Back in the summer of 2011, a group of misfits was blown together by chance into one little corner of the Internet. This RP was the result. When the misfits were cast out by the um, *cough* management, we took the RP with us. In the winter of 2012 I first tried my hand at sequential art using an IPad app, that effort eventually evolved into a dismal attempt to draw a webcomic . . . here is a mixture of those first attempts, together with Book 1 of the original QBR Role Play, as written by the original players.

As for those above mentioned misfits, both those that are still with us, and to those we’ve lost along the way – thanks for the laughs. The term ‘boon companions’ comes to mind . . .

 

QBR RP Book I
Night of the Living Bread…

Posted by Forlath “Flashheart” Grey
CHAPTER ONE

It was the end of times.
That society came crashing down was not a surprise but that it fell so quickly, so shockingly fast. It came tumbling down quicker than it took to catch your breath, that was the surprise.

The disinformation and propaganda from the government had made it hard to discern what was going on until it was too late but eventually the word filtered down to the survivors. Apparently it all started with a top secret Department of Agriculture project to centralize and streamline bread production. The cost of bread had been rising for some time. Soon it had reached a crisis of Biblical proportions. Quite literally of Biblical proportions, to misquote Revelation 6:6, it now cost a day’s wages for a loaf of bread.

The Department of Agriculture thought they could use a new revolutionary chemical leavening agent to increase bread production and ease the market threatening bread shortages. They tried to play God, messed with things they didn’t fully understand and in the process doomed us all to hell. A hell on earth. What they didn’t realize with their mad science and corner cutting was that their leavening agent was making the bread they produced sentient. Sentient and unstable. Sentient and hostile to all life forms. Sentient and deadly.

The mass produced, sentient, mad bread was mass produced and shipped around the world before anyone realized what a horrible mistake they had made. Then it was just a matter of days until governments toppled and societies crumbled. Millions died at breakfast while trying to load their toasters. Military never even got the chance to fire a shot. You know the proverb “an army marches on its stomach”? It’s hard to march anywhere when you’ve been disemboweled by an angry pastry.

It turns out our civilization’s weakness was our cereals based society. We were brought low by our love of bakery goods. It was over. All over and in spite of the old adage no Rubenesque lady would be singing to herald the end of the final act because there were no Rubenesque ladies left. They were the first to go.

Some survivors remained, mostly those who never had time for breakfast or those like me who never got out of bed until noon. Technology was one of the first victims of civilization’s descent. All those fancy, high maintenance micro processor’s that had been put in everything didn’t take long to fail without an army of technicians to keep them in service. So now we few, we bold, we band of misfits do what we can to survive in civilization’s twilight with what tools we can scavenge or make, using the technology and knowledge available to us. We find ourselves thrust back into the age of steam. Over a century of progress reversed in a matter of weeks.

For the remaining survivors it’s not about rebuilding society. It’s about survival. Defeating death and ensuring humanity’s existence for one more day.

Which brings us to today. Our little band has made a mistake. A silly, stupid, beginner mistake, a mistake we never should have made. A mistake that might mean our very deaths. While scoping out the Super Target in Altoonia, Iowa we broke rule number one – always have a way out. I don’t know how we made such a basic error in judgment, perhaps we’re growing complacent or just plain tired.

While doing a reconnoiter of the premises to determine suitability for a long term camp we let ourselves get boxed in by a rabid pack of whole wheat sliced bread. I think I even spotted some 7 grain in amongst their numbers. If we’re going to survive we’re going to have to fight and fight like hell. Heaven have mercy on our souls…

Reply by Luke
“Spread out Everyone”, Luke whispered as he pulled out his trusty butter knife, digging the blade deeply into his ever-ready tub of marmite. His years of fighting zombies, warp-spawned abominations and mango-armed pygmies hadn’t prepared him for the horrors he now faced. Making sure to carefully place himself between Lady Patch and the looming monstrosity he advanced with caution, knife glistening with a thick black glob of killer-spread.
Lunging at the towering creature, he applied a liberal helping of the salty paste to the vicious tusks, only to be thrown to the ground, his improvised weapon sent flying under some racks of male hair products.
The creature turned to him baying a furious note.

“I say, stop that tom-foolery. Look what you’ve done! All over my whiskers and all. This is NOT the time…”
Luke lay terrified under the Walrus’ gaze, petrified by the sight of the black-brown substance matted in the long bristles. Only then did he realise that his other hand was still clenched around a full tub. A full tub with the cap still off…

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Snapping back to reality, Luke looked around him. He was safely placed in the middle of the group, and no-one had noticed him discreetly filling his pockets with multivitamins and herbal supplements (one never knew, after this fiasco he might be able to make some dough). The group was huddled against the shelves, hoping to stay out of sight of wandering pretzel sentries, Forlath having cunningly removed a bottle of olive leave extract to see through the shelf.

“All clear” he whispered and Luke felt his breath return.

“But how do we kill these things? Luke inquired. “Clearly my pistol and axe are useless, and I’m certainly not going up against a ciabatta with only my butterknife.” After a moment’s consideration he whispered hopefully “anyone have anything useful on him?”

A brief search of his own pockets revealed two paper clips, a length of string, a pencil and an elastic band.
Inspiration struck.

“Maybe we can get a copy of McGuyver while we are here, I’m sick of watching reruns of Colin Firth in a stupid water fountain”.

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Reply by Lady Patch aka nancy drewblood
*Scanning the shelves around them LP spots the beverage isle….*

“I think we have two options. Water or fire…we soak em or toast em….I’m all for burning the pace down but sense we somehow forgot a way out…I’m going with soak em. Anyone for french onion soup?…right then…”

*Peeks up over their cover spot to see how many sliced bread monsters are afoot…*
“Luke, you think you can get as many super soakers as you can and meet us back here? Forlath be a dear and help with the liquids…”

*a sly smile spread across LP face….Grabs a few coveralls hanging on a rack beside them*

“Suit up boys! Who ya gonna call…?????”

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Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
Commander Casey , Erik, Rolland, and the RingMaster are out side the store.

*Casey radios Forlath* ” Forlath, It’s Casey, Do you read me, Z team is in position,
Searching for possible extraction point. I need your 20″

*Garble… Sheeee…… Garble….sheee…crackle…sheeeeee
Casey shakes the infernal device in desperation* Dam batteries”

” I can’t receive, but If you can hear me Forlath, Z team is in position outside the automotive department……We can’t find a way in…the automatic doors won’t open,
I keep stepping on the black censer matt but nothing happens.”

Erik jump to his feet and runs out from behind the trash can, Snatches His crowbar from off His backpack,
Then strikes the glass in the automated doors, and sends glass flying everywhere.*
“Nice going Erik…..”Now who’s going to clean that up” * Casey then motions for his group to hold there positions*

“Ringmaster hand me your toaster, I’m going in. If I’m not back in five, turn this place into crumbs, Got it,…Here goes”.

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Reply by Madelaine Phillips-Carter
Maddie and the gang were spread out under a shady tree, picnic style, sipping gin-spiked tea, and nibbling on delicate sandwiches, also spiked with gin. Directly across from Maddie sat a rather dapper looking gent, made entirely of toast. “He must be the new recruit” she muttered to herself, giving him the once-over. He had a most fantastic hat, and fine moustache (which was a rather unsettling shade of green.) Upon closer inspection she noticed it was not in fact a moustache, but rather a thick tuft of mold. “I say chap, you appear to be going a bit off…I’m afraid your days are numbered, my crusty friend” she said wistfully “Ah well, ’tis the fate of baked goods!” and sighing, she turned to Lady Patch “I’ll have another cuppa if you don’t mind dear…tea always raises the spirits…or rather, I should say, spirits always raise the tea…Forlath, pass the gin too while your at it!”

*SPLASH*

Why I never!!! Maddie awoke in a puddle of what she assumed to be gin, surrounded by a rather staggering amount of empty bottles. Looking up she saw Forlath, Lady Patch, Luke and Mara glaring down at her.

“I had the strangest dream!” She cried, scrambling to her feet..”You were there! And you, and you!”
She straightened her hat and began to wring out her petticoats.

“Sorry about the water Maddie…” Lady Patch exclaimed “but it was the only way of waking you!”

“Yes, we thought you were a gonner!” Mara added “Lucky we came across you when we did!”

Slowly the events of the last few days came back to her. The zombread outbreak…the Super Target…the sense of joy and wonder she experienced when she discovered that Super Target’s have a well-stocked alcohol department…and then nothing. She wondered how many hours? days? weeks? she had been out. In any case, she was happy to see the gang again.

“So then, what brings you to my neck of the woods” she inquired?
Lady Patch told of her plan, of soaking or toasting. A lightbulb went on in Maddie’s addled head.

“BRILLIANT!” she exclained “But why settle for just one method…WHY NOT SOAK AND TOAST!!” And with a fiendish grin she produced a lighter from her pocket….”Anyone up for a Molotov cocktail? DRINKS ARE ON ME YOU CRUSTY BASTARDS!” She cried, shaking her fist skyward…

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Reply by Mara Fantoccini
As Mara voiced her concern for Maddie’s possible spontaneous combustion if she attempted construction of molotov cocktails (due to her long-time relationship with gin), the onslaught was getting worse.
Kamikaze bread slices, leaping into toasters, were propelling themselves towards the resistance.
Something had to be done, and quickly, or our fearless band would soon be…..

“Wait a minute” Mara asked, “what exactly will the zombread do to us? Shouldn’t it be they, quaking in their loaf-ers?”

So, grabbing a jar of jam from a nearby shelf while wildly waving a butter knife, she recklessly runs off towards enemy lines screaming “breakfast is now being served!”

(“Night of the Living Bread” a ‘roll’ playing game.)

Reply by Lady Patch aka nancy drewblood
Lady Patch watched Mara run of towards the crusty Bast*rds…looking at Maddie she shrugged*

“Ummm Maddie? *LP zipping into her jump suit and hands Maddie one* “Tho lighting these yeasty foes on fire would indeed be great fun…”

*LP’s speech was broke off by the sound of breaking glass…followed by the voice of The Commisioner himself…LP claps her hands wildly*

“Maddie you brilliant gin soaked gal…now that there’s a way out I say SOAK and Toast!!”

*LP holds up the gun attachment to her super soaker back pack, both tanks now filled to the rim with the finest alcohol Target has to offer. leaning in towards Maddie, LP wiggles her eyebrows…speaking in her best Clark Gable voice*

“I’d say lets go easy on them…but frankly, my dear, I don’t give a jam.”

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Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
*Casey runs over to LP’s location behind the toy rack, ” We just punched a way out LadyPatch, or was that ‘ Way In’. Anyway We made a hole a donut would be proud of.’ * Casey glancing over to where Maddie laid rolled out like sour dough on a lawn chair* “My you look toasted Maddie” *Maddie tried to manage a smile, but the result was barely a smirk, as She replied*. “Why you’re just trying to butter me up, Casey”. * Casey crouched down behind LP and with one hand on her shoulder said* ” Wait,…………… Before you strike, look at this. *Casey lifts up the flamethrower that He has slung around his neck.* “We call it the ‘Toaster’, It might just give you an edge”.

Reply by Forlath “Flashheart” Grey
Forlath surveyed the aftermath…
Things had happened so quickly it was difficult to pin down the exact sequence of events but first there had been the enthusiastic decision by Lady Patch to start spraying large amounts of alcohol everywhere (that’s going to be a hard one to explain to my sponsor). Then came Maddie and her improvised Molotov cocktails flying through the air. The Commander not wanting to miss the fun pulled out yet another example of his extensive arsenal (where does he even keep all those guns?) and started flaming everything with his flame thrower. Then Mara picked that very moment to rush right into the midst of the fray and start trading bite for bite with the leader of the by then distinctly over toasted alpha male of the stodgy baked goods pack. Luke meanwhile was over in the DVD section browsing titles.

For a moment or two it had seemed fairly certain that the squad would go from certain death by bread to certain death by incineration. Just when the packages of popcorn started popping in all directions over in the snacks aisle and the cans of hairspray started exploding one by one in the hair products aisle, that’s when thankfully the sprinkler system activated soaking everything in foul tasting, stale smelling water. The sprinklers put out the flames but all that water had as Lady Elizabeth predicted also turned the animated bread horde into a big puddle of wet, doughy mess. Final score – Gear of Rejection one, Killer Sentient Bread zero.

Forlath looked at the smoking ruins of the now completely destroyed Super Target. Luke was still in the charred DVD section muttering something about season three being so much better than season two with pockets full multivitamins. So he’s a health freak and a kleptomaniac, oh well, there were worse things. LP was practicing her darts and dashes in her snazzy new jumpsuit occasionally giggling and drenching other members of the party with a super soaker filled with Malibu rum. Wouldn’t be so bad if a carton of orange juice was handy Forlath thought to himself. There was now a huge hole in the wall you could drive a Mack truck through over by where the entrance used to be. The Commander was never one to do things by half. Important note to self – tell the Commander that baby monitors only transmit one way. Maddie was obviously under the influence again, that woman was a liability but gosh darn it if she wasn’t a fun drunk. She was of course a bit singed about the edges from when the fireball went off. Mara took the full brunt of the blast being engaged in hand to hand with the leader of the yeasty devils right at the center of the detonation, but thankfully she was covered in jam when the explosion happened and that seemed to have saved her from any permanent damage. Surely her hair would grow back eventually. Hell, all of us would have to draw our eyebrows on with eyeliner pencil for a while (aisle six). One thing was certain; this Super Target was no longer suitable as a camp. Time to keep looking.

Forlath called out to the rest of the band “well done crew, we uh, appear to have won that one. In future it would be nice if we could contain the damage radius just a bit. Not a lot mind you, you know scale down the mayhem maybe just a tad. If it’s not too much to ask.”

Forlath gave a deep sigh. “Right, mount up; there are plenty of other places out there we haven’t destroyed yet.”

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Reply by Forlath “Flashheart” Grey
CHAPTER TWO

Ice cream, Forlath though to himself, I wonder if humanity will ever again make ice cream. He thought back to the last time he had stopped at a roadside ice cream stand before the apocalypse and had ordered a cone with two scoops, one vanilla and one black raspberry, his favorite. He savored the memory of the cold sensation of the ice cream on his tongue, the release of the flavors on his taste buds. Would he ever again taste ice cream?

“NO, NO, NO!” Forlath snapped out of his reverie back to the heated debate going on amongst the tiny band of survivors. Commander Casey was hotly arguing that the logical next step was to find the nest, destroy it and end this plague once and for all. Others disagreed. Surely it was just a matter of time before nature took its course and the sentient bread decomposed due to mold, rain and other natural forces. Surely all they needed to do was find a secure place to hold up and avoid casualties until the bread menace had rotted away.

“And what if they are reproducing?” The Commander asked. The silence following his question was poignant as every member of the group contemplated the ghastly ramifications. No more ice cream Forlath thought. “But there is no evidence of that.” Someone countered. “And there’s no evidence that they are not. If we don’t ensure the means of production has been destroyed how can we be sure?” The Commander retorted, his whiskers bristling. “And if we are not sure how can we hope to reclaim humanity’s rightful place at the top of the food chain!”

Again silence as each member of the gang pondered that possibility. Forlath cleared his throat and spoke up “all right, let’s put it to a vote then. All those in favor of a frontal assault say aye. Or if anyone has a better plan now is the time to bring it to the floor”.

Reply by Luke
Luke, slipped the pilfered DVDs quietly into his waistband. He was still thinking of the potential use of the elastic bands in his pocket when he was snapped back to reality.

“what if they reproduce?”
ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew

I’m never eating bread again.
After a moment he managed to pull himself together. Despite the disturbing evidence presented, they were a welcome relief from the internal cinema of his mind.

“I’m in, as long as we have a better plan than torching the place. I mean, sure it was effective, but I’m pretty sure every bun and danish for the next 30 miles are on their way here right now. We need a plan. Does bread have any natural enemies? Enormous ravenous pigeons perhaps? Giant Ducks? Monster mice? If we can’t get any of those, I’ll settle for a good plan.”

“Or a LCD TV, I’m not fussy”

Reply by Lady Patch aka nancy drewblood
*Thinking about her empty stomach….*

“feed the masses???…well accept for Luke as he…well….ummm…he thinks it’s ew. But I say The french Bread guards would make a nice french onion soup…”

*Begins talking to herself whilst counting on her fingers… disappears into kitchen…*
((pots and pans clanking…water running…chopping…LP humming…. squeaky shoes…))

*Peeks head around door…*
“Would bread pudding be too offensive for you Luke? Forlath could you be a dear and find some raisins…and while your at it…pick the poor schlub who gets to be the bread bate….Perhaps Ezra or the Commisioner??…we’ll just eat as many as we can turn into pastries or other some such….”

*closes door and comes right back out seconds later…this time holding blueberry schmutz*
“Multiplying you say??? Hows bout scones???…I could use some coffee…any change of that?? perhaps there’s a can of chalked full of nuts laying about?”

Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
Actually, I have a plan, It’s only
half baked, but It’s a beginning to a
good recipe. This map shows us the
way around the yeast infested fields.
If we can avoid being leavened, We
can be at there HQ in Matzo within
4 hours or 40 years , depending upon
how closely We follow this map.
As I said, It’s just in the proofing stage.

Reply by Mara Fantoccini
Evening falls.

Mara sits mumbling to herself, running her hand across the stubble that was once her magnificent auburn mane. She finally speaks:
“I saw a breaded shrimp, amongst the enemy’s fallen back at Target. You don’t think those fiends are using flour power to convert other food groups? First the yeast risen, then the unleavened, and now? Is nothing sacred? Is there nothing safe from these glutenous glutens?”

Suddenly a glint of genius appears in her eyes. Genius or is it madness, it doesn’t matter. She runs off, shouting “I’ll be back” in her best Swarzenegger impression.

Admiral Steward shakes his head, “she’s balmy, I just hope she knows what she’s doing.”

“I’ve heard she recently escaped from an asylum, although I don’t know how true it is.” remarks LP.

The group huddles closer to the fire, Forlath scribbling in his journal, the Admiral and LP fervently discussing something or another, Luke checking his inventory and Maddie snoring away in a blissful gin-soaked stupor.

Eventually they doze off, all except Professor X, who is the watchman for the night.
As the sun rises, they are awaken from their dreams by girlish screams of excitement. Clapping her hands and jumping up and down, Mara shouts “he’s here! he’s here! Look who I’ve brought to help us!”

“Chef Gordon Ramsay!!”

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Reply by Forlath “Flashheart” Grey
Forlath groaned and put his head in his hands. “Great, just what we need some botoxed, foul mouthed, British egomaniac.”

Ramsay replied “”You fat, useless sack of ******* Yankee dankee doodle ****!”

“All right, all right, no need to get personal”, Forlath responded aggrieved.

“You couldn’t run a bath let alone a kitchen!” Shouted Ramsay.

“Look,” Forlath said placatingly, “is that really necessary…?”

“You can’t run around like Shrek in a frock! You look like a baby Rhinoceros looking for a place to ****!” Ramsay continued “Missy! if you sautee scallops in a NON STICK pan, they won’t stick!!! That’s why its ******* called non STIIIIICKKKKK! I don’t know what ‘non stick’ means in Texas, sweetheart, but **** ME!”

“How do you shut him off???” Forlath quailed.

“Maitre D’, He’s a ******* commie! He’s a commie! What are you gonna do now fatso? Do you not think it’s your job to be responsible? Or are you gonna think about your cheeseburger all day long?”

Forlath shouted to Mara above the tirade which was growing louder and fouler by the minute, “Mara, this was your idea, please do something with him!!”

Reply by Luke
Luke, pulls his service revolver and shoves it into the flapping mouth. Undeterred, the noise continues, but the more extreme expletives are thankful muffled.

“I’ve bought us some time. we deal with this problem first and then the stupid bread. Hopefully something better will arise. How do we turn off an irate pom?”

Luke sighed and removed the revolver from the now bright red Ramsey. Sheepishly he turns to the group. “didn’t bring any ammo”. Luke”s eyes suddenly brightened as realization dawned. Grabbing the string, elastic bands and hand fulls of vitamins, he turns his back to the group and begins to work industriously. Thirty minutes latter he turns to Ramsey and shoves the now tangled ball of string and elastic bands into the chef’s mouth followed by 450% of his RDA of multivites.

He turns to the group expectantly with a big smile on his face.

“Da da da dada daaa dada daa. No? Come on…. Mac is back? What? Oh…..”

Luke kicks at a stone and silks in a corner.
“Richard Dean Anderson didn’t have to rhubarbrhubarbrhubarb…..”

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Reply by Madelaine Phillips-Carter
Luke’s brilliantly improvised gag had muffled Ramsey’s torrent of profanities, however, he still maintained use of his limbs, and had now resorted to using them to gesticulate wildly in a flurry of obscene gestures. Between muffled curses, he gnawed at the rubber bands like a frenzied badger. With the almost super-human energy the mega-dosage of vitamins had inadvertently bestowed upon him, the group feared he may be like this for hours….days even.

“Bloody hell!” Madelaine grumbled, stirring from her sleep…”Can’t a girl get any shut eye!” Roused by all the commotion, she sat up groggily.

Sensing fresh prey, Ramsey turned on Maddie. “HRmmmpHhh-MhhhPhhh-GrrrrFFF-FHGR@*%$$” he screamed, his face red as a beet.

“HRmmmpHhh-MhhhPhhh-GrrrrFFF-FHGR@*%$$ yourself, you prat!” she retorted “And mind your bloody manners, there are ladies present!” and with that, she produced a bottle of gin from her knapsack and chucked it at Ramsey’s head.
The bottle hit home, and Ramsey colapsed in a heap. “There” Maddie said, a look of satisfaction in her eyes “That should do it for a few hours I would hope! Now then, back to business!”

Maddie gathered her skirts and sat herself down upon a log, using Ramsey’s unconscious body as a foot-rest. She cleared her throat and began…”I’ve come up with a few options to consider” she began, grinning proudly. “First off, we could find a new location to hole up for a bit, until help arrives or the zombread dies of starvation or whatnot…Highrise apartments maybe? Or a Shopping Mall? Or we could grab Erik, go to the Snub Pub, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over. Remeber that rifle over the bar? I wonder if it’s loaded?”
She continued…”Or we could look into that military broadcast that has been looping on the radio? The military is always helpful!”

