently LIEUTENANT G'RR'RR reaches into his bag,
and dons the worst Snail Man disguise imaginable.

Can't imagine how the old cabbage-munchers twigged us!

MOLLUSK, dryly
Yes. Damned clever these shell heads.

ARAKNE
Why didn't you have Escargot killed when you took his throne? It's not like you to be so sloppy.

MOLLUSK
Without allies, your Highness, Escargot is too weak to be anything more than an annoyance. Besides, I had no wish to make a martyr of him.

TANG considers this. He rises, and moves across to CAPTAIN GR'RRR.

TANG
Captain.

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Sir!

TANG
You're clearly a military man.

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Sir!

TANG
How best does one command others, Captain?

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Shouting, Sir!

TANG
By example, Captain. By example. And where you have failed Us as the executor of our Imperial Will in this matter, you may at least serve as an example.

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Example, sir? Only too happy to be of service sir!

TANG
Roboman! Advance!

The ROBOMAN move further downstage, wildly flailing its arms.

Prepare to obliterate.

Its chest unit opens to reveal its truly terrible ray emitter.
The ray emitter flashes and there is a high pitched screeching.
CAPTAIN GR'RRR falls to his knees in contorted agony.

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh, Sir!

He dies.

TANG
We trust we have made our point. Lieutenant G'rr'rr, come forward. At ease Lieutenant.
I've just killed your commanding officer before your very eyes.

LT G'RR'RR
Yes, Sir, I know.

TANG
Does it not shock you?

LT G'RR'RR
Oh no, sir.

TANG
It wasn't a trifle excessive? Harsh, perhaps?

LT G'RR'RR
Oh no, sir. I mean, discipline has to be maintained.

TANG
It was justified, then? I was in no way capricious or hasty in my judgement? You would agree?

LT G'RR'RR
Yes sir.

TANG
I see. Roboman! Obliterate!

LT G'RR'RR suffers the same fate as CAPTAIN GR'RRR

LT G'RR'RR
Aaaaaaaaargh!

TANG
I deplore yes men. How about you, Prince G'rrrr, don't you agree?

PRINCE G'RRRR
Well...... (wracked with indecision) Tell me what to say!

GENERAL GRR'RR
That's enough bullying Tang!

TANG
General Grr'rr. Haven't you forgotten the correct address for me is, "Your Majesty"?

GENERAL GRR'RR
I had not forgotten, no.

They eye each other, each weighing up their next possible response. Suddenly,

TANG
Mollusk, I'm bored. Is this what I'm reduced to? I, the greatest conqueror that Mars has ever known, Tang the Pitiless, now nothing more than a schoolyard bully? There's nothing left for me,
Mollusk. I am the absolute ruler of all I survey. Millions live, or die, by my whim. I can have any woman I want. I can commit any atrocity without fear of reprisal. Anything I desire is presented to
me without qualm or question. Can you imagine how frustrating that is? Oh well, I suppose I can take some small solace in my achievements, and make the most of a bad lot. Have the wolf girl scrubbed and sent to my bedchamber, and remove the cadavers.

GENERAL GRR'RR
No! With your Majesty's permission ... at least give us the bodies. Let them have a honourable burial.

TANG
As you wish.

TANG leans back in his throne and broods sexily. G'RRRRL rises and exits.
GENERAL GRR'RR grabs CAPTAIN GR'RRR by the feet, and starts to drag him off.

GENERAL GRR'RR
Get the other one, would you?

PRINCE G'RRRR, haughtily
I am your regent.

GENERAL GRR'RR
My apologies. Get the other one, would you, my Liege?

Realising that's all the mollification he's going to get, he drags LIEUTENANT G'RR'RR out after GENERAL GRR'RR, with as much princely dignity as he can manage.

G'RRRR and GRR'RR immediately return.

SECTION B

TANG
There's no challenge. No-one left to fight, nothing left to achieve.

MOLLUSK
There's always Escargot. my Lord. His band of rebels are no doubt even now waiting in the Crimson desert, seething with a zealous fury and poised to extinguish your life at the first opportunity.

TANG
That's very kind of you to say so.

CAPTAIN TARRANT enters. He stands stiffly to attention.

TARRANT
Sir!

TANG
Oh dear. Not another one.

TARRANT
Captain Tarrant, Desert Patrol reporting, Sir. We were patrolling the usual route, and we came across some strangers.

MOLLUSK
Strangers?

TARRANT
I don't know how to describe them, really ... They're not like Spider Men, or Snail Men, or Wolf Men, or any of the lesser tribes.

MOLLUSK
The Octopus Men? The Lemming Men? The Duck Billed Platypus Men?

TARRANT
No, none of those. They're more sort of, well ... Men Men really?

MOLLUSK
Men Men?

TARRANT
Sort of ... Well, they're a bit weird really. They've got all the characteristics of a man ...

MOLLUSK
And?

TARRANT
And that's about the size of it, really.

TANG
Very well ... let us see these Men Men.

CRASH, BUDDY, GLENN, FAIRWEATHER, WEINSTEIN and EDDIE enter with COBB. WEINSTEIN is carrying the rocket suit. TARRANT moves to TANG's side..

EDDIE
Oh, Strange New World, that has such stuff as dreams are made on ...

TARRANT
Bow, you scum! Bow before the mighty Tang, Spider Warlord and Emperor of all Mars.

BUDDY
Oh, Jeez ...

TANG
Can we communicate with them?

MOLLUSK
Your Majesty, I am well versed in all the languages of Mars ... With your leave, I shall attempt to interpret.

He clears his throat. He shouts at them.

Hello! How are you? I'm Mollusk! Mollusk! Yes, that's right! Mollusk! And this is Tang! Yes!
He very big boss, chop chop! We your friends! Yes! Me, Mollusk and big boss Tang very good friends! Hello!

FAIRWEATHER
Big boss Tang?

MOLLUSK
Yes! That's right! Catch on quickly, don't they?

FAIRWEATHER
Delighted to make your acquaintance.

MOLLUSK does comedy double take.

MOLLUSK
Amazing! They speak perfect English!

TANG
Stand aside, Mollusk.

He moves towards the Earthlings.

I am Tang. Welcome to my Court. I must confess my curiosity:
Who are you and where are you from?

FAIRWEATHER
I am Professor Milton Fairweather. I am a scientist, an explorer in truth, and these are my friends. We have journeyed across the immense voids of space ... we hail from your closest neighbouring
world. The Earth!

TANG
Incredible! You have a rocket ship that can travel that far? Where is it?

FAIRWEATHER
Well, actually we-

WEINSTEIN elbows FAIRWEATHER in the ribs.

WEINSTEIN
It blew up. In the mountains.

TANG
How unfortunate. And you are?

WEINSTEIN
Weinstein. Dr. Weinstein.

TANG
And what do you do?

WEINSTEIN
Rocket scientist.

TANG
Really. How fascinating. (turns to BUDDY) And you. Are you a rocket scientist?

