Mercury's Messengers

09.01.201814 Min Read — In Scratch Theater

Two brilliant teens take the adventure of a lifetime when they get transported into their very own video game.

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Place: Cambridge, MA; Ancient Rome Time: now; ancient past Characters: Faye Techiya Colin Jupiter Flavia Apollo Vulcanus Pluto Neptune FAYE and TECHIYA are delivering a presentation at Fred Talks. The topic is their new video game, “Mercury’s Messengers”. They are in front of a screen that reads Fred Talks. FAYE After sharing Time Magazine’s Person of The Year title, we wondered, how could we possibly top ourselves? TECHIYA We thought about doing something in 3D, something with body sensors, maybe even something unprecedented in how interactive it would be. FAYE But instead, we thought about what really mattered. What, in a video game, do players really look for? And we decided that story, character, and the challenges are what make great video games. TECHIYA Though I’m the music and sound designer, I still helped to brainstorm ideas. FAYE After running through different ideas, different themes, different possibilities, we came upon one that we thought absolutely perfect, and Person of the Year worthy. TECHIYA Ladies and gentlemen, (Techiya points the clicker at the projector and clicks, revealing the artwork and images from the video game) we give you Mercury’s Messengers. The crowd goes wild. FAYE In this game, set in Ancient Rome, Mercury and his gang of Messengers must complete tasks assigned to them by the gods. They must get through mazes, difficult puzzles, and figure out new ways of achieving their goals in order to please the gods and survive. TECHIYA Boy, I’d hate to be in their winged shoes. FAYE Lol, Techiya. TECHIYA Thanks, girl. FAYE So that’s our new game. We’ve got a prototype ready to go in the Fred Arcade for everyone to enjoy. TECHIYA Thanks for listening and enjoy the rest of the show! FAYE You mean the talks. TECHIYA Right, enjoy the rest of the talks. Faye and Techiya exit to raucous applause. They go backstage to celebrate. Their assistant, played by the same actor who will play Jupiter, enters. COLIN That was fantastic. Couldn’t have gone any better even if you’d had Steve Jobs himself up there. FAYE Thanks, Colin. COLIN I’ve got lots of fan mail for you guys, so much of it came in while you were speaking. Loads of tweets, emails, brand new Tumblr accounts, there’s even a Pinterest page dedicated to finding screencaps of the game. TECHIYA Wow, that’s a bit overwhelming. COLIN It’s just people wanting to celebrate your achievements and have fun with the games. I have a few messages from celebrities if you would like to hear them. FAYE Yes, Colin. COLIN Taylor Swift called and said she’s excited to bring this game out with her on her next tour. TECHIYA I still can’t believe she and Jake Gyllanhaal broke up. FAYE I still can’t believe she and Jake Gyllanhaal went out. COLIN The Big Bang Theory wants to do some product placement on an upcoming episode. TECHIYA Ooh, I love that show. FAYE Me too, but when are they ever going to give some character development to Raj? COLIN And a Mr. Justin Beiber has asked for Techiya’s hand in marriage. TECHIYA Again? FAYE Man, that boy is desperate. I do love his new song, though. TECHIYA Tell Mr. Beiber I’m a little busy right now enjoying worldwide video game success and can’t be bothered to plan a wedding. Maybe next year. COLIN And you also received a gift from an anonymous source, though his courier told me he is one of the biggest giants in the tech world. FAYE That’s strange. What is it? COLIN He said it’s Ambrosia, Miss Faye. TECHIYA Hey, that’s the drink of the gods. How appropriate for our Mount Olympus set game. COLIN I imagine it’s cranberry juice or something like that, since obviously Ambrosia doesn’t really exist. FAYE Hmm. I could go for some cranberry juice. TECHIYA Me too. Colin prepares two glasses for the girls and pours them the liquid. FAYE Hey, Techiya, wouldn’t