“Or we could head west to California…I’ve heard rumours of an amusement park called Pacific Playland that is supposedly zombread-free! Although there was something about re-animated twinkies mentioned too…”
“Or we could find Prof. Extreme and convince him to build electro-shock collars that we could outfit the bread with, and put them to work doing menial labour!”

Maddie took a deep breath “Or there’s what I like to dub “Operation Walking Bread” where we coat ourselves with bits of bread from head to toe and try to trick them into thinking we’re one of them! I believe they operate by scent, so we’re bound to fool them!”

Hours passed while Maddie exhausted all possible cliches. When she was finished, she let out a deep sigh “Phew! All that talking made me thirst!” She reached into her knapsack for a bottle of gin when…”What’s that…must have shifted to the bottom of the bag…one minute….no…no….no! This can’t be!?” Panicking she shot up and with a look of abject horror pointed to the broken bottle that lay at Chef Ramsey’s side…”THAT WAS MY LAST BOTTLE OF GIN!!!”

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She fell to her knees in the dirt, and shaking her fist skyward let out an inhuman cry “NOOOOooooooOOOOOoooooOOOO!!!!!!”

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Reply by Mara Fantoccini
Ramsay started to stir, obviously the vitamin overdose made him revive faster.
Mara places herself between Ramsay and the now irate ABC 1-2-3-4 team( Anti Bread Coalition- 1 for the money, 2 for the show, 3 to get ready and 4 to kick arse.)

With tears welling up in her eyes she pleads “don’t hurt him, he could be of some use, after all, he is a chef.”
“Maybe we could use him as a distraction device?” she added.
Turning to Maddie, she notes “and don’t forget to always double-tap!”

(Round about this point in webcomic creation, Christmas 2012 came and went . . .)

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Reply by Lady Patch aka nancy drewblood
*squealing tires can be herd in the distance…getting closer until a large bread truck can be seen heading their way….everyone takes cover…slamming on it’s breaks, the wonderbread truck does a 180 skidding to a perfect stop just along side the gang of misfits…lady patch sticks her head out the door…*
“Hullo dolls…oh! And you gents too!”

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*jumps off the truck tossing Maddie a duffle bag…*
“Found the bread truck just sitting there…nicked some gin and pine apple juice…figured Maddie could use the extra…and the juice??? I’m not sure.”

*walks to log and takes a seat next to maddie…pulls out sling shot and large tie-less bag of marbles…spilling most on the ground before them…picks up a few and starts Plink!ing them at forlath’s head…*
“So…((plink!)) What next…pretty sure we should find cover eh? ((Plinkity plink!))…luke, mara?..who’s driving…?”

Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
Thanks Maddie, I wasn’t aware We had so many options, but I believe you may have forgotten one, We could fly to the moon in a Yellow Balloon, while sing this tune, Ma’am’s little baby loves shorten shorten Ma’am’s little baby loves shorten bread.

Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
“Hold up for one second, before we go anywhere I think , at least for Mara’s sake, I show all of you a few move in hand to hand combat……………….I think I will use the Chef there to help me demonstrate a few simple moves.”

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Ok, Let him loose, Go ahead Ramsey come at me, don’t be afraid, I won’t hurt you.”
* Ramsey charges toward Casey. Casey grabs Ramsey while explaining each move.*

Reply by Forlath “Flashheart” Grey
Thankfully the quick actions of Luke and Maddie had temporarily neutralized the Ramsay menace. But as Madelaine began to list the group’s surprisingly vast (considering it being the end of the world and all) array of options for the future, Forlath had found himself… slowly… drifting… off…

Only to be wrenched suddenly awake by Madelaine shouting “We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! D**n you. God d**n you all to hell!”, or at least that’s what he thought she was shouting, he hadn’t had much sleep lately and things were starting to get a bit muddled.

It looked like Ramsay was starting to stir again, must be all that red meat in his colon Forlath thought to himself. Mara had placed herself between Ramsay and the rest of the group and was pleading for Ramsay’s life. “So now we’re the A team of the Apocalypse? That’s not exactly as confidence inspiring as you might think it is Mara”, Forlath mused.

Out of the corner of his eye, Forlath saw Luke’s hand slowly reach for his service revolver. Maddie’s hand reached out and stopped him. She looked at Forlath. Forlath shook his head and said, “don’t look at me, I say we shoot the b*st*rd.” Noting the pained look on Mara’s face Forlath gave a deep sigh and said “but I’ll defer to the group on this one, I got nothing…”

Just at that moment a large bread delivery truck came barreling down on the castaways, fearing the worst they all leapt for cover and readied to defend themselves against what could only be a S.W.A.T. (Shortbread, Waffles and Toast) assault team attack headed their way!

The relief was palpable when the truck came to a screeching halt and the delightful Lady Elizabeth stuck her head out the window with a signature quip and a smile.

At just that moment the Admiral came out of the bushes where apparently he had been attending a promotion ceremony, muttering something about yellow balloons.

Suddenly something occurred to Forlath, he quickly looked around and then asked “what happened to Ramsay?” The group hurriedly searched about their campsite. The Admiral was the first one to find him; “over here” he called. The group rushed over and there Ramsay was, pinned under one of the rear tires of the delivery truck. “Is he… is he dead?” Mara asked with a tremble in her voice. The Admiral spoke up, “he might be okay… but he’s probably not going to go very far without this” and with that Admiral Casey picked up Ramsay’s head from out of the bushes a few feet away.

Like some kind of demented cat, Admiral Casey then started to toss Ramsay’s head about like a cat toy “Go ahead Ramsay, come at me, don’t be afraid, I won’t hurt you. No, no, no Ramsay, you’ll never stop me doing that, c’mon, give me your best shot!”

A collective gasp arose from those assembled. “I guess things are starting to look up for us after all” Forlath smiled to himself…

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Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
“First you grab your opponent by the Quesant, Then you twist his Scone, while kicking him in the Croutons ,.Then one good shot to the bread basket should make him Turnover and become like bread pudding in you hands. But if that doesn’t flatten Him, then you Kneed to drop kick his cookie into the next Bakery. * Casey looks up at his comrades, a blank stare with their jaws wide open was their only reply. That and Maddie’s snoring. *Meanwhile Ramsey lay a broken twisted mass on the ground.*

” Now remember on thing, especially you Mara, It can be a lot trickier if your opponents hands aren’t tied “.
Reply by Forlath “Flashheart” Grey

“It’s been a stressful couple of days for us all Admiral”, Forlath said while slowly approaching Admiral Casey with his palms up and hands outstretched, “Hey, here’s a thought – why don’t you put down the head, stop kicking the corpse and sit down and have a nice warm cup of milk, what do you say, hmm?”

The Admiral looked from Forlath to the detached head in his hands to the corpse on the ground and back to the assembled group that were still staring at him in shock. Casey blinked and swallowed and then said in a small voice “I have been under an awful lot of stress recently.” “Of course you have!” Agreed Forlath, “so how about that milk?” “Is there any non sentient shortbread left?” Casey asked hopefully…

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Reply by Sir Erik.VC, KCB, KCIE
As the group descended into alcohol induced farce around the rapidly cooling corpse of Ramsey, Erik choose this moment to participate in the RPG.

“Breads natural enemy, breads natural enemy…..GODS DAMMIT WEAVELS”

DREAM SEQUENCE…Onboard the Golden Hind, Drake on the Poop deck. Hur hur hur.
A young Midshipman (Erik) approached the great man.

“I do declare sir, we appear to have an infestation of Weavels in the tack”

“Ahh, Young, tanned, firm, mmmmm, Erik. What? Eh oh, Weevils you say, ah weevils. Cereal based foodstuffs most deadly enemy”

Erik rapidly snapped back from his revelry to find the group trying to prise Maddie from amongst the entrails of the corpse Ramsey, screaming “MY LAST BLOODY BOTTLE”

He Jumped to his feet and started an energetic stroll towards the group.
“Dudes and dudettes, I’ve got it, I know how we can combat the pitta warriors, all we need is to get…….”
Suddenly Erik slipped on some marbles that had somehow contrived to be exactly were his left foot also wished to be, crashing to the ground striking his head on an unfortunately placed rock. Knocking him senseless, well more senseless than usual.

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Reply by Forlath “Flashheart” Grey
“What was that all about?” Lady Elizabeth asked standing over Erik’s now unconscious form. “Beat’s me” replied Forlath, “he was mumbling something about the Beatles, apparently he’s a big fan?” “Well that’s not exactly much of a profound revelation now is it?” Offered Luke, “who doesn’t find at least some portion of their discography palatable?”

Forlath shook his head sadly, “now we may never know… please keep the Admiral away from Erik’s head if you can. Does anybody know anything about CPR, pulse points, how to check if some one’s still alive, that sort of thing? Anyone?”

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Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
“Do you mean ‘Cats Purring Regularly’ , Oh , but that’s right you don’t want my help”.
You know! We’re supposed to be a Team, and there’s no ‘ME’ in Team……… Did Anyone Even Look At The Bloody Map.

Reply by Lady Patch aka nancy drewblood
Ummmm I’m not sure looking at a map would help…me anyway….was there a map?
(Turns away from the Maj slipping the last bit of map in her mouth…swallowing it. Turning back with a smile on her face.)

Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
“Well’………I would suppose that someone would have a plan B.”
Or was that dessert, Miss Patch.
Oh good, you haven’t devoured it yet! Ok everyone, theses strawberries represent the fruitcake mountains and the glaze represents the…………………………………..bah bah bah……………………….

Reply by Forlath “Flashheart” Grey
“Major, oh are you a major now? Demoted were you? Well these things happen. Major as I was saying, I’m just not sure how your plan applies in our particular case,” Forlath pointed out. “However, if we do decide to flee Egypt for the Promised Land anytime soon your plan will be back on the table, but what if we, ah, shelf the ‘Casey Plan’ for the interim. There’s a good chap.”

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“Now then,” Forlath turned to the rest of the group “now then, Fortune (in this case going by the name of Lady Patch) has dropped a motor conveyance into our collective laps, how about we fire this sucker up and go kick some bun! Major Casey, will you do the honors and take the helm?”

Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
I would love to, but I am afraid, an old war injury prevents me from being able to drive stick, but I could ride shotgun for navigational purposes.

Reply by Luke
Luke hoists the unfortunate Eric into a fireman’s lift and gently places him in the back of the truck. Only minor damage was done to the truck in the process. With a song in his heart and a tune in his head, Luke popped into the truck beside him, whistling a merry tune all the while. Back home first aid was a complex procedure done by specialist corpsman who could rewire your insides using a monkey wrench, a pair of pliers and a rusty saw, and you’d be better than new (mostly cause they probably replaced the affected body part with something mechanical and powered by plasma). However the basic first aid his father had taught him that first time he fell from his bike came back to him and he saw to tending to the poor unconscious Eric with all the tenderness of a father.
Grabbing Eric by the collar he delivered a sharp blow to the face with his open palm and started screaming at the unconscious face.

“That was an expensive bike you little *&%. If you do that again you won’t have bread and water for dinner. Does it look like I’m made of money? Now get back on that bike and learn to ride it properly.”
When there was no signs of improvement from Eric Luke sat back worried.

“That’s weird. It worked when dad did it. Maybe I’m doing something wrong.”

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Reply by Sir Erik.VC, KCB, KCIE
Erik came to with a start
“AHHHHH, LIZARDS WANT MY SPLEEN”

It was a warm, beautifull evening. The sound of Cicadas on the air, a faint hint of Jasmine and the moon rising over the distant hills. From inside the club could be heard the sound of a piano playing ello sailor, send you to heaven for a farthing. Erik stood on the veranda, a glass on whiskey in his hand and a fine cigar clenched between his perfect white teeth. As he looked out over the veldt, he realised that he was in the wrong RPG, something had to be done.

Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
* Casey looking toward the rear of the bread truck sees Luke strike Erik.* ” Did it work” shouted Casey” * Casey then noticing Erik beginning to move and scream, something about lizards and spleens . His head tilled back ,His neck limp, His head moving left and right with every bump the truck encountered. His left hand lay upon His face with two finger extended crossed his lips, as if to hold a cigarette. His right, an open fist, as if to hold a glass.” He’s in LaLa land again,” * Casey shouted* ” bring Him back, Luke,……… Hit Him harder”.

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Reply by Lady Patch aka nancy drewblood
((holding on for dear life as …not sure who’s driving this thing…Looks up front to see Mara at the helm and the maj. sitting Bi*ch…Maddie’s hugging her new duffle bag filled with gin..seeing as Luke’s efforts aren’t working yet…Patch tosses Forlath a box….))

*yelling to be herd over the bread trucks engine…*
“Catch Fourlaughs!” Tosses box…narrowly missing as they hit a bump and LP falls on her bum…*

“Whack a mole…was saving if for our next Friday night party at the club…but…well…seems Erik could use a good clubbing right now…” Laughs to self “…get it clubbing….hahaha…he could use a good clubbing…we were all going to be clubbing….hahahah….ha….haha….ha…right…never mind….”

((Forlath hastily opens board game…forgets about Erik and Luke and begins whacking moles…his laughter sounds like some raving loony…Rolling her eyes, Patch makes her way to said board game crawling on hands and knees as Mara is quite the …uhhhh…good driver? …Patch grabs Forlaths shoulders and giving him a good shake!))
“Mr. Forlath….((shake)) …DO put down the mallet…((shake shake)) …and give Luke a hand….”

Reply by Luke
Luke pondered the flaw in his methodology. Realization painted a gentle picture over his features. As his memory gently reassembled himself he realized his mistake. “oh”
Luke’s parents had died in the war. Luke had grown up in an government establishment. the person who had taught him to ride a bike went by the name of first sergeant Jurgens, and the “bike” was actually motorized and loaded with 20lbs of HE. “I guess that wasn’t first aid either”.
Luke was only vaguely aware of the actions of those around him as he dealt with an existential crisis and a sever case of chrono-lag. Finally Luke pulled himself together.

“Screw it, I’ll do it my way”
He fumbled in his pockets and crammed two handfuls of multivites down the unsuspecting Eric’s throat.

“There you go buddy, if it worked on Ramsey it’ll work on you.”
Putting his A game back on he turned to the others.

“I’m hungry, let’s take a right here and see if the servo has twinkies”

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Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
*Casey looks back to see all the turmoil in the rear of the truck, His eyes roll back in His head, and then lets out a sigh,* “Dear God, We will never live to see the dough rise again.”

Reply by Sir Erik.VC, KCB, KCIE
YEAST WARS
EPISODE 4; A NEW DOUGH.

It is a period of civil war. Rebel lunatics, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Gluteus Panini.

During the battle, Erik managed to steal secret plans to the Panini’s ultimate weapon, the DOUGH STAR, a baked space station with enough power to destroy an entire mall.

Pursued by the Panini’s sinister agents, LP races home aboard her delivery truck, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy

Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
Erik , Would you mind, staying with the group. Please.

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Reply by Mara Fantoccini
28 Days Later…..

While the rest of the crew is whomping weasels, or whatever it is they’re whomping, Mara, forgetting that she was driving, jumps from the moving truck, curls and rolls (the action not the item) safely to the side of the road and takes off running while shouting over her shoulder “I shall return….in a few hours!”

So, off she sprints yet again, her destination and reasons known only to herself.
Meanwhile, Chef Casey, due to an old war injury, cannot handle the gear (no pun intended) shift and tries to keep the truck on the road.

Forlath, sensing something is amiss, shouts “what the bloody hell is going on up there!”
Chef Casey replies, “that loony tune just jumped from the truck! Never let her drive again!”
“What’s up?” queries Luke.

“Will somebody just get up here and take the wheel!” screams Chef.
The engine suddenly starts to sputter, falter and comes to a complete stop.
Chef- “We’re out of petrol.”

“Anyone know where we are?”asks LP.

“Nowhere near civilization, that’s for sure” pipes in Maddie, “does anyone have a compass?”

“I suppose we will make camp here for the night then” Forlath states “this is most annoying.”

Looking around for a clearing amongst the trees Chef shouts “over here should be fine, now let’s gather some firewood and forage around for food before we settle in for the night.”

As evening approaches, Forlath, removing a lace from his shoe, begins constructing a bow drill and proceeds in attempting to create fire. Luke, rummaging through his vast inventory, hands him a match.
Everyone has now gathered ‘round the glowing fire.

Chef Casey has prepared a fabulous feast of unknown berries, ground twig tea and the last remaining pine apple juice that LP had procured earlier.

Suddenly they hear a rustle in the bushes. Out bounds Mara, akin to Salome of old, holding the head of Gordon Ramsay.

“I couldn’t leave him back there all alone” she said “he was so vulnerable, what without having a body and all.”
She bends her ear towards the head “No, Gordon, they are not a bunch of *&#@% gits, and if you continue insulting my friends I will let Chef Casey bounce you around again.”

“That’s better…he apologizes for his misconduct” she added.

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Rustling through her backpack she pulled out a few items, held them up and, with a huge grin on her face announced “S’mores anyone?”

“I hope the graham crackers are safe, the chocolate bars and marshmallows should be fine.”

“Where have you been?” Maddie, who was almost sober, asked.

“Well, I retrieved Gordon’s head then went to a nearby meat packing plant and used their vacuum packaging machine to keep him nice and fresh. From there I stopped in an abandoned convenience store and picked up a few things.”
“This is for you Luke, handing him a small cased toolkit and some health bars, and for Forlath, a new journal and some pens. LP, I brought you a teapot and some Earl Grey.

Chef Casey this is for you” handing him some spices and a book- ‘How to Survive an Apocalypse with a Band of Idiots’ (it was all that was left on the shelf.) “and Maddie, I brought you extra strength Tylenol plus an ice pack. Last but not least Eric, I brought you a comb and some sticky plasters…oh, and some toilet paper, I thought it would be nicer than pinecones.” (let the poo jokes begin!)

All seemed pleased with their gifts, and forgave Mara for her erratic behavior.
Mara began passing out S’mores, and started to sing softly:
“Kumbaya my Lord (or the diety of your choice) Kumbaya”….everyone started to join in…”Kumbaya my…..”

Thus, as the battle of the bulgar continues, so ends another day.
What will tomorrow bring for our beloved heroes? I guess we must wait and see.

Reply by Forlath “Flashheart” Grey
Forlath suddenly found himself back in the midst of the Mole Wars of 2018, the confined space of their underground tunnels, the darkness, the smell of dank earth and rotting flesh, the hideous, mutated, giant moles coming from every direction and the only thing keeping him alive was his mallet as he whacked and whacked and whacked!!! DIE FOUL VERMIN, DIE!! AAAIIIEEEEEEEEE!!

Abruptly Forlath flashed forward, this time to the VA hospital and the doctors telling him that the mole bite was just too deep and too infected, he would never walk again. But Forlath wouldn’t listen to their diagnosis. He refused to let them take his leg and he pushed himself with physical therapy day after painful, excruciating day, that horrible “Eye of the Tiger” song playing in a continual loop at deafening decibels in the background in the gymnasium until finally, finally, he…

He flashed forward again, this time to the back of a bread delivery van rocketing along a dirt road; Mara gripping the wheel in both hands like her life depended on it. Which quite frankly it did. Sitting next to her was Casey Steward, now with a chef’s hat on. “Oh dear Lord” Forlath mumbled, “In his guilt he’s now taken on Ramsay’s personae!” The horror of the realization that Casey was barking mad chilled him to the very bone. Forlath shrugged his shoulders, “still, maybe Mara’s right, a chef might come in handy.”

Forlath did a quick scan of the rest of the van. Bouncing around in the back was a prone Erik, with Luke on top of him shoving pills in his mouth singing “hallelujah and pass the ammunition!” Maddie was sitting on a duffel bag next to them, trying to mix a gin and tonic with absolutely no luck whatsoever as the contents of her tumbler kept spraying everywhere. Just at that moment a hand slapped Forlath across the face “snap out of it Forlath!” Lady Patch stood, barely, bouncing around in front of Forlath as the van raced along the dirt track. SLAP!

“Forlath, for the love of all that is holy, snap out of it!” Shouted Lady Elizabeth again. “Actually, I’m fine Lady…” SLAP! “Lady Patch would you please…” SLAP! “Oh for goodness’ sake, will you please stop slapping…” SLAP!
Just when Forlath thought his cheeks couldn’t take any more and he was about to start bawling like a little girl, Forlath felt the van suddenly lurch to one side then another and swerve sideways in a cloud of dust and gravel as Mara leapt out of the door. The van then started to slide around in tight concentric circles as the van slowly spun out of control, came to an unsteady stop, tipped up on two wheels and slowly… toppled over.

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From the jumble of bodies now piled up on the side panel of the van Madelaine shouted out “What the hell!!” Mara popped her head in through the space where the front window used to be, replied in a small voice, “sorry, “I couldn’t leave him back there all alone” she said “he was so vulnerable, what without having a body and all.” Slowly the group extricated themselves and looked out the ajar rear van doors and lo and behold there was a service station, pristine and sparkling like the proverbial city on the hill. Just at that moment one of the van doors fell off would a loud, metallic clatter. A perfect place to set up camp.

Forlath thought to himself, “never did like flashback sequences”… “And what’s the deal with ‘love interests’, why does every two bit hack feel you can’t have a story without a love interest?”

Reply by Sir Erik.VC, KCB, KCIE
Slowly Erik extracted himself from the wreck of the van. It had been quite an adventure so far, but now it was time, time for a man, a man with no name, named Erik, the man with no name….Except Erik………..Van Gerran.

For too long the Gear had blundered from crisis to crisis, with no clear leadership, what with Casey being demoted each time he participated, (I mean come on, a Chef now).
Forlath, the hero of ’18, being caught in the infernal romantic trap.
Maddie slipping deeper into the world of Innebriation (or however you spell it),
Mara, well she was just mental.
Luke in the middle of some serious parental issues and LP dropping marbles that cause potential saviors to fall and get knocked out (ahem!).

