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Episode 6: Blackout
SLAGAR: You're ignorant of exactly what show you've tuned into, eh? Well, I've got news for you: you're watching Slagar the Cruel: Coast to Coast, the greatest Redwall-based talk show ever conceived. Do you even know who I am?
SLAGAR: I am Slagar the Cruel, the Sly One, Lord of the Mountebanks!
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: Whooo?
SLAGAR: You know... Slagar. I kidnapped some dibbuns from Redwall that one time? I'm infamous for my dealings in the Mossflower slave trade? This ringing a bell with you? Because I'm that Slagar.
SLAGAR: [Shaking a fist with rage] I TOLD YOU ALREADY THAT I'M SLAGAR AND I'M NOT GOING TO REPEAT MYSELF AGAIN, SO YOU CAN JUST-
CLECKY: Uh, Slagar? Th' owls are just talkin' to each other, not questionin' yer flippin' identity.
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: Who who! Whoo who whooo~!
GERUL: Me ould mother always said, whoooooo!
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: Well okay, I'll grant you that, but still, whoo who whooo~!
SLAGAR: [Sighs.] Bloody owls.
VITCH: [Looking over a piece of parchment] We're fresh out, chief.
VITCH: Uh, you said something about "Bloody Ales", so I checked the inventory meself, and we're fresh out of those.
SLAGAR: I... I said "bloody owls". With an "O".
VITCH: Well, okay... but if you ever need some October Ales, we've got a couple backstage.
SLAGAR: [Putting his head in his hands] For the claw's sake... I can already tell it's going to be one of those nights. [Turning back to the audience] Anyways, some of you may have gotten the misconception recently that I have any power over which guests appear on these shows. I myself had fallen prey to such a rumor, but as the guests of today's show are all random birds picked by the Dark Forest Broadcasting Co. to fit in better with the network's "Bird Week (With Added Emphasis on the Unfair Nature of Mouse Consumption)"... thing, this is apparently not so. Tonight I will be joined by Stonehead McGurney, the utterly forgettable owl from the journeys of Mariel, the Warden, who is...
WARDEN: I am the law!!!
SLAGAR: Who is a... law enforcement... heron... thing, and finally by Warbeak, a Sparra who I detest for being deeply affiliated with my accursed foe, Matthias.
WARBEAK: Warbeak no friend of Slagar, neither! Foxworm set off cause-and-effect chain which lead to big-time death for Warbeak! Me killee if he not already dead!
SLAGAR: Yeah, yeah, save it for your interview. Stonehead, you're up first!
GERUL: Ah, Stonehead ye ol' feather-flapper, we can finish this discussion about the sociopolitical ramifications of "whoooo" after the show, that we can!
[Gerul plays a rousing drum solo as the larger, golden-eyed barn owl flutters over to the chair beside Slagar's desk.]
SLAGAR: Now, Stonehead...
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: [Spreading his wings] That's me, Stonehead McGurney! Son of Heavywing McGurney, leader of my clan of McGurneys!
SLAGAR: Uh, thanks for the introduction, but I think we've already more or less established who you are. You're an owl, correct?
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: Um... er... [Looks wildly around the set]
[The audience shouts suggestions of "yes" to the owl.]
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: I think that the answer is probably... not no?
SLAGAR: Is that your final answer?
[The audience groans in dismay.]
TREEROSE: Wow, Slagar, how long have you been waiting to spring that little gem?
ROOP: Hurr, oi deerly hope it be a moighty long toime, coz 'ee joke be older 'n Gerul's ol' mum!
SLAGAR: Give it a rest! It was a throwaway line to begin with. So Stonehead, are not owls supposed to be founts of wisdom?
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: Oh no, television fox! Well, I suppose many owls might count themselves among the wise, but not us McGurneys! It's like I always say, we McGurneys may be as dumb as a box of rocks, but we're the bravest owls around!
SLAGAR: [Dumbstruck] So, you... you don't have any reservations about being publicly labeled as stupid?
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: No sir, not at all! Why, I'd shout it from the roof tops. And I often have! We McGurney's are as brave as they come, but we're the dimmest tools in the shed! We're a crayon short of a light bulb! We're not the quickest pigs in the sea!
SLAGAR: Hold on a moment, I need to alter my routine a bit... [Slagar shuffles through the series of note cards sitting on his desk, chucking most of them over his shoulder until finally stopping on one.] So Stonehead, it says hear that you used to keep the Flitchaye weasels in check. Is this because you're lacking in intellect?
