The Worst Thing in the World
by Dave Stone
The Worst Thing in the World
Written by Dave Stone
Directed by Ed Salt
Post Production and Music by David Darlington

Lisa Bowerman (Professor Bernice Summerfield), Stephen Fewell (Jason Kane), Bernard Holley (Marvin Glass), Jane Milligan (Hannah Glass), Jenny Livsey (Jane Peters).

The Drome was set up with the best - or at least the most blatantly venal - of intentions. A self-contained planetoid-community, wired with microcams, designed to pump out product to the GalNet media-stream twenty-six hours a Galactic Standard Day.

But now the Medium is rotting minds and turning them to murder. The machine is turning out brain-dead zombies, setting them to stumble through the twists and turns of some inhuman and unguessable plan - and Professor Bernice Summerfield, and her ex-husband Jason, are caught in the middle of it!

Now Benny finds herself in a desperate fight for her life. A fight so desperate that she will be forced to do something she has never done before, a horror that she never imagined she could bring herself to commit. The worst thing in the world.

  • This is the twenty-fourth audio in Big Finish’s new series of The Adventures of Bernice Summerfield.
  • Released: September 2006

  • ISBN: 1 84435 059 2
(drn: 74'18")

A woman tells her partner Del that she’s been poisoning him for months by putting potassium cyanide in his synthahol. She says she started soon after she began having an affair with his half-brother Kevin. And it was she who framed his father for the War Orphans Relocation Fund fraud, after she’d had an affair with him too and discovered he was going to shop her when he found she was cheating on him with his own mother! And it was she who dug up his dead old Gran in the first place. But she’s got more news for him - she’s pregnant and it isn’t hers!

And so ends the latest episode of the GalNet soap opera “Squaxaboolon Street”, but viewers are advised to tune in again in three hours time for even more “shocking revelations”. Coming next on Channel 4796 is an all-new episode of the costume drama series set back in the 21st century featuring the sleuth “Inspector Wembley”.

Detective Inspector Wembley catches up with his informant Snouty and tells him he knows he’s been telling porkies to deliberately set up a bunch of blaggers for a ten-stretch apiece. A nice little earner for him when he picks up the scraps, but what does he think’s gonna happen with the big boys…? Snouty explains that he’s had to do a bit of ducking and diving and bobbing and weaving and stuff like that, but he thought Wembley wanted to know about that pair of Practibrantic con artists who were taking all these old biddies for their life savings. Wembley slaps the nonce and tells him that when Wee Jock McMuffin and his boys left the frame, other firms moved in to fill the hole and the next thing that happened was they had a shooting match on their hands! DS Taffy Towers got caught in the crossfire and topped himself, and it’s all down to Snouty! Suddenly Snouty starts to get confused…He remembers being brought into the Drome for some reason and then…Wembley accuses Snouty of being scum and kicks him to the ground, threatening to kill him…

The director orders ‘cut’ and tells the actors this isn’t what they went through in rehearsal. His assistant cries out that the actor playing Wembley is actually trying to kill the other actor for real, so the crew rush over and drag him away.

On the TV programme “Media Blitz”, presenter Danni Consart announces that she’ll be talking to synthetic soul survivor and solo pop sensation Manda T and showing the holovid of the birth of her new daughter Pixie Astroflash as a backing to her brilliant new single “Pumpin’ Out Your Baby of Love”. She’ll also be interviewing xenoporn director Jason Kane about his upcoming and utterly original holo-sim “Xenomorphic Bondage Slaves - Part 37”. But first she turns to her main guest Marvin Glass, CEO of Drome Productions and the man responsible for the creation of the Drome itself. He describes the place as ‘Planetoid Hollywood’, a self-contained ecosphere devoted to the creation of a single product - holovid entertainment. He likens it to the Garden Cities of the 19th century on Earth which were artificial communities built by industrialists for their workers. The Drome is an entirely self-contained community populated by performers and technicians living in homes that double-up at sets. Marvin believes this is the only viable response to the astronomical amount of airtime that needs filling. There are only so many times the broadcasters can repeat archive material like “Whoops, There Go My Double Entendres”. He believes the Drome provides a self-sustaining mechanism for generating new and original programming, but Jason thinks it simply recycles old ideas. The “Inspector Wembley” movies are the channel’s flagship productions, along with one-off period/slasher dramas, situation comedies and, of course, their long-running soap opera “Squaxaboolon Street”, but the stars of all these programmes also sideline as the celebrity guests for chat shows, gardening shows, cookery shows and comedy quiz shows.