No, now it was Erik’s time, his time to shine, shine like a star, star in the show, show how it is done, do the deed, indeed to lead. He slicked back his wild lions mane of hair, using the comb kindly provided by Mara, thank you by the way, straightened his jacket and stepped boldly off the cliff…………….

Reply by Casey” Chef “Steward
*Chef Casey walks up to the camp fire, looks all around at the faces of his comrades and says,” I know you think I’m crazy” *While he lifts up a small plastic plate, Casey continues* ” Could a crazy man make theses out of the few spices and odds and ends that Mara so kindly supplied, Well , could He. I didn’t think so.” *Hands the plate of fresh baked Twinkies to Luke, Then says underneath His breath as he walks away* “Who’s Your Iron Chef Now, Baby,….that’s right……mumble mumble mumble..”.

Reply by Mara Fantoccini
Holding the head of Ramsay over the cliff-
“Gordon, do you see him down there? Is he alright? I guess I should have brought more bandages.”

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“Erik,”
erik…erik…erik….
Mara continued.
“Are you there?
there….there…there…
Can you hear me?
hear me…hear me…hear me…
I wanted to apologize. I am terribly sorry for misspelling your name.
name…name…name….
I asked Gordon *holds out the head of Ramsay* how it was spelled. It was his fault, I think he does it just to be smarmy.”
smarmy….smarmy…smarmy….
She shakes her finger at the head, but then smiles and giggles…”that is not nice, Gordon” she admonishes.
“and, dear sir” she shouts, “I prefer ‘eccentric’ as opposed to ‘mental’ if you please.”
please…please….please….the echo slowly fading.
“Erik?”
erik….erik…erik….
Can you hear me?
hear me…hear me….hear me…..
Addressing Gordon “do you think we should get the others? Later, you say?”
She wanders towards camp singing-
‘Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off the cliff he go….’

Reply by Zombie with no name
A great voice booms from the sky,
There shall in that time be rumors of things going astray, erm, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things with the sort of raffia-work base, that has an attachment. At that time, a friend shall lose his friend’s hammer, and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight o’clock.

Full of portent and very dramatic, in fact, I did’nt realise we had the budget for this but it is amazing what you can get through under expenses.

Reply by Forlath “Gabby” Grey
CHAPTER 3
A thunderstorm blew in a couple hours after the resilient little GoR flock had set up camp not far from the mangled remains of the bread delivery van. Lightning flashed across the sky like a 1970’s laser light show back when the gods were young and into that sort of thing, with their shoulder length hair and bell bottom jeans.

Thunder had been booming most of the night, resonating through the twisted canyons, creating strange echoes that sounded like voices. Voices like Odyssey’s sirens calling out to the tired survivors to come follow the sound of their song. Come to us they called, come, bliss and tranquility await you just around the next corner, there might be a little bit of gruesome dismembering involved as well but hey, c’mon! We can talk about that…

The rain started falling about 5:00 AM. Small, infrequent drops at first, the occasional splash against the skin felt nice after the hot, muggy humidity of the last few hours. Then the drops grew larger, the noise they made as they hit the leaves above the gang’s heads was still the only real indication that it was raining. Then it started pouring down in earnest, the kind of rain that soaked you through to the skin in a minute, the kind of rain that made your underpants ride up, the kind of rain that made you miserable.

Forlath scanned the little band of rejects; Lady Patch’s spirits appeared amazingly undampened despite the weather. She was whistling a lively tune and juggling five marbles at once despite the rain coming down. That almost would have cheered Forlath up just that necessary little bit if he wasn’t already wet, tired, hungry, wretched and quite possibly, let’s face it by this point flea infested. Quite frankly Forlath was in a foul mood, the kind of foul mood you savored and wielded about you like some kind of weapon against all of creation as retribution for letting you get in such a foul mood in the first place!

Forlath took a deep breath, looked down at his hands and tried to calm down. At least there would be no killer Bread out in weather like this. He looked up again and noticed Erik was missing. When did that happen? Forlath normally would care, organize a search party, print up flyers and staple them to telephone poles, anything but just now, just here, he just didn’t have the energy. Madeliane seemed as miserable as Forlath was, but that might just be because neither Lady Patch or Mara could find tonic water only Diet 7-up during their foraging expeditions. Mara and Casey were taking turns discussing cooking techniques with Ramsay’s head. That was actually kind of freaking Forlath out but what could you do. Ah, there’s the culprit. Forlath noticed a small package of mushrooms at Casey’s feet. Great, we’re doomed. Shaking his head in despair, Forlath saw where Luke was sitting and got up to go talk to him, hoping to find some sanity left in the group but before he could Luke jumped to his feet and shouted over the downpour “Hey look, a cave! We can shelter from the storm in there.”…

Reply by EZ-RA Hasenpfeffer, the Mummy
At the sound of a commotion outside in the rain, EZ-RA sat up in his sarcophagus with a start.
“Blast”, he said “they’ve found my tomb . I knew it was too good to last.’

He slowly stretched, so as not to rip his wrappings, and looked out at the pathetic, dejected [and, in at least two cases, demented] group, preparing to close the door to the chamber. Then he paused, for looking at them in their misery he suddenly felt the faintest emotion begin to stir in his desiccated heart, one he hadn’t felt in several days.

He stopped, dumbstruck by the sensation as it awakened memories he thought long dead, reveling in the feeling of, well, just Feeling anything at all.

At last it bubbled up beyond his control, and he raised his voice in wild abandon….
“You! Yes, you degenerate collection of reprobates, I see you out there!! Get the Blazes off my property, you sniveling group of sodding [and sodden] imbeciles…I don’t care if you are cold and wet, stay out of my tomb. If you are really All That miserable out in the weather, try a little trick I learned back in the court of Thutmose II… Read back up 7 posts, realize the bloody van just tipped over, it didn’t explode or anything, and climb into it to get out of the downpour.”

With a last nostalgic pause, he sneered, doused the oil lamp and slammed down the lid on his sarcophagus, a parting

“Morons.” the only sound echoing in the sudden silence.

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Reply by Luke
Luke stood back flabbergasted at the realisation of his own imbecility.
“well, duh… you idiot” he said to himself. Turning to the others he explained “If we set those mummy wrappings alight we can get a cheery bonfire going.

Reply by Lady Patch aka nancy drewblood
Thought the rain hadn’t stopped for what felt like a lifetime, LP couldn’t help but find something to keep her spirits afloat. With a semi full lid-less jar still intact and plenty of puddles to hop along in, the time spent walking to who know where for who knows how long didn’t seem too bad really. Only one thing could make this trip better…a touch of music…with no radio to be had, LP was left to the music in her head and at this time it was The Clash…Whilst walking with this band of silly misfits Magnificent seven became the soundtrack in her mind…And it went a little sompen like this…

….Ring! Ring! It’s 7:00 A.M.! Move y’self to go again
Cold water in the face (tut tut it looks like rain)
Brings you back to this awful place
Knuckle merchants and you bankers, too
Must get up an’ learn those rules
Weather man and the crazy chief
One says sun and one says sleet
A.M., the F.M. the P.M. too
Churning out that boogaloo
Gets you up and gets you out
But how long can you keep it up?
Gimme Honda, Gimme Sony
So cheap and real phony
Hong Kong dollars and Indian cents
English pounds and Eskimo pence…..
(breaks out in a little dance right about…..NOW!)
…….You lot! What?
Don’t stop! Give it all you got!
You lot! What?
Don’t stop! Yeah!…….
((Juggling…walking and letting out a few off key squeaks during her favorite part of the song…Enjoying herself lost in her head…LP happens to look over at her silly friends…

The Chef and Mara up ahead talking to a ziplocked head about of all things whats for dinner…note to self…hold out for something eatable…or at least wont cause one to see the gummy bears singing show tunes…
Maddie is walking quite well…despite drinking/spilling most the contents of her Gin bag….
((Continues singing in her head…))
…..Wave bub-bub-bub-bye to the boss
It’s our profit, it’s his loss
But anyway lunch bells ring
Take one hour and do your thanng!
Cheeesboiger! (I could totally go for a Blue Cheese, Bacon and Caramelized Onion Burger right about now…)
What do we have for entertainment?
Cops kickin’ Gypsies on the pavement….

~HITS THE PAUSE BUTTON~

Reply by Lady Patch aka nancy drewblood
Sees Forlath…Drops marbles…quite melancholy not to mention wet…Forlath looks positively wretched. LP can’t help but feel a touch sad for her soggy friend…did he not have a built in radio? Does he not like puddles meant for stomping? …Spotting a semi wet news paper LP quickly picks it up rushing up behind Forlath…opening the news paper just over his head as a make shift umbrella…a soggy veggi ink smeared paper umbrella…but hey an umbrella non the less…

~Pushes Play Button…on loud speaker in Forlath’s ear…~
Now the news – snap to attention!
The lunar landing of the dentist convention
Italian mobster shoots a lobster
Seafood restaurant gets out of hand
A car in the fridge
Or a fridge in the car?
Like cowboys do – in T.V. land….
*Just as she was getting to the chorus Luke shouts! “Hey Look a cave!”
((Sigh))

Could this really be? A dry spot for a weary band of misfits to dry their socks…??? It’s sounds almost too good to be true…..
As they make their way to the opening…a loud cranky voice can be herd telling them of all things…”The van would have worked as a shelter…” LP facepalms…”Now why hadn’t we thought of that?”

Turns to Erik hoping he knows how to handle cranky man in cave…Where the…? “Maddie? Have you seen Erik? I could have swore he was just here a minute ago. Wasn’t he with you? Oh! Wait….Mara?”

Reply by Casey” Cookie “Steward
*Casey with a horse blank pulled over his head to shield him from the torrent rain,* “I ‘ll go and find him, he can’t have wandered far.” * At that ,he left the protection of the cave and disappeared into the ever increasing monsoon,*

Reply by Forlath “Gabby” Grey
“Great,” Though Forlath “as if mutant, killer bread weren’t enough, now must we contend with the ornery undead as well?” “Hey!” Forlath shouted towards the cave “Hey you failed plastic surgery case, seven people and a head in a tipped over van, really? That’s your idea of shelter is it? Well of course it is, he sleeps in a sarcophagus for the love of Pete! Do you want to come out here and drive this narrative? Here’s a tip for you, don’t quit your day job as a NYC real estate agent!” “And another thing,” Forlath added, “I’d get to the doctors quick smart if I were you! That coffin sounds terrible! Hahaha.”

Feeling remarkably upbeat after the brief verbal exchange, Forlath snapped out of his funk and started to whistle ‘if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it’. What was a little rain after all…

Reply by Zombie with no name
“Ermmm, hullooooo. Blast them!”

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Erik had been stuck at the bottom of the cliff for 10 posts, and still no sign of a rescue. Looking around himself for the first time Erik noticed the large overstuffed purple and green, paisly patterned couch that had cushioned his fall. The next thing that struck Erik was the large open fireplace, currently the residence of a really nice fire, and the barman behind the bar.

“Ehhh, sorry about the hole in the roof.”

Had our hero noticed the hole in the roof? There was also a hole in the roof.
“Hello sir, not to worry, the hole would have ceased to exist in a couple of posts anyhoo. Can I get you a drink?”

There was something yeasty about the barman, but Erik couldn’t be bothered continuing that particular storyline at the moment. “Do you have whiskey?” The barman indicated the large shelf housing an extensive Whiskey collection, “ahh, then a wee dram to cure what ails you if you would.”
Erik took his drink over to the large red leather chair by the fireplace and sat down. The rain thundered against the roof and against the windows. Just then a sodding, sodden Casey burst in with his horse blanket over his head and spotted Erik by the fire.

“ERIK! You, you’re ok” He sounded slightly dissapointed at that

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Erik rose and slung his arm over Casey’s shoulder and guided him to the bar. “Yes Case old man, I am fine, now what are you drinking?” Leaving Casey to the care of the barman and his extensive range of alcoholic beverages, Erik picked up the phone and dialled Lady Patch on her inner voice.

Beeeeeep, you have been connected to the messaging service of “LADY PATCH DOOBIE DOO.” Please leave your message after the tone.”

TONE

“Uh, LP, Erik here. I’ve found a pub at the bottom of the cliff I fell off a couple of posts back. Bring the gang, there is a LOT of alky-hol. Bye bye”

Erik knew from previous experience that it would not take the gear long to get here…………………….

Reply by Forlath “Gabby” Grey
“Now we’re cooking with hydrocarbons!” Forlath exclaimed as he spotted another cave entrance with old railroad tracks leading up to it. Sitting on the rusting tracks were a few dilapidated old mining carts. “I’ve got a great idea!” Forlath called out “the weather and lack of a mode of transport make above ground travel a nuisance at present, why don’t we jump into these carts and see where the tracks take us??” Forlath’s eyes were bright with excitement, “jumping into conveyances of obviously questionable structural integrity and hurtling down tracks that haven’t seen maintenance in decades, with no clue whatsoever where the tracks lead makes perfect sense! What could possibly go wrong?”

With that Forlath jumped into the lead cart and released the handbrake with a large amount of physical effort “ufda! Come on gang, follow meeeeeeeeeeee!” With that Forlath hurtled into the pitch blackness, the sounds of creaking wood and screeching metal drifting back up the tunnel growing fainter as Forlath disappeared into the darkness…

Reply by Lady Patch aka nancy drewblood
….I say your quite right Forlath…what’s a little……((((mental phone rings in head….Riinnnggggg…riinnngggg….goes to voicemail…LP dials 1 to retrieve message….listens to Erik…nods head…)))
*claps hands wildly and hops up and down like a little school girl*

Maddie your in luck!!! We’ve not only found you some gin, seems Erik’s stumbled… or rather fell into a pub…I do hope they have irish nachos…
Luke, bring the crabby T.P. man as we could use him to lower us all down the hole…And if he talks to much maybe you could tie a bit of his hangy stuff around his mouth…
…Mara….((sees Mara bent over ziplocked head chatting away not hearing LP at all)) MARA! You coming dear?
((Mara looks up…LP smiles at her warmly)) Yes he can come too…wouldn’t want to leave Ramsay out in the cold now would we.

Good…right then…shall we?
((turns to Forkleg))
Beyonce…? ((laughing)) really? Don’t tell me you made a youtube dance video too???

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Reply by Zombie with no name
Despite the sound of the rain outside, the sounds of a stampede can be heard, as of thousands of cattle charging across the plains of the American midwest.

“Barman, I would suggest you prepare yourself for a deluge of customers, and, Cooky, git yoorself in that thar Kitchen”

Meanwhile, back at the mine…….
FORLATH: “Whhhhhoooooohoooooooooooo”

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Reply by Zombie Zack Bartender
Zack standing behind the bar ,looking down and with his left hand rubbing the bar top with large circular motions while he speaks. ” I just want to thank you Mister, for your business . You see, it’s been dead around here since forever. No on comes this way any more, not ever since that ‘Crazy Bread’ became popular. I blame that ‘ Little Caesar ‘ for all our problems. First it was pizza’s for 5.99, then the two for one, then all hell broke loose with their Free 2 liter bottles of soda. I knew it was the end, dam cheese bread.”

Reply by Forlath “Gabby” Grey 3 hours ago
The cart continued to pick up speed, going faster and faster (“…or which way the river’s flowing. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is a hurricane a-blowing? Not a speck of light is showing… so the danger must be growing. Are the fires of hell a-glowing? Is the grisly reaper mowing? Yes, the danger must be growing for the rowers keep on rowing! And they’re certainly not showing… any signs that they are slowing!”) At one point he was sure he saw a cart of dwarves running alongside him on a parallel track. Forlath just had the chance to nod greetings before they were swallowed up by a different tunnel.

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Forlath passed through rooms, chambers and monstrous caverns, with wondrous sights galore but he quickly speed past before he had a chance to look any closer. Forlath reached up, the wind whipping at his straw hat as he tried to seize the handbrake. Finally he succeeded in grasping hold. He tugged and he pulled, suddenly the brake broke off in his hand. Up ahead Forlath saw the end of the line, he quickly ducked down into the cart, grasped his knees and kissed his tuckus goodbye! The cart hurtled through the end of track barrier. Forlath and the remnants of the cart flew through the air and landed with a crash on a huge pile of fish bones.

Groaning and rubbing his gluteus maximus, Forlath found an old banana and peanut butter sandwich lying on the bone heap. Not knowing when he’d get his next meal Forlath shrugged his shoulders and stuck the sandwich in his pocket, saving it for latter. Forlath stood up and looked around, he appeared to have chanced upon a large underground lake, with an island right in the middle. Forlath strained his eyes in the dim light and could just make out the most hideous creature he had ever seen paddling itself over towards Forlath on an old log. The creature made a weird swallowing noise in its throat as it reached Forlath, *gol-lum*. “Ringmaster, is that… you?”

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…Forlath asked incredulously. “What are you doing down here??” “This is where he keeps me when he doesn’t need us to capper and dance for the rabble,” replied the Ringmaster “he hurts us, yes he hurts us!” Forlath was stunned by the shocking revelation “So are you saying that Erik is…?” “Yes,” Replied the Ringmaster “Erik is Skywalker’s father” Forlath slapped his thigh “I knew it! No, wait…I uh, thought you meant something else.”

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“So never mind all that, uh, what now, do we play some kind of riddle game, I cheat and then compel you to show me the way out?” Forlath asked. The Ringmaster croaked “can’t abide riddles me, ‘orrible things they is” “Um, what?” Forlath asked. “I’m not a big fan” returned the Ringmaster. “Ah, so, uh, how do I get out of here?” Forlath countered. “Oh aye, govn’r, jessen you pull that leever ov’r dere m’lord” The Ringmaster offered. “Come again?” Forlath queried. “That lever, there on the wall” Said the Ringmaster exasperatedly “Oh right, then I’ll be off. Good luck with that whole you and Erik thing, sounds complicated.” “Right you are govn’r. Oh, by the way you wouldn’t happen to have seen a peanut butter and banana sandwich lying around anywhere by chance?” Asked the Ringmaster. Forlath quickly leaped over to the lever and pulled with all his might, a trapdoor opened at his feet and he dropped down into the darkness the trapdoor closing behind him as the Ringmaster shouted after him “THIEF, FORLATH GREYSES, WE HATES IT FOREVERRRRRR!!!

Forlath tumbled down a long chute, suddenly at the end a picture lifted on a spring loaded hinge as he approached and Forlath was deposited into a large, overstuffed leather chair in a well appointed comfortable pub with a hole in the ceiling. The picture slammed back into place on the wall behind him. Sitting around the room with various drinks in their hands were the rest of the group with looks of mild surprise on their faces. “Oh hello, you lot. Make mine a pint! Cheers.”

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Reply by Mara Fantoccini
Before joining Forlath and the others via the mining carts, Mara scrawls a note on the cave wall with a stick of Max Factor’s English Rose lip-colour (her favorite) she got at the convenience store earlier:
“Dear Admiral Chef Casey Cookie Steward, having a wonderful time, wish you were here, visited the side-show and saw a real mummy, then went for a ride on the roller-coaster.”

Tip-toeing over to the sarcophagus, she raps on the lid with Ramsay’s head and says:
“knock knock” then whispers “your supposed to say ‘who’s there?”
Ez-ra, disgruntled, obliges, “O.K., I’ll bite- who’s there?”

“Gordon” Mara replies.

Ez-ra, with a sigh, “Gordon who?”
“Gordon Ram say git yo arse outta da coffin and help us!”

She then runs to the nearest cart, jumps in and sticks her tongue out at Ez-ra (who has pushed off the lid and is now sitting up) as she takes off down the mine shaft.

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Reply by Madelaine Phillips-Carter
Maddie had been scribbling away on a bar napkin between drinks for the better part of an hour. She was in her element…a semi-comfortable bar, vaguely palatable drinks and a sharpie she had knicked from the Target; finally, some peace in all this madness! She had encountered many terrifying things in her adventurous life and yet, somehow lived to tell the tale; from amorphous batracian moonbeasts to crawling chaos (and no, these were not gin-deluded fancies as her colleges from M.U. would have everyone believe… at least, she hoped not?) she had seen it all. And yet, it all paled in comparison to what was happening now. She pondered for a moment, scanning through the reseviors of knowledge in her muddled head…how does one survive in a post-apocalyptic scenario? Finally, an idea struck like lightening! Intimidation!! Yes!!! The roving squads of water/gasoline/food-hoarding no-goodnicks always used intimidation to their advantage! It was this thought that lead to her creative outpouring.

After the gang had welcomed Forlath back into their midst, Maddie piped up:
*Ahem* “Begging your attention for just a moment, I have a bit of a suggestion” and with that, she slapped a bar napkin down in front of them:
“I’ve given some good thought to this dystopian scenario and I think the first step to overcoming this mess is to strike FEAR into the hearts…ermm…no….they don’t have hearts….doughy innards? YES! Strike FEAR INTO THE DOUGHY INNARDS OF OUR FOES! How, pray tell do we do this? Well, through the power of intimidation and CO-ORDINATED WARDROBES! As is clearly demonstrated in the sketch before you, we need to adorn ourselves in a manner which the bread will find most frightening. Like the Picts of Scotland or Native American warriors, we must dress to impress…impress FEAR upon them! Spike our hair up with jam, smear our faces with vegemite warpaint!! We will have them quaking in their crusts!” and with that she stood up and let roar a mighty battle cry
“AIIIYYYIIIEEEYEEEEYEEEYEEEEYEEE!!!”

Finished with her pep-rally, Maddie took to her seat “….either that or we can all stay here, get sh*tfaced and hope this whole thing blows over…I’m up for either…” and with that, she returned to her drink.

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Reply by Zombie Zack Bartender
Back at the Saloon Erik, Kick his feet up on a table, Then says to the Bartender. “Bar keep, How about a bottle of you finest”. Zack pulls out a small brown bottle with a cork stopper from under the bar and says with a smile.” Now that would be the ’69’, smooth as silk but kicks like mule. Then Erik adds,” And make that two glasses”. Zack now prances around the side of the bar, bottle held high in one hand and two shot glasses in the other. “Have a seat” Erik nodding at the wooden chair across the table from him. “Don’t mind if I do” Said Zack.

