17: Burning Records, Burning Books
So … how did the meeting go?
Steve: Ts, he called in sick today. What a whimp!
Bruce: Hehe, too afraid for his balls, I guess.
Janick: Does that mean we're not going on a mission
Adrian: Cool, see ya next week, guys.
Steve: Actually, his secretary handed me the new
Adrian: Damn. No luck!
Dave: Yay, a new mission.
Bruce: Owkay, let's punch in some numbers …
Janick: Woah! It's blazing hot again.
Nicko: Yes, I wish they wouldn't switch climate zones
so often. Last week - ice-age. This week - tropics, that's no good
for me health.
Steve: Don't tell me you caught a cold again!
Nicko: Not yet, but who knows …
Bruce: We're again in an ancient, fortified city,
I guess. Glazed brick walls, pretty large, paved streets. And ...
aha: a public eating place. Looks like they're selling some sort of
Adrian: What's the mission, Arry?
Steve: Oh, yes, wait ... "Bring back a famous
Bruce: ... Those linen dresses are so cool. And the
brooches to keep them together. Neat ...
Adrian: Can't they be more precise? "Famous"
is very subjective.
Steve: Hm. It doesn't specify what kind of book.
Janick: Maybe they mean the Bible? This might be
Dave: Kebab shops in Jerusalem? I thought they weren't
supposed to eat cows?
Adrian: Cows are venerated by Hindous, not Jews.
And anyway, kebab is made of pork meat. You're mixing things up, Dave.
Nicko: Back to the mission: where's the next bookshop?
Bruce: ... did you just see that kid? It had a little
clay toy on wheels! ...
Janick: Doesn't look much like bookshop-era to me.
Dave: Wow, have a look at that wall over there. The
figures all have noses like Nicko.
Nicko: Let me see. 'Kin perfect. I'm gonna film this.
Maybe they're me ancestors.
Bruce: ... and the kid even had sandals on. Cork
slippers, with leather bindings. So interesting ....
Bruce: … eh? Yes? You were saying?
Steve: Have a look at that wall.
Bruce: Wall? Where? Holy kin moley, my goodness!
I feel like in the British Museum.
Adrian: I don't. ... Why do you?
Bruce: Well, these are Assyrian sculptures, and the
British Museum is full of them …
Steve: Thanks. That's what I wanted to know.
Bruce: Don't mention it.
Janick: So we're in Assyria?
Adrian: We might be in the British Museum …
Nicko: I bet me money on the real thing, though.
Adrian: Yeah well, it's not like I was putting much
hope in the museum-idea, either.
Steve: Fuck! I hate it when they send us to countries
that don't even exist anymore.
Janick: When is Assyria?
Bruce: Ehm, I think the Assyrian empire had its heyday
in the first millennium before our era. King Assurba...
Dave: Any chance we landed in a friendly period?
Steve: Any chance the Easter bunny really exists?
Bruce: To my knowledge, Assyria didn't know many
friendly periods, Davey. They made the history books, didn't they?
Gotta have a war-crazy bunch of looneys as kings to manage that. So
the answer to your question is: nah, probably not.
Nicko: Well, of course not, peaceful times wouldn't
be exciting enough for BBC.
Steve: Fuck. Do they think they only get an audience
if they can show footage of us running for our lives?
Adrian: Apparently they had the highest audience
rates so far for Nicko's film footage from the torture chamber of
the Spanish Inquisition.
Steve: Bloodthirsty bastards.
Bruce: Do you mean BBC or the audience?
Bruce: Nice answer.
Dave: Anyway, it can't be helped now. Let's try to
solve this mission.
Janick: Yeah, I was wondering whether they already
had books back in those times? Didn't they rather have scrolls?
Nicko: I remember seeing ancient papyrus scrolls
in Alexandria. On the Virtual XI tour. Remember when that 'kin camel
almost bit Dave, Jan?
Janick: Fuck yeah, that was funny.
Bruce: Actually, now it makes sense …
Dave: It wasn't funny. I don't know why camels always
try to bite me.
Adrian: Doesn't make sense to me …
Dave: No, to me neither. I'm just trying to make
friends with them ....
Adrian: I was talking to Bruce, Dave.
Bruce: King Assurbanipal was the founder of the first
library, so to speak.
Adrian: You know that guy?
Dave: Ehm, no.
Janick: And you guys think he will just let us walk
off with one of his books?
Nicko: Well, first we have to find out where he stores
them. This city is 'kin big.
Steve: Hm. We'll probably have to find his palace
or something. Damn, there will be tons of guards again. We need a
Bruce: Actually, if you had listened to what I said
… he was the founder of the first LIBRARY. So the books are
in a LIBRARY.
