Part 28: Land of Ice and Snow

Bruce: This time the trip takes awfully long, don't you think?
Steve: Yeah, I feel like I've been crammed together with you guys for ages. I'm starting to become claustrophobic in here.
Janick: Has none of you ever wondered how they do it? The time-travel, I mean.
Adrian: No, I prefer not to know.
Bruce: I have a couple of ideas, but I haven't figured out the details yet ...
Steve: Spare us the details, please. They're probably surrealistic theories anyway.
Bruce: Well, in my opinion, time-travel IS pretty surrealistic.
Steve: Not anymore, seeing as we're doing it on a regular basis.
Bruce: Hm. I do agree than you might have a point there.
Dave: Look, guys, while we're still swooshing around through timespace, I'm reading out the mission, ok? So listen: "Bring back a silken glove." You know what? That sounds like we're gonna meet a hot bird again.
Janick: I guess we will land in the Victorian age, maybe. And we have to get a lady's glove.
Bruce: Probably duel for her honour again. Hehe, looking forward to ... oops, what was that?
Nicko: Ouch, seems like a bumpy ride this time.
Adrian: If the TM had a pilot, I'd say he's drunk.
Steve: I don't like this rattling sound at all.
Dave: I'm getting a draft here. Guys, do you think we're in trouble?
Bruce: Woops, feels like we're falling down.
Adrian: Where to, I wonder. Dammit.
Dave: You mean, we gonna crash?
Nicko: Hold tight, mates, this is gonna be a rough landing.
Steve: How can you fall through time anyway?
Bruce: Don't know, but that's precisely what we're doing.
Janick: I'm being sick again ...
Steve: Oh no, not in here. There's no room for that, Jan. Hold it in.
Dave: Squeeze those jaws together, mate.
Janick: Easier said than done.
...
Dave: Ouch. Oof ... ehm, hello? Everybody ok in here?
Steve: Yes, I'm fine. Man, what a crash. It seems to be foggy outside, one can't see anything.
Adrian: I'm trying to open the door.
Steve: No, wait. What if we're hovering in spacetime or whatever? Might be dangerous.
Dave: Oops, you think so?
Nicko: Shit. The worst case-scenario has happened.
Adrian: Which is?
Nicko: I dropped onto me camera. It's broken. Now I cannot even bring back good footage. Holy canoly.
Dave: What's a ...
Steve: You're worried about the camera? Seriously, I will be glad if we get back safe and sound. Fuck the footage.
Dave: I was wondering what ...
Adrian: Has one of you seen Bruce and Jan?
Bruce: I'm over here in the corner, crammed in-between the control-board and what looks like Janick's leg.
Adrian: Are you ok?
Dave: Nicko?
Nicko: Yes?
Dave: What's a canoly?
Nicko: Ehhh ...
Bruce: Well ... I think nothing is broken. At least none of my bones. The control-board looks smashed, though. The red button is extinct.
Steve: WHAT!? If the control-board is broken, we cannot get back home.
Dave: Oh, damn. Are you serious?
Janick: Owwww. What happened?
Bruce: Hi, Jan. Welcome home, it's been too long, we've missed you. Can you get up please? You're crushing my plums.
Janick: Oh, sorry, I must have passed out shortly.
Bruce: Yeah, lucky me. You looked like you were about to sick all over me. Now get off my lap, or I will pass out.
Janick: Oh, right, the TM got out of control. What happened then?
Nicko: Looks like we've crashed somewhere. And we cannot even open the door, in case we're hovering somewhere in-between times.
Bruce: Caught somewhere in-between tahahahimes ... naw, that doesn't sound good at all.
Steve: I'm glad you noticed.
Adrian: Ok, what's the plan?
Dave: Maybe we can contact BBC and they bring us back from their side?
Nicko: Good idea, contact BBC. How should we do that? Send them an e-mail?
Bruce: As I said, the control-board looks completely fucked.
Adrian: Shit. I need to get out of here. This crammed room is getting to me. I'm all for trying to open the door after all. Maybe just a tiny bit?
Steve: All right, what the heck. Let's risk it.
Bruce: Ok, hold tight to something solid, in case we get sucked out.
