The action takes place almost exclusively in Reality Space.
[A futuristic but minimalist room. There are six seats, each with a Reality Space helmet attached. The chairs are set out in three pairs, each pair sitting back-to-back. One by one, LEX, AMBER, TRUDY, SALENE, PRIDE & JAY enter through a door at one end of the room. We do not see their faces, as they are all out-of-shot. They make their way to the chairs, sit and put their Reality Space helmets on. JAY sits on the chair back-to-back with AMBER, LEX sits back-to-back with SALENE and PRIDE sits back-to-back with TRUDY. The voice of RAM speaks the following all throughout this process:]
Ram: Subjects, you have been chosen to take part in a little experiment I like to call “The Three Tenets of Tribeworld”. Catchy title, don’t ya think? The experiment takes the form of my new interactive computer game system, which will test your wit and intellect. Not to mention sanity. I know it sounds scary, but then again, it wouldn’t be fun if it wasn’t scary, right? [Chuckles to himself.] C’mon now, don’t dawdle. I’m too excited by my latest project for you guys to hang around. Oh and by the way, no food or drink is allowed to be taken into the playing area. While you guys are getting yourself organised and strapped in, how about I tell you all how this experiment works? Then again, I was going to explain it to you anyway, so why am I asking you? [Chuckles to himself.]
In three pairs, you will each complete some little challenges. Keep an eye out for an object you’ll collect during your adventure, it’s related to the lesson you’ll learn. Oh, and there’s also a Christmassy theme. It wasn’t my idea, then again my little friend told me to put it in, and who am I to argue with an intelligent being like him? Or her? Or it? I forget.
I know you’re all eager to begin, so let’s get started. Bear with me, this won’t hurt a bit. At least, I don’t think it will. Have fun!
[The ‘interactive computer game system’ is switched on. Some lights flash, some oscillating sounds come out, which seems to surround the six characters, and the whole room becomes enveloped in white light. Silence.]
Wow, that was awesome!
[JAY and AMBER enter through an opening into the Mall. The place is virtually empty, devoid of objects, except from a small monitor facing the couple and a huge snow globe, about human height, near the bottom of the stairs.]
Amber: Well, this looks familiar.
Jay: Yeah. [Looks around.] Bit empty though.
Amber: I know. Somebody really cleaned up the place. I’ve been wanting the other Mall Rats to do that for years.
Jay: [points to the monitor in front of them.] Let’s see what it says on the monitor here.
[JAY and AMBER go to the monitor.]
Amber: [Reading:] ‘Make your way from one place to another. In the meantime, here’s something to think about: “Jay, Ram, Cloe be reformed to miser’s partner.”’ [To herself:] Jay, Ram, Cloe be reformed to miser’s partner? What does that mean? Is it supposed to be some kind of connection?
Jay: I dunno. But we should at least remember it. It may be important later.
Amber: Agreed. C’mon, let’s explore the Mall, find out what we’re supposed to do here.
[The couple leave the monitor.]
[LEX and SALENE enter through an opening into Ram’s Palace. A small monitor stands in front of the couple. There are four PC screens in the room in a line with a green button below each one.
Lex: Where the heck are we?
Salene: Looks like some kind of computer room or something.
Lex: No kidding. So what’re we supposed to do here?
Salene: Maybe that screen’ll tell us.
[They approach the monitor.]
[Reading:] ‘Make your way from one place to another. In the meantime, here’s something to think about: “Dee & Brady with tea round cuddly toy.”’
Salene: [Shakes her head.] That doesn’t make sense.
Lex: C’mon, let’s investigate this place.
[The couple leave the monitor.]
[PRIDE & TRUDY enter through an opening into the Eco Tribe camp. There is snow on the ground. There is a wooden sign a little distance in front of them.]
Pride: Hey, waddya know? We get to play a game at my old roost.
Trudy: [Shudders.] Just as well I put my thick jacket on today. It’s freezing out here.
Pride: I guess it’s amazing what Reality Space can do, huh?
Trudy: I hope there’s a roast going on somewhere. I’m a little hungry.
Pride: You shoulda thought of that before we came here, shouldn’t you?
Trudy: I know. Still.
[They approach the wooden sign.]
[Reading:] ‘Make your way from one place to another. In the meantime, here’s something to think about: “Swap Lottie’s Em for Xmas plant.”’
Pride: Wow. A cryptic clue as well as an educational challenge.
