Shitespace
Deep Matter
EPISODE 1
COMMUNICATION MELTDOWN
by
Mike Stools
ANNOUNCER
(Brian Blessed) Deep Matter, by Mike Stools, starring Paul McGann as Captain Hake, Richard E. Grant as Number One, and Barbara Windsor as Ensign Charlene Wagstaff. Episode 1 Communication Meltdown.
GRAMS: (Theme Music) “SPINNING JENNY” BY SKYCLAD
F/X: AUTOMATIC DOOR OPENS
CHARLENE
(DREADFUL ESSEX-TYPE ACCENT) ‘Ello everybody! Is this the Indestructible? Which one of yer’s the captain?
HAKE
That will be me. Captain Hake. You must be the new communications officer.
CHARLENE
That’s right. Ensign Charlene Wagstaff. Pleased ter meet yer. Larvly ship, this. Is it new?
HAKE
As a matter of fact it is. This is the Indestructible B. The Indestructible A was destroyed in an unfortunate thermionic meta-particle incident. I see the Institute has given you a glowing reference in the field of communications.
CHARLENE
Yeah. My tu’or sez I ‘av the best oral skills ‘e’s ever known.
HAKE
Yes, well. Let me introduce you to the crew. This is Number One.
NUMBER ONE
(VERY ALIEN VOICE) Welcome aboard, Ensign.
CHARLENE
Aw please. Call me Sharley. Everybody else does. I like yer earrings.
NUMBER ONE
Those are my nostrils.
HAKE
And here we have Ned, the ship’s pilot.
NED
Hi, Sharley! Delighted to meet you. If there’s anything I can help you with, just ...
F/X: INCOMING CALL TONE
CHARLENE
Wozzat?
HAKE
Incoming call.
NED
Yes, let me show you to your station. You’ll be sitting here, next to me, and you need to touch this sensor here.
CHARLENE
This one?
F/X: KLAXON
NED
No, this one.
CHARLENE
Ah, yes. That’s diff’rent from the one my tu’or said I ‘ad ter touch.
F/X: MESSAGE OPENING JINGLE
GENERAL JONES
(D) Ah, Hake. There you are.
HAKE
General Jones.
JONES
(D) You fully operational?
HAKE
Yes, sir.
JONES
(D) Good. There’s a spot of bother at Athena 5 Grammar. We’ve received intelligence that a Colloquon ship is on its way to attack the Grammarions. Heard of them?
HAKE
Nope.
JONES
(D) Well, the Grammarions are a highly linguistic race and are the custodians of most of the languages spoken in the galaxy. Their texts are up to a million years old and many are deemed sacred. Their recent works are on the analysis, preservation and translation of innumerable languages. They must be protected at all costs. Your orders are to intercept the Colloquon ship and kill everybody on board.
HAKE
A routine job.
JONES
(D) Precisely. Now, you will try not to get your new ship blown up, won’t you? Insurance have gone and upped the premiums on this one.
HAKE
It will be safe and sound.
JONES
(D) Good, because I don’t want to be forking out for the excess too. Over and out.
F/X: MESSAGE CLOSING JINGLE
HAKE
Okay, let’s see what this ship can do. Ned, set a course for Athena 5 Grammar.
NED
Aye, aye, Cap’n.
F/X: SHIP ACCELERATING
F/X: (CONTINUOUS) BACKGROUND NOISE OF SHIP GOING FAST
NED
Maximum weft.
HAKE
Thank you, Ned.
[PAUSE]
CHARLENE
‘Ow long will it take ter get there?
NED
Oo, about 20 minutes. Half an hour tops.
[PAUSE]
HAKE
Right. Well.
F/X: CONTINUOUS BACKGROUND DRONE OF SHIP
F/X: INTERCOM SWITCH
HAKE
Hake to Stringer.
STRINGER
(D) Captain?
HAKE
Everything okay in the engines?
STRINGER
(D) Yup.
HAKE
Think you can get a bit more out of them?
STRINGER
(D) Sure.
F/X: INTERCOM OFF
HAKE
Hmm. Chatty fellow.
F/X: BACKGROUND HUM RISES SLIGHTLY IN TONE
F/X: INTERCOM SWITCH
HAKE
Hake to Cassidy.
CASSIDY
(D) Vet Cassidy
HAKE
Anything to report from the clinic?
CASSIDY
(D) All quiet here.
HAKE
Good, good. Let me know if anything happens.
CASSIDY
(D) Will do, sir. Though no one seems to get ill these days.
HAKE
Well, that’s good news.
CASSIDY
(D) I’m just sorting out my scalpel drawer. Do you think I should order them alphabetically?
HAKE
Yes. Alphabetically sounds fine.
