Story by Alan Moore.
Stage adaption by Andrew Ness.

This version of Halo Jones Book 1 was seen in Liverpool near the end of March, 2001. The original intention was for the same cast to appear at Comics 2001. Instead, however, Halo Jones was read as a 'Radio Play' by the following motley crew:

Halo - Elaine Mace
Swifty Frisko - Andrew Ness
Brinna/Mechanic/General Cannibal - PJ Holden
Rodice - Barny Shergold
Ludy and Hag 3 - Wakefield Carter
Toby - William Logan
Man/Rumblejack/Guard - Kevin Goldsmith
Proximan - John Anderson

As the audience take their seats, the DJ repeats the following…

DJ: Dataday, day-to-day. I'm Swifty Frisko, love me or leave me! If you're one of the jobless of planet earth, then The Hoop is for you. Tethered conveniently off the Manhattan Peninsula, it provides a floating haven for its many residents - increased leisure citizens who dwell in the pictoresque Blister-Homes blossoming from the numerous Lilo-Pads adjoining the Hoop.

Crowd scene. Music.

DJ: I'm Swifty Frisko, here's today's Traffax… Expect Ozjams around East-am for the next hour, cloudniks, as the ESS Clara Pandy is floated in to the Manhattan Platform. The Ship, last of the famous Krupp-Corona 'S' Series is due for dissembly in a month's time.

In the crowd, Rodice, Halo, Brinna, Ludy and Toby watch the Clara Pandy, an old space liner, arriving. Rodice and Halo are both about eighteen, and dressed in the fashions of the Hoop. Ludy is younger, but wears similar clothes. Toby is a robot dog. Brinna is older.

Music is playing, and they are dancing and have to shout as if in a club. Brinna is excited but not dancing. At the back of the stage, an alien 'Proximan' with no arms and a tail.

Rodice: Lot of people just to watch a piece of flying scrap.

Halo: Its not scrap, the Clara Pandy's been everywhere… right out past the megallanic cloud, even.

Brinna: See, Rodice, Halo knows. Did I tell you that I met the real Clara Pandy once? She was eighty five and I was nineteen. She was an astonishing woman, she… Look! There it is!

Music stops.

Halo: Oh, Brinna.. she's beautiful!


DJ: Our friends from Proxima Centauri know the Hoop as a truly cosmopolitan society, ready to embrace the the Proximan immigrant with open arms - if the Proximen had any arms to embrace with, that is! Nonetheless, these lovable lizards of limited limb, accustomed to the hellish silicone wastes of Proxima, have found a home from home on the Hoop.

The Proximan fights with a man.

Proximan: Watch you push thisself Quaddie!

Man: It’s a free planet, Proxi-freak… and it aint yours yet!

They squabble off stage.

Rodice: There she pops. C'mon, let's skid away before the lid blows off.

Halo: But the Clara Pandy…

Rodice: Oobliay the Clara Pandy! The rumble-jacks'll be here for a hoop-scoop any minute now...

DJ: Over 70% of the Hoop's population is female, and even though the Hoop's hyper-efficient police force, known as RumbleJacks are usually on hand to cope with emergencies, we prefer to encourage a tough breed of independent women with a flare for self-protection. Of course, if you're independently wealthy, why not try a Ripper? These fiesty psuedo canines, capable of disembowelling cars, come in five beefy persona types. On the Hoop, we call it 'armed friendship'.

Man: Hey, squeeze! Squeeze with a bare arm! Wanna go out with me?

Toby: I think you should keep walking friend.

Man: Uh, yeah, that's what I think, too.

Rodice: I could've crumped that shmoo without any inbutt from you, Fido.

Brinna: Rodice, come on, this is getting extreme!

They run

Rodice: Just in time, there go the Jackwagons. You okay, Halo?

Halo: No, I'm sick of this place. Everytime something nice happens, a fight starts. One day, I'm getting out of here.

Rodice: Yeah, you and everybody else, and their uncle's parakeet.

Halo: I mean it, Rodice.

Rodice: Forget it, girly. Even if you do get out it's no good. Cause no matter how far you get, they'll fetch you back here and bust you to pieces. Just ask Clara Pandy.

They leave.

DJ: Algae Baron Lux Roth Chop: will he wont he? Is intervention his intention? Over to Jazz Firpo at Chop Towers in Pseudo Portugal…

Enter Jazz Firpo and LRC.
Jazz is a cheesy news-jockey, LRC is a businessman.

Jazz: Lux Roth Chop, will you make a bid to save the Clara Pandy from the dissembler yards?

L-R-C: Probably not.

Exit Jazz and LRC

DJ: Hmm, sounds like wait and see from LRC! And finally, a bureau of Identities announcement for the Proximan community. After his promotion to Procurator Fiscal, Mr Bandaged Ice That Stampedes Inexpensively Through A Scribbled Morning, has added another three words to his name… he will now be addressed as Procurator Bandaged Ice That Stampedes Inexpensively Through A Scribbled Morning Waving Unnecessary Ankles. Crazy name for a crazy reptile. This is Swifty Frisko…

As the DJ speaks, the scene changes to Halo's home.
Halo, Rodice, Brinna.

Rodice: All the Proximen I know have one-word names. No wait a minute, there was the fat guy "Wilted Continent" he had two- What am I talking about? I must be bored out of my mind!

Brinna: That's because you don't get enough fresh air, Rodice.

Rodice: Fresh air? Yeah, I remember breathing some of that once. It tasted of fish.

Halo: Well, we going out to watch Ludy play tonight.

Brinna: You'll wind up crumped in a side-artery: Ludy said she saw some Different Drummers around earlier.

Rodice: She sees them everywhere… Anyway Brinna, I thought you wanted to watch 'Existential Romance' for your research?

Brinna: I am. You two go ahead though.

Scene changes again.
Music, dancing. Ludy is playing the 'Dota', there is a man, Box, singing and dancing.
There are 'Different Drummers', members of a musical cult, in the crowd.

