ACT ONE SCENE ONE

Music plays.

NARRATOR
Crash Morgan and the Conquest of the Spider Warlords of Mars, Episode One – Scourge of the Silk Claw!
In the heart of an America recovering from a Great Depression lies Metropolitan City - the sprawling crossroads between the lawless chaos of the past and the bright shining spires of the future, defended by the mysterious avenging thunderbolt known only as ... the Human Rocket! Our story begins one dark foggy night on the deserted Metropolitan City waterfront …

Musical Segue. Waves wash against the pier.


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. Are we there yet?

EDDIE
Pier 13, Deadman’s wharf. Yeah, this it.

SPATS
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
If 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.

SPATS
Issa clear, Boss!

EDDIE
And now 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?

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, unload the boat.
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
Right …

SPATS
Here we are boss!

EDDIE, less certain
Great. 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.

Geez! Okay, okay! Enough with the hitting! We surrender!

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!

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, peevishly
Yes, that's right.

Musical segue.


ACT ONE SCENE TWO

WEINSTEIN
Ze compensators, ze compensators ...

FAIRWEATHER
Compensators activated.

WEINSTEN
Gut, sehr gut …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. You! Get zat! Get it now!

FAIRWEATHER
My pleasure, old chap.

WEINSTEIN, to himself
It’s about all you’re good for.

Door opens.

GLENN
Daddy!

FAIRWEATHER
Glenn!

Kiss noises.

We have a visitor, Johan! My beautiful daughter, Ace Reporter Glenn Fairweather!
Glenn, this is Dr. Weinstein, renowned physicist!

GLENN
Very pleased to meet you, Doctor. I've heard so much about you. Not interrupting, I trust?

WEINSTEIN
No, no. Ve vere 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 our time had been vasted.

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 laughs.

FAIRWEATHER
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, Johan here specialises 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?

WEINSTEIN
Mayhap?

FAIRWEATHER
Mayhap. But first, 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.

WEINSTEIN
Oy.

GLENN
But enough of that … Doctor, what can you tell me about the Human Rocket?

Musical Sting.

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

Musical Sting.

FAIRWEATHER
You are one of the most reputed rocket scientists working today, old chap.

GLENN
Yes, 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 ..? I'm a rocket scientist, I don't know what she just said!

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 ....

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.

Musical sting.

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
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! 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.

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! 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.

GLENN
Daddy! Save me!

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

Door closes.

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

Mournful music starts to play. Seconds later, door opens.

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.

WEINSTEIN
Then we have twenty four hours to find out where the Silk Claw and Eddie are hiding her.

CRASH
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 ...

Segue to bar.

ACT ONE SCENE THREE

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.

LILY
Hi, Handsome.

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
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.

BUDDY
Er …

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.

Musical segue.

ACT ONE SCENE FOUR

Musical segue.

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.

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. 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
Right … 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.

EDDIE
Any questions?

BUDDY
Well … Can I use your phone?

Segue. A phone rings and is answered.

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!

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?

Door opens.

Glenn! Tied up and gagged! Geez, are you okay, Glenn? And Joe the Barman! What are you doing here, Joe?

JOE
Well, Buddy, what can I tell you. You think I’m Honest Joe, barman and proprietor of Lucky Leon's, but you better know me as ...

Ripping noise.

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


ACT ONE SCENE FIVE

Musical segue, and footsteps.

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 and tied to a chair!

GLENN
Mm mm mmf!
I KNOW THAT!

CRASH, loud whisper
Don't move! I have your gag …

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.

GLENN
... It's a trap.

CRASH
What the ..? I can’t move …

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.

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 abruptly.

Zank you!


ACT ONE SCENE SIX

Musical segue.

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
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. Claw?

SILK CLAW
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! Claw? 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. You see zis? Zis is how long you have to live.

BUDDY
That's a big clock.

CRASH
It's a bomb, Buddy.

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?

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.

Door closes.

BUDDY
I guess this is curtains, Crash.

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

Musical segue.

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 ... Speaking of which, ve had better test zis theory.

FAIRWEATHER
Quite so. History will record this moment as I place this humble apple into the teleport transmitter …

WEINSTEIN
Get on with it.

FAIRWEATHER
Pull the lever!

Sound effect.

FAIRWEATHER
Yes! The apple has successfully teleported! The smoke is clearing! It’s … It’s …

WEINSTEIN
It’s a banana.

FAIRWEATHER
Ah. Not a total success.

WEINSTEIN
No. Zis may need some vork.

Segue to Crash and 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.

Door opens.

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
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.

BUDDY
Aw Geez …

Slurpy kiss kiss.

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

LILY
There!

CRASH
No, I can’t disarm this. Run!

Footsteps running away, and an explosion.
After a few moments, there is the microwave ping of a
completed matter transmission.

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.

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 “Don't worry, old chap. Crash Morgan has never been defeated." and zen I enter and say something like, "Until he faced ze nefarious cunning of ... ze Silk Claw! Ha! Haha! Hahahahahahahaha! (sighs) 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
... Iron vill ... I’ll make a note … 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.

SILK CLAW
Nice place you have here. I like vhat you’ve done viz ze cyclotron. Very nice. 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
Nothing. 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?

A fight, then a gunshot.

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?

A thump, and the Matter Transmitter springs into life.

WEINSTEIN
Mein Gott! He has thrown him into ze Matter Transmitter!

SILK CLAW
Nooooooooooooooooooo!

Ping!

FAIRWEATHER
My God! His head has been transformed into a gigantic banana!

GLENN
That's horrible.

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

WEINSTEIN
No! He's crossing the coils!

FAIRWEATHER
What?

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

There is a massive explosion.

ACT ONE SCENE SEVEN

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
Look! Over there!

FAIRWEATHER, approaching
... 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
Eddie! Is that Spat’s he’s carrying?

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 Spats ..?

EDDIE
Yeah. Yeah. He is.

BUDDY
Is Spats what?

GLENN
Ssh! … What happened, Eddie?

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.

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 ..." He didn’t make it …

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? Yeah, I was an Equal Opportunities Hoodlum.

A noise approaches.

What the in the Name of Mike is that noise?

BUDDY
Some kind of robot. And some really weird looking guys.

FAIRWEATHER
Ah, well, our problems are over. Any society advanced enough to use Robots will have no doubt evolved a Utopian Society.

WEINSTEIN, uncertain
Right …

CRASH
You know, Professor, I think we should maybe … hide?

FAIRWEATHER
Don’t be foolish.

GLENN
I’m sure Father is right.

BUDDY
I got a bad feeling about this, Crash …

FAIRWEATHER
Look, see their weapons – no doubt only employed as protection against the local fauna – see how they’re raised in brotherly greeting?

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

WEINSTEIN
Oy.

Dramatic sting.


ACT ONE SCENE EIGHT

Music plays.

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

MOLLUSK
Your Majesty desires her?

TANG
I desire her to stop dancing. 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 masterminded the mission.

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Sir!

TANG
I see. And your ingenious plan was?

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Sir! I tried to infiltrate the rebel camo, oh yes! 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 me like a shot, only just escaped by the skin of my teeth, Sir! I have it with me, if you want a look see, sir.

TANG
Please.

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Here we go … there.

Sniggers all round.

Did a funny voice and everything, sir! 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!

Sound of Roboman advancing.

Prepare to obliterate.

Zap noise.

CAPTAIN GR'RRR
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh, Sir!

He dies.

TANG
I despise failure. I do believe you have some explaining to do, Prince G’rrrr.

PRINCE G'RRRR
Well, I ...

He laughs nervously.

Please don’t kill me.

GENERAL GRR'RR
That's enough bullying Tang!

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

Footsteps approach.

GENERAL GRR'RR
I had not forgotten, no.

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.

Music as the earthmen enter.

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
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. Rocket scientist, actually.

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?

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. Eddie "The Bard" Malone at your service. 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? How enthralling … 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?

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

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.

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!

FAIRWEATHER
Here, Crash! Catch!

TARRANT
My gun!

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 utterly entertaining.

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!

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 save the scientist. We shall use them as we see fit to further our conquests. And the girl … Spare the girl. She amuses me.

ARAKNE
Father, I have an interest in Crash ... perhaps you might show mercy ..?

TANG
He threatened to kill me in open court. What do you want me to do? Give him a heavy fine?

ARAKNE
Please, Daddy, at least consider it … Please Daddy, please …

TANG
Oh, all right. All right. Take them away. I shall consider and in shall pronounce sentence in one hour.

ARAKNE
You’re the bestest Daddy in all the world.

TANG
Don’t push your luck Arakne.

Musical segue

ACT ONE SCENE NINE

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? Honestly, how could you be so stupid? Just standing there and urging the Earth Man on? He already killed Captain 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
G’rrrr.

GRR’RR
Oh well. Company.

G'RRRR, excited
Arakne! You came.

ARAKNE
Yes, G'rrrr. I came.

G'RRRR
Look! Flowers!

ARAKNE
Yes.

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

ARAKNE
How very … useful. 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
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
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, wails
I have dignity!

ARAKNE
Yes, you have. 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.
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
Come along. Its about time we went back to the throne room for sentencing. You know, lad, every time she thinks of you, I bet she's grinning from ear to ear.

G'RRRR
She said that, yes.

Musical segue.

ACT ONE SCENE TEN

Hubbub.