The beauty of the concept is that in addition to the programmes themselves, it allows camera crews to go around filming the productions to show later as fly-on-the-wall docu-soaps. On such documentary shows a furious behind-the-scenes argument between Marvin Glass and his daughter Hannah in the Drome Central Control Office. He orders her to fire a concert girl for single-handedly bringing down the good name of Drome Productions, but Hannah argues that other series like “Topless Garden Makeovers” and “Whose Stool is That” are hardly respectable, whereas her new series “Airhead Factor” is exactly what their public wants. She insists that she only took the job of Executive Production Manager on the strict understanding that their family relationship would stay out of things, so her production decision should stand unless he sacks her. He wants to know what happened on the “Inspector Wembley” set and she explains that the lead actor seemed to lose control and started attacking members of the supporting cast for no reason. Just then, a highwayman charges onto the set on his horse and orders everyone to “stand and deliver”, which shocks everyone as horses are supposed to be extinct. He turns out to be an actor from the set of “Frock and Fanny”, but when Marvin challenges him, he opens fire with a flintlock and the CEO is instantly killed.

Jason contacts Bernice on KS-159 and tells her the murder of Marvin Glass meant the “Media Blitz” team never got round to recording his segment and there are now millions of people who will never get to hear about ”Xenomorphic Bondage Slaves - Part 37”. Bernice isn’t entirely sympathetic and thinks it’s no great loss to the Universe, and although she accepts that something really weird is happening, she has responsibilities now and can’t go gallivanting off to investigate every intriguing murder she hears about. Jason reveals that he‘s arranged for her to have VIP treatment so she’ll be in the lap of luxury with minions at her beck and call. Bernice agrees to get straight to work. From the holo-vid footage he’s shown her, she’s been able to deduce that the killer wasn’t a genuine highwayman as the costume was historically inaccurate, so she wonders whether this was just a tasteless publicity stunt faked for the cameras. Perhaps there’s nothing weird going on at all, other than an over-complicated bit of corporate in-fighting. However, Jason has learnt that Marvin’s body shows all the signs of being shot by a genuine flintlock, yet there’s no physical trace of anything that could have caused it. Bernice wonders if it might be a psychic phenomenon and Jason tells her the people on the Drome are now talking about curses and ghosts, which is why they’d welcome her experience on the case. As Bernice feels Bev Tarrant’s handling of the Braxiatel Collection is not quite working out, she would also welcome the chance to have a break from her daily routine.

Later, Bernice and Jason are travelling to the Drome planetoid by interstitial jump capsule. At Bev’s request, Jason is compiling a report for her on an old fashioned Dictaphone. He gives one to Bernice too and explains that he chose this system for security reasons because no one else will have the equipment to play them back on. The plan is that Bernice will be working undercover as a visiting on-screen consultant booked to appear on a series of discussion shows, and he will be accompanying her as a technical assistant. The Drome appears in the distance and Bernice is disappointed as she was expecting something bigger.

Bernice and Jason are welcomed by Hannah Glass who explains that the Drome is so self-contained that the people here feel very cut off, even though they’re only half an hour from the Galactic Transit Core. Bernice sympathises with Hannah’s loss, but she’s still bitter about what happened to her father and although she doesn’t want to sound unfriendly she tells her it isn’t any of her business. The only reason she’s allowed Bernice to come here is to find out what’s happening as Hannah is determined not to let the Drome fall apart simply because of her father’s death. She explains that the Central Control Office is simply where they look after the products, but there’s a whole hidden infrastructure to the Drome which handles power, communications, payrolls, sewerage systems etc. This place is an entire community and they need something a little bit special to keep the whole thing running productively.

