Monty Python's Tech Infantry

by Martin Hohner


Episode Four: Quilters by Design



(Open on an open field next to trees on Earth.  An elderly Lwan Eddington in torn clothing walks up to a small mound of earth next to one of the trees.  He waves his hand in a somewhat magical manner, and the mound of earth starts churning and throwing clumps of dirt in the air.  Slowly, a very dirty burlap sack comes to the surface, and disgorges its contents on the ground at Lwan's feet.  Lwan opens the bag to reveal a desiccated and decayed human corpse.  He places his hands on the corpse and it starts to seemingly inflate before our eyes, with the dead flesh coming back to life and growing to cover the bones.  As the body stops looking like a corpse, it slowly can be seen to be a beautiful woman.  She stands up, blinking in the sunlight.  Lwan smiles beatifically, then somewhat leeringly as she turns to face him.  It is Maeve Harrington.)


MAEVE:  Who am I?  Where am I?  What is this place?


LWAN:  (Obviously starting to explain)  It's… (He is suddenly cut off as the theme music starts up and the announcer interrupts him.)


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.)


(Fade to the ready room for the engineers based at the Phoenix Dockyards.  Xinjao O'Reilly, in environment suit, is sitting reading a pornographic magazine titled "John Steakley's Hooker$".  Jack "Smashie" DuCroix comes in, also in environmental suit, obviously just back from a repair job.  Xinjao hurriedly hides the magazine.)


XINJAO:  Morning, Squadron Leader.


SMASHIE:  What-ho, Chinny.


XINJAO:  How was it?


SMASHIE:  Top-speed, no friction.  Realigned the tachyon matrix on the anterior carrier-wave transmission nodes, pressurized the quintessence valves on the artificial gravity field grid, and stabilized the Heisenberg compensators on the starboard transit beacon de-materialization array.


XINJAO:  Er… I'm afraid I don't quite follow you, Chief.


SMASHIE:  It's perfectly ordinary technobabble, Chinny.  I re-aligned the tachyon matrix on the anterior carrier-wave transmission nodes, pressurized the quintessence valves on the artificial gravity field grid, and stabilized the Heisenberg compensators on the starboard transit beacon de-materialization array.


XINJAO:  No, I'm just not understanding technobabble at all well today.  Give us it slower.


SMASHIE:  Technobabble's not the same if you say it slower, Chinny.


(Melissa Bertram comes in)


SMASHIE:  Hold on then—Bertie!—just bend an ear to the Chief Engineer's banter for a sec, would you?


BERTRAM:  Can do.


XINJAO:  Jolly good.  Fire away.


SMASHIE:  I realigned... (he goes through it all again, repeating it slowly and carefully)


BERTRAM:  No, I don't understand that technobabble at all.


SMASHIE:  Something up with my technobabble, chaps?


(The alert klaxon is suddenly heard, signaling an emergency.  Enter Commodore Clarissa Frampton, out of breath)


FRAMPTON:  Antimatter re-polarization grid overloading!  We've got to scram the core before the anti-proton ratio exceeds containment limits!


BERTRAM:  (to Smashie) Do you understand that?


SMASHIE:  No… I didn't get a word of it.


BERTRAM:  Sorry, ma'am, we don't understand your technobabble.


FRAMPTON:  You know—P-bar mixture approaching critical!


(no reaction)


FRAMPTON:  Um… magnetic bottle unstable and approaching containment breach?


BERTRAM:  No no—sorry.


XINJAO:  Say it slower, ma'am.


FRAMPTON:  Slower technobabble, Commander?


BERTRAM:  Ra-ther.


FRAMPTON:  Um… reactor safety standards not within specified charge-conservation limits?


SMASHIE:  No, still don't get it.


FRAMPTON:  Um… the big black box that keeps the light bulbs burning is about to go bye-bye?


OTHERS:  (dawning comprehension)  Ahhhhh…


(Film of space station exploding as the reactor goes into meltdown)


VOICE-OVER:  But by then it was too late.  The first light bulbs hit Phoenix on July the 7th.  That was just the beginning.


(Cut to George Maxwell seen sitting at desk, on telephone.  Sergeant Ragdowski stands guard by the door behind him, in full power armor.  Admiral Karl Von Shrakenberg is also in the room.)


MAXWELL:  Five credits a carton?  That's hundred-watt bulbs, is it?  And what about the Lance Torpedoes?...  Good Lord, they are expensive.


(Corporal Proctor rushes in.)




MAXWELL:  Yes, what is it?


CORPORAL:  News from the Epsilon Front, sir.


MAXWELL:  Yes...?


