Part 10: Marching On ...

Adrian: Ok, next mission. What place is this?
Bruce: No idea. We stand alone in this desolate space.
Dave: This is Montsegur?
Bruce: Heh? No. Definitely not.
Janick: I don't care where we are, as long as it's not again a place where they mistake innocent tall, blonde men for gods. I've had enough of that.
Dave: Do you hear that commotion?
Steve: Yeah, doesn’t sound too good. Sounds like a war is going on.
Nicko: It comes from over that hill.
Adrian: What’s the task, anyway?
Bruce: Ehm, the task? Let me see … where is that piece of paper? … I had it here somewhere. … ah, here it is: “Bring back a shield.” Yep, sounds like a battlefield to me.
Adrian: Damn, I don’t want to get caught up in a war.
Janick: Watch out, there's a guy running towards us.
Bruce: Ok, pill-popping time again. *pops pill* Hey, boy, what’s going on over there?
Soldier: *pant* Don’t hold me up, I’m on my way to Sparta.
Nicko: Sparta? Why?
Soldier: We need reinforcements. The Persian army is bigger than we thought. I have to run, sorry.
Bruce: Hehehe, you know who that lonely long-distance runner was?
Dave: No.
Bruce: That’s the soldier who ran the first marathon.
Adrian: Huh?
Bruce: Yep. We’re in the middle of the battle of Marathon. I think it was Athens against the Persians. Very big battle, some time around 500 B.C.
Janick: Who won?
Bruce: If I’m not mistaken, the Greek won, but only after Sparta helped them out. So I hope our little soldier arrives in time.
Steve: Do I get this right: we are in the middle of a war between the Persians and the Greek?
Bruce: Correct.
Steve: And the battlefield is just over that hill?
Nicko: Sounds like it.
Steve: The Spartans apparently haven’t arrived yet?
Bruce: Nope.
Steve: So all BBC wants, is that we climb over the hill, walk onto the battlefield, pick up a shield and go home again?
Adrian: Hmm, you make it sound as if you think that’s easy.
Dave: Don’t shout, they might hear us.
Steve: You think they would hear us over that battle-commotion? Ts.
Bruce: Anyway, we need a plan.
Adrian: I think ... Nick, where are you going?
Nicko: Just having a peep into the valley, and try to get some film-footage.
Dave: Be careful, mate!
Nicko: Don’t worry.
Bruce: And while you’re at it, check out the lay of the land.
Steve: Yeah, maybe you see a lonely shield lying around somewhere …
Janick: Should we bring back a Persian or a Greek shield?
Steve: You know, I don’t care what shield I pick up. I think BBC shouldn’t be too choosy.
Bruce: What if … no, bad plan.
Adrian: No, let’s hear it.
Bruce: I was thinking … What if we stay for a couple of days, and wait until the battle is over? Then we can easily pick up the remnants.
Steve: What? No, I don’t want to stay here for that long. The Spartans could take days to march over and win that battle for us.
Dave: Us? Are we on the Greek side, then?
Steve: Do I look like I care which side wins?
Bruce: Well, if we stay for some days, we could meanwhile visit some temples in the area.
Steve: Are you crazy? We're not gonna play bloody tourist here. This is a war!
Bruce: Not even a peep at the Acropolis? ... Ok, ok, forget it, bad idea. Anybody have a better plan?
Dave: We could disguise ourselves as merchants and trade with them.
Steve: Trade what, exactly? It’s not as if we had anything to trade.
Dave: Umm, right, I didn’t think about that.
Janick: Actually the idea isn’t too bad.
Bruce: But Steve is right. What should we sell them?
Janick: We could be a wandering troup to entertain them, maybe.
Adrian: Oh no, you want us to play a gig for them?
Dave: Yeah, and we could perform Alexander the Great. The Greeks should like that.
Bruce: Ah yes, King Darius the Third, defeated fled Persia ...
Steve: We're not playing Alexander for our fans, we won't start playing it for some frigging soldiers. Anyway, H can't remember the solo, so.
Adrian: Haha. That joke is SOOOO old.
Janick: I wasn’t thinking about a gig anyway, but maybe a magician’s trick or some like that.
Dave: I know some nice tricks.
Nicko: Hey guys! Seems like the battle is over for today, they are all going back to their tents. I think I figured out, that the Greek are on our side of the battlefield, just behind that hill. I got some amazing footage, better than Gladiator.
Adrian: Gladiator was Roman.
Steve: Can we get back to the task at hand? I think we should give that magician’s idea a try. You think you can do it, Dave?
Dave: Ehm, yeah, I think so. I am pretty good at it.
Bruce: Ok, we go into that camp. We say we are a wandering troup. Dave will do some tricks, and we bet for a shield.
Nicko: Sounds terrific.
Adrian: Sounds like it will never work.
Janick: Well, we can give it a try.
Steve: Ok, but we stay together, no matter what happens. Let’s go.
Soldier: Good evening, travellers! You are funnily dressed.
Steve: He means you, Bruce.
