by Michael Bard and Quentin Long
© Michael Bard and Quentin Long -- all rights reserved
Opening credits begin as an electronically created Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" plays. Voice narration begins with "Ten tribes, each of four persons. All dropped off in the middle of the Biodome. Each must survive the environment..." video shows machine shop from hell, "...traps..." video shows a woman shrinking down into a squirrel, "...and each other to win FIVE MILLION DOLLARS and the title of SURVIFUR!"
Each tribe is gone through in sequence, beginning with the name of the tribe. The third tribe is Harlem and the following video sequence is played:
//Before and below you are a group of people riding in a well lit subway car that is in motion. All are blindfolded except for the host, a squirrel. Then the camera switches its focus to each in turn.
The first is a centaur, male, the colour of his lower body that of pale cream, wearing a heavy polo-style shirt of dark green over his upper half. He is carrying what appears to be a odd looking rifle, complete with complex sight and laser targeting over one shoulder, and a metal toolbox in his other hand. Around his neck is a necklace with a large dim waxy-grayish looking rock (about the size of a fist) hanging from it. On the bottom of the screen is written Michael.
The second is an anthropomorphic housecat, female. She is all white wonderfully soft and rich thick fluffy fur and looks so incredibly cute and fragile. Clenched tight to her chest is a cloth bag but she is otherwise unclothed. Her ears are pulled tight against her skull and her tail is flat against her left leg. She appears to be shuddering a bit with nervousness or fear. On the bottom of the screen is written Mary.
The third person is standing; his back is to the camera. He's barely four feet tall, keeping a firm two-handed grip on a support post he's leaning into with legs apart for stable posture. His black hair is short with the sort of reflected highlights you see on panther fur, and goes all the way down his neck into his shirt. The most noticeable is his oddly pointed ears that stretch noticeably out from either side of his head. Followers of earlier Survifur events will recognize him as a former contestant, and many others will recognize him from his suing of Survifur Inc. A somewhat large and full front-and-back "fanny pack" belt is looped around one arm and there is a kind of large and complex watch strapped to his lower left arm. On the bottom of the screen is written Norman.
The last person is a seated an African-American male (Survifur Inc. does NOT practice discrimination), leaning back with a confident smile, one leg crossed, and arms stretched out along the seat backs to either side. He's big, well over six feet tall and looks to weigh around 300 pounds. One hand holds some kind of multi-compartmented harness and the other holds a long staff. On the bottom of the screen is written Malcolm.
The focus then switches to the final person of the group which is a squirrel, reddish brown, and dressed only in a cowboy hat (the same reddish colour as his head fur). He is not blindfolded, and easily recognized as the host, Sly Squirrel.
The train hisses to a stop and the doors ding open. The camera view tilts to look out the entrance until a very large poster advertising the latest FORD EXTREMIS model of SUV is filling most of the view as the group steps out.//
Other tribes parade through the opening credits similarly. At the end, the narrator concludes with, "Welcome to the fifth SURVIFUR challenge!"
Episode ONE begins as each tribe departs the subway transportation system and is introduced into the Biodome.
"Everybody out - and watch your step," states the squirrel.
Mary is the first to speak: "Where are we?" Her quavering voice sweetly squeaks with barely-suppressed fear.
"Don't worry, we're almost there. Just a few steps, an escalator..."
"Oh God, not an escalator!" mumbles Michael. Escalators just don't feel stable (which I've always found odd since I have four supports but...).
"Can you hurry?" Mary asks. Her voice is sweet and so highly pitched that it is almost a squeak. "I don't like the dark" At least not yet.
"As you wish."
The squirrel leads the blindfolded quartet out of the car onto the platform, which bears a goodly number of advertising posters (for Dreamgrass cigarettes, Black Tide pesticides, etc ad nauseum). Then the squirrel bows to the camera with a flourish (not that he can be seen by the people actually in his presence), and announces, "Welcome to your new home in the mighty Biodome, home of the first Survifur contest. The final Survifur will receive the transformation of his and her choice (dramatic pause) AND a tax-paid prize of Five... Million... DOLLARS!"
Michael immediately asks, "That would be in US funds, I take it?"
"Naturally! But now you must all be on your way into the Biodome, built with the kindly support of Squirrley - the ultimate thirst quencher for the hyperactive! And be sure to try sugarless Squirrley Light, and Squirrley XTreme, with that extra boost you get from triple the caffeine AND triple the sugar!"