People of Mars! We have deliberated and are prepared to pass sentence on the Men Men of earth who have threatened our persons! 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 …

Musical sting. Music

ANNOUNCER
Is it curtains for Crash? What terrible fate does Tang have in store for our heroes? Find out after these messages in the second episode of Crash Morgan and the Conquest of the Spider Warlords of Mars – The Trail of the Snail Men!

INTERVAL

ACT TWO SCENE ONE

Music plays, and the Narrator speaks.

NARRATOR
Crash Morgan and the Conquest of the Spider Warlords of Mars, Episode Two – The Trail of the Snail Men!
Transported to Mars in a freak accident with Dr. Johan Weinstein and Professor Milton Fairweather's Matter Transmitter Ray, our heroes Crash Morgan, also known as the Human Rocket, his sidekick Buddy Brannigan and Professor Fairweather's beautiful daughter Glenn find themselves at the mercy of the evil Spider Warlord of Mars, Tang the Pitiless! Eager to learn the secrets of their Matter Transmitter Ray, Tang sentences the plucky scientists to work in the laboratory of the wily yet playful Chancellor Mollusk, creator of Tang's invincible army of terrible Robomen, resolves to marry the lovely Glenn, and sentences Crash and Buddy to a drawn out and lingering death …

Tang speaks. The Roboman approaches.

TANG
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 ….

Musical sting.

tomorrow at sunrise!

Musical segue. Birdsong.


ACT TWO SCENE TWO

Musical segue.

BUDDY
How long, Crash?

CRASH
Nearly Sunup now, Buddy.

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. Darn. Where's my watch gone?

BUDDY
Here. Have mine.

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

BUDDY
The Contessa D'urbervilles?

CRASH
That's the one. You know what you have to do ...

BUDDY starts to groan.

CRASH
Guard! Guard!

Large door creaks open.

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

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

WEBSTER
What's wrong with him?

CRASH
Why don't you take a look?

WEBSTER
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!

WEBSTER
Are you mad? It might be contagious.

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

CRASH
He’s sick!

WEBSTER
Well, what am I supposed to do?

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

WEBSTER
You're right. I'll leave. Call me when it's over ...

BUDDY
I've got a fever! I'm dying! I'm dying! The pain! The pain!

CRASH
For Heaven's sake, do something!

WEBSTER
Oh, all right. Honestly, some people … Tell you what, how about I put him out of his misery?

CRASH
What?

WEBSTER
You know … Shoot him. In the head, quick like.

BUDDY & CRASH
No!

BUDDY
Gee willickers! I feel so much better!

WEBSTER
You're sure?

BUDDY
I feel just swell!

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

BUDDY
Fit as a fiddle. Honest Injun!

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

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

WEBSTER
Oh! Don't creep up on people like that! I'm an armed killer … you could have given me a heart attack!

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

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

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

WEBSTER
Right ho. I expect you'd like to be alone, last rites and all …

Footsteps off.

BUDDY
Who are you? Hey, didn't we see you in the throne room ..?

GENERAL GRR’RR
A friend. Here, put these Habits on. Go on.

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

GENERAL GRR’RR
Ho ho ho ... I laugh in the face of danger. I laugh in the face of most things, actually. Guard! Guard!

WEBSTER
What? What? Do you have to bellow? I’m not deaf, you know …

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

WEBSTER
Right. You. Good. Your holinesses. Well so long, boyos ...

GENERAL GRR’RR
Ho ho ho.... Chin up lad. You're doing a great job.

Footsteps, breaking into a run

WEBSTER, relieved
Well, he was nice, wasn’t he boys. Boys? Oh, bloody hell!

Musical segue.

CRASH
Where are we now?

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

CRASH
But why are you-

GENERAL 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?

GENERAL GRR’RR
It's perfectly simple, Morgan. Your flight plan is preset into the automatic pilot. Now come on.

An alarm sounds.

Time’s up. Off you go.

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

GENERAL GRR’RR
Well that won't be long!

CRASH
I'm sorry?

GENERAL GRR’RR
I said farewell and so long!

CRASH
But we can't leave without -

GENERAL GRR’RR
There's no time for that, now go, before this place is swarming with Spider Troopers. Just go, all right? Now, hurry.

CRASH
I … The ship's on autopilot, you say?

ARAKNE appears.

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

GENERAL 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.

GENERAL 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.

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

ARAKNE
Why?

GENERAL 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.

GENERAL GRR’RR
I wouldn't put it past him.

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

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

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

The rocket ship takes off.

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

GENERAL GRR’RR
Oh hello, Laddy. Well, how shall I put this? There's good news and some bad news.....

Musical segue to lab.

ACT TWO SCENE THREE

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

FAIRWEATHER
I concur. This Laboratory is amazing!

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

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

Door. MOLLUSK and TARRANT enter, both trying not to laugh.

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

FAIRWEATHER
Yes. Thank you.

MOLLUSK
Very becoming.

TARRANT laughs out loud.

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?

Beat.

Why are they wearing pyjamas?

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. 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 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
Gentlemen.

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

TANG
And how are we settling in?

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.

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.

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. What are you doing about the escaped prisoners?

TARRANT
Report, you miserable ten eyed little weasel.

WEBSTER
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.

WEBSTER
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 ...

Musical segue.

ACT TWO SCENE FOUR

Over the drone of the rocket 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
Hmm. 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. Here ...

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 ... 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.

A beeping noise.

We're drifting off course. We’re over the Crimson desert now …

Musical sting. Another rocketship engine.

BUDDY
Crash! Look, through the porthole!

CRASH
A rocketship of some sort, 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! Tell them!

There is a sizzling, zap! Noise.

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
Open the porthole!

Porthole opens.

I've got them in my sights ...

CRASH opens fire. Explosion.

BUDDY
Great shooting, Crash!

Another rocket ship engine.

CRASH
Rats! There's another one!

ARAKNE
We should have enough of a lead ... I'll activate the auxiliary rocket valves.

A wrenching, tearing noise.

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. Explosion, then musical segue.

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 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!

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 ..?

Buddy makes a choking noise.

You’re … crushing … my … throat …

ARAKNE
I know.

CRASH
Ohhh ...

ARAKNE
Crash!

Buddy exhales loudly. He has been released.

Are you all right? Were you hurt in the crash, Crash?

CRASH
I'll live ... Is everyone okay? 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? 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!

Beat.

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?

The monster roars and Arakne screams. Suddenly, a hail of gunfire.

ARAKNE
Snail Rebels! They’re driving it back!

CRASH
Thank the Lord!

BUDDY
We're saved!

GASTROPOD
Surrender!

HELIX
Surrender to the Cause of Prince Escargot, Leader of the Martian Resistance and Rightful Ruler of the Snail Men!

BUDDY
Oh.

Musical segue.

ACT TWO SCENE FIVE

G'RRRRL, unhappily
You can't stay in the bathroom forever, my lady.

GLENN, off
I want my clothes back! I only took them off to have a bath ...

G'RRRRL
But we have provided you with new clothes, more befitting your position as royal consort ...

GLENN, off
I don't care. I want my clothes! Where are my clothes?!

G'RRRRL
Er ... in the palace incinerator?

Door.

GLENN (furious)
You've burned my clothes?! Who gave you the right ... I mean, look at me ... I feel like a Christmas tree decoration.
G'RRRRL
Is that good?

GLENN
No! I can only remember one member of my family who ever dressed like this, and, well, frankly we don’t talk to him … Look at this, I mean, honestly, look at this. I mean, look at me!

G'RRRRL
There isn't any need to worry. No-one is going to see you except me-

GLENN
Thank the Lord.

G'RRRRL
And Tang, of course.

GLENN
Thank you. You've been a comfort. Of course, my only real comfort is the knowledge that Crash, my Crash, will come and rescue me ...

G'RRRRL
You haven't heard?

GLENN
What? Heard what?

G'RRRRL
About Crash's escape?

GLENN
Crash has escaped? I knew he would. He always does.

G'RRRRL
And about his certain death in a rocket ship crash in the Crimson Desert?

GLENN
Excuse me ..? Certain death ..? No, you don't know my Crash. He's leapt from the jaws of doom countless times before. He's alive, I know it ... it takes more than certain death to kill Crash Morgan.

Door opens.

G'RRRRL
Mighty Tang!

TANG
Leave us. Not you.

GLENN
Oh. Right ….

TANG
So... at last, we are alone.

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

TANG
I? Nothing?

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 is no more ... you will learn to love me, in time. This must be a very trying and unusual experience for you.

GLENN
Oh, I think you'd be surprised.

TANG
However, I have good news.

GLENN
Oh? Good for who?

TANG
I have some morals.

GLENN
That is good news.

TANG
I haven't finished yet. I will not take a woman's honour out of wedlock. Consequently, we will marry tomorrow.

GLENN
I beg your pardon?

TANG
Wear something formal.

GLENN
And what if I say no?

TANG
Wear something casual then. It is of little consequence to me. I would have imagined, however, that you would have preferred to appear in your wedding photographs looking like something other than a festive tree ornament.

GLENN
No, you don't understand. What if I don't want to be married to you?

TANG
Then you are in for a very unhappy marriage. Good day, my love.

Door..

GLENN, sadly
Oh, Crash ...


ACT TWO SCENE SIX

Musical segue.

ARAKNE
Captured and help prisoner by my father’s most hated enemy … what will happen to us, Crash?

