Monty Python's Tech Infantry
by Martin Hohner
Episode Three: Touch of Celestial Indigestion
(Open on a cliffside. Brother Caleb is running down a hill, with some sort of contraption strapped on his back. It vaguely resembles a suit of power armor with big cloth-and-wood wings on the back. There is a hand crank on the chest plate that he is furiously cranking to make the wings flap. He gamely runs on toward the edge of the cliff, clearly trying to achieve human-powered flight. Show him from behind as he leaps off the edge of the cliff. Cut to a shot showing Brother Caleb apparently serenely flying over rocky ground with his contraption. Suddenly, what appears to be a sheer rock wall is seen on the right side of the screen, and Brother Caleb smacks into this wall. Rotate camera right side up to show that he actually was plummeting down the sheer cliff face and has now struck the rocky beach below the cliff. Pan across the beach to show the elderly Lwan Eddington in a suit of tattered clothing sitting in a beach chair, holding a tropical drink, complete with umbrella.)
ANNOUNCER: Monty Python's Tech Infantry!
(Opening Credits: Techno-thrash remix of John Philip Sousa's "Liberty Bell March" over cartoon showing giant feet stepping on starships.)
(Opening Scene: Priscilla Savant in spangly jacket sitting on high stool with electric guitar.)
SAVANT: (singing to the tune of "Jerusalem") And did that fleet in ancient time...
(CAPTION: "LIVE FROM THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS, AVALON")
SAVANT: ...crash upon Avalon's mountains green. (she stops singing) Good evening and welcome ladies and gentlemen. At this time we'd like to up the tempo a little, change the mood. We've got a number requested by Damien, Miro, Hex, Treschi, and old Spotty—Treschi's mother—a little number specially written for the molting of ex-King Shaggoth of the K'Nes Tor, and it's entitled "A Scotsman on a Horse". Hope you like it.
(Cut briefly to General Joel Fabin, in full Scottish getup including kilt, riding up on a horse. He looks around, puzzled. Cut back to Priscilla Savant)
SAVANT: (singing) Bring me my missiles of desire... Bring me my sword, oh clouds unfold... Bring me my chariot of fire.
(Miro Creed enters and starts kissing Priscilla)
(On-screen caption: IT'S A MAN'S LIFE GUARDING ROCK SINGERS.)
(Cut to Colonel Arthur Clarke with Tech Infantry recruitment posters on wall behind him.)
CLARKE: Right, cut to me. As Officer Commanding the Tech Infantry Special Service, I object, in the strongest possible terms to this obvious reference to our own slogan, "It's a dog's life ... (correcting himself rapidly) a man's life in the Tech Infantry," and I warn this program that any recurrence of this sloppy long-haired civilian plagiarism will be dealt with most severely. Right, now on the command "cut", the camera will cut to camera two, all right, director... (cut to Justine Macoure sitting at desk) Wait for it! (cut back to Clarke) Camera cut. (cut to Macoure, the tip of her prehensile tail is twitching on the desk)
MACOURE: This is my only line. (catcalls from the studio audience) (defensively) Well, it's my only line.
(Cut to another desk, as at a public affairs program. A presenter is sitting behind the desk)
PRESENTER: Many people in the Federation are becoming increasingly worried about bull-fighting on New Madrid. They say that it is not only cruel, vicious and immoral, but also blatantly unfair. The bull is heavy, violent, abusive and aggressive with four legs and great sharp teeth, whereas the bull-fighter is only a small, greasy Spaniard. Given this basic inequality, what can be done to make bull-fighting safer? We asked Brigadier Thomas Willard, Chairman of the Federation Well-Basically Club.
(Cut to the brigadier.)