Janick: Have you learnt that in your pilot's courses?
Bruce: Yes. Atmosphere ... not to be underestimated. Woofff ... and thirty seconds later, you're scrambled eggs and tomato juice on the ground.
Adrian: Thanks for the graphics, Bruce. Everybody ready? Ok, I open the door. ... Oh!
Steve: What is it?
Adrian: Looks like we've landed somewhere after all. It's freezing cold outside.
Dave: Is that a snowflake drifting in?
Bruce: Oh, be careful. This reminds me of that movie "The day after tomorrow". The guy opened the airplane hatch and was frozen solid instantly.
Adrian: Bruce ...
Bruce: Hm?
Adrian: I'm not frozen.
Bruce: Good. Ok, I'm glad we brought our warm coats with us.
Steve: Let's get out and check the damage that's been done on the machine. Maybe we can fix it somehow.
Nicko: Hmm, doesn't sound easy. None of us has any training as a mechanic.
Steve: Bruce? Didn't you mention you were constantly nagging the BBC engineers about the TM? So maybe you know how to fix it?
Bruce: Ehhh, well ... I could give it a try probably. It can't be more difficult than repairing an airplane-engine, can it?
Adrian: Honestly? I think it can.
Bruce: Oh. I see. Well, I can give it a try nevertheless.
Dave: So you know how to repair airplane engines?
Bruce: Ehm. Not exactly. But I would try, if I had to.
Janick: It's not as if we had another choice.
Dave: Well, there is a chance that we have arrived in the right time after all.
Adrian: Dave, be realistic. Do you think anyone would run around in this blizzard with silken gloves? Big bear-skin mittens would be more appropriate.
Dave: Oops. You might be right.
Steve: So we agree, we have probably NOT arrived in the correct time. That means that we don't know where we are, and when we are.
Nicko: And we don't know how to get back ...
Steve: Yes ...
Adrian: And BBC doesn't even know where to look for us ...
Steve: That too. Damn.
...
Bruce: You would think they would include a manual in the TM. For emergencies. The safety laws require that.
Janick: And you think you could repair the machine with the manual? To my knowledge, these manuals never explain the stuff you need in emergencies.
Bruce: Well, at least it would be better than nothing. I'll keep on looking. Maybe in the storage board at the back ...
Dave: Look over there, guys.
Nicko: What is it?
Dave: There are kids coming through the snow.
Steve: Kids? How are they dressed? Then we can find out what period we're in.
Dave: Hmm, they're dressed oddly. Very colourful, with strange hats.
Adrian: I don't think they're kids. They have beards. They're more probably pygmies or something.
Bruce: Can't be. Pygmies are hunter-gatherer people living in African equatorial rainforests. No chance it would snow like that in Congo.
Adrian: Thanks for the lecture, Professor Bruce.
Bruce: I aim to please.
Nicko: Maybe these guys have emigrated to Northern climates. Who says you have to stay in your rainforest all your life?
Janick: They have spotted us ... they're coming nearer. You think they could harm us?
Steve: I'm more wondering whether the Babel Pill knows that we haven't arrived in the correct time. I hope it works here.
Dave: Right, better pop one in, before they start talking to us.
Bruce: Do they look friendly? If not, barricade the door.
Adrian: I think they are surprised to see us.
Steve: Well, I would also be surprised to see a strange phonebooth-like machine crashing in the snow right in front of my nose.
Janick: They might think we're aliens.
Dave: We don't look like aliens.
Adrian: But we also definitely don't look like them.
Dave: So maybe they are the aliens.
Steve: STOP! No, I refuse to believe that we have landed on another planet. It doesn't make sense.
Bruce: I found the manual!!! Hehe.
Nicko: That's a big book. You think you have to read all that?
Bruce: Naw, I just look at the index under control-board, and it'll be a piece 'a ca... oh!
Nicko: What?
Bruce: The book doesn't have an index. What kind of shitty manual is this? How the fuck are we supposed to repair the TM without an index?
Steve: Don't rant, Bruce. Our guests seem highly intrigued.
Dave: No, they're laughing. I think they're ok. Maybe we should try to talk to them.