BUDDY
Oh, Heck no! I'm ... well, I'm ... have you met my pal Crash?

TANG
I believe not.

CRASH
Crash Morgan. Special Federal Agent, Test pilot and Saxophonist for Big Blue Brodie's Met City Trio.

TANG
How very versatile. And you're all from this ... Earth, are you? My scientists assured me that it was uninhabitable ...

EDDIE
Heck, your Honour, it's not as bad as all that. Hell, some parts are pretty damn swish.
TANG
And who might you be?

EDDIE
Eddie "The Bard" Malone. A thespian. Of some renown, actually. Do you get Shakespeare here? Hell, they don't get Shakespeare where I come from half the time. Do you have theatre here?
Because that's what I do - apart from threaten people for money - and that's what I -

TANG, to GLENN
And you, my dear ... quite, quite perfect. (he kisses her hand) Tell me.
Are all Earth Women as lovely as you?

GLENN, blushing
Good Lord, no. My sister looks like a horse.

FAIRWEATHER
Glenn!

GLENN
I'm sorry Daddy, but it's true. Tragically, I got the looks, the brains and the talent.
Sometimes I despair at the unfairness of life.

TANG
You have my sympathy.

TANG returns to his throne.

Today is a great day. We have been relieved of Our ennui, and it is because of you. We now know that travel to other worlds is possible, and that there are worlds worth visiting. We will visit your
Earth, and We will subjugate it to Our Imperial Will.

WEINSTEIN
Excuse me?

FAIRWEATHER
I say!

TANG
The Men Men of Earth will join the Tribes of Mars as Our subjects. In Our gratitude We will appoint you Ambassadors and Princes of your world. You will serve Us, share your knowledge to enable Our Fleets to reach your world and, once conquered, administer Our Rule to those who remain alive. We have spoken.

CRASH
What if we refuse?

TANG looks behind him, then realises that it is him being spoken to.

TANG
Are you speaking to Us, Man Man?

CRASH
I'm speaking to you. What if we won't help you?

TANG
Do you know how long it is since anyone has dared refuse Our Will? Let me think ... ah yes, I remember. We used to make them slaves, and sentence them to life in Our Radium Mines. I say life, but I mean, of course, a slow and agonising death. In Our Radium Mines.

Pause.

CRASH
Can we think it over?

MOLLUSK
I beg your pardon? The choice is a horrible death in chains or not a horrible death in chains, and you want to think it over?

CRASH
Yes, I think so. Discuss the pros and cons. Consider our options.

TANG, amused
By all means. Please, confer.

The EARTHLINGS huddle together downstage.

GLENN
Crash, we can't possible help this madman conquer the Earth.

FAIRWEATHER
Yes, I know that my daughter would rather die than see us help a despot like Tang.

CRASH
Look, it won't come to that. I have a plan.

BUDDY
Okay ... My name is Dutch Tortellini and I'm looking for work ...

CRASH
No, no Buddy. This is a different plan.

BUDDY
We have a different plan? There's two plans?

TANG
And how are we coming along?

WEINSTEIN
Fine, fine ... Ve don't vant to rush vhat is, after all, a very important decision. Vhen ve haf a quorum, ve'll let you know. Zank you!

CRASH
We need a weapon. If we can take Tang hostage, we might be able to get out of the Palace.

They huddle closer together and whisper fiercely.

TANG
We grow bored. Make your decision or We will make it for you.

WEINSTEIN passes the rocket suit to BUDDY, breaks away and moves towards TANG.

WEINSTEIN
Vell, here it is: Our democratically arrived at decision. Justice has not only to be done, but seen
to be done, Ja? Ve haf conferred, and discussed ze ins and ze outs, ze pros and ze cons. Zis is important to us. Zince ze dawn of time, man has had a dream. It is a dream vhich has filled his every vaking moment-

MOLLUSK
Get on with it.

WEINSTEIN
In short, democracy. One man, one vote. Each, that is, and ve haf elected to vote vith our feet.

He turns towards the others.

Zose in favour of ze forced labour and ze lingering death, et cetera et cetera, vill zey please form an orderly queue to my left. Vill zose in favour of survival, albeit at ze expence of zeir principles, zeir humanity and zeir regard for zeir fellow man, please form an orderly queue to my right. Please make your decision -

BUDDY moves prematurely.

Vait for it, vait for it. Now!

FAIRWEATHER, GLENN and EDDIE move one way, and CRASH and BUDDY move the other. WEINSTEIN bows and follows them.

Now let us see ... three of us ... three of zem. Oh no, now ve vill haf to begin all over again.

TANG
How very tiresome.

EDDIE
No, wait!

He clutches his hand to his chest.

Oh. my heart! I'm having a heart attack! The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch. It hurts! It hurts!

WEINSTEIN, sotto voice, to CRASH
Vhen he said he vas going to act poorly, he vasn't kidding.

FAIRWEATHER, to EDDIE
Are you all right?

EDDIE
Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man. Geddit? Oh, my sight fails, my brain is giddy, O me, come near me, now I am much ill. If I must die I will encounter darkness as a bride and give it a great big hug! O I am slain!

He faints backwards, and is caught by the TARRANT.
FAIRWEATHER grabs TARRANT's gun, and tosses it to CRASH.

FAIRWEATHER
Here, Crash!

CRASH
Thanks, Prof. Anyone moves, and Tang gets it.

MOLLUSK
This ... this is outrageous! Who would dare ..?

ARAKNE, admiringly
Who indeed ...

TANG
You dare threaten my life? Here in my own throne room?

CRASH
I'm not proud of it, but yes. Yes, I do.
TANG
How enthralling.

He rises.

Tell me then, Crash Morgan ... what are your demands?

CRASH moves towards TANG.

CRASH
You're coming with us. Once we're free of this place ... I guess we'll let you go. But you're coming with us, and I'll shoot you if I have to.

TANG
I see. I, little Man Man, am Emperor of Mars. I became Emperor by force of will. I ascended my throne over the corpses of my opponents, and I have never bargained, surrendered or capitulated,
and will not do so now.

CRASH
We're leaving here. No-one stands in our way.

TANG
No. If you leave this room my Guards will kill you on sight, and I will not be your hostage.

CRASH
Then I might as well shoot you. I figure we're dead either way, and with you gone Earth might be safe.

GENERAL GRR'RR
Shoot him, Morgan! Half of Mars would thank the Gods for the opportunity you have now.

EDDIE
Yeah! Listen to the fat guy!

TANG
Make your decision, Earthman. We grow impatient.

EDDIE
Right! Don't leave the guy waiting! Shoot him!

There is a tense moment.

CRASH
No. I can't kill an unarmed man in cold blood.

EDDIE
Sure you can! Hell, I done it tons of times, and in the back!

CRASH
No.

CRASH lowers his gun.

He's unarmed, and I won't buy our lives with his, no matter how twisted, evil, selfish and unamerican he may be. Sure, we may die horribly, but we'll die with clean consciences and the knowledge that we're better than he'll ever be. Do you hear that, Tang? Do you understand just how little you're worth?