PROCTOR:  Big enemy attack at dawn, sir...


MAXWELL:  Yes...?


PROCTOR:  Well, the enemy were all wearing Halloween costumes, sir... and… they were dressed as skeletons... and...


MAXWELL:  They what...?


PROCTOR:  …and... they had spiders in matchboxes, sir.


MAXWELL:  (in disbelief) Good God!  How did our chaps react?


PROCTOR:  Well, they were jolly interested, sir.  Some of them... I think it was the 4th Armor Brigade, sir, they... well, they went and had a look at the spiders, sir.


MAXWELL:  Oh my God!  All right, thank you, Shirley.


(A girl emerges from under the desk.  She is a blonde Light Infantry soldier.)




MAXWELL:  (to a sergeant)  Get me the Grand Council Chairman. (the sergeant opens the door, Abdul Johnson stands outside)  Not that quickly! (the sergeant shuts the door)  Gentlemen, it's now quite apparent that the enemy are not only fighting this war on the cheap, but they're also not taking it seriously.


UNCLE KARL:  Bastards...


MAXWELL:  First they drop light bulbs instead of decent bombs...


PROCTOR:  The three-way bulbs were probably quite expensive, sir.


MAXWELL:  Quiet, critic!  And now they're doing very silly things in one of the most vital areas of the war!


UNCLE KARL:  What are we going to do, Shirley?


MAXWELL:  Well, we've got to act fast before it saps morale.  We're going to show these Bugs...


RAGDOWSKI:   Rebels, sir.


MAXWELL:  These Rebels... we're going to show them that no Tech Infantry soldier will descend to their level.  Anyone found trivializing this war will face the supreme penalty that military law can provide.  (he holds a heroic pose; there is a pause during we expect to cut; we don't; suddenly he breaks out of the pose into informality)  That was all right, I think?


UNCLE KARL:  (getting out drinks)  Seemed to go quite well.


(Cut to a military tribunal courtroom on Avalon.  A court martial is in progress.  General Maxwell presides, with two others on either side of him.  There is a defense counsel, a prosecutor (Andrea Treschi), a clerk of the court, and two troopers in power armor guarding the prisoner.)


MAXWELL:  Lieutenant Spyder, you stand before this court accused of carrying on the war by other than warlike means—to wit, that you did on April 16th, 2243, dressed up as Pikachu, flick wet towels at the enemy during an important offensive...


SPYDER:  Well, sir...


MAXWELL:  Shut up!  Colonel Treschi for the prosecution...


TRESCHI:  Sir, we all know...


MAXWELL:  Shut up!


TRESCHI:  I'm sorry?


MAXWELL:  Carry on.


TRESCHI:  Sir, we all know the facts of this case; that Lieutenant Malachi Spyder, being in possession of expensive military equipment, to wit one Olin Industries H-90 gauss rifle and seventy-two rounds of ammunition, valued at a hundred and forty credits, chose instead to use wet towels to take an enemy command post in the area of Cornell...


MAXWELL:  Cornell?  Cornell on Avalon?


TRESCHI:  No, no, no, sir, no.


MAXWELL:  I see, carry on.


TRESCHI:  The result of his action was that the enemy...


MAXWELL:  Cornell where?


TRESCHI:  Cornell on Epsilon, sir.


MAXWELL:  Oh, I see.  Carry on.


TRESCHI:  The result of Lieutenant Spyder's action was that the enemy received wet patches upon their trousers, and in some cases small red strawberry marks upon their thighs...


MAXWELL:  I didn't know there was a Cornell on Epsilon.


TRESCHI:  (slightly irritated)  It's on the map, sir.


MAXWELL:  What map?


TRESCHI:  (more irritably)  The map of Epsilon as used by the Tech Infantry, sir.


MAXWELL:  Well, I've certainly never heard of Cornell on Epsilon.


TRESCHI:  (patiently)  It's a municipal borough sir, twenty-seven miles north-north east of New Chicago.  Its chief manufactures...


MAXWELL:  What... New Chicago on Epsilon?


TRESCHI:  Yes sir... bricks... clothing.  Nearby are remains of Fort Diennes, burned down by Clarke's Raptors in 2215...


MAXWELL:  Who compiled this map?


TRESCHI:  Priscilla Savant, sir.


MAXWELL:  (incredulously)  Priscilla Savant... who sings "Full Metal Jacket"?


TRESCHI:  No, alas not, sir... this was Priscilla Savant who sings "Drop and Die".  Sir, I shall seek to prove that the man before this court...


MAXWELL:  That's the same one!  (he sings)  "Ours is not to reason why…"


TRESCHI:  I beg your pardon, sir?


