The Memoirs of Father Shiron

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Part 10 - Lights. Camera. Action.

Falamir was just about to take a bite out of his sandwich when it blinked out of existence and his teeth clamped down on his fingers.
        "Ow!" he cried, shaking his hand in the air.  It was accompanied by laughs all round.
        "Ha ha!  Poor old Falamir gets caught every time doesn't he," chuckled Presto.  "You certainly live up to your nickname of Falamir The Unfortunate."
        "Hmm," replied Falamir sucking his fingers better.
        Almost immediately there was a distant crashing and tumbling sound which came from the other exit, some way off down the corridor.  It was followed by quite a commotion and what sounded like shouts and cursing, but not in the common tongue.
        "Sounds like orcs," said Feanar.  "Oh shit!"
        "They must have fallen over the time step," suggested Dick getting up and removing a torch from a wall bracket.
        "What a stroke of luck," Feanar responded.  "For once it's in our favour and alerted us to danger rather than the other way round.  They still sound a fair way off.  What shall we do?"
        "Orcs travel pretty fast when they want to, they'll be here soon enough," added Erendil.  "I suggest we get out of here as quick as we can.  I could well do without another battle at the moment," he added rubbing his sore leg.  "I think discretion is the better part of valour on this occasion.  Let's try one of the doors along the corridor.  Nip inside until they've gone past then carry on.  How does that sound?"
        "Sounds to me like you're volunteering to miss out on a whole stack of experience points Erendil," said Dick in a rather scathing tone.
        "I'd rather miss some XPs and stay alive for a while longer thank you Dick," replied Erendil.  "I'm not totally one track minded you know.  Self preservation is a very popular hobby of mine."
        "Uh huh," grunted Dick.
        Agreed on evasion rather than confrontation, the party hastily gathered their gear and quickly made their way out the doorway leading to the new corridor, Dick and Falamir on point.
        "Which door would you like Erendil?  Any preferences?"  asked Dick as they drew level with the first two doors facing each other across the corridor.  "This blue one's got a nice round handle on it, or maybe that green one, number 2?"
        "Any one will do Dick, don't mess around.  They're getting closer," answered Presto with concern in his voice.  "They'll be here any moment."
        The sound of many tramping feet, clinking armour and weapons and coarse guttural language grew steadily louder from around a turn in the corridor as Dick pondered his decision.  He was always up for a fight.  He wanted to make Erendil sweat a bit.
        "How about number 3?  Nice bright yellow colour with a knocker and everything."  He tried the handle.  "Oh it's locked.  Maybe I should knock?"
        "Try another, quickly!" squealed Presto, sounding even more anxious than before.  Presto didn't like orcs.  Orcs didn't like elves either and had a nasty habit of cutting their heads off and sticking them on poles.  They also reportedly did unspeakable things to their beheaded body afterwards.  Presto didn't fancy that at all and visibly shuddered at the thought of it.
        "Here they come!" shouted Falamir.  His torch beam caught the first orcs as they rounded the corner ahead of them and caught sight of the party.
        "Urgluk!!  Snargla ghash!"  (rough translation - "Look!!  Get the b******!") shouted the lead orc, pointing at them with his very nasty looking scimitar which flashed menacingly in the torchlight.
        "This one!" shouted Falamir as he flung open the door nearest him and bolted in.  The door that said 'Sound Stage 4' on it and had a bright red light above it.
        The rest of them piled in after him as the orcs poured down the corridor at them in alarming numbers, howling and shrieking with bloodlust.
        "What the ......!" said Dick.
        The party gawped in amazement at what they saw.  They were in what appeared to be a docking bay straight out of a sci-fi movie!  Bright arc lights shone overhead from a vast metallic ceiling onto a giant hanger bay bustling with technicians, guards, pilots and maintenance droids.  Machinery and spacecraft of all shapes and sizes dotted the bright metallic expanse of gridded metal flooring.  Pipes and lines criss crossed the area.  Floor vents hissed steam.  Noise.  Light.  Bustle.