Trudy: So what’re we supposed to do here?
Pride: I dunno. Let’s just walk around and see what’s here.
[The couple leave the signpost. Just then, something scuttles across behind them, unbeknownst to the couple. It is fast and animalistic in nature.]
Scene 5 - Mall, bottom floor 1
[JAY meets AMBER at the bottom of the stairs.]
Jay: I’ve searched my half.
Amber: And did you find anything?
Jay: Nope, it’s just completely bare. You?
Amber: Kinda. [Draws JAY’s attention to the large snow globe behind her.] Not bad, huh?
Jay: What is it?
Amber: Isn’t it obvious? It looks like a giant snow globe. Look, you can see a christmas tree and a couple of reindeer inside.
Jay: [Looks inside the snow globe.] Cool. There’s some mistletoe in there as well. But what’s it doing here?
Amber: Who knows? Could be important, thought, for whatever it is we’re supposed to do here.
Jay: Perhaps. Let’s investigate upstairs.
[JAY & AMBER walk up the stairs.]
Scene 6 - Eco Tribe camp
[PRIDE & TRUDY are walking along the Eco Tribe camp. The place is empty except for wooden houses and a campfire.]
Pride: Man, this place is dead. I hope nothing’s happened to the people here.
Trudy: It’s only Reality Space, Pride.
Pride: I know that, it’s just, it’s weird seeing my old home empty, like it’s been abandoned. I don’t even know what our task is.
Trudy: Maybe we should keep walking. Something’ll bound to turn up.
[Just then, something scuttles across, exactly as before only closer behind them. TRUDY stops and looks behind her.]
Trudy: Did you hear that?
Pride: No. What did you hear?
Trudy: I dunno. Like someone’s following us.
Pride: [Looks around.] There’s no-one following us. If there was, I’d be onto them faster than you could think.
Trudy: I just hope you’re right, Pride. I really do.
[They continue walking. They reach a small wooden sign before the entrance to a snowed-over woodland area.]
Trudy: [Reads:] ‘Keep walking, the time will come’.
Pride: Well at least we’re going the right direction.
[The begin walking through the woodland section.]
Scene 7 - Mall, top floor 1
[JAY & AMBER reconvene at the top of the stairs.]
[JAY shakes his head.]
This is so weird. It’s like some removal men came along and completely gutted the place.
Jay: I know. And with none of the other Mall Rats around, it’s starting to get a little creepy round here.
Amber: Yeah. Sad, really.
Jay: [Points to a room opposite the railings at the top of the stairs.] Have we had a look in there?
Amber: I don’t think so.
[JAY walks towards the room and enters it, AMBER following behind. There is a hole in the wall, more than human height from the floor. An arrow on the wall points towards the hole with a sign beside it.]
Jay: [Reads the sign:] ‘This way - and step on it!’
Amber: I didn’t know there was a time limit to this task.
Jay: The hole’s too high for us to crawl through. We’d have to stand on something just to reach it.
Amber: Wait a second. Maybe that’s what the snow globe’s down there for. To carry it up and stand on it so we can go on to the next bit.
Jay: Yeah, but that would mean bringing the snow globe all the way here. Up the steps.
Amber: What, you’re not saying you’re not strong enough, are you? A big strapping guy like you.
Jay: Listen, I can carry a heavy object as well the next guy.
Amber: Well, there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?
[AMBER starts to walk down the stairs. JAY follows her.]
Scene 8 - Ram’s Palace 1
[SALENE reaches the four PC monitors and stares at them while LEX walks to the opposite end of the room.]
Lex: I don’t get it. What’re we meant to be doing here?
Salene: You keep asking me, Lex, and I keep telling you: we’re supposed to be solving some kind of puzzle.
Lex: Don’t tell me this is gonna be one of those brainiac-type missions. That’s totally not my style.
[LEX reaches the end of the room. There is a closed door on the wall and a notice above it. He tries to open the door but is unable to.]
The door’s locked. [Looks up.] There’s a sign up there.
Salene: What does it say?
[LEX looks straight at SALENE. She looks back at him.]
Sorry. [Walks to where the door and notice is. Reads:] ‘Find the stranger.’
Lex: ‘Find the stranger’? There’s no strangers here. Unless they’re hiding behind the machinery. Then that would be a proper mission, not some geeky puzzle-solving fest.