MAXWELL:  (singing in that near-screaming way that speedmetal bands adore)  "Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to drop and die, fall like lightning from the sky, fighting to defend the lie…"


TRESCHI:  No, this one's different, sir.


MAXWELL:  How does it go?


TRESCHI:  What, sir?


MAXWELL:  How does your "Drop and Die" go?


SPYDER:  Can I go home now?


MAXWELL:  Shut up!  (to Treschi)  Come on!


TRESCHI:  Sir, really, this is rather...


MAXWELL:  Come on, how does your "Drop and Die" go?


TRESCHI:  (clearing his throat and going into an extraordinary tuneless and very loud song)

I wish you'd drop and die

You're not my kind of guy

Once I loved you,

Now I shoved you

Out the door, good-bye!


MAXWELL:  No, that's not it... carry on.


TRESCHI:  With respect sir, I shall seek to prove that the man before you in the dock being in the possession of the following: one pair of army boots, value three credits and fifty-six cents, one pair of serge trousers, value two credits seventy-five cents, one pair of gaiters value sixty-eight credits thirty cents, one...


MAXWELL:  Sixty-eight credits and thirty cents for a pair of gaiters?


TRESCHI:  (dismissively)  They were special gaiters, sir.


MAXWELL:  Special gaiters?


TRESCHI:  Yes, sir, they were made on New Paris.  One beret costing fourteen credits, one pair of...


MAXWELL:  What was special about them?


TRESCHI:  Oh... (as if he can hardly be bothered to reply) they were made of a special fabric, sir.  The buckles were made of bitanium alloy instead of brass.  The total value of the uniform was three...


MAXWELL:  Why was the accused wearing special gaiters?


TRESCHI:  (irritably)  They were a presentation pair sir, from the regiment.  The total value of the uniform...


MAXWELL:  Why did they present him with a special pair of gaiters?


TRESCHI:  Sir, it seems to me totally irrelevant to the case whether the gaiters were presented to him or not, sir.


MAXWELL:  I think the court will be able to judge that for themselves.  I want to know why the regiment presented the accused with a special pair of gaiters.


TRESCHI:  (stifling his impatience) He... used to do things for them.  The total value...


MAXWELL:  What things?


TRESCHI:  (exasperated)  H .. he used to oblige them, sir.  The total value...


MAXWELL:  Oblige them?


TRESCHI:  Yes, sir.  The total value of the uniform...


MAXWELL:  How did he oblige them?


TRESCHI:  What sir?


MAXWELL:  How did he oblige them?


TRESCHI:  (more and more irritated)  He... um... used to make them happy in little ways, sir.  The total value of the uniform could therefore not have been less than...


MAXWELL:  Did he touch them at all?


TRESCHI:  Sir!  I submit that this is totally irrelevant.


MAXWELL:  I want to know how he made them happy.


TRESCHI:  (losing his temper)  He used to ram things up their...


MAXWELL:  (quickly)  All right!  All right!  No need to spell it out!  What, er... what has the accused to say?


SPYDER:  (taken off guard)  What, me?


MAXWELL:  Yes.  What have you got to say?


SPYDER:  What can I say?  I mean, how can I encapsulate in mere words my scorn for any military solution?  The futility of modern warfare?  And the hypocrisy by which contemporary government applies one standard to violence within the community and another to violence perpetrated by one community upon another?


DEFENSE COUNSEL:  I'm sorry, but my client has become pretentious.  I will say in his defense that he has suffered...


TRESCHI:  Sir!  We haven't finished the prosecution!


MAXWELL:  Shut up!  I'm in charge of this court. (to the court)  Stand up!  (everyone stands up)  Sit down!  (everyone sits down)  Go moo! (everyone goes moo; Maxwell turns to Treschi)  See?  Right, now, on with the pixie hats!  (everyone puts on pixie hats with large pointed ears)  And order in the skating were-bear.  (Sergeant-major Luthor rolls in on roller-skates, dressed as a circus bear in a clown costume, and everyone bursts into song)


EVERYONE:  (singing)

I wish you'd drop and die

You're not my kind of guy

Once I loved you,

Now I've shoved you

Out the door, good-bye!

I wish you'd drop and die…(etc.)


ANNOUNCER VOICE OVER:  But while the war was being trivialized on Epsilon, some brave souls were still trying valiantly to save the Federation…


(We see a fortress on New Sparta at dusk.  A lone trooper in power armor is standing guard at a post on the battlements.  There are a few bars of techno music.  Suddenly there is a scream and he disappears.  Cut to interior of steel-walled guardroom inside the fortress.  Ten HAP troopers in power armor form a line.  General Fabin at the door taps one on the shoulder.)