F/X: INTERCOM OFF
HAKE
E.T.A., Ned?
NED
‘Bout quarter of an hour. Ish. Give or take.
CHARLENE
Shall I put the radio on?
NUMBER ONE
Captain, I have been researching into the Colloquons and it would appear that they are not a warrior race. They believe in resolving disputes by going to the pub, having a few drinks and talking complete nonsense until both sides agree that the other is ‘their bestest friend ever’.
HAKE
I don’t think we need to research the Colloquons, Number One. We only need to kill them.
NUMBER ONE
They hold little in the way of strong beliefs, other than a profound conviction in the right to eat well, drink well and talk drivel.
HAKE
Well, soon they won’t even have to worry about that.
F/X: RADIO TUNING IN. ELECTRONIC POP MUSIC. FADE OUT.
F/X: ENGINES SLOWING DOWN.
NED
Okay. Here we are. Athena 5 Grammar, if I’m not mistaken. And that must be the Colloquon ship straight ahead.
NUMBER ONE
Captain, I am not detecting any signs of life on board.
HAKE
What? Our ship or theirs? Ha, ha.
NUMBER ONE
The Colloquons have either left their ship or are deploying a mitochondrial scan blocker of some technology unknown to us.
NED
Shall I fire a volley of fissiles at them?
HAKE
No. If we blow up their ship we won’t know if we’ve killed them. We’re going to have to board them.
CHARLENE
‘Ow are we gonna get on board?
HAKE
Ned, bring the ship in close and extend the HSBC.
CHARLENE
Wot’s an HSBC?
NED
Horizontally Stretchable Boarding Corridor. We just connect it up to their ship and walk through it.
CHARLENE
Oh, I always wondered wot them fings were called.
F/X: MECHANICAL SOUND OF AN HSBC EXTENDING ...
HAKE
(MUTTERS) It is written clearly on the sides.
F/X: MECHANICAL CLUNK
NED
Connection made.
HAKE
Right, everybody grab a blazer and follow me.
F/X: FOOTSTEPS ALONG A CLANKING METAL FLOOR.
AIRLOCK DOOR OPENING
FOOTSTEPS ENTERING A LESS SONOROUS ENVIRONMENT.
NUMBER ONE
The refectory, clearly. [SNIFFS LOUDLY.] The crew has recently dined on boeuf bourgignon with dauphinoise potatoes, peas and broccoli. Except one who chose the vegetarian option. The wine is a 67 Chavolian-Nodras, premier cru. The broccoli was slightly over done. I’d be surprised if any of them had any room left for pudding.
HAKE
Most mysterious.
CHARLENE
It’s like they had a big meal then jus’ vanished. Eerie, innit?
NED
I know what you mean. It’s almost as if they all came into this one room, had a mighty feast, cleared up after themselves ...
CHARLENE
... done the washing up and wiped down all the tables ...
NED
Yeah, and then something happened. Something inexplicable. Something that gave them no time to leave any trace of what happened, or send a signal for assistance, and they all suddenly disappeared.
NUMBER ONE
You haven’t entertained the possibility that they ate their dinner and went back to their duties?
NED
Yeah, okay. I suppose I have done that myself before today.
HAKE
Let’s split up and search this ship thoroughly.
F/X: MANY FOOTSTEPS DEPARTING
FADE
DOOR OPENS
TWO FOOTSTEPS ENTER
HAKE
Excellent. The bridge.
NUMBER ONE
Unoccupied.
HAKE
Very strange. You’d think they’d leave someone here. I mean, anyone could wander in.
NUMBER ONE
Yes. Luckily, it’s only us.
HAKE
Was that an attempt at sarcasm, Number One?
NUMBER ONE
I have been taking a course in rhetoric devices. I am now proficient in irony, pathos and paralipsis too.
HAKE
Good for you, Number One.
F/X: BUTTONS BEEPING
NUMBER ONE
According to their inventory a landing shuttle is missing.
HAKE
How do you do that? Whenever I’m on an unfamiliar ship I can’t even get the lights to work.
NUMBER ONE
The lights work automatically.
HAKE
Yes, well, the doors to open.
NUMBER ONE
The doors also work automatically.
HAKE
All right, I can’t operate these consoles because they’re all in what I can only describe as foreign.
NUMBER ONE
That word is alien to me.
HAKE
Are you doing a course in being a smartarse too?
NUMBER ONE
I graduated in that.
HAKE
Oh. I didn’t know that. Or are you just being a smartarse about being a smartarse? I mean, is that part of the course you’re doing now? You know, Number One, it’s just occurred to me that I don’t actually know very much about you, even though you’ve been with us for ... oh, I don’t even know that either.