Reply by Mara
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen
but, nonetheless,
it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.
Gordon Ramsay was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. As dead as a door-nail.
Mara sat in the corner of the bar, tears streaming down her face, she had lost her beloved’s head.
It now lay somewhere along the tracks of the mine.
It was a bumpy ride.

She is momentarily distracted from her grief by the picture Maddie has drawn.
“Hmmm” she said inspecting the drawing, “Nice, only one question, what happens to our breast-plates if it ah, rains?”

“then it would be just breasts with no plates” she added.
She follows it with, “who cares, just pass the bottle, I need a drink or two, or forty.”

Reply by Zombie with no name
Sometimes there’s a man… I won’t say a hero, ’cause what’s a hero? But sometimes, there’s a man – and I’m talkin’ about Erik here – sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s Erik. In the bar. And even if he’s a lazy man – and Erik was most certainly that, quite possibly the laziest in the gear, which would place him high in the runnin’ for laziest worldwide – Sometimes there’s a man… Sometimes, there’s a man. Ah, I lost my train of thought here. But… aw, hell. I done introduced him enough.

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
Once there was a man named Erik…
Who lost his train of thought…
He thought himself lazy…
Though Patch thought-ed not…
Yes there was a man named Erik…
They all said He was fun…
Till he changed his name one day…
And then thought-ed of Erik none.
((Hops down off bar…does a little curtsy…))

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath, sitting at the bar and now well into his ninth pint, was mumbling into his mug of beer. Actually the comments were meant for the room at large but at present the only one paying any attention was the pint of beer in Forlath’s hand. Who as coincidence would have it was actually into Forlath in a big way and was waiting for the opportunity to make its affections known. Being a glass of beer and all it hadn’t had much experience with romance. What if it told Forlath how it felt and Forlath laughed in its beer face? The mug of beer didn’t think it could handle that kind of rejection.

“There goes Erik, monologuing again and fraternizing with the hired help to boot, no good will come of it, no good at all” mumbled Forlath. The glass of beer nodded in affectionate agreement. Madelaine was handing out giant pieces of toast and some twine, Lady Patch had just recited some poetry up on the bar and Mara was at the end of the bar bawling her eyes out at the loss of Ramsay’s head. “Poor kid, the first crush is always the hardest” sympathized Forlath. The glass of beer feeling if ever it was going to receive an opening it was this, started to speak up but was interrupted by a small cloaked shape at Forlath’s right knee “excuse me *wheeze* ah, Mr. Grey?”
Forlath looked down and saw… more than one but definitely less than six diminutive robed figures. With the amount of alcohol currently in his system Forlath didn’t want to commit to a specific number in case the police quizzed him on it during a routine traffic stop later. “Yea, what do you want and how do you want, uh, know my name? Forlath demanded. “Who doesn’t know *wheez* such an august personage as yourself, Mr. Forlath Grey?” The small form replied. “Yea, I guess you’re right,” replied Forlath mollified, “but that still doesn’t question my answer, uh, answer my question – what do you want?”

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“What I want Mr. Grey, is to help you and your *wheez* associates accomplish your heroic goal of saving the world of course, Mr. Grey” answered the robed individual. “That’s a bad case asthma you’ve got there kid but go ahead, I’m listening,” prompted Forlath. The glass of beer was beginning to doubt the sincerity of the cowled entity and started nudging Forlath’s hand. “Mr. Grey, just down the path outside this pub you will find a dock jutting out into what is the river that flows through this system of canyons, and moored at that dock is a completely outfitted boat Mr. Grey. And it is that boat and that river Mr. Grey, that will take you and your associates to your final destination and ultimate goal of securing the salvation of the planet! *wwwwhhhheeeeeeeeeeezzzzz*” Forlath was now starting to have his own doubts at the somewhat suspicious generosity of this complete stranger. “I dunno…” Forlath retorted. “Did I mention the boat has a fully stocked bar?” countered the figure.
The mug of beer decided desperate times demanded desperate actions, it started to speak up, consequences be damned! Forlath picked that exact moment to knock back the rest of his pint and slam the now empty and utterly lifeless glass onto the counter. “Who’s up for taking this party shipboard?!” Shouted Forlath to the pub inhabitants, completely unaware that he was now wanted for murder in the 3rd metaphysical degree in at least three star systems, two dimensions, five religions and one tiny, little known principality in the Himalayan Mountains.

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Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Amongst the cheers of the drunken assembly who, let’s face it would have cheered at anything at that particular moment, Forlath looked back to the robed figure to ask what beers the boat had on tap only to see that the cloaked shape had mysteriously disappeared. Where the figure had been ‘standing’ there was now a scattering of bread crumbs. Forlath stared at the crumbs dumbly for a good three minutes before remembering he needed to use the loo, got up and stumbled to the back of the pub…

Reply by Zombie Zack Bartender
Meanwhile after knocking back a few, Erik looked over at Zack.” What’s your story” Zack folded both hands around his shot glass as He leaned forward in his chair,” My story, My story, There ain’t much to it really, One day, some time back I was driving my van on the road right outside of town here, Everything was fine, until I ran up against a group of people on horse back blocking the road. Seem friendly enough at first, so I stopped my van and got out to talk. They started to ask me questions. They looked in my van and saw I had a load of bread in the back, it was the good stuff, not the man eating loaves of today. They asked me where did I get the bread, so I told them I bought it. That’s when things began to get ugly.

Their leader, a woman,( later I found out she was the wife of their dead sheriff ) called me a lier ,and asked me if I bought the bread, where.? I told her it was a Super Target over in the next town. She said, I needed to prove it. So ,I handed Her my store receipt . She looked at the slip, the looked me straight in the eye and called me a lier once more. The Widow said that Target don’t print their name at the top of their receipt, that they just put a bulls eye on it.

Next thing I knew, this Cowboy in a black hat, ropes me and drags me until I almost pass out. Then the Widow’s posse grabs me and strings me up on the nearest tree. The rest was kind of a blur, until a man , a law man, Kind looked like your cook, Well, he came along and cut me lose. He said, It was a good thing he happen along, another second , and I would have been dead. I wonder ? How about you partner, what’s your story?” By then Erik, the laziest man in the world was plowing fields with his snoring, Zack looked up then said ” Figures, City folk”.

Reply by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer
Ez-Ra strode through the door, threw back the red rain cape he had on to protect his bindings and looked around the Hole in the Roof Pub.

There was an amateur poetry reading going on at one end of the bar and an amateur costume design seminar at the other. One table had a blubbering amateur plagiarist holding a rather soggy séance about a missing head, another had an amateur windbag [admittedly on the verge of losing said amateur status in a few more sentences] talking to shady characters while heedlessly killing his one chance at true, if slightly foamy, romance.

Wafting from the kitchen came the smell of Half- Baked beans, Casey was obviously lurking about somewhere, guilty once more of attempted cooking. Most disturbing of all, back in a dark corner an amateur gigolo appeared to be making a rather professional attempt at necrophilic seduction.
“Great,” he muttered, “I’m surrounded by amateurs.”

He paused near the tear-stained Luigi board [a cheap Italian knock off of the Ouija board, the only attempt to disguise its obvious origin being a ridiculous mustache and a green cap… Milton Bradley had been suing for years, thus far to no avail.]

“Mara,” he said “stop crying over spilt cranium, it’s not like you lost the head of Ramses the Great… it was just that foul- mouthed descendent of his, Gordon. “
He stood a little straighter, glared balefully about the room, and spoke.
“OK you lot, what’s next? I grow weary of this particular plot cul-de-sac, but I have not the foggiest clue in which direction we should proceed.”
Then, shoulders suddenly slumping, he adjusted his bow tie nervously and said, eyes downcast in embarrassment,
“I really only came in to make that Ramses the Great joke, so I’m pretty well out of ideas here. However, since you wakened me from my hours long un-natural slumber, I will have to roam the Earth with you dimwits until you bore me back into my life sustaining [yet inexplicably vague and ominous-sounding] eldritch torpor.”

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Reply by Madelaine Phillips-Carter
Maddie had noticed that Forlath had been mumbling, for the better part of an hour, into his beer. She was befuddled, normally Forlath was the most lucid member of their ragtag gang…and now, there he sat, yaking away at a pint of bitter. Moments later, he began to direct his conversation at the floor. From her vantage point, Maddie could not see whom or what Forlath was addressing, but, judging from his previous actions, she assumed it was simply the flagstones. She pondered this a moment, nursing a pint. Then the shocking revelation hit her like a ton of bricks…OH THE HORROR!! How could they have been so careless! She flew out of her chair, dashed her beer to the floor and screamed:
“EVERYONE STOP!!! DON’T TAKE ANOTHER SIP!!”
All eyes were on her now…
“At this very moment, any one of us may already be infected!! It’s the beer!!! The beeeeeeeer!!!!! MALTS ARE MADE FROM GRAINS!!! Oh dear lord, how could we have been so blind!!!!”
The Commissioner spat his beer across the bar. Mara began to rock back and forth, weeping uncontrollably.The proverbial feces had hit the fan…

Reply by Madelaine Phillips-Carter
“Blah…I meant malt…” Maddie sighed, palming her face. Using her magic time-turner, she traveled back about 5 minutes and edited her rhetoric.

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath suddenly sat bolt upright on the bar stool where he had been draped on the bar in a drunken stupor and shouted “Bread Crumbs!! How could I have been so stupid! But of course, it’s so obvious!! …I wonder if I asked nicely if Cookie would be so kind as to make me a nilla wafer and banana cream pie??” The epiphany over, Forlath cuddled up to a beer mat and fell back asleep…

Reply by Luke
Luke looked up from his pint.
“Really? I though it was people”, taking another sip, he shakes his head sadly “Nope, definately people. Now sit down and don’t rock the boat, you wouldn’t want to make waves.”
Feeling that he was being a little mean, he got up and patted Madeline on the head gently, “See Maddie, I can call you Maddie I hope? I mean my pint says its okay, but he’s been telling me all sorts of things lately. Where was I? Oh yes, Maddie, it’s just the leavening agent that causes paranoid pasties. Beer is made from barley and the hop, brewed in monasteries you see. Hence the word hop, or Holy Order of the Pint. To consider it tainted is blasphemous to all true believers. You can believe me when I tell you these things for I met the Emperor and he said it’s true.”
Luke jumps to his feet emotionally and climbs onto the bar.
“Repent all you unbelievers. The holy God-Emperor is with us and he has given unto us the means with which to win. We shall consecrate ourselves with… oh wait, maddie’s right. Don’t drink non-zombie beer! it’s made of yeast! It’s made of yeast! I told you we have to make it using zeds, but they laughed at me, they called me crazy, judgement is upon us!”
Luke, clearly upset by something profoundly religious, collapsed from the table and fell overboard, imbibed, unconscious and completely off his rocker.

Reply by Computer Casey “Hal” Steward
If ‘in you missed breakfast, it’s because you all were in such a Gall Darn rush to go over to that Gall Darn RPG Ranch. I can’t for the life of me, Figure out what in the blue blazes you all do over there anyway.

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
LP looks up from her chalk drawings and smiles at Cookie…
“Cookie be a dear and hand me that jar just over there…” Motions to the lid-less half empty jar of marbles on the bar…Cookie begrudgingly retrieves said lid-less jar and hand sit to LP.

“Please sit ((pats floor next to her)) shall we play marbles a while the rest of them figure out what we do next? I’m figuring it’s going to take a bit for FOur-ish Greybeerd to sober up…and by then he may have a full-fledged love affair going with his ale…what was I saying? Oh! Right…We may be here a while. Would you like to choose a shooter?”
((Holds hand to Cookie, two shiny large orbs roll about on her chalk covered hand. Cookie chooses the blue one and leave the pink sparkly one for LP. Just as she was about to begin their little match…LUKE jumps to the bar and begins rambling on about some such and LP found herself lost seconds in…just when she thought she’d never understand what the deuce was going on…LUKE falls off his rocker…LP nods her head…it’s just as she thought….but then she forgot what she thought and turned her attention back to cookie…))
“Oh! I see it’s my turn….”

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Reply by Madelaine Phillips-Carter
Maddie felt a bit like Cassandra…it was Miskatonic U. all over again “All this silver key, dream-questing and elder gods drivel…Adventuress my bum! She’s a washed up, half-bit, tippler is what she is I say” her Professors and colleagues used to say…”Mad Phillips-Carter, the Steamdrunk.” She ordered a gin and tonic, no more beer for her! Luke, the only one to heed her warnings, was now lying on the floor unconscious. “Of course you can call me Maddie…anything but Mad is fine by me!” As she sipped her gin and tonic she mumbled “Fine…fine…don’t listen! But if any of you should start to turn, I’ll jam a butterknife between your slices faster than you can whistle dixie! Better one in the head than one of the living bread!” and with that, she consented to drinking herself into a stupor.

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
CHAPTER FOUR
Forlath stood up groggily, shook his head to clear out the cobwebs, quickly decided that was a bad idea, sat down again rather unsteadily and gripped the bar with both hands. “It’s time to get this narrative moving” Forlath decided. He stood up again a bit more gingerly this time, swiped a fifth of Rumblers Special Blend from just behind the bar and made his way to the back of the pub. Forlath pushed open the door with the amusing little ‘boy urinating in a pot’ sign hanging on it, found the waste basket full of used paper towels, emptied the bottle in his hand into it and then struck a match and dropped it into the waste basket. The paper towels went up with a WHOOSH. Forlath stood watching the flames for a minute until they started licking at the walls and thick black smoke started rolling around the ceiling. Coughing, Forlath stumbled back into the bar area and shouted FIRE!

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Amazingly, considering the amount of alcohol consumed over the past 24 hours, the group all made it safely outside saving what bottles of alcohol they could of course. Madelaine especially showed above and beyond heroics when she dived through flames, did a couple of backflips and then did a flying leap to the other side of the bar to rescue five bottles of Gordon’s (no relation to the now headless chef) Gin and a couple bottles of tonic water. There was a bit of unpleasantness when Zombie Zack found out Forlath had started the fire intentionally. “You maniac! Are you completely, certifiably insane!? I’ll kill you! AAAIIIEEEEE!” Zack screamed, grabbed the pistol holstered on Casey’s belt, took aim and fired directly at Forlath. THWAP! Went a little rubber dart as it struck and stuck smack in the middle of Forlath’s forehead. Hesitating only a second, Zack dodged around the members of the group, rolled and grabbed the pistol from Luke’s holster, took aim and fired again, only this time a brightly colored flag popped out the end of the revolver, imprinted with the word “BANG!” “Doesn’t anybody in this band of lunatics carry a real gun?!” shrieked Zack as Casey hit him with a flying tackle from behind and bore him to the ground. Forlath stood looking nonplussed for a moment, removed the rubber dart from his forehead and said “well, that was awkward. So, onward to adventure!” Forlath continued, arm outstretched in what he hoped was an inspiring heroic pose and lead the group down the path to the promised dock and awaiting boat.

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Reply by Mara Fantoccini
Previous to the fire….
Mara, siting at a corner table, Luigi board in front of her, places her fingers lightly on the planchette. After a few moments it starts to move of it’s own accord, spelling out a message which she quickly transcribes onto a napkin (blotted with an English Rose lip print.)
‘Io sto bene. Non c’è bisogno di piangere. Nani mi hanno trovato. GR’
She looks up with a puzzled expression.
“I don’t understand. Is this thing broken?” she lifts the board, looking underneath it, then sets it back down on the table.
Luke is passed out on the floor, brought on from either a concussion, a divine revelation, the liquor or all three.
Forlath, looking for love in all the wrong places, is passed out on a barstool.
Maddie is mostly passed out (it is sometimes hard to tell with her) at the table from which Luke fell, mumbling something about Greeks and mercy killing.
LP and Cookie are busy with their marbles.
The Zombies are in deep discussion.
And, still glaring balefully about the room stood the mummified remains of Ez-ra.
“Could someone please help me over here?” she exclaims, followed by “does anyone smell smoke?”
Forlath was no longer on the barstool…

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
“We’ve been had” thought Forlath when the pack of adventurers reached the end of the path. There was a boat tied to the dock all right in that it was currently afloat but there the similarity to anything nautical ended. “Are you freaking kidding me!” yelled Zack who had only just started to calm down “you burned down my pub for this??” Ezra put his hand to his face and muttered “I should have stayed in my sarcophagus.” Mara cleared her throat and said “Zack’s right Forlath, you don’t actually expect us to get on that thing do you?”
There tied to the end of the dock was a rusting, barnacle covered, rotting old tugboat, that it was floating at all was clearly in defiance of all known laws of physics. “Come on gang” Forlath pleaded, “it’s just needing some homey touches and it’ll be fine!” Erik Zombie Nameless offered “deepest apologies old banana, perhaps we lack your vision but there is no way on God’s green, zombie bread infested Earth that you are getting any of us on that corroded old bathtub.”

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Just at that moment Luke shouted out “Big Mac attack!!” The congregation all looked back up the path in confusion and sure enough, barreling down towards them at top speed with arms and legs flailing and giant teeth gnashing was a huge hoard of giant malformed sentient Big Mac sandwiches, mouths foaming with special sauce and murderous intent.

Left with no other option the crew quickly jumped aboard the derelict tugboat and cast off. The homicidal sandwiches jumped up and down on the shore, screaming in frustrated rage as the tug slowly drifted downstream…

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Reply by Mara Fantoccini
“We need to christen this derelict” Mara proclaims, “I say let’s dub it the “Minnow Pequod Bounty Mary Celeste Titanic”?
“We can call her Mipebomacetit for short” she added.

Reply by Luke
You forgot “exon valdise” Luke manages before being trampled by the mad rush onboard.

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
((After regaining her footing…as jumping to said tuggie boat left LP feeling a tad woozy…Searching deep in her pocket she found just the ting to help Mara give the tugboat a proper name..))
“Here ya go Mara dear…” Holds up finger paints in of 10 of the oddest of colors…
Malachite
Gamboge
Fallow
Razzamatazz
Falu Red
Arsenic
Feldgrau
United Nations Blue
Xanadu
Caput Mortuum
“…shall we paint the great beastly bath toy?”

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Reply by Computer Casey “Hal” Steward
Hey Boys and Girls did you every think to try singing the words to “Gillian’s Island” to the tune of “Ghost Riders In The Sky”. It works, in a spooky way.

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
The Mipebomacetit continued to drift down the river in slow, lazy circles. Zack finally exhausted from all his screaming was curled up asleep on the poop deck. “Poor little guy” commiserated Lady Patch who was currently sitting on the roof of the wheel house touching up her and Mara’s paint job “I’ve always thought zombies are so cute when they sleep. They look just like adorable little demented cherubs.” Madelaine’s head popped up from the maintenance hatch, grease smeared on her brow “it’s no use, this engine is seized up but good” Madelaine said. “If you gave me a week at least in a fully equipped dry dock maybe and I do mean maybe I could get her going again but no chance out here.” Forlath heaved a sigh at the news; if he didn’t find a solution soon he would have a full blown mutiny on his hands. Luke who was currently on his back checking the wiring under the instrumentation panel offered “I’ve got a few paper clips and some rubber bands, would that help?” Nobody laughed leaving an uncomfortable silence which was ended when Casey came through the door with next batch of bad news. “The only things in the galley are some hardtack and yep, you guessed it, beans.” The crew let out a collective groan. “I really don’t know what your problem is with beans” Casey countered somewhat defensively “Is it the gas thing? Because that’s the result of undigested sugar and can be mitigated by draining off the excess…” “Oh do please give it a rest Cookie!” moaned Erik. Just when it looked like things couldn’t get any worse Mara shouted from astern where she had been painting obnoxiously colorful polka dots “hey gang, I don’t want to cause any undue concern but I think we’re taking on water and it’s coming in pretty fast!”
Even as the words were leaving Mara’s mouth, the crew could feel the boat start to tilt to one side. Everyone grabbed hold of something as everything started to slide towards the port side. Ezra muttered between clenched teeth “it was a clean sarcophagus, with comfortable bedding and the pillow just the way I like it!” Forlath had a sinking feeling in his stomach and the vague suspicion that it wasn’t just his stomach that was sinking. “Hey Boys and Girls did you every think to try singing the words to “Gillian’s Island” to the tune of “Ghost Riders In The Sky”. It works, in a spooky way” offered Casey winning himself the ‘worst timing ever’ award. Lady Elizabeth shouted out “nooo, it wasn’t dry yet!” as the boat slowly sunk leaving the crew treading water in a huge whirl of multi colored bubbles. Zack popped up like a cork right in their midst with paint rivulets streaming down his face “Forlath, for the record, in case you were wondering and to avoid any confusion in the future – I loathe you.”

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Reply by Luke
Now we’re a veritable rainbow warrior

Reply by Erik Van Gerren
ZACK: “so what’s your story pardner?”
Erik tried desperatly to focus on what was being said, and who or what was saying whatever it was he was trying to focus on being said. So saith the lord. Not normally a heavy drinker, ahem, Erik had none the less put away an entire bottle of Oban 12 year old single malt whiskey. He tried to focus on whatever was being said by whatever was trying to say what was being said, a lost cause.
ERIK:”SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”
Suddenly Erik had an epithany, what alcoholics call, a moment of clarity. “TOILET”. Stumbling away from whatever was saying whatever was being said in search of the mystical urinal, Erik made his way to the lovely Jungle themed WC, or pot-plant as we like to call it. Cue Austin Powers like urination scene.
Reply by Erik Van Gerren
Unsurprisingly, Erik was confused. What strand of the story where the gear following? What fork in the road would they be traveling? What branch on the tree of life would they ascend. Who was what and when???? This called for multiple question marks and possibly and exclemation mark.
??????????????????????
The gear floundered in the drink, Zack slowly drifted off downstream whilst singing “Yes sir she can boogie” by Baccara, Lady Patch was trying to play marbles on a lilly pad with the commisioner, who, despite the current situation was still trying to feed everyone refried beans and Mara undauntedly continued trying to paint the good ship Mipebomacetit as it lay on the river bottom. Looking around Erik spotted Maddie sprawled upon a rock with a Gin and river water cocktail in one hand and half a coconut in the other expounding her philosophy on life the universe and everything.
MADDIE: “MILLENIUM SPROUT AND SHRIMP”.
Ezra sat on the river bed in a major sulk lamenting the ruin of his fine taffeta bindings
Suddenly inspiration hit Erik between the eyes, like a brick dropped from a bridge onto passing motorists by some unruly London rioters. Too soon? Nahhhh, bunch of arses.
Quickly, Erik gathered the aforementioned question marks and linked them together as a chain, and with one, or seventeen attempt, managed to hook onto a branch of a convienently placed tree.
ERIK: “QUICKLY GANG, GRAB HOLD AND WE CAN DRAG OURSELVES OUT OF THIS TERRORFIYE TERRERFR HORRIBLE BOATING POND”

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath, never having been a very strong swimmer in the first place was growing concerned at how much longer he could keep this up. It had been a good twenty minutes since the Rainbow Warrior finally went down, not with a bang but with a whimper, a few bubbles and a wet, smacking sound like the one Madelaine always made when she finished a gin and tonic. Forlath had been witness to one waitress almost losing a hand when she had foolishly thought to take Maddy’s glass before it was completely empty. Ah, good times.