it be funny if this stuff really was Ambrosia and somehow sent us to Ancient Rome? TECHIYA That, Miss Faye, is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Cheers! They clink glasses and drink. FAYE Hey, I don’t know if this is really cranberry juice. I’m starting to feel funny. TECHIYA Me too. COLIN Miss Faye? Miss Techiya? FAYE Colin, call 911, I think I’m going to- Whoosh! The lights flicker, a loud sound is heard. Blackout. Lights up. Faye and Techiya are now in Ancient Rome. Techiya is suddenly only able to sing. They are, understandably, very confused. Faye What happened? What’s going on? TECHIYA I don’t know, where did we go? Faye What-wait, why are you singing? TECHIYA I can only croon, all my words are in tune. FAYE Why are we in front of mountains? And why does everything look so...animated? (spots a passerby) Hey, you, I demand to know what’s going on! FLAVIA What do you mean? FAYE What do I mean? I mean what has happened to me? Just a moment ago I was standing and having a drink of some certainly expired cranberry juice and now I’, wherever here is. Surrounded by mountains and people in togas. (looks down) Oh my goodness, I’m in a toga! Who did this to me?! FLAVIA You did. That is what you always wear. FAYE Wait- what I always wear. Does that mean you know me? FLAVIA Of course I do. Every person here knows you. FAYE I’m Faye. FLAVIA Ha, don’t be so silly. You’re Mercury. FAYE I’m what? KELLY You’re Mercury, Messenger to the gods. TECHIYA Who are you, the girl with the clue? FLAVIA I’m Flavia. I am on your team. I am a Messenger as well. TECHIYA I do exclaim, I think we’re in the game! FAYE But that’s not possible. We’re humans, not characters. FLAVIA How dare you. I may be but a lowly Messenger but I am still a person. TECHIYA I think we must play, in order to return to our own day. FLAVIA Why are you singing? TECHIYA I don’t know, please just let it go. FLAVIA Weird. Anyway, I have been waiting for you. We must see Jupiter right away. He has a task for us. He hates it when we are late. Flavia starts walking. FAYE Techiya, I think you’re right. I think we are in our own game. And I think that just like our characters, if we don’t do things right, we won’t survive it. TECHIYA I told you to keep an infinite life supply, to never let our characters die! FAYE Well yeah, hindsight’s twenty-twenty. FLAVIA Come on, he is very loose with the lightening bolts. FAYE Coming. All right, Techiya. This is our only chance. TECHIYA I’ll help you to get free, but next time you will listen to me! Jupiter is sitting in his throne talking to Neptune and Apollo. JUPITER Everyone thinks just because I’m the King of the Gods that I must be so tough. They think just because I killed my father who swallowed me whole then I must be made of stone. I mean, I have feelings too, you know. When Hades taunts me and makes fun of how yes, I am at times a little clumsy, I mean it hurts. NEPTUNE Hmm, but this is good, that you’re talking about it. JUPITER It is, I just keep it all bottled up and- FLAVIA We’re here, sir. Mercury’s Messengers have arrived. JUPITER Oh, uh, right yes. Well it’s about time. FLAVIA Apologies, sir. JUPITER Yes, well. I’ll spare your life, this time. (beat) Mercury, I have a need for your services. Will you obey? Faye and Techiya stand silent. Flavia elbows Faye. FLAVIA (to Faye) He’s talking to you. FAYE Oh yeah. Yes, Jupiter, we are ready. JUPITER Good. I require a new lightening bolt holder from Vulcanus. My current one keeps sparking. FAYE And how are we going to get it? JUPITER You’re the Messenger, you figure it out. FLAVIA Don’t worry, Mercury, I have the maps. TECHIYA We should leave now without delay, for I think he lives quite far away. JUPITER Do this and you will be rewarded well. FAYE A return home? JUPITER Argh, so many questions, why can’t you just do the simplest of things- APOLLO Now Jupiter, we talked about this- JUPITER But she’s, gar she just argh ugh argh- APOLLO Use your words- JUPITER Fine. Mercury, since I’m