Steve: Ok, let me try: My - name - is - Steve. Do - you - understand - me?
Red Cap: Yes, we understand you, strangers. I am Red Cap. This is Pinky and this merry fellow is called Nobby.
Dave: Nobby? They call me Nobby sometimes as well.
Red Cap: What are you doing here?
Steve: Ehm, that's a long story. We kinda had an accident. And we're trying to repair the machine.
Pinky: It's getting dark soon. You won't survive the night if you stay in the machine. It's getting too cold.
Bruce: Damn, I don't think I can rush these repairs. Not with that shitty manual, anyway. The first 50 pages are all about unnecessary stuff like fire-extinguishers and safety-belts.
Red Cap: Pinky is right, you cannot stay here. But we would be honoured if you were our guests for the night. If you would like to follow us? It's not far.
Janick: Sounds like our best option. Do you think they mean harm?
Nicko: Hmm, does it matter? Look at them. They only reach to my knee. I think we could fight them, if needs be.
Steve: I think we should accept the invitation. They seem friendly. And I don't think this is the time to be suspicious. Anyway, what other choice do we have?
Dave: Right. We accept. Lead the way.
...
Adrian: Is it still far? My toes are almost frozen off.
Red Cap: No it's just behind the next bend. See over there? That's where we live.
Janick: Wow!
Steve: I'm at a losfer words.
Dave: This is incredible.
Nicko: It looks like a castle from out of a Tolkien novel. Spires, towers ... I expect dragons to show up anytime.
Nobby: No, there haven't been dragons around for a long time, don't worry.
Bruce: Haha, nice joke.
Nobby: What do you mean?
Bruce: Well, dragons being mythological creatures, of course they haven't been around ... ehm, never mind.
Adrian: It looks more like the realm of Narnia. Full of snow and all.
Steve: Narnia?
Dave: Yes, now that you mention it. I promised my daughter to go see that movie with her.
Steve: Hm, you think that movie would also be something for my little rascal?
Dave: Sure.
Red Cap: This is the Factory. But we also live here.
Bruce: You call this a factory? It looks like a bloody castle to me.
Pinky: Red Cap will show you around a bit. I'm going to announce you to the boss. And you, Nobby, go back to work, there's a good boy.
Adrian: Oh-oh. They have a boss. Sounds like trouble.
Red Cap: No, the boss is ok, don't you worry. He would never allow anyone to freeze to death.
Steve: Is it often so cold here?
Red Cap: All the time.
Steve: I see.
Nicko: This might seem a strange question to you, but could you tell me where exactly we are?
Red Cap: We're in the Factory, I told you.
Nicko: Ehm, yes, but where exactly?
Red Cap: I'll show you around. Over here are the dorms for the lassies.
Dave: Sounds good.
Steve: Dave! Keep yourself in check. We're guests here. I don't want to endanger our situation, so don't mess with the birds.
Dave: I would never do that.
Red Cap: Yes, the lassies can be a bit mischievous at times. You have to understand their special kind of humour. But they are not bad girls at heart.
Adrian: Ok, I'll definitely keep away from the girls. They sound like huge trouble. Remember Anne in the Opera.
Dave: Oomph. She was overwhelming.
Red Cap: Here are the workers' quarters. You can take this room for the night. I hope you don't mind sleeping all in the same room. We rarely have guests, so we're not really prepared for a large party.
Steve: No, we don't mind. We're grateful that you let us stay here.
Red Cap: I'll fetch you some blankets. I'm afraid our bed-sizes may be a bit small for you.
Nicko: Least you can say. I'm starting to feel like Gulliver in the land of Lilliput here.
Red Cap: I will let you rest before dinner. Can you give me that manual, please?
Bruce: Why?
Red Cap: I'll show it to our chief engineer. I'm sure he can solve your little problem with the machine.
Bruce: Oh, that would be so cool. Thanks a lot.
Red Cap: No problem. I'll come pick you up in about an hour, when it's time for dinner.
...
Janick: What do you think, guys?
Steve: He hasn't locked the door, so we're not prisoners.
Bruce: Does that mean we are not numbers, either? Sorry, stupid remark, I know.
Adrian: I have a strange feeling about this factory.
