Part 35: A King For a Day

News-Speaker: You saw them dazzle dinosaurs, rock the rainforest, do many mighty deeds, and now they're back - with new missions from somewhere in time: IRON MAIDEN!!!
BBC-Manager: Excellent recording. Now we just need the guys to actually go on a few missions, and the Friday evening prime time ratings are saved.
Assistant: Are you sure they will show up?
BBC-Manager: Of course I'm sure. They're heavy metallers, aren't they? Going on insane, crazy trips is second nature to them. And I know Bruce: He will show up. Besides, it's good publicity for them. I hear the show propelled their CD to the top five in the charts.
Assistant: Don't tell them you think that's because of the show ...
Bruce: I'm so excited, guys.
Dave: Me too. To think that we agreed to another twelve missions ...
Adrian: To think that we could be so stupid ...
Janick: Did you see the ratings they published? CSIT ranked first, even before Lost and Desperate Housewives.
Steve: Who cares about their stupid rankings? AMOLAD made it to number one in several European countries, now there's something to be proud of. Goes to show that solid touring and a mindblowing live performance are still the things that count in Heavy Metal.
Dave: I saw some fans with CSIT banners during the shows.
Bruce: See? They love the show.
Steve: Hm.
Nicko: Aw, come on, Arry, admit it, you're looking forward to the new missions ...
Steve: I was looking forward to some quiet weeks with my family.
Adrian: Then why did you agree to go on a mission right after the tour?
Bruce: Yes, you said, and I quote: "Let's at least wait till we've finished the new CD and done the tour."
Steve: Right. Did that sound like a wholehearted agreement to you?
Bruce: It sounded like the loophole I was looking for.
Janick: The Sight of a Loaded Gun got voted Best Episode Ever by the BBC audience.
Nicko: Fuck my old boots, I won't forget that day in a while. That kiddo shooting me in the leg, and I thought for a second he'd go for Janick's head too.
Dave: Yeah, that was a scary scene. I hope they're not sending us to such a hothead again.
Adrian: Seeing that it got voted Best Episode, I'm sure they will.
Bruce: Anyway, there's the BBC manager. Hey, Dougie.
BBC-Manager: Hello, Bruce. Mr Harris, Mr Smith, Mr Jurrs, Mr McBrain, Mr Murray, so good to see you again. I hope you had a good Christmas holiday?
Steve: So far, yes. Could we get that paper and get it over with?
BBC-Manager: Ah, I see you're eager to time-travel again. Good good.
Dave: Yes, I'm looking forward to it. By the way, I'm Mr Murray. That's Mr McBrain right there.
Nicko: Cheers, mate.
Steve: That paper?
BBC-Manager: You'll be happy to hear that we've come up with an additional task for you. To make it even more fun, we wrote the task in the language of the time you are going to.
Adrian: As a Christmas gift, ey?
BBC-Manager: So to speak, yes. So here is the tablet with your task, there you go, Mr Jurrs. And here are the numbers for the TM. Off you go then.
Steve: Dougie?
Bruce: We're working for the same company, so we're on first name terms. Anything wrong with that?
Steve: So you're Buddy Bruce, while I'm just Mister Harris?
Janick: Don't complain, Arry, at least he didn't massacre your name.
Bruce: See, compared to Jan, you're lucky. ... Okeydoke, I'll punch in the numbers aaand there we go: Maiden travelling backwards in time again.
Nicko: Or forwards, you never know.
Bruce: Right, I never even thought about that ... Hey guys, wouldn't it be so great if we met ourselves as ageing rockstars?
Steve: You wanna see yourself as an ageing rocker? Have a look in the mirror. Jan, what does the task say?
Adrian: Yeah, let's have a look at that tablet, Mr Jurrs.
Janick: Haha, ever so funny. Well, this tablet isn't much help. The signs on it look really archaic.
Bruce: Let me see. Ah, very interesting. Could be ancient Chinese.
Adrian: It sure looks Chinese to me.
Steve: I don't know, aren't Chinese signs more abstract? This looks more like little graphic representations of something ... Damn, how are we going to solve this mission if we cannot even read the task?
Bruce: No sweat, we'll simply ask the locals, as soon as we arrive.
Janick: The good news is: we'll land in civilized times, seeing as they already had a writing system.
Adrian: Yay, no dinosaurs.
Steve: "Civilized" as in: Spanish Inquisition?
Bruce: Aw, Arry, you're still not over that?
Steve: I was pushed from a very high bridge into very cold water!
Bruce: Don't brag, it wasn't that high. When I went bungee jumping last summer ...
Adrian: Bruce, I don't think Arry wants to hear this.