TANG
It grieves me greatly ... Guard!

COBB seizes CRASH. His gun is confiscated and he is forced to his knees.

EDDIE
Jeez, what a loser! Okay, Tang, I want you to know that I got nothing to do with these guys. You can slice 'em, dice 'em or obliterice 'em for all I care, I just want you to know that I'm with you!

He grabs the rocket suit off of BUDDY, and offers it to TANG.

See this? This is a rocket suit. Get your eggheads to take it apart, and you can have an army of flying men ... assuming, of course, you don't already got an army of flying men. Some kind of Pigeon Guys, or whatever.

TANG
No.

EDDIE
Good! Well, not good ... I don't know. But listen up, you want to know how we really got to Mars?

FAIRWEATHER
No, don't be a fool Eddie!

EDDIE
We didn't get here by no rocket. No way no how. We got here in the blink of an eye. Matter transmission. We got here by a matter transmitter ray. That's right. It's this ray, see, and it transmits, er ...

TANG
Matter?

EDDIE
Yeah, damn straight. You catch on real fast. You talk to the stuffed shirt and weird little guy with the beard. They'll get your armies to Earth before you ever know it. Just leave New Jersey alone. I got relatives in New Jersey, and hell, you wouldn't like it anyway.

CRASH
You traitor!

FAIRWEATHER
Et tu, Brute?

GLENN
Oh, don't you start.

TANG
You have betrayed your friends ... well done. Be assured your treachery will receive its just reward. We have no use for traitors. We have no further use for you. Roboman, advance!

The ROBOMAN advances.

EDDIE
No, wait! Listen ... The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blest; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes, and that's you and me! I may be a schmuck, hath not a schmuck eyes? If you cut us, do we not weep?

TANG
Obliterate him.

The ROBOMAN obliterates EDDIE.

EDDIE
Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!

GLENN
You monster!

MOLLUSK
Silence the Man Woman.

TANG
No. Allow her to speak.

GLENN
Who do you think you are?

TANG
I thought we covered this?

GLENN
Eddie was a human being. Yes, he was foolish, dishonest, ill-educated and, I'm sorry to have to say it, a terrible actor, but he certainly didn't deserve death. Who are you to stand as Judge, Jury
and Executioner? Who are you to play God and to decide, on no more than a whim, who lives and who dies?

TANG
I understand, my dear. I have no desire to appear arbitrary, after all. You all shall die.

BUDDY
Oh, Jeez ...

MOLLUSK
Your Will, your Majesty?

TANG
Have them executed at sunrise, but spare the girl. She amuses me.

MOLLUSK
Ahem ... If you remember what we were told by the verbose one?

TANG
Ah yes. The matter of the Matter Transmitter Ray. Have them executed at sunrise, but spare the ... stuffed shirt? And the girl. She amuses me.

MOLLUSK
There are two scientists, as I recall ..?

TANG
Have them executed, but spare the first scientist, the one with the preposterous beard and the girl. She amuses me.

ARAKNE
Father, I have an interest in Crash ...

TANG
For pity's sake, I have to draw a line somewhere. I am Emperor, you know. I have to set an example, and if I let Crash live then that only leaves the stupid one, and Crash did threaten to kill me, after all. What do you want me to do? Give him a heavy fine?

ARAKNE sulks. TANG stands to make a pronouncement.

We have spoken. In the name of Tang, Supreme Ruler of the Spider Warlords and First Emperor of Mars, Crash Morgan. Special Federal Agent, Test pilot and Saxophonist for Big Blue Brodie's
Met City Trio, and Buddy Brannigan, the stupid one, shall die tomorrow at sunrise.

Musical sting. Blackout.


ACT TWO SCENE FOUR

The lights come up on the Imperial Garden.
Prince G'RRRR is pacing up and down, holding a bunch of flowers.
General GRR'RR is sat, bored.

GRR'RR
She's not coming, you know.

G'RRR ignores him.

I know she said she would, but what she says and what she does are two different things. You're not the first Martian Prince she's plighted her troth to, and, to be frank, she's as fickle as she is cold
hearted and manipulative. Face it lad, she's bad news. What's more-

G'RRRR
I'm not talking to you.

GRR'RR
Hmm?

G'RRRR
I said I'm not talking to you. Or are you deaf?

GRR'RR
No. I just didn't realise I was being spoken to.

G'RRRR
How could you be so stupid? Just standing there and urging the Earth Man on? He already killed Grrrr and Grrrr, right there.

GRR'RR
Oh, put a sock in it. Ho ho ho, don't you know you're alive, lad?

G'RRRR glares at him.

Look, Tang was a great Warrior, and he knows of my reputation. He'd love to better me in mortal combat, and he won't deny himself that future pleasure by having me put to death right now.
I would imagine.

G'RRRR
Don't risk it, all right? I need you alive. You're no good to me fed to the Geckos.

GRR'RR
Point taken.

ARAKNE enters.

Oh well. Company.

G'RRRR, excited
Arakne! You came.

ARAKNE
Yes, G'rrrr. I came.

G'RRRR proffers the flowers.

G'RRRR
Look! Flowers!

ARAKNE
Yes.

G'RRRR
Hahaha. No, but seriously. They're for you.

ARAKNE takes the flowers.

ARAKNE
How very useful.

She sniffs at them disdainfully, and throws them away.

Do we really need the chaperone?

G'RRRR
The General was just going.

GRR'RR
I know when I'm not wanted.

ARAKNE
And yet you're still here.

GRR'RR harrumphs and exits.

How can you stand there and let one of your own men treat me with such barefaced disrespect?

G'RRRR
What? General Grr'rr? You don't understand. It's just his way. He just finds it difficult to be polite to people he has nothing but contempt for ... I mean, my Father ordered him to look out for me on
his deathbed, and well, sometimes he gets over protective and says things he shouldn't and -

ARAKNE grab G'RRRR and pulls him close. As they speak, ARAKNE snuggles into G'RRRR, her back to him, and he kneels down with his face to her bottom, in order to sniff it, which is a Wolf Man thing, honest.

ARAKNE
Do you love me, G'rrrr?

G'RRRR
Oh yes.

ARAKNE
Do you want me?

G'RRRR
Yes. Please.

ARAKNE
Will you do anything for me? Anything I ask?

G'RRRR
Anything. Anything you ask, anything at all. Just name it.

ARAKNE
Anything?

G'RRRR
Anything. Name it. Please, name it.

ARAKNE
Well, I just wanted a tiny little favour. There's a tiny, silly little task I was hoping that you could pull off for me. Barely worth mentioning.

G'RRRR
Mention it, mention it.

ARAKNE
I'd rather like you to rescue Crash Morgan from the Imperial Dungeon and then smuggle him to your Kingdom for me.

G'RRRR
Excuse me?

ARAKNE
I'd like you to-

G'RRRR
No, you don't understand. What I meant was-

ARAKNE walks away, leaving G'RRRR on his knees.