CRASH
My guess? Quick chat with our captor. Escape. Maybe a light lunch. Isn’t that right Buddy?

Buddy snores.

Shucks, poor little fella's tuckered out after all the excitement ...

ARAKNE
You're a very remarkable man, man man.

CRASH
Wait a minute ... are you making a pass at me?

ARAKNE
Oh yes ... do you like it?

CRASH
Now, just you listen ... I love Glenn. I mean, I wouldn't want to let you down too hard, but there's only one woman for me. Don't feel too bad, but I'm just a one woman guy ... Heck, sometimes I feel guilty about all those poor broken hearts I've left behind me ... The Evil Contessa D'Urbervilles ... The Princess Persephone of Atlantis ... The dusky Juanita DeTaco and her lovely sister Gladys ... but in the heavens of my heart there's only one star shining ... Glenn Fairweather. Did I ever tell you about that magical weekend in Colorado Springs ..?

ARAKNE
Did I ever tell you that I don't care? Now listen Crash, I can offer you everything she can, and much, much more ... power. Together we can overthrow my father, as he overthrew his father before him, and after we have crushed Escargot beneath our mighty heel, no-one will stand in our way ...

CRASH
What about Prince G'rrrr?

ARAKNE
Oh, do be serious. Together we will rule Mars ... using your friends matter transmitter ray, we will expand our armies into the void of space, and we will conquer the Universe! Nothing can stop us together. Imagine it! Your indomitable bravery and my unconquerable will ... can you not feel it in your blood? The call to greatness? The stirring of your spirit? The passion of our love for each other combined with our insatiable lust for ultimate power. Just you, and me ...

CRASH
What about Buddy?

Arakne goes into super sex kitten mode.

ARAKNE
Forget Buddy. Forget Glenn. Forget everything. Let me be your world. Let me fill your every thought, every word, every deed, every sense. I want you, Crash. I need you. And I will have you, and you will be mine. Oh yes, you will be.

CRASH, yells
Guard! Buddy, help me!

BUDDY, waking up
Huhm? Whuzzat?

ARAKNE
Don't deny destiny...

CRASH, yells more urgently
Guard!

Door opens.

Thank God!

ARAKNE
Escargot!

ESCARGOT
Ah, the lovely but deadly Princess. What brings you here?

HELIX, proudly
We did, Sir!

ESCARGOT
I know that ... What I meant was, "What is she doing here?"

HELIX
Well, she and the young gentleman … I wouldn't like to say, Sir ...

BUDDY
Oh, Geez Crash …

ESCARGOT
You don't have to say! I was asking her!

HELIX
You were looking at me!

ESCARGOT
No, I wasn't.

GASTROPOD
With all due respect ... you were, Sir!

ESCARGOT
All right, I was. But I wasn't the first time. So shut up, the pair of you, and let's begin the interrogation again ... so, Princess ... what brings you here, to the Crimson Desert.

ARAKNE
It was an accident. There was a malfunction, and the rocketship crashed. We were lucky to escape with our lives.

ESCARGOT
Ah! That's very convenient, isn't it? I’d say it was more than convenient. In fact, I’d say it was more than more than just convenient. I’d say it was more than more than more-

CRASH
Not really, no.

ESCARGOT
And you expect me to believe that you just crashed accidentally in the Crimson Desert?

CRASH
Well, yes. Yes, we do.

GASTROPOD
Sir, I'm not sure that proves anything really ...

ESCARGOT
I told you to be quiet! What kind of rebel are you if you can't follow orders?

CRASH
My name is Crash Morgan, and this is my best friend Buddy. We're here to help you.

ESCARGOT
Ha! Cunning! A trap! You say that you want to help us ... but I know better. Oh yes, you put us off our guard, lull us into a false sense of security with your honeyed words, and then ... you murder us in our beds while we sleep peacefully, stabbing us in our backs! Right! Under! Our! Noses!

GASTROPOD
Sir, with all due respect ... you can't stab somebody in their back and right under their nose.

ESCARGOT
Shut up! It was a figure of speech!

BUDDY
Well, actually it was a mixed metaphor ...

ESCARGOT
Don't you start! Think you're clever, eh?

CRASH
Look, this is getting us nowhere ... Tang is your enemy, and he's kidnapped my friends and the woman I love. Before long he may even have the power to conquer my home the way he has yours. I just want your help, and to help you in return. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?

ESCARGOT, suddenly suspicious
Not necessarily ... how do I know that what you say is true? How can I trust the words of strangers?

ARAKNE
You know me, Escargot. You have my word.

ESCARGOT
Well, that's all right then ... the daughter of my enemy vouches for you, so that's all right then, isn't it?

BUDDY
Phew! I'm glad we got that sorted out.

ESCARGOT
That was sarcasm! But wait ... the enemy of my enemy is my friend ... the daughter of my enemy is my enemy ... but the daughter of my enemy and therefore my enemy is friends with the enemy of the enemy, who should be my friend ... but the daughter of my enemy is very untrustworthy ... she could conceivable be the enemy of my enemy, as well as my enemy ... and if the only vouchsafe of friendship I have in this Crash Morgan is mutual enmity of someone who may conceivably be my friend ...

HELIX
Don't you mean your enemy?

ESCARGOT
I don't know what I mean!

BUDDY
Are you all right?

ESCARGOT
No! I am not all right! Do you know how long it is since I slept soundly in my bed? Do you know how careful I have to be? No, you wouldn't. Take it from me, man man, you can never be too careful. That's something I had to learn the hard way; being forced to watch the slaughter of thousands of my loyal Snail Subjects, all because of the betrayal of one man ... Chancellor Mollusk. I have sworn that I will never rest until I have revenged myself upon him.

CRASH
Listen ... we can prove ourselves to you.
ESCARGOT, suddenly fawningly grateful
Can you? That's awfully nice of you ...

BUDDY, whispers
This guy's a fruitcake.

CRASH, whispers
Yeah, but he's fighting for freedom and justice, and that makes him our kind of fruitcake.

ESCARGOT, sulkily
It's the Robomen. If it wasn't for the Robomen we could overwhelm him, even if he does have the support of the Wolf Men.

BUDDY
They must have some kind of weakness ...

ESCARGOT
They're powered by rays from the Radium Field Generator. That’s one way. If we could knock that out ... but no, it's impossible!

CRASH
No! Go on!

ESCARGOT
It's heavily guarded by Robomen, and kept at the top of the Cobweb Keep, the tallest tower of Tang's Citadel. The only way to get to it would be by air, and the Radium Force Shield keeps anything larger than say, man-sized, from even approaching the tower

CRASH
Wait! Man-sized ... that would be about the size of a man.

ARAKNE
Yes. It would.

BUDDY
Don't you guys have some sort of bird people who can fly? Like maybe Hawk Men!

ESCARGOT
Hawk Men? Men who can fly? Try telling that to the Lemming Men!

CRASH
I can fly!

ESCARGOT looks at him sceptically.

Well, not like this. My Rocket Suit is back in the Citadel, and that's how I'll prove myself to you. All you got to do is get me and Buddy into the Citadel. Then I can disable the Radium Field Generator and you guys can overthrow Tang.

ESCARGOT
And what guarantee do I have that you won’t just betray me to Tang like everybody else does?

CRASH
Simple ... We leave you Tang's daughter as insurance.

ESCARGOT
Yes ... yes ... yes, it might just work ... But just to make sure, man man … I’m going with you!

ARAKNE
Crash, you can't leave me here like this ... won't you reconsider my proposition ... all that I can offer you?

CRASH
No, Arakne. My decision is made.

ARAKNE, sobs
Then you are a fool ... and I am a bigger fool to love you ...

Musical segue.

ACT TWO SCENE SEVEN

WEINSTEIN
And checkmate.

FAIRWEATHER
Yes …

WEINSTEIN
Again. Shall ve go again?

FAIRWEATHER
I don’t suppose you play whist at all?

Door.

MOLLUSK
Good Day, gentleman. Hard at work, I see.

FAIRWEATHER
You know how it is ... all work and no play, after all, makes Jack a dull boy.

MOLLUSK
True. I fear in your case, however, it may be a case of too little too late.

WEINSTEIN
Chancellor Mollusk ... Did you vant something, or did you just come all the way down here to svap insults viz us?

MOLLUSK
I was not aware that I had been insulted.

WEINSTEIN
Oh, give me time ...

MOLLUSK
Unless of course, the insult you refer to is the pathetic excuse for research data you submitted this morning.

WEINSTEIN, suddenly coy
Oh? Really?

MOLLUSK
It is my opinion, and that of the Emperor Tang, that you two are stalling us. I am a scientist myself, after all. I know worthless data when I see it. For example, and I quote,

He reads from the sheaf of papers.

"Since ze dawn of time, man has had a dream. It is a dream vhich has filled his every vaking moment, und sometimes even his sleeping vuns ..." You two are wasting my time.

WEINSTEIN
Vasting time? No, surely you misconstrue. That is my introduction, simply laying ze necessary foundations for the earth shattering breakthroughs that follow.

MOLLUSK
Foundations? I see.... and at which point exactly does this "introduction" give way to substantial information?

WEINSTEIN
Page 74, I believe.

MOLLUSK
Let's see, page 74. Ah, this is informative, "Ether, if you like, is the gravy that binds the peas of the universe together ..." Page 79, "Matter and energy are easily interchangeable ... providing you have the receipt."

WEINSTEIN
Ah.

