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The Princess and The (Fraud) Squad


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#126 Elihu

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 05:10 PM

'I Must Not Be Disturbed During The Ritual,' said Kytheres. 'For The Dark Magic To Reach Its Full Potency I Must First Seclude Myself In An Inner Sanctum While Reading Harry Potter Books And Playing Dungeons And Dragons.'

'My God, the stories were true!' said Halifax. 'I'm pulling my kid out of that liberal state school first thing tomorrow! If we survive! To procreate! And travel through time! I don't know where I'm going with this!'

'I Will Now Consult My Necronimicon,' said Kytheres, hauling out a small cassette that appeared to be covered in human skin.

'It's smaller than the one I checked out of that library and never returned and also never made through the prologue,' said Ma'Skd. 'Book of the dead? More like book of the nerds! Hah! AmIright?'

'This Is My Travel Edition,' said Kytheres. 'Unauthorised Translation. Abridged Audiobook.'

'Read by Tony Robinson,' said Ma'Skd, looking at the front cover. 'Really? Tony Robinson?'

'He Is The Authentic Voice Of Evil,' said Kytheres.


#127 Elihu

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 11:00 AM

"Team Evil!" cried President Skinflint from the bridge of his flagship, "You're surrounded! Come out with your hands up!"

"How did you know it was us?" said Halifax.

"We're flying the Team Evil flag," said Ma'Skd. "It's a crossbones. Over a kitten. Wearing a lime as an adorable hat."

"Ah, the Jolly Dave," said Halifax, knowledgeably.

"It's over, Skinflint!" cried the Princess. "Already your alliance is disintegrating around you!"

President Skinflint turned to see the chief of the Warriorians holding the head of the Diplomacrons in an armlock.

"Stop. Hitting. Yourself!" the Warriorian leader said, repeatedly punching the man in the face with the man's own right hand.

"My right hand has betrayed me!" cried the Diplomacron. "Left hand! Sue right hand immediately!"

"It matters not," said President Skinflint, turning away in disgust. "This alliance only need hold together long enough for me to conquer the entire world and to be crowned as supreme overlord of Earth. I have a 10-point plan! For healthy eating."


#128 Elihu

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 12:10 AM

'I surrender!' said Ma'Skd. 'Take me as your prisoner of war!'

He leaned over to Halifax.

'I'm going to take them down from the inside!' he whispered, 'Just like Lennon did with the Beatles!'

'It's a one-way suicide mission!' said Halifax. 'So I'm glad it's you going and not me.'

'I'm going to use my assassin training,' said Ma'Skd. 'Let me explain it to you in a flashback-'

'I think we only have time for a ''previously on'',' said Halifax, eyeing the approaching enemy fleet.

Previously, on Ma'Skd...

#129 Elihu

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 07:34 PM

'The prisoner is ready for you, sir,' said the jailer.

'That's President Skinflint to you, Johnny Peasant,' said the President, sweeping into the brig.

'Thank you for remembering my name, sir!' said the jailer, proudly.

'Now, Ma'Skd, we are not so different, you and I,' said the president, addressing the shadowy figure in the corner. 'Let's share our plans. I want to take over the world and rule it as a democracy! What do you want?'

He prodded the prone figure.

'Your courage is admirable,' he said. 'Fortunately, we have ways of making you talk. Jailer! Bring the free minutes contract! I warn you, Ma'Skd. It's a two-year contract. With no upgrade!'

'Actually I escaped two minutes ago,' came a voice from the boards above the president's head. 'How'd you like my decoy?'

The president prodded the shadowy figure, which turned out to be a pillow with a joke nose and pair of glasses on it.

'Jailer!' He cried. 'You've arrested the wrong person!'



#130 Elihu

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 12:50 PM

"My god," said the jailer, "the prisoner is full of goose feathers!"

"This is even trickier than that time we imprisoned Run DMC!" cried President Skinflint.

"I have to admit that was tricky," said the jailer, "tricky, tricky, tricky, tricky."

...

Ma'Skd stealthily scaled the rigging into the crow's nest. From his cloak, he pulled out a briefcase marked "Special Assassins Sniper Crossbow Briefcase. Assassins Only. If Found: You're Already Dead."

"That's right," he said to the world in general. "I was carrying this with me the whole time."

...

"Captain, ram that ship up ahead!" said Halifax.

"I don't know how to do that or who I am anymore!" said the Captain, cheerfully.