FABIN:   Next!


(The next goes outside.  We hear the music start, the sergeant smiles.  Cut to castle battlements.  The trooper salutes and then jumps off.  We hear the scream as before.  Another trooper emerges and goes through the same routine.)


VOICE OVER:  (Scottish accent)  Here on the frontier moon of New Sparta, in conditions of extreme secrecy, men are being trained for the Tech Infantry's first Kamikaze Regiment, Fabin's Own McKamikaze Highlanders. (there is a scream and a trooper jumps off, another one emerges and grimly salutes)  So successful has been the training of the Kamikaze Regiment that the numbers have dwindled from 30,000 to just over a dozen in three weeks.  What makes these young troopers so keen to kill themselves?


(Close ups of soldiers.)


HAP TROOPER:  The money's good!


SECOND HAP TROOPER:  And the water skiing! (he falls down with a scream)


(Cut to interior of the guardroom in the fortress.  As before, but with only six men left plus General Fabin.  Music and a scream.  Fabin dispatches another man.  General Fargus enters.  Music again.)


FABIN:  Ten-shun!


FARGUS:  All right, General.  At ease.  Now, how many chaps have you got left?


FABIN:  Six, sir.


FARGUS:  Six? (there is a scream)


FABIN:  Five, sir. (to another trooper in line)  Good luck, Yaeger.  (Johnson leaves)


FARGUS:  Jolly good show, General Fabin.  (We hear music starting up outside)  Well, I've come to tell you that we've got a job for your five lads.


(There is a scream.)


FABIN:  Four, sir.


FARGUS:  For your four lads.


FABIN:  (whispering to another man)  Good luck, Collins.


COLLINS:  Thank you, Sir. (he goes)


FARGUS:  (looking rather uncertainly at the man leaving)  Now this mission's going to be dangerous, (music starts) and it's going to be tough, and we're going to need every lad of yours to pull his weight.  (the usual scream in the background)  Now, which... er... which four are they?


FABIN:  These three here, sir.  Okay.  Off you go, Kemper.


KEMPER:  (with manic eagerness)  Right!  (he charges out through door before Fargus can stop him)


FARGUS:  (with mounting concern) Major-General Fabin!


FABIN:  Yes, sir? (music starts outside)


FARGUS:  You don't think it might be a good idea... er... to stop the training program for a little bit?


FABIN:  They've got to be trained, sir.  It's a dangerous job.


FARGUS:  Yes... I know... but... er... (the usual scream)


FABIN:  All right Kromminga, you're next, off you go.


FARGUS:  You see what is worrying me, sergeant major, is...


KROMMINGA:  I'll make it a gud'un, sir! (she dashes off)


FABIN:  Good luck, Kromminga.


FARGUS:  Er... Kromminga... (the music start up) only this mission really is very dangerous.  We're going to need both the chaps that you've got left.  (scream)


FABIN:  Both of who, sir?


FARGUS:  Sergeant major, what's this man's name?


FABIN:  This one, sir?  This one is Dimiye, sir.


FARGUS:  No, no, no, no.  (the captain stops Dimiye who is straining quite hard to get away)  Hang on to Dimiye, General Fabin, hang on to him.


FABIN:  I don't know whether I can, sir...  (Dimiye's eyes are staring in a strange way)  He's in a state of Ukyo Okonomyaki McSayonara.


FARGUS:  What's that?


(They am both struggling to restrain Dimiye.)


FABIN:  It's the fifth state that a Trooper can achieve, sir.  He's got to finish himself off by lunchtime or he thinks he's let down the Federation, sir.


FARGUS:  Well, can't we get him out of it?


FABIN:  Oh, I dunno how to, sir.  Our Kamikaze instructor, Fleet Lt. Shijumi, was so good he never left Avalon Spacedock.


FARGUS:  Well, there must be someone else who can advise us?


(Exterior of smart Avalon City yuppie-neighborhood storefront.  A big sign reads "Military Advice Center."  A bowler-hated man enters.  A receptionist sits behind a posh desk.)


MAN:  (very businesslike)  Good morning, Kamikaze, please.


RECEPTIONIST:  (indicating door)  Yes, would you go through, please?


MAN:  Thank you.


(The man walks over to the door, opens it, walks through and disappears from sight.  There is nothing but sky and clouds through the door.  Scream.  Cut back to New Sparta fortress.)


FARGUS:  I'm sorry, I'm just going to have to shut down this training program.  You're losing too many troopers.


FABIN:  But they've got to be trained, General!