Dave: I don't think that the girls will harm you, H.
Adrian: That's not what I meant. It looks so unreal here, don't you think?
Nicko: Yes, this castle appearing out of nowhere. Then the little guys ... I would call them dwarfs, if I wasn't sure that dwarfs don't exist.
Bruce: Better not mention the word dwarf. They might take offence. It could sound degrading to them.
Janick: I hope that this chief engineer is up to the task and can help us repair the TM.
Steve: I have no high hopes for that. Look around you, this doesn't look like a high-tech era to me.
Bruce: You're right. Damn, I hope we're not stuck here forever. I need to be home in time for the next Rock Show. Not to mention the scheduled flight for Madrid on Thursday.
Steve: I wish I had your worries.
Bruce: I'm a busy man.
Steve: You're saying I'm not doing anything? I was bloody working day and night to perfect the Death on the Road DVD. Now that it's finally done, I wanted to have a quiet week to spend with my kids, and what happens? I'm stuck in time with you guys again. Feels like on tour.
Dave: It could be worse. We could have been injured in the crash.
Nicko: Our Davey, always the optimist. But you're right, of course. Let's enjoy the adventure, while we're here.
Janick: What kind of factory is this anyway?
Bruce: Don't know. A lonely factory somewhere out in the arctic wilderness? I hope it's nothing threatening.
The Boss: Oh no, not at all. We're manufacturing toys actually.
Steve: You startled me. Who are you?
The Boss: I'm running this little company, ho-ho. Now, will you come and join us for dinner? This way, please.
Bruce: Pardon me, how come you are as tall as us?
The Boss: You are all six the same height. So why shouldn't I be?
Bruce: Ehm, well, seeing that the other guys were all kinda smallish ...
The Boss: Small hands come in handy when you build tiny items. I'm glad they don't all have my paws, ho-ho. I'll show you the factory after dinner, all right?
Dave: Cool, a toy factory. Maybe I find an funny new game for the cold winter nights.
Janick: Do you have cold winter nights in Hawaii?
Dave: Ehm, not that cold but I was figuratively speaking. I was thinking of the cold winter nights when I was a kid. Without central heating, it was so cold that we had ice flowers on the window in the mornings.
Adrian: Fuck yeah, I remember that. Haven't seen those in a long time. Ice flowers. Strange that you mention them now ...
The Boss: Not so strange, really. Enjoy your meal, lads. Ho-ho.
...
Adrian: Don't you think that guy has an annoying laughter?
Dave: He's a friendly chap. Always good-humoured and smiling.
Steve: Reminds me of someone.
Dave: Who?
Steve: Guess.
Dave: Someone in your family?
Bruce: Dave, he means you. Get it?
Dave: Oh, I see. Well, I'm not as old as him, though. And I don't have a white beard.
Bruce: But you have both the same smile, hehe.
Nicko: Ah, there are the infamous girls. They are also very small. Can't really see what harm they could do.
Adrian: Look over there: one of the girls has just snatched a potato from a bloke's plate. Without him noticing. That's mischievous. Now they're all giggling. You can bet I'll watch my plate from now on.
Janick: The food it excellent here.
Bruce: As long as it isn't poisoned ...
Janick: Umph, don't say such things when I'm eating. You want me to throw up again?
Steve: Somehow it's all so peaceful here. It reminds me of my childhood dinners at home. When the whole family was gathered around the large kitchen table. We were a big family, and there was always something to laugh. These dinners were cool somehow. So warm and cosy and intimate.
Bruce: I don't know, we mostly quarrelled on such family-get-togethers. Didn't like them too much.
Adrian: But I know what you mean, Steve. Yeah, the atmosphere makes you think of home somehow, huh? Fire in the hearth and warmth in the heart. Even if it wasn't always cake and cookies, in retrospect it was a wonderful time. A time of innocent plays and laughter.
Dave: Guys, I have just had a horrible idea.
Nicko: What is it, Davey-boy? You look like you have seen a ghost.
Dave: What if we died and went to heaven? We could have an out-of-body experience right now. Maybe we crashed and that's why we're thinking back on our lives now.