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: Never really thought about it, but yeah, I'm sure that was a factor in it all!
SLAGAR: Well, that... means that... [Shuffling through cards] You're... that... you're probably just... um....
[A strange buzzing noise sounds loudly, and in an instant the set's lighting goes completely out. Absolutely nothing can be seen.]
WARDEN: What has happened? The Warden demands to know what happened, and he is the law!
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: Oh no! I've gone blind! Ah, I knew this was a bad idea. You've placed a hex on me with your TV magic!
TREEROSE: Calm down. This is only a power outage.
CLECKY: Something's probably gone awry with the electrical systems, wot?
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: I knew it! They've blinded me with science!
SLAGAR: Well, remind me to thank whoever screwed up and cut the show short. I was dying out there! I was planning to drag the whole "you're stupid" bit out for most of Stonehead's interview, and it blew up in my face. That's the problem with these impromptu interviews, see, there's no way of knowing quite how things will go down...
VITCH: Um, Slagar?
SLAGAR: Well, no point waiting around here now that the broadcast's over; I'll just get someone to look into the cause of this later. In the meantime, is anyone up for shrew food? Because I was reading about this place in the papers the other day that caters to vermin, and it sounded pretty -
VITCH: Slagar, the cameras are still running.
SLAGAR: Oh. [Pauses, then speaks again in an enraged tone.] You worthless toad slime! How dare you not inform me of such vital information beforehand? I will see to your maiming at once! Well, I suppose I'll delay your imminent maiming until I can see precisely where you are, but still! I... could've used that information before I started talking about that shrew restaurant. That I was going to... pillage.
WARDEN: Worry not, law-abiders! The Warden will guide you safely through the darkness to the exit.
THREECLAWS: Huh, good luck! Th' doors are all sealed off by now.
SLAGAR: ...come again?
THREECLAWS: At least, I think they are... I distinctly remember something about th' doors gettin' closed off in the event of an electoral... thing. So nobeast can cut the power t' escape, an' all that rot.
WARDEN: The Warden has located the exit but it does not budge for the Warden. Law breaking is clearly afoot! The Warden cannot allow it!
SLAGAR: The Warden might be on to something, actually... the lighting's out, the doors are sealed, and yet the cameras continue to roll. Pretty selective for a power outage... don't you think, Warbeak?
WARBEAK: What you imply, crazyfox?
SLAGAR: Crazyfox? Ha! I'm crazy like a... fox... that expression doesn't really work in this situation, but anyways, I'll bet you're behind all of this, you avian whelp. Thought you'd take your grudge against me out on my show, didn't you, you sabotaging sparrow?
TREEROSE: You do realize, Slagar, that Warbeak was sitting next to the Warden this entire time, don't you?
SLAGAR: Well... okay, you've got a point. But you've got to admit, there's something fishy about all of this!
GARTAR: i hate fishes
SLAGAR: Gah! When did he show up?
TREEROSE: We're currently in the middle of a blackout, remember? It could have been at any time.
GARTAR: hay guyz u remermbr taht lien "i hate fished" lol it was apritty funy joak from taht 1 thign i wuz in + da fanz were all liek lolololo he doess not like tohse fish
SLAGAR: What are you doing up here in the first place? Aren't you supposed to stay in that control room downstairs, and communicate through the loudspeaker system?
GARTAR: ya i try 2 tell u guys on teh speekerz taht most of teh power waz owt and htat i cant use teh loudpseker or n e thing but u guys wer so freekin slow so i caem up 2 see what da madder
CLECKY: There was some kind o' electrical failure, wot? I rather think it's a problem on your end, Garty!
GARTAR: o if datz da caes nad teh doores are otomaticaly shut alreddy i gess it s up 2 me 2 fix things
[Sounds of panic rise from the audience.]
TREEROSE: Hey Slagar, remember when I warned you that hiring Gartar as your technician/stage manager was a horrible idea, and you ignored me? Well, guess what! Now we've all got to rely on a fox who can't even pronounce the world "the"!
SLAGAR: Quiet! I'll accompany Gartar myself, and make sure his repairs are successful.
WARDEN: What about the interview of the Warden? The Warden was promised an interview. I am the law! The law states that the Warden must be interviewed.
WARBEAK: Me wanta be interviewed too! Me have new book to plug! Much big publicity to be gleaned from stupid talkshows!