NUMBER ONE
What would you like to know?
HAKE
Erm, I don’t really know. Let’s start off with something simple - something personal. What’s your favourite colour?
NUMBER ONE
F sharp.
HAKE
Correct me if I’m wrong, but F sharp is a musical note rather than a colour.
NUMBER ONE
My senses aren’t as discriminate as yours.
F/X: FADE
NED
Wow! What an amazing bar!
CHARLENE
Ooh, innit plush?
NED
Look! Eight ales on draught! Hey, they’ve got Quasar Number One.
F/X: PINT BEING DRAWN
CHARLENE
‘E’s a funny old fella that Number One, in’ee?. ‘E looks diff’rent every time you look at ‘im, but it’s still ‘im.
NED
Yeah, you get used to that after a while.
CHARLENE
Yeah, but you can never quite tell what he looks like, even when you’re looking right at him.
NED
Particularly when you’re looking right at him. I find it’s easier to see him when you’re not looking at him, if that makes any sense.
CHARLENE
Nah, not really.
NED
I suppose it doesn’t. Beer?
CHARLENE
Wouldn’t mind a cocktail.
NED
Coming right up.
F/X: BZZZZZZ. SHAKE. POUR.
CHARLENE
Worrisit?
NED
I dunno. The labels are all in foreign.
CHARLENE
‘Snice anyway.
NED
Woh! They’ve got a Gasteroids machine. I haven’t seen one of these since I was a kid.
CHARLENE
What’s Gasteroids?
NED
You’ve never played Gasteroids? Here, let me show you.
F/X: COIN IN SLOT. VIDEO GAME STARTING UP.
NED
You see all these items of food? You’ve got to shoot them into smaller pieces then eat them. Ready?
CHARLENE
Ready.
F/X: ASTEROIDS GAME SOUNDS THROUGHOUT ...
CHARLENE
Oo, there’s a roast chicken there.
NED
Shoot it!
F/X: MINOR EXPLOSION
CHARLENE
Oh, a chicken drum stick’s come off it.
NED
Eat it.
CHARLENE
Hey, you can really taste it. ‘Ow does it do that?
NED
I’ve never really stopped to think about it.
CHARLENE
Watch out for that gateau!
F/X: SHOTS FIRED.
CHARLENE
Aw, missed.
F/X: SPLAT.
CHARLENE
Ow! That ‘it me in the face.
GRAMS: GAME OVER.
NED
Another game?
CHARLENE
Nah, I’m rather full after that.
NED
Then you need to play Puke-man and come back to this.
CHARLENE
You know what this place is lacking?
NED
Punters. It’s too quiet.
CHARLENE
Yeah. ’S what I was finkin’.
CREWMEMBER
(GROANS)
CHARLENE
Wozzat?
NED
A punter by the sound of it. Look over here.
CHARLENE
Oh, ‘e don’t look in a good shape.
CREWMEMBER
Oooh... what happened?
NED
You tell me. What has happened? Where is everybody?
CREWMEMBER
I don’t feel too good. I think that broccoli was a little over done.
NED
Ah, one too many Quasar Number Ones, I think.
CHARLENE
Aw, poor fing. ‘Is mates ‘ave left ‘im be’ind, ‘cos ‘e’s drunk.
CREWMEMBER
You grammaryonzzh?
NED
No. We’re from the Indestructible B.
CHARLENE
Yeah, we’re ‘ere ter ‘elp the Grammarions.
CREWMEMBER
No! The Grammarionsh mus be desh...
F/X: FLUMP!
NED
Don’t think we’re going to get much more out of him.
CHARLENE
We’d better tell the captain.
F/X: COMMUNICATOR
NED
Captain, we’ve found a Colloquon in the bar. He’s a bit worse for wear.
HAKE
(D) Excellent. Anybody else found any crew?
VARIOUS VOICES
(D) No.
(D) No.
(D) Nope.
(D) Nada.
(D) Nuffink.
(D) Nay.
F/X: HORSE NEIGH.
ANOTHER VOICE
(D) There’s a sticky McGuffin gateau here, sir. Completely untouched.
NUMBER ONE
Thought so.
HAKE
Ned, any gen from the Colloquon about the whereabouts of the crew?
NED
(D) I don’t think he has a clue about the whereabouts of himself. Shall I shoot him?
HAKE
Not yet. He might be useful when he comes round. We’ll have to assume they’ve gone down to the surface to wreak death and destruction and merry havoc upon the Grammarions. We’re going to have to go down there and track them down. Fortunately, it’s not a very big planet.
NUMBER ONE
It does have some large boulders they can hide behind.
F/X: SHUTTLE LEAVING SHUTTLE BAY
HAKE
Right, let’s find the best place to land.