BRIGADIER: Well, basically it's quite apparent that these little dago chappies have got it all wrong. They prance round the bull like a lot of bally night club dancers looking like the Younger Generation or a less smooth version of the Lionel Blair Troupe, (getting rather gay) with much of the staccato rhythms of the Irving Davies Dancers at the height of their success. In recent years Pan's People have often recaptured a lyricism... (a huge hammer strikes him on the head; he becomes butch again) and what we must do now is to use devices like radar to locate the bull, and Lance Torpedoes fired from magnetic catapults, to knock the bull over. Then I would send in Dimiye's Dead Boys with air cover to provide a diversion for the bull, whilst the Earth Fleet came in round the back and finished him off with Mass Drivers. That to me would be bull-fighting, and not this pansy kind of lyrical (getting gay again) evocative movement which George Balanchine and Martha Graham on Avalon and our very own Sadler's Wells... (the hammer strikes him on the head again) Troops could also be used in an auxiliary role in international chess, where...
(Caption: IT'S A MAN'S LIFE IN THE BULLFIGHTING ARENA)
(Cut back to Clarke)
CLARKE: Quiet. Quiet. Now wait a minute. I have already warned this program about infringing the TI copyright of our slogan, "It's a pig's life... a man's life in the Tech Infantry". And I'm warning you, if it happens again, I shall come down on this program like a ton of bricks... right. Carry on, sergeant major.
(Cut to Sergeant-Major Luthor in a gymnasium with several new recruits dressed as for a martial-arts class.)
LUTHOR: (screaming throughout) Right sir! Good evening, class.
ALL: (mumbling) Good evening.
LUTHOR: Where's all the others, then?
ALL: They're not here.
LUTHOR: I can see that. What's the matter with them?
HEX: (member of class) Perhaps they've got 'flu.
LUTHOR: Huh! 'Flu, eh? They should eat more fresh fruit. Ha. Right. Now, self-defense. Tonight I shall be carrying on from where we got to last week when I was showing you how to defend yourselves against anyone who attacks you with armed with a piece of fresh fruit.
(Grumbles from all)
SPYDER: (member of class) Oh, you promised you wouldn't do fruit this week.
LUTHOR: What do you mean?
RICHTER: (member of class) (mechanically) We have covered fruit for the last nine weeks, with a total of seventy-three-point-two hours spent on the subject.
LUTHOR: What's wrong with fruit? You think you know it all, eh?
SPYDER: Can't we do something else?
XAVIER: (member of class) Like someone who attacks you with a magic sword?
LUTHOR: Magic sword? Oh, oh, oh. We want to learn how to defend ourselves against magic swords, do we? Getting all high and mighty, eh? Fresh fruit not good enough for you, eh? Well I'll tell you something, my lad. When you're walking home tonight and some great homicidal maniac comes after you with a bunch of loganberries, don't come crying to me! Now, the passion fruit. When your assailant lunges at you with a passion fruit...
ALL: We done the passion fruit.
HEX: We done the passion fruit.
SPYDER: We done oranges, apples, grapefruit...
RICHTER: (mechanically) Whole and segments.
SPYDER: Pomegranates, greengages...
HEX: Grapes, passion fruit...
RICHTER: (mechanically) Plums...
HEX: And mangoes in syrup...
LUTHOR: How about cherries?
ALL: We did them.
LUTHOR: Red and black?
LUTHOR: All right, bananas.
LUTHOR: We haven't done them, have we? Right. Bananas. How to defend yourself against a man armed with a banana. Now you, come at me with this banana. Catch! (He throws Hex a banana) Now, it's quite simple to defend yourself against a man armed with a banana. First of all you force him to drop the banana; then, second, you eat the banana, thus disarming him. You have now rendered him 'elpless.
SPYDER: Suppose he's got a bunch?
LUTHOR: Shut up.
XAVIER: Suppose he's got a magic sword?
LUTHOR: Shut up. Right now you, Mr. Apricot.
HEX: MY NAME IS HEX!!!!!!
LUTHOR: Sorry, Hex. Come at me with that banana. Hold it like that, that's it. Now attack me with it. Come on! Come on! Come at me! Come at me then! (As Hex moves towards Luthor, Luthor calmly pulls a plasma revolver and shoots him.)
HEX: Aaagh! (dies.)