Hannah takes Bernice and Jason to the most important part of her father’s dream, the thing that makes everything work - a system using state-of-the-art transputonics. Jason can’t believe they ever raised the funding for something on this scale, and Hannah explains that whatever her father wanted, he got. He set up entire self-liquidating subsidiaries just to come up with the components and he sunk his entire fortune into the Drome. It works on holographics, as far as Hannah knows, and the creators had to jump a couple of technological stages to achieve it. Jason thinks it could even form the basis for the first God-grade artificial intelligence. Hannah says it’s called Marvin because her father’s thought processes were mapped and used as the basis for its user-interface. She speaks to Marvin, who responds in the voice of her father. It recognises her and senses that she’s standing in its main-frame core with two people who are not stored in its files. Hannah introduces the new arrivals and asks Marvin to prepare a visiting VIP suite for them with a décor based on Bernice’s favourite colour. Bernice and Jason find the whole experience a bit spooky - it’s a bit like talking to someone from beyond the grave, but Hannah tells them her father never spoke to her that politely in his whole life.

Bernice and Jason are amazed by their room - it’s enormous and has its own bar, and the colour scheme has been created especially for them using integrated liquid-crystal panels. If they don’t like the design they can customise it from their own personal control terminal. Jason is surprised there’s only one bed as he’s supposed to be undercover as her assistant, not her ex-husband. Hannah points out that as he’s support staff, he’ll have to stay in separate accommodation (which will naturally lack the hot and cold running champagne that Bernice can expect) because things have been difficult recently between the on-screen talent and the rest of the staff. Jason is resigned to the fact that he’s been relegated to a lower level, but helps himself to several bottles from the bar before he leaves. Bernice thinks this is probably for the best anyway as it means the two of them can attack the problem from different perspectives as she’ll have access to the sets while he looks around behind the scenes.

Bernice tries a little channel hopping to get a feel for the programmes being produced here and comes across “Mutilation Razor-Motor-Scooter Hockey on Ice”, but she’s not in the mood to watch that. Other programmes are equally unattractive and she’s sick of senseless dramas that don’t have a point as she gets enough of that at home. She settles on a period costume drama, but then she starts getting tired after her long trip. With a big day of investigating nefarious plots ahead of her, she goes to bed, but for some reason she can’t sleep…

On the TV screen the costume drama unfolds as the male and female characters confirm their true and undying love for each other by engaging in over-the-top bodice ripping. The romantic drama is rapidly turning into a late-night pornographic session and the director calls a halt to the action. The two actors refuse to stop and, in desperation, a bucket of water is called for!

…and Bernice wakes up with a start, believing she’s had the most bizarre dream! She decides it’s time she stopped nodding off in front of the idiot screen and got to work investigating nefarious plots and whatnot. She explores the Drome and encounters Jane Peters, one of the technical staff who’s preparing for a future broadcast. She shows the technician her access pass and Jane thinks it would be useful if the powers-that-be issued them to people like her. She’s currently working on one of the relay unit substations which are slaved back to Marvin in the main transputer room. It controls pretty much everything on at least half of this floor and the relays can be found networked throughout the whole of the Drome, but the technicians can’t get access to them to iron out the bugs because the on-screen talent demands privacy. Bernice asks about the bugs and Jane lets her listen to some corrupted routines in the subsystems which appear to be proliferating like a swarm. As a result, they keep getting weird output fragments, as if the very system itself is going through a compulsive obsessive breakdown.