Halo: Isn't this mammoth? How did you like Ludy's dota solo?

Rodice: It was just elevating! Hoy, Box! Flex the animaderms this way!

Halo: Rodice!… Although Box is kind of slappy, isn't he?

Rodice: Exquisite. C'moff… "Missing Planet" is the next number. Lets go Rear Scene…

Backstage. Halo talks to Ludy, Rodice flirts with Box.

Halo: Ludy, that was blue-hot!

Ludy: Thanks.

Rodice: Hello, I'm Rodice. Wanna marry me?

Halo: Rodice, I'm going to the wraproom with Ludy to pick up her gimmicks.

Rodice: Ludy who?

Ludy: She's really tough, isn't she? She wins fights and stuff. I wish I was like her.

Halo: Yeah, well, she wishes she spent eight nights a week rehearsing with Box. You do ok, Ludy, you're a talent, soon, you and Ice Teen are going to be big enough to get off the hoop for good. I wish I was.

Ludy: Sure. And how do I survive until then? I mean there were Drummers in the audience tonight…

Halo: Oh, that was just Squib's brother. He had an implant last week. Now he's a drummer, too. Bunch of lousy, mindless glombies. Nod, nod, nod all the time…

Ludy: Yeah, and they do it in unison… brrr.

Halo: Me and Rodice and Brinna'll take care of you. You're our pet celebrity! Rodeeece! C'mon, we're going. Safe night, Box.

Rodice: Yeah, safe night.

Box: Right.

Rodice, Halo and Ludy are on the street. It is dark.

Ludy: Oh, no! The hooplanterns are all fritzed out along this arc…

Halo: We should have brought Toby…

Rodice: Relax, I've got a Sputstik in my zippit. Guaranteed safe passage. Anybody mixes it with us is going to be re-aquainted with their breakfast.

DJ: Sputsticks! I’m Swifty Frisco. The Sputstick is the weapon of choice for young hoopsiders who want their enemies to suffer reverse digestion. Gross. Not advised for use in a confined space. Available now from Ms Anthrope supplies. Tell ‘em Swifty sentcha. All rights reserved.

Halo: Yeah, but sputstiks are one-shots. What if there's ten of them?

Ludy: Halo, shut up!

Rodice: If there's ten of them we throw them Ludy and run.

Halo: Hey, Rodice, leave her alone.

Rodice: I was joking. Can't anybody take a-

Enter drummers.


For the first time, the drummers raise their heads to look at Ludy. Rodice drops her bag of ‘Kriskies.’

Ludy: H..Halo?

Halo: Uh… hey, look we don't really need this right now… uh…

Drummer1: You.

Ludy: Mu- me?

Drummer1: Played a chief dota tonight. We appreciate. You all right by the drummers.

Exit drummers

Rodice: …I think that was our last bag of kriskies…

DJ: Kriskies! I’m Swifty Frisco, lets hang out. Peckish? Pick up a bag of Kriskies, guaranteed minimum nutrition, maximum taste. And a great source of essential cholesterol. Now available in wombat flavour. Dataday, day to day, putting the 'edible' back into credibility! I'm Swifty Frisco, hows things? I'll tell you… Clara Pandy: going for broke? Lux Roth Chop stated today that he would not prevent the destruction of the antique liner.

Home. Brinna is watching a holo-vid. Enter Halo, Rodice and Ludy.

Halo: Hi, Brinna. What are you watching?

Brinna: John Cage: Atonal Avenger!

Rodice: I'm going to see if we've got any more kriskies…

Rodice goes off into another room at the back of the stage.

Halo: Ludy, you know it was you who saved us from getting crumped, with your music. I hope tonight's been a lesson to you…

Ludy: Yeah, yeah I think it has…in a lot of ways.

Rodice(off): Oh, NOO!

Enter Rodice

Halo: Rodice? What is it?

Rodice: We're destroyed is what it is. We're as good as dead already. There is no food at all in this shabbitat.

Ludy: No food?

Halo: But that means…

Rodice: A shopping expedition!

DJ: Here’s today’s riot forecast, I’m Swifty Frisco. Anyone planning a shopping trip today is in luck, as predictions are rioting will be kept to minmal levels this PM, but selected areas of the hoop are still under repair following the fashion massacre of last week. Shopping in the Hoop is simple and arranged for your convenience. With careful planning, and good time management, most people find they can do all their essential purchasing within a three day period.

During the DJ's speech, time has passed.

Brinna: Listen, if you really want to risk a shopping expedition, I logged an inventory… we need ghost toast, chickpeas, kriskies, a plasbulb of algarhythm, about a drum of nulcept, brown rice…

Rodice: I think I see how we can do it. If Halo and me reach the main hoopway by 04:75, we'll make the NorthWest quadrant before they seal off for hoopflex at 0500…

Halo: I can't risk a shopping expedition. I just can't. Please… let an algae satellite crash on my head right now…

More time passes

DJ: … in the West Betas, so take a lead parasol.

Rodice: Listen, we can reach the mall by 8:80 tonight and… Wait. No we can't. Southwest hooplanterns are fritzed. We'll have to detour.

Halo: Aargh! Hoy! Ludy! Wanna go shopping instead of me?

Ludy: Well, I…

Halo: Oh, you've got your dota, you're rehearsing…

Ludy: Uh, yeah. That's right. But maybe, I mean I don't have to…

Halo: No. You rehearse, that's more important… you rehearse till ice ten get signed by Chop Leisure and you're rich enough to quit this dump. Go on. Safe day, chicklette.

Ludy: Yeah. Right. Safe day, Halo.

Rodice: Hoy! Jones! Come off! I got it all figured - we have to be street - neat and ready to run by 03:90…

Brinna: …and some spaghetti, and lentils, and a tub of quick quark…

DJ: On the fiscal front, dolphin spokesperson Kikit Trririt says navigator's lodge will continue to oppose water exports, threatening the wet dollar.