"Ok, Ike," said Halifax. "It's up to us to delay that fleet until Kytheres has summoned his army. It's time to get angry. I'm talking last season of Lost angry."

"Umlaut!"

Ike brought out a large thin cardboard box.

"A flatpack box?" said Halifax, doubtfully.

"Umlaut," said Ike. "Umlaut umlaut umlaut."

"What do you mean you've been carrying it with you the whole time?"


#131 Elihu

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 01:05 PM

"First Mate," said President Skinflint, "transcribe the following historic speech down in flag language so that it may be broadcast to the fleet."

"Aye, aye, sir. Will I be needing the flags for 'mixed metaphor'?

"Yes," said President Skinflint. "Yes you will."

He stood on the foredeck. He cleared his throat.

"Speech begins. Men of the battlefleet. Today we stand upon the cusp of victory,"


----

Up in the crow's nest, Ma'Skd unpacked the sniper rifle with practiced, mechanical movements.


----

"...we stand, verily, upon the dawn of a new age, that drives upon the shore of tomorrow, and flies over the sands of time."


----

Back on the Raggamuffin, Ike began to assemble the flat-pack furniture.


---

"Like many before me, I am a simple working man with a vision. A vision of a better today, that will become a better tomorrow - today."


----

Ma'Skd hoisted the crossbow onto its tripod.


----

"A vision in which all men are free to do what they want, and indeed a select number of women too, within reasonable limits."


----

Ike reached for an allen key.


----

"A vision in which my personal approval ratings will never drop below eighty-five per cent."


----

Ma'Skd squinted through the crowbow's sight, aiming it square at Skinflint.


----

"A vision in which all peoples are united under me..."


----

Ike stood back and looked at the chest of drawers.


----

"End speech."


#132 Elihu

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 01:16 PM

Ma'Skd squeezed the trigger.

There was a flash of gunpowder.

Skinflint cried out.

----


"Well, it's a good chest of drawers, Ike," admitted Halifax. "But I don't see how it's going to get you into a berserker rage."

----

"I... I'm fine!" said Skinflint, incredulously. "But I felt something hit me... I was shot! I was shot ... in the pocket?"

He grabbed at his pocket. He felt the tug of a grappling line.

"Oh no," he said.

----

Ike looked at the chest of drawers.

He looked at Halifax.

He held up a small screw.

The last screw.

The screw that's always left over.

The vital screw that you should have screwed into place fourteen steps ago and which will now forever be unscrewed, mocking you at every turn, b
ecause you will never, ever throw it away.

The supporting screw that should be holding it all together.

Beads of sweat broke out on Ike's forehead.

He compulsively began to gnaw the edge of the chest of drawers.

"Er," said Halifax to the assembled crew. "I'd stand back, if I were you."

----

Ma'Skd squeezed the trigger again.

The mini grappling cable snapped back into the crossbow, pulling the Macguffin out of the president's pocket, propelling it a hundred and twenty feet into the air and straight into the hands of the assassin.

"Oh yeah," he said. "You've just been Evilled-no wait, that's a terrible taunt. Give me a minute! I'll come up with something way better!"


#133 Elihu

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 12:39 PM

Ike jumped out of the boat and charged over the water, thumping the laws of physics in the unmentionables on the way past.

He picked up on of the nearest ships and began to use it as a club, cutting a swathe through the enemy fleet.

"Gosh," said the Captain, watching from the stern deck. "He's really rather worked up. Don't you think you should talk to him?"

"Can't talk," said Halifax, "I'm too busy stuffing myself into this cannon. Be a pal and fire me at the nearest ship."

"Why don't you take the rowboat?" said the Captain.

"Good idea," said Halifax. "Load that in with me. It'll give me something to hit the enemy with."

#134 Elihu

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 01:05 PM

"Sir, our ships are under attack by three people!" said a Diplomacron messenger. "Our lines are breaking!"

"Fear not, for our Warriorian allies will reinforce your positions," said President Skinflint. "I assure you, they are the fiercest warriors in all the land!"

"I hear and obey, O sire," said the Warriorian chief.

He leaned over the side of the ship to address his comrades.

"Warriorians! Attack the Diplomacrons! Wipe their scourge from the earth! Drink from their skulls!"

"No, no, no," said President Skinflint. "I want you to defend the Diplomacrons!"

"De-fend?" said the Warriorian chief. "I do not understand this word. Warriorian culture based on three simple precepts. Attack. Preventive attack. Adulation of musical theatre."