        "What on earth do you think you're doing?"  enquired a man clutching a clipboard as they rushed past.
        "Sorry, no time to chat," called Erendil as he ran as best he could past him along with the others.
        "I'd clear off as well if I were you mate," shouted Feanar helpfully as he sped past.  "There's a band of orcs about to come through that door.  Run!"
        Aghast, the man threw himself backwards as the leading orcs poured through the door followed closely by the rest, all shouting and snarling and being generally very unpleasant.  They completely ignored everyone and everything else as they single mindedly pursued the party across the hangar.  The technicians and flight crews watched in utter amazement as the party flew across the hangar, dodging maintenance droids, fuelling rigs and equipment pods in their bid to escape the ravening orcs who were in hot pursuit.
        As Falamir ran he noticed a twin turbo laser cannon installation on the far side of the hangar.
        "Head for the laser cannon," he shouted as he pointed and made a dash for it.  They all followed him and got behind it.  Falamir climbed into the operator's seat and flicked a switch.  A series of indicator lights glowed and the turret activated with an audible hum.  He swiveled it round and trained the twin barrels on the rapidly approaching orcs.
        "Shield your eyes," warned Falamir.  They all dutifully put their hands over their eyes and peered through the gaps between their fingers.
        "Let 'em have it," encouraged Feanar from behind his hands.
        "Here goes," said Falamir and squeezed the twin triggers.  "Cop this you scum!"
        Two searing beams of blindingly bright green light streamed from the cannon muzzles and streaked out towards the tightly bunched orcs.  This was accompanied by a suitably impressive laser type noise which is very hard to spell so I'll leave it to your imagination.
        The party members all felt the small hairs on their arms and the back of their necks stand on end as the pulsating beams ionized the surrounding air and reduced every last horrible orc to a smoldering pile of ash.
        "WOOHOOO!" shouted Falamir punching the air in jubilation.  In his excitement he turned the cannon to face the main hangar port and loosed another volley off for good measure.  Twin beams streaked down the entire length of the hangar and disappeared off into deep space.  "This is fantastic!"
        "Well done Falamir," congratulated Erendil.  "But I think you'd better get down from there before you do some serious damage with that thing."
        All the other people in the hangar were picking themselves up and dusting themselves off after diving for cover when the laser went off.  They were all looking utterly surprised and amazed and were jabbering to each other trying to work out what exactly had happened.  The pile of smoldering ash and charred weapons that was the orcs was proof that they hadn't just imagined it.  A man holding a megaphone approached the party and spoke.
        "Just what the Sam Hill is going on here?" he asked in annoyed bewilderment.  "First of all you burst on to my set in fancy dress without so much as a by your leave, then another bunch of guys follow you in wearing the most convincing Halloween prosthetic makeup and wardrobe I've ever seen. You run around totally disrupting the take then to cap it all you nuke the living bejeezus out of them." waving his megaphone in the direction of the pile of smoking remains. "With a goddamn prop!  I'm at a total loss to explain it and as for what I'm supposed to tell the exec producer I've absolutely no idea."  He sat down on a nearby engine cowling shaking his head in disbelief.
        "I'm sorry, how rude of us.  My name is Erendil and these are my associates.  And who may you be sir?" said Erendil offering the man his hand.
        "I'm the director, " he answered rather curtly.
        "Director?  Director of what?"
        "The film."
        "Film?"
        "Yes.  This is a film set.  What did you think it was?  You are on Sound Stage 4 where we are currently shooting the internal space ship hangar scenes of a sci-fi movie.  Take a look."
        Now the party were free of the orc threat they had time to take a better look at their surroundings.  Amongst the assembled costumed personnel and sci-fi themed props they spotted cameras, dollies, sound booms, lighting rigs, all with attendant crews.  People in jeans, tee shirts and sneakers were dotted about holding clip boards, cups of coffee, make up kits, dog-eared copies of what could only be the script.  They even spotted the clapper board guy looking decidedly perplexed.