Brinna: And a stacket of karobix, and some skinshields and microfoam. And some psilosherbert mix, but without the little mauve bits. Just if you happen to see it. That's all, now are you children wearing enough insurance?

Rodice: Oh, Brinna! Quit mother clucking! I've got six zenades and my sputstik. Plus our route's figured exactly. We'll be able to dodge any drangsturms.

Brinna: Rodice, you avoid trouble like Lux Roth Chop takes advice. Toby will accompany you…

Toby: Ma, I don't like this. I should be here with you. The brats can look after themselves.

Rodice: That's aces by me, Dogmatic Dan.

Halo: How's half-life with you. Toby?

Toby: Rough.

Brinna: No arguments. It's 03:90 Time to run.

Exit, Halo, Rodice and Toby.

Enter Jazz Firpo

Jazz: Hi folks, Jazz Firpo here on the streets of the Hoop. As you know, the Hoop is essentially a wasteground, the home of those who don't fit in back home. The unemployed masses, and the criminal classes. But in amongst this crowd, there live a few people who are here for reasons of their own.

Ludy: Hoy, look Brinna, it's Jazz Firpo. They say he's up to get Swifty Frisco's job one day.

Brinna: They're both chattering idiots. I wish you could turn them off sometimes. What does he want?

Ludy: I'm going to get my dota, he might ask me to play it for him. I'm going to be on the Jazz Firpo Show!

Jazz: Brinna Childresse Lao?

Brinna: Yes. I'm Brinna, why?

Jazz: We're doing a series of profiles on the Hoop's citizens. I'm just here to ask you some questions.

Brinna: Leave me alone. I've got work to do.

Jazz: You're a student aren't you? What's your subject?

Brinna: Holo-soap operas and 3D melodrama.

Jazz: The Classics? Fascinating. I hear you're quite a rich woman.

Brinna: No…

Jazz: In fact, you could probably live in Manhattan itself, so why stay here?

Brinna: This is where I belong. With my friends. These girls want looking after, you know what girls are like.

Jazz: Indeed I do, Brinna. Indeed I do.

Ludy: Brinna! You're on the Jazz Firpo show! Ask him if I can do a song…

Brinna: Hold on, are you broadcasting this?

Jazz: All over the Hoop. You're a celebrity now.

Brinna: Get out.

Jazz: But…

Brinna: Out!

Brinna pushes Jazz out of the home.

Ludy: What did you do that for? That might have been my big chance. That was Jazz Firpo. He's the slappiest. If he likes something, it makes it. He's got more bands signed up to Chop Leisure than anyone.

Brinna: He's just told everyone on the Hoop that I've got money. And where we live.

Ludy: So?

Brinna: On the Hoop. Do you know how many burglars there are on here? They use this place as somewhere to throw them all when the prisons get full up.

Ludy: You think they'll…

Brinna: Don't worry, Toby will be back soon enough.

Ludy: Why is it like this, Brinna? I don't want to be scared any more.

Brinna: It's alright, Ludy. No-one watches that show anyway. They only put it on so people can have a break from that Swifty Frisco.

DJ: Hi, I'm Swifty Frisco!

Brinna: Shut up!

Ludy: But this whole place, the Hoop…

Brinna: It could be worse. There's no bad weather, they give you enough to eat. This place was supposed to be a temporary solution you know. They needed somewhere for all the unemployed to live while they looked for work, and some genius came up with The Hoop. A miracle of modern, well you know. Then they found out there were a few more unemployed around than they'd been banking on. When I was young, people would come here for a few weeks and then find a job. But it all dried up. The Hoop's not the worst place in the world.

Ludy: But there's gangs and Drummers and weirdos.

Brinna: And there's me and Halo and Rodice, and Box, and your dota. You'll be fine. You could even get out of here.

Ludy: That's what Halo's always saying.

Brinna: Well she does know what she's talking about sometimes.

Scene change.
Halo and Rodice are shopping

Halo: Rodice, do we really have to go through with this? I'm only eighteen!

Rodice: The alternative is grim starvation.

Halo: Well, that doesn't sound that bad to me…

Rodice: No? Well, maybe you got enough surplus butter to live on. I don’t. Now let's spout some speedlines. We've got a tight schedule.

DJ: …Less than eighty minutes before the dismantling of the 's' series liner is commenced. I'm Swifty Frisco, let's be pals…

Rodice: Tobe, is it true you have little tiny aluminium fleas?

Toby: No. But I got great big presteel incisors echo-skull…

Halo: Will you two come off? It's 04:76 and we're not even on concourse yet! That's a minute behind schedule!

Rodice: Hey, don't get all hyper-adrenal. I allowed a snafu-margin, we're doing ok. Anyway, we're here! What's a minute, apart from a hundred seconds?

Halo: Well, I dunno. I just feel edgy about all this… 'The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglae'

Rodice: Hmm, I'm sure that's very profound. What's 'mice'?

Halo: Well, they were like rats only they were littler and they couldn't talk…

Rodice: Really?

Toby: Looks like quite a jampede on the hoop today. Could mean trouble-

Halo: Oh, Toby, don't even talk about it.

DJ: AWOOGA! AWOOGA! Dataday supplementary news-splash! I'm Swifty Frisco, get this! Despite earlier denials algae baron Lux Roth Chop has placed an order for the E.S.S. Clara Pandy - the demolition has been cancelled…

Rodice: Oh, no, that's terrible!

Halo: What do you mean?

Toby: She means we got trouble, girly… hoop riot!

Divers alarums.

Brinna and Ludy.

Brinna: There’s one of those Drummers outside. I’m starting to think we should have kept Toby here.

Ludy: What’s he doing?

Brinna: Nodding. What else do they do?

Ludy: It’s the music. They’ve got it in their heads. I think it’s like when you’re playing dota, you know? It just takes you over and all you can do is just move with it.