Bloody product placements Michael thinks. I just want it begin so we can get on with the fun part.
The squirrel carefully guides each contestant along the platform, first Michael whose horseshoes loudly clatter on the tiling of the platform, stopping only when Sly lets go so that he is standing at the base of the elevator. Next comes Mary, shuffling silently and letting her tail almost drag. Third is Norman who's gotten his fanny pack locked in place around his waist; we now see his fingernails are distinctly pointed. His footsteps are soundless. Making up the rear is Malcolm who quietly whistles a technopop arrangement of a Bach piece that was popular a couple of years ago, and uses his staff to tap out the percussion accompaniment. The platform's overhead data displays are running more advertisements, curiously enough. Advertisements include: "TSAT Interzine with NEW transformations every week!", "Zen Diet - First there is a dinner, then no dinner, and then you're full!", "Wouldn't you really rather fire a Steyrmacht?", "Garanimals for Tots", "REANIMATED LIFE Interzine - when pictures JUST won't do.", " Etc.
When they're standing all in a neat row in front of the escalator the squirrel finally continues. "All of you but Michael here reach forward and grab the person in front of you."
Hmm, the person ahead of me sounded like a hoofed morph, and smells like a horse, so that's probably who this Michael is Mary thinks. She reaches forward slowly and carefully and nervously with her right and until she touches the rump of the centaur. Meanwhile she twists her tail around to her right to keep it out of reach of the human behind her. That's strange, it's a rump. Oh, what the heck! Then Mary lets her dainty but sharp claws slide out of her paws and squeezes the centaur's rump as she digs in.
Michael spins around and shouts out, "Hey!" as he brushes his tail against Mary's arm and raises his right rear hoof but then letting it fall so that the metal horseshoe clatters loudly on the platform.
I needed that. "I'm sorry, so sorry! I didn't mean it. Can you ever forgive me?" Mary's voice is so sweet and innocent that it would make Ebenezer Scrooge cry before that fateful Christmas.
Michael sighs, "That's..." and winces, "...ok... ow... can you pull your claws out?"
"Sorry, I'm sorry." Sucker. And then Mary pulls out her claws.
Malcolm nods slightly. She's GOT to be faking - NOBODY acts like that for REAL.
Michael lets out a deep breath of relief.
Finally Sly interrupts. "Enough of that, time to go up. Step carefully now..."
With Michael leading, the group slowly walks up to an escalator followed by the camera. More advertising posters fill the frame as they travel, each in turn: FERRARI computers, SNICKERS candy bars, DELTA-GAMMA space heaters, etc. Michael almost seems to shy but manages to get on, only banging one rear fetlock on the moving steps. He clenches the moving railing TIGHT. Mary follows daintily and gracefully, never stumbling and missing the step. Norman moves efficiently and economically and Malcolm brings up the rear, still whistling. Sly bounces around at the rear.
Dreading the escalator pictures of stumbling and tripping run through Michael's mind. I wish I could see. Carefully he releases the death grip of his right hand and then slowly slides it forward so that he can tell when the escalator levels off. A few minutes later it does and he manages to get off without stumbling too badly.
The rest follow with Mary never missing a step. Norman follows her example, albeit without her inhuman grace, and Malcolm vaults a tiny bit on his pole to dismount.
"Now step forward and soon you'll be in the Biodome, built with money provided by Biogen - the world's largest producer of rhinoviruses for your protection!"
//The scene cuts to a nice woodland scene. It consists of a clearing about 20 metres across with grass and wildflowers growing profusely. The light seems to be sunlight, but slightly off somehow, and there are the sounds of birds singing in the trees, along with the chattering of squirrels. There are four men, three who are carrying cameras around the edge of the clearing, and all are facing a large rectangular metal structure covered with grass that is standing at one edge of the clearing. The edge of the structure facing the clearing is a doorway and the focus zooms in as figures start walking out.//
As Michael steps onto the earth he visibly relaxes. The others follow.
"Welcome to the Biodome - security for the entrance provided by Masterlock in cooperation with Pinkerton and EDS. In a few minutes a cameraman will remove your blindfolds and then you have a day to find your camp and get settled in members of HARLEM. I look forward to seeing you at Tribal Council tonight so we can get the fifth SURVIFUR started. Good luck, Survifurs!" The squirrel turns and goes back into the doorway and as he vanishes from sight the grass covered entrance sinks back into the ground until it can no longer be seen.
