Part 20: Up the Irons!

Janick: So ... where are we this time?
Dave: Wherever we are, I don't really like it here.
Nicko: And why not? It's not too warm, not too cold ...
Dave: Somehow I have trouble breathing.
Adrian: I know what you mean. I feel a bit dizzy as well.
Nicko: I don't feel anything. Strange.
Steve: Hm. I hope you didn't catch a virus or something. Would be bad for the tour.
Bruce: Argh, 'Arry, you always worry about the tour. What if they are really ill?
Steve: Well, that's what I mean. I hope they're not.
Bruce: Yeah, but only because you are afraid that they can't play ...
Steve: Yes, of course.
Bruce: Don't people's fears and feelings mean anything to you?
Steve: Now don't exaggerate, ok. If you didn't mean anything to me, I could have let you down a hundred times already on our missions. Have I ever done that?
Bruce: No, but probably only because ... hey Davey, what's up?
Dave: I don't feel so well.
Adrian: Better sit down, mate.
Janick: You wanna know what I think?
Adrian: Mhm. Shoot.
Janick: I think it's the height.
Steve: What height? We're on a flat plain.
Janick: Yeah, but the air is thin. That's why he has trouble breathing. I feel it as well. We are probably high up on a mountain plateau.
Bruce: He's right. Maybe we're in Tibet.
Nicko: I don't think we're in Tibet. Not enough snow.
Steve: There's no snow at all.
Nicko: Exactly.
Steve: So you think we're high up? That's reassuring, thanks for telling me.
Adrian: Are you feeling better, mate?
Dave: Yeah, I think I'm ok now. It was probably a bit of a tension problem because of the sudden climate change. I'm used to it now, I guess.
Steve: So, you think you can walk or you prefer to stay in the TM?
Dave: No, I wouldn't want to be left behind. I'll come with you.
Bruce: Okeydoke. What's the mission? Bring back the Dalai Lama? Hehe.
Nicko: As I said, I don't think it's Tibet.
Steve: Besides, the Dalai Lama hasn't been in Tibet for years.
Bruce: Well, we're kinda in the past though. Not now, but earlier. Good point, he?
Janick: Anyway, the mission is kinda strange. Listen, guys: "Bring back a native record of a Maiden member's name."
Steve: What? How are we supposed to do that?
Bruce: Maybe learn their writing and write it down? Or get a local scribe to write it down?
Janick: That probably means, we're in a place and time where they didn't have our writing system, otherwise we could just write down our own name.
Steve: Right, that would be too easy. If it's nothing life-threatening, it's not worth spending precious BBC money on, huh?
Bruce: Argh, Steve, stop complaining. Let me think.
Dave: Meanwhile I'm sitting down here in the shade if you don't mind.
Adrian: Hey, look over there! Maybe you weren't so wrong with your llama, Bruce.
Bruce: Why? What is it?
Adrian: Well, it's not the Dalai, but if I'm not mistaken, those are llamas.
Dave: How cute. I've never seen a llama outside of a zoo.
Janick: They seem to be tame. Llamas only exist in South America, don't they?
Steve: Yeah, I think so. That brings us already closer to the solution of the riddle.
Bruce: South America, let me see ...
Dave: Look, I can stroke its neck. Very soft to the touch. And see, it's munching something.
Nicko: Let me film this. Dave ... smile, you're on air.
Bruce: ... a historical time in South America ...
Dave: ... Urgh! Did you just see that? It spat on me!
Bruce: ... preferably a culture with another writing system .... hmmm ...
Nicko: And I have it on tape. Excellent. Historic spittle.
Dave: What's so excellent about it? I didn't do anything to it. Why would it spit on me?
Steve: That's what llamas do, according to common belief.
Dave: I didn't know that.
Bruce: Of course! The Maya!
Dave: Maya? You mean that TV series with the little bee?
Adrian: You're watching Maya the bee?
Steve: Well, you seem to know it as well.
Adrian: Ehm ... my kids used to watch it.
Steve: I see.
Bruce: No, I don't mean Maya the bee, I mean Maya the culture. We're probably on Machu Picchu.
Janick: As far as I know it wasn't the Maya on Machu Picchu, but the Inca.
Bruce: Damn, you're right. I always mix them up. It was the Inca. Do you think we find the famous Nazca lines?
Dave: Maya, Inca, Nazca?
Steve: The Incas. Yeah, that makes sense. Great, I always wanted to visit Machu Picchu.
Adrian: Let's find some civilization then. Were they friendly?
Janick: I hope you don't want me to play their blonde god again, like with the Aztecs.
Dave: Oops, yeah, I remember, they wanted to sacrifice you. That wasn't too good. Now seeing that their animals are already spitting on us ...
Bruce: Well, the good news is, the Inca are not the Aztecs ...