Brinna: Well, you’ve never needed an implant in your head to feel that…

Ludy: No…

Brinna: I mean, live and let live and all that, but if any of you girls ever ended up like that…

Ludy: I can’t see Halo or Rodice dressing like that, can you?

Brinna: I suppose not. Hoy, glombie, clear off!


Ludy: He didn’t hear you. All they hear is the music.

Brinna: Well, whatever. I’ve got to watch this holo…

Ludy: Great. I’m going out in a bit.

Brinna: Well, wait till he’s gone.

Ludy: Yeah. Brinna…

Brinna: What is it chicklette?

Ludy: Nothing. I’ll be round with Box, yeah?

Brinna: Fine. Where’s your dota?

Ludy: Oh, I left it there. Didn’t feel like practising tonight.

Brinna: Are you alright?

Ludy: Slappy.

DJ: As a miracle of quantum tolerance engineering, the Hoop stands alone. Gasp in awe as, twice a day, the Hoop seals itself off and seperates its flexible sections in order to prevent the periodic wave-motion from collapsing the entire structure, and washing millions of good and valuable citizens into the Atlantic Ocean. I’m Swifty Frisco, stop me if I’m getting too technical.

Back in the alley, Halo is unconscious. Rodice is shouting in her ear.

Rodice: Halo? Hoy, Jones, come off! Don't make a Chop party out of it.. you've probably only got a fractured skull and some minor brain damage…

Halo: Bwain damage?

Rodice: Hey, she's alive!

Halo: Where are we? What happened?

Rodice: Nothing interesting. We got caught in an unscheduled hoop-riot - and some Proximan crumped you with his tail on the backswing. Toby and me dragged you up this side artery. Incidentally, about the brain damage, I was only gagging.

Halo: Yeah, slappy sensayuma, Rodice. That riot… what would they have done if Lux hadn't saved the Clara Pandy?

Rodice: They'd have rioted, lard-lobes, only they'd have done it later. Now let's propel protoplasm. We're on a shopping expedition, and this business has completely scragged my timetable! If we want to be on mall by evening we have to reach the NorthWest quadrant before it seals off for hoopflex at 05:00… Now we can't use the main hoopway because of the riot, but I do have a back-up mammoth emergency plan.

Halo: Is this a mammoth emergency?

Toby: Not yet, but she's working on it…

Rodice: First we hop the updraft at fuller web/west 15th, and get up onto the overstrat. I figure there'll be big queues at the mampoint up there…so we cut through the exit gardens to the upper west twenties. It’s a prohibited shortcut, so if anybody asks we tell em that we were going to kill ourselves, but we saw the funny side at the last moment. Then, assuming there aren't too many dreck-netters, we take the maintenance spiral down past the trash flo… then we look as innocent as is possible in the company of ferrous fangs here, and walk casually past the jackyards on West 24th.

Halo: Which way?

Rodice: First we hop the updraft at fuller web/west 15th, and get up onto the overstrat. I figure there'll be big queues at the mampoint up there…so we cut through the exit gardens to the upper west twenties. It’s a prohibited shortcut, so if anybody asks we tell em that we were going to kill ourselves, but we saw the funny side at the last moment. Then, assuming there aren't too many dreck-netters, we take the maintenance spiral down past the trash flo… then we look as innocent as is possible in the company of ferrous fangs here, and walk casually past the jackyards on West 24th.

Which, because I'm a strategic and tactical genius, brings us out at the NorthWest quadrant at exactly 04:97.

Enter Guard. He is adjusting some machinery.

Toby: You were two minutes out, its 04:99

Rodice: So what if I -ak! (Rodice catches her heel in a grating)

Halo: Hoy, come off - they’re clearing the area for seal-off and… Rodice what's wrong?

Toby: The tactical genius has caught her heel in a strategic grating…

Halo: Rodice, take your boot off!

Rodice: What? Halo, there's guys around! I got bare feet under my boot!

Toby: I could bite through the ankle…

Rodice: Uurhh (She frees herself)

Halo: Oh, no! They're starting to seal off! Hoy, wait! Don't seal off! We have to get across…

Guard: So does the 05:00 wave chicklette… and if we don't open the hoop to let it go by, it's gonna bust through anyway and buckle the whole wheel. Okay everybody - STAND BY FOR HOOP-FLEX!

Halo: Look Rodice, its not the end of the world. It reconnects at 05:80.

Rodice: So what? The SouthWest skedwalks are being closed for maintenance at 05:65. Don't you know anything? It's hopeless. The whole schedule is a scrog-over from zilch to googol! I should've known. If the riot forecast says 'fine', dress for armagideon: it's all my fault.

Toby: No arguments there.

Rodice: Who asked you-butane breath?

Halo: Hoy bonanza! Serendipity city! I've got it! We can go outside! There's a magnetrax up top. We can ride around the hoop the other way until we reach the mall. It'll save hours and we wont have to worry about anything.

Rodice: Except Zenades.

Halo: Zenades?

Rodice: That's right, and the first person who tries to take me outside is gonna find out why!

DJ: Zen: The values of meditation, intuition, and complete non-agression.
Zenade: a 50th century hand held weapon which, when used against an opponent makes them incapable of anything but meditation, intuition and complete non-agression…

Rodice: Anyone even twitches, they got a head full of alpha waves… and I'm not just whistling Erskold's Akron Concerto for Sublimizer and Glass Percussion!

Halo: Rodice, listen, I know how you feel about open spaces, but we have to go outside…

Rodice: One more step, Jones and you're on the white light express!

Toby: She's bluffing.

Rodice: Bluffing? Okay, Rin-tin-can grab your annodes and hope for the best.

Halo: Rodeece don't !