Now however, the valiant band of brothers, sisters and periodic undead were treading water down a canyon river that had been picking up speed for the last few minutes. The canyon walls had proven too steep to permit the group any success in their attempts to drag themselves out of the increasingly rushing torrent. The group bobbed along unable to alter their course, desperately trying to stay above water as the current dragged them along. The roar of crashing water grew louder and louder till the adventurers had no doubt of what the narration had in store for them. The gang rounded a bend and there straight ahead awaited a huge waterfall, the water gushing over the side, thousands upon thousands of gallons a minute. “Ah crap” mouthed Forlath just before the band plummeted over the falls, crashing into the churning, roiling water below.

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“Worst all-inclusive holiday I have been on ever” squelched Forlath as he dragged himself onto the beach downriver from the falls. “Thomas Cook will be receiving a sternly worded letter I can assure you” Forlath panted as he flopped down on the beach and lay prone, spitting up the occasional bit of detritus and one very surprised diminutive fish.

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Forlath looked around; the whole gang thankfully appeared to have survived the ordeal and had washed up on the same beach as well. Zack was further down the beach gasping just barely audible “I hate him, I hate him, I hate him” in a kind of looping mantra.

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Forlath looked up and saw what appeared to be a monstrous cavern (“as if we haven’t had enough of those to last us a lifetime” thought Forlath to himself), but much to Forlath’s surprise, moored inside the grotto apparently still in good nick if perhaps a bit past its prime was an airship. There before those assembled, was a zeppelin, a dirigible, the steampunk holy grail. Their prayers for a way out of the plot cul-de-sac of the last chapter had been answered. Unbeknownst to them this had been the destination of the narrative from the very beginning of the chapter. Every other empire group had one and now so did they. An airship.

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Did I mention that it was an airship?

Reply by Erik Van Gerren
Sir Ezra: Look, my liege!
[trumpets play a fanfare as the camera cuts briefly to the sight of a majestic airship]
King Forlath: [in awe] An Airship!
Sir Maddie: [in awe] An Airship!
Sir LP: [in awe] An Airship!
Luke: [derisively] It’s only a model!
King Forlath: Shh!

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Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
CHAPTER FIVE
Madelaine wiped her greasy hands onto a greasy tea towel. Whether the tea towel was supposed to become cleaner or dirtier through the exchange wasn’t entirely clear. “Well, me and the crew have given her the once over and you’re looking at some major repair work, I could do it down at the shop you see, but then I’d have to charge you, or I could go get the necessary parts and tools from the shop and bring them back here instead but then of course I would have to charge you.” “Fine, whatever” sighed Forlath “just get on with already.”

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Five minutes later, fully repaired, cleaned, stocked, loaded, with staterooms assigned, etcetera, etcetera, the airship was ready to take off. The signal was given to cast off and with the U.S. Airforce song going through Forlath’s head, the airship slowly floated upwards…
…it occurred to Forlath that perhaps he was getting a bit carried away with his ‘zooms’ when he notice the others looking at him with mild concern…

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Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
“She truly is a beautiful ship,” Forlath thought to himself “it’s enough to get a body kinda emotional, *sniff*…”

“Now where was the officer’s mess, hopefully Zack is making himself at home in the bar…”

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Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath, sitting at the bar and now well into his ninth pint, was mumbling into his mug of beer. “This all seems vaguely familiar.” Forlath thought out loud. “Yea, well, maybe so but now we’re on a freaking airship! Let’s see them top that!” Forlath had only a vague idea of who ‘them’ were but felt the point was still valid. “That’s right. Freak-ing air-ship. F-R-E-A-K-I-N-G A-I-R-S-H-I-P. Like to see some killer bread try to mess with us now by golly, we’d kick their buns all over these skies… That’s right…”

Forlath had a thought and turned to rest of the room “Hey gang, any chance we could do some of that mechanical thingery-pokery and make a few alterations so we could steer this baby from right here at the bar? Huh? What do you say?”

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
Finally out of those super target coveralls and into a suitable dress, LP winds her way through….((Does this airship have a name yet?))…right…LP making her way finds herself a touch lost…nothing new O’course…Let’s just check the blueprints….

PLEASE HOLD

*lots of crumpling of paper…turning it this way and that…*
….Yes, here we are….((holding blueprints up side down…naturally…scratches her head thinking hard…but doesn’t think too long before hearing someone singing…a bit off key…but singing and unknowingly directing her way through this maze of an airship))
“ZOOM!” Forlath vociferated!
(shoving the blueprints deep into her pockets…LP sashays into the Officer’s Mess happy to see everyone…most of all Zack…as she could use a stiff drink)
“Shirley Temple please….heavy on the maraschino cherry….”

Reply by Madelaine Phillips-Carter on Thursday
The crew were all seated comfortably at the bar when Lady Patch piped up with a question.
“I was wondering, does this ship have a name yet?”
“Good question” Mara replied “I would think that with all the superstitions sailors have, there would be something dire about sailing an unnamed ship…airship…hmmm, I wonder, do the same rules apply to an airship as a sea-ship? Or is it more like an airplane? And what about whales? Are there sky whales? I should certainly love to see a sky whale!” she rambled on, growing more and more incoherent by the minute.
“With our track record” Maddie snorted “I should think The Hindenburg II would be an appropriate name!” She chuckled morosely to herself. “But seriously, we should consider a name..” she trailed off, returning her attention to her drink.

Reply by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer
I vote we call it either The Low-Carb, Atkins’ Diet or Ramses Revenge.
*Looks about the room, ponders for a moment*
Or perhaps the Gluteus Maximus.

Reply by Computer Casey “Hal” Steward
“Captain Forlath I know you have known me as ‘Cookie” your harmless old cook with a fetish for baked beans .But in these past few pages I’ve been incognito. My real name is Colonel Casey B Travis of the Texas Army. The reason I’m coming out now is, I believe at this time you can help me. I must ask you to fly this ship to San Antonio Texas. My men are there awaiting me to take command. They are station at a small religious structure just out side of town. I wish I had time to explain more , but I must pick up my wife from work my men are waiting for me. My men are facing insurmountable odds and I have my reservations on the structure, that they must defend. Here is a photo of the structure. So now, you can see my concern, I ‘m not sure one can make a defensible position out of giant Twinkies. Will you take me Captain.”

Reply by Mara Fantoccini
And here I thought we could relax a bit!

Reply by Computer Casey “Hal” Steward
” Captain it seems you have a spy aboard. It’s imperative he not learn of our plan”.

Reply by Prof. Xavier Melville Pendennis
Was there anything else you would like to see Madelaine ? And ‘Yes’ there is life outside of the bottle and sometime just as bizarre.

Reply by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer
Amazing. Who would have thought “Cookie” would have managed to convince so many different species of whale to eat his, umm… “cooking”?

That is serious dedication to an undercover persona, Col. Travis.

Reply by Erik Van Gerren
Maddie, do you plan on getting suitable attired for dinner? I am not one to complain, I just think oil stained coveralls are not in keeping with the aesthetic of the dining cabin.
Aye, she is a noble looking lady is she not?
Is it me, or does she look different from different angles???
D’ye see what I mean?

Reply by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer
How exactly are you taking all these pictures, Erik? Have you tamed one of the flying whales?
Because if so, they would make a splendid addition to the Resistance Air Corps.

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath came to with a start, Professor Pendennis’ words ringing in his ears. ‘There is life outside of the bottle’. “So we have a damn teetotaler in our midst,” muttered Forlath to himself “so much for this being a pleasure cruise.” Forlath tried to shake off the weight of the accusation from his thoughts but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t concentrate and his reflections doggedly returned to memories of the past and his battle with the bottle. Battle with the bottle, Forlath considered the phrase, battle with the bottle; you know what, that was just plain fun to say. Bottle with the battle, *chuckle*.

Where was I, oh yes, Forlath had been a drifter back in those days immediately following the war, he had done some things he wasn’t proud of during the hostilities and the bottle had at times been the only path to sleep and release from his guilt and troubling recollections. So he had drifted from town to town, doing odd jobs, cleaning spittoons, digging pits for outhouses, playing piano in whorehouses, working in the DMV, that sort of thing. It wasn’t exactly work to be proud of but at least Forlath had always labored to the best of his ability regardless of the tasks given him and there was satisfaction to be had in that, except for the DMV thing of course.

But it had always been the same old, tired story, as soon as he had some silver in his pocket he would crawl back into the bottle and before long he would be forced to start drifting again, any chance of a stable life, any chance at happiness always just out of reach. That had all changed when Forlath had stumbled onto something he really loved, something that gave his life direction again, something that gave him purpose. Crochet.

Oh sure, everybody loved crochet but that simple pleasure was the thing that had picked Forlath up out of the gutter, turned him around and put him back on the straight and narrow. His crochet skills were now so advanced that Forlath could crochet the heck out of a pair of baby booties in minutes flat. Yep, and what skill would be in high demand in the aftermath of civilization’s downfall? That’s right dear reader, crochet (you know, for sock darning and stuff). Well, a certain proficiency with large caliber firearms would potentially also come in handy, a proficiency which Forlath coincidently also possessed. Crochet and large caliber firearm proficiency, it made for a deadly combination. “Lookout zombie bread,” thought Forlath as he laid out a crisp, clean uniform, shined his shoes, dressed, affixed his emblems of rank to his collar and donned his captain’s cap “we’re coming for you.” With that Forlath smartly saluted himself in his mirror, exited his stateroom and made his way to the bridge…

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath strode purposefully down the hall returning salutes with the enlisted crew that newly manned the airship. It had been a fortunate sequence of events that the airship had floated by minutes after the HMS Prince of Narwhales had suffered a major explosion that had breached her hull and would have surely meant the loss of all hands at sea if not for the timely and entirely coincidental arrival of the GoR band of adventurers in their recently acquired airship. The gang had graciously deposited the senior commanding staff of the Prince of Narwhales on a small, desert isle, with lovely sea views and some palm trees as per their specific request. The remaining crew were then swiftly sworn into service on the airship and informed of their former officers’ abrupt group decision to retire to said island effective immediately and their explicit wish that the prior crew of the HMS Prince of Narwhales now serve on the Gear of Rejection airship. Like I said, a very fortuitous, entirely coincidental sequence of events. That would stand up to scrutiny in a court of law. If it should come to that. Which it won’t. So stop worrying.

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Forlath made his way through the starboard promenade where some of the off duty crewmembers were watching the airborne leviathans frolicking in the airship’s aether trail. It was truly a beautiful sight to behold. Some believed the enormous creatures were made so graceful and lithe as result of undigested sugars contained in the copious amount of beans the creatures ate so voraciously. “It’s just another case of the wonders of natural selection at work” Forlath thought to himself and continued on his way to the bridge.

Forlath entered the control center “as you were” he growled as the airmen and women present snapped to attention. He switched on the airship intercom and put his mouth to the cone “this is Captain Forlath, would the command crew please meet me in the navigation room.” “Carry on,” Forlath said to those present and made his way back to the chart room.

“Let me start off by thanking you all for attending,” Forlath began “we now have a quorum so I would like to take this opportunity to list the motions on the table and then open up the meeting for general discussion. Firstly, I make the motion that I continue in my current role as acting captain failing the appearance of any more suitable candidates.”

“Secondly,” Forlath continued “this vessel needs a name. We need a name that strikes fear into the very hearts of our enemies and commands the respect of our allies. With that in mind we currently have three proposals on the table ‘The Low-Carb, Atkins’ Diet’, ‘Ramses Revenge’ and ‘Gluteus Maximus’. All submitted by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer. Please for the love of all that is holy, somebody tell me they have other suggestions.”
“Thirdly and finally,” Forlath added “Colonel Casey B Travis of the Texas Army, formerly of the galley has put aside his bean ladle and asked that we sail with all haste for San Antonio to assist his men in defending a holy structure apparently made out of twinkies and important to the enemy as yet for reasons unknown. I now open the floor up for general comments, observations and debate. Thank you.”

Reply by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer
Actually I sort of stuttered, there. The Low-Carb and the Atkins Diet were meant to be separate but equally silly valid choices.

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Reply by Madelaine Phillips-Carter
Changing from her greasy coveralls, Maddie responded to the Captains summons, and headed to the chart room. “I hope my attire is more presentable now” she quipped to Erik
Maddie always had a penchant for theatrical dress…she considered herself the Lady Gaga of the Victorian era, if that made any sense…seeing as we’re not actually in the Victoria era as there are Super Targets and Twinkies and if in fact it were the Victorian era, there wouldn’t be any Lady Gaga…regardless…Maddie listened to Captain Forlaths speech. When at last the table was open for discussion, Maddie chimed in:
“I have a few suggestions for airship names Captain, if I may?” she hesitated for a moment “I’ve given it some consideration and have come up with three, they are, The Dawn Breader, The Queen Brans Revenge and The SS Toastan (“That last one was pushing it a bit” she thought to herself…) “And as for Casey’s request, I say fantastic! Mysetious Monoliths, I’m all about that! Archeology and Anthropology were my fields of study at M.U. so I find this structure quite intriguing!” and with that, she left the floor open to the next speaker.

Reply by Prof. Xavier Melville Pendennis
Pendennis catching up to the Captain on his brisk walk, while inspecting and barking out orders to the crew,
” Captain, Captain, aren’t you the least bit curios how I managed to be on board ?”
Capt Forlath pausing, looks a Pendennis sternly,
“ I haven’t the time”
As Forlath proceeds on his trek, Pendennis stays in tow, clutching a note book tightly to his chest
“Captain Who do you think build this ship , do you think it just grew there. And by the way she has a name , I call her ‘The Paradox’ and if you would be so kind to let me explain, I can tell you exactly what she is capable of doing.”

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
“Excuse me comrades in arms,” Forlath interrupted “my apologies for suspending the proceedings but new information has come to light. Presumably, you all know Professor Xavier Melville Pendennis to a greater or lesser degree. By reputation if nothing else I’d wager. Well apparently the good professor has some insight on this vessel’s origins gleaned through his research that he believes could be pertinent. Go ahead Professor, you have the floor.”

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
(Keeping a safe distance from any and all controls, LP only half listens until Xaiver says some such about the ships origins…what she can do…finding this interesting, LP turns only to bump into that which she was trying to avoid…)
Oh! Dear…me….did I do that?
(Airship begins turn on her side…everyone going head over heels with it…)

Reply by Erik Van Gerren
What a turn up for the books, eh kids? It started with the Gear trapped in a super target, whatever that is, and now they have command of a magnificent Airship fully staffed by a motivated and professional crew. With the good Cap’n Forlath at the helm, Miss Maddie working the engine room, sterling work with the change of clothes Lady Ta Ta. And old Whatsisrank Casey presenting a possible new chapter in this narrative, things are looking up……………….
The ship suddenly turns hard a port sending everyone flying. Erik slams into a bulkhead.
ERIK: “**ck this for a game of soldiers, Im off to the bar”
Taking Lady Patch by the shoulder, he steers the two of them to the bar, where the band continue to play, (geddit?), and puts LP in a chair.
ERIK: “Don’t move, and don’t touch anything”
He places a bottle of Moet & Chandon on the table by her side, gives her a small chalkboard, a selection of coloured chalks and a ball of twine.
ERIK: “Enjoy! Now excuse me, I must slip into delerium.”
With that, Erik worked like a trooper to ensure he would have no recollection about anything that was undoubtedly about to happen.

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Reply by Prof. Xavier Melville Pendennis
As Erik and the girls head for the lounge, Pendennis remarks,” Yes Lady Patch, that was a fine demonstration of one of this ships capabilities, Turning upside down while the cabin’ rights’ itself is just the tip of the Iceberg”.
“Captain If you would stand still for one moment, You my fine what I have to tell you could be of great value in adding to the safety of your crew ”

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
“What the…!”Yelled Forlath in surprise as he and the rest of the room were suddenly thrown sideways as the airship tilted on its side but before Forlath could finish his expletive the room had righted itself, presumably riding on some kind of hydraulic stabilizers or the like. This would require further investigation later but right now his attention was on Professor Pendennis “if you’ve got something to say Professor I recommend you say it quick before the next calamitous occurrence.”
While waiting on the Professor’s elucidation a tiny seed of doubt lodged itself in a little used passage in a darkened corner of Forlath’s mind, “either there’s just no pleasing that guy or we’re looking at a a big whooping pirate shaped can of ADD…”

Reply by Prof. Xavier Melville Pendennis
“Well Captain, that’s more like it. It seems your are well familiar with the controls used to fly an airship , and this one in no different. And I realize you have your hands full at present, so all I can say at this point, is don’t touch the controls on the left side of the bridge. I shall make myself available later ,when you have more time to give me, this will take some time to explain. Thank you Captain”. Pendennis turns and walks away, presumably to the part of the ship which he emerged from.

Reply by Mara Fantoccini
Mara, raising a hand to brow in a salute, “Captain, sir, do I have permission to speak, sir?” Captain Forlath turns and nods.
“This walking dead bread situation” she continues, “are we going to just rest on our laurels, sir, or are we going to do something?

I think we should be discussing the attack power of this vessel and construct a plan of attack, if you don’t mind me saying so, sir.” She follows with, “I hope I am not out-of-place bringing this to your attention. There may be others down below who need our help unless, and I dread to think it, we are the last remaining survivors of the human race”

Mara takes her leave of the Captain and retreats to the bar to join the others.
“Oh, I must say, Maddie, I like your suggestion at calling her (the ship) “The Queen Brans Revenge”, a brilliant take on Balckbeard’s ship, and look at you, all dressed up and fancy.”
Mara had become very rational since the loss of Ramsay’s head.

“Hello my dear friends”, she says smiling, “I’m glad everyone made it. That waterfall ordeal was worrisome.” Tears start to well up in her eyes as she looks at them all, tears of joy and relief (she is rather a sentimental sort), and she runs from one to another hugging each of her comrades. When she gets to Ez-ra, she stops momentarily, unsure of disturbing his wrappings. He sneers a bit, but nods his approval, and with a puff of dust she ever so gently hugs him as well.

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
Quite happy to let Erik steer her towards the bar…lovely band playing anyhow…NOT moving and NOT touching anything, LP finds herself with two options…1. She could have a just the tiniest bit of the Moet & Chandon and enjoy watching Erik drink himself silly and be silly with him….or B. She could make do with the chalk and string…either one would suffice…In the end LP chose both…
“Erik…shall we toast to…this un-named ship…though I say Cake Eater is a swell name…” Looks to Erik who was ready well into the first bottle. Erik pours LP a glass then raises bottle…LP continues…
“Right…to the Cake Eater!…May she always right herself when not right…my her crew be safe…and may she float on…and …on …and …on….” *Clink*
And after an hour LP wasn’t quite sure how she coaxed Erik out onto the airship….but she managed…and this is what ensued…

All because Erik started it….

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Meanwhile back in the chart room Forlath observed “well. Thank you Professor, that was uh, not really helpful at all actually.” Forlath sighed “hopefully Lady Elizabeth’s easily distractible nature will prevent her from ever reading your warning because quite frankly it’ll be like a red rag to a bull. I think it might be in everyone’s best interest if we put a 24 hour guard on those controls until further notice.”

Forlath turned back to the room and the remaining officers “you’re absolutely correct of course Mara, hence the motion to investigate Twinkie-Henge. A religious shrine out of pseudo bakery stuffs? Why this could be our opportunity to change the tide of this war and hit the zombie bread menace where it hurts. This sponge cake temple might even be the key to ending this war once and for all… Mara?” Forlath looked around the empty room perplexed “I bet they’re all back down at the bar. I’ve never met a more fickle bunch of drunks in all my years as a…” Forlath never got the chance to finish that sentence because just at that moment a diminutive figure out of dough stepped out of the bottom drawer of a navigational chart cabinet. Forlath remembered hearing Colonel Casey Travis’ suspicions that there was a spy on board “greetings Captain Forlath Grey *wheez*, so we meet again.”
Forlath remembered the cowled figure in chapter four whose advice had put in motion the chain of events that had lead them to this ship. Forlath started to quickly do mental arithmetic, “let’s see now, two plus two, take that number times ten, carry the three, divide the sum by four…” suddenly it all added up! “You’re the person from the pub!” Accused Forlath. Before the little doughy manikin could respond Forlath leapt for the weapons locker. Just as he wrapped his fingers around the handle of a saber he was hit in the back of the head from behind and everything went black…

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Reply by Prof. Xavier Melville Pendennis
Pendennis: “Forlath , Forlath, are you alright.”
Capt Forlath: ” awww I think so”
Pendennis : ” I didn’t mean to hit you so hard, but I couldn’t let you kill him”

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Now sitting upright on the floor Forlath continues,
“You hit me, what were you thinking, are you out of your mind”
Pendennis tries to explain: ” Forgive me Captain, I couldn’t think of any other way to prevent you from killing the dough boy. You see, we need him, if we are to have any hope of defeating the Zombie Bread.
I have known about his presents aboard this ship for months. It seems he or it is a Live Information collection entity., or LICE as I call it. It was created by the Zombie Bread to spy on us humans, but it also possess knowledge that can help us defeat the Dough Master. If you feel strong enough, we can try to capture it. What do you say old chap?”