working on my anger, I shall not immediately strike you down with a lightening bolt. Instead, I will allow you to complete this task and get back in my good graces. You have exactly one hour to get me my new lightening bolt holder or else you will no longer be welcome on Mount Olympus. APOLLO Good job. JUPITER Thank you. Faye, Techiya, and Flavia set out. Flavia looks at her map to determine where to go. FLAVIA Okay, so it’s a bit tricky. According to this map, it’s practically a maze. TECHIYA Tricky or no, we still must go. FAYE (looking at the map) All right, guys. All we have to do is get through a complex, puzzle-like pathway, avoid robbers, thieves, and miscreants, crevices in the mountains, avalanches, floods, quick streams, and a few mythical creatures who could eat us up in one quick bite. What could possibly go wrong? Blackout. Lights up. A maze has been constructed around the entire room, weaving through the audience. Faye, Techiya, and Flavia must navigate through it before reaching VULCANUS. FAYE Boy, this is one complex maze. FLAVIA Don’t worry, I have the map. As long as we avoid danger, we should be all right. They go through the maze to the laire of Vulcanus. FAYE Do we knock? VULCANUS (still unseen) Who goes there? FAYE It is me, Faye. VULCANUS AND FLAVIA Who? FAYE I mean Mercury, it is me, Mercury. VULCANUS Oh, you must be here for the lightening bolt holder. TECHIYA We came to get the pack, so we can now bring it back. VULCANUS You know, it took me two months to make this. He hands the lightening bolt holder to Faye. FAYE It’s wonderful craftsmanship. FLAVIA Really shiny. VULCANUS I made it just for my dad. You know Jupiter? Yeah, that’s him. FLAVIA (to Faye and Techiya) He does this every time. VULCANUS Yeah, I guess you could say he’s a pretty great his other fifty seven children. He’s never come to see me, though. Oh sure, he’ll visit Neptune and hang out with Apollo- FLAVIA (to Faye and Techiya, while Vulcanus is still talking) We should really just go. He’ll be like this all day if we don’t leave. VULCANUS -but does he want to see his son who makes him all those lightening bolts he cherishes so much? Noooo. Nope, he’s too busy. Yeah, too busy drinking ambrosia and cavorting about with the gods. Flavia, Techiya, and Faye all back away slowly and go on their way. Vulcanus continues his complaints. VULCANUS (continued) And don’t even get me started on my mother. Do you know how many metal headdresses I’ve had to make for her? And does she ever send me a thank you note? No, take take take is all these people do- Hey, where’d everybody go? Blackout. Lights up. Faye, Techiya, and Flavia are in front of Jupiter, Apollo, and Cupid delivering the package. JUPITER Very good. You’ve done well. That only took you five minutes out of sixty. FAYE Yes, it felt a lot faster than I had expected. JUPITER Well I am all set for now, but my fellow gods have a few tasks for you. FAYE Shoot. CUPID misfires an arrow at her. JUPITER She meant the idiom, you fool. And you can’t even strike your target? Get out of here. Cupid dejectedly walks away. APOLLO Anywho. As you know, I am Apollo, god of the sun. As Spring is upon us, I wanted to have a festival. I have Bacchus for the food and drink, Aphrodite for the decorations, but the one thing I lack is entertainment. I would like for you to create one signature song and dance for the fairies and nymphs to perform at the festival. FAYE Of course, whatever you need. APOLLO Thank you. You have ten minutes. FAYE AND FLAVIA AND TECHIYA Ten minutes! APOLLO Nine and a half now. FLAVIA (holding up the map) Let’s go, guys. There are some instruments at the bottom of the mountain we can use. Blackout. Lights up. Techiya, Faye, and Flavia are working on their song and dance. PLUTO, god of the underworld interrupts them. PLUTO What about step ball change and one and two and three- FLAVIA Gasp! It’s Pluto. PLUTO I do so love how up here, everybody knows my name. I also love that everyone cowers in fear when it’s mentioned! FAYE