LUTHOR: Now, I eat the banana. (Does so.)
SPYDER: You shot him!
RICHTER: (mechanically) All biological life functions have ceased.
XAVIER: He's completely dead!
LUTHOR: I have now eaten the banana. The deceased, Mr. Apricot, is now 'elpless.
SPYDER: You shot him. You shot him dead.
LUTHOR: Well, he was attacking me with a banana.
RICHTER: (mechanically) He was acting under your instructions.
LUTHOR: Look, I'm only doing me job. I have to show you how to defend yourselves against fresh fruit.
XAVIER: And magic swords.
LUTHOR: Shut up.
SPYDER: Suppose I'm attacked by a man with a banana, and I haven't got a gun?
LUTHOR: Run for it.
RICHTER: (mechanically) You could stand and scream for help.
LUTHOR: Yeah, you try that with a pineapple down your windpipe.
RICHTER: (mechanically) A pineapple?
LUTHOR: (looking around frantically) Where? Where?
RICHTER: (mechanically) There is a misunderstanding. I merely said the words, "a pineapple". There is no pineapple in the vicinity.
LUTHOR: Oh. Phew. I thought my number was on that one.
RICHTER: (mechanically, but puzzled) What, on the pineapple?
LUTHOR: Where? Where?
RICHTER: (mechanically) No, I was just repeating it.
LUTHOR: Oh. Oh. I see. Right. Phew. Right, that's bananas then. Now the raspberry. There we are. 'Armless looking thing, isn't it? Now you, Mr. Radish.
RICHTER: (mechanically) The name is pronounced, RICK-KHTER.
LUTHOR: Richter. Come at me with that raspberry. Come on. Be as vicious as you like with it.
RICHTER: (mechanically) No.
LUTHOR: Why not?
RICHTER: (mechanically) I predict a 99.6% probability that you will shoot me.
LUTHOR: I won't.
RICHTER: (mechanically) You shot Mr. Hex.
LUTHOR: That was self-defense. Now come on. I promise I won't shoot you.
XAVIER: You promised you'd tell us about magic swords.
LUTHOR: Shut up. Come on, brandish that raspberry. Come at me with it. Give me Hell.
RICHTER: (mechanically) Throw the gun away.
LUTHOR: I haven't got a gun.
RICHTER: (mechanically) You have.
RICHTER: (mechanically) You shot Mr. Hex with it.
LUTHOR: Oh, that gun.
RICHTER: (mechanically) Throw it away.
LUTHOR: Oh all right. (He does so.) How to defend yourself against a raspberry—without a gun.
RICHTER: (mechanically) You were going to shoot me.
LUTHOR: I wasn't.
RICHTER: (mechanically) You were.
LUTHOR: No, I wasn't, I wasn't. Come on then. Come at me. Come on, you weed! You weed, do your worst! Come on, you puny little man. You weed...
(As Richter slowly advances on Luthor with a small basket of raspberries, Luthor pulls a lever in the wall—CRASH! A 16-ton weight falls on Richter.)
RICHTER: (sparks come from under the weight) I am upgrading you to "possible threat".
LUTHOR: If anyone ever attacks you with a raspberry, just pull the lever and the 16-ton weight will fall on top of him.
SPYDER: Suppose there isn't a 16-ton weight?
LUTHOR: Well, that's planning, isn't it? Forethought.
SPYDER: Well, how many 16-ton weights are there?
LUTHOR: Look, look, look, Mr. Know-it-all. The 16-ton weight is just one way of dealing with a raspberry killer. There are millions of others!
XAVIER: Like what?
LUTHOR: Shootin' him?
SPYDER: Well, what if you haven't got a gun or a 16-ton weight?
LUTHOR: Look, look. All right, smarty-pants. You two, you two, come at me then with raspberries. Come on, both of you, whole basket each.
SPYDER: No guns.
SPYDER: No 16-ton weights.
XAVIER: No magic swords.
LUTHOR: Shut up.