Steve: Well, maybe the library was IN the palace,
Bruce: Ok, that could be.
Steve: So there.
Nicko: We look much too conspicuous, if you ask me.
Nicko: Look at the guys all around you. They all
sport such stupid beards.
Adrian: What's stupid about a beard?
Nicko: Depends on the beard. Just look at them. So
Dave: They look like on the paintings on the wall.
Janick: Seems to have been the fashion back then.
Bruce: Nicko is right, we need a beard.
Adrian: Ha, good luck then. You think that will grow
in a few minutes?
Bruce: Anybody got scissors?
Steve: Scis … oh no, mate, forget it. I'm not
gonna cut my hair to provide you with curls for those stupid beards.
Bruce: But Steve …
Steve: No! We never needed camouflage to do our missions
before. Why now?
Nicko: It would be less obvious that we're strangers.
Adrian: Shhhh! Duck down, there are guards approaching.
Bruce: Pill! Gimme that Babel pill!
Soldier: … and we took many hostages. The king
will be pleased.
Guard: He is indeed. There will be a promotion ceremony
tonight. And Zarah promised me a dance ...
Soldier: We have covered ourselves in glory. The
Babylonian dogs will rot in our prisons.
Guard: Can you believe it, some of them don't even
Soldier: Yes, it's disgusting. Don't they have any
pride? Well, I see you tonight then. And good luck with Zarah, mate.
Guard: Cheers, buddy. I'll see you tonight.
Adrian: Hehe, don't you have any pride, guys?
Steve: Hm. I guess under the circumstances it wouldn't
be such a bad idea to sport a beard after all. Fuck. Gimme those scissors.
Bruce: Good to see you're being sensible, Harry.
Steve: Hm. One lock will be enough, I hope. What
do I look like?
Janick: Ok, it suits you.
Steve: I feel like a fool.
Bruce: You look like a f…
Bruce: It suits you.
Adrian: Ok, I guess, my goatee isn't good enough
to live up to their latest fashion, so … off with one of my
curls as well.
Dave: This is fun. But I don't have curls. Can anybody
lend me his hair?
Janick: Sure, take one of mine.
Dave: Thanks, mate.
Nicko: You are probably the only two guys with permed
it's my turn. Scissors!
Bruce: Ehm …
Bruce: Well … I don't have long hair to make
my own beard, so I thought …
Steve: … you thought I would give you some
of mine? Well, think again. It's not my fault that you cropped your
hair short in the nineties.
Bruce: Hey, what kind of team spirit is this? You're
the only one matching my hair colour, so it's gotta be you.
Steve: Do you think I'm having fun cutting my hair
on each mission?
Bruce: Do you think I'm having fun pasting your hair
on my chin? And don't exaggerate, you're not cutting it off on every
Steve: Well, I did with the Vikings.
Bruce: That's been weeks ago. Nah, months, even.
They have grown back already.
Dave: Can you stop quarrelling, please? Let's enjoy
this mission, ok?
Steve: Hm. All right, I give you a lock. There. Take
it and be happy with it.
Bruce: Is that kiwi shampoo you're using? Smells
Steve: Stop that, Bruce!
Bruce: Ok, ok. So, what do I look like?
Bruce: Ok, I get the picture. Thanks for the feedback,
though. Always appreciated.
Janick: So … now that we blend in perfectly,
what's the plan?
Nicko: In a nutshell: find the library – grab
a book – get back to the TM.
Adrian: Translated into real-life speak: find the
library – try to grab a book – get into some sort of trouble
– run for our lives.
Dave: Don't be so negative, H.
Steve: Ok, let's get moving. Look out for a building
that could be a library or a palace. And no matter what happens: we
Bruce: Yes, daddy ...
Janick: You think that's the library?
Bruce: It might be. There are guards outside, though.
Steve: What did I tell you? Fuck! How do we get in?
Dave: Maybe the easiest way is to just go in.
Dave: Well, look at the other guys. They go in and
out, the guards don't seem to bother. It's a public library.
Nicko: Yes, Davey's right. Maybe this time it's really
as easy as that.
Janick: What if it's not?
Adrian: Plan B, as always.
Janick: What is Plan B?
Adrian: Run for your lives.
Bruce: Ok, let's go read some books. … Hello,
Mister Guard. Fine summer day, isn't it?
Steve: Don't draw attention to us,
Bruce! Just get the fuck in.
Bruce: I just wanted to be polite!
Steve: He's a guard, he doesn't understand polite.
He will think it's suspicious.