Bruce: You don't?
Steve: No.
Bruce: Oh.
Dave: Oof, here we are. That was a long ride.
Janick: I'll open the door. Pooh, it's hot and dusty outside.
Adrian: Dusty, as in "desert"?
Bruce: When I was wandering in the desert I was searching for the truth ...
Steve: There he goes again.
Nicko: No, we're not in a desert, there's a river not far off. In fact, this looks a bit like the Florida marshes.
Bruce: One night wandering in the Everglades I'd one drink but no more ...
Steve: You think this is the Everglades, Nicko?
Nicko: I'm not sure. I don't recall the reeds being that high, but then who knows what they looked like a few centuries back?
Bruce: I was rambling, enjo...
Steve: Yeah, and now you shut up or I'll gag you.
Bruce: Spoilsport. I could tell you where we are, but I won't.
Steve: You know where we are? Spit it out.
Bruce: ...
Steve: Bruce!
Bruce: How about a "please, Brucey"?
Steve: Spit - it - out.
Bruce: All right, all right: We're on the Easter Island.
Adrian: You think so?
Dave: I don't see any eggs though ...
Steve: What makes you think this is the Easter Island?
Bruce: The tablet. I once read that they had a very weird script on the Easter Island.
Adrian: So?
Bruce: So. This is it. Tablet, weird script: Easter Island.
Steve: I'm not convinced.
Dave: Me neither.
Nicko: No, this doesn't look like an island to me.
Dave: It couldn't be the Easter Island.
Adrian: Why not?
Dave: It's right before New Year. If they wanted to send us to the Easter Island, they'd do it in April or so.
Steve: Right, let's tackle this logically: We're on a hot, marshy plain, probably at least a few centuries before our time. I say we follow that dirt track over there. It looks like there's a village in the distance.
Janick: Good idea, let's go.
Nicko: Village, my quillage. That's a real city right there!
Adrian: Looks like they're holding a market. What do you say, should we ask one of the stallholders to tell us what it says on our tablet?
Bruce: Sure, I'll ask.
Steve: Hm, we better be careful. What if the inscription is an insult or something? Would just be like the BBCs idea of a good joke.
Dave: No, I'm sure they wouldn't do that.
Nicko: Come on, Arry, be brave. If the guy punches you, I'll get it on tape.
Steve: Very funny. Alright, I'll pop in a Babel Pill and ask this merchant.
Steve: Ehm, excuse me, sir.
Merchant: Melons! Beautiful melons! Can I interest you in one of my melons?
Steve: Nnno, thanks. I was wondering whether you could tell me what it says on this tablet. I'm not really good at reading ...
Merchant: What do you take me for, a scribe? How would I know what these signs mean? ... Melons, juicy fresh melons ...
Adrian: Damn, the bloke can't read!
Janick: Well, we just need to find a scribe then.
Bruce: Yep, shouldn't be too difficult.
Dave: *munching* Alright, let's do that.
Bruce: Oy, what do we have here?
Steve: Dave, what are you munching there?
Dave: A piece of melon. Why?
Steve: Where did you get that from?
Nicko: Fuck me old boots! You nicked a melon from the stall?
Dave: No, I didn't. He had this slice lying there on display, it was probably meant as a teaser.
Janick: What, to tease you into stealing it?
Dave: No, so as people could try what it tasted like.
Steve: What, a big slice as that? That's a quarter melon, Dave! We better move on before the bloke cries robbery.
Nicko: This market is just teeming with life, and I've got it all on tape. Come to think of it, we still don't know where and when we are.
Steve: You're right. The market has kind of an Oriental feel to it, don't you think, Bruce? ... Bruce?
Adrian: O-oh.
Janick: Shit.
Steve: I'll kill him. I swear, one of these days I'll kill him.
Bruce: Yes, and then the air trapped under the hood simply lifts it up. Neat.
Girl: Exactly. Would you like to buy one?
Bruce: Sorry, I'm a bit short of cash at the moment. But maybe my mates could ... oops.
Girl: What's the matter?
Bruce: I think I just lost my friends. Not good. Arry will throw a fit if I simply disappear like that.
Girl: Are you a stranger in this city?
Bruce: Yes, sort of ...
Girl: Don't worry, you'll surely find your friends at the ceremony. I suppose that's what you came here for?
Bruce: Ceremony? Yeah, among other things we came here for the ceremony, sure.
Girl: The festivities will only start in a few hours. Maybe you would like to see my other air-toys in the meantime?
Bruce: I'd love to. These contraptions are really ingenious.
Girl: Come on then.
Janick: Don't be angry, Steve. Maybe Bruce lost us in this crowd.