Rodice throws the zenade

FX: pinc

Rodice: 'pinc'? (Pause) They're supposed to go "Aumm"! I've been Kissingered into carding out for a stacket of dud zenades! (She begins to throw them to the ground) I'm gonna kill that glombie at Ms. Anthrope Surplus Supplies! Duds! Duds! Duds! Of all the lousy, useless, stupid, obselete, miserable, pathetic, quamnilucent, scruggy no-good-


Slow motion- Toby grabs Halo and throws her to the ground as a thunderous sound moves through the room. Rodice is motionless.

Halo: Uh, Rodice? Are you okay?

Rodice: Am I okay? I feel wonderful!

Halo: She feels wonderful.

Toby: I'm happy for her. Now get her outside and aboard the magnetrax before she changes her mind… whatever's left of it.

Halo: You coming with us, Toby?

Toby: Forget it. My guarantee doesn't cover salt-air exposure. I can make better time through the hoop on my own and meet you two on mall later. See you around.

Exit Toby

Halo: Fine. Uh, okay, Rodice, we have to go up the stairs now - to go outside…

They climb

Rodice: Beautiful! Because, Halo, you see, the inside is the outside. It's so obvious. You see, its like if you imagine the sound of one hand clapping…

Halo: Yeah, well that's really fascinating Rodice, but could you just climb?

Rodice: What is up? What is down? Only Buddha knows the truth. Halo, everything is so clear to me now. It's like I've seen the ultimate void!

Halo: Yeah? (She looks around at the outside for the first time) Tell me about it.

Rodice: Well, its like you have to try and picture a tree falling in a forest with no-one to hear it…

Halo: A what? Falling in a what? Come off, get in the magnetrax.

They get onto the craft.

Rodice: …and then if you're in tune with 'the now', your mind can become totally empty.

Halo: And some of us don't have so far to go as others. Now, how do I start this… ah!

Rodice: It's so peaceful outside the hoop. How come we don't do this more often?

Halo: Because you're terrified of wide open spaces, Rodice.

Rodice: Not any more, chicklette, I'm at one with the world.

Halo: Great. We're here, there's the mall indicator. You still feeling wonderful, Rodice?

Rodice: AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What are we doing out here? Where are the walls?

Halo: Rodice, let go of me!

Rodice: Halo, I'm scared! I hate it.. why are you doing this to me?

Halo: Hold on, I'm stopping the 'trax, okay? Listen, you got hit by a zenade, that's all. It's just the Zenade wearing off. Look, there's our hatchway…

They get off and climb down.

Rodice: I'm not going to make it! I'm going to fall, and then…

Halo: Rodice! I'm going to fall on you if you don't shut up and get down! There, see? All gone. Also, we're on mall ahead of our expedition schedule. Admit it, we were perfectly safe out there.

Rodice: Yeah, well I guess so… comparatively speaking.

Enter 3 fashion hags.

DJ: Among the many denizens of the Hoop are our very own Fashion Gangs. They look hot, they sound cool, and if they catch you in the wrong shade of plaid, your life just isn't worth a cheap pair of socks. I’m Swifty Frisco, always in fashion.

Hag1: I do not like the tall one's shoes. They offend me.

Hag2: Legs too thin, shoes too big, colour discredited last pseudo winter. I say we crump her.

Hag3: Hear how it is, uglyboots? You're not pretty enough to shop here.

Rodice: Leave us alone, you checkout hags! See this? This is a sputstik.

Hag3: From Ms Anthrope Riot Surpluz? Do people still go there? Anyway, the shape's all wrong. This year is like rounded weapons, like zenades or screaming orb-daubs.

Rodice: Zenades? Zenades are the prunes! Now backstep - or prepare for some rapid retro digestion…

Halo: Rodice, I don't think you…

Rodice: Shut up, Halo. You've got five before I stap the stud - one. Two. Three. Four.

Halo: But there's a ventilux…

Rodice: Five, okay, you want it, you got it!

Halo: ..blowing this way.

FX: sput.

Rodice activates the weapon, which discharges straight onto her face.

Rodice: Whhuuoo?

Rodice vomits noisily.

Hag1: Oh, my! I am certainly not touching that!

Hag2: Me neither. Let's go upwind somewhere…

Hag3: Oh, I don't know. There was something about that Jackson Pollock splatter effect…

Hag1: Oh, winky, you're incorrigible!

Exit Hags

Halo: Uh, well… they didn't crump us. I guess the sputstik worked okay after all.

Rodice: Unngruunggg

DJ: Latest news is the signing of hoop-toasts Ice Teen to Chop Leisure's 'Lo Fi' sublabel, the band are expected to go places, fast.

As the DJ speaks, the scene has changed to a shop. Rodice is behind a screen, Halo enters with Toby, she is carrying clothing.

Rodice: Well, did you get me some new tatters? I'm going to have to torch the old ones.

Halo: Yeah, I got the cheapest, but they're you know… okay. And I met Toby by the lottery pit.

Toby: Hi. You got over your naked terror I see. Well, over the terror, anyway…

Rodice: It wasn't terror! I..I just didn't think it was safe, up on the hoop top like that.

Halo: You were talking about the sky falling…

Rodice: That was the Zenade! Jones, these clothes are a total pestilence!

Rodice comes out, wearing ‘bad’ clothes.

Halo: I had to keep some credit back for the shopping expedition, or there's no point us being here... Oh, that doesn't look so bad, it's very, y'know...

Toby: It’s you, for what that's worth.

Rodice: You know what it is with you, Toby? You know why your personality's so hostile and twisted? Its because you've got cybernetic rabies…

Halo: Rodice, come off. We're on a shopping spree! What shall we buy first?

Rodice: A hold-e-mall that I can put over my head so nobody recognises me in this dreck!

Halo: Hoy look! The Prock-Hock is open, let's see what they've got…

DJ: Visit the Prock Hock. If you’re buying, they’ve got it, if you’re selling, they’ll take it. I’m Swifty Frisco, and what do you mean ‘do I shop there?’