SLAGAR: Grr... fine, you'll get your interviews! We'll cut to a commercial break, and if this lesser fox doesn't have things up and running by the time it's over, then someone can fill in for me. Hmm... how about Threeclaws and Halfchop?
CLECKY: You've gotta be pullin' me paw, ya blaggard! Me an' Gerul would make such better guest hosts...!
SLAGAR: Fine, you can alternate, for all I care! It's not like it matters, I'll be back in no time.
THREECLAWS: Er, chief, how are you gonna cut to a commercial break? Didn't Gartar used to do that from 'is control room?
SLAGAR: Well theoretically, if we wait too long the network will launch us into a commercial break automatically.
[Everyone remains silent for a while.]
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: Alas! Now I've gone deaf, as well!
GERUL: Ah, Stonehead, ye ole aptly named wing-wobbler. Nobody's been sayin' anything! Yer not blind or deaf.
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: Well, okay. But I am dumb!
[The Roaringburn Four plays a rimshot.]
SLAGAR: I -
[The commercial opens with a falcon perched on the edge of a bed.]
FALCON: I can't believe I ate the whole thing... ugh, I can't believe I ate the whole thing!
[His wife flies into the scene.]
FALCON 2: What's wrong, dear?
FALCON: An entire family of churchmice... I can't believe I ate the whole thing!
FALCON 2: ... [Flabbergasted]
FALCON: And not just the men... but the women! And the children! They were like animals -
FALCON 2: We're all animals, dear.
FALCON: Oh yeah. Anyways, what have I done?!
[The commercial switches to a black screen, with white text reading:]
THREECLAWS: Is-is it back yet? Are we on? We're on? Righto, I'm Threeclaws, and I'm here to welcome you back to Slagar the Cruel: Coast to Coast! As y' can clearly see, we're havin' some trouble with the visuals on tonight's show, but that's not gonna stop us from havin' a smashing good time! Right, Halfchop?
THREECLAWS: Why, you can do some of my favorite things wi'out bein' able to see! For instance, touching -
TREEROSE: Uh, Threeclaws? You should probably just skip to the interview.
THREECLAWS: Don't you sneer at me, missy! Slagar left me in charge of this show, and I get to call the shots.
CLECKY: He left me in charge too, varmint, and I demand that y' get on with the blinkin' show!
THREECLAWS: The show ain't blinkin' as far as I can tell, but I suppose my [Scathingly] subbordinate Clecky has a point. The Warden, welcome onto th' show!
WARDEN: [Emphatically] I am the law!
THREECLAWS: Whoah, easy there, the Warden!
WARDEN: B-but it's true, I am the law.
THREECLAWS: So Warden, how would you describe yourself?
WARDEN: I... am... the law!
THREECLAWS: Really! And what do you do in your spare time?
WARDEN: I hunt down lawbreaking lizards and toads in my marshes and devour them. For I am the law! And such behavior is mandatory according to the law, which I am!
THREECLAWS: Hold on a sec, Halfchop has a question for ya...
HALFCHOP: [Clears throat] Kachunk?
WARDEN: You speak not in real words. The Warden knows this. For he is the law.
HALFCHOP: [Resentfully] Kachunk...
THREECLAWS: And what are your wishes for the future, Warden?
WARDEN: [Pauses for a moment] To see. Also to continue being the law!
THREECLAWS: Well, that was productive! Here, why don' we check in with Slagar now... uh, can somebeast find the controls for switchin' between feeds?
[Sounds of stumbling and rummaging echo through the blackened studio.]
TREEROSE: Hey, get your paw off my tail!
ROOP: Sorry marm, oi thought 'ee wurr a camrah, hurr hurr.
TREEROSE: A likely story... hey, I think I found -
[Treerose's voice is cut off and replaced by Slagar's.]
SLAGAR: - some kind of strange whirring noise coming from above us... what does that mean?
GARTAR: lol 'whir' on tv agin, like 'we are' but 'whirr', so i now waveing hi bcuz i am on the tevelison
SLAGAR: Oh, I guess they're checking in on our progress. Well, it took us a while, but we eventually tripped and fell down the right stairwell. The prince of fools, Gartar, just showed me into the control room.
GARTAR: o no dont sho my control room on da tvz it is a reel mess rite now tehy would all c it and say i was a slob of a hord leeder o wate no pwoer tehy cannot see it at all haha slager wat u think of my contibutons 2 da dialog pritty gr8 rite
SLAGAR: Ugh... Gartar, why did you come here?