SPYDER: No rocks up in the ceiling.
SPYDER: And you won't kill us.
LUTHOR: I won't.
LUTHOR: I promise I won't kill you. Now. Are you going to attack me?
SPYDER and XAVIER: Oh, all right.
LUTHOR: Right, now don't rush me this time. Stalk me. Do it properly. Stalk me. I'll turn me back. Stalk up behind me, close behind me, then in with the raspberries! Right? Okay, start moving. (They do so, circling to hit him from opposite directions. The camera pans to just show Luthor.) Now the first thing to do when you're being stalked by an ugly mob with raspberries is to—release the Arachnid Warrior!
(He does so. Growls. Screams.)
LUTHOR: The great advantage of the Arachnid Warrior in unarmed combat is that he eats not only the fruit-laden foe but also the raspberries. Warriors, however, do not relish the peach. The peach assailant should be attacked with a Hive Queen. Right, now, the rest of you, where are you? (His shouts grow increasingly paranoid and insane) I know you're hiding somewhere with your papayas and prunes. Well, I'm ready for you. I've wired myself up to 200 tons of gelignite, and if any one of you so much as makes a move we'll all go up together! Right, right. I warned you. That's it...
(Cut to a bookshop. A Bookseller is standing behind the counter. Andrea Treschi enters the shot and goes up to the counter. The Bookseller jumps and looks around furtively.)
BOOKSELLER: Er... oh!
TRESCHI: Good morning, I'd like to buy a book please.
BOOKSELLER: Oh, well, I'm afraid we don't have any. (trying to hide them)
TRESCHI: I'm sorry?
BOOKSELLER: We don't have any books. We're fresh out of them. Good morning.
TRESCHI: Well, what are all these?
BOOKSELLER: All what? Oh! All these, ah ah ha ha. Your referring to these... books.
BOOKSELLER: They're, um... they're all sold. Good morning.
TRESCHI: What, all of them?
BOOKSELLER: Every single man-Jack of them. Not a single one of them in an unsold state. Good morning.
TRESCHI: Who to?
TRESCHI: Who are they sold to?
BOOKSELLER: Oh... various... good Lord, is that the time? Oh my goodness, I must close for lunch.
TRESCHI: It's only half past ten.
BOOKSELLER: Ah yes, well, I feel rather peckish... very peckish actually, I don't expect I'll open again today. I think I'll have a really good feed. I say! Look at that lovely bookshop just across the road there, they've got a much better selection than we've got, probably at ridiculously low prices... just across the road there. (he has the door open) Good morning.
TRESCHI: But I was told to come here.
BOOKSELLER: (bundling him back in) Well. Well, I see. Er... (very, carefully) I hear the gooseberries are doing well this year... and so are the mangoes. (winks)
TRESCHI: I'm sorry?
BOOKSELLER: Er… oh… I was just saying... thinking of the weather... I hear the gooseberries are doing well this year... and so are the mangoes.
TRESCHI: Mine aren't.
BOOKSELLER: (nodding keenly, with anticipation) Go on...
BOOKSELLER: Go on—mine aren't... but...
BOOKSELLER: Aren't you going to say something about "mine aren't but the Big Cheese gets his at low tide tonight"?
BOOKSELLER: Oh, ah, good morning. (starts to bundle him out, then stops) Wait. Who sent you?
TRESCHI: The little old lady in the sweet shop.
BOOKSELLER: She didn't have a Fleet Admiral's uniform on?
BOOKSELLER: Of course not, I was thinking of somebody else. Good morning.
TRESCHI: Wait a minute, there's something going on here.
BOOKSELLER: (spinning round.) What, where? You didn't see anything, did you?
TRESCHI: No, but I think there's something going on here.
BOOKSELLER: No no, well, there's nothing going on here at all, (shouts off) and he didn't see anything. Good morning.
TRESCHI: (coming back into shop) There is something going on.