The four figures remain silent as a human male steps up and unties their blindfolds. When he's done he turns and walks back out of view. Each of the four blink their eyes and then look around as Malcolm takes the opportunity to put his harness on.
A long moment passes punctuated by the song of birds before Michael breaks the silence: "Well, I guess it's time for introductions. I'm Michael, so, ah, who's next?"
"I am Norman. This isn't my first time in SurviFur; I hope my experience will prove helpful to the tribe."
Mary looks at the ground and blinks her eyes, her tail waving nervously. "I'm Mary, and I'm really sorry, really, about..." I have to remember not to push the innocence too far...
"Don't worry. Accidents will happen, and we do have to work together. And..."
"My name's Malcolm, and I'll answer to Mal. What's with the toy, Mike?" he asked, pointing at the rifle.
Michael chuckled. "It's a squirt gun. Likely some of the traps will be liquid, correct?"
Mal nodded. 'Likely', my ass. Wonder how much research HE did?
"Well once we get this baby loaded, we can zap the enemy at 200 yards. Ain't technology great?"
Mal's grin matched Michael's. "You said it, friend."
Mentally Mary nodded. I'm going to have to keep that horse around for a while...
"And what little toys did you bring?" Michael asked, referring to the multiply-pocketed harness Mal wore. Pointing to the device strapped around Mal's wrist, he went on, "That wouldn't happen to be a hand-held computer by any chance?"
Mal fiddled with the latch for a moment, then held up a palmtop with a coated wire leading from it to its pocket. "Naah. Just a tiny old entertainment center."
Michael looked down at him. Sure. "Games?"
Mal's smile never faltered. "Sure. Oh, and a few books, too."
A great sigh burst from Michael's lungs as he shook his head. "Oookay. Let's get some order around here then. We're all here to win, right?"
"Now, we know that the purpose here is to make sure that WE never lose a challenge. And to insure that we have two methods. The first is aggressive assaults on the other tribes, and the second is to work together like a well oiled machine."
"Why?" Mal asks.
Michael strode forward until he was towering over Mal. "In a perfect world - which this will be - we will arrive at the merger as a single, indivisible unit. Together the four of us will outnumber everybody else put together. Then, one be one, we'll take them each out until only we are left."
"And why should we listen to you, and why should we want you around at the end?"
"The person who is the 2nd last voted off will walk away with $10,000. The person voted off before him or her walks away with nothing. By co-operation we will win each challenge and thus the worst of us gets $10,000. The prize goes up from there."
"Yeah, yeah, we all got the same briefing. So why YOU?"
"Because I've been honest, and somebody has to do it. Why should we listen to you?"
Mal managed to keep from scratching his head. He's bigger than I am, AND he's actually VOLUNTEERING to be the obvious target? Thank you God! He smiles and shrugs as he answers: "No reason at all. Alright - you want to be leader? Sounds good to me."
Somehow Mary managed to keep the glee off her face and away from her tail (although the tip starts zipping back and forth). He'll make a perfect front! "I'll stand behind you. It's the least I can do after what I did to you. And I really, really am sorry!" And a little subtle behind the scenes prompting will make this pompous ass look like a domineering madman - making sure I'm a shoe in. I hope he thinks his $10,000 is worth it.
Crisply nodding, Norman stated his position: "I'm certainly glad this issue has been decided so quickly, and with so little dissent from the others. The centaur is right - we MUST work together and a proper chain of command is essential to effective organization. I'll follow you, sir."
The centaur smiled, but not for the reason you might think. Phase one complete he thought. First they get used to obeying me. Then, once we're the last four, they will automatically follow my not-so-safe orders and be transformed before they even realize what they're doing.
Mal looked around and then nodded. Let him hang himself. "Looks unanimous," and then he stepped into the middle of the other three and whispered as they leaned forward to hear him, Michael twisting at his waist to pay attention. Mal did something to his palmtop faster than the eye could follow, and the screen changed from games and books to a customized Linux environment. Then he continued in a whisper, "This thing really IS an entertainment center - I just have a broader definition than most. See, I brought some tools to hack into their system."
"And?" Michael whispered.
With the tip of her tail whipping back and forth even faster, Mary slotted Mal. There's more here than I thought - I'll have to keep him along.
Everybody leaned forward as Mal pressed some touch keys beneath the waterproof case and the small screen lit up.