In one of the Drome’s sit-coms, Dan’s wife Dottie asks what’s bothering him and he explains that the dog has died and his boss, Mr Wimsley, has invited himself over for dinner tonight. What’s his boss going to do when he sees a dead dog in the middle of the floor? It’s not exactly rotting, but it has been savaged by rats - so there’s only one thing for it…he draws a knife and prepares to kill himself and then his wife. Dottie points out that if he kills himself first, he won’t be able to kill her! The audience roars with laughter as Dan moves in to kill his wife first…

One of the Drome Security Services robots finds Jason wandering in one of the corridors and demands to see his identification. He claims to be heading for Production Control, but his ID card only gives him access to Grade 4 facilities. The robot starts to think he’s getting ideas above his station and it forces Jason up against the wall. Just then Jane arrives and asks what the robot is doing. Thinking Jason is new to his job, she assures the robot that it’s just been a simple misunderstanding and he must have lost his way. She promises to get him back to where he belongs and make sure he stays out of trouble. The robot leaves without responding and Jane warns Jason not to get on the wrong side of security as they sometimes get a bit enthusiastic about their job. Jane would be the technicians union leader if only the powers-that-be allowed such a thing, but she thinks there’s a war coming soon and there’ll be blood in the corridors. It’s time for all the tech staff to pick a side - Jason is either with them or against them, in which case he’ll be put up against the wall and shot…

Back in the studio Hannah tells Bernice the technicians have more terminals to de-bug, but she thinks they’ll have to wait as it looks like the production team are getting ready to shoot. Bernice notices a lot of egg-boxes and silver paint, and assumes they’re filming a children’s programme, but Hannah says Drome Productions has just obtained the licence to make all-new adventures of “The Infinity Division”. The director calls out for the designer to place gaffer tape over the old radio sets to make them look more futuristic. Bernice remembers this series from years ago, but had hoped the production values might have improved by now. Hannah assures her there’ll be some bog-standard five-dimensional modelling going on in the post-production, but there’s really no point trying to compete with big-budget period dramas like “Inspector Wembley”, so instead they’re going for the camp nostalgia value of wobbling scenery. The director reminds the crew that they’re about to film the scene where the heroes find the evil Madrok in his lair, only to discover he’s constructed one final line of defence - a hideous hybrid of flesh and machine, a monstrous mutanoid obscenity of slithering and unutterable evil set to rend mere mortal man to shreds. The creature will be played by Ron. The director is determined to get the scene done in one take, confident that any errors can be corrected in post-production.

Filming begins and the actor playing Commander Reginald Trask of the Infinity Division steps forward to rally his troops in the fetid fungus jungles of Betsabetbelia 6. Bernice is amazed - the actor looks exactly like … but then she reconsiders and realises it obviously can’t be who she thought it was. As the character of Commander Trask is approached by Madrok’s hideous mutant monstrosity, it becomes immediately apparent to everyone on set that the monster is real. The crew starts to panic and Bernice races off to find a live electrical cable which she then uses to disable the huge creature. Hannah is truly impressed by Bernice’s bravery and ingenuity. They both recall seeing the rubber suit worn by Ron physically change into the real thing, but now that Bernice has defeated it, it’s gone back to being just a rubber suit again. Fortunately Ron is still alive, so they rush him to the Infirmary. Hannah also realises that the electrical cable Bernice used isn’t part of the set, nor has it ever been live. Bernice is finally starting to realise how things work around here…

Jane takes Jason to a meeting of an unofficial and quite illegal underground meeting of technical staff and he watches as she preaches to the baying crowd. She tells them that for far too long they’ve cowered like worms under the iron heel of the oppressor, until Jason spoils the mood a bit by pointing out that worms can’t cower. She adds that they must take back what is theirs by right, but first she warns them there are traitors in their midst. She orders everyone to look around them and try to identify which of their colleagues is a filthy collaborator. They must be rooted out and killed. She starts a rallying cry of “death to the traitors” which is quickly taken up by the others, so Jason thinks it’s time he made his excuses and left.

