Start with the Czar d'Oz Announcement
Synopsis: In the year 2112, the characters retreated to a basement shelter to weather a monster tornado. Making an early trip to the local seat of government, they uncovered information pertaining to an experimental time machine located in Seattle. Making good their escape in the experimental TOTO vehicle, they have made it to the territory of the Southwest Czar. They've survived an encounter with two surreal characters en route Las Vegas. In Vegas they form an alliance with Jefe, the Southwest Czar, to take a short cut to the Emerald City. The trip lands them in Vancouver, Washington, slightly South of the destination. Driving North, they are greeted at the edge of Seattle with a large explosion.
"I tracked down..."
[The bottom of an overturned car dominates the stage. Zeda, Martin, Julius and Peter are in front of it.]
Martin: No smell of gas fumes. We won't be a fireball real soon. Not like the bastards ahead of this car.
Peter: Maybe we should just wait for the first responders.
Julius: In contemporary America, first responders are notional unless you're in a Vortex.
Zeda: [Peeks around rear end] It looks like there is someone in the back! HELLO! Tell me if you can move your arms and legs! [Muffled sounds] Martin, he says he can. No neck injuries to him. The driver is unconscious. Can we right the car?
Martin: Let me try. Peter, Julius, move!
[Martin reaches up and pulls the top of the car toward the audience, and it flops down onto its wheels.]
Martin: The driver is dead. [Turns towards the man in back.] What is your name sir?
Czar d'Oz: [Sounding dazed.] I am Bartholemew Murdoch, the Northwest Czar, commonly known as Czar d'Oz, since we originally came from Australia. Can you get me back to Mercer Island?
"…the lab location over at…"
[A luxurious room on Mercer Island, where all five are now sunk into a sectional, with beverages.]
Julius: We met rather informally earlier. I'm Julius Crowe, this is Peter Lyon, Martin Mann, and Dorothy Zeda.
Czar d'Oz: Thank you for saving my life. You do realize I know all about TOTO. Even though Justin is a complete idiot most of the time, though not as bad a fool as Jeremy, we're still in contact. Either you have no sense of direction whatsoever, or your supposed mission to New Chicago was a deception.
Peter: Well, while today's introduction was hardly a job interview, it does get at the point that we're looking for work. Flyover country is relatively dull compared to the excitement you have occuring in these parts. Is it OK if we ask whether that was an assassination attempt?
Czar d'Oz: Attempt, hell, it was a success. Almost an over-achievement. The fireball you probably saw on I-495 was formerly known as Barry Cuda, my military advisor and spy for Czar Jefe down in Vegas. All of the moves I'd been making to shore up control of Oregon in time for the election this Fall were given away.
There was supposed to be a Czar meeting with Barack Soros in New Chicago today. I really need to be here more than there. So it seemed that rubbing out the traitor in such a way as to give me an excuse for not attending would kill two with one stone bird.
I gave Jeremy the task of finding the right Special Operations people who could do the job and yet were junior enough not to be under Cuda's control. It looks like he really did nearly kill two with one stone bird.
Martin, you've an aptitude for being in the right place at the right time, and plenty of military record, and I'm certain you're equipped to clean house among my military advisors. Would you like to swear the explicit oath to the Constitution we lip service, and the implicit oath to work for me? Peter, Julius, Dorothy: you've also arrived at a hiring moment. My various administrative areas are in need of a shakeout. All four of you have the same offer in front of you. You can ponder this, and we'll meet again tomorrow to see what you think.
"… the University of Washington."
[The four are seated around a circular meeting table.]
Peter: Last night I searched on the network and located documents pertaining to the time machine project. It's been funded heavily for the last decade, I find, and has grown quite an impressive staff.
Julius: You're stealing my thunder. I tracked down the lab location over at the University of Washington.
Zeda: How soon can we get out of here? Czar d'Oz is promising me all kinds of film roles, but it looks like more of a casting couch.
Martin: The military side is OK. The good news is that I've got a few people I know. The bad news is that they're all on the outside of anything important. You always have to prove yourself. Tomorrow at UW, then? I can drive Peter and Zeda to your office, Julius.
The Stunning Climax in: the Lab!
Copyright 2009, Christopher L. Smith