Steve: Lost us? He didn't lose us, he just wandered off again playing tourist, as always.
Nicko: Maybe we should wait here? He might catch up with us.
Steve: Catch up? I couldn't even tell you which stall we passed half a minute ago in this throng.
Dave: *munching* How about we find that scribe? If Bruce does the same, we'll find him there.
Steve: There's surely more than one scribe in this city, Dave.
Nicko: But Dave's right: Let's find out what the tablet says and complete the mission. Bruce isn't stupid. If he can't find us, he'll go back to the TM and wait there for us.
Adrian: Best plan we have, I'd say.
Steve: Alright, let's find a temple or a palace or some such place. There's bound to be some scribes there.
Dave: Ok, let's go ... hello there.
Boy: Hey.
Dave: You're blocking my way.
Boy: I saw you steal the melon back at the market entrance.
Dave: Oops. I mean: I didn't steal it, I tasted it.
Boy: Sure. I thought that was neat.
Dave: You did? Listen, you wouldn't know where we can find a scribe?
Boy: Why? I didn't run away, you know.
Dave: I never thought you'd run away. Until now, that is.
Boy: Hm.
Dave: But my friends and I really need to talk to a scribe.
Boy: Those were your friends? They walked right on without you.
Dave: Oh. Not good.
Boy: If I help you find them, will you show me that trick with the melon?
Dave: What trick?
Boy: How you nicked it, I mean.
Dave: I'm telling you, I didn't nick it. But alright, if you help me find them, I'll teach you a trick.
Boy: Wow, honestly? Deal!
Steve: I don't believe this, just a minute ago he was right behind me.
Janick: Do you think it's the city? I once saw this movie: the city sort of had a life of its own and people kept disappearing in it.
Adrian: Nah, it's just Bruce and Davey who have a life of their own.
Nicko: See there: a pyramid temple right inside the city! This is excellent footage.
Janick: Not good. This reminds me of those bloodthirsty Aztecs. Remember when that priest led me up the temple stairs to sacrifice me?
Nicko: Jan, the blonde god!
Janick: That wasn't funny, mate.
Nicko: Hehe, you survived it, so it's fun.
Adrian: The people in the market don't look like Indians though. Arry's right, it's a kind of Near East atmosphere.
Steve: And that pyramid temple ...
Adrian: ... could be Babylon, huh?
Nicko: Ah, the Tower of Babel. I must admit, I imagined it bigger, though.
Steve: Maybe we're in a time when the tower was not yet that big. Anyway, let's go there and find that scribe. If Dave has any sense, he'll go back to the TM and wait there.
Dave: This city is a real labyrinth, Ishur. I'm glad you're with me, I'd never find my way around here.
Ishur: Yeah, Agade's pretty big. Not as big as some other cities to the south though. Kish is a huge city. I'd love to go there. How about it?
Dave: How about what?
Ishur: We could go to Kish and have some adventures.
Dave: I don't think Arry would be too happy about that. And what would your parents say?
Ishur: My parents sent me to this horrible eduba. It's totally boring.
Dave: What's an eduba?
Ishur: You know, a tablet house, where you learn how to be a scribe.
Dave: You're training to be a scribe?
Girl: Girls, this is Bruce. He's really interested in our air-toys.
Bruce: Hello there, gals.
Girl: Follow me, Bruce. The servant girls are all lodged in this part of the temple. The priests have their quarters further up, which is good, so they don't bother us too much.
Bruce: This is really huge. So you fabricate your toys here and then you have to sell them and give the profit to the temple?
Girl: My parents dedicated me to the temple when I was a little girl. As a servant, you're supposed to do what you do best in order to further the honour of your god.
Bruce: Aha. So you are making toys that glide through the air?
Girl: It's what I do best. Wanna see the air-demon I made? It can stay in the air for almost a minute.
Bruce: Sure. But what about this ceremony you were speaking of? I don't want to be too late for that.
Girl: Don't worry. The inauguration of the new palace is scheduled for noon. We still have some hours till then. I don't want to miss it either. King Sargon himself will lead the ceremony.
Bruce: Sargon of Agade?
Steve: I feel like in an anthill here. Why are there so many people running around?
Janick: For a temple it's sure crowded.
Nicko: Fuck me old boots! They even have stalls and vendors in here. Strange for a place of worship.
Adrian: And we still don't know in which time and space we are.
Steve: I've enough of this. Jan, give me the tablet.
Nicko: I have to film this.
Steve: Hey you. Can you read?
Priest: How dare you soil my honour by adressing me, commoner!
Steve: Huh?
Nicko: I knew it. This is excellent footage.
Adrian: Don't give up, Arry. There comes another one.