Halo and Rodice are examining items for sale. Ludy’s dota is on the shelf.

Halo: They have some of those 46th century Philo-Gothic Sitdrams that Brinna likes. Shall we buy some for her?

Rodice: Later, if there's spare credit. Hoy! Here's a dota!

Halo: Could we get it for Ludy?

Rodice: You're jestering? You know what these things cost? Hey, this is exactly the same as Ludy's dota. Even the scratches look-

Toby: -Liebchicks. It's seven oh six. If you hurry, you can catch the ring-roadster back home at seven nineteen.

Halo: Yeah, that'd beat sleeping out over night. Come off, Rodice…

Rodice: How many dotas are there on hoop anyway?

DJ: I'm Swifty Frisko - how's your mum, Ed? Speaking today from the Tarantula Nebula, General Luiz Cannibal denied reports of a military presence on St. Ruth's world… but who'd believe anybody named Cannibal?

Time has passed, Halo and Rodice are loaded down with shopping. They are walking towards a Proximan.

Rodice: C'moff Jones. Hurry.

Halo: I'm sorry, I just had to get that sitdram for Brinna. It's called 'Wittgenstein has risen from his grave' and-

Rodice: Tell me about it when we're aboard the ring-roadster.

Toby: If we're aboard the ring-roadster. It might have gone by early…

Halo: Early? Toby, the Ring Roadster is never early.

Rodice: Ignore him, he's got cyber-rabies.

Halo: Look, we're okay… there's somebody waiting at the skidstop.

Rodice: Lucky for you. Hoy, how long till the Ring-Roadster comes by?

Proximan: It come in about another six as thisself reckon.

Halo: See? Its going to be late, not early. Six minutes to wait.

Proximan: Six hour. Ringer just now gone by two minute back. Was early.

Rodice: Six hours? You mean we have to wait for it to come back?

Halo: Oh, no. We have to sleep out here on our own…

Proximan: Hoy! Thisself here too, for company you! Name is Snivelling. When can afford second word in name, will be Snivelling Earthquake…

Rodice: Listen, what if we don't wait for the ringer? Maybe I can work out another route home…

Halo: Sure, we can go back up to the hooptop and take the Magnetrax home.

Rodice: Oh, yeah, well… Safe night Halo.

Halo: Safe night, Rodice.

They settle down for sleep.

Home. Brinna is pacing nervously. Enter Rumblejack

Brinna: Where've you been? I called ages ago!

Jack: Brinna…

Brinna: You've got to find her, I'm worried sick. She's just a kid, she doesn't know how to look after herself, if it was one of the others it wouldn't be so bad, but Ludy's always been the quiet one…

Jack: Its me, Brinna.

He takes off his helmet.

Brinna: You!


Jack: Maybe you should sit down.

Brinna: Yeah.

Jack: ) So tell me about…
Brinna: ) How have you…

Jack: Sorry.

Brinna: No, it's all right.

Jack: I never meant to hurt you

Brinna: You like the job?

Jack: It needs to be done.

Brinna: That's not what I asked.

Jack: Brinna…

Brinna: Was it worth it?

Jack: Without you, you mean?

Pause. For a moment they almost kiss.

Brinna: I cant…

Jack: No.

Brinna: Ludy. You have to find Ludy.

Jack: Of course. Do you have a picture of her?

Brinna: Here.

Jack: And when did you last see her?

Brinna: She said she was going to practice with her band. She hasn't been back.

Jack: She's not with them?

Brinna: No. They came by looking for her. She's not like the others, she can't look after herself. She'll be terrified out there.

Jack: We'll do everything we can, Brinna.

Brinna: I know. I know you will.

Jack: Would you like me to stay here with you?

Brinna: …no.

Jack: Can I come back?

Brinna: If you like.

Exit Jack.

On board the Ring roadster. Halo, Rodice, Toby and a passenger.

Halo: The ringroadster will reach Quad West soon, so I've given up on the idea of sleep. Outside the tunnels, the sun is probably coming up. I don't know why I'm writing this. I haven't written anything in ages, not even in my diary. It's just very quiet on Hoop, this time of the morning. It seemed like the right sort of thing to do. It's quiet because nobody has to set out for work… although there are the beggars setting up their pitches by the man-point. I suppose they're the exception. Rodice is asleep. She's dribbling on her collar (ha ha) When she wakes up, she'll swear she's been awake all night.

My eyes feel like the windows of the ringer: dusty and dirty and smeary. They never clean the Ringer's windows. They ought to. It never rains in here.

I just glimpsed a displazer and I think it had a holorama of Ice Ten. It flashed by so fast, I'm not sure. Perhaps they've been signed. That would be the superlativest thing this year. Did I hear Swifty Frisco mention Chop Leisure signing somebody? I'm not sure. I should ask Toby, but I wont. He's not very talkative. He gets skrinchy when he's away from Brinna. Never dread, Toby. Home soon. I hope Brinna likes that philosophy-nasty we bought her.

Rodice: gllurrkk.

Halo: I hear a disgusting sound… a bit like a Proximan eating. I think Rodice is waking up.

Rodice: Uurgh! Jones! My collar is slimy! Did that dog do something to.. Hoy! We're in the West Twenties. We almost missed our drop. Have you been asleep or what?

Halo: Me? Bu-

Rodice: Hoy! You! Roadbot! We wanna drop off here!

Passenger: It's audio response is fritzed. Ya gotta work the manual over-ride if you wannit ta stop. Here lemme show ya…

Passenger thumps machine
The roadster stops, Halo, Rodice and Toby disembark. Toby begins to act suspiciously.

Rodice: Y'know, this shopping expedition was one long disaster. It's almost four hours over my best time. If you hadn't stopped to get that junk for Brinna…

Halo: Oh, come off, Rodice! Brinna buys us lots of stuff.

Rodice: Yeah, well that's because she's rich. I mean she's so rich she doesn't need to live on Hoop! She could live in Queens or even out of state. So why?

