President Restam Salguud
Mr. Martin Rection
Max: Beacons of Life: A Tribute Banquet to the Flashpack.
Molly: I really don't think so, Max.
Drallus: What the hell is a beacon of life supposed to be?
Keane: Well, a beacon is like a lighthou---
Drallus: I know! I'm saying the metaph---
Max: Guys! Let's just get through this. Hmm.
(fx: papers rustling)
Max: There's the Flaspack half-life-sized semi-memorial statue christening,
Remembering Julie: A Dinner for the Queen of our Hearts and her Intrepid Team,
Hope of the...
Narr: Ever since the tragic events of a few days before, Max Thornfield and
his intrepid Flashpack had been inundated with offers of condolences, invitations
to elegiac banquets, and summons to official memorials from all the momentous
people whose lives Julie had been instrumental in saving. Now Max had finally
got around to examining the pile of mail, and the rest of the 'pack were too
overwhelmed to continue.
Slotter: Max, I don't think we're interested in any of these. I, for one,
would like something to take my mind off Julie-- a distraction. I'm not sure
I'd be able to take one of these...
Furtrace: (excitedly) Hey, guys! Is it true all the things people kept saying
about a 'Pack rat? Cause I've been looking all over this place and I still
can't find it.
Molly: (condescendingly) Well, maybe if you keep looking.
Furtrace: Well, he shouldn't be hard to find if he's real. Apparently he
(fx: beep, beep, beep)
Max: The Interplanetary Threat Alert signal! The tributes might have to wait
after all. Turn the monitor on, Molly.
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, you now have the honour of receiving an
official live video communique from president Restam Salguud of Falliflax.
(fx: fanfare. Pause.)
Drallus: So where is he?
Max: Shh! President Salguud is about to appear!
Furtrace: Oh, I bet he's just under a table. (pause) See? I was right!
President Salguud: Oh. Sorry. I was looking for my... pen. It was under...
the desk. My pen was, I mean. I think I must have dropped it there. I can't
think how else it might have got down there, can you? I mean, it's pretty...
It's a good pen, though. I've had it for a while...
Max: Erm, Mr. President, why was it you contacted us on the emergency frequency?
Furtrace: Obviously the pen was missing! That's an emergency!
Drallus: For Gods' sake, man! Can't you be quiet for one minute?
Furtrace: CAT-man, that is. (grumbles)
President Salguud: Hmm. Why? Well, I'm sure there must... have been a good
reason. Oh! The mail should be here. I really...
Molly: Where'd he go?
Slotter: Max, can you tune into a Falliflax news broadcast or something?
Max: Sure. Just a minute.
News Announcer: ...is really the most interesting the about the world situation
right now, because there's no way that the Disunionist Faction will join with
the Alabaster Front along the TFF border while Grimley is in power! Did you
ever notice that the word power is... They replaced the microphone in here!
It used to be a green one, but...
Jimmy: Max, there's obviously something going wrong there but nobody seems
to be able to pay attention long enough to say what it is.
Jimmy: I said they don't seem to be able to concentrate.
Max: Oh. You're right. We'll have to go ourselves. I hope we can get there
in time to determine what the problem is. Jimmy, prepare the ship. Keane,
calculate an ETA. We'll have to hope whatever threat is menacing them is not
so imminent that we miss our chance to help. There's no use mourning when
there are people whose lives we can save now. Flashpack!
Furtrace: You know, I could just get you there instantaneously if you want
to, but not if you've already bothered to start the spaceship.
Max: You can?
Furtrace: Yeah, but you have to agree to my conditions...
Max: Come on, CAT-man, don't you realise lives could be stake? That channel
is never used except in dire emergencies! What are your conditions?
Furtrace: Some chiiiiiickeeeen....
Max: You've got it! Now take us to Falliflax.
(fx: cat noises)
Futrace: There. I told you it cold be useful to have a magic cat-man around.
Molly: Look at that!
Drallus: I don't want to.
Slotter: It's huge!
Furtrace: When do I get my chicken?
Max: I've never seen anything like it.
Jimmy: Or anything quite so garish.
(fx: futuristic dialing noises)
Clerk: Falliflax space traffic.
Max: Yes; I'm calling to inquire about the enormous, fluffy red spaceship
in orbit around your planet. Is that supposed to be there?
Clerk: Is wha-- I have a fluffy red pillow. I mean, I don't suppose that
helps, but it's plush so it's very comfortable. If you're interested I have
it at home. My home is very nice; it's Georgian...
(fx: futuristic hanging up)
Molly: They didn't even know it was there?
Slotter: How could the whole planet fail to notice that? I'll see if I can
get that ship on the communicator.