Bruce: ... the bad news is, they are probably also into human sacrifices.
Steve: Damn. I knew it. Didn't I tell this BBC guy ...
Bruce: Now, calm down Steve, I'm not sure, ok? I don't really know much about the Inca. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt, ok?
Steve: Oh, no, we better be on our guards. In my experience, we never benefitted from giving anyone the benefit of the doubt. A healthy dose of suspicion is far better.
Bruce: Your doses are quite unhealthy, though ...
Adrian: Look! There are houses! Seems like we reached some kind of town.
Nicko: I'll film around a bit.
Steve: Nicko, stay with us, will you?
Nicko: Sure, ok, I'll stay close. It all looks pretty rich, if you ask me.
Bruce: Yeah, it was the Marbella of South America, or so I heard.
Steve: I thought you didn't know much about them?
Bruce: Well, I know a bit.
Dave: I still feel a bit dizzy, I'll sit down here for a minute. ... Oops, what's that?
Adrian: So now we need to find a scribe or somebody who can write our name. How would we do that?
Bruce: Scribes were often priests ...
Steve: ... and priests are always bloodthirsty, that's what you mean, right?
Bruce: Ehm ... correct, I was thinking along those lines.
Nicko: So, just before they sacrifice Janick, we ask them if they could at least write his name down for us.
Janick: I hope you are kidding?
Nicko: Sorry, bad joke, I know.
Dave: Look what I found guys!
Bruce: Anyway, how did they write? In hieroglyphs? I don't really know.
Adrian: What have you found, Dave?
Dave: It was half-buried under the tree. Looks like a necklace or something. With many knots in it.
Steve: You better put it back before anybody notices.
Dave: Why? I found it. It looks cool.
Steve: Dave! You said it yourself, it was half-buried. Probably somebody buried it there for a reason.
Dave: Well, maybe he didn't like it anymore.
Steve: Well, maybe it was a priest performing a rite?
Dave: Ok, I'm convinced. I better put it back.
Guard: TREASON! The dog is stealing the sacred quipu!
Dave: What is he saying?
Bruce: Oh damn, we forgot to take our pills. *gulp* Sorry, what did you say?
Guard: The dog was stealing our sacred quipu. He shall be punished.
Adrian: Damn! Dave, put it back in the earth.
Dave: I wasn't stealing, I swear.
Guard: Liar. Come with me.
Steve: Look, why would we steal your key-poo anyway? This is ridiculous, he put it back in the earth, so what's the big deal?
Guard: Our high-priest performed a ritual over it, which your friend profaned. That is sacrilege.
Steve: Damn, I wish I wasn't right all the time.
Bruce: Look, can we talk to this high-priest maybe? Explain it all?
Guard: Follow me then. But the thief shall be bound in shackles.
Dave: Mates, don't leave me.
Janick: Sure, we help you, don't worry. We'll get you out of there.
Steve: What the fuck is key-poo anyway? Fuck!
Nicko: Stop swearing, 'Arry. Let's first hear what this high-priest has got to say.
Steve: Ts, high-priests are always the same. Eager for our blood.
Adrian: Looks like there's a festival going on. All the houses are decorated.
Guard: Yes, tonight is the festival in honour of our sun-god Inti. It is the best festival of the year.
Bruce: You are not performing sacrifices on that festival by any chance?
Guard: Usually not at the festival.
Bruce: Good to hear.
Guard: But we will tomorrow morning. And your friend will be among them.
Dave: Oh, no!
Adrian: Damn!
Steve: We should have fought 'im. Knocked 'im on the 'ead before the other guards arrived. We could 'ave made a runner.
Bruce: Stop swallowing your h-es all the time.
Steve: What do you mean?
Nicko: They're coming back with Davey in tow.
Steve: Let's talk to them.
Bruce: Let me talk, ok? You're too nervous. They might not understand your accent, if you keep dropping the h-es. Besides, diplomacy is called for.
Janick: You think you're the right person for diplomacy?
Bruce: Let me do it, will you?
Inca: I am Inca, the Emperor of Tahuantin Suyu, the Land of the Four Corners. Who are you?
Bruce: I am Bruce, the Frontman of Iron Maiden, the Land of Heavy Metal, and we want to know what will happen to our friend.
Inca: Your friend has disturbed a sacred ritual by unearthing the quipu. Death by strangulation will be his punishment.
Bruce: Well, look. He was not aware of this ritual. He didn't mean any harm by doing it.
Inca: Even so. His life is forfeit.
Steve: See, diplomacy doesn't help. Look, Inca, or whatever you may be called. We won't leave without Dave, is that understood?
Inca: Who are you?
Bruce: This is Steve, the Founder of Iron Maiden, etc, etc.
Inca: You are the Emperor?
Steve: Huh?
Bruce: Ehm, yes, kinda. I am just the first officer, so to speak ...