BOOKSELLER: Look, there is nothing going on. Please believe me, there is abso... (a hand comes into view behind Treschi's back; Bookseller frantically waves at it to disappear; it does so) …lutely nothing going on. Is there anything going on?
(A man appears, fleetingly; he is Erich Von Shrakenberg)
VON SHRAKENBERG: No, there's nothing going on. (disappears)
BOOKSELLER: See, there's nothing going on.
TRESCHI: Who was that?
BOOKSELLER: That was my aunt. Look, what was this book you wanted then? Quickly! Quickly!
TRESCHI: Oh, well, I'd like to buy a copy of an "Jane's Fighting Starships, 2242 Edition".
BOOKSELLER: My God, you've got guts.
BOOKSELLER: (pulling plasma revolver) Just how much do you know?
TRESCHI: What about?
BOOKSELLER: Are you from Tech Infantry Special Service?
TRESCHI: No, I'm a tobacconist.
BOOKSELLER: Get away from that door.
TRESCHI: I'll just go over the other...
BOOKSELLER: Stay where you are. You'll never leave this bookshop alive.
TRESCHI: Why not?
BOOKSELLER: You know too much, my power-suited friend.
TRESCHI: I don't know anything.
BOOKSELLER: Come clean. You're a Raptor, aren't you?
TRESCHI: No, I'm a tobacconist.
BOOKSELLER: A tobacconist who just happens to be buying a book on... starships?
BOOKSELLER: Ha ha ha ha...
(Henri Lafarge enters room with gun. He is swarthy, French, dressed all in black and menacing.)
LAFARGE: Drop that gun, Smythe.
BOOKSELLER: Lafarge! (he drops the gun)
TRESCHI: There is something going on.
BOOKSELLER: No there isn't.
LAFARGE: Okay Smythe, this is it. Where's Auntie Sarah hidden the files?
BOOKSELLER: What files?
LAFARGE: You know which files, Smythe. The defense plans for New Paris. Come on. (he threatens with the gun) Remember what happened to Nigel.
TRESCHI: What happened to Nigel?
BOOKSELLER: Chief Engineer O'Reilly wired his shaver with plutonium.
TRESCHI: I knew there was something going on.
BOOKSELLER: Well, there isn't.
LAFARGE: Come on Smythe. The files!
BOOKSELLER: They're at 22 Wimpole Street.
LAFARGE: Don't play games with me! (pokes bookseller in eye with the gun)
BOOKSELLER: Oh, oh, 22a Wimpole Street.
LAFARGE: That's better.
BOOKSELLER: But you'll need an appointment.
LAFARGE: Okay. (shouting out of shop) Brian! Make with the appointment, baby.
(Von Shrakenberg appears with gauss rifle and a cute female yeoman, they are dressed in Earth Fleet uniform but with crossed bandoliers of ammunition on their chests.)
VON SHRAKENBERG: Not so fast, Lafarge!
LAFARGE: Von Shrakenberg!
VON SHRAKENBERG: Yes. Now drop the roscoe.
TRESCHI: There is something going on.
BOOKSELLER: No there isn't.
VON SHRAKENBERG: Get the guns.
(The yeoman runs forward, picks up the gun and puts it in a plastic bag, returning it to Von Shrakenberg.)
TRESCHI: Who's that?
BOOKSELLER: That's Von Shrakenberg. He's on our side.
VON SHRAKENBERG: All right, get up against the wall Lafarge, and you too, Smythe!
VON SHRAKENBERG: Yes, you!
BOOKSELLER: You dirty double-crossing rat.
TRESCHI: (going with Bookseller) What's happened?
BOOKSELLER: He's two-timed me.
TRESCHI: Bad luck.
VON SHRAKENBERG: All right... where are the files? Answer me, where are they?
TRESCHI: This is quite exciting.
(Terry Carter enters carrying a Lance Cannon. Carter is dressed in an Earth Fleet combat skinsuit, which resembles a scuba wetsuit but with a space helmet with an open visor.)
CARTER: Not so fast.
TRESCHI: Ooh, what's that?