Nicko: No, we wouldn't be talking to each other then. No chance I'm hanging around with you guys after I have died.
Bruce: Very sensitive, Nick.
Nicko: I'm just joking, Brucey. What better way to spend eternity than hanging out with you lads.
Steve: Hmmm. No, I don't think we have died. I have a surreal feeling, but I still feel too real to be dead. And Nicko is right, I don't think we could have a shared out-of-body experience. I've never heard of such a phenomenon.
Adrian: Watch out, the boss is coming back.
The Boss: Ho-ho, did you like the grub?
Bruce: Grub? It was excellent food. Our compliments to the chef.
The Boss: I'll tell him. And now, if you're interested in the factory, you can come and have a look.
Dave: What kind of toys do you make?
The Boss: All kinds really. Whatever the heart desires.
Steve: You must be specializing in something, surely?
The Boss: No, not at all. We fulfill the wishes of each and everyone. Our workers are very skilled, there's always someone who has the right skill required for any imaginable toy.
Janick: Must be a huge factory.
The Boss: I believe we're the largest in the world. Judge for yourselves. Here are the doll makers ...
Dave: How cute. Barbie. My daughter used to have plenty of those.
Bruce: Interesting, and that's how they get put together. Cool. I didn't think you would still be doing it manually. Isn't that too expensive?
The Boss: Machines can only produce standardized items. We cater to the individual. Time and loving effort has to go into a toy, if it is to make a child truly happy.
Dave: Nice concept.
The Boss: Here is the Sweets Department. You can try some samples if you wish.
Adrian: Wow, they have chocolate truffles. I only got those around Christmas when I was a kid. It was always a special treat. I loved the flavour. Can I try 'em?
The Boss: Sure, go ahead.
Adrian: Hmm, you know, they taste EXACTLY like the ones I had in my childhood. I haven't tasted anything like it for years. They taste like candles on the Christmas tree and records playing Christmas songs. They're great.
The Boss: Ho-ho. I'm glad you like them. We aim to please.
Bruce: What's in the room over there?
The Boss: That's the mechanics department. Everything that is modern technology toys. It's an expanding business nowadays.
Bruce: Is that where the chief engineer is working?
The Boss: Yes, but he is not there right now. He went to your machine to have a look. If you're lucky he has fixed it before nightfall and you can go home.
Bruce: Is he that good?
The Boss: There's nothing he can't fix, my boy. Ho-ho. Care to see the menagerie, before you leave?
Dave: You have pets? Cute.
Janick: Pets? Good joke. These are deer, if I'm not mistaken.
The Boss: In fact, they're reindeer, to be precise. This is my favourite.
Bruce: Let me guess: his name is Rudolph.
The Boss: We call him Rudy. Good old chap. He's caught a bit of a cold, hence the red nose.
Steve: Next you'll be telling me we're on the North Pole here, right?
The Boss: Ho-ho, a man who seeks to know the future.
Steve: What kind of an answer is that?
The Boss: North and south, future and past, everything is relative, don't you agree?
Bruce: Now he sounds like Einstein.
Steve: No, but seriously, can you tell us where we are exactly?
The Boss: Well, we're in the Factory, of course.
Steve: Hmm, nothing more precise?
The Boss: Is it really important? The only thing that should be of interest, I believe, is that you are safe and that you will return safely home to your place in time. Ho-ho. Don't you agree?
Nicko: You are right, dear sir. Very wise words. Steve, I like that chap.
Red Cap: Ah, there I find you. The chief engineer has just returned. He says the machine is fixed.
Bruce: Really? Cool. But it's too dark to go back tonight, right?
The Boss: No, I can give you a lift with the sleigh, if you wish.
Steve: Wait! The sleigh is not flying, is it?
The Boss: Amazing how a man who has achieved such heights, can still be afraid of a harmless thing like air. The air has never killed anyone, you know. It's the ground that kills. But of course we're not flying. We'll be gliding over the snow. Ho-ho. Have you ever seen a sleigh fly?
Steve: You never know. Have you ever seen six musicians travel through time?
The Boss: Please take your seats. Ho-ho, Rudy, and off we go. Speaking of musicians: anybody care for a song?