Toby: aw no. (Pause) Excuse me, I got a job to do. And listen, I'm sorry…

Exit Toby at speed

Rodice: I tellya, that mechanimal needs its fuses scrutinising urgently! Why did it run off like that?

Halo: Well, you know Toby. He likes the mysterioso, its his persona-type.

Rodice: Nah, his persona-type is 'Basic Obnoxious' he's got it stencilled on his stomach. I seen it.

Halo: Yeah, and what have you got stencilled on your stomach?

Rodice: 'This way up.'

Halo: Ha ha ha ha..

Rodice: Hey, Halo? Hey, what is this? These are Brinna's holo-soap notes…

Halo: Brinna? Brinna are you-

Brinna is dead.

Rodice: Toby. Toby must have smelled the blood.

Halo: Brinna?

Later. Halo and Rodice are talking to rumblejacks, the police of the Hoop. Brinna's body has been covered or removed.

RumbleJack: Name of deceased?

Halo: Brinna.

RumbleJack: Please supply full name of deceased.

Rodice: Brinna Childresse Lao! Are you stupid? I already told you fifty times…

RumbleJack: Your name and relationship to deceased?

Rodice: You can bite it, you dumb-

Halo: -Forget it Rodice. Her name's Rodice Andelia Olsun. Housemate of… the deceased.
Rodice, these Rumblejacks are persistant offenders, remember? They've been lobotomised. You can see the scars on their head. They can't react - there's no point getting angry with them.

Rodice: I know. (pause) But I just need to get angry with somebody.

Rumblejack2: Okay, looks like we're all through. You say Ms Childresse-Lao had a Ripper, and that it may have gone after the killers?

Halo: Toby, yeah. He smelled the… the blood and he just took off.

Rumblejack2: He'll probably save my men a job anyway. What model was he?

Halo: Iliac six hundred. Two years old.

Rumblejack2: Then he'll find em. Doubt he'll leave us enough to identify. Good model the '47 Iliac. I'll go log my data on this. Looks like a straight burglary, Ms Childresse-Lao was a wealthy lady and a lot of people knew it. Listen, Ms Jones, Ms Olsun.. I'm sorry about this.

Rodice: You're sorry? You don't know how to be sorry! You had being sorry cut out of you along with the front of your brain! You didn't know Brinna.

Rumblejack2: For what its worth Ms Olsun, I'm not a post-leucotomy operative. I'm a volunteer. And a long time ago, I knew Brinna very well. She was a special woman. Now, if you'll excuse me…

Exit Rumblejacks.

Rodice: Looks like we wasted credit on Brinna's present. Oh, Halo. I can't believe this…

Halo: And Ludy doesn't know yet. We're going to have to tell her when she gets-

Enter Ludy. She has joined the Different Drummers and is dressed accordingly and nodding in rhythm.

Halo: -Back.

Rodice: That sounds like Ludy now.

Halo: Yeah. Ludy, hello?

Ludy: Hello.

Halo: Ludy? Oh, Ludy what have you done?

Ludy: Nothing. I quit Ice Ten. I joined the Different Drummers. I got sick of being scared all the time. So what?

Halo: So what? You joined the Drummers? SO WHAT?


Halo: That was your dota we saw at the prock-hock wasn't it? You sold it to buy an implant, right? Oh you stupid little skatt…

Ludy: Don't lecture me. What are you, you're four years older than me and you're lecturing me?

Halo: Ludy, you could have got out of here! Your music… you had talent!

Ludy: Yeah, but maybe I don't wanna get killed in a side-artery just to make you proud of me. I'm sick of living up to your fantasies, Halo. I don't wanna listen to you any more.

Rodice: No? Well you better listen to me! Ice Ten just got signed - chop leisure have-

Halo: -Rodice. She isn't listening to us. She's listening to the beat. Come off.

Rodice: Jones? Halo, look, where are we going?

Halo: I don't know where you're going Rodice. I'm going out.

Rodice: Out? Out of where?

Halo: Out of everywhere.

Rodice: But listen, the problems will still be here when we get back…

Halo: Who said anything about coming back?

Rodice: Halo? Hoy, Halo wait for me!

Exit Halo and Rodice.

A Guard, alone on stage.

Guard: okay… that’s form kappa 19 and form delta 30 lodged in triplicate which just leaves the phi 26. See I told ya this wouldn't take long. Now if you're going Manhattanside looking for employment, we'll have to temporarily reclaim your mamcards. Without credit, you'll have to come back. Look on it as a precaution. Right… the standard warnings:

One - if you sustain physical or psychological damage during your stay, Manhattan municipal will not accept responsibility.

Two - Manhattan is an apartheid zone, avoid proximan districts.

Three - Manhattan resident protection groups have a low opinion of Hoopsiders. They've shot thirty-nine in the last three months. Avoid wealthy areas and try not to look like criminals.

Four - you may not enter the municipalities of Connecticut, New Jersey or New York. If you attempt to do so we'll shoot you.

Okay, that's it for the warnings ladies. Ladies? Incidentally today's job-cast says employment chances are pretty slender. Just thought I'd tell you. Enjoy your visit now, y'hear?

Exit Guard.

In the shipyard. Halo and Rodice.

Rodice: Halo? Listen, maybe this wasn't such a slappy idea after all… I mean you heard what he said - no jobs.

Halo: Rodice, I don't really care any more. Brinna's dead. Ludy's turned into a glombie. The Hoop got em. You think I'm going to sit around and wait for it to get me? I'm not going back.

Rodice: No, you're right. It's just, you know, I ain't never been to Manhattan before. I don't like it. It smells funny…

Halo: Its different, that's all. These floating lights make everything look creepy. Its nothing to be scared of.

Rodice: Who's scared of the lights? Me, I'm scared of the resident protection army! And I want my Mamcard back. I don't feel dressed without my Mamcard. Those creeps better not lose it, or…

Halo: Rodice? Did you hear something?

