|Trouble at the Valencommune:
Interlude: Piqqy's Dream
Meanwhile, back at Ellen Cairo's talk-show-studio-cum-headquarters, Piquet had suddenly and mysteriously fallen asleep. Thus dreamed she:
Regal Nod Fuss
A Play in One Act Spawned by the Mind o' Piq
[THE SCENE: The Palace of the Galactic Web Empress, also known as The Greatest Sage on Earth (the Empress, that is, not the palace, that would be known as "The Palace of the Greatest Sage on Earth")]
[THE TIME: just about 5 minutes before the blear police would normally be called]
- Galactic Web Empress
- Official Paul to the Court of the Galactic Web Empress
- Dream Orphan (DO)
- mysterious masked figure in superhero cape
- Official Translator to the Court of the Galactic Web Empress
- Official Fuzzy to the Court of the Galactic Web Empress
- Piq Hunt-Werner-Williams-Saliers-Ray
- Official Long Surname Person to the Court of the Galactic Web Empress
[Sage and Todd are seated on a futon playing some kind of card game, both thoroughly engrossed yet slumped over in positions which indicate desperate need of caffeine. Fil is snoozing quietly in the background while Alors is eating kumquats and Piq is kneeling before the altar of the Great Goddess Susan. Dream Orphan (DO) enters with a dramatic swirl of cape, accompanied by mysterious fanfare of trumpets, which make Sage and Todd look up and blink confusedly]
DO: Aha! Todd: Uh? Sage: Uh? Alors: [comes forward and clears her throat] If I might, O Great Sageous One? Sage: [blinks confusedly again and gathers her thoughts] Uh. Ehem. Yeah, okay. Alors: Je suis Alors, ich bin ein Officialen Tranzlatoren fur die Galactische Webben Ompressen! Wie geht's? I mean, who are you?? DO: I am... Dream Orphan! Alors: Oh. Okay. Say, you know, you look kind of familiar... don't I know you from somewhere? DO: Maybe. I can't tell. It's a mystery. I'm a mysterious figure. Stop asking all these questions. Although, if it helps, I could point out that since I'm a superhero, I also have a mundane counterpart, an everyday persona, a "regular guy" facet. You might know him. Of course, I can't tell you who he is. That would give the game away. [Sage and Todd have slumped against each other half asleep during this exchange. Meanwhile, Fil has crept forward and is now stalking Dream Orphan's cape. Piq suddenly transforms to cat form and joins the hunt.] DO: Eep! I mean, aha! Thy felines do stalk my apparel! Alors: Oh yeah. They do have a tendency to do that. Hope you don't mind. [Sage and Todd start snoring. Alors edges over and surreptitiously nudges them awake again, rolling her eyes in DO's direction.] Sage: Okay, okay. I'm awake. Stop nudging! Ehem. What business has thee here, thou Mysterious Masked Figure? DO: Well, I just came to tell you that I was very sorry. I mean, really sorry. Really very sorry, really. But... I can't copy Photoshop for you. I'm so sorry. I came to apologise. [collective gasps of horror are heard from the rest of the cast, especially Todd who has been jolted awake by the terrible news. Piq and Fil begin attacking DO's cape in earnest, Piq also picking up her long surname and dropping it on DO's toes] Todd: Fiend! DO: Ow! I mean, avast ye maties! Sage: Avast ye maties?? Oooo. Say, you're not a pirate by any chance are you? Only ever since I was a child I've wanted to be kidnapped and taken to work on a pirate ship... Todd: Sweetie, you're kind of wandering off the point here. Oh, by the way, 2094 plus 36 is not 5892, which means that I'm actually still a little ahead in this gin game. Alors: Ehem. We seem to all be wandering off the point here. Sage: Oh, right. The point. Um. What was the point?
Ellen Cairo, who had begun a long tirade, sputtered to a stop. "Your friend there," she said. "She dares fall asleep during my brilliant, scintillating oratorical masterpiece? Wake her immediately!"
The others, who had not noticed Piquet's abrupt lapse into unconsciousness, regarded the sleeping heroine in surprise. Kalaleq nudged her furtively.
Piq: ...wait, wait, just let me get ahold of his cape right there... um... wha'?...
"Umf? Uh... er, hi," said Piquet intelligibly.
"You fell asleep!" whispered Kal, as the others turned to focus once again on the egotistical Ellen.
"I did?" Piquet whispered back. "Why... I did! I remember now, I had the oddest dream. It was... I think it was important somehow." She paused. "You know, I think, in fact I'm almost positive, it contained, in some hidden way, the solution to our current predicament!"
"Then why do you look so distraught?"
"Because... because I can't remember any of it!" sobbed Piquet.
"Aha," said Ellen, oblivious of the whispered conversation. "Now we can finally get on with things!