MOLLUSK
It has become clear that neither of you can be trusted. I intend to rectify that situation. This serum will make you incapable of conscious aberration of the truth. We need inject only one of you to act as watchman to the other, and I nominate ... you.

FAIRWEATHER
I say! You fiend. That's horrible. That's devious and underhanded.

WEINSTEIN
That's actually pretty clever.

MOLLUSK
Oh, and I feel that in all fairness I should warn you about the possibility of side effects.

FAIRWEATHER (dubiously)
Side effects?

MOLLUSK
Yes.

Makes spazzy noises.

Or something similar.

WEINSTEIN
Zat is inhuman! Nobody deserves zat, not even Fairweather!

MOLLUSK
Roll up your sleeve. Captain Tarrant?

FAIRWEATHER
I'll never yield to the likes of you. I'll have you know I boxed for Oxbridge.

TARRANT
Great ... bit of sport. Let's see what you're made of, then.

Bop noise.

Ow. Right. Lucky punch. Think you're hard, do you?

Bop noise.

Ow. Right. That's enough intimidation.

MOLLUSK
Roboman! Stun the aggressive man man.

The ROBOMAN shoots him.

Do your job, Tarrant, and stop fooling around.

TARRANT
Right you are, sir.

MOLLUSK
You have a few minutes before the truth serum takes effect. I leave you now, but will return soon.

Door.

FAIRWEATHER, still groggy
Fiends ...

WEINSTEIN
Are you all right?

FAIRWEATHER
Yes, I ... I feel quite giddy. Help me up, old chap.

WEINSTEIN
Ve had better escape here as soon as humanly possible. Heaven knows vhat you'll reveal under ze influence of ze truth serum. If only ve could disable ze Robomen ...

FAIRWEATHER
They possess complex computational engines, and yet ... nowhere near as complex as even the simplest of human brains.

WEINSTEIN
You should get out more.

FAIRWEATHER
It should be possible to overload the Roboman's brain circuitry with, I don't know, a complex mathematical algorithm or logical paradox. Oh wow, my hair’s so soft …

WEINSTEIN
Right …

Door.

Oh great. More guards.

CRASH
Doctor Weinstein! Fairweather!

WEINSTEIN
Vhat?

CRASH
Let me get this visor off … It's me!
WEINSTEIN
Crash! Buddy! Ve heard you had escaped ... who is this?

ESCARGOT
Who wants to know? Why should I tell you?
CRASH
This is Prince Escargot. We met up with his Snail Rebels in the Crimson Desert.

BUDDY
Right. And him and his buddies smuggled us into the Spider Citadel using this old abandoned secret tunnel no-one knows about. Except them. And us.

CRASH
We're helping them, but we came to rescue you guys and Glenn first.

WEINSTEIN
Ja, und in ze nick of ze time. Tang intends to marry her tomorrow.

CRASH, hurt
She is ..? Well, I hope they’ll be very happy together …

WEINSTEIN
He’s forcing her, you numbskull.

FAIRWEATHER
Excuse me .. Tell me - would you like to stroke my hair?

ESCARGOT
What?

WEINSTEIN
Forget him. Where did you get those uniforms?

CRASH
We coshed some guards and stole their clothes.

FAIRWEATHER
Ah. You're a brave and resourceful young man, Crash. Nowhere near good enough for my daughter Glenn, of course, but quite exceptional otherwise, for an American, at least.

CRASH
What?

WEINSTEIN
Teeth of Hell! He's been given a truth serum, and it’s having side effects.

BUDDY
Aw Geez ...

CRASH
I never knew he felt that way ...

FAIRWEATHER
Well, you're not really very bright, are you? Did I ever mention that I once had a pony?

CRASH
Right ... but I need to find the rocket suit.

WEINSTEIN
Ve have ze rocket suit here in ze laboratory.

CRASH
That's great. I need it to disable the Radium Field Generator at the top of the Cobweb Keep...

FAIRWEATHER
Oh, he doesn't need that for that.

WEINSTEIN
He doesn't?

FAIRWEATHER
Oh no. You may be much more intelligent than I am, even though I cleverly disguise the fact, but there's one thing you haven't taken into consideration.

WEINSTEIN
And zat is?

FAIRWEATHER
I can fly!

Beat.

CRASH
I think maybe I should leave you guys here for now. Until the Professor feels ... better.

FAIRWEATHER
I feel wonderful! In fact, I want to shout it to the world!

CRASH
And that's what I'm afraid of. We'll go get Glenn, then come back here for you guys and the suit, and then back through the tunnel to the Crimson Desert. Here ...

WEINSTEIN
Vhat is zis?

CRASH
Use this and we can keep in contact with you if there's a problem.

WEINSTEIN
Zis is a good idea, und a good plan. I’ll just nip out back and get ze suit.

Door.

ESCARGOT
Quick! Get your visor back on!

TARRANT
So how is Professor Fairweather now, then? (to CRASH) At ease, Private.

CRASH
We were just leaving, Captain.

TARRANT
Yeah, yeah. Off you trot then.

CRASH and BUDDY make to leave.

TARRANT
Wait a minute.

They stop.

You. What are you three doing here?

CRASH
Er, just came to check on the prisoners, Sir. Tang’s orders, sir.

TARRANT
I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to him.

BUDDY
What he said. Sir.

TARRANT
Oh. Well, I'm here now. Off you go.

FAIRWEATHER
They came to take the rocket suit, you know.

TARRANT
What?

Door.

WEINSTEIN
Vell, here it is. Ze rocket suit, fuelled up and ready for you to-

He sees TARRANT

Vhoops.

CRASH, quickly
The Emperor Tang ordered-

TARRANT
I don't remember asking you. You! Where are you taking it?

ESCARGOT
The Emperor Tang ordered us to... to ... to, er, take the rocket suit for, er...

BUDDY
Dry-cleaning!

WEINSTEIN
Oy.

BUDDY
Yeah that's right, take the rocket suit for dry-cleaning.

CRASH
He was quite insistent.

TARRANT
Alright, take the suit and off you go.

FAIRWEATHER
Well done, Crash. The fool doesn't suspect a thing.

TARRANT
Wait! Take that visor off! I should have known … Crash Morgan, Federal Agent, Test Pilot and Escaped Convict! You must think I'm completely stupid to fall for a pathetic disguise like that. Private.

ESCARGOT
Who, me?

TARRANT
Yes, you. Come here. Take Crash Morgan to number three detention centre, and lock him up and throw away the key. And you! Don’t forget the rocket suit!

BUDDY
Yes sir. Thank you sir.

Door.

TARRANT
Fine men. I rue the day Tang put all his trust in the bloody Robomen. Bloody heaps of junk. Will never replace the invincible killing machine that is your basic well-trained Spider Trooper.

WEINSTEIN
Oh? You don't like ze Robomen?

TARRANT
Didn't have 'em when I was a nipper. Back then the Spider Warlords relied on us Spider Troopers. Ruthless we were, savage and wild and yet unswervingly loyal to the Spider Warlord empire. Oh yes, those were the days. The field of war, mighty banners of the Spider Warlord cracking in the wind, scimitar in one hand and neutronium ray pistol in the other, staining the red sands green with the blood of our enemies.

FAIRWEATHER
He's good, isn't he?

TARRANT
And then along comes Mollusk with his tinpot killing machines. (spits) Robomen! They've marched through every city that ever stood against Tang and they've killed and killed and killed, men, women and children, cut down them like wheat. They've slaughtered thousands with their terrifying death rays.

FAIRWEATHER
That's inhuman!

WEINSTEIN
That's horrible!

TARRANT
That's demarcation, that is!

WEINSTEIN
Ah.

TARRANT
Heaps of junk. Waste of good Martian Steel. You know, not that long ago it was us, the Spider Troopers, who made the Spider Warlords feared and powerful, and now ... they'll let anyone in. I'm telling you, these days, if something happened to these bloody things there'd be nothing standing between Tang and Escargot's Rebels but ninnies and half-wits.

Door.

WEBSTER
Captain Tarrant! Captain, Sir!

TARRANT
What in the name of the Gods are you three doing in your underwear? Where are your uniforms? Report!

WEBSTER
Sir! They were stolen ... It was the Men Men, Crash Morgan and, you know, the other one.

TARRANT
The other one?

FAIRWEATHER
Yes, Buddy. You remember Buddy? He was here earlier, disguised as a guard ..?

TARRANT, livid
The other one was ... why didn't you tell me!

FAIRWEATHER
Well, old chap, you didn't ask. Just like you haven't asked about the mmn mm mmf!

WEINSTEIN
Be shutting ze trap! Right now!

TARRANT
Don't just stand there! Get after them! Kill the Men Men! I said move!

Door. Stamping of feet.

FAIRWEATHER
Oh dear. Was it something I said?

Musical segue.

ACT TWO SCENE EIGHT

GENERAL GRR’RR
Hello, lad. It’s good to be back home, here in the Wolf Capitol, don’t you think? Don't take it so hard, lad. We could never have known it would work out this way ... It was a terrible, terrible mistake. We all make mistakes. If we'd have known, we could have-

PRINCE G’RRRR
She's dead. I can't believe she's dead, and ... what do you mean, "we"?

GENERAL GRR’RR
Ho ho ho. That's right, lad. It's as much my fault as yours.

PRINCE G'RRRR
It was your plan! It was you that talked me into letting you sabotage her rocketship!