ARAKNE
Well, if it's too much like trouble. If you were just telling me what I wanted to hear ...

G'RRRR
Yes, but, I mean ... Do you know what your father would do to me if he found out?

ARAKNE
You're right. It is a difficult and dangerous task. It would require bravery ...

G'RRRR
I'm brave!

ARAKNE
... Ingenuity ...

G'RRRR
I'm ingenious!

ARAKNE
A certain ... dignity.

G'RRRR shuffles towards her on his knees.

G'RRRR, wails
I have dignity!

ARAKNE pats him on the head.


ARAKNE
Yes, you have.

She feed him a doggy treat, and he pants with pleasure.

That's why I know you'll do this little thing for me.

G'RRRR
Hang on ... what do you want Morgan rescued for? Do you love the Earth Man.

ARAKNE laughs.

ARAKNE
A plaything, nothing more. My heart is yours, G'rrrr.

G'RRRR
Well, you make sure it is.

He stands.

I love you, Arakne. If anyone came between us I'd strike them down without a thought.

ARAKNE
I know, G'rrrr. That's what I love about you. Everything you do, you do without thinking.

G'RRRR, proudly
That's right.

ARAKNE
I have to go now. I'll think of you, G'rrrr, and smile to myself.

G'RRRR
Farewell, my love!

She exits. GRR'RR re-enters.

GRR'RR
Is it safe? Has she gone?

G'RRRR
See! She came. I'm just a fool for her, Grr'rr ...

GRR'RR
So, what did she want you to do this time?

G'RRRR
Oh, you're so cynical. I don't have to do anything, actually. She came to see me. Because we're lovers. Because we love each other. Because we're going to get married, rather than just ending
up old and alone and bitter ...

GRR'RR
Ho ho ho, that's a good one, lad. But seriously ... what do you have to do?

G'RRRR
I've told you. Nothing.

GRR'RR
I see.


G'RRRR
What I command you to do is to rescue the Earth Man from the Imperial Dungeon and bring him back to the Royal Palace in the Forest of Burgundy ...

GRR'RR
Ho ho ho ... You're out of your tiny mind.

G'RRRR
What?

GRR'RR
You're going to have Tang's Robomen ripping our Kingdom into splinters looking for him, and what for? How many of your loyal Wolf Men will die just so that your fiancee can sniff bottom with some weird half man, half ... man?

G'RRRR
She says she doesn't love him.

GRR'RR
And you believe her?

G'RRRR
What choice do I have? I have to keep in her good books until we're married. And I'm not marrying her because I'm hopelessly and slavishly in love with her, you know.

GRR'RR looks doubtful.

All right, I'm not just marrying her because I'm hopelessly and slavishly in love with her. There is the little matter of the Imperial ascendancy to consider. If I marry her, one day there will be a Wolf
Prince on the Imperial Throne of Mars. Think of that! Then we need never fear the Spider Warlords again! They will be our subjects!

GRR'RR
All right, but think of this ... If she's got the Earth Man, what does she want with you ...

G'RRRR
Well, the Earth Man's just a plaything ... she says ... anyway, what can I do?

GRR'RR
Consider this ... What if we were to rescue the Earth man, deliver him as promised ... and then the Earth Man were to die?

G'RRRR
Of course! Brilliant! We'll wait him out! He can't live for ever, and then Arakne will want me ... but wait a minute, that could take years ... it's a stupid plan!

GRR'RR
Ho ho ho, no. I don't think you quite understand. Suppose he were to have some sort of an accident?

G'RRRR
Yes, but what are the chances of that!

GRR'RR
No, look ... in among all this what iffing and suppose thatting, the one word we're looking for is pro-active.

Prince G'RRRR moves to speak.


No. It is one word. It's hyphenated. We engineer Morgan's escape, and then I sabotage his rocket ship so that he dies a fiery death en route to the Forest of Burgundy. Then Tang will never know we helped him to escape and Arakne will never know you were responsible for his death.

G'RRRR
And the Princess Arakne shall be mine and mine alone! Ha! Haha! Hahahaha!

They exit.

GRR'RR
You know, lad, every time she thinks of you, I bet she's grinning from ear to ear.

G'RRRR
She said that, yes.

Blackout.


ACT TWO SCENE FOUR B


GLENN is on stage, being fanned by COBB while GRRRRL feeds her grapes.
TANG enters.

TANG
And how are you faring?

GRRRRL pours GLENN a drink.

GLENN
You! How long do you intend to leave me tapped in this hellish privation?

GRRRRL hands GLENN the goblet.

Oh, thank you.

TANG, clapping his hands
Leave us.

COBB exits, then GRRRRL. GLENN tries to follow.

Not you.

She harrumps and sits again.

So ... at last, we are alone.

GLENN
What do you intend to do with me, you fiend?

TANG
I? Nothing? Provided that your father and his friend comply with my not unreasonable demands.

GLENN
I'd rather die than see my father help you!

TANG
My dear, you have mistaken me. I am not the monster you suppose me to be. I appreciate beauty when I see it, and would no more harm you now than pluck a rose, only to watch it wither in my hand.

GLENN
Did no-one ever tell you that a rose has thorns?

TANG
But of course. But they serve only to make its beauty all the more ... exquisite. Would it surprise you to learn that I find you ... attractive? You are in my power and I could force a kiss from you as easily as I could have you killed ... but I choose not to.

GLENN
So ... what's stopping you?

TANG
I am a man of power ... and of some refinement. I would not seize that which would more precious given freely ... your love.

GLENN
I'll never love you ... and besides, my heart belongs to Crash.

TANG
Crash Morgan will soon be no more, and then ... you will learn to love me, in time.

TANG moves upstage.

This must be a very trying and unusual time for you.

GLENN
Oh, you’d be surprised …

Blackout.

ACT TWO SCENE FIVE

The stage is set as a prison cell. The blackboard is hung over a window. There are two five bar gates and four strikes drawn on it. There is a bar grill over the other window,
and the lighting is sombre. There is the sound of a harmonica playing mournfully.

The lights come up gradually on BUDDY and CRASH. They are wearing Martian prison fatigues. BUDDY is sat on the walkway, playing the harmonica. CRASH is sat beside him. After a few seconds he rises, stretches and walks over to the blackboard.
He draws a line through the four strikes.

BUDDY
How long's it been, Crash?

CRASH
Nearly fifteen minutes now.

BUDDY
Have you got a plan yet Crash?

CRASH
I have an idea. It's a long shot, but it might just work. We should synchronise watches.

BUDDY looks at his watch. Crash looks at his bare wrist and then up his own sleeve.

Darn. Where's my watch gone?

BUDDY
Here. Have mine.

BUDDY gives CRASH his watch.

CRASH, touched
Thanks, Buddy. I know how much breakfast cereal you had to eat get this.

BUDDY, proudly
It's got an inscription ...

CRASH
" To my bestest buddy, insert name here, Cheeky Chipmonk." And there's the little critter himself. Why's he telling the time with his legs?