GARTAR: slacker i m glad u say taht cos i have been wating sinse like ask slacker p4 too esplain y i come here. it waz not so long ago that i happend 2 die durin a peroid in which the amount of non-canon redwall chars dying was unprecedetned asa restult of a particular overpowered character's kill count. because of this a breech in the seams of afterlife reality ocurred and a handful of creatures (myself included) made it inside. so how was htat i hope it made teh slacker da crool cost 2 cost continuity more easier 2 except on it's pwn terms
SLAGAR: I wasn't asking about your boreigin, Gartar! I was asking why you've led us into what I've come to realize is the boiler room when we were supposed to be in your control room!
GARTAR: o ya that control room is acros teh hall, i will take you thar now
[A few footsteps echo through the pitch-black subterranean hallway.]
SLAGAR: Yeah, the ambience here seems much more like a control room.
GARTAR: haha okk i get it nice one "ambance" touche, but 1st things 2st i will put up teh comercial brake like u wantad, ill jsu tpush dis levar
SLAGAR: You twit, we've already gone to commercial break! You don't need to -
[In this commercial, a very sketchy-looking mouse walks up to a cartoony owl perched on a branch.]
MOUSE: Mister Owl, how many bites does it take to get to the squishy, gooey center of a mouse like me?
MISTER OWL: Gee mouse, I don't really know...
MOUSE: Well, why don't you find out?
[The mouse hops into Mister Owl's mouth.]
MOUSE: Well? Go ahead! What are you, chicken?
[The owl spits out the mouse.]
MISTER OWL: I'm not a chicken, I'm an owl! And you're a turkey!
[Mister Owl flies off, while the mouse sits on the ground and attempts to comprehend his parting retort.]
ANNOUNCER: How many bites does it take to get to the squishy, gooey center of a mouse? The world shouldn't have to know.
[The commercial switches to a black screen, with white text reading:]
CLECKY: Welcome back, chaps and chapesses, to Late Night with Clecky Lepus Montisle! And also his buddy, Gerul! Tonight we'll be interviewin' that sparrow with the marrow, that bird who knows mum's the word, Warbeak Sparra!
THREECLAWS: Hey, you should be mentioning that this is Slagar's show! The chief'll tear you limb from limb if you don't mention that -
CLECKY: Oh, shove off, you mood-killin' stooge! I could beat Slagar blind-folded!
GERUL: Ah, Clecky ye ould fox-walloper. Ye know what me ould mother always said about fightin' while wearin' a blindfold. It doesn't really change the conditions of the battle if it's taking place in a pitch black studio!
CLECKY: ...she really said that?
GERUL: Aye, that she did, Clecky! Or perhaps I'm embellishin' a bit. Who knows? Whooo~!
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: "Whooo" indeed, my friend!
WARBEAK: When you getting to my interview? This show be big waste of time if Warbeak not get to plug her book!
CLECKY: Keep y' feathers on, wot? We're just gettin' to that. Ahem... now, why don't you introduce yourself to the audience?
WARBEAK: I bird who has new book out!
CLECKY: We'll have time to over that in jus' a moment! What have you been up to lately?
WARBEAK: Writing! Writing new book for shelves. Audienceworms should buy book in big-huge quantities!
CLECKY: Alright, fine! Why don't y' tell us about this little book you're so excited about?
WARBEAK: Me thought you never going to ask, hareworm! It called "This Warbeak's Book"! It all about me experiences, and teaches life lessons! Buy! Buy!
[Warbeak's chittering is cut short as the studio's doors creak open. Suddenly, huge floodlights along the ceiling turn on, shining into the unadjusted eyes of the studio's occupants. The audience wails in dismay.]
STONEHEAD MCGURNEY: Arrghhh! Now I really have been blinded!
SLAGAR: [Over the loudspeaker] Okay, Gartar finally located the problem... somebeast severed the main power cable, and plugged the camera and microphone systems directly into the power, then severed most of the other power cables. I managed to reconnect these wire-type things into the reserve power, so it's smooth sailing for the rest of this train wreck.
CLECKY: Well, isn't that a relief! You can finish up with this Warbeak lass, then. She's being very... hey, wait! [Looks around wildly.] She seems to have flown the flippin' coop! Must not've seen any reason to stick around after shovin' the name of her book down all our throats, wot?