GENERAL GRR’RR
Now listen lad, we could get into a whole pointless debate about apportioning blame, about who booby-trapped which auxiliary rocket valves and, at the end of the day, could we really say whose fault it was?

G'RRRR considers this carefully.

PRINCE G'RRRR
Yes.

GENERAL GRR’RR
Ah.

PRINCE G'RRRR
Do you know what you've done? I mean, she's dead and we - that is, you - killed her! The woman I love, Tang's daughter, heir to the throne and my fiancée, dead! My Gods, we're going to hang for this! Or be decapitated! Or electrocuted or eviscerated or thrown to the Geckos or placed in a pressurisation chamber and the atmosphere slowly extracted so that we choke even as we feel our blood boil and our veins exploding and then-

GRR'RR slaps him.

Ow! What did you do that for?

GENERAL GRR’RR
You were getting hysterical.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Hysterical? I haven't started yet.

GENERAL GRR’RR
Ho ho ho! We're not going to die. Tang doesn't know we had anything to do with the rocketship crash, and he doesn't know Arakne was on the rocketship. How can he possibly link us to Arakne's death?

PRINCE G’RRRR
You're right. Oh gods, you're right! No problem!

Footsteps approach.

GENERAL GRR’RR
Report, Captain.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Excuse me! Who's Prince here? Report!

Lt. GR'RR'R
Tang's imperial shuttle approaching from the North , Sir.

PRINCE G’RRRR
My Gods! What's he want with me?

Lt. GR'RR'R
Well, since Princess Arakne hasn't been seen since the Earthman's escape, it's been suggested that she might have been abducted.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Abducted?

Lt. GR'RR'R
Yes, and he's positively beside himself with displeasure, and, well, there's this rumour that Tang holds you responsible ...

PRINCE G’RRRR
Oh Gods! Is this true?

Lt. GR'RR'R
Oh, yes.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Oh no! Hear that? He holds me responsible!

Lt. GR'RR'R
Does he?

PRINCE G’RRRR
You just told me!

Lt. GR'RR'R
Did I?

PRINCE G’RRRR
You- Yes! You just said!

Lt. GR'RR'R
I said there was a rumour ...

PRINCE G’RRRR
And is this true?

Lt. GR'RR'R
Yes. It's true there is a rumour.

GENERAL GRR’RR
Now, Laddy, calm down …

PRINCE G’RRRR
No reason for Tang to expect, huh? I don't know why I ever listen to you. Everything that goes wrong in my life, you're behind it!

GENERAL GRR’RR
Ho ho ho! Don't exaggerate, lad!

PRINCE G’RRRR
I mean it! You are an imbecile, a halfwit. I don't want to set eyes on you again. You can hand in your medals immediately, because you are no longer General of my armies. Ex-General Grr'rr, get out of my sight! And you, whatsisname.

Lt. GR'RR'R
Lieutenant Gr'rr'r, Sir?

PRINCE G’RRRR
Humble Lieutenant no longer! I appoint you High Commander of all wolf forces. What do you say to that, eh?

Lt. GR'RR'R
Thank you very much sir. I don't know what to say ...

GENERAL GRR’RR
Ho ho ho. Call me when you need me.

There is a fanfare.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Emperor Tang! Your Imperial Highness! To what do I owe this pleasure?

TANG
I'll come straight to the point, G'rrrr, as will you if I don't like what I hear.

PRINCE G’RRRR
That's a good one! Your Majesty's sense of humour is, without doubt, that is to say, is-

TANG
Wearing thin.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Oh, not at all. No-one could possibly say that.

TANG
Be quiet.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Yes. Be quiet. Got it, silence starts now. Well, obviously straight after I say the word, "now". I mean, if I say "now", I'm obviously talking, which isn't being silent at all, is it? Not that not talking is necessarily being quiet. I could be, oh, belching, maybe. Or sneezing.

Lt. GR'RR'R, helpfully
Or farting, Sir?

PRINCE G’RRRR
Yes, or f- Are you mad? This is the Emperor!

TANG
My daughter is missing.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Oh, no she isn't.

TANG
She is.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Well ... have you looked everywhere?

TANG
I repeat, for the benefit of the hard of thinking - My daughter is missing. This causes me great displeasure. Can you explain?

PRINCE G’RRRR
Well, she's your daughter, and you obviously love her greatly, so if she's missing then you're bound to feel upset, and-

TANG
Can you explain where she is? Your relationship with my daughter is no secret. In fact, she has spoken of it often, and it has gladdened me.

PRINCE G’RRRR, pathetically pleased
It gladdened you?

TANG
Indeed. And it takes a lot to make me laugh. However, I am most displeased by these recent events. I was young once, you know. I remember Arakne's mother ... it's an old story. Boy meets girl, boy abducts girl, boy wages genocidal war on girl's father ...

PRINCE G’RRRR
You'd understand?

TANG
Oh yes. I'd understand. I'd torture you horribly before sentencing you to a lingering death, but I'd understand.

PRINCE G’RRRR
So ... you think she was kidnapped? It could be anyone, I mean, everybody despises you! Hypothetically speaking, imagine someone had your daughter, eh? Imagine the demands they could make of you? If somebody had your daughter, what would you do to get her back, eh?

TANG
I'd kill them.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Right. But what if they were too stupid to realise that?

TANG
Do you know who has Arakne?

PRINCE G’RRRR
Well, it certainly isn't me! Haha!

TANG
I don't know what's happening here, G'rrrr, but my patience is nearly at it's end ...

Footsteps.

SCORPIO
Emperor!

TANG
What? What is it, Lieutenant?

SCORPIO
Message from the Capital, Your Majesty. Crash Morgan has been sighted in the Palace.

TANG
Morgan's alive!

SCORPIO
Captain Tarrant and his men are combing the Citadel.

PRINCE G'RRRR
It must have been Crash Morgan who kidnapped Arakne! Yes, that works! As a working theory ... (to himself) hang on, if he survived the rocket crash ... she's alive! Thank you , Gods!

SCORPIO
If your Majesty would care to inspect the details?

TANG
Of course. I'll speak with you momentarily, G'rrrr ... but I warn you now, if I have any reason to suspect you of complicity in my daughter's disappearance you'll live to regret it, however briefly.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Feel free to search our cities. We have nothing to hide, I promise you. You can trust the wolf men. We are your loyal bondsmen.

Footsteps.

Yaargh!
ARAKNE
Hello, G'rrrr.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Don't do that! You nearly scared me to death ... wait! You're alive! By the Great Tree, you're alive! No, wait ... Tang's here ... oh Gods ...

ARAKNE
Daddy's here? Oh yes. There he is! Daddy! I'm hmf hm mf!

PRINCE G’RRRR (fierce whisper)
Listen! If your father catches you here with me now, I'm a dead man!

ARAKNE
What?

PRINCE G’RRRR
I haven't got time to explain. Hide!

ARAKNE
I've just escaped from the camp of the Snail Rebels.

PRINCE G’RRRR
That's nice. Tell me later ...

ARAKNE
But it was only by the cunning use of-

PRINCE G’RRRR
Yes, yes. Tell me later.

ARAKNE
But I had to-

PRINCE G’RRRR
I don't care! Just … Behind the throne!!! Now!

TANG
Did I hear you correctly, Prince G'rrrr? My daughter is missing and you don't care?

PRINCE G’RRRR
No! What I meant was, that is, I don't care about ... about anything, since Arakne disappeared!

TANG
I see.

PRINCE G’RRRR
If I could have my beloved Arakne standing next to me right here, right now, don't you think I would?

SCORPIO
My Lord! Your attention?

TANG
Of course.

ARAKNE, whispering
Have you gone mad?

PRINCE G’RRRR, whispering
Yes! Can you blame me? This whole situation is driving me crazy!

ARAKNE, whispering
Did you order General Grr'rr to sabotage the escape rocket?

PRINCE G’RRRR, whispering
Did I ..? What a funny idea ...

ARAKNE, whispering
Did you order it ..?

PRINCE G’RRRR, whispering
Well ... I don't know how you can ask me that. How can you ask me that? I mean, if our relationship isn't founded on trust, mutual trust and respect, I mean, what do we have? I mean, what do we have?

ARAKNE, whispering
A pathetic travesty.

PRINCE G’RRRR, whispering
Exactly my point. This is a turning point for our relationship. Honesty and openness at all times - now, stay behind the throne!

ARAKNE, slightly turned on
You are being masterful.

PRINCE G’RRRR
I know, I'm sorry. It won't happen again. Now just stay hidden behind the throne!

TANG
My attention is required elsewhere, G'rrrr. I have a wedding to plan, after all. Do not think that I have forgotten you. If my daughter is not returned to me, if your role in this debacle is not explained to me, the Wolf People will suffer.
PRINCE G’RRRR
Well, that sounds fair ...

TANG
I have spoken.

Footsteps away.

PRINCE G’RRRR
That was close ...

ARAKNE
If you didn't sabotage my rocket, who did?

PRINCE G’RRRR
Oh, are you still obsessing on that? I don't know ... saboteurs, I expect. Lieutenant, I mean, General Gr'rr'r ... can you think who'd do such a thing?

Lt. GR'RR'R
It was General Grr'rr, wasn't it?

PRINCE G’RRRR, trying to laugh it off as a joke
General Grr'rr hahaha ... no, seriously. Why would General Grr'rr do a thing like that ?