Who is this guy? FLAVIA Faye, no! PLUTO How dare you! I am the god of the underworld and I have a right mind to send you down there to rot for eternity. FLAVIA She didn’t mean it, she’s a regular jokester like that. PLUTO Hmm. I don’t find it very funny, but then again, I have found that not many people share my scintillating wit and brilliant humor. FLAVIA What do you want? We’re just trying to write a song and dance for Apollo. PLUTO Hmm, what do I want, what do I want. You know what? I don’t want anything. Except to make you miserable, of course. I am going to give you three riddles to solve. Solve all of them, you can continue what you were doing. Fail to do so, and join me in the underworld. FAYE Fine. We’ll take the chance. What’s the riddle? PLUTO (takes out a poster board with the questions written on it) Riddle number one: “There are three brothers in this world that were all born together. The first runs and never wearies. The second eats and is never full. The third drinks and is always thirsty. The fourth sings a song that is never good.” What are these four brothers? Riddle number two: “Give me food, and I will live; give me water, and I will die. What am I?” Riddle number three: “The man who invented it doesn’t want it. The man who bought it doesn’t need it. The man who needs it doesn’t know it. What is it?” You may take a moment to figure it out. But take too long and you’re coming downstairs with me. Faye, Techiya, and Flavia huddle together, writing their answers on the poster board as they figure them out. They move away from the poster board revealing the correct answers: 1) Earth, Wind, Fire, Water; 2) fire; 3) a coffin. PLUTO (continued) Darn it! Those are all correct. Fine. You can go back to doing your song and dance or whatever it was. I have more mayham to cause. Excuse me. The girls return to their song and dance and finish the assignment. They then perform it for Apollo. APOLLO I love it! I absolutely love it. FLAVIA Thanks. APOLLO I’ll definitely make sure you’re given credit at the festival. I mean, I’ll say I came up with it and not ever mention your names, but you know, I’ll be thinking of you. You’re good for now. Apollo turns back to talk to Jupiter while the girls stand confused. FAYE Great, now we’ll never get out of this game. FLAVIA What game? FAYE Argh, we are in a videogame! FLAVIA A video what? FAYE Ugh, this is ridiculous. We’re obviously going to be trapped in here forever with no way of ever getting out. At least the footwear is comfy. Jupiter receives a paper airplane note. JUPITER What has he done now. (shows the paper to Apollo) Can you believe this guy? Really, now. All right, Mercury’s Messengers. I have one final task for you. FAYE A final task? JUPITER Yes, one with the greatest reward you could ever receive. FLAVIA What is it? JUPITER My foolish brother Neptune has a bit of a temper, but honestly I don’t know where he gets it from, I’m so even-keeled. APOLLO Yeah... JUPITER Anyways, he’s gone and shipwrecked an entire crew. Normally, I wouldn’t care about mere mortals, but they’ve got a ye old Guarino’s cake, and I am not about to let that go down. Bring it to me and you can go home. FLAVIA But this is our home. Jupiter looks knowingly at Faye and Techiya. JUPITER Go now or I’ll keep you here forever. TECHIYA Let us go and finish the show! I mean game! FAYE Don’t give away the plot, Techiya. Amateur. FLAVIA Come on, guys. We have a cake to rescue! And some crew guys, but whatever. I am really just in it for the cake. They leave. Blackout. Lights up. Flavia, Faye, and Techiya arrive at the foamy shores of the Mediterranean. They can hear the men calling for help, but do not know what to do. FLAVIA I don’t know, guys. The map just shows an ocean, not a way to get out there. TECHIYA Our planning can’t be sloppy, because this water’s pretty choppy. FLAVIA We can build a boat out of this tree here, but I don’t see how we can get it out there. There are sea monsters, dangerous riptides trenches that we could