THE OTHERS: It's a Lance Cannon!
CARTER: All right. Get against the wall, Von Shrakenberg... and you, yeoman Ingolfsson. And the first one to try anything moves to a duty station six feet underground... this is an anti-tank gun... and it's loaded... and you've just got five seconds to tell me... whatever happened to Baby Jane?
CARTER: Oh... I'm sorry... my mind was wandering... I've had a terrible day... I really have... you've got five seconds to tell me... I've forgotten. I've forgotten.
BOOKSELLER: The five seconds haven't started yet, have they?
VON SHRAKENBERG: Only we don't know the question.
TRESCHI: Was it about Vorheis?
Brian: No, no... no... you've got five seconds to tell me...
VON SHRAKENBERG: About Nigel?
CARTER: No. No.
TRESCHI: The files!
CARTER: Oh yes, the files, of course. How stupid of me. Right, you've got five seconds ... (clears throat) Where are the files? Five, four, three, two, one, Zero! (there is a long pause, Carter has forgotten to fire the Lance Cannon but he can't put his finger on what has gone wrong) Zero! (looks at gun) Oh! I've forgotten to fire it. Sorry. Silly day. Very well. (quite rapidly) Five, four, three, two, one.
(A panel slides back in the wall and the Big Cheese—Rashid King—appears in sight seated in a starship Command Chair. The Big Cheese is in a Grand Fleet Admiral's uniform, wears evil magnifying type glasses and strokes a rabbit lying on his lap.)
BIG CHEESE: Drop the Lance Cannon, Carter!
ALL: The Big Cheese!
(Carter drops the Lance Cannon.)
BIG CHEESE: I'm glad you could all come to my little... party. And Flopsy's glad too, aren't you, Flopsy? (he holds rabbit up as it does not reply) Aren't you Flopsy? (no reply again so he pulls a big plasma revolver out and fires at rabbit from point-blank range) That'll teach you to play hard to get. There, poor Flopsy's dead. And never called me mother. And soon... you will all be dead, dead, dead, dead. (the crowd start to hiss him) And because I'm so evil, you'll all die the slow way... under a dentist's drill.
TRESCHI: It's one o'clock.
BIG CHEESE: So it is. Lunch break, everyone back here at two.
(They all happily relax and walk off. Treschi surreptitiously goes to telephone and, making sure nobody is looking, calls)
TRESCHI: Hallo... give me the TI Special Service... and fast.
(Cut to Treschi dressed normally as Raptor sitting at his desk in Raptor HQ. He looks up to camera.)
TRESCHI: You see, I knew there was something going on. Of course, the Big Cheese made two mistakes. First of all, he didn't recognize me: Treschi, Andrea Treschi, Special Investigator, TI Special Service Division, and second, by the time I got back from lunch, I had every Raptor in Avalon City waiting for them all in the broom cupboard. Funny isn't it, how naughty Fleet Officers always make that one fatal mistake. Bye for now... keep your nose clean.
(Cut to photo of ANDREA TRESCHI, with superimposed caption on screen: "TRESCHI OF THE TI" Over this we hear a song.)
SONG: (Voice over pre-recorded) Treschi, Treschi… Treschi of the Raptors... Treschi, Treschi... Treschi of the TI... Treschi of the TI... TI, TISSD.
VOICE OVER AND CAPTION ON SCREEN: "IT'S A MAN'S LIFE IN THE TECH INFANTRY SPECIAL SERVICE DIVISION!"
CLARKE: (knocking the photo aside) Right! No, I warned you, no, I warned you about the slogan, right. (Stops to think) Oh, right, that is our slogan. Never mind. Good night, folks.
(Roll End Credits)
This parody was written and conceived by Martin A. Hohner. Based on "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and characters and situations in "Tech Infantry" created by Nathan Bax and Marcus Johnston. No infringements on any other copyrights is intended or should be construed. This is a non-commercial parody, protected under Free Use laws in the United States and other countries. All rights reserved, Callahan! But what about the rights of that little girl?