Salene: Maybe it’s got something to do with those screens over there. [Points to the four PC monitors.]
[They walk over to the PC screens.]
Scene 9 - Mall, bottom floor 2
[JAY & AMBER reach the snow globe at the bottom of the stairs.]
Jay: Looks like this’ll be a two-man job.
Amber: Don’t you mean a one-man-one-woman job?
Jay: Yeah, whatever.
[JAY grabs the bottom of one end of the snow globe, AMBER grabs the bottom of the other end.]
Jay: You ready?
Amber: I’m ready.
Jay: After three. One, two…
[They lift the snow globe up. It’s not terribly heavy.]
Let’s get this thing up these stairs.
[They begin carrying the snow globe up the first set of stairs.]
Scene 10 - Woodland 1
[TRUDY and PRIDE walk through the woodland area. At this point, sounds of rustling in the bushes/trees and faint, high-pitched voices start occurring within ear-shot.]
Trudy: [Getting increasingly uptight.] Can you hear that?
Pride: [Listening out.] Maybe you?re right. I think there are people following us.
Trudy: People? Don’t frighten me like that, Pride.
Pride: Calm down, Trudy. It’s probably nothing.
Trudy: Easy for you to say. I’m not trained in martial arts or any of that stuff.
Pride: Okay, fine. But I think we should stick together. Just on case.
[They walk on closer together. The rustling, movements and voices continue and seem to become more frequent.]
Trudy: I’m glad Brady isn’t here to go through all this. As if he hasn’t been traumatised already by the Chosen and the Technos and -
Pride: [Stops.] Look, there’s no point panicking about these things roaming about the place. Everything’s going to be fine, okay?
Trudy: [Takes a deep breath.] Okay.
[They continue walking.]
It’s just that I’m afraid that something’s gonna jump right out in front of us and -
[Suddenly, an elf-like creature jumps out in front of the pair, letting out a strange guttural calling sound. PRIDE immediately gives it a swift punch and a kick and the elf falls immediately to the ground. TRUDY gathers her wits from the fright as it lays motionless on the floor.]
Scene 11 - Mall, half-way up the stairs 1
[JAY and AMBER reach the first flight of stairs. They put the snow globe down.]
Amber: [Catching her breath.] Boy, this is hard work!
Jay: [Catching his breath.] I’ve had worse jobs. Like setting up the Reality Space system.
Amber: Or getting Lex to wash his clothes.
Jay: Heh. At least this makes a change from being stuck in a room with wires and computers everywhere.
Amber: Well, we kind of are here as well, if you think about it.
Jay: I know, but at least I get to do stuff with my girlfriend and not with Ram.
Amber: Aw, you charmer you.
[They smile at each other.]
Scene 12 - Ram’s Palace 2
[LEX & SALENE reach the four PC monitors. There is a person’s name on each of the screens.]
Lex: So, what now?
Salene: Well, the sign says, ‘find the stranger’, maybe this is it. There’s four names here and maybe we need to work out what the odd-one-out is.
Lex: Doesn’t sound too difficult. What’re the names?
Salene: [Reading from the monitors, left to right:] ‘Bob’, ‘Ebenezer’, ‘Carol’ and ‘Belle’.
[They think for a moment.]
Lex: Well, we had Bob the dog for a while. We’ve never had a Mall Rat called any of the others, so the odd-one-out must be Bob.
Salene: I dunno. It seems more complicated than that.
Lex: What d’you mean? Seems simple enough to me.
[LEX goes to the monitor to the far Left and presses the green button. As soon as he presses it, he gets an electric shock.]
Aah! Stupid thing!
Salene: Well, that’s obviously not the right answer.
Lex: This is a waste of time. If we don’t get an answer soon I’m gonna kick that door down and to hell with the mission.
[LEX paces towards the door at the end of the room.]
Salene: Wait, Lex! Wait a second.
I’ve heard of these names before. I remember reading a book at school about a mean and nasty old man from olden times, who was taught a lesson by some ghosts. There was someone called Ebenezer in it, there was someone called Bob in it too. Bob Cratchitt. And there might have been a character called Belle. So the odd-one-out must be Carol, because that was the name of the book, ‘A Christmas Carol’ and the others were names of characters in the book.
Lex: Then what’re you waiting for? Press the button saying, ‘Carol’ and let’s get going.
[SALENE goes up to monitor second from the right and presses the green button. After a moment, the door at the end of the room opens.]