"While we were in transit,the toy here was working. The wireless connection really doesn't have the bandwidth to do what I want, but I think I've got a complete map of the place." Some more touches and a map appeared, too small to really see.
"Anything else?" Michael asked. Oh, I DO like that. If he's gotten in, we can do all kinds of wonderful things. Sometimes I wish that apple and Linux hadn't crushed Microsoft that I could still do things like that.
More thoughts ran through Mal's mind. Now for the low-res map... If I play my cards right, they never need to know I OWN the entire network. "Just a little. Anyone want hardcopies? Yes? You got it." After checking to see that no cameramen were in position to see what was happening, Mal pressed another touch key and a five-inch-wide strip of paper started extruding itself out from the side of his machine. Within seconds four copies of the map were printed out and distributed to the four tribesmen.
Norman looked thoughtfully at his map. "Definitely thinking outside the box. You know, I really don't think the production company would appreciate this."
Mal shrugged. "They screened everything we brought in. If they didn't want it in here, they shouldn't have let it pass."
Norman nodded as Mal continued: "Anyway... Aside from the map, I could only get a few procedures. There's a hell of a lot of data in the system, and like I said, wireless bandwidth sucks. Couldn't find a damn thing on the challenges and contests; I'll keep looking. The map was actually easy to grab, looks like it was part of the software for the transportation system. Oh, and they've got some ice, but it's pretty obsolete stuff."
Time for more innocence Mary thought. "Ice?"
"Software protections, Miss Kitty."
Mary smiled, apparently at Mal's helpfulness. I already knew that dear. And you probably already have everything, don't you? At least the one cameraman I was able to purchase should allow me to frame you - you'd think that in this day and age he and his secret lover would know that turning off the lights wasn't enough to stop modern surveillance techniques. "I'll take your word for it." And then she blinked her large blue eyes and smiled at Mal. He could indeed be a useful tool.
Mal was not oblivious to Mary's reaction. Well, well. If I know social engineering - and I bloody well ought to, considering how much I've done myself - the kitty's a master. I wonder what her agenda is?
"Alright, check it out," Mal said, pointing out a spot on his copy of the map. "This is the whole dome. Along the edge here is a range of low mountains; beside it is a small arctic waste ending at a large body of water that reaches to the edge of the dome. There's caves within the mountains, and a manmade site near the foothills at the edge. A stream flows down from the mountains into the river, here. Bordering the mountains in from the edge of the dome there's farmlands that are outlined by the stream on one side and light forest on the other. The stream finally feeds into a river that cuts across the whole damn place. On the riverbank opposite the mountains there's two more man-made sites, and the rest looks to be savannah." Mal shook his head with a sardonic smile. "Guess they thought they'd make the African-American feel at home."
Interesting comment, Michael thought. I wonder if he's embarrassed about his origin, or maybe fearful of becoming something the savannah. Have to remember that. "Would you happen to have unearthed the locations of any of the transformative traps?"
Only all of them, but you don't need to know that yet. "Sorry - the transit map doesn't include that information." Mal frowned before continuing. "Which it really ought to, since you wouldn't want the backstage crew getting zapped by them. I'll bet the transit map only includes ACTIVE traps; since none are active yet, nothing shows up. I'll have to go back in for it later."
Mary immediately noticed the 'it'. Odd that he should refer to the traps as singular she wondered. Is there a master control that he's gotten into?
Oblivious Michael responded to Mal, "Hmm. Then why don't we set up camp along the shores of the river across from these two manmade sites." and he pointed at a section of the bank.
With what THAT water does? Christ, no! "You're thinking about water supply, right? But how do we know the river is safe?"&
Michael paused for a moment. So you do know that which suggests that my sources were correct. "You're right - we don't. In fact, we don't really know if ANY of the water is safe, do we?" Although we probably BOTH know that the stream is.
"That's right, but there's got to be SOME safe water in here SOMEWHERE. So how about where the stream joins the river? That way the woods are just across the stream and we've got two water sources nearby, so that if one has side-effects we go with the other."
"And we're on the border of most of the terrain types so we can relocate if the traps get too intense."
Malcolm pictured the topographic detailed display he'd gotten and memorized. And there's a perfect hill there too. "That's right. Maps, people - we don't want to wreck the pristine beauty of this place by littering, do we?" So saying, Mal collected all four printed maps and fed them to his palmtop, which clicketa-whirred them out of existence without complaint.