Inca: You will be our honoured guests tonight. We celebrate the feast of the sun-god Inti. Follow me.
Bruce: We adore Inti, believe me. Does that mean, Dave is a free man again?
Inca: No, of course not. He will be sacrificed after the Q'ompu.
Adrian: The Compoo? What's that?
Bruce: Never heard of it.
Inca: The festival game. You'll see. I will be playing in the Sun-Team.
Guard: Lord, something terrible has happened!
Inca: What is it?
Guard: The scorer of your team is ill. The healer is with him, but he cannot perform tonight.
Inca: WHAT? I was betting on my team to win. I cannot score all the points alone. I need him. Tell him to get up or he'll be strangulated.
Nicko: That seems to be their one-size-fits-all punishment.
Guard: I don't think he will be able to.
Inca: Damn. The bets are very high for the Sun-Team. We cannot afford to lose ... wait ... I have an idea! Strangers, I have a proposal for you.
Bruce: Let's hear it then.
Inca: If your friend plays in the Sun-Team tonight and if we win, I will spare his life.
Dave: Not a good idea, I don't even know the rules of this game.
Inca: The rules are fairly easy: we play with the q'ompu, that's a ball. It has to go through this loophoole up in the air to score a point. The ball must never touch the ground. The players are allowed to touch it with all their body parts, EXCEPT the hands and forearms.
Steve: Sounds like football.
Bruce: Of course, football. Look, 'Arry, wouldn't it be better if you ...
Steve: You're right. Ehm, Inca, can I play for my friend's life tonight?
Inca: Why would you do that?
Bruce: Believe me, emperor, Steve is much better at q'ompu than Davey here. He's done it all his life.
Steve: Don't exaggerate, Bruce.
Inca: I want my team to win. If you help us to secure victory, I will spare your friend's life. If we lose, your life will be forfeit as well.
Steve: What a deal. Ok, I accept.
Inca: You can prepare in this hut. I will send a player over to teach you the basics. I'll see you tonight.
Janick: Great. So I guess we're in a big mess again.
Adrian: Are you sure you can do that Steve?
Steve: Not as if I had much of a choice. If we win, we get Davey out. So we have to win.
Iaq'hi: Hello, I am Iaq'hi. I was told I should prepare one of you for the game tonight.
Steve: Yeah, that would be me. So, what is this all about? I already know that I mustn't touch the ball with my arms and hands.
Iaq'hi: Yes, that's crucial. It will be severely punished if you do. We usually touch the ball with our head or feet, shoulder is allowed too. In the Moon-Team there is one good player, he is able to kick the ball with his chest so hard, you better watch out for him. I'll point him out to you. He is their best player, only to be matched by our Emperor.
Steve: So, what's the goal of the game?
Iaq'hi: High up in the wall there is a small hole. You have to put the ball through there. The team who first scores ten points is the winner.
Janick: How long will the game last?
Iaq'hi: Until the first team scores ten points ...
Adrian: What? That could take ages.
Iaq'hi: Hmm, the longest game took five days ...
Bruce: Sounds like Quidditch to me. Soon there's gonna be Harry Potter showing up.
Iaq'hi: The names of the players from the winning team will be written down for posterity to be remembered. It's a great honour. It is the first time I'm in the Sun-Team. I feel very excited.
Bruce: Wait a minute. They will write down the names, you say?
Iaq'hi: Yes. Why?
Bruce: Oh, nothing. Guys, this is our chance to finish our mission. If 'Arry wins, his name will be written down. Isn't that great?
Steve: Yeah great, but you also know that if 'Arry loses, both he and Dave will get strangulated before tomorrow morning, which isn't so great.
Iaq'hi: You better undress, the game will start soon.
Steve: Undress? Why?
Iaq'hi: Well, the players are only dressed in loincloth and jewellery.
Steve: WHAT? I have to run around half-naked?
Nicko: I'm gonna film this.
Bruce: Just do it, 'Arry. You're undressing for Dave after all.
Steve: Don't make it sound gay, Bruce, ok?
Bruce: Ok, sorry.
Steve: What kind of jewellery? I don't have any.
Iaq'hi: You don't have necklaces? You have to wear necklaces.
Steve: Well, but I don't ...
Adrian: Take mine.
Steve: Huh?
Adrian: Take mine. I am wearing three necklaces today. Would that be enough?
Iaq'hi: Yes, that's enough. You can wear those.
Steve: I refuse to believe that I'm about to play body-ball, only dressed in my knickers and Adrian's necklaces. Tell me this is a nightmare.
Bruce: Let's sit over there. I want to have a nice view on the playground. Wouldn't want to miss 'Arry in loincloth, hehe.
Nicko: Here's a good spot to film. Nobody will notice my camera.
Young Boy: On which team are you betting?
Adrian: We have to bet?