Lt. GR'RR'R, laughing along
Well, you did order him to, didn't you?

PRINCE G’RRRR
Shut up! Shut! Up!

ARAKNE
Daddy's going to be so displeased ...

GENERAL GRR’RR
And who's going to tell him?

ARAKNE
What?

PRINCE G’RRRR
General Grr'rr!

GENERAL GRR’RR
It seems to me that if you tell your father about that, you'll have to tell him exactly why you were piloting the Earth Man's escape vessel in the first place ...

ARAKNE
I'll just say that Morgan kidnapped me, and forced me to do his will ...

She sighs at the thought.

Who's to say any different?

GENERAL GRR’RR
Prince G'rrrr, under pain of torture.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Pain?

GENERAL GRR’RR
Of torture.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Torture?
ARAKNE
& PRINCE G’RRRR
What are we to do?

GENERAL GRR’RR
Ho ho ho. Simple. You tell your father that the Snail Men kidnapped you, and that it was the brave Prince who rescued you and returned you to your father's loving arms.

PRINCE G’RRRR, jealous
Which brave prince?

Lt. GR'RR'R
I think he means you, Sir.

PRINCE G’RRRR
He does ..?

GENERAL GRR’RR
And then we hear no more nonsense about who sabotaged whose rocket, and everybody's happy. How does that sound?

PRINCE G'RRRR
I liked the brave Prince bit.

GENERAL GRR’RR
Of course you did. Arakne?

ARAKNE
I have no choice.

GENERAL GRR’RR
Excellent!

ARAKNE
It’s the shame of it all. I mean, to have people think that I was rescued, like some pathetic weak damsel in distress. Like that ghastly Glenn Fairweather. I've never been rescued in my life. I escaped from the snail men camp by myself, with no help from anyone!

GENERAL GRR’RR
Will you lie to your father?

ARAKNE
Yes! Happy? Do you know what I had to go through to get away? There I was alone in the cell, and then I begin to hatch a plan-

ALL WOLFMEN
Yes, yes.

Segue.

ACT TWO SCENE NINE

Footsteps running.

BUDDY
They’re gaining, Crash!

TARRANT
Too bloody right we are! Crash Morgan, surrender to the supreme might of the ... Oi! Come back here when I'm subduing you!

More running footsteps.

Where've you been?

WEBSTER
Finding spare trousers.
TARRANT
Is that all?

WEBSTER
Listen, that's easy for you to say. I'm an 8 hips but a 10 waist ... do you know how hard it is for me to buy off the rack?

TARRANT
We have no time for this! After the Man Men! They went that way.

More running.

TARRANT
Rats! A junction. All right. You go that way, I go this way.

WEBSTER
Captain Tarrant, are you sure? I mean … what do I do if catch them? Shall I kill them?

TARRANT
No. You can't interrogate a dead man. I tried it once, but it didn't work out ...
Music.

ESCARGOT
I have it open … Look! A spider trooper!

CRASH
Darn. I thought we lost them … You still carrying the suit Buddy?

BUDDY
Uh uh.

WEBSTER, wheezing out of breath
That’s right, boyos. Get away from that hidden tunnel entrance and raise your hands really slowly.

CRASH
All right. Drop the gun.

WEBSTER, taken aback
What? My gun? You drop yours! I drew first!

CRASH
Are you going to let me go, or do I have to kill you? I'm a very desperate man ... you decide.

WEBSTER
All right. All right then. I’ve got a gun … this gun … and I’ll raise you a grenade!

ESCARGOT
A grenade! You fool! Put the firing pin back in!

WEBSTER
Surrender or I drop it, do you hear me? Surrender to the Will of …

The grenade drops and rolls.

Ooop! Butterfingers.

Explosion. Musical segue.
ACT TWO SCENE TEN

FAIRWEATHER, urgently
Weinstein! Weinstein, old man!

WEINSTEIN
Vhat? Vhat is it?

FAIRWEATHER
The light! I can see the light through my hand! Look at all the colours … reda, and pink, and … well, mainly red and pink, but still …

WEINSTEIN
I zink perhaps you should lie down …

Door.

MOLLUSK
Gentlemen.

WEINSTEIN
Oy. Is zere somezink ve can be doing for you?

MOLLUSK
I think we’ll skip past the badinage, gentlemen. There’s been a disturbance and I understand from Captain Tarrant that Crash Morgan was here.

FAIRWEATHER
Yes. Yes, he was.

MOLLUSK
I want you to tell me everything.

FAIRWEATHER
Everything?

MOLLUSK
Everything.

FAIRWEATHER
Are you sure?

MOLLUSK
Everything. Now.

FAIRWEATHER
Well, in the beginning was the formless void, and then-

MOLLUSK
Everything about Crash Morgan and his visit here.

FAIRWEATHER
Oh! Certainly, first of all Crash came, with Buddy and a new friend we’d not met, and then-

MOLLUSK
That’s a nice shirt, Mollusk.

FAIRWEATHER
You’re right, it is a nice shirt! Let’s count the colours! Red, and green, and yellow, and another, slightly darker green, and blue, and chartreuse, and-

MOLLUSK
This is …!

Mollusk snorts his frustration.

I will return. Be assured of that.

Door.

FAIRWEATHER
Oh dear.

WEINSTEIN
Good vork, my friend, good vork.

FAIRWEATHER
Thank you. You know, you’re very beautiful …

WEINSTEIN
Don’t touch me zere.

Musical segue.

ACT TWO SCENE ELEVEN

ESCARGOT
The Rocket Suit … destroyed in the explosion.

CRASH
Sill, we survived and escaped the Palace. That’s good.

ESCARGOT
We lost our guns. Your poor friend is dead.

CRASH
Well … there is that. But he died as bravely as he lived and, goldarn it, that’s what counts, when you get down to it. And that’s something.

ESCARGOT
We are wondering around the Crimson Desert in the middle of the night, unable to see an inch in front of our faces. Alone.

CRASH
Oh well. God gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

ESCARGOT
What?

CRASH
God gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

ESCARGOT
What?!

CRASH
God gives you-

ESCARGOT
Are you actually mad? Are you? We don’t have fruit. That’s one thing. We’re wandering around a freezing desert unarmed with half a planet trying to kill us. That’s another thing entirely! Fruit, lost on Mars, fruit, lost on Mars … There is no way on Mars we’re making a refreshing drink out of this situation!

CRASH
Well, that’s true. But at least it can’t get much worse, can it? Trust me.

GENERAL GRR’RR
Ho ho ho. There you are. You’re coming with us, Laddies.

ESCARGOT
You had to open your mouth, didn’t you …

Musical segue


ACT TWO SCENE TWELVE

Door.

BUDDY
Glenn!

GLENN
Buddy! What’s happened? You look awful!

BUDDY
There was an explosion! I got lost in all the smoke, and I’ve been wandering about … Geez, I’m glad I found you … Glenn?

GLENN
Yes Buddy?

BUDDY
Why are you dressed as a Christmas tree?

GLENN
I … look, lets not go into that. We have to hide you … but how?

Musical segue.

ACT TWO SCENE THIRTEEN

Tramping of feet.

PRINCE G’RRRR
So, Crash Morgan … Welcome to my court! So …we meet at last. Properly, that is. I mean we sort of met in the throne room, but that doesn’t really count does it? I mean …

GENERAL GRR’RR
Laddy?

PRINCE G’RRRR
Uhm?

GENERAL GRR’RR
Get on with it.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Right. Aha! You are in my power! See if you’re not! And Escargot. Tang will reward me richly for turning you over to him. Yes! I will be favoured above all others!

ESCARGOT
A favoured slave is still a slave. Without freedom, we are nothing. We are less than nothing. We are less than less than nothing. We are-

GENERAL GRR’RR
Get on with it.

CRASH
Listen to me, G’rrrr. It’s time I told you about a little place called America … Once upon a time a band of settlers came to a great uninhabited land … well, not actually uninhabited, but we were very sorry afterwards and you can’t go on being sorry forever, can you? It was a new start, a clean slate … mostly … and the American people fought to free themselves from an Oppressors Yoke and chose to carve these words upon the virgin landscape. Liberty. Equality. Freedom. Because these things, these inalienable truths are worth living, worth fighting, worth dying for and while one man remains enslaved no American can truly call himself free. Do you understand me, man? Do you understand what I’m saying?

PRINCE G’RRRR
… Not really.

GENERAL GRR’RR
Short sentences, Lad. Keep it simple.

CRASH
You should team up with Escargot here and overthrow Tang.

PRINCE G’RRRR, understanding at last.
Oh! I see! No, I don’t think so …

CRASH
No wonder the Princess doesn’t want you.

PRINCE G’RRRR
What?

CRASH
You heard me.

PRINCE G’RRRR
You … You take that back!

CRASH
No. She doesn’t want you.

PRINCE G’RRRR
She does! She’s just … playing hard to get. Very very very hard to get …

CRASH
She doesn’t want you … because she knows you’re chicken.

PRINCE G’RRRR
What? What did you say? What did you call me?

CRASH
You heard me. Chicken.

ESCARGOT
Oui. All Mars knows it. They say the Spider Princess will only marry the Wolf Prince when she needs the eggs.

PRINCE G’RRRR
You dare … in my court! Surrounded by my subjects? You dare?

Crash starts to make clucking noises.

You stop that! You stop that now!

CRASH
Or what?

He carries on clucking.