Bruce: How do YOU know?
Steve: Believe me, I'm starting to get a feeling
for antique paranoia.
Dave: We're in, guys. And nobody stopped us. I was
Janick: Woah, I didn't imagine it like that!
Nicko: Let me film this.
Bruce: You better film it, this is history. Boys:
this is the famous library of Nineveh!
Dave: Didn't you say it was the library of that Asser-something-with-nipple
Bruce: Assurbanipal. Yes, that's the king. Nineveh
is his capital.
Adrian: Books. Hm. I can see clay tablets. Loads
of it. That's probably the books.
Steve: Sure. Ok, grab one and off we are.
Nicko: Not so near the entrance, the guard is already
looking in our direction.
Bruce: Yeah, why don't we go a bit further in?
Steve: Bruce! You stay with us.
Bruce: Yeah, yeah. .... Wow! Look at that inscription
on the wall. I wonder what it means?
Janick: Strange. The Babel Pill makes us understand
the language, but we are unable to read it.
Steve: Interesting. I have never thought about that
before. A flaw in BBC's preparations. He. Good to know.
Bruce: Ehm, excuse me, sir. Can you tell me what
is written there?
Visitor: Of course I can. What are you doing in the
library if you cannot read?
Bruce: Well, it's not like I can't read. Actually,
I loooove cuneiform writing, can't get enough of it. But, you see,
I'm a bit short-sighted. Too much reading, I guess. My eyes hurt.
So, could you, please .... ?
Visitor: Oh, ok. It is written: May all these
gods curse anyone who breaks, defaces, or removes this tablet with
a curse which cannot be relieved, terrible and merciless as long as
he lives, may they let his name, his seed be carried off from the
land, and may they put his flesh in a dog's mouth.
Adrian: Damn, Bruce, did you have to read this? Now
we know we're cursed!
Dave: Oops, you think they mean us?
Steve: You are not going to believe in a curse, are
Dave: Well …
Bruce: Nah, don't worry, Dave. That's just to scare
Dave: Well, somehow we are thieves …
Bruce: Hey, see that bloke over there? That must
be a scribe. Cool. I'm having a short look. Very short, very quick,
promised. Be right back.
Janick: Don't shout, Arry. The guard is still watching
Steve: Damn. Ok, let's get a bit further in. I just
hope Bruce is staying with that scribe. I guess he will be occupied
for some time until we find a book we can nick.
Bruce: Hey, interesting job you have here.
Scribe: Thanks. I trained hard for it. I can now
proudly say: I am the king's scribe.
Bruce: Is that difficult, inscribing words on clay?
Scribe: You have to be conscientious, accurate and
fast. Once the clay hardens, it's almost impossible to change anything,
so you must be precise.
Bruce: Cool. What's this text all about?
Scribe: These are the latest reports from our war
with the Babylonians. The king wants to inspect it today. Excuse me,
but I have to finish my work.
Bruce: So, the king will come in today? Fantastic.
Scribe: Actually, he is already here. He's in the
great archive. That door over there. You can go in, if you wish.
Bruce: Wow, thanks, I will do that.
Nicko: Here is a small tablet. Maybe that will be
enough. I could hide it in my pocket.
Steve: Ok, I guess that should satisfy BBC.
Dave: Somehow we are stealing ancient material, aren't
we? I'm thinking about that curse …
Adrian: We can always give it back to the British
Museum later on, then they have their collection complete again.
Steve: Hm. Look, we shouldn't linger here. If we
leave Bruce unsupervised for too long, he might start out on a tourist
Assurbanipal: Take a look around. Thousands and thousands
of records are stored here. The largest library Mankind has ever seen.
Bruce: It's amazing. All this has been achieved in
a lifetime? Incredible.
Assurbanipal: One day, my body will turn to ash,
but the records will live on and on. For future generations to learn
about my life and accomplishments. My name will be known in all Four
Corners of the Earth for millennia to come.
Bruce: You don't know how right you are, great king.
May I have a look around?
Assurbanipal: Of course. I am proud of my achievements,
and I'd like to give you a tour around. I'm always pleased to converse
with learned men. Care to see my office?
Bruce: Sure. Great.
Assurbanipal: It's a bit further down the hall. Hidden
from the public. Come with me.
Nicko: Did you hear that?
Adrian: Sounds like people shouting.
Steve: In a library? That's bad news. Let's get the
hell out of here.
Dave: Does anybody know which way we came?
Janick: I was lost after we took the first turn.
Nicko: Well, luckily we have our little boyscout
with us. So, H, where is the exit?