Michael raised his voice back to normal, "Well then, let's get going. And grab anything edible you see while we're traveling. If we eat now everything should be safely digested before the traps are enabled, which will make sure that there are no side effects. Now, who's got any wilderness survival skill?"
Norman was the only one to raise his hand. "I do, sir. Your orders?"
The centaur beamed. "Please, forage for us, won't you?"
"Of course." So saying, Norman went off ahead, collecting material from various plants and putting it into expandable containers from his pack.
Then Mal cheerily spoke up, "Well... looks like the game is afoot." I'll have to keep an eye on the horse's ass -- anyone who likes ordering people around THAT much could be a problem.
Mary watched Mal and secretly smiled. So what's behind that poker face, my big black cat-to-be? Could it be fear, hmmm? Fear of skill and competition? Well, a good weapon must be primed... She walked up beside Michael and grasped his arm, purposely keeping her claws sheathed, "Michael, I need to hold you - I don't like the woods. Will you protect me?" and then she blinked her deep blue eyes and let the depths look up into Michael's eyes.
Michael shook his head and blinked his eyes (which were watering) as he slung the large squirt gun - well, more of a rifle actually - so that its strap hung off of his shoulder.
Good, the pheromone in the perfume affects even him - his nose must be really sensitive to the little I have on.
"Uh yes, sure," and Michael smiled. I'll have to make sure that she gets voted off first once we're the last four; she's so cute that if she's in the final two she will definitely win. But for now at least I don't need to keep an eye on her. Damn allergies...
//The view shifts to a hand-held steady-cam which follows the Harlem tribe.//
Without speaking the four figures made their way out of the clearing and into the light forest. The trees grew taller and hid the sun the songs of birds faded to be replaced by the chitter of squirrels chipmunks and the hiss and rustle of leaves in the wind. After ten minutes or so the tribe could begin to hear the babble of a brook, and soon they could make out the glinter of light on water. Mal turned and the group walked for another four or five minutes until the ground began to dip and make its way down toward the stream. The trees grew denser, leaning over the water which was quieter now.
It was Mal who finally broke the silence. "We'll have to cross now. We should be able to make camp in the grasslands just to the other side of the stream."
"Good," Michael responded. "Mary and Norman, go and start gathering firewood. We need some tinder and branches. If you find any berries, pick some while they're still safe." Starting to open his metal case, he realized that Norman already had three cloth containers strapped around his shoulder. "Guess I don't need to supply any of my containers. Thanks Norman."
Norman just nodded. "Sir."
Michael almost frowned - I don't want this command bit to be that obvious quite yet. I wonder why he's going out of his way - unless he's figured out my game already? Nah, he couldn't of. But he does look familiar for some reason...
Mary let go her grasp which hadn't drawn blood, although the skin of Michael's arm was reddened from the force of her grip, and went off with Norman to gather wood. But first she turned to face Michael and then leapt up and kissed him on the cheek.
"What's that for?" Michael asked.
"For being such a help, and for your forgiveness." Mary looked up at him, half closing her eyes shyly. And to get you used to it so that when I start using my DRUGGED cosmetics, so you won't suspect a silly little thing. And then she scampered off with her metal watch flashing in a band of sunlight.
"And how about us Mike?" asked Mal.
"We shall gather larger branches for a shelter. It's probably easier that you look for them and hand them to me, and then I'll ferry them across the stream on my back."
"You know how to build a shelter?"
Michael lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "I've read, but I trust that one of the reason you brought that device was because it contains a survival guide - amongst other things."
Mal chuckled. "Well... yes." That's it, he's toast. Better make a backup plan just in case he doesn't take HIMSELF out playing figurehead. "And by the way, that stone around your neck - it wouldn't happen to be flint, would it?"
"Why ever would you ask such a question? Flint does no one any good at all without something like, say, iron horseshoes."
Mal chuckled. "I like the way you think, Mike."
I probably shouldn't have said that, but it's too late now. Maybe it'll make him underestimate me. He's definitely proved that he is too clever to be trusted with that flint bit - but unfortunately that toy of his makes him too valuable to get rid of quickly, no matter how dangerous he is.