GENERAL GRR’RR
Challenge him.

PRINCE G’RRRR
What?

GENERAL GRR’RR
You have to challenge him. Or you’ll never be able to face your subjects again.

PRINCE G’RRRR
What?

GENERAL GRR’RR
Just repeat after me: You insult my honour, and the honour of all the Wolf Tribes of Mars.

PRINCE G’RRRR
I - You insult my honour, and the honour of all the Wolf Tribes.

GENERAL GRR’RR
I challenge you to personal combat.

PRINCE G’RRRR
I challenge you to personal combat.

GENERAL GRR’RR
To the death.

PRINCE G’RRRR
To the – what?

CRASH
I accept – on one condition.

PRINCE G’RRRR
To the what?

GENERAL GRR’RR
Name it.

CRASH
Win or lose, Escargot goes free to continue his noble struggle against the evil Tang.

ESCARGOT
I don’t know what to say … I am so moved …

PRINCE G’RRRR
To the what?

GENERAL GRR’RR
The Prince accepts. And may the best man win.

The court cheers, and the Prince starts to quietly sob …

Musical segue.

ACT TWO SCENE FOURTEEN

WEINSTEIN
Mollusk vill soon return, and ve cannot stall him forever … ve must escape. Ve must! Ve must attempt to somehow bypass ze roboman assigned to guard us! It must be possible to, in some vay, disable its electromechanical brain viz some manner of paradox or mathematical conundrum.

FAIRWEATHER
Perhaps …

WEINSTEIN
Yes?

FAIRWEATHER
Perhaps …

WEINSTEIN
Yes?

FAIRWEATHER
Perhaps some rugs, and some coloured lights, and some really swinging jazz …

WEINSTEIN
Ohhkay … Ve have nothing to lose. (calls over innocently) Oh, Roboman?

ROBOMAN
Ping!

WEINSTEIN
Okay ... so, Roboman, you have to listen to us, yes?

ROBOMAN
Ping!

WEINSTEIN
Okay zen.

FAIRWEATHER
Do you know, I feel … peckish. There must be something to snack on round here …

WEINSTEIN
All right zen, Roboman, listen carefully.

ROBOMAN
Ping!

WEINSTEIN
A class is a collection of objects. For example a book is a member of, for ze taking of ze instance, ze class of books …

Musical segue …

ACT TWO SCENE FIFTEEN

Door.

GLENN
You! What are you doing here?

ARAKNE
I thought I’d drop by. Wish you all the best on this, the happiest day of your life. And I have something I need you to know …

GLENN
I’m sure.

ARAKNE
Nice dress, by the way.

GLENN
Shut up.

ARAKNE
I especially like the Tinsel.

GLENN
Shut up! You’re as bad as your father. You’re cold and cruel, incapable of any of the softer, finer feelings that separate us from the beasts.

ARAKNE
It wasn’t that long ago, Man Woman, that I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly. I would have killed you for saying it, in fact, but I’d have conceded the point. But now … you heard about Crash?

GLENN
I … heard.

ARAKNE
Oh, Crash ….

GLENN
Oh, Crash …

BUDDY
Oh, Crash …

ARAKNE
Who is this?

GLENN
Oh, this is my, er, Maid of Honour, Mavis. Say hello, Mavis.

BUDDY
Hi!

Clears throat and does bad falsetto.

I mean, Hi there! Hehehehe!

ARAKNE
You look … familiar.

BUDDY, falsetto
Maybe you’ve seen me out buying dresses. And chocolate. And other women’s things.

ARAKNE, unsure
Right …

BUDDY, falsetto
Me and Glenn were just discussing women’s problems, like, er, knitting …

GLENN
Mavis?

BUDDY
Glenn?

GLENN
Shut up. There was something you wanted to tell me, Arakne?

ARAKNE
Yes, I … Crash is gone. Before he died, I tried to seduce him.

GLENN
You hussy! And you’ve come here now, on the most wretched day of my life, to rub my face in it, no doubt.

ARAKNE
No, I … I tried. And I failed. I think Crash would have wanted you to know that. That he was faithful to the end.

GLENN
That’s … very kind.

ARAKNE
I know.

GLENN
Thoughtful.

ARAKNE.
It is, yes.

GLENN
Generous, in fact-

ARAKNE
Look, I did it, all right! Just don’t go on about it.

GLENN
I cannot bring myself to believe that anyone is truly evil.

ARAKNE
No, I’m evil. On a scale of one to ten I’d say I’m at least an eight, but … He awoke something in me, I think.

GLENN
Everyone has some faint spark of good in them. Everyone. That was Crash’s special gift – to make people see that in themselves. That, and he had this enormous-

Door.

SCORPIO
The guests are arriving, my Lady. I’m instructed to bring you immediately.

GLENN
I’m coming. I appreciate the thought, Arakne. Thank you.

ARAKNE
Just one thing?

GLENN
Yes?

ARAKNE
I’m still supposed to be mostly evil, so, if you could keep this little conversation between us?

GLENN
I understand. Girl’s secret.

BUDDY
Hehehehehehehe!

GLENN
Shut up, Mavis.

Musical segue.

ACT TWO SCENE SIXTEEN

WEINSTEIN
… But zere is also a class of all classes which are not a member of themselves, e of ze g class of books, and we vill call it, oh, I don’t know, A. Now the question is … whether the class A is a member of itself? Huh? Huh?

Computer working noise.

It's vorking! It's vorking!

Tickertape noise.

Tickertape. I’ll read it. “Yes.” Yes? Vhat do you mean yes? It’s an irresolvable paradox! Vhat’s wrong with you? All right, give me Pi to its final decimal place!

Working and tickertape noise.

"3." You stupid piece of junk.

Tickertape.

WEINSTEIN
" I'm a guard robot, not a pocket calculator." Oy, I give up.

Sound of Fairweather eating loudly..

Oh, zere you are. It's not going to vork, you know.

FAIRWEATHER
It's probably got fail-safes preventing it from getting stuck in logic traps. It's a bit like ... these snacks. Very tasty. They demand to be eaten, by their very tastiness. Like logic. Tasty ... like logic. Inexorable in their salty, tangy moreishness. And if I eat too many, become locked in an endless cycle of snack consumption, then I might conceivably explode ... boom! But fortunately my brain has fail-safes, preventing an unpleasant salty snack explosion ... (suddenly paranoid) or will it? It might not? It always has, but ... these are salty, very salty snacks. Very tangy. Very moreish. More and more, until ... I don't want to die! Help me! Help me Weinstein! Help me, Roboman! Yes! Roboman! Stop me! Stop me from exploding! I'm going to eat snacks until I explode, and what happens then? What happens then?

The ROBOMAN has a dramatic nervous breakdown, and whirs to a slumped halt.

WEINSTEIN
I'm impressed.

FAIRWEATHER
Don't let me explode!
WEINSTEIN
You know, it really is a small bowl of snacks.

FAIRWEATHER
It is? Yes, it is. Very small. Very small. Thank you. Thank you so much, my friend.

WEINSTEIN
Great. Now ve get out of here!

Door.

Or maybe not.

TARRANT
Bloody hell! Another one!

WEINSTEIN
Anozzer vun what?

TARRANT
Another Roboman down! It’s like their collective robot mind has just seized up, somehow! They’re all dead!

FAIRWEATHER
Incredible!

WEINSTEIN
Vell done, old man. Vell done.

TARRANT
Don’t escape! All right? Just … don’t, all right? Oh, bloody hell …

Door.

WEINSTEIN
Ve have to contact Crash!

Musical segue.

ACT TWO SCENE SEVENTEEN

BIG TOP GRRR’R’, announcing
He’s fit, he’s fine, he’s the noble descendant to a long line of warriors and he’s a hit with all the ladeez, in the red corner, the leader of the pack himself, Prince G’rrrr!

The Wolfmen cheer!

And in the blue corner it’s the challenger, the plucky newcomer from another world, the man man with the plan plan, Crash Morgan, Special Federal Agent, Test Pilot and Prize Fighter!

ESCARGOT
Go Crash go!

BIG TOP GRRR’R’
Okay, Gentlemen, time to square up and pick your weapons. Prince G’rrrr. Will you fight with the Spikey Crushing Mace, the Gigantic Vicious Looking Halberd or the Deadly Bladed Killing Axe?

PRINCE G’RRRR
Ooh, I don’t know … they all look so very deadly.

CRASH
I’ll fight with my fists, the way a man should.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Can I take two?

BIG TOP GRRR’R’
One Weapon per combatant, your Highness.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Well, yes, I know, but he said he didn’t want his …

BIG TOP GRRR’R’
Okay, you’ve got your Halberd. I want a drawn out dirty fight, lots of hacking and slicing with extra points for gouging of eyes. Paint the Canvas red, boys.

Bell.

(announcing again) And they’re off … and they’re circling … they’re circling …

Whack noise! The crowd goes Oooh!

And the Prince is down!

PRINCE G’RRRR
Don’t kill me!

CRASH
I won’t kill you. (calls) Wolf men of Mars! Listen to me! I have defeated your ruler! He fought nobly-

PRINCE G’RRRR
Oh, you’re just saying that.

CRASH, whisper
I am, actually.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Oh.

CRASH
He fought nobly, and I will not take his life. He must live. Escargot and I walk free, but …

Bleeping noise.

We go free but …

Bleeping noise.

ESCARGOT
It’s ze radio.