NED
What about that area there with all the buildings and stuff?
HAKE
Good idea.
CHARLENE
Oo, I do ‘ope them Grammarions aren’t in any serious bovver.
NED
Oh, they’re probably just being held hostage by the Colloquons. One or two of them will have been shot to show they mean business. Some of the others will be being tortured as we speak, either to get information out of them or for fun.
CHARLENE
Oh, how awful.
HAKE
Yes, well, let’s not dwell on that. I’m sure we’ll be able to rescue all of them...
NED
Some of them.
HAKE
Well, most of them, and wipe out the Colloquons.
NED
All of them.
HAKE
Yes.
CHARLENE
We studied the Grammarions in our course on wordy languagey stuff...
NUMBER ONE
Linguistics?
CHARLENE
Yeah, that, and they’re right into all that linguists, you know. Apparently, no Grammarion has split an infinitive for over four ’undred years, an’ the last one what did was executed for it. ’E was forced to carve out ’is words correctly on stone tablets and then was pelted to death with ’em. Bit ’arsh, I fought.
NED
Well, I guess it’s just their way. Coming into land now. Bit dusty, not sure quite what’s down there.
F/X: LANDING SHUTTLE SLOWING DOWN FROM HEIGHT AND SETTLING ON THE GROUND.
F/X: SHUTTLE DOOR OPENS.
GRAMMARION
Greetings, Captain Hake.
HAKE
(SURPRISED) Oh! Ah! Aren’t you going to add ‘We were expecting you?’
GRAMMARION
No, because we weren’t. I was just reading your name badge.
HAKE
Then greetings... err... High Consul Lord ... is that a P or a B?
GRAMMARION
It’s a P.
HAKE
... Lord Pollock, Custodian Of The, um, Sacred Scrolls Of ... I’m sorry, my eyes aren’t what they used to be...
GRAMMARION
... of Astragarlyxoningp. Don’t worry, I sometimes get that wrong.
NED
Shall I shoot him, Captain?
HAKE
No, Ned. These are the Grammarions.
NED
Oh, then greetings your Lordship. My name is...
GRAMMARION
Ned Smithers, pilot of the Indestructible B.
NED
Er, yes.
GRAMMARION
I was saddened to hear about the Indestructible A.
NED
Yeah, well. It was just one of those things.
CHARLENE
‘Ere, ‘ow come your mouf matches wot your saying?
NED
What?
CHARLENE
Not yours. ‘Is. Look. Say somefing Mr Grammarion.
GRAMMARION
Well, what would you like me to say?
NED
Oh, yes. His lips are in perfect sync with his speech!
CHARLENE
‘Ow d’you do that then?
GRAMMARION
We have developed an enhancement to the Translator that sends neural signals to the speaker’s lips to make them match what the listener hears.
CHARLENE
But I fought transla’ors transla’ in the listener’s ‘ead.
NUMBER ONE
Presumably, your enhancement performs a translation on output as well as input, but of course, can only do so once it has detected the listener’s language.
GRAMMARION
Precisely. But there are limitations when it comes to face-to-face multi-language conferences. Would you like us to install it into your Translator?
CHARLENE
Not ‘alf! I ‘ate it when it don’t look like my lips are working right. Makes me look like I can’t talk proper.
F/X: GADGET WHIRRING...
GRAMMARION
Whereabouts is your Translator located?
CHARLENE
Jus’ be’ind me frontal lobe. My tu’or always said I ‘ad very nice lobes.
F/X: WHIRRING INCREASES IN PITCH...
GRAMMARION
Ah, yes. There it is.
F/X: WHIR INCREASES BEYOND THE AUDIBLE SPECTRUM.
GRAMMARION
There. How’s that?
CHARLENE
Oo! An’ it makes wot I hear tons more clearer too! [ZAP!] Ow! Wozzat? [ZAP!] Ow!
GRAMMARION
Another enhancement. The upgrade will also administer a shock if the user makes a grammatical error.
CHARLENE
Bleedin’ ‘ell! [ZAP!] Ow! What’s the point of that?
GRAMMARION
It encourages good and proper speech.
CHARLENE
But that’s stupid. Even simple transla’ors can correct a gramma’ical mistake, innit? [ZAP!] Ow!
GRAMMARION
The user shouldn’t make grammatical mistakes in the first place. This upgrade will force people to speak properly instead of lazily relying on the Translator to correct everything for them. Integration with alien species has made everybody’s speech sloppy. I was talking with a Vernaculon the other day, who just made grunting noises and expected his Translator to work out what he was trying to say.
HAKE
And did it?
GRAMMARION
Yes, but that’s not the point. If this behaviour continues, all races are going to lose the power of speech altogether.