"Don't attack!" said President Skinflint.

"You want preventive attack?"

"Stop fighting!"

"You want us to keep it down a bit? You worried neighours call police?"

President Skinflint pointed a finger at his fleet. It was shaking with rage.

"You imbeciles!" he said. "Stop. Attacking. My. Fleet!"

"Ahhhh...." said the Warriorian chief, finally understanding. "You mean, you want us lay ambush for future attack!"

"Right! Exactly!" said President Skinflint.

"Sir!" cried a Warriorian captain to his chief. "We have eliminated the Diplomacron menace once and for all! We have sunk their ships! In distant lands, our hordes of warriors have already overrun their capitals and pillaged their treasures!"

The Warriorian chief pushed the Diplomacron messenger overboard.

"Haha!" he cried, "Warriorian Victor!"

And then Halifax, flying at two hundred and fifty miles an hour, headbutted him in the chest.

#135 Elihu

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 12:44 PM

"It's all over, Skinflint!" cried Ma'Skd, leaping down to the deck below to join Halifax. "You're totally surrounded by Team Evil! Take a seat and get comfortable. We're about to monologue about our evil plan for the next fifteen to twenty minutes. When I was but a young boy-"

"Not so fast, Team Evil!" said President Skinflint. "Have you forgotten about my... super big battlefleet?"

"We're just happy to be here!" said one of the Warriorian admirals, giving Team Evil a friendly wave.

"Oh, yeah?" said Halifax. "Well we have just one thing to say to you-"

"Invincible undead naval attack!" said Ma'Skd.

#136 Elihu

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 12:54 PM

Throw your dictionary away immediately, readers, because this battle instantly rendered all superlatives meaningless.

The battle lasted four months. Uninterrupted. After it finished, many leading naval historians didn't speak, eat or do any meaningful naval historianism for two to three years afterwards. They just stood there with their mouths open going aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

There was a bit with a princess on a dragon, some of them later said, that was just the best thing ever. And they shook their heads, like it was a dream.

I mean, obviously we can't show you the battle. This is public-broadcast writing here. There's no budget. We don't have the thesauruses.

But, I mean, good grief.

#137 Elihu

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 01:10 PM

"Ok, crew, these last four months have turned us all into rough, tough killing machines," said Halifax, addressing the crew of the Ragammuffin. "And that's just the food on this ship! Hahah! AmIrite?"

There were groans from the assembled army of undead and management executives.

Halifax crossed off "morale boosting joke" from the agenda.

"Speech commences. Men and women of the Battlefleet 'Team Evil Is Great And Ma'Skd Is The Best Forever', you've made us proud," said Ma'Skd.

"I Would Like To Call For Us To Re-vote On The Name," said Kytheres, raising a hand.

"Overuled," said Ma'Skd. "Anyway, I'd like to think we've made heroes out of many of you and of course human shields out of the many remaining people who weren't quite good enough to be heroes."

"Thank ye sir, it's an honour to serve!" said one of the men, as he was hoisted onto the side of the ship.

"Basically, everyone's been pulling their weight," said Ma'Skd. "Well, except you, Captain. You've decided you're a conscientious objector."

"I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings." said the Captain.

"Here's Plan A," said Halifax. "We're going to board Skinflint's flagship from four different directions, fight our way to the bridge and capture Skinflint. That's also Plans B, C and D and Contingency Plan Omega. Basically, do the thing I just said. I didn't have time to think anything else up. I was too busy writing my book. It's a scorching four-part romance novel set in the stone age but with time travel and vampires."

"Umlaut? Umlaut! Umlaut!"

"Well I'm going to publish my draft before yours, Ike!" snapped Halifax. "I've found a publisher whose cousin was very interested in my draft proposal when I cornered him in that train!"

"Brains?" said one of the undead warriors, raising his hand in another hand.

"Please save your questions until the end of the briefing, Warchief zombie Frank," said Ma'Skd.

"That concludes the briefing," said Halifax.


#138 Elihu

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 12:59 PM

Two hours of awesome but budget-stretching fighting later.

"It's over, Skinflint!" said Ma'Skd. "Again! But this time for real! This is really the end for you and basically there's no going back."

"I'll never surrender," said President Skinflint. "I would rather die! That's the sort of thing a brave person would say! A brave person like you - or those people get into fights on the Internet. Luckily for you, I'm a total wimp. I surrender!"

Team Evil cheered heartily.

