Thursday, October 15, 2009

Czar d'Oz Episode II: Wreckage

by Smitty

Start with the Czar d'Oz Announcement

Synopsis: In the year 2112, the characters retreated to a basement shelter to weather a monster tornado.

"...and it explains..."

[A dark stage. Martin's limbs randomly spasm, causing a loud metallic clamor. Zeda turns on a dim light, and the characters begin to stir. Zeda lights the room dimly.]

Zeda: It's time to be up anyway. We're going to need to be early to the Temple of Cyrus to see if the Vortex has any bailouts for us. The line will be long.

Martin: Sorry about the racket. I really need some better parts. Hey, whaddaya know? It sounds like the storm's gone.

Julius: They say that the real thing to do is stay put and wait for the authorities. There will be a lot of downed power lines and weakened structures. Perhaps I should stay here and pore over volume four of The Wit and Wisdom of Patrick Daley Obama.

Peter: [looking at a dead handheld, shaking his head, pocketing the device] Wow, the network is down. Julius, Zeda is right: we've got to get moving to the Temple now, with the sun rising enough to see. You're right about the dangers, but there is precious little to go around. If we're not early, we're simply naught. Martin, do you have any wea-wea-weap-pons? We-we don't want any violence at all, of course, no violence. But the appearance of the ability to deliver violence, without making any explicit threats (of course) is often helpful in negotiations.

Zeda: Well, Julius? Peter sure has you beat for guts. I think Martin and I are with him. Do you want to stay here and babysit the rest of the building like they were a pack of your worst graduate students, or do you want to risk biting into some history?

[Zeda, Martin and Peter exit left. Julius sighs and follows.]

"…what a Murdoch…"

[Peter enters left, followed by Zeda, Martin. Julius is still in the rear. They come up to the ruin of the Temple of Cyrus. The rotunda has collapsed, though the sun is still to show through the new, permanent skylight where there had been a dome. They go up the stairs, and peer in. The front doors and the conference room door are all flat on the ground. A huge chunk of ceiling has smashed a gaping hole in the conference room floor.]

Peter: I was just in a meeting here yesterday…in a different life. [Keeping carefully close to the wall, he works his way around to where the ceiling chunk, like a giant chicken leg, still has the bone of a girder sticking up out of the floor.]

Martin: What's below here? A boiler room?

Peter: No, it was Murdoch's office.

Martin: Would he have weapons?

Peter: Not that I know, or would approve of.

Julius: Are you going to descend?

Peter: Down this girder? Are you mad? There is no way my insurance would cover an injury incurred while climbing over random storm wreckage, unless I was a first responder. How irresponsible!

Julius: You have no sense of academic inquiry. Martin, will you join me?

Martin: You nearly sounded like a man for a moment there, Scare.

Julius: High praise, indeed. Here: let's use this extension cord to lower ourselves down.

[The two rig an electrical cord to a wall stud, and head down the girder, while Zeda holds a floodlight down into the still-dim hole.]

"…was doing…"

Martin: Jackpot! Zeda, a little more to the left…

Julius: Peter, can you throw down that duffel bag? The roof collapse managed to break open an end table that concealed a safe.

[A duffle descends. There is a brief screeching sound of metal hinges being forced.]

Zeda: Hey the sun is fully above the horizon. You guys have about two more minutes down there, and then we need to get out. Even the sleepiest government guard has to wake up for his morning doughnut sooner or later.

Martin: Yeah, yeah. You gripe like a Sergeant Major, Zeda. OK, that looks like most of it. Zeda's right: we gotta beat feat. Julius, you go first with the bag on your shoulders, backpack-wise. I'll be right behind offering support.

Julius: Fair enough.

[Two men and a duffle ascend.]

Peter: There is a park by the river. I've got a secret place there I've gone for years when I need to escape the meetings and the madness.

Julius: Sounds good.

[The four exit stage right.]

"…in a rat-hole…"

[The four enter stage right, crouching, led by Peter.]

Peter: Just bend over and force your way through the bushes and up this little bank, and there is a secluded clearing at the top where we can go over the find.

Zeda: Is this where you brought your admin assistant for trysts?

Peter: David? He wasn't my type, and I doubt I was his. I always saw him with plump redheads, come to think of it.

[Julius, the duffel, and Martin break into the clearing. Dawn is done, and morning is in full swing. Julius sets the bag down, and unzips it to reveal a binder, an opened envelope, a pistol, two clips, and a large wallet.]

Martin: An M1911 and two clips. I may need a private moment, everyone…

Peter: This notebook discusses a fascinating project…

Zeda: This wallet looks like it will solve our financial problems indefinitely…

Julius: This letter is the most interesting bit of all…

"…like this."

Julius: …and it explains what a Murdoch is doing in a rat hole like this:

Dearest Justin Murdoch,
    Your irresponsibility has become too great a burden. Whatever promise you once showed on the Project, you can no longer stay in the Emerald City after this latest outrage. Even a relative of Czar d'Oz himself cannot go whoring amongst the Brutals in so cavalier a manner.
    I've found you a position in Kansas, working for the Flyover Czar in Topeka. You understand that this constitutes a banishment. You also understand that saving your sorry hide even this much has cost me significant political capital. You must go and never return, or you shall have defied me personally, and get to pay for that as well as your other misdeeds.

            Your Father,
            Jasper d'Oz, Northwest Czar

Martin: OK, I think we need to take this stuff back. Not that I want to, mind you, just that one thing you don't do is steal from a Czar. Them bastards don't tolerate competition.

Zeda: I second that idea, though it would be a shame to just let all of this stuff go.

Peter: In political struggles, you always trade up. We secured these goods, and we're going to return them intact. The reason we're going to do that is because Murdoch is hiring us to go on a mission. He's doing that not only because of the dirt we now have on him, and the loyalty and respect we're showing by protecting his property, but because we're going to make him look a genius to the Car Czar in Detroit, where he is sending us on a diplomatic mission.

Only that's a ruse. We're going to take the vehicle he sends us in and head off to Seattle, instead, to see if this experimental time machine project detailed in this notebook, and which appeared nearly operational when he got this copy of the project description, actually works.

Because, if it does, we have a chance to go back to the beginning of this godforsaken Obama administration and warn the people!

[Zeda's eyes widen, Martin nods vigorously, and Julius' jaw drops.]

Next episode: TOTO.

Copyright 2009, Christopher L. Smith

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