[LEX goes through the door, followed by SALENE.]
Scene 13 - Woodland 2
[PRIDE & TRUDY stand by the unconscious elf.]
Pride: You okay, Trudy?
Trudy: [Catching her breath.] Yeah, I’m okay. At least I will be, eventually.
Pride: That was some surprise attack. I never saw him coming. They’re pretty sneaky, these creatures.
Trudy: Yeah, well let’s go before we get attacked again, for god’s sake.
Pride: Wait a second.
Pride: There’s a note attached to that creature.
[PRIDE kneels down and reads out a label attached to the elf’s tunic.]
[Reads:] ‘Show no fear, I’m not here.’
[They hear some more rustling and quiet, high-pitched voices. TRUDY looks around her.]
Trudy: We’d better get moving. Right now. I think they’re closing in on us.
[PRIDE stands back up.]
Pride: ‘Show no fear…’ I see.
Trudy: You see what? What do you see?!
Pride: If we don’t show that we’re afraid, the creatures will ignore us. Simple. Trudy: Easy for you to say. You’re never afraid. Ever. What about me?
Pride: You just have to learn to take the fear and translate it into something positive. Like strength or assertiveness. That’s how I conquer my fears.
Trudy: Well, we weren’t all brought up by nature, Pride.
Pride: [Sighs.] C’mon, let’s keep walking.
[PRIDE & TRUDY carry on walking. The noises continue.]
Scene 14 - Mall, half-way up the stairs 2
[JAY and AMBER look at both the left and right-hand steps that reach the top floor.]
Amber: So, which way should we go?
Jay: Does it matter?
Amber: I guess not.
Jay: Well let’s just pick one. The sooner we can get this thing up there, the sooner we can finish this task. So how about we go [points to the left-hand set of steps] that way?
[JAY & AMBER grab each end of the snow globe as before.]
Jay: After three. One, two…
[They lift the snow globe and begin carrying it up the left-hand set of stairs.]
Scene 15 - Woodland 3
[PRIDE & TRUDY continue walking along the woodland area.]
Trudy: [Talking to herself.] Show no fear. Show no fear. Show no fear.
Pride: That’s it, keep telling yourself that and they’ll go away.
Trudy: I wish I’d never signed up to this stupid experiment. It’s just a way of freaking people out and turning them mad.
[Just then, another elf-like creature starts sneaking silently up on the couple.]
Pride: I wouldn’t be too harsh. It’s just a test, that’s all.
Trudy: Just a test? Are you kidding? Ram is using us as lab mice in some sick experiment of his. He’s warped! So I think you’ll find I have every reason to be…
[TRUDY suddenly realises that someone is right behind her. She stops, swings round and punches the elf right in the face. It falls immediately to the floor.]
Pride: Well, that’s one way of not showing any fear.
Trudy: I hate it when people sneak up on me like that!
Pride: Okay, let’s go.
[They continue walking.]
Scene 16 - Mall, half-way up the stairs 3
[JAY & AMBER are carrying the snow globe up the left-hand set of stairs.]
Amber: There must be… a better way… than this.
JAY: Don’t give up now.
Amber: I’m not. I’m just… saying.
[They almost reach the top.]
Amber: [Struggling.] Aah… I’m not gonna… hold on… For much longer!
Jay: Keep going Amber… we’re nearly there!
[They reach the top of the stairs. They put down the snow globe and rest for a bit.]
Man, that was tough!
Amber: You’re telling me. Why couldn’t’ve been a chair or something? We could’ve stepped on that and go through the hole in the wall.
Jay: Ram has a way of making it difficult for his subjects. It’s like he enjoys it.
Amber: At the expense of others? Well good for him[!]
Jay: C’mon, we need to move this thing under the hole so we can get to the next part.
[AMBER agrees. They take hold of either end of the snow globe.]
[They lift the globe and carry it to the room where the hole is. They place the globe underneath it. JAY climbs up onto it and lifts himself up into the hole. AMBER does likewise.]
Amber: Thank god that’s over with!
Jay: Yeah, here’s hoping the next part has no heavy lifting.
[They crawl through the hole.]
Scene 17 - Woodland 4
[PRIDE & TRUDY continue walking.]
Trudy: I think it’s working, that idea of translating anxiety into strength. I don’t feel that afraid any more.