"Tell your men to throw down their arms," said Halifax.

"The last of my Warriorian allies deserted me a month ago to crash a birthday party they read about on Facebook," said President Skinflint. "For the last four weeks you've been fighting cardboard cut-outs of me that were left over from when I campaigned for office. The casualty rate has been... appalling."

"That explains why every single one of the men I've killed has had both thumbs up and a trustworthy smile!" said Halifax, excitedly.

"Enough of this," said the Princess. "Team Evil. You have the Macguffin of Quicksaving. Our enemies are crushed! Restore my kingdom!"

#139 Elihu

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 12:48 PM

Ma'Skd drew the MacGuffin of Quicksaving from his cloak.

"Drawn from the Sword of A Thousand Monarchs!" said one of the assembled army. "OoooooOOOOOooooO!"

"Oh shut up Phil, we know," said one of the others.

Ma'Skd tossed the thing up in the air and caught it in the other hand.

"How does this thing work?" he asked.

"The MacGuffin will restore Moolah as it was," said the Princess, "Yet it also gives the wielder the power to change the course of time and events because it was wrought from the blood of a thousand sandstorms or something like that!"

"Neat," said Ma'Skd, impressed.

"If you press the blue button, you will restore Moolah with me as the president of an elected government," said President Skinflint. "I pledge to rule with justice and fairness. There will be free milk in schools. From free cows!"

"But Will There Be Federally Mandated Storytime?" asked Kytheres, anxiously.

"I pledge that schoolchildren will be read stories about dinosaur fighter pilots every day," said Skinflint. "By Morgan Freeman."

"Don't listen to his siren promises!" cried the Princess. "If you press the red button, you will restore Moolah with me as empress. I pledge to rule with tyranny and repression and I will promote my dragon to chief of staff and I'll rule however I want to because I'll be the queen forever dammit."

"Hmmm, you both make compelling arguments," said Ma'Skd. "But I think it's clear which way we have to go."

He nodded at Team Evil.

Team Evil nodded back.

"We Are Agreed," said Kytheres.

"Umlaut," punctuated Ike.

"Go for it, man!" cried Halifax.



"Ok," said Ma'Skd. He raised a gloved hand. "Here we go."

"OooooOOOOO-argh!"


#140 Elihu

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 12:10 PM

Two weeks later...

The Great Hall of Moolah was filled with light and laughing children. Crowds of people cheered the great heroes Ma'Skd, Halifax, Krythes and Ike as they lined up to receive their golden medals from President Skinflint and the Princess.

Halifax leaned in to Ma'Skd as the medal was pinned to his chest.

'I still can't believe you pressed the wrong button,' he hissed.

'It's not my fault!' whispered Ma'Skd. 'I was going to press the red button but then Ike sneezed and nudged me and I accidentally pressed both buttons at once!'

'Umlaut...' The berserker warrior hung his head in shame.

'Halifax,' said Kytheres, 'What Exactly Is A 'Constitutional Monarchy?' '

'I don't know,' said Halifax, as the group turned to face the cheering crowds. 'But the Princess and the President don't look very happy about it.'

Both the figures on the podium had fixed smiles and were staring furiously into the middle distance. One of the Princess' eyes was twitching violently.

'Speech!' cried the assembled crowds of merry-makers. 'Speech!'

'People of Moolah!' cried Ma'Skd. 'Hear me! Trumpeters, cease your trumpeting of the theme from Rocky 1! At best, we deserve only the themes from inferior sequels Rockys 2, 3 and 4, which while superficially the same had subtle differences in pitch and timbre!'

The trumpeters stopped playing with an obligatory musical harrumph.

'It's all gone wrong again,' said Ma'Skd, helplessly. 'We failed to restore the kingdom the way it should be run! As a dictatorship ruled by a tyrannical monster!'

'But dat wub be terrybul, Mister Ma'Skd,' said a small child.

'Have that adorable child put to death immediately!' snapped the Princess. Her brow creased into a frown. 'Someone check the Constitution and see if that's the kind of thing we're still allowed to do.'

'You see?' said Ma'Skd, sadly.

But the crowd cheered them off the stage anyway. Team Evil gathered morosely around the canapé table.

"Even this gold medal is Fair Trade," said Halifax, glumly.

'What are supposed to do now?' said Ma'Skd, spearing a prawn roll with his wrist crossbow. 'We can't go back to Brialbia. We'll be the laughing stock of the guild.'