(fx: futuristic dialing)
Martin Rection: Martin Rection. How can I help you?
Max: I'm the intrepid Max Thornfield from the universe-famous Flashpack.
We received a distress call from the President of this planet, but he seemed
unable to tell us what it was about. We were wondering if you could tell us
anything about it.
Martin Rection: Aaah! Look over there!
Max: What? Over where?
Molly: You're talking to us over a video screen, Mr. Rection. “Look
over there” isn't going to work especially well. “Over there” is
out of shot. Why don't you just explain to us what exactly you're doing?
Jimmy: I suspect you're using some kind of Ray of Non-Concentration.
Martin Rection: (proudly clearing his throat) Distractor Beam. It's trained
on the planet as we speak.
Jimmy: Hmm. That's clever.
Martin Rection: Thank you.
Max: But why? What are you after?
Furtrace: Yeah! You're making all these dummy humans forget to feed me!
Martin Rection: Hmm. Well, before I explain that, hadn't you better look
take care of that mouse that's crawling all over the hang-up button on your
Furtrace: What?! There is?!
(mouse-catching non-supernatural cat noises, followed immediately by a futuristic
Drallus: Are you sure you want to keep that cat around?
Furtrace: I'm really, really sorry, Drallus. I think I get it. He was trying
to trick me wasn't he?
Keane: Max, with a population of about seven billion, Falliflax must contain
about fourteen thousand kilostares of attention.
Jimmy: If he found a way of siphoning that, he could apply himself hard enough
to solve almost any problem in the universe.
Max: That's it. Mr. Rection must be stealing attention from the population
of Falliflax and using it for his own nefarious ends-- and they're all too
distracted to notice. It can't be allowed, and we're the only people who can
stop it. Flashpack!
Max: Now, we'll have to find a way of boarding that tasteless spaceship,
and finding out what he's using the attention to help him concentrate on.
Furtrace: You know, guys, cats have a lot of spells for dealing floating
fluffy spheres. It's one of our specialties. Just in case you were maybe looking
for ideas or something.
Max: Of course! Furtrace, it's essential that you grab hold of that big,
fuzzy, red, floating ball. With your mind.
Furtrace: You got it! I've been wanting to do that ever since we first saw
it! Come here, big floaty thing!
(cat noises, followed by intent and concentrated cat-playing-with-toy noises
as he grapples with the red spaceship. Then a whoosh noise)
Drallus: Maybe we should keep this cat.
Max: Thank you, Furtrace. Now, let's call Space Traffic to tell them how
we saved their planet from certain dest...
(Fizz, and a transmission starts)
Martin Rection: People of Falliflax, may I have your attention please? Ha,
ha, ha. Get it? No, you wouldn't would you? Well, let me explain. I have just
deactivated my super-science Distractor Beam and returned your attention spans
to you. In the mean time, I used the fourteen and a half thousand kilostares
of attention that your planet contained...
Martin Rection: ... to train my attention on one single problems. That's
right-- I exploited all your attentions spans for my own purposes, and now
my plan has come to fruition. I have created... Mr. Rection's Skim System,
the world's most effective method of speed reading, which can be yours for
Slotter: How did he get back? Furtrace used his magic to paw the ship away!
Jimmy: Wait-- our readings never showed any kind of distractor beam coming
from where that giant fuzzy ball was.
Molly: You mean it was a distraction?
Max: Of course! Can you trace the transmission and cut it, Jimmy?
Jimmy: Yes; I'll just send a jamming signal. Now the population of Falliflax
won't be scammed into buying into a rip-off speed-reading scheme. He didn't
really have much of a plan, did he?
Max: Not really. Of all the villains we've ever encountered, I have to say
(beep, beep, beep)
Jimmy: Agh. The home-work-o-tron. Are you sure we can't look into that speed-reading
scheme that Mr. Rection...?
Max: Of course not! You remember what happened that time when Julie... hmm.
Molly: Why did you have to remind us, Max?
Max: Sorry. I wasn't thinking-- but we can continue even without Julie. We
showed it today and we can show it again. Flashpack!
Max: Now, Furtrace- take us home!
Furtrace: Um… what do you mean?
Max: You teleported us here. Now we need to go back.
Furtrace: Er… well… about that… I can usually do little
teleports, like maybe one or two people, no problem…
Max: You can’t get us home, can you.
Furtrace: I had to use up an ancient Saladonian shoelace-toy! It was a one
Max: All right, gang… let’s get walking.
Jimmy: “Significant villains through the history of space time?” What
can I write about that?
Narrator: What will Jimmy write? Will the Flashpack ever stop being reminded
of their fallen comrade? Why did that villain sound so familiar? Find out
in next week's show, “Voices of Evil.”