SLAGAR: Fine, whatever. I'll switch the camera feed into the Control Room and I'll wrap up the show from there.
[The camera cuts to the inside of the Control Room, which contains a huge monitor, blinking switches, brightly-colored buttons, bunches of wires and all the other things you'd expect to see in a Control Room.]
SLAGAR: Okay, folks, before I sign off from tonight's show, I'd like to apologize for the sorry state of technical disarray we've been in tonight. But I'd also like to remind you that, considering that I have to put up with the maddening inferiority of all of you on a daily basis, I don't feel like I owed you anything to begin with. So once again, this is me, saying good night, and HURK!
[A pale blue sword impales Slagar from behind. It is being wielded by a translucent blue mouse warrior whose appearance is very familiar to Slagar...]
SLAGAR: M... Matthias?!
MATTHIAS?: Very good, Slagar! I am, in fact, the likeness of Matthias. Technically, however, you are wrong. I'm merely a spectral projection of Matthias' mind and personality, which he created using the finest soul-manipulation technology available in the Dark Forest! It was lent to him by our close friends at the Dark Forest Supervision force, of course...
SLAGAR: So now there are ghost-clones of creatures running around? Great, just great. As if we didn't have enough inane conceptual baggage here in the afterlife without AGH!
MATTHIAS?: [Pulling his blade out of Slagar] Let me finish, you wretched slaver. Spectral projections aren't perfect. We're temporary beings, and the more material we make ourselves, the quicker we dissipate. There are advantages, of course, to remaining as immaterial as a puff of smoke for extended periods of time... it makes it that much easier for, say, sparrows to smuggle a spectral projection into places they would otherwise not be let in.
SLAGAR: [Trying to recover from his impalation] Then... I was right! Warbeak did sabotage my show! But why'd you guys do it? Are you that afraid of my awesome power that you'd go to these kinds of lengths just to KYEEAHHH!
[The spectral projection of Matthias hacks off Slagar's legs with his surprisingly solid Sword of Martin duplicate, which becomes more faded and ethereal when he isn't using it.]
MATTHIAS?: You want to know why the real me is conspiring against your show? Why do you even need to ask? A villain of your calibur on television! It's an abomination! It's a scandal! People might think you're a real riot, Slagar, but the truth is that you're a thief, a slaver, and a murderer, who deserves to be shamed, not glorified on television!
[The pale blue Matthias floats over to the wires plugged into the reserve power source.]
MATTHIAS?: So you see, you child-stealing scum, me and some friends of mine have decided to run your show off the air by any means possible. Plan A was to cause one of your in-progress shows to go completely awry, while allowing it to continue being filmed and allowing it to air, thus ruining your show's reputation! Being able to seal you and your associates inside of your den was just an added bonus... one which I think I'll take advantage of right now by cutting ALL of the wires in this room. Before destroying all the equipment which allows you to record these abominations, I mean.
SLAGAR: You... you mousey jerk! You won't get away with this!
MATTHIAS?: Ha! And who's going to stop me?
GARTAR: HAY MATHIAS CLOAN!!!!!! do u no y da chiken crossed teh rode?
MATTHIAS?: Uh, no.
GARTAR: NETHER DO I U PUNK haha that is my crazy actshun one-linar now EAT TIHS
[Gartar swings one of the sparking severed power cords from earlier at the pale projection of Matthias, causing him to become rock-solid. He then crumbles into a thousand pieces, before dissipating into the air.]
GARTAR: Taht's what u get when u figt teh tv bizness
SLAGAR: Wow, Gartar, you... I hesitate to admit this, but you totally saved the show. How did you know that would work?
GARTAR: LOL slager as ne afterlife tech n00b could tell u, running a current thorugh any being taht spectral wil maek it go all overdrive w/ materialness on u, and den its jus like BOOM amirite
SLAGAR: Well, this is kind of out-of-character for me, Gartar, but I must say, you've really proven me wrong. You're far more capable in this job than I had suspected. So instead of firing you, as I had planned after this technical nightmare, I'll simply deduct liberally from your pay.
GARTAR: Thnx big time Slager, u are 2 kind 2 us nauhty ppl
SLAGAR: [Pushing in one of the many buttons along the dashboard of the control room] Uh, hey, how are you guys doing up there in the set?
TREEROSE: [Over the intercom] We've just learned that Vitch was devoured by the Warden during the blackout!
SLAGAR: Give that bird a medal.