'What About That Frost Giant Who Appeared After We Used The MacGuffin?' asked Kytheres, hopefully. 'He Was Talking About Sleighing All The Children Of The World In A Single Night."

"That was Santa Claus," said Ma'Skd. "He said we had liberated him from his magical ice prison and we had saved Christmas for little children and big children everywhere. And then he said he would go out into the world to spread peace and good will. And then he slapped his belly and laughed. And then he summoned his fricking enchanted flying reindeer and rode off across a night filled with twinkling stars."

"Umlaut!" said Ike, enthusiastically, holding up a candy cane.

"Yes, yes and he gave us all candy canes," said Ma'Skd. "They were delicious."

"Our Shame Is Complete," said Kytheres, hanging his head.


#141 Elihu

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 01:20 PM

"Ok, we're busting out of here," said Ma'Skd. "And in true Team Evil spirit we're doing it in the most evil way possible! We're stealing this bag!"

"It's a courtesy goody bag," said President Skinflint. "It's filled with goodies."

"And kidnapping this person!" said Halifax.

"That's the head of the secret police, tax inspections and kitten-throwing," said the Princess. "Give him back! I need him to rule! Badly!"

"It's not working!" cried Ma'Skd. "We just can't do anything wrong!"

"Thank you, Team Evil," said an old bearded man. "You have restored peace and justice to my kingdom. Thank you. Thank you for bringing me back from the dead. Thank you for saving my realm."

"Can We Have A Do-Over?" asked Kytheres.

"It's King Wonga!" gasped the crowd. "Long live the King! Long live the King!"

Team Evil exchanged panicked looks.


#142 Elihu

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 01:28 PM

Outside the Great Hall of Moolah. Three AM.

Team Evil ran screaming into the Great Street of Moolah, bolting the Great Doors of Moolah shut behind them.

"Wait!" cried a kindly, soothing voice from inside the hall - the sort of voice that belongs to a kindly old grandfather with a white beard, "I haven't given you your Nobel Peace Prizes yet! There's also a cash reward! Of hugs!"

The figures yelped hysterically and bolted for the docks.


#143 Elihu

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 02:51 PM

"Cast off!" cried Mas'Kd, as the dastardly team leaped back on board the Ragamuffin. "Weigh anchor!"

"It's about four hundred pounds," said the Captain, cheerfully.

"Oh for God's sake," cried Ma'Skd. "Hard a port!"

"Countermand that order!" cried the Captain. "I'll be the one ordering the drinks around here!"

The Ragamuffin limped out of port, leaving the Great Walls of Moolah in the distance.

Team Evil gathered morosely on the bridge.

The sea wind blew across the gentle waves, which foamed in the ship’s wake and glinted with the first light of an early dawn.

"Well?" said Ma'Skd. "Where to now?"

There was a faint mewing from the helm.

"Umlaut?"

They turned to see a black cat, balancing uneasily on the wheel.

First Mate Paws McGee looked at the four figures standing before it.

"Miaow?" it said.

And then it was gone, scuttling away, back into the hold of the ship, or up into the rigging, hunting mice or planning plans or finding that long-promised, well-deserved ball of string.

Ike caught the wheel as the ship began to turn gently in the wind.

"Umlaut," he said, firmly.

"He's right," said Halifax, holding on to another spoke. "We can't go back."

"The Only Way Is Forward," said Kytheres, reaching out and holding one of the other spokes, "The Plan Continues!”

“We will find the future! And assassinate it!” cried Ma’Skd, grabbing the wheel with both hands. “Team Evil on three! One! Two! Three! Team Evil!

Team Evil!” cheered the rest of the dastardly, no-good figures on the deck, standing tall in the light of a new day.

The ship headed for the horizon and the breaking dawn, sails unfurled.

“Of course at some point some of us are going to have to let go of this wheel,” said Ma’Skd.







The End



#144 Elihu

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 02:51 PM

Postscript




In 1421, a team of evil – but incompetent masterminds were sent to prison for a crime they did not commit, though frankly they really wanted to commit it and in fact would have done so had they been given the chance but someone else got there first.


These men subsequently escaped were released on bail from a maximum security prison into the Kingdom of Moolah, which they accidentally destroyed in a freak voice-recognition accident, but later restored as a Constitutional Monarchy, in a freak button-pushing accident.


Today, still wanted by the government, which wants to honour them with Nobel Peace Prizes, they survive as soldiers of fortune.


If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire…




TEAM EVIL