Pride: Well, you’re certainly not complaining as much as before.
And I don’t think I can hear these horrible people any more.
Pride: [Stops.] Wait, did you hear that?
Trudy: [Stops.] What now? I can’t hear anything.
Pride: Exactly. I think it’s safe to say that you have overcome your fear.
[They start walking again.]
Trudy: What, and you weren’t afraid at all throughout that?
Pride: Not really.
Trudy: And what about that creature you knocked out?
Pride: That was instinct rather than fear.
Trudy: Okay, I believe you[!]
[They approach an opening between some bushes with a wooden sign beside it saying, ‘This way.’]
Pride: After you.
[TRUDY goes through the opening before PRIDE.]
Scene 18 - Arcade room 1
[LEX & SALENE enter a room similar to the last one. Only this time there are three entrances to corridors at the opposite end of the room - the left-hand entrance has a sign above it saying ‘approved’, the centre entrance has a sign above it saying ‘gift’ and the right-hand entrance has a sign above it saying ‘some seat?’ There is also what looks like a large arcade machine near the centre of the room facing the doors.]
Lex: [Immediately spots the arcade machine.] Ah, that’s more like it.
[They approach the arcade machine.]
Salene: [Reads from the screen:] ‘Pick the right path or get a nasty surprise.’
Lex: ‘A nasty surprise’. Is that some kind of threat?
Salene: Look, there’s some exits over there. [Points to the three corridors.] There’s a sign saying ‘approved’, a sign saying ‘gift’ and a sign saying ‘some seat?’ above them.
Lex: More damn word games? Come on, gimme a break.
Salene: That must be what the screen’s referring to. The three exits. Pick the wrong one and we get a ‘nasty surprise’.
Lex: What kind of surprise?
Salene: How should I know?
Lex: Nothing a tough street-fighter like me can’t tackle, I bet.
[SALENE rolls her eyes.]
Scene 19 - Mall sewer 1
[JAY & AMBER crawl through the hole and emerge at the Mall sewer. There is a door with a lock at their end of the sewer river. Four large buttons are on the wall next to the door and four buttons on the opposite wall, with different coloured lights that look like Christmas lights above each button. There are two plates on opposite walls next to the buttons with the imprint of a right hand on them; one with the letter ‘J’ in the end JAY and AMBER are in and one with the letter ‘A’ in the opposite end. JAY & AMBER look around.]
Amber: Well, I expected something nicer than this.
Jay: So long as we don’t have to pick up any more heavy objects, I’m not complaining.
Amber: So, what do we do here?
Jay: First thing’s first: let’s investigate the area.
[JAY & AMBER start exploring the area.]
Scene 20 - Chasm 1
[TRUDY & PRIDE emerge from the other side of the opening to enter a snow-covered outdoor open space. Ahead of them is a chasm and an old-looking rope bridge with wooden planks spanning it. A teddy bear sits in the middle of the bridge. There is a wooden sign next to the large drop.]
Trudy: [Looks around.] Ah, we’re out of the woods.
Pride: [Notices the rope bridge.] Oh yeah? [Points to it.] We may be out the woods but we’re not finished yet.
Trudy: [looks at the bridge.] Oh, great.
[They walk over to the wooden sign.]
Pride: [Reads:] ‘Pride comes before a fall’. That’s not referring to me, I hope.
Trudy: Well, there is no way I’m crossing that bridge. It doesn’t look safe at all.
Pride: [Points to the teddy bear.] And is that a teddy bear sitting in the middle? Why would something like that be there all on its own?
Trudy: 'Cos it’s Reality Space, that’s why.
Pride: Oh yeah, I was forgetting. Well, it looks like we have no choice. [Looks around.] I don’t see any other exits.
Trudy: No way, Pride. No way am I crossing that!
Pride: Well what do you prefer? You wanna go back through there [points to the opening where they came from] where the elf creatures are and face them again?
[TRUDY looks at PRIDE. She rolls her eyes in resignation.]
Pride: I know it’s a tough decision but it’s our only option. For the sake of the experiment.
Trudy: [Bitterly:] Fine. For the sake of the experiment.
Pride: [Looks back at the sign.] I wonder what the sign means? ‘Pride comes before a fall’.
Trudy: Perhaps, if we take it literally, that if someone crosses the bridge after you, it’ll collapse.
Pride: Then I guess you’ll be going first, right?
[TRUDY glares at him.]