CHARLENE
This is well bogus. [ZAP!] Ow!
HAKE
Get it out of her head immediately.
GRAMMARION
No. this upgrade is to be spread to all races. It will enforce correct speech on all planets, under pain of death if necessary. The pain will gradually increase if the user shows no improvement in their grammar, until they eventually die.
HAKE
This is monstrous. You must stop this project.
GRAMMARION
No, captain. You must help us spread the upgrade. Sergeant Pastard, install the upgrade in the captain’s Translator.
PASTARD
Yes, your lordship
F/X: GADGET WHIRRING...
HAKE
No, stop this!
NED
Stop right where you are, Grammarion! Or you’ll get a load of this, with or without grammatical mistakes.
GRAMMARION
(ENIGMATIC VOICE) PUT THE BLAZER DOWN.
NED
(TRANCE-LIKE) I am putting the blazer down.
F/X: SOUND OF BLAZER DROPPING TO GROUND.
HAKE
What is this? Some sort of mind control?
NUMBER ONE
No, captain. He is using only the powers of persuasion. The Grammarions are clearly capable of employing their linguistic skills and using precisely calculated inflexions to force the listener to act against their own will, presumably by tapping directly to the resonant frequencies of the synaptic connections of their neural pathways.
GRAMMARION
Yes, and you would do well not to forget that, Captain Hake. Our conversation from now on could be pivotal in determining whether General Jones will be commissioning the Indestructible C.
HAKE
Where are the Colloquons?
GRAMMARION
The Colloquons have been helping us with our research.
DISTANT SOUND OF DRUNKEN SINGING GETTING CLOSER
COLLOQUONS
(SINGING DRUNKENLY) Ssshow me the way to go hoooome..... I’m tired and I wanna go to bed....
GRAMMARION
Most of the Colloquons have been helping us with our research.
COLLOQUON #1
‘Ello, Pollock! Oo-er yer frenz?
COLLOQUON #2
Yor me beshtesh fren, Pollock. Me beshdesh fren in the universe.
GRAMMARION
Stop slobbering over me.
COLLOQUON #1
‘Ere. Have a swig of thish. It’sh good shtuff.
F/X: BODY FALLS TO GROUND.
GRAMMARION
Pastard, pick up that inebriated Colloquon. Guards, take them away and lock them up.
COLLOQUON #1
Ah’m awright. Ah can get up hic! ‘Scuse me, I think that broccoli was a bit over done.
NED
As is that running gag.
PASTARD
Come on. Let’s be having you now.
F/X: SEVERAL PUNCHES.
BODIES FALL TO FLOOR.
COLLOQUON #1
Follow me! Run!
F/X: MANY FEET RUNNING.
THEY RUN QUITE SOME DISTANCE, CHANGING DIRECTION A COUPLE OF TIMES.
COLLOQUON #1
In here!
F/X: SQUEAKY DOOR OPENING.
HAKE
Where are we going?
COLLOQUON #1
Down.
F/X: FOOTSTEPS HURRYING DOWN METAL STAIRCASE
COLLOQUON #1
They won’t follow us down here.
NED
Why not? Is it a sacred place, or a hazardous environment for their species?
COLLOQUON #1
No. We gave them the slip.
HAKE
You seem to have sobered up quickly.
COLLOQUON #1
Yes. We came here with the intention of negotiating with the Grammarions over a few drinks and dissuading them from proceeding with their plan to impose strict grammar practices on other races.
COLLOQUON #2
The Grammarions must be dissuaded!
COLLOQUON #1
Thank you, Nubbock. They have no pubs here so we brought along plenty of barrels of beer. However, they tricked us and only pretended to drink the beer. Once we’d drunk ourselves into a stupor there was nothing to stop them carrying out their plan.
HAKE
But you’re okay now?
COLLOQUON #1
Yes, we had to employ our emergency procedure. To drink ourselves sober.
NED
You drank yourselves sober?
NUMBER ONE
It is theoretically possible. I have heard of several cases in which this technique has been employed.
COLLOQUON #1
Well, we Colloquons have mastered it down to a fine art. But we only ever do it in dire emergencies. That little performance up there was just a diversion to give us the chance to wallop them and get you out of there quick. You were in grave danger.
HAKE
So, what is this place?
NUMBER ONE
It would appear to be to be some sort of facility for developing new technology. I suspect that the Grammarions have been using it for performing experiments during their research into their Translator enhancements.
HAKE
Thank you, Number One, but I was asking our Colloquon friend here.
COLLOQUON #1
No, your Number One Officer is correct.
HAKE
Oh, he’s not my Number One Officer. Number One is his name. I’m not entirely sure what his job is.