Young Boy: Well, everybody is betting tonight. You are strange.
Janick: Well, of course we are betting on the Sun-Team. Our friend is playing in it.
Bruce: Maybe that's a reason NOT to bet on it ...
Adrian: Hey, Bruce. We better support 'Arry a bit. After all, he's playing for Dave's life here.
Janick: Not to forget, for his own life as well.
Bruce: Yeah, you're right. I hope he manages to win this game. It sounds so awfully complicated. Never let the ball drop to the ground, and don't touch it with your hands!?! I'm glad I don't have to do it.
Nicko: Well, Steve is used to football. He should be ok.
Bruce: You can let the ball drop to the ground in football.
Adrian: True. This one is probably harder on your muscles.
Janick: There: the teams are coming out.
Nicko: Camera is running!
Game-Reporter: ... Both teams are giving their best, but who will be this year's winning team in honour of Inti? ... Currently our Emperor has the ball, he balances it on his shoulders, kicks it in the air and rests it on his head ... the attacker of the Moon-Team jostles him ... the ball will fall to the ground! ... No, dishonour was prevented by the newcomer of the Sun-Team ... he stops the ball in mid-air with his chest and starts kicking it with his head ... a fantastic player ... he is running towards the loophole ... he is shooting ... will it pass through ... it was too far ... YES! YES! The ball went through the hole ... another point for the Sun-Team who are in the lead now.
Adrian: Did you see that? 'Arry scored another point. Fantastic!
Bruce: He is fit as fuck. How on earth does he do it?
Nicko: I zoomed in on him. He is sweating, and I guess the thin air isn't any help either. Poor 'Arry.
Janick: Let's hope the game is soon finished.
Adrian: Look at Dave over there. All tied up. But still he is smiling. Please, Inti, help the Sun-Team win.
Game-Reporter: Another good point for the Moon-Team. Both teams have 9 points right now. The game is almost over. Oh no! The Emperor has been thrust to the ground by an attacker of the Moon-Team. The game is stalled. Seems like Inca is hurt.
Janick: Damn. What now? He was their best player.
Bruce: I hope they will stop the game now.
Nicko: Doesn't look like it. Another player just entered the field.
Adrian: What! That's unfair. That was a foul trick! Boooh!
Bruce: Oh, damn. How will they manage without the Emperor?
Janick: We better come up with a Plan B, I guess.
Game-Reporter: The scorer of the Moon-Team has the ball in his possession and is heading towards the loophole. Nobody can stop him ... he is about to score ... wait! The newcomer is kicking the ball away from him ... great move ... Iaq'hi gets the ball ... and kicks it back to the stranger ... who shoots it high in the air ... GOAL! He scored! 10 points for the Sun-Team! They won!
Bruce: We won! 'Arry scored the last point! We're free!
Janick: Unbelievable. What an exciting game.
Nicko: 'Arry is giving me the thumbs up. He looks pretty worn out, but happy.
Adrian: And Dave is grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Inca: Strangers, I have to thank you. Without your excellent scorer, my team would have lost. It would have been a disgrace.
Bruce: Does that mean, Dave is free now?
Inca: Yes, I'm keeping my promise. Your friend is free. Please join us all in our chicha-drinking.
Janick: What's chicha?
Inca: Maize-alcohol. It's very good. Meanwhile our scribe will do the quipu.
Nicko: Ah, here's Steve coming.
Steve: Hey guys. We won. Wasn't it a great match?
Adrian: It was excellent. You were brilliant.
Steve: Oh well, I played for my life, don't forget that. Gives you the adrenalin you need to perform. I felt like collapsing more than once in the second half of the game. Football is so much easier.
Dave: Thanks mate. I couldn't have done it even if I tried.
Steve: Does that mean we're free now?
Inca: Yes, you are free and your name will be mentioned in a quipu.
Steve: Again this key-poo. What is it?
Inca: See here: the quipu is a sort of necklace. The knots in there represent our different sounds. Thus we remember the name of the players that were in the winning team tonight.
Bruce: This necklace is a book? Great. Where did you put 'Arry's name?
Inca: These six knots mean "Steve, the founder of Iron Maiden". You told me that was your title, right?
Steve: Ehm, right. I'm honoured. Can I keep this as a record?
Inca: Yes, this is your quipu. You can take it with you. Farewell my friends. I hope to see you again for next year's Q'ompu game. We need good players like you.
Steve: I keep it in mind. Thanks. Bye.
Nicko: Wasn't that exciting? I have an authentic Inca ballgame on tape. Wonderful footage.
Steve: I will have an authentic Inca muscle-ache tomorrow. And to think that in a few hours I have to play the gig in Spain ...
Bruce: Don't worry Steve, you'll be treated to a good massage before the gig.
Dave: Yeah, and you will feel reborn after that. So let's push the red buttons.