Adrian: Somehow I feel like singing a Christmas song now ...
Bruce: Frosty the Snowman ...
Dave: ... was alive as he could be ...
Nicko: ... and the children say ...
Adrian: ... he could laugh and play ...
Janick: ... just the same as you and me ...
Steve: ... Frosty the Snowman ...
...
The Boss: Here we are. There's your machine. I'm returning back to the Factory now, to see that everything is running smoothly. Thanks for the visit, and have a safe return, ho-ho.
Bruce: Thanks for helping us! That was great, don't you think?
Steve: Yeah, the bloke even made me sing, which is no small feat. Usually only my kids can persuade me to sing. Seldom had as much fun as tonight.
Janick: Ok, let's hope the TM works now. Can we trust this engineer?
Adrian: Surely as much as the BBC engineers. We didn't have any trouble trusting them.
Dave: See, the red button is blinking again. Let's push it and go home.
Bruce: Hm, seems to work so far. The engineer did a good job.
Steve: I hope it brings us back to our times ...
Janick: Oh-oh, there's smoke coming up. What does that mean?
Steve: What? Again. Oh no!
Nicko: I can't see anything ...
Adrian: Damn ... I can't breathe ...
Dave: Oh my ...
...
BBC-Manager: Ah, I think they're coming round. How do you feel, Mister Harris?
Steve: Eh? Where am I?
BBC-Manager: You're in the First-Aid-Room of the BBC studios. We had a minor incident.
Nicko: So we made it back home safely?
Bruce: Looks like it. I still feel dizzy though.
Dave: What exactly happened?
BBC-Manager: The TM was making unusual rattling noises. When we saw the smoke coming out, we immediately cancelled the trip. We opened the door just in time, so you wouldn't suffocate.
Steve: Eh, wait a moment. What do you mean? You didn't cancel the trip.
BBC-Manager: Of course we did. Contrary to your opinion, we don't want to endanger your lives, Mister Harris.
Steve: Stop misterarrissing me, it gives me a headache.
Adrian: But we left ... and something went wrong.
BBC-Manager: No you didn't leave. The TM never left the studio.
Bruce: How much time elapsed before you opened the doors?
BBC-Manager: About ten minutes or so. After that you were unconscious for about an hour. But the doctor said there was nothing to worry about.
Janick: But that's not true, we were with that guy. There was a factory and lots of snow.
Dave: And the pygmies ... and the wonderful handmade dolls.
Adrian: ... the chocolate truffles ...
BBC-Manager: I assure you, there was no snow where we wanted to send you. You should have landed in Asia Minor in the 4th century. As it's almost Christmas, we thought it appropriate to send you to Bishop Nicholas of Myra, and ask for one of his gloves.
Nicko: Saint Nicholas of Myra? Isn't that ... ?
Bruce: Yes, that's the guy who later turned into the Santa Claus myth. Amazing.
BBC-Manager: A bit cheesy, I know. But our audience expects such topics during the season. But we sent you to Turkey during the summer, just after Nicholas tossed his socks at the girls.
Dave: Santa tossed his socks at girls?
Nicko: Yes, he filled them with money and thus enabled the poor girls to get a good husband.
Dave: Aha.
BBC-manager: Yes, and that happened during August. So you must have dreamt the snow episode, while you were unconscious.
Adrian: The chocolate-truffle tasted pretty real, though.
BBC-manager: I'll leave you guys now. Lie down for another hour or so, and then you can go home. We'll see each other in two weeks for the end-of-year special.
Adrian: End-of-year special? I fear the worst.
Steve: I can't help thinking .... the bloke with the white beard ... the toy-factory ... the red-nosed reindeer ... the dwarfs ... Guys, do you think what I think?
Nicko: Santa Claus doesn't exist, I believe.
Steve: Well ... he might, and he might not. I'll hold it with "The Boss": Is it really important?
Dave: You're right. I can feel the spirit of Christmas. So looking forward to the holidays.
Adrian: Me too, mate. And I won't rest until I find a shop that still sells this specific kind of chocolates.
Bruce: Well then, merry Christmas, everyone.
Janick: And a happy New Year.
Nicko: Ho-ho-hooo!!!