CRASH
Hello? I’m actually in the middle of something … What’s that? Disabled you say? My God! Stay where you are!

ESCARGOT
What?

CRASH
The Robomen! The Doc and the Professor have somehow disabled Tang’s Robomen.

ESCARGOT
We may never get another opportunity like zis! Give me the radio. I will contact Helix. We must attack Tang immediament!

CRASH
Wolf men of Mars! Escargot and I walk free, into battle with your most hated enemy Tang! Now is the time for you to throw off the tyrants leash and stand tall! Join with Escargot! Join with us now!

GENERAL GRR’RR
You should listen to him, Laddy.

PRINCE G’RRRR
I … we can’t, man man. I’m sorry.

ESCARGOT
Why not? We will never have another opportunity such as this!

PRINCE G’RRRR
I … I don’t want to die. I’ll admit it. But it isn’t about that. Listen, I’ve watched Tang kill my father, my subjects, so many … It’s not worth the risk. It really isn’t. So good luck, but … I can’t.

ESCARGOT
You wish us luck yet will not act. You are truly ze coward. Come, Crash …

Running footsteps off.

PRINCE G’RRRR
Don’t say anything! Just … don’t!

GENERAL GRR’RR
I don’t think I need to, Laddy.

Musical segue.

ACT TWO SCENE EIGHTEEN

TANG, sings
I’m getting married in the morning … ding dong, the bells are going to chime …

TARRANT
Emperor Tang Sir! Chancellor Mollusk sir!

TANG
Ah, Captain Tarrant. How do I look, Captain?

TARRANT
What? I mean, pardon, sir?

TANG
This is my wedding raiment, and I’d appreciate another impartial eye.

MOLLUSK
Your majesty is radiant. A vision.

TANG
Quite. How do I look, Tarrant?

TARRANT
You look … lovely sir. I like the cape. Detailed, but not too fussy. To be honest …

TANG
Not sure about the sequins. Just a matter of personal taste, sire.

TANG
Hmm. Thank you. Now, what can I do for you?

TARRANT
You’re not going to like it, sir.

TANG
This, Captain, is the happiest of days. I doubt very much that there is anything you can tell me which will spoil my mood.

TARRANT
The Robomen are all kaput and the Snail Men are attacking the palace walls.

MOLLUSK
My Robomen disabled! How?

TARRANT
Dunno, sir. They just went …

He blows a raspberry noise.

TANG
You are containing them?

TARRANT
Well there’s a lot of the slimy little beggars, sir, and no-one scales a wall like a snail man.

TANG
Well, I’ve no doubt you’ll emerge victorious. The Spider Troopers were the finest fighting force on Mars before the creation of the Robomen.

TARRANT
Er … were, sir …

TANG
Do pass me my ceremonial sword. Thank you.

MOLLUSK
You’re going ahead with the ceremony?

TANG
I see no reason to bow to the rabble. Go sort it out, Mollusk.

MOLLUSK
As your majesty commands. Come, Captain …

TANG, sings
For Gods’ sake get me to the church on time …

Musical segue

ACT TWO SCENE NINETEEN

Battle rages.

ESCARGOT
How fares the battle, Helix?

HELIX
We’ve made gains sir, and are holding our ground … but we need reinforcements badly …

ESCARGOT
Zut Alors! But wait! Over there!

HELIX
Mollusk!

ESCARGOT
He is mine.

More battle.

So, Mollusk … finally I have you …

MOLLUSK
Escargot!

ESCARGOT
You are a traitor to your species. I cannot begin to voice my contempt for you. You are scum. You are less than scum. You are less than less than scum. You are-

MOLLUSK
Oh look! Your shoes are untied!

ESCARGOT
Really? Let me – urgh!

MOLLUSK
Three things my mother always taught me, Escargot. Wear clean underpants. Keep the receipt. And always carry a hidden knife.

ESCARGOT
It’s good advice.

MOLLUSK
Goodbye, Escargot. You always were noble and honest – you never stood a chance.

Ray blaster.

Aaargh!

ESCARGOT
Who has … done this ..?

PRINCE G’RRRR
Oh Gods ... I actually shot someone … Oh Gods ….

GENERAL GRR’RR
Okay boys, bring up the rear! Support and advance!

ESCARGOT
You came after all … the day is won …

PRINCE G’RRRR
You were right, Escargot. You were right. I’ve been a coward. But people can change.

Escargot coughs.

You’ll be okay. It’s just a flesh wound. Probably.

ESCARGOT
No! It is mortal! I feel my life slipping away, but I die happy. A free Mars with lettuce for all, without shadow or salt. A new dawn. A new day. A time of peace, and happiness. For all this I have fought and it is no sorrow to die having succeeded. My blood, my life is a small price to pay for all that will follow. Kiss me, my noble brother G’rrrr!

PRINCE G’RRRR
Er ..

GENERAL GRR’RR
No-one’s looking, Lad.

Kissy noise.

ESCARGOT
I die happy. More than happy. More than more than happy. More than …

He dies.

GENERAL
He was a great man, and a noble warrior.

PRINCE G’RRRR
And a fantastic kisser.

Shouts out.

Wolfman advance! Down with Tang! In Escargot’s name!

Musical segue.

ACT TWO SCENE TWENTY

CARDINAL SYN
Do you, Tang the Pitiless, Spider Warlord and First Emperor of Mars, take this man woman Glenn Fairweather to be your lawful wife, to have and to subdue, to use and discard at such time as your Majesty sees fit?

TANG
I do.

CARDINAL SYN
And do you, Glenn Fairweather, man woman of Earth, take this Spider Warlord to be your lawfully wedded lord and master?

GLENN
Do I have a choice?

CARDINAL SYN
Actually, no. Red tape. I just have to ask.

GLENN
Oh. Well, no anyway. Certainly not.

CARDINAL SYN
Is there anyone here with any due cause or reason the happy couple should not be joined in holy matrimony.

Door slams open, and battle rages beyond.

CRASH
I do. Hands off the woman I love, Tang.

GLENN
Crash!

ARAKNE
You’re alive!

TANG
I am most displeased. Prepare to taste cold Martian steel!

Swords are drawn, and battle commences.

BUDDY
Wow. Tang’s good … he’d driven Crash onto the balcony …

TANG
Thousands have fallen beneath my blade, man man. You’re good … but a good amateur is still an amateur.

A loud cracking noise.

GLENN
Crash! The balcony’s giving way!

CRASH
Oh, that’s just great …

A loud clang, and the fight stops.

Disarmed!

TANG
No sword. No hope. No time. I do believe Victory – and your woman - are mine.

CRASH
Soon Escargot and G’rrrr will have taken over your Palace. Where will that leave you?

TANG
Back where I started. I conquered Mars once, man man, and can do it again. In fact, I welcome the challenge.

CRASH
You won’t succeed. You see, we brought something to Mars you never had before. The American Way! Yes, that’s right. We brought the American Spirit with us, Tang, and we planted it, small and precious, to flower in the red sands, to grow and grow into something strong and noble. You can defeat me, you can enslave a world again, but that tough, sturdy little shoot will always grow back.

TANG
Well, it’s been manured well enough. Prepare to die!

ARAKNE
No, Father!

TANG
Daughter! Out of my way.

ARAKNE
No. I won’t let you kill the man I love.

TANG
Get out of my way.

ARAKNE
No, Daddy! This is the noblest of men! He’ll never love me, but … he has my heart. Kill him and you kill me.

TANG
You have made your choice-

ARAKNE
No!

PRINCE G’RRRR
Get away from her!

A loud crunch, and a collapsing noise.

TANG, receding into distance
Noooooooooooooooooo!

CRASH
Gone … fallen into the mists …

PRINCE G’RRRR
Someone help me!

CRASH
It’s all right G’rrrr … I have you … Someone help me pull him up!

GENERAL GRR’RR
Here we go!

Grunting as he is pulled to safety.

ARAKNE
That was … that was very brave, G’rrrr. I didn’t know you had it in you. I feel … I feel … what’s the opposite of contempt?

PRINCE G’RRRR
Oh my love, I am yours!

GENERAL GRR’RR, sotto voice
Ho ho ho … There’s a whole world out there that hates your guts, and now Daddy’s gone … I’d play along, if I were you.

ARAKNE, insincere
Oh G’rrrr … You’ve made me the happiest girl alive …

BUDDY
Gee Crash. Are you okay?

CRASH
Buddy?

BUDDY
Oh, I’m in disguise. Are you okay?

CRASH
I’m fine. How about Escargot?

GENERAL GRR’RR
Gone. But he died well, and happily, with freedom’s song on his lips. All’s well that ends well, I’d say.

WEINSTEIN
Crash, zere you are! Thank ze Lord!

CRASH
Doc! And the Professor!

Suddenly suspicious.

Are you okay?

FAIRWEATHER
I’m fine. The worst of the truth serum has worn off. Glenn! My baby girl! I’m so glad you’re safe!

CRASH
We’re okay. We’re all okay.

GLENN
Oh Daddy … will we ever return to Earth?

FAIRWEATHER
One day, my dear, one day … and in the meantime we can all sleep soundly in the knowledge that the evil of Tang the Pitiless will never return to plague Mars!

Music swells

ANNOUNCER
Join us next week for a new Crash Morgan serial – Crash Morgan and the Revenge of the Spider Warlords of Mars, Episode One – The Evil of Tang!