WEEBLE
Enforced grammar
Amongst all the planets.
Galactic woe to all.
CHARLENE
What was that?
COLLOQUON #1
A dire emergency. Down here are kept the poor souls that the Grammarions practised on for their research. Many of the experiments failed with disastrous consequences. This poor Weeble can now only speak in haiku.
WEEBLE
A terrible blight
My speech is impaired
I can never tell another limerick again.
ANOTHER GUINEA PIG
Things are far from fine for those that they violated through foul vivisection.
COLLOQUON #1
His speech is restricted to tongue twisters.
CHARLENE
This is dreadful. And what about the cute little green guy with the ears?
COLLOQUON #1
A once noble warrior and a great spiritual leader. Now he cannot get his word order correct.
YODA
Be stopped the Grammarions must.
HAKE
I agree. We must not allow them to take this technology off this planet. What’s behind this green door? I’m sure it wasn’t there a moment ago.
COLLOQUON #1
What green door?
HAKE
This one.
F/X: DOOR HANDLE PUSHED AND DOOR SWINGING OPEN
CHARLENE
(FADING) ’Ere, where’s ‘e goin’? [ZAP!] Ow!
F/X: DOOR CLOSING.
BING
Captain Hake, do take a seat.
HAKE
What is this place? It looks like my old kitchen from when I was a child.
BONG
It is an illusion of a familiar scene, to help put you at your ease. You are no longer in your normal reality.
HAKE
Who are you people?
BING
We are here to tell you something very important. Well, to be precise we aren’t actually here. We can’t transport ourselves to here, at least not in the time we have available.
HAKE
Hey, that’s my picture of my teacher, Miss Foster, on the fridge! Where did you get that?
BONG
We didn’t. It isn’t actually here. It’s an illusion.
HAKE
Oh, and here’s my model of the Utterly Invincible Mark Three. You know, this was the first ship to break the...
BONG
Yes, can we get on, please? We really haven’t much time.
BING
We are here from the Board of Interstellar and Native Galactic Overseers, or BINGO.
HAKE
Never heard of it.
BING
Well, you wouldn’t. It exists outside your galaxy. So, as you probably know, your galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy are heading towards each other, and eventually they will...
HAKE
Woh! Look at that! My Gran’s old rocking chair! I installed a repuls-O-beam into that to make it levitate. Set it a bit too strong at first and it shot her up in the air, bashing her head against the ceiling. Look, you can still see some blood stains. You guys have really gone in for the detail here.
BING
Please, please. We haven’t got very long before the portal closes.
BONG
I told you we should have just brought him to a bare cell with a rickety chair and an anglepoise lamp.
HAKE
Sorry. You were saying. Go on. Galaxies.
BING
Thank you.
F/X: RATTLING NOISES OF A TOY BEING PLAYED WITH ...
BING
Well, there are beings from the Andromeda galaxy, and a pretty shady lot they are too, that want to fill up the supermassive black hole in the centre of your galaxy ... will you put the ship down!
F/X: MODEL DROPPED ON TABLE.
HAKE
Sorry. I was paying attention. Honest.
BING
Then, what was I saying?
HAKE
Er ... something about a black hole?
BING
I know you don’t understand the full gravity of the situation, but you have to realise that you are in great danger.
HAKE
Yes, I know. But I’m sure I’ll be able to wriggle my way out of it. I always do.
BING
Not just you, you nincompoop.
HAKE
Well, yes, of course, my crew too. And the thingaty-wotsits that we’re trying to save.
BING
I’m not talking about whatever’s going on outside that door. I’m talking about your entire galaxy.
HAKE
I know. Everybody’s going to be forced to speak properly!
BING
Oh, for Pete’s sake!
HAKE
Pete? Who’s Pete?
BONG
Do not question the Almighty Redeemer, Pete.
BING & BONG
(TOGETHER, CHANTING) Hail, all glorious Pete. We are not fit to smell your feet.
F/X: HAND CLAPS. FOOT STOMPS. BELL DING.
BING & BONG
(TOGETHER, CHANTING) Ommmmmmmm.
HAKE
Okay, I can see you’re very busy. I really shouldn’t take up any more of your time.
BING
We haven’t finished with you yet.
BONG
We’ve scarcely started, and it’s nearly time to go. I’m not sure he’s the right man for the job.
BING
Yes, I’m beginning to think he hasn’t got what it takes.
BONG
The man is a complete numpty.