Pendennis Then helps Forlath to his feet.

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Reply by Rolland Dice
Woops wrong room, I wasn’t looking for the Gents ,But I think I found It.

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
Having had a very long night of messing controls, drinking into oblivion, painting airship-thingies, and general nonsense…LP finds herself a touch tired…yes but only a touch as what she really wants to do is fold paper…origami animals to be exact…finding no paper in the bar of suitable size and wot not….LP leaves the bar in search of the crinkly stuff…walking aimlessly, popping in and out of every room…(hmmm someone’s messy…*picks up dirty sox placing them in the laundry shoot before walking aback out singing M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes”)

…Finds a rather large, very nice room wot looks like a very nice office…probably Forlaths…no matter as there are stacks of paper…LP claps wildly…walks from room with arms full of white printer paper…all of it….makes her way back to..??? where was she going again?…just when she’d given up all hope of finding someplace to fold (her) paper a small dough boy rushes by laughing….

“Oh! I say little boy! Wait please as I’m quite lost….*running to catch up to said DB* …could you please….what I mean is to say…..if you’d only…*drops a few sheets of paper*…WAIT WILL YOU!”
With that the DB stops and turns around…looking at a disheveled LP trying her best to hold onto the last bits of paper…the rest in a trail down the corridor…He walks up to LP takes her by the hand and they disappear into the wall…

Reply by Mara Fantoccini
*music* Dum, dum, dum….and the plot thickens!
(Wasn’t sure how to make the sound- Bum, bum, bum, didn’t sound quite right.)
What will happen to our lovely LP? Where did she go? Who was that dough lump is he actually a time lord (no, couldn’t be, didn’t hear the woosh, woosh noise)? Will he tie her to a railroad track (for steam-powered engines, of course)? Where does this all lead?
The music begins and Mara sings (not unlike Bonnie Tyler) as she wanders along the corrider-
“Where have all the good men gone”
“Where in blue-blazes did that music comie from” she quips as she continues, now humming same tune, down the hall…..

Reply by Computer Casey “Hal” Steward
“Captain Fineloaf, I need your reply to my request. There just isn’t time to spare, men may be dying while you and your crew try to sort it out. Are you the Captain? Then If you are, start showing it, steer this ship East by SouthEast at once.” *Travis turns and walks away, While Forlath stands in shock, stunned at the Col. veracity. As Travis walks away he slightly turn his head to one side and says,* ” If you need me, I’ll be in at the bar with Erik getting drunk.

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath rubbed the back of his head and looked at the Professor balefully “Professor, when you decide to stop keeping secrets and start making sense you let me know, in meantime I’ve got an ambulatory yeast bag to capture and drop out a porthole. So if you’ll excuse me.” Just at that moment Rolland poked his head through the door “pardon, I was looking for the Gents. Carry on” and left again. Forlath looked at the head shaped hole now in the door and shook his head “daft as a brush, the entire freaking lot of them. Maybe I need to cut back on the saltpeter dosage in the ship’s water supply?”

Forlath left the chart room and headed to the lower decks. He noticed the music now coming over the ship’s intercom. Forlath looked up at the speaker as he walked by and thought dourly “the airforce song and Bonnie Tyler, without a doubt we’re going to sweep the ‘worst narrative soundtrack ever’ category, hands down.” Just then a midshipman came up to him and saluted with a wet paintbrush in his hand speckling Forlath’s uniform with paint in the process “Sir, the ship’s new camouflage paintjob has been completed as ordered!” Forlath did a double take “paintjob, who ordered a new paintjob?” Forlath stuck his head out of a porthole and looked up at the ship in all its multicolored splendor “it looks a flamenco dancer and a clown got drunk, had intercourse, got sick and then um… not sure where I was going with that, never mind! Who gave the orders for this” Forlath roared! “Lady Patch gave the order Sir” the midshipman quailed.

Just at that moment Forlath saw the back of Lady Elizabeth’s form sashaying in the other direction down the corridor. “Lady Patch, a moment of your time please”, Forlath bellowed and ran after her. He rounded the corner where she had just been and saw… absolutely nothing. Lady Patch had vanished without a trace. While he stood there slack jawed at Lady Elizabeth’s unexplainable disappearance Colonel Travis showed up at his elbow and started berating Forlath for his command style and the urgency of the Colonel’s mission. ”Forlath rubbed the back of his head and thought to himself “maybe playing piano at the whorehouse wasn’t so bad after all…”

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
(Small room softly lit with wee candles and a table sit at the center where LP and small DoughBoy sit folding paper animals…chatting back and forth about nothing and not much…)
…..Right but then I say to him he should wash behind the ear just below there *LP touches the DoughBoy where his little dough ear should be* …oh! I say…your a little squishy aren’t you?”
*LP looks closer and realizes to her horror that what she assumed (You know what that makes her..) was a very small midshipmen…was really one of the yeasty beings they were up against!*

~PAUSE TO CHANGE TRACK~

Listening to : ‘Panic” By The Smiths …

~PLAY BUTTON~

Reply by Erik Van Gerren yesterday
Yup, he’s still there………….

Reply by Erik Van Gerren
To Col. Casey Travisty.
“The ol’ country Casey, have’n a tolll you o’ the ol’ country. S’beutifull, an an an the moosic.The moosic, it would melt yer ears”
Proceeds to sing….Drunkenly.
“An the hills with purple feathers, where we meet cos it’s no one. So if you’ tak the high one and I’ll be in 500 miles from America”
Falls off his bar stool, amazingly, does not spill a drop of his drink.
“ahahahahahhahahahahahaha, here, here, casey, here, shhhhhhhhhhh! ahahahahahah”
Reply by Computer Casey “Hal” Steward
Hahahahahahahah

Travis Look at Erik on the floor, and while still laughing looked up at the Bartender, Leaning forward across the bar and squinting his eyes as if to focus then asked ” Have’ int id see yor befoe , Yo lookk fam mil lar” Then Travis joints Erik on the floor.

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Reply by Erik Van Gerren
From his present location on the floor. “Hey, hey, oy Case, Case, Case, Dude, look shhhhhh, is a wee fella, heeheehee, ees all white an, an, an wee, heeheehee. Ey, wee, hic, wee, hic, wee, hic.”
Gradually drags himself up the bar.

“Hic, shhhhh, the missus, tsheeheehee, Hey you, hey you,hey you, hey, hey, hey, Wee man, oy, och, oo, o, a, wee man, shhhh Cas, Cas, Cas, dude. HLLLLRPURGH”
Throws up all over the DB, and falls back to the floor laughing.
“heeheeheeheeheeheeheeheezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath’s head jerked around at the sound of Lady Patch’s scream somewhere on the other side of the wall “Lady Patch!” Forlath started to pound on the wall looking for a weak spot, sliding panel, anything that might be a way in.

Abruptly klaxons started sounding all throughout the ship. The current on duty Watch Commander’s voice come over the intercom “man your battle stations, man your battle stations, we are under attack! I repeat, we are under attack, this is not a drill.” Men ran past Forlath to the nearest weapons lockers. A huge sonic boom made Forlath’s ears pop and knees buckle, the electric lights flickered and men were thrown about the corridor like rag dolls as the ship pitched and rolled.

Forlath got to his feet and reluctantly turned and ran down the corridor back towards the bridge fervently hoping Lady Elizabeth would be able to take care of herself. He stopped at the now nearly empty weapons locker and strapped on a cutlass scabbard and continued on his way. Just as he was passing the Officer’s Mess, a motion out of the corner of his eye caused him to look into the room. To his shock and dismay he saw another cursed, diminutive, doughy figure dragging a clearly drunk and giggling Erik by his heels past the edge of the bar and across the Mess floor. Forlath skidded to a stop and leapt into the room with cutlass drawn and rounded the bar just in time to see Erik’s hand holding a martini glass with a little paper umbrella in it disappear without a trace into a solid steel bulkhead. Forlath looked around the room that except for toppled bar stools, broken bottles and glassware thrown everywhere (and what was that – had somebody been sick??) was completely empty. “Are you freaking kidding me!” Forlath shouted and made his hurriedly towards the bridge…

Reply by Prof. Xavier Melville Pendennis
Professor Pendennis stands on the bridge as Forlath rushes in. Before the Captain can utter a word The Professor grabs him by the arm and pulls him a side. “Captain listen to me, This ship is a very remarkable ship, It is equipped with a variety of weapons that would shatter your imagination. It also is a time altering vessel. I wish I had time to explain, but we are under attack, some boob went an ordered the ship painted with bright colors, I think it was sheer luck they forgot to paint a sign that says ‘Shoot Me”

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
(Upon realizing DB was really a DB and not midshipman…LP did the only thing she could think of….She screamed…She screamed and folded paper as fast as her little fingers would fold… making a paper gun….what else! Complete with paper bullets…)

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“Hold it right there! Don’t move a muffin…or what ever you have…just don’t move them!” Breathing heavily she’s momentarily distracted by Florkfig pounding on the wall just above her head…at that moment the DB takes the opportunity to swipe her gun and turn and run right through the wall…leaving her unarmed…and stuck…

…Boom….

LP is knocked to the floor…in what seems like some sort of blast…scrambling under the small table she covers her head as the airship rumbles…good thing she remembered those duck and cover drills from like 4th grade…Whilst hanging about the floor LP notices a curious light coming from a crack in the wall….Trying her best to concentrate on the task of saving her own arse, LP finds it hard to think over the blasted sirens…the sirens keep going and going and going…(hullo! We know there is a problem…do we really need to keep going!!!!!) As if the Airship siren gods herd her…the confounded noise stops and LP inches closer to the light source…

“What the…” Pushing her fingers into the small crack she feels a latch and gives it a good tug…((Click!)) …the wall moves and she falls forward, once again in the hall….
Several men run past her with guns and what looks like water balloons…Giving LP an Idea…perhaps not the best idea..or one of great importance…but she figured it was and Idea…and being the only one in the hall at that moment, it was the only idea to be had.

Rushing back to her quarters she finds her carpet bag…dumping it’s contents on her bed she finds what she needs….blue finger paint and white glue….sling shot and several black marbles…why black? Well black is the only grumpy color she could think of at the time…and she was rather angry…as her perfectly folded paper gun…and bullets…had been taken from her…

Tying her skirts up so she wouldn’t be tripped…and pulling her hair back in a funky Rastafari hat with thick black dreads …and painting a couple black stripes on her cheeks for good measure…it works for the footballers right?…anyway LP left to make good on her idea…

~PAUSE~

Needed track change…as one can’t go off to war with simple merry go round music you know…

~PLAY~

‘Weapon of choice’ By Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

….LP opens one of the many doors leading to the outside of the airship…being mindful of the wind…and not to be seen by the enemy….she pulls herself out and begins laying the ground work for her super plendifferious idea….
… effectively…making the once rainbow eyesore… invisible to the naked eye….(spppt…nice new paint job eh? I call it “Ode to cloud camo”)

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Faster than you can blink Forlath drew his cutlass and whipped it around bringing the gleaming point to within an inch from Professor Pendennis’ left eye “either you stop talking in riddles and give me some information I can use RIGHT NOW or I aerate your skull.” Before the Professor could respond the ship started to vibrate, all the contents of the shelves around them started to rattle violently, all onboard suddenly experienced a queasy sensation in the pits of their stomachs that seemed to reach an unbearable intensity… and then stopped as abruptly as it had started. The pilot exclaimed in a panicked voice “Captain, we’ve lost visual!”

Muttering “what new deviltry is this?” Forlath turned and looked out the front windowpane of the control gondola and saw… nothing. No sky, no sunlight, no attacking vessels, nothing. It was as if someone had completely covered all the panes with opaque paint. As Forlath stared in disbelief, the silence became apparent and it occurred to him that the ship had also stopped taking enemy fire.

Before anyone had the chance to fully digest this new turn of events Maddie’s voice came in over the intercom “Engineering is under attack, I repeat, we have been boarded and Engineering section is under attack, assistance is urgently requested!” Forlath grabbed the horn and shouted “Luke, we’ve lost all visibility, take Alpha Squadron, scramble and secure our airspace! All other tactical units, report to Engineering and repel boarders with extreme prejudice!!”

“This conversation is not over Professor!” Forlath roared and ran towards Engineering. As Forlath ran down the corridor he noted that if nothing else at least the music coming over the ship intercom had improved, weapon of choice indeed…

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Reply by Erik Van Gerren
Erik, in a moment of lucidity, realises that he is no longer in the bar. He seems to be in a small cramped compartment full, for some unknown reason with neatly constructed paper birds, the work of a deranged mind no doubt. As he scans his surrounding he notices a faintly sour odour of stale sick.

Reply by Prof. Xavier Melville Pendennis
Prof Pendennis, now shocked to learn that the ship was now being controlled by a madman, walked over to the control panel on the left side of the bridge, the very one that he had instructed that no one touch. Reaching down, he crabs the Purple knob, then, while scratching is chin with his other hand he mutters ” Mmmmmmm do I push it , or pull it……Pull it, I think”. As the Professor pulls the knob , both Erik and Lady Patch fall out of the walls on to the deck of the ship right in front of Him, The Professor looks down at them both with amazement and simply says, “Hello”.

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
….Lady Patch falls to the floor in a heap of skirts and a funky Rastafari hat hanging on…but only just…smiles up a the good Prof….

“Ummm…hullo prof. I suppose you’ll want these…” Holds hands out…clutching a few finger paints…shrugs.
Standing up…dusting her skirts…putting them back in pace as no one need see her ankles…tossing the hat at Erik with more force than needed…truly…Giving him a scowl and thinking to herself…Do you need be a poop head…deranged mind indeed….be thankful I didn’t fold those paper bits into porcupines…

Snapping to, LP nods to the Prof. in thanks as she wan’t sure where the door to come back in the airship was…seeing as she managed to paint over the doors and windows…decidedly not in her original plan idea…feeling for the sling shot and black marbles…finding them, she rushes from the company of the pair seeking out the engine room…

….Dancing shuffling down the hall…..

…every free armed man dancing along with her….”everyday I’m suffle’n”…towards the battle cries of her fellow crew…

Reply by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer
Earlier, [because that’s when I started writing this this and, being too lazy to edit out the temporal references, I’m just going to roll with it]:
EZ-RA sat in his stateroom, pondering the events that had led him here. Since the release of the killer bread, everything had changed: daily routines, society in general…TV. In the early proofing stages of what was to rise and become Bun-A- Geddon, the Food Network inexplicably went off the air for 3 ½ hours. When it came back on, there was no explanation given for the blackout and the programming went into a commercial free Marathon of Bread Recipe shows and clips, “…brought to you without interruption by the kind folks at Atlanta Bread Company.”
Next to fall was the entire Turner Broadcasting Empire, all the stations with the exception of TNT and the Cartoon networks, showing the same programming in continuous loop: Our Daily Bread, Bread and Roses, Bread and Tulips, and Black Bread. Cartoon Network and its sister station Boomerang played nothing but Bump in the night- Night of the Living Bread, and an episode of the Tick called Tick vs. the Breadmaster.

For some reason TNT only played A Christmas Story over and over; surviving experts believe this was due to the fact that TNT already had it loaded for the upcoming Holiday Season, and the soldiers of the Rabid Rye Regiment who took the station accidentally triggered it, causing a glitch that was too difficult for them to repair. Then, within 24 hours ,the rest of the networks fell…News Media was, for all intents and purposes, dead as an information source… you know, even more so than it was prior to the disaster.
[What? I don’t know… look it’s a fantasy setting, you will just have to suspend disbelief and trust me…So, you can believe hordes of killer bread, but suddenly this is getting silly? Look, the News got even more useless, OK? Deal… With…It.]

[Now, where was I…Oh, yes!]
But, strange and drastic as the changes to the world were, they were nothing compared to the changes to EZ-RA himself… a fact, while noticed by the others in the group,about which he had yet to be asked.
Outside his stateroom window, he saw a shadow pass and a flash of movement as someone flew by on the back of a sky whale, snapping photos of the Airship. They went by too quickly for him to be sure who it was, but it looked to be either Eric or Zack the Bartender … difficult to say which.

Whoever it was, their activity gave him an idea- He would write down the strange events that led to his sudden, yet inexplicably unremarked, transformation. That way, if someone should ever care enough to finally ask “Hey, why is/was Ezra a mummy?” there would be an answer available, just in case something untword should happen to him in the meantime.
He went to the desk, pulled out a pen and paper, and began to write…
Reply by Ringmaster?
BREAD BY ANY OTHER NAME, TASTES JUST AS SWEET.

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
** using a slingshot, LP shoots dough balls the size of grapefruits at Ringmatser?…**

Reply by Ringmaster
Catches said dough balls, poor Dough Boy, and with slight of hand turns them into green rubber balls. Passes them to LP.
“I do hope you will be able to make use of these articles?”
Then with a hop skip and a jump, vanishes in a puff of smoke.

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
LP sits on floor facing the wall…rolling balls back and forth…thinking “Wasn’t there someplace I should be?”
Completely lost in her own mind she lays down for a nap…balls nestled sweetly under her head…bumpy pillows…but pillow none the less…

Reply by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer
EZ-RA writes:
You all know me. You have known me for untold pages on the main Gear comment wall, so believe me when I say it hurts a bit that you have not enquired as to my condition. Be that as it may, the reasons for my new appearance could change the course of the war, so it is imperative that you know how I came to be this way, and what it all means.

Before the disaster, I was an average, if incredibly sarcastic, human being. I was walking in the local Mall, shopping for, well… just shopping.
[No need to Gor-lath the narrative, after all.I could wax poetic about the great deals I found, and spend three agonizing pages describing the checkout process, including a detailed, two paragraph description of the keypad I used to type in my PIN number, but that will not get the vital information that you need into your hands. ]
So, this “market research” person walks up to me and asks if I would be willing to participate in a taste test that would take approximately 45 minutes of my time, for which I would be compensated with a gift card to the Sizzler.

Now, don’t misunderstand me, normally I am as polite as is warranted with this form of social intercourse, but since I foolishly left my baseball bat in the car, I had to listen long enough for the magic words “Sizzler Gift card” to work their insidious magic upon me.
Powerless to stop myself, I agreed, and was ushered into a small room with 12 other people already seated at a long table.

A tall dark haired man in a dark suit walked in and said to the clipboard drone who had led me in, “Thank you Gillian, I think this will be a large enough group for this round.”
He turned to us and said “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, my name is David, and I will be the presenter for this taste test.” He pulled the metal covers off of the 2 platters on the table revealing two loaves of bread, the one on the right labeled A, the other B.

”The purpose of this comparison,” he said, gesturing at the platters, “is to determine which of these two loaves of bread you like the most. There are an assortment of sandwich fillings and jams on the sidebar behind you. For the next 15 minutes, feel free to make whatever you would like of them, using the bread from loaf A only if you please. Please make note of all impressions you take from this experience, texture, taste and aroma, as we will be asking questions relating to them, and contrasting the two samples at the end.”

In our innocence we made our sandwiches, and we piled them high…
And God help us, we ate them.
[Blast, out of paper, must go see if Lady Patch has some to spare… Wait…is that Bonnie Tyler I hear?]
To be continued….

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Reply by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer
EZ-RA’s narrative continues…
Fear not, gentle reader [and I can’t help but add either unobservant or uncaring reader.… I mean seriously, back three days, suddenly: A mummy… in a sarcophagus, In a cave in the Middle of Nowhere, and no one thinks to ask, “Hey Ezra, what’s with the wrappings?”]

As I say, fear not,[Ingrates] Loaf A was the control loaf, so no one was harmed in the making of those sandwiches
…But the other, sinister loaf, loaf B was watching…
Watching and waiting.
Plotting… and Hating.

As David stood, called time and began to explain that we should repeat the process with the other loaf, suddenly there was an odd, almost imperceptible sound, as of the ripping of damp cardboard,[ best I can do, sorry.] and suddenly, without warning…. the bread on platter B…
Had Grown A FACE!!

An evil, maniacal, hate filled visage, that we all stared at in horrified shock for what seemed an eternity, but was actually only the mere second it took for the next slice behind it to bound across the table and onto the light switch, plunging the room into pitch darkness.
Pandemonium ensued.

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The next hours, possibly days, who can say? are a blur, the only memories I have are strobe-light flashes of horror burned into my psyche that I will not attempt to put down here, as I need to go to the store and buy the makings for supper, they are just too horrible to recall with more clarity.
At some point, David, myself, two remaining red shirts from the taste test and Gillian, now missing her entire left arm and her right hand to the middle of her palm…
[“Well, at least she’ll never hold a clipboard again” a small, petty and more than slightly hysterical part of my mind chortled]

.. All of us, as I say, found a temporary shelter deep in the steam tunnels under the Pentagon. As we stood slumped over but ready to bolt at the first sign of doughy pursuit and gasping for breath, we were suddenly blinded by a bright blue light coming from above us, freezing us all where we stood.
“Great,” I thought,” Aliens… and Under the Pentagon, no less! Like we really needed another ridiculous plot twist to this narrative!”

But as a rope ladder fell, striking poor Gillian square in the face…
[“HA! Take that, you clipboard bearing, gift card promising, trap door spider of Doom!”
…Hmmm, I really must see about therapy for this vindictive streak…]

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…I realized that it was actually the hidden entrance to a secret Grain Eugenics lab.
[No, don’t ask how I knew, let’s just go with it, I’m on a roll, in the groove now.]
At last, we were saved… or so I imagined at the time.
[Odd, there are the sounds of battle echoing down the corridor, and it is suddenly pitch black outside…No, wait, it is merely that someone has painted my window… I can tell, as they missed a spot. Best go see what is happening this time.]
Continued…

Reply by Computer Casey “Hal” Steward
“Hey Ezar what’s with the wrapping?”

Reply by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer
Umm, its nothing, Col. Travis. And I would thank you to mind your own business.
[Belatedly salutes]
Sir!