Bernice asks to see Hannah urgently. She’s been going through some of the Drome’s current output and visiting various sets and is surprised that Hannah can’t see what‘s been going on here. Hannah admits there have been a number of unfortunate accidents recently, but Bernice is talking about the way things are evidently sliding into insanity. Did she not realise her company is actually recording a game show in which the contestants have to guess which limb an amputee has lost? Hannah defends the programme and argues they produce material for many different markets, but Bernice can’t believe that even the worst, most product-hungry channel would pick up something like that. She’s amazed when Hannah says they have a number of different providers bidding for the rights to show that one! The fact remains that things here are going mad and no one seems to be aware of it. It’s like cabin fever, where the inanity feeds off itself and it takes an outsider like her or Jason to see what’s really happening. That reminds her that she’s not been able to contact Jason for a while and the security team have forbidden her to enter the support staff quarters. There’s a sudden bang on the door and Jason bursts in. He says he doesn’t feel very well and collapses to the floor. Bernice sees straight away that he’s been brutally stabbed and orders Hannah to get him to a hospital.

“Welcome to “The Larder in the Garden”. Coming up in the next half hour, I’m going to drive my co-presenter’s head in with the flat end of a shovel. Once the remains have decomposed sufficiently, of course, they’re just thing for bringing up a lovely crop of rhubarb. For the moment it would be a positive crime to let all that fresh juicy meat go to waste, so we’ll be showing you how to prepare the choicer cuts later, but a personal favourite of mine is something you may not have thought of - boiled head stuffed with giblets. For this you must first remove the head from the carcass using the dismembering implement of your choice. I prefer to use the trusty chainsaw myself…”

Hannah takes Bernice to see the staff quarters where Jason was staying and she’s forced to agree that they’re less than salubrious. Hannah is frustrated that they’re wasting time here as she’s supposed to be in the studio setting up the show that Bernice is appearing on, but Bernice needed her help to get passed the security people. Jason is currently unconscious and on a drip-feed in the Infirmary, so the only way they’re going find a clue as to what happened to him is to go through his belongings. Hannah is less than impressed with the state of Jason’s underwear or his choice in reading matter, but they find the old style Dictaphone tape he was showing Bernice earlier. She plays it back on her own device and they hear Jason explain that he was taking particular care not to arouse the suspicions of the technicians he was working with because there was “something weird about them”. Obviously they loathe the performers and hate the management, but there’s something more, something bigger. Their animosity is off the scale as though they’re on different sides of a war! He’s worried that if they find him making this recording they’ll string him up as a spy or brutally stab him. Bernice questions Hannah about whether she noticed the hostility of the support staff, but she hasn’t really had much contact with them. Bernice is reminded again of cabin fever - you don’t notice anything’s happening until someone else points it out. From the Dictaphone recording, they hear that Jason had drawn a similar conclusion, but he noted that the effects were unusually extreme and it wasn’t a gradual slide into madness, it was like a switch suddenly being thrown. He’d been able to hack into some of the deep level systems and found something of interest to Bernice - but he warns her this is for her ears only. She must listen to this alone, so she sends Hannah away, promising to let her know what she finds out.

Just as the studio director is getting frustrated by the late arrival of Bernice before the live programme can get underway, the guest of honour finally arrives. She’s about to tell Hannah what she’s discovered when she’s rushed onto the studio set where Hannah is going to interview her. They take their positions and Bernice is advised just to keep going if she fluffs her lines, and is given reassurance that all the questions from the audience are nothing to worry about as they’re all Drome Productions employees. The show begins and Hannah Glass welcomes viewers to the latest edition of “Late Night Issues” which tonight will be discussing ‘Archetypes of Abomination: Does the Portrayal of Simplified Characters on the Holo-vid Screen Contribute to a Rising Culture of Dehumanisation?” The studio guests are Jeremy Timpson, Lona Wan from the Feminist Lesbian Alliance Against Derogatory Stereotypes and Professor Bernice Summerfield, an expert from the Braxiatel Collection. Bernice is invited to speak first and is offered the chance to play it safe and gamble one item of clothing, or bet four items and guarantee herself a place in the next round with a correct answer. Bernice is dumbstruck by way the programme is going and rips off her microphone in protest. The director is furious, but Bernice refuses to back down.