Steve: Alright, here we go. Hey, you. You're also a priest, right? Proof it by reading this tablet!
Official: I'm a palace official and not a public reader. Remove thee from my sight!
Steve: I give up. These guys are all too busy.
Janick: Don't despair, Arry. See that hall over to the left? That looks much less crowded, let's go there. There must be a person in this city that's not busy bustling about.
Ishur: I hate school. It's so boring. We read all these great stories about heroes slaughtering demons and travelling the world. I so want to see the world too. I want to run and jump and explore. Instead I have to sit in the eduba and write down stupid exercices.
Dave: You're still young, you can travel the world later. Look at me: I never left my native land when I was young, and now I've seen the whole world.
Ishur: That's so great. Couldn't you take me with you, please?
Dave: I can't do that, sorry. But I'm sure you'll get to see the world one day.
Ishur: A pity you don't have that tablet with you. I could read it for you.
Dave: Yes, that's bad luck.
Ishur: You said your friends were looking for the temple. We could go there too.
Dave: Good idea.
Bruce: That air-demon's top-class, Lilya.
Lilya: Thanks, I'm also very proud of it. It took me a good while to make it.
Bruce: I can imagine. Hey, isn't that Jan over there? ... Jan!
Adrian: Who'd have thought it? There's Bruce waving a demon-doll at us.
Janick: He seems to be with that girl in the, ehm, sparse dress.
Bruce: Hey guys, Welcome home - it's been too long we've missed you.
Steve: What do you mean, "Welcome home"? You were the one running off, not us.
Bruce: I wasn't, not really. In any case, this is Lilya, she's an inventor.
Adrian: Good morning, miss ... Nice one, mate.
Bruce: She's really smart, she's ...
Steve: Oh, she is? Great. Can you tell me what's written on this tablet, miss?
Lilya: I'm sorry, I never learnt to read.
Steve: Smart, huh? Bruce, stop thinking with your dick.
Bruce: I'm not! She's making these flying dolls, it's really great ...
Steve: Yeah, sure.
Lilya: If your friend wants to know what the tablet says, we could ask in the eduba.
Bruce: Great idea! ... What's the eduba?
Ishur: We'll make a little detour to get to the temple, otherwise we'll have to go past the eduba. I don't want them to see me.
Dave: You shouldn't skip school, you know.
Ishur: I wanted to see the ceremony, so I HAD to skip school. Anyway, did you never do that?
Dave: Well ...
Ishur: Here's the temple. Let's see if we find your friends.
Lilya: Here's the eduba. It's a school for scribes. So anyone in here should be able to read.
Steve: Good. Hey boy. Can you read this?
Boy: Who are you? Are you a teacher?
Steve: No, I ...
Boy: Then you don't have to give me any orders. Anyway, school's out for today, we're going to see the ceremony.
Steve: This city is making me nervous.
Adrian: And I thought our times were hectic.
Bruce: There's a guy who looks like a teacher. Let me ask him. ... Ehm, Mr Teacher, sir.
Teacher: Yes?
Bruce: Could you tell me what is written on this tablet?
Teacher: Of course. It says: "Bring a kak."
Bruce: Oh. Great. Thank you.
Teacher: My pleasure. And now I'm off to the ceremony.
Nicko: You look puzzled, Brucey. What did the geezer say?
Bruce: Ehm. Something strange.
Adrian: We're used to strange. Tell us.
Bruce: He said we had to find some cacky.
Adrian: What?
Bruce: You know, cack, offal, feces, poo.
Adrian: I know what cacky is.
Janick: He didn't really say that, did he?
Steve: You're making this up. I refuse to believe that I asked ten people and they all gave me what-for, and the first geezer you ask tells you to find some poo?
Bruce: He did though.
Steve: Great. So BBC wants us to bring home a historic turd?
Adrian: Looks like it.
Janick: That reminds me that we still haven't found out what time and place we're in.
Bruce: I did. We're in Agade and Sargon the Great is about to inaugurate his new palace.
Adrian: Who the Great?
Bruce: Sargon. The bloke built the first known empire. It stretched from the mountains of Persia to the Mediterranean Sea. Pretty impressive.
Steve: Sargon, ey? I read about him when I did some research for Alexander the Great.
Bruce: Alexander the Great, his name struck fear into hea...
Steve: That wasn't an invitation to sing, Bruce.
Bruce: ...rts of men ... Alright, I'll shut up.
Janick: This is really a terrible mission. We've been here for hours and all we've found out is that we supposedly need to find some poo.
Adrian: Not to forget that we lost Davey ...
Dave: They don't seem to be in here. We've looked in every corner of this temple.