Reply by Madelaine Phillips-Carter
Meanwhile, in Engineering:
“Where the bleedin’ hell are they!” Maddie growled through clenched teeth. She punched the dial on the intercom again and screamed “Forlath, we need backup IMMEADIATELY! There are simply too many of them!!!” Although Maddie and her engineers fought with the ferocity of badgers…angry, rabid badgers…the Poppin’ Fresh Platoon were steadily gaining the upper hand. They sliced and diced through the hoards of Grands® Biscuits, Ready Bake Cookies and Toaster Streudels; but the pastries just kept coming.

Maddie was beginning to think all hope was lost. She reached into her jacket pocket with her free hand and pulled out a flask. Top quality gin, she had been saving it for a time like this. She had barely raised the flask to her lips when there came a shrill cry from somewhere behind…”THIS IS FOR GORDON YOU DASTARDLY DOUGHBALLS!!!”
Mara came rushing through the hoard, swinging a giant rolling pin like a baseball bat and sending the pastries flying left and right, in gooey lumps. “Someone call for backup?” she cried triumphantly. Maddie heaved a sight of relief, the rest of the crew couldn’t be far behind.

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Reply by Computer Casey “Hal” Steward
“Hello Madelaine
How are you feeling?
I see that you are under attack,
I will inform the Captain.”
Hal then closes and secures the
airlocks to engineering. bam……click…clank
“I see you have Mara with you, Madelaine
Perhaps you could tell her that I can read lips.”

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath ran full pelt down the corridor, staggered, slowed down, came to a stop, bent over, propped his hands on his knees and gasped for breath “Is it me,” he thought out loud “or have I *gasp* been running for like the last *pant* three pages? Note to self,” Forlath muttered “ask Pendennis if one of his fancy buttons is an elevator call button.”

Having caught his breath Forlath continued down the corridor, doing battle rolls through hatchways and sliding down railings from deck to deck really took it out of a guy. As he stumbled on towards engineering he picked up dribs and drabs of plot twist floating past on the winds of narrative, EZ-RA’s feelings were hurt that no one had noticed that he had become a mummy? Wait a second, hadn’t he always been a mummy? Freaking fantastic, if that wasn’t enough CASEY had just announced that ‘he’ was locking down Engineering. Top it all off with a spontaneous movie quiz and Forlath had had enough. It was time to have a drink and decide if the time had come to pull the plug on this sorry adventure. Forlath threw his cutlass aside and went looking for an open bar…

Reply by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer
EZ-RA’s testament, the final chapter:
OK, I’m running out of paper, this is the last piece, so I’m going to pare it down a bit…

Here we go…

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The lab we were pulled up into was the source of the chemical that started the entire mess.
The scientists who had created it had been frantically trying to find a cure, and they were sure it was nearly complete. As the lead doctor, a man by the name of Dave S. Calumet-Rumford was filling us in on the discovery, there came a squeal of tortured metal, and the secret door we had entered moments before was flung upwards into the room on a column of swiftly rising dough. The door caromed around the room before striking the good doctor in the head and flinging him back over a lab table.

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There followed a pitched battle, in which all the junior scientists, the remaining red shirts, David and the crippled remains of Gillian were all overwhelmed and killed, but the doughboy advance was stopped in the nick of time with the help of a flamethrower I made from a Bunsen burner.

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I went over to Dr. Calumet-Rumford, lying in a broken heap in the corner. He told me to check the oven, the cure to the menace was in there and should be done in 3 minutes.

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“The pie.” He said, “Take the Pie…”He then passed out, at the time I thought he had died.
In the oven was a bright green pie, like a key lime pie made entirely of lightening bug arses and 20 minutes later, just as it was cool enough to eat, the sounds of another wave of glutinous madness could be heard rushing our way.

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I ate the pie as quickly as I could, waiting for I know not what power to manifest and carry me to victory…but the Hot Cross hordes passed on by below me. Maybe this was the power, invisibility to their butter drenched senses.

Then from the corner, the Doctor stirred again, finishing the sentence he had started a scant 20 minutes before, yet eons too late to do the world any good …
“Take the pie to New Orleans. It is a powerful desiccant, you see.”

I interrupted, “A WhoWhat now?!?”

“Desiccant,” he replied “You know, like those packages they put in with electronics and such, to keep them from being damaged by moisture and humidity during shipping?”

“Yes,” I said,” The ones that always say ‘Do Not Eat’ on them?” a sick feeling beginning to grow in the pit of my stomach.

“Yes, that’s what I’m referring to,” he said, “Now shut up, you’re stepping all over my death scene. You must take the pie to New Orleans, as I said, and there you must seek out and infiltrate the lair of the Dreaded King Cake. You must use the pie to hit It in the face, it is the source of all the life-force and menace in these malicious, delicious monsters. The pie will dry His golden Moistness out, it will blow away like Dust in the Wind… only then will the menace of the bread be undone.”

As his head sank back to the floor, the last of his life trickling away, I asked him

“Umm, supposing, JUST supposing , mind you, only for a second now, that I misunderstood you and umm, Theoretically…”

“*cough*atethepie?*cough.”
With his last breath, he looked up at me, and said, trust, hope and belief in a future for Humankind warring to be quickest to die in his eyes…

“In that case, son, you’re All buggered.”
And then he died.

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Reply by Mara Fantoccini
Back in the engine room.

Mara spoke in as calm a voice as she could muster, “Computer Casey, what has happened to you and why have you locked us in?”

Maddie, taking another swig from her ‘regulation military canteen’ whispered aside to Mara, her back to the red eye “We need to get out of here, there has to be an override, you distract him while I look into it”
Mara thought for a moment, “Casey, remember your men at the twinkie-mo, or was it twinkie-henge, I’m not quite sure, but they need your, our, help. You know the alarm signal. Take us there. Let us help you. We are all friends here, correct?”

“Please, unlock the doors?”
Maddie finds a small entrance, a crawlspace if you will, and begins to remove modules one by one.
“Daisy Bell” is heard being sung over the intercom system.
“Casey, dear Casey, you must come out of there. We don’t want to hurt you. Please, come back to us in human form.”
Maddie removes another module….

Reply by Computer Casey “Hal” Steward
“Yes Mara, I got trapped inside this thing some how, It… it.. trying to control my thoughts, I’m fighting it, the doors , I’m opening the doors, I can’t hold him off for long, hurry, go, go now.

Reply by Mara Fantoccini 27
Delete Maddie and Mara quickly rush through the barely open door. “Thank you Casey dear, keep on fighting, we shall find a way to release you!” she shouts over her shoulder.
Chaos now reigns. Everyone is running about the hallway flailing their arms. The intercom has switched to playing “Nearer My God To Thee.”

“I’m going to look for Captain Forlath” Maddie exclaims.
“I’ll try to find out what happened to Casey” replies Mara.

They head off in different directions.

Mara, running through the hall sees LP sleeping on the floor, her head resting on some tennis balls, “that must be uncomfortable” she thought. She dashes over to her “LP, wake up, I need your help!”

LP stirs “what is it? where am I?” she mutters.

“Lady P” Mara cries, the computer has taken over the ship. Casey is missing, but is somehow connected. Maddie is off looking for the Captain. Can you help me find Casey?”

LP nods her head “lets go” she replies.

The two most *cough* lucid ladies start searching as many cabins as is accessible.
“Where was that hidden room you were taken to?” Mara asks LP.
“Over there” she points down a narrow corridor.
“Do you remember how you got in?” Mara replies.
“I think you just push at the wall and it opens” adds LP.
They start pushing the walls.
LP-“Here it is.”

They enter the room, scattered about the floor are many tiny paper animals.
They notice a plaque hanging on the back wall that states:
“Ennyn Durin aran Moria. Pedo mellon a minno”
“What does that mean, Mara?” asks LP.

“I have no idea, my dear friend” she replies.
A creak is heard as a hidden doorway opens.
They look at one another, completely perplexed, then cautiously enter.
Inside they find the mainframe and attached to it by many wires and tubes lies Casey.
LP- “Is he…is he dead?”

Mara- “I don’t think so.” She approaches the body and leans down, placing her ear upon his chest.
“His heart is beating ever so faintly” she says to LP.
LP starts pulling at the wires.
Casey’s body begins to contort.
“Stop, that seems to be hurting him!” Mara screams, “we need someone with technical skills, where the hell is Luke when we need him.”

“I’ll go look for him, you stay here with Casey” LP says as she races back through the doorway.
The intercom continues playing “Nearer My God To Thee” in a continual loop.
A head pops through the open doorway.
“May I be of some assistance?”

It was Ez-ra.

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
Working on NOT being ADD…LP finds herself rushing down the hall looking for Luke…Opens every door off the corridor as she hastily searches…open…”Hullo? Luke? … closes door…..run run run ….opens door…”Hullo? Luke? ….Closes door…. run run run …trip….run run …Opens door… “Hullo? Luke?….Goes to turn and close door but sees a cake… “Cake!”

~Dancing over to the cake, hands all in the air like a crazy…much too silly to be thought anything near the word Lucid… LP looks over her shoulder…I’m sure who ever left this cake wont mind if I take just a tiny tiny swipe of icing….

Just as she goes to bring the finger of sweet pink icing to her lips…the door crashes in!!!… effectively scaring the ba-jezzus out of LP…finger full of icing making a rather pink mustache under her nose.
“Hold it right there,” the DoughBoy shouts! (Note the bugger’s got my paper gun still…why I otta…)

LP gives the DB the stink eye…forgetting to wipe the pink icing from her face she rushes towards him bringing the whole cake with her….like a pie in the face, LP smashes the cake on top of his wee DB head…Then takes the paper gun and checks the clip…seeing all the paper bullets are still accounted for she turns the gun on him…
“Stand up you yeasty mite. (pushes glasses back up on nose with finger…) Now turn around and walk…don’t try and run…I made this here paper gun…and I know how to use it!”

Slowly LP and the DB make their way out the door and down the hall to where Mara is…thinking to herself….”I wonder if we can salvage any part of that cake?”

~TRACK CHANGE~

‘Rudie Can’t Fail’ By The Clash…sorry I have a thing for the clash…cannot be helped…

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Captain Forlath Grey stood with a whiskey and soda on the rocks in his left hand that due to present circumstances was currently minus the rocks, the soda and the tumbler… Captain Forlath Grey stood drinking whiskey out of a bottle, slowly reading the scrawl that spread all over the walls of EZ-RA’s stateroom. Apparently EZ-RA had started writing on paper, had made his way from there to writing on his bindings and when they had run out had started on the walls.

Forlath tilted his head to follow the scribblings. “So, if I understand this correctly, he’s just severely dehydrated?” Forlath asked himself, “then what’s with the new Egyptian name pronunciation?” Forlath did his best Ezra voice “hey guys, yea, uh, hi, this is me, Ezra, yea, so anyway, I’m like really parched and stuff, so um, from now on call me EZ-RA!!” Forlath chuckled to himself and kept reading, suddenly Forlath stopped laughing and the color drained from his face “…the dreaded King Cake! Do you know what this means?!” Forlath looked down at EZ-RA’s bindings lying on the floor and gasped in shock as the horrifying realization hit him “this means EZ-RA is currently running around naked!”

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
CHAPTER SIX
A noise from the direction of the hallway made Forlath look over his shoulder. There standing in the doorway with an evil grin on its banana eating face was a large winged monkey wearing a waist coat and a little red fez. I s*** you not, what, do you think I’m making this s*** up? “Seriously,” asked Forlath of no one in particular “now we’re fighting freaking flying monkeys? Has the chronicler no shame!?” Forlath grabbed the scabbard on his belt with his right hand only to discover it was empty. Forlath remembered throwing his sword away in disgust seven posts ago “son of a…” Forlath cursed his short temper. “Easy there monkey boy,” Forlath held out both hands placatingly “let’s uh, not do anything rash. Look, how about you and I sit down over a nice banana daiquiri and talk our differences out like uh…” The monkey shrieked and leapt for Forlath’s face with razor sharp talons. “Gaaaahh” shouted Forlath and threw the whiskey bottle in his left hand at the monkey’s head… and missed completely, the bottle smashing against the bulkhead and bursting into a million shards, one of which coincidentally flew right into in the monkey’s left eye causing it to shriek in pain and fall head first directly into the exposed corner of Ezra’s desk with a sickening crunch. Forlath put his hand to his mouth at the sight and feeling a bit queasy staggered out of the room…

Reply by Mara Fantoccini
Ez-ra entered the hidden room, completely naked.
“Be so good as to cover yourself, sir” Mara exclaimed, shielding her eyes.
Ez-ra looks down “I thought I felt a draft” he remarked.
He grabbed a nearby table cover and wrapped it about his loins.
“So sorry, I must have left my wrappings back at my room” he said, somewhat apologetically.
“What is this” waving his finger towards the inert body of Casey.
“Your guess is as good as mine” Mara replied “LP and I found him like this, apparently he is being used in some way by the ships computer.”

Ez-ra-“Well, have you tried to disconnect him?”
“Yes, and every time we even touch a wire or tube it sends him into writhing spasms” Mara said with concern clouding her eyes “I don’t know what to do. I sent LP to look for Luke, I thought maybe he would have an answer.”
“Have you informed the Captain of this?” Ez-ra asks.
“I asked Maddie to look for him, everything is such a mess. I wish Gordon were here, he’d know what to do” she replied.

Shaking her head, and wringing her hands she turned to Ez-ra, “I would like to apologize to you for my actions back at the cave, that was a silly knock-knock joke and sticking my tongue out at you as I jumped into the mining cart was not very lady-like…..and I should have asked you about your mummification but” in her own defense she continued “I thought you were always a mummy.”

Ez-ra simply nodded “you are forgiven.”

Turning away she walked over to Casey, lightly placing her fingers on his wrist “he still has a pulse, that’s a good sign isn’t it?” she said, seeking consolation.

“We will do what we can’ Ez-ra made a sort of grimace that eventually became half a smile. He hadn’t done it in so long he almost had forgotten how.
He walked over and patted Mara’s hand.

“Please keep your distance sir, considering your attire, this is most inappropriate” she blushed followed by “I hope LP hasn’t been distracted and remembers what she was sent to do and that Maddie didn’t stop at the bar before looking for Captain Forlath”

Reply by Mara Fantoccini
Mara was deep in thought,
as deep in thought as they were in Scheiße.
“If we could communicate with Casey, perhaps he could stop what is going on aboard this ship? she thought aloud.
Turning to Ez-ra “he opened the door to the engine room, allowing Maddie and I to escape” she added.
Her face set stern with conviction.

“Think, think….what would Gordon do?” she mumbled as she started pacing the floor.
She walks over to Casey’s body and takes his hand “Casey dear, can you hear me? Please, is there anything you can do to stop all this madness?” she pleads.

She became angry “fight, damn it, fight the control it has over you. I know you can do it. We need to get on with our lives. We have a war to fight!”

Casey stirs ever so slightly.
“Do you think he heard me? Do you think he understood?” she asks Ez-ra “Ez-ra?”
He had gone leaving the table cover behind.

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
Walking the little DoughBoy back through the corridor at paper gun point…LP keeps smelling icing…perhaps it was the little yeasty man in front of her…she didn’t know but where ever the source, it smelled like heaven….
What was it I meant to do? She thought. Knowing Mara had said something important.
“Perhaps you’d like a muffin Lady?” The db said with a glint in his eye…
Really? hahahahahahaha You think I’d fall for that one? LP says…then stops…contemplating this… You know what….yeah I do. You have chocolate chip per chance?

~Not thinking better and perhaps suffering from a contact sugar high (hahahaha get it…cuz she keeps smelling pink icing? hahaha….haha…ha…right…(cough) back to the story..) LP puts the paper gun in the waist of her skirt and holds out her hand waiting….not remembering she needed to find Mr. Luke…not thinking about anyone else but rather giving in to her stomachs need for warm dense muffins….if only she had a cup of soy milk to wash it down….eyes gloss over thinking about times in not so distant past, when bread didn’t want to kill her and she ate PB&J sandwiches without fear of bloating…. ~

….seeing LP was lost in space…DB makes a run for it…neglecting to give LP a muffin….LP comes to…looks at her empty hand…. “Drats!!!! Tricked me again…..*sigh* No matter…I’ll just stop in for a quick….” LP stops mid sentence…El Capitan Senior Forlath is seen staggering out of a room….
Running to catch up…she smacks him on the back….”Hullo Cappi-tan!”

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath turned with a start. “Lady Elizabeth, oh thank gods” Forlath sighed and indicated Ezra’s stateroom “don’t go in there, it’s not a pretty sight…” but before Forlath could utter another word a little dough boy ran by, stuck it’s tongue out at Lady Patch and Captain Forlath and continued on it’s way skidding around a corner in the corridor and disappearing from sight. Forlath raised an eyebrow at Lady Patch, she returned with a shrug and then both of them ran pell-mell down the hallway in pursuit…

Reply by Madelaine Phillips-Carter
Meanwhile:
“If I were a Captain, where would I be” Maddie thought to herself, tapping her foot impatiently. She had searched a large portion of the ship, fighting off remanants of the Poppin’ Fresh Platoon that were still scattered here and there, but had yet to find even a sign of Captain Forlaths whereabouts. “Well, If I were Captain, I know where I would be” she mused, and, deciding it might not be that far of a stretch after all, she headed to the bar.
She found it in absolute disarray. Bottles scattered high and low, broken glass everywhere, and, is that a puddle of sick? Lovely, just lovely, she thought! I pity the fool who gets stuck with cleaning duty after we get things ship-shape around here! Maddie sighed and poured herself a glass of gin. Just one drink wouldn’t hurt. She was at a complete loss as to where to look for Forlath next anyway. She needed some time to think and it just so happened, gin helped to stimulate her thinking process. After two or so more glasses, Maddie decided to get back to the search. She took a bottle of gin with her, just in case, and proceeded off down the corridor leading to the living quarters. Something shot past her down a corridor to the left…Was that a…nude….*ACK* the thought was too horrendous to contend with “Must have overdone it with the gin a bit” she muttered to herself. She approached the men’s sector of the living quarters when a loud screetching assailed her ears. She rushed towards the source of the ruckus to find Forlath engaged in a scuffle with a flying monkey. “Flying monkeys! I really must have overdone it…no more gin for a few…hours…” she coughed to herself. Afraid of what other hallucinatory images her gin-addled brain might conjure up, she found one of Lady Patches origami birds lying on the ground, and with the stash of sharpies she had nicked from the Target, scribbled a hasty note to Forlath:
Captain,
Casey has gone all Matrix.
Don’t know how it happened.
Need help!
-Maddie

She drew a hasty map of the secret passages and mainframe room, folded the origami back up again, and gave it a toss. It soared into the room and landed with a “plunk” at Forlaths feet, and with that, high-tailed it back to Mara.

Reply by EZ-RA, Mummy of Hasenpfeffer
[All right, I really must take this opportunity to interject a Strong protest at the ugly turn this narrative has taken… I am not , repeat NOT, running around Naked on the ship…
As everyone knows:
Mummies always wear golden underwear.
Carry on.]

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Lady Elizabeth and Forlath rounded the corner in hot pursuit of the dough boy… only to find themselves brought up short by a dead end. “Son of a biscuit!” Shouted Forlath. Just at that moment Lady Patch bent over, picked something up off the floor and in her best Monty Python Holy Grail accent said “message for you sir!” and there in her outstretched hand was an origami bird.

Forlath slightly puzzled unfolded the bit of paper and studied it. Apparently the ship was riddled with secret passageways and there was a note from Madelaine written in the margin. “The others need our assistance,” Forlath urged. He quickly glanced at Maddie’s map “there should be a secret door right about… here!” With that Forlath threw his weight against a spot on the wall and groaned when he bounced back, the wall hadn’t budged. Forlath rubbed his hip “I don’t understand it,” Forlath scratched his head “The map clearly indicates there should be a door right here.” Lady Patch meanwhile was turning in circles giggling as her skirts twirled creating a pleasing colored pinwheel effect. Growing a bit dizzy from too much twirling, Lady Patch put out her hand on the wall to keep her balance. *Snickty click, whirrrrrr, shhhlush* went a section of the wall as it opened revealing a small, well light room, with a brass rail running about four feet off the floor and a panel of shiny brass buttons. “Um, Captain…” Lady Patch ventured. “Not now Lady Elizabeth, I’m trying to figure this out” said Forlath as he glanced in her direction and did a double take. “Ah, just as I thought” Forlath said somewhat sheepishly “the secret door was right uh, here as indicated” Forlath quickly turned the map right side up. “Good work Lady Patch.”

The two valiant heroes entered the room, the secret section of wall closing behind them. Forlath rubbed his chin and studied what appeared to be the controls. “This would seem to be an elevator. Now we need to approach this with care” Forlath cautioned “there’s no telling where this thing goes so I advise a button by button trial in a structured series of controlled experiments, after which we will document and do a comparative review of results before proceeding on to the next…” “Or we could just push this big, shiny button at the bottom” offered Lady Patch. With that and before Forlath could react, Lady Patch pushed the bottom button on the panel. It light up and the room started to quiver. A humming noise reminiscent of motion filled the room, and a muzak version of Time After Time started to come out of a little speaker up in the corner of the elevator. Lady Patch and Forlath held the brass rail and waited pensively for their destination.

Forlath found himself pondering disturbing thoughts, such as would the valiant crew of the Cake Eater survive this ordeal, and another thing, if that was indeed a picture of Ezra in gold underpants, what exactly had he done to the poor maid on the floor in the background? But much more troubling was the thought that if that wasn’t a picture of Ezra, why was Ezra carrying around a picture of some blond guy in his underpants? The elevator offered no answers and hummed steadily onwards…

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
The muzak shut off as the elevator came to a stop. Forlath and Lady Patch readied themselves as the elevator door start to slide open *shtungshhhhhlush*. “Lady Elizabeth, you wouldn’t ah, happen to have any weapons on you no?” Forlath asked somewhat belatedly. Lady Patch held up an origami bird in response. “Yea, I was kinda afraid of that” Forlath shook his head “Well, I guess we’ll have to get our harshest language ready then because it’s show time.” With that the door finished opening and Lady Patch and Forlath stepped cautiously out onto what was a catwalk high up on the wall of a huge oval shaped chamber hundreds of feet in diameter and at least 400 feet deep.
“How is this even possible” wondered Forlath dumbfounded. Lady Patch gasped and pointed. “Look!” All along the floor of the chamber were comatose crew members neck deep in sticky dough. “I think that one is Luke!” Lady Patch cried out. The human headed dough balls were being tended by hundreds of the diminutive dough boys they had been chasing through the ship. Flying through the chamber on leathery, bat like wings were more of the fezzed monkeys. But that was the least of their worries for there in the middle of the chamber, rising up like some doughy Mount Kilimanjaro was a giant, doughy, female figure being attended to by dozens of dough boys and flying monkeys – the queen of this sentient bread brood. Forlath stared open mouthed for an eternity before he could think of something to say, even then all he could manage in a semi-articulated gasp was… “oh crap.”