BUDDY
He's holding his lucky acorn.

CRASH looks more closely.

CRASH
Ah. So that's what it is.

BUDDY
Yes. I like it when he does ten to two.

CRASH
Wait a minute. If I've got your watch ... what am I synchronising it with?

BUDDY
Oh Gee Crash. Don't worry you'll think of something.

CRASH hands the watch back to BUDDY.

CRASH
I guess we can wing it. Remember how we escaped from the dungeon of the Contessa?

BUDDY
Is it synchronised now?

CRASH
Don't worry about it.

BUDDY
Are you sure?

CRASH
Trust me, I have the watch thing all under control. Forget about the watch. Now ....
when we escaped from the Contessa?

BUDDY
The Contessa D'urbervilles?

CRASH
That's the one.

BUDDY
Which time?

CRASH
Forget the watch ... oh. I see what you mean. Both times.

BUDDY
Gee whiz! Well, if it's worked before ...

CRASH
You know what you have to do ...

BUDDY lies down and starts to groan.

CRASH
Guard! Guard!

HARVESTMANN enters.

HARVESTMANN
What? What's all this row? What's going on?

CRASH
It's my friend. I think he's sick.

HARVESTMANN backs off slightly.

HARVESTMANN
What's wrong with him?

CRASH
Why don't you take a look?

HARVESTMANN
What am I, a doctor? You're his friend. You take a look.

BUDDY groans loudly.

BUDDY
I'm in pain ... somebody help me ...

CRASH
Help him!

HARVESTMANN
Are you mad? It might be contagious. I'm highly susceptible. The slightest little thing goes around, it's always me ... I had the Red Shakes just a week ago. I was off for a month. I've already used all
my sick leave for this cycle, and its only midphase.

BUDDY
My arms are numb … I can't feel my legs ...

HARVESTMANN
What am I supposed to do? Oh Gods, the stress. I'm getting a migraine I got so much stress.
I never wanted to be a Guard. Why couldn't I just have sold insurance like my father?

CRASH
Look, he's dying! All that pain ... how can you just stand there and watch a man suffer?

HARVESTMANN
You're right, I'll leave, call me when it's over ... no, wait. Oh Gods, I feel so guilty. I'm so conflicted. Can't you see this is killing me?

BUDDY
Killing you? I've got a fever! I'm dying! I'm dying!

HARVESTMANN
Sure, but try seeing it from my point of view ... Oh Gods, I'm so sorry. Okay. Think. He's suffering, he's going to die anyway, I shoot him ... no, I never shot anyone in my whole life ... what am I talking about, I'm a spider trooper ...

CRASH
For Heaven's sake, do something!

HARVESTMANN
Okay!

He draws his blaster, and aims at BUDDY. BUDDY leaps to his feet.

BUDDY & CRASH
No!

BUDDY
Gee willickers! I feel so much better!

HARVESTMANN
You're sure?

BUDDY
I feel just swell!

HARVESTMANN
Well, you know, you still look kind of peaky ...


BUDDY
Fit as a fiddle.

He breaks into physical jerks. GENERAL GRR'RR enters. He is carrying two habits.

HARVESTMANN
Well, I don't know, I wouldn't want you to go into a relapse or ... maybe I should shoot you anyway ...

GRR'RR slaps his hand on HARVESTMANN's shoulder.

GRR'RR
That won't be necessary, lad.

HARVESTMANN
Jeez, don't creep up on people like that! I'm an armed killer, you could have given me a seizure!

GRR'RR
I've come to see the prisoners.

HARVESTMANN
Well, you've come to the right place. This is where we keep them. In the dungeons.

GRR'RR
Ho ho ho ... shove off, why don't you lad.

HARVESTMANN
Good idea. I expect you'd like to be alone. I expect I'd like to be alone ...

HARVESTMANN backs off nervously, bumping into the door frame.
He spins around, threatening it with his gun.

It's okay. It's okay ... It's a doorframe ...

He exits.

CRASH
Who are you? Didn't we see you in the throne room ..?

GRR'RR
A friend.

CRASH
Anyone's friend in particular? Or just generally affable?

GRR'RR
Ho ho ho ... Get these on, and don't ask such damnfool questions.

CRASH
Listen, who ever you are ... you're risking your life helping us. Do you realise the danger you could be putting yourself in?

GRR'RR
Ho ho ho ... I laugh in the face of danger. I laugh in the face of most things, actually.

After a moment's decision, CRASH and BUDDY don the habits.

Guard! Guard!

HARVESTMANN re-enters.

HARVESTMANN
What? What? Do you have to bellow? Am I deaf? Look at me, I'm shaking.

GRR'RR
We'll be leaving now. Myself and the Holy Brothers.

HARVESTMANN
Right. You. Good. Your holinesses. Well so long fellas ...

BUDDY and CRASH exit. They nod to HARVESTMANN, who bows back. HARVESTMANN looks troubled.

GRR'RR, slapping HARVESTMANN on the back
Ho ho ho.... Chin up lad. You're doing a great job.

GRR'RR exits.

HARVESTMANN, relieved
Thank you.

HARVESTMANN surveys the empty set. After a moment's complacency,
he does a comedy double take. Blackout.

The lights rise, forming a corridor running across the stage.
Enter CRASH, BUDDY and GRR'RR. They move quickly stage centre.

CRASH
Where are we going?

GRR'RR
Rocket Bay XL5. There is a Rocket Ship waiting to take you to the Forest of Burgundy.

CRASH
But why are you-

GRR'RR
Listen, Laddie, the Spider Troopers aren't going to take long realising you're gone.
Do you want answers, or do you want to be free?

CRASH
But neither of us have flown one of your rocket ships before?


GRR'RR
It's perfectly simple, Morgan. Your flight plan is preset into the automatic pilot.
Ho ho ho, an imbecile could fly it.

BUDDY
Gee, thanks.

GRR'RR
Now come on.

They exit. Blackout.

The set is redressed as Rocket Bay XL5. There is a visiphone over one of the windows
and a sign reading

ROCKET BAY XL5
MAX. LOAD 20 per VESSEL

The lights come up forming another corridor. COBB is stood stage centre. HARVESTMANN staggers on.

HARVESTMANN
Oh Gods ... am I glad to see you …

COBB
I do not know.

HARVESTMANN
Trust me ... Just what I need. Tall, well built, single minded, if you're being generous ...
listen, you got to help me. Don't tell anyone, but the Earth Men have escaped.

COBB
The Earth Men have escaped?

HARVESTMANN
Sssh, keep it down. Oh Gods, when Tang finds out, it's gonna look so bad on my record.

COBB
Your service record?

HARVESTMANN
My medical record. Do you know what happens when you mess up with Tang like this? Listen,
I wouldn't say the guy's a psychopath ... leastways, not in earshot. I have a very low threshold for death.

COBB
We must catch them.

HARVESTMANN
Think. Think. What would you do if Tang wanted to kill you ... find a rocket ship and get the hell out of here! The Rocket Bays!