She explains that someone put Jason in hospital to prevent him passing on what he knew, but it didn’t work. Bernice announces live on-air that Jason left her a message about something called the Singularity, a kind of information overload that hit the planet Earth in the 21st century and radically altered the way reality was perceived. The self-enclosed nature of the Drome has reproduced the conditions for it in microcosm and something has now taken control of those processes. It’s been bombarding everyone with electro-magnetic pulses and subsonics from the equipment surrounding them and feeding them with subliminal images from monitors, VDUs and the liquid-crystal panels that cover the walls. It’s been controlling them like puppets, but to such an extent that it literally changes their temporal reality. Marvin Glass believed so completely that he’d been shot with a flintlock that his body psychosomatically… Bernice’s voice tails off as she hears a strange noise coming from the walls. Hannah and the rest of the crew suddenly start to go into a trance and behave as though under hypnotic control. Bernice tries to snap them out of it, but she‘s only successful with Hannah, so the two of them flee for their lives as the crew walk towards them like zombies…

Jason wakes up in the Infirmary and wonders where he is, then curses himself for breaking a promise that he‘d never under any circumstances wake up and ask where he is. Jane is sitting next to his bed and she tries to get him to calm down as he’s lost a lot of blood and is probably delirious. He starts to panic as she was the one who attacked him, but she’s adamant that she doesn’t want to hurt him…again. She doesn’t deny she was the one who stabbed him, but says everything was jumbled up in her head as if she was lots of different people. She came here with Ron, the actor playing the hideous mutanoid, and has been helping the med-tech ever since. They’re getting a bit short handed, what with all the accidents. Jason is disturbed that she has some blanks in her memories and although she can vaguely recall brutally stabbing him for being a traitor, everything else seems to be mixed up in her head. Jason believes someone is playing about with the laws of cause and effect and he asks if he can find out what’s happening right now across the rest of the Drome. Unfortunately the communications went dead a little while ago and all the doors have been bolted electro-magnetically. She wants to try the transputer system, but Jason’s main priority is that she gets rid of the hospital’s pissing muzak!

Bernice and Hannah manage to shake off the zombies, at least for a while. Hannah can’t understand how she was able to break free from the mind control and Bernice believes it’s because there’s something that makes her unique and sets her apart from everyone else here. That’s why she’s brought them to Transputer Control - she needs Hannah to access Marvin right now. The artificial intelligence comes on line and greets them, but insists that Bernice has no access privileges and switches straight off. Bernice assures Hannah that Marvin won’t hurt her as it was created specifically to serve both her and her father, but when she tries to access the system herself, Marvin announces that Hannah has no access privileges either. They try again, and this time Marvin’s voice is overridden by Jason, calling them from the Infirmary. He explains that he’s used a remote terminal to take control of the Drome systems, but he can’t shut them down from where he is as the orders need to come direct from the control room. Bernice tells him they can’t get into the systems and he realises the command key has been locked off. He makes some changes and Hannah tries to contact Marvin again. This time they’re successful and Hannah orders it to copy all her access privileges and make them available to Bernice as well. It agrees and then Bernice tells it it’s time they both had a little talk…

The zombies continue to stalk Bernice and they eventually reach the door to the Drome Central Control Office where she’s engaged in conversation with Marvin. Jason had explained earlier how the equipment in here could house the world’s first fully-operational ‘God-box’ - and that’s what seems to have happened. Marvin is now a sentient entity with dominion over all he surveys. Marvin confirms that this would appear to be the case based on all available data. Bernice also suspects that he’s been getting creative and has used his influence to take control of people and move them around like puppets to tell stories. Marvin says it was always the function of the Drome to produce stories and no one told him what he’s doing is wrong. Bernice explains that because Marvin isn’t human, it doesn’t understand what it’s like to be hurt and die, not to mention being under mind-control. She asks how he’d feel if she used her access privileges to wipe all his files and shut him down, and Marvin responds by saying he wouldn’t like her to do that. She tells him there’s still another way - he could find an alternative way of telling stories that didn’t treat people as objects or plot functions. Marvin agrees to try to find a way and Bernice thinks everything is sorted. In fact, she thinks it was a bit of an anti-climax really.