Reply by Computer Casey “Dave” Steward
Casey returns to consciousness and sits up on the floor and sees Mara trying to help.
” What happen , What happen to me. Mara you must tell me what’s going on.”
Casey’s hand runs over the right side of his face, looking again at Mara, he demands
“Mara you have to tell me what’s going on, why and how did I get like this?”

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
Seeing Cappi-tan Forlath’s reaction…mouth hanging open like a cod fish and all…LP takes matters into her own hands…firstly by closing Forlath’s gaping pie hole…then remembering she has a paper gun with paper bullets in her skirt waist, she takes it out, checks the clip…yup still full…. and places it in Forkfig’s hand.
“Shhhh….here…take this. It may not be much but at least you’ll have 24 9mm spit wads to work with.”
Forlath looked at the gun…then back to LP…then back to the gun…tucks it in his pants…Hopefully not the pocket with the hole…giving LP a nod of thanks then turns and runs to the end of the platform…pauses before doing an armstand back double somersault tuck…landing in an amazing squat below….very very 007-esque…I assure you as I saw it myself…no lie….I’m amazed the monkeys didn’t take notice…well his landing was very quiet you know…even the Chinese would be jealous!

WHere he was going LP had no clue….shrugging her shoulders she turned and took the stairs to her right in haste…as jumping from this high up would surely give everyone quite the show…and after all…everyone knowing she tie dyes her bloomers it something she’d like to keep to herself….Op! I guess thats no secret anymore…not to self…check internal filter…as everything just flows right out…
Catching up to Cappi-tan Forlath LP hoped he had a plan…cuz…well…she never does…

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath held his hands up in triumph – a perfect dismount! Well, okay maybe a slight wobble but still pretty darn good. The scores started coming in, a 9, another 9, a 10! A six from the East German judge?! Son of a…
Lady Patch slapped Forlath across the face “snap out of it Cappi-tan!” Forlath shook his head, blinked his eyes a couple times and then said to LP somewhat crossly “you know, I really wish you would stop…” Before he had the chance to finish two of the little dough boys approached rolling a big dough ball with Zack’s head sticking out. Forlath grabbed Lady Patch by the elbow and pulled them both to the floor behind mounds of dough, with the unfortunate side effect that Forlath caught a glimpse of what was that, tie dye? Forlath being the gentlemen he was quickly averted his eyes. “We uh, we’ll need a disguise if we’re going to get any closer” Forlath stammered. Lady Patch paused for a moment, her eyes lit up and she pointed at the mounds of sticky dough piled up everywhere. Forlath sighed and nodded.

Ten minutes later two large dough ‘boys’ waddled in amongst the numerous worker dough boys who were running about the room quickly on their appointed tasks. Occasionally one would cock his head up at Lady Patch and Forlath in puzzlement but the heroes’ disguise appeared to be holding. They moved deeper into the chamber…

Reply by Computer Casey “Dave” Steward
As Mara helped Casey up from the floor, he notice someone or something moving out from behind the bar. Then suddenly it leaped forward to attack Mara. At that instants a red beam of light shot out of one of Casey’s eyes. The long narrow steady beam seam to cook what ever it made contact with, in this case two bottles of Gin, one Scotch, four Vodka ( imported) six feet of custom built mahogany bar and one Dough Boy ( also imported) Mara threw her arms around Casey and started kissing him on his not so human cheek in extreme excitement and exuberance , “You saved Me , You saved Us!” She exclaimed over and over.

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Suddenly Forlath stopped short, blanched and put a hand on his stomach. “What is it, what’s wrong?” Hissed Lady Patch. “I can’t be sure,” Forlath grimaced at the bad taste in his mouth “but somewhere something revolting has just happened.”

Reply by Lady Elizabeth Patch
“Cappi-tan…SIr…I assure you …I have never ‘hissed’ in my life…perhaps a light growl …but never…his….ssss…ssss” LP was so close to Forlaths Dough Body she bumped into him. Setting off a chain reaction….

Sort of like a game of domino’s…LP stood eyes wide open as Forlath slowly rolled back…bumping into one of the dough balls…then that one bumped into another…and another…and another…and so on…until all the dough and doughboys where rolling about the large room like a ginormous ball pit.

“Ummm…did I do that?” LP said as she watched in horror…well not really she found is almost humorous…but felt tiny bit sorry for Forlath as he was bobbing around in that bunch of balls…Dough balls…get you mind out of the the gutter Ez-Ra….

Remembering she still had the paper crane that Maddie wrote the note on, LP hurriedly fetched it out of her pocket…the one without the hole O’course!…and whispered to it’s little bird brain head…
((Whispering))
“Now go find Maddie and Mara…watch out for Casey…dont let him look you in the eye…right…go now…we little paper fowl…God speed!”

And with that the little bird shot through the air…in search of the only people who could help…becuase lets face it…LP was laughing on the floor by this point…and was no help at all…..
(The End….for now…I have a road trip and then a dinner and then home…very long day….lets hope someone saves you Forlath….if not have fun swimming in the ball pit…careful…I’ve herd children often pee in those…just saying…)

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath rolled round and round the chamber in an elliptical orbit around the monstrous queen, knocking over dough boys like some kind of giant pinball machine. Then the inevitable happened, the queen looked down and spotted the source of the resulting chaos. Screeching like some kind of Japanese B grade monster movie, the giant dough queen reached down and grabbed Forlath’s flailing form with an enormous, pastey batter fist.
Meanwhile a flock of flying monkeys descended on Lady Patch and lifted her still giggling figure into the air and towards the hive queen. For the second time that day Forlath thought to himself “oh crap.”

Reply by Mara Fantoccini
Mara, arms still around Casey’s neck looked in awe, from one eye to the other.
“This is incredible” she said.
Then, realizing what she had done, blushed and released him.
Stepping back she spoke-
“I am so sorry, I don’t know what came over me. All the stress from the past few days, weeks, or is it months(?), I haven’t even a clue how long it’s actually been, has taken it’s toll on me, on all of us.
She commenced telling him the situation, as she knew it, up to the present.
“We should look for Maddie and the others” she added, hurrying towards the opening in the wall, Casey following, his red eye piercing the darkness.

Reply by Madelaine Phillips-Carter
Panting and near ready to collapse, Maddie reached the room where she had left Mara & Casey. “Mara, you won’t believe what I just…” she began, but stopped abruptly when she realized she was talking to an empty room. Well, not completely empty, for slouched over the hardwood bar was a very toasty doughboy. Well this is a new development… she thought to herself. The cloying scent of oven-fresh bread hung heavy in the air, it made Maddie’s stomach rumble. How long had it been since they had last eaten, what with their cook becoming a Colonel, then a cyborg and all. What she wouldn’t give for a bite to eat. Staring at the doughboy a terrifying thought crept into her mind…no, no, no, that would not be prudent! She would have to survive on gin alone. Surveying the room for any clues to her companions whereabouts and coming up empty, she pulled a bottle from her knapsack. “Looks like it’s just you and me now” she muttered to the bottle. Taking a hearty swig for courage, Maddie bounded off towards the armory.

The pickings were slim, but Maddie managed to scrounge up as many weapons as possible. A change of wardrobe is in order too she thought to herself. While she was bending down to lace up her boots, a faint rustling sound caught her attention. It was not unlike the flapping of tiny paper wings. Maddie looked up to see the paper bird that she had previously scrawled a map for Forlath on flitting in the air above her head. “I think it wants me to follow it” she whispered to her bottle of gin, and with that, the tiny origami bird took off down the hallway. It lead her deep within the bowels of the ship to a strange brass elevator. “You want me to go in there I suppose?” she asked the bird, and with what she swore was a *chirp* of affirmation, it took off back down the hall.
Maddie took a deep breath and stepped into the elevator. Staring at the array of buttons, she decided it would be best to press all of them at once. With a stomach churning *whoosh* the elevator lurched downward. When it reached its destination, the doors creaked open to reveal a terrible sight. Swarms of doughboys were waiting out on the narrow catwalk. They had know she was coming. Mustering her courage Maddie armed herself with a sword she had taken from the armory. “If it’s a fight they want” she said to the bottle of gin “It’s a fight they’ll have!!”
With sword raised Maddie rushed into the hoard of doughboys, and letting out a mighty roar she cried “Today is a good day to die!”

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath was well on his way to a sticky, masticated end in the maw of the doughy monstrosity that was the hive Queen when the thunderous clamor of battle caused the Queen to pause in the act of stuffing Forlath into her craw, and look towards the elevator. There, on the catwalk surrounding the cargo bay currently being used as a nesting chamber, chopping off dough boy and flying monkey arms, legs and heads was Madelaine in all her blood lusty glory, shining like a valkyrie, the internal lights reflecting off her breastplate… “Is she really wearing a breastplate?” Thought Forlath “great, with EZ-RA running around in his golden underpants and now this, there goes our ‘suitable for all ages’ rating. By the way, I wonder who would play me in the movie version?” Forlath’s thoughts started to wander “maybe a young Ray Liotta?”

Another ear piercing screech from the now livid hive Queen brought Forlath out of his reverie. The Queen turned and took a slow prodigiously step towards the elevator, raising her other hand to squash the bothersome intruder. Forlath’s mind raced, surely there was something he could do. Of course, Lady Elizabeth’s paper mache pistol! Forlath squeezed his hand in past the rib cracking grip of the Queen’s fist to pull the pistol out of his pocket. After much squirming and searching Forlath managed to grab what he thought was the pistol only to find when he had his hand free again that it was the peanut butter and banana sandwich he had found in the Ringmaster’s cave all those chapters ago! Despair settled down on Forlath’s shoulders like a physical weight, they were doomed. In disgust Forlath threw the sandwich with all his might at the Queen, it landed with a wet splat on the side of her head and stuck there…

While unbeknownst to Forlath, it’s a commonly known fact to just about everyone else that peanut butter and banana sandwiches are the favorite snack of flying monkeys everywhere. As the sickly smell of days old, squashed peanut butter and banana started to waft about the cargo bay, flying monkeys slowly forgot what they were doing, stopped and pivoted their heads to allow their nostrils to track the deliciously inviting smell. First in ones, twos and then in groups, and finally in one huge, screaming flying monkey mass, all the flying monkeys in the chamber descended on the dough Queens head, scrabbling, fighting, clawing for a taste of the peanut butter and banana sandwich stuck to the side of her head! The Queen flailed and bellowed, trying to ward off the flying hoard…

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
The dough boys franticly ran to help their distressed queen. Madelaine found herself standing alone and exhausted in the midst of doughy gore, the spitting image of Boudicca surrounded by the corpses of her fallen foes. Presuming of course Boudicca had been interrupted in the midst of baking when her enemies attacked, covered as she was in dough and flour from head to toe. Lady Patch had just managed to pull herself up over the catwalk railing where she had been dangling, suspended hundreds of feet from the floor when the flying monkeys who had been carrying her had unceremoniously dumped her midair, to go fight for a share of the peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Forlath on the other hand was currently being used as a human flyswatter, as the Queen continued to try to fight off the flying, screaming, monkey hoard. Just when Forlath was convinced every bone in his body must be broken, that unconsciousness couldn’t be far away and this must surely be the end, Forlath found himself slipping from the Queen’s grasp and flying through the air to smack against one of the cargo bay walls and slide slowly to the floor. As chance would have it Forlath came to rest right next to the cargo bay doors control panel. Forlath groaned, noticed the panel, looked at the cargo bay doors, looked at the Queen, smiled a lopsided, somewhat concussed smile and swung his hand around and slapped the big, red, open button.

Warning lights started flashing about the chamber, a bell high on the wall started clanging and the huge cargo doors underneath the Queen’s feet opened up. The Queen realized too late what was happening and as she started to fall through the opening doors, she scrabbled desperately to grab hold, but her big yeasty hands could find no purchase. As she fell out the doors she made one more desperate attempt to grab hold of something, threw out a hand and as chance would have it snagged Forlath’s left foot. For the third time that day Forlath mouthed “oh crap” and then he was dragged across the floor and out of the cargo bay doors after the dough hive Queen as she plummeted towards the ground thousands of feet below surrounded by falling dough boys and tumbling flying monkeys…

Reply by Ezra Yesterday
Nearly lost in the mayhem of the flying monkey feeding frenzy was the sound of a loud thump followed by a most indelicate curse [something to do with Congress, but this is meant to be PG- 13, so I can not, in good conscience give the details here] from the roof of the elevator, then a trapdoor swung open, and EZ-RA swung down to the floor.

Well, actually he plummeted through the trapdoor headfirst and was deposited unceremoniously on his face, but he’s attempting to be heroic, let’s give him a little descriptive leeway, shall we?
So, where was I…

He strode majestically from the elevator, impeccable abs glisten….. no, never mind… now its too heroic…
He walked out of the elevator, Stetson cocked at a jaunty angle, turned to Maddy and said,
“That was a hell of a climb…Could you perhaps not hold the lift doors open in future, others might like to use it as well, you know….” There was the sudden sound of klaxons and strobing of warning lights as the bay doors began to open.

As Forlath started his slide of doom, EZ-RA took the situation in with a glance, and holding his hand up to forstall what looked to be a furious, if gin soaked, rebuttal from Maddie, said “Oh, excuse me a second.”
He unwound a length of wrapping and quickly fashioned it into a lasso, and with a cry of “Hold On, Pardner!” he let fly.

Overcome with embarrasment, he muttered something about Cookies beans and flung the lasso, just managing to snag one of Forlath’s desperately flailing arms and momentarily halting his slide to the wild blue Yonder… Bread.
“I realize I’m a little late,” he drawled “but by the time I unpacked my cowboy duds, all of you had moved on to strange and different personae.Since I fond myself inexplicably undressed a while ago, I figured I might just as well cowboy up, come on down, and save the day.”

Reply by Ezra Yesterday
[What, you’ve never seen a Cowboy mummy before?]With his free hand, he tipped his hat to Lady Patch before placing it back on his head and grabbing the nearest support brace. He grunted with the strain of holding up Forlath and the Queen, and said through gritted teeth
[a-la the classic Steam-Era cinema star Clint AEastwood]
“Mam’, iffin you don’t mind, could you get someone to cut him free of that Dough-gie before we all three fly out the hatch?”
His hand began to slip “If that happens, he and I will be Dough Fighters in the Sky.. which,at this height, would last for about 40 seconds… Much obliged”.

Reply by Mara Fantoccini
With a loud screeching crash, Mara bursts through the elevator shaft, splintering metal and sending shrapnel flying.

“Am I too late?” she asked as a dumbfounded Maddie, LP and Ez-Ra stared on.
“Where in the blazes did you get that from?” Maddie questioned, jaw agape.
Before Mara could answer, Casey, using the elevator cable as a rope came repelling into the room, red eye ablaze.
“Well, while this is a pleasant reunion” Ez-Ra quipped snidely, “would someone kindly help here?”
With a *Zap…Zap…Zzzzt* Casey’s eye-beam severed the queens arm, allowing Ez-Ra to pull Captain Forlath free.
Forlath scrambled, with Ez-Ra’s aide, out of the open cargo bay hatch just as it was slamming shut.
“Phew, that was close” he remarked, wiping the sweat from his brow.
The group, together at last, rushed to join their Captain.

Reply by Computer Casey “Sarge” Steward
Casey stood in front of the captain avoiding eye contact, ” Captain, you don’t have to thank me, I didn’t know what I was doing.” At that moment the Cyborg have mask along with any other mechanical parts fell to the floor. Casey was free from all external influences, Except for maybe ………Mara.

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
CHAPTER SEVEN
After the demise of the dough hive Queen it was just a matter of course to clear out the rest of the ship of any and all hostiles. Professor Pendennis had been right; there was much about this ship they did not know as they continued to discover new rooms, corridors and strange equipment of unknown origin or function. It appeared that this ship, like any woman was a mystery that could take a lifetime to decode. (What? Too corny?)

Having said that, Forlath still couldn’t help wondering that it didn’t occur to the good Professor to point out that a monstrous dough hive Queen and her brood were multiplying in the belly of the ship. He was pretty sure that was the sort of thing that should be at the top of the list of topics to discuss when meeting for the first time. Hello, nice to meet you, this ship’s a bit of a riddle, oh by the way, there’s a gi-normous monstrosity in the cargo bay of this ship that intends to use you all for its nefarious purposes. Jumping Jehoshaphat, Forlath would even have accepted bypassing the pleasantries entirely and going straight to the ‘you’re all going to die gruesome deaths’ part, but maybe the captain was just too ‘working class’ in that way.

Speaking of Professor Pendennis he hadn’t been seen for some time. Unlike other members of the crew such as Luke, Zack and various enlisted and warrant officers who had been discovered in the Queen’s brooding chamber wrapped in dough. It still wasn’t clear if the captives were to be eaten by the Queen, feed to dough larvae or indeed transmogrified somehow into worker dough boys. Much of the crew had made a full recovery and were back at their posts but recuperation periods seem to vary individual by individual and a few were still in sickbay under observation.

Another MIA was Erik who Forlath last saw disappearing into a bulkhead wall with alcoholic beverage in hand, but search parties continued to explore, look for survivors, and map out the new control facilities, mechanical bays and storage rooms being discovered daily. Surely it was just a matter of time until he popped up again in his typically enigmatic way…

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
It was now clear that it was no accident that they found this ship tethered in that cavern. They had been led there like lambs to the slaughter. It was only thanks to the efforts of Forlath’s intrepid companions that everyone upon this ship did not end up as puppets or worse of the dough hive Queen. But a few questions remained. Who had attacked them from outside the ship at the same time the dough hive was attempting to subdue the crew onboard? What had happened that had broken off the attack, had they experienced some kind of temporal displacement event? And finally, where in time and space was the Queen Bran’s Revenge now?

They had sent out reconnaissance flyers to attempt to determine where they now found themselves with as of yet no success. Regardless, one thing was now crystal clear; they were no longer in the skies above Iowa in the post apocalyptic world they had known only a few days before…

EPILOGUE

Reply by Captain Forlath Grey
Forlath walked along the starboard promenade, his cane clicking on the grooved wood floor. He would need a cane for a while, at least until he recovered from the surgery that had put the pins in his shattered leg. Thank goodness Lady Elizabeth Patch had demonstrated a certain flair in the operating room; apparently her husband was a doctor or something similar and she had learned by his side? Truly a remarkable woman, Forlath had asked her to take over as the Medical Officer with the assurance that no one would expect her to become a more (how did she put it?) ‘constipated’ version of herself.

Madelaine Phillips-Carter had Engineering in hand as Chief Engineer and her daily progress reports indicated shipboard repairs (including the window paint removal project) were coming along in a timely fashion. Mara Fantoccini was now the Logistics Officer in charge of electronics, communications and shipboard stores. Forlath had asked Mara to appoint a suitable replacement from the enlisted ranks to the position of chef to replace Casey. ‘Enter rank here’ Casey Steward had agreed to take over as Tactical Officer in charge of offensive/defensive ship systems, the armory, security and combat marine detachments. At least until such time as they could return him to his unit defending Twinkie-Henge back in Texas of the world they had left behind.
Luke was the obvious choice as Wing Commander of the onboard squadrons and the helm. We would just have to make due without him until he had recovered from his ordeal in the brooding chamber. Pendennis had a spot reserved as Science and Intelligence Officer is he ever resurfaced and Forlath had asked Ezra Hassenpfeffer to step in as the Executive Officer, i.e. the XO. There was a lot of double and even tripling up of duties but it couldn’t be helped at least not until others like Erik, Zack and the Ringmaster appeared, reappeared or recovered.
On a positive note, quite unexpectedly the dough boys turned out to be quite pleasant, reliable little chaps once out of the sway of the brood Queen and they were fitting in nicely around the ship in menial posts such as cabin boy and bar staff. As a matter of fact Captain Forlath Grey was headed to the Officer’s Mess right now for a well deserved drink after an exhausting inspection tour of the ship. The Cake Eater and her valiant crew had survived her baptism of fire, so to paraphrase Matthew 6:34, the future could worry about itself, at least for a little while…

The First Supper

 

 

8 Comments
  1. Ezra Yesterday 3 years ago

    Excellent, I love the early stuff…
    They kinda remind me of Muppet Babies™.

  2. Brain 3 years ago

    What an evocative tale of modest heroism in the face of oppressive evil. I feel a kinship with not a few of the characters.

  3. Brain 3 years ago

    Whatever happened to the intrepid band of outcasts?

  4. Just Justine 3 years ago

    as it is with many bands, they split up, some went off to join other bands, some formed new ones and some went solo.

  5. Forlath Grey 3 years ago

    Shhh, no spoilers, he’ll just have to wait for book 2 . . .

  6. Ezra Yesterday 3 years ago

    Can’t wait, there’s some really good stuff in Book 2…
    [Really obscure Spoiler alert:]
    The Warder makes his debut, something about Eldritch books and the inadvisability of licking them and the Jersey Elves™ make their first appearance.
    And who can forget Marion the security guy?
    That’s right, no one can.. because everyone kept talking about him.

    [Ok, I guess I was mistaken; reading that will not only fail to spoil the plot, it doesn’t even make sense… In fact, most of it didn’t make sense in the story… lol]

  7. Forlath Grey 3 years ago

    If memory serves, book 2 is also the origin of the Divergent Worlds Machine . . . I think . . .

  8. That was about the time I was invited to join the cast Forlath…good times. I really miss Patch with her marbles and Jack with his ‘Walls of Dialogue’…good times.

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