COBB
How do you know this?

HARVESTMANN
I'm having the same idea myself.

HARVESTMANN and COBB exit.

BUDDY, CRASH and GRR'RR enter and move centre stage.
BUDDY goes back to take a look. He returns.

BUDDY
Oh gee Crash. They're right behind us.

CRASH
How many?

BUDDY
I didn't count.

BUDDY goes back and returns again.

BUDDY
Two.

CRASH, to GRR'RR
Can we outrun them?

GRR'RR
Perhaps. If we keep moving.

Pause

CRASH
Okay. Let's try that.

They exit. COBB enters.

COBB
We are nearly catch them. Hurry!

HARVESTMANN enters after him, out of breath.

HARVESTMANN
Will you slow down? Jeez, where's my inhaler?

COBB
They are getting away.

HARVESTMANN
Okay. Okay. Don't get tetchy. You ought to relax, you're a bag of nerves. Look at yourself.

COBB looks at himself.

COBB
I am not nervous. It is not I who will be blamed for the break out.

HARVESTMANN
You're such a comfort. I hope you're so reassuring at my execution. Now can we get on?

They exit. The lights come full up.
GRR'RR, CRASH and BUDDY enter.

GRR'RR
Well, we're here. Off you go.

CRASH
Listen, what ever your name is ... we'll be indebted to you for the rest of our lives.

GRR'RR
Well that won't be long!

CRASH
I'm sorry?

GRR'RR
I said farewell and so long!

CRASH
But we can't leave without Glenn and the scientists.

GRR'RR
There's no time for that, now go, before this place is swarming with Spider Troopers.

CRASH
They may be in danger!

GRR'RR
They're in no more danger than you are ... trust me. Just go, all right? Now, hurry.

CRASH
The ship's on autopilot, you say?

ARAKNE appears.

ARAKNE
The autopilot won't be necessary, Grr'rr. I'll fly them.

GRR'RR
Arakne! What in the name of the sacred Lamppost are you doing here?

ARAKNE
I am the daughter of Tang, Wolf Man. I do as I please. I go where I choose. I get what I want.

She gazes meaningfully at CRASH.

You're a very handsome man, man man.

GRR'RR
Unfortunately this man man hasn't time for pleasantries. Why don't you just wave him Bon Voyage and save the rest for later.

ARAKNE
You can't have heard me General. I will fly the Earthmen to the Forest of Burgundy.

GRR'RR
B..b..b..but that is out of the question, woman.

ARAKNE
Why?

GRR'RR
" Why?" You're asking me "Why?"; why it is out of the question for you to fly the rocket ship..... You need to ask? (pause) Oh you do... need to ask why you can't just.... Well, the danger, think of that. The danger! It won't take long for Tangs forces to put two and two together and....

ARAKNE
Tang wouldn't shoot his own daughter.

GRR'RR
I wouldn't put it past him, and besides who's to know you're on board when they shoot you out of the sky and you plummet in a blazing-

ARAKNE
I can outrun the whole Spider Warlord fleet if necessary. Better chance than your autopilot would have. I've been flying rocket ships since I was eight years old. Which I think you will agree, settles it.

GRR'RR
A very compelling argument, but you're forgetting one important thing.

ARAKNE
Which is?

GRR'RR leans against the "Max Load 20 persons" sign,
deliberately obscuring the zero.

GRR'RR
Maximum Load Two Persons.

ARAKNE
Oh do shut up, you old fool!

ARAKNE exits haughtily. BUDDY shrugs and follows.

CRASH
Look we haven't much time. Are you coming with us?

GRR'RR
No I'd rather take my chances here.

CRASH
You're a brave man. I admire that.

CRASH gives GRR'RR a comradely pat on the shoulder and exits..

FX & LFX - Rocket departs.

GRR'RR sighs deeply, and goes to the visiphone. He activates it.

HARVESTMANN and COBB enter

HARVESTMANN, out of breath
Oh Jeez, they got away.

COBB
It could be worse.

HARVESTMANN
You're right, it will be.

G'RRRR appears on visiphone.

G'RRRR
General Grr'rr! Has everything gone to plan?

GRR'RR
Well lad, how shall I put this? There's good news and some bad news.....

Blackout.


ACT TWO SCENE SIX
The stage is set identically to WEINSTEIN's laboratory, with
the exception of a visiphone set up over the window.

WEINSTEIN and FAIRWEATHER enter wearing their Martian costumes.

WEINSTEIN
I cannot believe this! I simply cannot believe this!

FAIRWEATHER
The technology is truly astounding ...

WEINSTEIN
No! I mean zat I cannot believe zat I am vearing ... zis!

FAIRWEATHER
Well, when in Rome, old chap ...

WEINSTEIN
But I look like ze Little Nemo in Slumberland!

FAIRWEATHER
Who?

MOLLUSK and TARRANT enter.

MOLLUSK
Gentlemen, I trust you are well settled. I see you are wearing the ... clothes we provided for you.

MOLLUSK and TARRANT giggle quietly.

FAIRWEATHER
Yes. Thank you.

MOLLUSK
Very becoming.

TARRANT laughs.

MOLLUSK, sotto voice
Shhh!

WEINSTEIN
Really?

MOLLUSK
Oh yes. You'll blend in around here perfectly. Trust me.

TARRANT
Very nice.

WEINSTEIN
So zis is standard Martian daywear is it?


MOLLUSK, affirmatively
Hmm'mm.

TARRANT and MOLLUSK move away, giggling.
TANG enters.

TANG
Chancellor Mollusk. Are the prisoners ready?

TANG stops.

Why are they wearing pyjamas?

MOLLUSK leans in and explains conspiratorially.

MOLLUSK
I thought, perhaps, if they were to escape, that it would make life difficult for them, and that it might foster feelings of humiliation and dependency which might serve to our advantage. Furthermore ...

TANG
You thought it was funny.

TARRANT sniggers.

I have always found you to be devious, untrustworthy, manipulative and cold.

MOLLUSK
Thank you, my Liege.

TANG
And yet I have never fully comprehended your occasional ... lapses into, shall we say, juvenile humour.

MOLLUSK
I apologise, my Liege.

TANG
No matter. What ever amuses you ... within limits. I will not tolerate another whoopee cushion incident.

MOLLUSK
Thank you, my Liege.

TANG moves over to WEINSTEIN and FAIRWEATHER.

TANG
Gentlemen.

WEINSTEIN
Ah. Ze big cheese. Vhat do you vant?

TANG
How are we settling in? I'm sure that this laboratory is quite different from anything you may have had on Earth.

WEINSTEIN and FAIRWEATHER look around.

WEINSTEIN
Oh, you'd be surprised.

FAIRWEATHER
We have no intention of working for you, Tang.

TANG
I see. Well, of course, I cannot force you to work, and I cannot reprogramme your minds without destroying your ability to function creatively. Chancellor Mollusk?

MOLLUSK comes over.

Tell them about your little toy.