        "Wow! a real film set," enthused Feanar.  "What are you making?"
        Before the director could answer, Falamir who had been surveying the costumes and set props with mounting excitement blurted out, "Star Wars!  It's Star Wars!!  Look there's 3 X-Wing fighters over there."  They all looked where he was pointing.  "That droid over there is an R2 unit."  They all looked again as he pointed.  "And that gentlemen....," they turned as he pointed behind them at the largest single thing in the hangar,"...is the Millennium Falcon.  Oh my god!  Star Wars!  It's Star Wars!!"  Falamir was almost shaking with excitement and it made them all chuckle, even the director.  They had of course all heard of the Star Wars films, hasn't everybody? Even if they hadn't actually seen them all.  Looking around at everything, they had to concede that Falamir could be right.
        "As your friend has rightly guessed this is a Star Wars movie.  The fourth one in fact, or should I say Part VII.  The first of the final trilogy.  It's scheduled to be released in about a year from now.
        Falamir was absolutely beside himself, his eyes were out on stalks.  Feanar and Shiron also looked pretty pleased and were surveying the scene with growing grins on their faces.
        "Cool," they all said dreamily.
        "But what about you?" asked the director.  What are you doing on my set? and how am I going to explain what you did to them?," waving his megaphone at what was left of the orcs.
        "Let me explain," volunteered Erendil.  "We were, er, taking cover from a band of orcs who were after us and dived in here to avoid them.  Unfortunately they spotted us and ,well, you know the rest."
        "Orcs?"  repeated the director.
        "Yes.  Orcs.  Nasty bad tempered interbred hateful things.  Rotten to the core."
        "You mean guys made up as orcs?  Like you're made up as fantasy adventurers?  Oh I get it!"  he said, snapping his fingers, the light dawning on him.  "You're from Studio 7 aren't you?  They're shooting some sort of sword and sorcery thing over there at the moment.  This is some sort of practical joke isn't it?  This is a big set up."  he said nodding to himself.  "Just you wait.  I'll get my own back on them, " he added, revenge schemes already being plotted in his mind.  
        "No, not at all.  I don't think you quite understand." explained Erendil.  "We are professional adventurers, not actors.  They," indicating the pile of incinerated bodies, "were orcs - genuine real live orcs."
        "Oh, give me a break," said the director with amusement.  "You're good I'll give you that and your makeup, costume and props are excellent.  May I take a look at that?"  he asked gesturing at Erendil's sword.  Erendil unsheathed it and the director took the sword in his hands.  "Jeez it's heavy," he said.  "Excellent, excellent workmanship."  He swooshed it about.  "The balance is superb."  He took a playful swipe at the wood and board constructed engine cowling at his side and went straight through it.  "Holy cow it's sharp too!" he exclaimed in surprise.  "Is this real?  I'm all for authenticity but this is really dangerous.  You must have to be really careful else someone could get hurt with this."  He handed it back to Erendil who had an amused expression on his face.
        "That is the general idea," he said resheathing it.  "It wouldn't be much good to me otherwise.  Both my life and my living depend on it."
        The director was starting to look a bit uncertain.  He took another good look at the party and then over at the smoldering orcs.  "Just what are you saying?  Those guys over there are really dead?"
        "Thank heavens for your laser gun sir, otherwise we'd had to fight them ourselves.  With these," he added patting his sword at his side for emphasis.
        The director walked over to the mound of ashen remains, holding his nose.  He prodded it with his boot.  "Real orcs?  As in JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings?  Real adventurers with real swords?  On a real adventure?"
        "Yes. Well, a D&D adventure." answered Erendil matter of factly.  The director looked at the rest of the party.  They all nodded at him in agreement.
        "D&D?"
        "Dungeons and Dragons.  Fantasy role playing.  Maybe you've heard of it?" offered Erendil hopefully.  It looked like the man's brain was about to melt.
        "Dungeons and Dragons?  Yes my son plays it.  Spends hours locked away in a dark room playing it with his friends."