HAKE
Hey, I resent that. I’m the captain of the Indestructible B. You don’t get there by being a numpty. I’ve battled with Fargnots, Zlarbatons, Grizzletops, Dingbats and Mongolians. I’ve rescued planets from plagues and invasions and cheese shortages. I’ve gone through hell and high water, been beaten, shot at, captured, tortured, insulted - you wouldn’t believe some of the things the Scornions can say. I’ve lost many a friend and colleague and crew members whose names I can’t remember right now. I’ve lost my wife because I could never get home in time for tea. I’ve even had my spaceship blown up, though I hasten to add that that simply was not my fault in any way whatsoever. At all.
BING
Last ...
HAKE
And they agreed at the hearing, I’ll have you know!
BING
Last chance then. Back to this galaxy thing.
HAKE
Yes. You were saying something about filling up the supermassive black hole. Hang on, you can’t fill up a black hole. They just swallow everything.
BING
That depends on what you put into them. In this case they’re going to fill it with deep matter.
HAKE
Deep matter? What’s that?
BING
You haven’t discovered deep matter yet?
HAKE
Not to my knowledge.
BING
Well, I’ll try not to put any spoilers on your research, but you do need to know that if your supermassive black hole gets filled with deep matter, it will disappear and will no longer be able to hold your galaxy together. The stars will disperse and the galaxy will disintegrate.
BONG
Nearly time. The portal is about to close.
HAKE
Disintegrate? What’s this all about?
BING
I’m sorry, we’ve run out of time. We’ll try and get back to you later. You must go back out through the door. Now.
HAKE
But, but, what ...
BING
Out! Now!
HAKE
Okay, okay. I know when I’m not welcome.
F/X: DOOR OPENS. DOOR CLOSES.
BONG
(FADING) Perhaps we should find someone else next time.
NED
You all right, Captain? Where did you go?
HAKE
Oh, er, I just had a quick look in that room there.
NED
There isn’t a room there.
CHARLENE
You look a bit pale. Do you want to sit darn?
HAKE
No, no. I’m fine. Now, where were we?
NED
We were working out how to stop the Grammarions getting away with their deadly technology.
F/X: RUMBLE OF LANDING SHUTTLE TAKING OFF
HAKE
What was that?
COLLOQUON #1
It sounded like our landing shuttle taking off. The Grammarions don’t have any space craft of their own. They must have stolen ours. Nubbock, didn’t you put the parking lock on?
COLLOQUON #2
Ah.
HAKE
Then we’re all going to have to get into our shuttle and get after them. Ned, I trust you put our parking lock on?
NED
Ah.
NUMBER ONE
Don’t worry. I did.
F/X: MANY FEET CLAMBERING UPSTAIRS
HAKE
(SLIGHTLY BREATHLESS) Right, how many of us are there?
F/X: SHUTTLE HATCH OPENING
NED
(REGAINING HIS BREATH TOO) The four of us, eight Colloquons and, oo, maybe twenty freed captives.
NUMBER ONE
The craft is designed to seat only eight.
HAKE
Some are just going to have to stand.
F/X: SHUTTLE HATCH CLOSING.
ENGINES STARTING
NED
Is it possible for you to move your leg a bit, Number One? I can’t see clearly out front.
NUMBER ONE
That is not my leg.
NED
Well, whatever it is, can you move it please?
F/X: SLURP.
NED
That’s better. Thanks.
F/X: SHUTTLE TAKING OFF.
FADE.
NED
Colloquon ship ahead.
HAKE
Okay, let’s drop these guys off. I can hardly breathe.
F/X: LANDING IN SHUTTLE BAY.
HATCH OPENS.
GRAMMARION
So, Captain Hake. I see you decided to take up our offer after all.
HAKE
Damn you! And damn my blazer, I can’t reach it. Can anyone reach a weapon?
ALL
(VARIOUS MUMBLES AND SHUFFLES INDICATING THEY CANNOT. )
GRAMMARION
If you could step this way, Captain.
HAKE
(SQUASHED) If I could... Nnngggg!
Ned! Full reverse, quick!
F/X: HATCH CLOSES.
SHUTTLE ZOOMS OFF.
HAKE
Right, back to the B.
F/X: LANDING IN SHUTTLE BAY.
HATCH OPENS.
SECURITY OFFICER
‘Ullo, Captain. You okay in there?
HAKE
Ah, Security Officer, er ... can anyone see his badge?
NUMBER ONE
It’s Higgins, Captain.
HAKE
Yes, of course.
SECURITY OFFICER
Let me try pulling this weeble. (STRAINS.) Ah, no. His leg’s jammed behind this green fella.
YODA
Trapped behind Communications Officer my arm is.
CHARLENE
Ooh, I wondered oo’s that was.
SECURITY OFFICER
I’m going to have to take a couple of panels out. One moment.
F/X: ELECTRIC SCREWDRIVER.
SCREWS FALL TO GROUND.
PANEL FALLS TO GROUND.