MOLLUSK
With pleasure. I am myself a scientist, much like yourselves, and I have been developing a technique of matter transmogrification, that is to say-

FAIRWEATHER
Breaking matter down into its component energy forms?

MOLLUSK
Yes. And then-

FAIRWEATHER
Reintegrating it with a new morphological paradigm?

MOLLUSK
Yes. Thank you. This means-

FAIRWEATHER
That by a complex process of electromaganetic pulse variances you can remodulate matter on the spacetime plane by reordering the morphological pattern during a period of molecular flux?

MOLLUSK
Yes. In fact-

FAIRWEATHER
Objects can be transmuted between objective forms by being effectively rewritten on the quantum level and forced to conform to new subquantum event sequences while remaining suspended in
an indeterminate etheric state, meaning-

MOLLUSK
That direct intervention is possible on states of organic and inorganic matter, allowing transposition between different masses and energy signatures, resulting in a minimum risk of strange matter particle distortion. Furthermore-

WEINSTEIN
Oh, for the loving of pete! Vhy don't you just get out your slide rules and slap zem down on ze table? So, you can change zings into other zings, yes?

MOLLUSK
Well ... no. But I am very close. Very close. I must confess, I had never considered matter projection as an application of the principle ...

TANG
I have always had every faith in Mollusk's capabilities. I do not know, however, how long it would take him to recreate your work.

FAIRWEATHER
I know my daughter would rather die than see me help scum like you.

TANG
I beg your pardon?

FAIRWEATHER
You're not going to threaten my daughter's life?

WEINSTEIN
It is traditional.

TANG
I see. Are you sure? Well, you are my guests ... I was actually just going to offer to subject you both to hideous torture until you agreed to help me.

WEINSTEIN
For that I tell you everything.

FAIRWEATHER
Good God, man!

WEINSTEIN
Stalling, stalling! (to TANG) Since ze dawn of time, man has had a dream. It is a dream which has filled his every vaking moment ...

He realises that TANG is actually watching him with polite interest.

Ve vill compile a list of necessary equipment.

HARVESTMANN enters, closely followed by COBB.
He takes a deep gasp in his inhaler, then whispers into TARRANT's ear.
TARRANT reacts angrily, slapping him.

TANG
As you wish. Equipment, comfortable quarters, good food, clean ... pyjamas, whatever you need. I'm not a barbarian. I have no desire to threaten you as if I were some kind of power-crazed dictator ... actually that's not quite true. However, in case you do have any ideas of rebellion or escape ... Roboman!

Dramatic sting. Enter ROBOMAN.

Roboman XK12 will watch over you. Be warned. No-one escapes Tang.

TARRANT
My Liege, the prisoners have escaped!

TANG
I see. This displeases me greatly.

HARVESTMANN
It's not my fault! I mean, it could have happened to anybody!

COBB
But it am happened to you.

HARVESTMANN
Will you keep out of this ..? I've got everything under control here ...

TARRANT grabs HARVESTMANN by the throat.

TARRANT
You miserable excuse for a Spider Trooper -

TANG
What do you intend to do about this, Captain Tarrant?

HARVESTMANN
Loosen your grip ... It's hard to beg for mercy when you're crushing my windpipe.

TARRANT
I'm going to throttle the little runt, sir.

TANG
Actually, what I meant was ... will you please put the little runt down? Thank you.
What are you doing about the escaped prisoners?

TARRANT
Report, you miserable ten eyed little weasel.

HARVESTMANN
They escaped in a stolen rocket ship. I sent a couple of our fastest pursuit ships after them.
They're not going to get far, I swear ...

TANG
Well, that's something, at least.

TARRANT
You know the price of failure.

HARVESTMANN
Can I pay by instalments?

TANG
Atomised by my Imperial Executioner or blown out of the skies by my rocket ships, it matters not. Crash Morgan and his witless friend will die ... I am in a merciful mood, Captain Tarrant.

TARRANT
Sire?

MOLLUSK
Oh? Did his Majesty not say? He has decided to be married?

HARVESTMANN, COBB & TARRANT
Again?

FAIRWEATHER
I pity the poor creature forced into serving your hideous appetites, you despotic murdering fiend!

MOLLUSK
That is an unfortunate opinion. You are, after all, the father of the bride.

FAIRWEATHER
What? You can't mean ... Glenn!

TANG
I can mean whoever I please, Professor ... The Earth Woman will make a most suitable consort.
In time, I will teach her to love me ...

WEINSTEIN
Trust me. You cannot teach her anything ...

Blackout.


ACT TWO SCENE SEVEN
Dramatic music. Lights fade up.

ARAKNE sits on a stool facing a steering column.
CRASH and BUDDY are sat on a locker cum bench facing the audience.
There is the constant buzz of the rocketship's engines.

CRASH
I just want you to know, Miss Arakne, how much we - me and Buddy, that is - appreciate you risking yourself for us.

ARAKNE
Oh, I'm sure there's some little thing you can do to repay me.

CRASH
I wish I knew how. I mean, all I have right now is the clothes on my back ...

ARAKNE, to herself
Oh, you won't be needing those ...

CRASH
Your father must have enemies? People who'll help us?

ARAKNE
All of the Tribes of Mars want Daddy dead, of course, but while he has his invincible army of Robomen no-one would dare oppose him openly, except ...

CRASH
Who?

ARAKNE
Prince Escargot of the Snail Men. He leads a small group of rebels, hiding out in the Crimson Desert. Daddy conquered the Scarlet Jungle where the Snail Men live, you see, and made Mollsuc prelate.

CRASH
So ... the Snail Men are revolting ...

ARAKNE
You've met, then?

CRASH
Anyone else?

ARAKNE
It doesn't matter, anyway. I'll keep you hidden, and safe. Daddy'll forget you were ever even alive in a little while, I promise.

CRASH
I don't want him to forget! We've got to rescue the Professor, and the Doctor, and Glenn! And we've got to save the Earth!

ARAKNE, laughs
Oh, you are funny, man man! Believe me, I can make you forget all about the Earth.

Stirring patriotic music swells as CRASH speaks.

CRASH
No, you're wrong. I could never forget the Earth ... from the open prairies to the bustle of Metropolitan City ... from the yawning glory of the Grand Canyon to the serene beauty of the Statue of Liberty ... Saturday mornings washing the automobile to the sound of soapbox racers in the quiet suburban streets ... Saturday afternoons in the MetroBowl, eating a hotdog and watching the ballgame - The Met City Panthers ...

BUDDY
Blowfish.

CRASH
What?

BUDDY
The Met City Blowfish. It's the Gotham City Panthers...

CRASH
Buddy, I know my American series. I'm an all-American hero.

BUDDY
I got a bubblegum card that says it's Blowfish...

BUDDY shows him.

CRASH
Well ... whoever they are I will never forget them, and I could never forget Glenn.
We've got to save her!

ARAKNE
Honestly! As if she matters ... I don't know what you and my father see in her!

CRASH
Your father ... what foul and terrible fate can Tang have in store for Glenn?