get trapped in. Plus, the water’s really cold. FAYE Don’t worry, guys. This is what I’ve been training for all my life. FLAVIA You can swim? FAYE Of course, I’m a championship swimmer back home in Norwood. FLAVIA Norwood. Is that near Mesopotamia? FAYE No, it’s a land farther away than you could even imagine. FLAVIA So...not Sicily? FAYE All right, here’s the plan. I’m going to swim out there, pull in the boat, and rescue the cake. Easy, right? FLAVIA It’s never as easy as it looks, Mercury. FAYE It’ll be all right. What could possibly go wrong? Faye starts to swim, Neptune pops up. Faye must tread water to stay alive. NEPTUNE Really, Mercury, you thought it was going to be that simple? Aren’t you the confident one. FAYE What are you doing down here? Shouldn’t you be up on your mountaintop preparing for Apollo’s festival? NEPTUNE I should, but I thought causing massive destruction to an innocent ship and its sailors would be a lot more fun. Do you actually think you can swim out there tugging that big boat behind you? You’re already looking a little tired. FAYE I’m fine. In fact, I’m better than fine. I’m fabulous. Why wouldn’t I be, I’m Faye. NEPTUNE What’s a Faye? FAYE Just get out of my way, Neptune. I’ve got a job to do. NEPTUNE Wait a minute, you can’t just- Faye pushes Neptune out of the way and continues to swim. NEPTUNE (continued) Ouch, cheap shot! Fine, I’ll let you pass, but this is going to be the hardest swim of your life! Neptune points her staff at the sea and the waves get wild, making Faye’s challenge as difficult as swimming the English Channel. She makes it, though, and rescues the cake. FAYE Come on, boys. Here’s your boat. I’ll drag you back, since you’re obviously useless now. Hey, sticky fingers, hands off my cake. Faye swims back to shore with her cake in hand. FAYE (continued) You’re welcome, boys. FLAVIA My goodness, you must be tired. FAYE Yeah, I really am. Faye hands Techiya the cake, then collapses. TECHIYA No, Faye, get up my friend! We’re on a journey that’s about to end! FAYE I can’t. Go on without me, I’m just too tired. FLAVIA Not a chance. Here at Mercury’s Messengers, we leave no messenger behind, especially if it’s Mercury. Besides, who would run the business if we left you here? Flavia and Techiya pick up Faye and help her back to Mount Olympus. Blackout. Lights up. Techiya, Flavia, and Faye are once again in front of Jupiter. Faye is near dead from exhaustion. FLAVIA Here is your cake, sir. Please, be kind and help my boss. She has done so much to get this baked good. She does not deserve this fate, even if it is Guarino’s. JUPITER I have something that might make her better. Techiya, you look weary. You might like this as well. He pours Techiya and Faye ambrosia. JUPITER (continued) To the Messengers, who have sacrificed so much of themselves to bring me my spoils. Cheers. Faye and Techiya drink their ambrosia. Faye collapses. TECHIYA Faye! Faye! Oh no, my head feels funny too, what’s happening? Faye! The lights flicker. Blackout. Lights up. Techiya and Faye are back at their studio. TECHIYA Well that was certainly the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me. FAYE Hey, you’re not singing anymore. TECHIYA Oh yeah. Thank goodness, I don’t want any vocal damage before my sold-out concert next week. FAYE Wow, it’s good to be home. I was worried we wouldn’t make it out of there, but here we are, in infinite bits and pixels, real life HD. TECHIYA Yeah. I guess all that’s left is to send the game to Nintendo and make a killing. FAYE Yeah, and just get back on with real life. Real problems, real tasks, and real work with no festivals to break up the day and no fun. TECHIYA Say, we do have a little of that ambrosia leftover. But that would be crazy, right? FAYE Yes, that would be absolutely mad. Going back into a video game? Psh. Now that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. They stare at the half-empty glasses of ambrosia. They pick them up. FAYE AND TECHIYA Cheers! Blackout. End of play.