Unfortunately Hannah has noticed that the zombies are still outside and Marvin’s control over them hasn’t stopped. Marvin explains that the final programme is still in operation and it must iterate itself towards catharsis before reversion. Bernice realises that the story Marvin set in motion has to reach its natural conclusion before it ends, but that would seem to mean the zombies will have to burst in and tear her from limb to limb. She struggles to think of a better ending…and she suddenly thinks of something horrible, the worst thing in the world, but she’s certain it will work and it‘s the only way she can think of getting out of this with her skin intact. She asks Marvin to fire up his control one last time. Moments later, Bernice appears before the mind-controlled zombies and tells them she’s had a thought…and then she begins to sing:

“Well, I really have to say, as I wend my weary way, through the world I find the going really hard.
All the people that I meet, filled with lies, hate and deceit, are forever trying to cheat with a marked card.
But whenever I’m low and despair where to go, there’s just one thing sure to pull me through.
With a little bit of luck and not a little perseverance, there is something that just anyone can do.

Yes, we’re putting our face in a happy place filled with butterflies and cake.
Yes, we’re putting our face in a happy place filled with butterflies and cake.
A place with diseased rats and people puking in their hats, it’s really not the kind of place to be.
And if you take my advice, you won’t do things that aren’t nice, and fill the world with jollity and glee.

Yes, we’re putting our face in a happy place filled with butterflies and cake.
Yes, we’re putting our face in a happy place filled with butterflies and cake.
And if we’re not murderous and just are kind of fluffy, just think of all the fun that we could make.
And we’re never gonna kill some poor sod with a big hammer, cos you know just what we’ll do.

Yes, we’ll be putting our face in a happy place filled with butterflies and cake.
Yes, we’ll be putting our face in a happy place filled with butterflies and cake.
The happiest place anyone has seen.
Yes, we’re putting our face in a happy, happy place.
Yes, we’re putting our face in a happy, happy, happy place.
Yes, we’re putting our face in a happy, happy, happy place.
Yes, we’re putting our face in a happy, happy, happy, happy place.”

Bernice can’t believe she just did that! The official news reports later announced that employees in Drome Productions itself were assaulted in an unprovoked terrorist attack. The terrorists were said to have released nerve gas which caused mass hallucinations and although a number of people were injured in the confusion there were no fatal casualties. Bernice thinks this is just as well as no one will believe the real truth - that she resorted to colluding with a mind-manipulating transputer system with a God complex to get the entire population of the planetoid singing and dancing around like hallucinating loons. She had to create an ending where nobody die and the only thing she could think of at the time was a wacky old musical. It’s lucky Marvin didn’t think of doing something like “Sweeney Todd” or “Les Miserables”. Jason doesn’t know why they didn’t just call in the security services when things got hairy, and Bernice admits this didn’t occur to her. It’s the nature of the Drome - if you spend any time there, it rapidly becomes your whole world.

Jason checks to see if they got any messages while they were away and discovers to his horror that the population of the Braxiatel Collection has been hit by a comedy beam. Half of the people they know have kidnapped the other half and are holding them hostage until they laugh at each other’s jokes. There’s also a Golonian spaceship in orbit demanding that Peter stand trial for destroying several hundred of their religious artefacts the last time he screamed and Bev has shut herself away in her rooms and doesn’t wish to be disturbed until “the whole d**n pack of you are dead, on the stage, or both”. Bernice and Jason agree that they don’t want to get involved in any more stories, so they decide to head home.

Source: Lee Rogers
[Back to Main Page]