ARAKNE
Marriage. He's going to marry her ...

BUDDY
I love a good wedding ... always makes me cry.

ARAKNE
Don't worry Crash. You'll soon forget all about her, and realise that I'm what you really want.
A real woman ...

BUDDY
Glenn's not a real woman?

CRASH
Don't worry about it, Buddy.

ARAKNE
We can discuss this later ... when your idiotic friend isn't around.

BUDDY
Which idiotic friend?

ARAKNE sighs.

ARAKNE
Patience, Arakne ... he will be mine. Oh yes. He will be.

She shoves a map into CRASH's hands.

We're drifting off course. Check the map.

CRASH opens the map, looks at it, and frowns. He holds it up to the light, then turns around revealing to the audience that the map is a large blank piece of red paper.

CRASH
Er ...

ARAKNE
Well? Have you found us yet?

CRASH
We're ... that is, well ... would I be right in thinking this is a map of the Crimson Desert ..?

BUDDY
Maybe it's the wrong way up?

CRASH glares at him.

ARAKNE
I don't know which one of you is the more stupid ...

CRASH
That'll be him.

BUDDY, simultaneous with CRASH
That'll be me.

Musical sting. A pursuit ship appears up stage. BUDDY sees it.

BUDDY
Crash! Look, through the porthole!

CRASH and BUDDY look out of the imaginary porthole.

CRASH
A rocketship of some sort.

The pursuit ship is quickly yanked backstage and replaced
with a larger version of the same.

And it's getting closer!

ARAKNE
An Imperial pursuit ship. Don't fret, Crash. They're hardly likely to open fire with the Emperor's daughter on board, are they?

The pursuit ship opens fire. The rocket ship rocks violently.

CRASH
They don't know you're on board. As far as they know it's just me and Buddy! Tell them!

ARAKNE pulls a radio microphone from the steering column.
As she starts to speak she notices the trailing wire that should be attached to the column.

Tell them!

ARAKNE throws the microphone to CRASH.

ARAKNE
You tell them!

The pursuit ship opens fire again. The rocket ship rocks violently once more.

There's a neutronium ray bazooka in the Locker you're sitting on! Return their fire!

CRASH and BUDDY quickly unload the bazooka from the locker.

CRASH
Open the porthole!

BUDDY mimes opening a porthole. CRASH aims the bazooka through it.

I've got them in my sights ...

CRASH opens fire. The pursuit ship goes down in smoke.

BUDDY
Great shooting, Crash!

The smaller pursuit ship appears again.

CRASH
Rats! There's another one!

ARAKNE
We should have enough of a lead ... I'll activate the auxiliary rocket valves.

She reaches down to the steering column, and pulls a small lever.
It comes away in her hand.

Hells Web!

CRASH
What? What is it now?

BUDDY
Aw Jeez ...

ARAKNE
The gyroscope's shorting out ... I can't keep her nose up ... we're going down ...

The rocketship goes into a screaming dive.

Blackout, followed by the sound of a crash.

The lights come up slowly on the stage, now lit overall as the Crimson Desert.
The steering column, stool, locker and protonic bazooka are scattered about the stage,
as are CRASH, BUDDY and ARAKNE.

BUDDY stirs first.

BUDDY
Ohhhh ...

He drags himself to his feet and goes over to CRASH. ARAKNE stirs.

Wake up! Wake up, Crash! ... I think we're dead!


ARAKNE
" Wake up ... I think we're dead?" Gods spare me from such imbecility.

BUDDY
Well, I'm not the one who crashed the rocketship ...

ARAKNE
What does that mean?

BUDDY
Well, I guess what I'm saying ...

ARAKNE
Yes?

BUDDY
Is that, well, I'm not the one ...

ARAKNE
The one who what?

BUDDY
Well, the one who ... that is, the one who crashed ...

ARAKNE
Mmm-mm?

BUDDY
The ... rocketship?

ARAKNE
And what does that mean?

BUDDY
Well, I guess that means you crashed it!

BUDDY looks at ARAKNE, sees her scowl and instantly recoils.

ARAKNE
For your information, little man man, I have trained with the finest pilots on Mars at the Flight Academy since the age of eight. I have mastered the controls of every rocket propelled vehicle known to Martiankind and bested the elite in both mock and actual combat. No, it was sabotage. Somebody deliberately rigged the auxiliary rocket valves to overload the gyroscope. General Grr'rr ... Were anyone else in that cockpit we would now be dead. You would be dead. It is my skill, my mastery of rocket aviation that has saved your insignificant and annoying little life.

BUDDY
Women drivers, eh ..?

ARAKNE grabs BUDDY by thhe throat. He starts to choke CRASH stirs.

CRASH
Ohhh ...

ARAKNE
Crash!

ARAKNE drops BUDDY and runs over to CRASH.

Are you all right? Were you hurt in the crash, Crash?

CRASH gets to his feet.

CRASH
I'll live ... Is everyone okay?

He sees BUDDY choking and rushes over to him.

Are you okay, Buddy? Looks like you got pretty beat up in that crash ... Still, I guess you should think yourself lucky. It could have been a lot worse.

ARAKNE
It could still be ...

CRASH
Are you going to be all right, little buddy?

BUDDY gives CRASH a rueful thumbs-up.

Okay then ... first things first. That fat guy who rescued us ...

ARAKNE gives a derisive snort.

Does he know where we are?

ARAKNE
Even I don't know! We were way off course, of course.

BUDDY
Aw Jeez ... That was some crash, Crash!

ARAKNE
We're doomed, you know, man man.

CRASH
Let me think ... Is there an echo around here, or is it me hearing double?

ARAKNE
Don't be a fool. We're doomed! Doomed!

CRASH shakes his head and carefully cleans out his ears with his little finger.
BUDDY wanders upstage.

The Crimson Desert is hostile, barren. The only things that survive here are the monsters.

CRASH
Like the giant Geckos that made a meal of Eddie's goons?

ARAKNE
There are many terrible creatures roaming the Crimson Desert ...

The sound of giant footsteps fades in slowly as BUDDY and ARAKNE speak.

BUDDY
For instance ... have some of them got big bulgy eyes ..?


ARAKNE
Yes ... no doubt.

BUDDY
Big horns? Big sharp teeth?

ARAKNE
Yes, yes!

BUDDY moves to ARAKNE and CRASH.

BUDDY
Do they have scaly skin? Are they roughly as big as a house,
with mighty footsteps that shake the earth?

ARAKNE
Well, some of them are ...

BUDDY
Like that one?

ARAKNE screams as a terrible vaguely Godzilla-ish MONSTER appears upstage.
It roars horribly.

CRASH
Quick! Behind this rock!

CRASH, BUDDY and ARAKNE go to run, but suddenly a PANTOMIME HORSE appears, blocking their path. It neighs terribly. ARAKNE screams again.

Blackout.

Cue theme music.

Slide: NEXT EPISODE - TRAIL OF THE
SNAIL MEN!