//A number of camera cuts follow showing the various tribe members working, gathering food and firewood or shelter components.//
The next few hours went by quickly, and the opposite banks of the stream soon became nothing but mud-filled hoofprints (and Michael's legs became more mud than flesh and bone). The shelter consisted simply of two large supports leaning against each other and tied with a tough vine at the top to form an inverted V, and a third branch, just over four metres long and perpendicular to the other two, leaned against them and descended to the ground forming the main support. The rest of the shelter consisted of smaller branches topped with thin leaf covered branches, all of which leaned against the center pole. It wasn't completely waterproof but it would provide shelter and, given the artificialness of the environment, rain was not an immediate concern. There would be time for roof updates later. Mary and Norman had brought a fair amount of firewood, and a surprising amount of berries (and even a few raspberries) which they shared as they helped finish the construction. As Michael started the fire by twisting his upper body and raising his right fore-hoof and using his flint to get sparks from the iron, Normal used fist-sized rock to hammera last pole into the ground awaiting the tribal flag.
//Finally the camera cuts to focus on the tribe gathering together to talk.//
Michael was the first to speak: "I'll be glad when I get these bloody things off"
For once Mary was actually curious. "Don't you need horseshoes?"
"On pavement I have rubber ones, but in here I really don't. Besides, once the transformations traps begin, they could be a hazard."
Mal pictured horseshoes nailed to a cheetah's paw and couldn't help but wince.
"These shoes are actually glued on with a long-chain molecule. I've got the solvent in a little bottle with me but I can get rid of them latt...nah, better do it now." Michael started pulling out box after box, each nestled inside the other, along with various flattened plastic objects.
"So what else do you have in your box of wonders?" Mal asked. Manipulators would like to know.
Whilst shaking his left-front leg to get the horseshoe off, Michael answered, "I guess this is as good a time as any to be completely open about this..."
In your dreams, Mary thought.
And she wasn't alone as Mal thought, Fat chance.
Knowing that nobody else would give a full answer, Michael continued: "You've seen the bigger objects, otherwise there are a few pairs of transparent gloves for handling dangerous objects, another three containers, four squeezable containers, a long barbecue clasper
By now the others had crowded around, but made room when the first horseshoe thudded to the ground and Michael started on the next. Lowering his voice he whispered to Mal, "So what else can your little toy do?"
"Nothing really. It just has survival resources and sophisticated acquisition tools."
"And what else? Michael asked."
"Absolutely nothing, although there are a lot of acquisition tools as I mentioned." I better give another tidbit. "Even through the wireless I should be able to acquire some video feed from the cameras in the other tribes..."
Michael and Norman smiled, and Mary just frowned, at least outwardly. Inwardly he thoughts were continuing their categorization. Mal goes last.
"...along with more technical information about the environment, traps, etc."
"That's it, eh?"
"Other than some clothes, what else do I need other than my staff here since I have a bit of a limp." No sense mentioning its other properties: the TF nanobats, DNA sampler and memory for 12 victims' DNA, and, of course, transforming programming making use of the DNA in various amusing ways. "I figured everybody else would bring more mundane items." And what else do I need to bring, since I own pretty well EVERY cameraperson, regardless of what Mary thinks.
"And you Norman?"
Michael shook his last horseshoe off and started packing everything away in his padlocked box. "Mary?"
"I didn't really bring anything"
"Then what's in that cloth shoulderbag you have?" Michael asked.
"Nothing like your stuff - you're so clever! Just a notebook so I can keep my diary up to date, and a mirror and cosmetics so I can look good for the cameras. I just love my soft poofy fur!" And given the OTHER effects of those cosmetics, along with a little hypnotism, I have all of your tools too.
Michael and Norman rolled their eyes. Mal didn't as he had some ideas as to what was behind the cute and brainless exterior. I bet. The big question is what ELSE do those do?
"Survifurs! Glad to see you've settled in, and you've even got a fire going! That means that I don't need to offer to trade you these ACME matches, provided by the worlds largest manufacturer of explosives and anvils, ACME! Are you ready for the first tribal council?" Sly the Squirrel had returned. "Have you started plotting already?"
"Us?" Michael asked.
"Plot?" Mal echoed.
Norman remained silent and Mary looked up with her innocent eyes.
"Anyway, here's your flag, and here's a map showing where to go!"
Michael stepped away and pulled out a stake, sealed and locked his box, and locked everything including the squirt gun via a suspiciously convenient metal bound hole in the strap which was apparently riveted to the body of the weapon. "No sense letting the others in on our secrets."
"Well, then put up your flag and then make your way to Tribal Council. And don't forget that we're all here to have fun!"
Simultaneously all Harlem members thought to themselves: NO.
"I'll see you soon at the first Tribal Council!"
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