FARGUS:  Can't you just show them films or something?


(Cut to grainy footage of a patch of empty barren wasteland on Fieras III.  Caption on screen: "EARTH FEDERATION MILITARY TRAINING FILM NO. 42 PARA 6. 'HOW NOT TO BE SEEN' ")


VOICE OVER:  In this film we hope to show how not to be seen.  This is Trooper Lucas Howard of the 86th Legion.  He can not be seen.  Now I am going to ask him to stand up.  Trooper Howard, will you stand up please?


(In the distance Trooper Howard stands up from his hiding place.  There is a loud gunshot as Trooper Howard is shot in the stomach.  He crumples to the ground.)


VOICE OVER:  This demonstrates the value of not being seen.


(Cut to another location, an equally empty area of wasteland)


VOICE OVER:  In this picture we cannot see Sergeant Sara Lee of the Dead Boys Brigade.  Mrs. Lee, will you stand up please.


(To the right of the area Sara Lee stands up.  A gunshot rings out, and Sara Lee leaps into the air, and falls to the ground dead.  Cut to another area, however this time there is a medium-sized boulder in the middle.)


VOICE OVER:  This is Major Frederick Wilhelm of the Third Army.  Major Wilhelm, would you stand up please. (after a pause, nothing happens)  Major Wilhelm has learned the value of not being seen.  However, he has chosen a very obvious piece of cover.


(The boulder explodes and you hear a muffled scream. Cut to another scene with three boulders)


VOICE OVER:  Major Deanna Vanderpool of the EFS Vishnu has presented us with a poser.  We do not know which boulder she is behind, but we can soon find out.  (the left-hand boulder explodes, then the right-hand boulder explodes, and then the middle boulder explodes.  There is a muffled scream as Major Vanderpool is blown up)  Yes, it was the middle one.


(Cut to a shot of a TI base on Fieras III with a trash receptacle, a line of portable latrines, a low embankment with a slit trench in front of it, a pile of sheet metal, an observation tower, a parked assault shuttle, and lots of rocks in the field in the distance)


VOICE OVER:  PFC Lars Denrock, of the Marine detachment on the EFS Schaumburg, has concealed himself extremely well.  He could be almost anywhere.  He could be behind the embankment, inside the dumpster, beneath a pile of sheet metal, up in the tower, squatting down behind the shuttle, concealed in a slit trench, or crouched behind any one of a hundred rocks.  However, we happen to know he's in the third latrine from the left.


(The indicated portable latrine blows up in a huge explosion.  Cut to a panning shot along a beach past a large number of changing tents)


VOICE OVER:  Mr. and Mrs. Demetri Dimiye of Darien Station, Port Arthur, chose a very cunning way of not being seen.  When we called at their quarters, we found that they had gone away on two weeks' holiday at Zegema Beach on New Madrid.  They had not left any forwarding address, and they had bolted and barred their quarters to prevent us from getting in.  However, a neighbor told us where they were.


(The camera pans around and stops on tent all alone by itself on the beach, which blows up.  Cut to a house on Port Arthur with a man in InSec uniform standing out front)


VOICE OVER:  And here is the neighbor.  (he blows up, leaving just his boots.  Cut to a shack in the desert)  Here is where he lived.  (shack blows up - cut to a building) And this is where Councilor Cocoleti lived, who refused to speak to us.  (it blows up)  So did the gentleman who lived here... (shot of a house - it blows up) and here... (another building blows up) and of course here... (a series of various atom and hydrogen bombs at the moment of impact) Archimedes Station… Kappa Epsilon… CHINA!!!!!


(Cut to ISN logo)


ISN ANNOUNCER:  We at ISN would like to announce that the next scene is not considered suitable for family viewing.  It contains scenes of violence, involving people's heads and arms getting chopped off, their ears nailed to trees, and their toenails pulled out in slow motion.  There are also scenes of naked women with floppy breasts, and also at one point you can see a pair of buttocks and there's another bit where I'll swear you can see everything, but my friend says it's just the way he's holding the plasma carbine. (pulling himself together) Because of the unsuitability of the scene, ISN will be replacing it with a scene from the latest film by Paul Verhoeven, "Steve Perry's Deep Throat 2250".


(Cut to a screen completely blanked out by "CENSORED" bars, and the sound of continuously bleeped dialogue.  Every few seconds, a word or two can be heard through the bleeping, usually things like "With a Melon?", "That can't possibly fit!", and "Pass the baby oil".  After a few moments of this, 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 are 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, this offer not valid in Utah or the Lesser Antilles.


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, this offer not valid in Utah or the Lesser Antilles.

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