Adrian: Ha-ha. I think we have to go down that aisle
and then right. That's where we left Bruce, and it was not far away
from the main entrance.
Dave: Great how you always remember which way we
have to take.
Adrian: Maybe I'm paying more attention to detail
than you, Dave.
Nicko: Maybe you are just more eager to get out again.
Adrian: True. That as well.
Guard: People, leave the building immediately. All
Steve: Why? What happened?
Guard: Be quick or you'll be dead. The East Wing
is burning. It's probably a Babylonian treason. We have to evacuate
Steve: Shit, let's get out.
Nicko: Seems like you were mistaken this time, H.
This is not the place. Bruce is not here.
Adrian: I'm sure it's the same room.
Steve: Fuck! It IS the same room. But Bruce is not
here. I'll ask the scribe, maybe he knows where he went.
Assurbanipal: In here, the walls are so thick that
I am undisturbed by outside commotion. This is where I retire to read
and to work on my tablets.
Bruce: You are not only a king, but a scribe as well?
Assurbanipal: Yes, I am a trained scribe as well.
Does that surprise you? A king should be knowledgeable. Empires rise
and fall with the wisdom of its rulers.
Bruce: Oh mighty king, this saying tells me more
about your wisdom than you could imagine. ... So: what's this?
Assurbanipal: I am currently working on the Tale
of Gilgamesh. It will become a mighty epic. The largest story
Bruce: Yeah, I read it once.
Assurbanipal: How so?
Bruce: Ehm, I mean, I heard it. Excerpts of it. Recited.
Assurbanipal: It's one of my favourite tales. The
story of Gilgamesh is very inspiring. I put my heart into this work.
Steve: I'm gonna kill him if I find him.
Janick: If he's somewhere in there, the fire might
do that job for you.
Nicko: Did the scribe tell you where he went?
Steve: He entered that room to have a chat with the
king. Can you believe that? The cheek of that man. Let's go get him
before this place burns to cinders.
Janick: There's nobody in here.
Steve: I'm going to have a heart-attack. Where the
fuck IS Bruce?
Adrian: Let's ask the scribe again.
Scribe: Oh dear, the East Wing is burning. I have
to save my work. I have to get out. No time. Have to hurry.
Janick: Wait! Do you know where the king has gone?
Scribe: How should I know that? He was in there.
Steve: He isn't now. So, where could he have gone?
Scribe: Maybe into his private offices? … I
hope not, though.
Adrian: Why not?
Scribe: Because they are in the East Wing.
Dave: You mean in the part of the library that's
Scribe: Yes. I have to go. I have to help extinguish
the fire. We have to save the records. Have to hurry. No time for
Steve: Trust Bruce to enter that part of the building
that's burning down. Damn! He should have stayed with us.
Janick: We have to help him.
Steve: Of course we have to help him. So, where's
that fucking East Wing?
Nicko: A sure bet is to run in the direction where
the others are coming from.
Steve: Yeah, you're right. Can't believe I'm doing
this. Let's go.
Dave: This library is a real maze. Amazing. ....
Hey guys, did you ever notice the similarity between the word "amazing"
Janick: Adrian, make sure you remember the way back
Adrian: I'll do my best.
Steve: Wait. Hey guard, is this the way to the king's
Guard: Yes, but don't go there, the hallway to his
door is already burning. You wouldn't reach it anyway. We will try
and extinguish the fire in a minute. You may join the water chain,
if you want to.
Steve: Let's not lose any time. I can simply FEEL
that Bruce is in there.
Bruce: You can be so proud of what you achieved.
This library will make history.
Assurbanipal: Thank you. … Do you smell this?
Bruce: Yes, it smells like burning wood. I hope you
don't have a barbecue in here.
Assurbanipal: There is smoke coming in from under
the door. The library can't be burning! I'll have the heads of those
who are responsible for this. I will put their balls onto spikes for
Bruce: Oh, damn, you remind me of our bassist. Show
mercy great king. If ever we get out of here alive, that is. The hall
is burning. We better lock the door. Is there another exit?
Assurbanipal: No, I'm afraid not. It's the last room
in this corner of the library.
Bruce: Great. So how do we get out?
Janick: No chance we can pass under those burning
rafters. What if they crash down on us?
Steve: Well, they will crash down, and soon probably.
So we have to get Bruce out, no matter what.
Adrian: I'll get us some wet blankets from the water
chain. Come on, Dave. We'll be back in a minute, Arry.
Steve: Just get back as fast as you can, man.
Assurbanipal: I don't fear death. But without these
records, it will be more than death. Eternal oblivion. Nothing will
remain for people to remember me. My name will be forgotten. I am
Bruce: There's no time to be shattered. We need to
get out of here somehow. Why did you put the windows so high up?