Rodice: Like what?

Halo: Footsteps.

Rodice: Where?

Halo: Behind us.

Rodice: Oh, no. Keep walking.

Halo: Rodice, he's real close…

Rodice: Uh, yeah right. Okay. Forget the bit about walking…

Halo: Rodice, I don't know where I'm going!

Rodice: Shut up and run! Can't you hear him? He's almost on top of-

Toby jumps out at them.

Toby: Hmmph. Thought I recognised the scent. Tried to call you a block back. Guess you didn't hear me.

Halo: Toby, but…

Rodice: Where did you come from, motor mutt? We haven't seen you since… well you know since Brinna.

Toby: I smelled the blood The people who did it had left a spoor, I had to pick it up right away, couldn't stop to talk.

Halo: The people who did it - have you, uh?

Toby: Yeah. All four of em. I don't want to talk about it.

Halo: Right.

Toby: Brinna logged a legacy programme last year. In the event of her death you get to keep me.

Rodice: Really? Lucky us.

Halo: Shut up Rodice. It's good to see you Toby - and I'm sorry about Brinna.

Toby: Me too, girly. More than you know. Now I've tracked you out here, what are you looking for?

Rodice: Same thing everybody else is looking for, stupid…a job.

Enter Man.

Man: No-no vacancies with ground-staff right now.

Rodice: See? I told you. The job-cast was right. We might as well head back Hoopwards and pick up our mamcards. I mean, there's always tomorrow…

Halo: What about off-world jobs?

Man: Oh. Now there you might be lucky.

Rodice: What? Jones, did you say off-world? You can't be..

Man: In fact, I believe one of the liners has been taking on crew.

Halo: You're jestering? Which one?

Man: That one.

Halo: The Clara Pandy!

Rodice: Jones? Hoy, Jones, you've got a really stupid look on your face.

Halo: Rodice, I… I think I'm in love.

Exit man.
They approach the ship. A Mechanic is working on it.

Mechanic: Youwannajob? Goddojobworkinhostessdutygunabe atwoannahalfyearroundtrip. Credit nine thou pee ay. Y'goddabedda awffa? So whadjasay t'that?

Halo: uh, excuse us for a moment, but my friend and I have to consider your proposal.

Mech: Snowproblem.

Rodice: What did he say? I didn't understand word one of that.

Halo: He said something about hostess duty - and he mentioned nine thousand credit.

Rodice: Nine Thousand? What, you mean every year? Suddenly, I understand him perfectly… Hoy! You! Honest artisan! Whatever the job is, we'll do it!

Halo: Rodice!

Mech: Senzabldysizzion! Lahkah say… Iz nahn thou a'four tax.

Rodice: Nine thou. We'll be hostesses - we'll have uniforms…

Halo: On the Clara Pandy! Working for Lux Roth Chop! Eeee!

Rodice: Hoy, Jones, you think we'll see Cassiopeia?

Halo: Rodice, that thing Morlane said about Cassiopeian men, that was a joke…

Mech: sher a kabbin, butcha getcha oan bunk. An thezz oany ajahb fuhwunnayah.

Halo: Only, a job for one of us?

Mech: Yeh. Izzalast vakunzee. Wijjayazzit gunna be?

Rodice: Well nine thou is a lot of credit…

Halo: Rodeece! It was my idea, you just tagged along.

Mech: Tellya what. Either of you speak dolphin?

Rodice: Do we talk dolphin? Of course not! What kind of stupid question is-

Halo: -I talk dolphin.

Mech: Jobs yours.

Rodice: Wha? Jones, you don't talk dolphin! Where'd you learn to talk dolphin?

Halo: I was a member of the ritit rikti fan club. I learned it then. I didn't want anyone to know - I didn't want you to call me an aqua-boppette.

Rodice: You're confessing to being in the Ritit Rikti fan-club? Just to get this job? This really means a lot to you, doesn't it?

Halo: Yeah, it means a lot. I have to get out of here, Rodice.

Rodice: Okay. The jobs yours. Oh, and you can keep the panzer pooch as well.

Halo: Oh, Rodice, thanks.

Rodice: Hoy, foam muzzle- put that rat down, it's more intelligent than you.

Halo: Rodice, I can't go through with this.. I can't just leave you here!

Rodice: Halo, you've got to leave.

Halo: I do?

Rodice: Sure, because I'm going to tell everyone that you were a teenage aqua-boppette.

Halo: I have to get off-planet right away.

Rodice: That's the spirit. I'll work passage on the next liner out - we'll meet on Charlemagne in a years time.

Halo: Does the Clara Pandy stop on Charlemagne?

Rodice: All the ships stop there to re-tank for the out-systems. Morlane told me about this club called 'solid air' where everybody goes.

Halo: In a year's time? You promise to be there?

Rodice: Last one in buys drinks. Hoy, these exhaust fumes are stinging my eyes - get moving before they send me blind… and take care, Halo.

Voice: Clara Pandy staff, move right along the concourse. Everyone else off-ship. We lift in fifteen, people.

DJ: And that was Ice Ten with Missing Planet. Dataday, day to day, bringing news without views and facts without tracts, I'm Swifty Frisco and I'm proud of it.

Today we talk to a robot that hatched chickens.. but first, the Tarantula Nebula: Are we at war yet? Jazz Firpo talks to General Luiz Cannibal.

Jazz: General Cannibal, is it true that Earth is moving troops into the Tarantula Nebula?

GC: Well, Jazz we Martians have a saying: "If they put your head on money, you're famous, if they put money on your head get out of town." I think that still holds true today, don't you, Jazz?

Jazz: Uh, right. Back to you Swifty…

DJ: Last months' wonder, the Clara Pandy left the Manhattan platform just secs ago. Anticipate ozjams around East-am till early this AM. Now, about those chickens…