Bruce: Oh, because you think a Westham shirt doesn't look funny to a Greek soldier, huh? Anyway, let's make conversation: AVE! We are entertainers. We figured, you could do with a bit of cheering up. After the war and all that.
Soldier: Roman entertainers, great. Must be my lucky day. Yes, I'll take the pretty blonde over there.
Adrian: Huh? Does he mean me?
Bruce: Oh, fuck, I didn’t think about that.
Steve: About what?
Bruce: Well, the Greek are infamous for their homosexual penchants.
Adrian: What? Forget it!
Dave: Maybe if you just flirt a bit with him?
Adrian: Huh? No, I won’t.
Steve: No, we better stick to our original plan.
Bruce: Right. Look, soldier. Our friend here …
Bruce: … is a gifted magician. I bet for your shield that you won’t find out his trick.
Soldier: Hmm, that’s interesting. Ok, I agree to the bet. If I lose, you will receive my shield …
Steve: Great, that was easy.
Soldier: … and if I win, I receive the pretty blonde.
Adrian: What!
Soldier: Take it or leave it.
Dave: Don’t worry, he won’t find out my trick. Nobody ever did.
Adrian: Are you sure? Because you better are. Don’t let me down, mate.
Dave: I’ll do my best. Soldier, we agree to the terms.
Soldier: Ok, it’s a deal then. I put my shield here.
Bruce: Ok, H, you better put yourself next to the shield then, hehe.
Adrian: Damn! I feel so uncomfortable with this.
Dave: Ok, here is the deal: I place a stone under one of the three nutshells, then I scramble them, and you have to find out under which it is.
Soldier: Ok, that sounds easy. I’m a watchman, so I've a very acute vision.
Adrian: I’m doomed! This is bound to fail.
Dave: I propose we make it over 5 rounds. If you find it three times, you win. If you don’t, we win.
Soldier: That’s fair. Ok, you can start.
Dave: I put the stone under the nutshell in the middle. Now I scramble. I’ll start slowly.
Soldier: It’s under the left shell.
Dave: Correct! One point for you.
Adrian: Damn, that was so easy, even I saw where it was.
Steve: Dave, are you sure about what you are doing?
Dave: Yeah, don’t worry. Ok, next round: I’ll scramble again.
Soldier: It’s in the middle.
Dave: Wrong! You see, it’s under the right one this time.
Soldier: Damn, I could have sworn. Ok, one point each. Next round.
Dave: I’ll start again.
Soldier: It’s left. This time I’m sure.
Dave: Correct again. You are very astute, soldier.
Adrian: I don’t understand how you can still smile.
Bruce: Well, it's not his ass that is at stakes. But you're right, I also start to worry now.
Dave: I start again.
Soldier: Hmm ... it’s in the middle!
Dave: Are you sure?
Soldier: Hmm, yes, I’m sure.
Dave: No, see here, it’s left again. Two points each, now the last round will decide. I start anew.
Soldier: It’s left! No … right! … Yes! It’s under the right shell. I’m sure.
Janick: Oh fuck, what if he’s correct?
Adrian: Well, I’m prepared to make a runner once again. If I can outrun dinosaurs, I can outrun Greek soldiers as well.
Janick: What if he trained for that marathon, too?
Adrian: What if I kick his kneecaps to pudding?
Dave: ... The right nutshell? Let’s see … no, sorry, it was in the middle this time. See here.
Adrian: Pewh, Dave, you’re the best.
Bruce: Hehe, for one second, I was afraid. So, I guess, we won that shield, soldier. Pay your debts of honour.
Soldier: Hmm, well, I have to admit, you are very gifted. Ok, here is my shield, you deserve it.
Bruce: Thank you, and now, we’re off. Salve, salve. We still have other battlefields to attend, hehe. See you around, and good luck with Darius.
Nicko: Well, that was relatively easy, I would say.
Adrian: EASY? I have never been so stressed in my life. Going out alone on stage to open Rock in Rio was NOTHING compared to the feeling I had these last few minutes.
Janick: How did you do it, Dave? I was sure the soldier was correct in the last round.
Bruce: Even if he wasn’t, there was a 33% chance that he might have guessed correctly.
Dave: No way he could have guessed correctly.
Steve: And why not?
Dave: Well, that’s the trick, you see: The stone is NEVER under any shell. At first, I put it in the middle, and when I start scrambling, I take it out again, and hold it in my palm. Then I wait for his choice, and then I put it wherever I want.
Bruce: Hehe! Dave, you are cunning. Great.
Adrian: But why did he choose the correct one twice? That made me nervous.
Dave: Well, he had to win sometimes, or he would have guessed that I was cheating. That’s part of the trick.
Steve: You know, for once I am quite pleased with the mission. It was very entertaining this time.
Adrian: It was unbearably stressful!
Bruce: Well, at least I’m sure about one thing.
Nicko: And what is that?
Bruce: I will never make a bet with Davey.
Steve: Haha, yeah, me neither. Ok, let’s push those buttons and go home.