        "There you go then," replied Erendil with satisfaction.
        "But it's just a game!" blurted the director.  "Dice, little figures, pencil and paper."  Oh dear thought Erendil.  This was turning out to be really hard work.  For a film director he seemed to suffer from a serious lack of imagination.  He put his arm around the director's shoulder.
        "Let's take a walk shall we?" he suggested.  Erendil led the director away,  talking calmly to him, the director nodding slowly.  Erendil looked back over his shoulder to the others.  "Talk amongst yourselves for a while.  And do try not to get up to any mischief."  They watched as Erendil tried his best to explain what was going on to an obviously bewildered man.
        After a few minutes they returned. "......And that probably also explains how he managed to use your laser turret prop as if it were real," finished Erendil.
        "Well I've never heard anything like it in my entire life and that's a fact," replied the director.
        "Anything's possible in this story," joked Shiron with a smile.
        "So it would seem.  So it would seem." answered the director.
        "Haw haw.  That's got to be the line of the year Shiron," laughed Dick.
        The director offered his hand.  "Delighted to make your acquaintance."
        Erendil introduced them all in turn and the director shook their hands.  His grip was shaky and sweaty but firm.  "I don't know about you guys but I could sure use a drink." he said afterwards.
        "Now you're making sense!" agreed Dick.  "Lead on."
        The director put his megaphone to his mouth.  "OK everyone back to work.  Nothing to see here.  Prep for re-take.  15 minutes please."  He lowered the megaphone and started to walk away then stopped and raised it again.  "And can someone please clean up that mess!"
        The party accompanied him back to his director's chair where he tentatively sat down.  "Chet.  Get these guys some chairs and cups will you please?" he called to a hovering assistant.  "Oh, and bring out my bottle of JD from the office."
        In short order 6 fold up chairs, plastic cups and a part full bottle were produced and set down.  The director took a large tug from the bottle and wiped his lips with a loud "Aaaaahhhh."  He chatted with them enthusiastically about film making and the pros and cons of professional D&D adventuring as the bottle did the rounds.  They got the impression that he would view his son's gaming interest in a whole new light from now on.  After a very pleasant break the director stood up.
        "We'll it's been a real pleasure but I really must get on.  If I don't get this scene shot there'll be hell to pay and I'll have George breathing down my neck."
        "George?  George Lucas?" piped up Falamir.
        "None other."
        "He is a god!" replied Falamir in all seriousness.
        "He certainly likes to think so," responded the director with a wry grin.  "Please, feel free to stay and watch if you like."
        "Oh wow really?" said Falamir in excitement.
        "Of course.  As long as you promise to stay here and not kill any of my extras that'll be fine," he added jokingly.
        They all sat up in their chairs ready for the show.  "Anyone got any popcorn?" said Feanar.
        The director called over his assistant.  "Get Harrison on the radio will you?  I imagine he's nodded off again with the long wait.  We're ready to go here in 2."
        "Gotcha," answered the man.
        The director raised the megaphone to his mouth.  He was back in the driving seat again, business as usual.  "OK people, 2 minutes.  Positions please."
        Makeup artists put the final dabs and dustings on several extras and scurried out of shot.  Uniforms were adjusted.  A special mechanical effects guy with a remote control steered the R2 unit into position.  The 4 camera crews put their headphones on and made final adjustments.  The boom operator's leaned in.  The director got the nod from the assistant with the radio.  He sat down in his chair with a commanding view of the area and a bank of direct feed monitors set low in front of him.
        "Lights.  Camera."  Someone with a clipboard off to his left gave him two thumbs up.
        The director nodded to the clapperboard guy who was standing ready in front of the main camera.
        "Scene 25.  Take 4."  He snapped it shut.
        "And...  Action!" called the director.

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Here endeth Part 10.
Don't miss the next episode 'May The Force Be With You'
It's here now.  Click on Next.

 

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Copyright John Angus Walker 1986, 2003.  All right reserved.