Ishur: Maybe they went to see the ceremony? We could look for them in the first row.
Dave: I don't know, I think I'd better go back to our, ehm, meeting point outside the city.
Ishur: You want to leave already? The ceremony will be great fun. The king will implant a kak into the walls of the new palace.
Dave: A cack? You mean he'll poop on his palace?
Ishur: Kak, not cack. That's a special nail, on which are engraved the king's name and praise in his honour.
Dave: Oh, I see. Alright, let's go see that ceremony.
Nicko: How about this: we grab some camel dung and make a runner.
Adrian: Yuk.
Steve: I'm sure BBC didn't want us to bring back camel dung. This must be some sort of misunderstanding.
Bruce: Maybe BBC used the wrong sign for it?
Steve: Could be ...
Lilya: Listen, Bruce, I'm off to see the ceremony. Do you want to come?
Bruce: Sure, I ...
Steve: Bruce!
Bruce: What? It's Sargon the Great inaugurating his new temple.
Steve: So? Want to see Steve the Annoyed looking for a new singer?
Nicko: I'm all for seeing this ceremony. Would be great to have the bloke on tape.
Steve: Hm. Alright, let's go see it. But after that, it's straight back to the TM. And we're not picking up any poop. I refuse to make a fool of myself. Too bad for BBC, if they give us such stupid tasks.
Janick: The footage from the market and the ceremony should be enough to fill an evening anyway.
Steve: Just my thinking.
Bruce: Alright. Lilya, lead the way.
Dave: Wow, that's the king? Funny headdress. Reminds me of that Nipple-Guy.
Ishur: Who?
Dave: That was another king. He had a huge library. We rescued him out of it when it caught fire.
Ishur: Damn, you have such an exciting life. I want to rescue guys out of burning buildings too.
Dave: You could become a fireman.
Bruce: Hey, Davey!
Dave: Hey guys. What a stroke of luck.
Steve: What were you thinking wandering off like that?
Dave: I wasn't. I was looking for you. This is Ishur. He's training as a scribe.
Ishur: Hi there.
Dave: Who's the bird?
Bruce: What bird? Oh, you mean Lilya? She's an inventor.
Dave: Nice dress.
Steve: Dave, focus: the boy's a scribe?
Ishur: No, I'll never become a scribe. Way too boring. But I can read your tablet if you want to.
Janick: Here you go. Apparently it says something about p...
Steve: No, Jan. Maybe Bruce got it wrong. Let's hear what the boy reads.
Bruce: Why would I get it wrong?
Ishur: It says: Bring a kak.
Bruce: Hah! See!
Adrian: I don't get it. Why would they want a turd?
Ishur: Not a turd. A kak.
Dave: A nail.
Steve: Huh? What nail?
Dave: A nail with the king's name on it.
Steve: How do you know that?
Dave: Ishur told me.
Adrian: That would make sense. Do you know where to get such a nail, boy?
Ishur: Kaks are implanted into the walls of official buildings like the palace and the temple. They're then sealed off with mortar so that no living man shall ever see them again.
Steve: Great. How shall we ever find them? Are we supposed to dismantle the temple walls or what?
Ishur: I could help you.
Dave: I don't think that's a good idea. The guards might not like it if we go about destroying their walls.
Adrian: Not to talk of the priests. I don't want to run again for my life.
Ishur: That's not what I meant. I could make a kak for you.
Nicko: Hello boys and girls. This is Nicko, live from the city of Agade. You are now about to see a young adventurer and part-time scribe-trainee engraving a brand new kak. And no, that's not your common poo.
Ishur: What shall I write on it?
Bruce: Write down: "Engraved for Iron Maiden. By the mighty Ishur, who will travel the four corners of the World."
Ishur: Cool idea!
Dave: And then you scoop it up with your palm, like this.
Ishur: Neat! You're a real magician.
Bruce: Hear, hear. The magician is his name. Hehe.
Dave: It's really not difficult if you know how to do it. The trick is, you have to make people believe you're a friendly, harmless bloke.
Ishur: I think I'll have to work a bit on that still.
Dave: You do that. And thanks again for your help. Your kak will become famous. We will show it to all our people.
Ishur: I never thought that the things we learn in school would ever be of any use. I'm glad I could help you.
Adrian: See, school's not that bad. Try to show up there from time to time, ok?
Dave: Hear who's talking.
Steve: Good bye, Ishur. Alright, guys, let's go back to the TM.
Bruce: Back in the good ole TM. And it's mission accomplished, who would have thought that. A pity though ...
Janick: What is?
Bruce: I was so looking forward to dumping that camel dung on Dougie's desk.