BODY FLUMPS OUT.
HAKE
That’s better. Right, to the bridge.
F/X: FOOTSTEPS.
DOOR.
NED
Colloquon ship on screen, Captain.
HAKE
Thanks, Ned. What armaments does your ship have?
COLLOQUON #1
There’s a couple of kegs of pale ale left and a barrel of lager.
NED
I think we could handle that.
COLLOQUON #2
Don’t forget the sticky McGuffin gateau.
F/X: BEEP
CHARLENE
‘Ey, they wanna talk to us.
HAKE
Put them through.
GRAMMARION
(D) I strongly advise you to back off and let us get on with our mission.
HAKE
And I strongly advise you to go home and hand the Colloquons their ship back.
GRAMMARION
(D) You cannot win, Captain Hake. General Jones has ordered you to destroy the Colloquons.
HAKE
How do you know that?
GRAMMARION
(D) Because I told him to. (ENIGMATIC VOICE) YOU MUST OBEY THE GENERAL.
HAKE
Charlene, play back General Jones’s order.
CHARLENE
Sure thing.
F/X: CASSETTE TAPE REWINDING.
CLICK.
GENERAL JONES
(D) (PLAYBACK) ... intercept the Colloquon ship and kill everybody on board.
HAKE
Do it, Ned.
GRAMMARION
(D) No, wait!
NED
Firing fissiles.
F/X: FISSILES LAUNCHING.
EXPLOSION.
HAKE
What was that?
NED
Oh, it’s an Audio Interpreter. I added it to the weapons system. It analyses the screen content and constructs a soundtrack based on what we would hear if there was some air for the sound waves to propagate along. In this case it creates the sound of a spaceship exploding. Think it’s a bit childish?
HAKE
No ... I rather like it. It makes you feel like you’ve blown up a spaceship.
NED
Yes, I always felt that it didn’t seem quite right watching an explosion on the screen and not hearing it.
HAKE
Is it possible to add a shockwave which makes the ship judder a bit afterwards?
NED
I’ll look into it.
HAKE
Anyway, mission accomplished. Well done, everybody. I don’t know about you but I feel rather smug. Do you feel smug, Ned?
NED
Oh yes, sir. Very smug.
HAKE
Number One?
NUMBER ONE
I am currently experiencing 137 different emotions, 50 of which are unknown to you. Smug is second from the bottom, slightly above imperious.
CHARLENE
Aw, I feel sorry for them Grammarions now. [ZAP!] Owwww!
HAKE
Oh, go to the clinic and get that thing removed.
F/X: DOOR.
CHARLENE
‘Ello, is this the clinic then? [ZAP!] Ow!
CASSIDY
Yes. I’m Vet Cassidy.
CHARLENE
Vet? Aren’t you a doctor?
CASSIDY
I have to attend to the medical needs of many different species, so technically I am not a doctor. I am a vet.
CHARLENE
Well, I’ve got this...
F/X: GADGET WHIR ...
CASSIDY
Ah, I see. Translator enhancement designed to administer pain upon detection of a grammatical error. Soon have that out.
F/X: INCREASE GADGET WHIR ...
CASSIDY
Nice lobes, by the way.
CHARLENE
Fanks.
F/X: INCREASE GADGET WHIR FURTHER THEN STOP.
CASSIDY
There. Better?
CHARLENE
I’m not sure. I don’t feel any different.
CASSIDY
Well, try saying something that’s grammatically incorrect.
CHARLENE
What would you like me to say?
CASSIDY
Oh, anything. Just so long as it’s wrong.
CHARLENE
Whar abaht dis?
CASSIDY
That’s just bad pronunciation. Not strictly grammatically incorrect.
CHARLENE
Okay, this orange is really an apple.
CASSIDY
That’s a semantics issue, not grammar.
CHARLENE
It’s really ‘ard ter do this when you actually need ter.
CASSIDY
Tell you what. See how it goes and come back if it happens again.
CHARLENE
All right. Fanks, doctor.
CASSIDY
Vet.
CHARLENE
Sorry, vet. ‘Ere, wouldn’t these scalpels be better in order of size? Easier ter find.
GRAMS: CLOSING THEME - “SPINNING JENNY” BY SKYCLAD
ANNOUNCER
That was Deep Matter, some sort of gibberish audio play written by Mike Stools in the unfeasibly optimistic hope that there might be someone out there who would care to risk their career by recording and producing it, and the equally unlikely eventuality that there could be anybody who is prepared to listen to it right through to the end.
NED
Well, we finally put paid to those cunning linguists.
HAKE
I was hoping we could complete this mission before that old gag came up.
NED
We just did.
HAKE
Oh.




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