Assurbanipal: Less interruption from the outside.
Bruce: I wouldn't mind a bit of interruption from
the outside now. Maybe we should try the hallway after all?
Assurbanipal: No, it's blazing hot, we won't manage
to get through. But I have an idea!
Bruce: You're a mighty king indeed. Spit it out!
Assurbanipal: I have a sword. We will end our lives
in a flash of the blade before we burn.
Bruce: What? No way! That was only a song, mate.
I'll find us a way out of here.
Dave: Here are the wet blankets. We only found three,
Steve: Let's not lose any more precious time then,
before they dry up again.
Janick: Or before the rafters crash down.
Steve: Exactly. Ok, I'm off.
Nicko: Should I come with you?
Steve: No need to endanger us all. Anyway, I need
two spare blankets in case I find Bruce and that king in there. Wish
me luck, guys.
Bruce: If only we had some water in here, we could
wet our clothes and just try to run through the smoke.
Assurbanipal: I only have a water jug, but that won't
help much. I will opt for the sword after all.
Bruce: No! … Did you hear that?
Assurbanipal: Somebody is trying to force the door.
The Babylonian henchmen coming to finish their bloody work?
Bruce: More likely Arry coming to get me out. Damn,
I'm so happy to see you!
Steve: There you are. ... Fuckin' smoke.
Bruce: Any chance we can still get back the way you
Steve: Not like we had any other option, is it? Take
these blankets and let's get out before the hall crashes down.
Assurbanipal: We need to save my records.
Steve: Ok, you save your records. I'm saving my life
and that of my singer. Come on, Bruce.
Bruce: We cannot …
Steve: Yes, we can, let's get outta here.
Bruce: You cannot save all these records, my king.
But you can save your life and start anew. Be sensible.
Assurbanipal: These are wise words. Let's get out.
Dave: I can see them, they come running down the
Janick: Man, we have to get out, I have already problems
Steve: Ok, which is the shortest exit?
Assurbanipal: Follow me, I know a shortcut.
Bruce: Ah, fresh air. For one second, I thought I
would end up as toast.
Steve: Yeah, and it would have been your own fault.
Why didn't you stay with us as I told you?
Bruce: Hey, how was I to know that the library would
Steve: If I find out that this is a recorded incident:
the great fire of the library of Nineveh or some such …
Bruce: It's not, at least I never heard of it.
Adrian: It can't be, if the British Museum have their
Assurbanipal: The library will not burn down. See,
my people are already forming a chain to extinguish the fire. They
might not be able to save everything, but I will start anew. My library
will rise from the ashes, vaster than ever before. My name will be
Bruce: I'm sure it will. It was an honour meeting
you, my king.
Assurbanipal: I have to thank you and your friends
for saving my life. I am in your eternal debt. Why don't you stay
for the ceremony tonight?
Bruce: Yeah …
Steve: No! Sorry, but we have to leave. There are
people waiting for us. But thanks for the offer.
Bruce: Ehm, yeah, I guess we don't have time. Pity,
Assurbanipal: Then let me at least give you this
clay tablet. It contains the ending of the story you like as much
Bruce: Hey, thank you. That's great, now we have
a famous book for BBC.
Nicko: Fuck my old boots! Are you saying the tablet
I nicked wasn't famous enough?
Bruce: I wouldn't know. Anyway, two tablets are better
than one. That way, we can keep one as souvenir for ourselves. Farewell,
Assurbanipal: Farewell, my friends.
Nicko: I have a historic fire on tape here, amazing.
Steve: Can you believe this? I got wet yet again.
Dave: At least you didn't have to jump from a great
Steve: Hm. That's a consolation. ... What's this?
My hair is singed. Bruce!
Bruce: Only the split ends. Besides, that's not MY
fault. You decided to run through the burning hall.
Steve: Decided? I wouldn't have had to run through
that burning hall if you had stayed with us in the first place.
Bruce: You're right, I'm sorry. I appreciate that
you came to rescue me. It's great to have mates on whom you can rely
so completely. Honestly, I'm sorry that I put you through this. Thanks,
guys. I'll try not to play tourist too much on the next mission.
Steve: Ts, you don't want me to believe that, do
you? Too nosy for your own good, you are. Crazy boy.
Dave: Well, no-one got seriously hurt and that's
the most important thing.
Adrian: Yeah, let's just forget the whole thing and
Steve: Yeah, let's do that. And, Bruce: I don't have
Nicko: Ok, I'm pushing the red buttons, guys!